THE PROMISES OF GOD
I have been gripped by the thought of the promises of God that are going begging in Gods word for a little while now.
I am concerned that so few folk are taking the Lord at His word and by faith claiming those promises for themselves.
The Church seems asleep when it should be wide awake at the spiritual warfare that is raging around us as the enemy is making its last desperate stand.
The Word of God is argued over, maybe discussed but rarely studied to get the maximum from it to draw us closer to God.There are hundreds of promises in the scriptures, it is like a diamond mine they need digging out by personal study or collective sharing.
Some of them are obvious and we make great play on the fact that we need to take God at His word and to believe it.
Such as the promises that are given to us for our salvation through the mercy, love and grace of Almighty God.
Then there are wonderful promises for us to take daily into our lives as we read and study the Bible, wonderful truths that are revealed to us in the scriptures that need to be appropriated so as to bring the word alive to us and in us.
Then we begin to operate as if God was really interested in us as individuals and not operating as if we know all there is to know already.
To so many the scriptures are hard work to read and study and it has become a text book and we get bored with it.
Here is one of the enemy ploys he will do anything to stop us searching out the scriptures because in them is eternal life.
The Christian life is warfare between the world flesh and devil and the Christian believer walking in touch with God day by day.
The Christian disciple quickly learns that they cannot keep the Bible standard on their own but that they can keep it when empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The need for daily communion with the Lord becomes a reality and to start having time alone with God is vital.
Then the battle starts and tiredness becomes a problem, finding time to meet with the Living God becomes a struggle for the flesh life.
This is a problem most Christians must face and the Lord allows this to come to see how deep is our commitment to Him.
Then the problem of understanding the scriptures is that we soon get tired get of reading the bible we blame the language instead of our lukewarm attitude towards it.
The scriptures brings home the truths about ourselves that have lay hidden to us until now that we should be applying to our life.
The word 'sanctification' is a long and hard word but it simply means 'separated to God' and it involves changes having to be made in our life and pattern of living.
The word sin means rebellion from or against God and that points to our old nature whilst sanctified means separated to God and the new nature we have inherited.
There are changes that will have to b e made that will bring us back and closer to God and that comes as we apply His word to our life.
Now here is the challenge of the coming year to me, I want to become the man that God wants me to become whilst here on earth.
I want to prove the promises of God so that my life may be a living testimony of our Father's saving and keeping power.
To know experimentally the power of the word of God not just mentally but in reality as the word becomes alive by the Holy Spirit in my life.
To claim the promises that will draw me closer to the Lord and that will give me greater compassion for the lost and turn them into love for the Church.
This is going to take time but the fact is the Lord is already at work in me and has been preparing me for this exercise of faith that will draw me closer to His self.
I am longing to learn from Gods word fresh truths every day of the year that lies in front of us or as long as He leaves me here in this body of clay so as to become more Christ like.
We launch out with the word 'come' and what promises this is going to reveal to us, let us start with 'Come let us reason together saith the Lord' Isaiah 1 v 18.
The invitation comes from the Living God and it opens up the truth that there is a distance between the two parties.
The Creator God longs for the human rebellion to cease and to return in repentance to Him and He is willing to forgive us completely.
The invitation introduces us to not only cleansing of the past but to the mastery in the future as we put our trust and faith in Christ Jesus.
We are saved from sins consequences so as to walk with God on the much higher standard of righteousness, we are to walk on the path of righteousness for His name sake.
The invitation comes not with a suggestion or good idea but with a deliberate chose to be made, to turn around and follow the Lord Jesus Christ standard or to be lost eternally.
This invitation comes from the highest standard of living and points out that we are on a much lower standard of living that finds its ultimate rejection from Gods presence.
So our invitation is come up higher and walk on the high mountain tops alone with God breathing in the fresh air of holy living.
To walk on the peaks of righteous living that brings us closer to our heavenly Father and into the divine intimacy that only those claiming the promises know any thing about.
'Come' reveals instruction because it brings us to the truth that we are filthy sinners living without hope of living eternally in the presence of the Living God.
Our situation regarding the eternal judgement of God that none of can escape
was absolutely desperate because we are without hope in this world.
That is where this lovely invitation become a beautiful promise, 'though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow' the wretched life can be transformed through the mercy, grace and love of God.
'Though they be like crimson they shall be as wool'; the fact is that through the cleansing blood of Christ's sacrifice on Calvary blots out as if it never existed.
What a glorious promise for us to lay hold of: our eternal destiny revolves around this promise that the Creator has made with repentant sinners.
'Come' instructs us to turn around and accept the mighty promise of God that brings us to realise that obedience to His invitation is of paramount importance.
The Lord is still speaks today through various ways to His children to come back to Him and it is up to us to accept His gracious instruction as we build our lives on it.
In Isaiah 1 v 20 we get a glimpse of the consequences of rejecting the invitation or offer of salvation, God will pour out His judgement on all rebelling sinners.
The incident in Isaiah brings out the spiritual state the nation of Israel was going through and they were far from being the people they should have been.
They were listening with one ear to the prophets but the other was listening to the will of the flesh and captivity was looming on the horizon.
The longer the prophet pleads the worse mess they were getting into and the cry of the prophet was going unheeded by a large section of society.
There is clear cut choice to be made we will either repent and turn from our sin to walk on the higher standard of holy living or we remain in our sin growing in a deeper mess.
We then can come into that deeper fellowship with the Lord that the early disciples enjoyed walking, talking and communing with Him daily.
They enjoyed times of fellowship as they walked their journey across the country and knew the reality of the spiritual battle that would confront them when He returned to His Father.
The Master taught the disciples through parables, miracles and direct teaching bringing home the truths of Gods word to them.
This instruction was the foundation of the Church and He the Living God brings out the urgency of coming in repentance to Him and not the church.
'Come' is a delightful word as it is an introduction to a completely new way of living, putting of the old nature, desires and habits of unrighteousness so as to put on the new..
In the New Testament there is much written for our learning about this change over and how were should be searching out the old standard continually so as to put it off.
Now it these changes that the old flesh life does not like to face, we cling on to the flesh life as if it is all important when in actual fact it is dying all the time.
The changes in life should be sort out so that we become a closer replica to the scriptures for the world to see the difference and for God to receive pleasure from our communing with Him.
We will be looking at these changes as challenges in the coming days God willing because they are as important as the 'come' is here.
The changes are part of our conversion and sanctification that will bring us into Christ likeness, that is the outcome of our response to His invitation, instruction and introduction 'COME'.
So now we take up the challenge of God s word and begin to start digging out the treasures that have so far been hidden from us.
There are many happy hours and enlightening hours in store for us it should be sealed by a fresh dedication of ourselves to the Lord.
Then we can press forward forgetting the past failures and misery to gain higher ground up Gods holy hill as Psalm 15 invites us, we need to elevate our sights so as to claim the spiritual inheritance that we have been brought into.
Why grovel around in the church brick and mortar when you could be growing in the Church the Body of Christ becoming the person God wants you to become.
The reason why we are reticent to 'come' is because of the decline in our spiritual life but listen carefully the Lord is calling us to return to Him in repentance so why wait any longer?
The 'come' needs urgent attention so that we can begin to apply the many promises put out in Gods word, the conditions are usually tied up on that front.
The promises of God are given for each of us to claim, just as a cheque when signed and presented to the cashier in the bank will reveal the money stated to your account.
So we hear the Lord saying to us all 'come' as a gracious invitation for salvation in Christ Jesus but also to enter into the new life in Christ.
There is so much more for us to individually draw from the spiritual bank of heaven and as we become obedient to the Living God we will soon be wondering why it has taken us so long to find these promises for ourselves.
Do not let Satan the arch deceiver stop you with his cunning and sly tricks from enjoying the full banquet that there is in Gods word.
Today we 'come' to the Lord and to the promise of meeting with Him as a repentant soul in need of His company, we soon realise that the Lord is waiting for us to 'come' into His presence, we never catch Him out.
Let us turn to Matthew 11 v 28 for another beautiful promise coming from the heart of our God and the mouth of our beloved Saviour.
'Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest' it is given for each of us; so what hinders our answering in the affirmative?
The invitation is from the Master and for all of His children to come and draw near to Him so that we can unburden ourselves to Him.
At first glance it is given to sinners to repent of their sin but in fact it is given as an invitation to all to come and find rest and peace by taking His life for our self.
Why do we wait until there is spiritual collapse before we come, why not avail ourselves today of this unique offer of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ?
We are looking at the downcast soul not knowing where to turn for the best: usually we try all the other avenues offered to us before reluctantly we drop at the Masters feet.
Immediately one can see the picture of a soul weighed down by the pressures of life finally coming to look up to their Saviour who has come to our help and aid.
Satan is pushing us under because he has neither the desire to lift us up or ability to pull us out of any of the troubles that we find ourselves in.
It is amazing how he will use other folk to do the dirty work for him, usually folk who are weary worn and sad in the battle too pull us down.
The battle is hot and the enemy of our souls is out to wreck us and would do so if he could but the Saviour of our soul is there along side us to lift and to bear us up.
Can we not see that the Master bids us 'come' it is for our benefit that He invites us to enjoy His company more and more, and the diligent soul will gladly obey.
The early disciples were on the mind of the Lord as He prays here, they were actively engaged in ministry that was physically wearing them out
As yet they had not learned the basic lesson of coming first to the Lord for their lessons and teaching before going out in service for Him.
The promise has conditions 'take my yoke upon you and learn of Me' the Christian life is not a bed of roses or garden party but a battle of right and wrong, of truth and error of righteousness as against unrighteous living.
Much of our troubles start here, we are trying to live the Christian life instead of trusting the Lord Jesus to fulfil His word in and through us.
The invitation to 'come' from the Lord Jesus in Matthew 11 was to the 'little children' in the faith, those willing to learn and eager to apply His word.
He could see the fragile and easy led disciples not knowing how to face the enemy on their own and so before He goes to Jerusalem and Calvary He prays for them.
At the same time He was looking ahead to us in our generation tied in knots by doctrines and in similar spiritual straight jackets caught in the net of the enemy.
He was looking at repentant sinners who were longing to make progress in the new standard of living but who were being bogged down by the old nature of living, human attainment.
He was talking about us and in reality He is talking to us right now, 'come' is a sweet invitation for battered and bruised saints to come and rest in His conscious presence NOW.
There are many Christians today under great pressure and who are cracking up under the strain because they have never been obedient to the Master's word 'come unto Me'.
This is a gracious invitation to the battle weary soul and we should delight to come at the end of the day and rest in His presence.
We seem to be afraid of resting during the day and we are so tired at night we do not hear His gracious voice speaking to us, 'come and rest'.
One thing for sure our heavenly Father does not give any one of His children tasks that they are not empowered to undertake.
Our Father is not a hard taskmaster as most worldly leaders are, our God supplies the strength for the day and then bids the weary heart, soul and mind to 'come and rest'.
The 'come unto Me' here is a generous invitation because there needs to be a transferring of the burden, we give Him all of our troubles and difficulties and He willingly takes them from us.
When we take up His pressures we find that we are able to respond to them and find that they are much lighter than our own were.
The problem stems from the fact that our heavy burdens are a result of our earthly living whereas His comes from the higher standard of eternal values.
We pressurise ourselves unbearably at times with issues that have no eternal value at all they come from physical and mental exertion that will soon be forgotten when we come into His presence.
We spend so much time each day getting money to spend on earthly things that have no eternal value at all, we spend our time and days seeking to provide for the flesh.
The strain wears us out as we try to keep up with the status quo, the folk around us giving us an air of satisfaction as we keep abreast of the worldly standard.
Christian listen to the gracious and generous voice of our beloved Saviour 'come unto Me'
Here is the secret of the victorious Christian life, coming to the Lord and communing with Him daily if not several times a day to transfer your heavy load for His lighter one.
The word 'heavy laden' can mean over burdened by situation but it can also mean spiritual anxiety, our trying to keep up to the pattern of things.
We struggle and strive in the Christian whilst we should be trusting and communing with the Lord, enjoying the Christian life
Look at v 29 and remember the Lord is speaking to us personally here, He gives us the answer to our pressing problems and how to deal with them.
First He says 'learn of Me' we must desire to gain knowledge from Him every day, not spasmodically or even occasionally but regularly, seeking the Lord to speak through His word.
To learn here is the experimental knowledge gained by the experience of waiting upon the Lord, so that we learn directly from His word.
He gives us wisdom, understanding and discernment beyond the human as we learn from Him by spending time alone with Him and His word.
Now here is a mouth watering thought that the Lord will give us deeper knowledge than we could ever get in our life going elsewhere.
'Wisdom' is seeing things from Gods point of view, being able to put things into an eternal setting as much as the earthly one.
So often the breakdown in fellowships comes because we argue from a human stand point rarely do we hear someone state this is what the Lord says.
The reason being that we do not spend time seeking the Lord and listening to the Holy Spirit prompting on the issues of the Christian life.
'Understanding' brings us to a spiritual intelligent mind, one that is sanctified and seeking to know the will, mind and purposes of God.
Our minds were once 'darkened' Ephesians 4 v 18, being unable to see spiritual issues but now in Christ we should begin to seek Him to give us light and truth seeing that we can be renewed in our mind v 23.
'Discernment' means having the ability to judge well, through seeking to know the Lord in a deeper relationship we can judge issues from a higher plain of thinking.
He is our personal 'tutor' or teacher and He ministers to us according to where we are in comparison to where we should be in the Christian life.
He does not over load us with facts and figures but He meets us at our point of need and often times He brings us to a position where changes are necessary to stop the monotonous routine.
Look at the tremendous condescension of our Lord 'He is meek and lowly in heart' His operations are skilfully worked out in us as easy as He operates the controls of the Universe.
He is 'meek' meaning humble, the Creator stooping down to commune with the created, we are so small and insignificant on this very small planet earth.
Yet He comes alongside the obedient child to enlighten and encourage us in our daily walk through life, never abandoning us even though we are not very quick to learn.
He is 'lowly' remember that He is the Son of God who gave His life to rescue us from the rebellion we lived in, He gave up the splendour of heaven to take on the human form so save us.
He does not lord it over His people but He does expect us to be obedient to His word seeing He only has His our best interest at heart.
He invites us to 'come' and rest in His presence, putting aside the issues of the day in front of us and to be refreshed and restored in the Spirit before going out into the hostile world.
The 'come' becomes vital and clear now, He the mighty Son invites us His children to come and rest in His presence for our own benefit.
He longs for us to come to commune with Him in the quiet place where we can share the things that are common to us both.
There He wants us to listen and learn that there is far greater power available to us than we realise, power that enables us to overcome when normally we would be overcome by the flesh life.
There are so many problems that we take on board that we would steer clear of if we only listened to the Saviour more often, He gives us the ability to see the enemy behind them.
We can learn to come apart from the world and rest awhile during the business of the day and commune with our Saviour who will draw us closer to His side as we place our burdens on Him.
One of the cruel aspects of modern living is the unteachable spirit that pervades amongst the church at large, we are losing out continually by wrestling with issues that the Lord would quickly solve if learned to bring them to Him.
The thought comes through consistently that 'we know it all', we know the solutions but we do not live in the light of them if we do and we are bogged down with them.
We should be delighted to hear the words 'come unto Me' from the Lord Jesus and quickly respond to His gracious invitation because we will never come away disappointed when we do so.
Look up, His yoke is 'easy' simple not complicated, it is 'light' when compared with the loads the fleshly life would put on us.
The struggle and striving of the flesh is bound to fail because we humans are very limited in our ability to cope but when the Lord Jesus takes control we find that the way seems much easier and the pressure are much lighter than before.
What a mighty privilege it is to hear the Master invite us to 'come unto Me' we all can respond to it and soon become a different person as a result
We would be a more restful and peaceful person in our selves, one that it would be a delight to share company with if we learned to 'come' more often.
Remember the invitation is still valid today.
The promises of God are real and vital for us to get hold off and today we are invited to 'come' once again in Mark 6 v 31 by the Master.
'Come ye apart and rest awhile' now the invitation is given to weary disciples who have been running around doing the duty whilst trying to take in the miracles taking place around them.
The had been listening and looking to their Lord and Saviour but were very tired trying to take it all in and the Teacher has ministered to the crowd so now He can minister to the few.
The disciples are exhausted trying to keep up with the events that have come thick and fast to them.
Physically they are still strong but mentally they are wrestling with situations that leave them baffled, they cannot take in any more, was their feeling.
The observant Master calls them to 'come apart' to come away from the lecture room out into the quiet place to 'rest awhile'.
If we turn to Matthew 13 and 14 we find a catalogue of miracles and parables
that come fast one on another.
The disciples had little time to take them all in and many were slowing down rapidly physically and mentally.
At the first opportunity the Master calls a halt to the proceedings and kindly says to His children 'come away' from it all for a while.
How often we get bogged down by the situation that we are in and we struggle on in our own strength, wearied and tired doing our duty.
The Master has been watching us carefully and keeps saying to us 'come away for a while' and rest in My company.
I find it interesting in these days listening to the average Christian whose life is so full they cannot find time to get alone with the Lord.
It would seem that the enemy of or souls has filled our time with work and pleasure that we do not have time to come apart and to rest a while in our heavenly Fathers presence.
We are afraid of being alone with God, we are frightened to set time aside that belongs to God, a half hour each day that would transform our life.
Indeed we are afraid of the quietness that waiting upon the Lord will generate, being still in His presence learning to wait upon the King in His glory.
The devil will fill our days gladly so that we have time for the flesh life, the worldly things of life but no time for the Lord Jesus our Saviour
Another ploy that he uses is I cannot understand the bible it is hard and complicated in truth it is boring for many.
Their Christian life portrays a selfish and self centred attitude that wants everything on a plate and just when the say so.
The Christian disciple will gladly accept this invitation 'come you apart' if their life is in harmony with God, what greater invitation could we receive?
To come into the conscious presence of the Living God to commune and fellowship with Him at the Throne of Grace.
Such precious times will increase for the diligent and obedient soul, because time flies by as we learn to rest and learn in His company.
There is wisdom and knowledge that cannot be gained any other way or in any other place than in the quiet place alone with God.
The sad thing is that there are enforced times of rest put upon us through ill health or through tragedy in the family that God uses to draw us to Himself.
It is His way of revealing the depth of His love to us because we are to busy to learn it any other way, He stops as well as saying 'go'
Will you notice the v 31 there was much coming and going. It points to the activities that the disciples were involved in.
The activities that did not necessarily involve their own walk before the Lord, no room to make the changes necessary in life to bring us into Christ likeness.
The Lord Jesus had a great deal to reveal to them about the Spiritual life that involved being still as much as running around.
We run away many times because we get convicted in the being still, we then make the excuses on why we are so active.
It is in the quiet place that our life is adjusted into Christ likeness, were the Holy Spirit can bring the word alive in us as well as to us.
The quiet place is where the adjustments are made in our life that are needed if we are to become like Christ.
Then the quiet place is where we can be built up into the soldier that our Father would have us become, overcomer's instead of being overcome.
The Lord Jesus was well aware of the battles ahead of Him and of the disciples He wanted to teach them in the desert place the way of victory over the world, flesh and the enemy.
Hindsight is a very good thing but we cannot live in hindsight, we can learn from the mistakes we have made in the past and our Father forgives us as we repent of them.
To come aside though will bring us to the place where we learn to see the temptation coming on us and we can flee from it in the Spirit of God.
Now that is something multitudes of Christians would like to believe because of their regular failure on certain issues.
Well we dream no longer start coming to the quiet place alone with our Father and rest in His presence so that you can learn the secret of mastery first hand.
Now in Mark 6 v 33 we notice that fact that people see the value of the quiet hour and they will seek to fill it for you.
Crowds suddenly appear seeking the Master just when the time was available for the disciples to rest awhile v 35.
This situation was the back drop for the 'Feeding of the five thousand' because they were as sheep without a shepherd.
So the miracle and the needs of the multitudes came first to the Master but He takes His disciples across into foreign territory to meet their needs.
The feeding of the mind is more important than the feeding of the body for those diligent Christian disciples and for the spiritually destitute unconverted.
The truth becomes apparent as the chapter unfolds and the next chapter is seen in context, a full stomach does not lead to a seeking spirit.
The disciples are found arguing over the miracle of the loaves and fishes it did not fill their heart and mind with the words of eternal life.
The Lord Jesus has so much to teach His people and the desperate situation on the lake in the storm brought them to the position where they wanted to learn the truths from Him.
The 'come you apart' brings out the truth that though the disciples had learned many things in the activity there were far more to learn in the quiet place.
The miracles provoke thoughts in out hearts about the power of the Lord Jesus but the personal ministry provokes the seeking of power themselves.
The Holy Spirit gives the strength and power for each situation we face but He delights to draw us closer into Christ likeness as a result.
As we look at the promises of God and at the word 'come' there is another occasion where we are invited to 'come' and it is the final time it is used in scripture Revelation 22.
The word 'come' is used three times by our Lord Jesus 'behold I come quickly' vs.7,12 and 20 pointing to His return to take His people home.
A glorious fact that He is preparing His Church for that momentous occasion when He will descend through the clouds for His Bride.
The fourth occasion the word 'come' is spoken is in v 17 'come' in the first instance means the transportation from one place to another.
But this is not just a picture of the future but the reality of what is going to happen when the Lord Jesus comes again, we are going to be with Him and like Him.
We must take note though that the gracious invitation is uttered quickly a second time pointing to those listening and accepting the offer.
They are heard proclaiming the invitation 'come' themselves because it is to good to keep to themselves they long for others to receive it..
This is followed by a third 'come' in the same verse and it is given to all who are spiritually thirsty to 'come' and drink of the water of life freely'.
A treble 'come' first from the Spirit, then from the redeemed Bride and then to all who have received the promise themselves.
The thought comes through clear and plain that there is a promise that needs applying hear by all of us who are walking in the light.
We are looking forward to meeting our beloved Saviour in the air when He comes in majestic glory to claim the 'kingdom for His own'.
In one glorious moment the earth will be transformed by the mighty power of the Living God and by the mighty presence of the Son of God.
Now we have that certain knowledge to build upon not because a preacher said it or a person told us but because our Saviour has declare it.
'He will come again to receive us to Him self' is an absolute certainty because it is the climax of His work on earth and the plan worked out in eternity before time began.
We can look upwards and forwards with great certainty that the Lord Jesus is coming again and will walk on the earth once again in majestic power and authority.
The threefold 'come' of v 17 is an injunction to us to share the gracious invitation to those around us so that they may hear the gospel themselves.
The situation in the world is outlined in v 15 rebels on the run from God but then the Lord Jesus has become real to us by the Holy Spirit working in us.
We are a privileged people who have found the light of the gospel and are now living in the light of it, praising God as we do so.
Then the invitation that we have received is open to all who would repent of their sin as we have done, so we go and share it with those in the world.
We do not sit and wait for them to come to hear but we go out to proclaim the invitation as a promise to them.
The glorious gospel message reveals that the Living God is willing to receive repentant sinners back to His self.
Those who come to drink of the water of eternal life have the responsibility of pointing others to the water of life so that they may drink of it also.
We come to drink from the wells of salvation as Isaiah 2 vs.2 – 3 and John 4 vs.10 and 13 -14, along with 7 vs.37 – 38.
Now one aspect of the invitation to 'come and drink' is that we can come daily to drink of the wells of salvation, we are kept fresh all the day long.
The truth is we long to share with others the good news pointing them to the source of salvation, to our Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We can bring folk who are thirsty to the well so that they can drink for themselves from the supply that will never run dry.
Spiritual thirst is something every child of God knows about and the obedient know the value of this invitation to 'come' because they have learned to draw from the well of salvation every day.
The slow of heart are folk who have a thirst but are to idle to get up and drink from the well of salvation daily.
The invitation is open by the Lord Jesus to all who thirst to come practically to Him and draw from the divine supply laid out in scripture.
There is spiritual food and water, enough for each day made available to every Christian and we find that true when we take time to answer the invitation by coming to drink and east ourself.
So we look at the situation that we are in personally and seek to answer the question am I a spiritual pauper or a spiritual prince?
The spiritual pauper is one who looks on the fully laden table but does not partake of it, only looking and observing but never participating.
There is no point in trying to argue round the points on theological grounds, many a theologian leaves us dry as dust.
There is a banquet in scripture, a five course meal for those who come as hungry and thirsty souls, the Master has invited us to 'come and dine'.
To those who accept His invitation we find it becomes a promise and we delight in what He has prepared for us daily.
One thing for sure when we come with anticipation we will not go away hungry, the truth is that we get a hunger and thirst for the Lord.
Each day we come before the Throne of Grace anticipating a full meal and we then want to share it with others so that they may hunger and thirst enough to get up to feed themselves.
'Come' is a delightful promise that guarantees the receiver a full and satisfying meal with the outcome being that we are drawn closer to Christ and become a living testimony of the Lord.
'Come' is a delicious promise because it brings us into closer harmony with the Father's will and purposes for us in these days.
Those who come and taste of the Lord find that He is good to overflowing, the delight of coming daily to feed at His table is beyond words.
The fact that He is graciously interested in each of us to condescend to stoop down to feed us with the living word is unbelievable but He does.
'Come' is a definite promise that cannot be broken, our heavenly Father, our precious Saviour and the Holy Spirit are all involved in bringing this promise to us.
The Father has instigated the promise for repentant sinners to come to drink from His wells of salvation, enabling us to drink until we are full.
The Lord Jesus has dug the wells of salvation for us to drink from through His sacrifice at Calvary and the Holy Spirit opens up the wells of the word of God so that we can drink and feed on it.
It all depends on how much we are hungering and thirsting for the Lord, we live in desperate days and yet still spurning the Lords invitation to 'come'.
'Come behold the works of the Lord' Psalm 46 v 8 is an invitation to gaze upon the Living God and what strength and comfort this brings to the saints.
An area of thought that needs exploring today is the mightiness of our God the triune God is mighty in all their ways and works.
The promises that come from them are overwhelming in scripture and they long for us to participate in the outworking of them in our daily lives.
I often times hear people talking about 'new things' in the church well there are so many new things that our Father wants to do in and through us if only we were obedient to 46 v 10.
When we come O be still in our Creator Gods presence we begin to see how puny our service is when compared with the greatness of His power over the whole universe.
We are looking at a little planet in the Solar System that is a minute part of the massive Universe and on that dot id another very small dot bearing your name.
The uniqueness of the Christian faith is that the Creator is interested in everything that we do, say and think, something that we find very hard to understand.
The closer we get to the pattern of Christ likeness the greater the value of a soul we become in His sight.
We were created to live for His pleasure but the truth is we live anything but that type of life being so self centred and self promoting.
We live as if we were dominating the scene when in fact we are only making a mess of the whole machinery that is grinding to a halt.
Man was created to live at peace with God but we are continually struggling in wars and rumours of wars whether nationally, internationally or personally.
Now in the Psalm before us we are portrayed as a raging torrent v 3 that God has stepped into making us a beautiful flowing stream that benefits the whole of mankind v 4.
Two pictures one of a tempest the other of serenity and the major difference is that God is in control of the one but not of the other.
