My Walk with Jesus
My experience with Jesus started in 1949. I was born into a family of Seventh Day Adventists as the second born son. My family eventually grew to seven children, two parents, and two dogs. My family was located in the small town of Fenton Michigan, where I spent most of my childhood years.
Both of my parents had been exposed to the Seventh Day Adventist Message but they lived it out in a backslidden manner – going to church on Sabbath but living a non-religious life when not at church. The most powerful influences on my family were my maternal grandparents and my maternal aunts.
In my early childhood I was exposed to Seventh Day Adventist thought through my grandmother who had us play Bible games and had us do Bible Studies by correspondence course. I also had the opportunity to go to Christian school in a small town near Fenton, called Holly. Through all of these influences I accepted Jesus as my Saviour by the age of 10 and was baptized into the church.
After my baptism I did not think much about how to maintain my experience with Jesus and I slowly lost my faith. In a few years I had made the decision that I did not want to relate to Jesus any more and chose to walk in the world. My family was not very supportive to my walk with God and I eventually chose a small group of friends as my “family” support. In this group I learned how to conduct my life as a member of the synagogue of Satan -–and learned how to smoke, drink, and get into a variety of troubles. I eventually joined the Navy and went into advanced dysfunctional training. While in the Navy I learned to drink to the point of becoming a functional alcoholic.
After completing my tour of duty with the Navy, and a ten month trip to Viet Nam, and ended up living with my parents in the upper peninsula of Michigan. I learned to be a carpenter’s helper and tried to learn a practical skill to support myself in the world. Eventually I ended up in Kentucky going to college at Murray State University. I lived off of the school monies granted to me through the Veterans Administration and tried to develop skills as a student studying Psychology.
In the summer of 1973 I had a life changing experience with God. I was on the way to school one morning and the left front brakes in my 1961 Chevrolet began to bind up and make all kinds of noises. I decided that I could make it to the city of Murray KY and would be able to get the brakes fixed. After driving for about 20 miles I decided to pull off of the main road and go the back way into town. After about 2 miles I made a left hand turn and pulled the car off to the side of the road and parked it. I got a ride into town and hired a wrecker to pick up the car and bring it into the shop. When the wrecker picked up the front of the car the left front wheel fell off, having been so hot that the wheel melted down to the axle. When I saw that I recalled a text from the Bible “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Psalms 34:7 This text was a mystery to me because I could not understand how that God would want to deliver me since I had had no contact with Him for years.
After this experience with the car I went to the Murray State University bookstore and bought every book on supernatural events, looking for a supernatural explanation of why the wheel had not fallen off while I was driving. I was not willing to accept the idea of God being interested in me and was trying to find any rational way I could to find an alternative to the idea that God was involved in my life. After 3 months of intensive reading I could not find a reasonable answer to my “great” question. After reading books on flying saucers, books about Edgar Cayce, the Satanic Bible, I was down to three final books – “The Late Great Planet Earth”, “Ellen White: Prophet of Destiny” and the Bible. When I read “The Late Great Planet Earth” I concluded that I needed to make a decision about what I was going to do with God because I was running out of time. “Ellen White: Prophet of Destiny” brought me to a confrontation of what to do with my Alcoholism and the acceptance that I was not able to address my Alcoholism alone but would need help, and especially supernatural help.
On the night I was reading “Ellen White: Prophet of Destiny” I had a spiritual awakening. As I was reading this book, and had my realization of my powerlessness, God came to talk with me. God asked me, internal dialogue, why it was that I had not chosen to serve Him. I replied “If it were to come down to the time of the end and there was no God, can you see that I would be the most embarrassed and humiliated person on the earth?” God said “Yes, I can see that, but have you thought of the other side of the question?” I replied “No, can’t say that I have.” God stated “Well, if I am really real, have given you the Bible to understand what I want and what I am going to do, and showed up on time, and you had not chosen me and were lost, how would feel then?” As I was pondering this thought another old Bible text came to my mind “and there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:51 I receive a bit of understanding that to miss out on being with God because I was afraid of being wrong in front of people was not a wise decision. I told God that under those circumstances I would rather choose to work with Him than to miss out on eternal life. I admitted that my ways had not gotten me where I wanted to go and working with Him would be much better than working by myself, for I already knew that I can gotten myself in a variety of difficult situations with no way out but death.
Immediately after that discussion I went to my bedroom and said the following prayer: “God I don’t know if you exist or not but I need help.” That was as well as I knew how to pray, and it said all that I could say and all that I needed to say, at that stage of my development. I went to bed and went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning I had no memory of the events of the night before. I had been drinking while reading and my memory of the events of the night before were touched by my alcoholic state.
At that time of my life I was also smoking and had developed a nice system of circular logic. I was smoking Pall Mall Reds and would smoke them until the phlegm I was coughing up was dark brown to black and would then switch over to Viceroy filters, which would help me get the phlegm back to the orange level, and then I would switch back to Pall Mall because my lungs were then in “good shape”.
