What keeps you awake at night?

What keeps you awake at night? What’s that thing you’re so passionate about that sleep escapes you? What’s the first thing on your mind when you wake up at the crack of dawn? What’s the last thing on your mind when you hit the sack? What’s that thing that gets your juices flowing and your heart pumping when you think about it?

You’ll get different responses depending on who you ask. For some people it’s becoming successful & making lots of money. To others it’s being popular and everybody knowing who they are. Some wake up every day motivated by changing the lives of others, very unselfish of them. And others are motivated by becoming better looking, or getting that partner who’s good looking to boost their self-image or self-esteem. So this is my question to you:

What keeps you awake at night? What’s gives you life when you think about it?

Here’s a story about a guy who was so passionate about a cause that he couldn’t sleep. He thought about it day and night, sun rise to sun set. His heart was fired up for something and it became impossible to sleep.

“Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house,
Or go up to the comfort of my bed;
I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
Until I find a place for the Lord,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” – Psalms 132: 3 – 5(NKJV)

David was a King in Israel living as he put it himself “in a cedar-paneled home” while the Ark of the covenant, which signified God’s presence “was out there in a tent”. David was not ok with God’s Ark of the Covenant being out there in a tent, while he was living comfortably in his palace. This bothered him and he couldn’t sleep as we see in Psalms 132.

No wonder God said David was a man after his own heart (1 Samuel 13:14)

So let me ask you again. What keeps you awake at night? What is that thing that you are so passionate about that sleep escapes you?

Is it earthly and material things that never satisfy? Is it power, fame & popularity that will never quench your thirst? Or are you like David consumed with a desire to Honor God in your life?

May it be the latter!

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Lord I have not desired to Honor you in my life to the point where I am losing sleep. God I have been complacent and comfortable, that I have neglecting seeking your kingdom first. Father I ask that you would change my desires and that my priority would be to Honor and Glorify you in my body, my words, my actions, and in every situation. I want to be consumed by a passion for your kingdom and your Glory! In Jesus’ name! Amen

Worthy is the Lamb

Jesus you are worth it! You will be glorified in my life and death! The Lamb that was slain is worthy!

“4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a[a] thousand years.” – Revelation 20:4

There is only one who is worthy of worship and adoration. There is only one whom heavenly creatures worship day and night saying “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come”. There is only one who was found worthy to open the scroll and loose its seals. There is only one who is the firstborn of creation, the image of the invisible God and reigns supreme over all creation. There is only one way to the Father. He is eternal Life and the way to eternal Life. His name is exalted above all other names and at the mention of His name every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under earth and every tongue declares that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

“They didn’t love their lives to the death” – Revelation 12:11

He died a criminal’s death, but the grave couldn’t hold him. He rose a victor and is sitting at the right hand of His Father. Many have considered His sacrifice and considered their life nothing without Him. And to those who received Him, He gave the right to become children of God. He was hated by the world, and since we are His, we consider it an honor to be mistreated, insulted, persecuted, and martyred for His name’s sake. A servant is not greater than his master or a student than his teacher. The Life He gives, costs nothing yet everything at the same time. You can’t do anything to earn His grace, but it will cost you everything you hold dear.

Yesterday a video surfaced online of 30 brave Ethiopian souls who “didn’t love their lives to the death” and “did not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, but feared Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” A few weeks ago 147 Students were killed in Kenya, because they wouldn’t denounce Jesus even at gun point. Many have been slaughtered, burned, imprisoned, and separated from family members for Christ’s sake recently. Yet, what those who persecute us do not realize is that they are preparing us for a bigger honor and greater glory than anything here on earth.

The many brave children, young men and women, fathers and mothers who have been slain for Jesus’ sake join an elite group of men and women who have chosen to suffer with Christ, in order that they may also share in His Glory.

