How to Live with Boldness and Confidence in This Scary World

Our world is a scary place isn’t it?  Just turn on CNN as they breathlessly chatter 24 hours a day about the latest threat that may end planet earth as we know it.

Yet, frankly you don’t need to look around the world.  Just look around your city.  There are some areas you wouldn’t wander after dark.  Heck, I’m not sure I’d wander too many places after dark.

So, in a way, we have a choice.

Do we let fear overtake and squelch our lives?  Or do we live life in confidence and boldness the way it was meant?

David wrote, “I will fear no evil, because your rod and your staff comfort me.”

This from a man who spent years trying to keep from living a very short life due to his enemies.

See he didn’t fixate on the threat around him.  Instead he focused on God with him.

As a shepherd he’d carried a rod as a weapon for protection.  And he used his staff to guide and rescue his sheep.

He gives us a picture of how God does the same for us.

When you grasp that promise instead of fear you’re filled with comfort and confidence.

Then you can boldly live your life to the fullest.

Oh, and it helps to turn off CNN.

 

*Psalm 23:4

How to Find Happiness When You’ve Been Hurt by Someone You Trust

We don’t live very long before someone hurts us do we?  From the school yard bully to our first girlfriend or boyfriend we wise up pretty quickly.

Unfortunately, that’s mild compared to the hurts inflicted by those we trust.

An abusive parent, an unfaithful spouse, an unethical business partner, an undermining friend all have the power to inflict real damage.

It can leave us seething with anger and wanting revenge.  Yet, that continues to inflict even more damage.

We’ve been told to forgive and forget, but how?

I love the words of Joseph when he meets years later his brothers who sold him into slavery.

He said, “You intended it for evil, but God intended it for good.”

Wow!   What a perspective.

See Joseph didn’t excuse his brothers’ evil and hurtful behavior.

Instead he looked through the cloud of hurt at the good God intended.

Remember, the evil someone works against you isn’t the last word.  God has the last word.

So when you’ve been hurt instead of focusing on the evil look through eyes of faith to the good God intends.

Then you’ll see clearly the blessing as the memory of the hurt grows dim.  And you’ll be able to forgive and forget because God has turned your hurt into healing.

 

*Genesis 50:20

Finding Joy When You’re Overwhelmed with Grief

I’ve stood by too many grave sides talking about the one who left too soon.  Memories flood my mind.  Tears well up in my eyes and spill down my cheeks.

Sometimes I’ve thought, “If I could just have one more hour.”

But of course I can’t.  And it wouldn’t be enough.

You’ve felt the same I know.

As has been said, “None of us get out of this alive.”

That’s why I love this promise of Jesus about Heaven.

“God will wipe away every tear.  There will be no more death, grief, crying or pain.  The old way has ended.”

This life is not the end of your story.  The dawn is just breaking.

As we simply accept God’s gift he gives it.  He says, “Join me my child.  Live with me and those you love forever.”

Then you rest in the comfort that you’ll get to spend that extra hour with that one you love.  Heck, you’ll get to spend a gazillion hours.

Actually, with a few loved ones, that might be just a smidge too much.

No loved one will ever leave again.  No more tears or grief or pain.

Hey, and you get to live there also.

Oh, and me too.  Not sure how I got so lucky but I’m not asking.

 

*Revelation 21:4

How to In the Midst of Grief Be Surprised by Joy

We all get blindsided by loss and grief don’t we?  A marriage fails, we lose a loved one, we’re downsized out of a job.

Suddenly we plunge into the night of grief.  We think, “How can I possibly go on?”

After days and months we wonder, “Will life ever be normal again?”

Well, I’ve got good news and bad news.

The bad news is, unfortunately, this is life.  The good news is that joy will return.

You’ll find healing in the midst of the hurt.

You’ll find laughter in the midst of the tears.

Dawn will break into the midst of your darkness.

The Psalmist promises, “Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

I love that and have seen it so many times.  In the midst of the pain unexpectedly a laugh sneaks in.  A smile creases your face.  Lightness lingers in your heart.

No matter your loss God sees and knows.  He’s with you in the darkness and will lead you into the light again.

When you just draw close to him he fills you with his unexplainable joy.

So whatever you face today in your night.  God meets you there and will lead you into the dawn again.

Then you will truly be surprised by joy.

 

*Psalm 30:5

Feeling Beat Up? Renew Your Self Confidence Again!

It’s pretty easy to feel beat up emotionally isn’t it?

I mean, in your career, you just never seem to measure up to the best.

Others are cuter, more popular, more fun.

Maybe, like me, you were always the last to get picked for the school yard baseball team.

Then maybe you’ve been rejected by someone you love.

It can leave you feeling less than worthy can’t it?

Well, I’ve got good news for you.  And honestly, really good news for me.

As I’ve heard said, “God made you and he doesn’t make junk.”

Or as Psalms says more eloquently.

“I praise you because I am miraculously and perfectly made.  And I know all your creation is perfect.”

See, God made you perfectly.   And he has something great that he created only you for.

So when you look at yourself and think, “Yikes.”

God looks at you and thinks, “Ahh, perfect.”

So the key is to look at yourself through God’s eyes.

When you do you’ll suddenly see yourself in a whole new way.  And you’ll discover the great things God put you here on earth to accomplish.

So go ahead.  Be a little proud.

I promise, if I get the chance, I’ll pick you first for the baseball team.

 

*Psalm 139:13

What Do You Do When Life Throws You a Curve and You Need to Clobber a Home Run?

A friend described her life as feeling like a wildebeest.

She said, “I get up in the morning with a plan and by noon I’m going a completely different direction.  Then by 3 I’ve changed direction again.  Like a wildebeest wandering aimlessly.”

I can relate.  Some days I get to the end and can just recycle my plans because none of them got accomplished.

Yet, life comes at us like that doesn’t it?  I mean we lay out our best plans and then the phone rings.

And if you’re a goal focused person, rather goal obsessed person, like I am?  Yikes, you can grow really frustrated.

That’s why it’s good to pause and remember God’s promise.

“A person plans his course but God guides his steps.”

I’m so glad.  Although, I have to be honest, there are days I wonder if anyone is steering the bus.

But in those times you just relax and trust God is in control because he promised he would be.

Then you get to see where he’s taking you.  You may be surprised.  Yet, often it’s so much better.

God promises he hasn’t lost control even when you have.  And you’ll arrive at your destination though it may change.

Welcome aboard the bus.

Buckle up!

 

*Proverbs 16:9

How to Change Your Life from Frustration to Strength

Do you ever have those times you think, “Wow, I messed up again.  Why do I keep making the same mistakes?  Why can’t I get it right?”

To tell you the truth I do.  A lot.  And there’s probably a few times my wife wonders the same thing about me.

Yet, it often seems the harder I work at trying to change the more frustrated I become.  Then when I feel worn out from trying, I revert back to the old behaviors again.

I think, “Yikes, what can I do?”

Paul wrote, “He who started a good work in you will continue it on until he completes it.”

See God not only forgives your past he changes your future also.

This makes the promises of Jesus unique.

Religion says, “When you’re perfect enough then God will accept you.”

Jesus says, “You won’t ever be perfect enough so I accept you the way you are.  Then I’ll change you from the inside into the person you and I want you to be.”

Now that’s reassuring isn’t it?  Especially to those of us who maybe are just a smidge flawed.

It only comes as you ask and expect God to act.

Then he does.

Sounds like a darn good trade to me.

*Philippians 1:6

Do You Face the Impossible? Would You Like to See a Miracle?

What mountain do you face?  What obstacle seems so huge that you can’t imagine life the other side?

You’ve tried to overcome it.  You’ve given it your best shot.  Followed all the five step plans you know.  Yet, the mountain still remains.

So you’re ready to throw in the towel.  But you don’t know where to throw it or what you’ll do afterwards.

Believe me I’ve been there.  And I’ve prayed with a lot of people who were there.

I’ve found sometimes this is just the place God wants us to get to.  Because we stop digging and start looking up.

Then God can work his greatest miracles.  And I’ve seen some amazing ones.

Now before you call me, I’ve also seen some answers that were, shall we say, not exactly what we prayed for.  Yet, even in those often something better came out.

It’s what Jesus promised, “If anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and doesn’t doubt but believes it will happen, it will be done for him.”

Doesn’t leave a lot out does it?  Pretty bold promise.

What would happen if you actually took God up on it?

How big is your mountain?

Good news.  We know the one who made the mountains.

*Mark 11:23

Worn Out From Your Struggles? Be Encouraged!

Do you ever go through those times where problems seem to pile up?  I mean, you get one challenge solved only to have two more waiting in the wings.

You’re running to keep the other shoe from falling only to see a bus heading at you?

And no matter how fast you run the behinder you get?

Well I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is, well, welcome to life.

The good news is you can find encouragement in the midst.

Jesus never sugar coated the struggles of this life.  Yet, he offers an antidote.

He said, “In this world you will have trouble.  But take confidence!  I have overcome this world.”

He doesn’t say struggle on until you get to Heaven.

No he says, “Right now, in this world, in the midst of the struggle, be encouraged.”

Wait, what?  Why?

Because no matter what you face Jesus’ power is greater.  No matter the challenges that seem impossible Jesus has the power to overcome them.

No matter the discouragement you feel, Jesus sees your circumstances and loves you.

So he says, “Put on confidence.”

Look at his power rather than the world’s.

And then you’ll overcome this world in that power.

But I’d still watch out for the bus.

 

*John 16:33

How to Find Peace in a World That’s Exploding

Does it ever feel to you like our world is exploding in one giant holocaust?

I mean, I won’t even turn on the news any more.

A terrorist set off a bomb killing scores of people.  War broke out on a new front.  The economy is tanking or certainly predicted to for the hundredth time.

And that doesn’t even count all the challenges you face personally does it?

It’s enough to make you want to go live in a monastery isn’t it?  Well except for, you know, all the stuff you have to give up.

So how do you find peace in the midst of this crazy world?

Jesus gives a remarkable answer.

“I have told you all of these secrets so that in your relationship with me you will discover peace.”

He says simply, “Live with me and then you’ll discover an unexplainable peace.”

A peace, that no matter what is blowing up around you, fills you from the inside.

No matter what you face you’ll have peace Jesus is with you because he promised.

I’ll tell you, I’ve experienced that peace.  And this is from a person who could turn worrying into an art form.

It’s real.  It’s yours.

But I’m still not turning on the news.

 

*John 16:33