Better Promises

Hebrews 7: 22, 8: 6

Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

Hopefully you read yesterday’s devotional on the plan, or the covenant, of blessing we have under the Abrahamic Covenant. If you did you may well ask how there can be a better covenant or one enacted on better promises. The covenant of blessing was pretty huge and encompassing if you ask me. None the less, God was not satisfied with that covenant. He wanted more and better for us.

For many of us there was one major problem with the previous covenant. It was a promise to Israel, not to the gentiles so that was one important way God improved the deal. Through Jesus, we also became eligible for all of the promises under the Old Covenant. Obviously, Jesus brought a lot of benefits to us through his life, death, sacrifice and resurrection. He broke the power of hell over us and took away the sting of death. We were lost and he found us. We are redeemed, sanctified, justified, saved and restored. There is nothing in the whole Kingdom of God forbidden to us now. All of God’s thoughts and wisdom are ours. Every blessing has been poured out on all the children of earth. Sin has been cleaned away and we now stand boldly in the throne room of God unmarred by the stain of sin. Jesus did that for us. We were unable but because of his delivering grace, we have now been adopted into the family of God. We are truly and factually the children of Yahweh, Jehovah God. All He has, He has bequeathed to us. No longer are we limited to earthly blessings, the assets of heaven are now ours because of Jesus. So, yeah, he improved the covenant. It was fabulously good before but now it is off the scale wonderful.

How great is our God and glorious all His good deeds to His children. May all of His purposes be fulfilled in the earth and all of His beloved draw unto Him with great gladness.

Trust and Blessing

Jeremiah 17: 7

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord.

In a conversation last week, the theme about trusting God kept coming up. Time and time again the circle seemed to close on our learning to trust the Lord. I believe with the people in the conversation last week that this is a critical lesson for us.

Today’s verse says plainly that blessing is in trusting the Lord. Why is that? How can God lead us in the paths of blessing if we do not trust Him enough to follow Him? He can’t. He can point out the way to go but if we do not believe that He is always leading us to the land of plenty then we will hesitate.

Abraham is known for his faith but it was really obedience that made him the Father of the nation of Israel. His father, Terah, received instruction to take his family and go to the land of Canaan but he got comfortable and stopped before accomplishing what God told Him to do. He saw a good land and did not trust God to take him to a better place. Eventually God spoke to Abram telling him to leave his family and go to the place where God would show him. Abram complied and now we know Abraham as the Father of the faith and you didn’t even know Terah’s name. It was through simple obedience that Abram learned that God was on his side. Through obedience, he learned he could always trust God. Through trust and obedience, he became the Father of faith.

Sometimes the big revelations are in the little messages. There is no great message in obedience other than just do it. However, obeying God gives us the evidence and belief that we really can trust Him. As we move over into trust, we find blessing. The blessing has already been provided by our Father. We have to learn to trust Him so that He can lead us to the blessing. Otherwise, we end up wandering around in the tall weeds like the Israelites wandered around in the desert.

How do you learn to be blessed? You learn to trust God daily for the small things. You must learn to hear God for yourself . If you cannot hear God speak to you, how can you trust Him? How can you do what He says if you can’t hear Him. This is ground zero. Practice hearing His voice. Contact this ministry if you need help hearing Him because this is where you must start. Then you can live the life of the blessed person, blessed coming in and blessed going out.

The Facts Don’t Count

Romans 4: 19

And without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.

