Faith, Hope and Love

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

This month we’ve taken an in-depth look at faith.  We’ve had thoughts and different perspectives shared.  It’s been a learning and growing experience for all of us (I hope). All that’s left is the rest of our lives. Which brings me to 1 Corinthians 13.  This passage is better known as the “love chapter”, but faith has a lot to do with love, and hope as well.

One of the most important aspects of faith is learning how to love each other. Through having faith in each other and learning how to love each other better, we’re building both love and faith in our lives.

Faith has a huge amount of hope in it.  Without hope some situations in life would crush our faith, as well as us.  Hope keeps our faith going another day, to the day when we might get the answer we’ve been believing in.

But why is love the most important?  Because when you have a crisis of faith or loss of hope love still remains.  Which is really the good news, because you don’t have to have all the answers, believe all the time or be the most hopeful person in the world.  Love, hope and faith all support each other and create a great network that help us live our lives.

The question becomes are you going to let faith, hope and love help you in your life journey?  Take life one day at a time knowing that you have faith, hope and love there to support you every day no matter what.

Spiritual Strength

As we wrap up this month’s look on faith, we began yesterday looking at faith in life and what role faith has in life.  Today we’re taking a look at the spiritual side of faith with Psalm 18:1-3:

“I love you, Lord! You are my strength. The Lord is my Rock, my fortress, my place of safety. He is my God, the Rock I run to for protection. He is my shield; by his power I am saved. He is my hiding place high in the hills. I called to the Lord for help, and he saved me from my enemies! He is worthy of my praise!”

This is what having spiritual faith means: it means that we’ve got someone in whom we can confide, who strengthens us, who protects us, who loves us even when we’re at our lowest.  It also means we’ve got a community around us who can support us in our physical needs. Faith, even surrounded by as wonderful a community as we are, still isn’t easy!  It takes courage, love, work and time.

What should we take from this month-long look at faith?  First that faith doesn’t just happen, can’t just be erased, must be grown and works best when there’s a community around you.  Second, faith is necessary.  Faith is what makes up the very building blocks of society.  Finally, faith is messy.  Faith, by its very nature leaves room for mistakes, messes, re-dos, and improvement.

Faith isn’t something that you work on at one point and not the next, it’s a huge part of the whole journey we are on as people.  Your faith, my faith, our faith.  No matter what happens, no matter what is going on in your life, you’ve got this community that will support you in your faith journey.

A Life of Faith

We’re almost at the end of our month-long look at faith. Today we’re going to take one last look at how faith applies in our daily lives.  Today’s quote comes from Robert Browning Hamilton:

“Love, hope, fear, faith – these make humanity; These are its sign and note and character.”

All month we’ve been looking at how faith in life and spiritual faith are similar yet different.  Today we’ve just about found the line that separates them.  Love, hope, and fear are topics that are found in spirituality of most people, yet they are also attitudes that are found in non-spiritual people.  Maybe the answer is to stop trying to separate life and spirituality and instead focus on being human.  What do I mean?

Well, if we were to stop worrying about who was of what spiritual faith, we could stop using it as an excuse to not work things out around the world.  Why can’t we just be glad that other people have a spiritual faith and not get nitpicky about what kind and how “wrong” it is according to our spiritual faith?   But back to our point…

If Hamilton is right and love, hope, fear and faith make up humanity at it’s very core, we should be focused on looking for and working with those 4 sentiments in other people.  I believe these 4 leave room for differences, yet unite us at areas that are the same no matter who or where you are.

This is what I believe faith in life is: it’s where we can find common ground, re-establish our trust in each other and ultimately rebuild the world on better, more healthy, terms.  And all that fear means is that more communication and clarity is necessary.

What will you do to live a better life of faith?

Faith in Family

One of the most basic and important things we have in life is family.  Maybe the family that matters to you isn’t the physical family you were born into but the family you’ve grown around you.  No matter what family matters to you, I believe faith is an important aspect to instill in your family.

