Rick Warren said,
Humility is not thinking less of yourself; its thinking of yourself less.
Humility is a difficult virtue to cultivate because as soon as one “feels humble” they’ve failed. You can’t “compare” it with others. That’s when pride has crept back in.
Humility can only be accomplished when comparing ourselves with God Himself. To see what He has done in our lives helps us to praise Him AND give Him credit. When we credit ourselves then we’ve slid back into the cesspool that prides holds us in.
Titus 3:3, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.”
Do you ever make decisions by looking at the pros and cons of that particular decision?
Imagine if God decided whether to save us with a list of pros and cons. The con side would include: foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved, envious, hating. What would He list on the pro side? NOTHING! There is no reason why God should save us. Yet He lists on the page: “MY kindness, MY love, MY mercy.”
God didn’t look at us and think, “Oh, they’re not TOO bad.” Or, “I can see some potential there!” He saw a thousand reasons to condemn us forever.
How would you complete the sentence, “God accepts me because ____________.”
If I think I will be saved because of something I have done, then I am not saved. I can have no confidence. Our acceptance before God is: “Not because of righteous things we have done” (Titus 3:5). Saving faith involves removing faith in ourselves. It involves stripping away confidence in anything except God.
We need to read Titus 3:3 (above) and feel the weight of the truth about who we are and what we are like, and see that God’s kindness does not mean injustice. He will punish sin. He has punished sin.
The Holy Spirit is called the Counselor. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is reserved for Christians (John 7:39-40). He actually enters our bodies (Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 6:19), and makes us as God’s possession (2 Corinthians 1:22). Through Him we are sanctified (Romans 15:16), taught (1 Cor. 2:10-16), guided (Romans 8:14), and strengthened (John 14:26). Through Him we receive adoption (Romans 8:12-17), gifts with which we serve the church (Rom. 12:6-8), and fruit for the glory of God (Galatians 5:22-23). He intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray (Rom. 8:26), and refreshes us when we are downcast (Acts 3:19). This brief job description of the Holy Spirit makes me want to shout with thankful praise.
I posted this four years ago as my daughter, Reagan, was beginning high school. I am so proud of how she has done academically, socially, and spiritually. Not that it was always easy. She had her share of trials. I am not taking credit for her success. I give God praise but also realize that the fact that she had two loving parents gave her better odds at success.
Meg Meeker’s Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know (click that link and get the book for about $10) has some statistics that have haunted me and I thought I’d share:
- 40.9% of girls 14-17yo experience unwanted sex, primarily because they fear that their boyfriends will get angry.
- 11.5% of females in high school attempted suicide last year.
- 27.8% of high school students drank alcohol before age 13.
- Toddlers securely attached to fathers are better at solving problems.
- Girls whose fathers provide warmth and control achieve higher academic success.
- Girls who are close to their fathers exhibit less anxiety and withdrawn behaviors.
- Girls with doting fathers are more assertive.
- A daughter’s self-esteem is best predicted by her father’s physical affection.
- Girls with good fathers are less likely to flaunt themselves to seek male attention.
- Girls defer sexual activity if their parents disapprove it, and they are less likely to be sexually active if they disapprove of birth control.
Meeker goes on to say,
Even if you think the 2 of you operate on different planes, even if you worry that time spent with her shows no measurable results, even if you doubt you are having a meaningful impact on her, the clinical fact is that you are giving your daughter the greatest of gifts.
Winston Churchill once observed,
Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
We should expect to make mistakes–plenty of them–but we should not allow those missteps to rob us of the joy we need to fulfill God’s plan for our lives.
Mistakes should be lessons to improve us and our endeavors but repeated mistakes are not, because that means we haven’t learned and our character isn’t being built.
Be comforted by this fact: trouble, of every kind, is temporary. Yet God’s grace is eternal.
And worries, of every kind, are temporary. But God’s love is everlasting. The troubles that concern you will pass. God remains. And for every problem, God has a solution.
Remember that “this, too, will pass,” but whatever “it” is will pass more quickly if you spend more time solving your problems and less time fretting about them.
Recruiting leaders requires prayer, care, and wisdom. The first step is to establish criteria. Here are 6:
- Calling: They should have prayerfully evaluated their calling to a leadership role. They have to be willing to pay the price of leadership out of love to God. Salvation is free; discipleship will cost.
- Character: Those who are called to leadership are called to a higher standard (James 3:1).
- Content: They should be grounded in the Bible and know what it means to be a follower of Christ. They should also know their stuff in the area of their expertise.
- Chemistry: Does each team member comprehend and embrace the ministry vision and goals? Does each team member commit to support the leader of the team? Will each commit to developing and sustaining meaningful and supportive relationships with others on the team?
An authentic calling, consistent character, informative content, demonstrated competency, true commitment, and productive chemistry are powerful team dynamics.
Our corporate worship must not get stale, but be creative. Why?
- Because God is creative. He even continues that. (Isaiah 65:17; Psalm 51:10).
- We are creative. We are made in God’s image.
- God wants us to express our creativity.
- Creative praise captures others’ attention. Ed Young said, “When people hear the same thing over and over in the same way, they stop listening. Failure is doing the same thing the same way and expecting unique results.”
- God is worth it.
The hard part is coming up with creative ideas that aren’t cheesy or trite. We also have to avoid creativity for creativity’s sake, rather than to enhance worship itself. What are some ways we could show more creativity in corporate worship?
Human emotions are highly variable, decidedly unpredictable, and often unreliable. Our emotions are like the weather, only far more fickle. So we must learn to live by faith, not by the ups and downs of our own emotional roller coaster.
Sometime during the day, we’ll probably be gripped by a strong negative emotion. Distrust it. Reign it in. Test it. And turn it over to God. Your emotions will inevitably change; God will not. So trust Him completely as you watch your feelings slowly evaporate into thin air–which, of course, they will.
Learn to control the direction of your thoughts. Thoughts are intensely powerful things. Thoughts have the power to lift up or drag down; the power to energize or deplete; the power to inspire to greater accomplishment or to make things seem impossible.
Will we obey the words of Philippians 4:8?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Or will we allow thoughts to be hijacked by the negativity that dominates our troubled world.
More time should be spent thinking about blessings and less time fretting about hardships.