“Deus Solus: God Alone” An Introduction Psalm 139: 1 – 16

It was a summer years ago. I arrived home on a hot August afternoon and sitting inside the cool of my car in the parking lot. Feeling overwhelmed, my mind raced as through a maze as I looked through the front window of my car. The strangeness of it all. I reflected as to the heavy load I continually carried on a daily basis. A load with a road of its own. Leading me without a sense of direction. I am always, constantly, alone. No one else. All by myself. “When will it cease?” I asked God. Will the day ever come, or will I be overcome by it? My soul longed for a taste of rest but if for only a moment. Dear Lord God, “How long must I go on like this?” The pressure of the load of life deepened the path I walked. Where else must I step?

I had just registered for my internship at Dallas Theological Seminary. It would require that I drive twenty roundtrips from Houston to Dallas in a one day period for twenty weeks over the upcoming academic year in order to teach classes to the public. I was overwhelmed by the pressure of an additional commitment to an already thin-stretched life. Most days I felt as a walking skeleton. My body hollowed out from the constant pressures that would eat away at my internality. I had no more of me to give. A heart merely for passing blood through my veins ensuring that I would yet live another day. No matter the weightiness of the load the bow never seemed to break, a welcoming sign for yet more. For several years my life was burdened with a full-time demanding career, taking two classes a week at the Houston campus, and being a care-giver to my widowed father. The thought of adding weekly travel to my schedule was more than time would allow, much less the physical demands it would place upon me.

Tactically, I measured out not only the financial cost and my responsibilities, but the time factor involved with taking these day-trips. It meant I would arrive home in Houston after midnight. Being safety conscious I recognized the susceptibility of the dangers on the road that could await me. As I inhaled and took in the breath of this burden something happened. I felt a strong presence of the Spirit of the Lord. And something like a wind rushed through me on the inside, followed by something of a shield that wrapped around me with the strength of peace. Tears filled my eyes and fell like rain drops down a flower’s petals. Then words came to me. The Spirit of the Lord saying, “you will be well.”

By the end of the spring semester, I completed all twenty trips, on-schedule, and arriving home safely each time. Despite experiencing fatigue, hunger, illness, unforeseen degradation of my car’s tires, near miss collisions, being run off my lane twice in two minutes, eighteen wheelers unexpectedly shredding steel-belted tires like bullets shooting my way, deer dodging vehicles as though as children on pogo-sticks at dusk, and harassment on the road by a convoy of cars, I was well.

But there is one God. Only God. There is no other and no one else. God alone.

You, God, only You.

“O LORD, Thou hast searched me and known me.
Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar.
Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, And art intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, Thou dost know it all.
Thou has enclosed me behind and before, And laid thy hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence?
If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.
If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Thy hand will lead
me, And thy right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to Thee, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to Thee. For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” 
(Psalm 139: 1-16)

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Photo credit: The author driving to Dallas.

Copyright 2018 The Word in Motion

“Where there is faith: Always faithful” A Conclusion Hebrews 11: 1 – 40

There will come a time in life when we will go it alone. No one to stand for us, bear us up, rise us up or raise us up. Though we may lean the post will soon give way. Leaving us to once again, go it alone. Each one for himself. Each one with himself, only. Certainly, in the end.

We all have chosen how we live our lives. Many for self only, and a few for many others.
When the posts are finally removed, and they will eventually be removed one day, what else is there for us to lean upon? What do you lean upon now?

The culmination of life in the strength of its vortex catapults us to the next moment in our lives and meant to shift us beyond what could ever be imagined. I try to imagine the possibility of the impossible and yet the impossible is more than what I can imagine. Life goes on.

My father was orphaned as an eleven year old boy. Posts were temporary as they could hardly stand the pressure and tension of a young boy growing against the grain. Life was realized on June 15, 1942.

“The scene before my eyes was like a horrible nightmare. An eleven-year-old boy
at the time, I stood petrified and unable to comprehend the terrifying sight. It must
have been true, though, for the seven caskets arranged in a semicircle contained the remains of my father, Guillermo Rubio; my mother, Estefanita Lopez Garcia; three sisters, Sofia, Elena, and Teresita; and two of my brothers, Rosendo and two-year-old Ramon, whose little coffin lay between those of my father and mother.”
(quote from author Abel G. Rubio, Stolen Heritage, revised edition (Austin: Eakin Press, 1986), p.1.

The posts no longer remained. Gone instantly. The strength of the vortex shifted beyond what my father could imagine. Despite an insurmountable tragedy, my father had faith.
My father’s faith drove him in a direction that became something better than the former things in life. His service in the Marine Corps became the foundation which gave his family and him a life of blessing. He lived for others. He wasn’t a man for himself. He was a man for others. As the Marine Corps motto goes, “Semper Fidelis.” Through his faith I have faith. Not because his faith was mine, but because through his faith I was given life to come to faith on my own. He was faithful to his family and to His God. I never knew my father to be anything else but faithful. His faith in God. My faith in God. My father’s life embodied that of the most faithful. Together we share our faith in our God. The legacy of faith has been passed on to the coming generations.

In Hebrews 11: 1 – 40 we are given a summarization of the Old Testament and New Testament saints whose faith girded their lives to live according to what they believed about God and to achieve the very thing they knew was God’s intended purpose for them and for others. Crossing deserts, childbirth beyond the age of conception, an unconditional promise to be realized beyond life ever after, building an ark for the salvation remnant, leading stubborn thousands across the sea as though dry land, quenching the power of fire, escaping the edge of the sword, imprisonment, stonings, mockings, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated, wandering in mountains, caves, and holes in the ground. So many more beyond what was written. In each mention these saints experienced the strength of the vortex that shifted their lives in ways beyond what could be imagined. The posts they had known that once securely held their lives to the ground had been shaken and removed. The time in life came to go it alone. There was no one to stand up for them, rise them up or raise them up…but God.

God brought them through their insurmountable circumstances for His glory and beyond what they could have imagined. Their journey, though for God, was for all of us. We bear the reward for their faithfulness in God. The legacy of their faith was passed down to all believers. The reward is the something better that we can look to as having happened, that is, the words and works of our Lord Jesus Christ. We live in the era of the fulfillment of Christ. We have that something better in Him.

Our faithfulness are personal demonstrations of our belief in the faithfulness of our Lord God. For what reason would we give our lives over but for God in Christ? What else could explain the martyr-ship of the faithful but the One who is faithful? Why else be faithful to the end yet not having received the promises of God except to follow Him? Faith. It is a gift from God. Through it all, faith is about God. It says most of Him than it can mean about us. We can be faithful and faithless. Yet God is the one who overcomes our faith no matter where the strength of the vortex takes our lives. He perfects our faith. Where there is faith, there is something better, “semper fidelis,” always faithful, Christ our Lord and Savior forever and ever.

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Photo credit by the author. Location: Lake Geneva (“Lac Leman”) in Geneva, Switzerland

Copypright 2013 The Word in Motion

“Where there is faith: Something better” Hebrews 11: 39 – 40

Oh, how I long for something better. Something better than my circumstance, my day, my life, this world. I have one good day and I’m unsatisfied. Each day takes from the other. That time would stand still. My thirst has yet to be fully quenched. I’m almost there, and yet, not yet. I want more. Another try. Another place. Another time. Born not of this world yet coming through it and longing out of it. Born for more yet born with so little, of so little, to not much at all.

I desire greater, higher, and deeper. I crave fulfillment beyond my heart’s own bounds. I don’t know what it will be, except that when it be. That which will subdue and settle my uneasiness and restlessness. I have no words for it. But I can feel it. I will know it when it finally comes.

The fire within resounds and soars beyond the shell that encapsulates my being. My soul can hardly stand it. This place that imprisons me, barricades me, holds me back from that something better.

When I am disappointed time and again I long for something better.
When my flesh burns of being human I long for something better.
When my heart stings of broken heartedness how I long for something better.
When I am reminded of memories past I long for something better.
When I am in the present tense I long for something better.

I can’t see it but I know that when I do, whether shunned vision or wetted eye, I will see that which beholds my being and it will be something better.

That I would be at rest, when finally at rest. Something better than this. For I know, I just know, there is something better.

“And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” (Heb. 11: 39 – 40)

When one has that something better it is beyond imagination. It is fully intoxicating. Other worldly. Another emotion. So irreplaceable it cannot be found anywhere else. If you have had the privilege to have someone in your life that is something better you know without that person life will never be the same. Without it you are lost, empty, always looking to find anything to be that something better. You will fail each time. You will be void. You will be hurriedly behind. Your future longing for that something better will be reflected in the past as having lost it. That something better has affected you so deeply you are not the same. You see life differently, you feel differently, you think differently and admittedly, you are different because of it.

In the letter to the Hebrews the author culminates the hall of faith passage by a spiritual testament to these heroes of the faith, the followers of Yahweh, and who they meant to the New Testament believers then and now. Moreover, it is a profound eschatological view from a lens of the Old Testament prophets regarding the sovereign plan of God. The men of old had a parcel of the revelation of God in the sense they only had the promise of the Messiah to come through the words of the prophets. The New Testament believers, however, have received Him through the testimony of His words and works thus receiving the promise of Himself, thereby being in a position more privileged than the Old Testament saints. Our faith can look back at the accomplished work of Jesus Christ.

The New Testament believers, those who believed in Christ at the time of His ministry on earth through those who believe after His death and resurrection have the full revelation of Him and thus the era of fulfillment of Christ. Though the men of old received divine approval for their faith they did not obtain that which would result in the ultimate promise, Christ the Messiah. Absolutely they died in faith and entered heaven before the presence of the Lord. However, they died before seeing Christ’s appearance on earth.

Through the atoning work of Christ we are able to share in His perfection. We cannot become perfect on our own. Christ alone does so. He perfect’s our faith. Thus, we share in the same faith in God. The Old Testament saints and the New Testament believers unite in faith through Christ. Together we have received that something better. Our something better in Jesus Christ our Lord.

I have found my something better. In Him. Not because He wasn’t there but because I had not shown. He was always there. I accepted His invitation. He gave. I received. He has set me free. There is no wall, prison, barricade, or chains that hold me back from that something better. In Him I am free. I know no bounds. My soul is safe with the soul-maker.

I close my eyes and know You my God are there. I never have to doubt, I never have to wonder about it. You are so assuredly mine and I am forever yours. You, my Lord and my God are unmistakably who You say You are. I don’t have to see to believe. I am there and getting close each surpassing day with each honored breath You bestow. I am close because You are closer, my something better.

I no longer long for what I have been longing for. But for more of You on that one treasured day I be enraptured out of this world and before your resplendent holy presence. Oh heavenly! My something better.

When I am disappointed You are something better.
When my flesh burns of being human You are something better.
When my heart stings of broken heartedness You are something better.
When I am reminded of memories past You are that something better.
When I am in the present tense You are that something better.

I don’t have to see it because I know I have from within me. You behold my being and it is good, my something better.

He is something better. In Him is life and faith. There could never be something better than He. Today, yesterday, eternally. In Him is to be known. Satisfied. Together. Finally. At rest.

In Him are all things and that ever was and will to come. Something better than all of this. For He is something better.

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Photo credit by the author. Location: Lake Geneva (“Lac Leman”) in Geneva, Switzerland

Copyright 2013 The Word in Motion

“God, Houston has a problem.”

During the weekend of August 25th Hurricane Harvey landed ashore the Gulf Coast. With it’s category 4 strength it pummeled into Corpus Christi, Victoria, and Rockport Texas. In painfully slow speed it dragged up and down south Texas as though to ensure all would feel it’s raging effects. As if that wasn’t enough, the outlying feeder bands stretched upward to southeast Texas, from Galveston to the 4th largest city in the country, Houston.

