Joe Illian's Testimony
Were we not to enjoy, what the creator provided us with?
I was indeed a man's man, a leader of men in the material world. I was often heard to boast, "I have lived ten men's lives in one". I lived my life by a simple creed, written by a medieval knight, "Do what thy manhood bids thee do. From none but self, expect applause. He noblest lives, and noblest dies, who makes, and keeps his self made laws." I lived my life with reckless abandon, like there would be, no tomorrow. I lived life on the edge, engaging death as a playmate. If death came, then that too, I'd hoped in it's finality, would be the ultimate experience I craved. Maybe in death, I could finally realize the meaning of life. I had experienced everything this world had to offer that brought pleasure, but, without meaning. I had come up, empty. Respected, and perhaps, feared by my peers, but empty just the same.
It would become this emptiness, this unfillable void, that would lead me, and in desperation, bring this unworthy wretch, face to face, with the one and only, Almighty Lord, my God. The circumstances of the desperation, are in themselves immaterial. Suffice to say, they were of this world, and the consequences would have cost me the most precious thing I have of it, my relationship with my children. I had exhausted all my worldly resources, and the situation, not only didn't look good, but it was getting worse. For months prior to the developements at hand, I had been speaking spiritually with my born again Christian sister, affectionately known, as the family zealot. As we began to delve deeper, and deeper into spiritual no man's land, the truth that is Jesus Christ, became not only difficult, but impossible to dispel. I was very close, but hadn't made a solid commitment.
The night before I was to do battle in court, as my children hung in the balance, I called my sister, for moral support. As we spoke, she began to share with me her own testimony, of how she had come to the Lord, through a similar situation, where she had exhausted all her worldly options, and relinqished the situation to the Lord, through prayer. She suggested, maybe it was time for me to relinquish my situation to
Him, to accept Him as my savior, ask His forgiveness, and to trust Him. As she so adeptly put it, allow Him, to prove Himself, to me. Why on earth I thought, would the almighty, feel the need to prove Himself, to an insignificant, like me? I had lived my whole life in His opposition. I did however, just as she suggested. Broken, and in tears, I fervently prayed for forgiveness, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior, and pledged my alegiance, and trust in the Lord, our God. I beleive that night as I prayed, the Holy Spirit came upon me, and convicted me of many things, foremost, being the truth. I was to go into battle in the morning facing, deceit, fabrication, distortion, and out right lies, armed only with the truth, and my faith in God, to do the right thing, His will, not mine. I would trust in His wisdom the outcome, regardless, of what I wished it to be.
The trust I had placed in the Lord, did not fail me. His will was done. In the face of compelling evidence, the Lord handed me, an unworthy, rebellious child, an overwhelming victory. Unworthy, yes, and for the first time in my life, I felt loved, in spite of it. The Lord had put forgiveness, and redemption, by the mercy, and grace of God, into language even I,could understand. The significance of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the magnificent perfect sacrifice of the Fathers only Son, and the Son's willingness to take on lowly human form, and shed his own blood in agony on the cross, for the unworthy, but loved, so that we maybe called the children of God, became apparent to me. What kind of love, was this?
Well... I'll tell you, it's the kind of love that transforms lives, mine specifically. My gratitude turned to hunger, to answer the questions.
What kind of love is this, became, how do I return, what I can't even phantom? My gratitude, was about to become attitude. I was going to pursue Christianity with the same zeal, I'd pursued the world, and then some. The emptiness of the void, had been filled by the spirit, and the spirit overflowed, as the temple was cleansed, and sanctified by the spirit, and the hunger for more, persisted. Delving into the word, and seeking it's understanding through prayer, my faith grew stronger, and my knowledge broadened, but the hunger persists, and the goal is long. I am growing day, by day, I pray it never stops. I understand I must strengthen my own faith, on a daily basis, through prayer, and the word, that I may become bold enough to share this gift, with love, as it was shared with me, as it was meant to be. I will.
I wish you had known the man I was, so you could see the miracle unfold before your eyes, as the scales fell from mine, so that your faith would be strengthened. For the truth is, that through Him, in Him, and with Him, Jesus Christ, this man was born again, a new creation. Not of this world, but out of the darkness, and into the light. I thank the Almighty Father, the loving Son, and the Holy spirit, now, and eternally forever, that lowly I, may be called a child of God. Amen!
your brother in Christ,
Just me, Joe Illian
Back to the testimonies!