I’d been a visitor to many different churches in my years growing up and eventually I became  a member of a non-denominational charismatic church.   Although my personal life was very busy, I did manage to get involved in a number of different ministries that I enjoyed.  I developed some very valuable friendships and had some marvelous experiences.  I had to become born again to become a church member. Therefore, I believed that I was born again because a few times I had prayed the, “Sinner’s Prayer,” asking Jesus to, “come into my heart,” to be my Lord and Savior and forgive me of my sins.  I had even been baptized.

But through the years, I always felt there was something, “missing,” something that wasn’t quite right.  I figured it was my lack of faith, or perhaps a troubling relationship that was dogging me.  For years my mother and I had a loving, but contentious and challenging relationship which always caused me a great deal of anxiety.  Incidentally, if you knew me, you knew my anxieties.  I was a well-known, “worry-wart,” from way back.  When I was younger, my teachers teased me about it and when I was in college my friends created a song about it.  Although one of the main tenets of the Christian faith was that one should have complete trust and confidence in God, in this case, my mind was in total defiance.  It was a bafflement to those who knew me that I could trust God for my eternity but not for my day-to-day life, which didn’t make any sense.

As a young teen, I was introduced to the occult through horoscopes, astrology and the Ouija board.  In time as I got older, my interests expanded to include psychic readings and books on witchcraft.  I’d even taken a college course on Satanism where the satanic bible was required reading.  I eventually found that this realm was nothing to play around with.  I started having weird experiences of seeing objects move without their being touched, seeing floating orbs and other phenomena in the darkness of my room as well as having troubling, recurring dreams.  And in addition to this, I also carried around a “spiritual corpse,” of guilt, regrets and anxiety that I could not get rid of no matter what I did.  It was always there in the background, if not in the foreground, tripping me up.  I called it a corpse because I likened it to a dead corpse that was tied to my leg that I had to drag around.  My mind was always churning with tension, worry, frustrations, helplessness and hopelessness that I constantly fought against.  I needed help to make all of this stop.

So I looked to the church for freedom.

From the leadership of the church I attended I sought answers as to how to get free from what I felt was a demonic grip on me.  The answers I found did not satisfy and I was given the impression that the clergy didn’t believe that the enemy could actually harass people.  So, I started trolling Christian bookstores for books on Spiritual Warfare.  I’d read through and purchased as many as I could.  Many of them offered different types of prayers against the workings of the enemy—none of which I found particularly helpful, but I kept searching.

I began to visit different churches that featured deliverance ministries, most notably those that were actually accustomed to dealing with the enemy.  One church had the congregation do various things like walk through salt, or drink, “blessed,” water, they dispensed vials of “blessed” oil to anoint objects in your home, etc.  And although this particular church advertised its success at freeing people from curses and difficulties in their lives which was evidenced by new jobs, cars and houses, it never did a thing for me.  I continued to seek out deliverance ministers who, in the end, simply could not help me.  I only found myself going deeper into the hole from which I sought to escape.  I wouldn’t find out until years later that it wasn’t my anxieties, troubles, or my dabbling in the occult that was the issue.  What I had were only the symptoms of a deeper issue. I had the mistaken notion that my being, “born again,” meant that the devil could not touch me.  But I learned that I’d had a, “false conversion.”  I was never truly born again.  THAT was the problem.  But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

One night, I decided that I’d try just one more time to find a deliverance-“something,” and looked online and saw the name, Pam Sheppard and the word, “deliverance.”  I clicked on it and never looked back.  It was the best decision I’d ever made!

Pastor Pam does not play.  She takes these matters very seriously and comes out like gangbusters!  The first thing Pastor Pam took me to task on was my need to follow Paul’s admonition to, “examine yourself to see if you’re truly in the faith.”  After a simple review based on questions she asked, I had to admit that I was not.  I soon learned from Pastor Pam that mine was a false conversion.  I was not Born Again—no matter how many times I’d prayed those prayers.  This realization was very sobering, and of course, the first thought was, “oh no, I’m goin’ to hell—I’m not covered, I’m doomed!”

