Compassion, Pride

It’s Not Just About You

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ [a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37 NIV)

Last Wednesday morning was another routine morning. I was walking my sister to school; we had left this morning on time and I thought I could possibly make the 7:40 a.m. bus to the city for once. While in route to her school, I saw the bus and realized I wasn’t going to make it to the bus stop in time to catch the bus. However, I wasn’t upset because at least I would still be on time and I could stand in the hallway of the village hall/police station until the next bus came.

As I was walking up to the building to wait for the next bus, a man, who looked as if he had been drinking, was approaching me and proceeded to follow me into the building. As I walked into the building, I prayed in the Spirit because I felt uncomfortable. There were no people in the immediate area except two women who seemed to be opening up the room used for meetings or small court issues. The man went and stood across from the room in the center of the entrance leading to the police station.

I turned to face the window, pulled a banana out my bag and began to eat it. I heard the man talking with someone and his conversation caught my attention. I turned to see who he was talking to and I could see the leg of a female dressed in a stocking. I hadn’t noticed anyone there standing behind the corner near the entrance. She moved forward and I could see that she was wearing a butt-length dark multicolor dress and a thin cardigan. I admit when I saw her and heard the conversation that she and the stranger were having, I assumed she was a minor who had run away or got kicked out. I kept listening to the conversation and felt the urge to intervene.

She had informed the man that her sister took her truck and left her stranded. I went over to them and asked her if she was ok and could I give her my vest I wear under my winter coat because it was cold outside. She declined but I learned that she had been out with her sister and some other ladies that night, and when she came back outside they were gone. Her sister never did this type of thing before and that she actually had some pants and her coat in her vehicle. A police officer saw her and brought her to the station to keep warm. Her mom would have picked her up but her mom could not be contacted. I asked the young lady her name and she told me, but I will call her Jane. Jane expressed how upset she was. I offered her my vest a second time but she declined. She also said she had called a cab but they said it would take three hours. I informed her there was a bus going to the city coming shortly. She didn’t know that there was a bus and that she could take that. I offered her bus fare but she declined; she said she had money. In the midst of our conversation, I had asked her if she needed prayer but she declined that too.

Then I remembered God’s word to me Sunday that I need to learn to first go in His authority in order to go in faith! This was a clear example of what that meant. So I told her I wanted to pray for her and I extended my hand out and she took it. I prayed for her, her well-being, salvation, etc., and I thanked God for blessing me, her and the man with another day and purpose. The man who was standing there the entire time went on to compliment my prayer and then declared that although his outside appearance wasn’t altogether, he loved God. He said that Jesus got up on the cross for us and didn’t even have to.

The bus was coming so the young lady, who is actually 25, went out to the bus stop with me and I sat with her on the bus. I told her to pray for her sister. I told her to pray every time she is about to leave the house too because we may not know what is to come but God does and He will give us direction and protection. I offered her the baby blanket I kept in my bag for me or my nephew when riding public transportation during this winter. She declined. I offered her fruit I had left in my bag and she accepted. She then laughed and said, “You have everything.” I felt like she was one of my sisters (mind you, one of my sisters is 24). I felt compassion towards her and understood had I caught that 7:40 a.m. bus, I wouldn’t have met the young lady and the man.

As I reflected on this, something that the former librarian at the school I work at once told me out of the blue. I mean she did not know me well and I didn’t know where she was coming from but I received it anyhow. She said, “Everything is not about you.”

Sometimes God changes your course, sends you in a different direction, gives you a task you don’t like or think you can’t handle, puts people along your path, blesses you, etc. to strengthen and build your character and to show you He loves you and sometimes to BLESS OTHERS AND SHOW OTHERS HE LOVES THEM THROUGH YOU.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for opportunities where I can show others Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to go in faith and go in authority to show compassion and God’s unfailing love to others. Don’t be so busy with yourself and your routine that you can’t stop and follow God’s prompting toward showing compassion to someone else like the Samaritan. It is not just about you but it’s about your neighbor.

Have you shown someone God’s love today?

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program. She helps assist Chicago Public School students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a compassionate person and encourager so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

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Love Series, Pride

Love Is…Not Boastful

For the first two weeks of February, EmpowerMoments will be doing a series entitled Love Is.  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV) We pray that you are EMPOWERED, enlightened, and blessed as our writers share what Love Is based on God’s Word!

