josiahs’ testimony about Jesus
1/16/04; 5/24/05; 10/15/05; 11/15/05; 7/30/06; 7/21/07; 8/24/09; 11/27/10-11/30/10; 12/6/10; 12/8/10; 3/15/11 & 7/26/11 (formatting); 5/6/12; 5/14/12
I grew up in church my whole life. I have always believed that Jesus was the only way to heaven, and have always eagerly wanted to be a good Christian, especially since I was 7, and this continued even into when I was particularly deceived and heavily in sin. This never saved me. But still, because of that basic belief, I saw a number of notable spiritual things happen, even before I was all the way saved and connected to Jesus.
I was born in 1980, and around 1982 we all moved to Florida where I lived most of my life. Around 1987 (when I was 7 years old) I apparently had some kind of useful ‘child-like faith’ because I eventually started doing things out of a desire to live for God and bearing some kind of ‘good fruit.’ While I saw others doing bad things I diligently sought to do what was right. But tragically my eagerness was intercepted by the false teachings all around me like the false assurance of “praying the sinners prayer,” “once saved always saved,” and modern christianity in general. I was baptized in this context when I was around 7 years old.
As a natural consequence of living in such a religious culture, I eventually began to compromise by following in the footsteps of the bad examples that I was given by the people who falsely claimed to be christians. They found ways around obeying the Bible and so I did too. In time, I did so more than they did. They sinned and I learned from them how to sin worse than they did. I compromised the Bible by not simply accepting what it said, so that I could justify the sins that I wanted to do, just like everyone else did whenever they wanted to do things the Bible condemned. This is all I knew christianity to be, because this was all I saw modern christians do all around me.
Mat_23:15 WEB Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel around by sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much of a son of Gehenna* as yourselves.
[* that is, the second (eternal) hell]
This was the heritage I was given from my birth, and this was the dreadful path I had begun to live out as a growing product of modern christianity.
Heavy guilt hung over me just like my closest predecessors, and just like them, I began to be seriously depressed. I wanted to kill myself but because I was taught that it was wrong, I did not. I remember lying on my bed staring at the wall wishing I could only get up the courage to kill myself, and I even practiced by holding my breath.
I was brought up to believe that once a person was saved they were always saved, and because of this I never had the idea that I was on my way to Hell. I never seemed to make the connection that my depression might have something to do with my compromising and sin. But although I had convinced myself to a point that what I was doing was not wrong, I still had something following me around. I had heard a verse when I was young which says:
Num_32:23 KJV …be sure your sin will find you out…
Or as the LXX has it:
Num_32:23 CAB …you will sin against the Lord; and you shall know your sin, when afflictions shall come upon you.
And it also says:
Luk_12:1-3 CAB …He began to say to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy [i.e. not “legalism”]. 2 For there is nothing covered that shall not be unveiled, and nothing secret that shall not be made known. 3 Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in behind closed doors shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
(Also Mat_10:26 etc.)
Because I knew that the Bible was True, I was in constant fear knowing that one day the sins that I was doing in the dark would be exposed. This is why the Bible also says:
Joh_3:19-21 CAB And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness more than the light, because their works were evil. 20 For everyone that does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God."
This was the condemnation I felt. Church people always seem to say, “there is no condemnation” in reference to Romans 8, but that is not what it says. It says that there is none “…for those who are in Christ Jesus,” and it qualifies this as those, “who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit,” (Rom_8:4 CAB). – This “no condemnation” state does not include those who are outside of Christ Jesus as Romans 8 clearly shows, and we have already seen that Jesus Himself already clearly affirmed the existence of this dreadful condemnation in John 3, and it was in that condemnation I was trapped. And it does not matter how many religious tricks you pull to mask your sin, you will still inherit these ‘wages of death’ (Rom_6:23) as a sure promise from God if you’re actually living in sin, no matter how ‘christian’ you seem to be.
Because of my hatred of my own life, and the bitter darkness of filthy American christianity, I sought every avenue I could to do anything to escape reality. It was preferable to quickly set my heart on anything rather than facing this worthless and wretched life I was living. I would almost do anything to escape from the feelings of darkness and gnawing pain of worthlessness, vanity, condemnation, and hopelessness in this life. I hated life so much that anything was better and more of an answer to life than the religiosity that claimed to have the answer.
