Unshakeable Confidence

 

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Psalm 3:3-6, “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me. I will not be afraid of thousands of people who have taken their stand against me on every side.” (CSB) This passage was written by David as he was fleeing his son, Absalom. Absalom wanted to take over David’s throne and become king. Despite being on the run and having those in Israel who were favorable toward Absalom come against him, David still had confidence in God.

God had him anointed and placed on the throne of Israel. David could rest and not be worried or concerned because he knew that God was in control of everything and God had his back.

Worry can be disabling. It can cause sleepless nights, physical ailments, and take away our peace. But when we have confidence that God has everything under His control, that He sees our path beginning to end, we can have peace, we can rest. I love how David says, “I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me.” (verse 5) He could sleep at night in peace. Absalom had an agenda and desired to take David out so that he could become king, and David kept his confidence that God would settle the matter in His own time and way. He even says he is not afraid of those who are coming against him! That is Unshakeable Confidence!

I am not necessarily a worrier, however; there are times I can become concerned or even worry a little bit about a situation. I try not to let it get me to the point of being overwhelmed with worry, but I can have that situation uppermost in my mind, and it can always be there in my thoughts. If I don’t stop and pray about the situation, give it to God, and then trust Him to work it out for my good, then I become miserable.

God gives us His promise that when we pray, He will listen and answer. I John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (NASB) When we pray, He will hear and answer! That is our confidence!

God also gives us confidence to step out in faith when He has given us direction into an area that is not in our comfort zone. Doing new things can be scary, but God is orchestrating things in our lives to make us more like Him, to become a vessel that He can use in bringing others to faith in Jesus. Knowing He is directing my steps gives me confidence that I can do what He is asking me to do. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (NASB) As Believers, we know this verse and quote it quite often, but we never really pay attention to that little word in the middle of the verse…all! There is nothing we can not do when we put our trust and confidence in Christ. Everything is possible through Jesus!

So, as we look at placing our confidence in God, step out in faith, rely on His leading, rest in peace that He knows what is best for us, and He will always walk with us!

 

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Confidence is Mediated by the Holy Spirit

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Ephesians 1:13-14, “In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.” (CSB) The Holy Spirit’s purpose is not only to draw us to Jesus, but to help us in our daily walk with the Lord. One way He helps us is in assisting us to have confidence in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Our confidence is then mediated by the Holy Spirit. Mediation, in this instance, is defined as “intervention in a process of relationship; intercession. The Holy Spirit helps us have confidence in Jesus, He encourages us to step forward when God is leading us into territory that is unfamiliar. As an example, when I felt God calling me to begin to minister through a blog, I was very hesitant. I didn’t know the first thing about blogging, didn’t even know how to begin. The Holy Spirit, through the counsel of my Pastor and others who journal and blog, encouraged me to begin. It was a slow beginning, and in some ways, it still is. But, without the prompting of the Holy Spirit to step out of my comfort zone, I would never have begun my ministry through Bible Journaling and this blog. I don’t claim to be an organized ministry to the point of being incorporated or needing licensing or any of the things full-time ministries do, but to the few that read my journaling, I am endeavoring to minister hope, healing, salvation, and encouragement. I have no grand ideas that my blog will develop into some huge ministry with thousands of followers. I am content to share with those who find my blog or read my entries on Facebook. God never said it would be earth shattering, but it is what He has called me to do, and I pray that it influences the tiny corner of the world I reach.

There may be something that God is calling you to do, but you have been hesitant to step out in faith. It’s scary beginning something new. However, if you truly feel God is leading you to begin something you are not accustomed to doing, rely upon the encouragement of the Holy Spirit and the confidence that God will guide you in the way you are to proceed. Is God calling you to minister in your church? It may not be something as prominent as singing or playing on the worship team or teaching a Sunday School class, but there are other positions that are needed in the church, that a lot of times, must be done by the pastor because no one else will step up. His or her calling is to be the shepherd of the congregation, not the janitor. Maybe there is a need for nursery duty or hospitality. Our church has a dear lady who quietly ministers by sending cards to those in our church who need encouragement. She sends our pastor something almost every week to help him and lift him up. He needs that little push to be able to minister to us. That is her ministry! Something like that, even though it seems so trivial, can be just the thing to help someone who is struggling.

