The Power of Our Testimony — Part One

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     This is a very personal post. It is personal because it speaks to new places the Lord is guiding my spirit; and personal because it involves the testimonies of people who are dear to me and walking in obedience, which has become the essential part of my own faith walk.
     If you have been reading me for awhile, then you know that the Lord has taken me on a journey towards Kingdom living and all that that term encompasses.  I have been given new revelation through His Word about the Kingdom of God invading this earthly realm in the person of Jesus. And what that means is that the control the Enemy has enjoyed over mankind since the fall in the Garden has been broken, and Jesus came with authority and power from His (our) Father to destroy the works of the devil and set people free from their bondage to sin.
     But you also know that I believe the Word when Jesus tells us that He has transferred that authority and power from Heaven to those who believe in Him, so that we can continue to destroy the Enemy’s control over our fellow man.  It is really a very simple plan that God set in motion to re-establish His Kingdom on earth as it was in the Garden — He sent a part of Himself, as His begotten Son, [and thereby bringing Himself into the world] in order to give us a model by which we could destroy Satan’s goal of setting up his own permanent kingdom here on earth.
      Jesus defeated the power of Death over mankind by providing a way for us to live forever in the possession of our Creator and Father God. He paid the price and the debt that we all owe God for our sinful ways, AND THEN Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to indwell us, which means we can receive the same instructions and spiritual sight that Jesus received SO THAT WE CAN CONTINUE TO DEFEAT THE ENEMY AND GROW GOD’S KINGDOM!
     And how do we do that? By walking as He did, using that authority and power from Heaven to take action and speak into peoples’ lives. I want us to consider when He stepped into the power He received through the Holy Spirit to heal the blind man and the lame man; when He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well of His desire to give her a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, flooding her with endless life; when He rescued the adulteress woman from the mob of hypocritical accusers, and told her to “Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin”; when He cast the demons out of the Gadarene demoniac and set the man free — all these instances, and so many more, testified to the power of the love of God in their lives. But we need to see the divine purpose of those stories. And it can be summed up by what Jesus told the Gadarene madman when he begged to stay with Jesus: “Return to your home and your family, and tell them all the wonderful things God has done for you”.

