I had previously been saved & lived a Christian life all the time. I ran with the wrong people & fell out of it. Would drink & smoke every day. Sometimes liquor was all I took in.. No food. Would maintain a buzz & never get drunk. I would take alka seltzer– goodies headache powder–ibuprofen. All ways taking twice what recommend amount was. Got a stomach bleed. Went to doctor & was told stop or I would very likely not make another 2 years. My wife’s pastor came to hospital to icu to see me. I had been talking to him & told him about living Christian life & needed to ask God to forgive me & help me stop drinking and smoking. I vowed to the lord I with his help would not smoke or drink again. Thank the lord THAT WAS 5 YEARS AGO. & I have not. The lord performs miracles believe me. Thank you Jesus. Rick Ford
Camille Lynn McCoy
Christians sometimes use terms and expressions that other Christians can understand simply because they have experienced the same things. I call this language “Christianese” and “hearing from God” is just such a phrase. The context of the word “hearing” sends a message that only the ear hears the message. However, God speaks to us in many ways other than audibly. Some Christians understand that “hearing from God” doesn’t necessarily mean that He speaks in audible tones like He was recorded to have done during the Old Testament times. But even Christians sometimes limit their relationship with God because the phrase “hearing from God” sends the wrong message to them. So that I can share with others when I “hear” from God, I have tried to think of words other than “hear” to express the manner in which I have received His guidance. I try to think of terms that describe my experience so others can understand what I mean without immediately blocking my message because they think I must be delusional or imagining things. I love to read Rob Payne’s articles in the Williamson paper and think it is a great idea to have people write-in with their experiences and testimonies. I wonder if the reason some don’t take him up on this invitation is because they don’t know exactly how to express what they have experienced without sounding like they are nuts! So let me try, as an example, to express and testify that God does indeed “speak” to us in many ways if only we are open to “hear” Him in whatever way He chooses to communicate. I don’t have enough room in a short column to cover the vastness of God’s ways, but I can start by telling you some ways He has opened my “eyes” and mind. When I jump off the rollercoaster of life or exit the rat race of life long enough to take a look around the earth, I marvel at it and see that there is nothing random about the our planet or the universe. The beauty and synchronization of how it all works and how it all remains in place must be one way God starts conversations with even unbelievers. The communication has nothing to do this “hearing” and has to do with “seeing.” As a more personal example, let me share how God has “spoken” to me of late. When I seek out answers to major disappointments and life trials, I have learned to speak to God in prayer. As I pray about an issue (sometimes for days, months, and even years), something beyond myself and my own desire makes changes in my personal character and outlook. Lifelong viewpoints and opinions about people and situations begin to change from negative (sinful) to positive (Christ-like) without me forcing it to change. The change is so powerful and brought on without intention or through practice, that I know my new viewpoint and attitude came from somewhere other than me. It comes with a peace and assurance that I am about to do the right thing. My heart changes. My viewpoint changes. My thoughts and actions change. And I take notice that the change is wanted and is one that is in line with what Jesus would do and the Bible would advocate. I know it is God “speaking” to my heart and mind to move in a direction I would never choose to take on my own or one that I could not make myself do. I also can see I did nothing but speak to God in prayer and ask for relief from my situation or peace within it. And God “speaks” back to me by going to work on changing what I could not (and probably would not even choose) to change on my own. Yes, I testify that God speaks to me. And although the message is not audible, it is loud and clear. It is life enhancing and peaceful. I pray for you to listen for Him. He is definitely speaking.
LUIS FERNANDO BEDOYA
One night, in February of the year 2001, I dreamed that I was at the bottom of a mountain. The mountain was green, and, instead of trees, it was full of rocks of all sizes, dispersed all around the slope. I looked up and saw the Virgin Mary standing on a big rock. When I came close, she smiled at me and pointed to the sky. I looked and saw the word “Leviticus” (in English) written on the clouds.
I wondered what our Mother wanted to show me, and I sought the answers for some years. I read the Leviticus many times, in English and in Spanish, but I couldn’t find anything related to the dream. I asked priests, pastors, and anybody who had a little understanding of the Bible to tell me what my dream meant. I had many different answers, but none pleased me. Deep in my heart I felt that the Lord wanted to tell me something, and it didn’t have anything to do with any of the answers I had gotten.
I’m sure I came to this world with a purpose. That’s why I have dedicated my entire life to search the truth, mostly by reading books. I’m not a scientist, but I like to watch programs and read anything related to science. Also, I pay a lot of attention to my dreams as well as I pay attention to other people. Who knows? Somebody may have a message for me.
