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Ten Unshakable Promises
1. God has a purpose for your life
It is no accident that you are alive today. You are here by God’s choosing. You were born at this time in History to fulfill His purpose for this generation. He has given you all the light you need to know His will, and He has given you all the grace you need to do His will. If you are committed to His will, there is nothing that can keep you from it.
2. God is in charge
God has not retreated somewhere in the universe and gone into hiding. He is today where He has always been – on His throne. There is no king or ruler that has more authority than God; there is no political figure that has more influence than God; there is no nation that has more control than God. No one can out-think Him or out-smart Him. He is God Almighty. If you have placed your life in His hands, He is in charge of your life and all you do.
3. God is sovereign
Nothing can stop His plan or frustrate His purposes. God is not worried about what will happen or what He will be able to do. Nothing takes Him by surprise. He sees the future and He is already there. He knows where He is leading your life and He knows how to get you there. If you follow Him, you will find that He makes no mistakes.
4. God’s Word is dependable
All Scripture is God’s written Word. It is 100% reliable because God is 100% infallible. The Scriptures have endured the test of time. Men have tried to destroy them but they still remain. Men have tried to dispute them but they have had the final say in every argument. Men have tried to refute them but they stand over each man’s grave as a living testimony to all that is true, righteous, and eternal. If you obey His Word you will never have regrets.
5. You belong to a Kingdom that cannot be shaken
Throughout history kings have been overthrown, leaders have fallen from power, kingdoms have been conquered, armies have been defeated, riches have been depleted, and fortresses have toppled over. It is only in the Kingdom of God that anyone can find true rest and security. No rebellion can break down its gates, no weapon can penetrate its borders, and no warrior can come against its King. The way of the Kingdom is where your feet can walk; the truth of the Kingdom is what your faith can embrace; the love of the Kingdom is what your heart can give away.
6. You are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ
When Jesus came, He came and shed His blood to save you, cleanse you, forgive you, and deliver you from the power of the devil. His blood has bought you, and the enemy has no claim upon your life. You are His and His alone. He is your Redeemer, and He has taken full responsibility for your life since the day you gave your heart to Him. Because of His blood, your future is secure, your inheritance is guaranteed, and your destiny is certain.
7. God has given you all that you need to serve Him
The grace of God covers you, the presence of God is in you, the angels of God are with you, the arms of God are around you, the gifts of God are for you, and the power of God is upon you. He has not abandoned you or left you in this world as an orphan, alone and forsaken. God is for you, the Holy Spirit is in you, Jesus is with you, and all the heavenly hosts are on your side.
8. Jesus Christ is coming back
The outcome of all things has already been determined. Jesus is the winner. He is without rival in the universe. No evil, no outlaw, no terrorist or anarchist will be standing in the end. Every enemy of God will be defeated, every false prophet will be exposed, every evil spirit will be chained, and every accusing tongue will be silenced. The final chapter in the Book of Life has already been written, and there will be no need for rewrites or revisions. All that remains is for its writings to be fulfilled. One day soon, you will forever be with the Lord.
9. God loves you and will not fail you
You are God’s child and He is your Father. He loves and cares for you more than you will ever know. All that He is, He is for you. The depth of His love for you cannot be measured, and its height cannot be scaled. He wants you to trust Him completely because He will not fail you. When you go through trials, He will keep you from defeat, and when you face temptations He will keep you from shame. When the enemy comes in like a flood, He will raise up a standard against Him.
10. Jesus Christ will never let you go
He is with you always. No one can pluck you out of His hand, so you need not fear any evil. He is daily praying for you, and His prayers are being answered. He is preparing a place for you in His Father’s house, and He will come for you. If you ever question His love for you, just look at His hands. Jesus will never ask you to do something without His grace. In the dark times He will be your light. In troubled times He will be your security. In uncertain times He will be your guidance. In fearful times He will be your peace. You will never face a day without Him; you will never take a step without His presence walking beside you; you will never face a need without His supply; you will never face a circumstance that He can’t bring you through.
The next issue of National Racquetball Magazine displayed Reuben Gonzales on its front cover. The story searched for an explanation of this first-ever occurrence on the professional racquetball circuit. Who could ever imagine it in any sport or endeavor? A player, with everything officially in his favor, with victory in his hand, disqualified himself at match point and lost!
“Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering. Examine me, O LORD, and try me; Test my mind and my heart. For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth.” (Psalm 26:1-3)
Two outs, bottom of the ninth, behind by one run, Ryan’s right foot was pressed to the front edge of the third base bag. Every muscle in his eleven-year-old body was flexed, ready to bolt home with the tying run.
Kenny, the winning run, stood grinning on second, Dylan, the team’s best hitter was at the plate.
The first pitch was high and outside, “Ball One!” The next caught the inside corner, “Steeeriiick!” Two more balls and a foul tip later the count is full. Ryan’s eyes are glued to the ball while his ear is tuned to the third base coach listening for just one word. Dylan drove the next pitch to the right of the pitcher, well out of reach, and the coach screamed the one word, “GO!” Ryan digs for home.
Now at this level of play, a hit like that is usually good for extra bases, but today the third baseman made a play worthy of the Major Leagues. A diving stab knocked the ball down. Quick as a cat, he scooped it up, spun, and made the peg home to stop the tying run from scoring; it was going to be close.
A perfect peg, a perfect slide, a perfect catch, a perfect sweeping tag and a big cloud of dust converge around the plate at the umpire’s feet.
The umpire hesitated for a second; he couldn’t see the tag clearly for dust and the position of the catcher. He glanced at the field referee who gestured that he wasn’t sure either.
As he was starting to spread his arms wide, palms down, Ryan looked into the umpire’s face. “Sir, I missed the plate, he tagged me out.”
“Son, do you know what it means if I call you out? The game is over and you lose”
“Yes sir, I know. But that’s the truth.” Ryan whispered.
The umpire turned his head slightly, “Why would you give it up like that?”
“You see Sir, this catcher knows I became a Christian last week. I can’t trade a baseball game today for what he will think about me tomorrow.”
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Every August, sportscasters on TV ask the big question. “Are you ready for some football?” Those who don’t like football may give a different answer, but for me, the answer is a resounding YES! Although I love college football, I usually don’t watch that much pro football. However, I was watching on January 3, 1993 and it is one football game I will never forget.
The Houston Oilers were dominating the Buffalo Bills. At halftime, the Bills were behind the Houston Oilers 28-3. Everyone thought the game was over. Everyone thought the Buffalo Bills were finished. But at the end of the game, in overtime, the Bills kicked a field goal to win 41-38, culminating the greatest comeback in playoff history in the NFL.
There are conflicting reports as to exactly what was said in the locker room at halftime. I don’t know what the coach told Frank Riech or the Buffalo Bills, but I can only imagine it was very similar to what Paul said to the Christians at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 9. I can summarize what he said with three short sentences.
NEVER GIVE OUT
NEVER GIVE IN
NEVER GIVE UP
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself, will not be disqualified for the prize.”
I. Never Give Out
The 2012 Olympics end today. We’ve seen some incredible feats by some great athletes because they went through a rigorous training regimen to be at peak performance.
In the ancient Greek Olympic games, an athlete would begin training at least 10 months before the race. This training involved rigorous discipline. It included the athlete’s diet, his sleep habits, his exercise routine, and his daily running. His goal was to literally punish his body until he was in the best possible shape to win the game.
Then, one month before the games, the athlete would move to Corinth, 10 miles from where the games were held. He was assigned a personal coach who put him through even more training in preparation for the race. It meant rising early and long days spent lifting weights, exercising, pushing himself to the edge of his strength. All this was done in order to prepare him to run the race of his life.
In the Olympic locker room, the speech might sound something like this…
“You’ve trained hard; You prepared well. Your strength, your stamina & your endurance are incredible. You’re in the best possible shape you can be
In God’s locker room, God’s speech might sound something like this…
You’ve sacrificed; you’ve prayed long hours; you’ve studied your Bibles intensely; you’ve been committed to worship; you’ve been godly leaders, faithful parents and devoted spouses. You’ve led devotionals in your homes; you’ve placed worship above work and sports; You’ve worked out spiritually every day.
Why have I made you do this? Why have I made you go through this strenuous training? So you’ll never give out.
Your enemies may get winded;
Your opponents may give out of breath.
But you won’t.
You’re trained; you’re disciplined; you’re in the best spiritual shape you can be. You will never give out.
In Isaiah, I told you that you’d run and not grow weary. You’d walk and not faint. In Hebrews, I told you that I’d run with you, walk before you and support you all the way.
In this passage, Paul describes two types of athletes. – those who trained pointlessly and those who trained productively.
1. Pointless Training
Why did they train? They trained for a prize that wouldn’t last – a laurel leaf – a crown made of laurel leaves that would soon dry up; become brittle, break apart. There are people today who spend half their time chasing prizes that will soon fade away – money, cars, houses, trophies, fame, recognition, power, etc.
Did you notice how Paul describes them? They run aimlessly. They have no goals. No focus. No real direction. They fight the air with their fists. They’re working out. They’re building up their muscles. They look good, they look strong, but, in reality, all it does is make them look good and feel good. It’s pointless and there’s no eternal purpose to their actions.
2. Productive Training
In vs. 25-26 Paul is saying, “I don’t run aimlessly. I don’t fight the air with my fists. My training has a goal. I’m ready for anything. I’ve got spiritual stamina. I’ve beaten my body so that it’s tough and when the going gets tough, the tough get going. I’ve trained so hard that when others fall by the wayside, I’ll keep going. When others give out, I’ll still be competing. When others are down to their last gasp, I’ll just be getting started.”
What about you? Are you spiritually well-trained? Are you doing spiritual exercises every day to get you in great spiritual shape? Is your heart pumping out love and mercy and grace at full capacity? Are your spiritual lungs full of worship as you exhale praise to God.
How’s your spiritual stamina? Do you seem to tire out with every spiritual struggle? Do you seem you have no stamina when you’re going through trials and tribulations? Then check out your training.
A. There has to be Daily Training
You have to train each day. All of us know that exercising just one day a week won’t do it. Exercising just a few minutes each day won’t do it. So how can you expect to train productively if you only read the Bible once a week. How can you expect to expand your spiritual lung capacity if you only pray a few minutes each day. Spiritual training must be daily training.
B. There has to be Diligent Training
Jesus said that each day you must deny yourself, take up the cross and follow him. (Luke 9:23) Half-hearted commitment won’t work. Partial commitment won’t work. Part-Time commitment won’t work. Productive spiritual training requires daily, diligent commitment to that training.
II. Never Give In
“Surrender is not an option”
Winston Churchill is supposed to have given a commencement address where he stood up, said “Never Give Up” and then sat down. His actual speech is several paragraphs in length and contains these words…. “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. “
Never Give In to Your Present Problems
80 years ago, Notre Dame was preparing to play USC. Coach Knute Rockne was aware that his opponent had a far better team, so he devised a plan to intimidate the Trojan players. Rockne scoured the city of South Bend and hand-picked 100 of the largest men he could find – each of them was at least six – foot – five and three hundred pounds. He put them in Fighting Irish uniforms and at game time marched them onto the field ahead of the real team. (Obviously, 80 years ago was long before the days of limited rosters and eligibility restrictions.)
As USC watched these giants line up on the sidelines, they forgot about their talent and their undefeated record – and they began mentally preparing themselves for a beating. Though none of these specially recruited men ever played during the game, their presence on the sidelines was enough to knock Southern Cal’s concentration off balance. Knute Rockne’s trick had worked; he had intimidated the Trojan players into giving up before the game even started. As a result, Notre Dame won the game.
As Christians, we have an opponent who tries a similar trick. He intimidates us by appearing larger than life – but we must remember this… The Bible says, “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) Don’t let your problems intimidate you. No matter how big the enemy may appear to be, remember that you have God’s power in you and He is greater than any enemy you face.
God says – Don’t be Intimidated. Don’t Give In.
You’ve got my strength, my power, my resources. I’m bigger and stronger… than any opponents; than any situations; than any circumstances that you’ll ever face. I’m living in you – my Holy Spirit is living and dwelling in you.
Just remember my words…
1. Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.
2. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
3. If God is for us, who can be against us.
Listen to God’s challenge 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” Be steadfast. Immovable. Like a rock.
In the midst of overwhelming odds, don’t give in.
In the face of unsurmountable problems, don’t give in.
One of my all-time favorite sports stories happened in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Not from a gold medal winner, but from someone who didn’t win a medal.
Britain’s Derek Redmond had dreamed all his life of winning a gold medal in the 400-meter race, and his dream was in sight as the gun sounded in the semi-finals. He was running the race of his life and could see the finish line as he rounded the turn into the backstretch. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain go up the back of his leg. He fell face-first onto the track with a torn right hamstring. As the medical attendants were approaching, Redmond fought to his feet. He set out hopping, in a valiant attempt to finish the race. When he reached the stretch, a large man in a T-shirt came out of the stands – hurled aside a security guard and ran to Redmond, embracing him. It was Jim Redmond, Derek’s father.
Jim told his weeping son, “You don’t have to do this”. Dereck answered, “Yes, I do” “Well, then,” said his father “we’re going to finish this together.” And they did.
Fighting off security men, the son’s head sometimes buried in his father’s shoulder, they stayed in Derek’s lane all the way to the finish line – as the crowd gasped, then rose – and cheered – and then wept. Derek didn’t walk away with the gold medal, but he walked away with an incredible memory of a father who, when he saw his son in pain, left his seat in the stands to help him finish the race.
That’s what God did for us. When we are experiencing pain and we’re struggling to finish the race, we can be confident that we have a loving Father who won’t let us do it alone. He left His place in heaven to come alongside us in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. That’s why Jesus said, “I am with you always – even to end of the world.” Because He lives in us, we should never, ever give in.
III. Never Give up
“Stay Focused – Stay the Course – Focus Straight Ahead – Finish Strong”
Anyone can start strong, but God wants us to finish strong as well. Maybe you’ve given up, but God hasn’t given up on you. Maybe you’ve stopped to rest. Maybe you’ve called a time-out. God hasn’t. He wants you to keep fighting, keep plowing ahead, keep struggling, keep going. As Paul said in Philippians , God wants you to press on. To press on toward the mark. Press on toward the prize.
Look back at v. 24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
Keep the faith.
Maintain the standard.
Raise high the banner.
Never give up.
Maybe you’ve blown it… Maybe you’ve messed up. Maybe you feel as though you’ve failed. Maybe you think there’s no use trying. As far as you’re concerned, there’s no hope. But there is hope. There is another half. There’s still time. You may not think so, but God does. And he holds the stopwatch.
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” There is a crown of righteousness that will never fade – it’s waiting for you and me to claim it. Press On toward the prize!!!
A Prayer Using the Names of God
I KNOW You can create something out of nothing, please create something out of any nothing areas – the impossible situations in my life.
I KNOW You are in control, sovereign, and I give You my circumstances today.
I KNOW You are my Lord and Master, I choose to follow You instead of the ways of the world.
I KNOW You are God Almighty, and I trust that You are sufficient for my deepest needs today.
I KNOW You are my provider, and will supply everything I need today.
I KNOW You are the God who sees me, and that I am never alone, and nothing in my life goes unnoticed, for You know it all and see it all.
I KNOW You are the one and only, self-existent, eternal, covenant-keeping God and that You will always love me.
I KNOW You are my healer and I come to You now with every area of my life that needs healing today.
I KNOW You are my banner, and the victory in every situation that threatens me today.
I KNOW You are my sanctifier, making me holy, doing for me what I can never do for myself.
I KNOW You are my peace, and bring calm in every storm I face in life.
I KNOW You are the LORD of Hosts, and bring deliverance as You defeat my enemies.
I KNOW You are my shepherd, and intimately care for me even if no one else does.
I KNOW You are my Father and that I can run to You and rest in the security of your everlasting arms.
In Jesus’ name,
At age six, Henry John Heinz began helping his mother tend the small garden behind their family home. At twelve, he was working three and a half acres of garden, using a horse and cart for his three-times-a-week deliveries to grocery stores throughout the city of Pittsburg. He went on to found his own company and named it Heinz 57 Varieties, a name brand now known around the world.
Heinz was well-known for his Biblically-based business principles and his Christian treatment of employees. However, there was an incident in his life that changed this godly man to grow evern deeper in his faith. One day after an evangelistic service, the speaker turned to him and said, “You are a believer, but with all your energy why aren’t you up and at it for the Lord?”
Heinz went home in anger. That night, however, he couldn’t sleep, thinking about the question he’d been asked. At four o’clock in the morning, he prayed that God would use him to lead others to the Savior. A day or so later at a meeting of bank presidents, he turned to the man next to him and told him of his joy in knowing Jesus. His friend looked at him in surprise and said, “Because I knew you were a Christian, I’ve wondered many times why you never spoke to me about salvation.” That gentleman became the first of 267 converts – people of different varieties, from all walks of life – that Mr. Heinz eventually won to Christ!
In his will, Henry John Heinz said: “I desire to set forth at the very beginning of this will, as the most important item in it, a confession of my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I also desire to bear witness to the fact that throughout my life, in which there were unusual joys and sorrows, I have been wonderfully sustained by my faith in God through Jesus Christ.”
Changing the Color-Tags
In the war years, triage referred to the policy by which medical assistance was given. It was up to the doctors to “color-tag” the wounded, placing them in one of three categories according to their condition. One color meant hopeless – nothing we can do will save them. Another tag meant they’d make it whether they get help or not. The third color-tag indicated a doubtful prognosis – a chance to live only if medical assistance is given. Since there were severely limited medical supplies, assistance was being given only to this last group.
Lou was badly blown apart, including one leg severely wounded. The doctor who examined him made the decision that Lou was a hopeless case and tagged him as such, leaving him to die. But a nurse noticed Lou was conscious and began to talk with him. They discovered they were both from Ohio. Getting to know Lou as a person, the nurse just couldn’t let him die. She broke all the rules and changed his color-tag.
Recovery included a two-day trip in the back of a truck and months in a hospital, but Lou made it. He met a girl in the hospital whom he later married. Even minus one leg, he has led a full happy life, all because a nurse broke the rules of triage and “changed a tag”.
Jesus spent much of his earthly ministry “changing color-tags” – healing the broken-hearted, forgiving sinners and bringing hope to the hopeless. He’s still bringing hope to the hopeless – every minute of every day! Today, someone you know is feeling hopeless. They desperately need hope. Share the hope of Jesus with them. Look for every opportunity to go around “changing their color-tags”.
The Lord is Good
“The Lord is Good” – period.
Everything about God is good, including everything that is related to me…
His thoughts about me,
His plans for me,
His actions toward me,
His guidance in me,
His blessings to me,
His protection of me,
His purposes fulfilled through me and
His ordained circumstances that surround me at this very moment in my life.
They may not look good,
sound good or
feel good – but because they are ordained of God,
THEY ARE GOOD.
Colossians 3:3 says that “your life is hid with Christ in God.” Every detail of your life is contained in Him, including your present circumstances, trials, and needs.