Archive for January, 2014

Fear: Snowed In and Out

January 30, 2014

IMG_1076The photograph to the right was taken about 6:25 yesterday morning. Let me say, I was not fearful for my safety because I was stuck at work. Actually, I wasn’t afraid at all, but I was extremely concerned about students and staff. I was also concerned about my daughter who was also stuck on the freeway. Her carpool ride left school after 1:00, but like everyone else who was on the freeway, they were caught up in the traffic. I had students who were stuck at school around the same time because buses had not been released to come pick them up, and my daughter who had been released but was stuck in traffic.

I had a number of employees who had to leave to go get their kids, but as the captain of the ship, could I leave? What was I to do? My guidance came from Philippians 2 which encourages us to be one in spirit and mind of Christ. I did not have to Fear: Snowed In and Out because God wanted me to not to be solely concerned with my own interests. Let’s hear the scriptural motivation and justification for me to remain at school rather than to run to my daughter.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

As a believer, my hope is in Christ. I had to trust in the provision that God had made for my daughter to get home while trusting in Him to remain calm in the midst of parents expressing their concern in a not so pristine manner. My daughter did not make it home, but God allowed them to make it far enough that her carpool driver was close enough to a great friend’s house who let them crash there.  I also had to trust God that all employees would make it home too.

Other than the School Resource Officer, an assistant principal and me, all students and employees left the building. The officer and I travel the same route to go home. Several other employees who follow that same path called to tell us about their 6 to 9 hour journey. The assistant principal stayed because he wanted to support me. He was God’s reminder of His love and never-ending presence in my life. Both exemplified not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. I am blessed.

Fear: Snowed In and Out was a challenge that all who were not home had to contend. My sister-in-law faced horrific traffic beginning near perimeter center where she works. She like two teachers spent the night in her car inching along or simply standing still. Another teacher, as he put it, spent the night at the hospital. He was not hurt though. It was that his car could not conquer the hill and ice at the same time. An ambulance was ferrying he and others to our local hospital for shelter. He got home after 6:00 p.m. yesterday. I am sure that other stories abound in terms of the adventure to get home, but God’s focus was on us. How would we respond? Would we evidence His character? Would we trust in Him despite our concerns?

A local community member exemplified the sacrificial service God asks of us. Mr. Jeff Jackson, who owns Knead Pizza, and his wife cooked breakfast. They delivered breakfast yesterday morning to both the high school across the street and to the school where I work. It was not that we were in dire straights for food that touched me; it was his family’s thoughtfulness and willingness to sacrifice that touched me. As I wrote last night to those who work with me, “in some of the darkest hours, the brightest lights shine. That community member and you all brilliantly displayed your lights. I can say that we lived up to the admonition of This little light of mine, I am going let it shine.” Whether on the freeway, in businesses, in hospitals or schools, the light of Christ’s selfless and sacrificial spirit was manifested in many of our lives. We all experienced it either as a participant, as a witness or both.

I can truly say that whether serving or being served (my daughter, AP staying with me and breakfast) that Fear: Snowed In and Out was driven far from my heart and mind. Lover and service conquers fear.

Advertisements

Fear: The Unknown

January 28, 2014

Over a number of the past posts, fear has been the topic. It is no accident that I am writing about fear. In the post Facing Fear, I shared that it is undeniable that we all face fear. God wants to test our faith. “It never ceases to amaze me when God wants to take someone to the next level in their life and they let fear of the unknown rob them of tremendous blessings. I think there are two common problems with Christians – They are scared to death of being truly free and of God’s overwhelming love.” ― R. Alan Woods. As a growth protocol, God will place in positions to exercise our faith. The crucible of the unknown is a major tool God uses to challenge our faith.

Since we know that our faith will be challenged through the unknown, how should we respond to Fear: The Unknown. Famed U.S. General George S. Patton, said, “Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.” As a believer in Christ, let me do exactly that by going to the Word of God. For an espresso quick-fix, view these verses (fear). For those who want to let the Word percolate, we should study Abram, later to be called Abraham.
In Genesis 12, “The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” We see God telling Abram to leave his home, his land and all that he knew to go to a land that he did not know. Imagine that when you first began to travel, your father and two brothers were with you. By the time God tells you to go to a land that God would show him, Abram’s father and one brother had died. In terms of family, it was his living brother and nephew Lot who were the men who were with him. The Word says

“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

If you know the story, you know that was not where they stopped. Abram continued to travel to other areas in which God showed him. The first point in dealing with Fear: The Unknown can be gleaned from this passage.

