I was a Christian for 20 years, served as an elder, participated in all kinds of ministry activities and was taught a mixture of law and grace. That led to much guilt, shame, frustration and anger.
I wanted to take my own life since I could never seem to please God.
Within a year, I lost a million dollars in stock options and my father to cancer. I lost my job, home, car and everything I owned. When I went to my church and told them that I was getting a divorce, they shunned me. It has been six years and none of them talk to me to this day.
My best friend’s last words to me were, “God will never bless you again because you broke His law and His covenant.” He assured me that only death can result from the breaking of the covenant. In the end, I filed for bankruptcy, divorced my wife and sought God through the occult, other religions and every other spiritual exercise I could think of.
I could not find a loving God in the church, so surely He must be somewhere else, I reasoned. I didn’t care where I would find Him, but I was desperate to find the “true” God, not the one my church had taught me—a God of anger, judgment and capriciousness, one who required me to lead a life that I was incapable of leading. (I know because I tried to unsuccessfully for 20 years.)
A very long story made a little shorter, the one thing I missed about church was worship. As I could not find it anywhere else, I returned to church. Again, I found only glimpses of Christ in the many churches I visited.
Then, one day, I was hiding out in a church’s bookstore not wanting to go in and I saw your book, Destined To Reign. I had suffered so much financial hardship for so long I figured this was a book that could help me. Maybe I could get some hints on how I could get God to act on my behalf. I knew that I lacked the killer instinct in business and was unwilling to cheat and steal, so maybe if I danced just right or said the right words, or did some kind of hocus pocus, I could get God to give me money. Lack of money has always plagued me. I tried every book, scheme and business opportunity out there.
I bought your book and found more than a treasure.
The treasure was the real Jesus and His beautiful Father—My Father, a Father who loved me even when I messed up.
A Father who forgives me for having divorced my wife, who forgives me of every mistake and every intended and unintended sin. I finally understood what Jesus meant when He said, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.” No more guilt and shame. No more trying to please God by walking the tightrope of a sinless life. Jesus did it all so that I could walk in rest, not strive to win God’s love.
I was amazed to find sin lose its power over me. It is just not that appealing any more. The more I see Jesus, the less I want the other things. I count on God’s grace each day that my children will now embrace this truth. They had been taught both law and grace by my ex-wife and me for so long, and now I want to leave them with this incorruptible inheritance of grace alone.
Although I still struggle financially, I know that Jesus loves me and became poor so that I could be rich. I know that He shall supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory. He has also healed me physically of some conditions and given me a beautiful new wife who understands grace too.
The words “thank you” seem anemic to express my gratefulness for your writing a book that changed my life and which allows me to understand the Scriptures in a whole new light. Grace to you and peace my brother.
John Bruno | United States, California