One of my earliest childhood memories is of my mother’s musical promise box. The rough wooden box didn’t look special on the outside, but when I opened the lid, tinkling notes spilled out, filling our kitchen with one of my mother’s favorite hymns, “Standing on the Promises of God.”
Dozens of colorful cards were carefully stored inside the box, each printed with a Scripture of promise on both sides.
These were the Scriptures my parents believed, the promises they claimed, the rock upon which they built their lives and ministry. And even though I was too young to read the words for myself or fully understand their significance, I still remember the thrill I would feel when my mother would say, “Pick a promise, Marilee. It’s for you.”
In my morning devotions, I am reading Greater Works, a collection of teachings and sermons by Smith Wigglesworth. If you have never heard of Smith Wigglesworth (I hadn’t until about a year ago), he was an evangelist in the early 1900s who believed God for miracles every day. And he inspired a whole generation to take God at his word and expect the impossible.
An interesting side note is that Smith Wigglesworth was a frequent speaker at Angelus Temple in Los Angeles in the 1920s and 30s, and my maternal grandfather, Floyd B. Johnson (a Methodist minister), also spoke there regularly. So there is every reason to believe that even though my father came from a Nazarene background, my parents heard him preach and were deepened in their walk of faith through his teachings.
Today, his words spoke directly to me: “If we are ever going to make any progress in the divine life, we have to have a real foundation. And there is no foundation except the foundation of faith. … All our movements and all that ever will come to us of any importance will be because we have [built on] the Rock. If you are on the Rock, no powers can move you. … We are told that the Word of God will be forever. Not one jot or tittle of God’s Word will fail. There is no establishment outside God’s Word for you.”
Toward the end of her life, after surviving many personal trials and disappointments that might have defeated a less indomitable spirit, my mother was asked how she and Daddy found the strength and courage to push through to the birth of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse. Her answer was simple:
“We knew the Word of God, and we held him to his promises. God said it, and we believed it.”
Pick a promise today, dear reader. It’s for you!
Marilee Pierce Dunker travels the world as an ambassador for World Vision, the organization her father, Bob Pierce, founded in 1950. Like he did, she shares stories, pictures, and personal reflections, bearing witness to the extraordinary ways God is using his people to share the gospel and care for the poor.
Visit World Vision’s Speakers Bureau site to request Marilee or another World Vision speaker to present at your upcoming event.