I thought I’d post my testimony, hope it doesn’t offend anyone… Please pray for me, since I don’t walk with God in surrender anymore. Write a response if you desire.
I came from a violent home, (drugs, alcohol, gun shots, being chased with knives, people thrown thru picture pane windows), in fact I was born three months early because my father kicked my mother in the stomach, and I weighed two pounds nine ounces.
As early as 7yrs old I was out on the streets till 3-4am, I was put in three orphanages… once my father snuck into our house, he put a loaded pistol in my hand and told me too shoot my sisters and my mother, it was crazy. Thru all of this, (which I wouldn’t change), I came out a fairly normal kid, I was involved in sports and didn’t do drugs, or drink. I thought I was a survivor, wanting only too make it thru another day.
At age 16 (in 1974) I started too sense a need in my life, an emptiness that I couldn’t explain. I knew I had too find God/Jesus, but who was HE? I had no idea where too find HIM, so I went to the local library to find books concerning world religions, God, and the occult. At the library I met an ex hippie (Gary Osborn) he saw my books and decided too share the message with me. Gary invited me to pray in the back of his V.W. so I did, I remember saying “God forgive me for my sins, and whatever you have for me I want it all”.
Well at first nothing happened I expected, lightening or something. Gary said, “Just go home and praise God” I said, “What’s that, mean” Gary said, “Just thank him” So I did just that.
The remaining is sacred to me, before I asked Jesus into my heart, I never heard voices, I never drank, and I never did drugs, but one week after meeting Jesus while in the middle of my last class (during high school) A voice, just as clear, as someone standing next too you, spoke, and as the voice spoke it said to me, “rod tell them about Jesus” I was surprised, but unafraid, I put my hand over my mouth, since I didn’t want anyone too think I was talking too myself, I said (to whoever spoke too me) “I don’t know what to say” the voice said “don’t be afraid, I’ll give you the words to say” To this day I don’t remember my words, but I spoke too those kids about Jesus and salvation, their mouths just dropped open and then, class was over, I walked out of that room, feeling like I had never felt before.
The next day was Saturday; I slept in the living room on an old couch. When I woke it was early and I decided too turn on the TV, to watch my favorite cartoon, the roadrunner.
As I sat there watching the TV, I got up and looked outside, everything was so beautiful, (I never appreciated nature, I just wanted too make it thru another day). BUT now it was so pretty, I sat back down on the couch, and as I did I was somewhere else.
I was sitting at a long rough hewn table, to my right was God, the father, I couldn’t see him, to my left was Satan, him I could see (he looked like a man only very big) then in front of me was Jesus, three bowls appear, filled with what looked like porridge. Now the father spoke and said Satan dismiss yourself, Satan stood and screamed, then vanished. Three bites were taken out of the bowl. Then all at once I was watching myself from a distance, walking with Jesus up a grassy pathway. Jesus was speaking to me but from a distance I couldn’t hear him, I could see myself shaking my head (like I understand) then thru my eyes I saw the house where I had been sleeping.
I didn’t know what had happened; I’d never experienced anything like that, but I knew two things, I had too find a pastor to talk too, and I KNEW GOD loved me and wanted something from me…my total surrender, my life totally under his control, every second, moment by moment, and I was consumed with this one desire, to live too PLEASE HIM. Let me give you an example: When a friend from school would come over and say, “Hey rod.” “Let’s go to a show” I’d say, “hold on.” Then Id go in the bathroom and pray, “Lord should I go?” Sometimes the Lord would say “go”, sometimes “no” At times He was silent, when this happened I would look inside, to my heart, (Spirit), (see Colossians 3:15) if I had peace I would go, If not, Id stay home.
As I practiced this new desire, (surrender), I noticed the voice of the Lord became more frequent and clearer, (John 10:27). It always had to agree with scripture. The word of the Lord will always agree with the true meaning and / or the true interpretation of scripture).
