I believed; even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.”

I love Jesus, for He heard my voice, He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble sorrow. Then I called on the name of Jesus; “O Jesus, save me!” Jesus is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. Jesus protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, He saved me.

 

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for Jesus has been good to you.

For you, Jesus, have delivered  my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before Jesus in the land of the living.

I believed; even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.”

~ Psalm 116:1-10

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Take {2} on my testimony

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. God’s had me in a growing moment, and had I written two days ago I would’ve told you that I was positive He was disappointed in my behavior. And maybe He was, what He wasn’t disappointed in was my heart. I say this cautiously because I don’t want to be boastful. The reason I feel He has been pleased with my heart is because of the blessings He has poured out on me these last two days. There is nothing like thinking God is upset with you to have Him pour out LOVE on you like there’s no tomorrow. Love in ways that ONLY GOD could know your heart would respond to. Friends I pray that YOU experience that Presence of the Lord so intensely that you will never doubt how much God LOVES YOU!

Tonight I was blessed to give my testimony at the church that I had recently left. Talk about a HUGE personal blessing. See this is the HOME where He placed me to pour out His Spirit on me. He watered me through these people, and I still feel strange not being there at times. But I know God is doing something within our family that we wouldn’t have had done if we stayed.

Anyway, tonight I spoke about my life before Christ for the first time (in front of a group). Then I spoke about my life after Christ. I have to tell you that the response I felt was gratitude, for my authenticity. The Presence of God is with me as I write these words and I want you to know that I am so thankful that I lived every moment of my life the way I did. God has already gone ahead of me and prepared everything in advance. All I have to do is show up. He will do the rest.

Two hours before I was supposed to leave I found out that I needed to ADD 10 minutes to what I had already prepared. Wanted to share what God placed on my heart to share, and if you’ve read the post titled “My foundation is set” then you’ve read the life after Christ. If you’re interested here is some of the life before.

First memory I have was when I was 5, my Uncle came tearing around a corner almost running over me, my brothers, uncle, and grandmother one terrifying morning. I know it was morning because I had to continue to go to school that day, of course being told not to speak of what happened. This was the family code that I’m sure many of you had also. As the years went on I kept other secrets. Like being sexually involved with other kids, being molested by a family member, being hated and bullied in school. Having the entire girls bathroom written about me, teachers even joining in on the cruelty. I kept it all in. Never speaking about it…only writing in my journals.

Eventually all these secrets became too much, the loneliness I felt was more than my young heart could take and at the age of 12 I began trying to find ways to end my life. This continued for 3 years until I almost succeeded. I’ll never forget this day. It was unlike any other I could remember….it was perfect. I laughed continually with my best friends, got along with my parents, and felt an inner peace I hadn’t in years. As the sun was going down I had said this is it. This is how I want it all to end. SO I kissed my parents goodnight went in and got the prescribed sleeping pills I had stolen from my dad and began taking them. By the 10th one I started gagging. I can still remember the taste of the sweet tea mixing with the pills.

I don’t know why I chose to lay down and watch the last few minutes of Coach on tv, but I do know that it saved my life. Instantly I passed out and woke up 3 days later in the hospital. My leg had been somehow jammed down in the couch and I lost circulation for so long I was unable to walk properly for a few weeks. Today, I am positive that my guardian Angel made sure I would stay put on that couch so my mother and father would see me when they woke up before work.

Anyway, something shifted in me that day that I woke up. I knew there was a reason I had lived…again I don’t know how I know this, I just did. I wish I could tell you that I gave my life to Jesus at 15 and spent that last 20 years serving Him. Unfortunately, I wasn’t raised in a home where Jesus was ever mentioned unless it someone was cursing. I drudged through the next few years of high school, living up the rumors others started about me at 15. I desperately tried to fill that hole inside of me with boys, drugs, cutting, anger, anything that would give me some kind of “fix”.

