Potomac Conference

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“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you” (Matt. 7:12, NLT).

The golden rule. When I was younger, I interpreted this verse a bit differently than most. Whenever my sister was unkind to me, I would be mean to her in return. Then I would try to justify my behavior: “Treat others the way they treat you!”

The intended meaning of the golden rule, however, is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. How would you want to be treated if the roles were reversed? I know I’d prefer to be treated with love and respect.

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“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen” (Jer. 29:11–12, TLB).

Sometimes God amazes us with how He reveals His plans. In 1978, I was almost finished with my Elementary Education major at Walla Walla College (Wash.). It was time to think about where I wanted to teach. My parents had moved back to California and wanted me to be closer to them, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to move there. With graduation looming on the horizon, I needed to start seriously thinking about teaching positions.

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“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jer. 29:11, KJV).

In my early twenties, I began wondering about everything I had experienced in my life. I endured verbal abuse as a child. My heart was badly broken at age 16. I was kicked out of my home at 17. I experienced a fire that claimed all my belongings at 20. What was my life’s purpose?

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“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13, NKJV).

Victory is won by standing on the promises of God. As I neared the end of 2016, I never would have guessed it would mark the end of some 20 years of my pornography addiction. I was in absolute darkness with almost no hope left. But Jesus always pursued me, and He found me as I looked to heaven for help. In that moment, my chains broke, and I found a way of escape. God proved His faithfulness by giving me victory.

“But as for me, I will sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your faithfulness in the morning, for You have been my refuge and a place of refuge on the day of my distress” (Ps. 59:16, NASB).

This verse outlines the many problems, mountainous difficulties, troubling times and numerous enemies that were surrounding David on every side. David opened up his heart to the Lord, and his urgent prayer for help and deliverance poured forth unabated. This surrender of heart has also worked in my life.