"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20
There were many more bouts to be had with my sin and addiction but in this struggle between light and darkness, the sin I once clung to became increasingly more difficult to commit. I recall times I had fallen into my old ways and the wickedness of my sin caused me to become literally sick within my spirit because I could feel the grief I was causing the Spirit of God. I could not bear the thought of taking for granted the gift which was given and the price which was paid for me. I could not bear the thought of denying so great a salvation. I was broken over my sin. The avenger of blood was close on my heals and in Christ was given to me an irresistible refuge. The attributes of God’s grace began to prevail in my heart and influence my inner most thoughts. Through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, the sin I had once loved, I was made to hate, and the God I had once despised, in Him I now found hope and peace.
There are many details which I desire to address but having not the space I want conclude by declaring that by God's grace, I have now been clean and sober since January 1st of 2007. In a short time, through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, much has happened. I have traveled to Mexico with a small group from my church to an inner city church in Guadalajara. I shared with them my story and preached a message on the power of God's word. Having never preached before, this was absolutely terrifying for me, but in the end I was reminded that it is not my performance but His Spirit which holds the power to save. I have been growing in grace and in the knowledge of Him by the work of His hand. As His grace works to decrease my own self, bringing me into deeper repentance and surrender to His will, He ever increases in triumph and reigns victoriously in my heart. Although I am still quite young and feeble in many ways, I am ever amazed at His provision in my lack and this continual power to work repentance within me and deliver me from myself.
By His grace, I have been made the pastor of a very small youth group and have hopes of going into fulltime ministry. I abhor the idea of ending this testimony on myself as if any of this has somehow been my own doing. Such a thought causes me to look unto the Son of God upon the cross and say, as did Luther, "This is God for me!" I could not know grace had I not known of the necessity of it, and I would not know the necessity of it if I had not been made to see myself as dead, lost, and without hope. For to be crucified with Him is to find Christ formed within me, so that if all that I am is nailed upon that tree, then all that He is abides within me. It is in this I find love, and in this I am made able to love as He loves me. Such a love is beyond all words and brings all knowledge to nothing. I am and will always be in awe of such a love. For the love of God is like no other.
I thank those of you who read this through, but most of all I thank the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, who in His eternal mercy and longsuffering put up with me, and was able to bring me out of Egypt and deliver me into the land of promise.
I pray this word comforts and establishes your hearts and all the glory that be, be His alone, through Christ I pray,
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