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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

It does not matter how long you have been in the Christian life, you are dependent upon Him for every step. Without Him we can do nothing. We can only conquer our doubts by looking steadily at Him and by not looking at them. The way to answer them is to look at Him. The more you know Him and His glory the more ridiculous they will become. So keep steadily looking at Him…

It is ‘the fight of faith’, you are walking on turbulent waves and the only way to keep walking is to keep looking at Him.

-D. Martyn Llyod-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, 158-159

Jesus has all the treasures of the everlasting covenant, all the fullness of the Godhead, all the resources of the universe in His keeping, and at His disposal!

He, with whom is all this strength and beauty, is your Brother! Are you not better and dearer to Him than these? He has loved and chosen you from all eternity, ransomed you with His blood, and inhabited you by His Spirit. Why, then, these fears? Why this distrust? All He requires of you is to bring to His fullness your emptiness—to His sympathy your grief—to His unerring wisdom your confusion—and to His sheltering wing your temptations and trials. Spread your case before Him in humble confidence of a child. Listen to His words—”I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

~Octavius Winslow, Christ’s Sympathy to Weary Pilgrims

“If you knew that there was one greater than yourself, who knows you better than you can know yourself and loves you better than you can love yourself, who can make you all you ought to be, steadier than your squally nature, able to save you from squandering your glorious life, who searches you beyond the standards of earth . . . one who gathered into himself all great and good things and causes, blending in his beauty all the enduring color of life, who could turn your dreams into visions and make real the things you hoped were true, and if that one had ever done one unmistakable thing to prove, even at the price of blood — his own blood — that you could come to him, and having failed, come again, would you not fall at his feet with the treasure of your years, your powers, service and love?  And is there not one such, and does he not call you?”

A. E. Whitham, quoted in Raymond C. Ortlund, Let the Church be the Church(Waco, 1983), page 39.

HT: Ray Ortlund

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