Tag Archives: Sin

Repentance: A Little Man’s Perspective

JesusZacchaeus

I’ve always been intrigued by the story of Zacchaeus. I’m amazed that so many lessons can be learned from 10 bible verses which tell the story of an inquisitive man’s encounter with Christ.

Today I’d like to discuss Zacchaeus’ response to Christ, how his encounter caused a change in his character and God’s ability to exceed our expectations of Him.

The first thing to note in this story is that Zacchaeus had no intention of MEETING Jesus when he climbed in that tree. In verse 3 of Luke 19 it says that

“he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature.”

Put frankly Zacchaeus simply wanted to put a face to the name of a man everyone was talking about, but because he was short and the crowd was thick he had to take what could be deemed as extreme measures to accomplish his goal. When he climbed into that tree on the day that  Jesus was passing he was not expecting to have an encounter with God. He really just thought he had figured out a way to overcome the problem he faced: being too short to see.

That day however, Zacchaeus got more than he bargained for and his encounter with Christ made Him a better man. In the account of this story, the bible tells us that Jesus stood under the tree and acknowledged Zacchaeus by name and then proceeded to go to his home to share a meal with him. Can you imagine Zacchaeus’ surprise when Christ decided to meet with him, a dishonest man, who was hated by many?

The exhilarating part of this story for me is how Zacchaeus responded to being in Christ’s presence. Verse 8 of Luke chapter 19 says

Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”

What we see is that while in God’s presence Zacchaeus not only acknowledged his wrong doings but he also made decisions to do what was necessary to reimburse those persons whom he stole from. Zacchaeus’ response to Christ has within it a clear model of what repentance looks like. Repentance is the acknowledgement of your sin and a decision to no longer do that thing which displeases God. It requires us to confess to God that we were wrong and sometimes it means doing what is necessary to undo some of the hurt we caused through our ungodly actions. Zacchaeus also teaches us that Godly encounters – through prayer, worship, the word of God, prophesies, dreams, visions, etc. – help us to change those things which are displeasing to God while building our character.

In addition to Zacchaeus’ response in this story I can’t help but admire and appreciate God’s ability to meet us at the point of our needs – even when we don’t realise how badly we need Him – and to exceed every possible expectation we have of Him at the same time.

I remember once I prayed and asked God for a new job because I felt stagnant in the one I had at the moment. Mere weeks after talking to God about it I got an answer to my prayer in the most unexpected way. God did not give me a new job. Instead, he allowed the managing director of the company I worked for to see my potential for a position I was not qualified for and because of that, I was transferred to another department and promoted. The ironic thing is, I wasn’t only unqualified but I was the youngest and most recent addition to the staff. Most of my colleagues could not understand the decision made by my manager but I knew it was God’s way of exceeding my expectations of him. Needless to say I went on to be very successful at that job and before I resigned I was responsible for spearheading major developmental projects for the company.

I guess what I’m getting at ideally, is the fact that it is possible to encounter God and see a change in our lives and circumstances because of that encounter. It is possible to experience the power of God to influence change in us and to see ourselves move from a place of sin to a place of repentance and restoration in Christ. Like Zacchaeus, we may not be expecting a life changing encounter with God but once we have a desire or an expectation of Him, He can meet and exceed all that we desire.

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Search Me Lord

Search my heart

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

Have you ever said the prayer above? “Search me O God……………..see if there is any wicked way in me?”

Recently I found myself praying this prayer; not in the exact words that David used in Psalm 139, but with the same message to God. The funny thing about me saying the prayer was while I was prepared for God to search me, I wasn’t prepared for what I’d see.

When God searches and finds things in you that are not of Him he has to show it to you in order to bring it to your attention and begin His work on removing it. Of course I didn’t understand that concept until I got a taste of it first hand. I’ll be very honest with you, when I said this prayer I thought God would just speak to me about the things that are deep within my heart that I needed to change. I was really hoping for a dream or a vision or even a word from a prophet telling me what areas in my heart needed work. Boy was I wrong!

As time progressed and I waited on my revelation God began to test me. I know most times when Christians say “test” people usually think trials, but that’s not what I mean. What God did was allow me to be in situations where the decisions I made highlighted what was really in my heart. Can you imagine the horror I felt when I realized that what felt good to me in a situation or what I gravitated toward naturally was not of God?

For me, I’ve always battled with lust. For as long as I could remember; even before I was saved, it was very easy for my mind to stray to situations and places it shouldn’t. When I got saved over a year ago, I started praying and asking God to save me from this spirit. Now I’ll be honest, on the surface I began to gain control of the situation and I earnestly believed that I no longer had a desire to lust anymore. Yet again I was wrong. On the surface I was okay but that desire was hidden deep in my heart and I was only made aware of that when I found myself in the presence of a young man that I’m attracted to. When lust showed up there I felt devastated and defeated.

I went to God in confusion, not understanding why I was getting into trouble again in this area that I was supposedly free from. That’s when God began to minister to me. He began to show me that my problem was much deeper than I realized and that I needed to constantly pray against the spirit of lust, especially when I feel like I’ve got it under control and trust Him while he works on removing it from my life.

This experience gave me a greater understanding of Paul’s words in Romans 7 where he expressed his distress at doing those things he doesn’t want to. In my distress God took me to Matthew 26:41 where I was given my instruction on how to proceed in wisdom where my secret desire was concerned.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

More and more as the days progress I’m realizing that in order to live a life of holiness and righteousness I need to constantly be in prayer and fasting. Additionally I’m beginning to understand that righteousness and holiness is not an overnight experience; it’s a daily battle between flesh and spirit and once I remember that and keep surrendering my all to God He, through His Holy Spirit will help me to overcome my battles.

If you’re like me; coming to the realization of just how wicked the desires of the heart can be, and you’re seeking answers to this problem I hope that my testimony has helped a bit. I hope that you use the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 7; not as an excuse to continue on in sin, but as encouragement to pick you up out of that place of defeat. I urge you to remain focused and continue pressing on to the mark of the higher calling. Additionally I encourage you to heed the advice in Matthew 26:41 “watch and pray”, understanding that the battle between the spirit and the flesh is an ongoing one that can only be overcome through this method.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this matter with me. Your experiences might have in it the next word of encouragement for me and other persons who may be fighting this battle as well.

Share your testimony, share your experiences, share your God!

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Testimony – True Repentance Is Key

repentance

First i give all thanks and glory to the Holy Spirit for using my brother Michael, as an instrument or better said as my spiritual father, for he is the one who spent so much time and patience in helping me to know the truth of Jesus Christ.

My life as a youth was a troubled one because at a very tender age i got involved with drugs and this led me to a life full of sin such as lies, women, alcohol and the list goes on. Somewhere along the road of destruction i met and fell in love with a Spanish girl who also played; and is still playing, an important role in my life.

We have been married for the past 38 years now. I think it was in 1975 when I first traveled to Venezuela and there I got married to Rosa Amelia, the girl i met and fell in love with in Trinidad. After living in Venezuela for a few years I returned to Trinidad leaving my family in Merida. At that point we already had two children Carolina and Patrick Joseph. While being in Trinidad all by myself my sinful life became more aggressive. I started to cheat on my wife, I got involved with harder drugs. I found hope in the book of Acts.16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thy house.

Once again the Lord sent my Brother Michael to my rescue. Michael provided me with the needed funds and I returned to Venezuela and was reunited with my family. At this point let me just say that I had already been baptized and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior. However I never really fulfilled all the requirements for truly accepting Jesus as my Lord and savior. The book of Acts 2:38 says  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

REPENT. I got baptized but I didn’t repent totally as I continued to live a life in darkness. It was not until I found myself on a hospital bed on the verge of a heart attack due to my drug addiction that I finally became aware that without JESUS I couldn’t make it. Being there I remembered one of the scriptures in Jeremiah that says Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not (Jer 33:2-3). At that point I called out I really cried out “Beloved Father please get me through this one” and you know what? The Lord heard my cry and he answered my prayer because he saw that finally I was really sorry for my sins. I made the Lord a promise to serve him from that day on.

I give all Thanks, Honor and Glory to the King of Kings for He has allowed me to be serving Him for these twenty years now. (Hallelujah)!!!

– Patrick Scantlebury

 

If you have a testimony you’d like to share with us feel free to contact us on facebook @Testimonies of His Goodness or email it to testifywithme@gmail.com 

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Daily Dose – Source of Salvation

BE SURE ABOUT SALVATION

Hebrews 5:9 He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

Salvation in Jesus is important to our earthly lives.

How many times has he dispelled danger or helped us avoid it? How often has sin failed to mar our lives because we obeyed His commands?

But Jesus is also the source of salvation in eternity. Instead of remaining forever in our earthly lives, God planned to bring us into everlasting life with Him in his kingdom.

In heaven, we will praise His salvation without end.