Love does not boast. If that’s the directive then I am definitely guilty. See, I’ve read this scripture on numerous occasions but for some reason I think that I’ve glossed over this part. Many of us may not be honest about our boasting instead we like to say we are just “testifying,” “sharing our good news” and “giving God the glory.” I can recall being in conversation with someone and beginning to boast about things that I had done because I wanted them to know that they were not “better” than me. I wanted the edge. Protecting my ego and seeming important became greater than the conversation itself. In fact, many times it is our own feeling of inferiority that makes us boast. We begin to compensate for what we truly lack. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 KJV

Are you guilty? Boasting is flaunting. It’s flaunting our accomplishments, our stuff, and our positions to those who do not have them and thinking of ourselves as more important because of it. We live in a status driven society that is exacerbated by social media and celebrity culture.  Achievement is not the issue nor is having stuff but we become boastful when we decide that these things make us superior. We develop a spirit of arrogance.  Contrary to the scripture, our mouth becomes full of our own praise. Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. (Proverbs 27:2 KJV)

As I reflect on this more, I can come up with a list of real world examples of boasting. Often I hear people tout their credentials (college, degree, certifications); their material possessions such as houses, cars and fashion labels; their finances; and even their marriage and children. There is nothing wrong with discussing these things but when they are used to make you seem important and others inferior then it becomes boasting. Many Christians boast of their Christianity to make themselves appear more enlightened or closer to God than others; however, Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

When we are following Jesus’ example of love, we focus on others more than ourselves. Our love reflects outward. We listen more and talk less. We give more and receive less. It’s difficult to show others love when we allow our egos to give us a sense of superiority. Does this mean that one should walk around downtrodden? Absolutely not; but humility goes a long way. We are told to Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 KJV) If we are about the work of the Father, people will notice and recognize that it is only through Him that we have achieved these things. He will get the glory, as He should.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for boasting.  Forgive the times when I have let my ego guide my tongue rather than Your spirit. Help me to remember that it is not me but You that have given me everything that I have. Instill in me a spirit of true love so that my focus will be on doing Your will, Your way. If there be any feeling of superiority in me remove it and increase my humility. When I don’t realize I’m boasting, Lord quickly convict me. Help me to love as Christ loved. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to check your spirit. Are you innocently sharing or are you boasting? Some people say “if you got, it flaunt it” but that spirit is not in alignment with the way we are called to love. Evaluate what triggers your “need” to boast. Is it your own feeling of inferiority? Remember that we learn in the book of  James, … the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. (3:5 NIV) Even when it’s difficult and your ego wants to jump in and begin to boast, choose love instead.  

How has boasting impacted you? After reading this, do you need to make changes?

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.

Pride

Too Much Pride

Pride-C.S.LewisQuote3[1]

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2 NIV)

Pride means three things according to www.merriam-webster.com: a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people, a feeling that you are more important or better than other people, and a feeling of happiness that you get when you or someone you know does something good, difficult, etc.  Now as you know and according to these definitions, pride could either have a negative connotation or a position one.  But today, I am going to write about the negative one.  Pride surrounds us every day.  It is in those around us and in us whether we can admit it or not.

I have been bombarded by pride on my job and it has been so evident lately that if I don’t be careful I won’t just have my feet in the water; I’ll be swimming in it with the rest of the adults and students on my job.  From disrespectful students to prideful coworkers, I am constantly trying to exercise patience and meekness all the while without complaining.  I have failed at times but I see improvement as God deals with me too about my own pride.  God had to show me that the people on my job or in my life not only have pride, but I do too.  You see I have learned that pride is manifested in many ways and it is not just someone thinking that they are better than another, but PRIDE is all about SELF and never manifested in love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV)

