Hebrews 11: 29
Faith is more than a word.
Faith is a way of life.
The great resources of power in faith are almost beyond our imagination.
God is life.
His power touches all of life and we, by faith, can possess that power.
In Psalm 18 we read this passage: "And by my God I have leaped over a wall." (Vs. 29)
How often this has been true...
Faith in God has enabled many to leap over the highest wall of difficulty, trouble, and distress.
Faith leaps walls and moves mountains.
Faith specializes in the impossible.
Cowards and faintheartedness says, "No, turn back."
Faith says, "Yes, go on -- move forward."
In an exciting incident recorded in the book of Hebrews we have two ancient groups of people
seeking to cross the barrier of the Red Sea.
The Israelites made a successful crossing, but the Egyptians were swallowed up by the sea.
To one, the sea became a thoroughfare.
To the other, it became a blind alley.
One group sang a song of trial.
The other went down in defeat.
Why? Well, obviously, it was not because the Israelites were better equipped.
On the contrary, they were a throng of newly liberated slaves
while the Egyptians were supplied with horsemen, chariots, and other equipment for the venture.
The reason that one group made a successful crossing and the other failed
was because of an inward possession which the writer in Hebrews declares to be faith.
The Israelites possessed the one essential in life: faith in God.
That is the supreme need for all people in the inevitable crossings of life.
Faith can take the sad song of life and make it a song of joy.
Faith can take the bleak picture of life, repaint it, and make it bright and beautiful.
What is faith?
Faith is trusting God.
Faith is yielding to God.
Faith is relying on God.
Faith in God can cause man to strive for higher levels of life.
The Egyptians were seeking to recover what they considered their lost property,
but the Israelites were on their way to a Promised Land.
Faith gives to life a goal and a purpose.
It is a journey to a Promised Land.
Furthermore, the faith of the Israelites was a conquering faith.
Moses was not blind to the barrier -- the sea before him.
Moses saw beyond his difficulty.
He knew that the power of God was available through faith.
In the strength of that power, Moses and the multitude passed through the sea in safety
while the Egyptians were drowned.
The Bible clearly teaches that if we have faith nothing is impossible for us.
We can be like the bumblebee. According to recognized technical tests, the bumblebee
cannot fly because of the shape and weight of his body in relation to the total wing
However, the bumblebee doesn't know this, so he flies anyway.
Jesus said, "If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you can move mountains."
(Matthew 17: 20)
How may we possess life's great essential?
How may we deepen and enrich our faith in God?
If we would deepen our faith, we must live in the Word!
It is God's Book and in it we meet and know Him.
Through this increased knowledge of God will come a greater faith....
We must also give more of ourselves to the great privilege of prayer.
It is through prayer and meditation, as in no other way, that God will impart strength to our lives.
It is through prayer that we get to be on familiar terms with God.
Postal clerks in a Midwest City were at a loss one day as to what to do with a letter received in their office.
They decided, after much deliberation, that it should go to the postmaster who was as perplexed as they.
The letter was addressed: "To the Lord, in care of heaven."
It read: "Dear Lord: please make my mommy well again."
The childish handwriting was signed: "Bobby."
This much is certain.
No message sent to God in such a wonderful childlike faith will ever find its way to the dead letter office,
for God is nearer than the nearest post office.
The Bible says: "All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
(Matthew 21: 22)
Prayer is intimate conversation with God in which we open our hearts to Him.
In communing with Him, we are uplifted and given the faith to pass through the seas of difficulty.
We must look past the prophets of gloom to God.
After all, the prophets of gloom are present in every age.
In 1695, Thomas Beverly, a rector in the Church of England, wrote a book predicting that the world would end in 1697.
He wrote a second book in 1698 complaining that the world had ended in 1697, but that nobody had noticed.
Many face life with a similar attitude.
The material, scientific, and technical accomplishments of the 20th century man almost defy description.
And yet, fear, mistrust, misery, and despair still abound.
Pessimism is the order of the day.
There was a man and his wife, both over 90 years old, whose 78-year-old son had died.
Returning from the funeral service, the old gentleman said to his wife: "I told you we would never raise that boy."
Pessimism is everywhere.
Like the man who said: "You know, if I found a four leaf clover, I would get a slipped disc trying to pick it up."
In our panic stricken day too many people belong to "Pessimist International."
A well-known children's story, originally appearing in the first grade reader, reminds us
that the lives of many burdened, sidetracked persons are similar to the experience
of the heavily loaded, little train that wanted to get over the mountain.
Several larger engines passed on nearby tracks, but refused to offer assistance.
And then, when all seemed to be lost for the despairing little train,
there came puffing along Kind Little Blue Engine who was asked to assist the stranded train.
As she hitched herself to the stalled train and began the long, hard pull, she said,
"I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!"
Continuing to climb until she reached the top of the mountain, Little Blue Engine said,
"I thought I could! I thought I could! I thought I could!"
So it is with the power of faith.
When we believe we can -- we can avhieve, especially if our faith is in the living Lord of whom we may say:
"I am enabled to do all things through Christ who is my strength." (Philippians 4: 13)
Of course, it goes without saying that none of us knows all the answers to the perplexities of our day.
It is like the woman who was being prepared for surgery.
Her doctor told her they would have to give her gas to put her to sleep during the operation.
"Oh, doctor, will I know everything when I come out from under the gas?" She asked.
The doctor replied, "That's asking an awful lot of the gas!"
But we do know this -- looking through the window of desperate need,
one can see that faith is God's true knowledge and wisdom.
We cannot be equal to the needs of our day if we remain locked into our old defeatist, mental attitudes.
One man said that he still enjoyed going to the circus and before the performance began under the big tent,
he liked to walk around and look at all the animals.
As he looked at an elephant, he was surprised to notice that the elephant was unchained.
The chain was lying loose on the ground.
He called to the attendant: "Did you know that your elephant is unchained?"
The trainer smiled and said, "Oh, we never chain him. We chain him at first, but now he just thinks he is chained."
The sad truth is that many people are like that elephant.
They do not move in faith because they think they are chained.
They are held back by past hindrances, frustrations, and disappointments.
But like the elephant, they could walk away from the imaginary chains that bind them,
if they were willing to move forward in faith in God.
We must not be restrained by old defeatist, pessimistic attitudes.
Our Lord would have us throw off the shackles that bind us to the defeated life, and go forward in victory and triumph.
One Sunday afternoon, a pastor named Jim Griffith, was sitting in his easy chair when the phone rang.
It was a long distance call informing him that his parents had been in an automobile accident.
Not knowing the details, Jim Griffith and his wife jumped in their car and drove to the hospital in Buford, Georgia.
Arriving there, they hurried to the emergency room and asked where he could find his parents.
Pausing to look up from what she was doing, the nurse said, "They're at the funeral home."
He asked, "Both of them?"
The nurse answered, "Yes, both of them."
His parents had been horribly mangled and killed in a car- train collision.
His mother was killed instantly, and his father had lived for about an half-hour following the accident.
Then Griffith and his wife sat down in the waiting room to await the arrival of his brother coming from another part of Georgia.
In an hour he arrived, and Jim Griffith met him in the hall and said, "Ben, Mother and Daddy are in heaven."
The brother was stunned and he repeated the same question that his brother had asked earlier: "Both of them?"
They went through the funeral heartened by the members of their church and with the comfort of God.
The next day they began the painful task of going through their personal belongings.
Opening their parent's Bibles, they found an old church bulletin
with a printed questionnaire from their pastor asking that they write down what Christ meant to them.
Their father had written: "I am 68 years old -- Jesus Christ is my security."
His mother had written: "Jesus Christ means life itself to me."
And Jesus Christ must mean that much to all of us.
He must be first in all things.
He is our strength.
He is our security.
He is sufficient.
Paul said, "In all these things, (whatever these things may be) we are more than
conquerors through Him that loved us."
So, as we look at life through the eyes of faith, let us look to Christ.
And as we come face-to-face with our Lord, we shall bow before Him and sing:
"My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Now hear me while I pray,
Take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day
Be wholly Thine!"
"While life's dark maze I tread,
And grief's around me spread,
Be Thou my guide;
Bid darkness turn to day,
Wipe sorrow's tears away,
Nor let me ever stray
From Thee aside."
Sermon By Dr. Harold L. White