How to Be a Faith Hero

What would it take to be listed in the “Hall of Heroes”, Hebrews chapter 11? What made people like Abraham and Sarah, Barak and Rahab, David and Daniel and the others stand out? Do you think you have heroic faith?

Romans 4:19 says, “And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.”

Maybe that’s what it takes—maybe the kind of faith God wants us to have never doubts, never weakens, struggles or asks questions.

Before you get too discouraged and give up, knowing you’ve already had a few doubts or questioned God a few times, let’s take a close look at Abraham’s life.

In Genesis 17, God told Abraham that He would give him a son and that through Abraham God would make a might nation. But Abraham was already 100 years old and Sarah was really old too! It hardly seemed possible that they could have a child. Abraham reminded God of this fact:

“Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. ‘How could I become a father at the age of 100?’ he thought. ‘And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?’” (Genesis 17:17)

Abraham laughed at God! At first, he didn’t believe that God could really do what He said.

Later on in Genesis, Abraham was following God on a journey toward a promised land. He came to a city called Gerar. There, he told his wife, Sarah, to lie and say that she was his sister, because he was afraid that the king of that place might kill him in order to marry Sarah himself because she was very beautiful.

God never tells us to lie. But Abraham doubted that God would protect him, so he took matters into his own hands.

If we look through the rest of the Bible and examined the lives of the other faith heroes mentioned in Hebrews 11, we’d find that they sinned, failed and doubted God sometimes, too. Gideon did not believe that God would deliver the nation of Israel through him. David disobeyed God and committed adultery. Jacob deceived his father and stole his brother’s blessing. Rahab was a prostitute, and Samson rebelled against his parents and acted pridefully.

God doesn’t expect us to have perfect faith. Even the men and women that the Bible commends for their strong faith, doubted sometimes.

One of my favorite Bible stories is in Mark 9. A man came to Jesus asking Him to heal his very sick son. Jesus told the man, “‘Anything is possible for the one who believes.’” With great honesty and humility, the man replied, “‘I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!’”

At the end of the story, Jesus did heal the man’s son.

Don’t be ashamed if your faith wavers, if you have questions or difficulty believing. Ask God to help you with your unbelief and to strengthen your faith. The Bible says that God knows our hearts. Tell God about your fears and questions; He is big enough to handle your doubts and to give you answers.

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Believing Beautiful, being a part of it

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I could sing of your love forever!
It rises, steam from snow soaked clay,
Warmed by soft rays of day.
Light dapples my lowered eyes,
And plays a joy-theme across my face.

What hell would be not to know,
From whence, from whom
This precipice of perfect emerges.
The crease between dawn and day,
Here I sit, here I am raptured.
How frail my worship seems.
It is drunk by your love, drunk by your presence.

And pleasure is found prostrate here,
In the crease between, in the budding light.
In the singleness, oneness of moment, morning, me and you.

Believing Beautiful at Haven Journal

Who Do You Believe In?

Recently, I was at the mall with a friend. We peered down from the second floor at the the Christmas bustle. There was a monstrous tree dangling from the ceiling. Fake snow flounced around life-sized toy trains, comical elves and of course, Jolly Old Saint Nick. I almost pitied the poor guy in costume when I heard them announce that he will be at the mall every single day from 9-6 until Christmas Eve. Especially since I’m sure not all the visiting kiddos made the “nice” list, December is going to be a long month!images

Then, I was running this morning, past decorations and lights, yard-sized nativity scenes and plastic reindeer on roofs. My mind flickered back to the mall, something seemed similar. Do you remember the story in Mark 10:13-16, when crowds of children were brought to see Jesus?

Bunches (the Bible doesn’t say how many) of parents brought their children to see Jesus. And not just to see Him, they wanted Jesus to touch them, to bless them. I imagine moms waiting impatiently in line while their rowdy children pressed forward, oblivious to any sense of order. Doubtless, they had heard about this man. Maybe they thought he was magical – he healed people, walked on water, turned water into wine!

Every single year, in the crowded center of the mall, hundreds of children cluster around a smiling old man, whom they are told is magical and can fill their every wish – if they are good.

Hmmm…that’s not so like Jesus.

Remember the disciples trying to protect Jesus from the crush? I’m sure they were irritated by snotty-nosed youngsters. They probably noted a few who should be on the “naughty” list and decided it was best to keep them out of Jesus’ way. They gently pushed the children backward and told their parents not to bother Jesus.

But Jesus stopped them. 

“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.” Mark 10:14

Jesus pulled the children onto His lap, put his hands on them and blessed them. Did you notice what was left out? Jesus didn’t ask them, “Were you a good boy?” Instead, His love was accepting, unconditional and extravagant.

jesus-shares-time-with-the-children-GoodSalt-dmtas0089Now, let me take some literary license. Children are told that in order to get presents, they must believe in Santa Clause and be good. Obviously, if they don’t believe, coal will be their Christmas reward.

We don’t know if these children were of the decision making age, or if even their parents believed or cared that Jesus was the Messiah. But Jesus didn’t question them. He simply opened His arms and blessed them. He explained to the thicker-headed adults that a child-like faith is the key to the kingdom of God. All we must do to inherit eternal life is to believe that: JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. THAT HE DIED FOR OUR SINS, ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES. THAT HE WAS BURIED AND ROSE AGAIN IN THREE DAYS, ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES. 

I urge you, make some noise about the truth of Christmas this year. There are thousands of adults who don’t believe – in the only hope for their souls. And Jesus invites them.

It’s so Obvious!

I’m not really comfortable sharing my faith, so I just try to be good – hopefully people will see Jesus in me.

Have you ever heard someone say that? Have you ever said it yourself? I think most of us have and if we haven’t we certainly want to think it!

At Christmas time, it’s a given that Santa shows up in the mall, nativity scenes grace the corners of most mantles and nearly everyone knows the words to Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.  Bumper stickers mumble our beliefs about the real “reason for the season.” But we’re lying to ourselves if we think that the Christmas message is just so obvious!

Sorry Charlie Brown, it’s not. Unfortunately, beneath the clutter of X-boxes, baby dolls, expensive gift cards and tangled lights, I don’t think most people really do know that Jesus’ birth is the reason we celebrate Christmas. How many generations are we away from tiny tots who don’t know what the manger represents?

It’s difficult to locate statistics on how many people associate Christmas with the birth of Jesus Christ. It won’t be representative of a large sampling, but I’ll post a survey here out of curiosity.   

Most people won’t argue over the historicity of Jesus Christ. But Christmas questions open a wide door for Christians to share their faith – do you believe that the baby born in Bethlehem was the Son of God? Do you believe that He lived, died as a sacrifice for sin and rose again on the third day according to the inerrant Word of God?

I confess that the story seems so obvious to me that it’s often difficult to explain the gospel to someone who doesn’t have the life-long context of being raised in a Christian environment. So this year, give yourself a gift – learn to share your faith boldly. That’s a gift that will really keep on giving.

I just finished and recommend this book: