Archive for the ‘humility’ Category

God empowers the humble.

“For the Lord delights in his people; He crowns the humble with victory.” (Psalm 149:4)

Let’s each put God first and others second.

The blessing of victorious living will be ours in God’s perfect timing.

As we patiently await the movement of His hand, we’ll grow deeper in faith and richer in eternal blessing.

As always, I love you

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“I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

Matthew 18:17 is our teacher today.

On second thought, the little kid who loves going to church is our teacher today.

Friendly, unburdened by grudges, enjoying discovery of new things, wanting to share… these are characteristics of so many kids running around church buildings.

Let’s make sure that we have the same characteristics.

After all, this is what God expects from His kids.

As always, I love you

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If your job is going well, be careful.

If your health is good, be careful.

If your family relationships are strong and smooth, really be careful.

The fact is that we’ve all got to be very careful when our lives are going very well.

God said so.

For if we carelessly lose sight of the real reason why things are going so well, things just might turn south in a bad way.

“But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful!

“Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good.

“He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.”

These words from Deuteronomy 8:11-18 provide a potent reminder that what we have regarding abilities, opportunities or possessions has been given to us by God. To Him we are beholden. And for Him should our obedience be complete.

Tell everyone that our blessings and abilities are gifts from God.

They just might want to start thanking Him for their blessings and abilities as they recognize — as should we — that it’s only because of God that they even have life.

As always, I love you

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In the years toward the end of the Babylonian exile for the Jews, Zechariah the prophet was approached by some Jewish leaders and asked if the people who had been exiled for nearly 70 years should continue mourning the destruction of the Jerusalem temple as they had been doing “for so many years.” (Zechariah 7:4).

Zechariah responded that the mourning and fasting that had been done by most had actually been insincere. When spiritual festivals had occurred, the people had been thinking about their stomachs, not their spirits, the prophet said.

Check out the way the people should have responded:

Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.” (vv. 8-10).

Yes, there are things in our faith life that we wish had turned out differently, particularly if our congregation’s attendance and community popularity falls short of other congregations that don’t have our same set of challenges.

Moaning over what used to be does us no good, though.

Ministering to people in need is FAR more important to God than is how beautiful our church building used to be or how filled the parking lot was or how large of a budget surplus we used to have.

Let’s focus on what’s important to God now.

Let’s do what Zechariah said.

Humble service is always the better path.

As always, I love you

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I’ve seen a number of Facebook pictures lately from the high school reunion that I was unable to attend.

It’s been surprising to me as to how unhealthy some of the former classmates appear. I’ve found myself asking, “How could they let themselves go like that? Don’t they want to have really long and active lives?”

But then I recognized that I still have room for improvement in pursuing daily exercise and in continuing to eat even more healthfully than what I already do.

Yes, my waistline is the same as when I was 18 but my joints aren’t as flexible because I’m not stretching frequently enough. I’m taking a risk of injury from a twisting fall simply because I’m not doing enough to remain flexible.

Gonna have to work on that.

Yes, I’ve cut out carbonated soft drinks and everyday desserts from my diet. And I rarely eat greasy food such as bacon or potato chips.

But is every thing that goes into my mouth dietitian-endorsed?

Uh, gonna have to work on that one, too.

Here’s the point — whenever we’re tempted to gaze out the window at the shortfalls of others, we need to discipline ourselves to look in the mirror and compare ourselves not with those of lesser fitness, but with those optimally fit for our age.

It’s a humbling thought, to be sure, this idea that we should measure ourselves according to what should be for us rather than the shortfalls of others.

Here’s the Apostle Paul’s words in this matter:

“Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us” (Romans 12:3)

Paul doesn’t call us to evaluate others, but instead ourselves. And the measuring stick is the faith pattern taught in the scriptures and demonstrated by Jesus Christ.

I’ve got work to do with my flesh and with my faith.

For me to be eating a Twinkie while criticizing somebody’s expanded girth would be hypocritical and foolish.

Griping and wagging fingers about the “lack of faith” others show toward their God has no place, particularly when our own “to do” list for spiritual growth has plenty to keep us busy until we graduate to heaven.

Please ask God to stir your heart to make progress today toward a better example for Christ.

Please join me in addressing at least one needed area of improvement in our spiritual lives. You know where you’re lacking just as I know where I’m lacking.

Only good will result.

As always, I love you


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Mark 9:35 explains very simply how we can impress God.

The 12 apostles had been arguing among themselves as to who was the greatest, but Jesus told them they had it backwards.

“He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to Him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

Let’s show great faith today.

Let’s display the faith-based desire to be the servant of everyone else.

Even if some of them don’t appreciate it.

It’s how Jesus was.

And how we’re to be.

As always, I love you

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I don’t know anybody who would battle cancer or heart problems or a child’s severe Type 1 diabetes on their own.

Multiple medical experts would quickly and frequently be consulted because of the limited knowledge that one person can possess.

And yet, we’re tempted to play the Lone Ranger when confronting other threats that are no less dangerous — but in different ways.

Threats such as divorce or the potential loss of much-needed, well-paying job. Threats such as an adolescent child sliding into some form of addiction or the threat faced by a church leader who has learned of a divisive faction in the church.

These should not be Lone Ranger moments.

We need help.

We need the wisdom of others.

Particularly God through His Word and the voice of His Holy Spirit.

Here is Solomon’s take on this topic:

“Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice.” (Proverbs 20:18)

We all face multiple challenges that sometimes turn into conflicts of the flesh or mind or heart.

Let’s pray that God direct us toward those offering good counsel.

And let’s pray for the humility to listen.

It really is true that victory comes more often to those who listen well than to those who don’t.

As always, I love you

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