Tag Archives: Self examination

Pride – Part 4

In case you weren’t with us, in Part 1  of this series, I gave a background of my own struggles with pride as a backdrop to this study. In Part 2 , we looked at two examples of prideful people – one obvious and one not so obvious, to set the stage for this post. In Part 3 (link), we looked at three ways pride manifests itself in people, one of which ran my life.  Some of these are fairly obvious, but others most of us would never guess that pride was at the center of it.

Why are we looking at pride? Because getting pride out of our lives helps us become closer to God.

Here are four more ways pride appears in people – including two more that I allowed to control me.  These types of pride are taken from Irresistible to God1 a book by Steve Gallagher.  Steve Gallagher is the found of Pure Life Ministries, and has written several books that can help us all draw closer to God.  They can easily be found on Amazon and I highly recommend them.

Unapproachable Pride – This person hates correction, no matter who it comes from, including God.  They think they are right, so they won’t listen. “No one can tell me I’m wrong.  If I am, I’ll figure it out”

Know-It-All Pride – This was my biggest area of pride when I first became aware of the pride I carried around.  No one could tell me anything, especially about the Bible.  I’d read it through at least 10 times front to back, studied all over the place, was an evangelist and teacher.  I knew it all, or so I thought.  This person is typically gifted and very talented.  It’s easy for them to think they can’t ever be taught anything new.  Their opinions are always more valuable than anyone else’s.  You will hear this person say one thing over and over – “I know.”  As my former pastor said to me when my sin was exposed – “No, you don’t know.”  And I didn’t.

Another characteristic of the know-it-all is their distrust in the ability of others.  They have a need to belittle the ability of others, and think they can do it better themselves.  They often are ineffectual at delegating because they will eventually do it themselves.  I still have problems with this as I am constantly reminding my wife of this little thing or that when she has a much better memory than I do.  This is pride that must be in control.  The controlling tendency is one of the biggest things people see, and also one of the hardest to defeat in our lives.

Rebellion – Do you know people who have a problem submitting to authority?  It can be in the workplace, the church, their family or even in submitting to God!  That is the result of this manifestation of pride.  They gripe and complain about the people God has put in authority over them, and will do anything to undermine their authority.  They refuse to submit, or do it very reluctantly.  They want to do things their way, and try to get away with it. “I’m not going to listen to them.  I’ll do it my way”

 

Spiritual Pride – This was the third type I really struggled with.  I’m more spiritual than they are, so they just need to grow up a little.  Don’t they know this message from our pastor is just right for them?  I sure hope they are listening.  It’s too bad Old Joe isn’t here today – he needs this message more than anyone.  Those are just a few of the thoughts that used to go through my mind when my spiritual pride was in gear.  I thought I was better, and they all needed to measure up to my standards.

This person also probably is continuing in unrepentant sin, even though he has that holier than thou attitude.  I was so deceived by my pride that when I would almost get caught in my sin, I would praise God for allowing me to get away with it.  I thought it was His way of saying it was OK that I was still caught up in that sin.  Now how crazy is that line of thought?  And how deceptive pride is!

These 7 types of pride are pretty all encompassing, but let me give you some other things that pride will cause us to do:

Pride will:   produce an unteachable spirit, lead to stinginess, not admit mistakes, use sarcastic humor, make me feel more important than others, produce a lack of forgiveness, produce self-pity, cause impatience with others, produce discontentment, make excuses, produce insecurity or low-self-esteem, be envious or jealous, make us ungrateful, make us suspicious, find fault in others.

There are more – the list is long.  I am sure you can see how un-Christian these traits are.  All you have to do is go to I Cor 13:4-8 and compare these to the attributes of love, and you know that if you are displaying these things, you are not loving the way God wants you to.

The big question is – do you see yourself in any of these descriptions?  If you do, then I suggest you open yourself up to the possibility that pride is in you.  It must be confronted early, because it will only grow: and when it does, it will hide itself from you!  That is the big danger with pride.  Believe me, I was steeped in pride, and I thought I was very humble!

Why is it important that you deal with it now?  Watch for part 5, and you will see how God feels about pride.  Then you will know why it is so essential to take care of it and learn to control your pride and ask someone close to you to help keep you in check.  We are planning to have Part 5 come out on January 7th, after the holidays.  Until then, I encourage you to search your heart and ask God to reveal any pride that you may have to you.

