Well, for someone who had been depressed and had not enjoyed life, to hear that I was having a chance to start life all over again brand new was wonderful. To have a new chance in life. He said, “I have forgiven you , and now for you to have a born-again marriage, then you must forgive Charlie in the same way that I have forgiven you.”
Well, I said “no” to that. I said “no way!” He hasn’t asked me to forgive him, I’ve got this long list that went page after page after page of things that he had done that had hurt me over those twelve years. And I didn’t want to forgive him. I wanted him to suffer for a little while, and I told that to Lord. But then the Lord spoke to me again. And He said, “Dottie, I thought you had made me your Lord. If you have made your Lord, it means that you do what *I* want you to do and not what YOU want to do.” And I did remember a scripture in the Bible that said –that spoke about those people that say “Lord, Lord” that don’t obey the Father in heaven.
And so I knew that was true. How could I now call Jesus my Lord and not obey Him? So I agreed to do that. But I really thought it was impossible, and so I said, “God, I’ll agree to forgive him but there’s no way I really CAN. How can I forgive and forget all these hurts that have been with me for so long?” And so I asked God to help me.
Well, He did. It didn’t happen overnight, but over a two month period He worked in my heart and He removed unforgiveness and He healed all the hurt and all the pain. If you’ve ever been hurt by someone you know how deeply it feels. And how painful it is. And God took away all that pain and all that hurt and really cleansed my heart and gave me a new heart towards my husband. I praise God for that! I found that unforgiveness wasn’t hurting him –it was hurting me. And it would have hurt my relationship with God. So I prayed and He taught me that and He worked through His Spirit within me so I could forgive Charlie.
And then the Lord taught me unconditional love. You see, I had been loving Charlie so that he would love me back. And if I loved him and he didn’t love me back the way I wanted, then I would withhold some of my love for him. But God was telling me to love him UNconditionally, to love him 100% –whether he loved me back or not. Again, I prayed and asked God to help me because humanly we can’t love that way. But God loves us that way, and He places His Spirit in our hearts which enables us to love that way.
And so God began to work in my heart and give me this unconditional love for Charlie. Then I began to see how I had made this dreadful mistake. You see, I had put Charlie first in my life when we were married. And whatever is first in your life is your god –what you’re looking to for fulfillment. Well, Charlie is not God. I had put an impossible burden on him to fulfill my needs and to please me. He’s not perfect; only Jesus Christ is God. Only He is perfect. And so Charlie, of course couldn’t please me.
But now I had put Jesus first in my life, and Charlie second. And I looked only to the Lord to fulfill my needs. To Him for my love. To Him for my purpose. And He’s never disappointed me. He’s taken away all my depression and given me purpose for living. I glorify Him and praise Him, and try to share His love with the world.
And that’s why we’ve come –to share His love with you and to tell you about what He’s done in our lives, because He can do the same in yours if you don’t already know Him. Thank you so much for inviting us, and God bless you.
Thank you, love. While Dottie started her change in her walk with the Lord, her walk with Jesus, in 1975 –that was when I took my eyes off the moon and put them on money.
I was at that meeting that weekend at our church, but my mind was on the million and a half I just borrowed at the bank. How was I going to pay that back? Man, this has got to work. Oh, what am I doing? I’d never run a business before. I’ve done management in the military but never a business where *I* was responsible.
We started out and moved to the San Antonio area, and it was a success. And money was rolling in. I was a beer distributor, and there’s 12 million cases of beer a year sold in San Antonio, Texas. I mean, if you just get a little of that business you’ve got a good business.
So I was selling beer, but all of a sudden I realized that it wasn’t really too great of a challenge, after I got it organized (which I did enjoy). But after I got it organized I was spending my time with Cowboy Joe at the Dewdrop Inn, drinking beer. I mean, I had a master’s in engineering and it didn’t seem like –all of a sudden I was bored again! You know, “NOW what?” I’m counting the money and my partner comes by and picks me up in his jet and we go to Palm Springs to play golf. And you can –you know you can only play on one golf course. We had everything that money could buy and I’m bored.
So Dottie came to me and, by this time things were changing at home. She said, “Have you prayed about it and asked God if He wants you in the beer business?” It never entered my mind that God was –I mean, if there is a God, I mean He’s not interested in the beer business. You know, He up there running the universe somewhere. And so I said, “Well, no.” And you know I could read the prayers but I couldn’t say them –I mean I didn’t know how to really pray.
