“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us”/1 John 5:14
“for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.“/1 John 5:4-5
This message today hits extremely deep with me because “confidence”, is something I’ve always struggled with and especially more recently. Confidence is a quality we all struggle with at times and whether we admit or not, we’re human, we have insecurities, we have moments that seem like we’re not good enough, or we don’t have what it takes. The beautiful thing about those statements is it’s true. That’s where my confidence has struggled in the past because the truth is I don’t have what it takes and I’m not good enough, I’ll never be, BUT that’s the good news of the gospel. Jesus Christ didn’t come to save and make a way for people who are perfect, who have unshakable confidence, people who have it all put together. Jesus came to save us because we are great need of saving, if it was left up to you and me and all we had to depend on was what we got, we’d be hopeless, weak and a person who has nothing to be confident in. Jesus came to save us to give us a way out, He brought us LIFE in the fullest of forms, He sacrificed Himself for all our imperfection so we can live with all of His perfection. Believing in Jesus as the Son of God is much more than just something we do because it sounds good or makes us feel good. Believing in the Son of God is admitting our inadequacies, coming to Him with our imperfection then being raised up to life with Him in His perfection, raised up to new life, being born again, no more are we weak, defeated, and our only resource being what we got. Being “born of God” means being raised into a new life living as one with the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Father, walking out life in fellowship with them in that Heavenly connection, putting self aside and leaning on the Lord, depending on the Lord to meet our needs, drawing from His strength, with His faithful love being the light that’s so blinding and strong He breaks through our lack showing us His abundance. Giving the weak sinner, hope, peace, and victory over everything and anything the world throws our way. How awesome is that?!?!?
You see where I’ve messed up so much of my life is not believing in the Son of God and the most beautiful part of the gospel. I have done what I’m sure we all do at times, lean on me, go off what I got like it’s all I got and guess what, when I live like I’m all I got, that turns into some low-living, no confidence, no hope, weak, defeated life. The cool part about this journey with God is being brought low in situations and coming to the end of my resources, after turning to the Lord because it seems like my only option He brings us into the beginning of Him and His abundance of resources. He shows us in the most powerful and loving ways that, “hey Jordan, remember you ride with Me now and you don’t have to be all you got because you got Me.” He’s always there for us and pointing us back to the truth that in this Christian life, what seems so easy to forget at times is the life-changing, most confidence boosting truth that being born of God means I’m a child of God and just like a baby being hungry and crying for some milk. The baby, no matter how hard he tries can’t just make milk appear. Their provision comes from their parents to feed them and their parents are always their at the first cry with a bottle in hand to fill their need. After going so long being that crying baby and just crying and crying into the wrong things to get fed, and trying everything in my power to just make the milk show up on my own, I can’t, I’m just a helpless baby. The good news once again as a child of God, we can have confidence that when we cry out to God in need, He’s always going to give us everything we need. God is always going to be there ready to help and make sure we don’t go hungry.
That’s where my struggle was in confidence, I was going off what I had which isn’t great which led to being not confident at all in myself and also not being confident in asking God for help. The beauty of the gospel; God knows that we don’t have what it takes and that’s why He sent His Son out of love for me and you so we don’t have to be ashamed going to God with our needs. God knows we are weak people and sent His Son as a way so we didn’t have to just be weak but to give us the gift of being born of God, so when we come to God with our belief in the Son of God and what He has done for us. We can approach God confidently because we aren’t approaching God out our weak defeat but we are approaching Him as One with Jesus Christ our Savior who has wiped us clean of our imperfection and now we are perfect with Him. Our confidence is rooted in the gospel and in our belief in Christ. In the Gospel message Jesus has taken our defeat and given us His victory so with Jesus we have strength, we have hope, we no longer live as losers but we live as children of God who have already won!!! With Jesus we have confidence to do things that would normally make us super uncomfortable, in Jesus we have confidence to stand against anything the world says is or isn’t right about who we are because we are children of God and with Him we can’t be touched, with Him we can’t be pushed back or have to worry because just as Jesus came before us to bring us victory, He hears our needs when we call out, He is always faithful to answer, and we can have confidence because we know that the Lord has gone before our next trial, struggle or temptation and fought out every obstacle in our path to give us victory and show us the victory that He’s already won. I’ve had many moments lately where I’ve had confidence like never before, done things I would’ve never done and walked over obstacles like they are no big deal. I don’t tell you that to say look at me and anything I’ve done, I tell you this to say look at God and watch what He does. My confidence is from God and God alone, it’s the gospel of victory that came through the Son of God that provides our path to confidence, that’s it, none of us, all Him.
