TELLING IT LIKE IT HAPPENED
(The Jerry Pavlovic Story)
I'm certain God spoke to me. I don't know why, but I was riding along curbside - I was going to work at a gas station, and all of a sudden, from out of nowhere a voice in my spirit says, 'You're going to get hit - you're going to get hit by a car.
"Jerry was so wild - so out of it. His eyes had terror in them. He started ranting and raving while he was driving, and when we got to our driveway I said, 'What's the matter with you!?' He quickly responded with a loud, SHHHHHH! They're after me - they're after me!"
"There was a person on my right and left holding my hands, and I threw them down and told them they were all crazy. I said, I'm getting out of here! You people are crazy!' The devil had me walking around thinking I was the only sane person there."
"Finally at one point he put his head down in the-middle of the bed and started sobbing like a little baby. 'MOM, what am I gonna -do? What am I gonna do? He didn't know what to do and neither did I. I just put my arms around him and cried. He hung on until the next day."
If you do NOT believe in God, this interview is for you. If you have been searching for proof that God is real, it is no coincidence what you are about to read. As you launch into reading this interview, please keep one fact in mind: "MY WAYS ARE NOT YOUR WAYS," saith the Lord.
INTERVIEW WITH JERRY LEE PAVL0VIC
(NOTE: The following interview with Jerry Lee Pavlovic was conducted in the fall of 1986. Participating in the interview was Ann Reed, Jerry's mother. The interview was conducted by Norm Rasmussen.)
NORM: Did you have any exposure to Christianity when you were young?
JERRY: My mother was a Christian when I was born. Yes, I had a lot of exposure to God when I was little. I went to Sunday school and church regularly right into my teenage years.
NORM: You became involved with drugs, how?
JERRY: I'm from a broken home. My mother remarried. My stepfather was a heavy drinker. He didn't like us kids. I was around booze all my life. When I was 12 years old I started drinking beer with my friends. Their parents would have parties and we would sneak beer. We thought it was cute. By the time I was 16, 1 was drinking heavily and was smoking marijuana constantly. I hung around kids very much like myself. Well-to-do kids had their own click. The poor kids hung around the poor kids. I was accepted by the rowdy kids at school, the ones who would party. Through my high school years, I was stoned and drunk constantly. Even at school almost every day. If there was a party around, I was always there. A couple of times I tried to quit drugs but I couldn't handle the withdrawal symptoms. I always went right back to them. There was 6 months in my life where I was constantly stoned. I never saw reality.
NORM: How old were you when this took place?
JERRY: About 20 years old.
NORM: What kind of drugs were you taking?
JERRY: I was taking chemicals of all sorts. Acid was the strongest. Marijuana was the mildest.
NORM: When you were high, did you ever have any experiences that you feel were from the Lord?
JERRY: It's funny that you should ask that, because just before you asked that question, a thought came back to me that had to be of God. I was tripping like mad on Silicide Mushrooms. I was in my bedroom; it was about 2:00 in the morning and I was all by myself. I got my clock radio off the dresser and the cord was long enough so I could set it on my bed. Get this - now I was higher than I had ever been. It was the nicest high I had ever experienced. I turned on the radio; guess what was on? A preacher. I took a pad and paper and wrote down how many different ways I could write God's name. The preacher wasn't even talking about this. But I was just writing all the different names we call God. I'll never forget it - never in my life. It gives me goose bumps now to even think about it. It was just so neat. I couldn't believe I was doing that. Stoned on mushrooms, you know. That had to be from God because it wasn't my nature to do such a thing when I was stoned.
NORM: Was there any times when you felt the presence of evil in a dynamic way?
JERRY: I was in Petoskey, Michigan, once - I was 20 then. I was riding around on my motorcycle, miles from home. My companion and I had the best dope you could ever want. We were smoking hash, and all of a sudden the devil put in my mind: "Your mother's dead - your mother's dead." Check this out, man, because it was getting to me so bad that it was starting to freak me out. But ... I called on God to help me.
NORM: You called on God while you were stoned?
JERRY: I called on God at that moment to take those thoughts away. A peace came over me. And ... the thoughts of my mother being dead just went away. Sure, I was high, but God answered my prayer, more than once. Another time in 1974, 1 was sitting in the living room. The night before I had dropped a lid of windowpane acid, and there was a lot of strychnine in it. I didn't know about it right away, but after I started coming down off the high, I started flipping out. I was sitting in this chair. I was flipping out so bad ... right in front of my mother! It felt like my mind was going so far - I didn't think it was going to come back. It was really weird. I mean, I was just really losing it. I called on God to help me that time also. I said to Him, "If you will help me get out of this ... I will never do it again." Just like that, (finger snap) I was normal. God took care of me. Of course, I went back to doing all the wrong things again, but he began to help me.
