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Unshakable Hope Promise Book: Student Edition

Unshakable Hope Promise Book: Student Edition

by Max Lucado


Learn More | Meet Max Lucado
p>CHAPTER 1

GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES

[God] has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature.

— 2 PETER 1:4

If you believe in the promises of God, you're in good company. The heroes in the Bible were all ages and came from all cultures. Some of them were rich and others were poor. Yet they had one thing in common: they built their lives on the promises of God.

Because of God's promises, Noah believed in rain before a single drop had ever fallen on earth. Because of God's promises, Abraham left a good home for one he'd never seen. Because of God's promises, Joshua led two million people into the promised land. Because of God's promises, David conked a giant, Peter rebounded from regret, and Paul found a grace worth dying for.

God's promises were guiding truths in their journeys of faith — and they had plenty of promises to pick from. One student of the Bible spent a year and a half attempting to count the number of promises God made to humanity. He came up with 7,487 promises!

Not only is God a promise maker; God is a promise keeper. From Genesis 1, the Bible makes the case that we can depend on God. Nine times the text repeats "God said." And without exception, when God spoke, something wonderful happened. By divine order, he made light, land, beaches, and creatures. God didn't discuss it with any advisors. He needed no help. He spoke, and it happened. We're left with one conclusion: God's word is guaranteed. What he says happens.

Faith is the deeply held belief that God will keep his promises. God will not — he cannot — break his promises. What he says will happen.

It must happen! God's promises are irrevocable because of who he is:

God is unchanging. He sees the end from the beginning. He's never caught off guard or surprised. He makes no course corrections. He is not swayed by up- and- down moods. "He never changes" (James 1:17 NLT).

God is faithful. "God can be trusted to keep his promise" (Hebrews 10:23 NLT).

God is strong. He does not overpromise and underdeliver. "God is able to do whatever he promises" (Romans 4:21 NLT).

God cannot lie. "It is impossible for God to lie" (Hebrews 6:18 NLT). A rock cannot swim. A hippo cannot fly. A butterfly cannot eat a bowl of spaghetti. You cannot sleep on a cloud, and God cannot lie. He never exaggerates, manipulates, fibs, or flatters. "He doesn't break promises!" (Titus 1:2 THE MESSAGE).

The question is not whether God keeps his promises. The question is, will you build your life upon them?

GOD'S PROMISES FOR YOU

The Lord said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you."

EXODUS 34:10

"As the rain and snow come down from heaven and stay upon the ground to water the earth, and cause the grain to grow and to produce seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry, so also is my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It shall accomplish all I want it to and prosper everywhere I send it."

ISAIAH 55:10–11 TLB

The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away — whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.

ACTS 2:39 THE MESSAGE

God is able to do whatever he promises.

ROMANS 4:21 NLT

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 1:20

Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word.

HEBREWS 10:23 THE MESSAGE

The Lord is not slow in doing what he promised — the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to be lost, but he wants all people to change their hearts and lives.

2 PETER 3:9 NCV

THINK AND RESPOND

This chapter defined faith as "the deeply held belief that God will keep his promises." Right now in your life is it easy to believe that God will keep his promises? Or is it difficult? Why?

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Which characteristics of God, some of which were mentioned in this chapter, do you need to be reminded of in your current circumstances?

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Describe a time in your life when nothing seemed to be going right but God gave you hope.

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Write a Bible verse from this chapter that will help you remember that God is a promise maker and a promise keeper.

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MY PROMISE TO GOD

I will build my life on God's promises. In a shaky world, I will trust God's unshakable Word. Rather than focusing on my circumstances and problems, I will place my hope in God and his promises.

CHAPTER 2

YOU CAN KNOW GOD

"All people will know me."

— HEBREWS 8:11 NCV

God guarantees a day when all people who want to know him will do so. Even now, God is revealing himself, inviting us to take a glimpse. We can know more than simple facts about him; we can know his heart, his joy, his passion, his plan, and his sorrows. God wants us to know him.

Some years ago my wife and I had a wilderness adventure in the Rocky Mountains ... well, it was really more like a five-mile hike on a well-paved trail. Carrying a backpack filled with peanut butter sandwiches and two jugs of water, we trekked through pine trees and mountain rocks. By the time we got to the breathtaking waterfalls, we were out of breath. A sign invited hikers to keep going, but we were worn out. We didn't camp out. We didn't see wild animals. We didn't even build a campfire. Instead, we walked back to civilization to get sandwiches from the local deli. Such was the extent of my mountain-climbing experience!

As soon as I got off the trail, I did what you might expect: I ordered business cards with my new title — Max Lucado, Mountain Man. I got an office, hung a Wilderness Expert sign on the door, and offered my wisdom to anyone who needed it.

Would you hire me as an adventure guide? Of course not! You'd laugh at me, report me, or maybe try to correct me, but you wouldn't ask me for advice. After all, I didn't even make it all the way up the mountain!

