Good morning sister saints!
The Lord has allowed us to have one more day to serve Him, bring Him glory and share His precious truth with the world! Many blessings in all that, too many to count!
I thought I'd talk about seeing the whole picture, and share a story that made me think about it. Last night, right before dark, I was coming out of the store and a woman on a bike came racing right by me, almost running into me. I noticed she had all the nice biking accessories but also the look that we see, of homeless/beggars. (We are very familiar with the signs and attributes as we often are in the same parking lots with them. ) I didn't think anything of it and went on my way to the van. As I got closer, I saw a man behind the gas station (which was behind the van a ways) and noticed it because most people don't linger in those areas. I got in the van and was putting things away and about a half hour later I saw (which looked to be the same woman) pushing a half filled grocery cart out to that man and off they went pushing that cart down the road. This morning I was taking a short walk before we left for the day and saw a woman beggar by the entrance to the store. I walked over and when she turned I recognized her as the woman from the night before. I said hello and she stared at me. I said I would like to offer her some good news and she snapped at me and said she didn't want it, she has a job and just needs money until Friday. She said she's a 'God believer' and goes to the Catholic church. I tried to tell her that it's more than just believing, that you must repent and be born again and she gave me an angry look and put her ear buds in and turned away.
I saw the whole picture so I wasn't deceived by her plea for money. She has clothing (new, perfectly white Columbia jacket and spotless white hat as well as good shoes and gloves) and she has food (from what I saw last night and her comment that she just wants money). She's not laying in the ditch bleeding like the Samaritan man Jesus spoke of so I offered her the absolute best thing possible, the gospel good news and how we can find eternal life through Christ.
I'm sharing this story because we live out here among such people and we observe it all, we know it, and we are not deceived. The same should be said for followers of Christ who are living among the people who claim Christ's name but live in sin. True followers of Christ should know the word of God, so they can observe (test) other claimed believers fruit and not be deceived by lip service. Lip service is what we see from most all beggars and most all those who claim Christ, but if we have knowledge, it can be a great asset in discerning the situations.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Knowledge is power and knowing the word of God and testing others to it, is power...a power that will keep you from being deceived.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Life experiences teach us many things and if we know the word of God and test others to it, we can see the whole picture of what should be and what shouldn't. Wisdom taught me that I should not be giving the Lord's money or resources to someone who doesn't need it and will squander it just like she did to the truth that I tried to give her.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21
Note: BTW we never give money to beggars. If they are hungry (which is rare) we offer food, if they need gas, we put some right in their tank but we always make sure their first need is met....the truth and hope of the life saving gospel because if we fill their belly and their gas tank and never get the chance to give them warning of the wrath to come and the hope if they repent..it says in Ezekiel that their blood will be on our hands. Also, keep in mind, Jesus taught the 5,000 for 3 days before He offered food.
I have to go now and hope to be back in some way to encourage you along your journey in the Lord.
Sister Deb with Brother James