May 14th 2006, was a Sunday morning that began like many other mornings. I felt hung over and lousy after a week of heavy drinking. This wasn’t the first time. I had plenty of those lousy days. Alcohol was a big problem in my life, a huge problem. Growing up Germany, alcohol is a part of the lifestyle and culture. Most of my friends that I hung out with started drinking from an early age. Meeting friends, hang out in the Gasthaus/Pub and drink beers. It became a daily routine. Getting up for work and meeting my friends afterwards for some beers in the Pub.
I was about 22 when I moved from Germany to San Diego, California. I was pretty tired of Germany, mainly because of the weather. I loved the sunshine. I visited California a few times in the late 70′s and thought, “that’s the place where I want to be”. I loved the sun, the beaches, the palm trees and the relaxed lifestyle that so many enjoy here in Southern California. I had good times after I moved to the USA. I had my own Piano business, played in a Reggae band and just enjoyed the relaxed lifestyle.
Later I worked for Taylor Guitars and after that I landed a great job with a major furniture manufacturer. Things went pretty well. I got married in 1995 to Kristin and we lived in a nice place in San Diego near the beach. Somehow alcohol was always part of my life. Drinking some beers after work was the norm. That was my life, meeting my drinking buddies and playing darts or whatever else came about. Once the alcohol took over, the judgment went out the window. I came home very late or sometimes not at all. I wasn’t thinking about my wife, my work. It was all about me . Seeking my own pleasures was way more important than my marriage and the responsibilities that came with it. In 2003 things got worse. My drinking increased quite a bit. I moved out of the house and found my own place. I thought of it as my own little paradise, my sanctuary. But things only got worse from there.
I got involved with people who were heavy drinkers and we hung out in various bars around town. Alcohol influences people and brings out the worse in them. I was never a violent person when drinking, I was just drinking to have a good time. Many people believe that drinking is relaxing and brings about a better attitude. I used to think the same way. Somehow I thought after the 2nd or 3rd pint things looked much better and oh, how much fun I had. I used to call it an attitude adjustment. Have you ever hung around people who had a bit too much to drink and they thought they were cool and funny? Life becomes very miserable when alcohol takes over your life and controls you. Everything starts to revolve around drinking and nothing else matters. It becomes snare that entangles a person. I always denied having an alcohol problem, even when people pointed it out to me. I was just in denial as many others, that drink or do drugs. Alcohol and drugs are deceivers. They give pleasure for a short time but then they sting you like a viper and take control over your life.
It was in early 2005, that I received the news that my father had died in Germany. I attended the funeral with my mom and some of my relatives. Hearing the news was terrible. It really hit me while I was sitting in the small chapel facing my dad’s coffin. I loved my dad, he was a good man. I always had a good relationship with him. My mom of course was devastated and I stayed for 3 month with her in Germany. I started going out and drinking in the local pubs. I think I was just tuning out not wanting to deal with the reality that my dad had passed away. I was drowning my sorrows with alcohol.
Coming back to the States, I continued that trend. Drinking before work, during work and of course after work. The drinking started to take over my life. It affected my work and one day I just walked off the job. I began to drink around the clock, going on binges that would last for at least a week. After those binges I got really sick for a few days, promising myself never to drink again. That promise would maybe last for a week or two and I was right back doing the same thing. A terrible cycle with the same results, feeling sick.
I remember the morning of May 14th very well. I sat on my patio chair feeling extremely sick from a week of heavy drinking. As I was sitting there all by myself, I began to cry out: “God, please help me. I don’t want to be like this anymore. This is not me. Please if you are there, help me.”
From that moment on, my life changed. I was still feeling sick, but something happened to me. Something wonderful. I had totally lost the desire of drinking and I started to seek God. I bought a Bible and read for hours and hours, taking in every word. Looking at my first Bible and see all the notes that I wrote, all the verses that I underlined, I find myself wondering, when did I do all that?
To be honest, I didn’t know much about God before and what the Bible revealed about Him. I didn’t know anything about repentance, forgiveness, justification and sanctification. I heard about God and of course I heard about Jesus and that He died on the cross, but that’s about it. I never really understood what it really meant, God giving His only begotten Son for me and my sins.
Reading God’s word opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on life and I believed. The word of God is so wonderful and healing and it is the absolute truth. Jesus is the Savior of the world. He became my personal Lord and Savior that day.
Today, I am so grateful to God, He continues to change my life day by day. I have become a new creation, old things have passed away. I have since reconciled with my wife, left the old things behind and I never looked back. Satan may accuse me everyday before God, calling me unworthy and a failure. He is right, I am. But I also know this, I am what I am, but I am not what I used to be.
It is not my righteousness that God looks at, it is the imputed righteousness of Jesus that the Father looks upon. I don’t have any righteousness on my own. I can never please God on my own. The gospel i.e. the good news is that God did for me what I could not do for myself. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
For me, it is all about Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross. The word that became flesh and dwelled among us. Who is this Jesus that transformed my life? He is God the Son Who became one of us. He came as the suffering servant to shed His blood on the cross for the sin of the world. Jesus was beaten to a bloody pulp beyond recognition. The Roman soldiers plucked His beard out, beating Him repeatedly. He endured the cross, the shame and the mocking of His own countrymen and the Romans because He loved us. Jesus came for that very purpose, to die on the cross at the appointed time for sinners like me.
From the beginning of His ministry to the arrival to Jerusalem on a donkey to the death on the cross, was not only prophesied. Jesus was on a divine timeline determined by the Father long before the foundation of the world. The death of Christ was no accident or just another criminal dying at the hands of the Roman government. Jesus committed no crime, yet He was condemned to death. Jesus despite the shame, willingly laid down His life for you and me. He gave His life to give eternal life to those who would believe in Him. All you need to do is to ask God for forgiveness and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. There is no sin that you or anyone else has committed that God will and cannot not forgive, no matter what a person may have done. God loves mankind. All He wants is for us to return to Him and He will heal us and cleanse us from all sin. Jesus has transformed my life and He is continuing to transform my life. He will do the same for you. All you need to do is ask Him to come into your life.
God is not distant at all. Stop whatever you are doing, turn around and He is right there with arms wide open.
“Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6, 7
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Mat 7:7, 8
Jesus is Lord, yet He declares His Lordship through the power of humility and grace…
“Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty and then for three years was an itinerant preacher. He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled more than two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of those things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself….
“While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed on a cross between two thieves. While he was dying his executors gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth – His coat. When he was dead, He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
“Nineteen long centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever were built, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.” Jesus is Lord – Excerpts from “One Solitary Life” (author unknown)
Jesus is the only true and living God. I am thankful that He has saved me. He is the only One that can transform a person’s life. Religions can not transform a person. Certain philosophies cannot transform a person. All religions and philosophies are men centered and futile. Man cannot save himself by empty and vain attempts of reaching God on their own merit. God reached out to mankind through His Son Jesus Christ, He is mighty to save. Only He can change the heart and only He can transform a person’s life. Thank you Jesus for the truth and Your love that You have shown to me. May others that are currently in a similar situation as I was, seek You and find You. Maranatha Lord Jesus.
- “You Must Be Born Again” (media4lifeministries.com)
- Faith a gift from God (media4lifeministries.wordpress.com)
- Come as you are (media4lifeministries.wordpress.com)
- Memories of a brother lost to alcohol (greystew.wordpress.com)