The Holy Spirit seals us so that we have the assurance that we belong to God, and because of this, we have confidence that whatever God has for us in our walk with Him, we know that it is for our good, and will help us to grow daily as we seek to live our lives in glory and honor to Him.

Our Confidence is in Jesus – A Better Covenant

Today’s Bible Journaling is from Hebrews 7:22, “so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.” (NASB) As we investigate from where our confidence comes, we see in this passage that our confidence can be placed in Jesus because He guarantees our salvation. The writer of Hebrews points out in this chapter that the Law of the Old Testament “made nothing perfect” (Hebrews 7:19 NASB) and therefore couldn’t be a guarantee of entrance into Heaven, it couldn’t save us from our sins, rather it pointed out our sins.

Verses 18-19 say, “For, on the one hand there is a setting aside of a former covenant because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” (NASB) Only through Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for our sins, and our acceptance of His sacrifice, can we be guaranteed a home in Heaven.

As we place our confidence in Him daily, He walks with us, He guides us, and when we fall, He picks us up and sets us back on the right track. We are not worn down by the weight of sin that we bore, because He took our load of sin upon Himself. We can now walk free of that burden. He promises never to leave us (Hebrews 13:5), He promises to be our help in time of trouble. (Hebrews 4:16) He is our High Priest, (Hebrews 3:1) the one we confess our sins to, and who is able to save us from our sins and He is continually making intercession for us to the Father. (Hebrews 7:25) He has promised that not only will He save us from our sins, but He will remember them no more. (Hebrews 8:12)

Chapter 8 tells us that under the New Covenant a New Law will be placed into the hearts and minds of His children. (Hebrews 8:10) This Law is a Law of Love. We obey because of our love for Jesus, not because we must follow a Law that is impossible to keep and that shows us our shortcomings. The Old Testament Law had a purpose…to show us how far from God’s perfection we are. The New Covenant shows us that because of God’s love for us and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we can be obedient to His Law because of our love for Him and the salvation He paid in our stead.

Because of His faithfulness to us we can have confidence in whatever He promises. We know that He will never leave us, never go back on His promise to help us, never turn His back on us. He will always walk with us. We can trust Him to bring us through whatever we are facing. We can trust that He has our best in mind. (Jeremiah 29:11)

The New Covenant has made the Old Covenant obsolete; it no longer is useful. (Hebrews 8:13) The New Covenant, salvation through Jesus Christ, is a better covenant, and that is from where our confidence comes.

Confidence Begins with God

 

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Psalm 89:34, “My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.” (NASB) The King James Version puts it this way, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” God assures us that He will keep His promises to us, and He will not change!

Confidence coming from ourselves is very shaky. We, unlike God, change constantly. Our attitudes, our actions, our thinking, how we perceive things…all are constantly in a state of change. We find that if we rely upon our own understanding, our pathway becomes bumpy, uncertain, full of potholes. However, God does not change, ever! His yes is yes, and His no is no. (I Corinthians 1:20). Hebrews 13:8 says that “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (NASB) We gain our confidence from God.

Remember the first time you got a job and arrived the first day to take your place in the workforce? We did not have confidence in our own abilities, especially in a new situation. We had to learn the way things operated in our new situation. I know I did not have confidence in my first job. I took a summer job in a plant that distributed cassettes and 8-track tapes (yes, I’m dating myself) to customers, and I had to work in the warehouse packing orders for shipment. It was the first time I had to use office equipment to track the order (this is before computers mind you) and get it ready to go out the door. I had to get used to my coworkers, most of whom were from a different background than me, and to say the least, I was not confident in my ability to do the job. At that point, I had not learned to put my confidence in Jesus. I was a relatively new Christian with a lot to learn.

