Intimacy: Drawing Near – My Journey Part II

How Can I Meet God?

Last week we ended with the way Christians in America tend to act.  This week I want to start off by sharing another story with you.  I want to share my own testimony, how I came to meet God.

The setting is November, 1984.  I just checked into my 2nd and final rehabilitation center for drugs and alcohol.  I have already been to 3 detoxes, 1 rehab and have spent four years in and out of a 12 step program.  I have also managed to kill myself.  I was clinically dead for six minutes after a suicide attempt in which God brought me back.  Furthermore, I was also kicked out of the army and deported from Germany for my alcoholic behavior.  And then, to top it all off I got married, had one child and then shortly thereafter divorced.  This all happened between the ages of 16 and 20.  Those are the highlights of a 11 year alcoholic binge that started when I was 9 years old.

As I entered that rehabilitation center, with no hope, I meet my newly appointed head therapist.  Bob had over 20 years sobriety at that time.  He “sadly reported” to me that the only hope I will ever have in making it sober, is to find God.  He went on to state that; “I previously tried all there was and I had failed to respond to any type of treatment for alcoholism”.   The only chance I had was to find God.   God was my only hope!   At that moment, when I heard that, you might as well have shot me in the head.

I used the words above that he “sadly reported” this.  I say that because at that time I was a complete atheist and if by chance there was a God, I hated Him with all my being!  Bob pointed out that I needed to find God or just go get drunk and die.  These were the only two alternatives I had.  He then reassured me that there was a God, and that God loved me very much and He wanted to help me.  I only had to find the willingness to reach out to Him.  Bob knew that because 20 years ago in his own life, he faced the same dilemma.  He directed me from that day forward that I was to pray in the morning and to thank God at night for another day God blessed me with.  I also was directed not to ask for anything but my daily needs and sobriety for that day.  From that meeting on I began a new journey towards God…


This is the Corner where I met Jesus.

My Road to Damascus Experience

On June 10, 1985, after six months of praying and seeking the presence of God for His help I had been sober for 7 months.  However, the day before I had a fight with my sister whom I was living with.  She asked me to leave and no matter where I went for help, not even my own mother would help me.

Around 1 am that morning, I was sitting on a corner where I had previously dealt drugs and drank during my addiction.  Then Satan showed up and began tempting me.  In my newly founded and fragile recovery, I was very shaky to say the least.  He reminded me that a few blocks away was my favorite bar.  If I went there I could pick up a woman and let her take me home like I had done so many times before.

The temptation was overwhelming and at that moment I cried out to God, “If you’re really there, I need you to stop being invisible and save me before I drink again!”  In a flash peace surrounded me.  It was around me like a wall of protection and also it was inside of me flowing out freely through me.  There was this calm, joy, a freedom I had never experienced.  Then there was His voice.  I could hear Him audibly.  Just like His peace, His voice was also flowing inside and out of me.  I can’t really explain it, but His voice penetrated every cell in my being.  I not only could hear Him with my ears but I also felt it and rested in it.

I felt completely protected by His presence.  The joy I felt at that time was obviously supernatural.  I have never felt joy like that since.  Jesus spoke to me and said; “Dennis, I have always been with you and I will never forsake you.”   I can still remember looking back at my response.   Like an idiot all I could say was; “You really exist!” I said it over and over again.  That night the Lord removed those demons of addiction and gave me instructions about how to start living my life.  What I received was absolute assurance that God existed.  And just like Jesus said, “I will never leave nor forsake you.”

If I were to tell you that story and it ended there, you could write it off as a bad experience, a dream, a great hallucination or whatever.  But I have to say that I have never again had another drink of alcohol nor have I tried drugs in these last 32 years.  Neither have I been the same.  To top it off, after over 31 years God and I still speak to each other almost every day.  I still hear His voice flowing in my spirit directing and guiding me.  So today when people ask me why I believe in the Bible or why I believe Jesus is the only way, I tell them it is not just blind faith.  I happen to know Him personally.  Jesus is not just some hope I have but a real relationship in my life!  So let me help you draw near…….

 Drawing Near 

James 4:8  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts…..
This verse shows us the “key” to meeting God.  We must first decide to draw near!  God will never violate His universal law of “freewill.”   As long as you want to be Lord over your own life, do whatever you want and have nothing to do with God, then He will honor your choice and that is what you will get – life without God!  If you want to serve other gods or idols (addiction, lust, materialism or simply yourself) you will never see God.  If you have never seen God or heard Him, there is your reason; you never really wanted to in the first place.
This is something I share with new people coming to Christ: If you take one step towards God he will travel a universe to meet you.
God wants to be with you more than you can imagine.  He is not out there playing spiritual hide and go seek!  He is waiting on every human to do this simple step written in the book of James – draw near to Him.  This is exactly what I was unknowingly doing for 6 months before I met God on June 10.  I was moving, I was taking that first step of opening my heart and my will to receive Him and to have an encounter with Him.
Before June, I started to see weird things happening.  I asked for help and it showed up!  I needed something and it was there or someone showed up out of the blue and helped me.  As I look back, I can see since that meeting with Bob at the rehab that God was setting me up and preparing to change my life forever.  If you’re reading this and you want the same, God might be setting you up right now.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts…..
This is step two; I had to start cleaning my hands.  I had to make a decision to whom I was going to follow and serve with my life.  In Christianity and the Bible, this is called ‘Repentance.’  The word repentance simply means to turn around or make a u-turn in your life.
I want to interject here that you might be reading this and you have already said the prayer of salvation, you go to church and read your Bible.  I want to point out the Book of James is written to Christians.  It starts out in Chapter one:  Greetings,… My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials…. This tells us who James was writing to.   These early Christians, had the same problems so many Christians have today and James was correcting it…. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts.  I see it so much today in the church, Christians coming to church, reading their Bibles, being baptized and not having any personal relationship with God.  So many Christians that are stuck in sin, e.g., materialism which the Bible calls idols.  Jesus made it clear you cannot serve both.  You will love one and hate the other.
The reason we may not be hearing the voice of God is because of other loves we have in our lives.  We have moved away from him and the further we go away, that small still voice becomes quieter and quieter.  God never shouts to get your attention.  You might run into a storm like Jonah but there is no shouting.  God will never raise His voice at you or lose His temper.   You have to decide to come back into hearing range of His voice.  When we fall into sin, and we all do, God does not abandon us or move away, nor does He stop hearing our prayers.  He never changes, He continues to talk to us in His still small voice but the further we move away, the harder it becomes to hear God’s voice.  Matthew brings this out:
Matthew 13:15  For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
This leads us to our next paragraph where this same scripture is more applicable.

