The following story and many like it can be veiwed on our changed lives blog.
My, Robert Gillisse, testimony of conversion may be unique to your experience. To make a long story short, I was involved in Spiritualism to the extent that I read books written by psychics who claimed that they were in contact with people who had been alive and had passed on to the other side of deaths curtain. That would indicate that the soul is already immortal, and we all know that is not true at all. I don’t believe God would let an inexperienced soul who has just passed on, to fly about the earth among Satan and all his evil entities. No, our souls return to God to await the day of Judgment. That was the lesson I had to learn.
Prov 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” I was raised in a lukewarm Methodist church and knew Jesus from a very early age; for which I have deeply thanked my mother for doing. I have a clear memory that when I was about 7 years old I promised Jesus I would be his soldier in fighting the devil.
Then I got older, and the world swallowed me up and snatched me out of the loving and protecting arms of my mother. I hitchhiked many places between MI and FL and CA and Oklahoma (without incident I must add because God must have had an angel watching over me) I fell into smoking pot and drinking- because hey, everyone else was doing it. A word of caution to the young people reading this “If you are following the crowd and doing things because everyone else is doing it, “beware!”
MATT 7:13,14 says that wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. That also means that Satan will make it an easy road to follow.
I did become a soldier, but not for Christ. I joined the Army because my life was starting a downward spiral and I needed discipline. I found a Berean Baptist Church to attend in NC, and was baptized there. I studied the Bible, held a couple prayer meetings in my barracks room, met a girl (the wrong girl), married her in that church, and I thought I could get her to accept Christ in her life. She was very resistant, and I was pulled away from my faith again thru that long trial.
Then, a year later, 22 years old, divorced and depressed, I had a strong desire to find out what happens after you die. I found myself walking into a palm readers shop and had my palm read, including tarot card readings and astrology charts. I was very impressed at the accuracy. I started reading books by psychics.
1st Timothy 4: verse 1 and 2 say’s “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron”. Layer after layer of subtle deceptions build until the truth can no longer get through. What is especially deceiving about it all, is that it mixes in some truth with a big vat of lies that sound so wonderful.
I was not attending church or reading the bible, and did not know that Great power and healing was right at my fingertips if I would only humble myself and admit I was powerless without the saving grace of Jesus Christ, my personal Lord and Savior.
Although those spirit-led writings were very intellectually stimulating concerning life-after-death and reincarnation, I started, only within the last year-and-a-half to reassess my life to figure out why I wasn’t seeing positive change. I had been doing everything under my own power and strength up to that point, and frankly, I was running on empty. The water in the pot was beginning to boil, (the frog analogy) and I was becoming oblivious to it.
My conscious had almost been completely Seared, but one ray of light shone through the darkness, it was a “whisper of a remembrance” (that small, still voice?) of something I heard my sister-in-law, Joanne, saying about having Jesus as her “personal savior”. So I prayed for understanding about that relationship with Christ, (and it’s important to state here that my search was genuine and sincere). A faint idea came into my head about finding and reading “The Sermon on the Mount”. I remember having difficulty finding that one passage or verse for some reason. Imagine my surprise, and joy, when I finally found the “verse” I was looking for…and it was 3 chapters long. I let Jesus into my heart that moment as I read those passages over and over. I then thought about his death on the cross and that great atoning sacrifice for me…”for me”!
My life (slowly) started improving, starting with my attitudes, and it was here I found the peace that Jesus can give when the storms in the heart finally subside, and I allowed him to help me calm the seas of my emotions and steady the boat, gaining a modicum of self-control.
I learned that the devil will try to capture you through your mind and your intellectual reasoning. However, Christ works thru our hearts to capture the mind (rather than the mind capturing the heart)…that is how so many get deceived because they trust in their own intelligences rather than letting the Holy Spirit guide them into all truth). I have come to the conclusion that I need God’s help & guidance in ALL of my decisions and interactions.
As God pulled me up through the slime of false prophesy, and those deceptive layers began to peel away, it was no wonder that I often cried, sometimes uncontrollably. Every time I cried, I imagined that it is because the Holy Spirit was putting his hand on my shoulder, touching me with Truth, saying “son, you’re getting it…you’re on the right track… keep going. A favorite saying of mine is “The soul would have no rainbow, had the eye no tear”. I’m not embarrassed about admitting I cried a lot. Mostly I think it was because I was seeing for the first time how lost I really was, and how I almost missed out on the most wonderful promise, the promise of eternal life with Jesus.
If you know someone who is more inclined to intellectualize the principles of salvation, challenge them to read Proverbs. That’s what worked for me. It is also essential to have a belief that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and it is the only book that is absolutely 100% reliable in the historical and spiritual context… period. It is the standard by which all-things-spiritual should be weighed.
As I reconciled my head with my heart through my readings in Proverbs, I started noticing that positive circumstances were beginning to happen. Interestingly, about a year before I fully gave my heart to Jesus, I think He knew my salvation was inevitable- and He just wanted to get a head start on the process. The first real change that occurred was my giving up smoking completely while I was still in Michigan. I then got this job and moved to Medford. The whole move went smoothly…not even a flat tire.
As I found opportunities to witness to the veterans at the White City Domiciliary, I also found 3ABN Television and Steve Wohlberg. Then came a Vietnam vet, Jac Colon, then Doug Batchelor, Brian McMahon, and then David Asscherick (now he was intellectually stimulating), and what really impressed me was that they were all preaching the same message! I repeat, “the same message”…and backing everything up with scripture. Finally…consistency.
And then I found the Medford Seventh-day Adventist Church. A true body of believers with a genuine love for following ALL the commandments. They all made me feel very welcome, especially on the day I was baptized. That’s the way a church should treat its members.
And lastly, I found the answer to my original question (the question that got me into so much trouble in the first place)…”What happens after you die?” The answer is “you sleep, you sleep, you sleep”. No one else could answer my tough questions, only the Seventh Day Adventist Church, particularly Doug Batchelor, who described it very plainly, saying it appears 53 times in the Bible. How did I miss that? A seared conscious”.
I am also encountering attempts by Satan to dissuade me from this path. A coworker, who is a professed Preterist, gave me an article about how Ellen White is a false prophet, and the Sabbath Day was “nailed to the cross”. Well, I know all about false prophets, and Ellen White is “The Real-Deal”. All he managed to do was strengthen my resolve, because Satan would not have bothered to attack me if I was not on the right path.
Please don’t ever write-off anyone as a non-believer. They may have a tiny imperceptible seed of faith inside that just needs the right fertilizer to grow. I believe God is greatly pouring out his Spirit, his fertilizer, into the world right now, and he is using us to do it; and I believe that starts with just a smile and a non-judgmental attitude Matt 7:1 “Judge not lest ye be judged”. We have a lot of work yet in front of us. Someone once said to me, “Sometimes the only Bible people will ever read…is you”