Harvey was different. It rained without ceasing. The whole city and outlying communities felt the same effects of the rain. Tremendous flooding of epic proportions reaped havoc on the citizens of this beautiful coastal city. There has been loss of precious life during this time. The damage has been catastrophic.

My heart was broken as I watched the local news and thought of all my loved ones and dearest friends. I prayed for them and the citizens of our city and surrounding counties. Throughout the deluge I was in constant communication with my loved ones making sure they were safe, offering support, words of hope.

The images of people being rescued was devastating. Men, women, the elderly, children, and babies in their mother’s arms were fleeing the floods and rising waters.  It flooded in places that have never flooded before. It was inconceivable. Everyone was affected. Memories of the past filled my mind.

God, Houston has a problem.

I have lived in Houston for several decades and have experienced hurricanes and tropical storms. When I lived with my parents our home flooded three times and we experienced evacuation. It was very humbling. For my parents it was difficult having to rebuild and recover.

However, the storm brought out the best in us. The first responders and rescuers were amazing. It was unbelievable to witness. From the Coast Guard and city crisis responders they were there in the midst. What was even more amazing was when the city asked that people with boats and water craft to engage in rescue operations. How they came out in droves. Even the Cajun Navy from Louisiana came to Houston to assist. We are a city of tremendous diversity, concern for others, and love for our great state of Texas. In our darkest time the city came together for each other. We have been stronger because we have banded together. Neighbor helping neighbor. God working through humanity.

In the depths I do not have words. You have given us Your word, You my God and my Father. However I don’t have a verse to offer that would seem appropriate. Instead I offer my prayer to You for all of those affected by the storm:

“God, you and you alone, are above all things. Nothing is impossible to you. You have always known. I ask that you would heal the broken-hearted. That you would comfort the afflicted. That you would watch over the needs of your people and offer rest. That you would make a way where there seems no way. That in your providence there would be many that will know your presence, your care, and your peace, now and in our time of recovery.”

Amen.

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Photo credit by the author. Location: overlooking Buffalo Bayou on Allen Parkway with downtown Houston in the background. August 30, 2017.

Copyright 2017 by The Word in Motion

“Where there is faith: The men of old” Hebrews 11: 1 – 37

Faith is forward. It always projects itself beyond the point at which we are this present moment in time. Faith is actively seeking, pursuing, driving, pushing, and progressing. Yet faith has a time-traveled aspect as well, in the sense that the faith we have now is confidence in a hoped-for outcome in the future.

I am having faith. My faith swells at times and pulls back many others. It rides high and it rides low. Faith seems to follow. It follows my thoughts, my dreams, my joy, and my pain. My faith leads my internality, too. It nevertheless is there. Wherever there is, there is faith.

Where there is faith I have seen immeasurable joy and suffering. Not everything my faith hoped for resulted in what I had hoped for. In my faith, I have experienced disappointment and have yet to see what I am hoping to see. Whether my faith rises or falls my faith is subsequent to what I believe. I believe in the One True God and in Him my faith rests, comfortably, contentedly, and completely.

So we come to the Epistle of Hebrews chapter 11 which is commonly referred to as the “hall of faith” in all of scripture. It is a beautiful recapitulation of Old Testament believers (“the men of old”) most notably recognized for their faith in Yahweh.

Verse 1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”1 In the New Testament the word “faith” has several aspects to it such as, it can refer to belief in Jesus Christ, it can be confessional where it refers to the Christianly beliefs we hold to, it can refer to Jesus Christ as the object of one’s faith, and it is also salvific in the sense that faith in Christ leads to salvation. However, within the context of chapter 11 the word “faith” takes on another meaning. Here, faith means the utmost confidence in Yahweh.

Faith is assurance. In the Greek, assurance is hypostasis, meaning “substance, essence, actual being, reality.”2  It has the sense of a title-deed which is a legal document to affect a transfer of property to show the legal right to possess it.3  Therefore, it can be said that faith is the certainty or title-deed of things hoped-for, such as being sure. Faith is conviction. In the Greek, conviction is elenchos (try pronouncing as “el-in-koss”), meaning “proof”.4  In the sense of convicting evidence.5  So it can be said that faith is also the evidence of things not seen, or being convinced. On the basis of the above, faith is being certain/sure of things hoped for, and being convinced or having evidence of things not seen. The faith of the Old Testament believers was such that they had absolute certainty in their hope and though the evidence was lacking they were convinced the hoped-for things would come to pass.

