To See The Promises, We Must Meet The Conditions!

” I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.” (Psalm 91:2,9, 10 NIV)

Before God can make a move to fulfill His part of the promise, we must fulfill our part of the promise. When we don’t, He won’t. And we see the truth of this in a number of places in scripture. Even though the qualifier to receive, the “if” is always there, we must see the “if” and then get mad at God because we refuse to obey.

Remember what was told to Joshua? “If you keep my commandments, then whatever you put your hands to shall prosper and you’ll have good success.” (Joshua 1)

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14)

In the NIV translation, the word “if” appears 1640 times–and much of it to do with God’s promises to us.

A covenant–an agreement between two people–is a promise to do something and if both sides keep their word, then both sides will enjoy the conclusion of the matter. Within the covenant of God’s Word, He promises to do certain things if we keep our part of the agreement to keep His commands. His commands, as summarized by Jesus are very simple–love Him and love others. If we love Him, we will do nothing to oppose Him; if we love others, we will do nothing to harm them.

Have we kept our part of the covenant? If not, why are we so surprised at the constantly unfolding consequences in our lives? Instead of blaming God, as the naysayers who claim they don’t even believe in God, we should look to ourselves–under a microscope–and see if we are truly keeping the covenant.  Are we obeying God in all that we do or say?

From the looks of things–on a daily basis–as they are reported in the media, I would venture to say we have a long way to go to get into agreement with God before we can start to think we can receive the promises. We are out of agreement with God when we promote or encourage others to live in opposition to His Word. We are out of agreement with God when we waste our time debating His Word with those who have no relationship with Him. He never tells us to “debate” with others what He means. God said what He meant and He meant what He said. That is the totality of the matter.

In fact, He tell us through Paul not to engage in strife over The Word, debating genealogy (the ancestry of our Lord) with those who are simply looking for opportunity to stir up strife. When we are promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ–the good news about repentance, the Work on the Cross, and salvation, we are told if people won’t receive it–to shake the dust off our feet and keep it moving. I find this to particularly true of instigators in online forums. The naysayers will randomly select a person talking about Jesus and interact with a seemingly innocuous question to engage our attention. DON’T ENGAGE! They hope to get people rattled and then sit back and laugh at the confusion they start and they garner assistance from others who think the way they think.

Hmmm! Confusion stirred in the minds of Believers–doesn’t that sound like the devil at work since we know that God is not the author of confusion? If we are truly in Christ, we have the mind of Christ, and we have the discernment of Him who guides us and we can know when the enemy is at work.

The bottom line for us is this–if we are not seeing God’s promises fulfilled in our lives, we need to do a thorough investigation of self–to see where we may be falling short and we may discover–we are in agreement in all things and it is simply a matter of being in God’s timing to receive. Hallelujah! Let’s choose to dwell with Him and say, “He is my refuge.”

Heir To The Promises of Abraham!

“If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29 NIV)

An heir is a person who has legal claims to an inheritance of someone’s property after they have died. In this passage, Paul reminds us that since we are descendants of Abraham by faith, we have a right to everything he was promised in Genesis 12:1-3.

God promised Abraham that He would make him a great nation, he would be blessed to be a blessing, anyone who blessed him would be blessed and anyone who cursed him would be cursed and in him, all the families of the earth would be blessed. These were the promises made to Abraham “if” he obeyed God.

Whenever we look at the promises in the bible, many of us wait to receive them and even get angry with God if we don’t, but we tend to overlook that one little word, “if” we do, then He will do.

To God–obedience is better than sacrifice. If we’re not willing to obey Him, in all things, then none of the rituals we do will matter.

We can sing praises until our vocal chords are stripped, but if we do not obey Him, it is all for nothing.

We can pray from the time we rise to the time we go to bed, but if we do not obey Him, we’ve wasted our time.

We can tell others how good God is and all about His love, but if we do not obey Him, our words are empty sounds.

Nothing we do–in an attempt to convince others about who God is and what they can have in Him–will matter if we do not obey Him.

When we are waiting to see promises fulfilled in our lives, perhaps we need to stop and think to make sure we are obeying Him. The promises are manifested out of our obedience to God, just like they were to Abraham, when he “got up out of the country of his people” and not before. If we are not descendants of Abraham by faith, we have no promises to claim from God.

Perhaps, it truly is time for reflection rather than frustration with God. It is we who hinder our ability to receive what God has for us, not Him. If we allow the enemy to influence what we think and do, then we can expect nothing from God.

So, who are you obeying and what do you expect to receive from it?

He Didn’t Change A Thing!

“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”

When Jesus was teaching His disciples, He let them know, He had kept His Father’s commands–to love Him and obey His Word; and He encouraged them to keep His commands–to love God and obey and to love one another. The sum total of Father’s commands.

Since His disciples were all familiar with the Mosaic Law, Jesus had no need to “reiterate it in its entirety, He simply summarized the primary parts–love and obedience.

Whenever people want to say that Jesus didn’t say anything about specific sins, it is because they do not understand that Jesus and God are One. Jesus is not going to say anything or do anything that God the Father would not say or do. Since God the Father had already said everything that needed to be said, what was left for God the Son to say?

This is the real issue for some Believers and all non-Believers. They do not understand the Father, Son, Holy Spirit role. Until this is understand, there will continue to be debates over what God said to through Moses and what They (Father and Son) said to His disciples.

Not understanding the importance of knowing the Old Testament is the reason most don’t understand why God had to come down in the likeness of sinful flesh (though He did not sin) in order to restore man’s relationship to Him.

