Monday, February 8, 2010

Great and Precious Promises

God has a way of bringing encouragement at the right time and He uses all different means to bring it. It might be your tongue He has used to encourage a brother or a sister. It might be circumstances that are brighter today than they were yesterday. It might be His Word-full of promises- that just "happens" in your Bible reading plan. Or it may be in a book you are reading whose pages are full of sweet honey for your soul that day. Whatever the means- God has it orchestrated for our good, His glory and our delight.

Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening" is that way for me and here is an excerpt from its ever dripping pages- I did change a few of the words to make it less "old English".

"God’s promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper; he intended that they should be used. God’s gold is not miser’s money, but is minted to be traded with. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see his promises put in circulation; he loves to see his children bring them up to him, and say, 'Lord, do as You have said.

'We glorify God when we plead his promises. Do you think that God will be any poorer for giving you the riches he has promised? Do you dream that he will be any less holy for giving holiness to you? Do you imagine he will be any less pure for washing you from your sins? He has said 'Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.'

Faith lays hold upon the promise of pardon, and it does not delay, saying, 'This is a precious promise, I wonder if it be true?' but it goes straight to the throne with it, and pleads, 'Lord, here is the promise, ‘Do as You have said.’' Our Lord replies, 'Be it to you even as you will.'

When a Christian grasps a promise, if he does not take it to God, he dishonors him; but when he hastens to the throne of grace, and cries, 'Lord, I have nothing to recommend me but this, ‘You have said it;’ then his desire shall be granted.

Our heavenly Banker delights to cash his own notes. Never let the promise rust. Draw the word of promise out of its scabbard, and use it with holy violence. Think not that God will be troubled by your unrelentingly reminding him of his promises. He loves to hear the loud outcries of needy souls. It is his delight to bestow favors. He is more ready to hear than you are to ask. The sun is not weary of shining, nor the fountain of flowing. It is God’s nature to keep his promises; therefore go at once to the throne with 'Do as You have said.'" Spurgeon.

So what of these promises that God has filled His Word with? What am I to do with them? When am I to use them for myself and for others? What might that look like? I have been thinking quite a bit about this since I read this some time back.

I know I am not deserving of God's promises. I don't wake up in the morning and think, "God should do this for me", even if He has promised it in His Word- I just don't think that way. As I write it on this page, after reading the quote again, I have to say that this may be pride on my part. Doesn't God want us to rehearse His promises to Him? Has He not given these promises for me to bring back to Him? Didn't He "show off" to Pharaoh so that the Israelites would look back and tell the coming generations what He did? Well- is it different for us today?

Before I give this example I want to remind you again that I am not worthy to receive any good thing from His hand- He just promises to give to those who obey- and this obedience is not perfection or none of His promises would be good to any of us, because there are none who fulfill the requirements perfectly.

Take Ps. 112 for example. Verse 1 gives the prerequisite and the balance of the chapter is full of promises to grasp.
"Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commandments!"

I read this verse and say to myself- "You fear the Lord and you delight in His commandments" and then Satan follows that up with, "Well, you don't fear Him all the time and you have other things that you delight in, so maybe the following promises are not really for you- they're for someone more sanctified than you". If I believe those lies then I have let God's promises go unused. Remember- His promises will never fail and they are never depleted. It's not like if I get these promises today that someone else will have to go without- His storehouse is never empty.

So again, how can we claim these promises for ourselves and for others? At great risk of sounding proud I am giving this example but I want to make the point clear and I know my own shortcomings all too well.

As my friend you might pray this promise for me- and I hope you will- and I hope this opens a door for you to pray this way for yourself and for others. "Father- I know Chuck is not perfect but I do know that You have worked in his heart and are conforming him to the image of Your Son. I know that he fears You and delights in Your Word. You have promised in Ps. 112 to; make his offspring mighty in the land; please do that so that You might be glorified in his family- so that the world may know he follows You because of the blessing his children are to others.
You have also promised that wealth and riches would be in his house, and that his righteousness would endure forever. Father, You control all the world's finances and it is nothing to You to give to him. You own the cattle on a thousand hills and Your storehouses are never empty- so delight Yourself by giving to one who delights in You.
You also promised that light would dawn in the darkness for the upright; He is not perfectly upright, but You are working in his heart to make him like Your Son and so allow even the dark financial days that we are in now to shine brightly for him and his family. You are the One Who gives abundantly and it is no hard task for You to fill this promise for him. You also promised that it would be well with the man who deals generously and lends; the one who conducts his affairs with justice. Again Father, Chuck is not perfect and he doesn't deserve all that You have already given to him, but I believe You have worked in his heart and I believe these traits are in him, so please deal generously with him now and allow the light to shine for him now."

It is hard for me to write this, but I don't think this way myself and I need His promises prayed for me and for PG. I have no plan "B"- I have plan "A"; Trust God to deliver me from all my troubles. Trust in Him and He will act. Trust in Him with all my heart, don't lean on my own understanding, acknowledge Him in all I do and then bank on the promise that He will direct my path. I am not smart enough to have another way. I am not wealthy enough to bank roll all that is entrusted to me. If He does not act I am done- but oh what a great place to be.

So many times God waited until there were no more options for His children but the one way He gave. I think He did that so there would be no way for them to take credit for the outcome. I am good with that. I don't ever want to accept credit for what God has done.

This is a long post to say that I need you to pray for me- that God would uphold our business and our family in this crazy time. I know I am can't earn any of the promises He gives and that is the point of His grace to each one of us- we don't deserve such an amazingly good and generous Father and yet He loves to lavish all these promises on us so we will praise Him all the more.

Thanks for all your encouragement to me over the past couple years. It is coming up on 2 years since Grant's event. Wow, how time flies.

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