Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Hi, my name is Sandeep. I wish to share with you a true story – my story. This initially began as an email,I wrote to my sister, about how God changed my life. I want to share the happiness I feel, after accepting the Lord, with everyone in the whole world!

I was born on 15th December, 1979. Being a Christian by birth; for me, religion was something, where you go to Church once in a while. I never liked going to Church because I was born and bought up in Bombay and my parents went to a Tamil Church but I never understood Tamil. We used to go to Church, once in 3 months, as it was far away. As I grew, 3 months became 6 and then we began going to Church only on Easter and Christmas. I was just a namesake Christian and never had any fear of God or any belief. God for me was always something supernatural. Growing up in a city like Bombay, I kept drifting into worldly pleasures.

I finished my Second Year Junior College (SYJC XII) in Wilson College and took up Engineering education in a remote village of Maharashtra. I started smoking, drinking and hanging out with wrong people. I flunked in my first year and could never cope up. So, I dropped out of Engineering and joined a BSC course at a small college, in Madras. In the meanwhile, I went to Bombay during vacation and proposed to a girl. She was from my apartment block and we had grown up together. She said ‘yes’ and I got a fire in me to do something. So, I got back to Chennai and started studying harder. We kept meeting once in 6 months or once in a year.  I used to pester my Dad to let me go to Bombay.  I used to save money, buy gold earrings, watches and other gifts for her. I cleared my first and second year; but flunked in my third year. However, she went ahead and joined MBA, while I rewrote my ‘flunked’ third year exam again, in October that year.

Now, here is the first amazing thing I noticed in my life. I finished my arrears and was waiting for my results when my Mom saw this advertisement in the paper, which as offering Call Center Training. I said ‘Ok’ and gave it a shot. During the 2ndweek of my training, we had an interview from GE. I went for the interview and there were 1000’s of people but I didn’t even have a degree. I was about to turn back and leave when a person saw me and asked me not to leave. So, I attended the interview. The strange part was that they selected 4 people among the 1000’s, but I was one of the four. Having started earning and staying in a different city, I got into smoking and drinking, even more. Life kept going from good to worse and I didn’t care. I got a job in Chennai and came back. However, as now I had more money and I started spending lavishly. I totally forgot about God. 

My family came into the Lord in 2004 because of my Sister’s marriage which was going through a bad time. My Dad started arranging for prayer meetings, but I didn’t care! I used to make fun of them. I would purposely go with my friends, to drink in some pub when there was a prayer meeting. My Sister gave me a Bible, but I threw it in one corner of my house and never looked at it. In June 2005, I went on one of my usual trips to Bombay to meet my girlfriend. She came up to me that day, in the evening and said. “Sandeep”, I don’t love you anymore! I have found someone else!! We have been going around for 3 months!!!” My world stopped. I couldn’t think. I came back to Chennai. I told my parents what happened. They thought it was good, as at least now I may come into the Lord. But I said who needs God! I can take care of my life, on my own. I will show these fools, I can live without God. My ways started getting worse. I got associated with a wrong group of friends. Met girls – the world calls ‘babes’ – who want nothing, but money. Spent all my money drinking almost everyday at some pub. Trust me friends, if you ever want to see what hell looks like, just visit a pub; you will know. I started staying out the whole night and used to get back home the next day, around afternoon. I even started smoking at home. I used to message my girlfriend making a fool of myself. I used to care about no one. I never liked the life I was living, but I thought it was too late for me to turn back. I had even thoughts to commit suicide; because life was pathetic. I almost gave up when something happened. 

I was drunk in my car one night with my friend and we decided to go for a drive on East Coast Road (ECR), Chennai. The car skidded off the road, hit a tree, flew over a ditch and stopped. But from the time it skidded and till the time it stopped; I saw a flash of light. However, the road was totally dark. I never gave this any thought, because I was too drunk at that time. The car had smashed and the windshield had broken; however, I was unhurt. The car had suffered damages amounting to Rupees 2 lakhs.

Dad thought, I would change; but no I didn’t! Then it happened. One Saturday, I was getting ready to go to a pub as usual, with my immoral friends. But they said that they will be coming late and wanted me also to come late. So, I was at home surfing the net.   That same day there happened to be a prayer meeting at my home. My Mom came up to me and said; there is a lady called Mercy Titus who wants to meet you. I reluctantly went and she said she wanted to pray for me. So, she started praying normally. Then she started speaking in tongues and said things about my life that only I knew! I was scared because some things in life, you know, that no one has seen and only you know about yourself; but there had been someone watching me, from the time I was born, till that day. I felt uneasy because I was being watched. She also told me about my accident! However, the strange part is when the Lord speaks to you the devil tries to distract you. My concentration was lost and I started thinking; when is this woman going to stop, I need to go and have a nice drink. Immediately her tone of voice changed, she said, “I am here praying for you and all you can think about is your friends and your drink? But realize that you have to comeback to Me wherever you go and the person you are going to meet is going to cheat you…” I was zapped! It was like someone reading my mind….she left after that; but I couldn’t move myself…. I was stuck in the room for almost 45 minutes to 1 hour, after she left.  I didn’t go to drink that day. |

Things cooled down the next week, So I went with my so called friends and ordered a glass of Vodka; but the strange part started after that, I couldn’t drink it! I couldn’t even get it near me to take a sip, I suddenly found it repelling! The guy I was going to meet the previous week cheated me. 

After this, I tried drinking twice but found it to be the most disgusting thing I ever tasted. So, I quit drinking and partying, stopped speaking to my girlfriend, messaging or mailing her.  I had a friend in my office, called Beulah. She always kept telling me about God and a wonderful life. It seemed nonsense to me. But I don’t know why, I wanted to find out, how a woman who never met me, knew so much about me and my accident. So, I started surfing for websites on the internet about Christianity. I found a verse that changed my life forever, on the homepage of a website. It said ‘You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own.’  (Ephesians 2:8) Strange, but I could never find that website again!

Since then I started believing in Christ. I started asking God forgiveness everyday for the sinful life I led. I know I’m not worthy of forgiveness; but I try my best not to sin anymore. Now, after I started believing in God, here is the first miracle He did. I was still smoking…then one day while I was having a cigarette in office…. a voice inside me spoke and said “you have had enough…. stop it now“. I looked at my friend and said ‘this is the last cigarette I’ll ever smoke’. I called up Mom and Beulah and told them, I quit smoking! I never touched a cigarette after that…there have been lots of miracles after that. 

Everyday God teaches me a lesson or gives me an answer to something that happened in the past (The reason my girlfriend broke up with me is because God wanted to teach me that the love of this world will fade away; but the love of our savior Jesus Christ will be with me forever!). I started spending more time with my family. I stay with my Dad and Mom, most of the time. I pray everyday, read the Bible and trust me it’s given me so much strength and happiness.  I really don’t feel the need to be loved by anyone because I know God loves me so much. I didn’t know anything about the Bible, but I wanted to, so I went online to websites for kids and read Bible stories. I watch movies on characters from the Bible. It is so amazing to know some of the stories. Now, I regret not going to Sunday school and not going to Church; so I made a promise to God this year – kind of a New Year resolution. I promised Him, I would go to church every Sunday, no matter what happens.  I go to AG’s, every Sunday, alone at 4.30 p.m. One Sunday, I had to go to Nagercoil, for my grandfather’s death and everyone said that, you should not go to Church when there is a dead body in the house. I told Dad about the promise I made with God and he said; don’t worry, I’ll take you. He took me to a Church. It is such an awesome experience to know the Lord…it cannot be expressed in words.

I was a guy who used to watch all kinds of movies, speak filth, use bad words, and listen to Black Sabbath, Metallica and Iron maiden. I used to often tell lies to my parents; I used to drink and smoke. I used to make fun of people who pray, speak in tongues, lift their hands to praise God; I used to hate the word ‘Hallelujah’. Today, I watch only God TV. I listen to only ‘praise and worship’. I don’t speak filth or use bad language. I don’t drink or smoke. I don’t even think of lying to my parents. Now, I pray, lift my hand up high and I’m proud to say Hallelujah to my Risen King!

Here is a story for you from the Bible; you may have heard it before, it’s like my story….

