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The Atheist Who Found God

Wes Peppers

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Wes Peppers

Pastor, Traverse City & Kalkaska, Michigan

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Recorded

  • April 29, 2017
    7:00 PM
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Dear Father in heaven we thank you so much for this great privilege Lord to be here together we thank you that we have the opportunity to discuss to gether and fell ship and in worship and Lord this is an opportunity to worship you to give our hearts more deeply to you we can sing we can pray we can hear testimony and Lord we all have a testimony with you whether we've grown up in the church or not but we all have a testimony of that of how you have intervened in our lives and I pray today as I share this story that it may be an encourage men to someone in they'd be the means by which they realize that you are also reaching out to them so I pray Father that you would lift Jesus today it's not mine story it's your story of your great and Saving Grace and I pray Lord that will see that here today I pray you help it to be clear to be concise to be specific Lord and to the point of what needs to the said so we look to you now we ask your blessing your Holy Spirit to be here with us and we come and Jesus' name let everyone say amen Well there is a bible verse some want to share with you that really speaks to my life. In a very special way I would like to ask you how many of you were as we all know the phrase raised in the church you grew up in the church All right how many of you did not you are come into the church that's often the case and I share this fine a lot of people that were not or mostly were raised in the church but only a handful that were not but I want to I want to share this with you is from Jeremiah chapter nine and I believe that every verse in every My will promise applies to every person how many you believe that today but there are some verses that either we have an experience with or they kind of do. Scribe the course of our life that are kind of like our versus on the believe that as well not that they're not somewhere else vs two but but that they just really speak to our situation and our circumstance and our history and the verse that really does that for me is Jeremiah Chapter nine verse twenty three and twenty four and when I first read this verse I was like wow that's that's the course of my life right there in two verses from my time before I knew Christ until now German Chapter nine verse twenty three twenty four and the Bible says this dust as the Lord let not the wise man glory in his wisdom let not the mighty man glory in his mind nor let the rich man glory in his riches now in my life I have come before I knew Christ. And even am ashamed to say at times of my life after knowing Christ Christ I gloried in those things my wisdom so called wisdom my so called Might and my so called riches but then verse twenty four is the beautiful verse it says but let him who glories glory in this that he understands and knows mean that I am the Lord exercising loving kindness judgment and righteousness in the earth for in these I am the Light says the Lord and so I could say safely say that verse twenty three describes my life before Christ verse twenty four describes my life since I met Christ and these verses are very very powerful so as I mentioned just a minute ago I did not grow up as the admin is and fact in Alabama there is not very many Seventh Day Adventists it all is only about twelve thousand members I think in the whole state and all in the whole Gulf states conference so that's Alabama Mississippi in the panhandle of Florida so there's a very few amount of administering. And those two states and so my family grew up as I was growing up my family had never heard of us of and they haven't as would have been like most people say in the seven what seven UP Yeah we drink seven up you know what we don't have any idea what an admin assist but about twenty now it's been about twenty little over twenty years ago my uncle my father's brother was a of alcoholic he was smoking pot he was drag racing he was doing all these crazy things and he thought all Christians were hypocrites as did my dead but he received a flyer in the mail for an amazing fax Bible prophecy some an hour and so it was in the just the next town over from where pretty much where we all live and so he went there and his life was changed in my my dad he kept trying to get my dad to go but my dad wouldn't go so finally my dad agreed to go one time and he said all these people ever want is money they just want your money all the time well the night he happened to go guess what they talked about and talked about Ty and so it wasn't the exactly the very best subject for him to go to but. But he was the very first Seventh Avenue to my family my aunt who had grown up Church of Christ she didn't go to the first few nights of the meeting but she was thrilled that she had been praying for years that my uncle would find God and and she was kind of a pretty lawless person every other word he make a sailor blush you know he cursed so much she would make a sailor blush and so after he went a few days you know week or so he came home and telling her all the things he learned and how excited he was then he started telling her about the Sabbath and she was like What in the world is he getting into here she said I better go with him to make sure it doesn't become deceived so she went to the rest of the meetings and at the end of the meetings they were both Mattheis in the Avenues Furch And then after that my cousin. Joined the church and then my other cousin joined the church and then he left the church for several years just because he want to do his own thing but he came back and he's now the head elder of the church our home church in Alabama and then his wife was baptized his wife's mother was baptized his kids were baptized and then about two years ago my sister was baptized and then my nephew's been baptized so now we have a whole lot of Aben a sort of family. But we're off first generation Adventists they meant I believe that any true Seventh Day Adventist should actually be a first generation Adventist. Event doesn't matter how many of your predecessors were rather than us even going back to why everybody ought to be a first generation some of the evidence on the can say yes and praise the Lord for that so that's kind of how my family was introduced Aben to his I'm so but growing up in an elementary school and other things you know we didn't know God my family was not a Christian family I had grandparents who went to church and I would go some with them to church growing up well as you know my last name is How person when I was in school when I actually had more hair my hair brother would use Daniel right that Arthur could use to oh this damn Arthur could you stand up brother and just like just just do this right here for us right here so everybody can see if my hair was about the color of his pants. OK you have gray see that maybe a little bit darker what I had fire red hair and my last name was peppers so that it really go over well in elementary school you understand and so I went to public school my life to my first experience with admin acidic ation was in a master starting a masters degree at Andrews and so I never went to. Any thing but public school went to a public elementary school middle school high school and university a state university I went to so I had a I have pretty hard time but the thing that always been at that in the was that I was the always the biggest kid in my class so if anybody messed with me too much you know I'd catch them by the back of the neck and in the back of the playground and take care of them so I everybody liked me you know because even though they kind of picked on me some it didn't take long for them to learn right so growing up I did go as I mentioned to church sometimes with my grandparents I remember going to make one grandparent grandmother was she used to go to the Church of the Naz reign and then my other grandparents were kind of like United Free Methodist or something and my one set of grandparents were actually in a gospel singing group and my uncle played the piano and my grand father saying the bass saying bass and they had a couple of the people in the group of my grandmother actually played the drums and so my grandmother was about this tall Joe and Alice Goodman was her name and she would be in the back behind that drum set going you know doing her thing and so I actually learned to play the drums which is not probably the best thing to learn as an administrate. And some of you may disagree and that's OK but we all have our opinions on that but anyway I wish like a white and I watch my uncle play the piano or I would have been great but anyway so I used to travel some with them. And that was really my only exposure to church as a young person so as I grew up I began to be very involved in sports and I played a high school football and I really wanted to might my ultimate dream in life was to become a high school football coach and a history teacher because I love history that I said if I could do that that would fulfill my two greatest love. In life to be able to teach history and also be able to