Joel is a sinner saved by God's grace. He grew up in a broken home and turned to drugs to fill the hole in his heart for 28 years. In Teen Challenge, he came to know the love of Jesus, which transformed his life forever!
Men's Ministry Director at The Potter's House Addiction Recovery & Discipleship Ministry
"The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
Hello, my name is Joel. I am a sinner saved by grace, God’s grace, that is. I am a man who has experienced deliverance from the grasp of darkness. And today, I walk upright in the light of Christ.
My parents divorced when I was pretty young. My sister and I continued to live with my mother. After my father’s departure, my mother succumbed to mental illness. Unfortunately, this left my sister and me to “raise ourselves.” The torment of loneliness, abandonment, and uncertainty permeated my innocent heart and soul. At the age of eight, I had become disillusioned with this life and the love it was offering. It was only a matter of time before I reached for the hand of Satan in the form of a marijuana cigarette, and this marked the beginning of my near-fatal sin-induced demise. After the succession of poor decisions, misbelief, and compromises, I became a full-time crack addict that lasted twenty-eight years. Eventually, it was painstaking to acknowledge my skeletal reflection in the mirror, a mirror that so bitterly mocked my bondage. And then, finally came God’s miraculous light. My sister had been delivered in Christ for several years, bringing the Teen Challenge program into my seemingly hopeless world of degradation. And just in time, because thoughts of suicide were now becoming the center of my attention.
On June 16, 2003, I entered the Teen Challenge induction center in the heart of Newark, New Jersey’s urban jungle. I did not come to search out Christ’s heart but only to attempt to stay clean for a year. But much to my exceeding joy, I can say now that Jesus was there waiting to search my heart. I did not know it then, but I realize now that God had given me the so precious and necessary gift of brokenness! He had prepared in me a receptive heart to receive this life’s only truth: His Son finally. Little did I know that the hole in my heart was Christ-shaped all along.
I gave my life to the Lord in a public confession only ten days after arriving at the center. I graduated from the induction center and began a more exhaustive pursuit of God’s heart. Here at that training center in Rehrersburg, Pennsylvania, I fell in love with Jesus. I then began to study the scriptures and learn of God’s promises. I found that my faith in His Word and in His love had the power to “repay me for the years the locusts have eaten.” (Joel 2:25) I found that He had a plan for my life, “to give me a hope and a future”. (Jeremiah 29:11) Praise God! He said I was a new creation in Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:17) At last, I had finally found TRUTH!
Then it began--God restored the trust I had betrayed among my loved ones. He restored my wonderful mother’s mind and our once strained relationship. He renewed my heart and transformed my entire perspective of life and my fellow man. He gave me His love, the only love that cannot disappoint or fade away. He gave me a calling and taught me the meaning of life--To love and serve God. As a result of my devotion, He has continued to bless my socks off to this very day!
Again my name is Joel, a sinner turned saint saved by loving grace. May God bless you!
Joel is a Men's Ministry Director at The Potter's House which is a safe place for men & women to recover from addiction, to experience Christ-centered discipleship, and embrace their God-given destiny for their lives. For more information please visit their ministry site at https://thepottershouselancaster.com/
Purchase Joel's book by clicking on the book cover below.
Joel's testimony from the VictoryEmbraced book was featured on CBN's The 700 Club
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.
Brian and Shawn Chrisagis are identical twins that were born three months premature. They were in incubators for the first two years of their lives after tests revealed they had life-threatening allergies. For the next five years, they did not leave their home. When they were seven, their mother learned about the power of prayer in which she was not only healed from a debilitating heart condition, but they were instantly healed and set free.
“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.” Isaiah 53:5
Brian and Shawn Chrisagis were born with life-threatening allergies to the sun, grass, most foods, and clothing. The doctors said they wouldn't live past the age of two, but now—they are walking, talking miracles. The twins needed to be in an incubator for the first two years of their lives. When their parents brought them home from the hospital, the windows of their house were covered with bricks to protect them from the sun. The Chrisagis Brothers' early years were marked by a series of "tests and errors" from doctors in the United States, Italy, France, and Germany. It was discovered that the only foods they could eat were soybeans, milk, sardines, rice cakes, and peanut butter. Their mother (Marguerite Chrisagis) and grandmother (Carmie 'Nana' DeFilippo) made all their clothing out of the few fabrics their skin didn't react to. If they had to go outside, they would have to cover up with hats and blankets–if the sun touched their skin, they could die and have to be rushed to the hospital.
When Brian and Shawn were seven years old, their mother, Marguerite, suffered from a severe heart condition and became confined to a wheelchair and needed oxygen. One day, Marguerite went to a healing service at a Full Gospel Businessmen's meeting. After the sermon, she went forward to ask the preacher, Father Michael Scanlan, to pray for her sons' healing, but he insisted on praying for her. Father Scanlan told her that as a parent, she had the authority in her home to stand in the gap and pray for her sons' healing and deliverance. That is when Marguerite learned how to break the bloodline of sickness, death, and disease over her home and loved ones.
After Father Scanlan prayed for Marguerite, she got out of her wheelchair, took off her oxygen, ran around, and wasn't winded. When she got home, she had the whole family pray over her sick children. Marguerite' felt an evil spirit push her onto the floor,' and the twins were instantly healed from all sickness! Marguerite asked the boys to name anything they would like to eat in the act of faith. "Hot fudge sundae!" was the unanimous response, and the family went out to a nearby restaurant for the boys' first ice cream.
The entire week, the family went to the doctors, who "redid the tests and x-rays about five times" before they finally confirmed the twins were entirely well and their mother had "a new heart." Their doctor became a born-again believer that day, marking the beginning of the twins' powerful ministry. Today, Brian and Shawn are ordained ministers who have devoted their lives to sharing their powerful testimony and God's love through their music and creativity.
The Chrisagis Brothers have become staples for their wholesome family entertainment and fun through the years. To check out Brian and Shawn's biography and career highlights, please visit their ministry site, The Chrisagis Brothers Ministries & Productions
If you are interested in purchasing artwork from Brian & Shawn please message them on their ArtBy Chrisagis Facebook page. Artwork is $50 plus shipping @ $8---each picture is 8 and a half by 11--larger sizes are 11 by 17 for $70 plus shipping. Proceeds help support this wonderful ministry!
Country Music Divas and two Legends /Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton as caricatures singing their hit song Does He Love You. Shawn drew Reba & Brian drew Dolly.
A beautiful book about the Chrisagis Brothers Mother, Marguerite "Margie" Chrisagis, and their family called A Legacy of Love--by Debbie Fuller (Author), The Chrisagis Brothers (Contributor)-- Click on the book cover to order on Amazon
Special tribute song for Brian & Shawn's Mother Marguerite "Margie" Chrisagis called If Heaven Had a Phone
“Through the life of Muhammad, I found DEATH.
