Sunday, May 26, 2013
On Friday and Saturday we had our campout up at the Rench Ranch. At the Friday night campfire we had a time of testimonies especially relating to the Daniel series. It was a huge blessing to me to hear that you’re getting it. Testimonies are a good thing to be involved in.
Testimonies encourage others. Whether you realize it or not, your testimonies are a huge encouragement to me and others. For me, it is awesome to hear that God is working in your lives through the preaching, and it is validating to feel like I’m not wasting my time spending 4 or 5 hours on Sunday mornings putting the final touches on the sermons. I can go a long time on a few key testimonies and encouragements. Also, your testimonies encourage others to speak up too. Did you notice how a lot of our testimonies went along with others? Hearing others’ struggles and victories is always a help to you, right? So be a part of testimonies if we have them, and encourage others.
Testimonies help you be accountable. You don’t want to look like a liar if you give a testimony about being a better example at school and then never do anything about it. Speaking up at a testimony time helps people see where your heart is, but it also gives them an expectation of what to look for in you.
Testimonies help you make concrete decisions. Application days should be specific and actionable. You should be able to put a little checkbox by most of your decisions and check it off as “done” when you act on Bible preaching. When you make a decision on your own and don’t share it with anyone, sometimes it’s hard to actually do anything about it because it isn’t totally clear even to you. You know you were convicted about… something… but you can’t really remember what. Ever been there? I have. Testimony times help you articulate your thoughts and put into words what you’re sensing from God. When you can speak it or write it, it will be much easier to act on.
On Saturday morning after breakfast (and after 3 hours of sleep, for some!), we had a more official devotion time that focused on finding God’s Will. When your particular question is not clearly laid out in Scripture, then what? We went through a list of ways to know God’s will…
- God’s Word. First, know it’s from God. You’re in God’s will when you obey God’s Word. If it’s against the Bible, it’s against God.
- Delighting in God. Don’t make a decision at a time in your life when you’re not delighting in God. Psalm 37:4 Let God be the one who puts His desires on your heart.
- Seeking godly counsel. Proverbs 1:1-9 are some of my favorite verses. They say, “Son. You don’t know anything. Listen to me as I teach you this book of Proverbs.” It’s very presumptuous to make decisions that go against your godly authorities like church and family (pastor and parents).
- Praying. Constantly be praying about your decision. Pray for wisdom and enlightenment. Pray for wisdom for your counselors. Pray humbly, like Daniel. Pray that God softens your heart for an answer you might not want to hear.
- Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit won’t lead every literal step you take, but he is with you at all times and wants you to hear from God. Never ignore His promptings, and learn to hear His voice.
- Circumstances/fingerprints. Sometimes God leads through circumstances, but don’t take every little opportunity and think, “This is what God wants me to do.” Satan can open doors for you, too, and he might be giving you something good when God wants you to have the best. Learn to know when God is opening and closing doors.
- God’s Word. Always go back to the BEST counsel: God’s Word. James 4 makes it clear. Don’t be presumptuous and think you have your life figured out. You might have plans, but always be open to Him changing them. Follow God. Do HIS will and you’ll be happier than anything else you’d want to do.