The Free Gift In Hebrews

Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the women, and she won his favour and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Esther 2:17

Without Grace, Life would have been on analogue mode instead of digital. There would have been no basis for Christianity because it wouldn’t have been different from other religions. This Grace comes with the salvation brought to us through the death of Christ on the cross. The salvation through Christ offers us privileges before we ever think of working for any. This is exactly the coverage of the book of Hebrews. The good news of Grace! I’ve realized that not all free things are free. Whenever some freebies get to you, know that someone may have paid for it.

Some people have become spiritually irresponsible because they think that Christ has done it all so there is no other price to pay. This is wrong since Grace does not stop you from being responsible for the things that pertain to your competence and character. The grave you have requires that you work out your salvation with fear and trembling. This Grace allows you labour in your area of competence and portrays you very efficient and well- priced. Therefore, live your life with this consciousness and be an example. Let your light so shine. Enjoy Grace this new month.

Christ has paid the capital charges of salvation. Pay the service charge of living a life that points people back to him.

Source: Daily Discoveries

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Living For God Means Freedom For Me

I want to glorify God whether I’m running errands, staying at home by myself or writing. I want my life to be all about God and focused on Him. When it is, I know what I can do and what I can’t, and I don’t have to be able to do it all. I’m secure in who I am in Christ and not threatened by others who can do things I can’t do. And I don’t have to know everything and have all the answers to be okay.

I’m also free to have limits and say no when I need to say no because it’s not about pleasing people but being obedient to God. And serving God makes me a better servant of others. I can really love people when I’m not thinking about myself or wondering about what they’re thinking about me.

You don’t have to be like everybody else or do things like everybody else. God created you to be a unique individual and He wants you to be free to be who He made you to be. Keep your heart and mind on Him, and whatever you do, do it for Him.

A life of freedom is a life that’s all about Him!

Ways You Need To Revolve To God When You’re Far From Him

Sometimes God gives us hardships so we can turn to him and get closer to him; sometimes he just wants to remind us that life is fleeting but he is eternal and that is why we should always go back to him.

I remembered when I was wandering in the wilderness, it was not a funny experience. I disciplined myself to fast, pray and read inspirational books. I learnt that I am nothing without God, I can’t do anything without Him. Putting God in everything I do as turned things around in my life. Both the ones have seen and experienced, and the ones am still expectant of.

Beneath are some ways to revolve back to Him..

1. When you’re heartbroken. Ask him to heal you, ask him to help you repair yourself again, ask him to give the strength to move on, the wisdom to understand, the grace to forgive and the courage to try again. Because he’s the only who knows your heart and he is the only one who knows how to mend it.

2. When you’re confused about life. Ask him to guide you, ask him to help you find the way, ask him for a map, ask him to lead you because he is the only one who can, because he is the only one who really knows where you’re going and he is the only one who has the fuel to keep you moving.

3. When you don’t feel like you’re good enough. Ask him why you’re still here, ask him if you’re special, and ask him for reassurance, confidence and faith . Ask him because he wants to let you know how special you are, ask him because he knows your day is coming soon and ask him because he will bring it to you sooner than you think.

4. When you’re lonely. Talk to him, tell him your problems, cry to him, tell him to stay by your side, tell him you need him and tell him to tuck you in bed and help you sleep. Talk to him even if you’re not saying a word because he is listening to your silence and he is watching your tears and he will make you smile again.

5. When you’re scared. Tell him to give you courage, tell him to take the fear away, tell him to silence the voices in your head, tell him that you’re afraid but you’re willing to take the risk and ask him for strength to handle the consequences. Tell him to make you fearless because he knows you have it in you and he knows how to bring it out.

6. When you’re tired of failing. Ask him to give you peace of mind, ask him to give you the faith you need to trust him and trust that this is all for a reason, that he is putting you through this for a bigger and better purpose and that he is not going to let you down. Ask him for patience to wait for the answers.

7. When you’re not sure if he’s listening. Ask him to remember you, ask him to give you reassurance, ask him for a sign and ask him for a miracle, because he wants you to believe in miracles and he wants you to witness them.

8. When you’re giving up. Ask him to give you hope, ask him to let you see the light at the end of the tunnel, ask him for the silver lining and ask him to give you power to keep fighting your battles until you win the war. Because he wants to see you win and he wants you to be victorious.

9. When you’ve lost someone you loved. Get closer to him, it’s okay to question why this happened to you but ask him to be your friend, ask him to be there for you, ask him for the reason he took something you loved away and then trust him; trust his plan and trust his timing, trust that he will replace what you’ve lost with something even bigger and better and something that never even crossed your mind.

10. When people are making fun of your dreams. Tell him that you think this is your calling, that this is your passion, and that this is what makes you feel alive. Ask him to make it happen, to make it easier, to make it less cruel and ask him to cover your ears from all those who are laughing at you, because he wants to make your dreams come true but he wants to make sure that you’re up for the challenge and that you will fight for them.

Don’t Settle for Less than God’s Best

Hi guys!!!

Thanks for dropping by.

Let’s take a minute to digest this post, as we go into our daily activities today.

Pinterest
We all go through hardship and experience pain in our lives. And we have a choice to make about how we will respond to it. We can either “settle” in it and let it determine the quality of life we have, or we can trust God to heal us and take steps of faith to go through the process of restoration.

Joyce Meyer endured years of horrific abuse at the hands of her father, yet she made a determined decision to trust God to heal and restore her soul.

Whatever your story may be, God can use the hardship you’ve endured to make you stronger than you’ve ever been! So, don’t give up – receive everything God has for you!

Credit: Joyce Meyer

Image Credit: Pinterest

A Sheep Among Wolves

They led Him away bound with chains,
To the mob gathered by the High Priest,
The ones who the very night before,
Celebrated the Passover feast.

He faced off against His accusers alone,
For His friends had forsaken and fled,
The High Priest deemed Him deserving of death,
Long before any words had been said.