I new I needed to get a bible, I went to a bookstore and I got the largest family bible Id ever seen, with pictures and everything. I was so happy. That night the voice of the lord said, “Read Matthew 5.” I had to look in the contents; I didn’t know where Matthew was. When I found it and started too read, the words became a (“Word of the Lord to me”) they just jumped off the page, they seemed to come alive, and they filled me, with hope, love and peace. Now I knew God loved me, and my sins were gone, I was forgiven…
As time passed I grew, sometimes Id walk into a busy office or building (like a D.O.L) and the Lord would say go sit by that guy, I would strike up a conversation, then say “you don’t know me but I’m a Christian and God is going too share with me about your life” I don’t mean simple things like “you have the flu” or “Headaches”, but deep, personal things that others couldn’t know or even guess. People would usually start to cry and ask “how did you know?” I’d say “I didn’t but God knew”.
One of the best lessons from the Lord concerning trusting Him happened like this; I was traveling from Philly to Atlantic city, I got on the road, and started to hitch a ride, (it wasn’t illegal at that time) within one hour and twenty minuets I was in Atlantic city (which was a one hour drive!) I got 4 different rides, as I stepped into each vehicle I boldly proclaimed “Hi I’m a child of the King, and God’s going to bless you for picking me up!” God gave me very personal details about each of those people and all but one came to Christ.
When I got to Atlantic City, God said “Rod, when you get to the prayer meeting tonight I want you to give all your money, to Johnnie Diaz”. I said “Lord that’s all I’ve got?” (About 300.00) God replied; “you take care of your brothers and sisters in the Lord and I’ll take care of you.” So upon arriving in Atlantic City, I secretly gave all my money to Johnnie, (this was to cover something for Johnnie that was very personal, so I know he didn’t share this with anyone).
That night I asked myself “how am I going to get back to work, tomorrow? I didn’t have a penny, not even enough for bus fare, and in my spirit I knew I wasn’t to hitch hike, but instead the Lord wanted me on the bus. After sleeping that night and leaving the brothers house the next day, (where the meeting had been held), I started walking to the bus station. As I got closer and closer, I was imagining, “is the drivers going to just “know” he’s suppose to let me ride for free?” But as I approached the depot, a brother named “Chicky” came out of his house and said “rod I think the Lord wants me to give this to you.” It was exactly what I needed for bus fare!
This has been a short summary of my life, oh one more thing. Life didn’t continue this way for me, I ruined that. Should I confess the most difficult thing in my life with you? After all we are strangers! After living this way for sometime and seeing my life change, and having peace beyond comprehension, I disobeyed the lord after he spoke too me. I lived to obey him, it was my passion…I knew a man, he was a believer, and his name was Bob Chorney. Bob was like the father I never had. Bob is dead now, I loved him very much, and we forgave one another.
One day I went to visit Bob, we talked and prayed for a while then Bob said, “rod”, “Paula is gone (Bob’s wife). “Why don’t you go to dinner with me”? Immediately the Lord spoke and said “rod don’t go” I said Bobby I can’t go. He said “oh rod go with me “. I said Bob I can’t. I prayed back too the lord, in my mind saying “Lord it will be alright, you know I don’t drink, I’ll just eat something with Bob” The Lord didn’t reply. So we went. All was well until a brother named Aggie Rodriguez, started to argue with Bob, I couldn’t watch, so I started to leave, as I went outside Bob said “Rod if your going to walk you might as well walk all the way back too Washington, and don’t come back” OH the pain. Well the next morning, Bob and Paula showed up, Bob said “rod forgive me I’m so sorry”, the Lord spoke instantly and said “rod forgive him, go too him tell him it’s ok and that you love him”. I said “Lord I can’t. I won’t, it hurts too bad”.
Soon I left for Washington. My life, outside of God’s will, was torture. No peace, no answers, sin in total control. Now years later, I painfully confess that I don’t live the surrendered life now.
Jean Nicholas Grou says, “God delights in two things, for a man too know God and too know himself.” I now know what I’m capable of without him, living life for myself, Sinning, being rebellious. I want to recommend a couple books that I discovered a few years ago, the book is “Practicing the presence” BY Lawrence and Labach, there are two versions this one is best and includes Labach’s testimony. “Hinds feet on High places” and “The breaking of the outer man for the release of the spirit” By Watchman Nee are very good also.