Another time, I wiped out on my motorcycle on the expressway. I was doing 85 miles an hour, and just before going into the S-Curve (on US-131 in Grand Rapids), I dumped my bike. I never remembered losing control or falling. All I did was get up off the highway after I had stopped tumbling and walked to the side of the road. The friend I was with said he thought for sure I would be dead, because he said my body was just pounding all over the highway. My bike was flying all over the place. When I came to, it was just like something you would see on TV. Traffic was backed up for miles. There were flashers all over the place and people everywhere. Someone came up to me and said, "You alright?! You alright?! You want me to get an ambulance?" I said sarcastically, "Why don't you just give me some air to breathe. I'm walking, aren't I?"
The police wanted me to sit down but I kept telling them I was fine. I didn't realize it at the time, but I had a big hole in my arm and blood was pouring. They bandaged me up, and after that I leaned my head over the guardrail and said, "God, thank you. Thank you for keeping me from getting mangled up and dying." I know I would have gone to hell if I had died; I just knew it. I knew I was living wrong. You know, It's funny, because every time I called on God, he was always there instantly. So then I got to the point where I would call on God every time I would get into trouble. When things were going fine, I didn't need him anymore. "Just stay back there God, and when I call for you, be there." During those difficult times my mother was praying for me. She even had all her friends praying for me, and even the 700 Club praying for me too. She said, "God, whatever it takes to get him down on his knees, do it." She prayed a tough prayer. Things were happening, I tell you. I've been in bar fights and almost got killed. I would get beat up terribly. I have had all kinds of accidents.
NORM: How did you manage to get in so many bar fights?
JERRY: A combination of being loaded and mouthy usually. Simple things like that. Saying the wrong thing and someone would pop me. I remember a bartender hit me one time. He hit me so hard he knocked me off the stool and then jumped on me. I had real long hair at the time, and he had a hold of it and was beating my head into the floor. Of course, I wasn't able to fight back, and the people standing around were yelling, "You're killing him, you're killing him!" Finally he got up. When he did I ran out the door and went home. The next morning when I got up, I noticed there was hair all over the bed. I looked in the mirror, and I had a great big bald spot on my head where he had pulled all my hair out.
Another time I was at a bar, and a stranger and I were playing pool. We had a misunderstanding about a bet, and when we got outside he hit me in the face as hard as he could. He was a big dude, man. He broke the lens of my glasses all over my face and then started kicking me while I was down. Just things like that. I could have been shot or stabbed, but God took care of me. That's what surprises me.
NORM: You said you've had several accidents. Tell me about another one.
JERRY: Well, a car broadside hit me too. I was riding along curbside near a busy intersection. I was going to work when all of a sudden, from out of nowhere a voice in my spirit says, "You're going to get hit - you're going to get hit by a car." There was a blue Nova in front of me. It turned and about that time a lady in a big Oldsmobile gunned her car to accelerate quickly out into the flow of traffic. She creamed me broadside ... hard, but it didn't even knock me over. She really hit me, and I mean hard. I stopped my bike, put the standard down, and called her every name in the book. "Didn't you see me?!" screamed at her. "No," she said. I had on an orange helmet and was riding an orange motorcycle. I said, "you must have been gawkin!" I could have been run right over. But the Lord saved me.
NORM: Did you credit God with sparing you after that happened?
JERRY: Uhhh ... no ... I don't think I did. This was before I had discovered by trial and error that I had His divine protection.. I was 'bad' then, so I didn't need to thank anyone, or so I thought.
NORM: What other experiences did you have with evil while you were under the influence of drugs.
JERRY: Just before I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, I had something happen that was as evil as I ever care to experience. Satan seemed to know that I was about to invite Jesus into my life. What he wanted to do was wipe out my mind. Drugs are satanic. I jumped in my Toyota land cruiser and was driving to where my mother worked. I was so stoned. I didn't even have the radio on, when all of a sudden demons started speaking to me. They made me so paranoid I thought everybody was out to get me. Satan wanted my mind.
NORM: You believe that the feeling of paranoia is not just a by-product of being under the influence of drugs but that Satan can cause paranoia along with the effects of the drugs?
