Ken Mansfield shares his story about his former career in the recording industry, how it was living in the "fast lane" of fame and fortune, losing everything, and coming to know Jesus.
Author, Speaker, and Minister
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (Psalm 34:8)
1. Brief overview of career highlights.
My former career was in the recording industry. I started as an entertainer during the folk era. Typically, like many of us, I was in a fraternity in college, and we had a folk group. The whole Kingston Trio, The Limeliters--Peter, Paul, and Mary era was happening at that time, and we played for beer and pizza. Pretty soon, we played in some local clubs, and then clubs in the Los Angeles area started bringing us in. Eventually, we were discovered by some Beverly Hills managers. They signed us to Fred Astaire's record company. During this time, I knew that I didn't have the individual talent to go all the way, even though I was the leader of the group, but I was smart enough to use my Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and knew I would need to use that in the long run. During this time, I met a fellow from Capitol Records who used to come to the clubs to look for bands for Capitol, and he asked me if I ever thought of working in a record company. I was thrilled with the idea, so he sponsored me at Capitol Records, and I ended up getting a job there. And that was the springboard for me of how I started working with the Beatles and became friends with them. We just hit it off! I was in my 20's, they were in their 20's, and I was a young hotshot. I was in California with a suntan, Cadillac Convertible, and house up in the hills with a pool, and that was everything they had read about growing up with this "magic view" of Hollywood. In a way, they were as intrigued with me as I was with them. So it was a very natural thing for us, and we all thought we were a bunch of hotshots anyway. That was how those relationships started, which led me to expand my career in the entertainment business.
2. How was it living in the "fast lane" of fame and fortune?
At the time, I thought it was great! We were young and invincible. This was the whole era of free spirits in which you could do what you wanted to do if it felt good--you had the money and all the fame and the perks that went with it. It was an exciting time in the industry and America as a whole because the Beatles in particular were the band that more or less, delivered people from the horrible things that were going on at that time with the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Kennedy and King. Something about the Beatles was so innocent and fresh that we could do anything we wanted, and because we were young, we didn't realize that there might be a downside to all of this. It was uncomplicated because we just thought about ourselves and had a good time. We made a lot of money and did a lot of fun things.
3. During this time, did you seek different ways to obtain peace?
Those were the primary options that we went to. The main thing was the indulgence and decadence of it all. This was when the drugs came on the scene in the '60s and '70s. We all believed the big lie that marijuana wasn't habit-forming and cocaine didn't hurt you, and by taking the psychedelics, you got closer to God. It was one big lie, and we thought there was no downside to it. It was the free love era. It was the feel-good era, and as far as the world was concerned, there was nothing wrong with that, so it wasn't even like you were terrible. You were doing what was happening at the time--You were being very hip and having a good time, and of course, when you're young like that, you didn't think that anything could ever go wrong. Later on, we started to see that some of our buddies were getting hung up on this stuff, and their lives were falling apart. They were dying and getting messed up, and then there came a dark side in time. The devil is such a deceiver, but he's smart. One of his main tools is being gradual. He's patient. He doesn't need to take you down in two minutes--he'll take 20 years to take you down if that's the way to do it, and so--everything is happening so slowly that you don't quite realize what's happening until all of a sudden one day, it's too late. When I first got into the business and started to be successful, I began to see how crazy some successful people were and thought--"I'm never going to do that," and then ten years later, I realized I'm like they are or were. I didn't see it happening.
4. Who led you to Christ?
First of all, the one thing is that the devil never knows when to stop, and he destroyed my life so much that I reached such a bottom that I had to find something else, and I started searching. What God did was He put a young lady into my life, who brought me the truth, and she eventually brought me to the Lord, and we got married. God sent her to me at my very bottom when I needed something so desperately, and I no longer had any answers. When I met her, I had a guru. I was a stoner. I was broke. I had a bad reputation, and I was still trying to overcome this in the world's ways. I thought it was all up to me to do it--never realizing that there was someone who could save me and cast all my burdens on, so I could be redeemed and start fresh and anew. Without my wife coming into my life, I probably would be under the ground with a bunch of my buddies.
5. How has your life changed since then?
It has changed entirely. It's almost like you wanted to remodel your house, but then you found out that the house was in such bad shape that you had to tear it down to the ground and start all over again with a new house. It will be better than the old one because it's brand new and fresh. I was so broken and broke that God just really let me start all over afresh. And I believed His promises right away--He gave me some great gifts in the beginning, and I still had my talents. I had just been misusing them all those years, so when He redeemed me and made me brand new, He then had a vessel that He could use for His purpose. The idea of me becoming an ordained minister and having this unique, powerful outreach ministry is something I could've never dreamed of. Talk about being undeserving and unworthy. It is just like getting Peter, a fisherman, to become a disciple. He pulled me out of the common ground and set me in some pretty nice places.
6. What do you do for the Lord today?
We're in full-time ministry. We travel around to churches doing outreach events and what makes it so interesting is that God has taken all those years in the industry with the Beatles and has used that for His purpose. To this day, the Beatles are still such a phenomenon that people that normally wouldn't visit a church will come because they are fascinated with the guy that used to be with the Beatles and was on the roof with them the last time they played together and was in their homes, in their cars, in their offices, and hanging with them. They are fascinated with that, so they'll come to my outreach events, really in some cases, to hear or meet the guy that was with the Beatles. We do a question and answer period at the end, so they may have some questions they want to ask, and they'll hang through my whole testimony and presentation for the sake of asking about Yoko Ono or something. We are averaging about 40% of visitors to these outreach events at the churches. So this is pretty amazing--if you have a church that seats 1,000 people when 400 of those are visitors from the community, this is a great harvest possibility for the pastors and their local ministries to take off. People, that come in say, "Maybe these people are not so bad after all?" "This touched me." We do the question-answer period to meet the pastor on an informal basis and feel comfortable with him. Many of them come back and end up as members of the church. The event is unique, designed for the visitors to make them feel comfortable, and the Word is not watered-down. It's just surrounded with a bunch of other exciting things, so it's meant to be entertaining and enjoyable to the congregation, but also to reach out to the people who are coming in. What we typically do is we will have the worship team start the event with a few Beatles songs with changed lyrics because, you take a lot of these Beatles songs and change two words. You have a gospel song: Help, Got To Get You Into My Life, The Word, All You Need Is Love. These songs are so easy that the worship team will open up with these songs, and it just relaxes the visitors right away because they know the songs, but now they are hearing them with Christian lyrics. Then we showed a film about the Beatles and myself that was filmed in Europe. It's exclusive to where I appear, so it's been shown all over Europe, but you can only see it in America, where I speak. Then after the film, I give my pretty interesting testimony, and then at the end of my testimony, the host pastor comes up, and we do a question and answer period. When he feels we have gone long enough, he'll excuse me for getting ready to sign books, and he's able to close off the event and take it into his hands. This allows him to determine when the event has accomplished the purpose he is looking to do by bringing me in. It's a very well-crafted event, and when they give altar calls, we have an incredible response. And that's what I tell people during my testimony--that I think that was the whole idea from the start. I thought it was because I was a young hotshot, and that's why I was with the Beatles, but I think He has had this thing planned out a long time ago.
Corey Burns, thought he knew God even though, he was very far from Him. In college, he was caught up with the atheist crowd, learned a bunch of spirit science, “alien” secrets, masonic knowledge, drank, smoked, chased women and lived what he thought was a “good” life. Then, one day Corey learned from a terrorizing experience, that all he thought he knew was a lie.
"I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth--Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies." (Psalm 40: 1-4)
Before I really knew Christ, I thought we had a special thing going on. Yes, I know I got caught up with that atheist crowd when I was in college, learned a bunch of spirit science, “alien” secrets, masonic knowledge, drank, smoked, chased women and frankly lived what I thought was a “good” life. In my mind, God would never judge me, or see me as unrighteous—after all, I didn’t kill anyone, and I took things day-by-day helping and loving people where I could. We’re friends, God and I. Yes, I believed that I loved my neighbors even though sometimes—I’ll get blisteringly angry with them and maybe—even hold a grudge or two for a few years, or ten. Yet, in my heart, the Creator God, the true one, the one who actually made everything, we had a good thing going on. How straight up deceived of the devil I was! Oh, and definitely don’t talk to me about Jesus, you can ask my mother about that. I give thanks to God for passionate born-again—blood-washed—redeemed-seekers because, I wouldn’t be giving this testimony if it wasn’t for all of their prayers.
My mother was praying for me for over a year, and I believed she had slipped off the deep end. I would listen about Jesus for a bit, but this was hardcore! She would continue to send e-mails and call me on the phone, but her messages began to get me thinking about this whole hell and Jesus business. One day, my mom and I had a war-of-words, and we didn’t speak to each other for several weeks which, really didn’t sit well with me since she is my mother. During that time, I was laying on the floor of my apartment—arms stretched out—thinking about my mother, and I’m not exactly sure what internal conversation was going on at that moment, but I said in my heart, “If she wants to talk about Jesus well—that is what we’ll talk about because—she is my mom, I love her, and I want more than anything else to talk with her while we can”.
I grew up in a family that was not well-to-do, and we suffered a lot. I didn't really have a background in faith or religion. I knew that this Jesus guy existed, I knew you should go to church, read the Bible, and try to be right with the Lord, but I choose to live my life the way I wanted to live and do the things that made me feel good. I had a lot of issues, but I was able to overcome them by developing a craft of photography which is something, that I love very much and make a good living out of it.
One night, after a very long day—I felt like getting some pot to relax. I went to the first weed shop and they didn't have what I was looking for—I went to the second weed shop and they were closed—then, I went to the third weed shop and for some reason, I wanted to get out of there as quick as possible! There was just something inside of me that said..."Get out of here! You don't need to be here!", but as stubborn in my way as I am—I filled out the paperwork even though signing it felt dirty. After buying my joint, I went home feeling some sense of victory.
Once home, I put on some YouTube videos and sat down to meditate as I would usually do while smoking my joint. All of a sudden in a blink of an eye, I had a vision and immediately I knew where I was—I knew this place was not a good place, I knew that I had somehow messed up badly. I always thought I was a good person and showed a lot of mercy to people especially to those I knew and cared about. I started begging for my life—begging; begging; begging like I have never begged before. Demons answered my begging with the most maniacal talking. They were saying...“Yeah, Corey you were a good man, yeah you were there, yeah you did call your grandma, yeah hum; hum." It was a gang of 3 or 4 of them, and they were each trading off in being extremely cynical. As I continued to plead—I mentally went through my life history, and I told myself…“but I loved people” and then, came a phrase that brought on so much terror—a deep in your bone type of terror as it came to mind, that I enjoyed the atheist crowd, learning about spirit science and “alien” secrets, Masonic knowledge, drinking, smoking pot, chasing women, and turning my back on people because I thought that I was better than them. As I looked back upon my life, there was a lot of shame! I can’t even describe into words when you go through your life and you actually see the moments, the times, places, spaces that you inhabited where you just didn’t have any kindness for people. Eternity is a timeless situation, and it felt like I went through a million things—a million arguments and all of them were maniacally shut down. It was to my understanding that I would be in my own terrorizing box of hell forever. I messed up and I understood when the punishments began, these creatures were going to cause indescribable pain upon me, and that’s what I was begging for them not to do. There’s a tremendous knowing in hell. I knew they were going to get me and it was going to be a party for them. They began to say “This is going to be so fun, it’s going to be beautiful; beautiful”. I knew they were talking about my suffering. I felt so sorry that I grieved God and that I didn’t have a relationship with Him. I used to make fun of Jesus. Yes, faith & religion were at the bottom of my list. I would go to church, so I could take pictures as a photographer and make some money, but I didn’t go to give glory to the King and Creator of everything. Very shamefully, I didn’t give any thought to this until now when it seemed like it was too late. I wanted to do what I wanted to do—I wanted to do what I wanted to feel. In this terrifying place—I came to know this all very well. While I was begging, I even noticed that there are no tears to cry because there’s no water in hell. I felt I was completely drained and there was absolutely no hope. I ran out of every excuse and argument that I made and finally in a child whimpering voice I said…“Doesn’t God love me?" Then, this voice rose up and I believed it to be the voice of Satan himself because it was bellowing and encompassed my entire being! Satan's voice resonated and said…“I am your god now and you will worship me!” It was such a sickening voice that it made me nauseous and then, something welled up in me with a serious boldness and I said…“You’re not God, You’re not Father God, Father God is Father God & Jesus Christ is the Savior who died on the cross and shed His blood & the Holy Spirit has defended me on no less than 3 occasions!” Then, all of a sudden, I was out of that place! I would have never known to say any of these things, so this surprised me. I immediately went to the front door of my apartment and sat down outside to pray to God “Father please forgive me! I have sinned and I want to give you and your son Jesus all the glory—I give my life to you!"
