James 1:2-3 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
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Monday night I pushed a cart out for an older lady at the Rossville Food Pantry. Her box in the cart was filled with canned food, meat, vegetables, a dessert, and bread – enough food to get her by until the following Monday. She was kind, with creases at the corners of her eyes, and wrinkled, warm hands. As I set her box of food in the back seat of her car she asked me a simple question, “Do you go to church here?”. I smiled, gently touched her arm and replied, “Yes ma’am! And we would love to have you join us.”
Her face lit up.
“Which door do I enter?”
My heart skipped a few beats. She was genuinely interested. So I kindly pointed out the different entrances and let her know the times of services.
What she said to me next left me in tears.
“I go to church over on (insert road name) and they keep telling me I just need to dig a little deeper. That I just don’t have enough faith. They keep telling me to give more and more and dig deeper and deeper and I can’t dig any deeper. I want to give to the Lord but I’m just broke. I wouldn’t be here tonight if I could dig any deeper.”
Tears filled my eyes. I reached for the woman’s arm again and told her, “We don’t require anything of you. Just come as you are.”
“But I want to give to Jesus.” She said
“I know you do, ma’am. Give Him what you can. But some days all you can give is yourself. God knows your heart. HE knows your faith.”
She hugged me gently, thanked me, and left. I walked away with tears streaming down my face.
I saw Jesus today. I saw Him in the face of that woman.
She gave all she could – yet someone has told her it is not enough-That she is not enough because she does not have enough faith.
Stop telling this lie. Just stop it. Faith does not mean financial wealth. Faith does not have anything to do with how much money you give the Church. So just stop.
Luke 21:1-4: Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said,“Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Sometimes all we can give is ourselves.
I’m as guilty as all the others of telling someone, when things are bad, “just have faith”.
Now let me stop right here and say, faith is of the utmost importance. Faith is believing in God though we cannot see Him. Faith is knowing Who holds your tomorrow. Faith is holding steadfast to God and His word when the enemy is pounding at your door. But faith is not, nor will it ever be, measured by a dollar amount.
But often times, we are saying “have faith” to people of faith. In fact, the reason WHY these things are happening is because the devil has seen their faith and wants to break it. The devil wants to shatter them.
Don’t let the devil use you, Christians, to shatter them.
1 Peter 5:8-11 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
When the food pantry was closed and everything was cleaned up, I walked out to a friends car with her. She had been there all night, even before I had gotten off work and gotten there, she was hot, sweaty, and exhausted but more than that her own life, at home, is hard. Yet, here she was, serving others.
I hugged her tight and told her we were praying for her and her situation. I also told her to know that the devil must be so angry that her faith is not being shaken by these things.
And then she told me this, “Sunday morning I was driving to Church and I just felt this force pushing on me, holding me back, but I knew I had to get here. I had a class of children waiting on me but I could barely push the gas petal. I just prayed I could make it.”
But she did make it. Because God is greater than our enemy. God is greater than our fears.
I think about the story of Job. The devil believes he can break the faithful. But he cannot. These who are full of faith do not need to be told to simply “have more faith” and their trials will disappear! No, the devil will attack them harder than ever before. The ones who need more faith are those whose lives are easy and trials never come-for the devil need not even tempt them!
Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.2Through him we have also obtained access by faithb into this grace in which we stand, and wec rejoiced in hope of the glory of God. 3Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
So from one Christian to another – just stop. Stop telling God’s faithful children to just “have more faith” and their problems will disappear. Stop telling people to “have more faith” and they will have more financial wealth. It simply is not true and it is discouraging.
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Take heart, my dear friends, for HE has overcome the world!
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