I remember as a child, going with my mother to visit an elderly aunt – now that I stop and think about it, she may not have been that old, but that’s how she seemed to me at the time. What sticks in my mind about this visit, though, is that she showed me this lovely strong cardboard box with a picture of flowers on the lid. It looked like a very expensive chocolate box, but inside there were lots of tightly rolled pieces of pink paper. There was also a slot for keeping a special, little tongs – a bit like blunt tweezers. My aunt told me that it was a promise box. She then went on to explain that with the little tongs you selected and pulled out a piece of paper, and when you unrolled it, on the inside there was typed out a promise from God! She would select one each morning and keep reading it throughout the day, especially if she felt lonely or sad.
I was fascinated that she had all these promises from God in a box! I understood, even as a child, that a promise is something good, something special, it is something that you treasure and hold onto, and that you are looking forward to!
It made a lasting impression on me…….
There can be times in our lives when things can change suddenly, even overnight, and we can find ourselves suddenly in difficult circumstances. The way ahead had looked clear, on our journey of faith, but now there are huge obstacles to negotiate. These are the times when we need to strengthen ourselves by reading God’s word and remembering his good promises to us.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
There are times in our lives when we struggle in the shadows and the battle seems very real. God’s word, however, promises that he will give us all the strength we need.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
It can be in those times of real need that we depend on God’s word more than at any other. When a verse of scripture, a word of hope and encouragement speaks to our spirit and helps us through the day.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Our feelings are unreliable they can shift and change, often even throughout the day, they darken and lighten depending on our circumstances.
God’s word, however, is steadfast and true, never changing. We can rely on his word as being totally dependable. We can strengthen ourselves with God’s good promises, reminding, and recalling what his word says to us.
whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy –
think about such things.
I have always loved studying the Bible and making copious notes. About seven years ago, long before I had ever thought of doing any writing, I started jotting down some verses of encouragement and then recording them in a little notebook. I enjoyed collecting the scriptures together and tried to find a promise or a verse of encouragement for each letter of the alphabet. When I had finished the little book, I carried it around with me in my bag. I was convinced that at some stage I would feel that it was right to give it to someone, and that the words would be a comfort. I carried that little book of verses around with me in my bag – declarations of our faith, of God’s good intentions towards us and his promises. A book full of words of encouragement – but I never felt prompted to give it to anyone…
I have now, after all that time, added reflections to each verse, and some further testimony, when we are obedient in responding to those things that we feel God is prompting us to do, nothing is ever wasted!
You are: Accepted
Accept one another,
then just as Christ accepted you,
in order to bring praise to God.
You are: Blessed
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile
the same Lord is Lord of all
and richly blesses all who call on him.
You are: A Child of God
See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1
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