Last week, I sent a message on Facebook to quite a few of the people sitting here. Mainly, our Elders along with a few other members of Sunrise Chapel.
It was the start of my week and the time when I begin preparing a lesson for church. This time, rather than wait for the typical “sign” I receive, I decided to let another member choose a topic.
From Spydr, came “Know the Path.” Shortly thereafter, Chuckie sent me, “Faith.” He had noted, being as though it was 911, he thought that people should be reminded how God is in control.
Well, that was all I got! Good enough for me though but I thought both topics were important and didn’t really want to ignore either. So, after thinking about it for a few short moments, I decided on both… “The Path of Faith.”
I’d like to talk about these things this morning first, separately and, then again, together. After all, knowing the path is very important to our faith and, faith alone, is the one true thing I believe is critical in our relationship with God.
Knowing the Path
Worshiping our God, our Lord and the Holy Spirit is not an easy path at all. It takes great courage, great strength and a lot of perseverance. If you recall, last week, we spoke about “staying focused on God” and, today, I’m going to emphasize that again.
Wikipedia – “The learning pathway is described as the chosen route, taken by a learner through a range of (commonly) learning activities, which allows them to build knowledge progressively. With learning pathways, the control of choice moves away from the tutor to the learner.”
“The chosen route!” Isn’t this what we have taken? All of us sitting here today have chosen to follow the lessons in our Bible and the teachings of Christ. As I mentioned earlier, this is certainly not an easy path but, nonetheless, the path we’ve chosen.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells about the path we should be taking and, at the same time, warns us about “not staying the path.”
Matthew 7:13 – “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”
Clearly, the path has been set for us. We’ve been told the ways we should take, and we get a little encouragement from Psalms.
Psalm 16:11 – “You make known to me the path of life; you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand”
Psalm 37:23 – “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.”
Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, a light on my path.”
Don’t you find those verses both calming and motivating? I know I do. Every time I think about how hard the path is I am trying to walk, I think of these; I think about the great power and glory of our Lord… then I know, I’m on the right path!
Off topic for a moment but, nonetheless, something to think about… how much do you know about Psalm 118:8?
I was speaking to someone at work the other day. They knew of my beliefs, my church and the way I try to lead my life. I asked them if they had ever read the Bible at all. They said, “Yeah, I actually got ‘half-way’ through it but got bored and caught-up in other things and never really finished.”
What a sad thing, don’t you think? Making it so far and just “dropping out.” “Oh, so much you’ve missed” I told him but then, I started thinking about it more… where is “half-way through?”
- There are 1189 total chapters in the Bible.
- PSALM 118 is the middle chapter of the Bible.
- PSALM 118 is preceded by Psalm 117, the shortest chapter in the Bible.
- PSALM 118 is followed by Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible.
- PSALM 118 is preceded by 594 chapters and followed by 594 chapters.
If you add the 594 preceding and 594 following chapters, the sum is a total of 1188. Psalm 118:8 (that’s the 1188) is the middle verse of the entire Bible’s 1189 chapters.
And what is this central verse of the Bible?
Psalm 118:8 – “It is better to put trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man”
Oh, what he didn’t see! How important is that? Good lead-in to our topic about faith, don’t you think?
Having the Faith
Okay, so now, we’ve talked about knowing and staying the path but what does it take to do so? As we’ve said, this isn’t easy, and we need strength to get through all that is put before us.
Wikipedia – “In the context of religion, one can define faith as confidence or trust in a particular system of religious beliefs, within which faith may equate to confidence based on some perceived degree of warrant, in contrast to a definition of faith as being belief without evidence.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I have evidence in what I believe in… The Bible! As we’ve talked about before, so many chapters saying the same thing and telling the same stories written by multiple people over time.
Sure, the stories vary from author to author but, the main topic is exactly the same.
- In Matthew, Jesus walked on the water, but in Mark, He was sleeping in the boat when the storms came. End-result: He calmed the seas and silenced the storm.
- In Mark, Jesus cursed the fig tree because it bore no fruit and as He and the disciples passed by later that day, they saw it had shriveled and died. But in Matthew, the fig tree immediately withered. The lesson in both? “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
The lesson was the same… about having faith!
I could go on and on with the little nuances throughout the Bible but, the bottom line is, the end-results and lessons were all the same.
Knowing all these things, how could we not believe in the Bible and the stories about God, Christ and all the other prophets? Then again, not rambling, this is a topic for another day.
Everyone Believes in Something
People always ask us, “How can you believe in the Bible? How can you be certain all these things happened? You haven’t seen all these events with your own eyes!” To them, I have to point out these simple facts of life.
- Air/Breath – You can’t see it, but it keeps us alive, so you believe.
- Radio Waves – Can you see them? No but, nonetheless, we know they exist as it’s a very important communications system.
- Ultra-Violet – This is a type of electromagnetic wave that is responsible for sunburn. You can’t see it but you sure as heck know they exist.
- Gravity – We can measure it, but we most assuredly can’t observe it.
I’ll stop my rambling here as there are so many other things we, as a race, believe in and know they exist, yet can’t really see with our own eyes. Why not the events in the Bible?!
Now here is where I wanted to go when I began this morning. As Chuckie had mentioned, “knowing God is in control.” This is something we need to remember. We all go through challenges. Some more burdensome than others but, nonetheless, challenges. We need, once again from last week, to keep our focus on God and keep our faith.
Isaiah 40:28-29 – “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
Isaiah was a great Hebrew Prophet who was believed to have lived about 700 years before the birth of Christ. He had “visions” of what was to come and told of the Birth of “The Christ.” Once again, a topic for another day.
Sometimes, when I feel beaten and defeated, I often picture Isaiah standing and looking at me, pointing and shaking his finger and saying these words… and I remember!
Using our Faith
We are all Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Sometimes our faith is strong but, sometimes, we need a little help to get through our challenges. As Jesus teaches us to Love one another, as He has Loved us, we need to remember, when another Brother or Sister is in pain it is our responsibility to help with their sorrows or disbelief.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Yes, God has tasked us with this… When our faith is strong, we are to use it to help our Brethren. Remember this always and, when you see someone weakening from today’s cares, be of comfort to them as God is comfort to us.
When We Have Fallen
Okay, this is where I bring the two together: following the path and keeping the faith. “When we have fallen,” encompasses falling off the path and losing our faith.
When the Israelites were fleeing from Egypt…
Exodus 23:20 – “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.”
When Daniel was imprisoned by King Darius and placed in the Lion’s den, sealing him in with a great stone. Returning the next day, he removed the stone, seeing that David was still alive, so he asked him, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
To which Daniel replied…
Daniel 6:22 – “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty”
Would you recognize your Angel?
When someone claims, ‘God doesn’t exist!’
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We have all chosen our path. We have chosen to dedicate our lives to God, Christ and The Holy Spirit. As we’ve said, this is not an easy path by any stretch of the imagination.
The first thing we need to remember and, again, from last week, is to keep our focus on God. Always looking up with our eyes, heart and soul fixated on Him.
Don’t let the distractions of this world make you lose your focus. As troubles “bounce” off you, don’t close your heart or your eyes.
Have any of you every played baseball? Do you remember your coaches lesson, “keep your eyes on the ball?” …and if you didn’t do so, you always missed it. The same goes with God and our faith. Never take your eyes off Him and never lose your faith.
Walk your path with that faith! Remembering all the lessons the Bible has taught us regarding how strong we truly can be with God. How we cannot be beaten by this world for we are watched-over and cared for each day we live and trust in Him.
Stay the Path; Keep the Faith… when you need help, pray. When others need help, pray with them… together as Brothers and Sisters… and you will always find your way!
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless!