BUILDING OUR LIVES ON THE PROMISES OF GOD
The heroes in the Bible came from all walks of life: rulers, servants, teachers, doctors. They were male, female, single, and married. Yet one common denominator united them: they built their lives on the promises of God.
God’s promises are pine trees in the Rocky Mountains of Scripture: abundant, unbending, and perennial. Some of the promises are positive. Some are negative. But all are binding, for not only is God a promise maker; God is a promise keeper.
After 40 Years of Ministry
I’ve discovered that nothing lifts the weary soul like the promises of God. This book contains some of my favorites. Many of them are go- to promises I’ve turned to throughout the years to encourage others. And to encourage myself. We desperately need them. We do not need more opinions or hunches; we need the definitive declarations of our mighty and loving God. He governs the world according to these great and precious promises.
The circumstances of life or the promises of God— upon which are you standing?
— Max Lucado
Explore the Promises
Stamped with God’s Image
Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature.
Pop psychology is wrong when it tells you to look inside yourself and find your value. The magazines are wrong when they suggest you are only as good as you are thin, muscular, pimple- free, or perfumed. The movies mislead you when they imply that your value increases as your stamina, intelligence, or net worth grows. Religious leaders lie when they urge you to grade your significance according to your church attendance, self- discipline, or spirituality.
According to the Bible you are good simply because God made you in his image. Period. He cherishes you because you bear a resemblance to him. And you will only be satisfied when you engage in your role as an image bearer of God. Such was the view of King David: “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Ps. 17:15).
Lay hold of this promise, and spare yourself a world of confusion and fear. How much sadness would evaporate if every person simply chose to believe this: I was made for God’s glory and am being made into his image.
The Devil’s Days Are Numbered
The God who brings peace will soon defeat Satan and give you power over him.
Between now and the final whistle, you will have reason to be anxious. You are going to fumble the ball. The devil will seem to gain the upper hand. Some demon will intercept your dreams and destiny. All that is good will appear to lose.
But you do not need to worry. You and I know the final score. The next time you smell his stinky breath, remind him of the promise he is loath to hear: “The God who brings peace will soon defeat Satan and give you power over him” (Rom. 16:20).
It’s a battle, so don’t pack a picnic basket. Yet it is a battle God has won, so don’t give the devil more than a passing glance.
An Heir of God
We are heirs— heirs of God and co- heirs with Christ.
You aren’t merely a slave, servant, or saint of God. No, you are a child of God. You have legal right to the family business and fortune of heaven. The will has been executed. The courts have been satisfied. Your spiritual account has been funded. He “has blessed [you] with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
You have everything you need to be everything God desires. Divine resources have been deposited in you.
Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things” (1 Chron. 29:11).
Your Prayers Have Power
When a believing person prays, great things happen.
When God saved you, he enlisted you. He gave not only forgiveness for your past but also authority in the present and a role in the future.
This life is on- the- job training for eternity. God is preparing you to reign with him in heaven. “If we endure, we will also reign with him” (2 Tim. 2:12). We shall “reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10). We are part of God’s family. Ruling the universe is the family business. When the sons of my friend ask him, “Can we open a branch in Topeka?” or “Can we add a new product to our catalog?” or “What would you think if we brought on a new accountant?” the father listens. He has a vested interest in their development. Our Father has a vested interest in ours.
When you, as God’s child, seek to honor the family business, God hears your requests.
Grace for the Humble
God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.
1 Peter 5:5
God resists the proud because the proud resist God. Arrogance stiffens the knee so it will not kneel, hardens the heart so it will not admit to sin. The heart of pride never confesses, never repents, never asks for forgiveness. Indeed, the arrogant never feel the need for forgiveness. Pride is the hidden reef that shipwrecks the soul.
To the degree God hates arrogance, he loves humility. Isn’t it easy to see why? Humility is happy to do what pride will not. The humble heart is quick to acknowledge the need for God, eager to confess sin, willing to kneel before heaven’s mighty hand.
God has a special place for the humble of heart.
God Gets You
Our high priest is able to understand our weaknesses.
The Word became flesh.
Does this promise matter? If you ever wonder if God understands you, it does. If you ever wonder if God listens, it does. If you ever wonder if the Uncreated Creator can, in a million years, comprehend the challenges you face, then ponder long and hard the promise of the incarnation. Jesus is “able to understand our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15). The One who hears your prayers understands your pain. He never shrugs or scoffs or dismisses physical struggle. He had a human body.
Are you troubled in spirit? He was too. (John 12:27)
Are you so anxious you could die? He was too. (Matt. 26:38)
Are you overwhelmed with grief? He was too. (John 11:35)
Have you ever prayed with loud cries and tears? He did too. (Heb. 5:7)
He gets you.
Christ Is Praying for You
Jesus . . . is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Ponder this promise: Jesus, right now, at this moment, in the midst of your storm, is interceding for you. The King of the universe is speaking on your behalf. He is calling out to the heavenly Father. He is urging the help of the Holy Spirit. He is advocating for a special blessing to be sent your way. You do not fight the wind and waves alone. It’s not up to you to find a solution. You have the mightiest Prince and the holiest Advocate standing up for you. When Stephen was about to be martyred for his faith, he “gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand” (Acts 7:55).
Jesus stood up for Stephen.
Ever had anyone stand up for you? The answer is yes. Jesus stands at this very moment, offering intercession on your behalf.
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
At the moment of Jesus’ death, an unbelievable miracle occurred. “Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:37–38). “The veil separated the people from the temple’s Most Holy Place, and it had done so for centuries. According to tradition, the veil— a handbreadth in thickness— was woven of seventy- two twisted plaits, each plait consisting of twenty- four threads. The veil was apparently sixty feet long and thirty feet wide.”
We aren’t talking about small, delicate drapes. This curtain was a wall made of fabric. The fact that it was torn from top to bottom reveals that the hands behind the deed were divine. God himself grasped the curtain and ripped it in two.
No more division. No more separation. No more sacrifices. “No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
This Temporary Tomb
Death has been swallowed up in victory.
1 Corinthians 15:54
Make this promise one of the blocks in your foundation. View death through the lens of Christ’s resurrection. The grave brings sorrow, for sure. But it need not bring despair. The tomb could not hold Christ, and since Christ is in you, you will not long be in your tomb. “In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
This is God’s promise. He will reclaim his creation. He is a God of restoration, not destruction. He is a God of renewal, redemption, regeneration, resurrection. God loves to redo and restore.
“I am making everything new!” he announced (Rev. 21:5).
Joy Is Soon Coming
Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Joy comes. Watch for it. Expect it as you would the morning sunrise or the evening twilight. It came to Mary Magdalene. It came to Mary Cushman. And it will come to you, my friend.
Do what People of the Promise do. Keep coming to Jesus. Even though the trail is dark. Even though the sun seems to sleep. Even though everyone else is silent, walk to Jesus. Mary Magdalene did this. No, she didn’t comprehend the promise of Jesus. She came looking for a dead Jesus, not a living one. But at least she came. And because she came to him, he came to her.
And you? You’ll be tempted to give up and walk away. But don’t. Even when you don’t feel like it, keep walking the trail to the empty tomb. Open your Bible. Meditate on Scripture. Sing hymns. Talk to other believers. Place yourself in a position to be found by Jesus, and listen carefully. That gardener very well might be your redeemer.
You Will Have Power
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.
Are you persisting in disobedience? Are you refusing to forgive someone? Are you harboring hatred? Are you persisting in an adulterous relationship? Immoral activity? A dishonest practice? Are you feeding your flesh and neglecting your faith? If the answer is yes, you are quenching the Spirit within you.
Do you want his power? Direction? Strength? Then “keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25). He is the drum major; we are the marching band. He is the sergeant; we are the platoon. He directs and leads; we obey and follow.
Make it your aim to sense, see, and hear the Spirit of God. Would you use a two- legged tripod? Two- wheeled trike? Two- sided prism? Of course not. Avail yourself of all God has to offer. Fix your heart on this promise: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8).
Justice Will Prevail
For he has set a day when he will judge the world.
Let this covenant abate the anger you feel at the hurting world. Devastations have bloodied every generation. Does our globe have one square mile of unstained soil? The Hutu slaughtered eight hundred thousand people, primarily Tutsi. Hitler exterminated six million Jews and a half- million Gypsies. American bombs devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese tortured American soldiers. Suicide bombs exploded in Baghdad, and a mass murderer devastated Sandy Hook.
It’s not right, it’s not just, it’s not fair that evil prospers.
When you wonder if the wicked will go unpunished or injustices will go unaddressed, let this promise gratify your desire for justice. God will have the final word. “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (Ps. 7:11).
Praying the Promises
God Always Keeps His Promises: Unshakable Hope for Kids
Unshakable Hope: Student Edition
Unshakable Hope Church Kit