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From Disgrace to GraceHonoring the Word of God
By MARY ROBINSON
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Mary Robinson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMy Personal Testimony
I would like to share my personal testimony and expose the experiences I had with adultery and fornication. I believe these two sins are some of the most corruptive, and they are destroying the covenant between God and humankind. I say it this way because most people don't consider these sins to be harmful. I didn't view them that way either. I made excuses to overlook the wrong I was doing because the majority of people in my life were living this way too!
When you live in the world and do as the world does, you fail to recognize your sinful nature. If you recognize it, you tend to push it to the back of your mind, accepting this behavior as normal, just as the world does. We have no peace of mind because we know what we are doing is wrong, but we continue to do it and fail to realize the truth!
When I was younger, I had several relationships with single men and married men. As I grew older, I continued this behavior. I knew that I was doing wrong, and I still chose to do what others were doing.
I found out later in my life that this was not acceptable in the kingdom of God. He does not condone such behavior; he prescribes marriage. My last affair was with a married man. I was also married at that time and had been separated from my husband for some years. My husband and I had no children or property together. I was only married on paper; I was living as if I were a single woman.
I had an affair with this man for ten years. We did not live together, for he was still living at home with his family. We saw each other every week when time allowed. I had fallen in love with this man, and we became very fond of each other. I was getting ready to retire from my job and relocate to Georgia, and he was going to come with me. We started making plans to be with each other after he left his wife. However, when the time came, he told me he couldn't leave. He said he had to take care of some things first and would join me later. Well, later never came. At that point I got frustrated and dropped the relationship.
It was after I moved to Georgia that I became saved. In addition to the frustration I felt with the man, I ended the relationship out of a choice to sin no more. Now, this wasn't easy to do because I loved this man; it was painful to let go. I asked for God's help to get through it, and he helped me. He picked me up and put me on solid ground, and he pulled me out of the pit I was in, as the psalmist describes. He took my burdens and made them his. He sustained me when I felt the desire to be with a man. I felt so free and relieved, and my spirit was at rest.
When I was unpacking some books, I ran across a book titled How to Find God. I couldn't remember at the time how I got the book, but later I remembered that my roommate Deborah had given it to me as a gift. I started reading it, and the knowledge from that book made me realize how God wanted me to live my life. It led me to Christ, and I haven't looked back since.
I've learned that once you become saved, your spirit focuses on righteousness and helps you change your mind-set to live a godly life. I truly want to obey God and live right. I see now what Jesus meant when he said in Matthew 11:28 that he comes to give us rest; it's as if a load drops off of you. You know that you are in his protection, and he's right there with you.
When I was planning my move, everything went smoothly and fell right into place, as if someone else was directing my path. I had recently purchased a new car, rewarding myself on my retirement from the Postal Service. I planned to stay in the same place until my car was paid off. Unexpectedly, I paid it off in two years. I guess it was through the grace of God that I paid it off so quickly.
I think God directed my steps to take me out of my situation so that I would focus on him. My plan was to join a church when I moved to Georgia, and reading that book helped me make up my mind. If I had stayed in Florida, I would probably still be in that relationship, deceived by this world and believing that I was living right.
Unfortunately, Georgia was not what I expected. I stayed only one year before I moved back to Florida. However, I'm not the same person who left. I am now a born-again Christian, a child of the Most High God! As in my life, God will sometimes direct your steps to get you out of your present situation to one that helps you focus on him. It worked for me! I've been changed, freed, and delivered!
My ex learned of my return, but we no longer have a romantic relationship; we're just friends. I love him like my neighbor, with no animosity and seeking no revenge toward him. I wish and pray that he gets his life together and finds God like I did, and I will do anything I can to help him.
God gave me a revelation of who I am and whose I am. He showed me my worth and taught me to be the head and not the tail or anything in between. He showed me how to keep my self-respect by letting me know I deserve better than I'd had in the past. He says I deserve a man who really loves me and only me. I'm telling my story to help other women who might be in the same situation I was in. Ladies, you need to know that you deserve your own man; accept nothing less.
Having affairs that involve adultery or fornication strips you of your dignity; this lowers your self-respect and damages your self-esteem.
Ladies, when you are in one of these types of affairs, the other party has total control, especially if he is married. You have to follow his schedule, and you can't be seen with him anywhere for fear of someone seeing you unless he's a married man who doesn't respect his wife. If he has a family to support, he can't help you financially. This is another way he controls the relationship, and you deserve better. You deserve to have a relationship with your own man, the way God created it to be, through marriage. So be patient and trust God to see you through. After all, God loves you unconditionally, and he will put a deserving man in your life.
When I was freed from adultery, I was released from the mental bondage I was living in. I was better able to focus on things that were really important, like getting closer to God and living righteously. This transformation opened my mind to accept the things God planned for my life and gave me the freedom to experience God's love.
There is no feeling like the one you experience when God frees you from bondage. It frees your mind, body, and soul! God showers you with his unconditional love and protects you from harm. He accepts you as his child, and you are bound for heaven. God should be first in your life, and the man you love should want to make you his wife.
Chapter TwoKnowing God
Knowing God doesn't mean saying all the right things; your faith has to impact the way you live.
Most people say they know God, but there's a difference between knowing God personally and knowing about God. I have no doubt that they know of God, but I am uncertain that they really know him. To really know God, you must have faith in him, making a choice to live in the light, obey his word, and do his will, disregarding what you feel, think, and desire.
In Ephesians 4:18, NLT, God says, "Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him." He goes on to say in 1 John 2:39, NLT, "If someone claims, 'I know God,' but doesn't obey God's commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth."
To know God, you have to have a personal relationship with him. It takes genuine humility to have faith in God; you can no longer depend on yourself. You have to trust in his ability and not your own! You must have a close relationship with God, like the one you have with your family. He should be in your everyday life. This relationship with God will develop as you grow and mature in the spirit of God after you get to know him and accept him into your heart. When you activate your belief to obey his word, your attitude toward him will change, and you'll use your intelligence to honor him.
God doesn't want to exist only in your mind; he wants to exist in your heart! When you open your heart to him, it shows that you want to obey and honor him. Having honor motivates faith, and faith is the key to pleasing God. Scripture says we must walk by faith and not by sight, but most of us live in fear of making the right choices. We see evidence of a higher power; however, since we can't put our hands on him, we question if he really exists. Ultimately, we're only going to know God through walking by faith.
The Holy Bible provides proof that God is real, and its words confirm our salvation. We have the opportunity to choose what we believe in. When we think we want the freedom to choose what we want in life rather than making the choice for God that brings freedom, we live in fear and lack faith in the promises that would give us eternal life.
Your faith has to impact the way you live; otherwise, it's meaningless and even offensive. It implies that you don't really have a relationship with God. Below is a saying taken from the book How to Find God.
There is an engraving on a cathedral wall in Germany that says:
You call me master, and obey me not
You call me light, and see me not
You call me the way, and walk me not
You call me life, and live me not
You call me fair, and love me not
You call me rich, and ask me not
You call me eternal, and seek me not
If I condemn you, blame me not
This engraving asks, do you really know God? The only way to truly know him is to read the Bible and focus on him. You have to put your priorities in order. They are so powerful that they drive your decisions, and your decisions decide your behavior; your behavior in turn dictates your emotions, which influence your mind. Christians can have a carnal mind-set; these people do what they want to do, living outside of God's will. They satisfy their own desires and live in darkness, disobeying God's word.
To live a blessed life, you have to be a born-again Christian, living righteously and obeying the word of God. There is no way around it! You may not feel ready to give your life to God, but keep in mind that you can't predict your time of passing. I hope you are ready when that time comes.
Just ask yourself this question: If Jesus returns right now, will you be ready? There is no specific time to be prepared; perhaps now is the time to change your life! You have to get to know God and start living your life according to his word so that you will be ready at all times. Knowing God is vitally important, and whether you know God determines your destiny when you leave this world!
Chapter ThreeGod's Will
God's will is for us to live in peace and joy, loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, representing the love he has for us all.
After I became a born-again Christian, I discovered the real purpose of God's will for me. When God created Adam and Eve, they became one. God planned for them to have eternal life and live happily ever after. But then Satan deceived Eve and brought downfall to man, which created dishonor to God and placed sin on mankind.