Now with these two pictures in mind we are to look at our relationship with the Lord and at the scene that He is witnessing, watching us going through.
He has brought us to Him self through the sacrifice of Calvary not to run around aimlessly in life but to bring us closer and closer to His side.
In the storms of life we can know that resting place by coming to His conscious presence day by day to commune with Him.
There are many times when He tells us to stay longer and enjoy His company but we are such busy people we rush away and soon lose the sense of His company.
God is in the midst of the storm v 5 it is we who lose the consciousness of His presence by struggling in our own strength to conquer the situation.
We lose heart and soon are being swept around by the circumstances and our faith diminishes into a feeling of abandonment.
It is not that God has moved, changed or given up on us it is the fact that we are not truly relying on the Lord to give the strength, courage and boldness to stand firm in our faith.
We are self centred folk who think even as Christians that we are strong enough to take the enemy on on our own.
Now for the promise of 'come' that invites us to ponder these truths from Gods perspective seeing that He is in the middle of the storm with us.
We can examine this truth in practical terms with Peter and the disciples in the storm of Galilee, the Master was there with them in the boat.
Their problem was they were terrified until He is brought into the situation, they thought He was asleep until they invite Him to help them.
In the gospel the storm ceased immediately and there was a great calm, not just in the wind but in their unbelieving hearts 'O you of little faith'.
Now we look at our storms of life and the Master is close at hand waiting for us to bring Him into the midst of it.
He has already invited us to trust Him but now He is waiting for our response to His gracious invitation 'to come unto Him'.
'Come as a promise to view the greatness of our God who can still the storm on the lake, still the storm in the grave and still the restless heart of human nature.
When we come and look at the greatness of our God in His handiwork: it soon brings peace to our heart and mind, look around at His handiwork and ponder Him.
He is our 'refuge' v 1 one in whom we can hide safely during the storms of life, one in whom we can rest when things are hotter than we can naturally take.
He is our present companion who stands along side us each moment of the day v 1 even when we do not recognise His presence He is there because His promise is 'I will never leave you'
It does not matter whether a tsunami, earthquake, volcano or tragedy hits us He is there alongside us and incomplete control of it for us.
He does not obliterate the storms of life but He does go through them with us
and the sad fact is for many a Christian they are not living as close as they could to Him to recognise His presence with them.
The promise we can receive and live in is that He is ever present with us and as we appropriate the promise by walking more closely to Him the lighter the pressure becomes.
The heathen rage and my word they are screaming all around us today, the cynic, the sceptic, the atheist and the agnostics are making war against the Lord Jesus and His Church.
We are being battered by a media that is controlled by worldly wise folk who have contempt for our precious Lord Jesus and blaspheme His name.
We are caught in a trap of sin based arguments that deceive many a soul because they do not know their bible.
Many a man and woman shout their mouth of without knowing the scriptures or only a scant knowledge of them that is very dangerous.
Now the child of God need not worry about the threatening of the heathen v 6 because the promise of Gods presence with us should alleviate the tension.
The word of God holds the key to our being overthrown by their threats or to our standing firm on the promises of God.
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His word we will stand fast and secure on the Rock of Ages that cannot be moved.
No matter the ferocity of the storm, no matter the force of the winds and no matter the size of the waves we can rest assured in the promise of God.
He has given it to us so that we can come to rest under the shadow of His wing, come and 'be still and know that I am God' v 10.
A wonderful promise of God was seen literally being performed in John 11 v 43 when the Lord Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead' Lazarus come forth' and out he came.
There the Master explains beforehand the promises implication by communing with His Father openly before the people who had gathered to mourn.
He wanted the those people to come into the full relationship with God that they were intended to enjoy with Him.
Many of those Jews were wanting to know the truth that would set them free
from the terror of death that bound the human race.
Lazarus was dead and buried when the Lord Jesus came on to the scene, the family were grieving because the thought abounded that if He had been there earlier Lazarus could have been healed.
It never entered their head that the same Lord Jesus who healed the sick could raise the dead as well.
Martha was deeply hurt by the later arrival of the Lord Jesus to the home and she begins to vent her feelings to Him in v 20.
The promise is in v 23 'thy brother will rise again' and Martha was sharp on 'I know v 24 here is the religious thought of the day coming through'
It is the second time 'I know' the first time it reveals faith that trusts God to do what He will the second time is to state what she believed.
These 'I know' are heard every day by ministers of the Gospel as folk speak their mind to cover their feelings.
Those 'I know' point to our perception of things, to the understanding of the mind on the issues of life when confronted with the reality of them.
The truth is things are going to change in their thinking after the 'I am' has spoken 'I am the resurrection' and the life' the Lord Jesus is talking on a deeper level than had be known before.
He is revealing the truth to the world not just to Martha and the assembled crowd that there is eternal life after death.
Death is only the end of the earthly life, it is the gateway into eternity, the body may die but the spirit returns to its Maker to give account of itself.
The Lord Jesus is opening up a tutorial that blasts away the theories because He presents the reality of life after death as a certainty.
He also presents the truth in simple language that all can take in that He has come into the world to transform death for human nature.
He is going to die Himself but He will rise again on the third day and He too will be seen by many after His resurrection.
The Lord Jesus talks about 'sleep' v 11 Lazarus is only waiting for the next command to be given and he will rise again from his sleep.
His body is in the grave but His spirit is very much alive and well and the Master asks Martha about her brother rising again but do you really believe it?
The promise is clear the reception of it is not, the word 'believeth' appears three times in vs.25 – 26 the first points to a solid trust in the facts.
The second time brings out the truth of the trusting soul that accepts the promise of eternal life by applying the promise to themselves.
The third time 'believeth' is used it points to the challenge of trusting the promise for yourself, the absolute belief because of who it is that has made the promise.
The 'I am the resurrection and the life' stated by the Lord Jesus is as operative today as it was when He stated it in Bethany.
So the challenge comes to us today do we really believe in the Lord Jesus to bring us into the heavenly place, not just in eternity but in the here and now?
He was crucified, dead and buried and He arose again being seen as Paul records in 1 Corinthians 15 vs.1 – 8 by many folk on various occasions afterwards.
We return to the promise made to Martha in John 11 the talking is over and the crowd are weeping and the Master is moved by their grief for Lazarus.
So much so that He weeps with for Lazarus and the crowd v 38 for a few seconds of time the people talk about the relationship that the Master had with Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha, a well know trio in Bethany but intimately known to the Lord Jesus.
He had stayed in their home on His visits to Jerusalem many times and He had made it is home because the door was always open to Him.
So we come to the promise and the fulfilment of it literally Lazarus had been dead four days v 39 so the stench would be awful when they pull the stone away from the entrance.
The promise is based on our 'belief in the truth' v 40 and in His prayer this is ratified with His Father 'that they may believe'.
We can rely on the promises to be fulfilled when we come to the source of the promise, eternity was involved in the death of Lazarus as it is with ours.
The passing from earth into eternity is a fact for those who believe experimentally on the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.
That assurance is ratified in v 43 and there was no power on earth, in hell or in heaven that could stop Lazarus rising from the dead.
The was nothing or no one who could stop the command from obeyed or the order being completed, 'Lazarus came forth' the sisters witnessed it, the crowd witnessed it.
Now this was the fulfilment of the promise made by the Lord Jesus and it points us to the future fulfilment of the same promise that He made to the believers.
'If you believe' points us to the future promise that the Lord Jesus has made with His people 'I go to prepare a place for you' John 14 v 1.
He has risen and ascended and right now He stands in the heavenly place,
He is there interceding for us who believe on Him.
He longs for the day when we shall return to collect His Bride so that we can all be together with Him in eternity.
He says 'where I am you will be also' John 14 v 3 a promise that cannot be broken, it is the statement made by the Son of God who was looking forward
to that glorious day.
The promise is made 'loose him' and Lazarus came out of the tomb and they took away the clothes that bound him.
What a terrific moment it will be for the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ when they hear the trumpet sound and see Him descending through the clouds to greet them.
Not a myth to keep us going but a promise that awaits fulfilment but it is as sure and certain as anything can be because of who it that has made it.
For so long we have believed with our head that the Lord is coming but we have not let it drop into our hearts so that there is real expectancy that He is coming again.
We are not found looking up with eager anticipation that it may be today when He will descend through the clouds to find us longing for His return.
The truth is we are more concerned with the life around us and the pleasures that we enjoy to stop and look at the scriptures to see what is really happening around us.
Praise the Lord you who believe and may it be a spur for us to take the other promises to ourselves and believe the One who made them.
We cannot remind ourselves of the Promises of God without quickly thinking of the mighty promise that brought the Lord Jesus to earth as our Saviour and Redeemer.
Christmas in the Church calendar brings to remembrance the promise of God through Isaiah 9 that was fulfilled in Luke 2.
So today we sit and gaze our our beloved Lord Jesus in the light of the promise made in eternity but fulfilled on earth.
The promise made to the Old Testament prophet hundreds of years before it was finally realised in the New Testament witnessed by Doctor Luke.
Isaiah 9 presents us with a very clear prophecy that the Sovereign Lord was going to deal with the problem of sin once and for all.
The human race was then as it is now in total rebellion against the Creator, His set standard of living and for a living relationship with Him.
The Jews were equally as bad by and large, walking according to their own ways as against the standard set through Moses Commandments..
In Isaiah's day warning after warning went unheeded and so the judgement of God was set against His chosen people.
In the midst of all the warnings God made a promise to His people, Messiah would come to rescue the repentant people from the massive judgement about to be revealed.
Isaiah saw the Lord in chapter 6 and it terrified Him so that he became as dead v 5 until the Lord in His mercy sent a Seraphim to touch him v 6.
Then from His majestic throne the Living God spoke clear and plain in simple language that Messiah was on His way and that Isaiah should go and tell the people v 9.
The message would be gladly heard by those walking in the light of Gods word but rebellion would be the outcome for the non believers.
In the middle of the crisis that was looming for the Jews there was a ray of hope, a promise that must be now fulfilled.
Babylonian exile was in front of them but the people rather accepted the slavery in a foreign land than to believe what God had said.
The reality was that the invasion took place and the land was devastated as God had said it would be but the few believing Jews were kept faithful waiting for the promises of God to be fulfilled.
The beacon of Messiahs coming began to beam brighter as the years in captivity went by, there was a longing for the promise to become real to them in the days they lived.
Well the captivity came to an end and Israel returned home in three groups with an interval of years in between the first and the last.
The promise of Messiah was a bright light in many a conversation when their land was restored but sadly the people were not all restored to the faith in the Living God.
True they rebuilt the holy city, they rebuilt the Temple but they did not as a nation return to the Lord in repentance and to righteous living.
Another series of warnings were given to them regarding their spiritual state before the Living God but like the previous ones they went unheeded.
The looming world wide captivity promised by God was the brightest light on the Jewish horizon and it was to become a reality in a matter of time.
The promises of God for good and ill are all to be fulfilled in there time and the
Jews are a living testimony to that fact.
The Roman Empire was fast coming to its height before waning very quickly and the ferocious battles had brought the Jews to their knees.
Only a few godly folk could be found amongst the predominantly religious people called the Jews.
As the darkness of captivity surrounded the nation the increasing brighter light of Messiahs coming burned brightly.
Luke picks up the situation in chapter 2 as he very carefully historically out lines the nations dilemma Rome was in charge of affairs in Israel and a very cruel Caesar Augustus reigned.
It was not to the doctor but to a group of simple shepherds on the hill side of Bethlehem that the promise of Messiah was revealed as a reality vs.8 – 12..
Those shepherds were to herald the message across centuries so that we could receive the promise ourselves.
The message they received in Bethlehem ended up being broadcast across the world to all generations, not only of Jews but of Gentiles as well.
The promised Messiah was to be the Saviour of repentant sinners, so that anyone who recognises their sin and repents of it before God, Messiah will
intercede for them.
Isaiah reveals the promise vs.6 – 7 and only one person in history has ever fulfilled that promise and He is the One those shepherds eagerly went to meet in Bethlehem.
What a promise He has the government of the world on His shoulders, He has the responsibility to bring people back to God either in grace in repentance or in judgement for sin.
He alone stands as the 'wonderful counsellor' of individuals across both time and generations, bringing repentant sinners to the feet of the Living God.
Multitudes stand to give testimony to the saving and keeping power of the Lord Jesus Christ and they are heard singing the hymn of praise 'worthy is the Lamb'.
He is their Lord and Saviour, His words of wisdom, correction, direction and of
comfort have been received with grateful ears across the centuries.
The 'Mighty God' our Lord Jesus, the Messiah came to meet the demands of the Holy God for sinners like us, His mighty acts are a demonstration of His mighty creative power.
He is eternal, He was with His Father in eternity before ever time began, He took the step to leave eternity to come to earth and His humble birth voluntarily.
He was King of Kings in eternity and became King of kings on earth and He always will be the King of kings and Lord of lords.
One of His great attributes is His peace, He brought the peace treaty to earth, there is hope in the sinners rebellion that we can find and know the peace of God by accepting or making peace with God through the Lord Jesus..
His Government seemed tiny as He lay in the straw on that night of revelation and the fulfilment of the promise but He has seen His Kingdom increase beyond calculation.
We note the last phrase of v 7 'the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this' the truth is the promises made by God need to be made good in and by us.
The Holy Spirit resides within us to enlighten us regarding the many promises that we find in scripture to applied by us during our life on earth.
The Promises of God are so very precious to the Christian as they become alive in us, so we are going to look at some of them ans seek to apply them to our lives in these days.
Let us begin with the most famous promises of scripture that the Holy Living God is willing and able to forgive our sin when we confess it too Him.
The Lord Jesus met with the intellectual Nicodemus recorded in John 3 and three features stand out to us.
