Part I The Struggles and Cycles of Spiritual Failure
Chapter 1, The Revelation and the Call of God
I respect the rights of others to seek the truth and put their faith in whatever they choose. I am not here to debate religion, philosophy, science or metaphysics with anyone. My ultimate goal is to testify how “the God of my understanding” has saved me from spiritual, psychological and physical bondage of every kind imaginable. In this chapter I will discus when and how God revealed himself to me and the process whereby I finally surrendered my life to him. I will talk about faith, the calling of God, the Gospel of Christ, the proper attitude we need and the answer to life’s most difficult problems, including death itself.
I come from a very redneck, white trash, small hillbilly town in Michigan. We were a broken family, overwhelmingly unstable, dysfunctional, reckless and utterly pathetic. I never knew if we would be going to church or sleeping in a car during the winter for survival.
I don’t want to bash my parents and make them look bad because they were dealt a pretty horrible hand as well. I also thank God that we have all matured since these ancient days and have forgiven each other. Having said that, let me continue to describe my youthful beginnings.
My mom was physically abused and beaten on a regular basis and my dad was one of many children who was neglected to the point of having to eat out of trash cans. My grandfather chose to go to prison for 3 years, rather than to claim his 5 kids and pay child support. So I understand a little why they treated me the way they did.
Although my parents struggled to do the right thing and follow God, they continued to fall backwards into rebellion which led to a life of destruction and waste. There were often times when that we were forced to go to church and yet other times we would wake up to a completely destroyed living room, due to a drunken rampage and out of control fighting from the night before. I know there are more shocking cases than my particular childhood. I’m not making any excuses or trying to start a pity party for myself, but it was no picnic growing up with my God given circumstances.
Anyway, as you can probably expect, physical abuse and drugs were a common place throughout my childhood. Besides having front row tickets to watch my parents fist fight on the weekends, it was a common practice for me to pass marijuana between my dad and uncles, as if it was the remote to the TV. I will never forget the horrible experience of watching my dad and uncles set a cat on fire. They were literally laughing about it as it was burning to death.
There was no stability at all in my family. We were constantly moving from school to school and then one summer we were molested by the older kids in our neighborhood. I grew so cold in my heart that I began to mistreat animals and even killed a cat myself, following my dad’s footsteps. There are more gruesome things to tell, but I think you get the picture. It is no wonder why I ran away from home and hung out with thugs. Even though I had many serious issues to overcome, I could have easily turned out to be a psychopathic murdering rapist. It’s a miracle that I was spared from that final outcome. Thank God for his grace in my life.
Regardless of my childhood, one thing that my parents did right was to expose me to the Christian faith long enough for the seeds of truth to be planted in my heart. I attribute the foundation of my faith to them. I didn’t realize at that time, when I was a child, that what I had learned about God would have remained in my heart forever. I heard the Baptist “Fire and Brimstone” version of the message of Christ. The message of Hell scared my little adolescent soul so much that I even cried out to God for a short moment. I was terrified of God when I first hear the Gospel preached to me.
Unfortunately, the fear and the message of truth didn’t last very long. My Faith was very weak and the pressures of the world quickly devoured any commitment to God that I may have had at the time. I continued to act as evil and foolish as anyone can imagine; stealing money from the church piggy bank, running away from home, experimenting with sex, drugs and endless foolishness.
After a few years of juvenile lock up and foster homes, I eventually pulled my life together.
I managed to get my G.E.D., a job and even attend a little community college. I studied writing, psychology, philosophy and sociology, until I finally went to school for cosmetology - who knew? LOL. But regardless of the progress that I was making, I continued to venture further away from the faith of my parents. I was hungry for something to make sense of the mysteries of life, so I spent the next few years sorting through many other religious faiths and worldly philosophies.
