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Saviour, Sobbing & Sharing my Testimony ~ Amazing Grace

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I was asked by our Minister Nik if i would share my Testimony in yesterdays parade service. The theme was ‘Faith through Adversity’, Nik said “i can ask you some straight forward questions, it will only take about 5 minutes(or so we thought)” “Yeah, ok, if you think it will help?”.

Sunday 8th May 2016…

Walking into the church building Sunday morning, it was quite full, as it was parade service, the scouts and other uniformed groups were there, but Nik found us seats at the front, then showed me up the steps and where i’d stand to speak, after testing the microphone i remembered the steps and sat back down. 

As i’m blind, i can’t use any notes, so i spent a little time trying to etch some answer headings into my mind, hoping i’d not veer too far off track. I then prayed that i’d use this time to Glorify Him, as i talked about the Truth that sets us free, and how i’m not ashamed of the Gospel, it’s the power of God unto Salvation to all who believe…please make it real(be careful praying this).

It;s time…

Steve, we are looking at people who have showed faith in difficult circumstances and I have asked you to share some of your story with us.

Many people here, even those who have seen you around at various church events may not know that you are blind.

My Testimony…

Nik stood next to me at the microphone and started with the first 2 questions:

Have you always been blind? How and when did you loose your sight?

I explained i’d been fully sighted until i was 24, and after 2 brain haemorrhages(March 2000) that burst my optic nerve, i’m now registered blind and have Severe Hypertensive Retinopathy.

“How did that change your life?”

I said “I can only scratch the surface this morning, but if ever you see me walking around here or in town, please ask me anything. But now i’ll try and sketch you a quick picture and give you a flavour of what happened…”

“I went to the gym 6-7 days a week, played football most evenings and was quite violent, acting the tough guy.  I wasn’t a Christian, i hadn’t been born again, or even been inside a church building…so… as i stepped out of the eye consultants office after being told i’d be blind for the rest of my life, i collapsed on the floor crying out….and this was the easy bit”.

“Following this was pure isolation… all my football mates left me, i lost my job, my car…everything, i was completely broken, and on top of that i was left to my acusing thoughts “Nobody wants you, you’re useless now, unwanted, rejected, unloved and unlovable!!”

Suddenly…

It was about this time where my mouth was silenced, an image of Jesus in Glory(Revelation 1) filled my mind, it was so clear(not blurred by my blindness) I could see His flaming eyes of judgment…then…the image changed, it was Jesus on the cross, now His eyes were filled with Mercy, Compassion & Grace, and while looking down straight at me he said “I did this for you, so that you can live. I…LOVE…YOU!!!

I started sobbing uncontrollably…i’d never sobbed like this in my entire life, and it took a couple of minutes for me to try and start talking again….but more sobbing…i was completely undone.

I knew He’d given His life so i could live. He’d come down so far to save me it is immeasurable. His blood washed me clean, white as snow. He’s forgiven me all my sins, past, present and future, and there is no more condemnation for me(or you), it is finished!

I’d been  praying for so long for God to “Break my heart for what broke His” and sang the songs many times, but never had i caught a glimpse of the true cost of His Love, and His free gift of Grace to those who Repent and Believe in Him. I knew He wanted me to share the True Gospel to people listening(and now reading), as it alone is the only Hope. It is the Power of God unto Salvation for anyone that believes.

Still sobbing, i continued…

My every word was a different pitch but i said “My pit was so dark, my accusing thoughts were too heavy, and this led to a daily cycle of waking up and trying to kill myself…failing, which made me feel worse…then drinking so much i could drown them out for the rest of the day, until i woke the next day, then it started again. 

I didn’t have the strength to kill myself, and i didn’t have the strength to live…i was without God, and without Hope!

Nik, who’s hand was rested on my shoulder asked question 4 “I know you were deeply unhappy at the time, what changed that?”

The world followed it’s pattern and sent me to Counselling, then Psychotherapy & finally Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, they didn’t work, they all had no answer for me, they couldn’t reach far enough down to pull me out. I needed a Saviour, I needed the light of the Gospel! 

The Good News & Lovely Sarah

Meeting Sarah changed my life! I have no idea how she’s put up with me. She’s  been so patient and long suffering as i tried attacking her Faith and this Jesus! But she kept on loving me. Sarah always seemed to have a rock she was standing on no matter how bad things got for her, she always had this Blessed Hope that i didn’t,

Jesus worked through Sarah to shine the light of the Gospel, the Good News i was dying for.

Words failed me as i was trying to describe how much i love Sarah, so when my mind filled with thoughts of how far we’ve grown together in love…i broke down again. 

