It came as a shock to me when I was in my early thirties to be told that the man I thought was my father was not my real father. For thirty 33 years I thought I was Dennis Rhodes son of William Rhodes. And I was, and still am. Billy Rhodes was the only dad I had and he was truly a wonderful man. I am forever grateful to God for sending him to my mother when she was abandoned by my biological father as a young pregnant girl in the early 1960’s.
The whole town where my mum lived knew that I was not the biological son of William Rhodes. But I was not told this truth until I was 32 years old. By then Billy had sadly passed from this physical world succumbing to bowel cancer at 55 years of age.
I had been a believer in Jesus Christ for 4 years when I found out this hidden truth about me. A few months before finding out I was visiting with some friends at their farm. There were two different Christian couples I had never met before staying with my friends. They prayed for me and gave me two verses of Scripture. One couple gave me ..
Psa 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me.
And the other couple gave me…
Isa 63:16 Doubtless You are our Father, Though Abraham was ignorant of us, And Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O LORD, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.
At the time I received these verses I shrugged them off without much thought, little did I know that my heavenly Father was preparing me for the coming shock in January the next year when Mum told me the truth of my origin.
Here was my Father reassuring me that even though my biological dad(who I never met, he died in 2011) had not hung around to bring me up…He would not forsake me…He is my Father. He kept His word through Bill Rhodes. God was a Father to me through William Walter Rhodes.
The whole event of finding out that my origins were from a man I never knew was quite a surprise. I thought about what my life was like compared with what it might have been like…If, if, if…then I decided to let the whole thing go and look to God as my Father. I reasoned that If my “real” dad had not wanted me, then why go looking for him.
Not knowing who I was had been an issue for me for many years. Now I knew that this story was one of the reasons why I never felt like I fitted into the town I grew up in. Most of the older people knew the truth about me—but I did not. I was fractured inside and pretending to be the me that people saw and met.
After graduating from High School I travelled to the west of Australia and am still here. I met and married a woman at age 26 and together we have 1 daughter. We were together 7 years.
I came to God when my first marriage was collapsing and I could do nothing to stop the Divorce that my wife wanted at that time. I cried to God to help me whilst kneeling in our bedroom on the evening 20th April 1989.
After 6 years I met and married Carmel my wonderful friend and wife. We have been married 20 years now and together have three amazing children. During these last twenty years the fracturing in my soul caused us much pain and needless suffering in many ways.
Not knowing who I am. Not being able to accept the Father’s love. Believing that the Father was intent on making life hard for me to teach me a lesson. Believing I must sell all to follow Jesus. Doing long fasts to try to be able to hear God speak to me personally. Reading Scripture over and over. Witnessing to others about Jesus. Trying to obey this unpleasable God. Failing and falling often. Beating myself up. Falling into despair and depression. Leaving Churches. Yet all the while crying out to know God and for Him to lead me into all truth.
I imagined that I must obey God for Him to bless me and to hear my prayers. I thought that the reason why life was so hard was because of my lack of obedience. But then when I thought about that…I reasoned that I had really done my best in trying to follow God’s word to me…and that it must be that God was not being fair on His end of the bargain. After all I had fasted, I had given away much, I had sought Him all these years….where was He!!??
I fell deeper into a pit of despair as I vocally blamed God for my plight. To me it felt like God was punishing me, even tormenting me. I felt condemned all the time.
In the midst of these years I had travelled to Uganda and preached Grace to them seeing many saved and healed.
Then the next year I went to India and the same things occurred. After coming home from India in 2009 the Accuser really smacked me down hard. I had seen great things in India, but I knew I still was not holy enough to see blind eyes opened and the dead raised. My Christian friends here did not care to even listen to what happened in India. I got offended.
It seemed that no one could see how called and anointed I was! Hahaha
I was desperately trying to be the person I felt God wanted me to be and felt that He was imprisoning me all the time. Why? Pride of course.
After leaving the church in 2010 the Lord has been bringing me along in His love and teaching me who I am. The truth is I would never find out if I stayed in the Church as it is today. You will only become like your teacher…and if your teacher does not know God then how will you?
Don’t misunderstand me, my pastors know God. I knew God too. This is how I knew God.
