Mid Week Devotion 6/17/2020 “Fearless Faith”
Good morning, afternoon or evening, depending on when you are watching this mid-week version of our online church presentations. I want to extend a greeting to those of who who are joining in today, however you found us, welcome! My name is Pastor Mel, I trust you find this space comforting, refreshing and safe as we continue to journey through life in quarantine.
I am happy to announce that in-person worship services will be starting next Sunday, June 21 at 8:15 and 10:45 a.m. Both services will be outside in the pavilion. You must bring your own lawn chair or remain in your vehicle. Face masks are optional. Unfortunately there will be no congregational singing or sharing joys and concerns. If you have a joy or concern, please email it to the office before 8 a.m. Friday, so I can include them in the prayer.
Prayers of concern for Dr. Meyer who is still rehabilitating at Passavant Hospital.
Prayers of concern for others who are recovering from surgeries or procedures.
I want you to be in prayer for our nation as we continue to struggle with social and political issues, as well as issues of race, injustice and inequality. We may not live in the heart of these areas of unrest, but when one of us suffers, we all suffer. It may not be as prevalent, but unrest resides in Jacksonville, too. Through Christ we are connected the issues we all face. Personally, I support the Black Lives Matter movement. I ask that you join me in understanding what those words actually mean. Yes, all lives matter to God, but not all lives matter to human beings. I am encouraging you to engage in these issues by speaking openly with God on how your church and you personally can make a difference for reconciliation in our country. Let us carry these heavy thoughts to God in prayer.
Loving God, help us to see that faith is an action and requires us to be fearless, which in turn produces more faith. Like a muscle that grows from work, help us to answer your calling when you call us so that we grow in faith and fearlessness, growing in confidence and adoration of who you are! In Jesus name we pray, amen!
Lord, be with us as we pray the words which you have given to us;
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on Earth As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
For ever. Amen.
SCRIPTURE – Hebrews 11:17-31
Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
23 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. 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. 29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. 31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[d]
I have entitled this devotion, fearless faith.
DEVOTION: “Fearless Faith”
By faith, by faith, by faith, the story of the people of God is woven together by faith. We are encouraged to work, play, worship, live and die by faith. We are to be a part of all things by faith. I anticipate going into the next phase of life after quarantine with faith, to do so we need to become fearless in our faith for God.
I make no promises on the time frame of returning to life in the church building. God will help us the same as the Lord helped all the examples mentioned in Hebrews. This devotion, however, is not about how we ‘do’ church, this devotion is about how we are going to face an uncertain future; in church or out of church. Faith helps us prepare to receive revelations form God and faith helps us respond to those revelations upon hearing them.
Are we not the same people inside aa we are outside the church? If so, why limit our response to God within the physical building of worship? You and I are are the house of worship, each of us is a unique little sanctuary made by God for a purpose.
That purpose is to have faith while worshipping the one who bolsters our faith. This virus is still providing so many obstacles to us as individuals and as the body, how can we face them without faith? Faith will guide us on the steps we take take today and tomorrow. The first, last and every step we take in the middle is a step of faith. As long as we are going to step out in faith, I suggest we step out in fearless faith. Why go half way or only part way, go all the way.
I am not talking about evangelism here, this devotion is just for you, your faith, your fearless faith. Why would we want to give God any less than the Lord gave us? We need to be all in, whatever held you back in the past, leave it in quarantine. Lock it up in your house, and when you step out, leave it in there. Wave goodbye to it, because whatever has held you back serves one master, and that master is not Jesus.
Read over the list of names in Hebrews again, find one that clicks with you, one that reminds of your own faith story. That example may be in the Bible just for you. To give your strength and encouragement that God awaits to help you out of your similar situation. Go back and find the more complete story of the one you chose, read their story over and over. Pray about it and allow God to feed you with the same conviction.
Is it impossible for God to sustain us as we attempt to make a huge boat filled with animals? Is it impossible for God to sustain us as we survive a flood, fight a lion or a giant. Is it impossible for God to help us walk on water? Peter thought so until he actually did it. What more is possible for you and I? Can we trust Jesus to do what was promised? Can you trust Jesus to empower you to rally for justice, stand up to bullies or reject evil?
What does your faith look like when you close your eyes and dream? Think now about what your faith could be and hear the words that opened this chapter of Hebrews, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Oh, but you can see them, can’t you? They might not yet be materialized, but they are there none the less, living in you, waiting to be set free.
Were you afraid the first time you drove a car? We you afraid the first time you asked someone out on a date? Did you fear the first time you . . .fill in the blank. We survived all these any many more moments in our time, and we are not done. God is asking us to continue living our lives free of fear by faith.
The reason we should refer to it as fearless faith is because the more we step out in faith, the more we learn to trust God, the less we will fear. Confidence in God is constructed by walking with the Lord and seeing God’s faithfulness played out in our lives countless times. If we have trusted God in the past, what is stopping us from trusting God today? God is God and God will fulfill every promise. Today I challenge you to demonstrate more faith and less fear, trust God for help in this. We should all want to work towards fearless faith.
May God’s peace be with you until we meet again,
Stay safe and God bless.