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Posts Tagged ‘Hebrews 11:1’

(from https://quotefancy.com)

 

Heaven to our souls.

Sounds glorious, doesn’t it? No stress, no pain, no enigmas.

But on any given day, doubt and worry crowd heaven out:

  • When will God answer our prayer? And what if it’s not the answer we’re hoping for?
  • Where is God? Why doesn’t he come to our rescue?
  • Did I miss his guidance?

Such questions have plagued us all at sometime or other. But watch the saints of great faith. You’ll see men and women who demonstrate considerable confidence and assurance with negligible doubt and worry.

 

 

Their great faith isn’t just happenstance. Observe closely and you’ll note various habits of those saints—habits we’d do well to adopt:

To begin, Ask God for more faith. Such an obvious step; so easy to overlook. Yet it’s a request God surely delights to fulfill (1).

Affirm the truths and promises of the Bible. Soak up its wisdom, examples, and encouragement (2)—daily.

Pray about everything to ward off the worry. Write down requests, leaving room to record answers. As visible evidence of God’s faithfulness increases, so will our faith in him.

Twenty years ago I switched from using a prayer list to writing requests on 3 x 5s. They offer more room to note progress and resolutions when they come. I’ve kept the cards as concrete proof of God’s faithfulness.

Here’s the 3″ stack of answered prayers so far.  (Some cards contain multiple concerns and answers.):

 

 

Granted, God has not fulfilled every request to my preference. Instead, he did what was right, according to his infallible wisdom and far-reaching purpose (3)—and for that I’m most grateful.

Thank God—in advance—for his responses to prayer. “There is nothing that so fully solidifies faith as being so sure of the answer that you can thank God for it” (Rev. Charles Henry Parkhurst, 1842-1933).

In addition, praise God for his power at work, even though there’s no evidence yet (4).

 

 

Envision the outcome, perhaps something like this:

 It breaks our hearts, Father, to see _______________ suffer because of health issues, a dysfunctional family, and financial pressures. We put our hope in you, our Great Physician, the Prince of Peace, and the Lord who Provides. We look forward to the day when physical limitations are removed, family members respond to your Spirit, and miraculous provision eases her financial burden. We praise you in advance, knowing you are already at work to bless ________________.  Amen! 

Surround yourself with other believers in pursuit of great faith. “Iron sharpens iron” (5); faith-seekers sharpen faith-seekers–with their support, challenge, and encouragement.

 

 

Adopt faith-building practices. For example, post encouraging scriptures around the house. One useful spot is the bathroom mirror. While face-washing and teeth-brushing, recite faith-enhancing words from the Bible.

 

 

Expect your faith to be tested. Just as our physical bodies require strenuous exercise for optimum health, so does our faith. It’s the difficulties of life that provide it.

“Faith untried is simply a promise and a possibility,” said Oswald Chambers. “Tried faith is pure gold.”

~  ~  ~ ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

These seven habits will produce great faith, which in turn bring heaven of the soul.

 And what might heaven of the soul include? Three elements make my short-list:

  • Peace

As we pour out our concerns in prayer, God pours in his peace—peace so profound it transcends all understanding (6).

 

 

  • Joy

Author and life coach Paul Sailhamer offers this definition of joy born out of great faith: “Joy is that deep settled confidence that God is in control of every area of my life.” Such joy provides rock-solid strength, not shaken by circumstances.

  • Optimism

People of great faith focus on the positive, affirm God will bring good out of every situation, and look forward with eager anticipation to see what God will do (7).

Imagine the interior of your soul filled with the ambiance of peace, the beauty of joy, and the golden light of optimism. Sound heavenly?

 

 

Great faith makes it happen.

 

What habits of faith-filled people have you noticed?  Or, what habits do you personally practice that build confidence in God?  Please share your observation/experience in the comment section below!

 

Notes:

  1. Matthew 21:22
  2. Romans 10:17
  3. Romans 11:33-36
  4. Hebrews 11:1
  5. Proverbs 27:17
  6. Philippians 4:6-7
  7. Philippians 4:8; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 3:20

 

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How would you finish the title-statement above?

