Blog #Embraced


03Jul

Emily's, dark past included many failed relationships, an abortion, addiction, welfare, and single motherhood. She became so hopeless, that she came up with a suicide plan. However, a chance meeting with a stranger, changed her life forever!

"Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven whereby we must be saved."  (Acts 4:12)

Emily Myers


This is the story of how God intervened in my broken life and turned my past into purpose.....


In 2012, I was a single mom on welfare, unemployed, and addicted to drugs and alcohol. I was hopeless and in despair with a suicide plan, when a chance meeting with a stranger changed my life forever. I met a woman who invited me to an addictions program called Reformers Unanimous at her local church. It was there, that I was faced with the most important decision of my life.


I grew up in a very religious home with a large family. My mom was loving and attentive, but unfortunately both of my parents came from abusive childhoods, and so that cycle continued. My dad drank alcohol every night, and was violent and unpredictable. His unfaithfulness toward my mom affected our family greatly. There was no moral compass or guidance for my siblings and me. My childhood (and eventually adulthood) was marked by fear and mistrust of everyone. I was taken out of the family home several times as a child, living in various institutions.


I spent adulthood trying to escape the pain of my childhood. Failed relationships, abortion, drugs, alcohol, regret, guilt, shame, 10 years of counseling, multiple 12 step groups, false religions, self-help books, and the list goes on. I needed an identity, but couldn’t find one. What was missing? Why did I feel so empty inside? These questions haunted me every day.


By 37, life had come undone. I couldn’t handle one more failure, and the only way out that I could see...was death. I made the decision, that I was going to kill my daughter and then myself. It was no coincidence that shortly after this, I saw a news story about a woman in Florida who had the same idea, however...her son died and she survived. For that reason, I delayed my actions for several weeks and that is when God intervened by putting the Christian woman in my path. She showed me a kindness and acceptance that I had never known. She didn’t judge me, and wasn’t afraid to jump into the mess I had made of my life. If that wasn't enough...she held my hand through the darkness. For the first time, I saw the love of Christ through another person! Curiosity got the best of me, and one night I attended the program. There was a preacher there named Mitch Zajac, who shared his incredible story of redemption. He was as hopeless as I was before he too, was faced with a decision to make. He explained why Jesus came to the earth over 2,000 years ago. He came to seek and to save the lost! I knew I was lost! And, I knew I was broken! He asked me this question with urgency:  "If I were to die in a car accident that night, would I go to Heaven?" I thought I would go to Heaven, but according to the Bible I was wrong. I realized I was a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. I had been wrong about many things, but I knew I couldn’t be wrong about that. My whole life hinged on whether I would accept Christ or reject Him! I chose to accept Christ's payment on the cross for my sins, and in that moment...a burden was lifted from me that words can’t describe. Shame and guilt vanished and although, I still had the same problems, I now faced them with a new hope.  


Within a year, God blessed me with my best friend, Andrew, and we have been married 5 years! Our marriage is happy and healthy because God is the best matchmaker! I have been completely clean and sober for 6 years as of 2018! Through Biblical counseling, the Reformers Unanimous program, weekly Bible class, and church services at Valley Forge Baptist Temple, in Collegeville, PA,...I have experienced complete victory over addiction! Most importantly, God gave me a clear conscience after forgiving my sins. The one who made me is the only one who could fix me. God was the missing piece!!



***Valley Forge Baptist Temple in Collegeville, PA***                                                                                     

***Valley Forge Baptist Temple (Biblical Counseling Center)***


***Mitch Zajac, had the opportunity to share his testimony on CBN's The 700 Club this past year. Today, Mitch is a traveling evangelist, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. Feel free to contact Mitch for prayer and questions about Jesus and salvation***        

                                                                     

Making a Living from Anger (Mitch's Story)       Mitch's Ministry Site      Talkin' Faith TV Show      

Reformers Unanimous








Read More  
03May

Through years of physical and emotional abuse, Surya Nycole, has allowed God to use all that she has gone through for His glory. Today, she has a recovery ministry helping others overcome their life trauma's. Surya is also a worship leader, speaker, and author. Please take some time to listen to Surya's videos. They will encourage you and those you love and care for.



