An Eternal Lineage

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My husband is a history buff.  He could be perfectly happy to spend all day watching documentaries and reading about every kind of historical event imaginable.  If you sit down and discuss periods of history with him, you are sure to get an earful of facts.  I have never been able to fathom how a person’s mind could retain so much detail.  While I am doing good to remember a person’s birthday and last name, Michael can rattle of specific dates and historical figures like he was there and knew the people personally.  He’s an electrician, but I often think he missed his calling as historian.

While my husband claims that the Madrids date back to 1603 in Spain, one branch of my family dates back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth of England in the 1500s.  A very distant relative, the knight Sir Richard Lowther, held Queen Mary of Scotland in custody when she claimed England belonged to Scotland.  There is a castle in England under renovation that bears his last name.  Perhaps I’ll one day be able to visit Lowther Castle and imagine myself during the reign of noble kings and queens.

Though history dating back into to the era of lords, knights, and noblemen is interesting and inspiring, our heritage as Christians goes back even further.  As we read Hebrews 11, we have reason to stand in awe of our lineage of faith.    These patriarchs did not fight simply for the freedom of their homeland, but for a greater cause – the cause of Christ.

Over and over again, we see examples of people who obeyed God, even when they could not see the end result with their physical eyes.   Abel, despite his brother’s rebellion, gave his best sacrifice.  Known for pleasing a God he could not see, Enoch was taken from this earth without dying.  Noah built an ark having never seen rain before.  Wealthy Abraham packed his bags and moved his household without knowing where he was going.

The list goes on to include many familiar characters.  Hebrews 11:33 – 34 says they did mighty acts and miracles as God was with them.  Some include defeating kingdoms, stopping mouths of lions, quenching fire, and raising people from the dead.

But then as we read through verse 38, we see another set of people whom God honored.  These people, faced with persecution for their faith, did not accept deliverance because they wanted to “obtain a greater resurrection” (v. 35). They went through everything from verbal mocking to being sawn in half for what they believed.  They wandered in the wilderness, poor and destitute, living in caves and dens.

If this isn’t inspiring enough, verse 39 says that they “did not receive the promise.”  What?  How could they, after going through such hardship, not receive the full reward of what God had promised?  The answer is in verse 40: “God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”

This is what true faith looks like – standing for something that we cannot see.  These heroes of the faith had their sights set on the promise of God, a redemption that they would not see in their lifetime.  Jesus would not die on the cross until thousands of years later, yet they believed in His righteous cause.  And though they did not receive redemption through the blood of Jesus at that time, that new covenant will be enjoyed by us from now on.

In a culture filled with freedoms and conveniences, it’s often easy to forget where we came from.  We forget about our forefathers and what they did to give us what we have now.  But beyond our national heritage, we even forget about our spiritual forefathers and mothers who set such an honorable example of endurance and patience, faith and dedication – at all costs.  Greater than a knight in a queen’s court, or a European countryman fighting for his freedom, we have a lineage based on the eternal.  Like castle ruins, what we see around us will soon decay and disappear.  But our spiritual patriarchs and all they believed in will last forever.  It should be enough to inspire us to rise up and be like them.  We may never have to go to war, face the fierce jaw of a lion, or feel the heat of a fiery furnace; but we can continue that eternal lineage by giving all we have for our King.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1,2

 

 

Image courteousy of google images.

The Ultimate Sacrifice

sacrifice

The ultimate sacrifice made is not for a cause but for a person. Lay your life down daily, not for Christianity, but for Jesus Christ.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1

You Have the DNA of a Hero! by Lisa Bevere

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Not everyone comes from a tightly knit earthly family. But when you became a believer, you became part of a heavenly family. What if I told you that you are now the fulfillment of promises given to other men and women long before you entered this world?

Speaking of those who have gone before us, Hebrews 11 says:

Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. Hebrews 11:13 The Message

Just what did those faith heroes of old see in the distance? Was it something tangible? I don’t think so. You do not wave at or greet things. You wave at and greet people!

If we are to follow the example of our ancestors, we too must become farsighted. These heroes did not look at what was in their hands because they were too busy waving to something on the distant horizon. Such heroes are people of hope and conviction, for faith is the substance of things hoped for and the very evidence of things yet unseen (see Hebrews 11:1 KJV).

Read the following verse and be at once awed and humbled at what our God Most High has counted us worthy to be a part of:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1–2 ESV

We were the joy set before Jesus, and I often wonder if the heroes of old aren’t the very ones who are cheering us on. We are part of the final act in an ongoing story that began generations ago. Hebrews 11 chronicles some of the amazing things done by great men and women of God. Today, all of their heroic acts are waiting to be completed when they are joined together with ours.

So what do we contribute to the legacy of faith? Could it be that we bring the action to the words the people of old released? That we lay our hands on that which they received only in a figure? It is time we pray that the Lord of the harvest open our eyes and widen our gaze so that we too might see beyond the obvious and live out the actions of heaven’s warriors.

You have been prayed in—and prayed over—for possibly much longer than you realize. May this revelation stir the faith seeded within your heart, and may the hope of who God has created you to be inspire you. When you look in the mirror, know that there is far more to you than anyone can actually see. You have been watched and waited for, and there is a heaven-breathed destiny on you in this moment.

This week, take some time to read the stories of those celebrated in Hebrews 11. What did they establish that you can carry in our day? Invite the Creator to reveal the purpose He has for you. Ask for the faith to take your place in His legacy of heroes. You were made to be part of a beautiful fulfillment of the promises of God!

Article by Lisa Bevere