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Archive for the ‘testimony’ Category

Haunted houses and ghosts are about to become the seasonal rage once again over the next month or so.  Folks really get into Halloween.  I guess if getting the hell scared out of you is the point then perhaps more evangelicals should use scare tactics and haunted sanctuaries to grab the world’s attention.

But seriously, let us consider that those things that haunt us are oftentimes from our own past.  They are either things that we did or things that were done to us.  Both hunt us down in our sleep and haunt us during our waking hours.

Yet, imagine your past hurts helping you.  If your abuse-filled childhood helps you help runaway teens and teen moms without prenatal care, let it do so.  Past and personal struggles can make making it hard or they can open your eyes to numerous opportunities to advance and broaden the kingdom of God as you work through some of your own pain and struggle.

Pray for freedom from the dominance of your past demons over your life.  Fend off the persecution from your past.  Let it help you.

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“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so. . .” – Psalm 107:2

We who have been saved by the grace of the Lord need to say so.  We need to share about the Savior and the salvation that He offers us.  We owe Him at least that much for all that He has done for us.

As we move towards Easter and the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection, let us recall all that He has offered us through His saving grace.  He has not only risen.  He has bought us with a price through His precious blood.  He has brought us into a right relationship with God.

Say something about the Savior through the way you celebrate His resurrection this year.  Share your testimony with others.  Don’t let this year go by with you simply blending in with the world rather than standing out by saying something about the Savior.

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Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. – Psalm 31:9 (KJV)
My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. – Psalm 6:7 (NIV)

 
Many people have asked me why I wrote my inspirational book of poetry Broken Pieces.  I can’t help but smile because it is dear to my heart.  I was down.  I was down and reading both Jeremiah and Psalms intensely as my daily devotion.  I was starting to think that the Word was even getting me down as I read the weeping prophet and David’s pleas for God to not turn His face from him and to incline His ear to him.  That’s when it hit me.
 

God does not leave us helpless.  That is especially comforting for those of us who reside on this side of the cross.  He offers us the Comforter, His Holy Spirit.  We have God dwelling within us.  He knows our moans and groans as well as what they truly mean to us.  He is with usWe are not without comfort when we have the Helper.
 
I had to share it.  I could not keep such a blessing to myself.  I found poetic inspiration and let it spill onto the page.  I felt the Spirit driving me to write and complete Broken Pieces as a testimony of all that God can do with our broken pieces.  We are all right as long as we stay in the clutches of the Potter’s hands.
 
In His Hands
A poem from Broken Pieces by Bruce Jackson

In His hands,

I am but clay

At the mercy of the Master’s touch.

As He crafts me into His desire,

He shapes and molds me to His liking.

He forms me with His hands

And designs me as His workmanship.

He knows the flaws of my very existence.

He cuts away that which is useless.

He creates in me a clean heart

And purifies me through the fire,

Testing how well I will hold together.

He names me and makes me a new creation.

He touches me with His breath

And I live.

I am His masterpiece in the making.

I am but clay in His hands.

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

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For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.- Acts 4:20 (NIV)

The pressure placed upon the apostles of Jesus seemed extreme.  They had been escorted away from a crowd of willing believers who had just witnessed a bona fide miracle with the lame man at the gate.  They were taken before the Sanhedrin and questioned, then they were commanded not to preach in that name ever again.

Their response should similar to our own practice of sharing the Gospel.  We can’t help but talk about what we have experienced since our introduction and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior.  You can’t help but do so.  They had seen and heard many things while abiding with Jesus during His earthly ministry.  They couldn’t help themselves.  They had to share about it.  They had to talk about what they had seen and heard.

You do the same.  Talk about what you know.  Talk it over.  Talk it out.  Talk it up.  Talk what you know.

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You have a testimony.  You should be able to share your testimony with others.  You have something to say about how the Lord came through for you and you need to share it with someone else.

Here are some simple strategies on sharing your testimony:

  • Be brief but bountiful
  • Keep it both real and relevant
  • Talk more about what the Lord did for you than what you did for yourself
  • Honesty is the best policy*

 

Two Minute Testimony Test

Test it out by talking it out.  Stand in front of the mirror and tell your testimony.  Time yourself.  What can you say in less than two minutes?

 

*Some time ago, hip-hop culture gave us the line: you ain’t got to lie to kick it.  Be honest about what happened.  Don’t dress it up to sound good.  Tell it like it is, just as it happened for you through the Lord.

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26When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.- Acts 9:26-28 (NIV)

At times, as Christians, we may find it difficult to fit in.  This can become very difficult to understand when you start talking about how difficult it is to fit in among believers.  You try this and you try that, but some won’t let you outlive your past.  In the very place where you seek both sanctuary and refuge, you cannot find peace or acceptance.  You struggle to be “one of the boys” or to be “in the know.” You just want to at least be accepted as a child of God.

Don’t let discouragement turn you bitter.  Do not grow sour.  Trust that God has someone planted there who can smooth out the storms.  Believe that your “Barnabas” is in the midst of all that mayhem and madness, sharing a testimony and offering a verse that will turn hearts towards sympathy and acceptance.  You pray and do your part to not give up.  God will open whatever doors He so chooses to open by His will.  You just don’t lose hope.  You just hold on.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. – Luke 18:1 (NIV)

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“Only God can create. . . God alone is infinite and eternal.” – Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record

THE GENESIS RECORD

Creation is God’s work.  God brought the earth and everything upon the earth into existence.

How?

His voice.  He used His voice. God spoke and things came to be.  It starts in the third verse of Genesis 1 with “And God said,’Let there be…'” and appears again in the sixth and fourteenth verses.  There are variations that appear in Genesis 1:9, 11, 20, 24.  God spoke and did a mighty work.

The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation


3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?-

Lord,
I marvel at Your mighty and majestic works.  I stand in awe of how You use Your voice and Your words to create and call things into being.  Bless us today with a reminder of Your power and Your ability.  Let us truly praise You, for You are worthy of every once of praise that we have. Amen.


*From Eden to Egypt is a series for Life Path Ministries by Rev. Bruce Jackson that chronicles a daily study and reading of the Book of Genesis and The Genesis Record by Henry M. Morris.

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“We have been created for a purpose.”- Rick Warren
The Purpose Driven® Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?
In this day and age, it is pretty hard to figure out who hasn’t heard anything about Rick Warren.  Whether good or bad, his name has come up in a conversation about a best-selling book, a political agenda and relationship with President Obama, or Saddleback and its pastor hosting a political debate or “forum” (I truly do not see the difference beyond theory and definition).  Some atheists and church-haters despise Rick Warren and everything that he stands for, while some Christians and non-Christians live upon every aspect of The Purpose-Driven Life.  That is until The Shack or some other best-selling book sweeps Christendom and its outer realm like Jabez and Benett’s Book of Virtues once did.
What I admire admire about Rick Warren is that he is unashamed about what made him successful as a pastor.  I’ll even say how God made him successful in that realm. 

Look deep into The Purpose-Driven Church and see a man following God’s lead, both prayerfully and faithfully.  Prior to pastoring, Rick Warren had faith.  Prior to having a mega-church status, Rick Warren sought to please God.

Stop for a moment.  Think about what I just put out there.  Substitute “Rick Warren” with your name and his status with your achievements and accomplishments.
Prior to becoming a parent and a spouse, ______________ sought to please God.
Prior to getting a driver’s license and a car, _________________ sought to please God.
Prior to teaching Sunday school and leading VBS, ________________ sought to please God.
Prior to (whatever it is that people see as your big thing), did you seek to please God?
Now that you have done it and achieved it, do you still seek to please God? Do you seek to please Him more and more?
There’s no middle of the road with God.  I don’t believe that He’s nonchalant about how we handle His kingdom business.  We either please or grieve God.  There isn’t a safe place where we can straddle this way or that way.  Either we please Him or we simply do not, and then that’s when we grieve Him.
I could have used T.D. Jakes, Robert H. Schuller, Billy Graham, or the late Oral Roberts.  Imagine if I had used someone like Kirk Franklin, Brian Welch from Korn, or Steven Baldwin.  Each of these men have a story that speaks about times when their very own lives grieved God as well as the dramatic turnaround that led to them seeking to please God.
God is either pleased or grieved with us and our actions.
Do you please God? Do you grieve God? 
Seek to please Him today and forever.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.- Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

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And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also – Acts 17:6 (ESV)

Paul and Silas were accused of turning the world upside down.  Those who were of the world and unbelief pointed them out as agitators and accused them of using the gospel to stir up trouble all over.

Could the same be said of us as Christians today? Does the world look at us as trouble-making Christians because of what we do in the name of Jesus and with His Word? Have we turned the world upside down with the Good News?

In order to truly turn the world upside down, we have to be sure to have certain things in place:

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8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”

9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
-Luke 19:8-10

Zacchaeus was short, small, nothing much… that is to say physically, socially and spiritually.  Physically, he needed to climb a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus.  Yet, he climbed a tree, keeping himself at a distance from the rest of the crowd, just as the society would have it.  He sought a bird’s eye view of theLord and Savior because even one such as he was rich in earthly treasure but very poor in spiritual matters.  Brother Z was a brother in need…whether he knew it or not, it didn’t matter because there was going to be one to come by that day who was going to get real up close and personal with him.

• Recognition: Jesus sees Zacchaeus, calls him by name, & pronounces that He will dine with him at his house(v. 5)…despite how insignificant we may be in the eyes of others we are important enough for Jesus to call us out by name. He knows each and every one of us from the lowest to highest, from the best to the worst, He knows us all

• Reception: “So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully” (v. 6)…We ought to receive Jesus with urgency. It’s not everyday that He who is worthy makes a personal visit to the unworthy. Brother Z made it his business to get busy…whatever needed to be done to receive Jesus into his home he put a rush on it. He knew it was not a casual affair…Many of ought to look again at what happens here. We might know Jesus but are we still in the know enough to know that He still wants to be received by us daily as Lord & Savior? Lord for the office of prominence that He holds and Saviour for the offer of salvation that comes only through Him.
• Restoration: Somewhere in the midst of glasses clinking for toasts and people talking in fellowship Brother Z said he would restore what he had wrongly taken w/o any provocation from Jesus (v. 8)…Jesus recognizes His change and restores Him based upon his change of heart (v. 9)

We need to the right the wrongs of our past.  Write them down and make things right with those you have wronged.  Be sure to go down the list and face the shame and admit the guilt, and then simply offer to make things right.  Share that you have honestly been changed and live differently now.  Right your wrongs by making things right with the ones you have wronged.

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