A lot of this was written about 4 years ago by my mate John Hays. A mighty man of God. I have explained some things in more detail.
John and his wife Marion have encouraged me to share this testimony as well as in my walk with the Lord.
I was saved on 21st feb 1999 at about 11:30 am.
Ages and dates are up to date as 3/06.
Pete McMaster is a solid man. Solid in body and solid in God! This likeable six foot four walking dynamo, is as fearless as he is tall when it comes to sharing his faith. Once 'hooked on dope' and spending every spare moment drinking beer or fighting in a pub, he is now unquestionably a changed man. My first 'encounter' with Pete was one Sunday morning at the St Helens Christian Fellowship on Tasmania's East Coast. He shared his testimony as a prelude to communion. This was an experience, I must tell you, I will not forget! Having come myself from a fairly conservative, churchy background, I initially wondered if there wasn't an 'air of irreverence' about him! His colourful, but certainly not inappropriate language, was quite different from the norm. He displayed a casual, almost nervous mannerism, but told it 'as it was.' There were no 'airs and graces' just a genuine sharing of his deep love for God from his heart. It was a level of sincerity I considered unique from other testimonies I had heard. In short, I was impressed and made a point of thanking him afterwards. As I extended my hand in greeting, I sensed a deep warmth coming from this man who in no way betrayed what he had just shared. Furthermore, he didn't appear to be in the slightest bit prejudiced or put off by my conservative attire, being 'dressed to the nines' in a suit, collar an? tie! I always detect a level of genuiness and maturity in folk who display such an adaptable spirit. Now I was even more impressed! At 42, Pete lives with his delightful and supportive wife Carol-Ann, better known as Pos, on their one acre country property he proudly tells you he bought for just 'fifteen grand!' Situated at Pyengana about 20 minutes north west of St Helens, I can attest to the fact that their comfortable five bedroom, farm style home was indeed a real bargain! The property is located just off the highway and is surrounded by heavily timbered hills and lush grassy farmland. It is here that Pete and Poss savour the peace and quiet of true country living. Displaying the principle of 'faith in action', their Christian charity and commitment towards those in need, is clear testimony to the genuine love they have for others. As I was given 'the guided tour' one afternoon, Pete, bearing a prankish smirk and with a twinkle in his eye, proudly remarked ?could only be God!? But I knew he meant it. Once again, I was both amazed and encouraged as I saw more evidence of what happens when, as the 'Good Book says', 'if in all our ways we acknowledge Him (God), He will direct our path.'(Prov 3:6)
Following is Pete's story, much as he tells it.
My name is Pete McMaster and this is my Testimony. Firstly, some background on my earlier life. I lived with my parents on a farm in Western Victoria and was raised a Roman Catholic. Dad was pretty hard at times and would often drag me out of bed on Sundays to get me to church. I remember one day however when I had decided to 'give church the flick.' I took off across the paddocks with 'the ol' man' in hot pursuit, waving a cricket bat and shouting for me to stop! But with a mind of my own and plenty of determination, I kept running! That is, until I heard him yell, right! I'm goin' back fer the gun! I knew dad always meant business and remembered the gun hung just above the back door. It didn't take me long to come to the conclusion that it might be healthier if I just went to church! I started smoking cigarettes at around eight or nine and had my first joint of Marijuana at fifteen. I played around with motorbikes and guns, preferring the outdoor life.
After attending a country high school until year eleven I finally left when I was seventeen. To me, school was an easier option to carting hay or working in the woolshed! Despite failing most subjects, I managed to pass year eleven maths! Most of my boyish pranks were restricted to occasionally doing donuts on the local golf course or riding a motorbike through town in a slightly less than sober state! I didn't think this was too serious at the time. My story begins when I was about 30 years of age. Although pretty much your average bloke, I was an alcoholic and drug addict. I didn't consider this too unusual though, because all of my mates were the same. I seemed to possess a natural disliking for work and spent a lot of my time drinking beer and smoking dope. I was either drunk or stoned! I was paid to play football in the winter and grew dope in the summer to maintain my drinking habit.
