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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Anchored for good

Remember what you said to me, your servant—
      I hang on to these words for dear life!
   These words hold me up in bad times;
      yes, your promises rejuvenate me. 
(Psalm 119:49-50)

A promise - do we really understand the meaning of that word anymore today?  It seems like words are spoken these days, with no real intention of keeping those "promises" made in the spur of the moment.  A promise is an expression of assurance that we base our expectation on - not a stipulation, or an undertaking that might or might not work out.  When God made a promise to his children, he made it with a commitment to fulfill every aspect of that promise, regardless of the cost.

Hope comes in a promise.  Comfort is contained in a promise.  The Word of God is filled with promises God has made with his children - hundreds of them.  So, why is it that we view God's Word as something that is laborious, hard to grasp, and something just way to lofty for our understanding?  If it is filled with hope and affords comfort, why do we resist the study of that Word?  It really only becomes a comfort, a hope for our daily lives, when we discover it and then live by it.

David went on in this passage to tell us that he makes God's Word his night reflection.  In the wee hours of night, his mind turns to God - his thoughts are carried into the presence of his loving and compassionate heavenly father.  As a child of God, he reflects often on his heavenly father - on the heritage of being one of the children of his household.  Reflection is a learned process - it comes through practice.  As he gets acquainted with what his father speaks to him in the Word, he allows that Word to have a life-transforming impact on him.  As a matter of fact, the more we make God the focus of our reflection, the easier it is to reflect him to others in our life.

David often declared with an assurance, "Lord, you are mine!"  This was not just a saying without any basis.  He stood assured that he belonged to his heavenly father, and that he could proclaim that his Lord was his.  When we begin to ponder his ways, our ways no longer seem that attractive.  We begin to really follow him when this occurs - we lose focus on the things of this world and begin to really tune into him.  In that exchange of focus, there is an assurance that every promise is ours.

Following begins with "pondering" - we have to consider something before we will just begin to move in that direction.  My son is trying to determine if he will buy his first home - a huge step for a young couple.  In the process, he is "pondering" over and over again the huge commitment they will be making as home owners.  Pondering is the initiation of action.  What we "turn over" in our minds is what we often act upon.  Therefore, if our minds are focused on the promises of God, we will hope and trust in them with an assurance.

The process of following moves from pondering the truths of God's Word, to allowing that Word to deeply affect our lives.  We hurry without lingering to obey what is contained within those words.  Sometimes we get in trouble at this point - not because the Word of God is not trustworthy, but because we look back.  We don't keep our focus straight ahead.  Whenever we spend our time looking back, we lose focus on what lays ahead - God is not at work in the past, he is at work in the present and in the future (requires a forward focus).  

The last step in following is what I will call "anchoring".  We anchor ourselves in him - fully trusting his promises, standing assured in his presence, reliant on his direction.  We can simply "believe" the commandments and promises of God - but that doesn't "anchor" us to him.  Anchoring comes in the moment by moment reflection upon him.  It is in the consistent reflection that I am made consistent in my reflection of him.  I become anchored to that which gives me assurance.

Where are you anchored today?  To what promises are you holding onto for the fulfillment of your dreams today?  Discovering and engrafting the promises of God will give you firm "anchorage" in troubling times.  We have all we need to face the challenge of today when we are anchored in him for good!