This week alone is a week of GREAT TESTIMONY.Last Sunday morning a lady we had prayed for came up to me and said she was completely healed of hip and knee issues she'd been having (awesome story of God's creativity). That night I was in a service where over 25 people were healed of all sorts of various issues without ever having a hand laid on them. Just over the past 4 days in Redding we've had testimonies of salvation, healing, deliverance, financial provision, breakthrough, and so many other stories of His goodness. A cancer tumor disappeared, a brain dead woman awoke out of a coma, a very bad broken leg was completely healed, and MORE. God showed up in our first year class in such a POWERFUL way that 1200 students became still in complete awe of His presence. It was definitely a stepping stone to the POWER and PRESENCE that God has been saying He would pour out on our class this year. Words don't describe the expectancy I have for this next week as the Helsers, Mama Heidi, and Randy Clark will be joining us. There is faith and expectation permeating the atmosphere, as we can tangibly feel God preparing an outpouring of His Spirit on us!! AHHHH... I'm giddy with excitement.
Testimonies increase faith and expectancy. "We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony!" (Rev. 12:11) "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10)
A testimony gives an account or a witness to something that has been done. In our case, they give an account specifically to things that God has done and subsequently will do AGAIN! Reciting a testimony in its nature not only praises God for what He has done, but prophesies "DO IT AGAIN LORD!" We see evidence of pulling on testimony for breakthrough throughout scripture. When God has done something in the past or said that He would do something we are able to go to that testimony, speak it, pray about it, and see faith arise for the fruit of it.
Today I want to take a little time to look at how God raised up Joshua on the power of the testimony. Joshua has always been one of my favorite people in the Bible. I believe he was someone that God trusted. Joshua built an intimacy with the Father that was very precious and unique. I love this scripture about Joshua's relationship with God. "Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent." Most of us often use this verse when discussing how intimate God was with Moses (which He definitely was), but I find it even more interesting that Joshua wouldn't leave the tent. He was determined to know God. He was determined to be intimate with Him. He was determined to please Him.
I was reading in Exodus when I came across something that caught my attention. "Then the Lord said to Moses, "Write this as a memorial in a book and RECITE IT in the ears of Joshua..." (Exodus 17:14)
Exodus chapter 17 is actually the first time we ever see Joshua mentioned in the Bible. This chapter describes Joshua's first victory as a leader for the Israelites in battle. It stuck out to me that God saw it necessary to instruct Moses to WRITE DOWN THE TESTIMONY and not only write it down, but then go to Joshua and RECITE it to him.
God has big things in store for Joshua. Papa knew that it was Joshua's destiny to lead the Israelites not only in many more combat battles, but ultimately into the promised land. God needed Joshua to know Him, to know His character, to know that He was faithful. The first lesson taught to Joshua was to keep record of what God had done. Not only keep record of it, but speak it, remind yourself of it, testify to it. There would soon be many times where Joshua would face opposition, there would be times where it would be easy for doubt to come in, and of course we know there was plenty room for fear in Joshua. Many of us have memorized two key scriptures from the book of Joshua. "This Book of the Law shall not depart FROM YOUR MOUTH, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:8-9)
God made sure from the very beginning that Joshua had a written record of God's faithfulness in battle and not only a written record, but He showed Joshua how important it was to SPEAK the testimony! There is so much power in HEARING what God has done and will do.
What more could we accomplish if we utilized the power of the testimony? What would happen if you wrote down and spoke about every time God had proven faithful in your life? What if when the hard battles came your way you simply began to speak to yourself over and over the many times God had brought you through tough situations?
The testimony ALWAYS increases faith and expectancy.
Take some time today and write out testimonies. Remember the times God rescued you from the pit. Remember the times He showed up just in time. Remember the times He healed your body or healed your heart. Remember the times He redeemed situations that seemed impossible. Remember the times He brought peace and comfort in the midst of chaos. Then begin to speak them to yourself. I love to start my day off with worship, testimony and laughter. I'll begin my worship by telling Him how awesome He is and then move right into thanking Him for the things He's done in my life. "God thank you for showing up in my bedroom at 16 and rescuing me from a life of destruction. THANK YOU for the time that you healed my shoulder when the doctor said I'd have arthritis at 25! THANK YOU for igniting passion in me for the nations that has brought me GREAT joy to this day. Thank you for bringing that friend in my life right when I needed her. Thank you for when I was struggling financially and you abundantly provided. Thank you for healing my body when I was in the hospital unsure if I would make it out alive." By the time I get done with testimony after testimony, His presence is strong, and I can't help but laugh at HOW GREAT HE IS. My faith is boosted and whatever need might have been on my mind has faded away in His goodness and faithfulness.
The testimony is powerful. The testimony cries out YOU DID IT ONCE, YOU'LL DO IT AGAIN! YOU DID IT FOR THEM, YOU'LL DO IT FOR ME. YOU ARE WHO YOU SAY YOU ARE.
Joshua led the Israelites into the promise land, but it started with remembering the testimony from that very first battle. God groomed Joshua not he power of the testimony. If it worked for him, it'll work for you too!
Be Blessed, J. Tate