Tuesday, February 28, 2017
We must become people who think and reason for ourselves. Don't let the news, fake or otherwise be the determining factor of your attitudes and joy. Don't let the highlight reels of others lives (i.e. FB) be the reason that you feel your life isn't what it ought to be.
Base your value on the value God has placed on you. Live your life knowing that God doesn't "ever" make mistakes. Be assured that God has given you gifts, talents, and endless resources enough to accomplish the things He has in mind for your life.
All you have to do is in faith move into your day having invited God to walk with you and asking Him to direct you into living your full potential in each circumstance that comes your way!
Seize the day!
- Mike <><
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Thought leaving that darkness
Would lead to a better space
Maybe even a better day
But I’m still in the rat race
Thought I’d spread my wings
Find a new breeze to lift me
Thought my song would carry
Lift me up until I was free
But freedom hides a burden
It carries with it a cost
And I’m finding only lately
That I can’t ignore I’m lost
Can’t seem to catch my breath
Nor can I see past the peak
I’m unwilling to give up
But my courage developed a leak
Desperate to conquer this fear
Longing to finally win
Wishing for some victory
Where I’m conquering over sin
Living as a force for change
A positive influence in this life
Maybe an occasional hero
A force for peace and not of strife
Put my hand into the Savior’s
Must give up standing all alone
Strong only when sharing this yoke
Because for my failings He did atone
So when you see me today
Breathe out for me a prayer
Like you I’m occasionally fragile
Though I want to be a player
Facing down these fears
Rushing into battles fierce
Giving with all my heart
Through these walls to pierce
Knowing that in Christ
A reborn heart can truly give
Have the strength to thrive
In all things genuinely live
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
I haven’t really written candidly for a little while.
If I ponder this fact… well, there are so many reasons why.
I won’t spend too long on the wrong subject and in doing that, won’t bore you.
You see, I’ve been silent more lately because… well, if you had this old heart you’d understand.
It’s been heartbreaking to watch out country become so very divided. So very lost. So very sad.
We all cry freedom and we all have different interpretations of that freedom it would seem. But are we all so very different? Don’t we want much of the same things?
The freedom to speak and in turn be heard. I mean really heard. You know, when people see past the broken and imperfect way that we communicate (the way that I communicate) and truly hear our heart cry. The quiet call of a person seeking to be understood.
Don’t most of us want to be loved and accepted for who we are? The complete package. Our beautiful imperfections and all… just loved despite our inability to fit into the false package designed by Hollywood and the media.
Seriously… don’t most of us want peace? Don’t most of us want some measure of stability? To know that we’ll be safe sleeping in our beds all night. To know we have loved ones and friends who have our backs. People and a community that we can depend on. And, a society that won’t turn its back on us just because we’re having a rough patch.
Wouldn’t most of us want people to hear us when we don’t understand something? Wouldn’t most of us like everyone to be a little more tolerant, a little more ready to walk with us in our suffering, a little more ready to forgive us when we sincerely and unknowingly went wrong?
The divides in our country… America… well, they’ve probably never seemed quite so huge as they do right now. So much hateful and ugly things being said. And nobody seems ready to lay down their swords.
I agree that there are things which are absolutely written in stone. Rights and wrongs that are non-negotiable… and yet, wouldn’t it be so beautiful if we could meet in the middle and hear each other out?
You see, there is a bridge lying between us.
Standing often unused and forgotten.
Between our two embattled sides of this once great land.
A bridge that though it requires things of us, doesn’t ask that we change before we step onto it and hopefully meet in the middle. We can use the bridge just as we are. We don’t have to dump our baggage or clean ourselves up before using it to cross to the other side.
And that bridges name is Jesus.
Unlike the average human… Jesus takes us right where we are at.
With our baggage… with our scars… with our anger… with or failures… and with our sadness and overflowing pain.
