Double Dipping God's Grace

Like the majority, I grew up thinking I was a good person.  After all, I had gone to Sunday School when I was young and went to church up until I joined the Navy.  I went in the Navy three days after high school.  It was there that my foul mouthed, drunken stupors, and fits of hatred really developed.  I never considered my existence as being bad when compared to some I knew.  A person can justify any behavior and attitude by comparing himself to other people.  Our view of our own behavior really is deceiving.  Even those who appear well off, by the world's standards, are deceiving  themselves.  They exist in a world that has God adjusting to their standards.  Though they won't admit it, their goal is to be God.  The likes of the Clintons, O J Simpson, Donald Trump, Tom Cruise etc. are no better off than I was as a young seaman in the Navy at Kodiak.  They just have more money to indulge in sins I couldn't afford.  Like most youth, I was indestructible and bent on proving myself to the world.

Wham a guy comes along that reflects as much as he can, who God is.  He is different.  He didn't need an excuse for not carrying on like the rest of us.  He not only proved himself to be competent on the job, but seemed to enjoy life at the same time.  Even when I was drunk, I knew there was something about John that I wanted and needed.  He had life and I only had an existence; which is what most of us get by on.  I received the ever prevalent 'Dear John letter' (goodbye,I have a new boyfriend) that servicemen get, and in retaliation I got drunk and extended one more year in Kodiak.  I really felt alone and didn't need anyone.  John invited me to church a number of times.  I had grown up in a Methodist church and therefore saw no harm in joining him at least once.  There would be no threat to my miserable existence that I could determine, and it would get John off my back.  My first experience in a Bible teaching church was a suprise.  I couldn't smell alcohol on any of the members, and in the early part of '64 drugs were not yet in popular use; at least not in Kodiak Alaska.  These people appeared to be on something or they had all just graduated from the Happy Actors Guild.  On the bus back to the base John asked me what I thought of Church and all I could say was, it was different.  But I kept going back.  Pastor Phillips was no great orator, but was faithful in presenting God's word.  On March 19, 1964  I made a special trip in to the town of  Kodiak and went directly to see pastor Phillips.  God's word truly is sharper than a two edged sword;  it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit; it judges the thoughts and attitude of the heart.  I could no longer go on with my pretentious existence.  I knelt down with Pastor Phillips and asked God for forgiveness of the sins that made up my exsistence.  I felt like the weight of the world, as I had known it, had been lifted off my shoulders and I truly experienced being a new creature in Christ. It is at that moment that you experience God's grace because you know there is no one  person or one thing in this world that can do what God just did for you.  God's grace, who can fathom it.

I became active in the church at Kodiak and at witnessing to other servicemen.  After some time off Hanoi on an aircraft carrier and traveling around the Pacific Ocean, I settled down in Chula Vista California outside of  San Diego.  There I lived and learned God's word, Martial Arts and attended college.  There were 5 of us ex-servicemen being tutored in God's word by John Robertson under the group name of  Christ's Cadre.  Through our Karate school we worked with boys that had no father image in their home.  The Bible, school work, karate, and camping trips were the tools used to build up their self image and of course introduce them to Christ.  I left the group in 1968 to finish college at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks where I planned to continue this type of ministry.  I started a karate class at the University and a Bible study group.  I was doing fairly well with the ministry until I got confronted with sex.  The guilt that followed my experience was to be my undoing at the hands of Satan.  I didn't go to God and ask for forgiveness for committing adultery.  Instead, I relied on my own ability to maintain and spent the majority of my adult life living apart from God.  My guilt drove me to marry the girl I had sex with.  Living apart  from God and His word, you can justify anything.  We were married in a catholic church.  I figured I could change her once we were married.  She drank heavy and I could fix that too.  I became Director for Alcohol/Drug treatment for the Division of Corrections.  But it didn't help her any.  The list goes on.  The further you stray  from God and His word the harder it is to ask for forgiveness.  Satan likes it that way.  I had three sons by my first wife.  I divorced my first wife after 18 years.  I kept all three boys, and remarried again a few years later.  My motive for marriage was to find someone to help me raise my sons.  Again I married a catholic.  By then I was happy to just find a decent mother for my sons and God was no longer in the picture.  When my second wife died of cancer after 12 years of marriage I did some soul searching.  Since my departure form God I had experienced countless hardships.  The weight of sin was back on my shoulders.  Worse than the weight of sin is having three sons that don't know Christ.  I was driven to my knees in repentance.  Knowing you are lost and in need of God's help is one thing, but having known God and then turned your back on Him is something to be reckoned with.  I can certainly identify with the Israelites whom God referred to as being stiff-necked, after all he had done for them.  Who can possibly fathom God's grace?  Not man and certainly not this one.  A Double Dipper of God's Grace.