Welcome to Facets, friend. This is my (Jennifer) favorite virtual hidey hole for a steamy hot cuppa, a few thoughts, and engaging conversation, if you like. We’ve put away 2017, and now the ink falls to a fresh page in 2018. Last week Tracy shared her thoughts on God’s promises here (you won’t want to miss it!). Kim’s post next week will, as always, reveal her precious heart. Pop in Tuesdays for new posts, or better yet, be sure to sign up to receive the latest in your inbox each week!
When I turned this month’s question over in my mind, I realized I had other questions immediately trying to dog-pile the poor thing. Do I believe God’s promises? Yes! Wait. I think so. God, what are your promises? When did I last take a look at those? Which ones can I recall? And which ones are for me? Ideas I thought were biblical floated through my mind, but confusion settled in. Partial verses swirled around like frosty breath in sub-zero air in a winter wonderland. My own personal revised version of scripture mixed with actual verses, and that’s when I needed to pause.
I thought about creating a list of God’s promises, but that didn’t seem right. Would you—or anyone—take my word that the list was worth anything or true at all? Should you? Probably not.
I know a promise’s value and worth lies somewhere within the promise itself. Some are better than others. As Mary Poppins would say, “That’s a pie crust promise. Easily made, easily broken.”¹ When we look at the Bible, some are for specific people in time, some reveal the nature of God to us, and some are for us today. More importantly, I know a promise is nearly completely dependent upon the one making it! When someone speaks a promise but never makes good on it, we question their integrity or sanity (or both).
But these aren’t ordinary promises; they are God’s.
A Promise Maker…and Keeper!
For me to trust any of God’s promises, I needed to see His true character. If even one promise was broken, then placing trust in any of them would be foolish. If God is even a little wishy-washy, I don’t want to trust Him. Period. Who would? Maybe the whole list would be full of half-truths or bait-and-switch moves, right? So what does the Bible say?
Joshua, who experienced the leadership of Moses, up-close-and-personal, testifies to the promises of God:
Not one good thing that ADONAI had spoken of to the household of Isra’el failed to happen; it all took place. Joshua 21:45 CJB
“Not one good thing.” Every one of the promises was fulfilled. Joshua would know (Numbers 11:28).
God was truthful in in Moses’ time, but what about now? Are the promises for a group of people in a land far away who are long dead and gone?
I’m thankful Paul writes
20 For however many promises God has made, they all find their “Yes” in connection with him; that is why it is through him that we say the “Amen” when we give glory to God. 21 Moreover, it is God who sets both us and you in firm union with the Messiah; he has anointed us, 22 put his seal on us, and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee for the future. 2 Corinthians 1:20-22
God’s foundational promise to us was made on a hill outside Jerusalem on an execution stake. Jesus, the God-man, at the cross is our covenant with God fulfilled (Hebrews 2:17). Then He promised those who love Jesus a “seal…a guarantee for the future,” Holy Spirit in us. From Genesis to Revelation, the story is all about one promise: redemption. Ultimately, He promised to come for us, and He did. This world, as messed up and distorted as it is, is part of the deal, but it’s not the end. There’s more, and the Redeemer waits for us to choose Him, to ask Him to intervene. The promise of redemption is real and for everyone. Better yet, we can be sure it was made to us and kept!
God makes and keeps promises. In faith on a good day, I can believe that. But I’m human and faith-challenged sometimes. Often I have a lot in common with “doubting Thomas” and the desperate father of the boy controlled by a spirit (John 20; Mark 9).
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24
How would I, or anyone watching, know I believe His promises? I answer that question differently today than in the past. I thought listening to and repeating truth equaled belief. Truth informs belief, but believing God’s promises is more than that. Trusting the words I read to be true begins to get at it. Living like it’s true—thinking, speaking, and acting according to the belief—that’s when believing the promises has legs!
When I look at the promises I want to remember:
* God’s promises are written down in the Bible.
* God’s character is revealed in the promises He makes and keeps.
* His promises to me show His love for me.
I’ve been on the hunt for some of God’s individual promises (in addition to the foundational two: the cross and the Spirit). Some are what I might call gifts, or “blanket promises.”
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a CSB
I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 CSB
Grace and the good work are His to give and do.
Then there are promises I participate in. These are my favorites because they speak to the relationship with Him that I desperately need…and need to cultivate.
All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. Matthew 11:29 CSB
When I choose to learn God’s ways and do them, as Jesus teaches and the Spirit empowers, there is the promise of rest. As one who often strives for so many things, including perfection, this promise means more to me than so many others.
Friends, I wish I could sit across the table from you at my coffee shop hidey hole and listen to all your thoughts on God and His promises…the best and most difficult…your heart on all of it. Since we may not get the chance, I’d be thankful if you took time to share what you’re thinking in the comments below, at the Facebook Page, or privately. Your thoughts, experiences, and heart are precious, and I hope you know that.
Thanks for reading!
¹ Mary Poppins. Walt Disney Productions, 1964.