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Does God’s Word Need to Always Be Easy

Sermon of the Day: Thy Word I Have Treasured in My Heart

Deuteronomy 29:29

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

Good Morning Men.

I hope and pray that all of you had a great week in the Lord last week. What I mean by that is if your life is anything like mine, it is filled with challenges. Highs and lows, however through the midst of it all you remain anchored in the Lord and His purpose and provision for your life.

I want to share a theme that has been on my heart and I have been meditating for a several days. It started from a John Piper sermon. For those of you that have downloaded the app, I encourage you to keep plugging in to this man. I know he will challenge each and every one of us to grow, and if you have an open heart you will walk away learning more about God every single time.

This sermon was titled ‘Why God Inspired Hard Texts‘. It really came at a great time for me personally. If I can be completely honest and transparent with all of you. I have been struggling in my devotion time with the Lord. I rather not bore you with my excuses, but lets use a verse to paraphrase my actions: The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41).

Of course when the flesh is weak sin is present or knocking at the door. Reading through Joshua 7 and 8 recently I am reminded of how important it is to confess my sins. Not generally speaking, but being specific with God. He knows already, why do I feel like I need to sugar coat it. I am getting a little off topic here but I wanted to share a couple things on sin. First of all 1 Corinthians 11:31 scares me and I want to obey it. Secondly look at what Dr. McGee says:

“There can be no joy in your life; there can be no power in your life; there can be no victory in your life; until there is confession of sin.”

We must confess our sin, turn from our sin only then will we experience the joy of the Lord.

So I re-listened to this sermon and I took some notes. Pastor John is “meaty” (thanks for that description Chad) and my goal is to bring it down to our level and help us break this down into chew-able pieces.

Men, have you ever understood everything you read in the Bible?

I feel confident to boldly say every one of us would have to say no. So why does God make some passages difficult to understand? If we are being honest here, most of the Old Testament at first glance is way over the average readers head. Even going through the New Testament with a deeper study and approach reveals that there is radically so much more in every word and verse.

So lets get into these notes I took. Just as a disclaimer, this is really just a snap shot of what Pastor John so wonderfully illustrated and brought to life in his sermon. My goal is just to extract what I heard and hopefully bring it to life for each of us. My notes will be mostly paraphrasing many of the things he said. So please know that primarily these are John Pipers thoughts that I have paraphrased.

The text of the sermon was Romans 3:1-8.

Pastor John really brought to life verse 2. Here God Basically says that one of the highest privileges is to possess this book. This book is so much more than words, it is the oracles of God.

When you bump against a difficult text. Our minds may say why is this so hard? If its such a privilege? Especially if children are expected to read this (Matthew 18:2-4). If you have spent any decent amount of time trying to read God’s Word, I’m sure this has happened to you.

Pastor John asks a great question and gives us four answers.

So if God is a good communicator, and wants people to know Him, love Him and trust Him, then why is it so hard?

  1. God Unleashed Desperation – a sense of utter dependence on God’s help and enablement. 1 Corinthians 2:14 talks about the natural man. This is the man that does not have the Holy Spirit living inside of him, basically an unbelieving individual. However either way we have these same natural tendencies, we are fallen creatures born into sin. I am so fallen and so sinful and therefore desperately need God’s Holy Spirit to illuminate the Oracles of God for me.
  2. Supplication – When your feeling desperate, what do you do? Of course, we pray. Now look at how the Psalmist describes his desperation for the Word of God in these verses:

Psalm 119:18 NIV

Open my eyes that I may see
    wonderful things in your law.

Psalm 25:5 NIV

Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.

If everything was crystal clear in the Bible, clear enough for a 7 year old to read. Would we pray? Would we pray like the Psalmist?

3. Cogitation – don’t worry I never heard of this word either. But it is the action of thinking deeply about something.

So when God inspires a writer to write something difficult, He intends for us to use everything at our disposal. Including really thinking hard about something and trying to seek Him, seek Godly advice, and books and other resources for the answer. We are to think hard and ask questions.

