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Archive for the ‘Humility’ Category

“Being humble means recognizing that we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others”

― Gordon B. Hinckley

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The Lord doesn’t care at all if we spend our days working in marble halls or stable stalls. He knows where we are, no matter how humble our circumstances. He will use—in His own way and for His holy purposes—those who incline their hearts to Him.

God knows that some of the greatest souls who have ever lived are those who will never appear in the chronicles of history. They are the blessed, humble souls who emulate the Savior’s example and spend the days of their lives doing good.

– President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, You Matter to Him, October 2011

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Matthew 7:15

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

* * *

2 Timothy 3

[1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
[2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

[3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
[4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

[5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

* * *

We live in time when megachurch pastors and televangelists are drawing large numbers of followers.

Tragically, some of these “religious celebrities” become caught up in the fame, money and power. They yield to temptation and become entangled in sexual and financial scandals. They commit crimes and are sometimes imprisoned.

Examples are given at:

List of scandals involving evangelical Christians

List of religious leaders convicted of crimes

* * *

Christians need to develop discernment along with a relationship with the Holy Spirit in order to judge whether a minister is teaching the truth. Here are some questions to consider:

1. Does the minister draw attention to himself or does he give the glory to God?
2. Does the minister wear expensive clothing and jewelry?
3. Does the minister have expensive cars?
4. Does the minister teach from the scriptures, or does he teach his own ideas?
5. Is the minister humble?

* * *

Did Jesus wear fancy clothes and jewelry?

Isaiah 53:2

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

* * *

Was Jesus humble?

Mark 10

[17] And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
[18] And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

Jesus took upon himself our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane and died for us on the cross at Calvary.

John 10

[17] Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
[18] No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

– Tom Irvine

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Naaman was a captain of the king of Syria’s army. Naaman had leprosy, a terrible disease, according to 2 Kings 5.

The maid of Naaman’s wife said unto her mistress, “Would God my lord were with the prophet (Elisha) that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.”

The king of Syria then sent Naaman to the king of Israel, but the king of Israel was displeased.

Naaman next went to Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.

But Naaman was angry, and went away, and said, “Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.” He further complained “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?”

Naaman’s servant then pleaded, “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?”

Naaman then went down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to Elisha’s instructions. His flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

* * *

This story provides many lessons. Naaman needed faith, humility and obedience in order to be healed.

Naaman was not healed after dipping himself the first time. Nor was he healed the second time. He was still a leper even after the sixth time,

What if Naaman had become discouraged or impatient and left the river after the sixth time?

But Naaman persisted. Finally, he was healed after the seventh time.

We should all consider ourselves as if we were Naaman. We must be persistent in obeying the Lord and patient while we await promised blessings.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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by Tony Snow

Blessings arrive in unexpected packages—in my case, cancer.

Those of us with potentially fatal diseases—and there are millions in America today—find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God’s will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence What It All Means, Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.

There’s another kind of response, although usually short-lived—an inexplicable shudder of excitement, as if a clarifying moment of calamity has swept away everything trivial and tinny, and placed before us the challenge of important questions.

The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of Paul, traipsing though the known world and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes (Spain), shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.

There’s nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue—for it is through selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do.

Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with the prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried for Jerusalem before entering the holy city. From the Cross, he took on the cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for forgiveness on our behalf.

We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us—that we acquire purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God’s love for others. Sickness gets us partway there. It reminds us of our limitations and dependence. But it also gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A minister friend of mine observes that people suffering grave afflictions often acquire the faith of two people, while loved ones accept the burden of two people’s worries and fears.

Learning How to Live

Most of us have watched friends as they drifted toward God’s arms not with resignation, but with peace and hope. In so doing, they have taught us not how to die, but how to live. They have emulated Christ by transmitting the power and authority of love.

I sat by my best friend’s bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took him away. He kept at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old friends, and at least one priest. Here was a humble and very good guy, someone who apologized when he winced with pain because he thought it made his guest uncomfortable. He retained his equanimity and good humor literally until his last conscious moment. “I’m going to try to beat [this cancer],” he told me several months before he died. “But if I don’t, I’ll see you on the other side.”

His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn’t promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity—filled with life and love we cannot comprehend—and that one can in the throes of sickness point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms.

Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don’t matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?

The first is that we shouldn’t spend too much time trying to answer the why questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can’t someone else get sick? We can’t answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.

I don’t know why I have cancer, and I don’t much care. It is what it is—a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.

But despite this—because of it—God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don’t know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.

Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.

To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but
into life—and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many nonbelieving hearts—an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live—fully, richly, exuberantly—no matter how their days may be numbered.

Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease—smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see—but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance and comprehension—and yet don’t. By his love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.

‘You Have Been Called’

Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet; a loved one holds your hand at the side. “It’s cancer,” the healer announces.

The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa. “Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler.” But another voice whispers: “You have been called.” Your quandary has drawn you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter—and has dragged into insignificance the banal concerns that occupy our “normal time.”

When our faith flags, he throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it.

It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up—to speak of us!

This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.

What is man that Thou art mindful of him? We don’t know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place—in the hollow of God’s hand.

* * *
Commentator and broadcaster Tony Snow announced that he had colon cancer in 2005. Following surgery and chemo-therapy, Snow joined the Bush administration in April 2006 as press secretary.

Snow, 51, a husband and father of three, announced on March 23, 2007 that the cancer had recurred, with tumors found in his abdomen—leading to surgery in April, followed by more chemotherapy. Snow went back to work in the White House Briefing Room on May 30, but resigned August 31, 2007.

Snow went to be with the Lord June 12, 2008.

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