Verse 2 says, “For by it the men of old gained approval.” This verse is speaking of the Old Testament believers and in the Greek it means presbyteroi, which is the plural of elder, meaning “elders.”6  These elders, or men of old, mentioned in chapter 11 have won the approval or favor of God because of their faith in Him. In addition, they were also recognized by God’s people, throughout history and today as well.

Verse 3 continues with a recitation of the creation account and how we, in whole, relate to it and not just for the men of old. It is a faith-truth.7  Here the author of Hebrews makes inclusive all believers (including himself), from the Old Testament saints to believers today by stating, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”8 No one has witnessed the things out of which God created the worlds or universe. Not one. Unlike unbelievers, believers accept by faith that God prepared the universe by His word, His command. Yet, the world holds all, and all benefit from the hand of God.

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1 New American Standard Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1977).                                                                                              2 Frederick William Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3rd edition (BDAG) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. 1041.
3 Randall Tan, The English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament New American Standard Bible (NASB95 NT RI).
4 William Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3rd edition (BDAG) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. 315.
5 Randall Tan, The English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament New American Standard Bible (NASB95 NT RI).
6 Frederick William Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3rd edition (BDAG) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. 862.
7 Apollolina, author. Personal Definition of “faith-truth”: faith in the Triune God (God the Father, the Son our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit) means His having created the heavens and the earth is truth foundational in one’s faith in Him, thus, a “faith-truth.”
8 New American Standard Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1977).                                               ______________________________________________________

The author of Hebrews continues throughout chapter 11 with a recapitulation of “the men of old” and the hoped-for thing associated with each.

A summary is as follows:
Verse 4, by faith, Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain,…
Verse 5, by faith, Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death;…
Verse 7, by faith, Noah,… in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household,…Verse 8, by faith, Abraham obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; Verse 9, by faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;…Verse 11, by faith, even Sarah herself received ability to conceive even beyond the proper time of life,…Verse 13 states, “All these died in faith without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance…”

These recipients were namely Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Jacob, who God had spoken of His promise of the land and innumerous offspring. They witnessed God’s leading hand in their lives. They died with their faith in God but did not receive the promises of Him. Such promises would be fulfilled in the distant future.

The summary continues as follows:
Verse 17, by faith, Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac;…
Verse 20, by faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.
Verse 21, by faith, Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph,…
Verse 22, by faith Joseph, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones. Verse 23, by faith, Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; Verse 24, by faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter;   Verse 27, by faith he left Egypt; Verse 28, by faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood; Verse 29, by faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; Verse 30, by faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days. Verse 31, by faith, Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

The author of Hebrews writes in verses 32 – 34 Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets….who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, and put foreign armies to flight. It doesn’t end there! Verses 35 – 38 continue and states that women received back their dead from the resurrection, others tortured, experienced mockings and scouragings, chains and imprisonment, stoned, sawn in two, tempted, put to death by the sword, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated, men of whom the world was not worthy. The above faithful believers were not the only ones ever to persevere in their faith in God, no. The author of Hebrews makes this known in verse 36 by saying “and others” because they cannot be entirely enumerated.