JERRY: You bet. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. People have been scared before, but when you experience what I felt, the feeling that everyone is out to kill you, you don't trust anyone. You won't sit with your back to a door or window - strange quirks like that. Hey, I was driving down the street and the radio wasn't even on, and voices didn't start coming out of the speakers; they started coming right out of the radio itself! Gurgly voices right to me. You know, Norm, I didn't know anything about Jesus, and how to rebuke Satan and his demons, but I was always cocky and scrappy. My nickname was "The Scrapper"; my brother pinned that one on me. You know what I said to those demons? I started hollering back at them! I told them, "Man, you back off! You ain't tellin me this!"
NORM: Voices? What were they saying to you?
JERRY: You know what they were telling me? I never shared this with anyone before except my mother, but they told me that they were going to kill the president of the United States. Why they would tell me that, I don't know. I didn't care. Maybe it was just their way of putting more fear in me, like they were out not only to kill me but everybody else too. Anyway, when they talked, they spoke with such gurgling sounds, and it was hair-raising. I just told them, "Hey man, I'll get a whole bunch of people together and kill you. Like that! " When I started hollering back at them they quit. When I got down to work, I wouldn't even trust my own mother. She got in the car, and you know what I told her? "Get in here! I've got to leave town. I've got to get out of here. Someone's trying to kill me!" She tried to calm me down, but I cut her short and wouldn't let her speak. I knew I had to leave. It was at night when I picked her up, and when we got home - out by the yard, I made her put her lunchpail, thermos, and handbag on the ground. I wouldn't let her take it in the house. I don't know why. I said, "I'm serious. You put that stuff down! There's someone trying to kill me!" That's how the devil can work, Norm. If he can blot out your mind, he's got you.
NORM: I've heard that fear is of the devil. Do you believe that?
JERRY: Yes, the Bible says, "/ have not given you the spirit of fear, but the power of love and a sound mind." And that's true. It also says, "Fear has torment," and if there's anybody that knows, it's me. There was stuff going on in my mind and body that was just tormenting me. I can't even explain how it felt. This I know - I wouldn't wish it on anybody. It was just like I was sensing hell. It was terrible.
NORM: Ann, as Jerry's mother and the person closest to him during this difficult time in his life, what were some of your feelings and reactions while this was taking place? What were your feelings on that night when he thought someone was out to kill him?
ANN: Well, I knew he was very ill. I knew he was so strung out on drugs that he was just out of it. You also have to understand that I had everyone I knew praying for Jerry. I had gone on the 2nd shift at the shop, and the Lord led me right to a lady from my church. She and I would pray for Jerry every lunch hour. I knew by then that anytime you really ask God for help in something like this, that you also ask God for the strength to get through whatever comes your way. God gave me the strength. I knew the night Jerry came down to work and got me that the Lord had control of the whole thing. Jerry was so wild, so out of it-, his eyes had terror in them. He started ranting and raving while he was driving, and when we got to our driveway, I said, "What's the matter with you?" He quickly responded with a loud, "Shhhhhh. They're after me, they're after me!" I couldn't begin to tell you how much fear there was in his voice. Anyway, I picked up my purse and thermos and started for the house. "Put them down!" he yelled. You know, it's funny, if it would have been any other time, I would have given him an argument. But this time, I didn't question him. I put them down in the yard like he wanted and then walked into the house.
We weren't in the house long and the phone rang. He about went wild when that happened. The least little thing had him so frightened. He finally went to bed, but he didn't stay in it. Up and down, in and out of it. He couldn't sleep and I couldn't sleep. I'd go upstairs and talk to him. "Jerry," I'd say, "We both have to work tomorrow. Get some sleep." I'd go back downstairs and no sooner get there and he'd call me back up again. I'd go back up, talk to him, and then come back down. He'd follow me right back down. This went on what seemed like forever. Finally at one point he put his head down in the middle of the bed and started sobbing like a little baby. "Mom, what am I gonna do? What am I gonna do?" He didn't know what to do and neither did I. I Just put my arms around him and cried. He hung on until the next day.
He went to work the next day without any sleep. But I knew ... the Lord revealed to me Jerry was going to need me, so after he left I went in and showered and then got dressed. When the phone rang I would be ready. I wasn't long in waiting. The phone rang shortly thereafter and Jerry said, "Mom, please come and get me." I hung the phone up and went to him.
JERRY: While I was there at work, voices out of nowhere kept calling, "Jerrrrrrry . . . Jerrrryyyyyy ... Jerrrryyyy." I'm reminded of Ephesians 6:12 where it reads: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." The voices seemed to be coming from a different world. It was just flipping me out. I did everything I could do just to perform my job. I finally went to my foreman and said, "I'm a drug addict, man. I'm on drugs so bad. I've got to see a doctor. I've got to get help".
