I Believe in Miracles The story of a changed life

As I was flipping through the TV channels, I thought I heard a voice say to me "stop." I laid down the remote and looked around to see who might have said stop, but saw no one. I then looked at the TV, and noticed it was on KBLN/3ABN. There was a preacher holding his Bible and giving a message that definitely had a familiar ring. I began watching as one preacher after another gave his message. I listened, finding myself becoming reacquainted with truths I had not paid any attention to for 40 years. I watched with tears running down my face, till around two in the morning, and then I fell to my knees and began the long journey home to the Father.

The following morning was different. It wasn't Saturday; it was the Sabbath. You see, I had been a member of the Adventist church some 40 years ago, and I still remembered a little of what was true. I even considered getting dressed up and going to church that morning.

Instead, I found myself listening to a Sabbath school lesson presented by Doug Bachelor. Drinking my morning cup of coffee as I smoked a cigarette, I became engrossed. I found a Bible in the back of a cupboard, and then began to slowly turn from text to text, refreshing my memory of the old stories. That next week, I bought some other books, including the Conflict of the Ages series. I also picked up some pamphlets on the Sabbath, on the rapture, and on the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Changes were going to be made in my life. Visible changes, and my family, friends and acquaintances were going to be asking questions. As they asked, I was going to be prepared.

The week passed uneventfully, with me glued to my TV, afraid to leave the house for fear of missing something important. And I began to clean. I tossed out books that were no longer fit for my mind. I have never missed them or desired to read any of them again. And my computer was a mess. Some serious cleaning was necessary. I contacted all my friends and explained why they would not be receiving certain types of mail any longer and why I would appreciate not receiving any of the same. I lost one online friend; the rest complied and said they understood. Today my computer serves the Lord. My friends receive a "thought for the day," either a Bible or Spirit of Prophecy quote each day.

The following Sabbath I began attending Sabbath School, church services and prayer meetings. It was my goal, my intention, my desire, to be wherever prayer and worship was taking place. I was welcomed into a loving family who hugged me, who prayed with me, and who cried with me. They did not reprove me for having fallen away, they did not reject me because I smelled of smoke, but they opened their hearts and welcomed me home. As I requested prayer for my unhealthy addictions, they joined me and remembered me in their private prayers.

It was a matter of two or three weeks later, when in prayer, I asked God if He would accept me, a sinner with a broken and contrite heart. My life was not perfect, but I was on my way. My thoughts were no longer the thoughts of the old man who had knelt there some time before. They were changed. Those things I once loved, I found I now hated. Those things I once despised, I found I now loved. My entire life was changing.

On that night while I knelt before Him in total surrender, He took away the 40-year addiction I had to nicotine. No withdrawal, no headaches. Not the two or three months the doctor said, but in one evening. The doctor was amazed. Then a couple of weeks later, the addiction to caffeine was removed as I again knelt before the cross. A minimum of 12 cups a day and then iced tea till bedtime. I indeed had a caffeine habit. That addiction is almost as hard to break as nicotine. Again, in one night it was removed. No desires, no headaches, no aftereffects. Temptations? Yes! But He also lives within and gives the power to overcome. We serve an awesome God, who continues to do today what He did while He was here on earth. He heals, He saves, and He performs miracles.

With support from his church family, study, prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Bill Gillapsy was born again and baptized on June 3, 2006.

November 01, 2007 / Oregon Conference