(The Bert Brandt Story)
Jesus Did It!
May I share with you what the Lord Jesus Christ means to me? EVERYTHING! If I sound excited about Him, it's because I am! He's done so much for me. He's made me, and continues on making me a new person. I can't thank Him enough - Thank you, JESUS, for setting me free! What exactly has He freed me from? Here are some of the ugly facts of my past:
Three weeks after my seventeenth birthday I was arrested by the Beverly Hills police in California charged with assault with attempt to commit murder, kidnapping, and strong-arm robbery. A couple of friends and I had been making money for a couple of years beating up homosexuals and robbing them. I spent three and a half years locked away in the California Youth Authority for that, but left just like I went in: un-rehabilitated.
During my early twenties, I participated in live sex shows in Tijuana, Mexico, and then began acting in pornographic films. In 1967 I moved to St. Paul, Minnesota. I started running three adult bookstores in the area with a friend, and also became a porn film actor. When I wasn't posing for sex photos, I was busy merchandising pornography. My craving for sex, drugs, recognition and money totally consumed me. If someone had told me that sinning is no fun at that time in my life, I would have told him or her they were crazy! Everything I was involved in was fun, or at least my concept of fun. After all, what more could there be in life than the pursuit of fun and pleasure, outside of maybe the pursuit of wealth and power? Whatever will bring these things forth, go for it, right!?
What I didn't know though . . . all the while God is watching - shaking His head - wondering how much longer. He can let the human race continue in this direction-His children moving farther and farther away from what He created the human race to be. People so focused in on what can make them happy that they will do anything to themselves and others to find one more high, one more thrill, one more means of gratifying themselves to "make the most out of living."
Yes - I was there. I was so consumed in making myself happy and secure and wealthy (I hadn't reached the craving for power yet). God was only something that stood in my way of getting what I wanted, not someone I wanted to get to know and make Him pleased with me for serving Him and truly becoming all HE has planned for me to become during my lifetime. Nope. Out of my way, God! Let those religious freaks seek you. Those weak willed brainless zombies who need a crutch-let them get on their knees and cry and wail to you. Real men don't do those things. Real men go for the gusto. Real ladies please their man and themselves. See 'ya, God, scram! That was my attitude about God.
In 1972 my wife and I and our two sons moved back to California. I began to fade out of pornography, focusing my attention on selling drugs. There was more money in that. Of course, I continued to use drugs myself as well. I discovered my real love for violence a few years' later and studied martial arts in California for seven years. Competition was of no interest. I just wanted to hurt those who didn't like me. I became homicidal.
One night I went to the movies high on drugs. DEATH WISH, starring Charles Bronson, was playing. As I watched it, it made perfect sense to me. I left that movie convinced that if I could kill someone on the street who was a "bad guy," then that would make me a "good guy," and I would be recognized as a hero.
For the next six months, I tried to provoke violence from people on the street. I spent two to three hours a night on the streets of San Francisco waiting to be mugged just so I'd have an excuse to kill someone. But as God's grace would have it, no one approached me.
Every now and then, on rare occasion, through the dope haze . . . I would ponder the meaning of living. At brief moments like that, I vaguely realized that I had no real love for life. Living was an existence - a drag, actually. So I needed to drown those feelings out. I needed to get high again! Had to have more fun! Make more money!
One morning I woke up to find, in genuine shock, my six year old trying to wipe the sweat away from my forehead and see if I was all through my "good trip". Yet even that didn't cause me to consider getting off drugs, because I was cool.
Yet strange as this might sound, my wife and I wanted the best for our two boys. We didn't like public schools, so we placed the boys in the closest private school we could find-a church school about two blocks from our home, run by the Assemblies of God.
One day I was asked by the pastor of the church to take photos for the church brochure. They had heard I was a photographer, but not what kind. I needed the money, because I was out of work at the time.
