August 23, 2017

CHRISTLife — ThirtyEight: Bold and Confident

cl bold and confidentGod chose us.  He also chose us to do His good works here on earth, as we await His return.  And the most amazing thing about this is He seems to choose the most unlikely and unqualified people to carry out His most important works.

Do you know this to be true? And often the response to His calling is, “Are You sure, God? Me? Why?”  Unintentionally we limit Him by what we think we can and cannot do.  For what’s impossible to us is possible with God.  We just have to believe that He has called us and He has a mission for us to spread His Word to the world.

Feeling unqualified?  When He calls, He equips and qualifies us to do that which we so feel we aren’t qualified to do.  Let’s go to His Word and look at some of those He called…and their response to Him.  And how different the world would be if they had felt they couldn’t do it!

God calls Moses:

Moses was 80 years old when he was sent to free the Israelites from Pharaoh.  His response was something like, “Me? I can’t even speak well. Do You really think anyone would even listen to me?”  When Moses finally quit making excuses and obeyed, the way was paved by God through the Red Sea, across a desert and, finally, to the entrance of the Promised Land.  All along the way, God was providing food and shelter and water for these people who trusted Moses with their lives.

Have you ever thought about what could have happened if Moses has said no?

God calls Jeremiah:

Jeremiah was a teenager at the time that God sent him to deliver news to the Jewish people.  Because He was so young, he thought that no one would take him seriously.  But God did.  He said in Jeremiah 1:5,”Before you were born I set you apart.”  For 24 years, Jeremiah was at God’s call, and all he did was write books filled with God’s words. The first one was destroyed and Jeremiah was imprisoned. His feet were in chains and he was thrown into a pit. But God sent rescuers and made a way for all His messages to be delivered.

God calls Gideon:

Last one on my list today is Gideon—and my favorite, I will have to say!  God called him His mighty warrior!  He told him to save His people who were being attacked constantly by their enemies.  He also wanted Gideon to destroy the idol, Baal.  But Gideon, who was working in a wine press, hiding in fear from his enemies, had many excuses as to why he wasn’t God’s man.  He said that he was a coward and how could God use him to fight for His people?  Fast forward…God fully equipped Gideon to do so much more.  He used his weakness to prove God’s strength.

See?  You are ready for any task that God has laid in front of you.  You may not even know what you are called to do but know this—you are called to do great things!  And He will make sure you have everything you need to complete His will.  God calls you to serve with what you have and just as you are.  All you have to do is trust and believe Him,  and love Him enough to do what He says.

  • Matthew 14:22  If you love Me, then look at me. Keep your eyes on me.
  • Matthew 16:4     If you love Me, follow me.
  • Luke 10:37          If you love Me, go and do likewise.
  • John 21:15-17    If you love Me, feed My sheep…tend My lambs.

And remember, there is only one that wants to see you fail. There is an enemy who wants to fill you with fear and lies and keep you silent so you won’t do the Lord’s work. But God did not give you a spirit of fear, “…but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).

He gives you courage.  Courage is what will help you persevere.  And it’s God’s power that resides in you and gives you the confidence you need to go on and accomplish with victory the will of your Father in Heaven.  The Lord is your Shepherd, you shall not want for…anything!

16 Day Love Challenge: Chapter 4 – Love Does Not Boast

16daythursboast

Boast~ To puff oneself up in speech vaingloriously,vanity. To speak of or assert with excessive pride.

Then they said, ‘Come let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches the Heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth.’

Genesis 11:4

Why is it that we feel so inadequate?  If we are made in His image—and we are—and He created us to be exactly who we are, why are we not content?  The parable in the Bible that this book talks about could very well be modern day, in any setting, church, Bible study, or soccer field.  And as Christian women seeking God, we are not exempt from this.  The enemy loves nothing more than taking two strong women, who are leaders for Jesus, and dividing them against each other.  A house divided against itself will not stand. We easily forget who the real enemy is and we start fighting each other.

We start comparing ourselves: whether we feel better about ourselves and become prideful, or, we feel less than and retreat.  These thoughts are quiet at first.  But eventually we start living them out loud; and then we slip into a pit of self-pity that leads to self-destruction.  Friends, let’s remember who the real enemy is.  Let’s remember that when we become proud or boastful, we are no longer an effective warrior princess for the Kingdom of God.

Remember Gideon in the Bible?  We find his story in Judges starting in chapter 6.  At first he is a humble servant threshing wheat in a winepress, just doing his own thing.  He is staying out of the spotlight and trying to provide for and to protect his family.  The angel of the Lord appears to him and tells him that he is going to be a great warrior for Yahweh! And that he will defeat the Midianites and tear down the altar of his own father Baal. Gideon tests God several times before he actually believes God.  The prophecy actually comes true and Gideon goes on to defeat the Midianites and tears down the altar of Baal and defeats the enemy with only 300 men, clay jars, and lit torches.  He was humble… until he wasn’t.  Fast forward after he wins some battles, Gideon starts boasting and taking credit for himself.  He actually asks people for their jewelry to melt and make himself a form of an idol.  After Yahweh had given him all that he needed to defeat the enemy, Gideon forgets who deserves the glory and takes it for himself.  He goes on to live successfully for the rest of his life but he loses that contact with God that he had and he no longer hears God’s voice.  What a terrible place to be!

