Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Todays Lesson Is?

So I feel like God is wanting me to talk to the kids about 4 different things that can get in the way of listening to Him. The first was idolatry, and I talked to them about it last week. This weeks topic will be the one of pride. So I thought I would write out some thoughts on pride and what scripture says about it.

I suppose what I want to start off would be with what I wrote down as some notes to my study. This is more of a thought concept and probably could use some tweaking.

Is pride wrong? I would say no, that ultimately pride is a neutral thing. We can be proud of our country, proud of our friends and family, and even proud of our own accomplishments, and no one would look upon you in a negative light. However, when we are full of pride, when we start to believe (even subconsciously) that we do not need anyone's help (especially God's), that is when we are sinning.

That being said, here are a few thoughts on pride:

Pride is not limited to being a sin or being good. Just as conflict can be neutral, so is pride. The real difference between wrong and right comes with what you do with that pride. People who typically think they know everything, who always have to be right, who feel like they don't need anyone's help because they can do things on their own, are arrogant and naive. In fact, experience has shown, and I think many would agree that people who claim to know everything, really know nothing at all. Sure they may have a lot of knowledge, but do they truly know something?

Pride separates us from God, just as all sin does, but I find it interesting that there is a verse that States that God keeps His distance from the proud. Psalms 138:6 says, "Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar." (NIV). Intriguing to say the least. If God keeps us at a distance during our times of pride, how hard would it be to hear Him amongst all the noise of self? Just a thought.

Thirdly, God will break people of their pride. It's just what He does, and thank God for the many times He has broken me of my pride. I was so blind until He did that. In Proverbs we can see that God Hates arrogance and pride, and in Psalms 119:21 we see that, "You rebuke the Arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from your commands." and in Job 40:12 "Look at every proud man and humble him, crush the wicked where they stand."

I would say its painfully obvious that pride can and often does get in the way of being what we are commanded to do. We are called to be servants (Mark 9:35), we are commanded to be humble and show love to others (Micah 6:8), We should not boast, but if we must boast, then boast in the things of the Lord and not ourselves (2 Corinthians 10:17-18). As Paul states, "I will boast in my weaknesses" so that I may give all honor to him.

Pride comes before the fall, but grace flows down upon the humble. May we all be truly humble, to see ourselves the way God sees us, and not thing anything more or less of ourselves than what we are. Ragamuffins, pursuing an amazing and wonderful creator God.

Grace and Peace

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Post #136

Because I have no other title for it, I just decided to make what post number this is. Anyway...

Today has been pretty good. I had worked on the lesson for today's service for quite a few hours last night, and I've been reading up on how to speak to teens, which has been helpful. I need to finish that book soon so I can get on some other books that I want to read that I hope will improve the way I communicate with the teens and also how I run the ministry that has been placed on my lap. It's not my ministry which means God will have to do a lot of revealing to let me know what He wants me to do with it, but still studying is not a bad way to go about it.

I've felt very lonely today. It has been ever so apparent how much I've appreciated being around my fiancee and how much I wish she was still around. But, she's gone on home to be with family in Ohio, and I'm left here at Toccoa. This not a bad thing considering I'm working and making money so that I can provide for her when we are married (which is only a few weeks away), and I'm excited about seeing her again, but I do feel a little lonely today. Especially after seeing six couples walking around on the way back to the apartment after church.

Tomorrow I will get to deposit money and begin working on the lesson for Saturday, music for Sunday, and of course the lesson for next wednesday. Can't wait to see what God has in store for the group and for me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Idolatry 101

So I have to make a post about this while it's still fresh on my mind. I am currently working on a small study of Idolatry so that I can talk to the kids about it tomorrow, I'll have to tweak the message some tomorrow morning and tonight, but I just wrote this down in my notes:

"Idolatry comes in all shapes and sizes and so often we do not even realize that we have fallen into its clutches. It can make listening to God difficult and can leave us empty and disconnected."

Now, this thought process in and of itself is nothing extraordinary. In fact, anyone could tell you that this is the case for most things that get a hold of our lives; but here is the real kicker. I discovered a idol in my life that I did not think I had, or at least, I justified in my mind to the point of deception. It was something I discovered while I was making a list of idols that are the most common within the "contemporary" culture. It is the idol of acceptance and approval. This is not the approval of friends, but rather of my parents. It's been an idol in my life for a long time, and I've only now come to realize its stench.

I have come to realize that I will never be able to meet every expectation placed upon me, this is an impossible task. Why I ever thought I would be able to achieve such a thing is a mystery to me, but at least now I realize what is going on and I can adjust accordingly. I had always wondered why criticism from my parents was so hard on me, but now I realize it is because I fight for their approval and acceptance. I should have known that I was being dumb about this. I appreciate my parents, and I love them, and I will not ever stop, but at least I can take their words as a grain of sand, just as I must take all words because God's words are the ones I am most concerned with. That's all for my revelation at the moment. Time to get back to work on the lesson.

Grace and Peace

Forgive me Father, for I have place another before you, continue to give me truth and the wisdom to "fix it" as I seek after you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Update #???

It's been a while since I've written anything. Most of it has been the fact that I've been super busy with moving into an apartment, exams, taking care of wedding plans, etc. I have to admit, I am feeling a little sad today. My fiancee headed home yesterday afternoon and I've found it a little hard to function at full capacity. However, I know the best "cure" for this issue is to go ahead and do stuff. Be active, hang out with friends, and remember it's only a few weeks away.

I have to say that I am terribly terrified, but extraordinarily excited all at the same time. I am looking forward to being married to such a wonderful woman of God, who is also the most beautiful woman I've ever met. I am grateful for the blessings that God has given me through her and I look forward to the many more. I am also scared because I know that this is a decision that will last the rest of my life. I am scared because I know I am a creature of imperfection, and I know that I will hurt her some days; I'm scared that I won't be able to provide for her, or that I won't meet her needs. I know I am capable, but I don't want to be a husband who gives up on it all.
I want to be a refreshing aspect of her life, as she has been in mine.

Finals are over, and so today I get to pack all my stuff and move it to the apartment that I'm residing over the summer. It should be too bad, I only had a few boxes. But still, it's not something I really want to do. I hate moving stuff everywhere (which is ironic considering the vocation I want to take part in).

So I guess that's all for an update I can give you at the moment. The internet is acting weird and I really don't have much to say. I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm still alive.

Grace and Peace