In this passage Jesus commands His disciples to come and teach us to obey all that He commanded them. That includes this very command, which means that you and I are also to make disciples. That’s...Read More
In this context, we are the lamp because Jesus has lit us with His word and His Spirit. Some then say, “My religion is personal, I don’t talk about God out loud to folks…I keep it to myself.” This way ...Read More
The implications of this teaching are quite obvious; tell others what God has done for you, so I want to point out another not so obvious principle here. I’ve heard pastors say, “God will NEVER...Read More
Many Christians will boldly stand up for their favorite sports teams, even in the face of opposition, yet cower at the thought of defending their faith in Christ. We must be courageous...Read More
When I first started attending church, I remember enjoying the sermons but the thing that drew me to want more of God, was this husband and wife I saw sitting on the front row. I didn’t know ...Read More
Dirty feet were a real part and real issue in the early church. In our culture, if we were to literally wash one another's feet, it may be nothing more than a religious display of piety, but it doesn’t...Read More
Human nature and the world say, “If you want to be great, you must strive to become great by getting ahead of others.” Jesus gave us a living example of the exact opposite approach. He demonstrated...Read More
I will never forget this one particular prayer that I overheard. It was a prayer that for three years could not have even been imagined in that home. It was a dinner prayer and there were guests, but I ...Read More
Am I remembering to humble myself before others so that I will be exalted, rather than humiliated?
8 "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 14:8-11
Sometimes we see a celebrity and say, “Wow, they are so humble.” They may very well be, but my experience is that it’s easy to look and act humble when everyone thinks you hung the moon. Trying to be humble when you really are nothing and your circumstances are in the toilet is not quite as easy. It was easy for me to feign humility when I was living the “good life” and people were telling me I was going to be the next Zig Ziglar.
Once, I told a few close friends I was struggling with pride and they were shocked, saying, “I don’t see that at all Mike!” It was because I was so good at hiding it. I honestly think I was one of the most prideful (not arrogant) people I have ever met. It came from my deep, deep insecurity.
As we can see from this teaching, desiring honor and being honored is not a bad thing. The bad thing is when we attempt to honor ourselves, rather than allowing God or others to honor us as a result of our humility. This is a major area that I want to continually improve in. Even writing this book challenged my thinking in this area. After all, when does talking about your experiences and testimony, become you trying to honor yourself? For me, it is an issue of my hearts true motive. I am so sensitive to this that I’m still reluctant about sharing the testimonials that I receive from others, for fear of being seen as trying to exalt myself.
For the last few years, I have asked the Lord to put me in a position to Honor Him greatly through my story and His dealings with me. My biggest desire and greatest happiness is to see Him glorified, through the genuine and heartfelt desire of others to love Him and obey Him. In my impatience, I fell into the devil’s temptation to rush ahead and start promoting myself before God was ready for me to move. This meant I needed to try to promote and honor myself rather than waiting on God. I only want to be heard by others so that people will hear what I’m saying about Him, but I suffered the consequences for my sin and not waiting for God.
Today, there are a few stories building in my life that are astonishing. Perhaps when God comes through on those promises, many more will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord (Ps 40:4).
This principle applies to both our relationships with God and people. In essence, we are to see ourselves as lowly and to allow God and others to honor us, rather than attempting to honor ourselves. May God help us to continually trust Him in this area.
The true blessings of the Christian life, and eternal life, begin when you die to yourself. This makes no sense to us humans who crave comfort, so we resist surrendering our “self-life” to God. God knows this...Read More
I hope that perhaps you are starting to experience more persecution now, than when you first started this book. For the first 19 years of being a “Christian”, I suffered very little persecution beyond sitting next ...Read More
True faith in Christ is very divisive. My mother never had a real problem with my belief in Christ, since even she had been baptized and would go to church often. My mom’s problem came when I started actually...Read More
God help us all to obey this teaching more. I wonder if this might be one of the most disobeyed teachings of all. First of all, how often do we go directly to the person, before we go tell others how badly...Read More
Welcome to one of the hardest teachings of all, second only to forgiving the “unforgiveable”. If you are ready for a huge boost in your walk with Christ, here is the shortest path. I can’t show you this in the Bible...Read More
This teaching is very special to me, because it is the first teaching of Christ that God intentionally challenged me to obey after the divorce started. God was asking me (as He asks all of us) not to fight back..Read More
I am continuing to learn from experience that it is unwise to simply trust that people are who they say they are, or even who they think they are. I have too often just trusted people too soon and it has burned me many times...Read More
Going back to the Ted Haggard example, we see that false teachers/prophets can have huge, “successful” churches, lots of “conversions”, incredible Bible knowledge, and great speaking ability. However, if you look closely...Read More
Am I using discretion when discussing spiritual matters with others, since many simply won’t get it, and others will actually turn against me?
6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. - Matthew 7:6
I crave authenticity and depth in my relationships. I am probably transparent to a fault and I don’t do well with small talk for more than just a minute or two, before I feel the burning need to speak about things that actually matter. I thrive on talking about God, what I and others are learning on our journey, and the deeper matters of the spiritual life. To me, the more authentic we are, the more we can help each other. The problem with authenticity, for most people, is vulnerability. Transparency opens you up to being hurt by others, who can later turn and use it against you.
I spent one full year discipling a group of men through the teachings of Christ. I met with the whole group each week and then individually with most of them as needed. I wanted so badly to see them trust God in deeper ways. So, I decided to pre-maturely share some of the very difficult situations I was trusting God for, and some of the awesome promises I was waiting on Him for. Because they were things that went totally against human reasoning, like almost everything else God has ever asked me to do, a few of them simply could not understand. A few of the guys went sideways on me and actually turned against me, saying I was violating Scripture. I had made the mistake of sharing deep spiritual truths with men who were not yet beyond the carnal Christian stage (1 Cor 3:1).
If you share special parts of your testimony or your walk with God, with people who don’t get it, (unbelievers, false disciples, or immature believers) they may very well think you are nuts. It is wise to measure what you share against the person’s level of faith or spiritual understanding, or you may suffer painful consequences as a result.
Not everyone is called into full-time vocational ministry or mission work, but as we can see, Jesus requires that all of us use the gifts/resources that we’ve been given by Him, to earn a return on His spiritual investment in us. What we do...Read More
We have a tendency to relate Jesus’ teachings to everything in the temporal (our life on earth) and forget about the eternal implications. I used to read this passage and say, “Ahhh, if I’m wise with my finances in small matters, God will give me more.” My mind...Read More