Back to the first word: Faith

Hebrews 11--1,6The Verse of the Day for July 26, 2015 offers a definition of faith, as expressed in Hebrews 11:1 (NLT):

[ 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.

Faith continues to be a topic of personal importance, especially during the challenging times in which we live. Often when confronted with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, I recall a statement made by Apostle John Tetsola: —“When you are in a difficult situation, go back to the first word; it still works.” For me, recalling “the first word” takes my mind back to 1957 at a Wednesday night teaching at Youth Night at Camp Gray in Saugatuck, MI. During this time I volunteered to teach the youth, and I put together my first teaching. The subject that I selected was “Faith,” and I remember using Hebrews 11:1, 6 in the King James Version:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

A few years ago, I was asked what faith means to me, and I crafted a kind of statement of faith. Here is an excerpt from a blog entry where I offer an extended definition of faith:

To build a magnificent mansion that will last a lifetime, the builders must beginning with a solid foundation. Similarly, to build a purposeful life of success and fulfillment, we must establish a firm foundation upon which we build. For the Christian believer faith is the bedrock of life. Faith is defined as confident assurance, trust and conviction that those who trust in God will prevail. Faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Faith is a Sine qua non—that without which there is nothing. Faith is the indispensable ingredient in a successful Christian life. The Scriptures remind us that “Without faith it is impossible to please Him. For he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

In the midst thundering echoes of “No!” faith says “Yes!” Voices shout “You can’t” but faith proclaims “I can and I will!” At the point of total exhaustion, faith says, “Take one more step.” After more failed attempts than you can number, faith gives you courage to try one more time. Faith is tenacious—you hold on and never give up. Although the diagnosis, bank statement or other evidence says “No way!” faith responds with “God will make a way.”

In terms of illustrations of faith, we find excellent examples from the Bible. We begin with Abraham, “the father of faith,” who did not stagger at the promise of God that he should become the father of many nations, with descendants without number. Despite the circumstances of this hundred-year-old man with a barren wife of comparable age, Abraham grew strong and was empowered by faith. Hebrews 11 recounts the triumphs of men and women of faith in what has become known as the “Hall of Faith.”

Aside from the Bible, we can glean from the lives of great men and women who achieved impossible dreams. Despite a barrage of reasons why they would fail, they transformed failure into success. A notable example is the Wright Brothers, who persevered in faith to accomplish the impossible. We are also surrounded by “real heroes” who live by faith each day to make a difference.

Without faith it is impossible . . . but with faith, the impossible becomes possible. Indeed, for believers, faith is our solid foundation. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, when the storms of life approach, if we have laid a firm foundation, the house that we build will stand, for faith is the Christian’s sure foundation.

This morning as I was praying and meditating on the topic of faith, I thought of a particular poem written four years ago that ministered to me, as I was being strengthened and encouraged in my faith again.

  The Song of Faith

   Faith is a bird that feels the light

   And sings while the dawn is still dark.

    Anonymous

 

   So then, faith comes by hearing,

  And hearing by the Word of God

 Romans 10:17

Like hope, faith is a thing with feathers, a rare songbird,

Feeling the light long before the daybreak has occurred.

Faith takes flight and sings on the wing, even in the dark.

The distinctive melody of the soaring skylark

Ascends to greet the promise of a new day dawning

With refrains of its song in the night sung in the morning.

Light penetrates threatening storm clouds of dawn’s first ray,

As faith loudly sings “Yes!” when the world clamors “No way!”

Now without faith it is impossible to please Him.

Though the Word was preached to us as well as unto them,

Defiled by unbelief, they did not pass the test;

Though on the verge, they did not enter into God’s rest.

God’s Word encourages believers to have no fear,

For you cannot sing the song of faith if you do not hear.

The Maranatha Praise Band offers a spirited song “I Walk by Faith.”

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2 Responses to “Back to the first word: Faith”

  1. gary Says:

    Loved your sharing, your poem and your choice of music! Keep on walking on by faith, Lonnell!

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