Walking With Child Like Faith| By Bethany Anding

Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating natural disasters in history. Homes were flooded, and trees were knocked down on lawns.

This was a rough time for me, not because of the disaster taking place in New Orleans, but the disaster taking place in my family. My parents were separated. I did not really understand what was going on. I just knew it was bad. I knew deep down that things were going to get better; I just was not sure when.

Christmas of 2005 – I remember it like it was yesterday. My dad called my mom saying he wanted to see us for Christmas, and that he would cover her airfare. So, we packed up and went back home to New Orleans for the holidays. I remember my dad giving me a big hug Christmas night. As I was hugging him, I could feel his throat tighten up because he was crying, due to losing me and my mom. This was the moment that I knew in my heart of hearts that my dad genuinely loved us.

After Christmas, I stayed with my dad, and my mom went back to North Carolina. A few days after my mom left, my dad told me to get in the car because he had a “big, big Christmas present” waiting for me. Trustfully, I got in the car, and we drove to the airport.  

“Why are we at the airport?” I asked my dad.“You’ll see!’ He responded.

So, we got out and waited inside the airport until I saw my mom coming up the escalator with all her bags. I knew at that moment that all my prayers about my parents reconciling had been answered. I was ecstatic and on the verge of crying.

The point of me telling this story was to show an example of child like faith. Children believe what they are told. Sometimes it is good while other times, not so much. Regardless, as people grow, they begin to build walls in their hearts, blocking things the Holy Spirit may have for us, because it may seem “illogical” or “unreasonable”. 

Now the obvious question would be “Where do the walls come from?” 

Well, when we are hurt by others, the devil likes to put thoughts in our minds such as “they just want to hurt you, you should never talk to them again!”

If one chooses to believe the lie, they build an imaginary wall in their mind. Eventually, as the process repeats itself, these walls turn into a prison that holds the person who built it captive.  Not only does it trap them, it locks people out who want to love and minister to them. It also prevents God from doing a work in them. It blocks the wounded person from receiving healing from God that they need.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting arguments that exalt itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)

This means that we must shut down the lies of the enemy by fighting with the weapons of our warfare (meaning the sword of the spirit, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, and so on). I believe it is very important to hold up the shield of faith when the enemy tries to argue that God is wrong, or that He does not love everyone unconditionally, that some are loved, and some are not. The enemy wants everyone to believe that because one is going through a rough situation, they are no longer worthy to be in the presence of God. 

This is where practicing faith comes in.  When people choose to not look at their circumstances, and choose to believe the promises of God, that is when the walls come down.

When the walls that were created from a place of hurt come down, the hardened heart created long ago by the enemy can then be healed by God. Once the wounds are healed, a pure heart of flesh remains, where there was once a heart of stone.

I will conclude with a word that was given to me in a rough season. I went up for an altar call one day, and a pastor came up to me and told me he saw me in a field of flowers as a little girl in a white dress. I was holding hands with Jesus and dancing with Him in the field. He confirmed something in me that I was questioning. He proceeded to tell me that I was not a reject or an outcast, that I was God’s girl. That day a healing took place in me. Strongholds were broken, and I caught a glimpse of that childlike faith I had lost sight of so long ago. It was almost as if God took all my broken pieces and put me back together the way I am supposed to be. When I am in a rough season and questioning my faith, I always look back to that day. The day God restored me.

Leap of Faith| By T’eoria Murray

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is evidence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

In the summer before my senior year of college, I felt a tug on my heart to commit to a year of full-time ministry. As I sat before God in my devotions each morning, I heard Him whisper, “Take this leap. I’ll catch you.”

My breath caught in my throat every time I thought of it. The idea was ludicrous. I was an international student. What about my plans to move on to medical school? I was an only child and from a single parent home. How would my family feel about this break in my education? It just was not reasonable. I must have gotten my wires crossed. But the gentle, insistent urging would not go away. 

One morning, I went to a youth Bible study where the speaker got up and simply read Hebrews 11. I would read this chapter myself at least a dozen times, but that day I saw it through different eyes.

I saw each scene in my mind’s eye as the chapter laid out example after example of how faith played a role in a believer’s life. By faith, Abel offered a sacrifice, Enoch was translated, and Noah prepared an ark on dry land. Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. Barren Sarah was able to conceive a child, becoming an ancestor of a great nation. Abraham offered Isaac back to God, being as ready to return the promised son- his only son- as he had been to receive him. Isaac blessed his sons. Moses chose hardship with his Hebrew brothers over a life of sinful ease with the Egyptians. The Israelites walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. They marched around Jericho and saw the walls fall flat. Rahab believed in their God and was delivered from the destruction. 

Gideon. Samson. Jephthah. David. Samuel. 

“By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.” Hebrews 11: 33-34 (NLT)

These heroes of the faith held on to God’s promises because they trusted Him. They saw by faith what God saw, often only in part. However, they trusted the heart of the Father, that He would not lead them where He would not sustain them. Of course, this did not always mean a happy ending in this life. 

“Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword… destitute…oppressed…mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.” Hebrews 11:36-38 (NLT)

The apostle Paul continues that while their faith was commendable, they did not see the complete fulfillment of God’s promises. That is because this story is still being written. It continues with those of us who are still carrying on the faith, still holding the banner of Christ in a dark and troubled world. I decided to accept God’s call to dedicate a year to Him in missions and felt a peace and assurance beyond any I had ever experienced. 

The next year was one of triumphs and hard lessons, close fellowship and intense conflict, numerous joys and frustrations. With a team of nine other young people, I was able to travel across the United States ministering at schools, churches, and juvenile detention centers. The year culminated with two unforgettable months in Guyana where dozens of people accepted Christ and were baptized. The experiences of that year will stay with me forever. 

What is God calling you to do for Him today? Is He asking you to make a sacrifice? Abel did that, and his faith still speaks to us today. Has He placed a project on your heart that does not make sense to anyone else? Noah obeyed and his family was saved. Does He seem to be asking you to give up a cherished dream? Abraham obeyed and God provided. Is He calling you to be a voice for an oppressed group? Moses was faithful, and he led Israel out of slavery to the borders of the Promised Land. Has He brought you face to face with what appears to be an impossible obstacle? The Israelites obeyed Him and saw Jericho’s gigantic walls collapse. 

If God has called you to take a leap of faith, do not deny Him the opportunity to work in and through you. Take a leap and His arms will be there to catch you.

“God will make this happen, for He who calls you is faithful.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NLT)