I Have A Testimony

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John 17:20
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their testimony”

We believe that we are blessed when we see our bank accounts in the black and we wear designer clothes and drive luxury cars. In our carnal minds these things are a testimony to the goodness of God. Many of us never seem to realize that these are the easiest of things for God to do. Maybe it is because we are not used to having much and we therefore covet little trinkets like luxury cars, designer labels, a nice shelter over our heads and fancy food. The fact is that many of us when we are called to testify will speak on these things; and it is good to thank and acknowledge God for all of His blessings towards us. After all we like nice things.

I write this in hopes that we will see something beyond a material blessing. When I talk about my new car or wonderful things that God blessed me to have, it could very well cause a brother or sister who is financially struggling to wonder if they are lacking in faith or to question some other area of spiritual growth. This is something we should think about seriously, because God may have allowed someone else to walk through a storm to benefit their growth. Maybe just maybe our testimony should be about how we have been snatched from the fire.

The Bible says this about testimony:
Revelation 12:11 -“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”

Revelation 20:3 -“Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”

Revelation 6:9 -“When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained”

There is no case in which the Bible speaks of earthy riches and prosperity being the greatest testimony to the Goodness of our God.

Even as Solomon asked only for Wisdom which is of greater value than anything he could physically possess. God gave Him wealth almost like a pleasant side dish.

Our greatest teaching and testimony should always be the Cross. There is nothing of greater value. If I testify to the power of the Cross then I share with others how I have become a child of God and how He works through me, by the power of the Holy Spirit who is the Advocate and Comforter. I share how by the Lord’s stripes I am healed, my heart is changed, I am redeemed and I am renewed. The Cross is my testimony of how the Lord gives me a Love that I do not deserve, how He paid a price with His own life… a debt that I owed with my very life. The Cross exemplifies that He forgave the unforgivable in me with Grace and Mercy.

The Cross causes me to see everything else as that which comes along with seeking the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness. Jesus said, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and you’ll receive these little things that you are so worried about as an extra added bonus that comes along with seeking Him. (Well pretty much that’s what He said). Instead many of us seek first and love to testify most about material blessings and physical possessions and if we do this we must ask ourselves where does His kingdom and His righteousness fall in… it can’t be added to us since it must be sought first. Matthew 6:33

TESTIMONY DEFINED – A testimony is an account of one’s personal spiritual experience, which is often shared either one on one with another person or in the context of a “testimony meeting” or revival. Many times testimonies explain a radical change in behavior or shift in attitude in a person’s life.

I tend to fall on the side of Paul even in my own imperfections:
1 Corinthians 2:2 ~For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
Galatians 6:14 ~But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Is He Your Friend, or a Doctrine?

Ms. Nothing - Kathy Huck:

This is a MUST Read!

Originally posted on Broken Believers ♥:

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“A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. His is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is He Himself we have.”

  ~D.L. Moody

This can be a liberating secret. It releases us from the terrible bondage of religion, with all its negative connotations. Friendship with our Lord will carry us beyond creed or doctrine to the place of true communion.

But we value legalism, and that is precisely what we believe when we bypass the relationship. Doctrine is a good servant, but a poor master. Creeds are necessary, but incapable of bringing either salvation or a fruitful life. This can only come from a living faith in the Lord Jesus.

We evangelicals talk big about “a personal relationship.” That is indeed crucial. But few be the believers that walk in a daily friendship with their Savior…

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The Choice Pray or Hate?

19b7ff6d8d079e07efc9ec5f64f8bf71“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you”
~ Luke 6:27-28

When we see legal injustices all over the country being committed by the people who have been entrusted to protect us… the first thing we must do is pray for them.

When a government who we look to and expect to protect the commonwealth turns it’s back on the disenfranchised while lining the coffers of the rich …the first thing we must do is pray for them.

When we witness so-called religious leaders who are unable to stand on the God given Word… those who can stand only on their titles and offices given by man; those who use these offices and titles to abuse God’s children because they see the church as a power play to heap unnecessary burdens on the Body of Christ… …THE VERY FIRST THING WE MUST DO is pray for them.

