Malankara World Journal Theme: Humility in Christian Life
Volume 4 No. 242 October 17, 2014
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Paul said, "By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. But I worked harder than any of them." Now he could stop right here and boast in his work, but he goes on: "Nevertheless, it was not I but the grace of God that was with me." That was a very powerful reality for Paul. He could boast. In fact, he did boast about certain gospel things. But when it came to himself, he said that any good he did was done by grace. ...
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment. The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days." ...
This Sunday's prescribed Gospel reading is from St. Matthew 23:1-12. Jesus talks to his disciples about the hypocrisy of Pharisees and Scribes. They do not practice what they preach. They want to feel important and do not care for the ordinary person. Jesus' teaching is that He came to 'Serve and not to be Served.' It is a new covenant. If you want to be elevated in the coming Kingdom, you have to be the servant, the lowliest of all. The passage ends with:
11 The greatest among you will be your servant.A similar idea is found in Luke 14:11
"For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."and in Mark 10:42-45:
Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."So, this week's Malankara World Journal's theme is Humility. This is perhaps one of the most important teaching of Jesus Christ for Christian Life. When we think of humility, the first person we think of is St. Mary. Mary spoke to Elizabeth soon after the Annunciation in a poem/prayer known as Magnificat:
"Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid (slave girl): for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed" (Luke 1:48).The greatest virtue of Mary that pleased God was her humility. Mary's humility earned her the highest honor available to human kind, the Mother of Jesus. What was Mary's reaction when she learned about this honor? Mary didn't think of the immense honour that would be hers as the woman chosen from all women to be the Mother of the Son of God. Instead, she contemplated in wonder the great mystery of a God who willed to become incarnate in the womb of a poor creature like her. If God wished to descend so far as to give Himself to her as a Son, to what depths should not His little handmaid abase herself? The handmaiden is the lowest class of servant in a Jewish household. Usually, it is a slave girl. The more she understood the grandeur of the mystery, the immensity of the divine gift, the more she humbled herself, submerging herself in her nothingness. That was the humility of our Theotokos, the Mother of God. Our Sleebo Third hour prayer has a prayer called "Mor Jacob's Bovuso". It is all about Virgin Mary and her role in the church. Let me quote a verse:
Aaarum uyarthapettillithu-pol athinal spashtamWe can translate it to English as: It is quite clear that no one was ever been raised so high as her (St. Mary)
No one was ever so humble and lowly like Mary was. There is no question that Mary was raised to the highest position ever by God by her being picked as mother of Jesus. It is the coveted position dreamed by all the Jewish women at the time of Mary - being the mother of Messiah. But, at the same time, no one was so humble as Mary. So, when we look at St. Mary, the first thing that comes to our mind is her humility. Then faith and obedience. The theme of Jesus' ministry was also all about humility and servant leadership as mentioned earlier. St. Augustine tell us that:
"Humility is the foundation of all the virtues; therefore, in a soul where it does not exist there can be no true virtue, but the mere appearance only. In like manner, it is the most proper disposition for all celestial gifts. And, finally, it is so necessary to perfection, that of all the ways to reach it, the first is humility; the second, humility; the third, humility. And if the question were repeated a hundred times, I should always give the same answer.""Humility is the mother of many virtues. From it spring obedience, holy fear, reverence, patience, modesty, mildness, and peace; for, whoever is humble easily obeys all, fears to offend any, maintains peace with all, shows himself affable to all, is submissive to all, does not offend or displease any, and does not feel the insults which may be inflicted upon him. He lives happy and contented, and in great peace." (St. Thomas of Villanova) You will find humility mentioned throughout the bible. Our liturgy is full of poems written by St. Ephrem. (Our current Patriarch is named after St. Ephrem, also called Aphrem.) St. Ephrem was a deacon and a preacher who may have attended the Council of Nicea in AD 325. Following the persecution of 363, he led a group of Christians to Edessa (in modern Iraq) where he founded a theological school. He was a prolific writer and poet, although not all of his work has survived. He is remembered as a strong opponent of the various Gnostic heresies that troubled the early church. One source calls him the light and glory of the Syriac Church. It is said that he often wept when he preached, and that no one ever saw him angry after he became a follower of Christ. It is clear that he had a strong sense of his own sinfulness to the very end of his life. "What was the secret of success so various and so complete?
Humility, which made him distrust himself and trust God." A prayer of St. Ephraem illustrates the hunger of St. Ephrem towards Humility:
"O Lord and Master of my life,Reportedly, St. Ephrem prayed that prayer every day because it is good for the soul. Every part of the prayer contains food for thought. For instance:
A sloth person loses all vital desire in life. That leads to profound despair. The lust for power is always with us. We all know the dangers of idle talk. Chastity denotes a single-hearted devotion to Christ. Humility and patience go together. Where one is absent, the other cannot long remain. Love enables us to reach out of our self-centeredness to care for those around us. Then the prayer asks for greater moral clarity about our own sins. If we saw the log in our own eye, we would be more willing to overlook the speck in our brother's eye.God himself is the ultimate blessing and the source of all blessing. A healthy dose of humility frees us from a judgmental spirit and releases us to know God "from whom all blessings flow." I hope that you will enjoy the following selected articles on the role of Humility in Christian Life. More articles will be published in the future. Dr. Jacob Mathew
This Sunday in Church
This Week's Features
It was John Riskin who said, "I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a ... feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them." Andrew Murray said, "The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear others praised while he is forgotten because ... he has received the spirit of Jesus, who pleased not Himself, and who sought not His own honor. Therefore, in putting on the Lord Jesus Christ he has put on the heart of compassion, kindness, meekness, longsuffering, and humility." M. R. De Haan used to say, "Humility is something we should constantly pray for, yet never thank God that we have."
by Fr Phil Bloom, St. Mary of the Valley, Monroe
Bottom line: In a human being, there is nothing more beautiful, more attractive than humility.Our readings today focus on a central Christian virtue: humility. I'd like to begin with a humorous story. When Oscar Wilde was visiting France, he was introduced to an upcoming author, Marie Anne Bovet. She was a good writer, but plain, even homely in appearance. She noticed that Oscar Wilde was surprised when he saw her. She said, "Come on, admit it. Am I not the ugliest woman in France?" Oscar Wilde made a profound bow and said, "In the world, madam. In the world." You know, that woman, Marie-Anne Bovet was not only a a good writer. She was beautiful in her humility - her good-natured humility. There is nothing more beautiful, more attractive than humility. I remember seeing that at my ten-year high school reunion. I was struck by one of the girls and asked myself, "Who is she?" As I got closer I recognized her. She was a girl we boys made fun of. One of her facial features was disproportionate. Now, nothing had changed about her face (no cosmetic surgery), but she now had a nice gentle smile. She looked strikingly attractive. What had happened was that she had humbly and gratefully accepted the face God gave her - and she made the best of it. And I hope that we boys had changed in ten years - that we were better able to appreciate the spring of beauty. And, really, nothing is more beautiful than grateful, good-natured humility. Humility is like a lamp. It enables us to appreciate true beauty, to see what really matters. When Michelangelo Buonarroti was in his mid-eighties, realizing his death was near, he confided to a friend that two things made him sad. "The first," he said, "is that I have not taken more care for the salvation of my soul." Then he added, "the second thing that saddens me is to die now, when like an infant, I am barely beginning to babble the first words of my art." Michelangelo had produced immortal works such as David, Moses, the Pieta and the Sistine Chapel. They have have such overwhelming beauty that they often leave people breathless. Yet, at the end of his life, he realized that even these masterpieces - in light of eternity - were like incomplete words. "I am barely beginning to babble." By his humility before God, Michelangelo was like St. Paul. Today we hear that no one can boast before God. We are saved by grace, says Paul. Our salvation is a gift from God. In the Gospel, we have a famous verse - John 3:16 - I hope all of you know it by heart, "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but have eternal life." Ironically, the recognition that we owe everything to God is the basis for true self-esteem. Some think that self-esteem comes from doing everything just right, achieving great things - and having others acknowledge what we do. That kind of self-esteem is very fragile. If I make a mistake, if I fail in some way or if someone criticizes me, I fall to pieces. My self-esteem comes apart because it depends on something external: my accomplishments - and whether others listen to me or appreciate me. St. Paul - and Michelangelo - point to a deeper source of esteem. Even if I do the greatest works ever seen, they are small in comparison to God and