A lesson on haughtiness

Pr. 18:12:  “Before the destruction of the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility.”

I learned the physical application of this verse when I was about 10 or 11.  I had gone swimming at my best friend’s house.  As I was riding my bike home, I noticed some neighborhood kids playing baseball in the yard of my neighbor.  Now, keep in mind that the neighborhood kids were always jealous that I got to swim in her in-ground pool, but then again, they never really wanted to be her friend any other time.

So, here I come, riding my bike in my bathing suit.  It was obvious where I’d been.  I wanted to rub it in that I’d gone swimming and they didn’t, so I made a big show of waving at them.  While I was haughtily showing off, I neglected to see the baseball stuck in a hole in the road.  Yep.

Next thing I knew, I experienced an intense jarring and flew over the handlebars of my bike.  My knee was torn open and my neighbor’s dad literally had to carry me home.

That was my lesson about how being haughty leads to destruction.  I still remember it quite vividly.

Learn from my mistake.  🙂

Still have the scar to prove it,

jamie

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The day after Valentine’s Day…

Pr. 15:25:  “The Lord will destroy the house of the proud, but He will establish the boundary of the widow.”

It’s the day after Valentines Day and love is still important.  1 Peter 4:8-9 tells us, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”  Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.”

1 John 4:7 encourages us, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

We are told to have sincere, heartfelt love for one another.  This is the kind of love that forgives, overlooks faults, and finds the good in others.  This is the kind of love God has for us.

So often we want this kind of love from others, but struggle or refuse to show this kind of love in return.  Although, we understand that we are not perfect and in need of forgiveness, and we often expect others to be perfect at all times.

We are told to be hospitable to one another without grumbling.  That is something that happens when our eyes are looking outward and not inward.  When we are truly able to love, forgive, understand, and pardon, hospitality comes much more easily.

Remembering that love is of God, we cannot afford to be too proud to show love.  This proverb says the Lord destroys the house of the proud.  Not only that, but He will establish those who are weak.  In God’s eyes, the weak are more desirable than the proud.

It is not weakness to show love.  It takes strong character to love someone the way we are told to love here.  It takes a lot of faith in God’s plan to truly forgive the sins and mistakes of those we love.  It takes humility to overlook faults and see what is good.  It takes humility and trust to believe that loving others God’s way is best.

So, on this day that is not ‘technically’ about love, we can determine in our hearts to show love the right way; to carry on loving those around us with God’s love, and to continue it day after day after day, until the Lord returns.

We don’t have to do this in our own strength.  We can call upon the God who is love for all the pointers we need.  Talk about a support system.

So, happy day after!  May the Lord who loves you, strengthen you this day as you trust Him enough to truly love His way.

My brothers and sisters, I love you all. 

jamie

Don’t reach for that compromise

Tuesday night we headed outside for a family activity.  Within minutes, we realized that the mosquito families had joined us.  My husband was quick to declare it time for bug spray.

Not speaking in time to ask for my own chemical free bug spray, and not wanting to walk the 200 ft. inside to get it myself, I decided to tough it out.  It wasn’t long before I was so uncomfortable that I actually reached for the chemical laden bug spray and sprayed it on my skin.

Although I was uneasy with my decision and trying to spray it a bit lighter than usual, I covered all exposed areas.  As I wondered why I wouldn’t just walk back in and grab the spray I’m more comfortable with, I began an internal dialog:  “Just once won’t hurt.  I need this.  It will be alright.  If you go inside you might miss out on some fun.  Quit stressing about this one decision.”

I compromised my standards about intentionally using chemicals on my skin and still ended up with 10 mosquito bites.  Not only that, but the effects of the chemicals absorbing into my skin are not yet known.  Who knows the damage that my “just this once” decision has left?

Sinful temptations are just like this.  We are faced with a real issue.  Maybe we’re too lazy to walk away or too proud to ask for help.  Sometimes, because of those things, we justify the reasons why it’s ok just this once.