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I found LIFE!”
Sonia Azam"When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me." (Psalm 27:10)
“Through the life of Muhammad, I found DEATH. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I found LIFE!”
I was Muslim–born in Islam and in a Pakistani family in Britain. The Lord Jesus began a good work in me and I know He's going to complete it until the day He returns! When I was a young Muslim–I used to read the Quran quite a lot. My dad taught me to read the Quran in Quranic Arabic when I was young which is very common with Muslim families. Parents are very important in teaching children everything they know about the religion to grow in the faith. From the very young age of five, it was my dad who taught me how to read certain verses in the Quran. We had to memorize the verses in the Quran in Arabic, not in English. Muslims pray and memorize scriptures in the Arabic and by the time I was in my late teens and early 20’s–I was reading the Quran, but it would puzzle me because I wasn't able to comprehend exactly what I was reading and I found out that this is often the case with many Muslims. We can memorize all the verses from memory–we have volumes of Arabic prayers and scriptures that we have memorized, but we don’t know what we are talking about because we didn't understand the language that it was being taught. It’s like learning the Bible in all Hebrew, but we didn’t understand the meaning because it's not our dialect. My parents speak or adore Punjabi, but mostly at home we learned and spoke English. There was just something about the Quran that I didn't understand because it was in Arabic. Eventually, I got to read the Quran in English because my dad gave me an English translation and it was in this, that the Lord Jesus began to work behind the scenes. God knows when one’s soul is longing to seek the truth. He's so faithful! The more time I spent reading the Quran in English, the more I would come across verses about Jesus. I began to compare and contrast verses in the Koran about Muhammad and Jesus and would question why He died on the cross. I didn't understand–it didn't make any sense. I couldn’t find any answers in the Quran regarding this person Jesus. He seemed so different–so special–really special–even in the Quran there's a testimony of Jesus! The true living God began to reveal Himself to me by sowing seeds in my heart.
I also thank God and grateful for street preachers on the train and London public transports for it was through these faithful preachers of the gospel, that would hand out tracts so I can learn more about Jesus. Honestly, if it weren't for them I don't know how long it would have taken the Lord to get me to believe in Him. This all began to happen at the same time when I was seeking the Lord and trying to understand Allah, Mohammed, and Isa. I was searching for the truth.
A little more about my family background–I was the eldest of four kids–a tomboy, and considered the rebel –the scapegoat–the black sheep. It was in my 20’s that I started seeking God in my heart. I wasn't a religious Muslim girl–I was spiritual you could say and trying to find out who Jesus was. Why was He so different than Mohammed? I would keep the amazing little gospel tracks that I received on the street and the trains, and I would keep them secret and safe from my family because in those tracks there were scriptures about why Jesus came and died on the cross. Then, I would think–the Quran says He didn't die on the cross, but Christians say He did, so to me, it was a contradiction.
Later on, I found out that historically it’s a proven fact that Jesus did die on the cross for our sins, but at this early stage of sorting things out, I had a lot of questions. I have a very inquisitive mind and I was very curious. At the time, of putting the truth together, I felt that I had no theological understanding because I wasn't very good with religion in that I didn't understand anything about Christianity or Islam. Everything I learned was from the Quran. Some of the things that the Koran shares about Jesus stood out to me because it says that Jesus is a Spirit of God and He's the Word of God. The Quran also says that the Word was in Jesus and He did lots of miracles. I learned that Jesus had a lot of power. Again, I concluded that there was something really special about Him and I desired to know more. It was because of the gospel tracks that I received that I learned even more truth. Keep in mind, that I still didn’t have a Bible and back then, the internet wasn’t a big thing to look information up as it was 2001. So, I would read the scripture verses in the tracks and compare them to the Quran. I also tried to talk to my god at the time Allah, but he was so distant and all I saw was blackness. I even began to question why Muslims say they worship one God but pray faithfully bowing down before a rock like a star in the Kaaba. This was something that never sat right with me even as a Muslim–I was very hesitant to learn about the prayer because there is just something about the Kaaba–the black shrine in Mecca because remember, that's their prayer point–the focal point for all Islamic prayers facing the Kaaba (black stone) in Mecca. I would see the picture of the Kaaba all the time on the prayer mat in my dad's room where he would pray and it would freak me out a little bit. I used to have a lot of problems with fear and I knew the spirit of fear was following me for many years. As a little girl, I never liked being in the dark and for some reason when verses of Jesus would pop up, it would do something in my heart and I wanted to know so much more about Him, but I wouldn’t dare get a Bible–it didn’t even cross my mind. Eventually, what happened was I got to the stage where I began to believe the reason why Jesus died on the cross and that He was the Lamb of God–He was sacrificed and He offered Himself up to die for all humanity's sins in the world. As a Muslim, I understood what sacrifice meant because of the animal sacrifices that are done when celebrating two different types of Eid’s. One of them is where they would commemorate Abraham offering Ishmael, not Isaac. Remember Muslims believe that they are the chosen people not from the Isaac bloodline they believe it is from Ishmael. So when I came across the scriptures about Jesus dying for the sins of the world and He was the Lamb of God–it began to make so much sense to me and the Lord was giving me understanding. Again this is without having a Bible and through having a few gospel tracts that I would keep safe by hiding them in my briefcase. In the next few months, I came to believe the Good News that Jesus Christ was God who came in the flesh–the Word of God because I had that testimony from Islam that He’s a Spirit of God.
Then one day around 3 am or 4 am, I waited for everyone to be sound asleep and I got out of my bed to kneel and talk with the Heavenly Father. It was there, that I surrendered to Jesus as I remember saying to Him…“Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of your Son Jesus who became a sacrifice for my sins…I'm so sorry, please forgive me…help me and my family to see you and help us to know who you are.” It was at that point, that I crossed the line from being a Muslim girl to believing in Jesus—a breaking point. It seems cliché, but I’m telling you that I received the peace of God from that day onward. His Holy Spirit came and He started to live in my heart—I know it because it was right after this I desired to get a Bible and read what Jesus wrote.
