Well, after Jesus saved me from my sins, I went home that evening and started reading the Bible I had received when I was going to St. Johns as a child. I have NO IDEA why I hung on to that Bible, but God knew what was going on! I had tried reading that Bible before, but from the beginning I quickly grew tired of all the 'begat him' and 'begat her' verses that I put it down. This time I got a hold of a book called 'The Book' (which is the Bible in modern day English) and it said the best place to start was with the gospel of Mark (the shortest of the 4 gospels of Jesus). So I did, reading a chapter in The Book and the corresponding chapter in the Bible.
During this time I had told Kathy about my experience and how I was reading the Bible and she thought I had GONE OFF THE DEEP END!! (And this from a person who GREW UP GOING TO CHURCH!!) I even invited her to come to see me the night I was to be baptized, but she never showed up. I was very disappointed, but God had totally changed my heart and any anger/bitterness I felt toward Kathy over our separation was gone. Then one night, I was reading Mark chapter 10 -
2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
It was at this point that I KNEW FOR A FACT that God was going to restore my marriage! A few days later at church, the sermon was about giving your burdens to Jesus. Too many times this world would have you think you must be strong, do everything by yourself, without the help of others and ESPECIALLY without the help of God. This is the BIGGEST LIE that Satan uses to keep people from God's truth! I for one was tired of trying to fix my marriage myself so that evening, I went up after the sermon and laid down my marriage situation at the altar. When I got up, I was lighter and much more at peace. I did not have to do ANYTHING ELSE to restore my marriage. It was now God's marriage and His word says He will not allow man to separate what He has joined together. So I left this situation in His hands and continued my life reading & praying to God.
Now during this time I was working for the American Tobacco Company (I still smoked cigarettes, marijuana and drank occasionally). I still had a filthy mouth and bad attitude. Once Jesus came into my life, ALL these things changed. The first to go was my cussing. I immediately stopped. And when I would be around others who would (and my workplace was FULL of them!) I would cringe, especially when they would take the Lord's name in vain. I also stopped smoking almost immediately. But now, when I would be around smoke, I would start feeling a bit sick. Working for a tobacco company, about 80% of the people smoked so needless to say, I was not very happy with my job situation. What did I do about it?? I GAVE IT TO JESUS!!
My biggest hang-up before Jesus saved me was I LOVED to smoke marijuana. It would help to relax me and if anything (I thought), would make me think more about God. Over the years, I was obsessed by collecting drug paraphernalia, which included bongs, pipes and High Times magazines (as well as quite a collection of Playboy magazines). Something inside me told me that these things needed to go. This was probably the hardest thing I had to do since Jesus saved me. I had to give up my old 'god' of marijuana! Even Kathy will tell you that I did marijuana more than alcohol, even more than cigarettes! I would smoke when I woke up to get me going I would smoke before I went to bed to help me sleep. I would smoke before going to work to help me think I would smoke when I got off work to help me relax. However, Jesus did not think that I could continue to smoke and grow into a closer relationship with Him. So, here I am faced with two choices again. Do I give all this paraphernalia to another 'druggie' friend of mine, or do I trash it? Which would be a better witness? I took all my bongs & stuff and put them in the trashcan. Just to give you an idea, we are talking several hundred dollars worth of equipment. Now, what to do with the magazines I had. In pricing these magazines for what others were selling them for, I had a collection that was estimated at about $5,000. I could sell these and have a nice chunk of money. Again, I was faced with the same choice, which would make a better witness. I boxed them all up and took them down to the local dump. Now you can see why Kathy thought I had completely lost it eh??
Well, at this point we were still separated and not having much communication, but I was STILL TRUSTING IN THE LORD for a healing to our marriage. Then one evening my phone rings and it is Kathy calling, crying somewhat. She asks me if my health insurance covers a pregnancy test. This was a bit of a shock to me but I tell her yes and gave her instructions on what to do. She calls me back a few days later (crying again) to tell me that she is pregnant. I of course am QUICKLY PRAISING THE LORD, as I KNOW that this is God's plan and God's timing to restore our marriage. And the most wonderful thing was the KATHY KNEW IT TOO!! She knew that abortion was not an option and she knew that God was dealing with her and that this was His way of saying she needed to be back with her husband and be with her FAMILY! So she moved back home with me.
