Help thou mine unbelief!

Hebrews 11:11-12

11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 

The biblical account of God’s promise to Abram and Sara to give them a son is one of hope in the face of impossibility. The account also helps us when we find it hard to believe.

In Genesis 15 God makes this covenant with Abram: that his seed would be innumerable. In the Old Testament when a covenant was made, the sacrifice was divided in two and the parties in the agreement would walk between them signifying that if they did not keep their side, the same should happen to them. But God caused Abram to fall asleep so only God would walk between the sacrifices, showing him that this promise was completely dependent on Him to keep it.

As we read the next few chapters, we see why God did this. Their faith wavered soon after and
Sarai gave her handmaid, Hagar, to her husband to kind of “help” God keep His promise… and Ishmael was born! Then God reinforced this promise by changing Abram’s name to Abraham (meaning father of many nations) and Sarai’s name to Sarah (meaning princess). Abraham faltered again in his faith thinking they were too old and asked God to just accept Ishmael, thinking that maybe this promise was just too much for God to keep. Then when God comes to Abraham and Sarah on His was to Sodom, He tells them the time has come and Sarah would soon find herself pregnant and in 9 months the promise would be fulfilled, to which Sarah laughed in unbelief because physically she was no longer able to bear children.

This does not sound like an account that is filled with faith but instead it seems there is an awful lot of doubt in these chapters. So how is this an example of faith that we can follow? I think it is because even though their faith was weak and they had a hard time trusting in this promise, they never stopped following Him. Even with Hagar and Ishmael, I believe they did that because God had made a promise to make a great nation out of Abraham and they believed that…but the rest of it was a little much so perhaps they could help God along. They believed, while not believing. But God did fulfill his promise and Isaac was born to Sarah and the seed was planted for the nation of Israel to grow. He showed Himself faithful to keep His promises!

Do we ever have a hard time taking God at His word? Of course we do! Sometimes we even act like Sarah and Abraham and think we need to give a little assistance to God. But isn’t it an awesome thought to know that even when we have a hard time with our faith, our God remains faithful! He didn’t abandon Abraham and Sarah in their times of doubt, and He will not abandon us in ours. Sometimes we just have to cry out to God as the dad did in Mark 9:24 “Lord, I believe! Help thou mine unbelief!”

Today may we ReFocus our hearts and our minds on Christ as we consider His faithfulness in our lives, even when our faith falter.

Follow Me

Hebrews 11:8-10

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

I remember as a child it seemed like everywhere my parents took me was a secret! The conversation between me and my Dad would go like this… “Son, go and get in the truck”, Dad would command. “Where are we going?” I would ask. The answer would almost always be, “You will find out when we get there!” Without meaning to, Dad was showing me what faith is supposed to be like as I placed my full trust in his wisdom that the destination was where I needed to be.

In some small way, I think this is where Abraham was that day in Ur of the Chaldees when God came to him and said, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee” (Gen 12:1). He had no idea what the destination was going to be. All he knew was that God had told him to go, so he went. He left his family, friends, home and job and set out for the desert. He lived in tents with his family the rest of his life as he followed God and trusted in Him to keep the promises that He had made. Always with his eyes on the horizon looking for that “city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”.

What has God called you to do today? We say that we are seeking God’s will for our lives, but many times what we are really looking for is for God to take the map of our lives and place a star on the destination so we know where we are going and can plan out the trip! God want’s us to set out like Abraham and follow Him, trusting that the destination that He has in mind will be where you need to be. When Jesus called his disciples, he did not sit down with each one and explain what the next three and a half years would hold for them. He simply said, “Follow me”. On the shore of Galilee when Jesus was speaking to Peter in John 20, twice he gave the command “Follow me.” Peter had so many questions about what the future would bring, but Christ was calling him to set out by faith and follow.

What is God’s will for your life? To follow Him. Does that mean you end up on the mission field? Does that mean that God wants you in the ministry? Am you supposed to take a Sunday School class? Should you go across the street with a basket of food and invite my neighbor to Church? We have all of these questions about what God wants us to do, but he truth is He has simply said “Follow me”. And as we follow, he will direct us as we read and apply His word and follow the Spirit’s guidance in our lives. Where are you going to end up? I don’t know. But just as in the life of Abraham, the destination that awaits us is more than worth it!

Let us ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ today as we step out in faith and follow Him!

While there is still time

Hebrews 11:7

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

There is a well-known book titled, Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Let me suggest another: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Noah:

  1. Don’t miss the boat.
  2. We are all in the same boat.
  3. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
  4. Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something big.
  5. Don’t listen to critics; just do the job that needs to be done.
  6. Build your future on high ground.
  7. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
  8. Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
  9. When you’re stressed, float a while.
  10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
  11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

While these are all great lessons, Noah’s example of faith is what we are focusing on today. Just like Enoch, we find that Noah, too, had the testimony in his life that he walked with God (Gen 6:9). However, rather than take him to heaven like God did with Enoch, Noah was given a task to do. Mankind had fallen so deep into sin that the judgment of God would soon rain (literally) down on the world. Noah believed God’s word and began to prepare for the coming judgement by following God’s direction and building an ark.

However, Noah did more than build. In 1 Peter 2:5 we find that he was also a preacher of righteousness. He stood out among a wicked world as the only person who followed God, all the while proclaiming the coming judgement and preaching to them the righteousness of God. Then, when the time came, God directed Noah to gather the animals and his family into the ark and the rain started.

Through the faith of Noah his family was saved and was used by God to repopulate the earth. Just as in the days of Noah, the world today stands on the cusp of God’s judgement. There is coming a day when Christ is going to remove His church from this earth, an event referred to as the rapture. Then during the next seven years God’s judgement will rain down on mankind once again. God’s word has warned us and now we, as God’s servants, must stand in faith and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ while there is still time.

May we ReFocus our hearts and minds on the word of God as we live out in faith its truth by proclaiming the grace and mercy of Christ to a world that will soon be under the judgement of God.