I tried to cover the family and friends part...so now is the time to share one or two things on Faith.
My palm dictionary explains it as: " loyalty to a cause or person" or "complete confidence in a person or plan".
The most prominent chapter in the Bible on this subject is possibly Hebrew 11. The first verse sets the tone of the whole chapter:
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.(NIV)
My Libronix Digital Library uses English words like believe, trust, rely, confident, feel sure, etc. Interesting to note that the word "faithfulness" is used most of the times. At the Haggai Institute a lecturer told us that there is no word like "faith" or "believe" in the Hebrew language. Remember that the first language of Jesus' disciples, who wrote most of the New Testament, was Hebrew, although they wrote the Bible in their second language namely Greek. In Hebrew apparently the only word they use is "faithfulness".
Every time we are in the car traveling somewhere Tinus will make us listen to a sermon or speech (podcasts of one of the world's best, or should I say one of his favorite teachers). In one of them Louie Giglio
The point I'm trying to make is this: whether we say we believe or not, is not the point, because we all have faith in something or somebody. The real question is who is "faithful"?
This is where, in my opinion, God proved Himself all over and over again through who He really is as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is the only one who proved Himself as being 100% faithful, ALL the time! The Father as Almighty, the Creator and Sustainer of it all, Jesus our Savior who died on the cross and conquered death, and the Holy Spirit who comforts us on a daily basis.
Once this question has been answered I think the next one should be: "What about you and me...are we faithful?" Can others rely on us, put their trust/confidence/assurance in us? An even more difficult question will be: can God trust us?
I think this is where grace and mercy come. Again...God was faithful in His plan to save the world through His only son, Jesus Christ. Question: Do we trust Him completely?
It seems to me that when we talk about "faith in Jesus" or " believe in Jesus" we should talk of a "walk with Jesus".
To walk with Jesus, hand in hand, wholeheartedly trusting Him alone. Because He is faithful we should not be afraid that He will let our hand go, we should just keep on walking with Him in confidence that He knows the way...such a walk will please Him.
The Hebrew writer later continues: "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebr. 11:6).
A walk on our own will never make it. As Paul puts it in Romans 3:10-12 (NIV)
10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
But a walk with Jesus is something different:
Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Faith, believe, faithfulness...we all are walking with something or someone...with whom do you share your walk?
John 3:15-17 (NIV)
15 [T]hat everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.