As children of the King, we are equipped and ready to do any task that God has set before us.  He has given each of us different gifts and talents to use in the life that He has planned out for us.  All of us are different…no two alike; aren’t we blessed?  When we place ourselves above others we are prideful, and when we place ourselves below others we are saying God isn’t enough.  Remember, His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).  He is weaving a beautiful tapestry in our lives, every one of us a new design of His glory.  He is the Master, not us.  He is the Creator, not us.  He deserves the credit, not us.  Your life in Him is the greatest story and being all that He created you to be is the greatest gift we can give back to Him!

We began today looking at Genesis 11:4…the Tower of Babel had just been built and the people were boasting about their creation.  Humans trying to hard to leave a mark of themselves on earth. Don’t you know that when you devote yourself to His glory you are leaving your mark on the world?  An eternal mark; don’t cheat yourself of the most glorious privilege of all, bearing the name of Jesus!!

Here are some verses in His Word about boasting:

Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.

Proverbs 27:1

You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it.

Romans 2:23

 People who boast  of  their wealth don’t  understand  they will die  just  like animals.

Psalm 49:20

Let’s pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, You are our Creator, our Master; and You are worthy to be praised.  May we never forget Who the Blesser is and may we never become too content to give thanks for all You have done for us.  Help our thoughts to stay focused on You so that we don’t get caught up in comparing ourselves to each other. Help us to remember who the enemy is and to put our energy into fighting him and not each other.  Lord, may we never take credit for what You have done in us, for us, and through us.  And when we become too proud, humble us even if it is painful.  For whatever you have entrusted to us can be taken away if not used for Your glory.  Forgive us for our pride and for boasting and stepping on each other to get to the top.  We love You and we ask that You continue to equip us for the task You have set before us.  In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen

Esther – Chapter 4:12-14

Wk4_Esther_Fox

 When Mordecai hears that Esther is hesitating to go before the king because she doesn’t want to “get her head chopped off,” Mordecai replies, “Let me tell you, little miss (that is, my Queen), how it’s really going to come down if you don’t approach King Xerxes!  If you don’t go to the king and beg for mercy for your own people—with or without you—God will rescue them.”

Mordecai knew the history of the Jews.  He had heard and memorized the stories of God’s provision and protection for His People through battle after battle against enemy armies.  He knew the story of Gideon and his small army defeating the Midianites (Judges 7).  Then there was Jonathan and his armor-bearer against the Philistines (I Samuel 14), and the story of David and Goliath, and the defeat of the Philistines (I Samuel 17).  Mordecai had probably told these stories and many others to his family, including Esther, so she knew them too.  These stories built Mordecai’s faith in God.  His confidence that God always has a plan to save His own led him to say in Esther 4:14,

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place…”

So Esther had a choice to make, not for the Jews’ sake so much, but for herself and her family, because Mordecai goes on to say, “but you and your father’s family <that includes me> will perish” (Esther 4:14).  God was giving Esther—just a young lady with very little influence—the opportunity to be a big part of His amazing plan to save His people.  Did she remember the stories of the young David, Gideon, and Jonathan?  God had used these young men who had very little influence to play big parts in His plan to save His people and build the Jewish nation.  If she trusted Mordecai and shared in his confidence in God to save the Jews, then she could go into the throne room trusting that God was with her since she was one of His children.

Gideon and Jonathan had been where God intended them to be at the right time to do His Will and defeat the enemy.  David came to the frontlines of the battle against the Philistines at the right time to kill Goliath, send the Philistines packing, and save the Israelites.  That was part of God’s plan to get David into position to eventually become the king of the Jewish nation.  God knew all through Esther’s less than glamorous early life that she would end up in a Persian palace as the wife and queen of King Xerxes.  Now perhaps it was Esther’s turn to participate in  God’s plan.  She was at the right place at the right time…now, would she do the right thing?

And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?
Esther 4:14

No Jew, including Esther, was immune from Haman’s decree of death.  None of us are immune from the judgment of sin.  Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

And Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.…”

BUT GOD (I love that!) always has a plan.  John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, (Jesus) that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God doesn’t want “anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

I believe that most of us have accepted God’s plan of salvation for ourselves.  But we all have a “nation” around us.  It includes family members, neighbors, co-workers, and strangers in the marketplace.  “for such a time as this,” God has placed each of us in our “nation” to potentially make an eternal difference in people’s lives.

Romans 10:14, “How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to <sharing with> them?”

God has a plan for your life.  Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Your life may be less than glamorous, and you may think that you don’t have enough clout to make a difference.  BUT GOD has positioned you where you are in life and He knows all about timing. Now, like Esther, it is your decision.  Will you step out in submission, faith, and confidence, and share God’s loving plan of salvation with those in your little “nation?” Darlene Schacht says, “when God gives us an opportunity to serve Him we must take it. It is an honor and a privilege to serve God.”

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!
Romans 10:15

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, we come before You today with grateful hearts for all that You are doing in our lives as we grow in the knowledge and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Lord, through Your Word we see that You have great plans us, and we want to be submissive to You.  We know that You have our best interest in mind.  Through this study we also realize that within Your plan You have planned for us to share Your Good News with our little “nation” around us.  Holy Spirit, please help each of us to be willing to step out in faith and confidence to share when You give us opportunity. “For such a time as this” may be the day of salvation for a friend or a stranger.  In Jesus’ Name.

Amen.