Showing posts with label Pride. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pride. Show all posts

Friday, April 29, 2022

A Rock Steady Purpose – One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus! -Purity 718

A Rock Steady Purpose – One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus!  -Purity 718

Purity 718 04/29/2022 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of  a spectacular sunset in the distance and reflected in the waters of Portsmouth Harbor comes to us from a pastor friend in the United Kingdom who combines paddling and prayer to enjoy the magnificence of God’s creation and to bask in the peace of the Lord in what he has called his “happy place”.  

And as the sun sets on another work week it is my prayer that all my friends will likewise seek the Lord in similar ways and find their own “happy place” this weekend.   

Since coming to faith in Christ 12 years ago, I discovered that my “happy place” was anywhere I decided to commune with the Lord. While on vacation mission trips, both foreign and domestic, I learned that God wasn’t contained by geographical boundaries and no matter where I went, as long as I sought His presence, there He was. One of the greatest promises of our Christian faith is that God will never leave us or forsake us. God is always available to us and is the one relationship that is guaranteed to endure because He is faithful.

In the ebb and flow of 12 years of being “born again”, many relationships have come and gone as our life journey is progressive and subject to circumstantial changes. People will come and go in our lives but if we have God in common although circumstances may separate us from one another and even though our relationships can change, brothers and sisters in the body of Christ are all joined together through the Lord’s family of saints and His will, and you never know when your paths will converge again.  

The purpose of the body of Christ is to represent the kingdom of God by serving one another, learning from one another, and loving one another. Our interactions with the body of Christ allows us to grow and to meet our purpose in Christ.    

And that’s the million dollar question isn’t it: What exactly is my purpose in Christ?    

I refer to our life of faith as a walk on the path of Christian Discipleship and the thing about a walk is that it is defined by progressive movement and a certain course, a direction.  

Invariably in our “walk”, we discover that as we progress through time and space, the people we were walking with changes as the Lord directs our path. The Lord may set our course to be simple and steady: to “just keep doing what your doing” where you find yourself to be called to “walk in place”, to just remain faithful to where God has you in your job, your family, or your local church. Our faith and our purpose don’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t necessarily have to take you to a wide variety of different locations.  Just being faithful to represent the kingdom of God where you are, to be “Rock Steady”, in the maelstrom of our post Christian society in your current environment could be your purpose.  

Maintaining that “Rock Steady” faith, whether you are called to serve in the local church, called to develop ministries, called to volunteer, called to serve in represent God at work by whatever means necessary, or called to represent the Lord among your family or friends is really one of the goals of being a disciple of Christ.  

Our primary purpose as a disciple of Jesus Christ is to be faithful to represent our Lord no matter where we are called to go or no matter what we are called to do. Just like the Lord is Our Constant Companion, our unchanging purpose regardless of where we are called to “walk”  or what we are called to do is to represent the Lord by lovingly serving others and by sharing the truth of the lifegiving gospel of Jesus Christ. 

So while we can vary in the certainty of our direction and establish goals to get us to where we are going, we should all have the short term goal to be faithful to represent the Lord by what we think, say, and do “one day at a time”.   

Our daily decision to walk with the Lord and to be faithful disciples of Christ reminds me of the song “One Day at a Time: where the lyrics say:

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking of You
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do
Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time


It’s Friday the 29th of April, and if your schedule is anything like mine, at the beginning of the week you probably weren’t too concerned with what you would do today because you had to get through Monday, Tuesday, and the rest of the days of the week before you got here. 

A walk is one step at a time and our lives are lived one day at a time. We can only do what we can do for today.  So stay “Rock Steady” while you walk about the earth and move towards or seek to find the purpose that the Lord has for you in your life.  Even if we are not sure “where all this is going”, we can be certain that the Lord will be pleased with us when we seek to do His will and stay in His presence by walking and talking with God. 


Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 138:6 (NLT2)
6  Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us of the greatness of our God and how His care cares for the humble but keeps his distance from the proud.  

Pretty straight forward interpretation of that verse, huh?  Sometimes the word of God is simple and clear and we don’t need to read a lot into it.  So what are the implications from this verse?  

God is great. He cares for the humble but keeps His distance from the proud . So let’s  receive His care and be humble. A correct view of who we are in Christ would show us that we have done nothing to make ourselves approved of by God or we haven’t been able to perform anything that God didn’t bless us with. Our looks, our temperament, and our capacity to develop skills and increase our intelligence were all given to us by our Creator.

