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For me, Bible confidence began with a get out of jail free mentality. Owing to wrong deeds of my own choice, trouble and woe had come upon me. I knew Jesus as a man in the Bible that was called God, as a man in the Bible in whom my mother and father had believed and trusted. I knew him as a man in what I counted as the greatest fiction book ever written. If anything, I knew him as an agnostic knows that he does not really believe in anything or anyone but himself.
Oh but when the enemy is approaching and you hear them coming from behind, and the mountains are before you and there is no place to run and hide, and the hope that once sustained you is thrashed before the winds a different bell begins to chime. When faced with a power and a hurt that is sufficient to consume a man’s pride, the all sufficient, all knowing, all self-confident agnostic will seek out the Christian roots of his parents, and the bending joints of his long forgotten knees of humility.
Jesus heard my cries for help, heard my confession, my acknowledgment of sin. He saw my feeble faith, and he received my shame and my sorrow. He took upon himself the weight of yet another sinner. He cleansed me and he gave me his own righteousness. He called me brother and presented his blood before the Father that I may be fully forgiven of all unrighteousness. He did it once, some 2000 years ago, and it has been, is, and always will be sufficient for any who will, with a pure heart, believe upon his name.
But concerning the consequences of my deeds, this he refused to remove. So began my journey of Bible confidence, a faith walk that is often most thoroughly nourished by dark hours, lonely nights, and unhindered consequences.
The Four Stages
1) As I said earlier, my confidence in God and His word began as a get out of jail free card. Many, many people promised me great miracles of deliverance. “Believe hard enough,” they said, “and God will do all that you ask.” So I studied hard, and believed with all my fleshly might, and refused to listen to the few who spoke with wisdom when they said, “Submit to all authority.” So I went to court, and I loss, and I went to prison for three and one-half years.
2) The get out of jail card failed. The time behind bars began. I set about to redeem myself to family and friends. My second steps into a life of faith and confidence in the Bible as God’s word took on the nature of trying to prove to the world that I was changed, redeemed, and not the bad man that had ended up behind bars. It was a time when I nearly drove my wife and children away from me. Yet even with all my mistakes, a miracle was taking place. My family endured. God kept them near to me. His grace and his mercy were beginning to overcome the consequences. Not by changing them, but by changing me; and by keeping near to me those who loved me in spite of myself.
3) The first year passed like an open sore within my belly, oozing pain day after day. Sometimes it was emptiness, and sometimes it was a certainty that physical death lingered on the verge of every breath for I felt within my mind that a body and soul could not bear so great a suffering. At times, I felt that my inner screams would rip me open from the inside out, and that all the world would see my weakness; or that the inner blackness that still clawed at my mind and heart would somehow gain victory over that which Jesus had already cleansed. At times I felt insane, and perhaps the only thing that kept my mind was the fear that others would know how little faith I truly possessed, and that in seeing me fall they also might fall. There were those in the prison who watched my walk, and who believed because they saw me believe. Thus I passed beyond the need to prove myself worthy of anything. I wanted only to hang on for yet one more day. So I clung to the Bible, studying because that is what Christians do, and because there were times when Jesus would come and sit in on the study with me. Yet this too was a self-centered faith, a self-conscious perseverance, and a worship that was bound by personal needs. When the proud fall, they tend to fall very, very hard.
4) One day there came a time when I really helped another human being. Not just by giving someone a pair of shower denver broncos hawaiian shirt so as to protect his feet from the filthy floors of a prison shower stall, nor in giving him an extra bite of food from my own abundant stock pile, but rather in the speaking of a Word that I suddenly knew had the power to heal his inner hurt. It felt good to help. It felt right. But most of all it taught me to believe in God’s word as absolute truth. Not because my parents had said too, neither because my Christian brothers and sisters supported the idea; not because I needed a get out of jail free card, and neither because I wanted to redeem myself; but rather because I saw within my own spirit that the Word of God, the written, Holy Spirit inspired, Word of the living God is truth and power and that it abounds with abundant life.
1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.
13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
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write by Alva