Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Obeying God honors Him. Our blind obedience speaks louder than words and shows that we trust Him infinitely. Father Abraham is a wonderful example. He left home to travel to an unknown country – solely based on God’s instructions that came to him one night (Genesis 12:1):

“Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”

In the course of a lifetime Abraham’s faith was tested multiple times. He certainly had his personal hang-ups and imperfections, but he followed through with whatever the Lord had called him to do. When we venture out in faith we too may falter in our steps, but God is not asking for perfection. All He is asking for is our trust.

Jesus had Peter’s back when He invited him to get out of the boat in the middle of a storm.  It was the night after Jesus had fed a large crowd with five loaves of bread and two fish. Sending His disciples ahead He stayed behind to pray. Suddenly a storm rolled in and caught their boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. It wasn’t long before the break of dawn that Jesus decided to catch up with His disciples and took to walking on the lake, towards the boat. When they spotted Him they screamed; everybody in the boat thought He was a ghost, but Jesus reassured them – it was Him. Then Peter had something to say (Matthew 14:28-31):

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

We may get wet as Peter did – trying to get out of the boat and walking on water – but we won’t regret it. We must continue to act on faith – otherwise we won’t have much faith left to speak of. Believers cause a ripple effect: every leap of faith, whether big or small, serves to inspire others.

Stepping out in faith we bless more people than we know and in the process we grow closer to God’s heart.

2 Peter 1:4: “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

Steven Austad, a bio-gerontologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham delved into the question: Why do we age? Here is his explanation:

“Reproduction is the name of the game. Basically, we age because it’s not in nature’s best interest to perfectly repair our bodies. The main thing is to keep us reproductive as long as possible, and then let our bodies deteriorate.”

In other words, ultimately we are here to be replaced – a pretty sobering thought. Of course we all know that no human being can actually be reproduced. Our DNA is very unique. Each person is as irreplaceable as they come.

Faith ventures beyond biology: There is a God who created matter out of nothing and this same God is the reason why we exist. By acknowledging Him, faith infinitely increases the value of human life. As a creature of God, we are no accident. We all matter.

Our bodies are subjected to corruption – so is our psyche. Born selfish, our psyches are frail. Given the circumstances, we can be broken very easily.

The word “gospel” is an old English combination of the words “God” and “spel”, which in modern English translates into news, a story. The news that God sent His Son to save the world is the heart of the gospel, and that is indeed very good news. It is a delight to get to know the Son of God. The Spirit of God is tirelessly introducing Jesus to every generation. And the Father of all is our soul’s destiny and home. We are adopted into His family.

Faith is precious because we are no longer slaves to corruption, but we are set free to participate in God’s divine nature. The incorruptible, inconceivable, beautiful and generous nature of God saves us from corruption because He dearly loves us.

“You dance over me
While I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound
Lord, I’m amazed by You
Lord, I’m amazed by You
Lord, I’m amazed by You
How You love me”

Jared Anderson

Matthew 1:20-21: “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’”

What would you do if your fiancé told you a story that sounded like a lame excuse?  Nothing made sense to Joseph anymore after seeing his fiancé returning from her recent family visit, three months pregnant. Pregnancies usually serve as physical evidence that a man and a woman had sexual relations. Claiming otherwise would be foolish, which is why Mary’s pregnancy is still controversial today. A woman getting pregnant without a guy being involved – why would God do such a thing?

Joseph was confused. It pained him to think that Mary would go behind his back with a secret relationship, dishing a lie to explain away her pregnancy, and then asking him to marry her to cover it all up. 

In sleepless nights to follow Joseph would wrestle with the prospect of putting Mary’s life on the line if her pregnancy out of wedlock became publicly known. After agonizing over his decision, he finally considered quietly breaking the engagement. Anticipating Joseph’s reaction, God sent His angel. In a dream God’s messenger confirmed that Mary had in fact told him the truth.

600 years before these events transpired, Isaiah wrote down a famous prophecy (Isaiah 7:14):

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

God has sent prophets and angels to broadcast His intentions centuries ago, long before they became reality; He did that so that we are able to put two and two together and recognize a sign from God when there is one. “A virgin bears a child” is a prediction fulfilled. Nonetheless, despite angel accounts and prophet proclamations, it still requires faith to believe Mary. We know that Joseph believed that the child she carried in her womb was the Son of God. Similar to Joseph, we too have a choice to make.

Would you take that leap of faith and believe the outrageous story of Christmas to be true?