I wanted to find my own path and experience all that life had to offer, so I began to immediately challenge the God of my childhood. I would follow whatever belief system that appealed to my lustful lifestyle and didn’t chain me down with countless rules and restrictions. So I got involved with humanism, science, metaphysics, Hinduism, Buddhism, and many other esoteric and agnostic mystery religions. I would read and study anything that sounded deep and felt sensational. Eventually, I just mixed together my own blend of faith. I called myself a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, new age spiritualist. I was the poster child for the post modern generation, characterized by cloudy principles, a vague sense of reasoning with a mushy foundation to stand on. Yet, I thought I was perfectly fine.
Everything was going pretty well until the consequences of my reckless behavior finally caught up with me. I got someone pregnant. Unfortunately, I was entirely too self-centered, immature and scared at that time in my life to manage raising a child, especially with a woman I only knew for 6 weeks. So I ran across the country to a different state, where I continued to embrace a lustful, drug oriented lifestyle, hoping that my problems would magically disappear. I ignored my daughter, my parents, my problems and God, while I continued to live in rebellion, even though I knew better.
I continued to party and enjoy life, wasting all my resources on selfish living, until God eventually convicted my soul and called me once again to come follow him. Although I was having fun on the outside, I knew I was not living right and my childhood faith was still lurking deep within my heart. There was something unexplainably profound about the message of Christ that I could not easily brush off. It took a while before I heard the Gospel of Jesus again, but this time it drastically impacted my life. It wasn’t until later that I realized how God was cleverly and mysteriously leading me back to him through all the circumstances of my life.
The Revelation of God:
God finally used a charismatic and unusually energetic co-worker to influence my life with his strong testimony and powerful example of Christianity. He demonstrated what a true Christian was supposed to look like, which had a dramatic impact on my life. He displayed a uniquely persuasive boldness and stability that my parents failed to present. He was, what I considered to be, a “Real Christian,” not a fake hypocrite like most. After observing his life for a few months, it became clear to me that he had something I was missing in my life. It was refreshing to meet someone who had a real relationship with God, who didn’t play fake religious games or display some form of pretentious garbage. Never underestimate the power of someone’s testimony. When I saw that his words matched his behavior and that his life actually reflected what he preached, I felt something real and true coming from his life.
As soon as the opportunity presented itself, he immediately led me to Christ. This was the first time in my life that God revealed himself to me in a loving manner. It was a very unique and powerful experience that I will never forget. I immediately felt a change in my heart and was overwhelmed by a sense of relief. I never knew the presence of God could be so real and strong in my life. In an instant I was a new man.
I knew I was searching for something to give my life meaning, but I didn’t know exactly what it was. I certainly didn’t think it was the God of my childhood. Regardless, I received a dynamic experience with the true and living God, so undeniably real that I could never again deny him. This experience with God was much more real and powerful than the childhood experience that I had, which faded as quickly as it came. This encounter with God wasn’t based of the fearful Baptist “Hell, fire and brimstone” message. The message I heard this time was based on trust and love.
For the next few months I felt nothing but pure joy and bliss that overshadowed any drug that I had ever used. With my new found feelings of ecstasy, I found it very easy to pray, read the Bible and go to church. Wow. I was on fire and felt invincible. I would lay in bed many nights thinking about God until I fell asleep. Then as soon as I woke up in the morning, he would be the first thing on my mind. It was very exciting to be in love with God the way I was. (little did I know that love would be tested very soon)
My relationship with God is very simple and real, yet mysterious and difficult to explain to others. It is also very interesting that none of my spiritual explorations led me to follow Jesus. It is odd that I ended up devoting myself back to my childhood faith after putting so much effort towards running away from it. But once I had “Experienced” God for myself, nothing else mattered; my life has never been the same since.
This is one of those times when your experience is so unique and personal, and no matter how hard you try to explain it to someone, they just won’t understand unless they’ve experienced the same thing. For many years I only knew about God, but after he revealed himself to me, I actually got to met him personally. I have learned that there is a big difference between knowing about God and having a personal relationship with him.
Knowing about God vs. Meeting Him:
There is a big difference between knowing about Jesus and having him live inside me. I knew the story about Jesus dying on the cross for my sins for years, but it wasn’t until he literally came to live inside my spirit that I was able to discover him personally. Many people think that it’s enough to just know about God, but the whole purpose of Christ coming to earth inside a human body was to reveal God on a personal level. He is interested in a real intimate relationship with each one of us. Believe me, when you finally met God personally you will know it. It will be much more explosive and wonderful than merely reading some Bible story about him.