If you want to know one of the secrets to living successfully in the Spirit it is this, don’t let the facts interfere with the truth. Abraham had a promise from God that not only would he and Sarah have a child but that he would be the father of nations. How does an old man whose body is as good as dead and whose wife is not only elderly also, but who has always been barren, have a child? Well, in the natural, and according to the facts, they don’t. But, you see, that is where we must depart from the reasoning of this world and move over in to Jesus thinking and Jesus faith. 
Abraham did not become weak in his faith. Now what is faith really? Sometimes I think we make it too hard a concept. Here is a simple illustration. If I tell you that I am going to give you a pen when I see you will you be expecting to receive a pen? How confident are you that you will be given a pen? That is the measure of your faith in me? If you have a high expectation, even an assurance, then you have a lot of faith in me. That is all faith is, believing. You believe that what I say, I will do. Now, how assured are you that Dad is going to do what He has said? Somehow, Abraham was able to believe God’s word over the evidence which he saw in the world. Which one do you think you would have a tendency to believe? When you believe God, then that belief turns into trust. In the example of the pen, do you trust me to give to you what I promised?

Verse 18 says that Abraham believed even though there seemed no cause for hope. He saw the evidence that the world presented to him and chose to instead believe what God said. That is so hard for us to do but it is a super-key to living in the supernatural blessings of God. If we want to walk on the water, and who doesn’t, then we have to renew our minds with this kind of thinking. We have to ignore the facts. We don’t deny their existence we just deny their power. Abraham decided that God’s word was the final word, that it superseded the physical facts. That is the way we need to be, the way we need to think if we wish to walk in the kind of miracles that Abraham did, the kind of miracles that God wants to be our everyday experience.

Redeemed, Restored & Renewed

Galatians 3: 13 – 14

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” – in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles.

This is a message of the cross that we do not hear often and yet it is so profound that we should be shouting it from the housetops. This is a huge statement. While we were yet under the curse, God provided a way, the way, to redeem us from that curse. Jesus Christ, our beloved, went to the cross not to bear the burden of the curse but rather he became a curse so that we could be freed from the curse, from sin and from death. Jesus went to the cross so that we could be redeemed from the curse of the law and thereby be reconciled to God and into the blessing of Abraham.  

This passage encourages further study for it demands an answer to the question, “What is the blessing of Abraham?” It also answers many questions and some very large ones at that. We know, beyond doubt, that we are to live lives of blessing being no longer under the curse. We are heirs of all of the promises God made to Abraham. We know what the Christian life is to look like and it is not one of sickness, disease and poverty. Those are in the curse. It is not a life on anguish and torture. We are delivered from the curse of the law, from the power of darkness, into the kingdom of his dear son.

Additional text: Deuteronomy 28: 1-14

Investing Wisely

Hebrews 3:1 & 5: 10

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession…being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

We discovered yesterday that giving is a means to financial betterment in the Kingdom of God. Today I wish to take a quick look at the tithe. I don’t really think of the tithe when I discuss giving. For me the tithe is simply that part I put away in God’s treasury which provides my seed for sowing. When farmers get in their harvest, they don’t eat it all or sell it all. They must reserve a portion of this year’s harvest to use as seed for next year’s planting. In my mind, that is the tithe and it is the starting place for financial well-being.

Tithe literally means ten percent. In Genesis 14: 20 we witness the tithe of Abraham to Melchizedek. Jesus is now our high priest and he is clothed in the same priesthood as Melchizedek (Psalm 110: 4, Hebrews 7: 17). Some people actually teach that tithing is an Old Testament doctrine. I can only postulate that people posit that theory because they do not want to give to God. The answer I have heard in response to that position is, “If they could give ten percent under the law, how much more can we give by grace.” Our high priest is Jesus. That is according to New Testament scripture. How much more should we want to give under his priesthood than those Old Testament folks who had not been saved by grace unto eternity? Later on, after Jacob and Isaac and the twelve tribes, priests were appointed from the house of Levi. God could have appointed Jesus as a priest according to the order of the Levites but he did not. His priesthood is higher than the Levitical priests. Therefore, if Abraham, Father of all of us through grace and the shed blood of Jesus, could give ten percent to Melchizedek, then how much more can we give unto Jesus our High Priest? Might we, from the deep well of our hearts, pour out onto Jesus our substance in addition to our love?

The Audacity

Romans 4: 21

Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.

This verse was written about Abraham who is called the father of faith. This is the picture of faith; not questioning whether God is able to fulfil His promise to us. Verse 20 reads from the NASB thus: “Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God.” Abraham did not waver. He was fully assured that the God who made him a promise was well able to deliver on that promise. Fully assured, not partially, Abraham was convinced that God would come through.

After reading this verse I felt compelled to look up assurance and assure in the dictionary. This is what I found.

Assurance: 1. The act of assuring. 2. A statement or indication that inspires confidence. 3. a. Freedom from doubt; certainty. B. Self-confidence. 4. Boldness; audacity.

Assure: 1. To inform confidently, with a view to removing doubt. 2. To cause to feel sure; convince. 3. To give confidence to; reassure. 4. To make certain; ensure.

Wow! Those are strong words. I love the boldness with which we can be assured that God is with us and for us. Can we even go so far as to be audacious? Sure we can and some are. We can have absolute certainty that the one who promised is prepared to follow through on His promise. What, then, makes us different from Abraham? That is to say, how many people do you know personally with audacious faith? My goodness but I would like to aspire to be known as one with that kind of outrageous, radical faith. Can you imagine how much the locals made fun of Abraham and Sarah? People probably said, “Oh, you know, they are those ‘faith’ people. They think they can have a baby at their advanced ages because their God made them a promise.” Oh that we could be that daring, that bold in our believing. Jesus said that with just a little bit of faith, nothing would be impossible to us (Matthew 17: 20). 

God is mighty and able to deliver on all His good promises. Do you believe it?

The Facts Don’t Count

Romans 4: 19 – 20

And without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God.

Of course these verses are speaking of Abraham who is known as the father of faith. God made Abraham a huge promise. He told him that he would be the father of a multitude and that all the families of the earth would be blessed in him. Of course, this was a bit funny to Abraham and Sarah who were childless.

Abraham didn’t start out as the father of faith. He, like the rest of us, had to learn it. He had a promise from God but that promise was in the realm of impossibility. Sarah was barren from youth and now she and Abraham were old. They had a decision to make. Were they going to believe the facts, the evidence of the physical world or were they going to believe God, were they going to invest their belief in the realm of the spirit? This is the same dilemma with which we are all faced. The first verse lets us know that Abraham was well aware of their physical limitations. He was aware of the facts. But, what was he going to let influence him?

Even without the rest of the verse we know that he chose to believe God instead of “reality” because Isaac was born. Had Abraham and Sarah let the physical evidence be the last word then you wouldn’t even know their names today. Abraham would have never become the father of faith and Isaac would not have been born. You see, even though Abraham knew the facts regarding their bodies he did not let them persuade his thinking. Have we not learned yet that there is nothing real about reality? If “reality television” has taught us anything it is that reality is fungible. Someone once said that our perceptions mold our reality. If that is true, then change your perception. That is exactly what Abraham and Sarah did. They began to focus on the promise rather than the problem. Their eyes were glued to the vision of parenting a multitude. They began to disregard the physical limitations and meditate on the fulfilled promise. Then they opened up their mouths and spoke what they believed in their spirits rather than what they saw in the physical. If you back up two verses you see that Abraham learned from God to call those things into being which do not yet exist in the physical (v.17).  Abraham lined up his thoughts, his meditations and his words with the promise of God.

Somewhere along the journey we must each make a decision about what we are going to believe, what we are going to allow our hearts to meditate upon and what we allow our mouths speak. There will always be worldly evidence which contradicts the promise that God has given you. If you believe it then that is what will continuously manifest in your life. If, instead, you choose to determinedly set your focus on the promise of God then you will receive the miracles you need and the blessings of God’s promises will overflow in your life. I wouldn’t suggest that staying steadfast on God’s Word is necessarily the easiest thing to do. If so then you would see many more Christians living in the fulfillment of the promise. We have not all been brought up learning how to let faith be our guide but if we can learn to set our will in accordance with God’s Word and waver not at the promise, then we too will walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. And when we reach that stage, nothing shall by any means be impossible to us.