Dear GCI Family and Friends,
I have started traveling again within the US. In a recent trip, I was dumbstruck when my bag was the first up on the luggage carousel. Only the second time in my years of travel. Was the Lord shining favor on me?
My neighbor is an avid wild turkey hunter. For the past three years, he hasn’t “bagged a bird.” Fast forward to this year, and he has already bagged two turkeys. He shared with me about being out in the field at Sandy Mush, NC, and sitting, waiting and praying. While he was talking to God, the turkey appeared and he successfully took it. When this happened again a few weeks later, he was even more enthusiastic. He believes the Lord favored him, and who am I to say otherwise?
What is faith in God all about? As believers, do we go through life expecting all phases of travel to go well, and for turkeys to magically appear when we hunt them? Is God our genie in a bottle or good luck charm?
Notice how, in the Mirror Study Bible by Commentator Francois du Toit, he translates a passage in Hebrews:
Persuasion confirms confident expectation and proves the unseen world to be more real than the seen. Faith celebrates as certain what hope visualizes as future. (Hebrews 11:1)
Faith celebrates what hope visualizes as future – Wow! So much more than luggage being the first on the belt or a turkey presenting itself to an expectant hunter.
Francois adds this comment,
The shadow no longer substitutes the substance. Jesus is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of everything the prophets foretold. The unveiling of Christ in human life completes man’s every expectation. (Colossians 1:27)
Faith is about the reality of Jesus, the Redeemer who redeems wholly and the Savior who saves completely. He is the one who draws all humanity to himself and is preparing the splendid, perfect, eternal Kingdom that we will inhabit with him.
“He (Jesus) will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 RSV). This perfect world with perfect relationships is for you, for me and for all of God’s children. Hallelujah!
This faith is a sure faith because of who Jesus is. If you continue reading through Hebrews 11 you will resonate with the biblical characters, their struggles, their triumphs and their expectations even when circumstances are dire. Many of these men and women lost their lives but did not lose their faith.
I pray for our churches and members scattered across the 66 countries where we have people who meet in the name of Jesus under the banner of GCI. I know a lot of your names and even more of your faces. I think of you as characters the Lord is adding to his biblical “Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11.
Many of you have suffered greatly through the COVID-19 pandemic. Loss of health, loss of jobs and loss of loved ones. My prayer for you is that through this global struggle your faith in Jesus has been strengthened, that your hope and vision for the fullness of the kingdom has been reinforced and that your unrelenting faith in Jesus will boldly go forward as we emerge from the pandemic!
Onward in Jesus!
P.S. Please join me over the weekend of July 23-25 for the GCI Virtual Celebration. I shall be speaking more about the fullness of the kingdom of God and how our hope is built on Jesus.