The Journal of James Hartline
Preparing For My Departure
But Running My Race Until I Leave!
How I Overcame 30 Years of Homosexuality
A Chapter From The Journal of James Hartline:
Gaining Life By Overcoming Death Through Jesus Christ
Part 1: August 4, 2008 -- Facing Death
It was another very hot, muggy day as I walked towards the UCSD Owens Clinic, a medical clinic in San Diego where I have been treated for AIDS and Hepatitis C for the past ten years. Throughout the early part of the summer of 2008, I had been experiencing episodes of extreme fatigue, heavy night sweats and weight loss. I attributed most of the symptoms I was enduring to my exhausting schedule. From competing as a candidate for the San Diego City Council to a recent speaking tour in the state of Ohio, I was tired and I really had pressed myself to the limit. However, this day was an even more trying time. It took all of my strength just to get over to the doctor's office.
As I headed quickly towards my appointment with the physician who specializes in treating patients who are co-infected with AIDS and Hepatitis C, I was really laboring to walk the three miles to the clinic. With each passing minute I was becoming sicker and sicker. Something was wrong -- very wrong. I was literally pouring sweat from every pore in my body and the loss of fluids was draining every ounce of strength left in me.
With a faith in God that has been tried and tested in the fierce fires of great affliction over many years, I walk everyday with an unshakable confidence in the promises of Jesus Christ. His promises to me are ultimate truth -- truth that will see me through every trouble that I will face today and everyday that follows. Despite the fact that I suffer daily with physical pain, I am confident that Jesus Christ will heal me from every disease because His word promises me this eternal gift: His body was broken and crucified so that I might be healed.
This is the attitude that I woke up with on the morning of August 4, 2008 when I was scheduled to see the liver specialist at Owens Clinic. The previous night had been a miserable one for me. I barely slept, waking up every two or three hours soaked in my own sweat. Throughout the night, my joints hurt so much that I felt like my back was being realigned by an invisible and cruel surgeon. I sluggishly got dressed and then ate a couple of spoonfuls of cold cereal before heading out the door. With anticipation that the doctor would provide some answers to why I was enduring such an unusual affliction, I headed as quickly as my tired carcass would carry me to Owens Clinic.
Upon arriving at the clinic I fell into a waiting room chair. Within a matter of minutes I was wisked into the nurse's room where my vitals and weight could be checked. As the nurse was taking my blood pressure, I suddenly jerked my head up and declared, "I am going to throw up!"
"Hold on!" the nurse responded as she ran out of the room to get me a plastic bucket to vomit in.
Within five minutes I was vomiting convulsively. The room began to spin and I was headed for a black out. Something was terribly wrong and I was sinking fast from my harsh reality, a reality that I had not previously experienced in the nearly eleven years I had been fighting the AIDS virus.
Things soon went from bad to worse. The doctors were so concerned with my disintegrating condition that they decided to immediately admit me into the hospital. Left for a few moments alone in one of the examination rooms, I began to weakly cry, "What is happening to me Lord?" I really just wanted to go home and lay in my own bed, but I simply had no strength to move, much less make it to my house. There are times in life when the most we can communicate to God is the simplest, but most sincere of all prayers, "Help me God." And that is what I prayed as I nearly blacked out.
For two agonizing days, I laid in a hospital room at the University of California, San Diego. It was a mysterious illness that had attacked my body. With IV's in a number of sites on my arms, I was pumped full of pain medication and at least five or six other medications designed to make my bodily functions work more normally.
The doctors tested me for everything imaginable, but mysteriously, they could not find any foreign viruses, bacteria or other culprits that were causing my bleak condition. To this day, my doctors have not been able to diagnose what attacked my body earlier this summer. Like I have done so many other times during the past eleven years of fighting the AIDS virus, I simply drew close to my God, crying out for His revelations and a resolution to my affliction.
Over the weeks that have followed since the attack against my body, the Lord has revealed to me a reality that brings me so much closer to a deeper walk with the God who reigns in Heaven and on this earth. As I began to recover from this time of intense sickness, the Lord explained to me that He had allowed me to go through a baptism of affliction, a passing through a river of death, where a more intimate relationship with my Father in Heaven would be forthcoming. The attack against my physical body was a spiritual one that had manifested itself with many dangerous physical symptoms. According to the laboratory tests, my liver was toxic. My liver enzymes were thirty times normal. My immune system was diminished and not producing the normal number of t-cells required to fight off diseases. My digestive system was in complete chaos as my entire being was under assault by this enemy.
