Friday, September 27, 2013

The Value of a Promise is Only as Good as One’s Word

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth (Isaiah 55:11)

What’s your most valuable possession?

Some people value their home above all else. For others, it may be their pet. Some value their job, position, status in life, or wealth. I’ve heard it said, “Clothes make the man”, but the truth is an expensive suit looks equally good on a liar as it does an honest man.

All of these mean very little if your word is of no value.

Why?

Your word is the only true representation of you.

In examining the character and nature of God, it’s easy to learn how He values what He says:

The Lord has done what He purposed; He has fulfilled His word...” (Lamentations 2:17, NKJV)

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11, NKJV)

God values what He says, He doesn’t make empty promises!

I regret that in my life, I have made promises I have never kept. Regardless of the circumstances by which I didn’t keep my word, what I said and what I did were not consistent.

That’s the difference between God and man; God is consistent!

That’s why when He makes a promise, we can be confident, He will honor His word.

People don’t forget a liar. We remember the person who exaggerates. We steer clear of those we consider untrustworthy.

Why?

Because their words are empty, lifeless, and not valued.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, NKJV)

God’s word is alive!

Have you ever seen anything lifeless accomplish anything?

A beautiful painting can be quite inspiring, but there is no life in a painting. A architect can design a beautiful skyscraper, but no matter how tall and majestic it is, it will never exhale the breath of life. Houses, clothes, cars, position, career, none of these contain the breath of life.

Life comes from the Giver of Life.

When I learned how God values His word, I began to understand how important my word is. I realize God values what I say.

But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.” (Matthew 12:36, NKJV)

God encourages me to allow the same mind that is in Christ to be in me. I think that means my words should bear fruit.

But how can they if they are lifeless?

Perhaps I should measure my words more carefully so that when I make a promise, I will honor what I said and endeavor to complete what I said I would do.

As a boy, my childhood friend was the only person I knew who had a mother and father, and they lived in an actual home! His father was a New York Yankee baseball fan. I was just learning about sports but being from Chicago, I was a fan of the Chicago White Sox. One day, I was over my friend’s home and I was talking about how the White Sox could beat the Yankees. His father heard me and challenged me. Out of my mouth came the words, “I bet you the Sox will beat the Yankees!” So, I bet my friend’s father, even though I had no concept of the historical tradition of the Yankees or Sox.

I lost that bet and for days, I was ashamed to go over my friend’s home because I didn’t have the money to cover the bet. I finally decided I couldn’t keep avoiding him so I walked through alleys collecting bottles for the deposit until I had enough to cover the bet I made. I was thinking, he won’t take the money but when I walked up to him and said, “here’s the money I owe you for the bet Mr. Morris”, he just smiled, a short, stubby cigar protruding from his mouth, reached and took the money from my hand and said, “I told you the Yankees were the better team!

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;” (James 1:19, NKJV)

I no longer go around bragging about sport teams I like. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my Chicago teams, but I don’t go around saying what the outcome of a game will be; I certainly don’t entertain bets!

It’s better if what I say contains more than just idle words, chatter, vanity. I should desire to say what can be of benefit, of use, words which have a purpose.

The value of a promise is only as good as one’s word.

God’s word is true. That means His word is alive, filled with life-giving properties. I can rely on God’s word because He values what He says. He not only wants me to value and believe in His word, He also wants me to experience the benefits of trusting His word.

If, you’ve never experienced the power of God’s word, or you haven’t for a long period of time, why not start today and see what God can do for you?

Andrae’ Crouch sings the song, “Through it All” where he talks about learning to depend upon the word of God:


I’ve Had Many Tears and Sorrows,
I’ve Had Questions for Tomorrow,
There’s Been Times I Didn't Know Right From Wrong.
But In Every Situation,
God Gave Me Blessed Consolation,
That My Trials Come To Only Make Me Strong.

Through It All,
Through It All,
I’ve Learned To Trust In Jesus,
I’ve Learned To Trust In God.

Through It All,
Through It All,
I’ve Learned To Depend Upon His Word.

A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Christ in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sundays

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Promise Keeper

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.
Psalm 145:13

"The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does." (Psalm 145:13, NIV)

A car speeds into an employee parking lot. A woman with an exasperated look on her face opens the passenger door and asks the driver:

Where were you? You said you would pick me up and I’ve been waiting for over an hour!

A young woman waits patiently by her phone for a call from someone who will later say, “I forgot”.

A young man sits quietly in a restaurant eagerly awaiting his date, only to realize that after two hours, he has been stood up.

Is there anything more frustrating than to have someone make a promise they will never keep?

Often, we look at the Lord the way we look at people; His promise is just a bunch of words. Looking at God in this way is a mistake that will only bring frustration. We know God has made promises to believers, but we have a tendency to doubt God when His promise is delayed. We forget how the Lord has watched over, blessed and honored His promises to us. We see futility more often than faithfully trusting in God.

