We have faith in God's Word. We believe that "children are a heritage from the Lord" (Psalm 127:3). We believe that Christians are to reach out to orphans (James 1:27). We believe that all Christians are adopted (Romans 8:15). And, as we enter into parenthood, we believe that God will meet our needs (Matthew 6:25-34).
In my opinion, it is very easy to "have faith" in something. It is quite another thing entirely to put that faith into action, and I am continually amazed at the faith exemplified in the lives of strong believers.
One such person is my friend Dr. Dave Black. Dave is a teacher in every sense of the word. Whether he realizes it or not, he continues to be a source of inspiration for me and countless others who have gotten to know him through his online writings. One of the things I have learned from him is the importance of living a life of faith.
He and his wife, Becky, have been ministering in Ethiopia and are headed back there again. Here is an excerpt from the December 8 entry on his blog:
In 6 days we leave for Ethiopia, even as a border war with Eritrea looks more and more likely. Understandably, our friends are concerned about our safety. One of the most important things happening in our life as a married couple is learning to be completely dependent upon God and to face whatever comes our waygood or badas from His loving hand. As Hebrews 11 says, whether people are delivered or not delivered, in every situation they stand in a position of faith toward the outcome. Sometimes Christians are delivered, and sometimes they are not. Still they tell the king, as did Daniel, "We're not going to bow." The man of faith does not bow. He does not bow to the world, he does not bow to the government when it usurps the role of God, and he does not even bow to the church (or to its traditions) when it is on the opposite side of the Bible.It is my prayer that Dawn and I can set that kind of Godly example for Olivia, whenever she comes home. I pray that we will strive toward a simpler, more biblical, and more obedient way of living. May we learn to forsake the false comforts and securities of this temporal world and rest in the eternal promises of our Heavenly Father.
Our day is no different from Daniel's. We too are confronted by our own fiery furnaces, and we face one of two outcomes. We can say, "Our God is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Via email I hear from people the world over that they are being convicted by the Lord Jesus more and more not to bow the knee.
I don't have sophisticated tracking services like some websites do, but I do know that our reading audience includes people from Africa, Europe, and Asia. More and more of them are telling Becky and me how God has been leading them to move forward in their lives toward a simpler, more biblical, and more obedient way of living. Sometimes that has brought misunderstanding and opposition, even from those who are closest to them.
Which comes first, material things or spiritual things? This question is, perhaps, the one most frequently asked. The gross materialism that characterizes our modern cultureeven our church cultureis becoming more and more repugnant to these pilgrims. Do not misunderstand me. I do not deny the necessity of material things. The problem is when the "natural" things of life (or whatever terminology you prefer) become first place. I have to smile when I read of those Christians who, in the face of the evidence contrariwise, want to continue participating in the gross materialism of "the holidays" because they cannot give up their attachment to the "innocent" things of the season.
All of us should always have a burning heart for the spiritual over the material, for truth over tradition. We all need the Lord's forgiveness for thisI more than anyone. So, what does God require of Becky and me? Is it enough to say certain words? Is it enough to affiliate with a certain group? No. God wants us to affirm the exclusiveness He has revealed.
And He has revealed these things to us in a way we can comprehend and implement among the children of men. To say "Christ" does not help anyone. Jesus taught that many "christs" would come. The word must contain the content of who God is, what He has done in Christ, and therefore what the Gospel is. Nothing short of this is enough. While a student in Basel I heard the term christophoros. It means "one who bears Christ." It was used by the church fathers in distinction to another term, christologos"one who speaks about Christ." The true Christian is one who does not merely talk about Christ. He is one who bears Christ far and wide. Cross-bearing and Christ-bearing. That is our task as we leave for the great unknown.
* Itinerary and Prayer Guide for the Blacks' Trip to Ethiopia