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SCRIPTURE Prv 16:18                                                                                                          APRIL, 2013

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

The message for this month, is dealing with a human characteristic, that is critical to our way of life, and well being. Depending on how we use it, it can be the source of our greatest triumphs, or our worst defeats.

When we think about pride, we are thinking about that attribute that makes us feel that we are worth something. No matter how young or how old you are, what color your skin is, your gender, fat or thin, tall or short, or any other characteristic that you can think of, you are worth something, to society.

Without you, society would be missing something. We wouldn't be as fulfilled as we could be.

If you think about it like this, when God created you, he had a purpose for your life, that only you could contribute to society. Without your contribution, something will be left undone. You are like a piece of a puzzle which can't be completed until you are placed in it. That's the tragedy of abortion, a part of the puzzle, is missing.

We have heard the questions asked, who am I, where did I come from, and why am I here. You are here, to fulfill God's purpose for your life, in society. Once you know what that purpose is, you can now take pride in the fact that you are worth something to somebody.

If it weren't for having the knowledge that we are worth something, we would feel as if we are just here taking up space and that nobody really needed us. We would simply retreat into a shell, whither, and die.

But, having knowledge of our purpose, is only the beginning. The real pride, is when you have accomplished that purpose. As we move through life, we encounter different challenges and obstacles, that we need to overcome, to accomplish that purpose. Each of these things presents opportunities for us to fail or have victory. With each victory we move closer to our purpose, and are emboldened to continue. It is these victories, that helped build our stamina, to continue towards our purpose.

So, as you can see, pride plays a very important role in all of our lives.

Some will ask why do we want to look at it? Well, if you will look at what it causes, then wouldn't you want to be aware of the dangers so that you can avoid them? I would certainly hope so.

There is an old saying that goes like this, 'what you don't know can kill you.' No truer words have ever been spoken. I would dare say that the vast majority of us go through this life suffering because of something that we don't know, or understand. There is a Biblical passage of scripture that I assume was the model for this saying. It is found in the old testament book of Hosea 4:6, 'my people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.....'

A look at this scripture tells us, since this is God speaking, that our lack of knowledge of Him, is the cause of our destruction. This is the primary point of this scripture. The secondary point of this scripture is this, ignorance, in general, equals destruction.

If you would take a look at the subject scripture, you will see a clear warning. That warning is, those that let their pride lead them are going to fall.

Did you notice what I just said? I said, those that let their pride lead them are going to fall.

The reason for this is simple. Since it is God that made us for a purpose, then in order to fulfill that purpose, we must follow Him.
Our sense of pride comes from the fact that God is directing us from victory to victory. At the end of the day when all is said and done, we owe God all the Glory for that victory. There is nothing that we can do, without God's help. As Jesus so directly put it, [John 15:5] I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

When a person, or a group for that matter, lets pride lead them, that means they are giving the Glory to their pride, and not to God. What this then brings up, is the fact that they are taking some, if not all of what belongs to God and giving it to their pride, or more simply put, themselves. They have essentially made Him, irrelevant.

When I talk about letting pride lead us, and making God irrelevant, I am talking about a process in which we go from looking to God for everything that we do, to looking within ourselves for direction for our lives.

This process takes place over a long period of time. It comes about when, in the course of our lives we experience success after success. We begin to believe that we can do anything and not fail. We forget that these successes are the result of God leading, and opening doors for, us, and start believing that it is our own wisdom and strength that got us where we are. It is at this point that we have crossed the line from following God, to following our pride.

You know, the bible tells us that we should ......not think of ourselves more highly than we ought..... [Rom. 12:3]. The reason for this is very simple in that when we do, we begin to think that we know everything, and can do anything, which essentially leads us to think that we are equal to God, and as such, we don't need Him anymore.

It is at this point, that we have parted ways with God, and are out there on our own. And you can see the results.

Look around you. What kind of condition is your personal life in? What kind of condition is your family in? What kind of condition is your neighborhood in? How about your community? How about your city? How about the nation?

If you will be brutally honest, you would say, everything is a mess.

Have you ever heard somebody say when addressing the problems facing us in this nation, that all we need to do is put the right people in office, and have them pass the right legislation, and things will be fine? That my friends, is us looking to ourselves rather than looking to God. In fact, that is why some politicians, and a lot of our people, believe in 'a separation of church and state.' They essentially want to keep God in the church and out of all of the affairs of the state. That is man thinking he knows as much, if not more than God.

Think about this. Here you have God our creator that knows the beginning through eternity. I won't say the end because with God, there is no end. Then we have man, who doesn't know what will happen 1 minute from the next. Who would you trust to make decisions concerning your life five, 10, 20 or more years down the road? Man, or God?

If a man makes a plan, it is entirely up to God whether that man will be able to carry it out. You can plan to do something 5 minutes from now, and drop dead in 2 minutes, then what good will that plan be?

You can get a group of people to agree to do something, like Nimrod, when he got the people of the world together to agree to build a tower, that would reach into heaven, and God broke it up by making them not to be able to understand each other. That is how we came about having all of these different languages [Gen. 11:4-9]. You can't work together if you can't understand each other.

Pride tells you, yes you can, despite the problem you are facing, so you grit your teeth, and press on. Doing whatever it takes to win.

And this is the danger. If you don't know if the obstacle that is in front of you was placed there by God to stop you, and you press on, you are fighting against Him. And you know what that means. You are going to lose.

As if this isn't bad enough, there are people out there, that will not accept defeat. They will continue to push until they die. All because of pride. Sometimes, God will allow them to think that they are going to win, just to pull the rug out from under them, right before they reach their goal.

When I think about the black community, and its anthem, 'say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud', started by the late James Brown, I can see how most of us, have taken 'black pride', and run amok, with it.

Any problems that we face, as a community, absolutely, can not be our fault. It has to be the rich, the Republicans, the white man, Rush Limbaugh, conservatives, or some other entity, because 'we are too smart, to fall for the 'okie doke!!' When told that the politicians we chose, are the cause of our problems, we don't want to hear it. Why?? Because it shows us we aren't as intelligent, as we want people to think we are. We would rather die, than admit that. And, my friends, that is just what we are doing, dying.

Time to wake up people. Time to put pride, in the back seat. Time to get back to God!!!