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We all yearn for salvation. We all crave an intimate relationship with the Creator. We were created with that need embedded in us. Some fill it with the occult, universal energy or mysticism; others with alcohol, anger or sex. There are many different square pegs that are jammed into this round hole. We have all tried one or another. Then there is the day we find that round peg. My final year at college was fairly toned down compared to my first. Gary had moved to another campus so I only met with him intermittently. Carol and I shared an apartment and drifted apart because of the pressures of living together.
Mainly my second year I spent getting close to the woman who would soon become my wife. Her name is Hazel Tweet (nickname, of course...) and she is a joy that makes my days glow brighter. That being said, we have just come out of a very dark season together. We share a deep and divine love for each other. In our last year in school together she and I both grew a lot. We quickly learned more about each other in one month than most people learn in over a year. Sometimes it felt like our hearts beat in sync. I never had the pleasure of feeling that way about any other woman. We trusted each other explicitly. However, once again warfare struck my life. Satan really hit the two of us in every way he could and caused great pain and strife because of it. That is, again, another story; but as a couple, we have also found victory in Christ & now rejoice together... It took three years. I tell you, the attacks never stop! The only difference is now we have victory after victory.
My second year (last semester) did not have any exorcisms or severe life and death warfare. It was filled with personal growth and answers to my overwhelming amount of questions to God. I truly met God for the first time this year. My desire to get deeper in 'New Age' on the most part had been quenched because I realized that no matter what I did myself, the Creator - directly - did faster, stronger and perfectly. I still talked the mystic talk, but I reduced my mystic walk. I also knew that the Creator was very different than I originally thought He was. My entire reality had been blown so many times that I didn't know what to think anymore. So I tirelessly searched for the true God and withheld myself from performing the intense, dangerous activities I had done before. By this point most people feared me, some people hated me, some were in awe of me and some had a mixture of the above. I also became very close with two new friends who submerged themselves in 'New Age' healing and Witchcraft. In ways, we were a bad mix because we encouraged each other down that all too familiar road.
About six months into my second year of school, a trusted co-worker friend I met at camp, Sheila, sent me a book that gave me a lot of the answers I sought and it greatly changed my life. Neil T. Anderson's, The Bondage Breaker. A definite must-read. Sheila labored with me over the phone for weeks to try to get me to buy the book myself and read it; but I, of course, found every excuse not to do it. It is because of my excuses she decided to mail it without asking and I am forever grateful. Through that book, I learned things about spiritual warfare and the workings of the mind I had never known before. When I started reading, I found it hard to put 'The Bondage Breaker' down.
I kind of touched on this a little earlier in my testimony but I will say it again. It will always be natural to avoid getting closer to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Saviour. A lot of excuses will easily come to your mind. Satan does not want you to be truly free. Satan knows if he can keep you from God, you will not learn your true identity and you will not be able to effectively stand against him. Satan does not want to see you blessed, happy, or prosperous because you were created by God to be above Satan - and he craves power above everything else. Satan has the ability to give you twisted gifts like false healing, and he is able to give you material riches, but he can never give you true freedom and peace that rises above all rational understanding. The 'Truth' is, a life lived in Satan is far inferior to a life lived with Yahweh. At times it may seem easier, but it is definitely inferior and in the end more difficult. Sin always feels good at first. Then it eats a hole right through you (sometimes you can feel it).
We cannot experience the full extent of true joy, love, freedom and peace until you learn what they really are and receive them from the One who created them. Before we are re-born, we find it easier to accept any religion or faith that stands contrary to (or maybe just a little twisted off from) Christianity. I believe that is why all different sects of 'New Agers' find it so easy to accept other philosophies & other religions, but persecute Christians regularly. Rome is the perfect example. Everyone accepted each other's beliefs as long as it was not Christian. Shortly after Christianity - and the 'Truth' - was openly spoken, the Christians were greatly persecuted. However, in the end, Rome fell. The true God has to be different than any other belief because all other beliefs share the same root - Satan. God can only be rooted to himself. Is it just coincidence, it just happens that Christians and Jews are persecuted by most other faiths of this world? The world will always embrace its own doctrines, sinful beliefs, and behaviors. I believe this principle is of spiritual origin and not just coincidence. I also believe that God outlined sins in his Bible so we can avoid them - not to just boss us around. In love He wisely protects us by steering us away from what will cause emotional, physical and spiritual pain. Like a father steering his toddler away from an open pool. The toddler doesn't know the difference, but a good father will warn his child - it's the child's decision to listen.
