Tag Archives: humble

Today’s Scripture – June 10, 2017

Luke 1:46-55 (NIV) And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.”

If a person only read the first four verses of Mary’s inspired poem, they might come to the conclusion that Mary’s focus was all on herself. But the fact is, it was her recognition of the miracle that God was including her in that inspired the whole chain of thought. When someone sees the miracles that God is doing in their own lives for what they are, they can suddenly see beyond that to other ways and other places that God has worked and is currently working.

In Mary’s case, she recognized fully that she wasn’t anyone special that God should have chosen her. Instead, His selection of her to bear His Son was an act of grace, enabled by her wholehearted devotion to Him. In this one act, God had pulled her of the obscurity in which 99.99% of the people in the world live and die, and had given her a key role to play in His redemptive plan.

But in the midst of this realization, she also realized that God had always worked His plan of redemption through the lives, not of the rich and powerful, but of the non-descript and ordinary who had given their hearts to Him. Often He raised these devoted people from obscurity to high position, like Joseph the son of Israel and King David. But at the time that His call was placed on their lives, they were just normal people living out normal lives.

Mary could see that, through both her own pregnancy and that of Elizabeth, God was remembering and fulfilling the promises He had made to His people to restore them and to bless them. The two of them were not only living in the times of fulfillment, they, as humble and unassuming as they were, had been given key roles to play in that fulfillment.

Even today God is at work in the world setting people free. And even today He tends to work,  not through the rich and powerful, whose lives are often full of thier own agendas, but through the lowly and meek, the nobodys, who are humble and completely devoted to Him. Through them, God is currently changing the shape of people’s lives around the world, transforming not only their own personal futures, but actively transforming whole societies through their lives.

Father, Your ways are so different than ours, but Your ways result in transformation, while ours are so much less powerful and effective in making the positive changes we want to see. Help me, as one of Your people, to yield myself entirely to You, to never seek out the world’s approval, but only Yours; to never follow the world’s path to success, but to be willing and open to whatever You call on me to be and to do. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – December 21, 2013

Ephesians 1:3-4 (NIV):  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Many people, when they think about salvation, their thoughts frequently end right there – believing that God’s goal for each of us is to have us make a profession of faith, or say a prayer, and then He is done; mission accomplished.  But that is not the end of God’s plan for us.  It is only the beginning.

For each of us who humbles himself and comes to Jesus for salvation, the destiny God has for us is to be holy and blameless in His sight; to be fully conformed to the image of Jesus, God’s Son (Romans 8:29).  And this is not a mere “legal status” that God confers on us, calling us righteous while we are still sinners.  It is the one who actually does what is right that is righteous, not the one who merely believes in the right things (1 John 3:7-10).  The great news about Jesus is that, with His coming and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, God has made it possible for us to be genuinely holy and righteous, not just after we die and go to heaven, but to be able to serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all of our days (Luke 1:74-75).

This is God’s chosen destiny for ALL who choose Him.  This is His plan for our lives, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, God will purify our hearts, and move us from within to obey all of His commands, in ways that we could never have dreamt possible!

Father, thank You for these promises, this destiny, and all of Your power to make it come true for each of us.  Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – July 27, 2013

Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV):  “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

 

Relationships between God’s people are of major importance to Him.  It is not enough to simply avoid physical mistreatment or murder; insofar as it is dependent on us, we are to all live at peace with everyone.  (Romans 12:18)  This is especially true in relationships between one of God’s people and another; we are all brothers and sisters, children of the same Father, and must allow nothing  to come between us.  There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • ·         Our sacrificial love for each other is a clear demonstration of God’s presence and power in our midst.  (John 13:35)  If we allow hurt feelings to fester and divide us, that witness is effectively destroyed.  If we ever allow the hurt to turn into hatred or factions, or if we ever end up dividing people, forming factions, or even leaving a congregation because of it, destroying the unity in that body, those actions smear God’s name, and cast a shadow of disrepute over His character.
  • ·         God has left His people (US!) a job to do:  to evangelize the whole world (including our own Jerusalems, Judeas, and Samarias – our cities and states).  The only way that this can be effectively accomplished is if we all work together in harmony, as one body.  An arm, or a leg, or even a head all by itself can accomplish nothing.  In the same way, no one person or small block of people can accomplish God’s task alone.  He has given the manifestation of His presence to the BODY, not just to individual parts of it, and no one has all that is necessary – we must all work together.  If disagreements, divisions, or hurts divide the body, it effectively halts the work entirely, and time, energy, emotion, and even finances, must be spent trying to heal the rift and getting the body back on its feet once again.

If we realize that division has occurred in the Church, especially if it is because of something that we have said or done, we must not delay in making it right.  We should even leave the worship service to patch things up -it’s that important!  We must humble ourselves, repent, apologize, and make it right.  We must never excuse away behavior that has caused a rift; we have to own it, and put into place whatever we must to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.  After we have made peace, after we have restored unity to the body, THEN we can come and offer our worship to God, and He will receive it.

