Surrendering my life: A personal testimony

Embed from Getty ImagesPersonal Testimony Page

My Life Before Christ

As a child, I was a good kid.  Peers, family, and teachers liked me. My life was what I would consider average.  My goals were to have fun, and spend time with my family and friends.  There were no major traumas or upsets in my young life that I hold on to. However, I didn’t have anything else to compare it.

Looking back I remember that my father’s side of the family were non-practicing Catholics. My mom’s side was Protestant. I don’t remember anyone close to our family who claimed to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Since my mom is Part-Hawaiian and raised in the Hawaiian culture, we were taught that there is one “main” God. However, the Hawaiian culture has many gods, rituals, and superstitions.

How I Came to Know Jesus Personally

Occasionally, I attended a Pentecostal church with my mom. I went to prayer revivals; and I was also baptized in water. However, I never knew what it meant to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior.  When I was 12, my mom began attending a church with my Aunt Charlotte. My mom knew my Aunt for over 30 years before they both accepted Christ into their lives. I noticed something was changing in my mom over the next few weeks and every week she would ask my dad and us kids if we wanted to go with her and we all said, “No”.

However, one week, I really wanted to go to church with her. Nevertheless, my pride was telling me to wait for her to ask. If she did not ask this week, then I was not going.  John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me (Jesus) unless the Father, who sent me draws him.”  By God’s grace, my mom asked if I wanted to go to church. What is interesting is when I said yes, my two brothers also came with us.  I do not remember the message, only that at the end of the service there was an alter call; it was one week before my 13th birthday.  I felt led to go before the Lord, ask to have my sins forgiven, and be accepted as a child of God.  My life has never been the same. My Aunt Charlotte gave me my first Bible.  I loved going to her woman’s small group Bible study. Although I was the only “kid”, she allowed me to participate in the group prayer, Bible reading, and ask questions, so that I too, could learn God’s Word.

Evidence of a Changed Life

Since Jesus Christ became my Lord and Savior, things began to change in my life. I was still hanging around the wrong type of friends, who were a poor influence. I had one foot in the church and one foot out.  I was trying to get my life on track. I started to go to church regularly and read the Bible.  One of the major life changes for me was when I felt the Lord leading me to give up my non-Christian friends. With obedience comes growth. There was a sense of peace in having a purpose and guidance in my life.

As I read the Bible, I became aware that there is only one true God and He does not want us to worship any other god(s)/idols. Fortunately, my mom was also learning the scriptures.  We no longer participated in the Hawaiian rituals which can be seen as idol worship.

I believe that my life has changed from self-focused to Christ-centered.  A key scripture in my life is, Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  During difficult periods of my life, instead of going into a panic, if I go to the Lord first – He gives me peace and a comfort that I do not understand. – Philippians 4:7

When I feel lost and confused, I can rest assured that if I, “Trust in the Lord, and lean not on my own understanding, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight”. – Proverbs 3:5-6

When life’s challenges come my way, I seek counsel in other mature-minded Christians, not to gossip, but for prayer and guidance in His word. Having prayer partners worldwide increases my faith and helps me to encourage others in their ministry.

I am thankful for the grace and forgiveness of God, who gave us his only Son, who died for our sins, that we might have everlasting life. -B2B

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Spiritual Famine – what a scary thought

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD.” (Amos 8:11)

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What goes through your mind when you hear or read the word, famine? I think of a dry and desolate land, one that cannot produce crop, somewhere that is so far from what I could imagine that television and photos are my only vision as i have never experienced it. I think of the photo above where it is so difficult to get water and that other countries drop bags of grain and need to help people drill for water in order to survive. Famine, something I pray we will never experience in America, yet around the world, there are large pockets of people who are dying because of it.

In my devotional this morning the scripture talks about not hearing the Lord because the people were doing their own thing, being disobedient. As a Christ follower, that’s a scary thought. The Bible says that we can read the Word of God and not understand it, unless we are filled with the Spirit. the Spirit is the gift that God gave us when His Son Jesus Christ was no longer here on earth to teach us, comfort us and be our guide.

However, if you’ve been in communication with the Lord, through His Word, fellowship, teaching etc – you can spend time in devotions and possibly experiencing a silence from the God? I write about doing S.O.A.P. in my devotions, which is the way that I can learn and hear from the Lord regularly. Its not a audible voice, but learning, hearing Him speak through His Words – this is how I stay out of a spiritual famine. Sure there are times when I pray and those prayers are not answered, it’s not that God is silent but that the prayer answer is, no.

