Plan 7 - Gallery of Faith
6 - day plan
When we travel abroad, we need to make sure we have the right currency to trade with. Faith can be likened to Kingdom currency. We cannot trade in the Kingdom of Heaven unless we have faith. Plan Seven of Nine devotional plans taking us through Hebrews shows us just how key faith is in our daily walks with God. How does your faith account look?Day 1
Hebrews 11:1–7 (ESV)
1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. 4By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 5By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Thoughts on the Word
Releasing Faith in Difficult Situations
What does it take to have faith in difficult situations? We are about to read a history of men and women who demonstrated great faith.
These are the people before Abraham. Here are some thoughts that stand out to me.
-- by faith we believe that what we see comes from things we cannot see (this is really the definition of faith)
-- Abel's faith still speaks to us today.
-- Noah's faith was based on his fear of God (fear of God greater than fear of man, fear of failure, fear of shame and embarrassment, fear of insignificance)
For me? The one that touches me is letting my fear of God determine how I respond in tough situations.
Father, I want to remember that everything of value that I seek will come from what is unseen. So I must pray. I must listen to You more carefully. I must learn how to see with eyes of faith - much clearer than I do now. So help me I pray.
Father, help me to fear Your name/Your word above all else. When You speak things I cannot see - I must believe regardless of what I face. So strengthen my heart. In Jesus name, Amen.
Hebrews 11:8–12 (ESV)
8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
Thoughts on the Word
Looking for a City
Going someplace – but not knowing where. Sounds like a bad business practice. So how can it represent people honored for their faith? The fact is Abraham did know where he was headed. Abraham had his eyes on a heavenly city and not focused where most of us put our eyes – on this world! We see a man wandering around, going from place to place with no apparent focus. God saw a man who did life – but never took his eyes off of things eternal.
A land of promise? Great, but heaven is my home.
Living in tents? No problem, I have a city I am headed toward.
Receiving a land as an inheritance. Well some time in the future, my children will. My inheritance resides in heaven.
Too old to have children? No, my God is bigger than biology.
Abraham did not lack understanding or wisdom. He knew that these things had earthly impact. He needed children to fulfill his destiny. He needed a land to have a nation. Still, the God who would build him a heavenly home would make sure that these promises were fulfilled as well. When the spiritual gets into focus, the physical obstacles we face becomes much easier to deal with. The God who handles eternity can handle this earth just fine too.
Father, faith starts with getting the spiritual perspective correct. When that gets done right, then the physical challenges look much smaller and less intimidating. It is a daily challenge that I face. My eyes get drawn to my world around me so easily and the eternal takes a lot of faith to see. Help me today and every day, to start with an eternal focus first – and then translate that into a strong faith about what I must do in this world. In Jesus name, Amen.
Hebrews 11:13–16 (ESV)
13These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Thoughts on the Word
Faith - A Better City
What is our response when we do not receive a promise? Not just any promise but a promise that God gave to us specifically?
That defines us more than just about anything that we do. It defines our relationship with God. It defines our understanding of God. It defines our walk of faith with God. It defines the deep hidden things of our heart. God promises us something – and now we know that we will never see it.
Here we see that Abraham had a choice. He could choose to go back where life was much better. This life of living in tents where one is 100 years old is not a life that any of us would choose. We would want something a little easier. Living in tents – and having significant wealth – is a very dangerous thing because there is no protection. A city with walls, others around who can assist us when we face attack was a necessity of life, not an option.
Finally, to wander through a country owned and claimed by other peoples and nations and say that it is yours – that borders on mental delusion. It is something that crazy people say – not godly, intelligent, faithful people.
So, why did Abraham choose to believe God? Because this world is not home for us. Yes, it is necessary, but it is not home. Home is in heaven. That never changed in Abraham’s mind even as he dealt with the fact that the promises would find fulfillment in the generations to come. Let it be the same for us.
