Testimonies

In this section I’ll share some of my personal experiences that illustrate some of the principles of the One with Christ studies. If you have a testimony that you’d like to share to encourage others then please email it through.

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Repentance, Faith and Transformation

Often in the One with Christ studies we come back to repentance and note that real repentance involves a true change of heart that only God can bring. So if we are to repent then we need to come to Him with the faith that we can be different. We don’t stop with accepting His forgiveness, but rather we seek God and keep seeking until He changes our hearts. A nice illustration of this happened recently when my son Jacob was intentionally provoking his sisters. I could see that he was enjoying the sport of upsetting the girls and this would happen fairly frequently. On one obvious occasion, true to the parenting principles of Francois Fenelon (one of my favorite authors), I didn’t correct the behavior at the time. I simply told Jacob to stop and then left it. Later on that evening we were talking together before bed and we addressed the problem. I said “Jacob, something in your dark side delights in provoking the girls.” (For a few weeks when Jacob was younger, he had enjoyed the Stars Wars movies and so we spoke of the flesh or fallen nature and the Spirit in terms of the light side and dark side of the heart.) When I said that, the edges of his mouth curled up into a suppressed smile. He knew he liked it. Jacob looked at me and said “I know. But what can I do about it?” So I explained that he simply needed God to take that part of the darkness out of his heart. Jacob believed that God was able to set him free from that part of the sin nature, so right there he prayed “God, I’m sorry for provoking the girls. Can you please take it out of my heart?” That was it: the simple prayer of a child. And God answered. Through a simple prayer of faith and repentance, Jacob was changed. The provoking stopped. We had peace in the family. There was still the occasional time when Jacob accidentally upset the girls, but he found no delight in it. God had dealt with that part of his heart and he was free. I remember saying to Mel at the time that I’m sure parenting wasn’t supposed to be so easy. But maybe that is actually the way that God wants it. Maybe He just wants us to believe that He can change us, desire the change and then ask Him for it. Believe, repent, and let Him act.  ...

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Humility

In the One with Christ studies the subject of humility comes up from time to time. God really lifts up the lowly and broken hearted and resists our pride. The problem with pride is that it is often hard to recognize the pride in our hearts. Even when we are well-intended, we can be well-intended and sincerely proud.  A point in case: In my younger years, I had a good friend that I wanted to come to faith in Christ. An event happened that I thought could only be solved by a miraculous move of God. If God acted, it would prove to my friend that God is real (and I was right). So I decided to pray through the night and see if I could twist God’s arm into moving. I prayed through the entire night and no miracle came. I went to bed thinking that I had done all I could do. What more could God possibly require than an all-night prayer session? Why wasn’t He moving? Later the next night I was again praying before God for Him to move. And in His infinite grace, He spoke. It was not an audible voice, but rather a firm and clear flow of thought that I knew was not from me. He said: “Just remember who you are. You are just a boy with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread.” I was humbled and elated at the same time. All I could do was laugh at my naive pride. God was so gracious. He humbled me, put me in my place, erased that sense of pride, and gave me the promise that if I gave Him the little that I had, He would multiply it to an incredibly abundant feast. And so I did. In prayer I gave Him everything that He had given me and asked Him to bless it and use it to His glory. And He has been doing this ever since–taking my little offerings and multiplying them for His glory. So I’d like to encourage you: give God back the little that He has given you and see what He does with it. PS. After we had sorted out that part of my heart through repentance, faith, forgiveness and love, God spoke further, saying that He would solve the situation, but not in the way I wanted. There would be no clear miracle, and God would get no glory. And I was okay with that. He was doing what He wanted in His own way, and He was letting me tag along.  ...

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Revelation of the Heart

In Series Two and Three we look at the importance of knowing the spiritual state of our own hearts. Like the Laodiceans, we need the Spirit of Jesus to reveal our hearts to us so that we can turn to Him and find transformation and freedom. As we mature in Christ we have times that are real milestones or turning points in our journey. For me, some of these turning points came as I saw the reality of my own heart. One such time I was listening to someone talk of the Song of Solomon as a picture of our relationship with Jesus. He spoke of the love of God being like strong or intoxicating wine. It was the word intoxicating that stayed with me. You can’t have a dominantly intellectual faith and honestly say that you are intoxicated with God’s love. This kind of experience was of the heart, and it was an experience that I had not had, ever. I believed in God and wanted to grow in Christ, but for me, His love just wasn’t overwhelming. It made sense of paper, but in my life it simply wasn’t real to me. So at that point in time, all I could say is: “God your love is not like wine to me. I don’t find your love intoxicating at all. If this is the truth, I am living far from it. So Jesus please, teach me drink of your love and let me keep drinking of your love. Intoxicate my heart.” At that point I felt my journey in Christ take off. The Spirit moved. Love was calling. And within two short years, I was utterly and irreversibly changed by God’s love. I was intoxicated with the love of Christ in a way that would redefine my entire life. Jesus became my beloved and I became His. I’ll look forward to sharing more about that experience of God’s love in a future post. For now, I would encourage you to ask yourself: am I intoxicated with the love of God? If not, do I want to be overwhelmed by His love?  ...

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Head vs Heart

Head vs. Heart In Series One we look at the vital need for our head-knowledge to become heart knowledge. We all have different experiences of this and often it takes a fair amount of time for the knowledge to make it from our head to our heart. But at other times, it can happen as an instant work of revelation. I remember a close friend telling me of her revelation that God is Love. She had a palpable excitement and eyes that glowed with the light of revelation because she had come to truly know in her heart that God is Love. And that revelation changed her. However, for me that same revelation came over many years. One quick work of heart-knowledge came at a conference where we were introduced to meditating on the word of God. As an exercise, we were told to take a verse and to simply meditate on it. Think about it, dwell on it, repeat it. Let it settle on our hearts. So I took just one verse from Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall lack nothing.” After only 20 minutes of dwelling on the word, God had impressed it forever in my heart. I knew that I would never, ever lack anything that I truly needed. This knowledge produced real faith which was then tested some time later when I had only $2 to make it through 5 days. I figured that I could live on water for 5 days, so gave my situation to God. I decided not to tell anyone of my situation, but rather just give it all to God. If He wanted to feed me, He could do it. If not, I would fast until the end of 5 days. On day 1, a friend of mine asked for help. She was a chef who had over-catered for a conference and now had a lot of food she had to get rid of. I said I was happy to assist her. She loaded me up with croissants, fruit and a massive slab of triple-layer chocolate gateaux–enough to last me a couple of days. I felt like I was eating like a king. Around day 3, I helped out a person with their computer who then insisted on buying me dinner to say thanks. On day 4 a friend invited me to shoot some pool so I went out with him and met up with another friend. He was pleased to see us because he had just been given a big sack of French pastries that were going to be thrown out from a local bakery and there was too much for him to eat. So we helped him out. I found that over the 5 days I ate better than I would have if I had had the money to buy my own food. God was beyond faithful. God had placed His truth in my heart. It had produced faith which enabled me to receive the grace of God, over and again. Time and again I have been broke in the eyes of the world, but God has miraculously provided for me and my family. The truth of God’s provision has been established in our heads and hearts, and has led us to constantly receive the grace of His...

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