Meeting God is an awesome experience that can only happen by faith. I was touched in a profound and unexplainable way the moment I sincerely called upon his name to forgive me and be my Lord. The presence and power of his indwelling Spirit began to changed me in amazing ways. There is no other explanation for what was happening to me. I was becoming a new person.
Little by little my mind and desires were being modified. I began to be attracted to things with a higher spiritual quality and less attracted to the filthy things I once loved. The more I began to change the more God proved himself to me. My relationship with God is not imaginative or superficial, but the realest thing in my life. He is alive inside me.
Now, I have direct access to God anytime I want or need. He reveals spiritual wisdom, truth and knowledge directly into my spirit and teaches me everything I need for life. Through God I have discovered the secret meaning of life and he has answered my most pertinent questions.
The Calling of God:
God calls everyone to come to him for salvation through the Gospel of Christ. When we first hear the message of God’s love and mercy through his Son, either from our parents, someone’s testimony, a preacher, teacher, book, television or radio program, at that very moment, God is calling us to accept and believe in his message of salvation.
Every time we hear the Gospel of Christ, we are literally being invited to believe in it. The message of salvation is God’s “Calling” for all of mankind to come and be saved. This is the “Calling of God” described in the Bible. (1 John 3:1) If you hear his voice do not harden your hearts. (Heb 4:7) My sheep know my voice and follow me. (John 10:27)
Every time we hear the message of Jesus to “Come, believe and receive,” we have a choice to make. We can either deny and reject his calling or we can believe and receive it. When I first heard the calling of God I did believed that he was the savior of the world, but I didn’t make him my personal savior and Lord. I knew about him, but didn’t faithfully follow his teaching and surrender my life to him. But the moment I decided to respond to his call by completely trusting and following him as my God, Savior and Lord, that’s when I received his Spirit and he began to change my life. He made his presence known to me and I became a witness for him. The only way we can truly know God is if we accept his calling, by trusting and believing in the Gospel of Christ.
God is calling you right now if you are still reading this book. He wants to reveal himself to you in a mighty way. If you notice that he is knocking on your heart, allow him to enter by simply believing in his message of salvation. He leads us by his Spirit into his truth, but we must first have faith. (Rom.8:14, Matt. 16:17, John 6:44)
Why is Faith important?
The most important things to God are Love and Faith. He proved his love to us when he came to earth and it is by faith that we will see his face one day. God’s whole system of salvation is based entirely on faith alone. Without faith it is impossible to please God. He expects us to trust and believe everything he tells us and he will not reveals himself to anyone who has doubt. For those of us who belong to God, he is our father and we must have the kind of faith that little children have, if we are going to experience the reality of God.
The Gospel of Christ requires us to put our faith in the work of God’s Son in order to be saved. When he died on the cross, he paid the price for our sins, he did everything necessary for us to be forgiven and accepted by God. There is nothing we can add to his work on the cross, to assist in our salvation, except to believe and have faith in the name of his Son. If we do not have faith in his message of salvation, then we can not receive his Spirit to be transformed into his children or be saved from death. He will not reveal himself to us unless we follow his system of faith. (Hebrews 6:11, Matt.18:3)
There are many different, religions, philosophies and theories that try to find a different way to eternal life and happiness without putting their faith in the Son of God, but there is nothing a man can do that will ever be good enough to go to Heaven. For those who claim to know God, we must have faith in the name of Jesus and his work on the cross, in order to enter into the straight gate of God. (Eph. 2:8-10, Luke 13:24)
That is why “True Christianity” is unique compared to all the other religions in the world. Every other world religion attempts to reach God through their own works and efforts of righteousness. Only true Christianity offers salvation based on the blood sacrifice of God alone, as a free gift, without man’s efforts. Faith is the only requirement. All we have to do is use our faith and believe in the message of Christ.
