What Has God Done for Me?

calvary

I have quite a few friends who have known me for several years. Many of those friends have commented that I’ve changed drastically. My answer is always the same. God changed me. Often, they follow with a second question: How?

Well, the answer is simple, but it’s not easy. Simply put, God put within me a new heart. He erased decades of pain and misery and put a heart filled with joy in me. How He did that is where it’s not easy.

You see, a lot of people look at God with a skewed viewpoint. He’s either some distant spirit in the heavens that’s detached and uninvolved in the affairs of man, or he’s a benign grandfather figure that grants wishes. There’s always some variance to these themes, but they seem to be the prevailing ideals of God. Neither are accurate, at all.

What I have found, in my own experience, is that God truly is love. It is His most dominant characteristic. He is a loving father that wants his children to be happy and healthy. Just as a loving father sometimes needs to step back and let his children make their own choices and learn from their mistakes, so it is with God.

There were a lot of years where I knew God. I first accepted Christ as my savior at age 9. But I didn’t really want a relationship with Him. I confessed Him with my lips, but I didn’t live as though I was His child. I loved the world and lived for it. The results of that behavior is that I got caught up in the world and all its trappings. I never found fulfillment and I was always miserable.

Eventually, my self-will run riot led to all sorts of pain. I became addicted to substances. I ruined a marriage. I got in all sorts of trouble. I ran my business into the ground. And I suffered for many years, thanks to my own willfulness. I created my own misery by living for this world.

But God is not one to turn His back on His children. No, not at all. All the while I was caught up in all that misery, God continued to reach out to me and call me home. Sometimes it was through another person sharing their story. Sometimes it was by running across a piece of literature that just “happened” to be there. And sometimes, it was just a still, calm voice in my soul saying, “It will be alright, my son.” Somehow, some way, God kept chasing me.

Then came the bottom. There came a point in time when I had run so far, for so long that God had to let me experience the consequences of my actions to the fullest. It was then when I understood that hell is real, because I experienced a very real taste of it. Hell can be defined as the complete separation of God from man. It is when God says, “Ok, have it your way” and He allows us to pull away from Him.

Let me tell you, when you’ve gone your whole life feeling the presence of God in your life and that presence gets removed, there is no greater emptiness. There is no sadness in humanity that can compare to the sheer void of when God finally withdraws His spirit from you. But, while there is life, there is hope.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:13

That is the scripture that went through my head when I no longer felt God – when I was at my emptiest. When I finally pushed God away enough for Him to withdraw His spirit from me and let me experience the full consequences of my actions, He reached out one more time and placed those words on my heart.

So I did. I spent the next 5+ years seeking God with all my heart. I read hundreds of books. I read the Bible cover-to-cover a few times. I read Bible dictionaries, commentaries, expositions and any other piece of Christian literature I could get my hungry hands on. And it changed me. The man I am today only resembles the man I was 6 years ago in appearance. The way I think, the way I feel and the way I act are a stark contrast to the man I once was.

God doesn’t make hard terms with us. He simply asks that we seek Him and a relationship with Him. He wants us to know Him. He already knows us. I don’t think God wants us to go to the extreme I did. But I do think He wants us to spend time in His Word, the Bible, and to spend time with Him in prayer. If we do those two simple things, He will transform us in the best person we can be.

So, to answer the question I posed in the title of this note: What Has God Done for Me?

  • He has freed me from the bondage of self.
  • He has freed me from addiction.
  • He has provided for my physical needs.
  • He has given me peace and serenity.
  • He has given me my family back.
  • He has given me my friends back.
  • He has brought a host of wonderful new people into my life.
  • He has given me hope for a future worth living for.
  • He has given me more happiness than I thought I’d ever experience.
  • He has given me life when all I knew was death.
  • He has given me His presence in my heart and life, which is beyond amazing.
  • He has shown me that there are no limitations to what He can and will do for those who love Him.

What has God done for me? Everything.

Today, I am a very grateful and happy man. Not because of anything I’ve done, but because I have God in my heart and He continues to shower His love on me. All it takes is having a relationship with Him.

To all my family, friends, and acquaintances, I share this testimony with you in the hopes that you will come to understand God a little better. God is love. God wants you to be happy, healthy and fulfilled. But God will not force Himself on you. He will knock on the door, but you have to open it. I hope in sharing my personal story you will become willing to open the door.

