(By: George Osborn)  

Beyond finding different degrees of happiness, which can mean different things to different people, deep down, we all want to be accepted unconditionally. We ESPECIALLY want God to accept us unconditionally, though many don't realize it, and I would like to share with you how that happened in my life.

My parents brought me up to be independent, to believe in life whatever I chose, the over-riding principle being: Whatever makes you happy is best. My parents were not Christians and I grew up as someone you would least expect to grace the doors of a church.

Unfortunately my father was an alcoholic. I say this not for sympathy but so as to paint a picture of my upbringing. Both my parents loved me very much.

From a young age I rebelled. By age 8, I was smoking and from about 11, I had begun getting involved in sniffing aerosols and soft drugs. To be completely open with you, my life was full of mistakes, and as I write I am only too aware of what I fool (unwise) I was. 

One of my most foolish mistakes was at the age of 13, I began to play a game called the Ouija board, something people believe you can use to talk to dead spirits.

As I began playing this 'game' I realized this was my introduction to the supernatural (spirit) world. For me - prior to this - I thought we were but dust: Here today and gone tomorrow. 

However, as myself and a couple of friends began playing this 'game', I gained information about my future, information about friends and relatives, information about exam papers at school, etc. It was exciting and it began to dominate my life in every respect.

After a while we became a little bored and wanted the next high. It's funny in life, isn't it, that 'things' never fully satisfy? We always want the next thing, the next gadget, the next house, the next promotion. We decided the next thing in this 'game' was to ask these spirits if they would enter our bodies. I told you mine was a stupid (unwise) story full of mistakes. 

I want to take this point to also say what I am talking about here is very strange to many. I understand it is not an everyday thing. In many ways it is hard for me to talk about this. The reason I do is I cannot escape the truth of it, strange as it may be.

Initially nothing happened, until a few days later we began hearing strange voices in our heads; strange in respect of not being our own. This voice would tell me things that were coming up, information about my school work, where my friends where at any given time, things of this nature.

One night myself and my two friends found ourselves outside a church causing trouble by throwing stones at the windows and shouting and generally being the unpleasant youths that we were. 

This chap came out from the church, a stereotypical Christian with a big woolly jumper on and brown sandals (least that's how I imagined it. I sit here with my sandals very nearby, the irony!) He was talking to us and I can remember being nothing but nasty to that man, spitting on the floor in front of him, laughing at him, jeering at him. 

At some point he offered to pray for us. I remember thinking: Why does this man want to pray for us? Here I am spitting in his face, throwing stones at his building, laughing at him. He should be calling the police or telling us to go at the very least, but here he is wanting to pray for me?  

He prayed in the name of Jesus. As soon as that name was mentioned my body violently shook! This man realized there was something more serious going on. He and another chap asked us to come back to that church to be prayed for.

As people prayed for me, these spirits (or what I now know to be demons), would actually physically take hold of my body and strange voices would come from my mouth. It would take several people to hold me on the floor while I writhed around. 

I guess the pinnacle for me was one day I was chasing one of my friends down a railway track when this demon physically took over my body and lay me down on the train track. I had a group of friends who were all standing on a footbridge above me shouting to me, 'Get up!' 

As I lay on that track, I had full control of my mind, but not my body. There was a train coming towards me on the line and I thought I was going to die.

I could just picture the newspaper stories: Boy Commits Suicide On Railway. That's how it would have looked. 

As the train approached me, it felt like someone or something grabbed a hold of the back of my neck and pulled me bolt upright. I was stood on my feet facing the train that was now whizzing past the front of my face. The reason I mention my friends on the footbridge is because they can testify there was no one visible who stood behind me; no human being. You see - I believe in that moment that God or an angel He sent had literally pulled me up off that train track.

This event really focused my mind. It highlighted to me the very real grave nature of my situation. This was no longer a 'game.' This was life and death, good and evil. 

As the voices grew in my head, trying to tell me I was going to die, I ran to my friend's house. The man with the woolly jumper had told him I needed help. He explained to me that he and many at the church had been praying for me, but that I needed to make a decision to turn and surrender my life to Jesus Christ. 

I had seen with my own eyes the power that is in the name of Jesus Christ. I wanted free of these demons. 

As people explained to me about sin (that we are born sinners) and the Good News (Why God sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins on the cross), I do not think I totally understood that, but I just wanted free of what was happening to me. I prayed to Jesus that night and I want to testify to you that Jesus Christ completely delivered me of those demons that controlled me. I left that night in much peace and a renewed calm.

I went to church after that experience and we gave an assembly at my school. A number of my peers decided to give their lives to Christ. How could they not after witnessing much of this. 

I am however ashamed to say that after a few months I stopped going to church. I found it somewhat boring if the truth be known. I always felt like church was about rules and trying to behave a certain way, taking away fun. I got lured back into the world (my old way of living life) and soon forgot about that experience.

As I grew up and left school, my life was all about my pleasure and my satisfaction. I wasn't horrible to people per say, but I would sacrifice very little for others. Even what I did, sacrifice was there to make me look like a great guy.  It was all about me and my happiness. That was all I was searching for, happiness.  I think if we are honest with ourselves, that is all most of us are really looking for, but until we start getting serious about desiring to know how we can make GOD happier (pleased) with us, God may not allow us to find the happiness we are seeking after.   

Well I looked for happiness in so many things: Girlfriends, friendships, money, drugs, drink, traveling, material possessions, sports ... I remember I would set myself new targets, thinking if I just attained them then I would be happy. Each time I got there I was so disappointed because that void was still there.

After traveling to Thailand and owning a bar and restaurant on a tropical island and still not finding satisfaction, I came back to the UK. I thought to myself: Maybe God does have the answers  - and I decided to go back to that church I had been at all those years ago. 

One of the first things I heard was the story of the prodigal son. Well - that was me in a nutshell. I guess for the first time I finally understood what Christianity was all about. As this prodigal son returned home full of awareness of his willful turning away from his Father, what greeted him was not a scolding but a compassionate Father who ran to him and welcomed him. I realized that was what I had been looking for all my life: Unconditional love that didn't judge me; didn't ask where I had been or how I was going to pay everything back; a love that didn't care what clothes I wore or what achievements I had; a love that genuinely said, 'I just want you back because you are so special to me.' 

I began to cry, as I understood I had come home. That Father is God. I began getting answers to many questions I had, each one has been answered and I cannot believe the grace that God has shown to me; the patience; the love. 

In many ways my life is so much harder than it ever was but that empty feeling has gone; that void has been filled. It is probably the biggest struggle of my life to be a Christian, so please don't hear me saying life is a bed of roses, but as I understood this truth of Jesus it really has set me free.

I now work as a full time evangelist for Avanti Ministries and I get the opportunity to speak in schools, prisons, church events, etc. I have a burning passion to tell people the awesome news about being in Jesus Christ and to teach others how to do the same. 

We would love to hear from you if you need somebody to speak at an event or are interested in training and teaching the church in this area. I am involved locally in working with an organization called Outside Light (www.outsidelight.org ) and we are passionate about seeing the love of Christ taken into the community both in word and deed.

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 God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW!  Either Jesus Christ died for your 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 have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake. 

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, 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 you 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, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


JESUS DID IT! and...


Remember:  All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-21 is our assurance)