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Friday, January 24, 2014

Amish farm, Lancaster County PA
Amish farm in Lancaster County, PA
Photo by Mike Book

"Staying Humble"

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(Note: Podcast not prepared today)

"Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, 'Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?'" (Daniel 4:29-30). “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).

It's another extremely cold day but we are so thankful for our warm home! Early this morning we went out for several chaplain visits and the temperature when we started just after 6:00AM was around 5 degrees with a howling wind from the west.

John and Hope Winchoba were an older couple who attended the church we served in New England during the nineties. I conducted both their funerals; John's while I lived up that way and then several years ago I officiated at Hope's at her request. They are among the real blessings of ministry and were a tremendous source of encouragement during our years of ministry in that congregation.

Once during a visit with John, he shared a story about a visit he and Hope made to England. They were touring the "The House of Lords" in the Parliament Building and as a tourist he was quite weary so he took a seat. A security guard approached him and inquired, "Excuse me sir, are you a lord?" John replied "No", and was told "Only lords can sit here."

Now that had to be a bit humbling but John took it in stride since as a believer he was confident in who the real Lord is!

But knowing our place has always been a real challenge and all through human history pride has been an ancient sin. Thus humility is a foundational Biblical principle. John the Baptist understood this vital spiritual principle, as evidenced by his declaration that "He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30).

Nebuchadnezzar reigned over one of the greatest of world empires in his time. In Daniel 4 he had received a vision from God and an interpretation from Daniel which said to the effect "repent and humble yourself".

The vision greatly disturbed him and perhaps worked on his mind for awhile, but he did not respond. Likely as the months went by the burden and conviction eased. In our daily verse he makes one of the greatest statements of pride of all time. "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?" But God's judgment was swift and sure. (Read the rest of the chapter.)

How is your life going today? Perhaps your health is good. Your family loves you. The job seems to be secure. Earlier, just prior to his vision, Nebuchadnezzar had said: "I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace" (Daniel 4:4). Both of these conditions (ease and prosperity) are desirable as well as security.

Yet we must always remember these are blessings from God and we are to remain dependent upon Him. He deserves all the glory. That will help keep us humble. An earlier king (one of God's special servants), who also was contented and prosperous, likewise found the roof of the royal palace a place of special temptation (see 2 Samuel 11:2). Pride still comes before the fall. "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Let us heed the powerful command from James,
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).

Be encouraged,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we know that none of us are 100% humble, for we are clothed in these mortal, fallible bodies. But we do know that Jesus is the model of One completely humble in His humanity and divinity. He did not consider equality with You, our Father, something to be grasped but took on His personhood as a man and became obedient to death on the cross. We look to Him as the supreme example of humility and obedience. As we clothe ourselves in Your righteousness we can overcome the pride that is ever before us. We recognize that no good thing can come from us, but all that is good comes from You. Remind us daily that the attitude of gratitude is the antidote for feelings of pride. When we acknowledge that everything we have and all that we are is due to Your merciful blessings we are humbled and grateful to You, the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Humble Thyself In The Sight Of The Lord "  Video  Maranatha Singers

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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 I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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