September 21, 2010
"Summon your power, O God; show us your strength, O God, as you have done before." Psalm 68:28 (NIV)
It was the first day of the Bible study I was leading and I didn't know the women very well. When I asked them how they experience God's presence, I got the answers I expected: prayer, reading His Word, listening to music. Then one woman raised her hand. "My testimony," she said.
I know my face registered my confusion. This was not an answer I expected. "Your testimony?" I asked. I knew the word testimony meant her story of how she came to know Jesus as Christ or stories of His activity in her life, but I was not totally following her. "How do you experience God's presence through your testimony?" I inquired.
"Whenever I share my testimony, I am reminded of His faithfulness," she answered me, her dark eyes shining. "I remember what He did then and I feel Him there assuring me He will be faithful again. My testimony reminds me of God's presence throughout my life; that I can count on Him."
I wanted to let her lead the rest of the Bible study, because she clearly had a lot to teach me.
Since that moment I have thought about the woman's words. I have reflected on my testimony—the many stories I can share about the answers to prayer, the still small voice of reassurance, the mountaintop experiences, and the revelations in my depths of despair. I have many examples of when I have felt His presence in my life and those experiences have taught me that I can count on Him. He was there; He is there; He will be there. Our testimonies are not stories with a beginning and an ending. They are unfolding sagas of a lifelong love affair with the living God.
I have always thought of my testimony as something I can use to inspire and encourage others, but had never thought of it as something I could use to encourage and inspire myself. God is faithful and He has proved it over and over. I can look back over my life and trace His hand, feel His presence and trust His purpose.
What is your testimony? How can it inspire you today? What do you need to remember from the past that will speak into your life today? Let your testimony speak to you today.
Dear Lord, thank You for always working in my life. When I get discouraged, let me see that You worked in my life in the past and You are at work now. Help me to recall my testimony so that I can feel Your presence. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Marybeth's blog for more encouragement today!
The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen
Thin Places: A Memoir by Mary DeMuth
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Begin a list of times that God has come through for you in big and little ways. Keep that list somewhere you can access it easily. Add to it as God brings things to mind or as new things happen. During times of discouragement, pull that paper out and experience His presence.
Have you ever thought about your testimony ministering to you? Do you spend time thinking about God's past faithfulness or do you tend to always look ahead?
Psalm 9:10, "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." (NIV)
Psalm 145:18-19, "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cries and saves them." (NIV)
© 2010 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 21 September 2010.