Tag: humble

The Gettysburg Address and Today’s Civil War

When I think about this beloved nation of ours, I can’t help but wonder just what’s in store. The words of Abraham Lincoln keep playing over and over in my mind (I changed the first four words to reflect today’s year. Lincoln’s words are in quotation marks).

Twelve score and four years ago ”our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

”Now we are (again engaging – my emphasis) in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war…”

Civil War may seem a little strong, but what should it be called? No, I’m not referring to the first civil war but the one that’s happening in our nation today. It doesn’t take much astuteness to see and feel the division and hatred.

During the four years of the War between the States more than half a million soldiers died. Both sides of the struggle, fighting for their ideologies and passions, lost more lives than in all the other wars this nation has been in throughout its two hundred forty-four year history combined.

Was it worth it then? It depends on who you ask as to what answer you’ll receive. I personally think so, but then again, I wasn’t around when it happened. To me, it was because all lives mattered and many were being treated as some sort of subhuman.

But is the war that’s being fought today the same as it was those many years ago? Are we fighting over things like slavery and the color of a person’s skin?

Or could it be something else?

Frankly, I believe it’s something else.

People are becoming more and more self-centered, more addicted to their own wants and desires. They don’t want to answer to any person or any God. They want to be in control.

Actually, it’s always been that way, but as time goes by the demand keeps growing. Laws are being passed by people who have the same desire for control. And with each new law, each new ”freedom” from antiquated and stuffy rules and values, there becomes an even greater desire for more and more ”freedoms”.

Now we’ve reached the point where almost anything is allowed, almost everything is legal, yet for many, it’s not enough.

So when will it stop? When will this war cease and life return to ”normal”?

This civil war is not like the first. This war will not end when one side surrenders. It won’t be over if a different person is in the White House. The division will become wider and wider. We have to understand there’s no winning this war unless everyone wins. Unless what’s good for one is, truly, good for all.

And the only way that can happen is for people to recognize there is a God in Heaven Who has the wisdom and ability to turn things around.

”Happy are the people who’s God is the Lord.” Psalm 144.

But as long as people keep fighting the ”God thing”, they will never quit fighting one another or each other’s ideologies.

I hate to make it sound so simple, but the only hope for America is God. Not my understanding of God, not your understanding of God.

But the Bible’s revelation of Who He is as demonstrated in the life of His Son Jesus Christ.

It’s time for each of us to humble ourselves before God and each other.

That is if we really want to see this nation healed.

Servant or Jackass?

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I just have to share a story I heard today, as told by my good friend, Jo-el. I will probably be guilty of embellishing it just a smidgen, but the original thought came from him.

I hope it makes you think, as it did me.

Oh, by the way, and not to be vulgar, I may use a three letter word to denote:

“any of several hardy gregarious African or Asian perissodactyl mammals smaller than the horse and having long ears; especially: an African mammal that is the ancestor of the donkey… ass.”

After all, it is used in the Authorized Version.

Okay, here’s the story.

It begins with the story of the Triumphal Entry, when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on the back of a donkey.

Now I’d like to pretend, or assume, the donkey is telling the story from his perspective and opinion. Why? Because sometimes we act like we’re God’s gift to the world. We can think the whole plan of salvation revolves around us. We can picture ourselves as so attractive, popular, and praiseworthy; yet fail to see that prancing and strutting before others doesn’t enhance our image.

Here’s the passage from the bible…

And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,

Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. (Matthew 21:1-5 KJV)

Can you picture the donkey, looking and sounding a bit like Francis the Mule? Imagine yourself as the donkey, and you’ve just taken your first step into Jerusalem through the Golden Gate, with Jesus sitting on your back.

At first, you are just so proud and humbled to be carrying the Lord Almighty on your back. Just the thought that you were chosen by God for this special, once in a lifetime duty makes your legs feel a bit rubbery. Wow!

But then you hear the shouts of praise and feel the palm branches under your hooves, suddenly it’s as though you no longer have a rider. You are now the center of attraction. You are the important one. You’re so caught up in the moment, irritation begins to rise when someone doesn’t pay attention to your show.

What began as a humble ministry to the Lord turned into a silly exhibition of ego.

I believe we all need to remember this story.

Because, folks, it really is that easy to make an… uh, donkey out of ourselves.

Agree?

The Key

20130724-165053.jpgWhat unlocks the door that has kept family members apart, church members at odds, and neighbors at each other’s throats?

What opens the gates of a city that has divided the races, cultures, ethnic groups, and the young from the old?

What is the instrument that tears down strongholds of injustice, prejudice, and hatred among brethren?

How do we see all Heaven has to offer; reconciliation, salvation, deliverance, healing, wholeness, and peace of mind (just to name a few), appear in our world, our city, even our own back yard?

Is there a key we may be overlooking?

Yes!

There IS a key that unlocks all Heaven has to offer. Jesus “used” it, demonstrating the power God really wants to release in and through our lives.

The key is humility. Not exactly something people want to shout about.

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3 ESV)

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV)

“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33 ESV)

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV)

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5 ESV)

“And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:18-21 ESV)

“…But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2 ESV)

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:10 ESV)

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11 ESV)

“And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:17 ESV)

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18 ESV)

“He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.” (Luke 1:53 ESV)

Humility is NOT walking around with your chin on the ground, telling all you see what a worm you are. It is not self-abasement! It rather has a connection with truth, honesty, and an understanding of one’s place in the bigger picture.

Two important words that help describe humility are forgiveness and submission. I do not mean the humble are people who are weak and cowardly, always running from conflict and never able to defend their cause. Actually, humility is one of the strongest spiritual forces in the universe. It doesn’t have to rely on an over-inflated ego, a multitude of enforcers, an uncontrolled temper, or even loud and bombastic speech designed to elevate the speaker and diminish the listener. It rather relies on truth, and the inner knowledge that God is the great equalizer, and can be trusted in any and every situation.

Humility can be seen in the company of Love and Faith, and is recognized more by what it does or doesn’t do, instead of that it says, or doesn’t say. It is quick to yield to others, but can take the lead when necessary.

It can accept praise with a simple “Thank you”, or, “You’re welcome”, and not fret if the praise doesn’t come. It is secure in its relationship with love and truth; it never has to prove its ability by attempting to live larger than it really is.

It will embrace the weaknesses of others, adding its strength to the weak, without exploiting the weak or the fallen.

It is the key to a relationship with the Creator God, for it is the force that overcomes pride and selfishness. It submits to God, and the desires of God’s heart, even if it is uncomfortable at the time.

It will allow relationships to grow and become fruitful, for, like love, it is patient and kind, never seeking its own way.

Yes, it is the key to opening the windows of Heaven! Humility before The Lord and before one another is the key to seeing God’s power released like He desires.

The only way to enter the domain of the evil one, release the captives, and live to tell about it, is the way of humility.

Humility… The Key to unlock the city. Just ask Joshua…

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