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March 30, 2012

Living By Faith

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"Living By Faith In Jesus Above"

"But the righteous will live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4). "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). "We live by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Civil Air Patrol planeAbout 25 years ago I served as a Civil Air Patrol chaplain and periodically flew along with the pilots during training, sitting in the back seat as a non-pilot. Our squadron was based out of St. Marys in northern Pennsylvania. My role was to provide moral and spiritual support and encouragement. Among my responsibilities as chaplain was to notify and update family members about the condition of their loved ones aboard a missing or crashed plane. However thankfully I never had to do this.

IFR training hoodI recall one time when we were flying to an airport in Clearfield Pennsylvania (in the Allegheny Mountains) where there was a steep drop off at the end of the runway. The pilots were practicing their instrument rating skills but didn't tell me till I got on the plane! After taking off both pilots placed hoods over their heads to block their visual view outside the airplane, forcing them to focus solely on the plane's instrument panel (simulating conditions such as fog when their vision would be greatly impaired).

I could see from my seat, but certainly I had no control of the flight. Each time I looked toward the front of the plane and saw the pilots in their strange-looking hoods I grew a bit uneasy. I wanted them to see where we were going! It wasn't so bad when we were high in the air, but when we began our descent to the landing strip I couldn't take my eyes off the drop-off at the end!

I began thinking about Brooksyne at home and visualized a police chaplain showing up, at our front door, to notify her of a downed aircraft with her chaplain
husband aboard.  I was so relieved when, just prior to landing, both pilots lifted their hoods and of course we had a safe landing!

With IFR training cliponsKen is a friend of ours who is also a pilot. He lent me his instrument flight rating clip-ons which have the same function in limiting vision as the hoods mentioned above. I tried them on in our van (while it was not moving) as Brooksyne snapped the photo. However I don't have an "instrument only" rating for driving!  I don't think we'd have any Daily Encouragement readers who'd volunteer to ride in the empty passengers' seat if I actually attempted to drive wearing these clip-ons.

There's a spiritual lesson here. We like to see where we are going don't we? We like to know what's going on, and we especially like to be in control of our circumstances. Much of th
e time we believe we actually are. We've think we've got it all figured out. But Scripture reminds us that it is imperative to remember the Proverb, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps" (Proverbs 16:9).

"We live by faith, not by sight." Not seeing the full picture runs counter to our natural instincts. 
God wants each step of our earthly journey to be a step of faith so that our eyes are not focused on the troubling situation but rather that they are focused on Him. He wants us to trust Him for the continuing work He is doing in our lives and also in those who may be a part of that troubling circumstance.

When our physical vision or understanding is limited then we will hopefully by faith stimulate our spiritual vision and understanding and see that God providentially allows these f
oggy periods in our life for His glory and for our good. Just as the hoods forced the pilots to rely on the instruments rather than their sight, so our trials will cause us to focus on God, our faith and the eternal, which is where our focus should be anyway!

I consider a phrase from a great old hymn that expresses my heart today: "When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace." Do you recognize this hymn?

Oh, for that blessed rest to be upon each reader today is our prayer as you live by faith in Jesus above!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying womanDaily Prayer: Father, help us to have the kind of faith prescribed in Hebrews 11:1 where "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." It is the kind of faith that is triumphant in the worst of circumstances because our faith in Christ is the victory that overcomes the world. We will not be overcome by life's circumstances but we will overcome life's circumstances by the blood of the Lamb. If we fully forsake this world, if we immerse ourselves in the Scriptures, and if we saturate our hearts in prayer, I believe we can experience a faith view of heaven that is nearly as real as a physical view of our home here on earth. Help us to pursue such a spiritual goal in Jesus' name. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

Living By Faith"
 Video  Homecoming series  This is an old hymn that's been on my heart the last several weeks; I suppose in part due to the transition in our lives in as we have ended our role in pastoring a small country church and now more fully focusing our ministry on Daily Encouragement Net and Business Chaplaincy. You rarely hear it sung in churches anymore but some of you our age will recall the following hymn text:

Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.

"The Solid Rock"
 Video  Sovereign Grace Music  
"When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace."

"Step By Step"
 Video  This was among our congregation's favorite songs in New England, although I don't recall singing the verses.

"In Your Arms"  Video  Oslo Gospel Choir

"Voice Of Truth"  Video  Casting Crowns

What a Civil Air Patrol chaplain does. Military type chaplaincy has changed a lot in my lifetime with more emphasis on tolerance and diversity and an expectation to soft pedal convictions about Christ and the Bible.

I did not take the photo of today's Civil Air Patrol plane, although observant readers can tell where it was taken!  Click here for a larger version.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"

O Lord, be gracious unto us,.... This is a prayer of the church under the persecutions of antichrist, imploring the grace and favour of God in their miserable and distressed circumstances; desiring his gracious help, assistance, and deliverance; pleading not any merits of their own, but casting themselves upon the mercy and kindness of God: