Putting Promises to Work

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For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 2nd Corinthians 1:20

Life can be discouraging. Ministry can be discouraging. The apostle Paul wasn’t immune to this. Just read the first chapter of 2nd Corinthians. How did Paul overcome discouragement? He clung to the promises of God. And that’s exactly what William Bridge (1600-1670) suggests we do in his book A Lifting Up for the Downcast-

Are all your comforts gone, and would you fain have them restored? Then read and read the Scriptures much. If you cannot read them yourself, get some others to read them to you… The more full a man’s mind is, the more free from temptations and fears. Now Scripture matter is the most filling matter. The more you see Christ walking in the sweet shades of divine love toward poor sinners, the sooner will your faith revive, and your comforts be restored. And where can you see Jesus Christ walking, and taking His turns with poor sinners under the shades of divine love, but in the Scriptures? Stand there awhile, and you shall see Him, and your heart will say, And why not one turn of love with me, oh my Saviour? Study, read, and read much the Scriptures.

But, say you, if I do read the Scriptures, and read them much, I shall then meet with some promise, possibly many, and now I cannot apply them, discouraged as I am; I shall see the promises indeed, and say, There is such and such an old friend of mine, but it is now mine enemy; the promise will not own me, and I cannot apply it, and so it will do me no good.

You cannot tell what the promise will do till you come to apply it. The promise never yields its power and strength till it is applied; it works when it is put to work, and not before… It may be you look upon such and such a promise at a distance, and you say, Oh, there is my enemy; now it will not help me, it will sting me, it will undo me; but put forth your hand again to it, and it will become a promise, a rod in your hand, as comfortable as ever it was before.

And if the promise does not come to you, go you to it. Sometimes the promise comes to us, sometimes we go to it. When the promise comes to you, you have joy; when you go to it, you have peace, and this peace may last longer than the joy. But remember this as an everlasting rule, that your very relying upon the promise makes it yours.

Are you discouraged? Are you downcast? Then read God’s word. And keep reading it. Find a promise and hang on to it. God’s promises work when you put them to work.

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