(Mark 8:34-38)   "Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”


God uses us! Even in the midst of our sin, our pain, and especially in our sorrow. He uses ALL things for good, not only for those that are hurting, but also for those doing the hurting. Today, I am going to encourage you with one of my many testimonies of how God carried me through, healed me, and helped me grow in my relationship with Him!

It’s no secret that I am a single mother—I never married my son’s father however—my pregnancy was a medical miracle. In the past, I had many woman issues that left my ovaries scarred, and even experienced cancer scares that brought on several surgeries which took half of my cervix. My odds of pregnancy became 50/50—50% chance I would get pregnant, and 50% chance that I would get pregnant, but with extremely high odds of not carrying full-term or miscarrying. I left that appointment filled with sorrow—grieving my dreams of becoming a mother. I knew God, but as any immature Christian, I believed I didn’t deserve to be healed and/or blessed, and that I was the one in control. I began to gather paperwork to start the adoption process for a special needs child and MY plan was to mail it out on my 30th birthday. But even in the midst of my sin, God had a different plan!


Unmarried and in an unstable relationship, I became pregnant in December 2009. Needless to say—I had a high risk pregnancy. I was excited to become a mother, but I feared losing my baby, especially knowing that I did not become pregnant in a way that pleased God. The father of my child was in and out of my life, coming back with temporary positive gestures that sometimes lasted only a few hours. Often he would leave after horrible actions of cheating and verbal abuse. I was about 4 months pregnant, when I prayed about getting back together with my son’s father. God showed me two roads that I could chose to take—The first road would lead to a dark and heavy-hearted path with a terrifying forest—The second road would be breathtaking, beautifully bright, and like open and clean fresh air. While God showed me the 2 choices that I could take—I chose the dark path. I wanted my child to have a family—I’m sure you are thinking—Why didn’t you choose the sunny road!?!? But, I had already had years of false Biblical teaching at this point and in my mind, I was going to do whatever it took for us to be a family even though, his father was abusive, struggling with substance abuse, and would cheat—I thought I could fix it all!


At the time, I became pregnant, I was a worship leader. Yes, even those in ministry struggle with their flesh. I was in serious emotional pain and confusion, but I led worship every Sunday and I praised God! This is truly where I deeply learned how to praise Him during the storm, and let me tell you—I praised Him! I never missed a Sunday—I kept moving forward and put on a smile that I call “Gods smile”, because without Him, it would not exist!


About a month after I had my son, his father became physically violent on top of all the verbal abuse. He didn’t want to be home, sober or faithful. Every weekend, I obtained a new bruise to replace the one that faded from the time before. His face would literally change and I saw Satan in his eyes. In the midst of Satan trying to break me down, I got right back up. Literally, he would throw me across the room, and I would just stand right back up. I didn’t hit back, I just kept getting back up to face him. Maybe it was a mistake, because it angered him even more, and made the situation worse. But, I had been in abusive relationships in the past where others often blamed me for not standing up for myself. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I wasn’t going to just lay there anymore.


Well, yep—even 6 months later—I still wanted my family to work, but the abuse continued to get worse, and as it did— I did my best to hide what was truly going on in my life. It did help that he wasn’t home much though. Months after the birth of my son, I started going to therapy because he started making me believe that I was crazy and needed help. I sure did need help, but not the kind of help he expected. I didn’t admit to the physical abuse because I knew my therapist would have to report it, and—I was beginning to believe, that I provoked it, therefore—in some way, felt I deserved the way I was being treated. My therapist was a Christian woman, and she helped me see that I shouldn't blame myself because it wasn’t my fault. It took me about 2 more months to kick him out for good—not because of therapy, but because my son got hurt. Most of the time I got hit, my son was in his bedroom, or—I wasn’t holding him at the time when his father became violent. However, this time—he pushed me hard while, I was holding him and his 6th month old little head, flew into the door, leaving a bump that swelled. My thinking at this point was, “It’s one thing for me to be abused—I can take—but for my son to get hurt, it is not OK!” It was extremely difficult because no matter how much you don’t like being abused, you’re so messed up mentally you don’t know up from down. But, I kicked him out and got an order of protection. It has been almost 8 years since that day.  


Unfortunately, we still have to deal with him, but thankfully—it’s from a distance. He still continues to struggle with his flesh, and we continue to pray for him. He’s not very involved father which, is a blessing because he’s not healthy enough even to be a part-time father. I forgave his father years ago, while I was still healing, because it’s not about how I feel—that’s the key to growing spiritually. I want my son to know God is the reason for the path that we are on in life. With all my heart, I want him to know God the way I have come to know Him, so he doesn’t waste his life floating through the world encountering or causing pain because of his own pain or confusion.


God has taught me that forgiveness is not only for me, but also for my abusers. He showed me how they were at one-time victims too. I have learned such a depth of forgiveness with understanding that I never knew before. God has given me strength to realize why I got into abusive relationships. He has healed me, and now uses me to help others! All of the evil that I have encountered, and participated in—He now uses for the good of strengthening me spiritually and others! Today, I not only minister to my son, but also to those in recovery from all kinds of traumas. He uses me as a mind, body, and soul coach to all. He has given me the ability to relate in ways that many cannot. This trial was painful on many levels, but it brought me closer to God, has become part of my purpose, and is one of my favorite testimonies!








Read More  
15Apr

A story of hope and inspiration---Marcus Stanley, was touring with a major recording artist when they decided to stay at a hotel on the west side of Baltimore, Maryland for the evening. Marcus, left the hotel to get some food and a drink at the nearest gas station however---it was on this walk into the night that Marcus's life changed forever. Marcus's amazing videos of his testimony on YouTube and CBN's The 700 Club can be found after his written story--- as well as links where you can purchase his worship music.

Marcus Stanley (Minister, Pianist, and Speaker)

Marcus Stanley's Site


Your life is a gift. Everyone that is still alive has a testimony. The purpose of this message is simply to share hope. Hope that no matter what you are facing in life--you will survive.

I was in Baltimore, MD touring with a major recording artist when all of this happened. We were supposed to stay at the Hyatt Hotel downtown by the harbor, but all the rooms were taken because of a sporting event that was happening the same night. So, we had to stay in west Baltimore in a rough area of town. It really didn't make a difference to me because, I've been in hotels all across the country good and bad. When I check into a hotel, I kind of have a pattern of doing things no matter where I am. I drop off my luggage---I joke around with the band for a little bit and---I go to the nearest gas station to get some junk food (Gatorade, Waffle House, IHOP)---Whatever is open and then, I come back and relax. This day was no different. 

I walked outside and headed towards the gas station which was about three blocks away. As I walked through the second block, I could see six guys standing on the corner talking to each other looking in my direction. I really didn't even pay them any mind, I just kept walking towards the store. Just then, I realized that I left my wallet in my room and turned around to head back to the hotel to get it. My best friend Lydell, who was a drummer in my band at the time, told me to stop going places by myself. I told him that I was good---like I normally do and went back to the store. I went past the same group of guys and they were watching me again. I continued to the store and got my usual Gatorade, candy, junk food, and headed back to the hotel. I came past the same block, and the same guys, immediately came towards me. Strangely, the whole street was clear and no one was on it like I saw just a few minutes before. By the time, I figured out that they were a gang, the leader came towards me and said, "What you doing out here homie"? I just turned to him and said, "I'm chillin' bro" and kept on walking. They circled around me and asked, "What's up with that phone"? At this point, I knew it had nothing to do with the phone or nothing that I said or did, had anything to do with what he was asking me. I figured they were going to rob me, so I didn't even respond---I just told them it was off and put it back into my pocket. Really, it was off though---Sprint had cut me off for being over my account spending limit. 

