The second practice is to keep a precious store of all-purpose promises — general, all-purpose promises — in my memory, ready to be trusted at any moment, when nothing more specific is given to my mind by God. These are my default treasure. They are of such a breadth that they are always relevant in every preaching situation, no matter what. For example,
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Is there a more precious sentence before preaching than “Sam, I’ll help you,” spoken by the Creator of the universe? “Jason, I will help you. I will help you. I’ll strengthen you. I’ll help you. I’ll uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10 is the most common trusted promise in my life.
No eye has seen a God besides you, who acts [or works] for those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:4)
“I work for people who wait for me. Would you just pause right there in the ten seconds before you go into this pulpit and acknowledge me? Wait for me. Look to me. I work for people like that.” I’ll tell you, that’s empowering. When God Almighty says that to you, “I work. I work for you,” that’s scary. “No, I thought I was your servant.”
My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
Can that be more expansive? No. “My God will supply every need.” You don’t have a need he won’t supply in that moment, if you trust him. And your need may be to fail and forget your notes and lose your voice and only be able to think about what’s happening at home. That may be your need. Be careful how you apply the promises of God as though he’s only a “rah-rah” promise-fulfiller. He meets every need of his children who trust him.
God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
Including this moment in preaching. There will be a sufficiency. Those are my four default treasure promises. They’re always relevant. They’re always valid. They’re always helpful. And I use them, especially number one, because it’s just the whir of the gears in my mind, when my mind is not latched onto anything else. “I will help you. I will help you. I will help you.”
And the issue is, “Do you trust me? Are you walking into this situation doubting me?” Are you like a wave of the sea tossed to and fro — double-minded? “Maybe you won’t help me, maybe you will.” The Holy Spirit’s not going to flow there. He flows through hearing with faith. That’s habit number two: Make sure that your mind has a battery of promises that you can default to at any moment, and trust that God will help you.
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