Hebrews 11:1 “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for. And faith means knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”
Faith is assurance, confidence and hope in our living, trustworthy and unconditionally loving God. Though He is invisible, we know He is our God; we experience the reality of His living, loving Spirit blessing us, protecting us, giving us peace, grace and hope every day. His mercies are new every morning. We believe in the promises of God that He divinely guarantees. We are convicted of the reality of His Word and the presence of His abiding Spirit. By faith, we listen for God’s calling, we respond to His presence and we act on His Spirit’s prompting. His Spirit inwardly leads us to love and action. His love flows in and through us to bless others. We may not see Him but we know Him and His goodness, love and grace. Let us act on what we know is true in our inner beings: God is real, He is love and He is with us.
Psalms 36:5 “Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.”
Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
Our faith is set firmly in God’s faithfulness. We serve a faithful God who fulfills His promises. His faithfulness extends into heavenly realms. Look heavenward and dwell on God’s faithfulness. We can rely on Him for our eternal hope and daily deliverance. His steadfast love fills us. His Spirit faithfully calls us His children. Our hope is assured. God’s faithfulness is great.
Photo: Georgetown, TX
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
Notice in this story what God promised and what He provided. Abraham knew that God was going to provide an offering of a LAMB. But, as Abraham was about to sacrifice his son in obedience to God, he saw that God provided a RAM to substitute the offering of his son. However, 2000 years later, In this very same region of Moriah, God provided the Lamb, Jesus Christ, His only son. God doesn’t promise us the ram (the exact answer to our current prayer of need or want), but He promises us the eternal provision that fulfills our deepest longing: the Lamb of Christ. We have been promised and given the resurrected Christ in our hearts to live now and forever with God. This gift was prophesied thousands of years before it actually happened! Our hope is eternal because we have been given the Lamb! (Excerpt taken from If Gathering 2016)
Photo: New Zealand
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Because of the gift of Christ, each Christmas we have the hope of Emmanuel, God with us. God brought Heaven to Earth for us, to be in eternal relationship with us. We are surrounded by the hope of God’s goodness. God relentlessly pursues us with His loving presence that will never leave us. God has new blessings, compassions and favor for us every morning. He renews our faith every day by His great love and faithfulness. The Lord is our inheritance. We have the greatest hope in Christ. Hallelujah!
Photo: Main Street Bethleham, Burnet, TX
James 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.
This scripture doesn’t say Abraham believed in God; it says Abraham believed God. Abraham actively believed God would fulfill God’s promises in and through him. His belief was credited to him as righteousness, meaning he entered a gracious, covenantal relationship with God when he believed God. Similarly, when we believe God – praying His Word, asking Him for His will – we develop a deep friendship with Him and trust Him in everything! Ask God to be your true friend and believe He will fulfill His promises in you for the glory of His kingdom!
Romans 12:12. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Hebrews 4:16. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hope, affliction and prayer are states of being. We can either be joyful in our hope in Christ or despairing in our hope in the world; choose joy. We can either be patient through our momentary affliction or recklessly impatient in our handling of difficulty; choose patience. We can either be faithful in prayer to God or doubtful in His plans for our lives; choose faith. Approach God’s throne with steadfast confidence in your hope, patience and faith in Him, and receive His ever-flowing mercy and abundant grace. God meets you in your time of need, whether your state of being is hope, suffering or prayer. God loves when you come to Him confidently, joyfully, and faithfully. The author of hope, the giver of grace, and the river of mercy that is Christ is with you.
Photo: Middlebury, Vermont
James 1: 2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Under fire, faith is refined. Pressure from the crucible of our challenging circumstances forces faith out of its comfortable container. Faith proves itself real in trials. God fans the flames of life as we hold steadfast in faith. We can be confident God gifts us with active, alive, mature faith in testing times. He is developing our true faith in Him, so we are not depending on ourselves and not deficient in our belief in His power, hope and love. Let God refine the faith in your heart by the fire of your life circumstances.
Photo: Blanton Museum, Austin, TX