I know that I was shown my own little box in hell and if I really died—I would have spent eternity there without any chance of getting out because I didn't know Christ as my Savior. I don’t want to be in that horrible place ever again and I don't want you to find yourself there either. The rules in the Bible are there and very clear. You need to be of sober mind because you never know when the time will come that your life is over. You can’t be going around and doing anything you want to do and think that there won't be any consequences. Because of what I have experienced, I feel that I have a responsibility to warn others and share about Jesus—I want to do everything I can to give glory to Jesus Christ. I got washed in His blood and got baptized. I went to church not too long ago before this terrifying experience, and they offered me the body (bread) for communion and the wine for His blood and I turned away in a prideful way. There are many things that I’m not proud of in my life, but I want to share this testimony with you and encourage you to be on the straight and narrow. Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are working for you all the time. How would you feel if you’re working for someone day in and day out and you have no respect for them? I would feel pretty bad if I’m working for someone all day and everyday and I got no respect. My life has been saved on 3 separate occasions, and I never told Him thank you. I was so blinded and would make fun of people that were trying to talk about Jesus to others. It is only through Jesus that we get to go to heaven. A relationship with Him is one that you have to work at every day out of love for Him. This is not just a Sunday type of thing—this is a whole life type of thing because when they say everlasting glory in heaven, it is everlasting glory in heaven. It’s real and awesome, but few people will go there because this world tells us that it’s all right to live with sin. Sin is not only an activity—it's a living creature that's absolutely detestable to God. He has a zero tolerance policy on sin. If we continue to sin we are harboring these creatures giving them a safe haven, so they can in turn effect others and lead many others astray. I am so fortunate that God showed me the vision of hell because of my stubbornness; I would’ve never turned from my ways. It’s shameful that it took this extremely dark experience to turn to Jesus because we live in a country where there are churches everywhere telling about Him. My prayer is that you repent for your sins.
I want to help people see and know that Jesus is the only way to heaven. I encourage you to give your life to Christ and read the Bible. It’s a very narrow path.
Some Scriptures to Encourage You:
"She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people..." (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
Corey's Testimony on YouTube
Non-believer has a brief taste of his personal prison cell in hell, finally turns to Jesus and is saved.
For years, Simone Peer, lived a life of defeat. To fill the void, she began to dive into the New Age Movement in which she became a witch that practiced Reikre, Feng, Shui, Hinduism, esoteric healing, mind control, and a lot more. One day however, she began a relationship with Jesus and she has never been the same.
"For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’ ” (Zechariah 2:5)
Simone Peer Certified Professional Coach, Mentor & Trainer (Contact information is at the end of her testimony)
Growing up in the Bible-Belt—I was certainly no stranger to the presence of Christianity. There were plenty of churches on most corners.
My immediate family didn’t go to church; although there were some attempts to get my siblings and I to attend. My paternal-grandparents and great-grandparents were devout Southern Baptists. My grandfather was even a deacon at his church, but I can probably count the number of times, that I went to church or Sunday school with them on one hand. While on my mother’s side, the only presence of Christianity was that my step-grandfather was Catholic, and his biological children practiced the faith too. I didn’t view them as much different as "we" were—just in being allowed to drink. Even though both religions have distinct differences—for whatever reason, I saw them as bible-beaters, who had strict rules that were, extremely hard to live by. This alone, made me feel neglected, overlooked, and more like a burden. Sadly, I can’t say what got in the way of them trying to ensure that my siblings and I had Jesus in our lives.
I remember at one point, my mom got us involved with a church, but I think, it was more of a way to “dump the kids off” for a few hours, than caring about us learning about Jesus. I mostly remember waiting in the parking lot for a long time after church was over for our mom to appear in the station wagon to take us home. My aunt also brought us to Vacation Bible School one summer when I was staying with my grandmother. It was only one week, but it was memorable. She also got us enrolled in an outreach program that picked up wayward kids and brought them to church and Sunday school. That was 40 years ago! By the Grace of God, I still have, (and now use), the Bible I earned (for memorizing the books of the Bible). I also took with me a song: Blue Skies and Rainbows—the good parts anyway that help keep Jesus alive in my heart.
In my teen years, some dear family friends got saved, and they started to spread the word of salvation among their circle of friends. My mother, brother and I, joined in with great delight. My sister was already out of the house, so she didn’t come, nor did my father. I never knew why he had no desire for anything church or Christ related, but I always suspected growing up with his "Bible-beating" parents and family, that he must have gotten turned off to God and Christianity. He never spoke about the Bible, God, or Jesus, but—I suspect he knew all about them. There is no way he could have grown up in that household, and not read it a time or two. I’m left to wonder, if he called out for salvation before his remaining moments on earth.
The return to the church—with most of my family in tow—was the most memorable and powerful church experience of my childhood! At this time, I was 15, and found myself in a dynamic environment where the members were on fire for Jesus. It was a Pentecostal church where people jumped to their feet in the middle of service, used tambourines, and sometimes even leaped up to run a lap around the sanctuary shouting praises to the Lord. Folks also would drop down to their knees and spoke in a prayer language called "speaking in tongues. This church was alive with the Holy Spirit, and I wanted what they had! We had Sunday school and weekday Bible study classes. The pastor lived next door, and had an above-ground swimming pool. One night after service, I got baptized in that pool. I don’t remember how it came about, but I remember that it was dark outside and the idea of a whole new way of life was exciting. I wanted to speak in tongues, I wanted to be overcome by the Holy Spirit, I wanted to know Jesus the way they did. Much to my dismay, that didn’t happen—Sadly, it didn’t stick or rather, I should say, I didn’t stick to it. This would be my last attempt at knowing Jesus until He came for me about 34 years later. I remember being in Sunday school asking questions and feeling frustrated that the teacher didn’t have answers. In retrospect, I have no idea why I couldn’t satisfy my cravings or why I couldn’t get what I was looking for because now I see all the answers are right there, in the Holy Bible, but back then—I never got what I craved. I never spoke in tongues and that was a deep disappointment. After a few months of being active members, my mom, who was a hair dresser at the time, was called into a meeting with the pastor. He gave her an ultimatum—Stop cutting hair or stop coming to this church. Well, she stopped going to church. This was a devastating blow for me. My brother and I, continued going to church, but it was by the grace of our family friends coming to pick us up. We lived in the opposite direction of the church, so I imagine this was a bit of a sacrifice for them. Now that my mother was not welcome, I started to feel ostracized, like an outsider who was no longer welcome at the church, so it wasn't long that my brother and I stopped attending too. I suspect some of the things that led to us to leave was that we didn’t follow the rules. This was the kind of church where women wore skirts and dresses only, they didn't cut their hair, and they didn't wear any makeup or jewelry. I don’t remember if there were men rules, but the men did cut their hair, generally short and neat. They would call the television “the devil box” and encouraged members to not own TVs, nor participate in worldly things, such as bowling. The church was pretty strict; however, I recall at first, they said that our non-adherence to these things was not a problem, but I’m left to wonder what was really being said in private. In my opinion, they sent a whole family straight into Satan’s arms. WARNING: IF A CHURCH IS CONTROLLING AND MANIPULATIVE IN RULES AND REGULATIONS SETUP BY MAN--THIS IS NOT OF GOD, AND YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN TO FIND A CHURCH THAT DOES THINGS GOD'S WAY.
When I was 16, my family moved across town and that meant new friends and opportunities. Somehow at my new school, I ended up going to a presentation in some kids’ basement that was on “backward masking”. I recall that he played Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and who knows what else backwards and—we could actually here satanic lyrics. It was intriguing and creepy at the same time. I met one of my new best high school friend at that meeting, and thankfully she found the Lord way before I did, which was a blessing for her, and one in disguise for me. I had started experimenting with smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and with some drugs when I was only 13, (yes, even in the midst of trying my best to know Jesus). Unfortunately, by the time I was 17 or 18, I was high almost all day—every day. Somehow I started going to a group meeting with teens my age who were trying to get clean and it worked for awhile. I have no idea why I quit going or what happened, but I stopped.
I mentioned the church part of my upbringing, but I haven’t talked about the occult and New Age influences. My mom was a psychic and talking about ghosts, spirits, horoscopes, numerology, and energy vibes were all common place in my childhood. I don’t know where it came from, but we had a Ouija board “game”, which I recall playing many times. Other "scary" games we played with the neighborhood kids were Bloody Maryand Wanda Witch. We would share real-life, family ghost story experiences as well and this was all normal to us at the time. When we moved to a new house—the ghost and spirit activity followed us—Lots of incidents and things happened, and we weren’t exactly freaked out about it.
My personal fascination took a deep; deep dive into the occult a few years later. My brother had sold a car to a woman who read Tarot cards and when I was home on a visit from college, I called and made an appointment to meet her—I did and was hooked. She was so radiant and her eyes sparkled with love and light. WARNING:“For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14) It was during this time period, that I was drinking, getting high, and having way too much fun. Needless to say, it wasn't long before I wasn't doing well in my premedical studies. Then I became seriously ill, and didn’t have the energy to catch up, so I ended up dropping out from that semester, and a few months later moved back home.
Once I was home, I became a diligent student of the Tarot card reader. She helped me recognize that I already had “psychic abilities” and they just needed to be fine-tuned. I followed in her footsteps reading cards, but her primary lesson was to sharpen all abilities because “you won’t always have your cards with you”. She had several proteges and we each had our unique expression of our “gifts”. In addition to developing our skills, she also helped us develop businesses doing readings. I became a regular member of the myriad of psychic fairs, that were held locally and within a few hours radius of our home town. I became part of a growing network which included several occult and new age bookstores and magical art shop owners. I became a frequent flyer into these shops devouring all the knowledge I could get access to—I was building my arsenal of tools, spells, information and enchanted ingredients.
I remember walking to or from my mentor’s building one day, and receiving a “divine downloaded” message about the truth of Jesus—or so I thought. Only when Christ came for me and showed me who He really is, did I feel that lie leave my heart, forever. The message that I received all those years ago was—everything is light, we are all light, and God is light because we reincarnate for eons, and each lifetime—we have an opportunity to gain more light until in one final lifetime, we become "total light". In essence, Jesus was no different than me, except that as a teacher, He was more evolved than I was—He also had more light when He came here than I did, but eventually—we would both be part of the light, that was earned by each soul in the evolutionary process. I often signed my name with "Love & Light" because, I thought it was a tribute to this great and beautiful “truth”. I even had a tattoo, that I called the yin-yang of angels, that I thought was depicting light wins over darkness. I cried in repentance, and for Jesus to forgive me because the Holy Spirit revealed to me I actually had a tattoo of Lucifer/Satan. At the time, I thought it was beautiful and divine because the image had occult origins, but I was very blind to the real truth.
As I said, I was a sponge for the occult, and began to study witchcraft and practice magic. I became enamored with spells, herbs, oils, incense, colors, candles, sigils, crystals, channeling, psychic readings, ghost & spirit hunting, and channeling the power and knowledge of "the divine". I was a practicing witch and as such, was introduced to someone who would become my sister in the craft. Drawing more people into our circle, we all thought we were “white witches". I was into the power of sigils and spells and my sister, was more into practicing Wicca. I had an arsenal of candles, oils, dried plants, parchment, enchanted inks, crystals, incense and "sacred" items for my altar, and so much more. As I write this, I’m thinking how thoroughly deceived I was! I was into so much darkness, that I can hardly believe that I even thought I was an agent of “The Light”. The great deceiver is indeed good at his job!
In working with my sister witch, there were three others we called to us to work pentagram magic. Each of us identified with one of five main gods and goddesses aligned to the points on the pentagram for circle work, with elements and all manner of things that were designed to open us, and fill us with the spirit of the one's we picked; although I think we had already been chosen by the principal demon who had us, and were just playing out our part. I had access to the “heavens” as well as, the underworld and her influence upon me reigned as the power behind magical works of spell-craft, sorcery battles, and the ever-expanding—always mysterious—and always alluring supernatural.
Many memories flood my mind while sharing my story—part of me wants to include it all, and part of me wants to erase it all. I do remember at the beginning of this journey, that Jesus was there for me; even though I was not there for Him. He rescued me from something sinister and yet—it didn’t draw me back to Him. I think it shows that nothing happens without God’s approval—He let me go as far and deep as He needed and wanted me to go, but kept me relatively safe, so when I was really ready to live for Him—I was there to answer yes!