Most of the time, we end up with visible wounds right away.  Sometimes, the damage done under the surface doesn’t show up until later.  The fact of the matter is; however, no matter what we feel at the moment, the universal laws of cause and effect ensure that there is damage being done.

Sadly, we do these things intentionally.  What can be done to stop us?

Well, we can grab the warnings from my bug spray episode and remember to ask for help, walk away, or to refuse to give in.  We can remember that justifying harmful actions will only invite and accelerate afflictions in our life.  Not compromising on our standards, we can choose to stand firm and say no.

I’m reminded of Heb. 2:18 and 4:16, which say, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted…Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

We have a Helper upon which we can call.  We don’t have to intentionally inflict harm and destruction upon ourselves.  I’m so grateful we’ve not been left stranded and helpless.  Thank you, Jesus, and right now, Lord, please help us all.

Still itchy, but much more alert,

jamie

CAN EVERYONE HEAR ME!?

Pr. 27:14:  “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it will be counted a curse to him.” 

I’ve always been a ‘morning person.’  I have no problem being loud first thing in the morning.  I used to walk in to work having already been up for 2 1/2 hours, so I was peppy, singing, etc.  Not everyone appreciated that, though.  ha!  We’re all wired differently.

This verse is talking more about “blessing” someone for the sake of others.  It speaks to making a show of blessing or praising someone, so that all will not look at that person, but rather at you.  As if you’re saying to everyone else, “Please listen to me as I praise this person!  I am 1st in line.  I am so eloquent.  I am compassionate and wise.  I am a wonderful human being.”

If that is the intention of the praise, then has the recipient truly been blessed?  Nah.  The one who we claim to be blessing will probably understand the true motive and therefore count it as a curse.

We should bless those around us, but not so that we can receive the credit or attention.  Instead it should be from a heart of true thanksgiving, understanding, and gratitude.  It should be for the other person’s sake, and not our own.

Look for a reason to bless someone.  We all need that.  But make sure that it’s not done so that you are actually the one receiving the praise.

Trying to whisper,

jamie

 

 

 

Before you fall…

Pr. 16:18:  “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

One of my funniest “pride” moments was on stage during a play.  There was silence and I was thinking, “Who forgot their line?  Someone needs to be talking right now!”  The next thing I heard was someone speaking my line to me in the form of a question.  Because it turns out that I was the one who forgot their line, I was being rescued from embarrassment and the play was being rescued from silence.  Ha!

I can remember another moment of pride that is not quite so funny.  I received a letter once from a friend during a sinful time in my life.  Since she lived over 8 hours away, she wrote to let me know that she was concerned about the fact that my choices were going against God’s word.  She was concerned for my soul.  What an amazing friend!!  Truly she was living out Gal. 6:1, which says, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any sin, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.”

She was right, of course, but my pride and sin’s grip caused me to become angry as I read that letter.  I remember saying aloud that she needed to mind her own business and I wadded up the letter and threw it in the trash.  Oh, how I wish I would have heeded her words!  Her letter was something only a true friend can write.  It did plant a seed; however, and that was actually when I began feeling and hearing the Lord calling me back to Him.    (Thank you, my beautiful Amie.  I love you, girl!)

King Uzziah is recorded as a good and successful king of Judah.  2 Ch. 26:4 says, “he did what was right in the sight of the Lord.”  From there, we see that as long as Uzziah sought the Lord, God made Him prosper.  God helped him defeat his enemies, become prosperous, and become famous far and wide and gain much loyalty.

2 Ch. 26:16, “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he sinned against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.”  The Lord helped King Uzziah to become strong and mighty, but after he became strong, Uzziah’s pride caused him to think he was worthy to enter the temple of the Lord and do the job of priests.

God was very specific with His instructions about the temple, the priests, the altar, etc.  Because of Uzziah’s prideful decision, he was struck with leprosy, isolated, and cut off from the house of the Lord until the day he died.