The leaders thought they were in control,
That by killing Christ they would soon win,
Blind to the fact that they were on trial,
And that they were condemned in their sin.

They angrily questioned Him and accused,
Claiming blasphemy, treason and lies,
While He spoke not a word to defend Himself,
For He knew He was pure in God’s eyes.

They cried out, “Are You the Son of God?”
Jesus said, “You say rightly I am.”
By those words He sealed His destiny,
Of becoming God’s sacrifice Lamb.

The God who created all mankind,
Chose to lay down His life to atone,
And endured the penalty for our sin,
So that we would not face death alone.

Photo credit: Pinterest

A Sinner Like Me

Pushing this flesh into alignment,
guided by The Word most holy and pure,
I’m striving to learn principles
for a sanctified life to endure.

My Lord loves me without hesitation
and allowed a part of Himself to die.
He’s calling me homeward without reservation;
by His Spirit, to His side, I’ll eventually fly.photo-1445964047600-cdbdb873673d

Knowing I’m a child of His,
during trying times I find true encouragement.
I’m able to lean on His strength
while in search of heavenly ascent.

Stumbling forward with pained progress,
I’ve chosen to turn myself towards Thee.
On Your path, lit by spiritual Light, I’m hoping…
That You will still forgive… a sinner like me.

Lessons to Learn From Apostle Paul As Christians

Paul was an inspirational man of God and there are many things that we can learn from him.

Who was apostle Paul?

Paul of Tarsus (c. 10 – c. 67), originally named Saul, was one of the most notable of early Christian missionaries, his prolific writings forming a major portion of the New Testament. His influence on Christian thinking has, arguably, been more significant than any other New Testament author, though he himself very likely never knew Jesus in life, but was converted to his faith by a vision which appeared to him in his efforts to suppress Christianity.

For Paul, killing Christians was committed as an act honoring God. Though he was out to bring an end to the early Christian movement, it was motivated by reverence for the law. We can become so immersed in religious traditions that we miss the actual spiritual move of God when He causes a shift. If we are disconnected in the spirit we’ll act out of former understanding and not the “right now” word of God.

The apostle Paul never seemed to exhaust the topic of grace – what makes us think we can? He just kept coming at it and coming at it from another angle. That’s the thing about grace. It’s like springtime. You can’t put it in a single sentence definition, and you can’t exhaust it. When Paul was in prison, he never siezed a day without praying and asking for the grace of God. “Lord your grace is so sufficient”. If he can be saved from all the killings and persecution of Christians, surely it’s just by the grace of God.

So why should we take the time to learn from a previously known murderer? Especially someone who tried to kill off the very thing he later promoted?

Here are lessons to learn from Paul;

1. God can use ANYONE

Of all the people that God could have used to bring so many people to Him, he ironically used the man who had been killing Christians. God changed Paul’s heart and used him for His glory. It’s almost difficult for us to understand why God picked Paul of all people, but honestly that’s what makes Paul so relatable to us. Even though we aren’t murdering other people, we still don’t deserve the second, third, fourth, etc. chances that God willingly and gracefully gives us when we mess up. The fact of the matter is that God cares about everyone . If God can use someone like Paul to do that much good, then that should be encouragement to know that He can use anyone, including you!

2. No one is beyond the saving grace of God.

God was more than willing to forgive Paul for the countless lives that he took and for all the bad things that he had done. God gave Paul grace and transformed him into a completely different person. Like Paul, God can do the same for us. We are broken people that can be transformed by God’s saving grace that He so lovingly gives to us, even though we don’t deserve it.

3. It’s okay if you mess up.

I know that as Christians, we can be really hard on ourselves for our mistakes. It can be tempting to think that if we mess up, that God won’t love us anymore. Paul killed tons of people in his past. He tried to stop Christianity. Even still, God forgave him, had a purpose for him, and loved him. Know that if you make a mistake, it’s okay. We are not perfect people because we live in a sin fallen world. It’s impossible for us to be completely perfect, and that’s why we need God in our lives. Don’t get discouraged by your mistakes, but allow God to use them to transform and strengthen you so that you can be an encouragement those around you.

4. How to get your priorities

Paul talks about how “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
In Philippians 3:7-9, Paul talks about how everything else of this world is garbage compared to his relationship with Jesus Christ. He knew that nothing else in this world even mattered. God was number one in Paul’s life. I don’t know about you, but that can be a pretty difficult thing to do. It’s so easy to put other things in that number one place in our lives: school, work, family, friends, relationships, anything that we find important. But Paul shows us that when it’s all said and done, the only thing that matters is our relationship with God and that He is number one in our lives.

5. What it takes to be with God forever

Building off of point #4, we know that Paul recognized the importance of a relationship with Jesus. He also recognized that’s what’s going to get us into Heaven. He shows us that there is a difference between knowing something about Christ and actually knowing Him on a personal level. In Philippians 3:9-10 Paul writes, “..that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ- the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” In other words, Paul realized what is so hard for us to understand: We can’t do it on our own . Our own good works and merit isn’t enough to get us into Heaven because we’re not perfect, nor did Jesus die for us to be perfect. Good works is the product of faith in Jesus Christ, and salvation is about a relationship with God. Knowing Him is the goal.

6. Our past doesn’t define us.

I’ve heard it said, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”
It’s pretty clear that Paul had a very dark and wicked past, but he didn’t let that define him. Instead, he grew and learned from it and was transformed into an incredible man of God. In Philippians 3:13, Paul writes, “…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” One thing I have recently learned is that Satan is not God, he just wanted to be God. So since he isn’t God, he cannot see what is in front of us, so that only leaves one weapon for him to use: our past. He’s gotten good at it too; putting the thoughts of “I’m too far gone for God to use me” or “I’ve made too many mistakes for God to love me” into our heads. However, our past mistakes do not define us. They only provide opportunities for us to grow. God knows we are imperfect people, so He will love us regardless, and nothing that we can do will ever change that.

