Faithlife
Faithlife

Out Of The Ditch

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Deedless faith is one of those things that we associate with failure to meet the needs of the poor but I would suggest that it is only illustrated by that one thing.

Failure to trust God enough to step ahead beyond what you can see as reasonable is a feeble faith.  There is that element of faith that must be exercised by a local church congregation.

How do you determine whether or not to continue to help someone?

q      We all need to learn right away that there are no free rides.  Along with help should come expectation – it is there in every other area of life.  Expectation is as important as the help that you give.  The monetary help is temporary the other is something that can change their future more significantly than anything that you can give.

q      Look for a change in the way that people think.  Listen for the victim mentality thought pattern – or it’s not my fault.  The failure to accept responsibility is something that will forever paralyze a person.

q      It is what we require of people more than what we give them that is the greatest benefit.

q      We are no more in the business of meeting people’s wants than God is.  He has asked us to care for a person’s needs.

q      There are people with very legitimate needs and we have to address them.

q      There are times when our faith will require many different kinds of actions.  Benevolence, confrontation, evangelical proclamation . . . all equally important.

JAS 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? [15] Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. [16] If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? [17] In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

JAS 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. [19] You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.

20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? [21] Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? [22] You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. [23] And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. [24] You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? [26] As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

The hard part is taking the step to “get involved”.  Actually taking the step.  This

is where the rubber hits the road it is where our faith is established.  When we truly believe something enough to take action then we have taken a step of commitment – there is nothing required by the profession of our belief.  That is why there are so many who are willing to profess “belief” in God.  To practice that profession is another thing completely

How do we know who to help or perhaps who to continue helping?

What do we do after we get the man out of the ditch?  Then we get the ditch out of the man.

We can never forget that our mission is to redeem, not to reform.

We help people with legitimate needs and most often those with legitimate needs are those who are busy helping others as well.  They do not live their lives as takers.  Everyone has something that they can give another person.

Short term need may be food or clothing – but that is only the short term.  The long term blessing is to be able to supply oneself.  A person who will not take that step.

Good Samaritan Law – we

An 18-year-old girl was stripped and sexually abused by a gang of youths in a theater aisle during a rock concert, but hundreds of people in the audience ignored her pleas for help, police said.

   A 17-year-old girlfriend of the victim said she begged a security guard at the International Amphitheater on the city's South Side for help, but he refused and went back to listening to music.

   "They were just like animals.  Everybody was smoking marijuana," she told the Chicago Tribune.  "It's like when you have three dogs and put one piece of meat there and they all went after it."

   About two dozen youths were involved in the attack early Wednesday on the woman and her two companions, who were also beaten and robbed.

   Police said the 18-year-old victim was stripped naked, robbed of jewelry, beaten and abused sexually as other concert-goers in the theater looked on.  The soul music band on stage continued playing as the woman was assaulted.

   "Nobody did anything," the 17-year-old girl said.

   The victim was reported in fair condition after surgery at Mercy Hospital.

   The attack came about 90 minutes after a couple from Gary, IN, were beaten and robbed by about a dozen youths at the Rhythm and Blues Holiday Jam II concert.  Four groups, Chocolate Milk, Sky, Roger Slade and Michael Henderson were on the bill.

   Sgt. William Mikolitis said nine people were arrested on weapons and disorderly conduct charges at the concert, but no one was charged with the robberies or the sexual assault.

Some Christians are so afraid of failure that they become reserved, overly cautious, and uninvolved in life.  They follow a policy of guarded living, holding back time, talents, and treasure from God's service.  Their motto is:  To keep from failing -- don't try!  On the other hand, those who are willing to make mistakes and risk failure are the ones who ultimately achieve great things.  Instead of being filled with fear, they go forward in faith.  Problems are challenges. While they may not all be solved, these courageous people would rather live with that reality than have a clean record of no failures and no accomplishments.  Benjamin Franklin said one time, "The man who does things makes many mistakes, but he never makes the biggest mistake of all -- doing nothing."

J. I. Packer said, "Certainty about the great issues of the Christian faith and conduct is lacking all along the line.  The outside observer sees us staggering on from gimmick to gimmick and stunt to stunt like so many drunks in a fog, not knowing at all where we are or which way we should be going.  Preaching is hazy; heads are muddled; hearts fret; doubts drain strength; uncertainty paralyzes action....  Unlike the first Christians who in three centuries won the Roman world, and those later Christians who pioneered the Reformation, and the Puritan awakening and the Evangelical revival, and the great missionary movement of the last century, we lack certainty.  Why is this?  We blame the external pressures of modern secularism, but this is like Eve blaming the serpent.  The real truth is that we have grieved the Spirit... we stand under divine judgment.  For two generations our churches have suffered from a famine of hearing the words of the Lord."  That's a tragic truth.

