Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1, JB Phillips
Faith is the foundation, the root, the underlying substance of hope. If you have any hope, it comes from some faith in you.
Hope, you may say, is a bud upon the plant of faith, a bud from the root of faith; the flower of faith is joy and peace. George MacDonald believed that true believers, when they are honest with themselves, are appalled at the doubt, disbelief, and fear that is lurking in their hearts. It is natural that we should doubt because we are caught in a spiritual war. Satan tempting on one side… If he tempted Jesus, you know he will tempt us…reason or intellect on the other side…plus there is the voice of the world. Our reason testifies that if God be real, He should be visible and we should be able to offer scientific proofs. MacDonald says, All the intellect or metaphysics of the world could not prove that there is no God, and not all the intellect in the world could not prove that there is a God. If you could prove that there is a God, faith would be eliminated and the Bible says it is impossible to please God without faith. Faith is God’s sovereign choice of our relating to HIM. There are no empirical proofs that there is a God or that you belong to Him. Our relationship with Him is by faith alone. This is by design: it is God’s way. Jesus taught His disciples many things but He did not teach them everything and that was for more than one reason. First, they were not ready to receive all that Jesus had and secondly, Jesus wanted them to trust Him and His word whether they understood or not. I pray because Jesus said pray but I do not understand prayer or how it works. If you do, give me a call. I want you to enlighten me.
Like the Pharisees, our anemic faith calls for signs, but we would then doubt the signs, just as they did. The incarnate Christ did thousands of miracles and yet the Jews as a whole did not believe. If you saw a man feed 5,000 people with a lad’s lunch, would you not believe? Thousands saw it and only a few believed and entrusted their lives to Jesus. God will not give us signs and wonders when He can give us something far greater, which is Himself and He cannot do that a part from Christ. The crowds loved Jesus miracles but they did love Jesus for Himself. God doesn’t want us to fall in love with miracles, signs and spectacular things; He wants us to fall in love with His Son.
Are you afraid? Are the cares of this world troublesome to you? They are to me and this confession is an acknowledgement that I have a ways to go in my sanctification. If you are suppressing your doubts and fears, pretending they do not exist, then I fear that you have an even further to go. There is no doubt in my mind that it is a sin to cling to our doubts and fears; we must not allow them to lord over us, but to deny them is to be dishonest.
The one thing that MacDonald says that really stuck in my brain is this quote: Ah!, the man who is most sure that there is no God and that he can get on without Him; I think God should just let him live on and on and on, until he got heartily sick of himself and hated himself, and would gladly yield anything to get out of himself. Ah, friends, there is a worse thing than dying never to wake again. MacDonald said, There is a worse thing than dying for ever, and going soul and brain to the dust, and that is to wake up and find that there is no God. That is the horror of horrors to me.
Who wants to live forever without Jesus? Not I! I long to be delivered from my sin and self and life without Christ is hell any way you look at it. Do you hope for anything? Thank God, that comes from you faith. The man who has no faith, has no hope.
It is THANKSGIVING WEEK Praise the LORD and I have intentionally lightened my schedule. I plan to enjoy the week, but you never know. I think I have an abscessed tooth and going to the dentist at 10:00. I may have to miss my dinner meeting at Cracker Barrel. I have you have a great thanks giving week.
It was great to see Old Gregg at the Luke 14 Banquet last night. Pray for all those battling cancer.
George MacDonald had a huge influence on C.S. Lewis. I am trying to read one of his books now but he is more difficult for me to understand than is Lewis. This is because both Lewis and MacDonald were very implicit in their writings. I am the very opposite. I am explicit, I state clearly what I mean. I draw the conclusion and it takes very little thought or imagination to understand what I am saying. Implicit writing is not that simple. It forces you to think deeply and sometimes for hours. The meaning is hidden in the text and it is up to you to find it. It takes a much keener mind than I have to write in this fashion.
I was listen to Christmas music on the radio the other day and I heard a verse of IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, that I had never heard before…He spoke to my heart…