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Where God Will Lead His People This Week (via Scotty Smith)

Scotty Smith offers a prayer about where God leads His people.
Not where we’d go by our own decision, but it’s where we need to go.
It’s written for a Monday, but as the week flows along you can see how the prayer is being answered.

Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Rom. 2:4

Heavenly Father, on this June Monday, we are so grateful for the riches of your kindness, forbearance, and patience. You have enriched us beyond all measure in Jesus.
All of these good gifts converge in this one verse from Romans. The most certifiably insane thing we do is to “show contempt” for these treasures. After all, this wonderful triad of graces will only take us to the address called freedom on the path called repentance.
Indeed, the Holy Spirit will never direct us to self-contempt or condemnation, but only to a place of greater liberty and Christlikeness. Because of Jesus’ finished work, your ongoing work in our lives — even when it hurts, is so good.
When we resist the convicting work of the Spirit and refuse to humble ourselves, we’re worse than silly. We’re toxically foolish. You give grace to the humble and resist the proud. Who in their right mind would ever want your resistance? We want grace, Father, as much as you will give us.
Thank you for leading us to humility, not humiliation; to shelter, not shame; to repentance, not penance. Thank you for teaching us that repentance is collapsing on Jesus as our righteousness, not making vain promises we can’t and won’t keep.
So kind Father, fill our week with the beauty of Jesus and quick repentances. As your kindness leads us to repentance, may it also lead us to loving others as Jesus loves us. Give us more joy in walking with you this week than being admired, appreciated, and applauded by our peers. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.

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“A Humble Man Is Willing To Have His Name And Gifts Eclipsed”: Thomas Watson

Tolle Lege is a site that features quotes from various Christian writers through the ages.
Here’s one from Thomas Watson that I quite liked.

“A humble man is willing to have his name and gifts eclipsed so that God’s glory may be increased. He is content to be outshined by others in gifts and esteem, so that the crown of Christ may shine the brighter.
This is the humble man’s motto, ‘Let me decrease, let Christ increase.’ It is his desire that Christ should be exalted, and if this be thus effected, whoever is the instrument, he rejoices.
‘Some preach Christ out of envy,’ (Phil. 1:17). They preached to take away some of Paul’s hearers. ‘Well,’ says he, ‘Christ is preached, and I therein do rejoice,’ (1:18).
A humble Christian is content to be laid aside if God has any other tools to work with which may bring Him more glory.”

–Thomas Watson, The Godly Man’s Picture Drawn with a Scripture-Pencil (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1666/2003), 81.

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Arrogance arrives. Humility is pursuit. (via Leadership Freak)

“Leaders who pursue humility are always just beginning, regardless of their attainment.”
More at Leadership Freak.


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When Did Arrogance Cease To Be Immoral? (via John Ortberg)

John Ortberg hits the bullseye in considerations about Mark Driscoll’s resignation from Mars Hill.
The temptation is to focus on what we do or don’t do instead of looking deeply into our character.
The pastor, the board said, had been guilty of arrogance — along with other attitudes and behaviors associated with arrogance. But had not been charged with “immorality.”
When did arrogance cease to be immoral?
I suspect that most folks in our evangelical subculture will understand that “immorality” is really being used as a substitute term for sexual misbehavior. But why would we reduce such an important word to code language for one area of misconduct?

Read the whole post here.


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Face The Music (via Mike Wittmer)

From Mike Wittmer:

Read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
So, my dear brothers and sisters, when you gather for the Lord’s Supper, wait for each other (v. 33).
The wise pastor told his new worship director, “There is one style of music I hope you never play in our church.” She grabbed a pen and asked, “What is it?” He replied, “I will never tell you. If we all insist on getting our own way, we will never sing anything.”
Few issues are more controversial in church than music. Some churches solve the problem by providing two worship options, a traditional service for older folks and a contemporary one for those who enjoy more upbeat music. This often keeps both groups happy, but at some cost.
Marva Dawn warns, “it is utterly dangerous for churches to offer choices of worship styles.” She says it divides the church, treats Christians as consumers whose tastes must be catered to, and robs us of the opportunity to serve our neighbor. We should rejoice when a tune is sung that we don’t like, for that is an opportunity to deny ourselves for the sake of our brother or sister (Matthew 16:24). When veteran saints try to learn a new chorus or young people sing an old hymn both are saying to the other, “This may not be my cup of tea, but I’m willing to make room for you. I will sing along for your sake, and the whole church will benefit.” Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we are unwilling to do this during worship, when do we think we ever would? (Mark 12:29-31).
God expects there will be variety in our worship services. He made us different, and He says that Spirit filled believers will variously sing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…making music to the Lord in your hearts” (Ephesians 5:19). Our great God deserves to be praised by the widest variety of worshipers and styles. Keep your preference, and keep it to yourself.

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David Murray’s Lessons Learnt From Failure

Constructive insights into personal failure from David Murray.

Some of the lessons I’ve learned from failure:

  1. My failures are usually the result of over-confidence. When I’ve failed it’s often because I was putting too much trust in myself and not enough in God. A happy side-effect is that it has usually produced more prayerful dependence upon God.
  2. Failure has made me more sympathetic to others. If I’d never failed in my parenting, preaching, teaching, financial decisions, etc., I would have no patience, sympathy, or help for others who had.
  3. My failures have helped to re-direct my life. I’ve realized that I’m just not gifted for certain things I would love to do and I should focus on the areas God has equipped me for. Though painful at the time, I can look back with gratitude for failures that have changed my course.
  4. Failure has given me a deep appreciation for people who succeed in areas I’ve failed in (usually jobs involving practical skills like plumbing, carpentry, mechanics, etc).
  5. Failure has taught me to credit successes to God. When things go well, I recognize that it’s God alone who enabled, helped, and blessed, promoting more thankfulness and humility.
  6. Many of my failures have been the result of being too tired or too busy. If I pace my life better and get good rest I seem to make better short- and long-term decisions.
  7. My failures make me worship the Lord Jesus Christ more. When I consider how many mini-failures I have in a week and how many major failures in a decade, I’m awestruck to think that He spent 33 years on earth and never failed once!

Original post here.