18 February 2017
Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended.
It is by faith that we understand that the world was created by one word from God, so that no apparent cause can account for the things we can see.
It was because of his faith that Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain, and for that he was declared to be righteous when God made acknowledgement of his offerings. Though he is dead, he still speaks by faith.
It was because of his faith that Enoch was taken up and did not have to experience death: he was not to be found because God had taken him. This was because before his assumption it is attested that he had pleased God. Now it is impossible to please God without faith, since anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and rewards those who try to find him.
It was through his faith that Noah, when he had been warned by God of something that had never been seen before, felt a holy fear and built an ark to save his family. By his faith the world was convicted, and he was able to claim the righteousness which is the reward of faith.
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean. And they put this question to him, ‘Why do the scribes say that Elijah has to come first?’ ‘True,’ he said ‘Elijah is to come first and to see that everything is as it should be; yet how is it that the scriptures say about the Son of Man that he is to suffer grievously and be treated with contempt? However, I tell you that Elijah has come and they have treated him as they pleased, just as the scriptures say about him.’
..he rewards those who seek him.
It has been a challenging time for me over the past few weeks, with various high-level events coming up, a final push for our church fundraising project and more than a few personal ‘to-dos’ which have been shelved for too long. One of these was tidying up my mobile phone gallery and uploading all the pictures I took last year so as to free up some much-needed memory.
That process of decluttering allowed me to reflect once again on my Camino in Spain and as I went through the three week’s worth of pictures, I couldn’t help but wonder where I would be today if I had not taken that walk. Would my faith be as strong? Would I have been able to overcome all the challenges that came my way over the past few months?
Whenever I lead prayer for my ministry, I always give thanks for the crosses that God has placed on our shoulders and for giving us the faith and perseverance to carry those crosses for however long He wants us to. I believe that in seeking Him, we must be prepared to take on all that He will lay upon us so that we learn to trust fully in Him. Looking back, He has certainly rewarded me tremendously since my return from Spain in October. I’m sure you all know how it feels to look back and wonder ‘How did I do all that’?
One of my worship leaders shared with me this evening about her initial experiences when she started to lead praise and worship at CSC. She told me that at some point during a session, she would be able to feel God take over as the congregation worshipped. She says that it is not something she could describe but that the experience was amazing. And she exhorted that by surrendering to God and letting Him take over, He will reveal His presence and glory to us.
Brothers and sisters, what are we seeking today? I know many of us are suffering and just looking for the next break, the next job interview, the next paycheque and the next meal. And while we all have our challenges, perhaps it is time that we consciously seek out God on a daily basis.
(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Lord, give us the grace to seek you out amidst all our troubles so that we can learn to trust in your providence.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for giving us free will to choose our path in life.