Breaking free from anything is hard enough... But learning how to stay free when you…
My road to Damascus experience is only a brief part of my testimony and where God has brought me from.
If you haven’t had your road to Damascus experience yet… all you have to do is keep living and it will happen.
It happens to all of us at some point or another in our life on this earth.
You’re probably asking yourself what the heck is the road to Damascus experience…huh?
I’m glad that you asked because if you can just keep reading for just a moment you will find out.
And as I said it is something that we all will experience at one point or another in our lifetime.
The thing about the experience is that unless you are saved by the grace of God you may not recognize it when it happens.
Again I say that I am glad that you are asking… Because you are about to learn exactly what the road to Damascus experience is all about.
I hope you’re ready for it.
But first I need to know whether or not if you are familiar with the apostle Paul in the New Testament of the Holy Bible?
If you are this will make a lot more sense to you. Yet even if you are not familiar you will soon be acquainted.
So, let me first direct you to a passage in the Holy Word of God that will begin to shed some light on what I wish to share with you.
Take a look with me if you would at the book of Acts chapter 9:1-2. These two verses of scripture give us a brief but very transparent glimpse of the mind of then Saul whom the Lord Jesus renamed Paul.
The Apostle Paul became one of if not the most used apostle of the Lord. He was used of God to write two thirds of the New Testament of the Bible.
Paul is also the man that made the road to Damascus famous.
Be sure to read about the conversion of Paul in the book of Acts starting in chapter 9 and I’m sure that you may find yourself there… I sure did.
Okay, I won’t keep you in too much more suspense… I promise.
So, have you ever been in a situation where you thought all things were working in your favor and as far as you knew it was working out for you?
Well, that’s where I found myself a few years ago…about 5 years and a few months ago to be precise.
I mean I even thought to myself that God was really wanting me to go where I was headed.
Everything seemed to be falling into place.
This reminds me also of the apostle Paul when he as the Bible states that he got permission from the high priest to persecute all that was in the way… Meaning all that were devout followers of Christ.
Read Acts 9:1-2.
He actually believed in all his heart and soul that he was doing the right thing by killing and persecuting believers of Jesus.
I was not on my way to purposely kill anyone and like Paul if I had not been stopped maybe I could have.
More on that part later.
So, to cut to the chase my road to Damascus experience happened as I was traveling up I-75 North with the thought of going back to Atlanta to live again. So I thought…
The Bible tells us that grace and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life.
This is especially true for the saved in Christ. I know this to be true from my personal experiences.
And yet I will be the first to admit that grace and mercy will show up in ways that we least expect.
For me, grace and mercy showed up as I was traveling up I-75 on my way to Atlanta Georgia where most of my family still lives. I didn’t recognize them at the time though.
I mean let’s face it if you looked in your rearview mirror and spotted red, white and blue lights coming up fast behind you would you equate it to grace and mercy? I sure didn’t at the time.
Grace and mercy can come in many shapes and forms.
On the day of June 17, 2013, grace and mercy showed up as a Cook County Georgia Police Officer with flashing lights and all.
I knew deep down my travel for the day was over when I saw the lights.
If you don’t know where Cook County GA is… It’s about 20 miles north of Valdosta Ga when driving I-75 North. That’s also where you will find a very small town called Adel.
And listen, if you ever have to go thru that way please slow down. That’s all I have to say about that.
Sometimes in this life, we can be so sure that what we are doing is the right thing to do.
But here is something that we should ask the Lord to do in our hearts. And that is to always press upon our hearts to acknowledge Him in everything that we do. I will also be the first to admit that it’s not something that just comes naturally to us.
Nevertheless, if we want to stay on the path that God has purposed for us and have the power to walk well pleasing in his sight we must ask him to put this on the forefront of our hearts and minds.
Did you know that God will allow you to do certain things that are not necessarily well pleasing to himself? You may be living out something like that at this time in your life as you’re reading this. Hmmmm.
God has allowed me to things and to go to places that were not well pleasing to himself. There have been so many times in my life that I thought I knew where I was going.
If it had not been for the Lord who was truly on my side I don’t have to guess where I would be…
Back in 2013, I was still in my mess. You know I believe the Lord shared this truth with me long ago. And It is that no matter where you go your heart goes with you. What that means is this my beloved…
If you are corrupt and perverse in your heart in the town you live in now it will remain corrupt and perverse in the town you take it too. Simply put you can’t run from you.
So, when I got pulled over by that Cook County police Officer I didn’t see it at the time but that was God’s divine interruption in a life that was spiraling downward to chaos destruction.
as I look back I thank GOD for that day with all that’s in me, and although when I was laying on that steel top bunk without a mat. I was truly in despair and without hope.
But that day was the beginning of my true deliverance and conversion. I believe God saved my life and probably the life of many.
As I said I was still in my mess… Meaning I was still drinking and smoking really heavy in those days.
I still had a least 4 more hours of driving and I was already intoxicated before 12 noon.
Not only did the road to Damascus experience turn out to be a road to safety and refuge for me, I believe with my whole heart that someone was probably saved from my foolishness as well.
There’s an old saying that goes something like this… God takes care of fools and babies. And although I have not seen those words in the bible in such a way. He does promise us to never leave or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5
He has also promised to be a place of refuge and strength a very present help in trouble Psalm 46:1.
However, if you are in a cold jail cell and don’t have the capacity to think soberly you will feel forsaken and abandoned. And at times like that, you don’t always see jail as a place of refuge and safety.
I’m reminded that God’s thoughts are not like unto our thoughts and neither is his way of doing a thing like ours. His ways are always right and best for everyone involved.
And yes, though hard to see it in that way sometimes, it still holds true.
The bible tells us in Psalm 51:17 that the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart, O God you will not despise.
God has a way of bringing us to the end of ourselves, and he does this event by event, circumstance by circumstance, here a little and there a little, and all in his perfect wisdom and precise timing. It’s pretty amazing how he does this…
You see God doesn’t break us to destroy us the way the thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy us. No, that is not our God’s intention. God’s breaking process is administered upon us to begin the healing in our hearts and minds.
I believe that without God’s divine interruption on June 17, 2013, I would probably be in a world of trouble and heartache. Not to mention that I would still be in the bondage of drinking and smoking.
During those days the most important thing to me was drinking lots of beer and having enough cigarettes to smoke until the next time I got paid.
And oh, did I mention my addiction to pornography as well?
It took me a while to recognize my road to Damascus as the road to freedom. As a matter of fact, I didn’t see it coming. Like I said when you are behind bars in the middle of what felt like to me as nowhere.
The only feeling that you get when you are in jail is the feeling of being bound.
Yet as time passed on I became more and freer every day. But I have to honest with you I didn’t have a clue as to what God was doing.
Did I tell you that I spent 42 days in jail before God would allow them to give me a court day? And on a side note, the property room was broken into by a few of the inmates and my stuff was among the goods that were stolen.
I believe that God eventually used that for my good as well… Maybe I will tell you about that some other time.
The Three Ways that God Freed Me From Me
On June 17, 2013, God freed me from the thought of moving back to Atlanta, GA
While in that jail cell on June 17, 2013, God freed me to go back to the Trinity Rescue Mission in Jacksonville, FL where I was able to begin to have a better and more loving relationship with Him.
While at the Trinity Rescue Mission God in His divine wisdom and pursuit gave me the courage to ask him why it was that I kept going in and out of fellowship with him?
Keep reading and you will find out why that was and still is for many believers today.
When I was sitting in that jail cell I still had my own agenda that I was cooking up. Or better yet… that was satan’s agenda for me. And to be quite transparent I thought they were my ideas.
You see I was thinking on and tossing around in my mind that I was going to get back to The Trinity Rescue Mission in Jacksonville FL and convince the authority to allow me to fast track my way through the discipline that God had in store for me.
Please let me again be the first to say that I am so glad that God said no not today my son.
It still took me a while to settle down and really hear God though. I was still a state of flux. One thing I can say though is that God delivered me really quick from the beer and alcohol.
It went like this… I got out of jail on July 29, 2013, and after 42 days of not drinking and smoking, as soon as I left the jailhouse I bought myself beer and cigarettes. I stayed in Adel for a few days until I could make my way back to Jacksonville.
When I got back to Jacksonville I had just enough money to buy me a 4-pack of 16oz cans of beer. I can remember just where I was when I consumed them all within a few hours.
But here is the good news on August 1, 2013, I drank the last drop of any type of alcoholic beverages sitting on that wall across from a senior citizen housing tower. Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord Jesus for his deliverance. I know he can do it.
I still smoked cigarettes for a little while longer though. We will get back to that in a bit.
Jesus made this statement and promise to us all. He said ” Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. John 14:27
In times of despair and anguish, it’s hard not to fear and have a troubled heart.
The road to Damascus doesn’t seem like a road to peace when your world as you know it has been turned upside down. I can tell you that from experience.
I’m quite sure Paul aka Saul had no peace when he was literally knocked off of his feet by the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus. Now you have to keep in mind that he (Paul) thought that he was right as rain in his own eyes.
Paul thought that he was doing the work of God by persecuting and killing Christians. I also thought that I to had the blessing of God to go back to Atlanta. It wasn’t so.
But just as The Lord promised he gave me peace in the midst of my storm.
As I finally started to settle into the mission and began to get back my sensitivity to the things of God the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit started to bring the truth back to my remembrance and with that also came the peace of God that passes all understanding.
God gave me the peace to embrace the work in which he was getting ready to perform in my heart.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident in this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
As I bring this experience to a conclusion I hope and pray to God that you have found a ray of hope for yourself or for your loved ones through some of the things that I have shared with you.
But before I let you go let me please share how the Love of God is able to free us an keep us free from any type of drug, alcohol, pornography or any type of besetting sin.
So, do you remember me telling you that God gave me the mind and freedom to ask him why it was that I kept going in and out of fellowship with him?
Well, when I asked him…he didn’t hesitate to give me an answer. I mean he answered me speedily. Wow! that brings a scripture to my mind that speaks on this wise. “And it shall come to pass, that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear”. Isaiah 65:24
The apostle John taught us that if God hears us, that we can be confident that we will receive what we have asked for. 1st John 5:14
That just how quickly The Lord answered me…
He answered my question first with a question as he asked me if I remembered the scripture that said that we must love him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength?
I said, yes I remember.
Here’s what he (God) said to me next…
He said Felton, my son it’s the love factor. and as I was thinking about that, God finished expounding on it by further telling me this…
He said until you learn how to love me with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength you will keep going in and out of fellowship with me.
The Spirit of God went on further to tell me that until I learn how to love him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength, that I will not know how to love myself or anyone else.
So, as I bring this article to a close, let me just say that I immediately started praying that God would give me a love for him that surpassed any relationship that I had ever had with any woman in my life.
As I look back on that — that really wasn’t that hard of a task for God. But nothing is too hard for GOD.
Don’t get me wrong though… I have had some great women in my life. I just didn’t truly know how to love them, myself or love no one else for that matter.
Well, that’s it for now. And if you would like to be notified when I publish another post expressing the Goodness of God. Just leave your name and email address in the form to the right.
Thanks for sticking around and be blessed.
Hey, it’s me Felton T, a man of God that cares about your salvation and your ability to be free and serve God as he has called you and me to do. Read about my testimony here.