Love and Fire
After going through many extreme experiences, which took me into all levels of society, from high-class jobs to the top of drug rings, and to the bottom of jail cells: I came face to face with a powerful life-giving source… love, as a matter of fact, the very Source – God… He is love! There is such precious hope for people who are truly searching. There was hope for me, the lowest of the low, so surely, if you haven’t yet, you can experience this amazing peace, purpose, and reality too.
Be sure of this:
“IT’S NOT OF THIS WORLD”
“And you shall seek me, and find me, when you
shall search for me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:13 UKJV
If you want to know more about anything covered in my testimony, I am happy to talk with you.
My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is: 0064 21 920 271
Chapter One: Destruction Begins
I was born into a typical low-middle class 1980’s secular family. Growing up, I had a rather natural and scientific outlook on life. This was fuelled by parents who had grown to trust the common understanding of a Godless society where evolution and science had become an accepted standard of truth to many. As a child, I enjoyed experimentation with anything I could get my hands on. Having been blessed with a good mind and a strong imagination, I made and kept friends easily. This gift or charisma in my life was put to use for good and evil at different times.
I seemed to always be in trouble with my parents and unfortunately my friends’ parents too. It didn’t matter how much I was disciplined and punished for my reckless behavior – I always managed to ‘better the badness’ the next time around. My career of destruction started around the age of three. My loving tolerant mother found me standing on a wall unit throwing her nice glassware everywhere, causing mass destruction in the living room.
Even ten years later, in my high school years, I always had an ‘edge’ in class and a passion for adventure, rebellion and mischief. With the exposure to Rock music, teenage hormones, drugs, alcohol and girls; things started to really change. With these becoming my passions and desires for fun; I lost all interest for things like sports and martial arts.
From there, trouble escalated as I networked and made friends of all types. I had an uncanny ability to make friends and deal with people who took drugs, and were associated with the ‘dark side’ of society. I entertained and got on well with people much older than I myself. I soon became the funny young guy that people liked to get stoned and drunk with. I thought this was great! I could get free drugs and hang around pretty young girls! I had it made… or so I thought.
I barely made my way academically (not honorably) through high school, even though I skipped class and took drugs for much of it. A good portion of the rest of my time was spent outside the principal’s office awaiting judgment. My lust and desire for music and girls grew at the same fast pace as my ego and ability to be smooth and organize anything. I had a huge expectation of what I would become, and the riches that would follow me. I had an increasingly vast array of friends and contacts for anything I needed. Yet, when it came to girls I always seemed to be very shy! This unexplainable reserve bugged me. So many to choose from, yet something deep down made it difficult.
Chapter Two: More Entangled
My first full-time job was as a pre-press desktop publisher. I had begun my road to what I thought was success. Alongside work, I played guitar in a heavy metal band with the proud ambition of becoming a rock star. All I ended up doing was making enemies out of my neighbours. After a year of working, I moved into my first flat with a bunch of what we call ‘party animals’. We had many parties there which caused even more neighbours to hate me. This got so bad that they held neighbourhood meetings to plot ways to remove us from the area.
One of my flat-mates was a pretty young girl, and as a result, we had a lot of guys that hung around with the goal of becoming her partner. Some of these guys were high-profile drug dealers. This led to my entrance into a deeper and more professional approach to recreational drugs. As a result, the next few years of my life were spent taking and selling drugs. As things got messy and my financial situation came crashing down, I moved back to my parents. However, my drug habits became too much to conceal from my parents, who refused to tolerate them. I moved into another flat with fellow drug taking mates who welcomed my habits, there my consuming increased. By this stage, I had lost my original job, I then spent a year in the construction industry in the attempt to complete my apprenticeship in commercial interiors. Unfortunately, I lost this job also due to constant lateness for work! Then my ‘luck’ seemed to change as I stumbled into a contracting job earning an average income of $1200 per week. It was way too much for a nineteen-year-old… especially one that didn’t care about anything, or sadly, anyone.
Chapter Three: Deep into the Dark Night
I eventually moved into Wellington City, the capital of New Zealand to get closer to the ‘action’ and work. Here my life took a huge downhill escalation. As if through an unseen dark hand, I moved far up the chain of the drug world. So far that I started to supply at wholesale levels, and hung out in circles of men that most people would do well to avoid. All of my old friends were forsaken! I really thought that I was living the life many people dreamed of. All the girls I could ever want, all the drugs I could ever want, all the money I could ever want! To top it off: A status in the underworld of drugs and organized crime that can take years of networking and high-risk crime to build. I recall sitting in my car and saying to myself: “I’m never going to want for anything ever again.” Little did I realise at this stage, that I was so empty and sterile of life. My whole being was dependent on chemicals for happiness.
If I only knew then that coming into harmony with the Creator of joy, peace, and love would find my complete desire met. How that my spirit was out of balance and therefore could not produce the right chemicals in my body. If my body was generating a balanced feeling, I would have never needed to take drugs to be happy. I was completely ignorant of these things that God can and will give to all those that come to Him with an open willing heart.
Eventually I started to slip, and lose my composure; I began to get messy and complacent. I became really busy and extremely paranoid all the time. The extravagant nature of my business deprived me of sleep for up to 7 days at a time. Sleep deprivation resulted in a complete shutdown of my rational mind. It was as if I was running on the fuel of a demonic power with no coherent ability to reason. My previous acute ability to organize and construct the correct scenes for these dangerous deals with dangerous men began to wane. Then one day disaster struck! I fell asleep driving after taking heavy drugs. Somehow, I managed to ‘come to’ as the traffic light went green and the man behind me honked angrily on his horn! In my stupor, I started to drive again! The next thing I knew, I was being woken up ten minutes drive away at a petrol station! A police officer was tapping his baton on my closed window with a querying look on his stern face! Only God knows how I got there, and how long I was asleep! Looking back, I realise there was a Divine plan for my life and it was not my time to die.
Chapter Four: The Heavy Hand of the Law
I was arrested! Just then, my future did not seem so sure anymore. The reality of life started to pass before me! I wanted to get out and take more drugs but these people were opposing the very idea, the cheek of them I thought! How could they do this? In my mind I was helping others, and myself to have (what I thought to be) harmless fun…
My hate for society was at its zenith! The strength of the arm of the law began to dawn upon me, yet I longed to be released to embark again on my beloved escapades. My bail came two days later; it was New Year’s Eve 2004. Elated to be seemingly free, I cautiously went about collecting debts and constructing deals to make more money. My stores of cash had been confiscated by the police along with all my stock. It just so happened that I was busted while moving my money and drugs from a safe to another location, funny that! I ‘went about my ways’ and made more money again, rebuilding my arsenal of drugs and cash. However, much to my dismay, that ‘dark hand’ of power was not helping me this time round. Looking back, I could safely say that this ‘helping hand’ in crime had been removed since my bail! Every time I got semi-established financially I would fall asleep and most of my money and drugs would get stolen. It got so bad that even others’ money and drugs were getting stolen when in my possession. Due to being in the ‘middle man’ game again. This is when we have to take others resources and use them to make a margin of cash and product, then give them their purchase in the time appointed or when they demand it back. Much like a bank does with our cash deposits only these guys kill before asking questions and there are no guarantees or insurances.
As a result, I ended up getting into serious trouble with some very unpleasant people even to the point of gunpoint and seconds away from being shot dead in dark far away places! Things were looking extremely dim for me. The man who had recently said that his life was made and things were good, and that he would never want again? What was happening? No matter how many drugs I took, I still wanted more! I wanted to be happy and have heavenly joy, I wanted satisfaction. I wanted to LIVE! I wanted and needed love!
The world of drugs, money, fame, and girls couldn’t fill me! I always ended up wanting again, and again. Not to mention the devastating side effects, both mentally and physically, from the instant gratification that they brought. I always imagined, and openly discussed, the day that science would invent the drug that keeps you happy and content. My inward belief was that this would soon be discovered – and it didn’t matter at all if it meant that there would be no market for illegal drug sales, because I would be content and living in a state of constant satisfaction and joy.
If only I knew back then that this reality is readily available to God’s children!
Chapter Five: ‘On The Run’ Apprehended!
I was high every waking moment and got so messed up in drug use that I felt too good to attend court and go through the bad ‘buzz’ that it would bring. Consequently I ended up ‘on the run’ from the police for a few months. In this hopeless time I took ‘paranoid’ to a new level and got into the mind-set that any time I was in public, I had to act like a ninja in case I was being followed by police. The strange thing being: the drugs were keeping me in the mode of excitement and adventure. I was an outlaw and enjoying it.