If you’re experiencing a time of spiritual famine, you should examine your life for unconfessed sin, listen more and talk less, evaluate your devotional time with Him, continue to press on – are you being obedient to the instruction and guidance of what the Lord asked of you and He’s just waiting for your response before He continues to guide you?

The prophet Isaiah assured King Asa, “The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will_be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will_forsake you.”

Gal 6:7-8 NIV “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever.”

 

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Obedience, it comes with a cost

When we choose to follow Christ there is a cost. It may not be very big in the beginning, but with time and trust to the Father, we find that little by little, our life is truly not our own. Why would anyone choose to follow and then placed in a situation of “do you love me?” by the Father that we love as well as fear?

In Henry Blackaby’s devotionals the past several days have pointed toward the cost of obedience. Just today, again, ‘Being where God wants you even at the cost of those around us.’

“Our difficulty is not that we don’t know God’s will. Our discomfort comes from the fact that we do know His will, but we do not want to do it!”

God did not ask Abraham to make such a significant sacrifice at the beginning of their relationship. This came more than thirty years after Abraham began walking with God.

But as you learn to trust Him more deeply, He will develop your character to match bigger tests, and with the greater test will come a greater love for God and knowledge of His ways. Are you ready for God’s next revelation?

http://www.blackaby.org/devarchive.asp

A friend on FB shares a story of being in a different country, a call from the Lord, and her emotional struggle of being away from her family as her grandfather is ill. What is life as a missionary in a foreign land, is similar to those who are called to do His work in their own backyard. People who are believers are usually more understanding, however they themselves may have not been called as you are – away from family and what others believe to be your first responsibility.

Our responsibility to our family and friends in this world – or are they only our responsibility. Where has God called you? Are you in a land that is where you believe God called you to be – only to find that the things you grew up believing to be your life, is no longer your to bare, but that the Lord will help you as you struggle with those challenges?

 

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Will You be Liked, if you Deny Christ?

Today’s Date:  January 15, 2010

Will You be “Liked”, if you Deny Christ?

 

 Reading: Gen 31:17-32:12, Matt 10:24-11:6, Psalm 13:1-6, Proverbs 3:16-18

S – Scripture: “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”  Mt 10:32-33

O – Observation:

Jesus said if we acknowledge him on earth, he will do the same in heaven. But if we deny him on earth, he will deny us before our Father God. That’s easy to read and understand. It’s scary though, when we are put in a life or death situation – would you still admit you are a Christ follower? Or how about a “like” or “dislike” situation? Will my family and friends still accept me for following? Mt 10:40 Jesus says, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.”

A – Application:

It’s challenging to hear these words. Often times we want to please others, we just want to be “liked”. There are probably more situations of people who will deny Christ to be “liked” than those who will deny him to escape death.  As one becomes stronger in their faith it’s easier to say, “I choose Jesus.” It becomes more challenging as friends and family – “disown” and don’t want to associate with you for being a follower of Jesus, so sometimes we compromise. How you may ask? We don’t stand up and share our faith openly. We laugh or stay quiet when those around us are speaking or acting in ways of the world – negative, derogatory, swearing, etc – or we don’t hold others accountable for their behavior. Even other Christians will desire to be “liked” by those on earth, than honor their faith in Christ – so we’re left with a few friends, instead of many. The bible says that we are to fellowship with one another. We are to encourage each other in our faith. Even if they (friends, family) both Christian and non-Christian – put us down for acknowledging Jesus or being “too” opinionated, or “too religious”. This is not about being religious; this is about a relationship with Christ. This is about not wanting to be denied by Jesus, when we come before the Throne of God and will Jesus say, “Father, I know her, she did not deny you on earth.”

There’s a great research article by The Barna Group, that’s quoted in The Truth Project – Lesson 2: The study asked the question, “How many Americans have a biblical worldview? The answer: General American population: 4%, “Born-again” American population: 9% – …and we don’t act that different from the world… I choose to be different from the world. I need to have a biblical worldview.

P – Prayer:

I pray that I am not put in the situation of a life or death in claiming my faith in Christ – like so many who live in countries who are not free to worship Jesus Christ.  I pray that those who risk their lives to bring others to Christ are protected and provided for. I ask the Lord to help me to be strong when I am placed in situations where I may be tempted to deny or “water down” my belief just to “get along” – that God will protect me in those situations and guide me to be a light for him. When I come before the Lord I want Jesus to say to our Father in Heaven, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

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Are You Open to Discipline?

 

Today’s Date:  January 13, 2010

Are You Open to Discipline?

 

Reading: Gen 28 – 29:35, Matt 9:18-38, Psalm 11:1-7, Proverbs 3:11-12

S – Scripture:

Proverbs 3:11-12 “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.”

O – Observation:

I think this scripture is self-explanatory; however I’d like to share a story. I was thinking the other day about something that happened when I was a kid in elementary school. I was playing softball during P.E. and I was at bat. I hit the ball and it flew – great hit – only thing, instead of dropping the bat, it sorta slipped as I was swinging back and flew out of my hands and across into the bushes – at a great force! Well, I started to run and the teacher said, “foul ball”. I looked at her and said, “Why, the ball was in field?” and she said, because someone could have gotten hurt when you didn’t hold on to the bat, so you’re out! I was disappointed to say the least, but I knew I was wrong.

I often think about kids who for whatever reason say, “That’s not fair.” And we as the adults think, ‘yeah, life’s not fair.’ In sports there are rules, for many reasons, which are why it’s great to have children play sports because they learn discipline and sportsmanship, along with working hard, perseverance, and team work, etc.  However when we don’t follow rules in sports we are “disciplined” with penalties.  If we keep breaking the rules, our team could lose, we could get hurt, etc – there are always “costs” to breaking rules and not following guidelines that were set up by people who usually are wiser than ourselves.

Well, what’s that got to do with anything or even the scripture verse I started with?  When a child is growing up it’s important that they follow their parent’s rules and guidelines. The child may not know why in every case, and some may not be able to have totally comprehension of why their parents are instructing them – one way or another. A good example is one of a toddler who walks wherever they want because they are learning to walk and it’s fun and exciting for them to get their steps of freedom away from their protective parents. Unfortunately these same protective parents may not have disciplined their child to ‘listen and obey’ – or the child is ‘strong willed’ or whatever the reason. Maybe its child’s fault for wandering on to a busy roadway and when their parent yelled, “stop” and the child didn’t understand why they had to obey their parent, cause they thought they knew better – what could happen? We often times don’t know what’s in front of us. However God knows. We often times feel or think we know better than God our Father and we do our own thing. We don’t obey a Word or guidance that He’s given us, because we feel we’re mature and knowledgeable enough to do our own thing.  Being disciplined at any age is tough. I know when someone corrects me with love, I can receive that wisdom with gratitude because they may know more than I – other times we feel we just need to learn the “hard” way.

A – Application:

I will apply this scripture to my life and remember that God knows more than I. I will be open to correction and discipline and when my spirit wants to be oppositional and retract – that the Holy Spirit would immediately correct me again so that I hear God’s correction and get back on the path that I need to be.

Just in case you’re wondering, I continued to play softball into my adult life – and you know what? I always kept a solid grip on the bat and even in the height of excitement at bat – I always dropped the bat (nicely) to my side before taking my base. Yup, I learn lessons; hopefully I get it the first time, just like that foul ball all those years ago.

P – Prayer:

Father I thank you that you love me. You love me enough to correct me and even though I have not always been obedient, you have been consistent to get after me and redirect me with love. I receive your grace and am blessed to be your child.  Amen

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© elehua808 – 2010- All Rights Reserved

Get Over Yourself

January 11, 2010

“Get Over Yourself”

Reading: Gen 24:52-26:16, Mt 8:18-34, Psalm 10:1-15, Proverbs 3:7-8

S – Scripture: “

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:7

O – Observation:

“Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.” If that don’t slap you in the face! Basically, ‘get over yourself.’ This is how I read this verse. It’s funny cause often I hear people talk about themselves and they’re so impressed with their knowledge that everything is about themselves – some call it call it self-promotion. How else would people know what I’m doing so that I can be promoted or get business or get attention. I don’t think it’s wrong to tell others about what you know, it’s called “sharing knowledge” – if it’s done in a way to help and edify others. However if all a person does is talk about how great, smart, etc they are – then they may be saying, “I don’t need God cause I know everything.” This proverb is saying, fear God – you aren’t that wise! When we do things on our own and succeed, it’s easy to say, it’s cause I know what I’m doing. It’s easy to say I trust in God when you have money, training, head knowledge to do something you believe God lead you to do. But it takes faith to move a mountain that you know you can’t do on your own.

A – Application:

I love my long-term missionary friends. They are truly people of faith and servants of God and His people. The many people who I have met through the years who live on very little in foreign countries, where they may or may not know the language, don’t know where they will sleep or when they will eat – they are just called to do God’s work by serving others –  these same missionaries also never say, “look at all I have done” – they say, “look at what God is doing.”  I’m humbled and reminded that these missionaries could have had a much easier life if they just said no, I was trained to do such and such so why would I go to a foreign land and serve people who won’t know who I am or what I sacrificed for serve them.

