Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 12, 2017

"Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.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."  Revelation 12:10-11

One of the reasons the testimonies of the saints above were so powerful is because they arose from a period of severe testing. When they were faced with persecution they stood faithful to their faith in the face of suffering and death.

Personal testimonies always tell a story of life-change or faithfulness or courage in times of testing. They have power because they offer living proof of the power of God.

I went forward during the invitation at the end of a Sunday evening service in a tiny Bible Church in Bourbon, Indiana. I was only seven years old but I remember the pastor struggling with how to share the gospel with a seven-year old. Then, almost as if inspired, he began to tell the story of Noah and the Ark and explained that being saved is like coming into the Ark. I affirmed that was what I wanted to do and he led me in the salvation prayer. I became a Christian that night 56 years ago.

At the age of 10, my family and I were invited to attend a Wesleyan Church in the nearby town. We went the Sunday following our invitation and we never stop going. Silver Lake Wesleyan Church became our church home. Through that church I was introduced to Summer camp and a group of young people from all over Northern Indiana. Some of those people became life-long friends of mine.

My association and friendship with those young people and my church family were instrumental in helping me grow in my walk with God. One evening during Youth Camp service, I went forward at the end of a service and surrendered my life completely to God and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Shortly after that experience I began to sense a calling from God to pastoral ministry.

Although I resisted that calling for several years. I finally surrendered to His call for my life and applied to Indiana Wesleyan University. I am the first person from my family to go to college. It was nothing short of a miracle that I was able to financially afford college.

My four years at IWU were formative years for a number of reasons. I developed personally, spiritually, socially, intellectually and in leadership. Surrounded by amazing people of God, my passion for God and for ministry was shaped by my days at Indiana Wesleyan.

Right out of college, I received a call to become the pastor at Princeton Wesleyan Church in Princeton, Illinois. With great excitement and trepidation I headed west to the prairie of North Central Illinois. God had favor on me and those good people were very gracious and patient with me and that tiny church began to grow. Involved in that growth was a couple named Dave and Bev Marine. Here is his story:

In 1974 I decided living together with my wife was wrong. I chose the Wesleyan  Church on Pleasant Street to ask the Pastor if he would marry us,as I was familiar with Pastor Olander, and my Uncle Glen had preached there. Pastor Olander was no longer there, but a new Pastor named Brad Snyder was the new Pastor. We met, and we immediately hit it off. We had many similar likes, and sports was one of the biggest things we liked. I didn't know it, but I was about to find another thing we would have in common...the love of Jesus Christ. Brad invited me to a pick up basketball game, and he played for a for a long time, and PB started witnessing about the Lord to me. I found all kind of reasons not to commit, but in the end, PB wore me down, and I have been thankful every since!

Bev and I went up to the altar and gave our lives to the Lord. I wish I could say from that point on that every thing went well, but we had problems, and back slid for a bit, but we always came back to the Lord, as his mercy is always there for us.

I can say that at the present time my faith has grown to it's highest level,as we have had a serious life event that has caused me to dig very deep to survive the effects that has rocked my life, as my love mate has had a debilitating stroke. Without God and answered prayers, I would have crumbled, but God's strength is sufficient and I have been able to cope with my situation. Praise be to God!

Am I perfect as a Christian? No way, but I continue to strive, and I am convicted by the Holy Spirit to improve my obedience to God's will. Every day I thank the Lord for his grace and for all the blessings he has bestowed on our family. He is truly a great God!

Testimonies are powerful and become more powerful when my testimony of life-change changes the life of another!

Because of the impact of two tiny churches in Indiana on my life, I had a testimony that was able to impact David and Bev in a small church in Illinois!

Now their testimony has touched you!

Never underestimate the power of your testimony!