Talking Behind My Back

Have you ever been the subject of someone talking about you behind your back?  Worse, have you ever been the one talking about someone else behind their back?  I hardly think anyone is exempt from either of those questions.  In fact, the topics about another span the universe and unfortunately we only find out about the negative things.  Truth is, nobody really likes to find out they’ve been “talked about” behind their back.

I recently encountered a moment very similar.  But my reaction was very different than most I think.  I found out someone was talking about me behind my back and it literally took my breath away.  I never ever thought this person would say such things about me so when I found out I could do nothing but sit there in tears.  Why was I taken so off-guard, you may wonder?  Well, it wasn’t the first time.  This particular revelation was actually the sixth time it was brought to my attention.  It was getting a bit ridiculous . . . or was it?

What do you really say when you find out God is talking to others about you behind your back?  What do you really say?  I sat in awe and wept.

When, for the sixth time, some random person comes up to you and says, “God just told me to come over and introduce myself because you needed someone to pray with,” you open your ears to their words.  The prayers, the conversations, the revelation of God in those moments and the realization that God Himself was having a conversation with others about you will change your perspective!

Then I read about the blind guy, Bartimaeus.  It was brief, but it was direct . . . Jesus spoke to others about Bartimaeus in much the same way as he has spoken to others about me.  Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”  Jesus said this to those with him (likely his disciples).  And with that charge, they called Bartimaeus from the roadside where he sat yelling for mercy — something Jesus could have surely done Himself.  Bartimaeus was on the mind of Jesus and Jesus spoke to others to get his attention. (Mark 10:46-52)

I’m wondering now how many times I’ve missed the call from Jesus as He is trying to talk to me about someone behind their back.

Lord Jesus, I simply am awestruck at your thoughts of me.  When your thoughts of me reach me, they overwhelm me.  Thank you for calling out to your disciples for Bartimaeus.  I’m so thankful for their obedience in hearing your voice. Thank you for calling out to others for me!  And, for what it is worth, I’m glad you talk about me behind my back!

by Mark Cruver

Would I Know If God Moved?

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”  Ephesians 1:18-21

I was snorkeling off the shore of one of the Bahamian islands a number of years ago.  It was a most picturesque and peaceful time.  The still blue-green water of the Caribbean with a mask and snorkel — perfect!  I spent a good hour or so just floating on the surface looking at the sand below in waters only four feet deep or so as it was well known for the many sand-dollars.  Every now and then a needle-fish would zip under me or schools of little silver fish would flash by — really hard to describe how cool it was.  But after a while, something just didn’t seem right.  Ever have that feeling?  It had been well over an hour, I stayed parallel with the shore so I knew I hadn’t drifted far from there, and everyone who had come with me was off doing their own thing.  It was just me, God and the fishes of the sea!  But I felt like someone was staring at me.  That’s really an uneasy feeling when your bobbing in the ocean like a cork thinking you’re all alone!  It was very unsettling — for good reason — I slowly lifted my head and what I saw straight in front of me took my breath and I managed to put my swim in full reverse.  There were three — THREE — Barracuda starring directly at me, moving their mouths — filled with teeth mind you — open and close.  I was done — through — out of the water — snorkeling had come to a close!

I often reduce my experiences with God down to a feeling — some kind of sense of His presence.  I think you know what I mean — when your reading or singing and a chill goes up your spine.  God?  When someone says something you needed to hear.  God?  When you barely miss the biker you never saw as you pulled out of the parking lot.  God?  When you have this feeling.  God?  We certainly can’t deny the involvement of something or someone that stirs, reminds, provokes or prevents.

But how would I know if God really moved?  Would it be a swift breeze to the back of my neck?  Would it be the wrestling of the branches on a still morning?  Would it be a red-bird that lands in front of me? Would it be a miracle over the impossible?  Maybe.

Paul knew!  When your heart opens to the understanding of Christ in you, all sorts of moving can be felt.  It’s the little glimpses of truth, flashes of God’s fingertips on your life that spark with knowing . . . God just moved!  When His glory merely twinkles in the time of this place it overwhelms our being.  It’s stirring!