In deciding to follow Jesus, I had no idea how bad my Muslim family would take it, so I kept it a secret for five or six months. My baptism happened months later. I end up doing some temporary work in my employment for extra cash. Bear in mind that I'm still living with my mom and dad and siblings while keeping Jesus a secret until the day came when I got this job, and I'm supposed to be helping the local community Town Hall. It was the general elections in the United Kingdom, and I was helping them with the ballots. It's the town in London called East Town. It’s still there and on my lunch break, I would confess to others that Jesus is Lord. I had no trouble with it and I knew He was God and eventually He would work it out–He would tell my family about Himself and would save my mom and dad. I had it all worked out in my brain. Well, during my lunch period one day there was a Pentecostal gathering of Colombian Christians in the town hall in the venue where I was working. I went into the main hall because I was curious and I peeped in as they were singing songs in Spanish or in the Colombian language—I wasn't sure, but I just had a good feeling about it so I walked in and they were so excited they thought I was Colombian, so they said to come on in. I thought they were celebrating a marriage or something, and then one of the girls by the name of Angelica came over and asked me if I was a Christian. I stumbled for my words—looked over my shoulders and whispered “yes I am”. She then asked if I would like to come in and if I had a Bible with me. I told her that I don't have a Bible, and I'm actually on my lunch break—I was making all these excuses because I got nervous as I was still keeping it a secret. She said to me to come over as she went and grabbed a Bible and gave it to me. I wish I could rewind and see this moment in history. I just grabbed the Bible and thanked her so much. After, I just wanted to run off and sneak it in my handbag, but I stayed in the service. Then the pastor or preacher began what we call an altar call for people to come up front and give their lives to Jesus. I saw one person than another walking up to the front to surrender their life to Jesus. I thought to myself that I wanted to do this because I knew I should make a public confession. Later on, when I got into reading the Gospels I learned Jesus said that if we deny Him before men He’ll deny us before His Father, but if we confess Him before men He’ll confess us before the Father. (Matthew 10:32-33) So I waited a few minutes for people to do their thing and I knew that I wanted to surrender my life to Christ. I was nervous doing it because again, I’m in a Muslim family and still considered Muslim and I knew if anyone was to see me there would be hell to pay, but I did it anyway because I felt that I was in a safe environment and I knew that God had to set this thing up for me. After all, He even had a stranger give me a Bible. There is no such thing as a secret believer in Christianity—we must boldly confess Jesus Christ—we must deny all false religions—deny idolatry—and publicly confess that there is only one God—there is only one name and that name is Jesus Christ. We must come to the place where we do this boldly and unashamedly. At the time, I was still very timid and nervous about this whole thing because I was keeping Jesus a secret, but I will never forget that it was a Saturday on June 2nd, 2001, that I gave my life to Jesus. After this, I was so hungry to read the Bible. I started reading the Bible from Genesis. I have heard that most people when they come to Jesus go to the Gospels or to the book of John, but I didn't have anyone to help me or say start here or go there, so I just figured the best way to start a book is in the beginning. I read the whole Old Testament in a couple of months and then began the New Testament. In between, I would go back to the Old Testament to check things out. I found the Bible fascinating and I was getting so many answers to my questions from why Adam and Eve were created and what the deal was with Satan because the Islamic view of the devil in the early stages of creation is peculiar and made no sense.
So when I was reading Genesis I went over to the books of the law and I understood a lot from all the books of the law which is Deuteronomy and Leviticus. During this time, I also discovered Christian cable TV and would watch some in the early hours while my parents were sleeping. I used to love Derek Prince's teachings and I learned so much from him early on in my walk with the Lord. I am so in love with Jesus it’s like fire as Jeremiah says His Word is like a fire—How can I hide it? How can I keep it a secret? I can’t! I would write love letters to my Heavenly Father and little poems of prayers and keep them in my bedroom. I didn't know how to express all this love that He was giving me—I didn’t know how to express all this love He was giving me especially while still living in a Muslim household. As some time went by, my mom noticed that I wouldn’t wake up early for Ramadan to fast, and then eventually, she found my prayers that I wrote to my Heavenly Father and saw my Bible that fell out of my handbag.
Once my family found out, everything began to happen quickly. One day my mom picked me up from the town hall where I worked and while we were driving home she began to ask me…What do the letters mean that she found? Who was my Heavenly Father? And, then she said that you’re not even fasting. I was really quiet and she started to get very aggressive and angry. This is how the demonic works—it wasn't my mother it was demons—Demons in my mom getting irritated with me. She said you're not even admitting and denying it! We do not call Allah our Heavenly Father and Jesus is not a Son of God! She was beating me as she was driving the car and then said…“You better think this through before you come home today—I'm going to drop you off and tell your father so you better reconsider because he’s not going to be happy! I got really scared but knew that I was going to have to say what I believe. At the time, I was still with my ex-boyfriend and he wasn't supportive or seeing the transformation going on in my life. In fact, he slapped me on the face for believing in Jesus. I learned that you could be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but Jesus Christ will always pull you out. Even though I was considered the scapegoat and black sheep in my family—the taunting increased. When I got home my dad confronted me and asked if it was true what my mom was telling him? Surprisingly, it was my mom that was more aggressive with me than my dad and after my father and I talked—my mom ramped up the attacks a lot against me in which she began to get all the relatives to come over to try to talk sense into me and interrogate me. Remember, I was only just beginning to read the Bible for myself and trying to understand the history where Jesus came from—I was very young in the faith not baptized yet—my family was coming over and putting me in the hot seat and asking me so many questions intimidating me. I would tell them that He’s the God of Abraham. They didn’t like what I said, but I shared with them what it says in John 10:1-11—“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
I then remembered that I read that same terminology before in the Old Testament about the Good Shepherd in Ezekiel 34, so I knew He was Jesus there's no doubt about it it's all over the book and that He is the God of the Old Testament—It has always been Jesus! Ezekiel 34:11-16 says—‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, [b]in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.” Jeremiah 23 speaks about the Shepherd as well.
So this is why I was trying to tell my family that He’s the God that has created everything. I said to my dad…“Don’t you agree because in the Quran it says that Jesus is coming to judge the world?” I continued …“Muhammad isn’t coming to judge the world—He’s dead.” This is when I would get slapped on my face. Jesus is alive—He’s the resurrected God—It’s so amazing, and the truth of the Gospel shakes everything you know. I was only beginning to learn, but He was going to show me much more.
So anyway, I dealt with my family members coming over for awhile, but then it culminated to the point where I was asked to leave the family home because they couldn't accept that I have become a Christian and an apostate in Islam. It was very embarrassing for the whole family, and my dad and mom would say that I was the only one who has ever done anything like this and it was the worst thing that could have happened to the family and it would have been better if they found out that I was doing drugs or something else because then they could contain and help me, but the fact that I've denied Islam and in doing this—I denied my family. They took it very personally. I shared with my dad, that he said that our faith lies in the roots of Abraham and in that regard, Jesus is the same God. I wanted my dad to read it for himself, but it was difficult. I knew that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were one and I knew in my heart, that He was with me all along. It wasn't possible that Jesus could come and be physically present with me, but by His Spirit He's with me—He’s with us. His Spirit of truth gave me comfort in the midst of things becoming so heated with my family. I received and believed the truth of what the Bible says and found myself not knowing where I was to go for I had nowhere to go.
