Posted by: mikenicholsblog | September 5, 2013

by faith [insert your name here]

Last week Syria became a source of great debate in our country and around the world. Politics and war seem to be colliding again in an all too familiar way. Our Sovereign God is in control and I thought it may encourage you to look at what faith can accomplish in world affairs … and in our lives.

If you have heard of Maria Panteleyvna, I would be very surprised. She prayed for many years about a particular issue, and eventually it came to pass. Her prayer demonstrated to me the kind of faith that trusts God for the impossible. But more about her later! Over the years, I have read the words, “by faith Abraham”, “by faith Moses”, “by faith Joseph”, and many more by faiths in Hebrews chapter eleven. When I think of my life, is it possible that the words “by faith Mike” could one day be written as my legacy? You and I live in a culture that speaks eloquently of faith, but also one where we rarely release control of our lives long enough to experience a faith that sees the impossible happen. It doesn’t have to be this way.

My knowledge of Maria Panteleyvna is very limited. I don’t know much about her faith, other than she prayed for her son, and made him cakes at his birthday decorated with the words “Christ is Risen”. Oh, and by the way, she also prayed that her son would bring down communism. While you likely don’t recognize her name, you’ll undoubtedly know her son’s … Mikhail Gorbachev. Before you have cynical thoughts, ask yourself; “Do I believe in a God that can do the impossible?” I don’t claim to have a handle on everything faith, or the fall of communism, but I know God desires that you and I live by faith. I wonder how many people have accepted Christ since the “Wall came Down?” Thanks for praying, Maria!

Centuries before the Iron Curtain collapsed there were walls that kept the children of Israel from Canaan. They faced an impossible task, and God gave them instructions that would be humanly absurd in any century. You and I would have viewed the situation as hopeless. But, by faith they obeyed God. “By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days” (Hebrews 11:30). I wonder what it was like on the seventh day when the walls came down. God was not then, nor is He today limited by man’s ability. He simply wants us to live with eyes of faith that can see the impossible.

You probably have (as do I) some walls that will never come down … humanly speaking. You may even speak eloquently of faith, while believing your walls are just too strong, even for God (oops, I shouldn’t say that). Do you believe that God can do the impossible? Were the walls of Jericho and the fall of communism just good stories? No! You have before you an opportunity to trust God by faith for your own walls to come down. Pray, and never stop believing that God can bring them down.

Ronald Reagan said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”  I choose to believe that behind walls that fall are lots of Maria’s praying. I also believe that God would be pleased if you and I would be simple enough to attack our walls by faith. Let the legacy of your life be “by faith …“, and may the walls come down!

A member of our Journey onWord staff has experienced an unexpected and tragic loss in his family.  Tom is an essential part of the work God is doing through Journey onWord, and we come alongside he and his family in this time of deep need.  We claim and hold tight to the truths that God is sovereign over all, loves us beyond our ability to comprehend it, and is sufficient.  We invite you to join us in a sweet and resounding chorus of prayer for our true friend and kingdom brother, Tom and his immediate and extended family.

God is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble.
Psalm 46:1 (CEB)




  1. “We walk by faith and not by sight.” Prayers going out for Tom and his special intention.

  2. Please let Tom know that I am lifting him up in prayer to our precious Lord. We recently loss our 27 year old beautiful daughter unexpectantly. Our God has been true to His promises. She loved her Lord and we are left with so many questions … but He holds us close, guides us and gives us hope that we will see our Savior and our baby girl again. It’s an indescribable pain but Paul reminds us that this doesn’t compare to the glory we will experience. We certainly have a point of reference now, but can’t even begin to comprehend that level of glory. . . .

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