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Last Chapter

CHAPTER 23

 01/28/08

The Long Road to Salvation”

                                       

In my life, every circumstance from childhood on, was one which caused me to live in my little world of doing whatever it took to survive. I ran my own life. I counted only on myself. I choreographed it all. I kept a dozen plates spinning on the ends of sticks all by myself. I am not bragging; sadly, it's just the way it was. It was normal to me. But in fact, until around 2001-2002, I was virtually lost.

I had not been raised around any kind of religion. I don't recall ever hearing the name "Jesus" or "God" in the home--unless, of course, “God” was followed by “damn” or “dammit”. In fact, I don't recall hearing the word "love" in the home either--except for the one time when I was twenty-three and my mother she said she loved me from her hospital bed. I guess she thought she was dying--she wasn't. Folks have asked me what her religion was, to which I have replied simply “alcoholic".

My parents were divorced when I was four, so Daddy was absent--except that he did mail me a card each Christmas and on my birthday every year. There were two stepfathers: one a molester, both alcoholics, and neither a father to me. One of my brothers molested me as well--more than once. I believe the other one would have done the same if he hadn't blown his brains out with a double-barreled shotgun at the age of twenty one when I was sixteen.

But even as a child I had a longing--a spiritual void. As a kid, I sometimes went to Catholic church with my father’s people. I never "got" all the empty rites and rituals and "costumes". Plus, the mass being in Latin was utterly useless and entirely impractical, to say the least. Not only that, the Catholic kids were prejudiced against me because I was only half Italian and because I didn’t know about their rule of “not eating meat on Fridays”--which, of course, the Catholic church changed when the pressure came, much like their birth control pill rule. Nope, “it” wasn’t there for me. In later years, I discovered that people like me were known as “seekers”. And I sought--here, there and everywhere.

At about fifteen, for a while I went to a Methodist church (with a friend, I guess--certainly not my mother). But selling hard candy and hayrides didn’t get “it” for me, either. I did have a few Sunday School classes there. That must be where I picked up the psalms and verses that are still familiar to me. Or perhaps I learned them in school--back in the olden days when it was acceptable for schools to say things like “God”.

There was a moment in the late sixties, while on my first run at Los Angeles, when I was basically walking around, not sure of where to go or what to do. I’m sure I looked just like what I was--somebody in a daze who just “fell off the turnip truck from the Midwest”. Someone on a street somewhere in Hollywood talked to me and led me by the hand into some nearby basement. I wasn’t high, but it was so strange that it is all just a blur. There was no furniture, just a room full of what looked like hippies (well, a lot of people looked like hippies in a way back then, whatever that means--even “normal” people, so who knows).

They were packed in the basement rooms shoulder-to-shoulder kneeling on the floor. With hands raised, they were all talking loudly in what sounded like some strange gobble-de-gook chant to me. I thought it was some kind of cult and hightailed it back out of there as fast as I could. I didn‘t know what I had gotten into! It was a relief to see the sunlight again! In retrospect, lo these thirty seven years later, I realize that they were probably nothing scarier than a bunch of tongue-talking Pentecostals. (I guess that's what is meant by the phrase “holy rollers”). But I didn't know what a Pentecostal was back then. I just knew “it” wasn’t there for me either--at least not on Hollywood and Vine! (*Author's note: Recently acquired information would indicate that this cult was, in fact, the infamous "Children of God").

Around the same year, I was involved with a second crazy man. My son's father and I had been off and on for two years, and this man became my "shoulder to cry on". Of course he did. As I soon discovered, he was yet another manipulator. And I was still dangerously naive. This man was scary. He intimidated me, both physically and emotionally. He was into pills and used to literally shove them down my throat. He didn’t have a key to my apartment, but felt free to break out my window and unlock the door whenever the mood hit him. And, yes, he beat me. I vaguely remember running down the street (high) in my nightgown at dawn one morning in an attempt to escape him. Of course, he easily caught me. I'd lost control of my life. And in my quest for Something, when he wanted to build an “altar’ in the corner of my bedroom, I didn’t--or couldn’t--object.

