If, Then: God’s Conditional Promises

ID 14856386 © Robyn Mackenzie | Dreamstime.com

Second Chronicles 7:13-14 springs from everyone’s lips these days:

 If I [God] shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked waysthen I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (NIV)

Note, it’s a conditional promise:

  • If My people will: humble themselves, pray, seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways,
  • Then I [God] will: hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

Humble yourself: If you’re prone to control-freakish-ness (like me), we stand helpless before the pandemic. We can and should follow protective measures, but control? Yeah, no. We must look to Someone all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present. 

Pray: If we ever wanted to practice praying without ceasing, now is our time. And there are lots of ways to do it. Pray Scripture. Pray through worship and song. Pray together. Pray for our neighborhoods as we walk. Just pray. 

Seek His face: Have some extra time? Be intentional. Let’s turn from Facebook, Netflix, and our latest read and turn to Him. Listen to sermons or podcasts. Start a Bible study. Ask Him to reveal Himself in the midst of this pandemic. Make time for Him. Get in His Word. 

Turn from their wicked ways: Lately, I’ve confessed more sin than I thought possible. God began cleaning house in January. Deep cleaning. I’ve found His conviction to be spot on—and very gentle. I grew up believing God was harsh. He is anything but. He is specific. He is patient. He is forgiving. However, He won’t allow us to wink at sin. It hurts me too much. 

And it’s hurting you too. 

So, let’s ask Him to reveal it. Drag it into the light and confess it. Then, turn from it. Put it behind us and move forward with Him. Satan condemns. Let’s tune our ears to God’s gentle conviction. 

Then.

Then, the healing will come. 

Workout for the Week: If, Then: God’s Conditional Promises

Memory Verse: If I [God] shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NIV

Meditation Passage: 2 Chronicles 7

Do It: Confess some sin this week.

Worldbuilding, Wordsmithing

Worldbuilding, Wordsmithing

Worldbuilding. It’s used by fiction writers to create a specific setting. Think of “a galaxy far, far way” in Star Wars, the Shire in Lord of the Rings, or Panem in The Hunger Games. Nadeem Kazi gives this a twist.

Words. We don’t associate them with our world. Sometimes they gush like water from a fire hose. Sometimes we chew on them, like savoring the last bit of flavor from a piece of gum. Sometimes words invigorate like a needed shot of caffeine. Sometimes they cut, leaving a bloody trail. But do words create a world? Our own story’s setting?

Yet, Scripture tells us that our words define who we are. In the passage below, David describes an acquaintance.

“He loved to pronounce a curse—may it come on him; he found no pleasure in blessing—may it be far from him. He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil. May it be like a cloak wrapped about him, like a belt tied forever around him.” Psalm 109:17-19 NIV

David offers three keys to this man and the world he’s building:

Pleasure: He fed what gave him pleasure, and, for this guy, it was hurting others. Behavior like giving anger free rein, putting another person down, or gossiping can give us a rush. (Dare I mention complaining?) Some people never grow out of that. What drives your verbal high points?

Essence: Cursing became part of him. His body. His bones. Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” What does your mouth say about your heart?

Style: David compares the man’s speech to clothing. Just as your clothes hint at your personality, your words give a picture as well. What style are you sporting?

Negativity floods our ears. Flesh and Satan make a great team. Cursing comes naturally to our flesh and the nature of our enemy manifests in theft, death, and destruction. These words create a Hunger Games-type setting.

But as we keep step with the Holy Spirit, positivity becomes our default. Blessing, truth, encouragement, praise, comfort. These great feelings last longer and wear better. Frodo could dig his hairy hobbit toes into a place like this.

“Your words become your world.” Nadeem Kazi

What world are you building?

Workout for the Week: Worldbuilding, Wordsmithing

Memory Verse: “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Matthew 12:34 NIV

Meditation Passage: “He loved to pronounce a curse—may it come on him; he found no pleasure in blessing—may it be far from him. He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil. May it be like a cloak wrapped about him, like a belt tied forever around him.” Psalm 109:17-19 NIV

Just Do It: Choose your words like a writer would. Carefully.

Holy Attire: White Linen

Holy Attire: White Linen

“Worship the LORD in holy attire.” Psalm 96:9 NASB In Scripture, holy attire meant linen. Priestly garments were made from linen. God knew what He was doing because nothing outperforms linen when it comes to strength, luster, and durability. Stain resistant, linen gets softer with each washing and handles moisture well. Linen also:

  • Filters chemical exposure, noise, and dust.
  • Reduces solar gamma radiation by almost half.
  • Has been reported as having healing properties.
  • Has no allergic reactions.
  • Heightens positive emotions and has bacteriological properties.

1 Peter 2:9 says, “For you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” So, as a royal priesthood, what does our holy attire look like?

The New Testament gives us a few ideas on what to put on:

But guess what? Linen appears in the New Testament too. Revelation 19:7-8 says, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)”

(And note the need for armor.) Be intentional about what you put on—and try some linen.

Workout for the Week: Holy Attire

Memory Verse: “Worship the LORD in holy attire.” Psalm 96:9 NASB

Meditation Passage: 1 Peter 2:9-12

Just Do It: Try some linen on for size.

(For more information, go to https://www.new2torah.com/2011/11/the-power-of-linen/)