Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Promise Breakers...

There are very few times in my life that I can recall having been the victim of a broken promise. I realize this places me in the category of a select few individuals who are fortunate and blessed in this way. Being misled always results in disappointment, and I have acquaintances who have significant trust (or maybe I should say mistrust) issues as a result of frequently experiencing unfulfilled promises--especially as children.

One of the vows I made to myself when I became a parent was that I would not make promises to Leslie or David that I couldn't keep. That included rewards, adventures, prizes, gifts and other "good" promises, but it also included discipline or punishment promises. I hope that if they were asked today, they'd have as difficult a time recalling broken promises as I do--(at least from me!).

Today, I read chapters 16 through 21 of the book of Joshua as I continue with my study of the historical order of Biblical events. These chapters record the division of the Promised Land between the tribes of Israel. As chapter 21 concludes, I am encouraged by these words:

43 So the Lord gave to Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. 44 And the Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had solemnly promised their ancestors. None of their enemies could stand against them, for the Lord helped them conquer all their enemies. 45 Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true.

Remember if you will that I said I could only recall a few times that I was disappointed by broken promises--and yet when I think about those times, the painful memory still stings like a fresh cut dipped in salt water. It hurts when someone we trust lets us down or fails to deliver on what they've promised, but it's rare to make it through this life without experiencing the heartbreak of a broken commitment.

How blessed we are to know that even though people will fail us, we have a God who won't. He is the same today as when these passages were penned, and we can trust him to deliver on every promise he's made.

With that in mind, I'm rejoicing in some of those promises and I hope you'll be encouraged to remember these as well:

SALVATION: Titus 3: 4 But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.

GRACE: 2 Corinthians 12: 9 ... “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me

VICTORY: 1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

SECURITY: John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,

PROVISION: Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Father, these words are almost too overwhelming to fathom--that you would be mindful of me in my undeserving state is remarkable. I know it is by your grace alone that I am found worthy and I thank you as I rejoice in your steadfast commitment to keep your word even when I do not. Praise the matchless name of Jesus. Amen.

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