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Humble

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Brighter Than the Sun

I am just at the very beginning of knowing God. I hopefully have a long road ahead of getting to know Him deeper; instead of it seeming arduous, I see it as a road filled with amazing adventures.

For instance, this morning when reading Acts 26:13, I read these words, written by Luke, about his good friend Paul’s encounter with the risen Christ:  “At midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, ‘brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those journeyed with me.”

These words jumped at me off of my cell phone screen: “brighter than the sun.” Wait just a minute, I need to step back and try and understand what Luke is saying. I cannot even imagine in my small mind a light brighter than the sun. How many times do I try and put God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in a box, limiting them? This makes me feel so good inside knowing I am connected to Jesus, who is able to come to earth, from Heaven and produce a light so bright that He is “brighter than the sun.” And it also makes me fear God more knowing that He is extremely powerful, perfectly powerful, and capable of anything. I also recognize that I am not at all powerful and not capable of anything apart from Him. I need more humility in my life to live the life I was created to live in Christ.

Being connected to God, to this bright light, is what we need to overcome the ups and downs of life that we all experience. To overcome the dark times in our lives, to overcome sin, to overcome everything that weighs and tears us down, so that we can live the life we were created to live. “Set your minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).

Jesus is my light source. I seek to invite Him into my life and focus on Him more and more. Although He is brighter than the sun, instead of being blinded, He enables me to see things the way He does.

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Numbers

The bible is full of numbers.  I believe God really likes numbers—he even named a book in the Bible after them.  I’ve always liked numbers too.  I’ve been playing with them since I was four. It began with playing cribbage with my uncle, then baseball cards and statistics, multiplication tables, algebra, pursuing an accounting degree in college, and now I work in finance. The importance of numbers is woven throughout my life.

I remember in second grade, I learned my “times tables” quickly and earned fifty cents. It doesn’t seem like much now, but back then I felt I had been rewarded for accomplishing something. I was one of only two in my class to accomplish the feat, and I was proud of myself.

It’s a great feeling when you’re seven, but this pride in my accomplishments and comparison with others became a struggle in my life. It’s an ego issue that I need to be aware of and often fight against.

It seems somewhere in my life my love of numbers became a vanity thing. I believe it might have started in that second grade class when I compared myself to everyone in my class and I felt superior to them.  Eventually I felt the sting of being on the losing side of the numbers game. Fast forward to ninth grade history class (clearly no numbers involved in this subject) and I got a D-minus on an exam. The results were posted for everyone to see.  I felt inferior, stupid and ashamed; this time being one of the last in my class.

But that was just a blip on the screen for this numbers game I was playing. Comparing my numbers with my friends’ numbers to see how I was doing continued throughout high school with my student ranking, how many points I was scoring per game in basketball (or not scoring), how many home runs I hit versus others on my team, my SAT scores . . . there was no stopping it and no one to stop it. I felt like I was on the right side of the numbers game.

Other blips came up in college and as I started working. A earned a whopping 1.78 GPA my first semester of freshman year. Ouch. In my first job as a financial advisor associate at the bank, every week our division office would send out a list of the top five producers (who sold the most in investments) for the previous week so that we all could see who was on top. I longed to be on the top of the list and be recognized.

The continual ranking and comparison was having a negative impact upon my life. If I am being honest, I have to say comparison still does sometimes get the best of me.

I have started a few practices in my life to stop this superior/inferior comparison game:

  1. Know the truth that I am loved by God without having to do anything. “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).
  2. Seek God above all else. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). This means focusing on things above not things below. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).
  3. Know God more by praying more and being quiet in his presence.

“…pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).

  1. Know I was made by Him for a specific purpose. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
  2. Limit/eliminate time on social media where a lot of my comparison occurs.

All of this leads me to the only number that truly counts. Number 1. God is to be number one in my life.  He is to be primary, preeminent, the top, and I when recognize God’s proper place, the comparison subsides and I am able to become more and more aware of how much I am loved by Him. My Heavenly Father does not care about comparisons.

How can we start today anew by eliminating comparison in our life, to live the life we were created to live in Christ?

Michael Blue – Guest Blogger

Michael Blue is a humble and wise friend. He is passionate about sharing and teaching what God has to say about money and possessions. He serves as Executive Director and General Counsel for the Ron Blue Institute for Financial Planning at Indiana Wesleyan University. He also teaches regularly at his church in Austin, Texas as well as at other ministries throughout the U.S. You can read more of Michael’s thoughts at http://www.ronblueinstitute.com/blog/    We are very excited that he will be guest blogging for us for the next three weeks. 

Friday Inspiration

The high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: I live in that high and holy place where those with contrite, humble spirits dwell; and I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts.

Isaiah 57:15