The more I worked at my job, the more confident I became. It’s the same with our daily lives with God. The more we put our confidence and trust in Him, the more assured of His promises we become and our confidence in Christ grows.

God has a plan for each of us, (Jeremiah 29:11) and His plan is different from His plan for someone else. He knows what He has mapped out for us, and He knows what is best for us. He knows how to strengthen our confidence in Him. The more He brings us through situations that seem way more complicated and confusing than we would like, the more we can find ourselves saying, “If He got me through that, He can get me through the next big hurdle.” We can look back and see how He has been faithful to us, our confidence grows, and when the next big hurdle comes (and it will) we can be confident that He will not leave us alone, He will guide our steps, He will walk with us, and He will be sure that we do not fail in the end. He will not go back on His promises to us! We can rely on Him in every situation.

I see the Bible as God’s love letter to us, from Genesis to Revelation. He loves us enough to guide us through His Word. He loves us enough to show us examples of how to live and how not to live. He loves us enough to be gracious to us in all circumstances. He loves us enough to keep His promises. He loves us enough to teach us how to rely upon Him, to take our confidence from Him.

If you are finding yourself without confidence, turn to God. He loves you and He wants to see you succeed. Your first step is to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior if you haven’t already, confess your sins, and promise to live for Him daily. He will then show you how to take your confidence from Him and rely upon Him for each day, each circumstance, in all things.

Where is Your Confidence Placed?

Today’s Bible Journaling is from I Kings 8:57, “May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us.” Solomon is encouraging the people of Israel to be obedient and to put their confidence in God. He’s asking God to be with them and not forsake them. He is putting His confidence in God and what He has done in the past for the children of Israel.

Where do we place our confidence? Is it in material things, the “get everything you can” atmosphere of today’s society? Is it in people? Let’s start with the definition of confidence. Merriam-Webster dictionary says that confidence (1) is a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances, (2) a faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper or effective way, ( 3) the quality or state of being certain.

For me, spiritually, confidence is a steadfast knowledge that we can rely on God, that He is trustworthy. Confidence is a strong trust in someone or something. God has proven time and again that He can be trusted. He is faithful! He comes through on His promises to us. He promises to never leave or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) The NASB says that He will never desert us! That is a promise He keeps every day! I can put my confidence in God because He has proven to me that He will keep His promises to me.

I trust in God’s leading in my life. I know that He will not lead me somewhere that would be harmful to me, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. His desire is for me to live a life that is full of blessing, a life that is totally surrendered to Him, and He wants me to have the best relationship with Him that is possible. He brings me through things that will strengthen me and cause me to draw closer to Him. He walks through the desert with me, He dances in the meadow in jubilation when I am blessed more than I can stand! He reaches out to me when I am uncertain and comforts, guides, and loves me.

Placing our confidence in someone or something other than God does not bring us joy but leads to disappointment. People will fail you, circumstances will fail you, things will disappoint and fail you, but God never fails, never disappoints. His word is truth, His love is everlasting, He is faithful in all things. The verse before our Scripture today says, “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.” (NASB) Do you see in the middle of the verse? “not one word has failed of all His good promise…” He makes good on His promises.

Is there something you are trusting God to do for you? Are you overwhelmed by circumstances around you? Are you in need of confidence that He will never leave or forsake you, do you need to know without a shadow of a doubt that God will be faithful? Is your confidence in God? As I am typing this, I’m listening to the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing, “More Than Enough”. It reminds me that my confidence in God is well-placed. Listen, and let the words flow over your soul.

https://www.pandora.com/artist/play/the-brooklyn-tabernacle-choir/god-is-working/more-than-enough/TR:1033624

The Word Full of Grace and Truth

Today’s Bible Journaling is from John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (KJV)

The amazing part of this verse for me is the whole idea that God’s Son became human, walked on the face of this earth, and became our avenue for salvation. John says in the very first verse of this book that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (KJV) The study Bible I looked at said that “the idea behind the title embodied God’s revelation of Himself to humanity.” Jesus is the Word! In order for Him to help us relate to Him, He needed to become human, experience the things we experience, and that helps us know that He understands the things we deal with on a daily basis. He also had to become man in order to provide the perfect sacrifice for our sin.