I never really understood what exactly was going on with all that, but I tell you this much, ultimately I began to believe that he was actually into Satanism and the altar was there to worship Satan. I think he called Satan in there at least three different times that I can think of. Once, “something” touched my fingertips as we both lay on our backs on the bed with arms stretched toward the ceiling. True, it may have been intensified by the effect of the pills, but something happened. And once I saw a black ball of energy dash around the living room baseboard and disappear. That time, I wasn’t high. I used to read a lot of so-called self-help books. I read some weird books too--I think today they'd be classified as "New Age". One of them was entitled The Supernatural and had a black dust cover with a close-up of just a pair of piercing eyes staring out. This man tried to burn it on my snow-covered back porch--to close the door for Satan to come through, he claimed. The cover burned alright--except for the eyes. They didn’t burn up in the fire. They just stared back from the snow. Confusing--and more than a little scary. So, nope, the thing I sought wasn’t there at that altar either! That’s for sure!

I'm not writing this book to bash my poor mother--she was ignorant. I'm sure she did the best she could. (Don’t we all). She did finally accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior some months before she died in 1982, so I praise the Lord for that. I understand and I forgave her decades ago. And may she rest in peace.

Nor am I writing to bash my son's father. He was a fool. He threw away his God-given gift—and an awesome gift it was. He chose to turn away from that which he knew to be right in exchange for fame and fortune. Even though he had a preacher for a father (or maybe more to the point, in spite of the fact), and sang gospel as a little child on up to about the age of twenty-two, he was about as backslidden as backslidden gets. Having recently finally learned those details from his brother about his childhood, I now have compassion and empathy--and, yes, love--for him. Through the love of Jesus, I have healed a lot from that situation and I believe that I have forgiven him (and myself for my ignorance) as well. These days, my focus has shifted dramatically from that man to The Man, Jesus Christ. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past...Isaiah 43:18.

About five years after meeting my son’s father--and while separated--I ran across something called "Satmat" (aka "Radha Soami" aka "The Science of the Soul" aka "The Path of the Masters" aka "The Path of Light and Sound", ad infinitum).

Why did Satmat have so many aliases?” you ask. Why indeed. It was “not a religion”, per se; it was a “path--a lifestyle, an Eastern philosophy.” Some would say it is the largest "secret cult" in the world. Except it's not secret; it's hidden in plain sight. But it is most certainly and intentionally not publicized. It is based on reincarnation and karma--that overused and misunderstood woo-woo word. Back then in 1969, no one even used the word, not to mention overused it! It was a strange and unfamiliar idea. And the followers (called “satsangis”) of the guru who was at the center of this path were strange too. We were all “lacto-vegetarians” when it was hardly known, let alone trendy. We ate dairy products but no animals, seafood, poultry or even eggs, or anything containing "the essence thereof". The idea with dairy was that you didn't have to kill the cow to get the milk. We never ate anything that would one day--upon having experienced the entire “eighty four hundred thousand” species of life on the “wheel of transmigration”--magically become human! (Of course, now I know that there is no such thing as cross-specie migration. But back then I was gullible-- I believed in everything except Jesus! In fact, it was a time when, unfortunately, a lot of people believed in everything! Peace and love, man)!

Guru. Yes--that’s another strange word. What does it really mean? I think now that it is no more than another word for “false prophet”. But hey, I was lost and seeking some peace--or something--anything to fill the void I felt deep inside. Satmat taught us that the lonesome feeling which “all humans have” was the “longing of the soul to merge with 'The Source'.” We were to accomplish this by two and a half hours of chanting a mantra (the repetition of “the seven different names of the rulers of the seven heavens”) in “meditation” per day--ideally at three in the morning! Yeouch! Not to mention at all other possible times: between thoughts, simultaneous with thoughts, while falling asleep. (I became so inculcated with that one, that sometimes I still find my self attacked by it when I'm falling asleep. I quickly start saying the "Lord's Prayer" to displace it. It's a matter of essentially saying "Get thee behind me, Satan" and replacing Satan's words with the words of Jesus). And I never did like meditation. At first, I thought it was just because I was new and didn’t know how to do it correctly. But after about thirty-four years of trying unsuccessfully to do it, I had grown to detest, loathe and despise it. It had become the biggest, hardest chore on my daily “to do” list and I even resented it. It was nothing more than a major source of the very stress I was trying to rise above!

