Rachele Rumbaugh - 05/19/2008
I have desired for some time now to give my testimony of how God delivered me from my addiction to tobacco. Although this testimony is about how God delivered me, I want to say that my husband, Michael, was delivered at the same time in the exact same way!
On March 19 of 2008 my husband Michael and I had logged in to Paltalk to attend the Unleavened Bread Ministry's Bi-weekly Bible study. We have been attending these Bible studies online now for about 3 years and we have seen the Lord Jesus Christ do some awesome things in our lives and have been growing in the Word of God and faith. An audio of this teaching "Is Smoking Sin?" can be found here.
I had not only been under a burdensome conviction for quite some time about my smoking but had also experienced a lot of condemnation and guilt about it as well.
I had begun experimenting with smoking when I was a child of 10. Mostly it was just when I could sneak a cigarette from my dad's pack and only for the purpose of impressing my older friends. I didn't get serious about smoking until I was in high school and did not smoke daily until I became 18 years old. This would mean that I had been smoking for almost 35 years.
What really upsets me as I write this and think about it, is that I had received deliverance from smoking one other time in my life. It was right after I had gotten saved in 1974. The day I committed my life to Jesus Christ I had laid down tobacco and although I had experienced a few days of withdrawals, I hadn't thought about picking them up again until I went through my first divorce 6 years later. Two things happened when my first marriage fell apart: I back slid and began smoking again. One would think that someone who had not even had the desire to smoke would start out smoking lightly but that was not the case. When I returned to smoking I started out at a pack and a half a day and increased to sometimes over two packs a day. Shockingly, when I repented and returned to the Lord years later I could not seem to quit smoking no matter what I did and I tried many things to no avail.
In 2002, disgusted and ashamed, I made an appointment with my family doctor and was prescribed the "patch". I went to several appointments where I was instructed on what was to be the best way to quit. We (the counselor and I) made a "plan" and discussed thoroughly what I would do when the cravings came. Options discussed were how to call upon my friends and family for help. I was given an "emergency" phone number in case I needed to call the counselor in the middle of the night. I was prepared and very hopeful.
I made it about two weeks using these carnal methods. The only thing I really accomplished was to stop smoking tobacco in the cigarette form. I decided to switch from cigarettes to smoking a pipe and pipe tobacco. I had deceived myself into believing that the pipe tobacco would not be as addictive and that maybe I might be able to somehow wean myself off of it. It didn't work.
I didn't know then or for several more years that nothing we do in our own power, by our own means or imaginations, would or will ever result in deliverance from anything, no matter how large or minute. We cannot deliver ourselves. We cannot ascend above the curse or bring to an end our sinning by using our autonomy. We need a Savior, a deliverer, someone greater than ourselves who has never and will never fail. What is truly heartbreaking and all too common among those who call themselves Christian is that I had been saved/born again for 35 years. During all those many years (the majority of my lifetime) I had not been taught that I could do nothing by my own works. I should have known better or that is what I keep telling myself anyway. Not knowing better is a sad thing, but there is something that is more common and even sadder.
Sadder still is that I didn't know better because I hadn't read my Bible in all those years, AND despite the fact that I had gone to Church, I had not been taught that God DOES have the power to deliver! Thanks be to the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ for His grace and mercy; for I had been attending the Unleavened Bread Ministries Bible studies for about three years and I was learning.
Michael and I would not smoke in the house but we would sit on our little side porch and smoke. We tried to make sure that we didn't let the smoke into our home because I was so ashamed of the smell and I knew that non-smokers could smell it when they first came in and I didn't want people knowing that I, a Christian, smoked. I spent so much money on gum, breath mints, air fresheners and cleaning solvents, all just to mask the odor. I would not smoke in front of strangers if I could help it but since I could not go for more than an hour or two without smoking it had never been a secret that I smoked. Silly woman that I was, I always worried about what people thought when they saw me going down the road with a pipe hanging out of my mouth, or worse yet, what image I portrayed when I had taken a puff or two and passed the pipe to Michael! Oh, I didn't really care what they thought about me personally, but more about what they would think if they had known I was a Christian. I wasn't so deceived that I didn't realize that my smoking was a bad witness to the unbelievers and quite possibly a stumbling block to young or weak believers. Smoking also kept me from telling people about the saving power of Jesus Christ. I knew that unbelievers would just express amusement behind my back and say "Where is her God?" or "Her God can save souls from hell but not help her quit smoking, he's not very powerful, is He???"
Smoking kept me from many things. Because I knew I was in sin I did not have a good relationship with my Father God. I could not approach Him in prayer, and my faith could not grow because I could never really believe that my prayers would be answered. I was never sure when I came under attack from the enemy if I could win the battle because I knew that by walking in sin that I was giving the enemy the right to be in my life. I was so miserable, ashamed and could not bring myself to confess it to anyone, or even ask for prayer.
David Eells, who teaches the Bible studies, quotes one scripture frequently. It is from Hebrews 10 and it says, "For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. And the Holy Ghost also beareth witness to us: for after he hath said, This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws on their heart, And upon their mind also will I write them; then saith he, And their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his and having a great priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our body washed with pure water: let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for he is faithful that promised."
