Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Like most people, I have made many promises in my lifetime. I have always tried to keep them to the best of my ability. But sometimes we fail to keep our promises. We usually despise those who make and break their promises. If it is a chronic problem, we see it as a character flaw—and one of choice. Yet we all have been there.

They tell us that in the Bible there are over 8000 promises that God has made to man. Because of the character of God, he can never break a promise. He cannot lie. If He were to lie it would make Him less than God. Let’s look at some of the wonderful promises of God.

The Promise of Hope

Man started out with God in the garden in a beautiful relationship, one of intimacy and fellowship. But that intimacy was soon to be destroyed by sin and Satan’s temptation. But in the midst of the sin, God made a promise: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15) He was speaking to the serpent and Satan. This was the promise of God to bring the Messiah, Jesus into the world, the offspring of a woman. That offspring would crush Satan’s power. With Satan’s power crushed, man has hope in the future. Since Jesus came, that future is now. Not only do we have power over Satan, we also have a hope of Jesus promised return. “while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” (Titus 2:13) There is also a promised hope of eternal life. “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:7) That is the difference between Christianity and so many of the cults and false religions of the world. We have a promise made by God Himself of an eternal future. We don’t have to wonder if it is true or not. When God makes a promise, He keeps His Word! Numbers 23:19 speaks of the integrity of God and His promises. God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act?  Has he ever promised and not carried it through? (NLT) The moment we die, we can know for sure that God has a life waiting for us that we can hardly imagine.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; John 11:25 We have the hope and promise that our eternal home is with Him.—that life does not end in a cold grave—it is just the beginning!

The Promise of Forgiveness

Forgiving is not always easy to do. Yet God has promised that if we ask—admit our sinfulness, we will be forgiven! If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 Since we are born in our sin, we all desperately need forgiveness. If we continue to live under the weight of our guilt, Satan uses that to weigh us down with condemnation and feelings of inferiority. Many promises are conditional, and this is one of them. It requires that we do something on our part, and then God will do what no one else can do. He will clean our spiritual slate and make it like we had never ever sinned. If you keep looking backward at all the horrible things you have done in your life, they can be forgiven in a moment...the moment we confess them to God...not to man. He promises to make us clean and pure. It does not matter what sin you have done. He forgives them all.

The most difficult thing we often face is forgiving those who hurt us. Yet the Bible clearly teaches "Forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you" (Colossians 3:13). There is an amazing miracle that takes place when we choose to forgive. For real forgiveness to occur, a sacrifice is necessary. Jesus made the sacrifice for our forgiveness and when we choose by sheer will to forgive another, suddenly, the victim become the victor. There is a shift in the heavenlies and the power is ripped from Satan’s grasp and put into God’s hands where both mercy and justice reign. Healing begins with God in charge. Corrie Ten Boom, a former prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp one day came face to face with one of her brutal captors. She asked God to help her forgive. She later wrote in The Hiding Place : “We never touch the ocean of God’s love so much as when we love our enemies. It is a joy to accept forgiveness, but it is almost a greater joy to give forgiveness.” God so loved us...that He forgave!

The Promise of a Planned Future

Most people want to know what the will of God is for their life and future. They find it difficult to make decisions because they often lean on their own feelings or advice from others. But God has a better way. If we seek God, He will show us His plan. His plans for our life are perfect. Again they are conditional. But this is His promise for those who follow after God with all their hearts. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 But those who choose to follow their own path do not fall under this promise of blessing. Israel had to learn it the hard way, and often we do to. We think we know better. We try steering our ship through the storms of life, only to find we are continually crashing against the rocks and reefs. We need to have the mind of Christ, and when we know what He is thinking, what He is planning, and we follow His way, we discover a blessed hope and future that Jeremiah talked about. Our prosperity is not just in the things of this life, but in eternal things. It is your eternal soul He wants to prosper. You may value all the stuff of this life that you have accumulated, but He values your eternal soul far more. His plans take us into an eternal realm.

The Promise of a Helper

You may think you are down here struggling all alone. You are not! Jesus promised us that He would send to us someone to be our Helper...our Advocate...our Teacher.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26 But if we want His help in our daily lives, we must be in the Bible, reading His messages to our soul. We must take time to pray and listen to Him speak to us. The Holy Spirit will never go against what the Bible teaches. He will never contradict the holiness of God. Satan wants to speak into our lives too and we must know the difference. We can learn the difference by knowing what the Bible says. For example, God would never tell someone to have an illicit affair with someone, because the Bible teaches us that adultery and fornication are sin. The Holy Spirit is always there in the life of the Christian believer to teach you what is right and what is wrong, and to remind you about what the Bible says on the issue. There are many things that the Holy Spirit does for us. He helps us in our weakness. (Rom 8:26) He intercedes on our behalf .(Rom 8:26-27) He leads us in the ways of God .(Gal 5:18) He strengthens believers. (Eph 3:16) He helps us to know that we are God’s children. (Rom 8:16) These are just a few of the things He does. When we step out of line, He convicts us of our sin. He also helps us produce good spiritual fruit in our lives (Gal 5:22,23) No, you are not alone! You have the Holy Spirit with you every day. Even when you turn away from God, He is still there drawing you back to Him.

We have not even touched on the many awesome promises of God, yet it is so easy to forget those promises when we find ourselves in the middle of a storm. All we see is the wind and the waves. Like the disciples, we forget the One who is in the boat with us who with just a word can speak “Peace” and the storm is over. You can know the peace of God when you choose to stand firm on the promises of God. He is waiting for you...and He will always keep His promises! Will you?

J. Johnson