Finding Rest in Family Ties

Finding Rest in Family Ties

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:17-18
Date: 08/07/2021  Lesson: 6
This week we turn to the story of Joseph and his family ties in order to watch God at work bringing healing and emotional rest despite dysfunctional family relationships.

From Stress to Joy - Paper or PDF Download

From Stress to Joy - Paper or PDF Download
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Rod Thompson: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Granite Bay Hilltop Church Sabbath School Study Hour. I'm Pastor Rod Thompson. I'm going to be leading our study this morning but before we get into that, let me point you to our free offering for today. It is a small pocketbook called, "From Stress to Joy." "From Stress to Joy," and you can get that by dialing 866-788-3966. That's 866-Study-More, and ask for Free Offer number 705. If you live outside of North America, you can also go to your cell phone and text the code "SH031" to number 40544. We are continuing our study in "Rest in Christ," and today we are going to be looking at "Rest in Family Ties."

But before we get to that, we've got some special music with Emma Q.

♪♪♪

♪ I feel quite sure if I did my best I can maybe ♪

♪ impress you with tender words or harmonies, ♪

♪ a clever rhyme or two. ♪

♪ But if all I've done in the time we've shared ♪

♪ is turn your eyes on me, ♪

♪ then I've failed in what I've been called to do. ♪

♪ There's someone else I want you to see. ♪

♪ Will you love Jesus more when we go ♪

♪ our separate ways? ♪

♪ When this moment is memory, ♪

♪ will you remember His face? ♪

♪ Will you look back and realize you felt His love ♪

♪ more than you did before? ♪

♪ I pray for nothing less than for you ♪

♪ to love Jesus more. ♪

♪♪♪

♪ We like to keep these memories in frames ♪

♪ of gold and silver, ♪

♪ to reminisce a year from now about ♪

♪ this time we shared. ♪

♪ But above all else I hope you will come ♪

♪ to know the Father's love, ♪

♪ and when we see the Lord face to face you'll ♪

♪ hear Him say, "Well done." ♪

♪ Will you love Jesus more when we go ♪

♪ our separate ways? ♪

♪ When this moment is memory, ♪

♪ will you remember His face? ♪

♪ Will you look back and realize you felt His love ♪

♪ more than you did before? ♪

♪ I pray for nothing less than for you ♪

♪ to love Jesus more. ♪

♪ Will you love Jesus more when we go ♪

♪ our separate ways? ♪

♪ When this moment is memory, ♪

♪ will you remember His face? ♪

♪ Will you look back and realize you felt His love ♪

♪ more than you did before? ♪

♪ I pray for nothing less than for you ♪

♪ to love Jesus more. ♪

♪ I pray for nothing less than ♪

♪ for you to ♪

♪ love Jesus more. ♪♪

♪♪♪

Rod: I want to invite you to open up your Bibles to 1 Corinthians chapter 3. 1 Corinthians chapter 3, and let's begin with a word of prayer. O loving Father, Lord, oh, that we would love You more. Lord, we've opened up the word of life and we are praying and asking that the Holy Spirit would guide us and, Lord, help us to enter into that rest that You desire for us. And we ask in Jesus's name, amen. I want to start off this morning by asking you a question: has sin separated us from God? Has sin separated us from God? We know the answer to that is yes, right? We believe that, we know that. But sin has also separated us from each other. Sin brings with it selfishness, pride, envy, jealousy, hatred, anger, and sometimes even murder.

Sin has done a major number on us and, brothers and sisters, I don't know about you, but I am sick to death of what sin has done in me. What it has done in you. You have your Bibles open to 1 Corinthians chapter 3. Notice what the Apostle Paul says in verse 1: "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal, behaving like mere men?" Brothers and sisters, the apostle Paul is speaking to the church. He is writing to us, and he says, "You are carnal." There's envy, there's strife, there's contentions, there's mistrust, among the children of God. In Romans chapter 7, verse 14 and 15, Paul says, "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. The things that I will to do, that I do not practice; but the things I don't want to do, that I do."

Now, please don't misunderstand Paul. He is not using that as an excuse to sin, but rather he is pointing out a very real reality. And that reality is that we are in the very fight of our lives. And Paul says to the Ephesians, "We don't fight against flesh and blood," amen? "We fight against principalities and powers and wickedness in high places. We are fighting against a carnal nature and evil spirits that are trying to lead us to follow that evil nature." He goes on in Romans chapter 7, verse 24 and 25 to say, "O wretched man that I am. Who is going to save me from this body of death?" And praise God, he gives us the answer. He says, "Oh, I thank God for Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin."

