April 5, 2016

1 Kings 8:24 “You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.”

God’s promises are going to be fulfilled, so we had better pay attention to them! Often we read the Bible and think, that’s nice, and then go on our way with no grasp of the fact that what we have just read is even more certain than the day’s headlines. After all, reporters just write as they perceive things, while God is aware not only of what is really going on, but also of what is going to happen. That’s why it is helpful to write down what we feel God is saying to us, particularly in daily devotions. Looking back over what we have prayed and what God has spoken to us in the past can be a powerful encouragement to faith in the present for the future. When we read the promises in the Bible, it’s important to pay attention not just to the promises themselves but also to the conditions that God attaches to those promises. If we ignore the conditions, we won’t be able to enjoy the things promised. Also, it’s important to recognize that God doesn’t just promise good things, He also promises bad things if we fail to be obedient. We don’t like to think of those as promises, but they are just as valid as the ones we like to claim. I often quote John 16:33 – “In this world you will have trouble, but rejoice; I have overcome the world.” That’s a promise! Any time we have trouble, we should remember that verse and take our troubles as a sign of the faithfulness of God.

I’ve had plenty of run-ins with the “name it and claim it” crowd. Their focus on God’s promises is good, but woefully deficient, because they tend to ignore the conditions, as well as the negative promises. I must not let such negative encounters blunt my appreciation for God’s absolute faithfulness and love. In my familiarity with Scripture I must not gloss over passages, because familiarity indeed breeds contempt. I must keep my heart open and sensitive to the Holy Spirit all the time, and particularly every time I open the Bible, or even recall a verse or passage. I am to proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom and remember that every bit of it applies to me just as much as to the people to whom I speak. God is faithful, and His Word is eternal.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that I’ve been asked to speak briefly to the graduates today. I pray that Your words through me would indeed encourage each graduate, and the others present as well. May we all have a fresh appreciation of Your faithfulness, to commit ourselves to You afresh so that Your plans may be accomplished in and through us, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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