After leaving the hospital I was tested for dozens of unique diseases, as well as typical ones. The doctors were not able to find any infections or diseases that had caused the type of illness I had battled over the summer. These doctors are some of the finest HIV specialists in the nation and if a disease was causing my illness they would have found it. In the midst of seeking God for relief from my affliction, I was privileged to hear from my Father in Heaven in a most unusual way. What God has spoken to me during the dark nights of my summer ordeal has initiated in me a new and profound understanding of His call upon my life in this generation.
We are not guaranteed to live this day out, but as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ we are required to live each day as if we will not be here tomorrow. If I were to leave this earth tomorrow, what would I want to be doing as I depart? That is the question that the Lord impressed upon me during the time of my recent sufferings.
"What is it you hear in the night, in your suffering?" God would ask me.
I would toss and turn as my body sought to find a comfortable place to lay on my bed in the midst of my heavy night sweats and extreme aches and pains. I responded to God's question by saying, "Lord. Lord I hear the haunting sounds of many mothers crying out for their sons to come home from the homosexuality that has taken them away to a place of destruction."
The voices of these mothers haunted my mind and I was not sure at the time what was more painful for me, my afflicted body or the realization that these mothers live with the knowledge that their sons are destroying themselves.
"Lord, I also hear the cries of a young sister who misses her brother, a brother who has abandoned her and the rest of his family for the degradation of a homosexual relationship. And I hear a dad who agonizes over a son who he did not spend more time with. A son who is now lost to a homosexual lifestyle that will eventually kill him prematurely."
God responded to my answers by saying to me, "You have heard correctly."
Then the Lord announced His new edict for my life. The Lord proclaimed to me, "I am taking you to a place in this nation where you are going to fight to get those children back. There is a chance they will come back, but you will have to make even greater sacrifices in your life than the sacrifices you have already made in obedience to Me. And in this battle to save these lost children, you will be willing to make those sacrifices if you love them enough to give up your life for them."
The Lord has instructed me that I now must make myself even more vulnerable to humanity. In doing so, there is the weight of knowing that the greater one exposes the intimate details of one's struggles in this life, the greater there will be persecution and mockery and pain. Yet, isn't that the experience of our Lord as they beat Him and exposed His tortured and naked body to the world while hanging Him upon the cross at Golgotha?
Part 2: September 16, 2008 -- Night Turns To Morning
It is now the month of September and the sickness that tortured me during the earlier part of this difficult summer is completely gone. I actually feel healthier now then I have felt in years. Still, I am often awakened during the hushed late night hours by the haunting voices of sisters and mothers and fathers who weep over their lost sons and brothers, and their lost sisters and daughters, all of them having gone astray into the homosexual life with all of its horrific and terrifying outcomes.
The suffering of so many families who cannot resolve the loss of their children to homosexuality is the reason that I am about to do something so extremely personal that I have not been willing to do such a thing before. The struggle of so many men and women who would leave homosexuality and lesbianism, if they were shown the way, is the reason I am about to begin this incredibly significant new phase of my ministry.
In all of the years that I have been in public ministry, from appearing on the 700 Club to having my life story told throughout America on television, radio, in newspapers and magazines, I have never revealed the contents of my personal journals. For the past ten years, I have kept scores of journals that contain the most intimate details of my battle to overcome homosexuality, dealing with AIDS, and other important issues in my life. On the pages of my journals are my life and death struggles, the dreams and visions given to me by the Lord, and my innermost thoughts, feelings and emotions as my mind was being converted from the depravity of homosexuality to that of a man who has the mind of Christ. These are my secret diaries and contained in them is the descriptive essence of my transformation into a man of God where all old things pass away and all things become new.
I am opening up my life so that many lost souls will be retrieved from the fires of hell. I fully intend to rescue as many lost souls as I can from those unending and eternal flames of torment. And if I get burned up in the process, then let everything that is left of me burn up. The Word of God instructs me in Jude v.22-23: "And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh."
God did not bring me this far so that I could look the other way and not feel the despondency and the hopelessness of so many families as they grieve over their sons and daughters who are now engaged in homosexuality and lesbianism. There is also the added weight of knowing that there are people in our world who are actually deceiving these lost sons and daughters into accepting homosexuality as some type of gift from God. This is a demonic lie, a trap designed by satan to lure as many as possible into an eternal hell that they will never, ever be able to escape from.
Does true love look the other way or does true love challenge the enemy until he releases these sons and daughters from their impending demise? My heart beats with a love that will not allow me to remain silent nor standing on the side with those who are too apathetic to care about the condition of the lost children of our generation.
My journals will reveal the hope of deliverance from homosexuality that is available to every human being that seeks the power to be set free. Where there was once so little hope in our society, God is now saying through me, that there is a new wind blowing across these United States, a wind that brings refreshment to the thirsty souls who are bound up in sexual depravity. Things are now changing in our nation. We are not of the same old stale religion that was willing to sacrifice a generation to the deviancy of unfulfilling sexual urges. No, we are so much more than what has been seen in previous generations. The fires of deliverance have begun to burn in our nation and these awesome flames shall not be extinguished.
It is, perhaps, the most evil of all of the devil's assignments, that an arrangement has been made to allow members of the clergy to stand in pulpits under the sacrificial cross of Jesus Christ while such clergy proceed to tell their congregations that being involved in homosexuality is not a sin, but rather the act of two people who love and care for each other. This deception must be challenged by the true servants of the Lord because the eternal destiny of souls is on the line. With the Lord's help, I fully intend to battle against this deception and to contend for every lost soul trapped in the snare of sexual depravity.
All of my struggles, my pains, and my victories are stored in my journals. Today, I allow you to read an entry from my journal that I wrote nearly ten years ago when I was crying out to God to be delivered from homosexuality. Surely you can see that the Lord did not abandon me in such a humbled state. Indeed, He did for me exactly what His word promises. One of my favorite passages in the Bible that is a constant reminder to me that God will always do what He has promised to do according to His word is found in Romans 4:20-21: "Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform." The Lord Jesus Christ granted me complete freedom from the very homosexuality that had kept me spiritually, mentally and physically crippled for thirty years.
Part 3: From The Journal of The Dark Days
Entry 1: Dated March 2, 1999
These are the words I wrote as I approached a place of near death. Infected with AIDS, battling the use of crystal meth and alone with no family, these words are the cries of a man who was dying and so very close to the fires of eternal hell.
"I am so sick. I am now closer to dying than ever. And I am pushing myself closer and closer to that point where I will no longer exist in this world. How does a forty year-old man learn those things that he should have learned as a child? I ask myself this day, can God teach me at this point in my life to learn what I should have learned as a child? Will He even answer me? I have sinned and sinned and sinned against God, against my fellow man, against myself. Why should God heal me from AIDS? Why should He do anything for me when I have refused to obey Him? I have been disloyal in every way to Him. I have been unfaithful to Him in every way. I don't know how to be faithful or loyal to Him. I don't know how. I never learned how. I ask Him to forgive me for all of these grievous sins and show me how to be obedient to Him. I need so many miracles. I have HIV. I am a compulsive homosexual. I am a compulsive drug addict. I am a criminal. I am a liar. I am dishonest. I am disloyal. I am a thief. I am lazy. There is nothing good in me. If there ever was a worse person, I don't know him. How does God do His will in a person like me? Oh, what a transforming miracle I need from Him. If He doesn't help me than I am doomed to die the failure that my parents created. I am all alone. O God be with me. I pray this day that He will appear to me and that He is with me and will work this out. Only God can help me now."
Dated: March 2, 1999
In the spring of 1999 you didn't have to ask me if I was dying. I looked the part and most people who dared to gaze at my emaciated body just assumed I was suffering from some terminal illness. In reality, I had been spiritually dead for many years and now my physical appearance was merely catching up to the coffin that my spiritual existence had been buried in for decades.
By the spring of 1999, I had been suffering for nearly two years with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In 1997, my obsession with homosexuality and crystal meth had led me to become infected with the same deadly disease that had already killed millions of men who had given themselves over to the gay lifestyle. Added to the physical tortures that came with AIDS was the burden of knowing that I had never been able to overcome my involvement with homosexuality, no matter how many times I had tried.
In my journal entry from March 2, 1999, I was crying out to God to deliver me from the sorrows that had harassed me physically and spiritually for so many years. I had never wanted to be plagued with homosexuality and yet, like so many others have stated in our society, the homosexuality had been a part of my personality since childhood. I had first begun to experience homosexual desires at six years of age. For years I had pleaded with God to set me free from a desire that the Bible clearly calls a sin. Not just any sin, but a sin that the book of Revelation says will keep the person out of heaven forever if they practice it and refuse to repent.
