Week 2 - May 19th, 2019

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Week 2 - May 19th, 2019

Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was created by
the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

Day 1: 

Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

We weren’t there when the world was made. But by faith, we believe that God made it. By faith, we understand that God made it; He is absolute in power and sovereign over His creation. He has made us, redeemed us, and adopted us. He showed His infinite wisdom in that He had every cause and effect, every event in human history, perfectly planned and orchestrated at the moment of Creation. There has been no error, no mistake, no unforeseen consequence. And He shows His infinite goodness in how He interacts with His creation. In spite of our sin, our defiance, our war against Him, He loved us enough to sacrifice His own Son to bring us to Him. Because of these things, the God of creation has shown us that He is a God we can trust.

Yet, anxiety is rampant in our society. In Matthew 6 Jesus says “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow… But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” Jesus calls us to stop our emotional tailspin of anxiety and ‘consider.’ Think. Meditate. Ponder. Examine. Review. Think about the facts we have before us and examine what we know to be true because of it. We know the God of creation. We know what He has done, and His nature of kindness towards us. We know He is all powerful, all wise, and all good. He feeds the sparrows and clothes the lilies; He will not give His children a serpent or a scorpion when we ask for a fish or an egg (Luke 11:11-13). If we can trust Him with our eternal destiny, why can’t we trust Him with our temporal one? Put your life in the hands of your Creator today. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” Isaiah 26:3-4

Lord, help us to think with the minds you have given us. There is much that we cannot see, but we pray that You will show Yourself to us. Thank You that You are a God of power, of wisdom, and of goodness. Thank you that we can trust You to care for us in any and every season or situation, because You are trustworthy. Thank you for your peace that surpasses all understanding as we rest in Your promises. 

In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Day 2: 

Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

The difference between the Christian and the non-Christian is not whether or not they have faith. Everyone has faith, what’s different is what we’re trusting in. In our culture, many people trust in their money, possessions, comfort, relationships, careers, or health to give them purpose, meaning, and security. We like facts and reliability. We like to know from the start that our outcome is guaranteed before we commit.

Most things we trust in cannot be conclusively proven and require faith. But as a society, we like to believe that we can arrive at fully formed, completely foolproof decisions through the power of logic alone. When we have a decision to make like choosing a doctor, or a place to live, or a spouse, we start with research. We look up crime rates, budgets, and ratings. We talk to people who have seen these doctors, or lived in these neighborhoods, or know these people. We make pro and con lists and we think through every feasible scenario and possibility. But even in these mundane situations there comes a point when we have to
commit. As much as we’d like to, we can’t know before we climb onto the surgery table if the surgeon will make a mistake. We don’t know when we move into the house if the plumbing is about to bust, or when we get married if our spouse will be faithful and reliable. But based on the facts, the logic, and the reasoning, we make the decision. We commit and have faith in the outcome.

Rationality has its role. Facts and logic are important, but on their own they aren’t enough. Faith is not opposed to thinking, logic, or rationality. God doesn’t require us to believe in spite of the reality and facts around us. Dr. William Lane Craig wrote: "The Christian faith does not call for us to put our minds on the shelf, to fly in the face of common sense and history, or to make a leap of faith into the dark. The rational person, fully apprised of the evidence, can confidently believe." Hebrews 11:3 says, “by faith we understand,” with our minds. Mark 12:29 says “To love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” If the Bible is true, it is true now and always in concrete objective reality, and we don’t need to be afraid of thinking deeply.

Creator God, help us to never be afraid to think. Help us to examine, ponder, and meditate on the truths You’ve given us, and the realities in the world around us. Help us to be so firm in our faith that we fear no question, no doubt, or seeming contradiction. Help us to lean into these questions and seek the truth knowing that there we will find You.

In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

Day 3: 

Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was created by
the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

Christians are commonly thought of as people who are brainwashed and taught to ignore the world around us. Blindly accepting what we are told, we rest on tradition and do no sort of thinking for ourselves. But in reality, faith rests on thinking and doubt rests on emotion. 

Timothy Keller uses the example of a medical procedure to talk about this. When you go to the consultation, the doctor explains how simple it will be, and describes how everything goes. You have all the information and logic and rational thought. But when you arrive the day of the procedure, you experience the sights and sounds of the doctor’s office, and panic sets in. Not because of new facts, information or evidence, but because of emotion. Emotion breeds doubt. We regain our faith in the doctor by reminding ourselves of the truth that has already been set out for us. We think more and regain the rest of faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7 says “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Often, the world around us distracts us, scares us, shakes us. The things we see around us pull our eyes from our Savior and fix them on the transient things of this life. When this happens, we have to remember that we walk by faith, and not by sight. When we see suffering and heartbreak, when we are faced with unknowns, when others revile us or persecute us, we have not to think less, but think more. This doubt comes from fear and emotion, but belief comes from remembering the truth of who we are and what we have in Christ.

We don’t trust Christ in blind faith despite what we see; we cling in the light of the truth that we know and remind ourselves. We remember and think about the fact that our God loved us so much that He bled and died to redeem us. We remember that this life is temporary, and our home is in heaven with our Father. We remember that though this life is plagued by sin and despair, there is an eternal one coming where no tears will be shed, no pain endured, and no suffering experienced. We remember that nothing is wasted and that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28. We preach the gospel to ourselves and fix our eyes on truth and rational thinking instead of being carried away with our emotions and anxieties.

Lord Jesus, help us to fix our eyes on you regardless of the fears and anxieties of this life. Help us to face these hardships with the truth of the gospel that we know and believe. Our faith is not visible, it is not by sight that we walk, but You are ever present and ever faithful, even when we waver. Thank you for loving us despite how easily we are distracted and dismayed by the sights of this world. Thank you for your patience with us; thank You that
You hold us close in Your eternal strength.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.