Thursday, April 8, 2010

Overcoming Strongholds

I received an inspiring note from Jim Utter, a member of the Tomoka Christian family. After many years of battling alcoholism, Jim finally surrendered it to the Lord. Now, his struggle with this sin is over!

After 12 years of receiving God's personal gift of grace, not only am I a changed person, but now feel compelled to share my life-changing experience with others who may be struggling with the same bondage that I had become a slave to.

That bondage was alcohol. That's right... WAS alcohol, past tense. The struggle for mind control was won by God and has been removed from my thought patterns entirely!

For 15 years I battled the demon of alcoholism, through self will, through family intervention, through hospitalization, alcoholics anonymous, mockery, thoughts of suicide, and more significantly a complete surrender to its mind control.

One night I felt deeply compelled to go outside. It was the wee hours, cold and still. The side light was on. I cried out to God, "Please God remove this demon of mind control. I cannot do it alone. I need your help as only Your will can provide me."

I went down on my knees. All the weight of my body was gone. I put my cheek to the cold Earth. To my right was a single sea grape leaf. Next I held it up to the light and there I saw outlined was the "tree of life" represented by the veins in the leaf, shaped like a tree, with its trunk and branches.

All this happened in only a few seconds, yet it seemed timeless in scope and power. It was the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ filling me with a "new life," beginning at that very moment.

Pastor Joe, God's truth is AMAZING! My prayer was answered! I truly believe that it was that prayer of total surrender that removed my struggle and most importantly, my sin of alcoholism was forgiven.

You see, about one month ago you boldly stated that alcoholism was a "sin" and not a disease. I, for one, can honestly say with my whole heart that you are right: alcoholism is a sin. Mine was forgiven completely. Now I have my life with God as my co-pilot and Jesus as my navigator. We have an awesome GOD!