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God tests our faith and wants us to pass

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A message from Pastor Gene Whitehouse of Peachtree Baptist Church:

“I don’t suppose anyone is very happy about the idea of testing, but lately I have been thinking about it often. Maybe it has something to do with the news.

“You’ve heard all of the stories about testing for COVID-19 — stories about those who have not been able to get testing, despite having symptoms or risk factors; stories about how many tests are or are not available; stories about how much testing we will need to do as a nation before we can have confidence in rescinding stay-at-home orders and social distancing.

“Why does God test us? The objective of testing is to discover the truth. In school, it’s to see if we’ve learned what has been taught. There are teachers who make tests exceptionally difficult trying to fail students, and there are those who delight in the success of their students.

“God is love and wants us to succeed. When he tests us, he wants to see if our faith in him is real. If we fall short, he takes pleasure in teaching us so we can pass the next time. When our faith proves genuine, he can reward us.

“I don’t suppose anyone is very happy about the prospect of a test, whether taking it or preparing it, whether for a virus or for a class. Oddly enough, though, testing is something that features prominently in the New Testament.

“ I’m particularly intrigued by the frequent use of the Greek word dokimazō, a word that suggests not just testing, but the approval and discernment that results from intense testing. That illustrates the nuances when they talk about our works or our faith being tested by fire to see what truly is pure and genuine.

“Our faith in God is precious to him.” The Bible puts it this way:

“Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns.” — 1 Peter 1:7.

“The work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done.” — 1 Corinthians 3:13.

SUNDAY SCHOOL

My devotional is “Comforting Others,” by Billy Graham, from “Hope For Each Day: Words of Wisdom and Faith.”

“...Comfort each other and edify one another.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

“It is an undeniable fact that usually those who have suffered most are best able to comfort others who are suffering.

“They know what it is to suffer, and they understand more than others what a suffering person is experiencing — physically, emotionally and spiritually. They are able to empathize as well as sympathize with the affliction of others because of what they have experienced in their own lives.

“Our sufferings may be rough and hard to bear, but they teach us lessons that in turn equip and enable us to help others. Our attitude toward suffering should not be, ‘Grit your teeth and bear it,’ hoping it will pass as quickly as possible. Rather, our goal should be to learn all we can from what we are called to endure, so that we can ‘comfort each other and edify one another.’”

Hope for today: “As bad as our suffering may seem, it would be far worse for it to be in vain. Ask God to reveal your trials can serve to comfort others and to glorify Him.”

During this very difficult time, we are all going to suffer in one way or another. I pray that it is in a minor way. Lean on Jesus for your strength and keep your faith strong.

BIBLE STUDY

Lawrence Edwards and I, teachers of the Median Sunday school class, ask that you continue your Bible study in “Dealing With Messy Relationships.” This is the first installment in a six-session lesson, “Encourage,” titled “Encouragement strengthens relationships,” with scripture from Acts 9:26-28; 11:21-26.

“We’ve been encouraged all our lives to take our vitamins. A daily dose is good for us. We can use a ‘daily dose’ of something else, too. Let’s call it a spiritual and emotional vitamin; the vitamin of encouragement. We were created to live relationship with others, and we hunger for the affirmation of others. We need a healthy supply of encouragement from others to grow as God intends.

“Just ask any athlete about the benefit they gain when they have the ‘home field advantage.’ No soldier wants to go into battle alone, and no one likes to stand up and be the lone voice in a meeting. We want to know someone has our backs or is standing with us. We carry out our responsibilities better when we encourage each other. We all need encouragement in our lives. Encouragement helps. Unfortunately, too many of face a deficiency in this area. Our lives and our relationships can grow weak without encouragement.

“In these verses, we see Barnabas was a natural encourager. He was known as the ‘son of encouragement.’ He was the missionary partner to Paul. Barnabas’s life challenges us to be a source of encouragement to others.”

COMMUNITY NEWS

• Susan and Lawrence Edwards continue to work at the crossroads.

• Jamie and Chad Horner are doing a lot of yard work at their home. They are putting in flower beds, a koi pond and a deck and completing numerous other work.

• Bob Bunn and I went to Sunday lunch in Louisburg. We got takeout at the Mayflower. A fun time picnicking in the parking lot. Things have sure changed.

• Marta and Gene Whitehouse just returned from a trip to Waynesville.

• Due to the coronavirus outbreak, please check with all area churches and community groups to see if their events are still ongoing. A number of churches are livestreaming their Sunday services online. Some area churches are now holding drive-thru services.

PRAYERS AND BLESSINGS

• To all those sick and in need. Please keep them all in your prayers.

• Norman Whitley, Maxine Whitley and Jean Bunn.

• Ann Browder’s sister and my dad are both in nursing homes. They have just learned these nursing homes now have COVID-19 cases in them. Ann and I are asking for special prayers for our loved ones.

• Please keep all front-line heroes in your prayers.

• Please don’t forget the people in the nursing homes in your area. So many are suffering with COVID-19.

• Birthday blessings to Melanie White and Cheryl Hayes (May 8), Jerry Hobgood (May 9), Sandra Breedlove (May 19) and Ann Browder (May 22).

If you have news, please call or email me. I can’t print it if I don’t know. I do prefer an email. My email address is mfpbun@aol.com. My phone number is 252-478-2846.

You may leave a message.

Fran Bunn is a member of Peachtree Baptist Church.

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