This, though, was just the beginning.  As a result of this revelation, she advised me to stop going to church, stop reading the Bible and to stop praying!  This was radical!!  But it made sense because I had to start from ground zero.  I had to be stripped clean of all my religious practices, ideas and beliefs and start with a clean slate.  She patiently worked with me along with a coach, that she assigned, to guide me through various videos on just what was going on in the institutional church and what Christianity had developed into.  I had to unlearn a lot of mixed and false doctrine and misinformation. I finally know and understand that there is no such thing as currying favor with God by the amount of money you give to the church, there is no such thing as being more spiritual or closer to God because you speak in tongues, or the number of ministries in which you’re involved.   You’re not more blessed by God because you have a new car, house, or job.  And there is no such thing as using money to, “sow a seed.”

And there’s plenty more.  Pastor Pam was always quick to cut to the meat of an issue, to get out of you the truth of a situation, and to get truth into you.  She taught me the importance of looking within myself to determine if there was any secret sin, anything at all that the enemy could “hook,” into that the enemy might use to try and block me from my salvation.  So, I was always mindful of that.  In time Pastor Pam invited me to join the fellowship she’d started named, “Rescue.”  Through Pastor Pam I received valuable counseling, coaching and mentoring in addition to a lot of knowledge and understanding through her books, and workshops.  I was fully supported in my pursuit of spiritual freedom.

The more truth I learned the more freedom I gained, and as a result, the enemy had to loosen his grip on me because I was becoming more and more undeceived from his lies.  I recently came to repentance after a sermon that Pastor Pam had given at her July 2018 workshop that she hosted in New York. During the sermon,  which was a rousing sermon on the Gospel, (the full, unadulterated, nothing added to it, nothing taken away, simple Gospel, much like what Peter had done where the focus was entirely on Jesus Christ of Nazareth, The Holy Spirit fell upon me—piercing my heart with the knowledge of my sinful nature.  He took  me straight to the cross where I repented in wrenching sobs and tears.  The next day, while Pastor Pam was preaching, again, on Jesus Christ of Nazareth,  I had another visitation from the Holy Spirit who then took me to that empty tomb and filled me with the glory of His Resurrection and I became truly Born Again.  In seconds, that, “corpse,” of misery I’d carried for so very long, was gone.  Vanquished.  Every troubling memory and thought—gone.  I am no longer in despair.  I am spiritually, mentally and emotionally free.  I am chuckling as I write this because the fact of this still amazes and tickles me.  I was born again on Saturday, July 15, 2018 at 11:55 am.

There is no sinner’s prayer that can compare to the work of the Holy Spirit.  Upon hearing the Gospel preached, if the Holy Spirit decides that this is the time of your visitation, He will lead you to the cross and pierce your heart with the knowledge of your fullness of sin in spite of your goodness, niceness, helpfulness, great intellect, skill, money—or anything else you hold dear.  This powerful revelation tears your heart open.  Again, this is a work of the Holy Spirit, not your mind, your will, nor your prayer.  Then, as the Word of God says, “…though tears may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning.”  Some time soon after your, “dark night of the soul,” with the realization of your sin and repentance, and as the Holy Spirit wills and leads, He takes you to that empty tomb.  He reveals to you the Resurrected Jesus Christ of Nazareth where there are no adequate words to describe your, “down into the marrow of your bones,” praise of Him, your joy, exuberance and marvel at His magnificence not to mention, your gratitude!  He conquered sin and death and lives in an immortal flesh and bone body, and is sitting now at the right hand of the Father.  He is alive!

My revelation is that there is nothing of the workings of salvation that is dependent upon my own hands.  No matter how sincere our  tears, we cannot muster up our  own salvation by praying a prayer.  Neither ourselves, nor our hearts , (which the Word says is desperately wicked), can serve as a substitute for the work of the Holy Spirit.  We cannot exercise feelings of Godly sorrow on our own—for this has nothing to do with what we did last night, last week or last year.  Godly sorrow, as led by the Holy Spirit, encompasses everything that we are.

This is a spiritual transaction based on His work in you, not you, “deciding,” upon the salvation that you desire from Him.  My testimony confirms that  there is hope and salvation for anyone who has had a false conversion.  Again, to all who are reading my testimony, there is hope for you—let go of the old—that is, man’s traditions, and be willing to take a step back and look again, but with fresh eyes.

Because of all that I’ve gained I have to believe that it was an angel of the Lord Himself who had directed me to Pam Sheppard’s website and started me on the path to spiritual freedom and salvation in Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  I am so thankful to Pastor Pam for her walk of faithfulness and for her friendship.  If you have a question about any aspect of Christianity, your church, or your walk of faith, I encourage you to contact Pam Sheppard.  It may be the most important decision you will ever make.  It certainly was for me!

 

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