I am writing this not only to share my experience, but in the hopes of helping others not to make the same mistake I did years ago. I became a Christian on March 7, 1985 at the age of 19. At the time, I was a very troubled teenage party animal. My friend Mike spent months living his Christian faith in front of me, making sure that I had food to eat and a warm coat when I needed it. Mike finally got me out to his car to read some Scripture, and when we read Hebrews 4:12, I began to think that there might be something to this “Jesus” stuff. I prayed that day to receive Christ as my Lord and Savior. Soon after that, I attended a showing of The Jesus Film that was sponsored by a local Baptist church, and I once again prayed to receive Christ, just to be sure it was a done deal! 😀
My Christian faith was a rocky journey for 15 years. I was in and out of church due to mood swings caused by bipolar disorder, and also by the doubts and questions I had about my faith that I wasn’t able, in the years before the Internet, to find good answers for. By the time the year 2000 rolled around, the doubts and questions I had about my faith had built up to the point that I could no longer ignore them or write them off as tricks of the Devil. So… I got on the Net as it was back then and started looking for answers. To my great surprise, I found answers that satisfied me from the source that I least expected it — atheists. After reading several of their sites, I became convinced that God was just an ancient myth and that the Bible, far from being the Word of God, was actually little more than a collection of ancient myths and fairy tales. The loss of religious faith that I went through during that time was EXTREMELY PAINFUL! In fact, it ranks right up there with the death of a loved one, because in my mind a loved one had died. My God and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in my now atheist mind, had died. I became VERY ANGRY that I had given 15 years of my life to this false belief system, and in 2002 I decided to jump into the fray with my own atheist website. I had as my goal to build the largest, most comprehensive atheist website on the Internet. I HATED my former faith, and I wanted to stamp it out of existence! I spent two years posting angry anti-religious rants to my atheist website and I spent a great deal of time and energy ridiculing the beliefs I had once held sacred. I had many very angry and very nasty things to say about God and about Jesus Christ. And I wasn’t very nice to Christians either. I frequently characterized them as slack-jawed, knuckle-dragging morons! And I frequently used this cartoon of a hillbilly to represent Christian believers:
In August of 2004, I shut my atheist website down, not because I had any regrets about the anger I had directed toward God and Jesus, but because I felt bad about how I was portraying Christians. But… it was not long before I realized that I wasn’t finished with my outspoken atheism. I created another site and continued on just as angrily and just as hatefully as I had on my original site. But, I never found the popularity again that I had once enjoyed. Nevertheless, I continued on with several different sites over the course of several years. To my shame, I also used Facebook as a platform for my outspoken atheism, and I routinely posted angry anti-religious rants and I shared many anti-religious memes from atheist Pages I was following at the time. Needless to say, my angry and frequently militant atheism didn’t sit well with many of my Facebook friends, and quite a few of them parted ways with me over the years. I was always upset when I lost friends, but in hindsight, was it any wonder? 😮 I have rarely felt so ashamed of my behavior as I did when it cost me my online friendship with my band directors from my Jr. High and high school years. They are Christians, and I know they love me, but they too finally had had enough of all of the anger and hatred I was constantly spewing online. Perhaps that was the beginning of my awakening. It did certainly get my attention!
It has been several months ago now, but one thing that God did to get my attention again was to free me from the anger and the rage and the hatred that had consumed me for many years. I don’t know how to describe it other than as a deep, seemingly bottomless pit of festering anger and rage that never went away. I am not a violent person and I have never in my lifetime raised a finger to harm another living being. But sometimes I would lose control of that internal rage and scream at someone I thought deserved it on the phone, and one time years ago I threw a chair through a wall in a fit of blistering rage. But then, suddenly, all of that anger and rage was just simply… GONE! It was no longer there at all. This was a major MIRACLE of EPIC proportions, and it had happened to ME! I gave credit to God for what He had done, but even so my faith was on shaky ground for months. I alternated between faith and very reluctant atheism for a while. And then… a Christian friend of mine posted a link to an article on a site called http://www.unsealed.org. I dismissed the article at the time and even shared my skeptical thoughts on it. But that article and that site stayed on my mind, and I finally decided to pay a visit just to see what they had to say. I started reading and learning and considering what they had to say, and God used that site to bring me back not just to a weak faith that wavered at the slightest wind of skepticism, but a strong faith based not just on emotions but on evidence and facts about what is going on in the world right now that I can point to with confidence. And the Bible, which I know now is indeed the Word of God, has come alive like never before. I LOVE IT! God’s Word is TRUTH!
And let me say something about atheist websites. There are a whole bunch of them out there on the Internet, some large and some small. But every single one of them has essentially the same goals — to debunk the Bible, to lead Christians away from faith in Jesus Christ, and to convince others who are not Christians that the faith is not worth their consideration. I have realized now that it wasn’t the Christian church that deceived me all of those years ago, it was the atheists with their anti-God, anti-Christian agenda who had deceived me! And they accomplished that feat so well that I joined their ranks for quite a few years and raged against God and my former faith just as they had been doing when I visited their sites. The tragedy here is not that I spent 15 years of my life as a Christian believer between 1985 and 2000. The tragedy here is that I spent about that many years again as an enemy of God because I had made the mistake of listening to the WRONG PEOPLE. Having said that, are atheists bad people? From a human standpoint, generally not. Many atheists I have met over the years are really nice folks, and I think they are unfairly maligned in our society. But… looking at things from God’s perspective, they are fools, and God said as much in Psalm 14:1. And in hindsight, which is always 20/20, I was foolish to listen to them. Doing so cost me a great deal and led to many years of very angry and miserable atheism.
