Category Archives: Trophy of God’s Grace

Trophy of God’s Grace

Trophy of God’s Grace

I would like to share with you my testimony about how giving my life to Jesus Christ has transformed my life from one of drug addiction and alienation and emptiness to one of spiritual fulfillment, purpose and love for life. I have been coming to this church since October of last year. It has been the most life changing and spiritual times of my entire life. During that time I have met and become friends with so many people here in the body. During that time you have all injected so much life into me and I would like to say thank you for that.

What a lot of you probably do not know is that up until a year ago I was living a drastically different life from the one I am living now. I would like to share with you a little bit about how far God has brought me in less than a year, a deliverance that is nothing short of a miracle. About a year ago I was at one of the lowest points in my life. I found myself serving time in the Baltimore County Detention Center for various offenses that were all the result of a five year heroine addiction.

My addiction to heroine and other hard drugs had its beginnings when I started to smoke pot when I was 12 years old. I experimented with all kinds of drugs in high school. That experimentation escalated to cocaine and heroine in my later years of high school, when pot and drinking just weren’t enough to satisfy me. I started doing drugs to have fun and party but soon I began to do them to fill the emptiness I felt in my life

Through all this time I experienced a string of very serious car accidents that should have taken my life. One of those included being flown home from Senior Week to shock trauma. You would think that practically losing my life over and over would have woken me up but it did nothing to stop my drug use, if anything I just dove into drugs even more. My family kept saying that God must have a major plan for me, because those accidents should have taken my life.

I was very good at hiding my drug use but just after my eighteenth birthday my parents discovered I was using heroine. They sent me to a really exclusive rehab for a month but that didn’t work and I relapsed. I tried to hide my failure from my family but they discovered again that I could not kick my habit. From that time on, I was in and out of rehabs. But none of those rehabs could help me end my addiction to heroine. My family eventually had to cut me off because I was taking advantage of them and they could not trust me. This led me to living on the streets of Baltimore City for almost two years, where I had almost no contact with them.

One of the turning points of my life was on Christmas of 2000. My Uncle Marty, who is a Christian, asked me to go for a walk with him that night. On that walk he asked me if I wanted to receive Jesus Christ into my heart, and told me that this would transform my life. I said no thanks. When I look back now, I realize he planted a seed that eventually led me to my salvation and being here today with a brand new life.

March 30, 2001, I was arrested and sentenced to six months in jail. This was a turning point in my life even though I didn’t know it at the time. My family was obviously devastated by my life and where it was taking me. I know they felt totally helpless after so many attempts to help me. They had tried everything and nothing could help me. I felt just as frustrated but had no hope for my future. I did not want to live that life but my own will was not strong enough. Little did I know that all of these events in my life were all leading up to my family’s salvation and my salvation. God truly did have a plan, not only for me but for my whole family.

My father’s doctor, Dr. Larry Boas, knew of my struggle with beating my drug addiction. He mentioned to my father that his neighbor, Pastor Teddy Awad, had had success with healing drug addictions. My father was willing to try anything and so he arranged with the Detention Center, so that Teddy was able to meet with me and Dr. Larry Boas in private. I met Teddy in May – when they both came to visit me in jail. That is where Teddy, shared the gospel of Grace with me. It was there that I asked Jesus into my heart and was saved.

Up until that point I had never had hope for my future. I was basically living day to day, trying to survive. I knew that as much as I wanted to get better, none of my own efforts could turn my life around. It was not until I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ that I experienced hope for my life and for the first time things were falling into place for me. I clung to 2 Corinthians 5:17 for months until I finally started to love myself. I read this verse at least once a day.

Pastor Teddy was so faithful to visit me – bringing me a Bible and different booklets to read each week. During the time I was in jail, my dad, my sister Jen, and my stepmother Patty all accepted Christ, and began to visit me in jail and share with me their brand new life. They encouraged me and gave me hope for my future and told me how wonderful church was, what a wonderful new life they were all experiencing. God was showing me through all this that I truly could have a new life and that I did not have to see my self as an addict anymore. My life was new and fresh and the past was gone because of Jesus dying on the cross for me.

