Make this Our Only Boast: What God Has Won

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“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” (Proverbs 27:1)

We take so much for granted in life. We make our plans and we carry them out. We schedule things in advance, expecting tomorrow to be available. To a certain extent, modern life requires this, but the day will come we are reminded that we don’t know everything. We can’t account for everything. So we shouldn’t be smug, resting on the laurels we expect to receive tomorrow like we’ve already won today. Bragging about our plans for the future, taking pride in our goals and ambitions, is setting ourselves up for failure. No matter how realistic we are in dreaming big, eventualities may rise that waylay us. We could get excited and run ahead of God and find, when we get to tomorrow, he had other plans.

God knows his plans for tomorrow, but we do not. Only God knows what the broken fallen world will throw at us and how he plans to navigate us around it and bring us peace and strengthened character, and him glory, and the kingdom advanced–if we trust him. This is why James instructed us to say, “If the Lord wills, I will do this and that.”

Dream big, but don’t count on anything but this: what God has specifically promised us, that he will do. However, we may not know how he will do it, and we rarely know when. We still can’t boast in tomorrow. We can only know that one day we will win a crown in Heaven. We will be a saint dwelling in a glorified body like our risen Lord’s, set free from the troubles and brokenness of this life.

If you’re Abraham or Sarah, and God’s promised you a child even though you’re old, you will have that baby. If you’re a slave in Egypt or Babylon, He will free you and deliver you to the land he has promised, even if he has to part oceans or soften the hearts of unbelieving kings. If you’re Elijah, Elisha, Ezekiel, or Jeremiah, and, God has given you a message to deliver to his people, keep on working toward that goal, knowing he will work through you to bring it to those he wants to hear it.

Lord, grant us the humility and wisdom not to boast of the prizes we plan to win for the chickens that haven’t hatched yet, but please also give us the courage and faith to trust that what you have promised us and secured for us in the future, we will receive when you will it. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Faith Guarantees We Won’t Need Our Eternity Back

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“ Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

At the end of chapter ten, the author of Hebrews tells us we are saved by faith that is strong enough to endure through hard struggles and suffering that cause us to be destroyed if we shrink back, sorrow unto death, and lose faith in God. In chapter eleven, the author now continues on to define what faith is.

Assurance, rendered as a vague “substance” traditionally, means: a pledge, guarantee, or security that inspires confidence and frees us from uncertainty. Pledge, guarantee, or security in turn is something given to provide protection and/or ensure an obligation, such as a binding promise, is kept. This implies that our faith is not of ourselves, but a gift from God to secure our ultimate hope of spending eternity with him in Heaven.

To hope in turn means to desire and expect to obtain, with confidence and can be synonymous with “to trust.” Another way the author of Hebrews could have put the first half of this verse in English is, then, “Faith is given to us to ensure we will receive from God the promises we trust him to fulfill.”

Substance, was probably meant in the sense of “essence” and that rendering means, “Faith is the ultimate reality of the promises we trust God to fulfill.”

That leaves “Faith . . . is the conviction of things not seen.” This is a case where the KJV rendering, “Faith is the evidence,” was  clear enough. “Conviction” in this context merely means “Faith is what convinces us of the truth of things not seen.”  Evidence is still the most succinct  way to say that.

Lord, we trust you today to keep your promises just as you always have before. Remind us, when we grow weary in our struggles, of your faithfulness to keep your word to your people throughout history. We know times are hard now, we know we may not see your word come to pass in this life, but we know you are not limited to the blink of an eye our lifetimes are compared to eternity. Strengthen us, today. Increase our faith. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Be Securely Assured in God’s faithfulness

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“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

This world will eat you up and spit you out. It comes at us with a thousand things all demanding our attention at once and we’re expected to figure out in a nanosecond which of the thousand items is where our attention needs to be. We live in a high stress, instant, now-now-now world that leave us feeling exhausted, frustrated, and emotionally spent.

In the middle of this steps the Apostle Paul, quietly asking (in verses 1-2) for us to pray that the  word of God would go forth and be honored, that is, that he would achieve the ministry goals God had given him, and he asks for prayer for deliverance from evil men. Because not all have faith, but God is constant in his affection and unswerving in keeping his promises, which are given to us with strong assurance, and he is true to the facts and his own standards.

God, we are told will “establish” us, which means he will make us firm and give us stability, and can mean to settle us, to make us grow and multiply, to put us in a favorable position (in him), give us full recognition and acceptance (in him), and put us beyond doubt.

In tandem, he promises to protect us from danger with his watchful attention and make us secure, to preserve us and provide a barrier between us and the enemy of our souls.

Lord, we thank you for your promise and we put our trust in you today. Guard our hearts and minds from evil in Christ Jesus this day. We thank you for your faithfulness, your dependability, your love and your care for us. Lead us and guide us, give us rest and peace. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Thank God, I’m in the palm of His Hand.

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“I give [my sheep] eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:28-30)

This is a great promise–if we are trusting in Christ to save us from our sins and have committed ourselves into his hands, we will live forever with Him and no one can snatch us out of his hands. He does of course specify that his sheep are those who hear his voice and follow him. We can choose to walk away and leave him–but, even if we are tricked into accidentally straying, God goes after us. And, in my experience, if we make him chase us, he pretty much hounds us until the ends of the earth. We don’t get away from God easily.

Holy Father, Lord Jesus, we thank you, that you hold us in the palm of your hand. We thank you that nothing Satan or man throws against us can tear us away from you unless we give them permission. Strengthen us in the storms of life to stand firm on your promises, Lord. If we are hurting today, we confess all our shame, all our pain, all our rage, all our doubting and fear to you. We know we stand secure and that voicing and lifting up to you the darkness of the heart won’t cause us to lose our place in you–rather we know we are trusting these things into your care and surrendering them to you in lifting this up right now. May we stand confident and secure at all times in your lovingkindness and care for our life, by giving to you all that gets in the way of putting our trust, our hope, our faith in you.

We pray for anyone struggling in their faith today. We ask you to give them grace to know you love them, that you still have your hand over their life, and will not let them go. I pray we would all know you as a loving father who cares and is concerned about us and all our troubles and that you are mighty to save. You have conquered the grave. Breathe new life on us and all who are dear to us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.