| Prayer Request with Testimony and Warnings.|
Even before I begin, I want to preface this with a massive apology. Please, please forgive me because this will no doubt be a very lengthy post. I know people hate long posts so if you don't read it, I understand! If you do read it, surely there must be a great blessing stored up for you in Heaven! This will be the most difficult thing I've done in decades because I'm a very, very private person who has faded into invisibility in this world. I don't talk about myself. Other than this site, the only other site I signed-up for is YouTube (with 100% fake information for privacy) just so I could collect sermons into playlists.
But, I am fighting the biggest battle of my life and I'm desperate for prayer. Yet, I know it's so inconsequential in light of the troubles most people are going through. If I were to compare my hardship to anyone else's, I would be so ashamed and too embarrassed to speak up. But I'm that desperate for prayer.
I was the quiet goody-two-shoes kid no one liked and picked on. I became a Christian when I was 17 when a 19 year old girl drove me around for four hours in a very tiny town and told me about Jesus. I remember feeling like if there was snow outside, it would have melted for miles around me because I felt so different. I was then baptized because it was “an outward showing of my inward faith.” Sadly, American Cultural Christianity set in because I was never discipled. Christianity was just something that happened and then it was done. You just tried to be a good person and check-off the daily boxes of giving, reading the Bible, praying, not swearing, etc.,
I turned 50 years old this month. I have no family whatsoever and was an embarrassment to them anyway. I grew up very rural and VERY naive in a house of strangers called a "family." I was scared of my dad who worked on the road most of the time and, when he came home, was belittling and abusive emotionally and physically. All my mom did was yell. I never heard the words “I love you” or was hugged by my parents. I was made to feel worthless and always had to prove myself. To this day I always feel like I have to prove myself worthy of being employed, liked, a friend, etc., Actually, I received my first hug when I was 18. It was from a total stranger.
When I left home, I had ZERO knowledge of the world. I wish I could adequately describe it because it’s the truth. By God’s grace alone, I fumbled my way through two decades with no plans, not even knowing I was supposed to have one. People always thought I was an oddball in the world. I never wanted other people to feel the way I did so I was always “a good boy.” All my life, even today, people tell me that they’ve never met anyone like me.
In my 20’s, I moved to a big city, made a friend who took me to his church, and I became part of his group there. I attended regularly for the first time. Unfortunately, it was a Word of Faith, money-cometh-to-me type church. (I never cared two hoots about money. I was there for the friends.) I tried getting involved but the leadership of the church was a popularity clique and was brutally critical of anyone not in their immediate circle of power. But, the group of friends I had were close and I loved them. Eventually, that church fell into such drama it should have been renamed The Days of Our Lives Church of The Young and the Restless. As a result, everyone in my group of friends eventually left the church and then I did, too. But not before I was beaten to a pulp by the leadership. Losing my friends and being deeply hurt by the church, I never attended another one regularly. I tried other churches, but felt 100% ignored. I wanted to talk about the service but no one else ever did. Everyone was always in a hurry to go out to eat, watch the game, or had plans. I met people with Sunday faces and Sunday Christianity. I had questions and wanted to talk about Jesus but that just made me the weird, religious one that no one wanted to talk to.
Having no self-worth at all, I was one big walking scar of hurt and confusion. I was a good boy, so why does everyone keep rejecting me? Finally, I became a recluse. No friends. No church. No social life. Just existing. Work and home. For two decades.
In 2002, when I was 36, I came across a sermon on YouTube that was an hour long! A whole hour! At that time, videos were only 10 minutes long so to commit to watching an hour long video was pretty big! It was the infamous "Shocking" video by Paul Washer. After watching that video, I was literally shaking and scared to death! I felt like I got hit by a bus. Something in me told me he was telling the truth and I started watching every Paul Washer sermon I could find. I started waking up to what true Christianity was and, even though I was scared, I wanted more. That's when I found SermonIndex. It had JUST started. I devoured sermons by the hundreds for at least a year. I spent more time on SermonIndex than I did doing anything else, including working or sleeping.