Now let me share some thoughts/opinions:
1).How do you describe this LIFE? As a Christian it’s hard to do. As I recall moments in my own life, I think of times of stillness, in the midst of activity or in the quiet of night. The presence of His Spirit was there, sometimes speaking other times He was silent, yet the undeniable presence of His Spirit was so real. You couldn’t describe it too anyone else, sometimes he was so near, almost physical, at other times He was, just felt, deep in your heart.
I could at times think, and He would answer. Sometimes the answer was spoken, and at other times it was a still small voice in my heart.
Sometimes I would see a person, and while looking at them, I knew about them.
I recall the passion to tell others about him at any given moment, looking for such an occasion never caring where I was, or who was near by.
Constantly His Love moved over me in waves and yet it abode, never departing. I would wake up in the middle of the night and He was there, like a mother hen.
I remember the love for others that was not my own. I remember feeling, and being, separate from the world yet still in its midst.
I recall not worrying about the kind of car I drove, or the condition of my clothes, knowing that He was fully aware of all these things.
I recall being invited out for dinner with brothers, and thinking (silently between myself and God), “Lord I don’t have any money, but I’m hungry” and then someone would say “hey rod I’ll buy ok?” Do you have days like this?
Do you remember days like this from your past? I believe this is something no one can take from us. This is why WE MUST EXPERIENCE GOD! Experiencing God is more important than the scriptures! You see if you experience HIM then, Bible revelation can be added to you. But if you don’t experience HIM first then Bible knowledge is just a compilation of facts, they are true, but they don’t have any place of reference, without HIM.
2).Most of my life, at least as far back as I can remember I’ve had a desire and love for God/Jesus. As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen many things in “Christendom”, I’ve seen communes (come and go in failure). I’ve seen myself and other brothers walk in their own ways (you might call it backsliding), I’ve been hurt by supposed brothers in Christ, I’ve seen TV preachers act cocky, and ridiculous, I’ve seen people chase tithes and money, I’ve seen people in big churches (faithful tithers) go without help while in need, I’ve seen people chase their own kingdom and building programs. I’ve seen people pretend to prophecy, knowing they were not HEARING from HIM, (and in failure, excuse themselves by saying they were practicing), I’ve seen names in lights (but not Jesus name). I’ve seen people destroyed by the sheparding movement. I’ve seen men of god after devoting their lives to “the ministry” destroyed after a single mistake, instead of forgiven. On and on I could go… So does any of the above remind you of the book of acts or the first group of believers?
This is why I believe we must have and will have change. God is not interested in a “body” with spot or wrinkle. As I searched different churches, communities, and internet sites, I’ve come across a hand full of people that have the essence/smell of life and others who are just religious (relating to God only in their learning and mind), yet I yearn for true brethren and their fellowship, realizing that only God can cause these people to be gathered together and revealed to one another, and have them be in accord with one mind. Jesus may give the gift of eternal life to some, that’s His prerogative, but to say all people have the same “experience/fellowship/love relationship” with Jesus or each other is not correct. We see the difference in people (John, Peter, Paul) and we see the same differences thru-out time, we see times of revival (1900’s, 1940’s, 1970’s) and in each of these times we see tare and wheat together. We see a time of purity and passion then a colder period, where men’s hearts seem to grow cold, and God becomes a forgotten memory.
In contrast we never see this in churches, they are always attended by praying people, people arguing scriptures and doctrine, yet hardly ever displaying life as we see in the same revival periods. Yes I believe mercy, calls for a move of God again.
3).One more reason, I believe we need change is because the gospel needs to be preached. We believe the gospel has been preached, from the generosity of America, but I think this is only true in very narrow windows of time (revival 1900’s, 1940’s, 1970’s etc) and only by certain persons (who knew HIM). Then of course there is the occasional believer who is submitted to the (breathings) of the Spirit, this believer shares out of the reservoir of undeniable life (the fellowship between this believer and the Spirit). This bears fruit since it’s not just a message of words but is accompanied by this fellowship and life. The preaching of the gospel by religious folks just doesn’t work! How could it, they are not ambassadors of the very Spirit, since they refuse to give up their life thru that act of ultimate (life giving) which is the “surrender of self”. The first century church in the New Testament turned the word upside down in a short time NOT because of their words alone but because of the LIFE residing IN them. This was a spirit thing…NOT a mental thing, it wasn’t an agreement with certain doctrines or creeds, it wasn’t from arguing the scriptures, it wasn’t from forming a new church or denomination, they had and were living LIFE like Jesus 24/7 every moment of each day, a life of submission, pleasing the father, a life defined by others as “seeing they had been with Jesus”. Being in his presence and service, is the key, Paul called this being a love slave, a life like Paul’s multiplied thousands of times over will “again” cause the world to SEE and HEAR the TRUE gospel.
4). In the 1860’s 1900’s 1940’s 1960’s we saw the beginning of several moves of God upon people who were desperate to know HIM. They found the one they were seeking for.
Then shortly after in each time period, (even in the new testament) we see charlatans, hirelings move in among the sheep of God, these men who really don’t know the master teach doctrines not from revelation via an intimate relationship. But from the minds of others who were also like themselves, who teach only from the tree of knowledge: From the mind of one man to the mind of another, thereby polluting the little sheep and convincing others, because the so-called doctrines of men are believed by the masses also.
This is such a subtle thing that it can inhibit your walk, because you’re not discipled but instead taught by men who have never had an intimate walk with God. So as believers we must know Him and find revelation that agrees with the scriptures, and or that changes our understanding of the scriptures.
5). I often wonder how these spiritual things work…It’s hard to find answers sometimes since we are mortal. And often IF you are like me, its hard to keep on believing that God can find a good reason to go on loving me…
But as I look back…I see of course some differences, the late 60’s thru the mid 70’s were a move of god, especially for the young…We always see (under an anointing) god doing unusual graceful things in the lives of people…Then it tapers off…Probably so as not too be common and taken for granted by us.
So where does an experience in God begin? I have to believe (and remember I’m limited by my mortality and limited knowledge so I could be wrong), it starts with God putting a hunger in your heart….Now if that hunger exists, and it sounds as though it does, for you sound like a seeker…then
I would approach God in a simple fashion, (for me it was doing the only thing I knew to do, I went to the Library to research books about religion and god). then shortly after I prayed with Gary (see testimony) I just knew in my heart that god wanted my whole life, every thought belonged to him, SO I just started with my thoughts, if I had a thought that came into my mind and it said “give that person a bible” or “tell that person that you are a Christian and that you will be praying for them” then I would obey….
One day I told a Christian brother about this (thought stuff) and how I judged my thoughts by the little knowledge I had of the bible, and if my thoughts were agreeable (good things vs. evil) then I would obey… This brother told me too keep on obeying those thoughts as long as they agreed with scripture, and as I did then the thoughts would go from just thoughts, too the voice of the Lord, (my sheep know my voice) (sheep follow-they are surrendered to their master), well just as this brother said, it did indeed happen that way for me…So seek HIM and if you can do today, what I can’t seem to do (surrender with all your heart)…I’m sure you will meet HIM, maybe in a different experience, but never the less I’m sure His goal will be the same…To possess your whole heart.
6). A Christian historian tells a true story about a peasant in the 1600’s living under the rule of the catholic church. The peasant is working the field an a cardinal and his procession go by, as they approach the cardinal speaks to the peasant, about a new edict from Rome. The cardinal quotes a verse of scripture, the peasant replies that the cardinal quoted the verse incorrectly. The cardinal says to the peasant “How would you know, being you are unlearned and illiterate ?” The peasant replies: “because the spirit IN ME said you quoted it wrong”!
How true this is, if we only have the book and don’t hear that still small voice on the inside, from the throne of our heart the center of HIS kingdom! Then I fear we miss the most important piece of intimacy, yet HIS Word and HIS scriptures work together, one a current guide for us THE NOW and the other, which can still speak but was spoken to another hundreds of years ago, serves as a foundation. But We live by breath, and the words that proceed from the mouth of God, “My sheep know my voice” “for those who are sons of God are led of the spirit of God”.