Most of the early years of my life, I lived a life of illusion trying to cover the vacuum in me through food, friends, entertainment, education and work. My conscience knew for the most part what was right and what was wrong. Yet I leaned towards doing what is wrong. I was never able to prevail against the power of sin. I tried to beat the shortcomings in my life, but to my dismay all the contending was in vain. I knew my life was being led in a way opposite to where my own conscience accused me. But I was stubborn and made all excuses and justifications to lead my life the way I wanted. Gradually my conscience started to get hardened and I found myself spiritually estranged and in bondage to all kinds of evil deeds. I used to wonder if there was ever a way out of the burden some, monotonous cycle of life's misery.

By the time I finished grad school, I reached a conclusion that man can live the way he desired to and possess whatever he puts his mind to.  I was shaped through the educational system that man didn't need any GOD. I developed a mindset of having no fear for either GOD or man living a life of rebellion and outright sin. But those days of smooth ride were numbered. Suddenly various problems started to hit my life in a recurring fashion. I felt restrained and helpless getting no control of the situation. I used to get frustrated and angry in the way everything was designed in life because I wanted to lead a life of sin without having to face any consequences.

I felt life was not fair and decided to live my life to the fullest gratifying the desires of my flesh. To me then, death was the last word and no hope after that. Hence I decided to live my life with the philosophy of eat, drink and merry. For a while, I practiced Buddhism; adopting existential philosophy of life. It was again a hopeless living. However, during all these events, I could sense the presence of a higher power operating in the earthly realm which paid the dues to all evil done and  kept all evil in check. As Proverbs 26:10 reads "The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors".

Even in the midst of all these conflicting thoughts, I was not ready to give up and live a victimized lifestyle. One day while conversing with my dad, he happened to tell me about a strange event that happened in the Middle East where there was a large construction company trying to erect a building. But they constantly failed because of some unexplainable circumstances. They then came to know that the land that the building were to get constructed on had some 'curse' upon it. So the land owners consulted certain religious leaders to find out a way to remove the obstacles. And the solution they proposed was to slit the throats of 7 lambs and let it run around the ground with blood oozing out of its neck. My jaws dropped as I heard my dad narrating this event because I had never come across anything like this before. And not only that the word 'CURSE' caught my attention. For the first time in my life, I started to pay attention to the tragedies of life and the reasons behind it.

During those days, I started to see certain truths pronounced about life especially the fact that the world is filled with two kinds of lives. Life that is blessed and life that is cursed. I realized that Blessings and Curses are two prevalent forces in the atmosphere. When your life is fraught with curse, it is a never ending cycle of misery; everything about you and around you is a mess. Your health never gets better, your finances get drained through the holes, your relationships are messed up. You see, when a life is fraught with curse, it is filled with brokenness, lack and insufficiency. I realized that my life then was under a curse. I was not simply a victim of circumstances but was under a curse.

That led me to explore more further on some of the spiritual principles. I found out that the fundamental root cause of curse is SIN. I knew very well there was sin in my life, but didn't know how to get healed of the disease called sin. As I was studying on this topic, I realized that many religions of the old practiced animal sacrifices and shedding of  blood, all with the intention of paying the penalty for their sins and thus averting curses from life which came about as a result of sin. I noticed that blood shedding was a chief remedy to break the curse in ancient religions. But why 'blood', I asked. There was definitely something intriguing about it and as i searched I found that life of an organism is in the blood or blood is life. When that blood is shed, the life is offered and you have paid the price of your sins. For according to the standards of GOD, the wages of sin is death.

Then came the turning point in my life; the realization of the truth that was about to set me free. I realized there is an all powerful GOD all around us. And that GOD loves us for we humans are made in His image. The awesomeness of this universe, the galaxy, the stars, human beings, birds, insects and every minute cell, yes all of it originates from GOD. And this mighty and amazing GOD so loved us, that HE became flesh (Jesus Christ) and shed HIS own blood and gave up His life as a penalty for our sins so that we may not face the judgment of a just GOD. The curse that was upon mankind, GOD took it upon HIMSELF. Such was the great love that GOD showed on the cross. And the only way to appropriate it in one's life is to humble yourself and acknowledge that you have a disease in you called sin and you have to be forgiven and healed of that disease. For that you have to accept the free gift of sacrifice Jesus Christ offered for you on your behalf.  Thus I humbly acknowledged my depravity and believed in God's free gift of forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus. I was baptized by the Holy Spirit of GOD, and thus got born again and was drafted into the new order of Jesus Christ. All ties with the old Adamic order was severed and now the life I lived was in and through Christ. The curse, the sin and all filth all got washed and now I was sanctified and set free by the LORD Jesus Christ.