Pastor John then talked about how there may be some confusion at this point for some. Is it prayer? Or is it deep thinking?

2 Timothy 2:7 clears that up for us a little bit. The Lord will grant you the understanding as you think through God’s language. Much like Proverbs 2 mentions, we must search for it as we would for hidden treasure.

4. Education – God’s Word brings this out of those who pursue God’s Word diligently through prayer and hard thinking. Check out 2 Timothy 2:2. God releases impulses for education, education comes from God!

I have known a few men personally that would claim to have read less books than they can count on one hand before knowing Christ. These same men have now become avid readers, hungering after God’s Word. If you have just heard Pastor John speak he is so eloquent and educated and I know that is directly related to his life long pursuit to know and understand God’s Word. The desire and fruit of education has sprung to life through a pursuit after God’s Word.

I hope this helps men.

Blessings and Love

 

Leadership, Sin and Parenting

Sermon of the Day: Faith and Reason

Deuteronomy 3:26-28

23 “Then I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying: 24 ‘O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? 25 I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.’

26 “But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the Lord said to me: ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter. 27 Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift your eyes toward the west, the north, the south, and the east; behold it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. 28 But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.’

Good Morning Men.

First lets get some context, Moses is speaking here, and they are completing their 40 year wondering through the desert. This was a very difficult time for the people but even more so for Moses.

There was an incident at Meribah, back in Numbers 20 were Moses failed. At first glance it does not seem like much, it almost seems like God was being pretty harsh to Moses. However God explains that it was because this action displayed unbelief and did not revere God as Holy.

As you all know leaders are held to a different standard. Expectations of their behavior and actions are held under much more scrutiny. The same is for leaders of God’s flock. Moses sinned and his consequence was severe, God told him that he would no longer be allowed into the promise land. The land Moses has been looking forward to entering for the last 40 years.

At the tail end of these 40 years here we have Moses pleading with God to show mercy and allow him to enter.

Leadership

Within this passage I saw a few aspects of great leadership that Moses displays.

Look at what God says about Moses first in:

Numbers 12:3

(Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)

That sure is a great characteristic of a leader. However although Moses is doing a little pity party for himself and pleaded with God for mercy do you notice he takes it only up to God? Leaders that complain and grumble to their followers will crush the spirits of their followers. Remember that all of you are leaders of something or someone, whether you realize it or not. Someone is looking up to you for strong leadership and you don’t want to crush their spirit and their confidence in you as their leader. Take your problems to the person above you, whether your boss, your pastor, and God. Work problems out at the top.

Secondly Moses is commanded to command and encourage Joshua. Joshua has been called to fill the shoes of Moses and will lead the people into the promise land. First of all, all leaders need to be raising up others to take their place. That is a biblical fact that Jesus gives the best illustrations of. We also have many examples of the failures of men when this was not done.

One of the problems with a sinful heart is that we like being the only one that can do something like we do. We don’t want others to be as good as us, and steal some of our glory. Sound anti-biblical? It is. If this you repent, and work on changing.

Or maybe we just don’t have the desire to put our focus on building up other people. For a variety of reasons, most of them probably selfish in nature we feel it is easier to just do our own thing and worry about ourselves. This also is very un-biblical, in fact it reminds me of the ‘Parable of the Talents’ (Matthew 25:14-30).

God wants us to raise and mentor leaders, other men that have a desire to grow in the fruit of the Spirit and be used for the Kingdom of God. Or men around us in our work place, in our circles of influence anywhere we get to be a light and example of Godly leadership and point people to Christ. My pastor always said it best; “Preach the gospel where ever you go, and when absolutely necessary use words.”

At the peak of Moses’s heartbreak of being rejected by God, he takes his eyes off of himself and now focuses on encouraging and strengthening this up and coming leader.

I heard it best I believe from Dr. McGee, “any leader without followers is just taking a walk”. Men lets walk with purpose and lets build followers that want to follow our holy, transparent and strong leadership. For many of us that means starting at home in our marriage and with our kids. If we can’t get our family to follow us, everything else will flop.

Sin

So we already mentioned that Moses sinned when he struck the rock at Meribah. God told him to speak to the rock and water would flow, unfortunately his emotions got the best of him and he failed.

When we fail, we need to humble ourselves, come to the foot of the cross, believe in Jesus Christ (if you haven’t already), repent and confess our sins. Men, we have God’s word that true repentance produces fruit. That is amazing, absolutely life changing news. However there will still be consequences for our sinful actions. We cannot sin and get by unscathed, that is not who God is.

We must learn from Moses and see that every sin will have it’s consequences. So the best solution is to stop sinning! Simple right? No, but we can grow in our walks with Christ and allow Him to change our sinful nature. Turning from sin, being humble, transparent and desiring holiness.

1 Peter 1:13-16

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Parenting

As a Father parents his children, God reveals His Fatherly role and control of the situation. God does not fold under pressure, He remains stead-fast in what He knows is right. God silences the complaining of Moses, however He shows His love and grace by allowing Moses to at least see the promise land. This is done at His command and control, and not as a pleading whimper from Moses that God gives in to.

Lets learn to take this approach with children. We must learn to be consistent in our parenting so our children learn these values that are biblically based and teach them directly and indirectly about what their relationship with God will look like as they mature.

God Bless you all and may you all grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Pursue biblical leadership principles, desire holiness, and ask the Lord to help you pursue parental wisdom.

The Unrepentant Heart

Sermon of the Day: The Present Effects of Trembling at the Wrath of God. 

 

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image copied from: http://instyle-decor.com/blue-and-white-vases.html

Dried out vessel.

The other morning as spending time in prayer and I had this sort of vision and I wanted to share it with you all.

I hope you all will be able to envision this with me. A vessel or pot of clay  has gone through quite a process to become it’s finished product. The part that is fitting for this vision or analogy is where moist wet clay, very mold-able and pliable becomes dry, hard and very fragile.

You can Paint it and make it very attractive. It is still dry and fragile clay. Anything hard that hits it may cause it to crack. Maybe it falls to the ground and cracks but survives. You now turn the crack towards the wall to hide the defect. The vessel still looks pretty on all the other sides. We may even try to put some type of epoxy or glue to hold that crack together.

Now the glory and prestige of this pot may grow. How strong this pot is, how it survived the fall and so on. Until one day, the slightest breeze, the slightest nudge. The vessel topples and shatters. There went the great and glorious vessel.

What was revealed to me was how directly this reflects the condition of an unrepentant heart.

Ezekiel 36:26

 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

An unrepentant heart is dry. Its easily offended. It is very resistant to attacking sin. This heart is the dried out and many times, cosmetically beautiful vessel.

Vessels come in all shapes and sizes. They come in all types of colors, designs with all types of beautiful artwork. Why do those vessels need paint or artwork? They are plain and not so appealing right? If we are honest here, when we make a mistake, or get embarrassed how bad to we want to or try to cover it up with some type of facade.

Wherever we are in our lives and walk with the Lord Jesus Christ we need to realize that we are incapable of doing anything good and lasting without Him. Anything good we may establish with our own hands is so temporary and unfulfilling. This reminds me of what I read about this morning when in Numbers 31 God had Moses attack the Midianites.

The Midianites represent the world, and our sin. Dr. McGee’s commentary had a perfect statement about this let me quote from that text:

That is the problem with worldliness. It is not wrong for us to be in the world – that is where God has placed us-the great issue is whether the world is in us, in our hearts and lives. The important lesson for this chapter is that it calls for spiritual separation from the world. Where are you walking? Are you in the Word of God? Are you in fellowship with Christ? That is the important thing for the child of God.

Thru the Bible, J. Vernon McGee. Vol. 1 pg. 525

So as we see men, the unrepentant heart is destined for destruction and failure. If there is no separation from the world we will continue to be a dried out vessel. Trying to make everything good and right with our own hands and minds. Let’s be honest, how is that going for you?

The sooner we all can stop kidding ourselves the sooner we can get on track and allow God to do His work in our hearts. My hope and prayer is that you will seek the Lord, answer those questions from Dr. McGee and decide what kind of vessel you want to be.

2 Timothy 2:20-21

20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

 

The Key to Spiritual Breakthrough

Sermon of the Day: God’s Ultimate Purpose: Vessels of Mercy Knowing the Riches of His Glory
FEBRUARY 24, 2017

The Key to Spiritual Breakthrough

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Article by

Staff writer, desiringGod.org

“You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2). How much enjoyment of God’s presence and experience of his power for mission are we missing out on because we do not ask God for them?

Jesus also says we do not have because we ask with such little faith(Matthew 17:19–20). How much enjoyment of God’s presence and experience of his power for mission are we missing out on because our expectation is so small that prayer will result in anything?

Jesus also says we do not have, because we do not ask long enough(Luke 11:5–13). All over the Bible we see, not in great detail but in sufficient detail, that we are involved in a great cosmic battle and that the prayers of the saints are crucial to the advancement of the kingdom of God (see Daniel 10:12–14 and Ephesians 6:18). We don’t need to know how it all works; we just need to know it does. The testimony of Scripture and church history is that great, Spirit-empowered, Great Commission-fulfilling works of God are preceded, carried, and prolonged by the fervent, persistent, prevailing prayers of the saints. When prayer dissipates, spiritual power dissipates.

How much enjoyment of God’s presence and experience of his power for mission are we missing out on because we simply don’t ask long enough?

Jesus Prayed

When Jesus encouraged us “always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1), he wasn’t telling us to do something that he himself didn’t need to do. Jesus knew from his own human experience that he needed to ask his Father for everything, to ask him in faith, and at times to persevere in prayer until the breakthrough came.

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. (Hebrews 5:7)

This text gives us unique insight not so much into what Jesus prayed, but into how Jesus prayed. And it has something to say to us about how we should pray.

First, let it hit you that Jesus prayed. “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving [he let his] requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Hebrews 5:7 gives us a glimpse of the glory of Christ’s humility in his incarnation. We see some of what it meant for him to empty himself by becoming human and taking the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7).

In his fully divine nature, Jesus had continual communion with his Father. But in his fully human nature, he had to pray to the Father just like we do. That’s why “he would withdraw to desolate places and pray” (Luke 5:16), sometimes praying entire nights (Luke 6:12). He knew he could do nothing on his own and was completely dependent on the Father (John 5:19).

If Jesus had to pray, and pray a lot, so do we.

Jesus Prayed with Passion

And he prayed “with loud cries and tears.” Complete dependence on God was not merely an abstract theological concept for Jesus; it was a desperate, experiential reality. This verse isn’t referring only to Gethsemane, because Jesus prayed this way “in the days of his flesh.” During Jesus’s human experience on earth, he repeatedly, and likely regularly, prayed with loud cries and tears.

Why was he moved to pray so passionately? He was keenly aware that heaven and hell were real outcomes for real souls as a result of his mission. He knew there were demonized persons needing deliverance, sick needing healing, particular gospel truths needing to be proclaimed at particular times in particular places for particular persons. He and his disciples were also usually living hand-to-mouth on a daily basis.

He also had the forces of hell constantly trying to destroy him, his disciples, and his mission. We know the spiritual warfare that erupts whenever we attempt real, meaningful kingdom labor. Imagine what it was like for Jesus.

And, of course, the cross was always looming before him, growing larger as the day drew nearer. He knew that when he offered himself as a sacrifice, and absorbed the full wrath of God for the sins of all who would believe in him, and died (John 3:16), only the Father “was able to save him from death.”

Jesus knew the nature of his freely chosen human helplessness made him dependent on the Father for all these things. So, he prayed with loud cries and tears out of his desperate human need for his Father’s help. We also desperately need the Father’s help in all these things, too, including preparing for our own death, through which we trust him to deliver us.

Why Did God Hear Jesus’s Prayers?

Would you have expected the author of Hebrews to say that Jesus “was heard because of his reverence”? Wouldn’t we have expected, Jesus was heard because he was God’s Son? Jesus had positional access to the Father, and in him so do we. But the author didn’t say that. He chose “reverence.” Why?