I was thrilled! I had joy! I learned that I'm not a weirdo for loving Jesus and wanting to talk about Him! I wasn't a freak because I wanted to talk about sermons and scriptures! But, I was still hurt and deeply scarred. I wasn't going to risk getting hurt again by going to church even though every fiber of my being was crying out for fellowship! So, I stayed a recluse. Slowly the joy faded because I was alone with no one to talk to about Jesus. Ever since then, I tried filling that chasm of pain and loneliness with head knowledge from watching literally thousands of sermons. The Holy Spirit was trying to get my attention but I was too dumb to recognize it.
I still had head knowledge "Christianity" and joy wasn't lasting.
One day, in 2013, I was taking the bus to work and something in me “snapped.” I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t continue to live like this. I was tired of being counted on to do everything for everyone else and getting nothing in return. I was a lake with so many rivers and streams running out of it but had none flowing back in to replenish me. I finally had nothing left to give and felt dried up. When I got to work, I quit my job at the beginning of winter! I was living paycheck to paycheck and only had enough money to pay two month’s rent and bills. That’s it. Knowing this, I still preferred risking homelessness in a place where winters are harsh and I would have nowhere to go. But I didn’t care because I was at the end of my rope.
For eight-and-a-half months, I live on miracles. I never once asked a soul for money. I was denied ANY help from the state. My phone stopped ringing completely. It was just me and God. Even though all I had was head knowledge about Christianity, I prayed in belief because I knew God kept His word. Through His sheer mercy, God came through every month with exactly the money I needed to pay my bills. This is where my being naive came in handy because I never once questioned that God would take care of me. In fact, during that eight-and-a-half months, I only left the front door of my apartment three times and that was to go across the street to a corner market for a couple of grocery items. Otherwise, I lived on whatever food I had in my apartment. By the end, I was down to eating half a cup of expired oatmeal or rice every two to three days. One day I realized that my phone didn’t ring for months and I that I hadn’t spoken a word for four months. Everyone who called themselves my friend abandoned me within a week because they were afraid I was going to ask them for money. They were uncomfortable with my being unemployed.
I didn't have the strength or the desire to even try to help myself. I wasn't ready to find another job. I did nothing but watch YouTube sermons. It was during this time that I started growing up and losing some of my naivety. I realized that I had wasted my life, wandering through it without any thought. (I realized it was because I never thought I deserved anything so I just took each day as it happened.) I realized what Christianity really was, mostly by watching SermonIndex videos. But I also realized that my view of God was rooted in how I saw my earthly father. I was utterly afraid of being around him because he was always mad at me and looking for a reason to beat me. I didn't WANT a personal relationship with God. Why would I? Surely He wanted nothing to do with me by now either and I couldn't bear going to Him just to be rejected by Him, too! So, I stayed stubborn and comforted myself with head knowledge and more sermons.
Even though God was merciful and showed the most amazing grace to take care of me during those eight-and-a-half-months when I was a shut in, I started wondering if I was really a Christian after all. I truly believed on Christ and I understood what my baptism meant. But, there was no personal relationship with Jesus. Watching sermon videos had replaced prayer and reading the Word for myself. But no one would ever suspect that of me.
Today, I find myself with two friends - a 90 year old Catholic woman who lives across the hall from me and a 33 year old non-Christian that I work with shampooing carpets occasionally. I've heard for years that there's no such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian and HEED MY WARNING that it's true! This is NOT the will of God for His children!
Here is why I want prayer and where I stand now:
1. I don’t know if I’m really a Christian and that scares me to death. I can honestly say that all I want in the world is to live out the rest of my time here to His glory, regardless of the cost. I want to know Him and walk with Him as close as any human being can possibly do this. I have no ambitions or desires for myself other than this. I strongly feel a battle raging within me between this desire and actually sitting down to open the Bible. I'm tormented in my mind: “What good will it do? I’m the biggest joke and failure. Literally NOBODY loves me, not even God. He’s got to be so mad at me that He’s sure to punish me if I dare speak to Him! I couldn’t bear that right now. I’ve failed Him and wasted my life and now time is so short it’s too late.”
