1 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. - Hebrews 11:1 NLT
Hebrews, Chapter 11, is known as the great faith chapter. It lists those that are in God’s Hall of Fame for the Faithful. We must stay grounded in the Word and continue to ask God to make us more faithful. Our prayer should be like the cry of the Father of the boy possessed by a demon. He said, “I do believe, but help me over come my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Unbelief or no faith is the sin that caused Jesus to die on the cross for us. All of our sins are just outward expressions of our unbelief. We fear because we do not believe that God can and will take care of us. Over and over in the Bible, God tells us “do not fear”, yet, we fear anyway. He tells us “do not worry” about physical needs, yet we spend a lot of time stressing out over whether we will have enough of this or that. Think about this: “If we can’t trust God to provide the little things, how can we possibly believe that He can save our soul”? What part of “do not” do we not understand? When Jesus, while on the cross, said “It is finished”, He was serious. Our part is to “seek you first the Kingdom of God and all its righteousness”….. The rest of that verse (Matt. 6:33) is God’s business and He is always faithful to take care of His business.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” – John 11:40 NLT
Just imagine this scene! A crowd standing at a tomb, which was a cave covered by a large stone. Some were crying, some were doubting, all of them, I am sure, wondering what Jesus was going to do next. Is it any wonder that Jesus had cried earlier? He was surrounded by a sea of unbelief. It would have been particularly hurtful because the ones who knew Him and He loved so much were also doubting. But, thank God, Lazarus didn’t have to depend on the faith of all those people or he would never have come out of that grave. Picture the look on their faces when Jesus said “Lazarus, come forth!’ Their attitude went from one of doubt to amazement! Some of them were even convinced that Jesus was really who He said He was. “Let Him go!” There must have been some rejoicing there that day in Bethany! STOP! Now, picture yourself in that same crowd that same day. In which group do you see yourself? Do you come there as a believer or a doubter? Do you leave there as a believer or a doubter? Fast forward to “now”. In which group are we now? Are we fully persuaded?
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
47 But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” – John 5:47 NLT
It wasn’t necessary for Jesus to accuse us or condemn us. Our unbelief has already condemned us. Just as the religious leaders were condemned by their unbelief of the Old Testament Scriptures, we are condemned by our unbelief. We have even more reason to believe the truth about Jesus than the people that Jesus was speaking to then. If we believe in Him, there is no condemnation or judgment for us.
18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.–John 3:18,19 (NLT)
33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.—Romans 8:33, 34 (NLT)
Will the world accuse us and condemn us? Will we be offended? Of course, but we must remember that the words they speak have no authority in the courts of heaven. If we believe, there is no condemnation for us. This is the Good News that we need to spread to a world full of people searching for something to give them hope in a world filled with violence and discord. There is someone who can give them the peace for which they are so desperately searching.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? — Luke 24:38 NLT
As the two men who had met Jesus on the road to Emmaus were sharing their story with the disciples, Jesus suddenly appeared among them. Jesus spoke to them and said “Peace be with you”. But they were startled and frightened, how could this be? After three years of walking with Jesus and hearing HIs teachings on a daily basis, the disciples were still not convinced that Jesus would really be resurrected. They thought they were looking at a ghost. Jesus told them to look closely and see that it was really HIm. He invited them to touch Him and know that He was real. Still, they were not fully convinced, so Jesus asked for something to eat. We can wonder at the unbelief and lack of faith of the disciples but we show that same unbelief and lack of faith when we are fearful and worry about things. We need to examine ourselves and ask ourselves the same questions that Jesus asked the disciples, “why are we frightened and why are our hearts filled with doubt”? God has told us over 365 times in the Bible in one form or the other, :“DO NOT FEAR!”. Yet, is there a day that goes by that we do not express fear and doubt with our words and/or actions? Instead of accessing the peace and the joy that Jesus has promised and is waiting to give each of us so that we can enjoy today with Him, we obsess over what MIGHT happen tomorrow. If we really believe that Jesus can and will provide our every need, then we should just rest in His arms and allow Him do exactly what He said He would do.
13 “With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed.
In your might, you guide them to your sacred home. — Exodus 15:13 NLT
God led the Israelis through the Red Sea and across the desert with the physical presence of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It was possible for them to travel twenty-four hours a day without getting lost. It must have been very reassuring to see the presence of the cloud and the fire and know that they were traveling in the exact direction God wanted to travel at all times. God did not lead them in a straight path from Egypt to Canaan. There were detours that avoided certain areas and dangers. There were delays and a lot of murmuring and complaining. We have a guide that is with us twenty-four hours a day as well. He lives inside us. But for us to know and understand His directions, we have to spend time talking with Him and meditating on His Word. There will be detours in our lives as well. Some of those detours are caused by God and are designed to teach us and to keep us safe from harm. But just as the Israelis spent way too long in the desert because of their disobedience, some of our detours are caused by our mistakes and bad decisions. Most of us will probably spend more time complaining than we do studying the Word. Nevertheless, God is faithful and forgiving and just as He eventually got the Israelis to the Promised Land, He will guide us safely to His eternal, sacred home. He has never failed and He never will. Trust Him with all your heart, mind, soul and body.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. — Hebrews 12:1, 2a NLT
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matt. 11:28-30 NIV
God has made great promises to us if we will learn to lean on Him. We get so wrapped up in our work and making our own plans for the future, that we have no time left to enjoy today. We carry all this baggage with us all the time, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We say we trust God, yet, we worry when the bank account is low and we feel we have to have weeks worth of food stored in the house. Remember when Jesus sent the disciples out? He told them not to take anything with them, no food, no money, not even a change of clothes. I must ask myself, “would I be willing to start out on a trip like that?” Sadly, the answer is no. We are so concerned about things that we rarely ever get a good night’s rest. We worry about things over which we have no control and a lot of those things never happen anyway. The scriptures above are not meant to be just some “pie in the sky”, future event. They are for now. They are the way we should be living our lives today. We wear ourselves out trying to do God’s job. Just as the Israelis who refused to believe and were not allowed to enter in Canaan physically, we never reach a place to rest here on earth because of our unbelief.
16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. — Hebrews 3:16-19 NIV
When life seems more than we can bear, we have a place of quiet rest prepared for us, near to the heart of God. “Come unto me and I will give you rest”. Come now, don’t be like Pharaoh and spend another night with the frogs.
10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. — Exodus 8:10a NIV (Exodus 8:1-12)