Tag Archives: promises

Judges 16; Acts 20; Jeremiah 29; Mark 15

Looking at examples in the Bible, I think God is trying to say that it’s okay to go through pain – only He wants to walk through it with us.

Samson is a fine example.  Even though he had failed, God did not leave him.

Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” He strained with all his might; and the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his life. – Judges 16:30 NRSV

For Paul pain was a way of life and he prophesied the same to us. Only way through it and its the staple of my walk with Jesus is to place my hope in God, counting on His grace as my foundation and my fountain of joy.

 Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God[d]that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.[e]  I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.  Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. – Acts 20:28-30

That is why I struggle with this promise that I still quote from time to time —

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.  When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,  I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes – Jeremiah 29:11-14

I struggle with it not because it is not true, but because if it is taken out of context it misses the fact that there was 70 years of pain before this promise was realized.

So Jesus’s life has to be the accumulation of all my thoughts.  The cross and Skull Hill represented death, mockery and pain but for me I found there a place of redemption, forgiveness and hope because of Jesus.  What begins in horror and inhumanity, ends in victory and grace.

 Then they brought Jesus[d] to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull).  And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it.  And they crucified him – Mark 15:22-24

Lord, thank you for your promises, they are true, every last one of them.  While I  journey with You and we might be joined by hurt, may I take comfort that You and others that You have called have already gone before me.  

evanlaar

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Deuteronomy 27-28:19; Psalm 119:1-24; Isaiah 54; Matthew 2

I read about his promises, his provision, his protection.

When you cross the Jordan River and enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, set up some large stones and coat them with plaster. Write this whole body of instruction on them when you cross the river to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you—a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. (Deuteronomy 27:2-3, NLT)

He shows the way. It is a path made by love, loving guidance and instruction.

Joyful are people of integrity,
    who follow the instructions of the Lord.
Joyful are those who obey his laws
    and search for him with all their hearts.
They do not compromise with evil,
    and they walk only in his paths.
You have charged us
    to keep your commandments carefully.
Oh, that my actions would consistently
    reflect your decrees!
Then I will not be ashamed
    when I compare my life with your commands.
As I learn your righteous regulations,
    I will thank you by living as I should!
I will obey your decrees.
    Please don’t give up on me! (Psalm 119:1-8, NLT)

 

His word is truth.

14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

17 Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A cry was heard in Ramah—
    weeping and great mourning.
Rachel weeps for her children,
    refusing to be comforted,
    for they are dead.”

23 So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2:14-15, 17-18, 23, NLT)

Lord, you are the Father who delights in me. You comfort me in my distress. You strengthen me in my weakness. You make a path straight for me, so I can walk in joy. You protect me. You provide for me. Your promises are trustworthy. You are trustworthy. Your love never fails. By your love, you show me how to love. By your love, you show me how to live. Thank you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 13,14; Psalm 99-101; Isaiah 41; Revelation 11

“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.  I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV)

God has made so many promises to us through His Word. Sometimes it is difficult to know if they are promises specifically to the Israelites or if they are promises for all of us.  This promise in Isaiah is one we can all cling to, and I have, on many occasions.  At first, it would appear to be directed at the Israelites with reference to Israel and Jacob, but “you descendants of Abraham my friend” is referring to the believers in Christ as well.  Galatians 3:29 addresses this:  “And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” (NLT)  This is a promise for all of us.

I love that God calls Abraham his friend.  A true friend is someone you confide in, laugh with, and enjoy their company.  You feel safe with them, bare your soul, and share your life.  You spend time together and a deep affection for one another. This is the kind of relationship God wants to have with us.

Jesus calls himself our friend. In John 15:13 he tells us “greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” He revealed to us everything he learned from the Father.  He did not keep secrets from us.  He willingly sacrificed his life on our behalf.

How comforting it is to take his promise to heart!  God is with us ALWAYS.  He strengthens us, He helps us, and He upholds us!  No matter what we are going through, He is part of it.  We never have to face anything alone.  He never rejects us or abandons us.  He has given us His Word!  Therefore:

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!  2Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy. 3Acknowledge that the Lord is God!  He made us, and we are his.[a] We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation. (NLT)

He is faithful, his promises are true, and his word is trustworthy—he deserves our praise.  Why is praising God so difficult for us?  We don’t seem to have a problem praising athletes or celebrities.  Their feats are nothing compared to those of our LORD. When I praise Him, I find I have taken the focus off of ME and put it on HIM where it belongs.  My burdens seem lighter—even though I may have tears streaming down my face as I lift my hands or fall to my knees.  His presence is more keenly felt.  I know I can talk about anything, I can complain, grapple issues, and share my joys.  Praise puts God in His Kingdom.  There have been times when I’ve felt so immersed in praise that it was almost as if I were standing before His throne—just me and Him.  I don’t understand why I don’t praise more often.

Father, when life is going good it is easy to praise you. But I want to be able to praise you no matter what is happening.  I know you alone are God whether life is calm or stormy.  Forgive me for the times I doubt and for the times I question your goodness.  While you are my friend, you are still God.  Your power is greater than anything.  I thank you for your strength in times of my weakness. Thank you for being my ever-present help in time of need. Thank you for upholding me above my enemies.  You alone are good.  Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Numbers 19; Psalm 56-57; Isaiah 8-9:7; James 2

Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish and on which no yoke has been laid.  You shall give it to the priest Eleazar, and it shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. Numbers 19:2-3 NRSV

The Old Testament has quite a few rituals recorded there that God demanded as part of His desire to reveal His authority and His holiness.  I could never get a handle on them all but as I got older, not only do I get them, but I under the new covenant I see what we have been given through Jesus.

 

But the Old Testament also gives us promises.  I love those promises – they are hope to me whenever I read them and those hopes are real because of Jesus.

For you have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from falling, so that I may walk before God in the light of life. – Psalm 56:13 NRSV

Even on Sunday morning, as our church started a series on the Apostles Creed – I was reminded that God is the ultimately authority and is holy.  While He is also a generous God who gave us Jesus, and because of Jesus we can call Him, Abba Father, I am to remember that He is my Father and with all the authority and holiness that comes with that.

 

But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread – Isaiah 8:13 NRSV

 

So my walk has to be holy too.  I get now why Jesus called us to be perfect and holy.  In the little things, they matter, because God matters and what I believe about God matters. In my fund-raising ministry I might be tempted to favour those with more wealth, but God calls me to obey Him.

 

My brothers and sisters,[a] do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? – James 2:2 NRSV

Lord, I want and need to show my world that deep inside, not just on the outside, I am a follower of Jesus.  I know that when I made the decision to follow You, I invited you to change me from the inside out.  There is no way I want to fake my decision, to act my way through my faith – I want to be real.  I need you Father to help me, I need your strong-arm to guide me and I need your wisdom to teach me.  May those who look on my life say that You really matter to me.  For Your glory and Your honour I pray.  Amen

evanlaar

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Deuteronomy 6-9; Luke 7

When he walked into the room and saw me, his face lit up. He walked into a room of family and friends and it was his birthday celebration, and yet when he looked at me, his face lit up. I saw it and held that image in my heart.

“Did you see his face when he saw you?” my husband asked. Oh, he had noticed it too! And then my tears.

It was my dear friend’s 75th birthday, and all I could do was cry. He made his way around the room, greeting guests, but he spent the longest time with me. He pulled up a chair next to me, and we were head to head, and he talked to me like I was the only one in the room. I cried because I loved him so much. I couldn’t hold it back, and I tried–I mean, who cries through parties?! He calls me his daughter, and he and his wife treat my family like we are their own.

I always thought the story of the woman crying at the Lord’s feet was unsettling. It made me uncomfortable.

36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. 37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. Luke 7:36-38, NLT.

That day celebrating my friend, the tears that wouldn’t stop, the overflowing of love for him–I suddenly got it. I went home that day and cried some more and wrote him a letter from my heart, sat at a desk crying as I realized God’s deep love for me, modeled through a man who calls me daughter.

These Deuteronomy verses are dear to me, and I read them with fresh perspective, being on the other side of a promise–a promised land, with streams and pools of water, of grapevines and pomegranates, olive oil and copper in the hills. In my notes, I write down what stands out to me: (OT) teach kids, land (provision), remember God (praise, love, obey, fear), blessing, he makes a way; (NT) signs and miracles, healing and forgiveness, the woman’s tears, “Your faith has saved you.”

I remember His signs and miracles in my life, His provision, His love for me (adoption and forgiveness of sins).

For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.

“The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you …” Deuteronomy 7:6-7a, NLT.

Father God, thank you for loving me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Ezekiel 4-6; Hebrews 10:1-23

God wants a relationship.

“They will recognize how hurt I am by their unfaithful hearts and lustful eyes that long for their idols.” Ezekiel 6:9b, NLT.

He will go to great lengths to have this relationship.

If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,

“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
    But you have given me a body to offer.
You were not pleased with burnt offerings
    or other offerings for sin.
Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
    as is written about me in the Scriptures.'” Hebrews 10:2-7, NLT.

When he makes a promise, he keeps it.

23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Hebrews 10:23, NLT.

When he says I’m forgiven, I am.

18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. Hebrews 10:18, NLT.

This is my Father God. My Father who pursues me, desires relationship, and loves with a love that won’t end.

Holidays are hard. In the face of feeling unwanted, unseen, unloved, unforgiven, I remind myself of truth–the very opposite of those wounds is healing truth that I am wanted, seen, loved and forgiven. And this is reason for giving thanks–thanksgiving every day.

Courtney (66books365)

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Joshua 18-19, Psalm 149-150, Jeremiah 9, & Matthew 23

The closer I get to retirement, the more I think about what I will leave to my small family.  When I pose this as a question to God, He answers, “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers has given you?”  (Joshua 18:4).  In this question to me is a challenge to claim what God has already given. Material things are not the first possessions that come to mind when I look at what God has given me; His greatest gift is salvation.  I’ve spent hours meditating on the promises that my family will be saved and many years waiting patiently for the Lord to reveal His plans for my family.  I’ve believed the Psalmist who says, “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation” (Psalm 149:4). Yet I have to confess that many more hours I have not made time to meet with Him; I have been too busy with doing life; I’ve allowed the world’s calling to capture my eyes, mind, and heart.  When called home, I’ve walked the opposite way.

Consider the Lord of the universe.  Every other creature knows Him. Yet man is still running away.  I am still running away so that I can do my own thing, be my own boss, avoid living on my inheritance.  Time is running out.  Oh, I may have a few years yet to work and save up for retirement, but what is the most precious possession in my life that I can pass down?  Certainly not land, wealth, or heirlooms.  A tender, humble heart then.  That is what I would like my children to inherit.  Can I do that?  Is there any way that my life’s letter will testify to the peace and joy of surrender to Christ?  Even as I see the challenge of chicks running amok, I long to call to them to stand still long enough to be caught up and nestled in safe places with Christ where sadness, tears, tragedy, and turmoil will cease.  This longing for them reminds me of Christ’s longing to tenderly and lavishly love on the Israelites.  In Matthew 23:37, Jesus says, “Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” So He knows my deepest desire is to see my family gathered together in His house of worship. This is what I know: Jeremiah 9:24 – “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understand and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight.”  To me, this is the land of promise. To leave my family with praise on their lips for the God I serve, like every other thing that has breath, to praise the Lord (Psalm 50:6). I want that to be my legacy.

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