When my mom was in the final stages of her life, she was in the ICU at M. D. Anderson hospital. On one particular day, I got to spend the whole day with her. She must have seen the worry on my face because she said, “There’s nothing too hard for God you know.” She then spent the next few hours telling me of all the times in her life that God came through in impossible situations. She then said, “I have no doubt that God knows what He’s doing. I have peace in whatever He chooses.”
That day was one final lesson from her that God is in control, and that there’s nothing He can’t do. Just because she didn’t walk out of that hospital completely healed and cancer free, doesn’t mean that God’s doesn’t have the ability to heal. For whatever reason, He didn’t heal her the way we were praying. She knew that was a possibility so she reminded me, and herself, of all the times God had performed miracles in her life.
I don’t know why God answers some prayers and not others. I don’t know why He shows off in great form in some instances and not in others. What I do know is that He has the ability to. Jeremiah felt the same way. He was locked up while Jerusalem was under siege for prophesying that Jerusalem would be under siege and lost the battle. While He was in prison, God told him that his cousin would come sell him some land. I’m sure Jeremiah laughed. Why would someone in prison need to buy land? Because God was going to do the impossible and set him free one day and return him from captivity.
When the deal was done, in Jeremiah 32:17 , he prayed, “Sovereign Lord, you made the earth and the sky by your great power and might; nothing is too difficult for you” (GNT). He reminded himself, like my mom did, that there’s no situation too hard for God to intervene in. There no whole so deep that He can’t pull you out of. There’s no sickness too far spread that He can’t heal. There’s no life so far gone that He can’t rescue. Whatever you’re facing today, know that there’s nothing too difficult for God to handle.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
Sometimes we confuse the facts with the truth and we start to believe the wrong thing. A fact is simply a subset or fraction of what the truth is. They’re like a piece of the puzzle, but they don’t show the whole picture. They can tell us what’s going on in that moment of our life, but the truth is that a momentary situation in our life doesn’t define who we are. This is important because our enemy uses facts against us like a lawyer to destroy our faith and trust in what God is doing, or going to do, in our lives. He uses facts to distract us and to try to disqualify us from God’s promises. He tried to use facts against Jesus while tempting Him, but each time Jesus countered with the truth of God’s Word.
In Genesis 15, the fact is that Abram and Sarai were barren and couldn’t have children. The truth was that God had already promised Abram that he would be the father of many nations. The facts were that they were too old to conceive, but the truth was that God was still moving on their behalf. Even Abram had trouble believing the truth. In verse 2 he prayed, “But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth” (NLT). Then God reaffirmed the truth that he would have a son and many descendants. Verse 6 tells us that Abram believed the Lord and it was counted as righteousness because he trusted the truth over facts.
In John 8:31 Jesus said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” What facts have you been believing over God’s truth? Facts have a way of binding us up and preventing us from being free. Today, I want you to start believing and trusting in God’s truth instead of the facts your current situation is telling you. If God has promised it, no facts can ever stop it. Be free from their grip on you today. Say out loud that you believe God’s truth. Repeat out loud what God’s promise is to you. Quit quoting facts and start confessing God’s truth. We must be like Abram where we believe despite what our current situation is telling us. God counts that kind of faith as righteousness. When we do, He blesses us and sets us free.
The other day I looked over at my son and it hit me that we’ve passed the halfway mark of how long a kid traditionally stays at home. I started thinking of how much more we wanted to pour into him with the time left. Then I started thinking of my own life and how I’m passed the halfway point of an average lifespan. I thought of the things I still. Want to do and accomplish. Then I began to think about purpose and calling. There’s a lot more left unaccomplished than accomplished when it comes to fulfilling God’s plan for my life. I wondered if God would still do what He promised, if there was still enough time to make an impact and if I’m able to do it.
I started thinking about David who was a teenager when his father was visited by the prophet to anoint the next king. It wasn’t long after that when he killed Goliath and everyone knew him. He had been invited into the king’s palace to play music. He must have thought things were happening quickly for him to become king. Then year after year passed by and he found himself hiding in caves and eventually having to live in a foreign country in order to stay alive. He must have wondered if the prophet got it right. Was he going to be king? Would God fulfill His promise? Was it too late? He was human so he probably had times when he doubted or wondered if he interpreted it right.
