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Can I Have a Testimony?!

Testimony

Psalm 66:16, “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a testimony as:

“1a: a solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness under oath in response to interrogation by a lawyer or authorized public official. b: firsthand authentication of a fact EVIDENCE. c: an outward sign. 2a: an open acknowledgment. b: a public profession of religious experience”

As a pastor, I enjoy hearing other people’s stories and testimonies. All of us have unique stories and testimonies of God’s work in our lives. Sharing our testimonies is a powerful act of acknowledging our weaknesses vis-à-vis God’s strength. While most people I meet are willing to share their testimonies to me in a small setting, few people have the courage to publicly share their testimony. Understandably so, public speaking is one of America’s biggest fears! Whether you fear public speaking or not, I want to encourage you to gather some courage to tell others your testimony. Some people have dramatic testimonies, while others think their testimonies are boring and dull. No matter what your story is, your testimony is valid. Your testimony matters. Not all testimonies are made the same.

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Here are some advantages of sharing your testimony:

CHRIST. Testimonies point to Christ. Testimonies show how horrible our lives were before Christ, what Christ did at my conversion, and what Christ is doing in my life today. Testimonies elevate the presence and goodness of Christ.

CONFESSION. Testimonies are vehicles for confession. I am sure most of us have heard the adage, confession is good for the soul. When we testify, we confess our sins, struggles, and failures. When we testify, we acknowledge our failures and our desperate need for God.

CONNECTION. When we testify we connect with others. Often people walk away from hearing a testimony saying something like, I did not know they are struggling like me. I did not know my problems are like theirs. I thought I was the only one struggling with this. I never knew they went through that horrible experience. Testimonies have the power to even the human ground. We soon learn we are all in this together.

CELEBRATION. Testimonies are opportunities to brag about what the Lord has done. Testimonies offer opportunities to celebrate victories – big and small. Testimonies help us look at the bright side of life. Testimonies are vehicles we use to count the blessings. If we look around, there is so much to thank the Lord for.

Testimony 1

A testimony is a public declaration of God’s work in your life. Have you testified of God’s goodness lately? Have you used your testimony to connect with others around? Have you celebrated the small victories in your life? Your testimony could change someone’s life.

Testimony 2

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A Prayer For Those Who Are Hurting

when-youre-hurting

Romans 8: 37-38 – “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Today, I pray for those who are experiencing untold pain; whose feet hurt, back is stiff, and joints are burning.

Today, I pray for those who are nursing wounds sustained on the battlefield; sacrificing all for the freedom of all.

Today, I pray for those whose bodies are ravaged by cancer; who spend hours on machines, and days in the hospitals, facing a bleak future.

Today, I pray for those struggling with depression and mental health challenges; whose minds sink into the abyss, and wage unseen wars between the ears.

Today, I pray for our families who are emotionally wounded; whose hearts are bleeding from the spears of betrayal.

Today, I pray for those mourning the loss of a loved one; whose warm tears stream down their cheeks in silence. We stand with them. We feel for them.

Today, I pray for all who are struggling, and we hope for their recovery, for their healing, for their restoration.

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I am grateful to those who have answered the call to serve tirelessly in our hospitals.

I am grateful to the first responders who are there at a moment’s notice, confronting unimaginable traumatic events.

I am grateful to those who answer the calls at 2:00 a.m. to attend to our loved ones.

I am grateful to those who have made it a life mission to eradicate the ills of our land.

I am grateful to those who invest time, resources and talents in pursuit of an elusive cure.

I am grateful to those who dip their hands in their pockets to fight against AIDS, cancer, Polio and other evils.

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Help Me Overcome My Unbelief!

Help my unbelief

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24

I felt warm tears stream down my cheeks. I looked around to see if anyone had noticed. Phew! No one noticed. I stopped to let the words sink in, as all the other Salvation Army Pasadena Songsters sang along. I latched onto every word and phrase. It seemed like the author had read my thoughts. In the deepest crevices of my heart, I had processed similar thoughts to the words penned here. The song’s words speak to those whose faith is going under fire. These words speak to those whose unbelief is tipping them over the edge. These words relate to those who are in a crisis of faith. I invite you to read these words, prayerfully. May they minister to you, as they did to me.

Lord, there are times when I have to ask, ‘What?’ –
times when your love is not easy to spot.
What is life’s purpose and what of me here?’
Grant me some answers, Lord, make your will clear.

Lord, there are times when I have to ask, ‘How?’ –
times when what’s preached doesn’t square with life now.
Wrestling with doubt I ask, ‘How can this be?’
Grant me some answers, Lord, help me to see.

​Lord, there are times when the questions run fast –
times when I fear that my faith may not last.
Help me, support me, Lord, help me get through.
Lead me through darkness till light shines anew.

© Words & Music: 2004 Kevin Mayhew Ltd

  • How do these words relate to you?
  • Do you ever ask God similar questions?
  • How are you wrestling with your faith today?
  • Do you need help with your unbelief?

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My Story

this is my story

Psalm 71:15, “My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long—though I know not how to relate them all.”

As a pastor in The Salvation Army, I meet new people on a regular basis. I meet new people every time I change appointments from one community to another. My wife and I have learned that everyone we meet has a story. We have discovered that the best way to know new people is to ask them to share their story. We often ask people to tell us how they met their spouse, how many children or grandchildren they have. We just listen and take it all in.