 

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Daily Dose – Giver of Comfort

2 Corinthians 2:7 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow.

Do you know someone who is sorry for their sin? Then don’t keep reminding them of it.

If they have sought forgiveness and put it behind them, it is dead. Instead of criticizing, remind them of the power of God that works in their life.

Encourage them when temptation calls their name. Then they will not be overcome by sorrow and fall into sin again.

Give comfort, and you will be a blessing.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Daily Dose – An Obedient Life

Psalm 119:1  Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the Lord!

Want to be blessed? Then don’t live a sin-filled life.

God can’t pour out blessings on anyone who consistently ignores His commands.

Blessings belong to those who hear God’s word and take it to heart, living it out in love.

Want to be blessed?

Obey the master,you’ll live blamelessly and joyfully.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Clothe Yourself with Compassion

Colossians 3:12-17
As children of God there are some things we should put off and some things we should put on, in order to live a life pleasing to God. We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge and we can’t expect significant change if we continue doing the same old things. It must begin with a change of heart.
We should put off the old sinful man and his sinful deeds which includes anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, lying, works of darkness and the pattern of living in sin. However we should put on as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance and forgiveness. We must put on the whole armour of God, even the armour of light. This is the type of Spiritual garment we must wear which was also worn by Jesus Christ.

Col 3:14 says, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” Charity is love which is the thread that holds our spiritual garments together. Anything without charity (love) is nothing. It perfects us.

We must learn to forgive others just as Christ forgave us. Holding unforgiveness in our hearts will be burdensome and keep us down. Despite what we may face the peace of God should rule in our hearts having dominion over any feelings and emotions. Jesus Christ is the Prince of peace and is able to give us that peace that passeth all our understanding. We are to live peaceably with all men, even as we are called in one body, the body of Christ. Paul reminds us to be thankful in everything, this is the will of God.

Col 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
We should hide the Word of God in our hearts. This is our daily bread, our spiritual food by which we must live. This enables us to teach, admonish and encourage each other, with wisdom, being led by the Holy Spirit. Anything we do or say should be done with excellence, as unto the Lord and not unto men. God should be glorified in all that we say, do or even think.

*Excerpt taken from Soul Harvest’s Daily Devotion

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Pornographic Breakthrough

http://www.quickhomeseller.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Broken-Chain1.jpg

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Everyone faces temptation in their life, both believers and unbelievers. As believers in Christ Jesus we have an understanding that it is common for us to face temptation and we also have a peace in the promise of God to never let us be tempted beyond our ability. We also have the reassurance through his word that he will always provide a way of escape so we may be able to endure our temptations.

Below is a powerful testimony by a young man who battled with pornography for years. I hope his testimony will bless  and encourage you in the same way it did me. You can read more about Ashton’s journey by clicking on the link below.

Ashton’s Testimony

I can’t remember the exact date, but about 6 years ago, I already knew the Lord, but far from intimately. So when I stumbled upon porn, it didn’t take much to sway me. The attractive and addictive nature of it all was greater than my love for Christ. So fast forward through some time, one thing leads to the next. Magazines turn into an online addiction. I am now captive to sin, captive to porn. I remember the delight I would find when Tuesday came, the day in the week where I had the entire afternoon and evening to myself. On top of this, every evening I could stay up late and did, to view porn, but Tuesday was my special day, as I didn’t have to keep a constant watch for if someone would come home or pop into the study and catch me.

So I was still attending church all this time, feeling guilty but unable to stop as much as I tried. Eventually the guilt started to ware off; my excuse, that God would rescue me if He really wanted me to stop (He has rescued me and He really did want me free, as does he want anyone captive to sin to be free.) So unfortunately this is the point where I have lost some of my story, not because it doesn’t exist, but because all memories were replaced by 100′s of thousands of images of porn. Porn literally cemented itself in my brain.

So we are now about 4 years down the line from the start of it all, still addicted to porn, a lot had happened, of which I cannot express here, due to the sensitivity of it all, in which I need to protect those close to me, whilst now actively trying to break the addiction through all sorts of methods. Methods such as wearing an elastic band around my wrist to pull on and hurt myself every time I thought of something lustful, to reading the bible when lust came up. You name it, I tried it. Nothing worked, I was still struggling to break the addiction to porn in my life, as I was still relying on my strength. Then, a trigger in a message at church got me thinking, and I went back to the words my pastor had said. “A father will never deny his son help,” God my heavenly Father would never deny me the help I asked of Him.