7. The importance of quiet time.

Paul wanted to know more and more of Jesus. He spent quality time with Him as often as he could. In Philippians 3:10-11, Paul writes, I want to know Christ- yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” Paul knew that the only way that he would get to know God on the level that he wanted to was by spending time with Him in His Word and through prayer. Paul shows us the importance of quality time and that it results in knowing Christ intimately and personally.

8. How to care for others.

Paul’s life and his works make it evident to us that he cared for others.
Acts 17:16 says, “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.” Because Paul had a heart for the Lord, he also had a heart for His people. In Paul’s engagement with others, he didn’t act as though he was better than them, but instead fueled his conversation with compassion. This is an important thing to learn from Paul, especially in our interactions with others about faith. Nothing about it should be condemning, but instead out of genuine love and compassion for God and His people.

9. Humility

One thing that really sticks out to me about Paul is written in Philippians 3:12. Pauls says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Now if there was anyone that could brag about how on fire they are for God, of all the good things that they have done for Him, or all that they have surrendered for Him and accomplished through Him, it could be Paul. But Paul recognizes that he still has room for growth and doesn’t let pride consume him. Paul’s humility amazes me and it is something that we can definitely learn from and aspire to.

10. How to be content in any situation.

In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul writes, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in an and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” The secret of Paul’s contentment was that he drew his strength from the Lord. He learned to rely on God’s promises and strength to help him be content in any situation. He knew that God would supply him with everything that he would need and that God ultimately knew what was best for him. I tend to be the type of person who stresses and worries, so I know that this is a very difficult thing to accomplish. However, I know that with God’s strength, it is possible for me to accomplish this.

11. How to stand firm in Christ.

In Philippians 3:20-21, Paul writes, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” The way to stand firm is to keep our eyes on Him. It can become so easy for us to be distracted by everything going on around us, but we need to remember that this world is not our home. Standing firm means to resist the ways of this world. Don’t get discouraged or lose heart when you mess up, but instead continue to press into the Lord. He promises strength, so with Him, you can stay true to the Lord.
These are just a few points that we can take away from Paul, but there is so much more that we can learn from him. All in all God used a man who was wicked and transformed him into an evangelistic dynamite. In all of these points that we can take away from Paul, know that you are not too far gone for God to use, that He has a purpose for you, and that in His strength, He can use you to do great things for His kingdom and glory.

Waiting On God

I am reminded today of the importance of maintaining an attitude of waiting on God. I am not suggesting inactivity but rather the highest form of spiritual activity, that of trusting God in every area of life. Wait on Him for strength, healing, wisdom, and opportunity. Wait on God to reveal Himself to you and to show you His amazing favor. God is waiting to be good to us, and He looks for those who are waiting on Him (Isaiah 30:18).

Father God, I desire to form a habit of waiting on You all throughout the day. Help me not to rush ahead into activities and decisions without acknowledging You. Thank You for Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Destiny Helpers: God’s Grace To Fallen Sinners

Have you given up on hope? Have you seen your past as the cause of your challenges? Do you ever feel nothing good will happen to you because of the sins of your father? Well the answer is that you don’t give up on God, because He won’t give up on you.

During my morning devotion, the book of 2 Samuel vs 9 gave me an insight of compassion, grace, and favour.

And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house (family) of Saul to whom I may show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”” — 2Sam 9:1

What made David mention this? Am sure at that time he was filled with joy and happiness to remember his late friend Jonathan’s household. Inspite of Saul’s attitude towards David, he still have that spirit of forgiveness and blessing the house of Saul.

I remember when I was lost in the dark. I applied for jobs but no employment for good one year. It was really disappointing. But I never stopped believing in God. My prayer at that time was God let my destiny helpers locate me. People that promise me job, God put it in their hearts to never sleep until they have fulfilled your promise to me. I prayed this prayer virtually everyday. March 2016, I got a call to travel to another state to collect my employment letter. This came from someone that promised me job for almost four years back, and God did His work by remembering me.

The word “kindness” (9:1, 3, 7) is the key to this chapter. It is the Hebrew word chesed , often translated “lovingkindness.”

Same thing happened with the son of Jonathan. He was crippled and am sure never believed something good will never happen to him. He never expected King David to summon him and make him one of the kings son.

You will notice that David said, “Is there not yet anyone?” Not, “anyone qualified”; not, “anyone worthy?”; just, “anyone?” When Ziba informed David, perhaps with a twinge of warning in his voice, “(he) is crippled in both feet,” David didn’t ask, “How badly is he crippled?” David didn’t think, “He would be useless to have around here.” Instead, he asked, “Where is he?” and he sent for him. Grace doesn’t depend on the recipient. Grace is God’s unmerited favor.

Grace seeks us where we’re at, brings us to the King’s presence, and keeps us for the King’s return

“David said to him, “Do not be afraid, for I will certainly show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall always eat at my table.”” — 2Sam 9:7

What an inspiring story. I don’t know what you going through now. Is it that dream job, that business, that one thing you feel might not cone to pass. Don’t fret, don’t worry, God has located your destiny helpers today.

Just like King David blessed Mephibosheth, that surprise person will also bless you with your heart desires in Jesus name.

So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he always ate at the king’s table. And he was lame in both feet.” — 2Sam 9:13

God’s blessings is for everyone…

Power Thoughts: God loves me unconditionally!

When you really know that God loves you, you can conquer anything. You feel valuable, you become bold, and you realize you don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes or failing. You know you have a purpose in life!

Knowing that God loves you unconditionally will also remove the fear from your life, and it will make it difficult for Satan to load you up with guilt and condemnation every day.

Even when the world tries to make you feel like there’s something wrong with you, remember that the first thing God gives you when you receive Christ is righteousness. You’re right with Him, and it doesn’t matter whom else you might be wrong with.

Believe that you’re righteous in Christ by saying, “God, I know that you love me. I trust You. I know You’re going to take care of this. It’s going to work out good.”

