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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 · 1 year ago
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Episode 29 · 1 year 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 RussellSpatson. I'm an alcoholic. I love Jesus and I appreciate being here tonight with everybody and especially I appreciate getting to give a little testimony, littlemy personal testimony as it pertains to John Chapter Three. When would he toldme today that he was going to speak on John Chapter Three, as Itold 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 theway I am. I rarely prepare. I know I rarely prepare for thething I'm going to talk about lest I put my too much of myself intoit. I get to too much into trying to impress somebody. I've alwaysfelt, like Dr Bob said, that the heavenly father, my heavenly father, will never let me down and I really want the Holy Spirit to guideme and to be as sincere as I possibly can. So usually what Ido is about five or ten minutes before the meeting I'll read the verse andthen I'll just think about it and pray on it and see what the spirittells me. And in this case, after I read on and I prayedon it and quite often what I what I what I come upon when Ithink of my personal testimony is something really unusual in the sense that most peoplewouldn't think of the verse in that way. But I'm here just to share mystory. You know, they say that we have a lot of peoplerecovery, a lot of people in they hear, they say, and thepeople in NA and different recovery groups. They say, you know at youknow, when you when you when you listen to a speaker, you knowthey say different speakers are like you know, they're like tool boxes. There's awrench to fit every nut that walks through the door. And I don'tknow what I have to say will help you out or the range, butI know it's going to be honest, that it's going to be from aart. What I did was, after I started thinking about this verse andmy friend Nicodemus, I see myself a lot in the Nicodemus, I putin three, three or four versus that if you don't want to like toread you they may not seem to have a lot to do with this particularverse or chapter, but I can assure you within my testimony they have alot 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 faithis cast rather than taught. Some of you know that, or maybe youmay not know that Nicodemus was a Pharisee. He was brilliant, he was highlyregarded. He was one of the most regarded people in the end theSaent Hedron at that time, and apparently he also represent a lot of otherpeople. Had Sway over a lot of other people. The said he dronand he went to see Jesus at night because I guess he didn't want anybodyto see him going in the day to try to see what the Jesus couldexplain to him or teach him or somehow let him understand exactly what was goingon here. And if you read what would he just read, you can'thelp but come away with the conclusion that Nicodemus may not have actually fully comprehendedwhat Jesus was talking about. You know, I don't know about you, butI'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 thatI'll see him in heaven when I'm with...
Jesus Christ. But I really hopeso. Okay, because he was a man who was searching and had thecuriosity, encourage and desire to go straight to Jesus to try to get Jesusto explain things to him. So to me that says something. The nextquote is this, and this is from one of the eight points of theOxford Group of quote from that book, and this has a lot to dowith my life by frankly, it says truly, a man, they lookat 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 firsttime. That's from what the eight points of the Oxford Group, which ofcourse, was the group that started out where a a came from. Soes Elliott in the for plot trains has a quote says we will not ceaseour 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 theplace for the first time. And then the last, I think the lastone 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. Orif 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, thedesires of the eyes and the pride of life, is not from thefather, but from the world. The world is passing away along with hisdesires. But whoever does the will of God remains forever. So what arethose 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, Ido 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 theysee somebody a Shay Astray, they're supposed to gently, you ever do there'swas the supposed to gently rebuke them, gently rebew. I was unfortunately growtup by mentors that never really they stretch the meaning of the word gently andthey weren't very gentle with me and and I don't know, I guess gentleis a word of art and I would never be allowed to teach in anyseminary. That's actually in the in this world. But if I was goingto teach, I think I would teach. I think I would start, ofcourse, saying the sarcasm of Jesus Christ. You know, we liketo think that. You know, one of the things I've noticed about Christiansis they're easy. You know I'm easy. They're easy, and sometimes alcoholics needsomebody 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 inIsrael, the the the biggest brain they had, you know, the headof the sandric he drink goes to Jesus Christ sincerely to try to figure outwhat's going on, and Jesus is talking to him and of course we can'thear the voice inflection, we only hear the words, but the words comethrough and Jesus says, you, you call yourself a teacher and you don'tunderstand 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 toNicodemus like a child like Jesus talked out in Nicodemus, but apparently Jesus feltthat it was necessary, and Jess a little smarter than I am, soI guess that's the case. So I'm seventy one years old. It's overfor me. You know, it's over. I'm in the last part of myideo. You know. I know there's probably people, but he's alittle bit older than me. And I go to groups now where the guysat forty and fifty years sober and they're in their ads and you know thatkind of thing. And I've been sober ever since I was certain. I'vebeen sober. This is my forty year and sobriety and I accepted Lord JesusChrist 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 aroundand searching for him and trying to get closer to him for almost forty yearsnow. And you know and and you know it's it's a time in mylife 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, justabout it. Same Age, where when I hear somebody dying, Ninety fivepercent of time they're younger than me. Ninety five percent of the time whenI hear people dying of cancer, of a heart attack or whatever, they'reyounger than me and so. And I don't want and I'm not trying tobe Morbid here, I'm really not, because you know, the truth is, weirdly enough, I'm not scared of death. N I look at therun in front of a car, but it doesn't be occupy me. Itdoesn't pre occupy you, really doesn't. I'm not scared of it, doesn'tI. You know, I mean I'm like everybody else. I prefer notto suffer, but I know I'm not worried about God. But what happensis when you get older and you get closer to a point in your lifewhere you really don't care what car you're driving and you're not trying to impresssome woman, and you know a lot of things you know slip out ofthe way, and not necessarily because you're older. And they have, Ibelieve it has, left it with Jesus, but in the Holy Spirit working onyou, you know, when you get to that point in your life, you become really focused on you become really focused on things that are thatyou don't focus on when you're when you're out there running the streets. Ican assure you that when I was out there up until the age of thirtyone and even into my first fifteen or twenty years in Aa, I canassure you that this line, you know the line in the first John whereit 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 Ican assure you that I worshiped those things up until the age of thirty oneand probably it was a battle between Jesus Christ, the world, God andMannon 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 andscared and worried and depressed and emotionally feel because of the possibility of not havingthose things or wanting those things or losing those things? So I know fora good twenty years of my sobriety that I was still focused on the thingsof this world and I think what I see happening, what I see happeningwith alcoholics, is not so much the...