After hearing this scripture time and time again I realized that God's law was written upon my heart and that because I was walking in willful sin there was no longer an offering for my sin and instead of having boldness in the presence of God I had fear. I did not have a true heart or fullness of faith. My conscience was evil, my body unwashed with the pure water. I had no hope. I was crying out to God, though, and even though I felt silly at first, I began to confess that I was delivered and set free, even while I was lighting a pipe filled with tobacco I spoke out loud that I was no longer under the curse, that I had been delivered by the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross, that God was able to make me stand and also that it was not by my might, or by my power but it was by the Spirit of God that I was set free and I left it in God's hands. I knew that I could not deliver myself and that God would be faithful to show me how I could and would be delivered from this addiction. Inside of me there was a hope rising up and I knew that even though I could not see the manifestation of it with my physical eyes, that I was already delivered and had been for over 2000 years.
That revelation came on Wednesday night, March 19th, 2008 somewhere between 7 and 9 pm!
I want to share that as a "rule" on the days we have Bible studies I pray throughout the day and ask the Lord for several things: 1) I ask Him to draw anyone and everyone that He wants to be at that study; 2) I ask that everyone who does come will have "eyes to see, and ears to hear" and that their hearts will be prepared and be "good soil" so as to receive the Word which is going to be shared; 3) I also pray that the Lord will anoint anyone who is going to share a testimony or teach; 4) that signs and wonders will follow the preaching of the Word; 5) that He would watch over His Word to perform it. I especially remember praying on this day that "I would not become so comfortable with the Bible studies so that I would start to take them for granted and that they would just become 'routine' like going to church used to be". I really had an anticipation that something special would happen to me that evening. If there is one hunger I have in my life it is to see the power of God flowing in and through the Body of Christ so that we as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ are transformed into His likeness. Oh, how I long to walk as Jesus Christ did on this Earth.
I am not sure how long it was after David opened the study in prayer that he began to prove from the Word of God that smoking was not just a habit, or one of those things that can be debated, but it was actually sin, an addiction, and a smoker is bound and being controlled by a demon! I began to sob and cry out to the Lord for forgiveness. I repented and as I was sobbing and praying in tongues I went out to the porch and threw my pipe and anything that had to do with my smoking into the trash. That was it, I was not going to allow this body, which Jesus Christ died to sanctify, for His purposes, to come into communion with any unholy, disgustingly vile demon. I DID NOT CARE WHAT IT WOULD COST ME, WHAT THE WITHDRAWALS MIGHT BE LIKE. I WAS DONE, I WAS THROUGH AND THAT WAS IT! I remember telling Michael that now that I had heard the Word of God, now that I knew the truth, I was now respon and that if I ever put that pipe in my mouth again I would be in direct disobedience to God and there would be no sacrifice available for my sin according to Heb 10:25,26 which says, "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries".
As he usually does, David asked if he might pray for anyone who wanted to be set free from the addiction and bondage to smoking and I literally cried out "Yes, Yes, Yes", even though he couldn't hear me. I agreed with David as he prayed and although I walk by faith and not by sight or anything that I might "feel", I want to say I felt so clean, so set free, and that is because I was! Praise belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the Father who is all powerful!
I don't know which amazes me the most really. The fact that after all these years I was set free right there and then, or that there were absolutely NO WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS...NONE!!!! From that moment on, there was no desire to smoke, whatsoever; it was as if I had never smoked in my entire life. AND WHAT'S MORE is that Michael repented and prayed and was set free at the exact same time and he had NO WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS EITHER! GLORY TO GOD!
Friends, let me ask you, when was the last time you heard or knew of one person who had smoked for over 35 years who just put down the tobacco and walked away from it as if they had never smoked? Even if a person is able to quit there are always side effects and withdrawal symptoms, right? Now tell me, when have you heard of two people doing it at the same time, especially when one of the persons had literally cut their teeth on their grandfather's pipe like Michael did? Doctors were not able to help, as well as nicotine patches, nicotine gum, nor anything. God is the only one who is able to set a person totally free by taking away the desire to feed their carnal nature and their flesh or deliver them from the bondage of demons! Neither Michael nor I have desired tobacco since that evening and that was two months ago.
I desire strongly to Praise God and yearn to give Him the Glory for what He has done. The Word of God (the Bible) teaches that sin separates us from God. Isa 59:1-3 says, "Behold, Jehovah's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue muttereth wickedness". We are also taught in Romans 8:13 that "if we live after the flesh we must die".
I love what the Apostle Paul says to us in Romans 8:38,39. He says, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord".
There is only one thing that can separate us from God and His love and that is sin. The good news is that God has already made a way of reconciliation through the cross and the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed there. There is no sin, no addiction, no principality, no power, or creature that can separate us from God's love. All one must do is call upon Father and His Son Jesus Christ, confess and sincerely repent of our sin, accept the gift of salvation which comes through faith, and allow the blood of Christ and His power to set us free.
I just wanted to share that it is true "If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36 )
Thank you for letting me share what Father God has done for me!
Isa 62:10 -12 Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up an ensign for the peoples. Behold, Jehovah hath proclaimed unto the end of the earth, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. And they shall call them The holy people, The redeemed of Jehovah: and thou shalt be called Sought out, A city not forsaken.