Pride and Surrender

 
The definition of pride: a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with who one is closely associated with, or from qualities or possession that are widely admired. A second definition reads pride is a consciousness of one’s own dignity.
 
I feel it is important to acknowledge that we all have some level of pride. Whether we take pride in our self-worth and social status or in our feelings of entitlement and emotions, pride takes place in each of our lives in some form.

There’s pride, then there’s… well, pride.

There is a difference between the kind of pride that God hates and the kind of pride we can feel about a job well done or the kind of pride we express over the accomplishments of loved ones. The kind of pride that can stem from self-righteous conceit is sin. God hates this because it becomes an interference – a barrier – from seeking and having a right relationship with Him.
 
Check out what the scripture says…

Proverbs 8:13  The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Galatians 6:4  But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.

2 Corinthians 7:4  I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. I all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

It is easy to become so consumed with ourselves and then, our thoughts drift far from God.

Psalm 10:4 says that In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

Provers 16;18-19 tells us that the consequences of pride are destructions and that it is better to be lowly (humble) in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.

Pride can easily keep us from taking that next step Jesus is calling us to.

That call could be to a relationship with him, to admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior and that we can’t do life on our own. Because when we put our faith in ourselves and our fellow man, we let pride sneak in. Pride tells us we can do it all on our own. As the Bible mentions, this is a path to destruction and comes before a hard fall.

Today, I want to challenge you to take a moment to reflect on your own life. Talk to the Lord about areas in your life that you need to surrender to Him. Let’s lay down our pride. The first step is confessing our sin (pride) and asking Him to transform our hearts and minds. The next step is to continue to pray and talk to Him, read and study his word and finally, get plugged into a church and have fellowship with like-minded believers.

Let’s lay it all down and surrender our pride. Make this song your prayer today.
 

Author:
Worship leader

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What would Jesus do

Parents, how would Jesus respond?

What would Jesus do
How many times do we hear the phrase practice what you preach?

As parents, one of our goals in life is to raise, godly, well-behaved, respectful and disciplined children. This task is a gift from God that we cannot handle by ourselves.

How many times do you find yourself doing exactly what you just told your child not to do? You know who will be the first to point it out too… them! As you sit there fuming with anger because of the disrespect and back talk about the issue, you have to breathe and ask yourself, “how would Jesus react?”

Wow…how would Jesus respond? That’s a stop-you-in-your-tracks moment. I would have to say that many times I have not responded how Jesus would.

How would we parent if we stopped in our tracks, and our first response was to pray for patience and direction? Then respond how Jesus would….in love! Use those moments to teach your children that we as humans are sinful and we need God’s grace each and every day.
 

Proverbs 22: 6 ESV
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

Show them you aren’t perfect but with God’s help, he can help us make the right choices. Teach them how to confess their sins and ask for forgiveness.
 

Proverbs 11: 2 ESV
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

When we hear “practice what you preach,” we often think of the moral decisions and guidance we speak of: be kind to others, share your toys, brush and floss your teeth, don’t litter. Those are all things that we should be practicing, but how can we tell our kids to do those things if we ourselves are not doing them?

What if we remember that same phrase when we mess up or sin? Let’s be an example to our children on how to react and respond to heartache, to family fights, to disappointed plans, to anger outbursts. Show them how to take responsibility for their actions no matter who was involved or whose fault it may have been. We as humans are sinful and not perfect, so until we reach heaven, all we can do is work toward honoring Christ.
 

Philippians 3: 14 NIV
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do; forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 
Do your kids see you reading your Bible as much as they see your face in your phone? UGH… guilty.

Let’s challenge ourselves to focus on Christ. If we as parents are not focused on him and making him number one in our lives, then how in the world do we expect our children to do so?

Practice first, then they will see with their eyes what is important. Then preach it so they can be challenged to do the same. Again no one is perfect and bumps in the road will come, but how we respond and steer our children during those times will help them grow closer to Him.

 
Author:
Kids Ministry Lead, Faith Grand Detour

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What’s in your heart? Where is your treasure?

Scripture often reminds me of how much Jesus knew about what was in the hearts of people. Of course He did, He is God! The heart – the center of our being, not just physically but in a spiritual sense – is what motivates who we are and what we do. The Bible talks about the heart almost 1000 times. 

The Lord says that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” Jeremiah 17:9.  This sounds pretty harsh, but God through Jeremiah was issuing a warning for us to be mindful of who we are in the natural….sinners.    

The best example of this can be seen in toddlers

I love my grandchildren, most of whom have not reached the age of accountability. So regardless of their actions, they would be a recipient of heaven if they died today. Praise God for that! It is amazing though how selfish and disobedient toddlers can be. This is the natural, undisciplined wickedness we are born with. It either grows into more rebellion as we mature, or changes once we enter into a relationship with the Lord, growing in love for God and spiritual discipline. Even then we are subject to relapses and failure, being human, which the Bible points out we need to learn from.

King David – an example of repentance and consequences

King David was identified as a man after God’s own heart. In Acts 13:22, the Lord said, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, he will do anything I want him to do.”

But wait, didn’t David fail in a big way when he committed adultery and murder to cover it up? Yes, he did. Here’s the thing though. In Psalm 51, King David pleads with God to create a clean heart in him after he commits these sins. Because of his repentance, he was restored but not without consequence.  

The good news? God restores us when we are honestly sorry, ask for forgiveness and learn from our sin. This means turning from that behavior in repentance, doing an about-face and choosing to walk in the light. But there are consequences to what we do, and it seems had David been using his time more wisely, practiced discipline and gone to battle with his men, this may not have happened.   

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also

I have heard it said that how a person spends their time and money tells others a lot about what matters to them. For the people of God, it should be obvious.  Jesus tells us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moths nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”—Matthew 6:19-21 

This is pretty clear and there’s no ambiguity in this. Now, we are expected to be wise about taking care of and providing for our families which involves a certain level of planning, but it is planning with God at the center of it considering biblical principles. If our treasures are so earthly focused, making us no heavenly good in how we spend our time and money, there must be a realignment. In this me-focused world, it’s easy to get pulled into the “you deserve it” advertising, trying to keep up with what other family or friends have or are doing, or allowing social media platforms to consume too much of your time. 

If this is you – and admittedly over the years sometimes it has been me – we need to take a breath, pray, and remember tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. We can use this reminder to refocus our priorities on storing up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust can’t destroy and thieves can’t break in and steal. 

Today, let’s refocus our hearts on Christ, determine to have a heart after God and make His priorities our priorities. He knows your heart better than anyone, including all the good and the bad. It’s never too late to turn things around. With His help, you can.

If you would like to talk with someone about these things or know more about what it means to live life with Jesus, please contact us. We’d love to talk and pray with you.

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Mighty to Save

During one of my devotional times, I read Zephaniah 3:17. As I read the verse it sounded strangler familiar. Suddenly I remembered we used to sing this song about forty years ago! It’s not a song we sing today, but I could remember the words and sang it the way I had learned it.
 
Zephaniah 3:17 KJV
The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save. He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love. He will joy over thee with singing.
 
When I finally got the tune out of my head, I concentrated on the words and what the Lord was trying to show me.
 
A little background…
There are only three chapters in Zephaniah. Zephaniah had to bring a strong message from God to Josiah the King of Judah of destruction and repentance. The Lord sent His prophet to the people because they had basically turned their backs on God and what He was going to do.
 
In verse 17, it says the Lord your God in the midst of thee is mighty. When God is in your midst, He is in you and completely covering you. Then He will save you. God will save you through whatever you are going through.
 
Then the rest of the verse should just bless the socks right off you.
 
It says He will rejoice over you with joy! That should be all our desire – to bring joy to the Lord. He will then rest in His love and He will joy over you with singing… imagine, God singing over me and you when we have brought joy to Him! This part really got to me. I tried to imagine God singing over me and I was humbled by that notion.
 

The bottom line? God takes His relationship with us very seriously, so should we! Let’s determine to bring Him joy today, and rest in His strong hands.

 
Take a moment to listen to this song that refers to this scripture. It’s not the one I had originally learned, but I think I like this one better.
 

 
Author:
Elder, Faith Assembly

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The Lord is Enough

We have the world at our fingertips.
 
Need to order something… Amazon Prime.
 
