Title: Divine Promises
Materials: Watercolor paintings
Artwork by: Godsfingerprints
Devotional excerpts from: DeclareGlory
Description: Where do we turn to in times of need? What do we do when we sin against God? Where do you find your worth? How can we find hope in our dire situations?
In the mess of our circumstances, it might be counter-intuitive to focus on God. But when we do, God’s Word can speak to us in the most intimate ways. His infallible Word quenches our thirst, fills us with assurance and hope, calms our souls and lifts our spirits.
Our hope is that this devotional series will empower you greatly to continue placing your faith in our ever-trustworthy Lord—the God of promises.
Day 1 HE WHO PROMISED
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:19-23, NIV)
When a believer “sees” – knows, perceives, understands, is made aware of – the promises of God, they are led to engage their hearts and minds with “hopeful expectations.” And when this hope grows and develops, confidence is produced.
Day 2 FREE INDEED
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered Him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:31-36, ESV)
Freedom in Christ, however, does not always look like the American Dream. It’s not a quiet life that does what it wants, when it wants, because we are “free” to do so. Freedom in Christ is freedom from sin. He frees us from our slavery to sin, and provides a true home in Him – an inheritance in God’s House, that we would remain forever.
Day 3 HE COMFORTS
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings,so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
Whether you recognize this or not, your suffering is powerful in God’s economy; for He always takes suffering and produces life. It is a God-given promise. It may not be as we expect. And it certainly may not be in our preferred time table. But our faithful God has promised to comfort us SO THAT WE may extend that life-giving comfort to others.
You see, our sufferings and our comforts are to never end with us. Instead, they are to always flow through us.
Day 4 EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toils — this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear Him. Ecclesiastes 3:1, 9-14
He has made everything beautiful in its time. This is the promise. His sovereignty is creating a beautiful masterpiece of our lives. Woven throughout our peaks and valleys is a story of His goodness and faithfulness. Our stories will be complete in Him.
We can trust that in every season, He will keep His promises – the beauty of the fulfillment of Christ in us, nothing added, nothing taken away. Each segment of our lives will ultimately point to Him, and there is the beauty.
Day 5 I WILL GO WITH YOU
Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but You have not let me know whom You will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is Your people.” The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Then Moses said, “Now show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:12-18, NRSV)
Without a doubt, we have – and will continue to have – moments like this. Moments where we hold up our hands – full of what God said He would, promised He has, and declared already – and compare it with the opposition found in our current situations.
God, where? God, how? God, what? God, why?
But instead of all of this, the answer – what distinguishes our lives from the world – is found in only one divine “Who;” a God whose presence is grander than any unanswered inquiry. A God whose faithfulness may not answer every detail, but will provide rest-filled hope. And a God whose very being will guide, strengthen, and mend us right where we are.
Day 6 NEW CREATION
From now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:16-20, NIV)
Sin cannot be fixed, it is in its very nature a rebellion against God. Because of Christ, our soul can declare freedom; for sin was not fixed in us, it was demolished. You can personalize this scripture in prayer as, “Therefore, I am in Christ, and I am a new creation.”
The change your soul longs for can only take place, “in Christ.” So wherever you are today, no matter what happens, you can EXPERIENCE, LIVE, and WORSHIP Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Day 7 GREAT FAITHFULNESS
I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. So I say, “My splender is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.” I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are every morning; great is Your faithfulness… (Lamentations 3:17-23, NRSV)
Have you ever been here? In a place of affliction, misfortune, and wandering? A place where your present circumstance is more of an “ever-present” reminder than God’s grace seems to be?
There is much to remember, but because of the LORD, we are not consumed by it. There is much going on that feels distracting, but because of the LORD, we are not consumed by it. There is much falling apart, but because of the LORD, we are not consumed by it. And there is much unanswered, but because of the LORD, we are not consumed by it.
Today, choose to move beyond dull remembrance. Instead, refocus your heart on His character. For He is present; loving compassionately, offering grace upon grace, and extending mercy all around you.
Day 8 OUR SHEPHERD
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23, NIV)
Everyday, we need this reminder of who God is and how He shepherds and leads us. It is a simple, hopeful, and clear reminder of His character.
He shepherds in a way that fulfills our every need. He leads in a way that none of our earthly leaders could measure up to. He has chosen to be invested in the lives of His creation. He follows through on His promises. And he is worthy of our trust.
Day 9 GIVER OF STRENGTH
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stable and fall; but those who hope in the the Lord will renew their strength, they soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
In focusing on our pursuit of strength, we quickly forget the Giver of Strength. For unlike my existence, God is everlasting; the Creator of everything. Unlike my fading abilities, He is unwavering in strength and might. And unlike my feeble mind, His wisdom and knowledge is unimaginable.
And in His great power, He graces people with all that He has. And notice who Isaiah states are the receivers of God’s great strength and power…The weary and the weak who hope in the Lord.
Regardless of your weakness, God’s promise of strength is extended to those who place their hope – their expectations, their ideas of what is to come, and their lives from now on – in the mighty power of the Lord.
Day 10 NO WEAPON
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace. In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you…No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 54:10-15;17, NIV)
Trials in life shake us to the core. Good things which seem to be full of beauty and triumph are removed from our lives. Sadness and suffering rushes in to replace what we thought was stability. Yet today, we find an ultimate truth from our Lord. His unfailing love is unshakable and His covenant of peace is irrevocable.
I don’t know where you are in your life. I do not know what circumstance is surrounding you. But what I do know is that the Righteous Servant of the Lord suffered so that we – you and I – could be reestablished in a foundation that is eternally untouchable.
You may feel shaken, but rest assured, Christ is in you.
You may feel broken, but rest assured, Christ is in you.
You may feel bruised, but rest assured, Christ is in you.
You may feel run down, but rest assured, Christ is in you.