I asked my friend Laurie what her thoughts on faith and family were, here are her thoughts:

“Faith is a lot like air around here. Tough day at school? Let’s pray about it. Bedtime? Snuggles and praying a blessing over our kids. Tough decision to make about finances? Let’s see what God wants us to do. Fighting with a sister? What does the Bible say about loving each other? When it comes to faith in our family, it informs how we relate, pursue opportunities, and heal from hurts. He’s part of our meals in the blessings the kids say, part of the ride to school as we pray for our kids’ friends, and part of the crises in life (like our car breaking down the other day!) as we choose to trust Him for our safety and provision of all expenses. Faith is more a mindset than anything. A worldview for us as a family in ups and downs.”

Personally I think that family is one of the most important aspects of instilling and building faith in people.  As families we raise our children to either believe that people are good and can improve, or we teach them that we shouldn’t ever have faith in the people around us.  We also have the opportunity to show kids a spiritual faith and give them something to hold onto when life does get crazy.

What type of faith are you teaching and living in your family?  Your choice not only impacts your family and kids, but the people your kids come into contact with long after you’re gone.

Waiting with Faith

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.”  Psalm 27:14

This month in our talk about faith, one thing has been really clear to me: faith requires trust and time.  Faith isn’t something that works like fast food or online shopping.  It’s more like the days or weeks that people used to travel to get into town.

Those of us who are using spiritual faith with our life issues and opportunities have the reassurance of Psalm 27 to help us stay strong through the faith journey.  Throughout the Bible it’s evident that even though God asks us to be patient and wait, that doesn’t mean that our faith is a mistake or not worth it.  God promises that when the time is right our faith will be answered.

While you’re waiting today seek courage, encouragement and reassurance from your friends, the Bible, and other spiritual and inspirational books.  Just because your journey is tough doesn’t mean you have to live with constant depression, fear or sadness.  There is hope and peace to be found even in those dark days.

What has encouraged you most in your life?

Faith through Crazy Lives

Today we have a special guest post from Lena.  Lena has some great insights on faith and family to share.

Children are invincible, at least in their own minds. They believe they can do anything, as evidenced by the fact that my 3 year old daughter stood on the back of our couch and tried to jump over the seats to her beanbag across the room. They trust that they can do whatever they put their minds to and that whatever is beyond their abilities, Mama and Daddy will take care of.

Children have blind faith; they trust their parents to meet their basic needs and many of their wants. They trust their feet to take them step by step and know that their hands will catch them if they fall. If the fall produces pain, Mama and Daddy will kiss it and make it better.

Without Christ, I cannot imagine living a life with a child with what I consider to be extreme special needs. My faith in Him is what brings me from one difficult moment to the next, knowing that I am never alone. My faith in God gives me peace and strength.

Raising a child with special needs has been an absolute test of my faith. It has brought me to my knees in prayer more times than I can count and has also shown me more victories than I ever imagined. I have seen my son go from hours of raging to being able to control his anger with only quick bursts of frustration. I have seen my son go from hiding under his bed screaming and crying about not being able to go to school to now being excited about school.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

To me, faith is…
~hitting my knees in prayer, trusting that God will be pick up the pieces and put them back together when the world around me is crashing down.
~seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and knowing that it is God’s hands waiting to hold me while I cry.
~trusting that God loves me enough to hold my hand and keep me from being burned as I walk through the fires of life.
~giving the glory to God when we come out stronger on the other side of difficulty.

Lena, thank you for the reminder that faith gives us hope in the future even when the present life gives no indication of hope.  If you’d like to connect with Lena and learn all about her (wonderful) crazy life, you can visit her on Twitter and her blog.

The Taboo of Faith

This month we’re taking a look at faith, one reason is because somewhere along the lines of history someone got really hurt and upset by faith and decided that no one should have faith and that faith was a bad idea.  Michael Malone sums it up well:

“I think the greatest taboos in America are faith and failure.”

Personally, I think that faith and failure are two absolutely necessary aspects of human life.  We do learn from our failures, yes they’re painful, but they’re some of the best learning experiences.  While some would disagree on the terminology, others would argue that the failures make learning fun.  I believe the world is coming around on failure and while no one is intentionally trying to fail, people are more accepting of the concept.

