Tag Archives: confidence

Starting the New Year with Jesus Christ

Today’s message summary of December 31, 2014 from Pastor Gus Brown:

We have bright hopes for tomorrow because of Jesus Christ.

There a many blessings that await you in the New Year. Tomorrow can be a very bright future for you.  Even with this, we are to remember that God is the One who provides these blessings and a bright future.

Remember who the One is who redeems you–who purchased you with His precious blood:

Isaiah 43:1

Now this is what the Lord says–the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel–“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.”

 

There is nothing to fear about the coming year. Wake up in the morning and say, “Thank you, Lord. Let’s do something special in 2015.”

Isaiah 43:2

I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.

 

What God is saying to you here is that no matter what you’re going through, God will be right there with you in the New Year. It doesn’t matter how bad it may be. We are not always promised good days. There will be tough times; nevertheless, you have the presence of the living God with you–as long as you rely upon Him.

How confident are you about God’s presence? When you believe that God is with you, it gives you the ability to step into things that you normally would not do.

He is not just a Savior, but He is the Lord your God who is to be glorified. He wants you to live in such a way where you acknowledge His presence and reflect your life in Christ to others. You and other people will say, when they see the testimonies through your life, that only God can do these things!

Isaiah 43:7

“…everyone called by My name and created for My glory. I have formed him; indeed, I have made him.”

 

You will indeed glorify God when you live for Him. He created you for His glory and His purpose.

Isaiah 43:10

“You are My witnesses”–this is the Lord’s declaration–“and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. No god was formed before Me, and there will be none after Me.

 

Make a commitment in 2015 to focus on being a better witness for Him. God knows all of your troubles and your concerns. He knows about everything taking place, but He says that you don’t need to worry about those things. He just wants you to be a witness for Him.

We should never lose the thought of who we are and what we can do. When we truly grasp this, we will never be ashamed to be a witness for Christ. Make a commitment to be strong in the Lord and in your faith in the New Year. Strive to be greater in proclaiming the gospel to others. Be proud to be chosen by God to be who you are. The Lord is the One who will make the way for you to be successful in the New Year (Isaiah 43:16-17).

Isaiah 43:18

“Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old.”

 

Don’t get stuck in past events that will keep you from being a testimony for Jesus in the New Year. Get rid of all of the anger and strife that you’re holding onto. Get rid of the old baggage and throw it away. Look at 2015 as God doing a new thing for you in your life.

Isaiah 43:19

“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

 

Something new is happening every day and God is accompanying you. Just open your eyes and see what He is doing for you. (If you don’t look for it, you won’t recognize His presence and see the blessings.) Seek Him in all things. There is so much for each of us to do and to grow and learn as we are doing it.

Philippians 3:12-15

Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Therefore, all who are mature should think this way.

 

We can’t remain focused on Jesus Christ and move forward if we are always looking behind us (the past). You can’t do anything about it now. Forgiveness helps us to move forward. Forget what is behind you. Tomorrow is a new day–a New Year. Press on and focus with all of your effort on serving Jesus Christ in the New Year.

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Stephen: A Servant of God

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Who was Stephen? First, he was just a man. He was a man who loved the Lord and, in the same way as David, he was a man after God’s own heart.

A servant really is doing the highest calling for God. A servant remains in the trenches each day and stays in the battle. The servants of God are the ones who are advancing the kingdom of God.

Stephen loved the Lord and serves Him faithfully. Faithfulness is the asset of a believer, and God is looking for people with this asset. Faithfulness is not just to your beliefs; instead, it is about faithfulness to Jesus Christ Himself.

Philippians 1:6

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

Are you confident in the God that you believe in?

Revelation 14:13

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: The dead who die in the Lord from now on are blessed.”

“Yes,” says the Spirit, “let them rest from their labors, for their works follow them!”

 

Are you confident that your work and your deeds will honor God and continue on even after you leave here?

Ephesians 5:16-18

16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit.

 

God will be glorified in the midst of your difficulty. It is up to you to see the big picture as you seek God’s will in your life.