Many people don’t like reading the Old Testament, especially the Kings James Version because of the difficulty of the language, the horror stories of incest, prostitution, and all other sexual sins, murder, tribal wars and the misuse of women and children. The Bible, is simply an abbreviated history of how man has treated one another in various situations at various times. If we aligned the events in the Bible with a good history book, we would see it.

If we understand it, then we can stop blaming God for the atrocities that man committed and still commits. God has not forced anyone to do anything and He never will. He has always given man(kind) the freedom of choice and what we do–we choose, not Him.

So, while talking to His disciples, notice Jesus said, “If”… It was a reminder, not an introduction to anything new. Jesus didn’t change a thing when He walked the earth and He is not changing anything, now. What God said from the beginning, stands true for all eternity–we choose to love and obey Him; He does not demand any behavior from us, but He has established consequences for disobedience and that is still our choice.

Hear Him, love and obey, and reap the benefits of His love!

“If…”

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:8,9).

The tiny little word, “if” is mentioned in the bible 1595 times in 1420 verses. For most parents, if we say something more than once, it must be important. If we’re in training–for anything–and we’re told something more than once, it must be important. So, when God uses those who were inspired to write what He said and He says something 1595 times, shouldn’t we pay attention?

Throughout the Word, we see these “if, then” premises–“if one thing happens, then it will lead to something else. Most of the “ifs” involve us doing something, then we see what God does or will do.

There are too many references for me to list them all, so I’ll just address these two. If anyone says they have no sin or have not sinned, God says they have deceived themselves. That’s right! All of those holier than Jesus folks need to really get a handle on this one. Paul reminds us in another passage of scripture that, “all have sinned and fallen short” at one time or another. None of us are perfect, which is why we need Jesus in our lives so we can continually per-fect what we do. For every person who dares to think they have never committed sin–no matter what the sin was or is–they lie–to themselves and others because, “the truth is not in them.”

But there is a remedy! If we confess what we have done that goes against God’s commandments, then God is faithful and just and He forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. But we have to confess the sin, first–not to men or women, but to God. When we confess what we have done to God, it is so much easier to be compassionate towards those who are just like us–imperfect, fallible human beings, in need of a Savior.

When He cleanses us-thoroughly purges all that stuff that keeps us feeling and looking guilty–we should not want to go back into the filth in which we once were. Picture this! How much sense does it make to get out of a muddy, filthy, slimy pool of misery–get showered, and perfumed and glamorous–only to jump back into the filth?

Let’s confess and get it right–realizing we need the direction and guidance of Holy Spirit, every hour of our lives! Thank You, Lord for loving us so much, that we never without guidance!

When We’ll Know!

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31, 32 NIV).

What Jesus said to those who believed Him, those who followed Him, when He was here in the form of physical man, still holds true today. “If” we hold to His teaching (what the Father said to Him), we are really His disciples and “then” we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.

This “if, then” proposition is simply one of many we find in The Word. If we do, then God does. There is no mystery, no magic, just understanding of obedience and how God’s principles work in our lives. We must do, then He will do–everything He promised–no matter whether the consequences are good or bad.

God’s promise to us through Joshua–“If you keep my commandments, then whatever you put your hands to will prosper.”

God’s promises to us through Deuteronomy 28–If we keep His commandments and obey, then blessings will overtake us. If we do not obey, then all of the curses will come upon us, even to those not yet named.

Moving forward–“If you love, keep my commandments. If my Word abides in you and you abide in my Word, then, ask what you will and it will be done for you.

We’ll know we have a right relationship with God, when we keep His commandments and see His promises fulfilled in our lives. Then we’ll know the power we have over the enemy and know we have been set free from submitting to his temptation. When we have a relationship with God, then He can speak to our hearts and guide us in all things, knowing we are His children and He only wants only what is best for His children. When we know we have obeyed and know we have that relationship, then we can be assured of receiving His guidance and cementing the promise of eternal life.

 

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to understand what we must do in order to be in Your perfect Will, receiving all You have for us to do and enjoy. Help us to receive Truth and be set free from the snares of the enemy and know without a doubt that we will spend eternity with You.

 

Examine Yourself!

“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (I Corinthians 11:31 NIV).

The tiny word “if” can make such a huge difference in the outcome or results of what we do or seek.  I’m finding that to be true more each day.  “If” I had not been so anxious and adrenaline driven to finish what I started, I would have caught errors in my writing.  “If” I had paid more attention to what I was doing along the way of life, I would have made better choices. The list of “ifs” could go on for a long time, but my purpose here is not to beat up on myself or anyone else.  My purpose is simply to encourage all to slow down, and think–judge for ourselves what we’re doing and the outcome we wish to see, so others won’t judge us prematurely.

The adage that first impressions are lasting impressions is true. We cannot turn back the hands of time to correct some of the things we did, some quite unintentionally, but we can make sure we are paying attention to what we are doing and try not to make the same mistakes. Take the blinders off our eyes and be willing to see ourselves, objectively, as the world sees us. What needs to change?  We are the only ones who can determine the changes that need to be made after giving ourselves a thorough examination–willing to see what is there, not oblivious to what is not there.  We cannot afford to fool ourselves if we are to make a lasting impression upon those who do not know Jesus, to come to know Him!

Lord, help us all to take more care with the things we do understanding the outcome represents who we are–in a positive or negative light.  Help us to see ourselves clearly in the mirror, examining every aspect and changing what we can so others will not judge us.  Help us to hear You, when You correct us and warn us so we don’t have to think about the “ifs” that could happen. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!