It’s His job!


 

This was written a few years ago as my job struggles were intensifying. I post it today as it speaks to me yet again and I know it will speak to others as well. We all have troubles.  Fill in the blank with yours and KNOW that He has it and you…always and forever. Amen and Ehmen!

Writer’s Note: Some of you who know me, know that I have some pretty major challenges and important decisions facing me regarding my employment. It has been a most dear goddifficult couple of weeks, through which I have had a host of prayer warriors praying on my behalf. I, myself, have been talking to God…a lot…and to others even more…so much so that I didn’t leave much room for listening. This morning when He woke me up for some one-on-one quiet time, that changed. My Lord and Savior never, ever fails to amaze me. Below is our exchange from just a few hours ago. 🙂

June 25, 2016 5:30 AM

I am here, God, and I am listening.

Brenda, my child, have I not always been there for you? No matter what has happened in your job, I have worked things to your benefit and I will again.

But, you, child, must keep the faith. You must not look away at the storms around you, lest you sink, swallowed up by the sea of your own disbelief, discontent and weariness.

You can’t do this on your own. You know this and yet you fret and stress as if you can; as if it is your responsibility and within your control.

I have given you the freedom to make choices. With this comes great reward, but also great risk; for when you let that freedom become what drives you and you leave Me out of the equation, it becomes a snare. You begin to walk a very thin line between choice and self-reliance and it is easier for you to take your eyes off of Me. This becomes stressful and that stress pulls you further away from Me and the vicious cycle continues.

Choose Me, child. I am your Helper. Redeemer. Savior. I love you and care for you and want everything that is best for you. I will never leave nor forsake you. I will never ask you to fight battles in your own power, for those battles will never be won. You must choose to keep your eyes on Me. You must choose to take Me with you into every situation.

And that includes your job. I have this, child. You must choose to trust Me. I will give you the right decision; the right things to say and the right timing; if you will just choose to honestly and completely cast your cares on Me. I will give you clarity. You will KNOW what to do. Just rest in Me. Let Me take this from here. Write your stories. Consult with Me and then send the emails and make the calls that I tell you, when I tell you. I have this.

Go read Exodus 4:12

46A542F5-A195-4875-88C8-BD056C9754EAOh, my sweet, sweet Father. Please accept the tears that are falling at this moment as tears of praise and gratitude for Your great love. It is overwhelming, because I know that I don’t deserve it. I am so ashamed of how many times I focus on my weaknesses instead of the unstoppable power that I have in You. Lord, thank You for continuing to be patient with me. I am so much like Moses who also wrestled with similar struggles. But, I guess you already know that as what You sent me this morning were actually Your words to him when he was having difficulty understanding that You were with him in the mission that You were sending him on; that it was about Your power, not his.

Jesus, thank you. Thank you for never failing me. For being there and giving me such clear answers from Your Word when I seek and listen. I say this every single time, but I have to say it again. I will never get over You planting a scripture address in my mind and heart and me turning to that one verse that speaks the most applicable and perfect words into my situation. That ONE perfect verse out of 31,173 verses. And, in this very case, the NINETEEN most perfect words out of 807,361. I don’t care what anyone says, but that is not, nor will it ever be, a coincidence. That is all YOU! May I never get used to this beautiful gift. May I never forget that You have chosen me. Help me to always choose You. I love you, my dear Father, will all of my heart and soul. I commit this situation to Your capable and powerful hands. My eyes are on You. Please help me to keep them there. Amen and Ehmen.

 

Step-by-Step


Note: Thank you, Lord, for sending these written reminders to me; for leading me to just the right blog post or journal entry; for walking with me everyday and being available for intimate and wisdom-filled exchanges anytime I want.  It’s up to me to lace up my shoes and open my heart and my ears to you.  I love you and our time together  Amen and Ehmen!

As I stepped outside, the sun just peeking up from beneath the covers of the horizon, I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief as a cool morning breeze greeted my skin.Beautiful flowers and driveway in neighborhood 7.2017

It has been really hot lately. And humid. So humid, in fact, that it feels like Mother Nature wraps me in a warm, wet blanket every time I step outdoors.

But not this morning and, as the cool air energized my spirit, I couldn’t help but send audible thank you’s heavenwards.

Man, it felt good to feel good. It felt even better to sense Jesus’ presence by my side. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not always in step with my Maker, but today was different. The heat and heaviness of life did not exist in this moment and off I went feeling light on my feet and loved in my heart.

I’m pretty sure I had a bounce in my step and I definitely had a smile on my face as I stepped from my driveway onto the asphalt in front of my house. I turned to the right as I have so many mornings, but instead of tucking earbuds into my ears, I decided to listen for God’s voice. Prayer, after all, isn’t always talking and presenting requests to God; it is a two-way conversation which requires us to sometimes close our mouths and open our ears.

He didn’t disappoint. As we strolled along, He began to whisper words of comfort and direction deep into my spirit. He told me that this time and situation were not a punishment, but rather a gift. That this was my time. Our time. A time for reconnection and reinvention. A time of complete trust and dependence on Him. Himdependence, if you will. The time and place our lives intersect; the very place in which His will meets my purpose.

His words washed over me like a comfortable garment. Oh, how long I have waited for this moment. The moment that I could truly take hold of this purpose and dream that He has placed within my heart. How I have longed to harvest what He has so carefully planted.

I breathed another sigh of relief as the mantle that had once felt too heavy to bear, now slid over me like a breeze and rested gently upon my skin. I was surprised at how soft and comfortable it felt. He spoke again. “This, my child, is what I mean by ‘my yoke is easy.’

At this word, I felt the urge to stop and, as I stood in the middle of the road, I noticed that I felt surprisingly relaxed, unlike two weeks earlier when I had felt too uncomfortable and restless to stand still, afraid that someone might see me and wonder what on earth I was doing. I had always felt that I needed to be moving or else I must be wasting time.

But not this day and, as I stood still, He led my eyes to a beautiful flower standing proudly in the distance amid trees and weeds. It was obviously not planted by human hands, but it was unbelievably breathtaking under the spotlight of the morning sun. How could I have not seen this before? How could I have missed this beautiful thing? And, as I stood there and questioned myself, He stood right beside me ready to answer. “See, my child,” I heard His Spirit whisper. “This is what I mean when I say ‘be still and know that I am God.’”

“You, my child, are to be like that flower amongst the weeds,” He continued. “You are to be a hope among the desolate. A flower for which I can bring the winds and scatter your seeds, giving birth to new growth and new hope in places you have yet to see and some you may never see with your own eyes.”

As His words trailed off, we resumed walking. He nudged me down a path I’ve never taken before; hard to believe since I’ve now lived in this neighborhood for a decade this very week. What a creature of habit I can be!

He whispered that sometimes we must get off the beaten path to discover new things about ourselves and about Him. Routine, He declared, can bring death to creativity and creativity is one of the most effective ways to express love and to reflect who He is. “Look around,” I heard Him say. “I am doing a new thing.”

Although the last time I had taken a new route, I had run into a not-so-nice canine, today, I felt a peace in my spirit as I walked along; probably because I was accompanied by the King of Kings. The trees were beautiful and the aroma of honeysuckle chased after me, encircling my senses and making my heart sing. I couldn’t help but smile as I caught myself humming. I was practically skipping along. It didn’t matter that I really didn’t know exactly where this path would lead or what I might find along the way. I was just enjoying being with The Father.

I felt like a young girl in love. I marveled at how blue the sky looked; how green the trees and grass; how beautiful the birds and animals; a little bit of heaven just a few steps off the same road I had traveled so many times. But, almost as soon as I had gotten lost in the newness and beauty of the excursion, I realized the new road had come to an end and I was now standing in a cul-de-sac. I wasn’t ready for it to be over. Had The Father not just said that we sometimes need to get out of our routine?

Sensing my disappointment, He answered quickly. “Just remember, child, even what feels like an ending will always be a setup for something greater when you are walking with Me. I use every step of every journey to teach you and mold you; to open your eyes a little more.”

I drank in His words, knowing in my heart that He was not just talking about this morning’s walk, but instead about the current concerns regarding my life and career. God has been so good to me through my latest situation and, today—almost two months after the unexpected and abrupt end of a 22 year career—I am actually quite enjoying learning to trust Him completely. I am finally making choices based on what I feel is God’s desire for me as opposed to my natural tendency to search for the secure and the safe.

Back on the main road now, I turned to head home. The morning was gaining momentum and the heat was rising just as fast as the sun. I picked up my pace, ready to get home before it got any hotter. Thank goodness this homestretch was shaded by the many majestic oaks for which the street was named.

Again, however, I felt another nudge to stop in the roadway. And while I felt a little more than distracted as sweat began to roll off my forehead, my eyes were drawn to a tree just a few feet away from me. What? Are you kidding me?

I stood in awe as right there in front of me–growing on a random tree on the fringe of the woods–was a grape vine loaded with young grapes. How had I not seen this before? The flower earlier on our walk was pretty far into the woods. Had the sun not shined its spotlight on it, I may have Grapes along side of road 7.2017missed it. But this vine, filled with clusters of grapes, was growing wild right along the path I have been walking for months. What’s more, I know grape vines. I have one just like it in my yard. In fact, He has used it to teach me throughout the decade I have lived here; so much so that I have often wondered if the grapevine is the reason God made this my home in the first place.

“You haven’t seen it before, because you weren’t looking.” God’s spirit said to mine. “To you, it was just another vine. It wasn’t until you really opened your eyes and the fruit started to emerge that you took notice. You, my child, are like this vine. You grow and prepare, I prune and tend, but, it isn’t until the fruit begins to materialize that people really begin to take notice. This is your time, child. Get to work and watch me multiply the fruits of your labor.”

Ahhhhhh. Happy sigh. Thank You, Jesus, for this walk; for this day; and, most of all, for this opportunity to be a part of Your plan and purpose. You gave Denny and I a very important assignment several years ago and I know that I know it is time to make it happen. Not ten years from now when I retire; not next year when things slow down. But now. I am honored, humbled and grateful. Help us, Lord, to stay in step with you as we continue to journey into your will and purpose.

We are ready, willing and—with your grace and help—I know that we are also well able. Amen and Ehmen.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

“Be strong…Be strong…and get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heavens Armies, My Spirit remains among you, just as I promise…So do not be afraid.” Haggai 2:4-5

Celebrating Mom: Another Year Beautiful!


Writer’s Note: This was written on a Mother’s Day past, but bears repeating. Beauty of a mother only grows as the years go by. Here’s to my mom, now in her ninth decade and another year beautiful. Happy Mother’s Day!

As I scoured my computer for the perfect photo of my mom on this Mother’s Day, I found Mom, Then and Now MD 2015 Dry Brushmany pictures, some old and some new. Having a hard time choosing between one from her youth or one more recent, I decided to create a “then and now” and was quite happy with the results. I actually had a hard time taking my eyes off of the pictures, giving credence to the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Actually, I think a picture—at least these two pictures—are worth more than a thousand words. In fact, I’m not sure there would be enough ink and paper on the planet to do them justice. On the left, a beautiful young woman looked bright-eyed and full of hope. I felt pride in how radiant and striking the woman, who would eventually become my mom, was; and I totally get why our society gets so hung up on youth and beauty. But, then my eyes were drawn, almost as if pulled by gravity, to the more recent photo. Although I just saw my mom in person yesterday, I couldn’t seem to get enough of this hastily made snapshot in time.

Studying the photo closely, I quickly decided that this is the definition of true beauty. Sure, her face dons a few lines now, but today as I looked more closely at those lines—those tattoos of aging that I have come to despise as they began to take up residence on my own face—I saw something different. Oh the stories that lay between these ever-so-gentle wrinkles in time; the love that bloomed and grew; the happy times that made us smile and Happy Mothers Day art phillipians 4.19 for blogthe sad times that made us cry; the joy that lit up our days and the pain that sometimes seemed too much to bear, all of which our amazing God masterfully blended together into a most beautiful life.

Yes, today, I finally see what true beauty actually is and it’s not in trying to look young at all costs. It’s understanding that—when we let our lives and our faces be a canvas—true beauty actually grows as we get older.

Look at my mom! Isn’t she simply gorgeous?! Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mom and to all the women so wonderfully and skillfully made by God. Amen and Ehmen!

gray hair crown of gloryAnd our Father in Heaven says…

Proverbs 16:31 ESV

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.

Proverbs 20:29 ESV

The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

The Unfiltered Truth!


As I began to edit a photo I had just taken with my phone, I quickly noticed that the original was, by far, the best and most colorful option. It was then that I heard God whisper this in my ear: “True beauty,” He said, “needs no filter.” Enough said. Thank you, Jesus…and Amen and Ehmen!

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ” — Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

YOU are beautiful…man, woman or child…embrace your beauty today! 🙂

A Dream Awakened. A Purpose Revived.


