Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I've been here in Pennsylvania for more than a week and it has been wonderful seeing and spending time with family and friends. It really was a great Christmas. One common lament of this time of year is the extra weight people put on from the overindulgence of food and drink. I don't think I escaped those extra pounds this year… Everybody I visited felt the need to fatten me up... I've come to the conclusion that my family must think there is no food in New Mexico :)

With New Year's resolutions right around the corner, this Wednesday we are praying about change. I think a lot of us tend to make the cosmetic type of resolutions - "I'm going to lose 10 pounds"… "I'm going to start working out again"… etc. But what about the heart-change type of resolutions - "I'm going to become more forgiving"… "I'm going to become more patient"… etc.

Whatever the resolution, prayer is an essential element in any decision for change - before, during, and after:
Before - "Lord, does this change fit with Your will? Is it biblical? Is there some change You wish me to make that I am not seeing or that I don't want to admit to?" Remember how Paul had asked God to remove the thorn from his side but it wasn't in God's will.
During - "Lord, help me make this change. I can't do it without You. I rely on You for everything." Read the Psalms for many examples.
After - "Thank you Lord. In the process of changing me You have taught me even more about losing myself and depending on You." Read the Psalms for many examples of this as well.

One last thought on this topic. You may be one of the many who can point to your childhood or some trauma from your past and link it to current behavior. Maybe it affects your patience, how you trust others, how easily you become angry, etc. No matter what it is, too often, we let the link to the past be the final step in the process. We've figured out why we're angry, impatient, un-trusting, and assume the stance of "well that's just who I am." Let's pray that we don't fall into this trap. Let's not use the past as an excuse when it should be a catalyst. The process of self discovery should lead to the question - "Now that I know why I am the way I am, how do I change?" To summarize this another way - the past is never an excuse for not doing God's will in the future.

Have a great week and a great fast.
Your brother,

Monday, December 12, 2005

False Humility

I started reading the Chronicles of Narnia series. It probably sounds a little geeky but I just want to know the story before I see the movie "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". And, besides that, the writings of C.S. Lewis hold a special place in my heart. It was his book "Mere Christianity" that was a catalyst for my conversion.

But what does this have to do with this week's topic? It's all leading up to a quote. The first book in the Narnia series is called "The Magician's Nephew". The magician is this selfish old man named Uncle Andrew who gets into quite a bit of trouble in the story. At one point, in a passage referring to Uncle Andrew, the narrator says "Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed."

The word of God exhorts us to be humble... To not pretend to be more than we are. But by the same token, the word of God also tells us to not pretend to be less than we are. In other words, to not have false humility. False humility flies in the face of the authenticity God desires us to have. Authenticity with Him, Authenticity with others, and Authenticity with ourselves. It's OK to recognize that you are talented at something as long as you know where the gift came from. In fact, our talents should ultimately humble us and inspire us to use the talent in service as we recognize that the blessing could have just as easily been given to someone else. False humility plays down the gift because it wants others to affirm the gift and thus feed the pride. Said another way, false humility is sneaky pride.

So this week, we are praying about any tendencies toward false humility that we may have. Ask a close brother or sister this week if you have this tendency - "the wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses" Proverbs 27:6. If you don't have this tendency, that's another gift to be thankful for… you can pray for your brothers and sisters who do struggle with it.

Have a great week and a great fast.
Your brother,