Fear came over me in the worse way when I called for my doctor and he wasn't in. I thought, oh no man ... more fear. He's just trying to get me like everyone else. I said, "Forget him!" and slammed down the phone and called my mother. Before she got there, paranoia was over me like I've never known before. You talk about having a monkey on your back; I know what it's like to have one. I experienced it then. The people working around me - I wouldn't let them get close to me. I just knew they were going to kill me. You could never know how relieved I was when my mother finally got there. Just before we left for home, a car pulled up; a business car with some guy carrying chemicals of some sort. He was a big guy, and it scared me so bad. I thought he was going to kill me - shoot me. I normally would have driven home, but I wouldn't drive the car. I said, "No way, there's got to be a bomb in the car." It was terrible. I know what real fear is. But, we know it's not of God. I didn't know it then though.
ANN: I wanted to say that when I went to the shop to find Jerry he wasn't to be found immediately. We finally met in a hallway, and as soon as he saw it was me, he said, "Oh mom," and he just started going right down to the floor. He had just given up. But you know I can really praise the Lord, because Jerry never turned away from me. I was really his only help. I was his only hope. Many of them do turn away though. They turn away from their mothers. Anyway, when I got hold of him, he began to cry. I carried him out of that shop just like a fireman would carry a fire victim. I dragged him out of there. I got him in the car ... I didn't know where to go, and I said, "Let's go to Bob's house (another son of mine)." So, we drove over there. But you know, he had such fear. I couldn't begin to tell you how he looked. You see little kids when a big, ugly dog comes up to them, or something frightens them terribly; he was worse than that. He had lost 20 pounds in one week. He was walking death. He hadn't eaten or slept in 3 days. His eyes were sunken in his head. He looked deathly, and all this fear was upon him. And then he had no strength left. I took him to Project ReHab; I took him to Kent Oaks. Kent Oaks wanted to prescribe outpatient care for him. That was impossible.
JERRY: I talked to a psychiatrist for about 5 minutes, and you know what they told my mom? "There's nothing wrong with your son." I was so flipped out ... anyone could have seen I wasn't okay. But, you know why I believe he reacted that way? God had someplace else for me to go. He shut all the doors but one.
NORM: Ann, all the while this was going on, was the Lord ministering to you?
ANN: Well, I was desperate. I called the 700 Club and talked to a counselor. I told her that I had done everything I could possibly think to do. She wanted to know if I had thanked the Lord through everything, and I told her that was the only thing I hadn't done. She told me to do that, so I did. She told me, "If your son loses his job . . . just praise the Lord. If he gets arrested and goes to jail ... just praise the Lord. She said, "Now I'm not telling you to praise the Lord just because this is all happening, but praise the Lord because he's the Lord. I know it might sound way out to you, but do it anyway." And you know, I thought, that's the only thing I haven't done. I've prayed - I've cried - I've wept ... nothing worked. You know I started praising the Lord ... I figured, what have I got to lose?
JERRY: There was roughly a 2-week period that the paranoia had come over me. As soon as the paranoia started, I started searching, and the devil knew what I was searching for.
ANN: I went back to work and left Jerry with a friend of mine. She knew how to handle him. While I was at work on the line, I was wiping parts to be painted, and suddenly I had a vision. The words - TEEN CHALLENGE - suddenly appeared on the part I was wiping. I knew David Wilkerson started Teen Challenge. I went running to a nearby friend, and said, "Don't we have a Teen Challenge here in town?!" "No, Ann,"; she replied, "But there is one in Muskegon (Michigan). And you know what?! It's my pastor you have to see to get Jerry in there!" I went to the telephone on my lunch hour and called my friend. I had her put Jerry on the phone and I asked him, "Jerry . . . do you know about Teen Challenge?" He said, "Well, no, not really." And I said, "Well remember David Wilkerson's book, THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE?" He said, "Yeah!" I said, "Would you like to go there and see if you can get help?" He said, "Oh mom, I'll try anything ... I'll go anywhere for help. I need help so bad." The next day I took him to Teen Challenge. I knew I had to take him while he was willing to go. Had I waited, it might have been too late.
JERRY: I want to quickly add the importance of something. I was begging for help at that moment. I would do anything to get it. But ... what I found out is that I didn't get help until I wanted help.
NORM: You never got help until you wanted help. Are you saying the Lord would not lead you to help until you were ready for it?
NORM: I see. Okay, when you walked into Teen Challenge, what was your reaction?
