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My Return to the Father's House
My Return to the Father's House
(in the summer of 2015)
I have not previously shared this on Facebook yet. I thought it good to do so for the sake of some who might have once known the blessed way of righteousness and true holiness, but who may have backslidden or slipped backwards from a wholesome relationship with God. I want to encourage any and all who have gone away from the Father's house to return at once. He is waiting with open arms, longing to welcome His prodigal children back home!
Originally, I was going to post it as a Note, but that feature is being removed by Facebook.
Here is my testimony. May the Lord be glorified for His matchless love, His great mercy and His abundant grace!
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My wife tells about how God had given her a promise in 2007 that He would reclaim me. She had been feeling like she should be anointed at the altar on my behalf, but she was hesitant. It was in a revival meeting in the local church. There was no preaching in the service. Just as the pastor was about to call on someone to dismiss in prayer, the evangelist said that he felt that God wanted him to read his text, which he then read: "And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee." Luke 5:20. At that point, my wife, Edie, asked to be anointed for me.
Much later, the camp meeting here in Washington, Indiana, hosted by the Trinity Gospel Tabernacle (an independent Holiness church), beginning the first Thursday of August, was in the last weekend in 2015. Edie says that on Saturday afternoon, the preacher announced his text: the same one that God had given to her in 2007. Then, God witnessed to her that the promise was still true, and that she would soon see the answer.
I had been facing more and more stress on the job (at Walmart). Every day was a drudgery. I had grown to hate my job and, by not availing myself of the grace of God, it got worse as the days went by. God allowed a very unreasonable manager to come onto the scene so that I felt that my situation had become impossible. I still was trying to be honest and still was rather conscientious about my duties. This manager, however, put me in a position where I must either “be negative” by telling him the truth about my inability to do all he expected OR lie in order to be “positive”.
After telling my hourly supervisor that I did not think I could do what the manager wanted on a particular day, that manager got wind of it and decided he must have a meeting with me about my “negative attitude”. In that meeting, every attempt I made to show the unreasonableness of the demands was met with the declaration that the meeting was solely for the purpose of addressing my “negative attitude”. I then briefly realized that I was indeed at least somewhat negative. Also, I saw that my emotions of defeat and desperation and my carnal anger were all at a high point.
I told the manager that I would “try to do better”.
As I left the meeting feeling crushed, I determined that I would leave Walmart (after 8 1/2 years). I took my last week of vacation (which vacation I think overlapped a bit with the camp meeting mentioned above, but I did NOT attend it). I put in my two-week notice at Walmart nearly the same time. My last days of work there were toward the end of that last week of camp meeting. I had no idea what job I would get next, but I felt I had to get out of the oppressive environment where I was. I think my last day was Friday, the day before my wife received confirmation of God’s promise.
Early on the last Sunday of the camp meeting, I was home alone while my wife went to take care of her mom and the two of them went to services at camp. I became aware of swelling in one of my legs. It turned somewhat reddish and was a little painful. I looked up the symptoms of a blood clot and thought that I might have one.
God used this to get my attention. He brought me face-to-face with my mortality. I feel ashamed that this is what it took to shake me up, but it worked. As God dealt with my hardened heart, I began to pray for Him to have mercy upon me. I asked Him to help me to forgive those who had wronged me and to help me to repent. I also asked Him to help me pray. Within the next few days, He answered all my prayers!
My wife took me to the emergency room at the local hospital on that Sunday afternoon. Thankfully, Walmart was slow to take me out of their system officially, which meant the insurance I had with them helped to pay the big ER bill(s). My wife and I were both relieved to find that what I thought might be a blood clot was apparently some sort of reaction to a small insect bite. There was no sign of the bite. Therefore, it must have been really small!
Immediately, the Devil tempted me to quit seeking God and go back to my nine-year status quo (of NOT seeking God). I continued to ask God to help me to thoroughly repent and to not stop short of true victory.
I had to make some confessions to my wife. Of course, she forgave me. I was in a time of great despair over my sins.
During the next week, I listened to the entire New Testament while I proceeded to delete worldly music from my computer and to do whatever it took to correct my wayward paths.
(I might not have all the timeline in order here, but I give it to you as I remember it.)
There was a lady at the church that had told my wife that she was thinking about leaving this church. At least in part, she was discouraged with an apparent lack of spiritual progress in the church. Knowing that this lady would likely be encouraged to stay if I returned, I told my wife to tell the lady that I was coming back soon!
I finally got to the place where I spent some serious time seeking God and pleading His own promises for my salvation. I concluded my time of prayer on that day with telling God that I was trusting Him as best I knew how. I quoted the words “Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief.”
That was in the morning at a park. The same night, I returned to pray in the park. As soon as I parked my car, I felt God’s presence right there with me! It was the first time I had felt God’s presence in a real way in about nine years! As I proceeded to get out of the car to pray, I felt that God was telling me “Just leave off the ‘unbelief’ part”. I did indeed believe, and He did indeed reclaim my soul!
Around this time, I was also seeking for employment. I believe that God opened up the door at the hardware store. I went in for an interview the next day after God had reclaimed my soul. The interview went reasonably well. The owner told me that she would give me a chance even though the fact that I had been a preacher brought up a “red flag” in her mind. She has put up with me for a few years now!
The next Sunday after I was reclaimed, I went back to church in the morning. That night, scared to death to testify, and feeling so ashamed of myself for how long I had been away from God... I DID indeed testify. I told them about the road of repentance and prayer I had taken and just what I have told here about how God took me back. There was much rejoicing in the church that night.
I knew I could not wait to press on unto holiness. Therefore, after the evening service, I went back to the park to seek The Blessing with all my heart. It did not take long to get my all on the altar and to let Jesus Sanctify me wholly! The blessed Comforter came to abide in His fullness.
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Oh for a thousand tongues to sing! I cannot tell nor sing long enough nor loud enough the wondrous grace of my loving Lord!
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Note (for any who wish to know the means of my previous spiritual demise): I slowly drifted away from attending faithfully to the means of grace, especially Bible reading and private prayer. Eventually, after becoming backslidden in my heart, I quit attending church services altogether on the claim that I was suffering from nerves -- and I was, but I should NOT have neglected the house of God and my relationship with God on that basis. I failed to attend services for approximately nine years!
--- Old Warrior
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God bless you, everyone!
16/Oct/2020, 9:29 pm
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