The bridge between us and God. Between us and hope. Between us and rising from the ashes of our inability to pull ourselves out of the quicksand that is the messy life we live in is Jesus on the cross taking all the well-deserved consequences for our having missed His requirements for right living.
We just need to acknowledge our having missed God’s mark for living as He has directed us to and accepting the no strings attached gift of Jesus’ sacrifice. When we truly understand the depth of what God has done for us through Christ on the cross, then guess what?
A truly changed, cleansed, and reborn heart will lead to one very great and noticeable thing in our lives:
This is the result of a lost and a sometimes hateful, sinful, and vengeful heart having been won over by the undeserved and life changing love of a God that longs to restore a relationship with those He has created for fellowship with Him.
So… how do we overcome hate with love?!
Giving up our rights to always be the one who has the last word.
Giving up our demands that we be heard, before we have truly listened and heard the cries of those around us.
Seeking God to understand how we can be a part of a solution that has real impact on the people and world around us.
Putting our needs last and becoming the servant that Jesus demonstrated that we should be.
Christian. Little Christ. Disciple. Follower. Believer. Adopted sons and daughters. Children of the King.
We only show that we are these things when we love others as He has loved us.
So, live sacrificially today. Put another before yourself. Be living proof of a loving God.
Seize the day!
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Where would we be
Or where would we turn
If we were left on our own
Would we watch our world burn
How would we live
How could we win
If those who educate us
Only focused on our sin
Some are given a great gift
Both a blessing and cross to bear
For some it is only a living
For others, a path to provide care
We cannot always clearly see
Through the mists of time
The results of our actions now
The prevention of a future crime
Trampled hearts expressed
In tears and silent screams
All could be prevented
By supporting people’s dreams
Our fulfilled futures reside
Where passions and dreams converge
When hopes and longings are trampled
Hearts songs become a funeral dirge
Let your hands be quick to service
And your hearts be ready to love
Put others needs before your own
So your efforts are blessed from above
This world doesn’t need another judge
Certainly not another hanging tree
Share the gifts of Jesus’ redemptive love
So in His sacrifice the hopeless are set free
Sunday, January 1, 2017
So… it’s been a while since I posted.
There has been so much going on both in the world at large… and here at home for my own family.
In the world at large, more specifically here in America, well… let’s just say it isn’t pretty.
Problem seemingly number one would be: Our unkind and unfriendly words towards each other.
You can call me all the names you want. It’s not like I haven’t heard them before.
But let me make this abundantly clear. That old worn out saying that says “sticks and stones… blah, blah, blah… “ C’mon I know that you know it. Well, let me say that that saying is a bunch of crap. Words do hurt.
The Bible says that the tongue is a flaming fire.
The words hurt.
They just plain hurt.
And they reveal a whole lot about the ones who are using them.
Two wrongs never make a right… and they never will.
Our race divide in this country will never go away. Not unless we agree to start from a pre-determined ground zero. And, forward motion will take a beautiful and exquisitely painful thing called forgiveness. And, something else: understanding and empathy.
Many other individuals in this country… have experienced their own disadvantages too.
You see, it’s not really about the circumstances. God says that he allows the rain to fall on the evil as well as the good. And, what’s your criteria for good anyway? Have you ever read up on what God’s standards are? They can be found in scripture… you know… the Bible.
So, what’s my point… Each of us. Every one of us. We didn’t get to choose where we were born. We didn’t get to choose who are parents are (were). We didn’t get to have a say in whether we were born to privilege or born to lack. These choices aren’t ever ours. So what you say?!
What I’m getting at is this: Yeah, your circumstances, the place you live, the stock you come from… they may not be so great. From a human perspective that is.
You may live somewhere where a stray bullet could come through your wall and take you out on any given day. You may wonder every day where your next meal may be coming from and if you’ll be going to bed hungry again today. You may live in a place where there is no lack and you never experience poverty, or hunger, or anxiety. But, no matter what your circumstances and no matter what each day brings, one thing stays as an absolute truth:
How you experience your lack or your abundance is now and will always be based on a personal choice to view it the way that you do.
There are many who live in abundance that would rather not be alive because they simply don’t recognize the blessings of their abundance, or they have found like so many have, that things, wealth, status, success, and sex just can’t fill the missing void they feel inside.
(that unfillable void… I would definitely argue, is: a relationship with your creator, the one and only God)
And, there are those who in their great poverty and hunger choose to live in gratitude for the good that comes their way.
We have choices. We can either count our blessings, or we can lament each and every day for what we perceive that we deserve and don’t have.
It all boils down to making a choice to be thankful, grateful, and the most painful of all… to accept that we must be the agents of change in our own lives. We must be our own advocate and we must be the one who decides to throw out all of the negative in our lives.
Now, I get it. That is sooo much easier said than done right? Can I get an amen?!
But, I can tell you. Please understand, (this is me being transparent here) I know depression. I know anxiety. I know fear. I am familiar with these.
And, I know how disabling these things can be. Sometimes we need counseling. Sometimes we need a close confidant that can run interference for us. If you need that, then seek them out. People are not mind readers, generally.
If you need immediate help, then seek it out and don’t delay.
All that being said though. You cannot move forward into brighter days without making a decision.
Decide today that you will seek help. Decide today that you will throw out the negative influences in your life. I know it’s overwhelming but do it one thing at a time.
You’re gonna hate me for this: Start with the television… Yes, you heard me right! Turn off the news! Do you think that the news services get ratings from positive content?
The television and social media are negative hotbeds! Gossip, misinformation, manipulation, etc. – Get rid of it as much as you can. Take a daily or weekly vacation from it and see what begins to happen. I have and it has made a difference.
Guess what? I don’t really miss t.v. most of the time and even better, you get so much time back to do more productive things.
You will immediately get to have more fulfilling relationships with the people around you too. You may find that you’ve been missing out on something valuable for a long time.
To overcome negativity, you must begin a quest to replace it with positivity.
There are many self-help books out there and many books about changing your thinking. Pick them up and read them yes, but make sure that you begin to practice what they preach.
One of the best ways to leave the old grouchy, negative self behind though is this: practice gratitude. Be grateful for the many good things that you do have:
Life and breath. A bed to sleep in. A roof over your head. Family and friends that love you. Food on the table, etc. You get the picture. I know that you may lack some of these, but I know that even in the midst of life’s inevitable storms, you can find a few things to be grateful for.
Beyond that, if you want the world to be a better place, then guess what? You need to be an agent for change. Go out of your door today, determined to be kind, to practice gratitude and thankfulness, to be selfless and helpful, to be friendly and to keep your mouth closed (like your mama used to say) when you don’t have anything nice to say.
You will be surprised by how much your day can be when you choose to focus on the positive, when you choose to be positive.
Now, this is not meant to be cliché. I know there are times when awful things happen and they are often not under our control. I know that difficult circumstances can come, but guess what? It is our choice to react in the way that we react. We must take back control of our actions and must fight the urge to be angry, vengeful, and ugly in response to the world’s ugliness. TWO WRONGS WILL NEVER, EVER MAKE A RIGHT!! – This is absolute truth.
I’m winding up here I promise.
God does not make average and ordinary. Look around at the wonders of nature. Look at the beauty of the people you love and admire. And yeah, maybe do a difficult close look in the mirror. I know, it’s awkward but guess what? There has never been, nor will there ever be, another you! You are extraordinary and unique! God does not make mistakes!! Not now, not with you, not ever!
And because of that, you have unique gifts. You have unique contributions to give to this old world. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Every day is a new opportunity to find your niche in this world. Seek God in this. Go to him in prayer and ask him what he would have you contribute to the world. In time, He will show you.
And as you find your way to a better you, others will be made better by your contributions!
The world will be made better, one person at a time. And, maybe, just maybe, the problems that we face in our country and in our world will be made less by the actions of a whole lot of individuals that decided to draw a line in time and say now is the time to be an agent of positive change.
And, that race divide I mentioned earlier, well... let's just say this. We need to be friends 1st and colors later. We need to defend one another regardless of our ethnicity, social status, or backgrounds. We need to just start from a friendly hello and become professional friend makers. Don't let fear or prejudice keep you from expanding your world and learning that it's about a whole lot more than you.
Decide today whom you will serve. Serve God. Serve humankind. Serve with kindness, mercy, and grace. Serve with forgiveness, humility, and integrity. Put others needs before your own and I know you’ll be surprised by the outcome. You will get back so, so much more than you put in.
Seize the day!
In Christ’s love,
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Courage and bravery
Faith and hope
These aren’t easily won
In sacrifice are they born
Decisions and choice
Clarity and focus
Some ingredients for victory
The foundation for finishing
Standing here on the brink
The past haunting my heels
The future requiring a leap
Indecision weighs on heavy heart
Comes down to one thing:
It leaves us shaking
Causes us to hide
It dares us to stand
And it boils down
Coalesces into a choice
Will you walk the easy way?
Will you embrace regret?
Light and dark
Confidence or Confusion
Winning or Losing
The key has been presented
We hold it here in our hands
You’ve been gifted
We’ve all been blessed
We’ve all been cursed
With free will’s heavy burden
So we stand here
On the cliffs
Overlooking the foggy shores
Our futures clouded and unknown
Fear snapping at our heels
Doubt gnawing at our hearts
Prayers whisper up to heaven
Quiet voice speaks of hope
And this hope won’t disappoint
For it overcame more than fear
Destroyed far more than doubt
Laughing, stole away death’s very sting
So we can have this confidence
Fear is such as very small thing
When in the presence of God
And we can lift our chins
We can run towards our fears
With God’s hand at our backs
Our thoughts given wings
And the courage to take flight
So we leap into the wind
Wings buoyed by His victory
We sail up and over our fears
Leaving them lying behind
Laying there in the shadows
Of an old rugged cross
Your past self formed by lies
Its burden no longer weighs
Lightened from former façade
You rise from ashes to glory
Shining like a new risen star
His spirit carries you aloft
And from this new vantage point
The past loses its iron grip
Our fears fade into the distance
So, like eagles we rise into a new dawn
Monday, November 14, 2016
One could spare their thoughts
And spend far too much time
Weighing the value of emptiness
And this society soaked in crime
Snapchat, and Twitter
Just so much hot air
And mind numbing litter
We’re all so convinced
There’s an audience out there
Needing our two cents
But truth is they don’t care
So when I empty out my heart
And it bleeds out for all to see
My thoughts fly into vacuum
Lost in the cold so far from me
The meaning vanishes without context
The point missed by all but a few
We all long for a listener
Someone to care for our heart so blue
But we’re barking up the wrong tree
And looking for love where it’s not
No commitment and an open mic
Just the right place for a soul to rot
So many shares
So many likes and views
We value the wrong things
Wonder why we lost our muse
Comes a time where we wake
Open our eyes from longest sleep
Realize all that we’ve missed
Having dug a hole so very deep
Yet a voice of hope still whispers
Behind life’s distractions deafening
Shrinking hearts recognize the sound
And strengthened there comes a reckoning
We stop addressing our every critic
No more throw pearls to swine
Set aside unaccountable podium
Realize that we’re just fine
You see we’re all wonderfully made
Each a unique and valuable soul
And yes, we have something to offer
Because our Creator gives us each a role
So turn a blind eye to the naysayer
A deaf ear to the stealer of dreams
Commit every day to your MakerAnd overcome our enemy’s schemes
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Something to keep your spirits up and focused on the right things today:
"Don't look to men for help; their greatest leaders fail; for every man must die. His breathing stops, life ends, and in a moment all he planned for himself is ended. But happy is the man who has the God of Jacob as his helper, whose hope is in the Lord his God - the God who made both earth and heaven, the seas and everything in them. He is the God who keeps every promise, and gives justice to the poor and oppressed, and food to the hungry. He frees the prisoners, and opens the eyes of the blind; he lifts the burdens from those bent down beneath their loads. For the Lord loves good men. He protects the immigrants, and cares for the orphans and widows. He turns Topsy-turvy the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever." Psalms 146: 3-10, Living Bible
Give this day to the one who holds us in the palm of His hand and pray that our nation remembers who it is that gives them (us) life and breath.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Every chance I get
I’m drowning in my falling tears
Can’t stop myself
Weeping even as the sky clears
The storm clouds boil
And my fears rage
Enemy screams and devours
Can’t seem to turn this page
Want to lift my eyes
Long to see the sun rise
Raise my voice in praise
But I’m distracted by deceiver’s lies
Watch the black and blue fall
Neither deserved this end
Wonder how this could’ve been different?