The Lord would speak to me through scriptures, and as I would be asking Him what to do, I would turn to a page in the Bible that would speak to me and would receive help from Him. How many times does this happen to us when we’re praying about something and we open the Word and boom—the Lord is talking to you? Many times! One of the scriptures I turned to was from Matthew 10:21-23 and it says…“Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another.” So I would read all these beautiful things that were encouraging to me, and God would speak to me through them that everything was going to be alright and I was doing the right thing. I learned that Jesus taught us that if we follow Him, people would reject and betray us, and if you’re going to deny Islam as I did and stick up for the name of Jesus, you can even lose your parents—You can lose everything. God tells this in His Word so we would be prepared.
By the time Christmas Eve came of 2001, my parents called the emergency doctor to come and visit me because of course, they thought I was losing my mind. They told the doctor that I was hearing voices and talking nonsense. I told him that I was absolutely fine and it was just a domestic situation at home with a disagreement we were having. The doctor said if I needed any further help to call the special number that he gave me. If I happened to be upstairs while my relatives visited, I would have to go downstairs and sit and listen to all the stuff they were saying to me in trying to talk sense into me. They would even say I would burn in hell and that I have become an apostate or a kafir and I should be dead by being stoned to death. I cried a lot because at the time, I didn’t understand why they were so hostile toward me. I was naive and I really came to Jesus with a childlike faith. I believed with my whole heart that Jesus was Lord—that He was alive and not dead because He came back to life, and that He was coming back again. The Quran actually says that Jesus will be coming back to judge the earth as well. I would rather follow a man that is alive than dead! God gave me some boldness even in the early days and I would speak what He was putting on my heart.
It was Christmas Day and my mom, dad, sisters, and brother were home. My parents wanted me to leave the family home, but I had nowhere to go and I didn’t have any Christian friends as of yet. My younger sister, who was around 12 years old at the time, shared my room and would often see my parents smacking and beating me so she was worried and would get really upset and cry at times not knowing what was going on. I would try to comfort her by letting her know that everything was going to be OK. My brother was in his early teens and didn't understand.
When the night would come, my dad would say to me…“You have to understand…What you have done is very bad and we cannot accept you this way. You need to make a decision. Either you continue with Jesus or you come back to your senses and we’ll get you married to a Muslim man, and you’ll be fine and you can forget about Jesus.” I told my dad that I cannot deny Jesus because He is God. I proceeded to apologize over and over again for all the bad things I did in my life and for giving them so much trouble as I was a rebellious tomboy.
I tried to encourage my dad to read the scriptures for himself on why I have come to know Jesus is God, but he couldn’t receive it, and they thought I lost my mind—we couldn’t reason with each other. They were sure that someone in my life was brainwashing me, and they wanted to know who told me Jesus was God. I was scared to say anything to them, but I needed to tell them that He clearly showed me the truth that in Islam, you’re worshiping an idol as paganism. My mom became very emotional as I am sure she believed she had lost her daughter. That night, I was slapped and beat and realized how serious the situation was. I sat at the edge of my bed talking to God telling Him that I did not know what to do or where to go and that I love my parents. I was always a homely girl and wasn’t independent like some teenagers and people in their 20’s. In fact, I went to a university a couple of years prior and dropped out because I was so homesick. I was terrified because I didn't know what to do so I opened the Bible and this is what I read from Psalm 27:10…“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” When I read this, I knew that the Lord was with me and was going to take care of me—Everything was going to be OK. How can anyone tell me that Jesus is not God when I'm talking to Him and He's talking back to me? That’s no coincidence! So I took a deep breath, and I said …“All right then, okay Lord, let's do it.” I had a suitcase which was full of things that I have accumulated over the years that I emptied as my little sister watched with concern. I told her not to worry and that it would only be for a short time and I will be staying with a friend. As I was packing, I remembered what Jesus said in the Gospels if you want to follow Him. It says in Matthew 16:24…“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” I wanted to stay with my parents as I had attachment issues, but the Lord was allowing me to surrender in His time step by step. It was around 4 in the morning, that I sneaked out of the house while they were all sleeping to catch a taxi. Three months went by and I was still very mindful of how upset everybody at home was as well as the Islam community. Once in a while, I went home to check in on my family to test the waters and see if they calmed down, but they were still very angry with me and there were just more arguments and they would say nasty things about Jesus and I would leave again. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell my family where I was staying because I didn't want them to know in case there would be any drama for the people that I was living with.
After leaving home, I started attending a church and soon was baptized. Of all days for my mother to look for me and find out where I was, it was on the day of my baptism. I was already anxious that anyone from my family would find out about what I planned to do. As I was getting ready to be baptized, I gave my testimony and began to cry. When I looked up, I saw my mom and auntie there. My heart sank and I thought to myself…“Not today! Not on the day that I’m getting baptized!” I then tried to tell the pastor to give him a heads-up that there might be some trouble because my mom was there. He said that it would be fine and it was good that she’s in church, but then as I was stepping down into the base of baptismal water she walked up and was screaming and cursing about Jesus and me. At the same time, Pastor Tony continued to baptize me while holding his hands over my ears so I couldn't hear what was being said. He then proceeded to say…“I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” I was so excited to die to myself and rise up with Christ as well as saying my own prayers in my head trying to block out what my mother was saying as she screamed at the edge of the baptismal water. I asked the Lord to please forgive her because she thought I was lost and didn’t know what she was doing. The people that were at the church rose and began to pray in tongues. It was the first time I have ever heard what it means to pray in the spirit or in tongues and I realized what was happening was a spiritual battle. I was still sobbing my eyes out because I didn’t want anything to happen to my mom as she was so hysterical saying things like…“I'm going to burn this church down! I'm going to get your brother to burn this church down! You rejected Islam! You rejected Allah! You rejected the whole family!” The leaders in the church tried to calm her down, but she had what seemed to be super-human strength which was actually demons manifesting in her. After the baptism, I got dressed and stayed with a family from the church for a season. There was a rumor going around that the local taxi firm had my photo and gave it out to the drivers who were mostly Muslim to be on the lookout for me, so every time I would leave the house or go anywhere, I needed to disguise myself because I didn’t want anyone to recognize me.
