The Story of "The Manger"

The Manger… To be honest I hardly know where to begin. God had given me a vision 30
years ago in the County Jail. I had a recurring dream of Rejoicing and Worshipping God in an Old Style Amish Stable or Barn. I remember the name God told me very clearly, it was The Manger.
I would have this dream every night; I could hardly wait to go to sleep just to go back to the Manger. There was a peace and a truth that was so freeing. 
When I got out after six months, I remember walking across the street to a park getting on my knees and vowing to God I would serve Him forever. Little did I know the trials I was about to face. For the next 20 years I fought every Spiritual and fleshly battle a man could fight and I lost everyone one of them. I Served, Sinned, Cried out to God, Fell on my face, Ran Away from God, Fell Hard, Quit, Came Back to try again, Fell Harder, Fought Lies, Anger, Bitterness, Pain, Fears of never being able to Serve God, Going to Hell for Eternity and I could drag this list out for at least 20 years.
Because of my past life, the rejection from the ‘Christian Community’, extreme low self-esteem and shame, I convinced myself God could never use me. The ‘Christian Community’ told me God will and could never use me. My sins were too great!  I had so many lies in my head, I never knew who I was where I belonged or could fit in and then there was me always getting in God’s way. The anger turned me to survival mode… Whatever it took to feel some kind of worth or be accepted. I lied, cheated, stole, and a multitude of other sins. I had put the Manger on the highest shelf, convinced it could never be. The world convinced me I’d never see it again.
Eleven or so years ago, after a second divorce I was so hurt I ran from God again. Even though it was my sin and my ex-wife’s sin that caused us to divorce and God had nothing to do with it. I ran as hard and fast away from God as I had ever run before. I was going to just enjoy life to its fullest knowing I was going to hell, so nothing mattered anymore. The devil (who doesn’t even deserve a name) convinced me that…’it is not the man who wills or runs, but God who chooses’… and you are not chosen!!!
I made an odd commitment to God though, that I know God took very serious.  Though I believed I was totally destined for hell, I told God I would spend the rest of my life sharing Jesus with everyone I could, so maybe someone else wouldn’t have to go to hell with me. God heard me!
After about a year deep in sin, God called out to me. He said “This is it! ‘I Am’ giving you one last chance to serve. Turn from your sin or I will harden your heart as I did Pharaoh’s and you will never serve me again!” Though God knew where I would go from here, I did not.
I wish I could say I ran back to God immediately, but I didn’t. By His Grace He was patient though. I tried at first to do it little by little, in layman’s terms… ‘My Way’ wasn’t working. God told me in September and I finally took it to heart in February. God’s Grace, slow to wrath.
This was just over 10 years ago. God sent me on a 30 day walk (far too long to explain), that started in Arizona and ended in Massachusetts. Again long story and no, I didn’t walk all the way to Massachusetts. (I’d still be walking or with Jesus by now). But something happened on this 30 day walk that was a Major Change in knowing who I am. God showed me why I struggled with Christianity, being a Christian, with other Christians, and serving Him. There was a missing link in me that kept me from truly knowing God. Something I never really heard taught or talked about in my church experience. I didn’t know ‘Who I was in Christ Jesus’! For the first time in my life I knew Who I was in Christ’, and I knew no one could ever take that away from me again! This is not to say I mastered it right away but, for the last 10 years I have ‘SOLD OUT’ for Jesus!  

In May of 2011 I began a small men’s Study/Fellowship. A Brother at the same time told me to come by and see the old rock barn they converted into a Chapel. He said if I wanted to use it for our study it was all mine to use. The first night of our study the Lord reminded me of the Manger dreams. So we called it the Manger.
Then God called me to write a Book called Total Christ Recovery. It is a 100% Biblically based 12 Step Ministry. As I wrote this Book God began to bring back the vision of the Manger. For the first time in 30 years I believed again that this was the Will God has for my life.
If I look through my own eyes, this could never come to pass. I know in the world’s eyes most will be saying it is IMPOSSIBLE! The battles of my own flesh have attacked me from every side. I have to hold on to the Lord and trust in Him alone not what I see, feel or think. God will speak to those whom He wants to be a part of establishing the Manger. I just need to stay the course and watch a Miracle happen!!!

Will you pray with me for the Manger? I will post a video ASAP on this page with a more in-depth vision. 

In His Love<><
A Servant of the Lord and All Others
Pastor Raymon
March 2012


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