I was overtaken by all things pertaining to low morals and a dangerous lack of honour and virtue: two qualities that I waved off as sissy and pathetic. And the thought of God? I despised anyone who told me how I should live. I didn’t tell anyone how they should live, so why should I be told? My concept of religion was of a man-made tyrannical control regime with carefully-orchestrated superstitious scare tactics to control early civilizations of naïve, uneducated people. At the time, the Catholic Church was the only actual veneer of Christianity I knew of, and even that, I knew almost nothing about. As far as I was concerned there were lots of hypocrites who had riches beyond comprehension; with heady, high-minded leaders running the churches. This is what I had witnessed by word of mouth, and the many infamous cases shown on the news and media.
After a few months of being on the run from the law and with the steady increase of dangerous run-ins with bad men; I was apprehended and taken into tight custody. Having experienced horrific near-death gun-point stand overs from seriously deranged criminals, I can now see, it was God’s Divine hand which stepped in and took me out of that dark scene before I was murdered. He did this to preserve my life for He had plans. My arrest and incarceration was a shock to my drug-dependent system, and didn’t go down lightly. I spent the next ten days sleeping on the day room floor of the police station cells amongst many dangerous, tattooed men; all ‘stressed out’ on remand, awaiting judgment for their cases. Moreover, they were agitated at being locked up in such a stale-aired, confined space for so long. Nevertheless I did not care, I had months of sleep to catch up on. When the call finally came, informing the police that we could be transferred to the prison, I became anxious…
Chapter Six: Time Inside / Mind Expansion
I had never been inside a prison and didn’t like the idea, let alone the oncoming persecution that had already started with my flash shoes and designer sunglasses being bartered for. Not that I really cared – but a slight edge of pride kept me from succumbing to their whim. Eventually after many treacherous hours of processing and procedure of induction to the prison by the “extremely motivated guards” which I soon found out we were to call: “screws” we were on our way into the units. I got conned by a ‘tea leafing’ thief to go with him to the protection unit – I found out later that he had conned and stolen from the group that we were just with. I also found out, the hard way, that he was a compulsive thief.
My awareness was somewhat dampened by acute withdrawals from a long drug dependence that cried out for quenching – and the worst part was that it would be a long time till I tasted anything besides cigarettes and cannabis. The long-suffering torment had begun, and I wasn’t welcomed either, but I didn’t care, I was completely gripped in fantasizing over getting bail. Little did I know that bail was just not going to happen and I was not going see the outside for a very long time.
It took a long time to accept, but I soon had to admit to the fact that while in prison, I was not in control of anything except for my mouth, and if I didn’t control that, I would get into lots of trouble. I thank God that I am a fast learner and good at fitting into extremely awkward situations. This still didn’t solve the problem of frequently sitting for hours and hours in processing cells to get to and from court. I abhorred it with every fiber of my being; especially when I was with so many extremely dangerous or extremely weird people: rapists, murderers and transsexuals (some huge scary hairy feminine looking men – truly disturbing).
I soon became desensitized to everything. Nothing could faze me – I had seen it all. Or so I thought. I soon found out that life was a lot easier for those in the mainstream jail. So I signed out of protection and found it to be true – more than true: many of my fellow dealers and many people that I knew and got to know that had a like mind were in this section. Jail became normal from that day. My learning curve and inside degree in criminology had started in earnest.
From the day I was put into mainstream prison I was able to communicate with people who weren’t so strange. However I soon found out that almost everyone I had contact with lied, and the spirit of the place was catching. I soon fell into lying, and got caught up in the status quo of both conning, and being conned into small deals and whatever I could get my hands on to get high, or make money for food and smokes. I eventually managed to get my guitar and TV. Soon though, I would embark on a new activity that would change not only my life, but the lives of many people who I come in contact with. I began to read books. This was hard, the issue was not with reading, but the inability to keep my attention on the story. For this reason I had never read a book thicker than 15mm, and even that was only for sixth form English. I had been in contact with many men in there that read books at an unimaginable rate. This example triggered something inside me which witnessed that I could use my ‘time inside’ wisely. So I started reading and found it to be the same as before – but this time I did not have much else to do, so I soon became an avid reader.
After what seemed like ten years of claustrophobic mind-numbing torture of going to and fro and getting stood over for my belongings (not that I gave in all the time) I was finally sentenced in the New Zealand High Court to serve two and a half years in prison, starting my sentence or what’s known in there as my ‘lag’ in the high-medium security unit. I was intently hopeful of being released at my first parole hearing in 10 months. I lost no time setting myself up with many contacts from all over the country. I was also rather excited about my additional contacts with a few international drug importers. When I got out, I would be able to become a really big player in the game that I had fixed in my mind. I fantasized over this thousands of times. I had everything planned to make my millions within weeks of my release.
Due to my very audible and excessive complaining about how much the unit “sucked”; I soon got moved from that horrible old, cold, mouldy unit, 3 hours drive north to Wanganui Prison. I was sent to a brand new unit that had never been used before! I was excited that I could get into new clothes and new bedding and had a new toilet. The one thing I hated the most when I got put in prison from day one, was having to touch strange clothing. I dared not think about who had previously been wearing them; and sleeping in brown sheets which once were white, on metal beds without anything (even mattresses) all of which smelled anything but fresh. I hated it so much that Wanganui seemed like heaven to me. One thing I didn’t like was the news I soon heard that the parole judge in Wanganui was known to be really tough on drug dealers – this wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I had already made concrete plans that centered on me being released after my first parole board hearing.
As I settled into this new minimum security unit, I made more friends with who I planned to convene with upon release. People with which to form more extravagant and illegal circles. At the same time that I was planning moral destruction, my reading was getting stronger, I was reading a couple of novels per week at this stage. Expanding my mind had become my main goal and it was working very well. There were all sorts of books coming and going, my brain became thirsty for input and knowledge. A lot of the books were fictitious, but the odd philosophical one would tantalize my mind. I soon got involved in fitness; our new unit had a gym with weights and a whole lot of men keen to do body building. I welcomed this pastime. I dreamed a lot of getting out and flaunting my newly-developed muscular body at the beach.
After reading many more ‘mind expansion’ books that went beyond the secular ways that I had grown up with, I started to discover there was more to life than what we see and hear at schools and on the news. I read a lot of new world “oneness” religion books and many philosophical studies on the mind, body and soul, which I found very interesting. They sparked something inside me to look further into unseen realms of our existence, places of which many people don’t even care to fully investigate. It’s such a shame that many don’t give themselves time to look into these things. Life is not what we think it to be when we judge it from what we physically see. I strongly believe that we are controlled and live by the influence of the unseen spiritual realm more than are influenced by the seen (material) world.
As my acceptance of the unseen things in life grew, so did my ideas of the truth. I often gave Christians a hard time about their faith, dismissing religiosity as a hypocritical control regime. I read parts of the New Testament of the Bible with a completely “anti” mindset which tried to pick out problems. Something kept me from understanding anything and it angered me, so I left it alone. I often witnessed Christians arguing over Jesus Christ and different things – I didn’t pay much attention but it further cemented my vain belief that it wasn’t real and that I was on the right road to finding what was real indeed. I didn’t realize back then just how much of the truth I was going to discover, or the amount of pure love and joy that would follow my imminent discovery. I was certainly not prepared for such revelation and satisfaction – no one ever will be – it’s far beyond the normal imagination. We can only imagine things we have experienced, seen or been told of.
Without mixing any of the known ones:
Try to think of a new colour?
Chapter Seven: Attacks of a Down
I was denied parole twice in Wanganui over a period of a year – so I decided to get a student loan and did a computer course, only so that I could do a computer in my cell (with my own money). The process (I soon found out) was grueling and would go on for a while. During my stay in Wanganui I lost my grandmother, who was very dear to me, and I was allowed to attend her funeral. I was not too impressed with society at the time, I wanted to blame them for putting me in jail, yet I knew it was of my own doing. I knew deep down I was reaping what I had sown – corruption. Seeing my grandma off was hard but I did it and saw many normal people again. It was rather weird – this somewhat alleviated the grief that I was suffering. Then I had to leave my loved ones to head back to the human zoo. I remember thinking that as we were travelling back to Wanganui in the rented car.
Not too long after this devastation I got another phone call from my crying mother, telling me that my best friend had gone to meet his Maker overnight after suffering massive brain injuries during a skateboard accident. This still hasn’t really sunk in even to this very day as I write. I cannot believe it and couldn’t accept it back then either. He was the only true friend that came to visit me when I was inside, and now I had lost him completely – dwelling in the world that waits…
I was allowed to attend his funeral too – this was very unusual as some people are not even allowed to attend their own mother’s funerals, but somehow I got let out. I read my farewell note to my dear friend, I could barely finish the heartfelt letter, and my heart melted into saddened darkness. This left me wondering about all sorts of situations to do with all sorts of scenarios. Unlike my other mates who could drown their sorrows with drugs and copious amounts of alcohol, I had to face my despair-filled mind. This was challenging – but eventually I just shrugged it off and got on with my lag carrying another scar on my person. But it made me wonder if there was an afterlife and if so, where did my precious friend go?
At this time I was working in the main prison kitchen, and had been for some time. My overall attitude to my time inside was to be relaxed and humble in order to avoid fights, because fights equal trouble from both the authorities and the inmates. Once you fight, you become known as a threat, and then all sorts can befall you. Yet sometimes when my pride was in danger of being rubbed in the dirt, I could not contain myself and fired up. The first time occurred back in the dirty age-old unit where I was remanded and sentenced, and this was early in the morning when I was blamed by a skinhead meth cook for making noise in the night. I yelled at him and then after breakfast, it was on.
He came storming down the corridor to my cell, so I walked in and put my remaining breakfast items on my counter and turned to meet my foe. Due to my young life in martial arts, I easily yet painfully controlled the situation without anyone being severely injured, before the screws came crashing in and broke up the fight. In my anger, I lashed out at him in threat as they dragged him away. This brought the arms of the guards upon me as I looked like the bad guy. The case was taken to the superiors and I pleaded not guilty. I did not want to go without my TV and stereo, as well as being locked in cell confinement for a number of days. The Visiting Justice came and I represented myself. Due to three mitigating factors and the fact that my assailant was released, and the eyewitness was also released, I was found not guilty.
The next time I vented anger was in the kitchen at Wanganui Prison. We had to do lots of routine duties during our shift and we shared the dirty hard jobs. But one man who was a lifer, (sentenced to life in prison for murder) thought he didn’t have to do any dirty work, despite the fact that he was new in our kitchen. Because I was the longest in the kitchen, it seemed like no one else would say anything to him, so after a couple of months of him doing all the easy jobs that take some skill, like cooking and prep work, I confronted him politely about it and he went completely off the hook, “I do so much work around here, how dare you say that to me,” and he charged at me like a red raging bull.
With both hands he grabbed me by the collar; I quickly locked those hands and dealt to him in whatever way I could with my free hand. He managed to get free. As I kicked him he grabbed my foot and then the other leg too. I had no choice but to grab the huge (thankfully fixed) pot stand behind me and hold on for dear life while he tried to pull me to the floor for a well-earned stomping. I was hanging on with my arms stretched behind my head completely horizontal, between him and the pot stand. With all my strength, I ripped a foot free from his tight clasp and kicked him in the face (rather softly) as another inmate came in and stood between us. Thank God for that. I hated to fight and always felt guilty afterwards. The kitchen instructor came in, and told us that he would let us off if we shook hands. I said I was sorry and shook his hand. My anger fuse was getting shorter and shorter. It was more than likely a mix of being locked up and losing two loved ones in such a short space of time. Whatever the cause, it was certainly showing, and so were my ambitions to wreak illegal havoc on society upon my release. Nevertheless, by this stage in my sentence, I was becoming really fit, I was also looking into different meditation techniques like Buddhism and Taoism. These eastern religions were the start of my spiritual search. As a result of my new ambitions and fitness coupled with a horrible reaction to smoking, I decided to give up cigarettes. I soon ordered some nicotine patches and gave up upon their arrival. I never started smoking again.
Chapter Eight: A Taste of What’s to Come
The day after giving up smoking, I was informed that I was being moved 6 Hours drive further north to Waikeria Prison in Te Awamutu. The parole judge on my second parole hearing had recommended that I attend a six-month residential drug program called A.T.U. (Addiction Treatment Unit). When I received this information, I bluntly refused as it was my decision if I wanted to do the course. I didn’t want to risk not getting my computer, which was due to arrive the following day. I was very comfortable in this unit and had no intentions of leaving.
Somehow, they talked me into it, saying that I would be allowed my nice stereo, my computer and all the things that I had already, which were considered luxuries. Little did I know that where I was going was like going back in time one hundred years, and many of the liberties I had known and become very used to were about to become a thing of the past. Two days later I was woken up at the crack of dawn.
On the horrible old prison bus I was smoked out by the twelve inmates I was travelling with. It was the last thing I needed: to be put right in front of the smoke, just two days after quitting cigarettes. After what seemed like a decade of bumpy smoky freezing bus-riding, we arrived at the horrible old gothic prison. The guards didn’t look any more inviting either. During the strip search at the prison Receiving Office I came to the conclusion that the haunted old prison had rubbed off on the employees. They treated me with indignation and malice. This was not for me! I wanted to turn around and leave. Oh how the cost of a little fun was coming home to me at this moment. It was almost like I was homesick. Imagine being homesick in there? They would happily wrap you in a padded apron or straitjacket before you could even blink an eye if you started showing signs of brokenness.
After about three hours of waiting in a slimy, mossy, mould-infested cell, that was about zero degrees in temperature, I was called and the guard came and unlocked the steel door which was covered in years of graffiti. The van ride to the camp was long and it was cold and dark so I could not see where we were heading – I did note that we were at least ten minutes drive from the receiving office when we arrived at the A.T.U. unit.
I was not a happy man at this stage. They had denied me my property. Actually, they hadn’t even given me the time of day to answer my requests for it. I happened to be extremely attached, especially to those nicotine patches. Prisoners are looked upon as scum and only the real big gangsters get any sort of respect, especially when you are not known by the local screws.
Upon arrival at the camp, I was briskly ushered into my cell across the square compound with a field in the middle. My cell was toasty warm – this was a major contrast to the sub-zero temperatures outside and everywhere else. At least I had warmth – well, what seemed like warmth in contrast to outside. But over the night in my empty cell, I soon discovered that the horrible grey itchy blanket with holes in it was not going to cut the mustard – something had to be done!
Oh, the joy of meeting sixty new inmates, each one with his own unique problems and personality; some with welcoming spirits and some who didn’t let you look at them without making a threat. Because I had no property, I had to have the standard small breakfast that I hated. Without TV or any of my own books, I was forced to read the books that were discarded in the recreation room. I was not impressed when they told me that I may be waiting a week for my property. It ended up being three weeks and then it was only the bare essentials.
At the start of the program I met a range of drug associates that I thought would come in handy later in my free life. I also discovered that we must cleave to a higher power in this program of spiritual principles. This was new to me. I had always relied on myself and positive thinking to get me places and help me in life. Since I had started reading philosophical books, I decided that my higher power was going to be the Universe. I went through the in-depth studies really well, helping other guys in the program with things they struggled with – in exchange for the recipe for making methamphetamine. I treasured this recipe, which was drawn up like a professional science paper.
By this stage in my lag I had read hundreds of books and was getting into my artwork, and anything that expanded my mind, as I knew upon my release, my priorities would not allow me to accomplish any more study of this magnitude. As I read more I started to discover that there must be more to life than what we see. I wondered about this entity that is everywhere, that we call love. Love captivated me, and a lot of the books I read were going into great detail on this marvelous energy that is all around us, and is infinite in resource. I also read that those who practice the art of becoming one with love harness it to do all sorts of amazing feats, from revelations of supernatural philosophies and wisdom, to healing of self and others. Even to the point of controlling future events by thinking and knowing while in these love-filled trances, and having absolute belief and faith in the intention of the heart. It was very confusing, yet I was captivated.
My beliefs began to evolve… I was convinced that this was God – that God was the Love in this universe. I actually believed that man’s consciousness would soon evolve to the point where all those who practiced this love-oneness art would one day be transformed into a higher vibratory state and exist in pure love with the love that is eternal. I read that Jesus Christ came to earth to show us the way to this state. I didn’t believe in Christianity though – that was out of the question, yet I believed that Jesus was a great man of wisdom who came to show us that by faith we could become one with love and be transformed into a higher consciousness which would eventually bring heaven on earth. It seemed to be the trend that we don’t deny Jesus but we don’t need Him as our sacrifice either. This is dangerous ground to be on yet it is so pleasing to the carnal human mind that desires to live in sin.
Chapter Nine: The Truth Came Rushing In
In great untamed zeal, I began to share my beliefs with people who would listen, I soon found that many people (especially the types in prison) were not too interested in this stuff. I sometimes thought to myself: I’m one strange guy; I’m going to be a ‘big time’ drug dealer, and yet I want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, to become one with love and peace in the world. I was terribly blinded by some sort of force deep in my mind that made me think that drugs were fine and peaceful. This probably came from the shamanic inklings that I had – this belief system intrigued me and I thought they were peaceful and that their drug-taking spiritualism justified my urban crystal meth escapades.
One day I was sharing this philosophy with another inmate named Ian in my prison unit. He came up to me as I was sunbathing on the grass and we got talking about life. He agreed with me on some things but when it came to evolution and drugs he couldn’t agree with my belief that love and drugs could be mixed – especially the Agape Love that I was talking about. The Love that I was coming to believe was God.
I was convinced of my beliefs and there was no way that I was going to easily part with drugs and my life of manufacturing and dealing them. I couldn’t even fathom the idea of not having them or the many friends around. How could I ever part ways with those that were going to make up my network of destruction on society? I often thought to myself: “He he he, society’s’ gonna wish they had never messed with me… I’m gonna turn these streets into dime-a-bag drug stops.”
Music was another big thing to me. I loved dance music and had many connections in the nightlife scene who could help me go further into the life of music and international dance parties. I had even designed an interactive nightclub to develop with the millions of dollars that would have followed my meticulously-planned regime.
However, something else was dawning in my life. There was this ‘new way’ that something deep within me craved. I’ve always craved mysterious things that cannot be explained. This love and faith and conscious evolution really got me thinking about things I had suppressed and disdained my entire life. Yet, I was always transfixed by the ability of martial artists to harness energy to do supernatural feats of strength. What was the meaning of all these mysteries? I often asked my teachers in school science class questions that they could not answer. Somehow I had suppressed my craving for truth with drugs and popularity. I am so glad that despite my poor choices in life my inner ‘flame’ never went completely out. By the grace of the Creator, my little fire was kept on ‘pilot flame’ through it all.
Around a week after my spiritual conversation with Ian, he came up to me with a bland looking blue book that I had noticed him reading once. He showed me a passage in that book about a miracle that was done by faith in Jesus Christ. I was skeptical as I read it. Then he pulled out another book that had a picture of a lady who weighed only 22 kilograms – she was skeletal and moments away from death due to stomach cancer. She hadn’t eaten for months, and barely kept alive through intravenous fluid until her veins collapsed. At this stage the only option was death unless a miracle happened. After the prayer she was pronounced healed. Another picture (taken eight months later) showed her as a normal healthy woman again, weighing 70 kilograms!
Ian didn’t go on at me about my beliefs, but he did show me a few things that displayed the reality of supernatural power performed by Jesus Christ in our age. This opened me up to read that plain blue book he gave me. As I read the book I discovered many supernatural things have been done by God in our era – this was new to me. I thought God was an historic object of worship to the Christians – not a tangible Father that deals with those that love Him like a good father would treat his children in natural life. I liked this book so much that I asked if he had any more. I was delighted to find out this was one of six books in series and that it was the biography of a man sent from God named William Branham. God raised this man up with a supernatural message to the end-time church to prepare them for the second coming of Jesus Christ. So many amazing things were done by God through this man, and were even scientifically proven – from raising the dead, to the calming of major blizzards in mere seconds from howling winds and snow to completely still and fine. Even the actual creation of living animals out of thin air! The life that was expressed in this man in our day was just like the life expressed by Jesus in the Bible! This was unheard of! This must be the answer to all my searching! Whatever this normal average man had from God, I wanted to experience and know all about. This was very real news to me! It really caught my attention, and for the first time, Christianity seemed real to me and not just man-made fallacy. This was more than some study, this was a life lived and proven to be right by God Himself without the ability to doubt it.
My mind was screaming with truth and amazement! I had finally seen evidence that not only does God exist, but we have hope for something more than nothingness after death! My mind did not yet grasp nor believe this in its fullness however, I had come to a great crossroad in my life. The single most important question EVER in all existence had been illuminated with a torch. I was yet to have my fire fuelled and fanned but the flame was burning steady now, and I was feeding on God ordained treasures. The true depth and greatness of who and what God Is had not yet come to me. But it was the start I needed so deeply. From the things I saw and heard, I thought the whole world would be easily converted to Christianity!
Chapter Ten: Faith vs Reason
Without a personal encounter with God, my then stubborn scientific mind was not inclined to believe in things that were not infallibly proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. I suppose that was why I had never believed in God… I had not experienced Him personally. I had not seen or heard anything I considered to be substantial concerning Him until that blessed moment. I devoured those books reading almost one per night and after that I wanted to know more and more. I was getting an ever-so-slight taste of that perpetual satisfaction and purpose that has no bad side effects, bringing peace and untold joy that never wears off. Only the slightest taste of this heavenly life was given to me. I was still not committed to God in any substantial way. The desire for sin was still ruling in my heart.
I was caught in a double-minded state; one side wanted this truth and freedom of everything that was good, it wanted to be ‘red-hot’ for God and taste more of this wonderful marvelous heavenly gift. The other side wanted all the filthy money and drugs and rock-star lifestyle that the world had to offer. That side was starting to seem very dark and selfish. Through the ATU course I was doing, I had already received a lot of psychology and moral training. I had been made aware of the effects my illegal enterprise had on society in all facets of life from family to spiritual. Yet, with all this, I still had no conscience whatsoever. Nothing could faze me – my inner being was seemingly untouchable. My day had not come for the eternal light of God to penetrate my steel resolve.
As the balance was being weighed in my life, the light of God’s truth seemed so much more real than anything that was offered by the world. I was vastly ignorant about the world of treasures in Christianity although I only knew of some miracles, a taste of love, and a prophet. I decided to read the Bible with my new belief that God really does exist. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – this Word was really different, and because God was now true to me, so was His Word, because He made it clear that He is the Word. So I believed it, even if it sounded weird, I believed it anyhow. Most of it I didn’t even understand, especially with all the symbols, signs and metaphors. It seemed to me that it all needed to be read “between the lines” and that I needed another ‘cog’ in my life to start to see these things revealed.
I began to read from the start which is Genesis, I read about a quarter of the way into the Bible which was around the time of the Kings of Israel. Admittedly, this took a while for me. Without being born again by the Spirit of God living in my heart, reading these things was quite mentally straining even though I believed they were true. It was also a lot for my natural mind to comprehend, so much life and truth. Ian had some MP3 CDs of preaching and teaching about the Bible so we installed them on my computer that I was using for education purposes. I loved listening to these sermons as they so clearly opened the Bible and revealed Jesus Christ from the beginning to the end in simplicity. The sermons were preached by William Branham who was called by God, and internationally proven to be a major prophet. He used this un-educated man to reveal the mysteries of the Bible and to tie up all the loose ends that were not revealed by the reformers. It brought everything together to show a wonderful picture of the plan of redemption through Jesus Christ, showing that every story in the Bible and every life lived was a perfect fore-shadow of the very day we live in. The power of God took the believer far beyond healings and natural miracles to behold the glorious Lord Jesus Christ revealed in His Word in fullness. Now that is life changing to see Jesus as He is.
The more I delved into these teachings the more I realized how blessed I was to be hearing and believing these truths and treasures that fulfilled every want and desire. All the philosophies of becoming one with love I found were the principal themes of God’s plan of redemption written in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The Book that I had passed off as unlearned in true intellectual philosophy I soon found (to my delight) to be the source of everything. All existence is mapped to utter perfection in every way in this eternal Book of life and love. I found that God really is Love and that because He is Love, He loves us with Love so strong and pure that nothing can overcome that, nothing ever.
I would like to note that one night in my prison cell I was listening to some particularly wonderful preaching and then after the sermon as the prophet was about to pray, another man in the audience started speaking loudly in another language! I had never heard anything like it before! Then after that another man clearly interpreted this unknown language. Something deep within me was moved and I started to cry. Somehow I knew so clearly that this was not the words of a man, this was Almighty God Himself speaking and it became so real and personal to me. This, I found out later was one of the nine spiritual operations of the Holy Spirit that were given to the church to bless and guide her in life’s day to day journey.
I was sold. These amazing inspired teachings of William Branham, through the grace, power and glory of Jesus Christ, were starting to anchor something eternal in my heart. I found such profound perfection and truth with this Word that I just couldn’t believe that many more people weren’t benefitting from it. But then it dawned on me that you cannot have the Bible as your source for everything if you don’t believe it. God requires respect and faith in Him before He reveals Himself in His Word. To get to this place one must be born again by the Spirit of God. I read parts of the Bible many times as I grew up, I had also read some of it in jail as a critic only months before my initial awakening. I could never find anything in it to praise and It never did anything for me other than rouse anger and vain pity on those that read It. I gave Christians a hard time about many things. I only found the truth behind Christianity by God’s grace and love even after all the bad things I had said about His children. All the things I said of His churches and all the hideous things that ministers had done… hey! Wait! What about all that?
My mind had lots of questions that needed answering before I could purely believe. Even though I partly believed, there was still a natural versus spiritual war in my head with all my questions like: Christian means to be Christ-like. What about all these cold formal denominational churches? Where was the fire, miracles and signs in them? And what about these liberal movements that allowed almost anything into their congregations? Then there were all the claims in the Bible that were laughed at by science as impossible. These questions were all to be answered by the grace of God. With patience and relationship, God will progressively answer every question and cause everything to make perfect sense.
Wave after wave of revelation was coming to me as I feed on the Word of God preached and written. Yet, wave after wave of thoughts were coming and trying to pull me from this truth that was setting me free. I was yet to ask Jesus to be my Saviour, I hadn’t really prayed what is known as a ‘sinner’s prayer’. I was very interested, but I had the keys (meth recipes) for the illegal world in my cell. What riches and riotous fun I was going to have with this! On the other hand I had the blueprint for life eternal, the keys to the kingdom of heaven and faith in God’s Word. Then one day something struck me which I could not explain but I realized that I must have Jesus as my Lord and Saviour if I was to go any further. That was all it took for me to get on my knees in prayer. Things started to change in my mind and way of thinking. My heart and soul was beginning to perceive things differently. I knew deep down it was time to surrender some things in my life to come closer to God; yet due to my spiritual condition I did not want to surrender these things.
