God’s Faithfulness

God’s Faithfulness:

Failsafe- ‘a system or plan that comes into operation in the event of something going wrong.’

Murphy’s Law- ‘anything that can go wrong will go wrong.’

Because of number 2- we need number 1- a plan for when things go wrong, because we know by now things can go wrong and they always do it at the most inconvenient times.

What is your ‘failsafe’ plan?  What or who are you depending on? What is your back up- your Plan B if Plan A does not work?

“By His divine power, He has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1) Three important words in this verse:

  1. Everything- He has not overlooked anything.
  2. Need- not desires, wish or want, but need.
  3. Knowledge- what do you know about your God?

“What comes to our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” A.W. Tozer Huh?

“I pray that you will have a conscious awareness of God at all times.” ( Johnye Elizabeth Fortner, my mother)  Thanks, Momma.

Peter is telling us we have been given everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him, God.  Knowing God is the key. What do you know about God?  Paul said ‘my God shall supply all your needs…  what about your God, can you say the same?  Is it not the same God Paul has?

Tozer is telling us what we think about God is the most important thing about us- because it shapes our life and view of life.

My mother was telling me- factor God into everything by praying a prayer in God’s will that you have a conscious awareness of Him at all times.

Do you really know God? How do you view Him? What has He told you about Himself in His Word? What has He revealed through His Son, the Lord Jesus?  Can God really be our failsafe plan? Our ‘go-to Person’ when all else and everyone else fails?

God, the Father told us- to have no other gods before Him. This does not mean other gods must be in 2nd and 3rd place- He is telling us- He will not tolerate any other gods before His presence. He is all we need. He is Who we should depend upon. We are to trust Him with all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding.  What or who are you leaning on?

God, the Father tells us to not make idols for ourselves.  Idols come in many forms- but they all have the same characteristics: they are gods in our lives for which we sacrifice for and pursue. Then you start to serve them and live for them. Worry, anxiety, disappointments are indicators where idols are in our life.  You realize you have placed your hope in these in order to have peace, comfort, control and a life that has been defined by the world around us as the good life. Whoever or whatever you have placed your hope in- you have also placed your faith in. “Now faith is being sure of what you hope for—-“There is Only one person you can place your faith in and thereby have your hope in – who will never fail because He cannot fail. Any other object of your faith and thus your hope will fail, disappoint or be unable to sustain you through life’s storms.

Now I have just mentioned a word – hope, which is very important to us.  Hope is the oxygen of our soul. Unlike food or water- which we can go for days or even weeks without- oxygen is something we miss within seconds- and can be fatal when we are deprived of it for even minutes.

This is why it is important to understand one of the most wonderful attributes of God, Who cannot change and is the same today as yesterday and forever, is His Faithfulness.

God and only God is our failsafe plan; because Mr. Murphy was right- anything that can go wrong- has gone wrong! He is our HOPE.

Now as most of you know I have been in the optical industry for over four decades. My father was an optometrist, my brother is and also our daughter is. In fact all three graduated from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis.  My career in the optical industry began when I was in college in the 1960’s working in a laboratory that fabricated Rx lenses for doctor in the mid-south.  I recently had my annual eye exam by my brother as I am developing cataracts. During the course of the exam, my brother would have me look at the acuity chart through a variety of different lenses and ask me which one looked better.

So today as we starting a new year, let us begin with a vision exam of our spiritual eyes. If you recall, Paul prayed the eyes of our heart would be enlightened so we could see certain spiritual truths. I want us to look through several lenses of biblical revelation.  Each of these lenses represents an area of knowledge about God, truths about Him and His character and attributes. How clearly you see God as He reveals Himself in His Word tells us how accurate your spiritual vision is.

This is about knowing God, about seeing Him as He longs for you to see Him.

Why is this important to us? Because until you know God as He is; until you believe He is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do- we can never become all He created us to be.

Have you ever ‘longed’ for something or someone?  Jesus used this word, when He remarked of Jerusalem and her inhabitants:  ‘ how He had longed to gather your children together, ass a hen  gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not….’ Luke 13.  This word ‘longed’ is word that described a deep desire or yearning- God longs for us to know Him and see Him as He really is.  This is perhaps the deepest desire of His Great Heart.  He longs for us to see Him as He has revealed Himself to us in His Word.

If you are a Christian you should see God as:

  • Creator.
  • Self existent.
  • All sufficient.
  • Our Provider.
  • Our healer.
  • Our Banner.
  • Our Rock.
  • Our refuge.
  • Our Peace.
  • Our Shepherd.
  • Our righteousness.
  • Our Healer.
  • Our Savior.Do you see your God as?
  • He is our Everything!
  • Sovereign
  • All Wise.
  • All Knowing.
  • Ever Present.
  • Holy.
  • Loving.
  • Kind.
  • Merciful.
  • Just.
  • Majestic.
  • Immutable.
  • Faithful and True.

Then why are you worried, anxious and downcast. These are indications you have a spiritual vision problem. Perhaps your vision is blurred by circumstances, by pain, by the grief of lost loved ones. Perhaps your vision is blurred by tears of sorrow and disappointment.

Maybe you are nearsighted. You can only see the things close to you. Perhaps you are farsighted, always looking in the distant, to the future you hope will be better. Or maybe you are looking in the past when you should have done this or that- or maybe looking in the past, because you thought it was such a simpler time and problems were not as big.

One song tells us to ‘turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face.’  And often we are instructed to look above and to keep our eyes on the Lord.

And the characteristic or attribute of His character and person I know God wants us to see is: His Faithfulness. He is faithful!

Consider this statement by Chip Ingram:  “The secret to a life of unending joy and peace involves finding something or someone who will come through for you 100% of the time in any and every situation forever. (“God as He Longs For You to See Him, page 210)

Faithfulness is defined as steadfast in affection or allegiance. Synonyms are: loyal, dependable, and firm. Adhering to promises or observing duty.

Lamentations 3 records Jeremiah’s anguish as he watches his city of Jerusalem and the temple destroyed before his very eyes. What Naomi experienced- Jeremiah is going through also. What people who had loved ones in the Twin Towers experienced on 9/11 as they watched the utter destruction of the twin towers compares to what Jeremiah is describing in this chapter. No wonder Jeremiah is called ‘the weeping prophet’.  However Jeremiah never lost sight of God’s faithfulness. His only grip on hope was God’s faithfulness. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Your Faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3: 22-23)  Did you notice the bold statement:  NEVER FAIL.

Maybe you have had a year like Naomi did- maybe you are experiencing things you think will never come to an end. Without realizing it you had placed your hope in that person or job or economy or even in your own abilities.

Here are three observations we can make:

  1. WE all depend on something or someone to hold us up inside.
  2. When that something or someone comes through for us, solves our problem, rescues us- we experience peace, satisfaction and optimism about the future.
  3. When that something or someone fails to come through for us we experience anxiety, dissatisfaction and despair.

God’s faithfulness tells us He is the only someone and something we can turn to for hope that does not disappoint. Whatever your situation is God’s loving compassion will never, never end or fail. It is fresh every morning. Great is His faithfulness.

God is faithful. You need to know that in the deepest part of your heart. It does not depend on our faithfulness to Him, but His faithfulness to us, which cannot fail. You can depend on God 100% of the time.

This does mean we do not have responsibilities. We must do what His Word tells us to do.  We are to trust and obey. Ruth got up early and went out to the fields didn’t she?  At some point in our lives we must determine we will do what God has told us to do. It is an act of our will.

How does God reveal His faithfulness?

  1. His creation. The consistency in nature. The rising of the sun and the setting of the same. The tides of the oceans. The law of gravity, the speed of light, the tilt of the earths’ axis, its rotation and revolution about the sun and the exactness of it- 365.25 days. Evaporation, photosynthesis, the human body, blood and the heart that pumps it. Fromm the invisible to the unbelievably huge we marvel at his handiwork. The seas, stars, earth, birds, animals, insects, grass, and flowers- the list goes on and on.  All of His creation reflects His character and His faithfulness.  Read Psalm 145: 13-16; Psalm 119:90; Psalm 19 tells us ‘the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where the voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”  Yet- ‘the fool has said in his heart- there is no God. (Psalm 14) The fool has no failsafe plan- for he does not believe in the God who created everything and keeps it going.
  2. His Word/ His Promises. Because God is faithful and immutable- that is does not change- the statements He makes are always true. His promises are true- and therefore He keeps them. Some promises are conditional and some promises are unconditional.  (You need to know the difference)  Charles Stanley gives this illustration:  ‘A church sends me a letter inviting me to speak at their homecoming next year. They tell me they are claiming by faith my coming.  However they have no promise from me- I will come. Once I commit to coming, they can place their faith in my commitment – my promise to come. But prior to that – they have no promise to claim or put their faith in. Know the promises and also know if there are conditions to be met on your part for the promises to be fulfilled. God is clear He blesses obedience while disciplining or chastening disobedience. You cannot regard iniquity in your heart and expect for God to bless you. You cannot willfully live in sin and rebellion and expect your Heavenly Father to bless you. The old Puritan Samuel Clark writes:  “A fixed constant attention to the promises of God and a firm belief of them would prevent anxiety about the concerns of this life. It would keep the mind quiet and composed in every change and support and keep our sinking spirits under the several troubles of life. Christians deprive themselves of their most solid comforts by their unbelief and forgetfulness of God’s promises. For there is no extremity so great, but there are promises suitable to it, and abundantly sufficient for our relief in it.” What has happened to us in the 21st century is our refusal as a culture to accept God’s Word as truth. This has robbed us of a great gift- the promises of God. The thief has stolen them from our society. He has as he has since the Garden of Eden, questioned the truthfulness of Gods’ Word- ‘has God said? Hebrews 10:23 states this fact: “He who promised is faithful!”  Ps. 36:5 says: “Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” And Lamentations 3:23 says: “…..great is thy faithfulness.”

The Word of God was given to us so that we might know the Lord. For  the more you know Him, the more you will love Him, and the more you love Him, the more you will obey Him and the more you obey the Lord, the more fruit you will bear and more fruit you bear, the more joy you will experience.

Listen then this clear statement of the faithfulness of His Word:

“As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and make it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes forth from my mouth: It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55: 10-11)

When God’s Word falls, crops grow. When we take in God’s Word like the soil absorbs rain, God tells us we can count on good results. When Jesus prayed for you and me in John 17, He made it a point to emphasize the importance of God’s Word in our lives. “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

And in John 8- Jesus tells us:  “If you continue in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and truth shall set you free.” (John 8: 31, 32.)

“The Word of God is alive and powerful…” (Hebrews 4)

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God.” (I Peter 1)

The Word of God is life giving, life changing and life transforming.

There is no other like it.

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and we beheld His Glory.  (John 1)

Do you have a favorite author? Someone who you have read every book they have written and look forward to every new book they write. You like their style. You like their characters and they seem to come alive to you when you read them. My mother was an avid reader. She told me when Gone With The Wind came out- she sat on her front porch and read it in one day almost without stopping. When the movie came out- she was amazed the characters looked just as she had pictured them. The words on the page had been brought to life. Margaret Mitchell would never write another book. Harper Lee who gave us those memorable characters and story of character in To Kill a Mocking Bird– would never write another story. It was if- this was their story to tell and there would be no need to tell another.

God has written His story. He does not need to write another. So what do we do?

Back to our spiritual eye exam:  “ Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12)

So God reveals Himself as He longs for us to see Him through:

His Word with all its promises.

His Creation with all of its glory.

His Spirit who corrects our vision. For ‘eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor mind conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him- but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. ‘The Spirit enables us to see what God has freely given us.

His shaping of our lives.  My wife often told people as she witnessed firsthand the change in my life- that I was a new creation. She said I have a new husband. Old things passed away and were passing away- for I had seen the Lord because I had the eyes of my heart enlightened. My changed life and your changed life, by the way, is also how other people see the Lord and how He works.

His Son, the Lord Jesus. He is the main character in God’s story. It is all about Him. When He comes again at the end of time- notice the names by which He chooses to describe Himself to the world: “ I saw heaven standing open and  there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.”(Revelation 19)   This is how the Lord Jesus chooses to describe Himself at the most anticipated and celebrated moment in history for believers: He chooses us to remember He is faithful and true.

God demonstrates His faithfulness to us when we are weak. Read 2 Corinthians 12 and discover not only is His grace always sufficient- His strength is made perfect in weakness.  The power of powerlessness is what saved me from alcoholism.

God demonstrates His faithfulness when we are tempted. I will never forget reading His promise to me in I Corinthians 10: 13. A promise that guaranteed me He would not allow me to be tempted above that which I was able to bear, but with the temptation made a way to escape so I could stand up under any temptation that came my way. When I prayed His Promise from His Word back to Him, I was able to resist a temptation I had never been able to resist.  It was a turning point in my life. You realize I had returned His word to Him as the rain returns to heaven. It went up to Him, having accomplished the purpose for which He sent it. For the very reason He had me read that promise in 1977. I can still remember the very moment I read it and knew He was speaking to me. He was revealing Himself to me through His word.

God shows he is faithful to forgive us our sins. (I John 1:9)

How do you respond to this wonderful attribute of God- His faithfulness?

  1. Put your past behind you. God has.
  2. Bring your present problems, sins, pains and fears to Him today. He is waiting for you each morning with a fresh supply of compassions that never fail. He is waiting for you and me- for great is His faithfulness.
  3. Place your future in His hands.
  4. Tell someone each day about the Lord’s faithfulness.

“This I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lords’ great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him.” (Lamentations 3)

01.04.2015

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