How God Transformed Dennis' Life
Dennis came to the Pure Life Residential Program because his life was full of sin. But over his nine-month stay, God changed him completely. Listen as he shares how God transformed him from a man of anger and ingratitude to one full of praise, who lives to help meet the needs of others. (From Podcast Episode #453 - |Victory| 95% of Mercy is Prayer)
Dennis: In the Bible names have special meanings. My name has a special meaning. If you spell it backwards, it is spells “sinned.” A good description of my life before PLM could be summed up in the words, “Dennis sinned.” Just as Jesus wept over the physical death of His friend, Lazarus, Jesus wept over my choice of death instead of life. He wept for every person I hurt and He wept for every person who shed tears while praying for my salvation. I caused a lot of people to cry. My sexual sins were only a part of how I hurt others. I hurt people by making fun of them. I hurt people by acting morally superior to them. I hurt people by seeking glory for myself, rather than seeking to glorify God through my life. Yes, it was my sexual sin that brought me to PLM, but the deeper sins of rebellion, selfishness, and worshiping myself instead of God were His greatest concerns when I came to the PLM Residential Program.
God began to break me down when I came here. He began to show me what it meant to weep, as others had, over my sin. He used some painful revelations to reveal my true heart. One revelation I had was that when God said to acknowledge Him in all my ways, He wasn't just talking about running my future plans and decisions past Him. He was also talking about admitting to my sin and getting it out in the open so that He could deal with it.
A second revelation was given to me during the first campus-wide talk fast. I had a horrible day and desperately wanted someone to help me wallow in self-pity, but upon returning from work I saw that a talk fast had been posted. I had no one to listen to my terrible woes. After suffering for a couple of hours, a quiet voice spoke into my head and heart, “Now you know how your wife feels.” How many times had I come home, after talking to my coworkers all day, and my wife Naomi would want to talk to me. I would tell her that I was too tired and that I needed to relax and recover from my hard day at work. I was treating her as if raising three girls took no effort at all. God showed me my lack of mercy and Naomi's unending mercy.
While everyone in the church thought I was the gifted, spiritually mature Christian; it was my wife who was the faithful one. She was the one who displayed the true servant’s heart and always put the needs of others before her own. As I continued through the Residential Program, I came to realize that I didn't love people. I didn't know how to pray mercifully for them, and I didn't know how to persevere in prayer. Through my clashes with other students, God taught me that praying mercifully for others was more about changing my heart than changing theirs. At work, He showed me I didn't have to defend myself or make excuses for my mistakes. I only needed to take responsibility for my part and let Him defend me if I was being treated unfairly.
My name is no longer, “Dennis sinned,” in God’s eyes. He now sees me as, “Dennis surrendered.” He can finally allow His mercy to flow steadily into my life and out of my life to others. I no longer want glory for myself, but instead agree with the words of the hymn that says, “To God be the glory, great things He has done.” Thank you, Jesus. You are my first love.