Me, 5th from right, back row,
representing Collingwood, in under 15 Schoolboy side.
Branxholm Premiers 1995
4th from left, middle row.
One night I was sleeping beside my girlfriend when I suddenly woke up panting and in a sweat. Waking her up, I said, ? I've just dreamt that I'd been shot in the stomach.? She didn't seem too concerned and rather casually replied ,O yeah, good on ya, and went back to sleep.
Two nights later I had exactly the same dream and once again woke up panting and in a sweat. I just dreamt I've been shot in the guts again, I exclaimed. This time my girlfriend took me more seriously. We talked about it a bit wondering what it meant. It was Christmas Eve and a Friday night. I had decided to go around to a mates place for a few beers. On the way, I remembered the dreams I had and recall thinking , I hope I don't get shot in the guts tonight. As we drank and smoked and talked into the night, my mate was playing around with a loaded shotgun when it suddenly discharged. Realizing I had been hit in the stomach, I ran outside shouting, 'Phil, you ##$?*&;%, you've shot me! Although at first it didn't seem too bad, I soon felt and seen streams of blood running down my legs. Fortunately, the local hospital was just down the road, so I started towards it. By the time I got out into the street however, I started 'going down.' I thought I'm going to die, but at least I'll soon find out where you go when you do!. For some reason, I didn't seem too worried.
Others came to help and after loading me into the back of their van, drove me off to the hospital. I heard the doctors whispering " He's bleeding from the mouth and knew the situation wasn't real good. When they found a pellet between my top lip and dental plate they calmed down a bit. I had pellets in my stomach, face legs, hand and right ear. After a 4 hr trip from St Helens in the ambulance without pain killers, ( too much alcohol ) ( when you're in agony, every second is counted, they seemed to be in no rush, I think they expected me to die, there was a lot of blood ) I got to the big hospital in Launceston. The pellet in my stomach perforated all the bowels and nicked my aorta and made it weep blood, ( the doctors could not understand why it never burst like a balloon) and then lodged near my backbone.
The doctors operated on me and as soon as I awoke there was 2 Detectives there barking questions at me wanting to know what was going on. The police had went to the girlfriends house and said that there had been an accident and she said straight away "he's been shot, hasn't he" because of the dreams that I had. My mate was a bit of a lunatic anyway so the cops thought there was something suspect going on.
After they removed the gunshot, I laid awake for three whole days. The morphine drip was not in properly and I was in agony. I had staples in my stomach from the top of my groin to my chest where they had done an operation. I really thought I was going to die of pain then.
Thoughts ran constantly through my head, How come I had dreamt I was going to get shot? Was it some kind of premonition, prophecy, was it from some place called my subconscience, was it from God or was it from aliens up there buzzin around. I didn't give God a chance, because to me Christians were little more than a bunch of two faced hypocrites who just loved to get dressed up on Sundays! I'd have put my money on the aliens, ( beam me up Scotty) ( Too much TV.) Finally, a nurse gave me an injection and I slept for the next two days.
When I had recovered sufficiently to be discharged from the hospital, I focused on finding answers for my dreams. I read about the predictions of Nostradamus, studied the teachings of Psychics and Channellers, anything I could get my hands on. However, despite all that had happened, I didn't stop drinking beer or smokin' dope and before long I started believing what I was reading. I took a particular interest in anything to do with the end of the world. I read about Armageddon and studied Eastern Religions, but still had no interest in the God of the Bible. I started dowsing with rods ( learnt when I was a kid on the farm )and pendulums with interesting results. I was on the hunt for the truth. That is all I wanted now, to find out what's going on on this planet.
Reading Nostradamus to "Mo", our 3 legged cat.
One day I saw an advertisement in a magazine, Do you want to know the secrets of the Universe? I thought That sounds alright. So I wrote away and they sent back books and information on certain rituals I could perform. I set up a mirror with candles, incense and an Altar and recited a prayer. It wasn't a prayer to the true Creator of the Universe, but to the god of the Cosmos! At the time, it all sounded harmless enough. Later however, I discovered that the Greek word for Cosmos was World. So, in effect, I was praying to the god of this World. I asked this thing to infuse my being. While praying the prayer I started shaking and remember thinking, this is strange!, what's going on here? I soon became filled with pride. Everyone else was wrong and I was right. I continued drinking beer and whiskey which led me down an even darker path as I drew deeper into occult practices. By now I was growing more desperate in my search to find truth. I had become paranoid about the end of the world. I buried food and stuff in case there was a catastrophe. I was tiring from all the false predictions I was being fed. Date settings and predictions, but from which nothing ever eventuated! These so called teachers also taught you how to leave your body! I only tried it a couple of times but that was enough. It was a strange experience to be actually out of your body whilst it was still lying on a bed!
I also looked at Buddhism and Hinduism (It didn't impress me much that a fella could live in a cave for 20 years and live on only " bat crap" The denial of self was the goal but that was a bit too much for me. I liked the bit where you could smoke as much dope as ya like though.) but their teachings were complicated and unreliable! Neither made any sense as far as I was concerned. I made a flotation tank ( like a big coffin )and filled it up with water and salt to float for ages in the pitch black to see if I could contact my dead grandfather. The "Tower of Power" a phalliic symbol or Obelisk if you like was made to make my vege patch grow better after placing it on "Power lines". People going past the front of my house could look in and see it plain as day and would ask me "how come ya built a giant dick in ya back yard?" This was not, it seemed, very normal behaviour in country North East Tasmania. They all thought I was completly mad and looking back I have to agree. It is how the devil leads you into chasing shadows and you think you are getting somewhere. He gives results but takes a lot more than he gives.
My mate Jezza with the "TOWER OF POWER"
It was at this point I finally started thinking about God and to try and learn more about Jesus. After all, I had looked at all the other religions with their alternative thinking and none had offered me any helpful answers. I became especially interested in biblical prophecy, finding particular interest in a book that had been written by a man called Barry Smith. I found his writings more reliable and informative than others. I was still not into reading the Bible however, except the book of Revelation and the prophet Daniel.
When I finally decided to stop reading all the other New Age material, something inside me started to stir! I became depressed, anxious and fearful. I heard voices in my head. I couldn't think, read a book, watch television or do anything! I was a total wreck! I even wondered if I was going mad and whether others suffer like this. I just didn't know what was happening. Even so, I continued my drinking and smoking of marijuana.
One day I picked up another Christian book with what is commonly known as 'the sinners prayer' in it. Through this prayer, you invite Jesus into your life. I did this, but felt no different. It said that Jesus would set you free and I sure wanted to be free! So I kept on asking Jesus to set me free. I would recite the Lord's Prayer over and over. By now I was close to having a nervous breakdown. There was a struggle going on inside me, a spiritual battle was raging between the forces of good and the forces of evil. I needed to be released from whatever it was that was trying to control me.
One night, at around 2 am I went outside to see why our dog was barking. We lived in the bush and it was not uncommon for the dog to bark at wallabies, or tassie devils or native cats in the night that were sniffing around the chook pen. Going back to bed, I tried to get to sleep, but the dog's continual barking kept me awake. As I lay there in my wakeful state, I decided to amuse myself with a mind game I often played. The idea was to empty your mind, and then ask a question. The answer would be the first thought that came back into your head. So I asked what was the exact time and the answer came as 4:17. I thought, that's strange, why would I think that when it's only 3:30am? So I tried again and this time the word Matthew came to mind. I realized that Matthew 4:17 was in the Bible. As it was a Sunday morning, I got out of bed and looked it up. It said, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. I found this rather interesting and mentioned it to my girlfriend. Perhaps God is telling me something and maybe we should go to Church? was my response. Although something we would never have imagined doing, we went off to church. After we got there we both became quite emotional. Half off our trolleys' from smoking dope, we saw what we thought was nothing more than a bunch of weirdos waving their hands about in the air! Yet they seemed happy enough. We stayed as long as we could but eventually left. Although glad to get out, I still intended coming back the following week. A pattern we actually repeated for the next three months!
After 2 months of church
on a good day.
One Sunday morning the Pastor invited me to the front and asked if I wanted to become a Christian. I thought what are you on about mate. I've been coming for three months, I'm dressing up and everything, I thought I already was one. I said 'Yeah, whatever.' I started repeating the sinner's prayer after him when I suddenly began shaking. I felt something in me trying to resist. A voice was yelling from inside " No, No, You can't do this, you can't do this, you've still got dope growing in the bush". I thought whats that got to do with anything and what am I doing anyway. Finally I made a confession and invited Jesus to be Lord of my life. The resistance I had been experiencing suddenly stopped and I felt free for the first time in my life! I was what the Bible calls, 'born again.' My eyes were opened. Heaven and Hell, life and death, God, Jesus, satan, angels, demons, it was all real .It was as if a light went on. I went home later in the day and threw all my dope in the fire and my occult books and I didn't even know why, I just knew I had to do it. There was no way that I would have done that the day before. God was already working.
I also had a dream that night that I knew was from God. For the last couple of years I was tormented at night by my dreams because of all the occultic exercises I had done to make them more real and to get in them and stuff and there was no peace, no rest. It was like world war 3 in my head at night.
The dream was 26:18 in great big flaming numbers.. I started going through the bible and came to Leviticus 26:18 which said, "If you continue to these things I will punish you for your sins seven times over". Now that put the " Fear of the Lord" in me big time cause I knew He could.
A couple of months later I read 26:18 in Deuteronomy which said, "Since you have agreed to obey the LORD, he has agreed that you will be his people and that you will belong to him, just as he promised". It made me feel like one of His children.
Then, the voices started coming back. There was guilt, shame, fear, depression, doubt, anxiety, insecuritiy and such. But they were not on the inside this time and they were nowhere near as annoying. They were constant though. It was like someone had left a wireless on in the next room, and I knew the enemy was trying to tempt me back to my old habits.
A visiting evangelist came to our church and invited anyone who wanted a special touch from God to come out to the front. I went out and he asked me what my problem was. I replied, My mind keeps wandering. Immediately he rebuked the spirits that were tormenting me. You lying, tormenting spirits, begone in the name of Jesus he said. And they did! I dropped to the floor and everything went real quiet. It was my first experience of the power and authority in the name of Jesus. From that moment, I knew I could fully trust God to remove all my anxieties and fears as well as the guilt and the shame of my former life. My only desire now was to share the gospel with others. After what God did for me, I just wanted others in my position to also be free. I knew they could if they too were prepared to trust God and invite Jesus into their lives. I love God and I'm not afraid to share my faith with anyone anywhere. Jesus died on a cross for my sin and I want others to know about His love.
I know I am saved and going to heaven, not because of anything great I have done but because of what Jesus has done for me. The only part I played was to simply believe and make Him part of my life. A few closing comments.
My wife Pos and I have been Christians now for seven years. For fifteen years I lived out of a bag of clothes. Within 3 months of being saved, Poss and I got married because we knew that's what God wanted. We own our home now and there are no longer drugs or alcohol. God is doing great things in our lives and we just want to learn more of how we can serve and love Him.
I'm not going to say that it is always easy and that every problem is fixed
instantly and all things get wrapped up in Fairy Floss. But through
the power of the Holy Spirit that is now within, he strengthens us from
inside to deal with our problems instead of running or hiding.
He is life and life more abundant. The former things have passed away. God has made all things new. Peter McMaster