Amazing Grace!

Gary stayed the entire weekend and all he did was preach. He said several things in particular to me that really hit home. (1) I had to die. I had to come to an end of myself. The flesh does not want to die, to give up its life, it resists the Spirit. But unless we die, we cannot be opened up to receive the Grace of God [indwelling Holy Spirit]. That life which is from above. (2) I was seeking my salvation in a man and (3) I blamed God for what my ex-husband did to me and that God was not to be blamed. He said, "Everything that ever happened to you in your entire life, both good and bad, happened to bring you to this moment, to bring about your own salvation." He also said that I am to "...release your husband to God, God will deal with him." He (Saul Rodriguez) was not going to get away with what he did, I could live with that.

When I understood that I was wrong to blame God for allowing Saul to do what he did to me, I felt intense sorrow - Godly sorrow/repentance (repentance is a change of heart, which leads to a change in thinking and a changed character). I said, "I was wrong to blame You Father", my heart broke with sorrow, I wept bitterly. I said, "I don't want this life, I don't want it" and then it happened - as I surrendered my life to God. I, (the old self), died and at death received the indwelling Christ, the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "He who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal" (John 12:25).

That was the moment my darkness turned to light. That was the moment the shackles that held me in bondage fell off and I was set free. "Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin, therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed," (John 8:34-36). Death (to self) is indeed freeing! That is a secret the devil does not want you and I to know. "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will loose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the Gospel's sake, will save his life," (Mark 8:34-35). It means, absolute and unconditional surrender.

To take up the cross and follow Jesus means one thing only. It means you are going to die (to all of your selfish desires). There is only one of two things a person can do with their cross, run from it or die upon it. We must die daily to our selfish desires, to our temptations, to our addictions, be they drugs, sex, money, food or whatever. The Apostle Paul said, "I die daily."

I had finally arrived, I had found what I had set out to find years ago - The TRUTH. Now I had found that Truth and was being set free by It. Free at last!! Free from my past, free from the lies of the devil, free from the lies of the Saul Rodriguez, Sams and Rays of this world. Free to love God and others. Free indeed! Only It, (The Truth), wasn't an it but a He. A Person. Dear reader, may I introduce you to the Truth Himself. I present to you, The Lord Jesus Christ.

That's right. Truth is a person and His name is Jesus. It is possible to know Him. He's a pleasure to know and He delights in making Himself known. "And you shall Know the Truth (Jesus) and the Truth (Jesus) shall set you free" (John 8:32). Now I had that Truth (Jesus) living inside of me in the form of The Holy Spirit of God. Never to be alone again, for He is One who sticks to me closer than a brother and I love Him for that, O how I love Him.

You no doubt have heard about Christmas and Easter. You may even have celebrated the former with Santa Clause, presents and Mistletoes, etc., but do you know the real meaning behind these two holy-days?

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, the promised One. Jesus was promised to a covenant people, the Jewish people. He was foretold to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden after the fall. He was promised to Abraham on the day that God cut covenant with Abraham, a mere human. That promise came to pass two thousand years ago, when Jesus was born to a young virgin named Mary.

He grew and became a man and lived among men. For three years, He went about doing good, healing the sick, raising the dead and preaching the good news about the Kingdom of Heaven. That this Kingdom is within, if we would just face our sinful selves, see ourselves for whom we really are, sinners in need of God's Salvation (Jesus). If we would only turn to Him in humble obedience and acknowledge Him that He would freely forgive and save us from ourselves. That if we would only return the love, with which He Himself has loved us, that we would be abundantly blessed. That we would one day share in His Glory, if we would persevere to the bitter end, all the persecution and hell we would have to face here on earth, because we have chosen to love and obey Him.

He, Himself would suffer persecution. He came to His own people, (the Jews) and His own people did not believe Him. They rejected Him and demanded He be crucified. He was whipped to a bloody pulp, slapped, spat on, given a crown of thorns to wear, nailed to a cross and died on it. He was buried in a rich man's grave, but even death and the grave could not keep Him. Both death and the grave gave Him up, for we have physical evidence that He did rise three days later from the dead. There are no bones lying around in His grave. There is an empty grave to this day, which is why we celebrate Easter. It is the day our sorrow turned to joy. It is the resurrection morning.

