Once was lost, but now I'm found!
I guess it all mainly began when my little grandma died, in 1970 (Wow!
has it been that long now?).
I remember being very angry over her sudden death (mostly because I
didn't visit her more often and felt guilty), and after storming into her
bedroom and shaking my fist at the crucifix she had on the wall, and
then telling God, that she, of all people had better be in heaven, and if
she - of all people - was not, I then went on to use some plain foul
language to tell Him what He could do with His heaven in no uncertain
I hated "death" and felt helpless over the devastating losses it left
behind. Therefore I hated God who I felt was the author of death and
could take away whosoever He wanted whenever it suited Him. I remember
afterwards feeling some remorse at knowing that I shouldn't really have
swore at and blamed God for her death.
Then around 1972 or so, and still carrying two chips on my shoulders;
mad at the world, poor, hurting and sick of life and what it held
("death"!), when one day a priest of my old catholic church called me in to
tell me that I wasn't attending church or paying enough and (to make a
long story short - I hadn't gone in a few years) went on to threaten me
to attend and pay lots more, OR ELSE (whisper- the Big Casino:
Perhaps he thought that by using his "power" as a priest over me that
he would get me down on my knees begging, but instead it really fired up
my hatred and rage against such an uncaring and insensative world, and
he was directly in my line of fire!
Well I got done telling him; in very clear terms using four letter
expletive deletes, what he could go and do with himself, his church and his
God, and slammed the door behind me as hard as I could, I walked out,
I wouldn't know until 1976 that what I had officially slammed the door
on was a "dead" religious system based on merits, works and sacraments
instead of having and knowing a "Living" and Personal Saviour" by His
That brings us to events in 1976...
I had hated my father with a passion - possibly to the point of murder!
He was so set in his ways and we always argued. I did not fit into his
mold! Everything I said was white (and mostly it was) but everything he
said was black (just the opposite).
I was starved for his love and hungered for his approval, but I kept
failing to measure up to the imaginary goals of perfection he had set and
expected of me! Yet I wasn't doing anything worthy of honoring thy
Then one day while I was sitting in another room he began telling a
story of his account of the depression to a friend of his in the kitchen.
I was so sick of him I didn't even want to hear his
voice...nevertheless, I was listening (probably to find something I could use against him
later on), when he began to tell his friend how poor his family of 10
kids were. "We were so poor", he said, "that I had to wear the
hand-me-down socks of my older brothers, and these had holes in both ends." He
called them his "holey baseball socks".
As he continued, he told his friend that while in school one day, the
teacher told all the kids to take off their shoes and socks because a
nurse came in to inspect their feet to see if they were healthy. My
father protested. At first he refused to take off his shoes, but then the
teacher made him, against his will, and When he took them off, that was
when the other kids (who had better clothes) saw his "holey socks" and
made fun of him. My father ran out of school totally embarrased, and
soon he never went back! (If it were me I would have stayed and fought
As he was telling the story, I looked up from the book I was pretending
to read and saw how he was getting all teary eyed and choked up, and
how, even to that day, it still deeply affected him.
"Hey it wasn't your fault", I said to myself.
Then it hit me as I realized my heart was actually going out to him:
"WAIT A MINUTE", my thoughts were now shouting."WHOA BOY! OH NO YOU
DON'T. I DON'T CARE WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM OR HOW HE FELT. HE'S THE SAME
SELF-CENTERED, EGOTISTICAL KNOW-IT-ALL I'VE GOT NAILED TO THE WALL, AS
UNCARING AND UNLOVING, AND THERE HE'LL REMAIN UNTIL HE DIES. HE'LL NEVER
CHANGE. HE'S HEARTLESS - CRUEL - TOTALLY WITHOUT LOVE AND AFFECTION. HE
NEVER LISTENS TO ANYONE - ALWAYS CLAIMING HE'S RIGHT - I'M NEVER GOOD
ENOUGH FOR HIM - NO ONE IS ABLE TO LIVE UP TO HIS EXPECTATIONS!
NO! I DON'T WANT TO SEE THAT THIS MAN HAS OR HAD SOME HUMAN FEELING IN
HIM. IMPOSSIBLE! HE NEVER HAD BEFORE, SO WHY SHOULD HE HAVE ANY NOW.
NO! I'VE GOT HIM PEGGED ALLRIGHT! HE DESERVES ALL MY CONTEMPT!"
"And yet", said a wee small voice, "you see how that incident had
deeply scarred him for the rest of his life!? You see how this man, who, as
a small boy, was completely innocent, yet was so embarrased that when
this happened it was on the same day that he put up a huge wall between
himself and the outside world.
I saw how he built up that wall of "pretended toughness", never again
allowing himself to be in situations that would embarrass him in any
way. With such a wall as that, no one could get through to him, and it's
amazing he ever married or had me. He rarely showed love or affection,
at least not in any normal way, because he was stunted and was afraid to
open up and give genuine affection, with a tear or two, once in a
More and more I began to admit that maybe "I" was the one who was
wrong. Maybe I had him wrong all along! ("WOW!" This kind of admission was
new and frightening to me, yet I could not shake it off.) Finally I came
or was brought to a place where I could finally admit that I was wrong.
Not only wrong, but Always Wrong to have nailed my dad to a cross and
judged him so harshly. This admission of my guilt had my head spinning!
This was the first time I can remember that I had deep feelings towards
my dad. I wanted to reach out and comfort him, put my arms around him,
hold him close and just hug him. Although I never did (at that time)
but his story of the "Holey Socks" had forever, in one sudden swoop,
completely changed my attitude and understanding about him. I was stunned
by the sudden turn of events!
It was shortly after this time, still feeling quite sensative, when I
was led one evening to pick up the Bible and read it. I don't know where
I began but I ended up in the Gospel of Matthew, and when I reached
where Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, crying out to the Father,
(Mathew 26:36-45) I stopped. I knew something was there but I didn't know
what. I kept reading it over and over again. I knew it was important
for me to see it and to understand it.
Then, suddenly, it all began to unfold, like a butterfly spreading out
it's wings. I SAW it! MY God I SEE it! Now I know WHY Jesus is in an
agony of his soul in the garden. "IT'S BECAUSE HE'S ABOUT TO Do THE
FATHER'S WILL AND GO TO THE CROSS! AND THE REASON HE IS GOING THERE
IS...IS...OH MY GOD...FOR ME?! HE'S DOING THIS FOR ME!?"
Now I see! Now I understand! My God, I am sitting in an amphitheater,
and only feet away from me the scene in the book of Matthew 26 is being
played out in magnificent splendor right before my very eyes. I cannot
take it! I cannot take such love for me as I see here! Oh my God! The
tears pouring out of my eyes and onto the pages of the Gospel of Matthew
in no way blurr the view of Him who loves me with a love I cannot even
comprehend, and who gave Himself to the cross for the likes of
me...me??? Me of all people.
Dear reader, I will unashamedly tell you here and now that I could not
put down that Bible, and that I cried so much and so long, that all I
could do was thank Him over and over and over and over again. The pages
of Matthew 26, and several layers deep were sop and wet, may I joyously
It was very shortly after that that the Lord revealed Himself to me by
making His presence known. It was as if the skies parted and He spoke
clearly and directly to me, saying. "I am the Lord God the Almighty!"
I was trembling in fear yet overjoyed to tears at the same time because
He had rolled back the clouds of darkness that had always separated us
and made Himself known to me. "There is a God"! I said. "You are real!
Oh my Lord and my God!" "Oh Lord, I told Him, "I love you now and want
to do what you want me to do." And the Lord spoke and said, "If you
love Me, then be reconciled to your father."
"Gulp". I swallowed, "Oh Lord, anything but that (Eph.6:2)! I'll crawl
to you on broken glass. Anything! It would be easier to be hit by a
semi than to ask my father's forgiveness for having hurt him all my life.
Shouldn't he be the one asking me for my forgiveness???" Then the
clouds began to roll back in, and before they closed, the Lord's parting
words to me were, "If you love Me you'll do it!"
For two days I trembled. Even my mom saw me shaking, and though I tried
to explain the 'war' going on inside I knew she didn't understand. (She
has since died in August of 1998 of a terrible stroke and is deeply
missed. She always set a fine example, and was such a wonderful mother and
gracious lady that everyone loved her and we all felt special just to
be around her. In every way to me she was the complete opposite of my
dad. As fine a loving mother and lady as there ever was.)
"IF" you love Me! That "IF" was a killer! Of course I loved Him!?
Certainly I loved Him!? He first loved me, with a love beyond comprehention.
"IF!" Yes I loved Him, but did I REALLY love Him by going and
apologizing to my father and be reconciled to him as He wanted?
'Finally', I stood up knowing what I had to do. I know I loved Him
enough to do what He said. I went over and put my arm around him, looked
him square in the eye and said: "Dad, I'm sorry for hurting you. 'I'll
NEVER hurt you again'. Please forgive me!"
