Posts Tagged 'transformation'

Personal Testimony

JESUS SPEAKING

‘Now as Jesus passed by he saw a man who was blind since birth […] He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.” So he went and washed, and came back seeing. Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” Therefore they said to him “how were your eyes opened?” He said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received my sight.'” (John 9: 6 – 12) Later, in an attempt to discredit Jesus, the Pharisees demanded that the man born blind testify before them. The Pharisees told him to “give God the glory. We know that this man is a sinner (referring to Jesus).” He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9: 24 – 25)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

The blind man in this scripture provides us with a simple example of how we can share our own personal testimony with others. His response to the pharisees is direct and concise; consisting of three primary components. First, what his life was like prior to meeting Jesus; second, how and where, and in what manner he interacted with Christ; and finally, how his life was transformed by this encounter. “That though I was blind, now I see.” For some, sharing their personal testimony can be difficult, intimidating, and even frightening. However, sophisticated words and eloquent speeches are often unnecessary; we don’t need a degree in theology to properly evangelize. Instead, our personal witness is sufficient; we need only explain what it was like before we met Jesus, how we received salvation, and what our lives are like now. We were all once dead in our sins, but are presently alive in Christ Jesus.

Stories of radical conversion are extremely powerful and can prompt many to put their faith in the Lord. For example, near the end of world war 2, one of Hitler’s bodyguards was a man named Kurt Wagner. He adored the crooked leader and revered him as a god. And yet as the allies moved in, Hitler committed suicide in a Berlin bunker. Kurt’s faith in the Feuhrer was shattered and he was planning to commit suicide. While going for his final cup of coffee, he picked up a discarded gospel tract and read it—first carelessly, but then with great interest. As the result of reading this Gospel tract, he sought out a Godly Pastor who led him to Christ. Kurt was immediately transformed. Upon receiving Jesus as his Lord and savior he became a new creation. This once evil and hardened man had become a peace-loving man. He eventually became the Pastor of two churches in Frankfurt, Germany. His miraculous conversion and subsequent testimony have become influential examples of the power of God’s redeeming grace.

Like Kurt, as believing Christians we also have a personal testimony to share; a witness of what God can accomplish in the lives of those who have once walked in darkness, but have seen the light. He can take broken things and make them whole; He can heal minds and transform hearts. In fact, there is no limit to what God can do when someone becomes a willing vessel. Many of us have met Christ at some point and have been transformed by Him. The record of this event and our subsequent rebirth is a powerful way to spread the gospel. When we are out in the community, may we have the tenacity to tell others what God has done for us; how our lives have been changed, and how they too can be reborn. This is our personal testimony; and it is simple and powerful.

“Lord Heavenly Father, give us the courage to share our personal testimony with others; that You might receive all of the glory and honor. May we desire to tell our fellows about how you have transformed our lives. May they see Your unending joy in us and hunger for Your salvation. Give us opportunities to witness to others, to evangelize, and to spread the gospel message. Fill us with your compassion and love; steady our minds and soften the hearts of those who might hear our words; that they being blind, may also com to see. We love you Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!

Being Set Free

JESUS SPEAKING

     Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been in bondage to anyone.  How can you say you will be made free?”  Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  And a slave does not abide in the house forever.  Therefore, if the son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8: 31 – 36)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     Although slavery was quite common in the ancient world, the men Jesus spoke with were not slaves.  Rather, being free men, they had failed to understand that they were slaves to their own sinful appetites.  Sin is often a far crueler taskmaster than any man holding a whip.  Even today, many weary souls are hopelessly ruled over by their addictions; some are in bondage to drugs and alcohol; some to pornography and sexual deviancy; while others are shackled to wealth, deception, lewdness, fornication, and idolatry; etc.  And yet, no matter how vast the number of sins might be, Jesus Christ has been setting people free for nearly 2000 years.