Despite our religiosity and claims of knowing christ, God still says you have to actually repent of sin to escape the death and hopelessness of vanity:
Eph_2:12 KJV …at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Psa_39:5 CAB …my existence is as nothing before You; indeed, every man living is altogether vanity. Pause.
Psa_78:33 CAB And their days were consumed in vanity, and their years with anxiety.
Psa_144:4 CAB Man is likened unto vanity: his days pass as a shadow.
Ecc_1:2 CAB Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
Ecc_1:14 CAB I beheld all the works that were done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
Ecc_2:1 CAB I said in my heart, Come now, I will test you with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure. And behold, this is also vanity.
Ecc_2:17 CAB So I hated life, because the work that was done under the sun was evil before me. For all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
Ecc_2:23 CAB For all his days are sorrowful, and vexation of spirit is his; in the night also his heart rests not. This is also vanity.
Ecc_12:8 CAB Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher; all is vanity.
1Co_15:19 CAB If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
We can also reapply what is said earlier in this passage:
1Co_15:17 KJV …your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
So because of this dark inheritance and the hopeless ache of vanity I was constantly under, I gave myself to obsess over movies and various forms of entertainment, much like those I was raised around, except for me, typically the more warped in fantasy they were the more I liked them, especially because with them I could maintain a more vivid escape from reality, and drown my constant sorrows with the indulgence, pleasures, and entertainment of this life. The crown of my idolatry in all of this was Star Wars. All I wanted to do with my life was to make movies like those I polluted myself with. But again the Bible says:
Jas_4:4 CAB …Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world is constituted an enemy of God.
As time went on, I eventually practiced more and more of the sins I saw as I fell deeper and deeper into scandal after scandal, especially when I saw them reinforced in church as well as in fantasy. But against these things God says very clearly:
Gal_5:19-21 CAB Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are: adultery, fornication [i.e. sex before marriage], immorality, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envies, murders, drinking bouts, revelries, and the like; which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In my youth there was a great conflict inside my own heart, because I could not reconcile why I was more satisfied with movies and indulgence than church, when we all theoretically believed and knew and emphatically said, “Jesus is the life” and “Jesus is the answer.” Although I knew that none of the shameful fantasies I was entertained by were real, and I really knew inside that I was now in horrible sin, still, they were definitely more real, exciting, fulfilling, and spiritual than the christianity I grew up with, and I did not know how to reconcile this inconsistency because I always wanted to be a serious and dedicated Christian.
Though my entertainments were polluting me with demonic filth, truth be told, they were more honest than the hypocrisy and death I was being offered Sunday mornings and the christianity I was taught as a whole. What I did in such paganism was the only natural thing to do when raised in a religion that said we could indulge in this life, live in sin, and still go to heaven. And if we don’t repent and start proclaiming a gospel like Jesus taught, that demands people to forsake everything to follow Him, we will never see people get truly free of sin:
Joh_8:34 MKJV Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin.
Luk_14:33 WEB So therefore whoever of you who doesn't renounce all that he has, he can't be my disciple.
Most of my sins reached their height when I was in middle school, but despite this, everyone thought that I was the ideal Christian of Christians (see Act_26:5; Php_3:5). And it was in the midst of this darkness that I had slipped in to greater and greater sins. In eighth grade, and at other times after that, I remember when the Scripture that I had always dreaded came true in my life, and people found out about the sins I was practicing and the name of Jesus was completely shamed and discredited. The looks that were on their faces haunted me from that time on.
After years of overt sin I tried to stop and do what was right, but I was addicted and trapped. I would stop for a week or two only to fall right back in. I had no one who could help me in my pursuit of trying to get free, only a conglomeration of religious people who’s instruction had led me into this bondage to begin with, and could give me no hope of change.
After trying over and over to get free and getting nowhere, around the beginning of 10th grade (1996-1997) I was finally able to stop my worst sins, but I still ignorantly held on to Star Wars and other evil indulgences. God was obviously dealing with me, because after I repented of what I knew was sin, I finally saw that the things that I did not even know were wrong were also sin. The impossible happened and I finally came to terms with this and admitted to myself that Star Wars was actually wrong, but despite this I continued to watch it. I had mostly repented of what I knew was sin, but I did not know to repent of the things I was just starting to wonder about and admit were wrong.
