WHEN LIFE ON
EARTH IS OVER - THEN WHAT?
(The Jerry Cheadle Story)
Jesus Did It!
By: Jerry Cheadle
If you would like to view Jerry's testimony on video, click on the following links: Part 1 Part 2
If you would like to view Jerry's wife's testimony (Flora), click on the following links: Part 1 Part 2
I've always enjoyed life. Life is meant to be lived. It's just a matter of who it is lived for, and why. We can live our lives in pursuit of success, fame, fortune, pleasure, personal fulfillment and meaning...or...we can live our lives making it our number one goal in this life to glorify God. I have to admit I failed miserably for a long time trying to glorify God with my life, and I actually greatly succeeded in living my life very selfishly, glorifying self-pursuits for happiness. That came quite easy for me.
But let's play back the tape. I was born an identical twin. My brother died about a week after we were born. I often wonder what that would have been like had we lived, because a lot of people say it is hard just taking me! I know we'll meet in heaven one day, and I'm really looking forward to that, because I feel like there is a part of me I've never really touched base with.
I grew up in Yakima, Washington. I have fond memories of my childhood growing up there, for the most part. There was always a lot of fun things to do with kids my age.
From my earliest memories, Duane (my older brother by five years) and I always went to Sunday school. I guess it was from always being in church on Sunday that I grew up always knowing there was a God. I never questioned that there was a God.
However'I was apprehensive about Jesus. I didn't know for sure if I really wanted to follow Him, because I knew He was the dividing line. I had a sense or feeling that if I accepted Jesus, I would have to measure up, or somehow be perfect.
In my earlier teens, I pretty much hung around with kids who were moral and obeyed the rules society and God set. But there was a short period just before I turned 16 where I started hanging around the kids who were rebels ' the kids who were always looking to get into a little mischievousness ' a little trouble.
Around age 16 our Youth pastor kept warning me that if I continued to keep doing what I was doing with the bunch I was hanging around, I most likely would end up in reform school. He kept putting pressure on me to make Jesus my personal Lord and Savior, and there was a lot of tension inside of me going on because of it
From the time I had been about five years old up into my teen years, I stuttered. Every time there was an altar call given at church for people to make Jesus their Lord and Savior and praying the sinner's prayer, and I would feel compelled to go forward and do that'there was another part of me that was afraid to because of how bad I stuttered. I stuttered so badly sometimes no one could understand me, and that was so embarrassing and emotionally painful.
So when the Youth Pastor kept persisting that I give my life to Christ, something inside me would think: I am not going forward in church where the Pastor will put his hand on my shoulder, turn me around and face the congregation'have me say a few words to the congregation, and introduce me'and make a fool of myself stuttering? Uhh-uhh. Big time no way! I was not going forward in church.
The Holy Spirit was working on me though to make a solid, personal commitment to Christ ' I knew He was.
Well'I needed a miracle-working God in my life. I've always been upbeat about life; trying to make others see good in life and feel good about themselves'and I needed to see a God who is real. I needed to see a God who I could feel; a God I could somehow make contact with'not a God that was distant like I had always known Him to be up until that time.
I was age 16. I happened to be at church one Sunday evening standing. I had gone with my mom and my aunt. The Pastor gave the altar call'and to this day, all I can remember is laying the song book down'taking a step forward'and the next I knew I was up in front of the congregation!
What was so beautiful about it ' the Pastor put his arm around me, turned me around to the congregation, and said, 'Congregation, I want you meet you new brother, Jerry Cheadle.' I never had to say anything! To me, that was a miracle from God!
I was really serious about giving my life to the Lord that day. I tried the best I could to be morally upright and do everything I knew to please Him in the weeks and months that followed.
However, later that year, I quit going to church and started sleeping in on Sunday mornings. Next I started hanging around the kids who were not Christians again, and I now look back and can see that I came to a crossroad in my life at that time where I chose to turn my back on the Lord and followed my own sinful, selfish ways, for the most part.
The next 14 years was what I call 'my pursuit of worldly pleasure' that didn't include God hardly at all. I saw no reason why I couldn't enjoy life to the fullest. Afterall, I wasn't denying God, I didn't think. So what if I sinned a little here and there; what could it really matter, I rationalized? 'Life is meant to live!'
When I graduated from high school at Yakima, I moved down to John Day, Oregon, because that is where my brother Duane lived. It was then that I began to do an extreme amount of drinking, partying, fast cars and chasing the ladies.
I look back now during that time and I fully realize I was doing nothing but living on God's grace. He was so merciful to me.
I was working for a dairy at the time, delivering milk, when I met Flora. She was a waitress at one of the restaurants in John Day. I didn't fall in love with her when I first met her, but the way I had lived life up to that point'I just assumed, you meet a girl, she's good looking, you ask her out on a date, you go out with her, and see what happens. That's how it went with Flora.
