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I have been meaning to write this post a long time and from much prodding and finally a confirmation today (4/8/2010) I start writing it out. In matters of God I tend to exceed the word limit. What I want to tell you would take more than one post to mention. So I will begin one post at a time. Here goes…
I would like to call this my beginning. The beginning of my new life and my re-birth as alive spiritually. I never knew what it was to be alive spiritually till that faithful day somewhere in November 2001.
A little background on me: I am half Indian and half European. One side of my family heavily involved in ritualistic ways, including some really dark side of spirituality (not all Indians are into this stuff, but my family was), while the other side were ancestrally Christians, but their faith was downplayed and almost neutralised during the communist regime.
My insides always argued about the existence of God till finally I reached my teenage phase. Well off course every teenager is confused, lost, searching themselves and more. I was an extreme; filled with hate, anger, power thirsty and God-hatter. Why? I had my reasons. I never really knew God, I only heard about Him from various people. They made suggestions about the colours of my clothing, to wear amulets and certain kind of symbols and signs. I tried out every religion you can name.
Finally, around 1999-2000, I embraced a new age practice that suggested – you are your own god. It made me believe I can magically heal myself through the energies of the universe. I could control situations with a little chant. I was in power of all things and all people around me. Yes, it actually worked. I was so into it, I felt like I have conquered the world at this wee age of 15. That’s the good side of it, but it has an even uglier and darker side to it.
Even lucifer aka satan, the founder of the kingdom that opposes God, comes to us as an angel of light. What does this mean? Well something that may seem good and right, may actually be satan or his evil workers deceiving you into their realm and following them. Following them rather than the God Most High, hurts the Lord who created you. That’s exactly why He sent His only begotten son, as a sacrifice to die for sins on your behalf , and to overcome the world through His death on the cross and His victorious resurrection. This is how much God loves us, from the beginning of time, He wanted us to be His and walk with Him daily. He gave us free will to choose between Him and having things our own way. The jealous one, who lost his place in the Kingdom of God and is assigned to be tortured eternally in the fire of hell, doesn’t want us to be part of God’s goodness and Kingdom. Satan, the jealous one, comes to steal, kill and destroy us. To deceive us into following him. Some of us unknowingly rebel against God. This is exactly what was happening in my life.
I was abused in ways that no child of nine should have gone through. I also experienced a very violent atmosphere while growing up. For me God was just a piece of stone. If you did not please Him, he would punish you. He was limited to some egomaniacal being, who may sometime, if you pleased him, heed your prayer and do something to make you happy. Had to put a few fruits or offerings to appease gods or even walk a thousand or more steps to make things work in my favour. God was not someone who loves me and I was nothing but someone who evolved from apes, an animal, nothing more. Still within me, when things were out of hand and I felt like I wanted to die, I would cry out and say, “If you are there God, show me yourself.” There I was 14, boisterous and I had even beaten up someone who wanted to hurt me. If you ask my mother she could confirm, what a rude, unladylike, ruffian I was. I told myself God wouldn’t even bother to save me so it is all in my hands. My parents were almost getting divorced and there were some really unmentionable experiences that I had, and I wish for no teenager to go through. So what did I do? I got initiated into that new age religion as mentioned above, and I HAD THE POWER. So I did my part wishing, writing down requests on paper and chanting mantras over it, meditating with my body in different positions to awaken the powers of the universe and just exercising my powers which I believed was within me. There I BECAME MY OWN GOD.
Did it work? Yes it did. Things got better. Situations were back to normal. My parents reconciled, I got what I wanted. But the bitterness, the violence within me, and the pure dissatisfaction with life increased in me. So all is good now, I study, I work, I earn my money, get married maybe or maybe not, have kids and die. Then I get reborn as some animal maybe a fly, maybe an elephant. So what’s the point of this life? Rather than suffer I should die right? That’s what I believed. I even tried. Since I was my own god, taking my own life was no crime. But, I just couldn’t succeed. I tried so hard but something would break my fall, make the razor blunt, the poison disappear, the medicine cabinet closed or something make me just break down and cry for no reason. There were times when I couldn’t move my hand, it would tremble if I reached out for anything sharp to hurt myself. I found myself crying out, “Is this You, God? Whoever, You are help me die, please.” I got angry with God, He just wouldn’t let me die. So I felt maybe I haven’t found out who God really was. In that time used to listen to this song ‘If God was one of us – Joan Osbourne’, which goes like this:
If God had a name, what would it be? And would you call it to his face if you were faced with him in all his glory? What would you ask if you had just one question…. What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on the bus? Trying to make his way home… Far away from Rome
Yeah, today I realise the sarcasm in the song, but back then it actually got me thinking about who God really is. Thus, began my search… Reading holy books of various religions, all saying the same thing, but nothing answering my question. God show yourself to me was the cry of my heart. I remember sitting on my balcony and staring at the stars, talking to God with no name, yet He created all this. Then inside me fighting against that thought. “The Universe came to be from energy. The energy created mass and you worship that energy. The energy made you evolve. And here you are today. There’s no creator,” said this inner voice, but I knew it was wrong. It took a period of at least a year, each time I cried out to God saying show yourself. Prove yourself to me or I’ll give up hope in You.