Eventually, I moved up to north England in Derbyshire and stayed there for five years. In those years, the Lord isolated me so I can have time alone with Him to get grounded in the Word and grow in my faith. There were lovely people in the church and they looked after me and gave me a job. While there, I did keep in contact with my family and they tried and succeeded to persuade me to come back home, so I did. When I moved back, they forbid me from going to church, and unfortunately I compromised for the sake of saving them respect in the community and because they both were struggling with sickness. In fact, one night my dad collapsed due to his type 1 diabetes and we were concerned that he would go into a coma. I had memorized Isaiah 53:5 and I confessed healing over my dad in the name of Jesus. “But He was woundedfor our transgressions, He wasbruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” My dad came around and felt better before the ambulance came and he said to me…“I heard you pray in the name of Jesus for me.” I said…“You did?” and then, I thought he was going to hit me, but he didn’t and said…“Thank you for doing that.” A miracle in itself!
When I moved back home, my career and social life distracted me and my relationship with Jesus grew more lukewarm. I turned to music and dancing which as a little girl I always liked. Because of the prohibition my family put on me, when I would go to church they would find out. I didn’t want the church to get in trouble, so at the time, I thought it was best not to go. When I moved back to London, the Lord began opening doors for me concerning a documentary and opportunities to share my testimony on very popular media outlets under a different name than my own of course. My interests also grew in political things such as terrorism. I knew that the Lord had a calling on my life and for various reasons the enemy was trying his best to take me off track. Even from the early days, I became distracted from hurtful people that would come into my life, but the Lord still kept me close to Him even though for a bit, I had a pattern of drifting from Him and then coming close to Him again. In this, I learned that fellowship with other believers is essential not only for encouragement, but for our protection and support. Going to church too is very important in strengthening our walk with Him. Because I didn’t have this at the time, I threw myself into my career, music, clubbing, and getting involved in politics. I began to have many contacts in the media as I continued to do things “behind the scenes” fearing what my parents would do if they found out. All the while, I didn’t stop reading my Bible because I knew that God showed me so many things in those five years, and He began something special so I can help others by exposing truth and being a bold vessel for Him. But first, I knew I needed to get rid of my fear of man that always seemed to be there even though my heart burned for Jesus. As I share my story, it’s 2019, and I moved to California. Before moving, there was three to four occasions where my dad had me sit with the Imam from the Mosque because they were so worried that I was getting more stubborn in my faith with Jesus, and they thought it would take a Imam Mosque leader to talk with me about why I was wrong about Jesus and that I have been brainwashed into believing that the Bible is true. At the time, I didn’t know how to answer the questions that he was asking—as they were questions that only apologetic's and people like that would be able to answer. So I had no idea what to say, but I had my Bible in my hands and would tell him…“Well, it says here” to no avail as they would not listen. Unfortunately, there’s a blindness and an evil spirit behind this thing and twice, the Imam said to me that my punishment for what I’ve done was death and that I’m a kuffar or apostate and I need to die for it, but then he said something to my dad like well you know, this is the UK though. I knew the seriousness of what I’ve done to accept Christ and appreciated the concern of the Muslim community, but they don’t know what I know right now, but they will. Many from the Islamic community are coming to the knowledge of Jesus. In fact, Muslims are coming to Jesus in great numbers around the world because He’s appearing to them in dreams and visions. Those that have found Jesus are persecuted, but they don't care because they are saying… “We found everything…He’s our treasure!” Jesus talked about the treasure in His parable—He’s the treasure—He’s the world’s most precious treasure and no one can steal that from me ever again! “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44) I want to serve Jesus for the rest of my life! I have to let my light shine like a candle in the darkness. I ask for boldness in Jesus name. We all are special in Jesus' eyes. He considers us so much that He even numbers the hairs on our head. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7)
Jesus is returning soon—I'm so excited! A lot of hard times are coming, but we have to be strong. We can't let anything shake our faith. He’s the Shepherd—He’s the door and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—there’s no other and I want to serve Him all the days of my life! “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)
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32-33)
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:1-11)
‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, [b]in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.” (Ezekiel 34:11-16)
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6)
“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” (1 Corinthians 10:14)
My life consisted of nonstop run-ins with the law, getting arrested, fighting, abusing my body with drugs and drinking, and even witnessing friends around me die that were living the same life that I was living. All along my stepfather never gave up on me...he kept bringing up this one name...Jesus...Yet, I continued to shrug him off.
Christopher J. Maskey
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
These are the words that were spoken by Jesus Christ—Yeshua Hamashiach—who has changed my life and this is my testimony.
Many of you know me from preaching the Word of God, and from helping lead others so they come to a place of accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. But, my life wasn’t always like this—my daily thoughts and motives weren’t always this way.
I grew up in a small town about an hour north of New York City, named Cold Spring. It was a quiet little town, where I would end up spending the majority of my time alongside, my mother & stepfather. My biological father and mother split up shortly after I was born, and my mother married my stepfather when I was around 5 years old. My father had problems with drugs and alcohol and when I was 6 years old we had received the phone call that he was found dead in his apartment from an apparent suicide. As a child, my mother wouldn’t tell me the truth of his death—she would just tell me that he was really sick. Even so, as a young child, it affected my life and was always in the back of my mind that my father was gone.
My mother was my best friend. She was the best mother any kid could ask for—on top of having a great stepfather, who was always supportive and there for me—it kind of took away some of the pain, I was experiencing with losing my father at a young age. As a kid, they both decided it would be best that I attended a Catholic school where I also took part in all of the required sacraments and was an altar boy. At this time, my mother & stepfather, were truly seeking the Lord in their lives, and became disappointed because they just weren’t finding what they were looking for inside the Catholic church. They eventually gave their lives to Jesus Christ and both became born- again Christians.
The majority of my childhood, I remembered my mother & stepfather reading their Bibles, going to church, and both living their entire lives for Jesus Christ in all that they did. They did all they could to lead by example, and to teach me the truth about the Word of God and Jesus Christ. As a child, I believed in Jesus Christ—but the temptations of being a teenager, and getting involved in the things of the world took precedence in my life.
During my senior year of high school, my life took a turn for the worse when my mother got the phone call that changed our lives forever. She found out that she had cancer and needed to be immediately rushed in for radiation treatment. While most of the kids were enjoying their final year in high school, and planning on where they were going to college—my mind was occupied day and night with the health of my mother and what my life was going to be like without her if she died. I noticed my mother and stepfather always were praying, and instead of me joining them—I hid behind drinking and using drugs to take away the pain of what I was feeling. At 17 years old, I was borderline an alcoholic and stared to experiment with drugs to escape from reality. I remember my mother would always keep a positive outlook, and her faith in Jesus Christ was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Standing before these doctors who were showing her the cancer that was growing in her—she continuously, remained strong and trusted in her faith in Jesus to get her through it.