Hebrews 6:10-12

10 For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints—and you continue to serve them. 11 Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope, 12 so that you won’t become lazy but will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.

 

God wants you to remain faithful to the work and stay with it. Getting older is no excuse to not remaining faithful to Jesus Christ.

A quick look at Stephen (book of Acts):

  1. He was not an apostle. He had no other title except “servant”.
  2. He was one of the seven to work with the distribution of food (Acts 6:5).
  3. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom.
  4. He was faithful.
  5. He was full of God’s grace (favor) and power.
  6. He performed great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.

Stephen understood that he was a witness for Jesus Christ. He learned the five books of Moses (he knew the Word of God), and he learned to trust his faith and the Person of the Holy Spirit (he trusted the Teacher).

Stephen’s opposition: Synagogue of Freemen (Acts 6:9)

  1. Jews of Cyrene – North African Jewish colony who followed their own laws and teachings. Simon, the person who carried the cross for Jesus, was from Cyrene (Matthew 27:32).
  2. Jews from Alexandria – Greek city by the Mediterranean Sea. It was second to Rome in wealth and second to Athens in science and literature. It had the greatest library of ancient times. The Septuagint was translated there in 285 B.C.
  3. Cilicia – Southeast Asia Minor. Jews who remained after the Babylonian captivity. This may be Paul’s birthplace.
  4. Asia: Seleucus, a Macedonia general, encouraged the Jews to settle in the towns of Asia by giving them freedom within the cities and the same social status as the Macedonians and Greeks.

These were all outsiders that had a different viewpoint. They argued with Stephen.

Acts 6:9

Then some from what is called the Freedmen’s Synagogue, composed of both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and disputed with Stephen.

 

Even with this, they could not stand up against his wisdom. Stephen spoke by the Spirit.

Acts 6:10

But they were unable to stand up against his wisdom and the Spirit by whom he was speaking.

 

Mark 13:11

So when they arrest you and hand you over, don’t worry beforehand what you will say. On the contrary, whatever is given to you in that hour—say it. For it isn’t you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

 

The opposition, as a result, fabricated a lie against Stephen stating that he was blaspheming against Moses. They brought him before the Sanhedrin, which was a large group of Sadducees, who only hold to the five books of Moses.

Stephen reveals his own knowledge of the five books of the law of Moses (Acts 7:2-50).

Acts 7:51-60

51 “You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit; as your ancestors did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They even killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. 53 You received the law under the direction of angels and yet have not kept it.”

54 When they heard these things, they were enraged in their hearts and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, filled by the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw God’s glory, with Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, 56 “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

57 Then they screamed at the top of their voices, covered their ears, and together rushed against him. 58 They threw him out of the city and began to stone him. And the witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 They were stoning Stephen as he called out: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin!” And saying this, he fell asleep.

 

Stephen was courageous and was led by the Spirit (Acts 7:51).

The opposition was furious. They covered their ears (Acts 7:54-57). They yelled at the top of their voices.

God was at work with Stephen in the midst of trouble. Stephen was now looking not at the crowd but at Jesus Christ–He was his focus (Acts 7:55).

Stephen prayed. He had a strong relationship with Jesus Christ (Acts 7:59).

Stephen knew he would be killed. He prayed to the Lord to not hold this against them (Acts 7:60).

God is looking at your heart for Him. You can say that you are following God and yet your heart can be thousands of miles away from Him. When a person witnesses about Christ, a person who rejects the message is not rejecting the witness–the person is rejecting Christ Himself.

Stephen ministered to his audience through the power of the Holy Spirit. It takes faith to carry out what the Holy Spirit is declaring to you. His courage came through his relationship with Jesus Christ.


Courageous in Christ

Today’s message summary from Melvin Gaines:

[Last week we discussed the plight of what it means to be a myopic (or nearsighted) believer, and what it takes to overcome it. While we discussed the downside traits of a myopic believer–hidden fruits, complaining and unappreciative, we presented a remedy to grow strong in your faith as a believer. We discussed how important it is to build and develop your IMAGE in order to become more faithful and confident as a believer in Jesus Christ.]

