Simplifying Christianity

We humans tend to complicate every aspect of our lives, especially God.  We want the best worship experience and an emotional message on Sundays.  We overthink God by our works.  All our lives most of us are told that you must be in church and studies to have God in our lives, which in fact, is not true.  Hear me out, I am not saying that church is not important.  I am saying God is more than a church service and group studies.  He is simply about relationship.  He does not want us so busy trying to figure out who He is that we have no time to personally have a relationship with Him.

For the last year, I have been going to one church to another trying to find the perfect setting — is the worship spiritual enough or is the message convicting to bring me to the altar.  I was looking for emotion rather than God Himself.  I was so insecure that I needed to be convicted to speak to God for forgiveness.  And when restlessness and discontentment came over me, I moved on to another church.  Through all the confusion, I caused more chaos in my life.  I caused more disappointment of what the church should be — to my preference.

A few months ago, I decided to temporarily stop attending church and have church at home.  Every Sunday morning and Wednesday night I would listen to a podcast from my iPad and worship God in my own living room. I spent daily in prayer.  In just a month, God showed Himself to me with simplicity and love.  It is not required to do works to find God’s love; He is love, and He only desires relationship with me.  When I complicated God, I was miserable.  The standards I put on myself only made me feel more inadequate.  It was only when I simplified the way I approached God is when I found the true God.  A God who is not demanding but unconditionally loving.  A God who is all comfort not judgmental.  A God who makes me whole when I feel incomplete.  God is complex in so many ways, but when it comes to a relationship with Him, it’s simple: Love God with all her heart and live a life abundantly in His love.  Love God and be a Disciple.  Simple as that.

We need to stop representing a demanding God who is false and scary.  We need to start showing others that God is all about the heart.  He is all about love.  We do not need an emotional message on Sunday to convict us of our sin, but a message of truth.  We do not need to a worship service to sound like a professional concert, but to worship God in purity.  We don’t need an in-depth message every week to tell us who God is; we need to experience God ourselves through group Bible Studies and an individual prayer life.  If we want a relationship with God, we need to pursue Him at church, at home, in our workplace, and with our family and friends.  God is everywhere!

When you seek God in simplicity, you will find His joy and His peace.  When you pursue Him with all your heart, you will find the true God that you have been looking for.  It starts with you — not the church or others — YOU!

This Is Us

For all the This Is Us fans, this blog is for you.  For those who are not familiar with the show, it is an American television drama series that revolves around an everyday family who has three children, two are twins.  Episodes show flashbacks from the past (1980-1998) to present day (2016-2018).  The show is based off of Jack and Rebecca Pearson and their three children (Kevin, Kate, and Randall).  We know from the beginning that Jack died when the children were 17 years old.  The show begins with the children as adults at age 36.  They are all in different stages of their lives.  Kevin is struggling as an actor.  Kate struggles with weight issues, self-image, and love.  Randall is a successful business man and family man who struggles with perfection and joy.  Rebecca, after losing her husband, remarries her past husband’s best friend.  The Pearson family is no different than our lives.  We struggle with loss, love, self-image, family, children, and careers.  We laugh together, cry together, love one another, and, most of all, support each other.  This series is us — in every way!

We can learn from the Pearson family on how to strengthen our love for one another, how to support each other in all things, and how to laugh together in the good times.  The characters all have different personalities who make life work together.  Their lives are as mundane as ours.  The characters are real and relevant for all of us.  Rebecca Pearson tries to be the best mother and wife she can be, and, yet, she was not perfect in any way.  Jack Pearson was perceived as the perfect father, but, yet, he fell back to his old ways and became an recurring alcoholic.  Kevin was known as the high school football star, and then became a famous actor.  He quit his job out of frustration and became an alcoholic and drug addict.  Kate struggles with her weight and self-image so much so that it almost ruined meeting the love of her life.  Randall, from the outside, looked like he had the perfect life — great career, wife, children, and a nice home.  He quit his job after having a nervous breakdown and found himself finding his purpose again.

