Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Thank you brothers for sending me the book Spiritual Authority, it is a needed book in a place where man is stubborn to the delegated authority. Brothers, I want to share a brief testimony. I received the Lord as my Saviour back in 83' as a young teenager. My parents were already saved and directed me and my older brother to church. As an older teenager I became colder and began to distance myself in the things of God. As a young man I lived a life (Matt 18:12) as the sheep that went astray. There was pride in me then that said, “I can do things on my own.” This “self” (Prov 14:12) and “long ranger attitude” directed me into the things of the world. It seemed at that time that everything was good. I went to Jr. College and learned a variety of subjects. I got married in 92' after my wife had our first child. Raising a family kept me from furthering my education or enlisting in active service. With some skill I became an industrial pipe-filler and steel worker in the Houston Chip Channel area, working in refineries like Exxon, Lyondell-Citgo, Shell Oil, Bayer, etc. All this seemed good at the time but Jesus was not first in my life. (Matt 10:37) There was always an emptiness in my soul that the world could not fill.
During these years my life was focused on me. Alcohol and drugs added to my problems. Then adultery became a part of my life. In these times the Holy Spirit convicted me much, and yet I continued to disobey the Lord’s calling. There was no excuse for me. The only time I went to church was because my dad or mom invited me to a special service. And to please them I would go, though the Lord says “to make it our goal to please Him.” (2 Cor 5:9)
In all this my marriage failed. Further I embraced the indulgences of the world until I was incarcerated in 2002. This was needed in my life, because the way I was going I would have died in the streets. In county jail I began to recall the times I escaped gun-shots, violence, disease, drugs, and fornication that was sure death to me. During all the times that I lived for “me” and wallowed in the mud my God was there. Only he protected me even though I was unfaithful.
Then my mind wandered to my childhood days and recalled the times my father would tell me, “I escaped death in Vietnam countless times. God gave me the privilege to return home and during this time you (me) were born. God has a special purpose for you.” This became a reality to me. And from my first day in county jail I knew that my life needed to be dead to self and alive in Christ. I realized that prison was a reminder of God’s correction. The discipline from my Father became real to me. Thus I do not despise His discipline, because “it produces a harvest of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.” (Heb. 12:7-13)
Then I repented of my past and asked the Lord Jesus to use me according to His will. During these past years the Lord has been working with me. He is molding me to be a vessel useful for Him. I praise and glorify my God for all that He has been doing in me. It is a bitter sweet thing to realize that it took prison to make me realize that it is all about Jesus Christ and not about self. John 6:35-40 I praise God dialy for His tremendous grace and mercy to forgive a backslider like me. To this day the Lord is helping me to die daily and to live for Him in Christ.
Brothers, this is my brief testimony there is not enough space to write all the wonders the Lord has been showing me. I pray that my testimony may help touch men and bring them to Christ Jesus our Lord. Thanks again for the book Spiritual Authority by Watchman Nee...
Brother in Christ,
TX, Sep 21, 2006