I, Peter, recently stumbled across a story we never posted on this web site. The story was written in April 1992 and shared with only a few people. The part about freedom from rock music was written in April of 1992. The part about freedom from marijuana was published earlier in the March 1985 “Crafts for Christ” newsletter, renamed “Stretcher Bearers for Christ” beginning with the Summer 1989 issue.
The title “My Gift” was chosen because both individuals named, gave their addictions to Jesus on the same day close to Christmas, but seven years apart on the 29th of December. Our friend Dennis gave us permission to share his addiction to pot in a letter to Peter & Rebekah. It is included as a postscript to this story.
I will try to relate these events with as much accuracy as memory permits. There were eight people in our living room, six adults and two children to give credence to this story. It happened on Saturday, December 29, 1991 – four days after Christmas. The gathering was unpremeditated and the script unrehearsed. The families involved were all from different places and no one knew one another. The conversation was trivial and the children seemed bored.
Suddenly we all became aware of another guest, a holy, but unseen Presence. We could sense change in the air, but only Rebekah could see that the living room was full of angels. The conversation faded into silence. It seemed as if we had all been given pre-assigned seats. A teenage boy was sitting next to me (Peter). I had pondered his glazed, far-away look since he walked into the house. He had said nothing and molded himself into the seat next to mine.
Then I remembered an earlier visit by the same teenager during the previous Spring. I remembered Amy’s visit, another teenager and her battle with punk rock music. I remembered Amy’s fleeting comment about Keith who was here at the same time. The stage was set.
In obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I turned to Keith and gently place my hand on his arm. It seemed as if he and I were suddenly translated into another world. Inwardly I trembled as I spoke to him, carefully placing one word next to the other as memories from distant events surfaced in my mind.
I said, “Keith, you are in prison. You are in a prison that you have built for yourself. You built this prison through the sounds and words of the music you have been listening to. You tried to leave your prison, but you have not been able to do so. You need help to break free.
We have a son who was a prisoner of rock music. It broke our hearts to see this. But all we could do was to watch, wait and pray. One year, it was during the winter, he wanted to go skiing at Wolf Creek. He had no money; and we were restrained from giving or loaning him any. But I remember the rock music tapes he had and offered to buy them.
“Keith, I never made a better purchase and our son Dan never made a better sale. He was able to go skiing and we were able to burn his music.
“Another incident comes to mind that I must tell you about. It concerns our good friend Dennis and his addiction to marijuana. He was a captive of marijuana for 13 years before he realized that he had become a prisoner of his habit. When he tried to leave his prison, he found that he could not get out without help. He called me and another friend and asked us to come to his house. We sensed a note of urgency and went to see Dennis right away. It was also just after Christmas. Dennis appeared to be in great anguish of soul. After 13 years he suddenly realized that his soul was in jeopardy and that he was grieving the heart of God and his family by surrendering himself to marijuana – his mistress. ‘Can you help me to break these shackles that I have created for myself,’ he asked?
“Keith, I have no ready-made answers for situations like this; so I lifted my heart to God and asked Him what I should do. His reply was immediate, ‘Ask Dennis if he would be willing to give the marijuana to Jesus as a Christmas present.’ I relayed the message to Dennis and his reply was, ‘Yes, I think I could do that.’ He went to another room and got a wooden box containing all his chains – his marijuana and all the paraphernalia that goes with it.
“I suggested that he assemble his whole family and tell everyone about the Christmas gift he had for Jesus. Two of his four children were already asleep, but he woke them up and assembled the whole family in the living room. His wife and children were jubilant when they heard the good news and said, ‘Dad, we have been praying for you for a long time.’ After a short conference it was decided to burn the box and its contents in their wood stove. As the box and its contents went up in flames, one of the boys said, ‘Dad, I can hear the demons screaming.’ Dennis was free and has been free ever since. And that was seven years ago.
“I want you to know, Keith, that Jesus loves you. He loves you whether you listen to rock music or not. He would never force you against your will to give up your music. However, should you decide to give Jesus a Christmas present, I know that He would be so very, very happy to receive the gift of your music.”
Then, as I reached for more words, there were none. I had said what I was supposed to say. It was so quiet, an angel must have sat on the phone to keep it from ringing. I was trembling, amazed at the boldness I was given to share these words with a fourteen year old teenager I hardly knew. Although it seemed as if only Keith and I were in the room, everyone in the room was listening and everyone was praying. Rebekah saw angels ministering to Keith while others sensed a Holy Presence.
