This is probably the first time that I have penned down my personal testimony of coming to be a SDA Christian and how I came to truly know the father and his wonderful Son. My prayer is that the message in this testimony may be an ornament of blessing upon the reader!
The early years of my life were somewhat an unpleasant experience to record, and allot of things that I grew up with are not the kind of things that one would write about. I was brought up in a broken Family. My mother left five brothers and myself in the care of my father due to "rough" circumstances. I came out of a family of Abuse. My Father, whom I dearly love, taught us all that he knew, yet his heart was not, at the time, in one with God.
When I was 7 years old, I distinctly remember praying to God (I wasn't a Christian, but I had been exposed to Christianity through an uncle and aunt) "Lord, I pray, please lead me to the right church and please give me a house, so that I may be safe". I was only 7 years old, and although I did not know God, I knew he was there.
That very night I had a dream. I dreamed that I saw a retinue of angels, all in shinning white garments, uplifting the Christ. All these heavenly beings were shouting for joy as if for the first time they knew who Christ really was, the Son of the Most High. I then saw an angel who was playing his harp, and whose face looked envious of Christ. He did not like what he saw and I could see that the knowledge that fell on heaven, in the revelation of Christ stirred this harp player to become jealous. I woke up from this dream. I knew what it meant, but at the time I did not know how to share it and whom to share it with.
I thought about this dream allot as I was a kid, but I continued to live in the life that was in...A life of sin, despair and loss. My family unit had been crumbled. My mother left us to Dad. Words could not express what that feeling feels like to not have your mother in the same house as you grow up. It is an experience that should never be wished upon any young child. It is as if you were to stand outside in the cold with a warm blanket, and someone comes and takes it off you, with no reason, no response and no warmth to give back. This I would describe as the hole that was left in my heart. Nothing could fill it, and this is where I was at in my childhood, alone and almost forsaken.
But one thing kept in the back of my mind...the dream that I had. I went to the Gideon’s bible (Small blue bible they use to hand out) and looked at the inside of the cover. It had John 3:16 in many languages. I read this verse over and over, until it was in my mind. This was the first text that I had called to memory...and maybe if it hadn't been for this promise, I may not have been where I am today.
From the age of 7 to "teen-hood" I remember John 3:16 and the dream that I had. I knew that Satan was jealous of Jesus, but I didn't really understand why! This great question kept in the back of my mind. I like to solve problems, but this one I could not figure out.
At the age of 13 I started to deal with drugs and come age 15 I was drinking alcohol. I was trying to fill "that hole" in my life by putting other things in it that would make me forget about who I was, my past and even life itself.
I distinctly remember getting angry at my younger brothers, and the torrent of my voice at the time could shake a thousand trees. My Father started to yell at me, and for the first time I verbally yelled and swore at my father. I started to become what I beheld. This drove me to the bathroom and caused me to slam the door shut. I then looked in the mirror at myself. What I saw of myself was not a pleasant future. I was as if my future was sketched out before my eyes. If I had continued to behave the way I was, my life would enevitably be in ruin.
As I stared at myself in the mirror, with chaos ringing through my mind and heart, it was as if I heard a still small voice say to me "Bana, the mirror can't change you..." I began to cry on my knees. It is as if I was once again that 7 year old talking to God. But now it was God talking with me. He said "Do you remember that prayer you prayed?" And then in the gentlest tones I heared this promise "I have loved you with an everlasting love, with my love I will save you. I have not forsaken you. Before you call on me I will answer. You are my child and I love you very much"
That night I gave my heart to the Lord. I can't remember exactly what I had said, but it was of this nature "Lord, I am unclean. If you can, please take my filthy rags away" I have never forgotten that moment in time. Alone, in a cold bathroom, no-one else, Just Jesus and Me. It was as if the Lord was renewing my heart from the start. The "coat' that was taken away from me as a child when my mother left, was being given back to me. Jesus placed his unseen hand on my, filled that "hole' and covered me with his righteousness. To whom is forgiven much, loveth much that is exactly how I would describe it.
After accepting the Lord as my personal saviour, our family (Dad and five of us boys) accepted the Sabbath truth. Once this truth was revealed, I accepted the spirit of prophecy and the gift that the Lord had given to his servant Ellen White. I then began to read some of patriarchs and prophets, and saw how Ellen was revealed Lucifer’s discontent with Christ. I remembered what I had dreamed years ago, and God answered question that I could not figure out. God revealed to all heaven and all the worlds that none, but Christ could sit on his throne. None but Christ could enter the counsel of peace. None but Christ could receive honour like God the father could, and to him was given this right by his Father. Now I knew why Lucifer became jealous, now I knew why he was playing his harp. It was to draw away those that would uphold the Only Begotten Son as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
God firmly laid this truth down in my sub-conscience matter in the early years before accepting the Sabbath. I accepted the Sabbath and the Lord as my personal Saviour.
