Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Self-Diagnostic Test

I read the article below a few months ago and since then cannot get it off my mind. The reason for this is that for me it has uncovered another layer of who I am and sin in my life. Over the years there have been times when I’ve been around a person and thought, “Wow they are proud.” Pride just seems to be oozing out of their pores. And yet as I read the 50 points below I was shocked as to how many of these could pertain to me as well. And so I challenge you to take some quiet time by yourself and go through this list and do some self-examination. And not only do I challenge you to take time to go through this yourself but I also challenge you to ask someone who you respect and who knows you well to go through this with you and tell you what areas of your life are exhibiting pride. But let us not stop there but pray that with the Lord’s help we may overcome pride in our life. “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” James 4:6. 

The Fifty Fruits of Pride: A Self-Diagnostic Test
1. Want to be well Known or Important (Isaiah 14:13-15; James 3:13-16; Romans 12:6)
“I am selfishly ambitious. I really want to get ahead and make a name for myself. I want to be someone important in life. I like having a position or title. I far prefer leading to following.”
2. Sinfully Competitive
“I am overly competitive. I always want to win or come out on top and it bothers me when I don’t.”
3. Want to Impress People (Luke 10:38-42)
“I want people to be impressed with me. I like to make my accomplishments known.”
a. Clothes or jewelry you wear.
b. Vehicle you drive.
c. Furniture you own.
d. House you live in.
e. Place you live.
f. Company you work for.
g. Amount of money you earn.
h. Food you eat.
i. How spiritual you are.
j. What you look like (physical appearance).
k. What you have accomplished.
l. What you know.
m. Where you went to school.
n. Who you know.
o. What your background is.
4. Draw Attention to Myself (Proverbs 27:2)
“I like to be the center of attention and will say or do things to draw attention to myself.”
5. Like to Talk About Myself
“I like to talk, especially about myself or persons or things I am involved with. I want people to know what I am doing or thinking. I would rather speak than listen. I have a hard time being succinct.”
6. Deceitful and Pretentious (Psalm 24:3-4, 26:2-4; Jeremiah 48:10; Proverbs 26:20-26)
“I tend to be deceptive about myself. I find myself lying to preserve my reputation. I find myself hiding the truth about myself, especially about sins, weaknesses, etc. I don’t want people to know who I really am.”
7. Desire Recognition and Praise (John 5:41-44; Matthew 6:1, 23:5-7)
“I desire to receive recognition and credit for what I do. I like people to see what I do and let me know that they noticed. I feel hurt or offended when they don’t. I am overly concerned about my reputation and hate being misunderstood.”
8. Not Fulfilled Serving Others (John 3:30)
“I am not very excited about seeing or making others successful. I tend to feel envious, jealous or critical towards those who are doing well or being honored.”
9. Self Sufficient (Matthew 4:4; John 15:5; Acts 17:25; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
“I tend to be self-sufficient in the way I live my life. I don’t live with a constant awareness that my every breath is dependent upon the will of God. I tend to think I have enough strength, ability and wisdom to live and manage my life. My practice of the spiritual disciplines is inconsistent and superficial. I don’t like to ask others for help.”
10. Anxious (Psalm 4:8; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:6-7)
         “I am often anxious about my life and the future. I tend not to trust God and rarely experience his abiding and transcendent peace in my soul. I have a hard time sleeping at night because of fearful thoughts and burdens I carry.”
11. Self-Focused (Exodus 4:11; Job 10:8-11; Psalm 139:13-16; Isaiah 53:2; Jeremiah 1:5)
        “I am overly self-conscious. I tend to replay in my mind how I did, what I said, and how I came across to others. I am very concerned about my appearance and what people think of me. I think about these things constantly.”
12. Fear Man (Proverbs 29:25)
        “I fear man more than God. I am afraid of others and make decisions about what I will say or do based upon this fear. I am afraid to take a stand for things that are right. I am concerned with how people will react to me or perceive my actions or words. I don’t often think about God’s opinion in a matter and rarely think there could be consequences for disobeying him. I primarily seek the approval of man and not of God.”
13. Insecure
        “I often feel insecure. I don’t want to try new things or step out into uncomfortable situations because I’m afraid I’ll fail or look foolish. I am easily embarrassed.”
14. Compare Myself
        “I regularly compare myself to others. I am “performance oriented.” I feel that I have greater worth if I do well.”
15. Perfectionist
        “I am self-critical. I tend to be a perfectionist. I can’t stand for little things to be wrong because they reflect poorly on me. I have a hard time putting my mistakes behind me.”
16. Self-Serving (Philippians 2:19-22)
        “I am self-serving. When asked to do something, I find myself asking, „How will doing this help me? or „Will be inconvenienced? I am not focused on the needs and interests of others.”
17. Feel Better or Superior
        “I feel special or superior because of what I have or do.”
18. Think Highly of Myself (Romans 12:3, 16; James 2:1-4)
        “I think highly of myself. In relation to others I typically see myself as more mature and more gifted. In most situations, I have more to offer than others even though I may not say so. I don’t consider myself average or ordinary.”
19. Credit Myself (1 Corinthians 4:6-7; 15:10)
        “I tend to give myself credit for who I am and what I accomplish. I only occasionally think about or recognize that all that I am or have comes from God. I don’t consciously transfer all glory to God for any good I have or any good I do.”
20. Self-Righteous (Luke 18:9-14)
        “I tend to be self-righteous. I can think that I really have something to offer God. I would never say so, but I think God did well to save me. I seldom think about or recognize my total depravity and helplessness apart from God. I regularly focus on the sins of others. I don’t credit God for any degree of holiness in my life.”
21. Feel Deserving
        “I feel deserving. I think I deserve what I have. In fact, I think I ought to have more considering how well I have lived or in light of all I have done.”
22. Ungrateful (Ephesians 5:19-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Colossians 3:15-17; Philippians 2:14)
        “I often feel ungrateful. Instead of thanking other people, I tend to complain about them. I grumble about what I don’t have or my lot in life. I am not amazed by grace on a regular basis and lack joy in my life.”
23. Captive to Self Pity
        “I find myself wallowing in self-pity. I am consumed with how I am treated by God and others. I tend to feel mistreated and hate being misunderstood. I seldom recognize or sympathize with what’s going on with others around me because I feel that I have it worse than they do.”
24. Jealous and Envious (James 3:13-16)
        “I can be jealous or envious of others abilities, possessions, positions, accomplishments or friends. I want to be what others are or want to have what others have. I think I deserve or should have the good things other people do. I find it hard to rejoice when others are blessed by God.”
25. Unkind and Harsh (Ezekiel 16:49; Psalm 17:10; Proverbs 24:17-18; Luke 10:25-37)
        “I am pretty insensitive to others. I feel some people just aren’t worth caring about. I have a hard time showing compassion or extending mercy to others. Some people aren’t worth my time and attention.”
26. Love to Reveal My Mind (Proverbs 18:2)
        “I like to reveal my own mind. I have an answer for practically every situation and an opinion on every subject. I feel compelled to balance everyone else out and let them know my thoughts.”
27. Know It All (1 Corinthians 8:1)
        “I have a know-it-all attitude. I am impressed by my own knowledge and understanding of things. I feel like there isn’t much I can learn from other people, especially those less mature than me.”
28. Like People to Know I Know
        “I feel compelled to stop people when they start to share something with me I already know.”
29. Hard to Admit I Don’t Know
        “I find it hard to admit it when I don’t know something. When someone asks me something I don’t know, I will make up an answer rather than admit I don’t know.”
30. Don’t Listen to Ordinary People
        “I have a hard time listening to ordinary people. I listen better to those I respect or people I am wanting to leave with a good impression. I don’t honestly listen when someone else is speaking because I am usually planning what I am going to say next.”
31. Interruptive
        “I interrupt people regularly. I don’t let people finish what they are saying.”
32. Don’t Get Much Out of Teaching
        “I don’t get much out of the teaching. I tend to evaluate the speaker rather than my own life. I grumble about hearing something a second time.”
33. Thinking of Others During Teaching
        “I listen to teaching with other people in mind. I constantly think of those folks who need to hear and apply this teaching and wish they were here.”
34. Not Teachable (Proverbs 12:1)
        “I’m not very open to input. I don’t pursue correction for my life. I tend to be unteachable and slow to repent when corrected. I don’t really see correction as a positive thing. I am offended when people probe the motivations of my heart or seek to adjust me.”
35. Don’t Admit Wrong Doing (Proverbs 28:13; James 5:16)
        “I have a hard time admitting that I am wrong. I find myself covering up or excusing my sins. It is hard for me to confess my sins to others or to ask for forgiveness.”
36. Do Not Welcome Correction (Proverbs 15:12)
        “I view correction as an intrusion into my privacy rather than an instrument of God for my welfare. I can’t identify anyone who would feel welcome to correct me.”
37. Resent People Who Correct Me (Proverbs 9:7-9)
        “I resent people who attempt to correct me. I don’t respond with gratefulness and sincere appreciation for their input. Instead I am tempted to accuse them and dwell on their faults. I get bitter and withdraw.”
38. Contentious and Argumentative (James 1:19-20)
        “When corrected, I become contentious and argumentative. I don’t take people’s observations seriously. I minimize and make excuses or give explanations.”
39. Get Angry or Offended With Others (1 Corinthians 6:7)
        “I am easily angered and offended. I don’t like being crossed or disagreed with. I find myself thinking, “I can’t believe they did that to me.” I often feel wronged. I hate to be misunderstood by others especially those I respect and desire to think highly of me.”
40. Constantly in Conflicts (Proverbs 13:10)
        “I have “personality conflicts” with others. I have a hard time getting along with certain kinds of people. People regularly tell me they struggle with me.”
41. Have Little Esteem or Respect for Others (Numbers 16:1-3)
        “I lack respect for other people. I don’t think very highly of most people. I have a hard time encouraging and honoring others unless they really do something great.”
42. Do Violence with My Mouth (Psalm 101:5; Romans 3:13-14; 3 John 1:9-10)
        “I am a slanderer. I find myself either giving or receiving evil reports about others. I am not concerned about the effect of slander on me because of my maturity level. I think I can handle it. I only share with others the things I think they really need to know. I don’t tell all. Anyway, the things I say or hear about people are usually true.”
43. Sow Discord (Proverbs 28:25)
        “I am divisive. My actions and attitudes separate people rather than unite people. My words frequently undermined the confidence and trust people have in one another. I also tend to resist or resent authority. I don’t like other people to give me orders or directions.”
44. Demean or Belittle Others
“With a motivation to put people in their place or look good myself, I like to demean or put others down. They need my adjustment. This includes leaders. Other people need to be humble and have a “sober” assessment of themselves.”
45. Critical
        “I tend to be critical of others. I find myself feeling or talking negatively about people. I subtly feel better about myself when I see how bad someone else is. I find it far easier to evaluate than to encourage someone else.”
46. Self-Willed and Stubborn
        “I am self-willed and stubborn. I have a hard time cooperating with others. I really prefer my own way and often insist on getting it.”
47. Independent (Proverbs 18:1; Luke 1:51-52)
        “I am independent and uncommitted. I don’t really see why I need other people. I can easily separate myself from others. I don’t get much out of the small group meetings.”
48. Unaccountable (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:25)
        “I am unaccountable. I don’t ask others to hold me responsible to follow through on my commitments. I don’t really need accountability for my words and actions.”
49. Unsubmissive (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:5)
        “I am unsubmissive. I don’t like being under the authority of another person. I don’t see submission as a good and necessary provision from God for my life. I have a hard time supporting and serving those over me. I don’t “look up” to people and I like to be in charge. Other people may need leaders but I don’t. It is important that my voice is always heard.”
50. Feel Mature
        “I really appreciate somebody taking the time to put this paper together. It will really be a big help to my friends and family. However, I don’t really need this because I think I’m pretty humble already.”

-Compiled by Brent Detwiler

Monday, March 21, 2011

When Words Fail

There seems to be a great dichotomy in my heart right now….my heart is so full and yet there seems like there are no words. I want to keep all the memories to myself and yet I want to talk about them. Unexpectedly a week ago Friday I left the family once again only this time it was by myself to fly out to my parents’ house. Dad has cancer and is slowly failing and so I went to help out a few days, and my husband and the kids drove out on Tuesday.
I had a few very precious days together with my Dad and Mom and yet my thoughts and emotions have been ‘all over the globe.’ It’s so hard to see one’s father suffering and becoming weaker when he was the strong one and pillar of the family. The roles become reversed the parent becomes like a child and the child then has to be a parent to the parent which just doesn’t seem right.
One of the most precious moments I had with them was on Sunday evening. Dad had a few hours when he really perked up and seemed to have unusual strength. He got off his chair, walked around the house and then went to the piano. (Now Dad knows one of my favorite things is when he plays the piano and we either listen or sing. This is something we often did as a family especially on Sundays.) Anyway he sat down on the stool and started to play. As I gently rubbed his back I directed him to one of my favorite songs which he played and I standing behind silently cried. After a few minutes Mom came in the room and we both began to sing (her soprano and I alto) as he proceeded to play her favorite song, my brother Len’s favorite song (he died from cancer when he was 32), and then his own 2 favorite songs. After this exhaustion overtook him and he went back to his chair. I wished for a few moments we could freeze time and just continue but soon reality set back in and I could see that this was almost too much for him.
It’s very difficult to see him suffer and often words were few and yet these times of bonding are lasting memories that will not fade. And although I may not be there for his final breaths yet to have a few days together, to serve him and help him…to rub his aching back has been very precious to me.
I know the day will come (as it will for each one of us) that we will not see one another on this earth again. Last Friday for me was a very difficult day…leaving my earthly father not knowing if I would ever see him again. We spoke a few minutes together alone and then I had to almost physically pull myself away.
But through this all ultimately then the question is, as Dad said to me before we left, “Although we may never see one another again on this earth the most important question is how will we each cross over the Jordon.” Are you and I prepared to meet our Maker?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our 5 Day Escape

My husband was asked to preach in Florida and wanted me to go. I, of course, as a protective mom thought of 101 excuses why I should not go (although in the worse way I wanted to go but with the kids). Its too hard to leave the kids costs too much...a week is too long...the 3 hour drive to Detroit airport can be treacherous this time of year...and so the list went on. But in the end I became submissive to my husband and we compromised on some of my concerns. Now that we are back home I feel ashamed that I was so anxious...the kids did great together...we found a excellent price on tickets....we went 5 days instead of 7...the drive to and from the airport was fine...and we've never had such a smooth flight and perfect 80 degree weather ever. It was a good trip together and we feel that our 'batteries' are charged again. We have come home to some needs in the congregation and personal trials but God has used our time of 'recharging' both physically and spiritually to prepare us for this. Below are a few pictures for you to enjoy. I still am amazed each time of the beauty of God's creation and just love to think and meditate of the greatness of our Maker.

We left at 6:50 am and were privileged to see the sun rise from above the clouds out our plane window.

The cute little place that we stayed at - the beach was right accross the road.

Here is our little 'house.'

A pier which had a restaurant for fishermen.

One of the unique houses along the beach. Pssss - it happens to be for sale

This was the only entrance into their house.

The Pathway to a beach.

This was a different beach then where we stayed. To get to it we had to walk down a tree lined pathway (above). As we came to the end of the pathway this is the sight which met us - breathtaking!!

The water was so amazing - we walked 3/4 of a mile out at low tide and were only up to our knees. We saw many living 'creatures' in the water.

I know they can be a pain but I think these birds are still beautiful - their feathers are so white.

The setting sun.

Happy and content just being together!!