Friday, June 8, 2018

The Promises of God

One lie leads to another.

It's said that a lie only leads to more lies, so it’s best not to start that ball rolling. The natural progression is that a lie grows. Bob tells Sally he didn’t go there (lie), then Sally asks where he went. He tells her where he went (lie), and she asks what he did there. He tells her that he met up with some friends (lie), and she asks which friends. Now the ball is rolling.

But there’s also a natural progression to truth. In a perfect world, Bob and Sally show each other love and respect. Bob really doesn’t go there. Sally has no need for questions. Bob has no reason to lie. Why? Because Bob and Sally made a promise. And the progression is that one promise leads to another. 

Before Bob and Sally and all relationships among human beings, a great cascade of promises began when God spoke the world into existence, and it continues today. Unlike us, God speaks only truth. And His promises never fail.

It may seem strange that what is commonly referred to as the first promise in the Bible was spoken by God to a snake—that is, Satan. But really, the promise was for us.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heal. Genesis 3:15

God makes it known that Satan will be defeated (his head gets crushed), while the One who comes to save will suffer and appear defeated. But then He will defeat even death.

This is the last promise in the Bible:

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20

Some may see this as a promise unfulfilled since Jesus hasn’t returned. How long does it take to come quickly, anyway? But the reference is not to what we consider speedy, but rather suddenly. No one knows when, but when it happens, some will think they should have had more time. Besides, our understanding of quickly has got to be monumentally different than God’s.

In between these promises, in the pages of Scripture, God makes and keeps His promises. A Promised Land, victory over enemies, offspring too numerous to count, protection, peace, joy, the knowledge of God. Promises of salvation, sanctification, justification. Promises of Heaven, of eternal life. Promises of a Great Redeemer.

Too many promises to list in this short space flow from the Word and fill us with hope because those of us who follow Christ know Him, and we know His words are true. But there is one promise that seems to me to act as the hinge for all the rest:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.Isaiah 9:6-7

If it just makes you want to sing Handel’s “Messiah”, you’re not alone. But the promise here of the birth of Christ is presented in only the first few words. After that, it’s all about the promise of His second coming, about His rule and authority. And all this is accomplished by the zeal of God. Here’s the definition of zeal: great energy or enthusiasm to achieve a goal, fervent pursuit. This is God’s plan, His desire for His world. For us.

All the promises spoken by God revolve around the promise of the Son. They are for our good. To bring us to the realization of the truth and then to help us live victoriously. They are for God’s glory, that all should behold Him, and know Him, and know that He is good.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

I Don't Always Feel Like a Writer

It’s true, I like to make up people and put them in weird situations, where I’m the only one who can save them. Or maybe I won’t save them. For the sake of the story, I might just let them suffer the consequences of my imagination. Why do I get a kick out of this? I don’t have a god complex, nor a desire to run the lives of people in the real world. I’m not living out my need for control in a fantasy existence. On the contrary, I do it to give God control of my creative nature. I do it because it makes God smile. When I’m in the rhythm of writing, I’m exercising my calling. I’m soaring in the freedom of being who I was created to be. It’s fun and energizing. It’s also hard and exhausting and frustrating. It’s work, but it’s my work. My assignment.

I’m fresh out of a writer’s conference, which is also hard and exhausting and frustrating. But I got to hang with my people, the ones who don’t think I’m crazy for announcing a new character just told me her name. Instead, they say, “Aw, I love it when that happens.” They understand. I heard some tough statistics that made me want to stop writing. I got some good feedback on my latest project that made me more determined than ever not to quit. I met up with old friends and made new ones, learned new techniques, and suffered a few you’re-doing-it-wrong moments. For instance, this blog has a new look and a more succinct focus.

So where do I go from here? I’ll keep writing, networking, and making up stuff. And praying. That should always come first, because I can’t do this on my own. I don’t always feel like a writer. I’m just somebody trying to build a career around telling tales. But I live in the real world, and I will write about that too. Sometimes the real world is weirder than my fiction, and I write some pretty weird stories. Follow along and share your journey with me. Are you a writer, a reader, or are you simply a real-world, truth-seeking observer? I’m one of those too.