2. I want to feel loved. For just once in my life, I want to be loved. I've never heard those words spoken to me. I want to belong somewhere. I would give what little I own, or ever will own, to have just one Christian friend and a church body to belong to and be a part of. I don't care about fame or money. Recognition that I exist would be enough. To belong somewhere where I can serve behind the scenes to help others and build them up is enough.
3. Most of all, I want to feel loved by God and be assured of my salvation. I feel guilty even wanting this because I don’t want to live by my emotions and needing to “feel” things to know them. But I know I have very deep scars that need to be healed. Writing this post is the scariest, most painful thing I've ever done! I'm still not sure if I'll click "submit" or not. I need to renew my mind but the battle within is raging. The guilt, shame and condemnation is unbearable but I WILL NOT live this way anymore. If I can't know Jesus so intimately that I can hear Him whisper in the midst of a storm, I would rather just die and be done with this world. (I assure everyone that I am NOT suicidal! Please know that!)
I have the head knowledge of what the word says. I “know” God loves me. I “know” He’s not mad at me. I “know” Jesus took all of my sins and shame on the cross. I “know” condemnation is not from God. I have ALL of this and much more in my head but it hasn’t reached my heart! I DO believe everything in the scriptures but I’m in unbelief because I’ve NEVER known anything but the opposite of these things in my life, so I don't know how to RECEIVE them. No one has EVER told me they love me and I've had to prove myself to everyone my entire life. So I struggle with believing His promises and goodness are for me because I've been a complete failure at proving I'm worth anything! Most of all, I’m petrified that I’ll hear Matthew 7:21-23 spoken to me!
If I could only have one thing, even if it meant I never left my apartment again, it would be to truly know and love Jesus for who He is and to walk intimately with Him! I want to fulfill whatever it is that He’s called me to do on this earth. I don’t want to stand before a heap of ashes from burnt wood, hay and stubble. I don’t want to be in heaven by the skin of my teeth! I want to be fully surrendered, fully consecrated to Him. I want to be so close to Him that He wants to bring me home like He did with Enoch! I don't want to be wicked and ask for a sign that He loves me so I can "feel" it. But the enemy has my brain so messed up that I even question my own motives. I FEEL the battle raging whenever I try to reach for my Bible!
I mourn for the wasted decades! I'm ashamed! But, if it's possible, I want the rest of the time I have on this earth to be so ON FIRE and BOLD for Him that Satan himself hates my name! The way I see it, I have NOTHING else to lose! What is my life anyway? Why am I so wicked to think that God can't love me after wasting my entire life? Why can't I receive His love?
I just have so many questions! Am I saved? Do I need to be baptized again? I don’t want to be trapped or deceived into stagnation anymore! I’ve been rejected my whole life. It never bothered me coming from the world, but when it came from other believers and churches, I couldn’t bear it anymore and I withdrew entirely. Now nobody knows I exist so I wonder if God’s fed up with me, too, feeling like I’ve abused His grace, mercy and forgiveness too many times that He wants nothing to do with me! I’m so tired of being alone and scared and the pain is too much!
So please, please pray for me. I want to experience His love. I want to KNOW that I'm saved. I want to persevere through this battle going on inside me. I don't know how to be more honest or open about this. I don't care if everyone here knows how stubborn and wretched I've been my entire life. I just want to be free, to be clean, to KNOW Him and serve Him with everything I have!
It took every ounce of strength I could muster to write this, yet it flowed out of me like the Red Sea closing in on the Egyptian army. I’m so sorry this is way too long. I know people hate long posts. I’ve just never felt so desperate and forgotten. If nothing else, please learn from my example.
| 2016/4/28 19:16||Profile|
| Re: Prayer Request with Testimony and Warnings.|
Brother Keith, that is one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever personally read, sad thing is, I doubt you hold any patents on the life you have endured. Brother, I will not just keep you in my prayers, but I will pick out certain things that you are in need of answers for. I have never liked the words "I will keep you in my prayers" I like to pray for individual things a person is in need of, and point them out to the Lord. Brother Keith please jot this down in your heart, Jesus loves you, and so does Mr. Bill.
| 2016/4/28 19:31||Profile|
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After reading this I have little doubt you are truly His and more loved than you can ever imagine.
