RSS

Tag Archives: testimony

Where is Your God when it Hurts? (Partial Testimony)

“With everything that’s happened to you in your life, I have to ask, have you not ever wondered that if your God is so good where was He when all these things happened?”

A man asked me this a few weeks ago after I shared a small portion of my testimony and as a spur of the moment response I did my best to explain to him the whole “we live in a fallen world where God has given us free will” answer. This response is true, but I don’t feel it is a complete answer for me.

You see, lately I have been working through some grief from a loss in my life and last week my pastor and his wife encouraged me to study the 30th through the 60th Psalm. Something I’ve read many times before but that really stood out to me this time was verse 42:3: “My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?” King David himself had people ask him this very question and I don’t see him giving a theological explanation regarding it–he asks God for help with his sorrow, he remembers the good that God had done him, and offers praise to Him.

So to answer this question, I’ll tell you where God was when all these things happened:

-When my grandmother (who was raised in the church) decided she would no longer live in the Apostolic faith–nor would she tell anyone in the family about it so that her progeny wouldn’t either–God orchestrated a meeting between an aunt from the other side of my family and an Apostolic preacher she would eventually marry. This man would lead my family to the truth. As a result I would be born into the church and raised knowing God my entire life.

-When my parents (by birth) backslid, God allowed bad financial circumstances that would force us to move from our home in Las Vegas to a small town in Idaho where we would get back into church. Here I would meet the man whom I remember as my first pastor–a man who would years later have a very profound impact on my life.

-When I faced abuse as a child, I had a pastor and church family that showed me not only God’s love, but was the embodiment of that love. Despite trying, they could not help the situation; however, in every way possible they showed me how Jesus would never leave me and gave me a Bible that would be a stronghold for me in years to come. I also had a radio that I would listen to every moment possible, where at any time I could hear praises sung to God and know that there was a God in Heaven who loved me and Who was looking out for me.

-When I was made to do forced labor as a child, there were always people who would offer small gestures of kindness: one woman invited me into her home for tea and cookies, others would buy me drinks or food. Many paid for trinkets they never needed but gave anyway to help a girl in desperate need.

-When my family backslid again, we became homeless and had to move across the country to live with relatives–where we ended up in a town with yet another amazing Apostolic church. I would once again meet people who would deeply affect my life. One of those people was a woman named Sis. Susan–this woman would be the one who prayed with me til I received the Holy Ghost, who would become a mentor to me and an example of Christ who I would remember for years to come. Her husband and father-in-law, who was my pastor, would also be the ones to baptize me in the name of Jesus. I received the gift of salvation here.

-When my parents divorced and backslid yet again, I had the Bible with me that was given to me by a former Sunday School teacher. This Bible would be a constant reminder to me through all of it that Jesus would never leave my side. When I had no support this book became my connection to the One who would never fail me.

-When I was eleven years old and told that everything I believed growing up was wrong, God was patient with me and helped me see over the years what truth really is. He also was faithful to keep me until I was old enough to get back into church on my own.

-When I was thirteen and in the hospital literally dying from blood loss, the doctor said, “There is no possible explanation for why she is alive. It is impossible.” But God in all His sovereignty met me in that hospital room that night where I prayed, “God, I can’t die unsaved. If You will heal me, I will get back into church as soon as I’m old enough to go on my own.” He healed me of my bleeding disorder and today I am a blood donor which has given me the opportunity to share my story of God’s miraculous healing in my life.

-When I was in middle school and had no father in the home, God put a father-figure in my life. He would encourage me (as well as many other young people) to do well in school, get a good education and job, and better yourself. He and his wife are still in my life today.

-When I was in high school and struggled with suicidal thoughts and considered giving up completely, I was moved into a home just down the street from an Apostolic church. This would be the church where I dedicated my life back to God and fulfilled my promise from years earlier to get back in as soon as I could. He healed me from these thoughts and gave me reason to live.

-When family members disowned me for living for God, a pastor and his wife took me in and called me their own. I would find family, my beginnings in ministry, and all of the opportunities and blessings I have in life today from this point.

