Thursday, May 29, 2014

I don't have a testimony.

I was raised by loving Christian parents in the suburbs. I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 6 years old. I went to summer church camp every year, I loved putting my quarter in the offering plate, and once I even wrote a letter to a neighbor friend telling her about Jesus.

I was fairly convinced I didn't have a testimony.

After all, as everyone knows, your testimony is when you tell a non-Christian what you were like before Jesus, how you met Jesus, and how your life has changed since then. At least, that's the impression I got.

And that may work for some people, but what if you're only six when you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and, because you've been trained in godliness for ever so long, things on the outside don't look that different. What then? And on top of it, what if you've never really had a rebellious spirit? What if, generally speaking, you've been faithful as long as you can remember?

Ah yes, what then.

Of course I could gush to non-Christians about how God has saved me and freed me from this sin or that thought process or those attitudes, but I don't quite think that's the end of it.

See, a testimony is when a witness shares their experiences. They don't tell their Life Story, they tell about their personal experiences related to the Question at Hand.

This week I've decided to change my personal definition of a Testimony. Maybe I don't have a 'traditionally' exciting testimony committing every sin Paul identifies and more, but I do have an exciting testimony. I've seen God come through countless times.

There was the time I lost my dorm key, and God continued to provide a way into the building (God provides).
There was the time I was still looking for a teaching job, mid September, and God provided the perfect opportunity for me (God is never too late).
There was the time I was struggling with resenting another person, and God brought me to the a passage in the Bible that challenged that attitude and helped restore the relationship (God cares; God knows; God transforms)
There was the time I only got four and a half hours of sleep (I don't know about you, but for me, is very little. I try to shoot for at least three more hours than that.), and God gave me stamina the next day at work, and kept me alert (God supplies all our needs).

And so on.

But do you know what else I realized? It's not just about telling non-Christians how God has revealed his character personally to you; we should also tell our Christian friends. What encouragement to hear how God is living and active in the lives of people you know!

So, yes, you do have a testimony. Maybe you have one about your initially being saved, but I certainly hope that wasn't the last time you saw God move in your life! Pray that God would open your eyes to how he is working.

And when you see it, tell someone.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

On Poisonous Lotion

Back in December, one of the gifts I received from a student was a wonderful orange-ginger lotion.

I would use it every once in a while, and I would notice a red, itchy patch on my hands. But it wasn't too irritating, and I wasn't certain they were connected, so I ignored it. After applying it, I would absently scratch the red spot, too busy to take any real notice.

Finally I read the ingredients. And what do you know? Buried in the list of sweet smells, nourishing aloe juices and other goodies was some sort of hydrated milk protein.

And I'm allergic to milk. No wonder I had red, itchy spots.

I did not apply it again once I realized what it really was: poison to me.

Thankfully, there was an easy solution: I got rid of the poisonous lotion (it has a happy new home with my mom - who is NOT allergic to milk)


Sins tend to sneak up on me the same way.

Maybe it was a gift- a good intentioned gift. Maybe it was just packaged nicely.
Maybe I'm too busy to notice what happening.

Maybe I decide it can't be that bad-- after all, there's only a little; it's not all poisonous.

But sooner or later the poisonous qualities show through. The side-effects.

Once you recognize the toxicity it has towards your relationship with God and others, don't foolishly keep living that way.

Get rid of the poison, whatever form it takes.

Even if you're the only one tossing it. 

Even if it's okay for others to keep it. 

Are YOU going to get rid of the 'poisonous lotion', or keep applying it?

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Shadow Watchers

The radio was telling me this week about those in New York who are upset about shadows. (read more here)

Developers are building very tall, and thin, skyscrapers, which are casting shadows on the public parks.

And while the shadows don't last very long, since the skyscrapers are so slender, some are concerned about what will happen to the plants and animals over time.

Good question.

God calls us to live without certain behaviors and attitudes in our lives. But maybe you think they aren't that big of a deal. They seem so small- so slim. Maybe you're rolling your eyes at the fuss everyone is making over this little shadow over your spiritual life.

Have you thought about the long-term effects as much as these irate citizens and park-goers? It may not seem like that big of a problem right now, but down the road of time they might cause quite a dilemma.

Maybe we should be a bit more concerned about the shadows in our lives.