That morning when I woke up I lit my morning cigarette and started coughing and was in great pain in my chest. I thought “I must have done it now, and a big cancer in my chest has eaten through a central nerve”. As I was flopping around in pain, my memory came back of the events of the night before and my commitment to God and His commitment to me. I remembered that I had asked God for help and He had not forgotten, as I had done. He was helping me by healing me, taking the craving for cigarettes and alcohol away, and restoring my lungs to my pre-smoking state of being. As I was on the bed it came to me that this feeling of pain was just like it had been on the day when I first had attempted to inhale cigarette smoke at the age of 14. As I pondered these events I concluded that God was serious and all powerful to have helped me so rapidly. I again made my commitment to Him and asked Him to help me through the day.
That very day I was traveling back to Kentucky for summer school and on the way to Kentucky my mother and I stopped at my sister’s house in Chicago. While at my sister’s house I noticed some red books on her white fireplace mantle. I went to look at them and read the titles. My sister noticed my behaviors and asked me if I was interested in those books and if she had extra copies would I be interested in having them? I did not know if I wanted to read them or not but I chose to accept them. The books that my sister gave me where “The Adventist Home”, “Messages to Young People”, and “Selected Messages” Volume 1 all by Ellen White. I started to read “The Adventist Home” while riding down to Kentucky.
During the reading of this book, “The Adventist Home” the author would state many things that I needed to do to be right with Jesus. As I read I felt totally inadequate, unholy, and unable to do these seemingly reasonable things to do. I would start to weep internally at the impossibility of my being able to do any of these things. As I read virtually every time there would be a note of encouragement embedded in the writings to the effect that I need not be discouraged for Jesus would help me do these things for they were not something that I could, or would be able to, do on my own. This thought has carried me through many an experience.
About a week after my conversion experience. I read about my need to keep the Sabbath and go to church. I found out that there was a Seventh Day Adventist church not far from where I lived. God encouraged me to prepare to go. I told God that that would be impossible to do because every Sabbath (Saturday) morning my mother would demand my help with the weekly laundry that we would do in town. I told God that if He demanded that I worship Him on Sabbath and required me to go to church on that day that my mother would go hysterical on me, kick me out of the house, and I would starve to death in 30 days. I asked God if He wanted to have that on His conscience? God replied to me “You can trust Me, for it will not happen that way.” All that Friday night I was awake wrestling with Jesus over this decision. Sabbath morning, at about 7am, my mother got up and asked if I was going to help her with the laundry. I had my head under the covers, too afraid to face my mother, and a voice said “No, I was going to church that day.” As God had prophesied my mother did not say a word, got the laundry, and left leaving the path open for me to serve Him by my obedience.
That morning I went to church, had difficulty finding it, and when I arrived the sermon was almost over with. I walked down the aisle and sat down in the front pew. When the sermon was over I walked over to the Pastor and informed him of my name and that I was there to be baptized. He asked if I could talk to him after the church was locked up and tell him my story. After telling him the above materials he suggested that read the Bible through and take some Bible studies to be sure that I knew, and understood, what I was getting into. After 6 months of study and reading I made my decision to follow Jesus into the waters of Baptism and was formally accepted into the SDA church.
As we all know no walk in this life is easy. I have had many successes and many failures over the years but God has been very kind to me and most merciful. I went on to college at Southern Missionary College in Tennessee and then on to Loma Linda University where I was able to get my Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling. Probably the most interesting educational experience during those formal training years was the 6 months that I spent on the Island of Guanaja off the coast of Honduras in 1975. During this time I had the opportunity to spend reading the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, the name that the SDA church used to refer to the writings of Ellen White). I had an opportunity to spend with Jesus and fill my heart and mind with His thoughts. God blessed me like He did with His servant Paul when Paul was in the wilderness. Galatians 1:17
After my wilderness experiences God led me to complete my schooling at Southern Missionary College. I married soon after this and eventually ended up in Loma Linda University. During my masters program God started to help me develop and awareness of addictionology and how these principles applied to all people who suffer from the addiction to sin. I eventually started working in the addiction treatment field at St. Helena Hospital and in other hospitals as well. After becoming a licensed Marriage and Family Counselor the addiction treatment community is where I have spent most of my time working.
In 1988 I was introduced to the mental health community and have found that even those in the mental health community are blessed by the spiritual principles of addiction treatment. In the following years I have had the experience of seeing that the health message given to mankind by Jesus in the Bible, and amplified by the writings of Ellen White, is a blessing to all who have been afflicted by sin.
As a result of these insights God has led me to the time of developing a website so that these principles can be shared with God’s people all over the earth. It is my intent to share some of the writings that God has helped me to develop and to share some of the insights God has given me. I pray that these endeavors will be a blessing to people who read them and that the same hope that came to me, that night in 1973, will be offered to people who read at this website.
May you all be blessed of Jesus and that you will come unto Him with all of your sins, and problems, and He will bless you abundantly.
Amen Lord Jesus.