Martyrs’ Hall of Fame

  1. John the Baptist – beheaded in prison and his head presented to Herodias’ daughter by king Herod.
  2. Stephen – Stoned outside the city while seeing the heavens open and seeing Jesus and the Glory of God.
  3. Peter the apostle – Considering himself unworthy to be crucified as Christ, died on the cross upside down.
  4. Matthew – became a missionary to the Persians, Parthians and Medes. Legend has it that he died a Martyr in Ethiopia.
  5. Thomas – After preaching in Persia, died a martyr in Persia or India.
  6. James Alpheus – thrown down from the temple by the scribes and Pharisees. He was then stoned and his brains dashed out with a fuller’s club.
  7. Jude (Thaddeus) – He taught in Armenia, Syria and Persia where he was martyred. Buried in current day Iran.
  8. Andrew – He preached in Greece and Asian minor. Reported to have been crucified in Greece.

“12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:12(NKJV)

So Friend, do not be discouraged when you hear news of fellow believers dying for His name’s sake. But rather rejoice, knowing that His return is near. The world is not worthy of these men and women, who have crossed into glory to be adorned with white robes and be in the presence of their savior!

“12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. – Mark 13:12(NKJV)

“24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” – Mark 13: 24-26(NKJV)

Maranatha Marantha! Lord Jesus Come quickly!

“20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” – Revelation 22:20(NKJV)

 

Watch and pray, lest the Tempter overpower you

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He took His three best friends with Him. He was filled with horror and deep distress. He knew all of them were going to betray him, yet he still didn’t leave them. He could have left them before they did, but he chose to spend his last few hours pouring his life into them. One of his best friends had even vowed that no matter what the others would do, he would never desert him. How ironic is it that it’s this same fellow that was swearing and cursing at the mention of his name.

It’s not a pretty scene. One guy is running away naked from the mob as they tried to capture him. The whole place is a mess. All of the leaders of the town have come with their security forces. The way they are marching forward and the look on their faces says they mean business. They must have some information about a high-profile criminal hiding nearby.

“My soul is crushed by sorrow to the point of death; stay here and watch with me.”

Right after he uttered those words he went down a little further and fell to the ground, the weight of the situation bearing on his soul, mind & body. He didn’t want to be separated from his father, not even for a single moment. But he knew there was no other way.

“Father, Father, “he said, “Everything is possible for you. Take away this cup from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”

He returned to his friends and what a sight it was!

Don’t they understand?! This is it! This is the moment! This is their last time together! What a journey it has been the past 3 years! But it all comes to an end now.

His words were to watch and pray.

They were definitely not keeping watch. They were fast asleep.

They were not praying. They didn’t heed His word.

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I have lost count of the times that I have found myself in those situations. I knew His word, yet I didn’t take it to heart. I should have been keeping watch and praying, yet I chose the comfort of sleep & complacency. And it’s during those times that the tempter got the best of me.

38 Watch with me and pray lest the Tempter overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak.” – Mark 14:38(TLB)

It’s no different today than it was 2000 years ago when Jesus was being crucified. If I am not keeping watch and praying, I will not be able to stand the temptation of this world to give in into sin, to deny Jesus for fear of rejection, to doubt God’s word and his plans, to believe the constant lies of the enemy about God, myself, to doubt God’s love for me and cave into the temptation to believe the enemy’s lies about my brothers and sisters in Christ!

Would peter have denied Jesus if he had been keeping watch and praying? I don’t know. I do know though that Jesus didn’t want to go through the pain and agony of being separated from His father & being crucified. But he still did it.

How?

He kept watch and prayed!

I know I needed the reminder. Maybe you did too. I knew Jesus never sinned, when he was still fully human. Now I understand why. It is because he kept watch and prayed. And the tempter could not overpower him!

I need to keep watch and pray! You need to keep watch and pray! We need to keep watch and pray, lest the tempter overpower us!

Father I ask for forgiveness for the times I didn’t heed your word. Lord, I ask for your mercy for the times I chose sleep, comfort & complacency instead of prayer. Lord, I am choosing to heed your word today. I ask that you would create a desire in me to seek your face in prayer daily. Lord you are so much better than what this world has to offer. Only you can completely satisfy my soul and my deepest desires. You have the Living water, Jesus. Give me the strength to pray, so I can have power over the temptations of this world and the enemy. In Jesus’ name! Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

I am your Father. You are my beloved

Father and son (4-5) playing basketball

(image courtesy of: “www.corbisimages.com”)

When I look back at my life, I am amazed at how much my life has been affected by my Father. Both his presence and absence have shaped the trajectory of my life, the major choices that I made in life, my self-confidence and the very fact that I am still a follower of Jesus Christ!

Whether we want to admit it or not, Fathers are the pillars of the family and have a huge impact in the life of young men. My father was not present in my life for a few of my teenage years due to some life circumstances. My father was not, has never been and is still not someone who would abandon his family. In fact, he would think about his children and his wife, before he even thought about himself. Yet those few years where we weren’t together impacted me so much and have made me realize the huge role fathers play both in their presence and absence in the life of young men and women.

Although I really love and admire my earthly father, I also know he won’t be with me forever, sorry to sound so morbid 😦 However, I have a heavenly father who fashioned me in my mother’s womb, created me in his own image, had a plan and purpose for my life on earth, is waiting for me to be in his presence permanently to gaze at his beauty and who I will spend eternity with.

So…What does a Father do for his son/daughter that he loves so much? I took a few notes from my dad and they apply to your heavenly father as well.

  1. A Father provides

I am still amazed at how ridiculous my requests to my dad were as a teenager. I never took into account my family’s finances; it never crossed my mind that I am not the only person in the house with wants/desires. All that mattered was “I wanted to get that nice shoe/technology”. And 9 out of 10 times my dad got me what I wanted. I have no idea how he did it, but he did. Not just for me but to my siblings as well. SUPERDAD! I know!

Check this out….your heavenly father cares morefor you and provides for you as His son and daughter.

If a child asks his father for a loaf of bread, will he be given a stone instead? If he asks for fish will he be given a poisonous snake? Of course not! And if you hard-hearted, sinful men know how to give good gifts to your children, won’t your father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask him for them?- Matthew 7:9-11( TLB)


  1. A Father gives identity

I’m sure you have gotten comments from friends & relatives about how much you look like your father. I’ve been told I sound like my dad, talk like him, look like him….. like I am basically a carbon copy. That’s because I have his DNA inside me.

Do you know you have the DNA of God in you as well?! I mean, really! You have the ingredients to be like your heavenly father!

“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27(NIV)

  1. A Father loves unconditionally

I used to think my dad would love me less when he found out about all my “vices” or when I disappointed him and didn’t live up to his expectations in school or otherwise. It’s crazy, but none of those things changed the love he has for me a tiny bit! I was shocked!

Your Father’s love for you is not based on your performance either. Your heavenly father is not disappointed at you! He is proud of you and smiling at you at this moment 🙂 He wants to declare to the whole world, just as he did when he sent his only begotten son, Jesus, to pay the debt of your sins…..

 “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” – Matthew 3:17(NIV)

  1. A Father disciplines

I call it the “power of the belt”. You may have experienced it if your parents were traditional and believed a little butt-whooping got the job done instead of a whole –lotta-chit-chat! Yup! I don’t miss those days, but they have made me the person I am today. A father punishes and disciplines not to hurt the child, but to correct.

The same goes for your heavenly father. He sometimes rebukes you, corrects you, says no…..but it’s all for your benefit. So do not grow bitter, but understand he has your best interest at heart 🙂

He said, “My son, don’t be angry when the Lord punishes you. Don’t be discouraged when he has to show you where you are wrong. For when he punishes you, it proves that he loves you. When he whips you, it proves you are really his child.” – Hebrews 12: 5 – 6 (TLB)

  1. God is a Father to the fatherless.

“5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,[c]
he leads out the prisoners with singing;” – Proverbs 68: 5-6(NIV)

Even when it was impossible for my earthly father to be physically present with me in those years, I had a heavenly father who never left my side. He prefers “Abba” or “Poppa” or “Daddy”, but he doesn’t mind “heavenly father”, “dear father” either 😉

He wants to be your Father today! Even if you’ve never had an earthly father! He wants to be there for you, for all the times your earthy father was not there! He is gentle and quiet and knows how this thing works. Trust me, he has been a Father to many, yet still cares for each of his children as if you were his only child! In His family there are no orphans. Everyone belongs, everyone is welcome and it all starts with a conversation…

I am sure you want to talk to Him by now! How rude of me to be still here?! I will leave now and let you talk to your Heavenly Father…..

Blessings,

Thank You!

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(image courtesy of : pixbay.com)

Thank You! I appreciate it! You’re awesome! Good Looking out! Your input was valuable! You are welcome 🙂

Words, Phrases & Expressions of gratitude that take mere seconds to utter yet have the ability to do leaps and bounds in encouraging people, building relationships and keeping those relationships.

Have you had someone thank you for something that you did that was seemingly small and left feeling great! Or how about the opposite case where you sacrificed your valuable time & energy to help someone out and you didn’t even get a response or a thank you? Ouch….

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

In Luke 17: 11 -18 we see the story of the Ten Lepers.

11 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”[b] And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”

10 needed help. 10 were desperately crying out to Jesus. All 10 of them got miraculously healed. 9 of them forgot about the man who helped them. Jesus.

Yet…

1 man was so touched by the kindness he had been shown that he returned to give thanks!

The best way you can express your gratitude to God, in addition to thanking him in your prayers, is to appreciate the people he uses to impact your life. God rarely meets your needs by dropping manna from heaven (Although he has done that and he still can). Instead, he uses people to impact you.

I want to encourage you during this season of Christmas, when we celebrate the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, to show your gratitude and appreciation to the people in your life.

Send a card to an old friend! Smile more often and bigger! Hug tighter and love bolder! Be liberal with your appreciation and gratitude and reserved with your criticisms! Use your words to inspire and encourage others! Don’t hold back a thank you from someone who needs to hear it 🙂

Father, thank you for the gift of your son Jesus Christ: Emmanuel, the messiah, the Lamb who takes the sin of the world, the ultimate gift. Thank you for loving a wretched sinner like me and sending your son to reconcile me with yourself and restore me. Lord, allow me to bless others through my words and actions. Lord, help me to say thank you and show gratitude, even when my pride and my sinful flesh want to take all the credit. In Jesus’ name! Amen 🙂

“For if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? “– 1 John 4:20(NLT)

 

 

Be Selfish!

Be Selfish!

Be Selfish? That doesn’t sound very Christ like! Is that even in the Bible? Yeah I hear you. It might sound unbiblical but it actually is. Think about it. You got saved because you didn’t want to go to hell (act of self-preservation) and wanted to preserve your soul. In the same way sometimes you have to be selfish in Life! Haters gonna hate( you feel me?), people who were never with you are going start opposing you and the “Godly” thing might seem to be weak, nice, and be a “door mat” and let everyone walk all over you!

No Sir! Not today!

A dear friend who recently got water baptized and is still young in the faith, Teddy, shared these few kernels of wisdom with me( SN: it’s not about how long you have been a Christian, but it’s how much you have let Christ take over your life :)).

  1. You have to let people into your life

Let’s face it! It’s a Cold world( shout out to Jermaine). People who you trusted are going to betray you. There will be times when you will be disappointed in life because you are not where you expected you would be in life. Broken hearts, deferred hopes and dreams, mistakes and regrets….. It’s all part of life. You have to learn to take the good with the bad and do it with a smile J

But…. You can’t afford to isolate yourself and live in isolation for fear of rejection. You can’t afford to!

