(The Rod Manney Story)  

When I was growing up our family went to church for funerals and Easter. I didn't understand at the time what Easter was all about, but we did get lots of eggs and chocolate bunnies. When I was 14 or 15, I had a girlfriend whose mother didn't like me because I didn't go to church.  I smoked, I drank beer, and lived a lifestyle that was opposed to everything that she believed in. One Sunday I went to Sunday school with her to get her mother to like me. The Sunday school teacher saw the pack of cigarettes in my pocket                  

and began a sermon that changed my life. When I left her class that morning I knew that God hated me and I was going to hell for eternity. That was my first real introduction to the churches view, and I knew that I belonged to the devil.

My parents split up that year and we moved to another state for a few months, and then back to Michigan, to a city called Pontiac. My mother moved in with her boyfriend and I moved into my own apartment. I had a job, a car, and an attitude. I drank a lot and ran around with the wrong people. When I was 19, I was sitting in Oakland county jail waiting to go to trial for B&E Night-time, and because one of the guys I was with broke open a stamp machine, which made it a federal offense, I was facing 15 years in the pen.

I got a break when the owner of the store that was broken into said he would drop the charges against me if I would join any branch of the military. So with all of the brainwaves I could muster up I decided that 4 years in the service with pay was better than 15 years in the pen without pay. That was March 22 1964 when I found myself in boot camp, and in November 1965, I was in DaNang, Viet Nam, thinking I was never going to see the USA again. I was wrong and by the end of October of 1966, I was home. I got a job, got a wife, then a different wife, then some motorcycles, some attitude, partied a lot, moved to Illinois, and moved some more women into the house.

My life at this point in time consisted of work, alcohol, drugs, sex, cycles, and hate. I was using the G.I. bill to go to college since I got my High school diploma by way of G.E.D. while in the service. Twice a week I would go to school after work and all I could think about for the 60 minutes that it took me to drive to school and the 60 minutes that it took me to drive home, was how I wanted to torture my stepfather to death. I thought how I could sneak into his house, take him to an abandoned coal mine, and torture him until he died. I would think about pulling one of his eyeballs out and telling him why I did it. Then I thought I would come back the next day and pull the other eye out and tell him why, and cut a finger off and tell him why.

My life was such a confusing mess when I was 30 years old, and I thought I was living in a world that every man wanted. I had sex with different women every night, I did all the drugs I wanted and stayed drunk. I had a wife that enjoyed the same life-style, and hated the same man that I did. 

Then one day while I was paneling the garage of the house we had just finished building, a strange thing happened to me.

It was 3:30 pm, and since at that point in time I was smoking four packs of camel cigarettes a day, and had no intention of slowing down, I pulled a cigarette out of the pack and as I tried to put it in my mouth, my hand threw it to the ground. I was so surprised, because I didn't feel anything in hand, I didn't want to throw it down, and I really wanted a cigarette. So I pulled another one out of the pack and as I tried to put it in my mouth, my hand threw it down. I remember thinking that something was wrong. I didn't want to throw it down, and I didn't feel any twitch or jerk or anything abnormal. So I thought it must have something to do with the drugs, or something was drastically wrong with my hand. So I pulled out the pack and flipped one up and held the pack real tight and started putting it to my mouth, really concentrating to get that cigarette into my mouth and beat whatever this was that was in control of my hand. Suddenly my hand threw the whole pack to the ground.

At this point, I thought I had lost it. I knew I was having a reaction to drugs or had gone crazy or something. Having boxed when I was younger and studied Karate for the previous 10 years and being in excellent physical condition, and always being in complete control of my body, I didn't have any other way to explain what was happening to me other than the drugs.

Then, while my mind was trying to figure out what was going on, I heard my mouth saying, "O.K. Lord, if you don't want me to smoke. I will never touch another one."

Then I thought I had gone crazy. Then I started thinking...who is Lord? Who could make my hand throw down cigarettes? Who could speak through my mouth? Who is Lord? These thoughts were bombarding my mind when suddenly, I met the personality of Jesus Christ. That's the only way I know how to describe what happened. I didn't feel anything, and I didn't feel any different. I simply met the personality of Jesus on the inside of me and I knew that He was the Son of God. I couldn't wait to get home and tell the women that I met God and how he took cigarettes out of my hand, and how they were going to have to help me not smoke any more.

When I got home, the women were getting dinner ready as usual, and when I walked in one of them asked me what I wanted to drink. My usual response would have been, 7&7 or rum & coke or beer, but all I wanted was a Pepsi, so that's what I said I wanted and that's what I got. Then one of them asked me to roll a joint and get out the mescaline. When I started to think of which I wanted to do first, I realized that I didn't want to do either one. That's when it hit me that I was going to go to bed with these women and I didn't feel right about it any more. 

During dinner, I explained what had happened to me, and explained that I would have to find them somewhere else to live. Without feeling anything happen on the inside, every one of my former desires was gone, and I wanted to get a bible. About two weeks later the stepfather that I spent so many hours planning his death, was suddenly standing on my front porch, and all I wanted to do was tell him how Jesus had changed my entire life. I think that was the point in time when I realized that not only did I not have any bitter feelings toward him, but also I hadn't even wanted a cigarette, or drugs or another woman other than my wife, or booze.

I read the gospel of John repeatedly and I had a good understanding of what had happened to me, and it was called being born again. Old things had passed away and all things had become new. A few weeks later, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and a whole new world of understanding and power opened up to me. Miracles started happening all around me, my entire family turned to Christ, lives got changed by the power of prayer, cancers were healed, I saw the dead raised. 

The greatest thing that happened is my relationship with God. I know that the Sunday-school teacher that convinced me that God hated me was wrong. He had always loved me and had even changed circumstances in my life to get me out of hardships that I had caused myself. I know what it is like to have a Father that loves me, a Father that I can trust to always be there for me, to be for me and not against me. I don't have to fight and hurt people any more. I have peace in my heart and faith in God that all is well in my life.

Jesus said, " Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me."

If you are reading this and would like Jesus to come into your heart and change your life...If you would like to know in your heart that you are really loved...If you would like to have a peace in your heart that no-one can take away...then I encourage you to...

Listen for that still small vice that seems to come from within you, open your heart and say: Lord Jesus come into my heart, and change my life. HE WILL DO IT. He has promised, and He has never broken a promise. Come to Him as you are, that's the way He wants you. Love, joy, and peace be multiplied to you in Jesus' name. 

If you would like to talk to me, I can be reached at ramrod@gulftel.com.  

Rod Manney

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be.  Do you know what awaits you when you die?  You can have the assurance from the Holy Spirit that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain.  Either Jesus Christ died for yours sins, or He didn't (He did!).  Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to cover your sins?  We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To be at peace with God; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God.  What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one.  Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life. 

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