When I began keeping my first journal in 1999, I was a classic spiritual misfit because of the homosexuality which had controlled my way of life. Prior to 1999, there were periods of time when I would renounce the homosexuality and give my all to follow God and go to church. When the homosexuality would control me, then I would cease to go to church. I was never one to engage in hypocrisy. It was either all homosexuality or all church, but never the mixing of the two. My conscience would never allow me to be involved in overt sin at the same time that I was sitting in the church and praising the Lord.
Little did I know that God was truly and intently listening to my prayers during all of those difficult years when I would scream out in the midnight hours for His help. Sometimes my heart would feel as if it was being seared with an acidic wounding as I pled for His help because I would interpret God's delays as denials of my requests. Of course, this tortured assumption on my part was the result of fear, rather than faith, controlling my beliefs about God.
Oftentimes, God's timing is not our timing. Thus, we think that God is not listening to our pleas as we continue to suffer. Many men and women who have prayed to God for deliverance from homosexuality have not recognized this critical reality. There is a time for everything under the sun. Unfortunately, most men and women who are practicing homosexuality, and who also claim an experience with Jesus Christ, have not waited for the timing of God's miraculous intervention. Inturn, they give up on God and give themselves permanently over to live a life of complete sexual depravity.
In 1999, God was about to intervene in my own life and answer the thousands of prayers I had prayed to be set free. His intervention intensified during the time when I was starting to feel the real affects of the AIDS virus. That was His time for me to begin the real battle for my freedom from homosexuality. God's timing is different for each man and woman. The sooner we understand that, the better off we will be in our respective journeys to freedom.
God's plan for bringing me out of homosexuality was not the same plan that I had envisioned. I was too fatigued in my life to have wanted any more suffering than what I had already been through. My own personal strength was not a concern to God when He began to take me through my deliverance. In fact, God was about to drain every drop of my own strength out of my life, leaving me mentally, physically and emotionally bankrupt. God didn't want me leaning on my own strength. He wanted me to learn to depend solely on Him as my deliverer, my strength and my comforter.
Deeper wounds and heavier sorrows, these were the realities that I encountered along the path that God was taking me on as I struggled through the afflictions of AIDS, homosexuality and drug addiction. There was nothing in my life that I found enjoyable at that point. And that is just the way that God wanted it. I was literally experiencing my own funeral, a funeral where the pleasures that I had previously experienced in homosexuality and drug use, were no longer viable. Someone once said that we only change what we can no longer tolerate. I have found that statement to be mighty true in my own life.
The Bible describes in Revelation 2:10 the full spectrum of the process that God brought me through in delivering me and granting me a permanent victory over homosexuality: "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
To know God is to know suffering. It is the way of Jesus. That is why He was willing to go to the cross and die for us. The reward that comes at the end of the suffering far surpasses the pains caused by that same suffering. That is what the writer in Revelation is describing when he talks about the crown of life one receives if they remain faithful in the midst of the trial of suffering and the imprisonment to sin.
God tells us in His word that if we are to apprehend Him, then we must follow the same path that Christ took to the cross. The great difference between myself and those who are still in bondage to homosexuality is their attitude towards suffering in this life. The man who refuses to pick up his cross, or refuses to deny his flesh, will never be able to give up homosexuality. Homosexuality is completely selfish and self-serving. A person who is not willing to die to self, so that God can mold that person into a new creation, will never draw close enough to the Lord to be purified and changed into His image. Instead of being transformed into the image of Christ, that person will always remain a slave to sexual sins of the flesh.
I know that many people are looking to my life example of leaving the homosexual lifestyle as a sign of hope that men do overcome that sin. I know that I carry a tremendous responsibility in my assignment and I take that assignment very seriously. How I live my life in public is the same way that I live my life behind closed doors at home, one of obedience to the will of God. As I share my road to redemption with the readers of the Journal of James Hartline, I hope and pray that you will come to know the consuming satisfaction that I have come to know in living a life of complete abandonment to Jesus Christ, the eternal savior of all mankind.
This has been a published article from The Journal of James Hartline.
"Preparing For My Departure - But Running My Race Until I Leave!"