The Idols of Me, Myself, and I


pride

Romans 12:3

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

Recently, God has been talking to me about the idols in my life (see previous posts). A few days ago I was convicted again. A Christian radio program[i] discussed how we often put too much emphasis on ourselves – with ourselves becoming an idol in our own life. (I don’t remember the exact words, I was driving.) I felt an immediate conviction.  My life has often been about my three best friends: me, myself, and I.

Exodus 20:3

“You shall have no other gods before (or besides) me.”

It seems like a simple, straight forward command. Why then is it so difficult to put God first and love God purely? I think the answer comes down to pride. Pride is the first sin – Lucifer fell due to his pride (Isaiah 14:13).

Pride is subtle and it permeates so many areas of our lives. Pride means we are focused on ourselves. This can take on many forms. Pride can be arrogance, and thinking too highly of yourself or that you are better than others. It’s easy to recognize that attitude as pride. There are many other areas in which we a prideful but we may not be aware of those prideful thoughts. Self-pity for example; we are still focused on ourselves and not God. How about not being thankful, or forgiving? What about always needing to be the center of attention? What about being unwilling to learn (because you think you know it all)? Refusing to admit when you are wrong? Being disrespectful, or even sarcastic? Being impatient? What about jealousy? Seems to me that I am prideful in many areas of my life.

Proverbs 16:5

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

So how do we get past pride?

The first step many view God as God. We are not God. We know that intellectually, but we must not know it in our heart because we act in prideful ways. Remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). He is the creator (Job 38:4). He’s done so much that we cannot do.

The second step may be to remember that God is the provider of everything we have. We would not have what we have if God did not create us with our unique talents and personality (Psalm 139:13).

1 Corinthians 4:7

For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Being thankful, truly thankful for everything you have (1 Thessalonians 5:18) might be the third step. Next, admit to God how prideful we are. In prayer, ask The Lord to humble our spirit. God cannot use us if we are prideful, but a God can use a humble person.

Matthew 23:11

The greatest among you will be your servant.

I am praying also for a servant’s heart, and to accept the correction and discipline of God. I’m praying for God to lead me to humility.

Proverbs 12:1

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.

I’m praying for God to help me conquer the pride in my life.

 

Blessings on your day.

 

Scripture: Biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images

 

[i] Charles Stanley, InTouch

Prayer Journaling


a-prayer-journal

I’ve been keeping a prayer journal for several years now. This daily ritual helps me remain focused so my mind does not wander. It’s also a record of my requests. I can go back and look at how God has worked in my life. This is part of what I wrote this morning:

Dear Heavenly Father,

It is the dawn of a New Year and I look forward to all the possibilities it holds. But I will need Your perfect guidance in my life. Please be there to silence the lies of the enemy and remind me of whom I am in You. Help me rest in Your truth. Grant me clarity of purpose and the courage to carry out Your will in every aspect of my life.

As I was praying this morning, I was prompted to turn to the prayer I wrote January 1, 2015. Reading that prayer almost brought me to tears. Throughout the year God’s faithfulness was evident as I remembered how he answered my prayers and prepared me for the big change coming to my life.

Keeping a record of your prayers is also a record of the faithfulness of our Lord. Turn back to any date, read your prayer and remember how God has helped you face your struggles by being by your side. It reminds me of how much our Lord has blessed me and helps me feel a renewed sense of gratitude.

If you would like to start a prayer journal today would be a great day to start. You can write your prayers in Bibles created for journaling, in the margins of devotionals, decorative journals, spiral notebooks, or even electronically. (Electronic versions are easier to search, but I prefer to write to God in longhand.) After a few months, go back and review your prayers. Thank God for answering your prayers. This is a great exercise to remind you of our Lord’s faithfulness. If you don’t know what to say, listed below are a few ideas to get you started.

Prayer Prompts:

Copy the Lord’s prayer, and then expand on it. Pray a prayer of confession.
Rewrite the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, and then add to it. Pray for safety.
Pray for someone you don’t like. Pray for the nation’s leaders.
Pray the Psalms. Pray for your health.
Pray for your family. Ask God for the ability to make wise, godly choices.
Pray for your friends. Pray for the world, one country at a time.
Pray for your co-workers, and your boss. Pray for an end to terrorism.
Pray for the military and first responders. Pray for Christians where Christians are in the minority.
Pray for your schools. Thank God for the people in your life.
Pray for every family on your block. Thank God for your job.
Pray for your physicians. Thank God for your possessions.
Pray for your community leaders. (Try to) List your blessings.
Pray for peace and goodness to fill your home. Thank God for pure water and plenty of food.
Pray for your pastors and church elders. Pray for missionaries.
Pray for those who write books that explain God’s Word in more detail. Pray over your daily calendar.
Pray about your goals. Pray for our nation’s leaders.
Ask God to guide you through His Word. Pray for healing to broken relationships.
Pray for Wisdom. Pray for your future.
Pray a prayer of confession. Ask for guidance on how to serve the Lord.
Pray for safety. (Try to) List your blessings.
Pray for the nation’s leaders. Thank God for pure water and plenty of food.
Pray for your health. Pray for missionaries.
Ask God for the ability to make wise, godly choices. Pray over your daily calendar.
Pray for the world, one country at a time. Pray for our nation’s leaders.
Pray for an end to terrorism. Pray for healing to broken relationships.
Pray for Christians where Christians are in the minority. Pray for your future.
Thank God for the people in your life. Ask for guidance on how to serve the Lord.
Thank God for your job. Thank God for your possessions.

 

May you be richly blessed as you discover God’s faithfulness to you as you turn to Him in prayer.

Psalm 77:11-12

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

Thankfulness – Day 9


Day 9 psalm-90-17

Loving God,

Thank you for employment and the opportunity to provide for my family. Thank you for creating me to do this particular job. Help me do my very best at work each day and honor my employer because in everything I do I want to glorify you (1 Corinthians 10:13). Help me be a blessing to all I work with.

 1 Timothy 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

 

May the Lord richly bless your work.

 

Scripture: www.openbible.info

Images: Google Images

Godly Decisions: A New Church Home


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It takes a while to get settled in a new city. There are so many new places to discover and explore. New routines must be developed such as finding the neighborhood grocery store and post office. We’ve also had to make some difficult decisions like which doctor or dentist we should go to. Some exploring has been fun, like finding new restaurants, but the most challenging place to find has been a new church home. This was necessary for us to feel completely settled, and develop a sense of belonging and purpose. Of course we could have stayed members of our previous church and worshiped on-line, but there are Biblical reasons to belong to a local church.

  1. The Psalms guide us to God’s dwelling place. “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty,” Psalm 84:1. Also, Psalm 26:8, “Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.” We can’t fully enjoy the Lord if we don’t regularly attend a local church.

chuch

  1. Hebrews 10:24-25 commands believers to meet together to encourage one another, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
  1. Local church leaders help us grow spiritually. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 instructs us, “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” Hebrews 13:17 also tells us, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”

We knew that we needed God’s help to find a new place to worship in. It had to be a place where we can grow and serve. We turned to God and Scripture to lead us. We prayed and asked God for wisdom and guidance as we “shopped” for a new church to attend. In Acts 16:6-10, Paul was led by the Spirit where to preach and where not to preach. It’s the same with us. The Holy Spirit will lead us where we should go, we just need to ask.

James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

We did an exhaustive internet search then called several churches to ask questions. We wanted to review their doctorial statements, and to learn about what programs were available for our children. We asked about missions and volunteer needs. We even wanted to know how the church spent their money. We found several places to visit.

Part of getting guidance from God is to understand when He is telling you “No.” We visited several churches that preached the Word of God, and had places to serve, but they weren’t right for us. How did we know? When I perceive God telling me “No,” I don’t feel good about the situation. I may not know exactly what is wrong, but I know something is not right. It’s God’s way of warning me. In Acts 16:6-7 Paul was led, and stopped by God’s Holy Spirit. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so we can discern what God wants us to do, and not do. More prayer was needed to ensure we were understanding God correctly.

Something interesting happened as we searched. God said “No” to the church we thought we would join. Part of correctly hearing God’s voice is not to go where you want to go, but where God wants you to go.

god leads

Yesterday, we visited a local church, again. All the elements are there, and it feels right. But there is one more step. We are waiting for confirmation from God. Scripture also commands us to be still. Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” By just waiting on God He will let us know, one way other the other, that we have discovered the place just right for our family.

Blessings to you as you make decisions and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

 

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Images: google images

Why I Served


United-States-Navy

Young people join the military for various reasons. I loved my country, but I had ulterior motives for joining the Navy – a free education and the opportunity to travel. Many join the military to take advantage of such benefits. However, once in boot camp I was immediately introduced to the military mindset. I was immersed in a new lifestyle of honor, integrity, and courage. I emerged from an eight-week training cocoon not only proud to have the opportunity serve, but feeling blessed to have the privilege to serve with people of honor. It changed me – forever.

Throughout my first tour my love for this country deepened, and so did my love for my fellow service men and women. I wanted to give back to the country that took a chance on me. I proudly reenlisted several times and celebrated with others who chose to do the same. I served with people who have the highest level of integrity. They were also the kindest, bravest and most loving people I will ever know. There is a certain camaraderie that the military and first responders share. It’s a brotherhood that deepens every day as we inspire, encourage, honor, and love each other. Being a part of the military made me more than I ever could have been otherwise.

Although I chose to retire, I miss military life. I miss serving with incredible men and women who encouraged me to strive for excellence. I may not see them every day, but I will pray for them, and honor them by living the life they taught me.

We can honor our military and remember our dead by living a life of integrity and honor, and by praying for them everyday.

Change


 change

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” – Heraclitus

Ecclesiastes 3:1

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

A big change happened in my life this past week. I had been praying for months for a resolution to a certain situation. Suddenly that problem was resolved. There was no hint the change was coming, it just happened. Now I am faced with new circumstances and new challenges. The question before me is how to approach those new circumstances and challenges in a way that honors God.

The answer is quite simple, it’s just humans have a tendency to overcomplicate things. We need to remember that everything God does for us is motivated by His great love for us. Knowing this, it’s critical to seek God’s direction when faced with great change. We may be tempted to face new circumstances the same way we faced old challenges, but new circumstances require an in-depth conversation with God, asking Him what we are to do in this new situation.

For me, taking a long walk with God will provide some guidance. I also need to delve into the Scriptures, asking our Lord for direction in this new season of life. Remember, the approach we have taken to old circumstances may not be the way to handle new things. We are creatures of habit and like that which is familiar, but God may be calling us out of our comfort zone. Be open to the new, and experience something new.

While change may be constant, it’s important to remember our God doesn’t change (Hebrews 13:8). His every action is based on His great love for us. Therefore, we can face every change knowing it is from God.

Blessings on your day.

Scripture: www.openbible.info

Image: google images

Prayer and Fasting


Fasting bible plate.aspx

I have never fasted. I have given things up for Lent, but I would not call that fasting. I don’t like to go hungry. I wonder if that means I’m missing out on a blessing, or perhaps a miracle. There is something I have been praying about for quite some time and nothing has happened. Should I add fasting to my prayers? This Lenten Season I believe I am being called to fast.

Before His ministry began, Jesus fasted for forty days (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-4.) If Jesus needed to fast, it seems I should too.

The Bible commands both prayer and fasting. In Matthew 6:16-18, “Jesus said, ‘And when you fast …’” Notice that Jesus said when, not if. Joel 2:12 tells us, “’Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’”

Consider a few of the miracles that happened in the Bible as a result of fasting. When Daniel was thrown into the Lion’s den, King Darius spent the night fasting. The next morning it was discovered Daniel was unharmed (Daniel 6). Nehemiah fasted and prayed, then was allowed to go rebuild Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 1-3). Queen Esther requested a fast to save her people (Esther 4:15-16).

The purpose of fasting is to turn our focus to God. Isaiah 58 explains the proper way to fast, then outlines the blessings of fasting.  I have decided it’s time I fast as well as pray. I am expecting to hear from God when my fast is over. I don’t know what God will tell me, but I do expect joy and guidance. Isaiah 58:14 tells us, “’then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.’ For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Ezra 8:23

“So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.”

Joel 1:14

“Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.”

Blessings on your day.

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images