Pride Comes Before Disgrace

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. ~Proverbs 11:2 ESV

Have you ever let your pride get in the way of a wise decision? I know I have countless times throughout my life. It’s really bad when that disgrace comes and it affects more than yourself.

When I read this scripture, I think of many moments that I let pride interfere with my life and the lives of others. There are definitely a lot of moments to not be proud of. Today, would you pray for me, as I pray for you, dear reader,  that God would humble us so that we could be all that He wants us to be?

The thing that I am most proud of – more than anything else, is of my God. The God who created all things, including people that turned their back on Him. Yet, out of HIS unconditional love, He created a way that we could still come to know Him. I’m proud that even while he was a human being, and suffered at the hands of a creation that didn’t recognize Him, he still died so that we could be saved. I’m proud that when he didn’t even have to do it for such a sinful people, he rose from the grave and defeated death once and for all for those that trust him. For Jesus, and what he means to me in my life here and for eternity, I am proud.

I am also humble enough to know that I will mess up. I will be disobedient to my heavenly Father. When that happens, I must set my pride aside, and confess to Him and repent for my disobedience.

Thank you Lord for all that you’ve done, all that you do, and all that you have planned! I LOVE YOU JESUS CHRIST!

Photograph By: joel herzog

What Do I Need?

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8:26

How many of us have been in this predicament before? We attempt to take things before the Lord and find ourselves lost in asking where do we even start to pray? It’s very different when someone asks us to pray for a certain need. We see their need, take it before God, wait for His timing, follow up and praise Him for the outcome. So why can it be so difficult when we have needs of our own?

First of all I think part of the problem we have lies in the fact that due to our own nature we often don’t really know what we need or want. This brings up a very old comparison of a want versus a need. Don’t worry for this quick writing I think I’ll avoid that one- if only to say that if we don’t know exactly we want/need it’s very difficult to pray for something specific.

The great news of this scripture is that the Spirit helps us in our weakness! Once again we are not left alone to struggle. Even in the times that we can’t even form a sentence in prayer we can still be bold in talking to God and asking for His divine and supernatural intervention. When we go to prayer this tells us that He is with us, hearing every word or thought we cannot express.

We should never be afraid or intimidated by going to prayer. Certainly not for this nor any other reason. As long as we are going before Him seeking His will be done in whatever we are asking then He is always with us. With this confidence, the Spirit praying with us and hearing our very thoughts we can trust that our requests to God will always be heard and worked according to His will.

Photo By: Ben White

It is Well

I recently read a short article about one of my favorite songs. The song is “It is Well” and I’m keen on the Kristen DiMarco or Bethel version. When I read the article though I was amazed that one of my favorite songs had such a profound story that I never knew about. It was in the studying of that story behind its writing and subsequent choice of DiMarco to perform it that I was really led to write this.

I’ll keep the history part brief but it definitely plays a huge part in the meaning behind the song. Horatio Spafford penned the original version in 1873. Incredibly he wrote the song after terrible circumstances had all but decimated his family. He first lost his son in the Great Chicago fire only to later lose 4 daughters in a shipwreck on the Atlantic. It wasn’t until he was bound for Europe and passed the location of his daughters wreck that he wrote the lyrics to this song.

Just in reading these first few notes on the song I thought to myself how could someone write something so positive after their circumstances were so terrible by all standards? DiMarco’s viewpoint was the same and she related it to Jesus calming of the storm. “He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? They were terrified and asked each other, who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!Mark 4:40-41

The Lord is so amazing and gives us every reason to never be troubled by the circumstances of this world or even our own lives. Christ died for us and loves us enough to promise us eternal life with Him instead of an eternity of misery and servitude. It is only in Him that in the face of horrendous conditions we can have such peace and the ability to abandon all worry, doubt and fear. Ultimately we must always have the assurance that Christ will calm any and every storm in our lives.

P.S. If you haven’t heard the song I encourage you to listen to it!

~Kenny Stahl

Photograph by: Adam Zvanovec

Excuses

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

~Romans 1:20

Without excuse. Since the creation of the world, God has been at work so that we are without excuse. We are without excuses to know there is a God and that He is the creator of all things. If God is the creator of all things, then we should probably listen to Him and be obedient to His Words.