 Am I Really Saved or Just Going to Church?

Here is a litmus test: Ask yourself this question and be very honest!  If I ask you if you are going to Heaven when you die, what is your answer?   Was your answer?

  1. I hope so! I am a very good person but I am not perfect!
  2. YES I AM! I go to church and love Jesus!

If you think number two is the best answer, both answers will land you in Hell!  Both question have to do with you and things you do!  Salvation has nothing to do with you.  It has to do with all that Jesus did on the cross and the forgiveness He offers!  All we can do is respond and receive His free gift.

Again if you answered yes to both questions and are going to church and practicing the Christian religion or any other religion for that matter, then for you God may be some belief you have and or hope you have – that He is real.  For you He is somewhere in the cosmos, but you are unable to be prove this, you simply live in “blind faith.”  

There are many people sitting in churches every Sunday who have never repented and have never come to salvation, they are just going through the motions.  They believe Christianity is a religion.  They are hoping to live their life good enough so that one day they will go to heaven because of their good works and deeds, and or by the sacraments they received.  I cannot think of anything sadder than for a person to attend church their whole life, living a so called “christian life” and then ending up going to hell.  You might think I am crazy to believe this but I will let the Lord tell you!

Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven {get saved}.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (parentheses my interjection)   
I want to affirm that these are not Christians who lost their salvation.  These are what I call:  “Church  folks who never came to Christ for salvation.”
They are doing all the right things and some even do amazing things in the context of Christianity but Jesus says, “I never knew you!”  If at one time, they were saved and then backslid and then lost their salvation, then that means at one time Jesus did know them and they left.  However, Jesus states; “I never knew you!”  What does this mean?  This means that they never gave their life to Jesus!  In other words they were never saved.  
Remember, we have God’s promise that a saved person cannot lose their salvation!
These “Church Folks” may have given their life, and put their faith into their denomination, or their church, their pastor or even a Christian lifestyle or even sacraments, but they never came to repentance nor turned their lives over to Jesus for His blood and His Salvation.  Here is my comparsion on these two verses, 1) those that have never believed and therefore have not received salvation – Matt. 7:21-23 vs. 2) those who have salvation – John 10:27:
  • Matt. 7:21-23 – And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ 
  • John 10:27 – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
I know there are “Church Folks” sitting in pews, today.  For example, my own mother was in this category for years, she was the most church going woman I knew growing up.  She had us in church constantly and even made me an altar boy.  It was not until years later while at a Bible study I was giving on this very subject that she repented and received Salvation – at the age of 60.  Later by her own words she stated that she sat in church her whole life and was never offered nor received Salvation. 
1 John 3:23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
So if you’re not sure if you’re saved and what I have just written is speaking to you, do not wait another moment.  Get saved and turn to Jesus.
If you need salvation or are not sure if you are, please press this link to :  How Do I Receive Eternal Life?
Let us know if you have received salvation or if you are interested in our contact page.

What’s The Difference?

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Romans 10:17; So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
I really do not need to write any more in addition to these three verses of scripture to answer that question, but I will.
One of the greatest proofs in your life that you are saved is the fact you can and do hear the voice of God and His Spirit moves in you!  If that is happening; God is with you.  If you are going through the motions of Christianity and doing all the right things and you have never heard or recollect hearing God, STOP ALL YOU’RE DOING AND GET SAVED! 

 Hearing vs Reading the Word of God

I want to point out that it is, every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  It says that the Word that proceeds from the mouth of God not written from the mouth of God!  I am referring to the Bible here!  You might be able to read and teach God’s written Word and still never hear His voice or even be one of His.  I am not saying God’s Word is not important nor am I disrespecting the written Word of God.  The Bible is man’s greatest tool to drawing close to God and understanding His will for your life and this world.  However, it does not replace God’s spoken Word, as we see in the next verse:
Romans 10:17; So then  faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
I will reiterate what I was saying earlier.  Read carefully what this verse is saying; faith comes not by reading scriptures but by hearing God’s word!  Do not get me wrong in this.  I do read the Bible and in those pages, as I read, God begins to speak to me.  God will convict me and He also teaches me though His written word but I am not reading it alone, I am hearing that small voice guiding and speaking to me through those written words.  On the other hand if you are just reading and studying the word like a text book and all you’re getting is doctrinal facts and religious tenets, then you might be going the way of the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus time.  They knew every part of the Old Testament but when they met Jesus, our Lord God, they were clueless to who He was and what He was teaching them.  This again proves my point through scripture; you can know all there is about God, His laws and doctrines but not know Him, even if He walked up to you.
I will continue with Part III next week, the nuts and bolts of finding intimacy with God.

Leave a Reply