My generation grew up on promises! I was making promises to God day and night, New Year's Day, Ash Wednesday, Annual Retreats, thunder storms, and every time an airplane went 'iffy' in the sky! I have now reached my 'free pass' stage, and, in the hope that it may be 'wisdom, age, and grace', I'm beginning to review all those promises, and to learn something from them. I wouldn't have to be a rocket scientist to know that I have never scored too highly in the Promises stakes!
Some time ago the Lord suggested another (better!) way of doing things. "Jack I know you meant well, and I don't 'knock' you, because you had the good-will, even when you were off target. For whatever time you have left in life, I suggest a very different approach. The only promise I ask from you now is that you make no more promises! I am the one making the promises, and I am the only one who can keep promises. 'Heaven and earth will pass away before my promises pass away' (Mt. 24:35)."
I searched through the gospels, and came up with 157 promises! Not one 'might', 'maybe' or 'perhaps' in the whole lot! I took some liberty with those that are not direct promises, but actually contain a promise.
Elizabeth said to Mary "All these things happened to you because you believed that the promises of the Lord would be fulfilled"(Luke 1:45). Jesus said, "The sin of this world is unbelief in me" (John 16:9). I found that reflecting on these promises has been a source of wonderful blessings for me. That is what encourages me as I place this material into the hands of my readers.
Because these words are taken directly from the words of Jesus in the gospels, they already have a value and a power that does not require my augmentation in any way. The word of God is shot-through with the Spirit of God. While I had the wonderful privilege of writing these reflections, it is only the Spirit of God who can convey these words to the heart of the reader.
Might I suggest that, before reading any reflection, the reader should whisper a little prayer to the Holy Spirit. This will greatly bridge the gap between writer and reader, because I myself whispered such a prayer before writing any of these reflections. My wish for you, gentle reader, is that you experience some of the joys and inspirations that I experienced as I put these reflections together.