I'll be praying brother. Thank you for sharing your heart.
| 2016/4/28 19:45||Profile|
Phoenix, Arizona USA
| Re: Prayer Request with Testimony and Warnings.|
Brother Keith, your deep desire to know Him more will surely be fulfilled. You are loved.
| 2016/4/28 20:03||Profile|
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I love you man
| 2016/4/28 20:10||Profile|
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Brother thank you for your very powerful testimony. God has been refining your heart for him and His love for you endures forever. You are loved and you are undoubtedly His and saved for a very special purpose.
I know that mountain you are climbing concerning your earthly father. God brought me through many valleys and a whole lot of fire before my heart was able to forgive and be free of that oppressive burden of fear. But He did it, and through love and forgiveness, mercy and grace He filled my heart with love overflowing for that poor earthly father I had. After He delivered me from that place of fear I was no longer timid to go to Him, step by step (it was a process) Now He’s my safe place to run to, my safe place to be each moment, my fierce protector and gentle, loving. kind and amazing Father. He will never leave you nor will He ever forsake you.
I too will pray for and stand with you believing you will receive all the best our Father (yours and mine - hey we’re related :) has in store for you
Loving You Too
| 2016/4/28 21:03||Profile|
| Re: Prayer Request with Testimony and Warnings.|
My dear brother Keith! I love you so much and am extremely glad to "meet" you!
The verse that came to my mind as I read your deeply heartfelt and precious post is Psalm 51:17.
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."
Brother, if everything you wrote about yourself is true, which I don't doubt for a minute, then I believe with all my heart that you are extremely near and dear to the heart of our Father, and fully His.
The fact that His grace abounded to you to the point of your being able to post your amazing testimony and prayer request is earth shatteringly huge to me. I dare say it smells like the fragrance of revival!
Wow, I cannot remember reading a post on here where someone was quite at the end of themselves as you sound (even though I don't doubt others have been).
Keith, as the reality of Father's 100% pure love continues to wash over you through cyberspace (by the Spirit), watch out! I am hopeful that you will be healed and "revived" to love others around you with such a fragrance of Christ that His Kingdom and more healing will spring forth from you like a calf leaping from the stalls! (Malachi 4 is on my mind).
His love is contagious! As His love fills your heart, like a sponge gets filled with water, my prayer is that you will be "squeezed out" over others that need His love as well!
Your honesty and transparency is exceedingly refreshing brother. Even though you may "feel" empty, you are not! God's love is totally at work in you! I not only hear it, but sense it in my spirit. I'm not lying when I say His love has washed over me today through your post and I know there is a lot more where that came from, by His power!
Wow, I did not expect to write this much, but I guess you pulled it out of me brother. I hope my rambling encourages you in some small way!
By the way, if you ever want to talk, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to share my phone number with you too if you email me. I cannot promise when or how often I will be able to speak with you, but my spirit is very willing!
That said, I know Jesus Himself will provide you with all the fellowship you need as you continue to open up to others like you have here. Go for it brother! You are on the earth for such a time as this!
With sincere love for you in Christ,
| 2016/4/28 21:37||Profile|
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Dear brother your act of faith (posting this) has yeilded immediate fellowship, encouragement and brotherly love, not to mention the testimony of your life has stirred the hearts of many other saints reminding them of what humility looks like:)
So thank you for sharing your testimony and for seeking prayer, giving us the opportunity to praise God for what He has already accomplished in you.
Tho this may sound crazy, and it may be ha, I'd say you're in and have been in a special place with the Lord and hope He continues to ripen you in the shade;)
If you've never read this, I hope it blesses you as much as it did me-
Leonard Ravenhill mentioned it in a sermon and a saint posted it here on SI a few years back;
If God has called you to be really like Christ in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility and put on you such demands of obedience, that He will not allow you to follow other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.
Others can brag on themselves, and their work, on their success, on their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.
