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Posts Tagged ‘Pride’

The Things of Esau

“How are the things of Esau searched out!
how are his hidden things sought up!”
Obadiah 1:6
(Read the whole chapter)

Esau was a religious man yet a profane man. He sold his birthright for a mess of pottage in a moment of perceived need. He was a man who relied greatly on his own strength. He was an earthly man; he walked in the things of this world and loved the things of this world. Esau was a picture of a man who looks good and speaks with the language of the redeemed but walks in the ways of the world.

“If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passes away, and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God abides for ever.”
1 John 2:15-17

Esau was a self-righteousness man; he looked upon the calamity of others with callousness and pride. He distanced himself from the afflictions of his brother. In his pride he said, “Who shall bring me down to the ground?” When Jacob was being carried away into captivity Esau was unmoved.

“For thy violence against thy brother Jacob
shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off forever.”
Obadiah 1:10

God considered Esau’s indifference to Jacob’s trouble an act of violence and His recompense was severe. We see throughout the history of God’s people that indifference and complacency brought great injury and judgement to His House. It was the Levite and the Priest who passed by the beaten man; it was the Pharisee who looked at the woman who wept at Jesus’ feet with contempt; it was the Pharisee who prayed thanking God that “he was not like other men”.

The indifference of our hearts to the needs of others who have fallen, been beaten and are suffering will result in us missing the blessings of our God. We reveal our hearts by what we do.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”
Matthew 5:7

For the believer the way to receive is to give. The way to live a life filled with His Blessing is to give of what we have to those around us. The loaves and fishes from a child can feed the multitudes. A word of hope to one that is struggling or an act of kindness to a stranger should be the daily outflow of a life lived in Him.

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did,
the which,if they should be written every one,
I suppose that even the world itself
could not contain the books that should be written.
Amen.”
John 21:25

Jesus’ life here on earth was active; He was constantly about His Father’s business. His life was neither passive nor uneventful. Neither should our life be one of faithless inactivity. Let us provoke one another unto love and good works.

Ω

“Faith, like light, should always be simple and unbending;
while love, like warmth, should beam forth
on every side and bend to every necessity of our brethren.”
Martin Luther (1483–1546)

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Thought for Today

The Alabaster Box
And
Freedom from Strife

“Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people…”
Psalm 18:43

God has an answer for the strife, jealously and contention of religious, partisan discord. Clinging to teachings, ministries of God, and the honoring of men and organizations over Him, clouds His likeness in this world. It destroys the very fabric and wonder of His salvation and the unity of His Spirit. It is as we abide, seek and desire Him alone that He delivers us from the misery and shame of the “strivings of the people”.

The Alabaster Box

There is no better description of this age-old spectacle than that of the story of the woman with the Alabaster box. The room was filled with the carnality, contention, and strife of the various sects of the religious world. The self-righteous Pharisee (himself a leper), the indignant and blind disciples, and the broken-hearted woman (who alone saw the true wonder and glory of the Son) were all confined in one room. Have we not all been in such situations and even sat in the seat of each of these at some time? The Pharisee was oblivious to his own state yet filled with contempt over the woman’s reputation. The disciples were supposedly distressed over the cost and waste of the ointment being poured out. The worshiping woman saw nothing other than the priceless beauty of Christ.

The Pharisee was disturbed with the person, the disciples concerned with the gift, while the woman only had eyes for Him. Singleness of eye is God’s deliverance from the “strivings of the people”. A pure heart rises above partisan politics to see the motivation from which an action proceeds. The reality is that both parties of this drama were offended by her lavish and unmitigated worship of Him! Religious people will always find fault with the true worshiper of Christ; it is an indictment of their own lack of passion for Him.

The Scribes and the Pharisees consulted in the killing of Lazarus for his very presence was a testimony to the resurrection life of Jesus. Cain killed his brother Abel because his gift was accepted and Cain’s rejected. The Pharisees had to cover their ears during the stoning of Stephen because it was a damning of their own true condition. Those who walk with singleness of eye will know loneliness in this world and the contempt of the religious but the joy of seeing Him delivers them from the “strivings of the people”.

“Truly I tell you,
wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world,
what she has done will also be told,
in memory of her”
Mark 14:9

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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PRIDE
The Great Destroyer

“But when his heart was lifted up,
and his mind hardened in pride,
he was deposed from his kingly throne,
and they took his glory from him”
DANIEL 5:20

Pride has been the downfall of many. From the lowest of men to one of the highest angelic creatures pride has corrupted and destroyed. We see it everywhere; in the halls of government, the justice systems, the corporate world of business, the world of sports, the dark corners of crime and even the pulpits and pews of the religious world. Pride is the contagion of the human heart. It lifts its head in the high thoughts of men and is the same power that causes men and women to wallow in discouragement and despair. It is a power that feeds on the selfishness of man. It is the “ME” that it thrives on. It fastens itself to the enlargement and gratification of the need for recognition and sympathy. It is insatiable in its desire for attention and acknowledgment. It cares little for the needs of others unless there is something to be gained by doing so; even its good is corrupted by the self-serving motive that lies behind its deeds. It will make men become whatever is necessary in the acquisition of its end. It will serve one master for a season until a more useful one comes along and then it will change as a chameleon in a new environment. It has no loyalty and hates truth though it will use it for its own ends. In the end, however, it will be the means of destruction for all who live by its sway. The only means of deliverance is through the power of TRUTH. Truth is the means by which humility is born. Truth is the tree upon which the fruit of the Spirit is produced.

Truth is not a fruit. It is the only means by which fruit can be produced. The Holy Spirit is never called the Spirit of love, for even love is the key fruit of truth.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:
against such there is no law”
GALATIANS 5:22-23

It is in the ministration of the Truth that the fruit of the Spirit is formed. For in the ministration of TRUTH we see the condition of our own hearts and of those around us. It is in seeing HIM that we truly know ourselves and, in seeing ourselves, we are no longer surprised by what we see in others. Truth is the leveler of all men. Truth is only known in the seeing of Him and in the seeing of Him we are transformed by HIS GLORY. There is no change, of any lasting value, wrought within the heart of man except by seeing HIM who alone is true.

“But we all, with open face
beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image
from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord”
2 CORINTHIANS 3:18

Isaiah, a prophet of the Most High, had been commissioned by God to prophesy for some time in Israel but in chapter six we read…

“In the year that king Uzziah died
I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne,
high and lifted up …
Then said I, Woe is me!
for I am undone;
because I am a man of unclean lips,
and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips:
for mine eyes have seen the King,
the LORD of hosts”
ISAIAH 6:1,5

One glimpse of the majesty of the Lord and Isaiah was undone. In the beholding of the Holy One he not only knew his own condition but he was made aware of the general condition of fallen man. A man who has touched that Holy Presence is no longer swayed by either the accolades or the criticisms of those around him for he has seen the One to whom he must give an answer. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem to the chorus of voices shouting Hosannas the scriptures declare that “Jesus did not entrust himself to them” for He well knew how fleeting were the praises of men. A short time later that same crowd was shouting “crucify Him”.

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast,
many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.
But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them,
because he knew all people
and needed no one to bear witness about man,
for he himself knew what was in man”
JOHN 2:23-25

“On the next day much people that were come to the feast,
when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
Took branches of palm trees,
and went forth to meet him, and cried,
Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel
that cometh in the name of the Lord”
JOHN 12:12-13

God’s answer to all men is truth, living truth, that penetrating ministration of HIS LIFE that cuts asunder the heart of man, piercing us to the very separation of bone and marrow even to the dividing asunder of the thoughts and intents of our hearts. It is at the very core of who we are that our motives must be laid bare in order for mercy and grace to bring forth the fruit of His Spirit within us. Humility is the garment of all who would participate in the ministration of truth to others for it is the grace that frees us from the opinions of men to speak and do as HE leads. Meekness is the power to persevere under the most strenuous of ordeals with the patience and steadiness of Christ Himself. Joy is that inward sense of His approval that strengthens and encourages us with a power that is unconquerable and radiant. Joy is not to be confused with cheerfulness or happiness.

As we contemplate these and other aspects of the fruit of the Spirit, and realize the immensity of their power and glory, we are reduced to a singular pursuit of HIM in whom alone we have hope of their realization. They are never to be “our” fruit. They are, and always will be, the Fruit of the Spirit. For them to flourish we must live and abide in HIM.

“Abide in me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself,
unless it abides in the vine,
neither can you,
unless you abide in me”
JOHN 15:4

Brian Troxel

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IS OUR LOVE DIFFERENT?

“And if ye salute your brethren only,
what do ye more than others?
do not even the publicans so?”
MATTHEW 5:47

The Greek word for “salute” would best be translated here to embrace or literally as Thayer’s Greek Thesaurus translates this word, “to draw to one’s self”. It is translated “embraced” in Hebrews 11:13. In the verse preceding this one Jesus states that if we love {agapao Grk.} only those that love us, how do we differ from the publicans? May the weight of these things impact us as we look around and see this love displayed to varying degrees throughout the church today. Does this not vividly describe the condition of the sectarian ways to which we have fallen? We see churches and various groups holding on to the close confines of those that “fellowship” with them and the common definition of the church or body today has mistakenly come to mean the ones that we meet with.

To add weight and importance to the above verse Jesus follows with…

“Be ye therefore perfect,
even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”
MATTHEW 5:48

In other words our Father in Heaven is nothing like this. His Love knows no bounds; He does not show impartiality nor is He a respecter of persons. He sends the rain on the just and the unjust and His Son died for the sins of the world. We speak of “our” church, “our” pastor and “our” ministry as if we owned something or that because of our goodness these things have become ours. In Corinthians Paul states…

“For who makes you differ from another?
And what do you have that you did not receive?
Now if you did indeed receive it,
why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
1CORINTHIANS 4:7

If we seek only to meet with those of like mind we remove from us the wonder of His mosaic and the richness of the variations of His Wisdom. When we exclude or diminish another for differing from us we reveal the love of this world. We wonder why the world has not seen the Glory of our God in our midst while we live divided and walk in a love that loves only those that love us.

Peter, one of the Chief Apostles, started to segregate himself from the “gentiles” in his midst and was strongly rebuked by Paul and rightly so. The carnal man seeks to distinguish himself from others thus elevating one’s self. The need for recognition and distinction is at the core of that fallen nature. Jesus HAS broken down the middle partition between Jew and Gentile, between “Baptists” and “Pentecostals” and whatever other walls may be added through the “names” of teachings and doctrines. The gathering of the people is to be unto Him and Him alone.

Sadly the Proverb speaks to our day with such clarity…

“Only by pride cometh contention”
PROVERBS 13:10

Ω

“Division has done more to hide Christ from the view of men
than all the infidelity that has ever been spoken”
G. MacDonald

Brian Troxel

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