Monday, July 7, 2014

What is Faith?

What is Faith?
There is no better account than in Hebrews 11.
Before I remind myself/us of what wonderful words that Scripture has to offer, I firstly want to reflect on sin and forgiveness. I heard over the weekend an amazing story about a man (Burl Cain)who started his life as an agribusiness agent in the American Farm Bureau. From there, his career moved ahead subsequently this man became the assistant secretary of agribusiness for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In 1981, he became the warden of the Dixon Correctional Institute. After fourteen years there, he was elevated to warden of the state penitentiary. The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola was once called "the bloodiest prison in America."  The Louisiana State Penitentiary is now known as a place of hope for its more than five thousand inmates. The credit for this unprecedented transformation is given to its one of a kind warden, Burl Cain. His steadfast rejection of a "lock 'em up and throw away the key" mentality can be seen in the progressive, compassionate programs and sound correctional procedures he has implemented. But the hallmark of Cain's remarkable administration is his relentless efforts to help each inmate discover the value and purpose in his life, to experience true freedom of the soul. This excerpt is a summary of Cain's approach documented in the 2005 book 'Cain's Redemption...' by Dennis Shere.
The inmates built a church there with their own hands from the ground up. At Angola, they were encouraged and allowed to find faith and forgiveness for their sin(s). I found the interview with warden Cain to be so touching, so real, so overflowing with supernatural humanity that it could only be truly called Amazing Grace, I wept. It was for Cain's faith that I wept. That his love for his fellow human came from his own faith and because of that he forgave their sins and grace could come into such a place.
You see, faith in God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ does that... if we let Him. He can work miracles in us and in those we cast off as unsavable, not viable for society. "Without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him." Heb 11: 6
Inasmuch as we think/feel it is right to condemn those that have done us harm even the worst kind, it is 'sin' that they have committed and all sins can be forgiven through faith, for faith saves all those who believe. "Have faith in God", Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea', and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Mark 11:22-26

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