What is a Christian Testimony?
Depending on your experience, the term 'testimony' will mean different things to you. For many, the automatic word association would lead us to think of a court room testimony where a person is placed under oath to give witness to their personal knowledge or experience of the case being heard.
A Christian testimony is where a person relates their experience of finding forgiveness in Jesus Christ through the power of the gospel. The individual relates how they came to this point, the impact and change it has brought in their lives and subsequent experiences of finding Christ, perhaps in Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The focus of a testimony is not on the individual giving it, but on the power that there is in The Lord Jesus Christ to change a life.
Over the years in Struthers Memorial we have found sharing a personal testimony has been both effective and influential in winning others for Christ.
The suggestion came from Carol herself, that she and others might like to share testimony to what God has done in their lives.
testimony from Mags
My name is Mags and I will be 56 years old this year. I have been a Christian for seven and a half years. Prior to this, my life was going nowhere fast.
I was married at eighteen and divorced with two kids by twenty-one. A few months later, I was in a second relationship, which lasted seven years and had another child. When this relationship ended, I met my husband who I lived with for twenty years before we finally married in 2007.
During those twenty years of living with my partner, we partied almost every weekend with friends. We were all Rangers mad and went round to each other’s houses to watch the Old Firm games. We never missed an Orange Walk and we often went into Glasgow to Sectarian bars, because the pubs in Airdrie were not bigoted enough for us. In these bars, instead of karaoke, they had what they called ‘orangeoke’, and I loved it. Our group was usually the first to get up and dance on the tables. My other habits included drinking, smoking forty cigarettes a day, attending bingo three or four times a week and swearing like a trooper!
My life changed in October 2005 when I was invited along to a Craft Night in Struthers Church Cumbernauld. Before this, if you had asked me if I believed in God, I would have said 'yes', but I never gave Him much thought. The meaning of life just seemed complicated to me and I never thought much about it. From the moment I walked through the door of the church, I had the feeling that I was home. Everyone was so welcoming. The singing blew me away; I had never heard anything like it! As the company turned to prayer, I felt a presence come into the room, like a gentle breeze, and draw close to me. I felt my heart beat faster and a barrier shot up within me. I thought, “Whatever this is, I don’t want it.” I didn’t want to become a Christian, I enjoyed my cigarettes, my weekend drinking and partying too much to give it up. But I can’t deny that something touched me that night and drew me back to Struthers Church. I loved the peace I had found there!
A few weeks later during the prayer time, I whispered to God, “Lord, I believe in You and Your Son Jesus, but Lord I don’t want to be a Christian. It’s a huge commitment and I won’t be able to keep it.”
I felt it wasn’t the right time for me. But God had other ideas! Suddenly I heard Him whisper, “Now is the time.” As I heard those words, I rose from my seat and went forward to the front of the church, where Pastor Diana Rutherford prayed for me. I invited the Lord Jesus into my heart that night and I felt like a blindfold was removed from my eyes. Everything looked different! My attitude and outlook on life changed. In a moment the bigotry was gone; I lost the desire for alcohol and was no longer interested in bingo! Even swearing left me immediately! I no longer felt the need for any of them! It was remarkable.
The smoking took a little longer, but God ultimately set me free from that too, and He has kept me free from all of these things. Oh hallelujah! I have finally found what I have been searching for all my life. I have found security, strength and hope in Christ that no other one can give and I know He will never leave or forsake me. People will always let you down and disappoint you in this life, but Christ is faithful and I have found He has never let me down and is always there in my hour of need.
I couldn’t wait to tell my family that I had become a Christian. Many of them laughed and ridiculed me, saying I was being brainwashed. The fact was though, my brain needed washed! It was filthy, until my Saviour washed me clean, Praise God!
The Bible tells us we become new creatures in Him. If anyone had told me eight years ago that I would become a Christian; have a personal relationship with Jesus; that the Bible would come alive for me and speak into every situation in my life; that I would be Baptised in the Holy Spirit and speak in new tongues, I would have laughed at them and thought them mad. But believe me, this is no pie in the sky fairytale. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are very real! It never fails to amaze me just how deep God’s Love is for us and how the Holy Spirit strengthens us to overcome in our daily walk.
No matter how big you think your problems are, God is bigger. Nothing is impossible for Him; His perfect love casts out all fear. I count my blessings every day and thank Him for what He has done, and is still doing in me. Praise His wonderful name!
Jesus said, “Come unto Me all those who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
If this applies to your life then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain just by asking Jesus to come into your heart, to forgive all your sins and to be Lord and Saviour of your life. I can guarantee you won’t regret it! Hallelujah!