The More Difficult Life Is, The More We Appreciate God’s Forgiveness and Grace: Williams Story

I have been thinking about all that GOD has done for me. I have no words to adequately express the love and the appreciation I owe to GOD. To whom much is forgiven, much is required. GOD help me to honor You in all that I do.

No matter what we’ve been through in life, no matter what had happened in the past, no matter what we’ve done and think it’s in for given, we should always look up to God, because God is love. Here is Williams story….

Why I am a Christian

I was a child of rape,
Fatherless,
Unloved by a mother, not wanted, neglected, beaten, burned and abandoned,
Fostered and then adopted by those who did not cherish nor protect,
Molested, raped and shamed,
Told was a mistake, no good, would never amount to anything,
Cursed, kicked, slapped, whipped, beaten,
Learned by example that alcohol and drugs would numb the pain,
Runaway,
Bullied, beat up, drug overdose and left for dead,
Hospitalized, juvenile incarceration, defamation,
Hopeless, angry and alone,
Crimes led to prison,
Attempted rapes, countless fights, stabbed repeatedly, and in isolation hatred consumed,
Unwelcome, homeless and hungry,
Never begged, but ate out of dumpsters and occasionally worked for food or cash,
An object of another’s deviant sexual behavior, who were beaten and money taken,
Alcohol warmed on cold nights,
Lonely women in bars were nothing more than a bed to sleep in,
Uncaring, indifferent, selfish, self-loathsome,
Attempted suicide, and angry that even death evaded me,
Immersed in the bar-tend culture,
A stripper, an escort, drug dealer, a player,
Woke up high, went to bed drunk, every day for the next twenty years,
Mean, calloused, vile and vulgar defines the man I had become.

Then the unexpected happened!

GOD graciously revealed the truth of Christ’s redeeming work on the cross of Calvary to save a wretch like me. So real was GOD’s presence as tears of joy washed away a lifetime of anger and pain. Gone was the guilt of my sin against GOD. Knowing that by accepting Jesus as my Savior and LORD, GOD had declared me righteous.

Nothing in my past had power over me anymore. It was then that I realized why GOD chose me. I know hurt. I know pain. I know intimately the hopelessness felt by all people today. But most importantly, I know that GOD can save. What I did, I no longer do. I’m not without sin, but, the sins I used to love I now hate. When I am wrong I am quick to ask for forgiveness. And shockingly, GOD has birthed in me a sincere concern for the needs people have, and the urgency for their eternal salvation. I am becoming a very different person, and this is my testimony to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is never too late for God. If you know God has done so much for you in anyway and you feel to share your story. You can be anonymous or can reveal your identity, whichever way we will respect your decision.

If you want to share your story, send via mail:

motivatedfree@gmail.com.

Loneliness Is a Powerful Enemy: True Story From Anonymous

Loneliness affects us all at some point or another. Jeff’s testimony reminds us that God can fix even the deepest loneliness.

For years, decades, before I became a born again Christian, loneliness was my best friend. As the old saying goes, “with friends like this, you don’t need enemies.” Even when I was a sophomore in college, I had to admit that I was isolated from my fellow human beings. I took a course in adolescent psychology with Dr. Elizabeth Hurlock, who, in one lecture, described “the star isolate.”

This type of personality might be someone who is popular, who excels, who has friends, and is generally gregarious; yet, he or she at a deep psychological level is isolated from other human beings. A similar problem was noted in Sylvia Plath’s book The Bell Jar. Sylvia was herself a poet who experienced a sense of isolation and intense torments of loneliness even though she was married. Eventually, she committed suicide.
And sometimes this loneliness is described as fear of intimacy or closeness with others. However, it is worth noting that loneliness is not necessarily a condition experienced by “loners” only, but can be experienced by anyone. In fact, one of the classic books in sociology, The Lonely Crowd, written by Leonard Riesman, Nathan Glazer, and Reuel Denny in the 1960’s described the remarkable loneliness found within the American social order despite a superficial gregariousness and friendliness in the population. For Glazer, Riesman, and Denny, this was associated with the “other-directed” personality, people who were trying to please others, to somehow fit in with the expectations of others, but who lacked a solid core of inner motivation and purpose. Another personality type addressed in The Lonely Crowd is called anomie. The person with anomie actually has a deficient self concept, neither able to achieve purposeful behavior from within, nor to pick up sufficient cues from others to become “other-directed.” Rather, they lack not only character, but lack identity. It is defined by the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values; also: personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals.”

If one grows up as an only child as I did, that in itself is not the basis of one’s loneliness.

All only children do not find themselves as experiencing extreme loneliness. As we see above, loneliness is not mainly defined by behavior, but by inward conditions based on one’s values, identity, purposes, norms of behavior, ideas about who other people are, what they expect of one, the extent of competitiveness in one’s personality, the sensitivity of as well as the capacity for empathy of the individual, and the degree to which one’s personality is self-absorbed.

Further, as I learned from the pain of bitter experience, the books on sociology and psychology consistently omit one’s relationship with Almighty God when depicting the sources of one’s loneliness and alienation. Thus, the spiritual dimension of experience, which is the linchpin of all other variables is neglected.
When I had the privilege of teaching Expository Writing at Pennsylvania State University, the course was developed around the concept of alienation. All our studies in reading essays, poetry, and short stories as well as the writing assignments were built around alienation of self from self, alienation of man from woman, alienation of humankind from nature, and alienation of self from God. Despite my lack of faith in Christ, I had been influenced to some small degree by the writings of Soren Kirkegaard, and saw that my own experienced belief in God was accompanied by an even stronger alienation from God, and I was interested in examining that sense of alienation. In fact, looking back on my mindset at that time, it is clear to me that my greater interest in my alienation than in seeking God was itself indicative of my fallen and sinful condition. In today’s theology, we could say that that other alienations between self and self, between self and others, and between self and nature were horizontal alienations. And alienation from God is a vertical alienation.

