My testimony by James H
As a child I looked at life as though it was a mystery, eagerly waiting to be revealed at every turn. Hoping one day to understand the greatest mysteries of my life, where did I come from? What is to become of me? What is my purpose? What happens when I die?
I remember as a child dreaming of a place not of this earth. I think we all have that one particular vivid dream we look back on. A gift left in my memory to remind me of an eternal place of pure unconditional love, peace and happiness, my home away from home. In this dream I remember sitting on a beautiful bench just outside of the gates of Heaven. Not too far from the gate I saw a deep pit 4ft in diameter breathing fire and ash. I had no understand of what pain and suffering was, but the closer I moved to that pit the more I felt it.
Sitting beside me was a childhood friend I grew up with. I remember we were both curious as to how we got into each other’s dream and why we were called to this beautiful place. Next, I remember walking past buildings and halls of such beauty I could not begin to describe. I was called into a room where a man was sitting at a desk with his back turned toward the window so I could not see his face. All my life I’ve tried to remember what was discussed that day. I often thought that it might have had something to do with the trials I would face on this earth.
Suddenly, I felt like a spec of light among billions being cast down onto a world of darkness. I remember waking up drenched in sweat and crying out “Mom Mom“ I think she thought I was having a nightmare, but I was actually crying because I wanted to stay in that place of pure love and light. I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of being home sick.
As a child I had no knowledge of Heaven, just a dream to carry with me through the vail that separated Heaven and Earth.
The Dark Days 13 – 20’s
The years passed on and the innocence of childhood left behind as my dream fades to black. My life was full of experiences, some good, and some bad. In my early teenage years, life was all about fitting in. It was all about being number one, survival of the fittest, and I was going to survive it no matter who I hurt along the way. I was influenced by anyone who would pay attention, and often ignored the repercussions of my actions in order to gain power and popularity, to overcome obstacles, and feel accepted by others in this world.
The innocence of my childhood slowly overwritten by pride, ego, consumed by vanity and selfish desires always left me with a sense of hopelessness and fear. Always wanting something from others but never needing, I found envy, I found greed, I found lust, and at the end of the day, I felt my life was still missing something. Carnal pleasures are what I choose to feed my soul, but I could never get enough to satisfy the hunger. I stopped believing in a world beyond what I could see and stepped across to many boundaries between right and wrong. I often replaced truth for lies to get what my flesh desired while ignoring my true purpose in this life. The control and power I thought I had over people only existed in my own egotistical mind, and eventually my heart grew cold and bitter to the world around me.
My foolish choices and selfish desires eventually blinded me from remembering the beautiful things of this world. Like the loving connections we create with family and friends, the joyful sound of laughter coming from a child, a gentle breeze whipping through the trees, the smell after a rainy day, or the flight of a butterfly as it jumps from one flower to the next. I was too distracted by a world gone crazy, and to self-centered to see, hear, smell, taste or touch the beautiful things of this world. I had all but stopped feeling the light of the dawn pressing against my face, reminding me of a new beginning each day, and the beautiful sunsets in a world created by God. I felt the darkness slowly consuming the light with in me with every lie I feed myself. I had become my own worst enemy over time. I was living in my own reality, and I could feel the love of others fade the more self-centered and selfish I became. The enemy of my mind had placed me in a prison cell, separating me from the light and love I once knew as an innocence child.
The Dark Days Mid 20’s
As the years passed on my depression lingered throughout my life. I started to use drugs as an escape from depression, but it was only a temporary fix to a much bigger problem in my life. The only thing drugs did for me was place a vice around my soul and bind me to the darkness my life had become. I started to play guitar and joined a band with my friends, but they were no different than me. Misguided lost souls lusting after carnal pleasures of money, sex, drugs, tattoos, and rock-n-roll in order to gain power, popularity, and feel like they fit in to society somehow.