JERRY: On October 28, 1977, 1 walked through their doors. I consider that the day I got saved. First let me tell you a little about the organization. It's a non-profit organization. It's run strictly by donations. It's Christ centered. Teen Challenge was started by David Wilkerson some 20 odd years ago. It's for drug addicts and alcoholics. If you want to see miracles, spend one day there. Teen Challenge has an 86% success rate in the people they deal with. To my knowledge, all government-funded programs have one half of 1% success rate. I just got goose bumps as I shared that with you, because it shows you God right there. The Bible says: "Where your treasure is, there is your heart also." I have a lot of treasure at Teen Challenge because that is where God renewed me ... totally. He rebuilt me from the ground up.
NORM: How was he able to do that through Teen Challenge? Share some of the details please.
JERRY: I knew I was going to get help the moment I walked through their doors, but the devil really laid it on. I went through 2 1/2 weeks of withdrawal. I couldn't sleep for about a week. I just lay there, because this was something new to me. I was used to doing what I wanted to do. I wasn't used to being confined. I would get up in the morning and only eat half of a doughnut and because I had lost so much weight, my stomach rejected it. I had not eaten properly for years - just because I didn't want to. My whole physical make-up was just messed up terribly. When I got there, I knew I was at the place I was supposed to be, but the devil would harass me constantly. I remember being in a prayer group and they were praising the Lord and praying. The devil wanted me out of there so bad. There was a person on my right and left holding my hands, and I threw them down and told them they were all crazy. I said, "I'm getting out of here! You people are all crazy!" The devil had me walking around thinking I was the only sane person there. The rest of THEM were crazy, not me. What broke the devil's foothold on me was the love that came forth from those people.
There was so much love. If you've got a problem, they drop everything right now and begin to pray for you. If someone is having an epileptic fit and swallowing their tongue, you don't continue what you're doing just because you don't have time to help that person. You drop everything and do what you have to do for that person. That's what they do at Teen Challenge. They start prayer immediately. We call it a spiritual hothouse. There's so much warmth and power in that building you wouldn't believe it. There is so much peace there.
Also, there is nothing there to tempt you. There is no drinking, smoking, drugs, cursing, television . . . nothing to take your mind off God. The Bible scriptures are taught there and the power of them. No secular teachings are taught. Only from what is in the Bible. The love that flows from just the students alone is something else. They have been brought out of what I was brought out of. They have been delivered from addiction and experienced the love, peace, and joy that only Jesus can substitute for drugs.
The first day I set foot in Teen Challenge, the guy in charge of the men's unit looked at me and said, "You're going to do great here, just believe that." I tell you though, I tried to leave 3 different times. I called my mom up once and she came to get me. My counselor at that time, a 19-year-old ex-heroin addict, made a remark to me that really shook me up. Remember, I was 22 at the time, constantly cocky wouldn't listen to anybody, and he looked at me and said, "Jerry, when are you going to grow up?" That really hit home. The Lord really used that. I changed my mind. I wasn't leaving. After that, God started moving in my life. I wanted everything God had to offer.
Teen Challenge is definitely held together by God. Even now I go back and visit. About three years ago I had some vacation and went back there and spent a couple of days with them. Now I go on Monday evenings and visit. They have open church services for the public and I go and listen.
NORM: Let's say we have this woman down the block; there's got to be thousands and thousands of mothers out there with sons just like you were before you got out of that mess; their sons strung out on drugs ... they don't know anything about God and the help He will provide. They don't know anything about the devil. All they know is that they've got a problem. And naturally, any mother who knows nothing about Jesus Christ is going to feel alienated by taking her son to Teen Challenge. Maybe ... maybe not. But let's say she's at her wits end as to what she can do for her child. My question is, should she take her son to Teen Challenge? What's going to happen if she takes her son in there and says, "Help my kid. I have no other place to go for help." How are they going to treat her? Is she going to feel embarrassed because they are going to try to save her? Is she going to feel uncomfortable or what?
JERRY: The people handle every situation with love and the direction from the Holy Spirit. She's going to sense the presence of God when she enters that place. What she does with it from there is up to her. You see, they want to know if you want to be there. They don't want to waste time if you don't. They have plenty of people who need that place. If you're not serious, they aren't going to keep you there, because there are thousands of people who need to be ministered too. Muskegon Teen Challenge in Michigan alone is rated third in the nation. There are a lot of them around.
NORM: Is Teen Challenge nationwide?
JERRY: It's worldwide.
NORM: What costs are involved to get enrolled in Teen Challenge?