Because we thrive in community. We need each other. We need to lift each other as we climb up and not pull someone down when they are trying to progress in life. That kind of negative energy hurts you more than it hurts the other person. Get rid of it!

Take a risk for a change! Allow people in your life who can coach and mentor you to become a better person. This is good for both the mentor and the mentee. The mentor gets to stay sharp and active by having to coach someone still developing. The mentee gets indispensable counsel from a mature guide.

  1. Cut some people off

You have to be ruthless sometimes and look at the facts at hand. Are the people surrounding you adding value to your life? Spiritual, Professional, Personal or are they constantly leeching off of you and want some free handout from your efforts. You will have to remove those people from your life for the sake of Growth. The world is constantly evolving and improving. If you are not improving and growing at a faster pace (or at least the same pace), you will be left behind and you don’t want that.

So remove people from your life that are not on your side. You don’t want someone from the opposing team in a soccer match wearing your team’s jersey and masquerading to be on your team. That’s bad and ends in a loss. And you are trying to win 🙂

  1. Save yourself first

It’s not magnanimous or generous to be trying to save others while you yourself are drowning. You are only useful to others as long you yourself are safe first. Put on the life vest or oxygen mask on yourself before you start helping out. Wise up!

It’s a common trick of the Enemy to trick you into thinking by focusing efforts on yourself you are not being Christ-like or you are being ungodly. Well Hello? Jesus had to be in training for 30 years before he started his ministry on earth. This is an old-trick from the book, don’t be fooled.

Save yourself first!

  1. Put on the Full armor of God

You know what they say right, save the best for last! That’s right! Without God in your life, you have a nice car without an engine. It’s pointless.

And it all starts with J-E-S-U-S!

“6 Jesus told him, “I am the Way—yes, and the Truth and the Life. No one can get to the Father except by means of me.” – John 14:6( The Living Bible Version)

“8 For salvation that comes from trusting Christ—which is what we preach—is already within easy reach of each of us; in fact, it is as near as our own hearts and mouths. For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God; and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation.[a]” – Romans 10: 8-10( TLB)

Step 1: Be real! You’re a sinner. I am a sinner. We are all sinners. From the small lies we tell, to the lust and temptations, the anger and the hatred, the love we have for Evil and hatred of God and Godliness. We are all sinners. There’s no getting around it. (Romans 3:23). Compared to a Holy God, who is pure and light and has no association with darkness, our lives reek of dirt and junk.

Step 2: Read the word of God. Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself. It’s crazy how people who don’t read the word of God are so deceived and think because of their religious performances and church attendance they are all right with God. Beloved, that’s a lie from the pit of Hell! Let the word of God search you first. You don’t just buy a car or a house on a whim (at least if you’re a reasonable person), in the same way take time to count the cost and fully understand what salvation will cost you. EVERYTHING!

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:26-28(NKJV)

Step 3: Make the life-or-should-i-say-eternity changing decision of Surrendering to Jesus! You’re going to have to be accountable to God one day about what you did about the sacrifice and the blood of His son Jesus! It’s not about how good you were, if you went to church, had good intentions, didn’t sin as much as others, but it’s all about JESUS!

Become Born Again!

The bible is one great story book that starts with Jesus and ends with Jesus! Genesis 1:3. “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. John 1:1-In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[f] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:15-17(NKJV)

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly. “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.[m] Amen.”- Revelation 22:20-21(NKJV)

The bible is not a theology book. It’s not a book of great inspiring stories. And It’s definitely not history, sorry to burst your bubble 🙂

It’s the living word of God and it’s alive and sharper than a double edge sword!

12 For whatever God says to us is full of living power: it is sharper than the sharpest dagger, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are.” – Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)

Step 4: Put on the full armor of God!

Ephesians 6:10 – 19

 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

There’s a spiritual war going in the heavenly realms. That’s a dimension more real than the physical realm. So how do you stay winning? Make sure you’re strapped! Spiritually speaking of course 🙂

Father give us wisdom this day. Wisdom in how to conduct our lives and do it in a way that brings Glory to your Son’s name. Lord I ask for faith and a humble heart. Let everything point to you Jesus! You are so worth it!

