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Unread 06-19-2009, 07:11 PM   #181
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the life of the dogfood

ok here we go.

as far as i know my parents, grandparents, great grand parents have all been christian.
my father was a pastor, is now retired.
i got baptised when i was about 8 months old. i cant actually remember it.
i asked Jesus into my heart when i was about 5.
before that i was a bad person who used to eat sand at pre-school and lust after my brother's toys.
i loved going to church camps, and just hanging out at church.
as a teenager going to youth was great but it wasnt until i was about 13 at an easter camp that God touched me differently and i came back with a huge passion and a desire to get to know Him on a more personal level. it was after a worship/teaching session, some guys were being prayed for and one had fallen over and was lying in a most unpractical position for getting out the door. one of our older youth asked to pray for me, which i accepted and from then it was just different.

when i was 17 i left home to go study in another city and it was there for the first time that i knew i had to rely on something more than my parents. i knew God and i knew the promises in the bible for me, but it wasnt that i got pushed out the nest that i realised i better actually do it myself.
i am totally blessed for growing up in the environment i did and for years did not realise how cool and powerful that was.
i finished studying and went to live in a small town. i went to the local church there and about 3 months later my pastor asked if i wanted to get baptised. i said i already had been when i was a little kid. but i came to realise that baptism is a total public commitment of my faith.
i got baptised in winter, in the ocean, near the rocks at our local beach. the rest of my church gathered round on the rocks to sing and pray for me. i remember they sang "Oh Lord Youre beautiful" by Keith Green. which was pretty awesome. after that i went home and had a hot shower because it was freakin cold.

i realise that most people's testimonies are based on what they were like before they came a christian and how they changed and are now living differently. for me having known God all my life, most of my story is of what i have done with my life to glorify God.

one of my biggest gifts is servanthood
ive been a musician at church for 25 years, having played trumpet, sax's, guitar, bass and harmonica.
im a youth leader and the biggest joy has just been seeing people grow in God and at times been asked to pray for them or just to share about how much God loves them.
im a childrens teacher/leader and the same thing applies to them. God dosent care how young you are He loves you all the same.
im a missionary, i go over seas, ive been to about 7 different countries on outreach and im also a missionary on the local scene where we hang out down town or go to prison to share about God. ive got a second home over seas in a church in the phillipines and i love being there.

i love the church, i love the people in it.
without Christ in my life i am nothing, with Him in it, all things are possible.

im also not yet content with where i am in God. my desire is always to get to know more about Him, to be filled more by the Holy Spirit, to do more stuff, not because i have to do works to get into heaven but by the fact that im here, i was created to be here and by being in God, until i die and go to be with Him, my purpose is to worship Him and share about Him.
which at times is freakin scary.

hopefully this encourages you

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Unread 06-20-2010, 08:43 AM   #182
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My wife and I were vacationing at our lot by a northern lake. We have a trailer there. I had been recently diagnosed with depression, and all my work related problems were taking their toll on my spirit. It was in the wee hours of the morning and I was tossing and turning because my problems were rotating through my head and giving me no peace of mind. I still hadn't been able to doze off.

Finally I drifted into a troubled sleep and I found myself seated on a pew in an unfamiliar church. I recognized our pastor at the front, but I suddenly became convulsed with laughter. This dream was so vivid I remember it like it was last night. I was totally out of control falling over laughing and trying desperately to stop. I felt like everyone else in the church was starring at me. My pastor walked over to me and led me to the front of the church where a tall man in a suit with reddish hair was standing the pulpit. He smiled at me and I felt an immediate infusion of warm absolute love. It made my whole body radiate with a rich warm glow.

He looked at me with a calm loving smile and said "All the problems you are dealing with mean absolutely nothing. Disregard them. You're main duty is to be a good father to your children and put aside any troubles from your work. They are absolutely meaningless"

I then woke up. Needless to say I stayed awake for the rest of the night!

Another interesting event unfolded two years later. Our church was involved in a building program and our new church later bore a striking resemblance to the church in my dream!
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Unread 10-25-2010, 12:03 PM   #183
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Aight, so here's the deal: I'm about 8 or 9 going to a small Baptist church with my parents (I don't have a car at the time)...the pastor or someone shows us young 'uns a poster with John 3:16 at the top...the theme of the poster was people walking off a cliff and falling into hell. Now one would think that would scare any little kid to salvation, but with me it wasn't so much a feeling of being scared as it was a feeling of having important knowledge and information. The verse at the top is what did it for me, the God loved me so much, that he sent Jesus to die for me so that I wouldn't hafta perish like the peeps going over the cliff.

...so yeah, I got my "fire insurance"...but it was many years later that I also realized that Jesus rose again so that I could have newness in life. I've been a Christian most all of my life but have fallen away many times...and for years at a time. I thank God that His mercies are new every morning and each day is like a brand new start.
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Unread 10-25-2010, 01:12 PM   #184
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I was saved at a very young age. I was maybe 4 or 5. I didn't go before the church and be baptized until I was 13. I felt that being baptized was just a formality. I have grown up in church and believeing in God. My father is a minister too (Baptist). His grandfather was a Baptist minister. My grandfather was a deacon. I have served as a deacon.

When I really began to travel the road though was when I had children. I took them to church from the day they were born. I wanted them to understand just as I did and be given the chance to learn for themselves. My daughter walked the walk moreso than her two brothers. She walked the walk more than I did too. She was always so kind and giving. She was honest and she showed me a path that I should travel.

I now travel that road every day. I follow her example of how a good Christian should act. I want for her to be as proud of me as I am of her. I also look forward to the day that I can wrap my arms around her one more time.

I know God is ready for me. I pray that I'm ready for Him.
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Unread 10-27-2010, 07:39 AM   #185
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Hallelujah! Man, it makes me glad to read these. Well, I hope you guys aren't busy. Mines kind of long.
Well, here goes.
I'm 14 years old. I have a twin brother, a twenty year old sister, an eleven year old half brother(mom's side), a five year old half sister, and one on the way who will probably not be very old when she is born LOL (Both younger sisters on my dad's side).
For the past thirteen years, my custodial parent was mom (folks are divorced if you haven't figured that out). My grandma drug us out to church, and my mom would mention it sometime, but she wasn't "into that". So, we hung around, the four of us kids living with mom, and we grew up under an abusive mother and stepfather. I turned thirteen and turned into a jerk: Porn addict, always starting fights with whoever, sex crazed, always asleep. God gave me two things: my dad, and my guitar. One night, mom was being...well, mom. She came into my room and demanded the laptop. I brought it to her, and went to bed. She woke me up screaming something about the webcam not working. I got up, and asked for the laptop so I could fix it. She yelled something else about me telling her how to fix it (remember I'm 13 at this time). I told her I didn't know how to fix it, and I sure couldn't walk her through it by voice, She told me I was grounded indefinitely, and for all I knew that meant three days or three years. I kicked a hole through her bed room door, and was then called some unpleasant names, and told that the next day I would no longer be a member of her household. Next morning, I hop on my bike and am about to head to school, and she is still cussing me out. I tell her to stop blaming all of her ->very not nice wording<- problems on me. By the next day, I was moved in with my dad, thirty miles south of mom's house, in the little town of Atlanta, Texas (yes, there is an Atlanta, Texas, and mom lived in Texarkana). One day, on the bus to school, I met Glen. I didn't know it, but me and Glen were distant cousins. Glen was also a guitarist, like myself. Me and Glen got to talking and he invited me to church. I came once to the little church called Center HIll Baptist, and from then on, I was hooked. I got saved slowly and periodically, and became a member of the church. I was baptized November 29th, 2009. SInce then, God has been merciful to me and forgiven me. I am trying my hardest to serve him in his ministry and to bring the word to others. It's not easy, but that's why that call it the [I]work[I] of the Lord. It really is the greatest joy to know your best friends with the creator of existence. I now play guitar regularly in church. Thanks for hearing my testimony.
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Unread 11-24-2011, 07:17 AM   #186
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New here . And as well as my faith, I've got a long way ahead of me. My lifes been interesting. I've been on both sides of belief. I've had foundation building experiences, and foundation trembling experiences. I've had moments of great love and warmth, and then I've had moments of great travesty and cold. I've been on the streets, on a hiatus from reality, and on several drugs that left me for dead. But the dark ages and years of brainwashing could NEVER fully cure me of the love I have for JESUS! I can't tell you all that happened. All that i can tell you is that one day he gave me the strength to get up and leave. With a few changes of clothes, my guitar, and a little bit of money, I got on my broke down bike and rode. With out a clear image of what was ahead of me, I sought after a future I never saw myself having. For six days i rode an undisclosed distance; journeyed over hills, and inclines, and hills with inclines that led to more of the same. It rained half of the time, ushering in tornado warnings, and moments of sheer fright on my behalf. And it just got worse with the inclusion of a haunted house. Yes! a haunted house. It was off Highway 90 near Lake Aucilla. A seemingly oblique residence, held no real quarrel with me or Todd. Todd was a guy I ran into on day one. He was going to pensicola, so i figured i'd join him until i got tired. So after a quick survey of it's inner dwellings, i quickly discerned that this palce was the site of rotting cold case file, or a future cold case file. The place was scary, I feel wierd even talking about it. But we stayed, or he stayed, there for the night. I couldn't subject myself to what was going on for too long. It was insane. There was loud footsteps echoing down the hallway, doors slamming. I couldn't take it, so I told him I'd wait for him at the lake. So i got on my bike and rode about 1/2 a mile when i noticed a church. I made a quick turn and slept on the walled off porch of the church. It was one of the most uncomfrtable rest i ever had, but i felt ten times more safe there than anywhere else on that entire journey. That morning was the first time in seven years of playing the guitar that i learned how to play while singing. Since then I've written over ten songs. After that, I waited for another hour or so, then I packed up and rode to the lake. I waited for him for over another hour and a half, not only at the lake; but the store that was 2 miles up the road. I never saw him ever again. My journey on the road continued another 26 miles on day five, and 18 miles on day six. On day six, there was a street festival going on. So I felt like I was on my way. Still. I felt like I had done something amazing, but still, I was still not finished. So after the festivities were done, i continued down the road until i ran into a mission, and from there my life changed to such a degree, the PEACE, it's overwhelming. Romans 12 Has supplanted many of the misconceptions, while plotting in me a major cornerstone to stand upon. It took two days. Two nights. A single conversation. And a moment in which this sinner attained actual forgiveness through being in a stiuation that enabled you to be humble. Favor through faith. That holy promise, quieting my spirit, which i can tell you is no easy accomplishment.
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Unread 12-01-2011, 02:27 PM   #187
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Okay, I have not really been active here, and I'm not very likely to be either, but I really feel the need to share my testimony.

I'm 16 years old. I've been a Christian my whole life. Raised as a Lutheran, I was baptized as an infant and went through a ceremony of confirmation at the age of fourteen. I have always considered myself a Christian. But about a year and a half ago, something happened.

Many of my friends are members of various Pentecostal churches, so obviously I had been attending meetings with them for a while. But at a major youth meeting in the area where I lived, something new happened. I decided to raise my hands during the worship, and I felt God's Spirit coming down on me. I started weeping. This was an all new experience to me. Over the next several months, this happened quite a few times. I felt like I was born again.

But there was more to come. At a camp last summer, I was having the most amazing spiritual experiences. I cried at every single meeting. At the second last meeting, I think, of the camp, came the event that has changed me ever since.