coach football so I played football in junior high school and then in high school I continued and I became really one of the best well I was and still hold the record for the weightlifting by became one of the biggest and strongest football players in the state of Alabama which you know of Alabama's pretty prime picking for football right and so I said I was the first high school. Graduate to get a college football scholarship some going to show you some pictures now let me just back up here just a little bit the Bible says Let not the wise man blurry in his wisdom. Well when I was in high school and even in college I was of a very tough and the top ten percent of my class and I didn't have to do a lot of studying I just kind of pay attention in class but I I had high academics as well so I was probably going to get an academic scholarship also and my my. My my teachers all really liked me even though I caused a lot of trouble I could often get out of it and so growing up I played football in here I am in one night great that's when I had hair too bad that well I think I do have a color picture I weighed about two hundred five pounds as a freshman I was the only freshman in my class to get a letter for playing you know how you get a letter every year you know I'm talking about and then in tenth grade I weigh two hundred thirty pounds and I did something between ninth and tenth grade that wasn't exactly the very best thing I took this stuff my football coach played college football and in college football he took steroids Well I didn't take I never took steroids but he told me he said when we didn't have money for steroids. We would go down to the local feed store the cow feed store. And he said we would buy the stuff it was called calf starter anyone ever heard of this calf starter is basically you know you all know a collage from his right classroom is that first milk that mammals give their babies and it's full it's very full of has high protein high fat and high vitamins and so forth and it's that first milk that really gives that baby the boost it needs to be strong and healthy and builds immune system etc Well sometimes the calves will die while the mothers give the cows will die while they're giving birth to the calf so they created a manmade version of it and it's very high in all these saying the so they made it into a powder and I would and they would feed it to the calves and so I bought bags of this stuff and I used to take it I used to mix it in these big milkshakes with like like a half a gallon of ice cream and a half a gallon of vitamin D. milk in like five raw eggs and half a jar of peanut butter and about half a bag of this stuff and I would drink this thing every day is big old thing of smoothie and not the not an admin a smoothie you know and not the not the nice strawberries and soy milk I mean this stuff was like this stuff would give the cow a heart attack you know. And so I would drink this stuff and I just put on weight like crazy and so between my over the summer of my ninth and tenth grade year when I came back in to tenth grade everybody was looking at me when I walked through the door the like what happened this guy again like thirty pounds and I was huge and I was muscular and and they couldn't figure out sold as I continue to take the stuff that is a junior a weight about two hundred fifty pounds and by the time I was a senior I weighed about two sixty five now my my When I was a senior in high school. All my max bench press was for fifty five one hundred fifty five pounds so I was very strong and in fact my senior year I actually tore my pec tore a muscle I did the four fifty five I did it once then when I did it the second time. I just felt it was like it was like pins popping I just went put put put put and it tore a from top to bottom I still have kind of a massive scar from from it. And so I was. Very very popular like everybody in my small community knew who I was and they all treated me with they gave me like all these extra perks and all these different things I'd go in to little restaurant to eat mates all you don't don't worry about paying for it will take care of you going to a store and somebody would buy whatever I was buying for me and people everybody knew me everybody it was a small town you know and here's the big star this is our first this is our pride and joy is going to be the first person to ever play college football for us and and so here I am in my senior year and I was you know all state all county all area I had all these awards even as a junior I was all state there it is Birmingham News all state teen there I was I think that was when I was a junior I was about two fifty and I was in the paper with all the very best players and so I was you know I had a lot of things I had popularity I had you know good grades I had I was good in sports I had all these advantages and yet in my heart there was something missing and I didn't know what it was at that time I didn't know what it was but later I knew but I knew that I was going to have a promising future I was going to go to college and get a degree and have a good job. Of the same thing all the same things that I talked about this morning. I was going to have all those things right but I couldn't understand why do I not feel satisfied and why do I not feel whole so I just kind of continue through life well in when I was in about. Going from ninth or tenth grade all of my buddies that I went to school with they all started I had seniors that were friends as a ninth grader because I was such a good football player you know a lot of the seniors don't want to hang out with a freshman where they always invited me to go with them and you know what they're doing as they're older you know they're they're talking to the guys that are twenty and twenty one and they're buying them beer and alcohol and all these things we used to have these camp outs and they would invite me along and so I would go drinking with them and it first started to just be on the weekends but then it started to get to where I'd do it a couple of times a week and it eventually got to the place where I was actually bringing it to school every day and I had a little bottle that I would little flask that I would keep in my pocket of my jacket and I would bring it to school and even during the class when the teacher would turn her back to write something on the board I would just pull that thing out and just take a little swig So I became known kind of as the school alcoholic because people knew I was doing it teachers could rarely they never could catch me I don't even know if my teachers knew about it but I would school show up to school events I would be drunk and all these things and my coach became really concerned with me and about halfway through the tenth grade year and he called me into his office and he said look you have the opportunity to do something here that no one else has ever done from our school you could be the first person and school history to have a football scholarship and he says I'm appealing to you to put that stuff away and so I did I got rid of it on my own in my own strength I just put it away I focused on my grades I thought. On football and that's when I continued to get bigger stronger and faster I was again one of the biggest strongest football players in my high school well two things happened my senior year that really changed my life. And I thought they were well they changed my life for the bad but ultimately for the good the first thing is that I was being heavily recruited by multiple universities the equivalent of you know all been Alabama Tennessee major universities were recruiting me I was getting letters in the mail I was getting phone calls from recruiting coaches and they all wanted me to come to their summer camps and all these things and so. My senior year I knew I was going to get a scholarship somewhere so the fourth game of the season where we that we played was against our biggest archrival ever and it was a school about ten miles down the road and we never we would could never beat them like we always lose them every year but my junior year was the first year that we've ever beaten them so my senior year now we're anticipating beating them again because we have a very good team with a lot of other players and so my coach calls me into his office and he says they're the school that you want to go to it was actually I didn't really want to go to all those big schools I really want to go to this one school was about two hours from my house and it was not like like a really big school but it's just the school I wanted to go to he said this school is sending scouts to watch you tonight and he says and if you do well he says they are they've already told me they're going to offer you a full scholarship to play football for them and so I was very excited about that and so. I was planning to striving to have the very best game that I could have well every year we played this team it would just pour down rain and the rain would just pour in it it just seemed like a never. Failed we were always playing this team in the rain well this year there was no rain in the forecast it wasn't supposed to do anything but about two hours before the game started it just began to pour and it poor and it was pouring so bad that you couldn't even see your hand in front of your