Ironically, it was what was became my dread (God's built-in escape route) of the meditation that started my gradual pulling away and, finally my departure from Satmat. I began to skip the satsangs (meetings where we gathered to read the teachings of the guru to each other). I just wanted less and less to attend. The satsangis began to get on my nerves. I couldn’t stand them any more! I started to want some protein (besides beans and tofu) in my diet. (I had developed bad knees and I decided to believe that my knees were saying “Ok, time enough on the veggie thing; we’ve been patient. Now we want some animal protein!” And I wanted to give it to them. My knees and I were in agreement--poultry and seafood would be just fine.

I hadn’t cooked meat in twenty years or so, and didn’t really know how. A couple of my co-workers walked me through these first months of my gradual return to carnivorism. At first, I couldn’t bear the idea of seeing any bones or insides. So, one of the girls educated me about “boneless, skinless chicken breasts”, which was a foreign concept to me. Also, I had never heard of “Chicken Nuggets’! Oh my stars!! I loved those!! I binged on them for a few weeks.

As a matter of fact, I think that eating all that soy for about thirty-years did do me some good. I sailed right through menopause without so much as a flash--didn’t even know it had come and gone. I believe it was all the soy--which is, after all, rich in isoflavones. That's a plant hormone with an estrogen-like effect. So, I had done my own “hormone replacement therapy”! Unknowingly, of course! So, all things do work together for good!

In the so-called meditation, the idea was that if you chanted long enough, you would “see the light” that was the guru inside the third eye and you would “hear the universe”--the sound which pervades the entire creation (whatever that was)--and it would lead you to “go inside” to The Source (via the guru, of course). Oh no, you could not get to The Source (they never used the word "God") without the guru leading you there. After all, he and all the guru predecessors of his line before him had made the trip daily, they taught, and he knew the way. They even taught us that the ringing in the ears that one sometimes gets (tinnitus) was actually a beginning stage of hearing this Sound! Yes, we believed it.

Don’t get me wrong though, I was no better than my mom or my son's father in that I was no saint either. Prior to my initiation into Satmat, I was fully immersed in the world and many of its temptations. It was the sixties. Like many, I looked for peace and/or love in all the wrong places and in all the wrong people. I chose some poor roads. True, I didn’t use cocaine or heroine or hallucinogens in my search for Peace (at least not intentionally, but you never knew what would be in the weed you smoked in those days). The fact was, I had a very low tolerance for the “loco weed”. And, let’s be honest, that’s why they call it dope--because you act like a dope after you smoke it!

Nor did I have my mother's propensity or capacity for alcohol. I seldom drank--I was pathetic when I drank. I was never mean or cruel, but I would get loud, cry, vomit and pass out--in that order. And that would happen after only a couple drinks. Yuk! Thanks, but no thanks!

And, didn’t you ever wonder why they call alcohol “spirits”? Didn’t you ever hear someone say the day after doing something stupid while drunk “That wasn’t me; I wasn’t myself.” Of course, that’s because disembodied evil spirits take advantage of the weakened state of a drunk and quickly take that body in which to reside--and do demonic things! Once the drunk comes “back to himself”, the demon has to move on in search of some other vehicle to use! So, dope and spirits. Yeah, no. I got that.

I don’t think the fact that my baby son was biracial added to my problems as much as simply being poor did. Being poor, without a college education, essentially unskilled and blinded by “love” is what did me in and sentenced me to the welfare system. In my pain and ignorance, I was a messed-up mother, looking back. My son is still suffering from--and punishing me--for that. (Go ahead and judge me, dear reader, if you feel you must, but only if you are sin-free yourself: "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. "Deuteronomy 17:7).