In today's world, we are living in a state of dishonor to the point of disobeying and disgracing the word of God by letting two of the most infectious sins destroy the human race. These sins are stopping the blessings people could be receiving. The Bible is one of the best-selling books ever, and it continues to remain at the top of the list. It can be found in almost every household across the nation, but for some reason, it's the least read book. Everyone might have a Bible, but everyone doesn't read it, even the people who proclaim to be Christians.
The Bible holds the key for people to have eternal life, but we still don't read it. It carries answers to every problem we might have in our lives. Within its pages are scriptures to set us free, but we still won't apply it to our lives. The Bible is like a bag of seed that you plant in your heart, sowing knowledge into your life to meet all your needs. We just have to do the step of planting the seed (the word of God) to bring forth a harvest because whatever we sow in our heart, our ears, and our mouth will grow in our minds!
God says that his people suffer because of a lack of knowledge, and he provides us with the Bible to teach us his word for deliverance, but we still won't read it. The saying goes, if we have the knowledge to know better, we will do better! God gives us knowledge through his word so that we can live happy and blessed lives. In contrast, Jesus says in scripture, "The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life" (John 10:10, NLT).
For those of you who don't read the Bible and don't know what its pages contain, God says you are living in total darkness but walking around believing that you are living right. However, the word of God is his wisdom, and you are living outside the will of God, blocking the blessings he has for your life. When you are not living in the word of God, you're living by the world's system, leaning on your own understanding and doing as you please.
Most people think they are wise, but wisdom means applying knowledge in the right way. Proverbs 4:7 KJV, says, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." That means not leaning on your own understanding but on the word of God. When you get wisdom, prosperity lies ahead. God can deliver you into the marvelous light and supply you with the wisdom to recognize the difference, breaking the habits you have that lead you to commit sin.
You have to change your mind-set to one of living righteously. Who you choose to believe in, God or Satan, determines your future. If you are not living in God's world, you are living in Satan's world. Everything good hates everything evil, and vice versa.
You have to make a choice; God says you can't serve two masters, for you will hate one and love the other. You can't have one foot in the world and the other in the kingdom.
When you live as the world does, you are leaning on your own understanding, refusing to obey the word of God. He says that when you disobey his word, your days will be short. You must have faith and trust in God to do what he says he will; he can deliver you out of any problems you are facing. I know this because he delivered me from adultery and fornication. I am forever grateful for his mercy and grace to save my soul! Thank you, Jesus! I give you all the glory and the praise. My life belongs to you!
You must have God in your life to accomplish anything. Faith is the only voice he hears and respects! God feels pain when we doubt him, and he feels pleasure when we believe him. Even with all the success and wealth some of you have, it's nothing without God in your life. We see proof of successful, wealthy people all the time who are not happy; it's because they are missing the number-one ingredient to their happiness, Jesus Christ! He embodies love, and he's the only one who can bring true love and happiness to your life.
In Deuteronomy 8:11, scripture says, "That is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today" (NLT). So don't be deceived, thinking you are responsible for your success. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, and no man comes to him, except through his son, Jesus Christ. If you are living an ungodly life and you don't know God, he says you are condemning yourself to destruction. To have victory in your life, it is necessary to obey God's commandments, do his will, think like he thinks, and say what he says!
Chapter FourGod's Instructions
Failing to take instruction from God gives Satan the power to take what God intended you to have.
God's instructions are very simple: to get his favor, we have to be obedient to his word and have the faith to follow his instructions so we can receive his promises.
I've noticed that in difficult times, people tend to depend on whomever they trust most, even turning to God when things aren't going well. However, when things are going right, they rely on their own abilities and leave God out of the equation. They forget he exists because they think they don't need his instructions or guidance anymore, and they trust in their own instincts. We have to learn to submit to God; submission is part of following his instructions. There are three common reasons we don't follow instructions:
We are afraid of not having control.
We are rebellious.
We are headstrong.
Excerpted from From Disgrace to Grace by MARY ROBINSON Copyright © 2013 by Mary Robinson. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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