I have no quarrel with my atheist friends. I understand why they believe as they do since I was once among their ranks, and I zealously defended the atheist position online for years. But God is loving and merciful beyond our ability to comprehend, and He never gave up on me. He never stopped loving me. And He has brought me back to faith in these days, which appear to be the final years of history as we know it. Let me speak for a moment about biblical prophecy and about the signs of the times in which we live. Thousands of years ago, God promised that the nation of Israel would be reborn and that that event would signal the final days of human history. That event occurred in modern times in 1948. That event marked the beginning of the End. Jesus Christ said that when the Last Days were upon us, that there would be wars and rumors of wars, and right now at this very moment there are more armed conflicts going on in the world than probably any other time in history. Jesus also said that there would be signs in the heavens, and indeed there have been. Joel chapter 2 was fulfilled to the letter very recently, with the sun being turned to darkness (the recent solar eclipse) and the blood moons appearing in the sky. And the sign mentioned in Revelation 12 is about to appear in the sky over Israel on September 23rd. This alignment of the stars and planets predicted thousands of years ago is a one time event that has never occurred before in human history and it will never occur again. And Jesus predicted that there would be earthquakes in diverse places, and He was absolutely correct. There have been many earthquakes in recent times, including some in places that usually don’t experiences earthquakes, such as Oklahoma and the American Midwest. Jesus also predicted that the waves and the seas would roar, and indeed they have been. The strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic just occurred, and the Southern US has just been devastated by two major back to back hurricanes. And yet another hurricane is due to hit the East Coast as I write this. Jesus Christ also predicted that the world would be in the same condition it was in in the days of Noah just before His return. And indeed it is. We’re there, folks! Check this biblical prediction out and see if it doesn’t fit mankind’s behavior exactly:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them” (II Timothy 3:1-5, NIV).
And consider this: In 2 Thessalonians 2, an apostasy from the Christian faith during the final days of human history the likes of which the world has never seen was predicted, and that prediction has come 100% true in our time! Yes, Christians have fallen away from the faith for various reasons for centuries, but nothing even close to the numbers of people who are leaving the faith now.
And consider this: The signs of the times in which we live are all around us, if we have eyes open to see. And I pray that God will open your eyes to the amazing things happening in our world right now, today — events that were predicted in detail thousands of years ago by GOD, and by the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was GOD in the flesh.
So… who should you listen to? Sinful men who have a strong desire to lead you away from God and away from faith in Jesus Christ? Or the One True GOD, the Alpha and the Omega, the GOD who knows the beginning from the end — the Lord God Almighty, the King of the Armies of Heaven, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords who shall soon appear in power and great glory! Only GOD can truly know the future, and He has predicted it many times with pinpoint accuracy in His Word, the Holy Bible. You can trust God’s Word because it is TRUTH!
Let me share with you the greatest true story in the entire universe. It can be summed up in a single verse:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Jesus Christ, who is GOD, came to this Earth 2000 years ago to show us the Father and to take the sins of the world upon Himself on the cross. Jesus Christ died for YOU, and He loves YOU more than you can possibly comprehend. His Love is total and complete! Jesus offers YOU the gift of eternal life with Him in Heaven. All you have to do to receive this incredible gift is to accept His finished work on the cross. You must admit that you are a sinner and that your sin has separated you from God and that you are powerless to save yourself. You MUST be born again! The Lord Jesus Christ stands ready to welcome you to Heaven. If you desire salvation, all you have to do is humble yourself before God, with a heart ready to repent (turn away) from sin, and ask. You can pray something like this:
Lord, I come before you with a humble heart. I know that my sin has separated me from you and that I am powerless to save myself. I ask You to please forgive me of my sins. I ask You to be my Lord and Savior, Jesus! Come into my heart and create in me a clean heart and a right spirit. Cast my sin as far as the east is from the west. Jesus, I believe that You are the Son of the Living God! I believe that you died for my sins and rose from the dead for my justification. Thank you for saving me, Jesus! Amen!
God says that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved (Romans 10:9). If you prayed to receive Christ, let me be the first to welcome you to the family of God! Hallelujah!
Allow me to make a few suggestions. Find a church that preaches and teaches the Word of God. Read the Bible, which is the amazing, living, and true Word of God. I suggest starting with the Gospel of John, and then reading the epistles (letters) written by the Apostle Paul. Ephesians and Colossians are good places to start.
For further reading and for confirmation of the times in which we live, I suggest sites such as http://www.unsealed.org. I also recommend http://www.reasons.org and http://www.answersingenesis.org. I don’t personally agree with all of the views expressed at these sites, but overall they are good places to start and read and learn.
May God richly bless you!
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21)
Your Brother in Christ,