increased confidence…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

From John 2:

1On Tuesday there was a wedding at Kanah(Cana) in the Galil (Galilee) ; and the mother of Yeshua (Jesus) was there. 2Yeshua (Jesus) too was invited to the wedding, along with his talmidim.(disciples) 3The wine ran out, and Yeshua’s (Jesus) mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4Yeshua (Jesus) replied, “Mother, why should that concern me? — or you? My time hasn’t come yet.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6Now six stone water-jars were standing there for the Jewish ceremonial washings, each with a capacity of twenty or thirty gallons. 7Yeshua (Jesus) told them, “Fill the jars with water,” and they filled them to the brim. 8He said, “Now draw some out, and take it to the man in charge of the banquet”; and they took it. 9The man in charge tasted the water; it had now turned into wine! He did not know where it had come from, but the servants who had drawn the water knew. So he called the bridegroom 10and said to him, “Everyone else serves the good wine first and the poorer wine after people have drunk freely. But you have kept the good wine until now!” 11This, the first of Yeshua’s (Jesus) miraculous signs, he did at Kanah (Cana) in the Galil;(Galilee) he manifested his glory, and his talmidim (disciples)came to trust in him. 12Afterwards, he, his mother and brothers, and his talmidim (disciples)went down to K’far-Nachum (Capernaum) and stayed there a few days.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/jhn.2>

*Words in parenthesis are added by me to translate.

“Saved the best for last.”  This saying is applied freely today along with “the latter will be better than the first.”  Surely as the believer grows in the spirit the last is better than the first.  The old creation is dead, the new is come.

The sign of the wine increased confidence in the community that is forming around Christ.  Trust in Him is building.  As each community that is  formed to meet and encourage one another places their trust completely in Christ, they too begin  to grow in confidence.  As they get to know Him and what He does, their faith grows and they find they too can do the works He has done.

Pray – I believe You, God.  You are who You say You are, You do what You say You will do, I am who You say I am and I can do all things through You.  Your Word is alive and active in me.  I believe You God.

Repent – I repent for those times I lack confidence in Your ability to work through me.

Ask – Give me the strength to grasp the love of the Messiah so that I, with all God’s people, may be empowered to do what you give me to do.

Yes – The righteous call out and You, O Lord, hear and save them from all their troubles.  Taste and see that God is good, how blessed are those who take refuge in him!

Source: John 2 and Psalms

 

 

 

 

Where is our confidence?

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Isaiah 9:18-21

 For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke.

  Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no one spares another.

  They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours the flesh of his own arm,

  Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh; together they are against Judah. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.

The prideful and arrogant bring upon themselves the consequences of overconfidence.  It is the very nature of pride.  This is why the wise have taught pride goes before a fall.  We place trust in our own abilities and training and do not pay close attention to our limitations as the ones created; we are not our own creators.

If on the other hand we are careful to use the gifts and abilities God has given us for His work; seeking his will and giving him glory, we find ourselves blessed in spite of our shortcomings.  There is a very real danger in believing we are self-sufficient.  There is also a difference between confidence and pride when that confidence is placed in and comes from our relationship with God.  He is our source for all things.

It is good to be aware of the pitfalls of pride.  It is also good to be aware of a forgiving God.  We can turn from pride to confidence in Him and we will be blessed.

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Promise in the storm…riders on the storm

Acts 27:27-44

Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land. And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms. Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come. And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”  Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off.

 And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing. Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.” And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves. And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship.  So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea.

 When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible. And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore.  But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.

 And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape. But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land,  and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.

            From mikeschuerman.theworldrace.org

Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.”  A promise sent through Paul and it so encouraged him he broke the fast and encouraged all of the rest to do the same.  They saw no reason to believe they would make it to safety other than Paul’s confidence in God’s word.  This confidence speaks volumes to those around us.  When we are in the middle of life’s storms do others see our confidence in what God is able to accomplish, or do they hear  our complaining and moaning about how hard life is and what a terrible situation we are in?  Demonstrating faith as Paul does here, is an exercise of faith that is pleasing to God.  Scripture says without faith we cannot please God.  Do we demonstrate this kind of faith in our storms?  Going further into the passage here we see that they followed Paul’s example and ate and then threw what was left of the food into the sea!  They weren’t planning on needing it?  They were with Paul and expecting to find safety on land.  Once again let it be noted that while God could have calmed the storm he did not.  He took them through the storm.  In the process He was glorified, through Paul’s example.  When we are in our storms are we glorifying God or demanding an explanation?  Are we whining and complaining or are we praising God for what He is doing in us and what He will do for  us?  Are we allowing our faith in Him to be strengthened?  In all things give thanks God’s word tells us.  Paul gave thanks, ate and was taken to safety.  Let us also take our storms to the Lord, then watch as He takes us through them.  Let us be careful to give thanks and have faith.  Let us glorify the God who created us and can and will keep us.  “…he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves. “  Be an encourager, share your faith, glorify God in all things.

Another post on the same subject from a younger perspective.  It is a good read.