This was the start of something and I prayed and somehow managed to get free for a period of 6 months, (I would set calendar dates for when I would ‘break free’ only to reset them to other dates when I failed, another method of encouragement to break free that I tried.) The thing is though, I had not dealt with the issue, I had not dealt with what porn meant to me. Porn was my escape, my joy.

So when things got tough, I was back at it again. So now I was an addict, again, and I can’t deny it. YET God still loved me.

I then came across a Christian website after searching ways to break a porn addiction. I tried the course on the website, and it is brilliant, I have to say. The lessons I learned there eventually helped me to be the free man I am today. Unfortunately I did not manage to complete the entire course, as I missed one of the key lessons in the beginning that God would have me learn.

The lesson I still had to learn was to find my joy in the Lord and not elsewhere. I managed to move from seeking joy in porn, to finding it in my girlfriend, places where I shouldn’t have been finding it. It is only once my girlfriend broke up with me that I realized my desire and want to be wanted. I will forever be thankful to her for her obedience to Christ in breaking up with me, else I would not have learned this lesson.

Just over a year down the line, I can truly say God has taught me many a more lessons, of which, I think I will share in future posts. Lessons about Him, and lessons of how to break free from addictions, all of which I have had to learn.

Over the past year, I have grown spiritually like never before, all because I surrender myself to Christ. If I had to show you the person I was behind hidden doors a year ago, to the person I am now, even I would still be and am in awe of the greatness of our Savior. He works miracles like no other.

Every time I hear the statistics, that one in every 2 men and one in every 3 women in the church today are addicted to porn my heart sinks in sorrow. My heart sinks at the thought and knowledge of the pain they are going through. All I want to do is rescue them all, but I cannot do this, for it is only Christ who can truly rescue them. I can but only lead them to Christ.

A note for everyone out there, from someone who was an addict, every addict out there is a person, everyone needs to be loved by someone, don’t judge them, just love them, this is one of the lessons the Lord showed me. People fail, but our God loves them still, and we too are called to love everyone from where they are, leading them to Christ. I don’t condone porn, but I love those who view it no less than I love my family. I just pray that through this whole experience that people will be set free, not judged, but helped as they come to know the Lord.

Do you have a testimony of how God helped you break an addiction?  Please share it with us at – testifywithme@gmail.com or on Testimonies of his Goodness on facebook

 

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Don’t Worry, I’m Not Perfect Either

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Have you ever felt defeated? Ever questioned god’s purpose for your life? Felt like giving up on your decision to follow Christ? Well I have news for you. God knows and he understands that we’re imperfect beings who will stumble along the way.

My relationship with Christ has been on a strain the past couple of weeks. Truth be told, I made some decisions that I know he wouldn’t be pleased with and I was afraid to face him. I felt like 8 again, you know that time in your life when you dread facing your parents because you did something that would disappoint them and would probably warrant a well deserved spanking. And it was during this time of feeling worthlessness that I started to pull away from god.

I felt like a great disappointment. I told myself that I could not offer praise or worship up to god because he would not want to hear from me. I was convinced that I was a hypocrite and god would not want me as a servant any longer. It got to the point that  I stopped praying because I felt that there was no way god would answer the prayer of a disobedient sinner. I stopped reading my bible or any of the inspirational books in my collection all because I did not want to be a hypocrite.

It wasn’t until last night that I realized what was happening. I started reverting to my old ways. Listening to different music, having conversations I chose not to have anymore and my thoughts were no longer Christ centered. It was then that I saw that I was allowing one mistake to draw me away from god. I was constantly dwelling on my mistake instead of following his instruction to confess my sin and receive his forgiveness.

1 John 1:If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Romans 3:23 is a reminder that god knows that we aren’t perfect. He knows we’ll stumble along the way. While he will not be pleased when we disobey him he is faithful to forgive us. Don’t let your imperfections pull you away from god. I’m not saying that we should all go out and sin as much as we want and just ask forgiveness after. What I’m saying is you’re not perfect. None of us are, but don’t let your imperfections determine your relationship with Christ. Don’t dwell on the wrong you have done, instead confess your sin to him and he will forgive you.

Romans 3 puts it best,we have ALL sinned and fallen short of god’s glory. You’re not the first person and you won’t be the last to do wrong in the sight of god. Don’t let your mistakes draw you away from god’s presence. Continue praising and glorifying his name, continue seeking his face and continue feeding your spirit through his word. When you stumble confess to him, receive his forgiveness.

We serve a just and faithful god whose mercy endureth forever. He wants a relationship with you, but it’s up to you to accept his grace. Continue in faith and watch the goodness of god manifest itself in your life!

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