In Awe!

moher cliffs irelandAwe.  It is a powerful emotion that is within all of us.   What inspires the feelings within us is as diverse and the people on the earth today.  For some it is standing on a cliff staring at the beauty of a sunset on the ocean.  For others it is sitting in a temperature controlled gallery viewing a masterpiece painted my one of the many great artists of our time.  Or maybe it is standing in the Sistine Chapel and viewing the masterpiece which took Michelangelo many years to finish and still people flock to see.

For others it is a moving piece of music which captures their heart and soul.  And still others are inspired and awe-struck by the stars which thehubble stars Hubble telescope has been capturing amazing shots of for many years.  There is a lot in our world that grips our hearts and leaves us standing breathless.  Some people have that same awe when it comes to God.  The belief that someone spoke all of this wonder into being with a word and sustains it all with the word of His power is an awesome thought.   A God who knows the stars by name, which scientists estimate there being 10,000 million million million stars in the known universe, and calls them out each night.  And add to that the belief that the God who spoke all this into being is deeply acquainted with you personally.  He even knows how many hairs you have on your head, and He desires to know you personally and intimately and loves with a love that exceeds the expanse of the universe.   Awe is within all of us.

Taj MahalWe seek after places to put that awe on.  It is hard-wired within all of us.  And we will use it somewhere, because like breathing it needs to happen.  Where we choose to put that awe actually defines our lives.  We can choose to be in awe of material things and our lives will be consumed with having the latest, greatest and grandest things, usually before anyone else so we can have bragging rights.  If you are in awe of a particular person everything in your life will revolve around that person and what they are doing.  If you are in awe of experience you will pattern your life around the experience you are seeking, often to the detriment of other things.

Awe is something we all  get up every morning, and without ever being aware of it, search constantly for.  We are attracted to awesome things because it is a physical need within all of us to experience.  Awe is defined as “A feeling of reverential sistine chapelrespect mixed with fear or wonder.”  That feeling we get when we cannot explain what we are seeing and simply stand in wonder and amazement.  We all need to experience awe.  The question is what creates that feeling within you and what will you be in awe of?

Is it Faith or Hope

Faith is an important part of our Christian walk.  If fact without faith we are completely lost.  Hebrews says ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God’. Hebrews 11:6  In a previous post I wrote about what faith is.    The kingdom of God, and everything He wants to do in our lives and those around us requires faith.  But how much faith do we have?  It is a question I have been asking myself recently.  Because Jesus stated that ‘I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20  And so I wondered because I don’t see mountains moving in my life often.  I have prayed for people and seen God do wonders, but most times I pray and like many people nothing happens.   And yet Jesus stated that if we will lay hands on the sick they will recover.

So I began to wonder am I acting in faith?  When I pray for people is it faith driving my actions.  Do I believe God can?  More important do I believe God will?  or do I simply hope God will?  Hope is an important and life changing part of our life with God as well.  Rick Warren stated ‘Without hope in the future there is no power for today.”   Paul wrote that faith hope and love will remain but the greatest is love.  So hope is very important.  But hope on its own is limited.  It is not an endless supply to keep us running endlessly.   Solomon wrote in Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”   So hope can run out and many people today are giving up on following God.  One might wonder if there was just hope and no faith.

Hebrews 11:1 states that faith is the foundation and the substance of hope.  Faith is what allows hope to stay strong, and allows you to carry forward regardless of what your circumstances tell you, when that faith is in God.  Because God is never-changing and His nature is always reliable and He will always do what He says He will.   Abraham is our best example in scripture about walking in faith and he received a promise from God that He would be a father of many nations.  To be a father of many, you have to at least be the father of one, and Abraham had no children.  And yet Abraham believed, or had faith in God, that God’s nature was to fulfill His promises and to do what He said He would do.  And Romans 4:18-21 states Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.  Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,  being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”  Against all hope Abraham hoped, because his confidence was placed in the nature and character of God and so he was able to consistently hope and walk forward towards the promises of God.

Are you walking in faith, believing and trusting in the nature of God regardless of circumstance or are you just hoping.  Without faith hope will run out.  Many people stop short of God’s promises because their confidence was in their circumstances and situations instead of in the nature and character of God and as a result their hope had no foundation.  Abraham walked forward never wavering in the confidence of God’s nature, even when it came time to sacrifice his son at God’s command.   Abraham was able to respond not because of what he was capable of, but because of God’s nature and what God was capable of.  “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,  even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead…” Hebrews 11:17-19

If you’re reaching out in response to what God has said never waiver when your circumstances don’t agree.  Faith says God is able, God is trustworthy, and God will do what He said.  Peter walked on water because He had faith.  When his view was placed on his circumstances he sunk.  If your simply running on hope you will eventually run out of steam.  But with God all things are possible and you can enter into all that God has for you.


A Question of Character

What do we do when our plans fall apart and the things we believe God called us into seem to come unglued?  All that hard work and preparation which seems to be wasted.  Or

maybe the dreams we have in our hearts seem to be like a distant ship sailing away from us off the horizon, and we seem to be getting further and further from what we feel God has spoken.  The feelings of defeat which can go with this can be hard to live through.  And at times we feel like giving up, and wonder ‘Did God really say?’

Continue reading A Question of Character