Illustration results for testing faith
TESTING THE GENUINE
All sorts of things are tested to prove that they are genuine. When you go to a bank and give a $20 bill to the cashier, she holds it to a special light. Why would she do that? Because she is testing it to make sure it is genuine. During the time when the Philippines was not using a special light to determine the genuineness of the dollar bills. The bank tellers would just hold the dollars close to the light and then examine the pictures that were printed on the dollar bills. I was so curious what the teller was doing and I asked him how to know that the dollar is genuine by just looking at it. He told me that if the hair of the picture of a man on the dollar is not combed properly the dollar is fake.
We expect EVERYTHING that has value to be tested. The faith that is not tested is the faith that can not be trusted.
One day 2 men were talking as they saw a woman walking down the road. One of the men said, “That’s Mrs. Jones. She always has something good to say about everyone.” The other man decided to test her, so when she got close he hollered, “Mrs. Jones, what do you think about the devil?” She thought for a second and answered, “He sure is busy isn’t he?” You can find something good to say about almost anyone. Encourage them.
Sermon Central Staff
OUR NEED FOR PAIN
There is no tougher dilemma in the Christian life than the problem of pain. It could be the pain of broken relationship, the pain of rejection, or the pain of insults. Or it could just be plain old physical pain. Nothing tests the faith like pain.
It was physical pain that became a life's work for a man named Dr. Paul Brand. Perhaps nobody studied pain like Dr. Brand.
I became acquainted with his work through the writing of one of my favorite authors, Phil Yancey. He and Dr. Brand wrote several books together including, In His Image, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, and The Gift of Pain.
Dr. Brand died in 2003 at the age of 89. I want to read a little bit from an article in Christianity Today about him:
"Born to missionary parents in the mountains of southwestern India in 1914, Brand attended London University, where he met his wife, Margaret Berry. The two surgeons returned to Vellore, India, to teach at the Christian Medical College and Hospital. While working as the school's first Professor of orthopaedics and hand research, Brand pioneered surgical work with those suffering from Hansen's disease, a bacterial infection more commonly known as leprosy. He was the first surgeon to use reconstructive surgery to correct deformities caused by the disease in the hands and feet, and developed many other forms of prevention and healing from the disease.
"Before Brand, it was widely believed that those suffering from Hansen's disease lost their fingers and feet because of rotting flesh. Instead, Brand discovered, such deformities were due to the loss of ability to feel pain. With treatment and care, he showed, victims of the disease could go indefinitely without such deformities.
It was on this issue that Brand's work with Hansen's disease met with his theological reflections on what he viewed as 'the most problematic aspect of creation: the existence of pain.' Pain, Brand believed, was not antithetical to life, but a requisite for it. God designed the human body so that it is able to survive because of pain,' he later wrote."
Dr. Brand's research helped him form a theology of pain. He compared the body's need for pain, to alert it to danger, to the soul and the spirit's need for pain to alert it to danger and help it to survive.
You see, as Christians, we believe, that our trials, our pain, our deepest hurts, have a purpose beyond our comprehension. This dovetails nicely with what we find in the opening pages of the book of James.
(From a sermon by Daniel Darling, The Purpose of Your Pain, 2/2/2011)
In the book, No Bad Dogs, by British dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse, she says dogs understand
love better than we do. She writes, “In a dog’s mind, a master or a mistress to love, honor, and obey is
an absolute necessity. The love is dormant in the dog until brought into full bloom by an understanding
owner. Thousands of dogs appear to love their owners, they welcome them home with enthusiastic
wagging of the tail and jumping up, they follow them about their houses happily and, to the normal person
seeing the dog, the affection is true and deep. But to the experienced dog trainer this outward show is
not enough. The true test of love takes place when the dog has got the opportunity to go out on its own
as soon as the door is left open by mistake and it goes off and often doesn’t return home for hours. That
dog loves only its home comforts and the attention it gets from its family; it doesn’t truly love the master
or mistress as they fondly think. True love in dogs is apparent when a door is left open and the dog still
stays happily within earshot of...
Sermon Central Staff
AMERICANS: FLABBY FAITH
A dozen or so years ago, a Romanian pastor came to visit the church I belonged to. He had gotten to know my pastor, John Vawter, who had been involved in a Bible-smuggling ministry when the Iron Curtain was still up. John asked him what he thought of our country, and of the church in this country. His friend was at first hesitant to speak, for fear of giving offense, but finally said that in his opinion the American church was rich in material things but poor in spiritual things. And by that he did NOT mean that we were the blessed "poor in spirit" whom Jesus commended. No, what he meant was that American Christians by and large had a flabby faith because it was rarely even exercised, much less tested.
