God Confidence!

I was having a conversation a while ago with one of my friends and they were telling me about a verse they had come across, and how it was strikingly powerful in The Message version.  The verse keeps coming back to my mind, I think it’s one of the lessons that God has been teaching me over and over for the past year and a half.  The line that is so powerful is this:  “Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” 1 Corinthians 10:12.

I have learned so many lessons in the past year and a half.  But I think that underneath pretty much every lesson has been the need for one thing in my life:  God Confidence.

For me this has been so very difficult.  I know the truth.  I have memorized the verses:

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.”

James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Romans 5:3-5 ” Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

And yet I still feel anxious.  I still feel unsettled.  I can repeat these verses over and over, but how do I get them to go deep down?  How do I get them from my head to my heart?  If we are honest I think that most of us will admit that in one area or another of our lives we all are struggling to find peace (at least I hope I’m not the only one).  And it is available, the Bible promises it.  It comes down to where our confidence is.  Self-confidence is most certainly useless. But if we have God confidence we can have peace.  As 1 Corinthians 10 continues “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”

I am sitting on the precipice of the beginning of the rest of my life.  In 2 weeks I leave for flight and maintenance training that will begin to prepare me to serve God as a missionary pilot in Zambia, Africa.  God has made it so very clear that this is where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing.  And yet I still find myself lacking God Confidence.  So what do I do?

To be honest I am not completely sure.  But there are a few things that I have begun doing that I believe will take me to a place of stronger God confidence:
  • I get up every morning and spend time with God.  How can I be confident in someone that I don’t know?
  • I remind myself everyday of the promises that He gives. I attempt to put more scripture and truth into my mind everyday than anything else.
  • I try my very best to not do anything that I know is wrong.

Beyond that I wait… BUT

13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.
                             Psalm 27
May God bless you as you move towards peace and God Confidence in your life.

The Cripple at Your Table

I was listening to “Carbon Ribs” 

 by John Mark McMillan the other day and thinking about the chorus that says:

“Cause I’m a dead man now with a ghost who lives

Within the confines of these carbon ribs

And one day when I’m free I will sit

The cripple at your table

The cripple by your side.”

Then I came across an interesting story from the Old Testament.  Perhaps this is where John Mark got his inspiration for the song or perhaps not, but either way it tied things together nicely for me.

In 2 Samuel 9, David who had become King of Israel wanted to show kindness to Saul’s (the former king) family for the sake of Jonathan, Saul’s son, who had been David’s best friend.  Come to find out there is only one relative of the family still living.  Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, and if spelling his name wasn’t difficult enough, we also find out that he was crippled in both of his feet and living at someone else’s house because he couldn’t take care of himself.  David instructed that Mephibosheth be brought to the palace, and I can guess that Mephibosheth was quite fearful when he heard that King David wanted to see him.  Generally speaking in those days when a new king came into power he killed any relatives of the old king to make sure no one would try to usurp his power.  David, as we know, had much different intentions.  “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan.  I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”  (2 Samuel 9:7 NIV, emphasis mine)  I can only imagine what Mephibosheth was thinking… “Wait, what?  The family land was very generous of David to give back, but did he just say I will always eat at his table?  The Kings table?  Where all of the his sons eat?  Is he aware that I am the grandson of the man who tried to kill him over and over and that I am crippled?”  Mephibosheth had nothing that he could offer, no merit with which to earn this privilege, but David bestowed it on him anyway.   WOW, what a change, he goes from living in someone else’s house because he can’t support himself, to having his own land and eating at the kings table.  So the story ends “And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the King’s table, and he was crippled in both feet.”  (2 Samuel 9:13 NIV)  The story begins and ends with the fact that he was crippled in both his feet.  Mephibosheth didn’t do anything to merit the kindness David showed to him, and he was never healed of his crippled condition… but regardless he ate at the King’s table always.

