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Topic: Promises (02/09/04)
By Brenda Kern
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Why do we make promises? What power is found there?
The word "promise" is used to affirm a commitment or to make a statement even stronger. Notice the muscle in "I promise I'll be there to pick you up" versus "I'll be there to pick you up."
Underscoring our societal concept of the importance of keeping a promise is the flip side-what happens when a promise is not kept? Failure to keep a promise is assigned a word of intensity: a promise not kept is BROKEN. This idea has some physicality to it-the result of a failure to keep a promise is breakage, destruction.
What's destroyed when a promise is broken? The list, sadly, is long and deep: trust, friendships, agreements, contracts, treaties, marriages.
Even the youngest of children are quick to pick up on the real usage of the word "promise." The request of one child to another to "watch my candy, but don't take any" might be answered by "Okay," but this simply will not suffice. Succeeding responses might be: "I promise," "I promise-cross my heart," and "Cross my heart and hope to die!"
Will the candy still be there, every last bit of it, after such a dramatic vow? Maybe, maybe not. Every person ever born has probably failed to keep a promise or two, whether deliberately or not. Lives are riddled with regret because of the all-too-human tendency to promise things with no intent to follow through, no ability to keep the promise, or no facility to even remember what was said.
The only One with a perfect record with respect to keeping His promises is God. The Bible is full of examples where a promise is made with intent, with plenty of resources to call upon, and is remembered through endless eons of passing time.
Every rainbow you see indicates another promise kept.
He promised to send a Savior, and the world was blessed with Jesus.
Any lonely Christian comforted by His loving presence can attest to the validity and the living action behind Jesus' promise of "I am with you always."
And all of these promises were freely given, not extracted after long hours of arm-twisting. As far as we know, Jesus never said "Cross my heart," but His life and His sacrifice demonstrate an attitude of...
I promise, cross my heart. I died to give hope.
He is the ultimate Promise, perfectly kept.
February 14, 2004