Without faith it is impossible

Hebrews 11--1,6

Most providentially, the Verse of the Day for May 1, 2018 comes from Hebrews 11:6 in the Amplified Bible:

But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.

This particular verse is significant to me in light of the topic of faith, a vital component in my forthcoming book.   Not Just a Survivor–More than a Conqueror where I discuss my strategy to overcome prostate cancer, after being diagnosed with the disease in 2000.  Here is an excerpt from Chapter 6 “The Faith Factor: Without faith it is impossible. . .”where I discuss Hebrews 11:6 and other scriptures related to faith.

Watchman Nee, early 20th Century church leader and teacher in China, describes the life of each believer in this way: “The Christian journey, from start to finish, is a journey of faith.” As we journey through life we encounter challenges designed to build our faith. As believers we are on a journey that takes us from faith to faith, glory to glory, and victory to victory as we pursue the will of God for our lives.

Romans 1:17 reminds us this truth:

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Throughout my encounter with prostate cancer, I was keenly aware of importance of faith, in that this diagnosis challenged me to go to God and seek His guidance and direction as never before. In reflecting on the unfolding circumstances since that time, I recall being asked to write an article sharing what faith means to me. Here is an excerpt from one of the blog entries based on that original article.

Faith—the bedrock of my life

To build a magnificent mansion that will last a lifetime, the builders must begin 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 me, faith is the bedrock of life. I define faith as confident assurance, trust and conviction in God that I 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.”

Without faith it is impossible . . . but with faith, the impossible becomes possible.  Indeed, as Christian 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 our sure foundation.

Whenever I think of faith as a biblical concept, my mind goes back to a Wednesday Youth Night at Camp Gray, a Presbyterian camp in Saugatuck, MI when I was a sophomore in high school, back in the day. When the request came forth for a young person to deliver a short inspirational message, I volunteered, and I put together my first Bible teaching, choosing the topic of faith. Using the Bible and study material of one of the camp counselors who was a seminary student, I focused on Hebrews 11:1, 6—two verses that have contributed to the foundation upon which I have built my life as a teacher and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In 2004, quite providentially I was asked to teach on faith at a mid-week Bible study. I opened by reminiscing on my first teaching on faith, as we examined the Word of God and pointed out significant illustrations of faith in the Scriptures and in my life. I endeavored to relate the simplicity of faith, being that of hearing from God by way of the written Word or the Bible or by revelation from God. By acting upon what you have heard, you receive the corresponding results of your actions. Romans 10:17 reminds us of the source of faith: “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

In that particular teaching on faith I examined some of the accounts in Matthew where Jesus Christ mentions faith. One in particular caught my attention with its reference to “great faith” in the encounter with the centurion who comes to Jesus Christ with a request that he heal his servant. When the centurion replied that the Lord only needed to speak the word and his servant would be healed, the officer demonstrated “such great faith” and profoundly impressed the Lord. Today we would call that kind of confidence and trust in the Word of God as “crazy faith.”

As believers, we sometimes encounter circumstances that seem impossible, and our response is that we know the situation will turn out favorably, despite what appears to be a hopeless case. The world might respond to our positive expectations with, “That’s crazy!” We know, however, that we walk by faith and not by sight, and we counter with “That’s not crazy. . . That just means we have ‘crazy faith.’”

Dennis Marquardt, states, “Crazy faith is the kind of faith that will respond to God in obedience no matter how crazy it may seem at the moment!  It is the kind of faith that CAN remove mountains, and even more amazingly, it can move man!”

When asked what he means by “crazy faith,” Faithwriter Larry King, offers this definition: “Crazy faith is when you simply refuse to let what you perceive –that is, your circumstances, your situations, your trials, tests and obstacles – interfere with what you believe.”

The following poem uses Matthew 8:10 as its introductory verse or epigraph and also makes reference to a question asked by Jesus Christ in Luke 8:8b: “. . . Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

Such Great Faith–Crazy Faith

When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed,

Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith,

not even in Israel!

Matthew 8:10 (KJV)

 

As servants of a king assess his vast treasure,

When the Lord returns, will he find faith on the earth?

When He appraises our faith, what will it be worth?

When all is said and done, may we add our measure,

Though small as the grain of a tiny mustard seed.

Should the Lord come during the Age of the Gentiles,

May our faith be found so pure that nothing defiles.

May we be living by faith in word and in deed,

For God is ever faithful and His Word is true.

May such great faith descend from the centurion

To the faithful ones who bear this criterion:

Whatever God shall speak, this shall He also do.

We will still be walking by faith, not by what we see,

While pressing toward the mark, reaching toward our destiny.

Most appropriately, we close with John Waller singing “Crazy Faith”

Keep stopping by Dr. J’s Apothecary’s Shoppe for more details about the publication date for Not Just a Survivor: More than a Conqueror.

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