One of the times that God came calling, I was a Tarot card reader and working with crystals. I was at a physic fair and looking for a particular kind of stone. I spoke with some vendors, and one man in particular said, that he had some in his inventory at home, and he could send it to me. I signed up on his mailing list, and because it came up that my birthday was coming—he gave me some crystals. One was a very particular kind assigned certain tasks and properties. When I got home, I put them in my room.
That night, as I lay on my side in bed, that man or one of his demons came to me. He lay with his body and leg draped over me and spoke into my ear. I recall being unable to move, or speak. In my head, I was shouting for every piece of protection and then, I saw Jesus’ face before me and almost instantly—the demon was gone! I was relieved and shaken at the same time!
The next day, I took the crystals to a friend and she found a demon had been attached to the crystal with me as its assignment. That mission was not accomplished because Jesus did not allow it. She was an artist and drew a picture of the hideous creature. Sadly, my response to this event was not to come to Christ, but to double down in my quest for more occult knowledge; I never wanted to feel powerless or risk any degree of uncertainty about how to handle anything like that should it happen again.
I had built up a clientele for doing psychic and Tarot readings, and along the way—clients who needed and wanted magical warfare and protection began to find me. I found myself battling witchcraft and Satanism and built a reputation as someone who was not to be messed with. Meanwhile, the explosion of industrial Goth and “alternative” dance music clubs, and raves begged for the dark and mysterious. The most popular club in my town was in an old storefront in the abandoned downtown area, and I got myself set up to be the resident Tarot reader. I would set up a magical space in the storefront window and later one of the parlor rooms. Little did I know that this not only attracted fans and new followers of the arts, but also those that hate the occult.
This was the kind of place where all black, lots of leather, studs, kink and club kid regalia was the norm. There was a man that was a regular there and he was very quite. He always dressed in leather kink-wear, and danced by himself, so how we came to sit in one of the parlors and chat at length escapes me. He shared that he was a Satanist and described in detail his path. We shared and compared notes about the kinds of magic we did. Remember that I thought I was a white witch, so the black magic he worked seemed a far cry from what I did. In retrospect, now that I know ALL MAGIC IS SATANIC, I wonder if he knew there really wasn’t any difference between us. I’m not sure because he did say he didn’t like that I was a love-n-light witch, or that I was doing my thing in the club. As we spoke, we actually fostered something pleasant from there on. I tell this story because I remember thinking: “He and I are equal opposites", and I completely respect his position. I didn’t agree with it, but I respected his devotion to his craft as much as I was devoted to mine. I also thought I had more respect for him than I did for Christians because Christians were so hypocritical. They preached how people should live then would do the exact opposite. My disdain for Christianity was growing. I got to a point where I could not even say the words God or Jesus. In my mind, they were part of a system used to conquer and control the masses of the world. I laughed at the idea that Christian Holidays—ALL OF THEM—are pagan/satanic holidays celebrated by witches worldwide! When I finally came to Jesus, I learned that we need to live what He teaches to be a great witness to the world. Unfortunately, the Christians I came across both in my childhood, and during my days of practicing witchcraft—did not live out the scriptures as He teaches.
THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT
"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)
I can see that God had His hand upon my journey, and the patience to get me to the point, that I could be His in an instant. Looking back to my journey out of witchcraft, I’m inclined to show how much deeper in I went. For a few months, I moved to London and brought all my light [dark] arts with me falling into crowds where everything I was into flourished.
One week after returning home to the states, I moved to a much larger city than I grew up in. One in which I had many friends and had visited many; many times. I already had friends there who were involved in dark arts and of course drugs and alcohol were still the norm. This city had a much larger cultural spectrum than where I came from and I was introduced to many new paths and forms of witchcraft. Pretty much everyone I cared to hang out with lived the same way. I recognized in some arenas, that I was the pioneer that led many others into this intriguing and mysterious realm. I continue to repent and pray for every single soul that I helped lead astray, of which there are many.
My first divergent path was into Santeria. The mother of a friend was a Santeria and I started seeing her for “cleansing”, or protocols to wash off “the bad stuff” and avail me to “the good”. Although, I don’t recall all the details the main thing that stands out is that these were limited to things that smelled good and included flowers. I was invited to attend her group meetings where I was asked to do water scrying (a basic method of divination).
I continued along my own path of witchcraft, psychic phenomena and new age “energy”, studying Shamanism (traveling into the upper and lower worlds and finding/using your power animals), and learning how to astral project. I was invited to a Native American sweat lodge because Native American practices had also intrigued me. This led to my deeper involvement into Native American and Mexican/ancient Aztec/Nahuatl practices which, included pipe ceremonies, vision quests on ceremonial lands, and lots and lots of prayers using tobacco and other herbs. There was always honoring of the ancestors. I was gifted with an eagle feather among other ceremonial treasures. This led to being introduced to a woman who practiced an ancient African religion known as Ifa. This is the origin of Santeria (as well as the Cuban, Haitian and Brazilian versions) and where my journey took a much deeper dive. The entree into this world included lots of readings with the Opele, which then led to rituals, ceremonies and initiations. This is where the rubber met the road for me, and I didn’t even know it. Animal sacrifices were a regular part of my path here. I had many ceremonies done in the darkest hours of the night with blood dripped over my head that ran down my face and onto my clothes, special herbs were then placed on my head and wrapped on for sleep. I would then wake very early to follow specific instructions to dispose of the head stuff and complete the ceremony. I had to follow specific instructions regarding disposing of the animal’s body: sometimes in a cemetery, sometimes in running water or a nearby quarry.
This morning when I woke up, I thought of how intriguing and compelling this kind of journey was and how I wished someone had told me that anything that needs to be done in the dark, need not be done! JESUS does everything out in the open—in the light for everyone to see. I listened to someone else’s redeemed Satanist testimony and he said at one point when he realized what he was involved with he actually asked…“Is this a satanic cult?” And the response was…“Yes, it is and you have already completed most of the steps for full inclusion—would you like to complete the rest?” He replied…“sure!” He wasn’t told what the other few steps included, just as many who get into deeper with their “secret lodges & societies” in order to lure members down the ladder which, leads to the threshold of no return. They get so hooked—intrigued—and likely don’t realize how dark, evil, and disgusting it becomes. They give up their freewill and give Satan a legal license to run & completely ruin their lives. Thankfully, there is a way out for them! Thankfully, Jesus took ALL sin and evildoing upon Himself and to the cross, so we might be free of the traps set by the great deceiver—Satan.
As an Ifa practitioner, I began to study the Yoruba language along with all the tale stories of the Orishas. I not only brought animals to be sacrificed on my behalf, I also did the killing as well as, ate of a sacrificed animals. I was taught this was honorable, sacred work to have gratitude for the animal taking my place. Ancestor worship was a large part of these practices, too. Along with “sacred” articles of initiation, I also had ancestor altars; everything had to be fed with prayers, food, liquor, palm oil and/or blood, regularly. I spent much time in daily prayers and practices and again—I loved it.
Because of the career I was just beginning though, I began to meet people who were doing different approaches to energy and spirit work, and like a good spiritual power junkie, I was hooked on the next new high. This new world that I entered, was actually an old one; one of the first books I had ever picked up when I began this whole journey would leap out, and lead the way into another aspect of the new Age (of Lucifer), I had not yet delved into too deeply.
Discord within the varied circles I participated in made it easy to move on. I happened upon a new thought church, and when I heard about what their beliefs were, I thought this is exactly what I believed. I didn’t know there was an organized body of believers, and what intrigued me most was the idea of omnipotence that made everything else I did seem like paltry child’s play. Finally, I was on a path that didn’t require a lot of pomp and circumstance in order to make things happen. I won’t say it was easier because the real work came in the realm of mental mind control.
“There is nothing more powerful than a trained mind”—this work did not focus on manipulating external influences to make things happen, but was put solely on the individual to live his or her goodness through thoughts that create things. The premise is that there is a “creative substance” in which all things are formed. The thought put and held in this substance—creates the thought in form, i.e. physical reality. Thus, think what you want in life and do the work to uncover hidden opposing thoughts—then root those out, so all of your thought energy is focused on what you really want. I spent a few years studying the underpinnings of this doctrine. The concept of God was referred to as the mind, universe, and the source which, is essentially terms to an idea of creative consciousness. It was the moment that this creative substance became aware of itself that creation began.WARNING: THE DEVIL KEEPS PEOPLE BLIND TO THE TRUTH.
SCRIPTURES OF TRUTH:
"Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God." (2 Corinthians 4:4)
"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
I had embarkedon a new career path as a life coach and a few years in, I was invited by one of my mentors to participate in something that took on a whole new “thought movement”. It was like thoughts on steroids, and the work we did was completely focused on energy and its potential. I called this navigating “the invisible side of the visible world”. This was all about having living intentional consciousness on both sides and being able to call things into creation. This is where I experienced the black goo—it was a luxurious feeling—like a paradox of excitement and deep peace. I likened it to being like liquid, pitch black, silk velvet; these words hardly express the gloriousness of how it felt to both the energetic touch and to be amidst its presence. I also called it creative cosmic goo that you could just dip in and grab huge handfuls of and create reality from it. The “work” that my colleagues and I did felt cosmic—beyond enormous and miraculous. I traveled around the world to learn and be trained in groups—I then, became a trainer myself, and I was indoctrinated into “godness”. This evolutionary consciousness work was beyond anything I had ever experienced before and nothing ever felt so good again, until—JESUS.I was completely immersed in this way of living and working. Everything I did launched from this foundation/platform and from there, I packed my things and hit the road to refine my purpose and cultivate more intimate relationships with people who mattered to me at the time. My work was done on the phone and via computer, so going global was relatively easy. What I didn’t know was what God had in store for me. Someone recently asked… “Was it God or Satan who sent you on the road?” and, I wholeheartedly believe that it was God paving the way for me to be ready for Him...sometimes you have to go to rock bottom before you go up—or in this case—look up to the true living God who was calling me for years, but I kept doing my own thing as He continued to pursue me.
A year or two before I left for the unknown, my sister and I, were serving Christmas dinner at a large homeless center. This is something that we did each year, and this particular time—one of the guests, was straggling behind at the very end of the meal. I began cleaning up the trash & putting away the salt and pepper shakers when she came over to minister to me about Jesus. I could feel Him calling me again with the things she shared. Something inside of me wanted to say, “YES!”, but I just couldn’t. Something else inside said, “You don’t believe that about Him—you can’t say yes!” Well, all of a sudden, one of the workers from the center came to rescue me from possibly going crazy and say YES! I remember leaving with tears streaming down my face. Satan’s grip was extremely tight on me, and I now know that he sent one of his minions through someone else to get me away, and it worked. This memory, has puzzled me at times, because I have wondered what was in me that wanted Jesus so much—especially because He became OK in my eyes, as I came to think of Him as an enlightened master, but not higher than any other. WARNING: THE DEVIL IS A LIAR AND KNOWN AS THE FATHER OF LIES. In Luke 8:44 is says..."He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
When I hit the road, I sold most of my belongings and then, packed my car and put the rest into a storage facility. My plan was to accept a myriad of invitations, put them all together and travel the country for about two years. I expected by the end of the two years, that I would come to know something that I didn’t know and then, have a better idea where I should live.
The biggest things that stand out during my four and a half years on the road was that I got deeper into my spiritual/energy work AND—I got further away from truly coming to know the Lord. In removing distractions of everyday life, I was able to focus on “clearing out my inner clutter”. This meant a whole lot more of doing all kinds of energy things: past life regressions, re-birthing, reikie, feng, shui, crystal bed healing, esoteric healing, DNA reattachment, entity attachment removal and a few more. I also got drunk and high at a heavier pace than I had for some time. Yes, my focus was on making money and having a good time.
About this time, I started getting interested in “truther” research. At this time, I started to notice how the music industry was becoming so blatantly satanic, and it made me wonder what was going on. I began to feel, that many things were waging war against my mind, my body, and my spirit. This spread to deeper research about hidden aliens (I was already a believer in them), and reptilians, cloning, mind control, and so on. This rabbit hole got real deep—fast! That brought something to my attention, that really blew my mind: the New Age Movement originated as The New Age of Lucifer around the same time as the New Thought Movement. I learned that the founder of the esoteric healing treatments, that I had been receiving almost every week for over two years, was a part of developing this movement—I found this very unsettling. Although, I didn’t "believe in Satan", (which is hard to believe because of how much dark and evil I was involved with)—I didn't like the idea that something I found to be so much about love, light, and healing had its origins in something so purely dark and evil.