Billy Graham had this to say about faith and works and their relationship to each other:

   There really is no conflict between faith and works.  In the Christian life they go together like inhaling and exhaling. Faith is taking the Gospel in; works is taking the Gospel out. Actually, what James is saying is:  you can't have one without the other.

   The book of James balances off this matter of faith and works, and reminds us that the Christian must have both.  True, we are not saved by works, but James reminds us also that we are not saved if good works do not follow.  Some people argue this point so vehemently that it almost becomes like the old argument of which comes first, the chicken or the egg.  The word "believe" comes from two words, "be" and "live".  Faith helps us to "be," spiritually.  But after we receive life, it is to find expression in Christian works and deeds.  To show that there is no conflict in the Scriptures between the two, Paul, the advocate of faith speaks of "being rich in works," and James, the exponent of works, says, "rich in faith."  Why be content with either when God has provided for, and says we must have both.

A Christian man worked each day transporting tourists across a lake.  On occasion he would present the Gospel and its implications for life in a most unusual way.  He had painted the word "Faith" on one of the oars of his rowboat and "Works" on the other.  When they got quite far from shore, he would stop, then, beginning to row with only the one oar marked "faith," he would cause the boat to go in circles to the left.  Reversing the process, he would pull on the other oar marked "works," and they would circle in the opposite direction.  By this time the bewildered passengers were waiting for an explanation.  This afforded him a wonderful opportunity to give them the truth concerning discipleship and the Christian life.  He always concluded by saying, "You see, neither faith nor works can stand alone.  They are twins that cannot be separated!"  (James 2:20)

I've been thinking recently about how glad I am that certain visionaries refused to listen to the frowning crowd on the pier. I'm glad, for example:

 * that Edison didn't give up on the light bulb even though his helpers seriously doubted the thing would ever work.

 * that Luther refused to back down when the church doubled her fists and clenched her teeth.

 * that Michaelangelo kept pounding and painting, regardless of those negative put-downs.

 * that Lindbergh decided to ignore what everyone else had said was ridiculous and flirting with death.

 * that Douglas MacArthur promised, during the darkest days of World War II, "I shall return".

 * that Papa Ten Boom said "Yes" to frightened Jews who needed a safe refuge, a hiding place.

 * that the distinguished Julliard School of Music would see beyond the braces and wheelchair and admit an unlikely violin student named Perlman.

 * that Tom Sullivan decided to be everything that he could possibly be even though he was born blind.

 * that the Gaithers made room in their busy lives for a scared young soprano who would one day thrill Christendom with "We Shall Behold Him."

 * that Fred Dixon continued to train for the decathlon -- and finished the course -- even though critics told him he was over the hill.

 * that our Lord Jesus held nothing back when He left heaven, lived on earth, and went for it -- all the way to the cross -- and beyond.

You could add to the list.  You may even belong on the list. If so, hats off to you.

Faith is the source of energy in the struggle of life, but life still remains a battle which is continually renewed upon ever-new fronts.  For every threatening abyss that is closed, another yawning gulf appears.  The truth is -- and this is the conclusion of the whole matter -- the Kingdom of God is within us.  But we must let our light shine before men in confident  and untiring labor that they may see our good works and praise our Father in Heaven.  The final ends of all humanity are hidden within His hands.

              ... Ernst Troeltsch,

                  The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches

Climb Till Your Dream Comes True

Climb till your dream comes true

often your tasks will be many,

and more than you think you can do. . .

Often the road will be rugged

and the hills insurmountable, too. . .

But always remember, the hills ahead

Are never as steep as they seem,

And with FAITH in your heart start upward

And climb 'till you reach your dream,

For nothing in life that is worthy

Is ever too hard to achieve

If you have the courage to try it

And you have the FAITH to believe...

For FAITH is a force that is greater

Than knowledge or power or skill

And many defeats turn to triumph

If you trust in GOD"S wisdom and will

For Faith is a mover of mountains,

There's nothing that God cannot do,

So start out today with Faith in your heart

And "CLIMB "TILL YOUR DREAM COMES TRUE"!

-          Helen Steiner Rice

Faith is acting on what you believe.

I BELIEVE

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.  That myth is more potent than history.  I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts.  That hope always triumphs over experience.  That laughter is the only cure for grief.  And I believe that love is stronger than death.

Robert Fulghum

ACTION

It is good to dream, but it is better to dream and work.  Faith is mighty, but action with faith is mightier.  Desiring is helpful, but work and desire are invincible.

Thomas Robert Gaines

FAITH

Faith is not trying to believe something regardless of the evidence.  Faith is daring to do something regardless of the consequences.

Sherwood Eddy

have no respect for people who will not get involved.

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