Claim the Promise

God made an incredible promise to His people Israel: He would lead them to a land they would call their own.  After 400 years of slavery, it was nearly unfathomable, especially when they saw how beautiful the land of Canaan really was.  In fact, it was so hard to believe that they…didn’t believe it.

Craig Bartholomew sums up what happens in his book The Drama of Scripture: “They say that the land is wonderfully fertile and would make a fine homeland for Israel, but its people are powerful and their cities well-fortified.  The reported strength of the enemy engenders fear, and the Israelites’ faith in the Lord collapses.  They become depressed and disgruntled, complaining that God has brought them this far only to kill them.”

They forfeited their right to claim the promise simply because they believed it was too good to be true.  How sad is that?  And how often do we do the same thing?

“I’m not worthy of love.”

“It won’t last.”

“God would never bless me that much.”

“This is impossible. Even for God.”  (Yes, I have actually thought this.  Not in so many words, perhaps, and not without realizing its stupidity immediately afterwards, but my disbelief and self-deprecating thoughts definitely convey this.)

First, nothing is impossible for God.  Nothing.  Second, while I don’t intend to portray the gospel as materialistic, God does love to bless His people who are surrendered to Him.  When you can finally open your clenched fists, He will fill them.  In fact, the only place in Scripture where God invites us to test Him is in Malachi 3:10 — “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse…test me in this…and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”  I love the imagery in this verse, as if I’m a small child looking up in wonder and amazement as a pinata breaks open and candy rains down.

sorry, couldn't help throwing a little humor in there!

sorry, couldn’t help throwing a little humor in there!

At least, that’s what I felt like this past week as God poured down blessing after blessing until I was overwhelmed.  He is so full of goodness that is just waiting to rain down on His children who will receive it.  In Psalm 37:4 the Bible says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  This verse is often misinterpreted and overused, but that doesn’t mean it should be discounted entirely.  It doesn’t mean you will get a new car, or a fabulous body without dieting.  But God knows the deepest longings of our heart, and He wants to be the One to fulfill them in His time and in His way, if we will trust Him.

Abraham and Sarah believed it was impossible for them to have a child, so they eventually gave up waiting on God and tried to do things their way.  God hadn’t forgotten His promise; He was just waiting to prove His ability to overcome all odds and display His sovereignty.  God loves to bless radically to show off.  Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17), and He will display His glory by the supernatural way He cares for His children.

If God has spoken to you, if God has given to you, stop doubting and believe.  Claim the promise, child of God; nothing is impossible for Him.

If He has called you to Africa, He will provide for you to go.

If He has given you a gift for writing, He’s big enough to publish your book.

If He has given you the desire for marriage, not only can He make it happen, He can provide someone who is perfect for you even beyond your wildest dreams.

As my dear friend and pastor’s wife Sarah Berger recently told me (listen to her life story, and you’ll realize she knows what she’s talking about), “God isn’t just good.  He’s better than you can even imagine.

When God speaks to you a promise that seems too good to be true, don’t let fear make you faithless.  He is big enough.

lake

 

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Published in: on February 18, 2013 at 12:17 am  Comments (2)  
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Seven Little Blessings: or, That One Time I Blew a Tire

My 2013 New Year’s resolution was going to be to learn how to change a tire.  I figured it would be a handy skill for a woman to have, so that I would never up standing awkwardly on the street corner after dark in December, watching dozens of heartless people pass me by, with no idea what to do and looking like a total diva.  Like I did tonight.

I called my brother.  While I was waiting for him to get there, I called my mom to whine about it.  I always call her when I have something to whine about.  Unhappily stuck in Nashville with my sister’s flea-bitten cat who also won’t stop whining, I literally called my mom four times today to whine about stuff.  I don’t know why she puts up with it.  “I can’t freaking afford a new tire,” I whined.

“Well, you’re not out of college yet, so new tires aren’t your responsibility,” she assured me.

“You made Charity pay for hers when she was in high school.”

“Well, that’s because she was being careless.”

There was a pregnant pause. “I hit a curb,” I said.

“Oh. Then yes, it’s your responsibility. Be glad you’re working this week?”

There was another long pause as I tried hard not to snarl, “I’m not glad I’m working this week. I’m tired of sleeping alone on a couch with a flea-bitten cat, and I’m the only college student on planet earth who’s not tweeting happy things about families and Christmas movies. I’m poverty-stricken, angry at the world, and I just want to come home.”  Instead, I said, “Yeah. It’s cool.”

Because the truth is, as irritating and untimely as this incident was, there were numerous little blessings that made it more than bearable.  First, I am glad I’m working this week.  There are a lot of people who would kill for a job right now.

Second, I was in a good area of town.  That may seem silly, but I didn’t have my pepper spray with me, and being alone, it was nice to feel safe.

Third, my brother and his friend came to help me out because I had no clue what I was doing.

Fourth, I happened to have all my coats in my car because I hadn’t bothered to unpack yet, so I didn’t have to freeze on the side of the road.

Fifth, even more ridiculous and due to some strange circumstances, I had my old pair of Converse in the car as well, so I didn’t have to get my new tan boots dirty.

Sixth, I had two plates of Christmas cookies in the car to share with my brother and his friend as an expression of my undying gratitude.

And seventh (that perfect Biblical number), I actually completed my New Year’s resolution 15 days early.

It’s the little things sometimes, but even through such a ridiculous situation it seems like God had equipped me with everything I needed and took care of me, providing me with numerous blessings for my convenience.  I trust Him to take care of the big stuff, but tonight was like the icing on the cake, like the husband who not only provides for his wife, but brings her flowers.

Sometimes it’s the little things for which I am most grateful, because they remind me that although my God rules the universe, He’s not too busy to pay attention to me.  He’s not too busy to go above and beyond for me.  He’s not too busy to remind me that He cares.

And I’m thankful.

Published in: on December 17, 2012 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Then I’ll Wait

“Will you accept my blessings?”

“Yes, Lord, gladly.”

“No matter what it takes?”

“Yes, Lord…maybe.”

“Will you endure pain if it leads to blessing?”

“Y-yes, Lord, I’ll try.”

“Will you wait out a broken heart and face countless lonely nights of tears?”

“Lord, I don’t know if I can.”

“My child, why are you crying?”

“Oh God…because it’s so hard to want what you want.”

“Will you wait?”

“Will you wait with me?”

“Always.”

“Then I’ll wait. I’ll wait through the tears and the heartache. If you’ll stay with me, Lord, no matter what it takes, I will wait.”

Published in: on May 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Blessed

Written December 21, 2010.

We hear it (and say it) often: “I have a great job, a nice house, and a new car. . . I’m so blessed.” Not that there’s anything wrong with crediting God for your 55-inch screen TV, because he allowed your circumstances to be such that you could acquire these material “blessings.” But what about poverty-stricken Christians in third-world countries? Are they not as blessed as you are? It’s easy to answer yes to that question, but that prompts a second question: Doesn’t it seem like God’s blessings should be directly proportional to the amount of love He has for someone? And from there, of course, you have to venture into the murky waters of “Does God favor some people more than others?” So then you have to retrace your steps and rethink your answer to the first question. It’s a tricky thing, saying that your house and car make you “blessed”, because it’s easy to forget the implications of such a statement.

Yeah, you have all this nice stuff, but is that what makes you “blessed”? I can’t help but wonder if God is disgusted by our assumption that He gives us this stuff because He loves us. There are all types of Christians with varying degrees of success and wealth: some with “blessings” and some without.

Why do the mentally retarded homeless people who sell The Contributor always tell you that they’re blessed? You say, “God blessed me with intelligence” – and they still say they’re blessed without it. You say, “I’m blessed because I make 6 digits a year” – and they say they’re blessed as they freeze their butts off selling papers for $1. Why?!

It’s very simple: they haven’t been blinded by fake “blessings”. They understand that blessings are not situational. They realize the one thing – the one blessing – that all Christians have in common: salvation in Christ. Rich, poor, healthy, sick, content, hurting – we are all united by the shared blessing of unshakable joy that is independent of circumstances. And nothing can take that joy away!

I’m blessed; are you?

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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