Humble Mary

In the United States, we are entering the season in which we will elect a president. What this means is that for the next year and three months we will hear politicians tell us why they deserve the favor of our vote to elevate them to high office.

Before all the hubbub starts in earnest, it might be refreshing to hear another voice, the voice of Mary, the future mother of Jesus, in Luke 1:46. She so humbly said, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” This statement begins what many call the “Magnificat.” Let’s view it for what it really is: a hymn of thanksgiving, the object of which was a poor maiden’s desire to make God larger than herself. Continue reading “Humble Mary”

Jesus the model of humility

Name the most important, most powerful position you can think of among the world’s top people. President of the U.S.? The richest man in the world? The world’s most popular entertainment figure? Imagine them giving up all that they have and the position they enjoy to live in a run-down apartment in one of the most dangerous poverty areas. How hard would that be?

Such a change of lifestyle doesn’t even come close to what Jesus did. He is God. He enjoys all the glories of heaven. But he gave up his divine position and stepped down to become a lowly human being — a poor man from a podunk town. Even further, he suffered the most horrible torture and death, as an innocent man, in one of the greatest wrongs of all time. On top of that, he bore the sins of mankind on his shoulders.

Jesus is the very definition of humility. The dictionary’s entry is dry next to Jesus’ demonstration of it. Continue reading “Jesus the model of humility”

We Must Be Blind

“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5, ESV).

If you own a smart phone with facial recognition technology, it is designed to see what it wants to see: your face.

Your brain does something similar, but less distinct. It seems hardwired to sees faces. It sees faces everywhere: clouds, a grilled cheese sandwich, Mars, the Moon. Your brain is designed to see faces, so it sees them. Continue reading “We Must Be Blind”

Meek and lowly in heart

When I think of meekness, I think of Jesus.

Meekness is misunderstood. It is considered weakness by many. The picture of Caspar Milquetoast comes to mind. Caspar, a 1950s comic strip character created by H.T. Webster for his cartoon series entitled, “The Timid Soul,” was known as a person who “speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick.”

That description does not fit the Creator of heaven, and earth Paul described in Colossians 1:16-18. Jesus was meek, but he was not “timid.” Continue reading “Meek and lowly in heart”

When the glory of God returned

The day the temple was dedicated, God’s glorious presence filled his house (2 Chronicles 5:14; 7:1-3). It was a momentous day filled with praise, sacrifice, and feasting. God was with his people. But times would not always be so good. In a preview of Israel’s fickle ways, God promised that if they would humble themselves, repent, and pray, then God would forgive them.

God’s glory would remain in his house through many difficult days. But a time came when no repentance was forthcoming, and a cleansing needed to occur. The last resort, a carrying away of the people into captivity, had already begun. Soon the house would be toppled by foreign invaders. Continue reading “When the glory of God returned”

He was not mentioned but he was there

By Johnny O. Trail — Esther is a small book found in the Old Testament that many have read throughout the millennia. It is interesting to note that the word for “God” is not found in this ten-chapter book. While God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, one finds him providentially working in the lives of his people.

The book of Esther and the lives of the people mentioned therein illustrate some powerful biblical principles. Some of them are:

  1. Esther demonstrates how the prideful reason about themselves.
  2. God providentially works in the lives of those who are his people—in Esther’s age and ours too.
  3. Obedience is necessary to effectuate the salvation of God’s people.
  4. Hatred and racism are age-old problems that all generations of people have had to face.
  5. The prideful will fail whereas the humble will find refuge and protection in God’s care.

Continue reading “He was not mentioned but he was there”

Posture is important

Those weeds are a pain in the neck….and back….and knees. For those of us with physical impairments, there are methods to compensate for those aches and pains.

Scattered around the overflowing flowerbeds in our yard are multiple milk crates, turned upside down and carefully placed among the plants. They allow me to reach the weeds and plant the flowers without bending at the waist or kneeling.

Often you may find a “reaching tool” lying on a bench or leaning against a fence. Continue reading “Posture is important”

Logically right but spiritually wrong

“Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7).

Following Jesus’ baptism, God said: “This is my beloved son” (Matthew 3:17). Immediately afterward, Jesus was taken to the wilderness to fast and be tested 40 days.

Satan tempted him there. His temptations all began with, “If you are the son of God…” He began with something that seemed perfectly reasonable: make stones into bread and feed yourself.

Men easily err when they think of what is perfectly reasonable to them, but fail to consult God. Why not turn stones to bread? He had the power. He had the opportunity. Continue reading “Logically right but spiritually wrong”

He must increase

It hurts when you have worked hard and been overlooked, or when you have toiled in anonymity and were never thanked.

There is humility, and then there’s false humility. The Bible demands one, but actually, not the other.

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you, do not think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment …” (Romans 12:3). Continue reading “He must increase”