“Faith” By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)


By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell

Scripture Reading: Hebrews Chapter 11

Key Verses: Hebrews 11:1, 11:6, 11:39-40

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

“And without faith is it impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

“And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”

For anyone who wants an account of Biblical figures who lived by faith, the 11th chapter of Hebrews lists one right after another—Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, etc. etc.—the list goes on. These were all believers in God who demonstrated their faith by their actions. Not only did they believe in the existence of God, but they believed he would reward them if they sought him and followed His commands. All of these examples are Old Testament figures. The author of Hebrews regularly quotes the Old Testament and points to Christ as having fulfilled prophesy. He ends the chapter pointing again to Christ, saying that God was not done yet—he had something more, something better. And he would offer it to even more than these who were faithful.

The youth in our church just watched a film that was a story of faith vs. atheism—a college student challenges his professor and tries to prove the existence of God (God is Not Dead). Lee Strobel also wrote a book called The Case for Christ which is an attempt to prove that Jesus was who He professed to be by examining the evidence as a lawyer would. Because I am a believer, I liked both of them and appreciated their intent.

I don’t believe we can prove the existence of God or that Jesus is the Christ, the awaited Messiah, nor do I believe that atheists can prove that God doesn’t exist. I believe in the Holy Trinity on faith. I believe that those who are inclined to believe will believe and that those who are not inclined to believe will not believe. So, given that premise, ultimately all have to decide for themselves.

I believe in Jesus and that Jesus is the Christ because of:  my own experiences, belief that prayers have been answered, belief that God has revealed Himself to me over and over again, belief in the scriptures and that Jesus fulfilled the prophesy of the scriptures, the Disciples who martyred themselves because of their faith and their experiences of Christ, the Apostle Paul’s writings of how he was converted from being someone who pursued and persecuted Christians to becoming the greatest apologist of the Christian faith. For over 2000 years the story of Jesus has survived and inspired Christians to live in faith and hope.

I can’t prove it to you. But, I don’t believe the order of the universe occurred by chance—the God I believe in is powerful and could have made the universe and ordered it in any way he wanted. I believe the scriptures. I believe the evidence available to me by the firsthand accounts of those who reported their relationship with Jesus and the events of his life and teachings. I believe in the miracles Jesus performed. I believe that God is far more powerful than my limited rational intellect. As I don’t know everything a person is capable of knowing, I am not so arrogant as to believe I know all the answers and that my reason can provide all truth to me. But I believe in a power greater than myself, a Supreme Being, a power that is in control, a power that can control nature. To me, that power is the Holy Trinity. I believe. I believe by faith.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the Christ, the living God. I believe in the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. May you strengthen my faith and help me to live according to your will. Amen.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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