As seen in This Is Us,  we relate to many of these characters’ insecurities.  We are born into a family who is imperfect which causes us to have insecurities.  Some of the insecurities follow us into adulthood.  Most of us lived with loving parents who cared for us and provided for our needs.  And, yet, something was still missing.  Maybe a sibling was shown more love than you.  Maybe a parent was hard on you in an area you struggled in.  Maybe a parent reacted to a situation badly that may have scarred you for life.  Maybe a spoken word hurt you deeply, and you never recovered from that moment.  As a result of these insecurities, we struggle with finding purpose in our lives.  We struggle with our appearance.  We struggle with loving others and receiving love.  The list could go on and on.

Just like this series, the characters get back up and dust themselves off.  Life does not end with that moment.  In the midst of their tears and chaos, they find the strength to move forward.  At the end of the road, they find joy again where there once was sorrow.  You can do the same.  If you do not have a family who supports you, you are not alone.  God is always there to pick you up and dust you off to start again.  He will never leave you defeated and alone.  He will carry you through your journey and heal you from your wounds.  God will cry with you and will hold you until you stand on your own.  He will create a support system for you during a time of difficulty.  Our lives may feel like a roller coaster at times (ups and downs), but God will overwhelm us with His peace, if we only come to Him for help.

What Is A Blessing?

Many people think a blessed person is someone who has it all — lives in a big house, drives an expensive car, has the best job, and so forth.  This way of thinking is distorted.  If we see a blessing just as material things then we miss a blessing in our lives, because we compare our lives to others.

The word “blessing” means “a favor or gift bestowed by God or the invoking of God’s favor upon a person.”  It also is defined as “approval” and “good wishes” (www.dictionary.com/browse/blessing).  A blessing comes in many forms.  It can come directly from God.  Or a blessing can come from family members, friends, or complete strangers through God working in them.

Before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the world was full of chaos and hate.  After the hurricane, we saw people working together.  Complete strangers risking their lives to save others.  As Christians, we need to be watchful on how we say we are blessed.  I am guilty of this as well.  I said, “I was blessed to have minor damage in my home.  A home I can still live in after the storm.”  But, we all have to understand those who have lost everything due to the storm, they are still blessed.  God protected their family, and, in the past three weeks, people have seen complete strangers help them rebuild their home.  In Philippians 4:19 declares that “MY God will supply every need to yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  In Isaiah 41:10, God says “fear no, for I am with you; be no dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  “And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16).  I encourage everyone who is going through hardship to declare these Scriptures over your life.

Many who have lost their homes have asked, “What shall we eat?” “What shall we drink?” What shall we wear?” (Matthew 6:30-33).  They have lost all their belongs.  They have lost all their food.  They only have the clothes on their back.  But, be encouraged today.  God clothes you every day with His blessings and righteousness.  Churches and business have opened their doors to give food, clothes, furniture, and toiletries to those in need.  God put it on their hearts to bless you with items that you have lost.  It may be heartbreaking and difficult to ask for help, but never turn down a blessing.

There may be some who are too broken to see God’s blessing in their lives.  And, that is okay.  Having any kind of loss is devastating and finding hope again may take time.  Sometimes all we can do is get on our knees and cry out to God for help.  Through prayer we all will find “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).  Psalm 144:2 is a prayer of declaration in time of need: “He is My steadfast love and My fortress, My stronghold and My deliverer, My shield and He in whom I take refuge.”  This Scripture not only gives you hope again, but it also gives you renewed strength through Christ.  Matthew 5:4 states the “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Let these words wash over you and remind you that you are not alone.  God is ALWAYS with you.

And, always remember that a blessing is not all about material things.  A blessing is simply God loving on us through a prayer being answered.  His continuous protection over your life and family.  A blessing is helping people in need.  We are blessed every day through Christ.

 

Facing Challenges

We all face challenges in life.  It could be mental, emotional, or physical.  Hardship sometimes causes us to have unhealthy emotions.  When we face challenges, the devil tries to convince us that it is impossible to overcome it.  We begin to doubt ourselves and feel defeated.  Satan wants us to lose the power and authority we have with God.  But the Lord wants us to feel empowered to overcome any obstacle that comes our way.  In Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’”  We are not alone in our battles!  God is with us every step of the way.