This was a complete surprise to him. A real shock! His jaw dropped to
the floor, he began to choke up, and his eyes became wet like mine. I
kissed him and walked into my bedroom, and as I had turned to go, he
said, in a tiny choked up voice, "It's about time you woke up, boy!"
In the bedroom the tears poured out, my head and hands were lifted to
the heavens, and all I could do was affirm what my father had said, by
replying, "Oh dad, how right you are!" The heavens rejoiced, and the
angels sang, giving glory to God that, I, the chief of all hardheads and
sinners who ever lived, had 'finally' repented of his sins (Lk 15:7,
(Boy what a good place to end this!)
However, in order to understand what is about to shortly take place
between me and my dad, we need to understand the "Power" of sin that is
present in and rules over the "OLD" Adamic creature...
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good
thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good
I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not,
that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin
that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my
mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this
Paul understood this! I did not! I had vowed to NEVER hurt my dad
again. I didn't realize that the Power to Keep that vow was Not "In me" but
Within several months, believe it or not, I was back to hating my
father again. I was hurting him all over again, and I promised him I never
would, and really meant it when I said it. All of this bothered me more
than anything in my life, and I even wanted to kill myself over it,
because I couldn't seem to stop sinning and didn't know why.
I hated myself! I wasn't doing the good I loved but the evil I loathed.
I was powerless to stop and was most wretched and miserable.
I saw a way to escape, to get away from my dad and God for a while. So
I gathered up a few thousand dollars and left for Florida to bet on the
horses. I was a pretty good handicapper and I was intent on making a
nice living and retiring off them.
However, I began to lose in mysterious ways. My bets would go lame in
the lead just before the finish line, or get beat out by a 100-1 shot by
a nose. Like clockwork my horses would find mysterious ways to lose. I
kept scratching my head. The more I lost the more I was 'consumed' by
my work, spending upwards of 16 hours a day handicapping 9 or 10 races,
which normally take no more 15 minutes each. My head was constantly
buried in the racing form. I kept losing and losing. I was stunned. I
couldn't believe my streak of bad luck.
Then I realized what I kept myself from realizing: "The Lord was taking
a personal hand in this!" It was the only explanation that made sense.
For I was never that bad, and managed to at least break even, even in
the worst of times.
All I had left was maybe $50 (plus the money I needed to get home on).
I had been in Florida just over two months and I was broke. I couldn't
believe it. I still went to the track, trying to handicap and play only
a few, of what I considered as the premier picks of the day. I still
lost! It was becoming embarrasingly obvious that the Lord had other
plans. I had turned my back on Him. He knew it and I knew it too.
Finally, down to my last $5 or $10 dollars, I went into a store to buy
me some cheap food, and a little black kid, in dirty and torn clothes,
came up to me and said, "Hey mister! Can I have 50 cents so I can buy
some cookies? I'm hungry"!
The shortage of cash in my pocket and my only thinking of myself and my
needs, almost caused me to brush him off, but as part of me thought,
"Hey, I need all the money I have", another part thought, "Gee, he sure
looks like he could use a bite to eat", so I went with the last part.
Looking at the kid I said, "sure kid".
In the same way I had also been "Holding Back" the Lord all of those
months in Florida, keeping Him at a distance, keeping Him from telling me
what I knew He wanted to tell me and what I knew I didn't want to hear.
I stepped outside after giving the kid the paltry 50 cents because the
tears started up again. And as I headed to my run-down apartment the
Lord began to show me something. (I did want to hear what the Lord wanted
to tell me, BUT not until AFTER I made a killing off the horses and
enough to retire on easy street for the rest of my life...THEN I would
It was time for me to face and hear the Truth. I did! That's when the
Light of God finally broke through, and I saw and even smelled this
sinfully hopeless, wretched, evil, ugly, vile beast. The most foul creature
I ever saw! I was stunned that God would allow such a creature to even
be allowed to exist for one second without incurring His full wrath!
The moment I saw it I cried out to the Lord: "Lord! Kill it! Destroy
it! How dare such a foul and putrid thing be allowed to live in your
presence, before You, the holy and great Lord God the Almighty. This evil
creature has no business being here in your holy presence. I abhor it.
It reeks to high heaven! What are you waiting for? Destroy it and throw
it into hell, Lord, where it belongs and 100% deserves to be. How dare
this vile..."thing", live before You, the Great and Holy God!!!"
"I" had spoken (and my words were based on the Truth I saw and heard,
so I knew they carried weight)! The Lord saw, tasted and smelled what I
had, for He was in the same Exposing Light I saw by! The depraved
creature I testified against was so filthy and hopelessly rotten to the core
that I knew the Lord would deal with this 'thing' as I asked Him to,
and destroy it. For He is holy and cannot look upon such wickedness as
this! I knew this absolutely!
Then, suddenly and without warning, this evil, and polluted creature
slowly turned and faced me. SHOCK OF SHOCKS!!! I could not believe what I
was seeing! Yet, in His All-Knowing Light, I had no choice but to
believe. This vile and disgusting 'thing' had my name on it. My name! How
did it come to have 'MY' name? Somehow the Lord had tricked me, much the
same as Nathan the prophet got David to confessing what he'd do before
he was told that, "You" are the man: 2 Samuel 12:5-7.
(I could only stare in shock at this foul and loathesome creature in
awe and utter amazement as I came to fully realize that this rotten to
the core 'thing' I had utterly loathed, hated and detested above all
was...me? me! "ME!!!???"
"Oh what a self righteous hypocrit; a white washed sepulcher, I saw
that I was and am within! Oh, Woe is me, most wretched man that I am and
totally without strength. In me is no good thing! Only evil."
The reality of it all struck me harder than any sledgehammer or freight
train ever could.)
Realizing what I had said and Who it was I said it to, I fell on my
knees and begged for mercy. I was in a state of "Full Realization" with
total fear and trembling before Him, as I asked Him to please reconsider
what I just said. "Oh Lord, please forgive me! Have mercy on me, Lord!"
He was the one who had shown me my 'self' for what I was (Jn.16:8), and
brought me low to this place: to the end of myself. Then He spoke. His
words were cold and matter-of-fact: "You cannot serve both God and
mammon! You'll love the one and despise the other."
(I knew Exactly what He meant, for I had one foot in the kingdom and
one foot in the world, and I was trying to live and walk according to
both. I also knew He was about to get up and close the door and chop off
my kingdom foot forever. I learned right then and there that you cannot
play God for a fool.)
"Chose today whom you will serve! Either Come To Me with both feet and
turn your back on all else, OR walk away from Me now and forever...with
no regrets and no remorse. Chose you now!" And that pretty much was it.
I was stunned! I expected chastizement or punishment, but this? He
wasn't kidding around! I knew He absolutely meant business! I was about to
be "spewed out"! Well I sure didn't have too far to look. I was bruised
and injured and sat facing the Truth. In this world my cupboards were
bare, and in the next I reeked to high heaven. "What a mess!"
After gathering all my thoughts, I considered all the angles, searched
desperately for an easier, wider way into the Kingdom thus preserving
my own life in the bargain (and found none), weighed all the costs, and
examined myself to see if I still retained some spark of love in there
towards Him who first loved me with a love that blew me away, I think I
found a teeny ember barely aglow for him in some dark corner of my
heart. I knew that I loved Him. He knew that I loved Him...at least I
thought He did.
Here was my dilemna: If I decided to Come to Him it would spell death
to the Old man (the Old me, the old way I was). But, HEY I'm the only me
I know! I saw no other me than a dead me...forever! Yet, if I turn away
from Him it's death too, only it's death to my New man, or the man I
really never knew but was hoping one day like Lazarus' Martha, to receive
in the resurrection.
So there it was! "DEATH!" Death either way! Death was what was facing
me! I said to myself: "Some choice! Either way I die if I don't and I
die if I do!" That's when He said to me, "I am the resurrection, and the
life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest
thou this? John 11:25-26 "His personal word gave me the faith I needed!"
I remembered in the Song of Songs that Love is stronger than Death...so
strong, in fact, that no flood can quench it...a flame reaching to
heaven itself. And all the while I'm reflecting on that I know that I
really haven't any choice ...but one. I knew in my heart that I did love
Him, and that I still did, and that to me He was worthy of all!
Last of all was my mother (I had no wife back then) whom I loved and
gave her to the Lord, setting her aside, because I loved Him more. And I
began to lift my head and open up my heart that the Lord would know -
ohh I prayed He would know that surely I do love Him and wanted to obey
Him with all my heart and Come to Him.
And in my spirit, or heart, or whatever, I began that long turn away
from my old life and towards Him. All I saw and expected was death! I
knew that even death didn't matter anymore! All that mattered was Him!!!
His will was also mine! All that was in me united to follow through
completely on only one choice, and that was to Come to Him, lock, stock and
barrel, laying it all down at His feet forever with no regrets, no
remorse, and no strings or baggage attached.
I took that step of no return in coming to Him with my heart wide open
intent on proving to Him that I did love Him and would rather die now
under His feet than live without Him for the rest of my life. And as I
took that step towards Him that tiny spark of love hidden in my heart
for Him suddenly became a flame, and the flame suddenly burst forth into
a blazing inferno of love...for 'me' (John 14:23)! All things became
new (2 Cor.5:17)!