Testimony from Andrea
My name is Andrea. I am 46 years of age and up until 11 months ago I suffered severe depression for 24 years. I would like to tell you about what God has done for me.
I had an unsettled childhood: my mother suffered badly with depression and was in and out of psychiatric units for most of my childhood and adult life. My dad was a very heavy gambler and didn't cope very well. Life was difficult at home. My sister, who was eight years older than me, left home when I was thirteen years old.
At the age of twenty one I got married to a Christian guy, sadly the marriage only lasted for two years. Afterwards I became very depressed and life became extremely difficult. I tried to end my life on many occasions. Thankfully I was found but, at the time, I was deeply annoyed that my life wasn't over.
My sister's husband died very suddenly in September 2000 and my sister became very unwell about a year later and turned heavily to alcohol.
In 2003 I remarried another Christian guy. Life was still very difficult. I had an on/off relationship with my parents and my sister which added to my on going depression.
I spent many weeks and months in psychiatric units which did very little to help to be honest. I knew something was missing in my life but didn't know what.
I became pregnant in 2007 but sadly lost the baby, but early 2008 discovered I was pregnant again. My sister continued to drink heavily and was never really sober. As a family we tried everything to support her but she was too far gone sadly.
Tragically in late 2008 she took her own life by jumping in front of a train. I was 4 months pregnant at the time. My whole world collapsed. I knew that I needed to be strong, as my sister left behind a 14 year old daughter. My husband and I looked after her and supported her the best we could.
The rest of my pregnancy went on but I couldn't really look forward to the baby coming sadly. I had a precious little girl who we named after my sister. Life went on but I ended up with severe depression and really wanted to end my life. At times I fantasised about taking my life with a train. I was struggling very much with my life. I couldn't enjoy my baby and I was still in and out of psychiatric units to which made no difference. I truly wanted my life to be over.
Both my parents' health suffered very badly. My dad had leukaemia and my mum suffered badly with depression, COPD and various other health problems. Both of them became very ill and they went into a hospice within days of each other. My dad sadly passed away six days later. I was heartbroken and as much as I turned to God I knew deep within myself I was really struggling. We thought my mum was also ready to pass away as she was really deteriorating.
I became a Christian in November 2011. I accepted Jesus as my Saviour and repeated the sinners' prayer but I didn't fully understand what I had done. I was still was very depressed. As time went on I continued to go to a Baptist church and healing services but, looking back, I see I didn't have a relationship with God despite becoming a Christian. I was given no guidance or support and I just plodded along. I went on an Alpha course which I enjoyed, but still felt a big emptiness in my life.
A lovely older Christian friend of mine could see I was really struggling and offered to help me by taking me along to Struthers Church in Cumbernauld. I walked into an evening service and was really drawn to God. I was baptised in the Holy Spirit on my first night. The presence of God was on me. I knew I had found Him truly in a way like never before.
Diana, the minister, prayed with me and has helped me so many times. I felt I was really getting to know God for the first time. He was and is now very real to me.
Since then my whole life has turned around. God has continued to meet my needs. I remember vividly one evening I went along to Struthers church in Glasgow. I decided to stay behind and went for prayer with Grace and Diana. Something really happened that night. We prayed and God met me. I found that the darkness I felt inside had fully gone! I could instantly feel the difference and not only did people see it but I knew that for sure I was a new person. I could never ever have imagined the life changing situations that really changed so, so much. It was truly awesome!
I, sadly, lost my mum a year later on the same day 31st November 2012. However I have found that God has carried me. I feel grief and sadness but NO depression or darkness.
I'm still on my spiritual journey hourly and daily with God. Yes, I have blips, I am human, but God has never let me down. My faith is growing and I can't wait to see what He has planned for me. It's exciting and I am delighted beyond words. If He can heal the deepest darkness and depression for me...He can do it for you too.
Praise His wonderful name!
Testimony from Bert
My name is Bert. I'm 71 years old. I came to know God quite late in life, in May 1996.
My story could begin when my wife was a regular attender at our local church and she was always asking me to go with her and I just made excuses not to go.
However, I started to go with her and soon felt the draw of God on my life.
After a few weeks, I decided to become a member and so went along to communicant classes.
I had just finished communicants classes and was to receive membership on Sunday 9 June 1996, but on Thursday 6 June I was invited by my brother-in-law to an outreach in the local technical college. This was run by Struthers Memorial Church.
I remember the singing was great and also the deep sense of God. That night I received prayer and was deeply touched by God's Presence. It was my first real encounter with God.
I came home that night on a high! I went to bed praying and suddenly the Presence became so strong it startled me! I withdrew in fear and missed out on what God had for me.