We must apply our faith to the Gospel of Christ when we hear it. We do this when we decide to believe in the message of Christ and follow his teachings. The moment we put our trust in the Word of God, we activate our faith. As a result, God will send his Holy Spirit to live inside us and we will become his holy children. His spirit will show us how to apply our faith as we continue to learn from our relationship with God. (Eph. 1:13-14)
Explain the Gospel of Christ and Salvation:
For those of you who do not know about the true Gospel of Christ, let me simplify it for you. The Word of God and the message of salvation is so simple that even a little child can understand it. (Mark 13:9) The message of Christ is the most important thing that you will ever hear in your life. There is nothing else which can rescue you from death and promise you eternal life. There is real life changing POWER in the message of Christ.
I recommend that you pray and ask God to open your heart and give you understanding so that you can believe and accept his Word. There are many responses to the message, but in some way, you will be permanently impacted by the Gospel. No one is ever the same after they hear the message of truth. Whether people realize it or not, the words of God will either push them further away or attracts them closer to “God’s calling.” Although I didn’t accept and follow Christ when I first heard the message, it was still planted deep within my heart and remained with me until I finally surrendered to it years later.
A Quick Warning:
Please beware that there are many perverted and counterfeit Gospels of Christ. The truth can be hard to find, so we must really desire to find it. That is why I must emphasize that you pray and ask God to reveal his truth to you, so that you won’t be deceived by anyone. (Gal. 1:6-7) If you are hungry for the truth God will give it to you.
The Message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
The words you are about to read are called the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of Salvation, the Word of God and the Message of Truth. The Gospel of Christ has the power of God to transform your life, set you free from sin and death, grant you eternal life and make you a new person. (2 Cor. 5:17)
After God created us he decided to give us a test in the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, we failed miserably by sinning against him. He told us that we would die if we disobeyed him, but that is exactly what we did anyway. He is a perfect God and can not allow wickedness and rebellion to be in his presence, so we were punished with death. However, because of God’s great love for us, he temporarily shed the blood of animals to cover our sins, until his plan of salvation was fulfilled.
God’s mysterious plan to save mankind was revealed when his Son, Jesus, came to earth. The Son of God was sent here to die and shed his own blood so that we could be forgiven for our sins. If we believe that Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, came from heaven to shed his blood and died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, we will be saved. (John 20:31, 1 John 5:13)
Christ as our God and savior Both:
Since Jesus is the only Son of God, he is the rightful heir to the throne of God, which makes him God also. Many people try to accept him as their savior, but reject his as their God. They will not be forgiven of their sins if they do this. (John 8:24) False teachers and deceivers will try to take Jesus off the throne of his father and teach that he is not equal with God. This is a lie from Hell. The only Son of God is also our God in human form. He died on the cross and paid our penalty of death, then he rose from the grave proving that he was God and had power over death. That’s the Gospel. The moment we hear this message and “believe” upon it, we receive God’s Spirit as a “deposit” until we die or he returns. We instantly enter into a personal relationship with God through our faith in his Son.
That is pretty simple, huh? It might be simple in theory, but it’s still the most difficult thing any person could ever follow in this world. Only those who truly believe, follow and overcome until the end will be saved. (Rev. 1:7) Many people will fall away and completely “abandon” the faith. Those who do this will have no chance for eternal life or forgiveness of sins. (Heb. 6:4-6)
However, for those of us who have placed our faith in the Son of God, we have received his Holy Spirit, which is transforming us daily into “new creatures.” We have the promise of eternal life because we are “Born Again.” As long as we hold on to our faith and never let go, we will overcome this world and God will save us from death.
What does it mean to be “Born Again?
