A few weeks ago, I was struggling with my time I spent reading God's Word. Since October 3rd of last year, I had been experiencing God in such a different way...there was a secure presence of the Lord....it was calming and so real.....He truly was holding me and continues to do so. I would read my Bible very limitedly....I would find a verse and just cling to it and repeat it throughout my day....that is when Jacob's verse Psalm 27:14 "Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord." was all that would get me through so many times....I hoped to be strengthened and, OH, how He delivered that promise to me and continues to do so!...that one verse lived out in my life meant more than walking away unchanged after reading the Bible backwards and forwards. SO then, I got fed up with not knowing were to begin studying, so I said, "Lord, I am starting at the beginning..." since my time awake was limited (I fall asleep super quick-like), I opened my Bible to Genesis and began to read. I felt pretty good so I read a little side devotion and at the very end there were some verses that led me to the book of Hebrews....(it's long but stick with me)
Hebrews 10:32-12:2 (New International Version)
32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay. 38But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." 39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.
3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because heconsidered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.
23By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.
24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.
31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
What did I see in these verses? I have yet to figure it all out...but that evening, as I struggled to find a place to begin, I was literally sucked in to all the people who are listed. At the time, I did not go into deep study of each person mentioned (I will)....I just saw this on going list of names of men and women who had faith......All I could think was how amazing it would be to be listed as someone who lived by faith....but then I realized.....not everyone mentioned lived a life full of faith.....God showcased a bunch of people who were sinners....but what did it for them?....what were they an example of?....a moment in life.....just a moment of faith.....they displayed, at some point in life a moment of faith, "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of the things not seen." It was just a moment that got them mentioned in the Book of Hebrews, for some of them, it was thousands of years ago that they displayed their faith.....some of them not even seeing the promises they were living faithfully for!...they still did it though. I want to be noted. I want to be noted not only for one moment, but as someone who bursts faithful responses daily, hourly, every moment. Although the things they were faithful for were far off and they never got to see them with their earthly eyes, they desired God's Kingdom and strived for it as their home. I want my secured home in heaven to be what I live for. Just last night, I wrote about how I struggle with rejoicing for Jacob's home going to heaven....shame on me..."do not look upon the things of this world" (like holding sweet babies!).....Heaven is my home and that is where my heart should be......C.S. Lewis said "You do not have a soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body." Realize that. Our souls go on for eternity. Our bodies die. What is my soul's desire? Is it for this dying earthly body to have a great life for 80 years and then maybe hope to get to heaven somehow?...NO! It is for this soul to spend an eternity praising the Creator of all things and to spend the time encapsulated in this body serving Him and once this earthly body dies, I am finally home and in the presence of the King of Kings, where Jacob has been since he left the earth!
Lord, give me many moments of faith. Help my soul desire your Kingdom more than the things of this world. If you can wade through all I have done in this world, please find just a moment of faith that pleases You and encourages others to walk by faith that is so worth living for.
5 days ago