One Honest Man!

One of the most honest people (if not the most honest in many ways) that Jesus ever dealt with is found in Mark 9:17-27.

Who is this man? We don’t much about him, but we know enough. He was a father who needed help for his child. He was a man caught in a situation that he could not fix by himself. He was a man who was heading in the right direction when he came to Jesus.

So what makes this man so honest? It was his willingness to admit his weakness!

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”” (Mark 9:23-24).

The man knew he needed stronger faith. The man knew that pride would get him nowhere in this situation. The man knew there was only one place to go, not only for his child, but for himself as well. That’s why this man was one honest man!

This isn’t an opportunity to talk about how a person can do whatever they want if they just have the faith. It’s an opportunity to learn that if God wills something to be done, then He can provide us with the faith to see it through – if we’re willing to be honest with Him that is.

Just how honest, brothers and sisters, are we willing to be with ourselves? Lord, help us with our unbelief!

For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” (Galatians 6:3)

#faith, #help, #honesty, #pride, #unbelief

Deny, Deny, Deny?

Denying our problems only denies the solution.

Running from our problems will leave us with one of two results:

1) Our problems eventually catch us after we’re miserably worn down

2) We run so far we’re never the same

Deceiving others is possible, while it will only last so long – but deceiving ourselves can be a harder situation to overcome. Humility is the medicine for the soul. Pride is allergic to humility. Humility, in its humble way, takes up all the available room that pride and its friends self-centeredness, lust, greed, envy, anger and the past tries to lay claim too.

Overcoming our shortcomings can be a long journey at times. Standing strong in the Lord and in the power of his strength helps to not only overcome the world, but also our self when we get in the way. When we’re covered in the spiritual armor and carrying a shield in one hand and a sword in the other, it becomes impossible to hold on to the weights and sin that so easily ensnare us from time to time (Ephesians 6:13-18, Hebrews 12:1-3).

The policy of the world is deny, deny, deny; while the policy of the Christian must be confess, confess, confess.

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

(1 John 1:5-10 – NKJV)

#confession, #deception, #gospel-armor, #humility, #pride, #sin

Illustrations: Humility

It has been a busy week, so here is a medley of 3 illustrations on humility that I plan to use this Sunday in my sermon.  Oh, how our world needs more humble, selfless servants of God!  May He help each of us so to be!

Winston Churchill was once asked, “Doesn’t it thrill you to know that every time you make a speech, the hall is packed to overflowing?” “It’s quite flattering,” replied Sir Winston. “But, whenever I feel that way, I always remember that if, instead of making a political speech, I was being hanged, the crowd would be twice as big.”

Norman McGowan, My Years With Winston Churchill, Souvenir Press, London.


 Lincoln once got caught up in a situation where he wanted to please a politician, so he issued a command to transfer certain regiments. When the secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, received the order, he refused to carry it out. He said that the President was a fool. Lincoln was told what Stanton had said, and he replied, “If Stanton said I’m a fool, then I must be, for he is nearly always right. I’ll see for myself.” As the two men talked, the President quickly realized that his decision was a serious mistake and, without hesitation, he withdrew it.

Source Unknown


 A truly humble man is hard to find, yet God delights to honor such selfless people. Booker T. Washington, the renowned black educator, was an outstanding example of this truth. Shortly after he took over the presidency of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he was walking in an exclusive section of town when he was stopped by a wealthy white woman. Not knowing the famous Mr. Washington by sight, she asked if he would like to earn a few dollars by chopping wood for her. Because he had no pressing business at the moment, Professor Washington smiled, rolled up his sleeves, and proceeded to do the humble chore she had requested. When he was finished, he carried the logs into the house and stacked them by the fireplace. A little girl recognized him and later revealed his identity to the lady.

The next morning the embarrassed woman went to see Mr. Washington in his office at the Institute and apologized profusely. “It’s perfectly all right, Madam,” he replied. “Occasionally I enjoy a little manual labor. Besides, it’s always a delight to do something for a friend.” She shook his hand warmly and assured him that his meek and gracious attitude had endeared him and his work to her heart. Not long afterward, she showed her admiration by persuading some wealthy acquaintances to join her in donating thousands of dollars to the Tuskegee Institute.

Our Daily Bread

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up  (James 4:10)

…be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.   Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time  (1 Peter 5:5-6)

#arrogance, #humility, #illustrations, #pride

Prayer, Pride and Purgatory

These three items in the title are on my mind this morning. Let me explain:

  • We all have problems and pains in this world. They are a part of the human condition. As a Christian, we hear that we should give our problems to the  Lord. But what does that mean in a practical sense? How do we accomplish that? Read my discussion and comment, please.
  • I am so proud of the new Forthright Magazine page! It is gorgeous and I pray much good is done in the Lord’s kingdom, as a result. Remember, if you  were a subscriber before, nothing has changed. We hope even more people will subscribe and that our readership will increase. Please pray about this work and frequent the page. And of course, please promote us on your website and add a link, if that would be appropriate.
  • In mid-August, I am to speak on the doctrine of Purgatory for a lectureship. I am reading Dante’s Divine Comedy, where much of the doctrine originates. Your input and information on the false doctrine of Purgatory would be appreciated.  By the way, if you have a major doctrine in your denomination and it isn’t even discussed in the International  Standard Bible Encyclopedia, that is a bad sign. 🙂

