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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

December 5, 2012 - Promises to Keep

By William E. Richardson

I've sat in a courtroom, placed my hand on a Bible, and pledged to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” As a child, I just as sincerely promised my peers, “Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.”

Why do we resort to such extreme vows when giving our word?

There was a time when a business deal was sealed with a handshake. No contract drawn up by a lawyer was needed. That kind of transaction was called a gentleman's agreement. It was safe. When the other person said they would do something, you knew they would.

There are two kinds of people who make promises. Those who plan to keep them and those who don't.

Both kinds of people pledge plenty. We promise to do certain things and not to do other things. We promise to tell things to others and to keep things secret. We make vows to those living under our roof and to neighbors in the houses around us. In some of our jobs, we promise things to total strangers.

You would expect Christians to always keep their word. After all, our Leader, Jesus, never broke a promise. It makes sense that in following Him we would always walk the path we say we will.

The Bible offers us wisdom. Ecclesiastes 5:5 says, “It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it” (NIV).

God is our ultimate example. He promised what seemed impossible to Abraham, led some of Abraham's promised descendants to the Promised Land, sent Jesus as the promised Messiah, and after Jesus completed His mission, sent us the Holy Spirit, who Jesus called “the promise of the Father” (see Luke 24:49).

Our moment-by-moment challenge: Live among nonbelievers who fail to keep their word without falling into the same practice. Our help: Pursue the promises of the One who always keeps His word. The One who also protects us from making foolish commitments.

God doesn't ask us to hold our hand over a Bible or cross our hearts. He just expects us to honor Him by making promises worth keeping and by keeping the promises we make.

— William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God and blogs at



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