The decisions we make during hardships are crucial.  Our choices determine our future.  Our emotions can get in the way of making good decisions.  We can easily become impatient and angry.  We have to learn how to control our emotions to have a clear mind.  We must always be in prayer with every step we take to be an overcomer through Christ.  When we feel overwhelmed with our emotions, we need to “cast all [our] anxiety on [God]” (1 Peter 5:7).  We need to go to God in prayer so He can remind us He has already given us peace.  We just need to declare His peace over our lives!  In John 14:27, Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” 

Philippians 4:13 is a powerful Scripture that is well known and often misunderstood.  It states, “I can do all this through Him [, God,] who gives me strength.”  We cannot be overcomers through our own strength.  The only way we can overcome obstacles is through God.  We cannot do it alone!  We need God!

When we face challenges, God promises us rewards.  James 1:12 tells us “blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  The Bible says “that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).  We not only get rewarded, but we build our character through hardship.  We grow in our faith and learn who we are as an individual.

The Bible promises us “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  I encourage you to persevere “so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4).  I pray you stay strong in your faith.  Do not let the devil get you down.  God is on your side and will always be there for you!

Declaration: You are a conqueror through Christ!

“Beautifully Broken”

Recently, I started reading a book called, “The End of Me” written by Kyle Idleman.  So far, it has been an incredible book about the beauty of being broken in the presence of God.  Jesus becomes real in our lives when we are broken for Him.  It is when we come to the end of ourselves that God shows up to pick up the pieces of our lives to put them back together one-by-one.  In Luke 9:24, it states that “whoever loses life will find it.”

In this book, the author portrays a beautiful picture of what brokenness really looks like.  In Luke 7, Jesus is having dinner with a religious leader, Simon.  Simon has disregarded all tradition by not greeting Jesus with a kiss on the hand, washing his feet, and anointing his head with oil.  Simon is rich and the people feared him so he intentionally did not honor Jesus as his guest in his home.  Simon wanted to be the master of his home, not Jesus.  At one point in the middle of dinner, a sinful woman enters Simon’s home uninvited.  She heard through the crowds Jesus was in town and was having dinner with Simon and other religious leaders.  While everyone else looked at her with judgment, Jesus looked at her with unconditional love.  She did not focus on the disgruntled faces around her and allowed Jesus’ love to overwhelm her.  You see, Jesus saw “her as beautifully broken” while the others saw her as tainted and untouchable (“The End of Me”).

The woman kept her eyes focused on Jesus and knelt at Jesus’ feet.   She began to weep uncontrollably and, with her tears, she cleaned His feet.  She let down her hair and dried His feet.  She then took an entire bottle of perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet.  In this moment, “she offers all that she has, because He has changed all that she is” (“The End of Me”).  A prostitute, known for our profession, “has become a living embodiment of cleansing” (“The End of Me”).  Jesus tells her that her sins are forgiven (Luke 7:48).  Her brokenness is recognized, and she is made whole again.  What an incredible imagery of being made whole in Christ in just one moment.

“Brokenness often overflows with hidden beauty.  It is redemptive by design” (author unknown).  The moment Jesus forgave the woman from all her sins, it was redemption.  She was not ashamed of her past; she boldly walked into a religious leader’s home to have a moment with Jesus.  This Biblical story reminds us to never be ashamed to bear our scars in the church or around our family and friends.  Our past tells a story of redemption–of who we were and who we are today.

If you look closer in the story of Luke 7, we see that Simon is carrying around brokenness as well.  He is so arrogant about his status that he refused to greet his guests with traditions.  He does not respect who Jesus is and only invited Jesus to dinner out of obligation.  Instead of receiving a blessing from Jesus, he received a rebuke from Him.  The sinful woman knew that she was broken and needed Jesus’ forgiveness, but Simon, on the other hand, did not recognize his brokenness.

