Tag Archives: Humility

Awe and Wonder

“And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’” ~ Isaiah 6:3 (NIV)

stand in awe of GodWorship is humbling, but it is also delightful, invoking a sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder. Astonishment and wonder are always found in the presence of the Holy Spirit. The difficulty with this today is that everybody is sure of everything. The proud man cannot worship God any more than the proud devil can worship God.

Without mystery, there can be no worship. If I can understand God, then I cannot worship God. I will never get on my knees and say, “holy, holy, holy” to that which I can figure out. But the more I know of God, the less I understand about Him.

It is in the presence of the Holy Spirit that I begin to recognize what a sinful man I really am. The apostle Paul said, “Woe is me.” Isaiah the prophet cried, “Woe is me!” when he came into the presence of God. They were experiencing the mysterious wonder of that One who is incomprehensible.

~ From My Daily Pursuit by A.W. Tozer

Father God, fill us with a fresh sense of awe and wonder that we might worship you anew, amen!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under A W Tozer, Christianity, God, Holy Spirit, Humility, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Wonder, Worship

He kicked my butt!

A few weeks ago I spent a week at a retreat center near Asheville, North Carolina. It was a School of Spiritual Direction with Dr. Larry Crabb.

The schedule was designed to include evening sessions but did allow for a three-hour gap in the afternoon. So on that first afternoon I located a map of trails and headed out.

The longest trail was just three miles long and promised a nice view from a higher elevation. My thought process went something like this:

“I’ve just lost 40 pounds and have been bike riding with my wife for nearly four months now. We’re up to 18 miles a ride and this past week I did a solo ride of 27 miles – my longest to date. It’s only a three-mile hike. No problem.”

To say that I misjudged the effect of elevation on a three-mile hike would be a gross understatement.

It kicked my butt!

About 2 1/2 hours later I dragged myself back to my room and quickly showered for supper. For three days my thigh muscles SCREAMED at me every time I moved.

The same thing happened spiritually with all that took place that week as our group of 31 people explored the nature of our journey with God.

I was captivated by God as the Trinity – Father, Son and Spirit – existing in perfect, loving community. And I welcomed the invitation to journey further into the fellowship enjoyed by the Trinity.

But the price of admission is a humble and broken spirit. On several occasions the Holy Spirit brought me face-to-face with some of my “false gods” and sinful relational patterns. He kicked my butt – spiritually speaking!

That portion of the journey was brutally painful. And to be honest, I was ready to cut and run more than once.

But the corresponding freedom that came as a result of being embraced by what the Spirit was doing in me was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

The Holy Spirit didn’t confront me with my sin in order to beat me up or heap on guilt and shame. He did it – does it daily – so that I’ll come to the end of my own efforts and more fully rely on His work in me.

This is exactly what Paul describes in Romans 7 and 8. In chapter 7 Paul is totally frustrated with his struggle against the fleshly, sinful nature and wonders who can help him. Then in chapter 8 he’s celebrating the Spirit’s work in us.

5-6 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead-end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. ~ Romans 8 (The Message)

My relationship with God – Father, Son and Spirit – has been very different these last few weeks. And relating to family and friends has been very different as well – more open and healthy; more God-focused.

I believe I’m getting a taste of the real life Jesus came to make possible. And reflecting more of God’s relational glory in the process.

No offense intended, but I hope we all get our butts kicked today by the Holy Spirit!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Authenticity, Brokenness, Christianity, Discipleship, Divine presence, Fellowship, Glory of God, God, God the Father, Holy Spirit, Humility, influence with the world, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Joy, Love of God, Loving God, Loving others, Morphing, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Sin, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Surrender, Trinity, Trusting God

A radical health and fitness secret

A couple of months ago Susan and I bumped into a friend that we’d not seen in a while. She had lost considerable weight and when I asked how she’d done it she said… Get ready. You’re going to want to write this down.

“Eat less, move more.”

I know, I know. It will take a few minutes to wrap your head around such a radical concept. Take your time. Let the layers of wisdom unfold as you pause to reflect on it. And don’t get too upset. Reread the title of the blog. I never said it was a “new” secret.

I don’t know how much money is actually made yearly on new diet plans or books but I am sure it’s no small amount. Add to that the endless parade of new exercise products or workout programs and we could make a sizeable dent in reducing national debt.

But in the end it all comes back to simple common sense and basic physics. Eat less, move more. What great advice!

Susan and I have been doing that for a few months now with riding bikes and eating smarter – more protein and less carbohydrates. Besides losing weight and feeling better, it’s fun to rediscover a whole new wardrobe in your closet.

And along with a changed waistline is a change in what we enjoy. Riding bike wasn’t all that fun to begin with but now we look forward to it. Our bodies long for it if we skip a couple of days. And we no longer crave the junk food.

First, we made a conscious choice to exercise and eat better; then our bodies began to long for and enjoy those things more and more.

The same is true of God. The Spirit abides in us to stir our longings for fellowship with God but we can make a conscious choice to spend more time with God.

We can make time to enjoy His company in silence and solitude. We can intentionally do life with Him as we go through our day.

The more we give ourselves to fellowship with our Creator, the more we will long for it above everything else.

“As the Scriptures say, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ So humble yourselves before God… Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” ~ James 4:6, 8

It’s a new day and it’s our choice.

 Will we choose to draw closer to God?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Desire, God, Health & Wellness, Holy Spirit, Humility, intimacy with the Lord, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

Like little children…

“When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. ~ Matthew 18:2-4

Sometimes in our attempt to be “very grown up” we lose some important childlike qualities such as the humility to be willing to ask for help. Our pride or fear of looking foolish gets in the way.