It’s one thing to be book smart, another to be street smart, but do we promote ourselves a little too much?  I think as long as it’s done with humility, not overly boisterous, then I’m striving to do as this proverb is instructing us to do.

P – Prayer:

Father I ask for forgiveness of my sins. That I never feel that I am better then others. That I am humbled by your servants example to me and that I be a servant to you Father God. That I be given an opportunity to be a witness for you. That you are a shining light within me.

Help me to sow the seeds of righteousness, Proverbs 11:18b (Experiencing God Devo)– Amen

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What Is Your House Built On?

Today’s Date:  January 09, 2010

Building On Solid Rock: What’s Your House Built On?

Reading: Gen 20- 22:1-24, Matt. 7:15-29, Psalm 9:1-12, Proverbs 2:16-22

S – Scripture:

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” Mt 7:24

O – Observation:

Jesus says to “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are vicious wolves (v15).  If we build our foundational beliefs on God’s Word, which is solid like a rock and not on ‘sand’ so when the flood waters (v25) and winds beat against us we have nothing to stand on and are washed away.

A – Application:

I want to be wise v 24, not foolish (v 26) one who ignores the Lord’s teaching and builds on sand, which has no deep roots to ground themselves (their house). I do not want to collapse with a mighty crash (v27). I need to stay in God’s Word, apply his teachings to my daily walk so that my foundation remains (maintenance) in solid rock.

P – Prayer:

Father thank you for your Word which is freely available to me. Thank you that I can build a solid foundation and that I am reminded that if I don’t have a solid foot in your Word, if my foundation is not grounded in bedrock (v25) then anything that may come my way, without the Holy Spirit of discernment and your Word that dwells in me, I could waiver and wash away. I pray that I will always have a solid rock foundation, based in God’s Word.

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What's this About?

Daily Devotions – Reading & Journaling Thru the Bible

This blog is a journal of my entries for the year of 2010. Using New Hope Oahu’s online devotional from Today’s Life Journal Reading. You can learn how to understand the importance of growing in Christ, hearing Him speak to you, guide you, and strive to live, grow, and share your faith with others by learning How to Journal.

II Timothy 3:16

“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

On Dec 31, 2009 –  I watched a movie called, “Julie and Julia” – the story of a woman (Julie) who began a journey to discover herself by blogging and cooking from Julia Child’s cookbook.  Be warned that her blog has strong language and the movie is strictly secular  – it was a light-hearted movie by Nora Ephron. I majored in Communications for my undergraduate degree and wanted to get back to writing. The movie motivated me to begin a blog again. I kept a blog a few years ago, while traveling a month in India.

Since we’re starting a new year, I thought a perfect time to BEGIN again and this will help me to be consistent, not just in my daily reading of devotions, but also for journaling again.

In the beginning of 2007, I attended a conference called, DCAT (Doing Church as a Team) in Honolulu, Hawaii. We were given a book as a gift called, The Divine Mentor, by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro. I had been reading my devotions and journaling, but not consistently for about ten years. After reading the Divine Mentor I felt I had a greater understanding to do both daily. It was easier for me to read my devotions by reading the paper version of The One Year Bible, New Living Translation, however you can get the reading plan online.  I would encourage others to use whatever bible version that helps keep them in the word, and use other versions to study and expand on what you’re reading. I found that reading a paper version was better for me at the time. I still go back and forth between looking up devotions online and reading my paper bible.  I also found that going back and forth in the bible wasn’t as simple as using the One Year Bible, so I stuck with that.  The readings online are not in the same order as the Life Journal that’s on New Hope’s website, so this year I’m going to start using New Hope’s online version.

So let’s begin our journey, feel free to comment, write or start your own. Even if you don’t want to start your own journal online, I encourage you to get a notebook and start. Follow the How to Journal instructions and you’ll see that it’s not that difficult if you schedule time daily for God. He gave you His son, His life, I’m sure we can start off with at least fifteen minutes of our day and go from there. I’m always glad I did and I’m planning on doing this blog to keep me in consistent.

Often times we wait til we need something from God before we go to Him. I’d like to go to Him daily, so that He can guide and give me something to recall when I need Him.  Enjoy the journey.

p.s. this note is for hb – if you notice a typo, grammatical error, or any other type of error – get over it 😉 then send me a msg and tell me which post, paragraph, etc and I’ll get to it as soon as i can.

p.s. p.s – if no one reads this but me, that’s cool, cause I’m doing this between me and God – if anyone else stumbles upon it, then fine, just try not to be too judgemental – just remember the second part of that word is “mental” LOL – lighten up, I’m trying to learn lessons here, not win the Pulitzer. pfft!

© elehua808 – 2010- All Rights Reserved