Yesterday was a grand day. It focused for me on three of my grandsons. Braylon’s surgery went very well. Yes, he is sore but in good spirits. He’s such a good kid. Later in the day I had a conversation needing to take place with another grandson. It went very well. He is in the midst of making some important decisions for his life. We were able to talk them through most thoroughly. Lastly, another grandson finished yesterday 3 weeks of summer school. It was a big challenge for him but he did it and his grades were superb. I took him to dinner and a move, just the two of us. I was able to share with him what a joy he is and how proud I am of him.
Today our quartet is singing for a funeral. Just about four months ago we sang for the spouse’s funeral and now she has joined him. We don’t know this family well, but in singing for an assisted living place close to Boise we had become acquainted. It is nice to make these connections with families. I pray we can be God’s ministering servants to those attending.
This pride business God has been having me address is bringing out some realities I sure needed to know and address. First and foremost, man’s pride is most triggered in unhealthy ways when we are insecure and/or fearful. In this case, what I’ve done with my pride is used it to protect me or gratify me which has grown into unhealthy ways. The thing that brings light to this for me is that now that I’ve finally caught on to surrendering this fear/insecurity to God and let Him protect, I sense more confidence–like being grounded. This is a young feeling for me but it feels more complete. I’m sure this is something God has been wanting me to know for some time. God is truly Amazing! How much I love Him!
In an hour and 20 minutes my grandson Braylon is having his tonsils out. I’m making this brief so Kathy and I can head to the hospital to be with him and his family. He is 8 years old and has an unusual gift of tenderness towards God and His creation. Since he accepted Christ into his heart a year ago I’ve watched him continue to be tender to God. Listening to his prayers and simply watching his sincerity is most touching.
This morning as I was journaling I asked as I always to do what God wanted me to know from Him today. It was another touching moment to have Him say, “Tell my son Braylon he is precious to me and I love him.” So, that will be my message to him ahead of going into his surgery. God is such an intimate, caring God. This I’ve learned is for all of us, not just for some of us.
Yesterday turned into a day of tremendous examination. I had already had my conversation with Kathy about my pride early in the day. I had a meeting with a couple of our pastors about the recovery ministry work which went very well. When it was done I continued to meet with one of them as we typically meet weekly. I brought up pride which led us into a time of healthy examination. He said that pride identifies what we want to worship. He used sports and athletes for himself and men. I laughed since that was a very irrelevant topic for me. However, when gardening entered the picture, even though I’d never thought I worship gardening, we began to look at why we do and how we act with whatever the activity is. Are we selfish with the time? Do we covet? What makes us cheer and puff up? All of this stirred me to dig deeper into the roots of my own self.
In the afternoon I began to do the workbook of one of our recovery ministry curriculums for this fall. It asked me questions that boggled me. I began to see something I’ve not seen before (yet I’m sure God has wanted me to finally get here). I saw me as the one I most worship. I saw gardening, singing, consulting, teaching, leading, all these things I do as things which will give me value. I want to have pride in me. Even though I’ve had much counseling about my identity not coming from what I do, deep within me who I am still has roots to the doing part of myself. I could see God wanting to finally remove these roots so I can more fully do what I do completely for Him rather than for me and my value.
I’ve always measured pride against my dad who was one with gross pride and ego (at least to me). God wants me to let that measuring stick go and now have me let Him be my measuring stick for my pride. In all things He wants me doing for Him and in that my being can finally be satisfied. All these things I do He doesn’t want me to stop, He just wants me to do them for the right reasons. I’ve superficially understood this; today, it has finally begun to take root.
I’m sure there is more about pride God is wanting me to learn. But, the lesson for today was seeing how my past has greatly hindered me from moving forward in this area. I’m far more ready now.
Today I started a new journal since I’d completed my previous one. In so doing I went back to the start of the one just finished to see what I was journaling at that point. This practice is something Celebrate Recovery taught me. It helps us know if we are making progress in our recovery or if we are still working on the same things over and over not making any progress. There is nothing like honest journaling to tell one this truth. So, as I read my first entry from 3 months ago I was writing about pride. In this entry I was writing about my need to address my pride from the reflection I’d done as I’d started it. That means that for 6 months I’ve been writing about my need to address pride. I even put this in my blog just a few days ago. So it is time for me to take this seriously. I think the time is right to do so because God is showing me some steps I am to take in so doing.
First of all, I know that all man has pride in abundance. Not all of it is bad, but when it keeps us from doing what’s best for ones in our lives, it is wrong. I’ve always measured pride against my father’s. He was the epitome of ego/pride (to me). So, God has been showing me that His Holy Spirit’s voice does point out when I’m about to step into acting on self-pride. I do hear a small voice telling me this will have consequences. My response at a time like this is, “Well good, it needs a response because….” Now, doesn’t that sound like self-righteousness? Pride also keeps me at a point where I defend taking a sinful step even though I’ve heard the Holy Spirit say it is such. My response then is that this is a small thing and I’ll get back to Him on it next time.
I write these things out because God doesn’t see my pride any differently than He saw my dad’s. Both are sinful and wrong. This morning I asked God to awaken my sensitivity to His Voice within me. I want to respond to it as though it stood in front of me with His finger in my face saying, “DON’T GO THERE!” I want to respect God’s Voice, though gentle and kind, as final–for it is. Satan has many manipulative ways intermingled with our pride. I want to address this now with God as my Lead.
God is so focused on His Kingdom Work always. And, just as I think I’m with Him in my journey’s work for the day I find it isn’t going as I planned. My struggling granddaughter was going to junior high camp this week leaving yesterday. However, as Kathy was taking her to the church she announced she didn’t feel well (a girl thing) and she didn’t want to go. We finally gave her the option to wait and we will drive her up today, but it doesn’t look like that will happen either. Kathy and I knew that “camp would be the right tool” to help her get a better perspective on life and God’s part in her life. Well, God’s plan wasn’t ours. I know He uses all things to His honor and glory so I wait to see what develops from this.
Today I’m working on the brochures we will use to advertise and promote the groups we will start this fall in the recovery ministry. As I was having my devotional time this morning God was pointing out my need to listen to His Voice only. He reminded me that my mind has many doubting voices which I’ve listened to out of fear all my life. As we step into this new territory I will have multiple opportunities to listen wrongly. He doesn’t want me doing that. Actually, I don’t either. It was nice to hear Him say to not listen to them. I have those thoughts so often I rarely separate them out as being wrong. However, God is making it clear just how much Satan is and will try to step into this to influence me (us) away from God’s intent. I want to keep my ear focused on His Voice and His Message.
God is always on track and I want this journey of mine to be on track with Him too. To God be all Glory for great things He has done and is going to continue doing as we (I) obey.
I wasn’t sure I was going to have time to get to my blog this morning. I have to have a grandson to summer school. I do have a moment to just say that God is good all the time. Yesterday, I was singing in worship team for church. As I got there, I kept hearing ones in the team talking about the attacks they were sensing all weekend. One even talked of three crisis deaths in the past three days at her previous church, all young people. However, not matter how evil Satan is and how devious he is, God is Supreme, Gracious, Loving and Kind. He is already working and was working yesterday. How much I love being part of His Kingdom.
OK, now to school.
Today is such a beautiful day when one simply looks outside and listens. The quiet only has the sound of birds close and in the not so distant. There is no wind so the calm of the early morning is peaceful. Yet, this morning, I told God my spirit is heavy. It is as though doom is right here. I read in II Kings about the continuous turning to other gods until God actually lets Israel go into the hands of the Assyrians who capture them and relocate them. I begin to realize even more how Israel’s behavior is simply a nation modeling what we as individuals so often do–turn to false gods. Satan removes us to the land of slavery where God’s freedom is like a figment of one’s imagination.
My heart is heavy with the weight of the sin we are going to be addressing in our new ministries. I know this weight personally and I know how hard it is to step out of this darkness (weight) for fear of what the Light of God might show and tell. Yet, I also know the freedom of telling/sharing. This freedom is far richer and greater than the darkness which is holding men hostage. I wake up often with this weight seemingly within me. During my prayer time I am able to surrender it/release it allowing God to replace it with TRUST in Him. His Mighty Army is close by and He reminds me of this just as He showed Elisha’s servant.
Today is God’s day. Today I worship You and Trust you not only for me but for those who do not yet know how to trust. Satan is wanting us (me) to cave ahead of God’s Mighty display of power over sin. I know this is one reason God wants me sharing the burden I sense/feel. It is not mine to carry but it is mine to surrender and to tell others so they can be praying with me for these lost ones soon to be on their way to victory!
When four grandkids are spending the weekend there is a major change–noise. They were in the pool most of the day. As I was picking the raspberries all I could hear was their continuous laughter, screaming, etc. The things one forgets too quickly are the enjoyment of eating around the table and the conversation that takes place as kids share their thoughts and feelings. It really is fun and nostalgic.
Today as I continued reading in II Kings I read again how the children of Israel continue in their sin of worshipping gods rather than the One True God. The leadership sets the stage for this action as almost every king of Israel falls into false worship. It is so easy to read this and know the eventual outcomes. It is also easy to see the sins as such. However, when I step into looking at us today I realize how easy it is to step into false worship knowing all we do from the Bible. We really are a self-serving people. My devotion talked about Jesus’ leadership being that of a servant. It is easy to see if we are drifting away from Christ’s leadership, we stop naturally serving others. We fall into wanting to be served. I appreciated having this brought to light. It is a good barometer for monitoring oneself.
Today I pray to be God’s servant in the full capacity He wants. Surrendering always to His leadership is my one and only purpose.
The Word of God is rich and full of His Wisdom for us. In addressing this topic of pride, God is showing me a good deal about who I think I am or who I want myself to be. In it He is showing me who He wants me to be. He keeps bringing me back to surrender. What I need to surrender is anything that I fear or simply just want to keep private–I think that’s called “in the closet”.
This morning’s Bible reading is again in II Kings. In the 6th chapter and starting with the 15th verse the servant of Elisha is questioning Elisha’s belief that the invisible army of God is far more than the physical army they are facing. Elisha asks God to show his servant the truth. In so doing verse 17 says: “And the Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” Somehow, I think if we could physically see just how much God protects and guards us we would live life more freely. However, God is wanting me to take all of this by faith to build my trust in Him. I want to do this but I find myself in my day to day living falling into the “do it yourself mode” all the time or falling into fear and not stepping into something I know I should do, but don’t. The simplicity of trusting God and living fully surrendered to His Holy Spirit within has not taken root like I’d want it to. God is definitely pulling up the old roots of old belief and old pride. I sure want to let them go and begin to see more clearly in spirit with faith and trust.
Welcome to Summer! It is a gloriously beautiful day. Outside my den window the flowers are striking and on one of them this yellow, black, orange bird was perched and eating. What a nice start to the day!
Today God is teaching me something I was not expecting. My devotional reading was about unconfessed sin that is standing in the way of God completing the work for which He wants us to be part. I read that but nothing was hitting me specifically until…. Then, I began my scripture reading. I’m now into II Kings. Elijah has ascended into heaven and Elisha has received the double portion of Elijah’s spirit. In all of this I was simply enjoying the reading of it. Joyce Meyer writes an insert about God showing her about pride and how it was stifling her ministry when she was in her earlier years. If she was going to do all God wanted she would need to surrender all her pride in order to accept all of God’s Holy Spirit He wanted working within her.
As I began to reflect on the past week I could so easily see how my pride got into the way of my talk with my daughter. It almost built a wall between us. God began to point out how I haven’t felt worthy of Christ’s complete cleansing of sin, both my own sins and those done to me. I saw how this lack of belief on my part is a deceptive piece of my pride–man’s pride. God never tells us to only receive as much of Christ’s gift as we think we deserve. This is what Satan plants in our mind and I have always bit hard on this lie.
This morning I confessed that I have struggled with this lie. I have let pride stand in my way all my life both in doing God’s work and accepting God’s gift/s. I surrendered it and asked God to relentlessly stay working on me until He is in full control of all I am and all He wants me to be. We cannot do all God has in mind and we can’t receive all He wants to give if we are the ones sorting it out instead of the ones surrendering to His direction within. I want the Holy Spirit to have full control of me. (It starts with making raspberry jam this morning. I picked 3 gallons of berries yesterday).