Thursday, January 8, 2015

James Maloney: The Year of Promise

I love this word by James Maloney because it is filled with promise as it explains God's promises!

God's Character
Speaking of possessing our land, in the spiritual sense of a prosperous journey through life (3 John 2), Deuteronomy 11:12 shares insight into the Lord's thoughts concerning His people's inheritance: "...a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year."

This tells me He keeps us in special consideration, nonstop, from year to year. I believe we must see through the eyes of faith(2 Corinthians 4:18) and recognize that each new year is an ending of the "old" and a beginning of the "new." Or more correctly, it's all just a continuation of the "now," since the Lord is ever-present, never changing; from God's eternal perspective, the past, present and future are occurring in the moment.

In a fatherly, loving way the Lord's watchful care over our settings, surroundings and situations never deteriorates, nor does it vacillate. He is intimately involved in our daily lives, year in, year out. He is protective over His work in perfecting our purpose. "Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep" (Psalm 121:4) How many know we are spiritual Israel, and our spiritual land is in His focus, just like it was in the children of Israel's time? It continues into perpetuity.

He is concerned about you: your place of worship, your family, your home, your job—why even your means of transportation is important to the Lord! None of these things escape His sight, and this interest in you is renewed every year. It never wanes; it never changes. You need to understand this is a truth about God's character, and as such it is incapable of changing.

"The Lord will perfect that which concerns me..." (Psalm 138:8) speaks of completion, the termination of a work started—that is: the successful and abounding voyage of your walk through life. He is not planning on leaving you hanging. Rather, every area in your life is in a state of development. We have to get to a place in our relationship with the Lord that we actually believe this in steadfast faith. There is a timetable with a divine design to it concerning your progression in this life—and you are making progress!

Faith is growing; knowledge of God's attributes is expanding. He is perfecting that which concerns us! We are admonished inPhilippians 1:6 to be "...confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."

"Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly" (Job 8:7). Your growth, development and maturing is pointing to a grand and glorious consummation! Think of this way, if it helps—God puts the brakes on satan so that you can rapidly accelerate forward.
The Year of Promise—Possessing Our Land
"...As your days [are], so shall your strength be" (Deuteronomy 33:25). What this is telling us is that life—the circumstances of our day-to-day living—will not leave us like an empty reservoir, some dry well. No, as the demands of each day are, so shall our inner resources of strength be to make us equal to any situation we face. We can wake up each morning, knowing with assurance that our strength is more than sufficient for the demands of that day.

This is our land of inheritance, and this is our year of promise. We are living in the realm of full supply; you just have to know this is true and trust in the Lord's unwavering faithfulness toward completing the work He has begun in you.This truth is all encompassing for any needs we have. Our strength will be sufficient to face physical struggles, financial strain, spiritual fatigue, mental and emotional distress—the Lord makes sure we are up to the challenge. We don't have to function in raw nerves, you know what I mean?

"But what about my circumstances?" you may be asking. It might seem you've been waiting for this manifestation of truth and strength in your life for years. I don't demean anything someone may be going through. God knows these past couple years have been the most difficult of my adult life, hands down. If anything, it's made me more sympathetic to the difficulties others face.

But it doesn't change what the Word of God says, "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us" (2 Corinthians 1:20). While we are waiting to receive the answers (and they are coming!) the Lord is teaching us valuable lessons in trust and reliance upon Him—to encourage our faith, not to make us miserable.
I'm not sure why so many Christians seem to think that God wants us to be wretched, that He creates these circumstances to wear us down, so that He knows we really love Him. That's a very strange philosophy. Look, folks, God doesn't need you to be in a right, hot mess to prove your devotion to Him. It serves His purposes better for you to be thriving, not trampled; "For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men"(Lamentations 3:33).

We need to understand it's not our environment trying us in these instances; it's the Word of God. (Notice I used "trying" not "torturing." There is a distinct difference. To try something means to purify it, to refine it.) Look at Joseph. Psalm 105:19says, "Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him." Twelve long years, in fact. But the word was fulfilled, and Joseph was a better man for it, being raised to second in the land of Egypt, put into a position to save his entire family—even the ones who created the circumstances of those twelve years.

It's not our adverse conditions that test us—rather, it is the very promises of God themselves. And that makes it worthwhile, because we know the promises will bear out. In the waiting of their fulfillment, we learn to trust that God is true to His Word, and we will see the manifestation of what we are seeking.

The difference here is that our situations can change. God's promises cannot. If it were the circumstances doing the testing, we'd be up the proverbial creek. But because we know God's Word is true, it will produce what it promises to produce. So, "Trust your promises, not your circumstances," is what I'm trying to say. We have a choice in what we focus our attention on.
The School of Trust
You have to know, "...There will be a fulfillment of those things which were told [you] from the Lord" (Luke 1:45). Do you believe that? I mean, really believe that? Standing on a promise of the Lord's is not wishful thinking, no matter what you're facing. You know, the test of the validity of a promise is in its performance, right?

If the promise is made true, it was a true promise. Makes sense. God's promises carry their own assurance of fulfillment because,"God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19).

This is either true or it is not. There is no gray area here. This isn't a "sometimes" thing—it's every day of every year, and it never changes. This is why each of us is told to, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6). That word "direct" means "to make smooth and straight." God's not trying to make you trip and fall—He is paving the way for you to zoom ahead! But this is a process, isn't it?

Look, the Father knows it's harder to wait than to move, and it's easier to run than to stand still. That's why God is laying out your path, right? So you can move forward.

But the waiting part, though difficult, is just as necessary. Perhaps even more so. Waiting for an answer that seems unnecessarily delayed is an opportunity for the Lord to provide instruction, correction—course adjustments, so that you don't trip and break your ankle, you know? The fact of the matter is while we are waiting, the Lord knows He has our attention. That's not a bad thing.

This is good news because, "...He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth" (Romans 9:28). Those words "short work" can be rendered: "to cut a thing quickly and succinctly to make it smaller." Picture a pair of super sharp scissors expertly cutting a lock of hair. Snip, snip. Done. A quick work.

As we learn to trust in the Lord's goodness and speedy faithfulness, we can begin to see this is our year of promise—we will possess our land! Trust in the Lord that He has your best interests at heart, and He will complete what He's started. Keep your eyes on Him, not what you're going through, and you will have your breakthrough.

James Maloney, President
Voice of the Dove Company International

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