The men of old were profound in their faith in God. They had a series of seemingly insurmountable challenges to overcome. None of which were short-term, but long-term journeys, heavy, frustrating, and full of immense periods of waiting. They were in God for the long-haul. Though many did not see the end result of the promises of God, the promises would come much later, from afar. They were the catalysts, hand-picked if you will, chosen by Yahweh to accomplish His ultimate plan for Israel then and the future time they would receive Messiah and make Him possible for the Gentile nations, past, present, and future. Without God the journey would not have been possible. Without their being faithful to God we would not have the legacy of their faith that has culminated in the common faith in the One whom we believe that has given us the ultimate promise, His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

In my words, faith is “confident-hope.” Do you have confident-hope in the journey you are on with God, difficulty and all? When life gets tough do you return to the comfortable and familiar place you had before you were called by God? Is your faith future-past or future-forward? You may be facing due north but your mind and heart are due south. You really haven’t given yourself to God if your life still reflects the former things. Rather, are you facing due north, heart and mind as well? We live in a culture where impatience and human rationalization leads to unnecessary change, burden, and regretful decisions for us and others as well. Sometimes what we consider faith is nothing more than calculated risks, or back-fitting outcomes as having come from the Lord God.

We believers who persevere in God pass the baton of faith to one another so that we each hold it on our own. When we live out our faith we magnify God, we bring glory to Him as the object of our faith and as a witness of Him to the world.

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Photo credit by the author. Location: Lake Geneva (“Lac Leman”) in Geneva, Switzerland

Copyright 2013 The Word in Motion

 

“Where there is faith” An Introduction – Hebrews 11: 1-40

Faith. It takes faith to have faith. It is a gift from God. You may have faith. Or you may have a kind of faith. Only you know what you mean when you say “faith.” There must be an object of your faith in order to say “faith.”

I have faith. I also have a faith. But there have been times when I have lost faith and no longer had faith in faith. I had placed my faith in people and things which resulted in utter disappointment, faithfully. I no longer have faith in people or things. The tough lessons in life have prevailed.

To have faith, whether in someone or something, belief must proceed it. So to believe is to have faith. You can believe in unbelief too, so it takes faith to not believe as well. Whatever it is you believe, your faith will surely lead.

I believe in God. Therefore, I have faith in God. My faith in God is because I believe in Him.

I only have faith in God our Father. He only and He alone is the object of my faith. And so, my faith will take me where He leads. To have faith in Him means I will follow Him. I have faith in Him until my journey ends. We follow what we believe because we have faith in it.

My father was a young, orphaned boy, growing up in the small town of Bloomington, Texas. He told me that he was wild, undisciplined, and had no structure in his life. During his teen years he was told he would amount to nothing and wind up in prison. At the age of sixteen he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. All the wrong he seemingly was meant for was thwarted by the Marine Corps. After twenty years of service my father retired from the Marine Corps as a Gunnery Sergeant. He was faithful to his country, faithful to the Corps, and faithful to the core. He believed. He had faith in what he believed. Once a Marine, always a Marine. My father exemplified faithfulness. He was faithful to the end.

My father followed what he believed. Belief proceeded faith. Because of his faithfulness I am here today with faith and in faith. So that:

By his faith, I can know the security of the unshaken ground I stand upon.
By his faith, I can know freedom.
By his faith, I cannot know freedom not.
By his faith, I can have life.
By his faith, I can believe.
By his faith, I can have faith.

By his faith I can have faith but not because his faith was imposed upon me. No. But rather as his heir I received the legacy of his faith in service which extended life and freedom to me in order that I can have faith, faith in God the Father. We don’t share each other’s faith in the sense that your faith becomes my faith, and mine becomes yours. No. We come to faith in God individually. By my father’s faithfulness, by my faithfulness, God continues to be faithfully extended throughout the world. We believers in God share God by our faith in Him.

We can’t begin without faith. We can’t remain without faith. We can’t end without faith. In all things, faith, or in some things faith. We are either faithful or unfaithful to whatever we have placed as the object thereof. We can exert faith just as much as we can exert unfaithfulness. So to be partially faithful is to be unfaithful. So to be fully faithful is to be faithful. We are either faithful or unfaithful. To the good and to the bad. To the right and to the wrong. For today, for tomorrow, for never, forever. But, where there is faith, there is faith.

The Word in Motion: Interactive

Who or what is the object of your faith?
How does faith look in the life of a believer?
Are you faithful?
Can you breach faith?
What is the purpose of faith?

