With the images of Harvey and Irma indelibly impressed on our hearts and minds, we are acutely aware that it’s hurricane season. From June to November, those of us who live near the Atlantic Coast know to prepare for the worst. We stock up on the basic necessities: extra batteries, water, canned goods, candles—things we will need if our power lines are downed and electricity is cut off.
This year, the National Weather Service has a new warning system. The system alerts people not only to an approaching storm, but also when there is the probability of coastal flooding. Half the deaths from hurricanes are related to storm surges that result when water builds up underneath the hurricane or tropical storm, then is pushed inland by high winds. The water travels into coastal towns and rivers, causing flooding.
The purpose of the warning is to reduce the number of people killed—or to put it another way, to keep them safe. The assumption is that if they are warned, they will prepare—either evacuate, hunker down or board up.
A National Hurricane Center spokesman is quoted as saying, “The numbers—statistics—don’t matter. What matters is if a hurricane is going to hit you, you’re prepared for it.”
Which leaves me to wonder: Has Heaven been sending us national and global storm warnings? Blood moons. Solar eclipses. Wars and rumors of wars. Earthquakes in various places. Plagues like the opioid epidemic. The falling away from the truth of God’s Word … within the church.
While no one knows if these are warnings, it seems reasonable to prepare for the worst by double-checking our spiritual necessities.
Read Hebrews 11
I. SURE OF HOPE
- Define Biblical faith in your own words, based on Hebrews 11:1.
- What is the difference between a “hope-so” and Biblical hope?
- From the following verses, describe things we hope for: Romans 8:28; Galatians 6:9; Isaiah 55:10-11; Romans 1:16; John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
- When the storms of life erupt and the worst happens, what is our anchor? See Hebrews 6:19-20.
- Insert your name in Romans 15:13, then read it as a prayer for yourself.
II. SURE OF HONOR
- What word is repeated in Hebrews 11:2, 4, 5 and 39?
- To what spiritual necessity does the above word refer?
- What are some of the blessings or benefits associated with this necessity? Read Proverbs 3:5-6; John 1:12; Matthew 17:20; John 11:25-26; Acts 3:16; Romans 3:22; 5:1-2; 10:8-9; Galatians 3:14; Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 10:22; James 5:15; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; 1 John 5:4; Revelation 22:12.
- What is the danger of insisting on getting what you want, when you want it?
- If Hebrews 11 were written today, what are the chances that you would make the list? What would you be commended for?
III. SURE OF HIM
A. His Power
- What do we understand, according to Hebrews 11:3?
- From the following verses, give phrases that describe God’s power to create: Genesis 1:1-27; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:1-2.
- Is there anything that is beyond His power? See 2 Chronicles 20:6; Isaiah 40:26; John 13:3; Matthew 28:18; Revelation 1:8.
- What does He have the power to change? Consider Matthew 8:26-27; John 5:24; 6:1-13; 9:1-7; Ephesians 1:22-23.
- How sure are you of God’s power? Sure enough to depend on Him, and Him alone? Especially when confronted by someone who thinks they have power?
B. His Presence
- In Hebrews 11:6, what two aspects of God’s presence are we to be sure of?
- Which aspect applies to each of the following verses? John 17:2-3; 1 John 5:13-15; Psalm 23:4; Isaiah 43:2; Psalm 50:15; Daniel 3:13-30; Romans 1:20; Revelation 1:9-13.
- Write a brief testimony of an experience you have had of God’s presence in the midst of a difficult situation. How has that experience strengthened your faith in His very existence?
IV. SURE OF HEAVEN
- What was one primary motivation for Abraham to embark on a life of obedient faith, according to Hebrews 11:8-10?
- How did men and women of old express their faith? See Hebrews 11:13-16.
- Is there any uncertainty in what Jesus said in John 14:1-3? Give the imperative verbs.
- How can you be sure of Heaven? See John 14:1, 5-6; John 3:3, 3:16.
- How do the following verses encourage you? 2 Peter 3:11-13; Hebrews 13:12-14; Revelation 21:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
How will you respond to Heaven’s storm warnings?
Check your basic necessity, which is Biblical certainty, confidence, surety. It’s faith.
How sure are you of hope, of honor, of Him and of Heaven? Are you sure enough to face the future without fear because you are prepared for the worst? ©2017 Anne Graham Lotz
Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 30 years. Her latest book, The Daniel Prayer, and the accompanying video Bible Study, is available from major booksellers.