Developing your IMAGE starts with God’s Word:

Investigate God’s Word

Meditate on His Word

Apply His Word

Grow in Jesus Christ

Endure the hardships that will certainly come

 

2 Corinthians 2:14

But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

Believers in Jesus Christ are reminded by Scripture to be confident in their faith, but often, this is easier said than done. Perhaps you have experienced difficulties or setbacks in your faith because of life’s circumstances. These are completely normal and understandable. You can be a believer in Jesus Christ and experience different degrees of hardship. In these experiences, there is a lack of confidence in your circumstances.

Where does this lack of confidence come from?

  • First, it begins with a loss of focus on Jesus Christ
  • Next, it continues with doubt–something is not right, and now you’re not sure about the outcome of the situation
  • Finally, the loss of focus and the doubt is stirred up with a potion of fear.

A loss of focus is a huge distraction in your walk of faith.

Doubt is the opposite of faith.

Fear creeps in when faith is absent.

In order to get back to a place where faith can be placed at the forefront, you need to overcome the greatest obstacle that perpetuates doubt, and that is fear.

Fear comes from the available information, or a lack of information, which leads to a perception or anticipation of a negative outcome.

There are many different ways that fear become manifest in the life of a believer. Here is a top ten list that encapsulates how fear can overshadow a person’s life:

10. Losing your freedom

09. The unknown

08. Pain

07. Disappointment

06. Misery

05. Loneliness

04. Ridicule

03. Rejection

02. Death

01. Failure

Fear is a real emotion, but it is debilitating to your faith.

The result of fear, in your doubt and lack of focus, is a believer who is outside of the place where God wants you to be. It’s a place that is unsettling at best, and dreadful at worst.

Fear is not a switch that one can turn on and turn off. In our flesh, there is no such thing as an absence of fear. Fear is like a wound that needs ointment and a bandage in order to promote healing.

In order to overcome fear, which allows us to combat doubt and regain focus on Jesus Christ, there is a remedy. Fear must be suppressed with a reliance on God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Fear must be met with courage.

Courage is the essence of a believer that drives the necessary change to promote growth of your IMAGE in Jesus Christ and the ability, in spite of any life difficulty or circumstance, to proclaim the good news for the Great Commission.

God reminds you of the importance of being courageous. It takes your mind off of the things that you are fearful of. He gives us many reminders and words of encouragement throughout Scripture.

2 Timothy 1:6-7

6 Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Joshua 1:9

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Fear is anxiety and can be driven by impatience. God wants you to be patient.

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and courageous.
Wait for the Lord.

 

God wants you to experience rest and comfort as you rely upon the Spirit to overcome fear.

John 16:33

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

 

Fear is the absence of trust. God reminds us to trust in Him. Leave the results of your anxiety at His feet.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom should I be afraid?

 

There’s no need to go it alone. There’s strength and courage in numbers. Stay in a fellowship.

Philippians 1:27-28

27 Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel, 28 not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance—and this is from God.

 

Trusting God in your fear leads to confidence that there will be a good result…but even more than this…that God will be glorified.

Daniel 3:15-18

15 Now if you’re ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, fall down and worship the statue I made. But if you don’t worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire—and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. 17 If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. 18 But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

What amazing courage! But make no mistake about it…your courage is far from your own strength. God provides the ability for you to overcome fear and be strong in Him.

Philippians 4:11-13

11 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

 

Proverbs 3:25-26

25 Don’t fear sudden danger

or the ruin of the wicked when it comes,

26 for the Lord will be your confidence

and will keep your foot from a snare.

 

Isaiah 41:8-10

8 But you, Israel, My servant,

Jacob, whom I have chosen,

descendant of Abraham, My friend—

9 I brought you from the ends of the earth

and called you from its farthest corners.

I said to you: You are My servant;

I have chosen you and not rejected you.

10 Do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be afraid, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you; I will help you;

I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.