I recall the last shot I intended to take for the brochure . . . a wide-angle view of the sanctuary from the balcony. Up until that moment, I hadn't tuned in to what the pastor had been speaking about, until he gave an invitation to those who wanted to invite Jesus Christ into their hearts.
At that moment, I began to take account of my life up until then. Seventeen years of my life were lost day by day to dope. After being given a perfectly good brain that was designed to last a lifetime, I chose to let dope be my brain washer, rather than the thoughts of God from His Word, the Bible, and from the Holy Spirit. Twelve of those years I was a drug dealer. But part of my "fun" was sinning. I loved being rebellious. I just wanted to do what was wrong for the fun and challenge of it.
But now something was drawing me to go forward. And I did. On October 17, 1976, I took the most daring step into the unknown I had ever taken. I accepted Jesus Christ as My Savior, glory to God! Jesus accepted me as one of His flock - part of the family of God! His brother and joint heir! I invited the Holy Spirit to live inside of me, and make me anew!
Later I returned to the balcony for my camera, picked up my son, and headed home. On the way, I ran into some thugs who shouted insults and obscenities at me. It was the provocation I had been looking for, for so long. Now was my chance, after waiting so long! But something was different inside me. Rather than want to destroy them, my thoughts were: God heard all those things they said and He still loves them, so why shouldn't I as well? So I just drove off smiling. Only Jesus could have brought such a sudden change. Jesus took the drugs and the violence and the spirit of sexual lust away from me soon after that as well. There have been a lot of slower changes since then, but those three areas were immediate.
In terms of Jesus continuing to manifest His grace toward me, I had been treated for over ten years for three deteriorated and extremely painful discs that kept me down on the floor much of the time. God healed me and it was just as they were deciding to operate on me. No surgery was ever performed!
Then God's grace was extended to my family. When my oldest son was 15, he was in a car going 120 mph when it flipped. He was thrown across four lanes and landed on his face. A doctor was there moments later and did all he could. Both the doctor and the ambulance staff agreed that Bryan was dead. They put him in a rubber body bag and drove away to the city morgue. On the way, Bryan started trying to get out of the bag! The ambulance crew was a bit startled because he had been in it since they gave up an hour and a half earlier. God brought him back from death, just like Jesus did with Lazarus. No brain damage, no scars!
I've covered many exciting miles with Jesus since then. God's exciting plan continues to unfold for my wife, Florence, and I, as the years go by. We've had the privilege of being used of God to minister the love of Jesus to many in all walks of life, and especially to prisoners. It is so precious to see the power of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of people who have become hard as steel from the hard knocks of life.
Taking just one person . . . I think of a brother named Kenny. Kenny was in the Alameda County Jail (Oakland, Calif.), when I was ministering there in the maximum-security section. He was one of the biggest men I have ever seen, and was full of hate. I introduced myself and he told me to get away and never come near his cell for any reason again.
I found out he liked western novels and started bringing him some. Over several months he began to speak a little to me. His profession had been armed robbery. He was a black man who grew up in a big city dominated by white criminals. His mother lost everything she owned to a deceptive religious leader (just like there was in Jesus' day), and his brother died at the hands of a white supremacy gang in San Quentin, prison. They stabbed 27 holes in him, took out his eyes with the same wooden knife, and tossed him off the third tier to the concrete below as a bonus. Kenny was not ready to hear about Jesus from me, a grinning white preacher.
After about a year of limited conversation with him, I went in one day to find him writhing in pain on his bunk. The cell door was not locked because the other man in it was waiting to go to court. Then I told Kenny, "This is an opportunity set up by the Holy Spirit, and I'm not going to let it pass."
Kenny had been using up to three bottles of Maalox a day to ease the pain from severe ulcers, and was in excruciating pain that day. I anointed him with oil and prayed for a miraculous healing . . . to take effect after I left.
When I returned a few days later, he was waiting for me. The beaming smile on his face told me everything. The healing was 30 minutes after I left, he told me, and he has never since had any ulcer problems, but what was better yet . . . he also received a heart healing. Now he wanted to get to know me better. He couldn't understand why a white guy, wanting nothing in return, would care anything about a mean, black guy in jail.