Pride is manifested through self-exaltation.  We all knew that.  But as I mentioned before, pride has many manifestations. One is COMPLAINING; I am guilty of this.  Pride is manifested through FAULTFINDING, JEALOUSY, GOSSIPING, SELF-PITY, FEAR, TEMPERS, CONSTANT COMPARING OF YOURSELF WITH OTHERS, BEING EASILY OFFENDED, GETTING YOUR ROW OUT, REBELLION AGAINST GOD AND THE AUTHORITY HE PLACED OVER YOU, TRYING TO DO EVERYTHING ON YOUR OWN, ALWAYS WANTING TO BE THE GIVER (this list is making us think right), PERFECTIONISM, WANTING OTHERS APPROVAL/PEOPLE-PLEASER, FISHING FOR COMPLIMENTS, HAVING A WARPED VIEW ABOUT YOUR GIFTS AND TALENTS, POWER-SEEKERS, BEING IMPATIENT, BEING UNTEACHABLE, UNWILLING TO FORGIVE, STUBBORNNESS, SELF-CONSCIOUS, DECEPTION, SUGAR-COATING, GIVING YOUR OPINIONS WHEN NOT ASKED, TRYING TO BE EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE, SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, CRITICAL MINDED, etc.  Okay, the list goes on and quite frankly, it is alarming to see so many manifestations of pride and some that has been manifested in my very own self.

Dear Daddy,

I admit that complaining hasn’t been the only vice of mine; it is sometimes fear, being easily offended, trying to do everything on my own, sugar-coating, and people-pleasing.  Even though I have more growing to do, I thank You for helping me to be not where or how I used to be (full of self-pity, depression and fear) so I can be the person You have destined me to be.  Deliver me Father from the manifestations of pride and help me to put you first and love you more than I love myself.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to understand the many manifestations of PRIDE.  Pride honors self and not God; it fails to love others as it loves itself.  It abandons humility and compassion for conceit and hostility.  So let’s put our focus back on God and allow Him to use us to reach and love on others because I assure you, it’s not about you.  After all God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), and He loves us equally.

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program. She helps Chicago public high school students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as motivates them to consider and prepare for college. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a Compassion Person and Encourager and so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Faith, God's Promises, God's Protection, God's Provisons, Patience, Pride, Spirit of Control, Trusting God

My Plan vs. God’s Plan

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel-that will stand. Proverbs 19:21 (NKJV)

My Plan:

Many times in life we put together a plan for ourselves: graduate from college, go to grad school, start a career and then have a family.  We have the timelines set according to the age and year of when we hope to accomplish “our plan”.  My plan went like this: college, a year off, law school, then family.  Well in the beginning, I should have included God.  Looking back, if I had included God, I would have realized sooner that my plan was not His plan for me….

After graduation, I moved to Atlanta.  Living in Atlanta was a hard learning experience. I went from job to job never finding the right one.  Finally, I went into business for myself, marketing for one of the major festivals in Atlanta.  It paid some of my bills but it was not steady money.  I was on my on, stubborn and refusing to go back to my little hometown.  I got caught up in the hustle of life and the one year break before law school turned into three years.   My oldest brother would call me periodically encouraging me to go back home and just start over. But I was not having it nor hearing it.  I was pursuing MY plans…

Even though I was not consulting God for my life plans, God stepped in and started showing me that He was still watching over me during my hardest times. He showed me this through a series of events.  First, my car broke down. When I took it to a mechanic, he was sure that the insurance/warranty would not cover the repair but I insisted that he call and ask anyway.  He was very discouraging, but while he called I went home and I prayed and prayed.  Not long after, I received a call that the company had agreed to do the repair almost at no cost.  I knew it was God! The mechanic said that it had never happened before.  Shortly after that I received a speeding ticket and a no insurance ticket, rushing to work.  Both tickets together would have been over $500 and I was in a serious financial drought.  My job was barely paying my bills.  The day of court, I was going to put on a lime green suit, but burned the pants and I had to wear black (black and any other demure color are great colors for which to wear to court, but I didn’t know that at the time). I went to court that day prepared to pay the ticket but not the insurance fine. Well to make a long story short, I got two days of community service and didn’t have to pay anything.  Of course once again, it was God!  By this time, I had started considering moving back home and as circumstances would have it, I had to give up my apartment and basically had no where to live.  Yes, once again, my God stepped in! How coincidental it was that my manager needed someone to house-sit her beautiful apartment for 2 weeks.  I did not go a day without a roof over my head.  But I knew that it was time to go home.  All along I had been pursuing MY plan and never giving any thought to what His plans for me were. It was time to start over and my God had shown me this mercifully and gently. 

His Plan:

I returned home in October, got a job in a law firm as the office manager in November, and was accepted into law school before that year was over.  All of these blessings happened after I let go of my plan and started listening to God’s plan.  For I know the plan I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

If I had placed God in front of my plans and then told Him, “not my will, but Your will Father”, maybe it would not have taken me 3 years to get it right.  Often, we move forward with our will at the forefront and in the process it delays our blessings.  We must learn to place God first, then listen and watch for what He would have us to do or become.    Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plan will succeed. Proverb 16:3

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for Your mercy, Your love and Your kindness. Forgive me when I allow my plans to get in the way of Your plans.  Daddy, I have learned to place You first but if I slip, be gentle with me and place me back on Your course.  Daddy, You have truly carried me through and I know not where I would be had I continued my stubbornness. I pray for guidance always. Please help other independent women to know when they are pursuing plans that are their own and not Yours.  Help them to know when to be still, so that they may know the difference.  For we understand the saying that anything that is worth having is worth working for but help us to know when we are laboring in Your will and when we are laboring in vain. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to place God first as you plan for success and be guided by His love and grace.  Know that He is with you always.  Be still, be willing to listen and be blessed! In the meantime, it is not too late to start over.  Better to get delayed blessings than to never get them.

Beverly Gordon is a graduate of Gonzaga School of Law (Spokane, WA) and currently works as an Executive Assistant and Director of Compliance.  She is a devoted mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and friend who believes in the importance of teaching children the power of prayer.  In her journey of loving and leaning on the Lord she meditates on Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” She resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with her beautiful daughter and is an active member of the Springfield United Methodist Church.

Attitude, Favor, Growth/Maturity, Humility, Pride

A Humbling Experience

“First pride, then the crash the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 MSG)

I didn’t achieve??  What do you mean I didn’t achieve?  There must be some mistake, I ALWAYS achieve!  These were just some of the thoughts that went through my mind as I looked at the results of my National Board Certification attempt.  I was sure my eyes were playing tricks on me. I received a 267 when you need a 275 in order to pass and become a National Board Certified teacher.  My shock moved to disbelief and then to anger then to sadness!  I could not believe I was not a NBC teacher.

After I calmed down and started to seek the Lord, He showed me what my real issue was.  My PRIDE was hurt more than anything else.  The only thing I had ever failed at was romantic relationships (that’s an EmpowerMoment all by itself).   I had always been academically successful; school came easy to me. I loved and still love learning.  I attended a private university on a full scholarship.  When I entered into teaching, it was a cakewalk.  I never struggled with the difficulties that many young teachers struggle with. 

God has always given me incredible favor.  Unfortunately, I allowed myself to become full of pride (an excessively high opinion of one’s self).  I had also become slightly arrogant.  For example, I ordered a cake congratulating myself on becoming an NBC teacher THREE days before I was supposed to find out if I had achieved National Board Certification.  I just KNEW I had it.  I didn’t even pray to God about it.

Needless to say, I needed to be humbled and taken down a few pegs and humbled I was!

“…God will bring down their pride, despite the cleverness of their hands…” (Isaiah 25:11b NIV)

…May the arrogant be put to shame… (Psalm 119:78a NIV)

Yes, God wants to show us His favor.  Yes, He wants to bless us “…exceedingly, abundantly, above all we can ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV) Yes, God wants to do everything He can to help us achieve the destiny He has called us to; HOWEVER, we must be careful not to get prideful and/or arrogant as God blesses and promotes us.  Please don’t make the same mistake I did because God WILL give you a HUMBLING EXPERIENCE!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for continued favor!  Forgive me for taking Your favor for granted and taking on the spirit of pride as if I have or could ever accomplish anything without You.  You are my God, everything I have and everything I am is because of You.  I give You ALL the glory because it is through no goodness of my own but because You love me, show grace and mercy to me, and because You favor me.  Help me never to lose sight of this again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

 Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to assess your current behavior and actions in all areas of your life. Are you prideful or arrogant in any area of your life?

  • Financially –  spending just because you can and neglecting giving? 
  • Relationships – doing whatever you want to in the relationship just because you know they are not going anywhere? 
  • Career – not being diligent in your work because you just KNOW they are not going to fire you? 

If God chose to, would there be any area where you are due for a “humbling experience”?   If so, STOP and turn it around TODAY!  Pray and ask God’s forgiveness and then take steps to turn that behavior around.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Knocked Down From My High Horse

Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, Illinois.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”