For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8:18-19
A few days ago, a friend asked if I would share my testimony in a future blog. My mind immediately flashed back to a teaching I once heard from Pastor Chris McCarrick of Cornerstone Calvary Chapel. He essentially warned the group that our testimonies should not turn into brag-i-monies. I knew exactly what he meant because I had been guilty of that offense –placing too much emphasis on self, exaggerating sinful details to make it more interesting for your audience, and then only giving Jesus an honorable mention in the last sentence or two.
Glory be to Me
I have since been taught to keep my testimony simple and to focus primarily on what Jesus is doing in and through my life today. By design that helps me to keep tabs on my faith-walk, because, if I cannot respond to the question, “What is God doing in my life today?” I have a critical situation that needs immediate attention.
So, the gory details that I once shared with everyone, I now only dole out as the Holy Spirit directs me. Now, if I have a divine encounter with an alcoholic or a drug addict, I may share with them how I was once a drunk and a druggie and how Jesus found and rescued me. If it’s a thief or a burglar, then I might relate how Jesus saved and redeemed me from those things.
Through these years, and to God’s glory, honor, and praise, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to communicate similarly with the suicidal and depressed, the abused and the abuser, the adulterer and adultery victim, the murderer, the lawless, the atheist, and the blasphemer.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
However, on occasion the Lord moves me to air-out a random memory or event. The remainder of this blog pertains to one such recollection.
The memory is a little fuzzy: it was opening day for the 2008 church softball league. I recall it was an ugly affair: we lost something like 20 to 2. The reality is that our team loses a lot. Why? Well let’s just say that the other teams are usually better than us and leave it at that.
Back then I was in the habit of emailing my teammates a brief devotional the day after a game that focused on some spiritual component of the game. Driving home I had a sense that, given the game’s outcome, the subject matter would likely have something to do with humility.
Little did I know.
Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19
I walked into the house after the game and was met by my son who asked me how the game went. Before I could stop myself I blurted out,
It was awful. We looked like Jerry’s kids out there.”
I Know…I KNOW!
Before the words even left my mouth I felt the Holy Spirit’s conviction telling me not to say it. I ignored this prompting from the Lord and said it anyway. As soon as I finished the sentence I knew I should have kept my mouth shut. Not only had I sent a stupid message to my son that it is somehow okay to make fun of handicapped people, I disobeyed a direct command from the Lord telling me not to say it — two sins for the price of one.
I plopped down in a chair to think about what I might write for the post-game-devo, but my mind was blank. Later, when I went to bed, it was still blank. I prayed and I waited, but there was nothing. I was awoken in the morning by the Lord speaking to my heart.
Are you sorry?”
I knew exactly what He was talking about and before climbing out of bed, I apologized. Then God spoke again.
Go watch the video.”
Again, I knew exactly which video He was referring to, despite the fact it had been over a year since I last viewed it on YouTube. I couldn’t recall the title, but I knew since God was directing me, it would be easy to find.
Looking back, I don’t remember if I ever wrote a team devotional that day. However I do recall how pitiful it is, when because of selfish disobedience and pride, I subject myself to having to learn the same lessons over and over. I’m also reminded that with each act of rebellion there are casualties — nails cannot be extracted without leaving a scar on the wood and seeds cannot be unplanted without disturbing the soil. Sin always has consequences and it is never victim-less.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness… My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness… 1 John 1:9 + Isaiah 61:10a
Oh, Blessed Salvation!
In Christ we are cleansed and are not haunted by past sins. Today, the events serve as reminders of Christ’s grace and mercy. Glory be to God!
If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, if you want to be forgiven and cleansed, if you desire to have purpose and to be used by God, you can.
One by one, mull-over each of these verses:
- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
- But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
- That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your hear that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved…For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:9-10 + 13
- Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 5:1 + 8:1
There’s nothing to stop you from praying to God right now and receiving the promises of His word as your own. In your prayer sorrowfully admit that you have sinned against God and ask Him for forgiveness.
Are You Sorrowful?
And believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God Who died for you on the cross, rose from the dead, and is Lord. Call upon Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior.
Do You Believe?
Believing implies a willingness to submit to God’s authority and obey what He says in His word the Bible.
Are You Willing?
If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior today, praise the Lord! You should know that Jesus encourages Christians to make disciples (students), not merely converts. For that reason you should find a solid, Bible-believing church, attend and get involved. If you need assistance in finding a church in your area, I am more than willing to help you – simply make your request known in the comments section below.
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10
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