Bible, Boasting, Conceit, Humility, Repentance, Scripture

BOAST IN THE LORD

ZEPHANIAH 2:15

“This is the presumptuous city that dwells securely, who says in her heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’ How she has become a desolation, a resting place for animals. Everyone who passes by her will hiss and wave his hand in contempt.

I truly try not to boast about anything. Well, maybe if I kill a 16 point white-tail deer, lol. That is not likely to happen though. But I really try to not boast about myself. I have been accused of that in the past. Thinking back to my pre-Christ days and my early days as a believer, I may have been a little prideful and boasted some. The insolence of youth, right?

Reading verse 15 I am reminded of Jeremiah 9:23-24. “23 ‘This is what the LORD says: “Let no wise man boast of his wisdom, nor let the mighty man boast of his might, nor a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let the one who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises mercy, justice, and righteousness on the earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD.” Nineveh thought they were the cat’s meow. They were prideful and boastful. But they fell. I love the last sentence of the verse. Hissing and waving of hands toward them.

APPLICATION

The application is pretty clear for us. Do not boast of yourself. You may have heard the saying about the turtle on the fence post. He didn’t get there by himself. Neither do we “get anywhere” by ourselves. It is the Lord who moves us. It is the Lord who protects us. It is the Lord who blesses us.

We should always give all the praise to Him, who is worthy of it. If we are blessed to achieve something, give Him the glory. If we are honored for something we have done, give Him the glory. If we are recognized for service we have rendered, give Him the glory. Boast only in Him.

Sometimes when I preach or sing, people come up to me and say how much they enjoyed it. I try to always just point upwards and give Him the glory. I had much rather humble myself and let the Lord exalt me that exalt myself and see the Lord humble me. So, today boast in Him. Point others to Jesus.

Everything I do, Lord, that brings me praise I lay at Your feet. Only You deserve the glory.

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Bible, Boasting, Conceit, Glory, Scripture, Thanksgiving

HIS GLORY SHOWS 

HABAKKUK 2:14

“‘For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.’”

When you read “the glory of the LORD,” what do you think about? I picture the baby Jesus lying in a manger surrounded by the shepherds. I envision Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. I can almost see the empty tomb.

When the Chaldeans are judged by God, everyone will see His glory. There will no mistaken what happened. This was God’s action against a pagan nation for thinking they deserved any glory. They had simply been used by the Lord as His instrument for a season. There was no reason to gloat.

APPLICATION

We have the privilege to reflect God’s glory to the world. When He blesses us, we need to point heavenward and give Him all the praise. When He chooses to heal us when we are sick, all the glory goes to Him.

And when things are going bad and you can’t see a way out, we still give Him the glory. God deserves our glory in good times and bad. There is not a day that goes by that we cannot find at least one reason to reflect His glory.

Of course, we are tempted to take credit, like the Chaldeans. Our flesh loves being praised. Don’t fall into that trap! Keep your focus on Jesus. He deserves all our praise every day. Will you give Him praise today? If you have selfishly taken credit for His work in your life, repent of that now. Give Him all glory.

Lord, help me keep my focus on You and not my flesh. You are worthy of all my praise.

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Accountability, Alone, Bible, Blessing, Boasting, Commands, Sin

SINNING AGAINST YOURSELF

HABAKKUK 2:10

“‘You have planned a shameful thing for your house by bringing many peoples to an end; so you are sinning against yourself.’”

I have to admit that I do not like pain. So, given a choice, I will choose every time to avoid pain. Some of the things people voluntarily do to their bodies amaze me. I do not understand why anyone would willingly let someone hurt them or cause them pain. Not me!

God is still talking in today’s verse. He is addressing the Chaldeans, whom we have described fully in previous blogs. But here God says they are sinning against themselves. They are inflicting themselves with the pain. They are only harming themselves with their actions. However, they were not listening.

