DON'T WASTE YOUR LIFE - JUDGES 13
You are young. You have potential! Potential does not guarantee success though. Potential is only a possibility: you have the capacity to become or develop into something in the future. It is something not yet achieved. No biblical character shows more potential than Samson.
The biblical author of Judges highlights the birth narrative of Samson throughout chapter thirteen. Why? I believe the author is pointing to the potential of this child. The angel of the Lord visits Manoah, and later his wife, twice. He instructs them about their son’s Nazarite vow. Samson’s Nazarite vow is unique. It is divinely imposed, unlike the normal voluntary vow. A Nazarite vow would usually be a temporary token for a period of time to show dedication to God, but Samson will have this vow from conception until death!
Don’t forget what the author highlighted in the opening verses: Manoah’s wife’s barrenness. They could not have children! So, the announcement of a child was a BIG deal. Those must have been the longest nine months of their life. Finally, Samson was born!
Judges 13:24, 25 “And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him...”
Samson’s potential is off the charts!
After reading chapter 13 of Judges you naturally would ask yourself these questions.
For the next three chapters over and over again Samson will find himself facing a tug-a-war in his heart between – living for God and living for self.
Chapter 14 Summary:
Samson is disrespectful to his parents, uncaring toward his Nazarite calling, disloyal to his own people, compromising his morals, rude to his wife, flippant with his tongue, driven by his lust and appetite.
Chapter 15 Summary:
Samson is self-centered. Although it may appear exciting, he is violating his calling. Life is all about Samson and his pleasure.
Chapter 16 Summary:
Samson treats his call like it is a game. His eyes end up plucked out, and his last days are spent grinding grain. Instead of fulfilling his life’s potential for God, it is wasted by living for himself.
You too have great potential to live a life for God. But that potential will be wasted when your life is spent on yourself. Those who refuse to embrace the special life of a Christian end up losing the blessed life. Determine, by God’s grace, to live out your fullest potential for Christ.
Southwest Baptist Church
Church Planting Missionary to Sri Lanka
When looking at this world today and the young people that are in it, one does not need to look far to see that there is a lack of wisdom. Not only in the young people that are in the world but those that are in the Church as well! This is quite sad to see the young people of today getting tossed to and fro from the beliefs and standards of this world. It is not easy to find wisdom when, even in our churches today, there is a lack of wisdom in those who are leaders in the church. Wisdom is a huge commodity in the Christian life. How might one obtain a commodity such as wisdom?
In the word of God we see that it's actually quite a simple thing to obtain. In Proverbs the wise man, Solomon, said it this way “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but the fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Pro 1:7)” The reason a lot of young people are finding it difficult to obtain wisdom is because they fail to fear the Lord the way they ought to. It's kind of hard to do so when we live in a world that encourages us to live in the moment. Not only that, but we live in a nation that does not hold highly the Word of God. These cause a lot of young people to give into the lust of the flesh which will lead to nothing but destruction.
When the Word of God says “The fear of God” it is not referring to being terrified or scared to have a relationship with Him. The word fear means to have reverence. When we, as believers, have a reverence for the things of God then we will obtain knowledge (understanding). We will never earn understanding if we are not holding God’s Word over the knowledge of the world. One must forfeit the understanding of this world to have the understanding of the Word of God. Our flesh will tend to lean to the understanding of this world, but we need to be in the Word of God in order to have the knowledge of His Word. It's more than just listening to the Word being preached; a young believer must give time for the study of the Word of God.
In the second part of this verse, we see that there is a contrast between obtaining wisdom and forfeiting wisdom. The foolish person will completely despise (disrespect) wisdom (skillfulness) and instruction (chastisement). There will be many people out in the world that will completely disrespect the stance of a young believer holding onto the Word of God. This is why it is of upmost importance that a young believer surrounds themselves with fellow believers, so that they do not put themselves in a place of compromise or discouragement. The way to have true wisdom is to have reverence for the things of God. Then, you will have the understatement (knowledge) to apply the skills (wisdom) of the Word of God to your life.
It is easier said than done to obtain this wisdom, yet it is something that is really rewarding once it is obtained. Wisdom is something that needs to be maintained as well. Once we allow the fear of God to diminish in our lives, then we are slowly giving up the wisdom that we worked so hard to obtain. As young believers it is required of us to hold the Word of God in a high regard. As soon as a believer starts going back to the indoctrination of this world they will forfeit their knowledge and wisdom to the destruction of this world. Know that it's up to you, believer. Are you going to strive for the knowledge and wisdom of the Word of God, or surrender to the knowledge and wisdom of this world?
Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.
Rose Hill Baptist Church
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Despair to live, extreme exhaustion, loneliness and failure - not really phrases one would consider belonging to the great prophet Elijah, are they? Certainly, we can read Elijah's entire story in the Word of God and see that this is far from a true reflection of his life’s story. The problem is that this is how Elijah saw himself at one point in his life. Over the next several posts, I desire to show you the effects of depression as seen in some of our heroes from the Bible. Truly it is no secret that Elijah is my favorite character in the Old Testament, so I decided to start with him. I hope that you will grab your Bible and look at these great happenings with me. Let's look in 1 Kings and see this great person, Elijah, and how God helped him with depression.
Our narrative in the Bible begins with the rise of Ahab to the throne of the kingdom of Israel and his rearing of altars to Baal. God said of him in 1 Kings 16:33 that "Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him." With this great atrocity, God raises up Elijah in the next chapter (17) to stand against this wicked ruler. He begins by proclaiming God's judgment of a drought on the land. The book of James attributes this to his great prayer life (James 5:17,18). God miraculously feeds him during this time of lack, leading up to a great showdown at Mount Carmel with Jezebel the queen's prophets of Baal. God shows out in a mighty way and Elijah prays for rain to come again on the land. Through all this, we see a man that God is using in a mighty way. Then we get to chapter 19 and see that depression works its way into Elijah's life.
Jezebel is not happy and declares that she is going to kill our Bible hero. When Elijah heard this news, "...he arose, and went for his life..." (vs. 3) Next we see Elijah wishing to be alone, wishing that he would die, feeling that there was nothing left ("it is enough"), and comparing himself to others (vss. 3,4). All of these are things that we experience ourselves in times of depression. If not treated with the attention that it needs, any of us could break under the enormous pressure that life puts on us. Elijah was a success for God, God had his back. However, depression can strike anyone at any time. For Elijah, it came right after a highly visible victory, an impressive physical run (18:45,46), and a threat from a wicked woman. Elijah is down for the count, to borrow a boxing term. Many victims of depression get to this point and never recover. Let me say to you, God is not finished with you, just like He was not finished with Elijah. What He did for him, He will faithfully do for you! What did God do, you might ask?
Our perfect God provided for the entire need of Elijah's depressive episode. First, He addressed Elijah's physical need with rest, food and water. “And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.” (1 Kings 19:5-8) Elijah's body had exerted quite a bit of energy. He had depleted his physical reserve and God knew that he needed rest and nourishment. We too must not see depression as being "all in your head" as has typically been assumed by many over the years. There are physical needs that must be met. Never be afraid to consult a physician or nutritionist to help in this area of your depression. Treat your body right, then go on to the further issues that need to be addressed.
Next, we see God meet the mental needs of Elijah with a reassurance of Who God is in 1 Kings 19:11-13: “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?” God personally met with Elijah, to show him that even when man is in distress, he has a God that cares. God then corrects his faulty thinking in 19:18, “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” Elijah was not alone in his service to God. He only thought that he was. He did not know what God was doing in the lives of those around him, probably because he was so busy doing what God had called him to do that he did not see others around him. While depression doesn't just affect the mind, it would be foolish for us to think that the effect on the mind is not substantive. It was enough for God to address it with Elijah, so let us not live in denial of it ourselves. We are many times guilty of what I call "stinking thinking." I have counseled many people to allow God to direct their thinking in purposeful ways, following the leading of the Word of God in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Elijah thought that he was the only one serving God, God showed him different. Elijah thought that he needed to be alone, God commanded him to anoint Elisha who would be his minister (vs. 21). Elijah thought that his life had no further purpose, God gave him work to do (vss. 15-17).
That brings me to my final point of emphasis today, what does God have for you to do? Elijah's thinking was challenged by God and he obeyed the commands God gave him. This brought healing to Elijah, making him able to be productive for God's work once again. Elijah finishes his course with faith in the God Who met him at his deepest point of need. I pray that God has met you at your point of need through this great account in the Bible. God has a work for all of us to do, He has a purpose for your life. Get your physical needs met. Let Him challenge your thinking. Seek to do His work.