And Paul says to the Ephesians, when you open your heart to understanding who you are in Christ . . . you begin to KNOW the hope, the riches, the incomparable GREAT power in Christ alone!

Oh, my God!  Lord, Jesus, how majestic is your name in all the earth!  That I would see just a small glimpse of you moving in my life, in my world, demonstrating your great love like I have just seen is overwhelming!  Thank you for extending just a glimpse for I’d dare say I am not capable of seeing the fullness of your glory!

. . . His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth.  His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden.  Habakkuk 3:3-4

 

Where My Help Comes From

I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:1-2

How do you explain peace?  Is it best described as a stillness or calming of a mighty storm?  Or is it more like the gentleness of the beast as it reclines with the lamb?  Maybe it could be described best in the quiet morning hours of a springtime sunrise overlooking the reflection of the mighty mountains on the surface of an outstretched lake.  More difficult is defining it in a person — like the person of Christ.  We like to see peace to know what it’s like.  It becomes something ever so different when we taste it for ourselves.

But while Christ, in His person demonstrated a more scandalous sense of peace, He was and still is, the Prince of Peace!  And this peace, unlike the calm sea or the comfort of beasts or even the stillness of the morning — is actually living within me!  But though my heart toils and wrenches in the anguish of pain and grief, He offers peace and rest in the comfort of His arms in every place, every corner, every moment of my life.

Even the gardener, in the midst of his pain, hurt and grief, in great sorrow still sowed the land with seed.  With peace and joy, not without tears, he continued in his day to bring the first fruits of the season.  I can only imagine the number of seeds that were watered by the tears that drenched the soil under his knees.  But what he brought home were sheaves of songs of joy!

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.    Psalm 126:5-6

In the peace that only He can give, there is unmeasurable comfort.  When every ounce of myself can no longer carry on, I remember, my strength comes from the Prince of Peace.  This is where my help comes from!

Lord Jesus, I know you are the Maker of heaven and earth!  When I think of that alone I am overwhelmed with your power, your creativity and humbled by your love for me — merely a dot in the vast expanse of your creation.  Yet, though what appears to be so small, you have written a promise to be my Peace, my Joy, my Help, my Rock!  Oh,  how much you must love me!  There are days when I feel I cannot move for the weight of this world upon me is so heavy.  But in you the burdens of my circumstances become light and my wondering is sealed.  You are more than I have ever imagined and your greatness is beyond my human ability to understand.  Thank you for helping me through my pain!

In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.  The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?  The Lord is with me; he is my helper.  I will look in triumph on my enemies.  Psalm 118:5-7

Letter From Christ

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim any thing for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.   II Corinthians 3:5

Throughout the last ten months the only handwritten letters I’ve received in the mail have been penned from the hand of my own mother.  Her encouragement, her every day happenings in her garden and around the house, her concerned tone and undeniable firmness, all of which is sealed by her hand.  What a treasure to have!  There’s truly nothing greater than getting a hand-written letter from someone.  It spells love, it communicates the rawness of care and the loyalty of belonging.  It’s value is unmeasurable!

We see this level of value and importance in the working world as well.  Whether it’s in finding a job or applying for school, letters play a vital role.  They endorse!  With a letter people become validated, affirmed and creditable.  And having it written, perhaps even formally prepared, it’s sealed by the author and too, is valuable.

But what if?  What if Christ wrote a letter for me?  What if He sat down and penned a letter about me — what He thought, what He sees in me, what His day was like, what dangers may lie ahead for me, what concerns He has for me, what He really thinks about me?  Oh, Lord Jesus, to have and to hold such a letter would send me to my knees, shaking like a leaf.  It would bring such confidence and assurance knowing those things.  I would read it over and over again.

Word has it He actually has such a letter!  He has made this letter — and it’s ME!  I am a letter from Christ Himself!  And with this letter comes full assurance of who I am, full confidence in who I am, full wisdom in knowing who I am, able to rest in the truth that the Spirit of the One who lives in me gives me all strength and power to face the raging storms and pelting hail that can so easily destroy.   That in my weakness He is the strength that sustains me when I wait in the ravines of life.