After high school I met my first husband and fell deep into the club scene. He sold drugs, I danced to pay for our habit, and this continued until I was 21 and our roommate was robbed at gunpoint. We decided it was time to quit the drugs and move on with our lives. I had no problem quitting the drugs, considering I was old enough to drink. Still dancing I quickly became an alcoholic. Eventually Matt and I were married and started a family. I stopped dancing for a few years, then money was tight and we decided I would dance during his off season, which happened to be a dancers season. It seemed perfect….in hindsight I see it was perfect…for the enemy. He was able to convince us that it was beneficial for me to use my body to make money. All along destroying the trust in my marriage, and continuing to destroy myself worth. As you can imagine this marriage eventually failed.

 I had met a man online, and never felt so completely in love in my life. He too was married and felt the love instantly also. Friends, this is the first time I had been deceived by Satan disguised as light. All the years of me dancing half naked drunk for men I never once was ever tempted to cheat on my husband. This relationship was formed ironically through my husband’s online gaming. The emotional affair quickly developed and there was nothing stopping us. We had never felt a love so pure and honest in our lives. The affair occurred in 2003 lasted only a few months, he lived in TN and we both agreed we couldn’t take our children from their parents. Matt asked me to come home and try and work things out, we planned for our son. And two months after he was born in 2005 Matt said he was unable to forgive me and ended our marriage.

I was devastated and did the only thing I knew to do….lost the baby weight and went back to dancing. And drinking…heavily. I couldn’t bear to see anyone I knew so I drove each night from Ocoee to Melbourne to work. Then at 3am completely drunk I would drive home. On September 26, 2006 God intervened and I ended up in a ditch after hitting a guard rail and being side swiped by a truck. Ended up in 33rd with a DUI and a LONG road to recovery. Court ordered to attend AA, but knew I desperately needed it. I tried to stay sober. Admitted I was an alcoholic and truly wanted to be free from the need to drink. I only lasted 3 months. I told myself I could control it, maintain my drinking as long as I stayed at home or only drank beer when I went out. If anyone in here has ever tried to maintain drinking you know how well this worked.

My daughter was attending Pre-K at a church and we attended often. The love this pastor gave me and my children, even after finding out I danced and had a dui was like nothing I knew before. He began tending to the soil that was so battered.

On April 30, 2009 as I was driving home from dropping my kids at their dads, I had my usual debate with God about me drinking. Only this time I heard the truth. He asked why do you have to drink? I replied I deserve it….and right then I knew that was a lie. The radio began playing Sissy’s song and I heard within my Spirit “You’re going to lose them if you do this” THEM being my kids. And that was the moment of deliverance for me. I was baptized on July 29th. Married to my husband on December 7. 2009 and have been surrending my life over to Jesus daily ever since.

For the last 5 years I have heard and said over and over again to women who were hurting and broken hearted. “You need Jesus. Cry out to Jesus. Give it to Jesus.” Can I tell you something that I have struggled with for the last 5 years since surrendering my life over to this Jesus? I had no idea who He was. I mean I had head knowledge of who He was, and I had even experienced the power of Christ within my life. But I didn’t KNOW Him, or know HOW to know Him anymore than I already did. Or most importantly….. how to destroy the lies I knew about Him. So today I want to share with you the lies that kept me from fully believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the way Satan used this to almost steal my Identity.

Jesus is First Our Lord and Savior. This many of you know. So did I. I was even baptized into this Truth….but still I doubted in this man that was also God. I was unprepared in the basics of WHO Jesus is and HOW He is Man and God. Jesus was placed in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 1:18-25 gives the account to this, but still my mind couldn’t wrap around this. Even though I KNOW the Bible is true, something inside of me said”c’mon this is CRAZY, what if she cheated on Joseph and got pregnant.” That something inside of me is the voice of lies, aka the devil, satan, our enemy. God finally squashed this lie earlier this year, after 5 years of living for Him He opened my eyes and ears and said. “Crystal, you believe that I created this entire universe by the power of my Words, but you don’t think I can place a child inside of a woman?”  And that was it, lie destroyed with the Truth.  

Another lie that kept me from believing that Jesus is the Son of God was his baptism.   What was KEY for me to seal the truth about Jesus being fully man and fully God was what God says about sin. See the voice of lies that I listened to said “well Jesus was baptized so who knows if He actually sinned since we don’t know anything about Him”  Here’s the thing though, Jesus had to live a sinless life under the law in order to become a sacrifice blameless and pure and fulfill the law. God cannot dwell within a man when there is SIN in Him. And in Matthew 3:16 it says “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.” Jesus then became FULLY GOD, He had lived a life of obedience to The Father and because He was blameless without sin, God then gave His FULL AUTHORITY to Jesus, making Him The Christ, The Anointed One, The Messiah. No sacrifice was needed for Jesus because there was no sin in Him. God would not have given Jesus FULL authority had there been any sin within Him.

When we are baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ we also are forgiven for ALL of our sins, which allows GODs Holy Spirit, the Christ to now DWELL IN US. Making US as Jesus ONE WITH THE FATHER. But… this is only through the blood of Jesus Christ, which He shed for us on the cross.

These were two lies that lingered within my mind and because they were left unchecked I was led into a terrifying trap.

In 2 Timothy 3, Paul talks about the Godlessness in the Last Days. In Verses 1-5 Paul gives some pretty harsh characteristics about these “godless” people but I want to focus on Verse 5 “having a form of godliness but denying it’s POWER. Have nothing to do with them.”

Having a form of godliness but denying its POWER. Friends, we have the POWER OF GOD in us. We are One with God as Jesus, but Jesus had attained the FULL AUTHORITY of God, which we do not. We are given authority through Jesus Christ, according to our Faith. This isn’t taught to often in churches today, and I needed to know what was going on inside of me. And this is where and why I believe I had been led astray so easily.  

Two years ago I left this book and went to other teachings, not having my foot on solid ground and opened my mind up to Satan big time. Jesus says in John 10:1  “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.” Then in 7 He says “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep” Jesus is our foundation…we have to KNOW WHO HE IS BEFORE our foundation for our spiritual houses will ever be stable. Before the Helmet of our salvation will ever work.

 

 

Satan comes disguised as Light and lies to us. He lied to me for years with the Word of God about who Jesus was. I had to study and study and pray and study more to learn about what was going on inside of me. But every time I would get close, I would break. Why? Because I did NOT FULLY believe without a doubt that Jesus was the Son of God. That Jesus is God. Eventually, I stopped seeking for only my Spirit to be taught and needed to continue in Truth.

See other philosophies teach about The Christ, which so far everything that I have read agrees with scripture. But they leave out who JESUS is. There is a saying that God has been playing in my mind over and over and it says “ The best lies are 99% true” They focus on the Spirit of God, the Christ. Which was leading me away from the foundation of my Eternal Life, Jesus.

James 3 talks about two kinds of Wisdom one is from God, and one is from the devil. Friends, I am standing before you today, having been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Being baptized by The Holy Spirit, and confess to you that I had been given wisdom from the devil. Lies used by the Word of God to tell me that Jesus and Elijah were the beasts in revelations. That Psalm 146 talks about how when Jesus died and came back to life his plans were thwarted that He chose the Devil and we were all now being deceived. For two years I have wrestled with this lie inside of me, as I imagine as Jacob wrestled with the Spirit of God. Only I thought I was wrestling with the devil. Because I did not have my foundation in place, this lie had kept me bound up in fear of being a child of the devil. These lies friends are lies that creep in and steal our identity In Christ. I was blind to the truth that I was in prison, simply because I couldn’t believe.

When I first began studying the Word I was also in a Christian College and I remember asking my professor about Matthew 3:11 which says “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” I asked him what it meant by “fire” He was unable to tell me.

 

Today I believe I have a little bit of understanding as to what this “fire” is. Continuing it says: “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” In the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus talks about how the enemy planted “weeds” among good soil. And in verse 28 the servants ask “Do you want us to go and pull them up?” He says “No” Let them both grow together when the harvest comes first collect the weeds and burn them up, then gather the wheat and bring them in my barn,”

When we are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ we are made new, God now sees us through Jesus. Blameless. Then Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit, The Spirit of Truth which judges us. The Fire that He also baptizes us with is to refine us from the impurities, the LIES that we have come to believe, even if we don’t realize it.

It has taken 5 years for this “fire” to refine me from the lies that kept me from knowing Who Jesus Christ is. Until I knew who He was, I couldn’t believe who he says I am…and without knowing who I am in Christ…I was lost. Today I stand before you covered by the Blood of Jesus Christ, my eyes are open and I am no longer blind to the truth that I AM UNFORSAKEN. I HAVE BEEN REDEEMED. There is POWER in ME & YOU claim it… in His name. Real Freedom is in Jesus Christ!

The truth says in Acts 2:38,39 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call. — if you’re in this room and you have not been baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ then God is now calling YOU. Will you listen?

What kind of memory are you wanting to leave with others?

7 Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 1 Thessalonians 3:7-9

This letter was written by the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians. Imagine for a moment receiving a letter from your pastor, in this letter he tells you how you give him encouragement. How your walk has allowed him to get through all of the pain he is going through. That because you love the Lord, he really feels alive.

I don’t know about you, but I would have to check the address label over and over again to make sure he was writing the right person. There is no way that me, and my walk could encourage the pastor of my church. No way! However, when I read this I sat for a moment, and thought about all the women (& 2 men) God has allowed my life to be a testimony to His power. When I am going through a moment of darkness, and feel like such a horrible failure worthy of nothing, especially Gods love. I will see one of these people praising God on their Facebook status, and I feel so blessed that I am a part of that. That He found me worthy to be a part of their lives. When I see a widow of 3 praising God through financial burdens, my heart is overflowed with so much joy I begin to cry. Through this I am encouraged; through this I am able to remember his truth through the lies. His light breaks through the darkness that surrounds my heart, and He shows me that He knows the plans for my life; he has hope and a beautiful future. (Jeremiah 29:11) One that is so filled with pure tranquility that my mind cannot fathom just how remarkable life with Him truly is.

You see no matter who you are, if you believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, you are an encourager. Your life is a testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ, and Gods unwavering gift of Grace, and Forgiveness. When you say out loud that you are a Christian you now wear a badge of honor that never goes away. No matter how far you fall into the pit of darkness. He is still there with you, and He is patiently waiting for you to see His light and come back Home, where you belong.

11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 1 Thessalonians 4:11,12

I had to read this over and over again until He showed me how this is not a contradiction. In verse 11 Paul says ‘to mind your own business and to work with your hands’ When we involve ourselves in others ‘business’ we take on a role that God never intended us to lead. We are there to encourage one another, not intercede for one another. Not ‘do’ the work for one another in their personal business. Over the years I fell victim to this trap over and over again. I have always fought for the underdog, and every time I have been the one to be burned. Today the Lord has shown me, with patience mind you, that my past of being ‘picked on’ wasn’t given to me so that I can defend those picked on. That life was given to me so that I can love the ones being picked on, as well as displaying a different way to behave to those causing the harm.

Scripture repeatedly tells us to ‘love one another’ even our ‘enemies’. Personally this is one of the hardest instructions for me to grasp. How can Jesus ask me to love those who are maliciously trying to destroy the ones I love? If he really knew just how horrible these people were, he would allow me to return the hurt. Do you believe that? I mean really when you read what I just wrote can you say to yourself ‘yes he would’ or are you like me and feel the Holy Spirit convicting you? My heart speaks through His Spirit and I hear Him saying…I forgave you for putting me to a treacherous death, I forgave you for all that you have done….I love them too. Just as I love you, no more, no less.

So instead of barging in on someone else’s business, look to Jesus, and choose to encourage the one being hurt, and pray for the one hurting them. Yes, PRAY for them! God can change anyone! Even them! He’s just waiting for someone to love them enough to lift them up, so that He may begin to intercede for them, and for us. Sometimes this is an instant thing, and sometimes it’s a life-long process, one that may never happen. We can only do so much for someone else; they have to accept the gift given to them. If you’ve never honestly loved and prayed for an enemy then this is something you may not believe. I am a firm believer that we have become a society that must experience something before we will trust it to be true. So I write this understanding it may fall on deaf ears. But, when you wholeheartedly love and pray for your enemy, not for selfish gain but for pure empathy for their salvation there is a whole different kind of love that comes over you.

Let me pause for a moment and focus on what I just wrote. Can you admit that you love your spouse different than you love your children? Although it is different, it is no less pure. I have four children all which are very different, and I love them so completely, yet so completely different. No less than the other, just different. This is what I mean when I say there is a different kind of love that comes over you when you wholeheartedly love and pray for your enemy. It’s not easy, and sometimes you need others not close to this other person to pray for and with you. One thing I must warn you about though is once you obtain this unselfish love for your enemies, they may still be horrible and you might have to start all over again. I did. I have to work at getting back this unselfish love every day. The evil one does not want me praying for this person. When I am defeated and allow his horrible traps to be set through this person, he not only has them, but he has caused me to forbid the Holy Spirit to be with me.

Go back and read the last sentence out loud. By allowing the evil ones traps to entangle me in sin, I have invited Satan into our home and kicked God out. God CANNOT be a part of sin. He is unable to dwell within us when we are filled with a little or a lot of sin. Imagine for a moment opening the door and you have to make a choice who you will allow to watch your children for the night; your pastor or a pedophile. Choice seems easy doesn’t it? Some will even say in their heads…”that’s a little extreme Crystal” Is it though? If you are the one that thought that, then maybe you should take a look at your child or if you have none, look at your niece or nephew and ask yourself “Who do I want them to see when they are with me?” “Who do I want them to think about when they remember me after I have passed on?”

Understand something; your life is not yours. I may have lost some of you there and that’s ok, I believe by the end of this God will have used my words to speak to you somehow, some way. You may not be a parent, but you know someone who is. You know someone who has a child, and God has placed you in that person’s life ‘FOR A REASON’ a reason larger than yourself, more important than your happiness, a reason that will last for eternity; a reason that will go on when you no longer do. How do you want to be remembered? Whose life are you willing to sacrifice for your own selfish desires? Who are you willing to allow the pedophile to watch over night?

Every day your life is being watched by someone, every day the way you talk, the way you react, and the life you live is an impact on those around you. In verse 12 Paul warns us of this,  so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders’.

The day you accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior you then became Gods child, if you have not accepted the Lord as your savior but want to please email me, let me pray for you. A life without Jesus is a life filled with darkness. You can have days that are filled with laughter, money, and happiness. It ends there though, what a life with Jesus offers compared to a life without Him isn’t easy, it isn’t a promise that dark days won’t come. It isn’t a promise that you will avoid tragedy or sickness, but it is a promise at life.

One that matters more than you could ever imagine, one that will last for eternity, one that makes a difference in the lives of others. One that is filled with true friends, true family, and true love. One that allows you to know when someone tells you that they are praying for you they really are, one that allows you to know a trust like never before. People are kind and loving to you because they really love you, not because you have something they want. This is a wall of lies that Jesus’ love has been slowly chipping away at over the last year of my life.

Some changes the Spirit of God makes in you can be instant, my drinking for instance; May 1, 2009 He washed my addiction away. He did this for me I believe because He knew I was unable to. That I loved Him and my children so deeply, but the addiction was too much for me. Since then I have fallen into darkness and being an ex-cutter, self-inflictor I tried to hurt myself by drinking. He sent my sister whom I love with agape love over to my home to simply hug me because He knew I needed to experience what He was trying so hard to do.  The second time He sent His Spirit to whisper in my ear ‘you are my child, and when you hurt yourself you hurt me’ I heard this and didn’t think of it as me personally hurting God, (however this is exactly what my pain was doing) but that my daily life could hurt who He is. Although drinking is not a sin, and I definitely was not drunk, I am an alcoholic and for me to be sitting in a restaurant having a drink all I could think about was, “what if someone sees me and thinks God is a lie”  Other changes are gradual, they are not forced by God they are patiently taught by others actions. What kind of memory are you wanting to leave with others?