Maybe my story can answer this:
I was raised A "HARDCORE" Catholic for the first 18 years of my life. But I grew very tired of the same old routine, every Sunday. It wasn't until, a member of my church choir gave me a book called "666", by Salem Kirban, that my life would change forever! In the back of that book was the Salvation Invitation. After reading the book, (& being totally freaked-out by it!), I signed my name after the prayer, & became a Believer. That was 1973!
All through college, I was actively involved in both Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, & Campus Crusade for Christ. I really made some very close friends during those years!
It wasn't until after I had graduated from college, (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Class of December '79), that things really went "south" for me!
After my one & only job in my major, (Bachelor of Fine Arts-Technical Theatre), bombed, I started working at another place. I met a girl there, who when I told her that I was still a virgin-well, that was all she needed! She lead me around like the proverbial "bull-with-a-ring-through-it's-nose". (Remember, I had been a HARDCORE Catholic for my first 18 years, & was taught those 18 years-that if I even LOOKED at a woman, I was going to Hell, & then I was a Believer for over, at that time, 4 years-so still no sex). She kept promising me sex, but as I was to discover, she never had any intention of fufilling that "promise". When she dumped me, to say I was devastated, would be an understatement!
Looking back on all this, I think the reason I fell away from my Lord for so long, was because, I didn't have the close Christian fellowship, that I had had at college!
I fell away from the Lord hard after that! Over 20+years, to be exact!
I was extremely racist, I had a hatred for woman, that was, (to say the least), unflattering, I had a mouth that would make most g*****a' rappers cringe, & most of all-I had a hatred for God, that lead to my practically cursing Him 24/7! Not a pretty picture, is it?
Oh yes-I also tried to k*********f over 2 dozen time, as well! Everything from Pills, to knives, to carbon Monoxide, even to dousing myself with gasoline & being within millimeters of striking the match!
My job situation wasn't any better! I went from one job to the next, never setting down roots anywhere for very long!
Well, I had a job, (this was after I moved to Madison), that I thought was ideal! Everybody was very happy with the work that I was doing, & I felt, for the first time in my life-satisfied with my life. Well, I was unjustly accused of something at this job, & that was the straw that broke the proverbial "camels" back! I ended up swallowing 30 sleeping pills, & ended up in the emergency room of one of the hospitals here! And what did I get out of it-a $1400 hospital bill, that it took FOREVER to pay off!
Looking back on this, I DO realize that it was indeed the Lord, telling me to get my rear-end over to the hospital, although I didn't realize it at the time.
Well, after a long string of temp jobs, I was ready to try suicide again, & this time, I was determined to get it right! I had hit rock bottom. No money, no job, nothing! In my apartment building, I had discovered the internet, because they have a small computer lab here. I now know that it WAS indeed the Lords leading here as well, when I came across a Christian website called Theology Online. Eventually, after trying to disprove Christianity, unsuccessfully I might add, I finally mustered enough courage to ask the people there to pray for me, which they did, because I was really depressed! As I said earlier, it was the Lord that lead me to TOL as well! What surprised me was I even interested in a Christian website, when I hated God so much! Well, HE didn't hate me!
Finally, I was ready to get the whole suicide thing right one & for all! I told the Lord that I would give Him one more chance to help me, if He even cared!
Well, the Lord again, (Although again, I didn't realize it at the time-sound familiar?), lead me to look in the Yellow pages for a church that had, of all things, a Satuday night service, which I thought was little bit strange. That church was Evangel Life Center-the same church that I am still attending, almost 3 years later! I went there, & sat in the back of the sanctuary. I wasn't there more than 10-15 minutes, when 3 wonderful women came over to talk to me. I told them why I was there, & what I was planning to do. They both prayed for & with me, & like the proverbial "prodigal son, THIS prodigal son finally came back to the the Family of God! That date was 1/11/03-a date that I will never forget!
Since that time I have had both ups & downs, like we all have. The "ups" side was fantastic! I had gained an absolutely fearlessness in witnessing-eventually, which lead to my witnessing not just to one person, but to groups of people, both at work & at my apartment building as well! What was really cool, was that I just knew exactly what to say! I KNOW that that was the Lord working through me, because I was so totally surrendered to the Lord, it was the greatest experience in my life, that 2 of the people that I had a chance to witness to actually received the Lord as Lord & Savior ON THE SAME DAY! *WOW*
But I also have had some major "down" times as well! I did backslide for 6-7 months, I turned my back on God's calling to become a minister,were the top ones!
Yet even through that, I will NOT fall away from my Lord again! I have no intention of living that kind of life!
That's what it's all about, my beloved Brothers & Sister in Christ-humbling ourselves to an Almighty God-admitting to Him that we cannot do ANYTHING without His help! I'm have as much as possible faith that the Lord WILL provide for my needs, as He has done so in the past! He HAS never let me down, even when I WAS unfaithful to Him!
It is my one & only desire, (outside of my wanting to be more like my Savior), to be, above all-an encouragement to everyone here! The Bible says, "Delight thyself in the Lord, & He will give thee the desires of thy heart". (Psalm 37:4) That is my one & only desire-to serve Him & be an encouragement to all of you!
Answered By: Buzz1954 - 4/14/2008