-When I was going through other losses in life, God brought me the man I would marry. I also received the blessing of attending his church and having a second church family. From here I was able to sit under another amazing man and woman of God who showed so much love to me, and since their retirement am blessed to sit under yet another wonderful pastoral couple.

So to this man, who only heard a small portion of my testimony (an even smaller part than I summed up in this post), the statements I highlighted in bold letters were what he heard. What he focused on was the negative things that happened to me and he didn’t understand why I felt that God was so good to me throughout my life. I think Mr. Rogers (you know, from the neighborhood) had an experience that can help explain it:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

This man who asked me, “if God is so good where was He when all this stuff happened,” saw the “disaster”. He didn’t see the helpers. He didn’t focus on the people or situations God would send to get me through. He didn’t focus on how God was there–oh, He was there–helping me make it through every situation. Because it is true, we live in a fallen world where God has given us each the free will to do as we please. And that free will sometimes results in sin that hurts ourselves and others. But through that, God provides help.

So God wasn’t deserting me in the hard times. He wasn’t turning a blind eye. He didn’t forsake me. He didn’t fail me. He stuck by my side. He gave me hope. He put people in my life–whether they were pastors, Sunday School teachers, father-figures, church people, radio artists, strangers who had compassion on a child–He always had someone there to help.

So where is God when it hurts? Right there next to you, hurting with you and also helping you through it.

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” -John 14:18

“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” -Hebrews 13:5c

“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” -Psalm 27:10

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” -II Peter 3:9

“For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.” -Psalm 31:22

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rev. Lee Stoneking: United Nations Transcript (Raised from Dead Testimony)

Your Excellency, Mr. Sam Kutesa, President of the General Assembly; Your Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of United Nations; Your Excellency, Nassir Abdulaziz-Al-Nasser, High Representative for the Alliance of Civilization; Excellencies; Ladies and Gentlemen:

I want to thank the President of this General Assembly, the Secretary General of United Nations, and the High Representative for the Alliance of Civilization for your leadership and convening this high level thematic debate on a very important agenda item. Thank you.

You are looking at a miracle. By all medical expertise, I’m not supposed to be alive.

On November 12, 2003 I fell dead of a massive heart attack in the airport in Sydney, Australia. I was clinically dead forty-five minutes. They administered CPR, resuscitation, and they gave me ten electric shock treatments to my heart. In the United States, they give three shock treatments and they stop. In Australia, they give four shock treatments and they stop. They gave me ten electric shock treatments to my heart.The blood had coagulated already in my hands, in my arms, in my feet, in my legs. There was absolutely no hope for me at all. I was just a corpse.

They took my body and put it on a stretcher and carried it to an ambulance. And the paperwork had been finished and it was DOA: Dead on Arrival at the hospital. But in the ambulance, on the way to the hospital, when all that medical science knew to do, and with all that was at their disposal to administer, they did not work. But in the ambulance, just a corpse lying on that stretcher, Jesus stepped on board that ambulance and my heart began to beat and the breath came back. The driver was startled. The paramedic was startled. He told me later, he said, “I have never seen anyone recover from what has happened to you.”

This all happened November 12, 2003. After several weeks in Australia, I returned to United States, to my home, by myself because I was totally healed. In 2004, I went to a hospital in Jackson, Tennessee for just a major checkup and they gave me a complete blood lipid profile. Triglycerides, LDLs, HDLs, cholesterol, et cetera. In a couple of weeks I went back for the results and when I walked in the doctor looked at me and he said, “Your results are absolutely excellent.” He said, “But Reverend, we now can check the DNA in a person’s body. We decided to check your DNA.” He said, “When we checked your DNA,” he said, “when God raised you miraculously from the dead, He removed the APOE genote, genetic marker for heart disease, out of every cell in your body.” He said, “That is impossible. It’s impossible.” He said, “Only God could do such a thing.” He said, “When God healed you and raised you up, He totally, miraculously healed you.”

So I am grateful today to be alive because we know, having been clinically dead for forty-five minutes with no breath and no heartbeat, I asked the paramedic later, I said, “Nigel, what happened when you shocked my heart?” He said, “It would beat three or four times and it would stop.” We know that after six minutes or less, with no oxygen to the brain, there is irreparable brain damage. But God has totally raised me from the dead. Finally, a doctor looked at me and he said, “You have defied all the laws of medical science.” I looked at him and I said, “I didn’t, but I know the One who did. His name is Jesus.”

I am an Apostolic Christian and my message here to you today is this: in the New Testament, in the Book of Acts, chapter two and verse thirty-eight, it says, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

The answer, Your Excellencies, to the violence in our day and to the human atrocities in our day, is Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace. I give you Jesus. God bless you.

-Rev. Lee Stoneking addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City on April 22, 2015.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

When You’re Desperate to Find God (My Testimony Pt 1)

 

I made God a deal. “Okay, God,” I said, “I’m going to try this one more time. I am going to walk down to that church tonight but if you don’t change my life tonight I am going to come back home, drink that entire bottle of vodka and shoot myself in the head.”

 

It was December 14, 2004. I was a junior in high school and, to all of my teachers and many of my friends at school I was just your average teenager. I had straight A’s, a small group of close friends and a larger group of just-hang-out-at-school friends. I was in the process of choosing a college and I worked a part time job. My life was as average looking as you could imagine. But nobody knew of how I lived when I was at home.

I grew up with a physically, emotionally and spiritually abusive father until I was 11. My oldest brother committed suicide when I was 15. My mother was single and tried the best she could, but I had the freedoms to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. She felt that I had been too sheltered as a kid and wanted me to have the chance to live it up.

I started drinking at 11. By the age of 12 I was spending days in pool halls, at 13 going to nightclubs and by 15 going to bars with my older siblings and cousins. It wasn’t that I actually wanted to do these things–I did them because many people in my life said that drinking was fun and would make me happy. I rarely found it fun and never found happiness from it so I assumed each time that I just hadn’t drunk enough. If only I drank a little more maybe next time I would get happy.

I poured myself into being that star student, the one with straight A’s and involved in everything, but at night I was drinking whatever I could get my hands on (which varied–sometimes I would have full bottles left by my older siblings, sometimes nothing). By 14 I drank not really to get drunk but just to numb myself of the loneliness I had found myself in. I couldn’t figure out why I felt so alone. I had a lot of friends and was involved in a lot at school and I had what every teen wanted (or so I thought)–freedom. But there was more missing.

I knew that I missed church, the people in church, and I missed God. It was such an important part of my life as a kid–it was where I always felt safe and protected–but now I was away from it. I was taken away from it at 11 and never found a way to get back. So what did I do? I started sitting in my room alone at night, reading the Bible, watching tv preachers and listening to Christian music on the radio. All while I drank my vodka.

So back to December 14, 2004. I had had enough of living the way I did. I was getting burned out from school and more and more depressed as time went on. I had been emailing a church on and off for two years and decided that on this night I was going to go visit. They weren’t having a service this night but they were doing their regular Tuesday night prayer meeting. I figured it would be a great way to visit. I could walk in with few people noticing, pray by myself, and if I hated it never go back. If I loved it I’d go to the service the next night.

So I psyched myself up and walked to the church down the road from my house. When I got there, though, all of the lights were off and no one was there. I was so mad at myself. I couldn’t believe I didn’t get the day right. Apparently if I went through all this to get to the church and it wasn’t even open then God must not want me there. So I turned around and left. Hot tears felt down my face but quickly froze on that icy winter night. (Turns out the night was right–people were just late because of the snow on the roads)

The next day I had a meltdown at school and called my mother to come pick me up. I just told her I had a bad day and really needed to come home. She came and got me and dropped me off at the house. A few hours later she left for work and I was alone.

I got back on my computer and re-read that church’s website regarding their service times. I so badly wanted to go back–I was so sick of life as I had known it. I also re-read the emails they had sent me.

I made God a deal. “Okay, God,’ I said, “I’m going to try this one more time. I am going to walk down to that church tonight but if you don’t change my life tonight I am going to come back home, drink that entire bottle of vodka, and shoot myself in the head.”

I was so fed up with life and struggling so deeply with depression that if church didn’t work out this night–and I fully expected it not to–that i was going to kill myself. But I felt it only fair to give God one more chance (and deep down I really wanted Him to come through)–at least a chance to prove Himself. He got me through so much as a kid–why couldn’t He do it now?

I didn’t expect Him to do it, though.

I walked down to that church again. I put my door on the handle–felt like an eternity before I opened it. And when I stepped through that door I walked through to the next chapter of my life.

This night my life changed.

For the first time in more years than I could remember I walked home that night, not with tears but with a smile on my face. I sang all the way home… “Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider, His grace is sufficient for me…’

Sometimes people ask how can one service change me, It changed me because I realized that the emptiness inside of me was that I was missing what I grew up knowing–I was very lonely growing up but always had God to turn to. When I left church I felt like I lost Him.

The following Sunday, December 19, I was filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I wasn’t seeking the Holy Ghost. I merely walked up to the altar and started crying and telling God I needed Him to fix my life. One month later I was re-baptized in Jesus Name.

My life has never been the same since. God proved Himself faithful. When I wanted to die He stepped in and gave me reason to live. It was during that darkest moment of desperation that God stepped in, heard my prayer, and He saved me.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Prayer on the Pass

It was a cold day in early February when I traveled across the state of Washington from Spokane to the Seattle area. It was a Sunday afternoon fading into the evening as I approached the pass between Ellensberg and Seattle. The sun had gone down and I found myself, in a hurry to get to my destination, driving as quickly as possible through the winding roads toward Snoqualmie.

I knew from friends who had made the same trip the week prior that there were large herds of elk in the area and that made me a bit uneasy as I drove through the dark mountains, especially when the fog set in so thick I couldn’t see beyond two road dashes in front of my car.

As I got closer to my destination the roads because curvier and curvier and I came to a point where I almost went off the embankment from not being able to see the road in front of me.

“Oh God help me!” I shouted out loud.

“God I need your help,” I prayed, “I really need to be in Your house tonight and if I slow down I’m going to miss the service. It’s so foggy and dark out here I can’t see anything. Please God help me to see the road. Please don’t let anything be in front of my car that would cause me to wreck. I trust You, God. I know Your hand is on me and You’re not going to let me hit anything.”

After I prayed I calmed down, set my eyes steadily on the road, and continued driving. About ten minutes later, mind racing on a major life change going on at the time, I started to pray again.

“God, how much is this like You! Leave it to You to make me realize this! God this is my life now. I don’t understand it all. I don’t see what’s going on, what You’re doing. I can’t see in front of me, Lord. But God, just as I trust You that You aren’t going to let anything get in front of my car that’s going to cause a wreck, I trust You that though I can’t see the road in front of my life that You’re not going to let anything happen to me to let my life wreck. Help me to trust You with my life like I do with this road tonight.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The prayer of trust is a hard one to remember during life’s difficulties but sometimes we have to bring ourselves back to a time where we had a solid faith–where we knew God would protect us–and then do whatever it takes to bring ourselves back to that place of trust.

Has life thrown you a curveball? Are things so unclear you feel like you’re walking in the dark? Remember that old Sunday School song, “Take a step of faith, take a step of faith. When you can’t see your hand in front of your face take a step of faith. With no stars to guide your way, He’ll be beside you saying ‘Take a step of faith, take a step of faith’.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
The Land Called Beulah

Where God Turns Ashes into Beauty

Go Ye Kids

The Gospel. To Kids Everywhere.

Apostolic Voice

A blog that deals with biblical topics and Christian Living

GoYeKids

The Gospel. To Kids Everywhere.

The Girl Consumed by Jesus & Wanderlust

the sweet and simple life of Sam

The Celebration

Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

Pastor Don Haymon's Web Log

Messages, Musings, and Misc Communications

JREnsey Blog

The Best from Wordpress.com

KennethBow's Blog

Ain't Life a Journey!

Apostolic Acclaim Blog

Earnestly Contending For the Faith Once Delivered