I want to share with you details concerning a period of time about 30 years ago and how God kept me from the danger of going far away from Him.
When I look back, I realize that I could have so easily lost my way. Many times, I was in “danger”’ because I had put one foot outside of the gospel. Fortunately, my other foot stayed in the gospel (I will tell you how later).
I Was Injured for a Long Time but Ignored It
Recently, God showed me something I had never realized before. I was injured more deeply than I thought and I began to understand why it was hard for me to even think about being involved in a specific local church. I love Christians but when I think about going under the “authority” of a pastor or organization and becoming obliged of doing this or that, I want to run away and be free. I thought it was a matter of personality, or it was simply God’s will. I was injured for a long time and I ignored it.
I realized this recently when I heard a pastor (on YouTube) saying that you cannot be outside of a group. You become an easy “prey” for the enemy. It woke up two feelings in me: Guilt of not being a “good” Christian and an ‘”old” fear of Satan. I began to judge myself severely–that I had not been able to be obedient to God, join a group and be baptized. So simple. I felt like my Christian life was a total failure. All I had in my hand to offer God was shame and tears. I told God: “If you can do something with that …”(??)
I began to look back and to see my early years in Christianity. I became very sad and cried for things that occurred more than 30 years ago. I said to myself that it was ridiculous. I remembered many times these events without being sad. It’s not that serious, etc.
I paid more attention to this “sudden” sorrow. Then I felt, coming from the bottom of my heart, a really soft, strong, with absolutely no judgement, “voice” saying to me: “You were not selfish. You were wounded and you didn’t know. Let me heal you.” In Christ, there is no judgement, there is only healing. Never be ashamed of your tears. It the way to healing.
We Cannot Walk or Run if We Are Hurt
I pictured to myself in a war movie. When I see wounded soldiers, I don’t judge them. They served the best they could. When they are suffering, they are focused on themselves, not because they are selfish, because they are suffering. We are in a spiritual war and in a “rough” world. God is “the General” of the Army and He sees things we cannot see. As a good leader, He knows what, how and when we can serve Him. He knows we cannot walk or run if we are hurt. It could cause more damage. Step 1 is to be in health.
Your site is like a place where you help wounded “soldiers” heal. It so important. I found a “place” where there is no judgement, there is only healing. I thank you for that.
Before we ‘”go back in time,” I must admit that I am a sensitive person. Maybe I get more easily troubled with things that another person would overcome more quickly. We all have different strengths. We have to develop it as much as we can.
Let’s go back in time to 1987, when I was 16 years old.
From Karate to Christ in Very Special Circumstances
Joe the Karate Teacher Enters My Life
My sister (who was 18 years old) met a guy named Joe (fictional name) who said he was 24 years old. Joe became her boyfriend and came to our house almost every night. He was a karate teacher and studied to become a certified accountant.
He gave karate lessons in a school gym to a group of about 10 persons once a week. I began to take lessons with the group and got a yellow belt three months later.
Joe became almost like a brother to me. An “example”’ to follow.
One day, Joe told us he was preparing for the world championship next week and he preferred not saying too much to keep his focus. Okay, we understood and got thrilled about that.
A week later, he arrived at our home later than usual and told us he won the championship!
He had no trophy. (?) Nothing. He told us the trophy was too big for his small apartment and he had to leave it at one of his friend’s (whom we never saw) house. We found it very unusual but we all had trusted him. We were very happy and asked his permission to contact a local journalist to talk about this big story. He accepted and, two weeks later, the story was on the front page of the local newspaper with a large picture of him. The article described that he defeated a Japanese, Mr. Funagoshi, to win the title.
Bill, a Karate School Owner
In our town, there was another karate school. It was much bigger than ours. The owner and teacher, Bill (fictional name), was well known in the area. We often saw him in the local newspaper. He was a large guy (6′ 4″’ approximately).
Joe told us that he had known Bill since childhood. They had the same karate teacher, but they took two very different directions. Joe told us that Bill became a very evil guy behind the scenes. He told us that he was doing almost “satanic” activities with his black belt group behind closed doors. In our minds, Joe was the good guy and Bill was the bad and dangerous guy.
Felt Terror as Bill and Five Others Confront Joe
The week after the newspaper article, while we were warming up for the karate session, Bill and five other guys (all black belts) arrived in the door of the gym to verbally confront Joe. Joe was the only black belt of our group. All others were green belts or less. I was a skinny teenager with a yellow belt. We had no way to escape because they blocked the door. I was sure our lives were in danger. The feelings I experienced that night was close to terror. The scene was surrealistic!
Joe did nothing but walk around with his face turning red. Bill began his “speech” to us by saying that the championship story was “bullshit” because Mr. Funagoshi was their karate teacher and that he had passed away several years ago!! He said that he had known Joe for a long time and that Joe had almost lost his mind in religion (??), but this time he went too far with the championship story. Joe finally admitted that it was bullshit and (with rage) left the building.
Our Trust in Joe Was Shaken
After Joe had left, Bill said he was sorry for us, but he couldn’t let this big lie go on. Bill was very different than Joe’s description. They left the building without trouble. For the rest of the group, the adventure was over, but not for me. Joe was still my sister’s boyfriend.
Two days after, Joe came back to our house. Our trust in him was seriously shaken and we questioned him about what happened. He said that he acted this way to “protect” the group and avoid fighting. When I questioned him about religion, he told me that it was when he accepted Christ as his personal Savior. I was very curious about that and he briefly explained how Jesus saves us.
It was in the middle of this “crisis” that I deeply understood what Jesus had done for us (and for me). My parents could not trust Joe anymore because they saw he had problems with telling the truth (the championship lie was too big and he still denied it).
After losing his “importance” in karate, Joe saw the opportunity to be important again. He became our “guide” in Christianity (for my sister and myself). I considered Joe as a brother and trusted him once again to be my “example” to follow. Joe never talked about karate anymore and switched back to Christ.
Difficult First Steps
I Didn’t Smile or Laugh Anymore
In the weeks after, Joe took us to a local Pentecostal church (two or three times) and a local Baptist church. I don’t know why, but he never stayed for long at the same place. All my family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc) are all Catholic. It was a shock wave to them that my sister and I “changed religion” as they said. My aunt tried to convince me to be back in Catholicism, but there was no way. I had found a pearl and was ready to lose everything (if necessary) to keep it. Fortunately, they were good people and respected our choice.
It was not a happy year. My mother had noticed that I didn’t smile or laugh anymore. The “weight” was very heavy for me.
I Became Afraid of the Devil
One day, Joe told me that the Devil was our enemy and that he could attack us. He said it with such intense facial expressions that it was frightening. I became so afraid of the Devil that some nights I had to go to bed with headphones and Christian music to be able to get some sleep. My sister and Joe helped me the best they could to overcome this fear, but I knew I was more fragile than them and kept it hidden so as not to be a burden for them. I struggled so hard to keep a mental balance during that year.
Among the Christian songs of this time, one said, “He who began a good work in you… will be faithful to complete it.” (Philippians 1:6) This phrase never got out of my mind throughout all these years. It has allowed me to always keep one foot in the gospel, no matter where I put the other. I had, and still have, a deep conviction that God will guide me. I could have avoided so many unnecessary detours if I had kept my two feet in the gospel instead of “exploring” elsewhere.
Joe Was Not Who He Pretended to Be
My parents discovered that Joe was not who he pretended to be. He was not a 24-year-old student. He was a 34-year-old man and worked the night shift in a fast-food restaurant. Joe couldn’t lie anymore and my sister broke up with him. All we know of him that was true was his name. It was now impossible to trust him again. I don’t judge him. He had his problems and I wish he may find peace. We never saw him again.
My sister and I continued to attend the local Baptist church. It was a small one (about 50 people). They were very good people. The vast majority of them were much older than us except for one girl who was approximately the same age but who obviously was there only because of her parents.
