Tag Archives: Testimonies

2 Samuel 9-10; 1 Chronicles 18-19; Psalm 89; Acts 26

12One time the leading priests gave me permission and the power to go to Damascus. 13On the way there, at noon, I saw a light from heaven. The light was brighter than the sun. It flashed all around me and the men who were traveling with me. 14We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice speaking to me in the Jewish language. The voice said, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you doing things against me? You are only hurting yourself by fighting me.’ 15I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The Lord said, ‘I am Jesus. I am the One you are trying to hurt. 16Stand up! I have chosen you to be my servant. You will be my witness—you will tell people the things that you have seen and the things that I will show you. This is why I have come to you today. 17I will not let your own people hurt you. And I will keep you safe from the non-Jewish people too. These are the people I am sending you to. 18I send you to open their eyes that they may turn away from darkness to the light. I send you that they may turn away from the power of Satan and turn to God. Then their sins can be forgiven and they can have a place with those people who have been made holy by believing in me.’

19“King Agrippa, after I had this vision from heaven, I obeyed it. 20I began telling people that they should change their hearts and lives and turn to God. I told them to do things to show that they really had changed. I told this first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and in every part of Judea, and also to the non-Jewish people. 21This is why the Jews took me and were trying to kill me in the Temple. 22But God helped me and is still helping me today. With God’s help I am standing here today and telling all people what I have seen. But I am saying nothing new. I am saying what Moses and the prophets said would happen. 23They said that the Christ would die and be the first to rise from death. They said that the Christ would bring light to the Jewish and non-Jewish people.” Acts 26: 12-23 (ICB)

Paul’s testimony is one of the most famous conversion stories in the Christian faith and literally a case laid out in his own defense to Agrippa.

This is who I was…this is what God did in my life…this is who I am today…

Sharing the testimonies of my life isn’t about attention seeking or getting in my fifteen minutes of fame. Testimonies are about giving glory to God for the ways He moves in my life. Testimonies are stories of encouragement; me sharing about the struggles I have faced and how God is bringing me through. They are stories of miracles. They are stories of awe and worship, a reminder of God’s goodness and why He is worth of praise.

From beginning to end, the Bible is chock-full of the testimonies of men and women who were chosen and raised up by God to accomplish great things in His Kingdom – Moses, Noah, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, John, Peter, Paul, and of course Jesus, to name small handful.

1I will always sing about the Lord’s love.

I will tell of his loyalty from now on.

2I will say, “Your love continues forever.

Your loyalty goes on and on like the sky.” Psalm 89:1-2 (ICB)

And, David wrote song after song in praise of God, sharing testimonies of his journey from a young man slaying a giant to battle after battle won as a victory of the Lord.

The Bible reminds me that God will never leave me nor forsake me, but when I have moments of weakness, I sometimes forget that truth, and instead, listen to the lies of the enemy. Then I hear someone’s story of what God did for them, or I recognize through my own fog that He has done something surprising for me. A testimony is shared and I once more hold onto the truth that God is good and greatly to be praised, my countenance is lifted, and hope returns to my heart.

Yesappa, Thank You for making me a part of your story, for giving me testimonies to share as encouragement to myself and for others. May my life demonstrate Your goodness, Your love, Your provision, Your sacrifice to those around me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 2 Samuel, 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Judges 1-3; Psalms 16; Luke 20

7The people of Israel served the Lord as long as Joshua was alive. They continued serving the Lord during the lifetimes of the elders who lived on after Joshua. These men had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel…
10After those people had died, their children grew up. They did not know the Lord or what he had done for Israel. 11So they did evil and worshiped the Baal idols. They did what the Lord said was wrong. Judges 2:7; 10-11 (ICB)
Over the years, both on and off of the mission field, I have come to understand the importance of sharing testimonies. It is easy to get discouraged by attacks from the enemy, fiery darts thrown by people I thought cared, being blindsided by life not happening the way I expected, and even frustrated at the difference between what my idea of good timing versus God’s timing.
Testimonies keep me going, strengthening my faith, helping me trust that God’s holding me in his hand and has a good plan. It is vital to hear how God has moved in the past and hear how He is moving today, not just in others’ lives, but also in my own. Those stories of God’s goodness, propel me into the future with an extra measure of hope and help me put my eyes on Him in the midst of the ups and downs of life’s roller coaster.
It is easy to get caught up in the day to day and not think about the ways God is moving on my behalf, the ways He is protecting me and providing for me. It is good when I am reminded with 20/20, razor-sharp hindsight, that He is always there for me, especially when I don’t fully understand in the moment.
As I am leading my children on this journey with Jesus, I want to be certain that they don’t forget what He has done for them either. I want them to remember the sacrifice of the cross. I want them to remember the glory of His resurrection. I want them to remember His promises. And, I want them to remember the “little” things that He does for them, meaningful whispers of His love.
5No, the Lord is all I need.
He takes care of me.
6My share in life has been pleasant.
My part has been beautiful.
7I praise the Lord because he guides me.
Even at night, I feel his leading.
8I keep the Lord before me always.
Because he is close by my side
I will not be hurt. Psalm 16:5-8 (ICB)
Yesappa, Thank You for always being there for me, for never leaving nor forsaking me. Help me to remember Your goodness always. Give me more and more personal testimonies of Your love, grace, and mercy that will ever serve as reminders to my children and future generations, so they will never forget who You are. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings,
Julie

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Judges, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Ecclesiastes 10, 11, 12; 2 Corinthians 11:16-33

Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 2 Corinthians 11:23-30

As a believer living in a country that still allows religious freedom, I know that I am blessed to be able to attend worship services, pray for people in public, carry my Bible (on my phone), listen to Christian music on the radio, etc. I know that I can do all of those things to worship and serve my God without fearing for my life.

I also know, that before I began spending time in a country that doesn’t offer the same freedoms, I didn’t really even think, other than peripherally, about the persecuted church. I never quite understood having to hide my faith or having my life threatened for standing up for my belief in Christ.

I am always amazed by the stories of persecution that I hear from the native missionaries and pastors that my husband and I work with in India. And, I am amazed by their strength, found in Jesus, to carry on and make a stand in the face of death.

Some stories of persecution are horrific; the outcome is martyrdom, told by survivors. They are stories of stabbings on the street side, beatings, being held hostage in their home only to be burned to death. But many stories become testimonies to God never-failing mercy.

One story hit close to home for me. Many years ago, my husband experienced one of these life or death situations. As he preached the Gospel in a remote village, some Hindu extremists threatened him, told him to leave their village and never come back. They never gave him the chance to stay away as they began trying to beat the life out of him. They smashed his face in and battered his body; then left him for dead. A good ‘Samaritan’ took him to the hospital, where by God’s grace his body healed and he was able to continue being a witness from his bed and eventually go back into the villages to share the stories of Jesus’ sacrifice, despite the threats that are continually issued by deceived men.

Another story gives me courage every time I go into a village to share the message of hope. Native missionaries, Ambika and Susilla, in their old age, would go into the villages every day to conduct children’s ministry and pray for the people. One day as they were walking from one area to another, a drunken man accosted them. He began screaming at them, threatening their lives with a machete. All of their faith was in their Lord and Savior; they stood strong in Christ and told the man that they would never stop telling people about, even if he killed them. He was even more angered that they were not daunted by his threats and lunged at them. God’s hand protected them, and when he came nearer to them, his whole demeanor instantly changed. He lowered the blade and was sobered. Instead of killing them, he instead asked them to pray for him.

Just like Paul, there are countless Christians who are continually faced with making the choice between their lives and their faith. Those believers who stand in steadfast regardless of the consequence are testaments to the goodness of God and the strength that He offers in times of need.

Yesappa, Thank You for always being there, by my side; for giving me strength when I am weak. Thank You for offering courage, for supplying protection for my spirit. Help me stand strong for You and the sacrifice that You made for me, in the face of persecution as the end days draw nearer and nearer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Ecclesiastes, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, New Testament, Old Testament

Isaiah 34, 35, 36; Romans 4

We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!” Romans 4:17-18 (MSG)

I am nobody and yet I am somebody. I am somebody, not because of who I am or because of anything I did; I am somebody because of who Jesus is and what He did for me. My value lies in my belief, my trust, and my faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross at Calvary.

