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7 Mile Bridge

Jesus Breaks the Chains / Michael Bowen
The Truth Network Radio
July 2, 2022 8:30 am

7 Mile Bridge

Jesus Breaks the Chains / Michael Bowen

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July 2, 2022 8:30 am

The sunshine state isn’t always sunny when Evangelist Michael Bowen starts a new life in Florida finishing his rehabilitation program. The devil tempts him once more what did Michael do? find out on this episode of Jesus Breaks the chains.  

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We implore you on Christ's behalf. He reconciled to God. For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him. I just love the Scripture. This is one of the very first Scriptures that I read in the Bible that resonated powerfully with me when I surrender my life to Jesus Christ while laying on a prison chapel for 25 years I was addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine was in and out of jail, prisons, rehabilitation centers and even a few mental hospitals because I could not stop using drugs and drinking alcohol for 25 years I carried the heavy weight of the sin, shame and guilt that someone who is destroyed their life with drugs is burdened with in that prison. Laying on the chapel for Jesus took that weight off of me. He broke to change my diction and he set me free. He took me right where I was stranded long without any hope in the captivity darkness and held my addicted life and he told me they did make me new and show me a better way if I would give my life to him. I surrender my life to Jesus that day in the Scripture told me that the old things in my past were now passed away in all things been made new. I was eight years ago in 2013 and the Texas state prison. Jesus gave me a new life in a fresh new start. I was reborn I was filled with the Holy Spirit and I was given a new name and a new purpose as an ambassador for Christ and a witness of Jesus to the end of the earth. I became a disciple of Jesus Christ filled with the love and power of God. Acts one versus 428 and being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the father, which he said you've heard from me for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now, therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel. He said to them, it is not for you to know times or seasons which the father has put in his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all Judaica and Samaria and to the end of the earth. I would now like to take you back into time, the place in my life where addiction had first taken a hold of me. It was the first time I truly began to feel the hopelessness of being a drug addict was addicted to crack cocaine and could not stop smoking the drugs.

It's 1997 and I'm living in West Palm Beach, Florida. I'm in Florida because it is where one of the many drug rehabilitation centers that I went to was located. I've been recently released from the program and I'm now living in a recovery home for alcoholics and drug addicts. I'm 29 years old that Benedek addicted to crack cocaine for probably about eight years. At this point in my life. I was able to get out of the rehabilitation program and into the recovery home I went out looking for job and I was able to find a job at Home Depot and during that time I was faithfully going to 12-step meetings and working a 12 step program Alcoholics Anonymous Narcotics Anonymous cocaine anonymous, which everyone I went to the mall any kind anonymous that that that they had. I went to it because I was really, really messed up.

At the time. During this time doing these programs.

I really truly believe that I would never do drugs again in my life is finally headed in the right direction begin to receive money for my job at Home Depot and decide that I'm ready to leave the recovery home that I'm in a movie with someone from work. If someone happened to be a manager and who took a liking to me and and thought he could trust me in and had had a room to rent in his home and I was talking to him saying I was looking for a place to live any he offered his room to me in his home and I was a nice home right on the canal which which which had a dog he had a boat and you could go out the canal and in and be on the ocean was really nice set up and I was really excited about it. I make plans to move into my new residence. The following week on Monday instead of moving out of the recovery home and going right into the new home. My coworker I decided I would move out on Friday and then drive down to the Florida Keys and spend the weekend in Key West.

I convince myself that I been doing so well working so hard work my 12 step program doing such great things, and in finally got a job on making some money and and I really thought that I old myself a much needed vacation on the beach in the Florida Keys center like an excellent idea to me. Turns out I was wrong and ended up being a very bad decision on my part in the so II leave West Palm Beach on a Friday thinking that I'm in a go make this beautiful drive go down and have this incredible weekend sitting back on the beach, relaxing, pondering my life.

Maybe even read from the big book of the 12 steps or whatever. I had all these great plans. I was going to do and give and have myself some Michael time I so much desperately needed. You know how we would build up something vacation or a place for them to go before we go, we build it up in our mind we see it we think it's going to be something so wonderful so peaceful so great. And boy, sometimes it didn't work out that way. But anyway, it's just to tell you about this drive. It is such a beautiful drive through the Florida Keys on Highway one.

I'm not sure if anybody if you can know what I'm talking about. But if you listen to this and you know you know it's one island after another along the way and you travel over the water in and see some very beautiful bridges and about halfway through the Florida Keys. There is a bridge called the 7 mile bridge and it goes over the water about 7 miles from the most beautiful views I've ever seen am very much enjoying this drive to what I would call a beautiful beach paradise. On my way to a beautiful, wonderful, magical, awesome time that I had truly deserved for myself I been working so hard and anyways I get down to Key West when I arrived. I decide I'm hungry have any anything just been enjoying the drive little watching the scenery seeing the sea goals and just building up this expectation in this excitement within myself. Wow, here I go. And really it's it's one of the first times that I've since gone to treatment and being in recovery home and doing all this work that I had some time by myself for myself and in doing something like this. Salt so once I arrived in Key West. I decide to get somebody, I'm hungry.

I figured I would eat and then go find a hotel to check into and stay for a couple my nights before I head back to West Palm Beach to move into my new place on Monday so I drive around and I see a sign I thought I find this supposedly famous eating and drinking, establishing Key West called sloppy Joe's. So I decide to give it a try pullover in the parking lot at Park and I go into sloppy Joe's. Now mind you, sloppy Joe's, is a well-known famous and also I come to find out if you missed Key West saloon and they say that that it had its official opening on December 5, 1933, the day prohibition was appealed when alcohol drink alcohol was illegal in the United States and when they finally allowed alcohol to to to not be a crime and then they allowed people to drink again.