I had friends. I went to parties. I was elected to various leadership positions as an undergraduate student. I was hired into various prestigious teaching positions as a graduate student. I went out on dates. Some girls liked me, but one described me as “conceited,” another said that I always had to be right and was too argumentative, and there were others whom I wished to impress but who were never impressed by me. I helped one young woman to find a doctor so she could get an abortion in Washington DC. My mother had not described me as good looking, but would always say that I was “interesting looking.” I took that to be a euphemism meaning I was not good looking. This was augmented by my hair beginning to come out little by little beginning in my twenties. Would I be able to marry before I lost “the bloom of youth?”
I had told my father about my fear of not being able to find a wife, and about losing my hair. He chuckled in a friendly way and told me not to worry as he would help me find someone. I didn’t know what he meant by that, but felt that somehow, some way, he would come through for me. Nonetheless, although I looked like a scholarly and decent young man, I continued to have an inordinate and adolescent concern about whether or not my appearance was acceptable and attractive. However, my father died when I was twenty-one, and I felt I no longer had someone to support me with my wife-search problem.

Fast forward now through almost two decades of heavy drinking, failed relationships, setbacks in my academic career aspirations, more than ten years of writing and editing employment in marketing and consulting publications in commercial banking and export/import , various temporary college and high school teaching positions, writing of hundreds of poems, short stories, and essays, odd jobs including school bus driver, security guard, retail small appliance clerk, teacher of physically handicapped and delinquent teens, attendant to the developmentally disabled, lathe operator, livery car driver, high school English and social studies teacher, and global wanderer (I took a job teaching in an international school in Teheran, Iran where I contracted amoebic dysentery among other horrible experiences).

Thus, I had gone from the heights of Ivy League education and contacts with some of the country’s highest political figures and executives to some of the grittiest jobs on the planet. I had had lunch with and attended meetings with the likes of Sen. Gary Hart and Sen. Alphonse D’Amato and with various dignitaries of U.S. Customs, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, and leaders of business in exports, imports, and banking. Yet, during my years of wandering, I was assigned to guard the Harvard Club in New York City, but didn’t tell anyone that I held a degree from that institution. Another time, I was guarding a store in Midtown Manhattan, and in walked my former boss, a VP from the large commercial bank that was my former employer – she was a graduate of Princeton – and there I was guarding the merchandise. We exchanged embarrassed hellos.

During that time of wandering, I was a security guard at a construction site. I occupied a portable toilet that had been converted into a guard shack with a small space heater, and I sat in there during the dark night hours with sub-freezing temperatures outside. On one of my shifts, local ten year old boys climbed the scaffolding at the site and began pelting me with rocks, as I hid in my “shack” while the stones came raining down.

My uprooted wandering meant I had fewer and fewer stable relationships. I would move from place to place, getting along with people; yet close to no one. The loneliness I had known when I was an undergraduate “star isolate” grew deeper and more intractable. Living in the midst of the most populated city in the USA, I became increasingly lonely. Who was I? Why was I on this planet? What hope was there for me?
In an attempt to connect, I went to a meeting held by an old woman in a Catholic Church. She represented a teacher in New Mexico known only as The Professor. She seemed lonely too, as lonely and an outsider as much as I, but she had stability in the philosophy of The Professor, a strange blend of yoga meditation and exercises, Roman Catholic doctrine and practice, and a written collection of “The Teachings of The Professor.” The Professor, an individual whose name I learned was Cyril F. Kilb, lived in New Mexico and was in charge of an entity called The Motivational Research Institute. I became more and more involved with The Program.

At first, there were only two of us who were regular attendees at the meetings in the church, but eventually the other lady dropped out, and CVD continued to meet with me alone for a number of years. At first I felt some relief from the loneliness I had been experiencing. In CVD I had made a connection. She was someone I could talk with about what was happening in my life everyday. We would meditate at each meeting, and that made me feel so-so “spiritual.”

In fact, I was so grateful that I began making larger and larger weekly contributions to The Program. I took a second job so I could give more money to The Professor (she would turn the money over to him), and also to keep busy, with the assumption being that keeping busy would help take my mind off myself and thus, to some degree, ameliorate my loneliness. It worked up to a point: someone to talk to, keeping busy, having someone to have dinner with, being accountable to another, and activities at the local Catholic churches like attending masses, saying the rosary, praying through the stations of the cross, and feeding the homeless all gave me a sense of connection and purpose. CVD had become my closest friend as well as my teacher and my spiritual [sic] director. I remained in that relationship for more than ten years. She was the only person I spoke to at any length except for a few brief polite conversations with my neighbors.

When I broke free of The Program, I found myself alone again. After ten years, I had no one to talk with. Someone I knew said she saw me talking to myself in the street. She said I looked deeply disturbed. I had experienced a life of desperate loneliness from my teens until I encountered The Program. In The Program, I felt exploited, but I still, for the first time as an adult, had someone with whom I could talk and confide on a regular basis. Then, after leaving, I was more lonely than ever – more than in my days of being a star isolate, more than when I was oppressed by the competitive demands of graduate school, lack of intimacy, and lack of love in my life. More than in my days of wandering.
Wait….! Did I not just mention “love” in a previous sentence? Finally, in The Program I had made a connection. I had stabilized. I had stopped wandering. I had someone to talk to. I had someone to discuss my problems, successes, and personal failings with. Yet, it was an exploitive relationship. Was there love? When I stopped participating, when it was over, I was talking to myself. I was experiencing loneliness even more intensely than in my days of wandering, than in my student days, than at any point in my life. Now I was plunged into even deeper despair. I no longer had a loneliness based on being other-directed or from the psychic dysfunction of anomie.

I really knew the agonies of Hamlet’s deep query, “To be or not to be, that is the question….” I understood MacBeth’s agony which I had recited in high school when he says, “Life is a poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing….” I experienced the loneliness that comes from a sense of utter meaninglessness, utter absurdity, and utter hopelessness. My soul was bound by pains of experiencing the profoundest sense of rejection, dislocation, isolation, and above all, lovelessness. These terms defined my loneliness. My very being was experienced as a dirty, used mop that had been cast into the waste bin of time and space.

Yet, I had considered myself a “seeker” throughout my 20 years of wandering. I was looking for truth, for God, for ultimate meaning, for a point of perfection, even for absolute perfection. As early as 1975, I had an argument with a couple of folks in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania about the relativism of the many competing philosophies, beliefs, opinions, points of view, etc. that I observed. Everybody certainly had a right to his or her opinion, but all I saw were all those competing “right views” emanating from millions of egos. How could it not be that some might be more right than others? And if another point of view was more “right,” then there would have to be a standard for assessing that rightness? Or, perhaps the truth lay in a point of view that wasn’t expressed by anyone? These were some of the questions that assailed me. Wasn’t there a more credible approach to living and to thought than the one I observed? The Program had seemed to be the answer; yet my outrage at turning over so much money to The Professor, and the cul de sac it seemed to be when I left in a state of terror, dislocation, and despair showed me that what I had thought was true and absolute was bogus and illusory.

I kept writing, kept seeking, kept reading books, kept teaching, kept talking, kept searching for love. Only later would I understand that actually I was not seeking at all, but running away from “the Hound of Heaven,” who was calling me to His kingdom and His love, truth, and eternal life.

Then, during one lonely Christmas season in 1987, I was busy cheering myself up singing Christmas carols in my furnished room in Midwood, Brooklyn. As I was singing and rejoicing in Christ’s birth, comforted by the singular peace of “Silent Night,” gentle but powerful words invaded my stressed out brain, “You must be born again….” I had seen many televangelists, and listened to them on the radio. At the suggestion of one radio preacher, I had laid my hand on the radio and prayed that I would forgive a previous boss for having fired me. (I was still under the illusion that religion was a form of magic, and that it includes different magical rituals.) I really had no understanding of salvation by grace through faith. It was just say the “right words” [sic], practice the “right rituals” [sic], and do the “right deeds” [sic] in the name of Christ, and then, well, then you were going to escape hell, and could walk with dignity and hope on this earth. However, I was soon to learn what Martin Luther, John Calvin, the Puritan fathers, Jonathan Edwards, and millions of others found in the testimony of their walk with Christ.

“You must be born again….” I heard these words, and balked. They came as thoughts, but I sensed deeply they were thoughts from God. “But I am born again, aren’t I?” I protested. . Again, the words penetrated to the deepest center of my being, “You must be born again…there’s a church for you on Flatbush Avenue.”

The next day, I walked the four blocks up to Flatbush & Foster Avenues. Looking left and then right, my gaze fastened upon a large cross hanging in front of a storefront church. It was a classic sign. The words on the cross read, “JESUS SAVES.” I approached the front of the church, and there was a telephone number to call. Later that day, I called, and a woman with a heavy Jamaican accent answered the phone. I asked when the next service was, and she said that in two days there would be a children’s play – not a real service mind you – but a family night when Christ’s birth would be celebrated.

Two nights later, I arrived and the lights were dim as the play had already begun. As I sat down, one of the old women of the church nodded hello to me, and patted my arm. “Jesus is love,” she said, repeating the words two or three times to me as the play proceeded. Her name was Sister Duncan, and her words were so reassuring, so kind, and so comforting. After the play, the congregation sang a few praise songs and hymns, and, at the pastor’s suggestion, the evangelist who was leading the singing had an altar call. Because I was partially obscured by a pillar, neither the pastor nor the song leader even knew I was in the room.

When the call was made, I left my seat behind the pillar and walked down the aisle to the pulpit. I had gone there hoping to be born again, hoping that there would be an altar call as I had seen many on TV, and it seemed that the desires of my heart were answered. At that point in time, I did not know that I was being led by the Holy Spirit. I did not understand that I was being led by Christ himself to a new life in Him, but I was still filled with expectancy and excitement at the prospect, however vaguely defined, of being born again. My deep longing for a deeper walk with Him was being answered by the God of all creation. Had he not put that longing in my heart? Had he not pointed the way during my long, lonely, labyrinthine walk out of my atheism and overly-intellectual approach to life (my pride and false sense of self-sufficiency)? On that night, I was led to take a great turn in the road of life, and to begin to walk 24/7 with my Lord and Savior.

Then, following my answer to the call, I learned that the church was having a baptismal service in two weeks. Normally, they have instruction sessions for those who would be baptized, but recalling Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch, the pastor agreed with Philip’s rhetorical reply, namely “what shall hinder you?” and admitted me to be baptized in two weeks.
Since that wonderful time 25 years ago, I have never looked back, never regretted nor questioned for one second becoming a Christian. After two years in the church, many of the old Jamaican ladies who had grown up in the church, and saw me almost six days a week (I was always in church or visiting other churches) assured me that I was truly born again, and I found a rest, hope, peace, love, and joy that I had never experienced in my entire life. Yet, I still had a lot of growing and maturing to do, and believe that I am still growing in Christ as he sanctifies my life, and leads me on the path of being made “conformable to Jesus Christ” as he readies me for my heavenly home.
So many times I have acted in many strikingly un-Christlike ways; yet, He never failed to show me His mercy and forgiveness as I have struggled to conform myself to the Word of God. He has given me wisdom where I have been ignorant and inept. He has shown me how to be more kind and compassionate when I felt disgust, and wanted to walk away from problems or people. He has given me more patience and peace when I wanted to blow my top.

He has replaced my lonely book-centered life, with family love and a Christ-centered life. He replaced my discouragement with teaching, and restored me to my career as a teacher even when I was past 50 years old. Now he has given me a healthier body to help me better enjoy my old age, and to better serve him. He has opened my mind to be able to understand theology, which I had been unable to fathom or penetrate until about eight years ago. My search for truth, begun decades ago in the Ivy League, through many trials, temptations, and snares, through sidetracks of all kinds – high status sidetracks, dangerous sidetracks and sidetracks into extreme poverty – and through the wrongheaded attempt to blend Eastern philosophy and practice with the Truth of the Christ, I came to know He Who Is The Creator of the Universe, and Who Saves Through the Power of His Life, Death, and Resurrection.