Guest Post: “A Promise” – by Christina Girma( Inspired By Him)

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This is a guest post from Christina Girma’s blog.Check out Her blog (Inspired By Him). I hope it blesses you all as it has blessed me 🙂

This week I would like to discuss something that is very important to all of us.  Although it might sound very simple, I want you to to really think about each word you read.  In the end, carefully ask yourself this question:  “What do God’s promises mean to me?” 

Before we get into it, I hope you understand the significance of a promise.   A promise is a declaration – it’s the assurance of something.   When someone gives you their word, that word is to be trusted by you, and fulfilled by the one who made the promise.  For example, marriage begins with the union of two people bound in their promise to love, cherish, and be faithful to each other.  Secondly, although promises are verbal declarations, they are further validated when carried out into actions.   If you promise to love, then your behavior, character and life must be a reflection of the promise you made to actually love.  A promise that is not followed with an action loses it’s credibility, and gives a reflection of a poor character on the one who initially made a promise.

One of my favorite verses in the bible is found in Psalms chapter 119, verse 50; it says, “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life”.  From the moment I laid eyes on this verse, each time I think about it something within me can’t help but react – it causes an immediate emotional reaction within me.   It becomes overwhelming to know that there is a God who has made me a promise strong enough to sustain me until this very moment.   A promise that He will never back out on because He is faithful, and a promise that I never did anything to deserve.  Throughout the bible there are many promises that we see God make to His people.  Promises of rescue, protection, guidance, victory, comfort, and much more.  In all instances we simply see Him giving His word of assurance and following that word of assurance with His actions.  Although there are many references to use, I would like to focus on one particular man named Joseph.

If you would like to read in detail, Joseph’s story begins in Genesis chapter 37.  In a family of 12, Joseph was the youngest son to his father Jacob.  Being the youngest son, his father loved and favored him the most.  This favoritism began causing jealousy in the hearts of his older brothers and would eventually lead them to do the unspeakable.  One night, Joseph had a dream.  He told his brothers that in his dream they had all been in the harvest field tying up the corn, when all of a sudden he saw their sheaves of corn bow down to his.  Another night, he had a different dream in which he saw the sun and moon, and eleven stars all bowing down to him as if he were a king.   Naturally, this only increased the jealousy of his brothers against him which led them to conspire against him and sell him off to a merchant without their father’s knowledge.  Eventually Joseph ends up in Egypt where he is sold as a slave to a rich man named Potiphar.   To make matters worse, Potiphar’s wife lusts after Joseph and tries to pursue him. When he rejects her she makes false accusations against him, and get’s him sent to prison for years.

Now keep in mind, this man’s life seems only to have gotten worse after seeing these dreams.   In fact, the dreams he saw years before, now seem to be completely irrelevant to where his life is at and where it seems to be heading.  Perhaps what seems even more heartbreaking in all of this, is that he has done nothing wrong.  You see, sometimes we hear or see the promises that God made us, and because He is faithful to keep His word He won’t fall short of bringing it to completion… but the question is, do we trust His promises enough to hang onto Him no matter what? What do God’s promises mean to you?

Joseph’s story only begins to change when years later,  the Pharaoh is troubled by a dream he keeps having.  After many tried to interpret the dream and failed, one of Pharaoh’s servants who used to be in jail with Joseph remembered that Joseph had the ability to interpret dreams and that he was still in jail.  Pharaoh then requests for him to come out of prison and asks for his dream to be interpreted.  When all that Joseph had interpreted about Pharaoh’s dream came to pass,  Joseph was then released and made Governor of Egypt.  Meanwhile, back in the land of Canaan where Joseph’s brothers and father lived there was a famine.  Their father sends them to Egypt to buy corn from the Governor, not realizing that the Governor they would have to bow down to in respect was the little brother they sold off years ago.  Isn’t it interesting that Joseph had to go from being “daddy’s favorite boy” – to being a slave – to being a prisoner –  and then to being a Governor before the promise of God was fulfilled in his life?

