This is the abbreviated personal Christian Testimony of a Cincinnati, Ohio man who attends Vineyard Cincinnati Church. I have felt compelled to share my story as it is one of unique challenges, trauma and ultimately victory through Jesus Christ. I was not ever perfect and I am far from perfect now; however, my daily relationship with Jesus Christ brings me peace, hope, knowledge, conviction and assurances of my eternal destiny. This is very abbreviated and I have tried to highlight the most important issues etc. At times, I will talk about what the Bible teaches as many people (including Christians) simply do not know or understand the Holy Scriptures in context.
We quite obviously live in a fallen and decaying world. As stated within the Bible, when Adam and Eve made the decision to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, Satan obtained a legal lease on this world and this world system of survival of the fittest and greed. That is why the Bible refers to Satan as "The Prince of the Power of the Air" (see Ephesians 2:2 ) as well as "The god of this World" (see II Corinthians 4:4). That is also why when Satan offered Jesus the Kingdoms of this Earth if he would bow down to him, Jesus did not dispute Satan's authority to be able to make this offer. (see Matthew 4:9)
Satan is a Legalist. Satan and his army (see Ephesians 6:12 -13) are always seeking a legal entry and a legal means of staying put within conquered ground. The Bible in Job Chapter 1 verses 1 - 12 clearly indicates that Satan is a Legalist as he obtains permission from God within this story to effectively attack Job. Satan had to have "legal permission" to circumvent the Lord's protection over Job.
I was told that my mother and father discussed divorce when I was still in the womb with my father stating "what will you do with that" pointing to my mothers' womb. I am quite sure this opened a spiritual door for a Spirit of Rejection to enter as I always felt a sense of rejection and disappointment from my Dad whether those feelings were just my perception or true. This was certainly my first exposure to trauma. I was told that there were weeks that my parents did not speak to one another. I entered this life as a Colic Baby and cried so much that my Uncles nick named me "Miyah" (short for Jeremiah who was known as the weeping prophet in the Bible). I was born in Waycross, Georgia. At some point in time, we relocated to St Mary's, Georgia as my Dad got a job at the The Thiokol-Woodbine Chemical Plant. I remember attending a small Baptist Church as a very young child at the end of the dirt road that we lived on in St. Mary's. We again relocated to Cartersville, Georgia where my Dad was then employed at Lockheed-Martin in Marietta, Georgia. We lived on Clover Leaf Lane in Cartersville. We attended Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cartersville and I remember my time there fondly participating in the Royal Ambassadors (like a Christian Boy Scouts type Group).
There were marital issues that caused us to relocate from Cartersville back to Waycross, Georgia when I was still a very young child. One Saturday morning, I left my bedroom to answer the telephone and observed my mother sitting on the floor crying beneath my grandfathers legs (as he sat in a chair just over her) and my grandmother sitting in another chair in our living room. I heard my Dad stating "this is my fault." Obviously, something serious was occurring and I had not even been told that my grand parents would be visiting from Racepond, Georgia some 300 miles away. Again, trauma and fear for a young child. My mother asked me one day (in tears as she sat on the edge of her bed looking down at me on the floor) "what would you do if your Daddy and I got a divorce?" More trauma. I distinctly remember being absolutely paralyzed with fear one day and lying on my parents bed while my mother rubbed my body with something trying to help me while I was in the midst of a Panic Attack as a young child. I could not move.
I remember receiving an OUIJA Board and an "Eight Ball" as a very young child from a relative who didn't know any better and of course playing with these Occult Toys. I played with both freely and believe that this was my first exposure to opening spiritual doors to the demonic. As far back as I can remember, I had experienced an unnatural amount of fear and anxiety as well as frequent nightmares. I was drawn to watching those 1950's monster movies every Saturday. As I tried to go to sleep at times while living in Cartersville, I remember watching the lines where the ceiling meets the wall as they seemed to move and I was terrified with fear.