At one point I realized that this lifestyle only lead me further astray from what my heart truly desired. I often wondered how I was going to pull myself out of this depression and despair my life had become. How was I ever going to get connected again to that unconditional love I felt as a child? Looking back on that dream, I remembered the pain and suffering I felt the closer I got to that pit, and it kept reminding me of the pain and suffering I was causing to myself and others in this life. I started to think that if I could only have children, that maybe my life would turn around somehow, but life had different plans for me. I could never have kids of my own. Knowing this only made me feel more incomplete and sorry for myself.
I felt that life was completely against me, until one day I was walking across a parking lot and a voice kept reminding me:
“Stop living for yourself and start living for others.”
I started to feel an overwhelming desire to undo the damage I caused to myself and others in this world, and from that moment on I knew that the voice I heard was the voice of truth. I knew that this was God tapping me on the shoulder, reminding me not to give up on life and to follow truth. I realized that I needed to let go of my own reality and open my mind back up to spirituality. I tried to live a life without spirituality, but in doing so I found myself becoming more egotistical and self-centered.
The opinions of others only made me angry because it didn’t align with my own reality. Hearing that inner voice over and over in my mind helped me to let go of my selfish ego, and open my mind up to the possibilities of a world beyond this world. It felt like a friend was trying to help me understand how loved I was, but that my own reality was not the center of the universe. I needed to change direction in my life, so the journey continues.
Journey back to The Light 30’s – 40’s
In my brokenness I found myself attracted to people that displayed random acts of kindness, a selfless love for others. They took the time to listen to my struggles, bring joy to my heart, and make me feel connected again. I became stronger with ever truth they taught about life. Serving others before serving themselves, I admired them as teachers of wisdom and truth. I was starting to understand what my heart desired and revealing the truth in all things seemed to set my mind free, free from the prison I put myself in. That inner voice became my guiding light, and most of the time it kept me from crossing the boundaries of good and evil, but sometimes my carnal desires and curiosity would get the best of me still.
A part of me still holds on to fears and sinful desires, but I continue to learn how to overcome them by revealing the truth in all things and learning to become selfless. One of the most important things I realized in this journey back to the light is that I must fall in love with truth. That must be the first step I take on the road to righteousness. Every teaching falls apart without revealing the truth in all things first. Truth is absolute in the mind of God. Truth exposes and destroys all lies in the heart of man and replaces it with the will of the father. Even the smallest lies we use to deceive each other impact our lives. Jesus taught us how he used absolute truth to reveal the wickedness of our hearts. He never conformed to this world and neither should we. When we live in sin, lie to ourselves and others we break that connection to the will of the father and it puts us right back where we started.
I remember my mind at one point became so twisted to think that the Son of God, Heaven and the bible was a fairytale made up to control the masses. When in reality it was the voice of truth, the Holy Spirit that flows within the son of man that wrote it. It was a chance for me to understand truth, forgiveness, wisdom, hope, peace, and love in stories of a world submerged in sin and darkness. The evil that pollutes the past and present is destroyed in the light of truth.
I think we all tend to underestimate how easy it is to fall into sin and darkness. I think God knew this and loved his creation so much that he sent his only son for our salvation and to take the guilt of sin off our shoulders so that we may learn truth from him and overcome the enemy. I understand now that the wages of sin is truly the death of our souls, as it was with mine until I searched for forgiveness through Jesus Christ. I needed a mentor in my life and Jesus Christ was there with open arms. I felt that my spirit had strayed too far from the Shepard and the wolves were slowly devouring my soul.
I needed to let go of my past so that I could start a new chapter in life. I still felt guilty, embarrassed, fearful, and ashamed to ask for forgiveness to the one who gave his life for me, but I desired freedom, and a connection back to that unconditional love I felt as a child.
One day my twin brother asked me to get baptized at a local church with my nephews. I felt comfort in knowing that I was not going to get baptized by myself. The enemy of my mind was telling me not to go through with it, but the love I have for my brother and his family, and the desire to fill my heart with truth overcame the enemy.