Thank you Lord Jesus for writing my life!  Thank you for your daily Word that tells me what you think of me, what your days are like, what concerns you have and how much you love me!  The fact that you have taken the time to sit down, give immense thought in scripting my story and in crimson red, pen a letter — me — is beyond the greatest of any love man can describe!

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again?  Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?  You yourselves are our letter, written on everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.  II Corinthians 3:1-3

Holy On A Rainy Day

Feelings are a tricky thing.  Navigating what is connected to the truth of your emotions and discerning those things connected to false beliefs is a practice that involves intercession from the Spirit that lives within me.  Engaging a dialogue with my Helper is critical in living through He who rests in His temple.  No, I’m not speaking of the church down the road or the synagogue around the corner — I’m speaking of the temple of my body:

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  I Corinthians 6:19

Following this understanding then comes the realization that if He rests, resides — takes up residence — in me, then He goes where I go, does what I do, enjoys the things I enjoy, hurts in the pain I feel and rejoices in life with me.

But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.  I Corinthians 6:17

We are one!  And if we are one — follow me here — then I am holy — even on a rainy day!  This is a tough one for me and I don’t believe I’m alone in this difficulty.  Believing such truth, when the world and maybe even people within your own circles are communicating a different message makes it all the more difficult to believe.  But, the truth of the truth is that it doesn’t come, all the while, in your feelings.  Bad, rainy days happen, but Truth withstands even the worst of them.

Having a hard time believing through the fog?  I understand that one better than anyone!  Here’s what I read to remind me of who I am — my identity — despite my weather:

John 1:12   I am a child of God (Romans 8:16).

John 15:1,5   I am a part of the true vine, a channel (branch) of His Life.

John 15:15   I am Christ’s friend.

John 15:16   I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit.

Acts 1:8   I am a personal witness of Christ for Christ.

Romans 3:24    I have been justified and redeemed.

Romans 5:1   I have been justified (completely forgiven and made righteous) and am at peace with God.

Romans 6:1-6    I died with Christ and died to the power of sin’s rule in my life.

Romans 6:7   I have been freed from sin’s power over me.

Romans 6:18   I am a slave of righteousness.

Romans 6:22   I am enslaved to God.

Romans 8:1   I am forever free from condemnation.

Romans 8:14,15   I am a son of God (God is literally my “Papa”) (Galatians 3:26; 4:6).

Romans 8:17    I am an heir of God and fellow heir with Christ.

Romans 11:16    I am holy.

Romans 15:7    Christ has accepted me.

1 Corinthians 1:2   I have been sanctified.

1 Corinthians 1:30   I have been placed in Christ by God’s doing; Christ is now my wisdom from God, my righteousness, my sanctification, and my redemption.

1 Corinthians 2:12    I have received the Spirit of God into my life that I might know the things freely given to me by God.

1 Corinthians 2:16   I have been given the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19   I am a temple (home) of God; His Spirit (His life) dwells in me.

1 Corinthians 6:17   I am joined to the Lord and am one spirit with Him.

1 Corinthians 6:19,20    I have been bought with a price; I am not my own; I belong to God.

1 Corinthians 12:27   I am a member of Christ’s body (Ephesians 5:30).

2 Corinthians 1:21   I have been established in Christ and anointed by God.

2 Corinthians 2:14   He always leads me in His triumph in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:14,15   Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17   I am a new creation.

2 Corinthians 5:18,19   I am reconciled to God and am a minister of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:21   I am the righteousness of God in Christ.

Galatians 2:4   I have liberty in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 2:20   I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I am now living is Christ’s life.

Galatians 3:26,28   I am a child of God and one in Christ.

Galatians 4:6,7   I am a child of God and an heir through God.

Ephesians 1:1    I am a saint (1 Corinthians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2).

Ephesians 1:3   I am blessed with every spiritual blessing.

Ephesians 1:4   I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before Him.

Ephesians 1:7,8   I have been redeemed and forgiven, and am a recipient of His lavish grace.

Ephesians 2:5   I have been made alive together with Christ.

Ephesians 2:6    I have been raised up and seated with Christ in heaven.

Ephesians 2:10   I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ to do His work that He planned beforehand that I should do.

Ephesians 2:13   I have been brought near to God.

Ephesians 2:18   I have direct access to God through the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19    I am a fellow citizen with the saints and a member of God’s household.

Ephesians 3:6   I am a fellow heir, a fellow member of the body, and a fellow partaker of the promise in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 3:12   I may approach God with boldness and confidence.

Ephesians 4:24   I am righteous and holy.

Philippians 3:20   I am a citizen of heaven.

Philippians 4:7   His peace guards my heart and my mind.

Philippians 4:19   God will supply all my needs.

Colossians 1:13   I have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Christ.

Colossians 1:14   I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. The debt against me has been canceled (Colossians 2:13,14).

Colossians 1:27    Christ Himself is in me.

Colossians 2:7   I have been firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built up and established in Him.

Colossians 2:10    I have been made complete in Christ.

Colossians 2:12,13   I have been buried, raised, and made alive with Christ, and totally forgiven.

Colossians 3:1   I have been raised with Christ.

Colossians 3:3   I have died, and my life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:4   Christ is now my life.

Colossians 3:12   I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved (1 Thessalonians 1:4).

1 Thessalonians 5:5   I am a child of light and not of darkness.

2 Timothy 1:7   I have been given a spirit of power, love, and discipline.

2 Timothy 1:9   I have been saved and called (set apart) according to God’s purpose and grace (Titus 3:5).

Hebrews 2:11   Because I am sanctified and am one with Christ, He is not ashamed to call me His.

Hebrews 3:1I am a holy partaker of a heavenly calling.

Hebrews 3:14   I am a partaker of Christ.

Hebrews 4:16   I may come boldly before the throne of God to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

1 Peter 2:5   I am one of God’s living stones and am being built up as a spiritual house.

1 Peter 2:9,10   I am a part of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s own possession.

1 Peter 2:11   I am an alien and stranger to this world that I temporarily live in.

1 Peter 5:8   I am an enemy of the devil. He is my adversary.

2 Peter 1:4   I have been given God’s precious and magnificent promises by which I am a partaker of the divine nature.

1 John 3:1   God has bestowed a great love on me and called me His child.

1 John 4:15   God is in me and I am in God.

Lord Jesus, may I live the Truth of your Word in my life.  I want to dance with You in all ways, in every moment — I want to dance in the rain, because I am holy!  Let’s do this — together!

Inside The Chrysalis

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”  Psalm 130:5-6

I remember as a child, during the sweltering summers of the Florida heat, when an occasional mosquito would find it’s way in my bedroom.  Without air-conditioning the windows were extended as open and wide as they could stretch in the event a slight breeze may catch the sill.  The screens did their job for the most part, although I found it strikingly remarkable how the mosquitoes could find the four or five BB holes left there from . . . well, what else is a boy to do when he’s sent to his room and he has a BB gun?  The nights were hot and very sticky with that humid Florida air.  I begged most nights for that breeze!  With no hope of relief I fought hard to drift to sleep.  But the mosquito knew exactly where to find me!  Worse, he knew exactly where my ear was in which to announce his presence.  This sound, this buzzing sound was and quite frankly, still is, the worst noise in the world!  My only hope, my only escape was to retreat.  Despite the heat, the sealed, fortress-like fabric of my sheets were the perfect cover.  I pulled and tucked myself in and under the covers until I could barely breathe.  Inside the chrysalis.

Time has no measure inside the chrysalis.  Jonah spent three days in his, the Hebrews spent forty years in theirs.  Life is full of cocoons, both big and small.  But life inside the chrysalis is never easy.  It appears lonely, and may include a sense of abandonment.  After all, a caterpillar never shares his cocoon with another.  The journey inside the chrysalis is the second phase of a threefold process God uses in soul-making.  The life inside the chrysalis transforms!

The author, Sue Kidd says, “A creature can separate from an old way of existence, enter a time of metamorphosis, and emerge to a new level of being.”  Transformation happens!