Reverence is a holy fear of God. Now, this is astonishing: God the Son regards God the Father with an appropriate holy fear. The Son is not afraid of the Father’s judgment. He simply has the appropriate regard of the Father’s omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and eternal greatness.

Terror is what persons experience when they truly encounter God and yet have no access to him as a Father. Reverence is what persons experience when they have free access to the Father as his children — when they know the Father, and believe what the Father says.

Reverence isn’t a feigned respectful or formal demeanor we put on when we pray to God that looks quite different from the rest of the way we live and talk. Persons who truly revere God do so all the time. When you hear them pray, it doesn’t sound much different than the way they usually talk. You can just tell they believe they are speaking to God himself.

Their reverence enables them to approach him like the loving Father that he is. God’s throne is a throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). So, a reverent child of God feels the freedom to come to him in desperate need, even with loud cries and tears, because God is honored when that child comes to him in desperate faith.

If we lack reverence for God, it shows up in the way we live and in the way we pray. These are indicators that we do not know him like he wants us to, and therefore our faith in him is very small, which is likely why we aren’t realizing more answered prayer.

Pray Like Jesus

If this is true about us, let’s forget trying to guilt ourselves into praying more, except to allow our guilt to drive us to repentance. Rather, let’s note how Jesus prayed and pray like him!

Jesus prayed because he knew the extent of his human need. He prayed in reverential faith because he believed God and loved him with all his being. And he persisted and prevailed in prayer, sometimes praying with loud cries and tears, because he knew what he was up against, the strongholds imprisoning people, and the cost of his mission. He prayed, and he was heard.

We only pray when, like Jesus, we are aware of our real need. The greater this awareness is, the greater our sense of desperation for God’s help. And the greater our desperation for God, the more we will pray. And the more we will pray, the more we will experience the joy of his presence and his power for mission.

That’s why God wants us to pray like Jesus. He wants us to come to him. His great invitation to us is to come and ask, to ask in faith, and to keep asking in faith until we receive his answer.

Do not lose heart; do not give up; pray, even with loud cries and tears, until God grants the breakthrough you seek.

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-key-to-spiritual-breakthrough

Patient in the Results

Sermon of the Day: Do Not Avenge Yourselves but Give Place to Wrath

Exodus 40:36-38

36 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

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Good Morning Men.

I want to try and merge a few things that have been on my heart, been going on my life, and what I have been reading in God’s Word.

Starting with the above verse, I read a commentary from Dr. J. Vernon McGee about Numbers 4. In this commentary Dr. J. described the three different families, of the Levite clan. These were the dedicated priests for the Israelites. They all had their jobs, and knew exactly how to do it and by the movement of the cloud or pillar of fire they would know when to do it.

As I was reading about how this all took place, my mind started wondering. I started to put myself there and easily saw myself getting negative. If I am real honest, I could see myself complaining like; “God we just did all this work setting up, and now we gotta move again!?” I could see the ignorant flesh that resides in me really trying to resist what God was doing.

For us today that cloud represents the Holy Spirit. For a born again believer in Jesus Christ we have put to death our old nature, our old self, our old ways. We are a new creation in Jesus Christ. Through this “New Birth” the Holy Spirit now resides in us. However this is not an overnight process. In fact this is a life long journey of learning to hear, listen (there is a difference), act and follow the nudging’s of the Holy Spirit.

Recently God impressed upon my heart about this type of prayer. Let me quote exactly from my notes:

‘ Praying before, during and through all things. Why? Because we are going to change God’s plans? No! Because by having this heart and mind we are acknowledging that HE stands over everything and we kneel right beneath all HIS decisions and judgement’s.’

So obviously by not having this heart and mind, there is no kneeling beneath the Almighty God. In fact we try to stand above Him and tell Him how to operate our world.

There are a few things going on in my personal life were I am really trying to learn this. To pray for the big and the small equally. With a complete trust and understanding of Who really is in control.

