“Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. It was their faith that made our ancestors pleasing to God.
“Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God's command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.
“Because Abel had faith, he offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. God was pleased with him and his gift, and even though Abel is now dead, his faith still speaks for him.
“Enoch had faith and did not die. He pleased God, and God took him up to heaven. That's why his body was never found. But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him.
“Because Noah had faith, he was warned about something that had not yet happened. He obeyed and built a boat that saved him and his family. In this way the people of the world were judged, and Noah was given the blessings that come to everyone who pleases God.
“Abraham had faith and obeyed God. He was told to go to the land that God had said would be his, and he left for a country he had never seen. Because Abraham had faith, he lived as a stranger in the promised land. He lived there in a tent, and so did Isaac and Jacob, who were later given the same promise. Abraham did this, because he was waiting for the eternal city that God had planned and built.
“Even when Sarah was too old to have children, she had faith that God would do what he had promised, and she had a son. Her husband Abraham was almost dead, but he became the ancestor of many people. In fact, there are as many of them as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand along the beach.
“Every one of those people died. But they still had faith, even though they had not received what they had been promised. They were glad just to see these things from far away, and they agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth. When people talk this way, it is clear that they are looking for a place to call their own. If they had been talking about the land where they had once lived, they could have gone back at any time. But they were looking forward to a better home in heaven. That's why God wasn't ashamed for them to call him their God. He even built a city for them.”
“Faith is trusting God--believing that He loves us and knows best what is for our good. Thus, instead of our own, it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith acknowledges His ownership and accepts its blessing. Truth, uprightness, purity, have been pointed out as secrets of life's success. It is faith that puts us in possession of these principles” (Education, P. 253).
When jet fighters were first invented, they flew much faster than the prop planes that pilots had been used to. But still, both planes had an emergency eject system. Initially, the ejection system was simple: push the button, clear the plane, and roll forward out of the seat so the parachute behind the seat could open. But leaving the security of the seat was easier said than done. It was one thing to push the eject button, quite another to release from the security of the seat.
On several tests it was found that pilots hung on to the seat during ejection, thus making it impossible for the parachute behind them to be released. The whole process of safe ejection was faulty, not because of mechanical problems, but because of the inability of the pilots to trust, in those desperate moments, the system designed for saving their life. When newer, faster jet planes were built, the need for more advanced ejection systems increased dramatically.
As a result of this problem, the new jets were equipped with an ejection system that forced the pilot out of the seat, thus engaging the rip chord of the parachute. The entire ejection process was a single fluid movement of machinery that launched the pilot from the plane, leaving nothing to the pilot’s decision-making process. Now pilots had no problem getting out of the seat because they were literally forced out.
It seems as though pilots need something to force them out of their seats. And for us, the moments when we are called to let go of our security and completely trust in God are big moments of faith. God’s ejection design will not force us out of our seats. The leap of faith requires letting go. What is it we cling to for security? Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
See Steps to Christ, pp. 122, 123 .
“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”
Be humble in the presence of God's mighty power, and he will honor you when the time comes. God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.
“Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack.”
Ben’s friend Toby just found out his parents are getting a divorce. Toby doesn’t go to church, nor do his parents. Ben feels so bad for him, and he doesn’t really know what to say. Ben and Toby have talked about God on occasion, but it has always been a little awkward.
Ben wants to give his friend some encouragement and possibly pray with him, but he is a little nervous. They have never prayed together before, but Ben feels lately that Toby needs more that people saying “I’m sorry” or “That’s too bad.” Ben makes the decision that he is going to give God a chance to open the door for him to pray with Toby this week.
That door opens on their way home from school together when Toby says, “I wish my parents would just get along like your parents. Why does it seem as if God doesn’t care if my family falls apart?”’ Ben senses this is a good time to share with Toby his belief about prayer.
What do you think he should say? How would you say it? What would you pray about with Toby? How can their friendship be strengthened by this? How might it get strained? When have you had a moment like this?
Log on to www.guidemagazine.org/rtf to post your responses. Be up-front and honest. Say what you think. The lines below are provided as an alternative to posting, or as a way to record your thoughts to share with your class later.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Complete the puzzle using the clues shown below. (Hint: you may want to look up the work “Faith” in a thesaurus for help.)
“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, 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. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death 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, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
Some of our heroes of the Bible had heroes as well. Peter might have looked back at David as an example, and Paul probably would refer to Abraham as one of his heroes. These regular people had big moments of faith in which it seemed as though risking their lives was a no-brainer. As Christians, sometimes we think of having faith as being able to make the big sacrifice, like Daniel in the lions’ den, or Moses at the Red Sea, or Elijah on Mount Carmel. These are what we might call the “hundred dollar” moments of faith. But it can be discouraging when you look over your life and don’t see any of the big moments.
If you look more carefully into the lives of our heroes of faith, you will find that there is more to their faith than the big sacrifice they made. In reality, their big moments are likely to be made up of many smaller moments. Maybe what God really wants is for us to take that $100 bill to the bank and cash it in for 400 shiny quarters. Each day it isn’t hard to take the steps of faith a quarter at a time. Pray with someone in need. Apologize to someone you might have wronged in the past. Step out and visit a neighbor on your street and share what God has done for you. Give up something you really want so that someone can have what they really need. Take a risk a quarter at a time. Then, when the “big faith moments” come, your faith reaction will be a no-brainer for you as well.
Match the text with the verse (all verses are taken from the NIV Bible).
1. Hebrews 11:1________
2. Hebrews 12:2 ________
3. 2 Chronicles 20:20 _________
4. Matthew 8:10 _________
5. Matthew 9:2 __________
6. Matthew 9:22 _______
A. “Now faith being sure of what we hope for . . .”
B. “Your faith has healed you.”
C. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus . . .”