While I am pretty good at daydreaming, I’m not much of a dreamer when my eyes are closed. And, if I do dream, I typically don’t remember.  About four years ago, however, I had a dream that I shall never forget; a life-changing dream that I soon knew was an answered prayer straight from Heaven; the unmistakable confirmation of a prophecy spoken over my life a few weeks prior.

And, although what unfolded in that dream has never been far from mind, I definitely haven’t allowed it to light a fire under me as I know was intended. Instead, I placed it on the back-burner as I so often do when something overwhelms me. Thank goodness, I have a relentless, never-give-up-on-me Lord and Savior who began the process of coaching me out of hibernation this past summer and moving that dream back to the forefront of my daily consciousness.

Dream Revived Note PhotoAs I began thinking about the dream more, I began praying for another dream to boost my spiritual confidence, or, better yet, a replay of THAT dream. I also became obsessed with RVs as that had been the dream’s setting. I even found and entered a contest to win one as I figured this would be a quite fitting–and inspiring—place to finally finish the book the Lord had begun unfolding almost a decade ago.  And, because God is always faithful, I just knew I was going to win.

Spoiler alert. I did NOT win the contest in October. However, God did show up in a most impressive way and on the very day of the contest drawing, nonetheless. I know because I kept notes in my phone.



Dream Relived Tour Coach Cab in Color 2018From My Dear God Journals. October 31, 2018. My first-ever job on the road.

As I stood alone on the Mann Family’s tour bus, I knew in my spirit that there was more to the moment than just being obedient to God, stepping out in faith and doing something new. I knew there was something else God wanted to reveal to me on this trip and this empty tour bus—parked with shades drawn—appeared a clue.

My eyes were drawn to an iridescent light in the bus’s ceiling which illuminated the driver’s cabin in a kaleidoscope of glimmering light and color. As if a spotlight cast from Heaven itself, I felt compelled to take a seat and closed my eyes in hopes of hearing from the Lord.

Within moments, my mind began spinning in reverse, like a tape rewinding in the now antiquated and dust-laden VCR I refuse to remove from my entertainment center. Backwards I went, images of places I had been and moments I had lived, all zipping by in sync with a garbled soundtrack which sounded a lot like Alvin the Chipmunk singing in foreign tongue.

Backwards I went, past all the job difficulties that have plagued the last few years—the multiple management changes and difficulties that those brought, the age discrimination, the toxic work environment and the painfully obvious ploys used to seal my fate as the last of the “old crew” to finally be swept out.

Past the death of my brother and the frightening illness of my mother and my other brother; past my own health scares and an extended illness that literally took my breath away; past what I now know was bouts of depression and crippling fear which I allowed to sideline my passionate pursuit of the very purpose God has laid before me. I even whizzed past the good days, the grace and blessings that God continued to bestow upon me despite my hit-and-miss acknowledgement.

Backwards I went at dizzying speeds, coming to a stop at a place of great familiarity. I inhaled deeply as a wave of déjà vu and intense curiosity beckoned me to reopen my eyes. I was still sitting in the driver’s seat, but I was definitely not on the Mann’s tour bus anymore. In fact, I wasn’t even in 2018.

Instead I had awakened in the midst of the very dream that God had gifted me some four years prior; a dream for which I had prayed for fervently; a pivotal dream in my journey of purpose; a dream of great enlightenment that had both thrilled and overwhelmed me, and, because of my own fear, eventually derailed me.

This was obviously more than a run-of-the-mill déjà vu moment; it was a moment undoubtedly meant to put me back on track; a moment that shouted Isaiah 14:27: “The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken—who can change his plans? When His hand is raised, who can stop Him?”

This answer is nothing and no one; not even a stubborn, hardheaded, “bless her heart” southern girl.

Thank You, Jesus, for bringing me back to the last docking station along this purposeful journey; thank You for allowing me to relive the dream in which Your will and purpose for my life became evident and intersected and intertwined with my own.

Thank You for replaying the dream that awoke my reality.

May I honor and be obedient to it and You, putting pen to paper and sharing it with the world just as You have asked.


Today’s take-away: We are to live in expectation when it comes to prayers, but never forget that just because He may not have answered the way we expected, does not mean He didn’t answer. Stay alert and enjoy the ride! I promise you’ll never be bored. As for me, my first New Year’s resolution for 2019 is to permanently capture my dream using pen strokes and paper. Almost as unbelievable as it is true, it—and the prophecy that preceded it—changed my life and will, if I stay true to my calling, eventually lead to a completed book that will change the lives of countless others as well. Pray for my obedience and stay tuned.

