Morning Musing: Hebrews 11:30-31

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after being marched around by the Israelites for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute welcomed the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been given a request or an instruction that simply didn’t make sense? Did you do it? If you did, why did you do it? There is probably one of a couple of reasons behind your acquiescence. One is simply that the person asking possessed a sufficient authority over you that you felt compelled to do it. The other reason is that even though you don’t understand it, you have enough trust in the person asking to do it anyway. Another way to put this second reason is that you have faith in the person. In the last bit of Hebrews 11 before the big finale (which we’ll talk about next week, Lord willing, and then on to chapter 12), the author mentions two of the stranger stories in the Old Testament. Let’s talk this morning about trusting God even when it doesn’t make sense.

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Morning Musing: Hebrew 11:20-22

“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and he worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, as he was nearing the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions concerning his bones.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When we think about faith and having faith in God, we often think about grand, heroic acts pursued to God’s glory. After all, consider the stories of the various examples of faith to which the author of Hebrews has referred so far in this chapter. Enoch didn’t die. Abraham went on a long journey. Noah built an ark. If we encounter enough examples like this, eventually we can develop the idea that faith is something for super followers of God to exercise, but not necessarily average folks like us. This next collection of faith references brings things back down to earth. Let’s talk about some of Israel’s saltier patriarchs this morning, and how laudable faith can be mundane too.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 11:17-19

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He received the promise and yet he was offering his one and only son, the one to whom it had been said, ‘Your offspring will be traced through Isaac.’ He considered God to be able even to raise someone from the dead; therefore, he received him back, figuratively speaking.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I love being in the mountains. This summer we got to spend a week in the Rockies while visiting my sister and her family. It was a delight. One of the things, though, that is so cool about driving up into the mountains to me is how deceptively wide they are. When you start driving from the airport in Denver, you can see the whole front range stretched out before you. It is a magnificent view. As you start driving into the mountains, however, you pass the first peaks you can see…and there are more behind them. You drive over the first big pass…and there are more mountains. You get into the Vail Valley, past dozens of peaks, and in the distance, there are still more hills to climb. Always more. Sometimes the life of faith feels like going into the mountains. Let’s talk about how this morning.

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Stubborn Faith

This week, after a couple of weeks off – one of them unexpected – I was privileged to be back in the pulpit. We dove into the third part of our series, How to Be Faithful When No One Else Is. This week we explored Daniel 3 and the well-known story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace. We marvel at their faithfulness and God’s miraculous rescue of the trio, but something even more powerful lies at the heart of the story when it comes to our challenge to stand on faithfulness even when we are standing alone. Let’s explore this together to see what it is. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Stubborn Faith

When was the last time you did something that left you feeling accomplished? When was the last time you checked something off your list in a way that made you feel satisfied? It feels good to do big things. It feels good to do smaller things too. It feels good to be making forward progress. Some of you know that I enjoy building metal models. They come in a nice, little kit with detailed instructions and sheets of metal that are pre-painted and laser cut so you can snip them out, fold them accordingly, and build things like this Stormtrooper. Putting the last couple of pieces into place and finishing these feels really good. It’s satisfying to finally throw away the empty scraps of metal that used to hold all the little pieces in place. 

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Morning Musing: Philippians 1:12-14

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word fearlessly.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What do you do when things aren’t going like you planned? Maybe you’re the kind of person who is able to fairly well roll with it. But I suspect you are at least a little disappointed in that moment. Perhaps, though, “a little disappointed” doesn’t really cover it for you. Rolling with it isn’t a resource in your repertoire. This may be especially true when your plans were to help someone else or do something good. In that moment, you’re ready to simply throw up your hands and give up. Paul, here, though, offers us another approach to consider.

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