We dated a few more times, and before I knew it we started going pretty steady, except for weekends. Weekends was for the boys...partying...(which was a real sore subject for a long time!). Six months later, we got married.
I had no formal training on what a husband is supposed to do. I knew that a husband was to provide for his family, so that is what I did. I began working a lot of six and seven days a week.
I had never learned how to love my wife the way God tells us to love them. Meaningful conversation and tenderness were not things I knew a wife needed.
Life went on and I thought everything was fine in our marriage. Then one day Flora mentioned to me unless something changed, we were headed for a divorce. That stunned me! I thought'but we don't fight. If we don't fight, what's the reason for a divorce?
Then she said, 'No ' we never fight, because you're never home.'
That made sense to me; I could relate to that, so I tried to get more time off. Our marriage got a little better after that, but I was still working six days a week; a little on Sunday's but not as much as before.
However, things did not get better in my life and our marriage until I was 30 years old. What brought about the change was when Flora received the Lord into her life, and God began to change her. My eyes followed her more closely; I listened to her more closely than ever before.
I knew there was a God in heaven; I knew that Jesus was real, but the way I had been raised in church, for some reason I saw a personal relationship with Jesus Christ just a bunch of 'do's and don'ts.' If I followed Jesus, I could 'this.' And if I didn't follow Jesus, I could 'that,' and up until that point in my life, the 'don'ts' looked a lot more attractive than the 'do's.' I didn't understand that my focus was centered on the things that brought me physical happiness; physical pleasure. I was at the center of my world, yet not realizing it. I didn't want to put God at the center of my world. That's simply called selfishness and a lack of desire to glorify God ' nothing else. I just didn't understand it at the time.
Flora began to change. She began to change for the better. Her words began to change. She was more tender; her words were less sharp. She wore a smile more than ever before. She began to bubble with joy and she didn't need alcohol or drugs to make her that way. Simply put'I began to see something in her I had never seen before in a person. She wasn't phony. I began to see a God who was real.
After nearly a year of her being spiritually born again, I told her I would go to Bible study with her that was meeting at a house at the time. What did I discover? A part of me thought they were really whacko!
Yet ' the moment I entered that house'all I could do was cry. I cried the whole time I was there. I saw the joy of the Lord on those people. I saw life I had never seen before. These people were real. And you know what I didn't see? ' religion. I didn't see a religious form of pretense on these people. They were the real-deal and I couldn't deny it.
The one thing I didn't want was religion. I had seen it; I had tried it, and it didn't work! Yet here were people wearing smiles on their faces, filled with joy and love'and I had lived enough life to know that you can't pay people enough money to be that genuine.
There were men who came up to me, because they knew Flora ' they would throw their arms around me and give me a big hug, and make me feel like they truly cared for me ' truly accepted me for who I was. I had never experienced that before ' ever.
So like I said'I just sat in a corner the whole night and could do nothing but cry.
I went to church the middle of that week at a local denomination. I knew the Pastor from a work relationship, and I told him that I was going to rededicate my life to the Lord that following Sunday.
I was truly anxious for Sunday to come. When Sunday morning came, I was so high emotionally, and by the time this Pastor gave the altar call, I was already on cloud nine and I barely remember the whole thing, other than before he was even able to get all the words out of his mouth, I was up front of the congregation, so eager to get right with the Lord.
When I left church that day, I was so happy inside. I had something that was so real. In times past, when we would go out and party, it would feel real good. But see, that wears off, and then you have to do it again, and again, and again, and in between times, you have a big headache. But this stayed after I left church. Better yet, it didn't leave me with a hangover with a throbbing head.
I was so full of joy, it was like it was bubbling over inside me. I even had trouble sleeping, I was so filled with joy and life. Life I simply had never experienced before.
For the next year, we pretty much had Christian fellowship every night of the week! Exciting things were going on every time we met. Lives were being changed. God was becoming real and alive to people who had never known He was real before. There were others as well just like me who were tired and fed up with just boring religion. Bondages and addictions were being broken off people's lives. Marriages were being restored and made more meaningful and stronger than ever. There was vibrancy; there was unconditional love for each other ' it was wonderfully contagious!
There was a next door neighbor couple that Flora had been observing for some time, and he and I had been fellowshipping off and on. One day out of the blue, he asked me, 'Jerry, have you thought about asking for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?'
I said, 'Well, uhhh, no.' I wasn't quite sure what I personally thought about the subject. I knew it was real because I saw others who had sought for it and I saw their lives change for the better, but as for myself, I wasn't really sure I even needed to.
It wasn't long after that' I got up in the middle of the night. (I had been having headaches at the time and they would wake me up from sleep, and I would get up during the middle of the night). I was sitting in the front room, and I remember what this neighbor had asked me. Then I thought, why not? What have I got to lose?
