My Wake Up Call came on Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 at exactly 9:45 AM.
I believed I was at the end of my life. I am 60 years of age. My will to live had deserted me. I was not suicidal as I had been years ago in my 30’s but I prayed every day for God to just kill me. I figured if He did it…it was ok and maybe I would have a small chance of not going to hell. I began to think I had lost my salvation, if I had it to begin with, because I could not think of any good deed done that would offset the effect of those deeds done under Satan’s influence over my lifetime. Don’t get me wrong. There were plenty of good things I had done as a Father, Husband and person over the years. However, they did not cancel out the cumulative effect of what I caused under his influence. I know it was under his influence because it just can’t be explained any other way.
I had been, I believed, under the influence of a demonic presence since the age of 8 years old. My destructive thought patterns took root at an early age and became a stronghold and part of my life as inseparable as breathing. Now I understand how this sort of thing could very well have been handed down generationally to me as those kinds of spiritual laws work. But the reality of my current situation led me to believe that God had abandoned me and rightfully so because I figured He had just run out of forgiveness that He had dished out generously all my life. After all, how could God continue to forgive me when I just keep spitting in His face and the face of Jesus. The forgiveness cup just ran empty I thought and so now there was no hope because God had finally turned around and left me alone in my one bedroom apartment separated from my family and abandoned by almost all. This is where the enemy had led me. This is what I truly believed. I had absolutely no hope or honor nor will to live.
I wanted to die but I kept waking up. Every day I would wake up. I was a walking dead man successful in my daily job but dead to self and to humankind and God or so I thought. And then after over a year of praying for Him to forgive me and to kill me, He finally did. Obviously He didn’t kill me but He sent me the wake-up call. It was an unmistakable call to action as if it came from an Army general in my room. He had already forgiven me as is His nature but I wasn’t hearing it because the enemy made me deaf to Him and had me believing God no longer loved me and nor did anyone else for that matter.
On Sunday, September 2, 2012 at exactly 9:45 AM I heard this command: ”Shut up and Get your butt up! Get in the shower and get over there right now. It doesn’t matter if you are late.” That is an approximate quote and very close to what I heard. He, our God and Father who never abandons anyone, ever, was telling me to go to church and it was obvious that I dare not miss it.
You see a couple of weeks earlier I had received in the mail one of those annoying invitations to come to a new church opening. As if! I threw it on the counter but did remember that it felt kind of special and that maybe I should pay attention. Nah!!! What’s the point? I was supposed to attend. I didn’t.
So I had missed the first two Sundays of this church gathering and obviously I was not supposed to miss the third one. Now understand that I had not attended church for over ten or 12 years and church attendance for the ten years prior to that was sporadic at best. I knew I was supposed to go.
I got there at 10:30 AM just as the pastor was beginning his message. He said, “Everyone please open your bible to Romans 8 for the third part of our series. I don’t remember what the Pastor said that day but what I heard very clearly and just as loud as the General before but with a loving tone was:
“I love you unconditionally and I forgive you.”
I heard exactly what I needed to hear and that night was the first day in over a year that I didn’t pray for Him to kill me. I wept and thanked Him for his mercy because I knew He still loved me and forgave even me. His forgiveness cup had not run out after all.
A week went by without any prayers for personal termination and I began to believe there was hope. BUT…there was no way I was going to go to that church again. No way! In fact, just to be sure I missed it I made sure that I drank lots of beer Saturday night and stayed up till 4:30 in the morning. When I finally crashed I felt certain I would just sleep through Sunday and recover for a good work week. Wrong!! At 9:15 exactly Sunday morning I popped out of bed like I had been drinking Coca Cola all night instead of Dos Equis XX. I heard that General again. He said, “Get up! Get in the shower and get there on time!” I got up immediately and was there right at 10AM to participate in the worship and music. Then I heard the pastor’s message and words of the Holy Spirit and that demons exist and influence our lives and we didn’t have to let them tell us what to do. I was hooked and new I had to be part of this because it was the God pill I was looking for to cure my lifetime addiction. I learned that day there was a weekly meeting of people who supported each other to become better and it was called Celebrate Recovery.
On Monday I emailed the pastor who led that group and here is part of my email to him:
“J___, I believe I am being directed to join your group. I have been to the service in D_____ the last two Sundays. I am on the website now reading about Celebrate Recovery and would like to inquire to see if I could participate. I can be reached by cell at ___-___-____ or by email. I think I need exactly what you are offering here. It has been 12 years or so since I have been to a church but I clearly heard Him telling me to go the last two times. I have the heart to help others but in my current state of mind and spirit do not think I am much good. Let me know what is the next step. I live in D_____ and my office is about a block from the church on ____ ____ Road. Thank you for your time.
His partial response:
Based on your statement, “I have the heart to help others but in my current state of mind and spirit do not think I am much good.” Qualifies you as one of our group. Each of us has a story centered around a “hurt, habit or hang-up” which we are working out in the CR ministry. The enemy had a stronghold on my life for over __years with drugs and alcohol, but through our program Christ has provided me a daily reprieve. I do not know what the issue is which is bringing you to this place but we have folks in our group seeing victory over many issues.
I can be reached by cell after 3pm any day this week. See you there Thursday night.
What I experienced at the Celebrate Recovery ministry that night literally brought me to tears. I had never in my life had the experience to share with other men the challenges I was experiencing in life. I was shocked and relieved at the same time that there were others like me who had been led down a wrong path by a common enemy into strongholds of behavior and addictions that needed to be healed.
There is much I can’t say here what happened that night but I can say that I was ministered to by the Holy Spirit to break the back of a demonic belief system which was destroying my life. It was enough to stop the bleeding so to speak and more and more healing is coming every week as I attend these meetings.
If anyone reading this message needs a safe place to go to work out some issues where God is waiting for you with open arms I would suggest finding a CR ministry in your area and attend. Maybe my message is YOUR wake-up call and hopefully you won’t need the General to bark the loving but stern command to you. Maybe being here is His whisper in your eyes and ears to seek Him there with other brothers or sisters where you can find a life changing path in a safe place.
I will close this message with the words I received from Him after attending my first CR meeting:
A TORCH SET ABLAZE 9-14-12
What does it mean to be free
To let be who you are
What I made you
What is it like to be able to see
Not the shadows that followed you
But the space within
Created for Me
You hold the light
Now without your plight
The darkness flees
At the wave of the torch
A torch set ablaze
The fire of God
Is as My rod
Illuminating all the world
No more trouble seeing now
The road to take not swirled
It’s a different day today ladies and gentlemen……a completely different day.