Who God Used: An Encouraging List From The Bible That Shows God Can Use Anyone, Despite Shortcomings.

The next time you feel like God can’t use you, just remember…

Noah was a drunk.
Abraham was too old.
Isaac was a daydreamer.
Jacob was a liar.
Leah was ugly.
Joseph was abused.
Moses had a stuttering problem.
Gideon was afraid.
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young.
David had an affair and was a murderer.
Elijah was suicidal.
Isaiah preached naked.
Jonah ran from God.
Naomi was a widow.
Job went bankrupt.
John the Baptist ate bugs.
Peter denied Christ.
The Disciples fell asleep while praying.
Martha worried about everything.
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once.
Zaccheus was too small.
Paul was too religious.
Timothy had an ulcer.
AND…
Lazarus was dead!

No more excuses now. God can use you to your full potential. Besides, you aren’t the message; you are just the messenger.

Remember Where You Are Today Is Not The Final Place

Satan visited me and asked me: Asking “How far?..

I told him: “I thank God for everything…”
He laughed me to scorn..
He said what on earth shld I thank God for?… He showed me my mates who are living inside mansions, and I said hahaaa and I showed him my mates who are also inside d grave… He showed me some of my mates who are inside d costliest cars in town…

I also showed him some of my mates who are inside d costliest caskets in town…
He showed me d fat bank account of some of my friends… And I showed him d hospital bills of some others who are terribly sick…

He took me to boutiques, to show me those who are dressed with d most expensive designer clothings …

I took him to d prisons and cells scattered all
over d country..and I showed him guys who were accused innocently who have been there for many years…Even their loved ones has forgotten dem there…

Satan felt broken and wanted to leave me alone… But i told him to follow me to just one place… I took him to d mortuary and I now showed him many of my mates who are lying down there naked and dead …
He could not say anything again…
He left me and ran away…

Friends, don’t let anything get u depressed…u are not a mistake,u are not an accident no matter what has happened to u or how bad u think u are faring in life…
There is always something God is doing in ur life that ur enemy are envying….

U can’t withdraw ur own money from ur bank without ur ATM card or bank slip…
The Bible said that with joy we shall DRAW from d wells of salvation…

There are many things to draw from God…and thank him still for in ur life…JOY is ur ATM card, Without JOY,u will draw nothing…

That is why Nehemiah, in d midst of battles, he was able to say: “The joy of d Lord is my
strength…”

Beloved God might not have done everything…

But he has done many things…
If only u know how much evil and shame that the Lord has spared you from in the past 3 months you will appreciate God for what you are today…

To him that is joined to the living, there is
hope….For a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Be thoughtful, be thankful…
David understood this and he said…
“If it has not been the Lord who was on our side, they would have swallowed me up quick when their anger was kindled against us… But our souls as a bird has escaped the snare of d fowler…”

Today, if u are really grateful just share this chat and let others know that its true that God has shamed the devil in his/her life.

Remember what u are today is not the
final…..God is preparing something bigger
always……Rejoice!!!..

True Story: Saved From Drugs, Violence, Prison, Freedom

Testimony

Richard’s testimony is an inspiration. He decided not to be anonymous because he wants his story out there to be told. He believes his story can change someone out there with the same problem he faced before meeting Jesus. Please it might be long but will appreciate if you patient to read it through….

The following text is a personal testimony of how God has brought inner healing from emotional wounds that were inflicted on me as a child, and set me free from a fear of violence and a deeply entrenched behavior pattern that had caused me to hurt others growing up. My hope and prayer is that if anyone reading this is able to identify with any of it, they will come to understand the deep healing and freedom that can be found through repentance and faith in Our Lord.

My story begins with describing myself as an intelligent child who was happy, confident and secure in my home life. This all changed however when my father suddenly left home around the same time I began to experience bullying by a boy who I used to play football with. The boy was a friend at the time, but took it upon himself to beat me and humiliate me at every given opportunity after wrongly blaming me for losing a football game. The bullying I experienced only stopped after I snapped one day and knocked him down, along with his friend who was with him at the time. Both boys had been trying to humiliate me by hitting me in front of others, but something inside just said enough is enough, and I remember a feeling of intense relief because I finally stood up to him. In retrospect I can now see how this was the beginning of a pattern of behavior that was to stay with me well into my adulthood, as I had learnt that people could not hurt me if I hurt them first.

The bullying by this particular boy did not go on for too long, but it was enough to destroy my confidence and teach me that I needed to toughen up to protect myself from being hurt again by others. Subsequently I began to try and create a tough man image that couldn’t have been further from the truth of what I felt inside. In terms of what this looked like for me, as a child I would fight with other kids in the area and would bully and intimidate others. I also became rebellious at home and school, and eventually fell in with older guys who introduced me to drugs and a criminal lifestyle, which caused me to leave school early and enter a very dark period in my life.

Throughout adolescence and early adulthood, I always knew deep down inside I was not really the person I was trying to portray to others. As much as I wanted to try and convince others that I was tough, I knew that there was always someone tougher just waiting around the corner. Inevitably I ended up in a young offender’s institute and I can clearly remember the day I was led away from court in handcuffs and was taken away to spend my first Christmas behind bars. My first sentence was only a few weeks at that point, but whilst incarcerated I was bullied once more by an older guy who took a dislike to me. Despite trying to convince myself I was a somebody, I didn’t really know how to look after myself in an institution, but I quickly learnt that the only way to get by was to make sure that I was able to convince others that I was no pushover. The next time I was sent away for violent disorder, I made sure that I got in with the right crowd and would target certain people to try and establish my reputation even though the fear of violence actually terrified me. This meant that on occasions I would assault someone for no other reason than to try and prove myself. The reality was that I took no pleasure from violence and I always felt sadness for each person I hurt. I knew it was wrong and I wanted to change, but the further I travelled down that road, the harder it became to turn around.