JERRY: Most programs that are sponsored by federal, state, and local governments are quite costly. You can pay thousands and thousands of dollars. You see, when God does something, He doesn't charge enormous fees. Teen Challenge has an initiation fee of $50.00, and the reason for it is to see how serious the person is. Any addict can come up with $50.00. You can stay from a year to 14 months on that $50.00. They are a non-profit organization; they're not after money. They're out to help people whose souls are lost; to build them up and make them productive for the Kingdom of God.
NORM: If someone walked through their doors without $50.00, would they be turned away?
NORM: Let's break away from Teen Challenge for the moment. I have a few other questions I would like to ask. Why did you take drugs, Jerry? What prompted you to abuse them in the first place?
JERRY: I just liked being high. I loved it.
NORM: After Teen challenge, once you had Jesus Christ in your life and you were off the drug habit totally, how soon did you start feeling a peace inside you that the drugs couldn't give you?
JERRY: Five weeks after I checked into Teen Challenge I had the peace of the Lord inside me. I felt like a thousand pound weight was lifted off my shoulders.
NORM: Obviously you found a peace drugs couldn't give you. When you have difficulties in your life now, are there times when that peace goes out the window?
JERRY: When those times come, I just call on God for help. God knows me like a book. He created me. The Bible says, "He inhabits the praises of his people." I just begin to praise him when I'm troubled.
NORM: You literally praise him?
JERRY: I praise the Lord out loud. That's how I get my peace. If I know it's Satan bothering me, I just rebuke him in the name of Jesus, and he has to leave. I just tell him I'm a child of God and he has to leave.
NORM: What would happen if a guy was strung out on drugs and had never accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior; he had no one to talk to, nowhere to go - nothing, and he took your advice ... just started praising the Lord; do you think God would help him?
JERRY: I believe so. I told you earlier that I would be flipped out on drugs and I would just call out on God and he would give me such peace. He was showing me his love. How do you mean, if he just started praising God - would God help him?
NORM: Yeah, would God help him?
JERRY: I know he would because he helped me several times.
ANN: The Bible says, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you." (Psalm 50:15). God does exactly what He says He will do. Okay, just like Jerry did; Jerry would call upon God, and God would see him through it. But the next day Jerry would forget all about God helping him, and away he would go to get in deep trouble again. "God help me!" Jerry would call out, and God would come and help him.
JERRY: Let me interrupt just a moment. Like I said, I would call on God for help when the going was rough. Just a couple of days before I went to Teen Challenge, God spoke to me so strong. I realize now that God had to allow all these things to happen just so I could learn to hear His voice. Nobody else's. Look what He did to Saul. He struck him down with blindness. And He said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" And Saul said, "Is that you, Lord?" He could only hear God's voice, and that's what God had to allow to happen to me. You know what God said to me? "Choose this day whom you will serve. Either you're going to serve Me, or you are going to serve Satan." That's what He told me.
NORM: Wait ... I'm not sure I understand. When you were on drugs, weren't drugs your God?
NORM: Am I to assume then that because drugs was your God, indirectly, Satan was your God? Is that how it works?
JERRY: Absolutely. If you're not living for Jesus Christ, you're automatically serving Satan.
ANN: And you don't have to be on drugs to do that either.
JERRY: No. You can be the most normal person around and if you're not serving Jesus Christ, you're serving the devil. We only have two choices. Either we serve the living God which is Jesus Christ, or we serve the other god which is Satan. See, God says, "You're either for me or against me," (Matthew 12:30) and when God said that to me, I'm glad I made the right choice. He didn't say to me, "Serve me!" He said, "CHOOSE whom you will serve."
ANN: You know, from that time on when Jerry really knew in his heart and really made up his mind that he was going to serve Christ, that's when the trouble started. That's when he almost died right in my arms, and I carried him out of the shop. But you see, as long as he would keep playing around, that was fine. Satan would let up a little while, and away Jerry would go. I believe, unless God could ever show me differently, that Satan tried to blot out Jerry's mind at that time so that he could never accept the Lord. He really had Jerry in his clutches. And I'll tell you . . . Jerry wasn't far from the very pit of hell. It was horrifying.
JERRY: When I got so bad I couldn't even think for myself. I was laying on the couch one time, and my brother took one look at me and one look at my mother and said, "Oh no, my little brother is going to be a vegetable the rest of his life." That's how bad I was. My mother looked at me and said that I didn't even look human. I was that bad; that's how much evil was upon me. But I just praise God that he ministered to me, and is still ministering to me. And that which I have committed to him, he will keep until he comes back and takes this body home. God is so good. Not only did He have to heal my mind - He also had to heal my physical body. He just pours blessing after blessing. He has done so much for me that I don't have to worry if He is going to supply all my needs. I know He is. When I got saved, I took Him for everything He is. I don't have to question Him; a young child knows that his parents are going to take care of him. God says in the Bible He will take care of me if I put my trust in Him. So, I took Him up on it. "Take care of me," I said. And He has. I have no fear or worries that my bills are not going to get paid. God takes care of it. When I got saved, I took Him for everything He is.