  • Having trouble with the car or an appliance or a house project… you learn to ask for help
  • Having trouble with a school or work project… you learn to ask for help
  • Having trouble understanding your wife or girlfriend or women in general… you learn that there are some things in life that no one can help you with… (just keeping it real!)

Well… you get the idea.

The Holy Spirit dwells in us to lead us in living a life that delights in God and reflects His glory. But we’re learning a whole new way to live – one that revolves around God rather than us.

Because it’s a new way to live and because we tend to gravitate back to old patterns, we need help navigating unchartered territory. While the Holy Spirit is more than willing to help, we must be willing to ask for it when we need it.

 So, what do you need help with?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Children, Christianity, CS Lewis, Glory of God, Holy Spirit, Humility, Religion and Spirituality

Tilted Halos

To be alive is to be broken.
And to be broken is to stand in need of grace.
Honesty keeps us in touch with our neediness
and the truth that we are saved sinners.
There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples
who never wear a false face and
do not pretend to be anything but who they are.

~ Excerpted from The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

Only those who are real – warts and all – get to experience the depth of God’s limitless grace.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Authenticity, Brokenness, Christianity, Grace, Humility, Religion and Spirituality, Sin, Spiritual growth

Blinded by what we want to see

When the great astronomer Percival Lowell got a new twenty-four-inch telescope on a mountain in Flagstaff, Arizona, he “saw” a network of canals on Mars that confirmed the theories of Italian astronomers.

He mapped them on a globe, and his 1908 book Mars as the Abode of Life laid out proof that these canals were built by intelligent beings.

Obviously, he was mistaken. But he brings to light a common problem we all have a tendency towards. Sometimes, like Lowell, we see things that aren’t really there.

We approach Scripture with our mind already made up. And then, not surprisingly, we find what we’re looking for.

So when we delve into God’s Word to learn about our Creator and His dealings with mankind, let’s be sure we do so with a good measure of humility.

Then maybe, just maybe… we’ll learn something we weren’t already looking for.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Humility, Scripture

C.S. Lewis on Humility

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

 

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Bonhoeffer’s prayer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906 – April 9, 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, a participant in the German resistance movement against Nazism and a founding member of the Confessing Church. He was involved in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and executed by hanging in April 1945, 23 days before the Nazis’ surrender. His view of Christianity’s role in the secular world has become very influential.

Bonhoeffer wrote the prayer below while incarcerated in a Nazi prison, uncertain of what his future would hold.

MORNING PRAYER
O God, early in the morning I cry to you. Help me to pray And to concentrate my thoughts on you: I cannot do this alone. In me there is darkness, but with you there is light; I am lonely, but you do not leave me; I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help; I am restless, but with you there is peace. In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience; I do not understand your ways, but you know the way for me… Restore me to liberty, and enable me to live now, that I may answer before you and before me. Lord, whatever this day may bring, Your name be praised.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

It’s a new day and most of us are likely enjoying freedom outside the walls of a prison. We may be facing a variety of events and issues; some big and some small; some tough and some easy. But few of us are facing execution.

In the midst of his darkness, Bonhoeffer asked God for the liberty and strength to live in such a way that he could one day stand before God unashamed.

When we pray today, what will we ask of God?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Courage, God, Humility, Inspiration, Persecution, Prayer, Trusting God

How will we choose to view our hurts?

A cloudy spring day with temperatures in the mid 60’s seems like poor weather to someone living in San Diego, Ca., but to a person living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan it would seem balmy and warm.

A bologna sandwich seems like cruel and unusual punishment in a four star restaurant, but to a starving child in the inner city of Atlanta it would seem like a feast.

The context of an experience completely changes the nature and value of that experience.

“God’s decision to forgive Peter required the death of his Son; Peter’s decision to forgive those who had offended him would cost him little more than his pride. The same is true for us.

In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another. Forgiveness is the gift that ensures my freedom from a prison of bitterness and resentment.” – Andy Stanley

We are a fallen people living in a fallen world. Live long enough and you will be hurt by the actions or inactions of others.

When I view my hurts only in the context of my experiences, they become enormous and overwhelming. They seem completely unfair.

When I view my hurts in the context of what Jesus endured on the cross, they suddenly become rather small and insignificant.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.” ~ Colossians 3:12-13 (The Message)

Being hurt is inevitable. Holding onto that hurt is optional.

How will we view and what will we do with our hurts?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Forgiveness, Freedom, Grace, Humility, Life in General, Loving others, Mercy, Suffering

For unto you a child is born

…with only the silent stars as witnesses, the child was born. The mother wrapped the baby in a blanket and carefully placed him in a straw-filled manger. The baby’s name was Jesus.

“He can’t be a king,” one of the stars said. “Kings aren’t born poor. We’ve been fooled.”  Feeling disappointed, many of the other stars agreed. But Little Star kept looking down at the baby.

Suddenly a thought came to him. “I think I understand,” Little Star cried out. “The baby Jesus IS a king! He’s just little!”

Little Star knew that Jesus could have chosen to be born in a palace, surrounded by riches, but instead, he had humbled himself to be born in a stable. He didn’t want to be rich and important. He wanted to be like the poorest of the poor. Jesus wanted to be born little to show all the people of the world that he loved them, no matter how small or poor they were.
~ Excerpted from Little Star by Anthony DeStefano

May all the riches of Christ be yours as you and

your loved ones celebrate Christmas!

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