The Devil Will Take You Back

As a rebellious teen-ager, I was invited to a Christian play. The play was about last chances. The moment after you die it’s too late to ask the Lord into your heart. In the play these kids were in a car accident and died. After they realized it was too late they were dragged off the stage to hell.
This made me think especially hard since my brother had just died in a car accident. They asked if anyone wanted to ask Jesus into their life. My friend and I responded to the call. After we were saved, they told us to come back to the second half of the play, because the devil would try to take us back.
Well, we didn’t make it. Instead I continued to get into trouble like I had in the past. I dropped out of school and went on the run. The company I worked for stayed in a city for a month then moved on. During my time on the road I was hooked on drugs. Once I came home in the fall of 1998, my drug use went to a whole new level. I became an intravenous drug user. I was still blaming myself for the death of my brother and wanted to reach him in the spirit world. I got a hold of some old magic books and an old Ouija board. This opened a door for evil spirits to come and go as they pleased in me. During this time, my drug use was out of control. I didn’t care if I took a lethal dose, because I wanted to be with my dead brother. This is when I met my first wife. We got pregnant and married six months later. This gave me a reason to want to live. I called pregnancy “the 9 month rehab plan.” While she was pregnant we didn’t use hard drugs, but I smoked and drank. Proverbs 26:11 “As a dog returns to it’s vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”
After my son Ryan was born in 2000 I started using hard drugs again. One day I overdosed in my bathroom and saw the angel of death. He thanked me for all the dirty work I was doing! Colossians 1:21 “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your mind’s because of your evil behavior.” That described me. Fortunately, there would be spiritual intervention in my life. I got a job helicopter logging, which meant I was going to be getting out of town.
During the time when I was helicopter logging we had our third child, Natalie. After she was born, we started using again and this time we weren’t going to stop for anything. A short while later, we got pregnant again, but this time I talked my wife into having an abortion. Helicopter logging was already very dangerous, but with the drugs in the mix I am blessed to be alive. Since I was the crew boss and had the ability to hire, I offered my Dad a job. One snowy winter morning, my dad and I were running late for work. I hadn’t gotten any sleep for two weeks, because I was constantly high.
That morning was icy and windy, and I was going way too fast. We lost control of the vehicle and launched 55 feet across the Missouri River. This crash actually broke my Dad’s back. During the next two years my Dad suffered greatly. He had a prescription for pain medication and drank a lot. I continued to helicopter log out of state. It was Halloween when I got in a fight with my wife and my friend stayed to comfort me. That night he gave me a warning. I had a picture of Jesus with the crown of thorns on my wall. He pointed at the picture and said “I know your brother and he would want you to change for your family.” That night I let him leave drunk. He crashed, was killed and his girlfriend was put into a coma. You can only imagine how that affected me.
After being robbed at gunpoint I fled from another town. I was jobless and living with my mom. It was Christmas and my Dad was very sick. The night before he died I asked him if he wanted to go to the doctor. He said “No, I will wait a couple of days and see if I get better.” The next day, Dec. 30, 2003, I found my Dad dead in his house from cirrhosis of the liver. That spring I got a job working for Columbia Helicopters. The hard work and the drugs kept me numb from my pain. I worked for them until 2005 when we had Elijah, our fourth child. My wife told me she couldn’t travel anymore, so we got a house in Old Town.
That year I caught my wife sleeping with my best friend, the drug dealer. I told him I was going to kill him. I tried, but he ran away. That year I filed for a divorce and because of some other actions on her part, I was able to get full custody of our kids. This was another blessing from God because after all the death and destruction I finally gave up hard drugs the summer of 2006. I went and got my GED and enrolled at North Idaho College. In the summer of 2007, I met the love of my life and best friend Tanya. School for me was very hard and she was there supporting me the whole way.
In the spring of 2008 I graduated with a technical certificate and moved on to get my associates degree. Although I was clean from hard drugs I was a raging alcoholic and pot smoker. Tanya stood by me through all this. I put her and the kids through a lot. I got a part time job at a local construction company while going to school full time. In 2009 I graduated with an associate’s degree in carpentry management.
We were living in Rathdrum and I was drinking every night. One night I got blackout drunk and woke up bloody and beaten not remembering what had happened. Tanya told me something had to change or she was going to leave me.
All the guilt and shame was too much to bear. The next Sunday I was led by the spirit to New Life Community Church to hear Ron Jemison’s testimony. His testimony opened my heart to receive the Lord that Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010.
Psalms 107:13-14 “…they cried to the lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains.” Ron invited anyone who wanted to step out of denial and into God’s grace to come to Celebrate Recovery. CR is a Christ centered recovery program with Jesus in the center instead of myself. The next day I began my journey on the 12 biblical steps. Now I finally get to share the redeeming power of the lord in my transformation. As soon as I stepped out of the denial that I was a functioning alcoholic and drug addict, God was able to move mightily in my life. When I got to the step of doing an honest and spiritual inventory, God started to heal the shame and guilt of the past. The death of my brother, father, friends, and unborn child was healed. (Hallelujah, thank You Jesus!) As I began getting right with God, myself and others, the Lord opened my ears to hear and see him. As I began to admit my wrongs in step 5, I experienced more and more of God’s healing power and my relationships were healed too. James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” I now have a heart to serve and I serve as the sound guy for CR and another worship band. I have been amazed by what the Lord is doing through his children. I have seen the glory of the Lord descend on people during worship, and the power of the Holy Spirit moving people, including myself. Sometimes I am so touched by the Lord I forget that I am running the sound board. As my walk with the Lord deepened he revealed to me he wants my whole life. I needed to lay it all down. I was still living in sexual sin with my girlfriend. She told me one night after bible study, “You know, the closer I get to God the more I think you need to sleep on the couch.” I agreed and we began to walk in obedience. The next day I got a promotion. (Hallelujah thank you Jesus!) I think that the inward spiritual blessing radiated outward. We were married 1/1/11. I want to share with you when I was saved my kids said it was like a switch was thrown. I was a totally different person. My life is a living testimony of God’s amazing power. Here are some of the things that God has shown me on my journey: “Blessed are the peacemakers” Matthew 5:9. During my life I hated the cops, because of the way I grew up and I got into a lot of trouble. The Lord showed me in his word, “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the lord understand it fully.” Proverbs 28:5 While I was living that life I was always thirsty, yet never quenched, never satisfied that’s because the word of God says in Proverbs 27:20 “Death and destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man.” Today he fills me with His spirit and the fullness of what He has for me. My life is Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God knew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his son, that he may be the first born among many brothers.”
My life is and will be the fulfillment if this prophecy spoken by the word of God. As I wrote my testimony I was under attack. I am here to tell you the Devil has no power. (Amen, thank you Jesus) I am a thankful servant of God and rather than tell you all the places that I serve I will let you see Christ in me. My life will continue to be a living testimony of God’s perfect power. John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the father.”
I want to do what Jesus is doing. (Hallelujah) God wants my willingness and obedience to follow him. Just like his word says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13