As always, continue the discussion. Comment here or on Facebook. Like and share. Help others with their fight by raising awareness. Furthermore, take a minute to reflect on Elijah in 1 Kings chapters 17-19 and learn from his life.
With all God's help,
Increasing Your Faith - Comfort Zone
There are many things young believers struggle with when it comes to increasing their faith. The subject that is going to be addressed in this Increasing Your Faith series is going to be the subject of taking steps out of your comfort zone. I believe this is an issue that each believer struggles with somewhere in their lives. Whether it be with their finances, helping out in the church, witnessing to coworkers, or just the struggles of every day. I truly believe that Christians will oftentimes struggle with issues they don't understand how they will be resolved. It is easy for us to begin to worry about an issue that is completely out of our hands.
Christians will allow emotions to get the best of them in tough issues then allow worry will to seep in. When we allow ourselves to worry, it boils down to a lack of faith in our God. The Bible in Philippians 4:6-7 states “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The word careful here means to be anxious. Therefore, Paul is telling the people to worry for nothing but just seek God through prayer and He will give the peace that passes all understanding.
Believers, did you know that God still wants us not to be anxious about things but just depend on Him to give you the peace? Even through times that are uncomfortable for you, God will give you the peace. If you are struggling with finances, pray to God and give anyway. If you are going through financial difficulties, don't stop giving your offering. There is no faith in that. However, by giving and seeking the Lord, you will be given the peace that passes all understanding.
Perhaps as far as finances go, you have already decided to trust in God. Maybe the way you need to increase your faith in stepping out of your comfort zone is by being a Sunday school teacher/ helper. The Spirit has been working in your heart to do this but yet you are coming up with every excuse in the book to why you are not capable of doing it. Living life like that, you will never see God’s true power. Can you just imagine if God allow Moses’ excuses to stop him from doing His will? Moses was given a couple of signs that God was going to be with Him and that he was capable of doing wonderful things through him.
You are maybe thinking that if God gave you signs as he did for Moses than you would know that you could do something great. Well, that is not going to happen, but why can't the Word of God be enough for you? If the Holy Spirit is already speaking to you, shouldn't that be enough of a sign? The Bible says in II Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight:” God does not want us to walk by sight but to walk by faith. Stop waiting for God to write His will in the clouds for you. Sometimes you just need to listen to the His still small voice and allow that to lead you into action.
There are too many Christian believers on the sidelines when they should be standing in the gap. Often times, we will limit ourselves by our comfort zone. Whenever there is something that is a bit uncomfortable for us or we are unsure of success, we will typically shy away from opportunities that God is trying to use as an to help us grow. We lack faith; therefore, we will fail to seize the opportunity. We fail to recognize that this was a time we could have increased our faith. By forfeiting a time to minister because we are afraid to push and stretch our comfort zones, we then are giving a foothold for the devil. Each step towards Christ in an unfamiliar territory is a step of faith and true dependence on God. Allow the Holy Spirit to have complete reign in your life, in your finances, getting involved in your church, witnessing, and your business affairs.
A Post by Robert Reyes
In the Christian life faith is one of the greatest characteristic traits a believer should have, if not the best. It is in faith alone in how a person receives salvation. However, though salvation is a great thing to have and without a shadow of a doubt it is the best decision a person can make in their life, a believer’s faith should not stop after salvation. The Bible says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). When developing this new faith/belief/trust in Christ, we need to allow our old sins and selfishness to pass away and be born of the new things in life, which are the things of Christ. However, faith is something that a believer will never fully grow to their full capacity. We need to constantly increase our faith in our Lord. How can a Christian continue to grow in their faith?
Believers must learn to be content. In today’s society this may seem like a foreign concept to most people. This may be because there are always people in pop culture that will tell you that you cannot be happy unless you have: the trendiest clothes, the new iPhone, nice cars, and the latest video game consoles. But let's really think about this. If someone really did obtain these items and luxuries, would they actually be happy? The answer is no because this kind of mindset will make you just want more after you obtain the things you wanted. There is not a light at the end of the tunnel that is called selfishness. Christians need to learn to be happy with that which God has already blessed them with.