face that's how bad it was raining and they almost called the game off what about thirty minutes before the game stopped and with the field looked like a lake I mean there was water laying on top of the field and within five minutes of the game of the game starting even within two minutes the game we were all just completely covered in mud and right before half time I was I was played off and so the line and I was running along and the whistle blew the pray the play ended prematurely and as I was running I was starting to slow down and my foot stepped in this like a mud hole and when it did you know when you step in a mud hole it doesn't just pop right back out it kind of you have to pull and suction it but my body was still moving a full minute so my body went for but my foot stayed in the hole when it did I turn and twisted and I was probably from about here to the wall and my coach from my coach and he said he heard my niece Now he heard it pop and so I landed on my back and I was laying there and I knew something was majorly wrong but I didn't know what and all these thoughts running through my head so I got up I tried to go back into the game and I just could not put any weight on it so I went to the doctor the next week and and went to the Birmingham Hospital Herschel Walker was there at the same time I was there with you a bees a major one of the best sports medicine hospitals in the world so that's where I was and I remember you know not not very religious but very selfish person I remember thinking to myself Man I this is my. I just want to play football and I remember the they sent me down for the scan I was sitting in the room waiting for the results and and in Will and right before the doctor walks in I remember praying this prayer quote unquote prayer I said God if you really care about me if you're really interested in me if you have any type of of love for me please don't let my knee be so messed up that I can't play so I pray this little flimsy selfish prayer and like ten seconds later the doctor walks in and says you need has been basically shattered your torn your A.C.L. you have the damage your season's over you have to have surgery we're going to schedule it for next week you know this like. And so I immediately I thought to myself Well God must not what God must not care and so that was kind of like one of the one of the emotional or mental hits that lead me in a course of atheism and so here you have the actually the local newspaper. Where I played school the county newspaper wrote an article even on my injury and talks about me doing that and here I am this is after my surgery and I still ended up signing a college football scholarship and I played two years of college football at a school in Missouri called Linda with us of my principal my coach my parents my mother and father and my dad also played high school football almost played college football so here's a picture of the team that I played for later called the Lindenwood lions and we were N.A.I.A. the league and we were actually national runner ups we played in the national championship game that year and we lost but we were number two in the nation for our division and there is yours truly right there as a freshman in college noticed that model these guys are seen. Years and whatnot I'm just I'm as big as they are and here I was I have regained my strength after my knee surgery and I played two years of college football and then I ended up quitting and so that was the first event that kind of changed my life and and kind of made me have a knock towards gone the second thing was that when I was about sixteen. We found out that my dad had been cheating on my mom after twenty years of marriage she had been stepping out on her and he had a girlfriend and my mother when she found the South she kind of lost her mind and so she would come home from work every day had a sister who was five years younger than me so my sister was about eleven twelve and my mom would come home from work and she would change her clothes as she came home from work about the time my sister and I would get home she would come home change her clothes. And then she would go out until like ten or eleven a night running the roads trying to find my dad trying to find a who he was with and what he was doing and all these things so my sister and I were often left alone at the house and I didn't I didn't like my sister I had such I had such anger problems probably from that calf starter as such issues that like I was terribly in a horribly mean to my sister and like I would just push her down and trip her and I never like physically punched or anything like that wasn't like abusive but I was just mean to her and would make a ride the bus wouldn't let her ride with me I'd buy I go on a Friday and Friday night or Saturday night and I'd buy a large pizza or even two large pizzas and I'd bring them back to the house and I would eat them and I wouldn't give her any I would be like No don't touch my pizza I mean just just just mean and I used to like hold it down and just like dislike shaker. Or in like just like go like this and put a pillow on her and and she would get so mad that she would at times like run of the kitchen get a butcher knife and she would chase me around the house and when I got tired of that I would just turn around and grab or arm and just put her down on the floor you know not I weighed two hundred sixty pounds she was just a scrawny little thing but I just had my fill I was just mean I was not a nice person to it's a really very many people at all but we found out so so whenever we found that out those kind of built more anger in my heart and. I remember the time that my my dad I was with my mom and we we met my dad we kind of intercepted him and he was with his his girlfriend and my dad was sitting in the truck with with his girlfriend and. I had I had my mother had bought a pistol it was actually a few years later I had actually bought this pistol for her because. Because she they were this girl this woman my dad's girlfriend was doing very harassing things to us they poison our dog they would send people out at three o'clock in the morning to beat on our windows and on our doors and there was all kinds of crazy things that would go on in the mill in either house so my mom have this pistol and my dad sitting in the truck with his girlfriend and my mother and he are going at it in their cars and in this woman's yell and in costs and and I remember it was almost like the moment just like went to slow motion and everybody just everybody just stopped and I remember my dad just looking at my mom right in the eye and saying I'm sorry but I don't love you anymore I love her and when that happened like. In just a blink of an eye my mother lie. I was in the truck like she went through the window and like her half of her body was inside half was then going out and she was like trying to choke my dad and she was going for his throat and he's just flailing in the car and I had to grab her and pull her out and I remember that. She was going for her purse and she was reaching for that pistol and I had to grab her and pull her and I said to my dad you better get out of here because she's about to kill you and so he threw it in reverse and sped out of there and and so these were the kind of things this was kind of a regular thing many times there were things like this I was a young person so I had a pretty stable childhood but then it kind of went crazy and I remember thinking to myself often times that my friends I saw all their parents getting divorced and I always thought you know my parents would never get a divorce will hear the time came when I was about sixteen seventeen years old that they got a divorce and I came home one day found my mom laying on the couch and as she had done many times and she was crying and all these things but I notice that when I started to speak to her her speech was slurred it was it was messed up and I knew something wasn't right so I called my dad and he came over and talked to my mom and then he was going to leave and when he left I said so so what is it what are you doing what's happening and he said well she's a bit sick and I'm going to go and get some medicine I'm going to come back and bring her some medicine I'll be back in within thirty minutes or so I said OK so he left thirty minutes goes by doesn't come back an hour goes by he's not back hour and fifteen minutes he's still I'm trying to call him his phone is shut off Finally I call my grandparents because she's getting worse and they said Call an ambulance so I call. And then violence and they came picked her up and it turns out she had tried to commit suicide she took twenty five sleeping pills and was trying to go to sleep and never wake up but thankfully she survived they pump her stomach and she survived but later I discovered that my dad had she had told him what she had done and he and he confessed that he intentionally left her there at the die. Because he wanted her out of his life and he didn't want to be with her anymore and he wanted her to stop you know constantly harassing him and so I remember you know numerous times that he would make broken promises and he would tell my sister you know I'm going to come and pick you up and we're going to go do this and this and this for the weekend and she'd have a bag packed on