The Seen from the Unseen/Laura

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  2For by it the people of old received their commendation.  3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” Hebrews 11:1-3

The first verse here is ingrained in my brain. I’ve heard it multiple times, read it, seen it in pretty prints and had it quoted to me in times of doubt. It is familiar and something that I know.

This summer, I have been studying the book of Hebrews with friends and using Jen Wilkin’s study book. (Which I highly recommend!) In her questions for the week she asks this simple question that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about for weeks now:

“How does verse 3 relate to verse 1?”

A simple question but it is a connection that I 8c82247e402cbec6896a85512a45b9fahad not looked at any other time.

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” Seriously? Have you taken a minute to realize how miraculous and beautiful it is that God created this world? He brought the world into being from His word. He brought it to be from things that are not visi
ble. He made everythin
g from nothing. We, as humans, are completely incapable of creating things from nothing. But God…He created the most beautiful creation out of the unseen. He is the Creator. And He is the Sustainer. He is God!

So why did that bring new clarity to my understanding of verse 1? Not that God needs to prove Himself to us, but it gave me even more confidence in the character of God and His ability to create and provide. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen and that is trustworthy because from the beginning of time, God created from the unseen things.

Too often I find myself trying to figure out how God will work things out—as if I were God and could know all things.  I can become discouraged if I can’t see the solution. But now I remind myself, God created this whole universe out the things unseen. Surely, he can create a solution and a way for His will to be done from things that I am blind to now.

After all, He took my calloused, prideful heart and replaced it with a new one that beats for Him—all from things that were unseen and unknown to me.

So for the last few weeks, when things seem impossible or crazy, I repeat to myself, “God can make something from nothing.” God has eyes to see the unseen. He can make a way from what seems like nothing to me.

Again & Again He Comes//Laura//Day Six

For the first time this year, I’ve realized that Advent is so much more than just lighting candles on a wreath and remembering the gift of Jesus’ birth so long ago. Though the Christmas story has always seemed beautiful and I’ve cherished it, it’s felt like a story of people far away. My heart has always desired to be connected, but struggled to find it. Then, this year, I read this introduction to an advent devotional that finally feels like it’s brought this Christmas season near to my heart….
“The King is coming. Jesus Christ has come and will come again. This is the hope of the Church whom He purchased with His blood. Jesus’ coming is the eager expectation and desire of His people. It is our joy because He is our treasure and greatest good. This is the theme of “Advent”, formed from a Latin word meaning “coming” or “arrival”. It’s the traditional celebration of the first advent of Jesus in humility and the anxious awaiting of His second advent in glory. The season is a time for remembering and rejoicing, watching and waiting.” ((The Village Church Advent Devotional))
I’ve never connected the celebration of Jesus’ first coming at Christmas to His second coming, which has yet to come. But when I read this, suddenly the Christmas story feels so much closer and more connected to my world.
Remember November? Remember Paris? Mali? Colorado shootings? My heart is weary.
Loved ones with cancer, death, homelessness, addictions…  My heart is weary.
My own sin of selfishness and pride…My heart is weary.

Though the things that made Mary and Joseph and their friends weary may have looked different, there is no doubt they were weary and looking to be rescued. The Israelites had waited since the beginning of time, since Adam & Eve, to be saved. Their people had been slaves in Egypt, wandered the desert 40 years, were ruled by unjust and ungodly kings, and had given themselves over to all sorts of idols for so long. Yet by faith, they still believed their God would rescue them and send a Savior. Can you imagine waiting so long to be rescued?
Here I am, 2000 years after the coming of our Savior, and my heart STILL longs for Him to return. When I think how weary my heart is and how I long for Jesus to return again, I realize what a sweet joy and miracle it must have been on the first Christmas, when Jesus was born. Remember what it feels like as a child to anxiously anticipate Christmas morning? Remember the excitement of when it finally came? I can only imagine that Jesus finally arriving must have been like a million bajillion times more exciting. As the Christmas song says, its was a time of “weary hearts rejoicing.”
So this year, the Advent season has been a time of me reflecting on the gift that I’ve already been given in Christ and reminding my weary heart to continue to have faith and hope that Jesus will come again. And it isn’t even just that He will come again once and for all to rule, but that He can come again and again and again into the weary hearts of those around me—to bring hope and salvation and new life. We wait for His second coming, but we no longer need to wait for His arrival as our Savior. That’s a gift that’s already been given to us who believe and available to any who seek God’s face.

Thank you Lord that you gave us the gift of Jesus! Thank you that He came and led us out of captivity, to freedom in You. I pray Lord, would you come again and let this weary world rejoice.

{{I’m realizing more and more that I LOVE to share the things that I LOVE. My poor husband listens to me go on and on about my favorite things. So this Christmas season, I’d like to gift you with the knowledge of 3 of these things, only one of which relates to this post: 1) These Sketchers shoes make me feel like I’m walking on air. 2) This magical Tea Infuser & 3) Lauren Daigle singing Noel & Light of the World (This is the one that relates to the post J) Enjoy! Merry Christmas friends!}}

But God… {{Laura}}

The other morning I was sitting outside on my porch with my coffee and Bible and journal and I was reading and writing. It’s shaded in the mornings so I love to sit there before it gets too warm and I can soak up all the fresh air before feeling cooped up in air conditioning all day. I love, love, love that time in the morning! And from the outside it always feels so picturesque and perfect. But the things running through my mind can sometimes be so far from that because…well, that’s life. Right? Seasons of joy and seasons of hardship, but even in seasons of joy there can be really hard things. 

Anyways, my mind naturally wandered to hard things in my life and in those around me: illnesses, struggling marriages, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, finance issues… 

Eventually I moved to writing down dreams that I really want to see the Lord fulfill: relationships with my neighbors, a movement of missional professors, freshman searching for God, my friends to walk closely with the Lord…

And all these things left me feeling overwhelmed. Burdened. Sad. Stressed. Until I remembered one key phrase from Scripture… 

But God

“27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 13:27-30)

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world…But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:1-5)

“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8)

“For consider your calling, brothers; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27)

Things may seem hopeless, lifeless, or destined to continue in hardship. BUT GOD is rich in mercy, love, compassion, justice, wisdom, truth, and power… to name a few. So I can claim hope rather then despair, peace rather than fear, and compassion rather than anger because of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit living in me. 

So I’ve been trying this past week to simply say “But God” when I begin to lose sight of the hope. Sometimes my thoughts go on a little rabbit trail of things and saying “but God” interrupts them and shifts my focus from myself to the power of God. It’s lead to me praying for “but God” moments–a time when God intervenes and takes things the complete opposite direction. After all, that’s the Gospel. We were headed towards death in the chaos of our sin, BUT GOD intervened and gave us life. Thank you Lord! 

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