Lord Jesus, it is dark, it feels lonely, and it’s hard to see what is happening inside the chrysalis of my life right now!  I ask you to work the clay, whittle away from my heart that which does not look like the man You called me to be.  And while I wait and put my hope in your word may I be attentive to the call, sweet whisper of your Spirit within.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  II Corinthians 5:17

Broad Shoulders

As a part of my study yesterday I read a post from one of the blogs I follow from Scotty Smith out of Nashville, TN.  It was though this prayer was written for me.  I wanted to share it with all who read my blog in that you may learn too of the broad shoulders and loving heart of Lord Jesus.

I am posting it below, but if you would like to learn more about the original author, I have placed a link to his blog here.

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A Prayer about Jesus’ Broad Shoulders and Loving Heart

     For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isa. 9:6-7

Dear Lord Jesus, knowing the government of the whole world already rests on your shoulders profoundly humbles me and gladdens me. It fills me with a joy second only to knowing your shoulders fully bore the sin of the world, including mine. As this day begins, I raise my shoulders and face to bask in the radiance of your glory and the wonder of your grace.

Lord Jesus, in you are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. You are Wonderful Counselor. I look to you for knowledge of great mysteries and insight into things eternal; but you’re also the one to whom I look for counsel on handling fresh disappointments, dealing with old hurts, and stewarding unfulfilled longings. You care about everything.

Lord Jesus, you uphold all things by the power of your Word. You are Mighty God—the one who created and sustains the entire universe by the power of your word; the one in whom all things are being summed up. You’re also the one who gives me power to humble myself when I’d rather stay proud, and strength to boast in my weaknesses when I’d rather be self-sufficient. You are Lord of all things.

Lord Jesus, to see you is to see the Father. To know you is to know the Father. In this sense you are Everlasting Father. You care so tenderly for the needs of the world—even the flowers of every field and the birds in every sky; but you also care about me. You didn’t leave me as an orphan. Through your work, I’m not only declared to be righteous in God’s sight, I’m able to declare God as my Abba, Father. You bear all my burdens.

Lord Jesus, no one else can pretend to be the Prince of Peace, for you alone paid the price of peace on the cross. Even as you are presently “shaloming”—bringing the increase of your government and peace to all things, so you are advancing the reign of your grace in my life. Forgive me when I look for wholeness, contentment, and healing somewhere else, for it cannot be found except in you. You don’t just give me peace, you are my Peace.

For your broad shoulders, big heart, and coming kingdom, be glorified, O blessed Messiah and Redeemer. So very Amen I pray, Lord Jesus, in your matchless and merciful name.

Indivisible

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy spirit, whom he has given us.”  Romans 5:5

There were times in my walk with Christ over the years when I felt like I was going at it alone.  It may be a familiar experience of which you relate.  Dry beds of time when nothing satisfies, empty words thrown to the sky only to return and land at my feet.  Efforts made to draw near, but the closer I get the further away I seem.  I listen for that small and deep voice to say something, anything — but instead, all I get is that high-pitched ring in my ear.  I look and look for handwriting on the wall or mountains to relocate, but all I see are meaningless words and the same view day in and day out.  Certainly this is not what was meant to be, but life just seemed to be this way for far too long.

How wonderful to know that this journey in life is not meant to be done alone.  While at times I felt alone, the truth is (remember, we can’t always trust our feelings to be true) He was with me throughout every moment just waiting for me to notice His love, His presence, His grace, His hand, His voice, His Spirit within me.

I don’t know about you, but I love a nice cup of hot tea every now and then.  Curling up on the couch with a blanket and a warm ceramic cup with steaming tea on a fall-chilled evening is near perfect!  It’s not uncommon for me to take some locally grown honey from the mason jar and drizzle it into my tea too.  The heat from the tea instantly distributes the honey and sweetens the tea to mere perfection.  The two were meant to be!

This is true too of Christ in me!  The two were meant to be!  Inseparable — Indivisible!  See, once the honey is added to the tea it’s not getting back in the jar of honey.  It can’t, they are joined forever.  It’s the same way with my relationship with my Father in heaven.  He has been with me from the beginning of my invitation and He has promised never to leave me.  It’s a truth I can lean on, depend on, trust and believe.  But remember, I take Him everywhere I go . . . EVERYWHERE!