As the months went by, my mother went through numerous surgeries, radiation treatments, and she was now but a shell of the person she once was because of it. The cancer had literally destroyed her body—but it couldn’t touch her spirit. My senior year came and went, and eventually my mother’s cancer had gone into remission right before I was to start my freshman year of college. I went to a local college about 20 minutes away and was able to still come home and visit my mother and stepfather often to check up on her. Everything seemed to be getting back to normal—my mom’s health was improving, and my new life as a college student had just started. Shortly into my sophomore year—the cancer had come back, and as it did—I continued to seek comfort in drinking and using drugs. Coming home and seeing my mother smile knowing that she was struggling was tough to see, but one thing her and my stepfather always had was their faith in Jesus Christ. It was during my sophomore year, that I came out to visit my mother, and she had the difficult task of finally telling me the truth about my father—he didn’t die because he was sick, but that he indeed killed himself. My life was crushed, all the years of believing he was just sick now, I had to face the fact that he committed suicide—I truly wasn’t prepared mentally to walk around with this news. My mother and stepfather always would talk about the power of having Jesus Christ in their lives, but I ignored what they told me and tried to seek comfort in the things of this world.
Halfway through my junior year of college, the cancer was now fully attacking my mother’s body and was more aggressive than ever. I decided to drop out of school and move back home, so I could take care of her, and spend every day with her while she was fighting for her life. Shortly after, she was asked to come into Sloan Kettering’s cancer center in Manhattan for a last effort surgery to remove the cancer that was inside of her mouth and throat, but just an hour into the surgery the doctor’s called us down to let us know that the cancer had spread throughout my mother’s body and they knew there was nothing they could do. My life came crashing down at that point, and reality set in that soon—I was going to be losing my mother. We walked back up into the recovery room to see her sitting up smiling, and asking how she did—I didn’t have the heart to tell her the news the doctor told me, so I just hugged her and told her how much we all loved her. Throughout her entire battle with cancer my mother had her Bible right next to her. I couldn’t understand where she was getting this courage and comfort from just reading a book—she was staring at death and yet she wasn’t afraid at all.
A couple weeks later my mother finally passed away. I was now a 21 year old college dropout, no job, no money, medical bills coming in, and I just lost my best friend in the whole entire world. It was just me and my stepdad living together in our little home, and I remember how he used to tell me about Jesus, and how I needed to fully ask Him into my life, but—I still wasn’t ready. I was very angry inside—angry that my father killed himself, angry that God would take my mother away from me, depressed and at that point—I really didn’t care much about living anymore.
The drinking had fully taken over my life—drugs were taking over as well, and I began to seek ways to take out my frustrations in life, and I found it in the form of music. I had always been interested in hip hop music; it was my life for the majority of my childhood and as a young adult. The sound was very aggressive, angry, and the songs were full of violence which was exactly fitting for the way that I was living. I began going to the studio week after week, getting high on drugs, and creating my own songs. I was going on the radio performing, doing shows, sleeping with different woman every week—the life of a rock star as many would call it. The pain and anger in my songs was something that really made me stand out from the majority of the other artists, and I was quickly making a name for myself in the New York music scene. I had opened up for some of the most popular artists in the industry and it seemed as if my time was coming to be next. It seemed on the surface that I was happy, but inside I was full of pain. As the years went by, I had lost sight of who I was—the drugs and alcohol had fully taken control of me, and when I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t recognize the person I was looking at. I never once faced any of my problems. I buried them deep down inside—hidden behind a wall of drugs & alcohol, but I found out quickly that just because they are hidden, doesn’t mean they go away. My life consisted of nonstop run-ins with the law, getting arrested, fighting, abusing my body with drugs and drinking, and even witnessing friends around me die that were living the same life that I was living. All along my stepfather never gave up on me, and kept bringing up this one name—Jesus. Yet, I continued to shrug him off.
I maintained this lifestyle for over 6 years, and with no sign of any future or reason to continue living in my mind. Until the day that Jesus Christ finally got hold of me. I was coming down off of a 2 day binge just sitting in my room, and at my lowest point in life. Staring at a picture of my mother—depressed and upset at the thought of how disappointed she would be of the person I had become. I sat back on my bed and then it happened—I overheard in the other room my stepfather listening to a message from a preacher on the television. I walked closer to the door, and I felt something leading me to listen to what was being said. It was as if the preacher was talking to a whole congregation of people, but the message was directed towards just me. He started talking about sin, and how Jesus Christ died to take away our sins to give us a new life—A NEW LIFE??? That’s what I NEED!
He then started talking about the devil and how Satan wants us to keep seeking drugs, keep seeking alcohol and women. It was like everything I was hearing was about MY life. How could this be??? Then the preacher said the one scripture that forever changed my life. He quoted from the book of Matthew when Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are wary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Rest??? Nobody needed rest more than I did at that very moment. Rest from running away from my father’s past, rest from the pain of losing my mother, rest from the anger inside of me, rest from all the drugs and drinking that ruined my life—I was mentally and physically exhausted, and now this man is telling me that Jesus Christ can give me rest??? I wanted to stop, I wanted to change, but I was so scared because I didn’t know how—and, I didn’t think I was strong enough to leave behind my old life and fully trust in HIM. But I knew that I wasn’t going to last much longer if I continued, and it was at that point I fell down to my knees, and called out to Jesus Christ—with tears in my eyes I said, “I just can’t do it anymore—I was ready—I needed rest—I needed a new life—I NEEDED JESUS!!”
I can still remember the prayer I made. I said to Him that He could have my life, but I just ask that you find me someone that I can marry and have a child with to start over and have new life together. I remember asking for Him to bless me with a good job so I can provide for my family. And, I remember just laying down everything—fully giving my life to Jesus Christ that day. I felt like a new person, I felt like for the first time in years the weight of the world was taken off of my shoulders, and I just wanted to live every day from there on out for Jesus.
As I sit here and tell you my testimony, it’s hard for me to believe that it’s been almost 9 years already. Since then the Lord has completely blessed me with a new life, a happy life, a lot more abundant life than I could ever imagine. Shortly after I called out to Jesus Christ and asked Him into my life, He introduced me to an amazing woman, who eventually would become my wife. We’ve been together now for over 8 years, and have been blessed with a beautiful baby boy, and a 2nd child that is on the way in November. I was also blessed to land a great job shortly after meeting my wife, and I’ve been there for over 8 years as well. Literally, everything I asked for when I gave my life to Jesus Christ the Lord has blessed me with, and more! I look back at where my life was, and where He’s brought me from and I can’t help but praise the name of my Lord & savior Jesus Christ—Yeshua Hamashiach—for saving me. My change was not overnight—little by little He’s been removing my old ways of living and replacing them with His righteousness, changing me into His image, and He’s still working inside of me every single day.
