Superheroes

When we open our Bibles to Hebrews chapter 11 what we find is a great hall of faith. Where heroes of Faith line the wall, with bronze busts to commemorate the commitment to faith in God demonstrated in a life well-lived. Yes they, like us, are not without the scars of this life. Within its 40 verses, we are inspired by stories of men and women who pleased God as they lived by faith. 

As we read of their lives, I picture them splashed across the page, I witness the Jumbotron illuminating every detail every time I read about one of them. As my eyes read over the names and events, I always find one whose story moves me and I again set out to unpack their lives. They moved over the valley and through the woods, responding and ultimately pleasing God with their loves, and each time they gave witness to Faith in action. 

Now this word that is tossed around, faith, it means complete trust or confidence placed in something or someone. A couple of months back, we looked at how the object of our faith is to be Jesus Christ. Moreover, faith is substance born of hope. Many have taken the word faith and created an acrostic. One of my favorites: Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him, this is FAITH. It is a lifelong fantastic adventure as we journey with our Lord and Savior, learning to trust in Jesus Christ. Finding each day a new opportunity to learn and walk out our faith in the Lord as the Holy Spirit guides us down the path of life’s journey. 

As we begin a new week of devotions, let’s take time to consider the lives of some of the Heroes of Faith and how we find four requirements that will help us please the Lord our God. Today, take time to read over this chapter and I bet you will discover that you have had some similar circumstances come your way. Take note of how they handled adversity in their lives and how you can apply the wisdom they used to your situation. And remember we can always ask God for guidance.



Miracle Gate

God asks us to live out His holy word. As we said earlier this week, it is basic instructions before leaving earth, and Bible asks us to Live the Golden Rule Christ Jesus says in, Matthew 7:12~So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (ESV) This sums up the Old Testament teachings of Exodus 23:4 which says if you find something that’s not yours, be sure to return it. Again in Leviticus 19:18~…love your neighbor as yourself. Proverbs 25:21~If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. (NIV) Jesus shares that how we treat others should NOT be determined by how they treat us, but by how we want them to treat us. This command is applicable in every facet of our lives: school, home, work, on every field, hill, and valley of life. Jesus says strive. Why?

It’s a Choice, Choose the Narrow Gate Jesus says to those who want to follow Him: Matthew 7:13~Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. (ESV) God gives each person two choices, there are only two ways to live. One gate leads to destruction and it is a wide path, which means there are few if any, boundaries at all. This is an easy path to follow; therefore, many travel this road. However, our Lord says His followers must enter the narrow gate. Matthew 7:14~For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (ESV) You’ll never hear me say that being a believer is easy. Salvation is easy, just ask, believe, and receive the free gift. The hard part is walking out our Faith. That is why few find it. Being a believer is to live for Jesus Christ. It is a journey through life and faith-filled with opposition and persecution. It has boundaries on sex, marriage, and how we live our lives. But the journey with Jesus is also rewarding because He walks with us, helps us in our troubles and trials, He talks to us through the Holy Spirit, encouraging and guiding all while preparing us for eternity with Him. Life is going to have its share of problems. 

What we Takeaway from our daily devotions this week is summed up in the question: Why not journey with Jesus? I want to encourage you to not enjoy sin for a season (Hebrews 11:24-26) or, risk an eternity apart from God just for a few days of pleasure. God has given each of us a choice to make. (Deuteronomy 30:19) Jeremiah 21:8~Tell all the people, This is what the LORD says: Take your choice of life or death! (NIV) As you enter your time of prayer today, ask the Lord to help you choose new life in Jesus Christ by not being Judgy, remaining in Constant Prayer, Living out the Golden Rule, remember it is a choice.



Knock

Today, I want to ask you to commit to constant prayer. Jesus offers us a wonderful promise about prayer, though it must be kept in context. Our Lord’s has been teaching about the actions and attitudes required of those who follow Him. and though some of His demands can seem really difficult, if not almost downright impossible. Take showing mercy, extending forgiveness, being authentic, knowing the real treasure, winning over worry. He looks at those in need, He looks at us, and offers a promise. Matthew 7:7~Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (ESV) To help us truly understand this promise our Lord makes says in Matthew 7:8~For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (ESV)

The first question I ask, I know you are a better believer than me, but I ask, who is everyone? It’s everyone who’s a disciple of Jesus Christ. In our Bible study time, the most important words we ought to analyze are the verbs. Some of you love acronyms Like BIBLE Basic Instructions Before Leaving ASAP: Always Say A Prayer, SWAG: Saved With Amazing Grace, or my favorite FAITH: Forwarding All Issues To Heaven. Pastor, I have a need and I am going to be forwarding on that need for you. Did you know I can tell what version of the Bible you read based on your acronym? Take PRAY: Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield. This is an NIV reader, while my KJV readers prefer ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. In verse 7, the verbs are: Ask, Seek, Knock=ASK. These verbs are all present tense, which denotes for us, the reader, continuous action. We never stop asking of God, now He really does sound like a father, right?. Dad can you, will you, please. I guess I am going to have to seek, no this is going to take some knocking. (Singing) So I’m knock, knock, knocking on Heaven’s door. If we want to follow Jesus successfully, we must keep on Asking, Seeking, and Knocking. 

However, discover a second application to this promise. Watch how the words progress in intensity. First, we ask, then we seek, followed by us knocking. This reveals our prayers are to be active, and not passive. If we’re praying for the Lord’s help, for a job, we should be actively seeking one, trusting that He will guide and provide. These verbs tell us to put feet to our prayers. and, of course, we must watch out for being a selfish believer. As we are reminded in James 4:3~When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (NIV) When compared to God, even the best of parents are no match. Jesus says How much more will our holy, loving, all-powerful Father answer our legitimate requests! (Matthew 7:9-11) 

I want to remind each of us that according to 2 Corinthians 5:17~Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (NIV) We are made new in Jesus our Lord. So today, who needs some prayer? Get your list out, or make a new right now and then begin to pray for those needs. As you move throughout your day the Lord is going to bring one or two them back to you and I want you to do what Paul says in Philippians 1:3. As often as I think of you, I make mention of you in my prayers. Today, be like Jesus.