By: James G. Reule
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you as the author of this book. I do not have a Master’s Degree in Divinity or a Doctorate in Theology. What I do have, I want to share with you and that is my life story and what God has personally done for me, in the hope that you will see that there really is a God in this vast Universe Who is interested in you on a personal level and has tremendous longings for you just as an earthly parent longs for their estranged son or daughter to come home and renew the relationship they once shared.
There is a story in the Bible when Jesus cast out a legion of demons from a man who had been possessed by them. The story is found in Luke 8:26-40. After Jesus had cast out the demons from him, the man sought Jesus that he might stay with Him, “but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and show how great things God hath done for thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. And it came to pass when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for Him” (Luke 8:38-40, emphasis added). When Jesus had first cast out the demons, the people of that area “besought Him [Jesus] to depart from them” (Luke 8:37); they did not want anything to do with Him (much like many of us do initially when told about Jesus), but when Jesus came back “they were all waiting for Him” because of the testimony of that one man who had told everyone what Jesus personally had done for him. This man had not been trained in the theological schools of his day, but he had a personal testimony to tell of what Jesus had done for him, that touched the hearts of all who heard.
Let me begin my testimony by taking you back in time to when I was a child. I grew up in the Catholic Church, attending Catholic grade school for eight years, becoming an altar boy, and singing in the children’s choir, receiving my first communion and being confirmed in the “faith.” My life was carefree through those early years, but my life took a dramatic turn when my father died when I was 13 years old during the summer before I was to go into the eighth grade. My father had not made any profession of belief in “God.” I remember him commenting to someone that he could not believe there was a “God” who would allow such things to happen as he had seen during World War II while he was in Europe. He never shared with me any of his war stories or experiences, as most war veterans keep what they have experienced bottled up inside. How do you explain to others, who have not been through those situations with all the emotions that come along with those experiences, what it was like?
I do not remember if I blamed God for the death of my father, but from that point in time my life spiraled downward. I had no time for “church” or “religion.” It seemed like I was always getting into trouble and was soon put on indefinite probation. The thinking was that I needed a father figure in my life to put some type of control in place because my mother could not control me. I could put on a good outward show when needed, but inside there was a “wild child” always lurking within, which manifested itself from time to time by mostly acts of “mischievous mischief” involving acts of vandalism. I had started smoking with the help of some of my cousins when I was in fourth or fifth grade. Who knows what I would have gotten into if I had grown up in today’s world which is so different from what it was 60 years ago. I remember when my children were young; they had a friend who had started smoking marijuana when he was eight years old. Marijuana was not readily available back when I was growing up, or I might have become enslaved to that addiction back in my childhood.
During high school I became one of the class comedians. I would do anything for a laugh, even being disruptive at times. I wanted attention and this was my means of getting that attention; even at others’ expense. I did not care what others, especially adults, thought of me. Years later in the early 1980’s, I took a sociology course, where as part of my course I worked in a child care facility at the college and then had to write a report on my experience. There were two of us men working at the same time and I could not help but notice that the children gravitated to us males rather than the females who were working there. Most of the children came from fatherless homes and those children seemed to long for a father figure that was missing in their lives. Very sad as I think about that and how thirty-five years later that problem has only escalated and is a contributing factor to what society is seeing today as a result of those fatherless homes. When I had a young family it was difficult for me, not having had a father for a role model, to be the type of father to my children that they needed. I know I failed them in many ways. I had no one that I could look back upon for an example of what to do and how to handle situations.
Continuing my downward spiral during high school, I became involved in the abuse of alcohol. It started by my sneaking small amounts out my mother’s whiskey bottles, and then progressing to finding guys old enough that would be willing to buy my buddies and I alcohol. I am not sure why they did that when you stop and think of the risk they were taking and the trouble that could come down on them if they got caught furnishing alcohol to minors. When I turned 21, I did the same thing for younger kids that I knew. And it was not just getting drunk; it was getting really drunk; black-out drunk. When someone can hold you under a cold shower until he cannot stand it any longer and you never knew it happened until someone tells you about it the next day, you are more than just under the influence of alcohol. And this would not be the only time during my life that I was drunk to that degree of not knowing what was going on at the time and have to be told the following day what had happened. In my adult life, I would go to the bar after work to have “one” with the boys and end up closing the bar seven hours later. And this was every night. In looking back I see that I was never a social drinker, but I would drink for one purpose – to get drunk. I had an addictive personality. When I got involved in whatever, it became an addiction.
