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By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God. Romans 5:1 (CEV)

Have you ever been in a lake on a windy day? When you are on the surface your body is jostled about be the waves. But dive down deep and the world becomes still. Almost eerily still. Sometimes you don’t need to go very deep to experience the calmness below the surface, but the deeper you go, the more unaffected by the surface you become.

That’s peace. The inner peace we all seek for our souls. Within the heart of every human being there is a desire to be at peace with the heart, the seat of emotions. When that peace is gone we seek earnestly to fill the void it left behind. The thing is we are all born with that void. That deep longing to belong, to be loved, to be accepted, to be…at peace.

So from a very young age we begin the journey. At first the peace we seek is elementary. We want our diaper changed, our nap and our bottle. Then, repeat.

As we get older our demands become more pronounced. We want toys, we want friends, we want ice cream for breakfast. We want, in essence our own way. The desire for our own way is the foundation for our search for peace. The Bible has a word for that demand for our own way: pride. Sounds like harsh word, but in our most honest moments we have to admit it’s the driving force for our search for peace. We’ve been duped into believing that peace comes when we are satisfied and we are satisfied when we get what we want.

Satan’s initial revolt against Jehovah God was summed up in two words, “I will”. We’ve been saying the same thing ever since in more subtle ways.

I will be treated like a king/queen by my spouse.”

I will be treated rightly at my job.”

I will be allowed this spot in the parking lot.”

I will be promoted before the guy that started last week.”

I will have the latest toys and gadgets.”

The problem is, as long as we look to ourselves and those around us for the peace of our heart we will never enjoy the peace we seek. We’ll be like the boat on the surface of that lake, being tossed by the waves.

Peace of the heart, the inner peace buried deep within the soul can only come when we have peace with our God. That kind of peace only comes when we have come to the Father, confessed our sin (regardless of how small WE think it is), and repented (changed out attitude). Then, as we grow deeper, as we go deeper into a relationship with Christ, we gain more of the peace that so often evades us. Just like the swim at the lake, the deeper we go into Jesus, the less the wind of change will affect our peace.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus. I confess to you that although I’ve known about you, I’ve still struggled to find peace. My guilt, my demands for my own way, the mistakes of my past continue to haunt me. Forgive me for trying to find peace on my own. Let me go deeper in you and find the peace that only comes through you. Amen.

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Pride leads to destruction; humility leads to honor. Proverbs 18:12 (CEV)

I had just finished delivering what I thought was one of my better sermons in church. Those of us that are pastors or speakers know what I mean. There are times when you just click. The words flow, the message is clear; illustrations come to your mind that perfectly shows your point.

You see it in the crowd too. Few people sleeping, even the kids sitting still and listening. People seem to hang on every word. For some you can almost see the thought wheels turning!

After the service one of the people from the congregation shook my hand and said what a wonderful sermon it was. I heard myself say “Oh, it wasn’t me. It was the Lord.” She good naturedly punched me in the shoulder and said “Thank you would be the correct response pastor. True God gave you the words, but you were still a tool in his hands.”

I smiled, said thank you (as instructed) and we parted our ways. Later in the day I replayed the situation in my mind and realized a spiritual truth was given me that day. We in the church seem awfully hesitant to talk about our gifts and talents. We downplay them in an effort to keep from ‘pride’ because we all know that ‘pride goes before destruction.’

I’ve come to the opinion that we need to rethink the whole pride issue. If God loves me and created me as a ‘fearful and wonderful’ person, in his image, then it seems perfectly okay for me to feel good about myself.

One definition of pride is a ‘reasonable and justifiable self-respect’. Feeling good about me and who I am isn’t pride. The pride being spoken of in Proverbs isn’t about feeling good about yourself. It’s thinking I’m better than you. That’s not pleasing to God.

A healthy view of yourself means you are fully aware of your faults, but refuse to let others judge you by them. A healthy view of your self means you are fully aware of your talents and abilities but refuse to measure your level of ability/talent by someone else.

We tend to go in one of two directions. Either we feel badly about ourselves and hide it by bragging and putting others down, or we feel badly about ourselves and live in defeat because we don’t realize the position we have in Christ.

Destructive pride isn’t an action; it’s an attitude that develops over time because of our uncertainty about who we are.

So, go ahead. Be proud of yourself today. Not because you are better than the person in the desk next to you. Not because you are a better driver than the guy who cut you off. But because you, my friend, are a creation of God and given talents and abilities special to you, to be used for God’s Kingdom.

PRAYER: Father God, I thank you today for me. I know I’m not perfect. I know I make mistakes. But because of you I can be proud of who you’ve made me and for the gifts and talents you’ve given me. Empower me by your Spirit to use the gifts, talents and abilities you’ve given me for your glory. Amen.


I am proud of the good news! It is God’s powerful way of saving all people who have faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Romans 1:16 (CEV)

All of us want to be a part of something really big. That’s why we line the streets to cheer for our champions; to be a part of a protest rally; to join in a big race. It’s all because we want to be able to say, “I was part of that!”

One of the reasons we all have this desire to be part of something ‘big’ is that we are all born with a desire to make a difference. We make a difference by changing lives, defeating an enemy or solving a problem. When we do that we can take pride in ourselves for our accomplishments or the accomplishments of our group.

Paul testifies in his letter to the Romans that he’s proud to be part of the gospel message. Some translations put the words “I am not ashamed” but I sort of like the Contemporary English Version’s rendition of the verse. “I’m proud of the good news…”

This phrase gives the verse a meaning I hadn’t thought of before, and in reading it I have to ask myself, “Am I really PROUD to be a follower of Christ?” When I ask myself that question the obvious, quick answer is, yes, of course. But then I think of what it really means to be proud of something I’m a part of.

When I’m proud of the group I’m in I would never to anything to hinder the success of that group. Ah. There’s a problem hidden deep within that. How many times do I hide my prayer of thanks for the food I’m eating because I’m in a school lunch room, a restraint or with someone I know is a non-believer.

How often am I short with someone who is inept at their job, pushy or arrogant?

How many times do my words, my attitudes and my reactions to others bring embarrassment to ‘the cause’?

How often have I failed to speak up for Jesus because I don’t want to be ridiculed or considered some religious nut?

I don’t agree with every social action group out there, but I admire their pride in their cause. Even if they are what we may consider some fringe group, they aren’t afraid to speak their mind about their cause. They aren’t afraid to make the plight of some life form or the destructive action of a political system of government action known to the public.

So, I wonder. How would the world be different if we as Christ-followers took the position in our daily lives that said, “HEY, I’m a follower of Christ? Do you know what he’s done for us? Do you realize how he changed me and how he can change you? He’s not concerned about your past, your present or your cultural or religious background. He won’t judge your lifestyle. He’s about healing relationships! He’s awesome.”

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I thank you for all you have done for me and for the promises I have of life with you. I confess to you that there are times I feel weighed down trying to live the Christian life. There are times I’ve not taken the pride in my faith like I should. Empower me with your Spirit to live the life I live for you with pride. Remind me on a daily basis that I’m part of a group that changes lives for eternity. In your name, Amen.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Have you ever meditated on what it means to have the Creator God, the almighty, all knowing, ever present God in relationship with you? He’s not watching us from heaven on high like we often think of. He’s walking with us! He’s sitting in our car with us during rush hour traffic. He’s holding our hand in the doctor’s office when the test reports come in. He’s got his arm around you when the news comes that a loved one has joined him for the eternal portion of their lives.

You know that feeling of elation you have when the boss tells you that you have a promotion coming…and a raise? Well, he feels it too and he smiles with pride. Just like he does when he’s sitting with you at the basketball game watching your son/daughter score the winning basket! And he cheers too!

When your little one lays sick with fever he has one hand on their tiny little body, and the other on your shoulder. I think he may even have tear on his cheek. Not because he’s worried about the baby, but because he feels your pain of worry and the pain of the little one.

During those times when the challenges of life seem too much to bear and you feel like you are bearing them all alone, he’s there. You may not sense his presence. Especially during those times of weakness when you give into temptation. You may not sense him during those times of disappointment with a spouse, a child or your parents. But God’s presence with you isn’t determined by your awareness of him. He’s always by your side. Watching your back, guiding your future. Comforting your present.

The next time you are attacked by the enemy named worry, worship instead. Worship isn’t reserved for Sunday. Worship isn’t reserved for any particular place or time. Worship is daily walking with the assurance that the one walking with you and loving you is God. That’s grace. That’s relationship. That’s God for you.

PRAYER: Father God, I praise and worship you for your promise to always be by my side. Forgive me for the times I forget that you not only watch over me but you walk with me, side by side and hand in hand. Today I ask that in every circumstance we go through together I will be aware of your presence by my side. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:5

So, imagine, just for a moment, that you are one of Jesus’ disciples. It’s been a long day walking along the hot and dusty road through the wilderness. You are hot and tired. Even the thoughts of the people Jesus healed in the last town aren’t lifting your spirits. All you can think of is laying down to eat and giving your hot sore feet a rest.

As you enter the room where the meal is to be served you breathe a sigh of relief. The room is ready. The clay walls have kept the room cool. A welcome relief from the blazing sun outside. You scan the room briefly. Table is ready. Bread is out. Fresh wine is already poured. Foot washing bowl is in the corner complete with towel and ….wait. Where is the foot-washing servant?

You shake your head. Judas and his penny-pinching. How hard would it have been to get a servant to wash your feet? The coolness of the room is replaced by the heat of anger rising inside you. It doesn’t take that much to plan.

You look around once more. Nope. No servant. Most of the others probably think your face is red from being outside. It isn’t. It’s red with anger as you make your way to your spot. Hopefully you’ll get a place near Jesus so that if an opportune time comes you can tell him what you think of the lack of a servant.

John reclines beside you. Great! Everyone knows that he has the smelliest feet of the group and now there’s no one to wash them. Can this day get any worse? Your thoughts are interrupted by the sloshing sound of water. A momentary sense of relief comes as you turn towards the sound. The momentary relief is replaced by shock as you look down and see Jesus at your feet. Towel wrapped around his waist, his hands gently washing the hot dust from your feet. It feels so incredibly good on one hand, and seems so incredibly wrong on the other. He’s the Rabbi! He has no place stooping so low as to wash our feet.

What was that he was saying? No servant is greater than his master? Of course not. A servant is a servant. Then it hits you. We are all servants. John with his stinking feet is no better or worse than you are. Judas with his penny-pinching, shady ways is on the same level as you too. And Peter, with his arrogant, speak-now-think-later ways? No worse than the attitude you are embracing in your heart.

It’s the same Jesus today as in the upper room. He is still willing to kneel down to your level. He’s still willing to touch you in the areas that are most in need of his touch, no matter how dirty, no matter how rotten those areas are.

His love is like soothing cool water on hot, painful feet. His touch softens the hardest calluses of your soul. Jesus thinks nothing of stooping to the lowest level to lift you up. Let him wash your feet today. Feel the soothing, healing relief of his love and forgiveness. Then reach out to those who need to feel that touch as well.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for the lesson of the feet washing. I confess that there are too many times I’ve thought myself to important or too busy to reach out to others who need to feel your touch. Refresh me with the soothing touch of your love and forgiveness. Empower me to share your love and forgiveness with those around me. In your name I pray, Amen.

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