If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow the book for free as well. This would be a great way to preview the book and determine if you would like to recommend it in your own circle of influence. Just be sure to come back between October 14-16 and get your own free copy that you can keep.
If you have already read the paperback version of this book (which had a different cover), or if you would like to help me out by picking up a copy at Amazon now for just $0.99, I would deeply appreciate as many customer reviews as I can get. I'm sure you know, if you have ever shopped on Amazon, that a book with a good number of positive reviews is more likely to be purchased than a book with very few.
My post today is the introduction to the book. It gives a bit of the background of how From Captive to Conqueror came to be. Although bits and pieces of my story show up throughout the book, the introduction is my own story.
I hope you will read this post, share it, and encourage others in your church, your family, and your circle of friends, to visit Amazon.com and "buy" the book while it is free.
I hope that you and those with whom you share will be blessed.
It was April 29, 2002. I was in my home in the island country of Indonesia where I had lived for almost nine years. I settled myself on my bed and reached for my Bible, prepared to read the passages assigned for that day in a read-the-Bible-through-in-a-year program I had used for probably 9 or 10 years. I turned to the Old Testament passage, 2 Samuel 22, not really expecting to find much new in this historical book I had read many times before. Was I ever in for a surprise! I had absolutely no clue what God had in store in what has become to me one of the most precious and meaningful passages in God’s Word.
2 Samuel 22 hit me like a thunderbolt from heaven. It was not a thunderbolt of conviction, but rather an electrifying picture of the awesome power of God at work in the lives of His children. On the first reading, several parallels between my experience and David’s leaped off the page and planted themselves firmly in my heart.
God was not through using this passage to reveal Himself to me. No, He kept bringing me back to it again and again. In fact, no matter what other reading was assigned over the next two months, I always came back to 2 Samuel 22 in addition to the rest. Over and over again, God showed me something new and precious about what He had already done in my life, what He was still doing, and what He was going to do.What was it about this passage that struck me so forcefully? Why did these words never grip me before in the same way they did on that particular day? After all, I had used the same program for years, so I had no doubt encountered this chapter at least nine times before in 2 Samuel and another nine times in Psalm 18, the assigned reading for July 15th. The words were there. The truth had always been there, just waiting to be recognized. What made April 29, 2002, different from all the other April 29ths and July 15ths of the previous decade?
The difference was in my own heart. For nearly two months before I encountered this passage in such an earth-shaking way, God had been taking me through a crisis of the soul, digging up and rooting out some serious areas of struggle in my thought life and with certain compulsive behaviors that I had been unable to overcome for a very long time. I had tried to overcome them on my own. Again and again, I had failed miserably.
I did many of the things Christians are supposed to do, even sharing from God’s Word and leading Bible studies, but I knew things were still not right between God and me. Over and over, I asked God to use me in spite of myself, and incomprehensibly, in His grace, He often did. But I still knew I fell far short of what God wanted me to be. I knew that the things I was teaching and the way I was living did not match.
Then one day in early March, a young person who I had been discipling came to me and shared a particularly deep and difficult area of struggle. Suddenly, my prayer “to be used in spite of myself” was simply not enough. Of course, in actuality, that prayer never had been enough, but my young friend’s struggle brought me to the point where I realized just how insufficient it was. I became desperate. I HAD to be free myself.
Mid-March to mid-April was quite a stormy month for me, spiritually speaking, as God compelled me to bring many previously hidden things into the light of His grace – not just confessing them to Him (I had done that repeatedly over the years) – but also sharing my struggle with a few other believers (something I had steadfastly refused to do).
By the time this passage exploded into my life, God had already brought me to significant levels of freedom and victory, but there was still far to go. In the following months, God continued to use this portion of His Word to reveal facets of Himself to me that I had never realized at a heart level before—facets of Himself that continue to strengthen me for and encourage me in the fight.
The journey through the wonders of this precious passage has been an amazing one. I hope and pray that you will be blessed, even as I continue to be, with this incredible journey as we walk through it together.