Tag : faith-2
Tag : faith-2
It always shakes the world when a world leader dies—especially when they demonstrated grace and poise like Queen Elizabeth. Perhaps because of my English roots, I have been fascinated with the royals for a long time. I can remember hearing the news about the death of Princess Diana. I had just wrapped up a television sportscast and was giving a pair of interns a ride to their homes. When the news broke, I had to pull the car over for a minute to gather myself. With a heart for broken women, I was empathetic with what Diana dealt with, and hoped to offer her a word of encouragement one day. That dream ended August 31, 1997.
We now say goodbye to the Queen. I had a great respect for her, especially because she was a woman of faith, and is portrayed that way even in the various television series about the monarchy. Before she took over as Queen of England in 1952, the soon-to-be queen said, “I want to ask you all, whatever your religion may be, to pray for me on that day,” she said, “to pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.” I believe she has done so, even with the entire world watching her every move.
God placed Queen Elizabeth in this role. Romans 13:1 says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Yet very few governmental figureheads remain in power as long as Queen Elizabeth so there’s this thought that her Maker was pleased with the way she ruled—letting it play out for seven decades.
So this is my tribute to this dignified and regal woman of God. I know she will be missed by many across the world but it’s important to note that God saved the queen. As she walked through the gates of Heaven into her Maker’s presence, I imagine she heard: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
My husband and I are coming off a week-long trip to Galveston, Texas but before we made the drive we bought some groceries and packed the items needing to be refrigerated in a cooler. Both of us like chocolate so we picked up two large Hershey’s chocolate bars. My husband,Jeff, likes milk chocolate. I like dark chocolate. We know we bought the chocolate. We know at least one bar was in the car because it had slipped out of the bag and we both saw it. However, after we unpacked the car we realized the chocolate bars were missing. We searched the car. We searched the condo. I checked the empty grocery bags—more than once—and I looked through the trash in case I mindlessly threw them out. No sign of the chocolate.
After an exhaustive search I wondered, Perhaps our guardian angels like chocolate. The rest of the week, if we couldn’t locate something, we’d joke: “Maybe it’s with the chocolate bars.”
There was no explanation for why the chocolate bars were gone and as I reflect back on this, isn’t that what faith is? The Bible defines faith as “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” By faith, we accept the miraculous healing. By faith, we believe God is working behind the scenes even though we don’t see it. By faith, we trust when God closes a door.
We never found the chocolate bars. It’s still a mystery, and some things in life may remain a mystery as well. We have to have faith and accept that we may not receive the answer on this side of Heaven.
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
(1 Corinthians 13: 9-12, NIV).
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
(James 1:26-27, ESV)
Have you ever invited someone to a church service and was told, “No thanks, I am not religious.” Whenever I received this response, I used to try to convince them I’m not “religious” either. It made me start wondering what the difference is between faith and religion. The scriptural definition of faith, according to Hebrews 11:1, is the assurance that the things revealed and promised in the Word are true, even though unseen, and gives the believer a conviction that what he expects in faith, will come to pass. People of faith serve the Lord and walk faithfully with Him, glorifying Him in every way we can.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”
(Matthew 23:13-14, NIV)
It saddens me every time someone refuses to come and worship the Lord, the Creator of life, because of a lie the enemy has planted in their mind regarding the church, Unfortunately, there are many people that have turned away from God because of “religious” people that may not be walking in faith. Jesus called them hypocrites. Some of them may use the Scriptures to control or even manipulate others, which is often the reason people turn away from the Word. In Romans 8, we are told there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. If we trust Him and live our lives in Him and He is in us, then we, those who walk in faith, are the church—the body of Christ.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ So that everyone he has made may know his work, he stops all people from their labor (Job 37:5-7, NIV).
Millions of lives have been touched in one way or another by powerful storms. From hurricanes to record–breaking rainfalls and snowstorms, these unsettling and unpredictable events can bring fear and anxiety. Yet, In Job 37, the Bible says God does great things beyond our understanding so that everyone he created may know His work. During the storm, we see the wonders of His work and He temporarily stops us from our laboring to reflect on the His powerful ways. This can be applied to spiritual storms as well as physical storms. In the middle of a spiritual battle, we can be still and seek shelter in Him. We can let His Word remind us that even when the storms come, we can seek shelter and comfort in His promises.
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm (Mark 4:39, NIV).
Dread of the unknown can sometimes create a spirit of fear, especially when you are battling a storm. Faith is necessary to overcome anxiety. In the Bible, when Jesus calms the storm in Mark 4:40, He said to His disciples “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Troubles, trials, and tribulations in life are like storms. Every time a storm comes your way, God wants to see you stand strong in your faith and trust His ways.
He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed (Psalm 107:29, NIV).
He allows the storms in your life because that is how your faith grows. Miracles happen when you stand tall in the middle of a storm, knowing you have Jesus with you. Even though they had Jesus with them on the boat, the disciples were so fixated on the storm, they were afraid. How many of us know that feeling of terror when we are faced with a storm? How many of us forget that Jesus is with us through the storm?
There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain (Isaiah 4:6, NIV).
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12: 1-3, NIV)
Hebrews 12: 1-3 verse tells us to run the race with perseverance while focusing on Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of faith. He endured pain and suffering on the cross for the joy set before Him; to sit down at the right hand of the throne of God. “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Our journey in life is like a race, we plan and prepare and then at some point in the race we realize we are exhausted or hurting and it’s not as easy as we thought it was going to be. Then we look around at the other racers, see others exhausted or hurting, and think to ourselves that if we try to help someone, we may fall behind or stop running all together. During the race we can fall back, quit, or keep racing. We can also encourage each other by patting someone on the back, giving them a word of encouragement, and offering them water. We can stop to help someone when they stumble, but we are to continue the race because every person will finish the race in their own time at their own pace.
Not everyone is on the same level physically, spiritually, or mentally. A racer friend of mine told me a story of an experience he had while participating in a 10K Marathon. He was running the race when he came upon two racers that were talking about quitting, He stopped and gave them a pat on the back and silently encouraged them. He continued the race and reached the halfway mark, where you can choose to continue the race or take the easy route. Even though he was hurting and tired, he chose to continue. A little while later the two racers he had encouraged passed him, waved, and thanked him.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 NIV).
As is the Christian life, we have a race marked before us that we need to run with endurance so that we may have the grace to finish strong. The Word of God will spur us on in moments of defeat. Finish strong, fellow racers, and encourage each other along the way. Let your whispers turn to shouts of encouragement, even if you are watching from the sidelines!
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7, NIV).