Tag Archives: pride

Worship Wednesday – Control Girls, Miriam, and God – How Deep the Father’s Love for Us – Stuart Townend

[Excerpts from the Archives]

Now hear the word of the Lord, you women.
Pay attention to the words from his mouth. Teach your daughters a lament and one another a dirge, for Death has climbed through our windows; it has entered our fortresses, cutting off children from the streets, young men from the squares.

This is what the Lord says:

“The wise person should not boast in his wisdom; the strong should not boast in his strength; the wealthy should not boast in his wealth.
But the one who boasts should boast in this:
that he understands and knows me—
that I am the Lord, showing faithful love,
justice, and righteousness on the earth,
for I delight in these things.
This is the Lord’s declaration.” Jeremiah 9:20-21, 23-24

At first, reading this passage in Jeremiah, it could so resonate with our current situation with the Coronavirus and how some are responding to it. There’s a lot of boasting and blaming going on in our media of how we are doing with containing the virus. Then, back to the Scripture passage, the prophet Jeremiah turns the focus away from “us” and on to God.

The image above is a snapshot of part of a group of women in my life, studying the Word together. Writer Shannon Popkin has given us a first book entitled Control Girl – Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control From Seven Women in the Bible. It’s such a great book on what controlling does to us and our families…what a burden it actually is. All the stories are taken from the lives of Old Testament (from Eve to Moses’ sister Miriam. So much wisdom here.Photo Credit: Shannon Popkin

We just finished the chapter on Miriam, Moses’ sister. Miriam appears first in Scripture as the older sister of infant Moses, under threat of death by Pharoah. She was instrumental in saving his life. Years later, God used Moses in His work for the release of the Israelites from Egypt, and Miriam was right there with him, leading the women in praise to God. Moses, Miriam, and their brother Aaron, and Miriam were together in overseeing the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings.

For Miriam, her trouble began when she took her eyes off God and focused on her own importance. She burned with ambition and jealousy toward her brother, Moses. She and Aaron then spoke against Moses, both privately and publicly. The motivation appeared to be jockeying for more power for themselves. This triangling, this slander, moved God to anger. He knows our hearts and He measures his judgment accordingly. Miriam’s pain of judgment (leprosy) galvanized her two brothers to pray for their sister, and she was healed. Repentance and restoration followed. God’s love abounds.

When we are tempted to look on our own intelligence, strength, or wealth as superior (Jeremiah 9:23), we take on an arrogance that separates us from each other…and especially from God. What is our boast?

Let Him Who Boasts Boast in the Lord – John Piper

English songwriter Stuart Townend wrote the hymn How Deep the Father’s Love For Us. It was published in 1995, the year we moved to Cairo, Egypt. New to us, this hymn became a standard in our family from those early days of adjusting to a new life in another country.

New to a very different culture with little ability to communicate in the local language, we found it hard to boast in pretty much anything. This hymn was a strong and loving reminder that our boast is in Christ…In Christ Alone (another great Townend hymn).

Because of what Christ did for me…for us…on the cross, I am no longer separated from God by the penalty of my rebellion against Him. The debt I built up through life is paid in one great act of God through Christ – His perfect, sinless life substituted, in death, for my own sin-filled mess…for our own. There is nothing left to pay…nothing. Christ paid in full, on the cross, for all our sins.

There is a wonderful, omnipotent God who deserves our highest praise, and how we feel about it is in many ways irrelevant!  I want to encourage the expression of joy, passion and adoration, but I want those things to be the by-product of focusing on God – I don’t want them to become the subject matter. I’m trying to write songs that refer to us as little as possible, and to Him as much as possible!”Stuart Townend

Our focus in this life is not even on what we believe…It is not just that we “believe”… What Townend describes in this hymn, reflective of the truth of Scripture, isn’t just what we believe…it is what happened and was witnessed by others – the deep love of God displayed in the self-emptying life and death of His Son. Hallelujah!

In the study of Control Girl, the special women I’m privileged to know are grappling with how tempted, like Miriam, we are to take on ourselves “what’s best” for us, our families, our futures. Praise God, His love for us is not swayed by our struggle, our humanness, our sin…He ever draws us back to Himself. That alone is our boast. He alone is our boast.

Worship with me.

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.*

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.1 John 3:1

…the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20b

*Lyrics – How Deep the Father’s Love For Us – Stuart Townend

Worship Wednesday – How Deep the Father’s Love for Us – Stuart Townend – Deb Mills

YouTube Video – How Deep the Father’s Love For Us – Lyrics (with Scripture portions that support them)

Women of the Bible – Lesson 1 – Miriam – Vickie Kraft

The Depth of Christ’s Love: Its Cost – John Piper

YouTube Video – Story Behind the Song – How Deep the Father’s Love for Us – Stuart Townend

Hymn Reflection: How Deep the Father’s Love For Us – Adam Faughn

YouTube Video – Allison Durham Speer – I Will Glory in the Cross

Monday Morning Moment – Our Work Ethic Pushes Us On When Our Passion Wanes – How’s Your Work Ethic?

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Can our work ethic sustain us when our passion wanes?

Eric Chester has been studying and writing about today’s emerging workforce since the 1980’s, when Generation Y was in its infancy. Millennials have been examined and critiqued so much, but Chester has done his homework in how to help them be successful in the workplace. He also challenges employers to equip these young adults with what they may not have upon entering the workforce – that being a strong work ethic.

In his article in The MHEDA Journal, Chester defines work ethic as simply “knowing what to do and doing it“. Through his research, Chester created a list of seven indisputable, non-negotiable core values that he strongly believes every employer should demand: positivity (positive attitude), reliability, professionalism, initiative, honesty, respect, and gratitude (cheerful service).