D. “Have faith in the Lord your God . . .”
E. “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
F. “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”
“Later the disciples went to Jesus in private and asked him, ‘Why couldn't we force out the demon?’ Jesus replied: ‘It is because you don't have enough faith! But I can promise you this. If you had faith no larger than a mustard seed, you could tell this mountain to move from here to there. And it would. Everything would be possible for you.’ ”
“The apostles said to the Lord, "Make our faith stronger!" Jesus replied: If you had faith no bigger than a tiny mustard seed, you could tell this mulberry tree to pull itself up, roots and all, and to plant itself in the ocean. And it would!
The more you talk faith, the more faith you will have. The more you dwell upon discouragement, talking to others about your trials, and enlarging upon them, to enlist the sympathy which you crave, the more discouragements and trials you will have. Why mourn over that which we cannot avoid? God is inviting us to close the windows of the soul earthward and open them heavenward that He may flood our hearts with the glory which is shining across the threshold of heaven” (Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 579).
“ When someone asks how you are feeling, do not try to think of something mournful to tell in order to gain sympathy. Do not talk of your lack of faith and your sorrows and sufferings. The tempter delights to hear such words. When talking on gloomy subjects, you are glorifying him. We are not to dwell on the great power of Satan to overcome us. Often we give ourselves into his hands by talking of his power. Let us talk instead of the great power of God to bind up all our interests with His own. Tell of the matchless power of Christ, and speak of His glory. All heaven is interested in our salvation. The angels of God, thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand, are commissioned to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. They guard us against evil and press back the powers of darkness that are seeking our destruction. Have we not reason to be thankful every moment, thankful even when there are apparent difficulties in our pathway?” (The Ministry of Healing, pp. 253, 254)/
Have you every wondered whether or not you had enough faith? Have you ever prayed for more faith? What did you expect? A greater sense of confidence? A warm feeling inside? Supernatural courage to take a leap of faith?
Sometimes when young people (as well as adults) ask for more faith, we miss the point of what faith is. Faith is doing what God wants you to do without having to lean on a lot of physical evidence about why. Do you remember the father who pleaded with Jesus to cast the demon out of his son? “‘If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’ (Mark 9:22-24,NIV)
The man feels as if he doesn’t have enough faith. But he does exactly what he was supposed to do—bring his son to Jesus! The “big faith moment” is when he admits that he can’t do much but God can. Sometimes we want more faith, but what we really need to do is exercise the mustard seed we have. God doesn’t hand out large helpings of faith to people. He calls them to practice it. When we struggle, the same patient Jesus that helped this father helps us. God will do many things for us. But He will not believe for us. That is an exercise for our soul, strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
“Jesus asked, ‘How long is it ago since this came unto him?’ The father told the story of long years of suffering, and then, as if he could endure no more, exclaimed, ‘If Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.’ ‘If Thou canst.’ Even now the father questioned the power of Christ.
“Jesus answers, ‘If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.’ There is no lack of power on the part of Christ; the healing of the son depends on the father's faith. With a burst of tears, realizing his own weakness, the father casts himself upon Christ's mercy, with the cry, ‘Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.’
“Jesus turns to the suffering one, and says, ‘Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.’ There is a cry, an agonized struggle. The demon, in passing, seems about to rend the life from his victim. Then the boy lies motionless, and apparently lifeless. The multitude whisper, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus takes him by the hand, and lifting him up, presents him, in perfect soundness of mind and body, to his father. Father and son praise the name of their Deliverer. The multitude are ‘amazed at the mighty power of God,’ while the scribes, defeated and crestfallen, turn sullenly away.
“. . . It is faith that connects us with heaven, and brings us strength for coping with the powers of darkness. In Christ, God has provided means for subduing every sinful trait, and resisting every temptation, however strong. But many feel that they lack faith, and therefore they remain away from Christ. Let these souls, in their helpless unworthiness, cast themselves upon the mercy of their compassionate Saviour. Look not to self, but to Christ. He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the word of God. Then grasp His promise, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, ‘Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief’ (The Desire of Ages, pp. 428, 429).
‘If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed,’ said Jesus, ‘ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove.’ Though the grain of mustard seed is so small, it contains that same mysterious life principle which produces growth in the loftiest tree. When the mustard seed is cast into the ground, the tiny germ lays hold of every element that God has provided for its nutriment, and it speedily develops a sturdy growth. If you have faith like this, you will lay hold upon God's word, and upon all the helpful agencies He has appointed. Thus your faith will strengthen, and will bring to your aid the power of heaven. The obstacles that are piled by Satan across your path, though apparently as insurmountable as the eternal hills, shall disappear before the demand of faith. ‘Nothing shall be impossible unto you.’ ” (The Desire of Ages, p. 431).
‘Not because we see or feel that God hears us are we to believe. We are to trust His promises. When we come to Him in faith every petition enters into the heart of God. When we have asked for His blessing, we should believe that we receive it, and thank Him that we have received it. Then we are to go about our duties, assured that the blessing will be realized when we need it most. When we have learned to do this, we shall know that our prayers are answered. God will do for us ‘exceeding abundantly,’ ‘according to the riches of His glory,’ and ‘the working of His mighty power’ ” (The Signs of the Times, Jan. 20, 1903).
Choose from the heroes of the “faith” chapter (Hebrews 11) three people you admire, and list them in the first column. In the second column think of someone you know today that reminds you of that biblical hero, and put why you think they should be listed. In the third column, think of one thing you can do this week to practice their brand of faith. (Be as specific as you can.)
|Hero of the Faith||Faith Hero Today||
My Faith This Week