April 9, 2020
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Do You Struggle With Your Faith? Compilation

When Ronald Reagan
was president, he once told a story about a woman who went and knocked on a man’s door. When he opened the door, she looked at him and said, “Do you own a black
pit bull dog?” “Well, yes, I do,” the man said. The woman looked
at him and said, “I’m sorry to inform you
but your dog is dead.” “Dead?” the man said. “What happened?” She looked at him and said, “My Pekingese killed it.” Do you know what a Pekingese is? It’s a breed of dog. It weighs about seven pounds. Tiny little thing, about six inches tall. It’s the kind of dog
you sometimes see people carrying around in their purse. Anyway. “My Pekingese killed
it,” she said to the man. And he said, “What? What happened?” She looked at him and said, “It got stuck in its throat.” [LAUGHS] I think Ronald Reagan
told that story to uh, to emphasize a
very important point: That sometimes something small can make a very big difference. And do you know that
Jesus made the same point about, about faith. I don’t know where you think you are in
your walk with Jesus. I don’t know how you
evaluate your faith. But I do know that Jesus gives us a
pretty clear indication that if you’re afraid
that your faith is small, it’s actually exactly
where it needs to be in order to make
a big difference. This is what Jesus said
in Matthew, chapter 17, And the reason Jesus said that, is because he knew
something about faith. He knew that a person’s faith is really only as strong
as what you have faith in. For example, if I
put all of my faith in this little pencil, and I worship this pencil, and I bow down to this pencil, and I give an offering
to this pencil, and I build a church
to this pencil, and I believe wholeheartedly, with all my heart, that this pencil one day is going to lift me
all the way to heaven, well, in the end I’ll
be disappointed because I’m putting my faith in
something that cannot save. But when our faith
is in the God who put the mountains into place, who walked on the water and calmed the sea, who used the cross
to prove the strength of his love for you and me, well, then your faith
is already exactly where it needs to be to
make a big difference. And that’s what we’ll be
talking about this week. How your faith,
whether you think it’s big or small, can do just that. A while back, my family and I spent the day in a state
park doing some hiking. And while we were hiking, I saw something that I
had never seen before. We saw a rock that was about
the size of a basketball. And on the top of the rock, out of the middle of it, was a plant that was growing out of the rock. Which looked really unusual. And the roots of the plant
were underneath the rock. And I thought, “Boy, it must have taken
a long time to get there.” Because this plant
would have grown up out of the ground
and it would have, you know, hit its head
on the rock in a sense. But it didn’t give up. It either found its,
you know, found a crack that worked all
the way through the rock or maybe amazingly it just chipped away at
the rock all the way up as it was growing. And it, and it didn’t give up. But, but I had the thought, I’m like, “Man, this must
have taken a long time.” In fact, I bet we were
some of the first people to see this plant growing up out of the rock. If somebody would have
come a week earlier or two weeks earlier or a month earlier or maybe many months earlier, and if you told them that there was a plant
growing in that rock, they would have
called you crazy. And yet it was. It was there the whole time. I think of that story and it highlights an important
biblical truth, I think, that, that some things
take time to grow. You know, like if you’ve
ever heard the phrase, “An acorn doesn’t become
an oak overnight.” It takes time. Jesus said the
same thing is true about our faith. That faith takes time to grow. In Mark, chapter 4, he talks about a head of
grain in the same way. He says, In other words,
there is progression. There’s growth and that
growth doesn’t happen quickly. And that’s important to keep
in mind in really two areas. Firstly, it’s important
to keep in mind when you’re thinking about
the faith of other Christians. You know, don’t, don’t
expect young kids or teenagers to act like grown
adults all the time. Don’t expect new Christians to always act like
mature Christians. Don’t expect mature Christians to always act like
perfect Christians. Every Christian’s
faith needs to grow. And we need to be
patient as it grows. Secondly, it’s important to
keep in mind when it comes to your faith. If you’re like me,
then sometimes you can get kind of frustrated
with your faith. You know, instead of, instead of being
strong and courageous, sometimes, sometimes we get afraid. Instead of facing
death with confidence, sometimes we feel really timid. And that’s because our faith
is never perfect either. It needs to grow. And you can be
patient with yourself. Because Jesus is. Just think about his disciples and how far they were from
being the perfect Christians during the weekend
in which he died. You know, Judas betrayed him. And Peter denied
him three times. And the other
disciples all ran away. And by Sunday night,
they were all locked away in a room feeling
really, really afraid. And then Jesus appeared to them. And he didn’t say, “Man, I am so done
with your puny faith!” The first word out of
his mouth was the word, “Peace.” And then just by being
there, he was telling them, “You know what? Now “we’re going to be together
forever in heaven some day.” And that set, that
set the church free to grow into what it is today: A planting of God himself that includes you and me. Do you ever struggle
in your faith? I want you to know that
your struggles in faith, they, they mean something
really significant. A couple of years ago, there was some major
flooding in Louisiana. Josh is a guy who
lives in Baton Rouge who was affected by
the major flooding. And like many others, as the water started to rise – one feet, two feet, three feet, up to eight feet – he got into a boat so
that he could stay alive. And as he was riding in his boat through the city streets, he looked off in the distance and he saw a bush
that was shaking. And as he got closer, he discovered why
it was shaking. There was a dog that was trapped underneath that bush trying to tread water. Its nose and its eyes were just barely above the water. And it was obviously
working very hard to try and tread water. And so Josh went
over to this bush and set the dog free,
grabbed the bush and threw him, you know, into
the bottom of his boat. And the dog just collapsed from exhaustion. from exhaustion.
Josh didn’t know for how long Josh didn’t know for how long the dog had been struggling. It was obviously
a very long time. But, he knew something. We knew what it
would have meant if the dog had stopped struggling. It would have meant that the dog had given up hope of any good future
ever happening. And in that sense, a struggle is a good thing. A struggle is a sign of hope. Just like it is with your faith. In Luke, chapter
13, Jesus said this. He said, That phrase, “Make every effort,” literally means to struggle. And so Jesus wants
you to struggle. He expects you to struggle because he knows what it means that we struggle. You know, if a person
stops struggling against sin and
against temptation, if they live in the present as if they believed
there is no good future waiting for them, you know what that means? It means that something
very significant is missing from their life. It means they’re missing hope. But hope is exactly
what we have. Not because of our struggles. But because our Jesus
chose to struggle. Under a heavier weight of sin. Under more aggressive
assaults of temptation than you and I have ever experienced. Just so you and I and everyone else who
fails in our faith so easily and so often could live with the truth
that we’re forgiven of anything that might
ever make us ashamed to stand in front of him. When you start to
feel down about your struggles, just
ask yourself this: “Did that happen? “Did Jesus die? “Were your sins forgiven? “Did he rise from the dead? “Is he preparing a place
for you in heaven?” And notice that the
best way to address your struggles in faith, the best way to address
your fear about them is not to look at yourself. Because if you shine the
spotlight on yourself and focus on how good you are, on how much you believe, on how far you’ve come, on how much better you are than other people around you … Man, you’ll be so
full of yourself, you’ll never fit through
the narrow door of heaven. But if you shine the
spotlight on Jesus and just look at who
he is and what he did, then you will always
see yourself as, as someone that God has
already chose to love both here on earth and forever in heaven. And you will always find reasons to keep going in
your struggling. When my wife’s grandmother When my wife’s grandmother
was just starting
her family life, was just starting
her family life, was just starting
her family life,
she planted a seed
in the ground. she planted a seed
in the ground. It was the seed of a peony bush, her favorite bush. And that bush grew up and she took care of it
for many, many decades until she couldn’t take
care of it any longer. When she got to the point where she couldn’t take
care of it any longer, she, she uprooted the bush and handed it off
to my wife’s mother, who then planted it in
the ground at her home and took care of it
for many more decades. And actually uprooted it eight different times and moved it with her
eight different times and moved it with her
eight different times
to eight different homes to eight different homes and took care of it very well. Until she handed
it off to my wife when we got married. So we took this very important bush
and we planted it in a prominent location in our front yard so everybody could see this precious heirloom. A number of years ago, we were having our
yard landscaped by some professional landscapers. And one Sunday morning, we were coming home from church and we saw that one
of the landscapers was already working in yard. He was using his big machinery, the bulldozers and the Bobcats to clear the yard and level it and get it ready
for the grass seed that was going to be coming in. And as we pulled
into the driveway, my wife, Karen, she
noticed something. The peony bush was gone. The landscaper had bulldozed over it and picked
it up with his Bobcat, and thinking it was a weed, just tossed it into the
back of the dump truck. Karen, of course, knew
that it wasn’t just a weed. And so, you know what she did? She went to the garage. She grabbed a shovel. And while still in her
Sunday dress and her heels, she jumped into the dump truck. And she started digging
for the peony bush. She found a few of its remains, just a few feet down. But it looked like just
a bunch of busted roots. The the peony bush, it was gone. A couple of months later, they started building a
home right next door to us. And it turned out, it probably wasn’t
the best location to plant a peony bush
that was so important. Because there were
Bobcats and bulldozers, were just going over
that same area where that bush had been. And it would have
been destroyed anyway. And, um, they were
basically using the peony’s grave as their
own personal dragway. A couple of months after that, my wife was talking on
the phone with her sister, talking about the peony bush. the peony bush.
These things are
hard to get over. These things are
hard to get over. When she looked out
the window and looked at the place where the
peony bush had been. And do you know what she saw coming up out of the ground? Some green leaves. And do you know what
they were coming from? From the seed of the peony bush that was still in the ground. All those bulldozers
weren’t powerful enough to destroy the seed. A seed is a very powerful thing, which is why the word of God compares our faith to a seed. In 1 Peter, it says, Simply put, God’s
word has great power in your life when it
is planted within you. It changes you. It strengthens you to
produce the Holy Spirit’s precious and valuable fruit when it puts its roots
deep down inside of you. And do you know how
hard you need to work in order to make that
wonderful growth happen? Well, how hard
does the soil need to work in order to
make the seed grow? The answer is, it doesn’t. Earlier this week, we
read from Mark, chapter 4, where Jesus said, Don’t burden your heart with
unrealistic expectations. Great Christian growth is accomplished not
by us working harder and harder to love Jesus or prove that we belong to him. Great Christian
growth is accomplished by spending more time
resting in God’s word, soaking in his
wonderful promises and trusting that the seed that
he planted inside you really is as powerful as he says it is. I received a phone
call a while back from a friend that I hadn’t
heard from in a long time. So I was very excited
to hear his voice. I picked up the phone and
said, “How you doin’?” “OK,” he said. But in a way that made it
pretty clear that he wasn’t. And it didn’t take long
for him to tell me why. It was because he
had lost something. “I’ve lost my faith,” he said. “I don’t believe
in Jesus anymore.” He grew up believing in Jesus. He taught his kids about Jesus. His kids still believe in
Jesus and go to church. His kids still believe in
Jesus and go to church.
And he’s glad for that. And he’s glad for that. But he just said that he
doesn’t believe anymore. He doesn’t have faith. You ever worry that
one day the same thing might one day happen to you? Do you ever worry about
losing your faith? It happened for my friend shortly after there had
been some major flooding in the state of Texas. And he said that it was really painful. He watched all these
news stories about people dying, including
little children. And he just wondered
why a loving God would ever allow something
like that to happen. And I’d been paying
attention to the news. And I had seen many
of the same stories. And there were some
pretty tragic ones. For example, there
was a story about a mom named Collette who was driving her
3-year-old daughter in their truck, through the floodwaters, trying to get to safety. But, but eventually the
waters were too high and she couldn’t drive any longer. And the waters
continued to rise, and so she knew she had
to get out of her truck and so she grabbed her
3-year-old daughter. They exited the truck. But as soon as they did, the powerful current
swept them away. And Collette struggled
to keep both her head and the head of her
daughter above the water, and she couldn’t do both. As they flew down the rapids, eventually the rescue
team that was in a boat, they saw them coming and
they were able to pull both of them into
their rescue boat just before they
would have disappeared underneath a bridge. When they landed in the boat, the 3-year-old was
cold but alive. Collette was unresponsive. The 3-year-old lived. But Collette died. She died saving her
daughter’s life. Now I know that, when we hear stories like that, it can fill our minds with
all sorts of questions. Questions about God. Questions about when
and why he acts. And when and why he doesn’t. And I wish I knew an answer to every last one of them. I don’t. I do, however, know this: That when God looked
down from heaven and saw us struggling, he didn’t stay away. He put on human skin, dove right into the rapids and eventually
climbed across where he was assaulted by the
high waters of hell that, that we can’t even imagine. All while holding
our fragile souls that are so troubled by life and troubled by sin above the water. So that we could breathe
in the reality of being forgiven, of anything that might ever of anything that might ever
separate us from him separate us from him and the reality of knowing that one
day we will taste the best of heaven
with our own palate. And not because our
faith is so great. But because that’s exactly what Jesus promises will happen. In John, chapter 10,
Jesus said this to his, about his disciples. He said, Maybe our grip on him is sometimes pretty weak. But his grip on us, it isn’t.

Jean Kelley



  1. Daniel Baker Posted on November 2, 2019 at 8:32 am

    Can you make a video about lust

  2. music2306lover Posted on November 2, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    I love the beautiful PAEONY shrub …….They're beautiful plants๐Ÿƒ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒบ๐Ÿƒ

  3. Jyoti S Posted on November 15, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Paeony tree and 1Peter 1:23, 25 encouraged me in my time of struggle, as I watched this video. It was nice to listen that struggle is not bad it's a sign of hope.

    May the Lord help me and those struggling in their lives to stick to the narrow path.