He walked closer to me and...right to my face said, "Well, you got to roll out homie". At that point, he pulled out a .45 caliber gun from his jacket, and pointed it directly at me point-blank range. I didn't even have time to react. I heard the first shot---ONE---and saw a bright light from the gun that blinded me, and I fell immediately to the ground. Then, he stood over top of me and said, "Peace out homie"! He fired seven more shots into my body---TWO---THREE---FOUR---FIVE---SIX---SEVEN. Instantly, I saw an angel appeared in front of me. The angel looked transparent, and it was kneeling down with his arms crossed in front of me as if, every bullet was going through the angel. I knew it couldn't have been a figment of my imagination because, I had no time to even think about this. I had no time to think about anything other than the pain that I was feeling from every single bullet that was going in my body. When he finished shooting me, his other boys picked up the shell casings that had fallen to the ground around me and they laughed and joked with each other about how they just "smoked" me. Right then, I heard God speak to me..."Do not move"! It was really strange because, I wanted to yell---I wanted to scream---I wanted to breathe---I wanted to know if I was alive, but I couldn't do it. They were still looking at me, so I just laid there & didn't breathe. My eyes were still opened, but they were fixed---even though, I felt pain all across my body. For the first time in my life, I felt no pain from even not breathing which, was the strangest feeling I've ever felt. That's how I knew, God was right there with me. As I continued to hold my breathe waiting for them to leave, I felt the blood all around me. When they finally ran to the car, they drove off at full speed---it was then, that I was able to take my first breath. I remember softly yelling--"OH, GOD...GOD". I looked around me and saw the pool of blood and holes in my shirt. I tried to stand up, but couldn't. I couldn't feel my legs, so I dragged myself off of the street and onto the sidewalk---literally crawling. I tried to flag down cars to stop and help me, but nobody would stop. People slowed down and kept going. It was literally only me and GOD!

I had a moment where I had my life flash before my eyes. I thought about everyone that loved me---I thought about my own funeral---I thought about the things that I should've said to my family and the friends that I didn't tell---Just then, I remembered that I had my cell phone still with me. My hand was completely covered in blood, but I still managed to dial 911. When the operator came online, I told her that I had been shot and she asked me where I was. Thankfully, I was lying right next to a street sign, so I could give her an idea of where I was. She tried to keep me talking, but I really couldn't because I was losing my breath every minute that went past. Eventually, about five officers showed up. One walked toward me and asked me my name and how old I was. After that, they drew lines around me and put up police and crime scene tape setting up a perimeter. This is where my faith really had to step in though. Even though, all around me it looked like death--I had to SPEAK LIFE. I began praying for there was nothing I could do, but that. The ambulance got there about seven minutes later, and loaded me in. Immediately, they began cutting off my clothes and hooking me up to all kinds of machines. This was actually the first time that I saw the gun shot wounds. At that moment, tears started to flow from my eyes---my body just looked dead---like I shouldn't be alive, but I was. I heard the EMT say to her partner, "I don't think he's going to make it". It hurt me to hear those words, but I tried to hold onto life. By the time I got to the hospital, they rushed me down the hall into surgery. When I arrived in the room, it was the strangest scene that I've ever seen. The room was lined with nurses, doctors, police officers, and other hospital employees looking at me in disbelief---almost as if, all that they heard on the radio about my condition---they were stunned that I was still alive. The lead doctor whispered in my ear..."I'm about to give you some anesthesia to put you asleep for the surgery. Can you sign this paper for me"? Oddly enough, I was able to sign it---and did pretty good---I did so good, that the doctor joked and said, "For someone who's got shot all these times you sure do have a good signature". Right at that moment, I looked in front of me and saw people standing at the door, people surrounding all around me, and then I saw the same angel that I saw on the street---He was standing in front of me with his arms folded looking at me nodding his head as if to say---"Everything is going to be alright". Right then, I felt a peace upon me---I relaxed my breathing and fell asleep. When I opened my eyes, I saw tubes all around me, I heard beeping, and sound from all the machines. I saw bandages across my chest. I thought to myself---I'M ALIVE! The first thing that I thought was---HOW IN THE WORLD WAS I ALIVE? There was a nurse standing to my left and she looked at me right in the eye & said, "YOU MADE IT---YOU MADE IT MARCUS"! 

