"Now faith is the substance of the things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
Faith means believing that the invisible word of God is greater than anything we can see. It gives the hope in Christ Jesus. It is also confident of the things not seen. In the olden days, Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice to God than his brother Cain. Through his faith he obtained a witness that he was righteous. Similarly, a great man of faith, Enoch, was taken away that he did not see death (Hebrews 11:4,5). He was also testified as being a righteous man by God. These examples teaches the importance of faith. Even after years of prayer, many fail to receive an answer to their prayers. The predominant reason being the lack of faith.
In the old testament, we read that one day God called Abraham and asked him to go to Canaan. Abraham fully trusted God and made his journey towards Canaan. He did not have a map or any other guidance. He trusted God to lead him through the journey. That is the faith God expects from us. Although, we may not know about our future or how our work is going to be completed, or how our financial needs be met, yet this is the time to exercise faith. To have complete confidence in God and trust that our needs be met. 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 (Hebrews 11:6). The explicit belief in God is called as faith. We ask in prayer for many things but fail to understand that God is able to give the things which we have requested. We calculate through our human minds that the things we ask is not only humanly impossible but impossible to God as well. The first thing to remember in faith is that he is a God, who created the heaven and earth. All other things are inclusive in his creation. The lack of confidence in God makes us lose faith. No one is less worthy before God. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. You may be anyone a sinner, saint, rich, poor or worthless but when you come to Him diligently He is just enough to accept you and reward your faith.
It is a consolation to us that our prayers are taken to the throne of God by the angels (Revelation 8:3,4). For the seed of faith to grow, we should lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us and run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1,2). It is also necessary that we have a close communion with God for the faith to increase in us and bear fruit. In Genesis 26:2325, we read that God speaks to Isaac and reassures His presence to him. Although Isaac knew that God was with him, he also needed assurance. Because Isaac was having close relation with God, He spoke to him. All our prayers may not be answered immediately but meantime we feel at least that we should have some sort of sign from God to know that our prayer will be answered. For this assurance, we should be in constant communion with God through prayers, reading Bible, going to church to rejuvenate our drooping spirit and listen to the words of God preached in church, through television or through newsletters like ours. God may not necessarily come down straight to us and speak but he speaks through the word of God from Bible or through his servants like us.
Altars played an important part in worshipping God in the old testament times. The altar was built to thank God for what he has done to them. The altar signifies the sacrifice. To receive the blessings sacrifice of animals, pulses, etc. were made. Today, the Lord asks a sacrifice of broken spirit and a contrite heart (Psalms 51:17). Sacrifice needs faith in God. To receive greater things we sacrifice the lesser things. Faith in Christ Jesus helps us to willingly sacrifice the mortal things for the immortal glory.
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