 

God offers Himself to you for comfort, healing, preservation and love, which overcomes all fear. He is your confidence. He is our confidence that we will succeed in any difficult situation or circumstance.

His love overcomes fear.

1 John 4:17-19

17 In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because He first loved us.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


Bearing Fruit in The New Year

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Isaiah 43:1-2
1 Now this is what the Lord says—
the One who created you, Jacob,
and the One who formed you, Israel—
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
2 I will be with you
when you pass through the waters,
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not overwhelm you.
You will not be scorched
when you walk through the fire,
and the flame will not burn you.

Are you discouraged about how the past year has gone? Are you looking forward to 2014? There is not anything that you can do about 2013, but get ready to roll up your sleeves in 2014 and work out what you want to do with your life. Life may have been difficult for you with broken dreams and mistakes, but the Holy Spirit has a unique way of picking up those broken pieces and helping you to see your life is put back together again.

Many will enter 2014 with fearfulness about a lack of employment or finances, but God is aware of what you need and will provide for you. There is no need to fear…fear not! There will be challenges that you will face in 2014, but God wants you to fear not and stand for Him. Stand in righteousness and do it with a smile in His confidence.

In today’s culture, we are not to fear anything as God remains in control. Yes, there will be some heated days ahead, but God can and will use you at those times when you are speaking the truth.

You are to look at the past to avoid making the same mistakes. You need to know what to do to improve and focus on what God will have you do.

Philippians 3:12-15
12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you.

God does want you to give your life to Him. It’s not just for the purpose of salvation. He wants you because He calls for you to serve Him. We are to forget what came from behind us in order to press on and do something new. While it is not often an easy thing to do, there is a freedom in moving ahead and casting your cares upon Him.

Don’t be afraid to press on and make changes in your life. Even more so, don’t be afraid to change your environment or even from some of the people you associate with in 2013. Change your environment and make new friends in 2014 to help you to move on the path to success. God truly wants the best for you, and change may be a significant part of your great year in 2014.

Romans 5:5
This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

There is hope in The Lord that He will do a mighty work in your life. Pray for God to increase your faith and to grow in your relationship with Him in 2014. Pray for a measure of each of the things that exemplify that agape love that Jesus showed to everyone.

1 Corinthians 13:13
Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

Luke 13:6-9
6 And He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree that was planted in his vineyard. He came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7 He told the vineyard worker, ‘Listen, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it even waste the soil?’

8 “But he replied to him, ‘Sir, leave it this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 Perhaps it will bear fruit next year, but if not, you can cut it down.’”

God is giving us another year to bear fruit. You can bear fruit when you are seeking God with sincerity to nurture you and even prune you. It is your opportunity to show how you can serve the living God. It is your chance to show Jesus Christ that you are able to provide more than just the potential to do it. As the Spirit of Christ lives within you, the fruit will come out. God is merciful and patient with those who love Him and seek Him.

I pray that, in 2014, you will grow in ministry to those who need it. Please pray that people will see the love of God, His grace and His mercy in everything that you do. We can do every good work for Him with His guidance.


The Depth of Your Confidence in God’s Faithfulness

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Often, the issue about our faith is how deep it is, and how confident we are in God through Jesus Christ. As God is truly faithful, can you measure the depth of your trust in His faithfulness? The depth of your faith will be reflected in your actions. In the same way as the foundation of a skyscraper, the foundation below ground has to be significant in comparison what is being held up above ground. Your foundation of faith in Jesus Christ must have a similar presence.

When you determine, in your faith, that God is faithful, you will see how He works in your life. Your faith in Him is a dependence upon Him. He will provide direction in your life.

Colossians 2:6-7
6 Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude.

Notice Paul’s confidence in The Lord, as he entrusted his life to Him.

2 Timothy 1:8-12
Not Ashamed of the Gospel

8 So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.

9 He has saved us and called us
with a holy calling,
not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace,
which was given to us in Christ Jesus
before time began.
10 This has now been made evident
through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus,
who has abolished death
and has brought life and immortality to light
through the gospel.
11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald, apostle, and teacher, 12 and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.

Why are you willing to suffer for Jesus? Why are you willing to put it all on the line for Him?

Philippians 3:8
More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ.

What are you willing to give up in your life for the glory of God through Jesus Christ?

2 Corinthians 11:22-29
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I.
Are they Israelites? So am I.
Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.
23 Are they servants of Christ?
I’m talking like a madman—I’m a better one:
with far more labors,
many more imprisonments,
far worse beatings, near death many times.
24 Five times I received 39 lashes from Jews.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans.
Once I was stoned by my enemies.
Three times I was shipwrecked.
I have spent a night and a day
in the open sea.
26 On frequent journeys, I faced
dangers from rivers,
dangers from robbers,
dangers from my own people,
dangers from the Gentiles,
dangers in the city,
dangers in the open country,
dangers on the sea,
and dangers among false brothers;
27 labor and hardship,
many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst,
often without food, cold, and lacking clothing.
28 Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

Paul suffered through many, many things for the cause of Jesus Christ. He was not ashamed to live this way. In the same way, we are to live in a godly manner in order that others might be saved. We may not suffer in the way that Paul did, but there is something to be said for making the effort to give up things for the comforting presence of Jesus Christ in your life.

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.

1 Peter 4:1-2
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, equip yourselves also with the same resolve—because the one who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin— 2 in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will.

Paul declares, “I know whom I have believed…” Do you know Jesus Christ and what He can do in your life? The more that you know Him, the more you will have confidence in Him.

He is the author of my salvation.

Hebrews 12:2
…keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

He is the truth.

John 14:6
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

He is your blessing.

2 Peter 1:3
Growth in the Faith

His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.

To know Jesus is to know (and understand) what He can do.

He can deliver and rescue you.

2 Timothy 4:18
The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.

2 Peter 2:9
…then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.

God calls upon you to stretch and exercise your faith.

Matthew 14:28
28 “Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.”

God calls you to have faith, hope and love in your life as you gain confidence in Him.

1 Corinthians 13:13
Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life,
angels or rulers,
things present or things to come, hostile powers,
39 height or depth, or any other created thing
will have the power to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Paul was confident that God would be with him.

Isaiah 50:7
The Lord God will help Me;
therefore I have not been humiliated;
therefore I have set My face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.

John 4:41-42
41 Many more believed because of what He said. 42 And they told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.”

1 John 3:24, 5:11-14
24 The one who keeps His commands remains in Him, and He in him. And the way we know that He remains in us is from the Spirit He has given us.

11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

12 The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Effective Prayer

14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

To know Jesus Christ is to have a confidence in Him with faith that He will deliver and keep His promises. Have you put everything that occurs in your life at the feet of Jesus Christ? He can best use you for Him when you do.


Confidence in The Lord

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Do you put into practice what you read in God’s Word? Whenever you are reading your devotions, ask God to show you how to live out what you read for the day. If you ask Him, He will indeed show you how to do it.

Matthew 7:24-28 (HCSB)
The Two Foundations

24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”

28 When Jesus had finished this sermon, the crowds were astonished at His teaching,

We’re continuing on with this study on confidence in The Lord. How many of you have confidence in Him? Many of us believe He exists, but confidence in Him is completely different. To have confidence in Him is to have faith in Him and trust Him that He is able to provide what we need. We lack confidence in Him, in contrast, when we only trust in our abilities to provide for ourselves.

“If being a Christian is not reflected with a life of increasing righteousness, holiness, faithfulness, love, or justice, what remains to differentiate a follower of Christ from other people?” – Skye Jethani

Instead of using symbols that reflect we are Christians, are we living in such a way that is truly different from the world? Is there a substance to your life from the inside out? What God wants to see from us is a great confidence in Him…because you believe and trust in The Lord.

Confidence gives us the ability to help each of us to prosper and distinguish righteousness each day. It is more than just confidence in eternal life…it is a way of life.

