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FROM WITCHCRAFT TO THE CROSS

September 15, 2013
MY TESTIMONY 

My name is Michael.   I am in my late 50s at the time I’m writing this, and until almost 5 years ago I had spent nearly 20 years heavily involved in witchcraft.    Where did it all begin?  Well, I think that I can go back to my late childhood and early teens.   I remember reading books on mythology and any other materials on the supernatural , psychic powers, witches that I could lay my hands on.  Of course I read every copy of FATE magazine I could find and when I watched programs like BEWITCHED, I wished that I could have magickal powers.    I started finding books on witchcraft and devoured them.  I tried many spells, but never got them to work .  I think part of the reason is that as a teenager I was scatter brained and had little discipline…certainly not the kind to get spells to work.  And by the way, yes they do work.   As I learned later in life when I was an adult and totally committed myself to witchcraft.   My high school yearbook (Notre Dame High, Cambridge MA 1972) had the note under my picture “practices witchcraft?”   Over the years in my adolescence I studied and read every book I could find, and when I couldn’t afford a book I would go to the bookstores in Harvard Square and go through them, trying to memorize what I could and going home and writing it all down. Well, after high school I went to a communications college in Boston and it was then that I first heard the gospel and committed my life to Christ.  I forsook witchcraft and followed after Him, but again, I lacked discipline and concentration.   However, I was following Him.   After graduating from college with a degree in broadcasting and journalism I worked at a variety of jobs, mostly lived at home and things were going well.   It was during this time that I watched a PBS special bout religions in America, and one was about Pentecostalism.   They mentioned the Assemblies of God, and I agreed with what they believed in.   There was a tiny Assemblies of God church nearby and so I began attending church there.

In 1975 I made what was probably the biggest mistake of my life… I got married and it was for all the wrong reasons.   She and I decided to get married because we were hanging out together and everyone else we knew were getting married.   There was nothing in the line of love…and so for fifteen years we were totally miserable with each other.   And now, almost 40 years later I sit and ask myself “what was I thinking?”   After fifteen years and many serious issues, we broke apart permanently.    The best thing of that entire time is the fact that I have a wonderful, beautiful 30 year old daughter from the marriage, and she has made me a grandfather.

But before I get into how I ended up involved in the occult, let me go on.   In 1978 I joined the Air Force, where I spent over 13 years in service to the country.   Military life is tough on the best of marriages, and brought out some of the worst in ours.  However, I continued following the Lord and she did so too, though to a far less degree.   In the years I served the Lord in a number of capacities.  I’ve been a Sunday School teacher, music leader and worship leader, an announcer on a Christian radio station (WPSM, 91.1 FM Fort Walton Beach), and ultimately, while a member of a Pentecostal Church of God church in Florida was asked by the pastor to pray about becoming a minister in the denomination and coming alongside to minister with him.   And so, I did and in time completed the tenure and studies required to become a licensed minister in the Pentecostal Church of God.

 

In 1989 it all seemed to come apart at the seams.   I was assigned to Thule Air Base, Greenland which was the most difficult assignment I ever had (although I loved the beauty there).   I felt disillusioned with the Air Force for their assignment there (originally I was to go elsewhere, they switched me).  Meanwhile, my marriage which was already crumbling began to implode on itself and we decided to divorce.   Now, in the Pentecostal Church of God, ministers are not allowed to retain their credentials if they divorce for any other reason than the other partner being unfaithful.   That wasn’t the case… and so I was there… disillusioned with the military, my marriage broken irretrievably and having to give up the one thing I felt was going good…my ministerial license.   And, instead of drawing closer to God I did the opposite.  I blamed Him…He was after all in control of all things.   And finally, I decided in a pique of anger at Him to just walk away.   I cursed Him and decided I was going to go right back to witchcraft and the occult that I’d come out of years before.

