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Posts Tagged ‘pride’

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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Peer pressure is so powerful when it comes to spirituality.

That’s why those who observe us should never see us cave into the pressure of the non-Christian world that wants us to forgo any expressions of faith.

But do we cave?

Are we silent at work when others start bashing Christianity as rash and judgmental and hypocritical?

Or are we silent when people tell dirty jokes in our presence? Or gossip? Or leer at people for sexual reasons?

Do we invite neighbors to church events or to our house for games? Or do we not want to rock the boat with religious stuff?

We’re called to shine the Light, not put it under a bushel basket.

Pray that I beam more brightly with no fear of the rolling eyes or turned shoulders from the non-faithful.

I can assure you that rolling eyes and turned shoulders from a disappointed Father in heaven are of far greater concern to me than from those who have no desire for the Lord.

Let the words below permeate into your heart and soul today so that you’ll avoid falling into the same trap as those described.

Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.” (John 12:42-43)

As always, I love you
Martin

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We don’t want to believe it because it doesn’t make us look good in God’s sight.

But we’ve all done the trade-in thing with God at one time or another.

Hopefully, it was a momentary lapse into selfishness that was quickly followed by repentance and a return to faithfulness.

I was reminded of our vulnerability for distraction/destruction while reading this morning from the Bible. The psalmist was pointing to the need for deep loyalty to the Lord, something that the wilderness-wandering Hebrews struggled to embrace.

It didn’t matter that multiple miracles from the hand of God had happened before their eyes.

That still wasn’t good enough to inspire lasting loyalty.

Wow.

They traded their glorious God for a statue of a grass-eating bull. They forgot God, their savior, who had done such great things in Egypt” (Psalm 106:20-21)

Lest we point fingers and start picking up stones, we should evaluate if we have statues of grass-eating bulls in our lives.

Is there an activity that is more important to you on Sunday than going to church?

Is there a hobby or thing that is financially more important to buy or maintain than God’s call to sacrificially support ministry? Do I buy the larger flat-screen TV or do I give to the special offering to repair the sanctuary’s leaking roof?

Is there a nurtured grudge that is more golden to you than obedience to God’s command to forgive?

Grass-eating bulls won’t bring us inner peace and we certainly can’t ride them to heaven.

Discarding the statues and humbly taking Christ’s hand WILL shape us into what God wants and will take us to where we want to be forever.

Let’s do our best to appear faithful to our God, not foolish.

He’s got great things waiting for us in heaven.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It is one of the most popular rock’n’roll songs of all time.

More sheet music for this song has been sold than any other in history.

It inspired a new St. Petersburg radio station to begin operations by playing this song for 24 hours straight.

It is considered by many to be the anthem of 1970s rock’n’roll.

And, though not intended by lyricist band members of Led Zeppelin, the song’s title and message provides a compelling contrast to title and message of a man who lived nearly 2,000 years earlier and who actually merited the self-proclaimed name.

The song is Stairway to Heaven.

Click the link if you want a trip down memory lane. Listen closely to the lyrics and described folly of selfishness and inquiry about finding a better path through life. Will you follow the piper down his path? Or will you choose your own?

I thought of this song this morning when I read the words Jesus used to describe Himself when calling His first disciples.

It’s powerful, my friend.

Jesus said He is “the stairway between heaven and earth. (John 1:51)

Oh my.

The song speaks of an egocentric woman used to getting her way and who thinks she can buy a stairway to heaven.

That’s not possible, though. At least for a human.

Our stairway to heaven was purchased, though.

By the heavenly Father whose waiting at the top of the stairs.

John 14:6 says Jesus is the only way to heaven.

The only stairway.

God paid the price in His only Son’s blood to purchase the atoned-for pathway to glory.

Listen, stay on the stairway provided by God.

Don’t follow the pipers of this world luring us down other paths.

Don’t swallow the lie that our money or our intelligence or our good deeds can buy our stairway to heaven.

There’s one stairway and His name is Jesus.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Nobody likes being blamed for things.

Especially when the accusations are false.

Even more troubling is when the one who did wrong was the one doing the blaming.

We’ve all been guilty of this at some point, of course, starting on the schoolyard playground and continuing into our adulthood at the workplace or home or even at church.

Yes, we humans are a sometimes difficult lot made even more so because of our random displays of evasive pride.

I use “we” with full knowledge that you and I might want to think we’ve never tried to shift the blame.

The fact is, though, we’d be hard-pressed to prove it to God.

I thank God for His grace because I don’t stand among the redeemed on the strength of personal perfection.

God knows that we insecurity-tainted humans would rather point fingers at others when citing reasons for our calamity than we would pointing at ourselves.

He’s seen humanity do just this from the beginning when Adam blamed God and Eve for his choice to sin.

You see, Adam pointed the finger at God in reaction to the problems he brought on himself.

Ouch! In one way or another, we’ve all done the same.

Just like Gideon did when the Lord appeared to him in the Book of Judges.

For seven years, the Israelites had been brutally oppressed by pagan nations who took all their livestock and probably most of their crop harvests. Hebrews were starving.

This sad state was the direct result of the Israelites rejecting God’s command to worship Him only rather than idols.
They tossed faith aside but when troubles came, they didn’t repent.

Instead, they chose to resent.

Wow. That sounds familiar.

Listen to the words of Gideon when the Lord appeared to him:

“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” (Judges 6:14)

If you’ve ever thought or said, “Why didn’t God keep this from happening to me? Where are all these miracles the Bible talks about?” then you and Gideon are partners in weakened faith.

As am I, of course.

Amazingly, God chose to help Gideon through his extended pity party and actually used the young man in a powerful, nation-changing way.

Like I said, God is gracious.

And, like I said, we have no hope apart from that grace.

Please reject Satan’s temptation to point fingers of blame at God when life turns sour. For the fact is that many of our problems are the fruit of our own sour, self-seeking choices.

Let’s do better toward God and life will be better for us.

As always, I love you
Martin

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“People who despise advice are asking for trouble” — great wisdom from Proverbs 13:13.

Welcome the insights of others who are sincerely trying to help.

It’s not the hearing and evaluating such advice that typically yields big problems.

Instead, it’s the despising of advice because we think we know it all or that the other person knows nothing.

Please welcome the well-intended advice of others, even if you ultimately take another direction with your choice.

You just might save yourself some big headaches.

As always, I love you
Martin

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The body has an amazing ability to retain strength and wellness when we don’t corrupt it with unhealthy food, vices or thoughts.

But there is this human tendency to do things like eating too much salt and grease and sugar or like falling into the pits of lust or bitterness or greed or vain independance from God’s ways.

The result is never good.

I recognize this weakness of human pride and strive to limit my waywardness. I’m not perfect, but every year the random divergence from the center line of God’s path seems to become less and less.

That’s a good thing.

I was reminded in today’s One-Year Bible reading as to why sticking to the center line of Christ’s example is such a good idea.

In a nutshell, Joshua 6-7 describe how the Israelites had just experienced the great, miraculous victory over the city of Jericho and all were excited — except God.

Why? Because an Israelite family had secretly defied God’s command that all the silver and gold from Jericho belong to God and should be placed in the national treasury.

Why Achan and his family thought they could get away with defying God’s command and keeping silver for themselves is beyond me. After all, Achan was trying to fool the Jehovah who sent the plagues, parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River and who knocked down the walls of Jerocho.

Remember, though, sin is never logical in a spiritual sense.

Right after defeating Jericho, the Israelites decided to attack a city called Ai. Surprisingly to them, they suffered an embarrassing defeat because they clearly weren’t getting any battle wisdom or strength from God.

God knew the reason and He wanted the people of Israel to learn it in a regimented, retained way.

He commanded a lengthy process of elimination that — in a way not described in scripture — ultimately revealed the culprit family and retrieved that which belonged to the Lord.

Until God was honored as He commanded, the power for victory would not flow from God. Here is God’s message to Joshua to be told to the grieving, confused and fear-filled people:

‘“Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.” (Joshua 7:13)

I encourage you to read Joshua 7-8 to learn from this sequence in Israel’s history. For it just might reduce the likelihood of your experiencing the heartache of spiritual failure, whether your own or that of another.

Listen, anything in our lives that God has told us to give up — whether it be tithing back to Him a portion of the wealth He pours into our lives or it be a sinful habit that is to be laid aside — let’s do it.

The consequences of defiantly refusing to do what God wants — and then thinking we can hide it from Him — should be avoided at all costs.

God created us to thrive in His love as we trust in His Truth.

Let’s thrive together, OK?

As always, I love you
Martin

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