Monday, September 29, 2008

God Confidence

Do you or your kids deal with confidence issues? It’s safe to assume that most likely someone under your roof (if not everyone there) desires to walk with more confidence and fewer feelings of inadequacy. Let’s consider what the word confidence really means and how we can encourage our family members and ourselves to walk with greater confidence in life.

Confidence means to have a firm belief or trust. The root word, fidere, is the same root we find in the word fidelity, meaning faithful or faith. To have confidence, then, means to have a strong trust or faith in something or someone. Self-confidence is obviously trusting in self. Confidence in people or circumstances can be shaky, but confidence in God puts us on a firm foundation! The Bible reminds us continually that God is a rock and a refuge and worthy of our trust.

Consider the following passages from the Bible that specifically talk about confidence:

For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.—David (Psalm 71:5)

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared. Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.—Solomon (Proverbs 3:25 – 27)

In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.—Solomon (Proverbs 14:26 – 27)

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.—Jeremiah (Jeremiah 17:7)

Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. —Paul (2 Corinthians 3:4,5)

Each of these passages offers a powerful reminder that we experience confidence when we place our trust in the Lord. A God confidence can help us take that first step forward. A God confidence can help break the chains of fear which so easily hold us back. When our confidence rests in him we can walk forward knowing we are loved and not alone. As Thomas Merton said, “I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
When David fought Goliath, his confidence wasn’t in his slingshot and stones; it was in the Lord. When Gideon fought against a vast army, his confidence wasn’t in his little army of three hundred men; it was in the Lord. When Esther went before the king to plead for her people, her confidence wasn’t in her own power of persuasion; it was in the Lord’s power to save her life and the life of her people.
Let’s help our kids remember that as we put our confidence in God, we can stand tall and walk confidently knowing the God of all creation is able to be our help, hope and strength in time of need.

Monday, September 22, 2008


This past week created perhaps a slight cause for some to worry. As we watch several of our nation’s largest financial institutions struggle to stay afloat, it’s easy to become concerned about the future. I want to encourage you today to allow this to be an opportunity to trust God with your future. This is also a time of teaching our kids to seek God’s help instead of being consumed with worry and fear of the unknown. Certainly there are lessons to be learned about financial responsibility, prudence and wisdom as well.

We want to teach our kids to live wisely and responsibly, and most importantly we want to teach them to continue to find strength and hope in the Lord during both good times and bad.

A good passage to reflect this week comes from the Old Testament prophet named Habakkuk:
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights.”

Notice that although the prophet described a dismal and bleak picture he summed it up by saying “Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord.” How can he rejoice in the Lord? Because his strength came from God who gave him the surefootedness he needed to scale the difficult mountains ahead. Habakkuk didn’t ignore the challenges, YET he said despite the challenges he would look to God for strength.

Whenever we face difficult times let’s remember to say, “Yet, the Lord will be my strength!” We aren’t promised a perfect life, but we are promised that as we turn to God He will be our strength

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Blame Game

Currently there is a lot of blame going on in the news. Blame for the economy, for the Hurricane recovery effort, for healthcare and on and on. You name it, someone is pointing the finger with blame for it. This is one game we don’t want to teach our kids. In fact we want to help our kids think and react differently than wasting valuable time blaming others. The Blame Game has been around since the beginning of time, from the Garden of Eden until present day.

My thoughts go back to the Biblical account of Mary and Martha who had a houseful of people to entertain. Martha is overwhelmed by her challenge of feeding all the people, while Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus. Remember that Jesus recently fed over 5000 people with a few fish and loaves of bread. Martha’s solution for her challenges was to walk in and point the finger at Mary. Martha was going to the wrong source, for it was Jesus who was able to handle the situation. Martha should have sought Jesus’ help first and listen to His instructions. He may have told her not to worry about it since He could handle the food issue, or He may have told her to sit down for a while and then instructed Mary to help Martha in the kitchen. We don’t know how the rest of the story played out, but what we do know is that Mary had chosen the better plan to sit at Jesus’ feet.

How can we teach our kids (and ourselves) to be positively proactive rather than negatively reactive? Here are some questions to ask ourselves when we feel as though an injustice has taken place or an opportunity for grumbling has arisen.

Have I prayed and talked to the Lord about this situation?
Is there any responsibility I need to take for what has happened?
Is my blaming, complaining or grumbling helping or doing any good? (Most likely there is a two-letter word which answers this question and it begins with an “N”)
What glimmer of hope can I see in the situation?
How can I be a part of the solution?

Let’s teach our kids instead of pointing the finger and saying, “It’s your fault,” rather to ask, “What can I do to help make it right?”

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gratitude is Huge!

I must admit I often forget the significance of giving thanks to God, yet I was reminded of the importance of gratitude as I was reading my Bible this past week. Psalm 50:14 says “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and perform your vows to the Lord, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify me.” Later in that same Psalm we read, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me.”

God is serious about thanksgiving! And it makes sense that as we turn our eyes toward Him and acknowledge His blessings, He is glorified and we are changed as well. When we live with an attitude of gratefulness for what God is doing in our lives, our eyes focus on what is good and we humbly recognize God as our Provider.

Take a moment right now to thank the Lord for at least five blessings in your life. Your list may look like mine:
Thank you for Jesus who died on the cross on my behalf and rose again to give us hope of eternal life.
Thank you Lord for your Spirit who dwells within us, comforting us and guiding us.
Thank you Lord for the ability to be alive and reading this blog right now.
Thank you Lord for the family and friends you have given me.
Thank you Lord for the purpose you have for my life, and for the provisions you give me each day.

A friend of mine, Denise, says that turning her heart toward thankfulness has literally transformed her attitude and her life. She even a created a journal to simply write down five specific things she is grateful for each day. It’s a great practice! I want to encourage you to do the same. This is a great idea for your kids as well. On the way to or from school name five things for which you are grateful.

Gratitude is a choice. We can choose to grumble and complain or we can choose to thank God for all His many blessings. Guess which choice makes you a more joyful person! The apostle Paul summed it up best in his letter to the Colossians, “Whatever you do in word or in deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Monday, September 1, 2008

Through Challenges and Tragedies

Today as we watch Hurricane Gustav make landfall, my prayers are with those whose lives are directly touched by the storm. My heart goes out to the displaced families along the coastline who may be experiencing fear, anxiety and fatigue.

Dear Loving Heavenly Father,
Thank you for providing help and hope in time of need. I pray for the victims and displaced families who are affected by this storm. Please give them a calm and a peace in their hearts as they weather the challenges ahead. Help the many workers who are tirelessly providing direction and support to the families. Lord, please watch over the precious people who are facing difficulties due to the storm and help them to know your presence and love. Provide for their needs. Give them strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. In Jesus Name, Amen

Pray for the storm victims with your kids and talk together about the challenges the families face as they leave their homes and businesses and travel to a different place. In the coming days look for ways you can help. This is a time when we can teach our kids to care about others needs, and become a little less focused on our own.

Whenever we face a difficulty or challenge, let us turn our eyes upward and seek God’s help. He provides for our needs in a variety of ways; sometimes through people and organizations, sometimes through circumstances and sometimes through unexpected blessings. Look to Him, and be watchful. Psalm 34:17 reminds us, “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.” Yes, we will have troubles, but God is our sustainer in times of need.

Last weekend, Curt and I were on our way to a wedding when a severe car accident happened just infront of us. We stopped to help. As we ran to the scene we saw a woman who had been thrown from her car, and we were the first ones to reach her. She was moaning and breathing, but not moving as she lay face down on the pavement with a pool of blood by her head. We knew we shouldn't move her at the risk of further injury, so I just placed my hand gently on her back and spoke comforting words to her until medical help arrived. I prayed for her by name (we found her name from info scattered on the road) and assured her we would stay with her until help came.

Help did come, and we eventually left knowing she was in good hands. Our hearts were deeply moved to pray continually for this dear woman. We couldn't help believe that God had us arrive on the scene just at the specific moment after the wreck, so we could be there to minister and comfort this woman. Although we can not understand why tragedies happen, we can know that our loving God will provide comfort and help in time of need. Look to Him through all life's journeys.

One last little side note: Please, please please, always wear your seat belt and encourage your family members to do the same. Most likely, the woman in the accident would have had a much better outcome had she not been thrown from the car and onto the pavement.