#forthright, #joy, #prayer, #pride, #problems, #purgatory

"Poor in spirit" – JAM

“If two angels were to receive at the same moment a commission from God, one to go down and rule earth’s grandest empire, the other to go and sweep the streets of its meanest village, it would be a matter of entire indifference to each which service fell to his lot, the post of ruler or the post of scavenger; for the joy of the angels lies only in obedience to God’s will, and with equal joy they would lift a Lazarus in his rags to Abraham’s bosom, or be a chariot of fire to carry an Elijah home.”—John Newton

“Blessed are the poor in spirit”. I have so much to learn about being poor in spirit. I did learn that the word “poor” means destitute, bankrupt. It is the word used to describe the beggar Lazarus at the rich man’s door. But my difficulty is not in grasping the meaning but applying it to my own spirit. I like to be patted on the back. I like to receive recognition for serving well. I am so far from what I need to be!

#humility, #just-a-minute, #pride

Arrogate to ourselves the Lord’s perch

Why do people look at the outside and judge so quickly? Stephen said it was because of pride, and this would be true. But pride in what? He offers that we have pride in thinking our insights are better than another. Mike said it is because people are lazy and impatient. This, too, is true. But why are people lazy and impatient? Ed said it is because it is the nature of who we are, we are people of the flesh and those of the fleshly way of thinking need to retrain their mind. Paula said it is because with our own field of experience, and this certainly is true. Finally, Glenda said it is because we do not look at people through the eyes of love. In sum, the following is offered: pride, lazy and impatient, our fleshly environment is at war with God’s standard and we are susceptible to weakness, our point of reference encourages (allows) us to interpret quickly, and we refuse to operate by the standard of love.

All these answers, it seem to me, are “spot on” answers. Whatever it is that I say I can’t imagine it will offer any improvement. Nevertheless, not bet being one shy of sharing an opinion, I will offer what I think along these lines.

I think the best answer to this is associated with the following: we think our insights are ….well….insightful (Stephen); we believe our opinion of a situation gets right to the heart of the matter and because we have a frame of reference (Paula) we have utmost confidence that we have it exactly right. This is associated with that which Glenda offered, and that is the lack of the love of Christ in our heart toward another person. It might be that we are correct in our interpretation of a situation, circumstance, event, or matter, but are we so sure of that – especially since we have not enough information from which to judge? Because the Lord knew all things that were before Him, He could make a perfect judgment each time. We, on the other hand, have not that capability. Still, we arrogate to ourselves the Lord’s perch.

This brings us to what Mike and Ed offered. It is most definitely the case that we are rather impatient and that our struggles with the flesh is over-whelming. We drive up to McDonald’s and want it our way (Burger King), and if we do not get it, it is likely we will stop and take up the matter with the store. All this is likely to take 10 minutes at most. When we sit down at a restaurant if the waitress does not come by within five minutes of our arrival, this gets our attention. We have grown accustomed to moving quickly and receiving quickly (cf. internet traffic). This plays well with our problem of judging much too quickly. Add to this the constant struggle of wanting to interpret accurately what we witnessed and talk about things with other people – with no malice intended (presumably) we have a ripe situation for trouble. If one adds malice as an intention, then a disastrous conflagration is stooping at our door!

#arrogance, #baggage, #impatient, #judging, #love, #pride

Pre-judging

Why do we do it? Because of pride. We think we are better in some way–our insights are better, our knowledge of the Scriptures is more extensive, our experiences make us better equipped to “know” the proper course, others seem to have more problems than we do so we are “obviously” better equipped to make judgments, etc. As I use “we” throughout this, I really mean “I.” As I’ve confessed before, Phil. 2:3,4 is most challenging to me. It is hard to consider others as better than oneself. It’s not natural, but it is what we are called to strive for.

#prejudging, #pride

Simple living – JAM

44-year-old Russian math genius, Grigory Perelman, recently said no to the prestigious one million dollar “Millennium” mathematics prize awarded by the Clay Institute in Cambridge, Maine. He had solved the one-hundred-year-old Poincaré conjecture, one of the most complicated mathematical problems in the world – so complex that it took several years for other experts to confirm he was correct. Perelman is quite content to live in a humble St. Petersburg apartment and care for his mother. In our greedy self-centered society, it might do us well to consider that happiness does not depend on possessions. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#greed, #just-a-minute, #pride

When dealing with people, remember you a…

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.

Dale Carnegie, American motivational writer (1888-1955)

#logic, #motivate, #people, #prejudice, #pride, #vanity

My personal Bible verse for 2010 is Prov…

My personal Bible verse for 2010 is Proverbs 12:1. Here Solomon, through inspired wisdom states, “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Mistaking instruction for unfair criticism or nit-picking will result in a lack of growth in knowledge and maturing as a Christian. Perhaps the biggest culprit of this phenomena is our pride. We are warned time and time again about pride and told to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord.

I am posting this verse in a highly visible place to remind myself to be humble and take correction.

#humility, #knowledge, #maturity, #pride, #spiritual-growth, #wisdom