"I look up to the mountains--does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!"
(Psalm 121:1-2, NLT)
His Promises are Great in 2008
By Pastor Wally Odum
- This is a new year. It hasn’t been clouded by failure, frustration, or disappointment. It will be a year with promise, because God’s Word cannot fail.
A few years ago, I listened to a radio preacher who flew his own airplane describe what it was like to fly over the Gulf of Mexico from South America. He explained that there would be a long stretch of time over the Gulf in which there was no radio communication and, at night, no lights. He described the joy with which he would see the lights of Houston. For those who spent some time in 2007 in the dark, we now can see the lights of the future. We are on the right path and in 2008, we will come nearer to our destination.
In my Devotion reading this week, I came to a passage of Scripture that leaped out to me. It was as if God said, “This is My promise to you … for this coming year.” The passage is Psalm 107:35-37 (NLT):
“But He also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into flowing springs. He brings the hungry to settle there and build their cities. They sow their fields, plant their vineyards, and harvest their bumper crops.”
Here is the promise: The circumstances of those who have been going through a dry spell will change. The dry land of our lives will be refreshed with flowing springs. Hungry people are going to come to us, and we will have a great harvest. I love the way the New Living Translation puts it, “They…harvest their bumper crops.” If you have been waiting for a bumper crop of blessing, get ready.
Don’t treat the promises of God the way Crowfoot, the great chief of the Blackfoot confederacy in southern Alberta, Canada, treated the railroad pass he was given. When he gave the Canadian Pacific Railroad permission to cross the Blackfoot land from Medicine Hat to Calgary, he was given in return a lifetime railroad pass. Crowfoot put it in a leather case and carried around his neck for the rest of his life. There is no record, however, that he ever availed himself of the right to travel anywhere on the Canadian Pacific Railroad. God’s promises are not meant to be ornaments we wear proudly, they are to be enjoyed.
We can depend on God to keep His promises to us. When I was young my father drove my mother, my sister and me to Los Angeles from Virginia several times. It was a grueling trip, with no Interstate highways. We slept in the car while Dad drove. He went on very little sleep, since we didn’t have the money to stop in motels. He would travel on about two hours sleep each night until we got to California.
Since we went through Northern Arizona, I pleaded with him one year to take me to Tombstone. I was captivated by the story of Wyatt Earp and the OK Corral and wanted desperately to go there. Looking back on it, it would be like going from North Carolina to Miami by way of Washington, DC. I had no idea of the stress it would put on Dad physically, or the cost of the extra gasoline when he was traveling on a very limited budget. I just wanted to see Tombstone. Dad promised that he would take me there the next time we went to California.
He did it. We walked the streets of Tombstone, saw pictures of the members of the Clanton gang who had died there and toured Boot Hill. I’ll never forget that visit. More than that, I’ll never forget the father who went out of his way to keep his promise to me.
Vic Pentz tells of an experience he had with Nordstrom’s department store. He says, “About a year and a half ago, I bought a new navy blazer at Nordstrom. It was one of those cases you may have gone through where you buy an item of clothing and the more you wear it, the more you realize you don’t like it. My blazer wasn’t the right color, and to make matters worse, it attracted lint like it was going out of style. After wearing it pretty regularly for six months or so, I stuck it in my closet and didn’t wear it for a long time."
“Tucked away in the back of my mind all the while was that famous Nordstrom unconditional-return policy. I thought, I’ve had this thing for a year and a half. I’ve worn it lots of times, and there’s just no way they’re going to take it back. About two weeks ago I decided I had nothing to lose. I pulled the blazer out, threw a lot of lint on it to make it look bad, and took it down to Nordstrom’s men’s department. I walked in, and immediately I felt nervous. I felt like I was about to pull a scam of some sort, but I played it straight. I walked right up to the first salesman I saw and gave this little prepared speech. I said, ‘I am about to put your famous unconditional-return policy to its ultimate test. I have here a blazer. I’ve worn it lots. I’ve had it for a year and a half. I don’t like it. It’s the wrong color, and it attracts lint like it’s going out of style. But I want to return this blazer for another blazer that I like.’
“Then I stood there. I couldn’t believe it. This guy with a big handlebar mustache just looked at me and shook his head. He said, ‘For heaven’s sake, what took you so long? Let's go find you a blazer.’ Ten minutes later I walked out with another blazer that was marked seventy-five dollars more than I paid for the one that I brought in. It was perfect for me. Didn’t cost me a penny.”
Pentz came to this conclusion: “God is like Nordstrom. God makes all sorts of outlandish promises that we cannot bring ourselves to believe. Can we? When we get up enough courage or we’re desperate enough, we finally take Him at his word. He looks at us and he shakes His head. ‘For heaven’s sake,’ He says, ‘what took you so long?’ ”
We have a heavenly Father who will do whatever is necessary to keep His promises to us. Don’t take so long to trust Him. He will keep every promise He has made to you. This year I have a promise from God in my heart. My family, our church and your family will harvest “bumper crops” if we just take Him at His Word.
Send Pastor Wally your comments.
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Pastor Wally Odum is the pastor of OBX Nation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He has been in ministry for thirty years and loves to share the Gospel. He is passionate about encouraging others to grow in God through sharing scriptures, stories, and personal experiences.
© OBX Nation, Wally Odum. Used with permission.
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