That was the day that prohibition was repealed.

That was the day that this saloon in Key West was opened its first day, so even the great writer Ernest Hemingway frequented this establishment when he was in Key West. I thought to myself, let me check this place out remind you.

I am currently clean and sober.

About eight months. At this point is supposedly working a 12 step recovery program. In reality, I had absolutely no business driving all by myself and going to place in Key West is famously known for its heavy drinking many bars and party apps feel a newly recovered alcoholic drug it has no business in a saloon in Key West Florida. Come on man, what was I thinking. Anyways, that's the alcoholic and drug addicted mind. It just starts to take over and we have no clue that it happened to us not, and that's what was happening to me at that point in time even Key West.

The islands motto is this Key West is close to perfect and far from normal.

I would say this motto became very accurate for me close to perfect for an alcoholic and drug addict to get drunk and high and far from normal for a person who is try not to drink or use drugs.

This by far the worst places on the entire planet for me to be that weekend. But I was clueless. I was still in my little dream world of having this fantastic wonderful beach vacation that I earned that I needed that that did that I old myself. I've been working so hard at a programming job and everything else in my life so sit at the table looking around looking all the pictures on the walls just just taking everything in of what this place is and where I am in and the waitress came to take my order. She asked me if I would like something to drink and instead of saying iced tea. I said I would like a beer. Now this is how on earth, and that one quick moment that I just decide to throw away my sobriety and drink beer. That just doesn't make any sense at all.

I told myself the all-too-familiar lie that I would only drink one beer well we know that's a lie and I don't know if there's a by this listener.

This that that has struggled with alcohol or drugs and you had some time sobriety were not drinking, and then you figure that hey boy, am to do it different this time Mobile to control this thing. I just have one and I know you're out there saying yeah that's me. You're probably already in your hands right now because a lot of us of said I'll just do one and one. It really never works.

But so you know what happens to me just run the tape forward and I'm about to tell you what happened without one beer led to two beers, three beers and then the mixed drinks then the shots and then me in a drunken mess. Sitting there in sloppy Joe's of a sloppy drunken mess sloppy Joe's yes sloppy Michael was at sloppy Joe's thinking he was Ernest Hemingway about to write the next great novel.

I don't know what anyways just like that. I relapsed and was headed for destruction in Key West Florida like a ship lost at sea without a rotor I was headed for disaster and up watery grave. Let me tell you, like every other time when I would relapse on alcohol at some point the alcohol would not be enough of a high and I would go in search of something stronger in for me that was always crack cocaine. So when that time came I left sloppy Joe's, and soon found a crack house and began to smoke, to say the least.

I became very good at finding crack houses that's that's one skill that that unfortunate. I have to say I possess that I can find a Krakw's in any city in any town any place on planet Earth. I will be able to find a Krakw's because that's where the crack is and I used to be a crack at it anyways.

I stayed in a crack house for two days and smoke crack nonstop the entire time. Finally, late Sunday evening I had a moment of clarity got myself together and then drove back to West Palm Beach so I can move into my new place on Monday when I arrived West Palm Beach. I found a place to park and I went to sleep in my car Monday morning like clockwork. Got up went to work and acted like we can never happen and I'm telling you, I really acted like it never happened.

I blocked it completely out of my mind and said hey that did not happen. What I went where I went and did that that that just don't even exist. I did not do that and I blocked it out of my mind that evening after work I moved into my new place where I was renting a room again with with with the manager from Home Depot and he had no idea at that point time that he was allowing a full-blown crack at it to move into his home. Unbelievable things and not get off to a very good start because just like any time you start smoking, drugs, or doing drugs you don't stop and you smoke up all your money and that today's ice multiple my rent money over the weekend and have a tell my roommate that I would have to pay him on the following Friday when I received my check from Home Depot. He wasn't happy about that at all but gave me a bit of the doubt and said okay. Work hard all week. Every day after work I would go home, eat and go to sleep at that point I look like a very good roommate that first week I mean I was great. I did make any noise. I got up early was real quiet leaving the house go out work hard all day, he'd see me all day walking up and down the aisles at the Home Depot and being friendly to people and and just you know doing my thing and Home Depot and anyhow he was probably thinkable. I got a good roommate.

This guy's going to be good but didn't turn out to be that way because the wheels were about to fall off, so when Friday rolled around that Friday rolled around hospitals go get my paycheck and go give him his $350 or however much I can't remember what it was I was.

My paycheck was impacted pay for the rent so I picked up that paycheck at work and I went and cast it. But instead of going home to pay my roommate the rear.

I went to where I knew they sold crack and I got high.

I smoked up my entire check in one day and went around bouncing checks and stealing things to continue getting high. I never did go back to my new place where I live or my job at Home Depot. After about two weeks of living out of my car and crack houses. I decided, roommate to see if I could go get all my belongings back. I called him and he was mad. He was so angry at me and told me that he would call the police I ever set foot on his property. Again, he also told me I was fired from Home Depot and and not ever to go there again either call the police and he told me that he gave all my belongings away to goodwill. That in turn may meet angry.

I was so mad I slammed down the phone and and decided that at that point time I'm gonna go back Key West get drunk and high like a maniac. You know why I was still inside myself telling myself how could you give in and all my stuff away. Here I am.

I have no money.

All I have is my card.

Nowhere to live.

I have no job.

I've lost everything all my belongings everything I just had a big old pity party for myself why I tell you what that guy did the greatest thing you probably should punch me in the nose if he could get his hands on me because I mean how do I go and do that. That's is the really bad thing to do it but it was I was angry Philip Madden so so I decided to go back Key West. I knew where to go and I just figured that I'll just go down there and get drunk and high and see what happens.

