Saturday, January 14, 2006

Humility

I am currently reading Humility: The forgotten virtue by Wayne Mack. It is clear, convicting, and encouraging. I highly recommend it.

Here are a few points and quotes from chapter 1:

How do we know humility is tremendously important?
1. The Bible frequently commands us to be humble
2. The Bible frequently warns us to rid ourselves of pride and warns of its serious consequences
3. God promises to bless those who are humble in heart

“While a humble person may not experience blessing as this world defines blessing, God promises that the humble in heart with know His blessing.”

“Apart from the grace of God in our lives, we all naturally tend to ignore God and exalt ourselves.”

“Ultimately, as we grow in humility, we are becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ, and that is a great privilege!”

Mr. Mack does a great job of explaining how a prideful person focuses on himself, while a humble person focuses on God and others. I have been challenged to consider what my focus is. I feel the natural tug in my heart to look at myself, my desires, and my actions. I tend to exalt myself, whether through words to others and even more in thoughts only known to me. I’m sobered as I’m reminded how God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Lord, help us all to cast of our self-focus and pride. Enable us to humbly exalt you and serve others. Equip us in the battle against our naturally prideful hearts, and help us to choose to be humble. Remind us that this is the way to life, joy, and peace.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Our Amazing God

Psalm 36:5-9, “Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”

Have you considered the character of God? What is He like? How does He act? How do we know?

Scripture is our primary source of information about God. The bible records many stories about individuals and a lot of history of the nation of Israel, but underlying it all is the story of God – His ways, His attributes, and His interactions with mankind.

At times scripture teaches us directly about God. I love this passage from Psalm 36. I especially enjoy reading it outside, where I can see the sky, mountains, and water. It paints a grand picture of a few of the attributes of God, yet His ways and abilities are far greater.

God’s love is so great that it reaches to the heavens (and even more). His faithfulness is so huge that it reaches all the way to the skies (and beyond). He is so righteous that you can think of him as an immovable, mighty mountain (and stronger). His justice penetrates far down, like the deepest part of the ocean (and deeper).

Our God and His love towards us are priceless. He has completely transformed us in a way that we could never do for ourselves or purchase for ourselves. He sent His Son to live a sinless life, suffer death on the cross in our place, bear the full wrath of God for our sins, overcome sin and death, and rise from the grave – all for us. This is priceless!

We can find refuge in the presence of our God. He is a source of comfort, support, and protection in the midst of trial. From the abundance He has, we can feast and be nourished. He delights in being our refuge, and He equips us for living the Christian life.

Ultimately He is the source of light and life. He gave us a new life in Him. He placed His light in us that we might have life and live all out for Him.

We serve an amazing God!!!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

I hope you saw God’s faithfulness in your life in 2005. God was incredibly faithful to me over the past year, and I look forward to all that He has in store in 2006.

What are your new year’s resolutions? As you form your list of goals, consider Galatians 6:7-10, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

These verses remind us of three things:

1. God has laid out a truth that will always hold true: A man reaps what he sows. This has both a positive and a negative promise. If you sow to please God, you will reap good. If you sow to please yourself, you will reap bad. It is guaranteed!

2. Don’t become weary of doing good. Although you may feel like you do not see the good as you sowing to please God, continue to persevere. You will, in time, reap an abundance of good if you do not give up.

3. Look for opportunities to do good to all people. Opportunities abound, if we are watching for them.

What are some ways to sow to please the Spirit? You can study the Bible and seek to apply God’s truths to your daily life. You can faithfully attend church and worship God and listen to your pastor’s preaching. You can listen carefully in youth meetings or chapel services and evaluate your thoughts and actions. You can humbly confess your sins to your parents, pastor, or trusted friend. You can serve in your church or help out those in need. You can reach out to individuals around you that need a friend. In all these things, remember that God is faithful to His promise, “A man reaps what he sows.”

So, as you consider your resolutions for 2006, consider how you can sow to please the spirit and do good to all people. By His strength and power, we can all persevere in these things.

I pray that God richly blesses you and your family in 2006!