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Category Archives: fear

What Is Faith Part 2

 


On my previous post, I wrote about faith and why we should place our faith in God alone. I wrote about the different attributes of God and no other deity past, present or future exhibits the qualities that God alone possesses.

For today’s post, I’m going to share the different Bible characters who exemplified faith and which is the compilation of what faith really means.

Hebrews 11 shows us great examples of faith:

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.

It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying – “he disappeared, because God took him.”  For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith-for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.

It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who as good as dead-a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.

It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau.

It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.

It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.

It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.

It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons.

It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red  Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.

It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.

It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.


REFLECTION:

The characters in the Bible showed exemplary faith but did not receive the promises of God. An example is the promise of Abraham where his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. (Genesis 22:17). We can all testify that this promise was just fulfilled in our lifetime. But look at how Abraham’s faith is. He did not see God but aligned his life to following God’s will.

Another is Joseph. He died with the promise that his people, Israel would go back to their promised land. He was so sure of the promise that he even told his people to carry his bones when they leave Egypt.

These people did not have the Bible to rely on nor other people before them to emulate. They each showed such faith that they were willing to die for it. Some were tortured, thrown into the lion’s den and even sawed in half. They were willing to give up their lives and not enjoy the momentary pleasures of this life but were looking for the great price ahead.

In our time, we have numerous Bibles, examples of faith-filled people but oftentimes we still fall short of our belief in the Almighty. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). So whatever he did in the past, He will surely follow through because he has no sin, can’t lie and is perfect. There is no shadow of him turning. (James 1:17).  Whatever He says in his word, he will complete it with surety.

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Rest in the Almighty

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A peek into my daily habit

As you probably know, I read my Bible on a daily basis together with the book of Psalms (a separate book on its own) with side notes and background which is divided into 365 daily readings.

And yesterday, I read Psalm 91 and was smitten by it that I want to share it in this post. It is so timely as we are now living in the age of terrorism and danger that we are angst in our very core. We want to know where and who to cling to for safety. And I just have the answer for it. It’s found in Psalm 91:1-6.



A SOLUTION FOR TERROR

     Terrorism has been a disconcerting reality of life recently – Oklahoma City, the World Trade Center, the Unabomber. Terrorists have various causes, but they share a common weapon – fear. If you can get people worried about taking a bus, going to the market, or even opening their mail, then you’ve dismantled the normal systems of life. You don’t need an army to support your cause – just terror.

All the media’s frightening coverage about the food we eat, the fluoride in our water, and global warming makes us want to just stay home – but then there’s probably radon gas building up in our house right now!

But the psalmist offers us a better response: Rest secure in God. Let him protect you. The terrors of the night, the dangers of the day – none of these are too great for the Lord Almighty. Trust him to get you through.

That sounds great, but weren’t there any Christians who died in say, the Oklahoma City bombing? Sure there were. But the people of God have a greater, eternal security. We know that death will just give us a new address even closer to God than we are now. With the apostle Paul, we say, “For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better” (Philippians 1:21). With this assurance, we need not be terrified by anything or anyone. God is with us, and we are safe in him, no matter what happens. We are safe forever in his protective care.

Psalm 91:1-6

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare of the LORD:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I am trusting him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from the fatal plague.
He will shield you with his wings.
He will shelter you with his feathers.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terror of the night,
nor fear the dangers of the day,
nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

A Word on Words

The first two verses use four names for God. “Most High” implies a status beyond the gods of any enemy. “The Almighty” emphasizes God’s great power to protect his people (see Exodus 6:3). “The LORD” is the personal name Yahweh, the God who had chosen Israel. “My God” shows the intimate nature of the psalmist’s relationship with him. Combined, these names for God give us a picture of ultimate protection.


 

Now I want you to reflect on the paragraph above. The four names of God – Most High, The Almighty, The LORD and My God – gives us a clear picture of the sovereignty of God.

Most High – He is above every god, power or force in this world.
The Almighty – He is the most powerful and nothing can withstand Him.
The LORD – The God of the Jewish people who brought their ancestors out of Egypt with
a mighty hand.
My God – This is your God – your personal Savior. The one who personally lives in you.

With these attributes of God, this is a surefire way to be protected from all evil in the world today.

 

Reference:
Petersen, W. & Petersen R. One Year Book of Psalms. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House
Publishers, Inc. 1999. Print.

 

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