But she said, “Would you do what God wants you to do?” and I said, “Well, yeah, I’ll do that.” And so she prayed –I asked her to pray and she did. Something very simple but very directed from the heart. And it was, “God, if you want Charlie in the beer business, give him peace…but if you don’t want him in the beer business, make it so miserable that he sells out!”
Well, six months later I sold out. For a very handsome profit –I mean, it was more money than I’d ever seen in my life and ever thought I’d have. So when I didn’t have a job, that was in March of 1978. I really wasn’t looking for a job too hard but I was thinking about real estate and things like that.
Anyway, a friend of ours, a doctor, invited us to a Bible study at a tennis club. And I decided to go –not because I was really desperate for God, you know, but I wasn’t. I had all this money and things were getting better at home and things were looking better. But I decided to go to this Bible study because I like history and I like current events. And it was going to be a study of the Middle East and what does the Bible say about Israel and all of the things that we see and the troubles of the world.
And so I went. But I got there, and I wasn’t really too challenged with the historical part of the study, at least, about the Middle East, but I was challenged with the question: Who was Jesus? And I’d really never thought about that in a deep way. I mean, I had said the words that Jesus was the Son of God but I had never really thought about it.
And I realized, sitting there that weekend, that I have a choice. I have a free will. And I can choose to walk with God or I can choose to walk apart from God. I mean, we make decisions every day. We all are creatures of decision. We have free will. I chose to come to Calgary (Canada). I mean, I chose to wear this blazer tonight, to wear my little moon-walker tie. You know, those were decisions. And I’m sitting there this weekend facing a really important decision. And I realize I had to make a decision, that if I chose to believe the Bible says I have eternal life and I am in fellowship with God. But if I choose to not believe and walk away (which is my right), I get to choose to walk in the darkness and forever to be separated from unless I change my mind.
And sitting in the front seat of my automobile, I looked over at Dottie and I said, “Darling, there is no doubt in my heart that it’s true, that Jesus Christ really is the Son of God and He died for me on the cross and I give Him my life right now, as best I can.”
And I didn’t see any angels and there wasn’t any heavenly music starting to play and no bells and whistles went off. No blinding light, nothing. I wasn’t sobbing on the steering wheel, but I knew that I knew that I knew –that it was real. And I began to get this peace which the Bible calls the “peace that passes all understanding”. It’s the peace of God. And the next day the only thing I could really experience other than this peace and this joy that I was beginning to receive was an insatiable desire to read the Bible.
And I began to read the Bible. And the more I began to read the Bible the more I saw that my lifestyle really didn’t line up with what God was expecting of me as a husband and a father. A few days later I read in the scripture “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.” (That is, the Church). Well that was a sacrificial love. 100% love. I’d thought marriage was sort of a negotiated deal, you know, like you do in business. You give, she gives, he gives –we meet in the middle and we sign a contract. You know, I mean that’s what’s presented.
But the Bible says “Husbands love you wives” , sacrificially, 100%. And I didn’t have any love for my wife. But I had this desire, this hunger in my heart to love her as Christ loved the Church. And I asked God to forgive me and I asked Dottie to forgive me and Jesus forgave me for He is faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins. And all we have to do is ask Him, with a repentive heart.
Repentance, I learned, means turn from your way and turn to God’s way. And so I began to seek God and ask His help and His strength. And God gave me that strength to love my wife. And my love for my wife continues to grow daily –moment by moment almost, as God has placed in our hearts a love for one another that I can’t even describe to you. And I know one thing, I’m more in love with my beautiful bride today than when I met over 29 years ago.
God has changed my heart and filled me with love and healed our marriage. And we aren’t going towards divorce any more. Divorce is not an option for us. We got problems, and we fuss, and we have differences but we talk and we seek God’s direction and we pray together and we seek what He wants us to do. And I humble myself and she humbles herself. When God shows me that I’m wrong, I humble myself and I go and ask for forgiveness, and would you forgive me –I want to walk in obedience to God.