So before I left West Palm Beach I went into a grocery store and stole food bottles of wine and beer in a cooler with some ice.

I loaded in my car and took off and headed to the Florida Keys. After a few moments of driving, I began to feel a great amount of shame, guilt and hopelessness. As I drove down the highway, began to drink alcohol and smoke the last bit of crack that I have what I got to Miami I stop and call my mom I knew she was worried about me because she had heard from me in a few weeks and upon and probably knew I relapsed and I was kind of my pattern you not always, mom delivered five or six days. At least once a week and and she hurt me in a few weeks and that was typically when they haven't heard from me. They know what I what I've done the probably relapsing on amount runaround smoking crack and stealing and doing all things. It that you do when you're addicted to drugs.

So I got on the phone and when I spoke to her.

She's very upset. She asked me what was I doing and I told her I want to call her before I went to the Florida Keys. Told her that I was sick and tired of smoking crack. But I could not stop. Told her I loved her and hung up the phone and I took off down US Highway one at a high rate of speed. Once again headed for Key West. More than likely destruction. I'm going to read you the article there was in the newspaper. The following morning from the Miami Herald, the date is March 22, 1997 the title of the article is this.

Deputies use spikes to stop fleeing car on US one driver reach top speed of 136 mph.

This is the text of the article. Metal spikes stopped a motorist driving erratically down US one, at speeds up to hundred 36 mph early Friday Charles Michael Bowen 29 of Palm Beach Gardens refused to stop his car for Munro deputies at mile marker 89.

At that time he was traveling 71 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Deputies said bone was also seen passing in a no passing zone's in turn lanes, said Deputy Becky Herron share spokeswoman deputies radioed colleagues down the road, telling them to look out for the 1997 infinity Herron said deputies put out stinger spikes metal spikes embedded in a rubber strip to poke holes entire small enough to make the car stop without hurting driver stop Bowen at US one in Coco Plum Rd. in Marathon.

He was charged with fleeing and eluding police driving under the influence of alcohol possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia in reckless driving in the infinity were beer and wine bottles and a pipe with crack cocaine residue.

Herron said that newspaper articles from the front page of the key section of the Miami Herald newspaper in 1997 when the Florida Highway Patrol chase me for 40 miles of driving to the Florida Keys at night and have my sunroof open and I was angry because I was addicted to drugs and could not stop using them.

I hated myself I hated being a drug addict could let everyone down.

I was headed for the 7 mile bridge want to hit the crest of that bridge at hundred 50 mph to see what would happen at 29 years old. I was already sick and tired of being addicted it could not take all the devastation it because I was ready to end it all.

I was yelling out of the roof. The sunroof my car God, you made me like this, it's your fault that I'm this way you did this god, God, you made me like this well to my dissident dismay. God had other plans for me that night instead of me trying to jump my car off that bridge just far reach the bridge as I entered Marathon Key, the police and set up a roadblock was stinger spikes that would flat my tires. I did not make it to the bridge and I was arrested.

I remember being pulled out of my vehicle at gunpoint and taken to jail and being put on suicide watch already ended all that night on the 7 mile bridge. Now, let's fast-forward to 2014 I been released from prison for the second time, but this time, however, I've turned my life to Jesus and he set me free and I'm loving my new life in Christ. I'm driving down the highway and I begin to feel God's presence in the car with me and began to weep. I began working worshiping him and praising him and yelling out loud at the top of my lungs yelling out loud at the top of my lungs.

He was so good. Then I heard him say no. I made you like this, you see God waited 17 years to respond to my yelling at him out of that infinity driving to the Florida Keys.

At hundred 36 miles an hour back in 1997 God is patient and his love endures forever. He will never leave you or forsake you news with you to the good times and the bad. I love Jesus. Please give him a chance to change her life like he did mine. You can even yell at God.

If you're mad about your life. Just don't expect an answer until you're ready to swear in your life to him.

So we can change it. The word of God says that God knew us before he formed us in our mother's womb.

We are chosen in Christ before we are born God creates each one of us for a purpose were predestined to be conformed in the image of his son. He sets us apart from the world to be loved by him and to be used by him to be his precious children are reading from from them Bible in the book of Jeremiah chapter 1 verse five word of God says before, this is God. God's words before I formed you, I knew you before you were born I sanctified you the means to be set apart. I ordained you a prophet to the nations.

Ephesians chapter 1 verses 3 to 6. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestined us to the adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace by which he made us accepted in the beloved. Psalm 139 verses 13 to 16 now this is King David in the Psalms, whose crying out to God and in an and being tender in the moment and telling God what he how he did created him and how how he had formed him in his mother's wounds.