Friday after school she'd be sitting there waiting watching out the window and three o'clock four o'clock five six seven eight he'd never come the whole week and time after time he did this and it created a lot of damage in my sister and myself but when that happened that was for me it was kind of like the last Fall and I confronted him and I said you know I really never want to see you again in my life and I said I said I will I said when you die I'm going to come to your funeral for the purpose of spitting on your grave and spitting on your coffin before they put you in the ground that's what I told them and so I told him that and I said I never want to see you again and off I went and I decided that at that point that I now didn't see him for about three years after that and I decided at that point that I. I didn't need anybody. I was going to do it on my own I was going to go to college I was going to get a good degree I was going to get a good job I was going to have lots of money I was going to do whatever I wanted to do and no one was going to stop me and I was. This going to live my life as I pleased I didn't care what anybody thought anymore I was going to do whatever I wanted to so I ended up playing those two years of college football and when I got into college my life kind of became even more of a living rock and I started to really drink alcohol again I got I was became very depressed I got to the place where I was sleeping in my college apartment and I would have five alarm clocks on the side of my bed and could not get up because I was so depressed and my roommates were beating on my i would wake them up in the next room they would come beat on my door I started drinking I was continuing to drink and I there were times where I would drink a whole case of beer of twenty four hours and well not really twenty four more like twelve hours and and it was just really absurd and really sad and I was addicted to pornography I was addicted to video games I remember once I play to this one video game for three days and two nights without going to sleep and so I just had this major addictive personality and I read later about a young man from I think it was Arizona or something that had played a video game for the same amount of time I did three days and two nights and he started having seizures and he died because his brain was over stimulated without rest you know they put those those warnings on the Neo games of compared to Caesar's and things so he actually had one and he died and I'm just Despite the grace of God that I didn't die so I had all these problems and I remember being in it was an American literature class I believe and we had we had a certain assignments in our literature book but I remember flipping through and I remember reading finding a series of letters not I've I really love history so I was always interested in history always reading things about history I remember from. In these series of letters in this book. Of correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. You know Thomas Paine is L.-Y. actually writes a whole chapter and I think it's a book early writings I think is where it's at in that word Seth and she makes the statement that he will rise in the second resurrection as the only I maybe she does of others but one of the few people that were she says like they're going to be lost she says that basically he was Satan's instrument the Satan stood over his shoulder guiding his writing and so I was reading. These letters and Thomas Jefferson was writing Thomas Paine all the reasons why he believed in God and why he believe in Jesus and Thomas Paine would write back all the reasons why he did in this series of correspondence you know in my piece little brain at that time due to my emotional trauma in my pain and my experiences and all the stuff you know we tend to feed into skepticism or when we're in pain because we think well why would God allow me to go through this when in fact he's typically using that pain to draw us to him right. Allowing those experiences to to strengthen us but anyway I didn't know any of that at that time and so when I read those letters I thought to myself yeah it totally makes sense that God doesn't exist it totally makes sense that Christ never existed and if he did he was nothing more than just a mere man and so I after reading those I started to read some other stuff as well I basically came to the conclusion that there was no God and I became a self-proclaimed atheist and when I did that my life spiraled down even worse. And you know the text in the book of Ecclesiastes days I think it is where Solomon says or maybe Proverbs I. I forget off the top of my head but he says basically that whatever I desire whatever my heart desires I did not withhold remember that you know that tax free says that he says I just did whatever I wanted to that's exactly how I lived my life I I went through woman after woman. I would be very permissive us and and just like. How do I say it without meaning to split it I was very damaging to people. And so I would like find women to satisfy the earthly flesh and then this never speak to them again I mean was just a horrific horrific lifestyle that I live alcoholic addiction to everything in my life spiraled down worse and worse and I had absolutely no purpose no satisfaction in life although I had everything that the world says you need to be happy and successful on my way to a good job I had a I had a good job while I was going to college by the time I was nineteen years old I had saved about twenty five thousand dollars for college in the midst of spending on anything and everything I wanted that was just in addition so I had a great job going to school was going to be successful and yet my life was still out of Mass and I was utterly miserable and I was missing something I didn't know so when I was about twenty two years old I made the decision that why even live why even live. And I thought to myself I think I'm just going to commit suicide I was so bitter The only reason that I didn't do it the same day is that I was so bitter and angry against my family. That I wanted to do it I wanted to think of a way. That I could do it such that it would make them feel guilty and responsible for my death for the rest of their life that's like how morbid I have done but I want them to feel what they've done to me and so I was thinking about how can I do this and it was like my life was so nasty that my mom who was just an emotional mess she had friends and coworkers that were trying to invite her to church to to get you know to try to find some healing and whatnot and I and I would tell my own mother I said look there is no god you're wasting your time don't go to some stupid church where they're going to steal your money and they're going to make you hoop and holler and do stupid stuff don't even go and she did it. She listened to her son and I drove my mother and even my own mother away from God of that time told my own sister there is no god don't believe in any god stupid and I hated Christians I hated I hated everybody and I remember like little students from Campus Crusade for Christ would come up to me and try to give me a little glow track and and they would leave in tears I'd start cursing at them and yelling at them saying get out of my face what are you doing is so stupid and these poor little girls who was trying to be a witness for Jesus I mean I would just brutalized them and so this was the life I was it my and I reached that place where I said I'd only the need to live anymore I'm just going to I'm going to be done with it I was twenty two years old. And so as I was thinking about contemplating how I could commit suicide and do away with my life these impressions started coming into my mind at that time I had no idea where they were coming from but now I know impressions started coming on why don't you study the Bible why don't. You study the Bible and the first time I had that thought I thought to myself Why in the world when i be having this thought to study the Bible I don't believe in the Bible's a bunch of garbage it's fairy tales of the ridiculous and I'm not going to study the Bible but the more I try to put it on my mind the stronger it became so finally I decided that I would view it to that conviction or that thought so the by when I said I'm going to study the Bible and prove it false I'm going to prove that there's no God I'm going to prove that he doesn't exist and that there is no purpose or meaning to life and then I'm going to just commit suicide and at the same time my uncle who had been a Seventh Day Adventist basically. Had. He had been the only positive influence in my life but I bait I also had told him look don't talk to me about God don't tell me anything about God you'll be sorry if you tell me anything about gone but he had been also impressed from God and he said look. I want to give you something and he says I know what you told me he says but I feel impressed to give this to you need gave me some amazing facts Bible study guides and I took those Bible study guides and I just looked at them and I looked at him and I thought Matt it's really weird how he didn't he hasn't talked to me about God and long time I told him not to but then all of a sudden he's given me these things like just a few days after I agreed to study the Bible riot