Happy New Year! The great thing about a new year is that it gives us the opportunity to put behind the past whether it was great or not so great and trust God for a better year. For me personally and for us as a family there were some huge challenges but God’s faithfulness shone through and we had some highs in spite of it all! What an awesome God! So no matter what kind of year you had in 2015, see 2016 as a new start and trust Father God to lead you onwards and upwards in every area of your life.

What does 2016 hold for us as the body of Christ? I believe it will be a year of fulfilled promises. I know you have heard this said before – ‘sometimes God says yes, sometimes He says wait, and sometimes the answer is downright no’. I have heard sermons preached about prayer that incorporated the above philosophy and I can certainly understand why one would accept that as truth. I have thought it myself. There are some prayers that I have prayed that never got answered in the way that I had wanted or envisaged or within the time frame that I had expected. I am sure you have too. But today I want to challenge that way of thinking and ask you to consider what the Bible actually says in light of God’s response to our prayers.

I have been thinking a lot about the scripture that says this:

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:19 NIV

Or as The Message Bible puts it:

Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.

All God’s promises are YES. It’s never a no – according to my Bible. What does your Bible say?

I know that this is a toughie because we have so many unanswered prayers – I have them too.

But we must never let our experiences diminish the truth of the bible no matter how real those experiences might be to us.   Why does it seem like we have so many unanswered prayers? Could it be that our prayers have been based more on what we want than on what God has promised? Is it possible that there is a mismatch between what we want and what He has promised? Rather than develop a theology that blames unanswered prayer on God saying ‘no’ could it be that we have not always asked right?

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:3 NKJV

Or could it be that we have given up too soon because it did not happen in the time frame that we thought it would?

And so, (speaking of Abraham) after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. Hebrews 6:15 NKJV

Either way God can never be wrong. We must align ourselves to Him and His word rather than expecting Him to align Himself to us. We teach our children that God is a Promise Keeper. Do we really believe this? Wholeheartedly? The bible is full of God’s promises. They encompass every aspect of life – physical, spiritual, relational, emotional – everything. I wonder what our lives would look like in 2016 if we decided to take God at His word and expect His promises to be fulfilled in our lives.

If you are in Christ then God’s answer to His promises are always YES.

It may not happen in the time frame we expect, or look exactly like we think it should but when we look back at the answer, we will see that it was a YES none the less.

Still not convinced? Look at another verse:

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14 NKJV

If it is the Father’s will and purpose, the answer is always YES (I’ll say it until you get it).

But here lies the challenge for you and me – we must find out what these promises to us are, both generally and individually and then pull them from the realm of heaven where the answer is always yes to the earth where oppositions abound. We must discover His will and purpose for us and then hold onto that promise, prophecy or divine destiny; fighting tirelessly with the help of Holy Spirit until we see its fulfilment – or die still believing. It’s not a fight we fight on our own, but we must play our part. We recognise the excuses we make and put an end to them. We stand our ground and refuse to give the enemy an inch of ground. And we look around us and find brothers and sisters that will stand with us as we commit to standing with them as well, because we realise that we are stronger together than alone.

My word for 2016 is – yes you guessed right – Promise. I feel God challenging me to take hold of His promises like never before.

And to run with them.

To wage war as Paul advocates with the prophecies spoken over me in times past.

To embrace His promises and pull them down to this earthly realm.

To see His kingdom come in my life as well as in others in my world.

Will you join me in this? Let’s show that we really believe it when we call our God a Promise Keeper. His promises have no expiration date. It’s not too late to pick up promises you abandoned and run with them.

For if God has said yes in Christ who can say no?