A Culture of Testimony

Hi everyone! My name is Amanda. I am a leader on the Houston RECESS team. The last time I wrote for RECESS was when our RECESS Houston 2017/2018 group was about to start back in September. Well, that beautiful group has now finished, and I am writing ​to you ​again to share what God has been speaking to me now that this season of RECESS has ended and a new one has begun.

If you’ve been following RECESS on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know we are currently sharing testimonies from our RECESS Houston group. We share testimonies because they’re POWERFUL. One of my favorite things about RECESS is the testimony we gain of His goodness. As we seek Him, we find Him, and those testimonies of finding Him often are the keys to our victory in the seasons to come. To show you what I mean, I want to walk you ​through a series of verses God has been ​speaking to me on while reading Bill Johnson and Randy Clark’s book The Essential Guide to Healing. These verses reveal the power of our testimonies​. They are so good I ​feel like my heart’s about to jump out of my chest!​ I’m praying that God will use my words and His to encourage you to stir up your heart in hope for His promises!

“Truly I understand that God shows no partiality” Acts 10:34

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever more.” Heb 13:8

God took me back to Acts 10:34, reminding me that He shows no partiality. Then He took me to Hebrews 13:8, reminding me that He is the same yesterday today and forever.  What this means in terms of our testimonies is the things we’ve seen and the stories we’ve read and heard about, even in the Bible, can happen again. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He shows no partiality. If He healed one man, He’s willing to heal another. If He healed yesterday, He’s willing and able to heal today. It’s not just reserved for certain people at a certain time. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever, and He shows no partiality in His love. His love is relentless, and His love is for all people for all times, and I get to stand in agreement with that for myself and for everyone around me.

Many of you may be familiar with the verse in Revelation 19 that says, “Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” There are many amazing truths wrapped up in this one verse, but one thing it reveals is the very thing I mentioned above: if God’s done it before, He will do it again. “Worship God, because the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy.” In other words, every time we share a testimony of something God has done, we are prophesying, meaning we are declaring and releasing His power to do it again, even now. Did you know that the root of the Hebrew word for “testimony” actually means “to do again”? That is because our testimonies are not only stories and reminders of what He’s done in the past, but they are revelations of what He’ll do again. And every time we share them, we release through our words the prophetic power of God to accomplish His will again and again and again and again!

To say it differently, when we share testimonies, we are actually prophesying and contending for it to happen again – freedom, understanding, grace, healing, community, wholeness – for any of us – for all of us! – because He is for ALL of us. He paid it all for ALL of us. And if we believe that, how can we not believe that miracles can happen within and all around us? If our stories of restoration are prophecies, how can we not believe that every time we share them we’re getting to “give” our restoration out over and over and over again. “Freely you received, freely give” Matt 10:8. May our hearts be filled with an atmosphere of expectancy!

“You should diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and His testimonies and His statues which He has commanded you” Deut 6:17

Another verse God led me to recently was Deuteronomy 6:17. I’ve heard people teach on this verse before, and when they do, they usually focus on the part about keeping God’s commandments. But what I realized in reading it this time is that the verse tells us to also keep God’s testimonies! We are to diligently hold on to the testimonies of God! The original translation of the word “diligently keep” is “to protect” and “to guard like a watchman”. God wants us to protect our testimonies by not letting them fall to the wayside! He wants us to hold on to them so that we can share them and experience the reality of Him doing it again! Just as we seek to carry His commandments, He wants us to also diligently carry His testimonies because He wants us to be believing believers who create a culture of faith that is so thick that we see Him “do it again” – not just for one of us but for all of us!

Commandments show us how to live, statues show us how to think, and testimonies show us what to expect. Let us be full of expectations for what He will do!

“The sons of Ephraim were archers equipped with bows, yet they turned back in the day of battle. They did not keep the covenant of God and refused to walk in his law. They forgot His deeds And His miracles that He has shown them” – Psalm 78:9-11

This is another verse the Lord has led me to. We see in it that the sons of Ephraim were equipped and trained for battle, yet they turned back on where God was leading them. They weren’t willing to risk it all and obey the Lord and fight. Why? Because they’d forgotten their testimony. They’d forgotten what He’d done among them – the miracles He’d shown them – His promise to fight for them – His power and deeds and miracles that He had placed deep within them. They forgot their testimonies, and therefore, they lost sight of the promise they had going into this battle.

Our testimonies from past battles hold His promises for our present and future battles. That’s why I said earlier they are the keys to our future victories. Let us be bold in our lives as believers to cling to Your miracles, God! Let us not forget our testimonies and forsake Your victory. I pray that Your miracles don’t stop with us. I pray that we surrender to an atmosphere of agreement with You, God, that this wasn’t a one time thing – that You want to continue the miracle over and over and over again. Let us expect that. Let us stir up our hearts to be expectant of that – that this wasn’t a one time thing but a new beginning – for us and for many.

Let us not just be a member of a Christian club, but let us learn to be Soldiers on the front battle lines – knowing that our awareness of You changes how we think and live our lives. Let us not lose our passion – burying ourselves in busy Christian activity void of the supernatural. Let us not become warriors who are disarmed and powerless through the many activities that do nothing to increase the demonstration of God’s power through love to those around us. We don’t want just one encounter with You, we want a lifetime of encounters. We want to be continually marked and changed and undone by You! To live without an expectancy of miracles is to rob You of the glory You deserve! And I no longer want to be part of that! I no longer want that for Your church!

“When we forget the miracles, we talk about them less. When we talk about them less, we expect them even less. And if our expectations of the miraculous decline, miracles eventually disappear from our lives altogether. It is my personal convocation that every one of Israel’s backsliding can be traced back to a time when they stopped keeping testimony. Remaining conscious of the God who invaded the impossible was supposed to keep them from evils of idolatry and rebellion. Failure to keep the testimony removed the mental and emotional standard that protected them from becoming like other nations.

One of the most interesting parts of this truth about keeping testimony is found in the story of Israel and the Tabernacle of Moses. God had given His people specific ways to do things, especially pertaining to worship. The single most important piece of furniture in the Tabernacle during the Temple era was the Ark of the Covenant. It was a box covered in gold that was placed inside the Holy of Holies. This is where the presence of God manifested for all of Israel. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest would come into the room that was lit only by the presence of the Lord. He was there to present the offering of blood to postpone the penalty of sin for one more year. No one else could enter, ever.

This Ark contained a jar of manna, the almond rod of Aaron and the tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments written on them. Since each of these items revealed works of God, the Ark also became known as the Ark of the Testimony. On top of this golden box, two cherubim faced each other. Between those two angelic creatures was a chair for God called the mercy seat.

Here’s the wonderful truth: every time you share a testimony with someone, you usher the mercy seat of God into their lives. Each testimony gives an invitation for listeners to taste of God’s mercy for themselves. This is part of the amazing purpose for the testimony in the Kingdom culture. It single-handedly sustains the miraculous, while at the same time invites in the uninitiated into a relationship with the One who alone can bring redemptive touch to every single part of life.” Bill Johnson, The Essential Guide to Healing

God, I pray that we step into agreement with Your miracle culture, and that we do not get in the way of seeing miracles all around us. I pray that we share them. I pray that we contend for them. I pray that we advocate for them. I pray that we expect them. Let us not be like the sons Ephraim who forgot everything You had shown them and stirred up in them. Let us change from being hearers to being doers. Let us become believing believers and contend for miracles in every part of our lives. “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Rev 12:11 May we hold fast to His commandments and our testimonies. As we do, I am confident that we will overcome!

Be sure to follow us on social media for all the testimonies of God’s goodness in our RECESS Houston group. And know that as you’re reading them, His power is present with you to accomplish it again in your life and world. Amen!

Love,

Amanda


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