As I combined these thoughts with what I have been reading it reminded me how important this discipline is. Without this constant communication with God, without learning to trust Him above all, to seek Him above all, to set our minds on the things above. We will continue to feed a mind and a heart that revolves on the flesh rather than the Spirit.

My hope and prayer for all of you this morning is that if you desire more of God in your life, that you would whole-heartedly seek Him. Not for a day, not for a week, in fact with no set date. But learn to seek Him constantly through the big and the small, being patient in the results.

Grace and Peace to all of you.

 

Do You Think You’re the Exception?

Sermon of the Day: How to Kill Sin, Part 1 

FEBRUARY 17, 2017

Do You Think You’re the Exception?

Diagnosing Selfish Pride

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Article by

Staff writer, desiringGod.org

At the root of many of our sins is an assumption that we are exceptional. I don’t mean “exceptional” as in extraordinarily gifted, like “she’s exceptionally good at math.” I mean exceptional as in what applies to most people doesn’t apply to me.

Do any of these ring familiar?

  • I’m running late, and don’t want to be thought of as disorganized or inconsiderate, so I will make myself the exception to the speed limit instituted for the safety of everyone else (unless I spot a police car).
  • Though I know the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12), and that we should be slow to anger (James 1:19), and answer softly (Proverbs 15:1), I’m angry right now, so I’ll speak harshly (and make myself the exception). Don’t take offense, but understand that this is just the way I am (but if you speak harshly to me, I will definitely take offense).
  • I know that small/accountability group members should confess sin to each other in order to battle future sin and walk in humility, but this sin is too embarrassing to confess to anyone, and it really will make me look bad. So, I’ll make myself the exception and just try harder on my own. Maybe I’ll confess it when I can talk about it as something I have victory over.
  • I know the law says I’m underage for drinking alcohol, but I’m a legal adult, I think it’s a stupid law, I’m not going to get drunk, and I just want to have some fun with my friends. So, I will make myself the exception.
  • I know the Bible says we shouldn’t neglect meeting together (Hebrews 10:25), but Sunday’s my only day to catch up on sleep and just relax (I mean, it’s the Sabbath, right?). I won’t get that much out of the singing or the sermon anyway, and besides, the early church didn’t have Spotify and podcasts. Therefore, I’ll make myself the exception to needing to be a regular active part of Christ’s body in a local church (1 Corinthians 12:27).
  • Pornography may be dangerously addictive to some people and damage how they view others and destroy their ministries and contribute to the slavery of sex trafficking, and I know Jesus says lust is a sin (Matthew 5:28). But I will make myself the exception to these warnings because I won’t let any of those things happen to me. One more indulgent look isn’t going to affect the sex trade, and Jesus will forgive me, like he always does.

We could go on and on, couldn’t we? We could fill books, and perhaps we should. Writing them out and reading them helps expose these exceptional assumptions for what they really are: selfish pride.

Pride in Our Presumptions

Behind every willful sin, every conscious act of disobedience to God, is a presumption that what God, or his rightful authority (whether government, school, employer, or parent), says is best for the masses around us need not apply to us. We are born with a belief that we are the best arbiters of righteousness and justice for ourselves, and that we are the most reliable definers and appliers of love, honor, and respect.

We love to feed ourselves such baloney. But it’s far worse than baloney; it’s old-fashioned, Eden-birthed, sinful, self-centered pride.

We know this because we can see it clearly in others, especially when their presumptuous baloney directly affects us. We do not like when someone inconsiderately speeds past and cuts us off in traffic, or speaks harshly to us, or isn’t honest in our small group. We are unhappy when our child drinks illegally, someone in our church neglects everyone else, or someone we know is viewing pornography. When others behave this way, we can quickly call it exactly what it is: selfish — which is how pride behaves.

It’s ironic, isn’t it, how we feel indignant at others’ selfishness and yet indulge in our own?

But why does our selfishness not seem that bad? Because pride skews our self-perception. When we evaluate our own motives and actions, unless we are ruthlessly intentional, we will view ourselves through the rose-colored lenses of delusional pride.

