The Promise-Powered Life: How to See the Promises of God Fulfilled in Your Life
Contains 50 new devotionals written expressly for this book!
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“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.” Psalm 138:8 NIV
I like to declare this Bible verse every day. Because I’ve committed my life to God, this Scripture reassures me that His purpose for my life will prevail. Many people spend years setting goals and making plans, only to discover that what they thought they wanted wasn’t what they wanted at all. Nowadays, a lot of people think that getting more and more education is the answer to their search for fulfillment. Often they realize too late that all the education in the world can’t guarantee they’ll be truly satisfied in the end. It never occurred to them to ask God what HIS plans for them were. They weren’t aware of the fact that He created them with a specific purpose in mind, and that if they aligned their plans with His, they would experience a peace and contentment that can be attained no other way.
If you will wholeheartedly commit your life to the Lord and cooperate with His plans for you, He will move mountains to ensure that His purpose for your life is fulfilled. You may be an artist, and people have told you there is already too much competition in the art world. The odds are stacked against you, so don’t waste your time, they may say. Perhaps you’re a musician, and everyone says you’d better pick another profession because there are already too many people in the music business. Maybe God has given you a vision to go into some form of ministry, but you’re being told that you’ll starve. Or you’re feeling overwhelmed because it seems that God is leading you into the medical profession, but all you can think about are the many years and costs of education ahead of you. Listen carefully. If it’s your sincere desire to fulfill your God-given purpose in life, and you believe that God is calling you into the ministry, the music business or anywhere else–rest assured that He will make a way where there seems to be none. You will find satisfaction and joy in your labor. And no power on earth or in hell itself will be able to keep God’s blessings from you!
Lord, I offer you all that I am and all that I have, and I ask that You fulfill Your purpose for me. Show me what my God-given gifts are, and help me to use them for Your glory. Bless all the work of my hands, and give me favor in the sight of God and man. Give me a right heart so that my motives will always be pleasing to You. Thank You for Your promise which says that I will eat the fruit of my labor, and blessings and prosperity will be mine! (Psalm 128:2 NIV)
“But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” John 11:22 NIV
These words were spoken to Jesus by Martha, the sister of Lazarus. Her brother had already been dead four days by the time Jesus arrived. Yet here she confesses her faith in the Savior to do even the impossible. Moments later, Martha witnesses a miracle as her brother is raised to life by the Master.
A few years ago, God began bringing me up to a new level of faith. He taught me how to pray what I now refer to as my “even now” prayers. I would be facing an impossible situation, and it would seem like all the doors before me had been closed. My first impression would be to think, “I guess it just wasn’t God’s will.” Then I would sense another impression coming up in my spirit telling me to continue praying in faith. I might pray something like this: “Lord, I admit this looks like a hopeless situation, but I know that even now, You can make a way where there seems to be none. I ask that You do that, Lord.” I have seen so many seemingly closed doors opened by praying like this, that my prayer life has been radically changed forever. And I have used this principle in praying about small matters, as well as larger ones.
Jesus said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27 NKJV) I think it’s sad that our society has gotten so sophisticated and cynical that we’ve forgotten how to pray for the impossible. In Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV), the Lord says, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?” This statement should not only encourage us, but it should convict us as well. Psalm 77:19 (TLB) says, “Your road led by a pathway through the sea–a pathway no one knew was there!” The Israelites never could have imagined that God would make a way for them through the Red Sea. Likewise, when we pray for the impossible, God will often make a way for us that will exceed our expectations.
Psalm 77:14 (TLB) says, “You are the God of miracles and wonders! You still demonstrate your awesome power.” When we ask God for the impossible, we invite Him to work wonders in our lives–something He delights in doing. Have you given up on a dream or vision that God has planted in your heart, because at this point, it looks like it can never come to pass? What “impossible” situations do you have in your life right now that perhaps you’ve given up on too soon? It could be that the Lord is just waiting for you to come to Him in faith today, saying, “Lord, I know that even now…”
Lord, I ask that You increase my faith and expand my vision so that I can trust You to do the impossible in my life. Help me to never put limits on You. When I’m tempted to give up on a situation too soon, remind me to ask You to make a way where there seems to be none. Thank You that You are the God of the impossible and nothing is too difficult for You!
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 NIV
Are you easily offended? If you are, you have plenty of company these days. Our society has made becoming offended a national pastime. It’s almost as if we’ve made offense a virtue today. One example of this is the prevalence of “road rage.” One driver gets offended by another, and what began as a minor disagreement can escalate into a major conflict. But that’s not God’s way. Proverbs 19:11 (AMP) says: “Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense.” In other words, the honorable thing to do in these situations is to refuse to become offended. Yes, you may have been wronged. And your feelings may have been hurt. But if you are a believer, God Himself has promised to be your Vindicator, and He will deal with those who treat you unfairly. (Psalm 135:14) Your job is to handle situations like these His way, not the world’s way.
Psalm 119:165 (AMP) says, “Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble.” If we are lovers and doers of God’s Word, we will walk in peace, and we will not be easily offended. When the apostle Paul is describing the God-kind of love that believers are to demonstrate, he says: “Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].” (1 Corinthians 13:5 AMP) The next time you are tempted to take offense at something someone says to you, pray and ask the Lord, “Is there any truth to this, Lord? Do I need to make some changes here?” Then be honest with yourself and God, and let Him deal with you, if necessary.
Proverbs 18:19 (NLT) says, “An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.” Is there someone in your life, like a family member, who gets offended easily, and whom you have to deal with on a regular basis? People like these can be difficult to get along with because when they take offense, they refuse to listen to reason or to yield to attempts to make amends. We may not always be able to avoid offending these people, but there are a couple of things we can do. We can pray for them, and we can refuse to become offended ourselves. The reason taking offense is displeasing to God is that it’s destructive to relationships. It divides people and causes conflict. It can break up families, friendships, and even churches. It’s one of Satan’s most valuable weapons against God’s kingdom, and as believers, we are to be aware of his tactics so that we won’t become his victims. (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)
Proverbs 17:9 (AMP) says, “He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.” Every time we forgive an offense, we are preserving our relationships and slamming the door in the devil’s face. Most of all, we are pleasing and glorifying the One Who deserves our very best!
Lord, You know better than anyone how many opportunities to take offense I encounter each day. I ask that You give me the grace I need to resist becoming offended in these situations. Make me an example and an inspiration to others. Deal with me when I’m in the wrong, and I need to make some changes. When I suffer hurt, heal and comfort me the way that only You can. Thank You that by Your grace, I shall walk in peace!
“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 NIV
In the Bible, the concept of joy is serious business. It’s not a superficial warm and fuzzy kind of feeling. It’s a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and it can help the believer overcome all kinds of adversity. The verse above reveals that we gain strength from the joy that God gives us. And the Scriptures indicate that when we lose our joy, we can become victims of despair and even sickness. Proverbs 17:22 (TLB) says, “A cheerful heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick.” Have you ever gotten sick after something happened to disappoint or depress you? I have. Next time you’re ill, ask yourself if you’ve been struggling with negative emotions.
Proverbs 15:15 (TLB) says, “When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong; when he is cheerful, everything seems right!” Ever notice how your moods can affect your whole outlook on life? When you’re feeling down, it can seem like nothing’s going right, and everyone around you irritates you. But if you’re feeling particularly cheerful one day, almost nothing bothers you. When you’re filled with the joy of the Lord, you feel strong, capable, and ready for anything. That’s why a joy-filled believer is hard for the devil to handle. If the enemy can steal your joy, he can rob you of almost anything, including your health.
Romans 14:17 (NIV) says that the kingdom of God is “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” That should tell us just how valuable joy is to the believer. Jesus spoke about joy a lot. It was the Savior’s desire that His disciples would be filled with joy. (John 16:22, 17:13) In John 16:24 (NLT), Jesus says, “Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” And in First Thessalonians 5:16 (NIV), Paul writes, “Be joyful always.”
The Bible tells us that God wants us to serve Him with joy. Psalm 100:2 (NASB) says, “Serve the Lord with gladness.” And Deuteronomy 28:47-48 (NIV) says that because God’s people refused to serve Him “joyfully and gladly,” He would cause them to serve their enemies instead. The Lord deserves to have us serve Him with joy, and He’s given us His Holy Spirit as our source of joy.
Let me encourage you to memorize Psalm 86:4 (NIV), so that the next time you need a fresh dose of joy, you can pray like David did: “Bring joy to Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” Before you know it, you’ll be filled with the joy of the Lord, and nothing will be able to keep you down!
Lord, I ask that by Your Spirit, You would fill me with everlasting joy. Give me a happy heart and a cheerful mind so that I may walk in wholeness. (Proverbs 17:22 AMP) Whenever I’m tempted to despair, remind me of the importance of joy, and how You deserve a cheerful servant. Thank You that Your joy makes me strong!
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10 NLT
I used to wonder why Jesus used so many parables to get His point across. I have a better understanding of that now, because of how many times God has used things in my own life to teach me. He taught me a wonderful lesson about prayer, using my bath tub as an illustration. At one point, I couldn’t get it clean, no matter how strong a cleaner I used on it. Finally, I gave up and resorted to using a simple household cleaner, just to reassure myself that at least the tub was sanitary. I faithfully maintained that tub a little each day, and I was amazed when I realized some weeks later that the tub sparkled! God showed me that it’s often the same way with prayer. If I faithfully prayed each day for the things He put on my heart–for myself and others–He would work wonders as a result. He assured me that I didn’t have to get ten people to agree in prayer with me, and I didn’t need to have a famous evangelist pray for me. While those things can be good, I believe that most of the time, the only way we can receive the answers to our prayers is by praying and standing in faith day after day. This is why, when Jesus was teaching on prayer in the above verses, He said we should keep on asking, seeking, and knocking.
Right before Jesus speaks these verses, He tells the parable of the persistent man who knocks on his friend’s door at midnight to appeal to him for bread. The Master concludes the story by saying, “But I’ll tell you this–though he won’t do it as a friend, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you everything you want–just because of your persistence. And so it is with prayer…” (Luke 11:8-9 TLB) It’s then that the Savior instructs us to ask, seek, and knock. This kind of prayer speaks of urgency and desperation. It’s not a faint-hearted, hit-or-miss kind of prayer. It’s not for quitters or for half-hearted believers. One reason we don’t see God’s people enjoying more answered prayer is that we have a tendency to give up before we receive the answer. By the grace of God, our prayers can bring salvation to the lost, healing to the sick, and deliverance to the oppressed. But only if we persist. What happens when we don’t keep asking, seeking, and knocking? We don’t receive, we don’t find, and the door isn’t opened to us. Just like my tub suffers when I neglect it, our prayer life will suffer from neglect, too. Don’t be a quitter. Persist in prayer and receive all the blessings God has in store for you and the ones you love!
Lord, teach me how to ask, seek, and knock the way You want me to. Increase my faith daily so that I’ll pray and stand in faith for the people and things You put on my heart. Make me patient and persistent so that I won’t quit and give up before the answer comes. Thank You for all the answered prayer I’ll reap as a result!
“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22 NIV
“Sustain” is a great word. If you look it up in the dictionary, the definition says: “To give support or relief to; to carry or withstand (a weight or pressure); to nourish.” God is promising us in the verse above that if we will do our part by casting our cares upon Him, He will do His part by sustaining us. I think that’s a pretty good deal, don’t you? But let’s be honest here. Casting our cares on the Lord isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Even when we sincerely want to hand our burdens over to God, we often can’t. Many times we’re left struggling with burdens God never meant us to handle. The results are often anxiety, depression, despair, and even sickness and infirmity.
But maybe I can help convince you that God really does want to carry your burdens, and that it’s worth the effort to surrender them to Him. In 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT), the apostle Peter restates the verse above: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you.” It’s because God cares–and because He never created you to shoulder your burdens alone–that He wants you to give Him all your worries. Only God’s shoulders are big enough to carry our daily concerns. Ours aren’t. Look at this promise in Psalm 68:19 (NIV): “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” All these verses make it clear that God wants to bear ALL our cares ALL the time.
In Luke 21:34-35 (TLB), Jesus gives us this stern warning: “Watch out! Don’t let My sudden coming catch you unaware; don’t let Me find you…occupied with the problems of this life, like all the rest of the world.” And in Mark 4:19 (NIV), Jesus says that “the worries of this life” can actually “choke the word [of God], making it unfruitful” in our lives. Instead, the Savior tells us, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT) If we let the Master teach us His way of handling the affairs of this life, we will find the rest and relief He so graciously offers.
It’s the Lord’s sincere desire that we give all our cares to Him, but He won’t wrestle them away from us. We must surrender them to Him, trusting that He has our best interests at heart. When we do, we open the door for God to work wonders in our circumstances and in our lives. Each day, tell the Lord, “I give You all my cares and burdens, Lord. Thank You for sustaining me, according to Your promise.” You can be specific, naming your cares if you want to. Then when worry or doubt come against you, you can say, “Lord, I thank You that You’re taking care of that for me!” And let the peace of God quiet your heart and mind. May this precious promise from God encourage you today: “I will be your God through all your lifetime, yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and be your Savior”! (Isaiah 46:4 TLB)
Lord, today I cast all my cares upon You. When I’m tempted to carry my own burdens, remind me that Your will is for me to surrender them to You. Give me a new awareness of Your ability and willingness to solve my problems and handle my affairs. Thank You for rewarding me with rest and relief!
“Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the Gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest…” Hebrews 4:1-3 NIV
This portion of the Book of Hebrews reflects back on the disobedience of the Israelites after Moses led them out of bondage in Egypt. God commanded His people to take possession of Canaan, promising them His protection and provision. But because of their unbelief, they rebelled against God, who then swore that they would never be allowed to enter His rest in the Promised Land. The passage above indicates that today, God invites us to enter His rest through putting our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and believing His promises. The rest referred to here is not only one of eternal rest after this life, but also a rest we can enter here on earth. How do we enter that kind of rest now? By believing God and taking Him at His Word, as the verses above tell us.
The apostle Paul reveals this principle in prayer form in the Book of Romans: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NKJV) Believing God brings us peace, joy, and rest. Doubting Him causes fear and torment. We’re not talking about mere optimism here, but a deep, abiding trust in a God who wants the best for His children, and who is faithful to His promises. Every time we’re in a trial, we are going to have to choose between believing in God’s ability and willingness to protect and provide for us–and doubting Him. The Book of Hebrews equates unbelief with disobedience. (Hebrews 3:12; 4:11) And disobeying God always robs us of His best.
Hebrews 4:9-10 (NIV) says, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His.” Too often, we work at trying to accomplish things that only God can. Those are the times that God wants us to cease our labors and put our trust in Him. Then we can walk in peace, knowing that God is working on our problems. Today, enter God’s rest concerning that unsaved family member, that financial burden, and that healing need. May this precious promise encourage your heart today: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You!” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)
Lord, in all my daily tests and trials, deliver me from my doubts and fears, and help me to enter Your rest. Instill in me a growing love for Your Word, and remind me of Your faithfulness to Your promises. Give me a trusting heart, that I may never miss out on Your best for me. Thank You that Your joy, peace, and rest shall be mine all the days of my life!
In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before You faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in Your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.’” Isaiah had said, “Prepare a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil, and he will recover.” Isaiah 38:1-5,21 NIV
In the above passage, though King Hezekiah was on his deathbed and had already been told by the prophet Isaiah that he would not recover, he pleads with the Lord to deliver him. Many of us would have just accepted the negative report we had received, yet this man of faith sought God’s mercy and power in his darkest hour. God not only healed him, but He increased his life another fifteen years as well. I believe that God is using Hezekiah as an example here to show us how essential prayer is when we are in need of healing. I also believe the Lord is illustrating how He sometimes uses practical remedies in the healing process. Notice that the prophet Isaiah prescribed a fig poultice for the king, no doubt at God’s direction. God did the healing, but He used a simple treatment to bring about recovery. I believe that God can anoint an herb, vitamin, or medicine to promote healing. And He can use doctors to prescribe beneficial remedies, just as He used Isaiah here.
