[do action=”vfdictstart” title=”faith”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability. “/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one’s promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved. “/] [do action=”vfdictend”/]
Belief, confidence or trust in a person or thing, not based on proof.
Faith has the attributes of vision and hope, giving people the will to persevere in the path despite persecution and seeming lack of results.
Faith allows things to happen. It is the power that comes from a fearless heart. And when a fearless heart believes, miracles happen.
Faith has many dimensions and aspects. There is faith which is belief, faith which is knowledge, faith which is vision, faith which is trust, and faith which is the heart’s intention. Some people are willing to die for faith, others experience genuine faith as mixed with doubt. Many consider faith to be the starting point for knowledge and the basis for proper effort on the path to living a virtuous life.
Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. And lo, no one was there.
We have a choice, we can live by faith or we can live by fear. To live in constant fear and worry is a horrible way to spend your life. How do we stop worrying when our anxiety seems to be out of our control? I believe that the ultimate antidote to worry is faith. Augustine wrote that faith is: believing what we do not see and that the reward to faith is to see what we believe. It’s really not that hard to choose faith, to believe that the future holds our rewards and to persevere today. The only alternative is to live in fear, and that kind of life stinks. The real obstacle to overcoming fear is to be able to control our imaginations. Most of the fears that truly haunt us are merely phantoms, specters conjured out of nowhere by our creative imaginations, Our creative imaginations serve up all kinds of horrific scenarios, encouraging us to respond irrationally as if these scenarios represented reality. When we do so, the fear paralyzes us, and many times what we fear we create. We must learn to control our imaginations by focusing on having the faith to look forward and keep our eyes fixed on to a beautiful and breathtaking future. A future that is so desirous that is justifies the sacrifices of this transitory present.
What is Faith?
What really is faith? One little boy in Sunday School was asked that question and quick as a flash he replied, “Believing something you know isn’t true.” And I don’t know what you feel about it. I often thought that that’s what faith was.
It’s believing something that you know with your mind isn’t true. It’s some kind of overdrive that you push in with a button of some kind in your mind or your emotions. Or, somewhere as “they” say down in your heart, to get you to accept something that you know with your intellect could not possibly be true. And so many of us, in this world today are skeptical of the whole idea of faith, because we think of it as something not connected with the ordinary processes of the mind at all. It’s actually opposed to the convictions of the intellect. And so many of us who have been through some kind of education and especially some kind of scientific education, get the idea that to have faith you have to in some way close your mind, or put your intellect to sleep, or ignore the conclusions of science and research.
That’s absolutely ridiculous. Faith is not that kind of an irrational thing at all. Faith, in fact, is something that you and I exercise every day in our lives. And we’ve exercised it from the very moment we were born. I suppose it’s true that your mother even encouraged you to feel that we could trust her when we lay in her arms. And we learned day by day that was true, she would not drop us, that she was reliable, and we could put our faith in her arms.
Don’t feed your fear, feed your faith
Someone once said “what we feed will grow”. If we feed our fears then we will live a life controlled by fear. If we feed on faith, we will live a life of faith. Fear is the stealer of your life and the killer of your soul. Fear is dispelled just as soon as you decide to take action against it. Like that disciple stepping out of the boat onto the choppy water. The moment you move against the fear, the power of that fear dies instantly. Suddenly you realize that what held you captive were thoughts that you created yourself and fed in your own mind. You realize that the only the power that your fears had was what you gave them in the first place. What you feared, you created. What kinds of fear animals are we feeding? Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of the unknown. Fear from past pain. Stop feeding these figments of your imagination and step out of the boat. What can help us step out of the boat?
- Self awareness of the power that fear has over us and the desire to change our outlook on life.
- Someone who loves us unconditionally and whose encouragement is like a fresh breeze that lifts our soul.
- Positive reinforcement from others on our first steps that help keep us moving towards faith and the freedom to live our best (most virtuous) life.
Feed your faith and live a virtuous life that empowers you to expect the best, be the best, and live the best.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Faith is, at one and the same time, absolutely necessary and altogether impossible.” author=”Stanislaw Lem”/]
ARE YOU A WET WATER “WALKER”……OR A DRY BOAT “TALKER” ??[do action=”vfquote” quote=”The boat was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves… And in the fourth watch of the night he (Jesus) came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, ”It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying, ”Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” And Peter answered him, ”Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” He said, ”Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ”Lord, save me.” Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ”O man of little faith, why did you doubt?”” author=”Christianity”/]
Faith in the Masterpiece
We have got to have faith in the future. From that perspective, we can then put current tribulations into their correct perspective. We can then make friends with the problems in our life. Though many things that happen in our lives feel random and wrong, remember that there is an eternal plan to virtue. Everything can be fit into a pattern for good, but only to the extent that you believe and have faith in virtue. Every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into a masterpiece of virtue. A great analogy would be a masterpiece oil painting. Each problem, each affliction in your life is like the stroke of a master artists brush. Some are small, some big. Some seem like they are done with a big 4” brush laden with as much black paint as the brush will carry, but they all add to the masterpiece. We really won’t know what the whole painting looks like until it’s completely done. What we do see is very limited and blurred by the veil of our human weaknesses. Contrastingly, those very same problems can become mis-strokes, permanent ugly spots, if we react to them with self pity and defiance. The choice is up to us, and we have to choose many times each day whether to trust virtue, grow through our afflictions and add to our masterpiece, or to deny them and let them make a mess of the painting of our soul.
The best way to befriend our problems is to be thankful for them. This simple act opens our mind to the possibility of the benefits flowing from our difficulties. We acknowledge that the problems are merely strokes of paint on our masterpiece. Some are light and easy to befriend, others are dark and heavy and its real hard to see how such a horrible stroke adds to the beauty of our soul. We must work to approach them all with familiarity rather than dread. We will never be able to remove all the problems from our life, but by viewing them with the wisdom of virtue, we will eventually see that there is some good in all of them, and they really have contributed to the masterpiece of our soul.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith.” author=”Saint Francis”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.” author=”Socrates”/]
FAITH IN A BOTTLE
By Keith Miller and Bruce Larson
The following letter was found in a baking-power can wired to the handle of an old pump that offered the only hope of drinking water on a very long and seldom-used trail across Nevada’s Amargosa Desert: “This pump is all right as of June 1932. I put a new sucker washer into it and it ought to last five years. But the washer dries out and the pump has got to be primed. Under the white rock I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun and cork end up. There’s enough water in it to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour about one-fourth and let her soak to wet the leather. Then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like crazy. You’ll git water. The well has never run dry. Have faith. When you git watered up, fill the bottle and put it back like you found it for the next feller. (signed) Desert Pete. P.S. Don’t go drinking the water first. Prime the pump with it and you’ll git all you can hold.”[do action=”vfquote” quote=”You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” author=”Mahatma Gandhi”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is necessary to victory.” author=”William Hazlitt”/]
“We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight”
Have you ever imagined that you were blind? I have tried many times to identify with those who are blind by taking just a few steps with my eyes closed. After a couple of steps I am totally disoriented. It is so unnatural for us to walk without looking where we are going, yet that is precisely what we must do if we want to live by faith and not fear. For we walk by faith, not by sight. This principle has several applications.
Those who only “walk by sight” depend for “authority” only upon what they experience – by what they see, voices they hear, or emotional surges they feel. But a reliance upon the senses for authority is dangerous. Most experiences are inherently ambiguous and need interpretation. You simply can’t believe everything that you see or hear. There are a lot of illusions in the world.
Those who “walk by sight” manage materialism with anxiety. Most people in our world are far more concerned with accumulating wealth than they are living a virtuous life. And on one level this is understandable, because you can see money and the attendant pleasures it yields, but you cannot see virtue. But the problem is that the eyes of man are never satisfied. The pursuit of wealth eventually becomes an obsession, and man never reaches the point where he has enough. Yet, our material world fluctuates so much there is no guarantee that the fortune you have today will exist tomorrow. It is this uncertainty that produces anxiety. Those who “walk by faith,” however, handle this world’s goods with thankfulness and contentment.
Those who “walk by sight” deal with suffering with stark despair. If our perspective is strictly one that demands for justice and equity in this life, we are in for a lot of disappointment. All of us have wondered why people who live a life filled with vice seem to prosper while those of us trying to do what is virtuous suffer so much. Our faith will always falter if we try to answer this dilemma from a strictly worldly point of view. If we will “walk by faith,” though, we will face suffering with hope,. for momentary, light affliction is producing for us a future reward . . . while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.
We are challenged to “walk by faith, not by sight.” This task is as unnatural as walking with our eyes closed. But the more steps we take, the more comfortable this walk will be come, and the more confident we will be of the destination of our walk. And ultimately that’s what faith is all about – it is “the assurance of things hoped for”.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”If you can’t have faith in what is held up to you for faith, you must find things to believe in yourself, for a life without faith in something is too narrow a space to live.” author=”George E. Woodberry”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Treat the other man’s faith gently; it is all he has to believe with. His mind was created for his own thoughts, not yours or mine.” author=”Henry S. Haskins”/]
THE BURNING HUT
The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stung with grief and anger. “God, how could you do this to me!” he cried.
Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. “How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers. “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.
It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we shouldn’t lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering.