As much as our flesh wants to hate them… we can’t give anger and hatred an opening or foothold, We must forego such feelings. We must find ourselves at the Throne of mercy asking our Lord to lend an ear. AND not that these we pray for be punished, but that their hearts be enlightened and that the heart of stone be replaced with a heart of flesh. God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient ,,,, HE DOES NOT MISS A THING!

I’m Just Not That Into You

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Where does it say that I have to like you in the word of God?

Is it possible to love someone who we do not like? Is it possible to forgive those who we do not like?  Why would the answer to the questions be anything but a resounding YES!!!

Jesus called the religious leaders a brood of vipers, he referred to them as snakes. ~Matthew 12:34

He deemed them to be hypocrites: “He replied, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” ~Mark 7:6

Jesus indicted them with these words: “Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” ~John 8:42-47

The question is DID HE LIKE THEM? I say probably not. The Word actually reveals that they angered Him at times. BUT DID HE LOVE THEM? Not only did He Love them… He graciously Forgave them.  As the Scripture says, the religious leaders who’d seen with their own eyes the many wonders that He had done were at the foot of the Cross mocking Him and abusing Him. In the midst of their hateful behavior, Jesus said: “Father forgive them… ” ~Luke 23:34

 YES YES YES He loved them… The final Word on Love can be found at the very same Cross.  “For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though  perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:7-8

We should continue to forgive one another in gracious Love. We should not beat ourselves up when we are not socially compatible to others and we find that we just don’t like them. Jesus did not hang out and break bread with the religious leaders… yet He never ceased to love and forgive their self-righteous behavior and ignorance.

Yes there are those who deep in my heart I genuinely Love and sincerely dislike.
I would even venture to say that some folks feel the very same way about me. I continue to pray for God’s grace and mercy for them as well as me that we remain in harmony on this glorious scriptural truth:

“One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism” ~Ephesians 4:5  

Lord Jesus Remember me

Luke 23:43  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”

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My message is from Luke 23:33 and 39-43 which reads:  Jesus is hung between two criminals- one on the left and one on the right.  When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.  One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And Jesus answered him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Let me open with 3 questions:
1. How will Jesus remember you?
2. Will you find yourself on the left or the right side of the Cross?
3. Will you be with Him on that day in Paradise?

The trial: These two were not just thieves but they were hardened criminals… they had to be because death by crucifixion was reserve for the most vile, abominably heinous and lowest class of criminals. To die on the cross was the most disgraceful, shameful and humiliating way to be put to death. And they had been tried and they were both found to be guilty of rebellion, murder, and stealing.  John 10:10 says: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…

Road to Calvary: Now as these two were being led with the Lord to Calvary, they reviled and hated Him casting insults and abuses toward Him. I’m most certain they had heard about Jesus’ many works and His miraculous ministry… and while they were being led with Him to Calvary both of them hated the sight of this sad humiliated Jesus. He certainly wasn’t the Jesus they’d heard about. What they saw was a weak, contemptible, disgraced, degraded and defeated joke of a Messiah.  They had nothing but disgust and disdain in their hearts for the One who was about to die in their place and pay the price for their crimes.  Mark 15:32 ~ those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.

Crucified: Now having been crucified on Golgotha with the Lord, both criminals had witnessed the Lord’s demeanor and heard as He cried to His Father to forgive His abusers. The thief on the left immediately started up again with his ranting and railing. Now he was not mocking Jesus nor did he hurl joking insults as many of us have come to believe. HE WAS ANGRY!  He was desperately thinking of how to save his own skin. Perceiving Jesus to be useless to his plight he lashed out at Him with hatred and contempt.  Certainly Jesus had miraculously saved others and he felt entitled to a miracle too. Can’t you just hear him? “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” That anger turned to bitterness, blinding rage and resentment.  I’m sure when He realized that Jesus was not going to call down fire from heaven to consume the Roman soldiers or even the High Priest who knowing the wonders the Lord has done still stood mocking and jeering at Jesus with jealous indignation. The criminal on the left had even more hatred for what he perceived as weakness. At this point he’d also come to realize that he himself would not be spared the death sentence he’d received on the cross… oh how he cursed the Lord.  From his mouth flowed every filthy insult.  James 3:6 says: And the tongue is a fire… and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.  So the result of anger turned to bitterness is a rage that is so blinding we find ourselves in a state of self-interest, unable to see or even acknowledge our faults and we are unable to see a Savior with His arms outstretch waiting for us to call unto Him. The Bible teaches us that He saves all who call on His Name.  This sinner …this criminal could not see his faults he was focused on finding fault in the One who is Faultless and without sin.