So ' I just raised my hands to the Lord, and I said, 'Lord Jesus'I don't understand it all, but I am just going to do what Dick told me to do, and that is to just ask You to baptize me with your Holy Spirit.'
The thing that was so amazing to me'because I'm the kind of a guy that needs to feel something ' I need contact'as I raised my hands to Jesus and asked Him to fill me with the Holy Spirit, I began to feel something starting at my toes. It felt like I was being covered with warm oil. It started at my toes, and moved up my legs and eventually covered my entire body. It was the most sensational experience I had ever felt before. There was a tingling-like sensation, so wonderful ' so hard to describe in mere words. It started at my toes and seemed to exit my fingers as I held them in praise to the Lord Jesus.
Years later, as I looked back at that moment, I believe I had been baptized in the Holy Spirit much sooner than that; most likely that day when I had given my heart fully to Jesus Christ that Sunday a year earlier'but what was happening with my arms outstretched to Jesus was somehow a releasing of the Holy Sprit. It's hard for me to really know exactly what was going on, to be honest. All I know is that the feeling was just so wonderful, and I began to speak in a heavenly language (the gift of tongues) that I had never spoken in before, praising and worshipping God in total abandon, like never before. It was so awesome ' so precious.
It was about 3 AM in the morning and I went in and woke Flora up, I was so thrilled. I had to share with her what had happened! I said, 'Honey ' get up and pray with me!' She rolled over and said, 'Go back to bed.' So I ran to the phone and gave Dick a call. I said, 'Dick, Dick, guess what?! I got the Baptism of the Holy Spirit! Come on over and pray with me!'
He said, 'Ohhhh Jerry'it's 3 AM in the morning. Please, go back to bed and call me back tomorrow.'
Well ' years have passed since that time. I know the controversy that rages in Christian circles about this topic of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. All I have to say is that I believe the same advice Dick gave me is good for any Christian. They would do well to ask Jesus to baptize them in the Holy Spirit, and don't get impatient if nothing happens right away. I know there are different manifestations the Holy Sprit gives people when they ask Jesus to baptize them in the Holy Spirit, and from years of observation, I believe the number one thing being baptized in the Holy Spirit should do in the life of a believe is to make them a bolder witness for Jesus Christ ' sharing the truth that Jesus Christ truly did die for each and every person's sins, and for those who reject this truth and don't make Jesus Christ their intimate Lord and Savior, they will end up being separated from God for all eternity once they die.
Being baptized in the Holy Spirit can break addictions off a person's life. I've witnessed numerous cases of it. It can bring deliverance of all kinds, and thank God for it. It brings spiritual power that many Christian believers never had before in their life. It brings an intense desire to become like Jesus Christ in obedience to God the Father. The 'have to's' and the 'do's and don't's' fall off a person's life, and it gets replaced with 'want to's!' A person doesn't come under condemnation like they used to when they don't measure up to all that they desire to be in Christ, but yet a determination resides inside them to keep trying ' to keep seeking God to gain victory over sinful areas in their life that they never had confidence to tackle before.
This much I've come to the conclusion of after many years of walking with God. Satan wants people to have 'religion' instead of 'personal, meaningful, vibrant relationship with the living God.' If they break out of the prison of 'religion,' he then wants them to be fearful or deceived into believing that it is not necessary to seek to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Then if they get baptized in the Holy Spirit, he wants to deceive them into believing that a 'one time encounter' is all that is necessary in the life of a Christian.
It takes a lot of hard work and determination to remain filled with the Holy Spirit. It is something you have to do on a daily basis as you continue to walk with Jesus Christ. Between our sinful, selfish flesh rising up, constantly wanting what it wants'and the never-ending attacks from demonic forces' t is foolish to not seek to have all the Holy Spirit that God will impart to them.
For some'that requires using the gift of tongues frequently. Flora and I do that. It is part of our daily life, for the most part. She makes every effort to minister to God with her heavenly language first thing in the morning, along with her known language as well (English), of course, before she does anything else. To her, ministering first to the Lord is the most important part of her day. I minister to the Lord with the gift mostly while I'm driving the UPS truck. I have more time then. I've always felt it made me a better employee for UPS. Of course, I use it frequently when I meet to pray with others in the evenings or on the weekends. It certainly builds up my own spirit, which the gift of tongues is supposed to do. Who of us doesn't need our spirit revitalized after constantly being beat up by satanic bombardment in our thought life?
Through trial and error, we have learned how quickly we can move out of walking in the Spirit, which then means we end up relying upon our own carnal strength. When you walk in your own strength, and not the strength of the Holy Spirit, you lose touch with God to different degrees. You lose your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, at least she and I do. You have a more difficult time hearing His still small voice when He speaks to your spirit. Jesus says in John 10:10: 'I came that you might have life, and life more abundantly.' To Flora and I, receiving the gift of tongues has been a vital part of experiencing that spiritual life that Jesus promises.
Me'I use my gift of tongues and minister to God with that gift in a more spontaneous way. Many times when I pray in English, I don't sense the need to pray in tongues. It all depends on the situation. This much I have learned through trial and error'when I DO use the gift of tongues, it is very useful to be much more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Staying sensitive to the Holy Spirit is not easy. It takes effort and dedication. It doesn't just happen 'automatically,' not for Flora and I anyway. Maybe for others, it comes easier. I hope it does. We use what God has given us to serve Him best, that's all I'm trying to say.
Christians who have had fear or lies put into them about tongues, or fear and lies put into them about the baptism of the Holy Spirit have come under Satan's deception. A lot of Christian believers have never been taught that God desires that they minister to Him. Not just on a Sunday morning, or whenever it might be 'convenient' to us. God desires that we minister to Him frequently ' making it top priority in our lives. The spiritual law of sowing and reaping: we must give to get; we must give to then receive'people need to realize that the Holy Spirit gives the gift of tongues to people primarily for the purpose of ministering to God. As they minister to God with their tongue, mind and spirit'God gives back to them spiritual life. It's like getting your gas tank filled to keep being able to drive. You run out of gas, the car stops until you put more gas in it. That's the best way I know how to help people understand the value of seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the precious gift of tongues: it is to help a person minister to the Lord with greater joy, greater enthusiasm, and with greater strength. As we do that'God helps us through our day.
One more thing about the gift of tongues. It is a weapon God gives to Christians to fight back Satanic attacks. God clearly tells us in Ephesians 6:18 it is a weapon. 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 gives us a clearer understanding of what Ephesians 6:18 means:
"For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the result then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding."
What is easily missed is one key word in 1 Corinthians 14:16 (NKJV): Otherwise, if you bless in the spirit '
Bless who? Bless God, that is who. The gift of tongues is a gift to bless God first with. When our purpose is to use the gift for that purpose, He gives back to us the ability to be more able ministers to Him and to others. It's very important to know that.
I'm now going to share a few things to help others get a small glimpse of what the power of Christ can do in a person's life as a born again believer from incidences that have happened in my own life.
When I was four years old, my father divorced my mother. I never really knew my dad. As I grew up, I knew some about him; my older brother told me some and Mom told me some. From time to time, Dad would stop by when it was convenient for him. He was a teacher and a coach. Each time he would stop, I would be excited to have the chance to be with this father I didn't know. With my stuttering problem and in my excitement and nervousness of seeing him, I couldn't really talk to him in any way that was intelligible.
My stepfather was probably as good of a stepfather as a kid could ever wish to have, and I'm so thankful to God for that. He was also there for us as a family. He provided well; he was fully masculine in many ways, although he left the training of us kids up to my mother. Had we been his own children, maybe that would have been different.
No matter what he was or wasn't'in my mind he still wasn't my real father. My blood dad was. Yet growing up, I never really had a strong father-figure that I could look up to and try to emulate.
As I grew older, I came to have the feeling that my blood father had deserted me. I'm sure my mind played a lot of tricks on me, with the devil's help no doubt. It didn't help that we were only able to communicate about once a year or even less, and even then there wasn't much substance in it. He would call by phone.
As I've grown much older, I realize he had a lot of difficulties of his own he was dealing with. I realize that he may very well have wanted our relationship to be a lot more meaningful, but sometimes divorce ' remarriage issues can get in the way of things happening the way people would like. Misunderstanding can play a huge part in it all. Children especially almost always perceive things the wrong way when there is a communication breakdown. Some parents simply struggle with knowing how to communicate effectively at all with their children, and even their spouses.
In fact, if you are able to get reliable information, most parents who lack in good communication skills had parents who also lacked in them. The weakness easily gets passed onto children, and if not broken, it continues to keep passing on to their children. Knowing this can help fractured relationships greatly. Likewise, fathers who do not do well with fathering, or mothers who do not do well at mothering, most likely came from dysfunctional homes where they never had role models to learn from. Sad, but that's the way life is.
Not understanding my vulnerability in all this, as Ephesians 6:26-27 speaks to us about in not giving place to anger, (because I didn't know my Bible very well in my younger years, which was only my fault by the way)'I actually grew to hate my father. Yes ' hate. I deeply, deeply hated him. I resented him, because he didn't care about me. My resentment of him never getting to know me turned to bitterness when I thought of him. Then the bitterness and anger toward him translated into full blown hate for him. (The next step of the progression of hate is wrath; desiring to hurt the person back in various degrees, if a person doesn't forgive the person they are angry at. Forgiveness: forgiving those who we are angry at'is God's remedy for dealing with anger to the point where we aren't giving place for the devil to bring serious damage to the relationship ' sometimes irreparable damage, until God is allowed to do a miracle in healing the relationship).
