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Thread: Gave my testimony today

  1. #1
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    Gave my testimony today

    Today I attended a Full Gospel Business Men's International Fellowship Breakfast meeting and I was the guest speaker. Here is an updated testimony that I gave to all the people that attended.

    Warning! This is real long:

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    As I grew up, I always believed in God but this belief was in keeping God way in the back of my mind, never really having a relationship with Him. I’d periodically find myself in situations that challenged my faith but I’d just drive on under my own power and will. The Bible I owned gathered dust, my prayers were to only ask for help that I figured I’d never receive and never did it cross my mind to lift others in prayer. Never did I praise the Lord, nor had no idea what to praise for. Even during combat in Desert Storm I never prayed except for protection, not for all soldiers, just for myself.

    In 1995 I met CPL Daniel Bush and he was recently saved and he was on fire for the Lord. He evangelized to just about everyone he met. From this drive in him he did speak to me many times. At first my desire was to just be left alone cause I already believed in God. Over time, Dan and I talked a lot about the Bible and Jesus. He even stepped back to allow the seeds to be ministered to by God and then to grow. He had challenged me to evaluate my faith with God. I wondered was my faith through His Son, Jesus Christ? In time, I began to understand the meaning of salvation and that just “saying” I believed in God was only an element of the faith I needed to have in Jesus.

    At this time my wife also began to turn situations and problems she was having, over to God. She read her Bible more, prayed more, and in a short period of time her problems began to go away, as a couple we had less problems because of this. I could see how God was helping her and as a side effect, helping us. This caused me to question my faith even deeper.

    I was saved in April of 1995, in Hohenfels Germany. Dan and I had been continuing our discussions. He talked about his life, now that he was a Christian and I wanted what he had with Jesus Christ and that was a relationship. I began to read the Bible, I began to pray and pray for more then just “me” and my problems but others as well.

    ************************************************** *********************
    Now, when I originally wrote this testimony I avoided the fact that as a child I was raised in an abusive family environment. I was both physically and emotionally abused by my mother. My father had divorced my mother when I was five years old and moved away. Short of a few visits each year for the next three years I then never saw my father until I was 26 years old.

    Living with my mother until I was able to get away was an extremely difficult period of my life and brother’s life. Looking back it seemed my mother took all her frustrations out on us. She would lash out at us and if she wasn’t doing it in a physical manner, it was an unending barrage of screaming and verbal abuse.

    The physical abuse slowly ended over the years as I grew older and I could defend myself but the emotional abuse really never ended, till I was able to get away from her by moving away once I was able. This however didn’t end the memories and all the damage that had been done over all those years.

    Shortly after I moved out my mother was diagnosed as schizophrenic after being committed to a hospital. My brother was placed in foster care until he was old enough to move on.

    At this point of my life I was still new to the Army. I was newly married and living in Germany and even though all this was happening to my mother my thoughts at the time was SO WHAT! The ocean between us kept me from having to deal with her and even if I could see her, my feelings for her would have remained just as distant. There was nothing that would ever get me to love my mother, let alone forgive her for all that she’d done to me and my brother when we were kids. The fact that she had been mentally unstable all those years fell on deaf ears and never entered my hardened heart.

    Even as time passed over the years I avoided my mother to the best of my ability. Never called her, never wrote her, I could care less when Michelle bought Christmas cards for my mother. I would get angry with Michelle when she pressured me to call her, or remind me of the fact it was her birthday. I just did not care!

    When I returned from Germany four years later, I did see my mother while she was still locked up in a facility that was treating her because she still wasn’t capable to be out on her own. I can’t recall if it was a promise to Michelle or my grandmother to go see her. After this visit I do remember that I still had no love to offer my mother. Any help I offered was due to the fact that it was my responsibility since I was her eldest son.

    I eventually found God and was saved as I described in the first part of this testimony. As my relationship with God matured my relationship with my mother very slowly turned. I still never wanted to call her or write her but did it because that was the ‘right’ thing to do. Yes, I had to be pressured into doing it. She had been discharged from lockup and was living in a boarding house for people in her situation and to this day still works with them even though she’s been living on her own for the past several years.

    I visited my grandmother every time I was home on leave from the Army so this was once every three years. To do the right thing I also went to go see my mother because she did desire to see me and my family. I left these visitations feeling confused because my mother was what I’d expect a mom to be but my feelings and my heart would not accept her love.

    I wanted this confusion to end. It was actually starting to bother me how I couldn’t accept my mother. I’d say I loved her to her face, I’d call her periodically, send the holiday cards but in my heart there was no love, no desire to talk to her or send her those cards.

    Here I was on one end of my life serving God, talking the talk and because of this hurt; I was stumbling and tripping along in my walk. I’d tell people that forgiveness isn’t for the person that did you wrong but for you. Unforgiveness tears you apart, never effects the person who did you wrong. Yet I wouldn’t follow my own advice.

    When I finally prayed for God to remove the hardness I had in my heart toward my mother…it was gone. During my prayer to forgive my mother, God removed it all from my heart and left me healed of this. Today my relationship with my mother is what I’d imagine a normal relationship between a son and his mom would be.

    Life in the military continued as normal until I was deployed to Iraq while assigned to 1/16 IN at Ft. Riley KS in 2003. Even though I felt I had a good relationship with Jesus, there was much lacking as well and what I lacked in, was causing much darkness to remain in my heart. This time in combat I continued to pray and lift all that I felt that needed to be lifted, I read the Bible daily and did my job. I returned a year later and PCSed to Ft. Drum.

    I moved back home to finish out my career in the Army at Ft. Drum. Since we had attended a Nazarene church for about 1 ½ years near Ft. Riley, Kanas, we found the one located in Watertown and began to attend.

    During this period of my walk with Jesus I began to seek God more because another part of me was keeping me from serving God the way He wanted me to serve Him. God healed me of my unforgiveness and I wanted to serve Him, but I couldn’t fully cause satan still had his claws deep inside of me.

    Active sin, hidden from the world but never hidden from God as He knows our hearts even better then we know it, ourselves. I was bound by a sin that was hurting me spiritually and hurting my marriage physically as I was bound with an addiction to masturbation and fantasy lust.

    Even now as I write this I look back over the years and am grateful to our Lord for holding my wife and I together long enough to reach a day where I’d reach a point that I’d cry out to Him for help over this addiction. This addiction for me was more pleasurable then seeking any escape that the Lord placed in front of me. Even if I did see the escape, I wouldn’t take it, didn’t want to. All I thought about was the next time, the next moment alone, when my wife would leave to go food shopping or wherever for that matter and I’d be alone in the house.

    Of course this led to secretly scouting for pornographic material of any sort and the internet provided an unlimited amount. I didn’t need this even, I wasn’t interested in viewing or reading pornographic stuff but it was fuel for fantasy. Didn’t matter though if I didn’t have anything to look at cause I’d close my eyes and in my mind allow the images and fantasy to develop and take over and sin, at the time I enjoy it and didn’t care about anything else.

    Even while deployed to Iraq for the second time I’d be praying to God one moment and gave into temptation and would sin, the next. Upon returning from this deployment I was right back at my church, reading the Bible, praying, but not doing as God willed for my spiritual growth or my spiritual healing.

    Even after experiencing what God can do concerning my healing of unforgiveness I did not seek Him to help me with this addiction. Then He pointed me to a task that made me open my eyes. I began to learn that God has purpose for those who believe in Him and have a desire to serve Him and have a relationship with Him even if we’re stumbling along. Of all ministries He placed me in, a Celebrate Recovery Ministry led by my very wife. People say the Lord doesn’t have a sense of humor… I wasn’t laughing though at that point in my life cause the word HYPOCRIT began to boom loud in my head. This was God’s plan though… didn’t see it then but it’s clear to me now cause God had to get me to a point in my life where all that was left, was for me to CRY OUT to Him. The Lord will begin to glorify Himself through our weakness the moment we give it to Him and He can work in us. For me, this was not possible to give all of it to Him

    Now I was actively helping people to overcome their addictions, hurts, habits, hangups through faith. If you are unaware of Celebrate Recovery it’s a Bible based recovery program. My wife had been a leader in one at our church in Kansas and when we got to Watertown; our new church had a message in their bulletin about wanting to start a recovery program at the church and needing people to help. She mentioned to the pastor that she had a little experience with Celebrate Recovery and would like to help with the one up here. Even before she blinked the ball was moving and over the next 6 months we held classes with just volunteer leaders and then opened the program to the church.

    Over the next year my enjoyment of serving God was constantly brought down by my addiction. I spoke through my mask, maintained my smile, had that concerned look and even though I genuinely did all I could to help those in the program; I operated in the flesh as my spirit, cried out constantly.

    Until the day my flesh also cried out and I asked God to help me end this addiction cause I was powerless to stop myself.

    Soon after this prayer, which was often voiced to God, usually several times a day… the prayer was answered. My wife and I decided to attend a service at a church that our friends were members at and they had told us that a guest speaker was going to speak one night. We decided to go and once we linked up with our friends we were introduced to the pastor. I vividly remember walking up to Pastor Torres for the very first time and looking at the smile on his face as I walked the 25 feet from the door to the alter. It was the smallest church I had ever been in. But the size of the building has nothing to do with the size of a church in the Kingdom of God. His smile comforted me and I didn’t know it at that moment but I was shaking the hand of the man who shepherded the church that would be used to deliver me of my addictions.

    I experienced much that night, which showed me just what God can do in the lives of Christian’s who are free in their faith and to the movement of the Holy Spirit within them. At this point in my life I’d denied this freedom… which had been all my life.

    After the service the pastor asked my friend Scott to bring me to him cause he had some questions for me. While praying over me during the alter call the Lord had showed him the darkness I had in my heart. He told me what the Lord showed him what it was and that the evil in my heart needed to be removed. I could not do anything but say yes, it’s true. Pastor Torres told me that the Lord wanted to heal me of this but I wasn’t allowing Him to work the healing in me and that he was to counsel me, I said OK.

    So I began to attend both churches as we began to understand God’s will in the fact that we were to leave the Nazarene church and attend the present church I serve God in. This was one of those, “say WHAT??” moments when I asked God what He wanted us to do. Of course, Pastor Torres’ church is primarily Hispanic and all services are in Spanish and translated to English. Not a church I’d consciously decide to even try out but even though I wasn’t aware of it, we were being led by the Holy Spirit. It took about 5 months for the transition from one church to the other to happen due to transferring Celebrate Recovery into the hands of new leadership.

    Making the decision to attend Pastor Torres’ church was just one of the first steps in obedience to the will of God in our lives. In very small events such as helping the move from W Lyndee St to Meade St into a slightly larger building and pastor handing me the keys cause I was helping with the interior remolding and never taking them back from me, should have been a clue. This was during the transition period from the Naz to SoJC.

    Once fully a member, the Lord began to work in me. He taught me what service to Him was while I received the counsel and prayer that would deliver me of my addiction. I previously wrote this up, about a year ago as I finally put that part of my testimony onto paper and even onto the internet…
    Slug1--out

    ~Limitations in a Christian’s life are due to limited prayer and limiting obedience~

    ~Forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetting that moment... it's all about freedom FROM that moment.~


    ~Your needs activate God's compassion and faith activates God's power~

    ~Three minutes is a lifetime, if you only have two, too live~


  2. #2
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    Continued Testimony

    Tell People (from my blog: By Avalanche and Bullhorn)

    I have been asked lately, “How do you give it all to God and then leave it there at the Foot of the Cross?”

    Our discussion was about sin that we struggle with. We all struggle and if we don’t, we’re just blinded or refusing to admit it. Many give their sin to God and don’t sin that specific sin anymore. They place it at the Foot of the Cross and leave it there. I look at it this way… we all walk a path that God has placed us on and along that path are struggles, some that we allowed and some that God has placed before us. The struggles that God places before us are not sin but instead are tribulations to help us learn, develop, and mature so I won’t elaborate on these at this time.

    The struggles that “we” place before ourselves are usually something we’re doing that is sinful and separating us from God. Thus the struggle as we are convicted by the Holy Spirit that we are doing something wrong or holding onto something that is causing the struggle. I could list examples but it would be endless as we all have our own specific struggle(s).

    So how do we “truly” give a struggle to God? So completely that we don’t take any portion of it back. For me, I have failed in doing this in the past concerning a sin covered by two words that we find in the Bible… Sexual Immorality.

    Failure to give up this sin brought me to a place that God wanted me. Broken and crying out to Him, right at the Foot of the Cross where He wanted me to “truly” leave the sin.

    That day I was led to this scripture: Proverbs 3:32

    32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD,
    But His secret counsel is with the upright.


    As I wrote in my journal (yeah, I journal), “I grieve as I read the first part but I now fight to be upright!” I fasted that day and in the evening I placed myself once again before God with my wife and some close friends as witnesses. I was led by this: James 5:16

    16 Confess your trespassesto one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

    I prayed to God and laid myself bare before God and confessed it all, nothing was held back from that deep dark closet I had always refused to fully empty out. I had in the past, picked and chose what to give to God and this kept satan’s foot in the door to open later and restock the shelves.

    I then received prayer from all with me that evening and I was delivered from my sin and it was “truly” left at the Foot of the Cross.

    So, all this testimony you had to read through to reach the whole point of this blog. As I stated earlier, how do you give it all to God? Then, how do you leave it there?

    Well, for me and I pray that this helps others out there understand how God will turn our struggles, even our sin into something GOOD! My struggle with addiction to fantasy lust and masturbation has enabled God to use me to minister to others who are presently suffering from this and various other sins dealing with pornography… Sexual Immorality.

    But the main question is how am I able to leave this sin at the Foot of the Cross after so many years of being bound and chained by it? Good question and the easy answer could have been, “Because I gave it to God and I meant it that final time.” This didn’t satisfy even my need to understand. So I prayed and God answered me quite clearly…

    He said, “Tell people, confession, testimony, allow your failure to be known and be used by Me to help other people and I will use up everything you placed at the Foot of the Cross and there will be nothing left for you to take back”

    So, this is how I “truly” left that sin at the Foot of the Cross and I have not taken it back.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Luke 12:47-49

    47"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.


    A part of every testimony is to show how the Lord is involved in our life during but mainly after, our healing.

    As I’ve been thinking about this over the past week while today seemed to be rapidly approaching, I sat down and thought about how I have begun to be used by God to further His Kingdom, here on earth.

    Something my wife said to me a couple weeks ago has been in my head. Sometimes we look at the way the Lord works in our life the wrong way. It’s like going on a diet and you’re looking at yourself each and every hour of the day and don’t see any progress. Close your eyes for a month and then look at yourself and the change is obvious. Seems the changes that God does in us ends up the same… we want the change to be great and as each brick is pulled out of any stronghold over time, at the pace God desires… we may not see the progress but in allowing God to do His work and then looking back… we realize entire walls are gone and the change has been great.

    When I walked into the building that I now call our church I was being introduced to a new family that I’d have in Christ. If I had known God’s plan at that moment I would have turned around and walked away cause I liked my comfortable life in Christ. Despite the sin that the enemy had me in, satan also had the lie before my eyes that I just had to maintain my belief in God and all would be alright… well, I’m not supposed to really be preaching up here but I just wanted to make this point cause the Lord was about to turn my world upside down and the word comfort needed to be forgotten.

    As I said, if I had known what the Lord had planned I’d have walked away… I presently serve as an elder in our church, I still don’t speak Spanish but when I close my eyes for a moment I can see how the Lord prepared me for the day I was to be told that I was selected to be an elder… no fear, just expectation and praise to God for trusting me. The enemy still continues to attack with lies of unworthiness but the Lord shines through each lie. Many times it’s words of comfort from my pastor, many times it’s the Lord ministering to me when I kneel and pray.

    The Lord can use anything to reach out to the lost and even though the internet is a place that can be used by satan, it’s also a place that can be used by God as well. I have been part of an online ministry, a Bibleforums that I joined back in June 2005. In the 4 years I have been a member, I have been led to a position of leadership as Lead Administrator for this site. We have over 31,000 members from all over the world and at any given moment there are about 1,500-3,000 members actively posting. Anywhere from 5K-10K posts a day and over 1.5 million posts on record. About 30 active leaders, from all over the world, all are faithful servants of God ranging from housewives, college students, bankers, ministry leaders, and pastors… some that are pastors in churches with over 5,000 members.

    I sit some nights, or I may be on my knees some nights, or pacing my driveway some nights and while in one breath, ask God why He put me in a position of leadership over this ministry, I also humbly praise and thank Him and tell Him I will continue to be obedient to His will.

    My experience with this has also led to an online ministry called A Minister of God Ministry. Through this ministry the Lord reaches out to Christian’s who serve in the Armed Forces. The Lord placed this on my heart one night and I wondered about starting a website from scratch and stressed until I just followed the prompting I was feeling from the Holy Spirit. In a matter of days it all fell into place as I’ve discovered all does, when you allow God to be in control.

    A ministry called Breaking the Chains, Biblical Recovery Ministry has also been placed onto the internet and we hold weekly classes at out church. The Lord placed this ministry upon my wife and I speak about this because it is a part of my testimony as well. As I said earlier about how God has taken my sin and now uses it to enable me to not only understand those who suffer from the same addictions but I have a fire in my heart to minister to not only them but all who are bound by satan. Many years ago my wife prayed that we’d be used together in ministry and the Lord has answered this prayer in many ways.

    The Lord has begun to work on me in more ways as well, to knock walls down within me, He’s placed me on the Worship Team to help me learn to worship the way He wants me to worship Him… with no fear and in the freedom of the movement of the Holy Spirit.

    The Lord has also continued to show me the meaning of the scripture I read earlier by placing me and my wife in the Youth Ministry of our church. I’ll admit that at first I resisted this and as I look back now, all I was doing was allowing a lie from the enemy to grow as he manipulated this with some hesitations I had concerning my purpose with our Worship Ministry as well. I reached a point of frustration that caused me to spend most of a late Saturday night complaining as my wife patiently listened cause I wasn’t in any mood to listen to anything. During a moment when I finally took a breath about an hour into this… she said simply, “Pray, give this all to God and seek Him” Well, let me tell you, I thought to myself that I’ve been talking for an hour now and you aren’t listening to me either and I rolled over.

    Of course her words sank in and I silently prayed that night and at first I was doing nothing but continuing my complaint, to God. I know He listens but I also knew I was saying words in the flesh. I asked for forgiveness of this and then began to explain why I was frustrated, why I felt the way I did, ensured Him I’d do as He willed but I wanted to feel that this was His will. I also reminded Him the way that I need to be told. I have a blog that is called, “By Avalanche and Bullhorn” cause He needs to hit me with it and speak loud. I went Gideon on God that night and I actually asked God to put an answer in my hands and I asked this in Jesus’ name and said, Amen.

    The next day was Sunday and a busy morning to get ready for church cause I got up so late. I didn’t get to do my normal stuff like “pray”, eat, check email etc. When I got to church I went downstairs and had a free moment. I checked my email and found an email from a friend of mine… they had, had a dream that same Saturday night, that involved me and the Worship Team… as I read this email and due to the information from the dream, I realized that this was an answer to my prayer. What I didn’t know, was that it was the first of three answers that the Lord would bless me with to inform me of His will and that He was going to answer in a way that would leave no doubt. I silently pray a thank you, to God at this answer.

    Later when I prayed with the Worship Team before the service started I received my second answer. The moment I recognized that answer I again silently praised and thanked God. Then during the service one of the youth in church came up to me… now bear in mind, even though my wife and I knew that we were to be the Youth Ministers we had not been placed yet. This child handed me a drawing that they had done and had colored and told me that this was for me and she turned around and went back to her seat. I stood there looking at this drawing in my hands and just cried as I held “in my hands” answer number three to my prayer from the night before. As I cried, the Lord ministered to me that this was all in answer to my prayer.

    The drawing is now framed so I can look at it anytime I feel doubt or frustration and I give the glory to God as I step in faith wherever, whenever, however, in any direction that the Lord leads me.

    Thank you!
    Slug1--out

    ~Limitations in a Christian’s life are due to limited prayer and limiting obedience~

    ~Forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetting that moment... it's all about freedom FROM that moment.~


    ~Your needs activate God's compassion and faith activates God's power~

    ~Three minutes is a lifetime, if you only have two, too live~


  3. #3
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    It was a blessings to read your testimony and I trust many will be honored to read it too
    Amazzin

    Obedience to God is more than a soldier obeying his commander. It is our grateful response to the Lover of our souls.

    CHURCH: Where worship is enjoyed, not endured - Grace is preached, not legalism - And Christ is exalted, not religion!




  4. #4
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    Tremendous testimony. Thanks.


  5. #5
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    What a wonderful testimony you have! Makes me even more proud to work with you on the team!

    Love you lots,
    Mieke
    Just to know You and to make You known
    We lift Your name on High
    Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
    We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives
    It's time for us to more than just survive
    We were made to thrive

    Casting Crowns

  6. #6
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    I knew you would do well. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    .................The message of the cross divides the human race." ~MW~

    ........ ... " LORD, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant..."
    .................................................. .................................................. ...Nehemiah 1:11a




  7. #7
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    Your testimony touched me. Isn't it wonderful how the Lord will continue to draw a person out of their "secret" sins, rather than throw them away for not giving them up instantly? Mercy and Grace....Praise the Lord!

  8. #8
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    Thumbsup

    Thumbs up on this, better yet..Praise God! Reading this has jump started my day.

    Slug, I appreciate all you have shared and can relate to the Youth Ministry part as well as extensive church work, administration, and, of course, our time together when I was a mod on BTC here. Internet ministry and all that means (especially technically) is still new to me..but I am so glad you are here where God has placed you doing what He wants you to do as the lead forum administrator.. I think it is so good you shared your personal testimony with the men at your meeting especially the continuing victory over porn through Christ in you..the hope of Glory. So timely for so many today who suffer from that addition and need to be set free.

    He uses all of it..for His Glory and to benefit others.

    "...but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries..." (Dan. 2:28)


    J....
    "The flowers appear on the earth,
    the time of singing has come,
    and the voice of the turtledove
    is heard in our land
    ." SofS 2:12 (RSV)

  9. #9
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    God is so good
    The LORD is my Miracle

    G_d was gracious He has shown favor


    Hope is a seed
    God plants in our hearts
    to remind us
    there are better things ahead.
    -Holley Gerth


  10. #10
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    ...One powerfull & anointed testimony bro..G.B.Y. & thank you for sharing ...

  11. #11
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    Thanks for sharing so much of your life with us. I've just begun this walk in freedom myself over the last couple of months; it's been a great encouragement to hear the testimony of someone who's been walking the same walk, and seeing the great things God is doing through it all.
    We long to be known and we fear it like nothing else.
    Most people live with subtle dread that one day,
    they will be discovered for who they really are,
    and the world will be appalled.
    - Curtis, Brent and John Eldredge,
    The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God


    The joy is not in hiding, the joy is in being found.
    - David Terry

    My Testimony

  12. #12
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    God is wonderful, and how He works in our lives humbles me daily. Thank you SO much for sharing your testimony with us.
    -- Your ~sister~ in Christ.... a "Kaffinated Kittykat"!!

    ROMANS 5:8. Forgiven. Freed. Humbled. Amazed. Grateful. Relying on Christ.

    Love is not a place to come and go as we please
    It's a house we enter in, then commit to never leave
    So lock the door behind you, and throw away the key
    We'll work it out together, let it bring us to our knees.....
    Warren Barfield




  13. #13
    Elijah's Mantle Guest
    slug your testimony touched me inwardly in a most profound way I only hope that I can some day give a great testimony as u have given . wow is God good and can do what we never can accomplish doing

  14. #14
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    Wow! What a powerful testimony! Thank you for sharing it with us all

  15. #15

    Re: Gave my testimony today

    Wow. I know this thread is a couple of years old but it's been such a blessing reading through your walk with the Lord. God bless u bro

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    By tgallison in forum Bible Chat
    Replies: 54
    Last Post: Dec 18th 2009, 01:18 PM

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