 

1   Irresistible to God.  Steve Gallagher.  Copyright 2003 Pure Life Ministries

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Pride – Part 3

In case you weren’t with us, in Part 1 of this series, I gave a background of my own struggles with pride as a backdrop to this study, In Part 2, we looked at two examples of prideful people – one obvious and one not so obvious, to set the stage for this post. In this third installment, we are going to look at various ways pride manifests itself in people.  Some of these are fairly obvious, but others most of us would never guess that pride was at the center of it.

You might recall that I gave pride a new definition in the last post.  I define pride as an inordinate amount of attention to self:  Self-love:  Making everything about oneself.  You may say that this is what you always thought pride was, and I would ask you if you mean a prideful person can be the quiet shy type who avoids others because he/she has low self-esteem.  Most of you would probably say that person is not prideful, but I see that they are very prideful – they have a lot of attention on self.  So, before I get ahead of myself, let’s get started with Part 3.

I am going reference a book entitled “Irresistible to God”1 by Steve Gallagher several times in this post.  Steve Gallagher is the founder of Pure Live Ministries (See Part 1), and has done an excellent study into the effects of pride on a person, among other great books he has written.  All of his books are available on Amazon, and I highly recommend them for anyone wanting to get more of this world out of their system.  In “Irresistible to God,” Steve deals with pride, and how getting pride out of our lives helps us become like the title of the book.

The first thing you must recognize about pride is that if you have it, you will deny it.  Gallagher writes “Pride is so extremely subtle that many actually think they have little or none of it within them.  The truth is that it has the ability to mask its presence within a person’s heart.  In fact, it is usually true that the more a person has, the less he is aware of it.”1 The problem we face is that not only is pride hidden within from the person afflicted by it, it is also a very dangerous trait to a Christian.  Gallagher writes “Pride is the governing principle of hell and the unredeemed world it influences.  It causes strife in the home, in the workplace, the political arena and yes, even the Christian community.”1 It becomes paramount to rid a person, especially a Christian, of any pride they might have.

I was a prime example of someone who had no idea pride was in my life.  I should have known, because my wife kept telling me I was full of pride.  No one else saw it, especially not me.  Everyone else simply thought I was an outgoing guy who loved to chip in and help whenever I could, loved to be center stage whenever possible, and thought nothing of volunteering for special singing or filling the pulpit.  But it was all me wanting attention – pride!  Oh, how I wish I had listened to my wife those many years she told me pride was a problem.  Heck, I thought I was humble – really!

Gallagher lists seven types of pride in his book. I will use these types to show the various ways pride can manifest itself in a person’s life, including a Christian.  These seven types are: a haughty spirit, vanity, self-protection, unapproachable pride, know-it-all pride, rebellion and spiritual pride.  The three I was most guilty of were know-it-all pride, spiritual pride and self-protection.  As we go through these one by one, I urge you to take a hard look at yourself and see if anything fits.  Remember that if you have pride, no one will ever be able to convince you that you have it.  The Holy Spirit has to do that work in you.  So, allow Him to search your heart as I discuss each of these types.

A Haughty Spirit – This is the type all of us would probably agree is pride.  These folks think they are better than others.  We see them a lot and recognize the pride in their lives.  But the haughty spirit is not limited to that picture. Because of thinking they are better, a haughty spirit leads them to be judgmental and critical of others.  Have you ever met a person who is always saying negative things about other people?  They constantly find wrong in them and make sure everyone knows about it.  Or they compare one person to another all the time, wondering why the one doesn’t shape up!  This is all haughty spirit pride because it puts this person above others.  “I am the best!”

Another way the haughty spirit can manifest itself is with long-time saints and new converts.  The long-time saints see themselves as having gone through the fire, and just wish the new converts would get their act together and get rid of some of those little annoyances that plague them, like dressing the wrong way, or bad language, or smoking.  The list goes on and on.  Sorry all you long-time saints – to me this is one of the worst kinds of pride.  Let God do that work on those new saints!