I could not wait to get out of high school, and I am not sure why. I had no goals or purposes; I just knew that I did not like going to school. My senior year I skipped lots of days. My grades continued to slide as I progressed through high school, but I never failed. And with all this came something else that became a part of my character – lying. And where did that start? When and how did I learn to lie? I am by no means putting down and condemning my dear mother who had to endure all that I was going through, but I can remember her telling me when I was just a child when the phone would ring to tell whoever it was that she was not at home. That is where it started. In little and seemingly innocent things, and it eventually led to bigger things. Lying is such a terrible curse for the one who does it. The Bible tells us, “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 12:22). When you become entangled in lying, you are in a deadly web, where one lie leads to another lie, and then another lie, and on and on. You can never tell the truth for that would expose the whole sordid mess. But you have to continually remember what lies you have told so you can keep from being exposed. What a mess lying gets one into. It really prevents relationships from developing and tends to break up relationships when people discover you are a liar and cannot be trusted.
Then there was the stealing; stealing from my mother, from my neighbors, from my friends, from businesses and from my employers. I became addicted to stealing and the rush of adrenaline it gave me. I just could not stop; just like I could not stop anything else I became involved in, and it was becoming a part of me and who I was.
Then there was the language. I became a foul-mouthed individual who had no consideration for those around me who had to listen to it.
My run-ins with the law after high school usually involved the abuse of alcohol. I was an embarrassment to my poor mother. I can remember meeting a former childhood neighbor who had not seen me for quite a number of years and by that time my children had already grown up and left home and what he said to me. I was a good-for-nothing blankety-blank in his eyes, and he told me so right in a public restaurant. He remembered me from my past. I agreed with him, and that seemed to change his whole attitude towards me and took the wind out of his sails. We became friends and would always visit with each other whenever we saw one another.
One time my mother refused to bail me out of jail when I was sentenced to 150 daysl because I could not pay the fine. My “friends” paid for my release after a day or two, when I should have stayed in the whole 150 days. I doubt it would have done me any good though as most become only worse when incarcerated and associate with people that have more problems than you may have. We tend to sink to the lowest depths of degradation when left to ourselves, or at least I did.
I tried going to college after high school, but I did not know what I wanted to do. So a year and a half after graduating from high school, I enlisted in the Army along with three of my high school classmates. The Army was supposed to straighten out kids and turn them into men. Right! It was the era of the Vietnam War, and I was number 2 on the draft list for the county I lived in, so I enlisted a month before being drafted. The only thing I can say for the Army is that it did not straighten me out. I spent a year in the United States while in the military, aimlessly drifting through life, being bored to death and drunk frequently or else gambling; another addiction I picked up which began innocently enough in the Catholic Church basement playing bingo! I finally received orders for Vietnam and could have gotten out of going because the place where I worked handled all the overseas’ deployments, and the man in charge could have gotten my name deleted as he had done for others. I learned in the Army that it was not always what you knew, but who you knew. For some reason I chose to go and spent the next 19 months in Vietnam on the most secure base in Vietnam called Long Binh. I extended for an extra 7 months beyond my one year assignment because I would not have been able to handle state-side duty.
When I reached my job assignment in Vietnam, I met two individuals who were seriously trying to end their lives by drinking themselves to death. I joined their company and every night we would attempt to finish off two royal quarts (a royal quart contained 40 oz. instead of the normal 32 oz.) of alcohol before we passed out, and then one of us would have to pick up our Colonel in the morning still half drunk. That went on for two months, when one night I entered into a room where a number of guys were gathered, and they were all sitting around and passing a “joint.” That was my first experience with marijuana which would become my new additional addiction for the next five years and was why I could not have handled state-side duty after having spent 10 months being “stoned.” Out of the 500 enlisted men that were not “lifers” in our company there were five that were not into smoking marijuana, and they were alcoholics. Most of us drank heavily and smoked “pot” continuously, so we were doubly addicted. The boredom was at times unbearable unless in an altered state of consciousness. Reality was just something I was not very good at handling. Remember I lived in a world in which I had filled with lies.
I left Vietnam with two kilos of marijuana in a refrigerator that I shipped home courtesy of Uncle Sam. I lost nearly all of my high school friends over my involvement in drugs, and I never really blamed them. I was pretty messed up in their minds, but not in my own mind, but I made a bunch of new “friends” that summer over marijuana. It did not take long to acquire a new substance abuse called LSD and over the next three years I experienced things that cannot be explained to those who have never become involved in hallucinogens. I could write a book on those experiences, but to most it would not make sense. Let me just say this about those three years: at the end of that time I was what I have since self-diagnosed myself as having been a paranoid schizophrenic. I heard voices and saw people and things that others did not see. What all started out in fun ended up in a frightening nightmare; only it was not a nightmare but a frightening living reality that seemed to have no ending. I will tell you a few experiences that you can possibly relate to.
One time when a number of us went to Minneapolis to a “Rock and Roll” concert, we were walking the streets of downtown Minneapolis when we came upon a group of young people who were witnessing for “Jesus” to a homeless man. That homeless man, who was very likely an alcoholic, looked at us and said to me as well as to the others gathered about that “some of us had gone too far,” and then he added looking right at me, “you know what I mean, don’t you?” I did not understand what he meant at the time, but I did so some time later.
Another time three of us had “dropped” (ingested) LSD. I experienced being able to communicate through what is called “mental telepathy” for the first time. We knew what each other were thinking and could communicate without saying a word. It was quite a “trip,” but I believe it was the beginning of my state of paranoia. I did not want people to be able to read my mind for as I said earlier, I was a habitual liar. And when one is gambling like I was, you do not want others knowing what you have in your cards, do you?
Then there was that Halloween night on LSD! Satan’s high day! One of our favorite things to do when “tripping” was to look at art work done by surrealist artists; especially Salvador Dali’s paintings. The art work would come to life, and it was like watching a movie in living color. That night we had company outside of the house I was living in: beings who were purported to be “spirits of dead people” (ghosts) whom I was to find out later in life were actually fallen angels masquerading as the spirits of dead people. When Satan was thrown out of heaven, he took 200,000,000 angels with him, and he came to this earth and not to a place called “hell.” They do not tell you who they really are, so they lie to mankind and tell unsuspecting individuals that they are the “spirits of the dead.” It is written in Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was cast out [of heaven] that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels with him.” That night I experienced one of those deceptions that Satan is pawning off as “hell.” I was shown a vast multitude supposedly in a state of suspended animation, unable to move, but able to smell, see, and listen, but never able to move around or to interact with others, and this was to be my punishment for eternity. I could not think of a more undesirable existence. From what I was seeing and hearing, I gave up and just laid down on the floor ready to be put into that state while all my “friends” and soon to be ex-wife watched. I still do not know how I ever came out of that “trip” alive?
What I had been doing and what others who get involved in hallucinogens are doing is removing the veil that God has put between us and the realm where Satan and his angels are. Whether that is another dimension or whatever it is, it is where Satan and his angels are. The Bible refers to it as the “bottomless pit” or “the deep” which in the Greek language is called the “Abussos.”
There are two types of demonic possession. One is where an individual invites the demons to possess him and in return is given supernatural powers, or so he is led to believe. The other type of demonic possession is where the demons take control of you without your permission. They also can harass you and try to drive you insane. I was experiencing this type of demonic harassment, although there were times when I believe that I was possessed. You explain how a 150# person can fight off 6 policemen while being drunk and stoned?
