Tuesday, May 3, 2011

By Faith

Faith is being sure of what is hoped for and certain of what is not seen. 

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is the all famous chapter about the faith of our fathers.  The faith of these legendary men is incredible. 

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;
 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.
 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE
                Hebrews 11:8-12
Abraham left everything that he knew, his family and his heritage, with faith that God would make him a great nation, though he had no children.  He made no plans to return.  When Abraham died, he was only beginning to see the results of his obedience.  God rewarded him with descendants outnumbering the stars and the sands.  

As I prepare to leave home this fall, I must have faith that God has a great plan for me even though I can’t see past today. Right now, I know that He wants me to attend Tennessee Temple University, to pursue a degree in ASL interpreting.  I do not know what I will do with that degree, but I am preparing to leave everything that I know, with no foreseeable plan to return.   Abraham set forth a great example, an example that has encouraged me to have faith in God’s plan for my future.

As I learn from these patriarchs, I know that God wants me to follow their example, with faith that He will fulfill His plans for me.  I will probably never receive a reward here on earth, but I can live with faith that God will use my life to make a difference. 

Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them. 
                Hebrews 11:13-16

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Other Side of the Painting

Recently I have been wondering whether I have been listening to the voice of God or the voice of reason.  Some would argue that they are one and the same.  I beg to differ. 

This evening, in order to clear my head, I decided to take my sweet dog on a walk.  It just happened to be dark and cold out, my favorite time of day.  We walked to her favorite field near our house.  I took this quiet time to pray.  I felt God nudging me to look up.


“… I consider your heavens,
   the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
   which you have set in place,”
Psalm 8:3

I stepped back to take it all in. The beauty above me was indescribable.  

I saw the heavens above me, and I thought of the recent study I completed about Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine chapel.  It took Michelangelo years to paint the creation of the world. God created it with his voice. He breathed the stars and moon into existence.  There is no comparison. 

Michelangelo did not want to paint the ceiling, because, as a sculptor, he reasoned that he would be remembered for his great sculptures.  Contrary to Michelangelo's reasoning, the painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is one of his best known works.  The voice of reason would like to tell me that the God of the universe would never take the time to care about each of my decisions, whether it be what I do when I get up or who I choose to spend my time with.  But, the verse above continues-

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
   human beings that you care for them?”
Psalm 8:4

The God who breathed the universe into existence loves me.  He loves me enough to care about each decision that I make.  He loved me enough to defy all human logic when He humbly come to earth.
Our God is not a god of reason and logic.  Our God is the Creator of the universe, and He cares for me. He cares for you.  

He left His heavenly throne to come to earth and die a shameful and horrible death.  He did this so we might have a relationship with Him while on earth and so we may live to glorify Him forever and ever. 

This is a message that I have heard over and over, but it hit me hard tonight when I looked up and saw his handiwork displayed before me.

If you do not have a personal relationship with the God that created you, I want you to know that is something that He has offered you.  He wants to be your best friend.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand everything, you never will, at least on this side of heaven.   All you have to do is recognize that you do bad things, those are called sin, And confess (agree with God) that your sin separates you from Him, and repent (do a 180).  He will forgive your sins and welcome you into His forever family.  

         Who knows?
                         Someday you may even get to see the other side of the painting.