The Perfect Storm  at:

http://mikeschuerman.theworldrace.org/?filename=the-perfect-storm

Stand, with confidence

Acts 25:1-12

Now when Festus had come to the province, after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and the chief men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they petitioned him,  asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem—while they lay in ambush along the road to kill him. But Festus answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was going there shortly.  “Therefore,” he said, “let those who have authority among you go down with me and accuse this man, to see if there is any fault in him.”

And when he had remained among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day, sitting on the judgment seat, he commanded Paul to be brought. When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove, while he answered for himself, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.”

 But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?”

So Paul said, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know. For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”

Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!”

 While we  do not have the mind-set of the unbelieving world, we do live in the same space and time as they.  While we do not place our trust and reliance upon world systems and ideologies,  their systems have been used by God to accomplish His work.  Many times we do not see the ‘whys’ until after a situation has cleared up, or we have moved on in time and we looking back, can see the hand of God in all of it.  Paul’s ministry is about to expand.  Once again, we are brought to an understanding that we do not have the ‘big’ picture, however we can rely on the One who does.  What looks like a bad situation turning worse for Paul will only expand God’s kingdom to places Paul would not have had access to otherwise.  Paul, in all of this, continues to be faithful to his witness for Christ.  That is our take away, no matter what, no matter the limitations of our view, let us be found faithful to that which the Lord has given us to accomplish even as we know He is the one doing the work.

There is a tone of confidence in Paul’s reply, a sense  of assurance.  His reaction to the charges, even the questioning  of Festus, the new person in charge, is not that of one shaken.  Rather there is evidence of an unshakeable faith in the Lord shining through.  Again we can take from this a surety that our faith in the Lord will give us the confidence to face our accusers, to face the attacks thrown against us or any opposition we may face when sharing the word of God with others.  Stand firm, Paul states this on several occasions, from experience.  Stand firm, the message comes from Christ and other prophets.  Stand firm, the Lord directs us and in that we have confidence and will not be shaken. 

My mercy I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall stand firm with him

Psalm 89:28;

Do you see a man [who] excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown [men]. – Proverbs 22:29;

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

So finally, watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.  Stand with confidence.

Do we still require a sign…?

John 2: 13-22

 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten  Me up.”

So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”

Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

 God, you were in the habit of revealing yourself through miraculous sign.  We have the examples of Moses and the burning bush, your sign of your authority upon him with the rod and snake and the leprous hand, the signs of the plagues to follow.  We have examples of signs given to prove your authority upon the prophets; but you do not need a sign to prove your own authority and who are we to ask for one!  Jesus performed many signs, but the hearts of the people were fickle.  At the time, they  believed, then, as usual, they forgot for that is the condition and way of mankind.  Jesus said he did not put trust in man’s approval, for “he knew what was in man.”  We can remember this on a daily basis, our trust rests not in  man’s approval, mankind is not our source of authority, we get that from God, spoken in His Scriptures.  This gives us a confidence that carries us through all kinds of situations others would cave in to.  This confidence is the barrier that prevents our taking offense, gives us the strength to continue to spread God’s Word regardless of the opposition.

 The disciples recalled what Jesus said and they believed the Scripture and the words Jesus spoke. This was all the ‘sign’ they needed.

On another note, how many times do we hear of the violent nature of Christ?  He comes to earth, visits the temple made to worship him (God) and what does he find?  Are they following his commands?  No they have turned his house into a marketplace!  What will he find when he returns the second time?  Just askin’…

Glorified self?!!! No way…

Luke 18:9-14

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else:  “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer  : ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’  I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

 “…great confidence in their own righteousness …”,”…scorned everyone else…”I do this, I do that, I don’t…, I am better…  Ah, the glorified self, glorified by self!

 Then there is reality and seeing clearly our position in life in relation to God and others.  Who among us can add a day to our own life, created as God did?  We are responsible to develop and care for what we have been given, but the material to work with and the ability is not of our own creation.  So even with success it is good to remember our source and give credit where it is due.  We can because he did.  Our confidence rests in who we are in Him, not in ourselves.  Humility sees clearly and lets the justification and exaltation come from the Creator, not ourselves.

…with authority …

Luke 4:31-37

And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

 …his word possessed authority….. with authority and power he commands…are two phrases used in this passage and with them the reaction of the people, astonished at the teaching and amazement.  Knowledge of who one is in the Lord gives confidence and with that confidence comes the ability to speak with authority.  Who did Jesus answer to here on earth?  No one, only His Father whose will He followed and obeyed.  Who do we ultimately answer to?  The Lord to whom we belong.  Jesus knew who he was and the authority he had.  He did not pull back, He moved forward and that was noticed.

 We are His, and with that comes confidence.  We too can move forward no matter the attack, no matter what comes at us, we look to Him: His example, His lead. Look at what this attitude does to stress!  It diminishes and no longer has a hold on us. We receive authority from Him, confidence from Him.   We move in the strength we gain from Christ and in that obedience we find joy.  That is the draw that brings others to Christ.