     One day I decided to visit Venice Beach; as I walked amidst the shops and street performers, I happened across a young couple.  They were homeless; their dirty hair was tangled and matted; their clothes were riddled with holes and despite being raised in the United States, they spoke with a heavy Jamaican accent.  They were apparently practicing the Rastafarian religion; a religion that promotes the spiritual use of marijuana.  Their bondage to the drug was so ferocious that they had adopted an entirely foreign lifestyle, simply to continue smoking marijuana without conviction.  Although they believed themselves to be free, they were in fact slaves; slaves whose master had caused them to lose nearly everything.  Thankfully I was able to share with them about how God had transformed my life; how He had relieved me of my addictions.  I would like to tell you that they immediately received the message and were reborn, but I cannot.  I can only pray that they might someday accept Jesus Christ and been set free.

     If you are in bondage to some kind of sin, turn your life over to Jesus Christ and He will relieve your burdens.  He will set you free from your addictions; He will heal your mind and cleanse your soul.  Invite Him into your heart, and He will become your master; He will protect you; He will guide you; He will mold you and shape you into His own image.  Surrender completely and you will know true freedom.  As the love of God fills your heart, you will experience genuine gratitude and everlasting peace.  [Note:  If you have never received Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior and would like to be set free, contact me and we can discuss how you might make that decision today.]

     “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to be set free from the bondage of sin and death.  Heal our hearts and minds; and give us hope.  May our addictions be relieved, and may our fleshly desires be destroyed.  May we serve You in sincerity of heart; may we never stray from the path of righteousness; and may we dwell in Your presence forever.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you!

A Stony Heart

JESUS SPEAKING

     “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Mathew 30: 20 – 21.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     The gospel is a powerful force; like a raging river that gouges out valleys and tears apart mountains, the gift of salvation transforms lives. Many eagerly receive God’s message but lack the proper foresight; they do not understand the magnitude of the changes God intends to perform in their lives. Genuine faith is costly; the price of salvation is death; death to our old lives and sinful habits. We must willingly be destroyed in order to be remade in the image of Christ. Those whose hearts are stony initially experience a brief relationship with God, but desperately cling to their old familiar ways; thus abandoning their faith when it requires true change. They turn from the light and live in darkness; preferring comfort over growth and sinful practices ahead of righteous living.
     When a famous gangster named Mickey Cohen was released from prison in the 1950’s, a Pastor by the name of Bill Jones made it his personal mission to convert him to Christianity. When Jones presented Mickey with the gospel, he said a prayer and accepted Jesus into his heart. Soon, word of his conversion spread, and many were amazed to hear that this once villainous mobster had turned to Christ. Although Mickey enjoyed being called a ‘Christian,’ he refused to live like one. He soon lost touch with Pastor Jones and began hanging around with his old buddies from the criminal underworld. The disheartened Jones confronted Cohen to tell him that as a Christian he needed to put some distance between himself and his old criminal associates. Puzzled, Cohen responded, “Jones, you never told me that I had to give up my career. You never told me that I had to give up my friends. There are Christian movie stars, Christian athletes, and Christian businessmen. So, what’s the matter with being a Christian gangster? If I have to give up all that – if that’s Christianity – then count me out.”
     Sadly, Mickey’s story is not that uncommon; out of the four different types of soil Christ describes, the stony heart can be the deadliest; for within it there exists the greatest propensity for self-deception. The belief that a verbal profession of faith without corresponding actions is sufficient for salvation is an absolute lie. With their lips they affirm Christ, but with their lives they deny Him. Continuing in behaviors such as, pornography, fornication, drunkenness, idolatry, and dishonesty, etc., contradicts the rebirth that all Christians must undergo. If you can identify with this type of soil, then you have two choices; continue forward in delusion or get honest with yourself and surrender to a new life with Jesus; a life of repentance; a life free from darkness and unrighteousness; a life lived as a disciple of Christ. May the Lord give you the courage, the strength, and the conviction to make the right choice.
     “Lord Heavenly Father transform us into the image of Your Son. May we lay down our old lives to take up our new ones. May our relationship with You be deep and meaningful. May our lives always confirm our verbal professions of faith. If we have not fully committed our lives to You, reveal to us the areas where we have refused to change; and by the power of Your Holy Spirit, help us to conquer them. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.” God bless all of you!


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