Friday, January 7, 2022

Getting to Know the Saints of Old

 



BySarah Geringer 


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.    

Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV


This year, I'm getting to know the saints of old through several useful books.  I'm a history lover, and I want to know more how past Christians (after Bible times) persisted in their faith.

I'm using several books to help me with this. One has been on my shelf for years. It's called The One Year Book of Christian History. Every day this year, I can learn a little about well-known and not-so-well-known saints who are now in heaven.

I've just received two more books to help me discover more. The new book 100 Prayers Every Christian Should Know is introducing me to prayers from the hearts of saints. Another new book, God With Us: 365 Devotions on the Person and Work of Christ, has short devotions taken from the writings of many saints, some of who are church founders.

Why does it matter if we are getting to know the saints of old? I think there are several reasons it's good for us to do this:

1. Stories from faithful saints give us perspective on our problems. When we learn about the huge hardships they faced, the size of our problems can shrink, and we can turn to God in gratitude for blessings previously unseen.

2. Examples of past saints can inspire us to persevere. Knowing that so many Christians in history kept pressing on in their trials can encourage us to keep moving forward with God's help.

3. Experiences of saints around the world remind us to pray for current saints all over the globe. When I read historical accounts of Christians in England, China, Africa, India and more places, I'm reminded to pray for those who are believing and perhaps struggling in their faith there now.

4. Historical accounts of the saints' evangelism efforts fan our flames of faith today. For example, when I read about German believers from more than five centuries ago, I am in awe of how God preserved their faith so they could pass it to me through my German heritage. This inspires me to be more diligent in passing my faith along to future generations.

5. Getting to know the saints of old now prepares us for joyful fellowship in heaven. I believe one of the best parts of heaven will be getting to know believers from all the centuries. Why not get a head start now in learning some of their history through books? Who knows, maybe I'll be able to share what I learned about them in 2022!

I challenge you to learn more about at least one saint of old this year. Use whatever resource you like to learn a little about many saints, or a lot about just one saint. I guarantee you will be blessed by this research, and I'm certain God will use their stories to grow your faith.

 

Looking for more ways to grow your faith this year? Check out the new-year-themed episodes of my podcast, Finding Peace in God's Word, HERE.


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Have a blessed weekend!


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4 comments:

  1. Sarah, I found this post to be very interesting and confirming. This year I am trying to only re-read books from old writers and glean from their wisdom.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Joanne! I'm happy to be learning from people in history. What a joyful reunion heaven will be!

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  2. I love this Sarah! We have so much we can learn from writers of old. Thank you for sharing.

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