Category Archives: Confidence

The Happiest Place on Earth…

Our lives seem so rushed, busy and full of activity.  Maybe you feel like you never have a moment to yourself because it seems like there is always something which needs your attention: work, spouse, kids, bills, a relative’s failing health.  You never get a break.  If I were to ask if you have peace, you may say, “What’s that?!?”

What does it take for you to have peace?  Maybe you need to go to your happy place; a place where you can rest, clear your mind, get away from the commotion of life and then you’ll have peace.  Everyone has a different definition for this place….maybe it is getting your nails done, taking a walk through the woods, reading a book in solitude, spending time with a loved one, or locking yourself in the bathroom.  These examples really area  means of escape, and we think if we can escape people and situations then we will have peace.  Peace is not escapism.  If we envision peace only in a certain set of circumstances then we limit its availability and influence.

To be honest, most people think peace is conditional on their circumstances.  We think, “If I don’t get my morning cup of coffee, I’m going to have an irritable day.”  Really?  Is peace found in a cup, a relationship, or the perfect situation?  This is why we lack genuine peace: because we think of a perfect scenario where peace can thrive, and if we don’t experience our scenario then peace is illusive.

WRONG!

Psalm 34:14 tells us to “seek peace and pursue it.”  Of course, I believe peace can only be found in our God, but there’s another powerful principle of peace: If you lack peace in an area of your life, you need introduce peace into that place.  For instance, you are anxious about the future.  The more you dwell on what you fear, the less peace you have.  How can you have peace when there is so much uncertainty?  By looking to the future with confidence in God, rather than fear.  When you have confidence in Him, you will have peace.  Your trust in Him allows peace to re-enter your life, even though your situation has not changed.  When you know God is in control, you’ll have peace no matter what uncertainties you’re facing.  If you have a heated argument with someone, you’ve lost peace.  To regain peace, you’ll have to bring it back into the relationship by being a peacemaker.  Try offering an apology, forgive the other person, or even lower your voice – now you’ve given peace the opportunity to invade the situation rather than discord and anger.

Peace doesn’t just come to your life, you have to make a choice to pursue it, and God is the giver of peace.  If you trust in Him, you will have peace, but something we forget is this: If we will obey His Word, we will have peace.

The happiest place on earth isn’t a destination.  It is a place of confidence in God to experience His peace, and then to be an extension of that peace through our actions and words towards others.  When you begin to trust God and trust Him enough to do as He says, you may be pleasantly surprised where you begin to find peace – probably in the most unlikely of places.

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Where Art Thou, Romeo?

I’ve never been a Shakespeare fan.  He is listed as one of the greatest writers of all time, and I just don’t understand anything he says – or what the characters are saying.  We were supposed to read his works in High School, and I say “supposed” because I didn’t.  I just came to class the next day, sat through a lecture spoken in modern English, and I had all I needed.  I get it – Juliet’s lines sound more poetic as written:

How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
And the place death, considering who thou art,
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.

But people like me just wish she said, “Romeo, I don’t know how you got in here, but if my Dad finds out, you’re dead!”  See how easy that was?  In all sincerity, people get caught up with Romeo and Juliet because of the tension between their families, their forbidden love and what could have been.  The joy they shared in loving one another was so fleeting, and we read it with regret – wishing they had more time.

Joy is one of those Fruits of the Spirit we can’t seem to hold onto.  We have it and then we lose it.  We get married and have great joy, and then we lose it at our first fight.  We wish we had more of it, but it seems the tighter we try to hold onto it the less likely we can contain it.  Something is always stealing it away from us.  Or is it?

We all have experienced natural joy, but it comes and goes because things in this life just don’t last no matter how much we want them to.  Vacations are great, but you eventually have to come back home and face real life.  If we want lasting joy, we have to experience a joy which does not originate in what this world can give us.  Hmmmmmm – where can we find such a joy?

One place is your salvation!  Matthew 13:44 tells us we’ve found a great treasure in Christ.  You can find temporary joy in your own personal pursuits and choosing your own way, but you’ll find lasting joy following His ways and pursuing the passions of God.  Salvation reminds us how much our LORD loves us.  He gave His life for ours, so we can find forgiveness when we repent of our sins.  If you want joy, find it in knowing and experiencing what God has done for you!  Knowing you don’t have to pay for your sins with eternal separation from your Creator should spark a joy in you which cannot be snuffed out because it isn’t dependent on anything except for what has already been accomplished and cannot be changed.

Another place you’ll find lasting joy is in God, Himself!  We lack joy because we found it in other people who failed us, left us or maybe are no longer with us.  No wonder you’re so depressed, and we know you’re depressed because you post about how lonely, sad, confused and bewildered you are on Facebook every 15 minutes!  Just realize, you’re choosing to live that way, but you don’t have to.  Get to know the God you serve, how He loves you and how He is more than enough for you in all seasons of life.

