From Desperation to Deliverance
March 01, 2016
Steve was addicted to alcohol and knew he couldn’t muster the strength to kick booze and cigarettes. But something gripped him each time he heard a radio ad for the Amazing Facts seminar. God was calling to Steve, and when he opened his heart he went from a point of desperation to total deliverance. The Lord used you and Amazing Facts to bring victory to Steve’s life and help him discover the Bible truth ...
Steve wasn’t on the road to Damascus; he was on Interstate 5 driving back to his business when it happened the first time. Radio news absorbed his attention when an announcement for an Amazing Facts Revelation Bible seminar came on. “Just then I started having trouble breathing and my chest tightened. I had to pull into a rest area to recover,” he says.
Steve decided to skip the booze and cigarettes for the next few days until he felt better. But by the next day, he reasoned that it was just a bad lunch that had made him ill—so he picked up a pack of cigarettes and poured himself another drink. Surely it wouldn't happen again …
A couple of days passed and, while Steve drove and listened to news, the Amazing Facts announcement came on. Again having to fight for breath and with his chest tightening, Steve thought he might have something to worry about. A treadmill test earlier in the year showed that his heart was in good condition but, "To be safe,” he explains, “I didn’t smoke or drink that evening, which was very difficult to do.”
Mastering his addictions required more strength than Steve could muster on his own, and within a week, he was back on booze and cigarettes. At least he hadn't had anymore symptoms, he thought as he drove. But just then the announcement came on for the Amazing Facts seminar and Steve began struggling for air. “It became clear that every time this commercial came on I had these symptoms. Realizing that, I became very scared.”
You see, Steve was raised in a religious home. Uninterested in religion, he preferred spending time with his three rebellious brothers and finding ways to hassle his father and sister—both devoted Sabbath-keepers—over their beliefs. “With this third incident happening the very night of the meetings, I was scared to the point of shaking and began to wonder if God Himself was offering me an opportunity to go. It was the third time. Maybe it was the last time. But after those three scares, there was no way I was going to miss these meetings,” he says.
Mulling over recent experiences as he drove to the meeting raised every hair on Steve’s body. Pulling up to a Sabbath-keeping church had nearly the same effect. "Had I known that, I wouldn’t have gone. I had persecuted my father and sister for years about their beliefs and to think I was here in one of their churches was almost more than I could bear,” he recalls. But maybe the facility was just being rented—at least he hoped it was. He'd just take a seat in the back and slip out quietly if he found out otherwise.
Entering the church, Steve quickly sat in the rearmost pew he could in case he needed a smoke break. Before long a young runner named John sat down. He had learned of the meetings from a flyer in his mailbox.
When the Amazing Facts evangelist explained that the entire seminar would be truths offered by the Bible and the Bible alone, Steve began to relax. "Just like peeling an onion, he explained one layer of Bible prophecy after another. Boy, he had me all ears.”
Steve and John looked at each other in amazement as they heard some things for the first time. Interest piqued, Steve eagerly anticipated the second night. "John would meet me for dinner and beers before the meetings began," Steve recalls. "I had never been presented truth like this before. For the first time in my life I was getting fed, and was I hungry! After the meetings I checked out the historical facts at the local library and found it all to be true."
When the altar call finally came, "My legs stood right up," Steve says. "John, my new friend, also stood up and we both walked down to the front surrendering our hearts to Jesus Christ. Overcome with emotion, tears flowed from my eyes. Tears of joy for sure! ... I’m here today because I heard my Savior’s voice; I heard His knock and had three opportunities to accept Christ. That could’ve been it for me.”
When Steve threw away his cigarettes, the desire to smoke was gone instantly, but giving up alcohol proved to be a real test. Firmly committed to staying sober, Steve's body screamed for alcohol. Yet with daily prayer and commitment over the next six months, God strengthened Steve to overcome the addiction that he couldn’t conquer alone.
As a business owner and employer, another challenge lay ahead. Most building contracts for the equestrian structures his company provided were sold at horse shows on Saturdays. His business partner was concerned about his newfound religion and although Steve maintained control as general manager, he soon learned what it was like to be persecuted for his beliefs. “Reflecting on how I had persecuted my father and sister all those years, I decided to grin and bear it, but when I decided to shut my business down on Sabbath my employees thought I had just jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. My business partner left me, and my foreman did too,” he recalls. Even so,“ I sold more business in that week than in any previous month. The first month after I shut down on Sabbath was triple of any month before.”
Steve says that being a Christian comes with challenges but emphasizes that, "None of these challenges come near to what Jesus sacrificed for you and me. No matter what happens, our Savior promised He would never leave us, and my new life is evidence of His faithfulness." Not only did Jesus save Steve from alcoholism, He saved him for eternity! And it all started with an Amazing Facts commercial, on Steve's own Damascus road, Interstate 5.
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