It was a Thursday night on November 2003 in Portland, USA which started the whole chain of events that eventually led to my conversion. An evangelist named Viju Philip prayed for my release from all uncleanness. I believe that night the Holy Spirit overshadowed me and baptized me. My conversion was not immediate. But now it was sure, GOD was on my trail and there was no escape. I started to find a fresh interest in spiritual things suddenly.  I started to attend a Bible based church and GOD began to lift the veil from my heart as I started to turn toward HIM.  GOD made his light shine in my heart which was filled with darkness and gave me the light of the knowledge of the glory of GOD in the face of Christ. I acknowledged the corrupt nature of my own heart and gladly accepted the provision GOD made for my filthy sins.  I started to experience the benign, the merciful and the infinite GOD in a way never like before. I started to become aware that GOD has a plan for my life and that would lead to the fulfilment that I have been searching for my entire life.

These whole chain of events without doubt was the handiwork of GOD. HE orchestrated every single event leading up to my salvation. The heart of indifference and rebellion started to shed off and God planted a heart in me that would listen to His voice to turn back from my futile and self destructive ways.

I came to the realization that no church building or priest or temple or mosque or buddhist sanctuary can save me. Only entering into a personal relation with GOD offered through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ can save me and help me lead a victorious life from wickedness and sin. I realized the foolishness of man made religions of this world which was made up of designs and contrivances to pacify conscience, but without Christ. The traditions and rituals of man made religions kept him from seeing who GOD really is.  As Jesus said in the gospel of Mark 7:13 " you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."

I was ready to say good bye to the man made traditions and rituals which never got me closer to GOD in the first place. As ordered in the Word of God, I believed and got baptized in water on Jan 31st 2004 to testify to the world of the baptism of the Spirit I received earlier. The old me was dead and the new life I received became in union with Christ. I was a new creation with the Spirit of GOD living and expressing through me.

From that point on I took up a systematic study of the Word of GOD and started to grow in understanding and knowledge. The LORD took me into HIS confidence and revealed His nature, His purposes, His love and His ministry. I was no longer enslaved by the outward respects of men or the world. I knew I became a freeman; a freeman with largeness of mind, power and deliverance from the old futile ways of thinking.

Today I can tell everyone who is reading my testimony that GOD indeed has erased my shame and guilt so clean that my conscience and my life witnesses to it. GOD's Word says "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin." I say with confidence I am that man. He turned a utter fool like me from the paths of foolisness to the paths of wisdom and understanding. I say with a grateful heart that i am a recipient of GOD's manifold blessings in Christ Jesus. GOD has restored hundred folds everything that I lost during my life of sin, ignorance and rebellion. Today my career, my finances, my relationships, my health and my future is touched by GOD's abounding favor and grace. HE broke the bars of my yoke and has made me stand erect (Lev 26:13).

The good news is that GOD can do the same with you. GOD is able to deliver you from the guilt of all your sins and the perplexities of all your troubles. And HE has done this with too many folks and has changed lives from every nation, every language and every color. Psalms 107:2-3 says "Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; and gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south."

Will you accept HIS free gift of forgiveness and trust in HIM? I was once like a sheep gone astray, in the wilderness of ignorance and sin, but Christ, the true and merciful Shepherd, called me back from my wanderings, by sending me the Gospel of his grace.

And here I am bringing you the gospel of grace.

My journey hasn't ended, instead it has only begun.  Here I am an ambassador of Christ bringing to you a flawless map created by a flawless AUTHOR; for all those who are seeking directions to lead a life with a vision and purpose.

Coming to the question. Are you living a life of a victim?, constantly swept away by unexplainable events destroying your life? ...If so there is only one way out of it. And His name is JESUS. You got to accept the free gift GOD has provided to turn your life around and enjoy life in its fullness. Please don't continue your life with a defeated attitude, find true purpose and meaning and welcome GOD into your heart. If you want to know more as to how you can attain this abundant life, visit 4 spiritual laws and discover what GOD has in store for you.

I pray that GOD may lift up the veil from your heart and bring you to the truth that will set you free.

By grace alone, through faith alone; to GOD alone be the glory !

Junu Thomas
junu@pilgrimsmap.com