I went to the university to study Psychology and I purchased the whole collection of Sigmund Freud’s books. Back in the seventies, when I was in my twenties, Sigmund Freud was my world. For me the Psychoanalysis was the real truth; no other theory compared to that. But the years passed and Freud didn’t fill my expectations. I started to lose interest and finally I dropped out of the university.
In my eagerness to find some answers, one day, I visited a couple who read the cards. After shuffling, they asked me to pick up a card with my left hand. When I showed them the card, they looked at each other and started talking to themselves. Then they told me that, in forty years they had been in the business, I was only the second person to pick up that card. That was the best card of the deck. They also told me that, because of the combination with the other cards I picked, I would have to struggle with adversity before succeeding in my life. A couple of years later, I traveled to the U.S.A.
I lived in a town named Monticello, upstate New York, for over eleven years. I kept reading books, but this time I read a lot of esoteric literature. My mail was full of letters and stuff related to the occult, the tarot, and divinations. I wanted to know who I was and why I had come to this world. Obviously, I was looking in the wrong place, and, because of that, not aware of my reality: Far from the Lord and walking in the steps of the enemy. Anyway, one day I received a letter in the mail from an astrologer in Brooklyn who told me that I was a “Beyonder”. Full of curiosity, and not knowing what he meant, I replied the letter. After I paid 25 dollars, he responded and sent me a diploma with the words “True Beyonder”. He explained that according to my date and time of birth I was not ruled by the stars, and that made me unique.
In the meantime, in Monticello, there was a prayer group that met in a house close to where I lived, and they invited me many times, but I always refused their invitation. God was calling me, like He had been ever since the moment I arrived in this world. He always told me that I was “unique” before Him. Instead of listening to Him, I followed the world.
Talking to my mother, she told me that, when I was a kid, the teachers in my elementary school had me in the highest regard, and that I was also very special to the priests in the high school I attended to. Many people, including tarot readers, fortune-tellers, and astrologers saw some goodness in me that I never saw myself. Before coming to this world, I was programmed to follow in the steps of the Lord, and maybe that’s what those people saw, but I forgot everything, did exactly the opposite, and not only I hurt the people who believed in me but offended the Lord as well.
There’s a movie called “Olympus has fallen”. In it, the president asks one of his secretaries if she has something to regret about, and she answers “no”. Thinking about that question, if somebody asked me, I would respond “yes”. I have a lot to regret in my life, and the biggest mistake I made was not having answered when the Lord called me in Monticello.
But the Lord never gave up on me. In my solitude, in New York, I dreamed of a girl walking on the eastern slopes of Medellín, Colombia, the city where I was born. Although I didn’t know who she was, I thought that she belonged to me. There are no words to explain it, but she was more than a fantasy. She was very real. Many girls passed through my life, and I never stayed with any of them. There was no chemistry. This case was different, though, because I had the feeling the Lord Himself had picked the woman who would become my wife.
I got sick and had an operation in Cooperstown, New York, where my gallbladder was removed. The thing is I didn’t completely recover and eventually I was forced to return to Medellín, to my family, on August 6th, 1993. One year later, my parents sold the house and bought another one in a fancy district, west of the city. On August 3rd, all the family gathered together to inaugurate the new house. In the afternoon, I went to a grocery store nearby, and I was talking to some people when she arrived. At first, I didn’t pay too much attention. She was just another customer coming to the store. After a moment, though, we started talking like we had been friends for a long time. It was very strange because this was the first time I saw that girl, whose name is Maribel. I invited her to my house, and she told me that her family had recently moved to the vicinity (her house was half a block from mine) but they used to live in one of the neighborhoods on the eastern hillsides of the city.
After three and a half years of dating her, we got married in the Catholic church of our neighborhood, on June 20th, 1998. We never had children, but although we have taken it as the will of our Lord, Maribel still cries about it. For much that I try to console her, sometimes she considers herself a loser for not being a mother. Not long after we got married, the Lord sent us to Orlando.
I went to Orlando on December 6th, 2000, and my wife arrived in there three months later. It’s funny because, before coming to Orlando, I dreamed that I was in a city I didn’t know, at nighttime, waiting, beside a big highway, for transportation to go home. I felt uneasy as I couldn’t see any more people around. Finally a van came and I got in. Besides the driver, two more people were in the van: A man and a woman. The woman was in the right front seat, and the man was behind the driver. When I sat down, the three of them looked at each other and, in a blink, they hurled at me with fangs and claws. Scared, I woke up.
My heart skipped a beat when I arrived in Orlando and came out of the airport on Semoran Boulevard. That was the place I saw in my dream.
