"What if salvation is not obtained when everyone thinks?"
That terribly gut-wrenching question manifested itself in my mind approximately six months prior to the Lord seizing my attention in the middle of the night, just hours after reading the following parable.
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five were wise and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you, but go rather to those that sell and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those that were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."
The Sovereign Lord woke me up one night to talk with me face to face. He asked, "Did you think those were women I was talking about in that parable?" Naturally, I said, "Yes.” After thinking for a moment I said, "I don't know why I assumed that.” He replied, "A lot of people assume a lot of things that are not in My word." He then tells me, "Like how My Spirit is received." He tells me, "I am the one who baptizes a person with My Spirit." After reading Acts 15:8-9, He let me know once He has purified a heart through faith, then He gives His Holy Spirit.
Talking to God face to face is just like having a conversation with somebody, even though you cannot see Him, you know He is there. It occurs with me only when He wants me to correct misconceptions about His word.
The enemy did not want this testimony corning into fruition. He tried everything in his power to discourage me from writing it. With my heart being totally fixed on Jesus, I was able to get through it all.
Knowing some of you might be wondering what possesses me to write a brand new testimony every year, well, all I can say is that the love of Christ compels me. It is as if something or someone has taken me over. I have no idea what has gotten into me. I am sorry for lying to all of you, I know that is not a good way to treat anybody. You see, I know exactly what has gotten into me. It is the same thing those five wise virgins had in their vessels with their lamps.
Welcome brothers and sisters, believers and unbelievers, to my fifth, and if the Lord wills, final testimony while incarcerated. Yes, I know I only shared three with Charis, let me explain what happened to the fourth. That one is hopefully sitting on the U.S. Pardon Attorneys desk waiting to go in front of the President of the United States of America to be signed.
Due to there being many things that Jesus has given me to talk about tonight, allow me to give you a brief account of how this all came about. After fasting with a bunch of Christians to have some laws changed, my celly was put in for a compassionate release. A year prior to him getting put in, I was led to pray and tell Jesus that I would not consider being released that way a miracle. Not knowing why I told Him that, I am glad I did because He had lots to tell me about how He controls His brother’s circumstances. I need to worship Him. Jesus, you are truly worthy of all glory, honor, and power, for you alone are wise, awesome, and you are the Sovereign Lord of the universe. You knew what laws were going to need to be changed and you changed them.
I thank you Jesus for revealing it to me that you would change the hearts and minds of those who govern the laws, and you put new criteria into the compassionate release program. After that I went and prayed, asking how I can get a reduction in my sentence. Jesus told me to file for clemency. Many have said things, to put it civilly, they were telling me it was going to take a real miracle, as if they were doubting the sovereign power of Jesus.
Jesus told me He has full control over all of His brother's circumstances, when He let me know that was the meaning of the life of Joseph being in the first book of the Bible. As for me, I will always listen to what Jesus tells me.
Jesus speaks to me in lots of ways. One of them is through my every day circumstances. He wanted to teach me a lot from this one person He gave me as a celly. One of them is the meaning of faith without works being dead.
He used my celly's hoarding as the example. It was uncontrollable! Everything was to an excess. He put it on my heart to try and help him with it, which in turn, I also learned some valuable lessons.
I did not know why he would not believe Jesus. Did He not say in His word, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?" He hoarded all that stuff. Did not Jesus say, "For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things.
Jesus was showing me is that anybody can think they trust God, but it is those who are willing to let everything go. Those are the ones who truly have faith in Jesus. Those are the ones who will find the kingdom and His righteousness, whom all these things shall be added to.
After writing that on Monday, June 3rd, I went and watched the first installment of the Bible at faith lessons. Something really touched me as Abraham was offering his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Talk about giving everything up. His obedience and belief in the Lord proved how genuine his faith really was.
I guess now is as good a time as any. Hello, my name is Steve. I am the prisoner of the Lord. Condemned without mercy on account of my willful disobedience to Jesus and everything he told me in His word is the reason I have received the honor and privilege of coming before you all this day.
