Archive for July, 2013

July 30, 2013

The Benefits of Humility

by Lester Young

We’re all probably pretty clear on what we think ‘humility’ is, and it’s likely that the average opinion would hit fairly close to the mark. Unfortunately, our average opinion is not the one that really matters. So let’s dig around a little and see what God’s concept of humility is.

Jesus Himself gives us two parables that shed a revealing light on humility by focusing on the polar opposite: pride. The first, found in Luke 14:8-11 (New Living Translation), tells us: “When you’re invited to a wedding feast, don’t [just automatically go and try to] sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you’ll have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves [with self-worth or importance; pride] will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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July 25, 2013

Have You “Found Yourself” Yet?

by Lester Young

Have you ever wondered how Jesus got His instructions, how He knew what He was supposed to do? Certainly, He got them from His Father; but, how – by what manner or means – did He receive them? It would be easy to just chalk it up to the fact that ‘He was Jesus,’ but that really doesn’t benefit anyone. As a matter of fact, if He enjoyed any advantage at all from the fact that He was the Son of God, everything would already be over for us except the shouting. In other words, if Jesus could call on something – anything – that wasn’t readily available to us as His disciples, then He wouldn’t be fair and just in requiring that we follow His example and do the works that He did (John 13:15, 14:12), and the best that we could look forward to would be…well, not very good.

The fact of the matter is that Jesus got His instruction and leading in exactly the same way that we’re supposed to: by the written Word and by the Holy Spirit. He studied the Old Testament Law and prophetic writings for thirty years, so it’s safe to assume that He was pretty well-versed in them. But the difference between His teachings and those of the Jewish scribes, lawyers and priests was that, because His spirit was in complete and living union with the Father (unlike all other men’s dead spirits), He received fresh and light-filled revelation of the Scriptures and their meaning. That’s why people were astonished when they heard His doctrine as opposed to the same old “Thou shalt not-isms” taught by the scribes (Matthew 7:28-29).

Jesus studied for thirty years, but only after He was filled with the Holy Spirit did He launch out into His ministry (Matthew 4:17; Luke 4:14). But how did He know to do that? The Holy Spirit led Him, and revealed it to Him through the Scriptures He’d read. He went to the synagogue and flatly told the audience, reading directly

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July 19, 2013

It’s a Dog’s Fig’s Life

by Lester Young

“Man…that fig tree was just standing there, minding its business…” If you’re at all familiar with the Bible and Jesus’ exploits, you can probably guess just what fig tree I’m talking about. Be honest now, just between you and me, has that thought ever trickled through the recesses of your mind, tiptoeing around on the fire escape in the dark in the back somewhere? Did it seem the slightest bit cruel to you, if only for just a fleeting moment? Me, too. But then I shook myself back to the real reality, which is this: if there’s ever a question in my mind of good or bad, right or wrong, left or right, up or down, etc., and I don’t fully understand it, my starting point in trying to figure it out is always “God’s action (method, opinion, etc.) is the right one; and I, as a human being, am wrong (or at least missing some key component of data) [Romans 3:3-4].

Okay, with that foundational premise as my guide, I’m left with no other assumption to make here but that “the fig tree must’ve done somethin’ wrong.” Well, in a very real way, I guess it did. But, in order to see it, you need to be privy to one very important piece of information. When I found this out, the whole story made a lot more sense. You see, when the growth season starts, the average fruit tree will put out leaves, and then produce flower buds which will eventually grow into the actual fruit. Fig trees, however, are a little different. They produce their leaves and their fruit at the same time.

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