I have been walking with the Lord for over 40 years, my Mom was a Bible teacher, my Dad a Deacon.
That in and of itself means little, however I was well-informed about the pitfalls of false teachings, and relativism having crept into the faith by the 1970’s. In the 1980’s on the streets of Honolulu, my spirit within me could sense the presence of the false gospel of scientology being put forth in recruiting troubled souls to their following. A couple of sailors I knew were sucked into this cult by the threatening prognosis that they were suicidal. This is of course manipulative, and dependent on self-preservation and fear.
In the 1980’s after my time in the Coast Guard, I studied for six years under a minister holding a D.D., Th.D., and Ph.D. In phycology. More important however is that the man actually walked with Jesus Christ in faith, and had overcome many obstacles in his life with miraculous results! I experienced much spiritual opposition early on in my life, but later while in street ministry Dr. Gross, the top exorcist in Baltimore City explained much of what had occurred to me. Learning the spirituals things of God, how he operated in his disciples, and demonic oppositions to the pure truth of God was commonplace! At that time, I was worried about my career like many young men; but the Lord showed me a devotional which read: “We are to be “Vessels of Light for Christ”… Frustrated I said, “I know that” and went to bed. Yet the next morning I received a phone call from the Captain of the Lightship Chesapeake, in offering a position to work for him! And this was truly a “Vessel of Light”!
I left the ministry later and the Lightship, and become an Army Reserve “Marine Machinery Technician”. During all this time, I had never realized just how “Rock Solid” my relationship with Jesus Christ had become. I became very lonely in my walk, and having visited many churches by now, it only seemed to compound my loneliness as I had become used to a very personal relationship with other believer’s, with a depth of understanding which still surpasses most seminary trained ministers.
It wasn’t until my late 30’s that the Lord had provided me with a wife, amongst all the fornication concerning others in the world at this time. Despite all my training, I had failed to realize that “sex was marriage” in the eyes of God, so he needed to teach me just how corrupt our “free love” society had become. I had even experienced demonic battles with the enemy, the likes I hadn’t experienced since working in street ministry!
I now lived in a rural area, and it was far and in-between finding an actual soldier in the Lord who knew how to fight such opposition of the devil. And I was about to experience the closest walk with the Lord which I had ever known! I kept a type of personal log book at that time, in an effort to keep myself on the “straight and narrow” path with the Lord as to not become emotionally overwhelmed. I had not had many girlfriends, and the ones which I had, I found to be tricky and manipulative! This was all written down in an effort to cover my hind parts, should things become tricky.
Yet as things progressed, my entries became the greatest testimonial of the Lord at work in my life which I had ever experienced! Every few days I had experienced miraculous events done with perfect timing which only the Lord could have orchestrated! These events were so personal and exacting that it actually scared me in how supernaturally all things were working for good in my life, along with the women I would be married to. I can remember the Lord actually asking me if I wanted this women which he had provided me. In all humility, I was stunned by the question, and answered with a resounding yes!
We were married in 1998 after about a year of dating, yet the events which transpired during that time were choked full of God orchestrated events which would cement our relationship for a lifetime! We had been led to join the Presbyterian Church of America, while meeting in a school building for a couple of years, and were the first married within the new congregation. The Lord was still moving in my life in miraculous ways personally, but when I shared many events with the Pastor he was a bit skeptical of the calling which the Lord had been showing me, while walking in the spirit of truth. About a year later, the Lord reinforced his leading with a spiritual vision of a “technicolor” heart full of rich green grass beating within me! The next morning on a Truth for Life broadcast, Pastor Alistair Begg explained that the word Pastor, was derived from the word Pasture, and that it was only God who gives a man a “Pastor’s Heart”… So now the vision the night before made sense to my mind.
By 2001, Elaine and I had sold our homes and moved to Stevensville, which was a much closer commute to my job. Then came the 9-11 attacks on our country, and my Reserve unit was the first to be called up in Baltimore, to be sent in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. It was particular hard on Elaine and I because although Elaine was close to retirement, and had been mobilized before, she was now wanted again for a second mobilization making it that much harder on both of our families, and our home. Elaine was an outstanding soldier and administrator, and it seemed as if others were being retired early who had less time in grade.
This only goes to prove to me, that it is the strength of character and performance which is most cherished by the Armed Forces in a time of need. Just filling the ranks with substandard type people will never replace the need for good soldiers!
