Thursday, August 20, 2009

Isaiah 66:1-2

"Thus says the Lord: 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool, what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word."

"The Great Sin" part two hmmm and part three (this will be another long one) ;)

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." Proverbs 1:7

What action did Adam and Eve partake in disobedience to the Lord? They ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil--the only tree in the entire garden that God told them to avoid eating from. Why did they choose to disobey God? Because they wanted to be like God (Genesis 3:4-6) in His omniscience. I would venture to go one step further and say that they wanted to BE God.

From the very beginning it is clear that humankind has struggled with wanting to be like God--with wanting to be God. To some degree the "great sin" of pride is present in every human. What does the Lord say about pride?

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace..." Prov.11:2

"The Lord tears down the house of the proud..." Prov.15:25

"Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured He will not go unpunished." Prov.16:5

"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Prov.29:23

"YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME." (emphasis mine) Exodus 20:3

Pridefully raising ourselves up to be our own self-sufficient gods clearly presents distinct consequences. We will be punished. We will be brought low.

Check out CS Lewis' thoughts:
"Any of us may at any moment be in this death-trap [of being eaten up with pride]. Luckily we have a test. Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good--above all, that we are better than someone else--I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether....Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call 'humble' nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what YOU said to HIM. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all." p.127-128

We have great reason to be humble.

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood if his cross." Colossians 1:15-20

I don't understand all of that but I know that THAT is the Lord and that I cannot compete with Him!

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ...For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:4-9

We can't even save ourselves.

We have no reason to be proud. But we have great reason to be humble. We receive wonderful blessings when we embrace who God is and thus humbly recognize who we are:

" the humble he gives favor." Prov.3:34

"...with the humble is wisdom." Prov.11:2

"...humility comes before honor." Prov.15:33

"...He adorns the humble with salvation." Ps.149:4

"...God gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5

That's just to name a few! Favor, honor, wisdom, salvation...that's amazing!

One more quote from Mr.Lewis:
"If one would like to acquire humility...the first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed." p.128

I hope my random train of thought made sense to you. It did in my head!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"The Great Sin"

Apparently I am enjoying quoting people these days. So here is another one for you from CS Lewis' Mere Christianity in his chapter called "The Great Sin"

"There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. I have heard people admit that they are bad-tempered, or that they cannot keep their heads about girls or drink, or even that they are cowards. I do not think I have ever heard anyone, who was not a Christian, who showed the slightest mercy to it in others. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others. The vice I am talking of is Pride....

Pride is essentially competitive...Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone....

For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense." p.121-128

There's more to come on this topic. Check back again soon! ;)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Harry Truman's commitment

From the biography called "Truman" by David McCullough

"He [Truman] worried about possible entrapment with women, an old device for destroying politicians. Once, responding to a call for a meeting in a room at the Baltimore Hotel, he asked Edgar Hinde to go along, just in case. When they knocked at the room, Hinde remembered, a blond woman in a negligée opened the door. Harry spun on his heels and ran back down the hall, disappearing around the corner. Hinde thought it was a fear verging on the abnormal.
'I've been around Legion conventions with him. He'd have his room there, and naturally, everybody would kind of gravitate to his room. If some fellow brought a woman in there, or his wife even, I've seen him pick up his hat and coat and take off out of there and that'd be the last you'd see of him until those women left. He just didn't want any women around his room in a hotel....he had a phobia about it.'
'Three things ruin a man,' Harry would tell a reporter long afterward. 'Power, money, and women.'
'I never wanted power,' he said. 'I never had any money, and the only woman in my life is up at the house right now.'" p.181

Although his motives were mainly for the protection of his political career, what a great picture of fleeing temptation and taking action to prevent anything shady from happening. Way to go, Harry.