What’s your excuse for disobedience? Mine come in many flavors. Ultimately, I am a sinner in need of redemption. I have real struggles with obedience to God. I want to be completely obedient, but fail and sin against Him daily. I make up excuses to not do ministry I’m called to. I make up excuses why I didn’t read the God breathed words from The Bible some days. I make up excuses that I didn’t pray. I make up excuses that I could have done something for someone, but didn’t. I make up excuses for why, but ultimately, I am without excuse. Thank God for grace.

The thing about excuses is that they are just that – invalid reasons. What’s your invalid reason to disobey God? Is it because you’re faith is in Jesus so you’re free to sin? Jesus told people that He  healed to go and sin no more. In one case, he said that sin could cause his condition to come back worse.

Love God. Love your neighbor. #StopMakingExcuses

 

Photograph by: Scott Walsh

True Obedience

True obedience is the refusal to compromise in any regard our relationship with God, regardless of the consequences.” Aiden Wilson Tower

Seemingly this subject has been laid before me quite a lot this previous week. Whether it be a sermon, the words of a brother from church or possibly my own personal convictions I have heard this message repeatedly. The message has been clear: be obedient and put all other things aside to trust and follow Jesus first.

In our lives, it can be “easy” to be a believer sometimes but far more difficult to truly put everything else aside and put God first in all things. This beautiful quote reminds us to not only put God first but to be absolute in our refusal to compromise this relationship in any fashion. When we do consider exactly how far this dedication to putting God first goes we can definitely look at a portion of 2 Corinthians 2:5 which says that we must “bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

EVERY thought… At least while this can be hard to accomplish at times the direction given is quite clear. This verse leaves no room or possibility of debate for how far our dedication to putting Him first really goes. We must capture every thought so that we might put all other things in our life secondary and abide by His word.

Trying to tie this all together, while I was reading this material I found another concept by Tozer that related this extremely accurately for me. In all of our hearts, there is a cross and a throne. We start out our Christian life on the throne until we decide to yield that to God and take up the cross. We cannot expect Christ to be the only one to die while we remain “king.” To truly be obedient to Him we have to give Him his place on the throne, dethrone ourselves and give our whole life to Christ.

Humble yourself…

But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
“Humble yourselves before the Load, and He will lift you up.”
James 4:6 & 10

Humility can easily be a trait that naturally eludes the inward spirit and nature of people. In itself it is such a basic characteristic and yet it can often be one that we fight the most to abide by. Yet when we see verses like these, among others, we see how much God loves us showing this (and what we seek to gain from it ) in our Christian walk.

In order for me to understand what it really meant to be humble, I had to look at the characteristic that is directly opposite. What does it mean to be proud and what gives us this sense of pride? Usually, in my own life, I look at achievements or stature that have been gained and it gives me an almost “righteous” sense about me achieving them. We have to understand here that reaching these is not necessarily a bad thing. Achievements, stature, accomplishments and triumphs are a wonderful blessing in our life, as long as we are giving the glory to God for allowing us realize them. The pride part can get in the way when we use them to put ourselves above others or believe that we reached this blessing or place all on our own.

It can become extremely easy to grow proud without even realizing it. We see the faults and labors of others and grow prideful of “where we’re at” compared to them. Instead I feel like we all need to strive to understand that no matter the circumstances in our lives we are all brothers and sisters in the one true God. Circumstances among people can be very different based on where people are in their personal walk with God. There is no way or reason I should ever put myself above another based solely on that fact.

I truly want to set my prideful ways aside and be humble. I want to be humble to the Lord as he commands so that I might be lifted up, but I also want to be humble to those around me. I feel like by doing this I have the ability to show others His love and give them the understanding of being on this walk towards Him and in Him that we are all going through.

 

Photo Credit: Bradley Swenson

Our Present Help in Trouble

Psalm 46 (ESV)
God Is Our Fortress

To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Selah

Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Selah

– – –

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

There are a lot of keywords that stand out in that sentence.

God is our refuge.
God is our strength.
God is our help.

But the one that stands out to me today is this: God is present. He’s our PRESENT help. God isn’t far. God isn’t preoccupied elsewhere. God isn’t inaccessible. He’s here, He’s present, He’s active. God is our PRESENT help.

God shows up.

God doesn’t always “show up” when, where, and how we think He should. But let us never doubt that God is with us as we walk through whatever trials or challenges we face. And as we face those challenges, God should be the very first one we turn to for help. He is our refuge, our strength, our present help in trouble. Amen.

Photo by Andrew Charney on Unsplash