Crying to You as these knees bend
My hands bound by uncertainty
Know that I’m not a divine entity
And my answers are shallow
Weakened by my humanity
So in my impotence
I reach for the only one
That intimately peers into my soul
And mends this flesh and bone
On the horizon and coming into view
For beautiful America, Is this the end of days?
We’ve lost our way
Deeply divided and lost in hatred’s haze
And yet, there’s a quiet whisper
Echoing in His children’s prayerful pleas
Adopted children all singing a lovely chorus
Bringing hardest hearts to their knees
And you might ask what song they sing?
But you need a heart change to hear it
A desperate transformation is needed
There’s no need to fear it!
No reason to rage against brothers and sisters
Who like you long for freedom and peace
Trying to win the wrong battles again
We should instead ask for rain on this fleece
Yeah, the answers are just not easy
But we can have answers just the same
Our Lord and Savior longs to free us
Our chains melted away in eternal flame
Dear America rise up from your slumber
Adopted sons and daughters wake
Hear the battle cry of your Savior
Take up the chant for your future’s sake
There’s no more to say
And because calling’s crystal clear
Love one another as yourself
And there’ll be nothing left to fear
Again I cry out from the rooftops
America! There’s just one thing to do
Let your haughtiness turn to bent knees
Pledge your lives to the only God that loves you
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
With the recent mass shooting in Orlando, I (we) are being bombarded by massive amounts of information, opinion, and politicizing of this horrific tragedy. I wanted to “gently” put in my own perspective.
Unfortunately, being both a follower of Christ and a political conservative, I am finding myself frequently cringing at the ugly things being said about Christians as a whole. To be fair, there’s a lot of ugliness being slung all around towards a number of people groups and individuals in the aftermath of this tragedy, but as a Christ follower I want to address a couple of things.
First, I get that there are differences of opinion over what Bible believing Christians believe about marriage and sexuality. I get that. But, what you my readers need to understand is that for those of us who hold to scripture, there are things we cannot ignore unless what you really want is for us (me) to renounce our faith.
I personally hold to a very conservative view regarding scripture on many subjects. One of the core things that I hold to is that God does not change (ever). He is not moved by we humans and He does not have changeable opinions that are swept along by human cultural changes. He is rooted in absolutes whereas we humans are increasingly drowning in relativism, humanism, socialism etc. More and more where it concerns the modern human that does not follow Christ, the world is seen through a very changeable lens that for the most part cannot fathom any moral absolutes.
The world at large wants to label my (our) beliefs about sexuality (among other things) as hate. I take issue with that. Belief about what scripture labels as sin, is core to what I and most other Christians believe. Sin is what causes the divide between humanity and God. This is core to our belief regarding our need for a savior in Jesus, a savior that had to die on a Roman cross to pay for humanity’s sins. We may accept or reject the free gift of salvation offered by Christ as God is a gentleman and He does not force us to believe and obey which makes us the recipients of the greatest gift (or maybe curse) of all time.
