The Gospel is the Power of God to save all those who believe...And I believed!

Terrence

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[FONT=Courier New,Courier,mono]"As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world died long ago, and the world's interest in me is also long dead" (Galatians 6:14). [/FONT] [FONT=Courier New,Courier,mono]

I know I'm unworthy so...Why me?!


This perhaps isn't the most exciting story by any means, but for those who have seen, or at least have a grasp on the exceedingly sinfulness of sin, this story is glorious! It is the story of a dead man who was resurrected to life by a merciful God. Have you ever heard the song "Amazing Grace?" That song was written by an ex-slave trader (John Newton) who was also called from death to life. Though John was a slave trader, he was also a slave [to his desires]. This is where him and I are alike. You see, I was a normal guy. There wasn't anything in and of myself; as far as I saw, that separated me from the masses. Again, I was a pretty normal guy. Though I was normal, however, I was never the kind of guy that followed people. In fact, I was motivated to never follow anyway inasmuch as to be reclusive or anti social in order to maintain my "never follow" attitude. In hindsight, its a wonder how I was at least, somewhat, popular. As far as I can recall, I have been a slave to my desires and my desires were all wrong. Even good desires like having a wife or money, or being liked, were soon tainted by my selfishness and insecurites. I of course, however, didn't know it and as a result, felt that God was being disingenuous for giving me desires that never came into reality.

I mention God now because as far back as I can remember, I had been a spiritual person. I was always aware that there was more to life than what we as people do, e.g., live, work, play, love, die. In fact, though I wasn't a Christian (but would call myself one), some scriptures out of the bible made all the sense in the world to me. In the book of Ecclesiastes it says, "everything is vanity," and this seemed to be, at least for me, in direct correlation to Jesus' words..."What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul." As a boy, those words griped me and would last with me until this day. Because of those words I had birthed in me a desire to do more with my life. To me, life wasn't about just living, working, getting married, having children, vacationing, getting money, and finally dying. I felt that to be a tradagey and I was afarid of the reality of death. It seemed to me a cruel joke: To be born, have desires, love indivuals, be loved, and lose it all by death's inevitable touch. During these young years of elementary school and Junior High, I was as a philosopher. I lived two lives: One in my physical body doing as every other kid did (which I enjoyed) and the other in my mind - doing what I truly desired.

What I desired was to be great. Since I knew that I would die, I accepted it and thought that I should dedicate my life to doing something that would make my name live on. I was however, only a young boy and my dreams of immortality would soon we replaced by another dream - namely, being the "coolest" kid in high school. This of course entailed having all the girls and being liked by everyone, even teachers. How cruel is this world which kills nobel dreams and replaces them with fleeting passions that are here today and gone tomorrow. Though my dreams of doing something nobel (as far as the secular world would argue) had been placed on hold by high school passions, it was not totally lost. Jesus' words would still echoed..."what would it profit you, Terrence, to gain it all and lose your soul?" I didn't know Jesus then, however, and I quickly ran from Him. To me the cute girl with the big butt (that in most instances, I didn't even get) was way more attractive than the Lord of glory, and I didn't even think twice about who to think more about. In retrospect, I see that the Lord had been seeking me for a very long time and I wasted ALL of my young years (including High School) by not responding to his call. You see, I knew what it would mean - namely, a holy lifestyle in which I would die to the world and Christ would live through me. And, I was not trying to leave big butts and cute faces (most of which I didn't get) to be holy. I deeply regret my decision!

High school went on and my world views were being shaped by t.v., movie stars, and rich and famous people. I became even more lost in my desires; even the good ones. I wanted to be loved, but only by those I perceived as worthy. I passed by many girls who I only considered "regular." I wanted to be liked, but by my terms. I didn't want to be liked for normal me, but instead for doing something great. There again showing my desires where warped and self-centered. Everything centered around basically three things: Me, Myself, and I. More time went on and I would sometimes cry because I knew that there was more to life than my silly desires, but was unable to recognize it. I would continue to hear the scriptures speak but it was being increasingly drowned out by the sounds of the world. It [the world] said, be immortal. Make the world remember you, Terrence. I so wanted this! I wanted to be like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., and M. Ghandi, and Bruce Lee, and Bob Marley. These were men from different backgrounds and cultures who made the world remember their name. I so wanted to be like them and would cry that I wasn't. The mondaine monotinous futilty of life was frustrating me and I wanted to die. I didn't want to be just like everyone else. I didn't want to work and gain riches, I didn't want to waste the rest of my life taking vacations and doing nothing, and I didn't want to just settle down with a wife and kids. But, the world and people I knew was pushing me to do it. After all, they say, "its what everyone else does."

At this point, you would do well to recall what I said earlier..."I never liked doing what everyone else considers the norm." So, there I was, lost in my desires that I could not get. I was now out of high school and in college. I still did the things which most consider fun; and to be honest, it was fun for me as well. But, it was never long lasting. Blessed are those who have had their sins forgiven, for they will know the sweet everlasting joy that is in Christ. In college, I sunk more into sin and the short lived pleasures that it bought. In fact, I feel I sunk so low as to become a "short lived sin junkie." I was always looking for the next high. Many of my morals were thrown out at this point of life and I lived as the wind - going nowhere fast. Sadly, however, during all this time, from youth to young adult, I was calling myself a Christian. I supposed I did this because I was bought up into a religious family? I would tell people about Jesus and what He requires, but lived in myself as the devil. I was selfish, unloving, hateful, prideful, arrogant, and insecure. During my early twenties, I hit a point in life where I wanted to be so much like the people I previously mentioned (as far as their being loved by the world), that I wanted to die since I wasn't like them. During this low point in my life, I lived so selfish that every girl I met I pretty much took advantage of them, in almost every way you might image. I stopped caring, cursed God, and decided that I no longer believed in Him (though I knew He exist). Why should I pray to a God who never answered my prays.

So what they were narissistic? They were my dreams. And, I felt He should have waved His magic wand and made them come true. He did not and I divorced Him. I became an self proclaimed agnostic, buddhist, and Islamic humanist. Confused? I was too! I had now turned twenty three years old and was working in Ballys in Manhattan. I was still dreaming to be someone great, but by this time my dream moved down a bit to just being rich, famous, and a "ladies man." It seems to me now as I write this, woman have played a huge part in my desires. So anyway, I worked both as an A&R and for a record label and in Ballys, where I would meet many rich people; who I would use to help me to see my dreams come true. It seems that every time I was close to attaining some part of my dream, it would fall through and I'd be back to square one. Oh how I hated God back then. I felt He was playing a trick on me. I mean, why give me these big dreams to have it come semi close only to lose it? I felt like I was on a treadmill going nowhere. Still, however, the thought of God and Jesus being the truth, never competely left me and I would soon be regaining my faith (or what I thought to be faith) back. At Ballys I met some religous people (not Christians) who talked about God and the thought of Him would fill my mind. The thoughts however, weren't different. God, in my opinion, had not changed. He was still the big nice guy in the sky that was supposed to give me things when I asked for them. He then was my unwilling Genie that didn't answer to my request. That was then. Now, I know Him as God - the one who is Sovereign and completely in charge of everything. He gives what He wills and takes what He wills. Blessed be His name!

After leaving that job and moving to Baltimore, with a false faith in Christ, God would still be seeking me. Why? I have no idea to this day. I did nothing but break ALL His laws, cursed His name, spurned His Grace agian and again, played the Whore, and on and on with the sins. Truely, God should have long given me over to a depraved mind and abandon me to myself. There should be a reserved place in Hell just for me. A place where the fire and torment is worse than it is for everyone else who is there. In Baltimore, God kept on seeking the weak, self-centered, unable to do anything good, person that was me. He used many things, from T.V. Preachers (most of which I now despise), to books, movies, creation, etc., to draw my thoughts to Him. In it all, from creation, to people, to laughter, and pain, and joy, I would get a glimpse of God and I knew that there was more to life that just me. "What would it profit me to gain it all and lose my soul," Jesus? I'll tell you: NOTHING! Absolutely NOTHING! Now I truly understand what the scriptures meant when it said... "all is vanity." And I, the king of vanity, lusted a vain thing! Wouldn't you know it. One night while surfing the internet, perhaps in between watching porn, I heard someone preach the gospel. It was Kirk Camron (Mike Sever from Growing Pains) talking about the Law of God and how it is used as a moral mirror to show man his true nature - namely, a law breaker (sinner) who is indebted to the Law. For the very first time in all my life, I understood why Jesus died. It was because I broke God's laws and was indebted to God's justice. Hell was my just punishment and I deserved it! God is so Holy and Righteous, and Loving, and because of it, He must seek justice on things that are opposite to His nature. I could see that if I was truly loving and holy and righteous, I should in fact hate unrighteousness, and unholiness, and sins.

Truly, I was deserving of God's wrath. But, after seeing that truth, there came the sweetest thing my ears have ever heard: The Good News - The Gospel of Jesus. I broke God's Laws and Christ stepped in and paid "my" fine to set me free. I think I cried after hearing it? I felt bad that Christ suffered agony on my behalf, but was happy that He did it for me and then rose from the grave to defeat death, to valadiate His claims, and offer me eternal life. It was and is the best news that I ever heard. That night, the gospel became God's power calling me from death to life. In fact, I did die that night. My desires to do what I wanted to do was gone and a passion for Christ' glory was birthed. My heart was changed from wanting to make me great to wanting to make Christ great and make me small. Its so funny, God took me from being a slave to myself and from chasing things that I knew would ultimately pass away, to giving me a desire of living and doing for Him, which is the only thing that will last. I now seek to magnify Christ in everything I do, from the least to the greatest. I still have within me a passion to do something great. Perhaps, God may see fit to use it? I know however, the passion within me is not to do something great for me. Rather, its to make people see just how Marvelous and Beautiful Christ really is. And, to be completely honest, He's even iller (sorry for the slang) than that. There are simply no words to describe His beauty. I live to show the Excellecy of Christ above all things. So now, you, (Christian reader), prayer for me. I still see girls with attritive bodies and pretty faces. Though they aren't all consuming as they once where, they still have an effect on me, as to have me but for a moment, lose focus on Christ' splendor. And, when that happens, I am ashamed for trading away indescribable riches, for dung and garbage. So thats it, I hope you enjoyed the read and more importantly, I hope you consider Christ. If what I said made any kind of sense, please REPENT (turn from your sins and turn to God) and TRUST (have faith) in Christ. I've been called from death to life and now I must represent for Him. This is my life. This is who I am.

A vessel of Mercy,

Terrence [/FONT]
 
Dear Terrence--

Your heartfelt testimony compels me to offer this:

"Go ye now in peace, and know that the Love of God surrounds you...." (from an "old" songbook).

I am certain that if you continue to look to Christ as your Master, Redeemer, Shepherd, and Teacher, He will never forsake you. You will grow in strength and mercy and Love. And He will continue to work His miracles of the Spirit inside of you. When your eye roams, look to Him. If your hand strays, see His outstretched one and take hold. And He will continue to guide you in grace and mercy, and you will shine in Love.

You know that "Christians are not perfect, just forgiven". And we are taught by our Savior to forgive others in our hearts, and to learn from His. It is a joyous thing, this forgiveness, and following Christ is an adventure in many ways. I love to listen to what the Spirit reveals to me. The Word, written on the heart, and "decoded" continuously by the Spirit of Love will yield the fruits of understanding. Wait upon the Lord--He will renew your strength and you will mount up with wings as an eagle.;)

I have no doubt that you and I might sound worlds apart in the way we express our faith in Christ Jesus. But whether or not you would welcome my prayers for you, I will pray anyway, because you asked for prayers from brothers and sisters in Christ. Don't worry so much about who has "the right Christ". Christ is able to work through you and in you in whatever way He will, and He does this for everyone else who asks it of Him. We are all different parts of "the body", and we should celebrate this wonder. And when something disturbs us, and we can't seem to reconcile it within ourselves, I am sure it is something that the Spirit can untangle if we stop and listen to God's heart. You have already trusted. Continue in that trust.:)

InPeace,
InChrist,
InLove
 
Are you kiddin me? I do welcome your prayers and I thank and love you for them!! Thanks for the kind words!

In Jesus,

Terrence
 
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