In the year 2000, I joined the SDA Church. As a part of the church system to become baptised, we had to go through a list of what the SDA church believed. When we came on to the topic of the trinity, I remember questioning the minister at the time regarding this doctrine. He told me that it was biblical and that Ellen White endorsed it. I ask him if he could show me, but all he said was that if I looked in her writings I would see it. In fact I was told that she spoke about all through her writings. I remember being told that when God said "...Let Us make man in our image..." it was that there were three people saying this statement in unison. At first I thought it was rather unusual that it would be thought of in this way, but however I didn't take too much notice of it.
Another doctrine that I thought was true was that the Father and the Son were one of the same being. But even that doctrine didn't line up with scripture. So the two doctrines that I was confused ith of were the trinity and the father and Son the same being. The latter I rejected. But the former (Trinity) I partially accepted. I wasn't 100% sure that it was accurate. I always had doubts about that doctrine "the trinity", but at the time, being young in the truth, I didn't know exactly why it wasn't right. I didn't want to put anyone on the spot with my questions and thoughts.
After 9 mths of accepting the Sabbath I got baptised and became a member of the SDA Church Family. The minister went through the formalities of baptism "Do we accept Bana into the SDA etc..." at first I thought that his was quite defferent, because I never saw this done when Jesus was baptised, but maybe this was how it was meant to be, I didn't know at the time.
Further along the path of accepting the Lord as my personal saviour, I felt like I was the happiest person on the World. I have Jesus in my heart and that was and is the greatest thing a man can possess. I went through high school not doing any homework at all. I was 16 and my desire was just reading the Bible. As I was about to leave High school, I was urged by brethren in the Church to do ministry and Go to Avondale. I wasn't called to go to Avondale; I knew the Lord didn't call me to that area of the ministry. After prayer and fasting, the Lord opened up the door to nursing. My Wife (who was my friend at the time) had said to me "I don't believe that God is called you to be a Pr, I believe he has another plan for you...". I met Suzanne at a "STORM Co" out-reach programme, who is now my wife! Praise the Lord. She is a precious gift to me and I thank God for placing such a humble woman to one flesh with me. I love you Suzanne.
Not long after Suzanne had said this, I went in to nursing and came out with a bachelor degree. This in itself is a miracle. Here was a person who had never studied during high school. Never read a book from front to cover until he was 16 years of age, and got a bachelor degree. The one thing that I could put it down to was by reading the Word of God. I don't know exactly what it was, but when I read the Bible, it was as if a light bulb just turned on, and everything I knew and what I heard at school came back to me. I felt as if there was a rapid education session going on inside. The Lord was teaching what I needed to know to be able to get through nursing school.
Here is a quote that may express what happens when one reads the Word of God, Spends time with the Lord and chooses to let God work in their lives...
"The word of God is the seed. Every seed has in itself a germinating principle. In it the life of the plant is enfolded. So there is life in God's word. Christ says, "The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life." John 6:63. "He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life." John 5:24. In every command and in every promise of the word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized. He who by faith receives the word is receiving the very life and character of God." Christ’s Object Lessons, p38.
During the second year of Nursing We (Suzanne and I) got married. During our relationship and on our Wedding day, God was sharing with me the value of being one. The relationship that I have with my wife was to be a reflection of the relationship I have with the Father, and in essence, the relationship the Father has with the Son. I began to understand the meaning of "one flesh" as it is blessed by God from the beginning. This helped me see a picture of God's love in the relationship.
When I graduated, the Lord blessed us with a house in the country, a family of two small children and a guaranteed job as a registered nurse in the Waikato Hospital. I was taking a walk outside one time and thought upon all these things, and God reminded me of the prayer I offered him when I was only a lad...
"Lord, I pray, please lead me to the right church and please give me a house, so that I may be safe". I realised at that point what the Lord had done, and Got on my knees and wept like a child. His still small voice came to me, and as clear as the noon day Sun, he said "I am not finished with you yet son".
During my years of being a SDA Christian, a friend of mine had given me some mis-interpreted of Ellen white and the true context of the quote. One quote that stood out to me was the one that is found in Evangelism p 616 where it said "We need to realise that the Holy Spirit, who is as much as a person as God is a person, is walking through these grounds." I saw in the original text reference that "we' had been capitalised implying a new sentence and a full stop was placed at the end of the Word grounds. My question was "Why has the Author done this to inspired writings?". This is where my search for the truth began.
In 2010, I remember picking up the Bible and turning to 2Cor 3:17. When I read this verse it plainly spoke to me of who the Holy Spirit was..."Now the Lord is that Spirit...” As I read this promise, there was a power behind it that I could not see, but it somehow just made it all fit in to place. That one moment of time it was as if the Lord revealed to me, through the promise, that is was him with me as the omnipresence, not a separate individual person from the Father and the Son, as the Trinity teaches. Promises after promises had come in my mind like a flash of lightening confirming that this was the truth. It was like the missing thread in the golden web, which made everything come together in perfect harmony, harmonising with every promise that was quoted in the Bible. Every promise I had ever read like "Lo, I am with you alway..." "I will never leave you nor forsake you..." Come unto me..." appeared to been vivified that it was my Lord who was next to me, moving me with his holy presence...his Holy Spirit...the manifestation of himself. Knowing that the Lord is the mediator in heaven, in an everlasting sanctuary, and the mediator here on earth, in a way we do not fully understand, fell on me as if I had felt water from the sky for the first time.
As I received this message, a well respected brother was teaching that it was okay to pray to the Holy Spirit as a separate individual person. This drove me back to the Bible to see if what he said was true. As I could not find the evidence for this claim, and he could not show me where it is written in the Word of God, this helped me see the truth as it is in Jesus, the only begotten Son. The brethren's claim was that "Other experienced Christians prayed to the Holy Spirit, and there is nowhere in the Bible that says we cannot do this". This was a stepping stone to knowing the Father and the Son.
I began to share this light with another brother. At first he accepted it and said to me "Thankyou". But sadly after 7 days that same person came back to me said that "Silence is Golden", "This is a mystery" and "The Lord has not revealed this thing to you". I pleaded with my brother on what I saw in the Bible, but he said "The church doesn't believe it, Ellen White said it was a mystery, and if you go around doing this you are causing division...division is of Satan...Don't do Satan’s Work". Sadden to hear this from a brother that received the truth and rejected it in a week caused me to go in to a deep loneliness.
As I thought on all these things, Gods Promise came to me and said "This is the Way, Walk ye in it...” This was the Road that the Lord set for me, this was it, and there was no turning back. I felt like Daniel and the three worthies walking into Babylon. Here am I ready to take a stand for the Lord. To go back was death; to go forward was life everlasting. I knew which path to take. Although it was difficult, it was safe, because the Lord was there.
Through this truth I began to search the scriptures. I learnt that Jesus was literally Gods own dear Son. That he was begotten by him in a way which we know not. I began to see colour in the Gospel of Christ. Jesus is the only begotten Son and God is a literal Father. What a blessing to know this truth. What a privilege.
As I began to deeply understand the relationship of the Father and the Son, and their relationship with us, God caused me to go back in time to when I had my two little children. When I had my first child (Samarah) I looked into her eyes, and she looked into mine. There was a connection between her and me that words fail to explain, pictures that cannot portray. As I thought upon these things, it was as if, through my experience of becoming a Dad, the Father was saying to me "As you see your child Bana, even so I see you". Even now thinking about all this makes me weep in the presence of the Almighty. I long to be near my God. I long to see his lovely face. Before that day happens, my prayer is that his face will be seen on mine and his words may be heard in my own.
When my second Son was born he was diagnosed with spina bifida occulta (As confirmed by a X-ray). He was anointed by the brethren and now he is walking, with no signs of paralysis. When he was scanned by the MRI Machine, his back was considered normal, and that here would walk normally. This happened after he was anointed. God healed my Son, and through this testimony he said to me "Though you may be weak, and the same compassion you have on your only Son, I have Compassion on you Bana, through my only begotten Son Jesus, I Love you!"
This is what it was all about, relationship with the Father and the Son. Jesus was and is the only being that can enter into the Counsel and purposes of God. There is no other, there is none else. The Counsel of peace belong to them both, there is no other. Jesus died for us, none else could. Jesus was and is the literal on of God, not God the Son. I quickly learnt how the only other being that wanted this privilege was Lucifer, Son of the Morning. He was jealous of Christ. Through his indulgence and dissatisfaction, he stooped believing the Word of God. I saw that it was the Father who said to his Son "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness...”. I soon discovered that the trinity made the Son a metaphor, which caused me to tremble. How can he be a make believe son when the scriptures says he is the Son of the Living God. By knowing and believing the truth that God is a literal Father and Jesus is his Son, expelled the doctrine of the trinity on making them make believe. I saw that the Holy Spirit is not a separate individual being as the Father and the Son are. It is the presence of God with us. God's life in his word, in his Son. This is the foundation of our hope, in Christ.
When I was revealed this truth I began to share it with the elders and minister. Although they reject this message at the moment, I am praying that the light will shine into their hearts, that they may receive the Father and the Son. Reader, Please pray for them. They are sincere and love the Lord. I respect the with all my heart, as a Son respects a Father.
In 2010 I was sharing what I had been convicted on regarding the Father and the Son to the Church Elder. He said to me "If what you believe is absolute truth, then it won't just start here, it will be seen around the world, and our religious leaders will accept it” I said to him "If our religious leaders do not accept this light, does it make it wrong? Did the leaders in Christ day receive him”. At the time he did not answer me, but I believe that this word is pondering in his mind and heart.
When the elder said to me "If this is truth, it will be seen around the world..." I placed this statement to the Lord. Not long after this prayer, I started searching for the Alpha and Omega of Apostasy, and linked up with a brother who had done an extensive research of J H Kellogg’s view of God and Our pioneer’s position on the God head, The Father and the Son. Through this brother, the Lord began to answer my prayer. Going into a deeper search for the truth I started to read SOP with new light, seeing Christ in everything I read, what a blessing. I began to realise the greatest sin wasn't without, but within. The condition of my heart needed to be fine tuned. I realised how great a sinner I was, and great a Saviour God is.
Through the series on the Godhead (Written by Brother Terry Hill) on the internet, I somehow touched a button on the key board and it took me to MARANAMEDIA.com. When I saw this website, what stood out were these words "In Honour of the Father and the Son. In Honour of the Father and the Son"
This was the answer to my prayer to what my Elder had advised me.
Here was the truth of where the true message of the three Angels lay. I cried seeing this site. God had answered my prayer. There were more people that believed this message. What impressed me some much was that the Spirit of the message spoke Love, Joy, peace, comfort and hope. Accompanied with all these things was power and glory. Respect and dignity shone through this website. People where free to say what they believed and brethren gently rebuked each other. Yet in brotherly kindness and love each respected each other’s opinions and thoughts. This was definitely a channel that the Lord drew me closer to a true understanding of who he is...God is Love.
I was most impressed that people were not afraid to stand up and say who they were. There was no hiding in proclaiming this message. When I would read allot of the Articles, it was as if I was reading into my own mind of what I believed. When I had been think of what I read from scripture, an article with biblical sound doctrine would harmonise with what I Believed I saw from scriptures. It was as if two or three were gathered in the Spirit of the Lord. What an answer to prayer.
So here am I today, with the Message of the Father and the Son in New Zealand, willing to walk the straight and narrow road. My prayer is that one day the streams of life that flow out from the Father and the Son will flow out from where we are, to our community, to the Waikato, and to the World. As God Raised a humble man in Australia to continue a work that was left to our pioneers, and with many humble servants of the most high God proclaiming the Same message with the Same Spirit and the Same purpose, I pray that the Lord may use me for his service here in Aotearoa (New Zealand). God has given us all a work to do. How we do that work is equally important to what is shared.
I praise the Lord for the Web site MARANATHAMEDIA.com. This is definitely a spring in the desert, a well for the thirsty in a dry and barren land. Every day I read articles on this site and am filled with Gods blessings. I love to share truths the Lord has revealed to me personally to those who read, and I hope that what is shared may be a blessing. Through this ministry the Lord has show me what it means to be called a Child of God. I have learnt and am still learning the importance of the family kingdom that God wants to establish in his peopl. Also, the big blessing is that God is working in his people to restore the perfect image of his Son in his children. When this is done, then I believe the Lord is near, even at the doors. I know that through MARANATHAMEDIA.com the Lord is using it to further the Spirit of his message, and his message to the World, Praise God!
It has been a blessing to be a part of a small company of believers, who are taking the truth of the Father and the son, which is the heart of the three angel’s message, to a lost and Dying World. I am pleased to share the same spirit of not persecuting our brethren in the SDA body, but with humble and contrite heart, pleading for our brethren to turn the heart back to the Father and his Son. For all the Glory and Praise and Honour, I would like to give it all to the God of Heaven and earth, the maker of all things.
I pray that if you have read this testimony, there is much more that has happened, that if I were to write down it will continue to go on and on and on. This path in the Father and the Son is the straight way to heaven. God has given me a family to worship with. God has given a church to fellowship with. One day we will look back and see Our God whom we served, delivered us.
I am now free. Free from the penalty and guilt of Sin. I am now in a place to belong, with the The Father and his beloved Son. I don't have to chase sandy dreams. The blanket of comfort now rest on my shoulders, and now I am free from the poison of this World. Self has no more sway in my life and Satans words fall like straws.
To you who may be reading this testimony. It may be the first time you are awarae of this truth or you may have heard it before and rejected it. Maybe you've heard others talk about it and not fully grasp the meaning of Life. Let me point to you the Man who took away our Sins. The Man named Christ. Only by love is love awakened, and with loving knidness, the lord used his mercy to draw me to himself. Reader, may this be the strong cords that the Lord may use to draw you to his loving side.
In Knowing the Father and the Son, through his word, my heart is turned to the Fathers, and his heart to mine. Praise him who sits on the throne and unto the Lamb, forever and ever more, Amen and Amen!