"sin cera," meaning 'without wax.' It is from this concept that we get the English word "sincere."
We sat alone at the airport as we waited for boarding. No family came to see us off...a real and painful demonstration of their disapproval. All of our earthly belongings were floating in the Atlantic, crammed into a container on a ship, headed for port on the east coast of Scotland. My heart pounded as the jet engines began to roar. I was consumed with a strange mixture of trepidation and eager anticipation. This was a monumental leap of faith for me. The adventure was just beginning.
Fast-forward to this morning. My Bible reading has taken me to Hebrews chapter 11. The "Faith Chapter." Ugh! Dare I still characterize my faith as "sincere?" The past six years have left my heart broken and my faith in tatters.
We have lived as strangers in a foreign land. True exiles. While we have gained a few precious friends along the way, we have known mocking, rejection and abandonment on more occasions than I care to think about.
Perhaps another look at the "Faith Chapter" is in order after all! A bare Christmas tree awaits lights and decorations, so I will merely outline what the Lord showed me this morning and trust the Holy Spirit to speak into your heart what is most needed.
Is commendable by God! (Abel)
Is a witness that continues to preach after we die. (Abel)
Makes us pleasing to God. (Enoch)
Brings reward from God.
Leads to obedience which SAVES. (Noah)
Often leads us into unfamiliar territory.
Can co-exist with uncertainty. (Abraham and Sarah)
Can open the door to the 'IMPOSSIBLE.' (Sarah's conception)
Remains active until death.
Makes us 'aliens' and 'strangers' on earth.
Directs our desires heavenward.
WILL be tested! (Abraham and Isaac)
Blesses future generations. (Isaac and Jacob)
Strengthens our confidence in God's promises. (Joseph)
At times calls for civil disobedience! (Moses' parents)
May lead us away from a life of ease/privilege. (Moses)
Requires obedience that means the difference between life and death.
(Moses and the Passover)
Can bring supernatural deliverance! (Crossing the Red Sea)
Breaks down walls when combined with obedience. (Jericho)
I have heard rousing sermons preached on this passage that make me want to conquer the world! There is another side of the FAITH coin, however. Halfway through verse 35 the writer of Hebrews shifts gears! The 'reward' of our FAITH is not always what we expect!
Because of their FAITH...
Some were chained and imprisoned
Some were mocked and isolated
Some were stoned
Some were sawn in two
Some were killed by swords
Some were made destitute
Some lost their homes, and were living in dens and caves.
"Of whom the world was not worthy!"
I don't know about you, but my "FAITH" perspective needs a bit of adjusting! I may never see MY "reward" for faithfulness here on earth. After all, I am an alien and stranger here! I am both the Lord's "peculiar treasure" and a citizen of a Kingdom that CANNOT BE SHAKEN.
to show that the surpassing power
belongs to God and not to us."
(2 Corinthians 4:7)
Lord, find us FAITHFUL.