God bless!

I, You, We, Our

Love

I use to wonder how it would all work out
I use to plan out how it could all go wrong

You have erased mountains of fear and doubt
You have filled my battered heart with a song

I always had to be in control of it all
I always wanted to have insurance from pain

You have given me the courage to just fall
You have faced my demons and left them slain

I never felt fully a part of another soul
I never trusted enough to just be free

You have stepped into me and made me whole
You have showed me it’s Ok to just be

We have turned our love over to the Lord
We have become one in all the right ways

Our love no amount of money could afford
Our love will endure until the end of days

You Set Me Free

You Set Me Free

You walked into my life
But you did not stay

The trail you blazed
Paved a narrow way

You opened my heart
You helped me to feel

Though it won’t be you
You’ve helped me heal

A good friend you are
And shall ever will be

You touched my soul
Then set me free

Dancing With Fire

Dancing With FireLittle fire burning so slow and steady

Never out of control, and not quite ready

The crackle of your flame brings peace

To abide in your warmth is all I seek

Wanting to feed the fuel to make you grow

But know it’s best to let you burn slow

Oh how I love to watch your flames dance

You bring me warmth with every twinkling glance

That I could touch your smoldering coals

To know the depth and heat of your soul

Knowing I must keep distant lest be burned

Though I find your heat my heart doth yearn

Dialog of Self-Doubt

We all do it. We all have that little conversation inside ourselves. Sometimes the conversation is so divided you feel like you have multiple personalities. Usually, I have three voices inside my head. I call them Me, Myself, and I.

Dialog of Self-Doubt

Here’s an example conversation of what the voices in my head would sound like:

Me: So, I met this girl.
Myself: Uh oh. Here we go.
I: That’s great!

Me: Yeah, she’s pretty cool.
Myself: Yeah, so was your ex. See what that got you?
I: I’m happy for you!

Me: I’m scared, though. It’s been so long.
Myself: Not long enough!
I: It’s about time you met someone!

Me: I don’t know. She’s not like anyone I’ve dated before.
Myself: What haven’t you dated?
I: Good! Your “type” doesn’t seem to be good for you.

Me: Thing is, everything is going smooth… too smooth.
Myself: Won’t work. It never goes smooth.
I: Somebody shut Myself up! Smooth is good!

Me: But what if I scare her off? I’m not like other guys. I have depth.
Myself: Oh, your deep ass will scare her off, for sure.
I: If she can’t handle your depth, someone else will.

Me: I just don’t want to scare her.
Myself: She better run now!
I: Just take it easy and go slow. That’s all you gotta do.

Me: I don’t know. I’m scared to open up and love again.
Myself: Damn right. Lot of good that’s gotten you!
I: Life is love. You can’t stay shut off and have a full life.

Me: She’s inspired me to write again.
Myself: Oh no. More mindless drivel.
I: Great! That means she’s sparked your passion.

Me: I wrote this about her:

With her silent confidence, she whispered to my tired heart, “Be calm, I’m here now.”

Myself: God, you’re such a corny dork.
I: Listen to your heart man!

Me: But what if she hurts me like the others?
Myself: She will. They always do.
I: If you don’t try, you’ll never know if she’s right for you.

Me: Yeah, that’s a good point. Better to try and fail, than never to try.
Myself: To hell with that! Run while you still can!
I: I’m going to smack Myself! Life is about risks. No risk, no reward.

Me: Thing is, I already feel pretty deeply for her.
Myself: And you wonder why you fall on your face?
I: Better to fall on your face moving forward than on your ass backing up!

Me: I guess it will all work out in time.
Myself: Yeah, you’ll probably get crushed again.
I: Just remember: Things I Must Earn. Go slow, earn her heart, and it will be fine.

These internal voices are good. They help us to work things out. I’ve learned to not silence these internal dialogs. They are important in helping me understand what I’m thinking and the risks and rewards. Sometimes I find it quite helpful to write out these internal dialogs. It’s one thing to play the tape through in your head, but there’s something about putting it down on paper – seeing it in black and white – that helps you see the flaws your thinking.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to bounce what’s in your head off of someone who is trusted and wise. No person knows everything, and we are often our own worst counsel.