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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Home autumn garden cart 9/24/18
Our home garden cart dressed up for autumn

"The Poison of Pride"

Message summary: "Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend." John R.W. Stott

to our message on your audio player.

"Before his downfall a man's heart is proud but humility comes before honor" (Proverbs 18:12). "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).

PufferfishAccording to the National Geographic website the Pufferfish can inflate into a ball shape to evade predators. Also known as blowfish, these clumsy swimmers fill their elastic stomachs with huge amounts of water (and sometimes air) and blow themselves up to several times their normal size.

But these blow-up fish aren't just cute. Most Pufferfish contain a toxic substance that makes them foul tasting and potentially deadly to other fish. The toxin is deadly to humans—1,200 times more deadly than cyanide. There is enough poison in one Pufferfish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote.

Like Pufferfish, human beings can blow themselves up with pride and arrogance to make themselves look bigger than they are. And this pride can become toxic to a marriage, a church, or a friendship. No wonder the late Bible scholar John Stott once said, "Pride is your greatest enemy; humility is your greatest friend." *

Thank God for the eternal truthfulness of His Word! The daily Proverb has proven true countless times.

"Before his downfall a man's heart is proud." Pride is something we all have to deal with at least to some degree. It may be our position, education, looks, talents or possessions. Or it might even be the lack of these things!

"Pride is a universal human problem. When we have exalted ourselves in pride, God does not want to punish us and bring us low but rather to forgive and restore us. He says again and again in Scripture, humble yourselves, and I will exalt you. This gives us hope and encouragement. God takes pleasure in our efforts to humble ourselves, and He loves to bless and exalt the humble." Thomas A. Tarrants

Consider those who've had a "downfall" (the KJV more bluntly translates "destruction"). The downfall might be many things such as a business failure, broken marriage or prison term. Or it might be something that will not be revealed until the final judgment and ultimate destruction. Sometimes people get away with pride for a season. But pride always has consequences, immediate or future.

"But humility comes before honor."
The highest honor is that from God Himself.  He values humility. "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).

Consider for a moment the people that you have come to truly honor. More often in my life they are people who demonstrate humility. And generally the people that I honor the most are relatively unknown. If I were to list the top ten people whom I esteem with great honor very few readers would even recognize their names. They've never attained traits that would bring them fame from the world, but they've faithfully served God and impacted those whose lives they have touched. We're going to meet a lot of people like this in heaven.

May God help us to hide this Proverb deep into our hearts and recall it frequently as we seek to live lives of honor before God and others.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I wholeheartedly acknowledge before others all that I have, all that I am and all that I ever hope to be I owe to You. Help me to always remember the destructive nature of pride. You are a gracious and generous Father who deserves all the praise, glory and honor due Your name. Today I humbly proclaim You to be my Lord and Master. Amen.

Schenk's Mill Covered Bridge, Lancaster County 9/23/18 (Click to enlarge)
Another view of the Stoltzfus Gourd and Pumpkin farm we drove by on Sunday afternoon with this photo taken by Ester
(Click to enlarge)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Humble Yourselves"  Video  Maranatha Singers

The Stoltzfus Gourd and Pumpkin Farm is located here (Google map)

* Illustration from this article

Weber photo
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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