Two months into the program at Through the Gate, I have learned so much about myself that the difference is staggering. My whole demeanor has changed from the way I dress and speak to others all the way down to being consciously aware of the sins that are in my every day life. I sin in areas that I wasn’t even aware were sins before I came to this program. My first finished book was titled; “Killing Sin Habits. Conquering Sin with Radical Faith” by Stuart Scott. This book alone has been monumental in helping to curb the escalation of temptation to sin into the action of the sin itself. It should be noted that I still sin…often, but the awareness of not only what is a sin, which I learned through reading the Word of God, and stopping the sin before it actually occurs, has been convicting.
We should all be radical about sin…after all, it is the very thing that kills us slowly from the inside out. Sin festers within us and boils over to affect those around us and I didn’t even become aware of this until I was about two weeks into the program. But once God opened my eyes in this area I was in for a ride…and let me tell you, it’s been an emotional roller coaster of attitude, tears, defiance, belligerence and finally acceptance. I’ve made many mistakes in this program already but the difference is that when they happen I repent for my sin, pray for forgiveness and I get back up and move forward. I try not to look back although that has been a difficult habit to break in my past. The consequences of my past sins haunt me every day but I know now that God forgives me and my relationship with my Father is like no other relationship I’ve ever had before. I talk to Him, even though a lot of it is complaining about unfairness, and however even in that I am beginning to tone down with time, but the point is I talk to Him. I share with Him, what He already knows and just saying it lets it go from my heart. I’ve learned that life isn’t fair, no one owes you a thing and not every one in this world loves you. But God does and with Him I now have an inner peace that surpasses all human understanding.
The past two months have been radical to say the least. I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime if I nurture and appreciate them as I should. I’m learning the attributes of God which are often misunderstood by both Christians and non-Christians alike. I counsel with my pastor once a week and sometimes I’m afraid I won’t have anything to discuss with him and then I’m blown away at the three hour sessions that follow and the peace I feel after pouring out my deepest fears and anxieties onto his shoulders. He is patient and kind but also stern and understanding. The thing I love the most about him is that he doesn’t condemn me for my sins. He doesn’t think I’m the most awful person in the world but he is quick to tell me the areas I need to improve upon and for that I love him dearly. The volunteers here at Through the Gate have invited me into their homes and trusted me with their children. They have taken me shopping and actually enjoyed buying me things with their hard earned money. I’ve received so many blessings from God that are not even related to earthly items such as patience, acceptance and the ability to be honest with others which is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. The friendships I’ve made here are amazing. I laugh and smile where before if you saw me with a smile it was either because I was sinning or it was fake. I don’t have to be fake here. I can be myself. The beautiful energetic funny girl that God intended me to be but with an inner peace and appreciation for all things. I thank God every day for the program here at Through the Gate and I’m quite sure that I would not be here without it. My prayer is for anyone reading this who might have doubts that you too can change, to let go and let God come into your heart. He heals the sick and broken and I am living proof. Thank you Jesus! Amen!
What does it really mean to "stand on the Word"? As a little girl I always pictured myself crawling up on a giant Bible and standing there watching the world pass by. I was far too high for anything bad to reach me. As a young adult I thought of this phrase as something a little more political, stand up for the proper teachings of Jesus Christ our Lord. All of that seemed so mechanical though and in the end it really meant nothing to me.
Here at Through the Gate we have a class that has blown away all of my dead and childish theories about what standing on the word really means. The class is called Apologetics. We can define Apologetics as a defense of the Christian faith. I never realized that I didn't really know the gospel. All I knew was that Jesus was the Son of God and that He died on the cross to save me. BUT WHY??? FOR WHAT??? HOW DID THIS COME TO BE??? WHY DO I NEED TO BE SAVED??? AREN"T ALL CHRISTIANS HYPOCRITS??? THE BIBLE IS JUST AN OLD BOOK ISN"T IT???? WHAT ABOUT OTHER RELIGIONS???The questions that were deep inside of me that never surfaced all came up when I began to learn why are there Christians at all.
When you listen to the historical accounts, biblical and secular, of the first humans, of other religious beliefs, of supposed contradictions in the Bible, of prophecies fulfilled, of the life of a Man who claimed to be God and did nothing but good on earth and was hated by His own people and then died on a cross so that some may have life, and then the amazing story of the early church, Apostles spreading the gospel throughout the world (12 men), and how the Bible was truly put together not as just some random acts but with a ton of requirements and specifications. I could go on and on and on about just how incredibly deep and amazing the study of Apologetics is. You won't be able to look at the Word the same again. You won't be able to deny the overwhelming truth.
Standing on the Word. I wish everyone could know what this really means. It is a firm foundation, it is knowing why you believe, it is being ready to answer questions, it is assurance in God, it is comfort to a weary soul, it is joy when life circumstances are bleak, it is EVERYTHING. Why is this even important you may ask.....because what we believe matters!! What we believe affects the way we live! I have spent the majority of my life wandering aimlessly into every sin known to man and my life seemed to be hopeless and without meaning. I didn't know God, I didn't even care to, That is not my life anymore.
I wake up everyday at Through the Gate, I could sulk in my circumstance. I sometimes do, life is not a rose garden, but it isn't a hopeless pit. I don't stand on drugs anymore, I don't stand on men, on vanity, or whatever the sin may be. I stand on the Word and it sustains me!