God-confidence

‘Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.’ James 4:10 NIV

The word ‘self-esteem’ has been around for about three centuries, but until recent years, it wasn’t used a whole lot. Self-esteem means we have confidence in ourselves; and that’s different from knowing our identity in Christ and having confidence in who He is.

The world tells us to take care of ourselves above others, to recognise how amazing we are and to celebrate our successes. But if we listen to the world, we can end up quite self-focused. We can begin to think we don’t need God. We can think that we can manage perfectly well on our own, and that we’re strong enough and gifted enough to get things done. We start to believe we can get through tough situations alone. We end up celebrating what we achieved, rather than giving the glory to God.

But the Bible says: ‘Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.’ Our lives shouldn’t be about promoting ourselves and striving to be the best. We need to be humbling ourselves, and recognising God. We should never forget that we’re only who we are because of who God is. We’re only called because God chose to call us. We’re only accepted because of God’s unfailing love and Jesus’ sacrifice. We’re only strong because God is our strength. We’re only wonderfully made because we’re created by the ultimate Creator, who made us in His likeness.

It’s vital for us to know who we are, but let’s also have the humility to recognise that we’re only who we are because of God. And let’s have the confidence to believe that everything God says about us is true, that He is good, and that we can trust Him with our lives.

SoulFood: Deut 32:29–34:12, Matt 14:13–21, Ps 119:17–24, Pro 17:7–10

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Deuteronomy 32:29–34:12 ()

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29   If they were wise, they would understand this;
    they would discern their latter end!
30   How could one have chased a thousand,
    and two have put ten thousand to flight,
  unless their Rock had sold them,
    and the LORD had given them up?
31   For their rock is not as our Rock;
    our enemies are by themselves.
32   For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom
    and from the fields of Gomorrah;
  their grapes are grapes of poison;
    their clusters are bitter;
33   their wine is the poison of serpents
    and the cruel venom of asps.
34   “‘Is not this laid up in store with me,
    sealed up in my treasuries?
35   Vengeance is mine, and recompense,
    for the time when their foot shall slip;
  for the day of their calamity is at hand,
    and their doom comes swiftly.’
36   For the LORD will vindicate his people
    and have compassion on his servants,
  when he sees that their power is gone
    and there is none remaining, bond or free.
37   Then he will say, ‘Where are their gods,
    the rock in which they took refuge,
38   who ate the fat of their sacrifices
    and drank the wine of their drink offering?
  Let them rise up and help you;
    let them be your protection!
39   “‘See now that I, even I, am he,
    and there is no god beside me;
  I kill and I make alive;
    I wound and I heal;
    and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.
40   For I lift up my hand to heaven
    and swear, As I live forever,
41   if I sharpen my flashing sword
    and my hand takes hold on judgment,
  I will take vengeance on my adversaries
    and will repay those who hate me.
42   I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
    and my sword shall devour flesh—
  with the blood of the slain and the captives,
    from the long-haired heads of the enemy.’
43   “Rejoice with him, O heavens;
    bow down to him, all gods,
  for he avenges the blood of his children
    and takes vengeance on his adversaries.
  He repays those who hate him
    and cleanses his people's land.”

44 Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua the son of Nun. 45 And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. 47 For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”

48 That very day the LORD spoke to Moses, 49 “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. 50 And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, 51 because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. 52 For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.”

33:1 This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the people of Israel before his death. He said,

  “The LORD came from Sinai
    and dawned from Seir upon us;
    he shone forth from Mount Paran;
  he came from the ten thousands of holy ones,
    with flaming fire at his right hand.
  Yes, he loved his people,
    all his holy ones were in his hand;
  so they followed in your steps,
    receiving direction from you,
  when Moses commanded us a law,
    as a possession for the assembly of Jacob.
  Thus the LORD became king in Jeshurun,
    when the heads of the people were gathered,
    all the tribes of Israel together.
  “Let Reuben live, and not die,
    but let his men be few.”

And this he said of Judah:

  “Hear, O LORD, the voice of Judah,
    and bring him in to his people.
  With your hands contend for him,
    and be a help against his adversaries.”

And of Levi he said,

  “Give to Levi your Thummim,
    and your Urim to your godly one,
  whom you tested at Massah,
    with whom you quarreled at the waters of Meribah;
  who said of his father and mother,
    ‘I regard them not’;
  he disowned his brothers
    and ignored his children.
  For they observed your word
    and kept your covenant.
10   They shall teach Jacob your rules
    and Israel your law;
  they shall put incense before you
    and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
11   Bless, O LORD, his substance,
    and accept the work of his hands;
  crush the loins of his adversaries,
    of those who hate him, that they rise not again.”

12 Of Benjamin he said,

  “The beloved of the LORD dwells in safety.
  The High God surrounds him all day long,
    and dwells between his shoulders.”

13 And of Joseph he said,

  “Blessed by the LORD be his land,
    with the choicest gifts of heaven above,
    and of the deep that crouches beneath,
14   with the choicest fruits of the sun
    and the rich yield of the months,
15   with the finest produce of the ancient mountains
    and the abundance of the everlasting hills,
16   with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
    and the favor of him who dwells in the bush.
  May these rest on the head of Joseph,
    on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers.
17   A firstborn bull—he has majesty,
    and his horns are the horns of a wild ox;
  with them he shall gore the peoples,
    all of them, to the ends of the earth;
  they are the ten thousands of Ephraim,
    and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

18 And of Zebulun he said,

  “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
    and Issachar, in your tents.
19   They shall call peoples to their mountain;
    there they offer right sacrifices;
  for they draw from the abundance of the seas
    and the hidden treasures of the sand.”

20 And of Gad he said,

  “Blessed be he who enlarges Gad!
    Gad crouches like a lion;
    he tears off arm and scalp.
21   He chose the best of the land for himself,
    for there a commander's portion was reserved;
  and he came with the heads of the people,
    with Israel he executed the justice of the LORD,
    and his judgments for Israel.”

22 And of Dan he said,

  “Dan is a lion's cub
    that leaps from Bashan.”

23 And of Naphtali he said,

  “O Naphtali, sated with favor,
    and full of the blessing of the LORD,
    possess the lake and the south.”

24 And of Asher he said,

  “Most blessed of sons be Asher;
    let him be the favorite of his brothers,
    and let him dip his foot in oil.
25   Your bars shall be iron and bronze,
    and as your days, so shall your strength be.
26   “There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
    who rides through the heavens to your help,
    through the skies in his majesty.
27   The eternal God is your dwelling place,
    and underneath are the everlasting arms.
  And he thrust out the enemy before you
    and said, ‘Destroy.’
28   So Israel lived in safety,
    Jacob lived alone,
  in a land of grain and wine,
    whose heavens drop down dew.
29   Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you,
    a people saved by the LORD,
  the shield of your help,
    and the sword of your triumph!
  Your enemies shall come fawning to you,
    and you shall tread upon their backs.”

34:1 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. 10 And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, 11 none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 12 and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

Matthew 14:13–21 ()

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13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Psalm 119:17–24 ()

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Gimel

17   Deal bountifully with your servant,
    that I may live and keep your word.
18   Open my eyes, that I may behold
    wondrous things out of your law.
19   I am a sojourner on the earth;
    hide not your commandments from me!
20   My soul is consumed with longing
    for your rules at all times.
21   You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
    who wander from your commandments.
22   Take away from me scorn and contempt,
    for I have kept your testimonies.
23   Even though princes sit plotting against me,
    your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24   Your testimonies are my delight;
    they are my counselors.

Proverbs 17:7–10 ()

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  Fine speech is not becoming to a fool;
    still less is false speech to a prince.
  A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it;
    wherever he turns he prospers.
  Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
    but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
10   A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding
    than a hundred blows into a fool.

Mon 05 August, 2019


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