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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

God's Promises

Maybe you're a little bit like me in that you find some of God's promises to be particularly exciting.  Or gratifying.  Or comforting.  Or hope instilling.  When we get to know the living God, there are several things that change.  Among them are our perspectives. Let me explain.

In a true relationship with the living God, my perspective changes regarding who I am.  I begin to see the limitations of my power and ability, and the ugly truths about my sinful nature.  You might say that I start to get a reality check.

In a true relationship with the living God, my perspective about who God is also changes.  I begin to know His nature and His character.  Having intellectual knowledge about such things as the fact that God never, ever changes ... helps me to understand how God thinks about my perspectives, my circumstances and even my relationship with Him.  Again though, it is a reality check.

In a true relationship with the living God, my perspective about life in general changes radically.  Having no fear and not being intimidated by the challenges and strife of the modern world, I learn to be at peace regardless of what my circumstances would suggest.  I have more confidence in the promises of God. 

I'm reading through the Bible right now, start to finish.  Slogging through the Old Testament can be a bit challenging.  I mean it's hard to stay engaged when it parts of it can seem so abstract to my current reality.  But I see the nature of God.  And it encourages me greatly.

This morning I was reading in Ezekiel.  God had disciplined Israel for its flagrant and continuing sin and rebellion.  But given that Israel's suffering had achieved its purpose (to move Israel to repentance), God had something to say about how life would be now.  Look at what He has to say to the Israelites about what their lives will be like.

"I will show how holy My great name is.  And when I reveal My holiness through you ... then the nations will know that I am the Lord.  Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean.  Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.  And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you.  I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.  And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regualtions.  And you will be my people, and I will be your God.  I will cleanse you of your filthy behavior ... the ruins will be rebuilt ... and everyone will know that I am the Lord."  - Ezekiel 36:22-38

So did you catch all that?  Look at God's words.  He acknowledges my sinful nature, my disgusting thoughts, my hardened heart, and my filthy behavior.  But He boldly announces my cleansing.  He casts a vision for me that is filled with hope ... and even wonder.  The ruins of my life will be rebuilt in a manner that will let everyone know that He is the Lord and that He is my Lord.

I have to tell you, I don't think it could be any more exciting than that.  I actually find myself feeling sorry for people who "grew up in church" or who never had an amazing conversion experience.  Jesus said that people who have been forgiven much tend to be the most grateful people.  I definitely fit into that category.

I've been forgiven so much.  I've been forgiven more than most people.  And I know it.  It compels me to live for Him each day.  It compels me to break into song nearly every day, praising the name of God. 

There are people who meander through this life without God.  They call themselves atheists or agnostics.  Honestly, I don't know how they do it.  If I didn't have God and His wonderful promises, along with His transforming power, embracing love and magnificent strength ... well I shudder to think what my life might be like.

When we know how saved we are - when we know how forgiven we are - we can embrace who He's made us to be.  We will be His people and He will be our God.  And because of that, the whole world will know that He is the Lord.

Oh, praise Him!  Oh, praise Him!

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