Circumstances quickly changed after that. My sister met a Christian from an other area, got married and moved to his area. I had to change cities to continue my schooling.
I Needed Freedom
We asked to be baptized and thought it would be a simple process. They didn’t seem to be really enthusiasts by our idea but we began preparation lessons with pages and pages to fill out. I don’t remember how many lessons were necessary because I didn’t complete the process.
So my early experience of attending a Christian church was not that “exciting” (for a teenager). I saw it as almost boring and complicated. I found more freedom by getting closer to nature. I know that my Christian “responsibility” should have been to continue to attend a church, but I didn’t want to feel choked anymore. I didn’t reject Christ (I always had that song in mind), but I needed freedom.
Another “Example” to Follow
As a teenager, I was searching for another “example” to follow in Christianity, to “replace” Joe. At the time, there was a televangelist in our province whom had a “cool” T.V. show. I said to myself: Let’s follow him. I liked to watch his program and learn about the gospel. A couple of weeks after, he was accused of sexual behavior with a teenager and it was a big scandal in the media. For me it was another big slap in the face. I saw him as a man to follow. I don’t remember if the accusations were true, but I felt it was the last time I put my trust in a preacher. (The only men “of God” I trusted after were Herbert W. Armstrong and Gerald Flurry. Not in person but through their literature).
For now, going back to a church and putting my trust in a pastor or teacher is something I cannot do. We hear that false teachers and “wolves” are now inside the church. I don’t think I can take anymore.
Many Detours Before “Going Home”
Throughout the years, I continued to have faith in Christ. This song (from Philippians 1:6) was “sealed”’ in my mind. “He who began a good work in you … will be faithful to complete it.” My Bible was never too far away.
Became Involved in the New Age
There was a period of time where I searched for “truth”’ in “re-birth” seminars (New Age kind of deep meditation). I discovered afterwards that the leader of these seminars was more interested in my money than people. (Jesus said You will recognize a tree by its fruits…’’)
For almost 10 years I was reading about “messages of light beings” (messages from “channeling” sessions to transmit messages from our “brothers” coming from other planets to help humanity evolution). They talked about 2012 as a very important year for humanity. The more I read their messages, the more I saw it was totally different than the Bible’s main message. After 2012, I realized it was only empty words. Absolutely nothing had changed positively in humanity. Paul wrote: “But should we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).
Don’t fall into this trap. This “satanic” seduction is more and more spread in our world. UFO continue to be seen around the world. They are real, but they are not who they claim to be. The Bible says that there will be a lot of seduction in the end time.
After that, my interest for God’s gospel came back when I “discovered”’ PCG…
You know the rest of the story! [see link to Mario’s first testimony at the end]
Trust God, He is in Command
God Has the Power to Heal Us and Set Us Free
Even if my circumstances are not the same as yours, the result is the same: God is guiding us and protecting us in a way we cannot understand. We have been wounded in “the battle” and He has the Power (by the Holy Spirit) to heal us and set us free. Don’t pay attention to the enemy’s power, let God take charge of this. Take all the weapons of God and focus on Him.
As years go by, my disobedience and sins towards God become more obvious to me. I see more and more it will be impossible to present God a perfectly clean “exam sheet,” there are so many stains on it. The good news is that I will / can present Christ’s “exam sheet’” to God. I will / can present, instead of mine, perfect obedience of Christ towards God. He did it all for me. He did it all for you.
If you sincerely want in your heart to be with God, you can be 100% sure He will “take you home” safe and sound. You can be 100% sure of this:
“He who began a good Work in you …. will be faithful to complete it.”
His work will be complete when we will be with Him in the New Heavens and the New Earth for eternity. (Revelation 21:1)
Thank you for listening.
God bless you.
Mario [first name used with permission]
Read Mario’s first testimony: I Almost Got Sucked Into the Swirl of PCG
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you
will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” ~Philippians 1:6