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Previous Message From Virtual Church

Personal Armageddon

You do not have to wait for the End Times as we normally think of End Times events. For you, and all other persons on earth will encounter your own personal end time. You will have a personal Armageddon. You have each day, a war within you between good and evil. This war within you began at your birth and will continue up to the moment of your end time or death. The war within you between good and evil presents itself as the war between pride and humility. Pride is evil, and humility is good or godly. No battle for your soul is more important. No battle for your soul has more implications.

To win this battle, you will need to confront the truth. In dealing with the truth, you will need to swallow it for it to have any effect. Truth is sometimes like medicine. Truth can be hard to take. Of course, you can run away from the truth. You can refuse to take the truth in. You can live in a lie, tell yourself a lie or two, and run very hard in the direction of lies and denials. Truthfully, (no pun intended), it is easier to run away from the truth, it is easier to live a lie, but there are always those nasty consequences with which you have to deal.

The truth about pride stings us. The truth about pride cuts away at who we think we are and who we want to be. You must remember there are two kinds of truth. There is the feel good truth and the stinging truth.

The truth about pride goes against all that many people come to believe about life and their purpose in life. The truth about pride goes against what many people are taught about how life is supposed to work. The truth about pride goes against what we usually believe about getting ahead and personal achievement.

Pride is the first sin in the seven deadlies. The seven deadly sins are pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. Pride is a deadly sin because pride brings death. Pride feeds the lusts and passions of the human heart. Pride results in death of the soul and many times death of the body. Pride is a lie we tell ourselves. When we tell ourselves a lie, death is just around the corner. The nations of the world have engage in mass slaughter against each other because of pride. This pride is called national pride. National pride is the virus that infects the psyche of a nation and leads the people of that nation astray. War waged for the cause of national pride has taken the lives and destroyed the lives of millions in history. Tragically, history will repeat itself.

Pride is self-deceiving. "Every man has his dignity. I’m willing to forget mine, but at my own discretion and not when someone else tells me to." Denis Diderot (1713–84), French philosopher. Rameau’s nephew, in Rameau’s Nephew (written 1762; published 1821; repr. in Selected Writings, ed. by Lester G. Crocker, 1966).

Pride is a most tasteful lie we tell ourselves. Pride makes our self-deceptions taste like candy. When we let pride run amok, we gorge ourselves on this delicious lie, and eventually we end up killing ourselves. On a global scale, we end up killing others because of pride's ability to blind us from the truth and from the true state of our humanity.

Pride always carries with it the baggage of sorrow. "Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves." Emily Brontë (1818–48), English novelist, poet. Nelly, in Wuthering Heights, ch. 7 (1847).

Pride carries the baggage of sorrow because the war between pride and humility rips apart who we are on a personal level. This ripping apart occurs for most people because who they are is their pride. The clothes they wear, the house they live in, the job they have, the car they drive, is their life and these things just mentioned are sources of pride. Pride is a cancerous armor we wear to protect ourselves. We wear pride to protect ourselves from the humiliation of life because we are not humble people. The problem with pride, however, is that pride eats away at us and leaves the soul vacant, starving, and willing to sell itself to every satanic influence and temptation.

As a race of so-called intelligent beings, pride infects our thinking, and we eventually believe we are supreme. With the infection of pride, we come to believe we are untouchable. Pride makes us believe we are super-tough. We come to believe these things until we have hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, depressions, personal problems and difficulties. Then we come to realize we are not supreme.

Pride makes us think we are invincible. With pride infecting us, we believe that everything is getting bigger and better. With pride feeding us a continual supply of lies, denials, and deceptions, we believe we are cheating death at every turn. We have made incredible scientific advances. We can do medical things undreamed of even 20 years ago. We are close to finding medical and scientific ways of making the human body live forever. We are now cloning living species and we are dreaming of making perfect humans. As we make this kind of scientific progress, we come to believe we are invincible.