And after 20+ years of reflection I know what happened to me: The Old
me DIED, and the New me went to heaven! The 'Old Man' died...yet 'lived'
- yet it wasn't "I" any longer ("Gal.2:20"), it was "Christ IN me" WHO
NOW LIVED. Oh it was still "me", and yet it wasn't. The "me" that I
once was and knew was long gone, and this NEW Life I was living was one of
faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.
"So this is what it's like to become: "Born Again", as Jesus said (John
3:3)! Now I KNOW who Jesus is! Now I know what it's like to be "FILLED
with the Spirit, packed full of perfect love with joy unspeakable"!
(Whoever could have thought in a million years that this would be so...
wonderful??? So... miraculous??? So... Life-changing??? Truly none of
these "descriptions" even come close to describing His Love! "So this is
Love?!", as Cinderella found out! Well my Prince had come too! And it
wasn't any "Fairy Tale".)
Now I knew why no one can come to the Father except they go through
Christ and Him crucified first and lay it all down before Him! And to come
to God through Christ is to come to the foot of the cross and die with
and for him there. The cross spells 'Death' to the entire Old Creation!
And so, from out of the ashes of that old me glowed a little spark of
love towards his God, put there when I first believed, and then came
God's power and caused that spark to blaze up into a flaming fire reaching
It was in this inferno: this melting down firey love of God in being
raised to new life in Christ - with Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory -
that a NEW MAN was created, one raised in the same fashion and manner as
the Crucified Christ in the furnace of God's Resurrecting Power and
Melting Love, one filled with New Life in the power of regeneration in the
love of God, filled until he is bursting at the seams and can't take
For such is the passion, purity and the power contained in His life and
His love! His power of love is perfect and His purity of love is so
clean it lacks nothing! God is Love!
What we have here in my later testimony is no different, really, than
the "Prodigal Son" returning home to his rightful birthright, or
squandering it all away forever! It wasn't until he was brought down to eating
slop with the pigs that brought him to his senses. And upon coming to
his senses, he realized the utter fool he had become, and what he had
squandered away: His Inheritance!
Then, even knowing that he was the scum of the earth, yet remembering
that his father, the King, was a man who was quick to forgive fools like
himself who come to their senses and repented from the heart of their
sin against God, he turned around and went back home with tears in his
eyes. He would go back and knock on that door until it either opened or
until he died, knowing he had no other place to go or wanted to be.
"What an honor", he thought to himself, "even for the opportunity and
the privelage of becoming the lowest servant of all in His father's
Kingdom and be far less than all the rest; if only his father would let
him, just for the honor of getting a glimpse of Him at a distance from
time to time?" He knew he wasn't worthy of anything more, if even that
And before he even came halfway home his father was there to greet him
and love him and take him on into his kingdom and crown him and shower
him with his riches and love... for the one He lost He found again, and
was full of joy over it!***
"This was my story, now hear my song. "Those who Come to Christ out of
love for Him and His words, will be born again, never to die or fall
away, so long as they remain in His love. Those who have yet come to
Christ, including those who have come part-way but lack committment to go
all the way, are in danger of falling away by becoming ensnared in the
cares of this life and the deceit of riches (as I was). You have read my
story and seen my testimony. God is serious! Please, above all know
that! He cannot be untrue to Himself. He will do everything He says He
will. He is to be greatly feared or respected in that respect!
"Today is the day of Salvation! Tomorrow is the day of death! The proof
in our saying we love Him is shown by our 'doing' what He says! He
says, "Come To Me, and I will give you Eternal Life, and no power (neither
sin nor death) will ever snatch you out of My hand!" Talk on our part
is cheap! The Kingdom of God is not in words only but primarily in POWER
- the Power of a New Life in Christ...namely it comes in Resurrection
Life in the Power of His Love! Surely He is worth laying it all down
"COME TO ME" is the high calling of God in Christ to you and to me.
So, if we are seriously intent on selling all, and have kept that spark
of love for Him (that first love) alive in our heart, then we are the
ones who will answer - who must answer that call intent on loving Him
ALL the way with our whole heart...until we arrive at our destination: At
the foot of the cross...(to lay down our old man with His), and then
beyond and on into the Father's Blessed Arms... (to receive our new life
by Him... a life that's in Him... and one lived through Him)
May God deeply bless "you" in Christ as He has so wonderously and
graciously blessed me,
Testimony submitted to the Breadsite. To submit yours click here.