I gave my life to Jesus Christ that day and felt a weight lifted off my soul. I was ready for a new beginning, to start living a life that glorifies God and for the truth that Jesus taught. I felt I could no longer live in a world created by the enemy of my mind. I had to let go of my ego, selfish pride, and die to my flesh to find meaning and purpose again. My life was full of confusion until I started to read and understand the bible with an open heart and mind. It spoke to my soul in ways that brought clarity to confusion.
The more I read, the more insight I gained into what truly matters in this life, an unconditional love for one another and to do all things for the glory of God. A voice reminded me,
“You are a light that shines in the dark, cast down into a world of darkness to overcome the evil one and enemy of your mind. You are to bring glory back to the one who gave his life for you.”
I was reminded that day, that we are more than just flesh and bone, we are spiritual beings and what we do here echoes in eternity.
Freewill and Morality
I think we are all born with a good sense of morality, but it’s how we nurture this morality throughout our lives that matter. It is how we grow our hearts. Freewill didn’t come with instructions, but good moral values are what guide us through life. It’s how we teach each other truth, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, and unconditional love that help us to grow spiritual.
God has loaned us this flesh so that we may overcome darkness and bring light into the world. I still struggle with letting go of selfish vices that dishonor the father. I understand that my body is where the Holy spirt dwells. I pray that someday I would have the strength to overcome these vices.
Everything I do on this earth should be to glorify God through Jesus Christ. I’m reminded that God made a promise to us all that he would put the laws in our hearts and write them in our minds. Our own freewill and the desires to feed the flesh tend to blind us from seeing this truth within ourselves. We find ourselves pointing fingers at God and each other for the evils in this world, when we should be looking into our own hearts first. I see ourselves stepping over each other to get what we want, when we should be helping and teaching each other to get what we need. The stains of sin we leave behind lingers and spreads from person to person, disconnecting us from God, and dividing us from the love of one another.
I no longer find comfort in following my own will, as it lead me astray and left me alone in the dark. I think there are many lessons to be learned in knowing the enemy. It is when we pass through life’s storms with Christ in our hearts and peace in our minds that we overcome, and become stronger spiritually. I know to never under estimate how easy it is to become corrupted and consumed by our egos.
We can’t allow the enemy to distract and blind us from truth that God inscribed in our hearts and minds. Jesus Christ taught us how to overcome the enemy of my minds with truth, forgiveness, patients, and unconditional love. I’m reminded of what Jesus spoke of in John 8:12
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
What this passage meant to me, is that if I died to my flesh, and give my life to Christ, that I to would become a light for others living in a world of darkness.
In my youth, forgiving others was hard for me to understand and apply to my life, but it’s the simple things we do in life that has the greatest impact on ourselves and others. I remembered what a friend taught me about forgiveness. She would always say “I’m sorry” to anyone who she thought she hurt. She would even apologize for things she knew were not her fault. I feel in love with her.
Forgiveness, empathy, and compassion are what I desired now. This was something my soul needed to understand and learn. I had been so blinded by pride and ego that I didn’t think saying “I’m sorry” would help me to understand forgiveness, but I tried it anyway. I walked around apologizing for anything and everything I had done wrong, and every time I asked for forgiveness, I would feel a sense of truth about it. The more forgiving I became, the more peace fell upon my heart. Forgiveness was teaching me how to be humble, respectful, and how to love others as I would want to be loved. It replaced my sorrows with joy, hate and bitterness with empathy and compassion.
Learning how to forgive was destroying all the pride I had built up over the years. I was becoming a more loving spirit, and started to feel more concern for others than myself. I often thought that, if I am not a forgiving person then why should I be forgiven of my sins? It reminded me of what Jesus spoke of about forgiveness; Matthew 6:14-15:
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
I have a greater understanding now of what it means to forgive. A selfless act and a simple understanding, that we are all broken and struggling to find hope, peace and love in this world of darkness. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ and should look upon each other through the eyes of the Lord and not through our own. In understanding this, it makes it easier to forgive and love others unconditionally.
The path was made wide for all of us, but the gate into heaven is a narrow path. Every day is a new beginning now on this journey through life. No longer do I suffer from not knowing that God loves me for who I am, even in my brokenness. I had to let go of my own will and follow the will of the Father. I know that I might slip and fall on this journey to freedom and righteousness, but I’ll continue to repent and ask for forgiveness to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The more I follow in his will, the stronger I become spiritually, and the stronger I become, the more I overcome the enemy of my mind. No longer do I have questions of where I came from? What is to become of me? What is my purpose in this life? Or what happens when I die? No longer do I suffer from confusion or feeling separated from the source of unconditional love which is God.
I was never really a spiritual person in my youth. It was hard for me to believe in something I couldn’t prove existed, but I couldn’t find hope in believing in only myself, and I couldn’t find proof that I was the most important thing in my life. I had to open my mind up to the possibility of a life after death. I had to let go of my pride to find my faith, and in doing so, I found truth, wisdom and everything I needed to bring peace, joy and love to my heart. My friends spoke of the bible as being something made up by man to control the masses, but in reality it was the key to wisdom, hope, mercy, grace, love and above all truths.
I picked up a bible and started to read it with an open mind. After a few months of studying the meanings behind the context, it was becoming clearer to me that my friends had never really studied the bible. It spoke to me with truth and wisdom in stories of a time submerged in sin and darkness. I could parallel the problems in my life with the problems they faced in their time. It gave me the answers to all of my problems and challenges that I would face in my life. It taught me how to love others as I would want to be loved. It teaches me not to be selfish and that is what I needed to understand and overcome my problems I was dealing with.
I started to study the life of Jesus Christ. I knew his life was a template to how I should live my life. Don’t be ashamed to give your life to the one who gave his life for you. I never knew how lost I truly was in this world, until I saw my selfish life lived through the eyes of the Lord! Our father gave us his only son so that we may have eternal life with him.
He allows us to lay down all of our sins and ask for forgiveness. He takes all the guilt and shame we hold on to, and renews our spirits so that we may finish the last chapter of our lives with dignity, hope, peace, and love. You are more important than you know in this life. It is when we accept the gift of salvation and study the word that we find forgiveness, strength, hope, mercy and grace. You can never find any of this without falling in love with truth and understanding what faith is.
Gifts from God
I’m thankful to God the Father who sends me his love by his blessings. He watches over me and answers all my prayers. He sends me confirmations to let me know that I’m not alone, and when I discern the truth in all things of this world the path becomes clear. The truth shall set us free!
I’m thankful to God the father for sending his only son for my salvation, and for teaching me that he is the way, the truth, and the life that leads me through the narrow gates of Heaven. I’m thankful for my mother who loved us so much that she would give her life for her sons. I’m thankful to my wife, who I never thought I could love someone again on this earth as much as I love her. She teaches me how to overcome vices and strengthens me. My life is complete with her compassion, love and honor for God and myself. I’m thankful to my Twin brother for whom I would cross the boundaries between Heaven and earth just to be with. I’m thankful for me nephews for whom I consider my own flesh.
I love them more than I think they realize. I look forward in seeing all of you beautiful spirits in that place I dreamed of when I was a child. That place we all call Heaven!
Jason I want you to always remember this if I pass on; that you were blessing to me from the heart of God our father! There is nothing that could separate us from the Love we shared in this life! God has a plan for all of us and his truth shall be revealed in the light of creation!
O how God loves me so,
That he never wanted me to be alone,
So he placed within my mother’s womb,
Two tethered souls living in the light of creation,
Dancing with the stars and singing to the sun,
His love knows no boundaries,
For God has blessed me with a twin brother,
So I shall never be alone.
Yours truly for an eternity, James H