This is not just so for millennials but for all of us in the workforce. What do we need to be successful or effective across a career? Is it passion or work ethic? Passion (strong or powerful emotion, deep desire, intense conviction) is a big buzzword right now in hiring, but what we really need is work ethic. As Chester states, in his book Reviving Work Ethic, “passion doesn’t fuel work ethic; work ethic fuels passion.”

A strong work ethic will carry us through seasons in our career when we’re “just not feeling it”.  I appreciate the distinction Chester makes about how our work ethic actually fuels our passion and not the other way around. We may not all have passion in measures that enhance our success, but we can apply ourselves with diligence and intentionality such that we can push through to the finish, whatever it is. When passion wanes, this is a great encouragement to me.

Blog - Work Ethic 1 - pinterestBlog - Work Ethic 2Photo Credit: Pinterest, Pinterest

Arlene Hirsch quotes Mark Cuban’s thinking on passion and work ethic:

“’Follow Your Passion’ is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get.

1.  When you work hard at something you become good at it.

2.   When you become good at doing something, you will enjoy it more.

3.   When you enjoy doing something, there is a very good chance you will become passionate or more passionate about it.

4.   When you are good at something, passionate and work even harder to excel and be the best at it, good things happen.

Don’t follow your passion, follow your effort. It will lead you to your passions and to success, however you define it.”

Chester uses the analogy of building a fire in a fireplace. You have to set the logs in place before you start the fire. Passion will heat up a conversation or spark a vision, but it won’t get the job done, whatever it is. This is where our work ethic when applied will get us to goal, to mastery, to the finish. That in turn gives rise to passion as we see what is possible when we put forth the best effort that is each of ours to bring.

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Whether you are newly employed in the workforce or a seasoned veteran, it’s wise to consider the bottom line of what we ought to bring to our jobs. This will vary across organizations and companies, especially as our workforce itself changes in the years to come. Chester’s summation is noteworthy for all of us:

“Employers are searching for positive, enthusiastic people who show up for work on time, who are dressed and prepared properly, who go out of their way to add value and do more than what’s required of them, who are honest, who will play by the rules, and who will give cheerful, friendly service regardless of the situation.”

How’s your work ethic?…

Whatever our passion might be today, our work ethic can be rock solid…something we count on in each other at work in the every day.

Reviving Work Ethic: A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce by Eric Chester

On Fire at Work: How Great Companies Ignite Passion in Their People Without Burning Them Out by Eric Chester

Employers Must Pick Up the Slack, Instill Work Ethic in the Emerging Workforce – article by Eric Chester

Follow Your Energy, Not Your Passion – article by Arlene Hirsch

What’s Wrong with Work Ethic in America? – article by Patricia Fripp

SlideShare – Metric Driven Talent Management – 21st Century Talent Management Conference – Tanzania

YouTube Video – Book Trailer for Reviving Work Ethic by Eric Chester

YouTube Video – Book Trailer for On Fire at Work by Eric Chester

Work Ethic Quotes – Pinterest

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A Lesson in Humility – Downsizing – A Humbling Work Experience and What God Can Do With It

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A company downsizing can be a humbling experience for everyone – for those losing their jobs and for those in leadership with no other way forward. For all the employees, there will be a mix of reactions. Downsizing can be a humiliating experience…unless we allow it to be simply humbling.

God sees downsizing differently than we may, when going through one. In the Bible, there’s a fascinating account (Judges 6-7) of His gathering an army to fight the Midianites, enemies of Israel. He worked through the leadership of a man named Gideon who, early on, wasn’t at all sure of himself leading such an operation. As Gideon sought direction from God, he was able to rally an army of 32,000 men.

God wanted Gideon to see His own glory in fighting for His people. This army of 1000s was too big. Through a couple of strategic downsizings, Gideon was left with an army of 300 and a God who would lead them in battle for His name’s sake. They would see the Midianites trounced in such a curious way that only God could have brought about their defeat.

In the story above, Gideon must have felt satisfied…even proud…at the size of the army he was preparing to lead. The timidity he originally felt melted away with the men who volunteered to fight for him. He was ready to go up against the Midianites.

God had another plan.

He brought the number of soldiers down to such a low count that Gideon no longer had cause to be proud of the possibilities of victory. He was humbled by God’s actions, and he became all the more able to lead, as He followed every detail of God’s strategy.

Humility is having a right, or true, understanding of who God is, and who we are in relationship to Him and each other.

When we are humbled, either by a downsizing in our jobs, or a hit to our status, position, or reputation, we can take heart, in what God can do in that. When He works to move each of us to a such challenging place, we discover the contents of our own hearts. We discover the pride…or whatever else has lodged itself against Him (fear, entitlement, bitterness). Then we either choose to rail against our situation or decide to trust Him with the outcome.

We have an example of that in the humble obedience of Christ:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. – Philippians 2:5-9

2015 September Blog - Humility

In a company downsizing, or any other hard place, our temptation may tend toward pride and entitlement. As we allow God to humble us through that hard place, then He will raise us up, as He did Gideon, in victory. It’s in trusting Him that we’ll find that victory.

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Gideon’s Incredible Shrinking Army (Judges 6:33-7:15a)

Gideon Defeats the Midianites – Godsstory.org

The Power of Humility – Slideshare

What It Means to Be Humble and 6 Ways You Can Grow In Humility

How to Fight the Sin of Pride, Especially When You Are Praised – Ten Things I Do – John Piper