Yet again, the Lord blessed us with Elaine’s retirement at that time, despite the resistance of her command; but they knew she had well-earned her retirement and finally granted it, perhaps out of our hardship. Amongst my other duties, we orchestrated the family support role in my unit. The soldiers were thrilled that by Christmas the world hadn’t forgotten them! Although we only had some cards, cold cuts and some covered dishes, it made a world of difference to soldiers, many who were away from home for the first time.
My time in the service was nearly over once I returned home from Ft. Bragg, even though I had no idea of the next trail that was to be given to us.
Although I could have gotten out of my mobilization because of administrative error with the Stevedore outfit I had joined, I made the Army cut me new orders under Operation Enduring Freedom in hopes of making rank while on active duty. This did not happen, so I decided to go back into the unit which I worked for as a technician.
No later than the second day which I had transferred back into my old unit, I was undertaking our annual water survival training at Ft. Meade, MD. It was about noon that I took off my tight-fitting floatation suite, and I felt weak, and if I had severe heartburn. I was smart enough to mention it to the Commander, and they immediately had me lay down poolside.
An Ocean Going Tug commander, CWO 4 Gunport (another brother in the Lord) had called in the Ft. Meade Paramedics and the NSA Police.
It seemed that no sooner had I laid down then the black uniformed police were taking my information, and the Paramedics had arrived just in time to set up their defibrillator, while I was going into cardiac arrest! Everything went black, and yet I felt Jesus pressing shoulder to shoulder against me, and could see him in a ghostly figure lying next to me in a robe, beard and shoulder length hair!
I regained consciousness, and was transported to the hospital. I remember we got stuck in traffic from the hospital I had requested, and had to change the route to Laurel Hospital, so That I could be airlifted to Washington Hospital (Cardiac Center) which saved my life. On the way, I can remember wanting to see outside, and the next thing I knew I was looking down upon my ambulance in spirit! The clarity of mind and vision was perfect, as if I could know anything I wanted to know, yet I pleaded with the Lord to spare my life for my wife’s sake, and so I could complete my mission on earth!
I was not expected to survive the night, being that my heart had stopped about a half-dozen times, and I was told they had to forcefully remove Elaine from my Intensive Care room, as she attempted to hide behind the door.
In a couple of days I woke up, seeing my elderly parents at my feet, my brother and wife beside me! It was good to be alive, and at which point I started sharing my experience. They were perplexed by what I had told them, and asked how I saw outside my ambulance? My mind immediately defaulted to the natural, and I said I must have seen it by looking out the back window, into a bugeye mirror along the highway.
But, that was impossible as no windows were in my ambulance, and I was looking at it from the above front! It seems the natural mind will always default back to reasoning despite the fact it has seen something of the spiritual world, hence the natural mind tends to reject things it can make no sense of.
A couple of weeks later in the hospital my emergency stent in the proximal lad again attracted a clot, they rushed me down to surgery again which terrified Elaine, and had me thinking I had reached the end of the line. I insisted the nurse tell my wife that she was the best thing which ever happened to me! But the nurse spoke softly and said not to worry, I would be OK. Yet I still insisted until the nurse spoke back to me a private prayer from weeks before; she said, “Mr. Dell, the enemy knows who you are, but this will not stop what God has planned for you”! I was completely stunned by this, as I had prayed to be effective for the Lord like the Apostle Paul and Silas in the Bible, and not just a pew warmer in church, as these men were known by Satan by their effectiveness by the enemy.
Satan knew who Jesus, Paul, and Silas were; yet with most believers’ Satan had no idea about them, as they were of no, or little effect in the spirit world in opposing him. This was the prayer the nurse had unknowingly answered for me, while speaking in the Holy Spirit of the Lord! Allot of my spiritual concerns about myself were answered during this great time of trail in my life, along with a greater insight of my importance to the Lord; (although I never have understood why) but what I do understand is, none of it has to do with my natural abilities whatsoever!
By now our Church had been constructed, and people I had never seen before started flocking in. It almost seems to me that the bigger the Church got, the more men started to focus on building something for Jesus, rather than just listening to him in obedience.
When I finally returned to my home church, a fellow deacon and veteran I knew approached me in the parking lot with amazement, it seems the congregation was told I was in critical condition and not expected to survive the night. So this brother was stunned and relieved to see me! The Sermon that Sunday was about the Good Shepherd lying down with the lamb; as the Pastor spoke these words, I had a flashback to “the being” lying next to me in death, it was indeed Jesus the “Good Shepherd” confirmed to me by an anointing by the Holy Spirit, like a bucket of water being poured over me!
