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Disregard Voices Saying God Rejects You

From: Alexander
To: The Path of Truth
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2016 12:51 PM
Subject: How to tell if Jesus restores you

Paul and Victor,

My name is Alex. I just turned 25 last week. I live in Chicago.

Growing up I went to a large non-denominational church in the suburbs. Big light show, positive message, preaching “basic salvation” of accept Jesus into your heart. You probably know the type.

Anyways I went to this church growing up, got baptized at 10 (mostly to be able to eat the crackers with the adults in service) and went to church camp and some short mission trips in Jr. High and High School. Didn’t have much in the way of a relationship with God or Jesus. The Holy Spirit was an abstract concept to me, and not a real person. I believed in the sense that I really didn’t have a good reason not to, because everyone around me, my family and friends and church community believed. So I didn’t have srong convictions about it. Didn’t really pray or read the bible. Pretty much jumped into trouble as soon as I could in high school by drinking and smoking and chasing girls, and was mean to my sisters and my parents since puberty and a jerk to a lot of my peer group – basically I never really ever tried to obey Jesus’s commands. But I had enough of a fear of Hell not to totally blaspheme.

As I got later into high school, ages 16-17, I was starting to doubt the whole thing. Stuck somewhere between not really willing to believe it with my whole heart and soul but not railing against it thinking there was a better “explanation” of the world out there. As I fell into more circles that scoffed at the idea of church I didn’t want to mock it but I wouldn’t stand up for it. I felt like the church just had this same controlled play of up and down of emotions with lights and music. Felt very fake a lot of the time. Never witnessed any miracles or people filled with the Holy Spirit. I read some apologetics books but they didn’t seem that compelling.

In college and after I was heavy into drinking and drugs and fornication. Never really renounced the Gospel or converted to another religion, I just tucked it under a rug in my mind. Was somewhat hostile to the church environment I grew up in, but as far as believing in the Gospel fell firmly in the “I don’t know and I don’t want to think about it” camp. Didn’t think about it. I was just hedonistic for the most part. Didn’t go to church very often, mostly on breaks from school with family, but went sometimes on my own. Partly from tradition, partly from trying constantly trying (and failing) to clean my act up, and partly from feeling drawn to some truth there. I occasionally prayed to God when things got dark in my life.

That went on from late 17 years old to late 24 years old. This summer, when I was 24, a light turned on in my head revealing how real God is, and how real the Gospel is, and the truth of it all. It was just a revelation, like a lightning strike, and now I can’t think of anything else besides getting right with Jesus. I’ve read over half the Bible, realized the truth of being baptized in the spirit (which is what I realize is missing from many Christians), and the severity of the Gospel. It’s like reading a different book from what I remember – the general message growing up being “God loves you, don’t worry about sin it’s all forgiven if you believe, cast your worries on Jesus.” I quit drinking, smoking, doing drugs, masturbating, hanging out with most of my friends, watching porn, gossiping, slandering. I feel drawn to study the Word everyday and draw closer to the Lord.

My big problem is I can’t shake this feeling that I apostatized based on the scriptures. That I had some shaky form of belief, and walked away, and Jesus can’t forgive me. I have a history of anxiety and dwelling on the very worst a scenario has to offer though and I can’t tell if that’s clouding my judgment based on a few pieces of evidence that God has not let me go:

1) I’ve felt God calling me to the Gospel with a strength and clarity I’ve never felt before. As the Bible says, none come to Jesus unless the Father calls them.

2) I’ve prayed and, through grace I believe, been able to conquer sins – particularly lust and sexual immorality – that I’ve tried for years to get over in my own power and never been able to and 

3) I was praying one day to God, out loud, driving in my car, to please let this revelation be the good seed in the parable of the sower and to give me comfort in my fear of losing God again after He found me (this was before I was really thinking of apostasy). 5 minutes after I say Amen this car pulls right in front of me with the license plate “MK IV” (with the space between “MK” and “IV”) and I IMMEDIATELY think Mark 4 and that there’s something in that chapter God wants me to see. I pull over and look up Mark chapter 4 on my phone and it has the parable of the sower AND Jesus calming the storm telling his disciples not to be afraid and to have faith. I’m not one to think everything is a sign from God, but to me that’s just too big of a coincidence to think it is earthly. While license plates aren’t exactly a biblical form of God communicating with His people, I don’t think He would play a joke on me like that if I was truly lost, and that this could be a way of saying He’s not done with me?

Anyways you can imagine the state I’m in now, pretty much just praying to the Lord for every ounce of mercy He has available for me, that I may have a chance to be His servant now if it’s not too late. I’m stuck between wanting the truth and afraid that if I get the indisputable truth, and it’s not what I want, that it will pretty much destroy the rest of my life on earth in addition to eternity.

Is there a way to know that Christ has restored you before you get baptized in the Holy Spirit? That is THE outward, obvious seal of God’s people according to the Bible from what I understand, but I’m in this spot where there’s a constant voice in the back of my head that says “you’ve trampled the blood of Christ” that’s really taking power out of my prayer in the sense that it’s hard for me to believe He is listening to me.

Thanks,
Alex

From: Paul Cohen and Victor Hafichuk
To: Alexander
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2016 7:03 AM
Subject: Re: How to tell if Jesus restores you

Hi Alexander,

Cutting to the chase, you say: “My big problem is I can’t shake this feeling that I apostatized based on the scriptures. That I had some shaky form of belief, and walked away, and Jesus can’t forgive me.

You weren’t a believer in any shape or form until recently, when God, by His grace in Christ Jesus, gave you true repentance that turned you from your sins and gave you the power to no longer be chained by them. You readily admit and know this to be true, so you can stop worrying altogether about the past. Even if you were a believer, God has granted you grace. Who can deny it? 

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning” (James 1:17 MKJV).

Walk in God’s gift; don’t look back or question it. 

“But working together, we also call on you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says, ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and in a day of salvation, I helped you;’ Behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2 MKJV)

Paul and Victor

From: Alexander
To: Paul and Victor
Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2016 5:16 PM
Subject: Re: How to tell if Jesus restores you

Paul and Victor,

Thank you for your response. I am praying to the Lord to teach me to carry my cross everyday, and for baptism in the Spirit, and I am praying for a growing and continuous faith and repentance.

I will pray for you and your ministry. Your writings have taught me that things that I think are from me, like faith and repentance, are actually gifts from the Lord. He is glorifying Himself through those gifts, and not me. 

When you pray, do you pray to Jesus or do you pray to God? I have heard to pray TO the Father, THROUGH Jesus, IN the Spirit. And in the New Testament, Luke 11:1-4, Jesus addresses the Father in His prayer.

Alex

From: Paul and Victor
To: Alex
Sent: Sunday, September 11, 2016 7:06 AM
Subject: Re[3]: How to tell if Jesus restores you

Hi Alex,

Jesus is God. When we pray to God we’re praying to Him. Read You Can’t Explain What You Don’t Know and all the writings in Jesus Christ Is God.

You’re right that faith and repentance are gifts from the Lord that glorify Him. And there is only one of Him:

“I am the LORD; that is My Name; and My glory I will not give to another” (Isaiah 42:8 MKJV).

“So says the LORD, the King of Israel, and His Redeemer the LORD of Hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and besides Me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6 MKJV).

Paul and Victor

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