One portion of Scripture that really speaks out to me when being content is found in the book of Philippians. The Apostle Paul was talking to the Church at Philippi and he was talking about how blessed he was to have his relationship restored because they were a big encouragement to him by sending him things and sending him Epaphroditus. During the time of no communication we see some of the struggles Paul went through during that time.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:11-13)
Paul explains to the church that he was thankful for the restoration of relationship not because he wanted anything from them. Paul desired nothing but to see the Lord’s fruit in their life. Read the remaining of the Chapter to see for yourself. Through Paul losing all communication with those in whom he loved, he learned to be content no matter what his circumstances were. He was content whether he was abased (depressed/humiliated) or abound (to be in excess), full or hungry, abound or suffering need (to lack). Paul had experienced some really hard times in his life: he had been beaten three times, shipwrecked, and even stoned. Not only that, but he had a thorn in his flesh that God said he was not going to get rid of. Despite these facts, Paul had seen great high points in his life: outreach to the Gentiles, and the salvation of the Philippian jailer.
The Apostle knew how it felt to be full and how it was to be hungry. He had felt many times the energy that proper nourishment gave him physically. He also knew the struggles of being starved and physically weak. He learned how it was to have all his needs met and he knew how it was to suffer basic necessity. But we see that Paul did not depend on the basic commodities to keep him content. If he was depending on those things, then during the times he was abased, hungered, and suffered need he would not have been content. In the Scripture, we see Paul’s contentment comes from the strength of the Lord. Christian, I tell you that you can access the same contentment that Paul had by just depending on God’s strength. Stop worrying about things that you wish that you had. Just be thankful for all that God has blessed you with.
Over the next several weeks we are going to keep tackling this topic of increasing your faith. It starts with learning to be content in that which the Lord has already given us. The world wants what they do not have and when they get what they want, they continually want something different. Christians ought to be thankful for that which we have. Stop looking at what we do not have and be content with what the Lord is allowing us to have. Just by being content, you will develop a new depth to your faith.
Is. It. Real?
Raising Awareness for Depression
Is depression real? Just asking this question will stir up strong emotions in the hearts of many who will read this post. If you will give me a chance, over the next several weeks I would like to share my heart on this matter. My goal with this first post is not to answer all the questions concerning depression or to provide a cure for depression. I believe that I can help with this matter, but first I hope to spend this time to raise a little awareness.
Let us start with awareness…
Among the authorities
Depression is defined by Webster as “a sinking of the spirits; dejection; a state of sadness; want of courage or animation.” Modern psychiatry offers the following: “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. ... Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.”(1) Webmd states that clinical depression is “when intense sadness -- including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless -- lasts for many days to weeks and keeps you from living your life.”(2) Also, simply put by Wikipedia, depression is “a state of low mood and aversion to activity.”(3) Finally, the Bible uses the terms “sorrow of heart,” “sorrow of mind,” “worldly sorrow,” “overmuch sorrow,” “heaviness,” or “careful” when speaking of depression.
Now let us look at awareness…
Among young people
According to cbn.com, 9 out of 10 adolescents have periods of depression that last at least two weeks and often go untreated and ignored. Crosswalk.com stated that "the rate of teenage depression is at an all time high. ... the general incidence of suicide ... has tripled among young people ages 15 to 24." They go on to state that the "causes of depression and anxiety can range from a genetic predisposition to a variety of illnesses. And, a pop culture filled with empty messages of 'love em and leave em', a devaluation of human life, the fact that 40 percent of children live in a broken home and an emphasis on materialism is enough to make even the healthiest child wonder if his/her life really matters." We cannot bury our heads in the sand. This is a real problem in the lives of those who need us the most, our youth.
See also awareness…
Among leaders in faith & history
In the Christian headlines of late, we are seeing a regular stream of church leaders who are struggling with depression and even many who are attempting suicide as a release from the enormous weight that depression has caused. Is this new? I say not. Leaders of the past have suffered from this condition as well. It was said that Spurgeon was never the same following a great tragedy where, at his church, seven were killed and many others were wounded. His wife, Susannah, wrote, “My beloved’s anguish was so deep and violent, that reason seemed to totter in her throne, and we sometimes feared that he would never preach again.” Later, it would be physical ailments that added to his bouts of depression.(4) The following has been said about Lincoln: “Lincoln resorted to humor when he needed to resolve the gloom. Aware that his storytelling and joking were essential to his mental balance. He once told his law partner Herndon "if it were not for these stories-jokes-jests I should die: they give vent-are the vents of my moods and gloom."(5) We will talk at a later time about how these men were able to cope with their symptoms.