The writer of Hebrews described faith like this:

 

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(“Faith is being sure of what we hope for

and certain of what we do not see.”

–Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

 

Other commentators and authors have added the following:

  • “Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.” – St. Augustine
  • “Faith is believing that Christ is what He is said to be, and that He will do what He has promised to do, and then to expect this of Him.” – Charles Spurgeon
  • “Faith is the belief that God is real and that God is good…Faith is the belief that God will do what is right.” – Max Lucado (1)

 

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  • “Faith is more than a feeling; it is acting on our belief that God is able to bring a redeeming value to any situation.” – Carole Ladd (2)

And my personal favorite:

  • “Faith is expectancy.” – Selwyn Hughes (3).

Now if true expectancy characterizes my faith, it’s going to be evident in the way I live.

That evidence will no doubt include:

 

  • Optimism and hope, not pessimism and despair.

 

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Scripture provides numerous statements that generate a positive outlook.   One of my favorites:

 

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,

who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long;

they exult in your righteousness.

For you are their glory and strength.”

–Psalm 89:15-17a)

 

Collecting faith-building quotes can also contribute to a positive outlook. For example:

 

“He is beneath me as my foundation, beside me as my friend,

within me as my life. There’s no need to worry about limited visibility.”

–Barbara Johnson

 

  • Gratitude, not grievances.

 

gratitude

 

“Our words are the evidence of the state of our hearts

as surely as the taste of the water

is an evidence of the state of the spring.”

– J. C. Ryle (3)

 

That includes the words I speak only in my mind. Silent prayers of gratitude to God will bolster my faith; rehashing the challenges I face will weaken it.

 

  • Affirmation of truth, not doubts.

 

Isaiah 41:10 might be a good place to begin.

 

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Am I feeling afraid and alone? God says, “Do not fear; I am with you.”

Am I plagued by worries and what-ifs? God says, “Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.”

Do I feel weak and helpless? God says, “I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 

  • Pressing on, not giving up.

 

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Exercising my faith will move me forward; giving in to despair will bring me to a dead stop.

But just how do I move forward by faith? Philip Yancey says, simply respond to the next task that lies before me (4)—in a faith-directed manner. That might include making the bed while humming a praise song, sending the kids to school with hugs and a prayer, entering the office with cheerful greetings and a smile.

That monstrous problem may not be solved yet, but positive action while I wait will affirm my faith: God is at work; I can rest in his supreme competency. (That’s easier-said-than-done for me. I must continually reset my mind and spirit on him and the truth of his Word.)

 

  • Confidence, not discouragement.

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Yes, I may be stymied by the circumstances facing me now. And who knows what will happen tomorrow? But you and I do know the One in charge!

He is:

Almighty (Revelation 11:17)

All-wise (Romans 11:33)

An immovable pillar of strength (Psalm 46:1-2)

Rich in love (Psalm 103:6)

Sovereign (Psalm 22:28)

Gracious (Exodus 34:6)

Trustworthy (2 Samuel 7:28)

Our Provider (Philippians 4:19)

Our Protector (Psalm 32:7)*

Our Guide (Psalm 48:14)

Perhaps our exercise of faith should begin with attribute stretches—stretching the mind and spirit with a character-review of the One in whom we trust, to build our muscles of confidence and strength.

_________________________

*Protection sometimes comes through trouble rather than from trouble. If God chooses to bring us through, he provides the wisdom and fortitude necessary.   Either way, the outcome is always for his glory.

 

Notes:

  1. Grace for the Moment, p70.
  2. Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive, p93
  3. Same as above, p. 130
  4. Every Day Light , p. 253.
  5. Grace Notes, p233.

 

What evidence of faith have you witnessed in others or recognized in yourself? Please share in the Comments section below!

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.etsy.com; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.allpoetry.com; http://www.turnbacktogod.com; http://www.godinterest.com; http://www.pinterest.com (2).

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Research scientists rely on their five senses to collect and analyze data.

Some scientists argue that because we can’t see, touch, or hear God (out loud, in the hearing of others), he cannot exist.

So how can we embrace faith in our invisible God, and be sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1)?

