Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church

Trust God's promises over appearances

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God makes amazing promises to us. When we're living them out, however, sometimes it may not seem like they are coming true. This week we'll look at some of God's promises to us and think about what it feels like to live them out.

What are some of God’s promises to you that you rely on? (What are some of your favorite Bible verses?)

Start a list and keep adding to it throughout the day.

Here’s some promises you might be counting on that might not be on your list from Monday yet. Add any to your list that should be there.

When looking in mirror or when reviewing your life (even if you’re not happy):
Psalm 139:14 (NRSV) I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

When you don’t get what you’ve been hoping for:
Jeremiah 29:11 (NRSV) I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

When you do get what you’ve been hoping for and you’re overwhelmed:
Philippians 4:13 (NRSV) I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

When your body (or a friend’s) is aching from disease:
Isaiah 53:5 (NRSV) He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

When you are in pain and people are saying that God must have forsaken you:
Job 19:25-27 (NRSV) I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

When you are racked with guilt over something you’ve done:
I John 1:9 (NRSV) If we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

When you doubt your salvation:
Romans 10:9 (NRSV) If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

When you doubt that Jesus will return:
1 Peter 5:9-15 (NRSV) The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

When you think you’re not good enough for God to love you:
Romans 5:8 (NRSV) God proves God’s love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

When you think your sin will keep you separate from God:
Romans 8:38-39 (NRSV) I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When you think what you have will never be enough for the challenge you face:
John 6:5-13 (NRSV) [When his disciples gave him only five loaves and two fish to feed a crowd] Jesus said, "Make the people sit down."

When you think you’ll never be able to accomplish a task:
Matt 17:20 (NRSV) If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."

Wednesday 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 (NRSV)
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Paul says that God’s promises to us for the future (prophecies) will some day cease. They are helpful, but incomplete, and when we have the full realization of the promise, we won’t need the promise any more.

Paul is not arguing that we don’t need prophecies – he is very clear in the verses surrounding this passage that prophecy is important. But he wants to emphasize the far greater importance of faith, hope and love.

What will you do to include more prophecies and more of God’s promises in your life?
What will you do to include more faith, hope and love in your life?

Thursday Luke 1:31-33 (NRSV)
“You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

What do you think Mary felt like when she first heard the angel’s promise?
What do you think she felt like when her new baby was crying in the middle of the night?
What do you think she felt like when fleeing for her life to escape Herod?
What do you think she felt like at the wedding when she told Jesus they ran out of wine and Jesus replied, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come”? (John 2:4)
What do you think she felt like when she was trying to see Jesus and he said, “"My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it"? (Luke 8:20-21)
What do you think she felt like standing at the foot of the cross watching her son die?
What do you think she felt like Easter Sunday?
What do you think she felt like the day she died and saw God’s fullness revealed?

What do you think you will feel like as you live out God’s promises to you?

Revisit your list from Monday and Tuesday. What are some of God’s promises to you that you are counting on. Are there any others that aren’t on your list yet?

What do you think your life will be like as you live out God’s promises to you?
What do you think it will be like when you look back and see how God’s promises were fulfilled?

What are you doing this week because you follow Jesus?
What would you like help with?