I am sooo much better than you.

The scripture for today, April 20 (4/20), is 1st John 4:20 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

COVER-Millennial-med“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”

Jealousy and hatred are very much akin. Are there people you are jealous of? Do they have a position you want, and so you say and do things to undermine their character or work, so you can get their position? Do you have a position you love, and there is a new person who could perform better, so you undermine that person’s ability in order to protect your position?

God eliminates jealousy this way: Do what you do best in private. What you accomplish  that everyone knows about isn’t as important to him as what you accomplish when no one is around to praise you. Jesus said those who receive acclamation by people already have their reward.(Matthew 6:1-5, 16-18).

Is divine reward from Almighty God for eternity so inferior in your mind that you would sacrifice it all to be number one here on earth?

Ah, my Lord God, forgive me. Pride stands between you and me. Take hold of my awful pride and dissolve it in a sea of tranquility graced by a ray of humility.

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Wednesday 5/30 ~ How do you size up other people?

The scripture for today, May 30 (5/30), is John 5:30 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Inside-COVER-lg thumbnail“By myself, I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”

It is hard to judge people you know and leave your own ego out. If you are jealous, you may judge them harshly. If you admire the person, you may judge them too leniently. Perhaps if you try to walk in their shoes, it will help you understand and not judge too harshly. And perhaps if you compare an admired person to Jesus, it will help you understand and not judge too loosely.

We’re not talking judgmentalism here where you go around sizing other people up all the time so you can feel superior to them. In judging, you judge, then you accept people where they are. Only then can you become their true friend.

If you truly love others, you will not, when judging, seek to please yourself but to please your Creator who knows your heart and loves you the very best.

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#judging, #evaluating, #lenience, #harshness, #ego, #WalkInShoes, #judgmentalism, #SizeUp

Friday 5/25 ~ How in the world am I going to love my enemies?

The scripture for today, May 25 (5/25), is Galatians 5:25f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

05-Joseph-KindleThumbnail“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

When someone is better than you in doing something, do you pick fights with them as punishment, or spread gossip about them in order to get others to quit respecting them?

Perhaps you don’t do this all the time. But what about times when there is something you feel you are really good at, but another person not as talented gets the honor? That’s when it’s hard to “keep in step with the Spirit.”

Whenever you envy someone, deep down you consider that person your enemy. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45a).

To many, loving our enemy is the most difficult command in the Bible. Perhaps one way to love your “enemy” is to realize that Jesus loved his enemies. Every time you sin, you become one of his enemies. But Jesus keeps right on loving you, even when you don’t want to stop doing whatever you shouldn’t.

Jesus demonstrates the love of the Son of God. And here he says, if you love your enemies, you are demonstrating what the children of God do. And that is far more important than honor that goes to those you envy. Leaving behind conceit makes it much easier to love everyone.

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Friday 3/30 ~ Do you have some repenting to do?

The scripture for today, March 30 (3/30), is John 3:30 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 5-FloodGates-Cover-Thumbnail-New“He must become greater; I must become less.”

This is John the Baptist speaking. He had a great following. People “were constantly coming to be baptized” by John (3:23). He had it made! But at the height of his popularity, he said, “I will be stepping down soon.”

Can you do this? Are you at the height of your popularity, perhaps at a club, an organization, church? Could you step down if someone more qualified than you came along? Or will you say, “I started this _______, and I was here first, so this is my project!” ?

Look inside. Deep inside. What are your motives for doing good? Selfish ambition or love for others? 1st Corinthians 13:1 says that, even if I offer my body to be burned and do not have love, it benefits me nothing.

Jesus warned, “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

Think. Think long and hard. Do you have some repenting to do? Father in heaven, help me look at myself the way You do.

Sunday 3/4 ~ Are we giving up paradise?

(Since we did today’s yesterday, we shall do yesterday’s today. Hmmm…  No one caught it. Usually, someone does.)

The scripture for today, March 3, is Genesis 3:3 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-LUKE-KINDLE Cover-Thumbnail” ‘But God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it or you will die.’ “

This is a conversation Eve is having with Satan in the Garden of Eden. She was a little put out by God that he would withhold even one item from her. So she misrepresented God. What God actually said was…

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Eve had added to what God had said: “You must not touch it.”

Do we do that? When we get put out by someone, do we embellish a little and add a few little things to an event in order to make the other person look worse than s/he really is? Are we in the habit of making ourselves a victim so we can get other people’s sympathy and maybe get other people to act on our behalf? Or perhaps we do it to “brag” how great our adversity it over and above all others’ adversity, thus gaining admirers?

1st Corinthians 13:5 says love does not keep a record of wrongs. If you have a feud going with someone, try breaking the cycle. 1st Corinthians 13:7 says love protects, always trusts, always hopes. Had Satan convinced Eve to stop loving God? 

It’s easy to do when God is made “the bad guy”.  It’s easy to stop loving others if they are always the “bad guy”.  What are we missing by not extending love even to those who are not nice to us? Who knows? Are we giving up paradise?

 

 

Monday 2/26 ~ Paralysis or freedom?

The scripture for today, February 26 (26), is Ecclesiastes 2:26 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.thumbnail-new“To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

Are you happy regardless of how much wealth you do or do not have? Do you require things in order to be happy? Solomon, who wrote the above scripture, was the wealthiest man in the world, but he found it to be meaningless, a chasing after the wind. In another place in Ecclesiastes (5:10) he said that a man loving money never has enough.

Indeed, centuries later, the highly educated and intelligent apostle Paul, who did not own a home or much of anything else, explained his happiness: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:11b-12).

If you lost everything tomorrow, would you panic? Or would you use God’s wisdom and knowledge to create a new happiness?  Might you look around and begin doing something you have always wanted to do but were too tied down with things to do?  If you lost everything tomorrow, might it bring a new freedom to you or paralyze you?

Tuesday 2/20 ~ After the insult, take a deep breath and…

The scripture for today, February 20n (2/20), is Galatians 2:20 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-The apostle Paul wrote this. He had been an angry, spiteful, and hateful man in his younger days. He had been a terrorist and had even declared holy jihad against Christians.  He had gone around the country rounding up Christians and sending them either to prison or to their death. He hated Christians.

But once Jesus got his attention and Paul realized he was persecuting those who could tell him the true way to heaven, he switched sides. Jesus had to do it himself because all the Christians were afraid of him. Then Paul, so to speak, crucified his old self, and let Jesus and his words live in him instead.  All his tremendous energy that he had used for hate was now used for love, and he turned his part of the world upside down for Christ.

Is there someone in your life or that you know of who is angry, spiteful, and hateful? Dare to talk to that person and tell them how much God loves him/her. S/he will argue with you and maybe even be meaner to you than ever. But when things calm down, try saying something else, perhaps about what Jesus did or said once in his life.

It may take you months or years. S/he will be curious why you keep coming back when s/he is being so mean to you. And eventually, this same person who uses all his enormous energy in a negative way, just might turn that same enormous energy around and use it for Jesus in a great way.

Give it a try. If you are crucified with Christ, then nothing anyone says can hurt you because your ego is dead. Keep trying to reach this enemy of Jesus. Keep trying to help this person become Jesus’ friend and defender.

You may be the only one in his or her world with the courage to do it. Keep trying. Cry in private after the insult, then take a deep breath and try once again. And once again. And again. Never stop. Who knows?

Saturday 2/3 ~ Oh, my friend, how we fool ourselves.

The scripture for today, February 3, is Philippians 2:3 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

This is probably among the top ten hardest-to-keep commands in the Bible. It’s right up there near loving our enemies.

Do we consider people who stand and speak in front of a group superior to the listeners? Even though the one up front may be all talk and no show? Even though someone in the group prays for others more than himself? Even though someone in the group is often awake all night caring for someone who needs him? Even though someone in the group goes down to the seedy part of town wearing rags and tells about the love of Christ to people in the cellar of life?

But we give in to it. We praise the one standing up and speaking and envy all their attention and their title.  Oh, my friend, how we fool ourselves and fall into the trap of ego.

Jesus was always a server, helping others to be better. The last time he ate with his apostles before his death, he put on an apron and went around washing their feet. Apparently, none of them felt they should stoop so low as to do it. So, the Son of God did it.

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Scripture for Sunday, 12/3 ~ Ego

The scripture for today, December 3 (12/3), is Romans 12:3 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

07-Samson-KindleMedium“For by the race given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

The context of this verse is members of a congregation getting along with each other. He explains that each person is given certain gifts such as serving, teaching, encouraging, contributing and so on (12:6-8).

Many disagreements come about because one person has an idea about a good work, and someone else has a different idea about it, and still, someone else says some other good work should be done ~ and they all believe their way is the best way.

Perhaps the best way to judge whether we are thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought, is to ask ourselves this: If I moved away or if I died, would this congregation survive without me? Of course, it would.  

And if our hearts are set on a certain good work, we can always do it alone; we do not need a committee of people to do it with us.

May our prayer be, “Lord, help me see myself as others do.”

 

Scripture for Tuesday, October 24 (10/24)

The scripture for today, October 24 (10/24), is 1st Corinthians 10:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-cover-kindle-medium-new“Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

The context of this verse is that some of the members of the church in Corinth were expressing opinions or doing things that were offensive to some of the other members. God did not condemn these things, but they hurt the consciences of some of the weaker members.

Today, do we do anything during the public worship that is offensive to some people? Do we do them as an example of how “holy” we are? Do we even try to get God on our side and say that any Christian could do those things if they had as much faith as we do? Can we control our ego in this?

What about committee meetings? Do we suggest something that the others just aren’t excited about? Do we allow our egos to eventually seep in and begin to feel challenged and slighted because our idea wasn’t accepted? Do we even try to get God on our side and say he will be glorified if the other committee members accept our plan? Can we control our ego in this?

One way to look at things objectively is to ask ourselves, “Would our congregation survive without me?”. What if I were killed in an auto accident and suddenly taken from them tomorrow? Would they continue to worship? Would they continue to do good works? Would they continue to meet as a congregation? Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time our congregation would survive without us.

So, let us try (struggle, if necessary) to lay aside our egos that get hurt and seek the comfort, the welfare, the good of our fellow Christians.