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Russell S at the Alive Again scripture friendly online meeting "From Blind to Sight-John 3 Saving Faith and Gratitude" recorded July 3, 2020
Episode 29 · 2 years ago
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Episode 29 · 2 years ago
Russell S at Alive Again - "From Blind to Sight-John 3 Saving Faith and Gratitude"
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Russell S at the Alive Again scripture friendly online meeting "From Blind to Sight-John 3 Saving Faith and Gratitude" recorded July 3, 2020
Hi, everybody. Money was Russell Spatson. I'm an alcoholic. I love Jesus and I appreciate being here to night with everybody and especially I appreciate getting to give a little testimony, little my personal testimony as it pertains to John Chapter Three. When would he told me today that he was going to speak on John Chapter Three, as I told him, which I which really is my usual way I go about things. I rarely I'm not saying this is good or bad, it's just the way I am. I rarely prepare. I know I rarely prepare for the thing I'm going to talk about lest I put my too much of myself into it. I get to too much into trying to impress somebody. I've always felt, like Dr Bob said, that the heavenly father, my heavenly father, will never let me down and I really want the Holy Spirit to guide me and to be as sincere as I possibly can. So usually what I do is about five or ten minutes before the meeting I'll read the verse and then I'll just think about it and pray on it and see what the spirit tells me. And in this case, after I read on and I prayed on it and quite often what I what I what I come upon when I think of my personal testimony is something really unusual in the sense that most people wouldn't think of the verse in that way. But I'm here just to share my story. You know, they say that we have a lot of people recovery, a lot of people in they hear, they say, and the people in NA and different recovery groups. They say, you know at you know, when you when you when you listen to a speaker, you know they say different speakers are like you know, they're like tool boxes. There's a wrench to fit every nut that walks through the door. And I don't know what I have to say will help you out or the range, but I know it's going to be honest, that it's going to be from a art. What I did was, after I started thinking about this verse and my friend Nicodemus, I see myself a lot in the Nicodemus, I put in three, three or four versus that if you don't want to like to read you they may not seem to have a lot to do with this particular verse or chapter, but I can assure you within my testimony they have a lot to do with it. So I'm going to read them to you. The first one comes from a gentleman deemed end and it says true row faith is cast rather than taught. Some of you know that, or maybe you may not know that Nicodemus was a Pharisee. He was brilliant, he was highly regarded. He was one of the most regarded people in the end the Saent Hedron at that time, and apparently he also represent a lot of other people. Had Sway over a lot of other people. The said he dron and he went to see Jesus at night because I guess he didn't want anybody to see him going in the day to try to see what the Jesus could explain to him or teach him or somehow let him understand exactly what was going on here. And if you read what would he just read, you can't help but come away with the conclusion that Nicodemus may not have actually fully comprehended what Jesus was talking about. You know, I don't know about you, but I'm one of these believers. I hope, I pray to God, that Nicodemus made it and that he believed and that he's found salvation and that I'll see him in heaven when I'm with...
Jesus Christ. But I really hope so. Okay, because he was a man who was searching and had the curiosity, encourage and desire to go straight to Jesus to try to get Jesus to explain things to him. So to me that says something. The next quote is this, and this is from one of the eight points of the Oxford Group of quote from that book, and this has a lot to do with my life by frankly, it says truly, a man, they look at a thing nine hundred and ninety nine times and not see it once, and then look at it for the thousandth time and see it for the first time. That's from what the eight points of the Oxford Group, which of course, was the group that started out where a a came from. So es Elliott in the for plot trains has a quote says we will not cease our exploration and in the end we will. When we're done with all our exploring, we will come to the place where we began, having known the place for the first time. And then the last, I think the last one that I put in there is from a first John and it says this. It says do not love the world or anything in the world. Or if anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in it. For All that is in the world, the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and the pride of life, is not from the father, but from the world. The world is passing away along with his desires. But whoever does the will of God remains forever. So what are those three verses have to do? Is what I'm going to talk about. As far as as far as John Three, before I go into that, I do want to mention because I I want to mention. You know, I come from the school of you know how Christians is supposed to when they see somebody a Shay Astray, they're supposed to gently, you ever do there's was the supposed to gently rebuke them, gently rebew. I was unfortunately growt up by mentors that never really they stretch the meaning of the word gently and they weren't very gentle with me and and I don't know, I guess gentle is a word of art and I would never be allowed to teach in any seminary. That's actually in the in this world. But if I was going to teach, I think I would teach. I think I would start, of course, saying the sarcasm of Jesus Christ. You know, we like to think that. You know, one of the things I've noticed about Christians is they're easy. You know I'm easy. They're easy, and sometimes alcoholics need somebody that can be a little bit sarcastic and a little bit tough. And there are various places in scripture and I can go through them with you, but this is one of those places where one of the top guys in Israel, the the the biggest brain they had, you know, the head of the sandric he drink goes to Jesus Christ sincerely to try to figure out what's going on, and Jesus is talking to him and of course we can't hear the voice inflection, we only hear the words, but the words come through and Jesus says, you, you call yourself a teacher and you don't understand this stuff. Jesus is like batting this guy. He's like whacking them. I mean I can't imagine that anybody...
...in Israel has ever talked down to Nicodemus like a child like Jesus talked out in Nicodemus, but apparently Jesus felt that it was necessary, and Jess a little smarter than I am, so I guess that's the case. So I'm seventy one years old. It's over for me. You know, it's over. I'm in the last part of my ideo. You know. I know there's probably people, but he's a little bit older than me. And I go to groups now where the guys at forty and fifty years sober and they're in their ads and you know that kind of thing. And I've been sober ever since I was certain. I've been sober. This is my forty year and sobriety and I accepted Lord Jesus Christ on December twenty five, and so my life on December twenty five, one thousand nine hundred and eighty. So I've been sort of like groveling around and searching for him and trying to get closer to him for almost forty years now. And you know and and you know it's it's a time in my life and I don't know how many people, probably most people won't even understand this. Maybe Eve will. We have the same amount of sobriety, just about it. Same Age, where when I hear somebody dying, Ninety five percent of time they're younger than me. Ninety five percent of the time when I hear people dying of cancer, of a heart attack or whatever, they're younger than me and so. And I don't want and I'm not trying to be Morbid here, I'm really not, because you know, the truth is, weirdly enough, I'm not scared of death. N I look at the run in front of a car, but it doesn't be occupy me. It doesn't pre occupy you, really doesn't. I'm not scared of it, doesn't I. You know, I mean I'm like everybody else. I prefer not to suffer, but I know I'm not worried about God. But what happens is when you get older and you get closer to a point in your life where you really don't care what car you're driving and you're not trying to impress some woman, and you know a lot of things you know slip out of the way, and not necessarily because you're older. And they have, I believe it has, left it with Jesus, but in the Holy Spirit working on you, you know, when you get to that point in your life, you become really focused on you become really focused on things that are that you don't focus on when you're when you're out there running the streets. I can assure you that when I was out there up until the age of thirty one and even into my first fifteen or twenty years in Aa, I can assure you that this line, you know the line in the first John where it says for all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, the pride of life is not for I can assure you that I worshiped those things up until the age of thirty one and probably it was a battle between Jesus Christ, the world, God and Mannon regarding those things for a good fifteen to twenty years into my sobriety. I know there was a battle, because why would I be so anxious and scared and worried and depressed and emotionally feel because of the possibility of not having those things or wanting those things or losing those things? So I know for a good twenty years of my sobriety that I was still focused on the things of this world and I think what I see happening, what I see happening with alcoholics, is not so much the...
...alcohol. I see the struggle between the the the sins of addiction to the worldly clamors and the things this world versus becoming focus and addicted on the Lord Jesus Christ. You know, that's that's I say. I know, I know, that's where the battle is. I know it has nothing to do with alcohol. I know it has nothing to do with that. Well, I know when people start drinking again, it's because they've lost the battle between focusing on Jesus and focusing on the things of this world and they condemn them. So I know because that's my battle. And I used to think nobody would understand me, and then I found that I joined Aa and that everybody understood me because they all suffered from the same darned thing. And you want to know something, I don't even think it's different with regular people. I think alcoholics are just a little bit I think alcoholics are just luckier than, whether blessed more the regular people, because we have to do these things that we die. Regular people can just live lives of quiet, you know, a quiet sort of desperation without drinking. But I know that's where my battleground is, between the thing desires of the flesh. I know that's what that's the apostle Paul's battle dockground where he talks about in the book of Romans. He talks about how he wants to love the Lord, he wants to be close to the Lord, but he notices something in his flesh, a desire to send where the worstless man, a my who's going to save me from this body of death? Who's going to save me from these worldly desires? I know that's where the Apostle Paul's battle was. So I was thinking to myself, in terms of what we read John Three, I was thinking, what is it in the last thirty one years, as I've worked this programmer recovery, as I've studied the Bible, as I've hung out with mentors and try to get closer and close to to Jesus Christ, what is it? that it what has happened to me? If there's if there was one thing I can talk about that's happened to me that I can really put my finger on that has changed. Has Changed, and what I would say it would be without question is this immense, immense gratitude to Jesus Christ. Bill will in alcoholics, anonymous number three and the in build docsins testimony after he got sober. He talks about how he, even though he was not drinking, he knew there was something more, something you hadn got, something a person ought to have, some sort of freedom, some sort of happiness, and he couldn't quite grasp it. And if you're anything like me, maybe you have three years sobriety, maybe have five years sobriety, maybe have ten or fifteen years sobriety. You may have. You may find yourself with a sense that you're grateful for being sober, but you feel like you're missing something. You may have. I always felt I was like missing something. I would see men older than me with thirty, forty years. They seem to have a sort of release, you know, just a I always had this sense of I was that anxiety doot for my first ten years in AA. I'll tell you what it was. I would call that my my desert time, my anxiety time. I was sober, hell, I was teaching the steps, I was concing people, I was doing everything and I would say that, although I love being sober. I also had anxiety visit upon me all...
