Sunday, September 14, 2008

About Faith

I was thinking about Hebrews 11.

It is a chapter in the Bible where
the heroes of the Faith are listed
and the key to their being noted is
pointed out.

By Faith

1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.
3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned."[c] 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

23By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea[d] as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.

31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[e]

32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[f]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
These faithful people did not see all of the fruits of that faith here on Planet Earth, but we have benefitted from that faith. We have an example of Faith and what it can accomplish...knocking down city walls? Yikes!

The fruits of this faith are most certainly being enjoyed this day in Heaven as they have received eternal life and a city not made by hands!

There are such lessons to be learned by reading the accounts of these peoples' lives. They were certainly imperfect people...but to me the one thing they had in common and would not give up on was the belief that God was worthy of all of their trust and they acted on that trust in a very real way.

There have been times in my life where I have had to just trust. There was no other option. My parents modeled this for me as a teenager as they stepped out on a journey of faith in a church plant in a new town. We were dependent on the giving of church people who had pledged to support us. The home we lived in was rented to us but up for sale at the same time.

I remember a day when the cupboards were bare and just then a check came in the mail.
Faith Builder!

I remember the day that there was a cash offer on the home we wanted to buy. Our financing was iffy at best and there was absolutely no certainty that we were going to be able to afford the house. The owner of the home refused that cash offer saying that we were to be the next owners of the home. Faith Builder!

I remember more recently a little church, one that was down to less than twenty people. It surely would die. We surely would be better serving the Lord in different ways...then the Lord miraculously provided a place...and now He is sending His people.
Faith Builder!

I remember the day our first was born with so little hope of living. There was a hope deeply planted in my heart that he would survive. I don't understand that hope,
all looked bleak, but it was God....had to be! Faith Builder!

I remember the day the house we had a contract on got away from us and we were devastated. I remember how God provided a much better home that very same a very unexpected way. Faith Builder!

My point?

If you have not had faith building experiences of your own to cling to when things seem impossible...look to the Biblical examples. They are there for your encouragement. It is always good to reflect on those things in your life that have been faith builders. What are those things that distinctly have God's Handprints all over them?

The evidence of His loving watchcare is all over...just look for it.

It is so reassuring in a time of World Distress.

Our Faith cannot be placed in our Government, Ourselves, or our Church. It must be placed in the ONE who is worthy of this Faith.

To look beyond the expect a different outcome... based on the promises of God.

Ahhh to sink into the comforting knowledge that this is not all there is...but that HE is here with us, loving us, caring and providing for us, leading and guiding our paths. Intimately involved in our lives. Aaahhh...that is so sweet.

Is it pie in the sky? Denial? A crutch?

Not for me!

It is fact!

These are things God has done. These are his revelations of Himself in my life.

I hope you'll look for HIM in your life today.
Blessings on your Sunday.

Becky K.


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Kelly said...

My devotions today focused on verse 6, which made me think of our apologetics study. I also read several of the verses of those who were faithful in biblical times and found it most encouraging because God often uses the least likely to do great things. Therefore, I know that I am important to Him too.