First, God told him to go. Then God gave him a promise for what He commanded Abram to do. Next, we see Abram do as God told him – “So Abram went” Abram set out to travel to Harran. Abram believed God. Our road map in effectively dealing with Fear: The Unknown is to make sure we hear God’s direction, have God’s promise to encourage us for the rough times and then act – that is to start doing what He told us.

Is there an unknown in your life? Did God tell you to go there? Did God allow a circumstance to evolve or develop in your life that presents the unknown? We must acquaint ourselves what God has commanded us, implant His promise in our hearts and then move through that circumstance in our lives. Fear: The Unknown is manageable and palatable situation if we follow Abram’s protocol. Let’s believe God and experience Him while He develops our testimony just as He developed Abram’s testimony for which we are presently learning. Be blessed.

FEAR: School Shootings

January 25, 2014

Over the past few days, I have been writing about fear. Fear is a powerful motivation. In the worst cases, fear can cause us to make false assumptions and very poor decisions some of which end in death. According to CNN, there were at least four shootings at U.S. universities this week. This is what led to me writing FEAR: School ShootingsCNN reported that

On Monday, a student was shot and critically injured near a gym at Widener University near Philadelphia. Police were looking for a suspect.

On Tuesday, a gunman shot and killed another student inside Purdue University’s electrical engineering building. Police said Cody Cousins, 23, an engineering student, killed Andrew Bolt, 21, of West Bend, Wisconsin. Cousins was charged with murder.

On Wednesday, the University of Oklahoma in Norman briefly shut down after a report of a possible shooting that apparently turned out to be a false alarm, the university’s president said.

Then on yesterday, Friday January 24, a student was shot at South Carolina State University.

Just last week, there were two other shootings at k-12 schools. Below is an excerpt from an article on policymic.com:

This year is not off to a good start. It’s only been three weeks, but it seems like every other day there has been a new report of a school shooting somewhere in the United States – and, well, that’s sort of what has happened.

Out of 14 school days so far this year, a total of seven school shootings have occurred. That’s an average of one every two days. Uhg.

We haven’t even made it through the first month of 2014 and we already have one quarter of the amount of school shootings in 2013. America can’t possibly keep this pace up, can it?

With the headlines creating FEAR: School Shootings, we clearly have a serious problem. As one who works in a school and is somewhat responsible for what happens there, I am concerned. Each day as I do the announcements, we start with a moment of silent reflection. It is just another moment for me to ask the Almighty God to keep the school safe. In the post Facing Fear, I stated that we need to realize and rest in God’s sovereignty as a means to deal with our fears.

I deal with problems all day long with students, and some times adults, who can not manage their fears. Consequently, conflict, whether violent or not, is always at hand. Just yesterday, I dealt with one girl, who in two days had three different conflicts, who acted out of fear. Her greatest fear was not being accepted. I am not sure what those shooters in the aforementioned stories motivations were, but that student was hurting. In actuality, I believe those shooters were hurting too.

I did not even share about being harassed and confronted by a parent at our basketball game last night over a cup of ice that was not allowed in the gym. Had I not had the love of God and the peace of God in me, I would have had the parent arrested for threatening me. Whether it is hurt or just down right disrespect and rebellion, those are recent and poignant examples that people need the love, peace and purpose of God in their lives.

In Ephesians 1, listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote about love, peace and purpose.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

While I am truly concerned, I am not obsessed and controlled by FEAR: School Shootings. We have practiced a drill this week. We will continue to prepare our students and staff, but ultimately, their lives and mine are in the hands of God to bring glory to Himself as He sees fit.  He may allow a circumstance of that nature, but I trust God. As a result, I can live in peace and be at ease without fear of harm. Are you trusting in God to squelch your fears. Remember for the believer, God has said,  “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43)

Facing Fear

January 24, 2014

In the post Along for the Ride, I wrote that at no time did my son give in to fear when we rode a roller coaster. He rested in the fact that his father was with him, and that was enough. This is not to say that he did not face fear. He did not concede to it. God’s message to me was that I needed to be like my son, Along for the Ride.

It is an undeniable reality that we all, like my son, are Facing Fear everyday. Since the question is not if but when, we need to consider how to face fears in a manner consistent with God’s expectations. We will spend a few days looking at how to face fear. I am not the pundit, but I can share what God has shared with us. Let’s look at the text from Along for the RideIsaiah 43.

But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

The very first thing God says to the believer is that they must know to whom to listen. God, in His message to His people, makes sure that they know it is Him who is speaking, “But now, this is what the Lord says”. Like those people of God long ago, we must know who we are listening to when Facing Fear. We can listen to others including the wicked one who lies, ourselves or God. God calls for us to listen to what He says. The application is for us to go back to God’s Word to listen to what He has said. It is God’s Word that provides encouragement and strength to effectively deal with our fears.

Notice in verse one that God calls them by name. In John 10:3, Jesus says “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” The application is that remember who they are. They belong to God.

Also in verse one, God tells us to remember our position and that position is yours because I called you by name. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” In Facing Fear, God commands us to “do not fear”. Easier said than done right? Well, if we listen to what He says and remember who were are, His, our confidence to not fear is rooted in those two factors. For those who belong to God, whom He has called by name, He says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;”

We are commanded not to fear. When God gives a command to do or not do something, He also gives us the power or ability to follow His directive. Our ability not to fear is rooted in us belonging to Him. He says, that “I have redeemed you” Dictionary.com defines redeem as to buy or pay off; clear by payment. The Hebrew word for redeem here is ga’al which is to buy back from bondage. Spiritually, the bondsman is sin. God has always bought back from sin. Fear is sin because it calls us not to exercise our faith in God. Our redemption is only in Christ.

In Facing Fear, we must exercise our faith. If you have been redeemed through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, we must remember that we are no longer slaves to fear. He purchased our freedom from sin through His death, burial and resurrection. We do not have to take heed to our fears. As my kids say to one another, “you are not the boss of me!” Fear is not the boss of us; why give an ear? Let’s go through this day effectively Facing Fear because we have been redeemed. We belong to God, and remember that God has said, ““Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

 

Along for the Ride

January 23, 2014

Today, I have had so many thoughts in my head about various things to write about in re-reading Romans 8. As I read the text, I was comforted by the promise that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

Later, there are direct references to how we will endure sufferings in life; yet, God promises to be with us through them all. While I was reading, there was an image of a video that popped in my head. It was a reference to a video I shot on my phone while at Six Flags about two years ago. There is a ride called the Dare Devil I believe. My son wanted to ride, so he and i braved the almost two hour line to get on the ride. I took my phone out to capture the moment.

We got into the seats of the ride. We started off up the hill which is huge. My son seemingly had no worries. We reached the apex of the climb. Down we went. They yell that he let out was funny. I he was not in horror, but he certainly did not expect the feeling he experienced as he went down the hill. All along, I am recording and laughing. To this date, the video is a source of laughter among my son, daughter, wife and I.

This is where God spoke to me. At no time did my son give in to fear. He rested in the fact that his father was with him, and that was enough. This is not to say that he did not face fear. He did not concede to it. God’s message to me was that I needed to be like my son, Along for the Ride.

Romans 8 says,

24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently…28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

The point is that, for the person who has been redeemed by Jesus Christ, God has been with us from the beginning and promises to be with us to the end of this life and forevermore. God called us to be conformed to the likeness of His son (v29), Jesus. All of life’s unsavory moments are designed to fashion us after Jesus. Why? Verse 30 tells us that it further cements Jesus as the first born among many brother and sisters  – that is all who express faith in Christ as Lord and Savior.

If we know God through Jesus as Lord and Savior, we need to realize and rest in the fact that we are Along for the Ride. While bumpy, with many turns, twirls, ups and downs, the ride of life ultimately ends like the ride my son and I took – at the destination with the child (me) beside the father (God). The end is sure. Have faith in God and His Word – Isaiah 43.

But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Boast in This

January 21, 2014

This past Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers played the Seattle Seahawks. At the end of the game, Richard Sherman was interviewed after making a game saving play. He proclaimed to be the best defensive back in the NFL as well as berating one of his opponents. Mr. Sherman’s pride or boasting has created a media frenzy. No matter the media venue, in news papers, on the internet, on radio and on television, people were talking about how his pride/boasting has colored him and presented him as an unsavory player.

In the post Hopes and Dreams, I wrote “Call me a dreamer. Like many of you, I am sure you have Hopes and Dreams that you would like to see come true.”  I also shared that in our quest to pursue and accomplish our hopes and dreams that we must rely on God remembering that I cannot do it in my own wisdom, strength, or riches. In Jeremiah 29:23-24, we are warned not to boast in what we think we do.

I am sure that Mr. Sherman and all the players and all associated with each team had hopes and dreams entering the game, but one should remember that God calls us to Boast in This23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” (ESV) We are to boast in The Lord.

Psalm 34:2

I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

1 Corinthians 1:31

31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 10:17

17 But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Galatians 6:14

14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

God tells me to Boast in This that He alone is my help. As God promised Israel, He promises me, and if Jesus is the Lord and Savior of your life, He also promises you. He told them in Deuteronomy 33:29

29 Blessed are you, Israel!
Who is like you,
a people saved by the Lord?
He is your shield and helper
and your glorious sword.
Your enemies will cower before you,
and you will tread on their heights.”

This is why I proclaim that I must Boast in This. God is my help even when things look horrible and unjust. God is still in control. He is still sovereign. Boast in This!

To reiterate, I am reminded that I must rely on the Shepherd and Overseer of my soul to accomplish my Hopes and Dreams. If I trust in Him, He has told me “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God wants to bless us to glorify Himself. God wants the world to know that He alone is God and apart from Him there is no other savior (Isaiah 43:10-13). Boast in This

Hopes and Dreams

January 18, 2014

While today’s post is not directly about pride, it is certainly related. Call me a dreamer. Like many of you, I am sure you have Hopes and Dreams that you would like to see come true. I have spent the past six hours reflecting on different Hopes and Dreams. Even when my son awoke this morning and came and laid on me, the prayer I prayed over him reflected my Hopes and Dreams about his character and life.

From my marriage, to my children, to my family, to my health, to my vocation, I have a great number of Hopes and Dreams. I do not want to be prideful in my Hopes and Dreams by relying on other people or even myself. I realize that I am incapable of bringing them to fruition that is why they are Hopes and Dreams. Contrary to what many purport, I cannot speak them into being. I cannot fill the atmosphere with positive thoughts to accomplish them. I cannot do it in my own wisdom, strength, or riches. Praise the Lord that I do not have to as I would be even more full of my self than I already am.

In Jeremiah 29:23-24, 23 This is what the Lord says:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.”

There, God instructs us not to rely on ourselves. He also instructs us not to rely on false gods or idols in Zechariah 10

Ask the Lord for rain
In the time of the latter rain.
The Lord will make flashing clouds;
He will give them showers of rain,
Grass in the field for everyone.

For the idols speak delusion;
The diviners envision lies,
And tell false dreams;
They comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wend their way like sheep;
They are in trouble because there is no shepherd.

“My anger is kindled against the shepherds,
And I will punish the goatherds.
For the Lord of hosts will visit His flock,
The house of Judah,
And will make them as His royal horse in the battle.

In chapter 9, the Hopes and Dreams of the Israelites are redirected and reaffirmed by God. Matthew Henry tells us that “Gracious things and glorious ones, very glorious and very gracious, were promised to this poor afflicted people in the foregoing chapter; now here God intimates to them that he will for these things be enquired of by them, and that he expects they should acknowledge him in all their ways and in all his ways towards them—and not idols that were rivals with him for their respects.” For in chapter 9, the promised savior, Jesus Christ was given again. Ligonier Ministries summarizes this passage as this chapter is a rebuke to the people, and especially the leaders, of Judah for seeking wisdom and advice from idols (v. 2). God’s answer to their waywardness is that He Himself will be their shepherd. As the leader of my life, my household, my workplace, I must rely upon Jehovah to accomplish Hopes and Dreams He has given me.

The Word of God is replete with promises about my life (Jeremiah 29:11-13), my family (Acts 2:38-39) and my vocation (Isaiah 41:8-16 *v10).

“But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Today, I am reminded that I must rely on the Shepherd and Overseer of my soul to accomplish my Hopes and Dreams. If I trust in Him, He has told me “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God wants to bless us to glorify Himself. God wants the world to know that He alone is God and apart from Him there is no other savior (Isaiah 43:10-13).

 

 

Patience over Pride: The End of the Matter is Better than its Beginning

January 17, 2014

Alright, it’s been a few days since my last post on pride, Pride Brings a Person Low. In that post, the order and principles of how God humbles a proud person was presented. Additionally, it was presented how the lowly in spirit gain honor. We all want to gain honor which is to have dignity, distinction, respect/reverence, splendor and glory – experience the glory of God.

In life, there are many circumstances in which we find ourselves that honor appears to be out of reach, out of sight and even out of mind. I am sure you can think of situations where it appeared that nothing seemed to have gone right nor was their end in sight for the ugliness of life. What do we do when life is not lovely? What do we do when life is not pleasant? What do we do when there is nothing in life that urges us to forge forward?

Hallelujah, praise the Lord God Almighty. Jehovah has an answer. In the book of Ecclesiastes, I found my answer. When I discovered this verse, I was over joyed because I was in the midst of a major trial in my life. We learn so much more in hardship and adversity than in peace and prosperity, but I digress. Life had presented some tough circumstances. I was wondering how I would make it. I was wondering how I would come out of that situation.

Like the psalmist said in Psalm 10, I asked “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” While it seemed that God was hiding, He was right there with me. I was reassured of not only His presence but also His promise when I read Ecclesiastes 7:8.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride.

Ponder that for a moment. The end is better than the beginning. That statement oozes with hope. It said to me that I have hope. I just need to trust (believe) in God, to trust in Christ as Jesus requests of us in John 14:1.What did I need to trust or believe? That God was in control regardless of how ugly life looked, felt, tasted, or sounded. I needed to believe Patience over Pride: The End of the Matter is Better than its Beginning.God says that patience is better than pride. Why? By being patient, it shows that I fully trusted God’s sovereignty in the matter. I trusted that God was in control and would, in His time and way, handle the matter. I just needed to wait on Him. Pride, on the other hand, says that I am in control and will not wait on God. I must handle the matter myself. If I was that adept at handling the situation, it would not have been disfavorable nor prolonged. I had to remember Proverbs 18:12  which says, “Before a downfall the heart is haughty (proud), but humility comes before honor.” Patience is better than pride because there is a downfall with pride but honor with patience because I was humble enough to trust God. Patience over Pride: The End of the Matter is Better than its Beginning. Which will we choose in our trying situation? Will we become prideful and experience a downfall, or will we exercise patience through your faith in Christ until the end of the matter? God has told us how He expects us to respond. We just need to rely upon Him in that moment that we might respond the right way.
I know not what this day will bring beyond this next keystroke, but I do know that I must choose patience over pride because it is better. Patience over Pride: The End of the Matter is Better than its Beginning.

Pride Brings a Person Low

January 14, 2014

Many lives have purposed to be number one. The NFL playoffs are in session now. The last two teams from the NFC, Seattle and San Francisco,  and the last two teams from the AFC, New England and Denver, are what remains from a field of 32. All 32 teams, including my beloved Falcons, started the season with high hopes only to be disappointed with not making it to the Superbowl, the hope of being number one.

In life, people are always looking for an advantage to be number one or on top. Some times, that desire overrides godly principles. When our desire supersedes what God desires, we enter into a dangerous  situation. We enter the twilight zone of pride. We know that In his pride, the wicked man does not seek God. We also know from the post Stalked by Pride: My Life is on the Line that each day is filled with circumstances that tempt us to supersede what God has established.

Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, says that we should avoid living in pride. There are grave consequences when we desire to be number one above all the principles of God.

Proverbs 29:23
23 Pride brings a person low,
but the lowly in spirit gain honor. (NIV)

23  A man’s pride will bring him low,
But the humble in spirit will retain honor. (NKJV)

This verse compares with Proverbs 16:18 and 18:12.  The sin of pride does not allow the fool to benefit from another’s wisdom; however, “wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.” Proverbs 15:33.

Pride causes man to be embarrassed. It brings about a humiliation to him who claims to be more than what he is. Of Proverbs 29:23, Matthew Henry said, “This agrees with what Christ said more than once, 1. That those who exalt themselves shall be abased. Those that think to gain respect by lifting up themselves above their rank, by looking high, talking big, appearing fine, and applauding themselves, will on the contrary expose themselves to contempt, lose their reputation, and provoke God by humbling providences to bring them down and lay them low. 2. That those who humble themselves shall be exalted, and shall be established in their dignity: Honour shall uphold the humble in spirit; their humility is their honour, and that shall make them truly and safely great, and recommend them to the esteem of all that are wise and good.”

If we want to be humbled or humiliated, we should take a position of pride; however, if we want to be lifted up, we should assume the position, the humble position. Remember, Pride Brings a Person Low.

Words Reveal Wisdom or Pride

January 13, 2014

Words Reveal Wisdom or Pride. While you don’t need my testimony to know that this is true, my mouth has provided plenty of examples of this claim. Despite that, I am not the authority just one who validates what my Lord, the authority, has told us.

Remember Matthew 12 when Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees? If not, here is what Jesus said.

33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Proverbs 14:2-3 set the Lord’s example long before Jesus conveyed it to the Pharisees who should have known.

Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly,
but those who despise him are devious in their ways.

A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride,
but the lips of the wise protect them.

Our Words Reveal Wisdom or Pride. As such, it is an imperative that we store the right things in our heart. We do that by memorizing and meditating on the Word of God. In doing so, we give the Holy Spirit the fuel to transform our minds. Romans 12:2 tell us “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

David Guzik wrote, “Our words reveal our heart. If there were good treasure in the heart of these religious leaders, it would show itself in good things.” All of us, like those leaders, must measure what comes out of our mouths through the Spirit who convicts the world of sin (John 16:8). When our Words Reveal Wisdom or Pride, we must thank God when we exhibit His wisdom, or we must seek forgiveness when we exhibit pride. Remember, Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Which will your heart reveal, wisdom or pride?