The man fought back fear and leaned out the window. "I can't see you. There's too much smoke!" He searched trying to see through the smoke. "Jump!" they yelled again. "We'll catch you!"
Moments mixed with fear and anxiety passed. "Should he jump?" he asked himself. "I'm so far up here and I can't see anything." he muttered. The fire licked at his back. He would have to decide and quick.
Did he jump? It's a leap of faith. Faith requires action. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The man was risking his life. He would have to have enough faith in the people below him that they would catch him.
Having the assurance that what is hoped for will happen. And, it also includes having the conviction that what has been promised will also take place. The man's predicament is much like those in this world who don't really know for sure that God is real. Or, if the Bible is truly the living word of God.
While people are teetering on whether to believe in a mighty God who carries out His promises, there is another force at work that is silently chopping away at them. It's much like the flames licking at the back of the young man.
There is a giant tree standing proudly at the edge of the forest. A man shows up with a chainsaw and a bulldozer. The great tree is felled in a day. It's become a log. Oh, but that's not the end. Now it is hauled off to a mill where is will be cut up into boards. Then they'll be planed and smoothed. No, it not over. This once great tree is, perhaps, nailed together to make a pallet and other parts of it may be used to make table tops. The tree is no longer recognizable.
Jesus once said, "When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.” (Matthew 13:19) There are those who have hardened their hearts to hearing the truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life...” (John 14:6) By doing so, they open themselves up to Satan’s power. Critical thoughts creep in and establish themselves and the process begins. Satan has come into the life of the great tree with his chainsaw and bulldozer.
Pastor Josh presented both of these stories in Sunday’s sermon about continuing in the faith. I confess, I loved the stories. The painting of a visual picture makes his sermons come alive for me. Once during this sermon, he paused and just said, “Hmmm”. It may seem like nothing, just a sound; but for me it sounded as if there was so much knowledge he wanted to share that God gave him that moment to let it all come together. The textual scripture was Colossians 1:20-23 about continuing in the faith. Of the passages he mentioned I liked Psalm 1 and I Corinthians 15:58 the best.