Friday, April 19, 2013
In the last few days, I have been thinking and studying about God's promises. There is so MUCH to think and study about; I don't even know where to begin writing today. I think I will write over several days on this topic.
What ARE God's promises? There are MANY listed in the Bible. Here is a sample:
* He will ever leave or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
* He wants to prosper you and give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
* He will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
* He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.(Isaiah 40:29)
* He will give us peace of mind so we are not troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)
* All who listen to God will live in peace, untroubled by fear and harm. (Proverbs 1:33)
* God will supply all your needs. (Philippians 4:19)
* Nothing can separate us from God's love. (Romans 8:38-39)
These promises sound pretty good, especially in the aftermath of the Boston bombings and explosions in Texas, not to mention the violence and discord in all other areas of our world. They sound pretty good, but can we believe them? Can we hold on to them? Can we REALLY stand on those promises?
In studying the verses above and many others, I am coming to realize that God has some unconditional promises, and ones that are conditional as well.
I believe that God loves ALL his children. That means those that follow him and those who want nothing to do with him. He wants ALL his children with him forever, but he knows that because of the free will he gave us, some will choose not to come to him. He promises to save anyone who asks.
Romans 10:9 states: "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." -- I believe that is unconditional, all you have to do is ask and you will be saved. Once you ask, God says that NOTHING can separate you from his love. THAT is a promise!
However, if you want the promised peace, joy, strength and power in the verses above, I believe God wants a little more from you. He wants you to abide in him. He wants you to follow him, he wants you to believe in him. He wants you to talk and walk with him every day. IF you do those things, then you will receive his promises. If God is just an afterthought, or someone you call out to only when you are in trouble, then you can't expect to feel the peace and rest he promises.
How can I say these things? How can I know? I have experienced it! I HAVE used God as an afterthought. I HAVE ignored his teachings and warnings. I HAVE run away from his loving arms. During those times, I felt alone, lost, troubled and afraid. Those times lasted a LONG time! Did God love me then? Yes, I believe he did. But, I wasn't able to experience the joy of God's promises because I wasn't living up to his conditions. They are only conditions because he knows that when you do rely on him every day, his peace settles over you BECAUSE you are relying on him instead of yourself.
When I discovered the peace that comes when I talk, walk and live WITH God, I knew that he DOES keep his promises. Bad things still happen to me and I still have troubles, but with God in the picture every step of the way, the fear, worry and depression doesn't last as long or go as deep as it did before. I CAN show love to those who have hurt me. I CAN find the strength to do the things that scare me. I CAN give more than I receive. I persevere and try to follow God's will for my life instead of my own, knowing that God will keep his promises to me. I am standing on those promises today. I am not special. You can receive God's promised peace, strength and protection too. Just start talking to him and walking with him every day and you will begin to feel the benefit of standing on his promises as well!