And then I close the book, place it on the nightstand, and turn off the light. Nope.... just not going to go there Ann.
I lay there, staring at the ceiling.... I kind of want to know what Ann says about it... kind of.
Sleep never comes, might as well read.
In the New Testament the word pisteuo is found two hundred and twenty times. We usually see this word translated in to belief. However Ann's research says it literally means "to put one's faith in; to trust."
Hmmm..... not so sure I like where this is going. I tend to wrinkle my nose up to that "T" word.... apparently Ann does too... because she says so just a few sentences later. Yet she is braver then I and proposes the question, one I would never have the courage to ask.
I know... have known this truth, yet it's one of those things that I struggle to push from the "knowing of the head to the bleeding of the heart." It's not a new truth, one I know and often fail to remember. Ann names it, and it's not a pretty name and the name of it in one way shocks me, yet really doesn't, after all it makes complete sense.
"Without trust in the good news of Jesus, without trust in the good news of God's saving work even in this moment, without an active, moment-by-moment trust in the good news of all-sovereign, all-good God, how can we claim to fully believe?"
Because the lack of faith isn't necessarily an intellectual disbelief in God's existence as much as it is a distrust that there is a good God. But if I don't emotionally believe and trust in the goodness of God, do I truly believe? Doesn't a believer have to trust? And isn't trust a day-to-day action, not a one-time event?
"If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, them to choose stress is an act of disbelief.... atheism.
Anything less then gratitude and trust is practical atheism."
Sunday comes and it's the first Sunday of the month, the week my church sets aside to remember. To break the bread and drink the blood in remembrance of Him. Because He says to. And we give thanks and remember the sacrifice, the sacrifice that was made so that we could fully live. Do we fully grasped what it means to fully live? Do we understand this faith we claim to live by? Do we even care to find out?
We live in a world that appears to beg for tolerance, yet really what they want is something that is real. Too many times I see Christianity described as just another one of the world's religions, and so many.... too many live their life as if it were. Far too often we forget... I forget.... that the reason why our God is different is because He is real..... and He seeks relationships. I recently read, and I wish I remember where, that we serve a BIG God, but not too big because He cares for every little sparrow, every little circumstance, every single person. The God we serve isn't interest is religion, He is interested in you.... and in me. Faith isn't just knowledge in a Holy, supreme and sovereign God. Faith is an action, one that requires trust, and that seeks for joy in every situation, in every single second of the day.
"This is what faith really is:
believing, not with the head or the lips or out of habit,
but believing with one's whole life.
It means seeking community with...
Christ in every situation in life..."
We don't get to chose what area of our life we give to Him and what area we get to keep. When we truly believe.... trust.... in Him then we give it all up. Oh how we forget that God isn't some far off being who sits high on His throne, unapproachable, and without a care as to what we do. He is approachable, He is near, He is attentive to His children. Yet He is King over all and He is Sovereign and no, I don't quite understand how a God so powerful, so mighty, so Holy can be so near, and so attentive, and have time for lowly little me. And I guess that's why I forget because I believe the lie that He doesn't have time to fulfill His promises, that He doesn't want to hear my little requests. The truth is that He is not satisfied when I settle to just know of Him, He wants me to know Him. To personally, know, to personally walk with Him.
And knowing God is the only way to fully live, but knowing God requires trusting Him. Ann says, "It's only when you live the prayer of thanksgiving that you live the power of trusting God." Once again we are led back to eucharisteo. Because it is because of the grace (charis) that we get the chance to live, and only through giving thanks (eucharisteo) can we receive joy (chara). And isn't that what we really want? A joy filled life is the only way to fully live, and joy isn't an emotion, it's a way of life. We can find joy in the dark, we can find it in the sadness... in the pain.... and in ever other circumstance because the sovereign God we serve is in control and all things work out for those who love Him (Ro 8:28).“God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, “Do you believe there is a God?” you may find yourself answering, “No, I do not believe there is a God. I know there is a God.”~Ernest Boyer, Jr.
Late talks, all about Him
Encouragement from the new friends
Sweet memories made with precious children
Baking bread with a friend
The smell of fresh baked bread
Watching children enjoy the fresh bread
Teaching a lesson on remembering
Unleaven bread, a prefect picture of our need for remembrance
A Father who is willing to remind us, over and over again
A Father who never forgets
For the blood that saves
* I wrote about chapter 7 here
* All unmarked quotes come from chapter 8 of Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts