Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fellowship with Walk by Faith Not by Sight Ministries on 7/30/10 7:30 pm. 3734 Mt. Pleasant, Houston. http://ping.fm/wdWXy

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pride, Step Aside!

I have been thinking a lot lately about pride. It seems to me that this small word can actually describe a debilitating illness that keeps us stuck. Pride operates in our lives in a variety of ways, manifesting arrogance and self-exaltation. It convinces us that we are right no matter the circumstances, that our way is best as opposed to any other at all times. Pride convinces us to hold our position, choosing to throw away good relationships so that our pride can remain intact. Pride causes us to hold on to bad relationships because pride won't let us admit that they are toxic and draining us of life and vitality.

It is this pride - the extremity of pride - that keeps us from receiving all that we need from God, for pride hinders our ability to seek God.

Psalm 10:4 KJV - The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek [after God]: God [is] not in all his thoughts.
So why to do we hold on to pride? Mainly because pride appeals to our vanity - it makes us feel right, and that's what we want. We don't understand that pride is the enemy - a subtle enemy, but real. Pride cancels out humility - pride keeps us from submitting ourselves to anyone or anything. Pride makes us feel superior, but it hides from us the fact that will eventually become known to us: God resists the proud.

James 4:6 KJV - But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

1 Peter 5:5 KJV - Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
That's what the Bible says. And who is strong enough to prevail when God is resisting them? No one. It is the truth. When you let pride direct you, you find yourself doomed to fail. The Word of God, the Bible, tells us that too.

Pro 16:18 KJV - Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Pro 29:23 KJV - A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
None of us want to fail, yet we let pride fool us into thinking that somehow we are so special that we will not meet that fate of those who have risen up against God. Against God? Yes. Pride causes us to seek our own way, and that is against God.

1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. {17} And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
I am not writing this to condemn anyone. All of us have a little bit of pride, and that's not altogether bad. It's when our pride begins to override God's will and God's word that we are in trouble. I just want to encourage you to check yourself out. Are you holding on to relationships that don't please God because you can't admit that they are wrong? Are you denying the will of God for your life because you want a certain person to approve of you? Have you refused to apologize to someone because you don't want to give them the "upper hand"?

If these or any similar attributes are yours, it's time to tell pride to step aside! Confess to the Lord the reasons that you are holding on to pride and if you don't know what the reasons are, confess that also. Ask him to deliver you from pride's destructive influences. He is willing and able to help you return to reality. And it is better that you come to him voluntarily. Don't wait for him to humble you.

Luk 14:11 KJV - For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
I don't think any of us really want to go through God's humbling process, although often the adverse circumstances of our lives are just that. We have to guard against overarching pride by maintaining our love relationship with God. It is hard to be lifted up in self when you are continually lifting up the savior. Worship, prayer, and praise make pride step aside. Humble yourself before God today, so that in due time, the Lord can lift you up. When it's God's doing, you will be able to walk in confidence, not arrogance. I know that's my prayer.

Pride, step aside!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Time Brings About a Change (from August 2009 Reflections on Eternity)

Right now I am thinking about the hymn that says, "time is filled with swift transition, none on earth unmoved can stand; build your hopes on things eternal, hold to God's unchanging hand."

It seems to me that one thing that is sure is that time will bring about a change. No matter what your current state, you can remain hopeful, because with the passage of time, things will change. Now I know that all change is not for the better, but still, even the worst circumstances can change and improve over time.

What troubles most of us, I think, is that we do not know how long it will take for the change we desire to take place. We watch so many television commercials - beloved "infomercials" that promise instant results - that we think everything should happen as quickly as promised on tv. But we fail to read the fine print on those ads that always states "results not typical."

This is the reality of life. Quick results - getting rich quick, quick weight loss, instant happiness - are not typical. Quick results are the exception, not the rule. The rule is that we have to learn to endure, which implies the passage of time in a situation.

I am instantly reminded of Job. In the middle of his distress he began to think about the end of his life and what was going to happen to him. You should take some time to read the 14th chapter of the Book of Job. In it you will find statements like these: "Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil." (v. 1). "Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; and his limits You have set so that he cannot pass." (v. 5). And then he says, "If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait until my change comes." (v. 14).

Job knew that his deliverance was in the hands of God, and would be worked out in God's time.

In Psalm 90, a psalm attributed to Moses, the writer lets us know that God's time is dramatically different than ours. He writes, "For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night." (v. 4). What seems in our mind as an eternity is merely a drop in the bucket to God.

We have to learn to entrust ourselves to Him in such a way that we can endure the test of time. What does the song say? "Build your hopes on things eternal." This is our mandate in this dispensation, where things are not moving favorably in the economy and the national and political landscape is suspect. We must begin to turn to the Lord with a determination to wait for our change to come.

I want to encourage you to try to see God's perspective because to Him, your years of struggle have only been a moment of time that He is using to refine you and to birth His purposes in you.

The day of the Lord is surely coming. He will avenge you, uplift you, establish you. But in the meantime, He gives us a chance to make sure that we get things right with Him and truly put our faith and trust in Him. But don't take my word for it. Here's an expert on the subject:

"But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:8-9).

Time brings about a change. The Lord will perform His promises to you, but only in His time. Step out of your own timetable and into God's and watch Him move!