Next devotional: 
 Part I
“Where there is faith: The men of old”
Hebrews 11: 1 – 40

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Photo credit by the author. Location: Lake Geneva (“Lac Leman”) in Geneva, Switzerland

Copyright 2013 The Word in Motion

 

“A New Year – The line of demarcation”

The new year always seems to mark the beginning of something, starting over, new promises, renewed hope, new plans, goals, and well-intentioned intentions. For many the new year marks the end of things, broken promises or commitments,  relationships, career, and loss. As I have reflected on this certain line of demarcation it has become clear to me that this calendar date is a milestone that helps plan life and all that life encompasses. So to me, the new year is about reflections on the past and reflections toward the future.

However, I cannot reflect without God. In Him is everything. Therefore, I can only write with you in mind with God only, nothing else.

The world is ever changing and doesn’t wait for the line of demarcation. Life spills into the next hour of the next day, never seemingly waiting but rolling on through. To life, there isn’t a line of demarcation. But to us, there is.

It is impossible for me to know how your year has been. I cannot imagine. Only you know and the One True God that has been with you along the way. Many of you have experienced happiness, newness and good change. On the other side, many of you have experienced trauma, loss, and insurmountable change. I have experienced both sides.

Being a writer, and having inherited the writing skill from my father, writing comes easy to me. Whether it’s a research paper, devotional, a letter, a card or a to-do list, I love to write. So for me writing is therapy to my mind and soul. I use writing as a way of coping, reflecting, planning, imagining, and healing. In this sense, I am able to reflect on the past and reflect toward the future. Perhaps you have your own way of doing so, and so I encourage you to do your own way of reflecting. If it’s looking out your window, taking long walks, talking with yourself, driving long distances, laying on your bed, or sitting in your special chair. Do it your own way.

Take time to reflect on this past year and reflect toward the future. What did you learn, how did you grow, what went well and not so well? What actions worked for you and others?  How were others blessed by you? How were you blessed by others? What do you need to change about yourself? It truly is never too late. How are you hurting yourself and others? What habits and thoughts keep you from moving forward and why? Do you need to move? Who do you need to move from? What are you living for and why? Is it living for you?

For me my reflections are categorized: God and my spirituality, health, fitness, finance, career, ministry. Within these categories are subcategories. I journalize my life in each of these categories in terms of incidents, actions, and outcomes. I focus on the next plan of action and leading of the Spirit of God. I ask myself the above questions and use questions to find answers. In every circumstance I have always found that God is providing the answer. Even seemingly silence from God is a well needed answer too.

Through all of this, I realize that many are hurting. The holiday time seems to exacerbate the pain of what you’re feeling. It can never come to an end too quickly. My father died shortly before Christmas and I miss him dearly. The holiday remains forever changed after the loss of both my parents. Even now, I have to adjust my thinking so that my heart follows just long enough until the holidays are over. In addition, I do not put any expectations on the holidays, except to focus on the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Things seem better as a result.

Only you, through the help of God, can resolve the past year and the year forward. God the Father is with you waiting to carry you through the journey of life. He cares for you, loves you, and wants to be in relationship with you through His Son Jesus Christ. The only line of demarcation is the line you draw between you and God. In Him there is no line of demarcation. He is ever present, ever knowing, ever all to you.

As you pursue and follow God, I hope you will grow in your relationship with Him and witness the wonder He can do in your life. As you make changes, as you start over, as you move forward, you will notice Him in small ways, but ever increasing as the days go by. He will build you up by growing you deep. In time, your reflections of the past will not be so hard, but lighter and smoother, as well as your reflections toward the future.

It is in this I whole-heartedly resolve to encourage you by writing Christ-centered devotionals that edify your life. The Word in Motion was launched in 2016 and is subscribed by only a few. You are in my reflections toward the future! Therefore, I purpose that through this devotional ministry your faith will be enriched so to put The Word in Motion in your life!

“Wishing all of you

Peace

(of my mind, heart, soul, spirit)

Joy

(chosen, certain, seeking)

and most of all

Love

(God, others, you)

this New Year 2017″

In His service,

Apollolina

______________________

Copyright by The Word in Motion

January 2017