Now on the right as the painful agony began to set in and as the tormenting time passed by, the thief on His right began to reflect on his sinful life and hopeless future. He considered the regal and noble demeanor of Jesus as he bore the great suffering and humiliation of the cross, recognizing that Jesus was not begging God or anyone to have  mercy on His soul nor did He have need to ask in any way to be forgiven of anything.  This man Jesus was praying for and asking that His captors and abusers be forgiven. There was a growing conviction in the thief’s mind that perhaps this was more than an ordinary man who was hanging a few feet away. . He was humbled and that instant this criminal was able to see and acknowledge his own guilt. His heart was changed… it became contrite, remorseful and repentant.  He realized that there was nothing he could do to justify his crimes… but he rebuked his counterpart and justified and defended Jesus’ innocence.  Judging from the words he used we can assume that wisdom from God had finally crowned his head.  This is his rebuke to the other thief, “DON’T YOU FEAR GOD?   Are you thinking like me?  Proverbs 9:10?? The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One, is understanding. The thief on the Lord’s right side had at once been given wisdom and insight by the Holy Spirit. And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”  And Jesus answered him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”  The Lord snatched him from the fire and freed him from the enemy’s restraints! That very day that man found himself with his Savior in the beauty of Paradise.

2nd Scenario Fast Forward to 2015: The Gospel of Christ is being preached as Jesus is lifted up between two criminals- one on the left and one on the right. This very scene is played out every day in societies around the world, as we react to the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. The message of the Cross still moves those on the left side to make of a mockery of the thought of the gift salvation that Jesus offers by His death on that Cross. In fact today there are those who claim it to be a fairytale and nonsense.  They are criminal thieves who rebel and seek to destroy the Truth of the Cross. And even as it was on Calvary with the chief priest… today there are leaders who are the criminal thieves that Jesus warns about in John 10:1-10 Jesus describes these apostates as the thieves of souls; who weigh down the church with baseless rules and rituals set up to be a way to God. They feed the flock with things of no inward or eternal value. These renegades elevate themselves for no other purpose than to make the sheep their own, not to give them pasture. They sacrifice the sheep for their selfish intentions and use them to serve their own interest. They never deal graciously for the benefit of the sheep. They destroy the congregations in their pursuit of selfish desire.  They do not recognize the true Door into the sheepfold; they close up the way of life in order to exalt their own agenda and to secure their own position.  

We can’t recognize the light when self-centered bitterness or ambition keeps us in the dark. We can’t see past what we feel entitled to. Service to others becomes empty action void of Love and filled with discontented grumbling. The bitter heart has a constant complaint and contrary nature, it asks, “If you are the God who loves me, why do you allow me to suffer? Why am I not being blessed? Why don’t I have a better this or a bigger that?” The bitter heart does not praise God, because it is selfish because it is never satisfied.  
There are those today standing on the right side of the Lord. They have repented and called on the name of the Lord. Romans 10:13 says: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. The repentant heart has eyes that see the error of its ways and ears that hear only the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow. Contriteness of spirit brings enlightenment to see ourselves with veracity causing us to recognize the wretchedness of our sins. We will confess our guilt and our need for a savior. The wisdom and understanding to recognize Jesus’ goodness and our unworthy nature will cause our hearts to cry, “Lord, remember me.”  The enlightened soul says, “I don’t know why You came to Love me so. I don’t deserve Your Mercy. Thank You Lord. You’ve looked beyond my faults to meet my needs.” The grateful heart worships and praises God. God will remain ever near to such a believer, because we know that our God inhabits our praises. He is even enthroned upon them.  We are certain that He remembers us and has a place prepared for us, so on the day when we are absent from this body we will be with Him that very day in Paradise.