...alcohol. I see the struggle betweenthe the the sins of addiction to the worldly clamors and the things this worldversus becoming focus and addicted on the Lord Jesus Christ. You know, that'sthat'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 hasnothing 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 thethings 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 Ifound that I joined Aa and that everybody understood me because they all suffered fromthe same darned thing. And you want to know something, I don't eventhink it's different with regular people. I think alcoholics are just a little bitI 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 justlive 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 ofthe flesh. I know that's what that's the apostle Paul's battle dockground where hetalks about in the book of Romans. He talks about how he wants tolove the Lord, he wants to be close to the Lord, but henotices 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 goingto save me from these worldly desires? I know that's where the Apostle Paul'sbattle was. So I was thinking to myself, in terms of what weread John Three, I was thinking, what is it in the last thirtyone 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 toto 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 tome 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 andthe 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 offreedom, some sort of happiness, and he couldn't quite grasp it. Andif you're anything like me, maybe you have three years sobriety, maybe havefive 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 feltI 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 formy first ten years in AA. I'll tell you what it was. Iwould call that my my desert time, my anxiety time. I was sober, hell, I was teaching the steps, I was concing people, I wasdoing everything and I would say that, although I love being sober. Ialso had anxiety visit upon me all...
...the time. I was affected byand 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, andBill Wilson said this. He said this line, this one line which inis and there's a name for it called the golden text. And this iswhat Bill Wilson said. He said he said the Lord. We all knowwho bill was talking about, right us, some about Jesus, because bill wasa Christian. He says, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, the disease of alcoholism, of thethe DIS ease of having to drink and not be able to cure me ofthis terrible disease, that I got to keep talking about him and telling otherpeople. And what Buil Dotson said is the one thing he saw in BillWilson is Bill Wilson was incredibly grateful for everything that had happened to him andhe gave all credit to Jesus, all credit to God. So what doesthat have to do with John Three? I I was raised. I'm aJewish kid. I'm a Jewish kid from great neck, Long Island, andfor most of my life I worshiped my feelings, my emotion, everything inthe world. Women, money, cars, no particular reason, what neck Ihave. I have done nothing in my life, absolutely nothing in mylife, that would cause anyone to ever I did well in school. Iwant 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 Iwanted to do so. I I I. I wanted money, I wanted peoplelook up to me. It was nothing in my life, absolutely nothingin 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 Ihave now. And yet in the seven twenty five, in December twenty five, one thousand nine hundred and eighty, I got down on my knees afterlosing 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 andsaid the sinner's prayer and asked Jesus to come into my life. And afterthat happened. After that happened, I had one of the quote in hereand 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 killedmyself 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 thisexperience, the experience I had a spiritual experience with Jesus Christ. I wouldshare this experience. I can count on my fingers the number of times Iwould share this with other people. And the reason I didn't share it withother people and I don't share it in a meetings is number one. AlthoughI am absolutely sure, and I know because I've met the people. Iknow Johnny Harris had this experience. I know other people that have experiences likethis. I know the apostle hole.