Everything comes to the Lord’s perfect plan. After we settled in Orlando, my wife started attending to the praise meetings in St. John Vianney, a Catholic church on O.B.T., every Tuesday night. Believe it or not, many of these people belonged to the same group that invited me to the meetings in Monticello, twenty years before. At first, I took her over there and picked her up after the meeting was over. I think I did that for more than a year. But one day I finally stayed, and I loved it. From that night on, I eagerly kept going to praise the Lord, and He started working on me. I mean, He had been working on me all my life, but this was the first time I paid attention.
Up to that time I had been reading a lot of new age literature. And I also read whatever I found about Jesus. There’s a collection of books called “The Trojan Horse”, written by J.J. Benítez, a Spanish writer, telling the story of Jesus from a different perspective. I don’t know if what Mr. Benítez says is remotely true but it awoke my thirst for knowledge of our Lord because, deep in my heart, I had always loved Him very much. After all the mistakes and the wrongdoings I had made, the little flame inserted in my heart since the beginning of my life never extinguished. The Lord brought me to this world with a purpose in mind and He didn’t want to lose me. Thinking of that, I turned my attention to the Bible. The thing is that I couldn’t understand much of what I read, so I felt very disappointed. Until I read a book called “The Davinci Code”.
The confusion that book produced in me was so great that, for a moment, I thought God was in reality a woman. Not that I have anything against women. For me, the woman is God’s most perfect creation. The problem is that many doubts arose, no matter that what I really hated of that book was the assumption that Jesus married Mary Magdalene. That’s cheap literature.
Among the books I had gotten by that time, there was a new K.J.V. Bible, which in reality was a gift for having purchased other books. It’s a very beautiful Bible and my wife used to keep it open in Psalm 91 because she believes that Psalm brings some kind of blessings. Discouraged for not having understood much of what I read, I forgot about my Bible for some time, until one day I came home after work. That day I was pondering about “the Davinci Code”, and in my prayers (yes, I never in my life stopped praying, even though I have always been a lousy sinner) I asked the Lord for answers because I was very confused. When I entered the apartment, the first thing I saw was my Bible open in Psalm 91, and it seemed to shine. Impulsively, I grabbed it, closed it, and opened it again, this time in the Gospel of John, and the first thing I put my eyes on was chapter 14, verse 6, which reads “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
My hair stood on end. Jesus was telling me that He is very real and I shouldn’t pay attention to all the garbage circling around. The enemy just wants to take us away from our Lord, and from the truth. That was the first time Jesus spoke to me through my Bible, and that brought me closer to Him.
Some months later, in March 2005, He spoke to me the second time. I had not forgotten my dream when I saw the Virgin Mary asking me to read the Leviticus. And it happened the same way. That day I also came from work and the first thing I did was to pick up my Bible and start reading where I opened it: Leviticus chapter 18.
The Lord gave Moses the laws of sexual morality, laws that I was breaking. For me, pornography was ok as long as one saw it in the privacy of the home. Besides, some of the New Age doctrines teach that we shouldn’t be ashamed of our bodies because God gave us these bodies. In that, they are right. The problem is that they also say that it’s all right to show your body. That idea was so deep-rooted in me that I was not ashamed if somebody saw me naked; I didn’t even care. And that day everything changed. The first thing I did was to get rid of some pornographic videos I owned. The Lord was working on me and I had to follow His will. But everything comes with a price.
You know? The Lord doesn’t give up on you, but, if you allow him, the enemy doesn’t give up on you either. A couple of days later, Satan did his thing.
I worked driving a van in Orlando, and I used to start at the airport first time in the morning. That day I went to make line before 5 a.m. and, although there was another van before me, the place was deserted. I went to the restroom, and in there, on top of the toilet, there was a brand new pornographic magazine waiting for me. I don’t know who put it there, but he certainly didn’t open it. The sheets were all tied together because of the static. So, nobody else had seen it. Thinking of the promise I had made to the Lord that I was going to quit watching pornography, I declined to open the magazine and left it there, although my worldly being pushed me to do otherwise. Up to now, I feel tempted many times to watch pornography again, especially when it’s so easy to watch it on the internet. Sometimes I have fallen, but it’s a temptation I have to fight every single day. The enemy always beats against our weakest points.
Everything is my fault, though. I forgot my real purpose in this world and made one mistake after the other. The enemy took advantage of me offending the Lord and now is very angry because I am trying to come back to His path. People say that the Lord works in mysterious ways, and I think He has allowed Satan to deprive me of things that I loved. We were seven children in my family, six boys and a girl, me being the oldest. My sister was the center of the family, because not only she was in the middle of us (three boys before and three boys after her) but she was the wealthy one as well. In the family, everything revolved around my sister. We didn’t live in opulence but we certainly didn’t lack anything either. But the Lord called her on September 23rd, 2003. She left a big hole in our lives, and everything started going downwards in the family. Every time I ponder on this, I feel guilty because I think it was a way the Lord used to call my attention. He was telling me that it was time for me to come back to Him.
My sister’s passing was an act of God. Now she is very happy standing on His side. The problem is for the rest of us who remain in this world. We are the ones who have to go through very hard times, especially now that the enemy has increased his attacks. For almost twenty years that I lived in the U.S.A. I worked legally most of the time. I even got a Social Security number, but I had to renew my work permit every year; until the government decided to not renew it any longer. I got a letter from I.C.E. telling me that I was not eligible to stay in the country and, although they told me I could appeal that decision, they also told me that not only it was going to cost me some money but most certainly I was going to lose the case. So, not willing to be there illegally, I stayed until my Florida driver’s license expired. Against my will, I returned to Colombia on March 16th, 2008. My wife had come one month earlier.
I really wanted to stay in the U.S.A. not only because I love that country but because I had a job and, most importantly, because my wife and I had gotten into the habit of meeting every Saturday with other people to praise the Lord. This was a beautiful group (again, many of the people who used to meet in New York) and we felt the presence and blessings of our Lord every time we met. Satan was very jealous, and he did all he could to take us away from the Lord. Of course the Lord is still in our hearts, in our minds, in our home, and in our marriage, but things are not the same. Everything was much better when we were in Orlando, even the Sunday Mass. Although I’m Catholic, I don’t follow the dogmas of that church. What I’m interested in is the truth. The one and only truth: Jesus.
I feel comfortable being Catholic but, right now, I’m lost again. Now we don’t attend to the Sunday Mass as we used to when we were in Orlando. Mass over here is colder, and the priests are taken more by the dogmas. For them, it seems Jesus is second, and what’s important is what the church teaches. In other words, let’s say that the priests in Colombia are less charismatic than the American counterparts. Other thing is that we don’t have a group with whom to meet to praise the Lord. And our faith has cooled off. At this moment, we are almost penniless, and without a job. Only my wife is working right now as a baby-sitter, and we are trying to do our best with that little money. Because of this, our marriage is on the rocks. For much that we pray, it looks like the Lord doesn’t want to hear us. And not only that, but this situation sometimes makes us (especially me) to offend each other and to offend the Lord. Satan is laughing at us.
Despite all this I should consider myself very rich because I have the Lord in my life and, by the way, I have what’s necessary to live: My health, my senses, a house to live, food, clothes to wear, and freedom to profess my faith. I also have the love of my wife, although we have been arguing so much lately. Many people in the world lack some or most of those things. Money is what I don’t have, and the enemy is taking advantage of it to attack both my wife and me. Unfortunately, the lack of money not only makes me forget about my true riches but, sometimes, I become desperate because we need it to live; there are bills to pay. This sole situation is tearing us apart. The tarot readers were right thirty-five years ago: Our life is a struggle.
The Lord used fortune-tellers to attract my attention. They just confirmed what He was telling me in the first place: That all the good things (including material things) that we long for are there waiting for us to stretch our arms and grab them. I have now realized that the people look for wrong things in the wrong place. I did that myself. The world and the enemy are doing their best to take us away from our true happiness. And they are succeeding as long as we allow them. It’s us who don’t want to pay attention.
Illumination came to me, mostly the hard way. I have learned that Paul was right and we have to fight against principalities. Our battle is more spiritual than physical. James 4:7 says that if we resist the devil he will flee from us, but he doesn’t say how long we have to resist. Many times, our situation has become intolerable, and we don’t know what to do. What am I doing wrong?
I have also learned that the U.S.A. has been the most blessed country in the world, after Israel. Ever since I was a little boy I dreamed of speaking English and living in New York or Los Angeles. I remember one day, when I was a little man (maybe six or seven years old) that I complained to my mother why I had been born in Medellín and not in the United States or any other English-speaking country. I also remember that she got sad and told me that I didn’t love her because of what I said. But that’s not true. I have always loved my mother very much. And I love both my city and my country, too. What comes to my mind about this is that the Lord wanted me to speak English somehow. Otherwise, why would He trouble that much trying to grab my attention? He tried hard to bring me back to His path, but both my deafness and my blindness were so great that He used my dreams to call me. I finally went to live in New York when I was thirty years old, and there I learned to speak English. It was also there that the Lord tried to approach me, but I rejected Him. Then He sent me to the United States a second time, to Orlando, and in the company of a woman through whom He wanted to make sure I was going to attend to His calling at last. And He spoke to me in English. He still does. My Bible is a proof of that. The same goes for all the pages, and the messages relating to Him that I receive on the internet every day: Almost all of them are in English. Not to mention that, although Spanish is my native language, I feel more comfortable writing in English. So, why has He spoken to me in English? Is English His favorite language? Or, is there something more than meets the eye?