NORM: How do you know what He is?
JERRY: The Bible tells me what He is and what He will do. The thing that brings it to reality is faith. My faith, that's all that is required.
NORM: Do you believe every word of the Bible is true?
JERRY: Yes, I do.
JERRY: The Bible says that, "All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (II Timothy 3:16). Yes, I do believe it's true. Why shouldn't I? It's only to my benefit.
NORM: When did you come to that conclusion, if you can remember, that man, inspired by the Holy Ghost in them wrote the Bible?
JERRY: When I gave my life to the Lord in Teen Challenge; I just automatically trusted in Him. I just accepted the Bible to be the truth after they taught me in Teen Challenge. When they read the verse that says "All scripture is given by the inspiration of God."
NORM: I ask that because so many people struggle after they turn their lives over to the Lord. They have a hard time believing that the Bible is truly inspired by God. Apparently you never had that problem.
JERRY: By faith I believed what it said. Romans 1:17 says, "The just shall live by faith." I'm not saying I understand the whole Bible . . . don't get me wrong there, but by faith I do believe it is of the Lord.
NORM: What other changes took place in you?
JERRY: I had fear of heights. It was terrible. Even after I became a Christian, I had that fear. I could be watching TV where they would be showing mountains, or someone in an airplane, or anything high in the air, and the feeling of panic would come over me just seeing it.
NORM: Do you have fear of heights now?
JERRY: No. The Lord took it away.
JERRY: I went for a ride in an airplane (laughingly).
NORM: Do you believe the Lord put you in an airplane just so you could overcome it?
JERRY: I believe so. I wasn't really going anywhere. It was just a ride for amusement. It was last fall. He just took care of my fear.
NORM: Did you have to call on Him for help?
JERRY: When I was in the air? You bet! Fear came upon me, and right away the Holy Ghost gave me this scripture, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear." (II Timothy 1:7). Suddenly, a peace came over me. I wasn't afraid anymore. Just knowing the truth and being reminded of that fact at that moment ... that's all it took. If God is in me, and the scripture says He is when I accept the Lord as my Savior, I don't have to fear anything anymore. If fear tries to rise up in me by the devil's prompting, I just say, "Uh, uh. I don't have to put up with it." That's all. Just recently I went on another plane ride, and fear started to swell up inside of me again. Even before we got off the ground the Holy Spirit began to minister to me, and brought back the scripture, "I have not given you the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind." We took right off and I enjoyed every moment of it.
NORM: As of this moment, do you have any fears?
JERRY: I can't think of any. I'm not saying that fear couldn't come upon me, but I don't have any that harbor or bind me.
NORM: It has been said that Jesus Christ offers total lasting peace inside a person. Do you agree?
JERRY: Yes, I do.
NORM: Why? I heard someone say recently that Satan has a counterfeit for everything that Jesus Christ gives a Christian. Do you believe that is true?
JERRY: I don't think it is, because you look back at Satan's fall; look what he was doing. He wanted to rise above God. He was rowdy then, so why would there be any peace in his life? I don't believe he can give us peace. If he can give us peace, why didn't he give it to me when I was on drugs?
ANN: He can give a false peace. That's why people run to and fro; they get "peace in the world," - peace here, peace there, but why do they have to keep jumping from one thing to another? A job? Moving to a different city? Buying a different car? Doing this, doing that. See, as far as their knowledge goes, that is the way to find peace. I know, I was a victim of that before I was saved. I would say, "This will bring me peace," for a little while. But then the next thing would have to bring me peace ... and the next thing had to bring peace, and the next thing. You see, there's something wrong with that way of seeking peace. It never lasts. There's still that restlessness lingering there. Besides that, the Bible says, "Jesus is our peace", and that is good enough for me.
NORM: There's no other?
JERRY: No Sir!
NORM: I've got another question I would like to ask. I've got a friend who believes in God, but when Jesus is spoken of, it seems like he gets edgy and nervous. Is that a normal thing? I mean, can people believe in God, but have a hard time when the name of Jesus Christ is brought up?