I knew that Star Wars was based out of new age “universal” religious beliefs and that the creator, George Lucas, admitted to this in interviews. (This is called “paganism,” and it is constantly condemned by the Bible). By considering the philosophies embraced in this movie, you can see defining elements of Pantheism, Dualism, and Metaphysicalism, and not to mention its obvious links to religions like the Ying Yang (i.e. the “bright” and “dark” sides of “the force”). Twice in the original trilogy they even directly hint that “the force” is a religion. But contrary to all of this, I knew that the Bible said things like:
Eph_5:11 CAB And have no partnership with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
3Jn_1:11 CAB Beloved, do not imitate the evil, but the good...
Deu_18:9 CAB And when you shall have entered into the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to do according to the abominations of those nations.
Deu_6:13-15 CAB You shall fear the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve [quoted by Jesus in Mat_4:8-10]; and you shall cleave to Him… 14 Go not after other gods, of the gods of the nations round about you, 15 for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God, lest the Lord your God be very angry with you, and destroy you from off the face of the earth. 16 You shall not tempt the Lord your God, as you tempted Him… [quoted by Jesus in Mat_4:5-7]
Note: We see that this passage is quoted twice by Jesus when being tempted in the dessert before He called His disciples or began ministering (Mat_4:1-11).
Deu_8:19-20 CAB And it shall come to pass, that if you do at all forget the Lord your God, and should go after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you shall surely perish! 20 As also the other nations which the Lord God destroys before your face, so shall you perish, because you would not heed the voice of the Lord your God.
Exo_34:14-17 CAB For you shall not worship strange gods, for the Lord God, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God; 15 lest at any time you… go a whoring after their gods, and sacrifice to their gods, and they call you, and you should eat of their feasts, 16 …and your daughters should go a whoring after their gods, and your sons should go a whoring after their gods. 17 And you shall not make to yourself molded gods.
Jer_25:5-9 CAB Turn, everyone of you, from his evil way, and from your evil practices, and you shall dwell in the land which I gave to you and your fathers, forever and ever. 6 Do not go after strange gods, to serve them, and to worship them, lest you provoke Me by the works of your hands, to do you harm. 7 But you hearkened not to Me. 8 Therefore thus says the Lord: Since you did not believe My words, 9 behold I will send and take a family from the north, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants of it, and against all the nations round about it. And I will utterly destroy them, and make them a horror, and a hissing, and an everlasting reproach.
(also Deu_11:28; 1Jo_5:21; Deu_13:6-11)
One day around late 1996 or early 1997, the church that I was at was having a typical church service and I was deeply discouraged and hopeless over it, and especially in light of this, at some point either before or during the service I stepped out and walked away from things by myself in the parking lot of the church, while everyone else was inside. I walked around and prayed in my frustration, “Is there anyone else who wants God as much as I do?!” I was frustrated and alone in my desire to really live for God and I did not know how to do it on my own. Although I did not completely know how to put my frustration into words, I essentially figured that the whole world was filled with religious people like I grew up with, and that there was little to no hope of finding someone who really knew God and could help me get there too. I had stopped all the sin that I knew to stop, and yet, I was still in hopeless darkness and depression. I knew there had to be something more than what I had experienced so far.
I looked at the church next to me and felt such deep despair because I knew there was not one person there or in the rest of the world that I knew of that truly Loved Jesus and could help me. So I cried out to God saying, “There has just got to be someone somewhere out there with answers, who really wants Jesus as much as I do and could help me get there…” and I begged, “Please somehow send them to me or me to them!”
Very shortly after all of these frustrations and this defining prayer, around early 1997P.K Yonge High School, my brother had started dating a girl from Bucholz High School. So, especially because my brother was my transportation I went with them to a Tuesday night Bible study at that school lead by one of their history teachers., while we were attending
This Bible study met in one of the portables behind the school, and especially in the earlier years the room was sometimes crowded with kids from a number of youth groups as we sat on the floor and in desks. On this Tuesday night I looked over the other kids in the room as this teacher spoke at this Bible study, and I was shocked and astonished because for the first time I saw someone who actually believed what he was saying. He was alive, and I knew what he was giving from the Bible was true, as though he spoke living and true oracles (Act_7:38), and it challenged me to the core of my being. He was displaying everything that I had ever wanted in life, and did not know to pursue.