The first is in v 15 He is 'not willing for any to perish' we are all sinners there are none righteous under self effort or of self righteousness.
That the Creator has concluded this, is vitally important the Judge of all the earth has stated the fact Romans 3 v 10 and Psalm 52..
In the light of that no human being can see or dwell with God because sin is rebellion against Him with whom we have to face in judgement or in grace.
Nicodemus was well aware of these facts and he listens to the Lord Jesus opening up the way back to God so that the rebellion can cease and Gods peace be experienced.
The principles are laid out for Nicodemus and for us that we need to be 'born again' v 3 that is to have a completely new beginning.
We must be born anew distinguishing between natural birth and spiritual birth, the former produces sin whilst the latter brings us into a living relationship with the Creator God.
The natural birth is earthy and it lives for a space of time before facing the reality of death and the passing from this earthly scene.
Now the Lord Jesus brings us to a new dimension of living, living under the control of the Holy Spirit who brings out the eternal nature of life.
The fact is life on earth ceases to be as the old shell returns back to the dust from where it came from but the 'spirit' goes on into eternity.
There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun, God dwells in His heaven as we see in Ecclesiastes 5 v 2 and we are living on earth.
It is only through the new birth that anyone can actually come into the presence of the Living God, without it we would be withered up in seconds.
In the new birth the Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell within us so that He will bring us into divine contact with the Father in the heavenly place.
In an instant we are brought out of darkness to live in His glorious life, we are brought out of death into eternal life.
So we turn to our second thought for the day God not only saw the mess that we were in but He did something about it, 'God gave His Son'.
Now the Master goes on to reveal this marvellous promise not just to Nicodemus but to the whole world that it is the Creators desire that all men and women should come to have eternal life.
He has come to not only present eternal life to us but that we should know and apply it to our life v 16.
The key to the promise is a simply one that of 'belief' or to trust fully in what has been stated to us in Gods word.
We can talk about belief foolishly saying 'I believe' but carry on living as we always have done, without repentance of sin and a change of life.
To believe as the Lord Jesus said implies knowledge that gives confidence to apply it to our life, sin is repented of and we begin to live in the new standard of righteous living that brings a change of living in us.
The fact that the Creator God sent His beloved Son into the world not just to reveal this to us but to actually aid us in meeting the standard is terrific news.
The truth is clear the Saviour Christ came from heavens glory to rescue such folk as us and to bring us back to God to live in a righteous relationship with Him.
God 'loves us' with a love that is beyond words, it is self giving without looking for reward from the recipients, He gave His Son to become our covering sacrifice to enter His presence.
What an amazing truth that Jesus came voluntarily to die on the cross at Calvary in absolute shame, crucified by the hands that He had originally created.
He was willing to go through death so that we can be transformed and making us acceptable by the Creator God and fit for His presence for eternity.
So we come to the third thought to ponder and apply from this promise God is willing to forgive us through the work and merit of His beloved Son.
We can trust the word spoken by the Lord Jesus because He cannot lie, deceive or speak untruth, His absolutely holy.
'Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have eternal life', death is the gateway to eternity and for the Christian believer the presence of God.
Those unbelieving are faced with the stark reality that the Lord Jesus was right and they are wrong and only fit for an eternity in hell.
The 'believer', those trusting in the Lord Jesus complete work on Calvary for them, 'shall not perish' that is shall not be cut of from Gods presence.
They shall enjoy 'everlasting life', living a life that is endless in the presence of the Living God in the heavenly place.
The distinguishing fact here is that our earthly life is limited to the world, time and death whereas eternal life does not have these limitations.
We live in time and are governed by time but the spiritual life in Christ has no end or limitations it is ageless.
The promise is given to those who believe the Lord Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour that they will enjoy His divine presence for eternity.
The transformation is not making religious people out of irreligious people but it is the remaking of the person turning them from living death into eternal beings.
In the act of being 'born again' we are brought into light out of the darkness that pervades our life beforehand even though we did not realise it.
We suddenly realise that we are sinners in the sight of God but that He is willing to forgive us so that we can walk in the light for the rest of our days on earth and then on into eternity.
In a moment we 'pass from death into life' death is not the end of things only of our time on earth, we then face the awesome judgement of the Creator who was not there seconds before.
We are whisked from time into eternity to face the inevitable judgement that the Lord Jesus revealed so often during His ministry on earth.
The transformed life sees us seeking to walk humbly with our God in the light of His word and that produces holiness and righteousness of living.
We note in v 21 'doeth the truth' our believe is mirrored in the practical application of the truth and the promises are there for us to apply.
The application of the truth is 'manifest' or shown to the world by the way that we live in accordance to Gods word.
The promise in the last study was the gift of eternal life to those who believe in the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we look at the promise that our sin is forgiven or 'blotted out' never to be held against us again.
The promise is clear 'there is therefore no condemnation' Romans 8 v 1 a terrific promise for the repentant sinner whose life is being transformed by the power of the Living God.
We notice here the conditions of the promise 'who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit', the transformed life in Christ is a new life with new aims and goals.
We start the walk in the Spirit of God by recognising that the punishment and sentence that we deserved has been taken away once and for all by the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was His substitutionary death, that is the actions of the Lord Jesus on Calvary has replaced the death that we deserved.
He has taken the punishment that we deserved by our rebellion against God and has now covered us with the blood of His sacrifice to make us clean and fit for Gods presence.
It brings us back into a living relationship with the Creator God so that we walk in the light of the revealed word of God and that is righteously.
The old desires and habits should go as we come into the new life that the Lord Jesus has brought to us.
One major reason why so many Christians are defeated is that we do not take the word of God literally and we carry on striving to keep the Christian life.
We continue to keep the flesh life prominent, our thoughts, desires, ambitions and activities are still governed by the flesh life.
What we need to come to terms with is that in Christ Jesus all things have become new, the old has passed away and the new is being revealed in us day by day.
We should be living a life of freedom and not of slavery, there is a freedom in Christ to apply the word of God in every day experience that so few are actually doing today.
The acid test comes as we evaluate our life v 5 to examine the things that dominate our life, the fleshly instincts or does the Holy Spirit motivate our thinking?
What 'we think' usually dominates our thinking when in truth we should be seeking to know experimentally the things that our heavenly Father would have us do or say.
The conditions of access to God are clearly stated that no sinner, that is a life that is habitual living in rebellion with God but the repentant sinner can come boldly to the Throne of Grace.
It is the repentant sinner who yields daily to the Lord who finds that they are actually being 'led by the Spirit' v 14 'led' points to being guarded, guided along the right way.
Not only leading us away from temptation but actively directing us along the path of righteousness that brings regularly closer to the Lord.
The Holy Spirit does not force us activity to obey the truth but He gently persuades us to follow truth and righteousness for our own sake and benefits as well as for Gods glory.
So we come to a wonderful truth that we are not in bondage but we are 'sons of God' v 14 the transformation becomes clear as we look at our status now.
Once rebels before God but now accepted into His eternal family we can actually call the Creator God 'Father' because that is who He is.
Not a God who is remote, cut of and judgemental but the Holy Father who in His love, grace and mercy has brought us to Him self.
We are not slaves any more, in bible times a slave could never call his master 'father' he would be killed for showing familiarity.
We need to look at the two terms used here in Romans 8 v 15 'Abba' is the speech of a child speaking of unreasoned trust.
'Father' brings us to the heart of the Christian faith, it reveals to us the restored relationship and to the fact that we have been adopted by the Creator God.
We have been brought into His eternal family and we can approach Him calling Him Father and He calls us His sons and daughters.
It is the relationship that is all important because as we recognise the privilege that is opened to us we then walk in it with responsibility.
It is not our thinking that brings the relationship about but it is the Holy Spirit witnessing with our spirit that brings us this enlightenment.
I am not struggling to be a family member I am a child of God through the new birth and I should do all within my power to walk obey my Father.
What a promise to accept to ourself and what a privilege to assess all that this relationship involves and brings us into.
I am a child of God through the new birth and as a result I am an 'heir of God and a 'joint heirs with Christ' v 17 that is overwhelming.
That is the truth of the promise of Gods word to all and every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
An 'heir' points to one who is an inheritor of a lot or possession assigned by our heavenly Father.
A 'joint-heir' is one who shares all that the Lord Jesus has brought us into: as if it were personally equal with Him.
He has brought us into the new life that has all the things that we need top see us safely through our life on earth as it will through eternity.
Our inheritance involves involves much more than meeting our needs materially because we are now living with eternity in view.
The truth is He has promised to meets 'ALL' of our needs as Philippians 4 v 19 reveals and that will cover another study on its own.
Suffice to say here are we drawing from the heavenly Bank during our walk down here or are we relying on our own mundane supplies?
Now there are so many promises in the scriptures included in this session that we can fill the coming year with them.
Promises from our heavenly Father that we have missed out on over the past years of our life
We should be seeking to read and study the word of God ass it brings home to us all the many blessings an heir should be receiving during our earthly walk.
We rejoice in the God of our salvation who has promised to blot our sins as if they had never existed in the first place, well may we sing 'who is a pardoning God like Thee'.
We standing on Gods promises and not sitting on the church premises.
We referred in the last study to Philippians 4 v 19 so let us ponder over this fabulous verse for a little while to glean from it what the Lord Jesus has promised to us who trust Him.
There is a godly contentment in this promise that we need to rest in more and more as we walk through life with its increasing pressures.
Look at v 19 and discover the giver of life 'My God' ponder the truth the Living God who is conscious of us and of all the needs that we will ever need and He will meet them.
He is the Creator God who has wonderfully kept all of His creation over the millennia with out human aid or involvement.
We are a minute particle in the massive universe, the size of which is growing in human terms as our knowledge of it expands.
Our little earth is but a speck in the vast creation and yet on that speck is a smaller dot with a name on it and its is yours and mine.
All of us are so different and all displaying needs that are different but the Creator God has come to meet all of our needs.
Now we turn to gaze upon our Creator God as our Loving heavenly Father, there is none like Him who draws His children around Him to meet all of their needs.
We come to the source of the supply as we come to the footstool of the Living God and present our prayers to Him.
He never turns us away unless unconfessed sin lingers in our life that has to be dealt with first and He graciously who will forgive the repentant sinner will forgive His erring child.
'My God' is the Father who longs to enjoy the company of His child, there is a personal touch in the relationship 'Father' and 'son' and the intimacy is rich and real.
To come before the Living God in our weakness and hear Him say as He did to Paul 'my strength is sufficient for you'.
Our heavenly Father is interested in 'today' and we need to operate on His terms far to many Christians are thinking about next week, next month and next year instead of enjoying 'today'.
Enjoying the promise of His constant presence with us as we walk along the path of righteousness today conscious of His presence with us.
The source of eternal life is our Lord Jesus Christ and He is the source to come too that will meet 'All' of our needs.
We look up to find that He is meeting the needs of His children all around the planet earth, He is pouring out the supply to countless millions and the supply is as fresh as ever.
The supply never diminishes, it never grows stale and it is always in abundance, that is the measure of our beloved Saviour and heavenly Father.
We note the word 'all' it covers everything that we will ever need, not some special times, not most of our time on the journey through life but 'ALL' of our needs.
This little jewel of a promise is set in a beautiful setting look at v 12 Paul tells us of two conditions 'abased' and to 'abound' that he had been in.
'Abased' to be brought into the position of being humbled or brought very low so that He was absolutely dependent upon God to meet his need, he testifies to the truth God had met his needs.
Every other avenue was dried up and the only place where the supply was not dried up was at the Throne of Grace and God met his needs.
To 'abound' means to have greater quantity or to enjoy abundance of material things and of spiritual truth.
When others were in spiritual darkness the Apostle knew the light of God illuminating his way, whilst others wandered around he had made progress along the path of righteousness.
We can look at the two poles of experience the draught situation and the delightful fruitful one and then to all in the middle of it is filled likewise with Gods abundant supply.
Then look at v 13 where the Apostle brings out the testing times where faith is being tested to see that it is the real genuine article.
Those tough times when we seem to be out on a limb and few if any human aids are to be found but there in the heart of the issue stands our Father.
He is aware of the situation that He had put him and us in, like Elijah of old in 1 Kings 17 the draught was on its way and our God prepared both food and water for His servant.
Details are important to our God, those little incidental things that look so insignificant to us but are important tools in our Fathers workshop as He seeks to make us more like His Son.
Look at the massive influence that one small stone had on a nation when David puts it in the sling to slay Goliath.
Look at the Matthew 14 v 17 small basket of five loaves and two fishes that the Lord Jesus took from the little lad to feed the five thousand.
Look at those labouring fishermen on Galilee and listen to their melancholic voices 'we have caught nothing' v 3 the Master inquires have you any meat' the answer is no.
Then 'cast your net on the other side of the boat' v 6 a detail so you may think but the obedient disciples did so and a mighty catch is the result John 21.
Look at one small life like Paul and listen to his testimony of how God has met his every need in every situation to see the wonders of our God at work in detail.
Well now the God that worked out the affairs of His children here is the same God and Father watching over our affairs.
He has given the promise in Philippians 4 v 19 to encourage us to put our total trust in Him and He will meet all of our needs.
We are living on a lower level of faith than we should be, faith should lead us on to the higher level of righteous living than we are at the present time.
There is a great need for godly living amongst Gods people in the Church, we have fallen into the trap of doing something for God.
We cannot give Him anything that He has not already given to us in the first place, but we can give Him his desire, our heart and mind.
He will take things from us that He seems to allow others to get away with for a season but then judgement is inevitable on them.
We can rest assured that as we commit ourselves into His care and keeping each day He will meet all the needs that arise whether physical, mental, emotional, material and spiritual.
