Here’s a thought for Aug. 23

Grace Life Church

‘Our story’

Do we have a story to tell and are we willing to share it with others? At some point in our lives, we need to have a personal encounter with the risen Jesus Christ and become intimately aware of the Holy Spirit’s desire to inhabit our lives as his Holy Temple here on earth. We need to surrender our will to his will, to allow the Word and Holy Spirit to rule our hearts and minds and lead us on our path of righteousness. To know that we are to be his ambassadors to demonstrate the love of God for all to see until they too can experience what we have experienced.

It is good when we can share the logic, facts and truth of the gospel, but it is really when we share our stories of how our experience with the gospel has changed our lives does it become more than just good information. When we try to convince someone to try a product, they want to first know how we liked it or how did it work for us? Our testimonies give credence to the reality of the power of the shed blood of Jesus to be the all sufficient sacrificial price to set us free from the bondage of sin. In a court case the facts stand for themselves, but many times it is the testimony of the witnesses that touches the hearts of the jurors and help decide the fate of one on trial.

I read a recent Navigator’s booklet that gave three reasons why we never share our stories with others. We don’t think it would matter. We think our story is boring. We don’t know how to engage people in our story. It also had these questions to prepare us to share our stories. What has God done in my life? What did God save me from? How did he do it? Whom did he use to help me to understand what the gospel is all about? When did this happen or start to happen? How has He continued to change me? In Romans 12, it says we should not be conformed to this world’s pattern but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Jesus always told stories to help people better relate and understand. They are called parables in the Bible. People better understood as he related his teachings to real life experiences.

In Acts 1, it says we should wait for the promised gift from Father and then we will have the power to become a witness in our homes, families, communities and beyond to the ends of the earth. That promised gift is the Holy Spirit of God to live in us and to come upon us. Then we will be empowered to be willing martyrs. The baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire should make a demonstrable difference and we should continuously bear testimony as to what a difference God has made in our lives in order to make a difference in the lives of others. As ambassadors, we represent Jesus on the earth today.

Revelations 12:11 “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony they did not love their own lives so much as to shrink from death.” We can have victory over that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan who leads the whole world astray. Satan is also called the accuser of the brethren and is always trying to deceive us into believing God does not really exist, his word is not true, and even if he does exist we are not good enough to deserve his love and enter heaven.

Matthew 5:25 says to agree quickly with your adversary to avoid being delivered to the judge. 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT) 8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

By agreeing with my adversary the devil, I am saying my own righteousness will never get me into heaven. It is only when I stop trying to be holy enough, good enough, stop trying to make myself acceptable and pleasing to God, totally surrender my life to Jesus (who came full of grace and truth) will I then have a testimony of trusting in his shed blood for my salvation.

God seems to delight in using the simple, unheralded, unknown, uneducated, untrained individuals to make the most difference in the world. Consider all the ones that we read of that God chose to use their life stories to make a difference. Think of Gideon, David, Joseph, Daniel, the boy with loaves and fish lunch that Jesus multiplied to feed the multitudes, uneducated fisherman and the tax collectors that became His disciples, prostitutes like Rahab, and even the mother of Jesus chosen as an unmarried teen- ager. There stories are recorded for our benefit, encouragement and for God’s glory.

Our history can become his story when we have invited the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives. Our past does not need to dictate our destiny because in Christ we become new creatures and old things are passed away and all things become new.

My thought and question for us all, is do we have a story to tell and will we tell it? My encouragement is to know our stories well and share them in the normal course of life to those the closest to us. People do want to and need to know of the reason of the hope that is in us. They need to see and hear of our experiences with the Lord that has given us such a sense of righteousness, peace and joy in the kingdom of God here on earth.

When we tell our stories we are really telling His story of saving grace and power to face rejection, persecution and death and God will receive all the glory.

May we truly overcome all things even as did Jesus by confessing the power of His shed blood and our experience of embracing this victorious power over sin, death, and hell.