God gave me a sudden, burning passion for music. I had never cared for music before. I never developed a taste nor did I care for any of it. Although I had played the piano for a couple of years, I wasn't interested in it. The main reason I enjoyed it was because (not meaning to brag) I was quite skilled at it and people were impressed.

And to add even more to it, when I was four years old, I was diagnosed with treble loss (or whatever it's called) and I had to use hearing aids. My situation got worse, and I have reduced hearing and very poor balance, which is a big restriction to me. So why would God give me this sudden desire to devote my life to saving people through music, the medium to which I was the least receptive?

But anyways, I started caring for music. It has been an amazing journey for me. I started getting into progressive rock (which is a very weird, complex and usually obscure genre of music) and also a bit classical (which I enjoyed as a child, but never listened to) and jazz. Now, I am attending music in high school, I sing, play piano, synthesizer and guitar, and I write music for at least an hour or two any day I'm free to do so. That is a very rapid development for someone who did not care for music a year and a half ago!

Quite recently now, I also had a revelation. I realized the reason God reduced my hearing. My pitch is even really good. My reduced hearing has enabled me to enjoy music on a whole other plane than most people; as I can not perceive lyrics, I enjoy merely the music itself, which has led me into progressive rock, which, unlike pop music, is not lyrically, but musically based.

Now, I realize that what I thought was a curse laid on me by the Devil, is really a blessing from the Lord. I used to pray for this handicap to go away, now I pray for it not to. Perhaps, one day, when I am ready, I will be healed. But for now, it is truly necessary and a blessing.

I know now my purpose in life is to be a musician. It will be tough, and I am absolutely blank on how to make it, but as a wise man once said: "God does not give you a floodlight to your future, he just gives you enough light to see your next step."

(Side note: I apologize if I sound like I am bragging at some points, this is not my intention.)

Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it very much.

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Unread 05-02-2013, 12:05 PM   #188
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My Testimony

I used to belong to a Southern Baptist church here in the South. That was back when I was a kid and didn't know much about God. Some stuff happened, that I don't wish to reveal until I know you guys better. Needless to say, we stopped going to church. When I was a 2nd grader, my twitches started. I was the weird kid that blinked funny. When I was in 6th grade, I was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome. It really sucks.. I was promised it would get better as I got older, but it got worse. It went from my eyes to my fingers to my feet. Sometimes my eyes get tired from blinking, and I have to close them for a while. The worst tick is me freezing up. It's happened before, but it stopped. It only recently started happening again. I remember doing homework a couple of years ago in the kitchen, and not knowing it until my Mom told me, I was making a "Hmm" sound. It went away, hopefully for good. My cousin Ryan and I started hanging out soon after. I would spend the night at his house and help him work. Then he got back into church. He invited me after a year of going. Now, I was raised Southern Baptist, and this was a Pentecostal church. So the first time I went, they started speaking in tounges. Not a big deal right? But to a 12 year old kid who was raised Baptist and didn't even know what Tounges was, it was A HUGE DEAL. I was scared to death. I learned though what it was. After going for a bit, I started understanding more and more scripture. My cousin got engaged to a girl he knew since high school, they're doing good. And I kept going to church, and eventually got my sister to go. (I found the look on her face funny when people started speaking Tounges. Yep, I was a good Christian boy at my church. KEY WORDS- "At my church." Back at school, I still had the potty mouth, and was a heartless person. Honestly, I probably would have been smoking meth or something worse if I never got in church. I said I'd change, but I never did. I prayed and prayed, but I always went back to cursing. Until one day I went to Winterjam 2013. After that, I simply said, "I'm not cursing anymore." And guess what? I meant it. I went 5 weeks without cursing, and then I gave into temptation and said something to someone. 2 weeks later, and I've gotten better about it. I have no reason to cuss anymore. It feels good. I've got issues, we all do, but I believe finding good people to hang out with can help solve those issues.
It began long ago, when darkness, through its deceit captured the hearts of the sons and daughters of light. We looked for light but we found only darkness. We searched for bright skies but walked in gloom. We fumbled like the blind along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. We were destined to fall, even in the brightest days. We stumbled as if it were dark. Among the living, we were like the dead. We looked for justice, but it never came. We looked for rescue but it was far from us. So He, Himself, stepped in to save us with his strong arm and justice to sustain Him. He put on righteousness as armor, salvation His helmet. He clothed Himself with the robe of vengeance and wrapped Himself in a cloak of divine passion. He slipped out of his royal garments, left eternity to enter time, divinity to wrap himself in humanity. The sea of glass, for the ocean of separation. He left peace, and for the first time felt pain. Because the very hands that held the stars we! re now sentenced to wear my scars. It was love that purchased this traitorís heart. It's what the prophets spoke about when they envisioned light living in men once again. For this reason, I AM LEGEND, predestined for greatness, built for the final hour. I was born for this with weapons in hand, armor in place. I now march to the beat of a different drum. I will break through battle lines that have been drawn by discouragement and despair. What more is left to be said? Time has met its end. It's now or never. Collision with me, myself, and I. You see my mission today is clear: to wake the dead. So let freedom's song rage. Youíre not abandoned. You're not alone. Last day warriors arise from yesterday's ash and raise your fist with us. We are the army that is charging upon the land. Defeat is no longer and option! IT IS VICTORY.
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Unread 05-06-2013, 07:08 AM   #189
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I was raised in the Church. And even though I went through the motions, I was never really a Christian. It was something I did to appease my family. Through the years I drifted further and further from the Church and it's values. I was happy, successful, and my life was really going places.