By this time, I had settled into what was finally and quickly becoming my new permanent home. As part of my settling in, I joined the Unity Church because I wanted to integrate into my new community, and it was the closest thing I was aware of in town that aligned with my beliefs. I went deep! In my opinion, I really grew in this community, that I jack hammered away at limiting beliefs, and went back to my new thought roots. While on search for a new minister, I gave the Sunday morning talk a few times, and each time—was a reminder into how much I loved this stuff. I was able to draw upon my historical teachings, blend it with the creative cosmic goo, and mix it up with my truly unyielding faith in God. I truly believe, at some point along the way—that I was always and earnestly seeking to know God. SERIOUS WARNING!!! I was looking for God, but in the wrong places. THE UNITY CHURCH IS NOT A TRUE CHURCH—IT’S A CULT!! This cult, teaches the principles that promote a way of life that leads to one’s health, prosperity, happiness, and peace of mind. They seek to “create their life” experiences through their way of thinking. To do this, they align themselves with specific mediation's. THE BIBLE WARNS US OF SUCH THINGS, SO WE ARE NOT LED ASTRAY AND, SO WE CAN TRULY COME TO KNOW CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOR. ANYONE OR ANY CHURCH THAT GOES AGAINST WHAT GOD TEACHES IN THE BIBLE, IS A SERIOUS DANGER SIGN TO STAY AWAY AT ALL COSTS!! A CULT DECEIVES PEOPLE FROM KNOWING THE ONE & ONLY TRUE GOD. AS SATAN DISGUISES HIMSELF, AND PEOPLE FALL FOR ALL THE LIES & FALSE MIRACLES—THEY ARE LED RIGHT INTO THE PITS OF HELL INSTEAD OF HAVING ETERNAL LIFE WITH JESUS.
BIBLE SCRIPTURES TO HELP YOU AVOID SATAN'S SCHEMES:
"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
"God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)
"For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." (2 Corinthians 11:13-16)
"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception..." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)
"For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty." (Revelation 16:14)
A few months prior to Jesus coming for me, I signed up for a series of energy sessions that utilized a combination of techniques to help clear PTSD and trauma memory from the nervous system. The process was based on some particular body movements in conjunction with saying certain things. The result was to reboot the brain and clear the neural pathways. It relied upon Neural Linguistic Programming as well (NLP). The first session mandated an NLP script while doing the hand techniques that focused shutting the door on suicide—this obviously dealt with death which, I didn't do in awhile. The standard technique was done a few times a day throughout the week. After the first week or so, I started feeling anxious and restless. I was waking up in the night stalked by death. It was strange and disturbing. I reached out to my coach/practitioner and requested an urgent session, then she walked me through some other scripts, and then back to the “close the door on suicide one”, and something amazing happened. In my mind, I could see a room with a door that opened up to suicide. I also saw myself trying to pull it closed with all of my might while at the same time —a demon was trying to pull the door open with all of its might. The instant I realized what was happening—a bright light emerged causing the demon to instantly let go, and whooshed/sucked out into a big black hole of the universe. Again, Jesus rescued me—In fact, He kept on rescuing me—until, I was ready to be saved!
On Thursday, June 29, 2017th, I watched a video titled, The World Belongs to Satan which was a testimonial interview of Alice Cooper. (Video is below) Anyone growing up when I did, and doing the things I did—knew and loved Alice Cooper, so to hear him tell his story was the straw that broke Satan’s hold on my life. Alice mentioned something about a hellfire deliverance ministry, and as soon as he did, I pulled out my phone and started searching for deliverance ministries in my town. One link led to another, and I landed onBibleKnowledge.com.BibleKnowledge.com, helps people grow in their relationship with the Lord through teaching(s), and there's a variety of other topics that a person can search to find answers as well. As I read through the requirements for deliverance, I learned about breaking off generational curses. It was through deliverance, that I learned about salvation. The most important intimate relationship that I cultivated was the one I had with God. He turned my heart of stone into flesh, and I could feel it! When Alice Cooper spoke of deliverance, something inside of me said GO, and I could feel my heart cracking wide open, and Jesus was there. It was His love that was bigger than anything that I was looking for before.
Witchcraft and the occult is a lot like addiction; at some point you’re going to need more and more to see how far you can go. In reality though—Satan just keeps sweetening the pot and enticing people to go deeper and deeper until one day—there’s just no turning back. I can hardly believe this whole story is just a glimpse into my life, but all praise, glory, and thanks to God that it’s not now!
When it was all said and done, and I mean done—I cast Satan out of everything. With tears pouring down my face, life pouring into my soul, and peace pouring into my body—I said, YES to Jesus! Then I said to Him, “I don’t know what all of this means, so I ask that you to teach me”—and teach me He did!
One minister that really helped me understand how dark the path of “light”, I was living in was—Johanna Michaelsen. Johanna, authored the book The Beautiful Side of Evil, which demonstrates that Satan doesn’t really care about what kind of supernatural work it is because—IT ALL WILL KEEP US FAR AWAY FROM JESUS!! Her personal story, really opened my eyes to the truth of how evil my life had been.
The Holy Ghost just took me from one teacher to another, and I quickly learned about demonic/satanic legal ground and— just as in Acts 19:19, I realized that I too, had to get rid of ALL THE STUFF IN MY HOME, as well as—quit yoga because it’s Hindu god worship—no matter how one tries to spin it. Every pose in yoga is designed to worship, and evoke one of their many millions of gods. As much as I loved it, I quit on the spot even with two more months on my unlimited class pass. Acts 19:19 says, ”Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.” WARNING—THE DANGER OF YOGA! Yoga is a 2,000-year old Hindu religious practice used for spiritual and occult purposes. It is pagan—it is part of the occult/the devil, and GOD STRICTLY FORBIDS IT!! All the physical postures of yoga, are keys to unlock the spiritual realm with the purpose of becoming "unattached from oneself and the world”. YOGA IS VERY DANGEROUS AND GOES AGAINST SCRIPTURE!!
BIBLE SCRIPTURES TO HELP YOU AVOID SATAN'S SCHEMES REGARDING YOGA:
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)
“Now the Spirit “expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”. (2 Timothy 4:2)
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Within the first week of my salvation, I threw out everything in my home that I could find that had a connection to the occult or new age. Occasionally, I still find a little something here or there that for whatever reason went unnoticed; maybe just I didn’t have the eyes to see fully yet, or I had bypassed it in my flurry to purge my home of the enemy—when I come upon it now, out it goes! WARNING: Please DO NOT give any occult items to those you know or to thrift stores etc. because, it will only be recycled out back into the world, leading others astray from the truth of Jesus.
After salvation, one of the most critical factors is deliverance. Deliverance made way for me to put a lot of emphasis on spiritual warfare and to armor up! I think spiritual warfare through Jesus is one of the most powerful gifts of salvation, especially in order to live this life for His glory despite the enemy’s attempts to derail us. In the Bible, Ephesians 6:10-18 teaches about THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD. It is this armor that protects us from what Satan tries to do to us in our daily lives.
THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD: (Ephesians 6:10-18)
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints"—
The Armor of God
I hope that my story helps you avoid the many demonic pitfalls that I feel into. It is only through Jesus that we have eternal life, and I fall more in love with Him everyday! May you prayerfully consider to give your life to Christ as I did. It's the best decision, that I have ever made!!!
SOME HELPFUL SCRIPTURES FOR YOU IN YOUR DECISION TO FOLLOW CHRIST:
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
Yes, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, King of Kings, Lord of Lords swooped into my life, filled my heart and drew me to an absolutely new way of life.
Saved, Delivered, Baptized, Testified, Devoted, and doing the best I can to obey, learn, listen, follow, and—everything else in God's plan for me. Meanwhile, after a lifetime of occult and new age spirituality, I've been busy doing what many do when they're on a coaching journey: walking a parallel path.
One is where I use the discernment I'm gaining with eyes to see and ears to hear to clean up the life I created and lived for over five decades.
The other path I'm walking opens up my mind, world, life, reality to experience what it is to really know Christ. To understand and exult in what it truly means to have a Savior. To be loved that much is kinda mind-blowing. It's all new to me, and I couldn't be more delighted, excited and blessed!
Professionally, I'm exploring what it means and how I can use my coaching and mentoring expertise and gifts for God's glory. I've got some ideas, but it's not really up to me, is it?!
George Carneal, was raised in the Bible Belt, by a Southern Baptist minister. Throughout his school years, he was tormented with physical and verbal abuse. George was called a queer, faggot, and a homo. Eventually, he turned his back on God, the church, and fully immersed himself in the queer culture. Today, he shares what God's love has done for Him so others can also break free from the lies and grip of sin.
"As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalms 103:12)
George Carneal -- Author, Speaker, Singer/Songwriter
I’m a Baptist minister’s son who grew up in church and gave my life to Christ when I was seven years old. I also struggled with a same-sex attraction. Living in Tennessee, in the Bible Belt, in the 70’s, homosexuality wasn’t a topic I heard about unless some random person was making a derogatory comment about “fags.”
All through school I was tormented with physical and verbal abuse with one guy threatening to slit my throat. Being called a queer, faggot, homo, I didn’t understand how my peers were able to identify something about me that I hadn’t been unable to understand and come to terms with myself. This was confusing.
At church, the pain was compounded by the inevitable sermons on Sodom & Gomorrah. I felt condemned by God for something I didn’t ask for. On the inside I was filled with rage and told God I hated Him. I suffered in silence.
While heterosexual peers dated, I spent 12 lonely years yearning to be loved by a man. A random encounter with a guy out of high school confirmed this is who I was…a homosexual. Shortly after this encounter, my father was relocated to a church in Florida.
Not long after the move, I ran into a guy who invited me to a local gay bar. Walking into a bar filled with attractive men was overwhelming and exciting. I finally found a “home” where I wasn’t being bullied, could be myself, and be around other guys like me. I craved affection from guys and became promiscuous.
Since countless “loving Christians” insisted that God destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah because of vile perverts like me, that God created AIDS to kill queers, and that I was destined to burn in Hell, I believed that maybe God does hate me. So, I turned my back on God, the church, and fully immersed myself in the queer culture.
Sadly, after three years in the gay life, I was masking the pain with drugs and alcohol. Pornography became a part of my life, I developed a sex addiction, became a hustler (a male prostitute), struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts, and eventually attempted suicide. I felt no hope.
My journey would eventually lead me to Nashville where I met a guy, we became boyfriends, and moved to Los Angeles. I secured a job in the music industry.
After seven years, we broke up because I was still tormented and struggling with my faith and sexuality. I longed to be in church and eventually found a church home. I was filled with constant anxiety for fear that these Christians would discover my secret.
After church I cruised adult bookstores and bars because I was so hungry for affection and love. Random encounters meant quick sex, but I didn’t care…it was a brief moment of feeling desired by a guy. I couldn’t see it at the time, but I was searching for something to fill a void in my life. I had yet to comprehend that Jesus was the answer.
After a mild confrontation with a deacon over rumors regarding my sexuality, I left the church and found a gay-affirming church with a homosexual pastor. Surely, I would find the answers and come to accept that God made me this way. The turmoil was still there. Unable to find concrete answers, I left that church.
Working in the music business, I had the chance to meet and be around countless celebrities/rock stars/movie stars. In our celebrity-obsessed culture, many believe that fame and fortune will bring happiness. However, some celebrities weren’t that pleasant to be around and appeared to be just as unhappy as I was. I personally knew miserable people with immense wealth. It was clear. Money and fame doesn’t bring happiness.
I extended my search into the occult, new age and Hindu arenas hoping to find different paths to get to God. I still yearned for Him even though I wasn’t sure He wanted anything to do with me. I had no desire to serve Satan but wondered if God was holding out on information that Satan was willing to impart. Could I get to God through a supernatural means?
Casting love spells seemed appealing...as I desperately wanted a man to love me, but something in my spirit...compelled me, not to open that door so I didn’t. I spent countless hours in new age/occult/psychic bookstores, browsing through various books on “world religions”, while waiting to have my tarot cards read by psychics. I was desperate for answers yet became cynical when all they could provide was vague information about relationships and financial issues that could be applied to anyone.
The New Age emphasis on sacrificing ourselves for the good of mankind, fighting darkness that was consuming the world, appealed to me. The search for “ascended masters” to become more enlightened intensified….with no luck.
Attending a Hindu temple in Hollywood, the “teacher” read from sacred Hindu texts, even God’s Word. While Jesus was respected as a great teacher, He was also equal with other Hindu gurus. That was unsettling. No matter how confused I was, something was settled within me that Jesus was God’s Son and no one compared to Him. I also knew idols had no power and I certainly wasn’t going to bow down and worship them.