If you lack confidence, you will not have the patience or desire to wait on Him. If we continually run ahead of Him or act before He acts, you will not have contentment in your life. Your confidence is only in yourself and not in God.

God wants us to practice what James says:

James 4:13
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” 14 You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.

15 Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

If it is the Lord’s will for you to live a certain way, do you stop to consider your decisions in accordance with Him? If it is the Lord’s will, you will have the confidence to perform on His behalf.

The Lord says “be anxious for nothing” (Luke 12:29) and to wait upon Him. We are to consider God in everything we do.

Be aware that confidence in God is not having confidence in yourself. Confidence in God requires surrendering to Him and involving Him in everything, which requires asking Him and waiting for answers from Him. The more that God answers you when you yield to Him, the greater your confidence in Him and His ability to minister to you. It’s not just about how He blesses you. It is in how you live your life abundantly through Him. He wants you to build your relationship with Him and be confident in Him. God is our Heavenly Father who we can speak to anytime and anywhere.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed many who may publicly declare that they know The Lord but yet meet extremely difficulty because there is a lack of confidence in The Lord and the necessary faith in Him to be able to live successfully in Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 11:6
Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.

Luke 1:37
For nothing will be impossible with God.

Philippians 3:3
For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh.

Confidence in The Lord is seen in the evidence of Christ in your life. When you surrender to Him, He will amaze you in what you will see Him do in your life. It is to live in such a way, as you build your relationship with Him, that you will never want to live outside of His will and purpose for you. He will give you His best counsel.

Philippians 1:6
I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

To live in confidence is to overcome the desires of the flesh, which will take credit for what only God can do. The flesh will often find ways to sabotage what God does for us. Your confidence in Christ is always at war with the flesh.

In our confidence, He will have His way in your life, and it’s for our best interests. He is going to accomplish what He wants for you, even if we need to learn lessons along the way.

Philippians 2:13
For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.

Our confidence is not in the flesh. Always remain confident in Jesus Christ in everything that you do. We do not want to live as the world does (on earthly things) and become an enemy of the cross of Christ. Our minds are to dwell on heavenly things. Everything here on earth is temporary and won’t last.

Philippians 3:1-3
3 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write to you again about this is no trouble for me and is a protection for you.

2 Watch out for “dogs,” watch out for evil workers, watch out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh.

Philippians 3:18-19, 21
18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things,

21 He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.

Jesus is in control of everything. You need to acknowledge that He is in control of your finances, your employment and your family…everything that you do. When you acknowledge these things, pray to God that you remain in accord with Him throughout your life. Speak to Him all day long and remain confident in His ability to give you everything that you need.

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:31
What then are we to say about these things?
If God is for us, who is against us?

All of this is conditional upon your love and obedience to God through Jesus Christ. Your confidence in Jesus Christ will indeed change your life. He will teach you how to wait patiently upon Him and see how He will go beyond even your own expectations.

Psalm 73:26, 28
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart,
my portion forever.

28 But as for me, God’s presence is my good.
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
so I can tell about all You do.


Lot and the Consequences of a Lack of Confidence in God

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

God desires for each of us to be confident in Jesus Christ. That confidence does not come through the flesh, but through the God that we serve. Our confidence comes through The Lord and what He is doing in our lives.

Today we will examine what it is to live outside of confidence in God. There are consequences in not living in His confidence. It means that one will miss out on living the abundant life. By not living in the Lord’s confidence, it means that we would live in our own energy and strength, which will ultimately lead to disasterous results.

Ways of not living under God’s confidence has consequences. These areas include the following:
1. Drifting away from Him
2. Doubting Him — His Word means less and less relevance to you.
3. A dullness about God — a lack of zealousness for Him; a boredom over Him.
4. Despising Him — anything that is deemed of Him or “religious things.”
5. Defying Him — rebellion of Him and His Word; refusing to live as a child of God.

In 2 Peter 2:7, we have a description of a person who is not living in God’s confidence. We will look at Lot’s life and examine it in detail.