There was evidence of a great battle going on in Keith’s soul. A pool of tears had formed in the corner of his eyes. He trembled. Then he reached into his coat pocket and removed a tape recorder. He opened it, took out a tape and broke it in half with both hands. Then he laid the broken pieces on the armrest of his chair. The battle was over. The Holy Spirit, so very present in the living room, gave Keith the strength to surrender his addiction to Jesus. I asked him if I could hold him in my arms; and he allowed me to do so.
When his 6 foot 3 inch frame arose from the chair, he stretched and stretched – marveling at the new freedom he could even feel in his body. We all clapped and rejoiced for we knew that we had witnessed a great miracle.
Before Keith and his family left, we equipped him with a large sign with the words “FREE INDEED” John 8:36. It was similar to this one but not identical. The complete verse reads: “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.” We said, “Keith, place this sign in your room as a tangible reminder of what has happened to you today.” He took the sign to the car and returned with four more tapes that he wanted to give to Jesus.
Four weeks later we received this letter from his parents:
Dear Peter and Rebekah:
Amy was not present at our informal and spontaneous gathering, yet she was a key ingredient in this miracle. May God bless her for her honesty and courage in sharing her own story and thereby alerting us to the dangers of rock music.
Thank you so much for your ministry to Keith that special Saturday in December.
On the way home he told us he knew since Young Life camp in October that he needed to quit his ungodly music but couldn’t; and he knew that God set him free in your home. We had a good talk about his love for music and his walk with the Lord.
Two days later we heard pounding on our back deck and went out to see Keith smashing the remainder of those tapes with his hammer! He is buying Christian tapes and is helping his friends do the same.
Thanks so much for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit
Dear Peter & Rebekah:
I am not a writer in any sense of the word, but the Lord willing I will be able to share what I feel to be a very important event in my life and my family’s lives.
The first time I walked into your house I sensed I was somewhere special. On meeting you and Rebekah I was surprised by your openness and love. Somewhat taken aback by your hug, I thought, “That’s crazy,” but as you know, I have been able to hug and love you as old friends ever since. You two have opened up in me an ability to love and accept my fellow man as if they were Christ Himself. Thank you very much.
On to my story. I am a new Christian believer, having accepted Jesus into my life as Lord and Savior on January 27, 1984. I did not have the “lightening from the sky or earth shaking transformation” I somewhat expected and hoped for. My growth was slow and sometimes I thought non-existent. I could not have been more mistaken. Only now am I able to look back and see God guiding my every step.
He did not give up on me!!
But I seemed to have reached a point where, although the knowledge was truly great and enlightening, there was no life. There was something preventing me from experiencing God’s presence in me. Very true!
That something was “pot” (marijuana), a 13-year addiction to a drug that is of itself not so terrifying, except that it was the most terrifying thing that could have ever happened to me or my family. This innocent looking drug was about to deal me a blow from which I could have never recovered.
Through its numbing influence I could have easily dismissed God as being just another dry doctrine, created by man for his own insecurities. Not true!
First, let me tell you of my relationship with pot. I first started with pot at about 19, casually drawn in by friends around me. This led to experimentation with many other drugs, but I always came back to pot. Let me say that my family never suffered because of it financially or personally, or so I thought. Because after I accepted Jesus into my life I found myself not only sneaking away from my wife and kids to enjoy it, but also sneaking away from God. And as a child knows he has done something wrong, so did I. Instead of finding God’s love, I found fear, fear of losing something very precious to me. It was the fear that moved me to ask for God’s help.
It was about that time that I met you, Peter. And one thing that I recognized right off was the love God has for this man and he for God. Praise God!
God had led me to a man that had what I wanted most – a relationship with God based on love, God’s love for me.
So that night, December 29, 1984, I called brother Melvin and Peter and asked them to help me. They didn’t even know what I needed help for, but they both understandingly came at a moment’s notice. When they had arrived and I explained the situation, Peter asked if I truly wanted to be rid of pot. I said “Yes”, and wanted to know how. He said, “Let’s give it to Jesus”. Praise God! I did and Jesus was there to accept it.
Since that time God has been free to enter my life, and He has abundantly. It was only my weakness that prevented Him.
This letter is to let others know that God is there for us. It is only our weakness that prevents Him from helping us. Our lack of faith in Him. We must give our problems to Him. He is there for that and so much more. That is why He gave us His Son Jesus Christ. That is the reason for Jesus suffering on the cross. That we can come to Him and give Him our problems.
Since that time of deliverance from pot, God’s Love has been shinning like the sun in my life. I still have my daily problems, but Jesus is there ready to take them. All I have to do is give them to Him. My wife and kids have truly seen a change in me and I see them in a new light. The light of God’s Love.
Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.
Yours in Christ Jesus,