Thursday, February 10, 2011



I love this very special passage on the Hall of Faith. It is rich with history and it is a wealth of practical application for us today. However, I think many times we put this Hall of Faith way in the past and don't get it that we can live this kind of life right now.

Remember Hebrews 11:13-16? All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

NOTE what it says: "having seen the promises and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth". This can be the same for us today! If you really "get it", then you can see Jesus in everything you do and welcome Him into every meeting you have today. In fact, living in His Kingdom is confessing or agreeing that we don't belong to this earthly Kingdom, but the Kingdom of God. As we practice living in the Kingdom of God, we are practicing the principles of Jesus, the King, in all we do.

Living out these Kingdom principles and a life of faith today demands focus-focus on Jesus. This kind of focus can put your heart at peace. Jesus speaks to this focus in the 15th chapter of John, when He says: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."

Jesus goes on to say in this same setting that the focus is all about loving one another within the dynamic of being friends: "I no longer call you servants, because servants do not know their master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit-fruit that will last-and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

NOTE friends enjoy an interchange of really knowing one another. Friends do three things that cultivate their friendships. First-friends want to talk to one another. Second-friends want to listen to one another. Third-friends want to please one another. There are three vital dimensions of cultivating a friendship with Jesus-talk to Him, listen to Him and do your best to please Him.

Here's the best thing about Jesus. Jesus is the most faithful, positive, empowering friend you'll ever know. There are just no down days; Jesus is always present and always interested in you. He will not let you down. He is always available. If you feel far from Jesus, guess who moved. It wasn't Jesus.

This frequently brings me back to Jesus' revolutionary call: "Follow Me!" He continually invites you and me into a non-judgmental, loving relationship. You don't know anyone like that. Jesus never calls anyone to be more religious, but to come to Him personally, especially when you are exhausted by all of the religiosity and systems of do's and don'ts.

In this very context, Jesus says: "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

You can operate within the hall of faith today right here, right now! It's not a matter of how much faith, but the object of your faith that counts. It's not a doctrinal system, an organization, a way of life; it's a person. His name is Jesus. And you know what? It's not just believing in a person; it's enjoying a special friendship with Jesus, as if Jesus is right here, right now. And, He is!