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Posts Tagged ‘pride’

There are many good reasons to teach accurately the wholesome words of Christ.

But Paul provided a particularly compelling reason in I Timothy 6:4.

“Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding.”

Wow.

The last thing any believer will want to hear on Judgment Day is that his or her teachings had been arrogant and misinformed.

Let’s each commit to a probing, deeper understanding and humble sharing with others of Christ’s Living Water.

It will be SO much better to hear God say to us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

As always, I love you
Martin

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I need to become more like King Josiah of the Old Testament.

You see, I have occasionally made wrong turns in life that weren’t clearly Kingdom-focused.

I can’t recall any defiant rejections of God’s path in my life. But I can’t say the same about random mixed-motive decisions.

You know what I’m talking about because you’ve likewise made mixed-motive decisions that were intended to benefit yourself and coincidentally benefit the Church.

Here are a few examples of how Christians have fallen short:

  • Single Christians sometimes invite opposite sex single Christians to church not just for Kingdom purposes but also in a desire to hook up in a relationship. If the dating possibility evaporates, so do the invitations to church.
  • Business owner Christians sometimes talk about faith and promote church attendance in order to build a business relationship, not just a Kingdom relationship.
  • Pastors sometimes fall into the trap of stretching out a counseling relationship with an emotionally fragile woman because of a desire to spend time with her when he should be referring her to a professional Christian counselor where she’ll get better help and he’ll avoid a trap that has claimed thousands of church leaders.
  • Husbands expect their wives to submit because it’s biblical but really he’s wanting the biblical principle to “bring her into line” instead of his being such a responsible, supportive, cherishing husband that the wife naturally wants to follow his leadership.

Josiah was a man who singly focused on the path of faith.

“He did not turn away from doing what was right.” (2 Kings 22:2)

Satan is constantly inviting us to step off the path of pure-hearted faith.

He dwells on what we’re missing by walking the straight and narrow.

Let’s make sure to focus on not missing out on the unfathomable riches and joy of heaven.

Let’s not try to walk two roads at once.

Let’s never turn away from doing what is right.

As always, I love you
Martin

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If there is an enduring obstacle to your pursuit of a settled life, perhaps there is an unjust decision in your past, whether made by you or someone close to you.

If you believe in God, then you have to believe that people will always — eventually — face consequences for unjust decisions that harmed others.

You and I won’t encounter restitution decisions on the scale faced by King David in this passage, but the principle remains the same.

If we do wrong against others, particularly if it violates an oath made to God, somebody someday will suffer the consequences until there is a restitution/reconciliation effort.

The offense mentioned in this passage regarding King Saul violated Israel’s oath during the Promised Land conquest to not kill Gibeonites. It’s a long story recorded in Joshua 9 but the point is this: If we break a promise, even generations later, God will see to it that we face consequences.

Promises are very important to God.

It’s all about integrity.

Good thing, too.

We’re sure counting on God to keep His promise of eternal blessing to us.

Let’s do our best to live in ways that pours blessing into others’ lives, not broken promises.

And if we encounter a life obstacle that just won’t go away — whether individually or as a family or congregation — let’s pray for wisdom to see if a broken promise or residual, unrepentant sin is perhaps the cause.

A settled life moving unhindered toward eternity is a much better outcome.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I Samuel 26 describes the opportunity David had to kill King Saul, the unjust ruler whose jealousy left him obsessed with killing David.

Despite the persistent push of Saul to end David’s life, the young king-in-waiting resisted the temptation to seek revenge against Saul.

The opportunity was right there for the taking, according to the passage. But David said it was best to let God take care of the payback stuff.

“Surely the Lord will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle. The Lord forbid that I should kill the one He has anointed!” (I Samuel 26:10-11)

We know the Bible teaches us to resist revenge. Let’s follow David’s example the next time that we’re tempted to pursue payback against those who harm us.

God sees what hassles we’ve faced and He will not leave people without consequences of attacking us for no good reason. He is not unjust. He’s just waiting for the right time.

Let’s focus on doing good and let God focus on bringing consequences to those who’ve done bad things to us.

That’s so much better than trying to play God and never getting it right.

As always, I love you
Martin

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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
Martin

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Fruit trees do better when they’re pruned.

Gardens do better when weeds are pulled.

And vehicles get better gas mileage when unneeded weight is removed.

You’re seeing a trend here, right?

Whatever gets in the way of productivity needs to go.

And so it is with our spiritual lives.

We don’t “get efficient” once and then we’re set for life.

And we don’t get spiritual once and then we’re set for eternity.

Far from it.

Fruit trees need pruned yearly.

Gardens need weeds pulled weekly.

Vehicles need dead weight removed daily.

You and I need pruning every so often in order to remain fruitful.

We need to pull weeds of sin and distraction in order to provide more bountiful service to the Lord.

And we all could probably benefit from getting rid of “dead weight” habits or hangups that, at best, slow us down and, at worst, leave us broken down on the side of life’s road.

The author of Hebrews gives us needed advice:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Every person has a stumbling block sin that keeps tripping up him or her.

I’m talking about that sin that we say we’re not going to repeat but then, guess what?

We repeat it.

Self-hatred is not the solution although it can be hard to avoid as illustrated by the Apostle Paul’s autobiographical cry, “What a wretched man I am!”

Determined vigilance and deep humility are vital in this struggle between flesh and spirit.

We must always remember that we avoid the ditch when we stay between the lines of God’s Word and will.

And that happens when we keep our noses pointed down the centerline of the “straight and narrow” rather than seeking after those things that we can pursue only if we let go of God’s hand.

Listen, if we never take the first step toward the ditch, we won’t fall into it.

Recall the steps that have led you into the stumbling block sin. And resist taking even the first one.

Paul told Timothy it’s not enough to consider and then abstain from youthful lusts.

The young man needed to flee youthful lusts.

We’ll each be better off as we run away from temptation rather than thinking we can manage it.

As always, I love you
Martin

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There are times in our lives when we make biblical decisions that are really dumb.

And costly.

I’m not talking about choices made in alignment with the precepts of the Lord but instead decisions similar in prideful foolishness to those made by Bible characters.

Scripture is filled with examples of bad decisions. That’s actually one of the reasons that we can trust the integrity of the Bible. Other religions’ dogma manuals don’t describe the failures of the religion’s heroes, calling into question the objectivity of the writings.

When we read of the sins of one usually faithful Bible character after another, we sometimes see ourselves.

Adam and Eve believed the lie that God was lying and they suffered as a result.

Of course, we still suffer today from their sin.

Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Samson, David, Solomon …. the list goes on of people who were famous for their biblical lives yet flawed in their conduct.

The common threads? Their good choices were made by asking God first and their bad choices were made without asking God first.

There is a cost to not asking God in prayer if we should do certain things.

Today’s reading in the One-Year Bible provides another confirmation of this truth.

Judah’s King Josiah picked a fight with Pharoah Neco that he should have avoided.

But King Josiah didn’t pray about it first.

HUGE mistake.

King Josiah lost his life because he didn’t pray to God for direction.

You can read about it by clicking here.

This was so sad, so unnecessary.

King Josiah had just led his people in a thrilling time of national revival and one would think that praying to God would have been the first thing the king did.

But perhaps overconfidence took over and Josiah ignored King Solomon’s timeless warning recorded in Proverbs 16:18:

“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.”

Listen, it doesn’t matter how satisfied we feel with our faith and personal competency with the challenges we face in life. If we don’t pray for wisdom, leading and strength — if we try to handle things on our own because we think we know what’s best — bad things will eventually happen.

Judah suffered terribly after Josiah’s debacle and ended up destroyed with many dead and others enslaved.

Let’s pray first before significant decisions, OK?

The cost of not doing so is too high.

As always, I love you
Martin

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