Romans 3:23 states that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  The truth is, we are all broken people who need Jesus.  We can complete this sentence: “We are the people who _________________________________________” (“The End of Me”).  Who have debt, ignored the hurting, looked down on others, etc.  We are the kind of people who wants to avoid being honest with ourselves.  “Most of us have some conception, in our heart to hearts, that a lot of the pieces never seem to be mended.  But we will go to great lengths to avoid the full, honest embrace of our condition” (“The End of Me”).  “The only solution for being broken is brokenness.  Brokenness is the way to wholeness.” (“The End of Me”).

APPLICATION

When was the last time you recognized your brokenness and knelt at Jesus’ feet overwhelmed by His love for you?  Are you avoiding the brokenness that keeps on pulling you down and telling you lies about yourself?  It’s time to bear your scars and be real with God and others about your past or present life.  It’s time for you to be whole again through Christ.

PRAYER

“God, take my broken pieces and remold them into what seems best for you” (“The End of Me”).  Lord, help me to be vulnerable and bear my scars so I can be mended and whole again.  In Your Name, Amen!

Worshipping Through Scripture Series -Being An Overcomer Through Christ

As Christians, we live in a world filled with chaos.  Every day we put on our Armor of God and fight the battles of this world.  With God on our side, we face “giants” with confidence and come out as winners through Christ.

There are several characters in the Bible who have fought and defeated giants.  One of the characters is named David.  In 1 Samuel, chapter 17, David fought and defeated a giant named, Goliath, with just a sling shot and a stone.  His story encourages us to stand strong on the battlefield, no matter what we are facing.

Two Christian artists, Francesca Battistelli and Blanca, wrote songs based off this Scripture to encourage Christians to not give up in the fight.  These songs remind us to stay on the battlefield and to trust that God will come through for us.  Francesca Battistelli wrote a song in 2014 called, “Giants Fall”.  The song is written in honor of a young girl, at the age of 11, who wanted to start an organization called, “Project Yesu”.  The purpose of the organization is to minister to girls and women in Uganda.  When the artist read her story about being mocked by others and being told she was crazy to start an organization, Battistelli was inspired to write a song to encourage all of us to be bold and courageous for what we believe in.  It’s never “too late” or “too far” to turn away from sin and walk with God (prodigal son, Luke 15:11:32).  We are never “too small” and it’s never “too hard” to go after our dreams (David and Goliath, 1 Samuel 17).

In the chorus, it states “don’t you be afraid of the giants in your way [because], with God you know that anything’s possible” (Referenced: Matthew 19:26; 1 John 4:18).  The chorus continues to encourage us to stay in the fight with boldness and bravery and watch the giants fall.  “With childlike faith” (Matthew 18:2-4), mountains will move and miracles will happen (Hebrews 11:1; Matthew 17:20).

Blanca, also wrote a powerful song in 2015 called, “Greater is He”.  She wrote the song in honor of her mother being diagnosed with cancer.  The artist was inspired by her mother’s courageous fight to live.  The song lyrics expresses the struggles we deal with on a daily basis.  It starts out saying, “I face a giant in over my head.  Help me to look up [and remember to] take a deep breath” (Referenced: David and Goliath, 1 Samuel 17).  These lyrics are a prayer to God desperately crying out to Him to be present in our circumstances.  I imagine this artist face down on the floor crying out to God for a miracle for her mother.

In the chorus, Blanca declares who God is through Jesus’ miracles.  She states that her family have faced “an ocean [with] waves raging (Psalm 89:9, 93:4; Mark 4:35-41) and, with faith, they have “step[ped] out on the sea” to meet Jesus (Matthew 14:2-23).  The song continues on to proclaim God’s name.  We can face anything “in His name”.

APPLICATION

We were all made to be warriors through Christ.  The songs mentioned above are powerful and will lift our spirits when we are discouraged and feel defeated.  The lyrics and the meaning behind these songs come from the heart of these artists.  Battistelli and Blanca both wrote songs through inspiration of others.  They were inspired by someone else’s strength while going through hardship.

These two songs declare who God is through Scripture.  Just like David in 1 Samuel 17, we have our own battles to fight and win.  The lyrics remind us to stay strong in the fight and always have God by our side.  Philippians 4:13 states that we “can do all things through Him who gives [us] strength.”  I encourage you to put on your Armor of God and run onto the battlefield to face your giants.

OTHER REFERENCES TO LOOK UP

  • Joshua 24:14-18 (Joshua’s Story) – “Every Giant Will Fall” by Rend Collective, The Promise land.

Being Transparent

Last night, during a book study at church, God told me to tell the group a specific story about my past. This is not a story I tell to many and telling it to a group of people at one time was a bit scary. Instead of being obedient to God, I figdeted in my seat quietly. I kept on asking, “Why this story, God? Any other story but this one.” He reminded me of what I said two weeks ago in the study. I said that I was working on my past to make it a testimony. Last night, God gave me the opportunity to tell my story, and I left church with a misopportunity. God kept telling me that someone needs to hear your story tonight, but fear got in the way of telling it.

The truth is, we should never be afraid to share our past with others, because we are living in victory today by overcoming it. We should never be ashamed of who we were, because what happened in the past shaped our today. We need to realize our story matters, and it encourages others. I need to put into practice what I preach.

Below is the link to my story.  A story full of regret, past hurts, and being unlovable.  A story that is powerful and can encourage others if I allow it to be talked about in group settings.  The second link is to encourage you to write your story on my page, and let it encourage those who read it.  Your story matters!  Our story matters!

https://aprilcoon.wordpress.com/my-testimony/

https://aprilcoon.wordpress.com/readers-testimonies/

Follower of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17).

According to John 3:16-17, we must all believe that Jesus was crucified on the cross and rose on the third day to be followers of Christ. In the Book of John, chapter 14, verse 6, Jesus declares that He is “‘the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through [Him].’”

We all have the choice to be a Christ follower. Before we can fully commit to the Lord, we must ask ourselves tough questions.

Am I willing to give up my old life completely to follow after God?
Am I willing to be obedient when God calls me to do something?
Will I stand up for my beliefs when I am being persecuted for being a Christian?

It takes courage and boldness to be a Christian and stand up for our faith. To follow after God whole-heartedly means we must surrender our lives to Him. Being a devoted Christian is not for the weak but for those who are strong in their beliefs. We cannot let what others think about us affect our Christian walk. The world will mock us for the decisions we have made to be a Christ follower. First Corinthians 11:1 says we are “[an imitator] of [Jesus], as [He is] of Christ.” According to this Scripture, once we are Christians, we act Christ-like and look more like Jesus every day.

We are to know God on an intimate level. We are to know His Word and know Him in our hearts. John 1:1 says, “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” According to Matthew 7:13-14, not many are Christ followers. The Scripture bluntly states that a few will “enter through the narrow gate.” The wide gate “leads to destruction and many enter through it”; the narrow gate “leads to life.”

A follower of Christ will be set apart from the world. Christians will be judged by the words they say and how they act. Few people will choose the “narrow gate” because living for Christ means giving up everything we have ever known and learn a new way of living. The majority will say, “it will not be worth it” but the minority will say, “it is worth it all.” This is where we see the difference between a fan of Christ and a follow of Christ. A fan will blend into the crowd and a follower will stand out from the crowd.

The world may be full of chaos and confusion, but Jesus brings light into the darkness. John 8:12 says, He “is the light of the world. Whoever follows [Him] will not walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” Jesus is our hope in a world full of hurt and disappointments. God brings a world of chaos back into order. He dries up our tears and gives us joy. He heals our hurts and surrounds us with His compassion.

When we accept Christ in our hearts and believe He died for our sins, our faith flourishes into new levels with God. It is inevitable to see change in our lives and see Christ working in us as we are strengthening our faith in Him.

As we continue growing as Christians, we turn from being a fan into a follower. Followers of Christ understand that no matter what God calls them to do, they will not hesitate to obey Him. They also understand that making sacrifices to be closer to Christ is worth it!

Today, I encourage you to make a life-changing decision to follow after God with all your heart! If you are struggling in life right now, trust that God will see you through it. If you have doubts about following after God, take a bold step forward and see how God can transform your life. If you need help making this decision, find a pastor or a Christian friend to answer any questions you have on becoming a Christian or how to grow in your Christian walk. You are never alone in this journey with God!

