How to Remove Pride

Pride has always been a problem for me. While I know it’s an inherent trait in men, I cannot hide the fact that pride can be very dominant within my heart. It’s something I need to battle with every day. A couple of years ago, I learned my lesson the hard way. From then on, I have always reminded myself that everything I have is only through God and there is nothing to be proud of. My achievements, my success, the person I am today is all because of God and if the Lord can give, the Lord can also take away.

Do you want to know what helps me battle my prideful nature? Do you want to know how to remove pride? Prayer. It’s when I bow down in prayer to the Lord Almighty when I feel the most grounded. Whenever I feel my pride start to come out – I pray. Praying and declaring the Lord is Lord helps me set aside all sense of entitlement. It helps me realize that my life is in the hands of someone greater than I and that I am not the lord of my life. This is what prideful men do, they want to take control of their lives and be separated from God. They think they don’t need God and they can live life on their own terms. And when they hit rock bottom, where do they turn to? A lot of things can happen in life. There is no way that we control everything. It’s a reality that I have come to accept through the years. But if we put our faith in God, we understand that we don’t control everything – He does. And in that moment that we put our guards down and humble ourselves before this mighty everlasting God, life truly begins. We can then start to live life with much more freedom. There’s more freedom because there’s less stress. You stop trying to control of your life when someone greater, who loves you, is in control.

Yes, there are our times when our pride will kick in so it’s important that we align ourselves again with God in prayer. When I really need to battle my pride, I bow my knees in prayer. Bowing my knees helps me realize who I am praying to. It helps put myself in the proper perspective, that I am a man and He is God, that I am nothing without Him. I write this entry to share that, somehow I have found my peace in humbling myself. It hurts sometimes but that’s just how it goes. Less of you and more of Him in your life. May we constantly live a life of humility because Jesus exemplified it best for us.

Philippians 2:1-11

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

How about you? How to you battle Pride?

 

El Olam – The everlasting God

Have you ever imagined what it would be like if the color of grass is really blue? What if dogs had five legs? What if the water at the beach was fuchsia rather than blue?

Blue Grass, 5 Legged Dog, Fuchsia Beach

Much of what we know in life is based on what we have seen, heard, felt, touched and experienced. Even if we haven’t really studied the science behind it, we have come to know a lot of things as we go through life. Grass is green because that is how we see it. Dogs have four legs because it would just be weird if they had an extra leg to kick you with. Beach water is blue because that’s the color you’ve always seen when you go to the beach.

That’s why it is impossible for us to fully understand the concept that God is eternal and that he is the everlasting God. Everything we see existed from something, it had a start. So to fully understand how it is possible that God had no beginning is hard to grasp. We may somehow be able to understand that there is no end. But no beginning. How is that possible?

Our God is “El Olam” – The everlasting God. El is the name of God meaning “strength, might or power.”While the Hebrew name Olam means “world, universe, everlasting time or space.” He is the everlasting God. Eternal God. God of All Time. God of Ages. The Unchangeable God. The God of Perpetuity

Eternal means having no beginning and no end in time. Lasting Forever. Existing at all times. This is a standard definition of the word eternal in Webster’s. Even man had to create words to communicate and describe this attribute of the Lord.

The eternity of God is nothing else but the duration of God, and the duration of God is nothing else but his existence enduring. – Stephen Charnock

In God there is no was or will be, but a continuous and unbroken is. In Him history and prophecy are one and the same. Whatever God is He is infinitely. – AW Tozer

God was, when nothing else was. He was God when the earth was not a world but a chaos. If God himself were of yesterday, he would not be a suitable refuge for mortals. The eternal existence of God is here mentioned to set forth, by contrast, the brevity of human life. - Spurgeon

Eternity is hard to describe. That’s why it’s an attribute of God. But all these lead to just one ending, one same point. How it’s possible, is unexplainable. God just existed. He is the Alpha and the Omega. And the fact that I am having a hard time understanding this gives me comfort that He is truly God. I am man and He is God. Period.

Psalm 90:1-4

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.

Here we would see Moses prayer to the Lord. As he comes to God for mercy on mortals living in a sinful world – verse 8.

You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.

