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Testimony

Believe in God ??

That is only for people who have never grown up spiritually….

At least that is what I thought when I was about twenty.
As a kid I did believe in God and even had the intention to go to Africa to tell people about Jesus.
Therefore I went to a minor seminary to become a priest.
But well, the puberty started and the girls looked really nice. The idea that as a priest I would not be allowed to marry was too much for me. It was in that time that I started to feel ashamed of believing in God.

 

SPIRITUALLY THIRSTY

When I was seventeen I started to study the religion of the Egyptians and the Eskimos in order to write a paper about them for school. After that I became interested in Hinduism and started to follow yoga. It was as if I had found a whole new world, liberated of that church-like Christianity. During my yoga lessons I met somebody who also was interested in all kinds of spiritual worlds and smoked pot.

It seemed very interesting to see how I could change my consciousness by using drugs.
I started smoking pot and later taking LSD. I was very enthusiastic about everything I discovered and delved into the world of Asian philosophies. The Tibetan book of the dead made a huge impression on me, and so did I Tjing, a Chinese oracle book. Tarot and Zen Buddhism appealed to me as well. I also peeked into the worlds of magic, astrology, anthroposophy, and the Indian Mescaline, and others. I was enormously spiritually thirsty.

At times I secluded myself in nature to abstain from food to enable a breakthrough in my mind. I wanted to find “real” life, real freedom, truth and the meaning of life and not, like the rest of the masses, be attached to temporary things just to go under in death later on.

In our wedding night I randomly opened the Bible. I read the story of the creation of the world and it struck me for the first time that there was not only a tree of good and evil (which was quite familiar to me already), but also a “tree of life”.
That T That was the one I needed! And I had a strong feeling that a lot would happen in that year.

 

TIRED OF SEARCHING

After five years of searching I realized that I was indeed not on the road of the masses, but on a small side road that appeared to go in the exact same direction and therefore had the same end.

I became tired of all that searching. It was pretty useless after all. There was no other option than, just like everybody else, go through life on my own personal way.

In the meantime I had started to wander around not only spiritually, but also literally. I had heard a voice in my inner self that said I had to go to the North of the country. I did not want to, but I felt very clear that I could trust this voice completely. So one day my wife and I left with our two children in a house trailer pulled by a tractor.
At the time I could not work or study. I was too restless for that.

 

COMMUNITY

After a few months of traveling with our house trailer we came across a big community of Jesus adepts in the North of Groningen. Its members were very hospitable and allowed us to stay in the garden a few days to recover from all that traveling.

I regarded their religion as childish, but experienced something very precious among them: pure love without hidden intentions.

Five days after my arrival I suddenly decided to call to Jesus. Not because I had suddenly become very religious, but to prove to others and myself that Christianity was an empty shell, nothing but a bunch of religious rules and oppressive laws. In this way I wanted to pull out all Christian influences that had affected me in my life once and for all.

 

STRUGGLE

From that moment on, a fierce battle ignited in me, as if a war had started. It started in a night and it lasted several hours. People came to watch over me and pray for me. They understood what was going on.
I saw my life passing me by; my plan as a kid was to really live out of love and what was left of it.
I felt dirty, impure, selfish. In those hours I was exposed to the full light and there was nowhere to hide. During the previous years many philosophies and religions had acted upon my mind, but now something was going on that addressed my heart in a very direct and personal way.

During those hours I started to discover that there was something in me, a person, a spirit that exceeded my intelligence greatly. During my first LSD trip it had taken possession of me and it seemed to be determined to not go away.

At the same time the name of Jesus appeared to me over and over again, and so did intense, personal love, love without judgment or blaming.

 

CUT LOOSE

At a certain moment the battle reached its peak. I saw myself in full light and felt ashamed. And there I saw this evil spirit, exposed, a being with horrible, terrifying, deep hate. And at the same time there was this great authority, this power and intense love connected to the name of Jesus.

And then I broke loose and screamed it out from the inside: “God, if you exist, let me die!” That was how much I felt ashamed and I longed to be freed. At that moment I felt a short, sharp pain going through me as if I were cut loose.

And I really was liberated at that moment, cut off from my past. That infinite, unsaturated feeling disappeared and that angry spirit, with a couple of its colleagues, was driven out forcefully in the name of Jesus. It struck me that during the prayers of the people standing around me, every time when they used the name of Jesus, these powers anxiously shied away.

 

NO PIOUS FUSS, BUT REAL POWER

In the following weeks I could not stop feeling this amazement. So it was really Jesus who it was all about after all!

The Bible became one big revelation for me and I was reading it any time I could. Once upon a time I read that if somebody was sick, he should let himself be anointed with oil and faithful prayer would cure him. I had suffered for two years from chronic lung infection and the consequences of inflammation of the nerves in my brain, so I decided to let myself be anointed.
That was done and I was cured at the same moment. From this moment on I also stopped smoking and it was not even hard for me. I had stopped all drugs on the night of my conversion.

Around me I saw many others, including many drug addicts, come to conversion and get healed. This is not a religion. This is life! No pious fuss, but real power. God had become my father and I experienced His personal care for me.

 

A LOT OF MISERY, BUT ALSO PROGRESS

This turn in my life had happened in 1976. God has stayed the center of my life, but sometimes it takes a severe battle to keep giving Him the first place. There occur quite a few battles in a Christian life. The suffering can be intense, but the power and joy are stronger. You also see the victory every time and the fact that God really does answer to prayers.

Five years after our conversion my wife dropped out and went back to “free” life. For a couple of years I had to take care for my four children alone. The divorce brought a lot of pain and grief, but precisely in those years I was allowed to experience a lot of God. He helped me in practical things, but he also granted me inner healings. “God turns everything for the better for them who love Him”, promises the Bible, and I have experienced that. Even by misery you come to progress!

 

THE DREAM OF MY CHILDHOOD FULFILLED

Since my conversion I regularly have gone out to tell others about Jesus, in the beginning mostly in cafes and on the street. Since 1987 I have been working with refugees and a lot of them have come to church with me. Happily enough, the community of our church has been a place with great sermons and the power to liberate people and to heal them. The work with refugees became increasingly focused on the Africans. God had started to execute that which he had planted in my heart in my infancy. After I had worked as a missionary in West Africa for a year, I married an African woman, and we are supporting people there now. God is faithful.

 

THE DOOR

Jesus says: “I am the gate”. I hope that you also walk through that gate to the new world and that you do not care what your family, friends, or neighbors think about that. My conversion story is rather turbulent – that is because of my past and my character – but in general it goes less sensationally. But the heaven that you will enter then is not any less because of it!
And it all starts simply with trusting Jesus. Believe His words and act upon them. God is great! I am grateful to Him. And I hope that you will soon discover how much He loves you.

Robert Severin

 

 

PSALM 107

Shout praises to the Lord!
He is good to us, and his love never fails.
Everyone the Lord has rescued from trouble
should praise Him,
everyone He has brought from the east and the west,
the north and the south.

Some of you were lost in the scorching desert,
far from a town.
You were hungry and thirsty and about to give up.
You were in serious trouble,
but you prayed to the Lord,
and He rescued you.
Right away he brought you to a town.
You should praise the Lord for his love
and for the wonderful things he does for all of us.
To everyone who is thirsty, he gives something to drink;
to everyone who is hungry, he gives good things to eat.

Some of you were prisoners suffering in deepest darkness
and bound by chains,
because you had rebelled against God Most High
and refused His advice.
You were worn out from working like slaves,
and no one came to help.
You were in serious trouble,
but you prayed to the Lord,
and He rescued you.
He brought you out of the deepest darkness
and broke your chains.

You should praise the Lord for his love
and for the wonderful things He does for all of us.
He breaks down bronze gates
and shatters iron locks.

Some of you had foolishly committed a lot of sins
and were in terrible pain.
The very thought of food was disgusting to you,
and you were almost dead.
You were in serious trouble,
but you prayed to the Lord,
and He rescued you.
By the power of his own word,
he healed you and saved you
from destruction.

You should praise the Lord for his love
and for the wonderful things He does for all of us.
You should celebrate by offering sacrifices
and singing joyful songs to tell what he has done.

Some of you made a living by sailing the mighty sea,
and you saw the miracles the Lord performed there.
At his command a storm arose,
and waves covered the sea.
You were tossed to the sky and to the ocean depths,
until things looked so bad that you lost your courage.
You staggered like drunkards and gave up all hope.
You were in serious trouble,
but you prayed to the Lord,
and He rescued you.
He made the storm stop and the sea be quiet.
You were happy because of this,
and he brought you to the port
where you wanted to go.

You should praise the Lord for his love
and for the wonderful things He does for all of us.
Honor the Lord when you and your leaders
meet to worship.

The Lord will turn rivers into deserts,
flowing streams into scorched land,
and fruitful fields into beds of salt.

But the Lord can also turn deserts into lakes
and scorched land into flowing streams.
If you are hungry,
you can settle there and build a town.
You can plant fields and vineyards
that produce a good harvest.
The Lord will bless you
with many children
and with herds of cattle.

Sometimes you may be crushed by troubles and sorrows,
until only a few of you are left to survive.
But the Lord will take revenge on those who conquer you,
and He will make them wander across desert sands.
When you are suffering and in need,
He will come to your rescue,
and your families will grow
as fast as a herd of sheep.
You will see this because you obey the Lord,
but everyone who is wicked will be silenced.

Be wise! Remember this
and think about the kindness
of the Lord.

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