Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 10.16.21 – The first united Methodist church in Fort Worth

Today’s Bible:

Hebrews 11: 1-29 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The meaning of faith

11 Now faith is the guarantee of things we hope for, the belief of things that are not seen. 2 Indeed, by faith[a] our ancestors received approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds are prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen is made of things that are not visible.[b]

Examples of Abel, Enoch and Noah

4 By faith Abel offered more acceptable to God[c] a sacrifice from Cain. He thus received approval as a righteous man, and God himself approved of his gifts; he died, but by his faith[d] he continues to speak. 5 Enoch was taken away by faith so that he did not experience death; and “it was not found because God took it.” Because before they took him away, it was confirmed that he “pleased God.” 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because whoever approaches him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith, Noah, warned of God of unseen events, obeyed the warning and built an ark to save his household; thereby condemning the world and becoming the heir of righteousness that is in accordance with the faith.

The faith of Abraham

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go to the place he was to inherit; and he set off, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he abode for a time in the land promised to him, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were with him the heirs of the same promise. 10 For he rejoiced in a city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith he was given the power to give birth, even though he was too old — and Sarah was barren — because he considered him the faithful who had promised.[e] 12 Therefore, from one person, and these dead ones, descendants are born, “as many as the stars of the sky, and as many innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

13 They all died in the faith without receiving promises, but they saw and greeted them from afar. They acknowledged that foreigners and foreigners on earth, 14 because people who speak in this way make it clear that they are looking for a homeland. 15 If they had thought about the land they left behind, they would have had the opportunity to return. 16 But as they are, they want a better earth, that is, heaven. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tempted, offered Isaac. He who received the promises was willing to offer his only son, 18 of which he was told, “Through Isaac shall the descendants be named after you.” 19 He took into account the fact that God was even able to raise someone from the dead – and figuratively speaking, he still received him back. 20 By faith, Isaac invoked blessings for the future of Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith, Jacob, dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, “bowing in worship over the top of his staff.” 22 By faith, Joseph at the end of his life mentioned the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions about his burial.[f]

The faith of Moses

23 By faith, Moses was hidden from his parents three months after his birth, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.[g] 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choose to share the abuse with God’s people rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He felt that the abuse was suffered for Christ[h] to be a greater treasure than the treasure of Egypt, for he looked forward to the reward. 27 He left Egypt by faith, not fearing the king’s wrath; because it’s like he persevered[i] he saw the invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn Israelites.[j]

The faith of other Israeli heroes

29 By faith, people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry, but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they drowned.

Tim’s dedicated thinking for today

In United Methodist Hymnal there is a poem entitled “Oh, for a faith that will not diminish,” and I am currently sharing the following two stanzas with you:

Oh, for a faith that will not diminish,
Although pressed by every enemy,
It will not tremble on the edge
From any earthly misery!

A faith that shines brighter and clearer
When storms rage without;
That when she is in danger she knows no fear,
There is no doubt in the darkness.

Does that song suit you? Would you like to have more faith in God? The students are. They were honest and sincere and asked Jesus, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17: 5)

I think many of us would also ask Jesus, “Lord, strengthen my faith!” In this passage of Scripture, the Hebrew writer discusses the role of faith in the lives of some believers in the Hebrew Scriptures.

This passage of Hebrews is sometimes called the “Hall of Faith,” because it is a kind of utterance of the names and circumstances of some of the great “heroes” of the Bible and indicates the power of faith in their lives.

A better synonym for the word “faith” is not “belief”. That is “trust”. It is similar to belief, but it goes a step further. It’s not just believing a chair will hold you if you sit in it; IT IS sitting in the chair. It’s not just believing the ice is thick enough to slide; putting on skates and going out on the ice. It’s not just believing in God; IT IS completely believing in God. That’s it biblical faith.

Oh, the power of faith! Faith is gloriously defined in the first verse: “Now faith is a belief in things we hope for, a belief in things that are not seen.” That belief and that belief have great power to take us through the most difficult times and to give us hope for a brighter tomorrow.

What are you hoping for? What are your beliefs?

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