eternity. What counts is not so much what you and I do, but what God does for us. God loves us so much that he gives his only Son so that we have life in him. A person who had this great trust in God was the Cure d'Ars - St. John Vianney. He mentioned that one day he received two letters. One of them praised him, said what a great saint he was; the other accused him of being a fake and a hypocrite. St. John Vianney commented, "The letter of praise gave me nothing. The letter of criticism took nothing from me. I am what I am in the eyes of God and nothing more." In the eyes of God our works matter only if they express a dependence on him. And the wonderful thing is that acknowledging our sins can bring that same result: humility, reliance on God. This doesn't mean that we should keep sinning or start sinning. No: An unrepented sin can drag a person to hell. Jesus did not come to condemn, but to give life. That means returning to him, resolving to sin no more. In a human being, there is nothing more beautiful, more attractive than humility. Before God, none of us can boast. We are saved by grace. He loves us so much that he has given his only Son.
by Leith AndersonGospel: Luke 14:1-14 Introduction: There's a difference between being humbled and being humble. Being humbled is a little like being humiliated - it's when someone lowers you in your own eyes or in the eyes of others. It's kind of embarrassing or can make you angry. Humility is a different thing - humility is when you don't think too highly of yourself. It's not that you have low self-esteem but that you choose to put others ahead of yourself. Jesus was humble. The Bible says that "though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9). It says that Jesus, "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:6-8). Jesus was so humble that he didn't think he needed to hold tight to his equality with God. He was willing to give up the powers and privileges of heaven to become human - and not just human but a servant - and not just a servant but willing to die - and not just any death but death by crucifixion. Amazing - and Jesus is our model of how to be. So let's learn some lessons about humility from Luke's story of Jesus. It's from the 14th chapter of Luke:
One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?" But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.Then he asked them, "If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?" And they had nothing to say.When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."I. The humble person cares about people in need Luke 14:1-7 Lesson #1 is that the humble person cares about people in need. It is one of the sure signs of the presence or absence of humility - whether someone is more focused on his own needs or the needs of others. I've been personally blessed by some truly humble people who cared about me. Perhaps the one I remember the most is Joan Hollister Gilbert. Joan had a long and courageous battle against cancer. During her own illness she also dealt with the cancer and death of her husband Jack. A day or two before Joan died, Charleen and I sat by her bedside and experienced a most unusual blessing. She acknowledged that she was dying, something most people don't say even if they know it to be true. She said that she was ready and looked forward to entering the presence of God. But she quickly switched the subject to talk about others and their needs. She talked about members of her family and members of my family. She had people come to see her so that she could bless them. She had some amazing telephone conversations with people she loved and was concerned about. It seemed to me that if ever there was a time when someone could be self-concerned, this was the time and Joan was the person. But she lived the lesson of humility that she cared more about the needs of others than about her own needs. That's the way it was with Jesus that Sabbath day when he was invited to dinner at the home of a prominent Pharisee. Jesus was under a lot of pressure. The Pharisee and his friends were watching Jesus carefully. They hoped he would make a mistake. They were setting him up to catch him in a trap. They wanted to take him down. The trap was a sick man on a Sabbath day. The Pharisees were building a case against Jesus as a lawbreaker. They recruited the sick man with the expectation Jesus would heal him on the day when work was forbidden. Although the Bible never identified healing as illegal Sabbath work, the Pharisees were convinced it was. If Jesus healed him, he was a lawbreaker. If Jesus didn't heal him then Jesus lacked compassion. They thought that they had him either way. The man suffered from "dropsy" which is a medical word not much used today. The word itself comes from a Greek term ‘u d r w p i k o s . It comes from the same word as used for water - "hydro" (like hydroelectric or hydrotherapy). Over time the "hy" fell off and the "drop" remained and the disease was called dropsy. It refers to the retention of water in tissue. Today we usually call it edema. It could be argued that this man could have waited one more day to be cured by Jesus. After all, swollen