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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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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The Servant Leadership Example of Jesus

For each Faith Elder meeting over the last several months we have devoted time for teaching from a book on “servant leadership”.  A book that features Jesus himself modeling various aspects of leadership while he walked on this earth. The deacon board and church staff are also doing the same and as with the elders, each deacon and staff member take their “teaching turn” on different weeks.
 
It has been a super good lesson and reminded me of two important truths. The first is that study has to be intentional by spending time in God’s word to really know him, and the second is the importance of prayer and discussion with like minded brothers and sisters in the Lord. Both are required for growth in relationship with the Lord and with each other – especially in times of turmoil and distraction.    

The “servant leadership” teaching focused on one’s heart, head, hands and behaviors. It was helpful to see how Jesus focused on these areas of teaching and application with His disciples in the gospels. The focus scriptures in each meeting were those with which we were all familiar, but this teaching helped to draw out the deeper purpose of what Jesus was doing. These were applications not just for servant leadership in and around the church (body of believers) but in all areas including jobs, neighborhoods and families. Jesus is our perfect example!

The Heart

The heart was the first topic of teaching since it is the center of one’s being as is stated many times in scripture. Heart change is what moves a person from what is inherently a self-serving lifestyle to a serving lifestyle out of thankfulness for what Jesus has done for us.  It is what drives one’s motivation and intent to lead by serving. It very simply is giving instead of getting.
   

The Head

After the critically important element of the heart, the head comes into play to shape our belief system and perspectives. It is the renewing of our minds by being transformed from the inside out and no longer conforming (or desiring to conform) to the things of this world (Romans 12:2).
 

The Hands

Once the heart and head are engaged correctly, the work of the hands follow since the actions are now aligned with and becomes one’s behaviors.  With the heart, head, and hands working together, it can now be about the “being” of relationship and serving out of thankfulness and not just about the “doing” of the work. 
 

The Habits

The habits in which one seeks to engage was the last area of servant leadership development that is super important to ensure positive and helpful disciplines are maintained. The battle of getting and doing for self (the wrong reason) instead of giving for the Lord can often lead us the wrong direction.  Godly habits that involve solitude, prayer, and scripture meditation – all of which Jesus practiced often throughout his life on this earth – are the example He left us to follow to keep us moving in the right direction.
 
Reading this material may make servant leadership seem fairly simple, but as with many things the application can be challenging. Remember, it took a while for the disciples to get it even though Jesus was the best teacher ever and modeled it perfectly. That said, we can be sure Jesus will be patient with us too as we seek to live the greatest commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” as we seek to become all God created us to be. 
 
Author:
Elder, Faith Assembly 

 

 

 

 

 


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Entering God’s Rest – Our First Work

With the times we live in, it seems like everyone is on edge. I’m fairly certain you feel it. Life is fragile and uncertain, but God invites us on different path – to enter His rest.

Jesus knew His limits and adjusted His daily rhythms on a regular basis – and He was God! He lived by the Father’s guidance and found rest – even when (to the disciples anyway) it seemed as if everything was falling apart. If even Jesus was mindful of limits, why do we feel like we can keep relentlessly pushing without slowing down to tend to our souls?
 
We need God to bring us back to His still waters and restore our souls on a regular basis. This needs to be our first work before our earthly work begins. Check out these 5 practices to help you enter His rest.
 

Give yourself space to be quiet.

Most of us are not good at sitting in the quiet, allowing our soul to be vulnerable before ourselves and God. It can be a raw and frankly, uncomfortable place to be. Because we are so wired to solve problems and fix things, we often avoid what’s really going on inside us rather than quieting and allowing ourselves to hear.

In her article Solitude: A Place for Your Soul to Come Out, Ruth Haley Barton points out the importance of creating time and space for being with what’s real… “to celebrate the joys, grieve the losses, shed my tears, sit with the questions, feel my anger, attend to my loneliness. This kind of ‘being with what is’ is not the same thing as problem-solving or fixing because not everything can be fixed or solved. Rather, it is to allow God to be with me in the midst of what’s real and to wait for Him to do what is needed.”
 

Enjoy resting in the abiding – rather than the doing.

You can relax in God’s presence. Allow yourself to soak in the security and calm assurance you have in Jesus. He says He loves you, He will never leave you, and says not to be afraid. When the Israelite people were faced with the Red Sea in front of them and no way out, Moses said to them, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today…The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.” (Exodus 14:13, 14) We can relax in the presence of Abba Father, knowing He in control of all things.

Notice the beauty around you – even in the smallest of things.

God speaks to us on a daily basis. Do we hear Him, see Him? All of creation shouts to the glory and beauty of God. Even the smallest of things can point us to His goodness. God is the Author of everything beautiful in the world – from tender affection to the wonder of delicate spring flowers on a mighty mountain. The cool thing about slowing down to notice is it cultivates gratefulness and wonder in our hearts, drawing us back to Him.

Embrace your limits.

Are you stressed and anxious? Tense and triggered? Our body often signals us in ways we often ignore. Lay these before the Lord and mentally/emotionally detach from the stress. Philippians 4: 6-7 says “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Perhaps instead of stretching our limits in every way, we need to embrace them as God-given. Limits keep us grounded, keep us humble, and grows us in wisdom.

Drink in the scriptures.

In Psalm 23, David mentions God’s “rod and staff” and how he finds comfort in them. The good Shepherd guides and directs us through His Word. Find assurance, life-changing truth, and peace through taking in and meditating on His words. We often think in terms of “doing ministry” for Him, but He desires to work in you first. Be still before Him so he can meet you in the stillness – He has ministry to do in your spirit. The Lord is our shepherd – we have all we need in Him (Psalm 23).

Cling to Jesus friends. By entering into His rest first, a solid foundation is built. With His guidance, we find health, wisdom and maturity for all earthly work to follow.
 
Author:
Michelle Marx
Read more from this author on the Michelle Renee Speaks Blog.

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Lord, Give Me Faith!

“I may be weak, but Your Spirit is strong in me. My flesh may fail, but my God You never will.”

 
These are the lyrics to a song called “Give Me Faith” written by Elevation Worship. I’m not sure about you, but these lyrics speak to me every single day of my life. I can think of times where I let my wife down by something I said or did. Or times when I messed up by acting a certain way while competing in sports. Or the countless times in a day when I fail God by not trusting what He says.
 

“Give me faith, to trust what you say. That you’re good and your love is great.”

 
God’s word – the Bible – is full of wisdom and is truly the guide to living a life with Christ. I have to continually ask God to help me in my faith of what he says. From everyday situations like how I respond to someone who has made me upset, to major life situations like losing a friend or family member.
 

God tells us in His word that he will never leave us or forsake us.

 
There are countless examples of men and women in the Bible who trust God and live out their faith. We can look at Abraham and his predicament to sacrifice his own son. Was that ever God’s plan… I don’t believe so. God’s plan was for Abraham to take the next step of faith and trust in his relationship with him. We can look at the life of Joseph. Joseph went through a lot of trials and unfair treatment, but he never lost his faith in God and continued to trust him through the those times. GOD NEVER LEFT Joseph.
 

It’s easy to trust God when things are going well, but our true test of faith comes when life gets a little bumpy.

 
Just because we follow Jesus and are Christians, doesn’t mean life will be easy. But we can trust God’s word that He is good and His love for us is great. That he will never leave or forsake us and has a good and perfect plan for each of our lives.

I believe the first step in growing our faith and trust in Jesus is to recite the lyrics that I first mentioned. “I may be weak, but Your Spirit is strong in me. My flesh may fail, but my God you never will.” I know in my own life that this is a daily process to acknowledge that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. Through my weakness, He is strong.

Please take the time to listen to “Give Me Faith” by Elevation Worship. Pour out your heart to God and ask him to Give you the faith to trust what He says. Because He is good and His love is great.
 

 
 
 
Author: 
Worship leader

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New Wine – God Pouring New Life into Us

In our church, we sing a song called New Wine. It has a lot to do with the condition of our heart. Jesus said in Mark that new wine is never placed into old wine skins because as the aggressive fermentation process permeates the skin – a previously used skin that is already worn and saturated will burst with the pressure.
 
Mark 2:21 – 22 (NASB) “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results. No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”

Mark’s implication is that our hearts are like wine skins, and God is always looking to pour new life from Himself into them. If our hearts are worn and saturated with an older fragrance, an older fermentation, we are not able to receive the new life He wants to pour into us.

Lamentations 3:22 – 23 reminds us, “The Lord’s lovingkindness indeed never ceases, for His compassions (mercies) never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (NASB)
In Isaiah He says, Isaiah 43:19 (KJV) Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
 
As creatures of habit, it’s easy to slip into even spiritual patterns that eventually become stale. While we may be content with the stale condition of our hearts, that sentiment may not be shared by the One who knows us and loves us most.

What God is looking for from us is a soft openness to His continual outpouring of His mercies (Lam. 3). That softness is actually what creates a new wine skin in us.

David said in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”.
 
Paul put it this way, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. Behold, old things have passed away all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

That softness before Him gives Him the perfect conditions for creating something new in you and me. He pours in His newness of life and we are able to grow in Him as His Spirit permeates through the walls of our heart permanently becoming part of us down to the smallest fiber.

 
He instills in us a flavor and an aroma of His personal presence in us, and His character begins to flow from us as it matures into the fine quality of His vintage or timeless Holiness.
 
But, if we are stubborn, selfish, arrogant, rebellious or sullied by addiction to what we personally want, then He is unable to pour in Himself since the skins – our hearts- are too weak to sustain or withstand Him.

Today is a good day to start over… fresh.

 
Ask Him to create in you a new heart… to do something new in you… and show you how His mercies are new every morning.
 
check out The song, make it your prayer, and surrender to the work He is doing in your life today..
 

 
Author:
Lead Pastor, Faith Assembly

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