Jesus said that unless we are “Born Again” we could not enter into heaven, so it is a very important that we understand this mysterious teaching. The great mystery of how God washes and regenerates us has puzzled men since the beginning. The miracle of being “Born Again” is the spiritual work of God alone, which no man can actually see or measure. It is the invisible power of God working inside our spirits to regenerate and transform us into his children. It is by the grace of God alone that anyone can become “Born Again.” The mystery of being “Born Again” has been debated over for years, but rest assured, if you confess and believe with your heart that Jesus is the only Son of God, who came into the world to die for your sins, you are “Born of God.” (1 John 4:1-3, Rom. 10:9-10, John 3:3, Titus 3:5)
Beware that anyone can claim to be “Born Again,” or even be a “Christian” as far as that goes. But only those who “truly follow” Christ and continue to grow in the fruits of his Spirit will have the “real evidence” proving that they are God’s Children. We are known by our love, not the size of our Bibles, stylish clothes or the church we attend. Men may be able to fool other men, but they can’t fool God. We will all be judged by God one day and have to give him an account for our lives.
We all need a Savior:
There are plenty of people who deny that they have sinned against God and need forgiveness. There are also many who think they are good enough, by comparing themselves to others, to stand before God and justify themselves. Prideful and arrogant people usually reject the need for a savior, claiming that he is a useless crutch for the weak only. Since they are powerful and successful in life, they can not relate to those of us who suffer with afflictions and weaknesses. They are successful, happy, and by their own assessment, better than others, so they don’t recognize that they need to be forgiven for their sins. Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to get into heaven. (Mark 10:25)
However, the truth is that we all need a savior, because there is no one who is righteous in God’s eyes. We have all sinned against God and will be judged by him after we die. No one can escape this reality. The Scriptures say that the human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked. Who can save himself from death? The proud will soon discover how very desperate they are for a savior, shortly after they die.
How to get God’s attention:
Humility is the only way to get God’s attention, not pride. Only those who are humble and believe in the Son will be forgiven for their sins and inherit the Kingdom of God. The prideful have no hope for eternal life. He is close to those who are weak and desperate. He listens to those of us who are broken hearted. He only helps those who are humble, while he resists those who are prideful and arrogant. This is why Jesus said, blessed are the poor in spirit. They will inherit the kingdom of Heaven because they are weak and lowly. God gives wisdom to the humble, so that we realize the futility of death and that there is no hope without Christ. (Ps. 51:17, Ps 34:18, Ps. 138:6, Matt 5:3, Psalms 89:48; Jeremiah 17:9)
Hopelessness of Death:
There is an inescapable fear of death that every man must face. Nothing in this world can comfort or protect us from it. Even if we are extremely successful in life, famous and rich, what good does it do after we die? There are many rich people who have everything that life can offer, great family, business, money and prestige, yet they will admit that they’re unhappy and fearful of death. That’s why Jesus said, “what good does it do for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul.” (Mark 8:36) The consequence of sin can not be overshadowed by the temporary achievements of this life. All the wealth and luxury in the world will not help solve the greatest problem facing man: DEATH.
Although we are in bondage to the fear of death, that doesn’t stop men from trying to escape death and live forever. Many new age philosophies believe that mankind will eventually evolve to be God, so they don’t need God’s salvation. The humanists and Trans-humanists actually believe that science and technology will solve the problem of death one day. Many people still believe the first lie that was ever told to mankind in the Garden of Eden: “You shall not die.” Satan told Eve she could be like God and live forever if she trusted in her own abilities and she believed him. She turned away from the truth of God’s Word and fell into death. Man has never been, nor will he ever be able to, save himself from death.
The fear of death is good for one thing, though. It forces us to seek a savior, because we know that we can not save ourselves from death. The wise have learned to trust in the love of God for salvation and deliverance from the inevitable consequence of sin. God deliberately puts the fear of death in us, so that we would be eager to accept his free gift of salvation.
The only people that are not afraid of death are those who believe Satan’s lie, or those of us who have the promise of eternal life through Christ. We do not have to be afraid of death anymore. God has forgiven and washed us clean from all our sins, through the blood sacrifice of Jesus, so that we could be set free from Death. (1 John 4:18, 1 Cor. 15:55)
How to Overcome Death and inherit Eternal Life:
My hope is that everyone reading will surrender their lives to the Son of God and be saved from the fear of death, as well as live their lives in total victory from all the traps of this world. But if you’re not ready yet to completely surrender your life to Jesus, remember that there is no other message that can offer you the promise of eternal life and forgiveness for your sins. As long as you are still alive there is hope for you, but who knows how much time God will give us to surrender to him. If you have read to this point, then the seed of hope has been planted inside your heart. But if you don’t water it, the enemy will soon come to devour it. You may forget everything I’ve told you, unless you keep seeking this truth. God is calling you to keep moving forward and pursue more of his truth.