Additionally, the new age and Hindu (even Buddhist) teachings regarding reincarnation were distressing. My current life was one of misery. The thought of being reincarnated, coming back to live many lives over and over and over in order to become perfect, striving to reach moksha (Hinduism)/nirvana (Buddhism), without any knowledge of past mistakes in order to do better in the next life, brought about more despair.
Deep within me, I knew Jesus was the one, all-sufficient Savior who paid for my sins on the Cross. Instead of me having to do the work, Jesus did the work and that comforted me. God confirms that we live once, and then...the judgement (Hebrews 9:27). I eventually, rejected the Occult/New Age/Hindu teachings.
I wanted a relationship with God, but I didn’t want to be around Christians. I hated them. Church was a place of anxiety for me. The thought of attending church was like going into the lion’s den.
Disillusioned with life, one night I drove to a Christian bookstore in Long Beach. I searched for books on suicide, but from a biblical perspective. After one failed suicide attempt, I was ready to try again. However, I feared God would send me to Hell for taking my life. Suicidal thoughts were as common as what I thought about eating each day. The depression was brutal. I cried all the time. The voices in my head tormented me. I needed peace. Finding nothing on the subject, I sat on the floor and cried.
I went back to the bars and slept with men in order to mask the pain, the loneliness, only to struggle with constant heartache as I desperately searched for love.
Sitting at a dive bar in Hollywood one night...(among the prostitutes, hustlers, former jailbirds, drag queens, kids tossed out of homes because they were queer, women whose wrinkled faces revealed difficult lives, and old gay men getting drunk at the bar)...I faced the cold, harsh reality of life. This could be me. My heart hurt for those people. During this time, I was unable to share how much God loved them by what Jesus did on the Cross because, I couldn’t see it for myself thanks to mean-spirited “Christians”. I was a vile homosexual. I had no hope yet something had to change. I couldn’t do this any longer.
A television commercial from a local church advertised a Bible Study on the book of Genesis. I felt led to contact them and spent two years attending that Bible study. I hungered for God and enjoyed studying His Word. My view of God started to change. I eventually started to see that God didn’t hate me. He hated my sin. There was hope that I could have a relationship with God! I also met Christians who truly had the heart of Christ as I slowly immersed myself back into the church.
God eventually led me to a Baptist church through a retired pastor. The current pastor moved to have a class for LGBT individuals. I was excited because I would now have a safe place to meet others struggling with this issue. Unfortunately, the pastor and teachers were moving us in the direction of “Being gay is OK, we’re under Grace, God created you that way” and I was confused. Scripture is clear we are not to abuse God’s Grace (Romans 6:1-2; 14-15).
I had heard numerous stories of LGBT individuals whom God was bringing out of that life so I was perplexed as to why the pastor/teachers were pushing us into that life. I was now more confused. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted dealing with this issue, especially when I didn’t ask for these feelings!
I sat in my car so many times and cried, banging the steering wheel, yelling at God, begging Him for an answer, for peace! I often prayed this sincere prayer to God: “If homosexuality is OK in Your eyes, give me peace about it and I trust You will put a good Christian man in my life who will love me. If homosexuality is wrong under all circumstances, give me peace about it, help me to recognize it, and I will still serve You.”
As the months passed, wanting to believe that “gay is OK”, I was still tormented. I said enough and accepted that it was not in God’s will. I left that church, turned my back on the gay life, repented, and truly surrendered my life to Christ. The most amazing thing happened. God gave me what I had longed for my whole life...peace with myself, peace of mind, and finally...peace with God! The issue has been settled and I am no longer tormented in my mind or by my past! (Isaiah 43:25; Psalm 103:12; Romans 8:1)
Numerous LGBT individuals have accepted that homosexuality is not a part of God’s plan. Some LGBT individuals have transitioned successfully into a heterosexual life. Those who still have a same-sex attraction, like myself, have chosen celibacy. We desire to live a life that honors and pleases God. I’ve been on this path for about 13 years now.
The Apostle Paul asked God to “remove the thorn in his side” and God responded with “My grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). If this is to be my thorn, so be it. What matters is that God provided the healing I needed in order to have the strength to walk away from that life. My desire for sex with men no longer controls me!
This journey has been difficult, but I praise God for bringing me though it because I now understand God’s grace and His mercy. There is hope for everyone no matter what your bondage is….drugs, alcohol, food, sex, pornography, even issues of shame, rejection, abuse, rape, guilt of abortion, criminal activities, etc. If one is truly sorry and repents, God’s free gift of salvation is available to anyone who wants it (Romans 6:23). Jesus paid it ALL on the Cross at Calvary when He shed His precious blood for our sin. God desires to have a relationship with you but you must come His Way and that’s through Jesus. (John 3:16-17; 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5). Give your life to Christ today and know real peace. You matter to Him!
**In the back of George's book, he put all the talking points the LGBTQ activists and Christian liberal theologians use and he debunks them with Scripture. He says..."So if you have individuals in your life who are not willing to listen to this give them the book or at least get it and familiarize yourself with those talking points so when they do come at you and say no; no it's okay you can give them scripture because they are not going to sit down and study God's word to get the truth for themselves."
Connie, grew up in a dysfunctional home with an abusive alcoholic father. His actions, left her with emotional scars which caused her to believe lies about herself.
Connie Tresedder Author; Breakthrough Coach for Christian Leaders, Entrepreneurs, & Coaches
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth." (Psalm 139:14-15)
The third born of three and only daughter in my family, I am an out-going, funny, joy-filled lover of people. I love to teach and interact with others. I have taught at the college level for over 20 years; taught junior church at my local congregation for about 15 years; and a youth group for high school and college age students. I currently lead a women’s group which encourages us to find and move forward into our God-given passions and purpose. What most people don’t know is that I suffered from low self-esteem for much of my life. People who know me now would be shocked to hear me say this. By listening and watching me speak, most would think I’ve never had a problem with confidence. Just the opposite is actually the truth.
This is because I grew up in a dysfunctional home where my father was an alcoholic. When he wouldn’t come home after work, we knew he was at the local bar drinking. My mother, two brothers and I would spend the evening with a knot in our stomachs. We never knew when he would come through the door but we knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant when he did. I went to bed scared many nights. My father never physically abused me, but those of you that have suffered verbal/emotional abuse know that this leaves scars as well. My father would become physical sometimes with my brothers and mom. I don’t remember ever sleeping through the night if I went to bed when my father was still at the bar. He was loud, angry, and cussing when he would return home. Often he would make my brothers get up and out of bed. I would lie in my own bed listening, worried for my brothers. He usually just opened the door of my room and swore at me as I pretended to be asleep. Besides speaking words to me that I cannot imagine uttering as a parent, my father never seemed to have any use for me. I did not feel valued by him in the least.
These types of nights weren’t the only thing that caused me to be nervous as a kid growing up. I felt the need to keep all of this from my friends. It is not an easy secret to hide when you live in a small town. What would my friends think if they knew? I was convinced their parents would put an end to our friendship if they knew what went on inside my home. I felt ashamed for having a father who drank and acted the way he did. I was in elementary school when I realized the way my dad treated us was not “normal” compared to what I witnessed at my friend’s homes.
I will be forever grateful for one of these homes I was invited to for a neighborhood Christian kid’s club. I attended every day for a week when I was in 5th grade. The gospel was shared with us through stories each day. I remember on the last day having the opportunity to invite Jesus into my heart. I had never heard the “Good News” before. Though I had been baptized in a Lutheran church as a baby, we had never attended church since moving to Michigan when I was six years old. Little did I know that day when I raised my hand while all heads were bowed, and prayed the prayer of salvation, that my life would be changed from that moment on. But, that is exactly what happened.
The challenges in my life did not magically disappear but everything felt different. I knew I was not alone. I knew there was someone to help me get through the challenges. I knew there was hope for my future. I asked my mom to buy me a Bible and she got me a teen version of the Living Bible. This was so easy to understand and had devotional type readings throughout. I devoured the Word like someone receiving water in the desert. Looking back at my life I see so many answers to my first prayers. God had a specific plan for my life and he has been so faithful leading me along my life’s journey. Each chapter has built upon the last. In this season, I am being used as a Christian life coach and speaker to bless others. As God would have it, I end up being blessed as well. It is exhilarating teaching and encouraging others to step into their purpose for this season in their life. I am so humbled when God uses me to help someone identify and move past what has them “stuck” in one area or another. This includes facilitating inner healing for past wounds at times, or helping someone re-wire their brain so that worrisome, negative thoughts don’t hold them back. I am discovering God puts us in community with others so that we can all keep moving forward in His plan for us.
Back in 5th grade, the same family that invited me to the Christian kid’s club, started bringing me with them to church. It was a Bible teaching, evangelical church where I soaked up truths about God like a sponge. Though I strayed somewhat in high school, I still read my Bible every night. I know now that Jesus never left me, but just patiently waited for me to turn back towards him, which I did when I found promises in His Word that I couldn’t deny. I remember thinking, "Why am I making choices that go against God's Word when...I could be living for Him completely, and receiving ALL the blessings He promises?" I had no mentor or adult helping me come to this conclusion, but I’m convinced people somewhere were praying for me. John 14, is what He used to get my attention. The whole chapter is full of promises, but my teenage heart really soared at the truth of verse 13, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son”. Truthfully, this verse still makes my heart soar. I now know the power the Comforter promised in this chapter. I know how to listen, be taught by, and receive the peace offered by God’s Spirit. I understand that God intends to do life together with us and that his plan is above and beyond anything we can imagine.
When I was a young college student God started the process of supernatural inner healing for my childhood wounds. I came to the revelation that the way my father treated me was more about him than me. I understood that my father was broken inside and probably full of self-loathing. Though I don’t know what events or circumstances played a part in my father’s brokenness, God taught me that hurt people, hurt others. God cultivated a compassion in my heart for my father and I was able to forgive him. When I look back now, I realize this is nothing short of a miracle for God to give me so much grace to act maturely at this young age. This was such a blessing because the last three years of my father’s life we became closer than we had ever been. I had finished my undergraduate degree and got married a few years before my father was diagnosed with cancer. He stopped drinking and underwent surgery and treatments. The next three years, was a roller-coaster of emotions. He would respond well to a treatment, and we would all be filled with hope only to have the treatment stop responding several months down the road. Up and down we went, but I am so grateful for the time I and my husband had to spend with him and my mother. We enjoyed time together doing fun things like playing cards, going to movies, and eating good food. My dad was fun! Who knew? He absolutely loved my husband, and I felt like my father was proud of the woman I was becoming. I cherish the memories from this season and am so thankful I chose forgiveness over bitterness.
How could I not forgive my father when my heavenly Father forgives every one of my sins beginning back in 5th grade? I knew full well that Jesus had paid the price for not just my sins but my father’s sins, as well. I am confident that my father is in heaven because he was able to receive this great gift. This isn’t to say I haven’t had to deal with some issues throughout my life. I explain in my upcoming e-book, how all our experiences throughout life make us believe things. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the things we believe are lies! The tricky thing is, when we believe a lie, we don’t realize it’s a lie because we believe it! I love helping people uncover these lies and receive healing like I did myself. When my own father didn’t value me, I believed the lie that no one else would. Why would anyone find value in what I taught or shared? How convenient it would have been for satan if I had continued to believe this. He could have stolen my calling, my voice, and my purpose, but that wasn’t my story. Healing and re-wiring our brains is a continual process, and I am ever so grateful to God for allowing me to be a part of people's spiritual growth and healing.
Through years of domestic abuse, Darla Colinet, came to know that the mindset of abuse, starts at an early age. Being unaware of her brokenness, domestic abuse, and Christ’s truths about love made her vulnerable to become a victim of an abusive marriages. From overcoming domestic abuse to living and loving fearlessly...Darla, now focuses on
educating individuals and churches about how to end domestic abuse by using Christ’s Perfect Love Design.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Darla Colinet Champion for Abused Women, Christian Keynote Speaker & Author
Overcoming Domestic Abuse: Living and Loving Fearlessly
The mindset of abuse starts at an early age. Loving and following Jesus doesn’t make you immune from being deceived into an abusive marriage.
Even though my parents loved God with all their hearts, and they tried to do their best, they were too afraid to let God and other professionals help them work through their brokenness. They lived in unhealthy co-dependency and were rarely available for me.
The result of their unavailability left me feeling love-starved as a child and young woman. My natural quest to feel loved left me vulnerable to being date raped at the age of fifteen. The wounds from the violent rape were painful. However, the words from my father’s mouth stating, “I was unworthy of good love,” shattered my heart. His words changed my self-worth and the course of my life.
