Summary: Facing a world in crisis
April 19, 2020
Faith, A Living Hope
Where is your hope in times of dire circumstances? We are trying to hold onto that hope as we struggle to be faithful and obedient to God and obey the laws and instructions of legal authorities governing our society. If there is a single word more important for us to hang onto, it is FAITH! Some are saying as you hear or read this, “No pastor that single word is Jesus!” Well, yes of course it is. But without faith, Jesus will be distant. It is our faith that draws Him near.
“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.” Hebrews 12:2
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Romans 10:17
“because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:3
“Therefore, we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-7
It is amusing to me how many times I hear or read some political spouting referring to “FAKE news”. Why I am saying that is we each have our own interpretation of what is true and real. We are often shaped by outside influence, our own personal bias and sometimes selfish agenda or motives. Is that a true statement? (pause) for an audible response – AMEN!
What’s that got to do with this message? A lot! We must realize one very important facet of our Christin response – we cannot FAKE our FAITH. We can always say the words, but do they come from the heart and soul of our being?
As Peter relates to us in verses 7 – 8 “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor. And glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ., whom, having not seen you love.”
Back up to verse 6 “…if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,”. Yes indeed, we are being grieved in our current trials that do absolutely test our Faith. We cry out to Jesus pleading for relief. How much of our prayers include absolute devotion and love to Jesus? How much of our prayers acknowledge gratitude to Him for walking with us in these trials? OR, is our emphasis all about US?
Who do we turn to build on our faith? The church? The pastor? We turn to those resources to lead us to the One that builds our faith. We learn the means, but the practice of sincerity and expressing TRUE love and gratitude are essential. As always, it is not the words that escape our lips, it is the heart that speaks to God. God has been hearing FAKE NEWS for thousands and thousands of years. Let Him hear the truth in our prayers, going forward.
Let’s share with Him our doubts and fears but let’s also share with Him our love and our thanks. I know you’ve heard me say it before but here we go again – in our daily prayers of thanksgiving, include a mention of gratitude for the blessings of the day that we don’t even recognize.
“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Rejoicing comes in the morning! We find ourselves weakening in our faith, while the intensity of sorrow and trials beset us, but when we can turn to God and His promises, our hope is restored. The joy of the Lord is fresh every morning. We don’t see what God sees. I like to say that what we see is only what is between heaven and hell, What God sees is beyond our line of sight. Thus, our faith lies in what He sees. That is why we need that faith and trust in Him. We cannot possibly fathom God’s plans for us, but we sure can know that He wants the best for us. Sometimes we must wait for that best to show up while we are being prepared by Him to receive it.
Knowing all of that, we can honor Him and His word and allow God to renew and strengthen our faith.
Our peace and happiness come via faith, obedience and tolerance and service to others - ALL OTHERS!!
A little aside comment: When asked what I would like on my headstone, I always respond: “LACKING PERFECTION – ABOUNDING IN FAITH”