My mother and father basically stayed together "for the kids" and their relationship reflected just that for many years while I was growing up and until well after I had left home. My mother and father never held hands, hugged, told one another they loved each other and never showed much affection to each other. My father seemed like he was angry and irritated quite often. Almost every time he would drive me anywhere as father and son, he would criticize my mother to me. At one point, he admitted infidelity to me when I announced I was getting married for the first time to him. All of this crushed my spirit. There was no loving relationship to look to and learn from. There was emotional abuse and verbal abuse at times ... mostly directed at my mother. (NOTE: After I had left home, my mother and father reconciled and their relationship got much better. I experienced them loving one another before my Dad passed away from Parkinson's Disease)
At an early age while living in Cartersville, I was left at various baby sitters who were family relatives and friends while my mother went bowling etc. I suppose she was trying to have fun in her early twenties (my Dad was at work). A distant cousin tried to have sex with me in a locked bathroom when I was five years old and he was a teenager. The Lord intervened and it didn't happen. Another teenager I stayed with took me in his closet and had me feel him up in the dark. I was too young to understand or object to what was happening to me nor did I tell my mother at the time. If there were other instances, I don't remember them.
As a young Christian (saved at the age of nine) I was never taught about giving Jesus "Lordship" of my life (allowing Jesus to control my daily life). I just understood I was "saved" and I should constantly feel happy and full of joy. I never understood that issues such as depression (there is depression and schizophrenia in my family lineage as well as diabetes) can have an effect on even Christians. Later, I found myself running with the older crowd in junior high school; drinking alcohol and smoking pot at the age of fourteen ... promiscuous sex soon followed. I didn't have much self-esteem in those days ... nor much guidance or direction. And there was no positive male role model to look up to at home. I just hung out with my friends and worked every summer. I really enjoyed playing the trumpet and excelled at it.
Yet, as in any situation, there were many happy times and memories that I'll never forget such as the time my Dad took me to Ben Portman's Music Store in Savannah, Georgia to purchase my very first professional model trumpet. I was given a choice between a Bach Model 37 in silver with a trigger and a Bach Model 37 in laquer without the trigger. I chose the "fancy" trigger though I should have chosen the cheaper Bach without the trigger. I practiced incessantly in my bedroom with the door shut and I am sure this drove my parents nuts. Especially my Dad who worked many overtime hours and slept during the day. Still, he tolerated it.
I attended college for my Dad. I wanted to go into the Marine Corp. he wanted me to attend college. At 17 years of age, I really had no plan nor did I know why I was at college. I maintained one foot in the church and one foot in "the World" while I partied (did what I wanted to) and attended church (at times). This entire time, the Holy Spirit was constantly convicting me and I was constantly ignoring those thoughts and feelings etc. I graduated from college having not really tried my best with a degree in Psychology (again, not knowing what I was going to do with it.) I landed a job with the State of Georgia as an Adult Probation Officer.
I met my first wife on a Sunday trip to the beach with my best friend ... a trip that would have never occurred had I attended church that day ! She was from Columbus, Ohio. My first marriage was a dismal failure as was my first attempt at being a "step-father." I was too immature to marry and married for the wrong reasons (lust). I tried to pattern my relationship with my step-son much like my own relationship with my father and this did not work ! I soon got a vasectomy as I was convinced I was incapable of being a good Dad and did not want risk having any children of my own. After moving from Waycross, Georgia to Columbus, Ohio (relocating to be married to my first wife) , I began to be exposed to the Charismatic Church and began learning more about the work of the Holy Spirit and Spiritual gifts etc. I also began to recognize when the Holy Spirit spoke to me etc. within my heart and thought life. I was being exposed to a different part of the Christian Life.
After many years, I began to experience serious issues within my marriage as well as an intense amount of pressure at work due to taking on a very difficult leadership position of a terribly dysfunctional organization. This went on for quite some time and I found myself sinking in depression and on the verge of a serious mental melt down. I was working long hours and returning home to an unhappy marriage. I was put on Administrative Leave from my job for three months and then asked to resign by an eight Judge panel. No reason was given to me for this though I suspect it was to protect the Court from potential law suits as well as the problems I was encountering within my Management Team. So I resigned after fifteen years of unblemished service. I had been experiencing a very real spiritual battle at work and I found myself totally spent and exhausted. I was "attacked" with false accusations that were all proven false by two managers that I had hired. One was later proven to actually hate white people and she later sued the Court (with me testifying in support of the Court at a deposition). I had introduced Jesus Christ to this (200 bed) facility and had a team of women from church ministering to the 40 women incarcerated within the facility on a weekly basis (this still continues 16 years later). I was actually told this Organization was "cursed" at one point in time and I did feel as though a very real spiritual battle was being fought my entire time there. Up to this point, I had experienced a lot of trauma in my life at differing times.