Need to watch a show.. binge watch on Netflix.
 
Need to pay someone…Venmo.
 

Need to talk to someone across the country…text, call or facetime.

Our society is so fast paced we hardly have time to think about what we are actually doing each day. God forbid if the internet is out or an app doesn’t load right away. Our culture tells us we need more and we need it right now. Our human, sinful nature also tells us we need more of whatever “it” is and we need it right now. All the things we have in life that compete for our attention is mind boggling.

Over these 34 years of life the Lord has blessed me with, the Lord often gets a hold of my heart and tells me these three words.

I am enough for you.

I was recently introduced to the song “Jireh” by Elevations worship and Maverick City Music. I fell in love with the lyrics because it’s a message that He is enough – for every moment, every circumstance, every good day and every bad day. Jireh means the Lord will provide.
 

God loves us and He will provide because He is enough, but there’s also a challenge to be content in every circumstance. We do very well at this when things are going our way. What about when things are falling apart…are we content?

I can honestly say that I’m not always content in every circumstance. With the Lord’s help I want to be the type of Christian that can say, even though my world may be falling apart, I am content in Jesus because he is all I need to see me through the storms of life.

The scriptures tell us that the Lord clothes the lilies of the valley in splendor and they do not labor or spin. Jesus tells us not to worry because we are loved, we are chosen, and He will take care of us too.

So, the next time you have the urge to want the next best thing or want your circumstances to be different, see if you can change your mindset. Instead of wanting more, choose contentment in Jesus instead.

The Lord desires an authentic relationship with you. He has chosen you, will you choose Him? If you don’t know Jesus and would like to know more, we’d love to talk with you.
 

Jireh, you are enough for us. Take a minute to soak this in:

 
Author:
Worship leader, Faith Assembly

 

 


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Lessons in Practical Leadership

In our recent move to our new home, I discovered a book given to me by my late Mother-in-law, Janice Kessel, who has been with Jesus now for almost 14 years. The book is titled Leadership by Charles Swindoll. Janice gave me this book in 1985, fresh off the first printing as we were returning from Italy from our first tour of duty in the navy and getting ready to assume command of a Construction Battalion Unit back in the good old USA. A country we had come to love even more having been gone for 2 years. Janice’s handwritten note in the book included “I hope this little book will give you some insight into the responsibilities, the satisfaction and the source of good leadership abilities.” This was 36 years ago and 11 years before I became a Christian.

Although I am sure I must have opened the book back then, I don’t remember reading the book until this recent move. Since discovering this book again, I have read it and the associated scripture many times in the last 6 months. It’s an easy read and based entirely on the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.

In the last 36 years based on my career positions, and serving as a deacon and now elder for Faith Assembly, I can confidently say that the four leadership actions the book describes from Paul’s letter are absolutely right on, not so difficult to understand, but not quite as easy to put into action without loving people. 

Without Paul using titles for the four leadership actions he describes, the book calls these:

  1. Sensitivity to Needs
  2. Affection for People
  3. Authenticity of Life
  4. Enthusiastic in Affirmation

 The scripture verses for each follow:

Sensitivity to Needs. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children (1 Thess. 2:7).

Affection for People. Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us (I Thess. 2:8).

Authenticity of Life. Nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working day and night not to be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, that you might follow our example (I Thess. 2-9-10).

Enthusiastic in Affirmation. You are witnesses and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers, just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring you as a father would his own children, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2:10-12).

The bottom line of these leadership actions for work, church, or home are:

  1. Treating and appreciating people as people
  2. Caring for them appropriately
  3. Allowing people to get to know the real you
  4. Encouraging them in the issues of life
  5. Being sensitive to promptings to keep wise boundaries as may be necessary  
When my mother-in-law wrote that I would have insight into “the satisfaction and source of good leadership abilities”, I am certain she was praying that one day I would discover it isn’t about me, it is about Jesus who modeled love and these leadership actions with great success as did many who followed including the apostle Paul! 
 
I am still working on it, and one day by the grace of God hope to get much closer to achieving it. Thank you Janice and thank you Jesus! may all of us continue to build our practical leadership skills to the glory of God. 
 
Author: 
Randy Ortgiesen
Elder, Faith Assembly

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