just thought it was really weird so I looked at them and I looked at him and I looked at it for a few minutes and I just shoved it in my bag and I laughed I said all right I'll just take it and I just left so I went back to my college apartment that was about an hour and a half away I used to go home a lot to visit my family and stuff and go to my college apartment and the only bible I had at that time. It was like an old Bible that my grandmother had given me years ago and you know you just don't ever throw anything away grandma gives you right I mean I still have this box of stuff that all my grandparents had given me so I pull out this old Bible and I'm like knocking the dust off of it and I start to do these Bible study guides amazing facts twenty two years old alone in my college apartment and as I studied the Bible I was studying the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation right those things those prophecies that so many administers day are quick to want to get rid of. Some of you know this to be true and most of the time the people that I know that are trying to get rid of them are the ones that have actually never really studied them they've never really studied them out for themselves and seen how powerful they are they just they just hear about the beast and all these things you know they found that people always say I'm going to I'm going to get off on a side note for about a minute OK I'm going to get on a hobby horse for about a minute OK but I promise in a minute I'll get back OK. But you have these you have you have so many add the NIST and they say why do we always have to put beast on the fliers Why do we always have to do prophecy seminars Why can't we just do a twenty five Night series on Jesus and I said and I always say to them well when they do a prophecy seminar I thought that's what we were doing we talk about Jesus like every nine and I say why don't why can't we put a picture of Jesus on the front when they've done that and they find that no one comes when you do that because when you put a picture of Jesus on a fly you mail out and say come and hear a story about Jesus' love for you it looks no different than the Baptists one. And of somebody who is not an ad the necessity is going to look and we're going to say am I going to go to a Baptist church or an administers which when you think they going to go to the God of the Baptist church. Which And the Baptists who sees his flyer in your flyers going to say I'm getting this in my own church why would I go over here to somewhere church I don't thing about right so they're not going to go to that was been proven that it's the beast flyers that brings the most people. They've actually done studies on Issa to sticks on it so so the reality is this why is that the case is because people are going to come to something that they're not going to get in their own church and people are going to come who are not church because they want to know what's happening in the world and prophecy is the only thing I tell the and then you tell them about Christ in the meetings that make sense all right now and think about that for just a minute I think I'm done so we're going to go back to the story so I was studying prophecy and I thought I was a very huge skeptic I was skeptical of everything and if you wanted to prove anything to me you better like go like over time showing me the evidence for it and you better do it quick and fast and in a hurry so I'm like thinking if I'm going to believe the Bible I better see some hard core evidence that it's not just a book of fairy tales but it can be trusted OK so I open eyes I'm studying Daniel revelation I'm seeing these prophecies come alive and I'm seeing how God revealed world history thousands of years in advance and that he basically says like for instance just an example the Daniel two statue how he predicted the world events thousands of years before they happen and after the death of Daniel and I thought to myself How can this be and I checked all the dates and I checked all these things and I found that Daniel really did die before it all happened and it blew me away because he was one hundred percent accurate Revelation thirteen the rise of the United States and they all all made perfect sense. I was just like man I never knew that that this book the Bible could speak to modern times the way that it does and I realized very quickly that it wasn't a book of fairy tales but it was a book that spoke even to the age in which we live now very significantly and once I had that cause I studied some archaeology and I studied since some science and other things that creation science and to lead me to reject the idea of evolution and I came to the conclusion at over some time that the Bible had to be true I remember the moment I was at a crossroads I said look I have all this evidence that the Bible is true I'm either going to believe it or I'm going to reject it but how can I reject it when it makes more sense to me than anything else ever that I've ever seen so I may I remember that day that and made a conscious decision that the Bible was true and I was going to believe it OK still had not accepted Christ yet I just was at the place where all the Bible is a credible book I can believe that I can trust it I know that it's word of God I know at this point that God exists but I have not yet and Conner a savior I wasn't countering him but I didn't know it right so then I went to the Gospels and I started to read the Gospels in the first and the first year including the time I backed in the first from the first time I started studying until about a year just a little over a year after that point I read the New Testament about fifteen times and I read the Bible the Old Testament a couple two or three times and I as I was reading the Gospels I began to encounter Jesus and I began to see his perfect holy life I began to see how unselfish and how loving he was and I would NEVER him forget reading Matthew chapter twenty seven about the crucifixion of Christ. And what all he experience just so that we could have he took what we deserved so we could have what he deserved and I remember seeing that and the more I learned about Jesus the more I realize how sinful I was all those times I thought oh I was right and everyone else is stupid and and all these things like they just began to heap upon me and my guilt began to escalate its like the Pilgrim's Progress from Christian has this burden on his back right it just kept growing and I realized how much this person Jesus how pure he was how powerful I just how amazing of a person he was and I wanted to I wanted to accept the invitation that he offered me but I didn't think he would receive me home of you've been in that situation before we think to ourselves I don't know who we see me but then here's the other verse I told you there were two verses the other verse is John chapter six. John chapter six and verse thirty seven John chapter six in verse thirty seven I was reading through the Gospels I had read Matthew Mark and Luke and now I was in John and I came across this verse Matthew chapter six or thirty seven and Jesus says all that the father gives me will console me I'm the one who comes to me I will by no means do I will by no means cast down and I thought man that verse is the most powerful verse that I could ever read and I realized then that if it was all really true if it really was true that there was no way Jesus could not accept me and take me and that very day twenty two years old my college apartment I knelt down trembling I mean I remember. I was just like overwhelmed and I and I think at the same time I was reading I was doing one of the I was doing some kind of study guide on salvation and made an appeal to accept Christ and I remember I started shaking like I was visibly shaking like this and I started to weep and it was like my whole body was shaking on the inside and I fell down to my knees and I knelt beside my bed my ass Christ to forgive me and to and to accept me and I accepted Him by faith and no one did Bible studies with me no one no one came and knocked on my door I didn't go to AD been a hole by I wasn't in the Campus Crusade for Christ it was just meet God in the Bible and Christ reached out and spoke to me and at twenty two I gave my life to the Lord and I remember I remember when I was that the weight of all that sin I was confessing that sin like crazy and I was just spewing out all the things that I had done in my life and pleading with God to forgive me and I don't even know how long it lasted but it was a while and I was does weeping and crying before the Lord and but then when I when I reached out my face I had really no evidence that God was even hearing me but I just said I believe what you said I believe your promise to save me and to forgive me and when I made that confession it was like the Peace of God just flooded over my soul and that burden was lifted and I knew that Christ had forgiven me but I had to grasp it first by faith was in a feeling that came at Cill I access size the faith that makes sense and so when I got up I will Lord knows I was a new man I've not been perfect since that time you can ask my wife she knows I'm not perfect I'm being sanctified like everybody else but let me tell you all those. Habits just dropped the way I quit drinking I quit smoking I