Soon thereafter, the Holy Spirit began to impress upon me (within my thought process) to seek out a specific Pastor (David Middleton) at a small church (Jesus Is Lord Church) known for his Deliverance Ministry even though I had no clue what to expect nor did I have any clue about Deliverance etc. Believers in Jesus Christ have tremendous power that most do not understand nor are they willing to use. (Mark 16:17 - "And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons.") (Luke 10:18 - 20 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions (demonic spirits), and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.") The Western World is convinced that there is no spirit world and why should any evil spirit actually manifest under those conditions ? Unbelief is Satan's greatest weapon by far ! If you have any doubt in the spirit world, talk to some Christian Missionaries who have traveled abroad. Hollywood is putting it out in our faces more than ever with films about the demonic ... yet, most dismiss this as just fantasy.
I went to see Pastor Middleton and after much discussion he ministered to me that day driving out multiple demonic entities including a powerful Spirit of Fear that had been with me my entire life. This included physical manifestations and numerous spirits. I felt such a release and sense of peace after this Pastor ministered to me and I wanted others to be set free as well. I began to read book after book on Deliverance as this is still commanded of the church as well as Christians in the Bible. I also learned from Pastor Middleton who has since relocated to Arizona. Jesus dealt with the demonic over and over again during his time on Earth.
My marriage didn't weather these storms and after 20 years of marriage I was divorced. After two years of being single, I found my current wife using an online Christian Dating service. We met at church and were married eight months later. My marriage is now built on love and service to Jesus Christ and I feel that we are a perfect match for each other. We are both strong in our beliefs, active in our Faith, very artistic, very musically gifted (she plays the drums), and we both love the Gym (she has competed in NPC Figure Competition and is a Certified ISSA Personal Trainer) and I have competed in the ADFPA, USPF, USAPL, and SLP in Georgia, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania with a current state record in Ohio.
I am now at a very good place in my life. Since those storms, I have worked in the State of Ohio Moritz Forensic Psychiatric Unit for seven years working with murders, rapist and those charged with violent offenses. The Lord is using me as broken vessel to minister to people with similar mental brokenness. The Lord took someone who had suffered a severe mental break down and had them work in the State of Ohio Moritz Forensic Psychiatric Unit !
I have also adopted one child, a daughter Lauren who is now 23 years old; I am currently the step-dad to two wonderful Christian children Pavel and Isabella and I have fostered about twenty two different children. I have also worked with many juvenile offenders in whom I have been able to connect with and have a positive influence with. God has believed in me as a Dad (Adopted, Fostered, Step-Dad) even when I had not felt capable of being a Dad ! I also have three "flat children" ... flat because we see them on paper only. These are kids we support financially every month through World Vision who live in different parts of this world. The Lord took someone who did not believe he had the capacity to be a good Father and made him an Adoptive Dad, Foster Dad, Dad and Dad to kids all over the world!
Contrary to what many have believed, God created YOU to be YOU ! The Lord wants to be a part of your life and it is he who created YOU to be who you are ! The Christian Life is one of peace as the Lord enables us to handle whatever this world throws at us. Accept Jesus Christ into your heart and life and then allow him to be The Lord of your daily life. YOU can still be YOU and the Lord will slowly change anything that needs to be changed in your life. Relax and find a church you enjoy attending ... I love The Vineyard Church as it is relaxed; yet, teaches the Bible and reaching people through love.
There are so many misconceptions as to what the Christian Life is all about and much of this is the Churches fault. Any Church is just a group of imperfect people who realize they need Jesus Christ in their lives. Jesus gave us an example to follow of the Christian Walk within the Bible and it is He who we should strive to pattern our lives after. Jesus stated that we should "Love God" first and foremost and then "love our neighbor as ourselves" as the second greatest command. How many truly do this without judgement?
I hope that my abbreviated story and honesty will help you in some way. I encourage you to accept Jesus Christ into your life and allow HIM to slowly change anything that needs to be changed. Remember, God created YOU to be YOU and to be an individual. In the Christian Life, storms will still come such as death in the family, divorce, financial issues, employment issues etc.; however, allowing Jesus Christ to be Lord of your Life can and will give you a constant sense of peace KNOWING he has your back and best interest always. Contact me with any questions you have and I will try my best to give you an answer.
If you don't attend church or have a home church, I encourage you to visit VineyardCincinnati.com and experience the love and acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Recommended reading: "Victory Over The Darkness" by Neil T. Anderson ... solid explanation of the Christian Life and thought process and one of my top five favorite books.
Recommended reading: "The Bondage Breaker" by Neil T. Anderson ... a thorough explanation of the spirit world etc. and one of my top five favorite books.