Application:

I challenge you to evaluate your life and see how you are living out your Christian walk. What are some areas in your life that you need to surrender to God? What are some areas you would like to work on to be more Christ-like?

Write down some ways you can have a deeper relationship with God. Think about what it means to be a Christ follower and how that is compared to being a fan of Jesus.

My Testimony

My Story Full of Regret, Past Hurts, and Being Unlovable

After asking you to share your story with others, it is only fair that I tell you my story.

The story of my home life growing up was much like a fairy tale. I grew up in a loving and caring home, never lacking anything. I lived with a mother and a father who loved each other and made sure their children were provided for. I was a very happy child who enjoyed life. But, even though I had a fairy tale home life, it does not mean there were not challenges and struggles in my life. My family was in and out of church until I was seventeen years old. We believed in God but, at times, did not devote our lives to Christ. There were many insecurities and wrong mindsets that I was raised in that I had to break away from and learn how to conquer them.

As I continue to conquer my childhood fears, God is teaching me how to be a confident woman in Christ. Recently, I have conquered my ultimate fear. It is the fear of rejection and being imperfect. I grew up with an unhealthy and unrealistic belief that I needed to be flawless to be loved. I did not want to disappoint others so I created a false image of myself. I would try to impress others by becoming just like them to feel accepted. If people were disappointed in me or did not like me, I would be very upset and try to win them over by doing anything to get their approval, even if it meant going against my beliefs. I created an unhealthy approval addiction that lasted over thirty years. I cannot say I have fully overcome these insecurities, but I can say I have boundaries. I allow God to have the final say in my actions and words.

How I overcame these fears was not a simple task. I had to go back into my past hurts and failures to see the root of the problem. I had to relive moments that I was not proud of and work through the emotions. As I was trying to find peace from my past, it brought on more guilt and shame into my life.

Through trying to process these hurts and failures, I became depressed. I hurt my family with my harsh words, lost friendships due to isolation, and missed big events in my family’s life due to depression. I was haunted daily by the fear of rejection and loneliness. The fear became a reality, and I created a life filled with negative mindsets and false accusations. I thought everyone was against me, and I had to protect myself from being hurt again. I tried to look normal on the outside when everything within me was chaotic.

During this time, I broke off an engagement, stopped communicating with my family for almost a year, lost my best friend and roommate, almost lost my job, and left my church due to being judged. Life was falling apart, and I did not know where to go for help. In the midst of all this chaos, the doctor put me on antidepressants and a strong sleeping pill. The prescribed medicine put me into a deeper depression. I could think clearly but did not know what to do with my thoughts. I felt like a zombie with no control over my emotions. I became an angry person, not caring what others thought about me.

One night I was tired of hurting those around me by my actions and words and did not want to live another day. I was miserable and afraid. This was not the first time to think these thoughts, but it was the first time that I wanted to act on them. As I am writing this, tears are rolling down my face knowing that this was a very low moment in my life. I still struggle with the fact that I wanted to end my life. I picked up my prescription sleeping pills off the bedside table and thought about taking just enough so I would not wake up in the morning to another dreadful day. No one was in my home to stop me. Not many people knew I was depressed, because I kept my thoughts to myself. No one would have guessed that I had suicidal thoughts.

God saved me that night. Instead of taking the pills, I fell asleep with the pill bottle in my hand. I woke up the next morning with the bottle next to me on my bed, never opened. Since that day, I have fought for purpose over my life and asked God back into my heart. I am thankful for waking up every day and having the opportunity to share God’s love with others. This is not a moment I want to relive, but that night God brought me back to Him. I am reminded daily of the Scripture, Psalm 30:5, which says, “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” I am grateful for God’s unconditional love for me. Even when I turned away from Him, He was there to rescue me. This happened in spring of 2007, and it has taken me nearly seven years to heal the hurt and shame from these events.

I pray that my story touches someone’s life, maybe even yours. I hope you can see how God loves you no matter where you are in life. Our stories matter, and we need to share them with others. To be honest, it took me two weeks to finally write my story in this blog. I was fearful of being rejected or looked at differently because of my past. God empowered me to write my story for the very first time so I can turn my past hurts and failures into a testimony. Before now, my mother and head pastor were the only ones who knew my story. I have been too fearful to speak it out, but now I am learning what it means to be transparent. I am learning how to completely trust God with my story. It is now time for you to trust God with your story, and let Him turn it into a testimony.