“. . . if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”  II Timothy 2:13

by:  Mark Cruver

Equating Silence With Separation

“Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”  Matthew 11:3

Ordinarily, the sound of crickets is pleasant, peaceful and tranquil.  However, when all I hear in response to calling on God for help, healing or comfort is the sound of lonely crickets, I wonder of the distance I am from God Himself.  The mere nature of my circumstances and the apparent silence from the cries of my heart suggest God has taken a leave of absence or at least a lack of interest in my life.  Sound familiar?

I’d almost suspect that John the Baptist had some of those same thoughts while in prison under the watch of Herod.  Knowing the nature of his purpose driven life to preclude the coming Messiah and knowing too that this Messiah was in fact his cousin Jesus, his world turned to a more contemplative one at best, questioning the very truth of who Christ was while he sat in Herod’s dungeon.  Why would John do this?  After all, he knew from the womb from which he came that Christ, the Son of God was near him.  Yet, separated now by freedom and facts, John was faced with his faith.

God is not always about a triumphant rescue.  Christ knew who John was and grieved in knowing of his circumstances.  But while John’s (our) scope of understanding was (is) limited, God established the unexplainable ability to bring Him glory through his (our) circumstances when they appear either good or bad.  For me, this happens when my eyes come off of me and my circumstances and centrally focus on the cross and His sacrifice.  It’s not about me — it’s about Him!

This is not to say that God is not interested in my circumstances because indeed He is — more so than I truly know.  He is more interested, however, in my heart!  And when it comes to my circumstances, He’ll walk with me through them.

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

by:  Mark Cruver

Manual or Automatic?

” . . . so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”  I Peter 3:7b

Everyday on the way to school my boys race to point out the shiniest, fastest, turbo-charged car on the road. They point, come out of their seats and drool over the “coolness” of these wheels.  If one of these spectacular sites happen to make their way next to us at a stop light then there’s no stopping the irresistible starring and obvious endless comments about the car next to us.  So much so that it, without fail, will draw the attention of the driver and invoke a revving of the engine and challenge to duel.  Problem is, dad’s in a Prius.  Ever try to rev an electric motor?  Impressive!  Thanks guys!

All this talk about cars has prompted a few questions from my boys about what car might be acceptable to drive when that glorious day arrives.  Of course, I’ve pointed out as many rust-buckets as possible in an attempt to divert their attention away from those hot-rods.  At one point, my eldest asked if a particular car would be suitable and I noticed it had a manual transmission.  I went on to explain that a manual transmission means you’ve got to do the work to make that car move.  Your hands and feet have to work together and every one of them performs a different job at the same time to pull it off.  It’s an art, but once mastered, can be your friend!  It’s nice to feel that power in your hands and feet!  Many more of us, however, enjoy the peace and assurance of the automatic transmission.  It just works!

I think I’ve thought similarly towards my pride.  Thinking that although I see that it’s there, large or small, that it will dissipate with time or have little consequence and light enough to be easily moved when necessary.  But I’ve come to learn — the hard way — that my pride is not something that moves on it’s own.  In fact, it sticks around, sets up camp and makes itself right at home — regardless if it’s welcomed or not.  It’s so much easier to deal with it than convince it to leave.  But soon, and it doesn’t take very long, it consumes me and among many things, occupies the room reserved for the Spirit who lives inside me.  Pride becomes my personal squatter!

Here’s my point . . . pride is something that must be moved out of the way so as to make room for the Spirit to work inside and through me.  It just gets in the way of the work He has in store for me — and others!  Paul Miller in his book A Praying Life: Connecting With God In A Distracting World states that “the point of prayer is shifting control from you to God.”  The act of “shifting” happens manually — not automatically.  It is imperative that I make the efforts to “put off” my pride which is found in my old self and humble myself before the Lord and others “in true righteousness and holiness.”  By not making room for the Holy Spirit inside me grieves Him (Eph. 4:30).

Lord, may I always make room for you in my life.  My pride means I am in control.  My desire is to shift control over to you all the time.  Teach me what it means to actively choose to make room for you by dismantling my pride so that you can move in me — and others!

“You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.  Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:20-24

by:  Mark Cruver