Tag Archives: pride

Beauty for Ashes

flame-1According to forestry experts, small fires that clear the forest floor but don’t destroy the trees are beneficial. They leave nutrient-rich ash perfect for seeds to sprout and grow.
Like those purifying forest fires, the disappointments and difficulties of my life help me grow. They burn up my thorny pride and my tendency to look to self or others to make my life work (weeds). As I seek God amid the ashes in my heart, He grows seeds of humility and of love for Him and others. Fragrant flowers and fruitful shrubs develop from these seeds to replace the weeds and thorns.
Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Isaiah 61:1, 3 “’The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me…to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes….’” (Both New King James Version)

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Signs of a Hard Heart

Real truth in this blog post by Pastor Joe!

Joe Quatrone, Jr.

Pharaoh-Tutankhamun-3I will harden Pharaoh’s heart and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you (Exodus 7:3-4).

Have you ever met someone who was just plain stubborn? You might know people within your circle of friends who insist on having their way. They are hardheaded and obstinate about what they want. A moment of reflection may cause you to feel uncomfortable at the thought (you know, personally). God calls it a heart problem. This problem of self-centeredness has existed from the beginning of time, documented in the lives of people we read about in Scripture as well as people we live with today.

Pharaoh is probably the best illustration in the Bible of a person with a hard heart. He was exposed to the truth over and over again, yet refused to respond accordingly. Notice God said, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” God engineered…

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The Truth About Life

Some of our pastor’s comments about Memorial Day made me think about what I consider important. I tend to be a people-pleaser, thinking I must do or say the things that win the approval of others. Sometimes I get into pride over personal or professional accomplishments.

But do any of these things really matter? Will my profit and loss and net worth statements be tacked onto my casket? What about college degrees and awards or perhaps a list of the people I’ve pleased here on earth? Will a picture of the house I lived in or an account of songs I listened to or sang or books I liked or wrote be tucked inside my coffin? Of course not!

No, I didn’t bring anything into this world, and I’ll leave everything behind when I depart. When my body is the one they’re looking at as the funeral ends, the only things that will be important then are my relationship with God and my choice to follow His Son Jesus Christ.

So I want to make those things most important now.

Dust we are and to dust returning.

What seems important now won’t matter then.

So let’s call on God while we’re still living

And pursue His goals, not those of women or men.

The casket holds no degrees, awards, diplomas,

No statement of financial worth.

We leave this world just as we entered—

Owning no more than we did at birth.

So let’s live for Jesus,

And following Him, take up our cross,

Laying our treasures up in heaven

Where there’s no corruption, decay, or loss.

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves.” –Matthew 6:19-20 New Living Translation

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The Truth about Life

Some of our pastor’s comments about Memorial Day made me think about what I consider important. I tend to be a people-pleaser, thinking I must do or say the things that win the approval of others. Sometimes I get into pride over personal or professional accomplishments.

But do any of these things really matter? Will my profit and loss and net worth statements be tacked onto my casket? What about college degrees and awards or perhaps a list of the people I’ve pleased here on earth? Will a picture of the house I lived in or an account of songs I listened to or sang or books I liked or wrote be tucked inside my coffin? Of course not!

No, I didn’t bring anything into this world, and I’ll leave everything behind when I depart. When my body is the one they’re looking at as the funeral ends, the only things that will be important then are my relationship with God and my choice to follow His Son Jesus Christ.

So I want to make those things most important now.

 

Dust we are and to dust returning.

What seems important now won’t matter then.

So let’s call on God while we’re still living

And pursue His goals, not those of women or men.

 

The casket holds no degrees, awards, diplomas,

No statement of financial worth.

We leave this world just as we entered—

Owning no more than we did at birth.

So let’s live for Jesus,

And following Him, take up our cross,

Laying our treasures up in heaven

Where there’s no corruption, decay, or loss.

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves.” –Matthew 6:19-20 New Living Translation

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Enemies in the Promised Land

When the Israelites entered Canaan (the Promised Land), God told them they could make treaties with the “far off” nations.  People of these nations could be forced to pay tribute or serve Israel. Likewise, there are aspects of my life that I can use to honor God that don’t become distractions. These might compare to the distant nations for Israel.

However, the Israelites were to totally destroy the “nearby” inhabitants of the Promised Land, partly because their worship of false gods would draw God’s people away from Him. I’m easily tempted in areas such as pride, greed, and envy. So these are “close” enemies of the abundant life God promised me, and they must be eradicated. As I “take more of the land” I’ll experience more of Christ’s promised joy and peace.

I discovered one of those “close nations” the other day. Self-pity giants live there. They’ve built a walled fortress and have been shooting out whining, complaining, and blaming for most of my sojourn on this earth. Now that they’ve been found out, they can be overcome.

In these moments of prayer I’m transported and drawn nearer to You, O Lord.

I’m refreshed in Your Spirit and heartened and renewed in the light of Your Word.

Open my ears so I’ll listen. Open my eyes. Let me see.

Lead me in bringing down strongholds so I can live fully for Thee.

Psalm 73:28 New Living Translation “But as for me, how good it is for me to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.”

Copyright Tricia Opitz 7/31/10

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Walls Around the Soul

One woman I know has been hurt so much that she’s built walls around her soul for protection. They remind me of barriers I’ve set up in my own life because of  fear or pride.  But those same walls set up to protect us keep out what God wants to do in our lives and the comfort He wants to give us. They also keep in the bitterness and pain so the unhealed wounds continue to torment us.
Dear Father, please break down these strongholds that keep me away from You. Teach me to run into the high tower of Your love and mercy so I won’t need these God-resistant walls any more. Thank You. Amen.
“But I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.”
–Psalm 59:16 New King James Version

Copyright Tricia Opitz 4/10/10

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