Faith in the Creator

I have been teaching art to some children this year. Each week 17 kids ages 5-12 make their way to my basement and create.  We are in the middle of making miniature hot-air balloons so we can imagine traveling from country to country in our journey around the world.

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They have created Giraffes,

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Hippos (and a few seals)

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and Kente cloth from Africa,

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big red barns from Wisconsin.

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Pumpkins and turkeys will give a nod to our Thanksgiving holiday.

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We plan on “visiting” England, Australia, France and Mexico in the coming weeks.

As I get to know each student I am learning to recognize their artwork. They each have their own  individual  style. I am amazed at what they can do with the raw materials I give them.

If you would look in my basement you would see their creations hanging up or laying out to dry.  Some things are tucked away in their portfolios.  There hasn’t been an explosion in my basement that caused these things to appear. You would recognize that someone has been at work.

Hebrews 11:3 says “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.” (NASB)

We are asked to believe that God made the world. It was a purposeful act.

None of us were there. There is no way for us to prove it. We have to take Him at His word. Either He is telling the truth or He is a liar. God gives us the account in Genesis 1-2. If we are to walk by faith we must believe it.  I will let God’s words convince you, not mine.

“Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, The one who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing.” Isaiah 40:26 (NASB)

“All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” John 1:3 (NASB)

“…since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so they are without excuse…” Romans 1:19-21 (NASB)

“…even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.” Romans 4:17 (NASB)

Spend some time looking around today. Does what you see look like an accident or an explosion?

Next,  go back and read Genesis 1-2. That God created the world is the only credible explanation. If we are to live by faith, believing in creation is the foundation.

Take comfort that His creation is all around us to remind us of who He is and what He is capable of. He has not left us here alone. He has a purpose and a plan. Believe it. Don’t let this world’s trouble tear your eyes from your only hope.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”        Psalm 27:13-14 (NASB)

Faith Crisis

Lake_2952When I was little our family would pile into the car every summer, drive to Minnesota and spend a week at the lake. This was before the day of the internet. We didn’t make reservations, we just drove until we found something that looked interesting.

We never doubted that we would spend a week at the lake. The minute my sisters and I got into the car with our suitcases we were already there.

It was as good as done. We weren’t sure about the journey, but the destination was guaranteed.

We understood that we might have to stop two or three times before we had success, but we had faith in our Dad’s ability to find what he had promised.

After driving two or three hours our Dad would stop at a small resort and walk to the office while the rest of us held our breath.

Sometimes the resort was full.

Sometimes it was too much money.

Sometimes our Dad didn’t care for the look of the place once he was closer.

We could tell by how he was walking whether he had success or not. If his head was down and he was walking with a determined gait we knew it was a no. If he was grinning, almost running back to the car we knew he had found the spot.

A couple weeks ago I was reading in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter. I turned there specifically because I was struggling. Struggling with weariness, questions, confusion; struggling to believe God had a good plan that He was working out; struggling ____________( You can fill in your own blank).

I know God is faithful, but I needed to be reminded just how faithful.

The first verse got me headed in the right direction.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 NASB)

William MacDonald has this to say about that verse.

“…it is a definition of what faith does for us. It makes things hoped for as real as if we already had them, and it provides unshakable evidence that the unseen, spiritual blessings of Christianity are absolutely certain and real…Faith is confidence in the trustworthiness of God. It is the conviction that what God says is true and that what He promises will come to pass.”

I would encourage you to read the rest of Hebrews 11. Think long and hard about the men and women listed there. Their faith was not in their ability to overcome obstacles, but in God’s ability to walk them through extreme difficulties. Sometimes the results were glorious, other times the immediate results were trouble and even death. Both are examples of faith in a good God.

As a child I had utter faith in my Dad. I never doubted that he would bring about what he promised.

As a child of God I need to have utter faith in the one who made me for His good purpose. He has been faithful in the past. He will be faithful in the future. Although the journey isn’t always easy, I can trust that my destination is sure.

For further study:

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” II Corinthians 4:18 (NASB)

“…it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…” Hebrews 6:18-19 (NASB)

“In this confidence let us hold on to the hope that we profess without the slightest hesitation – for he is utterly dependable.” Hebrews 10:23 (Phillips)

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance, and my God.” Psalm 41:11 (NASB)

Grace in the midst of Storms

Wisconsin has had some rough weather in recent weeks. Our dry summer caused many of us to pray for rain. The rain came and then the storms.

We were just sitting down to eat supper when we heard there was a tornado warning. Since it didn’t look that bad we quickly ate. Soon our lights started flickering and went out. When we noticed the rain going sideways outside our window we hurried to the basement.  About 30 minutes later we came up to peek outside. We noticed one tree down and then another.

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We were feeling bad until we started seeing other people’s damage.

My sister and her husband lost the roof to their barn and a huge maple in the front yard. My brother-in-law spent the hours after the storm trying to remove the branches that were covering the road. The sheriff saw and stopped to help.

 

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Another friend had a big tree come down next to their house, knocking the glass out of one of their windows, while another tree took out part of their shed.

One of our neighbors down the road lost 18 big trees.

In our little town there were big trees across the road in several places. Many of the trees took out power lines. We were without electricity for two days. (Small towns aren’t a priority.)

Another friend who lives 30 miles away had the electrical box ripped out of their house while they huddled in their basement. Every tree in their yard was damaged or knocked over. They were without electricity for almost a week.

What surprised me through all of this was how much interaction was going on. We were all talking to our neighbors. We were going out of our way to check on each other. Those with chain saws were walking down the street to see how they could help. Those with big machinery were lifting heavy trees out of the way. Local churches were providing water and hot meals.

We saw grace played out. The first grace was that in all the destruction and close calls, no one was hurt. Some garages, barns and trees were lost, but no loss of life. The second grace was seeing people in action helping one another. We are usually too busy to stop and chat. The storm gave us an opportunity to check in with each other. We tended to the important things and put our regular routines on hold. So while I don’t pray for storms to come, I pray that I can learn from them.

Learn to see my neighbors…to remember to check on my friends…to be thankful for the calm…to see God’s grace in the midst of it all.