For years now, I have been completely free from the hold of alcohol and drugs in my life, free from feeling the pain and anger that was inside of me, and replaced with His everlasting love. All along the answer to my problems was right in front of me—the same thing that my mother used in fighting her battle with cancer—the same thing my stepfather used to get through the tough times of losing my mother, and—the same thing I needed in MY life—Trusting in Jesus Christ and asking Him into my life.
Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Jesus Christ died not just so you and I can have eternal life, but He also died so we can experience true life on earth, the type of lives that our Heavenly Father wants us all to live! All we have to do is trust in Him and seek Him to give it to us—and it will be.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
I urge anyone out there who may be reading and listening to my testimonial video below, to call on the name Jesus Christ. You don’t have to keep struggling—there is a way to obtain a new life. And it’s not by going out and trying to conquer your problems on your own. COME AS YOU ARE! The bible says “Come! Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” If He could change my life—He can change yours for it was nothing that I did, it was all in Jesus Christ. I was just willing to take that small leap of faith and call out to Him, admitting I’m a sinner, acknowledging that He died for my sins and was raised 3 days later, and then finally asking HIM to take over my life—HE hasn’t left my side since. If you are struggling in life, please don’t wait another day. NONE of us are promised another hour in this life. Jesus is the one and only way to eternal life—He’s the only way to bring about the changes we all are seeking in our lives on earth. I come to you as someone who was once in your position, and I plead with you to stop fighting these battles on your own, stop running—JESUS is waiting with open arms for you to come home—your new life is right before your eyes, and the power is all in the name of Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross! Don’t wait another day.
Ruth Almada, shares her incredible story--Strength in Scars--to give hope to ones's extraordinary circumstances--especially from the pain of generational abuse.
"Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7)
In this life, we do not choose who we are born to or in what conditions we are born under. God knows what He is doing, and He never makes a mistake. In my book and story, there is nothing that is politically correct, ear tickling, watered down or sugar coated. It is as raw and authentic as it gets because that’s what this world needs more of-- especially, when sharing about the very REAL power of God in our lives.
My story starts off knowing, that we live in a fallen world run by the devil, and evidence of this is literally--in every single facet of the conditions that I lived in. It was most definitely not an easy journey, and with being born to two lost folks (my parents)--I was bound by decades of generational curses at the time of birth. However, Jesus had another plan.
A plan so powerful that knowing about it now, still very much leaves me in moments of sheer amazement and utter gratitude. A plan so powerful that I am able to thank God for our trials today. I have learned along the way, that Jesus is pulling many people out of the very same hell we endured. There are no words that can properly describe this other than GLORY to God in the highest!
Here is a summary of my story:
As a child, we learn based on what is poured into our lives, experiences and environment. There is a large family dynamic, that God has lovingly and powerfully touched that governs five lines of my families generation. From grandparents to grand-babies. The easiest way to describe it is-- the enemy has placed assignments on my bloodline for who even knows how long. This spans from decades of abuse in most-- if not all--forms that seemed to keep repeating over and over with each new generation.
My story talks about this from my own experience as a girl up until roughly eight or so years ago. I have experienced physical, emotional, sexual, and mental trauma most of my life and--on many different occasions. In many instances, I thought most of it was perfectly normal yet, knowing deep down inside there must be a better way. I remember thinking, I wish I was normal because normal people could cope with life far better than I could. I often felt that something was deeply wrong with me. This was the 4th grade me, who didn’t realize that in my terms of “most” I was looking at people, that had not endured what was occurring and--had occurred most of my life.
I gave my life to Jesus as a girl, but didn't realize until YEARS later the profound impact of the ultimate changes of my path would be based on this vital and literally life-saving decision. It was not until my painful past was attempting to replay with my own children, that a true consensus needed to be made no matter the cost and WHAT A COST it was! I am eternally grateful for Jesus, and owe him absolutely everything!!
I have seen first-hand unexplainable miracles in my life, and the very fact that I am even alive today is most definitely one of them! I have been raped, beaten, molested, mocked, and tormented all before the age of seven. Many of these instances happened other times even after this. I tried drugs for the first time at fourteen, and this was given to me by my momma. I also became a momma, right after my seventeenth birthday to a beautiful set of twins, that I couldn’t afford to care for.
With the deepest heart-felt intentions--I place them in their paternal grandparents home while, I served in the US Army--not knowing the real intents of these two people that I loved deeply. They did unspeakable things to my twins for the first few years of their lives. They wouldn't even let me have them back, and I had to fight for several years in court--with almost every spare dime, that I could muster to get my boys away from them. I never understood why until several years later.
There was a sick, dark, and sinister plan unfolding in my children’s lives that I didn’t even know was there. It was not until my precious daughter, Hope, had the courage at the very young age of three to tell me. The rest is in the book however, I can tell you this much, our story is NOT just our story, it's MANY people's stories. God has done such a work in my life and in the lives of my children, that the ripple effect has now spilled outside the doors of our home on to other family members such as, my siblings and parents and many others.
God has broken these curses all of them that included: pedophilia, rape, poverty, abandonment, abuse, word curses, and many others. He has HEALED my mind, body and spirit. He has HEALED my children. He has HEALED my relationship with my parents and YES--even with these grandparents that did this to my children. My heart and mind has been HEALED in Jesus name!! ALL THINGS are possible for those who love Him, believe in Him, and are called according to HIS will. Who the Son sets free TRULY is free indeed, don’t for a second just think that, KNOW IT!
Our story is a story of REAL hope that the LIVING God cares, and wants to set you free from past and present bondage. He truly wants to HEAL your deepest wounds and we are living breathing proof that it's in fact possible.
The other dynamic of this is that the God of this Universe is PERFECT in duplication. His seeds produce fruit after their own kind. He also gives us the unique ability to comfort others with the same measure He has given to us! If God can set me free from my horrible fallen past and use it to help someone else (which He has and still is HELPING MANY)--then my friend--He can, and will do the same with yours! Hang in there, because Jesus is coming for you and counting on YOUR breakthrough, so you can help many others too! What He has done in my life, He most definitely can in yours! Praise Jesus!!
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?!
Today, I find myself getting slightly grieved with conversations from those who have no idea about the lifestyle or mentality of the LGBT community. I find this grievance to come about, because of the lack of knowledge of this lifestyle. I take it personal, because years ago...I too was part of this community and here is my story.
"For nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37)
As a young girl, I found myself to be different, not because of any skill or creative ability, but because at a tender age of 5 I started to have a strong attraction to women. Most people argue that this is not possible...but that's not true, and perhaps...it's the reason that there's hardly any awareness for children struggling with their sexuality at such a tender age. In kindergarten, I used to tell my best friend that I was a boy. I was not abused nor mistreated in my home, as a matter of fact, both parents were in the medical field and married; not to mention a big part of my life. I lacked nothing. My mother used to pray with my eldest brother and I...she taught us about Jesus, and how to hear the voice of God. As a child, I paid attention to the wise words of my mother, but there was always a voice that I would hear. I now know that this voice was Satan.
This voice tormented me, and would say that, I was going to hell. In my innocence...I took this as, that I was "going downstairs". I ran upstairs to tell my mother, while she was on the phone, and she turned to me and said...“Well, go downstairs”. She didn’t know what I meant, and I didn’t know how to express it, so I never said another word about "going downstairs". Fast forward to my preteen years...I began to flirt with the imagination of being with a woman, from having crushes on older women to telling myself what to dream about. I fantasied about being intimate with women, placing myself as the masculine figure. I then, joined online chat rooms, and started having relationships over the phone with women until high school, when my dreams became a reality. This is when, I entered my first relationship with a woman, that took my innocence. From years of that relationship...I entered into another relationship with a woman. This relationship was my longest, and it changed the woman I was, and I ended up in the darkest place of my life.
Although, I was indulged in a perverse lifestyle, I still considered myself to be a good girl, but this relationship took me down a spiral. Hurts, infidelity, down to stealing finances, I dealt with it all...right down to the fact that suicide had become a pleasant option. I would try to listen to songs that would keep me depressed, and for some reason Marvin Sapp's song---He Saw the Best in Me, came on an R&B station. It blew my mind because gospel hardly played on this station especially in the late hours, but God was speaking to me through this song. At that moment, my identity was broken and enough was enough.
I remember taking a shower and saying 3 words that changed my life forever; I said, “God, I’m tired”. I went on to say, "take it away", and I introduced myself to God as if, He never knew me. I told Him everything down to my favorite color. That was a Saturday and then, that Sunday...I gave my life to the Lord. I hardly got any sleep, and I showed up to service right at the very end...when the doors of the church were being opened. I thought I was arriving on time, but I guess you can say that I did arrive on time. Since then, God has restored my natural affection towards men, and not once have I backslid with a woman or looked back to desire that lifestyle. God set me free and changed my fragrance! I am happily courting and planning marriage in the soon future. I am here to say with confidence, that JESUS will and can set you free! He died for the homosexuals just like any other sin---He loves you, and He will make you brand new!
Tiara's Testimony on YouTube has reached many around the world!
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.
Eight years ago, Ashley Nall, found comfort in the New Age movement. She began to dive deeper into the pit of darkness by contacting spirits (spirit guides) to find hope and meaning in life. When she lost all hope...she reached out to Jesus to save her from the choices she had made.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
I vividly remember when I became an atheist eight years ago. My last prayer was me crying to God, “it’s just not logical”. Wouldn’t a life without religion be easier anyway?
Those eight years were nothing short of painful. My flesh took over, and the enemy reigned over me. I was put in bondage while believing the lies that I was truly free, and found my real identity. The first year, I was diagnosed with depression. Then at sixteen years old, I became suicidal. My life as a high school student consisted of hiding in activities that I would never complete, finding my worth in romantic relationships that left me broken and building walls in my life that no one could knock down.
My heart hardened, and I would laugh at my family for believing in “a god”. I would debate with friends about religion until they gave into my beliefs—some even, began to doubt their faith. My misery hid behind a mask of academic achievement and fake confidence on my opinion of God. My last year of high school, I received a full scholarship to a university. I placed all my hope in this college, so I could have a fresh start.
I became more relaxed about my beliefs, and I rarely shared my atheism with others. As a college student, I adopted the New Age movement into my daily life. Instantly, I found comfort in the spiritual realm, I devoted most of my time to meditation, lucid dreaming, and energy healing.
This was when I learned about “spirit guides”—which quite frankly, are demons in disguise. I found comfort in the spiritual realm, and began to have constant communication with one particular spirit. I would call on it, at times to enter my body and help me with decision making. It taught me about astral projection, which was so taxing to learn that, I began denying invitations to hang out with my friends and slacking in my college courses.
When I started to visit the spiritual realm through astral projection, I met my spirit guide face-to-face. After opening myself up to these practices, I started to get unwanted visions and intrusive thoughts. My depression caught up with me one night, and I wanted nothing more than to end my life. I called my dad, who lived two hours away from the university. He insisted to come visit me to make sure that I was okay. After a few hours of talking and calming me down, he left to go back home. Having a long day, I fell asleep, but then woke up at 11:00 PM—with a vision of a vehicle running off the road. It was horrifying!
The next day, my mom called me to say that my dad fell asleep while driving, and had a wreck at that same time and location. Gratefully, he was okay, but I knew I was losing control over whatever my life had become. Only a few days later, I called on help from the spirit guide. Within moments, I was at my computer dropping out of college. I will never understand my reasoning.
I came back home feeling beyond empty. So empty that I met a guy, and within three months of knowing each other, we moved in together. My life was officially not mine anymore.
My situation kept getting worse until September 2017. I was sitting on the porch of my new apartment, exhausted from the demons that were holding me in bondage. I was having constant panic attacks, living in a place surrounded by drugs, and having no goals other than staying with that guy at the time. I could go on and on about the lies—the pain—and my sins that controlled me until that day in September— however, I would rather tell you about how quickly my LORD put all the sorrow to death.
In the midst, of what I consider my darkest time—I had nowhere else to turn, so I looked up to the epitome of hope. I cannot begin to explain how this transition happened; it was truly a miracle! All I had to do was recognize Jesus’ name, because He already had His hand extended waiting to SAVE me. Peace immediately covered my situation, and calmed my hurricane of a mind. The panic attacks ceased. The suicidal thoughts disappeared. I wanted nothing more than to apologize to God—I wanted to explain myself, but He quieted me and told me to no longer worry.
He wanted so badly to help me get out of my current situation while, He gently washed the shame away. It was the greatest love I have ever felt! Within two days, I moved out of the apartment and began my new life. So much has changed within a year. My depression has been healed. My relations with my family have been restored. I reenrolled in college along with raising my GPA. I even started serving on the production team at my local church.
There is absolutely nothing better than having a relationship with Jesus Christ! I wish I could put into words how wonderful He is, and what all He has done for my heart and mind. I was completely and utterly lost, and by grace alone, the Good Shepherd did not stop until I was found.