Who can you trust?
Everybody’s making promises these days: “Buy this car-you’ll be _______.” “Wear these jeans-people will think you’re ______.” “Drink thisyou’ll feel _______.” But who really lives up to their word? God does. And then some. He never backs off his huge claimsthat He alone saves and gives you a real life, an everlasting real life. Best of all, He never exaggerates or includes fine print as escape clauses.
Looking into verses taken from The Message, check out His promisespromises that will help you handle whatever comes up in your life. So read, know, and memorize them. Because God always lives up to His Word.
About the Author
EUGENE H. PETERSON is a pastor, scholar, writer, and poet. He spent ten years working on The Message--a paraphrase of the Bible--translating it from the original Greek and Hebrew. Eugene lives with his wife, Jan, in Montana. They have three children and six grandchildren.
Read an Excerpt
PROMISES PROMISES PROMISES
By eugene h. peterson
TH1NKCopyright © 2003 Eugene H. Peterson
All right reserved.
Watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! - EPHESIANS 5:15-16
Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. - PHILIPPIANS 2:3
Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. - 1 THESSALONIANS 4:11
Mean-spirited ambition isn't wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn't wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn't wisdom. - JAMES 3:14
And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, "Today - at the latest, tomorrow - we're off to such and such a city for the year. We're going to start a business and make a lot of money." You don't know the first thing about tomorrow. You're nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, "If the Master wills it and we're still alive, we'll do this or that."
As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. - JAMES 4:13-16
Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding; a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity. - PROVERBS 14:29
A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. - PROVERBS 15:1
Let angry people endure the backlash of their own anger; if you try to make it better, you'll only make it worse. - PROVERBS 19:19
Don't hang out with angry people; don't keep company with hotheads.
Bad temper is contagious - don't get infected. - PROVERBS 22:24-25
A gang of cynics can upset a whole city; a group of sages can calm everyone down.
A sage trying to work things out with a fool gets only scorn and sarcasm for his trouble. - PROVERBS 29:8-9
[Jesus said,] "You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder.... The simple moral fact is that words kill." - MATTHEW 5:21-22
Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it." - ROMANS 12:19
When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones. When someone is duped into sin, an angry fire burns in my gut. - 2 CORINTHIANS 11:29
Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray - not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. - 1 TIMOTHY 2:8
You're well-known as good and forgiving, bighearted to all who ask for help. Pay attention, God, to my prayer; bend down and listen to my cry for help. Every time I'm in trouble I call on you, confident that you'll answer. - PSALM 86:5-7
Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he'll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs. - ZEPHANIAH 3:17
In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary - we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! - ROMANS 5:5
"Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light." - MATTHEW 6:22
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." - JOHN 3:16
[Jesus said,] "I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won't have to stay any longer in the dark." - JOHN 12:46
Jesus said, "So, you believe because you've seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing." - JOHN 20:29
Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them - living and breathing God! - ROMANS 8:5
Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ's Word is preached, there's nothing to listen to. - ROMANS 10:17
Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, be resolute. - 1 CORINTHIANS 16:13
It's what we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going. - 2 CORINTHIANS 5:7
I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - GALATIANS 2:20
Saving is all [God's] idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! - EPHESIANS 2:8-9
We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels - everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. - COLOSSIANS 1:15-17
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. - HEBREWS 11:1
By faith, we see the world called into existence by God's word, what we see created by what we don't see. - HEBREWS 11:3
It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him. - HEBREWS 11:6
You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. - JAMES 1:3
Do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup - where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? - JAMES 2:14-17
Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. - 1 PETER 1:7
So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. - 2 PETER 1:5-7
Anyone who gets so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ, walks out on God. - 2 JOHN 9
[Jesus said,] "I've come to change everything, turn everything right-side up." - LUKE 12:50
"You know how to tell a change in the weather, so don't tell me you can't tell a change in the season, the God-season we're in right now." - LUKE 12:56
"It's time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you." - ACTS 3:19
Did you think that because he's such a nice God, he'd let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he's not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change. - ROMANS 2:4
If God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells - even though you still experience all the limitations of sin - you yourself experience life on God's terms. - ROMANS 8:9-10
Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. - ROMANS 12:1-2
Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! - 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
Earlier, before you knew God personally, you were enslaved to so-called gods that had nothing of the divine about them. But now that you know the real God - or rather since God knows you - how can you possibly subject yourselves again to those paper tigers? - GALATIANS 4:8-9
God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation's available for everyone! We're being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now. - TITUS 2:11-12
Jesus doesn't change - yesterday, today, tomorrow, he's always totally himself. - HEBREWS 13:8
Now that you've cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God's living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself! - 1 PETER 1:22-23
God isn't late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn't want anyone lost. He's giving everyone space and time to change. - 2 PETER 3:9
CHILD of GOD
My father and mother walked out and left me, but God took me in. - PSALM 27:10
You got me when I was an unformed youth, God, and taught me everything I know. Now I'm telling the world your wonders; I'll keep at it until I'm old and gray. - PSALM 71:17-18
How can a young person live a clean life? by carefully reading the map of your Word. - PSALM 119:9
Oh listen, dear child-become wise; point your life in the right direction. - PROVERBS 23:19
The disciples came to Jesus asking, "Who gets the highest rank in God's kingdom?"
For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. What's more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me." - MATTHEW 18:1-5
One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: "Let the children alone, don't prevent them from coming to me. God's kingdom is made up of people like these." - MATTHEW 19:13-14
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. - EPHESIANS 5:1
As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. - 1 PETER 1:15
I say to God, "Be my Lord!" Without you, nothing makes sense. - PSALM 16:2
My choice is you, God, first and only. And now I find I'm your choice! - PSALM 16:5
We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it. - PROVERBS 16:9
Get wisdom-it's worth more than money; choose insight over income every time. - PROVERBS 16:16
Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit - you choose. - PROVERBS 18:21
Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? - 1 CORINTHIANS 1:27-28
If you choose to speak, you're also responsible for how and when you speak. - 1 CORINTHIANS 14:32
There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. - PHILIPPIANS 3:18
God's a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. - PSALM 9:9
God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. - PSALM 46:1
Pile your troubles on God's shoulders - he'll carry your load, he'll help you out. - PSALM 55:22
[God] heals the heartbroken and bandages their wounds. - PSALM 147:3
Our Lord is great, with limitless strength; we'll never comprehend what he knows and does. God puts the fallen on their feet again. - PSALM 147:5-6
[Jesus said,] "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest." - MATTHEW 11:28
"I will talk to the Father, and he'll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can't take him in because it doesn't have eyes to see him, doesn't know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!
"I will not leave you orphaned. I'm coming back." - JOHN 14:16-18
"I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world." - JOHN 16:33
We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort - we get a full measure of that, too. - 2 CORINTHIANS 1:5
We're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.... There's far more here than meets the eye.
Excerpted from PROMISES PROMISES PROMISES by eugene h. peterson Copyright © 2003 by Eugene H. Peterson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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