A doctor came in the room, and told me that I was lucky to be alive. I knew "luck" had nothing to do with it. He proceeded to tell me that he performed an eight hour surgery on me and removed half of my stomach, my whole spleen, half of my small intestine, reattached my colon, removed half of my pancreas---I just looked at him in disbelief, but I believed him. I found out later that my doctor FOUND GOD THROUGH MY SURGERY---HE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE THAT HE DID THE SURGERY BY HIMSELF. 

TODAY, I CAN WALK---I HAD TO LEARN THAT OVER AGAIN.

TODAY, I CAN PLAY THE PIANO---EVEN THOUGH, I LOST THE FEELING IN MY RIGHT HAND.

TODAY, I CAN WALK IN PEACE BECAUSE GOD GAVE ME PEACE DURING THE MOST CHAOTIC TIME IN MY LIFE. 

TODAY, I KNOW THAT GOD IS A HEALER! 


Psalms 30:2 "O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me".                                                                               

And, Mark 9:25 says, "Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”  

 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,"  (Revelation 12:11)


Do you believe? I know that I do! I encourage everyone that reads my testimony to DO GOD NOW--NOT LATER! A common misconception is that you need to clean yourself up before you come to God, but the truth is, you just have to come to God and He will change you.

God bless you all. God keep you and remember that GOD IS SOVEREIGN. GOD IS BIGGER THAN EVERY PROBLEM AND EVERY SITUATION! 

Purchase Marcus's CD's & Download Songs on:  Google Play    Amazon     itunes          

Marcus Stanley is on:  Facebook    Twitter     YouTube                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

This is Marcus's testimony that he did on YouTube.  Please share his testimonial videos on any social media site that you can--to bless others with this incredible "God-story"! 

Marcus's Testimony was shared on CBN's The 700 Club. 

This is one of many of Marcus's songs. He is a very gifted pianist!  












Read More  
22Feb

An inspirational story of a father remembering his son's suffering as he battles brain cancer.


“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

              **This testimony has been prayerfully written by Joseph Bono—(Jordan’s dad)** 

In the early-morning, my heart was broken. I was in a room alone with my son Jordan, watching him suffer the aftereffects of brain surgery. Just days earlier, he had been diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. During those terrible hours at the hospital, I sensed that God was teaching me an incredible lesson.


I’m Jordan’s dad, Joe, and I want to share with you how God changed my perspective about a suffering son. A few hours after Jordan’s surgery, I wrote down my thoughts, expressed my emotions and poured out my heartache about what my son was going through. Here is a summary of what God taught me.


The Suffering of My Son                                                                                                                          

As a father, I felt helpless. Jordan was in so much pain. Hearing him cry out and seeing him in such agony was heartbreaking. Jordan’s eyesight was temporarily darkened, and he was experiencing short-term paralysis on his right side. I thought he didn’t know I was there, until he called out “Daddy.” When Jordan felt my touch and heard my voice, he said—“I just want you here.” Later, I wrote: “The anguish that I have seen my son in tonight has broken my heart. I have no strength. It is not in me. I must rely upon God.” Psalm 46:1 says—“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” 


The Suffering of God’s Son

In the anguish of those hours spent at the hospital, God reminded me about how much suffering His Son, Jesus Christ, endured as He hung on the cross. That evening, I began to understand the pain that Jesus suffered, yet Jordan’s pain in no way compared to what Jesus went through. Even so, this one thing I knew:  the pain my son was suffering was necessary for his healing, and it was essential for his body to be restored to health. God’s Word, the Bible, explains that the pain of God’s Son was necessary for the healing and restoration of our souls. Isaiah 53:5 says—“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” 


