Nobody is given a choice whether they wish to be born or not. But everyone is given the choice to choose what faith they will have. But what is faith?
Hi, I’m Angela – just a person who endeavors to live in faith with God.
I was born in a non-Christian family, and I chose Jesus as my Savior just one week shy of my 18th birthday. Uncomfortable with professing my declaration before a crowd, I asked if I could be baptized on a weekday at church instead of a Sunday. My pastor baptized me with just two people observing. Joysia was one of the witnesses, and she was so happy at my act of faith. She couldn’t stop spilling out her joy (just like her name!). I can still hear her giggles and happy laughter some 30 years later.
The book of Hebrews in the Bible’s New Testament describes faith this way:
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”
Hebrews 11:1 (New Living Translation)
The reality for a Christian believer is we all believe that God sent His only Son to die so that full life can be lived out again.
Theologian Eugene Peterson (1932-2018) says it better here:
“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.”
Hebrews 11:1 (The Message translation)
There’s a lot I can share about how I arrived at my decision, but I want to share a few things here that I have done to grow my faith. My purpose is that it doesn’t become one big sham for me, and hopefully my story might encourage someone out there.
If you have read this far, you probably are in one of two categories. You aren’t a believer and perhaps you are curious about the Christian faith. Or you are a believer, heard the sermons and know the Bible well. In fact your faith may be deeper than mine. But you desire to grow your faith and that is how you found my article.
Regardless of where you might be in the spectrum of faith and trust in God, I hope what I share here will spark and ignite something wonderful for you in your faith journey.
So, how does one keep faith alive in today's world?
“What does it it mean to be a minister in our contemporary society? This question has been raised during the last few years by so many men and women who want to be of service, but who find the familiar ways crumbling and themselves stripped of their traditional protections.”
-Henri Nouwen. (1932-1996)
This question was asked by Henri Nouwen, a Dutch priest, in his book The Wounded Healer way before I had any interest in God, let alone any desire to deepen my spiritual faith. I didn’t start out as a Christian, concerned about society or my neighbor. I probably did feel lots of desire to be of service to strangers but the best I could muster was to be part of church-initiated programs.
In 2011 however, God changed my complacency just like Jonah got rattled by his encounter with a really big fish. What God did is he took us to China. Here’s a part of that story.
[Read our book “Back to the Cross: Surprising Truths from Shanghai” here at Amazon]
Writing Back to the Cross deepened our faith and desire to walk even closer with God because it caused us to reflect deeper and examine our faith through the stories we told there. We have two children and parenting took a lot of our time. So after writing a few more books, we basically unplugged from the digital world.
In early 2020, my husband Ron decided to do a Bible podcast. More than 150 episodes and about 9,000 downloads later, he is still studying the Word of God and endeavoring to be a better Bible guide. (You can find out more about First Fifteen here). If you ask him, he would say that it is one way he uses his time and resources to keep his relationship with God stronger and real.
Over time, I decided to jump in and help Ron get the word out about his podcast. There was nothing holy about it. I wanted to learn how to create digital visuals in the new economy that was arising because of the Covid-19 disruptions happening globally.
I didn’t like having to plug myself back into the online world but the benefits of reaching a wider audience with messages I believe in excited me.
Looking back, I am filled with gratitude that the means to become engaged once more with the wider world was through deeper engagement with God’s Word.
I needed to listen to the podcasts more than once in order to produce visuals for the episodes. This practice and discipline really helped me create designs I stand by and really love.
I had to ponder over what God was saying to me through the podcasts. I needed to learn to hear God’s word in a new way without thinking I have heard it all. That by far was the most difficult and fun part.
From helping out to opening a store!
Something else I did early this year to grow further and keep my faith – I started an Etsy shop (WordofPrayer).
I never thought I would open another online shop after SimpleDailyJoy but that is what journeying with God looks like.
Step out in faith, do the required work and enjoy the journey.
“It’s not the numbers, mom” – as one of my sons would say. Oh, and how right he is. My faith has grown larger in so many ways! All I can say is: what a blessing.
Taking the afternoon to write this blog has been a blessing as well.
I absolutely have no clue how this might add to someone’s life in a positive way.
I have every trust and confidence in God, though. What He prompts me to do–when I do it–is never wasted work.
My prayer is that you know God is working in your life and that you will let him in a little more.
1 John 4:19,
“We love because he first loved us.”