Whether it be good or bad, I’m not sure, but it is a fact. I can remember the exact moment when I became a sinner in bondage. Now there are those that will tell us that we are born sinners, and the Word of God supports this, but there is also a time in our lives where sin becomes a conscious choice and we no longer have the excuse of a child, not knowing the consequences of sin. I can clearly remember being in the sixth grade when I made a conscious choice to engage in sin and not only engage but begin to form a lifelong relationship with sin.
I found a stash of pornography and began drinking alcohol. I’m not going to accuse or blame those that provided the material needed for these behaviors, that is shifting the responsibility for my choices and serves no purpose in understanding who I am and how I lived my life. I chose to look at those images and I chose to drink. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had given myself over to things that would control my life for the next 20 odd years. From drinking a few beers in elementary school to skipping school in high school to go on a binge drinking spree. From seeing just a few images to stealing pornographic magazines everywhere I could find them. I went deeper and deeper into the depravity of my chosen sin.
I progressed to becoming a full-fledged alcoholic before I graduated high school and engaging in promiscuous illicit sex with any woman I could manipulate to meet my selfish sinful desires. I had become a very good sinner. I had made an art of lying and excusing my behavior. Oh, I lived what most would call a moral life…at least to the casual observer, but make no mistake, I was evil, and I really didn’t care who I hurt.
Looking back, I can see where God, through the Holy Spirit was moving, revealing Himself to me, but it didn’t fit with my selfish pleasure-seeking lifestyle. In my early 20’s, I met and married a beautiful woman, and for a period, I toned down my pattern of selfishness, but again, I never let it go completely. I was still using pornography and alcohol to numb myself from the reality of life. In my mid 30’s, I decided to completely remove any barrier to my self-centered pleasure pursuit and I returned to illicit sex, pornography, alcohol and drugs. I didn’t care, and it showed. I was so oblivious to the cost of my behavior that I lost my job. I didn’t have the courage to share this with my wife, so I hid it by stealing money from savings accounts, college funds and any other means I could find.
As with all sin, eventually the light shines upon it, and that day came. Unlike most times, I saw it coming, so I did the courageous thing…and ran away. I literally left my wife and young son to find out on their own and I was going to escape the revelation of truth by committing suicide. In my sinful, evil, selfish mind, I thought this was going to answer all the problems.
In Corpus Christ, Texas at one in the morning, sitting out behind a convenience store with what I thought was my last beer and a pistol, I was prepared to take my life. As I said, I know that God had been pursuing me all my life and I wasn’t totally ignorant of Him. But for the first time in my life, I really prayed. I mean a sincere plea for God. I spoke, “God, if you don’t want me to do this thing, send an angel here.”. I wasn’t prepared for His response. In a quiet still voice, I heard “you don’t need an angel, I’m here”. I knew that instant that God was present, and His message was that I needed to return home and face what I had done. His promise was that He would walk with me, but that I had to return and be prepared for whatever consequence was waiting for me.
I knew that my family would turn their back on me, that I might very well face jail a yet, God’s promise gave me the assurance that I would be able to withstand it all under His strength. I returned home and was immediately faced with the loving grace from God in the way that my family restored me. My wife, my son, mother, sisters, brothers-in-law, all of them welcomed me home. Now I am not saying there weren’t consequences and anger, there most certainly was and every bit of it was justified. But, I wasn’t rejected and God’s promise that He would walk with me, became evident in my life. Through every difficulty, I felt His presence and strength. I found a small church where the gospel was preached. I made a public profession of my faith in Christ Jesus and found the support and mentorship of godly men and women which helped me understand what God meant and who He is.
So, on June 10, 1996, God spoke to me in such a way that I could no longer ignore who He is and who I was. A sinner in need of a Savior. From that day to this, He continues to show me my need for His grace and His plan in my life. Praise God for His redeeming love and His sanctifying process which continues to this day.
It is my hope that you, through the devotionals on this site and the stories that I share show how God is active in our lives and how we can appropriately respond to His will.