I could only tell him the truth. "JESUS . . . is why."
We began a new relationship from then on. About a year and a half later he gave his heart to Jesus Christ, and what an exciting day that was. Eventually the Lord used me to introduce him by mail to a lady I ministered to in a Florida prison. When they both got out, they got married! My God can do anything!
So to you who are reading this and are wondering what Jesus can do for you if you were to invite Him into your heart, let me be the first to tell you that He can do ANYTHING! Don't waste another day living without Jesus. The GOOD NEWS is that God will forgive anyone who believes in Jesus. To receive Jesus' payment for sin, you must make up your mind to believe in Him. If you openly declare that Jesus died to forgive you of your sins and believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, God promises to forgive and forget your sins. When you do this, the Holy Spirit comes to live in you and gives us the ability to live a Christian life; the kind of life God wants all of humanity to live. And when you do this, you become a member of God's family, and one day you will go to heaven to be with God forever.
If you want to receive Jesus into your heart right now so that He can make you a new person as well, you can just pray this prayer and say:
Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God, and God the Son. I believe that you came to the earth to pay for our sins, including my sins. I believe that you died, and rose again, and you are alive today. Jesus, I ask you to forgive my sins, and make me a part of your wonderful family. I ask you to come and live inside me, and be my Lord. Baptize me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.
If you just prayed this prayer and mean it, now that you have accepted Jesus as your own Savior, He is always there with you in your heart. Even when it is hard to do what is right, Jesus will give you strength to make the right choices. You can talk to Him in prayer. He will guide you in your choices and help you to grow strong in the knowledge of His plan for your life.
The two most important things Jesus asks you to do are (1) Love God with all your heart; and (2) love your neighbor (those around you) as you love yourself.
Jesus wants you to grow in joy and to let His goodness flow out of you to others. As you allow Him to do so, your life will take on NEW meaning. Exciting meaning! And you'll have a testimony to share of how Jesus has made YOU into a new person for God's glory. Praise the name of Jesus!
But then ... perhaps you've read this over, and thought to yourself: Sounds good, but no thanks, not yet. I'm not ready to have those around me begin to dislike me, or think weird of me. What they think of me is too important.
If you want excuses to pass up the best God has, which is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, rest assured the devil will always provide you with enough reasons to do so. But, also rest assured God has this to say: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness sake (right-relationship with God), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-11 NIV)
And I'll tell you a little secret the devil doesn't want you to know. Great can be your reward in THIS lifetime also for having those around you mock you for taking your stand for Jesus, because taking a public, outward, yet humble stand for Jesus gives you POWER you'll never have otherwise. Power not only to love those who are mocking you, but power to be so secure in your relationship with God that you'll discover just how shallow and meaningless many of your relationships with others have been up until now. If you want respect, real respect let the love and acceptance of Jesus flow out of you, and you'll sense a power of protection around you the devil would give anything to have.
But he'll never have it, and friend, you can take this to the bank-because he'll never have it, he doesn't want anyone else to have it either. Are you going to let him keep you in darkness, away from God, forever?
I'll speak the word of faith on your behalf "No!"
PLEASE HELP SHARE THE BEST NEWS GOD HAS FOR EVERY PERSON!
"And this gospel of the
died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a witness
unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
Consider how many children in "all the nations" have never heard YET what Jesus accomplished for THEM at the cross? PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS TO THE LITTLE CHILDREN!
To help us share the Best News every person needs to hear on this planet, randomly click FOR JESUS on just three (3) of the JESUS DID IT! links below. It will take just a few moments of your time. Please - that's all you are asked to do. God will reward you! (Of course, be highly encouraged to forward one of these video clips to those who may have never heard what Jesus did for them on the cross ... especially young people). Thank you so much!
JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT!
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JESUS DID IT! - or - JESUS DID IT!
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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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