Faith Increased by Others

How
thankful I am for the testimonies of others, those  we read about in the
Word, those who have gone before and those we are sharing the earth currently
bring hope, encouragement and cause faith to increase in my heart. Faith comes
by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.  Romans 10:17 Hearing
the God stories of others challenges me to believe Him for more of my own!

 

This past week I have
watched the Lord answer prayer for my children in some very personal ways.
Tim and Elizabeth have had some challenges these past few months.
The transmission on Tim's work truck when out and suddenly they needed a
new truck, as a landscaper this is imperative!  They had some money put
aside for emergencies, but not enough to buy a vehicle.  We watched the
Lord orchestrate his timing for them to purchase a friends truck--who agreed to
let them pay the final payment after they received their tax refund.
Apparently many people have to wait awhile to receive their money from
the government this year, but their funds were deposited yesterday and the
truck is fully paid off (within about two weeks!)  The seller thought they
would have to wait until much later in March!  One of God's side perks with
this particular truck is it can fit their whole family of six.  Something
his old work truck could not do.  Tim only missed two days’ work!  They
are generous givers of their time, talent and resource.  God showed up and blessed both parties.

 

We need to see and hear
God's stories.  How encouraging to hear good news of God's intervention.
It is so wonderful to hear of the answers to prayer for my Life Group
ladies.  Needs being met, surprise blessings and God's merciful
intervention were all celebrated tonight.  What a reminder we serve a
living God who cares about us in our circumstances.  It builds faith for
new challenges. We celebrated these victories together—very sweet.

 

 

When we walk through
dark times we need to hear stories of those who are standing strong.  Paul
wrote his letter to the Ephesians while he was in prison.  His opening remarks
were a wonderful complement to them.  I am writing to Gods holy people
in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.  
He wrote
"ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and
your love for God's people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for
you."  
Paul was awaiting
trial because of HIs Christian faith.  He was probably one of the
strongest believers who ever lived, but I am sure he still needed encouragement.
As we read through Paul's letters we see how important
individuals were to him, and how they brought strength into his walk.  He
needed their stories, as much as they needed his.  I need their stories,
and I need yours.  

 

 

It is not just the
individual testimonies that encourage, but also those from a group of people
who choose to step out and trust Him to love Him boldly.  I walked past a newspaper box holding our
local paper.  The title caught my attention, "Oak harbor Homeless
shelter is close to open its doors.   The next line "The Christian
Reformed Church is preparing to open its doors to the homeless.   Apparently
after months of paperwork, prayer, discussion the Christian Reformed Church has
agreed to use their fellowship hall as a night shelter for the homeless.
My heart was so encouraged to see the step of faith and courage of these
brothers and sisters.  Reading through the article apparently other
churches would like to do it too, but nobody wanted to be first!  These
brave brethren stepped up to the plate and agreed to 90 days of hospitality!
They could have said, no, we don't want to mess up our facility, or we
are too far out of town for it to work, but they found a way around each of
those obstacles.   Instead of waiting for a permanent shelter to be found,
several churches are willing to stand in the gap and use their facilities.
I find this so encouraging. God is at work in our city

 

My local church, Life
Church just spent an immense amount of time and energy hosting The Night to
Shine event with the Tim Tebow Foundation.  It was an amazing, tiring,
impacting wonderful experience.  What a joy to see how transforming this
one night was for our area's special needs population.  It was a combined
effort of several churches and business to pull off this encouragement for this
often forgotten part of our population.  Their caregivers were so blessed
and refreshed as they received massages, prayer and encouragement.

 

Share your God story
with others.  Tell of His wonderful work in your life.  Look for
those opportunities to highlight His work in your world.  Encourage those
around you to share their stories.  As you begin to watch for God's loving
fingerprint in your life--you will discover even more places where He has shown
up.  It builds your faith and those around you.  Jesus said, don’t
hide your light under a bushel, when you keep your story to yourself it hides
His light of encouragement for others. Don’t feel your story is too small, but
know that whatever God does in your life is a big deal!