However, we are not invincible. The truth is we are vulnerable. We are limited in the number of years we spend on this earth. We are nearly helpless in the face of preventing death, preventing many diseases, and stopping the vilest of human sins.

In the war between pride and humility, pride always loses in the end. For in the end, death comes. In death, there is no pride, there is only the ultimate humiliation of ultimate and total defeat called death. In death, there is no hope for a comeback based on vanity and ego. In death, all the vanity, all the ego, all the arrogance evaporates and there is nothing left but silence.

Because of man's terrible sin of pride, God has left suffering in our existence and in our human experience. Think for a minute what human beings would have become without suffering. Think for a minute what human beings become when they have no regard for the sufferings of others. When you totally absorb the idea of what human beings become when they care not about the sufferings of others then you begin to see why God permits suffering. One of the reasons God permits suffering is to keep us from self-destructing as a result of our pride.

The ultimate truth is that we helpless against the onset of death and the reality of suffering. God does not rain suffering down on human beings, perhaps because we create enough suffering among our fellow creatures on our own. We create conditions for our own suffering without God's intervention. If we will face and absorb the truth, God's grace and love keep us from destroying ourselves.

Many persons are born to wealth and position but no one is immune from the ultimate indignity of death. The reality is that we all face death. Death is the lowest state of our being, yet because of Christ, death is the way we reach the pinnacle of our existence. However, pride stands in the way of our reaching our highest potential in life. Pride also stands in the way of our reaching our highest potential in death, for pride keeps people from surrendering all they are to Christ.

In the war between pride and humility, humility makes us a winner in this life and in our life after death. Humility brings us to God. Humility strips away the wall between God and us. Humility makes us truly one of God’s children. In humility, we become low before God and enable God to pour His love over us and into us. In humility, we become His servants and do not expect God to serve us. In humility, we are compliant and we are willing to let God's plan work in us and for us. Humility lets us discard our plans, our ideas, and our direction in exchange for His plan, His ideas, and His direction.

Today people are so resistant to being humble before God they will do anything to avoid surrendering to Him. Today we are so proud. We are puffed up. We are full of ourselves. However, there will be suffering for all those that shake their fists at God. For those people who make war against Christ and His teachings, there will be suffering. For those people, there will be a personal Armageddon.

The war between pride and humility was the central theme in Jesus' teaching and this war was waged in His life while He was on earth. It was the pride, power, ego, and authority of the Jewish rulers that brought about their calling for our Lord's death. Their pride-based power stood in stark contrast to our Lord's humility. In today's world, leaders of many nations rattle the tips of their high-tech weapons. These leaders would not treat Christ any different today than the Jewish leaders did 2000 years ago. Jesus' message of humility was not accepted then and it is not accepted now. Jesus' message about man's dependence upon God rather than self was not accepted then and is not accepted now.

As a race of humans, we have developed our technology in which we take so much pride. Our medicine can replace or repair a damaged physical human heart but our atomic weapons can annihilate millions. As a race of creatures capable of constructive thought, we have developed nuclear energy but an accident in a nuclear power plant can kill thousands. We have developed fossil fuels for our use but we have polluted the earth in the process. We have created and built machines of every type but have destroyed vast surfaces of the earth to get at metals and substances we need. In developing our civilization, we have not erred in trying to be better and make progress. We have erred because we have tried to make progress because of our pride and ego. We have not tried to make progress in the name of God.

In your own life, a personal Armageddon, the war between Christ and Satan rages daily. Christ comes to your heart speaking words of gentleness and love. Satan comes speaking words of pride, power, greed, and ego. As you progress through life, all that you do, say, think, and feel are to be committed to the glory of God. All that you are is to be surrendered up to the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Christ died for you. He died for you not knowing in advance whether you would turn to Him or turn away from Him.

May His peace, grace, and glory fill your heart each day.

Psalms 10:4 In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (NIV)

Psalms 31:18 Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous. (NIV)

Proverbs 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. (NIV)

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

Proverbs 13:10 Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. (NIV)

Proverbs 29:23 A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor. (NIV)

 

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018