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Thursday, June 4, 2020

Be Humble or I’ll Stumble

In review of Proverbs 15:33 it reminds me that Reverence for the Lord is an education in itself. You must be humble before you can ever receive honors.”(GNT)

I need to show respect to the Lord always. If I do, I'll be learning and doing the wise thing, I must be humble before I can ever receive honors.

A wise person will remain humble. Humility and teachability go together. I need to be humble or I’ll stumble.

Humility starts with realizing I’m not God. Whenever I get stressed, I can repeat this to myself: “God is God, and I’m not. God is God, and I’m not. God is God, and I’m not.”

That’s humility. Those who aren’t humble think they’re God or have ultimate control.

In another verse from the book of James, it says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6 HCSB).

In my goal of becoming wiser, I need to get to know God. When I do, I’ll be wiser in building relationships, managing money, handling conflict, diffusing problems, and dealing with all kinds of other challenges in life.

Another translation says, “Fear-of-GOD is a school in skilled living—first you learn humility, then you experience glory” (Proverbs 15:33 The Message).

Humility says I can learn from anyone. I don’t know it all. No one does! This is why I need to remain teachable, humble, and a lifelong learner.

In summary, reverence for the Lord is an education in itself and I must be humble before I can ever expect to receive honor. So show respect to the Lord always. A wise person will remain humble. Humility and teach-ability go together. I need to be humble or I’ll stumble. Humility starts with realizing I’m not God. For "God is God, and I’m not". That’s humility. Those who don't, think they’re God or have ultimate control. God will resist the proud, but he will give grace to those who are humble. So get to know God. When I do, I’ll be wiser in building relationships, managing money, handling conflict, diffusing problems, and dealing with all kinds of other challenges. True humility says I can learn from anyone. I don’t know it all.

Father, I pray this morning that with help from the Holy Spirit that I’m reminded in all situations I face that, “you are God, and I am not.” I know you have so much to teach me, If I’ll only learn to practice humility aways in my thoughts and conduct. I pray for wisdom for how to handle my reporting relationship and changes at work. Help me to realize when I’m going off the rails, especially before I open my mouth and speak to others. I also ask you for wisdom and guidance for my day, for my work, for my leadership and for my interactions with others. These things I ask through your Son Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

A Journey of Lifelong Learning Starts with a Choice

In review of Proverbs 23:12 it tells me to Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge.” (NLT)

I am more likely to gain knowledge if I'm willing to listen. It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to pay attention to what others have to say. If I'm eager to listen then I will continue to grow throughout my life. If I refuse to become set in my ways, I can always expand the limits of my knowledge.

The journey of lifelong learning starts with a choice. It’s a choice only I can make. It’s an incredibly important decision that’ll impact your entire life. My education didn’t stop when I graduated. God has so much more he wants to teach me. My education should never end.

And learning isn’t just a stage of life. It is my life! God wants me to learn something new every day. So start working on learning a new skill. God wants me to grow. I should be and can be different and better a year from now than I am today.

It’s in my best interest to do so. Lifelong learning will make me a better leader, a better parent, a better spouse, and a better friend. It’ll make me more effective in my job. It brings both success and profit.

The Bible says, “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success” (Ecclesiastes 10:10 NIV). If I’ve got an ax with a dull blade and I’m chopping wood, it’ll take a lot more energy to do the job. If my ax is sharp (which represents skill in this verse), then it doesn’t take as much effort. The Bible is saying to work smarter, not necessarily harder. I’m never wasting time when I’m sharpening my ax.

In summary, I need to commit myself to instruction; to listen carefully to words of knowledge. I am more likely to gain knowledge if I'm willing to listen. It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to pay attention to what others have to say. If I refuse to become set in my ways, I can always expand the limits of my knowledge. The journey of lifelong learning starts with a choice. It’s a choice only I can make. My education didn’t stop when I graduated. God has so much more he wants to teach me. Learning isn’t just a stage of life. Lifelong learning will make me a better leader, a better parent, a better spouse, and a better friend. It’ll make me more effective in my job. It brings both success and profit. If I’ve got an ax with a dull blade, it’ll take a lot more energy to do the job. Learning is much like having a sharpened saw. So work smarter, not necessarily harder. I’m never wasting time when I’m sharpening my ax (learning).

I know that I personally have struggles in listening to what others may be saying. Deep down I feel I know better and have done what I know is best. During my past few quiet times, I’m hearing God tell and even warn me to be a better listener and to respect what others may be saying or trying to teach me.

I pray this morning Father, for the Holy Spirit to remind me of these things. I also ask for wisdom and guidance for my day, my work, my leadership and my interaction with others. I pray these things through your Son Jesus Name, Amen.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Successful People Help the Poor and Those In Need

In review of Proverbs 31:8-9 I'm reminded to  Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (NIV)

I must defend those who are helpless and have no hope. I need to be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless.