Share Your Story – Part Three

THE IMPORTANCE OF TELLING YOUR STORY

The Bible has great stories of men and women who shared their stories with others. They shared how Jesus healed them and saved them from their sins. These people did not just tell their stories, but they told about Jesus’ miracles.

Biblical Examples

Jesus Heals a Blind Man

In the Book of John, chapter nine, Jesus and His disciples saw a man who was blind from birth. The disciples question Jesus asking Him, “’who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ and Jesus replied, ’neither this man nor his parents sinned […] but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him’” (verses 2-3).

Jesus approached the blind man. He “spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes” (verse 6). Jesus told the man to “wash in the Pool of Siloam,” and the man obeyed (verse 7). Jesus gave the man his sight by using spit and mud. Now, this is not a story that many people would believe unless they saw the miracle firsthand.

The man went home and his neighbors questioned whether or not this was the same man who was blind. His neighbors began to ask questions. The man told them about the encounter with Jesus. They brought this man to the Pharisees. The man was questioned by the Pharisees, and he proceeded to tell the story. He declared that, “’[Jesus] is a prophet’” (verse 17).

The Pharisees did not believe that this man was ever blind and asked to speak with his parents. His parents refused to answer the questions and told them to ask their son directly. They spoke with the man again and the man repeated his story for the third time. In verse 25, he declared, “’I was blind but now I see!”

The Pharisees released the man. The man had a second encounter with Jesus and became a Christian. Jesus’ miracle did not just bless the blind man, but Jesus’ name was spread throughout the neighborhoods and to the Pharisees. This man’s story turned into a testimony once he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. Whether or not anyone believed him, he shared his story with others and gave God the glory.

The Samaritan Woman

In the Book of John, chapter 4, verses 1 through 42, Jesus was resting alone at a well “when a Samaritan woman came to draw water” (verse 7). Jesus asked her for a drink of water. The woman responded, “’You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’” (verse 7). During Jesus’ time, the Jews and the Samaritans did not associate with each other.

Jesus and the Samaritan woman continued to ask each other questions. The woman observed that Jesus did not have a pail to draw water from the well and inquired about it. Jesus answered, “’everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life’” (verses 13-14). In verse 10, Jesus says He is “living water.”

The woman was eager to receive the “living water” that Jesus was talking about, and He began to speak truth over her life. He revealed that she was not married and was previously married five times. The man she was currently with was not her husband. The woman did not deny Jesus’ statements and said, “’I can see that you are a prophet’” (verse 19).

The woman was instantly changed by Jesus’ encounter. She left her watering jug at the well and walked back to town. She said to the people, “’come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?’” (verse 29). The people followed the Samaritan woman out of the town to find this Messiah that she was talking about.

The Samaritan woman brought many people to Christ by sharing her story. In verse 39, it says, “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.” Jesus stayed with the Samaritans for two days and continued to share God’s love with them. In verse 42, the people of the town declared, “’we no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.’”

Why we Need to Tell Our Story

After reading about the blind man and the Samaritan woman, we see the importance of sharing our story. We must be willing to be transparent with others to bring people to Christ. God has transformed our story into a testimony. It is not just a story about heartache and regret. It is a testimony of God’s love in our lives. He has changed our story from something we thought was ugly to something beautiful. God healed us and brought hope into our lives.

When we tell our story, we tell about Jesus! Jesus tells the blind man in John 9:5 that “I am the light of the world.” If we are created in God’s image, then we are to be the “light of the world.” Will you tell your story to the world?

Application:

Telling our stories are important. It helps ourselves as well as others grow in Christ.  I encourage you to re-evaluate your life to see if there are any areas that you are ashamed of or too embarrassed to speak out loud. If you feel comfortable, write down what these areas are and pray over them. During your prayer time, spend some time in the Bible looking up Scriptures for boldness and courage.