One of my all-time favorite movies is called “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. It’s about some aliens that come to the Earth, implant the vision of a mountain in the minds of the people they choose, and invite them to gather in that mountain to take them in their spaceship. I love this movie because, I think, Jesus is working the same way with the chosen people of this generation. I speak for myself, but surely other people from all over the world have had a similar experience (it would be nice to know). The Lord made me speak English and travel to the United States where He invited me to be a member of His Church. Why did He do that? In the first place, I never listened to Him when I was in my own country, and, besides, I have always thought that the U.S.A. has something to do with the fulfilling of the number of the Gentiles who will go in the rapture. Does that mean that I will have to travel to that country a third time to be raptured from there? Only the Lord knows, but I love the idea.
It’s a pity the U.S.A. had come down to where it is today, after having all God’s blessings. This is definitely another sign that the Lord is building His Church there. Satan is mad because of this, and he is trying to tear that country apart. All faithful Christians in the world should pray in unison not only for the peace of Israel but for America to be the great country that it once was. We should also ask the Lord to rapture the Church as soon as possible. There’s so much injustice and so many evil things going on in the world that I’m tired of being here. But I’m also scared because, although He invited me, sometimes I doubt I have the ticket to go in that trip. I have lived in sin for over sixty years, and I have made many mistakes in my life. What annoys me is that, for much that I pray, I haven’t been able to stop making the same mistakes, and offending the Lord by the way. I know I lost the blessings the Lord had for me because I didn’t behave, and now I’m desperately trying to get some of those blessings back. I feel like Job. But, taking all this aside, the one mistake I don’t want to make is to lose my place with the Lord in eternity. Nowadays, I pray to be cleansed because I feel filthy.
This is basically my experience with our Lord Jesus Christ. For my love toward Him, I have chosen the narrow gate, the most difficult path to follow. But I stumble all along that way, as the enemy is there trying to make me fall. No wonder there are so many lost people in the world; we not only keep making mistakes that offend the Lord, but for most of us is easier to follow the wide path to perdition. The good news is that He is patient and forgives us. That’s something we have to consider. In the end, no matter whether you are a scientist or an illiterate, or something in between, if you earn a place with the Lord in His Kingdom forever, you will have triumphed in life, but if you lose that place, your life will have been a failure. I keep asking Him to give me both wisdom and discernment, and to make me humble. He is responding to my prayers but, with the enemy in our midst, it seems otherwise, and our place with the Lord is more difficult to attain. Satan is jealous and mad at us. Jesus always told me what the tarot readers confirmed: I was born to succeed. That is, to live forever in the New Jerusalem after I have greeted the Lord in the air. But I have to endure to the end.
One final note: A few days after I completed writing this story, the Lord blessed my wife and me with some unexpected money. It was a big relief not only because we were living on the verge of desperation but because it is enough for us to live quietly for some years. We don’t have words to express Him our gratitude. I hope, and I pray, that the Lord will help us to share and to spend that money wisely; that we won’t get crazy for it; that it won’t bring division between us; and, above all, that we won’t put it over Him. I also hope that when that money comes to an end, I will be long gone with the Lord.
May the God of heaven bless all His chosen, help us live this life in the world, and take us to His Kingdom today. Amen.
Hi my name is tricia , I came from a broken home suffered many nights of abuse and agony.
I wasn’t raised going to church or believing in GOD. Although my life was horrible I always kept positive. In my teen years I was confused and lost. One day at night I was laying in bed crying thinking why me , at that moment I had heard a whisper everything will be ok , trust god. I was like god? What about god? So the next day I went to a local church and got a bible I read some of the bible, I soon started praying everyday for myself and others because I am not selfish. So it was weeks after I started feeling better I felt happy I felt like a new person. It was like god healed me from all the evil I endured and all the self pity. I since have had full faith and lived a better life. I swear if I didn’t do what I did I would have been dead by now.. I feel that he is real and I am happy because of him. Thank GOD for his presence. I love and live GOD…. Amen!