Chapter Eleven: Battle Within
In my own zealous efforts of fighting my carnality, I began forcing myself to give up certain things that I knew were not pleasing to God’s Spirit. The first thing to go was the illegal recipe, Ian helped me rip it up and flush it down the toilet! It wasn’t easy, but it was a step of faith, and I felt it was the right thing to do. My heart believed that if I take a step towards God, He would take two steps towards me. I really wanted to experience something tangible from Him, along with the pure joy I was getting from hearing the truth of the Word of God preached by a major prophet. This type of preaching made the Bible live.
I was on the road to perfection in Christ. I was discovering that it is not all easy and done for you. There’s a road to becoming one with God and He will lead you on that road. It took a revelation from God to show me that I don’t need to worry about how I’m going to get there. I just need to trust in Him to teach and guide me in the way He wants me to go. We must press in, often going against what our flesh wants, and listen to what He says. One step of faith from us will get us closer as He draws us in. Our path to perfection in Christ is a road of trials and deep character development. Character is the only thing we can take with us into eternity. Therefore it is a privilege that God will develop it now in this world. He trains us so we can live like Jesus did, and do the same works that He did when He was dwelling on earth.
I started to hunger for more of Jesus, for more of these amazing truths that I had spent my whole life mocking and doubting with all self-righteousness and malice. My two-thirds parole hearing became due and I had a number of mitigating certificates in my favour now that my course was completed. I also planned to inform the judge of my new-found faith in the love and promises of Jesus. This hearing went well until I mentioned Jesus. It seemed like I was treading on thin ice, and I was told to come back in two months. I couldn’t believe it! I was so sure I would get out, and had planned around my release.
Nevertheless, I accepted this as a sign from the Lord that I wasn’t spiritually ready to be released into the snares and temptations of life in the real world. This was truer than I could have known. I spent the next two months working toward the completion of a book I was writing that compiled all the meanings and secrets of the book of Revelation revealed through the prophet William Branham. I had discovered the amazing continuity of the scriptures from the beginning to the end of the Bible, and it was all shown in this book of Revelation. The truth contained in these prophesies really showed me how infinite God’s mind is, and how the seven cities throughout the ancient continent of Asia Minor were perfect metaphors and examples of the spiritual conditions of the changing church and her characteristics through the ages. I discovered that ‘misled Christians’ would lead many into darkness through false prophesies, and would steer millions from Him by adding to, and taking from the truth of God in His unchanging Word.
I soon discovered the importance of staying with this precious Bible. I also found out that Jesus is the Word and the whole objective in true Christianity is to bear witness of the Living Jesus as He manifests Himself in your life. I realized that I needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is Jesus living in my heart. Jesus said: You must be born again by the Holy Spirit! If you aren’t, you cannot see the kingdom of heaven. And when you are, your life will show it by the fruit you bear.
The end of these two months came so quickly that I hadn’t even completed the draft of my book. Somehow I knew that it would be a long while until I would have it finished, or even work on it again in earnest. I was granted parole, and now that the day had finally come all my thoughts were changed. But were they? I hadn’t really had a supernatural changing experience – I did not seem truly converted yet. My belief was very intellectual and my religious stance was very aggressive. God is not found in education and theology. There wasn’t a complete new mind and heart within me, and my urges to experiment in the desires and lusts of my flesh were still very real within my body. My old sinful nature hadn’t been washed away and buried in Christ.
Chapter Twelve: Released Into Bondage
I couldn’t believe that I was getting out of jail – it had been just over two years since I was last at liberty to walk the streets a ‘free’ man. Spiritually, I still had one foot in the world and one foot in Christ. I was lukewarm, even though Jesus plainly says: I would rather you were cold or hot and because you are lukewarm – I will spew you out of my mouth. I didn’t want to be spewed out of Jesus’ mouth for being lukewarm in my service and worship of Him. Yet I was still imprisoned by the bonds of sin. I had some intellectual conceptions and some knowledge about the book of Revelation, however I had neglected the more important side of my salvation: the complete freedom and deliverance from the desire to sin. As a consequence, I was soon led into drinking by my old school mates who had taken up heavy drinking after our good friend passed away well over a year before.
I don’t know if this means anything, but as I was working on my neighbours’ new house my brother took a photo of me, and above my shoulder was a dark round sphere with what looked like a purple face inside. I thought this was some sort of evil spirit on my shoulder, encouraging me to join my many old friends in drinking and smoking marijuana. This was the subject of my thoughts at the time of the photograph. I was reasoning with these opportunities at this cross road. Yet something was inside me, pulling me into a tempting array of events that I had been invited to attend with my old mates. Somehow this seemed more inviting to me than preaching the Gospel to strangers and spreading the Good News that Jesus lives and is available to all those that seek His amazing presence. I had not as yet completely experienced the blessings that follow such a life. And looking back, I can see I had not yet come to the end of myself. I was incredibly blinded as I was being led away into darkness. A double-minded man is unsure in all his ways and is carried about like the waves of the sea. I started out on alcohol, and slowly gave way to anything that was available.
I slowly strayed further and further into the realms of sin, but this time around I always knew that there was a loving Father watching my perilous behavior with disappointment. No doubt at the door of my heart, calling me back to fellowship with Him: longsuffering, knowing the future and feeling the pain of what I was going to do before I even did it. Oh what a God worthy of all praise, with abundant patience and loving-kindness! Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
I eventually became infatuated with the production of dance music and taking substances that allowed me to stay awake all night partying, and eventually went back into recreational drug dealing for my associates. But for some reason nothing was going how I wanted it to go, and eventually I began falling asleep during the festivities around me. Bad idea… It led to many practical jokes being played on my body while I was asleep. One time my ‘friends’ videoed as they lit my hair on fire, and watched it burn for thirty seconds, while not even one hair was being singed! I knew there was someone watching over me. Yet I had to endure the open shame of a face fully coloured-in with permanent markers or a two-month old (multi-coloured) dessert being tipped on my face. Oh how I hated this, and I just couldn’t understand how I was falling asleep, or why my ability to fit in to these circles was being taken from me.
Chapter Thirteen: A Stranger at Heart
It was almost as though I was no longer of this world in the sense that I had been partially separated from its ways and spirit. Eventually the drugs and alcohol stopped taking effect! I would drink from Friday to Friday without any effect. I came to the place where I would drink shots of hot scotch whiskey mixed with crushed ecstasy pills just to experience a high. Even these extreme practices became mundane and lifeless and would wear off after an hour. It was around these times I often reflected on the small taste of joy I had experienced in my last days of jail. It struck me that I had felt freer locked up inside those concrete walls than I had in these party circles in what society calls freedom.
I came to a new point of hopelessness in my slide back into darkness. I had gone down and experienced much of what the world can offer again but for some reason, it had all become stale and boring. Deep in my soul, a loving Divine call was sounding… I was afraid to answer, I knew if I did He would completely deliver me from all this lust and instant gratification. I was pleasing myself with anything I wanted. Yet when the parties ended and it came time to go home on Sunday night, after a solid weekend of drug abuse and drinking with DJ’s and loud music – I felt lost and empty. There was something deep calling to something deep within me.
To make matters worse for my mind, every now and then a letter would come from prison. Letters from Ian asking how I was; there would always be scriptures and encouragements written in them and it would eat away at me. Inside I was reminded of the life with Christ I had been so zealously keen to live. I would always press these thoughts as far back as I could in my mind. I know now that these letters really helped, along with Ian’s prayers and the prayers of my sister and her friends in Christ.
There was a small fire deep inside that the evil spirit which squatted within me had tried to quench, but something had kept that blessed little fire burning ever so slightly, no matter how much alcohol or unbelief I piled onto it. It came to the point where my selfish desire to feed my selfish wants was robbing me of all my potential prosperity in life. I had fallen from any form of virtue. I had ventured far from any form of honour. I had become a reprobate and a scourge on society. Somehow through my uncontrollable drug taking, I had earned myself a very lowly reputation among the underworld scene in the city. How had this happened and why? No one wanted me to come to their parties! I became a burden to anyone and just about everyone.
Through my own downward spiral of selfishness I had became part of the lowest level of society, even in the eyes of the world! This grieved me deeply; how must I have looked to the righteous eyes of the Creator of this universe? Such a holy and true God must have forsaken me by now; Right? Yet I still held fast my follies and fed the darkness inside me with anything that made me not sober enough to think too much about my hopeless case of idiocy. I solemnly recall one of the few moments in my life where death nearly took me. I was lying on my bed recovering from a weekend of drug and alcohol abuse when suddenly I found myself falling into the most horrible and empty place. This may sound strange but it was as if I was stuck between awake and asleep in the most devastating and horrible nightmare. I hindsight I believe I was shown that I had actually died on my bed. Yet, due to the Divine calling in my life to one-day preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, He allowed me to return back. I frantically ‘came to myself’ and there lying on my bed I experienced tangible fear in the room. I rushed to the light and turned it on; as a grown man, I was scared like a small child! Even though I was the king of sinners, I somehow knew there was a patient, loving heavenly Father calling me back from the ‘pig pen’ of sin and riotous living. I was like the prodigal son from Luke 15, I had sunk so low down that I was not even allowed to eat the pigs’ food! Yet to think, my heavenly Father owned everything!
Chapter Fourteen: The Call of Life
Something was dividing inside me, dividing my soul from my spirit. I can’t explain the experience! Once again I started listening to the sermons of God’s prophet William Branham. It was a strange sound and it was not welcomed by the evil presence that had called my body its home for the last ten months (at least). This parasite life was a demon living in me blinding me to the thirst within my heart, that precious hunger for righteousness that’s only found in Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, I ignored the demonic voice and duly forced these inspired biblical masterpieces into my ears while I slept each night. Eventually I added them to my MP3 player at work. After two weeks of this I opened the dusty Bible for the first time in months. The scripture that immediately came to my eyes was:
“Touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you.”
2 Corinthians 6:17
It was through the grace of God that I remembered that blessed scripture:
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
I treated this passage as a practical and spiritual principal and duly began sowing to the Spirit. I knew deep down that by feeding the tiny little fire inside me which was starving for spiritual food, I would begin to strengthen the ‘good man’ inside me and starve the ‘evil man’ that wanted to sin. This principal was the reason for listening to those sermons at night (even though my flesh did not want to hear them, and I was still taking drugs, and going out every night to socialize with people who drank heavily). Yet despite this strong pull to continue in darkness; I fed my spirit with the Word of God. To my delight, the Word began to supernaturally wash and strengthen me from the inside. I knew that without this washing by the Word of God I would have no chance of coming off my profuse social, drinking, and drug-taking addictions. Without this cleansing I would never have been able to go any further in my personal journey into freedom and rapture.
Things started happening fast, within two weeks God placed a desire within me to delete the profane music from my MP3 player and replace it with Christian sermons. Then came the blessed moment when I read the scripture regarding not touching unclean things. I wanted so badly to feel that love that’s far greater than this whole universe that no words can ever describe. Oh how I longed for that reality of God from deep within my silently-crying soul. Only God could hear the cry of my heart. I was too polluted with sin to discern my own spiritual needs. Yet the deep call from God and His grace put the desire in me for inner cleansing, oh the love divine.
Just two weeks into my journey into God’s amazing love and peace, I decided not to touch Class A drugs. My ‘mates’ thought this was a joke; they knew me very well, they couldn’t even fathom the idea of me not taking any drugs. I was a veteran of drug-taking and acting the fool. I was a fool for the devil, but I wanted now (more than ever) to be a fool for Christ. So the weekend came and went; amazingly I refrained from going out and joining in the drug-taking escapades despite many more invites than usual. Looking back, I can see why there were more invites than normal. This pressure made it hard but I withstood. That night, for the first time in more than ten months, I kneeled in my bedroom and sincerely approached my patient, loving, understanding heavenly Father. I opened my heart to Him and asked Him to forgive and receive me. That very night, He gladly received me with open arms! He showed such mercy and love I had never experienced. I asked Him to take all my desires for the world away, I asked Him for freedom from the desire for drugs, I pleaded with Him to help me come out of the turmoil that I had got myself into.
He accepted me with open arms of love and understanding! He held out His unchanging hand and I took hold of It knowing that I’d never let it go again and He would certainly hold mine eternally. I knew that I would never find any satisfaction from the perverted world that Satan had constructed to replace the true joys and peace that is provided free of charge from the Creator of this world.
“Love endures long, and is kind, love never envies, love never vaunts, is never full of pride, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, does not take pleasure in iniquity, but rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
After my prayer, I was drawn to a closer walk with God. It came to the point where I had to tell my friends not to come over for after-work sessions of marijuana. The devil tried his utmost to tempt me and for weeks tried to hound me into going out into the night life taking drugs, but the Lord Jesus had accepted me back and I looked to Him for help. He led me onto a path that would soon become a more blessed journey than I could ever have dreamt of. There’s nothing more amazing! I started to learn about true salvation found through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
I read more of the Word and sermons and books which opened my eyes to what Jesus had done for me: giving me complete deliverance from my desires for worldly things and the old addictions to alcohol and drugs. God knew when my heart was sincere and all it took was one simple heart-felt prayer of repentance and cry for help. He knew my heart and knew that I really wanted to change. He knows your heart and if you really want to change, He can take all your desires for the perverted world away too.
“Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
Chapter Fifteen: I Give You My Life
For weeks after my initial prayer for deliverance I would burst with joy and rejoice in anything to do with Jesus Christ. I watched a DVD about Abraham and wept most of the way through it. This new feeling was overwhelming me with indescribable celestial joy. These were precious moments of communion and fellowship with God. My heart and mind was being changed. God was certainly performing a tangible work of supernatural grace in my life. These experiences were so very special to me. I believe it was at this time or near this time of my life where I was sealed by the Holy Spirit in my soul. My desires had changed, everything had changed! He was certainly working in me and even as I write this I can honestly say that the vintage of sweetness has only become better and richer as He has revealed Himself to me.
After a few months of walking with God, it was placed on my heart to carry out the very important commission and sacrament of water baptism. This symbolizes our old nature being dead in Christ, as we go down into the water and our new body quickened in the Spirit, as we come up (resurrected) out of the water. Paul said in Galatians 2:20: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. The next two paragraphs deal with the background of baptism which is one of the fundamental steps of the Christian faith.
2000 Years ago at the very beginning of the Christian church, the resurrected Jesus promised the disciples that they would soon be filled with the Spirit of God. Not long after Jesus had spoken this, He ascended into heaven in front of them. In obedience to Jesus, Peter and 119 others waited in a room in Jerusalem. After ten days of waiting for the promise, the Spirit of Jesus Christ came and filled each one of them. Straight away they all went out fearlessly into the hostile streets where Peter preached the very first New Testament sermon to everyone who was listening.
These people were touched and convicted by God’s Spirit, making them feel like they needed to do something about their lives and spiritual condition. They all asked Peter what to do, and under the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, Peter said:
“Repent every one of you and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and to them who are afar off, and even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
Thank God He is still calling us today! For how much longer? I don’t know, but I’m in love with Him and I’ve found nothing more enlightening and joyous. I was baptized in the name of our God and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Once I was baptized, the devil increased the attacks. He was coming at me, left, right, and center. However, because I had truly received divine revelation from God, nothing could take my spiritual inheritance away. He’s all my hope and stay, I became firmly anchored in Christ. I was at the point where I was happy to just live clean and listen to the prophet’s sermons at home and hear Christian music. I was writing to Ian again and had informed him of my slide back into sin. It was actually the first edition of this very testimony that I used to tell him of what had happened. My hunger for God was increasing daily! Oh how I longed to get closer to Him, like all true believers do. Then one day after hearing from Ian and also being prompted by the Holy Ghost, I decided to get into fellowship. There was a calling deep inside me that needed to be challenged and nurtured.
It was time to step outside my comfort zone and look for a church. God led me to a humble small fellowship that believed the prophet’s message. I had been to a few other churches but they were heading in a direction that I was not keen to follow. I was witnessing a world of churches which believed that being more like the world was an effective way to outreach. It did seem reasonable to make it a ‘cool’ place for sinners to come to. But what next? That scripture above regarding being a friend of the world and an enemy of God was too much for my mind. There was no way I wanted to compromise one thing of the Word. I knew even then that Jesus didn’t need us to be like the world to win His children back. He was more than able to convert His chosen people to live a pure holy life. This was why I decided not to take this popular way, but to walk that narrow unchanging path that Jesus Himself walked. I am thankful that this has proven to be the right way and certainly a blessed way.
God brought many people across my path, and as the network formed we started a Bible study group. We had many wonderful studies on so many topics. There were times when our views were different but we kept going in our innocence. Many people would come and go, I soon found that the Message I believed was not the flavour most people preferred. This was terribly upsetting but God helped me through it and to understand the free-will of my fellow man. The straight and narrow walk with God is glorious but it just seemed that this type of walk was increasingly becoming classed as going ‘too far’. My hunger for the Word of God and intense desire to grow in Christ was becoming so great that I would constantly talk about Him and surround myself with Christian teaching. I was free indeed, but surely becoming captive to the Lord Jesus and His wonderful riches. Oh how blessed I was to find such a pearl of great price!
Chapter Sixteen: The Tree Starts to Bud
Many wonderful things started happening in my life and God was truly opening His Word up to me. He was showing me who I was, and placing me in His kingdom. Oh what a comfort it was to me to have God deal in my life. I was so zealous for the Word and for the Message preached by the prophet that I became a zealot. In my zeal, I wanted all people to believe – but having realised that the walk I was on was not popular, I just could not understand why, as what I was hearing and acting upon was just so wonderful and glorious, so rich and real and so clear in the Bible. In my opinion, everyone needed to see this. But my approach to telling people and accepting people was just too legalistic. I had many lessons of grace and love to go through to become an effective witness of what Jesus Christ has done in our generation.
A line from a song resonated in me. The words are: “Though none go with me still will I follow”. To walk really closely with the Lord can be tough from our human perspective. But Jesus meant more to me than any relationship or popularity with man. I was certainly willing to take the way with the Lord’s despised few. “Why should I be carried home on flowery beds of ease, while others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?” I was discovering that every generation who walks with God will suffer for it, and to really know the truth is bitter-sweet.
I remember the day I decided to lay a milestone down in my life, a marker to show the day that the “old” me died and I was born again in Christ by the baptism of the Holy Ghost. I had a hat made that had embroidered on the front “God knows” and on the back, the date: “22.08.08.” I wanted a tangible ‘tombstone’; to have something real to use as a witnessing tool to my family and friends.
I was listening to stunning sermons from God’s prophet which were (and still are) making me ever so zealous for the church to come to her fullness and come to full maturity. This was surely becoming the story of my life in between work and wrestling with the devil and his traps and temptations set for me. We had many precious believers passing through Wellington who would teach me things about the Lord. I would meet many people who I would show the message of William Branham. At the time most would reject what I was saying and hold to their own theology. But I knew so deeply that this was true and if anyone would really look into it, they would also find this to be true and see what Jesus is doing in this very hour. Through all this, God was dealing with my character. I believe the experience of rejection plays a big part in our personal character development. Needless to say, the actual witness that I was (at this stage) was not a complete and clear representation of Christ, as I was so young and green. But as things started to grow in me, so did small signs of fruit show.
Whilst working as a sole-trading building contractor there were times when there was no work. I had few responsibilities, so I would lock myself in my bedroom in my parents’ garage. Here, I would study the Bible, listen to sermons, and pray with all my heart. Oh my! God started to open amazing things to me and show me wonderful truths. In my zeal and desire to share the truth, I would be straight on my phone to share these pearls. Some people were appreciative; some did not like my style of communication. I was being softened in my approach over time, God was teaching me how to be wise in my timing and delivery of truth. My relationship was deepening greatly and so were the challenges ahead. The stronger I became in the Lord, the fiercer the enemy’s attacks became.
After about a two week “hide-away” prayer time and fellowship with God in my room, and a few lectures from my hard-working dad, I decided to seek work. I rang around and sought details of a few well-known firms that dealt in the same industry as I did. I felt it on my heart to go back into ceiling fixing and more complex work as I had majored in plaster board fixing for a while and I felt it was time to refresh myself in the complete trade. In hindsight I do think that God was at work and had plans for me in the places where I would soon find myself. After a few interviews, one firm said I should email my CV. The same man said via email that he would get back to me if any work turned up. Within the day, he emailed me back and said I should come for an interview on the Monday following. At the interview he let me know that the moment he got off the phone, the job board started to fill up; hence I was sitting before him three days later.
“Wow!” I thought to myself as he was speaking, “Shall I tell Him that God is at work?” But I restrained myself and waited for another day to share my faith with him. So my litmus test was answered and God even stopped the other prospective jobs from calling. I had previously prayed that God would open the doors according to His will and place me where He wanted me to be. It turned out that a great number of the workers in this firm were either backslidden Christians or people who needed direction and light shined on their paths. God was at work! On the first site I was at, a door opened and I started giving a few men a ‘Word for the day’ scripture each day. This was awesome! God opened many doors through this channel and continues to witness to these men and many others on job sites. They are watching us more than we think! It’s only in the will of God that we are we truly free.
Recalling an incident that happened at work a while back: I had resolved in my heart to really ‘pray through’ in the mornings before work. Prior to this my prayers were rather short and sweet on weekday mornings due to time restrictions. So I decided to really start praying before work, to take the presence and reality of God with me. That day while I was working, my mobile phone rang and it was Ian. We had a conversation which was almost entirely about God and what He was doing. I finished the call and said, “I love you brother, God bless you.”
When I went back into the room, there was a man there who started to blaspheme the name of the Lord Jesus! I felt anger rise in me, but I then simply said: “He will be your best friend!” He started hurling abuse at me; my anger rose and my adrenalin levels started rising also! Then something spoke in my heart: “He was raised a Catholic and witnessed a lifeless religion.” Something bad had happened to him! I was also very aware that because I had really ‘stepped up my game’ as a disciple of Christ, the battles I would now face would also become more intense and vigorous. I asked the man, who was now cursing God openly and very loudly, if he had a background of religion, and he confirmed what I was shown in my mind to be correct. From then on we had a different reaction to each other but he knew that I meant business with God, and even more recently I have had the opportunity to share with him the love of God and a few sermons. God only lets us go through trials which our character can handle.
The closer we are to God, and the better the quality of fellowship we have with Him, the better equipped we become for the trials that come our way. It is vitally important to talk with God and build our relationship with Him through communion and prayer. At first, prayer was rather laborious for me but as my heart began to love God, I really started to see the effect of spiritual prayer in my life. He was teaching me the joys of divine favour and closeness with Him.
Chapter Seventeen: Given a Wife
New Year’s Eve 2008… My Bible study group spent the night singing, fellowshipping, and making melody to the Lord. A new girl who had just returned from a mission trip in Africa had joined us. We had good conversations about the Lord and enjoyed sharing experiences. Little did I know that this girl, who I had just met, would one day soon be given to me by God as my wife! Her name is Bronwyn J
We got on very well and I really enjoyed her love for the Lord. Bronwyn had planned her life to be a missionary midwife in Africa, living the life of a single lady in service and devotion to Jesus Christ. She had experienced many amazing things while in the “spiritually alive” villages in Africa. I must say, we are very sheltered here in the west. I loved hearing of her experiences. One day we acknowledged our mutual feelings for each other and really went to seeking God about it. In the previous weeks I had resolved in my heart that if God wanted me to remain single my whole life, I was happy to, providing He took my desire for female companionship away. But if He wanted me to have a wife, then I would also be very thankful. I had come to a neutral place in my heart with God. I was beginning my journey to a completely surrendered life to Jesus Christ. He knows when we are completely seeking His kingdom before all other things in life. Once we are in this place, then God can freely give these natural things to us.
We could have wonderful fellowship and amazingly enough I could express my deep love and zeal for God and His Word and she didn’t think I was weird like many others who were proclaimed Christians. This was really special. One day we went for a bush walk away from the business of life to seek God together. We found a nice high place about 45 minutes into the hills and knelt down in prayer. Jesus showed a vision of us walking with Him between us in paradise. Bronwyn thought: “OK, thank You Lord, You just want us to be friends.” Then Jesus said: “If you keep Me central, you will always be connected.” WOW! Glory to God that was one of many confirmations! It was really important to us, even with our feelings rising, to be one hundred percent certain that we were the two meant for each other. We wanted only what God wanted. That’s always the best way.
Bronwyn mentioned to me that in the past she had been woken in the night, and prompted during the day by God to pray for her future husband. Dates in her journal lined up with my experiences! This was another confirmation that we were to be together. God is faithful! For example: the hat I had made to mark the date when I fully dedicated my life to Jesus Christ exactly matched the date in her journal when she was woken in the night in Africa to pray for her future husband. God had told her (on 22/08/08) that I was about to make a momentous life decision! It truly was that! There was more to that hat than I realized at the time of getting it made. It certainly raised my faith and the motif on the front: “God knows” is so very true. I was realizing that God really has everything in control if we would just trust Him.
For three months we were officially in courtship. I had to go and ask Bronwyn’s dad for his daughter’s hand in marriage, I was so nervous! But I did it and he said yes! I was elated, now for the next step… I had to propose to Bronwyn. Even though she knew it was coming, I was still very nervous. Eventually I worked up the courage to do it. On a lake in Rotorua after a great meal, upon one knee, looking into her beautiful eyes, I proposed. The presence of God was there so strongly that we found ourselves weeping quietly on the lonesome pier surrounded by the moonlit lake, with hundreds of white swans enjoying the moment. The stars seemed to shine a little brighter that night as we rejoiced and prayed for the blessing of God, and committed our future to the Lord Jesus.
So two of the hardest questions I would ever have to ask had been asked; what relief! The wedding was to be held in three months… Why wait? We were destined to be together. So we committed it all to the Lord and He rapidly provided all things we had need of, everything came into place almost effortlessly. We were really growing in the Lord together. I truly believe that God will give us a companion that will bring us closer to Him.
The wedding came and it was marvelous. Many remarked that is was the most beautiful wedding they had ever been to. Pure, simple, and Christ-centered. The whole day was perfect and God supernaturally gave us a wonderful sunset even though it had been thickly overcast all day. The skies opened up for a wonderful view and perfect photo opportunities. Then to make it even more amazing, our first night married: a circle opened up around us in the skies that we could marvel under the glory God declared in the heavens. We truly knew we were God’s children, and that He smiled down on us.
Chapter Eighteen: More Personal Experiences
I would like to write about a couple of experiences that really helped me with my faith and spiritual growth. One morning on my knees God showed me a vision of a construction site which had all the finishing touches except that it was not yet painted. In the vision water was running from the taps and the unsealed walls were getting wet. In the industry, this would be very bad practice. With the walls not sealed, water would seep into the boards and cause permanent damage. I knew the interpretation, not to try and rush God into what He has for me when I am not completely ready for the fullness of His blessing and power to run out of me like rivers of living water. Although I was very zealous and fervent, I was encouraged to rest in God’s grace and provision as this balance will bring me to the place of perfection, in His time. I can now see this is an integral spiritual principal that is shown right through the Bible. I was so touched that God would come and personally show me these things.
Another instance also relates to my zeal to see the church of God come to her fullness and walk in the complete victory of God, ready for the rapture. I would always look at the problems in other people for reasons why we are not where we could and should be. A lot of my attention in prayer was projected to others in the wrong way. Then, one morning on my knees, God so clearly in His mercy showed me that the revival and victory must begin in me. Then a partial commission and vision came to me wherein part of my purpose was to bring a fire and to really take the blessings and love of God into my own life and live the example of Jesus Christ. Not looking at the faults of others but being an example for them. For if God can do that in me, the chief of sinners, He can do it in anyone. This would then spark inspiration in many others. The revival starts in me! The love of God came to me and I jumped up and ran around the house praising God and rejoicing greatly. Wow! God is so awesome!
Among many supernatural experiences, of which there are too many to mention now, the Lord Jesus has blessed us with a family home and filled it with three lovely children (a daughter and two sons). In answer to many prayers for Wellington (the capital of New Zealand), God has raised up a pastor and through good ministry and a loving church we are seeing many precious souls come into relationship with Jesus Christ, and walking in the fullness of the Message that we have been given. We are truly seeing a supernatural display of the life of Jesus Christ. If one was to read the book of Acts in the bible, truly our lives are an exact continuation of what has happened in this book.
“By this shall all men know that you are My disciples,
If you have love one to another”
Chapter Nineteen: Supernatural Visitation
With the children asleep in bed, my wife and I did ‘paper, scissors, rock’ to see who would get to go to mid-week prayer meeting. Excitedly, my wife won. As she drove off, I decided to act upon a gentle pull of the Holy Spirit to kneel down and pray in my office. This would not be a normal time of prayer, praise, and inspired petition. This was a pull to a communion prayer. A cry from my soul needed to be expressed; a cry which could only be interpreted by the Holy Spirit, which maketh intercession with an answer from the Almighty God Himself.
My heart had been burdened for some time with this pull. I had to be alone, in my secret place, in my prayer closet. As I knelt, the window of non-composure opened, I became instantly in desperation to fellowship with God in person… I felt the need for an experience where God would come and personally fan the fire me. A time where He would come and burn out the dross that had slowly built up with this busy life. Before anything else happened, I felt contempt, for the enemy was (as usual) firing his darts of discord at my mind, I turned to him with a fiery countenance and told him to go, binding him, rebuking him and submitting myself and my mind to God.
As I was praying, God’s Presence came near, I knew He was in the room with me. A song came to me in the midst of this experience: “My beloved is mine and I am His and His banner over me is love.” I was so thankful and I was intent on simply waiting on Him. Something within me longed to hear, and longed to have a genuine Holy Spirit ‘lifting up’. I silently expressed this deep desire to Jesus. Such yearning that words cannot express. Then I stopped, and rested in His Presence… then with two simple words I expressed everything: “fill me”. Moments later, Jesus Christ flowed into me and brooded over me from above and within. I was breathless, in fact it was very overwhelming. My heart was racing as waves of His presence flooded me from above and within. I was not teary like other times in the blessing of the Lord, it seemed higher than tears and even joy. I felt so loved, I felt and knew His thoughts towards me. I understood His desire for our union was greater than mine and He was saving this moment for a special day, a day where He would really bless my heart with such an awesome encounter. Although I believe I was sealed already by the Holy Ghost; it felt as if a cog essential to the essence of my divine purpose started turning in the right direction. Looking back, I see the fruit of the ministry take on a new substance from this time. This was like my ‘mount transfiguration’ experience. My countenance was changed through the encounter with God and I had a clear direction to focus my face in.
During this experience, He led me to stand, and turn left. I opened my eyes to see the picture frame of the prophet William Branham with the Pillar of Fire over His head. I became so thankful for the leadership of Jesus Christ Who, as the Pillar of Fire, leads us to give light on the journey through this very dark age. He has also manifested as the Captain of the host of the Lord to speak to and direct us in the Promised Land. Words cannot describe the clarity of thought as these things went through my mind and heart.
I was praising God, my hands in the air and His Presence surging through me. I was so humbled that the very Creator would turn His glorious face toward me! I was so thankful that He is real and He heard my hearts cry for closer communion. I turned to the right and beheld a pencil sketch picture of the Lord hanging on the cross. I was so humbled by His great sacrifice. It again became so clear that He did it for me, even if I was the only one that needed it, He would have done it just the same. I knelt back down and soaked in His Presence.
I asked Him to cleanse the channels of communication in my mind. As I asked this, His Presence spread from my heart and body up to my head and brooded over my head. I felt directed to ask for utterance, to speak His praise. Even as I write this, there is a deep stirring, praise God! I came up on my knees and this incredible surge of pressure that felt like cold water come to my lips, I held back, rather unsure… it came again and I started speaking in an unknown tongue. After this I knelt back down and worshipped, allowing His Spirit to minister to my heart.
I knew deep down, the Lord would visit me in this way again. The thought of entering even deeper into His unsearchable riches is absolutely mind blowing and is my deepest desire. My heart burned within, I could feel He wanted to lift me higher, and speak to me, it seemed here that the next encounter will bring things into even greater intimacy. I simply rest in His love and walk in His favor, waiting on Him.
What a breakthrough in prayer! This is our God and our inheritance, He wants us all to have this communion, even more than we want it from Him. He saves these precious moments for special occasions for each and every one of His beloved children. This communion with God keeps the ‘cog’ moving in the lives of every born again believer.
Just as my wife was pulling into the driveway, I felt the Lord say to me that what I am experiencing is the cog in the works that makes everything come together. As I surrender all to Him, all things simply work for His glory. In this there is no need to promote myself to progress in anything. It is Jesus that is the main thrust, I am called to bring Jesus to the people through ministry; and to bring people to Jesus through the testimony of His life in me. Because of this experience my compass was clearly set on what God wants me to do, and He certainly stirred the Spirit in me to bring forth this work in earnest.
“We all want to be led by the Spirit; just what the Spirit says do, then do it quickly. And let’s remember, while we’re obeying the Spirit, one great lesson that we want to learn is never be hastily (See?), take your time, have faith. If we have asked God anything, remember, God answers prayer. He does it in His time, the way it’s best, makes it work just right for us. And if that isn’t so, then what are we doing here this morning? What are we claiming Christianity for? God… If this isn’t the Word of God, then It isn’t true, then we are found among people most miserable. I’m so glad to join hearts with many here that know that This is the infallible Word of God. It is every Word the Truth, every Word of It, every phase of It. And with the grace of God, as I’ve been privileged to view the land to which someday we shall travel. People don’t know what depressing times comes with this type of ministry. I got real depressed, and I said to the wife, “I wished I could just go on.” She said, “Why do you say that, Bill?” I said, “Oh, here I have troubles and things.” And then seemed like the Holy Spirit said, “Are you trying to bypass them? Are you trying to dodge them?” See? “No,” I said, “just let me stand right up in the face of all of it and face it out. (See?) It’s so much better. Honestly, truly, I say this by eyewitness that just after this life is over, we enter a land that’s beyond anything that anyone could think”. Quote from William Branham in the sermon ‘Position in Christ’ 05-22-60.
“But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9
For more information on the message of the hour that brought me to the Lord Jesus Christ please visit: www.ALivingGod.com or our website: www.shekinahnz.com
You will be amazed…
If you haven’t done so and are considering giving your life to the Lord Jesus, simply speak to Him from your heart and make peace with Him today. Be sure to mean what you say and want this with all your heart. Jesus knows all about you; He will listen to what you mean. It is the goodness of God that leads man to repentance.
This could be the start of a new exciting chapter in the story of your life!
God loves you: seek the truth and you shall find it.
With abundant love, May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you richly.
Brother Andy Clifford