quit chewing I quit. Smoking cigars I never looked up to not refuse since I all these things just fell by the wayside because Christ was the first thing in my life and I would like to tell you that it was all peachy and happy since then but I'll tell you that I have endured more trials more heartaches and more difficulties as a Christian than I ever did as a non-Christian because the Bible says and yea all those who desired to live godly lives in Christ Jesus what will suffer persecution you know after I became a Christian my family kind of thought a lot went off the deep in my dad numerous times came down on me I remember my college graduation was on a Sabbath morning because it was a state university ten o'clock seven morning and I got the letter in the mail and I was like oh. And I only had to think about it for a second and what am I going to do I'm either going to go to this thing and honor myself or I'm going to do what God asked me to do and honor him and so my dad ridiculed me in front of my whole family because I would not walk down and receive my the plough on the Sabbath and I said Dad I'm not asking you to understand what I'm doing I'm just asking to respect it so there were there were numerous other things I could tell you but God worked a miracle and I went to Africa Oh and he gave me five thousand dollars within a week after I prayed and applied to go to Africa five thousand dollars came into my hand and I was broke I was like on food stamps my last semester of college all my money I had spent on two wishin and my last semester I had nothing and my family didn't help me and I had to go apply for food stamps and then I remember going to the store and seeing the soy milk on sale and I bought like ten things of it because I don't know I told you that as part of my. Head but anyway. But like but like God has blessed me and my dad yelled at me he was like you need to just go out and get a job why are you going to go to this stupid school and and he says don't expect any help from me and then a couple months later my dad bought me a vehicle to drive out to after I mean just miracle after miracle and I'm going to N S to really want to talk about this and here I talk about everything else but in two thousand and nine I was diagnosed with cancer testicular cancer and they thought that they actually before they thought that my doctor thought it was some kind of infection and so he gave me some antibiotics when I went on a mission trip I was teaching an Afro at that time amazing facts and took my students on a mission trip to Honduras and every day I was preparing my sermons for nineteen days in a row I had this cancer didn't know it was cancer and I had this horrific pain all day long and sometimes it was so bad that I had the I had to hold my stomach and as lay on the bed and and I would prepare my sermon all day in the Spain we would ride down on the bus forty five minutes down the mountain into the into the city I would go to my church and I would be sitting there on the front row while they saying the songs and gave the announcements and all the stuff in pain and when I stood up to preach every night the pain went away while I preached and after I shook the last hand and got in the car the pain would start again and every day it was like this from one thousand days in a row we baptized like twenty seven precious people one man was a was one was a hundred one and baptized this old man had never been baptized I was so afraid it was going to break and he was just all wrinkled and when I came back they. They diagnosed me with I went back and I had a tumor that was growing and end up being about the size of my fist and I had to have surgery and I had once I had surgery they found that it had spread up into my lymph nodes my chest and abdomen so I had to have chemotherapy Well after my first chemotherapy treatment my immune system bottomed out and I ike ended up with a septic infection and I was at work and I was teaching and my I don't remember is Zirkle here Jonathan here he's sleeping he's taking a nap OK he must have had a hard week maybe he's in here sleeping somewhere and I put him sleep but. I I I ended up. As I was teaching like my legs began to get stiff and I began to turn like this gray color and I started blacking out and I went up into my office and got all these medical students here going like this like trying to figure out I laid my head down on the desk for about two hours and I was really cold but I could hardly move finally I found somehow drove home I think the angel drove me home was I didn't remember it I came in my front door I almost fell down the stairs I was blacking out I called my doctor he said go immediately to the E.R. and I had this infection when I got to the E.R. They rushed me N. checked my vital signs I had one hundred four temperature my heart rate was through the roof it was like one eighty my blood pressure was fifty five or twenty seven my white blood cell count all your medical students and what was zero point two So it was it was almost basically nothing and I was blacking out because my blood pressure was so low and they put me rushed me immediately up to reverse isolation I.C.U.. And they put me in reverse I.C.U. were they all where a mass coming in they put they put an I.V. in each arm and put a central line in and they were just filling me full of fluid because my white blood sound like the cell count was so low that they couldn't I guess track the infection so they were just pumping me full of fluid so I'll show you this picture here I am this was me before the chemo treatment. So I took the treatment chemo treatment was inpatient I was there for five days I had three different chemicals and then I got out and like I was good the first day then the second day is when I checked into the hospital so this was like just a few days after I got out and this was me the next day after that night and it was you could see like look at my stomach there and then look at my son I was like full of again like forty pounds of fluid overnight and here's some pictures of me this is this was a few days later you can see I have a little hair and then my hair fell out I was like wiping my head in the eyes had a handful of hair and had to be on oxygen they tried to get me up out of the out of the bed and they put me in a they put me in a chair and then they all left and my heart rate just kept going higher and higher and I don't know why to the stag Yes I had to be the infection but my legs basically became paralyzed I couldn't even move I couldn't even lift them one inch off of that and they were so sore sore even almost to the touch and so I was laying in the bed and they this was initially when they tried to get me out they had to get me back in and they didn't try that again. So I ended up with pneumonia while I was there they didn't think I would make it through the first night. And I finally made it through the night my mother in law actually my family did. Even fly out there that any of the Comm my mother would call and be yelling at me on the phone and I'm like I'm like dying I'm like literally dying and she's like yelling in the cussing at me my dad never called at all and and like I just had to hang up because like my blood my my my my heart rate was going up I thought I was going to have like a heart attack he's yelling at the sides hung up on ER and I had to like just call myself down and I was in and out of consciousness all the time but my my and I'm giving you kind of the shorter version but my my students at that time that we had about sixty students and after a session they came down to the hospital and they did a prayer walk around the hospital and they did it seven times you know like Jericho and then they at the end of that at the end of that day they gathered in the parking lot and they were in a circle they had one final prayer and they said that while they were praying there was a white bird that was circling over them and when they finished praying it flew away and the that was in an evening and the next morning when I woke up I had this massive pocket of stuff it was a mass on my side it was real it was really weird looking like Saif I and the nurse I called the nurse to look at it and and she she said all honey is just so she says I say you should probably see this she said oh it's just from your fluid you know you'll be fine I said not really could you just look at so she came over and her eyes got big and then she called the doctor and he came in and his eyes got big and then they rushed me down to surgery and what had happened I guess that infection had pocketed in my hip and they were able to cut it drain and. And then they then they did the lab testing and they knew exactly they gave me a specific antibiotic and I and I began to recover like immediately like I began to get better like within twenty four hours I was feeling better and I believe you know I believe in modern medicine and I believe that God was also working God works through that prayer to bring that thing to a head so they could figure out what to do next and so I began to get better but here's me when I was getting a little bit better but you can see I mean like I was by the time I got I got through that part I was like an eighty year old man I was on oxygen. I had not could not have did not get out of bed for almost three weeks I was using a bed pan all these things and I had to basically really learn how to walk I was using a walker and I remember going into the bathroom with this Walker and this oxygen tank behind me looking at myself in the mirror and looking like an eighty year old man I was just like just all withered up and and small and this is when I started to get feeling a little bit better you can see a little bit more life there and my wife was there and all these people thousands of people around the world were praying for me and this was my this was my first day at home after that and you know I'm laying there and I just bent I was in I.C.U. for like eleven days and and like I'm laying there they transferred me finally to the bigger hospital my and my oncologist came to visit me and I'd just been through this horrid experience I was going home like the next day and he says you know he says let's you go home for a week but you have to come back in a week and continue your chemo because if you don't your body's going to go resistant to it if you don't continue it I'm just thinking Are you kidding me like at least give me two weeks so I went home for a week I'm back I went. And I had three more rounds of chemo and I thought that it was a I thought that I was getting I thought to the first round before I got sick I thought I'd add on to what people complain about this was nothing but I didn't realize that it gets progressively worse as you do it and I was getting sick and having all the vomiting and stuff. But I'll just tell you a couple stories before we close or probably going over here but. One of the near you know having thing else to do with sadness like what are you going to do. Already had your nap. You know. I said my son my from my church members are like really itching to get out the door at noon and I'm like What are you going to do they go into the going to work or something come on so anyway. This nurse was in there and I remember the first couple nights I had this oxygen. You know the machine to monitor my and my oxygen rate and you know whenever you're not getting enough oxygen it would start beating you know and it was super annoying and I already had not had any sleep and it's it would be better if you just as I would start to fall asleep it would be and wake me up and the nurse would come in and say you say Mr Peppers you need to breathe more deeply and this happened a couple of times and ya'll it's like two in the morning I'm just like you it's like on edge because you haven't slept and you're sick and all these things and so she comes in again she says Mr Peppers if you breathe more deeply the beating will stop and I'm just thinking how many times can she tell me the same thing you know and so finally I just semi snapped at her and I said man I'm breathing as best as I can and the thing still goes off every time I try to go to sleep it's going off I can't breathe anymore when I'm sleeping I don't know what I'm doing. And I could tell. Like it really hurt her and she just kind of like a left and you know in the middle of the night it was like three in the morning. There was a it was this very same night. God began to speak to me and and I almost forgot to mention this I don't know how but you know. From different time zone I guess but. There was a moment in the midst of all that and this was I think this was the night before the students came to pray that I realized that my life was hanging between heaven and earth like it was hanging between having a like like I recognize I was talking a little bit about this this is one of those moments I told you about I realized that that there was nothing that anyone on the earth could do for me like all the doctors at that point time that they had they didn't know what to do They were just trying to keep my blood pressure up and keep me alive. My wife couldn't do anything for me no one could do anything for me. And I knew that if if God didn't intervene I was going to die I knew. That was probably the first time I came to that realization. And and I and it was it's a weird feeling because you feel the separation from Earth because normally in every problem we have there is someone that we can talk to we may say well we don't have anyone but there's always someone even if it's a homeless guy you talk to I mean just you can tell somebody a problem they can at least sympathize with you or give you ten bucks or take you to eat or something and there was utterly nothing that anyone could do for me and like I was going to die and it was like just hovering between heaven and earth and I remember praying to the goddess of God If I'm going to die let me. Let your let it be somehow. Glorious to you. And I said if you don't intervene I'm going to die but I'm pleading with you to intervene I'm asking you to intervene. And that was the day before the day the students came and prayed in the next day God gave the Iraqis a breakthrough and I learned to ask the question while I was sick not why is this happening to me but how can it bring you gory What can it do Lord to bring you glory and when I started asking that question in the midst of my trial God began to answer that prayer almost immediately he began to send people to me that I could witness to that I could talk to even in the midst of my sickness and since that time I've told the story here I'm telling it to you now all across the world and I remember this nurse that the Lord spoke to me and he said. Are you going to despise. Those whom I have sent to save your life. And I was just like overwhelmed with conviction and she came back in the room and the Lord was like I want you to apologize to her. And I said OK I will but not not right now maybe in a little bit. And he said no I want you to do it now and I sit in this is this is like three thirty in the morning right and she's on the night shift and I was like nah not do it later and he says no now and I said no later and so she did what she had to do and she was on her way out and she tried to open the door and the door wouldn't open like that like no joke the knob was like jam and she couldn't get it open and she was like gentling it like this and and She Was Just got this weird look at her face and I said. I think I know why you can't get. Thank you as she looks at me in a so I said I just want you to know how sorry I am for or what I said to you I said and you know I'm a Christian minister and that's not the way I should talk to you and I want to know I'm sorry I just I had to have a sleep and I would and I was just this was a good moment I'm poly Gys and I she started to cry and she said I really needed to hear that thank you and she said I appreciate that and I want you to know that I've been praying for you this is like. I said I'm just really sorry and it was just like a healing moment for both of us and then when she went to the door it opened right up. Can you imagine then so one of the answers to prayer was that this man here Eugene I was in the room with him in the bin hospital and he had either kidney or liver cancer or something like that but he had only a few weeks to live and I talked with him and he he asked me what I did and I'm a minister although most of them and he says he said I used to go to the Seventh Day Adventist Church I said you did he said yeah every year they had a Christmas play my wife was a member of the said He said I was the voice of God in the Christmas play and I said wow I said well what kept you from going continuing as becoming a member he said well just life got in the way of law Bonnie and he started to cry and he said I I I got far away from God and my life just got busier and busier until basically a recent place where I forgot God. And he said Now I only have a few weeks to live he says and I feel lonely and I feel all alone I don't know that God would accept me and so we visited and I and I gave the gospel to him and I shared with him that God hasn't for saken in that he once and I share with him I think that text that I read to you and he regained his. Life to Christ right there in the hospital before he died and the next day I got out and I never saw him again I don't know what happened but he was rejoicing that he had known Christ again Amen and then I'll tell you one more story and we'll close but I know friends that that God intervened I know. But in the room next to me. They brought in a man who was my exact same age at that time twenty nine twenty eight twenty nine one I was I turned twenty nine right before I had the action I was twenty eight was first diagnosed I turned twenty nine and this young guy had basically. Lost all hope somehow and he took pain patches prescription narcotic pain passes and that you would put on in or they would last what four or five days or something a week or something how long so I mean two hours and he took like thirty of them and he chewed them up and swallowed them one by one he chewed them and swallowed the juice and then he swallowed the past and then he drank like a fifth of liquor and he wanted into a coma and they brought him to the hospital and all this family were there and I could I was laying there in mine near death and I could look through the window and see the sheriff came in all these things and in a after he went into a coma never recovered he died. And I thought to myself Here I am twenty nine years old fighting for my life and here he is twenty nine years old fighting for his life and the thing that drove him to where he is at is because he had no hole. And I thought to myself you know like what would happen what would have happened. If a Seventh Day Adventists had reached him before he got to that place and told him about price and the whole day he he may not be in this place and you know we never know our life is always hanging by a thread as an enemy we can wear but thus word we're just our life is but the Bible says a hand brush to cycle it's here one day can be gone the next we're never guaranteed the only breath we're guaranteed is the one that we just took. We're not even guaranteed to finish the one we're taking now. And this man dine. And just this year. I did a funeral for. A young man who was a church member son thirty seven years old Exactly my thirty seven. Just like a month and a half ago I did the sooner he was thirty seven he had gotten drunk gotten in a state of despair and shot himself in the head committed suicide I had to do for him my age two weeks later one of my church members who had cancer died was exactly mine my father's age. About two weeks after that a sister of a church member died and I did that funeral exactly my mother's age so all within a month to six weeks I did a funeral for someone my age my mother's age and my father's age and it was just an eye opening experience for me and I'll tell you this last thing and then will close but I remember when it was all said and done and I was better I thought to myself I thought to myself you know God has saved your life and I was so thankful to God I was very sincere so thankful to him I just wanted to worship Him and be in his presence and and labor for. Him and win souls for him and I was so sincere so think before God done for me but I thought to myself you know God saved me because he's chosen me to preach the gospel for him he's chosen me to spread his message he has a special plan for my life and I don't doubt that that was the case I don't doubt that that's true but I was reading this a letter like I don't know Also a couple months after it was all over and I was back kind of back to normal you know by the way I the doctor said it would be at least a year before I went back to work because of the trauma that I went I went back to work a month and a half later and I preached an evangelist a series and went on a mission trip the same year I taught in Africa class and God had other plans and then the doctors could not believe how rapidly I recovered I mean they were just in shock my my whole case was the study of the whole hospital U.C. Davis up in Sacramento California they studied my case for a long time and they kissed were just blown away and I actually didn't even have to have my last chemo treatment because of the cancer head eradicated which is not a hard cancer to eradicate but with all the trauma I went through it was really rock us and so I was reading this letter in L. White wrote had written a letter to a man who was had also been on his deathbed. And God had miraculously spared his life and raised him up to life and now she was rebuking him because he had not then. Zealous for the Lord's work as he should have been and he was getting kind of like almost distracted and kind of lukewarm in his experience again as she writes this to this man and she says something on these lines he says. You assumed that God had. And raised you up and healed you because he had some special work for you and you kind of flattered yourself thinking that there was something some sort of special or honorable virtue in you and that's why God spared your life she says but she said the real reason was because Satan was at your bedside. Ready to take your life. She says But you were unprepared to die. And she says and God spared your life because you were not ready to die. And in His mercy and in his compassion because of his virtue he saved your life that you might have a second chance to to live for Him and to give yourself to him and when I read this I was like This is my exact situation and I just began to weep and I think I cried for like two hours at my desk just sitting there I just couldn't stop crying thinking to myself oh God spare me because he saw something special in me or something of virtue but it really was and as I reflected back I realize that it was true for me that I was not ready to die. And Satan was at my bedside trying to kill me and I was unprepared and God in His mercy raise me up so that I might give my heart fully to him. And that broke me and that changed me and I realize now that my life is nothing outside of the will of the Lord and I would be dead many times over if I had not if I had not given myself to him and I think the same is true for all of us God in His mercy spares our life in time and time again that we may live for him and we may give ourselves to him and that we mail. How him to do a work in us and through us and friends this life is so short it's but a probationary period and we ought to be giving ourselves to him wholly and completely and then wherever we're at in the trials of this life whatever our trials are whatever our difficulties are we can think God that he uses them to bring us closer to himself and then we can thank god for that and in eternity we're going to see how many times we should have died but he spared our lives so that we could yet still prove ourselves and not prove ourselves in our own works but we could we could receive him more fully and allow him to take fuller control of our hearts and then so whenever we're in the trials of the law of this life let's not ask the question God why is this happening to me well let's trust that all things work together for good now listen that doesn't mean all things are good. The Bible is a say all things are good as what it says All things work together for good some things are bad really bad and as the attack leave it but God allows you go through because he knows that with his strength he can take you through it but not just is not just about getting through it it's about having fruit from it and that it's alarming got to develop fruit in us that makes us wiser than makes us more Christ like and allows us to have an experience in which we can in a sister to others and draw their hearts towards him and that one of you want to have that experience today so my appeal question to you is this. Will you allow Christ to be your source of strength and your trial today I don't know what you're going through today but the Bible tells us and second Corinthians that he is the God of all comforts and he comforts us and all are. Tribulations there was not one thing the any of us has gone through that Jesus has not experienced that he cannot bring comfort to our hearts in the midst of our you think for that today and in the midst of him doing that the Bible tells us in that passage that he comforts us that we may comfort those who are in any trial with the same comparable with which we ourselves are confident by God And so God allows us to go through these things either for our salvation or for someone else us not that we're saved by trial but we're learning the lessons to be saved through those days I mean to think well for God loves us that much Amen you want to give your situation to him this afternoon you want to do that so I hope that this been a blessing to you encourage me and say you friends Jesus is coming soon he believe that we want to be ready for him we want to give our lives to him and you may be here in Loma Linda but there's a lot of people here that need to know Christ our sister right there seventy eight years old coming to the Lord and coming to the church next in the next couple of weeks there's lots of people other people even long lives even students maybe even faculty on the university campus who don't know the Lord amen and we need to be witnesses and lights for him letting him live within our hearts and shine out to others around us Amen Amen you once say Jesus shine in me and let's pray Father we thank you so much for this opportunity to visit together this afternoon thank the Lord that you are the all saving God of your hand is in your hand is power and life and Lord you told us that when we know you we have life and I pray today that for each of us Lord that we would know you intimately that we would have the burning passion of our desire would be to know you the God of our fathers and the Reza. Direction and the life and Lord that we would be resurrected from our sins today that we would break them off and that we would take you by the hand in faith trusting in your grace and your blood to cleanse us and to empower us to live godly lives in this ungodly age and I pray today for each person here that whatever they're wrestling with whatever they're going through Lord that you'll just blast them you'll strengthen them board you'll encourage them help them to know that they're not forsaken they're not abandoned but Lord you are trying to teach us lessons every day. And if we can't learn them the easy way which we often don't lord that you will sometimes bring on greater trials because you love us and off to put us through anything whatever it takes to save us so we're thankful for that today praise your name we loved you we love you because the first love. We ask your blessing. 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