Steve Ridenour Ministries

Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone." Mark 16:15

Jesus Heard Me Cry

The Introduction

It was spring in 1994 and I had been partying all day long in the abuse of nearly seven grams of cocaine.  At 2:00 am I decided I would try and get some sleep so I crawled in bed next to my wife.  Suddenly I was overcome with a sharp and severe pain through my chest and shooting down my left side down my arm and to my feet.  I began sweating from head to toe and I could barely breathe.  I was having a heart attack. 

Suddenly I was surrounded by extreme brightness and standing before me some 25 feet away was the shadow of a man.  I began walking toward this man, and as I approached Him a gentle and quiet voice said, "Stop, go back, it's not time." I continued my approach and again the voice said, "Stop, go back, it's not time." I awoke with my wife crying next to me.  My pain was gone, I was alive, and I felt an indescribable awe of peace around me.  I felt a calm that I had never experienced before.  I had experienced Jesus.  

The Change

Two very loving parents raised me, so I can't blame what happened in my life on the fact that I was from a broken home.  I went to church and vacation bible school.  My dear Grandmother taught me about Jesus.  I finished school, and went into the Air Force and experienced the adventures of traveling the world.  I went to college and got an education.  I was ready for life, so I thought.

After a few years of working in the oil and gas industry as an engineer, I started a very successful chemical company.  I was making more money than I had ever dreamed that I would make.  With all of the money came the opportunity to do everything I shouldn't.  I started chasing women, excessive spending, and cocaine.  After all, people with money did cocaine; it was the social drug that showed that you had money.  Before long cocaine wasn't just a social thing, I became addicted and for the next 15 years, my life went into a downward spiral.  My chemical company went bankrupt, I lost my wife and kids, I lost my home, and I lost the respect of my business associates.  My life was a waste.

During the last five years of my addiction I started a second family.  I did a little consulting, but not enough to support my wife, my kids, and my addiction.  I started dealing in the marijuana business convinced that it was to support my family.  The devil really had me fooled.  My consulting business slowed down, my addiction got worse; I was spending $300 or more a day on my demon.  I knew I was addicted and every day I said that it was the last day; I am going to quit using cocaine.  I can quit on my own.  Wrong, I couldn't quit.

It was in the last week of April in 1995.  I had been locked in my office for the last 20 or so hours and drowning in the abuse for the day.  I was as unhappy with my life as I have ever been.  I knew I was addicted, and I knew I couldn't quit.  I sat there in the early morning hours with a gun to my head ready to end my addiction when I remembered my Grandmother telling me "Steven you don't take your own life, God will take you when He is ready for you." At 4:30 AM I walked over to my house.  I crawled into my bed, and I cried out like a baby, "God, I need your help!"

A week later I flew to Kentucky to pick up some drug money from an individual that I had just done a drug deal with.  I landed at the airport, and my friend picked me up.  We went to a hotel to do our transaction, and then we were going out to eat dinner and do some partying.  Wrong, my friend had gotten busted and he was working with the police to get me.  When he handed me the drug money the hotel room door was kicked in and police immediately surrounded me, I was busted.  I was taken to the county jail.  I had never been in any kind of trouble in my life and I was scared.  I had seen television; jails were not fun places.  

A few days later, May 4, 1995, the Gideon's were in the county jail passing out the little pocket New Testaments.  Like a starving child, I stood at the steel cell door with my hand out.  I wanted a bible.  Well, I got one and I went straight to my mat on the floor and I started thumbing through my little bible.  In the back of the bible I found the Saviors Prayer.  I prayed that prayer with all the heart that a man could pray.  God I need you.  God I am scared.  God please protect me.  Immediately I felt the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Immediately all of my fears were gone.  Jesus Christ was with me.  I was born again!  

I had a $110,000 cash bond placed on me when I got busted.  Where in the world was I ever going to get that kind of money to get me out of jail?  I wasn't.  I had to borrow all that I could to hire an attorney to represent me, $110,000 cash to get out of jail was impossible.  Four months passed, along with several appearances in front of various judges, pleading unsuccessfully for a reduction in bond.  I wanted to give up.  I kept praying.  Then one night while I was lying in my bunk and praying I heard God's voice.  He told me to expect a miracle.  I honestly freaked.  I had never heard God's voice before and for Him to tell me to "expect a miracle." The next day my attorney called me to let me know that we had another hearing for bond reduction, and that it was in front of a different judge, and that we had a good "shot" at getting my bond reduced to $20,000 or so.  That was good news in a way, but still, where was I going to get $20,000?  A week later I stood in front of the judge while the prosecuting attorney argued why my bond should not be reduced.  I had heard it all before and I was expecting the same response from the judge denying the reduction, when the judge asked the prosecutor to have a seat and then looked at my attorney, then at me, and announced that he was reducing my bond to a PR bond.  I was going home on the promise that I would return on my own for my trial.