On the other hand, from time to time, there was something inside me that would be pulling towards him'wanting something. Whenever anyone would talk about my father, and they would mention him in my presence, anger toward him would rise up inside me, because I felt he deserted me. He lived in John Day for quite awhile, and people who knew him really thought well of him.
Once I became a born again Christian and grew in my relationship with the Lord, people would come up from time to time and say to me, 'Jerry, you seem to have the ability to reach out and touch hold of God, because you refer to Him so tenderly as your Father instead of just "Lord" like so many other believers do.'
I don't know if this is true in every person's life, but I believe that for every curse that someone may have in their life through no fault of their own'God somehow has a blessing to fill the void of that curse for that person if they will diligently seek God for it. God truly can be our 'all in all' when we patiently and diligently seek Him to be.
In my case, because I didn't really have an earthly father in the way I would liked to have had in a normal sense, anyway'I could look to my heavenly Father to fill in the void, and He did. When I became a born again believer, I was able to lock into Father God as a very, very personal father. I could go into His presence, and I could talk to Him, pouring my heart out to Him when I needed to ' knowing he wouldn't desert me or reject me. This didn't take away the necessity of an earthly father, but it made it somewhat easier for me.
Now'I had been a born again Christian for about three years roughly, baptized in the Holy Spirit I truly believe, yet I still held this hate for my earthly father. I knew it was wrong for me to keep holding onto this hatred, because by then I was becoming well versed in the Bible, and scriptures make it perfectly clear that when we don't forgive those we hate ' those we feel have hurt and/or offended or betrayed us ' the heavenly Father won't forgive us.
There were times when I would try to forgive Dad, and it would seem like there would be a little breakthrough, but I just couldn't seem to make it stick for very long. I would go back to God and ask Him what I needed to do be completely free from hate for my father, and kept seeking the Lord about it.
During this season of emotional struggle, Dad drove up to John Day, Oregon from Texas. It was at this time God did a miracle between us. He and I became reunited, for the first time in our lives! He was there for a couple of weeks or so. I had him all to myself for about a week. He stayed at our house. We had some great talks.
I can remember so well the day he left. I want to break down right now and cry as I share this, because it was the first time I was ever able to put my arms around him and tell him I loved him.
He told me he loved me deeply as well, and then told me he was so sorry for the way things had happened, and it was that day we were fully reunited.
From that time on until the day he died, which was a few years back, we had a close relationship; we wrote, made phone calls now and then'but the real link was made that day we reunited. When he passed, I knew I would see him in heaven some day because he knew Jesus personally.
What I want to emphasize in all this is that it was through no effort of my own. God supernaturally intervened and brought this all about. Sure, I had desired to be right with God and right with my father; I didn't want hate rising up in me ever again when I thought of him, but I just couldn't get complete victory over it. It took God sovereignly putting it in my Dad's heart to come up from Texas to be in John Day for those two weeks and go out of his way to spend quality time with me. That was not my doing for sure. That was all God's doing! The love I began to have for my father began slowly, but it continued to keep building, and I know that was God honoring my obedience to keep forgiving my dad every time anger toward him would rise up in me. I just thank God so much for doing that for me, and for my father as well. I think it probably meant as much to him as it did me, as I thought about it as the years passed. Who can fully know but God. I'm just thankful God did it, before my father passed.
My love for Flora had never been the 'storybook kind of love' like hers had been for me when we first married, though hers weaned for me before she got baptized in the Holy Spirit. My feeling of love for her, even through all the struggles she had toward me, was pretty much on an even keel. But to my amazement, after God healed my anger towards my dad and I began to have love for him'a new kind of love began to grow in me for Flora! It was more of a respect love, I guess it would be what I call it, but there were times when I would look at her and wonderful butterflies would well up inside me. Times like that it would grip me, because I wondered how I could have ever hurt her in times past, and how could I ever shower her with as much love and respect and affection that she now showed to me.
We grew in our relationship with the Lord and with each other. Life became so exciting, because we were more concerned about being used to help others come to the salvation knowledge of Jesus Christ, and being used of the Holy Spirit to help others grow in their relationship with Christ. Sure we made mistakes. Sure we didn't always say and do the right things, but God always forgave us when we made blunders, and kept encouraging us to keep pressing on. Making mistakes is part of life and part of being a Christian. The wonderful thing is that we can always go to God and get reconciliation and healing when it's needed. We never can blow things so bad that God will quit using us, as long as we make things right with Him and right with those we have hurt and/or offended in some way.
In addition to our love for each other deepening in the marriage, God gave us two wonderful children that added such a blessing to our lives. We have always been so proud of Jim and Jodi. No, they weren't perfect. None of us are. But they were always vessels of joy God gave us to care for and nurture up in the knowledge of the Lord and His ways.
I want to go back to my stuttering problem before saying anything else. I remember a time when I was about age 15 ' somewhere in that age-range'I was watching an Oral Roberts film (he was a healing televangelist for those of you who aren't old enough to remember). He had tent crusades at the time. I knew who he was and what he was about. But the church I went to at the time told us to stay away from preachers like that. (Supernatural healing didn't happen at that church, by the way, which shouldn't surprise anyone). I can remember that at the end of every one of his services, he always gave a special response of some sort to his audience ' like have them extend their hands to the Lord and believe for a miracle of their own. Well, on that particular broadcast, I can remember ' with all my heart (I hadn't given my heart to Lord yet at that time, mind you) - I extended my hand in faith to be healed of my stuttering. I believe he prayed for the TV audience and strangely, I didn't think much about it not long after. Actually, I really kind of totally forgot all about it as time passed after that'but it was over the next three years that my stuttering slowly began to become less and less. Eventually it essentially stopped. On rare occasions when I get all worked up ' all fired up over something, I'll notice that I will start stuttering a little; repeating a word over a couple of times, but God gives me the power to stop it.
I can really give glory to God for my life being different than what it was before I surrendered to Jesus Christ. There was a part of me from the youngest age that always wanted to grow up and be a man of God that would walk with integrity, and I do try to do that'but I want to make this so clear so people can know that God is a God of forgiveness, and even though I try to walk in integrity, I do miss the mark. They say that the meaning of sin is simply missing the mark. When I do miss the mark, I am so thankful that I can go to God quickly, receive His forgiveness, and get back on track. I think this is so important for people to know. Some people just aren't able to realize how quickly God will forgives us when we ask Him to. Because some people have such a hard time forgiving others, or themselves, they assume God is the same way. He isn't!
FORGIVENESS IS MORE POWERFUL THAN ANY MEDICINE DOCTORS HAVE
Another person I want to thank God publicly for is my mother. She was very, very special. She had to fill the role of not only a mother, but in many ways, also that of a father, because my stepfather never stepped into that role, for whatever reason. Maybe he was afraid to. Maybe he didn't know how. I say this though because I know there are a ton of people out in the world hurting because of divorce situations. Painful choices have to get made: going with the father; going with the mother ' trying to get along with stepparents and stepchildren who are so wounded ' so hurt. But I want people reading this to know that God has answers for all those hurts. God can make a way for people to get all the hurts this life hands them'if they will keep seeking God to heal them emotionally. In most cases, it is always triggered when we practice a life of forgiving those who hurt us or we feel have betrayed us or used us. Forgiveness is more powerful than any medicine doctors have. Forgiveness heals when nothing else will. Forgiveness releases God to do miracles. Holding on to unforgiveness hinders God from doing miracles. It is in our power to release God to do miracle restoration in our lives. He gives us that power in our decision making'when we want healing bad enough to the point where we are willing to surrender that hurt to God.
God has answers. He's a real God. He's not make-believe, and He's not unapproachable. He listens to our prayers and He honors our trust in Him and His word. His time and His ways are often not our time and our ways, but if I've learned anything about God'He is a God who has answers, and He's a God who does what we think at times to be impossible. But I've also found out that if we want to listen to people who put fear in us to get away from Christians who are constantly talking about the Holy Spirit (as though the Holy Spirit was the devil himself or something!) ' you may be insulting the Holy Spirit without your even knowing. The Holy Spirit is fully God, just as Jesus Christ and God the Father is fully God'and God has feelings just like you and I. You can anger the Holy Spirit; you can insult the Holy Spirit; you can quench the Holy Spirit by living in sin. If I've learned one thing about having a meaningful relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ'it is to do everything you know how to do to be the closest of friends with the Holy Spirit. Ask Him if you've insulted Him. Ask Him if you've offended Him. Ask Him if you have somehow disobeyed Him. He'll let you know, if you'll be honest with yourself. And, He'll forgive you. But don't think He's to be trifled with either. Ananias and Sapphira trifled Him by lying to Him as recorded in Acts chapter 5, and their service and usefulness to God was cut short in this life, which most likely means that they will receive a loss of eternal rewards on the Judgment Day because of it.
