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Testimonies #6

8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  Psalm 103:8-10   (NIV)

Roger

“Another Chance – Investigated by the FBI”
by Roger

Hello Guys, I joined this group a while ago but haven’t written in a long time. I have been extremely busy and haven’t had the time to write. I wanted to share a story with you that I hope can help you guys out. I feel the tug of the Holy Spirit to share. It all started for me when I was about 12 and came across a dirty magazine. From there it was to computers. I came across p and sowed and sowed for about 6 years.

During my sowing I ran across illegal p. I joined a new Church last year around Feb. and felt it was time to clean up my act. A month later in March after deleting everything I had the FBI at my door. I was questioned for about 2 hours on the illegal p I ran across. For the first time I had to admit that I looked at p on the internet. It was the hardest thing to do in my life. I told them how I was cleaning my life up.

Somehow by the grace of God I made it through and they left.  I have to check in with them every month to let them know how I am doing.  I know got a second chance though.  I have to say I truly understand the laws of the Bible on sowing and reaping. After they left I was sick to my stomach. I got an hour sleep that night and for the next week I couldn’t eat, I had to force myself to eat. I lost about 10 pounds during that time.

During that time all I did was read the Bible, pray and depend on God’s help to get me through everything. I did and for the first time I felt God truly loved me even though I was such a sinner. He never gave up on me. He forgave me for my transgressions just as he promised. For the first time in my life I give it all to him. I am seeking his will for my life, because I feel that I messed it up on my own.

Please know how hard this is for me to write. As hard as my situation was, I am thankful that God allowed me to go through it. Since that time I have admitted to my brother and he realized he had to clean himself up of p and has done that. I have had a closer relationship to God since then. I read my Bible daily (and for the first time in my life I am understanding it and am going to finish it, I’m almost there), pray often, and depend on him daily. I was recently baptized in Church. I have made awesome Christian friends.

I haven’t watched TV in months. And God works so great. Last month my Church started a group for young adults on sexual temptation and how to overcome it. I joined it and that is why I have not been in this group. I am so involved with Church that I don’t have the time. I feel I have messed up so much and I owe a lot to God. But more than that he has put such a passion to know him on my heart.

I love to seek him, to hear him speak through preachers, to see his footprints all over. That is why I share my story. Plus God tells us in James 1:19 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God gave me a chance, even though I made a mistake. It is amazing how God restores us and how great his love is for us. No matter what you do, how badly you sin sexually, God’s grace is sufficient. Trust me, I was a selfish prideful little punk but God still saved me.

I wanted to leave you guys with some resources I have found helpful. My church group is going through the book, “Every Man’s Battle” by Stephen Arterburn. It is an awesome book.  Also there is a great website called, www.pureintimacy.org that has great testimonies.

Lastly I would like to leave you guys with a prayer. “Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing me to share my story with these men. May you help uplift them and sustain them daily. Thank you for your continued forgiveness and grace. May these men know how much love you have for them and how to rely on you.

Please help each one of them daily to remember that you are God, you are in control, and that we don’t have to accept the devils lie and we can become pure. May they see that right now, you love the, even when they sin, but you expect more from them. You died for us and broke the power of sin in our lives, let us all remember that. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray.” Remember guys, this is a daily struggle.

Thank God each day and continue to pray and study his word. You have no hope alone, the Lord is with you but you have to seek him and trust him. And if you fall, get right back up, repent and state your place as a child of God. I wish you all the best of luck. God’s in the business of changing lives, give him a chance to change yours. And thank you for listening to my story.

God bless you all,

Rog

I love the word so much and hope you don’t mind me sharing some great verses:

Romans 6:20-22  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness and the result is eternal life.”

Romans 6:10-14 “The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Samuel 14:14   (NIV)

Scott

Dear Brothers,

Here is my full testimony. My name is Scott and I grew up on Staten Island which is a small town outside of New York City. I’m the oldest brother between myself and my brother Steve. My father was a Police officer who was to my knowledge a loyal and loving husband and father. My mother was a housewife most of her life, she took care of us and loved us very much.

When I was about 9 years old, I remember the very 1st girl that I liked but was rejected by her and to this day, I remember the exact look of disgust on her face when she found out. I was devastated by the rejection. I vowed that I’d never let another girl know that I liked her or how I’d feel about her.

When I was about 12 years old I started to snoop around my parents’ belongings and found some “Unlabeled video tapes”. Was I shocked to find out they were porn and they were my dad’s. He was supposed to be the father that I looked up to. Now that I’d discovered porn and how to masturbate on my own, my next door neighbor would visit my mom and bring over her 3 year old baby girl who I grew fond of.

I started to play with her upstairs in my room, then things went overboard and before I knew it, I started to touch her in all the wrong places. I guess I was trying to act out what I saw in those videos I’d found. This went on for a couple months and feeling horrible about what I was doing to this poor little girl, I stopped but I never told anyone fearing I’d go to jail for child molestation.

All throughout my teen years I was somewhat of a loner, I did have a lot of friends though, but I never had a girlfriend. I didn’t do crazy things during my teen years but I continued to view porn and masturbate…that was as crazy as it got. In my senior year of High school I became friendly with a girl then began to develop feelings for her but again, I was rejected since she didn’t feel the same way about me.

Talk about getting hit hard! Well from that moment on, I vowed again that if I were to ever date any girls, id’ just use them for whatever I could get. I’ve only had sex with 2 girls in my life which is kind of amazing since I wanted to use girls in anyway I could….I guess I still feared rejection at the same time. Both experiences of sex were with girls I cared nothing about.

I was also in my early 20’s when it happened. I never stopped the porn though and masturbation grew worse as I started to do it 3 times a day. Then I discovered phone sex and just hearing a girl’s beautiful voice really did it for me. I wasted so much money on phone sex, literally thousands of dollars on what obviously never satisfies.

I remember one incident while I was going to college and working part time where I had gotten together with some friends from work and went to New York City. Well, let me tell you, I discovered that there were beautiful women who sold themselves for money as we drove around that very night. Before I knew it, I got hooked on visiting prostitutes and I would go on my own, late at night and search around for the most beautiful one.

I lost count on how many times I did this and remember the very last experience I had. 2 cops pulled up beside my car while I had this woman in the car and thought to myself, “This is it, I’m going to jail”. The cop let me go with a warning. The Lord really had his hand on me even when I didn’t know Him back then. Now here I am, 20 years old.

My parents get divorced largely due to my father’s addiction to pornography and other types of sexual perversion. I was devastated but my brother was more devastated than I since he was closer with him. I went through years of bitterness, anger, and resentment from being left in a situation where my mom had no job and no way to support the household. We barely made ends meet but The Lord provided through financial aid I was getting in College and I actually had some left over after paying my tuition.

My mother finally got a job which was a God send and things really started looking better but we still didn’t know The Lord yet. I still helped out between myself, my brother, and mom, we were finally making it but I still had bitterness for being put in such a position as the oldest male. I came to know The Lord at around 23 and just remember crying my eyes out during the altar call while receiving Jesus into my heart.

Years after, I stopped some of my old habits but my interest grew in internet porn and from time to time, made phone sex calls. I dated here and there during that time but would never have a serious relationship. As a matter of fact, my relationships never lasted. I never truly knew how to love the way Jesus does. Then here I am 31 years old and I just met my girlfriend Christina who was a Christian from the internet. Yeah, I know, the internet…not a good meeting place. This relationship lasted 8 months and we broke up about 7 months ago.

She was into deliverance/inner healing and thought she could heal me but I knew I had to walk out my deliverance from porn and masturbation. She said she’d stick by me through what I had to go through but deep down inside, I didn’t love her. She said she loved me although I didn’t believe it because it was proven in actions.

She tried to get me to move away from my family, closer to where she lives and for some strange reason, my family and her didn’t get along. As a matter of fact, everyone I introduced her to said that there was something they didn’t like in her and I could never put my finger on it. “God how could this be, she’s a Christian girl, why wouldn’t people like her and why would You give her to me?” All the while The Holy Spirit was telling me, “She’s not for you, don’t go there” but because she was beautiful and Christian I thought she’s be the one God had for me.

After our breakup, I was devastated and dove right back into internet porn more than ever. I decided to move out on my own and get my own apartment since I’m now 32. The Lord provided an apartment and gave me favor with price so things started turning around. I knew I also had to get away from sneaking onto my brother’s computer and surfing porn although I know that I can never run from my addictions.

2 months ago I found out about this accountability group called “Every Man’s Battle” and have been going each week. The men there are passionate about serving Christ in purity and for the very 1st time, I feel there’s hope for me!

Praise God for Brother Chris P. who is a good friend of mine and is leading me into a closer relationship with Jesus through The Holy Spirit working in him. He just happens to be co-founder of this accountability group. (If anyone happens to be in the NY City area, please feel free to attend our meeting anytime! Just figured I’d throw a little plug out for the group!)

Here I am now with all of you good brothers. Praise The Lord for his goodness, patience, and mercy…..I would not be here today telling you all of this if it weren’t for Jesus!

In Christ,

Scott

Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Samuel 14:14   (NIV)

Timothy

My childhood was typically dysfunctional, as were those of many of us, but no less hellish in the experience of it. My mother was an abused woman; my step-father was the classic, wife-beating alcoholic. As I’ve grown in my recovery I understand just how perilous my childhood was and how, at any moment, I could have been killed along with my entire family, by my raging step-father. I also know, now, that the hand of the Almighty God was hovering over me and my family to prevent that ultimate disaster. That was, perhaps, the earliest act of salvation done in my life by the loving Lord.

Among my childhood memories were long, seemingly endless nights hiding under the covers of my bed with both fingers jammed tightly in my ears until my head hurt, trying to shut out the screaming, shouting, and abuse being heaped on my mother by my step-father. He beat me with a leather belt, which had a large, heavy, brass buckle, and he did so often. His `core message’ to me was: “You’ll never amount to anything!” He was wrong.

The “saving grace” for me came during summers spent with my Godly grandmother, who laid the foundation for my spiritual life and salvation. I accepted God many times as a young person, never knowing if it `took.’ I believe that was because I may not have understood God’s plan or grace or was so afraid He would not accept me. I carried such doubting behavior into my adult life.

My exposure to pornography came through my step-father, who kept sex toys in his bedroom poorly hidden. He also kept a projector with 8 millimeter, silent, 5-minute sex films. I remember discovering it and the secret thrill of watching the movies while he was at work. I would act out sexually, of course, and there were times I got the film jammed in the projector and, thus, burned some frames. I’m sure he noticed this, but he never said anything.

As I came into adulthood, I sought porn out. Though I don’t believe I was sexually abused, I was very sexually charged and felt I always had been. I acted out often and, eventually, had a sexual experience with another neighborhood friend (a young man) which evolved into a frequent, one-way sexual `relationship.’ This person died in a tragic accident at the age of 18. I was shattered by this loss, but now believe his death took the homosexual element away from me, because after his passing I acted out sexually with other men less and less until my last sexual contact with men in 1985.

I did have sexual experiences with women, but all of them were prostitutes. I didn’t feel worthy of a real relationship of any kind and, as with the men I had sex with, I knew I was looking for one thing: love and acceptance and belonging. I was just looking for it in the wrong places.

Pornography continued to play a role in my life. Magazines and videos were prevalent, though I dumped the magazines in favor of video around 1985. Later, I would relocate to New England, and the sexual use of porn would continue. It was tapering off in my life as I married in 1990 and was almost a non-entity. Then the Internet came along, and the access to porn resurged in ferocity, taking up tons of time in surfing for images and short films (MPEGS) and continuing to act out.

Over the past five years, God has been a returning presence in my life. In fact, I made a recommitment to Jesus in 1983, though I had trouble living the Christian life and porn still plagued me. When I married, I told my wife I “knew the difference between the fantasy images and real women and sex.” That was also a lie and self- deception.

About two years ago I got more serious in returning to Scripture and, again, was the Prodigal coming home to the loving arms of Jesus. Since then, I’ve discovered the struggle with porn heated up all the more. That was because I had a growing desire to get free of it once and for all. I felt it was childish and, ultimately, being unfaithful to my wife.

While surfing the Internet I discovered an online course for breaking porn addiction, which I took and found beneficial. Finding Free in Christ was even better, as I could continue having accountability here and a place to check-in and confess regularly. I have found it also reminds me how important it is to `stay clean’ and that only Jesus and accountability to other men can help.

I am convinced, now, that the permanent chain that holds me to porn is shattered, and that even when I act out I am quick to confess and get back on track with Jesus. The wins are coming very, very slowly, but they are coming more regularly and, best of all, I am discovering I am loving Jesus more and my sin less as the days go by.

Also, I am being more humble and grieving. Just recently I heard the song “You Are God” on a CD I sent for from Discovery House Music. In closing, I’d like to share with you the words that, lately, bring me to contrite and repentant tears.

In Jesus,

Timothy

p.s.  Here is a song that has helped me:

“You Are God”

        ©  David Robertson, Discovery House Music

You are God through all the ages,
You are God, through all the pages of my life
I find in every line Your love for me.
You are God, Who can I cling to
But You?…are God,

Your love still rings true after all this time.
Lord I still find no matter what seasons change,
No matter what in my life is rearranged one thing
Remains the same: You are God.

You are God in celebration,
You are God in tribulation when my faith grows weak,
Your face I seek, and You prove again that
You are God.

Who can I cling to but You?…are God,
Your love still rings true after all this time
Lord I still find no matter what seasons change;
No matter what in my life is rearranged one thing

Remains the same: You are God.
In the summers of my childhood,
I sang “Jesus Loves Me.” In the winters of my life
You proved it to me. Through it all I’ve learned whatever trials

And struggles I go through,
Lord, you are faithful,
So I keep holding on to You.

You are God, I call you Father You are God,
You are the Author of my every breath,
Lord I find rest in Your loving arms.
You are God, Who can I cling to but you?…are God.

Your love still rings true after all this time.
Lord I still find no matter what seasons change,
No matter what in my life is rearranged,
One thing remains the same:

You are God.

“Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” 1John 4:4   (NIV)

Earle

I was going to tell a brother about this personally. But I feel the need to tell the group. Years ago, when I was a sailor, I met this woman in Marseilles, France. We feel in love. There wasn’t any sex involved for a long time. The feeling was almost instant with her. I knew I was in love, and probably for the first time. The ship left, and we went to other ports. We wrote a lot.

A few months later, we went back to Marseilles for just a few days. I pressured her to have sex with me. Insisting that we should, since we wouldn’t see each other for quite a while. And she finally gave in to my pleading. After the cruise was over, she wrote to me and told me she was pregnant. I was actually very happy about it. I dreamt about a life with her and our child. The person I loved more than anyone in the world….I was willing to do anything. It permeated my thoughts all day and everyday. I couldn’t wait to get out of the Navy and move to France somehow, to be with my new family one day.

Then not long after, she told me that she had a miscarriage. But, I could tell from the tone of her voice that it wasn’t actually a miscarriage…..She finally confessed to me that under pressure from her mother, he had an abortion. I was so distraught and angry, so misunderstanding and judgmental. I cut it off right there and told her I didn’t want to talk to her again. But more than that, I was hurt deeply.

Not long after that, I had this dream….an incredible realistic dream. The kind you only have once in a lifetime. A nightmare. I dreamt I was buried alive. I could see the dirt covering me. It was so dark, and I couldn’t move. Then I began suffocating. When I was awakened, by 2 or 3 friends (who shared this sleeping area with me)….It was really like being snatched out of one reality, and put into another world. I couldn’t express how real this seemed to me. It bothered me for a long time. I was screaming out loud when I was awakened. (This was like 2 or 3 days after I got the news of the abortion).

A day or so after this dream, it was still bothering me. Then it hit me hard…I got this feeling that what I was really experiencing, was a part of me. That part of me that had been aborted. I know this might sound crazy, but it’s true….I really feel that I was there in that grave, or that landfill…where they buried my son or daughter to be. (I vividly remember in this dream, of something pushing dirt over me. Like a bulldozer?). Whether or not anyone wants to believe that this actually is the case doesn’t matter. The point I’m making is that if I had waited, and not given into my lust…(do I have to point it out?). So many things may have been different.

A young lady wouldn’t have felt the fear of raising a child alone (her mother convinced her that i wouldn’t come back). My first child wouldn’t have lost its life before it really began. She wouldn’t be living with that guilt now. I wouldn’t have it on my heart so heavy….We might be together now and happily married…..It’s lust with no regard to love and caring, and not doing it God’s way, that leads to abortions, STDs, broken families, broken hearts. I’ve prayed for forgiveness for this, but it still breaks my heart to think about it.

We all need to pray, And I myself am praying, not just for ourselves/myself…but for those whose lives our selfish desires may have deeply scarred. That God will show compassion, and erase the hurt and pain we may have caused…and for possibly leading a soul away from Christ instead of to him. We were all doing Satan’s work, without our awareness maybe, but now lets do God’s work and bring souls to Jesus!

Amen.

Earle