Tag Archives: pride

2 Kings 13-14; 2 Chronicles 25; Psalm 53; Matthew 12

Amaziah did not get it right every time, but we first read about a time when he listened to the voice of God and stood strong in the face of opposition.

He had an enemy to face, a foreboding, powerful one. He pulled together as many men as he could from Judah and Benjamin and scraped together 300,000 men who were of age and fit to fight. Weighing the might of his adversary, he needed more. He hired 100,000 mighty men from Israel to fill in the calculated gap.

That’s when a man of God showed up with a message for him.

But a man of God came to him and said, “O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the Lord is not with Israel, with all these Ephraimites. But go, act, be strong for the battle. Why should you suppose that God will cast you down before the enemy? For God has power to help or to cast down.”

2 Chronicles 25:7-8 ESV

Amaziah questioned his advice at first, but when the prophet encouraged him with reminders of God’s faithfulness and abundant blessing, he proceeded to battle with an army that was too small by human standards.

He won. Of course. Because God is always enough. To obey is better than sacrifice.

Unfortunately, in his winning came his downfall. It seems completely illogical as we flip back through the pages of history, but he preserved the idols of the nation he defeated and brought them home and worshiped them. They had no power, no life, no blessing to bestow. Yet somewhere in his mind it made sense to honor these empty, powerless gods. And, his life pretty much falls apart from there.

I glean two take-aways. One from his surrendered heart and one from his boastful one.

Stand firm even when support seems insufficient. If we stand with God, we only need that one ally. We might not have the benefit of an audibly spoken word from God or one of his prophets, but many times in our lives (not always) it is quite clear what standing up for truth looks like. At times like that we cannot let lack of finances, partners, crowd-funding, popularity, or human logic hold us back.

Secondly, don’t give pride an inch of room. It seeps in and steals our victory, robs our blessing, destroys communion with God. It blinds us to God’s goodness and crumbles our allegiance to the Lord of Hosts, the God of angel armies, who rightly claims any victory. In times of abundance I need to raise my guard even higher.

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” Psalm 53:1 ESV. The world might credit wisdom or honor to those that do it “their way” or blaze a trail by their human strength or ingenuity, but those that plow ahead without surrender to God, are fools by scripture’s standards. Seems harsh, until you watch that philosophy lived out and the pride that drives it. I might not say or believe that “there is no god,” but do my life choices always validate my belief in Him? My heart is in danger of acting foolishly at times and needs frequent regrounding in scripture.

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.

Matthew 12:34-35 ESV

Lord, keep a firm hold on my heart, mouth, and mind. May I continually be being filled by You and your word so that in times of challenge I can stand, even if I am alone in standing. In times of success and peace may I continue to give you all credit and glory. And in the ordinary, may I be faithfully growing and preparing for the path ahead. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Chronicles, 2 Kings, Matthew, Psalms

2 Chron. 26; Rev. 13; Zech. 9; John 12

“Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success…But when he became powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall…”Get out of the sanctuary, for you have sinned. The Lord God will not honor you for this!” Uzziah, who was holding an incense burner, became furious. But as he was standing there raging at the priests before the incense altar in the Lord’s Temple, leprosy suddenly broke out on his forehead.” 2 Chronicles 26: 3-23

King Uzziah let pride be his downfall. God can turn any heart around, but Uzziah let anger control him. Small acts of faithfulness don’t always seem significant at the time. But, God honors them. I think on legacy. It’s not easy to have an eternal perspective in this world. What will I be remembered for?

“Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” John 12:25&26

Am I serving God with a humble heart?

“Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the Synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.” John 12:42&43 NLT

Dear Father, I pray for a deeper trust in you. That I wouldn’t easily be swayed by the opinions and praise of others. That I would desire you more than anything else. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

1 Comment

Filed under 2 Chronicles, John, Revelation, Uncategorized, Zechariah

1 Samuel 25; 1 Corinthians 6; Ezekiel 4; Psalm 40, 41

29 “Even when you are chased by those who seek to kill you, your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch! But the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling! 30 When the Lord has done all he promised and has made you leader of Israel, 31 don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance. And when the Lord has done these great things for you, please remember me, your servant!”

32 David replied to Abigail, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! 33 Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands. 34 For I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal’s men would still be alive tomorrow morning.” 35 Then David accepted her present and told her, “Return home in peace. I have heard what you said. We will not kill your husband.” (1 Sam 25:29-35)

David’s encounter with Abigail was such a blessing to him. Not only did she bring him and his men food, she also saved him from doing something foolish—quite the irony since the name “Nabal” means fool. He had set in his heart to avenge the act of one man by slaughtering all the males in his household. He would have had innocent blood on his hands. The future King of Israel, the man after God’s own heart. It was not God sending him to do battle, it was his own pride at being slighted and dismissed. He would have been using his power as a leader for his own benefit. I thought of Prov. 16:18—Pride goes before destruction . . .

Don’t I need an “Abigail” in my own life? Someone who will talk sense into me at a time when I have let my emotions get the better of me and I’m about to do something foolish? Something I will regret that has long-lasting repercussions? Pride is such a battle at times. It can cause me to shut my ears to God and what I know God wants. It’s behind hurtful words I might say that crush another person’s spirit. It’s what can keep me from serving others. It’s what I call the ugly in me and it comes out sometimes when I least expect it. That is not how Jesus taught us to live. He modeled humility. I am thankful to have people in my life who will call me to account. I have a God who knows how to humble me when I need to be reminded. It is a God who loves me so much.

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord. (Ps. 40:1-3)

Yes, that is my testimony. I’m not always great about the “waiting patiently” part. I feel it was more him who waited patiently for me to seek him. When I did, he heard my cry. Who I am now compared to who I was when I was living in that self-made pit—well, all I can say is I have a reason to sing! I am a work in progress. But with the weight of shame lifted from my soul, I can praise my God. I can surrender to him when he shows me that pride. He wants only the best for me and from me.

Oh Lord, you and I have quite a story to tell. I thank you for your saving grace; I thank you for your unfailing love that fills my empty heart. I thank you for the times I see your blessings in my life, and I thank you for the times I see your correction. I thank you I can confess that ugly that shows itself and you forgive me. I thank you for the friends you’ve brought into my life who speak truth to me, encourage me, and make sure I always look to you.

Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen (Ps 41:13)

Cindy (gardnlady)

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms

Nehemiah 7-9; John 17

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving. I love the food, of course. I love the family all around. And I love having a day designated to reflect and remember the previous year and all that God has done for me.

This passage in Nehemiah fits so perfectly with Thanksgiving. It’s all about remembering. It’s all about recounting. And it’s all about repenting.

It takes place right after the great victory of finishing the repairs of the wall. The people are celebrating by reading God’s word and feasting! But then came the time of repenting and mourning over their failures.

In chapter 9, the Levites cry out to God, recounting all that God had done for them from the very beginning.

You made the heavens… You chose Abram…. You kept your promise… You saw our suffering… You heard our cries… You divided the seas… You led us day and night… You came down and spoke… In our hunger, you fed us… In our thirst you gave us water… You gave us the land…

But then…

We rebelled… We became arrogant… we did not obey… we refused to listen…

But God!

You are forgiving… You are compassionate… You gave your Spirit… You did not withhold… You sustained in the desert… We lacked nothing… We prospered… We were victorious… We reveled in your great goodness…

But then…

We rebelled… We became arrogant… we did not obey… we refused to listen…

And a cycle unfolded. In crisis, they cried out to God. In rest and relief, they rebelled. Even so, God was patient with them. And in this moment, they recognize their failure. They recognize their arrogance. And they recognize God’s righteousness as He was faithful to them even as they were unfaithful to Him. And so they repent. And they ask God for deliverance one more time.

Thanksgiving is all about looking back. And as much as I’d like to be able to say that I look back on the year with only joy and gratitude, I have to admit that there are also moments spread throughout the year where I did not act in a way that honored God. I can see times when I gave in to discouragement and failed to believe His promises. I recall moments of failure that followed success.

When I look back, it’s easy to see God’s hand in every situation. But when I was in the moment, I admit I didn’t always choose to see God’s hand in every situation. Far too often I gave in to fear. And I still catch myself doing that, even after seeing God come through for me every time.

So as I look back over the year, I see some great things God has done. But I also can recognize the not-so-great things I’ve done, and it gives me an opportunity not just to be grateful, but to be humbly repentant as I move forward into the new year to come with fresh vision and fresh goals, letting God lead me step by step into the freedom He has for me.

Father, thank you for your great kindness and patience towards me. Forgive me for not believing you. Forgive me for forgetting all the things you’ve done for me. Forgive me for taking you for granted. Help me to live in constant awareness of your love and goodness so that I can experience the freedom you have for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Nehemiah, Old Testament

Numbers 35-36; Deuteronomy 1-2; Acts 23

Acts 23:14-16 (ESV)

They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul. Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.” Now the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul.

Confession time: I’m a perfectionist. I have long struggled with unrealistic expectations of myself – expectations regarding personal habits, my relationship with the Lord, and my ministry to others. As a result, I also struggle with comparison. I see the people around me who seem be excelling, and I feel defeated. I see the numbers of people others are ministering to, and feel like my feeble few isn’t going to make a difference. I see people gravitating to the “super-star” Christians and feel like I’ll never be recognized or appreciated for my effort.

This prideful line of thought crashes into insecurity: I’m not good enough. No one notices me. Why would God ever chose to use me?

The last few weeks God has been bringing this struggle to the forefront yet again. And I think today’s reading is exactly what I needed to confront my insecurities.

Right smack in the middle of Acts 23 we read of the plot to kill Paul. It wasn’t time for Paul to die – and God made sure of it by putting someone in the right place at the right time to hear the plot and intervene to save Paul’s life. Who is this person? He’s an unknown. In fact, we don’t even know his name. He’s simply labeled as Paul’s nephew.

Paul was an “A-list” character in this story, yes; but this background, unnamed “extra” had the most important role. This young man saved Paul’s life. This young man was the reason Paul made it to Rome. This young man was vital to God’s plan for Paul’s life.

Anytime that I struggle with feeling ineffective, I pray that God will bring this young man to mind. He was simply in the right place at the right time – and God used him in such an incredible way! I need to trust that God has put me where He has me for a reason. And eventually, it will prove effective. I don’t need be front and center, to have a platform, to reach hundreds or thousands. I need to be faithful behind the scenes.

So what if no one is noticing me, encouraging me, or recognizing my potential? So what if I don’t have huge following, and no one remembers my name? Is God’s approval enough for me?

Some people are called to impact thousands. What if God just wants me to impact one?

Lord, forgive me for making my ministry and my service to You about me. Forgive me for comparing myself to others and their successes. I want to be faithful to you regardless of where you put me or how much I’m noticed. Help me not to put unrealistic and unhealthy expectations on my own performance, but let me trust in your perfect plan for my life. Help me to remember it’s about the 1 sheep, not the 99. Let me make a difference in the small things and let me make Your name known over my own. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Acts, New Testament