Second Chronicles 16:12-13 (NIV) records that King Asa “was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians.” The next verse reveals that Asa died from this affliction. This is a very clear warning to all of us. If we choose to depend on doctors and remedies apart from seeking God, we could be risking our health, or even our lives. Another lesson Scripture teaches us about healing is that it can be a gradual process. In Mark 8:22-26, Jesus lays hands on a blind man twice before his sight is completely restored. While I do believe in instantaneous healings, I believe that most healings take time. And just like Jesus used various methods to heal, God may use one way to heal you, and another to heal someone else, even though you both have the same ailment. The next time you’re ill, turn to God first for help. Ask Him for His wisdom, according to His promise in James 1:5. Search out God’s many promises of healing in the Scriptures, and pray and stand on them. My prayer is that when you do, you’ll soon be able to declare, “O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me”! (Psalm 30:2 NIV)
Lord, when illness threatens, send Your Word and heal me. (Psalm 107:20) Show me when I should see a doctor, and who it should be, and give them supernatural wisdom and skill. Spare me from all unnecessary and unpleasant tests and treatments. Reveal to me what supplements or medicines would help, and anoint them for my use. Teach me how to walk in health and wholeness. Thank You that You have promised to be my Healer! (Exodus 15:26)
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Galatians 1:10 NLT
The above verse, written by the apostle Paul, warns us that if we are to be true servants of God, we must seek the Lord’s approval, rather than man’s. Very often, God’s will and man’s are opposed to each other, and here’s where the tension arises. Jesus said, “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” (Luke 16:15 NIV) God and man have very different value systems, and we are expected to make right choices, even in tough situations. In Luke 12:48 (NIV), Jesus tells us: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” As followers of Christ, we are equipped with the power of the Holy Spirit to live by God’s standards, not the world’s. The Bible assures us that our God is a just God, and He will never give us unattainable goals to strive for. When we supply the will, He supplies the power.
Exodus 23:2 (NIV) says, “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.” What happens when your friends want you to watch movies or listen to music that you know in your heart are not God’s will for you? Jesus said, “Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones.” (Luke 16:10 NLT) Don’t be deceived into thinking that God doesn’t care about the little details of our daily lives. He cares very much, and He expects us to be faithful. Proverbs 25:26 (NLT) says, “If the godly compromise with the wicked, it is like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.” Not only can our compromise harm our fellowship with God, but it can damage our witness and cost us an opportunity to lead others to the Lord. It’s been said that, “People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.” Instead of just telling them about Jesus, we need to show them Jesus!
We’re always appalled when we hear the biblical account of Peter denying Jesus. But look what the apostle Paul says in Titus 1:16 (NIV): “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.” We’re no better than Peter when we choose to live our own way, rather than God’s. The Bible says that “friendship with the world is hatred toward God.” (James 4:4 NIV) God’s not going to settle for a superficial commitment from us. We have a higher calling on our lives, and it’s the Lord’s desire to use us for His glory. But He can’t use us if we won’t submit to His ways and plans for us.
In 1 Timothy 1:12 (NIV), Paul says: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service.” God has promised to reward our faithfulness by giving us opportunities to serve Him. But there are other rewards for choosing to please God rather than people. When we make it our life’s goal to please the Lord, the result is joy, peace, and fulfillment. On the other hand, whenever we try to please people, we experience frustration, disappointment, and emptiness. The truth is that living to please God is the only decent way to live. My prayer for you today is that you will have the same spirit that Peter and the other disciples had when they declared, “We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29 NIV)
Lord, forgive me for the times I chose to please people instead of You. Give me the strength and courage I need to resist the temptation to win the approval of others. Help me to be faithful in little things so that You can trust me to be faithful in bigger ones. Thank You for rewarding my faithfulness with awesome opportunities to serve You!