So, bottom line for a conservative Bible believing Christian, sin is sin. That does not change and for others to judge me (us) for these beliefs is just as ridiculous as they seem to think I(we) am to think that they will change their deeply rooted beliefs.
The issue here is that apparently many people in society seem to think that in order for us to love others, we must agree with what they say and do as well. I sometimes think that we Christians are being singled out and outright “hated” more than the very groups we are claimed as hating. Since we often say “love the sinner, hate the sin,” I believe that society refuses to accept that tolerance and love can happen in the same space.
Followers of Christ know that we can definitely show love and compassion while still not agreeing with either people’s beliefs or their actions. We were not called to an easy life, we were called to be overcomers and that road is often rough. But, we do not have to walk it alone. Christ in fact asks us that we let him bear the burdens that inevitably come with life.
Now, the harder part. I am sadly very aware that some people out there, who unfortunately are being heard over social media as well as television, are in the name of Christendom preaching hate. And, the hate that is being vomited out by these “so called Christians,” is even sometimes being tied to scripture.
You need to understand something. Just as so many people in this world who falsely self-label themselves as being “you fill in the blank,” their actions often will call attention to their true nature. You need to hear this, as Christians, we are called out by not only the Bible, but also our brothers and sisters in Christ when we are not living out the type of life we are called to live. Real love reaches out and corrects or at least speaks truth to those who need to hear it even when it’s difficult because we don’t want that person to have to face the painful consequences of sinful actions. We do this knowing that just as Christ was (and is) rejected, we may also be rejected.
I accept the rejection of others who judge me because of my beliefs, and I accept that they have different beliefs and so live out actions that I do not agree with. I agree to disagree with their “chosen (free-will) lifestyles.” Hear me again people: this is called tolerance. Can you say it? There you go, I knew you could.
What I cannot accept is the interference of our increasingly socialist and dictatorial government. (both here in California (Jerry Brown) and in the federal arena (Obama)) In California, we have just been made aware in the last few days that our governor has approved 6 new gun control laws, one of which added background checks for ammo!! This law will only hurt law abiding citizens. The evil criminals that would do us harm will always ignore and find a way around the law.
Additionally, in California once again, our state government (liberal Democrats) are pushing a new bill through that would force all “religious” institutions of higher learning to immediately adopt and enforce the same secular laws, codes, and expectations that are in the secular places of higher learning, i.e. our Christian colleges would have to accept LGBT lifestyles and accommodate them.
Not once were “we the people” given a chance to vote on this. These are the actions of a dictatorship run by dictators who are giving the people no voice.
Ask yourself honestly, if you were in the position of the church at large, or the Christian people in this country who hold to the truths of Biblical scripture, how would these actions by our government make you feel? I for one am angry, sad, and scared.
If we hold to our constitution, then our government is now very much in the wrong and in violation of the core values and original laws that established our rights as citizens. Our government has crossed the line and has broken the separation of church and state by dictating what we must believe and how we live it out in our daily lives.
Bottom line is this: as Christians, we can in fact demonstrate our love for people who we believe are disregarding God’s laws and doing that which He has condemned as sin. We can love people while at the same time, thoroughly disagreeing with how they live their lives.
The people in that club in Orlando did not deserve to be judged and murdered, no matter whether I disagree with how they live or not. As a Christian I am commanded to love and to be kind to those who do not agree with my belief. I try every day to live that out.
Conversely, we as American Christians do not deserve the mistreatment or character assassinations over our beliefs either. We have the right to determine how to educate our children and ourselves without persecution by those who disagree. With true tolerance, we need to make every attempt to live in peace and love with each other. We need to accept our differences and to be kind to each other while at the same time, understanding that it’s ok to disagree and to discriminate inasmuch that we can choose who we associate with, who we do business with, and who we accept into our organizations.
Our government should stay out of our religious beliefs and stop trying to assume a dictatorial role in our lives. And, we as concerned people, Christian or otherwise need to put our government back in its rightful place. After all, they are supposed to be public servants.
Let’s stop wasting time and energy on hate. Let’s pay it forward when it concerns love. Let’s defend each other whether we agree with each other or not. After all, isn’t that part of what free speech is all about? And, let’s go after the real enemies of peace: radical Islam, those who promote artificial class, race, and economic divides that sap us of our corporate strengths, and wannabe dictators.
Don’t just pray for peace, be an instigator of peace!
Seize the day!
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
"Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you." Isaiah 60:1-2
Monday, June 20, 2016
I won’t steal the thunder from our pastor and his sermon this past Sunday. However, I was reminded in his talk by something that many of us often overlook in our daily lives. What is this hidden something you ask?
It is the danger posed by our own closely held opinions, beliefs, traditions, prejudices, and rules for living.
Hidden at the core of these things is what can at times be something good, but more often than not, it is a stumbling block to forward motion, personal growth, learning, maturing, and as followers of Christ, our becoming more Christ like. This hidden thing is none other, than this: PRIDE.
What our pastor said in passing was this, that often we even take pride in things that you might not ordinarily associate with pride. And, inherent in that, we may miss that these things are stumbling us and impeding us from becoming the persons we want to become. More than that, this strange form of pride can be the thing that keeps us from reaching the goals we long to reach.
You see, our pride can lead us to wear some things like a badge of honor. As if they marked us as walking wounded, worthy of both people’s pity and also of their admiration. Visible marks not of our longsuffering ability to rise up and conquer the world mind you, but instead as our reasons for doing exactly the opposite, to stay indoors and keep to ourselves and to accomplish virtually nothing with the lives God gifted us with.
Yes… we are to be pitied, but not for our suffering, but instead for our lack of faith to grasp ahold of the strength God offers to us for the taking. Strength by which we could be what scripture speaks of as “more than conquerors.”
So many of us lament and complain about the unfairness of life and our lack of breaks, our unfortunate position, and circumstances. And, I am not even going to debate that these things could be fact for any one of us. Many of us are sadly struggling and often with circumstances that are truly out of our control. This may seem callous of me but if you knew my life story, like you, I could tell you some hard and sad tales about my own life. Many of us do not live a charmed or fairytale like existence as much as we may desire it.
Where am I going with this, you may be asking yourself at this point.
Really, I am just going to point out that God hates pride. Not the pride that comes when you are rightly warmed and happy by a personal accomplishment, a victory over sin, or a new skill learned. No, if we proudly hang onto some weakness, some circumstance, some oppressive and difficult lacking in our lives and then we use this as an excuse for not trying, for giving up, for accepting defeat, then this is the pride that we must repent of.
This is the pride that comes before the fall. This is the pride that if we are in the midst of it, God cannot reward us or accomplish His purposes for our lives. If we are living in this, He has to shake us up. If we are living in this, we may have to get beat up and end up at the bottom. For here in the depths and in the reality created not by our circumstance, but by how we face them, is where our God can begin to teach us and lift us up. Whether we are on our faces or on our knees, we can finally hear His voice and begin to shed the heavy burdens that hold us back from the victory that God has for us. We must repent of our pride and place life’s burdens on Jesus’ shoulders where He has said He will gladly bear them.
After hearing our pastor speak of this, I was reminded that like many of you I must take an inventory of my attitudes and beliefs regarding my own life and circumstances. In order for me to continue to become the man God has envisioned for me to become, I have to see my old self crucified to my pride. Pride can only hold us back.
So, shed your pride. Shed the skin of your old self. Take up the cross we are all called to bear though yours is more than likely different than mine. Take it up and allow God to show you how you can be an overcomer. Take it up and one day you can look back on a life well lived. A life lived with no regrets.
Live well and seize the new day!