As I think about testimonies, I think of my many journals and Bibles with my notes and experiences with God recorded like a documentary of my life in handwritten prose.
“A journal should not just be about the routine of my life but it should rather be a record or document of the fullest experiences of my life with God.” – Michelle Bentham
As we flip through the pages of scripture we find testimony after testimony. Volumes of pages with countless words inspired by the Holy Spirit testifying to God’s encounters with mankind and their response to Him. The pages are full of stories of the lives people lived before God and the way He changed them first in their identity and then in fulfilling their purposes through that identity. It is on those tissue-paper thin pages of the Bible that we first learn that testimonies have power – the power to heal and bring life as they encourage others to increase in their faith to realize His power in their own circumstances.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Revelation 12:11 (NKJV)
A few months ago I, along with three other women, attended a healing school hosted by Bethel Church in Redding, California. The school featured the teachings and impartation of Randy Clark and Bill Johnson. Not only did we hear the testimonies of people who had been healed around the world, we experienced the healing first hand. We saw powerful moments where individuals with clearly atrophied limbs got up out of mobility chairs and began to walk. We witnessed a woman who fell the first day of the school seriously injuring her ankle both refuse prayer and a few minutes letter stand up and walk – even dancing and repenting for refusing to receive our prayers for her healing.
At one point, Randy Clark called for the healing of people with memory loss of all kinds. Then, he spoke specifically to short-term memory loss. And he intentionally waited a length of time before asking if someone who had stood for a condition he could not mention a few minutes earlier had been healed to wave their hands. And this man, toward the back of the room where the public largely sat began to wave his arms. Miracle upon miracle occurred as we watched video testimonies and they called for healing.
Randy taught us that week that the testimonies of God’s healing power carry the anointing for healing. Think of it, simply hearing a testimony about the healing power of God will bring healing to you. The only thing you must do… Receive your healing by faith.
I currently serve in a volunteer leadership role alongside my husband in a marriage ministry called re|engage at StoneWater Church in Granbury, Texas. Part of the powerful ministry that takes place each week is the sharing of testimonies of God healing marriages. My husband and I had the opportunity just a few weeks ago to share our marriage testimony before a group of 50 or so couples attending the weekly meeting.
That week was challenging at best and very nearly defeating at its worst. I wrote and edited the copy for our testimony, and Scott and I rehearsed the lines of our history together. Emotions were stirred, painful memories were raised to the surface and we felt every bit of it. But, we leaned on each other, dependent on God to be glorified in the telling of our sometimes funny, sometimes tragic and all together sordid tale of God bringing two broken people together nearly 16 years ago and through trials and through experiences both good and bad delivered us to a place where we are truly better together. Scott and I were both nervous, and recognized we were “airing our dirty laundry in public” that night. But, as we spoke, the air full of expectation, somehow God translated our story into something that others in the room could not only relate to but also something they could find hope in.
You see, Scott and I are not perfect. We are two people seeking God as we both struggle and work on our marriage, recognizing that with God we truly are better together.
The next week individuals from our church and the re|engage community came to us and thanked us for sharing our story. Another friend who is also a group leader shared with me that the group she and her husband lead ended up talking mostly about how their group responded to our testimony that evening. And the more they shared – the more I realized the power of God in our lives. We received emails and words of encouragement from so many afterward. And as we have, I have wept tears of joy realizing that God is still working through our desire to be obedient and offer hope to others who may be walking a similar path to our own.
You, too, carry a story that needs to be told. A story of redemption – the time Jesus invited you into His family and offered you the gift of everlasting life. The time God redeemed something lost or broken whether that is your heart after a divorce, a broken or estranged relationship, financial loss or even the death of someone close to you. You, too, have a story to tell.
Maybe it starts with writing down your stories in a journal. A written account of your fullest experiences with God and how that work is changing you and healing you. Maybe you’d like to share that testimony here in a comment – fee free. I’d love to read your story.
Here are a few biblical references about sharing testimonies:
- Mark 5:19 (NKJV) –“However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.’”
- Psalm 22:22 (NKJV) – “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.”
- Psalm 66:16 (NKJV) – “Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul.”
- 1 John 1:2-3 (NKJV) –“the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
- Phillipians 1:12-14 (NKJV) –“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
- Matthew 10:32 (NKJV) – “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.”
- Jeremiah 30:2 (NKJV) – “Thus speaks theLord God of Israel, saying: ‘Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you.'”
- John 4:39 (NKJV) – “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’”
When sharing your testimony, here are a few tips for keeping the focus on the Lord:
- Try not to throw other people under the bus. You may have a story about how someone hurt you and God redeemed it – be careful to honor the person your speaking of but not airing their dirty laundry for them. Share brief details about abuse or hurts without going into detail. When appropriate, acknowledge any part you may have had in the issues you faced.
- Be honest about sin and areas you’ve failed in. Finding the balance between including the sinful nature you’ve lived in without glorying in the sin is sometimes difficult. You should be transparent and keep your account true to the story. Telling the truth about sins without telling sordid details will make your testimony easy to relate to and powerful as you turn toward God’s redemption.
- Write it out. Write out every detail of your story just as you remember it. Watch for moments when you are tempted to omit the truth or exaggerate or embellish the story. Get it all typed out or written down.
- Read it aloud – holding a red pen. As you read be liberal in cutting non-essential words (too many adjectives) or parts of the story that are not significant to the outcome of your testimony. Mark anything you will cut with the red pen. In my story, I have a criminal history – I cut out the specifics of what I had been arrested for and just indicated I had been arrested and spent time in jail. We want to paint an accurate picture of our life before God’s redemption but not a vivid, blow-by-blow account of every detail.
- Edit your copy. Go through, make the edits you’ve marked in your copy either by rewriting the draft or editing it in your word processor.
- Read it aloud – holding a red pen -Rewrite-Repeat. Repeat this step and continue to narrow your testimony down to between 2,000-3,000 words. Which should be told in about 15-20 minutes. (Cut-Cut-Cut – May be useful to sleep on it, and try the next day with fresh eyes.) I record my readings on a voice recorder/computer to get an accurate idea of the timing and to hear myself read it.
- Include scriptures and your encounters with the Lord and His church that proved meaningful to you. God is the change agent in your story. He is the reason you have a story to tell. Make Him the centerpiece of your testimony. Include Scriptures that drew you to Him toward Salvation and in times of need. How a message at church changed your heart or drove you to seek Him out through the Bible.
- Be relational. Include humor, allow your emotions to be evident as you share your story and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. You don’t want to just read your testimony like Joe Friday taking a police report – just the facts man. How you felt, what you experienced matters and people will relate to your story as you include these details.
- Leave your audience with hope. Jesus is the hope that anchors our soul. Hope is a key attribute for a person who is encountered the life-changing Love that is God. Encourage them by admitting you have not arrived, but are still God’s Masterpiece in progress but that is the reason you tell your story.
Let me hear from you. What might the Holy Spirit be prompting you to do in response to this post? Leave your reply in the comments below.