Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4.
I listened to a sermon about Martha and Mary — sisters. Martha prepares a meal, while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus and listens to His teaching. Finally, Martha had wanted Jesus to tell Mary to help her. But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke10:41-42.
Portion does not always refer to a helping of food for the body, but food for the soul. The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. Psalm 16:5.
When we grumble or complain as the Israelites did about being in the Wilderness after leaving Egypt. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.” Exodus 16:5.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.” Lamentations 3:24. Choosing the good portion means God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19.
How many times things happen that are unpleasant, and we wonder why. We complain and grumble and I found the answer when Jesus was asked why he didn’t go to Lazarus before he died? So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:3-4.
I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God. Exodus 29:45-46.
Hebrews 11 is called the Faith Chapter. It is the honor roll of those who endured, who stood firm through trials. These men and women trusted and believed in God. When God asked them to endure and gave them a purpose, they obeyed. How parents choose to live affects how the next generation lives. This is God’s Plan.
Each of the following are named as having faith: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, to Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets. Faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, and put foreign armies to flight.
Abraham’s faith became his obedience to God to travel with his cattle, tents, servants and son Isaac to a promised land. With no children, God promised Abraham he would be the Father of many, when he was 99 years old. How could this be?
“For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has promised him.” Genesis 18:19.
After God gifted Abraham and Sarah with a boy, Isaac, God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to prove his faith. I’ve often thought about how difficult it was for Abraham to understand the ‘why’ of God would ask him to sacrifice Isaac. Did Abraham turn from God? Did he complain or grumble? No, Abraham obeyed.
So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac, his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” Genesis 22:3-8.
This reminds me of John 3:16-17. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Jesus is our sacrifice to forgive our sins. Eternal Life, a forever time with the God of great Love, is our inheritance when we do His will, even as the men and women in Hebrews 11.
Life is an arena where we run the race of faith, and endure, stand firm against temptation. The cheering we hear are the angels in heaven who encourage us to run this race with courage.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2.
This Praise song includes the lyrics: You didn’t want heaven without us, So Jesus, You brought Heaven down. My sin was great, Your love was greater. What could separate us now? (Beautiful Name)
How sure is our inheritance? Therefore, He let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29.