Summary: I used this devotional message in a retirement home. It is intended to encourage those who lived a life of faith and leaves a legacy of faith.
Faith in Action
President Abraham Lincoln met with a group of ministers for a prayer breakfast during the Civil War. One of the ministers suggested to the President that they pray that God will be on their side. Lincoln’s deep insight prompted the response, "Let us prayer that we are on God's side." We're told that "Lincoln reminded those ministers that religion is not a tool by which we get God to do what we want but an invitation to open ourselves to being and doing what God wants."
Our faith is foundational to our lives; it is our response to be on God's side.
Faith is a determined, deliberate teacher.
Hebrews 11 and 12 – life lessons
1. Faith inspires lifestyle
Abel’s offering, Enoch’s purity, Noah’s boat-building, Abraham’s resettlement and nearly son-sacrifice, Sarah’s child-bearing, Isaac’s blessing for Jacob’s future, Jacob’s blessing on Joseph’s sons, Joseph’s prophecy of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, Moses’ parents’ incredible courage and confidence when hiding their infant in the river, Moses’ choice for hardship rather than luxury, the people who walked the through a seabed, Jericho’s impregnable walls crumbled, and a prostitute partnered with God’s people.
Today would be my dad’s 80th birthday had he been with us. He was PTG last April 10. His faith inspired lifestyle: church leader, tither, prayer warrior – from praying with me when I was a wandering teen to praying for me by his bed when he needed help getting dressed or climbing into bed. It inspired Romans 1:16 on his headstone: “I am not ashamed…”
2. Faith stirs longing
Stirred us to salvation – Hebrews 10:22, “Let us draw near to God…”
Many here are marked by verse 11:23, “Hold unswervingly to the hope we profess”
11:6, “Without faith… which is to say, there can be no salvation apart from faith.
My dad couldn’t get enough church, enough, services, enough preaching, enough prayer or enough testimony. It was like an insatiable thirst – matched by his guzzling glasses of water when he got home from 4/5 hours of services on Sunday nights! Another verse would have worked well as my dad’s epitaph: Psalm 42:1, “as the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”
3. Faith leaves a mark
Stories of faith in Hebrews 11 makes that clear.
Often envision this as “the cloud of witnesses” are looking on, observing us. Not that. It is not them looking ON but about us looking UP! Seeing them, having the witness of their faith and fullness, “let us throw off…2fixing our eyes on Jesus…”
My dad marked me by his faith.
I want to mark my children by that same faith; my grandchildren, my wife, my siblings and friends; my staff members and colleagues.
Hope’s end for a life of faith? 11:40, “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
Faith inspires your lifestyle. You can reflect on so much you did and gave, suffered and surrendered and connect that to your faith, your relationship with and too God and to your hope for the future and things not seen. Like them (Hebrews 11 witnesses) you see “the things promised and welcome them from a distance” because you are “foreigners and strangers on earth.” (11:13)
Faith stirs your hearts.
You believed and daily “profess Jesus as Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:11)
Faith leaves a mark.
Can’t know the full measure of your mark, your legacy, until the Lord returns. But there’s no doubt the world was shaped for God, the Kingdom enlarged and lives changed, because you lived a life of faith.
- David and Margaret Hammond … CFOT; Julia when she was a child
- Bill Reader … “IF a man has a soul” theology
And so, again, “let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (10:23)