Tag: humble yourself

Grace to the humble!

Scripture reading for April 4th: James 4, Psalm 67, Proverbs 5

James 4: 6-10 “But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.”

Our world operates on pride and is centered on getting what we want when we want it. This causes strife and quarrels, even in the church of Jesus Christ! James, as a wise pastor, was emphasizing to the church the need for God’s grace in each person and in the church family. God gives grace in abundance, but there is the requirement of humility. When we are in a prideful attitude, putting ourselves first, God actually is opposing us! Who can be blessed or find grace when God is opposing them? This pride is demonic in nature, because it is the devil’s nature. The simple solution, according to James, is to resist the devil and draw near to God. The devil will flee and God will then draw near to you. True humility brings repentance first and then exaltation and the joy of God’s grace and smile in our life.

Psalm 67:1-3 “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us, that Your way may be known on earth, Your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You!”

Prayer: Father God, I pray the prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 67. Be gracious to us and bless us and make Your face shine on us, that through Your smile and favor, we may reflect Your ways to those on earth and Your saving power among all peoples. I humble myself to draw nearer to You each day that I may learn Your ways and become more like You in the humility of You amazing grace.

Proverbs 5:1-2 “My son, be attentive to My wisdom; incline your ear to My understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge.”

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The power of a godly example

Scripture reading for October 18th: 1st Peter 5

Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 5:1-4 “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

Jesus chose twelve disciples and called them to follow Him. His training initially and even to the last was mentoring and modeling how to walk in this world and how to seek and save the lost. Jesus was the Chief Shepherd and taught the disciples He was the Good Shepherd Who would, as a perfect example, lay down His life for His sheep. Jesus did not work for money or fame nor was He a domineering or harsh taskmaster. He was filled with grace, even as He suffered on the cross praying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Peter was shaped by Jesus and now called those in leadership in the church to set godly examples for Christ’s flocks. Reward awaits the faithful and obedient.

1st Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus as a powerful example of holiness and consecration. Thank You for the privilege of serving You as an elder in Your Church. I am eager to set an example for others as You empower me with Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for Your daily care for me and for Your church as we wait for Your return and our complete restoration. I will worship You forever and ever!

1st Peter 5:10 “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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We need more grace!

Scripture reading for October 8th: Jeremiah 27, 28, 29, 24, James 4

Key Scriptures: James 4:6-10 “But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

James speaks plainly to the church concerning their need for God’s grace. Pride was causing quarreling and fighting and division in the church. God opposes the proud. Satan’s pride got him thrown out of heaven and he was seeking to cause division here. In order to get God’s grace, humility and submission to God was required. The humble must draw near to God through Jesus Christ and find cleansing through repentance and faith in the promises of God. Mocking and laughter concerning sins will only bring God’s opposition. Humility and repentance will bring life and exaltation.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I need more grace. I humbly draw near to You each day for strength and truth to resist the devil and live victoriously.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “”For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.””

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Cast those cares!

Scripture reading for November 13th:  Ezekiel 2-5, 1st Peter 5

Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 5:6-9  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

Living in faith requires humility.  We who believe must entrust all of our lives to God–the good and the trials of suffering.  We must stay alert to the tricks of the enemy of our souls and resist the fear he tries to stir up.  God cares for you and has promised to exalt you at the proper time.  Cast those cares and resist the devil and his roars!

Ezekiel 2:6 “And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions.”  

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for caring for me and the promise of eternal life with You.  Help me to cast all my cares and worries on You today.  Amen.

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Have mercy on Me!

Scripture reading for March 28th:  Judges 9-12, Luke 19

Key Scriptures: Luke 18:13-14  “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  

Jesus told the story of two men who went to the temple to pray.  The first, a Pharisee, prayed arrogantly, exalting his own goodness in keeping the law.  The second, a tax collector, asked God for mercy and confessed his sins.  Jesus plainly stated that the one who humbled himself was justified by God.

Judges 10:14-16 “”Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.”  And the people of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you.  Only please deliver us this day.”  So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord and He became impatient over the misery of Israel.”  

Prayer: Lord, have mercy on me today for my sins and poor choices.  I humble myself before You and ask for Your deliverance.  Amen.

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Have mercy on me, a sinner!

Scripture reading for April 16th: Luke 18:1-17

It’s easy to be self-righteous!   We are prone to think very highly of ourselves and focus on the other people who are ‘worse’ sinners than we are.  Church people are very often the best at this, because they think that going to church or doing something for the poor brings them into special merit with God.  But God is not as impressed with our attempts to look good as we are.  Jesus told a story to help His disciples better understand their need for humility.

