As early as 7years old, I was out on the streets till 3-4 am, I was put in three orphanages... One night I remember, my father snuck into our house, he put a loaded pistol in my hand and told me to shoot my sisters and my mother, it was crazy. Through all of this, (which I wouldn't change), I came out a fairly normal kid, I was involved in sports and didn't do drugs, or drink. I thought I was a survivor, wanting only to make it through another day.
In 1974 I started to sense a need in my life, an emptiness that I couldn't explain. I knew I had to find God/Jesus, but who was HE? I had no idea where to find HIM, so I went to the local library to find books concerning world religions, God, and the occult. At the library I met an ex-hippie (Gary Osborn) he saw my books and decided to share the message with me. Gary invited me to pray in the back of his V.W. so I did, I remember saying "God forgive me for my sins, and whatever you have for me I want it all".
Well at first nothing happened I expected, lightening or something. Gary said, "Just go home and praise God" I said, "What's that, mean" Gary said, "Just thank him" So I did just that.
The remaining is sacred to me, before I asked Jesus into my heart, I never heard voices, I never drank, and I never did drugs, but one week after meeting Jesus while in the middle of my last class (during high school) a voice, just as clear, as someone standing next to you, spoke, and as the voice spoke it said to me, "rod tell them about Jesus" I was surprised, but unafraid, I put my hand over my mouth, since I didn't want anyone to think I was talking to myself, I said (to whoever spoke to me) "I don't know what to say" the voice said "don't be afraid, I'll give you the words to say"
To this day I don't remember my words, but I spoke to those kids about Jesus and salvation, their mouths just dropped open and then, class was over, I walked out of that room, feeling like I had never felt before.
The next day was Saturday; I slept in the living room on an old couch. When I woke it was early and I decided to turn on the TV, to watch my favorite cartoon, the roadrunner.
I was sitting at a long roughhewn table, straight in front of me was God, the father, I couldn't see him, to my right was Jesus, to my left was Satan, him I could see (he looked like a man only very big) then, three bowls appear, filled with what looked like porridge. Now the father spoke and said Satan dismiss yourself, Satan stood and screamed, then vanished.
Three bites were taken out of the bowl. Then all at once I was watching myself from a distance, walking with Jesus up a grassy pathway. Jesus was speaking to me but from a distance I couldn't hear him, I could see myself shaking my head (like I understand) then through my eyes I saw the house where I had been sleeping.
I didn't know what had happened; I'd never experienced anything like that, but I knew two things, I had to find a pastor to talk to, and I KNEW GOD loved me and wanted something from me...my total surrender, my life totally under his control, every second, moment by moment, and I was consumed with this one desire, to live to PLEASE HIM.
Let me give you an example: When a friend from school would come over and say, "Hey rod." "Let's go to a show" I'd say, "hold on." Then I'd go in the bathroom and pray, "Lord should I go?" Sometimes the Lord would say "go", sometimes "no" At times He was silent, when this happened I would look inside, to my heart, (Spirit), (see Colossians 3:15) if I had peace I would go, If not, I'd stay home.
As I practiced this new desire, (surrender), I noticed the voice of the Lord became more frequent and clearer, (John 10:27). It always had to agree with scripture. The word of the Lord will always agree with the true meaning and / or the true interpretation of scripture).
I knew I needed to get a bible, I went to a bookstore and I got the largest family bible I'd ever seen, with pictures and everything. I was so happy. That night the voice of the lord said, "Read Matthew 5." I had to look in the contents; I didn't know where Matthew was. When I found it and started to read, the words became a ("Word of the Lord to me") they just jumped off the page, they seemed to come alive, and they filled me, with hope, love and peace. Now I knew God loved me, and my sins were gone, I was forgiven...
As time passed I grew, sometimes I'd walk into a busy office or building (like a D.O.L) and the Lord would say go sit by that guy, I would strike up a conversation, then say "you don't know me but I'm a Christian and God is going to share with me about your life" I don't mean simple things like "you have the flu" or "Headaches", but deep, personal things that others couldn't know or even guess. People would usually start to cry and ask "how did you know?" I'd say "I didn't but God knew".
One of the best lessons from the Lord concerning trusting Him happened like this; I was traveling from Philly to Atlantic city, I got on the road, and started to hitch a ride, (it wasn't illegal at that time) within one hour and twenty minutes I was in Atlantic city (which was a one hour drive!) I got 4 different rides, as I stepped into each vehicle I boldly proclaimed "Hi I'm a child of the King, and God's going to bless you for picking me up!" God gave me very personal details about each of those people and all but one came to Christ.
When I got to Atlantic City, God said "Rod, when you get to the prayer meeting tonight I want you to give all your money, to Johnnie Diaz". I said "Lord that's all I've got?" (About 300.00) God replied; "you take care of your brothers and sisters in the Lord and I'll take care of you." So upon arriving in Atlantic City, I secretly gave all my money to Johnnie, (this was to cover something for Johnnie that was very personal, so I know he didn't share this with anyone).
That night I asked myself "how am I going to get back to work, tomorrow?” I didn't have a penny, not even enough for bus fare, and in my spirit I knew I wasn't to hitch hike, but instead the Lord wanted me on the bus. After sleeping that night and leaving the brothers house the next day, (where the meeting had been held), I started walking to the bus station. As I got closer and closer, I was imagining, "is the drivers going to just "know" he's supposed to let me ride for free?" But as I approached the depot, a brother named "Chicky" came out of his house and said "rod I think the Lord wants me to give this to you." It was exactly what I needed for bus fare!
This has been a short summary of my life.
Shalom!!! Shalom!!! Shalom!!!