All this starts with approaching God as eternal. Acknowledging that we are mere mortals compared to a powerful God who existed before time began. A God who has been with his people through all generations. The psalm contrasts God’s eternity with man’s frail and brief life. This great eternal God has the power to finish the time of mortals. 24 hours for us is not the same 24 hours for God.  It may even mean 1000 human years. The proper interpretation is this: God looks upon a thousand years as if it were “yesterday.” That thousand year period is negligible.  It is incomparable to eternity.  It is past – done, finished, “kapoof.”

Revelation, Deuteronomy, 1 Timothy and other books in the bible speaks of the wonder of God’s eternal attribute.

  • Revelation 1:8- I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
  • Deuteronomy 33:27 – The eternal God is your refuge
  • 1 Timothy 1:17 – Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

It’s clear that the bible shows God’s eternal attributes. And I just want to clarify that I’m not here to explain how that is possible, but by faith, I want to focus on what this means to us. With this in mind I only want to share three truths on how this applies to our lives.

GOD IS NOT IN TIME

This is something hard to grasp because time is a man-made word to describe motion or progress. It is a measurement. We are creatures of “time.” How many times have we tried to catch up with time? Our bodies are affected by Time but God is not. In the first place, time started with God. It begun in Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Time will start with him and it will also end with him. You can compare our time as a dot on a white sheet of paper extending infinitely. That is how tiny “time” is. The extending white paper is eternity and it is nothing compared to the dot. That’s why God is above time and he sees all time equally. That’s why I like what AW Tozer said:

“God has lived all of our tomorrows”

What you did in the past will not change his love for you. His love is as is. He already knew what you will be doing in the future but still he died for you. In terms of prayer, he knows the future and everything that will come to pass therefore he knows when and how to answer our prayers. He never changes in essence that’s why we can always approach him and come to him in prayer no matter what we have done. God knows all our tomorrows – our pain, worries, trials, sufferings, problems, tragedies and a lot more. He knows and holds it in place. But take heart friends, because with everything he holds together, we know that in all things he works it for our good. We just need to trust him, endure the trials and be joyful in it. Allow him to take us through.

GOD IS SUFFICIENT OF HIMSELF

He had no beginning, therefore no one created him. If someone else created him, then he must be God. But that is not the case! He first lived alone. He is not dependent on anything. He is sufficient of himself. In him we have our being

Acts 17:28 – 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

His Love is enough. His Grace is sufficient. He is sufficient to give us that love which can satisfy us. His being – His love is what makes us love.  We love because he first loved us. He is not dependent on anything to answer any prayers. Nothing is impossible with God. He can and is capable of answering any prayer but it will be always according to the goodness of his will. He made everything into existence, why should we doubt him now? If He did not come from something therefore He is the source of everything. God is the ultimate source of everything therefore what He can give is limitless.

GOD IS INFINITE

Limitless or endless in space, extent, or size. God is impossible to measure or calculate. His Love surpasses knowledge. No matter what you are going through always remember this truth that the Lord loves you. You may not understand everything because even the extended of his love is limitless – but know that you are loved and cared for by this great and awesome God! He can answer the impossible no matter what prayer request you have. He can answer it if He wants to. He can grant you healing and even provide for the medical expenses. He is our infinitely strong refuge. We have a God who is powerful. A self-existing being that we can put our trust and hope on. He has that unlimited strength that everyone can rely on. He will never fail us in our time of trial. He is our eternal refuge.

We can go on for hours trying to understand the eternal attribute of God, which is limitless! God cannot be contained in a box. But the challenge is for you to think about the attributes of God: omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immutable, eternal, etc. It is one in the same for God. Take the time to meditate on it and see how you can apply this to your life.

Psalm 90:12 – Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Our life here on earth is just but a breath therefore are we to fully maximizing it. The problem for humans: we tend to think of the here and now. Are we constantly living a life with a view of eternity? Or are we constantly storing treasures here on earth. Have we come to really realize the greatness of God?

The eternity of God is something hard to grasp. This is an attribute fit only for a God and THE God. But I want you guys to go back to what Ecclesiastes 3:11 says

11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

It’s pretty clear that there are things of God. Things that we will never understand. Eternity is a word only God would clearly understand because that is what He is. But there is one thing that this verse tells us. He has set this eternity in our hearts.

Eternity of longing. Eternity of knowing Him. That’s why He made a way. He made a way for us to know Him through eternity. And by understanding who He is and our place, may it drive us to respond, to love him back.