There is also proof that He is in heaven seated at the right hand of God, because no one on earth today has seen Him in the flesh, walking around. And we have at least two eye-witness testimonies who have seen Him sitting at the right hand of the Father - that of Stephen as he was being stoned to death and that of John who received the vision of the Revelation of Jesus. It is there in the Book of Revelation. After He rose from the dead, for forty days He showed Himself to His believers. Then He was taken up into heaven, never to be seen physically again. As He was being taken up, two men dressed in white said to the crowd of about 500, standing there, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in like manner (the same way) as you saw Him go into heaven," (Acts 1:10-11).

The reason I couldn't receive Him (The indwelling Christ) before, was because my selfish desires and my bitterness towards God for allowing Saul to do what he did to me, created a barrier. "...but your sins have separated you from your God and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." (Is. 59:2). I wept and wept for days. I was hurting so badly. I felt I was going to literally die from a broken heart. "If only I had known sooner, I would not have suffered so needlessly," I thought.

"If I had known, all the best years of my life would not have been wasted." The Lord responded with His Word, with scripture, "I will restore the years the locust has eaten" (see Joel 2:25). Years ago I had read this scripture but at the time the Lord gave me this scripture I didn't even know where to find it in the Bible. It was when I just recently bought a Bible with a Concordance that I found it. The scripture actually reads, "I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten." While these words were spoken to the Israelites in the physical sense, God used it to minister to my condition, in the spiritual sense. Only God has the capacity to restore lost time, years. What a wonderful promise from a True and Loving Father!

God was going to use every ugly experience in my past for good. He would redeem my past and restore me into the person He created me to be, "...to be conformed to the image of His Son." (Rom. 8:29). "Why couldn't I have been born in a Christian family with godly parents?" I asked. And the Lord gently impressed on my heart, "If you had, would you have received Me the way you have now?" And I knew He was right, I wouldn't have. It had to be this way, and in understanding and accepting that, I received comfort.

Still, it took months for the pain to subside. The Holy Sprit was very gentle in His dealing with me. I was very aware of the way He ministered to me. His patience, His gentleness, His caring, His love, His immense respect (grace) towards someone like me. I felt the power in His presence, power enough to reduce a mortal to dust, and I was amazed that such a powerful Person could be so gentle with a worm like myself. Surprised that I had not been reduced to dust, because I had come so close to Him. I should have been dead and yet I wasn't. I was still living and breathing and that totally amazed me.

It was a humiliating experience and a liberating experience at the same time. Scripture says that God is not a respector of men. The same scripture says God is compassionate and respects anyone who calls to Him out of a true heart. That is Grace! Grace is literally undeserved respect.

The way He would respond to me with the answer even before the question was out of my mouth. I spent hours and hours of sweet fellowship in His presence. I did not want to live. I wanted to go home and be with Him forever, before I could sin again and grieve Him away. We have the capacity to grieve the Holy Spirit away and to quench Him. Every day I woke up, I was surprised and perplexed that I was still alive. The first thing I would do every morning was thank Him for the (precious) gift of His life. Then I would turn around and ask, "Why am I still here?"

I felt the need to fast and pray. Fasting and prayer go hand in hand. I fasted and prayed. Once again I went down to about ninety-five pounds. Once again I became a bone rack but this time I felt good. For with the shedding of the physical weight, I was also shedding spiritual weight.

God in His Mercy met me where I was at and He redeemed me from the pit I fell into. The fact that I experienced Him in such an intimate and profound way by no way means that I am more spiritual than others. It simply means that I was so far gone, my need for Him was great. Yes, I believe I've been blessed with more than some have. I have suffered more than some have too. I have certainly given up more than most are willing to give up, and with that blessing comes a greater responsibility. For, to those who receive much, much is expected of them. We, who are blessed with the Message of Salvation, incur a stricter judgment. The parable of the five talents demonstrates that (Matt. 25:14-30).

God knew the day He was going to save me. He knew I was going to mess up big time and He also knew that He was going to utterly save me from myself, from destruction. God is a God of a sound mind and a right spirit. He does not need mind altering drugs to save any of His creatures from destruction. In fact, He saves His creatures, inspite of the mind altering drugs they abuse their bodies with. He allowed me to go through what I went through, to educate me about drugs and their effects.

You see, when we are weakened either physically, emotionally, or mentally, we are more vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy of our souls, that old deluder, Satan. Today, the world in its attack on the use of drugs; gives only the physical and mental negative effects of drug abuse but I have never heard anyone talk about the spiritual warfare that takes place within the soul of a person high on drugs. I came under intense attack from the devil, and it happened when I was at my weakest point. I became weak in every one of the above mentioned areas. Physically, emotionally, and mentally. And the attack was concentrated on my thought life. The battle (spiritual warfare) is waged in the mind.

Satan knows if he has our minds, he has us. This is a key to understanding all the evils happening in the world today. And he hates to loose even one sinner to God. My only lifeline to hang on to - the full out surrender of my life to Jesus Christ, my trust in Him and who He was. What He had done for me thus far and what He was going to do for me in the weeks ahead. My one hope, that He and He alone was able to save me from myself, from utter destruction and from the evil one. Would you believe, ironically, that is where God meets us and ministers His Grace to us? No wonder scripture says He dwells among the humble and contrite ones.

I found incredible peace in doing that. Peace like I never knew existed. I felt like a brand new cleansed vessel and I wanted to be used mightily of God, for His Glory. But I knew I had to surrender every selfish desire first, or else He could not use me. I was still clinging to one - Sam!

Throughout the weeks that followed the Spirit stayed and worked on me. I got rid of Gary after the second weekend of drugging. He became controlling and paranoid. I realized he wanted to get me hooked on the drug, that scared me because that did not reflect the nature and character of Christ, so I cut him off. Long after I stopped doing the drug which I only used on two weekends and the Monday following the second weekend, the Spirit remained with me. Proof that I did not need drugs to receive the Holy Spirit. Likewise I did not need the laying on of hands on my head to receive the Holy Spirit either.

God knew how, where, when and why he was going to save me. It didn't come to Him as a shock that I would sin. He knew, even before the day I was born what I would do. It was He who placed such a hunger and thirst in my heart for Him. And He knew He was going to fill that hunger and thirst when He had made me good and ready to receive Him. Inspite of all my failures and I failed miserably, He did not fail, He was faithful.

Journal entry "I would lay in bed. I could feel the Spirit moving through my entire body. I tried to give Him all my sins but He would only take them one by one slowly - throughout the weekend I was sick - no not physical sickness - the sickness of a "sin sick soul." My fears/worries, my judging other people, my resentments, my anger, lust, hatred as I face them and confessed them. He'd work on my sub-conscious, IN MY SLEEP. Throughout the week the Spirit worked on me."

Journal entry: On December 26th, 1995, my youngest brother invited us over to his house. Sam, Sanja (a friend) and I went. In the middle of the partying I was watching the T.V. screen and seeing this talk show - Konan. I wasn't paying attention to what was being said. Then this thought just popped into my head, "Bride of Christ." To say the least, I chastised myself. "Yeah! Right Margaret. You! A bride of Christ! Now you've really gone crazy, don't be stupid, get that thought out of your head! And don't disrespect the Lord." I thought nuns were Brides of Christ and I thought no way am I ever going to become a nun - I don't have what it takes.

It's only a few days ago, (today being March 8, 1996) it finally dawned on me that the "Bride of Christ" is the Church of Christ (believers) and that I am a member of the church - The Body of Christ and hence a Bride of Christ. Praise God!

Journal entry: Mar. 31st 1996 - I am amazed that the Peace of the Lord has still remained thus far. I pray that the Lord will not take away His Peace, its life itself. His Peace makes life on this earth bearable.

Lord, Your Love and Grace is Salvation, and your Peace is Life, I beg you Lord, please don't ever take them away. I recognize the futility of my situation, that I cannot lift myself up from this fall and that trying is futile. Give me the faith I need Lord to wait upon You, for I know only You can lift me up out of this mess I've fallen into.

Send Your anointing (Holy Spirit), to show me the selfish desires that lay in this heart of mine and as I die to these desires Lord as I empty my heart of these desires, fill it with Your Spirit.

Thank You for Your patience and Loving Kindness I know You have dealt with me gently for I have also had a taste of Your Power and a good measure of Your Spirit is enough to KILL a mortal.

Still another Journal entry: May 29/96 - There was a time when I felt I needed to do some kind of sacrifice (June of 1992). I felt the shedding of my blood was needed to atone for my own sins. I used to think of pricking my finger and shedding three drops of blood but then I thought three drops was not enough. So I thought of slashing my wrist, but didn't have the guts to do it. (Sin requires the shedding of blood. It takes the blood of an innocent life to cover the guilt and shame of the sinful). I sought another way out, (or rather, I was led to the ONLY Way out). Drinking and being cleansed of my sins by, 'The Blood of Jesus Christ.' I glory in the Cross of Jesus. Now I do know what You accomplished on that cross, my Jesus.

I wrote in my Diary: July 21, 1996 - Selfishness is the root cause of all evil. Selfishness will cause one to sin. Dead to self and alive to Christ!

Sometime at the end of July 1996, I received a call from Savitri the second wife of my ex-husband - the same one who gave me the look of defiance years ago from her verandah in Guyana. She was now here in Canada and Alex was told not to tell me anything, but Lucy, a girl I had hired to tutor Alex and who continued to tutor him after he went to live with his dad in January, had told me.

The entry in my diary says it best: About 9:45p.m. Savitri, Saul's wife called to apologize to me for anything wrong she has ever done to me. She said she came to Canada in September, 1995, and has had a leading from the Lord to do this that she didn't know if I would understand. I told her, "I understand perfectly what is going on" and that she is not the one who wronged me, it was Saul and one day he would have to come to me for forgiveness. (If) We have the same Father.

I came to bed about midnight and was overcome with pain and sorrow. I remembered the pain and sorrow I suffered at the hand of Saul Rodriguez and even though it overwhelmed me to the point that I wept, it was bearable thanks to the Grace and Peace of God, through Christ. Lord, today You gave me a chance to show Grace to someone that did trespass against me. Glory to Your Holy Name.

Savitri left Saul that same month.

That September 1996, Saul moved back in with the Spanish woman, he had had a son with. The son was now about six years old. He had left the Spanish woman when wife number two came to Canada. Now that his second wife had left him, he went back to the Spanish girlfriend and she took him back. They moved to a new place together and that meant a change of school for Alex again. I was totally against moving Alex because he had just moved to a new school in January 1996, when he went to live with his dad. Now his dad wanted to move him again.

Saul called me up and he was determined to have his own way, as always. We argued as always and I got angry when he took that tone with me. The one with which he used to control me, only this time it didn't work. I just got angrier and angrier and all the raw emotion I had as a result of the pain he inflicted on me with his lies and deception, just exploded. He said, "Everything you know, I taught you." I said, "Everything I learned from you I had to unlearn, you had me brainwashed, y-o-u fucking d-o-g!"

He accused me of not teaching Alexandre anything and I yelled in anger, "Who is the Accuser? Tell me. Who is the Accuser?" For the first time since I've known that man, he had no answer for me. The accuser is Satan, who accuses the saints before God continually (Rev. 12:10b) and who accuses God before man (Gen. 3:1b, 4-5), to create strife between God and man. He (Saul) knew I was referring to him (Satan). That snake. That is why that beggar saw a snake on Saul, years ago in Guyana. The snake is a representation of Satan, the Accuser.

I kept calling him an asshole and told him he was nothing but an asshole and a S.O.B., that he didn't know anything. He still went ahead and transferred Alex to another school, ignoring my protests. But I had gained a huge victory over the enemy and it was going to be just the beginning. We never got into such an argument again, because he never opened his mouth again and said he taught me everything I knew. In fact he changed that tune to, "I am not smart enough to brainwash anyone."

The struggle with this person continues to this day for he has not changed. Still, God has given me enough grace to pray for my biggest enemy, Saul Rodriguez. Some nights Alex would ask me to lead him in prayer. I pray for our friends and enemies including his dad. For his dad's salvation and for the salvation of his other brother, and for the mother, to show by example to pray even for your enemies. God has given me the grace to deal openly and honestly with the Spanish girlfriend. I feel nothing but compassion for her, for I know exactly what she is going through.

God is good! When God said, " The gates of hell shall not prevail against you" (Matt.16:18, Rev. 3:8), that is a promise every child of God can take to the bank. Victory over Saul Rodriguez is mine. I do not have a victim mentally. Never did, never will. I do not trust men. Especially those who claim to have the corner market on The Truth, and I have enough reason not to. I've seen wolves in sheep's clothing expounding their brand of truth from the pulpit.

One good thing about Saul telling me the Truth was not in the church was that it kept me from religiosity. From experience, I find men are ungodly. Even those who claim to know God. The day I find a man, who like me is a living dead. Who knows the meaning of Sacrificial Love/Godly Love, then I'll marry him - if he'll have me. Yeah, yeah, ok there has to be chemistry of course!

To this day, October 4th, 1999, I have not seen Gary Giff. In the past three and a half years I've spoken to him less than ten times over the phone and he has confessed to what I already knew. Namely, that he tried to get me hooked on drugs, that he wanted my body, that he became self-righteous, that he hurt me. He knows he lost whatever trust I had in him and trust is something once lost, cannot be fully regained unless there is a definite change in character, via a changed heart - repentance.

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