God’s Promises Build Our Faith

2 Peter 1:3-4

God’s promises are very precious. Not only do they remind us of His personal interest in our lives, but they also provide hope and encouragement during difficult times.

Before claiming a promise, we must check ourselves in three areas: faith, obedience, and patience. First, we must trust Jesus as our personal Savior and live on the basis of our belief in Him. Obeying God is also necessary. If we willfully continue to disobey the Lord, then He is not obligated to fulfill His promise (1 Peter 3:12). Finally, patience is required. God operates on His timetable to accomplish His purposes according to His perfect plan. Waiting on Him is necessary.

At times it will seem as if a divine promise is not being fulfilled. When that is the case, take a second look at the biblical passage to be sure it applies to you. Then verify that you have met the necessary conditions, and examine whether there is a genuine need. If you are still convinced the promise applies, then you can look a little deeper at your request. Will the Lord be honored when this promise is fulfilled? Can He answer this prayer without harming others or hindering His will in their lives? Will this help you grow spiritually? These additional questions will assist you in claiming a promise of God.

The Holy Spirit is our instructor, who will teach us about the Lord’s promises. He wants to build our faith through Scripture, provide the strength necessary to obey, and develop in us the fruit of patience. These qualities are necessary and will help us as we look to God to fulfill His promises.

Bible in One Year: Luke 8-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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God Is in Control

11 Corinthians 13:12

It is 100 percent true that God is good and that He’s in control. These facts, however, do not prevent bad things from happening. Though it’s within the Lord’s power to give everyone a perfect existence, that wouldn’t be in our best interest. Trials and suffering often drive people to the Father. And for those of us who are already His followers, God uses harsh circumstances to mature our faith and conform us to the image of His Son. To be made perfect and pleasing to our Father is indeed beneficial.

In His omniscience and wisdom, God will allow disaster and evil to touch our lives so we can grow from the experience. Growth, whether in compassion, trust, or knowledge, is good. If we could peek behind the scenes of our life, we’d see the Lord sovereignly working toward His ultimate purpose for us.

Romans 8:28 affirms this: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” On occasion, we see immediate positive results from trials. But other times, we must wait months or years (or until we reach heaven) to fully understand what God was doing in those difficult circumstances.

Suffering and evil are inevitable parts of a fallen world. But we have assurance that God is in control of the universe, including the tiny corner we occupy. When He permits bad things to happen, we can be sure that He will continue to provide comfort and guidance as He shapes us into the people He wants us to be.

 

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Glorious Reunion

Genesis 33:1-20

Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.

Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?”

“These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,” Jacob replied. Then the servant wives came forward with their children and bowed before him. Next came Leah with her children, and they bowed before him. Finally, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed before him.

“And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?” Esau asked. Jacob replied, “They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.” “My brother, I have plenty,” Esau answered. “Keep what you have for yourself.”

But Jacob insisted, “No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift. (Genesis 33:4-11)

Reflect

Why did Jacob send gifts ahead for Esau? In Bible times, gifts were given for several reasons. This may have been a bribe, an expression of affection, or the customary way of greeting someone before an important meeting. Such gifts were often related to a person’s occupation. This explains why Jacob sent sheep, goats, and cattle to Esau, who was a herdsman. In any case, Jacob was probably seeking Esau’s favor and good will.

Esau, who once had actually plotted Jacob’s death (Genesis 27:41), greeted his brother with a hug. Esau had forgiven Jacob. Time away from each other allowed the bitter wounds to heal. With the passing of time, each brother was able to see that their relationship was more important than their real estate.Jacob must have been amazed to see Esau’s change of heart when the two brothers met again. We know how God changed Jacob, but he also must  have been working on Esau’s heart. Esau was no longer bitter over losing his birthright and blessing; instead, he had forgiven his brother and was content with what he had.

Respond

Life can bring us some bad situations. We can feel cheated, as Esau did, but we don’t have to remain bitter. We can remove bitterness from our lives by honestly expressing our feelings to God, forgiving those who have wronged us, and being content with what we have. Who do you need to forgive? What glorious reunion could be in store?

 

 

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WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP FOR A NEW CHRISTIAN?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. – John 10:10

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. – Romans 4:7

Introduction

If you are a new believer, you experience the beginning of your new, eternal life. Your sins have been forgiven and you have been given a fresh start.

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FALLING IN LOVE WITH JESUS

Psalm 63
When we fall in love, we want to spend time with the object of our affection and willingly give our attention to the relationship. Falling in love with Jesus should be no different, but believers often hurry through Bible reading and prayer. The result is a superficial faith kept alive by habit rather than worship. To attain lasting intimacy, we must approach God with a sense of purpose and determination.

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