All the people mentioned in Chapter 11’s Faith Hall of Fame were used greatly by God because they remained faithful to God through all of their trials and temptations. They earned a good reputation while they were here on earth, but none of them received all that God has promised them and us. The total fulfillment of the promises is yet to come. More of the promises were fulfilled at Calvary and after the resurrection. But the “better” thing that God had in mind for them and for us will only be given to all of us when Jesus returns to take us home to live with Him for eternity. By faith, we hang onto the hope of the complete fulfillment of all of God’s promises. Now we only get to see glimpses, but one day we will see all of it clearly.
12 Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me. — 1 Cor 13:12 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Paul sets a great example for us to follow when we are witnessing to others. We should be doing this because our hearts’ desire is to show others the love that we have for them. We have this love for them because of the love Jesus has for us. No other motive is needed, not money, not fame, not popularity. Even while spending his life as a missionary, Paul worked as a tentmaker, so that his presence would not be a financial burden on those to whom he was speaking. He and his companions did their best to mirror the lifestyle of Jesus, their Lord and Savior. Because Jesus cared enough to die for us, Paul spent his life in caring for others, just like a Mother cares for her children. Not only was he concerned about their physical welfare, but he cared even more about their spiritual welfare. He didn’t just preach the Gospel message and leave them, he spent time in explaining the scriptures to them and living an obedient lifestyle while he was there with them. He encouraged, comforted and urged them to live lives worthy of God. In other words, he was “making disciples”, teaching them how to grow in the word and not leaving them as babies without food and no one to feed them. He exemplified God’s love even more by writing letters to them after he had left as well as sending some of his companions back to check on them at times. Jesus’ command was not to “love them and leave them” or to “save them and send them’, it was to make disciples.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” — Matt. 28:19, 20 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” — John 4:23, 24 NLT
Our worship of our Lord and Savior should not be limited to a Sunday morning experience. If that is all the time we spend at the feet of Jesus, then we need to examine our hearts and ask if that is truly worship. Worship is defined as showing reverence and adoration for a deity. If we take a look at our calendars and our checkbooks, we might be surprised to see who we really worship. If we truly adore someone, it is only natural that we would want to spend more time in their presence. We would be waiting to hear their voice and we would hang onto every word that they had to say. When we had to leave their presence, we would be watching and waiting for opportunities to tell others what this great person had said. We would make time to be with them and to let them know how much we adored them. Our hearts would beat faster at the very thought of being in their presence. If it were possible to live without ever being away from their presence, we would spend all of our time there. This person would have to be the center of our world and deserve to have our highest loyalty. This person would be someone that we would never hurt or betray for anyone or anything. This person’s name would be in our hearts, on our minds and on the tip of our tongues all day long, every day. This person would be someone that we worshipped in Spirit and in truth once a week, all week long. Let each of us examine our thoughts, our words, our actions and our lifestyles and honestly determine who we worship. If the answer isn’t Jesus, and Jesus alone, then we need to take some time to ask His forgiveness and change our habits so that we mirror His glory.
18 Praise the Lord God, the God of Israel,who alone does such wonderful things. 19 Praise his glorious name forever!Let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and amen! — Psalm 72:18, 19 NLT
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — 2 Cor. 4:16-18 NIV
Every day our natural, physical bodies are responding to the passing of time. God designed the human body to age chronologically, but until sin came into the world, the bodies did not “age”. The wasting away of our natural bodies is a result of sin. We see these outward changes and sometimes we are tempted to lose heart. But inside these old tents of clay is the real us, the us that is being renewed day by day. As we travel through our journeys here on earth, we have problems and troubles. These things are temporary and fleeting. They are as nothing compared to the eternal glory that awaits us. We must train ourselves to focus on the unseen, eternal Spiritual things. If we allow our minds to focus on the things and people around us, we will be filled with doubts and fears. When we focus on things eternal and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, we can live abundant, joy-filled lives. That is what God wants us to do. As humans, we must come to the conclusion that “we cannot”, but we can allow God to do all things through us. To do that, we need to fill our minds with bible verses that encourage us and sing songs of praise all day long. Listen to the Holy Spirit and we will be encouraged and renewed minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Then we can live in peace.
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — John 14:26, 27 NIV
32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. 35 Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us..–Hebrews 11:32-40 (NLT)
All the people mentioned in Chapter 11’s Faith Hall of Fame were used greatly by God because they remained faithful to God through all of their trials and temptations. They earned a good reputation while they were here on earth, but none of them received all that God has promised them and us. The total fulfillment of the promises is yet to come. More of the promises were fulfilled at Calvary and after the resurrection. But the “better” thing that God had in mind for them and for us will only be given to all of us when Jesus returns to take us home to live with Him for eternity. By faith, we hang onto the hope of the complete fulfillment of all of God’s promises. Now we only get to see glimpses, but one day we will see all of it clearly. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.–1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)
31 Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? 32 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”–John 16:31-33 (NLT)
Salvation does not come with a magic wand. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, all our problems and situations do not magically disappear in a puff of smoke. There are many references we can find in the Bible where Jesus tells that in this world, we will be offended. Jesus tells His disciples here in John 16:33 that here on earth, “you will have many trials and sorrows.”. In verse 32, Jesus says that He will be left alone by His disciples but that He won’t really be alone because the Father is always with Him. We have that same assurance. Living a Holy lifestyle is not fantasy, it is reality and it comes with its own set of problems. But we are assured over 300 times in the Bible that we will never be alone or forsaken. God’s Holy Spirit is with us, in us, and around us. We are in Christ Jesus. It isn’t magic, smoke, or mirrors. but it is the greatest peace and joy that we can experience here on earth because we are never alone.