Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | December 20, 2011

Faith Before the Darkest Day in Winter

Faith at Winter's solstice, then always.

My chronological Bible reading today is Hebrews 11 and 12.  It’s a wonder how that this powerful message comes before the darkest day of the year.  The Winter Solstice.  And a time where the close approaching CHRISTmas comes with all the memories and emotions smashed together like a dropped cheese ball.  The most wonderful time of the year carries some of the worst in its baggage.   So, the power of the Apostle Paul’s writing what the Lord told him in Hebrews is awesome – power and promise.

Consider some of the key words – like stepping stones on a path, across a stream, and up the hill through a narrow gate.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 

We can be sure and certain.  No doubt.  No anxiety.  No fear.  No pit of the stomach sinking feeling of failure.  No questioning,wondering, wishing desperation.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. 

Reward those who honestly seek him since the age of 12?  Earnestly try to live in His Word since age 32?  Rededicate their lives at age 42?  And, over and over give themselves – truly giving up any claim on anything in this life at almost age 59?  Men who tried to live as men of God, Christian warriors, in every respect in every aspect of life.

All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; the only saw them from a distance and welcomed them from a distance.

Their reward didn’t come in this life.  Not in this flesh.  Not in their time or place of choosing.

After Abraham, Issace, Jacob, Joseph and Moses and Hebrew people’s exodus we see And the prophets who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of flames, and escaped the edge of the sword, whose weakness wa turned to strength,; and who became powerful in battl and routed tolife again.  Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Etc.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.  God planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

The darkness in this winter may be followed by more darkness.  No spring.  No light.  No end to darkness and cold.  But, “there is a light and a warmth on the other side” (message I got on March 15th, 1987).

Let us run with perservance the race marked out before us. 

My Mother’s Calvinist teachings and my Father’s Scot-Irish Clan get this.  They lived it and taught it.  We NEVER quit.  Never.  No matter what.  We can be killed, but we do not quit.

The Lord disciplines those He loves., and punishes everyone He accepts as a son.  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you like sons.

I had a wonderful father.  I’ve tried to be the best father I could be.   Fathers set the standards and hold the family accountable  – as they hold him to pour out his life to support, protect and provide for them.

It produces a harvest of righteousness and peace. 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. 

Faith – when we see nothing to give hope.  Hardship without end – when we can expect nothing.  And, yet, we will do great things, even if we never see them, and win greater victories for Lord Jesus Christ – because we never quit, we love the Lord, we love others, and we love ouselves with certain knowledge of peace and joy to come.

Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ, spring and summer follow these dark days


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