Quick Diagnostic Check

This kind of pride weighs us down (Hebrews 12:1) more than we know, because it is a gateway sinful disposition. It opens our heart-door to innumerable sins with the rationalization that they really won’t affect us much or do much damage.

Meanwhile, just like one more cigarette, one more piece of pie, or one more lust-filled click, the weight grows a little heavier, our spiritual affections grow duller, our capacity for love grows smaller, and our tolerance for anything that interferes with our selfish desires grows thinner. Before we know it, we wake to some spiritual health crisis and wonder why this is happening.

If you want to do a quick diagnostic check, here are a few common symptoms of a ponderous exceptional pride:

  • A lack of real gratitude (translate: Of course I should receive this good).
  • Bitterness (I shouldn’t have to bear with adversity, conflict, suffering, pain, disappointment, or grief).
  • Envy (I should be honored and admired like that).
  • Impatience (I should not have to bear with this person’s foibles or sins).
  • Irritability (I should not have to endure this inconvenience).
  • Covetousness (I should have what they get to have).
  • Indulgence (I should be able to have what I crave).

Lay Aside the Exceptional Weight

As heirs of original sin, we all pick up these close-clinging sin-weights and so must learn to lay them aside as quickly as possible (Hebrews 12:1). We pick them up because they look like keys to the freedom of self-determined autonomy. But they end up being heavy balls-and-chain of self-indulgence that drain the true joy that only comes when we give to others (Acts 20:35), serve others (Mark 10:43–45), honor others (Romans 12:10), and love others as ourselves (Matthew 22:39).

Jesus came to liberate us from exceptional pride so we can live in the glorious, humble, healthy freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:21).

We begin to lay this pride aside by honestly confessing it to God, and repenting of what manifestations we do see, and asking for the Holy Spirit to expose what we don’t see. The more we wince at praying such a prayer, the more we need to pray it.

But we don’t stop there. God has already provided us some help in the form of our spiritual brothers and sisters in our church and family. Since our pride so skews our self-perception, we need their candid observations of us as mirrors, to help us see our blind spots. Often they will be hesitant to volunteer it, so we need to humbly ask them for it, and make it safe for them to answer honestly.

We are not exceptional. But that is very good news, for that kind of exceptional only leads to the myopic misery of the self-consumed. Those who are freed from the weight of thinking themselves above the law of love, or the law of the land, realize that they deserve nothing but wrath, and find in Christ everything to be only grace. Which makes every good a gift, and every burden light. They find the glorious open door to the expansive, wonder-filled, joyful life of humility. And there they discover why Jesus calls the meek blessed(Matthew 5:5).

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/do-you-think-you-re-the-exception

Where Are You Going?

Sermon of the Day: How God Makes Known the Riches of His Glory to the Vessels of Mercy

Psalm 139:17-18

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

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Good Morning Men.

I want to share this verse and some thoughts with you guys this morning. I’m reading a book called ‘Wild at Heart’ and the author talked about finding yourself, knowing your name and knowing who you are. This reminded me of the message (Bring What You Have) I sent out the other day, that still has been circling in my heart.

I thought the above verse would really highlight how special and important you are to God. My suggestion would be to read this entire Psalm, it is absolutely amazing.

I wanted to share share a few questions for you to ask yourself. My encouragement is that you take some time to be alone and ask yourself these questions. Be honest, be transparent and right down your answers. Most importantly ask God to help you navigate your next steps. Proverbs 3 will help you with this also.

  • Who are you? This may sound silly at first, but really dig deeper under the surface men. Who are you? What do you value? What is important to you?
  • What are you here for? Men do any of you know why your here on this earth? In your exact family? Living in the city you live in? At the job your in, etc?
  • Where are you? Where are you physically, where are you mentally, where are you spiritually, where are you in light of your goals and dreams, where are you in your marriage, etc?
  • Where are you going? This is my favorite question. I believe having all the other ones answered helps this one. I’m pretty sure it’s difficult to answer this one without having the other one’s at least partly answered.

Go and Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

 

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