Jesus threw me a real curve ball when He told me “It does not matter where you are from because you were once a slave in the land of Egypt.” Just like the Israelites I wanted to go back into bondage due to my unwillingness to obey Him. For that reason I will only talk about things that bring Jesus glory,
After asking Jesus to be my Lord and Savior, truth be told, I wasn't always a Christian. I could only say, I was one on paper. Knowing some might be disagreeing, but, did not Jesus say, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say." That is Luke 6: 46. This was due to my carrying around the same lamp as those foolish virgins. Here I am thinking I am all set because I had something, but truly I was empty. I did not have the Holy Spirit living inside of me. Due to all of the cares of this world coming before Jesus, I had no relationship with Him.
For did not Jesus say, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." It hurt once Jesus opened my eyes and allowed me to see what He was saying, which is if I love anything more than Him, if I am not willing to let go of everything I am not worthy to have Him.
I probably should have just asked Him to be my Savior because that is the way I treated Jesus for the first 8 years I was a Christian. I completely left the Lord part out. That is not how it works. I found this out when Jesus showed me His power. That would be as ridiculous as my thinking I was saved because I was born a certain faith.
I was deceived by the enemy of our souls. It is kind of humiliating, I feel so stupid admitting it, but I know the truth needs to come out. Due to all the men pleasers who do not preach the true message of Christ, but rather pervert the meaning of grace to fill their pockets, I was deceived into thinking I was saved and that I had the Holy Spirit living inside me. Needless to say, I fell for one of the evil one's greatest tricks; I listened to all the lies he told me repeatedly; you are all set, you said the prayer, you have nothing to worry about. Considering I know now, that nobody but Jesus can assure me of my salvation, I could not believe that I listened to others telling me not to worry.
On account of their twisted theology they instilled in me no desire to seek the Holy Spirit, never mind a desire for Him period. Once the five foolish virgins realized they needed the Holy Spirit, it created a desire for them to seek Him, but unfortunately it was too late for them.
Therefore, I went and lived my life exactly the way I wanted. Galatians 5:19-21, proved to be an eye opener. It says, "The works of the flesh are evident which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice· such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Thankfully Jesus allowed me to see through His word that living my life my way was not going to get me into heaven. These two scriptures told me that the only way to heaven was through the only Book God ever wrote. Romans 1:16. It says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation, for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." And then 2nd Thessalonians 1:8 and 9, which read, "In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."
Jesus reminded me about something He told me in a dream one night about a year or two ago. He said that I was His friend. According to John 15:14-15, from Jesus speaking, "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants for a servant does not know what his Master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. "
John 14:15-16, Jesus speaking, "If you love me keep my commandments and I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper that He may abide with you forever." When you truly love someone, they become your world, you just want to please them and them alone. Since Jesus called for obedience, that is what I showed him. Acts 5:32 says, "And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him."
It was not until I received His 'Spirit that Jesus truly had His way in me. It is when His word began to clean me up from all those things that proved I was unholy by changing my mindset as to the cares of this world. One way I have noticed the Spirit working in me is any time I have an inclination, or a thought about anything that goes against Him and His word come into mind, I am immediately convicted. Those things I once wanted to do, you know, all the cares of life, whenever they enter my mind are brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
I have no idea why Jesus enlisted me into His army, but I do know it is all about His grace, meaning if He can save a scum bag sinner like myself, who was so deserving of death in the eyes of the world, then He can save anyone. After reading Acts chapter 9, it became clear as to why Jesus chose a former member of a renegade faction of the Mafia, and appointed him to magnify His Holy name. Jesus appeared to a disciple in a vision and told him to do something for a person, whom this disciple was afraid of. Jesus said, Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake.
I am going to get spiritual. After dodging the draft for the first 8 years, Jesus laid the smack down on me while I was awaiting sentencing at a nursing home. Due to sin I committed with some of the staff, He sent conviction upon me. Being that deep burning conviction, it caused me to feel ashamed because of my betrayal of the Lord for temporal pleasure. Therefore, I started praying again. Jesus knew what He was doing. Knowing this conviction placed on me was enough to make me ask for two things. So I started crying out repeatedly to be made a better Christian and for time served.
Talk about lazy, I just wanted Jesus to zap me. The whole time I was asking, I put no effort into becoming one. I ignored all of His efforts to help me. He put it on someone's heart to ask if I wanted a bible and to go to church. I said no to both. I used a bible study in order to justify my saying no to church and BibleGateway.com for the bible.
Then the chaplain who ran the bible study came in and invited me to it. I did not give him an answer. I did not really care to go with a bunch of old people. He then hands me a pamphlet that said, "Do you know where you are going when you die?" I was thinking yes, because I was a Christian for many years. When I opened it and saw what it said on the inside, I was greatly offended. It said, "To hell." Wow-wee talk about pride issues. I am thinking this man of God had just disrespected me. That was my whole life story, nobody better mess with my pride, or else.
After being told the six years I had already served will be sufficient, on the day of my sentencing, my attorney told me everybody was on the same page as to my time. Here I am in court thinking, if all else fails He will part the ceiling to tell the judge that I am a beloved child of His just because I asked to be one.
When it all boiled down to it, and I was ln front of the human judge, I was condemned without mercy. I know Jesus was showing me His power due to my refusal to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him. He caused someone who was once very grateful to have a total change of heart as he gave his impact statement. Thank you Jesus for allowing the scales to fall from my eyes, so that I could see the state of my salvation. If I could not make it in front of an earthly judge, how would I even think I would be able to stand in front of the great I AM, when it comes my time.
Jesus has taught me that I did not choose Him, but He chose me and appointed me that I should go and bear fruit, and my fruit should remain, that whatever I ask the Father in His name, He may give me. - John 15:16.
After praying one morning in my sleep, Jesus answered my prayer for Him to show me His power on this day. First He sent a person into my room who had been struggling in his walk to tell me that he just could not understand the Word like me or Q. After asking Him a few questions, I realized that he did not have the Holy Spirit living inside of him. In accordance with Luke 11:13, I had him pray asking Jesus to give Him His Spirit. I prayed, then I laid hands on him just like the apostles did back in the day. Then he starts speaking in an intelligent tongue.
Jesus then tells me Paul was going around terrorizing all of His followers, except for the apostles. How when they were scattered throughout all the surrounding regions, they went and preached the word everywhere. He told me that He used Paul to further the Gospel before His conversion. This revelation came while I was reading Acts 8:1-4.
Then He let me know that many people get caught up trying to do the Holy Spirits job. That was enough to convince me that if Jesus does not tell me to do something, then I will not do it, because the Lord, when He brings it, it is so much more than we can ask or think. Just pray. Remember what happened when Abraham heeded his wife voice.
Since He brought you all here this day, allow me to tell you another way Jesus showed me His power. About a year ago, I had a dream and a voice told me His name is Jesus. I was led to pray one day and ask if He wanted me to tell everybody about praying directly to Him, that it would have to be 60 degrees sometime in the week of Thanksgiving. The whole week it was nice, and the day before it was 60. That is unheard of, in Minnesota!
Jesus loves an obedient follower, so much that it seems like those who are one, have a never ending joy to them. Lord Jesus, I want to continue to magnify your Holy Name, send me, I will go. You are truly awesome, I understand why you chose me and appointed me to magnify your name. It is because there is power in the name of Jesus. I love you Jesus, you know I will do anything for you, thank you very much for allowing me to write this testimony which you gave me. Thank you Jesus for drawing all the people here that you wanted to hear it. Thank you Jesus for being you. I love you. Amen.
Please give Jesus all the glory, for He is worthy!
Please give Jesus all the glory, for He is worthy!
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