I still went along to Struthers when I could and recall Diana praying with me again. This time, instead of being afraid, I was filled with a warm feeling all over. Peace flooded me and I was saved!
Life was good. I was now a member of my own local church and still going to Struthers Memorial. Then came the bombshell! In May 2001 I suffered a heart attack. I was devastated and I turned away from God. I blamed Him for everything and I just didn't want to know. In truth, I'm ashamed to say I became backslidden. This went on for almost two years. I had hardened my heart against God and turned away. Although I gave up, He never gave up. He just let things run their course and slowly my heart softened and He began to draw me back with His love.
I went back to my local church and began to be more involved. Although it was good, there was still something missing in my life. I wasn't sure what it was.
After a year, I decided to seek more so I ended up back in Struthers Memorial in Cumbernauld again! I am there now.
Since I've been back, God has moved in my life and has brought me deliverance! He has brought me closer to Him spiritually. In September of last year I had a cardiac arrest and for reasons I won't go into I can only believe that God had His hand on the situation. It's only by His grace that I can write this testimony. I give Him all the glory.
Praise His Name!
Testimony from Carol
I was brought up in a family of six and attended church on a Sunday occasionally. Mostly, in my early years I went with my gran to our local church. I went to Sunday School, Girls’ Brigade and eventually became a member of the church at 17. However, I did not follow that commitment to God through and went my own way shortly afterwards. I got involved in a relationship and for the next five years of my life enjoyed all the pleasures the world had to offer until I had to deal with a relationship break up. I was brought to the realisation that, at the young age of 22, I was quite burnt out with life and what it had had to offer up to that point. Although I had a good job, my own home, a car and on the outside was doing well for myself - deeply inside I was very unhappy and indeed felt a great sense of misery. I began to ask deep, searching questions about the meaning of life. I remember around this time kneeling at the side of my bed in prayer: 'God, if you are real, why am I here? What is the purpose of my life?'. I got up from that prayer with no answer. However, looking back now, I realise that God had heard that prayer and over the next few years He began to draw me sweetly to my conversion.
Within a short time of that I started a new job, met a new colleague and over the next few months we chatted about being 'born again'. She invited me to her church. At that time I believed I was a Christian. I thought this because I believed in God and I attended church. My sister and I went along and she committed her life to Christ that night. I was not ready and knew somehow that if I did this would be the most serious decision I would make in my life. I wanted to seriously think this through. I went back a second time to the church and I listened to the late Danny McVicar preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was very impressed and felt that what he said was relevant to me. So much so that I wondered 'how did this man know so much about my life?'. I felt as though he was speaking directly to me and I was very attracted to the life in God that he presented.This was the first time I had heard the gospel and heard about knowing Jesus personally and how He had died on the cross for my sin.
At the end of that church meeting, along with the pastor, I said a simple prayer and invited the Lord Jesus to come into my life and change me. Into that small room His holy presence came and came wonderfully into my own heart. I found a new friend that night and He went home with me and has been with me over these last 25 years. I cannot explain to you the reality of His presence and the new beginning that I felt He gave to me. My life was washed clean and that deep sense of guilt gone with such a sense of new life given in its place. The Bible came alive to me and I became hungry to learn about Jesus through reading His word and was really excited about my new found faith!
A few months later I went along to an Outreach meeting in Glasgow and heard a testimony to the healing power of Christ. I was delighted and so excited to discover that the Holy Spirit was real and was moving in healing power in these days. I began to seek the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and at a summer camp meeting run by Struthers Memorial Church; the Holy Spirit came deeply and powerfully into my life. My late minister, Hugh Black, prayed with me and I sensed the same presence of Christ drawing near as at my salvation. I knew categorically that this presence was the Almighty God, the Creator and His power and purity were touching my life. His quiet, deep and pure presence filled me until I very quietly began to pray in other tongues as the Holy Spirit gave me power. This experience completely turned my life around. It was as though a light switch had been put on and I could see into a spiritual dimension that I never knew existed. The fire of God touched me! It was easier to believe than not to believe in that unseen spiritual power. Power was given to change and to deal with sin in an instant. Again and again over many years, I have known that same wonderful, full and free power of the Holy Spirit course through my being to equip me to live above sin. Hallelujah! My life is totally transformed and I am still hungry to find more of God. He deeply satisfies and yet my soul yearns to know Him more. His love is infinite, full of grace and mercy and I have indeed found the greatest treasure in finding Him.
It is my great pleasure to commend Him to you as a precious, wonderful saviour and dearest friend who can be completely and wholly trusted and can be to us all that we ever need. Glory, glory, hallelujah! What a saviour!