I want to say something about marriage here as well. I've learned that a marriage is far more than just a husband and wife getting together and having children. A wife has needs that are so different than what a man needs. Whether you are a Christian or not'if you are a man reading this, you would be called a WISE man to get to know your wife: get to know what she likes and what she doesn't like; get to know why she does things the way she does. A woman doesn't sense deep love from a man until he truly shows that he wants to know every little thing about her, that is important to her. That is where it is so hard for many men to relate to, because men for the most part don't like sharing things deep inside them. They want to keep them private, to themselves. Women feel that way too with others they aren't sure they can trust, but God has put it in women to have a man who cares about every little thing they care about. It's just who God made women to be. If a wife doesn't get that from her husband, she'll never become fully who she is capable of being, and I dare say when that happens, she is not the wife to her husband that she is fully capable of being either. Guys'I've missed the mark in this department with Flora so many times. It's not any easier for me than it might be you, but this I know the Holy Spirit has imparted to me'the more open and intimate we get with our heavenly Father'the more freed and equipped we become to meet the deepest emotional needs of our wife. I hope I'm not putting anyone on a guilt trip here. I'm just trying to pass along to others what I believe God has taught me about what makes for the best marriage.
And wives, I'll say this much as well. The closer you walk to the Holy Spirit, the more desirable you will become to your husband. He may think you are as desirable as you could be, but if you don't get whacky about spiritual matters, but spend intimate times with the Holy Spirit, your husband will find you to be a better mate. Of course, the implication here is that you both are truly believers in Christ. If your husband isn't'the closer you get to God, the more he may want to get away from you. Darkness is not comfortable hanging around light for very long. That works both ways. If a husband is close to God but the wife isn't, she may want to draw further and further away from her husband, simply because they are living in two different spiritual worlds. He in spiritual light; she in spiritual darkness. Unless God gives grace to that relationship'it may be a relationship that will not hold up.
I feel to shift gears here now. I remember an event before I knew the Lord that helped me to see that Satan and demons are real, just like God is real and Godly angels are real. Flora and I were married at the time, but neither one of us were Christians. My sister and her husband came to visit us. I don't remember how we came by a Ouija board, but anyway, we decided to play the game. Specifically, my sister and I began to play, and we put our fingers on this rotten little piece of wood in the middle of the board, and we started asking it questions.
Usually when you play the Ouija board, you'll just start asking general questions, and the longer you play, the more you start asking more specific questions. Well, we got into asking the ultimate question. 'Am I going to die, and when am I going to die?'
Now keep in mind, I was not a Christian then, but the reason I know Satan is real and alive is because he will do anything to try to trap people into the dark world of the occult, to where ultimately they lose all desire to want to be pleasing to God, or even fear God and the Judgment Day.
Well ' the piece of wood began to move'and I knew with everything in me that it was not me controlling that little piece of wood with my fingers, nor was my sister! The thing was moving all by itself and our fingers were just tagging along! That piece of wood began to zip around the table, and when we asked if we were going to die, it went directly to: YES! When I asked when I was going to die, it spelled out the year, month. When I asked it how I was going to die, it zipped around the board spelled: Automobile wreck.
When I got through with that last question, I threw my hands off the board'looked at it, and said, 'I will never, ever, ever touch an Ouija board the rest of my life!' It scared me so bad. I knew there was something in the invisible realm moving that piece of wood and it surely wasn't us doing it, and it wasn't the God I now serve.
After Flora and I came to the Lord, we both found out that we needed to repent of playing the Ouija board, because when one does that, it opens up legal grounds for demonic forces to mess with you and one's family long afterwards. Demons can put terror in children at night and they can disrupt people's sleep to making frightful noises and even manifest themselves to little children. They can affect people's emotional and spiritual stability, hindering their growth in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Dabbling with occult objects is a very serious matter. Just because parents don't believe demons are real surely doesn't stop Satan's servants from doing their dirty work. Don't give them legal ground to do that, parents. Don't even have a Ouija board or Tarot Cards and things like that in your house, and make certain your children are not playing with them at someone else's house either.
I feel impressed of the Holy Spirit to say something else here. Because Flora and I were the first in our families to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and be baptized in the Holy Spirit'God moved us to start praying for our family members almost every night without fail. Often we would lay in bed, holding hands, and pray, before falling off to sleep. God was so diligent in hearing those prayers and acting upon them. I say this to anyone who is a born again believer in Christ'pray and keep praying for unsaved loved ones. God so longs for you to pray for them. Do not believe Satan's lies that your prayers are not important for God to respond to. Do not believe Satan's lies that God is going to do what He determines He wants to do in your family members and loved ones, and that your prayers are just a big waste of your time. That truly is a lie from the pit of hell! The Bible clearly tells us that God desires that we pray continuously, and if lost souls are not worth praying for'what truly is? Grandmas - Grandpas - Dads - Moms ' never give up praying for your loved ones. Never. You do not know how much God desires your prayers. You do not know but what you are the only one on planet earth praying for the lost soul of a loved one. There may be no one else who God can assign to pray for your loved ones. You may be the only one. It's that critical ' that sobering.