Among the hero’s of the Scripture
In the pages of Scripture we see some of the great men of the Bible, battling with sorrow, wishing they had never been born! Elijah, after a great victory on Mt. Carmel, runs from Jezebel and wishes for God to kill him.(6) Job, during his great trial and the accusations of his friends, wishes that he had died at birth.(7) David went through many ups and downs in his ascent to the throne and his sin with Bathsheba. Many of the prophets were severely distressed as they endured persecution and the testing of God for His people. Even Paul experienced much “heaviness of heart” in his yearning for Israel to accept Christ.(8) There is much to be learned from the Word of God that can help us combat this epidemic, but we will save that for another post.
Do you, or someone you know have prolonged periods of sadness? If so, I think that you could answer our opening question affirmatively. Depression is real. It affects people all around us, people from all races and genders, people from all walks of life. Let us be active in the conversation and learn more about this great plague of the mind that is stifling the growth of our loved ones. Let us be ready with an answer and available to support those who need us. Truly, it could be any of us that need the help tomorrow.
(6) 1 Kings 19:1-4
(7) Job 3:11,12
(8) Romans 9:1-5
The Importance of Singles Serving in the Church
This subject matter is something that is truly important. It is one of the reasons especially that this “chosen generation ministry” was put together. We want the college and career age people to find where they fit in the local church. Being in this category myself, I have a few things I believe that singles are completely capable in doing in our local churches today. The first thing I would like to talk about is availability. Being available is something that is important when it comes to serving in the church.
I believe that many young single people in churches today fail in making themselves available when it comes to giving their time to their local church. The question is why do young singles allow themselves not to be available to their church? There are many answers to this question. I think one of the big reasons young singles don't make themselves available is because it takes them out of their comfort zone. Nobody likes to be put in an uncomfortable position. It is natural too for people to give themselves a cop-out to avoid things that they are uncertain about. When you have this kind of mentality you never will know whose life you could touch through God. There are young singles in churches that I see having potential to do big things to God. However, they will never reach that potential if they don't get out of their comfort zone.
When I think of someone who had to get out of his comfort zone my mind goes to Moses. When God came to Moses in the burning bush, we see that Moses had doubts. In Exodus 3 we see that Moses kept coming up with excuses on why he was not adequate to do the job that God wanted him to do. We see that Moses tried to question God (Ex 3:11). He said, “Do you know who I am.” Many times, we try to get out of things because of our past. Like God is not aware of what we have done! Then we see that Moses questions the authority on who was sending him (Ex 3:13). There are times that we know God is burdening us to help more and we know that He is convicting us to do more for Him, but we often try to fight it. Moses was aware that he was having a divine meeting with God, yet he was still trying to get out of it. Lastly, we see Moses trying to say that he was not a good speaker (Ex 4:10). Again, he was talking to God. God knew all that Moses was capable of.
How many times are we like Moses when we continue to give ourselves excuses as to why we cannot do something. We all know that when Moses finally got out of his comfort zone, he was able to do something big for God. We will never know what we can do for God until we give all our doubts over to Him. When we make ourselves available, we will be able to invest in people's life, and we will be a blessing to our pastors. It always brings encouragement to a pastor when young people have the fire and willingness to get involved in the ministry. Also, it shows younger children that there will be a place for them to serve in the church as they get into the young adult age.
What are some ways that we can get involved in the ministry? This may be different for every church depending on what ministries are available. One thing that any young single can do is work around the church, such as cleaning the church. Any young single can go door knocking, help on a bus/van route, in VBS, or in a Sunday school class. Something to remember about serving in some of these areas is that we need to be sure that we have a solid relationship with God. If we are faithful to Him, we can have an opportunity to serve in these capacities and places of leadership. There is a place for all those who desire serving in the church, but we need to be willing to give our insecurities over to God. The more you allow yourself to get out of your comfort zone the more your comfort zone will expand. Allow God to expand your faith and your comfort zone at the same time!