Here we see that Paul is telling us that there's two different laws that are at work here. There is the law of God which is spiritual, and there is the law of sin which is carnal. And brothers and sisters, it often appears, doesn't it, that the law of sin is winning. Satan is doing everything that he can to destroy us and to destroy our families. And it doesn't take a lot of effort to see what sin has done to the family. We see the results right from the beginning. Adam and Eve sinned against God and when they heard Him in the Garden they ran and they hid themselves. Sin had separated them from God. And sin also separated them from each other. They began to blame others. Adam says to God, "The woman that You gave me, she gave to me and I ate." He's blaming God, "It's Your fault. You gave her to me." He's blaming her. Eve blames it on the serpent.

Sin has separated us from God and it has separated us from each other. And then they have children. And there's contention and strife and envy and hatred and Cain murders Abel. And just three chapters later, in chapter 6, verse 5, it says: "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continual." It took a very short time for sin to enter the world and there was murder and now there's division among all of the people and there's only wickedness in their hearts and in their minds, and God destroys the entire world except eight people. But, brothers and sisters, those eight people took their carnal nature with them through that flood. And when they came out the other side and they began multiplying on the face of the earth, once again it didn't take very long for wickedness to step in, sin, and rebellion. Nimrod rebels against God and the carnal nature is winning the fight. And so, God has to bring further separation and He confuses their language.

You have the story after that of Abraham. And we see the difficulties that Abraham faced. We see the failures of Abraham. He tries to fulfill God's promise to him in his own power, in his own way of having the son of promise that God had promised with his wife's servant, Hagar. And immediately, it brings strife into the family. Eventually, Abraham and Sarah, his wife, do have the son of promise and immediately that brings strife and contention into the family. There is feuding between the mothers of the two sons, and even the sons themselves. And then Isaac has two sons, Jacob and Esau, and there is contention.

There is fighting for the supremacy, for both the love of the parents and the blessing of God. And Jacob deceives his brother into giving him his birthright. He tricks his father into giving him the blessing of the elder son, and now Jacob has to flee because his brother is contemplating killing him. And then Jacob enters into his own strife and contention. He falls in love with Rachel. But his father-in-law, Laban, tricks him into marrying Rachel's older sister, Leah. And then the problem is compounded even further where he makes a deal with Jacob and he says, "I'll give you Rachel also if you'll serve me for seven more years," and Jacob agrees to that. But the problems-- the envy, the strife, the contention, the hatred--continues. Leah has a couple of sons, and Rachel becomes jealous. And so, Rachel can't have any children. She's barren so she gives Jacob her handmaid, Bilhah, and she has a couple of children. And then Leah becomes jealous. She sees that she's no longer having children and so she gives Jacob her handmaid, Zilpah, and she has a couple of children. And finally, Rachel eventually has Joseph and then eventually, another son.

But, brothers and sisters, what is the result of this blended family? There is contention, there is strife, there is hatred. Won't you turn with me in your Bibles to James chapter 4. James chapter 4, and I want you to notice what it says starting in verse 1. He asks a very important question. He says, "Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and you do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss and that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be friends of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scriptures say in vain, 'The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously'? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'"

Here, we see that James is showing us there's contention, there's difficulties, there's wars, there's problems among us, even among God's family, even among his children, even among our immediate families. And that brings us to today because, brothers and sisters, we still have the same problem today that they had back then, don't we?

And so here is the question that we need to answer today: this quarter, we are doing this study on "Rest in Christ," but if there is contention, if there's strife, if there is difficulty in the family of God, if there's jealousy and envy within our immediate families, then how are we going to find rest? How can we find rest in family ties? We want to answer that question today, and the best way to do that is by looking at the greatest example in the Bible of a dysfunctional family because, brothers and sisters, we can relate to that, can't we? I'd like to read to you if you have your Quarterly, look with me on Sabbath afternoon's lesson and let's look at the second paragraph there. It says, "We get to choose many things in life but we don't get to choose our family. No one is perfect and none of us have perfect families and perfect family relationships. Some of us are blessed by parents, siblings, and other family members that reflect God's love, but many have to settle for less than the ideal. Family relationships often are complicated and painful, leaving us restless, hurt, and carrying loads of emotional baggage that we, in turn, offload on others.

