Four months ago I had a close and troubling experience with the power warned of in 2 Tim. 4:3-4.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.”
I was raised SDA, but really only understood the basics. I sought hard, as a teenager to connect with God, but it never happened. When I fell away, I fell hard and fast. I made several more attempts [to find God] over the years, but still, no connection.
I was living in St. Thomas, and went to an outdoor (under a tent), SDA church service. It was my first time back in many years. I sat in a chair at the end of the aisle on the outside. The music started, the people stood up and started clapping and bopping around. I would not stand up...I just sat there and cried. The apostasy, the irreverence and worldliness, stunned me. I had gone there looking for the spiritual support and the encouragement I desperately needed as I struggled with addiction. I hadn't intended to step into a party.
There was potluck afterwards at the beach. No one talked to me. They brushed me off when I tried to talk to them. It was very clique. Interestingly though, it was then that I realized I had a real love for the SDA church!!
I moved back to the states...to Grand Rapids, MI. I was clean and sober and tried to find an SDA church to connect with. I was alone and wanted Christian fellowship, but I could find none. I went to 5 different churches and they were truly a mess. I was so sick in my heart. I read my Bible A LOT, but didn't really study it--it didn't occur to me to study it. I would read the whole Conflict of the Ages Series through every year. After a while I slipped back into my old habits. Not as far or as bad, but slipped back I did.
My father was ill and lived in the country in a farm house by himself in the thumb area of Michigan. I went to help him and ended up staying there. A year later he squeezed my hand goodbye as he passed away. He used to be a Pastor of the SDA church and a very successful businessman.
Anyway, I was now living near family, my mom and younger sister. I went to church with my mom, and found a nice church, and the Pastor seemed devoted, intelligent and his sermons were nourishment for my soul. One day he came to visit me, and told me that Jesus had a sinful nature just like I do. My immediate response (though I said nothing), was that no He didn't...or He could have never been a perfect sacrifice. Those kinds of thoughts, when error has been introduced to me, has happened MANY TIMES and because of that I came to believe that God had given me the gift of discernment. I trusted that gift and thanked Him for it often. There isn't much that scares me more than deception.
Well, 4 or 5 months ago I started reading a book by an SDA author...I'm not sure but I think his last name may have been Knight. Anyway, the deception was so subtle and so alluring to my mind, that I could literally feel myself being pulled into it!! I immediately took a firm stance against the thoughts and absolutely would not consider them again (which to this day I cannot tell you what it was that was written).
I went on the website Apostasy of Omega and sent an email to David that hosts it, sharing what had happened and he wrote back that he would do a study on it (which I don’t think he’s had a chance to do yet). I could not afford to even study it to counteract what was wrong, it scared me that much. Hence, why I asked someone else, as I am sure that I will probably meet the deception again. There is in our sinful nature a power that truly WANTS to connect with the father of lies. I didn't know that about myself till I had this scary experience. There is now absolutely no doubt in my mind that this nature must die in me...it is truly evil.
Last night I was reading Prophets and Kings about Nebuchadnezzar when he went to make his idol of gold. And Mrs. White said that his need to gratify his desire was so strong that it blinded his memory of what he had learned of God. That's what our natural desires do...they blind us to all that God has done for us and taught us.
This morning I was meditating on Stephen, who had trained his mind to stay so focused on Jesus that even while he was being stoned to death, all He could see was Jesus and Jesus honored his devotion and opened the windows of heaven. That's the kind of mind I want and need and I know it's going to be hard, I have been selfish and turned my feet to my own ways for so very long. It has taken a long time to for Jesus to start seeming real to me and that God really loves me. I have sought that real connection with Him with a river of tears.
Anyway, I have a huge favor to ask of you. Sometime in the next few days I am going to surrender my life to God...all of it. To put my hand to the plow and never look back. This is not a struggle over addiction per se...I've been clean 13 years now and sober going on 6 years.
But I still have health habits that are going to be hard to choose not to do. The reason I haven't done this already is because it is a huge and serious decision to make, and for me not to be taken lightly but with real commitment. Mostly I have been afraid because I have never been truly loyal to anything except maybe my dog, so I don't trust myself. But the other morning in my worship, I read from Mrs. White, that God can give you strength to hold onto His strength!
Well, that was my last hurdle taken care...so I have been preparing my mind for the coming effort and commitment. Would you please pray for me? Just for the next couple of days? BTW...now I live in Virginia and the church here, well...it’s part of the reason I want to be a real Christian...she needs one or at least one more!!
I recently read a post of Fulcrum7, and that post hung with me all day.. It was another source of Jesus becoming real to me....it was so beautiful what was said about Him in that last paragraph!!
To whoever wrote it, thank you so much ... Jesus gave you those words for me!! God bless you and I am so very grateful to have met you!!