Not only was I reading 'The Bondage Breaker', but I was also reading the gospel of John (the fourth book in the New Testament). It's an easy read and I had never before read it with an open heart. It was truly beautiful and was another book I found hard to put down. To get myself to pick it up & start reading was the hard part. I found many excuses not to. In reading the book of John for the first time, I felt bursts of the Holy Spirit working in my life and healing me without pain, neither shaking or flailing nor even asking. The healing was free and I gave God permission to do almost anything He needed to do in my life. God began a miraculous journey with me that I will always be grateful for. He began to walk with me. I began to know and understand Him. I even began to hear His voice and live in His eternal protection and peace. I did not have to concern myself any longer with energy shields, casting out spirits and ignoring voices in my mind. All I had to do was speak out in authority and say "in Jesus Christ's name be gone". And I would be redeemed. The multiple voices in my head would subside and I had victory like I never had before. I also had healing like I had never experienced. As God promised in His word, living waters flowed through me and I was constantly refreshed on a daily basis. I can not begin to express the extreme amounts of joy that I felt. It was at least 10 times greater than anything I had ever experienced up to that point (and I had experienced great healing in the past). All I did was take all the effort I was spending to heal myself and others through 'New Age' and put into praising God, seeking His truth and finding real healing in my life. God, in his omnipotent power and grace, sent, in turn, overwhelming floods of healing water bursting forth in my life. I felt the coolness of a spiritual release all throughout my body for hours at a time every day. It was incredible! It was pure! It was stronger than any release I had felt in New Age, much more joyful and pure.
The days were always clear in my eyes. I had a well of joy flow up in my soul. My spirit was being renewed. I could do far better than throw energy balls and heal the sick. I had prayer; and through it I prayed for cancer to be healed and it was (without me even being in direct contact with the person). I prayed for certain people to accept Jesus as I knew Him in order for them to feel the vast amounts of blessings and true healing and deliverance that I felt. And they did. I prayed for negative forces in my city to diminish and stop working in people's lives. And they did. For once I truly had victory over all that afflicted me. It was incredible!!!! And this is what I want for you too. I had spiritual awareness and knowledge that I never had before. I new things about people that only God would know and prayed for them to be healed and they were! This is the way spirituality should be. I learned that all I had known, all that I had done was child's play compared to the mountains the true Creator would move when I communed with Him in prayer. Because of the bursting spiritual healing occurring in my life, I praised God every day. I talked to him every day. He even spoke to me every day through prayer! It was wonderful! Better than orgasmic! And it gets better. My mind was becoming clear. The torment and nightmares were gone. I looked forward to talking to God at my bedside every night. I would tell him everything and He would hear! Sometimes I would get on my knees with a specific prayer request and forty-five minutes later I would still be praying, filled with the Holy Spirit. Bursting with joy and authority and still on my knees forgetting the original prayer request altogether. While I prayed, God, himself, would put on my heart specific things He wanted me to pray for; and I found so much joy doing so! I would even pray for people I did not know around the world. I could almost see their faces. This was the real thing! Larger and better than anything else I had ever known. Every step I took towards God he took two steps towards me. I enjoyed repenting because it brought me such peace.
