We are moving all of the Sermon Illustrator files to a new, mobile-friendly format, and this has required hours of tediously copying old files, pasting them into the new format, and then reading them through in order to put them in appropriate categories. I am happy to report, however, that in undertaking this arduous task, I have been incredibly blessed. It isn’t every day that I get to read hundreds of stories of faith, hundreds of answered prayers, hundreds of illustrations of perseverance, of God’s love for us, of God’s presence, of His never-ending strength, protection and provision. In the end, I will have to say that my own faith has been significantly strengthened!
Why would this be?
To answer this, let’s take a look at what the Bible says about the power of testimony: “It has come at last–salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth–the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.” (Revelation 12:10-11 NLT)! Thus, testimony is powerful enough is responsible for the defeat of the “accuser of our brothers and sisters“! In addition, speaking forth our testimony reinforces–to us and to others–what God can do; for what He has done in the past, what He has done for others, He will surely do again.
This series has been specifically looking at different examples of faith in Hebrews 11, and I pray your faith has been strengthened through this study. And if it has, this is because the power of testimony — the testimony of the biblical great men — is working to strengthen your faith. In addition to these wonderful, faith-rich people, we also have literally thousands of other examples of faith in the Bible. These stories can serve to remind us of the almighty, all-powerful, all-loving God in Heaven. They can reinforce to us the truth of Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (NLT). After all, what He’s done in the past, He can certainly do again, for His love for us has never changed. The Faith Chapter, Hebrews 11, ends with these verses: “All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” (Hebrews 11:39-40 NLT). Let’s remember, however, that when this letter to the Hebrews was written, we didn’t have scripture divided up into chapters and verses. That wasn’t done until the 16th century. So when you read on to the next two verses after Hebrews 11:39-40, here is what you will find: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith…” (Hebrews 12:1a NLT). In other words, these examples of faith are there to testify to us about a life lived in faith! They are there to give us steadfast, unwavering faith in God!
Besides these Biblical testimonies, we also have our personal stories of what God has done for us in the past. We should not take answered prayers lightly! We should write them down, pull them out and reread them during times when our faith is being tested, for Jesus Christ is the same! His love for us doesn’t change. What He did in the past, He will do again!
And finally, there is significant power in the testimony of another. Recently my husband testified in front of our church about his recent promise of healing from Alzheimer’s. The result? Someone in the audience was healed on the spot! And reading through the hundreds of testimonies on the files I have been transferring has been a real faith-booster for me as well. The God who healed that woman from cancer, the God who protected that boy from being run over, the God who provided food for an empty table…He is the same One I pray to, the same One who loves me so tenderly! If He did it for them, He can do it for me!
Does your faith need a boost?
If you are perfectly honest with yourself, the answer will have to be “yes”, for even those who are the strongest in faith have weak moments. None of us are immune to the demons of doubt. Therefore, this message is for every one of us. Let’s not wait until we are confronted with trials, illness, negative circumstances and suffering. Rather, let’s be proactive. Let’s immerse ourselves in testimonies — The testimonies of Scripture, the testimonies of one another, and the testimonies of what God has done in our own lives — so that when those problems do arise, our shield of faith is firmly in place!
One other thing. Remember how my faith has been boosted reading through the many answered prayers on the Answers2Prayer websites? God can also use the record of your individual answered prayers to bless others. Why not submit your answered prayers to this ministry? Who knows? Maybe your story will help someone else who is struggling with similar issues!
This is the conclusion to the “A New Perspective on Faith” mini-series. I can only pray that your faith has taken a boost as a result of this new look at faith!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two adult boys, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, The Illustrator, a four-times-a-week internet newsletter, and the Sermon Illustrator website, all with Answers2Prayer Ministries.
(To access the entire “A New Perspective on Faith” devotional series, please click here.)