I was struck by this.  This is our condition, we are crippled by sin in more than just our feet.  We are crippled by sin all throughout our bodies, and even worse in our hearts.  We cannot change our condition any more than Mephibosheth could change his.  And we can’t earn the God’s favor any more than he could earn the right to sit at David’s table, he was wholly dependent on David to sustain him, and we are wholly dependent on God to sustain us for this life and the life to come.  It really puts things into perspective and makes me thankful that in my crippled condition God has brought me to Him and I have the honor of being the cripple at His table.

God Bless George Mueller

I set out to write an entry describing the things that I am learning as I begin the long road of raising support to move to Zambia to become a missionary pilot.  I was going to describe different great missionaries of the past and the different methods they used to gain the needed funds to do their life’s work, but… I got lost.  Lost in the life of George Mueller.  Certainly a worthy life to study, and as I studied his life, I kept asking the same question.  What did he do that enabled God to use him so mightily?  Further, how can I emulate him so that I too can be a tool used by God to do huge things?

So, first, a little about George himself.  He was born in 1805 and lived to the ripe old age of 92.  His mother died when he was 14; after wayward teenage years, he found salvation at age 20.  After a few years, he became convinced of God’s sovereignty, but more specifically God’s sovereign goodness.  From there his ministry took off.  He spent most of his life in Bristol, England, pastoring a church, distributing Bibles and books, supporting other missionaries, and running orphanages.  He took care of more than 10,000 orphans during his life.  The amazing thing about him was that he did all of this without taking a salary, or even EVER asking anyone for money, and he never went into debt.  He prayed and God provided; it was that simple.  Mueller felt that it was important for his ministries to make it clear to all that God is not only real, but can be trusted with everyday affairs and does actually answer prayers.  Every year he would publish and distribute a document showing all of the donations that were given and showing how God answered his prayers.

George Mueller

One well documented story tells of breakfast time in the orphanage when there was no food for any of the children to eat.  Mueller sat the children down at the table anyway and thanked God for the food they were about to eat.  After the prayer, there was a knock at the door and the local baker was outside with enough bread for everyone, and milk was provided, too, because the milkman’s cart broke down just outside the orphanage, and he had to give the milk away before it spoiled.  And that is just one of many many stories about how God provided for George Mueller.

But I think we can see more clearly how God was able to use him from a time when God didn’t answer his prayers.  In speaking at his wife’s funeral, after God had not answered his prayer for healing, he said: The last portion of scripture which I read to my precious wife was this: “The Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord will give grace and glory, no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Now, if we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have received grace, we are partakers of grace, and to all such he will give glory also. I said to myself, with regard to the latter part, “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly”—I am in myself a poor worthless sinner, but I have been saved by the blood of Christ; and I do not live in sin, I walk uprightly before God. Therefore, if it is really good for me, my darling wife will be raised up again; sick as she is. God will restore her again. But if she is not restored again, then it would not be a good thing for me. And so my heart was at rest. I was satisfied with God. And all this springs, as I have often said before, from taking God at his word, believing what he says.”  

Further he states what he felt was the most important thing for a Christian to do, and while it doesn’t seem easy, it certainly is simple:  “According to my judgement the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord’s work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion, I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.”

And what did Mueller say was the key to finding your soul happy and satisfied in the Lord?  “Now in brotherly love and affection I would give a few hints to my younger fellow-believers as to the way in which to keep up spiritual enjoyment. It is absolutely needful in order that happiness in the Lord may continue, that the Scriptures be regularly read. These are God’s appointed means for the nourishment of the inner man. . . .Consider it, and ponder over it. . . . Especially we should read regularly through the Scriptures, consecutively, and not pick out here and there a chapter.”

George Mueller took God at his word, and he knew what God’s word said.  By the end of his 92 years, he had read the bible cover to cover almost 200 times, helped over 10,000 orphans, established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, traveled to 42 countries and preached to some three million people.  Now that’s a life worth emulating!  

Most of my information and quotes came from this website, as well as a little help from Wikipedia. 🙂  http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/biographies/george-muellers-strategy-for-showing-god