So we need to draw from the wells of salvation Isaiah 12 v 3 and find that the promise here is a vital one for us to claim as we go through life and that our Father meets all of our needs in detail.
'Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you' 1 Peter 5 v 7 catches my attention today and what a promise it is for us to claim as we tread along life's journey.
That little word 'all' appears again today and what a mighty word it is here in the context that Peter uses it, there is nothing to hard for God and there is nothing to small for Him to deal with.
The truth is we often times seek to deal with our problems, cares and concerns as if we could handle them ourselves with our our Fathers help.
These little problems that are not dealt with properly mount up and gradually entangle us so that we become useless in the harvest field.
The promise here is a personal one 'casting all your' cares, the spiritual life is a personal relationship with God, as we saw in the previous study we are children of the Living God.
He is interested in the whole of our being and knows about the issues that hold us back from full surrender.
He also knows all about the issues that keep tripping us up and longs for us to come to Him so as to know experimentally the solutions.
We are hanging on for grim death instead of letting go so a to allow the mighty Holy Spirit can bear us up and bring us into a life of victory.
Let us look at the word 'cares' a wide all embracing word that covers the whole of our life, the root word is 'anxieties' the small things that distract our attention from concentrating fully on the Lord.
In the Sermon on the Mount Matthew 6 vs.25 – 34 the Master spells out in practical terms the issues that bog us down, care and anxiety that the world faces and does not know how to handle them.
The basic needs of food, water and clothing are three important ones that we all face and that the Lord Jesus deals with.
We remind ourselves that He never had an earthly home of His own, He borrowed a stable to be born in, a donkey to ride into the city on, a tomb of Joseph to rest in.
Borrowed without ever being full of earthly cares because He was living with eternity in view the whole time of His ministry on earth.
We look at the birds of the air and how they survive their time on earth they do not have the problems that human nature surrounds itself with due to the way we live.
The birds do not sow they do not sow the seeds in springtime and get a harvest in the autumn they do not gather crops and to fill barns but the are fed daily by the Lords gracious hands
What a joy it is on ice cold mornings to see them gather on my bird table or from the red berries that attract them to my garden and hear there grateful songs as they devour the food provided for them.
We can go on into the spring months to see these birds flitting around taking their meals as they find them in the garden or hedge rows.
Then look at those beautiful flowers that adorn the garden at spring time and during the summer months they were fed by the unseen hand so that they bloom in there season.
Cannot the Living God provide from His vast unseen resources to meet your needs and to take away your anxiety?
Then look at yourself says the Lord Jesus can any one of you gain height by your own initiative v 27 the little man may want to become a tall man and vice versa but they are unable to change.
Now all our worrying never solves our problems it only wears us out mentally, physically and spiritually, leaving us expressing a down cast person.
Do you think it honours the Father to see miserable grovelling children wandering around as if they were paupers when He has called us heirs and joint heirs with Christ?
Certainly not, He has called us to a life of submission to His will and meeting our need is His responsibility and He uses such experiences as loneliness and carefulness as goads to keep close us to Him.
Now the verse in Peter is a practical one, we are invited to 'cast our cares' on too the Lord, the word 'casting' is linked with throwing a coat across a donkey or horse so at to sit on it.
In other words we throw our anxieties on the Lord so that He will bear the load for us we can come to a place of submission to the Lord Jesus that enables us to do that.
We do not do it by struggling and striving but by putting our reliance on Him to see us through the day that lies ahead of us.
We are not asked to deal with tomorrows problems today but we can solve today's problems so that it does effects tomorrow.
The practical sharing our load with the Lord gives us the added strength of drawing it from Him and the extra delight of our being drawn closer to Him.
The promise then of 1 Peter 5 v 7 is very precious it draws us nearer to Him, we begin to trust and not be afraid as He is in control of our life.
We learn to share our situation with the Lord not as a crutch to lean on but as a confidant who will never let us down or go.
The burden we bear if it causes anxiety needs to be brought to the Lord and give Him time and room to help us, He never gives us burdens to bear without giving the strength, courage and wisdom to fulfil them.
What a precious promise this is that we can bring all our anxieties and cares to the mercy seat before God and find an Intercessor who will graciously bear them up.
Anxiety cause a great deal of harm to those suffering from it but also to those having to deal with them, and it dishonours our God to see His children in that state.
This is a reason why He has given us a precious promises as this in Peter so that we will draw near to Him and yield ourselves to His tender care.
We are not driven away from God by such experiences, He is waiting to hear our voice yielding to His will and purposes
It is there that the 'casting' of our cares is done and the taking up of His purposes for us and that involves holiness and righteous living as a result.
Anxiety reveals a lack of trust in the Lord and points to self still wanting to control our life instead of the Spirit.
The promise we claim has a condition to be countered 'cast all your care on Him' then having done that look up for the Lord to fulfil His promises.
Today we look at another glorious promise that should fill our thoughts with awe and wonder Psalm 91 'he that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty' v 1.
The promise in this Psalm is a lovely follow on to our last study where we ended with the thought of our commitment to Christ as being the condition for applying it to our life.
Well today we look not at anxiety but at the closely related subject of one being pursued relentlessly.
The picture is of a game bird being pursued by the fowler or hunter of game birds using traps, nets or arrows to get their prey.
The birds know when the trappers are around and they take flight to hide in covert places that they are safe in.
A lovely picture of the saints in Christ they know where to go to when the troubles loom daily, to the 'secret place' to the Throne where sin cannot molest.
Quietly waiting on the Lord we find that the arrows and bullets that fly cannot harm us at the Throne of Grace.
In fact those arrows that can hurt like barbed comments or harm us like the vicious personal attacks about our life style have no power in them when we converse with the Lord.
There is a second picture seen in v 2 and that is the sheltering wings of a mother hen who when danger arises will gather her chicks under her wing.
I remember a true story of a mother hen sheltering her young under her wings during a barn fire on a farm.
To the amazement of the farmer though the mother hen died in the blaze when he put a spade underneath her dead body, four chicks ran out from under the chard remains.
Now either of these pictures can be seen as the graphic introduction of a terrific promise that the Christian can safely hide or shelter in their beloved Saviour.
When problems and pressures arise they need to run to their Lord Jesus who knows the reality of the attack and will counter it.
Often times not directly by taking the enemy out but rather by empowering the Christian with strength that only comes from Him.
Now this is why it is vital for us to know the 'secret place', that lovers tryst where we meet with our Lord alone, under the shadow of His wing.
The quiet hour at the beginning of our day where we meet to commune with the Lord before we go out to face the day.
It is the place where we recognise that our heavenly Father cares for us with His undying love, we leave the conscious presence of God longing for more time to be alone with Him.
The precious hour when He draws us closer to His side so that we can be ready for the task of the day and knowing that He is going to be with us, the silent listener to every conversation.
There is an intimacy of relationship here that reveals the total care and concern that He has for each of us personally.
He 'cares' that is He is mindful or thoughtful continually about our situation, He sees and knows the struggles and longs for us to draw from the divine supply of strength, courage and boldness.
He shelters us under His wing as the mother hen her brood, seeking to protect us from the power of the enemy that attacks us incessantly.
He 'cares' for His own so that when situations arise that would overwhelm them He leads us to a secret place that brings survival.
Many a bible character can say 'Amen' to that, David in the Cave of Adullam, Elijah on Carmel, Paul in the ship going to Rome.
Every child of God has such overwhelming experiences and look back to the sheltering Rock Christ Jesus.
There is a second thought here that shines through the promise and that is the counsel that we receive from the Living God during such events.
These experiences are not just allowed to happen but they have lessons in them for us to learn from them.
The thought of our faith being exercised so as to prove its reality is a positive way of looking at our situation, our Father is looking to see how we respond to them.
In the place of looking around for help we can look up to our Saviour who is only waiting to protect us but also able to show us reasons why we are in the state we are in due to lack of communion with Him.
There are occasions when we fight to the death usually our own, over issues that we should not be fighting over at all.
He brings the stubborn will into the open and we fall at His feet in repentance before we know the covering of His wings in the covert place.
There are times when we talk loosely with gossip or rumours and our tongue betrays us and the enemy revels in the consequences as scripture shows us.
Then we fall and in the mercy of God our Father we fall into His hands and not out of them as John 10 v 29 reminds us.
He looks down on us and in our repentance of sin we find His forgiveness and His counsel on how to become an overcomer instead of being overcome.
Now we can turn to a third aspect of 'sheltering under His wings' and this is the comfort that we gain from resting there.
There is a comfort for the weary who are tired after the latest onslaught and the come to rest under His wing, there He promises to give His beloved sleep.
There is comfort for the heavy laden, those bowed down under the weight they are carrying, then come and rest in His presence, share your burden with Him.
It is not that He does not understand your situation but it is that He is waiting for us to invite Him to share it with us..
There is comfort for the bereaved here unknown beforehand, the lifting of the loneliness by us drawing nearer to Him in the secret place.
So many souls have found immense comfort by spending more time alone with the Lord after the loss of a loved one than they did before.
There is comfort in the reading and study of Gods word, the terrific truths that we knew so little about until we found time to spend under the shadow of His wings.
The promises that we are looking at were there all the time but it takes regular visits to sit under the Shadow of the Almighty to bring them into reality in our heart and minds.
The promise of His car, counsel and comfort were there before we were born but they are as real now as when they were first given to us.
It is for us to unveil them and then to apply them by practically obeying the conditions given so as to enjoy there reality.
There is great joy in doing so because it brings us under the shadow of His wings continually, there are fresh surprises to be unveiled in the daily diligent study of Gods word.
So let us look at the conditions that are needed for us to apply this promise of God in Psalm 91 first we need dedication to the Lord.
We need to regularly look at our commitment to Christ to keep our witness bright and clear, the dedication is not a one of experience but a daily one.
We need to make sure the Armour of Ephesians 6 fits right and is worn all the time in our daily conflicts what ever they are.
Then secondly there is our determination to become the person that our heavenly Father would have us be and that involves holiness, righteousness and godliness.
We are to become people that are Christ like, it is good to look at other saints who have conquered but it is best to keep our eye on the Lord and seek to grow like Him.
Then there is our devotion to the Lord keeping those regular times alone with Him, we cannot over state the importance of such times, even our precious Saviour had need of such times.
He spent hours communing in the secret place with His Father and He sought to reveal the great need of this to His disciples who were slow to learn.
In the greatest hour of crisis they fall asleep and that is not confined to the early disciples it still is manifest today in the Church amongst the sleeping Christians who should be alert for the Lords Coming..
Today our promise is a very practical one and the Lord is going to take us to Abraham Romans 4 v 20 there to show us the appointed promises will always be fulfilled.
Abraham is called the father of the faithful because he 'believed God' v 3 when everything was against him seeing the promises made to him being fulfilled.
The relationship that Abraham had with God was based on faith, with Abraham obeying the last command given to him by Almighty God.
The relationship was commenced in Ur of Chaldees and it involved the long walk into Canaan but in doing so Abraham received several precious promises.
Each one drew him closer to the Lord but there are three worthy of our time to ponder and study as they point us in the right direction for us to receive promises as well.
Abraham in Genesis 15 presented his case, when everything was opened up to him by the Lord, that having no son of his own looked to God to provide one.
There is nothing unique about that with the exception that he was old and so was his wife way past child bearing age, yet he believed what God had stated.
In Genesis 15 v 5 the Lord spoke to him under a cloudless night sky with the universe shining in its glory and the Living God tells him to count the stars and in doing so you are counting your off spring.
What an amazing sight the Creator God communing with Abraham speaking across the vast space and revealing to him the birth of a son would ultimately become a nation that no man could number.
The vastness of the universe is immense but the equally vastness of the Jewish nation is almost overwhelming scattered as they are across the world.
Abraham 'staggered not' that is he did not waver in his belief that God could perform through him all that He said that He would do.
Such truth and faith was counted unto Abraham for righteousness Romans 4 v 3, he began his walk with God on the path of righteousness.
It was not his works that made him right with God but his faith in God that produced the right kind of life that pleases God a life of godly obedience.
We know in the fullness of time Isaac was born and so began the formation of the Jewish race and the people called by God 'His chosen people'.
As the nation grew so did the situation that they needed a land to settle in and call their own and that promise was given to Abraham in Covenant form.
Romans 4 is all about the Covenant or promise that the Living God made with Abraham as we saw in Genesis 15 and the land was revealed to Abraham then to Moses ratifying the first one.
The plans in details were given to Moses but the promise to Abraham they will grow into a mighty nation flooding across the earth.
Abraham knew that the Promised land was not an earthly land but as Hebrews 11 v 10 reveals He looked way beyond to the eternal kingdom whose founder and maker was God Himself.
Yes they would have a land on earth that they called their own as Joshua reveals in practical terms but Abraham was looking to the much wider land in the heavenly place where God reigns supreme.
Abraham was looking for the complete fulfilment of the promise that began on earth but will be found in eternity in its entirety, now\that involves the Church of God, the Bride of Christ.
So we come to the problem of sin in Romans 4 and three words 'counted' v 3, 'reckon' v 4 and 'imputed' v 11 that we should ponder over.
The fact is all three come from the same word in the original Greek but each having a different shade of meaning that is important.
The first word 'counted' means to add up and come with a sum total, Abraham displayed faith in God and this was received as righteousness because he walked by faith according to Gods word.
The word 'reckon' literally means to put together in one's mind or to occupy oneself with the grace and favour of God on behalf of the freedom from guilt of sin.
Then the word 'imputed' means to put into account, Abraham was accepted and treated as being righteous because the rebellion against God ceased when he began to walk with God.
Now the walk with God brought Abraham to Mount Moriah and the incident in Genesis 22 where the Lord provided the Sacrificial Lamb.