I returned to my home in Texas.  I started consulting again and worked until the day came to return to Kentucky for my trial.  My attorney advised me to accept a plea bargain agreement and he said that by doing so I would probably receive a probated sentence.  I agreed and thus avoided a trial.  On the day of my sentencing I stood before the judge expecting to get probation.  I was nervous as I listened to the judge recite my charges, and then the sentence; seven and one-half years in the state penitentiary.  Once again I was handcuffed and taken to jail where I would later be transferred to the state prison.

My first week in state prison I was processed and it was decided I would go to a minimum-security facility where I would spend the next seven plus years of my life.  I was transferred a week later and upon arriving at my new home I immediately found the chaplain and shortly thereafter became the Chaplain's Aid.  During that first week as Chaplin s Aid we had a Prison Fellowship Seminar.  There I told our group about my circumstances, which landed me in prison.  I shared the story of my cocaine addiction to our group leader, Dick.  At the close of the second night of the seminar, I was telling Dick goodbye when all of a sudden he took me in his arms and started praying.  When Dick let me go, I looked into his eyes and saw that he was crying.  I asked him what that was all about and he told me that God had told him to take me into his arms and pray, and then he told me that God told him I was going home 4 months from the day I was sentenced.  Now I had received God's miracles and I had faith in what God can do, but to believe that I was going home in 4 months after I had just been given a seven and a half year sentence in prison was hard to swallow.

The next week I a received a letter from my attorney telling me that the judge who had sentenced me called my attorney at home and told him to file a Motion for Shock Probation.  He was to wait until my 90th day in confinement to file the motion.  My attorney told me that it would take about 30 days before the judge would hear the motion.  That total amount of time would add up to 4 months.  Well, 4 months later, June 14, 1996, after appearing in front of the same judge that sent me to prison, I was sent home to Texas.  I received a 5 year probated sentence.

During all this time I had experienced many miracles from God.  He answered my prayer when I cried to Him for help as a cocaine addict.  He cleansed me from my addiction.  He answered my prayers to be sent home when my bond was $110,000 cash.  He changed the heart of a judge who had sentenced me to a long term in prison.  He healed my son of a blood disorder.  He cared for and provided for my family while I was locked up.  I came home and within two months I started a consulting company, which has been blessed with much success.

On October 18, 1999 I was ordained into the Christian ministry.  God has blessed me with the opportunity to serve Him as the Founder, and Senior Pastor of For Him Ministries Church Without Walls in Mathis, Texas.  God has blessed me with the ministry of organizing, and promoting Christian praise and worship concert events.

Conclusion

Out of desperation I cried to God, and out of love He was there.  Through a series of events God began changing me.  He removed the cocaine addiction, and then God began reshaping me to one that He desired me to be.

That night in April was a life changing night for me.  Like most of us I had heard about God, about Jesus Christ, and about the Holy Spirit for most of my younger life.  I went to church kicking and fighting as a kid at the insistence of my grandmother.  As a young man I went to church on occasion, I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1976, but with all this I never really knew God.

The amazing thing is that with all of my continued rebellion and lifestyle, with all of my ignorance about Jesus Christ, He never left me.  Jesus sat in the heavens watching me make one bad choice after another.  He watched me stumble and fall year after year making a total mess of my life.  Then when the day came that Jesus heard me cry out to Him, He was there.  At that moment Jesus took me into His loving arms, kissed me on the cheek, and said I have been waiting for you, I love you.  At that moment He began to change me.

The same love and passion that Jesus Christ has for me, He has for you.  No matter how large or how small your troubles are, Jesus promises that if you knock, the door will be opened.  Just as He was there for me, Jesus Christ is there for you.  He is just a cry away.  

It is my desire that everyone who reads this testimony come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer (Prayer is simply talking to God).

God knows your heart and is not as concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart.  If you are willing to receive God's free gift of eternal life, you can receive Jesus Christ into your heart right now by praying this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to You in the name of Jesus Christ, the Name above every name.  I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and confess unto You that I am a sinner.  I ask You to forgive my sins and to come into my heart.  In Your forgiveness I am washed clean of my sins, by the shed blood of Jesus.  I have become a new creation in Christ and an eternal member of the FAMILY OF GOD.  I thank you for my new birth in the wonderful Name of Jesus Christ...Amen.


If you would like to know about Jesus Christ then please visit Jesus: Fact or Fiction?

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Copyright 2002 - 2010 Steven R. Ridenour