One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Thursday, April 4, 2013: Deuteronomy 26:1-27:26
5 And you shall answer and say before the Lord your God: ‘My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. 6 But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us.7 Then we cried out to the Lord God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression. 8 So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9 He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, “a land flowing with milk and honey”; 10 and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O Lord, have given me.’ Deuteronomy 26:5-10 (NKJV)
Skeptics and critics may argue about the authority of Scripture or the existence of God, but no one can deny your personal experience with the living God. There is a special kind of power in your testimony. It tells how God has worked in your life. It has a power to influence others and it is a power to propel you into a life of joy and dedication.
In the Old Testament, God's people continually lived out of the power of their corporate testimony. Repeatedly, they were told to "remember that you were a slave in Egypt" (Dt. 5:15 and many more) and how God brought you out with a strong arm and with great deliverance. This was a shared experience that all of Israel regularly rehearsed and that gave definition to their life together.
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul repeatedly told the story of his conversion. A classic story about the power of testimony takes place in John 9. There we find that Jesus healed a man blind from birth. When the doubters accosted this healed man asking theological questions, he reponded by saying that he couldn't figure out all the theological stuff, but "one thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see." (John 9:25)
You and I need to share our testimonies with a hurting world. We need to do as I Peter 3:15 instructs us: but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense (tell your story) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. Here are some ideas about how you can do that:
1. REALIZE the power of your testimony. Revelation 12:11 says that it is a weapon to defeat the devil. "And they have conquered him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony..." It is far more than a story of your experience. It is a CONFESSION about the power of God Himself to save and deliver.
2. READ the biblical and historic testimonies of God's people. I am at times moved to tears when I hear how God has touched someone's life. Whether it be Zacchaeus in Luke 19, or Wesley at Aldersgate, when I read how some else' heart was "strangely warmed", I find that I too come alive on the inside.
3. RE-LIVE your testimony. Meditate on it. Remember how God saved you. Remember when you had no hope and Jesus came to you. Re-live and rehearse the prayers that brought your heart into new life. This is a treasure that is uniquely yours.
4. WRITE it out. When we put words to our thoughts, it crystallizes them and preserves them. In dark hours, you can then return to them and find inspiration and encouragement. They also are recorded to bless many others.
No one has a testimony like yours. When you cherish it, you find inspiration to serve God with joy and power. Israel was instructed to remember their corporate testimony every time they came to give an offering to God. That put everything in the right perspective. The result was PLEASING TO GOD. Out of a thankful heart, we give our best to Jesus .... and He is glorified!