By the time he was 19, Sam Bishop had been bounced from home to home, gotten hooked on drugs, and also been kicked out of the Army. More than anything, he wanted control of his spiraling life.
That's when Sam gave his soul in exchange for the power of Satan.
"It was this sense inside of me like I'd finally, completely dedicated myself to Satan," he recalls. "When I began to experiment with witchcraft, I began to feel this control. I began to feel like I can manipulate the world around me. I can manipulate the people around me. I'm tired of being stepped on. I'm tired of not being accepted and loved by everybody so I am going to force it to happen."
Control – something Samuel Bishop had searched for his entire life. His father was a violent alcoholic who was in and out of prison. His mom was a drug addict raising Sam and his siblings in a rundown trailer.
"Some of my earliest memories, were of roaches crawling on me while I was sleeping. It was just terrible. There was always this feeling of chaos all throughout the household," he says.
In the midst of the chaos there was something else missing in his life. Love and acceptance. Starting at four-years-old, he'd spend two years in foster care, bouncing from home to home, separated from his family.
"I said, 'Well if nobody wants to accept me maybe there's nothing worth accepting in me. If my parents can't love me, even if they're messed up and they still don't love me, what am I really worth?'" he wondered.
By the time Sam was 15, he was living with his dad, using drugs, drinking, and battling depression.
"There was always this crushing feeling that I was always going to have to deal with this stuff and life wasn't even worth living," he recalls. "I constantly felt this suicidal pressure, 'Why do I even try?' As my depression got worse and worse, I was starting to use these things regularly because I couldn't stand it when I was sober."
After high school, he enlisted in the Army trying to find his way in life but was discharged after only two months.
Sam says, "I was really lashing out at people. I got in fights with people. They said, 'You're not mentally fit to be a soldier because of your substance abuse problems, because your depression and your anxiety are so serious.'"
Samuel moved in with his dad and started working as a janitor in a high school. He added meth and heroin to his daily cocktail of drugs. He also started getting involved in toxic relationships with women where drugs and violence were the norm. By 19-years-old, he thought he was beyond hope. He even believed lies about God.
He recalls thinking, "God loves you only while you're doing well, only while you're doing good. The minute that you step out of line God wants to strike you down and destroy you. So, I figured it's so hard to try that I don't even want to bother trying because God's expectations are too high for me."
It was then he met a woman who was a Wiccan high priestess who introduced him to the occult and new age practices. Through Satanism, he thought he'd found the control and self-worth he always wanted.
"There'd be manifestations, like stuff would move around. I'd do a spell or a ritual or something and I'd see something happen as a result of it and I thought, 'Man, I'm in control.' I loved that feeling of, 'I have power. I have the ability to do something,'" Samuel says.
In early December 2018, he made a blood covenant, dedicating himself to Satan. At once he knew it was a mistake.
Samuel remembers, "I felt in that moment a complete emptiness, a complete hole, like there's nothing in me at all. I felt like, 'Okay, there's no more forgiveness. You're going to hell now.'"
The next morning, Samuel decided he would take his life at the end of the day. Then, while he was on his way to work, something supernatural happened.
Samuel says, "I had this mental image. It was the craziest thing in the world: It was Jesus. I began to feel like, 'Maybe He'll forgive me and I'll somehow find forgiveness and just be really low, just be like dirt to God.' I'll be like, 'That's better than where I'm headed.'"
Later, as soon as he got home, he searched the internet for Bible verses to help renounce Satan.
Samuel shares, "I began to speak these verses like, 'God will cause you to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy.' I took all my tarot cards, all my incense, my books on witchcraft, I took them outside and I threw them away. And I fell on my face outside and I said, 'God I know that I don't deserve to be forgiven.' I said, 'But if you want to forgive me, I'm asking for it God. I need help. I need a new life.' When I walked inside I felt the new presence in the room. And I'm like, 'This is so different. It's not heavy in here. There's no depression, I feel alive, I feel excited, and I feel like I have this hope to look forward to. I feel like I had this future I'm looking forward to.'"
Samuel said he was instantly delivered from his addictions and healed of mental illness.
"The minute that I came to the Lord, all that lifted off and I knew I was forgiven, I knew I was clean. I knew God had given me a new life," he says.
And for the first time...
"I felt this love and this joy from God. I received that acceptance, and it was unlike anything I've ever had in my entire life. It was so fulfilling; it was just so wonderful, and I knew I was a new person," he says.
Today, Samuel is married to Samantha and is an ordained youth pastor. He manages the men's sober living home run by his church. He's also involved in evangelistic outreach and counseling.
"I just thank God for everything that He's done in my life and it's a blessing to be able to reach out to people," he explains. "It doesn't matter how far away from God you are, how far you've gone with the devil, how much you've surrendered to him, you can always come back to Jesus. If I can get saved and God can forgive me, anybody can be forgiven."
Who is Jesus? Is he really God’s Son? And what does Jesus have to do with Heaven? Your questions are answered here.