Who was this Jesus and why did He have to suffer? The Bible clearly states that Jesus is God himself (see John 1:1-14). God willingly humbled himself to enter the world in human form and be born of a virgin. He came to earth to be the perfect and only sacrifice for the sins of the world. That means He came for you and for me personally. Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life, something no other human being has ever achieved. He was nailed to a cross to suffer a horrible death, but then he rose again on the third day. Why? He did this to provide forgiveness for the sins of the whole world. The Bible explains in Romans 3:23—“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…”. Just a few chapters later, in Romans 6:23, the Bible tells us that—“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Salvation through Jesus Christ is the greatest gift ever to be offered and the best gift you could ever receive.


A Place of Rest  

Watching my son suffer was the deepest heartache of my life. But God used the events of that evening while Jordan was in recovery to prepare me for the most profound victory of my life. What has been your deepest heartache? Can you say that it has brought victory into your life? God desires for you to have victory! Your trial may be different from mine, but it still brings you anguish and pain. God offers you rest from your trouble and peace for your pain. These are provided through the pages of the Scriptures, the Bible. Matthew 11:28 says—“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”


Victory, peace and rest begin with a call—your call to God for salvation, for the healing and cleansing of your soul. Just as Jordan called out to me “Daddy—I just want you here,” God wants you to call out to Him with the faith of a child who longs to have his father by his side. That call can be heard only through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Romans 10:13 assures us, for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” If that is your heart’s desire, you can apply this truth of the Bible to your life right now. You can call on God. The first step is to pray a simple yet sincere prayer. By trusting the Lord, you can know that when you die, you will have a home in Heaven. 


Jordan received the gifts of salvation that God offers you today. At age 5, he knew he was a sinner, and he humbled himself. He realized he needed the forgiveness that only Jesus Christ has the power to give. Jordan’s mom and I had the privilege of leading Jordan to his Lord. Just one year and eight days after his initial diagnosis of brain cancer, Jordan was instantly healed as he went home to Heaven to be with his Lord. People ask us how we deal with the loss of our son. Although, we dearly miss him, my response is, “You can’t lose something if you know where it is. We know where Jordan is, and one day we will see him again in Heaven.”


My wife, Michelle, and I sincerely desire to minister to those who are hurting. If our testimony has made an impact on your life in any way, please contact us at bonojoe@gmail.com


We have a ministry of tears, but each time God chooses to use our tears of sorrow—He turns them into tears of joy. God does not waste trails that He brings into our lives. We want to encourage you by sharing what God has done for us. He promises to comfort and sustain all who love Him (see Romans 8:28). God bless you. Remember a great burden offers an opportunity for great victory!


Pray This Prayer for Salvation

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner, I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again on the third day. Right now, this very hour, I place my faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for me on the cross. Dear Jesus, please forgive me of my sins. Come into my heart and life as my personal Savior. Help me from this day forward to live a life that honors you. Thank you for saving me and giving me a home in Heaven. Amen.


If you have sincerely prayed this prayer, you have just made the best decision of your life. Congratulations! Now it’s important for you to go on from here. The Christian life is not just saying a quick prayer and then continuing to live the same way as before. Here are four important steps to follow as you grow in your Christian life and in your new walk with God.


Step #1:  Get a Bible. Begin in the New Testament with the book of John, and read a least one chapter each day.

Step #2:  Find a church that teaches and loves the Bible, and begin attending faithfully. 

Step #3:  Pray (talk) to God daily. Ask Him to help you find a church that He wants you to become involved in—one that will guide you in your spiritual growth (see Hebrews 4:16).

Step #4:  Tell others about your decision. Share how God has shown you the way to get to Heaven (see Matthew 10:32-33).


God bless you! 


Read More