I had an experience. The reasonI don't share this twofold because I don't actually need to share it to talkabout my faith in Jesus Christ. I can't explain it and I also knowthat many people don't necessarily have spiritual experiences. I understand that. And I'm lookingat the statement of the Apostle Paul in Second Corinthians and I haven't postedI'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 meto boast I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knowa man in Christ who, fourteen years ago, whether in the body Ido not know, or whether out of the body, I do not know. God knows such a one, was caught up to the third heaven andI 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 paradiseand 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 experiencewith Jesus, and I understand. I interestly enough, I sort of understandwhat he's talking about because that pretty much describes what happened to me on ahospital Garnie thirty one years ago, and I think one of the reasons whyI 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 wouldmake sense. I think that what the Apostle Paul is saying is exactly whyI feel I cannot appt I cannot explain it any better then the apostle Paulsays right here. The only thing that this tells me I don't even thinkthe Apostle Paul can explain it any better than this. It only tells methat I'm not the only one that had this experience. So I look atNicodemus, who was, in a sense, of lawyer. That was a theocracyhe was. He was a man of the law, he was abeliever. He he goes to see Jesus to get Jesus to explain and hegoes sincerely in an effort to try to find out who Jesus is and whatis this all about. And he's a knowledgeable man, he's a management throughschool, he's got his Ph d, and Jesus is explained it to himand, 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 youwould have been one of the lawyers and you went to see Jesus, youwould be in the same position. Jewish kid trying to get Jesus to explainto him what's going on here. Jesus is talking about being born again,of the spirit, you know, and all this sort of stuff. Isays, Russell, would you would you have what? Would would you havegot in it? Would you have figured it out, or would you havewalked away like Nicodemus, scratching your head? And the truth of the matter isI 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 ata thing nine hundred nine nine times, have it as to have it explainedto him nine hundred and ninety nine times, see the miracles nine hundred ninety ninetimes, see Jesus with the marks in his hands nine of the ninenine times and not see it once and and then look for the out thousandthtime and see it for the first time. You see, here's the prob outof line. There is no way I can explain to you why Iwas born again. I cannot explain to you I didn't deserve it. There'snothing I ever did that would qualify me for this, to be a believerthe way I am right now. I cannot explain to you why I clearlycan see and love the Lord and I'm grateful, like Jesus, from Lordand how grateful I am from my life because I'm a believer, and notexplain and at the same time, not understand why somebody just as smart asme, you know, maybe small lot smarter than me, just can,just cannot get it. We all know people in our lives they just don'tget it, and the reason is is because, apparently, and I believethis. It's a God thing. It's not a brain thing, it's notan 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, youknow, and no man comes to you unless the father calls. And that'swhy I am so grateful when I see this thing. I hope, Igod, I hope that they could be was made it. I pray thatticket Nicklin was made. He wanted to find out. But I know onething. I know that I believe in Jesus. I've gotten closer and closerto Jesus. My life is focused on Jesus more now that it's everything focusedon and let me tell you something. You want to end well. Youwant to end well. You know what I mean. You want to endwell. I want to end well. I am focused. I don't walkaround holding my head saying, Oh my God, this coronavirus thing, andyou know I don't. I don't get all bent out of shape over thingsthat are happening in this world. I mean, it's not that I don'tcare, it's just that I look at a lot of things I just sortof see Jesus. You know, I look at this, this zoom thing, where I can travel all over the world, all over the world andgo to a means and talk about Jesus and talk about my faith and seepeople get interested and I say, man, nobody could have orchestrated this except forJesus, Christ, except for God. This is like amazing. I've beenpraying 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 gotheir 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 thecross. Everybody wants a revival, but nobody wants a pandemic. You know. And and sometimes that's the way these things work. Sometimes horrible things happenin 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 crazythis this John Three thing, I don't know what it is, all Icould think about it's like, thank God, you know that somehow I looked atI'd somehow, somewhere along the way, on December twenty five, one thousandnine hundred and eighty. At three o'clock in the morning, I lookedat the thing for the thousandth time and I saw it. And I'm goingto tell you something. If you feel that you've ifew that you've gotten aglimpse of salvation, a glimpse of Jesus...
Christ, even if it's just aslight glimpse where you're starting to leave, you got to be great. Youhave no idea how grateful you got to be. Now, when I firststarted believing the Jesus and I first, you know, came in, Ididn'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 wasnot convinced, but he will finish his good working. You. Okay,it will happen and you've got and you need to understand something. I believeme. I don't like talk to you eyes. I don't mean to talkto 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'teven you know if you've been to meetings, to the meetings where people are puttingdown the Lord Putting Down God and you want to say God, forgetabout Jesus. They only one to use higher power, good orderly direction tolet you are in. Many are called, but few are chosen. It's anarrow road and few find it. If you're in this meeting, letme tell you something. You may you may feel that there's a lot ofbelievers in the world. Then there are, okay, but you are you arethe remnants, you are the chosen, you are the you are, youare the fortunate ones. You are blessed, you know, to bein meetings like this. And so what I see in this is the blessingsof Jesus, the gratitude for being able to sit here and read the Bibleand feel like he's talking about my life and he's talked about me and andhe'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 BillWall said, it's terrible. It's a terrible addiction. I'm addicted to tellingthis story. As remember, my favorite him is. I love to tellthe story of Jesus and his love. So God bless you all and that'sall I have to say and I hope I see some of you tomorrow atthe workshop tomorrow morning. And I'm going to turn IT BACK OVER TO WITTY.
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