Hebrews 11:6 NLT
“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.”
Faith isn’t the belief that nothing will go wrong in your life, or you will be perfect in what you do. It’s the fact that, nothing that happens matters because God has sent His Son and He is the way, the truth and the life. See what it says in Hebrews 11:1 “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” We have to have faith as believers, for sure if we call ourselves Christians, because it’s what sets us apart. It has nothing to do with thinking nothing will happen to us, it’s understanding it doesn’t matter. Jesus paid it all!
I am excited to read when Jesus shows people of faith. This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible:
Matthew 15:22-28 NLT
“A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.” But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!” Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.”
She just needed faith that moved her to not care that Jesus ignored her. She knew and believed He could do anything. Jesus said your faith is great! I want my faith to be great. I want to teach people that faith is important and can grow in us because Jesus perfects it. Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
The closer we get in our relationship with Jesus, the more we live with joy in our heart in every situation, it’s not that we don’t mourn or see the sadness in this world but we push through with strength because of our faith in Him. In my short journey, I have known two parents that lost kids, one was shot and one was killed in a car wreck and died in his fathers arms. They showed faith, and one was instrumental in my journey of faith. The other is a mentor that helps me develop as a leader still today. I left teaching after 15 plus years because of a calling, and faith that God would get me through whatever I did for Him. After 6 year pastoring I was fired by a church for being too much of a shepherd, I left the day I got fired and taught a discipleship class for that same church at night because of my faith in Him, not my job. I told the person who fired me, that God would put me right where He needed me.
After looking for a job for a month I took a job as a substitute teacher, teaching criminal justice. Also, I started serving at a new church that wanted to hire me but couldn’t. I said to the lead pastor, you don’t need to hire me I will do all the stuff you need as a volunteer, it’s for Jesus that I do these things.
Flip back to teaching; my first day as a substitute the principal asked me if I wanted a Physical Education job next year in August, I said I will get back to you, I know God moved me out of teaching. After praying, I took the job and also did all the leadership training for the church. I had faith that I would be right where God needed me. (My teaching job was at the high school I taught at before being a believer and a lot of the teacher were still there and saw a new Keith. I did a bible study, told the students I was a pastor and was able to give a former player a Bible. Half way through the year I broke my neck and back in 6 places and missed most of the 2nd semester. I was forced by the district to return a month early or be fired, I went back and taught the rest of the year in a wheel chair. Well the church offered me a job and at the end of the school year, I started a week after school got out as a full time pastor again. I had faith that I would be doing whatever God wanted me to and was good with whatever I had to do. The firing, the broken neck, didn’t take my focus of the faith I had in Him. I kept pursuing Him and what doors He opened for me. It was never, I have been faithful why are things going bad, it was whatever steps I have to take, I’ll take them.
The next year while pastoring at church I got a call from a friend and he wanted to know where the church I worked at was, I told him to meet me that next weekend. He showed up and we talked and I asked him what made him decide to come to church, because I had asked him while we worked together, and he never came. He said he was let go from his job and it was hard but he remember me coming back to teach in a wheelchair and neck brace and always being positive. That sparked him to come to church with his entire family and they started to build a relationship with Jesus. The faith in a hard times shines through us and God gets the glory and people are moved.
Without faith we are just here, in the world and of the world. Faith is the catalyst that drives us and keep us focused when its gets tough. We don’t let tragedy define us we take it and make it usable. Shortly after that the church I was working at opened a second campus and I was asked to start preaching on the teaching team. It was something that was not comfortable for me but I always said, “God if you want me too, I will do anything.” A few years had gone by and I stayed faithful with what God continued to show me and I was given more and more responsibilities. Then I got a call, the person asked if I would ever come out and help pastor where he was. I said if God moves me I will go anywhere. See, if we truly surrender our will for His, faith moves us, it’s not always perfect but He makes it worth it. After my wife and I prayed, we both said the same thing and we moved. Well fast forward 2.5 years, and taking the roll as lead pastor, I am never at a loss for faith that drives us. It is always connected to Jesus and He uses us even in the hard times. It doesn’t take away the hurt or the sadness or even a virus but it fills us with the power to say bring it. Paul was severely beaten and his faith led him to sing praises, and people got baptized. Praise God! We need faith that is for real, I will always share the faith He plants on my heart and care for hurting people, but shame on me if I don’t share it with others. You gotta have faith! Amen. Look up Faith and see the stories that could only happen with it. Jesus said; “your faith has healed you...” live it out!