In recent years, there’s been a rise of subscription apps. They got them for TV, groceries and a host of other things. The market place is getting crowded, so they’ve started to add incentives. I didn’t even consider getting the grocery app I have now until they started adding benefits to owning it. I get ten cents off a gallon of gas, which adds up to offset the cost. I also get free deliver of online items or even in store groceries. They also added a year’s subscription to a TV app to the benefits package. All of a sudden it had enough value for me to go ahead and pay. To me, the benefits now outweigh what it costs me to make it worth it. We do this same analysis in many areas of our lives.
If you’re familiar with the Bible, you’ve probably heard that Hebrews 11 has been called the Hall of Faith. It’s full of people in the Bible who had to trust God through difficult circumstances. They held onto their faith in God when all seemed lost. Verse 37 says, “Some of these faith champions were brutally killed by stoning, being sawn in two or slaughtered by the sword. These lived in faith as they went about wearing goatskins and sheepskins for clothing. They lost everything they possessed, they endured great afflictions, and they were cruelly mistreated” (TPT). Each of the heroes of the faith paid a high price, but they keep the benefits of following God in mind to help them endure. Many never saw the fulfillment of their promise from God, but because they held onto their faith, their future generations did.
Romans 6:22 says, “But now, as God’s loving servants, you live in joyous freedom from the power of sin. So consider the benefits you now enjoy—you are brought deeper into the experience of true holiness that ends with eternal life!” You and I must also keep in mind the benefits that God offers us as we continue down the path of Christianity. You may not be faced with the same hardships these heroes of the faith had to, but you will still face difficulty times and be forced to trust in God instead of your circumstances. Our faith comes at a cost to us. It is freely given to us, but living in the world while being separate from it can be difficult at times. Trusting God over what we see can exact a price in our lives. Always keep in mind that God has more in store for us than we can even comprehend now. Remember all His benefits and hold fast to your faith. He will always do what He promised.
From the time we’re little, we learned to ask the question, “Do you promise?” Why do we do that when someone tells us something? Because we want to make sure they follow through on their word. When I was a kid, you had to cross your heart and hope to die or stick a needle in your eye if you didn’t keep it. These guarantees gave validity to the other person that you were going to keep your word no matter what. You learned at an early age that if you go back on a promise, then others won’t trust anything you say. When you broke a promise, you had to either find new friends or find a way to rebuild the trust you had lost. Making and trusting promises are a character building part of growing up.
Merriam Webster defines promise as, “A legally binding declaration that gives the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance of a specified act.” When I think of that combined with the promises of God, it builds my faith. I have a right to expect God to do what He promised in the Bible. In fact, I’ve read that there are over 3,000 promises from God in the Bible, and many are made to me and you. If God promised something to you and I, we can know and trust that He will do it no matter what. He has never broken a promise and He’s not going to start breaking them now. Hold onto them, trust them and build your life on them because you can count on them.
Here are some Bible verses on trusting God’s promises.
1. But the humble of heart will inherit every promise and enjoy abundant peace.
Psalms 37:11 TPT
2. The believer replied, “Every promise of God proves true; he protects everyone who runs to him for help. So don’t second-guess him; he might take you to task and show up your lies.”
Proverbs 30:5-6 MSG
3. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.
Romans 4:20-22 NLT
4. The words and promises of the LORD are pure words, Like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times.
PSALMS 12:6 AMP
5. Let your broken heart show your sorrow; tearing your clothes is not enough. Come back to the Lord your God. He is kind and full of mercy; he is patient and keeps his promise; he is always ready to forgive and not punish.
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.