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Friday, January 8, 2010
Snow scene in eastern Maine
(This looks like a painting rather than a photograph!)
Photo by Doris High
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"The Power Of Your Testimony"
"Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself" (John 9:21).
Years ago we offered a basic discipleship program in a church I pastored called "2:7". Developed by a Christian ministry known as the Navigators, the name "2:7" is based on a great verse from Colossians 2:7; "Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude."
One of the vital elements in this discipleship approach is to have each participant write out his or her own personal testimony and then be prepared to share it verbally. Very specific instructions are to be followed regarding the content of the testimony. After the testimony is written then it is to be memorized.
Essentially it includes a very brief description of one's life before Christ, the point of actual conversion, and the changes that result from the conversion. As I recall the assignment includes a full-length four minute testimony and an abbreviated 1 minute testimony. The emphasis is to keep the message focused and to the point! It is an excellent discipline for each believer to write out his or her testimony.
I have always enjoyed hearing and reading personal testimonies or reading interesting autobiographies. Our stories vary greatly due to our vastly different backgrounds and in the unpredictable way God's providential plan unfolds in our lives. But the common thread weaved into every believer's redemption story has the saving element of the Gospel, "because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). Testimonies, no matter how dramatic or miraculous the details, cannot save the hearer, only the Gospel message of salvation that is also presented in our stories.
In the daily text the jealous religious leaders were questioning the parents of the blind man regarding their son's healing. They surely were capable of answering some of the questions but were afraid to answer for fear of being put out of the synagogue. We've all faced troubling circumstances when we've been questioned and are fearful of the consequences if our answers are unfavorably received.
But what these parents did is instructive; even if fear was their driving motivation. They told the religious leaders to directly ask their son, "Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself."
So the religious leaders called him in again and he unashamedly gave a brief testimony of the change in his life that Christ brought about, summing it up with "One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" (John 9:25).
Each of us has a testimony if we have indeed accepted Christ as our Savior. Some of us were raised in a godly home and accepted Christ at a very early age, while others conformed to the patterns of this world and had a mighty deliverance. Some testimonies will focus on the preserving work of grace, while others focus on the delivering work of grace.
Over the years I've heard Christians say, "Oh, I don't have an interesting testimony. I was saved at an early age." Sometimes the dramatic details describing one's life enslaved to sin before conversion accompanies their deliverance story causing some to think only those entrenched in the depths of sin constitutes a valid testimony of deliverance. But everyone has a story!
Saul's life on the road to Damascus presents a very interesting and dramatic narrative story. But Daniel, a boy commited to God from his youth, is a tremendous example of obedience and boldness during his Babylonian captivity. So many who were saved early-on have a wonderful story of endurance in times of trial and temptation, and those who came to Christ later in life have equally compelling stories.
Whatever your story is, remember it's not really about how "interesting" or "boring" your life is, since you're simply the messenger. It's the message you present that is filled with the Spirit's power, "Because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." People are waiting to hear your story!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, Your salvation from sin, is offered to all who humble themselves, surrender their lives, repent of their sins, and follow Your leading according to Scripture. We know that it cannot be inherited or earned, but is a free gift to all who will receive it. Thank You for the tremendous difference it makes in our lives. Our effective witness to others is not based upon our personality, gifting, or even our meaningful experience, but upon Your Holy Spirit power that is extended to everyone who believes. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel" Video Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
"I'm Amazed" Video Brooklyne Tabernacle Choir A wonderful song of testimony! We enjoy this choir and the earnest testimonies.
"People Need The Lord" Video Steve Green
"Each One, Reach One" Video
Information about the Navigator's 2:7 discipleship training ministry.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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