The years 1989 – 2009 were a time of darkness.   It didn’t seem so, but now in retrospect I see how much darkness I was in and engaged in.   I joined a school of witchcraft and worked hard to be initiated.   Though it did not have formal covens, I found groups and covens to work and worship with, especially after I returned home from the military (I left in 1991) and back to the Boston area where there were many wiccan/pagan groups, a variety of bookstores and occult supply stores, and of course Salem which was a mecca for witches (actually a money trap).    In that time I worked a lot as a solitary witch, performing rituals and spells alone, but I also worked with a variety of traditions and groups.   Ultimately, I came in contact with Silver Ravenwolf, who is a very well known author of books on witchcraft.   Although her books were filled with what some consider “fluff” because it was marketed to the masses, she also had an organization of over 13 covens across the United States and Canada following traditional British witchcraft.   I wanted this and after meeting with her and she learned that I’d been initiated through the Church of Wicca she invited me to join her tradition – the Black Forest Clan as an elevated elder… 3d degree.  And that is where I spent the last eight plus years in the craft.    I began a home study group which met every other week and soon I had others who wanted to follow the Black Forest Clan path and become initiated, and so that became my focus.  In time I trained many individuals.   At least one reached the third degree which is the highest level.   Several others reached second degree, and there were always a few first degrees and dedicants working their way up the ladder.    In 2007, Silver decided to decentralize the Black Forest Clan and almost all of the third degree witches in her tradition became “Clan Heads”…that is leaders of their own autonomous group.    Now, with my own coven and my daughter coven which was run by the member who had attained the third degree I was the Clan Head for all of Massachusetts and running two covens… my own coven near Boston and overseeing my student’s coven near Worcester.

BUT GOD!!!!!!!!!!!

God wasn’t finished with me.   Throughout my time in the craft, I always had been drawn to the teachings of Jesus…and incorporated them into my ethics spiritually.   Around 2007 or 2008 I was scanning through late night television and found some teachings by a woman minister… and it wasn’t your usual fluff religious broadcasting.   Her teachings were intellectual and cerebral and she explored the scriptures using the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek languages… and this appealed to me.. and I found myself looking for her programming.

Long story short, the Lord was already working on my heart preparing to bring me back home to Him.

After some time, I was invited to attend Calvary Chapel North Shore… and when I asked whether it wsa associated with the Calvary Chapels founded by Pastor Chuck Smith the person who invited me said “yes”.   I talked to my wife and we decided to go on Easter Sunday… and that’s when the Lord grabbed us.

We entered and felt like the ceiling would cave in, but it was nice.   We stood there, not recognizing any of the songs… feeling a little uncomfortable but the message was powerful… and the people very friendly.   And so we decided to go back the next week.

During the following days, my wife and I also had talked about feeling that we should leave witchcraft behind… we were no longer happy serving the gods and goddesses of the pagan paths… and we both were felling drawn towards the Lord.   So, the next Sunday we went.   And Pastor Matt was teaching from the book of Mark.  (Calvary Chapels seldom do topical preaching…they teach the entire bible, book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse).   And he was teaching from the ninth chapter about the rich young ruler.   And it was going well.  Then he told the church to turn with him to Acts in the 17th chapter.   And he began teaching about Paul on Mars Hill in Athens… where they had altars to every imaginable god and goddess… and one to the god who wasn’t known.  

 

Wow!  This was amazing to us.   We were thinking about leaving a religion that worshipped and served multiple gods and goddesses!    Then Pastor Matt read the verse where Paul told the people “you are entirely too superstitious!” and where Paul then exhorted the Athenians declaring who the true God was… the crucified one…the buried one…the resurrected one…Jesus Christ.

He had **NO** way of knowing that he had two witches in his auditorium that day, nor that we had been thinking about leaving witchcraft and coming to Jesus for salvation.   Needless to say, at the end of the message he announced he would pray with anyone who needed prayer.   The worship team walked quietly up to the platform and when he asked if anyone needed prayer to come forward, my wife and I went hand in hand to the front and prayed for salvation.

The main point of this story is that God is faithful…even though I was not. It is true that I spent 20 years in witchcraft, and spiritually, had reached the pinnacle.  I was a clan head for a tradition, elevated to elder in the religion and running two covens.     But THAT is not the greatest thing here… the greatest thing is that the Lord showed mercy and received me back… and that He now allows me to walk with Him and learn of Him and serve Him.

My name is Michael Morton.   And I used to be a witch.  But today, I am born again and walk beside the Shepherd of my soul…the one who died for me, is risen again, and is coming again in glory…the one before I gladly bow my knee and who’s name I gladly confess…that Jesus Christ is my Lord.

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:

People ask me, What is the purpose of life?

And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body–but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act – the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one..

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys – you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:

If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.’ But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her. It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don’t think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit.. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God’s purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, “God, if I don’t get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better.”

God didn’t put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He’s more interested in what I am than what I do.

That’s why we’re called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.

Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.

Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.

Painful moments, TRUST GOD.

Every moment, THANK GOD..

*****

Okay there are some truths here. But this is not a true testimony…A testimony usually  involves the full Gospel message of Good News…The Good News means there is way for sinners to be saved from eternal damnation. The message from RW is very incomplete and really has little substance. But this is the watered-down, feel-good message the people want to hear. This message has no conviction of sin and is easier to sell. Tickled-ears like to hear about sin in the quantity of a grain of sand because one will step over anything larger.

RW promotes his goodness and achievements in his testimony but the Bible says our good deeds are like filthy rags.

The next testimony is a powerful one. A friend said:

“There is a remnant that has been ruined for anything less than the real thing, as modeled by Jesus Himself, and they will not settle for less than all that He purchased on our behalf.”

Pastor’s Testimony

My Story

I was saved on August 24, 1983 when I saw myself lost, going to hell and trusted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. All my life I had tried being good, you know, stop sinning; but the hard I tried the worse I became. By the time I was fourteen I was drinking on a consistent basis, already smoking cigarettes, and soon was to take my first toke of pot, not really sure what I was getting into. By sixteen I was smoking pot and drinking almost every day. For those who have their kids in public schools, I might just state that I knew no one that did not smoke pot or drink at least a couple of beers a week. I went to college, but instead of studying I found the party life to be much more interesting. You say, “Well didn’t you get an education?” I could easily reply, “In How to Ruin Your Life 101”. I was well on my way to doing that. Finally, in my junior year I dropped out of college to work off shore on the oilrigs. That was a start of another chapter to the book of my life.
I started as a galley hand working for a drilling company called Diamond M. Drilling. My salary was $1500.00 a week. I could work three weeks out of a month, which made my total monthly income around $4500.00, which is too much to give a 21-year-old drug addict. Immediately, I went out and bought a Maxda RX7 and an ounce of the best pot I could find, nothing was too good for me anymore. I took my friends to the best restaurants, and on and on the story went. That was when cocaine entered into the picture. With the ladies and “the coke” I had become a party animal. I also learned to fly planes. That was one of the few things I do not regret.
I was having a ball until the first of December came around. I lost my job and in two weeks I lost my mother, whom I loved very much. I have too many regrets to list them all here. You would think that it would have been enough to wake me up, but it wasn’t. Now with a cocaine habit and jobless, I was in trouble. I flew out to Colorado to seize a job and to go back to school. My money reserves were not large enough to keep me going. In desperation and flat broke, I flew to my Uncle Sammie’s in Tulsa, Oklahoma where my rebellious attitude was about to set me back another step.
Almost as soon as I had arrived I was on a plane back to Pensacola with only $100.00 in my pocket that my Uncle gave me. When I arrived back in Pensacola it was so late that I decided to get a hotel that was about $28.00 and $6.00 for the taxi fare, which didn’t leave me with much money to live on. I called my old roommates to see what was happening, only to find the number no longer in service. I did not know what to do; but my pride kept me from going to my father’s house.
Soon all the money was gone. I ended up sleeping in the streets of Pensacola. Life was not quite as fun as it had been. I went eight days without eating anything. In a last attempt to get on my feet, I went and sold my blood. I figured with the money I got from selling my own blood I could get a bite to eat. They asked me the usual questions, “Have you eaten anything today?” “Oh of course,” I blurted out. While the blood dripped into the bag I started feeling weak and called for the nurse. She took my blood pressure and called the doctor. They ended up calling the paramedics and giving me two pints of blood and about 14 of those little orange juices. I left there broke and hungry. “I am ready to steal food,” I thought to myself. Still believing I was better than some, I threw that thought out the window. I ended up begging for food at a restaurant downtown called the Danty Del. The owner’s son fed me the leftovers from lunch, seven stuffed – bell peppers. I could not remember ever being so thankful for food even if I had to eat it where the cats eat (the back door). I now see, looking back, that the Lord was working on me through all those times; I was too rebellious. Pensacola has a rescue mission . I could have had a warm meal every night. I was too proud to go there. That was for street bums; not people who have as much on the ball as me. Pride was always haunting me. The single thing that brought Satan’s fall was slowly bringing mine.
I went to Charlie (whom I called C.P.) and MayWinn’s house to see if they would be gracious enough to let me stay with them long enough to get my feet back on the ground. So with a little convincing, my friends let me stay there ( I praise the Lord for those people). I was on my way back to a normal life. Two months I stayed there working on their house for one meal a day. C.P. in the end offered me a job with a landscaping firm where he was working. I was thrilled—finally a real job! It was the next few weeks that I secured an apartment around the corner on Barcelona Street. My life was looking up. I spent a year in the apartment. It was very personal time with much meditation, lots of prayers (none of which even hit the ceiling since I was lost, trusting my good WORKS). I went back to school not long after that. Six months later I was opening an arcade downtown called the Amusement Arcade with my buddy and old roommate Greg Morrison. How I thought the Lord was blessing me for cleaning up my life. Oh—I forgot to tell you that by this time I had quit smoking pot and drugs and drinking altogether, but I was still chasing the women and sinner in other ways. This is where something special happened to me.
I can’t remember the date I saw this girl but it must have been around early June. She was really special, clean, up front. She was just herself. She was talking to one of my cashiers, and as any warm-blooded American boy would have done, I started flirting with her. She was refreshing! She mentioned something about a health food co-op. The next time we talked I asked her if she would like to go to the movie and she said yes. I was in orbit. My heart pounded, as I never remembered. She mentioned she was saved and loved to study the Bible. I told her I was a Christian (I did believe in God). She was beautiful. She wanted me to go to church with her on Sunday. I could not refuse the opportunity to thank the Lord for my blessings. I told her I would go, not knowing what to expect.
I picked her up at her trailer that was right next to the church. We walked to church with her son, Jason. There weren’t very many people, but that didn’t bother me; it was that they met in a house. I thought to myself, “What kind of church is this?” She assured me that it would be a blessing. I don’t even remember if I had a Bible or not. The preacher’s name was Brother E. C. Moore. He started with a prayer and preached for forty-five minutes. We turned to what seemed to be about 400 scriptures (but was, in fact, probably only 30) of which I could only find two. Most of my childhood was spent in the military churches that only read one scripture and spoke about twenty minutes. This was a switch! I was so convicted that I almost forgot my name. Bud Morgan was one of the first to approach me after the service. He asked me if I was saved, and I went into a long spill that amounted to lies and confusion. I kept going although every time I stepped foot in the church there was great conviction. I started learning the terminology and could talk the talk. I was honestly learning something in the Bible. Brenda and I had grown very close. I knew she was the one I wanted to be my wife. There was something still very wrong spiritually; I was LOST. On the twenty-third of August 1983, for the first time in my life (that I could remember) the cross was preached to me.
The preacher started in Matt. 27, preaching the cross and describing the crucifixion. He kept adding the phrase, “You know why?” Because you are no good!” That really got to me: that I was simply no good. I saw for the first time that I deserved the cross, not Christ. I was so sad in my heart, confused. He kept preaching and convictions grew. I was at the point I could have jumped up and cried out for salvation, but something inside me kept me from doing it (the heart is deceitful). Now I know that it was pride. I had already told these people I was saved, now they would think I was a liar. The preacher kept saying over and over, “He did it all for you, why won’t you trust Him?” Thoughts flooded my mind—Oh, I was so lost! The preacher wouldn’t let up. He described a scene I would like to describe to you.
He mentioned how the Lord was spat upon, how he was stripped naked, how he was mocked, whipped, slapped—all because he was dying for MY SINS. How he was judged unfairly and was condemned to die a sinner’s death. Barabbas as the murderer, rapist, whoremonger, liar, cheater, stinky old scoundrel, and had been set free. Christ had to take his place. He had died for all my SINS, my filthy SINS, and the LUST I had done.
He went on to describe how it must have looked at Calvary that day. You have Barabbas sitting there watching the whole thing as a free man. You have his two henchmen facing the death for the crimes they had done and Christ facing death for the CRIMES I HAD DONE! You could hear the crowd yelling “crucify him, crucify him?” The thieves were screaming profanities. They laid the first cross down and grabbed one of the thieves, and he was fighting the whole way down. The preacher said, “It might have taken twelve men to hold his arm out to nail it to the cross; he was cursing, screaming and yelling.” He bowed his back as they grabbed his other arm to nail it. You could smell the liquor still on his breath. They lifted up the cross and dropped it in the hole. You could hear him scream a mile away as the weight of his body pulled against those nails. The agony he was in, the blood that covered his body; oh what a sight!