Remember next time your little hut is burning to the ground- – it just may be a smoke signal that summons God to come to the rescue.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent.” author=”Sophia Loren”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”We think having faith means being convinced God exists in the same way we are convinced a chair exists. People who cannot be completely convinced of God’s existence think faith is impossible for them. Not so. People who doubt can have great faith because faith is something you do, not something you think. In fact, the greater your doubt the more heroic your faith.” author=”Real Live Preacher”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities.” author=”William Arthur Ward”/]
Scientists tell us that the earth is spinning on its axis at a speed of over 1000 miles per hour at this very moment. Yet we have no sensation of motion. At the same time, the earth is rotating around the sun at a speed of 66,000 miles per hour. Do you feel anything? The earth is moving at an incredible speed but we do not perceive it. Einstein made this point by striking two consecutive blows with his fist and saying, “Between those two strokes, we traveled thirty miles.” Incredible motion with no perception! Yet we accept by faith that it is nevertheless true. Faith is the power to understand those things which are not perceived by worldly senses. Of course, the big problem for most of us is that we tend to base everything on what our five senses tell us. And since the spiritual world is not subject to any of those senses, our faith is often weak and impotent.
The eye of faith, however, perceives the unseen reality. A.W. Tozer was right when he said that “a spiritual world lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. We can only perceive the spiritual world that surrounds us with the eyes of faith.
Hope is the fuel of that faith. We cannot have faith without hope. Hope in a transformed existence. Hope in what lies ahead. Hope empowers faith so that it doesn’t become tired. It feeds faith to the final destination, so that it doesn’t fail half way there, or even at the starting point. Hope invigorates faith again and again with perseverance.
Faith is like a muscle. A muscle has to be repeatedly stretched to its limit of endurance in order to build more strength. Without increased stress in training, the muscle will simply not grow. In the same way, faith must be repeatedly tested to the limit of its endurance in order to expand and develop. Very often, we must go through trying experiences in order to develop our “faith muscle.”
Faith is only as good as the object of that faith. The story is told of a small boy in England who was asked by a scientist to allow himself to be lowered down the side of a cliff by a rope in order to recover some important specimens. “We will pay a lot of money,” said the scientist. But the boy replied that he wasn’t interested. The scientist was persistent, however, and finally persuaded the boy to do it. But only on one condition: that his father would be the one to hold the ropes by which he would be lowered. He felt safe going down the side of the cliff because the object of his faith was his own father who had never let him down.
Finally, faith must be tied to truth. As A.W. Tozer put it “I do not recall another period when “faith” was as popular as it is today. If only we believe hard enough we’ll make it somehow. So goes the popular chant. What you believe is not important. Only believe… What is overlooked in all this is that faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to tragedy.
It is not enough that we believe; we must believe the right thing.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”We think having faith means being convinced God exists in the same way we are convinced a chair exists. People who cannot be completely convinced of God’s existence think faith is impossible for them. Not so. People who doubt can have great faith because faith is something you do, not something you think. In fact, the greater your doubt the more heroic your faith.” author=”Real Live Preacher”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that only fear allows to entrap us.” author=”John Emmons.”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.” author=”Franklin D. Roosevelt”/]
Faith is a belief in the trustworthiness of an idea that has not been proven. Formal usage of the word “faith” is usually reserved for concepts of religion, as in theology, where it almost universally refers to a trusting belief in a transcendent reality (ergo a belief in a spiritual nature and in spiritual immortality), or else in a Supreme Being and said being’s role in the order of transcendent, spiritual things. Informal usage of the word “faith” can be quite broad, and may be used standardly in place of either as “trust,” “belief,” or “hope“. For example, the word “faith” can refer to a religion itself or to religion in general.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Without faith there is no knowledge, without knowledge there is no virtuous conduct, without virtues there is no deliverance, and without deliverance there is no perfection.” author=”Jainism”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”If I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.” author=”William Clifford”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Faith is composed of the heart’s intention. Light comes through faith. Through faith men come to prayer, Faith in the morning, faith at noon and at the setting of the sun. O Faith, give us faith!” author=”Hinduism”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Where there is no faith, the people perish.” author=”Judaism and Christianity”/]
HISTORICAL EXAMPLES OF FAITH
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it men of old received wisdom.
By faith Noah constructed an ark for the saving of his household; by this he shunned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which came by faith.
By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with Jewish slaves than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king.
By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the first-born might not touch them.
By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land; but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”A man of faith, absorbed in faith, his senses controlled, attains knowledge, and, knowledge attained, quickly finds supreme peace. But the ignorant man, who is without faith, goes doubting to destruction. For the doubting self, there is neither this world, nor the next, nor joy.” author=”Hinduism”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”My husband, Ron, once taught a class of mentally impaired teenagers. Looking at his students’ capabilities rather than their limitations, Ron got them to play chess, restore furniture and repair electrical appliances. Most important, he taught them to believe in themselves and to have faith. One of those students Bobby Young soon proved how well he had learned that last lesson. One day he brought in a broken toaster to repair. He carried the toaster tucked under one arm, and a half-loaf of bread under the other. ” author=”Edna Butterfield”/]
WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT
Stand up, close your eyes and take ten steps. Can you imagine what it is like to be blind? After just a couple steps you will probably be disoriented. It is so unnatural for us to walk without looking where we are going, yet this is precisely how we must live in order to obtain true happiness. We must walk by faith, not by sight.