Our verse says that He is also full of grace and truth. He embodies grace and truth. If you are looking for a definition of grace or truth, look to Jesus. Grace is what God extends to us in forgiveness and in healing (physically, emotionally, and spiritually). Because of His great love for us, He made a way for our salvation and He brings healing. Our verse says also that He is full of truth. When Jesus says He will do something, or when He says something, we can fully rely on it. He does not lie, He IS truth. He IS grace.

How awesome to think that everything He endured here on earth was for our benefit! He desires a relationship with us, one that is close and everlasting. He wants us to rely on Him for everything. He wants us to come to Him in every situation…in pain, in sorrow, in confusion, in a steadfast certainty that He will be with us, in joy and exhilaration, in peace! He wants to rejoice when we are rejoicing, and He wants to cry with us and bring comfort when we are in pain and agony. He wants us to tell Him everything! When life is bringing us joy and it seems like nothing could go wrong…He wants to hear about how awesome it is! When we are grieving and feel like we are in a dark pit, He wants us to tell Him how we feel. He even wants us to question…yes, question…why? It’s ok to ask why. He’s right there to provide the answer and to comfort us.

God’s grace has been described as unmerited favor. He offers us grace for salvation when we do not deserve it. But I think grace can be more than that. Grace is God’s way of showering us with His love. Whether it’s blessings that fall on us and cause us to be grateful for His provision, or His holding back on punishment we deserve, He extends grace to us daily. He is truly full of grace and truth, and we can trust Him for everything. There is nothing in our lives that He does not already know about and has control over. That is a comfort…to know He holds the reins of our lives and is in control, even when life seems to be spinning out of control. We can rest in Him.

Saved By Grace

Today’s Bible Journaling is from Acts 15:11, “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” (NASB)

To give a little background on this verse, the Apostle Paul and Barnabas had been ministering to the Gentiles and many were being saved through their preaching. Acts 15:1 says, “Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’” (NASB) This brought confusion and arguing among the congregation, some saying circumcision was not required and some saying that it was. Paul and Barnabas were commissioned by the congregation to go to Jerusalem to talk to the elders of the church concerning this issue. As Paul is explaining, he appeals to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” (NASB)

There were some in the church who wanted to require a strict adherence to the law in addition to being saved by grace. They advocated a grace plus works salvation. God never placed that upon us as Believers, and I for one am grateful. We can do nothing to obtain our salvation, it is given as a free gift from God with no strings attached. If someone gave you a present and then required something of you in order to receive that gift, then it would not be freely given, there would be strings attached…something you would have to do to receive it. In my book, that’s not a gift, that is a duty, something to be earned by your actions.

I have been in churches that required a strict adherence to their denomination’s book of laws as a requirement for salvation. Trust me when I say, I’ve never seen such unhappy, joyless people. They were under a yoke, a burden, that they were unable to bear. Regulations on outward appearance, requirements of things that must be done to appear holy. Perfection was the goal…I am here to tell you that no one is perfect, and God most certainly does not expect us to be perfect. We are not required to clean ourselves up before coming to Jesus and asking for forgiveness and salvation.

I am so thankful that my salvation comes freely by grace. Oh, how much God loves us! Because of His great love for us, salvation is free! We can live our lives for Him without worrying about whether we are measuring up to a set of laws that are impossible to keep. Does He require us to live a holy life? Absolutely! But we do the works because of our love for Him, and as proof of what God has done in our lives. (James 2:17) We are not bound by man-made laws demanding us to live a life that is impossible and brings no joy or peace. His salvation to us is offered freely. His grace is extended to us because of His love for us.