Psalm 43:5

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Misplaced hope is a joy killer, so find joy in the One who never lets anyone down – God!

It’s time you experienced real joy in the work of Christ in your life and the God you serve!  Stop crying about Romeo and Juliet – it’s just a book!

 

You Want Change? Look no further….

deadlydodgeballIt was fourth grade, and I was the last kid picked for what would turn out to be the most epic dodgeball game in 1984.  I know……picked last, and that should make it clear I was probably the most not-so-valuable player.  I wasn’t that athletic, and I wasn’t incredibly confident, but somehow by ducking, hiding behind other kids, and throwing at imaginary people, so no one could have the chance to catch my ball, I had made it to the end.  It was just me and some totally athletic kid who should pummel me into dodgeball oblivion with ease.  I tried throwing low to hit his feet, but he just kept getting out of the way.  In a brief moment when I needed some confidence, I looked to the sidelines and was met only with looks of humiliation and defeat, and suddenly I wished I could trade places with anyone of them.  Oh, the pressure! Everyone thought I was sure to lose, and I did too.  But in a moment of insanity (cue the Rocky theme song) and just wanting to end it all, one way or the other, I put myself in a position to catch his throw.  The ball came right at my chest, and somehow, just somehow, I caught it – GAME OVER, BABY!  I had won the game for my team, but everyone was too shocked to cheer.  Either way, it was a life-changing moment for me even though it was short-lived.  After-all, you’re only as relevant as today’s news and the next day it was like it never happened to everyone else but me.

You, as a believer need a defining moment.  My moment was just that; a few minutes in time that can only be relived in my memory.  We each need God’s power in our lives, and we shouldn’t desire to have it in a moment which we can only look back on.  We need a power within us which is indwelling, always with us, and continues to propel us forward in our walk with the LORD.

Acts 2:1-5 relates to us what happened on the day of Pentecost to all those in the upper room waiting for the promise Jesus said they would receive if they just stayed in Jerusalem as He’d commanded them.  That moment would be the start of something new, lasting, and empowering.  They were each baptized with the Holy Spirit with the initial physical evidence of speaking in other tongues.  Read the book of Acts and the Epistles, and you’ll witness what this gift upon the disciples and the early church did for them……a gift which was for all those who were far off too (that’s us – Acts 2:39).  Pentecost was a defining moment for each of them.

You need this same defining moment; that’s right, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  If you haven’t received it already, seek God for what He has for you.  If you can start by acknowledging you are inadequate for what God has called you to (living for Him) and you need more from God than what you already have, then you’re on the right track!

God doesn’t want to just reveal His power in moments, He wants to put power into your life, and His Word is clear – it comes from the indwelling of the Spirit.  You need what the disciples had, and you’ll see incredible change come to your life.  Keep pursuing, keep desiring, keep growing!

Consistently…….Inconsistent!

How many times have you made up your mind to do something only to find yourself not doing it?  You want to eat healthier, but you snack during the late hours of the night.  You want to save money but can’t because you constantly ‘need’ something you can’t live without.  How about this one – you want to live a godly life but seem to trip up on the same temptations and fall into sin.

The problem may be emotion…..sometimes we are more keyed in on emotion rather than the Spirit.  Emotions can change in a flash, they have zero staying power, and are unreliable and unpredictable.  It may seem elementary, but the key to being consistent is to stop being inconsistent.  What that means is this: You may want to be consistent in your walk with the LORD, but your problem is you are consistent in those things which keep you from what you want.

Each of us must understand one thing: We do not have the  power, in ourselves, to live consistently as we know God’s Word tells us to and how Jesus wants us to.

How can I become consistent in living for the LORD?

  • Identify areas which cause inconsistency? (For example, ungodly desires, fear of what others would think if I lived differently…..)
  • Determine to make a change to that area of your life.  (Sure, you’ve done it before, but now you mean business.  Rather than have a desire for what distracts you from your goal, see the need for the change.  Often when see the need, we are on board to do what must be done to live consistently.
  • Pray.  (The likely reason you are consistently inconsistent: you are trying on your strength alone which is a recipe for disaster.  Ask the LORD to help you desire Him, His ways, and to please Him more than anything else.)
  • Get in God’s Word – REGULARLY!  (Spend time here, meditate on His Words, and apply them to your life and you will begin to see some godly change in your life.)