When in the midst of the circumstances of life I have to choices. I can either look at things as being hopeless, never to come to a ‘successful’ pass or I can trust in the God of the impossible, trust in His promises, trust in His love. I can trust that nothing that my Father in Heaven has said will come back void.

When I truly gave my life to God with a desire to do His will rather than my own, I began to understand that in myself, with all of my talents and strengths, I was still nothing and had nothing to really offer without Jesus living through me. When I began to walk in His footsteps, within His strength, I realized that it wasn’t about whether I had the skills, the knowledge, the ability to do things. I had to put even more trust in God that I could do all things through Him. It wasn’t about whether or not I was equipped to do the tasks at hand. It was about whether I was called or not. It is a bit cliché, but true all the same: God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.

So many times on the mission field I have felt complete out of my league. I questioned whether I even had the ‘right’ to be there, whether I was ‘worthy’. And as I questioned those things, God would use me in such a way that I knew it wasn’t about me, but about Him and His Glory.

One of the biggest difficulties on the foreign mission field is struggles with languages. In my situation, I have learned enough of the language to have a basic conversation and I often don’t have ready access to a translator. But that has yet to stop God from using me.

One of my favorite testimonies is of a widow name Lakshmi. She is an older woman, probably in her mid 70’s. I participated in her baptism 5 years ago during my first trip in Tamil Nadu. I looked forward to seeing her on Sundays at church because of the joy of the Lord she carried with her all the time. I loved watching her worship, hands raised, eyes closed with tears of joy streaming down her face running into her smiling mouth. Week after week, I would see her toward the back of the building worshipping and praying to the God of Love. And then one Sunday she didn’t show; and then the next and the next and the next. We knew that she hadn’t died, one of the other widows would have told us; but she wasn’t coming to church any more. We went to visit her during the week after not seeing her for a while. We wanted to find out if anything was wrong. She explained that her employer had found out that she believed in Jesus and changed her working day to Sunday so she had to choose between having the money she needed to be able to eat throughout the week and going to church. We prayed with her and blessed her. We asked God for wisdom.

A few weeks passed and one Sunday she showed up in church. After the service was over she came up to me for prayer. Richard, my husband, was busy with some other believers and wasn’t able to come and tell me what she was asking prayer for. I didn’t know why she was asking for prayer, I couldn’t understand anything she was saying. I trusted that God knew what she needed and prayed into that. I few minutes passed and I saw a picture of a heart; it looked like there was a crack through it, similar to the pictures that are drawn to indicate a broken heart. I began focusing my prayer on that picture of a heart, asking the Lord to heal her broken heart. When she had come up to me her face was so sad, forlorn, and as I began praying into this small vision of a heart, I could see the joy rise back into her.

Later on  that day, Richard and I were interviewing some of the widows who had recently began coming to church so that we could get to know them, their needs, and there prayer requests better. During this time Lakshmi shared with us what had happened, this time Richard was able to translate.

She had felt led that Sunday to skip work and come to church. The need to be with other believers in the House of the Lord was so overwhelming that she didn’t think twice about whether or not she would have enough money to feed herself during the week. As she was walking the 2 kilometers to church she began having very strong, deep pains in her chest, as if she was having a heart attack. She explained that she couldn’t focus during the service, wasn’t able to worship. She prayed and felt the Lord direct her to come to me for prayer rather than Richard. She shared that the pain was increasing moment by moment, but as I began to pray for her, immediately the pain lifted in her chest and by the time we ended with Amen, all of the pain was gone.

We both knew this wasn’t anything I did. We both knew that this was God in His Healing Glory working through our trust and faith in God’s promises. In her hopelessness, she was shown first hand God’s everlasting love for her. We stood together and believed in what the Lord would do for her.

God has called all of us. He has given us all a mission, called everyone to ‘Go’. You may not feel like you’re up to it or able to do it, but you have been called in some capacity. Put your belief in God’s promises. Put your trust in God’s desire to make a somebody out of ‘nobody’.

Energize the limp hands,
strengthen the rubbery knees.
Tell fearful souls,
“Courage! Take heart!
God is here, right here,
on his way to put things right
And redress all wrongs.
He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”
Isaish 35:3-4 (MSG)

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans