James C. Esquibel- Bio
I grew up in Albuquerque, NM in a functioning dysfunctional family setting. I had an absent father and distant stepfathers, no Godly influences, no example of a what a Christ-like man should be, and no true guidance or direction for my life. My mother, who had been abandoned by her parents as a child, loved us kids but could not be a Godly example since she never had one either. As an 11 year old boy, I was surrounded by all kinds of things that no child should ever be exposed to: drugs, alcohol, gangs, promiscuity, and a lifestyle that leads on down a path of destruction.
I loved music as a young child, and when I was exposed to guitar playing for the first time, it blew me away! I wanted that gift. Little did I know, God had already placed that desire and that gift within me. Learning to play guitar came very naturally to me. I spent my teenage years honing this craft, and I embraced the misguided ideology of being a famous rock star and dying by the time I was thirty! Some dream, huh? In pursuit of that dream I chased a life of boozing and getting high. I opened doors into the spirit realm through the music that influenced me. I loved alot of the bands from the 70's, and the whole dark aura and twist on reality they embodied. Eventually, I found my way to even darker music with bands of the eighties who were even more blatant in their ungodliness. These groups were great musical bands; their deception, however, was in their lyrics. It was here that I took an even bigger interest in the occult and anything that resembled darkness. I embraced I, and it embraced me even more than I realized.
My first real eye-opener about spiritual warfare came one evening when I had taken an hallucinogenic. I had just started to trip when, on the television, appeared these self-proclaimed psychics. Instead of being pleasant and relatively normal, though, they had revealed their true selves to me, and what I saw was grotesque, hideous, and evil. I tried to get my friends to see what I was seeing, however, these beings made it very clear that I was the only one that could see them! This scared me, and no sooner than that, all my friends left, and I found myself alone with those spirits. They seemed to be in tune with my mind, since I was in a higher cognitive sense of reality, and able to discern my mind and thoughts. I had an old picture of the Lord Jesus in my room. I had always kept it because it came from my grandma. When I saw that picture, I called out to the Lord in my mind, and these demons began to make gagging sounds every time I thought on the Lord Jesus to help me. This was my first crying out to the Lord.
In my family, we knew and “believed” in God, but I know now, He was definitely not a part of our household. Years prior to this, one day while I was out with my friends, we stopped at a Burger King for whatever. I used to wear a wizard pentacle around my neck, and it caught the eye of this woman (and I don't even know who she was to this day). She looked me directly in the eyes, with the warmest love, and told me “Jesus loves you!” Jesus loves me? I didn't know how to receive that, so I blew it off. Still, it always stuck with me; the Lord was trying to get my attention! During these years, I came really close to death on at least 3 separate occasions, but even that was not enough to open my eyes that the Lord was calling me.
At 19, I became strangely ill, so I quit drinking and smoking. I could no longer enjoy it. My only thoughts were about living, and about the fear of dying. I eventually got better, but I started to drink again. I began to have really horrible nightmares, where demons would visit me in the night, and try to kill me, or hurt me. I used to stay up at nights, and in the hours when nothing good is showing on TV, there happened to be a local pastor talking; his words and his style of delivery caught my attention. I had already begun to read a little bit of the Bible, but hearing God’s Word expounded gave me revelation. I decided for Easter Sunday of 1995 to attend this church, and to hear this pastor live. He did an altar call, and I responded and gave my life to the Lord that day. My life was never the same again! I continued to be tormented by those demon spirits in my dreams, but as I grew in the knowledge and understanding of the Word, I learned to pray in my dreams, and rebuke these spirits to leave me in Jesus' name, and they obeyed! Then, they, by whatever means, learned to sense my thoughts, and before I could rebuke them with my mouth, they would cover my mouth, or lift me high away from them, as if to remove me from their presence. This is a principle I still do not fully understand, but trust that God, just as He has demonstrated through the Book of Job, has His purpose for allowing certain things for whatever reason He sees fit!
My musical gifting was reignited and I befriended a fellow guitar player in the church band. He encouraged me to join the band, but as a bass player. I met some other fellow bandmates, and formed my first Christian group, Under the Blood. We started really strong, and within a year or so, we found ourselves playing some larger local Christian events with established recording artists, sharing the same dressing room and such. God was giving us a glimpse of what was in store for us, but we all fell away, and His anointing came off of us. We no longer had the opportunities that we once had; the band fell apart, my family fell apart, and I found myself so far away from God once again!
With my family broken apart and my having been removed from serving in the church I once belonged to, I relocated to San Antonio, TX to try and “make it” musically out on my own. Instead, I quickly found myself entangled in a legal snare that stole all that hope away. During this time, I found a local church, and that is where God finally dealt with my shortcomings. He gave me the revelation that not all people are destined for what they believe is greatness and fulfillment, but rather what God has purposed for each one of us, as we either allow or don't allow, according to our free will that has been given to each of us. His purpose for me was music, but for His Glory and His Kingdom's sake, and that I have chosen to honor and fulfill! I soon met Jay and my wife, Angelina, and the rest is history (minus the future to come)! God is so good and faithful, and this I know because years ago when I first got saved, I prayed that God would never let go of me, no matter what I did, where I went, or whatever, and to this day He's honored that! He's protected me, loved me forgiven me, and even given me a second start at everything; how great is that!