When it comes to faith I think that if faith were really unaccepted, human life as we know it would cease to exist.  Why?  Because faith is actually an integral aspect of all our lives.  We have faith in computers to correctly convey our messages, faith in our partners that they won’t cheat on us, faith in our children that they’ll grow up to be amazing people, faith in our neighbors that they won’t come in and steal all our stuff, faith in our credit card companies that they won’t misuse our information-the list goes on.

Faith can bring people together, encourage, motivate, and empower them.   So why has faith gotten such a bad rap? What can we do to turn that around?  Share your suggestions below.

Faith Beyond Life

Today we’re taking a look at one of the most mysterious figures in the Bible, yet maybe one of the most well known: Enoch.  His story can be found in Genesis 5, but our verses today come from Hebrews 11:

“By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.”

What Genesis tells us is that Enoch lived for 365 years and in those years his walk was so close with God, he had so much faith in God, that God didn’t let him die but took him to heaven before he died. WOW!  That’s faith!

Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t tell us too much about him; we know he had kids and we know he was very close with God, but that’s about it.  Yet I believe we can learn a couple of things from this man.

1-his faith made him special.  You are no different. If you have faith in others and in God, you’re special too.

2-faith is an experience.  Enoch’s walk of faith was short (comparatively speaking), yet it was such an experience that he had a different ending to his story than others of his time.

3-faith is best when in relationship.  Faith isn’t something you do all by yourself, there has to be another something or someone in the equation.  Even when we’re talking about having faith in yourself, if you have faith in yourself you’re working to build yourself up and support yourself.

4-faith is full of surprises.  I’ll bet that Enoch never guessed he would leave Earth as soon as he did.  You’ll never be able to guess the blessings that your faith can help you experience. There’s nothing like being part of someone’s healing or encouraging them in their faith journey.  But it’s something you wouldn’t expect until you’ve become a person of faith.

I don’t know if Enoch was perfect, or if the big factor in his life was his strength of faith.  But he shows that it’s possible for any ordinary man (or woman) to have faith that pleases God.  What does Enoch’s story reveal to you about faith?  Share your thoughts below.

The Gift of Faith

What a journey this month has been so far!  I’ve really enjoyed all the great comments and thoughts from our guest writers.  I’ve been reminded time and again while writing this month what a fortunate (blessed) person I am.  Today’s verse really hit that home:

“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand…” Romans 5:2a

We’ve each been gifted the opportunity to live-an opportunity that comes with plenty of challenges, potholes, turnarounds and obstacles.  It’s also an opportunity to make an impact on the world around you and in the lives of countless people.

Faith, just like life, is a gift. We’ve been given this present, all wrapped up and we have the choice to open it, or not.  We’ve been told that there will be great things if we open it, but we’ll also be challenged in many areas of our lives.  Faith can bring us to unbelievable heights and it can also be what brings us to the deepest, darkest moments of our lives.

For Christians, faith means being opened up to a whole new world that wasn’t ours to be experienced before.  For those of us in 2012, centuries after Christ lived on Earth, faith means that we can anticipate going to Heaven after we die, even though we never knew Him personally.

What gifts has faith brought to your life?

Faith Beyond Reason

“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.” Voltaire

We live in a pretty cool world.  There are new technologies, discoveries and things changing all the time.  It seems like each week there is a new creature discovered, new scientific effort being made, or historical discovery realized.  It’s a lot easier for us in 2012 to believe things than it was in 1812 or even 1912.  Why?  Because we’ve got all the technology and we’re so connected as a world that it’s much easier to believe that something might be possible than it used to be.

If we’ve got all this technology and knowledge, why do we need to have faith?

I believe faith is more important than ever now because we do have all this technology and knowledge.  We have to have faith that even though it’s unbelievably easy to steal all our information most people won’t do it.  We have to have faith that even though we could just have relationships online that those people will be there for us physically when we need them. We have to have faith that there is hope for the future and it is possible to get out of the many holes we’ve dug ourselves into.

In fact, most reasonable people will tell you that your information will be stolen, you’ll have less true friends than ever before and there is no way to reverse or stop climate change.

But if I’m completely honest, I have to tell you that I have faith in you.  I believe together we can challenge the reasonable people of the world and win.

I have faith in you.