Every decision you make – every big decision, every small decision – is a step of faith or a step based on sight. All the decisions you make – from the decision about what class to take to how you respond to irritation from another person, from how you decide to help someone in need to how you respond to a text message – all the decisions you make work together to determine who you are. All your decisions reflect your view of life, your view of yourself, your view of the future.
Will you live a life of faith, a life of virtue, walking by that faith? Or will you live a life based only on what you see and feel, dependent on your own resources, figuring out how to work all things to your own advantage?
To our eyes, a life of faith seems a lot riskier. To walk by sight seems to make more sense. We see risks, and want to avoid them. We see pleasures, and want to pursue them. These two lifestyles are very different and have distinct outcomes:[column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″][/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″]Walking by Sight[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”1″ style=”0″]Walking by Faith[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″]What guides you?[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″]Your senses, eyes, ears and emotions. External appearances are deceiving. If it feels good do it.[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”1″ style=”0″]Virtue and piercing the worlds veil of fear to look behind the curtain and see what’s in a mans soul.[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″]Your outlook on life?[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″]Short term, temporal, no tomorrow, no soul.[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”1″ style=”0″]Long term, eternal, great care taken on condition of soul.[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″]Relationships?[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″]It’s all about me, I come to be served.[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”1″ style=”0″]Its all about you, I come to serve.[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″]Money and possessions?[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″]Must accumulate as much wealth and possessions as possible, constant anxiety over money.[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”1″ style=”0″]Thankful for what you have, share with others, all that is not given is lost, content.[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″]Suffering and inequity?[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”0″ style=”0″]Whine for justice and equity, deal with suffering by despair, no hope.[/column] [column size=”1-3″ last=”1″ style=”0″]View current afflictions as temporary, character building, justice coming in long run. Hope.[/column]
There are indeed risks and dangers in the walk of faith. It requires discipline and self-control. There will be pain. There will be suffering. But in the long run those who walk by faith we be rewarded. Those who walk by sight may appear powerful; they may appear successful; they may appear happy. But in the end they will discover that earthly riches are temporary; they do not last and are ultimately unsatisfying. They should have been more concerned about investing in the condition of their soul for eternity.
We are all challenged to “walk by faith, not by sight”. This task is as unnatural as walking with our eyes closed. But the more steps we take, the more comfortable this walk will be come, and the more confident we will be of the destination of our walk. And ultimately that is what the reward of faith is all about – “to see what we believe”.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will move this mountain, ”Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” author=”Christianity”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”One of the crowd said (to Jesus), ”Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid… have pity on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, ”If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ”I believe; help my unbelief!”” author=”Christianity”/]
Faith in a Wheelbarrow
What is faith?
Although much faith is not based purely on evidence, it is definitely supported by evidence. Faith is not about turning off the brain and merely relying on the heart, or squashing reason in favor of emotion. No, faith is about seeking and knowing the truth with all facets of the human character. It’s not a “blind faith” as I once thought… It’s a “calculated faith” based on a preponderance of the evidence.
I love the metaphor of a chair… Find the chair closest to you. Look at it closely. Examine its design. Is it structurally sound? Is it sufficiently engineered? Will the materials chosen by the manufacturer support your weight?
Most likely, you picked a chair that you believe will support you. That’s belief. You applied logic, knowledge and experience to make an informed intellectual decision.
Now sit in the chair… That’s faith! At one point, intellectual assent only goes so far. True living requires that we put our beliefs into action. Intellectual belief without actionable faith is hollow and meaningless…
Faith is to commit oneself to act based on sufficient experience to warrant belief, but without absolute proof. To have faith involves an act of will. For example, in 1859 many people saw Charles Blondin walk across the gorge below Niagara Falls on a tightrope, and believed (on the basis of the evidence of their own eyes) that he was capable of carrying a man on his back safely across. But only his manager Harry Colcord had enough faith to allow himself to be carried.
Many people watched him do it. To them he asked, “Do you believe I can walk a tight rope across the Falls?” They all replied, “Yes.” They had already seen him do it.
Then he pushed a wheel barrow on a tight rope across Niagra Falls. When he completed the feat, he asked the onlookers, “Do you believe I can walk a tight rope across the Falls pushing a wheel barrow?” To that they replied unanimously, “Yes.” Because they saw him do that too.
Finally, a buddy of the tight rope walker climbs into the wheel barrow and the tight rope walker pushes him across the Falls. Wow, what a daring feat! When they finished, the tight rope walker asked the crowd, “Do you believe I can walk a tight rope across the Falls pushing a wheel barrow with a person in it?” To that they exclaimed, “Yes!” For they were now believers in this guy’s awesome abilities.
Then he looked at the crowd and asked, “Who’s next?”
A flood was threatening a small town and everyone was leaving for safety except one man who said, “God will save me. I have faith.” As the water level rose a jeep came to rescue him, the man refused, saying “God will save me. I have faith.” As the water level rose further, he went up to the second storey, and a boat came to help him. Again he refused to go, Belying, “God will save me. I have faith.” The water kept rising and the man climbed on to the roof. A helicopter came to rescue him, but he said, “God will save me. I have faith.” Well, finally he drowned. When he reached his Maker he angrily questioned, “I had complete faith in you. Why did you ignore my prayers and let me drown?” The Lord replied, “Who do you think sent you the jeep, the boat, and the helicopter?”[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Faith is reason grown courageous.” author=”Sherwood Eddy”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Reason is our soul’s left hand, Faith her right.” author=”John Donne”/]
Faith and Keeping Your Eyes Fixed on Your Leader
Here is a story that most of you have heard before.
After feeding the 5000, Jesus sends his disciples ahead of him in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. Several hours later in the night, the disciples encounter a storm. Jesus comes to them, walking on the water. This terrifies the disciples and they think they are seeing a ghost. Jesus tells them “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” Peter replies, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” So Jesus invites Peter to come. Peter gets out of the boat and begins walking on the water toward Jesus. But when Peter takes his eyes off Jesus and sees the wind and waves, he begins to sink. Peter cries out and Jesus immediately reaches out his hand and catches Peter. As they climb into the boat together, the storm ceases.
Peter doesn’t begin to sink until he starts looking around at the wind and the waves from the storm. During the storms of life, taking our eyes off our true leaders, and focusing on the difficult circumstances surrounding us will often cause us to lose faith and sink.
At times it may seem like smooth sailing for our loved ones and us. Some people experience many blessings in their personal and work lives. For years they can go forward with very few challenges. But suddenly they come face-to-face with the storms and struggles of life like an illness, loss of job, an addiction, or an abuse in the family. Jesus’ disciples struggled that night against the wind and the waves. They became frustrated and fearful. Without Jesus (their leader) by their side their faith became fragile.
We, too, can experience the winds of change and the waves of adversity. We may become frustrated and fearful. As the storms of life sweep over us, our faith may become fragile. We may be overwhelmed by a sea of doubt and despair as life throws monkey wrenches into our plans. What happens when our fragile faith falters and we begin to sink? Look at the disciple Peter’s experience. When Peter took his eyes off Jesus what happened? He began to sink. But when Peter fixed his gaze back on Jesus and cried out for help, Jesus responded, immediately reached out His hand and took hold of Peter.
At times our eyes and hearts are diverted or distracted from our leaders. We may be overwhelmed by the winds and waves, whatever they may be in our personal lives. At those times our faith can falter. We may be in danger of sinking into vice or shame or doubt or despair.
In those times we should fix our eyes and cry out to our leaders. They can often reach out to us and catch us before we sink and drown. They can lift us up out of the swirling sea of our own fears and restore us to faith and hope. They can rescue us from our doubt and despair.
Keep your eyes fixed on your leader.
There once was a man who was struggling to make the baseball team at school. Among other things, the man just could not hit a curve ball. The coach watched him struggle for a while and said, “Your problem is that you take your eye off the ball. You’re watching the pitcher and not the ball.”
Likewise, when we take our eyes off our leader in times of great stress, we can “strike out” in life. Our faith can falter and we can lose sight of our goal. But when we keep our eyes fixed on our leader, they can encourage us, strengthen our faith, free us from our doubts and despair, and lead us “to the other side”.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of fear, or by the handle of faith.” author=”Unknown”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark.” author=”Rabindranath Tagore”/]
FAITH IS ENOUGH
A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.”
Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? You, are a man of faith, do not know what is on the other side?”
The doctor walked over to the door to the examination room and took a hold of the handle; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room with his tail wagging and an eager show of gladness.
Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside… He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing. I know my Master is there and that is enough.”[do action=”vfquote” quote=”He who has faith has… an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well – even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly.” author=”B.C. Forbes”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.” author=”George Seaton”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” author=”Martin Luther King Jr.”/]
Knowing by Faith
By Douglas McManaman
Faith is a mode of knowing, one that is not contrary to human reason. In fact, most of what we do every day is based on faith, and it isn’t difficult to show the reasonableness of such faith. The “faith” I refer to here is natural faith, which involves accepting as true something somebody tells you because you have evidence that the speaker is well informed about the subject and is honest. It would be contrary to reason, in fact completely irrational, to refuse to live on the plane of this natural faith. One could argue that it is impossible. For example, a child brushes his teeth. Why? Because his mother told him that it is good for him to do so. He doesn’t understand why; for he does not understand the concept of tooth decay or the effects of sugar on tooth enamel. And although brushing teeth is not pleasant to him, he trusts her nevertheless. Eventually, when he is able to finally understand, he will see that it was wise to do so.
More than once in our lives will we take a prescription to the pharmacist; he or she will fill the prescription and we will take those pills. Unless we understand chemistry or the intricacies of pharmacology, we don’t understand what we are taking. But we trust that the pharmacist did not make a mistake, and we trust that our doctor has our best interests in mind and that what he prescribes to us is really good for us. But we do not know that with any certainty. I once visited a man in hospital who suffered a stroke because his pharmacist made a mistake and ended up giving him pills 10 or 20 times the dosage that his doctor prescribed. He’d spent a year in a hospital bed, his mind was deteriorating, and he was dying. I’m sure he’s dead by now, but there’s the trust – had he known, he would not have taken the pills. But was it unreasonable for him to entrust himself to his pharmacist? Not at all.
I take my car in for a brake replacement. I am told that it is done, that the car will stop when I press the brake pedal at an intersection. I trust him; I don’t really know. I don’t demand that he hoist the car up, remove the tires and show me. I trust him.
My students place a great deal of trust in me as their teacher. I teach them all sorts of things about the history of philosophy and religion, but they don’t know whether or not what I’m teaching them is actually true. I could be making it up, all or part of it. They don’t know, but they choose to believe me. A responsible teacher will devote a great deal of time and effort to making sure, as far as possible, that what is being taught is accurate, but even that effort involves a great deal of faith.
The world of science relies heavily on faith. Scientists trust one another that they have not lied to the scientific community; for it is not possible for a scientist to repeat every experiment that has been done in the past. They trust the results of the experiment, that is, they trust that the scientist has not falsified data – which happens at times. Recently, there was an article in a local paper about a British doctor who published a study in the late 90s that linked the childhood vaccine for measles-mumps-rubella to autism. The study has now been thoroughly discredited. But note how the article ends: “Most scientists are to be trusted. But our systems are not ideal. We just are implicitly trustful of those we work with.”
Relationships of love are, by their very nature, founded upon faith (natural faith). When another offers me his or her love (whether friendship, marital, or simply good will), I am not certain that the love being offered is genuine. I do not know with any certainty whether I am loved for my own sake, or loved merely as a means to an end. But that offer of love awaits a response, and my response is rooted in faith. If I choose to reciprocate, I open myself up to possible injury (the hurt of rejection); for I have to acknowledge the possibility that the other’s love will enhance and enlarge me – hence, I have to acknowledge my perfectibility and reveal it to the other. In other words, to receive another’s love requires humility, an acknowledgment and a disclosure of my finitude. And so, returning love requires a certain faith that the other will receive me in all my limits.
When a married couple has promised fidelity to one another (from the Latin fides: faith), they have promised to remain faithful, which means he has promised her to remain true to the faith that she has placed in him, and she to remain true to the faith that he has placed in her.
Faith is so pervasive, necessary, and reasonable, because the human person is so limited in knowledge. We have little choice but to rely on one another in a spirit of trust. Try to imagine what life would be like if you were to refrain from all choices that are based on faith. You would not trust what your teachers are teaching you until you knew for yourself whether or not what they were teaching is correct. But how would you know how to read unless you relied on your teachers? How would you know what to research unless you were taught how to research as well as the names of the figures you wish to research? You couldn’t take your car to the mechanic until you became a mechanic yourself, and you wouldn’t trust your doctor until you became a doctor yourself, and a pharmacist yourself, and a chemist yourself, and you wouldn’t ever marry another because to give and receive love involves, fundamentally, an act of faith. Life would come to a stand still. You couldn’t take a taxi, bus, or plane anywhere, because in doing so you are entrusting your life to someone else, all the while believing that they are going to do what they tell you they are going to do, i.e., take you to your destination, drive safely, land the plane, etc.
Natural faith is inadequate, for it cannot assent to supernatural truths. It is reasonable to believe our doctor when he prescribes a medicine – unless there is good reason to suspect that he is untrustworthy, but how can reason demonstrate that it is reasonable to believe what is completely above reason? It cannot. To suggest that reason can is to suggest that what exceeds the grasp of reason is within reason’s grasp, which is contradictory. We need to be given the capacity to make that act of faith in what exceeds the grasp of human reason, and that is “supernatural”.
It is impossible not to live on the plane of natural faith, and with just a little thought, the freedom and the tremendous benefits of living on that level are obvious. Because of that natural faith, we are given the stepping stones that free us to pursue greater goods, such as further knowledge. We know things about people that we otherwise would not have known, first and foremost, their trustworthiness. We know others intimately through genuine friendships, and we know the joys of parenting as a result of a marital relationship grounded on fidelity. In a similar way, supernatural faith opens up a supernatural world that would otherwise be closed off to us. Of course, reason cannot establish this, as it can explicate the benefits of natural faith; for the starting point of supernatural faith is supernatural faith itself, not natural reason. With it, an analogous experience occurs. The supernaturally faithful acquire a new and elevated freedom, and a knowledge of things that would otherwise be closed off to them.
Living on that plane of supernatural faith, we eventually become aware of the supernatural light that permeates our mind and life – if we persist long enough. Our prayers are answered – perhaps not always as we expected, and we experience an inner strength to face life’s difficulties, we experience the ability to forgive those we are unable to forgive before, we feel much less anxiety in life, we don’t feel lost as we did before, we begin to see the world from a new angle, and things begin to make sense from the point of view of faith. We don’t delight in the things we used to desire, and we see the emptiness of much of what the world honors, and most of all we experience within that we are known and that we are loved, and we are aware that nothing much matters anymore except serving and loving others. We begin to think of virtue more, of ways to be virtuous. All that results from living on the plane of supernatural faith.
The Dangers of Faith
Faith, however, is intrinsically risky. There is always the possibility that one’s trust will be betrayed. But how does one minimize this danger or risk factor? The answer to that question goes back to reason. If there is a good reason not to trust another, then one ought to be wary of trusting him or her. If there is no reason not to trust this person and plenty of reasons to trust him, then in light of human limitations, it is reasonable to trust him. If trusting him requires me to act contrary to reason, it is unreasonable to trust him. So too with supernatural faith. Faith transcends reason, which means that it is above reason, not below it.
It is not irrational to believe supernatural claims, any more than it is irrational to believe your doctor when he tells you that you ought to take this or that medication.
The proper safeguard with respect to all matters of faith is that they not fall below the threshold of human reason.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.” author=”Victor Hugo”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” author=”Steve Jobs”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”We must have infinite faith in each other. If we have not, we must never let it leak out that we have not.” author=”Henry David Thoreau”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.” author=”Confucius”/]
Choosing Faith Over Fear
By Diane Dutchin
Not sure who coined this statement but it is so true “what we feed will grow”. If we feed on fear we will live a life controlled by fear, if we feed on love and faith we will live a life in love and in faith. OK, so let’s take this a step further before we break this down into pieces that hopefully will shine enough light to move us to make healthy changes.
We so often think that the opposite of fear is faith, but actually the opposite of fear is love. With love in place faith can then grow, how can you replace fear with faith when the foundation of love isn’t there to build on?
Is Fear Real?
Fear is as real to you as you think it is and last for as long as you hold unto it. Fear can be the stealer of your life and the killer of your soul. Fear is dispelled the minute you take action to face it head on; the moment you move against the pressure, the thoughts and do the opposite, the power of that fear dies instantly. It’s like having a fear of heights and making the decision to take the elevator to the Empire state building, get out of the elevator and walk out onto the balcony. There you realized that what held you captive were simply what you fed to your mind and it really had no power over you; only what you gave it. The release and rush you experience in that moment can be summed up in one word “freedom”.
What paralyzes us from taking action in our lives?
Fear of failure
Fear of rejection
Fear of the unknown
Fear from past hurts
What manifests Fears?
Low self-esteem stemmed from past broken relationships, business or career venture.
Unmet personal goals and expectations.
Lack of Vision or Purpose
Abusive words from parents, partners, or those we hold as close friends.
What frees us to take action in our lives?
Welcome Awareness of our present situation and the realization that we need change
Here comes Desire with a stirring for healthy changes to begin in our lives
Arising is the force of Action a fresh new breeze that begins to lift us up to start the process of believing in and loving ourselves
Embracing Encouragement from what has begun within and from others to help keep us moving in the right direction to a place of freedom to live our best lives.
What manifests Faith?
Freedom from the fear of failure, rejection and the unknown makes room for faith to grow. Faith and fear cannot dwell together, one will always over power the other. The force that has the most power will prevail; fear is always seeking to paralyze our thinking, as is the force of faith always seeking to strengthen and free us.
Individually we know which force is dominant in every area of our lives – in relationships, in our business lives, in our finance and when it comes to our health there is always a force in place. The good news is we always get to choose which force to embrace regardless of the work involved. We decide on whether we’ll be aggressive or passive on what force to yield to – the gain or loss depends on our call, and we reap the benefits of that final choice.
The paralyzing force of fear can be silenced by our action to dance instead to the beautiful music of faith that frees us to believe that even as we were born into this world free from fear, we can walk, run, and live free in faith that empowers us to expect the best, be the best, and live our best lives.
I am the music, the song, and the dance. My life is whatever expression I choose to give it. I decide how fulfilled or not I’m going to be; my faith or lack thereof, the positive or negative attitude I decide on embracing or rejecting. I am given “today” to live, so I’m going to give it my all and live the best I can for today.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”He wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat.” author=”William Shakespeare”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”To fear is to expect punishment. To have faith is to know we are immersed, not in darkness, but in light.” author=”Mother Teresa”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Without faith a man can do nothing; with it all things are possible.” author=”Sir William Osler”/]
One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, “Jump! I’ll catch you.” He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: “Jump! I will catch you.” But the boy protested, “Daddy, I can’t see you.” The father replied, “But I can see you and that’s all that matters.”[do action=”vfquote” quote=”All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” author=”Ralph Waldo Emerson”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”When we let go of fear, only then can we gracefully move from what was into the miracle of what can be.” author=””/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”When I was research head of General Motors and wanted a problem solved, I’d place a table outside the meeting room with a sign: Leave slide rules here. If I didn’t do that, I’d find someone reaching for his slide rule. Then he’d be on his feet saying, ”Boss, you can’t do it.”” author=”Charles F. Kettering”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up.” author=””/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see.” author=”William Newton Clark”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”If you have a song of faith in your heart, it will be heard by the look on your face.” author=””/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Live for today, but hold your hands open to tomorrow. Anticipate the future and its changes with joy. There is a seed of God’s love in every event, every unpleasant situation in which you may find yourself.” author=”Barbara Johnson”/][do action=”vfquote” quote=”Faith is reacting positively to a negative situation.” author=”Dr. Robert Schuller”/]
LIVING BY FAITH
By P. FINNEY.
Reported by The Editor.
Faith is not merely an intellectual state. It is more than a mere conviction or state of being convinced. We do not reach the radical idea till we get to the heart, and till we find in this term, faith, the heart’s confidence–a trusting in which the heart reposes on the word or character of one deemed worthy of confidence. It is a phenomenon of the will–it being of necessity a thing of free choice whether we will or will not refuse confidence, it being supposed that the intelligence sees good reason for such confidence.
In its generic signification it may be applied to any thing in which we repose confidence. Any exercise of mind in which we yield it up to confide and to trust is faith.
All intelligent beings live by faith in something. Little children live by faith, and it is striking to observe how much this is true of them. Indeed unreflecting persons do not by any means conceive how universal this principle is and must be, and how necessary to the existence of social and sentient beings. Even little children must learn to have faith in the use of their muscles, else they would not venture to trust themselves upon their feet at all. Nor would any sane man eat his daily food but for faith. He has faith in his cook that she has not poisoned it. He must have faith that this food will do him good and will not kill him. Without faith men would not dare lie down to sleep. They must have some confidence in their fellow beings that they will be permitted to sleep without being murdered. In fact men would not dare to do anything which implies peaceful repose unless they lived by faith. Without faith, there could be no repose of mind–nothing but sleepless and intense solicitude. In this state no man could live. His very solicitudes would wear out his nerves and crush down his physical system.
All families must live by faith, or rather they could not live without it. Even a pirate ship could not be managed without it. An old adage says–“There is honor among thieves;” and obviously, if there were not, there could be no such thing as organized thievishness, or association in mischief of any sort. They who need the help or sympathies of others in their enterprise must of necessity live by faith.
It is astonishing to see how much faith there is in everything. Look at men anywhere in any relations;–you see them living by faith. If you, young people, had not faith, you would not be trying to get an education. Society could not get along in any form it may assume, without faith. Farmers would neither plant nor sow; nobody would bestow labor for the sake of future good results; nothing could be done,–without faith. If faith should utterly cease, the race must perish. You would be surprised, if you were to reflect, to see how soon the entire race must perish if faith were to cease. Faith is the great secret of their being–the underlying condition of their continued existence.
Without faith we overcome no obstacles, for we make no efforts. And who does not know that we never accomplish anything useful without effort? All useful things then must go undone, if it were not for faith.–faith must be in exercise or its necessary processes must be arrested and ruin come down on all created beings.
On the other hand, in proportion as faith exists, society moves along admirably. An army, held together in strong and perfect discipline, owes its bond of strength to faith. A school well ordered, in diligence pursuing its noble work, lives by faith. A family, loving by promoting each others’ interests, moving along with helpful labors and cares, have their central power in faith.
Of course I am speaking here only of faith in the generic, not the religious, sense. If faith really exists, in all these multiform relations, then all goes right; all moves along smoothly. But if faith is lacking, everything is wrong, necessarily and eternally so.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”There are only two ways to live . . . one is as though nothing is a miracle. . . the other is as if everything is.” author=”Albert Einstein”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Miracles are not a contradiction of nature. They are only in contradiction of what we know of nature.” author=”St. Augustine”/]
The night fell heavy in the heights of the mountains and the man could not see anything. All was black. Zero visibility, and the moon and the stars were covered by the clouds. As he was climbing only a few feet away from the top of the mountain, he slipped and fell in to the air, falling at great speed. He could only see black spots as he went down, and the terrible sensation of being sucked by gravity.
He kept falling, and in the moments of great fear, it came to his mind all the good and bad episodes of his life. He was thinking now about how close death was getting, when all of a sudden he felt the rope tied to his waist pull him very hard. His body was hanging in the air.
Only the rope was holding him and in that moment of stillness he had no other choice other to scream: “Help me God.”
All of a sudden a deep voice coming from the sky answered, “What do you want me to do?”
“Save me God.”
“Do you really think I can save you?”
“Of course I have faith that You can.”
“Then cut the rope tied to your waist.”
There was a moment of silence and the man decided to hold on to the rope with all his strength.
The rescue team tells that the next day a climber was found dead and frozen, his body hanging from a rope.
His hands holding tight to it.
Only one foot away from the ground.
Sometimes it takes a lot of faith to risk everything and cut the rope….but that may be the only way that we will survive.