“To some who were confident in their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told them this parable:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself:  ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” “But the tax collector stood at a distance.  He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'” (Luke 18:9-13)

The Pharisee went home as he came–proud and full of himself!  He was oblivious to his real need of deliverance from pride.  He was eager to see the faults of others, but missed the ‘log’ of self-righteousness in his own eye!   He was confident in himself and his own ability to do what God required by keeping the law and earning his standing with God and failed to ask God for mercy for this fatal sin.  To the rest of the world, it probably looked like this Pharisee had it right, but Jesus saw it otherwise!

Any Jewish person who worked as a tax collector was considered a ‘sinner’ by the society of Jesus’ day.  But this man  was humble and recognized his need of forgiveness.  He confessed that he was a sinner and took ownership of his own mistakes.  He did not blame God or claim to be a victim of someone else’s sin.  He humbly asked God for the mercy he knew he needed.  This attitude caught Jesus’ attention and Jesus said that this man went home justified!   “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14b)

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Scripture reading for April 11th: Luke 14:7-35

Jesus was eating at the house of a prominent Pharisee and they were watching Him very carefully.  Jesus was also watching them!  He noticed how they all tried to pick places of honor at the table.  He used this setting to teach them humility and warned them not to try and take the place of honor, but to take the lowest place.  Then the host could place them where he wanted.   This would be less humiliating than the host removing them from their seat of honor.  Jesus put it simply:   “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be  exalted.” (Luke 14:7-11)

Jesus also told the host, this prominent Pharisee, that when he had a banquet he should invite the poor, crippled, blind, and lame.  This would bring blessing to his house, because God would repay him at the resurrection of the righteous.  (Luke 14:12-15)  This evoked a response from one at the table,”Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

Jesus answered this man with another story about a certain man who was preparing a great banquet and had invited many guests.  When the appointed time for this banquet came, the servant was sent out to remind the invited guests of the feast.  All the invited guests had excuses!  One bought a field and must go see it.  Another just purchased some new oxen to work his field and must try them out.  Still another had recently married and must be with his wife.  This angered the host of this banquet, and he ordered his servant to go out into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, crippled, blind and lame.  He wanted his house to be full, but none of the invited guests who made excuses would have a place at his table! (Luke 14:21-24)

As we ponder this teaching of Jesus, we sense that the “certain man” is God!  He invited the Jews to His banquet first, but many made excuses!  These would be shut out, and God’s servants would be sent to the Gentiles!  God’s house would be filled!  The humble pay attention and respond to God’s invitation while the proud are left out.  Remember, the lowest seat at His table is far better than being left out!  Don’t make excuses!

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Woe to you hypocrites!

Scripture reading for February 2nd: Matthew 23:1-19, Psalm 22, Proverbs 6:20-26

Hypocrisy was one of Jesus’ pet peeves.  The word for hypocrisy implies “play-acting”, and describes a person who takes a role for a play and learns a part to put on a show.  Unfortunately, religious people are very prone to this type of thing and it made Jesus angry.  He addressed the crowds that came to Him concerning their teachers and leaders.  He told them that they should obey them and show them respect as they taught the law of God, but that they should not do as they did.  They very simply did not practice what they preached! (Matthew 23:3)

Hypocrites do what they do for men and not for God.  They like to be seen as righteous and above the common person.  They wear special clothes, like to have titles and social prominence and preeminence.  In Jesus’ day, the liked the title of “Rabbi” which meant “teacher” and “father” which was a term endearing respect.  Jesus reminded that they had one Father, who was in heaven, and one “Teacher” who was the Christ!  If they truly wanted to be great, they should be the servant of all and humbly serve.  (Matthew 23:5-12)

Hypocrites, by play-acting, actually hinder God’s kingdom from advancing because those who lead in this manner are really building up their own kingdom.  They are still part of the devil’s crowd and have not experienced true redemption.  They teach others to do as they do instead of humbly repenting of their sins and finding true freedom by learning from Christ and finding God as their heavenly father.  They build large followings of people that use them as their “teacher” and “father” and learn to put on the same show for men!

Woe is the end result of this lifestyle.  Woe is trouble and heartache and ultimately weeping and gnashing of teeth.  It is God’s displeasure for eternity as a consequence of seeking man’s approval for a short time by putting on a show.  It is a condition that Jesus Himself wanted no one to experience so He warned against hypocrisy!  My prayer for myself is that God would continue to reveal hypocrisy in my own life and lead me in His ways.  I want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  Wouldn’t you rather too?

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