When it comes to knowledge of God, we can't claim to be experts. Our finest thoughts are first grade math to his advanced algebra. We will never know everything about him. God is beyond our biggest thoughts, but that shouldn't discourage us. Once we are in heaven, we will enjoy an eternal adventure of discovery. We'll never stop learning about God and how amazing he is.

But we don't have to wait that long; we can begin now. In fact, the mark of a person who loves God is that he or she is always growing in the knowledge of God. "Don't let the rich brag of their riches. If you brag, brag of this and this only: That you understand and know me" (Jeremiah 9:23–24 THE MESSAGE).

The facts lead to a wonderful conclusion: we can know God. He has not hidden himself from us. He doesn't close the door on his children. He doesn't refuse our questions. He promises to make himself known to all who search for him.

GOD'S PROMISES FOR YOU

The heavens declare the glory of God,
PSALM 19:1–4 NCV

Wise men and women are always learning,
PROVERBS 18:15 THE MESSAGE

"I'll show you how great I am, how holy I am. I'll make myself known all over the world. Then you'll realize that I am God."

EZEKIEL 38:23 THE MESSAGE

What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — His eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

ROMANS 1:19–20

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
ROMANS 11:33–36

THINK AND RESPOND

How does knowing more about God help you understand more about your life?

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Do you feel you know mostly facts about God or that you know him personally? What are some ways you can get to know God more this week?

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What questions do you look forward to asking God one day?

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List several things you've learned about God that you think are amazing, and share why these things mean so much to you.

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MY PROMISE TO GOD

I will make knowing God my main goal. Rather than just study facts about God, I will spend time with God himself. Through reading the Bible and spending time with him in prayer, I will begin the adventure of knowing God personally.

CHAPTER 3

YOU ARE GOD'S IDEA

Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature.

— GENESIS 1:26 THE MESSAGE

Every person has asked themselves the same question: Am I somebody important?

It's easy to feel unimportant when the school sees you as a number, your friend is rude to you, and your parents don't understand you. But when you struggle with that question, remember this promise of God: you were created by God, in God's image, for God's glory. You are important to him.

God spoke: "Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth."

(Genesis 1:26 THE MESSAGE)

Within these words is the most wonderful of promises: God made us to reflect the image of God.

To be clear: no one is a god. Only God is God. But everyone reflects certain aspects of God. Wisdom. Love. Grace. Kindness. A longing for eternity. These are just some of the things that set us apart from animals and suggest that we resemble our Creator. We are made in his image and in his likeness.

We "take after" God in many ways. There is no exception to this promise. Every person is made in the image of God.

Maybe someone called you a loser. Said you don't matter. That you're a waste of space. Don't listen to them. They don't know what they are talking about! A divine spark shines within you. When you say yes to God, you become more like him. Are you perfect? No. But you are being made perfect. He has a never- ending love for you, yet his love for you doesn't depend on you.

You are God's idea. God's child. Created in God's image.

Would you let this truth find its way into your heart? God knew you before your parents named you. You were loved in heaven before you were born on earth. You aren't an accident. You aren't defined by the number of pounds you weigh, the amount of social media followers you have, or the price of the shoes you wear.

When we were toddlers, we had a tendency to say, "Look at me!" Wanting attention is acceptable for little kids. But even as we get older, we want the same. "Look at me ace the test. Look at me wear the most expensive clothes, use big words, or flex my muscles. Look at me!"

Isn't it time we grew up? We were made to live a life that says, "Look at God!" People should look at us and see not us but the image of our Maker.

This is God's plan. This is God's promise. We do matter. We are important because God made us and is continuing to make us more and more into his image.

GOD'S PROMISES FOR YOU

This is the written account of the descendants of Adam. When God created human beings, he made them to be like himself.

GENESIS 5:1 NLT

You created my inmost being;
PSALM 139:13–14

[We] are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 CORINTHIANS 3:18

Take on an entirely new way of life — a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

EPHESIANS 4:24 THE MESSAGE

You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

COLOSSIANS 3:9–10

Friends, that's exactly who we are: children of God. And that's only the beginning. Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him — and in seeing him, become like him.

1 JOHN 3:2 THE MESSAGE

THINK AND RESPOND

Do you think Adam and Eve saw God as their Father? Do you see God more as your heavenly Father or a powerful but distant God? Why?

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Read this statement again: "You were loved in heaven before you were born on earth. You aren't an accident." Does this feel true? Why or why not?

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Do you base your importance on what you wear, how well you do in school, or the people you hang out with? Or is your value based in who God says you are? Explain.

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In what ways do you see God working in you to make you more like him? Can you see those areas as "works in progress" rather than as reasons to feel ashamed?

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MY PROMISE TO GOD

I will embrace my identity as a child of God and his image bearer. I will be confident in my identity because I am his child, his idea, and he created me in his image. I will live each day becoming more like my Father.


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