To prove I was loved I took the first offer of marriage at the age of eighteen. I married the “bad boy” in town who claimed to be a Christian, and I endured thirteen-years of abuse. I was acting in the broken design of love I knew, which is what we all do.
Without knowing Christ’s design of love, I used what I understood as love to try to fill the holes in my heart. Being unaware of my brokenness, domestic abuse, and Christ’s truths about love, made me vulnerable to become a victim of an abusive Christian marriage for thirteen-years.
Deep inside I knew it was not God’s will for him to hurt me. However, without Christ’s truth in my mind and heart, I believed what I experienced and what I heard from pastors. They said my marriage vows made it my responsibility to help my abusive husband to come back to God and find healing. These are lies and misinterpretations from scriptures.
In August, in the thirteenth year of our marriage, our boys were visiting my parents. My ex-husband started calling me names again. Something snapped inside of me. I had left several times before, but this time, I was done. I wasn’t going to take his abuse anymore. I stood up to confront him, and I woke up on the floor, staring at the ceiling. A picture flashed through my mind. I remembered him telling me he would kill me before he would let me go, as he stretched his hands around my throat. I quickly scanned the room, and I realized I was alone. I was furious with my husband, myself, and God. I prayed for thirteen-years for God to stop the abuse, but nothing changed. In a rage, I screamed out, “God either you end this tonight, or I will!”
I went to the gun cabinet and took out a shotgun. I loaded it and sat in the chair across from the back door, waiting for my husband to come home. Pictures of him hurting me over the last thirteen years flashed in my mind while his degrading comments echoed in the background. I had no more tears, only rage, and darkness.
The next thing I remember was slowly opening my eyes as the sun beamed through the window in the door. Immediately, I felt the weight of the shotgun in my hands. I was horrified. I heard a peaceful voice whisper to my spirit, “I’ve made a way to escape, take it. This is not love.” At this moment, I realized God had made a way to stop the abuse, and I ran.
You would think after my abusive marriage I would stay clear of men, but all I could feel was the pain of feeling love-starved and unworthy. Deep inside I kept hoping to find true love. I let my emotions lead my life, and I married a college man. I did not realize he was a deceptive “wizard behind the curtain” who brought more verbal and mental abusive. When I asked him to get help, he filed for divorce.
After my second divorce, you would think I would not believe in love, but I knew I loved Jesus and he gave me hope. I met and married a man who loved to have fun, only to realize he “never wanted to grow up” from drug addiction and to be financially responsible. After the seventh year into our marriage, I became determined to overcome what was causing me to choose abusive relationships.
I opened my Bible and read, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God”. (Matthew 22:29) These words were a gong in my mind. I realized I had believed and lived in my dad’s definition of love for me and I didn’t know Christ’s perfect love design.
I saw how my unawareness of my brokenness, my unawareness about domestic abuse, and my unawareness of Christ’s design of love left me vulnerable to be caught in the deceptive web of abuse. As I began to discover, to understand, and to live in Christ’s design of pure love over the next six years, my heart healed. I set up healthy boundaries with my irresponsible husband, and after thirteen years, he walked out.
The end of my third marriage was very different. I didn’t feel love-starved or unworthy. I realized Christ’s love design filled my heart whether I was married or single. I stood with confidence knowing that I am worthy and filled with Christ’s unconditional love. I knew the love of people could never fill my need to feel loved unconditionally by Jesus Christ.
Living in Christ’s Love Design
As I have come to live in Christ’s design of love and use it as my compass, my heart has healed and my life now overflows with his abundance of love, joy, and peace. Using Christ’s revelations with my life lessons has helped me create a path for women and struggling marriages to find happiness and healing. They are encouraged and empowered to take control of their life, pursue their dreams, achieve their goals, and fulfill their destiny in God’s grand plan.
As I stepped into God’s purpose for my life, I was content to be single. However, in 2014 on a tour of Italy, God chose to bless me with the most amazing man. My husband lives like Christ and loves me as if I were Christ. When you use Christ’s love design as your compass, you never know what he will do for you. I am living proof that when you partner with Jesus, he can make your messes into a masterpiece!
**** Darla is now focused on educating individuals and churches about how to end domestic abuse by using Christ’s Perfect Love Design. Contact her for Domestic Violence introduction class, workshops, retreats, and online classes. ****
God's Transforming Grace Focused on educating individuals and churches about how to end domestic abuse by using Christ’s Perfect Love Design. Contact Darla for Domestic Violence introduction class, workshops, retreats, and online classes.
Living and Loving Fearlessly I help women break through their road block to live and love fearlessly through Christ and achieve their dreams and purpose in God’s grand plan. I help them through the forward process of transformational life coaching.
Doris Homan, was born in Cairo, Egypt, in a very strict religious environment. She grew up attending church and loved Sunday school, but yet God seemed so far. Doris's Christian Journey set her on a path of knowing God as much as she can, so she can teach others to do the same.
Since, the mid-1990's, Doris has been actively participating in women's ministries in the capacity of teaching Bible studies, leading small groups, speaking at women's faith-based events, one-on-one discipleship and Christian counseling.
----“my beloved brethren…my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord.” (Philippians 4:1)
I was born in Cairo, Egypt, in a very strict religious environment. I grew up attending church and loved Sunday school as a child. I desired to know God but somehow He seemed far. At the age of 9 my family and I moved to the US. It was a difficult time of transition for me. Finding myself in a foreign land with no extended family or friends, I struggled with loneliness and a sense of not belonging for many years.
A couple of important things happened in my teen years; I was invited to attend an evangelical church and around the same time, some friends from high school asked me to attend Campus Crusade meetings. I began to attend both regularly and for the first time in my life I heard that I could have a relationship with God and know Him personally. This was amazing and a defining moment for me. This is what I really had desired all along, not religion but a relationship!
I struggled for a while as I felt I was already a believer in Christ but one evening, after church, I remember sitting in my room and talking to God. I acknowledged my faith in Him and my desire to have a relationship with Him. I turned leadership of my life over to Him to transform me into the person He intended me to be. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Slowly, I began to study the Bible, pray and grow in my relationship with Christ. Over time, I began to see many changes in my life. Christ took a very shy and insecure girl and transformed her into someone He can use to initiate and reach out to others. I never thought I could stand before a group of people and speak, let alone prepare lessons and teach the Bible. He gave me a purpose and a mission. (Galatians 2:20)
During my college years, I met my husband and a year later, we got married. In my thirties, the Lord began to stir in me a real desire for teaching the Bible to women. I had the opportunity to attend several training seminars by Precept Ministries and through the inductive study method, I learned how to study, prepare and lead Bible studies.
God has given me a heart for women and a passion to see them established in His Word and using their spiritual gifts in service for Him in their local church.
For the past 20 years I have led women’s Bible Studies, 6 years leading women’s Sunday school class as well as small group. It’s been a joy to work in women’s ministries side by side with other women of faith.
Soon after a Bible Study series on the Names of God, one of our ladies was diagnosed with cancer and went through a long period of treatment and recovery. I will never forget when she told me that if it wasn’t for the Names of God study we had just completed, her faith would not have been as strong during this storm in her life.
Another important part of women’s ministries is developing future leaders. I am passionate about seeing women grow into future teachers and leaders so they can train other women on their journey with Christ. (2 Timothy 2:2)
A few years ago, I saw a need for this curriculum; material that covers the basic aspects of the Christian life all in one study guide. This study is the culmination of the last 35 years of my walk with Christ. It is important as a follower of Christ to know what we believe and why we believe it. It is my heart’s desire and goal that this curriculum will have an impact in women’s lives and firmly establish them in the scriptures. It is one thing to read the Bible and another thing to study it; to dig deeper. I have often said to my ladies that the Word of God is like a mine; the more we dig the more treasure we will find.
This journey has taken over 6 years to compile with numerous revisions. I had the opportunity to take a group of about 20 women through this study after which many more revisions followed as I saw areas for improvement.
About 4 years after writing this material, God brought Davia Rinehart into my life through a mutual friend. Davia has been engaged in discipling women (Disciples of Christ) for many years. Living about 500 miles away, she graciously came to Cincinnati to meet with me several times. I am so grateful for how she has invested of herself in this project. I am indebted to her for the hours she has spent reviewing the curriculum and hours of meeting with me with her suggestions and recommendations; her godly perspective and insight enriched this material. God also sent others into my life to provide editing and input on content. It’s such a privilege to serve our faithful God. I love the opportunities He continues to give me to come alongside other women especially and pour into their lives. Discipleship is the heart of my calling.
(Galatians 2:20), describes my new life ---- “I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ lives in me and the life that I now live, I live by faith in the name of the son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me.”
Dana Repetti, grew up in a dysfunctional home filled with hate, fear, alcohol, abuse, and witchcraft. Her childhood caused her to have overwhelming fear, and she became a people-pleaser with a very low self-esteem. At the age of seventeen, Dana had her first abortion. Through it all though, Dana, has learned about the beauty of God's love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. She is now helping others to do the same and has written a wonderful personalized devotional called "Being Immersed in the Father's Love".
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalms 27:13)
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. I was a very depressed child and full of fear. My perspective on life and how I processed life was through a very negative lens and filter. Even though I was saved at the tender age of twelve, there were a whole host of strongholds that I would have to take captive to the obedience of Christ throughout my lifetime.
When I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my mom prayed that the memory of what I had endured as a child would be wiped clean. That all I would remember was from Salvation onward. I must confess I only have glimpses of my childhood.
What I do remember is that my dad was a very angry man. He was very scary to me when he got upset. Growing up in my house there was a saying, “Children were to be seen and not heard!” and I never felt as if my opinion mattered, or that I had a voice. My self-esteem was very low. I really did not know how to think for myself. I was very much a people pleaser. As long as I did everything right, I was a good girl, but if I did something wrong or that appeared wrong, I would pay the consequence. As a little girl, it felt as if it was the end of the world. I always wanted to do everything right. This perception would carry on well into my thirties. It would take a very long time to find my voice and for God to bring me into what His thoughts were towards me and what His word says about me.
My mom was a very depressed mother and wife. I always had the feeling that she hated me. When I would look into her eyes, they appeared very dark and I saw such hatred. It felt as if she wanted to kill me. I’m sure that was not the case, but it was how I felt during those years of my life. I hated going to sleep for fear that in the middle of the night; something or someone would come in my room and hurt me. I would sleep with the covers up to my neck; face the door so I would be able to protect myself, still totally frightened. It felt as if I never slept. This went on from the age of five, until I was twelve.
My mother dabbled in the occult. She would have séances, levitate, have premonitions, consult palm readers, psychics, read tarot cards and play the Ouija board. There was a lot of demonic activity in our home to say the least. She also was an alcoholic and was suicidal. I would come home from school and find her at the bottom of the basement stairs blacked out, not knowing if she was dead or alive. I remember being afraid all the time not knowing what the next day would bring.
My parents would argue and fight, which seemed like all the time to me. It was very intense and very loud. There were so many sayings in my family growing up like; we’re loud, we’re Italian, that’s how we talk, if the truth hurts, each followed by very negative, outspoken comments. No! All of which consisted of arguing and verbal abuse, yet while not understanding that as a child and living through it. I thought that was normal. There was one time my father came home from work and found my mother sitting on the floor in the corner of their bedroom, in the dark with a scotch glass in her hand. She was drunk and they began to argue. This argument must have been so intense because it is etched into my memory. My mom threw the full scotch glass at my father. I ran to my room like so many other times and would pray that God would make it stop, that they would not get divorced. I was always so frightened and living on the edge. I did not realize at the time that I was a depressed little girl as well.
I was raised as a Catholic while growing up and went to a Catholic school. Very often before heading to school, my mom would play a song from Helen Reddy, “I am woman”, and she proceeded to tell my sister and I, never to forget that we were women. There was one day my mom was so angry, I can’t remember why, but she told me she hated me and to go, get out of the house and go off to school. I remember feeling devastated. My fears of her hating me were becoming true. I was so broken that I hated the day I was born. I remember saying to God, “why, why was I born into this family. I wish I had never been born.” Sad I know. Around this time in my life, I was in a store and I saw a keychain with a witch on it. So I purchased it and I gave it to my mother and said, “This is who you are to me” and sang her a song called Witchy Woman. After I told her again saying, “This is who you are to me!” She said,”I know.” and proceeded to hang it on the knob of the kitchen cabinet. So there it stayed.
As I stated earlier, I don’t have a lot of memory of my childhood, but I remember feeling very dirty whenever my dad would hug me. As a little girl, I remember finding Playboy magazine’s under his bed on his side. For some reason, I always was able to relate to someone who was sexually abused. I only have glimpses of certain things and questions as to why I would feel so hated during those years. Before my dad passed away in 2010, I felt impressed by God to speak to my dad and released him from any torment he might be going through, from guilt of the past. I was so nervous, but I knew it was something I had to do. My dad had leukemia and meningitis to the point that it affected his brain. In the past, if I would have brought this up, he would have been on the defense and reacted angrily. Instead, he allowed me to share all my questions and concerns. I told him that God wanted me to come to him so he could be released of anything that may have taken place in the past that if anything did occur, I had forgiven him. It was the most loving and freeing time I had ever had with my dad. He had no such memories. I am sharing this to show the goodness God has to tend to the issues of our hearts. He took care of my father’s heart as well as mine. I watched God be faithful to His word in Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” My dad went to be with the Lord two weeks after my visit. Gods timing and ways are perfect. I have learned to trust and obey Him even when it’s scary.
At the age of ten, I was about to make my first communion. I always loved God. He placed within me a heart that loved Him and always wanted to help people despite what I was living through. The night before I was to make my first communion, I prayed that God would allow me to die in a car accident. I thought if I died on my communion day, then I would go straight to heaven and would not have to go to purgatory. My understanding was that people had to pray you out of purgatory; after all...my mother was a drunk and she hated me, while my dad only went to church on Christmas and Easter. In my mind, I would be stuck in purgatory forever and never make it to heaven. I prayed and prayed and was so disappointed when it did not happen.
Two years later, I am now twelve years old. My mom made the decision that she is going to take her life. She said that she had such a sense of peace in making this decision, and we were all better off without her. That day, God interrupted with His divine appointment. She was in a store that morning and she ran into a cousin of hers that just moved into the area we were living. Being polite, my mom invited her over for a cup of coffee. Her cousin had given her heart to the Lord and was a born-again Christian. She began to share with my mother about how much Jesus loved and cared for her and how He died to take away her sins and redeem her life. The whole time her cousin was talking, she thought she was crazy, while she knew the plan she had in her head to take her life. As her cousin was leaving, she said to my mom, “Marge, Jesus loves you. He truly does. Just give Him a try, ask Him into your heart and to forgive you your sins.”
That evening, my mother could not get out of her mind what her cousin shared with her earlier that day. She cried out to the Lord and said, “Ok Jesus, if you’re real like Alice says you’re real, I ask that you forgive me of all my sins and come live in my heart.” She began to feel a hand go over her mouth trying to suffocate her. During this struggle, she kept hearing her cousin’s voice in her mind saying, “say Jesus is Lord!” She began to scream in her head, “Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord!” At the end of the struggle, she saw in her mind’s eye a vision of Jesus with His arms wide open saying, “Marge, come to me. You’re my child.” The next day, my mom poured out all the alcohol we had in our house (we had a fully stocked bar) and threw away her cigarettes as well. My father thought my mother had a nervous breakdown and he was very angry. After all, that was a lot of money to throw down the drain. My mom’s old man (spirit) died that night and she became a new creation. The power of sin and death over my mother was destroyed that evening, through the blood of Jesus Christ. My mom went to her cousin’s house the next morning, banging on the door saying, “What did you do to me?” Her cousin began having bible studies with her, praying and taking her to church. One night after my mom got home from church, my father put my mother up against the wall and said, “It’s Jesus or me!” my mom said, “It’s Jesus” and he let go of her. So now we are going to check out this church my mother is going to, making sure she is not involved in a cult. My dad would say,”I was born a Catholic, I will die a Catholic.”
In July of 1974, a Friday evening, we visited the church my mother was attending on Tuesday’s and Friday’s. I was amazed by the love, joy and peace these people had. I wanted what these people had. I asked my mother if I could go to the altar and receive Jesus in my heart. At first, she said “no”, nervous of what my father might do. My father would not think twice about hitting someone if he felt like they were bothering him or his family. He grew up fighting people his whole life. I asked again and this time my mom said “yes.” As I went up, a young man asked me if I wanted to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I responded yes!
Well, my dad was furious. He went up to the altar to grab me away from these crazy people and when he went to grab me, I immediately got filled with the Holy Spirit and he fell. My father tried again twice to get me and each time he kept falling down. He would look around, but there was nobody there. God was trying to get his attention, and that He did. My father gave his heart to the Lord that evening as well. God is amazing.
The Lord answered my prayer that evening. When I was ten, I wanted to die and go to heaven, fearful of being in purgatory. Two years later, my old man (spirit) died when I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I was forgiven, redeemed and had the promise of eternal life. I no longer worried about not making it to heaven.
I continued to live in joy and happiness like I never experienced before. Things were so much more hopeful and peaceful. I would attend church every time the doors were opened. I was involved in Sunday school and went on to eventually teach the two-to-four year olds who attended. I was also, involved in a youth group and helped with VBS. Life was good.
Then at the magical age of fifteen, this young man liked me. I was so flattered. He was four years older than me and on the worship team. He asked me out to the church’s Valentine’s dinner. The only problem was, I wasn’t allowed to date until the age of sixteen and I was only fifteen and a half. So I did what any teenager would do; I pleaded my cause. What magically happens in six months? After all, I will be sixteen! He’s on the worship team! I wore them down and they gave in. This would be the beginning of compromise entering my life. Slowly he became my everything. I lived to please him. In April of 1980, in my senior year of high school and at the age of seventeen, I became pregnant. I was full of fear and wanted to marry him and have the baby. We were both terrified of what my parents might do. He said my parents would kill us. So the spirit of fear drove us to make the horrible decision to have an abortion. I truly wanted to be married and have this baby. While we drove up to the abortion clinic, there were people with signs outside and one especially, stood out to me, “Mommy, don’t kill your baby”. I was sick. I wanted to die. I wanted to run from this place and I really wanted to be married and have the baby, but fear had the loudest say. This so far, was the most horrifying experience of my life. I came out of that room so sick and hatred immediately filled my heart. I would not be the same person for many years. I still wanted to die. I struggled with thoughts of suicide. The only thing that kept me was the fear of going to hell. I went into a severe depression, where guilt and condemnation were always present within me. My father told my boyfriend that he was to stay away from me, that he did not know why his daughter was so depressed. This caused more hatred to fill my heart towards my parents. I told them I hated them for breaking us up. In my mind, the only way to make what we did right was to eventually be married. This is how my seventeen-year-old mind was processing everything at the time. The enemy had me believing so many lies. I felt as if I could never be forgiven. I murdered my baby.
I continued to spiral downward. I told no one of what I did. The only people who knew were my ex-boyfriend and me. I lived with shame, guilt, condemnation, self-hatred and offense towards my ex-boyfriend for a very long time. This secret seemed to be with me every moment of every day. It was my constant companion, a continual reminder of what a failure I was and that I didn’t deserve to be forgiven. The enemy had gained access of my thought life and I believed every lie he spoke. My heart became so calloused and hardened. I began to run from my thoughts by living for whatever gave me pleasure at the time. I wanted to fit in to this new world I was about to experience. The world of sinfulness. I began to drink, party, do drugs, go clubbing and do whatever I wanted to do. I hated myself. I wanted to hide from anything that had to do with the Lord. This continued for about seven years. The only problem was that God never stopped pursuing me. I couldn’t hide. I had a praying mom and I was continually convicted by the choices I was making. Psalms 139:7-8 & 11-12 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8.) If I make my bed in Sheol, behold You are there 11.) If I say, “surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me” 12.) even the darkness will not be dark to You, the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.”
I had no rest or peace. My parents were always praying for me. The Lord truly leaves the ninety-nine and goes after the one. At this time in my life, even this disturbed me. My parents would make me go to church and of course, God was always pursuing me, but I would choose to resist. There was a visiting evangelist this one Sunday and after he spoke, he had an altar call. Of course this altar call was for me, but I would not go forward, so he came to me. He said, “Jesus forgives you, now forgive yourself.” I thought if you only knew the extent of my sin, my secret, you would not be saying this to me. I murdered my baby; this is the most unforgivable sin in my mind. I could not receive what this man was speaking to me at this time in my life. My secret had me bound and truth could not enter in.
I grew tired of dating and the life I was living and I decided to pray to God, not believing He would want to even listen to me, but I prayed. I said, “Lord I am tired of dating. If you can hear me, let the next person I meet be the one I marry. I don’t care how long it takes or what he looks like, it can even be ten years from now, just let him be the one. Please, I’m tired.” The very next week, a client who went to the hair salon I worked at, asked if I wanted to go to a Fourth of July party. He was nice to talk to, but definitely not my type. I thought well, God totally did not hear my prayer but I had nothing else to do, so I went. In my rebellion I thought, my parents never like who I bring home...let me bring someone home they truly would not like. After all, I didn’t even like him. He was nice as a friend, but in no way was he boyfriend material. He was extremely wild. The stories I heard scared me. We began seeing each other more and more and before I knew it, we were dating. Then when I brought him home, my parent’s loved him! I said you have to be kidding me; I don’t even ‘like him - like him’. They said, “There is something in his eyes, he seems genuine.” About a month into our relationship, we slept together and I got pregnant. I told him I was pregnant and that I was having an abortion. I had already made plans and my girlfriend would be taking me. He said, “Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” I said, “yes” and I have already made the arrangements!” I did not even care what he thought. I told him, “I already had an abortion from my first boyfriend, and I am not ready to be a mom!” My heart was so cold, calloused, hard and selfish. My secret was out. He was the only one I had ever told about my first abortion. I went on to have that abortion and we never spoke of it again until...well, I will get to that a little later in my story.
Things began to get serious between my boyfriend and me. He wanted to get married. We were living a partying lifestyle, drinking, smoking pot, snorting cocaine. It was crazy to say the least. All of this while knowing what God wanted. Even though I was living like this in my mind, I could not marry anyone who did not receive Jesus as their Savior. Crazy I know, so I took him to church to see what he would do. I knew in my mind if he did not believe the same way I did, I could never marry him. He was the type of person that would never do something he didn’t want to do. So I knew if he were to receive Jesus as his savior, it would be because he truly wanted to. Well, you will never believe this, that traveling evangelist was at my church again and had an altar call for Salvation. I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Would you like to leave”. He said, “No, I want to check this out. I want to go up front.” I went with him and he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. The evangelist said to him, “Is this your wife?” and he said, “No”. The evangelist nodded his head and said, “someday!”. John drove home that evening and said this was better than any high that he ever had. God had answered my prayer that one night when I said I was tired of dating. John and I have been married for 32 years. We have three children and four grandchildren at this current time.
I would love to say that we immediately served the Lord after John received Christ, but that was not the case. We continued living a compromised lifestyle. Got engaged, got married and four months into the marriage, I was pregnant with our first daughter. We discussed living right before the Lord, now that we would be parents. We had a friend that would come by every Saturday and bring over cocaine. This was my husband’s drug of choice. This one Saturday evening he was over, I went into the bathroom and began to pray. I said, “Lord, we promised to stop this and live for you. Please show up. Let us never do this again. Deliver us.” I started praying in tongues in the bathroom. The gifts of God are truly irrevocable. I went out into the living room where they were waiting for me and I was filled with words of knowledge. Our friend could not open his hand to put the cocaine out on the table. He was flipping out as God was speaking through me. He kept saying, “Man, I can’t open my hand.” John was getting very angry saying, “Put it out!” and his friend kept saying, “I can’t”. Then John told me to “SHUT UP”. Filled with the Spirit, I remember saying, “Satan would love for me to shut up, but I am going to speak what the Spirit tells me to speak”. I continued to speak whatever the Spirit had me speak. At the end of this encounter, John’s friend opened his hand to put the cocaine out and it was all melted. John got delivered that night and we have never touched any drug again after that evening, nor returned to a compromised lifestyle. His friend came to church with us the next day, as he was blown away at the events that took place that evening.
Our journey with God began after that evening. I had asked God to forgive me of my sins, but forgiving me was a lot more difficult. Now would begin a process of many strongholds breaking off my life and my mind being transformed, renewed through the word of God and confession of my sins. I no longer kept what I was struggling with a secret. When we moved to Pennsylvania and got involved in a church, around the age of twenty-eight, we were asked to become youth leaders. My conscious would not let me be free to do ministry with the guilt I carried around of having two abortions. I confessed to my pastor what I had done. He led me in prayer and gave me the scripture in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I read it and thought it was good. It wasn’t until I meditated on what it truly said, that I was set free from the guilt of my sin. It said, “ALL”, unrighteousness, not some. The word ALL jumped off the page. All means all, not some. I began to reason in my mind. If God can forgive and cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness, how can I not forgive myself? Am I greater than God? No, of course not. So I prayed and said to the Lord, “Jesus thank you for forgiving me of ALL unrighteousness. No matter how big the sin, I choose to forgive me! Enable me to love and serve you all the days of my life. I did not deserve this grace and mercy, but I receive it in full measure. I Love you with all my being and I am eternally grateful to you.” It is the truth of God’s Word that sets us free from our own reasoning and the lies of the enemy. God is truth and there is no lie found in Him.
At around the age of thirty-six, John and I went through a program called Cleansing Stream and that was the first time we ever spoke of the abortion we had when we only dated for a month. God brought much healing into our lives at this time.
James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3.) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4.) And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I have lived through many trials throughout my lifetime. There would be too many to write about in this testimony. From 2008-2015 John and I walked through a very difficult season in our lives. During this time, I chose to rise up in my Spirit man and declare the goodness of God in the land of the living, regardless of the circumstances or outcome. John and I lost our home of twenty-five years due to the economy affecting his business. I was in a car accident in 2012, with no health insurance and during that time, lost four family members to cancer and illness. Out of this, God would have me write a personalized devotional, “Being Immersed in the Father’s Love” in obedience to the Lord’s directive. This is His heartbeat to all His Children. It is a personalized devotional that Immerses you into His kind intentions towards you through His word, no matter what the circumstances. Whether you know the Lord for one day, one hundred years, or not at all, this devotional will touch your life in an intimate way. He is a good, good Father! He orders our steps. The good steps and the hard steps. Receive His love, His truth, and His promises. May every lie be broken and cast down in Jesus name! Amen!
"Come and be immersed in the overwhelming love of God the Father. Encounter His desire and the kind intentions that He has for you through the personalizing of scripture presented in this devotional. Picture a waterfall of God's promises washing over you and fully immersing you through the faithfulness of what He has promised to you in His word. Where negative mind-sets and perspectives will be washed away and replaced with great worth and value. Experience how you will be enabled to have victory in your life even while encountering difficult trials and circumstances. Your trust and faith will increase as you engage with Him. He is desiring you and is willing to give you all that He has promised. Come and encounter the goodness of God the Father and allow Him to lavish His love upon you. All you need to do is be willing to receive what He is providing. He is trustworthy and will not disappoint! Come and be immersed!"
Marty Breeden had a near-death experience that brought him into the Lord's presence. While in heaven, he received an urgent message for the Church. Join Marty, as he shares his amazing testimony called CODE BLUE.
"...while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed." (Titus 2:13)
At one time, as a young man of 17, I had given my heart to the Lord with great passion. As in many cases though—I got busy with life. In 2015, at 51 years of age, those years of experiencing the zeal of the Lord seemed far away. I had no idea how the Lord was about to sternly, yet lovingly, bring me back to Himself.
On July 17, 2015, as a result of my going into acute respiratory failure, I went “Code Blue”. I would go “Code Blue” yet again within 48 hours. When I “coded” the first time, I immediately left my body, and I found myself standing in what I sensed was the presence of the Lord. Thinking back now, there were a million things He could have said to me, and what He did say, I was certainly not expecting. With an imminence and urgency beyond description, He said, “MY CHURCH DOES NOT REALLY BELIEVE THAT I’M COMING BACK SOON!” He repeated this two more times, as I stood there in stunned silence. Each time, it was with more volume and more passion. I finally said, waving my hands like a school child to get His attention, “Lord, yes we do believe you’re coming back soon. We sing about it, pray about it, study about it; yes, Lord, we do believe that you’re coming back soon!” He then said, “MY Church does not really believe I’m coming back soon, for if they did, they would not be living as they are!” Then, I listened as the timbre of His voice changed. He said, “I AM coming back soon, and my Church is not ready…Now, go back and tell the things that you have heard, and know that your message will not be received!”
I was in the CCU for three weeks, the majority of that on a respirator with a tracheotomy. I survived and would go to the University of Virginia Transitional Care Facility to learn how to walk, talk, and swallow again. It was there, that I had a second encounter with the Lord on August 14, 2015. In a night vision, He spoke to me these words: “My church should be living as though this is the TWO-MINUTE WARNING!” Being a huge football fan, I knew exactly what He was saying: That we should be working with absolute purpose and passion, because in that Two-Minute Warning, those last 120 seconds can determine victory or defeat. It’s an all-out rush to do all you can to win the game, to put up a strong offense, and—if you’re winning—to keep the opposition from gaining ground or scoring points. As the Apostle Paul said, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Those encounters changed my life, and as I lovingly warn the Church, I see this message changing the hearts of others as well. I now go to the highways and byways and compel men to come in. I often pray that in the time I have remaining that I will live a life that will make sense in the light of eternity. With all that is within me, I know He is coming, and I believe His blessed return to be nearer than most would believe. Get your houses in order; ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and leading as to what you are supposed to be doing in this late; late hour. Surely, our “redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28 KJV).
David L. Winters, is a Christian author of non-fiction and fiction books who nearly lost his decorated federal career due to fear and anxiety. Though a believer---paralyzing anxiety, led to panic attacks and confusion. God eventually called him to a five-month sabbatical that changed his life, and has helped thousands who read about his journey in an award-winning book Sabbatical of the Mind: The Journey from Anxiety to Peace.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)
David L. Winters
Although, I accepted Christ in adolescence, the wounds of my childhood left indelible marks on my heart. My motto as a government procurement manager: "Never let them see you sweat". Rising quickly through the civilian ranks of the Navy, I reached the highest general schedule grade at age 34. On the outside, I’m told that I looked confident, intelligent and funny.
On the inside, I felt driven to accomplish as much as possible. Though ambitious and eager, fear became my constant companion. Frankly, I didn’t know the basis for most of my fears. High places, including flying in airplanes could be overcome with a pill, and carrying my Bible with me on the trip. Fear of public speaking could be managed with intense preparation and to-die-for graphics in my presentation slide deck.
Although, a strong man on the outside, the pain inside became almost unbearable. In my forties, panic attacks appeared out of nowhere. Now working in Washington, D.C. for the Department of Homeland Security, my daily routine included going in and out of controlled facilities. Keycards, elevator control cards, physical keys and microchips all had a part in my daily life. One day, I had to fight with myself to get on an elevator to go to an important meeting.
At the large conference room table, the meeting had just begun when I thought I was having a heart attack. To make a long story short, I scared everyone to death and found out it wasn’t a heart attack. God had a plan to change my life.
Over several months, He showed me that I must quit my job and spend time with Him in prayer. Everyone thought, that I was even crazier when I quit my secure government job just six years short of retirement to take a sabbatical. I didn’t know how long it would last or what would happen. I just quit working and started spending all day, every day with God and occasionally a few close friends.
The result was an amazing transformation! By reading the Bible, praying and studying more than twenty books, God relieved me of my underlying fears and gave me confidence to return to work. I learned that the purpose of my life was not to get ahead, but to serve my employees, customers, supervisors and co-workers. When I started spreading love, fear fled the scene.
After completing the last five-plus years of my career, I retired and made another dream come true by becoming a Christian author. Sabbatical of the Mind: The Journey from Anxiety to Peace became my first book and tells the whole story of recovery from paralyzing fear. Although my author journey has only begun, I can now trust God that whatever lies ahead, He is in charge.
An inspirational story of a father remembering his son's suffering as he battles brain cancer.
“God is our refuge and
strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
**This testimony has been prayerfully written by Joseph Bono—(Jordan’s
In the early-morning,
my heart was broken. I was in a room alone with my son Jordan, watching him
suffer the aftereffects of brain surgery. Just days earlier, he had been
diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. During those terrible hours at the
hospital, I sensed that God was teaching me an incredible lesson.
I’m Jordan’s dad, Joe,
and I want to share with you how God changed my perspective about a suffering
son. A few hours after Jordan’s surgery, I wrote down my thoughts, expressed my
emotions and poured out my heartache about what my son was going through. Here
is a summary of what God taught me.
The Suffering of My Son
As a father, I felt helpless. Jordan was in so much pain. Hearing him cry out and seeing him in such agony was heartbreaking. Jordan’s eyesight was temporarily darkened, and he was experiencing short-term paralysis on his right side. I thought he didn’t know I was there, until he called out “Daddy.” When Jordan felt my touch and heard my voice, he said—“I just want you here.” Later, I wrote: “The anguish that I have seen my son in tonight has broken my heart. I have no strength. It is not in me. I must rely upon God.” Psalm 46:1 says—“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
The Suffering of God’s Son
In the anguish of those
hours spent at the hospital, God reminded me about how much suffering His Son,
Jesus Christ, endured as He hung on the cross. That evening, I began to
understand the pain that Jesus suffered, yet Jordan’s pain in no way compared
to what Jesus went through. Even so, this one thing I knew:the pain my son was suffering was necessary for his healing, and it was essential for his body to be restored to health. God’s Word, the Bible, explains that the pain of God’s Son was necessary for the healing and restoration of our souls. Isaiah 53:5 says—“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Who was this Jesus and
why did He have to suffer? The Bible clearly states that Jesus is God himself
(see John 1:1-14). God willingly humbled himself to enter the world in human
form and be born of a virgin. He came to earth to be the perfect and only
sacrifice for the sins of the world. That means He came for you and for me
personally. Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life, something no other human
being has ever achieved. He was nailed to a cross to suffer a horrible death,
but then he rose again on the third day. Why? He did this to provide
forgiveness for the sins of the whole world. The Bible explains in Romans
3:23—“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…”. Just a few
chapters later, in Romans 6:23, the Bible tells us that—“For the wages of sin
is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Salvation
through Jesus Christ is the greatest gift ever to be offered and the best gift
you could ever receive.
A Place of Rest
Watching my son suffer
was the deepest heartache of my life. But God used the events of that evening
while Jordan was in recovery to prepare me for the most profound victory of my
life. What has been your deepest heartache? Can you say that it has brought victory
into your life? God desires for you to have victory! Your trial may be
different from mine, but it still brings you anguish and pain. God offers you
rest from your trouble and peace for your pain. These are provided through the
pages of the Scriptures, the Bible. Matthew 11:28 says—“Come to me, all you who
are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Victory, peace and rest begin with a call—your call to God for salvation, for the healing and cleansing of your soul. Just as Jordan called out to me “Daddy—I just want you here,” God wants you to call out to Him with the faith of a child who longs to have his father by his side. That call can be heard only through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Romans 10:13 assures us, for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” If that is your heart’s desire, you can apply this truth of the Bible to your life right now. You can call on God. The first step is to pray a simple yet sincere prayer. By trusting the Lord, you can know that when you die, you will have a home in Heaven.
Jordan received the
gifts of salvation that God offers you today. At age 5, he knew he was a
sinner, and he humbled himself. He realized he needed the forgiveness that only
Jesus Christ has the power to give. Jordan’s mom and I had the privilege of
leading Jordan to his Lord. Just one year and eight days after his initial
diagnosis of brain cancer, Jordan was instantly healed as he went home to
Heaven to be with his Lord. People ask us how we deal with the loss of our son.
Although, we dearly miss him, my response is, “You can’t lose something if you
know where it is. We know where Jordan is, and one day we will see him again in
My wife, Michelle, and I sincerely desire to minister to those who are hurting. If our testimony has made an impact on your life in any way, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a ministry of
tears, but each time God chooses to use our tears of sorrow—He turns them into
tears of joy. God does not waste trails that He brings into our lives. We want
to encourage you by sharing what God has done for us. He promises to comfort
and sustain all who love Him (see Romans 8:28). God bless you. Remember a great
burden offers an opportunity for great victory!
Pray This Prayer for Salvation
Dear God, I know that I
am a sinner, I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again on the
third day. Right now, this very hour, I place my faith in Jesus Christ and what
He did for me on the cross. Dear Jesus, please forgive me of my sins. Come into
my heart and life as my personal Savior. Help me from this day forward to live
a life that honors you. Thank you for saving me and giving me a home in Heaven.
If you have sincerely
prayed this prayer, you have just made the best decision of your life.
Congratulations! Now it’s important for you to go on from here. The Christian
life is not just saying a quick prayer and then continuing to live the same way
as before. Here are four important steps to follow as you grow in your
Christian life and in your new walk with God.
Step #1: Get
a Bible. Begin in the New Testament with the book of John, and read a least one
chapter each day.
Step #2: Find a church that teaches and loves the Bible, and begin attending faithfully.
(talk) to God daily. Ask Him to help you find a church that He wants you to
become involved in—one that will guide you in your spiritual growth (see
Step #4: Tell others about your decision. Share how God has shown you the way to get to Heaven (see