For those of you reading this who have yet to make Jesus Christ your personal Lord and Savior, I feel to share this one incident. There was this person I worked with, when I worked for my brother Duane. He was about 10 years younger than I was. This young gentleman was an active, go-getter fireball. He was filled with life. His first name was Bill. He was married. I was so full of the Holy Spirit at that time of my life. It was almost impossible for me to talk to anyone without somehow challenging them to think about Jesus Christ and their eternity, so day after day, I would share Bible truths with Him and try to get him to talk about spiritual matters.
One day I came right out and asked him, 'Bill ' wouldn't you like to get to know Jesus?'
I can remember to this day, many years later, the exact words he said. He bowed his head down, and he said, 'Jerry'I know you're right. I know you're right.' He stammered a little bit, and then continued, 'I was raised just like you were. My Mom took me to Sunday school every week'and I know about Jesus'and I know there's a God. But Jerry'right now I've got so many things going on in my life'I know you're right, but ' but'it's just the wrong time right now.'
Then he finished with this. 'Someday'when I get older, when my life slows down a little bit'I really believe that I will turn, and I will investigate this matter of Jesus more carefully, and I'll make a commitment to Him like you have made to Him.'
I remember looking at him, and painfully asking, 'But Bill, what happens'if you die'between now and then? Death is it. Once you die, that's it. You do not get a second chance.'
He laughed when I said that. He said, 'I'm young, I'm strong, I'm not worried about that.' I knew he wanted to end the confrontation so I backed off.
I would say it was about seven or eight years later I was working at the sawmill in John Day at the time, and so was Bill. He was still full of zest for life, he was a brilliant young man, constantly running on all eight cylinders yet ' in his 30's at the time. However, his marriage had taken a turn for the worse, and he was strung out on drugs because of the stress in his life because of it.
Anyway, Flora and I was driving into town one day, and we saw this wreck. A pickup had hit this logging truck head on, and then I suddenly realized who the pickup truck belonged to: it was Bill.
The medical personnel told me that he had died at the scene. I remember thinking so painfully'if he never took the opportunity to talk with Jesus from that day I had confronted him until today'it's too late now. The finality of it all just nearly stunned and sickened me, because to the best of my knowledge, he had never had that serious talk with Jesus Christ. I hope for his sake he did; I truly do.
But I share that moment in time with you to leave you with the same reality. If you know in your heart that you should turn your life over completely to Jesus Christ, but you're just not ready'you just rationalize that you need a little more time like Bill thought he needed'can I say to you what I said to him:
You don't have the assurance that you will be alive on this planet tomorrow. None of us have tomorrow promised to us.
Some might say that is a 'pressure tactic.' I call it reality. I believe God calls it reality as well.
Today, even now, is the day you need to get right with Jesus. There is not a greater peace in all the world than knowing where you will spend eternity once you die. There are only two places to spend it. Heaven or hell. The Bible makes it very clear there are both places, and it also makes it very clear that the only way to make it to heaven is through putting your trust in Jesus Christ to get you there.
Your decision to let Jesus be Savior and Lord of your life is the wisest decision you'll ever make. When you do, the Holy Spirit is fully available to you to help walk the Christian walk. That means you have the full power of God to help you make it on through life until your time is up, and it means that you can start investing more of your time and energy and resources in a Kingdom that will never vanish nor ever be destroyed. It means that you can start laying up eternal treasure in heaven that you will be able to appreciate and share with others for all eternity. Jesus clearly told us in the Bible that we are to be wise and lay up treasures in heaven for ourselves (See: Matthew 6:19-21).
Walking with Jesus Christ is far more than just having your soul saved to spend eternity in heaven with God. The Bible speaks that we can lay up rewards for ourselves in heaven, and until you start obeying Jesus Christ ' you are wasting time and opportunities to be laying up rewards in heaven.
One lost soul saved because you availed yourself to God to be used of God to help that person somehow get saved will be worth more to that person throughout all eternity than all the wealth of this world. Availing yourself to be used of God to help win lost souls brings joy to the heart of God, the angels, and the saints in glory, like nothing else can. God will shower you with rewards of joy in eternity beyond anything you can imagine ... when you channel more and more of your time, talents and treasure in the pursuit of helping win lost souls to Jesus down here while you still have time left.
Thank you for reading my testimony. I pray that we will one day meet in heaven. I pray that something I've said here God will use to touch your life with it in some way.
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Editorial Note: Jerry passed quickly into Glory on October 26, 2006, yet to the glory of God...the words he shared here will keep touching people for a long time to come.
Jerry was working at United Parcel Service when he passed, while on the job. Here is another writing associated with his passing: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/hope_encouragement/p-t/slidelake.htm
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A Special Message: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/f-j/HelpingShareTheMessageOfTheCross.htm
Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
To get to know God; to be at peace with God; to have your sins forgiven; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life.
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