Even in the crazy times we currently live--today, November 11th, Veterans Day--still resonates deep in our hearts. It’s a day we have the opportunity to honor those that have honored others over themselves. To honor those that choose to serve our country and put it all on the line to ensure the very freedoms and liberties we enjoy today, are protected and preserved.
Throughout the life of our country, men and women have chosen and are still choosing to potentially put themselves in harm's way to protect our way of life. This can never be overlooked or forgotten. They literally guard the gate for our freedom every second of every day. So as we salute them today and thank them for their service, let’s also take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate the blessing we have to live in this country. The country that still, in the middle of our current turmoil, serves as a light to the world.
May all of us continue to focus on the truth of God’s Word and how we can best help our fellow man, not tear them down as the world would have us.
God Bless our Veterans and may God Bless the United States of America!
I heard a radio personality recently pose the question:
Do circumstances determine how you see God? Or does your relationship with God determine how you see your circumstances?
I think it is a very thought-provoking question. The circumstances of our lives--the struggles we face on a daily basis or sometimes even the lack of struggle, can ultimately cloud or confuse our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
The “Why God?” questions or “When God?” questions or “...fill in the blank” God questions can overwhelm us with almost a sense of entitlement for answers or understanding that we want “right now.” On the flip side of that, if everything seems to be going the way we hoped, are we still focusing on our efforts to have an ongoing trust relationship with Jesus Christ?
As we work to strengthen and deepen our relationship with God, the mindset shifts from questioning - to trusting. The circumstances, concerns, and questions we have don’t necessarily leave us, but the trust that our Lord wants the best for us, provides the very comfort and peace we need to overcome our situation.
A couple of verses that always bring this sense of trust to me as it relates to God and my circumstances are:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
We will always face challenging circumstances in our lives. Even the simple daily challenges can seem overwhelming at times. But, do we ultimately allow these to skew our perspective on how we view God? Or, do we allow our relationship with Jesus Christ to help us navigate our circumstances with a perspective of hope and trust?
It truly is our choice, so choose wisely!
I remember being asked this question before by a Pastor in a sermon. I have thought about this question a lot over the years and I think I’ve come to really understand what he was asking. If humility, true humility, is in essence Jesus Christ, then humility is certainly about sacrificing one’s own needs, wants and desires for those you love and care for.
So, yes, humility can certainly be a painful and difficult process, even though the pain may be internally felt or perceived. However, in this reality, if it is true humility, is not the “felt pain” showing a lack of humility? Unless our humility is like that of Christ in that we are literally being put to death on a cross, most of our daily acts of humility are simply removing our own wants and desires and inserting others ahead of our own. Therefore, if we feel pain for this, aren’t we then longing for something we “wished” we would have had, hence replacing humility with covetousness?
These are hard subjects to grasp, but I think it’s something that we all struggle with from time to time. Andrew Murray authored one of my favorite books simply titled, Humility. The book has many wonderful nuggets of wisdom, but here is one:
“It is in our relationships to one another, in our treatment of one another, that the true lowliness of mind and the humility of heart are to be seen. Our humility before God has no value unless it prepares us to reveal the humility of Jesus to our fellowmen.”
These are simply Biblical mandates--
“By love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
“Therefore...walk...with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love.” Ephesians 4:1-2
And again in Colossians, “Put on...mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another,...even as Christ forgave you.” (Colossians 3:12-13)
You all know me and often I use songs to reinforce my point. Well, as the late Mac Davis said,
“Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble!” Well, yes, it is! It’s not supposed to be easy. Sacrifice of self is never going to be easy. But, Jesus, our ultimate benchmark of humility, has taught us that humility is not possible without love. “Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10b)
Keep loving out there!