Romans 5:8/ “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Acts 4:12/”And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
1 John 4:10/ “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
At the end of the day, I couldn’t think of anything to write that means more than this. It’s so easy to get caught up in this world, myself, my wants for selfish pleasures, and trying to find a savior out of something horizontal but the only answer is vertical. The only truth comes from God alone, the greatest truth of all that no matter how bad we get or how weak we are, God sent His Son to lay down His life covering our weakness and giving us life through His strength, grace, and love. It’s crazy to sit and think about. The Gospel and all the life it holds for me and you, all of the undeserving love shown through the good news of Jesus Christ. At the end of the day, I come to the same conclusion that I’m so weak and incapable but it’s the gospel that makes a way. Only with Jesus Christ do we have strength, hope, freedom, and victory over everything and anything this world can throw at us. It’s through Jesus Christ and Christ alone, wow. I’m sitting here at a loss of words trying to show the importance of the good news I so often overlook in my own life but the challenge to myself and you is that each day we meditate, live, walk, and love from this truth of the gospel. I pray God opens all of our eyes to remove the self-inflicted clutter and all the garbage the world tries to mess up our vision, I pray God opens us up to receive this great life-changing and powerful truth of the Gospel more and more each day so His name is magnified and captives are set free.
“ I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”/ John 14:25-27
This verse had stuck out to me last week and I think until today that I really hadn’t understood it. Jesus is giving instructions and some comfort to the disciples because although He is still there with them, Jesus told them that God would send a “helper”, by sending the Holy Spirit to them. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God which for every believer is God living within us. I know!!!Pretty cool right?!?! Hearing a pastor this morning in a short devotional clip talking about a strategy for the new year, instead of getting caught up in all the things we need to change in our lives and how bad our yesterday’s were, live in constant remembrance not of the self-imposed mistakes you’ve made and the battle you have now to move away from that failure into living “successful” life in God’s terms. When we focus on all that negative, failure, and the climb we’ve got in front of us because of the distance we’ve allowed ourselves to fall, we become overwhelmed and leave the gym after January’s over because it’s just too “hard.” Instead, stay in remembrance of the awesome work God has done in your life, the times He’s taken you from hopelessness and broke through to give you an abundance of hope, the moments where your heart was so full from watching God work in your life and in others around you. Just constantly remind yourself of how good God is and how good He has been to you instead of worrying about what you messed up your thoughts begin to change, your actions become bold, confident, and you feel free because living in God’s goodness and the moments He’s proven just how powerful and able He is to breakthrough in your struggles, you know in this moment that you’re in right now, God loves you just as much as all those other awesome God moments so you live with the “why not?” mentality instead of that “why me? mindset. Sorry, that’s not exactly what the pastor spoke about but I just got excited!
Looking at this verse and knowing that the same Holy Spirit lives within us, the Spirit of God, the Spirit that rose Christ from the grave, I so often overlook the “helper” I have within me at all times and rely on myself, act off my thoughts. I came to the realization for the millionth time but even bigger today that if I rely on me and act off the thoughts I have going through my head throughout the day, complaining, hopelessness, worry, sinful, weak, and the list goes on. If I rely on those thoughts like that’s all I got to go off of then I’m in trouble and my life is going to be a perfect representation of who I’m depending on and living off of. Thank God it’s not left up to us, thank God that He has given us the Holy Spirit living within us for guidance, comfort, and the power to break through anything. Like Jesus says, the Holy Spirit will teach you EVERYTHING and REMIND you of everything I’ve told you. Even though Jesus is speaking to the disciples in terms of what He literally said to them, Jesus has told us a lot too through God’s Word and most of all throughout the gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Not only Jesus’s Word to us but what all He has done for us by sacrificing Himself on the cross to cover our sins and rising on the third day with victory over death and sin in hand, a life of freedom for me and you. And not even just that but the huge God moments where God has spoken to us through answered prayer, deliverance through a struggle, or just seeing and experiencing the awesomeness of Him at work. God has spoken to us in so many ways and He’s given us the Holy Spirit to teach us even more than we’ve already encountered and remind us of what God has spoken to us, through His Word, the Gospel, and HUGE God moments we’ve witnessed. Jesus left “peace of mind, and of heart” with the disciples just as He has left the same to us. He tells them and us that no other place can this gift of peace be found, not through the world and not through anything or anyone in the world, ourselves. Jesus tells us what we have access to and He also tells us that no matter how hard we try to find it elsewhere and continually depend on ourselves, our thoughts, listening to our thoughts and acting from those thoughts, true peace that sets us free comes through Jesus and only Him, so shouldn’t we depend on Him and only Him?
Those truths hit me today after going through that daily battle of spiritual warfare, the fight to stay pure in my thoughts and focused on the Lord when every temptation is being thrown my way and all my thoughts of yesterday’s failure are telling me to give in and give up. “Why try to live better? You’ll never change? You’re still the same weak guy that messed up and gave up yesterday?” Although they may be in different words you probably can relate to thoughts like that. The good thing was finally starting to understand these verses (Holy Spirit teaching) and being reminded that I have no reason to be afraid, being reminded of the goodness the Lord has worked through my life, the moments where I’ve seen God’s power breakthrough my struggle and deliver me, reminding me of the gospel. Instead of going through the day weak, thinking weak, and acting weak because I am weak, me and my weakness aren’t the only option because I’ve been born again, resurrected from my old life and been given a new life to live with Jesus Christ today, tomorrow and forever. Although I’m sinful and weak, I don’t have to live in the failure that me and my weakness cause, I am with Christ and He is with me, I can lean on His strength and His provision to meet my every need, I can have hope, confidence and enjoy the work that the Holy Spirit is doing within me, from my heart, to my thoughts, spreading outward into my actions. I can live in freedom knowing that with the Holy Spirit living within me, teaching me and reminding me of what God has done, what He’s spoken, and the goodness He’s about to do because He is able.
Think about that freedom for a moment. That gift of peace that Jesus is speaking of and has given to us. Knowing that we don’t have “troubled or afraid” of anything or anyone in this world. I read this quote from Phil Jackson, the championship winning coach in the NBA in recent years, it’s not exactly a Christian statement from a Christian but it makes a lot of sense with this truth. “In basketball and in life, true joy comes from being fully present in each and every moment, not just when things are going your way. Of course, it’s no accident that things are more likely to go your way when you stop worrying about whether you’re going to win or lose the game and focus your full attention on what’s happening right this moment. Experience each moment with a clear mind and open heart, when you do that the game and life will take care of itself.”
Instead of focusing on winning or losing, or what our current circumstances look like, even if it’s terrible and looks impossible, focus on each moment with a clear mind and open heart, ready to let go of control and depending on self, ready to depend on God working through the power of the Holy Spirit and everything else will take care of itself. That’s the freedom God gives us to play the game and the access we have to Him and the Holy Spirit’s within us, we don’t have to worry about the outcome, God is in full control of the outcome, we can just play the game.
Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says, “Kemo Sabe, look towards sky, what you see?” “The Lone Ranger replies, “I see millions of stars.”
“What that tell you?” asked Tonto. The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute then says, “Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies
and potentially billions of planets.
Astrologically speaking, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically speaking, the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically speaking, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.
