Everyday Faith

by Nancy Vandemark

Have you ever felt intimidated after reading Hebrews 11? We read the names of people with great faith. There is Noah, who spent many years of his life building the ark and warning the people what was to come. We read of the father of faith, Abraham, who was ready to offer Isaac, his son, as a sacrifice. Joseph, whose story we have read, lived many years in a foreign land, some of those years in prison, to be able to save his family of Israel. Yet Joseph looked forward to Israel returning to the land from where they came. Rahab is mentioned as she risked being caught as a traitor and helped the spies of Israel. And the list goes on.

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched 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. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
Hebrews 11:32-38

A man on a missionary trip to India brought home a video recording from one of the Christians living there. Men and women were dragged from their church and beaten for being Christians. And we have seen on the news the persecution of Christians who live in the Middle East. I am sure there are great persecutions going on today that we do not hear about. I have faced some hard trials of faith in my life, most of them in my early years after turning to God, but nothing even close to what is mentioned in the verses above. As I read more carefully I see not only those great acts of martyrdom and persecution, but something more…

  •  By 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. v.3
  • By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. v.4
  • By faith Abraham 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. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. v.9-10

For many of us our lives may seem ordinary. You may still be a student and your life may consist of studies and other activities. You may be a parent who gets up in the middle of the night to tend a child when he or she is sick. For many of us, there are hours consumed in going to work every day to a job we may not like to provide for ourselves, our families and for helping others.

We may or may not face some of the great trials listed in Hebrews 11 in our life, but being faithful in the seemingly small things is important. "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much" (Luke16:10).

By faith, we too believe God created the universe.

By faith, we strive "to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Eph 4:1-2).

By faith, our focus is "on things above, not on earthly things" (Col 3:2).

By faith, we flee from "sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed" (Col 3:5).

By faith, we give of our time and resources to help others in need, showing love to our 'neighbors' as Jesus told us to do.

By faith, we show love and kindness to others, even though their actions seem undeserving, knowing they are children of God. We forgive and love them just as God has done for us.

By faith, we are "confident of this, that he who began a good work in you [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil 1:6).

We too, are like strangers in a foreign land. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God and look "forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (v.10).

Roman 12:1 states, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."

I urge each of us to live every day, by faith, a life holy and pleasing to God even in the seemingly small ways.

Volume 16 Issue 07 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation |

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