Thursday, June 20, 2013

Short devotion - Testimony Time - Acts 23:1-11

Acts 23:11       The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome."

It’s been too long a time since I heard a great testimony of faith. Presbyterians tend to be introverted academic people, so getting church members to testify is like trying to draw blood from a stone. It’s not that these people have no faith; it’s just that the age-old Calvinism inside their souls obstructs them from ‘showing-off’ about their personally held beliefs.

There are some Presbyterians, though, who could give their testimony at the drop of a hat. They are very confident about their beliefs, but sometimes their testimony lacks real credibility because vanity and assertiveness comes through. As extroverts, they do not see this in themselves, but those who hear and see them observe these things.

Perhaps testimonies are best expressed when they are situational and not contrived. In Paul’s case, from what we read in Acts 23, he testified to his faith in Christ because he was emboldened by the Holy Spirit to speak in a largely hostile situation. His life was on the line and he could have been torn to pieces by an angry religiously-fanatical gathering. Paul used the event to boldly speak of his faith in Christ’ resurrection, without boasting or vanity. It was a crucial moment to show his genuine Christianity to people, especially those who may have known and admired him before he actually became a follower of Christ.

I guess what I’m trying to write is that God gives us opportunities to testify about our faith in the experiences and situations that we find ourselves daily. Today, whether we are introverts or extroverts, there may come a special moment where positively expressing our beliefs to another person may be crucial in their lives. Let’s all hope and pray that when it comes, we will be ready.

Questions for personal reflection

When was the last time I heard someone give an effective Christian testimony? When was the last time I made my faith in Christ known to someone else?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, You came into our lives through the words and testimony of another person. Our faith was transmitted to us through the effective witnessing of other people, whether they were family, friends, preachers or teachers. Remind us that we are also called to share our faith and testimony with other people. Help us not to shy away from those precious and crucial moments in our lives that will effectively, positively, and lastingly challenge and change other people. In Your Holy Name, may we continue to watch and pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask a question about today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is John’s Easter Sunday drawing for this year. It’s called ‘Rising Star.’ If you would like to view a larger version of the image, please click on the following link:

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