We may have done a great deal to become skillful, intelligent, or cared for our bodies to maximize our attractiveness and physical fitness but the raw materials and potentials all come from the Lord.  

SO here is the trap, shouldn’t be proud of what we’ve done? Shouldn’t we be proud of what we have learned, and accomplished.  Shouldn’t we be proud of how we have cared for and strengthened our bodies?   I mean we read the books, we took the classes, we practiced the skills, we exercised our bodies, we worked hard to get here. Shouldn’t I be proud of all I have done?  

I’m not sure if I revealed the error we are making here or just re-emphasized our penchant for pride so let me tell you.  

No, as the word of God indicates, we shouldn’t be proud.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NKJV) says
23  Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24  But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD.

It sort of stinks we can’t be proud, right?  No, because if we know the Lord, we wouldn’t be proud – thinking we “created” our wisdom, wealth, or might.  If we know the Lord we know we have been blessed to be given the ability and favorable circumstance to achieve these positive results by a loving and Sovereign God that created us, our drive, and all the people and things that we have utilized to achieve what we have.  

We are not to be prideful. We are to be thankful.  So yeah you can recognize the progress you have made in life, but instead of glorying in our awesome you are, give credit where credit is due and give the glory to God for establishing this world and for giving you the life you have, all the blessings you enjoy, and the power and abilities He has given you.  

We can do some pretty amazing things but when we are proud of ourselves or what we have done, without recognizing God, we idolize ourselves and the way we did it “our way” or “all by myself”, when fundamentally that is a lie. 

We didn’t do anything by ourselves. God gave us the life we have and all the people and things that helped us along the way.

Which takes us to the first part of today’s verse: God is great and when we recognize just how great He is and what He has done for us, we rightly will be humble and we won’t distance ourselves from God by believing that lie that we are self sufficient and being prideful.  

So rejoice over the Lord, how He has blessed you, and give Him the glory by recognizing the truth of just how great He is by humbly, and continuously, giving Him thanks and praise.

As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.


Paul’s Discovery of Peter’s Secret

First, “For me … to die is gain.” I wonder if Paul in his conversations with Peter in Jerusalem had talked about dying? I wonder if Peter told him about that experience recorded in John 21 when Jesus, after his resurrection, said to Peter, “When you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18). Then John adds this explanation in his Gospel: “This [Jesus] said to showby what kind of death [Peter] was to glorify God” (John 21:19). God had decreed that Peter would make God look great in his dying. I don’t doubt that when Peter and Paul gave each other the right hand of fellowship, the manly grip of their hands and the meeting of their eyes communicated this one common passion: to magnify Christ crucified—the blazing center of the glory of God—even in death.

But how are we to magnify Christ in death? Or to put it another way: How can we die so that in our dying the surpassing value of Christ, the magnitude of his worth, becomes visible? Paul’s answer here in Philippians 1 is found first in the connection between verse 20 and verse 21. These verses are connected by the word “for” or “because.” Boil it down to the words about death: “My eager expectation is that Christ be honored in my body by death, for to me to die is gain.” In other words, if you experience death as gain, you magnify Christ in death.

How Is Dying Gain?

Why is that? Verse 23 shows why dying is gain for Paul: “My desire is to depart [that is, to die] and be with Christ, for that is far better.” That is what death does: It takes us into more intimacy with Christ. We depart, and we are with Christ, and that, Paul says, is gain. And when you experience death this way, Paul says, you exalt Christ. Experiencing Christ as gain in your dying magnifies Christ. It is “far better” than living here.

Really? Better than all the friends at school? Better than falling in love? Better than hugging your children? Better than professional success? Better than retirement and grandchildren? Yes. A thousand times better. When I preached my candidating sermon for the pastoral position I hold now, this passage of Scripture was my text. That was January 27, 1980. I wanted to show the people from Scripture the single, all-embracing passion of my life—to magnify Christ in all things whether by life or death.

At this point in the message, the question arose: Is death better than life? Is departing to be with Christ better than staying here? I said to them:

If I didn’t believe that, how could I dare to aspire to the role of pastor—anywhere—not to mention at Bethlehem Baptist Church where 108 members are over 80 years old and another 171 over 65? But I do believe it, and say to every gray-haired believer in this church, with all the authority of Christ’s apostle, the best is yet to come! And I don’t mean a fat pension and a luxury condominium. I mean Christ.

