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’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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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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The Cost of Christmas

What do you think about when someone says Merry Christmas? Does it take your mind to warm and fuzzy places? Does it make you anxious? Fill you with joy? Make you sad? Excited? The Christmas season seems like a time that is highly influenced by our history, our gains and losses, and our present circumstances. 

Christmas brings us back to the power of the gospel

The season gives us a chance to enjoy traditions, gift-giving, and precious time with family. We might even take in a special Christmas service to remember the story. But it’s about more than that – so much more.
 
For believers, Christmas brings us back to the power of the gospel. It encourages us to look at the Christ child in light of the cross. It wasn’t glittery, it was less than ideal. Full of wonder, but unexpected. Beautiful, but messy. 
 

Christmas reminds us that sin has a cost.

Without this miracle – the Word becoming flesh – we would be utterly lost, without a way to be reconciled with God. We had dug ourselves a hole we couldn’t climb out of. The cost was too high. But God made a way – He sent a Redeemer.
 
Because of God’s great love for us, He gave his only son to pay the steep price of sin once and for all. Jesus, who laid aside His glory for the glory of the Father, became our Emmanuel. God with us – now and forever! Check out how this translation reads:
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. John 3:16-17 (The Message)
 
This is the good news the angels were talking about when they appeared to the scared-out-of-their-mind shepherds in the field. 
Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Luke 2: 10-12 (NIV)

 

Christmas led to sacrifice

The kingdom of God came in the form of a baby. God became man. The Word became flesh. I don’t think the disciples saw it coming that the Messiah – the one they’d been praying for – did not come to build the Kingdom on earth by revolution. Rather, the real revolution was one of the soul – our sin covered by Jesus blood once and for all. Only the Lamb of God could take away the sin of the world. We now have the opportunity to be clean and free from our past, reconciled to God, and alive in Him forever.
 
Does it mean life is perfect now? Nope. But because of the babe who became a man – this Jesus – we can now live a transformed life in and through His grace alone. We don’t have to earn it. But we can be transformed by it if we choose.
 

So when we celebrate Christmas, let’s remember this gift. The gift that brought healing of the soul. The gift that came at such a high price. Like his coming, our lives may be messy, but because of Jesus, they are beautiful.

 
There’s only one God that stepped down from His throne out of love, to save a world torn apart by sin. There’s only one King that did that for me – His name is Jesus. Do you know him? Check out this song by Marc Martel called How Many Kings below. It talks about just that.
 
If you don’t know Jesus and would like to know more. Please contact us. We’ve love to share more about how He has transformed our lives with you.
 
Author:

Michelle Marx

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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For His Name’s Sake

Lately I’ve been reading the Psalms for my devotions. One of the scriptures I recently read was Psalm 25:11: For Your Name’s Sake, O Lord, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. The phrase For Your Name’s Sake caught my attention for a moment. but I was so intent on finding food for my current need, I moved right past it not realizing I passed up a meal.
 
A few nights later I landed on Psalm 23. Although it’s a familiar Psalm, the only one I’ve memorized, reading it again was comforting. To my surprise at the end of verse 3, there was that phrase again in Psalm 23:3b … He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s Sake. I’m embarrassed to say after all the times I’ve read this Psalm and memorizing it, I never bothered to dig into what it actually meant.
 
Let’s discover the importance of it together. First, let’s start with a few other scriptures with the same or similar wording:
For you are my rock and my fortress; and for Your Name’s Sake you lead me and guide me. Psalm 31:3
Thus says the Lord God; It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the Sake of My Holy Name … Ezekiel 36:22a
And you will be hated by all for My Name’s Sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 10:22
Nevertheless He saved them for His Name’s Sake, that He might make His mighty power known. l John 2:12
 
I soon realized these words meant for the sake of revealing God’s character and His glory.
 

The Bible is not about me – it’s for me.

In the verses above, we see God addressing a situation or action that occurs for us and for the sake of exhibiting His character and His glory. The Bible is about our Father, His love for humanity, and His desire for a personal relationship with each of us. God is significant to everything, the foundation of our existence, and is our Beginning and our End.
Questions began to pop into my mind. Am I living out God’s character in my life? Do I leave question marks in people’s minds when I interact with them? Do they wonder what kind of God I serve when I act in a way that doesn’t look like the God I say I serve?
 

Our God is righteous.

Psalm 23:3 says He leads us in paths of righteousness (uprightness) so we are upright like Him. God offers us free grace, freedom from sin, a new character (His), and all of the guidance we need to be like Him. As we walk with Him, He calls us to display a character so like His that when others interact with us they can look through us and see Him.
 

What if my lifestyle isn’t upright?

Then who God is won’t be revealed through me. The world will see a distorted view of God and what He’s like. God is trusting us to realize the importance of His name. How we do life reflects on His name and character, and the witness we’re called to be is often tarnished by how we live our lives. Knowing we have the responsibility to live our lives for His names sake is quite a challenge – it calls us to live upright lives.

We can show a frightened and stressed world there is a God who offers them peace and comfort.

 
We have a Father who offers freedom from sin, longs to teach His ways, desires a personal relationship with us, and brings the peace we all long for. Let us embrace His character as a part of ourselves so the world sees Him through us. When we realize the Bible is for us and given to us for His sake, we can be sure He will not allow us to fail in serving Him if we live lives that reflect His character.
 
Author:
Church development at Faith Assembly

 

 

 

 


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Jesus, the Bread of Life

My wife (Cindy) and I will sometimes go to a bread store about an hour from where we live. There is just something wonderful about going into this store and smelling the fresh breads that are being baked. They also give free samples of the breads so you can see if there is any particular kind of bread you may or may not like. We love the Swiss/Dill, Cheddar/Garlic, Cinnamon, and Dakota breads. The other day I was having a piece of the Dakota bread toasted with some peanut butter on it and it was delicious!
 

While I was enjoying the bread, the Lord laid upon my heart thoughts about the Bread of Life.

 
There are many verses in the Bible about this, and here just a few:

Matthew 4

Satan tempted Jesus by telling him to change the stones into bread to nourish his body. His response was that Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

Matthew 26:26

Jesus took bread, blessed it, gave it to the disciples and said “take, eat, this is my body.

John 6:33

Jesus says, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” In verse 35 Jesus says , “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger ; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.” Jesus is talking about our spiritual lives here.

John 6:51

Jesus talks about being the bread that was sent down from heaven “that whosoever eats of this bread will live forever.” Salvation!

I Corinthians 10:17

“For we being many are one bread, and one body : for we partakers of that one bread” – speaking of Jesus.
 
Here’s the bottom line. Yes, we all need nourishment for these temples God has entrusted to us to use while we walk this earth. The most important part however, is our spiritual health – partaking of the Bread of Life everyday so we can walk the earth spiritually equipped to do His will in our lives.
 
So the next time you look at any kind of bread, take time to think about the Bread of Life – Jesus – and let the Holy Spirit reveal to you the things God is wanting you to hear from Him. He alone is our sustainer, our salvation, and our hope!
 
If you need to talk to someone during these trying times, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to speak with you.
 
Author:
Ken Drew, Elder at Faith Assembly

 

 


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