13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
THIS GIFT OF GOD IS FAITH
1. The empty hand now filled, the Spirit’s sacred spark, the eyes that see the hidden things, the ‘yes’ said in the heart. This gift of God is faith.
2. The nod of Abraham when promised late one night his family would numbered be like stars that sweep the sky. This gift of God is faith.
3. The Virgin’s willingness, when hearing Gabriel’s word, to be the one to bear the Son, the Savior of the world. This gift of God is faith.
4. The soul that knows it’s lost but hopes against all hope and clings to life in Jesus Christ. To whom else would we go? This gift of God is faith.
5. Our leaning in to hear, above the daily noise, the word divine that says, “You’re mine,” the Father’s still, small voice. This gift of God is faith.
6. God’s heart that beats in us, no matter what we feel; when we are weak, his Spirit speaks; our destiny is sealed. This gift of God is faith.
7. Our turning back to God when far from him we’ve strayed; because we see his constancy, we come back unafraid. This gift of God is faith.
8. The peace we see upon the dying sinner’s face who knows that death is powerless when sinners die in grace. This gift of God is faith.