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Remember the Process in God's Promises

There are thousands of God's promises to you and me in the Bible. The exact number is debatable. One count lists over 5,000. Another suggests over 8,000. They cover all aspects of our lives. There's a handful of promises that cover all of life's bases.

In this era of instant gratification, many of us think that when we pray into God's promises for help, healing, strength, prosperity, etc., it's like snapping our fingers, expecting God to "snap to it" and immediately make things happen. When it doesn't occur on our timetable, we wonder why God didn't come through for us.

A Process in Fulfilling God's Promises

We forget that when we pray into God's promises, there is often a process to fulfilling his promises, and that process often involves us, those around us, and the world around us. Almighty God does not need a process, and he could easily snap his mighty fingers and make things happen with or without a process and our involvement. But that's not the way he usually works.

Ever since he spoke his word into the nothingness and created all that exists, and then assigned two humans named Adam and Eve to take care of the garden in which he walked daily, he has used us mortals to carry out his will here on earth. Throughout the Old Testament, he even used some of the more infamous characters in human history to make manifest what he promised his chosen people.

When we stand on the promises of God like the hymn says, we live with a spirit of expectancy, believing God is good and he is going to fulfill his promises. But we often have to be involved in making that promise a reality.

Exhortations to Be Part of the Process

As an example, Philippians 4:7 promises, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." And Philippians 4:19 states, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." However, the verses surrounding these promises include exhortations to be gentle, to pray, to not be anxious.

In John 15:7-8, having an intimate relationship with God is directly tied to a promise of bearing fruit. "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

As important, we have to identify what might be preventing the fulfillment of his promises in our lives. It could be a sinful behavior, a weakening of our relationship with God, or a blatant refusal to do what we know he is asking us to accomplish.

Promises in Black and White

I believe the thousand of promises of God were written in black and white so we could be confident in his doing what he says he would do, and so we could encouraged by his love for us. Also, as with all scripture, and especially the New Testament, the written promises of God put in writing tell us much about the magnificent and unfathomable character of God in terms to which we can relate.

It's important t o remember, even though we do not see God fulfilling his promises of protection, his promises are true and may even be in the process of being fulfilled in ways we cannot see. God made the thousands of promises as a model upon which to measure our faith. Not as a test so he could see our faith, but as a mirror in which we can see our faith.

In God's Words

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8)

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)

"Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."

(2 Corinthians 7:1)

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

(2 Peter 3:9)

Also read: Jeremiah 29:11, John 3:16, Romans 8:28

In the Words of Others

“The best praying man is the man who is most believingly familiar with the promises of god. After all, prayer is nothing but taking god’s promises to him, and saying to him, “do as thou hast said.” Charles Spurgeon

“You are indicting your unbelief by distrusting God’s goodness, and you are bringing greater misery upon yourself by disparaging God’s blessing. For if you had trust in God’s grace and promises, you would undoubtedly be supported. But because you do not hope in the Lord, you will never prosper.” Martin Luther

In Your Word's

  • When you pray into the promises of God, do you become impatient with him when your prayers are not answered? How do you feel about that?

  • Recall a time when you doubted God would deliver on his promises and were surprised when he did, but in an unexpected way.

  • Do you think God has used you and your resources to keep his promises? If yes, describe how you think he used you. Consider how he light use you in a similar way the future.

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