By: Becky Spell Vann Contributing columnist
September 20, 2013
What have you promised God? Reflecting on each year of your life, milestones and memories pop up like a jack in the box. Some that took you quite by surprise; others were long and laborious in the making. One day our journeys will end on this earth; someone will preach a funeral for family and friends gathered to remember the life we lived and celebrate our new life in heaven. What will people ponder in their hearts as the music plays softly and grieving family members enter the sanctuary for your funeral service? Will you be remembered as a promise keeper or one who couldn’t be counted on for what you promised to do? Will thoughts of you being a people pleaser or God pleaser, a giver or a taker, a helper or a hindrance, a good egg or a rotten one go through people’s minds? Will you be missed, leaving shoes hard to fill, or will you leave with little fanfare from folks who never really knew you at all? AS Paul said, ‘think on things that are lovely’! Dwelling on death is dismal and not something we have to do when we are right with God and our hearts belong to Jesus. Living a life connected to the Lord and loved ones, treating others as we would like to be treated, loving God first and foremost, loving our neighbors as ourselves, and keeping promises will give any preacher plenty of good things to say when we leave this world. More importantly, when we enter glory, the Master will greet us with open arms and words that spell eternity, ‘Well done my good and faithful servant.’
What a glorious day that will be when we meet Jesus. I can only imagine what awaits us when we enter paradise. A great welcoming party of family, friends, and people whose lives we touched will gather to celebrate our entrance into heaven’s promise land. Words can’t describe what awaits us, but the Bible portrays the happiness of heaven and horror of hell in vivid detail. God’s Word also reminds us the road to heaven is straight and narrow. These are promises from a loving God who created and longs to have a close relationship with us; yet, he doesn’t play games. There’s no buddy system, political pull, or special favors for those who do not know Him when the whistle blows,. God’s promise is eternity in heaven for those who accept His Son, Jesus and live connected to the Vine.
God’s promises fuel our faith as we journey through life. Words found in Acts 26:17 “I will protect you…” show we need not fear for He is always near. Isaiah 66:13 shares a sense of security and peace, “I will comfort you”. His promise from Leviticus 26:6 reminds us where comfort and peace come from. How we can live in happiness even when our world is filled with sadness and sorrow, “I will give you peace…”!
God’s promises in Jeremiah that He will never hang up or ignore our call when we need Him; He truly desires a personal relationship with His children. Jeremiah 29:12 “I will listen to you…”! The old song that says ‘we can walk with Him and talk with Him and tell Him we are His own’ will never go out of style. Those lyrics share what King David lived…life in love with the Lord; praising, singing, talking, seeking, repenting, and being a man after God’s own heart.
Isaiah 41:10 says, “I will strengthen you…” sharing His desire for us to stand up to adversities. We will fail when relying on our own strength. He promises to make us strong and tough to face whatever obstacles pop up in our paths.
Matthew 11:28 “I will give you rest…” promises that all along our journey, God will provide rest stops for refueling. He longs for us to be healthy and happy. We must care for our bodies and relish rest time. When we worry and wiggle all night long, the enemy laughs and calls us losers. What a blessing to enjoy the rest He gives, especially at night when He gives what Sominex promises. Remember that catchy tune, ‘take Sominex tonight and sleep, safe and restful sleep, sleep, sleep’? If you long for a good night’s sleep, accept Jesus and in Him trust and obey. Things of the world will keep you tossing and turning all night long. “Think on things that are lovely”… have a little talk with Jesus, tell Him all about your troubles, name them one by one, then praise Him with love and honor and thank Him for all He’s done. “Be still and know that He is God”, listening as He softly and tenderly touches your heart with a peace and promise that only come from Him.
When we make promises we can’t keep, it breaks God’s heart and makes people lose faith in us. Perhaps, the broken promise that hurts most is when people who promised to stick by us didn’t! Have you felt the pain of abandonment? Jesus felt that same pain as He journeyed through life on earth. People in His own hometown did not believe in Him. His closest friend betrayed Him when He promised He would never do that. When He needed His disciples most, they let Him down. They couldn’t stay away and pray with Him in His darkest hour. So, Jesus understands our pain and problems as He always honors His promises.
He promises in Genesis 31:3, “I will be with you.” What greater promise could we seek, except that one day He promises we will be with Him in paradise if we accept His Son as our personal Savior and repent of our sins. Before our journey ends, let’s make promises to Him and keep them.