Measuring Our Hearts’s Humility

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Proverbs 15:33 (KJV)

The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

Proverbs 15:33 (The Message)

Fear-of-God is a school in skilled living—first you learn humility, then you experience glory.

The Hebrew word for “Humility” is “Anavah”.   As is often the case with Hebrew words, “Anavah” is packed with much more meaning than it initially lets on.  Studying it from the root word “Anah”, along with its many variations, I submit the following as a description for “Humility”.

Humility” is about Acknowledging our submission to and dependence upon God, Recognizing the worth and abilities of others, and Embracing a proper estimation of who we are, where we are, what we have and why we’re here.

This kind of Humility in our hearts will function as a life-guiding GPS that directs our spiritual journey while at the same time revealing our spiritual curriculum—God’s change agenda for our lives.  When it comes to life change (cultivating virtues & eliminating vices), know that it is neither a self-help project or a shortcut process.  We must cooperate with God and put in the work required for lasting change.

Measuring the Humility of our hearts reveals our willingness and readiness to change.

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Because we must “first learn humility”, I’ve accepted Jesus’ invitation.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NASB)

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 

30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Lord, help me to learn how to continually…

1)  Acknowledge my submission to and dependence upon God

2) Recognize the worth and abilities of others

3) Embrace a proper estimation of who I am, where I am, what I have and why I’m here.

Peace,

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Leading By Example

Jesus led by example.  Whoever wants to become great among you must first be your servant!  Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as an example of how they were to live.

John 13:15

For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

When you lead by example, there’s nothing those who follow you will not do for you and with you.  I believe this applies to every area of life (Family Life, Work Life, Community Life, Church Life).  Don’t just tell people what to do, show them how it’s done.  Then you can delegate.

As a World-Class Leader:

People who follow you need to see your dedication to become dedicated.

People who follow you need to see your enthusiasm to become enthusiastic.

People who follow you need to see your hard work to maximize their hard work.

-Adapted from Jeffrey Gitomer’s “Little Book of Leadership”

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What kind of example do you set on a daily basis?

Peace,

 

How Well Do You Handle Correction?

correction_-_Google_SearchWe usually like to associate ourselves with people who praise us or celebrate us.  We generally do not like anyone pointing their finger at our mistakes, and if anyone does call attention to our mistakes we can tend to not like that person very much.  John wrote to Gaius concerning the behavior of Diotrephes.  He was “Defiant”— Openly Resistant and Boldly Disobedient.  His defiance is seen in his Thoughts, Words, and Actions.  John made known his intention to bring “Correction” to the behavior Diotrephes continually displayed.

Wherefore, if I come, I will remember {call attention to and talk with him about} his deeds…  3 John 10

We all need correction, therefore we must be open to it (Jeremiah 10:23-24).  God will use His Word and genuine others to confront us and bring correction to our lives (2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm 141:5Galatians 2:11-14).

Before we look at how to handle correction, allow me to show you why we need correction.  We need corrections because…

 Correction keeps us in God’s Will. (Proverbs 10:17)

Correction keeps us on an honorable path.  (Proverbs 13:18)

Correction keeps us out of ignorance.  (Proverbs 15:5; Proverbs 15:32)

What was your response the last time someone pointed out an area in your life that needed correcting?  How did you handle it?  Here are three helpful hints for handling correction.

  1. Resolve To Focus On The “Essence” Of What Is Said, Not The “Emotions” In Which It Is Said.                                                                
  2. Resist Pointing Out The Faults Of The Person That Is Correcting You.
  3. Refuse To Hold  Resentment Or Bitterness In Your Heart Towards The People Who Correct You.

Let us ask God to correct us through His Word or send us people in our lives who will guide & correct us.  If you have been bitter with anyone for pointing out your mistakes, forgive them right now.  Ask God for a clean heart and a corrective spirit because correction will keep us “In God’s will”, correction will keep us “On an Honorable Path”, and correction will keep us “Out of Ignorance”.

Know This… A life free of correction is a life free of restraint, responsibility, and reward.

Peace,

Spiritual Maturity. A “Ladder” to Climb or A “Winding Path” to Take?

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I believe viewing “Spiritual Maturity” as a “Ladder” to be climbed has definite drawbacks.  One of the primary drawbacks is that this view can encourage comparisons with other people.  We can be tempted to view ourselves on one rung of the ladder, while seeing others on a lower or higher rung.  “Spiritual Maturity” is more like a “Winding Path” to take that may not look the same for everyone.  The life-lessons that contribute to our maturity are not always as simple as taking one step up on the ladder.  Nor is it always as simple as learning something all at once and then you’re done.  Actually, some life-lesson that lead to maturity are a matter of degrees, and some take decades to learn.  The real issue isn’t what rung of the ladder I’m on, but am I making progress on my journey to spiritual maturity.

2 Peter 1:5-8 mentions seven different graces that are to be developed in us as part of our spiritual maturity.  Know that our growth and development doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  We grow and develop through our life situations, circumstances and events (even trials and troubles).  Here are the seven…

1) Virtue: the proper and excellent fulfillment of something; the determination to do right; fulfilling what you are supposed to do which is glorify God by your life by becoming like Christ and following Him.

2) Knowledge: truth properly comprehended, properly understood, and properly applied; correct insight that comes form the Wisdom of God’s Word and life experience.

3) Temperance (Self-control): application of that mentioned above knowledge so that it affects your reason (thinking), emotion (feeling) and will (doing); it is holding oneself in, self-restrained, self-disciplined; controlling the flesh, the passions, and the bodily desires rather than allowing yourself to be controlled by them.

4) Patience (Perseverance): remaining steadfast to the Lord and His cause regardless of the situations, circumstances and events of life; endurance in doing what is right, never giving up to temptation, never giving up to trial, never giving up to difficulty, never giving up to sin.

5) Godliness: being like God, as He would have you to be and live completely for God and be joyful about it;  the practical awareness of God in every area of life—the idea of God-consciousness.

6) Kindness: showing brotherly affection, friendship and mutual sacrifice for others because of our mutual relationship to Christ.

7) Charity (Love):  This is the love of the will, the love of choice, the love of volition, not the love of  emotion; it is doing what needs to be done in a spirit of self-sacrifice even in spite of your differences with other.

Along my “Winding Path” towards “Spiritual Maturity”, I’m keeping my eyes open for God to use the situations, circumstances and events of my life to grow and develop me.  I want to make progress.  How about you?

Peace,

He’s A Great God!

 

 

What are you not giving?

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Only what we are not giving can be lacking in any situation.

 

During a call with my friend Jeremy Flagg, I used this quote I heard from author Marianne Williamson.

When asked about this quote in an interview, she responded…

“That is the line from A Course In Miracles that does more for me than any other.  We’re constantly in situations where something isn’t working the way we wish.  We instinctively blame someone else, or at least some factor outside ourselves.  Yet, A Course In Miracles says, “Only what we are not giving can be lacking in any situation.”  So to train your mind to think along those lines – “What am I not giving here?”  “Who am I not forgiving?”  “What am I not contributing?”  “What is the goodwill that I am withholding?” – radically transforms where we dwell within a situation.  And where we will dwell within a situation determines whether or not we have any transformative power there.”

Ephesians 4:31-32  (NLT)
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.
32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

What am I not giving?

I invite you to join me as I wrestle with this question.  My prayer is that, at the end of our wrestling, we will do what will “Make A Difference” and bring transformative power to our life situations.

Peace,

FAKE Friends Versus REAL Friends

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Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me.   Psalm 41:9 (NLT) 

In Psalm 41, the psalmist tells the story of his plight by focusing on the response of other people to what was happening to him.  According to verses 5-8, David’s enemies are not kind at all.  Like vultures, they circle his sickbed, watching, waiting and hoping for his death.  The cruelest blow came from a close friend whom he trusted and with whom he had shared fellowship.  In verse 9, he mentions the betrayal of this “familiar” friend.

This reference is most likely to Ahithophel.  He was an esteemed counselor and cherished companion of David.  They enjoyed a close friendship (Psalm 55:12-14).   Ahithophel “lifted up his heel against David” in that he conspired with David’s own son, Absalom, against him (2 Samuel 152 Samuel 17).  Remember, this also happened to Jesus with His close friend Judas (John 13:18-21).

Most times its easy to know where your enemy is coming from, but the one you have to watch out for is the one who claims to be your friend—when in reality they don’t have your best interest at heart.

Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish or discern who are your fake friends and who are your real friends.  Why?  Because fake friends don’t wear signs around their necks saying, “Beware, I’m Fake!”  So, how do we tell the fake from the real?

Recently, I went to the bank to make a deposit.  After giving the teller my deposit, she said one of the twenty dollar bills I gave her was fake.  I asked, “How can you tell”?  She said you can tell a fake twenty from a real twenty by touch (feeling the texture and thinness of the paper), by sight (the portrait, print quality & serial numbers), and by security features.

Recognizing my curiosity, she went on  to explain a few of the security features of the twenty dollar bill.  She said, “We check for the following…”

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  1. Security Thread running from top to bottom  
  2. Watermarks  
  3. Color Shifting Ink  
  4. Micro-printing of small words & numbers

She then walked me over to the window, held up the fake twenty and the real twenty, and pointed out the clear distinction between the two based on those features.

Initially, to me they looked the same, but she could tell the difference between the fake and the real.  Why?  She knew what to look for.   Like the security features for the the twenty dollar bill, there are some features we can look for to help when it comes to friendships.

7 Features To Help Tell FAKE Friends From REAL Friends

Real Friendship Feature #1Authenticity  (Romans 12:9a)

Real Friendship Feature #2 Confidentiality  (Proverbs 11:13

Real Friendship Feature #3Courtesy  (Proverbs 12:18)

Real Friendship Feature #4 Honesty  (Proverbs 24:26)

Real Friendship Feature #5Humility  (Philippians 2:3-4)

Real Friendship Feature #6Mercy  (Colossians 3:13)

Real Friendship Feature #7 Reciprocity   (Galatians 6:2)

We don’t need fake friends in our lives, we need real friends.  Today, I will trust God to ultimately expose the fake from the real.

Proverbs 26:23-26 (New Living Translation-NLT)

23  Smooth words may hide a wicked heart,
    just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot.

24  People may cover their hatred with pleasant words,
    but they’re deceiving you.

25  They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them.
    Their hearts are full of many evils.[b]

26  While their hatred may be concealed by trickery,
    their wrongdoing will be exposed in public.

Peace,