1 John 4:19 – We love because He first loved us

Understanding how God is through His eternal attribute just makes me want to love him more and worship him. I am not worthy of Him but still he chose to have a relationship with me. That’s why we love because He first loved us. The great God of the universe loves us. With that I worship him and respond with awe.

Who I am that you are mindful of me?

Note from the author: This is an excerpt from my message at CCF Alabang entitled “El Olam – The Everlasting God”. We have the following Sunday services 8am, 10am, 12pm and 6pm. Everyone is invited! I would love to meet you if you have time to visit.

3 Lessons from the Start of Nehemiah’s Ministry

Nehemiah is known to be one of the greatest leaders in the Bible because he was used by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.  Personally, this chapter in the bible holds a dear place in my heart ever since B1G Connect conducted a series on it and I was asked to preach Nehemiah 2, Nehemiah 10 and Nehemiah 13.

Let’s start with a brief background. The King of Babylon took all of Judah into captivity (II Kings 24-25). The Babylonians got to Jerusalem, destroyed everything – the temple, the walls of the city, the fortress areas and anything of value. Everything was in chaos. The city was reduced to rubble while they marched back to Babylon with their captives and seized treasures. Just imagine how terrifying of an experience captivity can be. When people are captured, they are forcibly taken away from their homes and their land and they are then made into slaves. They are then treated with disdain and abuse, which is what exactly happened to the Jews. It was only when Persia conquered Babylon that the Jews were allowed to return to the Promised Land. So you can visualize what it looked like in Nehemiah 1:3.

3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

Nehemiah wanted to know the condition of his city so he asked his brother about it. When he heard what his city has become, he sat down and wept. For months he mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. We can see this in Nehemiah 1:4.

 

(1) The burden deep within our hearts can be an indication of what God wants us to do.

No one asked Nehemiah to rebuild the wall, but because he felt the immense burden, he translated it into action. If you want to know where God is calling you to serve or what he wants you to do, it’s usually related to your burden. That burden will carry you and move you through what you need to do. And when you start to feel that burden, the best thing to do is to take the time to pray about it. This was the first thing that Nehemiah did – he prayed.

4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

 

(2) Spend time in prayer to align yourself with the Lord and to seek his guidance and favor.

It took Nehemiah 4 months to pray for his burden. Why do we need to pray? Because we need to align ourselves with want God wants us to do. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by burdens or desires inside so it’s important that we spend time in prayer. The heart is deceitful above everything else and through prayer, we are covering our desire or burden with protection, that if this is really what God wants us to do, He will go ahead with us. It’s ok to spend a couple of weeks in prayer but it’s also a good idea to put a time table to it.

 

(3) Step out of Faith

And after the 4 months that Nehemiah spent it prayer, he stepped out of Faith. We can see that in Chapter 2.

I was cupbearer to the king.

2 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, 2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

He was a cupbearer. He was aware of how important his position was and that he had access to the king every day. The king was vital in ensuring that the wall will be rebuilt and Nehemiah clearly understood that he needed to get the approval of the king before he made any moves. So in prayer, he lifted this up to the Lord as well. He took his step of faith and showed sadness in front of the king even though being sad in the king’s presence is considered to be a sign of disrespect. The king could have asked Nehemiah to be thrown into prison or worse, beheaded. But the hand of the Lord was upon him and the king just asked him why he was sad.

And the rest as they say is history. If we look at Nehemiah’s life, we’ll see how God was with him all along. It started with a burden which he lifted up in prayer to the Lord. When the right timing came, he stepped out of faith and from then on, the Lord was able to use him mightily. Sometimes, we just really need to take Nehemiah’s lead and step out of faith. We can’t ignore the fact that we will have to face uncertainty, but if we know who our God is and if we make sure that we have it covered it with prayer, we can rely on the truth that the Lord will always be faithful to us. He can use us mightily for this work.

There is no better privilege in life than to part take in the work of God. We are only his instruments. We are vessels of his love and grace. As we lay down our lives for him, may we grow in our understanding of who God is and live a life of worship.

Note from the author: This is an excerpt from my Nehemiah 1 Sermon in B1G South for the retreat volunteers call. The B1G South ministry is the singles ministry of CCF Alabang. We have service every Saturday at 6pm at the 3rd floor of CCF Alabang. Everyone is invited! I would love to meet you if you have time to visit.

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