Promises, Promises

1 Chronicles 1: 9

Now, O Lord God, Thy promise to my father David is fulfilled; for Thou has made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.

When God made that promise to David it probably seemed as impossible as any of the promises you have read in the Bible. Yet God was able to fulfill all He promised to David. David’s son Solomon bears witness to us that all has been fulfilled in his sight. In other words, we have an eye witness account that God did exactly what He said He would do.

The word “promise” in the above passage is even more accurately translated as “word.” That would make the sentence read, “Thy word to my father David is fulfilled.” I do not find it any coincidence that we call the Bible God’s “word.” To bring this verse forward to each of us, that would mean that God fulfills his word to you. That would include everything that He has said to you in His Word, the Bible. This is a very significant revelation. Just as God fulfilled His word to David, He is obligated to fulfill His word to you. You have an entire book of transcriptions of what God has said to you. Every word in God’s word is His obligation to you.

You should be encouraged, therefore. If God fulfilled His word to David, then He will fulfill His word to you because the Bible says that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10: 34). In other words, He does not favor one child over another. As a matter of fact, the NIV version of Acts 10: 34 says that “God does not show favoritism.” What He was willing to do for one, He is willing to do for all.

Now you put a demand on the promise given you. That is what faith does. Expect God to be good to his word. Expect Him to meet your every need; emotional, physical, financial and spiritual. After all, He is the one that promised. We are just holding Him to His “word.”

Choked

Matthew 13: 22

And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Today we learn about another response people have to the Word which is sown in them. Some are deceived by what the world has to offer and full of fear and worry. These people choke on the Word because it stands in opposition to the lure of the world’s pleasures and troubles.

We confronted, earlier in the week, the need to consider Christians as we read these passages; not only Christians generally, but specifically ourselves. Today the question might be, “Is the Word getting choked off in my life?”

In my own mind, I read this even a bit broader than we read here. The reason is that there is another part of our culture which chokes the word. That is the “wisdom” of the world. So, there is the deceitfulness of riches, the worry of the world, and the information we are fed through worldly outlets. This latter is a large category. We are bombarded with information. Much of that information contradicts the Word of God. So, as we assimilate all this data directed at us, it pushes out the Word. We believe the doctor’s report, are terror filled by the evening news, are co-opted by television shows, besieged by advertisements and all of that doesn’t even consider the internet and our friends and family. We see that there is a constant cavalcade of input which denies the Word of God. It doesn’t take long before we believe what we hear day and night from the world instead of believing the Word. The Word gets choked so that it withers.

To compound the problem, most of us don’t get enough of God’s Word to begin with. For example, how long do you expect to live? What does the Word say? You see, it speaks to that. Are you healed or are you sick? Is prosperity your destiny or merely a distraction and a deception?

I will tell you another source of misinformation. Our churches. I say this because some well-meaning congregation member may quote you this scripture concluding that having financial wealth is a sin or against the Word. That is not true, and their conclusion is not supported by scripture. It’s what you think about riches, or wealth, that is problematic. The deceitfulness occurs when we conceive money as our means of support. When we consider it the answer to our financial problems, we have just run afoul of the Word. God is our source. Period. We may trade in dollars, Yen or Euros but our beloved Father is the one who provides.

The point Jesus intends us to glean from today’s passage is that we can be separated from the Word and secondly, when we do, we become unfruitful. I am sure no one wants to be called unfruitful by Jesus. Therefore, we must guard our hearts because, as we learned on Tuesday, the soil of which Jesus speaks, is our own heart. We must filter this endless salvo of information through the filter of God’s Word. That means we must read it. There is no getting around it though we try. We need to know what the Word says so that we can stake our tent on that ground and then everything which contradicts it, we can reject. In this way, we protect ourselves from being deceived.

We are meant to produce fruit but there is no fruit apart from the Word. Our Lord sows the Word in us. What we do with it determines how fruitful we shall be.

Choked

Mark 4: 19

[A]nd the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Most people would probably say that they are not enjoying all of the victory in life that they would like. Jesus tells us here why some of their work is unfruitful. The Word is getting choked out. It is so easy to start out right where you need to be and then the next thing you know, something is spinning out of control. What happened? Usually it is one of the above. I would add one other item to the list.

Sometimes busyness is the thing that chokes out the Word. We get too tied up in the things of this world and with running around trying our very best to get everything done only to realize that we have neglected the most important thing.

Look, you have seen plenty of wealthy celebrities with their lives in complete shambles. They were deceived into thinking that wealth and fame would make them happy. Striving for the money and the toys has left us all empty. When our desire for the things of this world outweighs our desire for the things of God, it is inevitably going to go badly for us. And as children of the most high, we should know that we do not even have to pursue those things like the world does. We seek the Lord and he gives us the desires of our hearts including some toys and other things that enrich life.

If we do not want the Word to be unfruitful, then we must guard ourselves against getting our eyes on the things of this world, including our jobs and other activities to the detriment of having our attention stayed on God, His son, His spirit and His Word. If we keep our priorities in line and keep our desire fixed on the Lord, then all these other things will be added to us.

God’s Success System

Joshua 1: 7 – 8

Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. 


Here is a success kit. All you have to do is cut and paste this into your life and success will have to follow you. God’s word cannot be denied and here is His word on success, loud and clear. Perhaps we do not know how to believe as we should but we are all changing that day by day. But, God’s word works and it works all the time. We have lost the ability and or knowledge of how to receive in this country. Maybe it is because we have so much and really have not had to rely on God for our basic needs. In other countries, amazing miracles are taking place. We need only to put our faith back in God’s word and believe that what He says will come to pass. Then we meditate on it, we speak it out of our mouths and we do according to all that is written there. When we do that, we cannot fail. All that you want, and or need, is sure to follow.

Life in the Word

John 12: 47 – 50           NIV

“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

Jesus’ words bring life to those who find them. Jesus tells us that his father’s command leads to eternal life. Moreover, Jesus said that everything he said came from the father so everything that Jesus ever said leads us to eternal fullness of life. Everything we want, everything we need is fulfilled through Jesus’ word.

It sounds simplistic to say that everything we need can be obtained through the Word until we remember that God created the entire universe with the spoken word. Now He has given us His words. With them there is nothing which is impossible to us. If we are not where we want to be in life, then we need only go to His Word and get more life. Jesus said that he came to bring us abundant life and we know from John 1: 1 that Jesus is the Word. So the Word came to give us abundant life.

Conversely, if we are not living the abundant life, then we have not allowed the life of Christ to fill us and we need to put more of Jesus inside of us by ingesting his word. The Word of God is the seed and the soil is the heart. When we plant his word in our hearts it yields a harvest. If we fail to bear fruit then Jesus need not judge us for we are already judged. The word that he has given us produces life so our lives will show whether we have accepted or rejected Christ’s word.

Do you remember the story of the talents in Matthew 25: 14? The servants were not tasked with safeguarding the master’s assets. The mission is to use the talents God has given us to produce a crop. He has given us his word and it is our job to do something with it. Prepare the soil; till it and pull out the weeds. Then plant the seed. If you will be diligent and faithful at reaping season you will have a bountiful harvest.

Jesus, Your Brother

Luke 8: 21                  NIV

He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Jesus taught how we can be one of his relations, or part of his family.  It is a two-step process.  First we must hear God’s word.  Second, we must put it into practice.  His brother James was listening.  James later wrote, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers, who delude themselves” (James 1: 22).  He said we are supposed to “receive the word implanted” (v. 21).

First we must each ask ourselves, “Do we want to be close with Jesus, even as close as a brother?”  Secondly, “What are we willing to do in order to achieve that personal closeness with him?”  Frankly, not everyone is willing to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus.  That’s okay, it is a personal choice but for those who do crave intimacy with the Lord Jesus he has shown the way. 

Jesus put an emphasis on God’s word.  He told us we must put ourselves in a position to hear God’s word.  Bear in mind they didn’t have the written word in abundance like we do today.  We can “hear” the word in many ways.  One of those ways, I would suggest, is in reading it for ourselves.  Furthermore, there is an incredible amount of free teaching available on television, radio and the internet.  Many ministers even allow people to download this content to their own device.  I find that remarkable.  What other profession gives away their work product for free?  We can hear great messages every single day. 

Brother James teaches us that we are to receive this word implanted.  When you hear the word, you must then receive it.  Just hearing someone speak the Word of the God won’t do a thing for you if you don’t receive it.  I believe James is telling us to plant the Word of God in our hearts.  This principle is well taught by Jesus in Luke 8: 15 where the sower sows the word to our hearts.  There are quite a few scriptures that speak about the relationship between God’s Word and our hearts.  Look at Deuteronomy 6:6 for example, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.”  This is our starting place then.  We can’t do God’s Word if we do not first hear it and in that hearing receive it into our hearts.  This is not a brain game.  It is a matter of the heart.  What, then, is the condition of your heart?  Is it the good soil that Jesus speaks about in Luke 8 or is it hard like the stony ground?

Fellowship with Jesus begins with God’s Word.  Perhaps hearing that thrills you.  I hope so.  Maybe, though, you are one of those who does not want to give time and place to the Word of God.  I am very sorry because there is no getting around this one.  No amount of intellectualization, even, is going to provide an argument that supports that position.  We must all come to a place in our lives where we are willing to let Jesus be the absolute Lord of our lives and do, therefore, what he says.  Either he is Lord of our lives or he is not but if he is then we should follow his instructions and his teachings.  He came to give us abundant life.  That is all he is trying to do with his instruction.  He is trying to bless us but in order for us to receive the greatest of gifts we are going to have to taste humility.

As you turn your face to Jesus, soften your heart and receive his word implanted therein.  Then we can talk about putting it into practice.  Then we probably won’t have to.