Philippians 1:12-14 ESV
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
I can testify to this in my own life. I was severely abused by my father and emotionally neglected by my mother when I was a child.
I began my journey with the Lord when I was about seven years old. I was at summer camp, the preacher gave the invitation to receive Christ, and the weight of my sin and the sin that had been committed against me was heavy upon me. I cried it all out to the Lord, and I gave my life to Jesus that day.
I had a sincere trust in the Lord from early on in my life. I took him and his word seriously. I drank in every sermon, and every Bible study, thirsty for more of what I could learn about Jesus, and hungry for greater understanding of how I could follow him with my life.
Then, I married someone I believed was a believer in Jesus, and who I thought was not at all like my father, but who turned out to be addicted to lust, porn and self-gratification (both of our testimonies are on the internet).
In my mid-20s I got connected with a missionary who taught me much about hearing from God, and I purchased a Bible that was in 20th century English, and all of a sudden God’s word really began to speak to me in ways I would never have imagined.
I knew God’s hand was upon my life. I knew he was calling me to speak his words to others and that I was not to be afraid of them or what they might do to me, for God would be with me.
But this only began my journey of much rejection, persecution, false accusations, and opposition from pastors, elders, Bible study leaders, church people, my husband, and other family members.
Time and time again I would get the smackdown, and I would become fearful, and often I would retreat for a time until the Lord encouraged me to keep going. I was obeying the Lord. But many of them objected to me and they falsely accused me of things I was not doing, not that I was perfect.
All this eventually piled up on me. I was afraid. I was hurt. I felt without hope. I felt I could not win. I just kept getting pounded. My mind was overwhelmed by it all. I crashed. I yielded to the flesh, and I went through a period of time where I bounced back and forth between following Jesus and yielding to the flesh as a way to escape the mental pain of it all.
My life was back on track for many years before I had a short relapse, and then the Lord got me back on the right path again, and I have remained there since that time, by the grace of God, in his strength and power.
The turning point for me was in accepting God’s sovereignty over my life and in realizing that Jesus already won this battle against Satan for me. I just needed to believe God was in control and that I had no reason to fear anything or anyone. And, I had to put on that armor of God and use the sword of the Spirit to fight against Satan’s evil attacks against me.
Then, the Lord called me to this present ministry sixteen years ago. And, the persecution only increased. But I had made that decision to close the door on my former life and to follow Jesus wherever he would take me. Basically, I had to consider myself dead, but not just dead to sin. It was a realization and an acceptance that going with God would mean that literally everyone could turn against me. But I could never give in to fear again.
Many of those years I had no human support, but a lot of attacks against me. So, I had to learn to depend on God and on God alone for my support. Many times I cried out to Jesus, asking him for Christian fellowship, but it did not come. And, then one day I appealed to him on the basis that he had companions and fellowship, and that even Paul had those who visited him in prison and who encouraged him.
Then, suddenly I began to get human support, but not in person, but on the internet on one of my blogs, and on other internet sites, and that was wonderful!
But I had learned that my dependency must be in God and in God alone and not in humans, and that I must say what God gives me to say even if it means some of my supporters might no longer spiritually and emotionally support and encourage me.
But all this happened to me in God’s plan and purpose for my life. And because of all the rejection and persecution I have faced in my life, in person, the Lord led me to write on the internet, and this is advancing the gospel because he has me sharing the gospel there daily.
Philippians 1:19-21 ESV
“For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Truly for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. But I am not speaking just of physical death. Dying to self and being willing to say whatever it is the Lord would have me say even if everyone turns against me and deserts me is gain.
For, the gain is that I am obeying the Lord Jesus, and the gospel is going out daily from what he is having me share, and the gospel has the power to save people’s lives from hell and to give them eternal life with God, and that is worth it all.
For, we live in a time when the gospel is being diluted and misrepresented, and it is being altered to appeal to the flesh of humans. Many people are being led astray by false teaching and a false gospel of grace which tickles itching ears and which coddles people in their sin rather than to confront them in their sin and to call them to repentance and obedience to Christ.
So, the Lord has me dispelling those lies, exposing them for what they are, and then he has me sharing the true message of the gospel so that people will come to genuine faith in Jesus Christ and so they will reject the lies and embrace the truth. For, time is running out.
So, if you are reading this, just know that Jesus died on that cross, not just to forgive you your sin, but to deliver you from your slavery (addiction) to sin.
You just have to surrender your life to God, believe in Jesus Christ for your salvation, turn away from your sin, and follow Jesus in obedience to his commands. It is a daily surrender, a daily dying to sin and self, and a daily walk of faith in obedience to our Lord that is required, though.
Going with God means we die to our old lives and our lives now belong to him, and he owns us, and he says what we are to do and how we are to live and where we are to go and what we are to say. And, we are to do it all in his strength and in his power, and all for the glory and praise of God and for the salvation of human lives. Amen! [Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24]
Oceans / Hillsong United
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Oh, Jesus, you’re my God!
I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine
Caution: This link may contain ads