Tag Archives: Hebrews 11

The Difference Between Flatland and Mountaintop Faith

Traveling both far north and far south of West Virginia will take you into the flatlands of the United States. And while that countryside is most beautiful, and my time there is always enjoyed, I much prefer the hills of West Virginia. At least until the first snow and I risk sliding off a mountain side. But it is currently spring, and although snowflakes still occasionally fall; if you wait 20 minutes the sun is likely to shine again and all signs of winter are gone. Our trees are budded, tulips are coming up and the hedges are green. Our hope is renewed that we will feel the warmth of the summer sun soon and very soon. As I type those words, I hear my friend Walter, who’s received the promise of Heaven singing that song “Soon and Very Soon, we are going to see the King!” Well he now sees. His faith has been made sight.

I often mention Walter, because Walter changed the fabric of my life. He was in his seventies when he joined our congregation. A black, retired, Pentecostal pastor who made his home, and his doctrine that of Victory Baptist Chruch for several years. Worshiping with a 98% white congregation. Color was not an issue for him or us. Walter brought a mountain top experience to our church and taught us to worship more freely. He was downright fun!

So what is the difference between flatland and mountain top faith?

Hebrews 11:1-2

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.

A Good Report

The elders of the bible believed the promise of the Messiah as spoken by the prophets of old. They didn’t have the privilege of our vantage point of looking back on the cross with the evidences of scripture and history, but they did have the future evidence of the spoken prophetic words coming alive right before them. If one of God’s prophets said the sky was falling, you’d better wear a helmet! But there is now such a variation in what preachers preach today, it is no wonder people are living in flatland faith. Flatland faith meaning, no mountaintop experiences. The world doesn’t know what to believe, there are few “Good Reports.” Billy Graham has died, and there are few of such a stable nature coming up behind him. And even fewer with fire. And far too many “self-professing saints” with a lifestyle that is more apt to be found in Satan’s camp, than in Christ’s.

A Good Testimony

Hebrews 11:3-5

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

I have to ask myself, what sacrifices am I making for the cause of Christ? Please don’t misunderstand, I speak not of works for salvation, which cannot be done. Salvation was paid for at the cross. But by works I refer to that which I do which has a testimony from the grave. What do I do that has eternal reward? The only thing that’s going to make it into Heaven by my hand, is a soul that I lead to Christ or a saint for which I’ve encouraged by knowing the word of God. Too few people have evidence of a good testimony. A part of which is an excitement and zeal for the cause of Christ. I remember Walter and glorify God, because Walter encouraged me while he was here. Like Abel, “being dead yet speaketh!”

A Good Reward

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

I’m by no stretch of the imagination a “super saint.” Lord have mercy on my soul, I fail Him often. But I desire and seek the mountain top experiences believing that God is a rewarding of those who do. Troubles come, but God is so faithful that even in the troubled times, His presence is a mountain top experience. Knowing that I do not have to go it alone. Hallelujah!!

Chapter 11 is the testimony of the heroes of the faith who lived in faith, not knowing what I know, but believing it would be because God said it was so. They believed not seeing. I believe because I’ve seen. I’ve seen saints live it out. Do others see it in me? Do they see it in you?

Get excited! Our future is amazing!

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What More Can I say?

My God is so Big

Hebrews 11:32a –  And what shall I more say?

The writer of Hebrews asks that question and this morning so do I? I wake up and my mind is pummeled with doubt and frustration and the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart, “Have you looked back at your life lately? When have I ever failed you?” If you’re a child of God that statement just hit you like a ton of bricks. Because God has never failed you. But then I say to you shuck off the bricks, Jesus carries our load.

The writer, who I assume to be Paul, continues on with examples. (vs. 32b-40)

For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.  Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Time would fail me as well if I told you of the many times that Jesus pulled my fanny from the fire. Often times with my back pockets singed because I’d just about waited too long to ask Him for help. I hear the song in my mind (Oddly enough it’s the Veggie Tale version) – “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do!” That’s not a cartoon quote, that’s bible!

Psalm 66:1-4

Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.  Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.

God knew the Veggie Tales before they were famous. And He knows you and I, and He knows our heartaches and struggles. He has fought our foes, He has shut the mouth of the lions that we were sure would devour us, He has stopped that fire that crackling the thread on our pockets and delivered us time and time again. If you’re honest you can recall, because you remember what an awesome feeling it was when you were raised to life again!

I love, love, love verse 40 where God says “God having provided some better thing for us.” How awesome is that!

Glory I just wrote myself happy!

Are you struggling with something today? As my finger hits the last key on this blog, I’m praying for you. I’m asking my God (and yours) Who is so great and so mighty, believing there is nothing my God cannot do.