The Prodigal Son asked his father for his inheritance, then went into a far country and spent all his cash on parties and prostitutes. He enjoyed the pleasures of sin. But after a famine hit the land, his money ran out, and the only job he could get was feeding pigs.

He became so hungry that he found himself desiring the food that the pigs were eating. Suddenly, he came to himself — he came to his senses. Realizing that even his father’s servants had it better than he did, he decided to return and say,Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. Take me in as a hired servant.  So he got up out of the pigsty and went back to his father.

His father was looking for his son’s return, and the Bible says he saw him while he was yet a great way off.  He ran to his son, fell upon him, kissed him, and rejoiced that he had returned. He freely forgave him and returned him to his former state.

This is a picture of every person before they come to Christ. We turned from God to serve the devil and the pleasures of sin.
I almost reached a stage, where I desired ‘pigs food’ (in my case; I desired love from people and the world which I consider ‘pigs food’ and then realised that God and my parents love me so much). When I decided I needed to turn back. My Dad and Mom kissed me, and rejoiced that I had returned. They freely forgave me.

We think that happiness is in worldly things, having a beautiful bike, a beautiful girlfriend, a beautiful house, a beautiful car, an awesome salary. I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that way, because I used to think the same way; but the truth is that all these pleasures of the world will fade away. The only thing that doesn’t fade away is the love of our Savior. It is strange; I know people think how can Someone you never see love you? But the truth is that, you need to believe and He will come and fill you up. He takes away all of your problems and worries and fills you with nothing but joy and happiness. I used to crib always, but today when I open my eyes, I see how much God has blessed me and I know I’m not worthy of it. The Bible that I threw away is today my most prized possession. I cherish it more than my life. God is amazing! You just need to take one step towards Him and He will come running and hug you!! If someone were to tell me this story, sometime back; I might have just thought its crap, the story of a loser and would have walked off! But I know the value of this today and I’m sure, every believer does. 

I would like to end by sharing one more incident in my life. I thought I needed to give a testimony in Church about how God changed my life. I had called all my relatives. Suddenly, I realized that I had not prepared anything; I was scared because I didn’t know what I was going to say. I told my Mom I’m going to my room, to pray and I would take some time. I took a pen and paper with me, to write down what I was going to say. I kept praying at the back of my mind – asking God to help me. Before this, I wanted to read a daily passage from the Bible and pray. I opened my Bible to read. The daily passage for that day was Luke chapter 21. An amazing thing happened; God spoke to me through the Bible, verse 13 said: This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

I cried and prayed that day and thanked God. The next day, before I went to Church, I was watching a Hillsong concert. I don’t know why but I started thinking about my sins and started weeping. I literally broke down and cried for 30 – 45 minutes. I went to Church that Sunday, stood up and started speaking, I don’t remember what I spoke, but when I finished, everyone was clapping and there were tears in my Parents eyes. I’ve never felt as proud as I did that day and I thank God for that. 

I used to work for a Call Center doing night shifts. My Dad used to fast and pray that I get a day time job, but for me an engineering drop out and a graduate, I didn’t have a choice; Call Centers was where I could be. But you ask God for the ordinary and He does the extraordinary. I never applied for a job, but one day a friend of mine called me and said his company was hiring and wanted me to come for an interview. I just went in casually and got the job. Now, I work for a MNC software company during the day and I’m paid a lot more than what I used to earn earlier. However, today I know the importance of it. I know that it is God’s gift to me.

I decided to share this with all of you who are going through a bad time, a bad phase or have a relative or a brother or father or uncle or friend who has got lost in this sinful world. Don’t tell them anything, but pray for them. I’m where I am today because my parents fasted and prayed for me, my sister prayed, my friend Beulah prayed, people at the Prayer Tower prayed, people I didn’t know, prayed for me. I’m sure, one day all the people who are lost will come back to where they belong and ask for forgiveness just like I did and that they will be filled with the love of God. When God can touch a sinner like me, I’m sure He can touch anyone! I hope and pray all your prayers are answered.

I want to thank my Mom, Dad, my Sister, my friend Beulah, my relatives, and all the people who prayed for me and helped me experience this awesome life. I also want to thank everyone who had the time and the patience to read this.

May God bless you and guide you!

Love
Sandeep
(sandeboy@gmail.com)

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