I remember I was lying in my bed one night and God gave me a vision of a cloud in the sky. Within this cloud there were thousands - no; hundreds of thousands of faces. Some seemed reasonably happy while others were clearly tormented. Within an instant, I realized this cloud was representative of the spirit of New Age (a powerful general in Satan's army). All of the faces within the gray cloud were completely deceived by its false light and stuck within its confines. My heart just broke. I saw the hole where my face once was placed and I was so glad that I was now out of it!! It killed me to see that I recognized some of the faces. Immediately I prayed for them and now they all live happily and victoriously with the Lord!!! They are all going to the same place as me afterlife and I still want the same for you. I am sure most of you reading this already know you are going there. But if there is any doubt in your mind, any at all, then let's fix that now. You have nothing to lose other than living in victory in life and then spending eternity with the Creator of the universe. In heaven, God has a room laid out for you. It has your name on the door. Heaven is promised to be a place where we are unlimited by physical properties - we'll have new bodies and new emotions in a new environment; it is promised to be wonderful: a place of comfort, righteousness, mercy, peace and purity, our inheritance, where we will be like Jesus. As strange as it may sound, Jesus died for you on the cross as God in the flesh, in order to bare the pain and damnation of our race. All we have to do is accept His loving sacrifice to begin some of the things I had mentioned earlier. It is quite simple and painless to do, but everything of this world will try to stop you from doing it - even your own emotions can betray you. If it has been hard for you to read the last paragraph and you have been daydreaming a lot while you read, that is just the first example. When I say the name Jesus Christ, it should bring joy to your heart and not irritation. If you find the name Jesus Christ difficult to read (outside of a curse), that is yet another example. If you are feeling angry or frustrated out of nowhere, that is another example. Live in victory over all the garbage in life starting now? It is an easy decision to be re-born and share in a living relationship with the Creator of everything. All you have to do is read these simple words out loud.
"Lord. I want to know you. I want to see you. I want your victory over the darkness around me. I want your grace. Your joy. Your holiness. Father, come to me as I come to you. I accept Your love, Your joy, and Your peace. I confess that I was on the wrong track. I believe Jesus died for my sins so that I go to Heaven. I accept you, Jesus, as my personal Saviour. I realized I have sinned in your eyes and I pray that you forgive me and set me free; that your blood washes me clean. Rain down upon me Holy Spirit and fill me up. Let me receive your joy. I humbly ask you this in Jesus Christ's name. The Lamb of God. The Messiah. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness."
If this was your first time saying a prayer like this & meant it in your heart, congratulations! You just did a beautiful thing and may be feeling some strange sensations at this moment in time. Maybe a cool breeze, cleansing water, a bursting heat or just a strange sense of peace and belonging. That is the Holy Spirit touching you and you have only just begun. If you don't feel anything in particular, that is OK as well. Just don't be alarmed if you feel tingles here or there. It may seem strange to you, but just by having faith & saying the words "Jesus I believe you died for me & I accept you as my personal Saviour," places your name in the book of eternal life and guarantees you a room in Heaven. I have great joy for all of you that had the courage and conviction to read that prayer aloud. If you skipped reading it aloud, I bet part of you still wants to and hesitates. You don't have to miss out! Christian or not. Fight the inclination to skip it. Just take the leap and do it. You can find a new joy in life. You too can be recreated. Listen to that tug on your heart before it is too late. There might not be a tomorrow.
By now you are most likely feeling either very relieved or very aggravated with me. At any rate, if you would like to read on I will finish my story. As you already know by the time I was in college for my last year I had been a "Christian" for over two years, but I still struggled in many big ways. I was beginning to feel a rebirth and renewing, but didn't know what the next step was. I searched many different churches to find one that knew how to direct me in my life, and eventually found a church that changed my life forever. What I learned from Cornerstone Community Church in Keswick was that not only is God a God that will wait for you to let him into your life, but He is also a God that will wait for you to let Him heal you. You see, as much as I desired to be healed, some of my pains and strongholds became such a major part of my life I was afraid to let them go. The things that troubled me and held me back had become a major part of my personality - all I knew was struggle and I wasn't sure if I was ready for that to change. If you have lived your life with an anger problem that consumed most of your days, and one day in a miraculous way it vanished, wouldn't you wonder what would replace it? Wouldn't it scare you that a major part of your personality had left in an instant? That is how I felt. I was afraid of the unknown. I didn't like my demons & bondage's and wanted true freedom from them, but at the same time, I feared the unknown. I didn't know what it was like to be healed from all my pain; would I even like myself after it was all gone? It took me a few weeks to truly understand that God was the God that made me. Every part of me. God was a God that knew what I deeply wanted more than I knew because He made me. God was a God that wanted nothing more than to give me freedom from my pain and torment and help me to achieve what my deep hearts' desires were. He wanted me to be truly happy and free and to not worry about anything. Not even the past sin and pain in my life. If you let Him, He can begin to wash it all away. God is an awesome God that I can trust with all of my being. It was a big lesson, and difficult, yet soothing to swallow. Besides, if I don't trust in Him, who was I going to trust? I can't rely on just myself; I can't even wake up in the morning on my own strength. It is God that already sustained me. He had been patiently waiting for this moment my whole life, calling my name as He felt all of my pain. Setting me free from the times I worshipped the universe, light, and in ego - myself.