So one week about fifteen years ago I was in Rome with my girlfriend. We were seeing the sights, eating well, and truly having the time of our lives. Naturally there were many churches to tour. I saw them all as monuments to a bygone era. They were beautiful to look at but didn't serve any purpose. And then I realized that's how I viewed the Church in general.

We were down at the ruins one evening. My girlfriend needed to go to the restroom before we headed off to dinner so I was kind of milling around the front of an old church waiting for her to return. There was a little plaque on a door that led to the basement. It was the prison where Peter was held before he was executed. The door was closed and it was past visiting hours so I didn't try to go in. A man approached me, wearing a Jesuits' attire, and asked me if I knew what this place was. I replied that I did and that it was just incredible to be standing there. He leaned in very close to me and whispered "It's all true, you know. It really happened. Do you need to go inside to see the chains?" I replied that yes, I did know it, always did it seemed. "Well, what are you going to do about it?", was his final words to me.

I noticed my girlfriend coming up the sidewalk and when I turned back to speak to the man, he was gone. It struck me as exceedingly odd at the time and it still does today. I do know that those few words with a man I never will see again changed the way my world worked.

We returned from Rome. I studied it for a while and concluded that I had to be baptized for real this time. I didn't do it the way most people do. No ceremony on Sunday morning, no invitations or planning. I met with the preacher to study a bit one evening and then told him my story. We did it right then and there and I have never looked back.

It is all true. Every last bit of it.
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Unread 04-03-2014, 08:58 AM   #190
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My Testimony.. God's Mercy...

I was raised in the Church, but due to my parent's divorce always held a lot of bitterness towards it because (being a young child) all I knew was that my mom was taking me away from my dad and not letting me see him. I only got to see him on weekends and now she was taking half that time away from me. So as a teenager, I became very rebellious; getting into trouble with police, drinking, drugs, etc. It went on this way for years, getting worse with every year. When I was 23 I had my first and only child. I straightened up for a bit, until the situation between my wife and I came to a head. We were divorced and I got custody of my daughter. Her birth mother dropped completely out of the picture. So, I was on my own with my 3 month old daughter. I was working, going to school and trying to take care of my daughter. My mother helped me out greatly, and we were living in an apartment attached to my mother and step-father's home. After a while, I perceived my mother as getting too close to my daughter and wanting her for her own, as she suggested I hand over custody to her. I lost my mind. I came in drunk one night after that and threatened to kill both of them if they ever tried to end-run me and go for custody of my daughter. They both looked terrified, and at the time, it felt good to scare them. (Iíve been told that I look very scary when Iím in a rage, which is why Iím glad Jesus is with me. That doesnít seem to happen anymoreÖ the rage part I mean.) I moved into my own place with my daughter shortly after. I was having a hard go of it and began actively searching for a wife.
I was having trouble at work, being harassed by someone and I got very depressed. One night I was reading a Benny Hinn book my mother gave me (I don't remember which one and in hind sight, that was for the best) and out of emotion, gave my heart to the Lord... or so I thought. I began attending my mother's church which was a heavily Charismatic leaning Pentecostal church affiliated with the PAOC. At first I thought, what the H-E-double hockey sticks is going on here? So I hung back a bit and just kind of watched. But I was searching for God. I even joined in hoping that God would do something to me, so I would feel something... anything. But no matter what, I felt nothing. It still sounded like gibberish to me, and I couldn't understand these people. I played guitar and was a gifted singer and wanted just to practice with someone and learn the Christian worship songs, but no one wanted to play with me. I had no mentor, and I got nothing from the superficial, sometimes weirdly romanticized and seemingly endless songs. Some of which, if played in a secular setting, would not be recognizable even as Christian. Not to say that there weren't true Christians there, but it seemed more a country-club than a Church. There were separate groups who rarely let anyone each other into their circles. I always left feeling alone, neglected and hungry. One good thing though is that I met and married my new wife there. What a kind, loving patient woman whom after putting up with my garbage for years still unconditionally loves me. I put this beautiful, Godly woman through hell and she still stuck by me.

We were married in August of 2000 (and still are! Almost 14 years now). She gave up/sacrificed a lot to be with me and my daughter. She was actually my younger sister's best friend, and used to baby-sit for me. After 9/11 the Canadian Forces were calling up anyone who had been in before and they called me. I joined and my wife followed. And what followed after that was 13 years of hell. I became an alcoholic, verbally and mentally abusive. I was completely selfish. I continued in the Church, but on the side I led the life I wanted to live. I even became a worship leader in the Church we were attending and played in a band and recorded a secular album with people from the Church. I also lost a friend with whom I had served with overseas to suicide, and fell into a deep depression. Not for anything I had done overseas, but because I lost the only friend I seemed to have within the forces. Another reason why I was depressed is that I knew the truth about Jesus and never told him. How could I when I wasnít living for Jesus? And so, along with the sorrow, I felt immense guilt.
I had also been injured at work and was eventually released in 2010 for medical reasons from the forces. We moved back to my hometown where I reunited with a guy I had known since high school and considered my best friend and began hanging around with him. My behavior got worse. I got into drugs along with the booze and playing in bars. I got into working out and began using steroids for a while, after which I would get drunk, high and in many cases both. I began to make excuses for my behavior and my Church attendance dropped to next to nothing. By this time, my drinking and drug use was a daily thing. I ignored my family and abused them mentally and emotionally, with a little physical intimidation thrown in for good measure. I was drunk and high every single day for about 2 years straight. I knew I was living for the devil and not Christ, but I figured I was so far gone that I had gone past the point where God would ever forgive me. I got so low that I began getting into criminal activity, hanging out with bikers (in fact, I believe being courted by them. (Apparently they love recruiting veterans) and dealing drugs. It came to a head with me when I was suddenly put into a position of having to act as an enforcer for a local "loan-shark" who happened to be my father. My dad knew about my martial arts, hand-to-hand combat and MMA training, and had spread this around among his under-world cronies. So, people in this lifestyle began to respect and trust me. I think as well, because I had taken to wearing a Hells Angels support shirt that I had gotten. People were cautious and I never let them think any different. In that world, fear means respect, and I enjoyed it. And, I was finally getting the respect and attention from my father that I had never enjoyed before.
So, I more or less extorted and robbed this guy. Through physical intimidation, I made him empty his pockets to recover the money he had been loaned. This poor guy was scared to death and I told him he had till next Friday to come up with the rest or I would "tune him up" (beat him up)Ö For the amount of $60.00, I was going to hurt this guy badly.
Not long after that, I was at home. Feeling completely horrified at what I had done. How could I have come to this? Alone, I cried out to God. I knew I was at a precipice. I was either going to go one way, or the other. I never wanted to be who I had become. I had always been a gentle person, didnít like violence and this is what I had become; A low-down, liar, thief, abuser and violent criminal, Unloving and uncaring about anyone but myself. In my weakness and broken state God reached out and touched me. And I felt God for the very first time. He took my alcoholism, drug addiction and hard-heartedness completely away in an instant, and replaced it with a peace and joy I had never known. This was a TRUE miracle. I had tried probably hundreds of time to quit on my own and never could; Most times lasting only a few hours before I was on the booze and drugs again. But the addiction was absolutely gone. I had no desire and even revulsion for booze and drugs now. I had peace, gratefulness and a forgiveness for others that I had never known and began devouring the Bible and listening to online sermons. It was the Strange Fire Conference on video on the Grace to You website which showed me why (aside from my own selfish heart, and unwillingness to give up my former life) I had been getting nothing from that Church. I believe that God, knowing my heart and what He would do, protected me from it.

I do not know what God has planned for me now, but I trust Him. I've been out of work for several months due to a surgery on my hand that has gone wrong, and I have to go for another in April to fix it (making it my 4th to that hand), but still I have joy and peace that can only be explained by a loving Savior. It's hard times to be sure, but I still have peace, joy and contentment knowing that God is in control and He does all things for His purpose and Glory. This is how I KNOW I am saved.

I needed to tell someone about this, and it's easiest for me when I can write it down. (I'm not a very good public speaker, I tend to stutter a lot and go off track due to nervousness) And, I wanted/needed to let someone know what Jesus has done for me. Anyway, that is my testimonyÖ the condensed version. If I went into too much detail, I think Iíd be writing a novel instead of a letter.

Thanks for listening.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 01:04 AM   #191
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Joined: Mar 2005
Location: San Diego
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So, I figured I'd add my own testimony as well, to show that, if God could, in His grace and mercy, pull me out of all the crap I was stuck in and give me a complete 180 in under a year, then maybe this could be an inspiration for someone else who may be in the same situation.

I grew up in the church, with a family that made it an important goal to raise me and my brother with the knowledge and love of God. At a very young age, I knew who God was, for sure: I could memorize verses and repeat them to you verbatim. The problem was that, despite the fact that I had so much knowledge of the Bible and the stories within it, I don't know that it was ever a real thing to me back then. It was more of a "this is what I've been taught by my family and my church, so I just acknowledge it as truth". At the age of two, I was also diagnosed with severe asthma, which, while not generally as severe anymore, has stayed with me from then till now, 25 years later. Because of that asthma, we could not keep any dogs or cats, and it, over time, caused an irrational fear of loud, barking dogs to grow in me.

One thing that I was NOT afraid of, however, was girls. I have had a number of good female friends, but the problem was that, despite the fact that I had a number of female friends, very few were ever interested in being more than that. To this day, at the age of 27, I have NEVER once been a boyfriend to a young lady. I could give you a number of situations where, when I would try to let a young lady know that I was interested, I would get slapped in the face with rejection (whether implicitly or explicitly, though never literally). All that rejection, not to mention the shaky footing I had on my knowledge of God, fed into my sinful nature and led to and fuelled a major sinful habit that I struggled with for years: pornography. I believe I struggled with it, on and off, for about 7 to 8 years. I will confirm this: when people say pornography distorts your view of both women and the act of sex, it is absolutely TRUE! I got to a particularly disgusting point where I would ogle a woman's figure more often than I would look her in the eye. Being a cashier at a major retailer and seeing countless women everyday (both co-workers and customers) does NOT help matters. I even tried to quit pornography on my own at least once or twice (sometimes out of fear due to not wanting to get any computer viruses like I would get over time), one time even going to my pastor for help, but after several weeks to a month, it would gradually seep back in and I'd be right back where I left off.

Flash forward to late July of last year. My family and I are preparing for an Alaskan cruise during the midst of August, when all of a sudden, an old friend I had met at college gets back in contact with me. She had just broken up with her boyfriend and was planning on moving back to San Diego in the near future. All of a sudden, I started realizing a romantic interest in her starting to blossom. This was a person that I not only found very attractive, but was also someone that I could effortlessly talk to about anything. Little did I know how God would use her to reach out and pull me back towards him.

At that point, by the time I was preparing to head out on the cruise, I was at such a low point in my lustful struggle that, if a young lady on the ship were to have propositioned me, I probably would not have said no (especially since I had my own cabin all to myself). However, while I was on the cruise, I started to think about the aforementioned friend and it started to really sink in how much I would rather have a companion who was not only a great friend, but a lover as well. I was starting to see that I would much rather spend a week on a cruise ship with a wife than multiple strangers. It was also around this time that I was really starting to get into the music of guys like Lecrae, Tedashii, Derek Minor, Andy Mineo and such. Their music would also be an instrumental (ha!) part in my journey back to the right path.

After the cruise/vacation was over, I focused a LOT of my time on keeping in contact with/flirting with this friend of mine. She and I began to get closer and closer as friends to where she was comfortable sharing some personal stuff with me (keep in mind, this friend of mine professes to be a Christian). I was really starting to think to myself, "Wow, could this actually end up being the first person I could be in a relationship with?". Then, one days, as we were talking, I asked her about her Christianity and very abruptly found out that her views on what it meant to be a Christian differed greatly from what I had been taught. I feel like this was the point where God was basically telling me, "Really?! You are so concerned about being in a relationship with someone who shares the views and beliefs you've been taught and yet you yourself don't even live out what you've been taught!". It was about this time that I discovered the song "Temptation" by the 116 Clique (if you don't mind rap music, go give it a listen. It REALLY hit a chord with me). Through this time, I started to see and hear real glimpses of God in my life, stuff that I had never noticed before. However, during this time, I personally felt like it would be a better idea for me to put off giving everything back to God at once and just focus on one thing at a time (lust first, anger and bitterness next, then fear, etc.). Then, on October 6th, 2013, during church service, we reached the last part of the song "The Great I Am". At that moment, I felt such an overwhelming conviction wash over me like I had NEVER felt before, as though God was saying, "I don't want you to wait any longer. I want everything NOW!".

Now, when you hear God saying THAT to you, how can you possibly say "no"? I sure couldn't.

Ever since then, God has been healing and repairing the broken pieces. I have not indulged in pornography, at the very least, since August of last year, God is helping me deal with my struggle with anger, resentment and fear, and has also revealed to me that, as long as I continue to let Him have control of my life and continue following His will for my life, He will provide me with everything I need and will continue to restore me in every way. I have also been buying MANY books that deal with things I have struggled and still struggle with (views on love and marriage, fears, making my relationship with God an even more real thing to me, books on martyrs, approaching my job/working as a form of worship, etc.).

If you were to ask me how God is real for me, I would answer that He revealed Himself to me in a way I could never have imagined and pulled me out of a situation I could never have saved myself from. Only a God who loves His children and wants to heal them and reconcile them back to Him could have done what He did for me.
Originally Posted by mattslope
e-marriages, on the other hand, are pure comic gold. I will never tire of listening the the soft mewings of 14 year olds in heat.

Last edited by DKelly; 06-30-2014 at 09:03 PM.
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