The Lord will let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hid away in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice fragrant fruit for His glory, which can be produced only in the shade.
Others will be allowed to succeed in making money, but it is likely God will keep you poor because he wants you to have something far better than gold and that is a helpless dependence on Him; that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day - out of an unseen treasury.
God will let others be great, but He will keep you small. He will let others do a great work for Him and get credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work you have done, and this will make your reward ten times greater when He comes.
The Holy Spirit will put strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.
So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do what He pleases with His own, and He will not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle you in His dealing with you. He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and let other people say and do many things that you cannot do or say.
Settle it forever, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that others are not dealt with.
Now, when you are so possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this particular personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven.
| 2016/4/28 22:06||Profile|
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Keith I love your testamony and also you ....
Sounds like god has put some pure powerful desires in you ,and he has some amazing plans for you ,don't lose heart , a bruised Reid ,will not be broken by God, he will heal you ,your time is comeing ,when the enemy comes in like a flood the spirit of the lord will lift up a standard ,he will shield you ,he will use you life as a way to mold a special piece out of you ,a sangtfied vessel, made from special clay , and fired in the oven ,,you will become a strong vessel ,that wil not break under the hardest stress,
God wil use this vessel to perform special duties,that he can't perform with other pieces he has made . The presence of the lord will be your portion in a greater the usual measure .....
Labour to believe ,speak the truth ,and his will be done on earth as in heaven ... Your time is near ........
| 2016/4/28 23:40||Profile|
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Your testimony has moved my heart because I too suffered from being a lone ranger Christian for years. I did not reach out and engage people because I basically didn't like myself and figured others would reject me if they got to know me. I'm convinced that many guys like myself got into difficulty because of failure to develop a healthy identity during my teen years. My dad suffered from poor self image and I interpreted his lack of involvement in my life as rejection. I acted out by getting involved in drugs and alcohol. It was drop-dead easy to live that lifestyle with other lost individuals trying to fill the whole in their heart that only Christ can fill. Well, I sowed my wild oats and reaped a whirlwind.
It sounds like you know a lot of perhaps good Christian doctrine and instead of acting out in rebellious behavior, you have chosen what could best be described as dead, dry orthodoxy. Straight as a gun barrel and just as empty. You go through the motions of being a Christian but it is based on PBA, Performance Based Acceptance. When you keep the rules you feel that your relationship with God is good, and when you slack off or fail, it is bad.
Many people have a hard time believing that God can have UNCONDITIONAL love for them. They did not get unconditional love from parents and the image they have of God the Heavenly Father is patterned after what their dad was like. You need more than anything to believe in your heart that God is FOR YOU all the time, even after you fail. You will never experience intimacy or union with Christ unless you know God loves you always. Remember, your faith in God's love for you is not based on events or circumstances in your life. It based on the naked Word of God. Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Change starts on the inside and works itself to the outside. When you are rooted and grounded in the love of God your behavior will change for the better. Do not put the cart before the horse. Focusing on the outer cup (making your main focus on behavior) will not bring about transformation on the inside.
You need two things: 1) a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Without this you will burn out as a Christian. Instead of putting out feelers to see if people like or accept you (you will be disappointed with this approach) you need to get your love need met by Jesus Christ himself. I am not saying to become a hermit. Good Christian friends will come after you not only have your love need met by Christ but you will have love in abundance to give to others. If you come across as too needy or pitiful or pathetic, people will keep their distance from you. They can't fill a black hole of neediness. Also, people can pick up your feeling of not liking yourself. If you don't like yourself, nobody else will either.
The other thing you need is to anchor your identity in Christ. Reject all thoughts of being pitiful, pathetic or unlovable. This is done by faith and takes time. Remember, you can't and won't get everyone to like you. That's fine. Don't take it personally or obsess over it.
These are things that have really helped me overcome social isolation and allow me to become transformed into the person God intends me to be. I am still in process. Life is a journey not a destination. If you fall down, don't take it too hard. God is FOR YOU all the time. You can start over again wherever you are.
| 2016/4/29 0:31||Profile|