How can we find rest in this area of our lives?" That's a good question. How are we gonna find rest in family ties when there is sin that is separating us, causing us to contend with each other, strive with each other, cause hurt and pain and struggles within the family? So as we look at this dysfunctional family of Jacob today, we can imagine the rivalry between the mothers. You've got Leah and her handmaid, Zilpah. You've got Rachel and her handmaid, Bilhah. And you can imagine these mothers contending with each other for the love of Jacob. And you can imagine that that contention spilled over into the children. Imagine for a moment that Leah and Zilpah's children on one side contending with Rachel and Bilhah's children on the other side. You can imagine there constantly being a strife between them. But then imagine that Leah's children start fighting with Zilpah's children. Or perhaps Rachel's children start fighting with Bilhah's children, and then somebody from the other side gets in the middle of it. You can imagine that those that were fighting, now join forces and contend with the other.

That reminds me of that very famous verse, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." You can see and you can even feel the contention between the family. Now, we already talked about the difficulties in the family of Abraham, Isaac, and now Jacob. But let me ask you a question. If there is contention and all of this strife in the family, how can it be that in Hebrews chapter 11, what we call the Hall of Faith, how is it that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are referred to as "Heroes of the Faith"? And the simple answer is that God's champions of faith often fall short of the glory of God. They often make mistakes. And the fact is that these three men are in Hebrews chapter 11 not because of the dysfunction in their family, but in spite of it. They learned often the hard way about faith and love and trust in God, as they wrestled with their family issues.

Put yourself in Joseph for a moment, one of the sons of Jacob. Joseph is a type of Christ. I want you to notice what it says in the book, "Patriarchs and Prophets," page 209: "Jacob unwisely manifested his preference for Joseph. And this excited the jealousy of his other sons. As Joseph witnessed the evil conduct of his brothers, he was greatly troubled. He ventured gently to remonstrate with them, but only aroused still further their hatred and resentment. He could not endure to see them sinning against God and he laid the matter before his father, hoping that his authority might lead them to reform." And you can imagine how Joseph pleaded with them to get right with God. And then in that same book, "Patriarchs and Prophets," page 210, it says this: "As the lad," that's Joseph. "As Joseph stood before his brothers, his beautiful countenance lighted up with the spirit of inspiration, they could not withhold their admiration, but--but they did not choose to renounce their evil ways and they hated the purity that reproved their sins. The same spirit that actuated Cain was kindled in their hearts."

And you can imagine that if Joseph is a type of Christ, and Joseph was hated by his brothers because his purity pointed out their sin, you can imagine what it did to Christ, as they saw His purity and His love. And so Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery. But as he was being carried away to Egypt, he made a decision right there in that moment, in his heart, that he was going to serve the God of his father, no matter what happened to him. And even in the midst of anguish and hurting, Joseph begins to find rest for his soul. Why? Because he had put his trust in God. In Deuteronomy chapter 4, Moses is warning the children of Israel not to worship idols, not to get involved in idolatry. And he says to them that if they do, then God is going to scatter them among the heathen. And in Deuteronomy chapter 4, verse 29, he says this: "But from there," that is from being scattered among the world, "you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him if you seek Him with all of your heart and all of your soul."

Here we see that Moses is telling us that if we seek God we will find Him. Psalm 14, verse 2 says: "The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there are any who understand, if there are any who seek God." In Isaiah 55, verse 6, it says: "Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near." And if you remember last week's lesson, we looked at that phrase, "Come to Me." It came from that verse in Matthew chapter 11, verse 28, where Jesus said, "Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

Brothers and sisters, if we come to God, we can find rest for our souls. We must come to Him. That is a prerequisite to us finding rest for our souls. Notice what it says again in that book, "Patriarchs and Prophets," page 213: "Joseph believed that the God of his fathers would be his God. He then and there gave himself fully to the Lord and he prayed that the keeper of Israel would be with him in the land of his exile." Joseph was determined that he was going to place his trust in God. You know, Joseph had a promising future. He had relatively a life of ease being the favored son of Jacob. But things were about to change. But then and there, Joseph realized that his life was in God's hands and in the providence of God, even that experience in Egypt was going to bring him blessing. And he could claim that promise of Romans 8:28 that God can take all things and turn it into something good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. "Patriarchs and Prophets," page 214, goes on to say: "He would serve the Lord with an undivided heart. He would meet the trials of his lot with fortitude and perform every duty with fidelity. One day's experience had been the turning point in Joseph's life. Its terrible calamity had transformed him from a petted child to a man, thoughtful, courageous, and self-possessed."

Brothers and sisters, each and every one of us needs to have that kind of an experience. I'd like you to turn with me in your Bibles to Hebrews chapter 12, just back a couple of pages. Hebrews chapter 12, and I'd like you to notice what it says starting in verse 3. The apostle Paul says to us: "For consider Him," that is Christ, "who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: 'My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.' If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. For furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness."

Here we can see that Paul is telling us that God allows difficulties and allows difficult people into our lives to transform us. He uses those as the tools to mold us more and more into the image of Christ, and Joseph is about to enter into the schoolhouse of God. He would be tempted by a seductress, but God would be glorified in the faithfulness of his servant. Joseph understood something that we all need to learn, and that is simply this: there is nowhere you can go, there is nothing that you can do, that God isn't there, that God doesn't see it. Jonah had to learn that lesson the hard way. He tried to run away from God. But, of course, there was a price to be paid for doing what is right. And you know the story. Joseph would suffer for his principled decision. He would be thrown into prison.

Turn with me to Luke chapter 6. Luke chapter 6. I'd like you to notice something that Jesus says to us. Luke chapter 6, starting in verse 27. Jesus says: "But I say to you: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those with whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and the evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful."

Brothers and sisters, here we see that Jesus is showing us you can't control the choices, the decisions, of others. But you can choose how you will respond, even if you live in a dysfunctional family, you can still have rest in Christ. And so the question is, how are we going to respond when someone says something that hurts us? When there's strife and contention in the family, and the question is how does Joseph who is a type of Christ, how does he respond?

Now, obviously, his conditions were not ideal, but they were real. And rather than feeling sorry for himself, rather than becoming angry and lashing out, rather than trying to fix the problem himself, he puts himself in the hands of God and he trusts that God is going to work things out for him. And instead of becoming bitter and angry with his brothers, he forgives them. And rather than spending his time in despair or in depression or committing suicide, Joseph spends his time helping others. So much so, that the guards notice that he is helpful to them in encouraging the other prisoners and they, so to speak, promote him. He is given freedoms within the prison that others don't have. And Joseph has the opportunity to help others and you know the story. There were two men that had dreams and God blessed Joseph with the ability to interpret dreams and he tells them what's going to happen to them. And one is going to be restored to service of the king, and the other is going to lose his life for the things that he has done.

Now notice what it says in that book, "Patriarchs and Prophets," this time on page 219: "Joseph gradually gained the confidence of the keeper of the prison and was finally entrusted with the charge of all the prisoners. It was the part he acted in prison, the integrity of his daily life and his sympathy for those who were in trouble and distressed that opened the way for his future prosperity and honor. Every ray of light that we shed upon others is reflected back to ourselves. Every kind and sympathizing word spoken to the sorrowful, every act to relieve the oppressed, and every gift to the needy, if prompted by a right motive, will result in blessing to the giver." And Joseph says to the one who's going to be restored to service to the king, he says, "Remember me. When you stand before the king, tell him about me, that I've been falsely accused, and please help me get out of this place." But you know, it didn't work that way, did it?

At first. Joseph spent another two years in prison. But all that while, he was obedient to his masters. He did the will of God from the heart, and the Bible says that God was with him. You see, brothers and sisters, life on planet Earth isn't fair, and God is not always rewarded. And evil is not always immediately punished. It was that way for Joseph and it is that way for us. Turn with me in your Bibles to Ephesians chapter 6. Ephesians chapter 6, the apostle Paul is speaking to the church in Ephesus. He's speaking to us and notice what he says, starting in verse 5. He says, "Bondservants," that's Joseph. That's you and me, slaves to sin and addiction. "Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free."

Here we see that Paul is telling us that it doesn't matter what someone says to you or does to you. Yes, those things are hurtful, yes, they cause pain, yes, they cause us to have a lot of baggage that we carry around with us. But in spite of that, we have a choice. We can choose whether or not to love them in spite of their failures. And he says we do it not to men, but we do it as working unto God. Jesus said, "Whatever you've done for the least of these, you've done to Me."