I started realizing that our church functioned much more like as business than a fellowship, personal testimonials (especially powerful ones) were not to be shared with the congregation, as it seemed this might take away from the leadership, or even elevate those whom they did not want elevated in status! This type of social behavior reminded me more of High School than it did of a fellowship of believers, and I started to become angry in how certain peoples were marginalized while only the most popular were promoted, despite outstanding performance and service. The bringing in of moneys was often focused upon in the building funds, and although I donated a substantial amount, it never seemed to be enough for all the plans being orchestrated from the top down. Even the Elders course became more regimented upon chapter and verse, than the one I had far surpassed in experience, towards helping others walk in the Lord. It almost seemed to me that Satan was continually sticking his fingers in my eyes.
I remember finally sharing my “Pastoral Vision” about the heart of grass I had seen within me a year after our marriage with the founding Pastor, directly afterwards our leadership classes. When he opened his mouth in response to me, the Holy Spirit came upon me like a great waterfall, in which I could not hear a word that he was saying, and I had to lock my knees to keep from falling over I remember! It appears the Lord did not want me to receive his response to me, probably because it would have helped to destroy my faith in my Lord. I was never allowed to share my near death experience with the congregation, and this really angered me, although my “Shoulder to Shoulder with Christ” (which I shared with the Pastor afterwards) appeared as a tagline in the church newsletter.
I then stopped my attendance, and worked towards getting accredited on the things which I had learned, predominantly from Dr. Gross, in the 1980’s. I finally got accredited in counseling by a Baptist seminary on December 6, 2006, because of my experience while working in street ministry, and studies under Dr. Gross for 6 years. Although I am a poor book academic, I also went on to write a thesis for ordination into a conservative Episcopal Church in America, yet the U.S. Bishop would not accept the terms of falling in with Roman Catholicism. I had even been offered a place with the Orthodox by a Bishop I knew, but then the Lord appeared again to me, opposite my computer room. I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, and “dimly” see Christ’s presence in the room, but this time he was in color, instead of the ghostly white image I had seen in death. I had found Dr. Gross’s phone number in a local directory after 20 years, so I gave him a call explaining what had happened to me. He said: “don’t you see Roland, it is Jesus telling you to simply follow him”!
A little later I would start Skyping with Justin Hughes in England (AKA – Lucas Labrador on YouTube), and I would grow to understand the difference in the Spirit of an antichrist (the established Church) spoken about in Revelations 17-18 and quickly start growing in my understanding of the false church and real brethren. The difference was that of an Arminian Minister, who believes in election, in contrast with a Calvinist Minister who believes a Saint is “locked into Christ” after conversion. I was so thrilled to find another spirit filled brother I had prayed for, yet sadly seven years later I would be nearly devastated by him, while getting sick with an infection to my heart’s hardware, which I had gotten in the Military hospital over a decade before.
I was then told that I was being “Chastened of God” for loving America (the world) more than the Lord!
I think this is because I am a lover of history, and the western values which were so cherished in this nation’s past. I was disgusted by the Platform of Romans Chapter 1, which now seemed to be promoted by Barack Obama, and the Democratic Party. When President Trump got elected a wedge would start to form between me and another young brother in Ireland, who had nothing but contempt for Donald Trump, and saw him as a plant by the Catholic Church and Illuminati within the United States. I had attempted to correct this brother’s misunderstanding of history and conspiracy theories by sharing accredited links, and speaking with him: but immediately after the U.S. Elections he promptly cut off all forms of communication with me. I had pleaded with the teaching Elder to intervene, but he would not.
I have since discovered that these two men actually pride themselves in being cut off from others whom they find distasteful, and simply mark them and avoid them as broad roaders from the Lord, and false brethren. In one of my greatest trials for my life, I then was discarded as being “chastened of God” for turning back in my “love for the world”, politically speaking.
I now realize that I had never before been a member of such an exclusive and judgmental group, who could simply justify themselves in discarding others and all in the name of Christ, and who had become distasteful to their spiritual proclivities!
That was simply breathtaking to me after 7 years of daily fellowship, and this speaks volumes about the potential self-delusions possible in people, despite how well read one is within the scriptures!
Now at 60 years of age, and escaping death many times, I need to rethink my being critical of others, especially those brethren who seek to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, while seeking a peace in the world that is only found in Christ! I really wish I could write for people all the miraculous events which have transpired in my life, but my testimonial would then be a book, and I’m sure I could not remember everything pertinent to put into words, so I have rather stayed with the basics.