The other thief, being prepared to be nailed upon the cross, was much the same scene. You could hear as they nailed into his hands—Bam! Bam! Bam! You could listen for miles to the agony as he screamed. Bam! Bam! Can’t you hear him right now yelling, “When I get off this cross, I’ll kill you!” The Roman soldiers answering back, “You’ll never get off the cross,” laughing while they were hitting each other and pointing at the fool.
Then it was Christ’s turn. They put his cross on the ground and willingly he lay down. Do you know why? Because he was dying for Barry Hampton’s sins and yours. Some of the soldiers were still prodding him, but willingly he died for you. He took his arms and so very gently laid them upon the tree. No struggle at all. They started to nail the spikes into his hands. WHAM! WHAM! The nail painfully entered through his flesh, one pound at a time. Blood was everywhere. You could see the pain in his face, but he opened not his mouth. The Bible says they had already plowed furrows in his back with a whip. The pain was unbelievable, but he did it all so we could have eternal life. I was doing everything possible to hold back tears. For the first time, I saw what my Lord did for me. Me, personally! He became sin for me. The wages of sin is death and he died a sinner’s death but He was sinless. The sins that he had to pay such an awful death for came from somewhere. Yes, they came from me. Like if that wasn’t enough, the preacher went on. They lifted up his cross and dropped it in the ground. As the cross hit the bottom of the hole you could hear the echoes throughout the land. The nails ripped in his hands and feet when it hit. Then they stood around and mocked him some more, laughing “the King of the Jews.” Then one of them took a spear and thrust it through his side. Blood and water came rushing out. You could hardly see who he was anymore, all because of my sins.
One of the thieves yelled out, “If you are the Christ, get down off that cross. Save us both (that was me all my life). The other one answered, “Can’t you see that He is the Christ?” He had watched the whole thing happen: an innocent man was being crucified unjustly. Jesus said that he would see him in paradise that day. The other one died and in hell lifted up his eyes in torments, screaming for mercy, and will find none. I was so scared that hell was going to open up and grab me. That night I drove home afraid of having an accident or that the Rapture would happen before I got this matter straight with the Lord.
The next morning I was still under great conviction, and after two hours of conning the Lord I gave up and asked him to save me. I was simply lost, going to hell. I decided that if he didn’t forgive me at the cross as I Cor. 15:1-4 and Col. 2:1-3 said, I was going to hell. That moment a peace came upon me and I realized that he had already forgiven me of all my sins the moment he hanged on that cross and took my place. Thank the Lord for his mercy and kindness! Grace – It was all BY HIS GRACE. It was nothing I did, but what he did for me at the CROSS! Oh Salvation so divine. I thank the Lord for saving me that day and giving me the strength to testify of his Love, of HIS GREAT LOVE WHEREWITH HE LOVED US!
If you are not saved, stop everything and consider your salvation. What is it you have been trusting in: baptism, walking the aisle, church membership, or in absolutely nothing? If you are not trusting what the Lord did for you, you are lost going to hell. When was there a time in history you saw yourself lost, going to hell? When was there a time in history you saw yourself lost, needing salvation? I mean really deserving hell because you are NO GOOD. If there was not a time, how do you know what you are trusting for your salvation? Is it worth staking all eternity on? I knew the knowledge, but I was still lost. Don’t trust your knowledge. Trust the Savior! If you have any questions, please feel free to call Barry P. Hampton at 334-244-9434. If you trusted Christ, please write and let us know that we may joy in your salvation.

Source

gracebiblechurch-absolutetruth.org/pastorstestimony

So what about the question posed to RW, “What is the purpose of life?”

If you are really interested to a biblical answer to this question, here is an excerpt from this article.

It is God’s desire that we know Him, believe Him, and witness about Him. Jesus made a similar statement to His disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Notice that Jesus’ instructions include being with Him, obeying Him, and witnessing to others. John 15:1-17 records Jesus’ instructions regarding abiding in His love, bearing the fruit of righteousness, obeying His commands, loving others, trusting that we are considered His friend, and experiencing joy. In part, Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another” (John 15:16-17). Look at the purpose in that statement: we have been chosen to bear fruit, to have relationship with the Father, and to have relationship with others. Verse 11 tells us that this will affect our joy. Knowing and enjoying God is a universal purpose in life. Once we know God, we are also called to witness so that others may know and enjoy Him.

Read more: http://www.compellingtruth.org/life-purpose.html#ixzz2P2MniiLL

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