Humble Rewarded

 

This is an image of a man being spiritual encouraged, symbolised by the "thumbs up".I enjoy working with humble people because their ego isn’t so big that it must be puffed up or propped up when I’m around them. The Lord speaks again and again to the value of humility. Prideful people often can’t see past themselves.

Prideful people often don’t think they need anything.

Prideful people see themselves as needing nothing or no one.

The Proverb writer says:

18 Pride comes before destruction,
and an arrogant spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 CSB)

When I look back on my journey with the Lord – it is His story being woven together with my story. I don’t want to see the two stories separated. He walks with me and directs my path through the hardest day or darkest night. He is with me through the hard seasons.  This passage blessed my soul this morning because the Lord does reward humility. Check this out…

For the Lord takes delight in his people;
    he crowns the humble with victory.
Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
    and sing for joy on their beds. (Psalms 149:4-5 NIV)

Without the Lord my story doesn’t have a good ending. With the Lord my story has an amazing ending. Without the Lord I am a nobody. With the Lord I am a child of the King with an inheritance beyond describing. I have learned the hard way that the Lord oversees the events of life. He doesn’t directly orchestrate them, but nothing surprises Him or happens without Him knowing. I trust Him – period.

I can either humble myself or be humbled. The Lord loves a humble heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Beginning Of The End

 

senior cool man proud conceptThere are people who are so full of themselves that they can’t seem to notice anything but themselves. They see all of the world in light of what can be done for them rather than noticing how they can help others. I do believe that there is a self-centered “nature” in all of us. I think the enemy installed that “nature” and our culture reinforces it daily. I will naturally choose the best cupcake on a tray of cupcakes instead of thinking someone else might like that one. I often think that I deserve something that is a bit better than everyone else. This is pride in a very simple and pure form. The proverb writer noted that: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 NIV)

The closest advisor to King Xerxes was a man named Haman. He was most definitely full of himself. He couldn’t stand Mordecai, the uncle of the queen (but he didn’t know about that relationship) because Mordecai wouldn’t bow down to him and show him “proper respect”. Some people are given some power and it goes straight to their head. Haman is about to go to the king to ask about killing Mordecai when the tables were turned quickly and Haman ended up humiliated. I don’t think the king knew the first thing about it either. Check this out…

When Haman entered, the king asked him, ‘What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?’

Now Haman thought to himself, ‘Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?’ So he answered the king, ‘For the man the king delights to honor, let them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”’

10 ‘Go at once,’ the king commanded Haman. ‘Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.’ (Esther 6:6-10 NIV)

The king couldn’t sleep during the night and was reading some from the daily journals of the happenings in his world. I believe that the reason he couldn’t sleep is the work of the Holy Spirit. The king had forgotten to honor Mordecai for exposing the assassination plot from months before.  God was orchestrating some things behind the scenes because of the fasting (and prayers) of his people who had received a death sentence from Haman’s prideful leadership.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again. I believe that pride is the most basic sin that all other sin is built upon. I want what I want WHEN I want it. This sinful nature is really hard to move out. I’m convinced that without the help of the Lord, I can’t destroy this pride. I need His help dismantling the strong hold that pride has on my heart. I need to consistently humble myself before the Lord so that His Power can be noticed in me and not my own strength. Haman’s pride is the beginning of the end for him. If I’m not careful, it will also be the end of me. Pride is self-promoting but also self-destructive. It must be destroyed before it destroys me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Repentant Leadership

 

work hard stay humbleI have come to the conclusion that those who never repent must never attempt to do anything. I know what failure feels like. I’ve learned that failure isn’t fatal unless I let it be. I learned a long time ago that there are at least three actions to take when I fail:

  1. Take ownership of my actions.
  2. Make amends (do my very best to make things right).
  3. Move on.

Failure can teach me volumes about others and myself. I have learned more from my failures and mistakes than my successes.

Ezra served the exiles that were given permission from King Darius of Persia to return to their homeland after 70 years in exile away from their homeland. They were in the process of rebuilding the temple when Ezra learned of the blatant sin of some of his fellow exiles. He was absolutely broken and stunned. He leads the exiles in profound repentance. Check this out…

‘I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. 7 From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.

15 Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.’ (Ezra 9:6b-7; 15 NIV)

I believe that leaders should lead us through success. I also believe that leaders should lead us through repentance. It takes a lot longer to get through a hurtful situation when no one is willing to own his or her actions. I think it takes a bigger person to own their mistakes than to act like they are perfect and without fault. I believe that everyone makes mistakes – some have way bigger consequences than others. I believe that marriages can be saved from the brink of divorce if both spouses own their own failures and mistakes.

I remember hearing from a wise and trusted friend years ago in response to public sin and failure. The conversation was about helping restore the person from the public failure. He said to this man: “When your repentance cries out louder than your sin, you are on your way to restoration”.

I have to check my pride at the door if I’m ever going to own my mistakes and failures. I can’t act as if I’m perfect and without fault. The Lord knows me like no one else – how can I pretend that my sin didn’t happen?

I’m thinking that I should begin every day with a repentant heart and continue that theme throughout my day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Fast & Pray

 

Female hand refusing the fast food mealA friend of mine when on a fast for several days only drinking water and fruit juices. At the end of the fast, he had to slowly starting putting regular food into his body. I remember a conversation that we had during the fast and he spoke about clarity and how focused he was during that time. When fasting is talked about in The Word, it’s often referring to a discipline of abstaining from food for a period of time. The fast is often for a specific purpose like a big decision or a time of intense intercession.

As I was reading Ezra this morning I came across another purpose of fasting. Check this out…

21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, ‘The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’ 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer. (Ezra 8:21-23 NIV)

Ezra used fasting and prayer to humble themselves before God and pray intensely for a safe journey to Jerusalem. A great way to humble myself is to fast and pray. My body will cry out for food, but I can abstain for a short while and really humble myself before God. I’ve noticed in The Word that prayer almost always accompanies fasting. I’ve often thought that one of the big reasons for fasting from food is so that I might use that time to pray and seek the Lord. I’ve not done this a lot over the years. I’m always blessed when I take time to use this discipline in my journey with the Lord.

I believe that fasting should be private for the most part. I don’t think it should be announced to everyone.

I believe that fasting can powerful when a group chooses to fast and pray together.

I believe fasting shows my body and my appetite who is in charge.

I believe that fasting is a humbly activity that is healthy for nearly everyone.

I think it’s healthy to fast from more than just food. I can take a break from just about any regular activity and spend the time normally allotted for that activity in prayer and study.

Fasting and prayer reminds me that my life is for His honor and glory and not my own. I want to know Him more and follow Him faithfully. I want to humbly obey Him and honor Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Entreaty

worship in prayerI’m not sure I’ve ever noticed this word before although it’s meaning is fairly simple. It simply means: “earnest request, or petition; supplication.” It sounds a lot like prayer to me. I like the word treaty, which is inside this word. Treaty is about an agreement or pact of some sort.

For all the good King Hezekiah had done, his son Manassah took it all down. This young man seemed bent on doing evil. He ignored the messages and warnings of the Lord. The Lord sent the commanders of Assyria and they took him captive. I think it took something of this magnitude to get his attention. Check this out…

12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God. (2 Chronicles 33:12-13 NIV)

There are some important components of His prayer. I think the first part is seeking the Lord. The Lord is not hard to find. I’ve felt that He left before, but it was actually me that left Him. The second part of his prayer was that he humbled himself. I’ve said it many times before that pride is one of most destructive characteristics that I could have. The fact that Manasseh humbled himself was significant. His prayer moved the Lord. I believe that his prayer would have been nothing if had not humbled himself before the Lord.

Desperate situations call for desperate measures and responses. This young man was desperate and his humility and his plea moved the heart of God. If I could simply learn to seek the Lords heart and stay humble before Him, my journey with Him would have a depth that is hard to measure and comprehend. I have to keep my pride in check in order for my prayer life to have meaning. My entreaty is dependent upon the position of my heart. I can pray to the Lord to learn more about how to pray.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Humble Or Humbled

work hard stay humbleI’m not sure when I first learned humility. I’m pretty sure I learned it as a kid, but then I’ve had to keep re-learning this concept. Humility is a theme throughout the Word of God. I must constantly remember my role in my relationship with God but also in my relationship with others. Humility is not a gift, it’s a skill to be learned and consistently practiced. I think it was Solomon who said: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 NIV) Later in the book of James who wrote: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10 NIV)

The king of Judah was now Ahaz who become king at age 25. He didn’t follow in the footsteps of King David. He was not humble. He was full of pride and arrogance. He really ended up with a big mess on his hands as a result of his poor choices. Check this out…

19 The Lord had humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had promoted wickedness in Judah and had been most unfaithful to the Lord. 20 Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to him, but gave him trouble instead of help.

22 In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him; for he thought, ‘Since the gods of the kings of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them so that they will help me.’ But they were his downfall and the downfall of all Israel. (2 Chronicles 27:19-20; 22-23 NIV)

I’ve met lots of people who don’t appear to be humble. I’ve also had the privilege to know a ton of people who were genuinely humble. Humility doesn’t mean a person is a doormat. Humility doesn’t mean a person doesn’t speak up or speak out against an injustice. Humility doesn’t mean that a person can’t compete to win.

Humility means it’s not all about me.

Humility means that I’m NOTHING without the Lord.

If I am anything or anyone, it’s because of what the Lord has done inside me heart. He gets all the credit and glory for who I am and all that I stand for.

Pressing On!

Dwayne