Father, heaven is my home. I have promises from You as well that I cannot see being fulfilled in this life. I do not know how You will do them. I do know how to live with the tension that comes with trusting You to keep that promise – and knowing that it seems totally impossible now. At times I just put it down and trust You to pick it up and keep Your promise somehow. At times I dream about what it means if it actually would happen. At times I cry. At times I just struggle. Today, I struggle. I would love to say that I have the faith of Abraham, but I know my heart. So give me strength, give me a picture of the better city to come, and give me the faith that is greater than what I already have. In Jesus name, Amen.
Hebrews 11:17–22 (ESV)
17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
Thoughts on the Word
Faith - That Goes Through Generations
The prayer of every parent and every disciple maker - God I want to see faith go to the next generation! Here are examples of faith going through generations. Abraham, Isaac. Jacob. Joseph.
Also, the impact from acts of our faith touches generations. Isaac on that alter - Abraham's faith made a huge impact on Isaac.
What acts of faith/faithfulness have you done that can pass on to another generation? What faithfulness have you made your own that came from a previous generation?
Father, have I done anything with my faith that is worthy of passing to another generation? Can anyone look to me and model their walk of faith on me and my life? In many ways I have to say "not enough". Still I thank you that people are following. I am going to ask for a tough thing Father, I want a greater legacy of faith to pass on. I want to face greater challenges to my faith; I want to pass these tests to my faith; I want to have people willing to follow me through these. Father, I struggle with asking, because I know that it means harder things, bigger things, and more painful things. Still I dearly want a legacy of faith that is worth passing on to multiple generations. In Jesus name, Amen.
Hebrews 11:23–29 (ESV)
23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. 29By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.
Thoughts on the Word
Faith - Producing History Makers
Can a person of faith change/release the destiny of a nation? Yes!
Moses released the destiny of the nation Israel. He had to let go of destiny opportunities - leading one of the greatest nations in the world at the time - to lead a band of unruly slaves. It was not that Moses was without fear - facing the king's anger brings fear, but his fear of God was greater than his fear of man. So he did things that normal people would not do - because his faith was mixed with his fear of God.
Too often we are stopped from doing great things for God because we fear people, situations, the cost to us or our family or the risk of failure more than we fear God. The life of Moses is first and foremost about his fear of God being greater than his other fears. Everything else? It is all what God does through us as a result.
Father, we would all like to be able to change a nation. We would all like to be history makers. Help us to understand how much faith and fearing God are needed. I need help with these. I want to fear Your name more than any obstacle I face. I want to fear missing what You have for me more than losing a fortune. I want to follow You down a humble road and lose this world's acclaim if necessary. So help me I pray. Help me look at Moses - and learn how to walk in faith and the fear of the Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.
Hebrews 11:30–39 (ESV)
30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. 32And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
Thoughts on the Word
Faith - Our Individual Walk of Faith
This is one of my favorite parts of this chapter. It talks about people who walked by faith - but they seem more normal, more like me. People who had great failures and yet God called them great people of faith (Rahab the prostitute, David who failed, Jephthah who was the son of a prostitute and others).
Also, there were those whose faith enabled then to do great things. Others who had great faith - but lived lives that the world would call a "failure"- not gaining deliverance, victory or honor.
Faith is not living according to a standard set by men - it means living your life the way God wants your life lived. It is not copying the success of other people. It is not a set of things achieved. It is following Jesus wherever He leads you.
Lord, you show us such a variety of people You call men and women of faith. You include people I would not mention. Yet they probably encourage me the most. Men and women who failed terribly, yet they learned not to let their failures define them. Men and women who through faith did great things and some who seemed to do little. Yet you called them great people of faith.
Lord, I want to be a man of faith. I want to let You define what that looks like in my life. I do not want to make excuses for inactivity nor do I want to have expectations set by men around me. I want to know Your standard for me. I want nothing more - I want nothing less. In Jesus name, Amen.