Verse 13 starts for you formed my inward parts you covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed and in your book. They all were written. The days fashion me, when as yet there were none of them. The book of Romans chapter 8 verses 28 to 30, and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who the court who are the called according to his purpose for whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he predestined, these he also called whom he called these he also justified and whom he justified, these he also glorified. You see, my friends, listen to this podcast. I was not born to be a drug addicted maniac trying to drive my car off the 7 mile bridge while yelling at God through the sunroof that he may be like this. Born to be his precious child was born not to have a spirit of fear, but rather a spirit of power, love, and sound. Mine you see that spirit of fear had me hating myself so much and so fearful of trying to move forward as a drug I come alive I want to end it all. I was so fearful and and and and in crazy in my mind me who would do some like that drive off a bridge like that a high rate of speed. But God but God did not give me a spirit of fear, but rather of power, love, and sound mind. I was born to be filled with his Holy Spirit and to be used by him in this world that I was born into, as created by him and predestined to be his witness and help them save the world. This plan of salvation one soul at a time. I was formed by God in my mother's womb to be his disciple to be his evangelist and going all the world and make disciples of the nations and to preach that gospel to preach his gospel to every creature. I was made by him to love him and to be loved by him to praise his holy name and to worship him every day of my life and that is what I'm doing right now and that my friends is what I was doing in 2014, when God finally answered me and said no major like this. Hallelujah. Want to tell everyone listening to this podcast, the God made you for something greater where you are in your life today. If you not surrender your life to Jesus Christ yet and you can do it right now. If you walk away from the Lord than today is the day that you turn around and go back to him is right there waiting for you repent and turn away from your sins and turn to God.

Now in Jesus name. Go to your knees in prayer and ask God to forgive you and to save you like I did on that prison chaplain for tell Jesus dear giving your life to him that if he saves you, you will serve him the rest of days your life and then and only then be changed. This world can't change you money can't change you making yourself pretty can't change you. Nothing can change you, but the resurrection power of Jesus Christ have a relationship with him. Asked Jesus in your heart now all you need to do is trust Jesus and give your life to him and he will take you places you only dreamed about. I encourage all to do this now and you will not be disappointed.

This is what I did in 2013 at prison chaplain floor since that day I've not had a desire to drink alcohol use drugs as a man of God and disciple Jesus Christ.

I'm now the head and not the tail. I'm a good man.

I'm a good husband and a father to my children.

I'm a good son to my parents about five years after I got out of prison. My parents came up to me one day it was the day it was March, May 20. That's my sobriety date that the the day that I eye my first clean day of my life was on May 20, 2014 and because May 19, 2013 with prison and in and in that prison. Jesus change my life's last ever did drugs was May 19, 2013 in May 20 when I woke up in that morning in that jail and prison. I never did drugs again.

From that day so on that day upright. In 2019 apparent site.

I was sitting in at a chair at their house and I felt them come up behind me and you know how your Sitton Aaron and you feel some kind of present findings.

I turned around and there standing next together next each other together and they had this funny look on their face and I turned around Scana started what you are doing there.

They, look, look, I do know what they were doing and I said what you are doing, they said, come here, so I stood up and they pulled me close to them.

They said to me we are so proud of you son, we know you're never going to do drugs again and and I was just such a wonderful moment in my life and it is just a marker in my life where where I really knew my parents really knew that I would never do drugs again and and I'm just so grateful what the Lord is done in my life and who do the same thing for you. Anything are struggling with to give it to him. Give your life to now I'm evangelist to the heart broken and lost, missionary in Liberia, West Africa, Jesus change my life when I gave it to him once us were in my life to Jesus and began to worship and praise his holy name. That is when he is able to show me my true identity in him no longer a slave to addiction and sin. I have been set free by the king when the king makes you free your free indeed.

Hallelujah praise the Lord want to tell you everybody listen in this podcast. It is been my honor to be able to share this story with you about the 7 mile bridge and how I yelled at the top of my lungs out of that sunroof traveling. It ungodly speeds reckless speed yelling at God. You made me like this, it's your fault you made me like this and and then 17 years later he turned around and when I gave my life to him and was driving down the road in his sweet presence came in the car I begin worship and praise in him as as it is a man of God as a disciple is his disciple and and and and and and and I remain and I just remember the presents was just so thick in that car began to weep and cry and after 17 years he waited so patiently and answer me know. I major like this hallelujah is just so wonderful. I just want to tell you.

My hope is for you to understand that no matter where you are in your life like I was on at 7 mile bridge in total despair and hopelessness.

Wanting to in my life that matter where you are in your life what you've done.

If you give your life to Jesus Christ. He can change you and make you into what he created you to be and he will deliver you once and for all from all of your distress. I'm horny.

In this podcast with this point, I wrote when I was in prison.

It is for all you will find yourself lost at sea with no hope. Like I did and I was on that 7 mile bridge yelling at God. This point is called lost at sea alone at sea is a wanderer adrift now lost track of time, son scorched, and without guidance. A prisoner of this ocean my mind lost on the waters of self-reliance with the paddle made out of broken dreams friendly calling for anyone. Please come hurry and rescue me how lonely is this ocean want your arms all paddled out sitting perched on pieces of wreckage sharks circling to feed on my doubts the ship that that sailed me into my bright future now has dreadfully fallen apart, smashed by the storm of my addiction. Not at all what I intended from the start searching the painful horizon.

No signs of life can be found. Waves are crashing and tragic melody cords of her get making ominous sound, God's mighty spirit is calling the giver of light to all things Holy Spirit, always shining Fort beacon to all lost human beings a lighthouse standing tall on a clip for all his lost ships at sea. The mark of his safe harbor, a place of rest in peace for you and me, a compass of sure direction. He is the win that makes me come about.

He delivers power into my sales. He is a rudder of guidance in the midst of my doubt God's given me a new vessel. This ship will for sure.

So me home headed back navigated by his glory.

No longer do I travel alone now as I turn for safety only his spirit knows the way I am headed for God safe harbor now. The waves finally obey the stars have become my music dancing across the beautiful night. The bear jumps over Orion. My new heading takes off and fly. No more wasted movements.

No need for orange life. This God now taken over my journey given the sailor much needed rest. My life is now good weather in this ocean. I'm no longer alone selling along income waters pointing towards Jesus who will carry me home. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ is a new creation. Old things are passed away behold all things become new. Now all things are of God was reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ and is given us the ministry of reconciliation that is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them and is committed to us the word reconciliation now then we are ambassadors for Christ is oak God were pleading through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf be reconciled to God. For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him. I just love the Scripture. This is one of the very first Scriptures that I read in the Bible that resonated powerfully with me when I surrender my life to Jesus Christ while laying on a prison chapel for 25 years I was addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine was in and out of jail, prisons, rehabilitation centers and even a few mental hospitals because I could not stop using drugs and drinking alcohol for 25 years I carried the heavy weight of the sin, shame and guilt that someone who is destroyed their life with drugs is burdened with in that prison. Laying on the chapel for Jesus took that weight off of me. He broke to change my diction and he set me free.

He took me right where I was stranded long without any hope in the captivity darkness and held my addicted life and he told me they did make me new and show me a better way if I would give my life to him. I surrender my life to Jesus that day in the Scripture told me that the old things in my past were now passed away in all things been made new.

I was eight years ago in 2013 and the Texas state prison.

Jesus gave me a new life in a fresh new start. I was reborn I was filled with the Holy Spirit and I was given a new name and a new purpose as an ambassador for Christ and a witness of Jesus to the end of the earth. I became a disciple of Jesus Christ filled with the love and power of God. Acts one versus 428 and being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the father, which he said you've heard from me for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now, therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel. He said to them, it is not for you to know times or seasons which the father has put in his own authority.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all Judaica and Samaria and to the end of the earth.

I would now like to take you back into time to place in my life where addiction had first taken a hold of me.

It was the first time I truly began to feel the hopelessness of being a drug addict was addicted to crack cocaine and could not stop smoking drugs its 1997 and I'm living in West Palm Beach, Florida. I'm in Florida because it is where one of the many drug rehabilitation centers that I went to was located. I've been recently released from the program and I'm now living in a recovery home for alcoholics and drug addicts.

I'm 29 years old that Benedek addicted to crack cocaine for probably about eight years.

At this point in my life. I was able to get out of the rehabilitation program and into the recovery home I went out looking for job and I was able to find a job at Home Depot and during that time I was faithfully going to 12-step meetings and working a 12 step program Alcoholics Anonymous Narcotics Anonymous cocaine anonymous, whichever one I went to the mall any kind anonymous that that that they had.

I went to it because I was really, really messed up. At the time. During this time doing these programs. I really truly believe that I would never do drugs again in my life is finally headed in the right direction begin to receive money for my job at Home Depot and decide that I'm ready to leave the recovery home that I'm in a movie with someone from work. If someone happened to be a a manager and who took a liking to me and and thought he could trust me in and had had a room to rent in his home and I was talking to him saying I was looking for a place to live any he offered his room to me in his home and I was a nice home right on the canal which which which had a dock at a boat and you could go out the canal and in and be on the ocean was really nice set up and I was really excited about it. I make plans to move into my new residence. The following week on Monday instead of moving out of the recovery home and going right into the new home. My coworker I decided I would move out on Friday and then drive down to the Florida Keys and spend the weekend in Key West. I convince myself that I been doing so well working so hard work my 12 step program doing such great things, and in finally got a job on making some money and and I really thought that I old myself a much needed vacation on the beach in the Florida Keys center like an excellent idea to me. Turns out I was wrong and ended up being a very bad decision on my part in the so II leave West Palm Beach on a Friday thinking that I'm in a go make this beautiful drive go down and have this incredible weekend sitting back on the beach, relaxing, pondering my life. Maybe even read from the big book of the 12 steps or whatever. I had all these great plans. I was going to do and give and have myself some Michael time I so much desperately needed.

You know how we would build up something vacation or a place for them to go before we go, we build it up in our mind we see it we think it's going to be something so wonderful so peaceful so great. And boy, sometimes it didn't work out that way. But anyway, it's just to tell you about this drive. It is such a beautiful drive through the Florida Keys on Highway one. I'm not sure if anybody if you know what I'm talking about. But if you listen to this and you know you know it's one island after another along the way and you travel over the water in and see some very beautiful bridges and about halfway through the Florida Keys. There is a bridge called the 7 mile bridge and it goes over the water about 7 miles from the most beautiful views I've ever seen am very much enjoying this drive.

What I would call a beautiful beach paradise. On my way to a beautiful, wonderful, magical, awesome time that I had truly deserved for myself I been working so hard and anyways I get down to Key West when I arrived. I decide I'm hungry.

Haven't eaten anything just been enjoying the drive little watching the scenery seeing the sea goals and just loading up this expectation in this excitement within myself. Wow, here I go. And really it's it's one of the first times that I've since gone to treatment and being in recovery home and doing all this work that I had some time by myself for myself and in doing something like this. Salt so once I arrived in Key West. I decide to get somebody, I'm hungry. I figured I would eat and then go find a hotel to check into and stay for a couple my nights before I head back to West Palm Beach to move into my new place on Monday so I drive around tonight. I see a sign I find this supposedly famous eating and drinking, establishing Key West called sloppy Joe's. So I decide to give it a try pullover in the parking lot at Park and I go into sloppy Joe's. Now mind you, sloppy Joe's, is a well-known famous and also I come to find out if you missed Key West saloon and they say that that it had its official opening on December 5, 1933, the day prohibition was appealed when alcohol would drink alcohol was illegal in the United States and when they finally allowed alcohol to to to not be a crime and then they allowed people to drink again.

That was the day that prohibition was repealed. That was the day that this saloon in Key West was opened its first day, so even the great writer Ernest Hemingway frequented this establishment when he was in Key West. I thought to myself, let me check this place out remind you. I am currently clean and sober. About eight months. At this point is supposedly working a 12 step recovery program. In reality, I had absolutely no business driving all by myself and going to place in Key West is famously known for its heavy drinking many bars and party apps feel a newly recovered alcoholic drug it has no business in a saloon in Key West Florida.

Come on man, what was I thinking. Anyways, that's the alcoholic and drug addicted mind.

It just starts to take over and we have no clue that it happened to us in that and that's what was happening to me at that point in time, even Key West. The islands motto is this Key West is close to perfect and far from normal. I would say this motto became very accurate for me close to perfect for an alcoholic and drug addict to get drunk and high and far from normal for a person who is trying not to drink or use drugs. This by four with one of the worst places on the entire planet for me to be that weekend. But I was clueless. I was still in my little dream world of having this fantastic wonderful beach vacation that I earned that I needed that.

That did that I old myself. I've been working so hard at a programming job and everything else in my life so sit at the table looking around looking all the pictures on the walls just just taking everything in of what this place is and where I am in and the waitress came to take my order. She asked me if I would like something to drink and instead of saying iced tea. I said I would like a beer How on earth, and that one quick moment that I just decide to throw away my sobriety and drink beer. That just doesn't make any sense at all. I told myself the all-too-familiar lie that I would only drink one beer well we know that's a lie and I don't know if there's a by this listener.

This that that has struggled with alcohol or drugs and you had some time sobriety were not drinking, and then you figure that hey boy, am to do it different this time Mobile to control this thing. I just have one and I know you're out there saying yeah that's me. You're probably already in your hands right now because a lot of us of said I'll just do one and one. It really never works. But so you know what happens to me just run the tape forward and I'm about to tell you what happened without one beer led to two beers, three beers and then the mixed drinks then the shots and then me in a drunken mess. Sitting there in sloppy Joe's sloppy drunken mess sloppy Joe's yes sloppy Michael was at sloppy Joe's thinking he was Ernest Hemingway about to write the next great novel. I don't know but anyways just like that. I relapsed and was headed for destruction in Key West Florida like a ship lost at sea without a rotor I was headed for disaster and up watery grave. Let me tell you, like every other time when I would relapse on alcohol at some point the alcohol would not be enough of a high and I would go in search of something stronger in for me that was always crack cocaine. So when that time came I left sloppy Joe's, and soon found a crack house and began to smoke, to say the least.

I became very good at finding crack houses that's that's one skill that that unfortunate. I have to say I possess that I can find a Krakw's in any city in any town any place on planet Earth. I will be able to find a Krakw's because that's where the crack is and I used to be a crack at it anyways. I stayed in a crack house for two days and smoke crack nonstop the entire time. Finally, late Sunday evening I had a moment of clarity got myself together and then drove back to West Palm Beach so I can move into my new place on Monday when I arrived West Palm Beach.

I found a place to park and I went to sleep in my car Monday morning like clockwork. Got up went to work and acted like we can never happen and I'm telling you, I really acted like it never happened. I blocked it completely out of my mind and said hey that did not happen. What I went where I went and did that that that just don't even exist. I did not do that and I blocked it out of my mind that evening after work I moved into my new place where I was renting a room again with with with the manager from Home Depot and he had no idea at that point time that he was allowing a full-blown crack at it to move into his home.

Unbelievable things and not get off to a very good start because just like any time you start smoking, drugs, or doing drugs you don't stop and you smoke up all your money and that two days I smoked up all my rent money over the weekend. I don't have a tell my roommate that I would have to pay him on the following Friday when I received my check from Home Depot. He wasn't happy about that at all but gave me a bit of the doubt and said okay. Work hard all week. Every day after work I would go home, eat and go to sleep at that point I look like a very good roommate that first week I mean I was great.

I didn't make any noise. I got up early was real quiet leaving the house go out work hard all day, he'd see me all day walking up and down the aisles at the Home Depot and being friendly to people and and just you know doing my thing and Home Depot and anyhow he was probably thinkable.

I got a good roommate. This guys going to be good but didn't turn out to be that way because the wheels were about to fall off, so when Friday rolled around that Friday right around hospitals go get my paycheck and go give him his $350 or however much I can't remember what it was I was. My paycheck was impacted pay for the rent so I picked up that paycheck at work and I went and cast it. But instead of going home to pay my roommate the rent. I went to where I knew they sold crack and I got high. I smoked up my entire check in one day and went around bouncing checks and stealing things to continue getting high. I never did go back to my new place where I live or my job at Home Depot. After about two weeks of living out of my car and Krakw's is undecided, roommate to see if I could go get all my belongings back. I called him and he was mad. He was so angry at me and told me that he would call the police I ever set foot on his property.

Again, he also told me I was fired from Home Depot and not ever to go there again either call the police and he told me that he gave all my belongings away to goodwill. That in turn may meet angry. I was so mad I slammed down the phone and and decided that at that point time and I'm gonna go back Key West get drunk and high like a maniac.

You know why I was still inside myself telling myself how could you give in and all my stuff away. Here I am.

I have no money. All I have is my card know where to live. I have no job. I've lost everything all my belongings everything I just had a big old pity party for myself why I tell you what that guy did the greatest thing you probably should punch me in the nose if he could get his hands on me because I mean how do I go and do that. That's is the really bad thing to do it but it was I was angry Philip Madden so so I decided to go back Key West. I knew where to go and I just figured that out as go down there and get drunk and high in and see what happens. So before I left West Palm Beach I went into a grocery store and stole food, bottles, wine and beer in a cooler with some ice. I loaded into my car and took off and headed to the Florida Keys. After a few moments of driving, I began to feel a great amount of shame, guilt and hopelessness. As I drove down the highway, began to drink alcohol and smoke the last bit of crack that I have what I got to Miami I stop and call my mom I knew she was worried about me because she had heard from me in a few weeks and upon and probably knew I relapsed and I was kind of my pattern you not always, mom delivered five or six days.

At least once a week and it shouldn't hurt me in a few weeks and I was typically when they haven't heard from me. They know what I'm what I've done the probably relapsing on amount run around smoking crack and stealing and doing all things. It that you do when you're addicted to drugs.

So I got on the phone and when I spoke to her. She's very upset. She asked me what the heck was I doing and I told her I want to call her before I went to the Florida Keys.

Told her that I was sick and tired of smoking crack. But I could not stop. Told her I loved her and hung up the phone and I took off down US Highway one, a high rate of speed. Once again headed for Key West. More than likely destruction.

I'm going to read you the article. It was in the newspaper.

The following morning from the Miami Herald, the date is March 22, 1997 the title of the article is this. Deputies use spikes to stop fleeing car on US one driver reach top speed of 136 mph. This is the text of the article. Metal spikes stopped a motorist driving erratically down US one, at speeds up to hundred 36 mph early Friday Charles Michael Bowen 29 of Palm Beach Gardens refused to stop his car for Munro deputies at mile marker 89. At that time he was traveling 71 mph in a 45 mph zone. Deputies said bone was also seen passing in a no passing zone's in turn lanes, said Deputy Becky Herron share spokeswoman deputies radioed colleagues down the road, telling them to look out for the 1997 infinity Herron said deputies put out stinger spikes metal spikes embedded in a rubber strip to poke holes entire small enough to make the car stop without hurting driver stop Bowen at US one in Coco Plum Rd. in Marathon. He was charged with fleeing and eluding police driving under the influence of alcohol possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia in reckless driving in the infinity were beer and wine bottles and a pipe with crack cocaine residue.

Herron said that newspaper articles from the front page of the key section of the Miami Herald newspaper in 1997 when the Florida Highway Patrol chase me for 40 miles of driving to the Florida Keys at night and have my sunroof open and I was angry because I was addicted to drugs and could not stop using them. I hated myself I hated being a drug addict could let everyone down. I was headed for the 7 mile bridge want to hit the crest of that bridge at hundred 50 mph to see what would happen at 29 years old. I was already sick and tired of being addicted it could not take all the devastation it because I was ready to end it all. I was yelling out of the roof. The sunroof my car God, you made me like this, it's your fault that I'm this way you did this god, God, you made me like this well to my dissident dismay. God had other plans for me that night instead of me trying to jump my car off that bridge just far reached the bridge as I entered Marathon Key, the police and set up a roadblock was stinger spikes that would flat my tires. I did not make it to the bridge and I was arrested. I remember being pulled out of my vehicle at gunpoint and taken to jail and being put on suicide watch already ended all that night on the 7 mile bridge. Now, let's fast-forward to 2014 I been released from prison for the second time, but this time, however, I've turned my life to Jesus and he set me free and I'm loving my new life in Christ.

I'm driving down the highway and I begin to feel God's presence in the car with me and began to weep. I began working worshiping him and praising him and yelling out loud at the top of my lungs yelling out loud at the top of my lungs. He was so good. Then I heard him say no. I made you like this, you see God waited 17 years to respond to my yelling at him out of that infinity driving to the Florida Keys. At hundred 36 miles an hour back in 1997 God is patient and his love endures forever.

He will never leave you or forsake you news with you to the good times and the bad. I love Jesus. Please give him a chance to change your life like he did mine. You can even yell at God. If you're mad about your life.

Just don't expect an answer until you're ready to swear in your life to him. So we can change it. The word of God says that God knew us before he formed us in our mother's womb. We are chosen in Christ before we are born God creates each one of us for a purpose were predestined to be conformed in the image of his son.

He sets us apart from the world to be loved by him and to be used by him to be his precious children are reading from from the Bible and the book of Jeremiah chapter 1 verse five word of God says before, this is God.

God's words before I formed you, I knew you before you were born I sanctified you the means to be set apart. I ordained you a prophet to the nations. Ephesians chapter 1 verses three through six. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestined us to the adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace by which he made us accepted in the beloved. Psalm 139 verses 13 to 16 now this is King David in the Psalms, whose crying out to God and in an and being tender in the moment and telling God what he how he did created him and how how he informed him his mother's wounds. Verse 13 starts for you formed my inward parts you covered me in my mother's womb.

I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed and in your book.

They all were written. The days fashion me, when as yet there were none of them. The book of Romans chapter 8 verses 28 to 30, and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who the caller who are the called according to his purpose for whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Moreover whom he predestined, these he also called whom he called these he also justified and whom he justified, these he also glorified. You see, my friends, listen to this podcast.

I was not born to be a drug addicted maniac trying to drive my car off the 7 mile bridge while yelling at God through the sunroof that he may be like this.

Born to be his precious child was born not to have a spirit of fear, but rather a spirit of power, love, and sound. Mine you see that spirit of fear had me hating myself so much and so fearful of trying to move forward as a drug I can my life. I want to end it all.