For those who are ready to receive the promise of eternal life and freedom from the traps of this world, all you need to do is believe in the name of the Son of God and follow his teachings. If you are humble and call upon his name, he will never reject you. God’s love is available to anyone, no matter what we have done, no matter how old we are, no matter where we have ended up in our lives, or how much we have failed, God still loves us and wants to forgive us. He will adopt us as his very own children the moment we put our trust in him. (John 3:16. Rom 5:20)
His love is eternal and covers all our sins. We don’t have to do anything special to be saved except believe and follow Jesus. Christ did it all. The price for our sins has been paid. If you are hungry and thirsty for a new life, healing, forgiveness, freedom from addictions, obsessive compulsive disorders, constant failure, worry and fear, loneliness, rejection and isolation, then believe in the Son with me and surrender your whole life to God. He is knocking on your door and calling you to himself, right now. (1 Peter 4:8; James 5:20; Ephesians 1:7, Rom. 6:23; Rom. 5, 1 Corinthians 15:3, Hebrews 9:15, 1 Peter 3:18)
The minimum requirements for salvation:
All we have to do is come to God with a pure heart and confess out loud with our mouths that we believe in Jesus. We must really have faith and believe with our hearts that Jesus is our God and Savior. We must trust and believe that he suffered, shed his blood, died on the cross for our sins and then rose again from the grave. Then we simply ask God to forgive us for our sins and he promises that he will never remember them again. He will instantly make us his children and give us his Holy Spirit.
Example of a pure and faithful prayer:
There is no magical prayer that you can repeat in order to be saved. Many people think that if they recite some kind of special prayer that they will go to Heaven. This is not true. God is looking at your heart to determine whether you truly believe in his Son or not. As long as you truly believe in Jesus and you publicly confess him with your mouth, you will be saved. You can confess your faith anyway you want. It’s your unique and faithful confession from a believing heart that will save you. Don’t just repeat the words of someone else‘s prayer, but say it from your own heart. Here is how I do it: “Lord, save Me!!! I believe you died for me and rose again, proving you are God. Forgive me of my sins. I want to be your child..” Someone else may say it differently. Such as, “Lord forgive me. I trust in Jesus now. I want to follow you.”
For those of us who confess, believe and follow Jesus, we will be saved. (Rom. 10:13) God will regenerate our hearts with his Spirit and adopt us into his heavenly family. We will experience a new life by the power of God and become his witnesses. Our lives will be transformed and characterized by godliness and love. It will be very challenging and difficult, but we have the promises of God on our side. We will have his power to overcome all our obstacles and weaknesses in life, as long as we hold onto him and endure until the end. Do it right now. Don’t wait another second. Confess and believe with your heart in Jesus today and you will be “Born of God’s Spirit.” (Rom. 10:9-10)
In conclusion, I hope that you realize God is revealing himself to you right now. He is calling you to come and follow him. I am not here to push and force anyone to trust in the Gospel of Christ, but to offer a new hope to someone who is ready. It’s God’s job to reveal himself to you and your responsibility to respond, not mine. I hope that you fully understand what the Gospel of Salvation is now and how simple it is to be saved from the bondage of sin and death. Remember, all we have to do is come to God in humility and trust in him, then prove our faith by confessing it out loud to many witnesses and do our best to follow his teachings.
It may sound easy but it can be a strenuous and challenging process of following Christ. Although we have a responsibility to obey the teachings of God, many of us desperately struggle to adhere to them. We must fully understand what we are expected to do as God’s children. In the next chapter, I will discuss what it means to actually follow and obey the Gospel of Christ and what our responsibilities are as his children.