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A Blueprint for Confidence

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Luke 6:46-49 (NIV)
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.
48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” [1]


  English is a strange language. There is no butter in buttermilk and no egg in eggplant. There is no ham in a hamburger and no apple in a pineapple. Quicksand works very slowly and boxing rings are square. Inconsistencies of language are not significant. Inconsistencies in life are significant. Christians must act like Christians. Our words and deeds must be consistent with what we profess.

   -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

I.        Confidence Comes Through Building Carefully

A.      Wisely Instructed

***Worship is not just personal introspection, or we would worship our feelings.  Worship is not even a warm glow, or we would worship that.  We worship One outside ourselves.  We concentrate on him, we praise him, we adore him, we hear his Word for he is announcing it to us.  We listen in holy awe to the word of God, for it is a part of that "all" of Scripture which is given by the outbreathing of God and is personally necessary for "my" correction and "my" instruction in righteousness. 

   -- Roger Palms in Living Under the Smile of God.  Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 14.

***   The receiving of the Word consist of two parts: attention of mind and intention of will. 

   -- William Ames, Leadership, Vol. 8, no. 3.

***   Letters usually end with a phrase that English teachers call the complimentary close. Nowadays, it's usually "Cordially" or "Sincerely." It used to be "Yours truly." Before that, there was commonly used that odd phrase "Your obedient servant." That's the way our prayers should close. That should characterize our whole attitude toward God: "Your obedient servant."

   -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

***   I heard a story the other day of two boys going to school, and they were talking about their families. One boy said he had figured out a system for getting along with mom. He said, "It's very simple. She tells me what to do, and I do it." What a thought!

   -- John Maxwell, "What Children Owe Their Parents (and Themselves)," Preaching Today, Tape No. 140.

B.      Wisely Constructed

***Obeying God is the best prescription for spiritual health.

The cost of obedience is nothing compared with the cost of disobedience.

God's laws last longer than those who break them.

Obedience to God removes pretense from our prayers.

   -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990).

***   Don't bother to give God instructions; just report for duty.

   -- Corrie ten Boom, Marriage Partnership, Vol. 13, no. 3.

C.      Wisely Protected

***  Trust that God has your best interests in mind and be willing to do what he asks of you, even if you don't understand why. Obedience starts with having a heart that says yes to God.

   -- Stormie Omartian, author and fitness authority, as quoted in Especially for a Woman. Marriage Partnership, Vol. 12, no. 3.

  ***Let us be like a bird for a moment perched

   On a frail branch when he sings;

   Though he feels it bend, yet he sings his song,

   Knowing that he has wings.

      Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

***   During an earthquake, the inhabitants of a small village were very much alarmed, but they were at the same time surprised at the calmness and apparent joy of an old lady whom they all knew. At length one of them, addressing the old lady, said, "Ma'am, are you not afraid?"

   "No," said the woman, "I rejoice to know that I have a God who can shake the world."

   -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)

***   Many years ago, King George VI of England addressed the British commonwealth on New Year's Eve at a moment in history when the whole world stood on the brink of uncertainty. Despondency and uncertainty filled the air. The king's own body was racked by cancer. Before that year was over, his life ended. Unaware of his own physical maladies, he uttered these memorable words:

   "I said to the man at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I might walk safely into the unknown.' And he said to me, 'Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God. It shall be to you safer than the light and better than the known.' "

   -- Ravi Zacharias, "If the Foundations Be Destroyed," Preaching Today, Tape No. 142

II.      Calamity Comes Through Building Carelessly

A.      Defied Instruction

***   Our need to be in charge of ourselves, others, and situations often makes our relationship with Christ life's biggest power struggle.  We are reluctant to relinquish our control and allow Him to run our lives.  We may believe in Him and be active in the church and Christian causes, but trusting Him as Lord of everything in life can be scary.

   Even though we pray about our challenges and problems, all too often what we really want is strength to accomplish what we've already decided is best for ourselves and others.  Meanwhile we press on with our own priorities and plans.  We remain the script writer, casting director, choreographer, and producer of the drama of our own lives, in which we are the star performer.

