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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ten Years Ago Today...

******UPDATE******

We have a winner! Thank you for all of your sweet comments. I'm so thankful to read that the testimony God has given me, was an encouragement to you.

I'm going to be doing another blog giveaway in the next few days, for a copy of Pam Gillaspie's new book, and inductive study of Psalm 119, "Sweeter Than Chocolate." You can see my initial interview with her by clicking here.

That's going to be in celebration of my 200th post!

So if you didn't win this time...come back in the next few days, and try again. :)

Now for the winner....

Drumroll please.....

The winner is Chelsea.

Congratulations, Chelsea! I hope God will use this study to change your life, as it did mine.

Would you please email me at whatilearnedfromthewordtoday@cox.net, with your address included? Be sure to let me know who to have Kay sign the book to, ok?

How fun that you're in our neck of the woods, too! I hope to meet you soon!

Again, congratulations, and thanks for reading my blog!

May the Lord richly bless you as you dig into His Word.
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Ten years ago today, I had been home from an amazing honeymoon to Maui, for only 4 days.




On the third day home, it became very clear that the foundation upon which Shane and I had built our marriage, was a farce.



We'd been lying to one another on so many different points, that I wouldn't even know where to start in explaining it all to you.



We professed to be Christians, but we lived like the world. Our hearts were focused on ourselves, and our fleshly desires...not at all upon bringing glory to God.



We did what was right in our own eyes. We knew of the Bible, we even had some verses memorized, we'd served in church and talked a good talk, and to many people who didn't know better, we probably came across like good people...maybe even good Christians.



But we were rotten inside. Lost. Children of wrath.



When I read the below passage of Scripture, I see us in it. I do realize that this passage is speaking of Israel, of those who thought that the law would make them righteous, apart from Christ...it's just that the part that talks about not knowing about God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves tot he righteousness of God....well, that was me...that was us.



We took the Scriptures out of context, put them through the spin cycle, and did what was right in our own eyes instead of subjecting ourselves to the righteousness of God...Christ Jesus.



Again, people who knew us then would have likely said that we were Christians...that we had a zeal for God.



But friends, a zeal for God, that is not in accordance with the knowledge of His Son, His perfect righteousness that comes through subjecting ourselves to Christ Jesus, is empty and wasted zeal.



It cannot save. For the Bible makes it clear that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Christ alone was sinless, that's why He qualifies as the sacrificial Lamb of God. He was unblemished, perfect righteousness.



And anything less than perfect righteousness, will not gain one entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.



Praise God that when we put our faith in Christ Jesus, truly submitting our lives to His rule, His righteousness is imputed to us. God the Father no longer sees us as lost, but He sees us through the righteousness of Christ.



Amen, thank you Lord, and amen!



Romans 10:1-4


Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for {their} salvation.
For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.
For
not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.






So, I'd like to share with you what happened to me 10 years ago today, and then I'm going to offer you a chance celebrate my 10 year (new) birthday with me, by registering to win a copy of the book that began my love for Precept Bible Studies...



We had arrived home from Maui on Tuesday, and Thursday night is when my world came crashing down around me. I realized, as I mentioned, that our marriage was a total mockery.



And I decided the next day, that I wanted out.



I called a divorce attorney who told me that it would be easy to have it annulled, and I set an appointment to do just that.



At the time, I was 29 years old making a bunch of money, and I knew that if I left, I'd be able to support myself well. I was trying hard to convince myself that this was the right thing to do.



I was so torn up though....I was supposed to go into work that day, and kept trying and trying to get there, but just couldn't get out the door. I was on a rage rampage...I knocked holes in the wall, I tore a few doors off the hinges...I mean, I went crazy!



I was so FURIOUS that what I'd planned, what I had orchestrated, had fallen apart in less that 2 weeks!



I remember going into our bedroom and cursing at God at the top of my lungs. I flung the "bomb" at Him over and over again, if you know what I mean. I remember telling God, "If this is how you treat those You love, I'm done with You!"



Then I flung the "bomb" some more. Punching more holes in the wall, cursing and screaming...no tears, just blind fury.



And then, in that moment, all alone in my bedroom, the Spirit of God spoke to my heart so clearly, so definitively. No, I didn't hear Him audibly...but the words that entered my mind, my heart, were absolutely not mine.



They were from the Lord. I know, because my eventual decision to obey them, changed my life.



"You've given Me lip service all your life, but you've never given Me your life. This is the man that I designed for you from eternity past, and I have plans to bless this marriage, but I demand your obedience!"



And I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Lord Almighty was calling me to Himself, and that I had a choice to make.



It was literally a moment of do, or die.



Part of me cried out to turn from Him altogether, to curse God once and for all, and follow the evil one full force. To chase after the world, and all that it offered me at the time, and from a worldly standard, there was a lot being offered.



Yet another part longed for my Maker.



I knew that the choice I made in that moment was going to define me forever.



I remember really wrestling with my decision. I knew that following Christ was going to cost me everything... I knew my job would have to go, I knew my feminist mentality would have to go, I knew my world was going to be turned upside down.



And I had to think through whether or not I was really willing to give it all up.



Then, the tears came...the weeping bubbled up from the core of my being, and I fell on my face before the Almighty and said,



"You can have it all, Lord.


All of it.


I just want You.


Just You, Lord.


Please, forgive me....I've sinned against You so deeply, Lord.


Please, please forgive me and make me new."

That was the turning point of my life, sweet friends. 10 years ago today...just about at this very hour, I became a new creation in Christ Jesus. My sins were wiped away, behold all things in me were made new.

Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Father God!

Thank You!


Praise You!


Thank You!



There's so much more to the story...but I want to tell you that the greatest gifts God has given me are His Son, His Spirit, and His Word.

About 2-3 months after I was saved, I took my first Precept Bible study, it was a study on the book of John called,


"God Are You There? Do You Care? Do You Know About Me?".





I had no idea at the time that the book of John is the perfect starting point for new believers!



Learning to study the Bible for myself through inductive study, truly changed my life.



Thank you Jack and Kay, thank you for being faithful to God's call upon your lives. Thank you for taking this tool of inductive study and allowing Him to build Precept Ministries, so that so people all over the world could learn to discover God's truth for themselves.

I love you both so dearly. How does one say thank you enough for your sacrifices?


Thank you to each and every one of you at Precept who pour your lives out so that others may learn the Word.



Shane tells people that he spent the next 5 years watching me...observing the changes that God was making in my heart through the study of His Word.

And then on June 27th, 2004, Shane too made a commitment to live for Christ Jesus.



Caedmon was just a few days later, and Brennan was March 9th of this year.



As I look back on the past 10 years, I am amazed at all that the Lord has done in my life...in our lives.



God is so, so gracious.



My whole family knows and loves Him. What a gift that is!



He continues to mold us and shape us and grow us, and the more that I'm in His Word, the more I WANT to be in it. The more that my children learn the Word, the more they WANT to know it.



It's awesome!



I've gotten to the point in my study time now where I will just beg of Him,


"Lord...reveal Your mysteries to me. Take me deep, please Father. Teach me those points of truth that I haven't been ready for before now....I want to know You, Lord. I want to understand Your plans for mankind, so that I may be a faithful worker for Your Kingdom. I want to love like you love!"



Yes, today is a sweet, sweet day for me. Just to reflect on all that God has done in my life and upon how much He loves us...amazing.



Absolutely mind blowing that the Sovereign God of the Universe would care to redeem one such as I was.



May I live every breath in everlasting appreciation....



Now...for YOU...consider this a birthday party favor...if you'll leave a comment below, you can register to win a copy of


"God, Are You There? Do You Care? Do You Know About Me?".





Get this....Kay Arthur will personally sign it to you, or to whomever you choose!




So be sure to leave a comment!


I'll use a random number generator to determine the winner.


If you aren't registered with Blogger, you can still leave a comment. Just click the "anonymous" button, but make sure to include your email address so that I'll know how to reach you to get your mailing information.


Also, if you click the little envelope button just below this post, you can forward it to your friends so that they can have a chance to win the signed copy, too. :)


I'll close the comments on Saturday afternoon, so you'll have until then to register yours.


May this study change your life, like it has mine and so many others!


Blessings to you today, and Happy New Birthday to me! :)



Blue Letter Bible. "Romans 10 - New American Standard Bible." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 11 Jun 2009. < b="Rom&c=" t="NASB">



























17 comments:

chandy said...

Happy Birthday! And what an inspiring story! I'd love to hear more :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, happy birthday Jes. It is an awe inspiring story. Our God is so awesome. And what He has done in you and through you these last ten years...WOW. I love your obedience Jes and can't wait to see how God is going to continue to work in and through you...and Shane. I thank God for you, for bringing you into my life. LOVE you. Sally (PS...it wouldn't take my google account?)

chelsea said...

Thanks for sharing your faith story. It inspires hope.

Kim Green said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal and intimate story, Jes. I could tell a similar story of how God took a marriage in ruins and rebuilt it on His cornerstone. Now, looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way. I believe this is why God says to be grateful in all things. It's only when the threads in my life are completely unraveled that I know that the Lord will sew them up again with His perfect stitches. Love you, Jes! Kim

Susan said...

Jes, Thank you so much for sharing. I have a similar story as well. After ready your blog I started my first Precepts study, "How Do You Walk The Walk You Talk? After week one....
Eph 1:1-8, I was so crying like a baby with the realization, that I do not show even a fraction of the grace an love to my family and friends that God has or shows for me....I can not wait until the next lesson. Thank you so much Jes for your insight and inspiration.

SharonB said...

What a beautiful testimony Jes. I have so enjoyed getting to know you through your blog. I love your heart for God and desire to encourage His people.

Thank you for being so transparent. God is and will continue to use you.

Stephanie said...

Jes,
Thank you for your honestly, it truly humbles me with how transparent you are. I have so far to go.
Love you,
Stephanie

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday,Jes! Thank you sharing your story.

Caron
cvanslyke@hotmail.com

Nancy said...

What a beautiful, inspiring story. Thank you, Jes, for sharing it.
I too am so grateful that God takes broken pieces of a shattered life, and glues them back together into a thing of beauty. I cannot praise Him enough for His forgivness, and for His gracious love.

joleen mcbride said...

I love a 180 degree turn around story. They all should be 180 degrees! Glad you realized it when you did and that you've grown so much since then! :o)

Stephanie said...

Happy (new) Birthday! Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us! xoxo

Tiki said...

Happy Birthday Jes,

What an amazing and wonderful story.Thank you for sharing you never know how much that touches others that have gone through hard times in marriage. Love ya

Tiki

Tiki said...

hey jes,

happy birthday. you never know how much that will impact someone that has gone through a hard marriage and to not give up. love ya

Deb said...

Jes,

Happy 10th Birthday! in the Name of the Lord. Thanks for being honest and for blessing us with your story.

I praise God with you for what He has done in your life. I praise Him too, that He never gives up on us, and sooo thankful for His faithfulness and grace!

Love, Deb

marsma said...

Happy Birthday! What a conviction for me to get more into God's Word so I may desire to spend more time with Him!

Shala said...

Thanks for sharing your story Jesica...as someone in her first year of marriage I am VERY curious to hear more=) At the same time, I must admit I'm a bit jealous that you were able to break through that wall between religion and relationship...I still feel like it's a constant battle...like something just isn't going through. Any thoughts? =)

Anonymous said...

I rejoice with you my dear friend. Thank you for your transparency and honesty. I thank Him for calling you unto Himself and for allowing our paths to cross via this blog. I am so glad I have you in my life! You are a treasure! Shelly <><