I HAVE A FRIEND (a little bit older than me) who said she does not make vows to God, because she knows she cannot KEEP them (which of course, would naturally be worse to break a vow, if she “knows” that she cannot keep her word – Deut.23:21). Do most people have this attitude toward God? Maybe in some ways.
ARE WE WEAK ONLY BECAUSE WE THINK WE ARE WEAK and would fall short of vows made to God? Do you not keep promises (vows) to your family, friends, employer or business associates? – “I will make this work…I promise you!” How about: “I promise to take you to Disneyland for vacation;” “I promise that I will be faithful, ’till death do us part.” We may have no qualms in making those promises. Even if we just state: “I’ll BE there tomorrow” or “I’ll meet you at lunch today;” “I won’t hurt your feelings again” or “I’ll try to do better next time.” We can tell God that, at least (don’t you think?). Actually, it would be better to eliminate the “try” part. Which brings to mind a recent saying: “we don’t plan to fail, we fail to plan.” Well..maybe not with people, but do we “plan to fail” with God all the time?
Well we might ask, “how does that ‘saying’ fit in?” Consider this. “We don’t plan to fail” when we promise our spouse “to be faithful”? (OR MAYBE WE DO – 50% of all marriages end in divorce. So that ought to tell you something!) well then, what about planned meetings with our family, friends or business partners? – do we “plan to fail” to meet up with our commitments? No, we generally make “plans” to be there – write it on a calendar, or some way we have of reminding ourselves, so that we can keep our appointments with others. We can do the same for God – we must not “fail to plan” in order that God may be included in our plans (such as Bible studies). Meetings with God should NOT be considered as less important then acquaintances.
IF there is something you know God is wanting/asking you to do – you may commit to just doing it for 15 minutes (or 30 minutes) a day [15 minutes, will save you 15% frustration – or a lot more than 15%!]; If 15 minutes EVERY DAY is too much, do it every other day, once a week…anything you could manage. Homework/schoolwork, managing your checkbook, counting supplies, exercise, housework – keeping your room in order, doing the laundry, dishes, sweeping/cleaning or lawn care [did I get everybody?] – then 15 to 30 minutes is not much of a commitment (no one says you have to stop, once you get started – hint, hint. I mean, if you only “feel” like it, certainly).
THE WHOLE IDEA is not that you will get it all done in that amount of time, but that at least some of it will be done. Don’t stress-out about how much has NOT been done. At least you started and you will continue to meet your daily commitment of 15 minutes, no matter what – right? Yeah, well do at least ONE THING ON YOUR LIST for 15 minutes – even if you are on your death bed (well, maybe not that – but, let’s say if you’re feeling low). It will lift your spirit, because you will ask God to bless it.
WHAT’S THAT OLD JOKE? –
Q: “How do you eat an elephant?” A: “Just one bite at a time”
We can apply this same idea for keeping in touch with family or friends. Pick one person on your list for that day (or week) and call or visit with them (remember the 15 to 30 minute rule). That includes grandma, who is shut in or lonely… really. She’s old and had put up with all your snotty-nosed self for years. Or maybe circumstances prevented her from entering into your life fully. That doesn’t mean she ever stopped praying for you. You may never really know what all happened, but love her (& grandpa) anyway 🐰
ON THE TOP OF YOUR LIST IS BIBLE STUDY
As soon as you awake – or very shortly after (as Jesus did-Mark 1:35). Yes, I said “study” (NOT just reading the Bible or even praying) – however, do ask for the Father, in Jesus name, for the Holy Spirit to guide you, before you begin. Then randomly open your Bible and study that text for 15 or 30 minutes. Read the verse your finger falls on – also one to ten (1-10) verses before and after.
ASK GOD, “what does this mean?” Have a ringed tablet next to you, start writing down all the references in margins for that verse – see what it says. As you write down the text or “KEY” words, God will begin His talk – seeing that you are serious. Open your heart to what’s conveyed. Don’t say, “yeah that’s just how my neighbor acts toward me,” or “spouse” – or “my dog” [what?! – you are in real spiritual trouble, my friend – if you see your dog’s problems in the Bible!] Please apply all scripture to yourself – when you are as pure as the driven snow, you MAY be qualified to apply them to others.
This also is suitable, if you have a question for God (before you open your Bible, randomly picking a verse, ask God to “answer your question/problem in this manner). This method only works if you believe God will answer you through selecting scripture on a subconscious level. If you have too much doubt, it won’t work.
NOTE: I said, “TOO MUCH DOUBT.” After a while, you will see God answering you [if you are struggling with doubt, God will still work with you, as long as you say “I believe Lord, help my unbelief” – Mark 9:23-24]. This method doesn’t work for everyone, especially if you think it is like a Quija board. Even those who have the best intentions, should realize that God may choose just not to answer in this way.
A CAVEAT: Probably most pastors or lay leaders would frown upon this method – or discourage this use of the Bible. Yet there is “a method to my madness” – or rather, a precedent (at least). Let’s just think about this for a moment… . Okay, thinking is over, here are some facts:
GOD USES UNUSUAL WAYS TO COMMUNICATE
The “random bible text” method is best compared to when God answered the Levitical priests, using the “Urim and Thummim” (Exodus 28:9-12,30;Deut.33:8; Ezra 2:62-63). When the priest was performing his priestly duties in the sanctuary, he would stand before The Lord and inquire as to God’s will.
[We may read where King Saul tried this method, as well in 1 Samuel 28:5,6 (there is no indication as to whether or not Saul had gone through the usual channels, when he “enquired of the Lord” – or rather, tried). See also Numbers 27:18-21]
If God’s answer to the Levite priest was “yes” then there would be an halo of light around the onyx stone on the priest’s right shoulder of the breast plate. If the answer was “no” then a dark cloud would hoover above the onyx stone on the left shoulder. Seriously – yes, this was one way God communicated to His people! [compare Isaiah 40:22; Job 22:10-14; Ezekiel 32:7-8] Just like when God was as a “pillar of a cloud” for shade and “to lead them the way;” and a “pillar of fire to give them light to go by day and night” and for warmth. When it was time for the Israelite camp to move, then the cloud would rise up from the tabernacle, which was to indicate God’s intentions to break camp and depart – Exodus 13:20-22; compare Ezekiel 10:4,18; and Numbers 12:5-16; 14:14; Deut.31:15-22).
The point that’s made here, is that past behavior is indicative of future behavior – especially when it comes to the mysterious workings of God, because God never changes (Malachi 3:6). There is also that truism: “History repeats itself.” We are told in Psalms 77:13 that God has revealed Himself through the sacrificial system and through the deep significance of His tabernacle services: “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary… “.
God saw fit to reveal His will in a very explicit manner, during times of great importance for Israel. Would God be less explicit, right as He begins to do a great work for His people, when His work is to purify the saints, in order that they may embark upon a most grueling trial than has ever been since the beginning of time? (Malachi 3:1-3). I think not! There will be a type of Last Day people that have never had an experience such as they will have (Daniel 12:1,10-11). God is counting on the 144,000 to prove that Lucifer (Satan) was wrong in accusing God of heinous acts, as well as spouting off that it is impossible for anyone to keep God’s laws “perfectly” – “without fault” or “guile” (Rev.14:1-5,12-13). [We need to pray day and night that the 144,000 FAIL NOT – no one on this planet has even a clue as to the severity of this trial that this group will go through – there is a possibility of failure, you know! That’s what I said, “failure!” (See this blog on that paper: “Pray for The 144,000…”) ]
ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH AN ADDICTION?
Then tell God how you feel. God says, “come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). If you really don’t want to give up a bad habit (sin) – tell God, “I don’t want to give it up, but I really don’t want this sin, either. At this point I have pleasure in this sin [or, ‘I feel too weak to make it work’]. I need for that to change. I need for You to help me change.”
I find that if I need an answer to a desperate prayer – such as someone I love or some pet is sick and could be dying (or I’m sick and feel like I’m dying), just say, “okay God, I get the message you are sending [not that God caused the situation, but He didn’t stop it either – so in that way, He is sending a ‘message’ — such as, work with Me here]. I have a hard time with promises, but I’ll try to put this addiction down. Only please help me with my …[you fill in the blank].”
AGAIN, JUST GO 15 Minutes, 1 hour, 1 day without “it.” Even if you need to tell God, “that is as far as I will go and then you will have to jump in pretty quickly – like the ‘Red Sea’ opening – but DON’T LET MY tweety-bird DIE! (Thy will be done).” [This was just an example – I don’t know if you have a “tweety-bird” – but my cockateel, “Baby-Girl” was dying, I fear – yet, after I made a 15 minute a day commitment to God, she started to recover pretty quickly].
Read the thrilling account of the “Red Sea” crossing in Exodus 14:13-31!
After all is said and done – it is God Who keeps His vow to us – because He knows we are as “grass,” and too weak to keep it in our own strength. Ultimately, we must hook up with His Son (Hebrews 8:10-11). Nehemiah 9:7-8,32-38
Thanks for your vote of confidence (that’s right – I’m assuming you will vote…. don’t be shy – jump right in there).
“OK how do I vote?” you say. Simple:
• vote by pressing “like” 😄 or
• vote by “comment” – such as, I really like this 😃 (I know – you coulda just clicked “like,” but it’s much more fun to say, “like.”) or,
• you could just “follow” (which is great! Even though I really won’t know what you “like” – I will always love 💚 you and pray 🙏 for you)
God bless you guys – if I can answer any questions you may have, just let me know 🙋
*”The Juggler”: http://www.icmosaics.com/archived-work/juggler.html