Posts Tagged ‘ Promises ’

Faithful Followers Follow

“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land.” (Deuteronomy 8:7a NRSV)

Before Moses answered God’s call to deliver God’s people, the Israelites were in bondage. The Egyptians beat them, bound them, and forced them into hard labor. Israel cried to God, “Deliver us!” God responded by freeing his people, and leading them to the Promised Land.

Today, to Jesus’ followers the Promised Land symbolizes the new life and purpose that Godimage has prepared for us. This is a place where love rules and hope energizes. This is a place where forgiveness cleanses, where fear gives way to faith, and peace washes over every soul. This is a place full of God’s goodness and abundance, where new dreams are born and God’s kingdom work begins. This is a place where impossible giants are slain, and new possibilities are discovered. This is a place of abundant life and eternal blessing!

The only problem is that between Egypt and the Promised Land lies the wilderness. Although Israel wanted to be free, they didn’t really want a difficult and dangerous march across a desert in search of the promised land.

Of course, neither do we. Still, God has a Promised Land for us, and getting there will probably involve some marching through wilderness too.

Today, maybe you are feeling like one of God’s people so long ago. You just wanted to be free. You weren’t looking for a desert march through unknown terrain. But you that following Jesus means carrying crosses. It means staying faithful through the mountains and the deep valleys of life. It means allowing God to refine your faith through life’s trials and temptations.

Here’s the good news: Jesus, our Deliverer, knows the way through the wilderness. Now, God wants you to take your freedom and follow him to a place of blessing! Only he can bring you into the Promised Land of abundant life.

So, take the Master’s hand, walk with him, talk with him, stay close to him, and faithfully follow him down the road he has prepared to bring you into the Promised Land!

Prayer:

Great God, your grace has set me free. You have also prepared a place for me, a promised land. Lead me into the place where you reign, where love rules and faith keeps watch. I want to dwell by the waters of forgiveness and feed in your peace-filled pastures. I am will follow you. I will walk by faith, and go wherever you may lead! Amen.

image

The Maximum Promise

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 NRSV

A university professor, Mark Edmundson, suggests that for many, the moment of maximum pleasure is "the moment when the choices had been multiplied to the highest sum…the moment of maximum promise." (1) It’s as if having infinite possibilities is the ultimate pleasure.

MP900438761[1]Maybe that’s why smartphones are so popular. They promise to keep us connected to whatever we want or could imagine we want, and offer apps that let us pursue almost any interest or activity we want to try whenever we want to try it. According to Edmundson, using that kind of device holds maximum promise of maximum pleasure.

Psychologists like to study the things that influence us and shape our lives. New technologies certainly influence our MP900443361[1]behaviors and change how we go about our days. But they don’t change us. They hold out the promise of a new and better day, but they fail to transform the human soul, or meet the needs and longings of our hearts. Having almost infinite possibilities in a handheld device is nice, but it fails to touch who I really am and fulfill what I most need.

Well, what about faith? What does your faith do for you? Does it open the door to infinite possibilities, or deliver maximum pleasure? Does it touch you at your point of deepest need? Does it offer you new life and the power to be transformed?

MP900443036[1]My faith in Jesus Christ delivers! It doesn’t give me an app to help me search for truth, it gives me truth. It doesn’t let me download e-books about finding fulfillment, it fulfills me. It doesn’t give me list of gods to believe in, it puts me into a relationship with the One who created me, redeemed me and sustains me. It doesn’t track my movements with GPS, it shows me how to follow the Good Shepherd.

I’m not about to abandon the use of technology. Neither am I going to put my faith in a smart phone. The promise I am putting my faith in is the promise of God’s redeeming, life-changing grace. That’s the maximum promise that gives me maximum pleasure!

(1) Mark Edmundson, "Dwelling in Possibilities," The Chronicle of Higher Education, Vol. 54, Issue 27, p. B7.

An Enduring Promise

…but I will not remove from him my steadfast love, or be false to my faithfulness. Psalm 89:33 NRSV

MP900443601[1] Many scholars read the Bible as a series of covenants that culminate in the New Covenant made possible by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. God’s covenants were like contracts. They were mostly conditional agreements, with an ‘if’ clause followed by a ‘then’ clause. The ‘if’ clause spelled out the responsibilities and requirements God’s people had to fulfill. The ‘then’ clause specified God’s promised benefits and actions. Those covenants could be summarized by saying, “If you do this, then I will do that.”

Covenants are like contracts.

MP900438585[1]In those covenants there was a reciprocal expectation that both parties had. God’s people expected that God would do all that was promised. God expected that God’s people would do what they promised. Both parties were mutually expectant!

As history unfolded, one covenant gave way to another. This happened because God’s redemptive plan continued to unfold, and God’s people proved unreliable and unable to hold up their end of the agreements. One covenant superseded another, until the New Covenant. At that point God promised grace to all those who had faith in Jesus Christ.

Still, there is one covenant that stands out from the others. God’s covenant with David included a unique clause. God promised to establish David’s throne forever. That part of the covenant was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The ‘if’ clause warned the descendants of David not to forsake God’s law. God promised that if they were disobedient they would be punished, but God’s love for David would endure. God would be faithful to the promise made to David, no matter what!

God is faithful, no matter what!

That covenant reveals something very special about the God we love and serve. It shows us that God’s purposes will endure no matter how humankind responds. God’s purpose was to establish a royal line that would lead to Jesus, the King of Kings. Nothing would stop that from happening!

MP900400681[1]  Today, as people of the New Covenant, God deals with us in much the same way. God expects that we will live by faith, walk in love and submit to the leading of God’s Spirit. When we don’t, God patiently corrects us and continues to mold us. God does not abandon us or stop loving us. God continues to act in love despite our shortcomings.

God will not abandon you.

So we have a great God, who is totally committed to loving us and keeping the promises made to us. But we too have a part. We have a high calling we must remain faithful to.

Covenants are two-way agreements. God has done, is doing and will continue to do God’s part. We have to strive to be just as faithful in the execution of our part. Take a moment today to thank God for God’s faithfulness to the promises made. Then trust those promises as you continue loving and serving the Lord!

Live today trusting in God’s covenant promises!

Prayer:

Covenant God, you are ever faithful to your promises. I trust you, and believe that you will do all you have said you will do. Thank you for your steadfast love and faithfulness. Help me now to do my part, to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ, and to love you with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength!

Amen.