Am i There Yet – Promises

Posted: July 13, 2011 in Am i There Yet?

For much of my life i believed that those uncomfortable situations were for non-believers and not Christians. i understand and know better these days… most of the time, yet there are still times when real life seems to make fun of or mock the promises of God and His word.

The story is told of an old farmer who was a pillar in his community and church. At the grave side of this Christian man his wife and children said their goodbyes and it would seem to most that this was a storybook ending. Those who knew the man knew otherwise, as there was one son who did not attend. The old man took to his grave a spiritual promise, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” No one knew what had gone wrong but at one time the old man’s son was a model Christian in leadership, but now was nowhere to be found. At the mention of the son’s name the old man would cry. For years all the old man could do was recall the experiences he had shared with his son. The boy refused to reconcile and isolated himself with his anger. The old man persisted in hoping that one day the son would return. He would simply say, “Train up a child in the way he should go….” He could never finish the sentence. When other family members saw that time was running out for the old man they were sure the son would return, but he never did. At the funeral they all still hoped that maybe this would be the day he would return, but he did not. To this day the son that was raised in the way he should go remains lost. Why does this happen? Why do what i think are my promises go unfulfilled? Could it be that what i call my promises are not confined to my expectations? God is the Creator and i am the creation. Am i acting as though the Creator is subject to me the creation. i am right to build my life around the promises, as a person of faith, yet as Job learned from the voice in the whirlwind, i will never understand the ways of God. His strange timing of the promises are a mystery. God did not spare His Son of these hard times and so why do i expect that He will do more for me than His Son? God’s promises are not confined to the span of my life time, and they are not delivered just in the nick of time for me. It does not take faith for me to live by miraculous signs of God’s involvement. Faith is the substance of things hoped for when there is no sign that God will pull me through.

Paul says that the promises are not brought to completion until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6) The promise that God does fulfill now is that my life will find new meaning and vision. God calls me to live by grace, not for gaining life. Grace is a gift by definition. It is not cheap and it can not be taken, it is received. Once grace got a hold on my life i was wrecked for anything else and it has been relentless and it has demanded that everything be changed. There are times when, my  definition of grace changes to the idea that grace is less demanding and it supports my agenda for fulfillment, but really God’s grace disrupts all my agendas.

From Genesis 1 – 3 there is the idea that we were never created to have it all. The symbol of this limitation is the forbidden tree which was planted in the middle of the garden. It could be said that it was put there as a reminder to Adam and Eve that they did not have it all, because they needed God and His grace. As long as i live with the realization that i have need of God and Grace then i will not act as though i am god. The absence of what that tree held was exactly what the serpent used to attract them. Now slow down here because i am not saying that all need is inherently good or bad and that i should avoid meeting any needs. i am saying that i must be careful in going about assuming that my goal is to fix everything for as many people as i can. My needs should renew my dependency on the grace of God. In this, what might be called a need or a defect, can come my greatest altar for true worship.

i refer to these situations, circumstances and issues as thought that’s all they are, but the truth is they are people and people’s lives. Brokenness is the way to humility, and humility opens my life to the Creator. In the Creator i do not find all the answers that i think i am entitled to, but i do most often find my way through the situations, circumstances and issues, and that is supposed to be enough.

i like everyone else am accustomed to promises. i like everyone else am also accustomed to seeing them made and broken. i, who has lived for a number of years do not claim to have kept every promise made. i have many reasons why this is true. Sometimes i forget, sometimes i am negligent, and sometimes it may be due to circumstances beyond my control.

A brokenhearted young lady will often say, “But he promised to marry me”. And the answer comes back: “Yes, but I changed my mind”. People do change their
mind, and they do break their promises.

How certain are the promises of God? The Apostle Paul, in writing about the promises of God to Abraham, addressed the church at Rome with these words: “For the promise that he should be heir of the world, was not to Abraham or his seed through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith . . . therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed” (Romans 4:13, 16). God’s promise to Abraham was first spelled out in Genesis Chapter 12. It was repeated in Chapter 22. Verse 18 reads: “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice”.

my promise is of no more value than is my ability to carry it out. There is also the fact of my willingness to do so. But, God did carry through with Abraham. Paul points out in Galatians 3:16, that it was through Christ God intended to fulfill the promise to Abraham. Also in Acts 13:32-33, the Apostle says: “And we declare unto you glad tidings how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again.”

Jesus’ life, while living on earth, was shaped by his trust in the power of the promises of God. When Jesus said: “I am that bread of life”, John 6:48, “I am the light of the world”, John 8:12, “I am the resurrection and the life.” John 11:25, He did so realizing that He had been empowered with this right by the Father who had promised to raise Him from the grave. There were more than 500 people at one time who bore witness to the fulfillment of this promise according to I Corinthians 15:1-6.

The following are 7 essential promises that God made to me.

  1. He has promised to supply every need i have. “But my God shall supply all my need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”. That’s Philippians
    4:19. Notice, God has obligated Himself only to the extent of my needs. That would include food, clothing, shelter, companionship, love, and salvation
    thru Jesus Christ.
  2. God has promised that His grace is sufficient for me. (II Corinthians 12:9). in fact, He has made provision for my salvation by His grace through faith.
    Ephesians 2:8. It is through an obedient faith that i have access into the grace of God according to Romans 5:2.
  3. God has promised that His children will not be overtaken with temptation. Instead, He assures me that a way of escape will be provided. This promise is recorded in I Corinthians 10:13. Jude wrote: “Now unto Him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy”
  4. God has promised me victory over death. He first resurrected Jesus by way of assuring my resurrection. Peter said: “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:32). Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3,4).
  5. God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully (Romans 8:28). It may be difficult for me to see and
    understand how this is accomplished at times, but God has promised it, and He will deliver.
  6. God has promised that those who believe in Jesus and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will be saved. (Read Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38).
  7. God has promised me one of His people eternal life (John 10:27,28).

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