He had to hit the lowest and most miserable place in his life, before he could see the days of these promises being fulfilled.  Of course, I am not saying that you will always have to hit rock bottom before you see good things coming your way but think about all the traumatic experiences he went through. He watched in fear and probably even cried as his own brothers sold him off to a merchant. Then he became a slave against his will, and at last got sent to jail without having committed a crime. Think about what must have been going through his mind as life seemed to be spiraling out of control.   Think about what he must have been thinking during all the dark nights he spent alone in prison for years. What did God’s promise mean to Joseph? 

For most of us today it doesn’t take long before we toss out God’s promises and completely forget what He has already set out to do in our lives.  For a moment, let’s forget years in prison or slavery – If we were ‘Joseph’ we would have probably given up on whatever God had promised us the minute we sensed our brothers getting jealous. We would have gotten sensitive and emotional, or upset, and walked away in that instance.  And that itself is the issue with so many of us.  We have no problem receiving the promise of God, or even asking God to hurry up and fulfill it.  However, as soon as the journey of fulfilling that promise begins we want to crawl under a rock.   We need to understand that it’s not the promise of God that we lack in our lives, instead it’s the trust to see God’s promises being fulfilled, so I ask again – what do God’s promises mean to you?

Look at the Israelites, God made them a promise to bring them out of the land of Egypt which He did. He promised them that He would defend them against Pharoh’s armies, and He did. He promised to provide them with food, protection, shelter, victory, and He did. Yet their rebellious, stubborn, doubtful and impatient ways delayed some of those promises from being fulfilled because they constantly lacked the trust they needed, to see these promises complete.  Keep in mind unlike Joseph, the Israelites were in constant communication with God through Moses. They knew when God was angry with them, they knew when He was pleased with them, they saw God perform wonders and miracles right before their eyes. Yet, after all of that we see how lightly they regarded God’s promise and how quickly they would fall back in doubting God and His word.  Whereas Joseph, he had no one to encourage him.  The only hope he had were the two dreams he saw as a young boy, and the trust in God that no matter what happened to him, God would still remain faithful.

There are a few things we always ought to keep in mind.  First off, when God makes a promise it’s an assurance that whatever it is, it will happen.  As we have mentioned earlier He is faithful to keep His word, and His word will always be followed by an action – nothing He says will ever go in vain.  Secondly, we need to remind ourselves that with His promise also comes hope.  Hope is there to remind you, and to help you hang on during the journey of fulfillment.  It’s there to help produce endurance for the journey towards seeing God’s promises being fulfilled.

Joseph endured many challenges, and traumatic experiences before he saw the promise of God being fulfilled.  At any time he could have thrown his hands up in the air and walked away, and I’m sure we could have all justified that but he didn’t.  He remained still and held onto the hope that came with that promise because that’s how valuable and meaningful God’s promise meant to him.  If there is one thing Joseph fully understood despite the many challenges he faced was that, God was going to remain faithful and keep His word.  Third, we need to trust that if God spoke it, He will bring it to completion in His time.  If He’s planned it, and promised it, then He (not you) will get it done! Learn to take a step back, and watch Him show He is faithful.

To conclude I will leave you with this reminder.  When the promise of God begins to work in your life, you will face trials.  You will face challenges and go through situations that will often try to pull you down and keep you away from seeing the promise of God being fulfilled in your life.  Sometimes, such challenges and trials will be permitted by God not to discourage you, but to allow for your character to be built, and for your endurance to grow stronger.  Remember, it’s not what you go through but your attitude and character while going through the challenges that will determine your ability of seeing God’s promises fulfilled in your life.  Hang on to the hope found in His word and remember that He (God) who started it, will get you through it and complete it.

God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? – Numbers 23:19