–Amen and Ehmen.

Ask and It Shall Be Given Scripture Photo

A Battleground Prayer


praise God girl and cross in sky

Lord, you know the needs of this day. I will do my part and clothe myself in the armor that You designed. The Belt of Truth. The Breastplate of Righteousness. The Gospel of Peace. The Shield of Faith. The Helmet of Salvation. And, the only offensive weapon, the Sword of the Spirit, which is Your Word. Please open the eyes of the spiritually naïve, Lord, so that they may suit up and STAND as well, at all times, but especially today when it seems the enemy is being called out to play.

                        Amen and Ehmen.

A Word on Worry


FCA3735B-46A7-46CC-BD65-F35A591AB0E1

 

Worry is a sin and I am a sinner.

I am so sorry, Lord. Perhaps, that is what I could give up for Lent.

What?

You want me to give it all up and you will fill the empty places with peace and joy?

Oh, Lord, that sounds perfect, BUT first I need you to help me give up my pride and stubbornness. You know I can worry about not having anything to worry about. Help me with that?

Amen and Ehmen!

 

Every life matters, every purpose precious.


purpose image from internetDid you know that you are just as important to God as anyone that lives or has ever lived? He loves you just the same as He loves the preacher, the president, the Pope or even one of His 12 disciples.

Doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. He loves you the same. No more, no less.

And did you know that the purpose and plan that He has for your life is just as important to Him as the purpose and plan He had for Noah, for Moses, for David and anyone else that has ever lived?

The purposes and plans He has for you are just as important to Him as the purposes and plans He has for the famous evangelist, the respected world leader, a well-loved purpose image quote from fred buechnerChristian musician.

Not one of us should waste another minute selling ourselves short or underestimating our value to Him and His Kingdom, for we never know when our minutes on earth are up.

Every life matters. Every purpose matters. Always has. Always will.

Take your place in His story and know to the depths of your soul that His story is the ultimate happily-ever-after story. And, best of all, it’s already written.

And the Word of God says…

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16).

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). 

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5).

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9).

In the Footsteps of Faith


November 2, 2017, 6:30 AM

Dear God,

Good morning. I know it’s been a long while since I have met You here. I’m not sure why. My faith in you has not wavered during this time of transition—not during my time of unemployment nor during the months of illness the enemy left on my family’s doorstep. Once he realized he could no longer use my job against me and that I was happily trusting You for my career and my financial well-being, it seems as if he attacked something else to bring weakness—the health of my mom and myself.

I won’t lie, it has been a tough, tough three months. But, thanks to our own prayers and thankyougodthe prayers of some faithful friends as well as our unyielding faith in You, things are turning around. Not that I expected anything less. The truth is, I never doubted You, but I also haven’t taken the time to thank You over these last months; to praise You during the storms.

So, today, before I breathe even one more breath, let me say for the record, thank You, Lord, for the storms that remind us that You are always here to pick up the pieces to make us whole again. Thank You for Your healing touch, Your constant provision, Your unwavering patience, and, most of all, Your unfailing and outrageous love. I will never deserve it, but I am ever so grateful for it. Please forgive me for not saying that more often.

I love you, Abba Father. Help me once again to synchronize my heartbeat with yours. Orchestrate the breath of my lungs and the steps of my feet so that I return to my purpose with a renewed sense of passion and energy. I need You more than ever. The world needs You more than ever. Thank You for being here.

It is in Your glorious name and the name of Your precious Son that I pray. Amen and Ehmen.

Dear Child,

Your faith pleases me. In this world where satan appears to run amok, faith and belief in Me is the only thing that can heal the wounds and hurts that his evil doing brings. I am proud that you have endured the hardships of this past year with such faith, grace and endurance as it is such faith, grace and endurance that brings my promises full circle.

Read Hebrews, Chapter 11, my child, and stay encouraged. Now more than ever, I need My children to continue clearing and promoting the trails that your forefathers and mothers have already blazed by the same faith, grace and endurance. Learn from them. It is all of you—those from the past, the present and the future—that will, when the time is right, bring perfection to the entire human race for the remainder of eternity.

hebrews 11.40

Hebrews, Chapter 11:

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gift. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.

It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.

It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, even though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there was no way to county them.

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.

It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.

It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.

It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.

It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons.

It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.

It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.

It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 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 death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 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. Some went on wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.

Follow in the footsteps of faith, my dear child…We are counting on you.