ankles are not exactly reason for calling 911. On the other hand, in that time of primitive medicine Jesus may have recognized something that the Pharisees did not know. The edema was a symptom, not a cause. It could have been an evidence of congestive heart failure or some other serious condition that might have killed the man before the Sabbath sun set. But, Jesus did not argue the medical case. Jesus spoke about compassion for the person. He asked the Pharisees what they would do on a religious holiday if one of their sons or one of their animals fell into a well and needed to be rescued. The Pharisees stayed silent but everyone knew the answer. If your son or daughter needs help, you'll give it any day of the year. Jesus healed the man. He wasn't concerned what others thought about him. He didn't care if they were watching. It didn't matter whether they liked him or not. Jesus wasn't worried about himself, he was primarily concerned about the man in need. Lesson #1 is really a good self-test. If you estimated the percentage of your time given to caring about yourself and the percentage of your time caring about others, what would those percentages be? If you top 51% caring for others, that's a good sign of Christ-like humility.
II. The humble person lets others go ahead Luke 14:8-11 Lesson #2 is that the humble person lets others go ahead. Jesus taught this lesson with a story about a wedding reception. In those days the place of honor was up front. Jesus warned against the embarrassment of grabbing the best seat and then being forced to sit in the back. He says it would be better to start out in the back and then be invited up front. I've been on more than the usual number of airplanes this year and I have found it to be a fascinating laboratory to observe human behavior. Using the format of Jesus' parable, let me tell you about some recent experiences. Flight #101 had one more passenger trying to sit in the first class cabin than there were seats. It looked a little like preschoolers playing musical chairs. Someone had to go. Apparently the problem was over two men both named Shultz and both assigned to the same seat. Mr. Shultz #1 was comfortably situated, his luggage was stored and he had been served the beverage he ordered. The gate agent told him he had to move to the back of the plane - probably a middle seat in the last row that wouldn't recline and was right next to the bathroom. He wasn't a very happy frequent flyer. Flight #202 had an extra seat in first class. The agent announced a man's name over the public address system and publicly invited him to bring his carry-on luggage and come on up front. All the other passengers watched with a measure of awe and envy as he made his way from the back third of the plane up to the big seats in first class. He looked pleased! Flight #303 was last week between Denver and Minneapolis. The flight was oversold and the aircraft was full. No more luggage was allowed into the passenger area. In fact, there were several more people than seats. So, they started unseating and kicking off non-revenue passengers. Still one short. They called Mr. Blumgarten. It was publicly announced that he should bring all of his belonging to the front and leave the plane. I overheard a conversation between him and another passenger. Was he a non-revenue passenger? "No," he answered. He said that he had a full price coach ticket. Why was he chosen to leave the plane? He said he had no idea. Know what? He was really nice about it. He wasn't angry. He was gracious and soft-spoken. He kindly accepted the offer to take the next available flight. I think he was a humble man - the kind of person Jesus would like. Jesus was teaching his listeners how to position themselves in life - near the bottom, in the back of the plane, at the less important place. Then Jesus made a dazzling promise: "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Jesus taught that people who push themselves ahead of others will end up on the bottom and those who let others go ahead will end up at the top. Now, I'll tell you what a lot of us are thinking to ourselves. We're thinking that this is nonsense. Where we live, work and go to school the only way to the top is to fight your way there. If you let everyone else go ahead, they'll walk all over you. Hm-m-m-m, interesting - I guess it comes down to whether we think Jesus is right or wrong on Lesson #2 that "the humble person lets others go ahead." III. The humble person gives - Luke 14:12-13 - without expecting anything in return Lesson #3 is that the humble person gives without expecting anything in return. Jesus uses another food story to make his point. Jesus suggests that you have a dinner party and only invite guests who will probably never invite you back, write a thank you note or give you anything in return. Jesus assumes that those who lack humility are always looking to get something. Unhumble people expect a reward, expect thanks, expect a promotion, and expect a favor. By contrast, the humble person gives out of pure generosity and honestly doesn't expect to get anything in return. It's pretty easy to rate ourselves on this one.
