This article was originally published in Edition (9) of Prayer Magazine,  Jan-Mar 2007.

Editing Prayer Magazine, you have to be aware of so many aspects of church, church life and the various streams of the breadth of Christianity.

As I’ve travelled around churches not just in Britain and the UK, I’ve noticed particularly this year, I’ve often never encountered testimony occurring in the places I’ve visited.  Which has left me wondering – what ever happened to Testimony ?

The dictionary says testimony means:-

noun (pl. testimonies) 1 a formal statement, especially one given in a court of law. 2 evidence or proof of something.

So as we’re not in a court of law, let’s focus on – evidence or proof of something.

In today’s society there seems to be such a push to separate and even restrict the display of our Christian faith, there is a need to be more vocal about what is doing than ever.  Kid’s will say on the street that Jesus is irrelevant, yet they have never given him an opportunity.   Companies say they want to restrict the display of religious symbols like the cross, which believers often wear as both a reminder of what God has done for them and as a message of their faith to the people the encounter.  Yet still we speak less and less to friends, family and work colleagues about what God has actually done and continues to do in our lives.

Testimony or the Evidence of God’s work in our lives is fundamental to our faith, it helps to build faith in both the person testifying and also the person listening, it’s almost a faith fuel to help people come to a place to believe God can do the impossible.

There’s a great illustration of this surrounding the biblical story of the woman with the issue of blood.  This account found in Matthew 14, Mark 5 and Luke 8, paints a picture of a woman who had really suffered is a severe medical condition which resulted in her spending all her money, consulting with many doctors yet still feeling worse, probably meant she became withdrawn from society almost a bit of a recluse.  Then hearing Jesus was coming to town, she determined that day she was going to be healed.

Perhaps she had in her mind a nice private meeting with Jesus, one in which she could come and go relatively un-noticed, but yet, there was more to this event than even she could have thought through.

When she go there, a big crowd had gathered, no doubt wanting to see how Jesus responded to Jarius’ request to go and heal his ‘dead’ daughter.  She approached from behind and slowly made her way through the hustle and bustle to stretch her hand out and at least touch his garment.  Reading the three accounts, we then see that she instantly felt better, felt well, felt whole – the problem she encountered for tweleve years was gone.  As she was drifting away out of the crowd, Jesus stopped and demanded to know who had touched him, which for the disciples was a ridiculous question when so many people were around.

Yet with determination Jesus wanted this lady identified for all to so, and slowly with reluctance, she admitted it was her and explained the whole story.  I’ve often wondered why was it that the Lord didn’t just leave her go ?

Well if you flip over in your bible to Matthew 14, right at the end of the chapter there is a very interesting reference :-

[34] When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret.  [35] And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him [36] and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed. (NIV)

Here we find perhaps the real reason wanted everyone to hear her story.  Why is it that everyone in Gennesaret thinks the only way to get healed is to touch the edge of Jesus cloak ?

Personally I believe that there was someone in the crowd surrounding the events that day when the lady with the issue of blood received her miracle, that witnessed everything, then heard her testimony and took the story back to Gennesaret and shared it with people there.

The resulting outcome of Jesus putting one person ‘on the spot’ so to speak was to bless an entire Nation – did you get that ?  One persons breakthrough, one persons testimony brought healing to an entire region.

Testimony can build faith for a region to be healed or saved.

There are of course many more examples of testimony, like the time when Moses held a Rod of Testimony between himself and Red Sea before it parted in Exodus 14.  He would have seen the small symbols carved in that staff, that record the times when God moved in his life over the years, and at the moment when all seemed lost, a mountain on one side, a desert on the other and sea before him and Pharaoh’s armies behind, he called on every testimony in his life to build faith enough to believe God would part the sea.  And of course we know that’s exactly what happened.  David in Psalm 23 has a similar experience with a Rod of Testimony.  He is carrying a staff to help him but also a Rod of Testimony almost like a diary of all the things God has done in his life.  The even though he says he was ‘in the valley of the shadow of death’ God was with him, he was able to reflect on all the God had previously done, the many testimonies in his own life of God’s goodness and within moments faith built up to the point where he could say that God ‘prepares a table for him in the presence of his enemies’. 

It’s incredible to think that it only takes setting some time aside when the going gets rough to meditate on the things that God has done in our own lives to change the expected and feared outcome of any situation.

When the devil comes in like a flood, allow the Lord to raise up a standard of testimony.  Remember the work has already been done.  If you actually sat down with pen and paper and recounted everything you could remember that God did for you, the answers to prayer and the breakthrough’s, it would really help to put any problem into perspective – ‘Nothing is impossible for God’.

So all in all, don’t neglect testimony.  The smallest most insignificant thing God did for you today, this week or this month, could be just the thing your need to remember – it could also be just the thing a friend needed to hear to build faith for their miracle. 

It could be as simple as getting someone around for a coffee and just simply sharing your story of breakthrough with them, let the testimony speak for itself.

We believe in a God that sovereign, we believe He want’s what is best for our lives, let’s prove that He is as active as ever, but sharing testimonies of what He is doing today in our lives with a world out there that really doesn’t know the Goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Share a testimony with someone today.

 

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