May 31 – Devotional
Last week, we began by simply acknowledging the presence of God in our midst. I think this is a good thing for us to do as we begin our time of worship. Let’s pray that God would open our eyes to see him at work, and open our ears to hear his voice. And following that, let’s sing:
It is because of Jesus that we have cause to come together, and where our hope is found. Let’s sing:
(Again, my apologies for any ads or pop-ups that come up)
My grandmother was one of those people who I always knew lived a life of faith. It’s not something she talked about a lot – one reason for this is she rarely talked about herself at all. What she did however was live out her faith in very practical ways. She was someone who never had a lot of material wealth, but what she did have she would rather give to others – sometimes even to the detriment of her own situation. She would offer practical support and help to anyone who needed it. And her attitude was always top notch, no matter what trials had beset her. Even during such a time as losing her sight, her response was “Well, it’s not great. But I just think of all those who have less…”
- Think of a person in your life that you know lives/lived their life by faith. What were some of the aspects of their life that demonstrated that?
- Are there any areas of your walk with Christ that you’ve given up on right now because it seems impossible, but perhaps really just needs to be looked at differently? Ask the Spirit to show you if there’s perhaps an area you haven’t even thought of.
There are lots of Scriptures that speak about what it means to live by faith, perhaps none more so than Hebrews 11
We read in Hebrews 11,
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.
3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
4By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
5 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. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
We sometimes place our faith in places that will ultimately let us down. In reality, God is the only one worthy of placing our faith in, and the only one who won’t let us down. Let’s sing of his greatness..
As we have in previous weeks, we’re going to take some time to ask some questions about how this applies. So what does it mean to live out the Great Commission in such a time as this?
- What does it mean to live by faith, and particularly, what does it mean to live by faith NOW?
If you’re anything like me, when considering this question, the answer usually boiled down to “believing the right things.” But believing the right things should also motivate us in terms of how we live out that faith.
Ask the Spirit:
- Are there any areas he’s calling you to step into as part of living out that faith?
- Are there any areas of your life that are not consistent with the faith you profess?
Admittedly, the phrase “unprecedented circumstances” has become rather overused of late. That said, we need to be careful that we don’t fall into the trap of believing that we can’t live out our faith in a way consistent with what Paul talks about in Galatians because of those circumstances. God is not surprised by any of this, nor has he stopped working. Are we on the lookout for what he is doing? And are we excited for the possibilities for what he’s going to do?
Let’s sing one more song…
Before we close, I just want to share a few announcements:
- Although regular office hours are suspended we continue to work. If you need anything please contact Pastor Dave (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself (email@example.com).
- Feel free to share this and other email communications with others. Some from the church are not on the email list and we have had a few that have not received it even though they are on the list. Please help us make sure that people are keeping connected.
I encourage you to do two things with your giving that may help a little.
- Do your giving each week as part of this devotional/worship time. I know it is not exactly the same thing, but it does help us view our giving as worship rather than simply a financial transaction
- Take time to pray as you give. Thank God for what he has given to you, acknowledge your trust in him for tomorrow, and tell him why you give to him and the work of his church.
- Best – E-Transfer (no fees)
- firstname.lastname@example.org is the email address you will need to make an e-transfer
- Please include your first and last name in the memo box
- If you know your envelope number please include it in the memo box (*Do not include the # sign as it will not accept that)
- Still good, but with fees – Canada Helps
- https://bayridgealliance.ca/give-with-canada-helps/ and click on the donate button to give
Thank you for honouring God by supporting the Church.
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’