I was guilty of the first part of this, not the second.  But it was subtle.  I rarely would be judgmental of others to their face, but deep inside I did believe I was better than most.  “I could have preached that message better.”  “I do a better job leading worship”.  “Don’t they know how to put a worship service together?”  These are all things that would go through my head.

Vanity – We all know people who fit this category of pride.  They do anything necessary to get approval from others.  All they care about is being accepted, even if it means compromising on all their values.  They so care about what others think that they might do drugs or wear a lot of make-up, or have sex, or go to this church or that church or dress a certain way, act a certain way, talk a certain way.  They might join every committee in the church and work in the church like mad just to gain the acceptance of others.  It’s all vanity, and it’s pride.  “I have to be liked, whatever it takes.”

Another example of this which is affecting the church today is pastors and leaders who will not preach on certain subjects because they want to please the congregation and not step on any toes.   They want everyone to like them, so they won’t challenge the people on issues like heaven and hell, or tithing or complete surrender to Jesus.  They will stay away from social issues of the day.  These pastors are vain, and pride is hurting the church.

Self-Protection –  This person is extremely defensive and easily offended.  You have to be really careful taking on any subject with them because they will always be on the defensive and before you know it they will get offended by something you say or do, and they will either be quiet or storm off.  They are protecting themselves, and won’t let anybody get too close to them.  Their protection comes first at any cost.  “My needs first and I will defend them!”

Another manifestation of self-protection pride is sarcasm.  People who constantly use sarcasm as a method of defense are all around us.  I think of the TV show M.A.S.H.  Hawkeye (Alan Alda) is a prime example of this kind of pride.  Almost every word out of his mouth is sarcasm. I don’t know many people who are that bad, but I’d bet we all know people who use sarcasm to deflect difficult questions.

The way I used self-protection was as a defense mechanism.  Whenever someone would try to correct me, or tell me I was doing wrong, I would put up a defense as good as any attorney.  I rarely got offended, but often would offend the other people when this type of argument came up.  And I was really good at sarcasm, still am today.  I have to be very careful when I get into discussions that might get a little controversial, because my sarcasm often comes out faster than can catch it

Next Saturday, I’ll cover unapproachable pride, know-it-all pride, rebellion and spiritual pride, and talk about how know-it-all pride and spiritual pride manifested itself in me. I hope you’ll come back and visit for Part 4 in the Pride series. And thanks for reading and commenting.

 

 

1   Irresistible to God.  Steve Gallagher.  Copyright 2003 Pure Life Ministries

Pride – Part 2

He is obvious.  He walks in the room with an air of confidence that can be seen with each step he takes.  Everyone turns and acknowledges him, and he just smiles.  He walks up to some people in a group talking and immediately takes over the conversation.  Several more people gather around him as well, because they know he speaks with confidence.  He doesn’t seem to care that he is the only one talking.  Through the evening, he goes from one person to another initiating conversation, introducing himself to those he doesn’t know and just being the life of the party.   He is self-assured, confident and knowledgeable.  When he leaves, it seems the party just isn’t the same, and you hear one of the newcomers say “Man, who was that guy?  He sure is arrogant!”

This is the picture we usually get when we talk about a prideful person.  Someone who is so full of themselves that they spill out on everyone else.  I know because that was me several years ago.  Especially in business, I carried myself with such confidence it made people believe about anything I’d say.  And it brought me success!  I looked at it as a real positive in my life.  But it became my downfall.  Pride always will.

But pride goes much further than this picture.  In this installment, I want to look at what pride really is – how can we define it properly to take in all the ways it manifests itself in people’s lives.  Most people think the above example is the epitome of prideful behavior, but I can tell you it is vastly different than that.

Webster’s dictionary defines pride this way:

  1. 1: the quality or state of being proud: asa :  inordinate self-esteem :  conceitb :  a reasonable or justifiable self-respectc :  delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship <parental pride>
  2. 2: proud or disdainful behavior or treatment :  disdain
  3. 3a:  ostentatious display

 

Sounds abut right, doesn’t it?  Isn’t that how we see pride?  This is the common understanding of what pride is.  Going by this definition, it would be easy to see pride in ourselves and be able to deal with it, don’t you think?  Maybe, although most people I know who fit that description rarely correct that behavior myself formerly included.

But pride is so much more than this.  I want to give you a new definition of pride.  One that expands the scope of the attribute into a much wider bunch of people.  One that will help you understand better why God hates pride so much.  And one that will make you really reach inside yourself and search to make sure there really is no pride in you.

 My new definition of pride is an inordinate amount of attention to self:  Self-love:  Making everything about oneself.

On the surface, this might not look a whole lot different than the definition we already accept, but it is vastly different.  Let me give you an example that will throw you a real loop.  In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned that I spent 8 months at Pure Life Ministries, where everyone had a pride problem.  I remember one particular person there named Brian.  Brian was small in stature, skinny, balding head and glasses.  But the thing that really sticks with me about Brian was that when he first got there, he was so quiet.  Unbelievable quiet.  He was so shy that if he wanted to talk to you, he would come up beside your bunk bed and stand there looking at you until you started up the conversation.  Now I thought this guy was meek and shy.   I mean, he seemed to have no self-confidence at all.  What was he doing in a room full of loud, arrogant, prideful guys?

The fact of the matter is that Brian had just as much pride as any of the rest of us.  Brian was so self-absorbed that he was afraid to speak up.  He had been ridiculed and put down most of his life and he had just crawled inside himself and shut the door!  He just kept to himself and cared for himself.  No one and nothing else mattered.  This is just as prideful as the loud arrogant ones, maybe even more.  He was completely into himself, and that is what pride is – self is all that matters.  What I want the way I want it.

Have I got you thinking now?  We see that pride takes on many different forms, and I will talk more about that in the third part of this series next time.   Between now and then, feel free to comment about what other types of people have a pride problem, and we will get a discussion going.  There are a lot more, believe me.  Once we have identified that, in Part 4 we will look at what God says about pride, and what the antidote is.  It will be a fascinating journey.

 

 

You Are A Temple!

Psalm 48

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.

Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

These two verses also make up an old gospel chorus which I have recorded for you.  Hope it’s OK!

Is there any doubt in your mind that God is greatly to be praised!  He is the  creator of all  that you see, hear, smell,  touch and taste.  What an amazing imagination He has to develop all of the different kinds of species in every category.  It’s overwhelming  to think about!

He’s beautiful for situations!  What a wonderful use of words here.  We can be assured that God is aware of our  situations, and will  come to our rescue if we need Him to.  It may  not be when we think He should come, but He is never late.  if a situation goes on longer than you’d like, He has a purpose for that.  Just  trust Him.

God is known in her palaces for a refuge.

For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.

They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.

Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.

Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.

Again David talks about God is known as the refuge.  Then he makes an interesting observation – he says that all the kings came together and they passed by God’s palace and when they saw it they marveled. But they also were trouble and they took off right away because fear came on them.

When we are protected by the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), and God is our place of refuge, the enemy will have a much harder time getting to us.  In fact, often he will turn and run before he attacks us. But this takes a very strong commitment – one that I know I have not made. It takes a daily prayer life – not just for yourself but interceding for others. It takes a daily time of worship.  I am the temple of God (2 Cor 6:19). so I should be a place of worship. It takes a time of being still and hearing from God, asking him to speak to you. If we can do these things then the enemy will have a tough time breaking us down.

Don’t get me wrong. The enemy still will come and he will do everything he can to discourage us and test our faith. But this is only strengthening our faith when he does that. You see the devil is not too smart. He hasn’t figured out yet that when he tries our faith and get us a corner, that it actually grows our faith, and it makes it harder for him to come against us the next time. I hope you always remember that lesson.

As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.

We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.

10 According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.

Here we see David talking about seeing the Lord and seeing his house. God will establish it forever. This was the promise to David that his seed would be the seed of the Messiah, and that it would be established forever. This is my hope – that my children will all serve the Lord, and my grandchildren and their children.  The Lord God can establish that.

David talks about the loving-kindness of the Lord in the midst of the temple. Remember, you are the Temple of the Holy Ghost.  Do you have God’s love and kindness dwelling within you? Do you allow it to minister to others as you come across their path? We need to be loving everyone around us and letting them know about God. That’s the reason we’re here on this Earth! Paul says we have the ministry of reconciliation, reconciling people to God (2 Cor 5:11-21). Because, as Christians, we have been reconciled, we need to bring others along with us. Your love and kindness of God reaches out to the Lost

11 Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.

12 Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.

13 Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.

14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death

David says we should rejoice and be glad because of God’s judgments. God is a righteous judge, judging according to whether they are right by His law and He is impartial. He is not a respecter of persons. If you sin it’s the same as if somebody else does. And a small sin (well there’s no such thing as a small sin) is disobedience,.and disobedience is the root of sin. And we only disobey because we think we can get away with it, and that’s Pride. Pride has no place in a Christian’s life.

Now David says that we should mark our territory basically, and then tell our children about it. What this says to me is that our children should know our testimony. No matter how difficult it is to tell it, they need to know what God has done in our life. How he has saved me, taking me out of the drug culture, help me stop drinking and smoking, and is now delivering me from cancer

My God is an awesome God and he will be my God forever and ever. He will never leave me or forsake me and he will guide me on to the end. I’m so glad I have God as my guide. He’s the one that gives me directions every day. I’m doing my best to follow the path that He leads me on. Are you allowing God to be your guide?

Is Your Spirit Beautiful?

Psalm 45

My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

As I read this psalm, I was trying to figure out who the author was and who he was writing about. So I turned to some of the commentaries and every one of them said that this is actually a Messianic psalm. David is the writer and he’s envisioning the future, when the Messiah has come. So since all the commentaries are much wiser than I am, I have to believe that they are right.

David saying that he’s ready to write and that his tongue is actually like pen is almost prophetic!  Right now I’m dictating this into my cell phone and I will transfer it and correct it when I put it into my blog. My tongue is my pen! David would have no idea that this would be possible back in his day.

Then he starts talking about the Messiah that comes. I get the feeling that he’s talking about the Messiah coming back to earth riding on His white horse in Revelations chapter 19. He is fairer than the children of men, grace is on his lips and He is blessed forever. We know that as Jesus walked this earth he spoke of grace at every turn. The Sermon on the Mount is loaded with the grace of God. In He rides triumphantly,  His sword is girded on his side. We know that He comes in truth and righteousness.  The army that follows Him is mighty indeed and will destroy many of the nations of the earth. This return of Christ is commonly called the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is a supper for the birds..

Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

David sees that his throne is forever and forever, and he talks again about God’s righteousness. We have talked a lot about righteousness here. It’s so important that we are living righteously this weekend.in these last days.  Now I understand that my own righteousness is as filthy rags and I must rely on the righteousness of Christ so that I can stand before almighty God.  But we do have a choice to live a good life or a bad life on this Earth. We do have a choice to live in sin or to live free from sin. We do have a choice, with every word that comes out of our mouth, to edify people or tear people down. We must concentrate on doing what is right and what is true. That is what God expects of us

10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;

11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

12 And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.

13 The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

14 She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace.

16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.

17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever

This portion is actually talking about a marriage and the bride in that marriage.  It may seem out of place in the context but we can glean some things from this portion of scripture. I like what he says in verse 10.  Again we go back to the saying “incline your ear”. It’s important that we listened to people. I am a terrible listener.  I’m always trying to think of what I’m going to say next instead of listening to the person right in front of me. It’s something I have to work on every time I’m with other people and I don’t work on it enough. Listening is one of the most difficult things in the art of conversation. I pray that I can learn to incline my ear to those around me

He goes on describing the nature of the queen or the young lady.  She’s very beautiful she is there with a gift to entreat the favor of the king. In verse 14 it talks about her being brought into the king. She is as presentable as can be and her beauty is beyond compare. We need to do our best to be presentable before God. I’m not talking about our external looks. God is only concerned about that as far as we don’t offend other people. What I’m talking about is the beauty of our spirit. Are we emanating good feeling to other people or when people see us coming down the street do they cringe and say oh God please keep them away from me. Our nature must be one that people want to be around and that the king can rejoice when we are brought in.  Look at verse 15.  With gladness and rejoicing the lady will enter into the king’s palace. I definitely want the king to be rejoicing when I walk into the palace!

The last thing he says is that he will make her name to be remembered in all generations and all people shall praise her forever and ever. This is often called The Legacy. We hear them talking about presidential Legacy all the time.  What will they leave behind? But you will have a legacy as well. Will it be a legacy of serving the Lord?  What will people say about you when it’s time to write a eulogy and have a funeral service? That’s something to think about. If it’s not positive then perhaps it’s time for a change.

He Did It Before.  He Can Do It Again 

Psalm 44

We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.

How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.

For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.

David talks about the  stories of victory from the past that have been told over and over again by the Jews. I can just see people sitting around a fire at night talking about the Exodus from Egypt and how the Red Sea parted. Or talking about the walls of Jericho falling down with a shout. Or maybe it’s Gideon, who beat the enemy with lamps and horns. Over and over again, victory after victory, it was God who delivered the Israelites.  We may  even tell  some of these stories to our kids today.  David reminds the Lord of this, anticipating that if He did it before He can do it again.

Are we passing down a testimony of deliverance in our own lives to our children? My children need to know that my strength does not come just from myself, it comes from God. They know that I was a drunk and a drug addict, and Jesus saved me and helped me overcome those things.  They know that He cleaned up my language and moved me from Massachusetts to Iowa. Without Him the battles I have faced in my life would have been impossible to win. When I had  fight off Pride because it was eating me up and tearing apart my family there was a spiritual battle that took place that I never want to repeat. And now that I’m fighting this cancer I have to continually give praise to God for giving me the strength to see it through. In Revelations it says that the people overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Rev 12:11). We must make sure that we’re sharing the testimony of God’s victory in our lives with those around us.

Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.

Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.

For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.

In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

David reiterates the fact that right now you are my King, Lord, you will bring deliverance. He knows that through God and His name deliverance will come.  It’s not his  bow or his sword that will get it done. David’s going to boast in the Lord and praise His name forever.

I find myself boasting in the Lord a lot. Heaven forbid I should boast of myself because without God I’d be a wreck going through this cancer. I’d be worried.  I’d be complaining all the time about the things that are going wrong in my body. I’d be distraught. My wife would not be happy with me at all because of the complaints that I’d have.

But I’m not like that. Instead I rejoice in what God is going to accomplish through this, and the testimony that he will give me a healing and deliverance. I have absolutely no doubt that he’s going to bring me out the other side whole. Just like David I will boast in God and I will praise His name forever.  Nothing can happen to me that will stop that. He has done it before, He can do it again!

Are you facing a difficult situation right now? Does it seem like the world is coming against you and you don’t know where to turn? Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Only He can give you the strength to endure through the temptations and trials you will face. Only He can give you peace in the midst of the storm. Only He can give you joy when you should be worried and downcast. Allow His love and His grace to permeate your body right now.

But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies.

10 Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves.

11 Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen.

12 Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price.

13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.

14 Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.

15 My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me,

16 For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and avenger.

17 All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.

Now I have to David says He’ll trust in the Lord,  then all of a sudden He says Lord You cast us off, the enemy is not turning back and we are being overtaken. We are a reproach to out neighbors and a byword among the brethren. Lord I’m confused. I don’t know what’s going on now that all this has come upon us. We have not forgotten or forsaken you!  We haven’t dealt falsely with your covenant Lord. Why is this happening to us?

One of the great truths of Christianity is that even if we are doing everything right, trials and tests will come our way. When they  come, we may ask for immediate relief from the Lord, but it’s rare that he’ll give it. One of the beauties of God’s plan is that He uses every circumstance in our life to fulfill the plan He has for us. He did the same for David. Whenever the enemy came, David might have been at a loss for words in what to say to God, but he never lost his trust in God. He just had a close talking relationship with God and would tell god exactly how He felt.

Let’s make sure when we have trials and tests that we don’t try to get out of them before hey  have accomplished His purpose. God will bring victory when the time is right and we should just pray that His will will be done. Don’t get upset, don’t get discouraged.  Just allow God to work in your life the way he wants to.  And have an honest, open discussion with Him about how you feel.  Gd loves that!

18 Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;

19 Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.

20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;

21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

David reminds God that they have not turned their hearts away from Him and that their steps are still leading them in the right direction.  He actually asks God if he David has forgotten His name or stretch their hands out to restrict God.

It’s so important that when we get up in the morning we give God praise.  Then we should go through the day in prayer, just talking to God. It doesn’t have to be some lofty speech or some specially formatted prayer.  Just talk to God.  Keep the lines of communication open.  Ask Him to bless you in His own way.  He’ll always be right there to guard and protect you even in the midst of the trial when you don’t know He’s there

23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.

24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?

25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth.

26 Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.

David actually asks God to wake up!  Because he haven’t gotten an answer to his prayer he thinks God is sleeping . The enemy is coming and David thinks God has given them over to him. Then he tells God to rise again and redeem them for His Mercy sake.

I wish I would learn to just talk to God that David does.  He doesn’t hold back his feelings at all.  Sometimes we see David like a yo-yo, bouncing up and down up and down, one minute giving God credit for deliverance and the next minute saying where are you God and then a minute later wake up. Wake up.  Let’s build our communication skills so our conversation with God is as natural as it is with our fellow man.

Pride – Part 1

I want to thank Susan Irene Fox for giving me the idea to do a series on pride in hopes that all of us will look deep inside ourselves and make sure that our pride is under control.
 
In my experience, if your immediate reaction to that statement is that yours is under control, it probably is not. I have been there before, and hope to never again have unrecognized pride in my life. This is a first installment to give you some background.
 
One of the most fascinating things about pride is that it hides itself from the individual who is afflicted by it. I bet all of us have seen people who are full of pride and wonder why they don’t take care of that attitude. Don’t they know it is unattractive and a big turn-off? Well, no they don’t. In fact, they don’t even see it. Let me take a moment to share my story with you.
 
I was a worship leader, Sunday school teacher, youth minister and fill-in preacher at my church. I also filled in at other churches occasionally. I was looked upon by those around me as having it all together and one that loved the Lord. And I did love the Lord, and I loved ministry. My wife, on the other hand, saw the pride in my life and kept telling me it was there, but I would not listen. In fact, I kept explaining to her that I was a humble servant of God.
 
But the real truth lay in the fact that when I was alone, I was living a depraved lifestyle. I will not go into details, but I was not living as a Christian, but as a heathen. The things I was doing were expressly condemned in God’s word, and I knew the Bible. I knew they were wrong. But I thought God would overlook those things. In fact, whenever I had a close call to someone discovering my sinful ways, I always thanked God for “warning” me ahead of time so I could clean things up.
 
Well, as we all know, what is kept secret will eventually come out, and mine did. And it cost me big time. In my pride, I violated a major policy in my workplace, one that I had written, and I got caught. I was immediately terminated after 20 years of working for the company. My pastor, who had known about my sin from a previous exposure and had worked hard with me to get deliverance before I started up again, told me I was not welcome in his church any longer unless I got help. And I did get help.
 
I went to Pure Life Ministries in Kentucky for Eight months. Eight months of hard work, bunk beds, dorm style living and intense bible study. Eight months of counseling which showed me the pride that was so rampant in my life. Eight months of squashing it down and bringing humility to the forefront. Heck, I was so prideful, I was even proud of my pride! When I look back on who I was it sickens me.
When I got home, I spent two years doing no ministry at all. Just sat in the pew and took things in. I learned to listen to my wife, who can spot my pride in a heartbeat. She has been a Godsend in keeping me on the right path. I am a much more reserved, quiet person than I was before. And I like that.
 
In this first installment on pride, I will end with this warning. If you are a Christian, and you are doing something that is blatantly sinful, and thinking God will overlook it, that is pride at its worst. God will not overlook disobedience, which is the core of sin. The problem is that if you are reading this and if you are doing what I suggested, you most likely will say that you are not a prideful person.
 
You will ignore the warning, because your pride will tell you it does not apply. You’re special to God. You don’t have to be perfect. A little sin will keep you humble. That’s why God allows you to keep it.
 
My friend, all of that is hogwash! And if you are telling yourself this is not for you, then you need to seriously ask God to search your heart and try you as if you’re life depended on it, because it does. God hates pride! And He will not allow it into heaven so you better get rid of it now.
 
I will be back with more on pride in the coming days, because without a spirit of humility, a true spirit of reconciliation is impossible. In the next post, we will examine what pride is. I always thought I knew, but found out it takes on forms I was completely unaware of.
 
I hope you’ll come back.
Pete Gardner