I then wanted to talk a little of what John Wesley describes as “Prevenient grace”, but the sobbing was still making me pause every few words, but mentioned Jesus doesn’t want to see anyone perish, but he pursues you, He loves you and wants to save you, and no matter how bad or hopeless you think you are, He’ll keep coming with His free gift of Salvation!

Nik asked Question 5 “some people would say that your life must be worse now, would you agree with them?”

I’d gone way over my time slot, and i was almost pulled away from the mic as i was so overwhelmed…BUT i knew these tears were not about me, or my losses. I had 1 focus and that was to share the Truth that sets us free. I had no feeling of sorrow or pain. I knew it must have seemed like this to the congregation, and i thought they’d stick me in a counselling room when i’d finished!

The Holy Spirit was filling me like never before, and made the Power of the Gospel so real to me i almost exploded.

I continued “I wouldn’t agree with anyone who thinks(or measures) life by how good our circumstances are. I’d lead them to 2 Corinthians 4 & 5 where it talks about living by Faith, not by Sight, and now that we are born again in the Spirit, we should walk by the Spirit. Not living for things that are seen which are temporary(like my sight loss), but living for the unseen which is Eternal”

“I used to hate this song, but now i’d play it every service if i could…have you heard Amazing Grace, the Chris Tomlin version? If you pass me in the street you’ll normally hear me singing or humming these words:”

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see. My chains are gone I’ve been set free. My God, my Saviour has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns. Unending love, amazing grace”.

Nik then walked me back to my seat next to Sarah. The church was completely silent, it had been silent since i first started sobbing. I could feel Sarah was upset as she didn’t react for a while, then she said “People kept on running up and passing me tissues”. Nik sat down next to Sarah, and Sarah said “You’re not borrowing him again to speak”. 

After the service people came over and said they really connected with the things i said, although i think everyone thinks i’m back in dark depression again.

He showed me the reality and Power of transformation in His Gospel, and how vital it is to share it, as Jesus is the  Way, the Truth and the Life and no-one gets to  the Father but by Him. He’s the forgiver of Sins, breaker of chains, and the only Salvation for Eternal Life in Heaven.

John 3:14-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[a] have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

I felt i needed to share this post to try and explain a little more of what was happening to me, and maybe reach out to someone who is struggling with the creeping death called Depression,or who is just simply lost and without Hope.

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Captivity of Negativity

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My Thoughts 💭

After watching this amazing testimony of God’s Love & Grace i couldn’t stop thinking about the lyrics below from the powerful ‘Constance’ song. 

📓 Lyrics from “Constance” by Mr. J. Medeiros 

The sound of rain is her backdrop laying there
Like she’s waiting for somebody to say they care
While the tears of God fall down the window pane
She feels unholy like the Father doesn’t know her name
Marry Magdalene and the woman at the well
He knows everything that happens
And in His arms she fell

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Shelly Sorem came to know and love the Lord in 1999 and He has been the guiding force in her life ever since. From the time she accepted Jesus Christ into her life, everything seem to change. God changed what was important to her and how she lived her life. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and spent three years teaching second grade. She also has a Masters degree in counseling psychology and was a counselor at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in the pediatric and adolescent clinic for three years. It was during this time that the Lord called her into ministry.

via Meet Shelly.

Amazing story! 😀

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At One7, our goal is to raise up a generation of Jeremiah’s who will go out into the world and share the Gospel of Christ. The beauty of grace is that God can use an imperfect vessel to illustrate His ultimate perfection. The youth of One7 would be the first to tell you that they are not perfect. They make mistakes. They struggle. They fall. The good news is that they get back up and keep moving forward because, when they are weak, God is powerful.

SoliMeet Soli. She is from Ethiopia and started attending the One7 Academy this year. She is one of five children living here in the US. Like most refugee families, they escaped their country hoping to make a better life here in America. While on many levels, they do indeed have it much better than in the past, but they still face hunger, pain, and rejection.

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My Testimony by Steve Rebus

Me  Sarah playing in Church

 My Testimony

by Steve Rebus

 

Broken


Psalm 116:3

The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.

Another day,


another attempt! ….Oct – Nov 2000 – Derby, England, UK


I kneel down in the centre of my living room. Tears stain the blade I hold to my chest. “Come on Steve, don’t fail again!  All you need to do is throw yourself forwards and thats it!”

 

I’d been doing this every morning for the last couple of months and still I waited, willing myself to do it. Then nudge…nudge.. my three month old Boxer dog “Bruce” pushed against my leg with his nose. His whimpering cries pierced my very soul. “He relied on me for everything and I had no idea I would be relying on a furry angel to help me through this dark period in my life.”


After three months of failed attempts I felt more useless than ever …. I couldn’t even manage the task of killing myself. I realised I  didn’t even have the strength to do this properly. I just didn’t know how I could get lower than this!!! –  I’d been registered blind at 25, after loosing my sight quite suddenly. in the same month my mum finally died after a 12 year debilitating and demoralizing struggle with progressive MS. Missing her added misery to my own struggle to come to terms with the isolation and insecurities of managing life with sight loss – I’d lost my job, my custom car, the ability to drive, my girlfriend, nearly all of my so called friends and now i have to struggle with countless problems and frustrations every day! 


My answer…. 


To throw myself into binge drinking, womanising, dark depression, and raw anger. I felt that this was what I had to look forwards to for the rest of my life.


Then I met Sarah…… July 2004 – Birmingham, UK


She wasn’t like the other girls I’d met. Sarah too had suffered sight loss and depression because of her uncontrollable type 1 diabetes but no matter how bad things got for her, she always had comfort in someone called “Jesus”. Oh no I thought not a Christian! She suffered all of my taunts, jibes and nasty comments but worst of all my coldness and my inability to show love. I made it a personal challenge to show her that everyone will let you down and no one can be trusted or faithful! I felt that if I could make her hurt as much as I did then she’d hate this Jesus and know that he wasn’t real!


Then HE came to visit ME….


Hope


Psalm 116:4

Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!”


I’d seen a guitarist called Eric Bibb on the music show ‘Later with Jooles Holland’ and called Sarah up to see if she had heard of him too. She hadn’t but as a lovely gift she booked tickets to go and see him in London. I’d only ever been to Metal concerts before so i didn’t know what to expect.


It was Eric Bibb’s “Friends” tour and when Eric started the song “Needed Time” and sang the words:


“I’m down on my bended knees, I’m on my knees, praying want you come back, come back here?

Even if you don’t stay long, oh my Jesus, If you don’t stay long, I’m praying, Come back here.

Singing Right now is the needed time, I know you feel the needed time right now. Bless us!”


This was the moment when I asked Jesus to save me saying “I can’t fight any more. i’ve not got the strength to kill myself and i havn’t got the will to live, so please help me!”


From that moment something happened inside me and I felt an outpouring of my entire being.  My heart seemed to momentarily clear itself of all the darkness, hatred and anger that I’d filled it with replacing this with pure love. I couldn’t stop my river of tears for the rest of the show.


February 2013 – Now and into the future – Surrey, UK


Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.


My eyes are filling with tears as I write this section. I just can’t believe I’m sat here typing this. If it was up to me than I’d be dead. I’d have missed God’s amazing grace and a living relationship with Jesus along with the countless blessings I simply didn’t know existed! He’s transformed me in so many ways and I’m no longer held captive by drinking, swearing, anger, lack of compassion and self loathing, along with much much more.  I’m also getting a long way to overcoming my ever big struggle with over eating.

 

Two Souls Entwine…..

 

Our most blessed day! A photo of me and Sarah lovingly looking at each other at Bourne Hall.

 

I‘ve been married to Sarah for nearly six years now and I’m really struggling to put how I feel into words! My heart overflows with love for her. She has encouraged, inspired and loved me and is the sunshine that warms me along my journey. 


My love of music….


Me playing my Taylor Macasser Ebony

 

Since being registered blind I’ve learned to play the drums and guitar. This is amazing in itself but being able to play alongside Sarah every Sunday to assist myself and others in worship is just mind blowing. I play in two church buildings – drumming in the morning and playing guitar in the evening and I feel so blessed to be able to come before God and thank him with the gifts he’s given me. Gifts that give me great joy too!

 

Blind Photographer???


Me taking a photo with Sony

 

“You don’t need sight to see, you need vision“


“I strongly believe that Disability doesn’t have to mean inability or lack of creative talent!”


I used to enjoy photography when I was sighted, taking and developing photos in my Dad’s darkroom, When I lost most my sight 13 years ago I thought this would put a stop to my hobby but I have learned that my camera can act as my eyes allowing me to see what my own eyes will not.

 

I am proud of the fact that I have been able to produce photographs despite my visual impairment– and like to think that although I may have lost my useful sight I have not lost my vision and instinct for a good photograph. (see Blind Photographer)

 

My Hope


Jeremiah 29:11-13 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

 My hope is that my short testimony will help those who feel lost in despair and no longer want to choose life. I know that there really is HOPE and God has a plan for your life as he has for mine. He simply wants to love you and welcome you home. 


Luke 15:32

The Message (MSG)

This is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’”

 
If you have any questions please Contact Me
 
© Steve Rebus. Feel free to use photos, excerpts and links, Could you please just link back here and/or let me know, as I would be interested to see what creative work you have done! Thanks 😀
 

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