 

Are You Lying to Yourself?

liesHave you ever told a lie?  I know; what a ridiculous question because you have.  Have you noticed what happens the more you tell it?  You begin to believe it too.  Many times our own lies begin to convince us and our perception of reality is changed because what we say happened, actually never did.  Yet, its how we’ve begun to remember it and somehow the lie we tell becomes the truth we believe in.  Unfortunately, there’s no truth to be found at all.

Luke 13:24-30 is one of those passages which disturbs me the most because it reveals how the truth we believe can actually be based on a self-manufactured lie.  If you have this concern too after reading this passage, let me give you one clear directive which will guarantee you won’t live in a false reality where your relationship with the LORD is concerned.

One phrase Jesus says which stands out to me in vs. 24 is to “Make every effort….”…. What a game-changer.  I think many of us would have to admit there have been too many times where we did not make every effort and we expected an impossible outcome.  It was impossible because we gave an effort which can be stated as “good enough.”  The “good enough” mentality somehow lulls me into expecting more while giving less effort.  For instance, we may settle for a marriage which is not ideal because it is “good enough” and so we never work to make it stronger.  Our lack of effort is realized when it crumbles under the weight of the pressure of life because in reality, it wasn’t “good enough.”

We will sacrifice eternity if we think we can live some sort of “good enough” in relation to the LORD.  First, the problem with this thinking is no one is “good enough,” so how could you even think such a ridiculous thought.  Actually, it is easy when the lie becomes the truth.  See, I look at myself and think what is good about me outweighs what is wrong with me, so I’m now “good enough.”

When you dedicate yourself to “make every effort” there is little room to miss the mark.  Jesus knew the most important goal for any of our lives was to find salvation in Him through our repentance of sins within His forgiveness for those sins.  Nothing less will move us to the other side of the threshold except for His grace.

The reality is this….if your life were to end now and you were on the wrong side of that threshold, you would be desperate to get through this door called salvation, but it will be too late.  The decision has to be made in this life.  Rather than be desperate later, make every effort now to ensure you are saved.

Don’t shut out God’s voice to your life, and His direction.  Find joy in His Word of life rather than in things or even people which only last or stay for a time.  Trust in Him, so you will not allow the worries of life or the temptation to gain great riches draw you from His presence.  In other words, keep your priorities straight by making sure He is your first priority…your first love….the One you serve first…….your All in All!

There’s no sense in gaining the world and losing your soul.  If you will make every effort, you will undoubtedly enjoy a fullness in your life which only comes from Him and cannot be duplicated by anything or anyone else.

A Promise that could change your life!

life-change-aheadWhat could happen right now which could change your life forever?  Win a million dollars…..get married…..have a child…..or maybe meeting an extremely important person you admire?  I’m sure there’s many moments or opportunities we could list which seem like game changers for our life’s path.

What about trusting God?  Sure, we don’t think of this one because we’re generally oblivious to it.  Trusting in God is something we think we do subconsciously, second nature, or even in our sleep.  Think about this seriously…..wouldn’t learning to trust God, especially His promises change your life completely?  Let me challenge you briefly to learn to trust God completely, or you could continue to live the way you do.  “What’s wrong with how I’m living?”  Glad you asked, so let’s address two main issues.

When I fail to trust God and won’t live with faith in His promises…..

……Insecurity

governs my living.  We all make bad decisions; some more than others.  I’ve not met a person who was insecure and made good decisions.  Insecurity stems from a desire to do, or be, or attain something which you are not able to.  No matter what you do, you won’t be able and this doesn’t merely annoy you, but it makes you insecure.  The last thing we want anyone to know about us is we have limits, and yet we all know each of us is limited…how odd!  If you were to make a list right now of everything you’d like to do or be or have, that list would reveal where your heart is and where you put your confidence.  Where is your confidence?  It’s probably in yourself.  People put their confidence in the same person they know is limited and insecure about.  What you’ve found out even more so is your faith in God is lacking.  Faith in the promises of God guards you against insecurity.  What I have is given by God; whether that is my material possessions, my attributes, or my abilities, and whatever I do not have I can trust God to make up the difference.  What do we call this?  Faith in God, and with faith always comes trust.

When I fail to trust God and won’t live with faith in His promises…..

……Jealousy

governs my living.  Have you ever thought, “Why them and not me?”  If so, its because you were jealous.  Have you ever noticed people have such a difficult time being happy for someone else who has what they lack?  We will compare ourselves to others constantly, and pick apart their personality and character to justify why they shouldn’t have and we should have what they possess.  There’s probably a term for this…….oh, what is it?…….Jealousy!  Why do we find it so difficult to rejoice with those who are rejoicing.  We may be jumping up and down, screaming in excitement with them but deep down in the darkest recesses of our hearts we wish it were us and not them…..jealousy………it just eats at us and devours us, so we can never be thankful for God’s blessing on someone’s life.  Jealousy, like insecurity, stems from a life lacking faith to trust in God’s Word.  Faith understands and accepts God gives and takes away, and it receives what God does in either case.  You know what else….faith is satisfied with what God has given and is blessed.  God could give you and another person a cookie.  Jealousy looks and says, “God gave them a bigger cookie!” but faith says, “Thank you God for my cookie!”

