Tag Archives: pride

Stop Testing God

Over the past few weeks, I have been saddened by pastors and churches ignoring the government recommendations to not gather in large groups and to practice social distancing. Pastors are holding worship services. Pastors are being arrested. All of this is because of the defiance to the government.

There is separation of church and state. There is freedom of religion. There is also free will. God has given us free will. We get to decide if we will listen to the government, if we will obey God’s Word, or even if we want to go a totally different path. We get to decide.

Too often, people cherry pick scripture rather than read all of God’s Word. We select what we like or what fits our agenda. This is a big reason why I always wanted the congregation to have their Bibles open when I preached. It is important for you to know all of God’s Word, not just pieces. It’s very dangerous to blindly follow someone who wants to feed you a piece of God’s Word, but not adhere to scripture found elsewhere. God’s Word is the entire Bible, not portions that favor you. 

Whether you love and fear God, or you disbelieve, read Romans 13:1-7. This is what God says about authority. As a follower of Jesus, we are to follow the government unless it is something that defies something that goes against the law of God. This means that when the government says STAY HOME, that you stay home. You are not defying God to stay home and worship in your home. Please understand that nowhere in the Bible does it tell you that you must go to a building to worship. The church is people. We can worship right from our homes. Plus, we have the added blessing today of technology. We can actually join together online, without anyone having to leave their homes, through Facetime, Zoom, YouTube, etc. It’s all there. God has provided. 

Additionally, claiming that God will keep you safe from the virus so you can defy the government is also wrong. Yes, God says that no one can pluck someone from His hand (see John 10:28). This actually speaks of the soul of a believer being safe; souls don’t get the Coronavirus. However, Jesus also tells us not to test God (see Matthew 4:7). Remember when the devil tried to tempt Jesus to throw Himself down so the angels would catch Him? We should not live life trying to get ourselves into trouble to see if He will rescue us. He has given us wisdom and discernment. He has given us resources. Faith isn’t declaring that He will keep you safe from Coronavirus and entering a large group of people to show everyone God is keeping you safe from the illness. Faith is trusting that even while this great pandemic is taking its toll on the whole world, you are trusting in God’s plan, you are trusting in God’s Word, and you know that He will use everything for His good purpose.


Not staying home, choosing to go out when you are not essential… This is not love. This is pride. This is ignorance. This is wrong. If you are going to the grocery store more than once a week, there is a problem. Plan a little. Be creative with the items you have in your cupboard. God made us in His image and He is the most creative. So you have creativeness in you. Let it flow. If you feel like you are climbing the walls at home, ask yourself why you cannot stand to be home… let God and you work that out. As you find yourself adapting to a life very different from what you once knew, draw near to God and He will draw near to you (see James 4:8). Repent. Pray. Love. Be a blessing. 

“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority. – Romans 13:1-7 [NLT]

Handle With Care: Fasten the Zipper

Week 4 – Fasten the Zipper

[John 17:20-23]

CARING FOR UNITY

Why?

  1. Jesus Prays for Unity
  2. Unity points to Jesus

 

 

1 Corinthians 1:10 – I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. [ESV]

  • Agree in what you say / No division
  • Same understanding – Same conviction

Aim for Unity

  1. Stay Connected to the Vine
    1. Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches.
    2. Ephesians 4:16 – from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. [ESV]
    3. Knit together. Properly working as each other individually.
  2. One mind. One purpose.
    1. 1 Peter 3:8 – Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. [ESV]
  3. Live your gifts
    1. Romans 12:4-5 – For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. [ESV]
  4. All about Jesus
    1. Don’t let pride get in the way.
    2. Romans 12:16 – Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. [ESV]

 

Psalm 133:1 – Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! [ESV]

 

 

Breakout Sessions

1) Read Romans 12:4-5 and Ephesians 4:15-16. Paul writes to the Ephesians about walking in unity. What did Paul say was important for us to do as followers of Christ in the Ephesians passage? Why do you think this action is important? What would be the result(s) of doing this? How do we ensure we are doing our own part? How do we encourage others to do the same?

2) Read Romans 12:16 and 1 Peter 3:8. These passages speak about the unity—one mind, one purpose—and the humility we should live by so we may live in harmony. How can we live with one mind, one purpose? How do we humble ourselves?

 

Handle with Care is a 6-week series focused on studying God’s Word and responding with care. The six weeks of messages may sound like instructions for laundry care — but you will soon find Handle with Care beckons you to examine within, to gauge how you truly love God and love others, and to grow inward and outward. Caring starts with the heart and pours out into the community.

 

 

Beaten by Words

Pride can really beat a person up, but perhaps you are too proud to admit it. In Proverbs 14:3, we read about a foolish person who is proud. When he opens his mouth, it is like a rod that beats him when he speaks. What a great visual!

The words of the proud many times beat those who hear; however, often the words come around and smack the proud speaker just the same. The proud speak offensive words that provoke others. The words of the proud do not only provoke others, but also blasphemy God.

The wise keep safe by the words they speak. The wise are slow to speak. The wise are Spirit-led. Today, consider if you are taking a beating from your words. Are you safe or beaten?

“A fool’s proud talk becomes a rod that beats him, but the words of the wise keep them safe.” – Proverbs 14:3 [NLT]

Harmonious Living

Harmony is difficult. When it comes to music, each person must be in sync for there to be true harmony. When it is done right, there will be a sound pleasing to ears. When it comes to people, harmony means that we live with a peace, that we understand each other. This understanding is like an agreement and it requires integrity, humility, and respect of others.

Roman 12 mentions this pride that gets in the way of enjoying others. Some people get too puffed up to hang out or associate with certain people. This person may look down on others who don’t match up with their self-righteous standards. Thus, being around “ordinary people” is dreaded. The passage then warns not to consider yourself a know-it-all, because once again you’ll be puffed up. You’ll have this desire to make everyone see that you are right, even if it means hurting another.

We are to live in peace with everyone. We are to be peacekeepers. Jesus was always right, but He was also always humble. It was never about being right. Remember, harmony requires humility. Don’t worry about getting in the last word. Listen more. Speak less, and speak life when speaking. Take the time to invest in everyone, even the ordinary. God came among the ordinary. He loves the ordinary. You just may find that the company of the ordinary is a great blessing. Do all you can to try to live in peace with everyone. Harmonious living is the unity that Jesus desired for His bride.

“Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:16, 18 [NLT]

Be Sure to Praise

When we are blessed, it is sometimes hard to remember the Source of the blessing. The Bible tells us, “When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God.” We are reminded to be careful. It is so easy while we are in our time of “plenty” that we “forget the LORD… God and disobey His commands, regulations, and decrees.”

Today, aim to get into the habit of praising God. Continue to seek out opportunities to praise Him. As you give Him the honor and praise He deserves, you will continue to remind yourself of your dependence on Him. You will remember the Source of everything and develop an attitude of gratitude.

“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey His commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. – Deuteronomy 8:7-14 [NLT]

The Lord Allows

God selected Moses and Aaron for special roles in leading His people. He also set apart the whole community of Israel. They were God’s chosen people, His special people. In Numbers 16, we read about the rebellion of Korah. The people united against Moses and Aaron. They stood up and claimed two things. The first was true- that all of the people of Israel are set apart. The second part was about greatness. Korah asked why Moses and Aaron acted like they were greater than the rest of the LORD’s people.

We don’t read a bunch of text talking about Moses and Aaron having pride issues. But Korah took the faithfulness of these brothers and made it seem as if they were acting as if they were above the people. The truth was that God placed them in a position above them. Korah was also in a special position. Verse 9 speaks about how they had this great position that allowed them to be near the Lord. However, that wasn’t enough for them. Moses and Aaron had a larger role in their eyes. As a result, they incited a rebellion.

Moses and Aaron allowed the Lord to intercede. Moses understood that it was God Who selected those who enter the presence of the Lord. Moses was a mere man. He also spoke about his calling and recalled “all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own.” He pointed to God as the One. God was behind everything. God allowed everything. It was Korah who had “gone too far.” Today, remember that God places each person in a position. Wherever He places you, rejoice in that position. Be thankful that He wants to use you. May you be a faithful, humble servant of the Lord!

“They united against Moses and Aaron and said, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the LORD, and He is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the LORD’s people?’ Then he said to Korah and his followers, ‘Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow only those whom he selects to enter his own presence.” And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things that I have done–for I have not done them on my own.’”  – Numbers 16:3, 5, 28 [NLT]

The Denomination of Non

When I speak with people about church, they always ask the denomination. Then I say, “Oh it’s non-denominational.” It’s an interesting phrase. There’s different denominations (for example Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist). Then there’s non-denominational. Those are the churches that claim to not be affiliated with any of the known denominations. After the Early Church that you read about in Acts, things started to break apart. As time continued, groups were formed from other groups. Some churches have so many different divisions in their names, it becomes a tongue twister.

The denominations all came about from a difference of beliefs. This still happens today, hence the reason we have tons of church plants and longer than life names. The reason for the differences of beliefs, and at times, disunity of the church, is because we are a broken people. The church is filled with sinners, many sinners who are saved by grace alone. But we aren’t perfect. Some of us are proud, lazy, quick to speak, discontent, disorganized, agenda focused, bossy, or fable telling folks. We aren’t perfect, so it’s hard for us to all live together in harmony.

Nonetheless, the Bible speaks a lot about unity or harmony. Yes, that’s the vision God has for His Church. The capital “C” Church is the universal church. Broken down, this is all of the denominations and non-denominations. Together, as the big C, we need to be united. Remember, the Church is the body of Christ. The Church is people, not buildings. As the big C, we must remember Who we worship, Who we follow, Who is the Head of the Body. Even so, all of the little C’s need to also be united as separate bodies.

This seems like an impossible task. People can rarely get along. There are bound to be disagreements. Yes. Very true. But with God, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Remember the reason for the Church. Keep running the race. The Spirit will unite us if we allow ourselves to be led (Ephesians 4:3). Don’t be proud. Don’t think you know it all. Humble yourself and seek the best for others (1 Corinthians 10:24). Love. It’s the bond of perfect unity (see Colossians 3:14). Live in harmony.

“Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” – Romans 12:16 [NLT]

Filled and Forget

In Hosea 13, we read that the people of God were fed and satisfied, but it doesn’t stop there.  When they were satisfied, they became proud and forgot all about God.

This verse reminds me of something that has happened in my own life, and something that I’ve seen all around me. We are blessed by God. We are satisfied. We become proud. It’s a sad progression, but it often happens. We are called to be humble, but pride often gets the best of us. We get puffed up and start to believe we are the ones responsible for what we’ve received. We start to be less useful to God because we are so full of ourselves.

Truth be told, God is the Provider. He is the One Who blesses. He is the One Who satisfies. We are reminded again and again of the need to be humble people. Jesus Christ was the perfect humble servant—oh what an example for each of us! To keep yourself grounded when you get satisfied by the blessings of God, remind yourself of the Source of the blessings. Continue to praise Him for all that He has done and continues to do in your life. If you keep the focus on God, it will help to keep pride away. I pray you may never forget the great I AM.

“When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.” – Hosea 13:6 [NIV]

Elevating Tortoise

A tortoise stands up to allow lizards and birds to get the insects that are in the hard-to-reach areas. One would think that a tortoise would not want to surround himself with lizards and birds, that they are very different from the slow-paced life of the tortoise. While this action of the tortoise benefits the tortoise, who likely gets irritated and annoyed by the insects, it also benefits the lizards and birds, who get a nice meal. What a great way for these creatures to live together in harmony!

In life, we are supposed to live in harmony with each other too. This can seem like a hard task as we sometimes do not understand certain people or enjoy their company. We question why someone comes along our path. We see some people near us as a nuisance. There are people we do not see as helpful. Some people are draining. Let’s be honest. It’s true. You will not like everyone. You will not get along with everyone. You may not want to lift yourself up for a lizard to help you out, because you cannot get past the annoyance of the lizard.

When you face these challenges, understand that the other person is created in the image of God. Just like you, the person is a broken image-bearer. It may be for your good that you have encountered the person. Remember, God uses all things to accomplish His great purpose. God is continuing to grow you into who you were meant to be in life. Today, choose to rise up like the tortoise and elevate those around you. As you look out for the best interest of others, as you invest in others and do whatever you can do to speak life to them, God will use what you pour out for His glory and He will continue to mold you into His image and teach you how to love others as He loves.

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” – Romans 12:16 [ESV]

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27 [ESV]

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 [NASB]

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4 [ESV]

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” – John 15:12 [NIV]

Fit and Qualified

I can ramble off a list of things I can do, thing I am qualified to do because of some training or experience. I’m sure you have some certificates stashed away that say you are qualified to do particular tasks. But when it comes to serving God’s Kingdom, none of us is qualified to serve—God qualifies us.

There are times when pride gets the best of us. We start seeing the fruit from our service or we are on the receiving end of some encouraging words. When we see and hear these things, there is the danger that we will become puffed up because we will think we are doing something great. The truth is that we are unqualified to serve God. Only because He qualifies us are we able to do what He has called us to do in life.

I rarely remember much of what is said when I preach. I spend weeks praying and studying, but when I get up to share the Word He placed upon my heart, He takes over. If it was me, I’d forget what I was saying. I’d lose focus. I’d drift off topic. I am also unqualified to write. I don’t always use the correct punctuation. My spelling is horrible without the proper software to correct me. If I would stand before God on my own, I would not be able to even stand. Only because of what He has done, can I do anything. He alone qualifies. He alone makes us fit to share in His inheritance. Only He alone is worthy. Only He alone is qualified.

“Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God’s holy people) in the Light.” – Colossians 1:12 [AMP]