Abraham was well aware of the need to cover sin through sacrifice and now he is accepted through sacrifice and points to the future promise of the Sons sacrifice for us.
The sacrifice in the promise v 16 was going to be for all flesh and to be accepted by all flesh by faith in the Son of God, the promise is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus sacrifice on Calvary.
There are two words that come out of the promise 'grace' and 'faith', the former brings out the unmerited favour of God displayed on sinners and 'faith' is what is displayed by repentant sinners towards Gods salvation.
The promise to Abraham by the Living God involved a son, a land and a sacrifice and whilst he received the three in part by faith the Christian can receive them in there fullness.
We delight in the knowledge of the Son of God who came from heavens splendour and gory to rescue sinners like us.
He came to be born of a virgin as the promise is stated in Isaiah 7 v 14 then 'a child is born' 9 v 6 fulfilled in Matthew 1 vs.21 – 23 He is the Son of God and the Son of Man.
We then look at the promise given to Abraham regarding the sacrifice to cover sin in Genesis 22 and along side this the word of Luke 2 vs.10 – 11 God provided the Lamb.
One of the titles given to the Lord Jesus is 'the Lamb of God' and in the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation we find references pointing to the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God.
There are four distinct references that bring out the promise of salvation through the Lamb, in Genesis 22 the Lamb was for the covering of the individual.
In Exodus 12 at the Passover there was a lamb to cover the family whilst Leviticus there is sacrifice for the nation with the High Priest offering the blood on the Mercy Seat chapter 16.
In John 3 v 16 we find that the sacrifice of the Lamb of God is for the whole world, Jew and Gentile
alike, His sacrifice and blood covers every repentant sinner no matter who or where they are.
In the Revelation the sacrifice is for the universe, 29 times He is referred too in the book.
The wounded Lamb 5 v 6 'had been slain', then the worshipped Lamb 5 vs.12 – 14 and in 12 vs.10 – 17 we find the warrior Lamb.
We as Christians born again of the Holy Spirit and washed in the blood of the Lamb, accepted by the grace of God having exercised faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are brought into the fulfilment of the promise given to Abraham in Genesis 15.
We are part of the inheritance that was given to faithful Abraham as Hebrews 11 vs.8 – 19 reveals to us, we can rejoice in the promise that has been fulfilled.
Then we can rejoice in the promise yet to be fulfilled that will be when the Lord Jesus comes again to collect His Church and take us to that city Abraham was looking for.
We 'hope' with confident expectation to see the eternal city that the Lord Jesus spoke about clearly 'I go to prepare a place for you that where I am you will be also' John 14 vs.1 – 3.
We trust in the promise because of who it is that has made it, the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God the beloved Son of God will perform all that He has set out to do in His appointed time.
One of the greatest promises given to the Christian has its roots way back in the Old Testament the promises given by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 28 v 20 'lo I am with you always'.
A promise from the Living God that whatever the circumstances He will be right alongside His children never leaving or abandoning them to their own devices.
Weak men have been made strong in the confines of this promise, weary folk have been refreshed under the reality of this promise and battle hardened people have been renewed through the application of this promise.
Moses is the first character to look at who received the promise in Exodus 4 v 12 where Moses in the desert refers to the fact that he is not eloquent so who will listen to him 'I will be with you' says the Lord.
I wonder how often this phrase 'I am not eloquent' has been heard coming from the lips of folk seeking excuses to keep silent when the Lord wanted them to be bold in the battle?
Then in Exodus 13 v 21 the Israelites on their journey to receive the promise given to Abraham and ratified with Moses the Promised Land, a short journey took 40 years because this people would not walk forward to receive the promise.
The truth was the 'Lord went before them' but behind but in front of them in the 'Pillar of cloud' a clear visible and frightening sight to the nations they walk through.
Amongst them was Joshua and Caleb walking closer to Moses and the Lord than most and the same promise is given to Joshua as to Moses in Joshua 1 v 5 'I will be with you'.
Moses journey and witness is almost over in Exodus 33 v 14 but what a terrific interview he has in v 11 'Moses face to face with the Living God' weary from the long journey Moses seeks refreshment for his tired mind and body.
So the Lord comes personally to minister to him 'My presence will go with thee' v 14 but there is another fact brought out in chapter 33 v 'I know thee by name' the personal aspect of the promise is revealed.
It is a fact that the presence of the Lord was with Moses as He was with the whole nation the big difference is the nation took God for granted whilst Moses knew the intimacy of relationship through the promise.
There is a massive difference between seeing God in the midst of His people and knowing the intimate communication with Him as Moses and Joshua did.
Now there comes to me three words about the communication that these men needed and that we surely need today wisdom, knowledge and discernment.
Wisdom is the true insight into things, seeing things from Gods point of view rather than settling for our own limited blinkered view.
Moses had a tremendous problem with the rabble of people leaving Egypt and crossing the desert because they all wanted to express their point of view rather than listening to what the Lord had revealed to His servants.
Joshua has a similar difficulty as the land was split up into tribal regions each tribe seeking to be where they wanted to be but the truth was Joshua broke it up with the pattern that God had given to Moses.
The second thought is that of 'knowledge' that is the experimental understanding of what God desires and wants obedience to.
There is a big difference between what I think is right and what God says is right, we look through blinkers at scripture instead of launching out in the knowledge gained through communion with the Lord.
How often we run into an Achan situation of deception or a Jericho walled obstacle and wilt under the human knowledge when we can know the decisive will of God on how to tackle them.
Human knowledge can be sharp and bright but it is the knowledge from Gods point of view that reveals the flaws in our limited knowledge.
The third thought is that of discernment that Gods presence reveals to us, the ability to separate the right from the wrong, to be able to investigate and examine the issues correctly from Gods view.
We make many a rash decision because of our limited knowledge on issues but we do them in the light of our knowing what we think is right.
What we need is the presence of God with us so that through divine communion He will give us the true insight into affairs so that our judgement is according to His will and purposes.
Now here is a terrific challenge for our life how much time do we spend in holy communion with the Lord so as to receive, wisdom, knowledge and discernment?
We need to beware of human cunning and fleshly deception here because very few of us are living close enough to the Lord to reveal His mind on issues.
So for the closing thoughts for the promise that is revealed in Matthew 28 v 20 'Lo I am with you always even to the end of this age' spoken by the Lord Jesus to His children.
Several facts are brought to mind that we can ponder over so as to make the promise ours so that we can live a life of victory and mastery over the wicked one.
First as with Moses then Joshua then the early disciples and finally with us the conscious presence of the Lord was intended to be realised.
Not a theory to ponder over, not even a desire to think about but the reality of the Lord consciously living and working in the life of the recipients of the promise.
Moses and Joshua enjoyed the literal presence in the cloud that went before them the early disciples like us have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us so that His presence goes with us all the time.
The fact that we are not conscious of His presence depends upon our communicating and communing with Him regularly.
Then the thought of the constant presence of God being with His children, in Exodus the Pillar of Cloud put fear in the surrounding nations and put joy in the hearts of the children of God.
The fact that as the Pillar moved forward so did the people and when it stood still the people stayed where they were until fresh orders to move were given.
The disciples soon learned to operate in the same way as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance, they moved according to the revealed will and purposes of God.
They soon realised that God was as close to them in prison as He was outside of it, that he was in the storm as in the sunshine, in the rough ass in the smooth.
Finally there is the confident presence of God going with us, we can go out to face the day knowing the assurance of Gods presence going with us and remaining with us.
The disciples were afraid of their future until light dawned on them of the promise of Jesus Christ
that He would remain with them and succeeding generations throughout time until He comes to collect us all for eternity.
We have the full assurance that the Holy Spirit dwells within us and is working in us as long as we are obedient to the word of God, the refining work is preparatory work for His return.
We can know experimentally the promise for ourselves by putting ourselves available to prove it through our daily experience of obeying Gods word.
In the light of the last study today we look at the promise found in Proverbs 3 v 6 'in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths'.
The promise 'I will be with thee' is demonstrated by 'I will direct thy paths' these spiritual twins are the experience of those seeking to walk on the path of righteousness.
To see the back ground of these promises we need to first of all look up 1 Chronicles 28 v 9 to see the conditions of the promise in Proverbs 3 v 6.
David has handed over the reigns as king of Israel to Solomon now the God of David is beginning to commune with Solomon the new king, the terms of leadership of Gods people are just the same.
The chronicler reveals several truths to Solomon that are as operative to the led as the leader so we do well to look at them closely.
'In all thy ways' it says in Proverbs 3 v 6 and in 1 Chronicles 28 it says 'to know God' then 'serve Him with a perfect heart' now that is a mighty challenge but not one to shy away from.
To 'serve' literally means to serve under a conqueror, it brings out the idea of submitting the subordinate to the superior, Solomon may be king but he only rules under the hand of the Living God.
He is the servant of the Living God and should never forget it, but then how often do we look at ourselves as being servants of the Risen Christ something we should never forget.
A 'perfect heart' and 'a willing mind living in harmony with Gods will and purposes, the outward state of realising the work that has been put out for us to perform by the Lord.
The heart is right with God so the mind seeks to know what is right and then to go forward to achieve what is set out for us to both be and do.
Now what a challenge this is to us today, in an ill disciplined age when Christians are doing what is right in their own eyes and that can be very far from what the Lord expects of us.
We need to stop regularly to check our state before the Lord, our standing in Christ is secure but whether our state is as clear is another thing.
Solomon knew experimentally the difference between a perfect heart and an unwilling mind we only have to read Ecclesiastes to see this.
The mind is as likely to go after fleshly desires and pleasures rather than to go after righteousness and holiness, Solomon warns us to have a pure heart and a submitted will to the Lord.
'The searcheth the heart' the thought of inquiring or close scrutiny is involved here, a thoroughly deep examination that brings out the hidden or secret faults some unknown to us.
He 'understands our imaginations' to 'understand' means not only to observe but to discern the truth in the thoughts, 'imagination' points to the formation of an idea it brings out the thought of conception of plans and purposes.
The Living God discerns the motive behind the thought and intents as well as the outworking of it, not only the desire but the intention also and that covers every part of our life.
We can conclude that this is a very tall order but this is the standard set that we should be aiming at it is so much higher than the pathetic one the church has set out for us to live in today.
God has set the standard so to lift us up and to bring us closer to Him self so that we can commune with Him as we walk along the path of righteousness.
We should note the clause 'if you seek Him' because the choice is ours, there is a deliberate move on our part seeing that our Father made the first move by sending His Son to rescue us in the first instance.
He has sent the Holy Spirit into the world to aid us during our walk and to do the refining work necessary to bring us into Christ likeness.
It is for us to seek the Lord with all of our being so as to commune with Him as friend with friend, in other words in a loving intimate relationship.
Solomon knew such a fellowship by communing with the Lord daily and that gives him the right to instruct us to 'take heed' or pay attention carefully to what he is saying.
Let us return to the Proverbs 3 and in doing so mark the phrase 'my son' it recurs regularly in the opening seven chapters, a delightful phrase that brings us into the intimacy with God.
Solomon writes to his readers as those who are enjoying son-ship with God as he knew himself, the position that we are brought into by the Lord Jesus Christ the greater than Solomon.
It is fantastic truth that though we seem as nothing to the world we are actually in a living relation ship with the Creator God who has put everything available to us that He did to Solomon.
It is the Living God who invites to to get our directions from Him so that we can arrive at the intended goal in life namely dwelling in His presence.
The word 'direct' has several meanings one is to make straight what is crooked it is in seeking the Lord that we soon realise how bent our life is when compared with our Lord Jesus Christ.
It can also mean to become level instead of the up and down pattern of living that we once knew when we held the reins ourselves, there comes a stability when the Lord holds the reins.
It is truly amazing the difference He makes to our life especially when we are submitted to His will and become obedient to His word.
We talk about walking on the straight and narrow path and that is a simple but honest interpretation of this word direct, we can walk tall in the Spirit when we learn to walk in the Spirit.
We should be praying consistently 'Lord direct my paths' we have so much to gain and so little to lose by applying the scriptures to our life both physically and morally as well.
What a promise then we have here for us to apply, so that we can know the divine approval on our life as we seek to walk humbly with our God.
There is another feature in the promise that we should bring out and that is the directions that we are walking in day by day, the areas that need refining by the Holy Spirit.
Solomon knew from personal experience that lax living leads to disaster and that holy living leads to a distinct cutting of from those things that cause us to fall or fail.
So often we fall into the trap of the next verse 7 'being wise in our own eyes' we think we are all right by doing the ritualistic visits to church and to the meetings that are put on.
The Christian life is a whole life involving education, work, pleasures and conversations the twenty four hours and seven days a week and fifty two weeks in the year living.
We are taking the Lord Jesus with us everywhere we go in everything that we do, say and think we are to give account of the whole of our life before our Lord as 1 Corinthians 3 reveals so clearly to us.
The problem is most of us think that judgement is passed through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, well sins awesome judgement has passed forever and we praise the Lord for that fact.
The fact remains there is a judgement that will take place when all of us who have been saved from that Great Judgement must give account of our life in Christ Jesus.
We are to go through the fire that will burn up the dross of base desires and only what was done for the Lord Jesus will stand the test of the fire and go into eternity.
What we received as the directions for our life and have applied them will stand the test of the fire but what we forgot to apply, what we rejected as directions and what we refused to obey will be come ashes or dust before the Lord.
The promise here is for our own benefit so that we can become bold in battle for the Lord and bring pleasure to His heart as a result of our seeking directions of Him.
The sequel to our Old Testament study in Proverbs 3 v 6 is found in the New Testament in Matthew 6 v 33 'seek you first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these will be added unto you'.