I think it was the first and then again the second meeting I went to that the Bible study leader spoke about TV and idolatry. Especially after the second meeting, it was as though someone took a bow and arrow at full strength and shot it straight into the middle of my heart. I knew I was guilty, and he spoke to the very core of the sin I was still living in. I was so convicted and revolutionized that night that I set a line in the sand and completely rejected Star Wars, because I knew and believed that this proclamation was true and worth my whole life. As a result I began to zealously go through my room and pull things off the shelves and I began to clean out my life and rid myself of all idolatry. I ended up getting rid of my TV in my room, and I became the first teenager that I knew who never watched TV or Movies anymore because I had finally been set completely free from all such filthy addictions.
One Tuesday night after the meeting when someone asked this teacher were he went to church, I listened in intently, because I had to know this too. He said he went to his dad’s house church, and I soon began to go there too. In all of these things I began to Love the Truth. I was cleared from countless chains of false teachings that I had been raised with. It was an exciting time because I had come to the point where I finally, truly believed the Bible for the first time in my life.
During the next 3 years things were intense. I started going after Jesus in 1997 after I started going to the Tuesday night Bible Studies. Because of this, I saw miracles happen, and I started experiencing the reality of God. But despite all of these good things, I was still depressed and plagued with demons. For countless sessions over countless nights I was prayed for by the people at the house church. They prayed for me over and over for countless hours but I was never set free, but as a result I saw that the spiritual realm was serious.
A lot of things happened during this time of beginning to follow Jesus, and a few years later around June 1999, at some point around 1 to 3 weeks before I was to graduate High School, my parents ended up talking with the main leader of the house church I was at and they told me they did not want me going there anymore. This was partly because I had revolutionized my life so much to obey the Bible after going there (and as always, my family had begun to think I was in a cult), and partly because there were “false brothers” there (Act_20:30; Gal_2:4; 2Pe_2:1) who despised me and spoke evil about me to the point that one of them gave false prophecies that I was still secretly doing specific sins, although I had repented of these things long ago before meeting them.
While I do not know exactly what they told my parents, my parents ended up talking with one of these “false brothers” (who also happened to be the main leader) and as a result I was forced not to go to the house church any more, partly by my parents and somewhat from within that church. I thought that I would never find another place to go to church because it was already such a miracle to have found this group of people, but nonetheless, right around this time I found out about an Assembly of God church where there was a core of people who were actually real christians being disciple by the youth pastor there.
In the midst of all of this painful transition, because the history teacher stayed faithful to supporting me spiritually, I continued going to the Tuesday night Bible studies where I had first heard the (Biblical) Gospel, while going to the Assembly of God church on a more regular basis. It was in this context that I finally found out that I needed to be baptized (that is, in truth this time), so the teacher finally immersed me toward the beginning of my stay at the new church.
To make a long story short, it was at this new church among this core of real christians that I learned to pray and ended up seeking God intensely over the next five years, and I was set free from all kinds of spiritual bondage being blasted and overwhelmed by the favor of God in life altering times in prayer. When darkness was my destiny, the light of God shined in and did the impossible. I still remember turning myself around at some point during this time and realizing for the first time, that I actually enjoyed living!
In 1997 I started going after Jesus, and I was immediately persecuted by family for wanting to obey the Bible; In 1999 I started going to an Assembly of God church until 2004 when many people apostated into the modern christianity that they used to preach against; After getting kicked out of a church for the first time, persecutions began against me from the modern church as a whole. I was “thrown into the wilderness” for three very painful years and forsaken by nearly every friend that I had in the process, many of whom had actually been real Christians before falling away; After this I briefly was able to return to the house church again for a number of months, but they also soon kicked me out with much greater hostility than I had experienced before. But even though I tried to lay low after this and not make any waves, I was threatened and opposed in a few other church situations.
In 2007 my life climaxed to its height one night after a college Bible study that I had started going to, when some University of Florida students started responding to the gospel. This became the consoling reward and joy of my life. A few months after this, I was harshly opposed, insulted, and kicked out of the college Bible study for giving some Bible verses to one of the students; In 2008 I was “dismissed” from another assembly of god church after a short six months stay in New Jersey, and in April 2009 (after returning to Florida), although I was minding my own business (1Th_4:11) and living a quiet and peaceful life (Rom_12:18; 1Th_4:11; 1Ti_2:2), harsh persecutions reached a climax with the same college bible study leader ‘chasing me down’ and rallying as many people against me as he could; Because of this, more of my old friends apostated and began to harshly opposed me so that even the disciples who were associated with me were basically kicked out of their church.
In 2009 I was kicked out of a salvation army bible camp in Colorado for reading the Bible to some campers (I read Luk_14:25 etc. to them and asked them what they thought it meant); After this, in 2010 I eventually started doing house church with the small group of persecuted disciples.
(You can read more on some of this at the “Book Time Line Link” toward the end of this document)
Act_14:22 CAB strengthening the souls of the disciples, urging them to continue in the faith, saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God."
This has been a defining element of my life. But out of all the pain I have undergone and the opposition I have faced, it is all worth it and I do not regret one painful thing that I have received because of the immeasurable weight of truth and glory it yields.
Many things have happen since all of these adventures, but all of these things have culminated into a life of burning for Jesus and proclaiming His truth. I eat, sleep, and breathe to be connected to Jesus, and to connect others to Him. Unfortunately, most of those who seem to be christians are not, and all of these things have born a fervent fire inside of me to see the visible church repent. If possible, I would give up my life to see this happen.
Most all people do not believe the message I represent and find it very easy to despise my life and set aside every true thing represented to you in the stories you have just read. Though I urge that we repent in view of the Goodness of God to obtain the salvation of Divine favor from Him, very few people find the precious favor of truth and approval from obeying God attractive or worth giving up their life to lay hold of. Truth is the most illegal substance in modern christianity today, and repeating the Bible and encouraging people to obey it is counted as heresy by most every pastor in today’s church.
If you are an exception to the complacency of this vast majority of already satisfied, disinterested and offended people, then you are a great minority indeed.
Mar_6:3-4 CAB Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" And they were offended at Him. 4 But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own hometown, and among his relatives, and in his own house."
Act_7:27 CAB "But the one wronging his neighbor pushed him away, saying, 'Who appointed you a ruler and a judge over us?
Act_7:35 CAB This Moses whom they denied, saying, 'Who appointed you a ruler and a judge?' This man God sent as a ruler and redeemer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush.
1Sa_10:27 CAB But evil men said, Who is this man that shall save us? And they despised him, and brought him no gifts.
Luk_19:14 CAB But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'
But there is truth to take hold of, and there is pure life flowing from obeying the Scriptures of truth. The judgment will clear all things and show if we have given a reasonable response to the demands of Jesus and the precious proclamation He has sent unto us. The justice of God will show before all if we have been attracted to the truth of His proclamation, or if we have despised the lowliness and weakness of the vessels God glories in using.
1Co_1:25-31 CAB Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For you see your calling, brothers, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many powerful, not many noble, are called. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world in order that He might humiliate the wise, and God chose the weak things of the world in order that He might humiliate the mighty. 28 And the base things of the world, and the things having been despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, in order that He might nullify the things which are, 29 so that no flesh may boast before God. 30 But from Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption; 31 that, as it is written, "He that boasts, let him boast in the LORD."
And He says earlier:
1Co_2:7-8 CAB But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the wisdom having been hidden, which God foreordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew…
If you have heard truth in reading my story about Jesus, then I would plead with you to also forsake your own life and all that you have to follow Jesus, be set free from sin, and be made alive by faith in the truth of obeying Jesus in everything! Be no longer in love with the filthy religions of modern christianity and the paganism of this world, because they have a bitter end of failure, darkness, guilt and hopeless condemnation when all is said and done!
If there is any way that I can help encourage you to take up your cross and follow Jesus in truth, then please contact me and let me know.
The following links are mostly short summaries, but they are helpful supplementary resources for what you just read
A time line of major events surrounding the Book I am working on:
The only reason I put this here is to avoid people misusing this work with bad motives. This is officially copyrighted to protect it from those with money in mind, and to preserve it for free distribution, especially in the unlikely event that someone might think to make money off of it rather than maximizing its distribution. You are permitted and encouraged to freely copy and redistribute this work in its entirety, via standard copy machine or electronic documentation as long as you make no money off of it. If you wish to reproduce this work on any larger scale, please contact me at Josiahs@trueconnection.org. You may also quote this document, by citing the reference as:
“[Name of Bible Study]” By Josiahs Scott, www.TrueConnection.org