First, the Christian faith is based on a huge body of proof. Our beginning point of discovery: God’s Word. And why should we believe the Bible? Because its reliability has been proven again and again by:

  • Hundreds of archaeological discoveries. One small example: Remember the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a lame man (John 5:1-8)? According to John, the pool had five porticos, or colonnaded walkways. No such place was found until 1956, because it was buried–forty feet below ground level. But, sure enough, there are five porticos (1).

Also worth noting: Not one artifact has been found to disprove a fact or claim of the Bible (2).

 

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  • Thousands of manuscript fragments discovered, from ancient copies of the scriptures. The Dead Sea scrolls are one incredible example. Complete copies or portions of ALL books in the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament, are included in these scrolls.  The book of Esther is the only omission (3).

viewer-Isaiah

 

  • Scientific and medical discoveries that have corroborated scriptural truth. Again, one example of many: In the late 1960s, deep sea exploration discovered numerous springs of fresh water pouring out of the ocean floor. Job (38:16) spoke of the “springs of the sea” eons ago (4).

 

Job 38-16

 

Hundreds of prophecies fulfilled with pinpoint accuracy.  The Old Testament contains hundreds of prophecies. Of those, more than four dozen are about Jesus. Every one of them that refers to his earthly life was fulfilled.  

Those are just a few categories of proof.

But we can also place our confidence in God because of experience.  The Bible and two thousand years-plus of church history include countless stories of believers in God who faced hardships to be sure, but lived adventurous, fulfilling, and miraculous lives of faith.

To experience the same, we have to step out in faith, like:

 

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  • Abraham, who left his home country at God’s command, with no idea of where he was going (Genesis 12:1).
  • Moses, who confronted Pharoah and ordered the powerful ruler to release God’s people from slavery (Exodus 5:1-5).
  • David, who stepped out onto a battlefield to fight a giant—alone (1 Samuel 17).
  • King Jehoshophat, who led Judah into battle against a vast army (2 Chronicles 20).
  • The centurion who asked Jesus to heal his beloved servant—from a distance. Jesus fulfilled his request and commended the officer for his great faith (Luke 7:1-10).

We have to step out like these more recent heroes, too:

 

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  • George Muller (1805-1898), who could hardly provide for his own family, yet with great faith and not much else, founded five orphanages in Bristol, England, where ten thousand children were cared for.
  • Florence Young (1856-1940), a missionary to the Kanakas of the Solomon Islands. She and others helped the Kanaka believers minister to villages that practiced cannibalism. Thousands of people became Christians.
  • C. T. Studd (1860-1931), missionary to China, India, and then Africa. He inherited 25 million dollars ( in today’s economy) and gave it all away.
  • Betty Greene (1920-1997), who combined her passion for flying with her faith in God and helped to found Mission Aviation Fellowship.
  • Brother Andrew (1928- ), who smuggled Bibles into communist countries during the Cold War.

How were these biblical and historical heroes able to accomplish such feats? Was it because of courage and perseverance? No doubt, but the foundation underneath those traits was their faith in God.

They believed what they could not see. They were sure of God’s love and care. They were certain their final destiny was secure.  Therefore, they confidently moved forward step by step as God opened the way. That is faith.

 

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*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Lord, I have said it many times: Whatever you want for my life is OK with me! Forgive me for wavering and fretting that perhaps your will might cause hardship. Shame on me! Help me to rest in you, Father. Since your love is steadfast and everlasting, and you have only my best interest at heart, I can confidently put my faith in you. Help me to be watchful and stand firm, a woman of strength, courage, and love.

(Psalm 116:7; Jeremiah 31:3; 1 Corinthians 16:13)

Notes:

  1. bible-history.com
  2. Grant Jeffrey, The Signature of God, p. 71.
  3. deadseascrollsfoundation.com
  4. Institute of Creation Research (icr.org)

(Photo and art credits:  www.fda.gov; http://www.flickr.com; dss.collections.imj.org.il; http://www.newheartnewspirit.com; http://www.alittleperspective.com; http://www.georgemuller.org; http://www.etsy.com.)

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