2 Peter 2:7
…and if He rescued righteous Lot, distressed by the unrestrained behavior of the immoral.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, there are consequences with living outside of God’s will. When a person decides to live outside of God’s authority and His will, He should expect to be brought down and oppressed, even surrounded, by evil. When you are away from The Lord, you are fair game with every demon. The world will treat you roughly, as well.

Lot had his struggles with all of the things noted above, but even in his righteousness, he did not actively witness and proclaim God to others, which is noted in that others did not take him very seriously as to his life. This also applies to us in the same way. God wants us to live in His confidence and honor Him by proclaiming our faith to others. There will come a point that one’s complacency over Jesus Christ will catch many off guard.

Luke 17:28-29
28 It will be the same as it was in the days of Lot: People went on eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. 29 But on the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all.

Lot was taken in by Abram (Abraham) at an early age. He learned a lot from Abram, and he was blessed because he was under Abram’s care. Abram loves Lot and cares for him. but Lot chose to live differently from the way Abram lived.

Genesis 12:5-6
5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people he had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the site of Shechem, at the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

Note that Lot was blessed by his association with Abram, but he chose to come out from under God’s covering instead of working with Abram.

Genesis 13:5-10
5 Now Lot, who was traveling with Abram, also had flocks, herds, and tents. 6 But the land was unable to support them as long as they stayed together, for they had so many possessions that they could not stay together, 7 and there was quarreling between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were living in the land.

8 Then Abram said to Lot, “Please, let’s not have quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, since we are relatives. 9 Isn’t the whole land before you? Separate from me: if you go to the left, I will go to the right; if you go to the right, I will go to the left.”

10 Lot looked out and saw that the entire Jordan Valley as far as Zoar was well watered everywhere like the Lord’s garden and the land of Egypt. This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

Note that Abram’s confidence was in God. He relied upon God’s care for him, and allowed Lot to decide where to go. Lot decided that he would take the best of the land by moving to the east. Lot moved close to the place where there was evil (Sodom), and it wasn’t long before he was right in the middle of it.

Genesis 13:11-12
11 So Lot chose the entire Jordan Valley for himself. Then Lot journeyed eastward, and they separated from each other. 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, but Lot lived in the cities of the valley and set up his tent near Sodom.

1 Thessalonians 5:22
Stay away from every kind of evil.

Look at where Lot winds up–he eventually moved into Sodom.

Genesis 14:11-13
11 The four kings took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food and went on. 12 They also took Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, for he was living in Sodom, and they went on.

13 One of the survivors came and told Abram the Hebrew, who lived near the oaks belonging to Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol and the brother of Aner. They were bound by a treaty with Abram.

A believer needs to proceed with extreme caution in his association with those who choose to live in an ungodly manner. It will have a negative effect on how you live your life and it will eventually cause you to suffer some loss. This happened to Lot because he moved out from under the blessing of Abram and his household. Lot lost much of his wealth because of where he chose to move himself and his family.

When Abram discovers what happens to Lot, he shows the love that he has for his nephew, Lot. He puts everything he owns at risk by going out to rescue Lot.

Genesis 14:13-16
13 One of the survivors came and told Abram the Hebrew, who lived near the oaks belonging to Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol and the brother of Aner. They were bound by a treaty with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken prisoner, he assembled his 318 trained men, born in his household, and they went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 And he and his servants deployed against them by night, attacked them, and pursued them as far as Hobah to the north of Damascus. 16 He brought back all the goods and also his relative Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the other people.

Even when Lot was rescued, he returned to Sodom. Do you find yourself going back to areas in your life where God would not have you to go? Because of Abraham’s love for his nephew, Lot was brought out of Sodom and rescued. God intended to judge Sodom, but he rescued Lot because of Abraham’s appeals to not destroy Sodom with Lot in it.

Genesis 19:1-14
19 The two angels entered Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting at Sodom’s gate. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them. He bowed with his face to the ground 2 and said, “My lords, turn aside to your servant’s house, wash your feet, and spend the night. Then you can get up early and go on your way.”

“No,” they said. “We would rather spend the night in the square.” 3 But he urged them so strongly that they followed him and went into his house. He prepared a feast and baked unleavened bread for them, and they ate.

4 Before they went to bed, the men of the city of Sodom, both young and old, the whole population, surrounded the house. 5 They called out to Lot and said, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so we can have sex with them!”

6 Lot went out to them at the entrance and shut the door behind him. 7 He said, “Don’t do this evil, my brothers. 8 Look, I’ve got two daughters who haven’t had sexual relations with a man. I’ll bring them out to you, and you can do whatever you want[a] to them. However, don’t do anything to these men, because they have come under the protection of my roof.”

9 “Get out of the way!” they said, adding, “This one came here as a foreigner, but he’s acting like a judge! Now we’ll do more harm to you than to them.” They put pressure on Lot and came up to break down the door. 10 But the angels reached out, brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 They struck the men who were at the entrance of the house, both young and old, with a blinding light so that they were unable to find the entrance.

12 Then the angels said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here: a son-in-law, your sons and daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of this place, 13 for we are about to destroy this place because the outcry against its people is so great before the Lord, that the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were going to marry his daughters. “Get up,” he said. “Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

When Lot tried to communicate with his sons-in-law, he wasn’t taken seriously at a critical time because they did not see Lot’s dedication or zeal for God. They did not see Lot’s sincerity for The Lord. When people see your sincerity for Jesus Christ in everything that you do, they will take you seriously.

Genesis 19:15-22
15 At daybreak the angels urged Lot on: “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he hesitated. Because of the Lord’s compassion for him, the men grabbed his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters. Then they brought him out and left him outside the city.

17 As soon as the angels got them outside, one of them said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop anywhere on the plain! Run to the mountains, or you will be swept away!”

18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords—please. 19 Your servant has indeed found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness by saving my life. But I can’t run to the mountains; the disaster will overtake me, and I will die. 20 Look, this town is close enough for me to run to. It is a small place. Please let me go there—it’s only a small place, isn’t it?—so that I can survive.”

21 And he said to him, “All right, I’ll grant your request about this matter too and will not demolish the town you mentioned. 22 Hurry up! Run there, for I cannot do anything until you get there.” Therefore the name of the city is Zoar.

Note that Lot was hesitant when he was told to get out of Sodom. He was looking more at what he wanted for the moment than what could happen to him and his family. You’ve heard the saying, “He who hesitates is lost”? The angels had to rescue Lot and his family, and he even chose to go to a place that was different from where the angels told him to go (the mountains). He chose instead to go to Zoar, where he thought he would be safe. Here is where God will sometimes allow us to go places that are not necessarily the best for us. He desires for us to have His best, but it is our choice to accept His best.

Do you see how a person can be given good information and guidance, and how some can refuse to take it and use it? A person can make a conclusion to do something different, and sometimes it is void of reasoning.

God listened to Abraham’s intercessory prayers for Lot. He prayed for Lot’s safety, and God remembered him.

Genesis 19:29
So it was, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, He remembered Abraham and brought Lot out of the middle of the upheaval when He demolished the cities where Lot had lived.

When you lose confidence in God, you have already lost a great deal. Lot had lost his wealth and whatever he owned. He lost his family and even his daughters after he was rescued because of the type of the relationship that he had with them. He also lost the closeness of his relationship with Abraham and his family. Many things that Lot experienced were because of his lack of confidence and trust in God.

Abraham was blessed in the land of Canaan where he was. Lot wound up in a different place then where he had intended.

Genesis 19:30
Lot departed from Zoar and lived in the mountains along with his two daughters, because he was afraid to live in Zoar. Instead, he and his two daughters lived in a cave.

A person has to make a choice to allow God to govern his or her life, and make decisions with His guidance. That is how we are to live the life that God would have us to live. He desires that you live the abundant life in Jesus Christ. It begins with our faith and trust in Him, and He will bring us out of those areas that break our fellowship with Him. Our prayer is that you will listen to God and yield to Him and His goodness. God loves you more that you can ever imagine. He wants you to prosper,