Satan told Eve when he tempted her into doubting God and ate the fruit from the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil” that her “eyes shall be opened. And ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). Eve had known only good up until that time, but when she ate of the fruit she began to learn about evil as I did when I began taking hallucinogens and having my eyes opened. The pupils of one’s eyes become dilated (or opened) when on hallucinogens. LSD has a long chemical name, but to those who have escaped his snare it is known as “Lucifer’s Satanic Delusion.” Satan tells those whom he is deceiving, in this manner, that they (the ones being deceived) are fallen gods and many are in active communication with Satan and his fallen angels not realizing who they are because Satan and his fallen angels lie to them. I can remember telling my mother one time that everything that Jesus had done, we can do. I am so thankful that God winks at our ignorance (Acts 17:30), and patiently dealt with me as I was working through the maze that Satan had sown for my feet. God is so patient in His dealings with humanity!
All of what I have told you from the Bible was unknown to me during this time of my life for I had never read the Bible. I had told my mother when I was unpacking my Army duffel bag and I pulled out a Bible that, “who needed this.” I did not know it at the time, but I needed it badly. The Bible is the great “detector of error” and there is nothing that Satan fears more than that we become acquainted with the teachings found in the Bible. Just having a Bible avails nothing, but it is in discovering the truths it contains that sets you free from the deceptions of Satan (John 8:32). In spite of what I was doing and going through, I would pray every night before I went to sleep the “Prayer of Contrition” I had learned years before in the Catholic Church, sometimes even kneeling by my bed and probably drunk or stoned or both.
I remember the last “Rock and Roll” concert I went to. We had to drive to Minneapolis, and I had taken LSD before leaving and I was doing the driving. My wife, at the time, and a friend of ours had not. I thought I was listening in to their thoughts, but it was really the demons getting me to believe that I was. From what I was being led to believe, they were going to jump out of the car before it crashed and I would be killed in it. I stopped and my friend drove the rest of the way. Once we got to the place where the concert was to be held we all sat in the same row. There must have been 20 of my “friends” sitting in that row. Prior to the beginning of the concert by the Rolling Stones, I kept hearing a phone ringing just behind my right ear and people walking by would tell me it was for me. I refused to turn around to answer it, for there could not have been a phone there, because it was the aisle where people were walking. Once the concert began I looked down the row I was sitting in and all of those sitting in that row were in a trance (hypnotized). I realize now, but did not at the time, that this was a meeting with the devils and maybe even Satan himself, who somehow have the ability through the music being played to the syncopated beat, to put people into a state of mesmerism. Ever hear of song entitled Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones? Satan has gained the sympathy of many in this world through the lies that he has sown in the world.
I had come to the point in my life that by the age of 25, I had had enough of what life had to offer and only wanted it to end. My “friends” had turned on me, and my wife of a year had left me for another man, and my life was a living horror story. After my wife had left me I would spend hours every day just crying my heart out until there were no more tears left to come out. My life had turned into such a mess. I had determined to either commit myself to the State Mental Hospital or to commit suicide. But before I did either one, for some reason I went to see a friend of mine whose life had done a 180. He had stopped doing drugs and alcohol, and all of us in that Hippie life-style had stopped associating with him and his wife. We did not know what he had gotten into, but for some reason I ended up at his house, and he spent the next four hours sharing with me what he had discovered in the Bible. Neither he nor I can remember what he told me during that time, but it was what I needed to hear. When I left his house I remember the feeling I had of what seemed like weights that I had been carrying were lifted from off my shoulders. Everything was so different than what it was before I went to see him.
There is a verse found in the book of Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 12 that says, “That at that time you were without Christ . . . having no hope, and without God in the world” (emphasis added). That was me being described in that verse. My life had been an utterly, worthless, self-indulgent existence until that time with no meaning or purpose. I had tried to fill “the void in my life” with what you have read in this testimony, and I was still empty and “without hope” and without purpose. “Who am I?” “Where am I going?” “What is life all about?” Those haunting questions had been unanswered. I believe that is why there are so many people committing suicide in today’s world. They have lost all hope and are “without God in the world.” We all have that “void in our lives.” It was put there by a very merciful Creator to lead us to Him; so that we would be unsatisfied with life until that void was filled by the only One who can fill it. Only He can fill that void, but man tries to fill it with a myriad of things which give no lasting permanency until He is invited to come into our lives. Jesus put it in these words, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Nothing else but that peace that Jesus can put into our minds will take its place. Until we obtain that peace, we will have troubled minds which will give us no rest and that peace is realized only when we are at peace with our Creator, the One Who made us.
There is something I had been accumulating with my life of degradation, and that was guilt. Psychologists tell us to ignore it, and we do everything but admit there is such a thing, but to those of us who have experienced guilt, the pain can be extremely excruciating. Guilt comes to us to prevent us from going too far and hurting ourselves even more seriously; just as physical pain comes to us to prevent us from doing further damage to our bodies. I had never read a Bible until after my friend shared with me the truths found in the Word of God. I was 25 years old and had never opened a Bible.
An alcoholic or drug addict or any addict is trying to quiet that guilty conscience, but the only thing that will quiet that conscience is to ask for pardon from the One Whom you have offended. A man by the name of Joseph, who was being tempted to commit adultery, cried out, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). Whatever we do that is a violation of the moral law of God is an offense against the One Who created us and not just against another individual. My entire life up to that point can be summed in these words: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). It seemed like my entire life brought me further and further into a life of degradation that comes with sinning. I was a human wreck. The word salvation (salvage is the source from where it comes) found in the Bible means that God takes human wrecks like myself and restores us back into the beauty of His Own likeness by a process called sanctification. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the LORD, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
As I began discovering Who God is and what He is like, I experienced more and more of His presence and power in my life. There is a tree that grows in Minnesota that is called the “sap oak.” This tree in the fall of the year does not shed all of its leaves, but the dead leaves cling to the branches throughout the winter and when spring comes and the sap begins to flow in the tree once again those dead leaves just fall off on their own. Having an addictive personality, I switched my addiction from tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, and so on, to the Word of God. Every day in the morning when I woke up early before the day rushed in and in the evening when the day was coming to an end, I would spend time reading and praying, inviting God to come into my life and live out His life through and in me. As I did that God came into my life through His Spirit, and the other addictions left one by one; a habit of spending time with God that I continue to this day. No one ever told me I had to stop doing this or that, but those things that I had been addicted to before, just fell off like the dead leaves of the sap oak tree. My “friends” stopped coming around and the crop of marijuana that I had been growing with a friend of mine became his. I did not “need” it anymore for I had found that which satisfied my inmost being and brought peace to my troubled soul. The LORD had calmed the storm that raged in my being and the peace that passes all understanding was mine.
In March of 1998, twenty-five years later, a mile-wide tornado came through where I lived and took my house, along with many others’ homes as I was sitting in the SW corner of the basement. I can remember thinking as I listened to what was going on right above me that my life was in God’s hands and whatever happened to me was up to Him. At that moment the words of Psalm 56:3 came into my mind, and I experienced God’s overwhelming presence and His amazing peace once again. The words “What time I am afraid I will trust in Thee” filled my mind. If you ever have the misfortune of going through a tornado, an F-3 tornado, the last thing that comes into a person’s mind is peace. People will tell you about the sound of trains coming through, but I have never heard of anyone tell about God’s peace and words from the Bible coming into their mind. Friends, there is a God in the Universe, Who if we will give Him a chance, is willing to do wonders in our behalf.
My walk with God began forty-four years ago. I know He is real for I have experienced Him for myself. The Bible says, “O taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8). Jesus invited those who would follow Him, to “Come and see” (John 1:39). Jesus and His Father invite each of us to come and have a personal, intimate, ongoing relationship with Them. God is not exclusive. He says to you, “him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). God is longing for you to come to Him just as a father longs for his estranged child to come back to him. We have a story in the Bible that illustrates this for us. It is the story of the prodigal son. Jesus gave us this story to show us the love and character of His heavenly Father, Who is also our heavenly Father. Jesus told His disciples ”I ascend unto My Father, and your Father” (John 20:17). The prodigal son had taken an early inheritance and ended up wasting it all in having a “good time” in a wild lifestyle and soon found himself in the lowliest of jobs – feeding the pigs. But it was when he had hit “rock bottom” that it says that “he came to himself.”
Some of us have to get to the bottom before we are willing to listen to God’s offer of mercy to us. I know I did. All of us at some point must stop and take a look at our lives and what is going on with them. The prodigal son went back to his father where he was welcomed with open arms by his father, who ran out to meet him a long way off: clothed him, gave him his ring of authority and had a feast for him declaring “this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry” (Luke 15:24). His father was overjoyed to have his son back with him. So it is with our heavenly Father. Someday when we come into His presence “He will rejoice over thee with joy . . . He will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). It will be a very emotional time when the Father meets us for the first time in heaven. His heart longs for that day my friend! It is much like when a son or daughter have been given away for adoption and the child and parent meet years later for the very first time after years of separation. Tears of joy! The Bible tells us that we are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). We read the Bible and wonder if the stories in It are true, but let me assure you that just as Jesus raised the physically dead when He was on this earth, so God can resurrect us who are spiritually dead in sin. My life is a case that illustrates this!
That is not always the picture I had of what God was like. I had Him pictured as this very stern Being who had a black book in one hand where He kept track of all my bad deeds (sins) and a “big club” in the other hand with which He would give me a smack once in a while. I had a Bible on my nightstand for six months before I went to see my friend, but I would never open it. I had not yet “come to myself.” I was not at the point where I was willing to listen to what God had to say to me. Why? Why would I want to read the Bible and have my convictions confirmed that I was going to “hell.” If there was a “hell” then I knew I was going there. No doubt about it. I had been deceived by Satan into believing a lie as to what God was like. I had never studied the Bible for myself to discover what God was like. I was totally ignorant of the most important thing in the world – the knowledge of God. A correct knowledge of what God is like!
God told a man named Moses what He was like: “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression and sin [what I really needed], and that will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:6-7). God “will by no means clear the guilty” because He has made ample provision “to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9), and if people do not take Him at His Word for what He tells us and continue to listen to the lies of Satan then they will be lost. We have these words of assurance found in Job 22:21, “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace.” It is not good enough to know about Him, but we must know Him personally and intimately for ourselves.
God never uses scare tactics or fear (intimidation) as Satan used with me and as he uses with all of humanity, but God says “Yea, I loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). He has already demonstrated His love for us when He gave His only begotten Son to pay the debt which was due for our sins, transgressions and iniquities. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever [that is you] believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man [Jesus] lay down His life for His friends” (John 15:13). “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, [how] much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10).
You have read what I was like. There are some parts of my life that I have not shared with you because they are far too embarrassing for me to share with the public. If God will take someone like me, then you can be assured He will do the same for you. There is no sin too great that He cannot forgive; there is no circumstance that He cannot bring you out of; there is no life so marred that He cannot restore and make anew. A person, who has been forgiven much because of his sinful lifestyle, finds it very easy to appreciate the love and mercy of God. He knows he does not deserve the goodness God has shown him and is richly blessed (Luke 7:47). This is my testimony of God’s love that He has shown me and desires to show you and have you experience for yourself. God tells us that we can be “new creatures” and gives us the opportunity to have a fresh start in life. “Therefore if any man [or woman] be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, emphasis added).
My life has not been perfect since I first came to God nearly forty-four years ago, but I have learned to come to Him, acknowledge and accept the responsibility for my actions, and ask Him to forgive me. And if there have been any individuals I have offended to ask for their forgiveness. Satan does not give up on us once we have been set free from his deceptions, but he is going around like a roaring lion seeking whom may devour (1 Peter 5:8). But “if we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The apostle John who experienced God’s love had this to say “And IF any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father (God), Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1, emphasis added). God does not give up on us should we sin after we have come to Him, but longs for us to return to Him and let Him place His arms of love around us once again.
If we are lost for eternity it will be because we have turned our backs on God’s offer of mercy and have chosen to have our own way in spite of all He has done for us to convince us of His love for us, or we have been deceived into believing the lies Satan tells us about God. When children are first learning to walk, we don’t scold them when they fall down. We help them back up on their feet and give them encouragement to continue to learn to walk, and they continue to try until they have mastered that skill. So it is with God. He keeps helping us back up when we fall until we master our walk with God and are completely free from sinning. “And thou shalt call His name Jesus [Yahushua]: for He shall save His people from their sins: (Matthew 1:21, emphasis added). “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).