APPLICATION

Today’s verse reminded me of 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. “18 Flee sexual immorality. Every other sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought for a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

Did you catch that? “sins against his own body.” Who wants to do that? We need to pursue God with all of our heart. Do not let some people try to influence you to do      evil. It’s not going to affect them a bit, but it could cost you dearly. Do not sin against yourself.

Think of the ways we could possibly do that. Now run the other way. We are told to accept the inevitable. Don’t believe that. Satan will do all he can to put us out of on our own. Who you have as allies determines the outcome. Allow them to point you in the right direction when you seem lost.

I am thankful for the way You direct me and for the fellow brothers You have placed in my life to confront me of sin.

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Bible, Boasting, Humility, Relationships, Scripture, Service, Strength, Works, Worship

THERE IS A GOD AND YOU’RE NOT HIM

HABAKKUK 1:11

“Then they fly along like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, they whose strength is their god.”

Some people have a god complex, meaning they think they are gods of some sort. They think everyone should bow to them and do whatever they ask. They think they can do no wrong. They see themselves as superior, and we should be grateful they even acknowledge our existence.

The Chaldeans made a fatal mistake. They thought their success against Israel was due to their own strength, their own power. They did not realize God was simply using them as His instrument of judgment against Israel to bring them back to Himself. If God calls you guilty, you are guilty. They were and would soon find out.

APPLICATION

Do you suffer from a god complex? I sure hope not. As believers, it is important to know your position in Christ. Yes, we are beloved. Yes, we are the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). But God is on the throne. Jesus is at His right side. They rule heaven and always will. We will not arrive in heaven one day and tell Jesus to move over.

I love what Colossians 2:10 says. “In Him you have been made complete.” Does that mean we are perfect. Not by a long shot. The word “complete” there means to be filled up, to be satisfied. Because of Christ’s sacrifice we have been filled up. Filled up with what? With Him through the Holy Spirit. We lack nothing spiritually anymore.

But we cannot sit idly by and simply dwell in that. We have work to do. I read a quote this week by A.W. Tozer. It said Christ didn’t call us to work. He called us to worship. It is through worship that we are led to work. That is a rough paraphrase, but you get the idea. We are not in charge. God is. Live like it.

Father, I want to acknowledge right now that You are the one and only true God. There is none like. There is none beside you.

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Bible, Bitterness, Boasting, Conceit, Eternity, God's Will, Humility, Scripture, Witnessing

DISDAIN

MICAH 4:11

“‘And now many nations have been assembled against you who say, “Let her be defiled, and let our eyes gloat over Zion!”’”

I need to ask you a tough question. Have you ever looked with disdain on someone? You may ask, Carl, what does that mean? Well, let me explain. Disdain is the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect. It is having contempt for that person or thing.

That was the feeling that the surrounding nations had for Israel. She (Israel) was just a piece of ground that was in their way. They saw the Israelites as beneath them. Of course, we know this feeling carried down through the ages. Everyone around them was always trying to defeat them. The Lord is simply reminding them of this.

APPLICATION

We have no right to ever look at anyone with disdain. Everyone needs Jesus. It does not matter what a person’s socioeconomic status is. It does not matter their race or ethnicity. No one should see others as beneath them. We are all in need of grace, and there is only one place to get it – Jesus.

As I travel over the globe, I get a chance to meet some incredible people. I am traveling, the Lord willing, to Burundi and Tanzania next month. I have never been to these two countries. I know I will meet a lot of people in these countries who need Jesus. Others I meet will know the Lord and are probably living for Him much better than I am. I want to learn from both groups of people.

We are in a lost world that is in need of a Savior, whether they know it or not. We cannot waste time looking down on someone. That person has a soul that will spend eternity somewhere. It is our mission as believers to try to reach them for the kingdom. So, the next time you start to think you are better than someone else, think again. The King is above us all.

I am not worthy to call You my Father, but I forever grateful You call me Your son.

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Bible, Boasting, Conceit, Exalting, Humility, Scripture, Stubbornness

WALKING RIGHT 

MICAH 2:3 

“Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘Behold, I am planning against this family a catastrophe from which you cannot remove your necks; and you will not walk haughtily, for it will be an evil time.’” 

I have to admit something. Sometimes I can get a little haughty or arrogant. I jokingly say most mornings when I get up and look in the mirror, “Well, it happened again last night.” That’s when my wife would ask, “What happened?” I reply, “I got better looking. It’s just the Willis curse.” LOL 

The people of Israel and Judah were walking haughtily. That means to be too big for your britches (according to local Southern colloquialisms). That Hebrew word for “haughtily” only occurs right here in Micah 2:3. It comes from the Hebrew word rum which means high and lifted up. Get the picture? They were walking around with their noses up in the air. Stuck up people. 

APPLICATION 

Have you known people like that? Unfortunately, I have. They are not much fun to be around. They look down their noses at you. I have even known Christians who acted that way. That is no way for a believer to live. We have to be better than that. Remember, God said He would humble the exalted and exalt the humble. Even the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar said this about proud people. “He is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Daniel 4:37) 

I want to encourage you today to humble yourself before a holy God. Go to Him on bended knee and ask Him to show you the pride in your life. He will gladly point this out because pride (in this sense) is not the kind of character He wants to build in you. 

I said earlier that I can be proud sometimes. When I start to get puffed up, my sweet wife reminds me of who I am in Christ. The Holy Spirit kicks in and reminds me that my place in the kingdom is solely dependent on my Savior, not my abilities and genius. I want to serve as His humble servant. Will you bow with me today? 

God, forgive me when I try to exalt myself. Remind me to sit at the end of the table waiting to be asked to sit in the place of honor. 

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Accountability, Bible, Boasting, Choices, Commitment, Distractions, Following, Humility, Modeling, Scripture

NO MOUNTAIN TOO HIGH     

MICAH 1:3

“For behold, the LORD is coming forth from His place. He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth.”

My wife and I have good friends who live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They have a view of Pike’s Peak right from their back door. It is breath taking. On a visit out there a few years ago, we drove up the mountain as far as we could. We did not get to the top due to snow. That is a big mountain.

Micah says in today’s verse that God could come down and walk on mountains like Pike’s Peak. For Him, that is nothing. There is no mountain too high for God. Those high places were also the places of idolatry. Micah was declaring God’s judgment on all those who thought themselves too high and mighty.

We cannot see ourselves as high and lifted up. We have no right to do that. Outside of Christ in our lives, we are nothing. Sure, we can be successful in life in the world’s eyes without following Christ. We see that all the time. Just look at the list of the richest people in the world. How many of them are devout believers?

APPLICATION

We are no better than the people of Judah whom Micah is addressing. We are prone to wander. We give lip service to following Jesus, but if something better comes along, we hop right on it. There is no room for other things. Jesus has to be the top priority in our lives.

I strive to make Him first every day. I do pretty good with that unless there is fishing or hunting available. Then I can get sidetracked. Now, there is nothing wrong with those two things. I just cannot let them misplace Jesus. I have to have my Quiet Times and prayer time first. I love Him that much. Will you put Him first in your life today?

Lord, forgive me when I let other things distract me. You are first in my life!

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Advice, Bible, Boasting, Brokenness, Exalting, Humility, Modeling, Scripture

HUMBLE LEADERS

JONAH 3:6

“When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, removed his robe from himself, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat on the dust.”

I have been fortunate in my ministry to have worked for some very humble men. Humility is a trait that goes a long way with me. If someone is arrogant and too sure of themselves, I will give them plenty of room. Those traits drag me down. But being led by a humble person makes me want to emulate them. I truly admire that.

The king of Nineveh lowered himself to the same level as his people. He didn’t think himself too good to hear the message which reached his ears. The word for “word” here isn’t just referring to Jonah’s message. It is also referring to the response of the people that was reported to him. He removed his royal robe, put on sackcloth and sat in the dirt. That’s humbling yourself.

APPLICATION

Are you humble? If you answered “yes,” you probably aren’t, lol. We have a choice about humility. We can humble ourselves or be humbled. I prefer the former. If I humble myself, someone else may exalt me. But if I exalt myself, I may get humbled. Jesus said the same thing when He referred to coming as a guest to a meal. He said sit at the end of the table and let the host move you up.

The question then arises. How do you show yourself humble? Putting others before yourself is one way. Serving someone less fortunate than you is another. How about keeping your mouth shut in that business meeting even when you know you have the right answer? It’s not easy being humble.

Humility is spoken of all through Scripture. Let me encourage you to do a word study on humility. Do you know what that means? Find a good concordance or go to a good website like Biblehub.com and do a search. Take some time to study those passages that speak on humility. Search your own heart and see how you measure up. We all have room to improve with humility.

O Lord, I want to be humble before You and men. Help me keep my heart broken before You.

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Attention, Boasting, Commands, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony

REVEALED

JONAH 1:9

“So he said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.’”

I met with a young man recently for the first time. We had only briefly met earlier at a local restaurant, so I did not know anything about him. When we met, I asked him to share his background with me. Why? So, I could get to know him a little better. I needed to understand where he had come from.

After lots were cast and Jonah had been questioned by the sailors as to who he was, Jonah finally begins to reveal himself to them. He said, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and dry land.” In other words, Jonah was saying he knew who was behind this storm. That was not welcomed news.

APPLICATION

Have you been revealed? Do others know anything about you. After my new friend shared his background with me recently, I felt like I knew him better. I understood where he was coming from. With that information, I could help direct him in the right direction, perhaps.

Revealing ourselves is difficult. It is especially dangerous when we aren’t sure how we will be affected. We open ourselves up to ridicule and shame. But we have to remember that Jesus revealed Himself even though He knew what the result would be. No one has ever revealed themselves as clearly as Christ.

I am pretty picky as to whom I reveal myself. Trust is not something I give away easily. It has to be earned. That can be earned quickly, as with this new friend I just made. Or it may take some time. But revealing myself is something I must do. That draws others to Jesus. Would you reveal yourself to someone today and share how the Lord has led you?

I am forever grateful, Lord, for You revealing Yourself to me. Help me to do the same for others.

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Accountability, Bible, Boasting, Consequences, Enemies, God's Will, Hatred, Humility, Love, Scripture

REVELRY

OBADIAH 16

“For just as you drank on My holy mountain, all the nations will drink continually. They will drink to the last drop and become as if they had never existed.”

Just recently the Kansas Jayhawks won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship over the UNC Tarheels. Lawrence, Kansas is the home of the Jayhawks. That town went wild celebrating the win. You could describe their celebration as revelry, noisy partying and merrymaking.

This was the scene in Israel when they were overthrown. Their enemies, including Edom, drank and drank, celebrating Israel’s defeat. But God warns them in that last phrase that they too would cease to exist. He said they would, “become as if they had never existed.” All this was because they had sided against their brother.

APPLICATION

There is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating, even partying, if it is not at someone else’s expense. Carl, I would never do that. Oh yeah? Let someone you don’t “care for” get caught doing something bad. Do you celebrate their punishment? Shouldn’t we instead want to try to help them?

This world is full of sinners. Some of them will seek to do us harm or take advantage of us. What would Jesus do if someone did Him wrong? Oh wait, they did. What did He do? He was humble and meek. He never sought to get even (and He could have). He saw their sin and hated it, but He loved the sinner.

Don’t be an Edomite. Don’t revel at someone else’s downfall. What a perfect time to witness to them. When someone is suffering, they are usually open to our comfort from the Lord. Use this opportunity to reach out to them and show them Jesus’ love. You just might see them respond in a way you never dreamed of.

Lord, I ask You to forgive me for reveling in my enemy’s downfall. Help me to reach out to them with the hands of Jesus.

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