God’s promises

Jeremiah 31:16 NKJV

When we’re facing a tough situation, or a hard time in our lives that doesn’t seem to be ending, we can sometimes start to lose hope. We feel like things will always be this way and that there’s no possibility of anything changing. We may have been praying for years and not seen any change. It can be discouraging. When we lose our hope, we lose our ability to see beyond our circumstances. We can become consumed by fear, disappointment and resentment that our situation isn’t changing. But God says He ‘will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope’ (Hosea 2:15 NIV). Achor means trouble. So here God is saying that He’ll turn trouble into hope. And the Bible says that ‘those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint’ (Isaiah 40:31 NIV). When the Israelites were in exile, there must have been days when many of them doubted whether they would ever be allowed to return to the Promised Land. They may have even thought that God had abandoned and forgotten about them. But Jeremiah prophesied: ‘They shall come back from the land of the enemy.’ The word ‘shall’ is a definite; that was what was going to happen – and it did. And we can have that same expectancy. When God promises us something, He’ll always come through. He is faithful and always keeps His promises. He has the power to completely change our situations and turn our trouble into hope.

Num 22-24; Matt 12:38-50; Ps 108; Prov 3:31-32

God werk aan jou omstandighede

Efesiërs 3:20 NLV

‘n Skrywer sê: ‘Ons bestuur tyd, mors tyd, spandeer tyd en spaar tyd. Ons wens die tyd wil kom, ons wens die tyd wil verbygaan, ons sien hoe die tyd vlieg, ons voel hoe tyd stilstaan. Ons hou horlosies dop en dra kalenders rond en tog beheer God tyd. Hy het tyd geskep en sy skeppings word in sy tyd gelei en deur sy liefdevolle hand gerig. Ons word deur onverwagte ontwikkelinge verras, maar God word nooit, selfs deur die mees rampspoedige gebeurtenisse, verras nie. Jou lewensuitkyk verander dramaties wanneer jy weet dat God op hierdie presiese oomblik binne in jou werk om sy doel vir jou uit te leef. Dink hoe jy sou gelewe het as jy verseker was dat God aan die einde van jou sperdatum vir jou wag. Dat selfs met sekondes oor, jy met sekerheid geglo het dat God in jou omstandighede aan die werk is. Die kern van geloof is om te glo dat God daar is en op die punt is om die noodsaaklike te voorsien. ‘Jesus Christus bly steeds dieselfde – gister, vandag en vir altyd!’ (Hebreërs 13:8 NLV). Tyd kan nie sy liefde of sy krag om in jou lewe te werk, verminder nie. Hy was in die verlede daar, Hy is hier in die hede en Hy sal in die toekoms daar wees. Vir Hom ‘…is ‘n duisend jaar soos gister, soos ‘n nagwaak wat gou verby is!’ (Psalm 90:4 NLV). Sy uiteindelike doel is om jou in die ewigheid in te bring, nie net om jou deur hierdie week te kry nie.’ Herinner jouself in elke situasie, dat ‘…Hy wat mag het om deur die krag wat in ons werk, oneindig meer te doen as wat ons vra of dink om te vra.’

God is at work in your circumstances

John 11:25-26 NLT

We struggle with the idea of our own mortality. It’s said that Florence Nightingale feared death so much, after the Crimean War she went to bed and basically stayed there until she died in 1910. Chuck Swindoll says we skirt the subject by using: “(1) Humor. Making a joke of it keeps death at a safe distance so we never have to face reality. (2) Denial. King Louis XIV of France wouldn’t allow the word ‘death’ to be uttered in his presence. But on September 1, 1715, he discovered that death can’t be wished out of existence. People spend so much on anti-aging creams, Botox, and plastic surgery to avoid seeing evidence of death’s approach. (3) Romanticism. A man in Europe built a special room where he can live with his dead wife. His bed is next to her casket. He decorated the room with flowers and candles. He writes her poetry every day in a romantic attempt to avoid the pain of her passing. (4) Fear. Observe fellow passengers on an airplane when turbulence causes sudden drops and vibrations. Young and old alike scream and cry out.” The good news is you don’t have to fear death! The One who defeated it said, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19 NIV 1984 Edition). When you repent and commit your life to Christ, you have His personal guarantee of eternal life. After Lazarus died, Jesus told his sister Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life… Everyone who…believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this?” If you do, you’ll live forever with Christ.

God is at work in your circumstances

Ephesians 3:20 AMP

One author writes: ‘We manage time, waste time, spend time, and save time. We wish it would come…we wish it would pass…we see time fly…we feel it drag. We watch clocks and carry calendars…yet God controls time. He created time, and His creations are fenced by His time, directed and guided by His loving hand. We’re surprised by unexpected developments, but God is never surprised by even the most disastrous turn of events. And your outlook on life changes dramatically when you know that at this very moment God is working within you “to carry out His purpose.”Think about how you’d live if you were absolutely certain God was at the end of your deadline. That even if there were mere seconds left, you believed with certainty He was working through your circumstances. Believing God is there and about to provide is the essence of faith. “Jesus…is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NLT). Time can’t diminish His love or His power to work within your life. He was there in the past; He’s present in the now, and He’ll be there in the future. The truth is, He has “all the time in the world…a thousand years or a day, it’s all the same to [Him]” (Psalm 90:4 MSG). And His ultimate goal is to bring you into eternity, not just get you through to the end of the week.’ In every situation ‘[His] power…is at work within us…to [carry out His purpose and] do super-abundantly…above all that we [dare] ask or think…[beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams].’

Always a sinner?

Psalm 51:5 GWT

Every one of us has something we struggle with, some weakness or behaviour that we find difficult to put aside. It might be a tendency to gossip, or unwillingness to forgive, or a struggle with alcohol…the list could go on. While we might be able to overcome a hundred other sins, there’s probably at least one that seems to have a powerful hold on us. And we can start excusing it by saying something like ‘it’s just the way I am’ or ‘I was born like that’. And to a certain extent, it’s true – we all inherited Adam’s fallen nature (take a look at Romans 5:12). David said, ‘I was born guilty. I was a sinner when my mother conceived me’ (Psalm 51:5 GWT). Ecclesiastes 7:20 tells us: ‘Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins’ (NLT). The problem is, it’s easy to treat this as a get-out clause. We can’t change the way we’re made, and we’ve done so well overcoming loads of other sins – surely we can let ourselves off this one thing, right? Well, no, we can’t. As Christians, our hearts should be desiring to do whatever pleases God. And in those times when it’s incredibly hard work, we need to make a conscious effort to bring our behaviour closer into alignment with Jesus’ nature. Paul recognised how difficult it is (have a read of Romans 7:18), but he also gives us the answer: ‘Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 7:24-25 NLT). When we were born we received Adam’s corrupt nature, but through our new birth as Christians, we receive Christ’s sin-conquering, life-changing, righteous nature.