I averaged one funeral every three weeks for the first year and a half of my ministry. And many more after that. It was a sobering and sweetening season for a young pastor. It knit my heart together with many families as we bade farewell to friend after friend. And faring well is exactly what we believed they did.

If We Learn to Die Well, We Will Live Well

What we have learned from Philippians 1 so far is that death (whether by natural causes or by persecution) is a means of making much of Christ. If we suffer or die on the Calvary road of obedience with Christ, the cost of following him is not just a result of making much of him, but a means. Death makes visible where our treasure is. The way we die reveals the worth of Christ in our hearts. Christ is magnified in my death when I am satisfied with him in my dying—when I experience death as gain because I gain him. Or to say it another way: The essence of praising Christ is prizing Christ. Christ will be praised in my death, if in my death he is prized above life.

Jesus said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). When the hour comes for everything to be taken from us but Christ, we will magnify him by saying, “In him I have everything and more. To die is gain.”

If we learn to die like this, we will be ready to live. And if we don’t, we will waste our lives. Most of us have some years to live before we go to be with Christ. Even the oldest among us must ask the question, “If we love Christ, how can he be magnified in my behavior this afternoon, this evening, this week?” So we turn to the other half of Philippians 1:21: “To me to live is Christ.”

To Live Is Christ

What does Paul mean: “To live is Christ”? He begins his explanation in verse 22: “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.” But that is a strange explanation: “To live is Christ” becomes “To live is fruitful labor for me.” What is the fruit that comes from Paul’s work? And how is “to live … Christ”? The answers come in verses 24–26.

In verse 22 Paul has said, “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.” Now in verse 24 he says, “To remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” So evidently the fruit that Paul’s life produces is not only for himself but is very needful for the sake of the Philippian believers. So the phrase, “For me to live is Christ” now becomes “For me to live is to produce fruit that you all need very much.” Then verse 25 tells us what this fruit is that the church needs and that Paul’s life will produce: “I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.” So we can see Paul gradually clarifying what he means by “For me to live is Christ.”

First, it means: My life is dedicated to producing fruit (verse 22). Second, it means: My life is devoted to producing a fruit that is very necessary for you to have (verse 24). Third, it means: My life is devoted to increasing your faith and helping it to overflow with joy (verse 25).

Now the crucial question is: Why in Paul’s mind is it one and the same thing to say on the one hand, “For me to live is Christ,” and to say on the other hand, “My life is devoted to your progress and joy in the faith”? I think those two statements are virtually synonymous for Paul in this context.[1]

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 66–70.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

I Got a Problem? You Got a Problem! – The Problem of Pride - Purity 506

 I Got a Problem? You Got a Problem! – The Problem of Pride                                                                                                   

Purity 506 08/25/2021   Purity 506 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s phantom like photo of bales of hay with the ghostly mist of morning next to a dense thicket on the border of some farmland at an undisclosed location, presumably in upstate NY, comes to us from Arthur Cincotti, Bible Study Composer and Photo Enthusiast.  I must give Arthur some credit for this one. Although it doesn’t reflect our current season, I would guess this was taken in the autumn of 2020, it caught my eye this morning and I decided to step outside of the box and share a photo that was “out of season”.  But as I have a loose framework for how I put these messages together, it actually fits.    

It's Wednesday, and these “humps of hay”, brought to you by Mr. Cincotti, are here to encourage you in progressing over that midweek summit with the confidence, hope, and expectation that comes from walking in the Spirit.   

Tonight, I attend a men’s accountability group and I think it is rather humorous and appropriate that  a group that is meeting to support one another in sexual purity is meeting on “hump day”.  I have found that when we are seeking to walk away from the darkness of the past, addictions, or old behaviors it is best to do so with a sense of humor. Sometimes its laugh or cry, and when I’m in public I choose to joke and laugh. The crying is generally done in private. Tears of a clown, right? When no one’s around.  

Humor can be a big defense mechanism for us.  We use our humor to get attention and to get people to like us. In the recent Friend’s reunion, Matthew Perry who has a history of recovery issues, in speaking about a scene from a past episode, revealed how he just had to get a laugh and would actively look for opportunities to do so. He confessed about how so much of his self-worth was tied up in getting that attention and that response of laughter. 

