“Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it. Faith is the reason we remember great people who lived in the past. It is by faith we understand that the whole world was made by God’s command so what we see was made by something that cannot be seen.” Hebrews 11:1-3

“Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him.” Hebrews 11:6

“We have around us many people whose lives tell us what faith means. So, let us run the race that is before us and never give. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back. Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne. Think about Jesus’ example. He held on while wicked people were doing evil things to him. So do not get tired and stop trying.” Hebrews 12:1-3

My faith in God still stands and will forever stand!

The scriptural definition of faith states “Faith is the assurance that the things revealed and promised in the Word are true, even though unseen, and gives the believer a conviction that what he expects in faith, will come to pass. … In other words, it becomes so tangible that you now possess it.”

The dictionary definition of faith states “When you have faith, you trust or believe in something very strongly. … This noun comes from the Old French word feid, meaning “faith, belief, trust, confidence, pledge.” It’s often used when describing religion or the supernatural: people have faith in God, or actually refer to the religion they practice as their faith.”

Billy Graham once made the following statement about faith, ““I have never been to the North Pole, and yet I believe there is a North Pole. How do I know? I know because somebody told me. I read about it in a history book, I saw a map in a geography book, and I believe the men who wrote those books. I accept it by faith. The Bible says, ‘Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’ [Romans 10:17 KJV].”

God speaks in the most incredible ways, and I find it so reassuring to know that the message he is sharing with me is so important that He shares the same message with others at the same time. This morning my devotion was on faith, my faith, and the faith of others from the Bible that lived lives of great faith. At the same time, He was speaking to me this morning, He was obviously speaking to some of my friends and relatives, for they all shared their thoughts and devotions of faith this morning. How incredible! And how important it is for us at this point in our lives and in the history of our country to grab hold of that faith we used to start a nation and share it for all to see.

Faith! I have heard my entire life about faith, and how vital it is to have faith in God. I have witnessed some of the strongest believers in my life live faith every day, and through some of the toughest trials in their lives. I grew up listening to the stories in the bible about people whose faith was so strong it led them through life’s challenges and obstacles, and their faith was stronger than ever. In Hebrews 11, there are many examples of those who lived by faith. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Isaac, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, David, Samuel, and many more are some of the greatest examples of those that lived by their faith in God. My own faith has carried me through some of life’s toughest trials because it was faith in God! God carried me through and gave me strength to face each trial.

My faith is in God! There is no one else incredible enough to believe in, to trust! I am assured each day that I read God’s word that He is there, He is always there, He has always been here from the beginning, and He will always be there! In this day and time, we need to look to Jesus, to have faith, and to know that God’s plan and timing is perfect. We cannot see what is ahead, but nothing that has happened or will happen surprises God. He knows. My faith is in Him and what He can do, and what He will do. “Think about Jesus’ example. He held on while wicked people were doing evil things to him. So do not get tired and stop trying.” Hebrews 11:3. Just think about Jesus’ example every day. Even though things and events in our country today seem dark and dim, hold on to God. Hold on to Him, do not get tired, together we must continue to try to make our country whole again. Make us one!

In 2018, Facebook seemed to be flooded with statements like “we need God back in our schools.” I wrote in response to what I was reading the following,

“Quite often, I see on FB pictures and images where people state we need God back in our public schools. As a teacher of 24 years, and the last 7 in a school where I truly feel God wants me to be, I am a witness to the fact that God is very present in our public schools. He is there in the teachers that truly want to make a difference, He is there in the sweet students who want to do well and be successful, He is there in the support staff within our schools who truly want to make a difference, He is there in the members of First Presbyterian Church who dedicate their time to support our children, He is there when members of my church come to read with my students, He is there! We may not be saying a prayer out loud in our classrooms every day, but I guarantee you that prayers are being said – every day by teachers who love their students, by students, by administrators, and by parents! He is there in the innocent free time of my 5th grade girls, who during their indoor recess today, had the interlocking blocks out building churches for their neighborhoods – CHURCHES!! Their choice! He is there when after almost 6 hours of testing yesterday and 4 hours today, 11 of my 17 girls showed remarkable amounts of growth in reading despite the things they deal with at home. He is there when at the end of the day 17 girls come to give me hugs and tell me thank you for being their teacher. He is even there when walking out of the cafeteria, one of my girls looks at me and says, “You know, Mrs. Murrell, we have worked really hard for two days, and tomorrow we have two unit tests to take. Don’t you think we deserve some hot cocoa and something sweet?” I told her I do not know, we will see. And then she looks at me and starts this, “Dear sweet Jesus, please talk to Mrs. Murrell tonight and ask her to bring us hot cocoa and a sweet tomorrow.” I just looked at her and asked why she thought a prayer would work, and her response, “Because I see the way you act and how you treat us, Mrs. Murrell!”

God is still in our public schools. He is in our classrooms because we have teachers who genuinely care and truly love what they do. He was also in my kitchen tonight, because despite being totally exhausted and concerned about Steve and my grandson, I made cupcakes for my girls and yes, they will be served with hot cocoa and marshmallows. For those of you who do not get to be a part of our public-school systems, believe me – God is still there. How could you doubt it? God is everywhere, all the time! He never went anywhere! We, WE, forgot Him – He did not forget us! I see Him every day!”

I see the same thing today except it is more that we need God back in our country, in our lives. God did not leave us. God would never leave us. We are the ones that have left him, we took Him out of our lives as if we can do everything on our own. Believe me, we are not in the mess we are in today because God left us, we are in this mess because WE left Him! He is there waiting for us to believe in Him again, waiting on us to have faith in Him, and waiting on us to give everything to Him because He is in control.

I see Him every day. I see Him in the sunrise and the sunset! I see Him in the health and life He has given my family and myself. I see Him in our front-line workers giving 200% every day! I see Him in the smiles of strangers when walking through the store, their smiles shine through their eyes behind the masks, even more proof that God is there with them too. I see Him in His creation every day – earth, sky, trees, flowers, and even the dirt. I see Him in the tears flowing down faces as they lose their loved ones. He is there! I hear Him in the wind. I hear Him with the songs of the birds in my backyard every morning. I hear Him in the sounds of my puppies and cats sleeping and playing. I hear Him in the gospel songs and hymns that are being sung by those who love the Lord. I hear Him in the words of our pastors during these trying times. I hear Him in the soft-spoken voices of caregivers taking care of their loved ones. He is everywhere. I feel His presence in my home. I feel His presence and His touch when I am sad or concerned about those around me. I just feel Him always close. I know He is there, surrounding those I love and those who have faith in Him.

My faith is in God! God is in control! Are we brave enough to give it all to Him? Think of the strength and the courage it took Moses, Abraham, David, Noah and so many more to have faith in God and follow His path! Just think of what it took each of them to take those steps of faith and follow God! For us to become united again, to love and show forgiveness and understanding towards others, we must have faith in God and give it all to Him!

It is Well With my Soul, a song sung many times as I was growing up, around our piano and in our church. I thought of the words this morning and several times over the last few days. God placed the words on my heart as a gentle reminder that all things ‘are well with my soul’ when my faith in God is strong and tenacious. My faith in God soothes my worry and concern, and fills my heart with a peacefulness that is overwhelming. Are things well with your soul?

When peace like a river attendeth my way

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come

Let this blest assurance control

That Christ (yes, He has) has regarded my helpless estate

And has shed His own blood for my soul

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought (a thought)

My sin, not in part, but the whole (every bit, every bit, all of it)

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more (yes!)

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend

Even so, it is well with my soul!

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul)

It is well, it is well with my soul

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