Tag Archives: testimony

All Of Me

“… those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8)

Paul is talking about what it looks like to be a child of God: Led by the Spirit. Putting to death the deeds of the body. Suffering for Jesus’ sake. Setting our minds on the things of the Spirit.

The opposite is true for those who are in the flesh. Their focus is on “self”: Self-confidence, self-gratification, self-acceptance, self-love. They are led by the things that benefit themselves without a thought of what benefits the Kingdom of God.

Or are they?

Can’t a Christian have a tiny bit of “self” and still be ok? Does God really insist I lose my identity?

I don’t see Paul making provisions for anything other than total submission. It seems he is telling us we are either led by the Spirit, or we’re not.

Oh God, I don’t want any of me left in this body. I want you to fill me, to transform me, to live in and through me. I want to look like You, talk like You, live like You lived while you were here on earth. I want to see people like You see them, love them like You love them. Forgive me for the times when I allow myself to be led by anything other than your Spirit, even if those things sound good. I want to please YOU alone. Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Show and Tell

The story of Rahab in Joshua 2, and that of the demon possessed Gadarene in Luke 8 have parallel messages. That message is: evangelism.

Rahab wasn’t a Jew but she believed in God because of what she had seen God do in Israel. “…the Lord your God, He is God…” She was told to place a red ribbon on her window, then go and tell her loved ones how they could be saved.

Jesus told the man whom he healed of demon possession to go home and tell people what God had done for him. The man did, and many believed Jesus as a result.

That’s what it means to be “chosen”. God didn’t choose Israel to separate them from the rest of us for any reason other than to reveal God to a lost world. And as Christians, we are chosen to do the same. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel…

So how am I doing? Do people see Jesus in me? Do they recognize God’s hand in my life? Do I live it? Talk about it?

Rahab put a scarlet thread on her window to identify herself as a believer. What is it that identifies me as a child of God? Is it visible? Is it beautiful?

May it be so.

God, I pray for your children today. May we be those vessels through which you can draw all people to yourself. May we realize that each of us has a commission… to share the Good News of Jesus with our world. May we show them what it looks like to be forgiven, to have you present in our lives every minute of every day. May we tell them, speak with them, use Scripture to share your plan of salvation. And may the result be the same as we read about in Joshua and Luke, that our loved ones and neighbors will be saved because of our testimony.

You Lie

I was reading in Jeremiah 42 this morning the account of yet another time Israel disobeyed and God punished. As I read, my mind kept wandering toward pictures of things happening in the US today. Are we any different than those in the Old Testament who blatantly sinned, told God to back off, and were so prideful they thought they knew more and were stronger than God?

God’s warning through Jeremiah was: repent or die. Their response: You lie.

Today, Christians are still saying: repent or face the consequences. The world’s response: You lie.

They tell us we lie if we say Jesus is the only way to the One True God. They say we lie if we tell them homosexuality is a sin, that abortion is murder, that God created this universe with a word, that marriage between a man and a woman is a sacred union before God and meant to last a life time.

The list goes on and in many cases, Christians are portrayed as liars and haters. In some countries, there will be Christians TODAY who are tortured and murdered for speaking the Truth. The temptation to keep quiet is certainly there for many of us, in order to avoid the labels or the danger.

Oh Christians, and I know there are many of us out there, let’s determine to be heard with firmness and in love. Let’s use our voices to proclaim the Truth of Scripture with unwavering boldness. Read the newspaper, watch the news on TV, know what’s happening in our world and in our country. Vote intelligently. Run for office. Pray.

Pray.

The things we do – or don’t do – today will determine the future. Will our children and grandchildren face persecution because we sat in our recliners and did nothing? Will we face persecution because we were afraid someone would call us out, call us liars? We who know the Truth have a responsibility and a calling to proclaim that Truth whether they want to hear it or not.

May God find us faithful.

How Do I Look?

I’ve heard the account of Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego many times and for many years. But when I recently read about Daniel’s desire to abstain from the kings food, I found myself wondering what it is I am ingesting myself. Not the chips I ate yesterday, or the big piece of angel food cake I had for dinner last night. I’m wondering what it is I’m feeding my soul.

What do I read, watch on TV? What is it a pastor or teacher or friend or blogger has said? The Bible tells me to guard my heart. How am I doing?

If I’m watching acts of sin played out on TV, what is that doing to my heart’s condition before God? If I go to a church with a “God is Love” theology without preaching the truth about his holiness, is that effecting my relationship with God? Is the music I listen to slowly separating me from God’s Presence? Relationships, thoughts, what I do in secret, are feeding my soul.

The difference in Daniel and his friends was noticeable They looked better than everyone else because of the food they rejected, the pure food they ingested. 