I was so fearful and and and and in crazy in my mind. I mean who would do some like that drive off of a bridge like that a high rate of speed. But God but God did not give me a spirit of fear, but rather of power, love, and sound mind. I was born to be filled with his Holy Spirit and to be used by him in this world that I was born into, as created by him and predestined to be his witness and help them save the world's plan of salvation one soul at a time. I was formed by God in my mother's womb to be his disciple to be as evangelist and going to all the world and make disciples of the nations and to preach that gospel to preach his gospel to every creature. I was made by him to love him and to be loved by him and praise his holy name and worship him every day of my life and that is what I'm doing right now and that my friends is what I was doing in 2014, when God finally answered me and said no major like this. Hallelujah. Want to tell everyone listening to this podcast, the God made you for something greater where you are in your life today. If you not surrender your life to Jesus Christ yet and you can do it right now. If you have walked away from the Lord than today is the day that you turn around and go back to him is right there waiting for you repent and turn away from your sent turn to God. Now in Jesus name. Go to your knees in prayer and ask God to forgive you and to save you like I did on that prison chaplain for tell Jesus dear giving your life to him that if he saves you, you will serve him the rest of days your life and then and only then be changed.

This world can't change you money can't change you making yourself pretty can't change you.

Nothing can change you, but the resurrection power of Jesus Christ have a relationship with him. Asked Jesus in your heart now all you need to do is trust Jesus and give your life to him and he will take you places you only dreamed about.

I encourage all to do this now and you will not be disappointed.

This is what I did in 2013 at prison chaplain floor since that day have not had a desire to drink alcohol use drugs as a man of God and disciple Jesus Christ.

I'm now the head and not the tail. I'm a good man. I'm a good husband and a father to my children.

I'm a good son to my parents about five years after I got out of prison. My parents came up to me one day it was the day it was March, May 20. That's my sobriety date that the the day that I eye my first clean day of my life was on May 20, 2014 and because May 19, 2013 with prison and in and in that prison. Jesus change my life's last day ever did drugs was May 19, 2013 in May 20 when I woke up in that morning in that jail and prison.

I never do drugs again.

From that day so on that day I pray in 2019 apparent site. I was sitting in at a chair at their house. I felt them come up behind me and you know how your Sitton Aaron and you feel some kind of present bias. I turned around and there standing next together next each other together and they had this funny look on their face and I turned around, started what you are doing there. They, look, look, I do know what they were doing and I said what you are doing, they said, come here, so I stood up and they pulled me close to them.

They said to me we are so proud of you son, we know you're never going to do drugs again and and I was just such a wonderful moment in my life and it is just a marker in my life where where I really knew my parents really knew that I would never do drugs again and and I'm just so grateful what the Lord is done in my life and who do the same thing for you. Anything are struggling with to give it to him. Give your life to now I'm evangelist to the heart broken and lost, missionary in Liberia, West Africa, Jesus change my life when I gave it to him once us were in my life to Jesus and began to worship and praise his holy name.

That is when he is able to show me my true identity in him no longer a slave to addiction and sin. I have been set free by the king when the king makes you free your free indeed. Hallelujah praise the Lord want to tell you everybody listen in this podcast.

It is been my honor to be able to share this story with you about the 7 mile bridge and how I yelled at the top of my lungs out of that sunroof traveling. It ungodly speeds reckless speed yelling at God. You made me like this, it's your fault you made me like this and and then 17 years later he turned it around and when I gave my life to him and was driving on the road and his sweet presence came in the car and I begin worship and praising him as as it is a man of God as a disciple is his disciple and and and and and and I remain and I just remember the presents was just so thick in that car began to weep and cry and after 17 years he waited so patiently and answered me know. I major like this hallelujah is just so wonderful. I just want to tell you.

My hope is for you to understand that no matter where you are in your life like I was on at 7 mile bridge in total despair and hopelessness. Wanting to in my life that matter where you are in your life what you've done. If you give your life to Jesus Christ.

He can change you and make you into what he created you to be any will deliver you once and for all from all of your distress. I'm going in this podcast with this point, I wrote when I was in prison. It is for all you will find yourself lost at sea with no hope. Like I did and I was on that 7 mile bridge yelling at God. This point is called lost at sea alone at sea is a wanderer adrift now lost track of time. Sun scorched without guidance. A prisoner of this ocean my mind lost on the waters of self-reliance with the paddle made out of broken dreams friendly calling for anyone.

Please come hurry and rescue me how lonely is this ocean want your arms all paddled out sitting perched on pieces of wreckage sharks circling to feed him. I doubt the ship that that sailed me into my bright future now has dreadfully fallen apart, smashed by the storm of my addiction.

Not at all what I intended from the start searching the painful horizon. No signs of life can be found. Waves are crashing and tragic melody cords of her get making ominous sound, God's mighty spirit is calling the giver of light to all things Holy Spirit, always shining Fort beacon to all lost human beings a lighthouse standing tall on the clip for all his lost ships at sea.

The mark of his safe harbor, a place of rest in peace for you and me, a compass of sure direction. He is the win that makes me come about. He delivers power into my sales. He is a rudder of guidance in the midst of my doubt God's given me a new vessel. This ship will for sure so many home headed back navigated by his glory. No longer do I travel alone now as I turn for safety only his spirit knows the way I am headed for God safe harbor now. The waves finally obey the stars have become my music dancing across the beautiful night. The bear jumps over Orion. My new heading takes off and fly. No more wasted movements. No need for orange life. This God now taken over my journey given the sailor much needed rest. My life is now good weather in this ocean. I'm no longer alone selling along income waters pointing towards Jesus who will carry me home. I love you all and I pray that you too can find the freedom that I found in Jesus Christ Jesus Christ.

He is my safe harbor, and the like that always carried my bike this is the greatest life I ever live living my life in Jesus Christ. God bless you all in Jesus name I pray, thank you for listening. For more information on Michael Billings ministry sons and daughters of thunder visit sons and daughters of thunder.org and remember there is no addiction in Jesus Christ. Jesus breaks the chains. This is the Truth Network


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