It tells us in Genesis 5:22-24 that Enoch lived for 365 years…faithfully walking with God…and then he was no more, because God took him away. The word used here is “translated”, or conveyed to heaven without tasting death. The only other person to experience this was the Old Testament prophet Elijah. But unlike Enoch, Elijah’s departure was witnessed as he was carried off by a whirlwind. (II Kings 2:11) What these two men did have in common though was their unshakable faith in desperate times, godliness in the face of persecution, and the boldness to speak the truth no matter what.
I encourage you to read the entire 11th Chapter of Hebrews, for in it you will read of many kinds and shades of faith. Faith is an ongoing lifetime journey of trusting God. It’s a way of life, not just a one time action done at conversion. Our faith grows as we grow in Christ…confidence in Him is forged and built every time we make the decision to trust Him. But as you read through Chapter 11 you’ll see the different nuances of faith shown… there’s expanding and growing faith, there’s beyond logic and reasoning faith, there’s sacrificial, persecuted, and impossible faith. Our life of faith begins with an internal response, which leads to faith-filled action. From there, it’s a life based on God’s promises…not on circumstances. Though, when you get to the end of this chapter you’ll read, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.” Every person you read about here in Chapter 11 was praised for their faith, yet not one saw their promise fulfilled in their lifetime. Instead, they all persevered under pressure, never giving up, and always putting their confidence in their Lord.
When you’re waiting for important test results to come back…your head can be filled with questions, doubts, and uncertainty. But if you allow the Lord to take you back, He will show you the many times that He carried you through equally tough times. And with each event He brings to mind, your faith and trust grows…for you’ll see where He has worked mightily on your behalf. Jesus tells us in John 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me.” Total reliance and confidence in the Lord means that we no longer need to question God’s plan or purpose for our lives…for we know with certainty what He’s done for us in the past… will continue into the future.
In this story, a Canaanite woman has approached Jesus asking Him to heal her demon possessed daughter. At first Jesus is kind, but firmly tells her, “I’ve been sent to help the Jews.” But she’s undeterred with her request, so He then says to her, “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” For most, that kind of rebuff would have stop them…but not her! Yes, she thoroughly understands what Jesus is saying, but she also knows that He’s the only one who can save her daughter. It’s by her tenacity and tremendous faith…a faith that Jesus recognizes in her, that her request is granted.
You may think you live a blameless and upright life, but it will never measure up before God. It’s not until you recognize that you can’t save yourself. No amount of right living and good deed doing will save your soul from hell. That’s because the only way to God is through Jesus…the only way to salvation is by believing that Jesus died for your sins…the only way to heaven is by uniting yourself with Jesus by faith. And this saving faith will never disappoint as you learn to trust in Him.
It takes huge faith to respond to God’s call when He says, “Go!” And it takes tremendous trust to say “Yes” when you don’t have a clue what’s to come. But without that faith and trust in God…you’ll never fulfill His plan and purpose in your life. Sometimes, God will ask you to take a leap of faith, but know that He’s there ready to catch you…you just have to jump.
You can’t have faith without hope…and hope without faith…they go hand and hand together. When shattered human emotions come to the point of hopelessness, there’s nothing left but disillusionment and a broken spirit. But if we have faith, we are lifted up and supported…encouraged and assured that God is there. Isaiah 46:4 says, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He Who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” The Lord is always there to comfort the brokenhearted and grief-stricken. For faith will give way to hope…and hope will usher in faith.
Do you know where you’ll go when you die? If you’re a Believer, do you have the trust to confidently state, “Yes, I’m going to heaven.” Or do you stand there today just hoping you’ll make it? This verse should then refute that gnawing uncertainty in your mind once and for all. For when we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we are reconciled and placed in right standing with God. And the peace brought about by this reconciliation to our Heavenly Father overshadows any doubt or fear our minds may have. So stand now in faith and righteousness through Jesus Christ our Lord and be assured of your eternal life.
It was done mostly in obscurity…off in the background at a wedding in progress. Only a few people were even aware that the wine was gone. They included a few servants and the disciples of Jesus that witnessed this miracle of changing something as basic as water into something extraordinary as fine wine. Now the wedding party did benefit and were wonderfully blessed by His first miracle…but it was the people who actually saw it with their own eyes that were powerful and eternally changed by it.
God is faithful…keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations. (Deuteronomy 7:9) He is trustworthy, just, and true, unlike anyone else on this planet. For others will betray you…even those professing their love for you. But God will never go back on His Word. He can be trusted…so in turn, we can believe in Him. And in that confidence, springs hope. (Hebrews 10:23)