(From a sermon by Alison Bucklin, The Gift of Persecution, 6/8/2011)
"Going Outside The Wire"
Scripture(s): Job. 1:8-12; 2:1-6
"Going outside the wire" is a term that has been used by military members who are deployed in a hostile and dangerous environment such as Iraq or Afghanistan. It means you leave the safety and protection of the Camp or Base and travel on the roads where there are I.E.Ds, terrorists, and others who want to destroy you. When you leave the safety of the Camp or Base [hedge] you are literally being tested.
The devil said that Job had never been tested because he had never been "outside the wire." But God had so much faith in Job that He allowed him to go "outside the wire twice". But notice the protection God provided for Job:
"And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." (Job. 1:12)
"And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life." (Job. 2:6)
God allows the Christian to "go outside the wire" [be tested.] But if you are in Christ, He will always protect you. In Jesus' Holy & Precious Name! Amen!
I read an amusing story about the first Duke of Wellington. An inventor was trying to interest him in a bulletproof waistcoat he had made. It was absolutely marvellous and could save the great man’s life if somebody tried to assassinate him. The Iron Duke asked the man to put it on, and he examined it carefully, and then, to give it a test, he sent for a rifleman - but the inventor bolted out of the other door!
LOSING CONTROL, ONE MISTAKE AT A TIME
"According to the Associated Press, on December 14, 1996, a 763-foot grain freighter, the Bright Field, was heading down the Mississippi at New Orleans, Louisiana, when it lost control, veered toward the shore, and crashed into a riverside shopping mall. At the time the Riverwalk Mall was crowded with some 1,000 shoppers, and 116 people were injured. The impact of the freighter demolished parts of the wharf, which is the site of two hundred shops and restaurants as well as the adjoining Hilton Hotel.
The ship had lost control at the stretch in the Mississippi that is considered the most dangerous to navigate. After investigating the accident for a year, the Coast Guard reported that the freighter had lost control because the engine had shut down. The engine had shut down because of low oil pressure. The oil pressure was low because of a clogged oil filter. And the oil filter was clogged because the ship’s crew had failed to maintain the engine properly.
Furthermore, this failure was not out of character. According to the lea...
“It is my first public declaration that a thing which looks to be unreasonable and seems to be unprofitable, being commanded by God, is law, is law to me. If my Master had told me to pick up six stones and lay them in a row I would do it, without demanding of him, ‘What good will it do?’ Cui bono? Is no fit question for soldiers of Jesus. The very simplicity and apparent uselessness of the ordinance should make the believer say, ‘Therefore I do it because it becomes the better test to me of my obedience to my Master.’” When you tell your servant to do something, and he cannot comprehend it, if he turns round and says, “Please, sir, what for?” you are quite clear that he hardly understands the relation between master and servant. So when God tells me to do a thing, if I say, “What for?” I cannot have taken the place which Faith ought to occupy, which is that of simple obedience to whatever the Lord hath said. Baptism is commanded, and Faith obeys because it is commanded, and thus takes her proper place.
Some time ago I was reading about the 18th century German sculptor Johann Heinrich von Dannecker. His skills were impressive. He could bring stone to life with his tools. At the height of his powers, he wanted to do something special with his gifts -- he wanted to shape a statue of Christ that would stand out as a witness to his world. For two years he chiselled and scraped and polished the marble, till he was certain that it carried the likeness of his Lord. But he wanted to test his work on eyes that wouldn’t lie. So he went out to the street, and brought in a young girl. He took her into his studio, and he set her down in front of the shrouded stone. Uncovering it, he asked her, Do you know who this is? No, sir! she replied. But he must be a very great man. And Dannecker knew that he’d failed. The statue was good enough for kings and nobles, but it wasn’t good enough to speak the word about Christ.
He was discouraged. He was disheartened. He was depressed. But he knew that he had to try again. So he set his hand to the task. Six years it took him this time! Every day, painstakingly, shaping and carving. Finally it was done. And again, he brought in a child as his first critic. He took off the shroud, and asked her gently, Who is that? Legend has it that tears came to her eyes as she recognized Jesus. It was enough. Dannecker had finished his task. He had created his masterpiece. He had given visible shape to his faith. And later, to a friend, he told the secret of those last six years. It was as if, he said, Christ had joined him daily in his little room. He felt the nearness of his Lord. He sensed the glory of his Presence. All Dannecker had to do, really, was to transfer the vision of Christ that he received to the block of marble.
It’s a powerful story, isn’t it? But there’s more to it. There’s another chapter that comes later, one so striking that it actually makes John’s vision come alive.
Some years later, the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte saw Dannecker’s work. He was very impressed. He sent for the sculptor, and he had a commission for him -- Make me a statue of the goddess Venus for the Louvre! he said. Quite an honor! To be chosen as the creator of a work of art like that! Who could refuse? But you know what?! Dannecker did! He refused the commission. He gave up that honor. And you know why? This is what he told Napoleon:
"A man who has seen Christ can never employ his gifts in carving out a pagan goddess!"