Christ’s Example.

Read John 15:9-14.


"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love" (v. 9).


     My father was a Christian example, quiet and humble.  He served four years in the US Army during World War II, without the opportunity of returning home on leave, but never complained.  In fact, he considered his military service an honor.  He confidently labored as an automobile mechanic.   He faithfully served and generously gave to his Church.

But the striking example of Christlikeness in his life was his love for my mother.  He would have been in his late teens when they met.  She had an infant son by a man who deserted her, but Father embraced that boy, adopted him, and married my mother.

Though they were often misunderstood and criticized, Dad never responded with anything but gracious love.  Oh, he could be firm for sure, and when needed, he could let you know what he considered right. Through all of his life, his love for mother was evident.  The last nine years of her life she was disabled because of a stroke, but father carefully and patiently cared for her needs.  As Christ loved the Church, father loved his family. (Clair Sams)


O Love divine, what hast thou done!

The immortal God hath died for me!

The Father's co-eternal Son

Bore all my sins upon the tree.

Th'immortal God for me hath died:

My Lord, my Love, is crucified!


Then let us sit beneath His cross,

And gladly catch the healing stream:

All things for Him account but loss,

And give up all our hearts to Him:

Of nothing think or speak beside,

My Lord, my Love, is crucified!

Charles Wesley


Love is the full expression of a heart whose character is pure.



2020-11-18T20:46:04+00:00November 18th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Serve in Humility

Read Matthew 23:1‑12.

"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant" (v. 11). 

          According to C.S. Lewis, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it's thinking of yourself less."  A pastoral couple we know was assigned to a generously respectful congregation.  They had been reared in middle-class homes and were not comfortable with their new church's policy of seating them, front and center, at a "table of honor" at church gatherings.  They avoided this practice by helping serve refreshments or "working the room" to meet and greet as many people as possible, especially visitors that were often present.  Soon they noticed a new interest and sense of belonging among several in the congregation.  The couple gratefully attributed this, in part, to their god-given preference for being among and alongside, not exalted above, the people.

One debate focuses on which comes first: honor or servanthood.  Does one serve to become greatly esteemed, or does great character naturally focus on serving? Our verse seems to indicate that, in God's order of things, they "go hand in hand." Greatness of character flows outward in a rising tide of loving and beloved servant leadership.  Natural greatness finds fulfillment in serving others, and those who gladly serve are a godly model to which others aspire. (Wayne Skeen)

"Humility is not a character trait to develop,

it's the natural by-product of being with Jesus."
- Louie Giglio


Prayer:  Father, let me not desire to be thought of as great,

but rather give me longing to be of some good.

2020-10-20T13:50:03+00:00October 21st, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

What is the "low estate" of Romans 12:16?

In "Word Focus" Glenn McClure writes:

In lesson 11 we looked at the message Paul conveyed when he spoke about being of one mind. In Romans 12:16 of today's lesson that phrase is encountered again. Only here Paul went on to discuss what must be done to keep that unity alive. One of the specific exhortations was to “condescend to men of low estate.” In its various forms the word translated low estate occurs thirty-four times in the New Testament. It is the normal word for humility, being translated that way in approximately half of its occurrences. Historically the literal meaning referred to something that was “low-lying.” But metaphorical meanings soon developed. In that way the word could refer to a person's social status or his emotional state. Mary used it in the Magnificat (Luke 1:48) to describe her social status. Paul described God as comforting “those that are cast down” (2 Cor. 7:6), a reference that at least includes the emotional aspect of the word. But most of the time the word has an ethical meaning that makes it the opposite of pride and arrogance.

Source: Building Christian Relationships: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 70.

2017-05-19T09:00:00+00:00May 19th, 2017|Categories: Lesson Highlights|Tags: |0 Comments

The Contrast between Pride and Humility

In "Doctrinal Discussion" Randy Bland writes:

One definition of pride is an inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority. This definition is an apt description of the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable. Humility, on the other hand, is defined as having a modest opinion of one’s own importance. Perhaps we should add that it is having a true opinion of one’s own importance. The publican knew exactly who he was and where he stood before God. Such knowledge is the most important thing when it comes to living lives of humility.

Discussion: What kind of opinion do we possess?
Source: Jesus, Son of God: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 50.

2016-04-22T09:00:00+00:00April 22nd, 2016|Categories: Lesson Highlights|Tags: , |0 Comments

Humility Admonished

"Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility." (Daniel 4:27)
After returning home from dinner, my brother and his wife realized they had locked themselves out of their house. He went around the entire house from window to window hoping to find one that was unlocked and finally located a small one that was high above the ground.
Piling boxes on top of a garbage can, he climbed on the teetering tower to crawl through the tiny window, his large frame making this no small challenge! After essentially falling through the window he located the house keys on the dining room table, then gingerly crawled back out the small window onto his unstable tower of garbage can and boxes to the ground. Returning to his wife who was waiting at the front door he smilingly offered her the keys. Her response – “Why didn’t you just come out the front door?” His Response – “Oh, be quiet!”
Sometimes, as my brother did, we do our decision making by default rather than reasoned consideration which often leads to faulty decisions. Default thinking may be “doing it the way we have always done it” and this is known as “stink’n think’n.” A spirit of humility seeks God’s wisdom as we make decisions. (Clifford Churchill)

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me-
All is wonderful passion and p
O Thou Spirit divine, All my nature refine.
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
― Albert Orsborn, Tom Jones

As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on thing and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.” - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

This devotional is the Monday, April 18, 2016 entry of Opening the Word.

2016-04-20T09:00:00+00:00April 20th, 2016|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: |0 Comments

Christ Demonstrates Humility

Lesson Eight - April 24, 2016
Focus Text: John 13:1-17
Central Truth: By humbly serving others we follow the example of Christ.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to name two traits that indicate a lack of humility.
Lesson Outline:

  1. Precedent for Humility (John 13:1-11)
  2. Principle of Humility (John 13:12-14)
  3. Precept of Humility (John 13:15-17)
2016-04-18T09:00:00+00:00April 18th, 2016|Categories: Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: |0 Comments

Lesson Highlight: "shepherds"

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." (Luke 2:8)
In "God's Word for Today", David Fry writes:

The shepherds’ first reaction was fear but it ended with rejoicing. What happened between the moment of fear and their time of rejoicing was their obedience. Of course, one can hardly imagine disobeying such a magnificent manifestation of God’s will. It was not merely hearing the message from the angelic host that persuaded them to seek the Messiah, but also witnessing the great rejoicing of the angels. Soon they too would rejoice. It wasn’t what was happening in the heavens that caused the shepherds to rejoice, but what God was doing on earth, in a manger in Bethlehem. Unlike Mary who kept quiet, the shepherds loudly praised
God for His coming.
The grandeur of Luke 2 is that Caesar Augustus, emperor of one of the greatest empires in history, gave way to a baby in a manger and a moment around which all of history revolves. Caesar had his earthly glory, but Christ received heavenly glory. Ancient rulers sought to be viewed as divine by their subjects, yet the true God became man to be subject to human suffering. Human emperors sought power over humanity; God sought humility among men. The difference is love. The miracle of love is a God who has all power and superiority, yet humbles Himself to become one of us.

Source: Miracles of Jesus, Adult Teacher's Insights, page 18.

2015-12-16T09:00:39+00:00December 16th, 2015|Categories: Lesson Highlights|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments


Go to Top