Abraham’s Faith

How much faith do we have? How long can we believe God, take Him at His Word, believe what He has promised us before we take matters into our own hands? I think faith must be the most difficult part of being a Christian. Faith is not just believing for a while, faith is using blind trust, regardless of the circumstances, until whatever it is you’re believing, happens.

The dictionary definition of faith is :

  1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
  2. strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.

Romans 10:17, So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:6, But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

God spoke to Abraham and told him that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky. God gave Abraham some really amazing promises of blessings to his descendants. God made this promise when Abraham did not have any children. Because he and Sarah were getting old it was a bit hard to believe. Sarah told Abraham that he should have a child by her Egyptian servant, Hagar in order to continue his name. Ishmael was born when Abraham was 86 years old, which means Sarah was already 76. Slightly beyond child bearing age. The birth of Ishmael did not solve any problems, in fact it made everything much worse. Then when Abraham was 99 years old the Lord appeared to Abraham again and told him that he and Sarah would have a child within a year. He and Sarah reacted by laughing. I think anyone of that age will think that such a thing would be laughable. Yet, Sarah bore a son and called him Isaac, which means He laughs.

Even though Abraham laughed, he never stopped believing that God would do what He said. He did misjudge the methods slightly, and tried to make his own plans, but he kept believing.
I’ve heard people give new believers the advice of resigning from their jobs, and then praying for provision so that God can prove that He will take care of them. Please don’t do that!

2 Thessalonians 3:10, For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.

We are supposed to work. We are not supposed to be beggars who rely on the goodness of people who feel sorry for us. We have to do our best to look after ourselves. There are situations where people genuinely cannot find jobs and I believe God will take care of people if they don’t have a choice and if they rely on His provision. I have also seen many people who profess to be relying on God but are in fact subtle, and sometimes not so subtle beggars. God does provide and I can testify of that, but I do not think we ought to stop working because we are lazy and say that God is going to provide.

God provided well for Abraham because he trusted God and the blessing that God gave Abraham was not just for the Jews but also for us. God gave Abraham the promise that he and his descendants would be blessed before he was circumcised.

Romans 4:13,16 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. Therefore it is of faith that is might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us.

The promises of blessings and prosperity which were given to Abraham are applicable to us if we stick to our faith in God. We have to start practicing to take God at His word and believe beyond the shadow of a doubt that He is who He says He is and that He is going to do what He says He is going to do. Then we can claim the blessings of Abraham.

Build and altar

The most awesome part of yesterday was very early in the morning. I woke up and went to the window. I looked outside and saw that there was no wind and the sky was absolutely clear with a million stars. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude because that is the sign that God gave me several years ago telling me that everything is going to be all right. It looked exactly the same as that night all those years ago. I praised God quietly for His love and His grace and went back to sleep.

I think every one of us needs a sign. Something that is going to let us know that God remembers us. Because we have very small minds that easily forget. We can of course make a sign for ourselves. When God has provided extraordinarily we should remember it. When God has saved us from desperate situations, we should remember it. When something has happened and we really don’t want to forget it we should make sure we remember it. I collect stones and I write on them. I like to think of it as building an altar. It isn’t a physical altar as such, more of a spiritual altar but with physical reminders.

God’s people, the Hebrew nation, were very good at forgetting things and this is said over and over in scripture.  God also tells parents to tell their children and their children’s children about the great and good things that He has done. When we’re in a difficult situation we often suffer from amnesia and fall into doubt and worry. We get desperate and don’t believe that God will save us out of the situations we find ourselves. If we remember the things God has done for us in the past and the situations He has rescued us out of it serves to strengthen our faith. We are able to find solid ground to stand on and we can praise God for what He did in the past and that in itself gives us a better hold on our emotions.

Psalm 103:1-2, Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

Then David goes on to list all the benefits of serving God, but he says don’t forget the benefits.

Exodus 12:14, So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.

Once again it’s about remembering. This was the initiation of the Passover. See what happened when Israel crossed the Jordan into the promised land:

Joshua 4:20-24,  And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.

This is meant not only for the Jews to remember what God did, but also for other nations to remember so that they can see what God is capable of doing. We have the opportunity daily to speak to people who don’t know God and we can tell them first-hand about what God does for us.

1 Peter 3:15, But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

We should really be shining lights in this dark world. Like the stars that were so bright in the dark night sky. We have to stand out as being different, and as this verse says, as having hope. When things look dark we have to light up the situation and people have to see that we are different. We simply can’t be like everyone else. We also have to devise ways of remembering the goodness of our loving Father so that when there are difficulties we can rise above them.

Moments in time

You know that feeling when your heart just seems to swell way beyond it’s normal size just because something seem so momentous that you can’t seem to contain it in your soul.  Your emotions soar and your whole being cries out to God because He is so good and so amazing.

Acts 17:24 reads: “He is the God who made the world and everything in it.  Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples.” That is how I felt at 3:30 this morning.  I woke up and after having a drink of water looked out of the bedroom window.  The sight of the night sky was so amazing it took my breath away.  The stars were so bright and they looked to big it was just too much for me to take in.  I put on my dressing gown and left the house.  I stood in the garden and stared up at the sky.  There was a crescent moon and even though the street lights were burning they didn’t detract from the brightness of the stars.  Isaiah 40:26 says “Look up into the heavens.  Who created all the stars?  He brings them out like and army, one after another, calling each by its name.  Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.”  I could feel the greatness, the immensity and the enormity of God’s power while I was watching creation.  My soul sang and my heart was full; how could anyone see this and doubt that there is a God who created it all?

night sky

My daughter took this photo of a night sky; she has given me permission to use it.


This afternoon I decided to water my garden because we’ve had a few days of sunshine.  Here where we live seasons are a little bit of a joke.  We live in between the summer and winter rainfall areas, and whether that is the reason or not I have no idea, but seasons are just a vague reference to the weather we actually experience.  People often say we can have four seasons in one day.  Children don’t really understand why they have to learn about spring and autumn at school because they last for about a week.  During winter it can get quite cold and we even have frost sometimes, but temperatures have been known to soar to the high 20’s – that’s Celcius.  During summer the same story.  I never even think of packing away clothes I won’t need for a season, because the chance that I will need them is very real.  Most of us have become experts at layering.

Ok, back to the point.  When I looked at the garden I realized that it has actually become a real garden.  When I started it from nothing – just bare earth – and the first seeds germinated I was so excited, but it still looked like nothing.  Now it really looks like a garden.  I felt so overwhelmed by emotion.  I’m just wondering what God felt like when He created the earth out of nothing …