And God has healed our marriage. And now the closer we get to God –it’s like being on the edge of a triangle. With Jesus at the apex, and you are are here and your wife is here –the closer you get to Jesus the closer you get to one another. And God has really restored our marriage. And I know what it is to be one in Spirit as I was one in body with my wife. And I praise God for that. And I know many other examples I could tell you where God has worked just as miraculously in their marriage as He has in ours. And there’s nothing impossible with God and God has healed that relationship.
And we seek God daily. We pray together and we walk together and we just try to find God’s will for our lives, our businesses and all the other things that we’re involved in. It’s walking with God! And I walked on the moon but walking with God is a lot more exciting. It cost the government 400 million dollars for me to walk three days on the moon, and it’s over. But to walk with Jesus –is FREE, and lasts FOREVER.
Praise God! I mean, that’s exciting to see what God can do in a life and a marriage. And in a business. And with children. I said that I was an absentee father. The Lord convicted me from the scriptures –one little simple statement. The Bible is so penetrating. Most people don’t read the Bible because they don’t want to get judged. And I read, as I was reading I was judged and convicted.
This little statement: “We have the power of life and death in the tongue.” And God spoke to my heart and said, “You cursed your own sons.” Not words of profanity –they heard enough of that– that’s not what I’m talking about curses. I mean real curses, Biblical curses. I mean words of discouragement, words of fear –into my kids. You tell boys their dumb and stupid and aren’t going to amount to anything for twelve years and they’re going to believe you. And they’ll become exactly what you speak. And mine had basically done that.
And I wept. God convicted me and said, “You change.” And I started speaking words of encouragement to my sons –they were 11 and 13 when I began my walk with Jesus. And now they’re 26 and 24 and God has restored relationships and we ALL walk together as a family with God. Jesus is the head of our family. Jesus is the head of my life. Jesus is first my life. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”.
And I could stay here and testify to you all night long of the miracle-working power that I’ve seen in Christ Jesus. And through Him, to open the eyes of the blind –I mean physical healings that are incredible to an engineer but I’ve seen them. God is real. God is powerful. And He can change, and heal, and restore, and deliver. And I know the love and the joy and the peace of Jesus Christ.
And I walk through life and someday I’m going to come to the end of life. And that’s it. And they’re going to put me in a box. But to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and I’ve have a peace of God in my heart that I know that I belong to Him and when the end does come for me –I’m going to be with Jesus. What a peace you can have in your life. Praise the Lord.
Anybody else in here walk on the moon? Raise your hand. Nobody. There’s not a person in here in this room. I’m the only one in Calgary (Canada), probably. But you know, you don’t have to go to the moon to meet Jesus. Right here, He’s here tonight. And you can start a walk with Jesus. I can’t take you to the moon, folks. I wish I could –I’d love to go again. I mean, God hasn’t taken that adventure away from me. I still like to get airplanes and burn it. And I do, occasionally. And the faster they go and the lower they go, the happier I am. And that hasn’t changed. And I can’t take you all in an adventure like that but we can walk hand in hand with Jesus.
If you want to walk with God, then I just ask you to pray in your heart a little simple prayer that will open the door, and invite Jesus into your life. For God is a perfect gentleman and He will not enter your life without permission. There are many ways you can say it but one way would be just to say in your heart, “Lord Jesus, I open my heart to you. And I invite you to come into my life. I want you to be Lord of my life. To cleanse me of sin and guilt. To give me purpose, direction by taking my hands. Amen.”
Charlie and I hope you enjoyed our talk in sharing our lives with you. God is so good! He’s changed our lives in so many ways and filled us with His Holy Spirit of love, joy, and peace. If you have just prayed this prayer with us and accepted Jesus in your heart, we encourage you first to read God’s Word daily, to read the Bible. And a good place to begin is with the Gospel of John in the New Testament.
Secondly, praying to God daily is so very important. Open your heart to Him and all of your needs. Just like a telephone — God is on the other end. He just wants you to pick up your end of the telephone and talk to Him daily, telling Him what’s on your heart. Knowing that nothing is too small, nothing is too big, to bring to God because He loves you.
And thirdly, to attend a church. Pray to God and ask Him to lead you to the church that He would like for you to attend. The one He has for you. Jesus loves you and He wants you to know Him and walk with Him. So we pray for you and ask God to bless you as you seek and walk with Him.