Pride is an indicator of sin’s grip on our hearts.  We must remember the true source of our strength and provision.  Humbling ourselves before the King of Kings gives Him the opportunity to bless us, keep us, be gracious to us, and to give us true peace.  May God bless you today?

Bending my knee to Him,

jamie

Don’t reject wise counsel

Pr. 15:22:  “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.”

King Solomon requested from the Lord an understanding heart to discern between good and evil and to judge the Lord’s people.  1 Kings 4:29 says, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore.”

Fast forward to his death and burial, and the beginning of the reign of his son, Rehoboam.  Because Solomon had turned his heart to other gods, the Lord had told him that his kingdom would be torn out of the hand of his son, and we find that his son played a critical part in what the Lord had spoken.

At the beginning of his reign, King Rehoboam consulted the elders who previously stood before his father Solomon, asking “How do you advise me to answer these people?”  They advised Rehoboam that if he would be a servant to the people, answer them, and speak good words to them, then the people would be his servants forever.

But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the wise, experienced elders who had helped make his father’s reign successful.  He went and found the young, inexperienced friends he had grown up and hung out with and asked for their advice.

The advice the young men gave was to oppress, chastise, and belittle the people.  While he did received counsel, he made a very unwise decision about which counsel he would accept and which he would reject.  As a result of his decision, 10 of the tribes of Israel rebelled against Rehoboam and chose another as their king.  Rehoboam’s plans certainly went awry.

We cannot be too proud to seek out or receive counsel of others.  We must be careful, however, which counsel we reject or accept.  I am semi-young myself, but I am wise enough to understand that those who are older and more experienced than I are going to be the ones who have the most wisdom, if for no other reason than the lessons they have learned and seen over their lives.

My 5-year-old still thinks that if there is no money in our “eating out” account that we can just use our check card to eat out.  I would never allow his whims or lack of understanding to control my check book.  After seeking the Lord’s will through His word and prayer, we should seek the counsel of those wiser than us when making plans.  If we want our plans to be established (fixed), then we need to ensure the foundation will be strong and secure.

Even in his unsurpassed wisdom, Solomon knew it was wise to seek counsel.  We need to do the same, but prayerfully, carefully, and with discretion.

Thanks for the lesson through Rehoboam’s mistakes, Lord.

jamie

 

Break out of the norm!

Pr. 30:13:  “There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes!  And their eyelids are lifted up.”

Knowing that our strength and provision come from the Lord, it’s not really our place to be puffed up with pride.  Treating others as though they are somehow beneath us just isn’t what we were commanded to do.

As I recall, Jesus broke bread with the reviled tax collectors and with sinners.  He knew the reason for which He came to this earth, and He did not stray from that purpose.  When questioned about it He spoke, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”  He came for people just as those.  Just like me.

Jesus also reminded us that the same measure of judgment we use will be measured back to us.  This a serious statement that we simply must remember.

When asked which is the greatest commandment, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  And he added, ‘And the second is like this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”‘  He then gave an example of who qualifies as a neighbor.  Apparently we are all neighbors.  We are commanded to love one another as we love ourselves.

Loving as we love ourselves brings to mind Romans 12, which reminds us that each of us have a function and serve a specific purpose.  We must  not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, as we were all created as an essential part of the body of Christ.   None are more important than any other.

Jesus, when faced with the question of who would be the greatest, spoke these important words, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”  Humbling ourselves, preferring others over ourselves, serving others, and operating in our specific purpose is what is seen as greatest to Him.

Although the generation in which we live certainly promotes being lofty, puffed up, and vain, we must hold tightly to the teaching of our Savior.  No matter what attitude is the ‘norm’ in our world, the attitude that makes us the greatest in Jesus’ eyes is that of a servant.

God created each of us with different gifts and functions in this world.  Instead of walking around thinking how much better we are than others, we are commanded to love everyone, and called to use our gifts to help one another and glorify the Father.

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”  Ro. 12:10-12

Let’s reach out today and truly love.

Warmly,

jamie