 

Father, I’m afraid that Your Church is fairly riddled with divisions and separations between brothers and sisters.  I can see that this is one huge reason why we are less effective that we must be to carry out Your mission.  Many pray for You to make us one, when the whole time it is up to US to make it right with those we have hurt.  Forgive us, Lord.  Open our eyes so that we can clearly see anyplace we must go to do the work necessary to make the healing that must take place.  Help us to know anyone who has something against us, so that we can go to them, confess, repent, and find their forgiveness, so that Your whole body may be one, and Your work move forward.  Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – May 1, 2013

Psalm 138:6 (NIV):  Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly,

but the proud he knows from afar.

 

It seems like a contradiction to many that God, though the God of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the God who is highly exalted and lifted up, shuns those who exalt themselves, and associates most closely with those who are meek and lowly.  And this is not out of pity, but because those lowly ones most clearly show God’s own character – they are most like Him.

The fact is, though He is God, though He is sovereign and all-powerful, He is also lowly in heart.  This might seem strange to many to think of Him in that way, but think about it for a minute.  From the very beginning, since the creation of the universe, God lowered Himself to make it all real.  He got His own hands dirty dealing with material things, quite literally when He formed man from the dust of the ground.  He did not delegate this task of dealing with material things to lower beings, like angels; He did it Himself.  And then He did not stand far off from His creation, but stooped down constantly to interact with these creatures that He made, walking with them, talking with them, and revealing Himself to them so that He could have a relationship with them.

Of course, the deepest lowering He ever did was the incarnation of Jesus – the God of the universe confining Himself to a physical body!  Even then, Jesus could have shown Himself as a demigod, or an avatar, powerful and unconquerable, compelling people to worship Him.  But He came as a lowly child, who grew into a real human man.  Even though His hands had created all things, He came to his creation, not “to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:28)

Even after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, God still stoops to be with His creation in powerful relationship, incarnating Himself anew in each believer as the whole Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, comes to dwell in our hearts through the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Once again, God lives in houses of clay instead of in grand palaces!  He works through those who are lowly enough to surrender their whole lives to Him – to admit from the start that they are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.”  (Revelation 3:17)  And through those lowly ones, those who are willing to stoop down to those lost and in need, those most like God Himself, He works to recreate the world.

 

Father, I must admit that I am stunned by this revelation.  It totally changes the way I see everything!  Thank You for being lowly enough, loving enough, to humble Yourself for me, for all of us!  Thank You for revealing Yourself in ways that we can understand.  Thank You for all of it!  Amen.

 

In God’s kingdom, it is…helpful to picture a huge saucer into which is thrown all the people of God in all their giftedness, from the least to the greatest.  Those most strongly gifted for ministry will not rise to the top, but sink to the bottom, where they may undergird and provoke (in the original sense of “challenge” or “call forth”) the rest of the people of God.  (Columbanus:  Letter to a Young Disciple)

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Today’s Scripture – May 1, 2013

Psalm 138:6 (NIV):  Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly,

but the proud he knows from afar.

 

It seems like a contradiction to many that God, through the God of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the God who is highly exalted and lifted up, shuns those who exalt themselves, and associates most closely with those who are meek and lowly.  And this is not out of pity, but because those lowly ones most clearly show God’s own character – they are most like Him.

The fact is, through He is God, though He is sovereign and all-powerful, He is also lowly in heart.  This might seem strange to many to think of Him in that way, but think about it for a minute.  From the very beginning, since the creation of the universe, God lowered Himself to make it all real.  He got His own hands dirty dealing with material things, quite literally when He formed man from the dust of the ground.  He did not delegate this task of dealing with material things to lower beings, like angels; He did it Himself.  And then He did not stand far off from His creation, but stooped down constantly to interact with these creatures that He made, walking with them, talking with them, and revealing Himself to them so that He could have a relationship with them.

Of course, the deepest lowering He ever did was the incarnation of Jesus – the God of the universe confining Himself to a physical body!  Even then, Jesus could have shown Himself as a demigod, or an avatar, powerful and unconquerable, compelling people to worship Him.  But He came as a lowly child, who grew into a real human man.  Even though His hands had created all things, He came to his creation, not “to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:28)

Even after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, God still stoops to be with His creation in powerful relationship, incarnating Himself anew in each believer as the whole Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, comes to dwell in our hearts through the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Once again, God lives in houses of clay instead of in grand palaces!  He works through those who are lowly enough to surrender their whole lives to Him – to admit from the start that they are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.”  (Revelation 3:17)  And through those lowly ones, those who are willing to stoop down to those lost and in need, those most like God Himself, He works to recreate the world.

 

Father, I must admit that I am stunned by this revelation.  It totally changes the way I see everything!  Thank You for being lowly enough, loving enough, to humble Yourself for me, for all of us!  Thank You for revealing Yourself in ways that we can understand.  Thank You for all of it!  Amen.

 

In God’s kingdom, it is…helpful to picture a huge saucer into which is thrown all the people of God in all their giftedness, from the least to the greatest.  Those most strongly gifted for ministry will not rise to the top, but sink to the bottom, where they may undergird and provoke (in the original sense of “challenge” or “call forth”) the rest of the people of God.  (Columbanus:  Letter to a Young Disciple)

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