Kevin Halloran – How to Be Teachable According to Proverbs

Teachable people don’t have to be the smartest to succeed—they seek to learn and grow in any and every situation. Being teachable is a foundational quality for everybody: workers, students, husbands, wives, and especially those in leadership roles. If you’re wondering how to grow in teachability, perhaps there’s no better place to turn than the Bible’s wisdom book.

How to Be Teachable According to Proverbs

1. Be humble.

“Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8

“Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 26:12

To continue reading Kevin Halloran’s article, click here.

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John MacArthur – God Still Uses Clay Pots

The New Testament was not written by the elite of Egypt. It was not written by the elite of Greece, Rome, or even Israel. The greatest scholars in the world at that time were down at Egypt; they were in the greatest library of antiquity at Alexandria. The most distinguished philosophers were in Athens; the most powerful leaders of men were in Rome; and the religious geniuses were in Israel’s temple. But God never used any of them! He just used clay pots. He passed by Herodotus, the historian; Socrates, the philosopher; Hippocrates, the father of medicine; Euclid, the mathematician; Archimedes, the father of mechanics; Hipparchus, the astronomer; Cicero, the orator; and Virgil, the poet. He passed by them all. Why? Clay pots served His purposes better. From a human viewpoint (and perhaps in their own minds), all those prominent people were magnificent vessels. But someone deeply impressed with his own value isn’t going to see value in the gospel. So God chose peasants, fishermen, smelly guys, and tax collectors—clay pots chosen to carry, proclaim, and write the priceless treasure we call the gospel.

To continue reading John MacArthur’s article, click here.

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Nick Batzig – Giving and Receiving Commendation

Criticism is far and away one of the most difficult features of life in this fallen world. Two things in particular complicate the practice of giving and receiving criticism. Pride revolts when others point out areas of our lives in which change may be needed; and, many who raise criticisms are themselves hypercriticial individuals–often overstating or misstating their assessment about an aspect of another’s life. Accordingly, the subject of giving and receiving criticism must be approached with the utmost care. While considerably less burdensome to the mind, the subject of giving and receiving commendation is an equally challenging part of life. Like its counterpart, criticism, commendation interacts with pride and is easily misstated or misapplied. Thankfully, we are not left to our own reasoning capacity to sift through all of the attendant difficulties. As with every other important part of our lives, Scripture has much to teach us about how to give and receive commendaton.

1. We must not praise ourselves. Commendation is meant to be an external act of kindness. God does not permit us to praise ourselves. This ought to be self-evident, but our propensity to do otherwise shows that it is not. For this reason, the Proverbs tell us, “Let another praise you and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Prov. 27:2).

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Charles Barrett – The Grace of Becoming Less

Reflecting upon twenty years of ministry, the gifted Scottish preacher Andrew Bonar wrote the following in his diary. “It is amazing that the Lord has spared me and used me at all. I have no reason to wonder that He used others far more than He does me. Yet envy is my hurt, and today I have been seeking grace to rejoice exceedingly over the usefulness of others, even where it cast me into the shade. Lord, take away this envy from me!” Whether wrestling with envy like Bonar, or desiring to be a member of an inner ring the likes of which C. S. Lewis warned, Christians face the dreaded dangers of comparison, discontentment, and self-promotion in a variety of ways and in a variety of places. One arena where this subtle temptation lurks is the church, and it extends to both ministers and members. While it extends to both, it is a temptation that leaders do well to face. The focus of the temptation often centers on gifts and ministries.

John the Baptist, at the height of his ministry, encountered the possibility of ministerial envy (John 3:22-30). A loyal disciple who resented the growing ministry and popularity of Jesus approached John the Baptist and expressed his apparent frustration that all were following Jesus. John the Baptist enjoyed large followings by this point in his ministry. It is not too difficult to be committed to the confession that you are not the light of the world, but rather, a pointer to the Light at the beginning of your ministry, especially when it is small. There must be some pull, however, to seek a little more focus when the ministry grows and throngs are expressing utmost devotion. Such was the case when John’s disciple approached him. If John ever had an opportunity to upstage Jesus, this was it. John responded with an astounding desire become less. His desire was genuine because he knew something of both Christ and himself.