JERRY: Sure, it happens all the time. You can talk about God to a non-believer, but you mention Jesus Christ and either the conversation gets immediately better or worse. There is power in the name of Jesus, and it is the influence of Satan affecting those people who become edgy when Christ's name is mentioned. Why shouldn't it? Jesus Christ put Satan to shame openly on the cross, and then when He resurrected back to life.
NORM: You're saying then that there are a lot of people who believe in God, but when the name of Jesus Christ is mentioned, they become edgy because Jesus Christ is NOT the God they serve?
ANN: Yeah, they serve a God with a little "g".
JERRY: There are many gods, but there's only ONE living God. You know, God can be Buddha to them, or anything. II Corinthians 4:3-4 says, "But if our gospel be hid (the truth of the Bible), it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not." Satan is the god spoken of here.
NORM: Do you think your God allows drugs to get into the hands of people who are prone to get addicted to them, enabling Satan to draw them into the pits of hell?
JERRY: That's just one thing the devil uses, but you see, you're vulnerable to everything around you when you're not serving Christ. You can take anything and abuse it; I don't care what it is. Sex, alcohol, drugs; you can abuse it. Besides, we are free moral agents. We have our own will. We can do as we please.
ANN: If you don't mind, I would like to say something too. You hear people say, such as the drug problem situation, "Why doesn't God do something?" The fact is, He HAS done something. He gave us Jesus Christ. That's all we get. That's all we NEED. God couldn't give anything better. But people choose on their own free will not to use the one and only way that God has provided for us. When people hear of murders and such things, they say, "Well, why doesn't God do something?" God already did. He provided Jesus Christ for our salvation, and to prevent us from that kind of life. So He's already done it . . . it's there for our taking. Jesus Christ is there for us. God gave Him to us. But, if we don't accept Him, it's the same old story ... you are in the water drowning, and someone throws you a life preserver and you just flounder around instead of grabbing it - it's your own fault when you sink. But it all boils down to this. If you want to hear about God and Jesus Christ, it's available. Some just don't want to hear about it. Some don't want to grab hold of the life preserver. God makes Himself known to people - don't think he doesn't. But the thing of it is, a down and out sinner knows he's a down and out sinner. But how about the up and clean sinner? He lives a good clean life. He's got a good home. Provides well for his family. Has a good job. Minds his own business. Never harms anybody. You think that he knows he needs a Savior from this miry pit that he's in? When you're down in the mire clear to your nose, and still sinking . . . you know you've got to get help, and get out of there or you'll die in it. But what about the guy who is sailing along smoothly? He doesn't have to cry because he's not overcome by alcohol and drugs or stuff like that. He's the one who is walking on shaky ground. Really.
NORM: Would a Christian lie to a nonbeliever to try to convince him that Jesus Christ is the answer?
JERRY: No ... I don't believe so.
NORM: Would YOU lie to anybody to lead them to Jesus Christ if you thought it was the best thing for them?
JERRY: Would I try to trick them into believing?
JERRY: No. No way. Because God says in the Bible that His Word will not come back to Him void. You just use His Word. It also says in the Bible "No one can come to the Son, Jesus Christ, unless the Father draw him." (John 6:44). Only the Father through the Holy Spirit can lead people to Jesus Christ.
NORM: So you're saying there's no point in lying in the first place?
JERRY: That's right, because God's going to do it all anyway.
There is a slogan that says: NO GOD - NO PEACE. KNOW GOD - KNOW PEACE. Jerry Pavlovic has finally found peace within himself. Drugs and alcohol brought temporary peace, but it didn't last long. It took the touch of God to give him lasting peace.
Because Jerry has made Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit ... the Spirit of God . . . resides inside him now. When necessary, The Holy Spirit talks to him, comforts him, directs him, and protects him.
The Holy Spirit is also what gets Jerry high now. It might seem surprising that God would allow Jerry to get high, but the Bible gives a daring challenge. In Ephesians 5:18 it reads: AND BE NOT DRUNK WITH WINE, WHEREIN IS EXCESS; BUT BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a perpetual high that didn't result in a hangover? A high that can't damage the mind, body, and spirit in any way, but rather only produce love, peace, and well-being?
That high is available. Every born-again, spirit-filled Christian who has made Jesus Christ his master and best friend can tell you about it. It's yours at a nominal cost. You can't buy it in dollars and cents, but rather it will cost you the energy to say "Yes." You'll have to attach your own price tag to how much energy it will require to say "YES TO JESUS."
In the case of Jerry Pavlovic, it took thousands of dollars spent on drugs and alcohol before he came to realize the best high in the world is absolutely FREE!
If you're sick and tired of it all, invite Jesus Christ into your heart today. You won't regret it. The Lord promises you!
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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.
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