Our Christian Testimony Matters

Last week, as I was driving to work listening to an interview by a Ukrainian reporter, the sound of air raid sirens filled my car. My legs became weak, my heart broke, and tears began to flow down my cheeks freely. My thoughts raced to the parents trying to comfort their frightened children, let alone themselves, as they rushed to grab what items they could and seek shelter. In my heart, I know that their reality today could be ours tomorrow.

Over the past few weeks, the Lord has directed my heart to marinade in the Old Testament prophets. It doesn’t take long to recognize that condition of the world today mirrors the times the prophets wrote about. The study text reveals that “Justice had become twisted, and the righteous were treated like dirt. The truth had become a liability and could endanger anyone who spoke it, and trust among the people was pretty much non-existent. Bitterness, corruption, and treachery had poisoned the community of the Lord’s people.” The condition of their hearts, minds, and attitudes wreaked with malice and smelled of pride and self-love.

If I’m being honest, my heart has been grumbly lately. I’m tired of all the rhetoric, false information, and blatant division in our families, businesses, and even our churches. I have been prideful, and my attitude has been a little smelly on more than one occasion. I look at the world’s condition, and I’m ready for Jesus to come, but then there’s the ending of Jonah when the Lord says, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Ninevah has more than 120,00 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11)

In Francis Chan’s book “Unity Unity,” the dagger digs even deeper when he says, “My fear is that perhaps without even realizing it, we’ve fallen into the very dangerous habit of neglecting God’s command in favor of our logic.”

I’m not skilled in understanding what God has willed or what He has planned, but I do know that just as he commands the rains to fall on the just and the unjust, he requires me to love them both. He does not want my sacrifices nor ritualistic worship, but my heart. When my heart is aligned to Him, he can help me in my relationships with and towards others. There was a saying in a recent sermon at church, and I loved it. It was, “Jesus didn’t go around poking people in the eye, but did his best to connect.” Jesus modeled how we are to love. He connected, gave testimony to their sin, showed compassion, and told them to go sin no more. He didn’t run after or shame each person for what they did or didn’t do. Most already knew the weight of their sin. He provided the way out.

The study text for Micah 6:8 says, “As they are motivated by love, their actions will be tempered by justice, mercy, and humility.” We get an upgrade that affects our hearts, minds, and attitudes when we abide in Christ. We were never meant to dictate and pressure others into submission with our opinions or ways, but to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. This is what pleases the Lord and brings him glory. It was never to be of ourselves.

The book of Jonah has an open ending. There is more to come; we just don’t know what is next, but the Lord is here and is living among us, and He is mighty to save. One way to prepare for his kingdom on earth is by the cleansing of our hearts. May we throw off the cloaks of division, pride, bitterness, malice, jealousy, comparison, etc., that we may reflect Him as we deal with others to make Him known. Our testimony for Christ is essential in an oppressed and confused world; the world is watching! May we no longer grieve the Holy Spirit but come together in Christ to restore hope to lost, extend grace and compassion to all who are hurting and looking for a way out.

Cracked Cisterns

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My husband and I were recently invited to spend time with those who lead a ministry near and dear to my heart, Secret Keeper Girl. They recently released a new show for Fathers and Sons called “Born to Be Brave.” While we knew some logistics of the weekend, time in prayer, encouragement, etc., and getting to see and hear insights to Father and Son tour, we were not aware of the “conference” style setting. We were 2 of about 30 people gathered in a room receiving teaching on “Labels”. This wasn’t a new concept to me as this teaching was one of my first deep encounters with the Lord several years ago. Continue reading

Hidden Enemies

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Sometimes life unfolds to a series of circumstances holding you captive in fear, lack of hope, not to mention insecurity as we compare ourselves to others. This sometimes causes us to question the very fabric of our being based upon a failure, harsh critique, or even the lack of confidence in self when we look over the size of a task the Lord has given us.

I love when God tells Joshua in Joshua 7:10, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this.” after his army was defeated in battle by the men of Ai. Joshua was scared of the outcome he envisioned for the remaining Israelites and questioned God on why he would lead them to be defeated.

I don’t know about you, but I have been there and done that multiple times even recently. I’ve sat bemoaning and crying over injustices, taking my place on the pot of pity. Why Me? Why now? Why did you lead me this far only to be laughed at and made a fool?

I love when the Lord says to Joshua in verse 13, “You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you.” While the Lord is speaking of items that were plundered and hidden by fellow Israelites that should not have been, I find great comfort in His words.

In everything we do, we will experience a set back of some sort. While it’s easy to climb and sit upon the mountain of self pity and cry over injustices done to us; maybe, just maybe, the Lord is cleansing things from our hearts that shouldn’t be there or are hidden and instead lining them up with His path set for us?

My enemies are not people but the battles that rage within my very heart. I can’t use a set-back as a will and a way to give up but rather embrace it; knowing that I am but clay in His hands. He is refining me and removing impurities within so that I can get up, dust off the dirt and step into the next phase He has planned for me.