A few weeks later she started going to church with me, and after a few weeks, God spoke directly to her in one of the sermons and she came forward to rededicate her life to Him. Now after she was about 4 months pregnant, she started dilating (which means preparing for delivery). Her doctor told her she needed to be put on bedrest. What this meant to us was a 50% cut in salary!! We had bought our house less than a year ago!! What were WE going to do about this??? A few months later we were blessed with our first child, Rebekah Jean Elster.
Now if you have been paying attention, you also will know that this child was TRULY a gift of God, because when I had the cancer, the doctor told me I would not be able to have children!! I for one am not one who trusts in the word of man, but I trust in the word of God who is the ULTIMATE physician!!
So now, what ever happened to my job situation? I am glad you asked! Shortly after the birth of Rebekah, my company announced that they were going to be outsourcing the computer operations. Me being a computer operator at the time was probably going to be affected by this. More importantly, being a Christian praying to God about a change in my job situation, I KNEW I WAS GOING TO BE AFFECTED BY THIS!! When the announcement was made, I smiled and thanked God. The management told us that they would be calling each of us individually to let us know what would happen to each position. I could not WAIT for my turn!! I still remember the look on my boss's face when I walked into his office with a BIG SMILE on my face! He could not believe it! He made a remark that I looked awfully happy. I said 'Yup!' He went through his speel and told me that I was to be laid off. I said continuing with my smile 'Yup!' and left his office. PRAISE GOD!! He answers prayers AGAIN!! Now what makes this even MORE definite that this was God at work... They 'should' have been laying off people by seniority. There were 10 operators and seniority wise I was at number six (there were four operators hired after me). At least TWO of those hired after me retained their jobs (at least for a short time, the company has since closed its operations at this facility!!). Going in the 'logical, manmade order', I should have been safe! However, they were not in control of my situation, God was!!
But wait a minute now, how can I possibly be happy here?? I have a new house, I have a wife that was not working, I have a new baby, and I HAVE NO JOB!!! But each of these things were by God's design!! He was in control of the situation, not me. I was only glad to be His child!
So, when this announcement came, I started looking for a new job in the Richmond Virginia area (which has a very high number of computer related positions). I sent out 150 resumes and I got ONE interview and no job offer!! So then I applied for a job back near our old hometown where we both said 'We will NEVER go back'. Well, of course I got an interview on this one. I went, dressed in the wrong clothes, said the wrong things, and basically told them I did not want to work there. After the interview, I came back to my care & said 'look Lord, you know I don't want this job, but if this is where you want me, and they offer me the position, I will accept it'. About one week later, I get a call for a second interview. I go, it goes OK, and by this time my palms are really sweating. I tell the Lord again how I do not want this job because we do not want to move back here. And this job was going to be about an $8,000/year paycut! But again, I told the Lord 'if they offer me this job, I know it will be from you and I will accept it'. Three days later I get a call and they offer me the position. They tell me to think about it and get back with them. I say OK, but I already know the answer! This is where God wants me.
Therefore, in 1985 I went to school to get a diploma in computer programming. It is now 1991 and I STILL have not gotten a job programming. But God's timing is perfect.
I accepted the position in Charlottesville with the county government as a computer operator. I came in & did the job that God had provided for me. Within SIX MONTHS, I was given a promotion to PROGRAMMER TRAINEE!! (and of course a raise along with it!) Six months later, I am now a PROGRAMMER! (another raise) One year later a PROGRAMMER/ANALYST (and another raise). Another year and now a DATABASE/ANALYST (and another raise). Another year and finally a SENIOR PROGRAMMER/ANALYST (and.... you guessed it!) After 5 years at a job that I in NO WAY wanted to accept, God had doubled my salary! But that was not all that happened during those years...
Well this is all fine and dandy, but What Has He Done For You Lately?
Please make a comment about this page.
Return to Rad's Personal page
Return to Rad's home page
And if you remember nothing else, remember this...