Wednesday Testimony: How God Graciously Saved Kim Starling

Below is the testimony of a dear sister, and listener, who has been an encouragement to myself and many others in the Tulips & Honey Hub Facebook Group. Recently she shared her testimony with me, and agreed to allow me to share it here. I’m thankful for her boldness, as it is rarely easy to openly discuss our past selves. The old man is dead, and looking back on him we can often feel like we’re watching someone else’s life, but it can be edifying to share God’s grace in forgiving us for that old life. I hope that it will also be encouraging to those of us that have unsaved relatives we’ve prayed for, sometimes for years. I want to thank Kim for all she has done to bless me and others, and for sharing her testimony. At the end you’ll see a video of her baptism, let us rejoice in the saving work of Christ. In Him alone we find our only hope to be forgiven of our sins.

I was adopted as a baby but growing up was full of verbal and physical abuse. I didn’t feel safe at home or school, I was bullied everywhere I turned. Growing up I went to church but God wasn’t present in my home. I tried to please my family anyway I could gain their love and affection. I was involved in a campus ministry in high school called Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In 2000 at a high school retreat I walked down the aisle and first considered myself a Christian, even though I didn’t know what it meant to follow God except I did not want to go to hell. I began attending a charismatic church and followed and attended conferences of teachers such as Beth Moore, Benny Hinn, Paula White, and teachers at Brownsville Revival School of Ministry. I began to believe that because I was going to church, active in FCA, spoke in tongues, had various experiences within the charismatic church that was made me a Christian. By my senior year in high school, I was leading Bible studies and was captain of FCA. However, I still loved my sin and there was no difference in my life before I professed Christ, and after, except for the works I was hoping that would save me as I was being taught. In college, I continued my involvement in FCA. Around 2004 or 2005 I met a friend of mine at a college retreat. When I made a trip down to visit her we went to the college group with her church, Cornerstone Baptist Church in Oviedo. The pastor was going over the book Charismatic Chaos by John Macarthur and that was the first time I heard of what I had believed and the Brownsville school that I had visited was a false gospel. This shook my world, everything I believed, and caused me to become upset and silent.

In 2006 I swore in and joined the US Army as an MP. My friend would encourage me to find a biblically sound church in Tallahassee when one couldn’t be found I moved to Orlando in 2007. One day I thought I had understood the gospel and had repented of my sin. In June of 2007, I was baptized. Outwardly I tried to conform but there was no fruit of repentance in my life My friends would point out sin to me but I was prideful and apathetic, I would make excuses for the sin I was committing. About October of 2007, I moved back to Tallahassee due to a temporary duty assignment in Italy. After Italy, I returned to Tallahassee and entered into a relationship that was flirting with the line between sex and foreplay which ended about a month before I deployed. Shortly after I returned from Italy I received my orders to be deployed to Iraq. During my training for my deployment, I began talking to a woman on a Christian chat site which became a homosexual relationship. I also remained in touch with various people at Cornerstone, where I am attending now actually. Toward the end of the first month in Iraq, I was injured.

Once I was back stateside I would isolate from everything and everyone except for my family, my friends from Cornerstone, and the woman I was speaking with and seeing on Skype all the time. There were times my friends would ask about my status on Skype, my relationship with God, and going to church. I would tell them of my desire to isolate and she would ask me about the profession I had made and baptism. Due to her confronting me about my sin and being unwilling to repent I pushed her away. Because of how I thought it was unloving and not understanding why I wanted to isolate I would slander her to others. Every year until 2015 I would travel to Canada to visit my girlfriend. On one of my initial trips to see her we exchanged rings and said we were married even though she was already married with children who knew nothing of our sin. Due to trauma from war and childhood in April 2017, I got a service dog (which was at suggestions of other veterans that had gone through the war and had the same issues I did) and after that, I felt like I had to keep my promise to God and go back to church. I would go only when it was convenient and when I didn’t have to explain it to the woman I called a wife. That July I made my first trip back to Cornerstone in Oviedo for the woman’s conference with Ollie and still professed to be a Christian. By August I began being uncomfortable with the soft preaching or when I approached the pastor about being unsure of my salvation he prayed for me but did not mention anything about repentance or sin in my life but all was ok because we had prayed. I

n November 2017 I found a reformed church in Tallahassee called Grace Church of Tallahassee. During this time I began reaching out to my old friend who I pushed away again and she would graciously hear my questions and uncertainties I had about if I could come to Christ and repent. She would tell me today is the day of salvation, to read the book of John, and listen to Paster Marc at Cornerstone preach through the book of John. I would still make excuses for not going to church. Between January and March between hearing the sermons by Pastor Marc through John, reading Hard to Believe by John Macarthur, listening to the pastor at Grace Church of Tallahassee preach through Luke, and reading through John I think it was in March when my sin, depravity, understanding of the gospel and repentance for the first time I began being broken and downcast. I would come home from church before I would begin work there would be tears that would flow and I would get on my knees pleading with God to have mercy on me and grant me repentance. One day I prayed that I know the cost, I don’t care about the cost I want to follow Him. After that I told the woman I could no longer be in the relationship with her, I deleted all the photos of her and that I had with her. One day she asked me if I regretted the relationship and without hesitation I said I do regret it because of the offense it is to my Lord first and foremost and it was also sinning against her and her family. Now by God’s grace, I am living in Orlando again and attend Cornerstone and my life is completely different.

Friday MEGA List & Live Panel Discussion

Today, dear ones, we’re very excited to have the privilege of holding our first ever live panel discussion on Tulips & Honey! Joining us this afternoon to discuss church and evangelism during social distancing is Justin Peters, Susan Heck, Dawain Atkinson, Doreen Virtue, and Phil Johnson! We’re so honored to have each of these dear brothers and sisters-in-Christ joining us. If you follow us on Facebook, you’ll be able to watch live and ask questions there. If you prefer Youtube, you can head straight to the event by following the link below. Be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss any future events. Next Monday we’ll be dropping an episode interviewing our brothers-in-Christ from the RazaReforma Podcast, it was such a blessing to hear their testimony and see how God led them to where they are today. If you missed it, this past Tuesday The Aquila and Priscilla Hour released an episode about Pragmatism in the church and today The Chuck and Lo Show dropped an interview with Be A Berean’s Michael Coughlin. Don’t miss Emma’s newest episode tomorrow continuing in her series on glorifying God over on Always, Only.

Live Panel Discussion

For our MEGA List today we had some help from our wonderful Humblebee’s that sent us great recommendations. Starting with Jan who recommended this homemakers Facebook group here. Luke Schmeltzer, host of Steady Anchor Podcast, recommended the free Ligonier series which will be available all summer, as well as these resources here. He’s also just released a new episode titled “Christ and Corona” which I highly recommend. As I mentioned above, Michael Coughlin is joining Chuck and Lo today, but you can also find him on his blog, or hear him refuting atheists on his podcast here. Our honorary BrotherBee, Patrick Studabaker, from Cave To The Cross Apologetics has a great video editing and website design business, a talent he uses to not only bring us great content on his own podcast, but also to bless churches. If that is something you have a need of, or you just want to support our brother-in-Christ, check it out Manos Media LLC. If you’ve tuned in to the latest Aquila and Pricila Hour you heard Emily and Zack discussing a helpful article by Tim Challies, which she recommended and you can find here. I also want to slip in a shout out to her and Zack for creating a brand new website which you can find here! Doesn’t it look great? Well done y’all! Last recommendation was added by Becca herself! She found a devotional on the Youversion app created by one of our BrotherBee’s, Joel, who has been so very encouraging to us from the start! Fear in the Time of Coronavirus is available here. Thank you to all our listeners who sent us these helpful links, you’re all such a blessing to us! I hope you’re all able to tune in today at 1:30 CST for the live panel, please pray that all goes well with technology! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Tulips & Honey’s First Episode – Yoga Q&A

Consider this the second season of the podcast, dear ones, a relaunched name and all the fun that goes with it! In this episode, Becca and I answered some of the questions we received about the original episode on Yoga. We talked about acupuncture, reiki, chiropractors, and Pilates. Included in the mix is a whole lot of fun stuff, including…and I’m not even joking…goat yoga, Area 51, zombie apocalypse, and the DC vs. Marvel debate.

I hope you’ll enjoy this episode as much as my co-host and I enjoyed recording it! If you have any more questions please feel free to send them our way, and we’ll answer them on future episodes. If you have any hate mail send that too, and I’ll be sure to forward it to Becca. You can hear the podcast at my host site, YouTube, Google, iTunes, Spotify, and more. All the links are neatly tucked into this tree here. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Pray For Our Sister-In-Christ

I heard this morning that a dear sister in Christ who has blessed me through her Instagram has been diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer. She has a four-year-Old and a two-year-Old. While she, and her family, head to Texas for treatment please be in prayer for them and consider helping them financially. Her husband is having to take time away from work to care for her.

You can find her Instagram hereHere, and support her here. If you have an Instagram account and you can take a minute to let her know she’s got the body of Christ behind her in prayer.

Wednesday Testimony – Women of the Table

Below, dear friends, I’ve shared two testimonies from the Women of the Table podcast which you can listen to here. They also have a blog you can follow here. I have been blessed by their doctrinally sound, honest, and often humorous episodes. They were kind enough to type up their testimonies for this post.

Charles Spurgeon Quote
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My name is Michelle and I’m one of the co-hosts of Women of the Table. The story of how the Father drew me to Himself,  starts out as a child to a teenage mother, in a small town. Without a consistent father figure in my life, I naturally sought out the comfort and acceptance of my peers and boyfriends. My mother did her best, as a young mother, to attend church and instill moral values in me at an early age.

 I grew up going to youth group and Sunday services every so often and keeping up appearances of a moral young woman. I avoided the party scene and had smart, wholesome friends. By my understanding, I was to go to Heaven because of my multiple sinner’s prayers throughout my childhood. However, Heaven didn’t seem appealing, but merely an escape from a Hell of my own imagining. Heaven seemed to be a place where I couldn’t be my true self, and even as a robotic type of existence. I saw Hell as a place that wasn’t really that bad, just undesirable. 

Entering into my freshman year of college, I was wrapped up in a disintegrating relationship from my high school years and was just looking to exercise my new independence to gratify whatever desires I had. I finally could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without the pressure to keep up the appearance of my morality.

Glory be to God, about a week after moving into my dormitory, I met a sophomore who befriended me and happened to be in a campus ministry called Campus Outreach. She invited me out to coffee and shared the Gospel with me. She explained Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life, through Christ Jesus our Lord.” I realized I didn’t know what the Gospel was or that I was in need of a savior. I thought my morality, compared to others’ morality, would save me. My eyes were opened to the truth that I didn’t love Jesus or trust in what He did for me. Later that night, in   prayer to God, I realized my guilt before Him and my need of Jesus’ righteousness to restore me. I cried myself to sleep that night in prayer.

In the morning, I awoke anew. I had never felt so light and alive. God so changed my heart and desires that I ended my sinful relationship immediately and felt the need to share this Gospel to all of my friends and family. God radically changed my trajectory and my heart. He continues to sanctify me through His Word, Spirit, and Body of believers. In the years since, He has remained faithful in my unfaithfulness and has shown me His holiness, power, and love to greater and greater degrees. I pray that Women of the Table serves believers and unbelievers, alike, in the presentation of the Gospel that has the power to save and is the fuel of our faith.

Charles Spurgeon Quote
Charles-Spurgeon-Quote

I’m Betsy and I’m one of the co-hosts of Women of The Table. I lived for years thinking that I was going to heaven because I asked “Jesus in my heart”, volunteered at church and outwardly I acted like a good and moral person. Nothing horrible was happening in my life. I had a great husband who was on staff at our church as the middle school youth director who loved learning and reading the Bible and who was passionate about sharing the Gospel. That had to count for something in my favor, right? It made me look good to have such a good Godly husband. My kids were healthy, we had a decent home and even a minivan. I volunteered for nursery on Sunday mornings and attended just about everything that was happening at the church. I had no idea how desperately I needed to surrender my life to Jesus Christ and how lost I was.

One January morning I woke up before my kids did and began reading a book. I had decided as a New Year’s resolution that I was going to start reading more books and this particular one about was about marriage. Our marriage was fine but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to just start with that one since it was short. The book began with how our relationship with God was far more important than any other relationship we have on earth. It was more critical than my marriage and it was something that was everlasting. It then moved forward talking about the need to prioritize that relationship with our Creator above all things. That hit me like a ton of bricks and I realized I didn’t have a personal relationship with God. 