     You see, part of God’s divine plan is to exhibit His power [to heal] through us and to use our testimonies to lead others to the freedom that knowing and experiencing His love can provide in our lives. And that is why I was so blessed this week to hear the testimonies of some of my beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ. They inspired me with their obedience to the voice of God and how they made themselves vessels of His love for another.  Just the other day, I received a long text from my spiritual son, Jeremy. Let me share …. Jeremy found himself in a coffee shop when the Holy Spirit gave him a prompting to speak to a woman who walked in on crutches.  She wasn’t suffering from something as normal as a broken leg; she had a club foot in which the lower portion of her right leg was so twisted that her right foot was pointing to her left ankle. From here, I will let Jeremy tell you his testimony in his own words:
    “I immediately knew I was going to have to pray for her. She came in and sat to the far left of me and my business partner, Doc. We were talking over elements of our new business, and the nudging [from the Holy Spirit] just got stronger and stronger.  I see her get up to leave, so I felt let off the hook for a minute.  But she moved over to the table right in front of us and sat facing me… so, now my palms start to sweat and I begin getting knots in my stomach.  I mean, this is not a headache I’m praying to heal here, but a very difficult healing, that frankly, I don’t have the faith for. Plus, we are surrounded by serious businessmen, dressed in suits, and I am out of my comfort zone. I finally tell Doc that I have to pray for her before we leave, and I am real nervous.  
    I stand up to walk over to her and immediately Holy Spirit says ‘You are not to pray for her leg, but to tell her how much I love her, and I want you to pray for her heart.’  Suddenly, I know I can do this, because I have the confidence to proclaim this, and I know I have the authority to declare it. So I go over and introduce myself and Doc, and then ask her if I can pray for her.  She gets very defensive and says, ‘What, you came over here because you saw my crutches?’ She said lots of Christians have prayed for her leg and she’s not interested if that’s why we came over to her. I told her, ‘Actually, I feel like I am supposed to pray for your heart’. 
     Immediately, she relaxes, still very perplexed by the whole thing, and says, ‘Sure, sit down’.  I told her that Jesus loves her very much and that He wants her to know He is protecting her heart. Then I asked her if I could pray for anything specific, and she proceeds to tell us that her marriage is falling apart and she didn’t know if they were going to be able to reconcile. [In fact, her husband had left that morning]. 
     I almost lost it when she said that… so I proceed to give her the short version of the struggles my wife Mary, and I, faced in our marriage. At this point she is getting emotional.  She says that she and her husband are Christian, but her husband has stopped going to church because of his struggles with sin. I shared with her that the devil has him convinced that he’s not worthy of forgiveness (porn) and all the guilt and shame that comes with that. I was also able to show her compassion because I understand what Mary went through during our marriage, and I was able to speak the LIFE we had received into their situation.  I was then able to pray with her, and she asked if she might be able to connect with Mary. 
     It was the scariest thing [like that] I have ever done, but by the end of our conversation, we were all very moved by God’s goodness and love.  And we agreed that it was a Divine appointment, because the reason she was there alone was because she was supposed to meet a friend who forgot they were getting together, and she was going to leave when we got up and walked to her table. As I look back on this event, I am overcome with the Father’s Goodness and Faithfulness”.
     Jeremy’s testimony doesn’t end there. He also shared with me a text message he received from the woman: “Jeremy, thank you for chatting with me and praying for me and my husband, William, today. I excitedly called him right after you left, and shared with him our ‘divine appointment’. He was encouraged and thanks you, too, for praying for us! I’ve attached a photo of our family. Our daughters are Taylor (oldest) and sweet Olivia Grace, our youngest. Wishing you many of God’s blessings, Jennifer”.  Furthermore, Jeremy has invited Jennifer and her husband to visit with him and Mary in the future, and he fully believes that more healing will be accomplished in this family — including the finished work of healing her leg!
     This testimony was such a blessing to me! It speaks to the certainty I have in my heart and spirit that this is what we are supposed to be doing as part of our commission from Christ.  And let me be perfectly clear, this is not about walking in our own power, but about being obedient to the calling upon our lives to speak and act in the lives of those who need to know the love of Christ and the Father. 
     During a subsequent conversation I had with Jeremy, it became so clear to me that we have to find the balance between battling in spiritual warfare and proclaiming the redemptive love of Jesus.  There are times that demons need to be cast out to the foot of the Cross, because a stronghold has been established in a person’s life. But it always has to point back to the love of Jesus that fills that void the enemy just vacated.  That’s why it is so important to show Jesus in those painful memories and let people feel His embrace and love as He heals their wounds. Those voices of despair, abandonment, rejection, pain, fear, anger, etc. are all defeated by showing a person that they are qualified to receive Jesus’ love, because He died on the Cross for them!

     As I finish this testimony, I hope it is clear that God arranged the steps of each of the participants in this story. By Jeremy being obedient to the Holy Spirit, the atmosphere was changed in that coffee shop. Jeremy honored the voice of Holy Spirit by hosting His presence, which allowed the power of the love of Jesus for Jennifer and her husband to begin their healing.  And Jeremy will be the first to tell you that it was Holy Spirit who did the talking, because he can’t remember what he prayed. 
     Finally, I am in total agreement with his advice to our fellow Christians who find themselves in a similar situation … Just have courage and step out in obedience. The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say and the authority to say them. He will not put you in a situation in which you have no authority to speak. Because Jeremy’s marriage is being healed, he had the authority to speak Jesus’s love and grace into Jennifer’s marriage.  And Jeremy found the whole experience encouraging. He said that speaking the Holy Spirit’s message of life and hope [and giving his personal testimony to Jennifer] created an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit could begin to work in Jennifer and her family. Because of the positive result of this experience, it will be easier for Jeremy to trust his authority the next time he receives a prompting. The result has been an increase in his faith to simply be obedient, and he knows that he can be a willing vessel to show the love of Christ to those who desperately need to receive it.  
     I would like to add that I also believe Jeremy and Mary will continue to receive blessings in their own marriage because he was willing to speak the message of healing into another’s marriage. In the end, I hope Jeremy’s testimony will encourage you to listen to those promptings when you hear the Holy Spirit, and to act on them. Jeremy thought he was in that coffee shop to discuss his business plans. But God had another plan to use him for Kingdom work — to invade that coffee shop with the presence of the Holy Spirit to effect the life of a hurting family — to invade that coffee shop with the atmosphere of Heaven on earth … all because He loves each of the people involved with a love that defies our human understanding. How Great is our God!!
           
Proverbs 16:9     A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.