I tested God. And He answered back then when I did not know Him. He wouldn’t let me kill myself. He sent people my way to comfort me. He caused me to stumble upon a small, old, dusty Bible and a book that talked about Jesus (He lived among us). I remember this one day, I was caught by this line in He lived among us – was about Thomas and His disbelief that God was right there in front of Him- John 20:29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
What is blessed? Sounds good. I want to believe, okay.. I believe without seeing. I know you are there God. Now what? Months later, while I was still practicing what many would term as white witchcraft (the witchcraft that means no harm and does only good) I actually saw satan in my dream. He said, “Here I am. I satan, am your god. I will never leave you.”
I thought, “I am not even Christian. Satan is the enemy of Christians. That’s surely not god. I don’t want that thing even near me.” But that dream was so real, it mortified me. I still remember this green skinned, ugly, smelly creature proclaiming that he is my god. I was so scared to even sleep at night I started to drink alcohol just to fall asleep. But that affected me so terribly that I got addicted. The emptiness continued. I started to listen to music – hateful, abusive- it seemed to sing my heart out. It entertained me, and pleased me, although temporarily. It ignited the thoughts to kill myself.
That was the day He reached out to me
In 2001, I started visiting every religious place. Like most people, I believed God was found in religion. And since all religions lead to Him, I’ll find Him somewhere. But I did not find Him there I had the ultimatum in mind, God I have given You time. Now please let me get to know you. Just next door were these prayerful neighbours. My sister who was around 7 years old then would go for prayer meetings, they would sing hymns and I would be like my sister is so uncool. I’ll introduce her to this music someday. These neighbours had a dog. As those of you who know me, I love animals. So I used to visit their dog Cookie every day and spend hours just talking to Cookie. It was a Saturday and they said they would be going to church on Sunday. Something was stirred inside me, I did not know then but was the Spirit calling out to me as deep calls unto deep. I said, “Can I come?” They were a little surprised and hesitant, but then finally, there I was Sunday morning, ready to go. I felt a Spirit, unlike the spirits of intuition and of my new age practice, speak to me. It was saying something like come into my presence.
I went to church. Was not the kind of church I am used to. Was just a school auditorium with a stage in front. A team of musicians struggling with wires and getting the sound right. I greeted a few people. I was very shy, I did not know what to do or expect. I said I will do as the others do. Little did I realise that it meant waving your hands in the air, some jumped, some danced, most clapped, some shouted unfamiliar words like Hallelujah. But in the midst of that, I suddenly felt a warm embrace around me. I closed my eyes, I couldn’t remember any chants, any mantras, any signs, symbols or anything. All I could do is stand still, and know that there is a God! He started to speak to my inner being and my eyes began to tear up. I did not know why. I just wanted to cry like never before. I wept, but I felt happy and peaceful. I was satisfied in His presence. All the years of hate, anger, unforgiveness and pain was melting away. The song was –
There is a place that I know, Where I need more often to go, A place of amazing comfort and rest (what I really longed for), A smile is never rare, His love is as free as the air (I paid no price for it, nor did I have to do anything – no mantras, no rituals, nothing- just accept His love by grace), And I lack for nothing when I can see the love in Your eyes, I know that it is all for me (for the first time I actually felt love pouring over me with no limits).
And I fear nothing at all… when I am safe in the arms of my Father (I needed a father, a family , a place to belong and I found it there in His presence) and if ever I fall I take comfort in knowing that You are there. (Yes I knew God was there and today He is still there with me).
There my journey of knowing God rather than knowing about God began. I realised I don’t have to try and reach God, He already reached out to me. The Creator of all heavens and the earth, the King of all kings wanted to be my friend, my family, to have a relationship with me as a father, a brother and guide. He is beyond all man-made religions. He is not to be confined in a block of stone or in rituals performed. His work is not limited to happen only when we chant out mantras. He is a living God, a Spirit and the real me is spirit. Spirit to commune to spirit once sins were forgiven and the bridge was formed between me and Him. Now I know He is the only truth, the only way, and the life.
In the days to come, He revealed to me the folly of my ways. He taught me to trust in Him not the energies of the universe, which are nothing but His creation.
I was born again (not using this term as many say, I belong to a Born again sect, I don’t belong to any sect, I belong to Jesus and I have a relationship with Him) born again in Spirit like mentioned in John 3:
John 3: 1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” 3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
9“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man (Jesus). 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up (on the cross to die for others), 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
I remember 26 January 2002, I got acquainted with the Holy Spirit and experienced the pentecostal experience. The Spirit is a part of the armour of God. I recommend this for all Christians, How? Just ask and You shall receive. The night after this, God jerked me right out of my bed. He said take away all your idols and things of witchcraft and throw it in the fire. I was shocked. He said this is not of me and led me to Ephesians 6:10 – 13 (please note here, I did not even know what chapters were in the Bible yet) it read:
11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Cosmic powers are energies, which most practices claim energise your chakras, etc – there are spiritual enemies working against us. This opened my eyes. Will tell you more about that if you ask me in person. There’s so much more to it. Just be careful about this – in what do you put your trust in to heal you or work out situations in your life. I learnt there’s only one escape from the kingdom of darkness that’s the Kingdom of Jesus. If your not in it then your in darkness.
Now I shout hallelujah – and I know what it means :D. Praise Jesus for saving me. Literally saving my life and giving me a reason and purpose to live. Out of the darkness into His perfect light. Lord hide me under your wing forever more and never let me go.