In the book of Hebrews it says, “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.” In the context it has to do with those believers who were on the verge of not believing. If you read chapter 11, you might end up with the idea that the writer, in telling all those stories of faithful and trusting people, is also telling his readers since those people had faith, we should also have it just as they did. Perhaps that’s what the writer has in mind, but simply reading or hearing about another person’s “faith” does not necessarily make our search easier. While an individual’s act of faith may inspire us, each of us lays the foundation for our own.
I know most of the usual examples used to “prove” faith, trust, or belief, all of which have the same root meaning. I know about having faith that the plane will fly, and that the rope will hold, and that the father will catch the child when it jumps, and the bridge won’t fall. But in each of these cases, the plane, the rope, the father, and the bridge, can be seen. That’s different than faith in the unseen. So when we talk about faith it is generally connected to God, which is faith in the unseen. The Hebrew writer says faith is “being certain of what we don’t see.” It would be easy to shut the book and say “There it is. Simple as can be.” However, I think the experience of faith is much more involved than that. It seems not to be something we have, but something that has us. It becomes the foundation on which we build our lives and attempt to understand the meaning of life.
To that extent, the believer and the nonbelieiver are alike. We all want to understand what it means to be alive. We might even philosophically ask if what we are is life? How do we know? Who decided to call it “life?” What does it really mean to be alive? Of course, it means not being the opposite of what is defined as life. Let’s leave that to the philosophers. However, there are universal questions about the meaning of human existence.
Descartes’ famous”I think, therefore I am” comes to mind. If you want your head to turn completely around exorcism-stye, read comments on his statement. However, it does pretty much express our explanation for who we are. “I think, therefore I am.”
Since we think, we also question. We wonder about life. Is there any purpose to it? Are we just a meaningless speck of evolutionary dust that happened to develop a higher thought process than the other specks? If so, is that a good thing? Might we not be better off without becoming human life? We have no control over that. That’s life as humans know it. We are faced with continuing questions that demand answers. That is the wonder of being human. We humans are the ones who discover and create. We are the ones who refuse to accept things as they are, but reach for a better understanding of our purpose, if we believe we have one.
What prompts us to ask if life has meaning? And, what is “Meaning?” At what point did humans think life should have a meaning and purpose?
The answer to that, for some people, is plain and simple, it came from God in the beginning. And all believers, regardless if they believe the story of Eden is literal, or if it expresses our existence in ancient terminology, believe that at some point human beings became, for lack of a better word, “human.” And the longer these human beings existed, the more challenges they faced and answered. Each step they took led them to a new opportunity. Each new opportunity led them to new questions to be answered. The foundation under their feet shook, and the area above them brought heat and water and loud sounds. They wanted to know why. It could only be something bigger and more powerful than they. So these strange powers above them and the shaking below them became the power over their lives, at least at that point in time. It would be called by many names, but the most common would be “God,” although that is not the actual Biblical word. It is interesting that with all the controversy over the name “God”, that the word’s origin is ambiguous. It seems to come from the Germanic-European word for “the called upon.” And “the called upon” took on many identities.
The passing of time and increased wisdom and knowledge, reduced much of the superstition. The important questions now came from deep within. They began to ask about the meaning of life. Was there a higher purpose for them as “humans”?
While the natural inclination of procreation was there, humans found something more. In every culture and language they developed a word we commonly call, “love.” Did they wonder where this feeling originated? I’m sure they did, and you can read about it all throughout history. More than wondering about it, they decided it was the highest of all “human” traits. Jesus may be the best-known person to say, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” (Jn. 15:13) but others had expressed the thought before him. In fact, those who asked about the meaning of life, nearly always included the wonder of human sacrificial love. In fact, human love will make a person give their life even for a stranger.
So faith in a Creative Force (God) that is unseen, can have its origin in what is seen. It can ask the meaning of love, and conclude that love, while undeniable, is beyond any physical explanation. They can decide it is the foundation for living with meaning and purpose. Since it is undeniable, what is its source?
The person who chooses faith in God, amid all the things to the contrary, can build on the thought expressed in I Jn. 4:8, “God is love.” Because they also know in some way that love is God. Believing that may not answer every challenge or question, but it can provide a foundation for a life of faith
CONCERNS: Teresa Robertson has asked prayers for her aunt, Patricia Hall, who has lymphodema. Melisha Scruggs asks prayers for her cousin. Remember also Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Teryn Gaynor’s mother (cancer treatment) Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson (cancer) Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s parents, as well as her aunt, Pat Voss and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter is doing better. Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas. Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith, Jenni Cullum and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: JULY 18-23
Monday: Ezekiel 16:1-22
Tuesday: I Corinthians 14:1-12
Wednesday: Philippians 3:2-21
Thursday: Luke 9:46-50
Friday: Luke 6:17-26
Saturday: Psalm 124:1-8
OUR DAILY BREAD: JULY 25-30
Monday: I Peter 1:1-11
Tuesday: Luke 2:1-10
Wednesday: Proverbs 2:1-10
Thursday: Romans 15:1-13
Friday: I Thess. 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 115:1-18
Too late for the last bulletin, but God’s blessings, our best wishes and congratulations go to Ben Robertson and Teresa Wilcox with regard to their marriage on July 1st. Wayne Phlegar did the honors at the Phlegar’s home in Salem.
Today is Super Sunday, which means there is a fellowship meal following the service. As the third Sunday, it is also the Sunday arraigned by a member of the steering committee. Today’s service has been planed by Mike Branch.
SPEAKER NEXT SUNDAY
As the Wagners return from their vacation, next Sunday’s speaker will be Wayne Flora. Thank you Wayne for filling in.
If you look up Carlton to the area above the handicapped parking, you will notice a very nice improvement in the brushy area up the hill. This area has needed tending for years. Roger Fisher has been working on it and there is a major difference. It’s been a real work in progress. Thanks Roger. ALSO: Mike Branch did some trimming around the front porch and steps. Thanks Mike.
WEST VIRGINIA AIDE
Roger Fisher delivered all the aide materials to his friend, who then filled a trailer with ours and other’s materials and took it to the flooded areas in West Virginia. By the way, there is no more need for bottled water. It is being sent to rescue missions. Also, no clothing. If you missed out, see Roger and find out if his friend is going again, and what they need.
PREPARING TO RELOCATE
T. J. And Judy Hall have decide it is time for them to relocate nearer their sons in North Carolina. They are looking around Mocksville, which will put them about and hour in between Perry and Joey. They will be with us for awhile as the details are worked out.
Depending on the need, the steering committee may or may not meet today after the Super Sunday meal. There may be interest in the progress of our media upgrade. If there is a need, a meeting will be called.