God lived in heaven far away, but He sent Jesus to show us what He is like…but then Jesus left us to go back far away to heaven to sit next to the Father on a big throne. But He did not leave us alone, He sent another Helper- The Holy Spirit. So now that I am born again, I have a small measure of the Holy Spirit in my heart to empower me to live a life pleasing to God===Who is far up there somewhere. Even though God is up there, He is always looking at me, always knows me, always loves me…but He is also very strict and loves to chasten me so I will become more like Him. God expects me to read His word and to pray a lot for myself and for others. He expects me to obey Him…His written word and His words made known to me. God does not want me to live by the flesh for the flesh will lead me astray, so He wants me to hear the Holy Spirit clearly so I can do the Father’s exact will. If I flesh out and do not live a spiritual enough life I will most likely miss the will of the Father. If I am not in His will for my life, then I will undoubtedly be attacked by the demonic realm because I am in disobedience in some way. This is God’s way of chastening me so I will learn not to disobey Him. I also thought I must be under the covering of a pastor and to tithe my income to that pastor–then God will surely bless me–if I do not then all I can expect is cursing from heaven..
Life got pretty tough trying to serve such a god. It was all too hard. The above view of God is a separated God, one who is far away. This is the God that almost all Christianity believes in.
At one point I heard the messages that Pastor Joseph Prince preached and my heart was filled with rest and peace. I lived in that stream of fresh grace for a while. I preached this grace in Uganda and India. Then after falling and failing, and being accused by the enemy and myself I latched onto the messages of Fred Pruitt. Again I was rested in the grace being preached. But yet again the one who accuses kept at it and I fell many times under his death and despair.
On my 50th birthday after 22 years of being a Christian I came to see that the teachings on endless torment were not Biblical. This took a big sting out of my heart.
That was 2011. Since then I have battled up and down with the accuser, trying my hardest to surrender to God and to find His way and will for our lives. For most of the time I was out of work, or in jobs only for a short time as depression and mental instability would see me quitting over petty things.
I began reading Daniel Yordy’s teachings in 2009
Like Fred Pruitt, Daniel was preaching Galatians 2:20 as a present reality for us as believers. Most in the Church think that those verses are only about Paul…not understanding that it is literal and about all who believe.
But although I saw partially what they were saying I still had many doubts and was holding onto my old self.
See the Pendulum swing
The old self?
Yes the self that had been trying hard to serve God all these years. Me. The self that thought all those things above in italics. The self that dearly wanted God to help him be a better self for God.
Be a better self?
Here is the crux of the matter. Hear this….
GOD WILL NEVER NEVER NEVER!!! HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER SELF! NO WAY.
Instead He provides you with Jesus to BE YOUR ONLY SELF.
That is the true meaning of Galatians 2:20 and Colossians 3:3,4
Making the decision to believe what God says against all outward appearances is what is required to enter into His rest. This is especially the case with our self. This is what I have begun to do and speak.
The old self tries to find out from God what He wants us to do in life.
The new self is Jesus and you as one life. The new self rests.
Old Self thinks that it has some inherent ability to obey God.
New Self knows it can do nothing of itself.
Old self looks to validate itself by the things it does.
New Self just is.
Old self died on the cross –an actual fact.
New Self is NOW ALL THAT THERE IS–another actual fact.
Appearances say that old self still lives. Actual reality says that new self is who you are.
So now I have chosen with a simple admission to God to speak Jesus as my only life, my only self in agreement with His revealed word. The condemnation has ceased. Now I am hidden with Christ in God. Christ is in me fully so that if you see me you see Him. The accuser has nothing in me for Jesus is my only life, the real me…the only me.
In fact I have the heart of God beating in my chest. Appearances may say differently, but I am as He is in this world. I John 4:17
To find our new self means we must come to agree with God that the old self cannot cut it. The old self is a pretender, a hypocrite, a Pharisee. The old self just does not have what it takes to please God—so it was crucified with Jesus –dead…buried…gone forever!! Gone with all its whinings and self pity. Gone with all it’s anxieties about the future and worry over the past.
Next we accept by a simple decision of faith to believe that Jesus is our new self.
The self I am is Jesus, and He and I are one in the Father’s heart of love.
I gladly lose my old life that I may find this new life. I hate my life in this world…I take the Life of Christ as my own life.
So can you.