Everyone has a story. Not all stories are made the same. Each story is unique, yet important. Some stories are dynamic and mind blowing like an action-packed movie. Some stories are quaint and calm, routine and have nothing “exciting.” Some stories are stories of joy and happiness. Other stories tell of pain, suffering, and loss. Yet, each story has shaped the individual. Each story is important. Each story matters.

everyone has a story

I too have a story. My story began in Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1974. My story culminated to a dark time, when at the age of 16 years old, I contemplated ending my life. My father, an alcoholic subjected my mom, my siblings and I to untold physical, emotional and verbal abuse. At a weekend Scripture Union camp, I surrendered my life to Jesus. God gave me hope during my time of deep sadness. God’s love enveloped my young, hurting self. God’s grace ushered a second-chance I did not deserve. My life has never been the same since that weekend.

The Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters have been rehearsing a song entitled “My Story.” This song is a version of Fanny Crosby’s “Blessed Assurance.” The songwriter reminds us that my story is really His story. My story points to God’s unmerited favor, His grace. My story is a testimony of God’s unconditional love for me. My story is a story of hope.

Everyone has a story. You too have a story. It could be a happy story, a sad story, or a difficult story. If you look back at your life, you see the thread of God’s love, hope, and grace weaving through out your life. Even during the times of loss, hurt, hopelessness, helplessness, God’s prevenient grace has been chasing after you. Your story is a testimony of God’s love. Your story is His story.

my-story

Count the Cost

count the cost

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23

19 years ago, Rutendo and I bad farewell to our family in Zimbabwe. We thought we would be overseas for one year or so. Yet, here we are, raising a family, building a life, and serving God 10,000 miles away from home. It hurt to say, “Goodbye,” to our relatives. My mother-in-law was ill, none of our immediate family members had gone to live overseas. We were terrified to leave all that is familiar for a land we knew nothing about.

Although we moved from a developing country to a developed country, we missed our family, dearly. We missed our parents. We missed the communal gatherings. We missed the expressive, and often spontaneous, worship. We missed speaking in our mother tongue – Shona. We missed the food – sadza nenyama. We missed the familiar, comforting sounds and unique scents that fill the African air.

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The transformation from our old lives to now, felt like a loss, yet we gained so much. The transition cost us the familiar yet gave us great relationships. We had to count our blessings to discover what we “lost” God repaid a hundred-fold. Following Jesus is costly, yet beneficial. There is peace and contentment in following the costly route on which Jesus leads us.

We do not have to necessarily bid farewell to our families to follow Jesus. Yet, following Jesus will cost us something. Our relationship with Jesus challenges us to forgo worldly pleasures, exclusive personal goals, and selfish desires. Disciples of Christ are those who are willing to give it all up to gain ALL Jesus provides. Are you ready to give up the familiar to gain the eternal? Count the cost.

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Meaning of Christmas

Merry-Christmas-Religious-Banner-03

The Christmas season evokes various emotions in people. Some people, and certainly retail stores, love this season. It’s the season of shopping – big business. To some people, the Christmas season has been high jacked by unbridled consumerism. To some the Christmas season is the time to remember the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Whatever your feelings are during this season, I want to remind you of the familiar cliché, “Jesus is the reason for the season!”

I have come up with a couple acronyms for the word Christmas to help you meditate on the meaning of Christmas.

CROSS. Jesus came to go to the cross. His death on the cross was not a surprise. He was born to die for our sins. Thank you, Jesus.

HOLINESS. Jesus is Holy. He came to prepare a way for us to experience holiness.

REDEMPTION. Christmas reminds us that Jesus bought us at an expensive price – the price of His precious blood which was spilled at Calvary.

INCARNATION. Christmas reminds us that God came to earth, put on human flesh, and spoke our language so we could be saved.

SALVATION. Christmas reminds us we were meant to die, but Jesus died for our sins. His birth and subsequent death brought us our salvation. Hallelujah!

TESTIMONY. Christmas reminds us that Jesus is God’s testimony of love His undying love for us. Jesus came to tell us of God’s Kingdom.

MIRACLES. Christmas reminds us that the conception and birth of Jesus were miraculous. Jesus performed many miracles which pointed at God. Jesus continues to perform miracles in the lives of His followers.

ATONEMENT. Christmas reminds us that Jesus came to repair our broken relationship with God. He came to reconcile us to God. He came to make us one with God.

SERVANTHOOD. Christmas reminds us that Jesus came to seek the lost. Jesus came to save the perishing. Jesus came to serve the least, the hopeless, the helpless, and the suffering.

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So, what should we do this Christmas?

Cheer, compliment others. Everyone is fighting a battle. Call your grandparents

Help. Random acts of kindness. Do dishes, buy coffee, carry stuff,

Rise to the challenge. Don’t cower away or give up.

Inspire/influence someone. Our children, grandchildren, and others are watching us. Whether we realize it or not, people are watching us. Someone somewhere is wishing they could be like you. Inspire them for good.

Serve others. We are at our best when we give of our selves – when we serve others. Serve at home, serve at church, serve at work, serve everywhere.

Tell others about Jesus. Tell your story of salvation to the lost.

Minister to others. Be present. Listen. Be available. Visit the hospital, nursing homes.

Adopt-A-Family with your family. Sacrifice your Christmas gifts, for others.

Sponsor a child overseas, buy a goat, cow, etc for a family in developing countries.

merry-christmas

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