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A Faith Worth Believing

Carissa Vitorovic

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Carissa Vitorovic

Student at Loma Linda University

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Recorded

  • May 3, 2021
    10:00 AM
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Ok sounds like we're on. Do you have a bucket list. A list of things that you hope to accomplish and maybe is a country that you wish to travel to maybe it's a task that you would like to accomplish what is on your bucket list. If you could look at my bucket list today you would see a top item that I should hope many of you can resonate with my greatest and Bishan the talks goal of my life outside of spiritual things of course that is. To go great why shark cage diving. Are you all with me this morning. All right thank you. And I have the absolute dream opportunity I was living in the beautiful country of South Africa for about a total of 3 months and well in South Africa as you may know that's where Seal Island is that's where all the great white sharks have their snacks that's where they love to hang out and that's where great white shark cage diving is affordable. So clearly as soon as I arrived I signed op for this excursion much to the chagrin of my parents. And I told my mom about the 1st day where I'd signed up for it Ok I'm going on today and she's like Ok I'll be praying and I'm like please don't. And I received a call the night before there had been a bad storm that was coming across the ocean they said I'm sorry we'll have to reschedule we can't go and see the sharks. So clearly I quickly rescheduled my mom said I'll keep rain. And not Sunday I received a phone call prior to my great adventure I'm sorry we've had no shark sightings for a week it's cancel. And as you can I'm not going with this being my top bucket list item I would think credibly disappointed and there I was driving around Cape Town when my boss turned to me and said currituck do you see that. And he pointed up into the sky a 100 feet above and there I saw a person. Through the air. Caressed. Why don't you do that instead. We make vitamin beginning to arrive once more I signed up for a paragliding excursion there in the beautiful city of Cape Town South Africa but this time there was a giraffe stick change a significant difference I did not tell my mother. And severe I was climbing up this beautiful mountain named Lion's Head. My God you would have many years of experience told me of this there are 3 points on this mountain from which we can jump it all depends upon the direction of the wind. And so we climbed to the 1st point of which we could potentially jump and there we notice 2 other individual gliders and the 1st individual was just about to take off. And my gyn turned to them and yelled out and said don't jump the wind is going the wrong direction you are going to crash. And these men turned and said we know are doing we've done is full I'm sea of times before our and my guide began to mutter loudly under his breath those men are crazy what are they thinking and then of course a few other choice words. They're going to crash. And I saw as the paraglider put on his equipment and he began the 1st one to run towards the edge of the cliff now that's what you have to do a paragliding you run to the edge of a cliff with all that you have in you. And there is no stopping. And when you reach the edge of that cliff you better hope that the wind catches you. And you so are. And so there he runs as fast as he can towards me I did like cliff and as he's nearing the edge suddenly the wind strikes up and it catches him and he begins to so are. But not a moment later the wind shifts and his hair go I did. And crashes that into the side of the mountain. We look at each other back and forth and tear his partner is standing there on the edge of the cliff you can't see him he is calling on the walkie talkie do you hear me Are you Ok Do you hear me Are you Ok. Silence. After of course what seemed like an eternity the call is returned I'm alive I'm cut I'm bleeding I'm stuck in a tree. And his partner began to hurry to the side to help him back up the heads of the mountainside. Meanwhile my guy turns to me and says let's go. What do I do I don't know what the hell if I was still very stuck in that moment and so I took mindlessly began to follow my God as he was quite miffed off by their decision so he reached the 2nd landing point and the guide again tested he said nope the winds are not good we're not jumping but we had hope there was point number 3 and we reached stage number 3 and the guy turned to me once more and said no the waves are not good. We're not jumping. Good night I haven't even told my mom this time and still I can't even get a good job and we begin to do things down that hill reaching again point one where the other paraglider jump he was now sitting on a boulder on the edge of that mountainside and I could see that he had blood trickling down on to his shoulder. We couldn't be approached him and we said can we call for help do you need assistance do you want water is there anything we can do and the man just flat out said Leave us alone. And suddenly I heard the words of my guy as he called out once more current stuff let's jump. Let's watch. As I turn and I look at the man sitting there his white shirt shirt now soaked with blood lead Why don't. You see the wind had shifted once more and now was the time it was the perfect time to jump but you see as strange as it may sound today in that moment I felt no fear. Time and again my god had proven himself to me no not jumping wind is bad Nope not jumping Nope not jumping and because he had so many times said no and I saw his wisdom there in my confidence and him had grown and so now when he said current job I was on board let's jump let's go. And we put on the packet we strapped onto each other and he said Whatever you do do not fall. And on the count of 3 I began to run as fast as I could to avoid the eyes of the cliff with no turning back. And I ran and I ran as a cliff approached and I didn't die. Here today. And instead we spoke for over beautiful Cape Town over the ocean and over the beautiful hills below. There that day to me was a beautiful illustration of a guy who has led me thus far I have a guy who has never fails and have a God who will bring me safely home with you by your Has this me as we pray how we Father God I feel so incredibly honored for us to all be here today worshipping you lifting you up as the Lord in the savior that you are Father and Lord I thank you for this how low time that you have gifted to. This holy place and so Father I pray that Jesus and Jesus alone may be lifted up his heart and his words be we thank you we trust to you in Jesus name in the. I hope I didn't discredit myself by that story. In 13 words his biography was unveiled solely 13 words and yet they stood in such stark contrast to the world around him Genesis Chapter 6 and verse 9 says no it was a just man perfect in his generation no walk with God. Noah was 10 and the last of the 3 flood patriarchs a bit more of his story is told in Hebrews chapter 11 if you will turn with me there we are in Hebrews chapter 11 looking at verses 6 and 7. Hebrews chapter 11. Verses 6 and 7. The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please Him for He who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. By faith know of being divinely warned of things not yet seen ruled with godly fear prepared an ark for the saving of his household. By which she condemned the worlds and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to famous. Did it take faith to believe in a flood. Certainly to believe in the concept of a global flood that would do so no I all that could be seen but how much more so when up to this moment rain did not even exist when so lead to new and missed had water of the earth they had never experienced a drop of rain now granted here in California we can resonate with that a little bit larger. But visit the rain and new concepts so naturally there are going to be skeptics we are told that God said to know that this flood would come on how did God say it we don't know if it was a dream or or a vision but because no walked with God because he was righteous through Christ a just man and his generation video and he recognized it I should say as the voice of God speaking to him. And yet clearly the skeptics doubted how this could be possible how this could be feasible skepticism is certainly not a new concepts we see its origins very in the Garden of Eden when the gravel is saying. How God really God. We see it continue throughout the Bible and certainly in our lives today but throughout the Bible as as people would come to individuals like Joseph the brother coming to Joseph and saying Yes Do you really think your dreams going to be fulfilled Do you really think we're going to back out down that your mother your father are going to balance and before you. Skepticism coming to me in my Yeah sure you are called rebuild this city who do you think you are what do you think you're doing. And ultimately the skepticism that Jesus to experience. If. You are the Son of God. Cast the I self down turn this bread this stone into bread. You see many times throughout his ministry on earth. Individuals came to Jesus with questions with doubt. And Jesus always well come the questions that were void. They were met with compassion they were met with hospitality they were met with understanding. But on the contrary. It's skepticism that saying that tries to undermine our faith and too often skepticism though lauded for its sophistication and its philosophical nature. Is merely unbelief. In disguise. And as a little girl especially on Friday evenings I love to pull out the door remember those blue books with all the Bible stories in it. Pulling those out and sitting by the fireplace sitting by the cowards and and is reading through these bible stories and seeing the pictures of the animal going into the ark 2 by $2.00 and $7.00 by 7 and to think you know what would have been lying in that moment to be there. Clearly I pictured myself and family and not on the other side what would it have been lying. But in stark contrast to this story that I believe is true is the concept or the theory of Deism. Which is truly just the parent of theistic evolution if you're not familiar with the term d.s.m. let me describe it here briefly d.s.m. is a belief in God based on reason rather than on Revelation or the teaching of any specific religion this word deism originated in England in the 17th century as a rejection of orthodox Christianity Vs asserted that reason could find evidence of God in nature and that God had created the world but then he left it to operate on its own natural law. By the late 18th century deism was a dominant religious attitude among your. Educated class. And as you probably know our 1st 3 presidents of the United States were deists. With this belief that God set the world into motion and then let it go. And was removed and was absent. This form of Deism. Does not scare me. As it is soul clearly rebar off through the handle example of Jesus Christ. But what does scare me. Is deism as it comes in it's more sinister form. As you may know from my bio I am a chaplain and I had the opportunity especially during my my residency working at the hospital to be able to interact with patients and to journey with them through all different life experiences but certainly in critical care and trauma situations and something happens to you something changes you when you stand by the bedside of over a 100 people as they die. How can you remain the same something something changes. And I found myself in the last couple of years. Wrestling. And I'll be it I did not realize it was under this name but essentially wrestling with is them because you have to come to a point of saying either God is a personal God and he's here and he's crying and he's hurting or going just doesn't care I have prayed beside the bedside of hundreds of people and I have watched over a 100 more die. Where is God in that wrestling many of you have worked in covert unit many of you have also worked in health care settings and many of us. Have lost loved ones or gone through our own life crisis and maybe you can relate to this struggle with the fact I remember when my friends would ask me Hey Chris that would you pray for me and especially if I had just come off after a long shift at the hospital. But you sure. Are you sure you are going for a good life pray for people may die. Something happening here. And again I begin to read through this and what does it say about God where is he in the day to day struggle that we encounter. And I began to realize that I was afraid of praying prayers larger than I myself could answer. Afraid of praying prayers that were not humanly possible to accomplish. Have you been there before. Maybe feeling a need to try and protect God or what if it doesn't happen it will destroy God's reputation therefore I will pray small that way I can accomplish it. And whether or not we so clearly articulate our experience. I think we can relate. Now again as a chaplain I could speak to you at not of the about the dangers of fall. About the necessity of not treating God like a genie that I can conjure Rob and tell him how you are to accomplish this near call. And certainly the importance of following the model of Jesus Christ. Where he told the father but not my will guide me yes these principles are so crucial and relevant. But that's not the ditch that we often find ourselves in the false hope instead of could it be the other dish. Of not believing that God can accomplish what God has that that he will. And being unwilling to pray prayers that only divinity can answer. Zia's And as we see in the story of Noah. It's just not a new concept. And the beautiful book patriarchs and prophet that you hadn't had a chance to read it yet I highly encourage it as it is a beautiful of devotion all picturing the lives of these Kate Sharks' of old in page 97 this quote is shared the world before the flood reason that for the centuries the laws of nature had been fixed so in other words way back in no time they believed India as. The reoccurring seasons had come in their order up to this time grain had never fallen the earth had been watered by a mist or do they reasoned as many reason now that nature is above the God of nature and that her laws are so firmly established that God himself could not change them reasoning that if the message of Noah were correct nature would be turned out of her course and that made that message in their minds a delusion a grand deception. Seasons have always come seasons have always gone the rivers have always stayed in their banks I'm a float nicely by there is no way that science and events is possible but you see that is simply even nature of divinity. I cannot control it it is beyond human understanding and capability the Bible pictures many stories. Greater even than our understanding or our ability to accomplish such as again creation and this world being created by the fingerprints of got. Of the flood of the red sea of people being raised back to life and certainly as Christians the ultimate story of a Messiah who died and rose the 3rd day. Stories that are beyond human ability. But no fish this morning. The Bible makes no apologies for the greatness of God. God does not pretend to be limited by the limitations the limitations of humankind and he said again God does not pretend to be constrained. By the limitation of humankind. If these stories are to implausible to be believed then how could I possibly believe that God could work a miracle in my life that God can look on Mr barren land and transform me. To become like. To be in your Bibles to Romans Chapter 15 as this rhetorical question Is answer Romans Chapter 15 and verse for. Romans Chapter 15 and verse 4. The Bible says whenever things were written before were written for our learning now especially in this context what what things were written before the story of creation the story of Abraham and Isaac the story of the Red Sea the story of the plagues in Egypt all of these great thing were written before why why were they written the verse continues that we through the patients and comfort of the scriptures might have why. Hope. Why did God record or how his servants record these seemingly impossible events Well because 1st of all they are true I secondarily so that you and I today in the impossibilities of our own lives. Could have hope. Hope as we know is not past tense. Is Present hope is real hope is future hold is strange for the journey. And yet and we are. No one did not go. Immediately from hearing the message of God that a flood would calm until the day of the floods arrival No of course there were 120 years of building arc and 120 years of speaking. But even after that time occurred and all the animals miraculously came to the ark and the door was shot there is no one waited in the art. For a 7 day you can probably imagine. The parties the end so that were occurring outside the doors of those are No 3 days of. 4 days I know was where is that faith on day number 6. Patriarchs in prophets records that their faith was tested. As the 7 day period continue. If you ever slept in a barn. When I was a teenager we decided we were going to go on a great adventure and we were going to take our. Camping. So you ride by day and tied them up nearby during the night and you sleep out under the stars and then ride off into the sunrise in the morning it sounded so beautiful and romantic but if you've ever tied a horse 10 feet away from you at NY apes the smell is anything but pleasant. And here again no I was on this ark and what did I do what am I thinking now that you stink and you know I think of the day even though in my human mind that's what he's complaining of I think again the trouble is greater than that he's leading his family into this arc they've left their careers they have left their plans they've left friends behind now they're being teased and taunted. Was it the voice of God I heard I know it was I know it was the 5 days 6 days. And then Savanah. Are you going through a period of waiting today maybe there were the time where you clearly heard God's voice and you know he was leading in this direction but then you hear air you experience this pas. Of God still leading. Did I misunderstand town was this the way in which I should go maybe the voices of skepticism are seeking to challenge your faith. Maybe it's the voices saying your standards are too high just saddle. Maybe it's the voices saying. That the calling you believe God has placed on your heart is not for you what are the voices of skepticism or downturn maybe it's the voice saying. If. You are the Son of God Yes. You are the daughter of God. The voices in that day which know her. There are relatively few biblical references stating what no way did during those 120 years though of course we can surmise he had a nail and a hammer and a saw and he was busy at work but 2nd Peter chapter 2 and verse 5 does give us this important inside and 2nd time Peter chapter 2 verse 5 where it says that no one was a fair old or a creature of Watts. Of righteousness. No one was a preacher of righteousness. No doubt and again I found if I was contemplating that this week notice what no I was known for being a preacher. The Bible does not record that no one was a preacher of the flood though he did that. The Bible does not record that Noah was a preacher of impending destruction though he did that. The Bible simply records that he was a preacher of righteousness. Because you see the core of his message through which all of their warnings came was the righteousness of faith that comes from God alone the core of his message which through all other messages k. was the message of righteousness by faith and God alone. A timeless message. For us to then. In Luke Chapter 818 and verse 8 Jesus asks this question and when you hear these words you can almost feel his heart crying al. When the Son of Man. Will he finds say on the air. The dark green clouds begin to roll in with intensity. Streaks of light mean lit up the sky. As a terrified individual outside of the Ark turned to one another in fear and confusion. As they turn the faces to the sky drops of rain began to fall. Nearly 2000 years have passed since the resurrection of Jesus Christ and well on that weekend the Angels may have celebrated while they may have sung for joy. His followers here on earth were doing anything but. They were hiding and they were terrified they were questioning whether or not the last 3 and a half years had been wasted whether or not this had been a great deception. The voices of the skeptics rang in their ear. In fact the only ones who truly believed. Were those who were opposed to us. They were the ones I said hey put up a boulder I love Phillips and let's stick Roman guards here let's make sure that a body of Jesus goes nowhere because we remember what he said. Went on that day his disciples doubt it fearing whether their demise might soon be his demise might soon be their own. But on that resurrection morning John doesn't know was day thousands of years before the skepticism of the nonbelievers and even the doubts. Of the faithful could not heed the flood from coming they could not see Jesus from rising from the dead it doesn't matter what you say doesn't matter how strong and philosophical your arguments maybe bring on this skepticism but do you have to still arriving. And his word cannot be stopped 2nd Timothy turn with me there. To 2nd Timothy Chapter 2. And verse is alive and to 13. Second Timothy Chapter 2 echoes this promise and verse is the leaven through 5th 13 and here the Bible shares this. Is the faithful saying for which we died with him we show also live with him if we indoor we should also reign with him. If we deny Him He will also to die us in verse 13 focus here it says if we are faithful and he remained faithful he cannot. Himself. I find this passage interesting because it says look if you do this is going to that it is going to be that you do this he's not going to change he can't. Because his word by its very nature is true and it is faithful. What brought fear to those outside of the Ark what brought fear to those opposed to the ministry of Jesus Christ what brought fear to vote outside brought strength and hope and courage to those who believe. And I believe that too is our strength today. The firm foundation of God's word though tested remains true now more than ever we can ground our lines our hope our peace our confidence in the one thing that never changes and the one thing that never fails. If you're like the most or if you like the rest of humanity this year. And this past year. You've gone through a lot of changes. You've experienced the instability. And how quickly things can change and are well now more than average people are crying now in fact people are taking their lives. Out of it fear of change and instability out of this question Is there a hole is there anything. That I can place my trust in today where it is my firm foundation and I believe that the same foundation that stood in the days of Noah the foundation that was curious to the day of creation the foundation upon which Abraham stood the foundation upon which Joseph minister the foundation upon which Daniel prophesied the foundation upon which Jesus died and rose again is the same foundation upon which we can stand so God cannot and will not deny himself and these things though written years ago they were written why so that you so that I could have hope. The hope which we so dearly. Voltaire the great French philosopher her of the 1701 named this statement in a 100 years he sat as the Bible would be a for gotten an unknown book. A 100 years later. The Geneva Bible Society was based out of his home. This Bible cannot stand and yet there it is in his living room 100 years later Malakai 36 for I the Lord do not change in numbers 2319 God is not man that he should lie or the Son of man that he should change is mine has he said and will he not do it or has he spoken and will he not. Isaiah Chapter 40 and verse 8 the grass withers the flower faves but the Word of God will stand. Forever. Some years ago I was mentoring a group of teenagers and there was one teenager who August referred to as Jonathan and this teenager had come from a very difficult backgrounds. He had experienced abuse and abandonment his parents struggled with addiction and soon he himself also dead and I remember talking with a 17 year old boy who again had experience of buse and abandonment and he told me he said you know Chris and I just don't feel like I can trust God. Or you know what Jonathan. You're right you can't see and of course that God has attention. Here if you're the by work or you're the church leader you know what you're saying. That you know you've done it's. Because trust comes the relationship. You have to know gone in order to be able to trust. But I guarantee if you invest the time and getting to know God you will find that he is the only one that will never fail you his the only one worthy of your trust and he is worthy of your questions God is not afraid of questions question all day long but a question from the heart that is seeking never allow the voices of skepticism to discourage you from the identity and the foundation that you have. A foundation that can withstand all its past and all questions but a foundation. That I believe we. Can be far too quick to negate. Whether we consciously recognize it or not it's remembering that God's Word is true what he has promised you he will fulfill. Whether you are in the time of waiting or whether you're in the for a wish and as the rain begins to fall the Word of God will and remain. Maybe today you've come here with your own question. And I would encourage you to ask the question I would encourage you to test it wrestle with the scriptures for your style. The word that I believe does not fail or maybe as you come here today you recognize that you have unconsciously adopted skepticism and deism into your own life. Question mean while their God cares about your present reality or maybe praying prayers that you are able to accomplish. And maybe God is convicted nonsense saying I can do so much more. I am the God who created the Earth I'm a God created the universe I'm the god that spoke and it was it exists. And I'm the god that still still speaks today in my word Believe me trust me. And I will. Wherever we come from whatever journey we find ourselves then God's word remains true. His promises today are for us. And just like he works for the men and women of all justice he bolstered them to the truth found in his word God is eager to miraculously intervene and reveal himself in the world today and he will. But will we choose to allow it to be through us. When the Son of Man comes will he find faith on the earth yes Lord he will. And by His grace may that day May that foundation be found with and. With you by your hands with me as we pray how we Father God Lord I want to thank you so much for the beauty of your ware father sometimes we just think of it as old story. Relevant for men and women 2000 years ago by God Your word is real it is alive in our lives today you are the alpha as you may get the beginning and the and the word that was spoken thousands of years ago and realized in the life of know what can be spoken into our lives today the promise is that you have shown again and again Lord you desire you crave to work through us and Father I pray for your forgiveness. Where we have doubted you where we have thought you were distant when you crave crave to be present when you are the God of the impossibilities when you are the gone beyond our comprehension says a father today we come to you awed by your presence. Valuing the incredible gift that you have given to us. Through this love letter. Your word as the father this week I for a as we come to you with your question and as we seek you by faith may our confidence in you grow stronger May I love for you beat for. And by your grace and through your favor may you find faith on earth. And may the lead and. We thank you he prayed for that blessing and your son. This media was brought to you by Audioboo a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse for you would like to listen to more sermon leave a visit w w w dot audio person dot org.

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