Tag Archives: confidence

September 4 – I’ve Got Confidence

Ezekiel 24-27

All the cities Ezekiel is pronouncing God’s judgment over were cities that had things going on. They were successful merchants and traders, or they housed mighty warriors. They were sailors. Bakers. Jewelers. People living in comfort.

But they denied God, and God was going to demonstrate what the consequences are for sin. Nothing they had placed their confidence in would be able to save them.

Where have I placed my own confidence? Is it in myself? In having a healthy body? Career advancement? My family? My possessions? What about my reputation, or my generosity?

God would have me see that anything I think I have or am cannot stand against God’s holiness. He is the ultimate authority, the final Word. If I’ve placed my confidence in anything other than God Himself, I will be as devastated as the people I read about today.

Oh, I’ve got confidence. But it isn’t in me! I have confidence in God. I believe He is who He says He is, and means what He’s said. I’ve got confidence that God is going to carry me right into eternity because I have accepted His gift of grace through the blood of Jesus.

I have confidence to face today because God has promised to go with me. God is my confidence.


April 15 – When Life Gets Tough

Psalms 7, 27, 31, 34, 52

There is so much gold contained in the psalms. In the five we read today, you get a feeling for David’s pain, his confusion. He is being pursued by Saul, and betrayed by Doeg. David is hiding in a cave while he writes these words.

In these psalms David also gives us a glimpse of Jesus. Look for verses that refer to our Savior as you read. It’s pretty awesome.

But what stood out to me today as I read these psalms was David’s unwavering faith and trust in God. Yes he was running for his life. Yes, he was being treated unfairly. But no matter what, David rested in God alone.

52: 8 But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the loving kindness of God forever and ever.

34:1  I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise will continually be in my mouth.

34:4  I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

34:8  O taste and see that the Lord is good.

31:14&15  But as for me, I trust in you, O Lord, I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands…

27:1  The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?

7:1  O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge…

I hope you’ll read these psalms as the prayer of your own heart. Substitute David’s enemy with whatever it is you are facing. I pray you’ll be able to face whatever would destroy you, with the same confidence David expresses in these beautiful psalms.

When life gets tough, the only place I want to be is clinging to God who loves me and shelters me and holds me close. There, and only there, I have no fear.

April 12 -It’s A Giant!

I Samuel 15-17

So often Scripture gives us examples of God’s power demonstrated through individuals. Like Moses through whom many miracles were performed. Like Gideon who took only 300 men into battle and won the war. Like what we read yesterday about Jonathan, and again today as we read about David’s victory over Goliath.

When David heard Goliath’s threats and saw the reaction of the Jewish soldiers, he didn’t get it. “Who is this Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”

I think that, in a sense, we 21st century Christians are a bit like that army David was talking to:

The media is against us. The government is against us. The laws are against us. People say mean things about us.

Scripture says that when faced with the giant, the Israelite army “fled from him and were greatly afraid.” (17:24)

It took one person – David – to recognize that God is greater than anyone. David could face Goliath with confidence, because David’s confidence wasn’t in himself.

David’s confidence was in the living God!

We are facing a giant here in 2016. Do we believe God is more powerful than our enemy? Just where have we put our confidence?

March 12 – Unlikely Warriors

Deuteronomy 3&4

As I was reading Moses’ recap of the events the Jews had experienced in the past forty years, it occurred to me that the people who had crossed the Jordan, who had defeated armies, and confiscated property, had been slaves in Egypt. They made bricks and built things for hundreds of years. There probably wasn’t a trained soldier among them, nor would they have had state-of-the-art weaponry. They were a bunch of homeless people, herding their families and livestock toward a distant land.

If I had been a king at that time, and saw this ragtag group coming toward me while I sat in my walled city, protected by an army of first class soldiers holding shiny swords and shields, I’d probably have that second cup of coffee.

Now these Jews were preparing to enter the Promised Land. And after reminding them how their ancestors had defeated those kings who thought they were safe in their fortresses, Moses encouraged them by saying, “Do not fear them (the people living in the land), for the Lord your God is the one fighting for you.”

God didn’t use the great armies of kings to reveal Himself to the world. He used the unlikely group of former slaves to defeat the enemy. He used regular people. And no one could deny it was because God fought FOR Israel that the Jews were successful in their battles.

God works the same way today. He doesn’t expect us to be super-heroes, or perfect people, or dynamic preachers. He is really good at using regular people who are yielded to Him, who obey Him, trust Him, and allow Him to do great things in and through them.

Don’t fear the enemy. Don’t hold back from sharing Christ with your neighbor because you don’t know what to say. Don’t refuse to sit on that committee at church because you think you have nothing to contribute. Our enemy, Satan, would keep us slaves in Egypt.

But he is nothing next to God. And remember, it is God who is fighting for us! That already makes us the winners!


Feb 22 – God Speaks Through Scripture

Leviticus 26&27

I know that the Old Testament was written about and to real flesh and blood people. I know the crops spoken of were real plants, the rain wet droplets, disease, and war, and bread were things you could touch, taste, and experience in the flesh. God is talking to His material kingdom of Abraham’s ancestors in these pages of the Bible.

But I think we miss something beautiful if we don’t recognize there is a spiritual application in every word, too. And reading the first part of chapter 26 thrilled my soul this morning as though God were talking right to me here in 2016. Here’s what I heard Him say:

If you obey Me, Connie, I will give you exactly what you need to bear fruit for My kingdom as you lead people to their Savior (vs 4). Your ability to reap souls will last season upon season, their numbers strengthening you to continue in the work  (5). I’ll give you peace in your soul so you can sleep at night (6). We’ll defeat sin in your life (7&8). If you obey Me, I’ll be right with you, Connie, and I’ll make you fruitful in My work (9). You’ll leave your past behind and become a new person through the blood of Jesus (10). I WILL LIVE RIGHT INSIDE YOU. I won’t reject you (11). I’ll walk with you. I’ll be your God. You will be my child (12). I freed you from the chains of sin so you wouldn’t be a slave to it. I broke the hold sin had over you. And you, Connie, can stand straight, hold your head high, and do the work I have for you with confidence in Me (13).

Wow! I love reading the Bible because it is alive and active and powerful and relevant and personal.

Thank You, God, for speaking to me this morning through the words You inspired men to write thousands of years ago. Thank You for forgiving me. May I obey You. May I go into this day with confidence that You are going to do a great work in my life for Jesus’ sake. And may hearts be drawn to their Savior because I’ve been faithful to You.

December 30

Revelation 15-18

I have shared that I spent 37 as a public school educator. When I got my first job in the 70’s we could demand obedience of our students. A call home, a swat on the bottom, or worse… being sent to the principal’s office accomplished two things. One, it taught the disobedient student that there were consequences for disobedience and those consequences weren’t fun. Secondly, it taught the other students in the class that obedience was probably a better choice.  Then some genius decided that kind of punishment ruined self-esteem and the government stepped in and told schools they could no longer teach that lesson. Today we see bullies who mistreat their classmates without fear of consequences. We read about young people who have so little fear of discipline they bring guns to school with the intent of killing others.

When I first started teaching it was a rarity for the parents of our students to be divorced. Children almost always shared the last name of their moms and dads. And it was unheard of that a student’s parents had never married. Eventually, that became less and less true. So we were told never to address a mom as “Mrs.” for fear of offending her. “Ms” became the norm. Today, a nuclear family, married parents is the rarity.

It was rare that a student got pregnant. But when a teenager did get pregnant, she was given the opportunity to continue her education at home and she certainly did not bring her new-born to school with her. But, again, we worried about her sense of self, and eventually protruding bellies became commonplace in the classrooms. Some schools even opened day care for the babies to make it convenient for the teenage mothers. Today the number of teen pregnancies is astronomical, even down into the middle school ages.

I thought about these things when I read about the prostitute in John’s vision. She said, “I sit as a queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.” She has no conscience. But she’s not hurting in the self-esteem category, is she?

Are we raising kids to think like this? Entitled? Above the rest? In the attempt to protect self-esteem (which is not a biblical concept) have we neglected to teach our children to recognize sin and repent of it? Paul described himself as a wretched man when faced with the reality of his sin. Doesn’t sound like he was feeling too good about himself at that point. Shouldn’t our children learn to describe themselves in the same way in light of sin in their lives?

Recently a young mom expressed to me concern that by swatting her child on the bottom she was damaging her child’s self-esteem. She felt guilty for spanking her disobedient child. The thing is, she is a good mom. She’s a mom who is determined to raise children who love and serve God. And her young children already have a sense of God’s love and presence in their young lives. 

God spanks, doesn’t he? And it doesn’t feel good when we are disciplined by our loving Heavenly Father. But it’s necessary for our relationship with him. I don’t see anywhere in Scripture where it says we should strengthen our sense of self. Quite the opposite. Because unless we see ourselves as wretched sinners, we won’t recognize our need of a Savior.

Here’s a thought. Self-esteem is not the same as confidence. We can encourage our children’s confidence in their talents and abilities and at the same time give God the glory. It’s important for our children to have the confidence to tackle new things, refine a talent. But teaching those children that they are self-centered, worthy, better than others without consideration of consequences for doing wrong, is teaching them to think like Satan did before the fall.

Holy God, I thank you once again for prompting John to write down his vision. As I look at the prostitute he saw, I wonder if she doesn’t represent our world in 2013. Father, I pray for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and baby sitters. May we who love little ones not be afraid to lovingly discipline when needed. Help us to raise children with consciences and a sense of self that causes them to run to the Savior. Give wisdom, give courage, and may we love our little ones enough to discipline them like you discipline us.

December 3

2 Corinthians 11:16-13:14; Romans 1:1-32

I was watching a competition show the other day and a young contestant was thanking her mentor for helping her learn to believe in herself. That’s a popular attitude these days. Believe in yourself. Be confident in yourself, Be strong, powerful, fearless. 

That all sounds well and good. Until life happens and you face a situation that breaks you. Who do you depend on then?

Paul talked to the Corinthians about his weaknesses. He, who had worldly reason to boast and to stand on his own accomplishments, had a “thorn in (his) flesh”. I don’t know what that was, exactly, but it was a constant reminder of his dependance on God. He shared that God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.

Paul goes on to say he delights in his own weakness, in hardship and difficulty because when he is weak, God is strong. As Christians who recognize how weak we are in ourselves, we know we have the strength of the Creator God within us.

If you are depending on your own strength, good luck. You are headed for a mighty fall. If you remember, that was what happened to the angel we know as Satan. And if you are believing Satan’s lie that we need to be building ourselves up, standing on our own, finding our own self-worth, then you are headed down the same path he walked. And he wins.

Instead, I would encourage you to give up trying to manufacture those feelings. You are weak. You are flawed. You are powerless. So let God be your strength. Trust me when I say, he’ll take care of you so much better than you can take care of yourself.

There’s a great old hymn I love to sing:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness… On Christ the solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. ALL other ground is sinking sand.

Father, I pray that we will stand on that solid Rock instead of the sinking sand of self. May we, like Paul recognize that you are strong when we are weak. And we are weak! Forgive us when we try to do anything on our own power. Help us to confess pride as sin and to allow you to be exactly what we need in every situation. Defeat Satan in our lives today, Lord, and may we depend upon you.

June 4

Proverbs 24:23-27:27

Some of the proverbs make me laugh outloud. Especially the ones about the quarrelsome wife. I’m sure old Solomon had his share of quarrelsome wives.

Some of the proverbs are puzzles to me. I find myself reading and re-reading those and even then I’m not sure what they mean.

Others grab me by the throat. They convict me and drive me to my knees.

And sometimes a proverb will stop me in my tracks. It’s like I’ve never seen it before or thought about God’s truth in that light. Like today.

I know we are tested every day. Things happen and our reaction to those things measure our faith in the Lord. They measure our commitment, our belief. But I guess I pictured those tests as the bad things that happen. The big things like illness, loss of job, infidelity, death. Or smaller things like gossip, my reaction to the slow driver on the road ahead.

In Proverbs 27:21 Solomon says… The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.

Did I misread that? We are tested by praise? What?

Is it hard for you to accept a compliment? Sometimes I think Christians believe it’s a sin, or prideful to admit when we are able to do something well. Maybe we fail the test if we deny what God has gifted us with.

I don’t think Solomon means we are to deny our God-given gifts. But I also know God doesn’t want us bragging about them, either. 27:2 says… Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.

It says LET another praise you. People tell my nephew all the time that he is a good baseball player. My sister is often complimented for being a good nurse’s aide. Are they to deny those gifts because they are Christians? I used to receive praise for my ability to play the clarinet. Was I wrong to say, thank you?

There is a difference between being prideful and arrogant, and being humbly aware of the blessing God has given us. Maybe passing the test isn’t always minimizing our gifts or denying them. Maybe passing the test is acknowledging God’s hand in our accomplishments. Just maybe we can actually pass this test without letting praise go to our heads.

Remember, God didn’t gift you with an ability because you are so special. He gifted you with that gift so he can use it to reveal himself to those who benefit from your gift. 

Can you sing? Then get out there and sing for the Lord. Can you make friends easily? Then do it and give God the glory. Are you a good policeman, speaker, lawn mower, artist, parent, teacher, cook, mechanic, writer… whatever! Do it for the Lord. 

And when someone says you’ve done a good job or recognizes your talent, accept the praise humbly, graciously, and thankfully. And point them to your Savior, the giver of gifts. That’s what he had in mind all along when he gave you that gift, anyway.

God, I pray that your people will be aware of the tests that come our way today. Whether trials by fire or by praise I pray that you will find us faithful, that we would pass the test with flying colors and that others will see you in what we do and say. Thank you for gifting each of us with something special. Help us to use those things with confidence and for your glory.