Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 17, 2013

"They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death."  Rev. 12:11

This verse testifies to the power of testimonies of believers. I believe many Christians aren't aware of the influence their testimony can wield.

In the previous post I briefly shared my testimony and how it impacted the lives of David and Bev Marine. Here is another testimony from a lady named Rhonda Baker:

I didn't grow up in a Christian home and was pretty much known as what people refer to as a CEO (attending church on Christmas/Easter only). My parents divorced when I was a little girl which left me devastated and very insecure. There were times I was scared to go to school and missed the bus on purpose in fear of my mom not being home when I returned. I felt abandoned when my dad moved out of our home and I feared my mom would leave as well. Although my mom remarried and I grew up in a blended family of eight children, we had everything we needed just not everything we wanted. My stepfather was very good to me although he didn't have the freedom to really love me or discipline me as one of his own children. I began to seek love outside our family structure and eventually experienced what I thought was love at the young age of 17 with an alcoholic. When I graduated from high school, I went to work for a corporation where I met a guy a few years older than me who was really different. He was very kind and respectful toward me and we developed a friendship. Eventually he invited me to attend a church with him where he was singing in a quartet. It was the very first time I had ever heard the Word of God in an inspirational way. I was so intrigued by the way he lived his life, I broke off and engagement with my alcoholic fiancĂ©. Randy and I then began dating but I didn't really understand why he lived his life the way he did. When I found out he loved God, I pretended to know what he was talking about and pretended to be a believer because of how much I liked him. Hey, don't judge me – he was nice AND good looking! I broke up with him as well because again, I didn't understand his lifestyle even though I had fallen in love with him. I was brokenhearted and eventually I walked into the Wesleyan Church he had spoke of so very often with a pastor who had a strong gift of evangelism (I.e., Brad Snyder). I was curious and once I was there the love of the people just drew me in. I wanted the kind of life they had. I finally asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and my life has never been the same since.
Fast forward . . . I was never able to attend college right out of high school and always felt "less than" because of it. I had a strong sense of calling to vocational ministry but didn't pursue it for many years because of the many years of education it would require. I will never forget the day I could no longer deny this calling on my life. Our firstborn son was stillborn and although it was several years later, the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart, "Rhonda, do you remember when you held your stillborn son and there was no life or breathe in him? That's what it's like when I look at you! I created you for a purpose and you are living your life as if you are stillborn in your faith! You are not being obedient to the life I have called you to. You are lifeless in your faith!" Wow! At about the same time my pastor came to me and said, "Don't you think it's time you did what God has called you to do?" He said, "Sometimes God opens doors to us that we could never open ourselves. Why don't you talk to the seminary and see what kind of training you can receive? I interviewed and applied with them and God opened a door for me to receive a Master's of Divinity degree without a Bachelor's Degree. I don't tell you this information to boast of myself but to boast of what God is capable of doing in a life that is ready and willing to be obedient to God. I now serve in a church of over 17,000 people in what people refer to as "sin-city" as a Women's Pastor. I never thought I'd ever step inside a strip club, but I do so to befriend other women the way I was befriended from someone who just accepted me where I was and showed me through their friendship what Jesus is like (Jesus, the friend of sinners). I have also recently helped found and now serve on the board of a new non-profit ministry for women in and transitioning out of the sex industry. It's been quite a journey, but I'm so very thankful for everyone who took the time to show me Jesus' love. Had it not been for their examples, I would never have experienced having a front row seat of seeing so many women's lives being transformed. I am truly honored to experience a taste of heaven here on this earth and yes, even in Las Vegas. I am always, always, always amazed at the power of God's love and the impact it can have on individual lives for the Kingdom of God! I heard a pastor say one time, "one life touches a life, which touches a life, which touches a life, which touches a life, and the ripple continues on. How beautiful are the ripples of God's love through friendship.
Oh, and by the way, I began to pray those many years ago for God to bring that Godly man back into my life that I broke up with. We have now been married over 32 years and the guy who is telling my story . . . Well, he was the pastor of that little Wesleyan Church in Princeton, IL I was saved in and he's the one who married us.
Thank you very much for allowing me to share just a little piece of my life. May God use my story to inspire others to live out their calling in the body of Christ.
Thanks, Rhonda for sharing your testimony with us!
I love life change!
Don't you?