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Posts Tagged ‘ego’

“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
Martin

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It’s important that we think twice before ignoring the Holy Spirit’s warnings to us.

We all hear them from time to time when we’re being tempted by Satan.

We’re at the fork in the road, with the narrow, twisting path of holiness heading one direction and the seemingly smooth and straight superhighway of sinfulness heading the other.

Unfortunately, we all know what it’s like to have taken the wrong turn.

What seemed best to the flesh turned out to be the opposite.

This is what we must remember no many how many days we have in life.

For how we listen to the divine Navigator is a reflection of our relationship with the divine Ruler of the universe.

Jesus put is this way in John 8:47…

“Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”

When God’s voice via the Holy Spirit seeks to guide us away from temptation, let’s make sure to listen.

For if we don’t, what are we saying about our relationship with God?

And that’s a very dangerous place to be in view of how our lives could end at any time.

Jesus asked in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord’ and not do what I say?

Let’s make sure that our words and our walk line up when we’re at home or work or school or church… or even on the highway.

Listening to God’s voice is what godly people do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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The message is very clear in Psalm 138:6.

Vanity is our enemy.

Humility is our friend.

And life has proven to us that we need all the friends we can get.

Here’s the psalmist’s take on God’s will in this regard:

“Though the Lord is great, He cares for the humble, but He keeps His distance from the proud.”

Proud people think and act as if they don’t need God.

“I got this,” is the prevailing attitude when the opportunity comes to the choice of shining the spotlight on themselves or upon others.

We can tell when somebody thinks he or she is better than us, doesn’t want our help and doesn’t want us around.

God can, too.

Please, join me in the prayer for humility and clear vision as to the undeniable inadequacies that we all possess, shortfalls that should remind us to run to the One whose grace and wisdom and strength can lift and lead us to a better place.

I want to be with God. And so I want to be more humble.

I hope you do, too.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Nobody names his or her kid “Judas.”

And for good reason.

He betrayed the Son of God in a very public and shameful fashion as describe in Mark 14:10-11.

But there are millions of men and boys named Peter. Didn’t Peter betray Jesus in a public and shameful fashion?

It is not the act of betray that distinguishes the men, but instead the motive and the response.

Judas perhaps was motivated by a desire to force Jesus’ hand toward a setting up a new, political messianic kingdom and by the desire for money.

In essence, he was looking for what he could get out of the deal.

Peter wasn’t in it for the money and his midnight, courtyard denial of knowing Jesus was simply an effort to get out of trouble.

Judas’ pride — lied to by Satan — told him suicide was better than repentance since “God would never forgive a betrayer.”

Peter likely heard the same lie, but didn’t embrace it.

He did repent. And look how God used him.

We’ve all betrayed Jesus at one time or another.

And yet, our names are not on a “Never name your kid after him or her” list.

When we fail — and we will — let’s remember that any voice we hear that leads us away from reptentance is coming from him whose purpose is to steal, kill and destroy.

It’s so much better to run to the voice of Him who doesn’t want anyone to perish but instead for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

As always, I love you
Martin

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Some women are gifted for putting on just enough jewelry to provide a lucious visual enhancement to their appearance.

And then there are other women who look like they took jewelry lessons from Mt. T.

Often, it’s not the abundance of jewelry that impresses but instead the discreet, singular choice that enhances the look.

Skilled real estate agents know this, of course, and that’s why less is more when it comes to stuff on a kitchen counter or clutter in a bedroom or potted plants on a porch for the house being sold.

This same notion of quality in choices rather than quantity is also demonstrated in the spiritual realm.

My devotional reading this morning included Proverbs 15:2, an insightful verse that says this:

“The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”

I like the word choice of “adorns.” It’s vivid and points to the communication artistry of a word aptly spoken. In Proverbs 25:11, King Solomon said such words are like apples of gold placed in settings of fine silver.

Wise people don’t shotgun their words at people and hope one of them hits the target.

Instead, they aim carefully and only pull the communication trigger when they are confident they are going to hit the target.

When people know us as careful, wise communicators, what we say will be seen as knowledge, rather than as a bunch of shotgun pellets fired from the mouth of a fool.

Please join me in reading the Bible daily and praying for wisdom in understanding it. When God stirs our hearts to share efficiently from its pages, our words will be seen as knowledge, not noise.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s a trap that every Christian needs to avoid.

I’m talking about the trap of church consumerism.

I’m talking about the carnal concept of a shopping list for church “wants.”

It’s an alluring trap, of course.

Don’t we want to be liked by all and loved by some?

Don’t we want to be part of a group that works to build our self-esteem?

Don’t we want to enjoy an inspirational, informative, creative, engaging worship service that impresses our guests and keeps our husbands awake?

Don’t we want a church home where our kids are never bored, the activities are always cool and there are always plenty of other adult volunteers to give their time and money to help our kids?

Don’t we all want a pastor whose sermons sound like those of the megachurch pastors on the radio?

Don’t we all just want to feel “special” at our church?

Well, it’s true that church wants can be OK as long as they don’t determine our church home.

You see, I don’t believe that God calls us to a congregational home based on our wants, but instead based upon how we can work with a body of believers to accomplish Kingdom needs.

I am convinced that Christian consumerism has played a dangerous role in the the revolving door of so many congregations afflicted with a “speed dating” mentality.

Committment? What’s that? “Yeah, I’ll be committed to you as long as you give me what I want,” too many say.

And we wonder why the divorce rate and church turnover rate is so high.

“What can you do for me?” is not the question we should be intuitively asking a congregation.

“Is this the place where I can best serve God in keeping with the truths of Scripture?” is a much better question.

Here’s why.

Jesus said in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I am convinced that a key determinant for selecting a church home is assessing — with the Holy Spirit’s guidance — if this is where I can best serve with other biblically sound believers to build the Kingdom of God.

Being part of a church is not to be about our agenda, but instead about God’s.

Please join me in praying today for wisdom in better serving Him rather than wanting others to better serve us.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Jesus didn’t beat around the bush when it came to declaring His expectations for the believer’s faith.

“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples” (Luke 14:33).

Wow.

Talk about a wake-up call….

Chances are that you and I haven’t given up everything in the sense of our becoming paupers. But is that what Jesus is really asking for here?

Is He calling us to a life without possessions, a life without a career “position?”

It’s important to see this verse within the context of preceding verses.

Jesus uses the illustration of two kings facing a potential war. The king with the smaller army is to determine his likelihood of victory. If a logical analysis points to a probable defeat, then he needs to make whatever compromise he can with the other king before the battle begins.

The reason? Losing some things in conciliation before the battle is better than losing everything in the battle that follows if there is no conciliation.

Jesus’ point was this, I believe.

Whatever the stronger king — who has never lost — requires of your servitude in order to be gain and maintain peace with him, that’s what you need to give him.

And so it is with our relationship to Christ.

In the illustration of the two kings, it’s true that the stronger king could choose simply to destroy the first king and his army and then take everything.

But those building kingdoms typically want subjects to rule, not just stuff.

They already have plenty of stuff.

Jesus doesn’t want your stuff. Instead, He wants your devotion as His subject.

Any stuff that gets in the way of your devotion needs to be seen as dispensable.

If you or I have any possession or position to which we’re clinging, despite the Holy Spirit’s consistent leading to let it go, then we have a decision to make.

Do we want to be disciples or not?

Will we give up our peer approval that is based on social behaviors that offend the stronger King who is coming back one day?

Will we give up our private entertainment habits that offend that King named Jesus?

Will we finally start giving church offerings at the 10 percent tithe minimum that Jesus taught in Matthew 23? And then give more as the Lord blesses us?

Listen, in His grace, God blesses us with possessions and positions. It is our responsibility, though, to hold them loosely so that we can let them go if the stronger King calls us to do so in order to be His subject.

After all, peace with Him is the most important possession we could ever have, isn’t it?

As always, I love you
Martin

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