There are some who talk a lot about repenting, but what is it that brings us to repentance? Some ministers preach repentance just like the parents that tell their child to tell their sister or brother they are sorry, when really they are not sorry. Repentance comes to us when we realize how badly we have injured someone by our actions or by our words. It is written: “Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering: not knowing that the goodness of God leads thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4, emphasis added). When we see how good God treats us and what He has done for us in comparison to how badly we have repaid Him for all that He has done, it will crush your heart.
I write this preface to introduce myself to you as the one who has written this book. As you can see by what you have read “I am not worthy of the least of God’s tender mercies, and of all the truth, which God hast shewed unto His servant” (Genesis 32:10). It is only because of the mercy of God that I remain alive to tell you my life experience, and now I believe I have been asked to write this book to show you what God desires each of us living on planet earth to know about the future and what is in store for us in the near future.
In September of 2012, I had dream in which I was told to write a book. At breakfast my wife, Sherry, without knowing of my dream that night, told me she thought I should write a book. Happenstance? I did not think so and still do not. Jeremiah was also told to write a book. “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book” (Jeremiah 30:1-2).
I had been studying the books of Daniel and Revelation since 1993 and had come to a very different understanding of what those books contained in comparison to what others had written. There are historical views in which the people that hold those views see much of Daniel and Revelation as already having occurred in the past and very little left to take place in the future. Then there are the futurists who believe that they do not have to worry about what is described in those books because they will be raptured away from the earth before what is predicted will take place. In both cases there is little concern about what is to happen because both parties do not believe that what is shown involves them, and they are satisfied with their understanding and do not wish to study further into Daniel and Revelation. Whereas what I was discovering was that all that had been foretold in those two books is going to take place during our lifetimes, and we are going to be involved in all of it and some will have significant roles to fulfill during that time.
I am not a writer by trade. I was a painting contractor for most of my adult life, but when God asks someone to do a work for Him He will qualify that individual for what He has in mind. I am but His humble servant – a tool in His hands. When I had gardens – vegetables and flowers, people would always tell me what beautiful gardens I had. My rakes, shovels, hoes, etc. never received any praise. I do not want any praise; neither do I deserve any. I am just a tool in my Master’s hands doing what it is that He has asked me to do. I am what I am because this is what God has made me to be after forty-four years of hewing, chiseling, squaring and polishing by His Spirit. “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10).
God has promised to guide us into all truth and show us things to come (John 16:13). Man cannot come to an understanding of what is written by merely studying on his on, but one must be led and taught by the Spirit of God. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 1:14). We are told in 1 Corinthians 1:26-28 who God chooses and uses and why. “For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called: but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise: and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.” If there ever was a fool it was me forty-four years ago. I am a nobody (“an unprofitable servant”). May all the glory and honor and praise go to our God who alone is worthy to be praised.
There is only one means that can be used to prove that there is a God. God tells us in Isaiah 41:22-23 that if the gods which Israel had been worshipping could show the future then that would prove that they were gods. When He threw out that challenge, God was telling Israel that He was able to do that. This is what God had to say: “Let them [the false gods Israel was worshipping] bring them forth, and show us what shall happen: let them show the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together” (emphasis added).
That is what this book will do. It will show you what “shall happen and declare things to come; the things that are to come hereafter.” And God did this nineteen hundred years ago and twenty-five hundred years ago in the prophecies He gave to John, who wrote the book of Revelation and to Daniel.
In Revelation 10:9-11, John “went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book [the Bible]. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophecy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (emphasis added). I have studied the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation for the last twenty-four years and what it has taken me that long to understand, others will have to learn in a very short period of time and this book will facilitate them in doing that.
We serve a God Who knows the end from the beginning. He knows the very number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7, Matthew 10:30). There is nothing too hard for Him to do. For those of us who have read the Bible and have experienced His presence and power in our lives, we know these things are true. “Come and see” and look into the future and see what is about to happen on planet earth that will affect every living creature and person living today.