I wonder if people, when they look at my life, can tell I’ve feasted on God’s Word and abstained from what was offered to me by the world. I want to look different: better, more joyful, kinder, more honest. I want to BE a person others identify with my Savior.

 

 

December 7

Romans 11:11-14:23

Paul has such practical advice for us in his letters. I hope you read and re-read Romans 12 today. What does it mean to be a living sacrifice? What does it look like when someone walks the walk?

The world is searching for peace, for fulfillment, for meaning. And non-Christians are looking at us to see if what we have is real, if it is what they are looking for, if it’s any better than what they have without Jesus.

So I ask myself: what is it they see in me? One who is transformed by the renewing of my mind? One who considers herself with sober judgment? One who uses her gifts within a fellowship of believers? 

Am I a woman whose love is sincere, who hates evil, honors others above myself, am I zealous for sharing the Gospel, joyful, patient, prayerful? 

Do they see me living my life trying to even the score with people I think have wronged me? Or do I love my enemies, do I overcome evil with good?

Dear One, I would suggest that if all of us who know Christ as our Savior lived our lives according to what we read in Romans 12, people would be storming the doors of our churches to get in. We have what they are looking for. Can they see those things in us?

Father, I thank you for Paul’s words to the Romans. And I thank you that those words speak to us today. May each of us who have accepted your grace, who know you as our Savior and Lord, live our lives as living sacrifices. I pray that someone who needs you will recognize those things in me today and be drawn to you because of it.

October 14

Mark 6:45-56; Matthew 14:22-36; John 6:16-24, 25-59

Do you remember the crazy man we read about a few days ago? He had been living for years in a cave, out of his mind. But when Jesus healed him the neighbors found him clothed and sane. If you remember, the man begged Jesus to take him with him. Jesus asked the man to stay and tell everyone what Jesus had done for him.

If I am right, I believe we are reading the rest of the story today.

I don’t know how long it was between visits, but when the people of Gennesaret saw Jesus get out of the boat, they recognized him. And they welcomed him. The last time Jesus was in the area they had asked him to leave.

What changed?

I believe it was the crazy man, living among them, talking to them about Jesus. Had Jesus allowed the man to leave with him instead of staying home to face the neighbors, I imagine we would be reading a different account here. 

Jesus asks us to be that kind of witness in the place he has brought us. He wants us to tell everyone what he has done for us. He wants us to be the vessel through which people can come to him.

May he find us as faithful as the man in this story.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the privilege we have of sharing you with our neighbors and friends. I pray that our lives, our testimonies, our demonstration of your love, will draw many to you. Thank you for the example of obedience we read today. May your children, may I, make the same kind of impact on our communities as we tell people what Jesus has done for each of us.

 

August 28

Ezekiel 37-39

Trying to fit prophesy in material boxes can be exhausting and confusing. Do prophesies such as what we read today concern the piece of dirt we know as Israel? Is God speaking about the flesh and blood descendants of Jacob when he refers to Israel and Judah? Will King David, long dead when Ezekiel penned these words, come back to life and physically rule on a throne forever? 

I’m one who is cautious about dividing verses and placing them in either the material or the spiritual columns as I read. So, because I don’t believe old David is going to show up in the flesh, and I don’t see God establishing his eternal residence in the Middle East, I look for the spiritual truths these and other prophesies reveal.

The repeated theme is the bottom line here. The events of life (which no doubt include wars, famine, times of blessing and times of drought) all happen for one reason only.

Check out the following verses: Ezekiel 37:6,13,28; 38:16,23; 39:6,7,13,21,22,23,27,28. They all tell us these things happen to reveal our Holy God to the world. We spend so much time trying to figure out the events we just might be missing the message.

God wants us to know that nothing happens in this life by accident. Everything that occurs in your life and mine today happens for one reason – to reveal Christ to and through us.

If the prophesy is talking about war it might be talking about that struggle you are having with sin. If it’s talking about famine it might be referring to the hunger you have in your heart to know God. Drought? How is your fellowship going with your Savior? Harvest? Are you leading people to Jesus?

We live in a material world. We have flesh and blood aches and pains, challenges, blessings. But we also live in a very spiritual world. And that’s the world that will last for eternity. Everything else will pass away.

Lord, may we remember that everything that happens to us in this short life time is about you. It’s about you revealing yourself to each of us as a Holy God and a personal Savior. It’s about you revealing yourself to others through us when we allow you to shine through the circumstances of life. I pray that we would not lose focus, that we would keep our eyes on Jesus, and trust you to do your perfect work in and through us. Once again, Lord, I pray that you would find us faithful so that you can be glorified.