I saw myself in Perry’s comments as I have played that role of the practical joker and comedian in my family growing up and still do and use my humor to try to ingratiate myself to people.   I think a lot of people who used to be the “life of the party” can relate. But this wasn’t supposed to be about me!  I began writing this to point to something else. Pride.  

Last week at our men’s support group, one of the guys shared that he was a little bothered by the fact that the meeting was held on a night when there were other activities going on at the place where we were meeting, and he had a problem with what this meant in terms of confidentiality. He stated that “everyone” knew why we were there and that it was “no secret” to anybody.  He then grew a little upset and said that the area of sexual purity in men was a big problem and that there should be more men there and he was bothered that he was “one of the few” that were invited to be a part of this group.     

I tried to assure him that no one really what he was doing there, and that for all anyone knew he could be there as someone who had victory in this area and was there to just give support and offer help, and that no one knew anything about his “problem” or the extent of it.  I didn’t say it, but I was thinking “that would include us” as none of the group has really opened up about their struggles yet.   

In hindsight, I would have also included that people generally don’t care. I think it was Joyce Meyer who said once that “If we knew how little other people thought about us, we wouldn’t be so concerned about what they think.”   We tend to be self-focused.

But I guess we also tend to judge and think badly about others too.  This man’s concern with how he was perceived by others and his comments reveals that he has considered the problems other people were hiding. 

“I got a problem? Well, you got a problem too… at least I’m honest!”

That’s thing about getting help.  The stigma. I encourage people to get help but let’s not be coy. You will be judged. People will treat you differently.  And some always will, no matter how many years you are free.  Ask me how I know.     

But you know what? That’s a consequence of going astray and climbing out of darkness and we are going to have to live with it. We will never regain some people’s respect or “good opinion” but what we can gain is freedom, peace, maturity, and joy.   

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we are “made right” with God and given the power to be free.  But if we let the opinions of men keep us from being open, honest, and transparent, we will never experience freedom and the new life that Christ has for us.  

“But what if they judge me? What if they don’t include me? What if they reject me?  

I “did everything right” by going into recovery and I still have this stigma! What’s the point?”  

The point is that you are no longer in bondage and your freedom from whatever problems you overcome is a testimony of the goodness of God and His grace, mercy, and power in your life.     

What do you do with the people who reject you and treat you like a second class citizen?

Well, Jesus forgave those who crucified Him from the cross. The Word commands us to forgive. So we do that, again and again, over, and over, because God forgave us and gave us a new and eternal life when we didn’t deserve it.

As disciples of Christ we are to learn from His example and follow Him.  In Matthew 11:29, Christ said that He was “meek and lowly in heart”, That’s means He was humble so we should be humble.  

Our pride can keep us from seeking help and finding the “rest” and new life that God wants for us.  Our pride can stop us from helping other people because we “don’t know what to say” or “don’t want to look foolish”.  When we are prideful, we make ourselves more important that God and others.   We worship our “image” instead of God who is calling us to repentance and the freedom, victory, and new life that lie on the other side of it.  

So, let go and let God. The cure to pride is truth.

“Yup, I used to have all kinds of problems. They may not have been as bad as you think, or they could have been a lot worse than you could ever imagine. But the thing is that God has set me free and while I could tell you a lot of stories about my past, I would rather tell you about the One who set me free and encourage you to follow Him.”    

So keep walking and talking with God. Lay down your pride because you will never “do everything right” and when you aren’t so full of yourself you will discover that the Lord is ready to fill you with His love, wisdom, and power that will transform your life and cause you to seek His purpose. 


This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 8:31 (NKJV)
31  Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

Today’s verse makes the connection between our relationship as disciples of Jesus Christ with the word of God.  

One of the first things I did after I got saved back in 2010 was I dusted off a Bible I had received when I was confirmed as an Episcopalian years before, grabbed a highlighter, and started reading the word.  

I finally understood that salvation had come through my faith in Christ alone, but the joy of my salvation gave me a big desire to be as authentic a Christian as I could be, but I also wanted to make sure that “this thing was for real.” 

I didn’t want to be one of these “blind faith” types that don’t seem to have any knowledge about their own religion and just blindly “trust and obey”.   I wasn’t really thrilled about the idea of being some mindless sheep that just does “what pastor says”.   I was going to investigate my newfound faith in Christ to make sure I wasn’t being led astray. 

I also wanted to know what the Bible had to say about the God who loved me enough to save a wretch like me.  

Those desires have led me to read the Bible several times and to get degrees in Biblical Studies and Christian Counseling.   Knowing the word is one thing. And I could study the Bible for the rest of my days and not be fully content that I “know” the Word. 

But Abiding in His word indicates that we meditate on what it says and apply it to our lives.  Abiding is the key to discipleship.  We read, ponder, and meditate on the word and then endeavor to shape our lives according to the word of God.   

Christ said it Himself. Those who do that are His disciples.  

So surrender parts of your life that are consuming your time and money that don’t draw you closer to the Lord.  There is great value in being Christ’s disciples and I encourage you to draw closer to Him.  

John the Baptist said that he must decrease, and Christ must increase. That can be taken as advice for all of us.  Exchanging our worldly ways for the ways of the Lord not only reveals our identity as true disciples of Jesus Christ, it also is blessed by a continuous flow of the fruit of the Spirit into our lives. 

So abide in the Word of God and rejoice that you are a disciple of the Savior of the world.  


As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 


Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, concluding  Chapter 12.


As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

When You Are Tempted to Criticize or Reject Others

Express Your Needs Without Judging

If you have legitimate needs in a relationship that are not being met, should you risk conveying criticism and rejection by expressing your needs? Yes, but express them in such a way that you don't impugn the other person's character.

For example, you may feel unloved in a relationship, so you say, "You don't love me anymore." Or you think your spouse doesn't value you, so you say, "You make me feel worthless." Or you feel a distance developing between you and your friend, so you say, "You never write or call." You haven't really expressed your need. You criticized the other person. You are usurping the role of the other person's conscience. By pushing off your need as that person's problem, the person will probably respond by getting defensive, further straining the relationship.

What if you expressed your needs this way: "I don't feel loved anymore"; "I feel like a worthless, unimportant person"; "I miss it when we don't communicate regularly"? By changing the "you" accusation to an "I" message, you express your need without blaming anyone. Your nonjudgmental approach allows God to deal with the person's conscience and turns a potential conflict into an opportunity for ministry. The other person is free to respond to your need instead of being defensive against your attack.

We all need to be loved, accepted, and affirmed. When these needs go unmet, it is very important that we express them to our family members and fellow Christians in a positive way and allow others to minister to those needs. I believe that a basis for temptation are unmet, legitimate needs. When you are too proud to say, "I don't feel loved," or when you push others away by saying, "You don't love me anymore," your need for love goes unmet. So Satan comes along with a tempting alternative: "Your wife doesn't love you like you deserve. But have you noticed the affectionate gleam in your secretary's eye?"

God's primary resources for meeting your needs and keeping you pure are other believers. The problem is that many go to Sunday School, church and Bible study wearing a sanctimonious mask. Wanting to appear strong and together, they rob themselves of the opportunity of having their needs met in the warmth and safety of the Christian community. In the process, they rob the community of the opportunity to minister to their needs—one of the primary reasons God gathered us into churches. By denying other believers the privilege of meeting your legitimate needs, you are acting independently of God, and you are vulnerable to getting your needs met by the world, the flesh, and the devil.

A pastor once humorously quipped, "The ministry would be a great career if it wasn't for people." Perhaps you have said something similar, such as "Growing in Christ would be easy if it wasn't for the people." We all know that following Christ involves both the vertical and the horizontal—loving God and loving people. It is important to know that God works in our lives through committed relationships. Where better to learn patience, kindness, forgiveness, and team spirit than in the close quarters of working relationships? Committed relationships can be extremely difficult unless we accept our responsibilities to grow and to love others. You can make that commitment. Remember, you are the only one who can keep you from becoming the person God wants you to be.

One of my students brought me the following poem that he insisted was a description of me. I hope he is right. I share it with you because I believe it provides a helpful perspective for our sometimes prickly relationships as Christians:

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.

Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds.

Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.

Fight for the underdog anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.

People really need help, but may attack you if you help them.

Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you've got and you'll get kicked in the teeth.

Give the world the best you've got anyway.

Anybody can find character defects and performance flaws in another Christian. It takes the grace of God to look beyond an impulsive Peter to see in him the rock of the Jerusalem church. It takes the grace of God to look beyond Saul the persecutor to see in him Paul the apostle. So as you live day to day with people who are sometimes less than saintly in their behavior—and who see you the same way—may I simply say, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you" (2 Peter 1:2).

 Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
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God bless you all!


Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts ( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

Email me at to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship