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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Living by Faith

Faith ...

This morning I read "Faith in the Daily News Chase" by John McCandlish Phillips. It was a most heart-warming, well-written, engaging and to-the-point article. I had never heard of this man. Sometimes I think I must be living in a huge vacuum; there seems to be much I haven't seen or heard, much I am missing. I am thankful a chance article in the February Missouri Baptist Convention's publishing arm, The Pathway, led me to my first ever Christian Journalism Conference.

I searched the Internet for information on McCandlish Phillips, beyond the little I already knew -- from a night copy boy to general assignment reporter, he spent 21 years with The New York Times, 1952-1973.

Faith ....

Faith is not one big word that means one thing and one thing only. When we try to describe it to another, we tend to say it is believing without seeing. Hebrews 11:1 says it best, and depending on what translation/version of the Bible you use, some say it better than others. The New King James version says: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The New International version says: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

I believe there is the Faith we live in, live with and live by.

The Christian faith we live in is believing Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Virgin Mary, believing He died, was crucified for my sins and your sins, believing He was buried, believing He rose from the grave, believing He ascended into Heaven, believing God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit are three distinct beings. Living in faith is the kind of faith that saves us.

Living with faith is believing God will do all He says He will do.

Living by faith is following through without question, being totally obedient to the Lord, totally dependent on, totally relying on the Lord's instructions, commands to us through His word written and spoken, through all of life, all ordeals, turmoils, catastrophes, until all is accomplished.

"The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17b, Hebrews 10:38)

Who are the just? -- Those who have been made righteous by God, those who have been saved/born-again, those who have received the Good News of Jesus Christ and have believed it and accepted it, the called, His sheep, His children.

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Our lives, every aspect of our lives, may bring much pain and chaos, running the gamut (personal health, finance, housing, employment, transportation, state governments, federal governments, insurance, interest rates, moral upheaval), but we are not to see, not to live as though these struggles are permanent, but rather only temporary. I know that is not easy. God didn't say it was going to be easy. What He said was the afflictions we are presently dealing with, we will get through, by faith, assuming we are looking to Jesus, waiting on Him to guide us, looking to our eternal glory. We must always look upward, always think about what Jesus would do, always believing, trusting that the Lord will enable us to accomplish, to pass through this stage, unto the next and the next, until He has called us Home, however long it takes, wherever His road takes us.

McCandlish Phillips said, "Faith makes the decision to trust God fully, no matter what the appearance of things may be, or how contrary to faith the message that is screamed into our being is. Faith is a voluntary act of trust in God."

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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6