...the time. I was affected by and that went on even into fifteen years longer anxiety, that kind of thing. And he was trying to find the answer how you get this religacity. He and he was listening to Bill Wilson that was at his house, and Bill Wilson said this. He said this line, this one line which in is and there's a name for it called the golden text. And this is what Bill Wilson said. He said he said the Lord. We all know who bill was talking about, right us, some about Jesus, because bill was a Christian. He says, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, the disease of alcoholism, of the the DIS ease of having to drink and not be able to cure me of this terrible disease, that I got to keep talking about him and telling other people. And what Buil Dotson said is the one thing he saw in Bill Wilson is Bill Wilson was incredibly grateful for everything that had happened to him and he gave all credit to Jesus, all credit to God. So what does that have to do with John Three? I I was raised. I'm a Jewish kid. I'm a Jewish kid from great neck, Long Island, and for most of my life I worshiped my feelings, my emotion, everything in the world. Women, money, cars, no particular reason, what neck I have. I have done nothing in my life, absolutely nothing in my life, that would cause anyone to ever I did well in school. I want to become a lawyer because I wanted to get into some gall's pants, I think I know, or I wanted to marry some person, or I wanted to do so. I I I. I wanted money, I wanted people look up to me. It was nothing in my life, absolutely nothing in my life, where I would deserve to have the life I have now. Well, would I even be prepared to have the life I had now? Or nobody would even ever predict or prophesize I would have the life I have now. And yet in the seven twenty five, in December twenty five, one thousand nine hundred and eighty, I got down on my knees after losing everything and heard a preacher talk about Jesus and and talk about the Gospel, and I got down to my knees at three o'clock in the morning and said the sinner's prayer and asked Jesus to come into my life. And after that happened. After that happened, I had one of the quote in here and it's from Second Corinthians. After that happened, I continued to drink. At about three weeks later I got into a bad car accident, almost killed myself and somebody else, and while I was lying in a hospital Gurney, I looked up at the sky or the ceiling and I said God helped me, and something happened. And I can tell you I rarely, if ever. I can count on my fingers the Times I heard I would share this experience, the experience I had a spiritual experience with Jesus Christ. I would share this experience. I can count on my fingers the number of times I would share this with other people. And the reason I didn't share it with other people and I don't share it in a meetings is number one. Although I am absolutely sure, and I know because I've met the people. I know Johnny Harris had this experience. I know other people that have experiences like this. I know the apostle hole.
I had an experience. The reason I don't share this twofold because I don't actually need to share it to talk about my faith in Jesus Christ. I can't explain it and I also know that many people don't necessarily have spiritual experiences. I understand that. And I'm looking at the statement of the Apostle Paul in Second Corinthians and I haven't posted I'm just going to read a part of it and this is what he says. It's an interesting statement. It says it is doubtless not probable for me to boast I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago, whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body, I do not know. God knows such a one, was caught up to the third heaven and I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know. God knows how he was caught up into paradise and hunt heard inexpressible words, which is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one, I will boast, and the Apostle Paul, of course, is talking about I believe he's talking about his own personal experience with Jesus, and I understand. I interestly enough, I sort of understand what he's talking about because that pretty much describes what happened to me on a hospital Garnie thirty one years ago, and I think one of the reasons why I don't share it that much is I'm not sure it's meant to be shared, but I'm not sure it's meant to be shared with anybody else else. The Lord would have given me words or given an apostle Paul words that would make sense. I think that what the Apostle Paul is saying is exactly why I feel I cannot appt I cannot explain it any better then the apostle Paul says right here. The only thing that this tells me I don't even think the Apostle Paul can explain it any better than this. It only tells me that I'm not the only one that had this experience. So I look at Nicodemus, who was, in a sense, of lawyer. That was a theocracy he was. He was a man of the law, he was a believer. He he goes to see Jesus to get Jesus to explain and he goes sincerely in an effort to try to find out who Jesus is and what is this all about. And he's a knowledgeable man, he's a management through school, he's got his Ph d, and Jesus is explained it to him and, at least in what we just read, he's not getting it. He's just not getting it. And this is what I say to myself. I say, you know, Russell, if you were back there and you would have been one of the lawyers and you went to see Jesus, you would be in the same position. Jewish kid trying to get Jesus to explain to him what's going on here. Jesus is talking about being born again, of the spirit, you know, and all this sort of stuff. I says, Russell, would you would you have what? Would would you have got in it? Would you have figured it out, or would you have walked away like Nicodemus, scratching your head? And the truth of the matter is I think I probably would have walked away like Nicodemus, scratching my head. And so I go back to the two verses I spoke of before. True faith is caught rather than taught.
And truly a man may look at a thing nine hundred nine nine times, have it as to have it explained to him nine hundred and ninety nine times, see the miracles nine hundred ninety nine times, see Jesus with the marks in his hands nine of the nine nine times and not see it once and and then look for the out thousandth time and see it for the first time. You see, here's the prob out of line. There is no way I can explain to you why I was born again. I cannot explain to you I didn't deserve it. There's nothing I ever did that would qualify me for this, to be a believer the way I am right now. I cannot explain to you why I clearly can see and love the Lord and I'm grateful, like Jesus, from Lord and how grateful I am from my life because I'm a believer, and not explain and at the same time, not understand why somebody just as smart as me, you know, maybe small lot smarter than me, just can, just cannot get it. We all know people in our lives they just don't get it, and the reason is is because, apparently, and I believe this. It's a God thing. It's not a brain thing, it's not an intellectual thing, it's a not you figure it out on your own thing. It's some sorting. No Man comes to the to the father, you know, and no man comes to you unless the father calls. And that's why I am so grateful when I see this thing. I hope, I god, I hope that they could be was made it. I pray that ticket Nicklin was made. He wanted to find out. But I know one thing. I know that I believe in Jesus. I've gotten closer and closer to Jesus. My life is focused on Jesus more now that it's everything focused on and let me tell you something. You want to end well. You want to end well. You know what I mean. You want to end well. I want to end well. I am focused. I don't walk around holding my head saying, Oh my God, this coronavirus thing, and you know I don't. I don't get all bent out of shape over things that are happening in this world. I mean, it's not that I don't care, it's just that I look at a lot of things I just sort of see Jesus. You know, I look at this, this zoom thing, where I can travel all over the world, all over the world and go to a means and talk about Jesus and talk about my faith and see people get interested and I say, man, nobody could have orchestrated this except for Jesus, Christ, except for God. This is like amazing. I've been praying for a revival for twenty years. You know I'm going to you know. You know that's a problem with Christians. They want everything to go their way, but they don't want to go through any suffering. You know, everybody wants to be like Jesus, but nobody wants to go to the cross. Everybody wants a revival, but nobody wants a pandemic. You know. And and sometimes that's the way these things work. Sometimes horrible things happen in this world and as result of horrible things, incredibly great things happen. The Lord what does what he does. So so when I read this crazy this this John Three thing, I don't know what it is, all I could think about it's like, thank God, you know that somehow I looked at I'd somehow, somewhere along the way, on December twenty five, one thousand nine hundred and eighty. At three o'clock in the morning, I looked at the thing for the thousandth time and I saw it. And I'm going to tell you something. If you feel that you've ifew that you've gotten a glimpse of salvation, a glimpse of Jesus...
Christ, even if it's just a slight glimpse where you're starting to leave, you got to be great. You have no idea how grateful you got to be. Now, when I first started believing the Jesus and I first, you know, came in, I didn't feel the way. I could tell you I didn't feel the way. I wasn't convinced. It's like the mustard seed. It grows. I was not convinced, but he will finish his good working. You. Okay, it will happen and you've got and you need to understand something. I believe me. I don't like talk to you eyes. I don't mean to talk to you like you don't know this. I'm sure you all know this, that you are one in a million. It you know I mean, don't even you know if you've been to meetings, to the meetings where people are putting down the Lord Putting Down God and you want to say God, forget about Jesus. They only one to use higher power, good orderly direction to let you are in. Many are called, but few are chosen. It's a narrow road and few find it. If you're in this meeting, let me tell you something. You may you may feel that there's a lot of believers in the world. Then there are, okay, but you are you are the remnants, you are the chosen, you are the you are, you are the fortunate ones. You are blessed, you know, to be in meetings like this. And so what I see in this is the blessings of Jesus, the gratitude for being able to sit here and read the Bible and feel like he's talking about my life and he's talked about me and and he's here with me and he is here with me because whatever we gather, he's in our midst. So I'm just gratefull to be here when you guys, grateful to be able to share my testimony. I'm just, like Bill Wall said, it's terrible. It's a terrible addiction. I'm addicted to telling this story. As remember, my favorite him is. I love to tell the story of Jesus and his love. So God bless you all and that's all I have to say and I hope I see some of you tomorrow at the workshop tomorrow morning. And I'm going to turn IT BACK OVER TO WITTY.
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