"This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word."May that be you. May that be me. May we be humble - - - and exalted by God! Source: Sermon at Wooddale Church on September 11-12, 1999
by Fr. MarkThe Most Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament of the Divine Humility.
Those who partake of It worthily
enter into the humility of God,
for one cannot eat the Bread of the Humble
and remain proud. Those who adore this Sacrament of the Divine Humility
are drawn into the obedience of God,
who, at the word of a man,
of a priest speaking and acting in the Name of Christ,
annihilates the substance of a little bread
to replace it entirely
with His Divinity united to the Sacred Humanity. Who can describe the Eucharistic Humility of God?
Here the Word made flesh,
born of the Virgin Mary, and crucified,
He whose side was opened by the soldier's lance,
He who rested in the darkness of the tomb,
He who rose from the dead
and is seated in glory at the right hand of the Father,
here, He is really present:
silent in the fragility of the sacred species,
and hidden from view not only by the sacramental veil
–the appearance of bread–
but, more often than not, by the tabernacle as well. This is the Humility of God,
hidden from the eyes of the learned and the clever,
but revealed to little children.
I think of Blessed Francisco Marto of Fatima,
who, at nine years of age,
understood the mystery of the Hidden Jesus
and wanted nothing more than to console Him
by hiding himself close to the tabernacle. Worldly arrogance scoffs at the folly of a God
hidden under the appearance of a little bread
and put away in a box;
but this Mystery follows and completes
the disconcerting logic of God who hides Himself
in a Virgin's womb,
becoming a man like unto other men
in all things, save sin. The Eucharistic Humility of God
is inseparable from His Eucharistic Silence.
This Saint Benedict understood,
for in his Rule, the silent are humble,
and the humble silent. This our Mother Mectilde understood
for she wanted her Benedictine adorers to bury themselves
in the silence of the hidden God,
the ineffably humble God
in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. This the little Thérèse understood
for she knew that one who would find the Hidden Face of Jesus,
must first hide himself.
The Eucharistic Face of Jesus, His Hidden Face,
is revealed only to those who themselves risk being hidden,
as the psalm says: "Thou shalt hide them in the secret of Thy Face,
from the disturbance of men,
Thou shalt protect them in Thy tabernacle
from the strife of tongues" (Psalm 30:20). The last place at the banquet is elusive;
he who thinks he has found it
may be surprised to discover
that Another has taken a still lower place before him. No matter how low we think we have placed ourselves,
no matter how little we think we have made ourselves,
no matter how diligently we think we have sought the last place of all,
no matter how completely we imagine ourselves to be
buried in silence,
there is Another, the Other,
who has forever laid claim to the lowest place,
who, though He be the infinite God,
Creator of all things visible and invisible,
has made Himself littler than a crumb of bread. Has He not made Himself
the very last thing that remains
when all have left the banquet table:
a fragment of bread to be stored away?
Has He not entered into an inviolable silence
that astonishes even the angelic Choirs
and causes kings to fall silent and adore? One does not become humble by striving to be so,
for all our striving is infected by an insidious pride.
One does not become humble by striking humble poses,
by affecting a humble speech,
or even by thinking humble thoughts. And why?
Because humility belongs to God alone
who made it His own in the mystery of the Incarnation,
and who continues to make it His own
so often as the mystic words are uttered by a priest
over a little bread and a little wine mixed with water:
"This is My Body. This is the chalice of My Blood." Here is the Mysterium Fidei:
the Eucharistic Humility of God.
Eat the Body of Christ, and digest the Divine Humility.
Drink the Blood of Christ;
it is the elixir of those who would hide themselves with Christ in God. Since the event of the Incarnation
–the descent of God into the Virgin's womb,
in view of His descent into death's dark tomb–
and so often as Holy Mass is celebrated
–the descent of God into the frail appearance of Bread
and into the taste and fragrance and wetness
of a few drops of wine–
humility can be found nowhere else. The very least and last of the guests
has become The Host,
and The Host
has made Himself the very least and last of the guests.
Tremble, then, to adore Him,
and having adored Him, receive Him,
that your soul may become the throne of the Humble Hidden God,
and His humility your most cherished treasure. "Learn from Me," He says,
"for I am meek and humble of heart" (Matthew 11:29), and again, "Everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled,
and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11). Source: Vultus Christie by Fr. Mark
© 2013-2014 The Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle. All Rights Reserved.
by John PiperHow do you remain humble? I don't. What makes you think I'm humble? A lot of people don't think I'm humble. I'll take the question to mean, "How do you work at it?" And that's a good question. I do try to work at it. For one, I ask others to pray for me. And I pray to the Lord, "Before I give way to any kind of proud misuse of this influence for my ego, kill me. Take me before I ruin this church, this ministry, and these books. If I have to end on a note that would cast a pall over an entire life of effort, please take me before that happens." Prayer - pleading with God for humility - really is crucial. Secondly, God always uses means, and the means are both providences and truth. The truth is that I'm a sinner. I wasn't only a sinner. I am a sinner. "He who says he has no sin is deceived" (1 John 1:8). So I am a sinner. This does not take any major argument, and it doesn't take much of a mirror. I just see it over and over again. I said to our staff yesterday morning, when we were talking about reputations of the church, etc., to pray that we as a staff would daily be stunned by grace in our lives. Because if we aren't amazed by grace towards us, we will be a finger-pointing church mainly. That was the issue. Bethlehem takes a lot of stands, and therefore we are unhappy with a lot of people's views and can be very negative. I said that the only solution there - since Paul had a lot of things he disagreed with and got upset with a lot of people - the only answer is to be more amazed that you're saved than that they're lost. We should be amazed that God has treated us so generously. Laboring to see that means we must know our sin and know the cross well. A third thing is ask people around you to be honest and tell you when you're blowing it, whether you're blowing it in little ways or big ways. Now and then I'll say to the staff, Please. I know I have a lot of authority around here, and I'm hard to disagree with; but would you please - if you see an attitude, action, or any laziness, covetousness, greed, lust, or selfishness - would you please come to me? Email me if it's too hard to face me, or just come and tell me. And they do! Some of the young guys are courageous and will say, "Don't you need to talk to that person after saying that?" And I do. I had to email somebody the other day and say that I mentioned their name in a group and said something negative when I shouldn't have. I was joking but it really wasn't joking. I asked for forgiveness. He emailed back and was so gracious. "Not a problem," he said. "I've done the same thing and I forgive you." And I said to Nathan, my assistant, on the plane when I was reading this response, "How sweet it is when brothers dwell together in unity! And how horrible it is when you're nervous at night that somebody is mad at you!" So having people around you who exhort you and rebuke you is crucial. Finally, you recognize that everything you do, you do in the strength that God supplies. That can be an empty phrase if you're not really believing it. But Paul said, "By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. But I worked harder than any of them." Now he could stop right here and boast in his work, but he goes on: "Nevertheless, it was not I but the grace of God that was with me." I think that was a very powerful reality for Paul. He could boast. In fact, he did boast about certain gospel things. But when it came to himself, he said that any good he did was done by grace. We see it also in Romans 15:18: "God forbid that I should boast except in what Christ has wrought in me to bring about the obedience of the Gentiles." So if I hear people saying that they were helped by a book or a conference, I tremble inside that I didn't blow it, didn't drop the ball, or didn't quit. I'm saying "God, how long will you keep this going? How long will you have your hand on me? I cannot believe you are so persevering and kind with one who is so imperfect." ©2012 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org Used by Permission.
by Dr. Jack Graham
"He must increase, but I must decrease." - John 3:30It's interesting to examine the life of the apostle Paul as he grew in the grace of God. Not only did he come to a better understanding of God Himself, but he also increased in his humility with regards to his own greatness. Take a look for yourself: In A.D. 49, when Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians, he introduced himself as Paul, an apostle. Then, 7 years later in A.D. 56, he wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:9 that he was "the least of the apostles." And then, in A.D. 61, he described himself in Ephesians 3:8 as the "very least of the saints." Then finally in A.D. 66, as he's coming to the end of the road, he speaks to young Timothy and describes himself in 1Timothy 1:15 as the foremost of sinners. You see, there was a direct correlation between Paul's growth in Christ and his humility. The more he knew God, the more he realized just how far short of God's grace he fell! As you grow in your relationship with Christ, you'll too realize how great Jesus is and how much you fall short of that greatness. But instead of letting that discourage you, let it create in you a deep sense of humility, knowing that while you've been given much more than you deserve, Jesus still gives abundantly! AS YOU WALK WITH CHRIST, GROW IN YOUR HUMILITY BY RECOGNIZING HOW UNDESERVING YOU ARE AND HOW GREAT GOD IS! Source: PowerPoint Devotional
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus. That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
Physician Advises: Skip the Grains But Not the Treats This Holiday Season
1 pound loose ground pork sausage
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 head cauliflower
1 green pepper, chopped
4-ounce can/jar roasted red peppers
8 ounces Portabella mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons ground golden flaxseed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon ground tarragon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring approximately 12 ounces water to a boil in sauce pan. Toss in porcini mushrooms and turn heat down to maintain below boiling. Stir every couple of minutes for 20 minutes. In deep sauce pan, sauté sausage in 1 tablespoon olive oil, along with celery and onions, until sausage is cooked. Drain excess oil. Place saucepan back on low heat. Break cauliflower into small florets and add to sausage mix. Toss in drained porcini mushrooms along with approximately 4 ounces of the porcini broth, remainder of olive oil, green pepper, roasted red peppers, Portabella mushrooms and flaxseed. Add onion powder, sage, thyme, tarragon, salt and black pepper and stir. Transfer to baking dish and place in oven. Bake for 45 minutes. About Dr. William Davis William Davis, MD is a cardiologist and author of several books that have sold more than 2 million copies, including the No.1 New York Times bestseller "Wheat Belly." He has appeared on major national media including the Dr. Oz Show, CBS This Morning, National Public Radio, and Live! with Kelly.. Davis has built a substantial online presence on his Wheat Belly Blog, (www.wheatbellyblog.com). He is a graduate of the St. Louis University School of Medicine, with training in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease at the Ohio State University Hospitals. At Case Western Reserve University Hospitals, he served as Director of the Cardiovascular Fellowship and Assistant Professor of Medicine.
by Ryan HoseltonMy daughter Madrid turned one a few weeks ago - an opportune milestone to reflect on what the Lord has taught me this past year. Many of these things I already knew, but I understand them better now having experienced one year of fatherhood. (And I'm nowhere close to comprehending them completely!) Here are the six things I understand better: 1) God's love I have discovered more about God's love this past year than I have since I first became a believer. I understand God's fatherly care and joy for his children in a far richer way after having experienced fatherhood myself. It's mind-blowing thinking about how much I love my daughter, and realizing that God's love for his children is infinitely deeper and purer! He delights in providing for his children's needs, forgiving them, teaching them, disciplining them for their good, and raising them in grace and love. I can sympathize with his desire to see his children flourish in love and righteousness. My prayer is that my children will someday know the love of their Father in heaven. 2) Trusting God I now have fears and worries that I didn't even know existed before this past year. I am more aware of bacteria, my surrounding, driving, finances, decisions etc., because I'm concerned for the safety and welfare of my daughter. I am learning to trust God in ways that I never thought of before, taking rest in the fact that all things are in his sovereign, wise, and good hands. I also have to trust in him in my hope that my daughter will be saved, since I have no control over her decision to embrace Christ in faith. 3) Loving sacrificially A father's desires and a baby's needs can often conflict. When I want to finish a project or relax after a long day of work, she needs food, or a diaper change, or constant attention because she prefers pulling books off my shelf and messing with electrical outlets rather than playing with her own toys. Sacrificial love consists in laying aside one's desires to serve the benefit of another. And because children are dependent and needy, they multiply and amplify the opportunities to love sacrificially. Christ models sacrificial love through his life and his death for needy sinners who can give nothing in return. Imitating Christ, the goal is not to sacrifice for your child out of mere duty but out of love. If love is forgotten in the sacrifice, parents will become disgruntled and bitter and view the child as an inconvenience. Sacrificial love, on the other hand, finds joy in the sacrifice and in the good that it brings to your child. 4) The importance of my personal holiness The early nineteenth-century Scottish preacher, Robert Murray M'Cheyne, once said, "The greatest need of my people is my personal holiness." While he was a powerful communicator, compelling author, and intelligent thinker, M'Cheyne recognized that his congregation benefited most from his godly example. Likewise, I can throw my daughter ten feet in the sky and catch her, build her whatever fort (or doll house) she wants, and help her with science fair projects, but the ultimate way I can benefit her is to live holy before God and love him above all. 5) How to love my wife Keeping the romance alive was almost effortless when my wife and I could stay out late roaming the town, taking spontaneous trips and going to concerts. But now we use a planner, and we're usually home no later than 8:30pm. I have had to relearn how to love and care for Jaclyn not only as my wife but also as a mother. I also now have a little spectator who watches how her parents talk and act with each other, and it is my role to teach my daughter how a man should treat a woman. I'm learning the importance of giving my wife active communication after a long day of her watching a toddler. I'm learning how to get more creative to plan things for us to do together. Most importantly, I'm learning how much more my trustworthiness, stability, and godliness means to her now that I'm the father of her children. I'm learning to love and appreciate traits in my wife that have blossomed ever since we had a child: her care, tenderness, and joy over life. 6) How to slow down I love feeling the pressure of deadlines, driving fast to get somewhere on time, stacking my schedule, and overall getting as much in as I can in as little amount of time possible. Babies don't move fast; my style was seriously cramped this past year. This category is still on the "need to understand way better than I do" side, but it's slowly improving. I'm learning to take more time to walk slowly, to sit at the dinner table and talk with my wife while Madrid's rubbing her dinner in her hair, and to finish my books slower so I can read more with Madrid. It can be hard work to not always work hard, but slowing down to invest time and love in your family is worth every minute. About The Author: Ryan Hoselton is married to Jaclyn and they have one daughter, Madrid. He's pursuing doctoral studies at Heidelberg University, and he enjoys writing on pop culture and church history. Source: Christianity.com Daily Update
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment. The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days." The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations." The older lady said that she was right -- our generation didn't have the "green thing" in its day. The older lady went on to explain: "Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. "But we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day. "Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But, too bad we didn't do the "green thing" back then. "We walked up stairs because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. "But she was right. We didn't have the "green thing" in our day. "Back then we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. "But that young lady is right; we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day. "Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a hand kerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. "But she's right; we didn't have the "green thing" back then.
"We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. "But we didn't have the "green thing" back then. "Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family's $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the "green thing." We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint. "But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the "green thing" back then?"
Please share this with another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart ass young person. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off... especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smart ass who can't make change without the cash register telling them how much.
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