Teddy and his family and all the new people I met in church loved me and accepted me for who I am in Christ and did not judge me or make me feel like I was less of a person, because they did not judge me on my past. I learned immediately that I could have fun and become fulfilled and have a new life. I learned that Christ is the only one who could fill the emptiness of my soul, an emptiness that I had been trying to fill all those years with drugs and alcohol. The amazing thing is that God used my situation to give my whole family their salvation, and knit our whole family into the body of Christ. He has given us all brand new lives and hope for our life though getting to know Him. I also know God wants to use me to help others in my situation, because I have experienced that God only, can heal them like He healed me.

I would like to thank this church for having the vision and assurance to see that Christ could heal me. I would like to thank Pastor Teddy and his family who eventually made room for me at their home and continued to teach me Christ on a daily basis through Grace. My best friend through this all has been my father and he still is today. I would like to thank my mother, my stepmother Patty, and my sisters Jen and Beth for never giving up on me and for giving me support and encouragement. I would most of all like to thank God for a brand new life that is full of possibilities. Thank you for showing me that only by surrendering to Christ, can I truly experience life.

In Christ,

Clark

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Wounded Heart of Shame

Wounded Heart of Shame


Shame Synonyms:
humiliate reject neglect
ridicule disrespect abandon
dishonor slight demean
insult taunt put down
beat abuse punish
hurt loss of face soul-murder
worthless prejudice racism
numb dead cold
hell joyless suffering
poverty
Antonyms:
pride confidence dignity
self-esteem self-respect self-love
malama bood

Isa. 42:17,44:9-11- The 3 elements of shame: exposure, revelation and consequences involves the element of trust as well. Trust is giving up our soul to another with the hope we will not be harmfully used. This power we give to another is the power to determine whether or not we are acceptable and desirable which empowers another to determine whether I am acceptable or not.

This can be misconstrued and becomes idolatry which is placing our longings to another for which only God can provide, putting this longing in the hands of a creature rather than our Creator.

Shame or folly comes about when our false god fails to meet our needs and heal our wounds, then we begin to rely on our own strength rather than on God or anyone else. All of this represents illegitimate shame.

Legitimate shame is when we acknowledge God, God is the One who determines our acceptability. Thus, legitimate shame is facing our failure to trust in God. Trusting God means relying on Him to keep our body or our world intact and to maintain the intactness of our soul. Shame of the flesh tries to deflect sin through contempt and blame shifting as with Adam and Eve.

Contempt/Deflection:
The enemy is ultimately the evil one, and the path to Satan’s vision is rebellion or autonomy, or in other words, sin. Self-contempt and other-centered contempt is a mean by which we maintain a
semblance of control over our lives that protects one from dependence on God, and this keeps one from dealing with the problem of sin and God is the only One Who can deal with sin, the flaw of our fallen nature.

Functions of Contempt
Ps. 1:1-3 -To deal with this problem requires more than behavioral change. The issue here is sin, salvation and sanctification. Contempt serves us in 4 ways:it diminishes our shame, it deadens our longings, it makes us feel in control, and it distorts the real problem. Self-contempt is satan’s counterfeit for conviction of sin. All abuse is a violation of the sanctity and wholeness of the human soul.

Prerequisites for Growth:
To move toward loving God we begin to alter the process of self-centered stagnation and decay.

John 12:24-25 -Trusting in God involves the loss of our agenda, so that we die to our inclination to live a lie. We forfeit our rigid, self-protective, God dishonoring ways of relating in order to live life as it is meant to be lived. In order to love God’s way, we must both honor the dignity and expose the depravity of the person with whom we are in relationship.

Honesty
Heb. 2:10, 5:8-9 – Real life requires death. Death involves the experience of suffering. Suffering is required for growth. Christ’s sufferings was in bearing the disgrae and shame of the Cross. As we take up His cross, we can then really see what we are meant to be. The purpose of regaining memories is removal of denial, reclamation of the self, and a movement toward real change.

Ps. 139:23-24-Reclaiming the past is a lifelong endeavor.

Repentance:
Repentance is an about-face movement in the mind from denial, rebellion to truth, and surrender from death to life. Repentance is an internal shift in our perceived source of life, and it involves the response of humble hunger, bold movement, and wild celebration when faced with the reality of our fallen state and the grace of God. This leads us toward coming alive for the explicit purpose of having more to give to others for their well-being and to God for His glory.

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center
410-808-6483
theodoreawadjr@comcast.net