There is no doubt that young adult believers have a real epidemic on their hands. It is caused by society but it is at the expense of young believers that are trying to live their lives for Christ. We see that pop culture embraces a reckless and rebellious lifestyle by this type of living, young adult believers are under attack by the fiery darts of Satan. One of the biggest ideas that pop culture is influencing us to live is the following thought, “You have to live in the moment and follow your heart.” However, this is a wrong perspective to look at it from. We see in God’s word that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”(Jeremiah 17:9)
By pop culture encouraging young people to follow their hearts, it is teaching us to follow all things unholy. This is contrary to what God has intended for us to do in our Christian life. The Lord wants us to live a pure and holy life, which is the exact opposite that society is trying to force into the minds of young believers everywhere. In which way are they promoting an unholy lifestyle? It's through living a life of sexual immorality. It is impossible to turn on the tv today and not to see something that is promoting sexual immorality. We are seeing it on ads, shows, music videos, etc… It is through this that young adults are allowing their hearts and minds to be held captive by the snares of Satan.
Our culture over the years has become overtly sexualized. It is no wonder why young teens are getting pregnant at earlier and earlier ages. It's because we have allowed our society to get this way. Now-a-days "sex ed" teaches that sex is okay for young people as long as they use protection. We think it is okay for men/women to look at the opposite sex in an immoral way as long as they don’t touch. In the Bible, we see the Lord say this “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) Jesus went further than the law that Moses gave. Jesus said not only committing the act is adultery but even looking at someone in a lustful way you have already committed the act of adultery. Jesus went further than the law because He knows that by just thinking of it, a person can be moved to action.
God is not against sex as long as the couple is a married male and female. Everything done sexually outside of marriage is against what God intended it to be. Another thing against what God intended is the sin of homosexuality. We see in the Bible that in the beginning God created woman for man not man for man. Homosexuality is another issue that this society has embraced and I believe it's because we have allowed so much perversion in this country. Pop culture will say someone is born that way or it's a disease. They may be onto something with a disease because it is a sin disease. We have a choice to cleanse this sin by giving it over to Jesus. God does not hate any sinner, He wants all to come to repentance and forsake the sin that we are held captive by.
God wants us all to live for him including the millennial generation that Satan is trying to get a hold of. We as young people trying to serve God in society today need to be sure that we are fleeing from the sexual sins that are getting forced into our minds. When I think of an example of fleeing from fornication, I think of Joseph. When Potiphar had gone away to handle his duties, he left Joseph in charge of his house. We see that on three different occasions that Potiphar’s wife was trying to get Joseph to commit fornication with her. On the third time, she grabbed him by his coat and he took off his coat to get away. Here is the idea. We need to flee from sexual immorality like Joseph did. But the reason he was able to do this was because God was with Him. Joseph sought God. If we as young believers are going to stay pure in society today, we are going to have to flee from anything that will allow our minds to become full of immorality. Many good men and women in the faith have fallen because of this sin. The way you avoid this is to be like Joseph and seek God daily. Then, and only then, will you have the spiritual strength to not sin against God.
My testimony is one that is only by the grace of God. It is a testimony that contains ups and downs, although it has consisted of more ups than downs. I got saved at around 5 or 6 years old. The way I heard about church was through some children that my mom used to watch. Their mom drove one of the buses and they invited us to a children’s church promotion. It was through this that my brother, sisters, and I started attending church. We soon found out that we could earn more points if our parents came to church. My parents thought it would be a good idea for them to come to church on the bus with us.
My parents fell in love with the church there (Calvary Baptist Temple in Fort Collins, Co). My parents got involved with the church, instantly going all day Sunday and Wednesday nights. After being there almost a year my dad started driving the bus route for Sunday morning as well as visiting the children on Saturday mornings. By constantly going to church I was able to develop a grasp of salvation, after making several false professions of faith. I was one of those kids that got saved every Sunday morning. There was finally a time in one of those professions that I finally grasped a fully knowledge of true salvation. That next Sunday night I was baptized.
After being at Calvary Baptist Temple for several years, we moved back to my hometown of El Paso, Tx due to family issues (I was in 4th grade at this time) . Once we moved back, we attended a church for a few weeks until the secretary ran off with the Pastor. From there, my family stopped going to church. It was from this point that we started running from God. My brother and I eventually started turning to the streets for answers. I was involved in gang activity at a pretty young age, following my brothers footsteps. I started hanging out with the wrong people and doing the wrong things because I felt like I needed acceptance somewhere. Therefore, I did a lot of things to get accepted by the gang I was affiliated with.
My parents eventually realized how deep we were in the gang when, as a family, we were at a football game and people tried to fight my brother and I. My dad did not want our family in danger due to what my brother and I were involved in. It was from this point that we ran to Alabama to run away from our issues. In the process of moving, we just about lost everything due to a wreck. The company that we hired to move our items got into a wreck and all of our possessions were not retrievable. All that we had was what we had in our car. We lived in Alabama for about 11 months. It was the worst 11 months of my life. It was one of the lowest in our lives as a family.
It was here that my dad received a call in our hotel room where we were living in on the roughest side of Bermingham. It was a call from my Pastor (Park Sutton) in Fort Collins, Co. He told my dad that he felt lead by the Lord to give us a call. The Lord used that call to work in my father’s life. After a couple hours of talking to Pastor, my dad said that we were going to move back to Colorado. He said that we are not going to run from God anymore. At this point in my life, I still believed there was a God, but I thought I was okay where I was at in my life.
We eventually moved back to Colorado during my sophomore year of high school. I was really rebellious at this point in my life. Even though, as a family we were back in church, it took awhile before I gave my heart back to the Lord. It was not until the summer going into my Junior year that I yielded my heart back to the Lord. I was at Silver State Baptist Youth camp when the Lord called me to preach. I eventually graduated high school and I attended Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City, Ok. I graduated from there in May of 2018. Since I have graduated, I have been plugged into Rose Hill Baptist Church in De Queen, Ar. It has been a blessing to be able to teach the 5th-8th graders and run the van ministry.
Although my life has had its forks in the road and many twists and turns, it is only by the grace of God that I am in the position that I am in. Looking back on all this, I can say that I have been blessed. I don't deserve to be where I am but I am glad that the Lord is willing to use a person like me. If you would have asked me 10 years ago where I would be in my life, I would of thought I would be in jail or dead. But because the grace of God in my life, I can say now I am happy and in the will of God. The Lord wants to work in your life as well, but you need to yield yourself to Him. Die to yourself so that you can live for the Lord.
My testimony consists of as follows:
From birth til 5 years old my life consisted of attending the local Baptist church 4 hours a week, (Sunday School, Sunday morning preaching, Sunday night preaching, and Wednesday night preaching), and the rest of the time, as you may assume, was spent playing.
From 6 years old til 16 years old my life consisted of attending that same local Baptist church 4 hours a week, public schooling 40 hours per week, (7 hours spent on the grounds, 1 hour on the school bus per day, this is a modest estimate), the rest of the unaccounted for time was spent largely in playing.
There is one occurrence that I must point out that differed from this routine a little less than a month before my 14th birthday... I came under tremendous conviction of sin from the preaching of the Word of God and I found myself convinced that I was a sinner in need of being saved from hell. I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me. I believe on that day I was "born again" spiritually. I believe what follows comes from a combination of many factors but in short over the next few years I gradually drifted away from God, even so far from Him that I began to question if sin was even wrong or was it just because some book said so...
The next 2 years my time was spent in much the same way with the exception of the fact that I no longer rode the bus instead I was driving which also meant that my "play time" was changing in content as well...
A few months shy of my 18th birthday, certain changes took place. I decided to move out of my dad and mom's house and get out from underneath their authority. I finished my last year of high school, but completely stopped going to church... More importantly than that, I got as far away from the God of the Bible as I could... From just before I turned 18 until sometime in my 23rd year, my time was spent doing whatever I felt like doing...
I found myself in a horrible pit of filth, and disgust. I found myself to be what I knew the Bible called "a sinner."
Somewhere in the midst of my 23rd year, I decided to open a Bible. I turned to a random passage. I read in it II Timothy 3:1-5 which describes what people will be like "in the last days." That passage was like looking in a mirror of what I had become. I decided, at my sister's suggestion to please my mom, to go to church that coming Sunday morning. As I listened to the preacher, years of emotion flowed from me as I cried through the entire sermon... The following week I pondered hard what and where I was in life. I decided to go back to church the following Sunday. Before the preaching was concluded I had already given my heart to God in total surrender. I can remember wondering if it would be ok to ask if I could stay in the sanctuary of that building and just sleep on a pew for the rest of my life...
My walk with the Lord since then has by no means been a perfect one... But it has been the best thing on this planet that's ever happened to me. To walk with Jesus day by day has been fulfilling in ways words fail to describe.
In writing this, I must point out that I wish my testimony was different. It's not. I've seen both sides of the fence, God's and the world's, I've seen both perspectives. I have found that the Bible, God's Word, has all of the answers to life's questions that we seek.
God and His grace are good. The world, flesh, and the devil are not. This is the conclusion that I've found. This is my testimony.