My path had been set. I was going to heaven when I died. That is what I chose. But I still had to choose how my life would be lived. A) In rebellion pulling away and not trusting God to then wonder why He doesn't do things for me that He does for other people - or wonder why He doesn't fulfill His promises for me found in His Bible or, B) Trusting God fully. Giving him full reign in every area of my life - my thoughts as well as my actions, since he knew all my thoughts & feelings already anyway. I turned away from the sins that I had always fallen into and trusted that He would replace them with a glory and peace that was larger than anything any of us could ever understand. In other words, I just trusted that He wanted to give me my heart's desire. He wanted to give me a new life that was better than the one I was living without Him. He wanted an active, intimate (not sexual, but spiritual) relationship with me on earth, as well as in heaven; and all I had to do was give Him permission to walk with me and work in my life. To bless me like He wanted to and not stop Him halfway.
It was an extremely difficult decision. Face my fear of the unknown and trust God in every area of my life. Turn to Him and away from some things I enjoyed or felt I had no control over. Or live like I had always known: comfortable, knowing who I was, including my pains - stabilities that held me from the full glory and awe of God in my life.
My decision was to walk the walk and not wait for Heaven. We always have a choice in this world. It was the best decision I had ever made. The day I decided that, God delivered me. Unquenchable tears of relief and joy welled up within my soul. Without exaggeration, I felt exactly like I was standing under the bottom of Niagara Falls . There was so much healing power falling from heaven into my life I could barely stand. It was 'New Age' times one hundred thousand. It was uncontrollable (and of course that was part of my decision). The amount of love that instantaneously permeated my flesh was immeasurable. God's love and acceptance led me to even more tears. I was deeply connected to the God that created the universe and He loved me. Me, the one who betrayed Him on many occasions and gave him a bad name. I was being filled to overflowing. And overflow I did. The power of the things that I felt that day I still can not put into words. There is no comparison between it and anything else. The Holy Spirit pumped me with so much Godly energy and joy that I became drunk in His spirit. It was larger than life. I remember feeling as if God pulled my spirit from my flesh, the Holy Spirit healing me of all of my pain and torment, then washing me pure and placing me in my body again. I was freed! It was so great that it made any other healing I had experienced in the past seem like absolutely nothing! Nothing compared to the power and grace of my Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing. And you know now that I had been through 'great healing' before. I rejoice every day at the work He completed in my life. And He is still working in me and helping me every day to better understand his Word. I can not help but be joyful and smile.
This is where my story must end for the moment. This is also how I stand now many years later. Redeemed. Healed. Healthy. Made new. And wanting the same for you. Accept it. I know you can. Thank you for reading.
One final word of wisdom. I strongly suggest that you find a church body of believers like yourself. It is much more difficult to walk the walk alone. In fact, Satan can eat you alive if you let it happen. I also can not express how important it is to be accountable to close Christian friends. We all need to be encouraged, supported, helped up after we fall down and even corrected; that is what a good church should do for you. Satan is an incredibly sneaky and crafty individual. He has had over 6000 years to perfect his craft and he can bring you back down before you even realize what is happening.
Know that a good church is measured by the quality of the people found within it and it's consistency with the 'Truth' laid out in God's Word. Not by denomination. If after you enter the door the people are graceful, merciful and loving, and the doctrine shared reflects that of the Holy Bible, then you are well on your way. If any one of those three are not there, keep looking. You can trust me when I say, hard work upfront pays off with great peace in the end.
May God guide you in your search and may the Lord always be with you in great strength and favor. And if you still have not yet given your life to Jesus, it is not too late. Don't miss out, you have nothing to lose but pain and damnation. Maybe it is time to take that next step and completely trust Jesus as your Saviour. I can sincerely say it is worth much more than the risk of not. And until we speak in person, Shalom (peace be with you) and God Bless you!