When 2019 rolled around, I could not predict the smiles, the laughs, the time with friends, and the new adventures; and, I could not predict enduring the greatest heartache of my life: losing Dad has blown my world sky high and made me come face-to-face with the realities of life and death.
For as long as I can remember, I have believed in God; His Son, Jesus; and, our comforter, the Holy Spirit. Additionally, I have always believed Christ is the only way to connect with God and trusting in Christ is the only way to live eternally. Yet, losing Dad spring-boarded my faith from its hidden box of safety and landed it front-and-center. In my heart, I hear a still small voice ask, “Heather, do you truly believe? Do you trust Me?”
Never have my beliefs been more important to me than they are this year. As I hurt and cry, sometimes groaning in agony, my comfort comes from the hope I have in Christ. Verses I read or memorized as a child suddenly have deeper meaning. They touch my heart like they never did before this tragedy. Passages such as the following:
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18, ESV)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:18-19)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39, ESV)
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:1-3, ESV)
As I grieve my Dad, I have never been more desperate for Heaven. I watch the news and think, “This world is not my home! Thank you, God!” As my heart aches and I question “What is the point in moving forward if I don’t have my Dad with me?” I remember that I don’t mourn as those who have no hope – thank you, Lord! Knowing what I believe has never been so important to me because it keeps me afloat. I cling to the truth I find in Scripture; otherwise, I would go crazy or fall into a deep depression. What I believe is no longer just a nice idea floating somewhere (in the distance); now, what I believe is my lifeblood… my courage… my confidence.
My Personal Creed
After spending the last two posts (not to mention the last nine months) encouraging you all to create your own personal creeds, I thought it only fair to share mine. If you are struggling to get started on yours, we hope this helps you get the ball rolling!
Part One: Beliefs about God and Christian Faith
I believe in the Holy Trinity – God the Father; His only Son, Jesus Christ, who came to be a propitiation for our sins (cf. Romans 3:24-25); and, the Holy Spirit sent to be our Advocate after Jesus ascended into Heaven (cf. John 14:26) and who regenerates (i.e., makes born again) His bride, the Church, to new life (cf. Titus 3:4-7).
I believe sin entered into the world by one man, Adam, and each person born into the world is born a sinner (cf. Genesis 3:6, Romans 5:12, I Corinthians 15:21, Psalm 51:5).
Because we are born sinners, we are all in need of a Savior (cf. Romans 3:23, John 3:3). I believe those who do not repent of their sins and receive God’s gift of salvation will spend eternity in Hell which was created for Satan and his demons (cf. Matthew 25:41).
I believe Jesus was born of a virgin (cf. Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:26-38), lived a sinless life (cf. II Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, I Peter 2:22), died to pay the debt of our sin (cf. Romans 6:23, Ephesians 1:7), and rose again after three days (cf. Luke 24:1-8). I believe he ascended into Heaven (cf. Acts 1:9-11) and is seated at the right hand of God the Father (cf. Mark 16:19).
I believe Jesus is the only way to the Father (cf. John 14:6), and therefore, the only way to everlasting life (cf. John 3:16). I believe if we repent of our sins and place our trust in Christ, God will save us from His wrath (cf. Romans 5:9), take out our heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh (cf. Ezekiel 36:26, John 5:24).
I believe Jesus is returning to claim His church. I believe when He returns, He will be seen from all over the Earth (cf. Matthew 24:27, Revelation 1:7). The dead in Christ will rise first, and those believers who remain alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (cf. I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
I believe those who are born again will live forever with the Lord (cf. I Thessalonians 4:17).
Part Two: My Life and Home
I believe God designed marriage to be a covenant between one man and one woman and my relationship with Eric is to be held sacred (cf. Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:6). I believe divorce is not permissible unless situations arise involving infidelity and several failed attempts at repentance and reconciliation (cf. Matthew 5:31-32). I believe forgiveness is not an option, but an expectation by God to every believer (cf. Matthew 6:14-15). I believe marriages cannot thrive without constant forgiveness.
I believe love is a choice and one that must be made daily in marriage.
In marriage, I believe our finances are a team endeavor and efforts to hide financial dealings from each other is deceitful and wrong. I believe we are responsible to tithe at least ten percent of our earnings, and to give above that as we prosper or as the Holy Spirit prompts us to give (cf. Malachi 3:10, I Corinthians 16:2). All money is ultimately God’s money and we are only stewards of His resources.
I believe it is my ministry to respect, honor, and show affection to my husband as his wife and life partner. Outside of my relationship with Christ, Eric is to be my greatest priority and serving him is my greatest earthly privilege (cf. Ephesians 5:33). I believe it is my role to be a comfort and to create a calm and soothing environment where Eric and those who visit us can rest and feel at peace. I need external motivation to help me maintain a pleasant home as my personality tends to procrastinate and put off cleaning and organizing tasks.
I believe there is a time to grieve and a time to laugh (cf. Ecclesiastes 3:4). Grief is not bad and a necessary step to healing; the need to grieve should never be ignored. I believe laughter is a beautiful and necessary medicine which soothes the heart and helps us get through the mundane and grievous parts of life. I believe it is my privilege to bring God-honoring comedy into the home and to take opportunities to make Eric and my friends and family laugh.
I believe I must continue to study God’s Word on my own or I will be easily deceived by others’ teachings – both those who are well-meaning and those who wish to deceive (cf. Matthew 7:15). I believe my theological leanings should come as a result of my study of God’s Holy Word and personal relationship with Christ – and not as the result of pressure by any person or group of people.
I believe it pleases the Lord for His people to always be learning and growing, and actively filtering ideas and opinions through His Word (cf. Psalm 119:105). I believe it is important to be careful what entertainment I allow in front of my eyes as it will go directly to my heart (cf. Psalm 101:3, Proverbs 4:23).
I believe days beginning with prayer and the Bible go more smoothly than days when such disciplines are ignored or postponed (cf. Romans 12:2).
Part Three: My Relationship to the World
I believe my faith in Christ leads me to a specific worldview which affects my political leanings. Though I do not pledge allegiance to any specific political party or person, I will seek to honor the country I have been placed in by God and its sovereignty while I am alive. I believe we are called to pray for those who are in power above us and that no one can be elected without God appointing them (cf. I Timothy 2:1-3, Romans 13:1-5). I believe my faith urges me to speak for those who cannot speak (cf. Proverbs 31:8-9). I believe the practice of abortion and euthanasia to be murder and are condemned by God (cf. Exodus 20:13). I believe my ultimate citizenship is in Heaven (cf. Philippians 3:20).
I believe my words hold power. I am responsible to speak to others with grace and to be an ambassador of Christ to those around me. I believe we all leave a legacy (for good or ill) and I have a responsibility to leave a godly legacy to those who come after me – even those who are not in my bloodline, but in my community of believers.
I believe it is important to create and maintain friendships and to attend church regularly. I believe church is not only a place to receive instruction but a place to fellowship with and encourage other believers (cf. Hebrews 10:25). I believe it is important to celebrate with those who celebrate and grieve with those who grieve (cf. Romans 12:15). I believe people need other people and it is important to pray for others even when their lives appear fine (cf. Ephesians 6:18).
I believe God has given me the gift of friendship and the opportunity to love my friends’ children, to invest in their lives, and to be a godly example to them. As Miss Betty was an encouragement and mentor to me, I have been given the same task to the next generation. Children do not have to be blood-related to be touched by my life.
I believe there are wise and foolish choices I can make every day. I believe God will grant me wisdom if I ask and will make a way of escape for any temptation (cf. James 1:5, I Corinthians 10:13).
I believe the world is hurting and in need of the gospel of Christ. I believe it is our calling as believers to spread the truth to a hurting and desperate world. I believe God wants me to be prepared to tell other people why I believe on and trust in Christ (cf. I Peter 3:15).
Though somewhat difficult to get started, the process of creating my personal creed was quite enjoyable. As is likely true of many of you, I tend to have hundreds of disjointed thoughts flowing through my mind at any given time and it is nice to take my beliefs down one by one and organize them into a concise document. We hope you are enjoying the process, and if you have not yet begun, we encourage you to take the first step. Even one small movement towards your goal is progress and getting started is the hardest part of many journeys!
To end our post today, we will share one of our favorite creeds. It hangs in the hallway of our home as a frequent reminder of our Christian faith and a reminder of our family theme this year.
The Apostle’s Creed
“I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.”
Please enjoy this video, We Believe, by The Newsboys:
How are you coming along on your personal creed?