Here we find the direction offered in Proverbs 3 v 6 to seek after the Lord with all of our heart soul and mind will bring us into direct communion with the Living God.
This is the source of all wisdom and should become the urgent desire of every Christian, it is the reason why so many lose heart and direction because they are resting in themselves rather than in the Lord.
Look again at what the Master is saying to us ' seek first' not at our convenience nor when we feel like it but it should be our priority to 'seek first' the Lord.
'Seek' points to the paramount importance placed on seeking the Lord on every issue that we face anything less is seen as an affront to the Lord.
To seek is to search out the truth without hesitation, because it brings out righteousness in us as well as to us as a result.
To 'seek' to know the mind and will of God takes time and is in opposition to our up and go attitude in life all the time.
We spend little time alone with the Lord and He does not force His will on anyone of us but consistently seeks to guide us on the way that brings us closer to Him.
Now here the Master is seeking to bring His disciples out of the old way of living into the new one that they were to know experimentally after the Resurrection and Pentecost.
They too were going to walk by faith along the path of righteousness and that was going to lead through dark passages of trial and tribulation.
They to were to face the unknown very shortly after receiving these instruction from the Lord and they were allowed so as to keep their heart and mind seeking the Lord.
When was the last time we were brought into a straightened situation and we quickly sought to know from our precious Saviour the way ahead?
In times of crisis maybe but what about brining the routine of life under the spotlight of Gods word to see what He is seeking to show or reveal to us.
For many Christians their life has become a normal run of the mill one, nothing happening in it that brings us closer to the Lord.
We are wrestling with the issues of life and not making a very good job of it, in truth we are not expecting the Lord to come sand help us in the daily routine.
That is the reason why so many are not going to church regularly any more because church mirrors life in general 'boredom'.
The Lord Jesus would have us know that the Christian life is a dynamic life that affects every part of us, so that we can enjoy the new life and not endure it.
We note here in Matthew 6 that the Master is talking about the ordinary issues of life, food, water, clothes and the like, the issues that wind us up so quickly when they are not easily gained by us.
We still like our independence, we still like to think that we are providing for ourselves when in truth we should be praying 'all I have needed thy hand has provided'.
Then we can look at the pressures that many are facing daily through the work place, we find ourselves struggling through under greater stress and strain.
We do not give ourselves time to rest in the presence of the Living God, we are on the go all the time when He is inviting us to come to Him and rest awhile.
How many Christians are found seeking medical help first and foremost, giving little thought to the Lord who is seeking our attention to reveal things to us.
Many a child of God has come into a much deeper spiritual life through some infirmity and end up praising God for the situations that He has brought them through.
When we step back from the rush and bustle of life we can find some wonderful truths revealed by the Lord in His word, promises that will transform our thinking and living.
Can we not see that the enemy of our souls is desperate to keep us active so that these promises may remain dormant on the sacred page?
Satan will keep us doing almost anything but studying the word of God and seeking 'first the kingdom of God and His righteousness' because it nullifies his work.
It is of paramount importance to the Christian then to get alone in the quiet place and spend time reading and studying the word so as to draw closer to Christ.
It should be our daily task to make certain that the Lord is going with us into the day, to enjoy the knowledge of His abiding presence with us.
Then there is a further thought on seeking the Lord and His righteousness, it the burden that He places on us to share the good news with others.
The Gospel message is a world wide one and multitudes of folk are relying on us to do our part in enabling them to hear the gospel and then live in the light of it.
How much time do we spend praying for the folk around us let alone for the souls of folk around the world, we do not spend anywhere near the time praying that we do on pleasures.
There seems to be little burden except when some catastrophe hits the world, a war brings out the thrifty spirit and we empty our drawers and cupboards of things we do not want.
We pray a while for the troubled and suffering folk but they soon get forgotten when some thing else comes on the scene.
We do not spend time in prayer before the Throne of God seeking to know Gods mind and will on issues as the early Church used to do.
Now this is tough but then our heavenly Father is looking for tough disciples, who go to the Throne with their needs and find them answered as a promise.
I am sure the Lord is longing for His people to wake up from their spiritual sleep and return to conversing with Him, that they may know the acceptable will of God in all things.
The promise here in Matthew 6 v 33 is for us to appropriate personally in daily issues as well as in the fellowship for practical guidance.
How many fellowships have witnessed splits in recent years all in the name of the Lord but how many of those fellowships have spent time together before the Throne of Grace.
Bending before the Throne in repentance and then submission to the Lord for His will to be known and done as a result?
In the next chapter v 7 we are given three words that bring the promises into full view 'ask', then 'seek' and finally 'knock' three simple words but oh the depth of thought that comes with them.
To 'ask' of God to fulfil the promise given in His word in us, this points to a simple request that as we are obedient to the conditions He will surely do it for us.
The 'seek' comes to us clearly, putting everything else aside we seek to know the plan and purposes of God through it being given to us before receiving it.
Then to 'knock' is to present our claim to the promise that He has made to us being fulfilled in us and through us will come righteous living as a result.
We do not go to the Lord arrogantly claiming the promise but rather as humbled souls with needs that only our heavenly Father can and will meet.
It is here that the scripture comes alive to us, 'I will guide thee with my eye' says our Father
Psalm 32 v 8 and we must live close to some one for us to guided by the eye.
This points to our walking close to Him through out the day so that our lives transmit that holy walk to the world that is looking on.
We referred to our 'waiting on the Lord' in our last study and there are delightful promises in the scriptures for those who learn to wait on the Lord.
So this study will concentrate on the 'wait' side of the promise to help us come into the fullness of the promise and to come fully into the disciplined Christian life.
'Wait on the Lord' Psalm 27 v 14 comes at the end of a Psalm that began in light v 1 but came into darkness v 5 before coming back to the Light.
The writer was looking at his situation that at times was dire and he was desperately looking for direction as his enemy surrounded him, I know there are many today who echo this Psalm.
Well do not sit in the darkness that surrounds you look up to the Light of the world our Lord Jesus Christ and you will hear Him wait only upon the Lord.
The word 'wait' brings out a firm trust in God, a resolute stance on His word and the firm conviction of His aid coming to assist us.
Here is a picture of the patient soul spending time with the Lord waiting for the expected answer to their cry, it is on its way already.
We are looking at the soul that is trusting in the Lord with all their heart and mind regarding the outcome as good as realised in them.
What a situation to be in surrounded by soldiers that are out to kill you, there is no way out
except to look up to the Lord and waiting on Him to move then we will walk with Him through the ranks of the enemy.
What a ridiculous situation this seems to be to many a beleaguered Christian today who has never learned the secret of waiting upon their heavenly Father.
Content to meander around in life with any real positive relationship on a daily basis with the Creator God who saw David out of all his calamities and would us if we only learned to wait upon Him.
In Psalm 37 v 34 we find the same phrase used 'wait on the Lord' but with it we find the condition of the promise 'keep His ways' and then 'He will exalt thee'.
The promise is clear to those who wait on the Lord, the word 'wait' here brings out the constancy of mind, it is centred on the Lord and not ourselves or the enemy around us.
To keep our mind centred on the Lord Jesus will lead us along straight paths that will ultimately leads us to mastery and victory over the world, flesh and devil v 32.
Now in waiting on the Lord we learn to look up into the face of our beloved Lord and Saviour getting our mind anchored in His mercy, love and grace towards us.
We can rejoice in the God of our salvation who will not let a soul down who trusts in Him
for forgiveness and cleansing of their sin.
We can rejoice in the Lord who is preparing a place for us in the heavens so that when He comes again we are going to be with Him for eternity.
Then 'waiting on the Lord' brings us to the place where we can look forward to the victory over temptation and the enemy, 'sin will not have dominion over you' Romans 6 v 14.
The promise is secure for those who have their sin dealt with by the Lord Jesus v 11, they do not let sin reign or govern their life v 12 so then mastery is promised them them.
We should be looking ahead as we wait on the Lord to keep close to Him so that He will lead us on that narrow path that leads to our rescue and release.
The third occasion that we find the phrase in the Psalms has an important addition to it 62 v 1 'truly my soul waits upon God' the word 'truly' literally means 'only'.
We are only waiting upon the Lord, not in a creed, not in orthodoxy but in obedience to Gods word we come to sit at His footstool to learn from Him.
We should take note on the word 'truly' or only because it is the key that will unlock the quiet time to many a soul wandering around in their faith when they could be established.
Work comes before worship for so many because they separate wrong fully the secular life from the spiritual life, the weekday from the Sunday life.
We look at our work day as if it were totally unconnected to our worship on Sunday that really is only going to church and not necessarily to meet with the Risen Lord.
We are comfortable with the pattern of worship and as long as it remains the same we are quite comfortable to sit for an hour in the pew.
To recognise that the Living God is as involved in the rest of the week more so than the Sunday because there we only put on an act of conformity.
So let us look at our orthodoxy that seems to be far more important than our obedience to Gods word and the many promises that it contains for us to apply.
Orthodoxy points to the generally accepted theory of the church that we attend, we do not like to get this challenged and quickly shelter from the convicting Holy Spirit revealing needs for change in our life.
We hide behind the teaching of the leaders who usually are hiding from the truth because it must bring change in them first before we can expect change in others.
Orthodoxy can be a killer of spiritual life because all we do is follow others of like mind without ever seeking the Lord to change the inside of us to bring us into Christ likeness.
To learn to wait on the Lord in quiet meditation of His word is not taught as it should be in many churches but if we are to become obedient to the Lord this will become of paramount importance to us personally.
Then we look at the fear that so often grips us when faith goes through the window the many times we do not remember to bring the Lord into situations and we end up in fear.
Well waiting upon the Lord will give us calm in the storm, it will bring courage in out troubles and the conquering spirit over temptation.
Look at those three statements and ponder over them in the day ahead to see where you can apply the promises of Gods strength in the midst of your circumstances.
There is a calm and serene state we can enjoy when waiting upon the Lord that we cannot find elsewhere in life so do not the enemy rob you of it.
The is courage and boldness to be had by waiting on the Lord resting on His promises instead of wrestling with possibilities, the things that might happen but might not.
Then there is the conquering spirit available for us to partake of rather than remaining defeated in situations that lead to a break in relationship all the time.
'Wait on the Lord and He will strengthen thy heart'.
The thought came in the last study of the promise in Psalm 32 v 8 I will guide thee with mine eye' and the intimacy of fellowship that the Creator God desires with His children.
It is overwhelming to me that He should spend so much time and effort to draw such a person as me to Himself in His Calvary love bond.
The deepest love known to human nature is being poured out on the human race day by day and yet is being spurned so easily by the vast majority of folk.
Calvary love does not introduce us to a new religion but it brings us to the Creator God through His beloved Son Jesus Christ.
As we look at the promise today we notice that in His great love towards us our heavenly Father sets out to 'instruct us' in the issues of life, every part of our being is effected with His righteousness.
The word 'instruct' is not for a short period of time but it means to bring us to spiritual maturity and we are never too old to learn fresh truths from His word.
Our divine Tutor is seeking to reveal His will, plans and purposes to us and every succeeding generation He is continually opening up His word to diligent Christians for their spiritual growth.
The promise stands secure today as when David penned this Psalm and the truths that God had revealed to him through it.
'I will' is the guarantee of the promise to any who surrender to Him and become obedient to His word, it is our yielding to His will that becomes the obstacle to us receiving it.
We can say in words that we surrender all to Him but come the moment of truth in testing and we can quickly shy away from Him, Peter was by no means the only one to deny His Saviour.
'I will instruct thee' is a terrific promise for the slow learners like me, we find it hard to take things in and to remember what has been given to us.
Our Father would rather have a slow learner than the religiously well educated who only have the word in their head but not experimentally in their heart.
In the instructing David received it was not just a mental appreciation of God but the experimentally walking and communing with God that counted.
The simple trust of a single stone that killed Goliath led to the agony of the Cave of Adullam
when surrounded by Saul and his army, many years had passed by between these events.
David was still be instructed by the Lord until He took him into the heavenly place, David never lost the desire of seeking the instructions of the Lord and neither should we.
The text then goes on to reveal that in His abundant love towards us He will 'teach' us just as He did David of old, to 'teach' is to lead us in the right way on the right path.
To 'instruct' has the objective of laying the right foundation, but to 'teach' means to impart knowledge by experimental application of the knowledge gained.
'Instruction' can be the theory of scripture but the 'teaching' is the practical outworking of the scripture in our daily life.
Sand and cement need to be blended together with water to make it a good mixture and of true value to the builder, so the 'word of God' needs to be received mentally and practically with the aid of the Holy Spirit bringing the two together in our life.
It is the Holy Spirit breathing on the word and moving in our minds and hearts that enable any one of us to grow into spiritually mature people.
Therefore can know practically that the word of God becomes alive in us as we read, study and seek to apply it, 'wait on the Lord' involves these three facts.
The promise is 'I will' instruct and teach thee' what, 'in the way that thou shalt go' here is the promise opened up to us, it involves our daily walk and work before God and the world.
'The way' can be the journey homeward, it can mean the immediate steps to be taken and it can also mean the right course of action to be taken in any situation.
The first points to the goal that lies in front of us and the word implies that our Father will always guide us on the path that leads us to His presence.
All along the way the situations that face us are allowed to steer us along the path of righteousness so that we become more like Christ Jesus as a result.
The second point reveals the present situation and to the how, what, why and where of our immediate experience, a temptation to avoid, a trap to beware of or a simple problem solution as yet unknown by us.
The third points to our walking a godly course of life, seeking to bring out the characteristics of a godly life where ever we go or whatever we do.
It is the teaching that brings us to the feet of our Saviour to enjoy divine communion as often as we can during the day, it may be a quick fire prayer 'Lord save me' like Peter on Galilee or Elijah's plea on Carmel.