   -- Lloyd Ogilvie in 12 Steps to Living Without Fear. Christianity Today, Vol. 32,  no. 3.

***   Jed Harris, producer of Our Town and other plays, became convinced he was losing his hearing. He went to a specialist, who gave him a thorough checkup. The doctor pulled out a gold watch and asked, "Can you hear this ticking?" Harris said, "Of course." The specialist walked to the door and held up the watch again. "Now can you hear it?" Harris concentrated and said, "Yes, I can hear it clearly." The doctor walked out the door into the next room and said, "Can you hear it now?" Harris said, "Yes."

   The doctor said, "Mr. Harris, there is nothing wrong with your hearing. You just don't listen."

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 319.

***   The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.

   -- Herbert Agar, Leadership, Vol. 17, no. 2.

***   A mother had a particularly trying day with her young son. Finally she flung up her hands and shouted, "All right, Billy. Do anything you darn well please! Now let me see you disobey THAT!"

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 193.

***   My five-year-old daughter, Barbara, had disobeyed me and had been sent to her room. After a few minutes, I went in to talk with her about what she had done. Teary-eyed, she asked, "Why do we do wrong things, Mommy?"

   "Well," I replied, "sometimes the devil tells us to do something wrong and we listen to him. We need to listen to God instead."

   To which she sobbed, "But God doesn't talk loud enough!"

   -- Jo M. Guerrero, Joplin, Missouri. Christian Reader, "Kids of the Kingdom."

***   Among the plastic saints of our times Jesus has to do all the dying and all we want is to hear another sermon about His dying.

   -- A.W. Tozer, "Three Faithful Wounds" pamphlet. Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 5.

***   One day my three-year-old granddaughter, Beverly, was playing with her toys. Her mother, who was folding laundry across the room, noticed Beverly's shirt was dirty and needed to be changed. After calling two times with no response, her mother gave her the full three-name call: "Beverly Elizabeth Provost, did you hear me?" Beverly answered, "Yes, Mama. My ears did, but my legs didn't."

   -- Marguerite Provost, Georgia.  Today's Christian Woman, "Small Talk."

B.      Defective Construction

***While I was walking in the garden one bright morning, a breeze came through and set all the flowers and leaves a fluttering. Now that is the way flowers talk, so I pricked up my ears and listened.

   Presently an old elder tree said, "Flowers, shake off your caterpillars!"

   "Why?" said a dozen all together--for they were like some children, who always say "Why?" when they are told to do anything.

   The elder said, "If you don't, they'll eat you up alive."

   So the flowers set themselves a shaking until the caterpillars were shaken off.

   In one of the middle beds there was a beautiful rose, who shook off all but one, and she said to herself, "Oh, that's a beauty! I'll keep that one."

   The elder overheard her, and called out, "One caterpillar is enough to spoil you."

   "But," said the rose, "look at his brown and crimson fur, and his beautiful black eyes, and scores of little feet. I want to keep him. Surely one won't hurt me."

   A few mornings after, I passed the rose again. There was not a whole leaf on her. Her beauty was gone; she was all but killed, and had only life enough to weep over her folly, while the tears stood like dew-drops on her tattered leaves. "Alas! I didn't think one caterpillar would ruin me."

   -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)

***  If God be God over us, we must yield him universal obedience in all things.  He must not be over us in one thing, and under us in another, but he must be over us in everything. 

   -- Peter Bulkeley, Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 1.

C.      Definite Destruction

***It is not our trust that keeps us, but the God in whom we trust who keeps us.

   Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

- A false profession of Lord, will not save us in the end. Jesus will be both Lord and Savior, or He will be neither. You can not claim Him as Savior without claimimg Him as Lord.


   The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith.  The two are at opposite sides of the same coin.

   -- A.W. Tozer.  Leadership, Vol. 12, no. 4.


[1]The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.

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