Pride in it’s Purest Form

Today’s Scripture is Proverbs 3:7-8 (NIV),

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
    and nourishment to your bones.

Today’s Bog Post is by Annje Hutchinson, Administrative Assistant…

The older I get, the wiser I think I become. I can offer advice to young mothers, teachers and my teenagers. As a mother, former teacher and former teenager myself, I think I have gained some experience that is valuable to share with certain groups of people. The fact that “times are different now” or that everyone doesn’t experience life the same way I did, doesn’t keep me from offering my unsolicited good advice.

That is pride in its purest form.

What is one of the seven deadly sins? PRIDE!

Acknowledging that I am a prideful person is the first step in fixing it. (Isn’t that what they say in AA, the first step is to acknowledge you have a problem?) Knowing that I should fear the Lord and turn away from my sin is powerful to me.

There is a way out of sin and it will bring health to my body and nourishment to my bones according to Proverbs 3:8. Knowing I’m not “all powerful,” God is, helps me move in the right direction. Receiving Christ is the next step.

It says in Ezekiel 36:26-27 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

If that’s not confirming that wisdom from God is better than my wisdom and that if I fear God and turn from my sin, I will receive not only nourishment but a brand new heart, I don’t know what would convince me.

For today, I will depend on God’s wisdom. For today, I will fear the Lord. For today, I will shun my evil ways. For today, I will be healthy. For today, I will gain nourishment…God’s nourishment.

Act Like It!

Today’s Scripture is Ephesians 4:25-26 New International Version (NIV),

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

Today’s Blog Post is by Annje Hutchinson, Administrative Assistant…

We have an array of human emotions:

Sadness

Fear

Joy

Embarrassment

Anger

Disgust

Surprise

Courage

Shame

Envy

Love

Boredom

The movie Inside Out is about a young girl (Riley) who is uprooted from the life she knows in the Midwest and moved half way across the country to San Francisco. The movie stars the young girl’s emotions as if they were each a separate person with a unique personality in her mind. Anger, who is voiced by the “angry” comedian Lewis Black, decides that Riley should just take the bus back to her home in the Midwest where she was happy. In his anger, Anger gets a little violent with the controls of Riley’s “emotions board” and it breaks, leaving poor Riley emotionless and not able to reverse her decision without the help of all the emotions together.

Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians is not saying that anger is innately bad or that we should suppress our anger. He’s saying be careful how we act when we are angry because we represent something bigger than ourselves. We represent the ENTIRE body of Christ. Riley, when faced with her anger over having to make new friends, fit into a new school and try new things, acts hastily and irrationally. She does not think about how her parents would miss her terribly. She does not think about what could happen to her on a trip by herself as a young girl. She does not think that, maybe, there was a healthier way to deal with her anger.

Anger can call us to action, move us to make changes in our lives or to make better choices for ourselves. However, when anger controls our lives, it can make us act irrationally, feel depressed and bitter, and cause physical ailments like high blood pressure and headaches. Paul, in today’s scripture, is telling us righteous anger is fine, but talk with the person we are angry with, face the situation we are angry about. Make things right and do it quickly… before the “sun goes down.” Also, he is saying don’t sin in our anger. Don’t spread rumors about the person we are angry with. Don’t have an affair on our spouse because we are angry with him or her. Don’t lie to get out of trouble when we are angry. Don’t drive erratically when we are angry with another driver. Never sin in our anger.

Remember who we are and who we belong to when we are angry. We are Christians and belong to God! We are the body of Christ… Act like it!

Be Nice!

Today’s Scripture is from James 4:11-12 ,New International Version (NIV),
 
“Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?”
Today’s blog post is by Peter Borsella,
 
As I’ve been summer stretching with the rest of you I’ve been more focused on doing things I normally wouldn’t do, but this verse is calling me to stretch myself and stop doing something I might already be doing.
 
Does James really have to state the obvious about not speaking evil of each other?  Yes, I suppose in the same way “do not murder” is obvious.  God knows my heart and knows I need to hear these instructions anyway, particularly since Jesus told us that if I have hatred in my heart I’m just as much a murderer as the one who acts on it (see Matt 5:21-22).
 
James is addressing us as brothers and sisters, which means he’s speaking to we who are already part of God’s family, connected together through Christ, all living with the same Holy Spirit inside of us.  And yet, like little children we have to be told by our Father not to bad-mouth each other and “be nice.”
 
Even more convicting is the idea that when we speak ill of each other we are not honoring Christ’s message of love and unity, and, we are taking God’s place in judging each other.  Our words have the power to help unite us together or divide us against each other.
 
Sometimes slandering is hiding under gossip about someone.  I do this.
Sometimes backbiting is hiding under complaints about someone.  I do this, way too much.
Sometimes bad-mouthing is hiding under anger when we’ve been wronged by another.  I do this, too.
 
As Christ’s body we are called this day to love each other in unity, not harm each other in judgement. 
Today, I will be nice.

Stupid Sin

Today’s scripture is: Psalm 19:13 ( NIV) 

Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

Or as the Message versions reads :

Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work; Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.

 Today’s blog post is by Bernie Peterman, Business Manager…

Wow!  Reading the Message version really is a smack in the face. “Keep me from stupid sins.”  I guess we could say all sin is stupid.  But, I believe David was thinking of everyday life…

  • sins that just seem to happen.
  • just normal, natural, every day thoughts and behavior.
  • Behavior that exists in our subconscious and requires no thought.
  • Sin that James 4:17 (So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.) refers to.

The list of stupid sins could be…

  •  Gossip – Who doesn’t like telling a good story?  
  • Gluttony – Most people love to eat their favorite food in excess, like 4 lbs. of crab legs with butter.  
  • Lust – Scripture tells us, if you think it in your mind you have already committed adultery (Math 5:28). Wow!  No more eye candy!
  • Drunkenness – Again, taking something to excess. Normally when someone is drunk their behavior is not God honoring, It could be entertaining to others but not God.
  • Jealousy and covenanting – As humans, we have a tendency to want stuff and are jealous when other people have the stuff we want.
  • Lying –  Yes – even the little white lies.
  • Pride– The “I got this God, you can wait on the sidelines till I need you again”

I think pride leads into the next part of this verse, “thinking I can take over your work.”  How many times in our life do we think and act like we can do it all on our own.  We can overcome addiction, we can accomplish the impossible without God.  We can take credit for all the good things that happen in our lives and not give glory to God.  The truth of the matter is, our lives mean nothing without God.  He is our strength and hope in all situations.

The question is, if “stupid” sins are part of everyday life, how can we be blameless, innocent of great transgression or start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin?

I think the answer is two fold:

  • Stay connected with God everyday through prayer, devotions, bible study, and accountability partners.
  • Ask God to soften your rough edges. Be present in your thoughts and behavior. Check yourself and ask  “Is what I am doing or saying God honoring?” 

As with any change in our behavior or lives, it gets easier as you become more aware and practice. So, stretch yourself today and write down your “stupid” sins.  Then pray for forgiveness and a clean slate. I would imagine the more we strive to be Christ-like the less we have to scrub clean.