To live a successful life, the Bible offers some countercultural instruction: Serve the poor! How does this help? Here are just a few of them:

1). It’ll make me happy. “If you want to be happy, be kind to the poor; it is a sin to despise anyone” (Proverbs 14:21 GNT).

2). I’ll honor God. “Whoever mistreats the poor insults their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God”(Proverbs 14:31 NCV).

3). It’ll make me a better leader. “Leadership gains authority and respect when the voiceless poor are treated fairly” (Proverbs 29:14 The Message).

In this life, it’s not about me. Rather, It’s all about God.

Proverbs 31:8-9 reminds me to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (NIV).

This is what I’m called to do by my Father. It reflects His characters. So make it a point to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, and for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; be ready to defend the rights of the poor and needy. When I do: It'll make me happy, I'll be honoring God and It will make me a better leader. My life is not about me, rather it's all about God. This is what I'm called to do. It reflects His character.

At this time in my life God has provided amply for my needs and has given me extra. I need to use it to help those in need and stand up for those who cannot stand-up for themselves.Typically people, including myself, tend to only think of our own needs and see the extra we have a bonus to indulge for ourselves. With the recent economic stimulus check we received I was considering giving 10% to the food bank and 10% to the church. I’m re-thinking this, and will now consider giving much more of it away and setting much more of it away to be used as needs come up. I’m encouraged by the story of one of our church members giving their whole economic stimulus check to the church.

Father you have provided us with more than what we need at this time. I pray that you speak to me on giving. I ask with the help of the Holy Spirit that you remind me of being generous to those in need. I also pray for wisdom and guidance for my day, my work activities, my leadership and my interaction with others. These things I pray in your Son Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Humility Is a Choice

In review of 1 Peter 5:6, Peter reminds me, “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.” (NLT)

I often worry about my position and status, hoping to get proper recognition for what I do. However Peter advises me to remember that God's recognition counts more than human praise. God is able and willing to bless me according to his timing. So I need to humbly obey God regardless of my present circumstances or situation, and in his good timing, either in this life or in the next, he will honor me.

When I’m successful, it’s much easier to fall hard than it is to maintain my success. I tend to get proud and forget about God, and success crumbles when I do that.

In this situation, the first step to take is absolutely critical. The Bible says, “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you” (Revelation 2:5 NIV).

If I’m getting proud, I must repent. That means I change my mind. I go from thinking one way about my life to thinking another way. But why repent? Because humility is a choice. I’m never told in Scripture to pray for God to make me humble. It’s something I choose for myself.

The Bible says, “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor” (1 Peter 5:6 NLT).

There’s a difference between pride and humility: Pride is when I accept credit for things that God and other people did through me and for me. Humility doesn’t mean thinking of myself less. Humility means thinking of others and God more.

If I’ve experienced some success and am beginning to get prideful, then repent, now! Change my perspective about who I am and where my success comes from. The Bible says, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12 NIV).

In summary, I need to humble myself under the mighty power of God. For at the right time he will lift me up. I often worry about my position and status, hoping to get proper recognition for what I do. However Peter advises me to remember that God's recognition counts more than human praise. So I need to choose to humbly obey God regardless of my present circumstances or situation, and in his good timing, either in this life or in the next, he will honor me. If I start to get proud, I must repent. Humility is a choice. I’m never told in Scripture to pray for God to make me humble. It’s something I choose for myself. There’s a difference between pride and humility: Pride is when I accept credit for things that God and other people did through me and for me. Humility means thinking of others and God more. If I’ve experienced some success and am beginning to get prideful, then repent, now! Change my perspective about who I am and where my success comes from.

Making the choice to be humble, even in the smallest ways, helps ingrain in me the perspective that I must keep. My role at work has undergone some changes, ones that had somewhat changed my position and status. I believe this occurred as God was alleviating some of the stress related to the job and responsibilities. However my mind tends to look at it somewhat negatively which is just addressing and I now see as a warning sign for pride. 

Father, this morning I recognize that humility is a choice I need to make constantly. I also need to make sure that I give credit to others for our success. I pray with the help of the Holy Spirit that I can recognize this when it occurs and make the conscious choice toward being humble. I pray for wisdom and guidance for my day, my work, my leadership and my interactions with others. These things I pray in your Son Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Don’t Miss the Warning Signs of Pride

In review of Daniel 4:27, Daniel tells the king, “So then, Your Majesty, follow my advice. Stop sinning, do what is right, and be merciful to the poor. Then you will continue to be prosperous.” (GNT)

Daniel pleaded with Nebuchadnezzar to change his ways, and God gave him 12 months to do it. Unfortunately, there was no repentance in the heart of this proud king, and so the dream was fulfilled.

Too often when life is going well, I can miss the warning signs of an impending fall. Pride blinds me, and so does the spotlight.

This is why people who’ve seen some success in life need to go home and change some diapers, mow their own lawns, and wash their own dishes. When I have some success, make sure I keep in touch with my roots so I don’t miss the warning signs of a fall.

Nebuchadnezzar’s life is a clear picture of this. God cared enough about this pagan king to warn him about what was coming his way in Daniel 4. The Lord didn’t just remove him from power. God gave him a dream, he brought Daniel to interpret the dream, and Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar what was going to happen and how to avoid it. It can’t get much clearer than that! Daniel gave him three things to do and said success would follow. But the king missed the sign.

Is it possible I’m missing one, as well? Consider any possible conflicts in relationships. I may be just passing it off as the other person’s problem, but God wants to show me that I’m off track in some area of my life. It could be a temptation I’m battling against because I’m continually putting myself in a bad situation. Maybe it’s chaos and confusion. These are signs that I’m not well-connected to God. That I’m trying to do life on my own terms.

God’s trying to tell me through these warning signs: “Stop sinning! Come back to me!” If I’m heading down the wrong path, God loves me enough to give me a warning. Am I paying attention?

In summary, Daniel tells the king, follow my advice. Stop sinning, do what is right, and be merciful to the poor, then you will continue to be prosperous. This is a warning for me as well. When life is going well, I can miss the warning signs of an impending fall. Pride and being in the spotlight blinds me. As I have success, I need to make sure that I keep in touch with my roots, so that I don't miss the warning signs of a fall. God will show me that I'm off track in some area of my life. Signs that I'm not well connected to Him or that I'm trying to do life on my own terms. God loves me enough to give me a warning. I just need to make sure that I'm paying attention. 

Father as I reflect on this passage and this study, I believe one sin is my attitude stemming from how I think that I’ve been overlooked and demoted in my role at work. I do battle this feeling and I see often how it affects my responses internally. I pray with help from the Holy Spirit that I change this attitude and feeling to doing what is right regardless. For it is you that I ultimately work for. I ask that help and guidance to get over this and serve others, including being merciful to those less fortunate as a result of our current pandemic. Help me recognize the warning signs of pride in my life. Help guide my thoughts and feelings to be humble. Thank you Father for giving me my work and allowing me to do it from home. I also ask for wisdom and guidance for my day, my work tasks, my leadership and my interactions with others. I pray these things through your Son Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Learning to Give God the Credit, So People Look to Him

In review of Daniel 2:27-28 I read,  There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can reveal the king’s secret. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed.” (NLT)


Before Daniel told the king anything else, he gave credit to God, explaining that he did not know the dream through his own wisdom but only because God revealed it. How easily I can take credit for what God does through me! This robs God of the honor that he alone deserves. Instead, I should be like Daniel and point others to God so that I give him all the glory.


Over the last few days, I’ve seen what Daniel did when facing an impossible situation in Daniel 2. The king had asked him to interpret a tough dream. It almost got the king’s wise men killed because they couldn’t explain what the dream meant.


The stakes were high! But Daniel followed a terrific process that can help me, too: Don’t panic, and then get the facts. Ask for more time. Gather prayer partners. Ask God for supernatural help. Worship God. And, use what you’ve learned to save others.


We also see that when God showed up, Daniel used the opportunity to point others to God.


Daniel didn’t take credit for the amazing answer to the king’s dream. He knew God had given him the answer. So he was honest about that.


If I were a 17-year-old boy and I did something to make the king happy, I’d be tempted to take a bit of the credit. Daniel did the praying. He did the listening. He did the obeying.


Instead of taking the credit, Daniel pointed people to God.


If I do this as well, God will bless me. God will do great things through a person who doesn’t care who gets the credit.


The Bible says the pagan king told Daniel, “Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret” (Daniel 2:47 NLT).


If I spend my life pointing people to God, miracles can happen.


In summary, there are no wise men who can reveal what God knows. It's our God in heaven who reveals secrets. Daniel gave credit to God, explaining that he did not know through his own wisdom, but only because God revealed it. How easy it is to take credit for what God does through me! When I do, this robs God of the honor that he alone deserves. Instead, I should be like Daniel and point others to God so that I give him all the glory. Daniel was honest about where the answer came from. Rather than taking the credit for himself, Daniel pointed people to God. If I spend my life pointing people to God, miracles can happen. If I spend my life pointing people to God, miracles can happen.


Father, I have to admit and ask for forgiveness for the times when I took credit and didn’t acknowledge you as the source. I need to learn to shape my mindset so that I can recognize and see that every good thing I receive is a gift from you.


I pray Father that with the help of the Holy Spirit in my life that I truly give credit and point others to you as the source. My life should not be about me, but rather about you. I ask Father for wisdom and guidance for my day, my work, my leadership, and my interactions. Allow me to work humbly for those I work for, knowing that it's you that I ultimately work for. I pray these things through your Son Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.