At 21 years old, I was sent away on remand for the first time to a tougher higher prison. I remember walking down some steps and reading a sign that said welcome to Hell. It was made even more chilling by the fact that the prison I had been sent to had been used in a film many years before, and so I actually recognized parts of the building. To make matters worse I was withdrawing from a high amount of opiates and was forced to share a cell with someone who was also coming off drugs. All we had was a small sink and a bucket to use as a toilet and that was one of the lowest moments of my life. We were locked up for 23 hours a day and each morning the door would open for slop out and I would try and get myself together and stick my chest out as I walked down the landing as if I couldn’t care less. The moment I was back in my cell I would sit there in tears wondering how I was ever going to turn my life around.

The fact was that no matter how many times I tried I would always go back to drugs just as a pig goes back to wallow in the mud. I hated life and I hated myself. Other than the drugs I also had been secretly cutting my flesh for years as a way of punishing myself, but also as a way of releasing the anger and pain I felt inside. I would even punch myself at times and hurt myself in other ways, but the more I did this the more confused and fearful I became. I really believed I was becoming insane, because I did not think that anybody else would ever deliberately self-harm. I constantly lived in fear of being found out, but without any obvious way of changing things. I would numb myself with drugs, sex and anything else that would provide temporary relief from the confusion, fear and sadness I felt inside.
Over a number of years, I abused my body to the extreme and it is testimony to God that I am even alive today after having several near-death experiences. Indeed, several times I would experience situations where only the presence of God could account for my being here today to write this, but I will write about them at some point in the future.

After many years of personal suffering and causing suffering to others, I entered treatment in 2007 to clean myself off the drugs. I knew that to continue on the same path would either lead to death or a life sentence in prison, but deep down I had no real hope that things would change. I had tried to get clean many times before, but always seemed to go back to drugs because I could not deal with the intense emotional pain brought by the shame and guilt that the drugs had been masking. After detoxing from the drugs in treatment, I was left feeling vulnerable and naked before others. I really didn’t know how to deal with this and so I spent months trying to push people away by pretending that I felt better than I actually did. I also suspected that I was going to use again when I left treatment, as I could not stand the reality of having to deal with life without drugs. The truth was I was terrified of life and often contemplated suicide, but instead of being honest and sharing this, I would use anger or lies to keep people at a distance and away from discovering how I really felt inside.
It was whilst I was in treatment that a friend took me to church one evening after I reluctantly agreed to go simply to get out for a night. I had previously believed in God as a child, but somewhere along the line my idea of God turned into imagining some ferocious being that punished me every time I made a mistake. I also had church forced on me as a child and all I saw was hypocrites who judged everybody else, but did the very things they judged others for. I therefore went to church that night with no expectations and spent the first part of the service staring at the women in the hope that I may find a nice girlfriend. At some point however, I heard the preacher talking about addiction. He spoke about a God-shaped hole inside each of us and invited the congregation to step forward and accept Jesus. I could really relate to much of what he was saying, but I remember an intense fear of going forward, as I thought that people would be watching me and I could not stand the thought of people thinking that I was a broken man. Even so I eventually fell to my knees and asked the Lord to rescue me from the personal hell that I was living in before quietly leaving the church and travelling back to the rehab.
That night I could think of nothing else other than what had happened at church. I waited till everyone was in bed before closing my eyes and began to pray. I got down on my knees again and repented of the things I had done in life. Despite going to church as a child and going through the motions of repentance, I was suddenly aware of God listening to my cries and I felt genuinely sorry, because I had hurt so many people in my life up to that point. I can see now how unlike my previous prayers of repentance, I meant it wholeheartedly this time and I remember what felt like a cool breeze come over me. I thought that the wind had come into the room, and so I checked all the doors and windows, but they were closed and the heating was on. I now believe this to be the Holy Spirit.
I went to bed that night with a peace that I had never experienced in my life and so began a journey that would ultimately help me clean myself of the drugs, but would actually involve swapping drugs for religious practice, and going to the other extreme of becoming a Christian doormat afraid of conflict and trying hard to be liked by those I placed on pedestals. Of course, I had no idea that this was the case, but in his grace the Lord was good to me and eventually allowed me to understand how I had only partially surrendered my life to the Jesus that I had heard many stories about, but did not really know personally. In terms of the testimony I am sharing now, it is only in the freedom I have found in surrendering to the Lord, that I can now share freely why I acted like some kind of gangsta, when the reality was I was simply a frightened, confused and broken man who had grown up physically, but still felt like a small child inside.

I give all the glory to God for the changes that have happened over time. I have made many mistakes along the way, but I have for the most part been willing to allow the Holy Spirit to convict me of the behavior patterns that have subconsciously controlled me even after becoming a Christian. It is only in the confidence I have in God that I can now share this in the hope it may bring encouragement to others. Furthermore, I can do this without fear of what people may think of me, as my reputation amongst men is no longer as important to me as my relationship with God.

This journey has been long and painful and has involved going through periods where I would just cry for no obvious reason. At times, I wondered if I might be having a breakdown, as I could be simply driving the car and a song on the radio would trigger the tears. I could also be watching TV with the children and I would cry at some cartoon character for no apparent reason. To anyone observing I must have looked like a real wimp at times. I have come to understand however that it’s all part of the healing process and that I do not need to stop myself from experiencing my emotions.

I grew up believing that crying was a sign of weakness in men, but I realize now that could not have been further from the truth.
In finishing this testimony I want to add that I have reached a point in my life where I am no longer afraid of violence or those who would seek to intimidate, because I am one with Him who bore our sins, was murdered, but rose again so that we may find life.

May these words be a blessing to you. Please feel free to share this testimony if you think you may know anyone who might need to hear this.

May all the glory and praise go to HIM…