Great words from pastor Ortlund,

Fear not, Abram.  I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.  Genesis 15:1

Last October 29, sitting in a deer stand in Georgia, I jotted down these thoughts about what to do with the promises of God in the Bible.  More could be said about the hermeneutical filters to run the biblical promises through on their way to us today.  But to get right to the point at a personal level:

1.  Receive God’s promises by faith.  Do not test them by sight.  Do not take a “wait and see” stand-off-ish position.  Embrace the promises as yours in Christ. Just believe God.  And ask yourself, “Okay, how should I live right now as someone destined to inherit blessings only Almighty God could think up?”

2.  Change your self-concept.  See yourself not as doomed but as graced, a person of destiny and greatness, defined by the kindness of God.  It doesn’t matter what others say about you.  It doesn’t matter what you say about yourself.  Everything has changed.  What matters now is what God says about you, for the sake of Christ.

3.  Look for the beginnings of fulfillment in this life.  His promises are way too bigfor our little existence here.  But you can expect previews of coming attractions.  He will encourage you along the way.

4.  Expect setbacks.  You will encounter appearances directly contrary to his promises.  When (not if) this happens, do not be robbed of your confidence.  God tested Abraham too.  You and I need to be deepened in our faith, more than we know.

5.  Defy the present, defy even yourself, by rejoicing in God before the fulfillment comes.  Even when life is hard to bear, there is a place in your heart that can rejoice in hope, because you know that God is not hemmed in by your limitations.  They are, in fact, part of his strategy to catapult you forward.  Only God can do that.  And he will.

6.  When God fulfills his promises, you will inherit something else too – a new responsibility to love him more, to praise him more, and to care for others who are still on their way.  God will give you a story to tell to others for their encouragement.  Get ready to tell it, though in some ways the narrative will humble you.

HT: Ray Ortlund