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What Fear and Faith have in Common

faith and fear

Fear. Even the word causes my heart to flutter a little anxiously. It causes a broad path of memories to be explored of the many times in my life I’ve faced very real adversaries. For the past twenty years many of those battles have been on the spiritual realm. I can think of one physical time of facing a drive home from work through twenty miles of perilous rock slides, water crossings and downed trees that I feared physical harm, a few snowy roads I don’t care to travel again and perhaps a Doctor’s appointment or two that I feared the results, but the fears I face in life are usually of the circumstantial variety that leave the future’s direction questionable. It’s where decisions are made that can change the course of life and making the wrong one could lead to heartache.

Another thing about traveling the road of salvation for twenty years is that I’ve learned the first place I should turn to for direction is in the Word of God. But it’s a big book! And although it’s worked a time or two, opening the Bible willy nilly to a random spot probably isn’t the way God wants you to seek His guidance. It’s why taking time with God’s word is important because you never know when you’ll need to recall a scripture that will nudge your heart in the right direction. But perhaps you’re new to the word of God or you’re just not as well read as you’d like to be, I’ve been guilty of that too! What then?

First and foremost – Pray. Ask God to direct you in your search for truth, peace, answers. He is faithful!!! Talk to Him as you search your way through. Google the topic matter for which you’re struggling with a bible verse search (i.e. – Bible verses for fear) You’ll get great results! But God may want you and He alone to search the scriptures out, be willing to take that path too.

This morning as I face an encounter with uncertainty I began on one trail, and then another and another. I’m always praying for a sign, preceded by the words “I know it’s wrong Lord… but could you give me a sign?” When the Pharisee’s sought a sign they were trying to disprove Jesus, and He called them an evil, adulterous generation. I’m not seeking that kind of sign but more than a sign, I sought hope. If you’re in a trial or have been in a recent one you know where I’m coming from, you just want to know it’ll be alright and the only One capable of telling you that is Jesus Christ. Because He controls the world. So I look to Him for my hope.

And there on the second or third trail I went down my hope was found in Philippians 4:19

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

That’s an awesome verse! But more than that it had numerical meaning to me. 419 is my husband’s unit number when he serves for the Emergency Medical Services in Calhoun County and my fear concerns him. I’m not telling you that God will give you a sign, but I am telling you that He will give you the answers you desire. For me today that scripture spoke to my heart in a way the Lord knew I needed, so that I could move forward in faith and trust and not allow fear to be a stumbling block for this journey the Lord has me on.

Are you struggling with something this morning? Pray and ask God to reveal through His word what it is you stand in need of. Are you in need of prayer. Let me have the privilege of praying for you. Comment below and I’ll respond.

Hoping your day is blessed!!!!

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The “ology” of Faith and why we don’t receive

faith-road-wallpaper_1920x1200

There is a new term I learned today, ‘riskology.’ The study of risk taking and concurrence with your success in life.  Several websites claim their expertise on the subject, and while they may make good sense from a worldly standard I’m not sure it’s anything new. Just new speakology, the study of things to talk about. Totally made that up. I’m not an expert on anything really, except knowing that experts are a dime a dozen and require no proof other than a catchy title, snazzy marketing skills and the World Wide Web. Dadaaa! You’re an expert.

I myself prefer faithology. The study of God’s word and will for my life, which by the way is without risk. You’ll never go wrong seeking God in any circumstance in life. As a matter of fact it’s well advised. I only wish I always took my own advice. Imagine what it would look like if we began life as a small child asking God, “Should I do this, or should I not? What difference will this make in eternity? Does this glorify God or man? Is this right for me?” And then, glory to God, we waited for His answer and did what He said! But unfortunately human nature has more of a tendency to trust the web before seeking God. I would probably lose count of the number of times in a day I google a word, a product or idea. It’s handier than a pocket on a shirt, but God is so much handier, and nearer, and He never gets a glitch or comes up with 1,472,462 answers for you to sort through. Just one. The right one.

So why is it that we fail to seek His wisdom? Most likely, we’ve failed faithology.

Hebrews 11:1-6 ~  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

The Test:

Question 1 – What does it take to receive what I’m hoping for?

Answer: Faith, plus nothing. (God speaks, stuff happens) Without limitation.

Question 2 – Are there any pre-requisites for stuff to happen?

Answer – Obedience. Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain because his was by faith that he offered a blood sacrifice, which God required. Abel’s was a works offering. How often do we put a pretty ribbon on a bad offering? We go to church, appearing to have the right relationship with God, but its only fruits and veggie faith. When it comes to the meat of the matter, committing ourselves to the full service of God, we choose rather to hand over the basket of produce than to risk the faith in allowing God to do with us what He chooses. Owch!

Ahhhh, but you said it was faith plus nothing, why then was there a second question? Because God knows, that without a right relationship with Him our faith will fail, and a right relationship requires obedience.

So, are you praying for something? Ask yourself “Can I look God in the eye and ask Him for it?” That question may change your desire.  Sometimes the things we desire, are not what we need, and we know it. And sometimes it’s not what we need because our relationship with God is out of kilter, and our focus is not on the things of Heaven, but rather on earth.

Did you pass the faithology exam?