What does it tell you, Tonto?”
“You dumber than a buffalo . It means someone stole the tent.””
Psalm 91/ “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Hey everybody!! Daggum daggum daggum!!! I’m excited to share this Gold with you today! I had a Son-day surprise ready for you but God keeps supplying so much gold we’ll just have to save it for tomorrow. Kind of going off yesterday’s Gold seeing how when we give up ourselves and our struggles to God, He is so faithful to answer and so powerful that you can throw the word impossible out of your vocabulary with Him. Today I was driving down the road which is my prime time spot I usually do my business with the Lord. So I’m praying and I had some deep worry that had been building up the last few days with my hours being cut back at work, applying for a job in more of a ministry setting, at the moment I was most worried about making it by and what to do next. I don’t know why it took me so long but I finally gave those worries to Him and instead of trying to fix the problem and figure it out on my own like I usually do, I just left it alone. I just felt that the Lord was going to provide, I didn’t know when, where, or how long it would take but God gave me peace about it.
It wasn’t an hour later and my phone rang, it’s my dad/boss, he said someone called out and he asked if I wanted to come in and get some extra hours. What?!?!? My mind is still blown and I’m struggling to put words to it but wow God! Working on a Saturday afternoon wasn’t in my plans and I can’t say I was excited about it but I had just confessed to the Lord what I was struggling with, how I was struggling to believe that He could do it and struggling to take my hands off the wheel. He answered. This may not be the biggest most heaven opening God moment you’ve ever heard of but that’s where I was hit the most. So often in my life I expect to pray like God is a genie in a bottle and before I turn around He is going to open up the clouds, reach down and give me a winning lottery ticket. I’m not saying God isn’t capable of doing huge miraculous things but when we expect Him to do nothing but what seems huge in our eyes then we lose track of all the little moments that God completely and fully breaks through our tiny struggles and leads us into greener pastures.
I guess since God is so big and powerful it’s hard to see Him in the small things but that’s what’s so amazing is that God isn’t just our shepherd when we are walking through the valley of death and at the lowest pit of trouble we could be in, He is our Shepherd in each moment, little, big, medium sized, they are all the same to God because when He shows up so faithfully and you’re able to see just how much He cares for you, fights for you, and is in complete control of not just some but all the situations in our life, God only shows up in big ways because it’s who He is, GOD! That’s been the biggest advantage in seeing God work when me and my wants are out of the equation, when I’m the sheep and He’s the Shepherd, His provision may not be exactly how I planned it, wanted it, or thought it would come and so often when it’s not in my way then I miss out on seeing the blessings and provision God is bringing everywhere in my life. When we’re in the way, we have a tendency to only see God and His work in our lives only when it comes in the way we want it, that’s the thing, it doesn’t matter how we want it or how we think God should do it, He works in His way, He is the Shepherd and He Shepherd’s us in the way He best sees fit for our lives. I hope that makes sense because usually wrapped up in my wants, I would’ve never seen the call to work today as an answered prayer or blessing from God, I didn’t want to go to work because it wasn’t in my plans but that’s the way God provided so it doesn’t what I want because God has given me what I need. I’m sitting here pretty convicted of all the times God has showed up and provided for me and since it wasn’t the way I wanted it and my own selfishness was in the way, my eyes were consumed with me instead of enjoying God’s Shepherding and blessings in my life.
Just wanted to share that with you today with the hope that it can be of some encouragement to you in whatever sized problems you have in your life. God is right there, He is your Shepherd and He is surrounding you with everything you need in this very moment, take ALL of your worries to Him, and He may not answer in the exact way you want but He answers in the way you need. No matter what it is, let it go and step back, the Lord is your Shepherd and you shall not want anything else that you think might put duct tape on your problem, or want to do things your way. THE LORD IS YOUR SHEPHERD and that’s all that matters. He’s got you. Just think, maybe He’s about to call you and give you your provision. He is faithful, He loves you, and He is all you need!