What’s in a Promise, part 1

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Our great God Who did not owe us any promises, still chose to make them.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 89:34

“No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back one word of what I said.”

The Source of Promises

Blew the diet again this past weekend. Severely. Broke my treadmill, too, and figured that would really not help my cause. But today is a new day and the treadmill is fixed. Once again I promise that I will make consistent healthy choices. Ok, maybe not. But when I fall, I am caught by my Sovereign God Who keeps all of His promises and encourages me to rise up and try again.

Sound familiar? I am a flawed human, and while I keep important promises by the grace of God, sometimes the smaller ones are rationalized away.

I’ve been thinking a lot about promises lately, and how much God’s promises have been a constant comfort and strength in my life. So I thought I would devote this week to exploring the promises of God.

Life hurts sometimes and we search to find something to hold onto, to help us get through. But in this fallen world, promises are easily made and often not kept by man. So how can we hold onto promises from a God we cannot see? How do we access these promises? And how do we hold on when it seems that God’s promises are not kept?

Today I want to look at our Covenant Maker and Keeper. Looking at the source of the promise, we understand that we cannot compare God’s promises with man’s. While people change their mind and a faithful man cannot be found (Proverbs 20:6), the promises of God are trustworthy because . . .

The promises of God are made by a God that doesn’t change or lie. 

1 Samuel 15:29

“And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”

Our security cannot be satisfied in an ever-changing world, but the God Who made this world does not change His purposes or lie. That means He said it, I believe it, that settles it.

The promises of God are made by our God Who is Holy.

Isaiah 57:15

“For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.”

The one true living God is Holy, unable to sin, so far above us, yet He has compassion on the lowly. In His Holiness, He could not mislead His people or not keep His covenantal promises. It is not in His divine nature to do so.

The promises of God are made by a God who is in complete control.

Proverbs 19:21

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

Jeremiah 32:27

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?”

He is in control of all things. The One Who set up the world system is fully capable of maintaining it. If He can create this world and sustain it, He can handle keeping all of his promises and our problems, too.

Our great God Who did not owe us any promises, still chose to make them. He delights to bless His children and to give them His hope, because He is good and kind.

 

30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness: Day 22 – Our Unchanging God

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Our unchanging God maintains complete control over everything.

Scriptures of the Day:

Hebrews 13:8

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Malachi 3:6

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”

Change is constant in this fast-paced world. It is easy to feel lost in a sea of constant transformation, but there is peace and confidence when we consider that our unchanging God maintains complete control over it all.

From day to day people’s attitude toward us can change, but God’s never does. Our financial status on earth can fade, but our eternal inheritance is steadfast, immovable. Our faith can waver, but God’s faithfulness never does.

Circumstances might wreak havoc in our lives, but there is hope even in life’s storms, because the God who made the storms is also the One Who calms them. He is always good, always consistently loving us, always with a redemptive purpose in mind.

He has known all of our tomorrows before one ever came to be. This knowledge is comforting in that God’s grace is already there at the end, as well. Nothing that comes our way is allowed in without God’s foreknowledge.

Lord, I am so very grateful that You never change. Thank You for being our very firm foundation where our hope is never disappointed.

Day 14: Facing and Embracing Reality – The New Normal

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Change is a stepping stone in the path of life that is necessary for our final destination.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 37:9

“Those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.”

Coming to grips with our new normal is no easy task. We are creatures of habit and prefer comfort and stability to change – especially if that change is abrupt and unwelcome.

But while we are waiting for our circumstances to change, looking to the future is not our only solace. Right smack dab in the middle of our new normal we can be not just content, but at peace – knowing we are exactly where God has us to be in that moment.

This truth might also create some misunderstanding between ourselves and God. Why would He allow it? Can’t He see that we are uncomfortable?

In a land not their own, the Israelites wondered if they would ever reach the promise land. Many of them didn’t. They did not like God’s provision, doubted His goodness and His promises. It did not make sense that they should stay so long hanging out in a seemingly purposeless trip in the desert, yet they determined the length of their stay by their actions.

If our chief goal is to glorify God with our lives, then we don’t just accept our new normal, but embrace it as being in God’s will for a purpose much higher than our own.

Hanging onto yesterday will leave us discontent and ineffective for the Kingdom of God. But being Kingdom-minded will help us to have a perspective that thrives when things around us are unsettling and uncertain.

Did we somehow forget that our stay here is a temporary one? This is not our home. Having a mentality of flexibility helps us to process change and view it as a stepping stone in the path of life that is necessary for our final destination.

Each presumed off-course path that we take is instead a fulfillment of our calling. Will we accept our mission? Having our hope in the character of God enables us to overcome a lack of faith when it seems we have been forgotten in the new place He has brought us too. We hold firmly to God’s hope because of the character behind His promise. He cannot be unfaithful. It is impossible for Him to do so.

If we could see the end goal of where God is bringing us too, we would not try to avoid each station of life. Instead, maybe we would learn to get comfortable with discomfort and joyful when things are doubtful, for it is in the dark places that a new hope is born. 

Adversity in the dirt of life creates a beautiful pearl of substance and a hope that is no longer easily shaken. Staying in one place in a perfect surrounding could never achieve such beauty.

This worship song really sums up well how God can use our momentary problems and turn them around as blessings disguised. Blessings by Laura Story

Prayer:

Lord, thank You for changing our hope into one that never fades. Help us to trust you in the transitions of life that threaten to steal our hope and find ourselves filled with a reinvented hope, instead.

 

The Instigator’s Demise

1 Samuel 23:19

“Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon?”

1 Samuel 24:1

“When Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, they told him, “Look, David is in the desert of En Gedi.””

1 Samuel 26:1

“The Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding on the hill of Hakilah near Jeshimon?””

1 Samuel 26:19

“So let my lord the king now listen to the words of his servant. If the LORD has incited you against me, may he take delight in an offering. But if men have instigated this, may they be cursed before the LORD! For they have driven me away this day from being united with the LORD’s inheritance, saying, ‘Go on, serve other gods!'”

Sometimes there are people in your life who just want to goad you, but one of the most terrifying things on earth is being pursued relentlessly by someone who seeks to harm you.  Feelings of desperation and helplessness overwhelm you as you wonder if it will ever end.  Driven by jealousy and selfishness and fueled by instigators and false counsel, the pursuer relentlessly seeks his way.

The Philistines’ betrayal made sense.  They were the enemies of Israel – but it is odd that Saul would listen to his enemy. Their motives were surely for their own glory.  You wonder who you can trust as people surround your pursuer with counsel to come after you.  The Ziphites, Judeans like David, betrayed him twice.  Betrayed by his own people.  It does not get much worse than that.

People surrounding Saul knew what Saul wanted.  Despite numerous times when Saul saw his folly, he quickly returned to pursuing David when those around him incited him.  He received counsel from people who ultimately sought his own destruction, as well.  The irony is that Saul reaped the opposite of what he sought and those who informed Saul sought his favor, but ultimately his demise, too.

I was comforted when I read of David’s hiding out in caves for 15 years – not at all by the duration of time, but by the fact that a man of God, chosen to lead, first had to endure severe testing and God was His portion.  Why should it be different with us?

I share personal testimony here because I think somewhere out there someone else might be barely hanging on with a similar suffering and I earnestly desire to serve someone through the pain I endured.  Dragged to court for five years by people who used to be family was one of the most excruciating moments in my life.  False testimony and accusations left scars that only God could heal, but the immense pressure of the pursuit harmed my health and hurt my family deeply.

At the same time, another family member would not accept me and lied about me, spreading rumors about me.  Add to that job loss for my husband and you have an incubator for change.

If I had not had God as my portion, I would have perished.  I sought Him more deeply than I ever had and now see that season as a treasure in my walk with God.  This blog would not have been birthed had I not walked through dark valleys and seen God’s hand in the midst.

David trusted in God and walked righteously.  Despite the attacks, he had a righteous response and saw God deliver him. So it is with us.  When people speak ill of us or are jealous, we have a refuge to run to.  The instigator does not hold sway or power over us – our God is bigger.  We might have to endure false perceptions caused by those who despise us, but it will not last forever and if we keep walking uprightly with God, he will cause our enemies to cease or give us strength to bear it.

Saul apologized several times but David knew he could not be trusted.  There was still the capability for the same sin to rise up in Saul and David had to walk in wisdom and protect himself from Saul’s potential attack.  Sometimes in our own lives we need to protect ourselves from people who have harmed us in the past.  David forgave Saul but he was not going to place himself in possible danger willingly.

More than deliverance, however, and the character earned along the way, is the beautiful surrender of our spirits to God. Our temporary suffering is not about us, after all.  What the instigator and pursuer sought results in blessings when we hide ourselves in Jesus.  If God allowed it in, there is a divine purpose that we might not understand, but God can always be trusted.

Lord, thank You for Your protection and healing.  Help us to trust in You completely even when it seems like we are forgotten.  Your ways are not our ways and You are good all the time.

Thoughtful Thursday: Christmas Countdown day 4 – It Only Takes One

Photo Credits en.wikipedia.org

Photo Credits
en.wikipedia.org

Ecclesiastes 9:18-10:1

“Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good.”  10:1 “One dead fly makes the perfumer’s ointment give off a rancid stench, so a little folly can outweigh much wisdom.”

It always astounds me that it can only take one dissenter to bring about chaos and destroy something good.  A small percentage of a population can speak louder and change what the majority voted on.  How is this able to happen?  Passion.  Activism.  Devotion.  Leadership . . . and pressing on despite it not being popular.

We admire when people accomplish great things when the odds are against them, but much more admirable are deeds done in righteousness than the wicked prevailing.  A liberal agenda will not bring about the freedom it’s followers desire, but they still passionately fight for what they believe is right.  Now more than ever the righteous must not let their voices be silenced.  Our nation needs us more now than ever.  It will not be popular to hold ground and try to turn the tide back, but it is possible.  Your voice matters.  Make it count for righteousness.  It only takes one to begin to make a change.

Only One could pay for the sin debt of all mankind.  He was not popular, but He knew His mission and completed it, despite much opposition.  He changed this world forever – not just for a generation.  This Christmas may we remember what Christ did for us and all mankind.  May we all honor God with our lives and affect this society for His glory.  It only takes one.  Shine brightly in this generation – there is no other voice just like yours – it is needed now.

The song, “This Little Child” by Scott Wesley Brown, written in the late 70’s is so very fitting in our times.  I end today’s post with lyrics contained within the second verse:

“And over half the world is starving While our banner of decency is torn;
Debating over disarmament, Killing children before they’re born.
And fools who march to win the right to justify their sin.
Oh ev’ry nation that has fallen Has fallen from within
Yet in the midst of this darkness There is a hope a light that burns
This little child the King of kings Some day will return.”

Hear and see the lyrics to the complete song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riSAYsLTQBs

Lord, help us to shine for You brighter and brighter.  May we not cover or hide the light You have placed in us and boldly stand for truth and for Your glory.