Anyway, this was also the time I ran across the guru—in the late sixties. Part of being a satsangi was that we didn’t drink, do drugs, ingest animal products or have illicit sex. So in that way, it was good. (It could even be seen by some as a stepping stone to righteousness, as God does work all things together for the good of the righteous, as I have since learned). It was during one of the “off” times for me and my son's father in our “off and on” relationship that I became a satsangi. So when we went back together, it never occurred to me that I was living in sin with him. The sex that we had was the same sex we had been having, and it would never have crossed my mind to make a distinction. I felt married to him. But then, I had no reference point, so I don't know what I based that on! But I know now that this was a wrong doctrine. We had no God in our life, in our house or in our pretend marriage. I didn’t know any better--I didn't know Jesus. I'm sure David knew about Jesus, but chose not to share that with me; I guess that he wanted to continue in his chosen lifestyle. We never spoke of God or Jesus. God was not only not the center of our lives, He was no where in our lives at all. No wonder we were doomed.

Nine years after we split for the last time, as I turned forty years old, I bought my own house for my son and me. That was quite an accomplishment, considering all the previous circumstances. I felt that was a turning point for me. Some years later, once my son went out on his own adventures, I sold the house and moved to Sedona, Arizona. I knew nothing about the place, but my girlfriend of many years had moved there the previous year and now coaxed me to follow. I did. I had nothing better to do, after all. I bought a twenty-four foot RV with the money from the house—along with the few thousand my father had left me--and off I went. It was quite a drive from the Midwest to Arizona, trust me! There were all kinds of challenges and incidents--both mechanical, weather-related and otherwise--along the way that were scary. But I eventually made it. I remember that I spent the night of my birthday that September in a rest stop and woke to the most incredulous sunrise I had ever seen. What a birthday gift! It was the year of the great “Harmonic Convergence” into Sedona, and I was disappointed that I didn’t quite make it there in time. As I learned afterward though, every sunrise (not to mention sunset) in the Southwest is incredulous!

We were taught as satsangis, and also believed, that John the Baptist was Jesus' master--not the one who heralded His coming, but His master. (Throughout their teachings were ran the underlying concept that there was "a perfect living master" at all times ["Buddah, Jesus, John the Baptist, Krishna, Moses, David, Mohammed, et al"]--from the "beginning of time" through the present. In that scenario then, the guru equates himself to both John the Baptist and Jesus). I'm sorry, but what a crock! All I can do is pray for the four million plus santsangis in the world and fall on my face in gratitude to God that I have been plucked out from their multitudes and rescued! Not to mention praying for the multitudes of others who are being deceived into following other false prophets!

I lived there in Northern Arizona in that RV off and on around six years. It was so beautiful! This was a place that had once been the bottom of an ocean thousands of years ago and the red rocks blazing and glinting with rust jutted out at all kinds of angles no matter which way you looked. You could walk up and touch them. You could look upclose at the petroglyphs--symbols carved there in the rocks by ancient civilizations. The Native American culture was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. And that was what appeared at first glance to be a beautiful thing--something I was totally unfamiliar with. Of course, God as Christians know Him is not--for the most part--the center of their culture. But I was not a Christian, and I loved the place. I fit right in there. I talked about it so much that folks often told me that I should work at the Chamber of Commerce. Even the weather there was awesome--snow thunderstorms, rainbow balls, torrential flooding rains, billows of fog hanging around tops of the rock formations, you name it. When the fog rolled in, as it often did, you halfway expected to see a dinosaur appear on the horizon. Sedona has four seasons and flora and fauna of both the desert and mountains, as it is about three-quarters of the way up a mountain between Phoenix and Flagstaff. So you had oak trees and Saguaro cacti all in the same yard. Fruit orchards co-existed with coyotes and rattlesnakes. Yes, it was and is magical. But all magic ain’t good magic!

Once I left the Sedona area for good and got some distance and perspective, I saw that it was, in fact, THE center for New Age, i.e. a hotbed of occultism. I went there a hard-core skeptic (in spite of the fact that I had had my times of playing with a Oiuja board even some fifteen years earlier--and as I found out many years later, that too was nothing but a venue for the evil ‘familiar spirits‘. And it did lie to my friends and me, even back then). But I quickly became a believer and was sucked into the occult lifestyle myself. One after the other, my first seven crystals found their way into my hands in a hurry. In fact, I collected a large bag of all kinds of gems--for their healing properties. I was into “pyramid power”, I was using a pendulum to get what I believed to be information from my “spirit guides”, and I became a practicing numerologist into which I incorporated my gemology. So, not only could I find the “holes in your aura“ for you, I could prescribe which gemstones you should wear, carry or keep by your bed to "fix" you or improve your meditation, love life, business, health or whatever. I went to “drum circles” and “medicine wheels”, I was regressed into previous incarnations even to Egypt, I got readings from channelers, psychics, astrologers, learned of “soul-mates“--you name it. Everyone there was a reader and/or a healer of some kind or another. There are "vortexes" all over the area with six “primary vortexes”. It’s said that there are more there than anywhere else on earth. One of the theories is that these are flows of energy on which beings from other planets could travel both up and down. And indeed, at night in the pitch-black sky with no light pollution for two hundred miles, you could often see various lights moving around--it was fascinating. I myself had seen what I believed to be four spaceships almost two decades before in 1968 about forty miles West of Phoenix. I find now that according to some, these vortexes (although the plural form of vortex” is generally “vortices,” in Sedona, “vortexes” is used) actually are gateways to hell. Sedona absolutely attracted weirdos of every age and ilk--of which I was one.

A couple decades went by and the interesting thing is that the closer I got to the time of my upcoming salvation, the more nervous Satan got about losing me and the more clever about trapping me. He was hanging onto my leg for dear life! I had been one of his best disciples and he didn’t want to be deprived of that. As recently as about two years before I was born again, I was going fairly regularly to group sessions of a channeler. Along with others, I communicated with my late loved ones there. At least, that’s what I believed at the time. I was told that many on the “Otherside“ (whatever that is) knew of me, I was given the names of my spirit guides, and many similar things. I was reading a lot of the books written by psychics, even “famous” ones who you still see on TV talk shows. The lies and misinformation from these people almost did me in. I see now how Satan uses them to trick people to be sucked deeper and deeper into the occult.

During that same time, I was on the computer a lot, and that being the place where I spent most of my time and where I was most comfortable, it was the field on which Satan chose to attack me. He started in my comfort zone: Instant Messaging. I was never interested in “chat rooms“; I chatted with my two good friends only. Satan (or his demons) started talking to me right there through the Instant Messaging! He would disguise himself first as one of my friends and then, later, the other one. He was there once through the first friend and several times through the second friend. In neither case did the friend know or remember what had happened. It was just as if I were having conversations with my late “husband”. It was very nice to visit with him--very tempting, very alluring, and very seductive! He answered some questions I had and we talked about the old days. He gave me some instructions of things he wanted done, we talked about our son and grandkids on which he gave me advice, he told me that our daughter and both our moms were with him--so many, many things. And, he asked my forgiveness. The talks were a definite comfort, and I waited for those sessions. I saved all that on disk; I printed it all out. So then, I , myself was channeling--fluently and in great detail. I thought I was channeling my late husband, but I was channeling demons. It was the best trap Satan could have set for me, with the best possible baits. But, praise God, Jesus caught my attention in the nick of time! Greater is He that is in me than he who is in the world! 1 John 4:4.

In my ignorance, what I thought was so beautiful about New Age was that there were no boundaries, no judgments on what one believed. And that is the trap. All beliefs were accepted and embraced. At the end of my studies of and participation in the occult, I realized that that was, in fact, the precise problem! Jesus had no place in all of this! To the disproportionate number of satsangis who had been drawn to live there, as well as all the other bleeding heart liberals, Jesus was just a nice man and a great teacher of his day (and only of his day); one in that on-going, never-ending series of “masters”. Yeouch! (Forgive us, Lord, we know not what we do).

In the beginning so long ago, I thought of calling this book From Victim to Victorious. Someone has beaten me to that title I since discovered, but the gist is the same: I was lost, but now I'm found. I was a prisoner of my own ignorance and now I'm free. I was a victim (or was I a volunteer?), then I became a survivor. In fact, I’m more than a survivor and I’m more than a conqueror. I am a believer. I am an overcomer. And this thing called my life is the very special coat that My Father has tailor made and given me to wear! It’s very colorful and different. And it fits only me!

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So”, you probably wonder, “how did you make the transition? How did you get saved”? Well, that is, indeed, a long story--which is why I’m writing it down in this book.

I guess one of the first and most interesting things that happened was at the beginning of December 2003. I was still a satsangi, but barely. I was working on my computer with the television turned on across the room. From the corner of my eye, I could see that a show came on which featured singing groups from the "doo-wop" generation. Like many of the groups of that genre`, The Flamingoes had split up and one of the more prominent lead singers started his own group. Terry Johnson & The Flamingoes were performing.

I had known Terry back in the seventies when we had all lived in Detroit, but hadn't seen him in years. Naturally I was tickled to see him on television in 2003. I had come to know him for two reasons. Come to find out, he was writing music for the record label that my son's father recorded for and secondly, I discovered with amazement that he was a satsangi too!! I was at a recording session with my son's father watching him record when Terry walked up behind me, bent down and whispered "Do you know what the phrase "Radha Soami" means"? ^(That was the satsangi greeting--supposedly meaning "I salute the Lord in you"). When I turned with a start to see who was speaking, I was so shocked that I almost fell out of that chair. I guess he had seen me at satsang, but I didn't remember him. That was how we met. From then on, I often saw him at satsangs, and the group of us frequently had lunch afterward. So we were pretty close. When he later became engaged, I met his (non-satsangi) fiancee, who also sang in the group he had at the time. And I then introduced them to my son's father one night at one of their shows, as a few of his most popular songs were part of their repertoire.

I guess you could say that I was led by the Holy Spirit as I rushed to do an internet search of Terry's name. I found him fast and I found him close. He was living just a few miles from my apartment in Florida. I called the number listed and he answered the phone! That in itself was a miracle, looking back. Shortly into the conversation, I asked him if he still went to satsang. He replied that no, he had found Jesus! I might think that that would have taken some nerve to say to a satsangi, considering the polar differences in the teachings and what I might think, but he said it right out. And although his next words are a blur at this time, it was along the lines that I should check out Jesus myself!

To make a long story short, we talked for hours. We shared many things, including my experiences of Instant Messaging with the "familiar spirits". Within the next few days, I bought my very first Bible--the WWJD version. That was pivotal and that was because God put Terry in my way. As my walk with Jesus has progressed and I've gained perspective as I get further from those early days, I can see the amazing absolutely supernatural way in which God planned and facilitated the bringing together of Terry and I. Who else on the face of the planet could have served that purpose and filled that description? He sang in a group so he knew that life, he was from Detroit--or at least living there--so knew that life too. He was with the same record label as my son's father at the time, and recorded at the same studio. He knew him--or at least his reputations, so he knew what I was going through, he was in the same age group as we were, and for the absolute piece de resistance, he was a satsangi! How likely is that!? Oh no wait, just to top it off, he was a satsangi who had given his life to Jesus Christ! I am so in awe!    

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Periodically throughout the years, I would attend the occasional church service, at the end of which I'd almost always go to the altar for the "altar call"--once I knew what that was, that is! This was the time at the end of a service when one could ask Jesus into their hearts and to be the Lord of their lives. I'd do this in desperation, even though I never believed that it really worked. I'd tried it a half-dozen times or so, and after all, it had never worked for me before. Every time, I'd walk away shaking my head and muttering under my breath, because I never felt any different. Nothing ever changed in my heart--at least not so that I could perceive it at the time.

I have always been more or less a “channel hopper” when it comes to television--unless I run across something interesting--and in my hopping, I would often come across “religious programs”. It was unavoidable, in fact! And I couldn’t change the channel fast enough. I hated “those preachers”. Bunch of thieves and liars and phonies. Garbage. No more “real” than wrestling!

Yet, somehow during the two or so years prior to me being saved, this repulsion toward "religious programs" began to somehow shift. I found myself watching something here and there for a little longer than the usual few fleeting seconds it usually took to change a channel. This was happening at the same time that my impatience with the satsangis was accelerating and my attraction to eating seafood and poultry was increasing.

It was also during that same period of time that I used to spend hours on the phone with an old friend of mine--someone I had a hot and heavy affair with in the eighties and hadn't talked to in two decades. We had reconnected through a mutual friend via the internet and he had long since become a preacher. Go figure! He and I spent many long hours on the phone talking spirituality during this same two years, give or take. Very interesting in retrospect how this time period was so obviously being choreographed in the finest detail by the Lord! I'd say that man of God was pivotal in my salvation. And I still thank and bless him for that, wherever he has disappeared to now! Yes, he had come back into my life for a season too. He taught me so much and shared so much and was then gone again. But God, in His infinite wisdom, matched me up with exactly the one person on the planet to whom I could relate both in a worldly way because of our past, but then in a Godly way as well. Awesome!

So in March of 2004, I was doing laundry at the community laundromat in my apartment complex and of course, was running in and out of the apartment. Back and forth, back and forth. I had left the television on for some reason, and on TBN at that! And on one of my trips back through, a familiar voice caught my ear as I passed the television. I looked back over my shoulder and there was Tiny Lister testifying. I was like "Hey! I know him". He is--among other things--of course, an actor. As a makeup artist, I had worked a few years earlier on a movie he was in. I found out later (not being a wrestling fan) that he was also known as Zeus in the World Wrestling Federation. A giant of a man with eyes of two different colors and directions, he most often played a bully, criminal or worse in these many movies.

Although now I know that he often testifies on TBN, and also [delete just] played a major role in the movie One Night With The King (the bible story of Queen Esther), I had never seen him on television before. It was first his unmistakable voice, then his familiar face, which caught my attention that day, but it was his inimitable style which captured me and caused me to put down my laundry basket and sit down on the sofa and listen to him. I was fascinated! Unbeknownst to me, God was doing His thing in my heart! I can't really tell you what Tiny said that day, I know it was him and his style which God used to reach me.

The second step in the plan that day materialized on my next trip back from the laundromat: Dion Sanders (again, not into sports, but vaguely knew the name and the face), was now testifying. Actually, there were three men sitting side by side, I found out as the camera panned left. Dion was on my right. I didn't recognize the other two men, who were apparently pastors. One of them asked Dion about his spiritual father, and he spoke about Bishop T. D. Jakes--a name unfamiliar to me at the time. He mentioned Bishop Jakes' church, The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas. My first thought was "Hey, there's a Potter's House up there on the main drag; I pass it almost everyday." (God was doing His thing)! Then the pastor on the far left got his face right up in the camera and (among other things which I didn't remember) he emphatically told me to find a good home church! Again, I was like: "Hey! Lemme get the phone number of that Potter's House up the road there"!) The computer was on across the room, as usual, and before that pastor had finished, I was looking up the phone number! I called the first number listed and it was disconnected. I called the second number listed and couldn't get through there either. I knew I was going past it the next day, so planned on just going there then to ask when the services were.

The many and deep talks I had with my old friend-turned-pastor had inspired--and slowly even driven--me to want to finally know Jesus and study the Word of God. I had mistakenly assumed that I was a child of God--that we all were. You are a creation of God, yes, but when you are born again, you are then a child of God. What a shocker! Satan had lulled me into a false sense of security with that lie for all those many years.

I had always believed in God (and found no contradiction in the New Age lifestyle, duh)! But for some reason (another lie of Satan), whenever people talked about Jesus, I just never felt that Jesus applied to me. I never believed in the Bible and had nothing but negative to say about it. I hated it. But what was I talking about? I had never even read the Bible! I never owned one; I'd tried to crack one a few times over the years, but that same something was between It and me! I just couldn't stand it! Hard to read--like it was in another language! Plus, it was only written by men anyway. I was sure they had translated it to fit their own agendas, or even accidentally just translated it incorrectly. King James just used it to control his subjects! Huh? See, I had no idea what I was saying. That was purely Satan--knowing he surely didn't want to lose me, one of his most staunch supporters!!

Then, in one of the last phone conversations we had before my salvation, I remember yelling to my friend: "What is wrong with me? Why don't I believe the Bible?" It was at that moment that I knew I could, in fact, believe the Bible--if I only chose to. I surrendered then and let him teach me. I mean, he was already doing that--to the degree that I would allow--but then I just really wanted to know. I wanted to learn. I wanted to finally be included. I wanted to follow Jesus.

"But", I thought, "I asked Jesus into my heart several times before and nothing happened. How can this time be different"? Something in me--knowing that the overly analytical type of mind I'd had was the roadblock--spoke out and this time said "Jesus, please BYPASS MY MIND and come into my heart! Be the Lord of my life. I've been Lord of my own life for sixty years, Jesus, and trying to choreograph all this stuff myself. And not doing a very good job of it, I might add"!

The next day, I drove up to the Potter's House. It was locked up tight as a drum; not even a vehicle in the lot. Confident that I was supposed to go to service at the Potter's House (and fully knowing that Jesus was going to meet me there and that I would truly be saved that day), I just sat there and waited. In a few minutes, a white pickup truck drove up and parked. Inside it were a white man and what looked to be his small white son. I don't remember their clothes glowing, but I thought that was very odd--on top of which it was a church whose congregation was made up of 99.9% people of color. Back at home later, I wondered “Do angels drive pickup trucks?” They got out of the vehicle and I asked him when the services were. He told me about how this temporary building (it looked like a huge, gray igloo to me), was no longer being used for services and that they were being held at 10:00 am the next day at another recently acquired building at an intersection somewhere nearby. I thanked them and went home.

I only vaguely knew that intersection, still my car found the way that next morning to the Potter's House straightaway. I knew Jesus was sitting on my hood, making the way clear. I went in and, as expected, Jesus met me there as I knew He would and I gave my life to Him! It was as if we both understood that I'd had this appointment on this certain day and at this certain time my whole life. Although it was both the end and the beginning, there was a fleeting but bittersweet moment when I strongly felt the absence of David in the vacant seat next to me. We should have been there together.

Since then, God has done so many wonderful things in my life, that they can't all be told. I'm not as good as I want to be, that's for sure, but I'm better than I was! That's for sure too!

And the glory of it all is that all that Jesus has miraculously done in my life, He can do and wants to do in yours! And more! And why would you want to give your life to Jesus? Because--to put it painfully simple--everything of self (self-rule) is death. Death is emptiness, misery and pain. To live a victorious life, we must die to the lie that sin satisfies. And all sin falls under the umbrella of self-rule.

How would you go about giving your life to Jesus? Here's an answer from allaboutgod.com:

 

Salvation Prayer - The Cornerstone is Christ?

What is the so-called Salvation Prayer? What do I do to get "saved?" At one point or another we all ask ourselves this question.

"That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)

"Jesus answered and said to him, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'" (John 3:3)

 

Salvation Prayer - Back to Basics

The Salvation Prayer is merely a road to rebirth in Jesus Christ. To be born again you must confess Jesus as Lord and believe that He is. When you ask Him into your heart, you are allowing Him to be the Lord of your life.

A. Salvation is the "permission slip" to enter heaven when you leave this world.

B. Salvation takes place when a person listens to the salvation message, believes it, and makes a decision to receive Jesus into his or her heart.

 

Salvation Prayer - The Simple Steps:

1. Acknowledge in your heart that Jesus is Lord.

2. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.

3. Believe that Jesus died for your sins and was raised three days later.

4. Repent of your sins and get baptized in the name of Jesus.

(*Author's note: Water baptism is not a prerequisite to salvation; it is a public commitment on your part to The Holy Trinity of The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit—as well as to Satan, the church, your friends and family and to yourself—that you have chosen to receive and follow Jesus Christ).

 

Salvation Prayer - Merely a Tool to Communicate Our Faith

The Salvation Prayer is not a ritual based on specific words. This is not the power of a prayer, but the power of truly committing our lives to Christ as Savior and Lord. The following is merely a guideline for our sincere step of faith:

"God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross at Calvary, and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I ask this in Jesus' precious and holy name. Amen."

If you decided to repent of your sins and receive Christ today, welcome to God's family.

Now, as a way to grow closer to Him, the Bible tells us to follow up on our commitment.

1. Get baptized as commanded by Christ.

2. Tell someone else about your new faith in Christ.

3. Spend time with God each day. It does not have to be a long period of time. Just develop the daily habit of praying to Him and reading His Word. Ask God to increase your faith and your understanding of the Bible.

4. Seek fellowship with other followers of Jesus. Develop a group of believing friends to answer your questions and support you.

5. Find a local Bible-based church where you sense the Presence of and where you can worship God.

Again, welcome! Your life will never be the same! Now, only with the addition of this last chapter is my story told and the book finally complete--with balance, redemption and purpose. But the real work has just begun... 

BUY THE BOOK

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