Years ago, I drove an old beat-up car that needed servicing, I had it towed and waited for the mechanic to tell me what was wrong. Back then, I had so little money that I couldn’t even afford replacement wipers; the last thing I needed was absorbing the cost to repair a car I desperately needed for transportation. When the mechanic gave me the estimate, I was devastated. I don’t remember how much the repair cost was, but I do remember wondering how I was going to pay and to get my car running again. I began to pray and suddenly, I remember having a very clear thought I perceived was from the Lord:

This is an opportunity to demonstrate my love for you. Your car will be repaired and you will earn the money to pay for it.

I was relieved to know my car would be repaired, but I hoped for something a little more emphatic. I'm not sure what I expected the Lord to do, but it certainly wasn't enabling me to work and pay for the repair of my car. This was one of those times when I wanted an "easy, hassle-free blessing"; a blessing that didn't require anything from me. I wanted the Lord to just open the windows of heaven and pour out my blessing to my open hands! It took a few stressful days, I was without transportation but I earned enough money to get my car repaired and I was once again able to have adequate transportation. I’ve never forgotten that experience because the Lord kept His promise.

The LORD will accomplish what concerns me” (Psalm 138:8, NAB)

God is concerned about your life, right down to the smallest detail; things we tend to forget about. God doesn’t forget! He remembers everything concerning you.

The Lord will accomplish what concerns me!

Whenever I face circumstances that appear to overwhelm me, I remind myself how the Lord has accomplished on my behalf what I was unable to. Paul write in Romans:

I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, NIV)

We are assured that, “You’re in good hands with AllState.

Products and politicians make guarantees.

Promises are easy to make, but it’s not making a promise that’s important, it’s one’s ability to keep a promise made.

When God makes a promise, He’s able to keep it!

Why?

God honors His word by keeping it. God’s word cannot fail, absolutely cannot fail!

God wants the opportunity in your life to prove His word is true.

Will you give Him the opportunity?

A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Christ in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Spiritual SundaysNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Friday, September 13, 2013

God’s Uncompromising Promise


I will never leave or forsake you

It’s been months since I last wrote a post on this blog; much has happened during that time. I was ill for a while, then I injured my back, and I recently traveled to Croatia for six weeks. It’s a beautiful country and everyone I met treated me so kind.

Some of my family, friends, and those of you I call my virtual friends asked about this blog (I really appreciate those of you who wrote me). It’s encouraging to know that others read this blog; it’s definitely blessed my life to share my thoughts about living a Christ-centered life. I hope the Lord continues to inspire me to pen my thoughts; I also hope you continue to read and find something that encourages, strengthens you spiritually, and inspires you in your faith walk with Christ.

"...be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV)

Have you ever felt so all alone that you wondered: Does God hear my prayers? Does God even care about me?

I can remember having those thoughts and I remember how much of a struggle it was to trust God when everything in my life said, Give up!

What does a person do when things seem so hopeless?

What does a person do when you are in a vast, endless ocean with no land in sight, and the only thing keeping you afloat is a small piece of wood? You cling to that wood with a sense of desperation, not even knowing if you can stay afloat.

In those times, I felt there was only one option available to me and that was continue to pray…even though I had no idea what God would do, even when I had no discernible awareness of the Lord’s presence, I still believed he would bring about a change because He said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. That promise kept me from drowning.

After my marriage ended, I prayed that God would call me from this earth. I felt ready and willing. I said, I’ve lived my life Lord, I have no regrets, and I’m ready to go. I wanted to simply close my eyes and never have to wake up again. I thought, If I don’t wake up tomorrow, all would be well; I’d be in heaven praising God.

However, the next morning I'd awake somewhat disappointed that I was still here. My conversations with the Lord went something like this:

OK Lord, I'm still here so obviously You didn't hear me last night. Now I've got to face another day all by myself, so I could really use Your help to get me through this day.

I realize now that I didn't really want to die, I simply wanted things in my life to have some order, I wanted peace, and an end to the chaos. I imagine the Lord got a kick out of me advising Him on what to do with me. The words were coming from my mouth, the Holy Spirit is there listening to me (rolling His eyes) and saying, “Seriously?

I'm glad the word of God says, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26, NIV) It's a good thing to have the Holy Spirit as a spiritual filter for my mouth, my mind, my life.

This ritual went on every night and subsequent morning for several weeks.

Finally one morning, I got out of bed and on my knees I began to confess that the Lord didn’t need my counsel regarding what He could do with my life, and when He should do it. I realized that God still had a purpose for me and it was time I stopped wanting to leave this world.

Sometimes, we want to hear something truly special from the Lord, words meant just for us. We wait for the Lord to do something spectacular in our lives and we forget that:
    Faith in Christ does not hang on spectacular events in
    my life. Faith is my uncompromising belief that no
    matter what occurs in my life; Christ is with me…
    He will never leave or forsake me.


Remember what King Nebuchadnezzar asked Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego:
Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” (Daniel 3:14-15, NIV)

Remember what they replied to King Nebuchadnezzar:
King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18, NIV)

What this says to me is that God doesn’t need to prove Himself to me by performing something miraculous. Even when no spectacular miracle occurs, I still need to trust Him with the end results; no matter the outcome!

I can do that!

How?

Believing His promise to me is certain. No matter what happens, He will never leave me or forsake me.

He makes that same promise to you!

A Note of Thanks: Once again, I want to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Christ in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sundays