In Psalm 138:8, David prayed, “You will do everything you have promised; Lord, your love is eternal. Complete the work that you have begun” (GNT). When David doubted or felt down, he would reassure himself to trust in God. He would go back through the Scriptures and recite the times God fulfilled His promises. He built his faith up when his circumstances caused doubt. His prayer here reminds us that God isn’t finished with our story, no matter how late in life you feel you are. His promises still hold true. He will do everything He’s promised to do with your life and complete what He started. His timing is not our timing, and His ways are not our ways. Be faithful in the waiting, build up your faith and stay ready. God’s not done with your story yet.
Recently we were driving along when my son asked, “Dad, can we see if I know the same hymns as you?” I began playing different hymns on my phone and sang along. It had been years since I had heard any hymns. All of a sudden several of these lyrics began resonating with my soul. One in particular was “Standing On The Promises”. Verse two says, “Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living Word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God.” It was a great reminder to me that we can trust and stand on God’s promises to us no matter what is happening.
In Genesis 12, God promised Abram to give him land and to make him into a great nation. To inherit the promise, he had to go where God was leading without knowing where he was going. When he arrived, there were giants and other people living in the land God promised to him. He continued to stand on God’s promise. While that was going on, he and his wife faced infertility until they were too old to have kids. God came through for them, but later asked him to sacrifice his only son. Even as his son was bound on the altar and the knife was raised, he stood on God’s promise. God provided a ram and knew he could trust Abram with any promise.
2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory” (NLT). God’s promises to you and to me are fulfilled through Jesus. We can trust Him and the promises He’s made to us. When we stand on the promises of God, we’re able to worship no matter what comes our way. When we stand on the promises, we trust what God says over what our situation is telling us. When we stand on the promises, we will prevail. If what God promised hasn’t happened yet, keep standing on it trusting in him. Don’t be swayed by you temporary circumstances when they’re guaranteed by the Eternal One.
If you ever travel to the Middle East, one of the things you will see lots of are Palm Date trees. It grows very well in desert conditions as well as just about any climate. They refer to it as the tree of life. Without these trees, it would be difficult to sustain life in such harsh conditions. These trees provide shade on a blistering, hot day. The trunk and even the leaves are used as building materials. It’s not uncommon to see the leaves placed in roads where cars drive over them to break them down so they can be used to build with. The fruit stalks are used to make rope and of course, the dates are delicious with many health benefits. Palm trees thrive and help to sustain life wherever they’re planted.
Abraham is one of the great heroes of faith. He trusted what God said and acted on it. When God asked him to leave his family to go to place he’d never been, he packed up and left. When God told him that he would have descendants as many as the stars, he trusted God at His word. When God asked him to sacrifice his only son, the only way to fulfill His promise, he bound his son and took out his knife. Because he believed God, Genesis 15:6 tells us he was counted as righteous. Not only are we counted as righteous when we believe, we are now given a robe of righteousness when we believe in Jesus. That means you and I are entitled to the benefits of the righteous.
Psalm 92:12 says, “The righteous will flourish like the date palm [long-lived, upright and useful]; They will grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic and stable]” (AMP). Wherever God has you planted right now, you have the ability to flourish, be useful and bring life. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what season of life you’re in or who is around you. God will bless you so that you can withstand the conditions and produce fruit. We can’t look at where God has us and use that as an excuse for not bearing fruit or being useful because He has given you the blessings of the righteous that produce fruit in all seasons. Don’t complain to God about how difficult it is. Instead, ask Him to use you to bring life wherever you go and to use every facet of your life to be a blessing to others.
You can’t have the promises of God without going through the processes of God. Some processes are giving of tithes and offerings. Other processes can be difficult seasons. Those to me are the hardest ones to go through. They’re not as simple as give and it shall be given unto you. Many times these seasons are something God walks us into without asking us. There’s also no time limit to them or clear outcomes. However, when God takes us through these seasons, we can be sure He is with us and will produce something in us that makes us better.
David was a young shepherd when he was anointed king. He at least knew what the promise was before going through the process. For the next 15 years, he would go through more downs than ups. He would be forced to live in caves surrounded by outcasts. He would face many sleepless nights fearing for his life. For a while he even had to live in the country of his enemy. His wife and kids were kidnapped along with the wives and kids of his army. He faced a mutiny after that. After years of struggling, he finally became king. The process changed him from one who could watch a few sheep into one who could lead millions.
Psalms 66:12 says, “You’ve allowed our enemies to prevail against us. We’ve passed through fire and flood, yet in the end you always bring us out better than we were before, saturated with your goodness” (TPT). What God allows to happen in our life is often part of His process. He uses the darkest most painful times to either change us, push us closer to Him or to help us be able to empathize and connect with another person. God is always working in our lives to make us more like Him. When going through the hardest times, we can hold onto Romans 8:28 which reminds us that ALL things work together for our good. Keep going through the process. His promises are on their way.
When I was younger, people at church would often quote 1 Corinthians 6:19 to me and others. It says, “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God” (GNT). You don’t hear many people quoting this one these days, but it’s still true and should guide our decisions. When you gave your heart to Christ, you surrendered your rights to your life and your body. You were purchased at a high cost. It’s time to quit living and thinking of yourself as clearance goods. Also, because you now belong to Christ, you are entitled to many promises.
Here are some Bible verses on the promises of belonging to Christ.
1. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
2. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1 NLT
3. May peace be with all of you who belong to Christ.
1 Peter 5:14 GNT
4. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.
1 Corinthians 15:22 NLT
5. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Overwhelmed. Outnumbered. Stressed. When looking at situations we face, it doesn’t take much for these feelings to pop up and dominate our thoughts. When we feel this way, we tend to have tunnel vision. We concentrate on the issue at hand and lose track of other things that are going on. Fear and worry use it as an opportunity to move into our thoughts. All the what if’s begin to pop up, and we forget who truly is in control. That’s why it’s good to have a godly friend you can reach out to when you go into this tailspin. They can encourage you, pray for you and help you get your mind right. They help put things back in perspective.
In 2 Chronicles 32, the Assyrian army was destroying everyone in their path. Jerusalem was on their hit list and they were coming for it. King Hezekiah shored up the city’s water supply by building an underground tunnel to channel water in. He built up their defenses and then gathered every man in the city in front of the city gate. The men were overwhelmed, outnumbered and stressed. They knew they were going to be defeated. The king gathered them in order to encourage them and help them get their minds right. All they could focus on was the impending doom on its way. Worry and fear had taken over.
Then in verses 7-8, the king said, “‘Be determined and confident, and don’t be afraid of the Assyrian emperor or of the army he is leading. We have more power on our side than he has on his. He has human power, but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.’ The people were encouraged by these words of their king” (GNT). You may need to read that last statement of his again. You have more power on your side than the situation you’re facing has on its. You have the power, protection and promises of God on your side. You don’t fight your battles alone, and He who is in you is greater than he who is against you (1John 4:4). Be encouraged today, pray and get your mind focused on God. You can pull out of the self destructive tail spin and be victorious no matter what you’re facing.
About twenty years ago I did some things and went through some that changed my life. I made poor decisions and suffered consequences for them. At one point I was beating myself up over it. I began to get worked up and defeated over one thing in particular. Because of the things I had gone through, the denomination I was a part of at the time had a rule that people in my circumstance could never be in any ministry role. It was devastating. My whole life I had dreamed of one day being in ministry, and now that dream was dead. A friend came over and asked why I was upset. When I told him, he responded, “What makes you think that you, or this denomination, can rescind God’s calling? You don’t have that kind of power!” It was the slap in the face I needed, and I began to hope and believe again that one day that would happen.
In Romans 4, Paul is writing about Abraham, God’s promise to him and how it relates to our faith. Verse 14 says, “If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless” (NLT). He explains none of us are capable of keeping God’s Law without messing up and God’s promises are received through faith. Then verse 17-18 says, ”This (Abraham receiving the promise) happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping.” That’s powerful. Even when there was no reason to hope, he kept hoping. That’s truly was faith is.
If you feel like a dream or calling is dead, it’s time to hope and believe again. Your past actions, or your current circumstances, do not have the power to change God’s promises or His calling. We serve a God who brings dead dreams, dead hopes, dead callings, dead you name it back to life. There is nothing that is impossible for Him. We have to push past the lies and what our eyes tell us in order to believe what God promised. We must awaken faith and hope in our heart again and trust that God, who brings dead things to life and creates new things out of nothing, will respond and move on our behalf. It’s not easy, but that’s what faith is. Abraham did it and was rewarded for his faith. I believe God will reward us too when we stand with that kind of faith and begin moving in the direction He called us to.