We do not have to drop on to our knees to pray many times t is impractical but a swift word to the Lord in the spirit will bring us immediate response from the Throne of Grace when we are in harmony with Him.
So we come to the loving heart to hear the centre of the promise 'I will guide thee with mine eye' now the experimental aspect is brought to us.
The servants of great master's in the east learn to receive instructions at the meat table by gazing into the eye of the master.
A little twitch can bring the waiter to the table with the bottle of wine or with a piece of fish
without a word being spoken, just guided by the eye.
An empty plate is soon dealt with or an empty glass is filled all by the use of the eye and tat means the person must be close at hand to receive instructions like this.
To be guided away from a situation that can rapidly develop into a very difficult one needs the Holy Spirit to be alert as well as alive in us, in truth He is, it is we are who are slow to respond to Him.
There are many situations in life where the Holy Spirit is blocking our path but we are not diligent to His promptings and we get into all manners of difficulties as a result.
Many conversations run along these lines bringing out the wrong attitude in us because we have not learned to be observant to the Holy Spirit promptings.
We can get into difficulties because we do not let holiness and righteousness dictate our life we still allow the flesh to dominate.
We are afraid of standing firm on our spiritual principles instead we join in the general conversations that break our relationship with the Throne of Grace.
Now we need to become practical in our walk with the Lord so that He can prepare us for the many jolts that we receive on our journey day by day towards our heavenly home.
As we draw near to God we have the bold assurance that He will draw near to us and in the faith that we deploy towards our Father we can look up into His face to receive guidance from Him.
The reality is that the more often we come the more easily it is for us to receive instruction, teaching and guidance from Him.
We can know the reality of His presence with us as we move out from His footstool in the morning and experience His guiding through each moment of the day.
Equally it is possible for us to go through a routine that seeks God in the crisis of life but never know the experimental communion with Him because we do not seek Him.
David learnt that is was absolute folly to go out without first seeking the presence of God going with him, David knew that the right direction and right course of action was to follow in the steps of his Master.
He brings out the thought of the horse that needs reins to guide and lead it in the way that it should go v 9 it cannot make the journey on its own and neither can we.
We can rejoice in the Lord because of His faithful dealings with us children who are still prone to want our own way.
How often our heavenly Father graciously steers us away from dangers and traps set by the enemy of our souls because of our impetuosity and self willed actions.
What a tragedy that is in the light of our promises today that He is willing to instruct, teach and guide us in the right ways for our benefit and for His glory.
Let us heed the instruction of Gods word today and spend more time seeking to learn from our loving Tutor who has only the best in store for us.
May we be observant to His teaching so that we allow the Holy Spirit to apply the word to our life, so that we become living testimonies of the saving and keeping power of the Living God.
Then He will guide us with His eye continually.
The promise today comes from several parts of scripture, 'I will be with thee' as Joshua 1 v 5 and Deuteronomy 31 vs.6 and 8 a glorious promise that every child of God can appropriate to their life.
The knowledge that we can know the reality of Gods presence every step of the way is such an encouragement to the observant soul walking on the path of righteousness.
We can begin to understand why Satan seeks to keep us from realizing this clear truth, it is obvious why he seeks to distract us from enjoying such communion.
The simplest soul who practises the presence of God is a threat to Satan and his wiles he is sent packing on his way in defeat by the loving presence of our Father God.
So we look with Joshua at the challenge that Moses is putting on him and listen to the encouragement that he receives from God through Moses here.
Deuteronomy is the change over Moses is about to pass over into the heavenly place as the Lord Jesus revealed on the Transfiguration mount to His disciples Matthew 17 vs.1 - 4.
Moses was seen y the disciples communing with the Lord Jesus v 3 a transformed man able to take the presence of the Living God.
In Deuteronomy 31 Moses was still housed in his body of clay about to exchange it for his eternal body, he is communing with God before communicating with Joshua.
Moses had led the nation out of Egypt through the rough forty years of wilderness wandering and soon would walk up Mount Nebo to view the Promised Land and his home call.
Joshua had travelled with the old warrior Moses and had been faithful in his support therefore he knew the fulfilment of the promise 'I will be with you' given to Moses by God at the outset of his journey Exodus 3 v 12.
'I will be with thee' what confidence that should bring to Moses but he like us looks at the flesh rather than the spirit and he is slow to accept the challenge from God.
Now Joshua is in the firing line, he is the new leader of this ungrateful rabble he is to face their arguing head on and he needs the security that God had given to His servant Moses.
In the hour of need Joshua bows before Moses the nation and more importantly before the Living God Deuteronomy 31 the older man hands over the reins to a slightly younger man.
In the moment of handing over the responsibility Moses reminds Joshua of the promise that God had given and in Deuteronomy 31 v 6 The promise 'I will be with you' and what assurance that was to Joshua.
The challenge was great but so was the position of God on his behalf, the 'fear not' is ratified with the 'fail not' the human side is nullified by the spiritual aspect of the challenge.
The fact here are an encouragement to every child of God, so often our immediate reaction to Gods word is to show 'fear' that is the apprehension of danger that is obvious.
Faith on the other hand knows the 'fail not' that is the Lord strengthening and equipping for the task that lies unknown in front of us.
Moses, Joshua, David, Jeremiah and Paul to quote at random a few of the people who knew experimentally the reality of the promise 'in your weakness My strength is made perfect'.
They knew their own weaknesses but the also grew to know the strength of Gods presence in them as they went obediently to achieve the goal set out for them by God.
'I will not fail thee' is a promise that is realized by those who go be faith in the line of duty that God has planned for them.
There are many casualties along life's pathway of folk who took their eyes of the Lord and looking around gave way to the flesh and failed.
They fail not because God has let them down but rather because they forsook claiming the promise of Gods providence and protection.
Gods promise is clear 'I will be with you where ever you go', the difficulty lies in the facts that the way we go is Gods chosen way and not our own chosen way.
If we deviate from the path of righteousness the Lord will graciously wait for us to return, waiting at that same spot.
Our relationship is secure but our communications are severed until we return to Him in repentance for the sin that has been committed.
He did not chose to break communications it was our own choice and unless and until we shoe repentance the lines of communication remain broken.
Joshua listens intently to Moses knowing that the old soldier was only passing on the word of God to him and the nation.
A daunting task is met with a dawning trust 'He will not fail or forsake you' two further promises that enlighten and encourage Joshua.
Now it is not second hand knowledge passed on by Moses but the first hand experience of walking and communing with the Lord himself.
Our heavenly Father makes it abundantly clear that as He was with Moses and Joshua so He will be with us and that He will not fail us, forsake us or forget us.
The operative word here is our 'faith' in Gods word, many of us fail because we do not recognise that the word of God needs applying to our life.
It is not memorizing it or even trying to retain it but it is all about remembering to apply it in our daily living, it is then that we soon realise that we cannot do without our Father's aid.
We begin to seek Him regularly because with out Him we can not achieve anything that has eternal value but with Him we are laying up treasure in heaven.
When we look at the promise being applied to Joshua in chapter 1 we find further facts that we can expect to occur as we take God at His word.
Joshua 1 v 7 is application of the promise 'be strong' keep your eye on Me and you will become a conqueror renown, a valiant and determined soldier.
Then 'be of good courage' keep bound to Me and you will be fearless, firm, resolute and vigorous in the work that I have set for you to accomplish.
'Courage' speaks of all of that as it creates an undaunted spirit that will face the foe without flinching, keeping the eye on the Lord.
Joshua knew his weaknesses and he had to learn to commune with the Lord on all issues and not just the big or important ones, the defeat at Ai in Joshua 7 is an example of this.
It is easy to expect our Father to step into the major crisis in life but we do tend as human beings to rely on our own ability when faced with the smaller ones and that is dangerous.
Many would stand on the threshold of eternity warning us of the dangers of trusting in our own judgements as they did and failed miserably.
What a mighty promise is given to Joshua in 1 v 5 'no man will be able to withstand thee' the simple trusting man has no fear of the best organized and strongest challenger that comes his way.
I am reminded here that this includes Satan himself, he is a mighty battler but he is no opposition when the Lord of Hosts declares his strength against him, the truth is he flies or runs away.
The truth is the Tempter withstood the Lord Jesus in the flesh in the wilderness but the moment the Spirit is revealed he is gone, Matthew 4 gives us the details.
So we can take heart though the enemy batter us we are more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ, who says to us 'be strong and of good courage I am with you'.
My heart and mind was exercised today to seek out the fulfilment of the promises given to Gods people and how things worked out in their application.
Daniel was the one who came to mind, a young man with a heart set on His God and who took God literally regarding the promises made in His word.
Alongside his compatriots Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego they stood firm in their faith even though faced with massive opposition in mighty Babylon.
The rougher the going became with the opposition the tougher they became in over coming because the Living God stood with them.
'Fear not' was their watch word as they face continual hostility in captivity, God did not bring them out but He kept them secure whilst they were there.
A thought to ponder today that the same promise and conditions are open to all of Gods people, He will keep us from falling without bringing us out of the trial of our faith.
When the testing gets severe the promises become paramount to be claimed, the stronger the trial the greater the assurance of mastery becomes clear.
God had become very real to these four stalwarts of the faith as He gave the promises they believed Him to fulfil them in them personally.
Let us look at the similarity with these four alongside the disciples after Pentecost, Gods preparation left fully trained men and women to perform the tasks allotted to them.
In Daniel 1 v 4 the four men are described as being taught of God in 'all wisdom', cunning in knowledge and understanding all in preparation for what was to come.
'Wisdom' is insight into things, to be intelligent not only mentally with a human view but spiritually also, seeing that we can see things from Gods point of view.
'Knowledge' points to gaining insight into things that are with held from others, the word 'cunning' is linked with it and brings out the skilful use of knowledge that has been with held from others.
'Understanding' brings out the thought of not just apprehending the statement but the disclosing of the truths not perceived by the onlookers.
There were very clever and intelligent people around the courts of Nebuchadnezzar gifted in all manners of knowledge but lacking spiritual insight into issues.
There were folk who had insight into the affairs of the nation but they had limitations and they had to go to the 'god' prophets to seek an answer that was not always forth coming.
This is where we find the massive difference between them all and these four Hebrew men they were able to forth tell as well as fore tell the events that were to become reality in the rest of human history.
When it really mattered these four men stood out from the crowd as men worth listening to but also to accept what was being revealed by them.
They had these spiritual ingredients that baffle human nature, the ability to see things as they really are in the sight of the all seeing and all knowing Living God
The only way that these can be received is by spending time alone with God not by studying commentaries and listening to others but by direct contact with the Lord Himself.
It is one thing listening to a good teacher and drinking in the knowledge he imparts but something else to receive knowledge and wisdom from the Creator.
There is nothing left to chance or guess work when the Living God is concerned, there is no hit and miss that may happen or could happen, no the word received from God brings promises to good and bad people.
We should notice the pattern that evolved in Babylon as jealousy soon takes over in the capital city, critics are soon to be heard and charges made against the anointed servants of the Lord.
This was not confined to the Old Testament world but in the New Testament world men offered money to receive the Holy Spirit as in the Acts of Apostles.
Human nature delights to speak with great knowledge baffling the minds of the hearers leaving them stunned at what they hear but when the simple gospel is preached so that everyone can understand the truth they only shy away or turn their backs on it.
So back to Daniel and these four brethren who stood firm on the promises of God and to the trials they face with the calm assurance that the Living God would see them through.
The three Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were to face the fiery furnace hotted up for the occasion seven times hotter 3 v 19, exceedingly hot' v 22.
'God is able to deliver' v 17 when the errand is urgent we find the Lord is present with us what a terrific promise to claim, note 'our God' there is a distinct difference between 'gods'
and the Living God.
The Living God stands all of from all the idol gods that men construct and therefore we say boldly that all roads to not lead mankind to the Living God, there is but one narrow way.
The Lord Jesus is the only way that anyone can approach the Throne of the Living God, all else will be withered up by the very purity and holiness of the Creator God.
Daniel has several years to reveal the wisdom, knowledge and understanding before the King and courtiers before his great trial in the lions den.
The fact that all the brains in Babylon could not solve the pressing dream of the King and the demands to interpret it speaks loudly of the poverty of human knowledge when measured against the knowledge imparted at the Throne of Grace.
Daniel had worked hard as a boy in school and as a young student in college, he stood out as a particularly bright youth but the spiritual knowledge effected his life even more.
The wisdom, knowledge and understanding learned from his Divine Tutor made him head and shoulders above those around him, it was due to his application of Gods word to his life.
The theory was now to be put into practise and in the dreams, visions and writing on the wall 5 v 12 Daniel was able to bring home the reality of things as the truth sent by the Living God.
The lions den experience comes as a result of extreme jealousy but the Living God is already preparing His servant Daniel for this ordeal 6 v 10.
The truth should be underlined here that Daniel was in the habit of enjoying such communion over the years it was not a special period of time to cover the special ordeal.
What a testimony he heard 6 v 27 from the king, it is 'the Living God' v 26 who has 'delivered, rescued and worketh signs and wonders' v 27.
In the quiet hours meditating on the word receiving ministry from the Lord Daniel had learned to wait upon his God and when needed was able to reveal the truth to kings and nations.
The second half the book Daniel is able to reveal to us today the mighty plans that our God is working to in the years ahead, the mighty Empires will come, rule and go in their season.
They point us to Messiah coming and after being rejected by the Hebrews they would be scattered far and wide for a space of time.
Our God reigns supreme and every word that He speaks is for us to believe and apply if we are to become the men and women that He intends us to be.
The promises of God are all fulfilled in detail by those who trust in Him and no matter the situations and circumstances that we are called to go through we will like these four brethren find that He always keeps His word.