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Revived and Restored

August 19, 2015
Revived and Restored
Joshua's life had turned around for the better after he was baptized—but he soon moved away and lost the spiritual support from his church. He quickly backslid into worldly excesses. But “by chance” he happened on an Amazing Facts broadcast that the Lord would use to bring him back home.

Though Joshua didn’t know it at the time, his journey with the Lord started in his childhood. His first spiritual memory is of hearing the story of Solomon and his desire for more wisdom. The king confessed he was not much more than a little child before God and admitted his inability to judge His people. God was pleased with Solomon’s honesty and humility and granted the king the abilities he sought after. Says Joshua, “I went home that night and prayed, not really knowing anything about it, and asked God for the same thing.”

Unfortunately, Joshua went on with the rest of his life as if that day had never happened. “I wasn’t really raised a Christian. We almost never went to church, except occasionally for an Easter or Christmas service. Bible reading was not done in our house, and we did not pray either.”

On the other hand, Joshua had been exposed to alcohol, tobacco, and worldly entertainment his whole life. “By the time I was 13, I was exposed to marijuana and pornography. Before I was 14, I was addicted to them all. My collection of books and music were some of the worst you could imagine. I wish I could forget them.”

By the time he was 20, Joshua had sown a harvest of misery for himself. “No one who knew me knew I was an alcoholic or that I was addicted to pornography. I had sealed them all off from who I really was, and I was a good actor. Yet despite all my bad choices and my lack of awareness of God, I still believe He was with me through it all. He was determined to save me.”

A Little Light
A few years later, the U.S. Air Force sent Joshua to Oman. While there, he continued his alcohol, tobacco, and pornography use. A friend of his had gone to a place the locals called the Tomb of Job and came back to show Joshua pictures of it. “I don't know if Job was really buried there, but even that casual contact with something biblical had an effect on me.”

Working the night shift, Joshua had lots of time to contemplate his life. “I felt my life needed a change. I realized it was a mess—I hadn’t had any successful long-term relationships at that point, not even just a friend I could confide in. I knew I was turning cynical and had begun to hate people.”

Joshua wanted to be a better person and resolved to pull himself up and succeed despite his problems. However, he thought he could do it on his own, without the Lord. “It wasn't long before things were spinning out of control inside. While I maintained a facade of strength and peace, I was a failure. I developed anger problems. Many wrong decisions were made, and I would occasionally think about killing myself.”

Not long after, he met Brandi. It was his first long-term relationship, and soon they were living together. Without Christ at its center, their relationship predictably suffered, but then Joshua got a well-paying job offer in Iraq and grasped at the chance to live the good life. He took the job and left Brandi behind, promising to send her money to keep their apartment rented. “I hoped she would wait for me, but I did not think she would considering my completely selfish decision to go.”

Once in Iraq, Joshua was removed from the typical cares of his life. “It was like a Sabbath rest for me. I had very little alcohol and had no television to watch.” Still, he lived in an area nicknamed “Mortaritaville,” a place where mortar and RPG explosions were commonplace. Joshua realized that he could die at literally any moment, and it again caused him to rethink his life.

Soon after, a box from his dad showed up. Joshua was surprised to find a Bible inside. He began to read it and was amazed. “I didn’t understand much, but I began to feel very convicted about my life. I began to realize my selfish reason for being in Iraq was wrong. ‘For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?’ I resolved to quit my job and go home.” He also proposed to Brandi and to end their sinful relationship, and she said yes. They were soon married.

Joshua also received copies of The Great Controversy and The Desire of Ages and continued his Bible study. He knew that God was speaking to him in a serious way. “Reading about Jesus’ life, I wept. I have never been one to cry at anything, but the descriptions of His life moved me.” During this process, Joshua shared these new things with his new wife. A few months later, they were baptized together by the same pastor who had married them. It was a special moment in their lives.

The Time for Revival

That summer Joshua was accepted to nursing school, so he and his wife moved away from the only church they’d ever known. What they hadn’t realized was just how much they depended upon the spiritual guidance of their first church to lead them in their new faith. Neither of them had been raised in a home that studied and prayed daily. Once they moved and were separated from their spiritual lifeline, the enemy attacked.

Joshua says, “We were babies unskilled in this warfare. We got lost in the shuffle of a bigger church and had no Christian friends but each other. It wasn’t long before I was drinking and looking at pornography again. My wife, too, slipped back into her old habits. It was almost like nothing had happened the year before.”

This went on for three years. After the birth of their twins and the start of a new job, life was very stressful and the couple was on a path leading to separation. The birth of the twins, however, had awakened the spiritual longing in Joshua’s wife. She began attending church again, but he made excuses not to go on the Sabbaths even when he wasn’t nursing.

Shortly after, however, Joshua found an Amazing Facts broadcast. He was familiar with Pastor Batchelor only from the book The Richest Caveman. The broadcast moved him deeply, and he searched online to see if he could stream more Amazing Facts programs. He hooked up a PlayStation to his TV and streamed Oh For Revival for his family.

“I began to cry again as I remembered what the Lord had done for me and why I had chosen to follow Him before. Since then, I have read all the free books on the website and watched dozens of your sermons. The revival messages taught me that prayer and Bible study are our connection to God. Like Samson, we can be undefeated if we maintain our relationship with Him.”

Today, the couple enjoys sharing our booklets with others. “The Lord has made me a Sabbath school leader in our local church. I also spend time with in prison ministry, giving Bible studies to inmates. We also just celebrated our 9th anniversary, and I have so many blessings that I cannot count them. I am so grateful for God's promise, ‘I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely. For My anger has turned away from him’ (Hosea 14:4). Thank you for keeping your videos online!”

Joshua still watches videos from The Everlasting Gospel collection every week to keep him on a solid spiritual footing and says with much faith, “I hope to see you in the kingdom soon!”

So do we, Joshua!
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