I was raised on a farm in the San Luis Valley where I lived for the first 20 years of my life. I had no background in religion, and as far as I remember, no one had ever spoken to me about God. I had access to beer anytime that I wanted it since my Dad was one of the first to grow barley in the Valley for the Coors Beer Company. Twice a year the field man for Coors would come around to our farm and leave many cases of beer which my father would store in the cellar. I started drinking beer when I was around nine years old. By the time I was sixteen a school buddy and I were able to get hard liquor at a certain place if we waited until after eleven PM. Therefore, I graduated to hard liquor, and this started a sin that I could not control. By the age of eighteen I was a complete drunk, or a fancy name - 'alcoholic.' At that time Satan had complete control of my life. Other sins began to creep into my life also, and by the time I was twenty I had committed just about every sin a person could think of except murder. I did shoot at a man one time. However, by the grace of God, I missed my target.
At the age of twenty I married a wonderful Christian lady by the name of Nancy. We moved to Pueblo, Colorado where I got a job with the Rainbow Bread Company. Nancy knew I had a drinking problem but didn't know the extent of it until after our marriage. I got to know some of the other salesmen that drank liquor, and we would go out for beer and sometimes vodka. I'm not proud of this, but I could drink a fifth of vodka in one setting. As time went by my sinful habit of drinking got worse; it got so bad that the high and the laughter and so called 'fun' or 'good times' changed to depression. I also got to the point that I would drink on the job sometimes. As I was finishing my bread route, before I would go back to the bakery, I would have some drinks. I could have been fired for this breach of conduct, but God heard the prayers of my Godly wife and kept me from ruining my career and life. My Christian boss may have known also but didn't say anything about it. I do know that he prayed for me and had faith that God could and would change my life for the better.
For about twelve years there was hardly a Christmas Eve that I came home to my wife and family sober. I still don't know how she could put up with this behavior and not complain, but she suffered through those twelve years by the grace of God.
My depression got worse and worse, and I knew things were going to come to an end in my life. I felt that I had nowhere to go, and on a Friday evening in March 1975 I left work and headed home. As I headed up the road to catch I-25 I felt in my heart that this was the end of the road for me. Satan had such a grip on my life, and I was in such bondage that I said to myself, "I'm not going home. This is the end." As I approached the 29th Street exit in Pueblo, Colorado, which I was going to drive past, something clicked inside my mind. I thought back to a few weeks earlier when a Christian man said something that I found hard to forget. He was a man that I was breaking into run a bread route for the company. He had told me that he always left things in God's hands and didn't worry because Jesus never lets you down.
I also remembered what my Christian boss had said to me many times. He said, "You need God in your life, and you need to find a good church."
I believe that God in His grace was working in my heart even then. I, without thinking about it, took the 29th street exit and headed the two miles towards home. My thoughts were that maybe, just maybe, this Jesus, whom I didn't know, could help me. I didn't sleep much that Friday night, and as I left home for work the next morning thoughts like these kept coming to my mind. Saturday was a long day as I tried to sort the events of the last 24 hours out in my mind. When I got home I asked Nancy if she would go to church with me Sunday morning. She, of course, said yes. We went to the First Southern Baptist Church which the president of our bread company had told me about. This was quite a new experience for me as I had never been to church before. The pastor didn't really preach a salvation message, but what he did say made sense to me. The week following this experience was full trials and tribulations which I believe were sent from the Devil himself. The refrigerator went out, and I had a terrible work week. My customers were hard to talk to and nothing seemed to go right. Saturday evening when I got home Nancy asked me about the work week. I told her about the things that had happened during the week. She told me that she had prayed for me all during the week, and had prayed that God would get me through the week safely. That sparked something in me, and I responded that I would like to go to church again Sunday morning. This time the preacher preached a message that I know was just for me. When he gave the altar call I was about five rows back. I don't remember leaving my seat, but this was a day that I will never forget. Jesus saved me from my sins and delivered me from alcohol at the same time. Praise His Name! He also changed the direction of my life forever.
When I talk to people today I tell them that I am not a former alcoholic, but that I am a 'delivered alcoholic.' By the grace of God I have not had a single taste of liquor for over 40 years.
By His grace I can serve and testify for my Lord and Saviour. I am no longer in bondage to sin, Satan, and self because of what Jesus has done for me. Thank you Jesus!
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
When I was lost, I found that Satan was a liar. Now I have an abundant life in Jesus Christ. He is my God, my Lord, my Saviour, and He will never leave me.
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Some may say, "Paul, you're crazy. You are a religious fanatic." Let them mock and laugh at me. I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord, and I will not fear their laughing and mocking because God is on my side.
So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
What will you say when you stand before Him at the Judgment? —Will Jesus Christ be your Lord or will He be your Judge?
Would you like to know how you too can receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? The Bible says that we must come to the end of ourselves.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
You must come to the understanding that only the Lord Jesus Christ can save you.
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Call upon the Lord Jesus Christ right now.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Won't you please trust Jesus as your Saviour?Paul and Nancy Ehardt