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Posts Tagged ‘pride’

 

Stuffed in my ears and heaped in stacks around my feet. From hands-free devices to flat screens. TVs. Phones. And books. Zillions of them. A constant barrage of words. All day, every day and into the night, words surround me.

But is anyone listening? Does anyone really hear my words?

As a parent I’ve asked the above questions concerning my children, my spouse and my friends.

So why should I even take the time and energy to speak today?

Because the Lord Jesus Christ gave me the ability to speak and the command to go and tell.

“So what am I supposed to tell them, Lord? And how am I supposed to say it?”

Jesus instructed I am  to… “Go and make disciples.”

Now preachers go to seminary to learn apologetics—how to present God’s Word to their congregations. But I’m just a normal person. I don’t have all those degrees. I don’t know what to say or how to say it.

My mind raced back to those first century Christians. How did they make disciples? They didn’t have Bibles. Yet their numbers multiplied. They just shared their experiences. The joy and peace they found in knowing Jesus after centuries of enduring a bloody altar that didn’t fix their sin or their problems. The joy of suffering persecution on account of His name. The joy of knowing and believing their life on this earth was only the beginning.

They understood with their minds and believed in their hearts that at the moment of death they would open their eyes and be in the presence of the Lord. Forever. In His everlasting kingdom that is to come. Where He will rule and reign here on earth.

The accounts of these early saints lives and deaths are an incredible role model for us today as we see persecution of believers escalating around the globe.

Perhaps that’s the problem. We lack experiences. Maybe. But I don’t think we need more experiences or how to—I think we need more want to. I wonder if pride and churchiness aren’t the issues preventing us from sharing our heart.

Fear and pride are sister-boogers-in-the-woodwork. Fear and pride of what others would think if they really knew what we had done, what had been done to us, or what we really think in those dark corridors of our minds. Fear and pride of deception, thinking we are better than we are.

So we retreat behind the walls of the church, compare ourselves to all those sinners who don’t go to church, and become clones of one another. Using fancy words. Words without power. Words that do not affect or change the life of another, much less our own life.

The cure comes when we begin to recognize the depth of our deception, dear church, acknowledge our need for repentance, and get real with others about how and why God is transforming our lives. Sounds easy doesn’t it? It’s not. Being transparent is painful, to us and sometimes to others.

I’m here today to use my word limit to share my troublesome boogers with you. Not with flowery words that loose us in a trail of sweet sounding emptiness. No. Just the sorrow of my heart and the immediate and responsive love of my Savior.

This past Christmas Season was the most difficult one of my life. Family issues, changing relationships, grief and coming uncertainties for America, brought the onslaught of a spiritual battle in me that loomed larger each passing day.

‘Til I admitted that terrible word—depression—and fell on my face, crying to my Lord Jesus for help. I was ashamed and confessed that I had squandered this year’s holy celebration. More concerned about me and mine rather than focusing on the miracle of His conception and pondering the purpose of His birth, death and resurrection. I had to confess I had ignored God. When I did that, I bowed to worship of The Sovereign God of all creation—Immanuel—God with us.

He didn’t stand me in the corner. He didn’t shout reprimands. He immediately answered the groaning of my heart and reminded me, I’m His child. He dried my tears and wrapped me in the warm Emergency Room blanket of His love and refocused my eyes and my heart on His mercy and everlasting love for me.         

“You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your records?” (Psalm 56:8).

The battle ceased. The fog of deception lifted. Have the problems vanished? No, but the bottomless well-spring of His joy immediately bubbled-up and filled my spirit to overflowing. When a wisp of gloom tries to creep back into my thoughts I capture that thought and give it to Jesus. The light of His love overpowers the shadow of darkness every time.

The formula is simple but sure:

My plight + my cries to Him + His love and power = His comfort, His mercy, His grace and His healing = complete forgiveness and restoration for me, now and forever.

As soon as my lids flutter open in the morning, my heart tunes to sing the anthem, “For Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me, the glory and the lifter of my head.”

No sin is beyond His ability to forgive. How long has it been since you have had honest words with God? How long has it been since He rescued you? How long has it been since you’ve used words and actions to tell and show someone what God has done for you? Now is the perfect opportunity. I invite you to share with the readers of this blog what God has done and is doing in your life today.

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It was early and I was late—as usual.

I grabbed the box of supplies for my monthly writer’s critique meeting off the kitchen table and raced for the back door. A beeping noise invaded the quiet of the morning hours. What was it? I didn’t have time for interruptions. The troublesome sound stopped so I dismissed it and hurried out the back door. I threw everything in the car and slammed the door shut, revved the engine, and backed out of the drive-way.

I had thirty minutes to complete a forty-five minute trip. No margins. Just drive with a purpose—get there.

We live twenty-five miles outside of the city so I could make up time on the country highways—I hoped. It was early on Saturday morning. No traffic and no police—I hoped. I could be on time—I hoped. Things were going well when that pesky beeping sound filled the car.

Where did it come from this time? I checked my cell phone. Nope. Wasn’t the phone.

I punched all the digital instruments on the dashboard. Nothing. The beeping continued. I was alarmed. The car had a lot of miles and a history. It was a desolate stretch of road. What should I do? Pull to the side of the road? Wake my husband and call for help? Any of the above could be dangerous and cause me to miss the meeting. I threw caution aside and decided to go for the meeting.

The beeping stopped. I sighed with relief, then a few moments later realized it was the automatic timers stuffed into my supply box announcing their time limit warning.

I had run right through the first beeping sounds in the kitchen. Had I heeded those warnings and identified the source, it would have solved the problem.

How many times have I run through God’s warning signals in my life? How many trips to God’s woodshed could I have avoided, and how many unnecessary life detours have I taken that God warned me about as I blasted through His stop signs?

Perhaps if I left margins in everyday life—a safety margin of time that allowed for adjustments to the unexpected—then I would take the time to stop and listen. No, I think the problem rests with my pride. The subtle sin of believing, I can handle everything—I’ve got it under control. The sin of believing what I’m doing is so important that I must fill every moment of every day to capacity, giving God the left-overs. The sin of believing that what I’m about is so important that I don’t have a moment to spare.

Failure to start my day sitting before the Lord God, seeking His understanding, receiving His instructions, and asking for His wisdom places me in the precarious position of believing a lie. Fooling myself with the untruth that I am in control of  everything and don’t need His guidance for the day.  I trouble my own trouble.

How about you?  Do you listen when God warns you to stop, slow down, or turn around? Or do you just run faster in order to build momentum to catapult over His warning hurdles?

            “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

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