I'd like you to look with me if you have your Quarterly study with you, let's go to Thursday's lesson and I'm running out of time. I've got to hurry. But I'd like you to notice what the last chapter says on Thursday's lesson. "Our relationships are miniature reflections of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. This means, then, that there are no perfect relationships. Every relationship must have grown dynamics and Satan has a vested interest in using all our relationships, especially those closest to us to his advantage in order to hurt and frustrate God's will for our lives. We can be thankful that we are not left to fight these battles on our own. God's Word sets out principles for our relationships: His promise to give us wisdom is also extended to our relationships, and He--as He was with Joseph, He promises to be with us, when our relationships prove to be complex."

You see, brothers and sisters, God never claims to take away the trouble. He doesn't promise you a rose garden, but He promises to be with you in the midst of it all, amen. Hebrews chapter 13, verse 5, says: "Let your conduct be without covetousness, be content with such things as you have, for He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" God did not leave Abraham alone when he went to rescue Lot. Those three Hebrew boys were not alone in the fiery furnace. Daniel was not alone in the lion's den. David was not alone fighting Goliath. Joseph was not alone setting in the prison, and you are not alone in whatever strife and contention and difficulties that you are facing. God is with you. Turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 7. Matthew 7. I want you to notice what Jesus says, starting in verse 24. Matthew 7, verse 24: "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock: and the rain descends, the flood came, the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: the rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew and beat on the house; and it fell. And great was its fall."

You see, brothers and sisters, you cannot control what anyone else says or does, but you can control how you respond. And in the power of God, you can live that righteous life. Christ wants to live His life through you, and if you build your life on the rock of Christ, you have a firm foundation to stand. And even in the midst of dysfunction in the family, even amongst strife and difficulties and challenges, you can have rest. You can have peace in God if you place your trust in Him. Romans chapter 12, verse 18 says: "If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live at peace with all men." In Matthew chapter 11, verse 28, Jesus said, "Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." So, brothers and sisters, even in the midst of sin, even in the midst of the strife and contentions of family life, we can still find rest in Christ.

I'd like to close with a quote from "The Spirit of Prophecy, Volume I," chapter 14. In talking about the story of Joseph, it says this: "Here is an example to all generations who shall live upon the earth. Although they may be exposed to temptations, yet they should ever realize that there is a defense at hand. And it will be their own fault if they are preserved. God will be a present help, and His Spirit a shield. Although surrounded with the severest temptations, there is a source of strength to which they can apply and resist them. How fierce was the assault upon Joseph's morals. It came from one of influence, the most likely to lead astray, yet how promptly and firmly he resisted. He suffered for his virtue and integrity, for she who had led him astray, revenged herself upon the virtue she could not subvert and by her influence caused him to be cast into prison by charging him with a foul wrong. Here Joseph suffered because he would not yield his integrity. He had placed his reputation and interests in the hands of God. And although he was suffered to be afflicted for a time, to prepare him to fill for an important position, yet God safely guarded that reputation that was blackened by a wicked accuser, and afterward, in His own good time, caused it to shine."

And God can do the same for you. I want to close by reminding you of our free offer this morning, this pocketbook called, "From Stress to Joy." You can receive that by calling 866-788-3966 and ask for Offer Number 705. If you're outside of North America or you just desire a digital download, you can text "SH031" to the number 40544. Brothers and sisters, you can have rest in Christ, in spite of everything going on around you. You want that kind of joy? You want that kind of peace? Let's pray.

O loving Father, we thank You for this study today. Thank You for the reminder, Lord, that our joy, our peace, our rest, doesn't come from others, but it comes from You. And, Lord, in spite of everything that's going on around us, we can have rest, even in our families today. And it seems, Lord, that we have the greatest contentions with those that we love the most. Forgive us and help us to exemplify Christ to our families and we pray and ask it in Jesus's name, amen.

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Male: I met my ex-wife and her family were real big into drugs. And it started out with them wanting me to go to the doctor to help get them drugs. And, you know, I'm noticing they're going to the doctor, they're coming back with, like, 60 pills and they're selling these pills for, like, a thousand bucks. And I'm thinking, "Wow, this is a lot of money I'm giving these people, so I'm just going to start selling it myself." The problem with that was we had all this money but we was absolutely miserable. She would go out and sleep with other guys to get drugs and that ended my marriage. But during this time, I have to get a job to build back up to where I was at, to open my shop again.