If you want a pivotal moment which could change your life then I hope you will ask God for greater faith to trust Him, to be content, and be satisfied with what God has brought into your life.  What you have may not be what others have, and who you are may not be who others are but praise God for what He has given you and who He’s made you to be.  Often our insecurity and jealousy merely stem from misunderstanding how uniquely blessed we are.  The promises of God….His Word, and the faith He willfully gives us to accept both can be a life-changing moment which sets our course for eternity.

Confidence Driven Thanksgiving

Confidence word destruction

It is in my experience that many believers talk much about God but have difficulty living in a manner which expresses or validates the talk.  One area this is found is in the area of confidence.  I’m not going to make an argument for self-belief, self-esteem, or even self-enablement.  What I want to illustrate is a level of living which is borne from confidence in God in such a way that my actions express to God how thankful I am for His Word so that I live with His Word as my guide and my rock.  A great passage to illustrate this is Deuteronomy8:1-11.

Release it….

Every time I play with our dog, Daisy, she gets excited, wags her tail so hard that her whole body shakes, and waits for me to throw her favorite toy for her to go get and bring back to me.  She’ll run, get her toy, and run straight back, but won’t give up the toy.  What ensues is a wrestling match to get the toy out of her grip, so we can play.  What she fails to understand is we can’t play ball if she won’t release it to me to throw.

So many times we want God to deal with the issues of our lives, but we won’t release our grip from dealing with those issues.  We say we want His intervention, but we are too busy micromanaging our lives that God is really given no place to be God.  When I can release my plans to the LORD, I will find Him to be dependable and sustainable.  Not only does God use the very issues of our lives to remind us (if we want to be reminded!) that He is able and willing, but He sustains so many other areas of my life which are not needs because God is supplying those needs so readily.  Unfortunately for us, we see the one issue we are dealing with and may begin to wonder about God’s faithfulness all the while forgetting how God is sustaining so many areas of our lives.  God really is good!  It’s hard to be able to declare that unless you’ve learned to stop worrying, stressing, and managing all of your life and learn to turn over control to Him.  Do that and you will see God do only what God can do.

Remember Him….

We easily can get discouraged in life.  Discouragement sets in when I fail to understand what I should have been sure of.  A runner knows the course, the beginning and the finish line, and he knows the length of the race.  If he were to ever become discouraged, he could remember how far he had already come, know exactly where he is, and know how much further he would need to go.  Rather than get discouraged with unknowns, he could continue on because of what he knows to be true.  The same is with God.  We ought to be able to look back and remember how God has been faithful in our lives – how He has led you, guided you, provided for you, given you strength and hope – and we should be encouraged God will not change from who He was towards us before.  Even more so, we can look at our present condition and be able to see how God is moving on our behalf today.  The Israelites could see their clothes had not worn out all the 40 years in the desert and their feet never swelled.  That was a present day faithfulness of God they could remember and press on.  Lastly, let’s not forget what is ahead.  Jesus said He would go ahead of us and prepare a place for us.  We may never experience heaven on earth, but we will experience eternity with Him as we continue to run the race with perseverance and finish strong!

Revere Him…

In our passage we read the phrase, “the LORD your God.”  When I read this, I’m reminded of my relationship with God.  My relationship isn’t based on another person’s relationship with God, but I have my own relationship with Him.  He isn’t the LORD God of another person’s life, but He is the LORD my God!  In each passage we see this phrase (vs. 2, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11) it reveals how a personal relationship of reverence for God should look like.  First, I remember His faithfulness to me.  I can praise Him for His faithfulness to others, but I have my own testimony of God’s faithfulness towards my life!  Second, I will serve Him.  When God is another person’s God, I have no obligations to Him, but He’s my God, so I will serve Him.  Third, I will obey Him.  Since He is the LORD my God, I am compelled to obey His Word.  Fourth, I choose to allow Him to lead me because He is the LORD my God.  Fifth, I praise the LORD my God.  Lastly, I will not forget the LORD my God.  I can’t reduce Him to acts of faithfulness, but He is personal to me, and my love is for Him, not for what He does.

When a believer has a confidence driven thanksgiving, we won’t just have something to talk about, but our living will reveal the validity of our claims.

Live it out this week….

I will show God thankfulness by living confidently in His ability, faithfulness, and for His glory.