February 2023

The God of promise – Part 5

Promises help form our understanding of the depth and quality of relationships. The more precious the relationship, the greater the promises that get exchanged. And it is expected that the more precious the relationship, the greater the desire and responsibility to keep those promises faithfully.

Verse two of the hymn written by Russell Kelso Carter in 1886, expresses the Christians’ dependence upon God’s promises to them, through Jesus Christ, and printed in God’s Word.

     Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
     when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
     by the living Word of God I shall prevail,
     standing on the promises of God.

When life fails to meet your expectations, or you consider everything is going against you, that is the time to express faith by calling to your attention the promises God has made to you. Dig deep into God’s Word, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:2-5).

You will be able to say with David, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4). As you choose to be content with what you have, you will cling onto God’s promise that says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), affirming not only your eternal security in Christ, but the daily presence of God in all circumstances. As you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things (food and clothing) will be added to you (Matthew 6:33), assuring you that God provides the necessities of life in all circumstances. Therefore, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7) we are able to experience a layer of peace that overshadows the stresses of our day.

Jesus’ half-brother James rightly instructed believers to count it all joy… when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4). When the enemy mutters words of defiant challenge in your ear because of personal difficulties, remember, he is a liar! As painful as trials can be, God promises that if you face them with a right and dependant attitude, those trials will manufacture steadfastness. Plus, as if steadfastness is not enough, God adds the extra blessings of promised spiritual maturity and Christlikeness. The very trials that others challenge God over, will be your source of accelerated Christian completeness and sufficiency in Christ. Praise God for such unimaginable grace to sustain us!

Don’t allow the world’s fear, suspicion, and mistrust, to drag you into a hopeless existence with no certainty and nothing but darkness beyond the grave. Believer, your Creator God lovingly and invisibly walks with you, providentially administering His universe for His glory while meeting your needs and preparing an eternal Home for you in heaven. With these realities in our thoughts, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

The God of promise – Part 5 Read More »

The God of Promise – Part 4

While the world’s turmoil continues, God’s people can rest in the many day-to-day promises of God. Even though there are times when God’s people are providentially caught in the world’s disasters, God remains faithful, keeping His Word through the most difficult circumstances.

King David, who was far from perfect, had a heart which repeatedly gravitated back to Yahweh, he testified the following of God. Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him (Psalm 28:6-7). Now, it’s important to grasp the practical nature of David’s praise in these two verses. David is NOT saying that all his problems vanished, as if prayer is a magic chant that removes all difficulties. Nor is he saying that prayer transformed him into a super-spiritual person who became invincible. Here, David declares the absolute essentials of what it means to live a faith which produces perseverance and a realistic joy in the LORD.

It starts with worship; Blessed be the LORD! Above all else in life, good, bad, or indifferent, the LORD is worthy of us acknowledging His majestic and holy character which are displayed through His actions. David knew that our circumstances, and the poor decisions we sometimes make, do NOT change who God is. This is our first point for confidence, the Lord’s worthiness of worship.

Therefore, acknowledging Yahweh’s worthiness, David knows the certainty of Him attentively listening to our prayers. No prayer is too short or too long. No prayer will ever catch God off-guard or by surprise. Plus, the God who is love (1 John 4:7), hears our prayers with a bias towards mercy. Meaning, when we appeal to God’s mercy, we are speaking to the very essence of who He is. This should begin to grow confidence in even the most nervous of believers who pray. None of God’s children who pray, ever go unnoticed or get ignored. This is our second point for confidence, our pleas for mercy get heard attentively.

Reminding ourselves of the first two points motivates us to acknowledge that the LORD is our strength and our shield. This shifts our dependency from self to God, releasing us from the deception that says we control our own destiny. Consequently, David, like us can say with determination that in Him my heart trusts. The application looks like this. Colossians 4:2, Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Job adds; What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should be patient? (Job 6:11). A praying trust in God watches for His activity while we wait patiently for His timing. Watching, we recognise when God answers and we will be able to identify His help, even if divine help is delivered by human hands. This is our third point for confidence, God mercifully helps.

David ends where he started, with worship, repeating our first point for confidence. The outcome of biblical styled prayer, especially in times of great trial, is that our heart’s exult. That means, having worshipped, prayed, and seen merciful answers, at every level of our inner beings, we are jubilant with gratitude to the LORD. Emotions should not be able to contain themselves. Thanks, and appreciation will testify through words and singing. Leaving us with our fourth point for confidence, our impatience does not stop God answering in His time and way.

God’s promises, when truly believed, changes our perspective of trials.

To be continued…

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The God of Promise – Part 3

Promises of God convey comfort, carry hope, and affirm love. Thinking upon the Lord’s promises fuels our worship, strengthens our faith, and stores up spiritual resources ready for times of difficulty. They’re a rich source of spiritual nutrition spread across God’s Word. Divine promises help to keep our eyes on the Lord, and they help prevent us becoming ensnared by worldly distractions.

From the covenant promises to redemption in Jesus Christ, then looking  forward to Christ’s return and eternity, Yahweh fulfils every promise appropriate to us. Even if we are confused about what promises to apply to who, God knows, and God will action their fulfilment perfectly and appropriately. The Almighty never suffers promise crossfire, where He assigns a promise to the wrong  person or nation. His promises are never made flippantly in the spur of the moment. Likewise, heavenly promises are never a knee-jerk reaction by God to appease someone’s dissatisfaction. No, the LORD’S promises are purposeful, reasoned in accordance with His will from eternity past. Love, righteous justice, and gracious faithfulness are always central, and always for His glory and the believer’s eternal blessing.

For us, we have the assurance that in him (Christ) you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:13-14). From the moment we believed in Jesus’ substitutional death for our sin, the Holy Spirit entered. He guarantees eternal life and our inheritance as Christians while we wait for either Christ to catch up the church, or to take us to heaven through death. As promised, the Holy Spirit ministers on our behalf, achieving what we are not able to, both here and in the heavenlies. Regardless of whether we live through times of difficulty, comfort, or confusion, the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:27). Despite our frequent insensitivity to God’s will, we are assured of the Holy Spirit’s perfect alignment of His intercession and God’s will for our lives. Nothing is ever left to chance or guess work. There’s no luck here. In Christ, believers are secure within the realities of divine promises personalised by God the Holy Spirit. His relentless omnipresent ministry is one of omnipotent promise, incapable of failure or being forgotten.

Considering these certainties, the apostle Paul was sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). There is no escaping our Saviour’s sufficiency to carry every believer through this life, then to deliver us to our heavenly home. On the day of Jesus Christ not one saint will be missing, there shall be no casualties, not one will be overlooked. Upon arrival in perfection, worship will be the believers only desire. Promise will have reached its ultimate destination in absolute satisfaction of every detail ever promised. Almost unimaginable satisfaction is guaranteed, and all at the expense of Christ, purchased at the Cross of Calvary and interceded for in the throne room of Yahweh. Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? (Romans 8:34). No-one! These unparalleled promises are only found in Christ. May we worship HIM today in response to His promises and share Christ with someone who needs reminding of God’s promises.

To be continued…

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The God of Promise – Part 2

Promises come in all shapes and sizes, consisting of assurances for good, and similarly, sometimes for negative outcomes. Likewise, in God’s Word, He states many promises of both positive and negative content to different people groups. And I think it’s fair to say, that most people prefer to give their attention to pleasant promises more than the negative ones. Intrinsic to any promise is the expectation that it will be honoured. Heartbreak occurs when a wonderful promise is broken, and fulfilment dissolves into disillusionment and shattered loyalty. Such has been the sad experience of countless people over millennia of human history.

But NOT so with God! Even the questionable prophet Balaam got God’s integrity right when he told wicked Balak; God is not a man, that He should lie, …Has He said, and will He not do it? (Numbers 23:19). Here stands the foundation of all Christian belief, Holy God is faithful to His Word, whether we like what He says or not, Yahweh is trustworthy. The LORD says what He means, He means what He says, and His literal promises have literal fulfilment. We Christians base both our eternal lives, and our daily living upon this truth.

Therefore, we daily cling to the promised fact that the LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth (Psalm 145:18). Here, king David calls the recipients to respond to God’s integrity with personal integrity by calling on the LORD in truth. This is simply a call for open honesty, without false intensions, and with intentional faithfulness to the Almighty. To these ones, the LORD promises His invisible nearness. Yet, the LORD manifests His nearness in many ways as He speaks to us through His Word, convicts and affirms us by His Holy Spirit, listens to our prayers, and providentially coordinates the events of our lives.

The spectacular nature of God’s promises secure us in the knowledge that He initiated them before we were saved, before we were born, and even before He created the world. Paul reminded timid Timothy of this certainty; in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Saviour (Titus 1:2-3). God made promises to us in Jesus Christ, knowing that we were going to fail Him, yet He presently causes His promises to stand faithful. Regardless of our inconsistencies, even if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13). God will never alter, break, transfer, or forget a single promise He has made to His children, to do so would be to deny His own holy character. We rest in the inalterable certainty of God’s fulfilled promises even though we know that we may fail to be the Christlike people we should be. Yahweh’s holy integrity exceeds all human definition of faithfulness, and for this we worship Him with surrendered lives.

Of course, these truths grow out of the fact that there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart (1 Kings 8:23). The LORD is loyal to His holy character first and foremost, testified to by the four living creatures… who day and night never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8). Believers rest in the security of God’s holiness expressed, in part, through ongoing fulfilled promises.

To be continued…

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