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Dwelling on God’s Promises

2016 10p11. Perfect…

Promises are special. They should not be made on a whim. They should be made with the intention of being kept. Promises indicate that we matter deeply to someone and when fulfilled, promises can nurture our relationships, bringing joy and trust.

However, we have all been victims of broken promises, and know that they can wound & hurt & disappoint, leaving us cynical and untrusting. We are capable of keeping promises but our experience can be that human promises can disappoint. For me, I have found that it is only God who always keeps promises and that there is a surety and hope to be found in them and in Him …

“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” Psalm 145: 13 & 14

2016 10p22. Perpetual…

Promises in the Bible keep me going in the dark times. They are words that anchor me; keep me tied down; rooted in God’s reality when my own limited understanding of my earthly circumstances feel far from hopeful.

For me, God’s promises stand in the gap of the now and not yet bridging my lack of faith, connecting me to God. They perpetually give me hope both for now and the future, as they have to so many over the years.

This is not surprising I guess, when I read these words in 2 Corinthians 1: 20

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

I have tried to find out how many promises there are in the Bible. No one seems to know and estimates range from around 3, 000 to 6, 000. Either way, that’s a lot of promises! All God’s promises are fulfilled in Jesus. It is His death on the cross & resurrection that bridges the gap between us and God. But also, it is through Jesus that we can be assured of God’s promises enough to respond with a “yes…amen!” to glorify God.
2016 10p3I’m no theologian, but I think this might mean that my life should be led in response to God’s commitment and promises to me, by being truly committed to Him- that my life should speak of God’s love for me. That’s quite a tall order…and one I very often don’t get right!

However, dwelling in Gods promises means dwelling in the waiting and this can test our faith.

3. Pursuit…

2016 10p4It seems as if I have been in a “waiting time” for too long now. How often have I cried out in frustration “When, Lord? …When?” Waiting for the fulfilment of a promise can take a long time yet I know too, that the waiting develops our faith in God, as we trust that His promises will be fulfilled. This doesn’t prevent my impatience and irritation at the disparity between mine and Gods timing! We are not good at waiting in this “now” society that sees immediate as an attribute.

Perhaps this is because I have often seen waiting as a passive activity. I wait for the bus or the kettle to boil. We imagine people waiting, as static, perhaps twiddling their fingers…daydreaming. But dwelling in Gods promises seems to me to be more active than I had thought. This month I have come to realise that in the absence of anything obvious happening, it seems that in fact I must exercise my faith more…. practicing trust, pursuing God’s promises, praying into them and proclaim their truth into my life. Waiting on God means listening prayerfully, reading His Word, girding myself with the armour of God & the shield of faith to react to the negativity that darker waiting times so often bring.

4. Protection…

God’s promises can act like a mantle. If I know Gods promises, then I can use them to both gain comfort and cover myself from attacks of doubt and disillusion.

5. Possibilities…

God’s promises show me a glimpse of the possibilities in both myself and my circumstances. They allow me to see the potential of what can happen when I partner with God and join in with what He is doing in my life and the life of others; when I begin to pray God’s promises.

2016 10p56, 7. Practice & Prayer…

God’s promises are key to understanding the Bible so I must make time to read Gods Word. I try to make this a regular, if not often daily, practice alongside prayerful listening and a life that I hope acts out and reflects my understanding of the Christian life. This is something I know I so often fail at!

8. Priorities…

Gods promises help to show me that I am His beloved daughter; that He cares for me and all His children. Even though we often feel so insignificant, dwelling in God’s promises helps me to recall that I am a child of the Most High and that I matter to Him. So often when I most need it, I read in the Bible words that help to confirm and uphold me in Him. Small as we feel, we are a priority to God. We matter to God…

9. Participation…

God’s promises are for all His people, so alongside reading the Bible, it is best when I can live & worship authentically in community, unafraid to be myself or to share my sorrows and joys with a few faithful friends. As an introvert I find this most hard and it can often be painful to remove the mask of capability that so many of us wear. God has made us to be community and in dwelling on God’s promises, I need to remember that it is “WE who are God’s people” “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3

10. Perseverance…

God’s promises were made to many faithful men & women in the Bible as well as to us today. I am encouraged hugely by the biblical examples of faithful men & women who kept believing in spite of seeming evidence to the contrary…. yet who also got things wrong, were slow to understand, sinned and messed up. There is hope for me yet!

“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” Psalm 145:13

2016 10p6This month…

My textile piece this month depicts knots to represent God’s promises. Each knot is a different colour to illustrate the rainbow covenant promise that God made to Noah. Every “promise” has a “kiss” adjacent to it, to show that each promise is given in love, through Jesus.. The thousands of tiny stitches over the fabric give reference to the thousands of promises that God has given to us in the Bible, whilst the anchor is a symbol of how, if we anchor ourselves in God’s promises, we can remain in Him.

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