Good evening from Texas!
Where are you from?
What led you to join Connect?
Brother Zacharias appearances and lectures and some deeply burning questions I have about the Christian walk.
How do you hope to contribute?
I suppose however the Lord may lead, but regardless to help encourage and edify the brethren in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Welcome aboard @BretG. Glad to have you joining from Texas with a willingness to encourage. Thank you for coming alongside us. Please do offer a word of encouragement to a new member or one who might be struggling with a particular issue. God-bless you and your journey.
Howdy back to you, @BretG! I’m very glad to see you on here! Those deeply burning questions fester like a wound when not cared for and addressed. This connect is here to help you be able to seek the Lord and find the answers that would set you free in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. Backsliding is not unforgivable, just like falling down is not unforgivable. It’s when we don’t get back up to run towards the Lord again, or when we allow ourselves to remain distracted from pursuing the Lord that we find ourselves in the greater trouble. God wants to deliver us from those messes, whether we have created them ourselves, or somehow find ourselves in a mess. All we have to do is look back up to him through the eyes of faith, believing His promises and taking Him at His Word, that He reaches down His almighty hand of grace and helps us overcome what looms in our face as an impossible climb. Blessings on your journey! He will give answers as you are truly seeking Him for the truth.
Thank you, sir! I sincerely hope and pray humbly that the Lord can and will use me here to be a blessing for the brethren and Him. It would be such an honor, truthfully.
Hello and blessings to you, Anna! Yes indeed! Those burning questions can drive one mad. Thank you very much for the encouraging words. I have indeed repented quite earnestly and sincerely. I am trusting in Jesus to help me stay flint faced towards Him.
I would like to mention that I sincerely gave my life to Christ when I was 16, on an apartment sidewalk, even though I knew it would cost me all my friends. At the time I expected to be utterly miserable trying to obey what I had very erroneously presumed to be an impossibly stringent and harsh God. Still, I committed to Him for life. Well, when I awoke the next morning everything had changed. It was the most wonderful experience of my life. I was immediately aware of His presence inside of and all around me. And so much joy pouring up and out of me! I was consciously aware of Him being consciously aware of me, and I knew Him to be the most wonderful, loving, understanding, forgiving, compassionate person in existence. I felt His love not just for me but everyone. This was even more remarkable in that I had never in my life actually felt loved. It was a truly new experience.
Other keen sensations that I was aware of were feeling as if I had been propelled at an impossible speed over some vast inconceivable chasm. I felt brand new and clean. And I felt utterly safe for the first time in my life. Then prayers began to be answered! Even little tiny seemingly unimportant prayers. All of this flew in the face of what I had been taught about Him growing up. It was precisely the opposite. That’s what happened in the beginning of my walk with Jesus.
I was, however, a neurotic young man. lol Very neurotic with a horribly, and inexplicably, guilty conscience. The backsliding came along when I was about 20, and it was gradual. To use a cliché term it happened slowly, inexorably. My conscience bothered me so badly that I worried about all manner of minutiae and it was driving me out of my mind. So I began to back off on worrying. I did not do this properly, however, and the wayward wandering began. The short of it is that it became bad over the years. During all of this, if you can and will believe me, I did not renounce The Lord at all. I prayed and begged forgiveness for my actions, but then would eventually do it again. Please bear in mind, too, that my conscience did indeed trouble me about my actions. I knew it was wrong and had to stop. Again, this is a very abbreviated version of how things went.
The day came when I just couldn’t continue like that and I repented in total. That was 10 years ago and I have remained repentant since then with a strong determination to walk humbly in obedience to Christ. One of the big struggles now is the guilt of how I behaved for all those years. “What did that mean?” I wonder over and over again. “HOW could I have lived like that if I had truly been born again in Him??” That sort of thing. “Did I go too far? Has my salvation been lost or revoked? Did I prove to be an unworthy follower? How can He forgive me for living like that?” are others. I wondered what Brother Ravi would tell me, but alas I never had the chance to meet him here on earth.
My apologies if I went on too long there, but I wanted to give a bit more clarification.
Hello Bret, welcome to the family of connect. Thank you for sharing and from one brother to another though my age is 65 our God is a faithful and forgiving friend and we are too. I know my past failures get brought up from time to time and sometimes though this may sound corny,
I thank the enemy of my soul for reminding me of Gods forgiveness, and give God praise for it which my enemy doesn’t like.
Pray you will continue to share with us here.
Hey Brother Bret! I’m praising the Lord for how He has brought you back to His pastures and that the Holy Spirit never left you alone! We all have faced those times of backsliding to different extents. I love what John 10:27-29 (I’d recommend you read it) says about His sheep knowing His voice. In vs. 27 It also mentions how His sheep follow Him and I believe like Isaiah 53:6 says that all we like sheep have gone astray… when we hear His voice we are able to find Him and follow after Him again. In vs. 29 Jesus shares the amazing truth how that no man can ever pluck one of His own out of His hand! And when He says no man that includes ourselves! I truly believe that if someone is truly one of His, even though they falter, they will return to Him and He like the father of the prodigal son, with rejoicing, receives them back!
What a wonderful testimony you have to share and may the Lord use it to bring many back to Him!
Jude 1:1 is one of my favorite scriptures. It says … and praise be to Jesus Christ who keeps us. Keeps us no matter what. Back slidden or not. He keeps us. That is amazing! His love for us is beyond our Understanding.
Don’t worry about going too long, @BretG, this is a place we’re we all rejoice in the grace of God.
I believe @CharityLinzey expressed it quite well. The other thing I believe is important to note is the only sin God cannot forgive is the sin of unbelief. (Hebrews 4) When we stray, God receives us back. When we deliberately make a choice that distances us from God and then come running back to Him, He covers us in His forgiveness.
The only time that God cannot receive us is when we refuse to come to Him. That does not mean we loose our salvation if we have already been saved, because nothing can separate us from the Love of Christ, and nothing can pluck us out of His hand, not even ourselves. But in order for that to be a demonstrative reality in our lives, we have to believe that He really did take all of our sin when He died for us on the cross. He knew what you would do before and after you were saved, and He took that for you too. If we put our faith where God put our sin — on the cross — that’s when we will find complete justice upon our sin and forgiveness upon ourselves.
God really did completely judge every sin that we would ever commit, regardless of their extent. But because He became our sin and defeated them on the cross, He then looks at us, not because of what we have done, but because of who we are in His sight: a person created in His image, by His love and for His love. And that’s exactly what He intends: that we can presently know His love for all of eternity.
You are fully forgiven by the Savior only when you fully believe in His work on the cross In your place. Where judgment stops is where mercy begins. Jesus walked the first part of that road for us, so that we could walk the second. And that is where rest in Christ really starts to mean something.
The flip side of this is recognizing that sin is simply a distancing of oneself from God and loosing fellowship with Him. We do not strive to live perfectly in order to earn His approval, neither do we let go and disregard pure living because “His grace covers everything.” It is from the overflow of our responsive love back to Him and thankful awe for what He did for us on Calvary that motivates us to live for Him, striving for uninterrupted fellowship with Him.
These are just a few thoughts that I am encouraged with and I hope you find them to be a stepping stone towards your complete freedom and unsurpressible joy of heart in Christ.
Hi @BretG, it’s great to have you here, welcome I read through this thread and was so blessed by your short testimony. When I read what you wrote here;
I remembered something I read the other day and thought “maybe Ravi would say something like this,”
“Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson
“Readers of English poetry will recall the turbulent life of Francis Thompson. His father wanted him to study at Oxford, but Francis lost his way in drugs and failed to make the grade time and again. This was a slumbering genius, if only his life could be rescued. When Francis finally succumbed to the pursuing Christ, he penned his immortal ‘Hound of Heaven’:
I fled Him down the nights and down the days.
I fled Him down the arches of the years.
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways of my own mind:
And in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
Down titanic glooms of chasmed fears
From those strong feet that followed, that followed after.
For though I knew His love that followed
Yet I was sore adread
Lest having Him I have naught else beside.
And he ends:
Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest me.
“I am utterly convinced that neither walls nor unfortunate mishaps nor poor decisions can separate
us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Perhaps you have noticed footprints of one
following closely across your own life. Will you follow them?”~ Ravi
This blessed me and I hope will bless you too
Bullseye @sig Bullseye. Well done.
This is also a safe place to struggle, be honest, find truth, and be ourselves. Together. So, from one forgiven sinner to another, this is your community and I hope you will feel at home here.
Thank you very much for that, Sieglinde! I’ve been chewing on that for a bit. It’s extremely encouraging indeed.
Hello Bret, welcome back since you are re writing your journey to Christ and ain’t it common for so many of us. Since you have been concerned about your earlier detachment from Lord…just to put your mind at rest I would like you to revisit the prodigal son chapter in Bible Luke 15:11-32…please do focus on how the father receives the lost son…similar to our return post detachment.
Thank you, Charity! Joining this community has been a true blessing, I tell ya. And your last sentence was also very encouraging to me. I had wondered how on earth I might serve Him still. It seemed to me that I made quite a mess of things over the years. The thought came to me that perhaps the Lord could still use to help those who have also wandered from Him. I sincerely hope He can and will. Thank you again, Charity! May He bless you in a way that you need it most today.
Praise the Lord! Thank you Brother @BretG!
I came across this passage in Ephesians 3:14-19 in my devotions today and was reminded of your testimony, hope its a blessing.
14 ¶ For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.