'Settle the IF's and Enjoy the Blessings!'
by Travis Wiginton
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In 1993 while serving as Interim Pastor at Waikoloa Baptist Church on the Big Island of Hawaii, we lived in the home of a gracious couple, Phil and Angie Benson.
Phil and I decided to go fishing for small fish for supper, so we took his little boat out into the Pacific Ocean late one afternoon.
We were hoping to catch some ahi (small fish)...but instead we hooked a 254 lb. Marlin!
Once we hooked that fish (or did it hooked us), it pulled us several miles out from shore!
It took us several hours to finally pull that exhausted fish in.
In fact, as it kept taking us farther from shore (and the sun was setting),
I was in favor of cutting the line! (I had only fished for channel catfish in my lifetime!)
When we finally got the fish to the boat, it was LONGER than our boat!
There was no way we could get it into the boat, so we put ropes through the gills and tied it to the side of the boat.
As other fishermen passed us, they were amazed at the sight of that Marlin tied to the side of our small boat.
By the time we got to Honokohau Harbor, we were the 'talk of the town'.
Phil called Angie and told her that she and La Moyne needed to get to the Harbor quick, to see the sight!
I guess you could say that Phil and I were 'short-sighted' when we set out in that small boat.
I've thought about this incident in regards to God's Promises and Blessings.
We hold out one hand for 'showers' when God is ready to give us a 'flood' of blessings.
I'm speaking today primarily about the Promises of God.
We receive promises and blessings that are general to all,
but there are specific ones that are 'conditional'.
For example: I John is full of these 'IF's'....here are 2 of many:
I John 1:9:
"IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins..
and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
I John 1:6&7:
"IF we say we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we are liars.
But if we walk in his light, we have fellowship with one another...
and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sins."
There are many more, so read I John and mark the 'IF's.
Just remember, in the middle of LIFE is IF....
and God waits for you to settle the IF's and have abundant life.
God is in the business of disciplining disciples, not spoiling saints!
Our Spiritual Life hinges on the Love of God and our Disciplined Life to receive all God gives and give all that He asks.
God is always ready, but the question is, "Are we ready?"
He will not fill a dirty vessel or one that is used contrary to His Will and Ways.
My favorite letter of the alphabet to describe the breadth and depth of God's Promises...
is the letter 'P'.
2) PROMISES of God:
II Corin. 1:20: "For no matter how many PROMISES God has made...
they are 'yes' in Christ and so through Him, 'amen' is spoken by us to the Glory of God",
You can trust the One Who died for you...
and your future can be as bright as the PROMISES of God...
but you must KNOW the PROMISES.
The old song says, "Standing on the PROMISES, I will not fall....
and Standing on the PROMISES, I will not fail."
"PRAY without ceasing" (live in the attitude and actions of Prayer) (I Thess. 5:17)
Remember "We have not because we ask not" (James 4:2).
A big part of Prayer is PRAISE!
All POWER is given, so 'go'. (Matt. 28:18-20)
"Greater is the POWER in you (Holy Spirit) than any POWER in the world." (I John 4:4)
5) PROGRAM of God is Evangelism and Missions:
The Whole Gospel for the Whole World (Acts 1::8)
Matthew 9:37 is a sad verse: "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few."
God is not through with you yet and He is looking for growth.
Spiritual growth depends on the 'Water of God's Word and the Sunshine of His Love.'
7) PATIENCE from God toward us and PATIENCE through us, to others.
(Rom. 5:4 and II Peter 1:6-7)
8) PLAN of God:
His Will and His Way (John 14:6 and Jeremiah 29:11-14)
A Purpose Driven Life is good, but make sure that the Purpose is from God....
and will be for His Glory. (I Cor. 10:31)
God is Jehovah-Jireh..."I will provide":
Gen. 22:12-14; Phil. 4:19; Psalm 37:25-27.
We can trust His Promises to be kept and His Purposes to be good.
God's love is everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3) and our love for others should be also.
We are channels only, but what we channel is very important.
Make sure that you are a 'sea of Galilee' and not a 'Dead Sea'.
"We walk by faith and not by sight" (II Cor. 5:7)
If we walk by sight, we can be negative...
but if we walk by faith, our outlook can be positive.
12) PROVIDENCE of God:
At 78 and 73 yrs. of age, La Moyne and I can see how God has led us all the way....
and there were 'closed doors' as well as 'open doors'.
This includes 'miracles' which as the little kid said,
"A miracle is something that can't happen...until it does!"
As bright as the Promises of God (and the Promisor Who stands behind them).
There may have been times when I have failed Him, but He has never failed me once!
A key word in 'PROSPECTS' is 'Hope' and as the song says,
"My Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness."
A big part of our Hope is the Second Coming of Jesus.
The best Scriptures about PEACE are John 14:27 and 16:33 which emphasize that Jesus can give us true PEACE. However, we ourselves are to be involved in keeping this PEACE.
Isa. 26:3-4: "God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed (fixed) on Him and trust in Him forever, for the Lord Jehovah is your everlasting strength."
In Matt. 5:48: Jesus said, "Be perfect as your Father Who is in Heaven".
The word for 'perfect' in the Greek is 'tellios' which means 'be complete'.
Charles Swindoll calls this, "Living beyond the level of mediocrity by:
Standing alone when outnumbered.
Standing tall when tested.
Standing firm though discouraged.
Standing strong when tempted."
16) PRIESTHOOD of Believers:
On this Labor Day Weekend, it behooves us to recommit to our High Priest, Jesus,
that we will be faithful as His Servants.
This means that we are never above our Master...
and He is our example in ministry and service.
In fact, the Bible says that we are 'royal priests'...
because of our great High Priest Whom we serve. (Heb 4:14-16 and I Peter 2:5 & 9)
I can look back at my life and realize that there were times I could have been killed.
At 3 yrs. of age, I was kicked in the head by a horse.
I am a cancer survivor as well as surviving 2 artery procedures.
Our family has mentioned several times how blessed we have been to have not been involved in any of the terrible accidents that our son has witnessed in his job as a State Trooper.
We praise God for His protection in so many different areas of our lives.
In our later years, we claim God's Promises and I'll list 4 of those:
1) Deuteronomy 33:25,27:
"As thy days, so shall your strength be, for underneath are the everlasting arms of God."
2) Faith is 'for all I trust Him' and.....
"The faith that fizzles before the finish was faulty from the first".
3) 'Attitude is Half the Battle' (see website article on Aug. 17. 2006)
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2: 5).
4) Jesus is the Great Physician....
and we are SO thankful that He still makes 'House-calls'.
The key Scripture for this paper is Ephesians 3:19-21:
"Let us know the love of Christ which passes knowledge...
and to be filled with all the fulness of God.
Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us."
"Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end." Amen~
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What a wonderful and encouraging article Travis. There is no better place to stand then on His promises. He is faithful and will not fail to perfect that which concerns us. Blessings, Sharon