The final scenario can be found in Matthew 25:33-45 Jesus will be seated on His Throne of Glory and it reads:
He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’  “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;  for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Augustine described that moment on Calvary with these words,” This cross, if you mark it well, was a judgment-seat. For the Judge being placed in the midst, the one who believed was set free; the other who reviled him was condemned; and thus he signified what he will do with the quick and the dead. Some he will place on his right hand and some on his left”

Again I leave you in closing with three questions:
-As we cry out Lord remember me… what will Jesus remember about us?
-When His Kingdom comes will we find ourselves separated to His left or to His right?
-When we are absent from this body, will we be with Him that on that day in Paradise?

Stumbling in The Dark

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, making the most of your time, walkbecause the days are evil.
~Ephesians 5:15-16

It is most important that we stay attuned and at one with Christ in the Spirit. When we approach our faith in this way we have a Light that illuminate the paths that are most difficult, bringing them into a perfect perspective. We will never be confused when we have eyes that see. When we are in fellowship with the Lord we are never blind.

Sometimes when we find ourselves in rough patches on the Christian journey through our communion with our Lord through the Holy Spirit, we feel a conviction to stop to see where we may have gone on a wrong path. Being centered in Him we are able to see the need, condition and or error. We can quickly be corrected and continue on.

When we are not walking centered and circumspect, in times when there is no error in our direction and we are on a rough patch that the Lord intends for us to take in order to strengthen our faith we will be unable to recognize the blessing. Without the glorious Light of God to illumination our path we can spend copious amounts of time trying to figure out where we’ve gone wrong or even begin praying to bind and loose within a circumstance that God alone has purposed for us. Some will even cry out for satan to get behind them, when God has not even allowed him in the situation.

My point is that if we are not centered and in fellowship with the Lord we will often mistake His blessing and transforming power to be a curse, the tempting of the enemy or even unaddressed sin in our lives …when it fact it is God grooming, transforming and strengthening our walk and our faith.

It is through seeking an intimately close personal relationship with our Father that we attain this fellowship that causes us to know that in every circumstance we are blessed.

What Do We REALLY Want Most From the Lord? “PROSPERITY”?

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How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver And her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her.… Proverbs 3:13-15

We want stuff and lots of things. We want houses, cars, nice clothes, good health and financial blessings. We pray for these very things and we purpose in our hearts that God loves us and wants us to prosper in this way…. and  it may be so. After all we can reason that Solomon, David, Jacob, Abraham, Job and so many more were blessed by the Lord with extreme wealth.

BUT what if it is in God’s plan that you suffer the lack of things? What if His
perfecting purpose for your life is that you endure meager finances? God may deny you wealth, that you learn to depend solely upon Him for your needs. Some will gain these riches in life and become conceited and arrogant, forgetting the giver of all Good things. Others may attain wealth and become the blessing to others by what they have gained. God may take you on a path where your character is assassinated and you are defamed, so that you may learn to encourage others who are downcast; and also in this we learn that our perceived worst moments are actually our testimonies and blessings to others. You may find yourself in poor health unable to conceive why God has allowed it. Yet Remember Job and remember that his malady caused him to pray for his brethren and then he was healed. In every circumstance mentioned above the blessing comes when it it meted out to others and not locked away in our little selfish trove of treasures. .

Here is my main point and the question we should ask: What do we  REALLY want most from the Lord? As we mature we begin to realize that there is nothing more precious to have than more of Jesus. I think personally that Enoch was the richest man of the Bible. He walked so close with God that He walked right into the Heavens. Now that is wealth! The Wisdom of God is more precious than a brand new thing or crisp 100 dollar bills. It is when we purpose in our hearts to trust all that we need to God’s good pleasure, that we find contentment no matter what our circumstances. God knows best what we need to live out our life’s purpose. He desires that our SOULS prosper… our bank accounts have no connection to that prosperity.

 Timothy nips the matter of the Church “PROSPERITY” in the bud!  
“These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone

teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus
Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a
means to FINANCIAL GAIN

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
1 Timothy 6:3-10

So if we desire precious treasures, let it be Wisdom that we seek.