I realized the depravity of my sins for the very first time and the weight of that sin felt physically heavy in my body. I knew right then Jesus was not the Lord of my life, I didn’t search for him daily and my relationship with the Father was non-existent. I was willfully disobeying God in my heart and only cared about how I outwardly look. 

I was an enemy of God and yet he still loved me so much that he sent Jesus to die in my place! Everything just clicked in that moment. I cried out to God in repentance and asked him to be everything in my life. The weight of my sin was then lifted. My eyes were opened and I had been saved! I have a new life in Christ Jesus and I haven’t been the same since! Everyday God has been faithful to me even when I’ve been rebellious and unfaithful to Him. He sanctifies me daily through the Bible, the Holy Spirit and my brothers and sister in Christ. 

Our hope at Women of the Table is to always present the Gospel in everything we do and give God all the glory through it all.

I pray that these two testimonies encouraged you all, and blessed you as they did me. If you’d like to have your testimony shared on Witness Wednesdays let me know, either in the comment section or via email. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony – Becca “the Meme Master” Berean

Today, dear ones, I’d like to share with you the testimony of a sister in Christ I met through Instagram. I’ve previously referenced her on last Friday’s Mega List. She shared her testimony with me, and graciously agreed to co-host an episode regarding Word of Faith. She’s going to be joining me again, and Lord willing you’ll be hearing a lot from her in the future. Today I’m going to be summarizing her testimony for you, as we talked over Instagram messenger which doesn’t translate so well into WordPress.

Becca was raised in charismatic churches, eventually progressing to NAR types in her teens. She believed in the power of her words, and thoughts, and even that the New Age movement had taken their practices from Christianity. In our episode, dropping next week, she gets into dream interpretations and more. She met, and married, a man who was involved in worship. During that time, she fell ill, and was at times unable to drive or leave her home. In response to her pain, a church member told her that she was not seeing healing because she was not coming to church. It was clear to her, at that point, that this person was not giving her a word from God.

One day she stumbled upon Justin Peter’s Clouds Without Water seminar. Particularly, she landed on the Hurt of Healing. At the end, brother Peters gives a Gospel presentation. She had never heard the Gospel presented in that way, she was convicted of her sin, repented, and was saved by the grace of God. That was two years ago. Her and her husband had been attending Hillsong colleges, which are not accredited. They’ve had to start over, walking away from the life they lived within the WoF movement. Why gain the whole world, and lose your soul? Becca and her husband have made a tremendous profit, to leave the worldly, and gain eternity.

Paul-Washer-Quote

If you are reading this, and you love your sin, the secret sin, please know that the wages of sin is death. We will all stand before the thrice holy God of the universe, and answer for every thought and deed. If that does not cause you to tremble then you either do not understand God’s righteousness, or you do not understand your sinfulness. No man is righteous, none seeks after God, none does right, no not one. Every sin will be punished, either you will face that punishment for all eternity, or Jesus Christ Himself bore your sin and death. You see, my friends, we owe a debt we can not pay, so He paid a debt He didn’t owe. Jesus Christ, God the Son, entered His creation, lived a perfect sinless life, and died in the place of all those who repent and put their faith in Him. Work through your salvation with fear and trembling. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Becca-Berean-Meme

Sunday Hymns of the Past – All Creatures of our God and King

Today’s hymn reflects yet another aspect seemingly missing from the modern ‘Christian’ music of today, Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God Alone. Much of what we hear today is man centered, feelings based, and even unbiblical. This is not praising God, but rather praising man and his ability to vocalize. This beautiful hymn not only gives the glory and honor to the only one true King, it calls all creatures to do the same! I’m thankful to God that we have access to these hymns. Do you have a favorite hymn, dear ones? I’d love to hear what it is!

All creatures of our God and King,

lift up your voice and with us sing

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou burning sun with golden beam,

thou silver moon with softer gleam,

O praise Him, O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong,

ye clouds that sail in heav’n along,

O praise Him! Alleluia!

Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,

ye lights of ev’ning find a voice!

O praise Him, O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

And all ye men of tender heart,

forgiving others, take your part,

O sing ye! Alleluia!

Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,

praise God and on Him cast your care!

O praise Him, O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Let all things their Creator bless

and worship Him in humbleness,

O praise Him! Alleluia!

Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,

and praise the Spirit, Three in One:

O praise Him, O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!