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A. W. Pink – A Contrite and Humble Spirit (Isaiah 57:15)

“For this is what the high and lofty One says—He who lives forever, whose name is holy: I live in a high and holy place—but also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit.” – Isaiah 57:15

A humble spirit or heart, is an infallible sign of regeneration; for the unregenerate are proud, self-satisfied, self-righteous.

Yet the very mention of the word “humility” seems to cut off many Christians. As they examine themselves, they discover so much pride at work within, that they are quite unable to persuade themselves that they have a humble heart. It seems to them—that humility is one thing they most evidently lack. Now it will no doubt be a startling statement—but we unhesitatingly affirm that the great majority of God’s people are far more humble than they suppose!

FIRST, that the Christian reader possesses a humble heart, is plain from the fact that he confesses himself to be a Hell-deserving sinner. We do not have in mind what you say of yourself when in the company of your fellows — but rather what you feel and say of yourself when alone with God. Whatever pretenses you are guilty of before men—when in the presence of the Omniscient One—you are real, sincere, and genuine.

Now, dear reader, be honest with yourself: When on your knees before the Throne of Grace, do you freely and frankly acknowledge that if you received your lawful due, you would—even now—be suffering the dreadful fires of Hell? If so, a miracle of grace must have been wrought within you. No unregenerate person will or can honestly make such a confession to God—for he does not feel he has done anything deserving of eternal punishment.

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Michael Boling – If My People Who Bear My Name: Exposition of 2 Chronicles 7:14

“then, if my people, who bear my name, will humble themselves, pray, seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

A new leader has assumed the office of the Presidency of the United States. While his assumption of power has not been without angst and outright anger (and unbridled destructive fury in some areas), we nevertheless have a new occupant of the White House.

Often when a period of newness or change such as this takes place, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is presented and rightly so. It is a passage ripe with a promise from the Ultimate Ruler regarding the response He will give to His people. With that said, while a popular passage to invoke, I often wonder if the flow of the passage and in particular, the vital to grasp if/then statement provided are grasped.

So let’s break down this passage, paying special attention to what is required of us and in turn, the promise provided if that requirement is met.
This declaration commences with “if my people”, presenting a point of action on the part of a group. The word “if” means that something must take place before a follow on action can begin. Without the action required in the “if” statement, nothing further will happen.

Before what is required in the “if” statement is explored, it is necessary to engage to whom this declaration is being presented. Adonai is talking to those who “bear my name” or in some translations, those who “are my people”. Quite often 2 Chronicles 7:14 is used, especially during times of national transition such as we are currently in, as a passage that speaks somewhat of the United States as a whole. The belief is centered on the idea that we are a nation blessed by God and thus we can invoke this passage in an overarching way for all people. While this passage does have a definite impact (provided the “if” statement is obeyed), Adonai is focused on a specific group – His people.

Who then are “His people” and what is required to be part of that group? The term “my” is one of possession and relationship. Furthermore, this people bear his name”. This is familial terminology. As His children, we bear the family name of our Father. In keeping with this idea of family and relationship, as the bride of Yeshua, we also bear the name of the Bridegroom. We know not everyone is part of the Family of Adonai and we know not everyone is part of the bride of Yeshua. This means the Father is speaking to a specific segment of the nation. The actions of this segment by extension can and will have an impact on the greater whole.

So what are we then called to do as the people who are His and who bear His name? We are called to do four things: 1) Humble themselves; 2) Pray; 3) Seek His face; 4) Turn from their evil ways.

Let’s take a look at each requirement.

1. Humble themselves. To be humble, according to the Hebrew word kana’ used in this passage, means to “be humbled, be subdued, be brought down, be low, be under, be brought into subjection”. Yahweh is the Ultimate Ruler, regardless if one is part of His family or not. He controls all. Those who claim to be His recognize that authority and Kingship. Thus to humble yourself is a declaration of subservience to the Almighty. It is the complete opposite of the attitude expressed by the enemy who sought to exalt himself above the Almighty. Those who are His and who bear the name of the Father understand who God is and our relationship to Him, namely the fact He is King of the Universe and we are His humble servants.

2. Pray. The term used for pray in this passage does not describe your average everyday pray over a meal. It describes a much deeper aspect of prayer and that description is noted in the definition of the Hebrew word palal which means “to intercede, to supplicate”. This is at its core intercessory prayer. It is focused, purposeful prayer on behalf of the nation, a call to the Almighty to be merciful.

3. Seek His face. To seek the face of the Almighty involves a desire (baqash) the face (paniym) of the Father. Paniym involves an active motion that is to be focused on God. When the creation is properly focused on God, the result is God’s favor being poured out on creation. Conversely, when the creation rejects God and turns their face and actions away from God, His favor is also turned away from the creation. The seeking of God’s face should be a hallmark of those who are called to be His bride. This perhaps begs the question of how we should seek God’s face. Two important elements are the daily washing of our hearts and minds in the word of God through consistent purposeful Bible study and through a consistent posture of bowing before God in prayer.

4. Turn from their evil ways. I think this is the part of the “if” requirement that is most often ignored or overlooked. The word turn is the Hebrew word shuwb which depicts a specific method of movement. It is a return to something, namely the ways of the Father, specifically the commands provided by the Father to His children in His word. If we are not being obedient to the Father’s commands, we are involved in evil and wickedness. The term ways is the Hebrew word derek which describes a course of life or a pattern of behavior.

If we follow the train of commands contained in the “if” statement, we see a clear course of action that must take place in progression. First is humility. Until we humble ourselves under subjection of the rule of the Almighty, our prayers will be futile, we will have no desire to seek His face, and there will be no turning from evil because our hearts are still lifted up against the Almighty.

If we have humbled ourselves but are not focused on intercessory prayer for our nation, we are yet again not in the right frame of spiritual mind. If we humble ourselves and pray, but are not seeking His face, we do not have the proper focus to our prayers and actions. If we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, but do not turn from wickedness, we are continuing to thumb our nose at Yahweh.

Thus, all elements of the “if” command must be obeyed. I know obedience is not a popular term in a time when “greasy grace” is so often taught, but unless we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways through the work of the Holy Spirit, we cannot hope to see the blessings that are noted in the conclusion of 2 Chronicles 7:14. We so often want the quick route to God’s favor. To be quite frank, it does not work that way.

If we desire healing for this increasingly fractured nation and if we want to see forgiveness of our sins which are promised in this passage, those who are His and who bear the name of the Father must in humility pray, seek His face, and turn from evil. It is time to take stock of our spiritual condition as the people of Yahweh. Spend time in His word, be a people who desire to obey His commands and pray with a humble heart for this nation. Moreover, be a people whose light shines in a dark and hurting world. This can only happen if we root ourselves in the proper foundation which is Scripture and only if we are obedient to the “if” declaration provided to us in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

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JR Vassar – Renouncing Narcissism

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Glory Hunger

Life is a war for glory. Even those of us who have rested in Jesus to bring an end to our battle for glory still fight skirmishes in which we feel our reputations are at risk. We live on a battlefield where we strive to attain glory and put it on display. We measure ourselves against others to see how we are stacking up. Are we advancing in our careers fast enough? Is our romantic life lagging behind? Are our finances lagging behind? Are our gifted and talented children in all the right activities? Are we spiritual standouts? We become slaves to our image and the glory that comes from being extraordinary. With every victory the glory counter goes up, and with every failure and folly the glory counter is reset, and we strive to recapture that lost glory.

The gospel has the power to liberate us from that because Jesus won ultimate glory for us. In him we are given the unchanging status of justified and adopted children of God. We are fully known and fully loved. God’s image is being restored in us, and we will one day “shine like the sun” (Matt. 13:43). What people say about us, what we say about ourselves, and what people do to us is trumped by what God has said about us and done for us in the gospel. But the skirmishes rage on, and we still fight for the glory that comes from men.

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Kevin DeYoung – The Humble Leader

Tissot_Jethro_and_Moses

According to Numbers 12:3, Moses was more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. What was it about Moses that caused this scribe (whom I take to be other than Moses) to come to such a lofty conclusion? No doubt, there are many examples of Moses’ humility in the Pentateuch, but let me point out three that are present in Exodus 18.

1. The humble leader shows respect to others. Moses was a big deal. He was God’s chosen instrument for leading the Israelites out of four centuries of slavery. He stood face to face against the most powerful man in the world (Pharaoh) and won. He was in charge of 2-3 million people, handling their complaints, leading them through the wilderness, and acting as the Supreme Court for their toughest disputes. Moses was the man.

And yet, when he was reunited with his family, he showed Jethro, his father-in-law the proper respect by going out to meet him, bowing down, and kissing him on the cheek. Moses then hosted Jethro in his tent and told him all that the Lord had done for Israel’s sake.

Of course, in one sense, this was all small potatoes. Moses was simply doing what would have been expected of him as a son (or son-in-law) in that culture. But the fact that Jethro is called Moses’ “father-in-law” twelve times in chapter 18 suggests that we are meant to see how Moses gladly accepted his role relative to Jethro. Good leaders understand that though they may have power, prestige, and position in certain areas, this does not mean they should expect to be feted and lauded wherever they go. We all inhabit a web of different relationships. True humility understands that no matter how important we may seem, we must still show proper deference and respect to those whose age or position require it.

2. The humble leader is willing to change. Again, it takes great humility to be in charge of as much as Moses was and still be willing to take advice from others. When it came to getting Israel organized for maximum effectiveness (and minimum frustration), Moses gladly listened to Jethro’s advice, even though he was only a visitor and a one-day old convert.

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Michael Boling – Pride Goes Before a Fall

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“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18)

The word “pride” has been bantered around quite a bit of late, specifically in relation to the recent SCOTUS decision on gay marriage. Social media has been awash with “support pride” hashtags, profile pictures, and other promotion of this statement. This begs the question as to what one is allowed to have pride in and whether pride can be misplaced.

Passages such as Proverbs 16:18 seem to indicate that pride and a haughty spirit come before destruction and a fall. So what is this “pride” this passage speaks about? The word translated as pride is the Hebrew noun ga’own meaning quite simply “pride or arrogance.” The term haughty is the Hebrew noun gobahh meaning again that idea of “pride or arrogance.” This particular proverb is giving a repeated note that arrogance leads to destruction and ruin. But the question perhaps remains as to what arrogance refers to and what are examples of an arrogant spirit that will lead to destruction.

Proverbs 21:24 states, “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.” What is a scoffer? A scoffer is noted in Scripture as one who is arrogant and mocks God and the righteous. His way is always associated with the wicked. A couple of insightful passages of Scripture outline the attitude of the scoffer as well as their agenda:

“Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.” (2 Pet. 3:3)

“In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” (Jude 1:18)

We can clearly see that a scoffer is one who follows ungodly passions and desires in opposition to following the path of righteousness. Paul in writing to Timothy stated:

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim. 3:1-7)

We get an even clearer understanding of what scoffing and pride which leads to destruction is all about from that passage.

In recent days we have seen a demonstration of scoffing and pride, the unabashed pursuit of the love of self and lustful pleasure. This so-called pride is nothing more than behavior and the glorification of actions that are an abomination to God. In fact, all sin is scoffing and pride and to continue in behavior that follows that path is to walk down the way of destruction. When someone notes for example that gay marriage is something that should be supported with pride, be mindful this pride is rooted in scoffing at God and His commands. The only end for such a prideful and scoffing attitude is destruction. These are harsh words perhaps; however, Scripture is quite clear on the nature of such “pride”.

The only solution to such misplaced pride is Christ-like humility and realizing the need for salvation through the shed blood of Christ. Scripture often compares pride and humility, noting how pride leads to destruction and humility leads to life. For example:

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Prov. 11:2)

“Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.” (Prov. 18:12)

The wise are those who understand the need for humility before God. The wicked are full of selfish pride, thumbing their nose at God and scorning the righteous. I am also reminded of Psalm 147:6 which declares, “The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.”

We live in a time when “pride” is thrown around as a badge of honor, especially in recent days concerning the gay agenda. As the people of God, let us demonstrate godly humility and the way of wisdom and righteousness in the face of those who scoff and deride God and His commands. Those who thumb their nose at God may feel like they have won the day and the opportunity to pursue the pleasures of the flesh. What they need to realize is that way leads to destruction, eternal destruction to be exact so now more than ever, believers need to share the life giving message of the gospel in which the Son of God humbled himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and gave his life so that we might have eternal life. That message needs to be proclaimed amidst the noise and clamor we see all around us.

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