From Resistance to Resolve
I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home and saw numerous godly lives lived out in front of me. Yet, like many who are raised with great wealth, I took it for granted. Though never questioning God’s existence or whether or not He could save someone, I was not interested in it for myself.
While growing up, there were times when the Holy Spirit would convict me and I knew I should pray. At one church service in particular, I was feeling such heavy conviction that I told an unsaved cousin of mine I would go down to the altar and pray if he would. He refused, so I did as well. After that, I was able to drown out the voice of the Lord more easily. Eventually I did not feel His conviction anymore, and then became bitter and at times even angry that I had been raised in a Christian home.
When I entered adolescence, I started to try things I never expected to try, and did things that I had never thought I would do. It was not long before I was bound by sinful appetites and habits that were out of control. But thank God for His faithfulness! When I was only fourteen years old, the Lord helped me realize that my life was spinning out of control. I was becoming increasingly miserable and unhappy, and the Lord showed me that if I did not yield myself to Him, I would make a wreck of my life. I also understood that by continuing to resist the promptings of the Holy Spirit, there would come a day when He would stop calling after me, and I would be eternally lost.
That summer, on the second Sunday of Portland camp meeting in 1983, I finally knelt by my bed and surrendered my life to the Lord. I told Him I would do whatever He wanted me to do, if only He would take out the sin and give me peace. I still remember the moment the Lord came in—what a change took place in my heart! Everything became brand new in that moment. My motives and desires were transformed and my filthy mouth was cleaned up. I was a new person!
When God sanctified me it felt like I was cleansed again. I also felt a deeper desire to be part of God’s family, and sensed a unity with His people that I hadn’t felt before.
After I was saved, the Lord put a hunger in my heart to seek the deeper things of God. About three or four months later I gave my first public testimony, and after the service, as I prayed at the altars and sought to draw closer to the Lord, He sanctified me. It was a very definite and real experience. Even though I was already saved, when God sanctified me it felt like I was cleansed again. I also felt a deeper desire to be part of God’s family, and sensed a unity with His people that I hadn’t felt before.
The day after I was sanctified, I went to school and saw one of my friends in the hallway between classes. He came to my locker and then looked inside it and commented, “Your locker is so pure and holy.” His comment was unusual and unexpected, but it was another confirmation to me that the work God had done in my heart was real, and others could see the difference God had made.
The hunger for more of God was still in my heart and I continued to seek Him diligently. Many other young people around my age were also digging in and seeking the Lord, and it was wonderful to have the support of my peers around the altars. We had some great prayer meetings, and on one of those occasions the Lord filled me with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Those around me said that they had heard me receive the witness of speaking in tongues, but I did not actually hear it for myself. However, I did not want to doubt what God had done and I believed that He had completed the work, so I claimed the experience that night. Yet, truly my desire was to have an unquestionable assurance in my heart of what God had done, and at times I struggled with the fact that I hadn’t heard the witness for myself.
A few years later, after my family had relocated to Woodlake, California, God definitively resolved the matter for me. After a Thursday evening church service, I told the Lord that I wanted to have that experience settled in my heart. I even told Him that if I had to start over and seek it as though I were seeking for the first time, I was willing to do that. The Lord did not require that of me; He just gave me the witness that I needed and confirmed beyond any doubt that the work was done.
My wife, Rosie, had grown up in Los Angeles, California, and we met during some of the combined church events in California. We realized that we were right for each other and were married in 1993. A few years later, the Lord began calling me to be a part of the ministry. At a Portland camp meeting, God drew that consecration from me, but I did not tell anyone about it until the following year when my pastor asked me if I felt called to preach. That was around the same time that our first daughter was born, so there were a lot of new things happening in our lives, but the Lord has always been a match for every situation.
Fifteen years ago, when our second daughter was born, the doctors told us right away that something was terribly wrong with her.
Fifteen years ago, when our second daughter was born, the doctors told us right away that something was terribly wrong with her. They sent us to an expert who said she most likely was suffering from a rare neurological disorder which would cause her health to deteriorate until she would eventually die, probably by the age of two or three years old. They also told us there was no cure for this condition. However, many prayers went up from my family and the saints of God, and the Lord undertook. She is healthy today!
At the same time that our daughter was diagnosed with an incurable disease, a doctor also discovered the early stages of ovarian cancer in my wife. He said that after a couple of surgeries, she would have to undergo chemotherapy. Once again, prayer went up. We placed our trust in Jesus and stood on His promises. The Lord undertook miraculously for her as well, and she never had to endure one day of chemotherapy!
I am so thankful that when things come along to try our faith, the Lord is there. He has been better to us than we deserve, and it is my purpose to serve Him faithfully in whatever capacity He calls me until He returns or takes me home.
My testimony started the first day of my life. Because of complications during birth, the doctor told my parents that I had brain damage, but prayer was made by the church family and the Lord healed me completely. I grew up hearing this story, and it encouraged my faith.
Both of my parents were Christians, and my dad was the music director in our Los Angeles, California, church. They brought me up to know the Gospel from the time I was born. When I was four years old, I told a lie, and consequently I felt terrible guilt. After church one night, I went to the altar and asked Jesus to forgive me and come into my heart. After I prayed, my guilt was gone and my heart felt clean. I knew that I was saved.
A few years later, I heard someone testify that after being sanctified, God took away his bad temper. I felt that I also had a bad temper, so at home the next day, I talked to my mom about that testimony and asked some questions about sanctification. After my mom’s explanation, the Lord showed me that I needed to be sanctified. My prayer was not long or complicated. I knew sanctification was something God wanted for me, so I simply believed God would do it, and He did. I still remember how clean and good I felt on the inside. Though I was still young, the Lord really did change my nature.
It was only a couple of years later that I realized my need for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I felt such conviction for it that many times I continued praying in bed until I fell asleep. I was not yet in junior high school, but God is no respecter of persons and my heart was open to His call. He was drawing consecrations from me that would set me apart for His work, and I was dedicating my life fully to Him. After a few months of seeking, I received my baptism at youth camp, and felt very close to the Lord at that time. Shortly after, when I was twelve years old, I started playing piano in church. The following year there was a need for Sunday school teachers, and my twin sister and I both started teaching.
I was told that to have a successful career, one must set goals and work relentlessly to achieve them. It is true that goals are good, but I missed an important step—allowing God to set my goals.
As I grew up and began to grasp more fully the commitments I had made to the Lord, I had to choose to continue to follow through with what I had promised. The Lord kept me through grade school, high school, trade school, and in my career as a court reporter. He also blessed me with a Christian husband. However, during those years, I became too focused on the things of the world. I was told that to have a successful career, one must set goals and work relentlessly to achieve them. It is true that goals are good, but I missed an important step—allowing God to set my goals. Instead, I strived for the things others said were good. I wanted to make a lot of money, buy a house, have kids, and on and on. I had my own plan for achieving those goals. I chose to travel in order to make more money, and that caused challenges in my marriage. I did not leave the Lord, but my job required a lot of traveling so my church attendance dropped off. My daily devotions became sporadic, and my heart was not in it like it had been when I was younger. I worked extremely hard in my career and had a measure of success, but the result was not what I had been hoping for. I made a lot of money, but I spent it all and there was never enough for everything I felt I needed.
During the same period, I felt God asking for a consecration which I was resisting. Earlier in my life, I had started listening to secular music. At first I did not see the harm in it, and I liked the way it made me feel. Perhaps because I was saved so young, I was naive to the dangers of worldly entertainment. I did not realize that music is very spiritual and can have a huge impact on one’s relationship with God. I knew that type of music was not good for me, but I grew to love it.
In His faithfulness, God used circumstances to draw me back to my first love. A minister I knew failed the Lord, and when I found out about it, I was shocked. I asked God, “How could something like this happen?” In that moment, God showed me that if I didn’t give Him the consecration He was requiring, I would end up backslidden too. He showed me the type of person I would become without Him in my life, and it was awful. The person I saw was worse than the worst sinner I had ever known.
At that moment, I realized why I had to surrender every part of my life to God—it was for my own good! I asked forgiveness for my stubbornness and for resisting His prompting for years while He waited patiently for me. This experience was so real to me, I wondered if I should start over and ask the Lord to save me again, but He just required that one consecration from me. I told God I would give up listening to secular music, and I asked Him to change my heart so that I would not love it anymore. My prayer was, “I want to love what You love and hate what You hate,” and God answered that prayer. He gave me a loathing for the music I had previously loved.
After I made that full surrender, my relationship with God became so sweet that I have never wanted to go back.
After I made that full surrender, my relationship with God became so sweet that I have never wanted to go back. I felt that I had been set free of a worldly trifle and again had the pure love that I had experienced as a new Christian. I stopped trying to set my own goals in life and finally asked God, “What do You want me to be doing?” He put my life in the right order.
In 2003, our second daughter was born with a terminal form of spinal muscular atrophy, and the same week, the doctor told my husband and me that I had ovarian cancer. Although the news from the doctors was shocking and difficult to bear, I remembered all that the Lord had done in my life. I remembered how the church family had prayed and the Lord had healed me in the first days of my life. My husband and I called the ministers, and our daughter and I were anointed and prayed for, and many others from church prayed for us.
God heard those prayers and worked a miracle! Our daughter started moving her arms and legs, and in time the Lord healed her completely of that disease. Today she is a healthy teenager. I underwent the recommended surgery, and afterwards the doctors said, “We don’t understand how, but the cancer did not spread and we were able to get it all.” They concluded that no further treatment was necessary, and today I am cancer free.
This past year, the Lord called our family to move to Portland, Oregon, and we have been blessed as we answered that call. I have so much to be thankful for! We serve a mighty God who is greatly to be praised! Everything good in my life is because of Jesus, and by God’s grace I want to dedicate the rest of my life to Him.