So I get a job at Food City and when I get this job at Food City, there's my wife now, Rebecca, she's a cashier there. And when I walk in, she's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen in my life. I was, like, "Man, I could never have a girl like that. Wow, she's so beautiful." But as I'm working with her, she's actually kind of mean to me and she's saying, "I don't want anything to do with you. Get away from me," stuff like that. But, you know, I just keep being nice to her and keep trying to give her my phone number and it's around Christmas Eve, we'd just been dating for a little while and moved in together. My ex-wife shows up with my three children that I had by her. And she's like, "Here's your kids. Here's their birth certificates. Here's their Social Security cards. I'm done." And we're starting a family, we already have three kids.

During this time, we spent the next year watching nothing but "Amazing Facts" on YouTube. I didn't even know they even had a website at this time. I just knew that this little guy on YouTube was super-smart, was teaching Bible, and I wanted to follow him. I wanted to be a Christian. I gave my life to God now because of these truths that I'm learning from Doug Batchelor. Just because Doug taught it didn't make me real sure about going to this church and I really didn't want anything to do with it, but I called the guy up and I'm telling him, and I'm not very nice about it, actually. I'm telling him, "Look, we was thinking about coming to your church," and he's really nice and he's, like, "Well, you're more than welcome to. We'd like to have you come." And I'm like, "Well, hold on. I'm going to lay down some ground rules." I'm telling him, I said, "Look here, I'm covered in tattoos and I'm a tattoo artist," and he don't say, "Well, you know, wow, I didn't know all that. Don't come to my church." He says, "You're more than welcome. We would love to have you. Please come."

He asked me what I want to do and I said, "Well, I want to preach." I said, "I have all these truths, I have all this knowledge, stuff I'd never known before. Stuff if I'd have had when I was younger that would have been life-changing to me." I said, "I've got to share this with the world." I said, "I want to preach, I want to teach." He gives me the book, says, "Study that." Well, now that I'm a Bible worker, I'm able to go reach people that most of the normal churches wouldn't even bother to even speak to. I'm able to go out and reach the people who have lived the life that I've lived. I'm able to let 'em know that I am like you. I've been there, I've done that. I want to show you what my life is like now. I want to teach you this Bible. I want to show you what Jesus can do for you. It's not too late

Announcer: "Amazing Facts", Changed Lives.

Female: Well, my conversion story is when I was in the Philippines, I just graduated as a nurse and afterwards I did not have any religion and one time I found myself inside a small church, Catholic church, in Manila, and before a big cross. And I was kneeling before and I could hear Jesus telling me to enter the convent, save myself and also my family. And I said, "Lord, I would like to follow You all the way." At that point, I seemed to be happy externally, but because inside the convent we don't read the Bible, we don't study about the Word of God. We prayed the rosaries, we also at the same time studied the lives of the saints and also our founders, and the encyclicals of the Pope and the Virgin Mary. And so I do not know the truth and I had this torture of conscience, the guilty feelings that cannot be resolved.

So I would confess to the priest in the confessional box, saying, "Father, forgive me. Since my last confession was last week. Since then I have committed the following sin including the root cause: why am I falling and falling in that same sin over and over again." And still for 21 long years, I struggle and I struggle and I struggle. I realized that I was totally empty, I was totally helpless and hopeless. And so depressed and so desperate that I would like already to end my life.

I was working for five years as dean of the University of San Agustin College of Nursing in Iloilo City, one of the islands in the Philippines. After five years I received a commission from my parents to help my sister who is being a battered woman. This is one of the reasons why I came over to United States. It is because my sister needs my help. As I was working in the hospital in New York, my boss set up--and he was so gracious enough to give me an invitation to the Millennium Prophecy.

As I was listening to Pastor Doug Batchelor's presentation, my heart really was beating so fast, and my mind, I'm able to grasp the truth, that this is the truth that I've been longing to hear all my life, that I have been seeking for so long. My personal relationship with Jesus, I can see Jesus as my personal Savior. He is not only the Savior of the whole world but He is my personal Savior. He was the one who delivered me mightily from the depths of sin, from the mighty clay.

Pastor Doug Batchelor has been used by the Lord in my conversion. The Amazing Facts, I owe to them. The Lord really blessed this ministry and I'm so proud I was able to attend this Millennium Prophecy. My life has never been the same. It has given me the peace, the joy, that never--I have never tasted in my life, and now I am set free to be able to work for Him and to follow Him.

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