Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

Archive for the tag “Savior”

CAN YOU BRIDGE THE GAP?

swing-bridge

I have a friend who’s really wigged out by bridges. Not totally creeped out, but pretty freaky about them. I had no idea this existed in her until several years ago. She invited my boys and me down to the lake to spend a few days with her and her kids. We hung out and did some sight-seeing and driving around.

One day we were driving through one of the state parks. It was a pretty remote area with deep woods and winding gravel roads. Somewhere in the middle of the winding and driving on our primitive path, we came upon an old suspension bridge with wooden planks that you could see through straight to the water below. I thought it was cool. So did the kids. They wanted to get out and walk across. So we stopped the car and her uneasiness began. Again, I had no idea she was so wigged out by these things. She wanted no part of getting out of the car. Matter of fact she wanted no part of even driving over the bridge even though car after car had gone over it for years. It wasn’t like she was totally freaking out or anything, but was noticeably bothered. Honestly, at the time I thought she was just messing with me. But, no. Oh no. It was for real. She does not like bridges and this old, rickety suspension bridge was proof positive.

Some time ago at work one of the entertainers at our facility played the Simon and Garfunkel song Bridge Over Troubled Water on the piano. I hadn’t thought about my friend and her freaky bridge aversion in a long time. And for whatever reason, this song brought back that memory. Personally I like the song. If you read the history behind it, you’ll find the “true meaning” of the song lies somewhere between Jesus and heroin and the few strands of gray in Mrs. Simon’s hair.

Here’s the thing…people struggle, people have junk and baggage. When they look through the wooden planks of their lives it’s far from sturdy. And all they see through the weathered and worn out planks is troubled waters. They see failure, shortcomings, regret, poor choices, guilt, remorse, and shattered hopes and dreams. They don’t see peace. They don’t sense calm. They don’t feel stillness. Like the bridge they feel suspended in mid-air without any kind of solid foundation underneath.

Can you, even for a moment, bridge the gap between their hurt and your hope? Can you, even for a moment, bridge the gap between their pain and God’s promises? Can you, even for a moment, bridge the gap between their struggles and your Savior?

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes,
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down…
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down…

To my friend’s credit she did drive over the bridge after a little coaxing and several offers from me to take the wheel. We made it. All in one piece. With memories to share and stories to tell when we safely arrived at the other side.

Ah, yes…the other side. Safety is on the other side, but the journey to get there sometimes has to go over old, rickety bridges with weathered and worn out planks.

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I’ll take your part
When darkness comes around
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down…
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down…

 Who can you be a bridge for this week?

(*Note: This post originally appeared on the Clutter Interrupted website on November 23, 2014)

10 Indicators of Arrogance

G. Gordon Liddy, a Watergate conspirator, spoke these words after his release from prison in 1977: “I have found within myself all I need and all I ever shall need. I am a man of great faith, but my faith is in G. Gordon Liddy. I have never failed me.”

Holy cow! Isn’t that the second craziest thing you’ve heard today? I don’t think I could stomach being around Gordon very long. How in the world can anybody be that self-absorbed?

Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it happens all the time. And I know most of us think narcissism is a new thing, but truthfully it’s an age-old problem. Listen to this: “But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him…” (2 Chronicles 32:25). Hezekiah was a king back in the Old Testament. He was good and godly and there was no other king like him. At one point he was about to die, so he prayed, and God gave him an extra 15 years of life. But rather than being appreciative, he became arrogant.

10 Indicators of a Proud Heart

So how does a good, godly king blow it like Hezekiah did? I don’t really know. But what I do know is this: pride is a creeping vine called “me, myself, and I.” And if not rooted out right away, this creeping vine can spread and take over our good and godly character. Just ask Hezekiah. And Solomon. And David. And the Pharisees. And the Disciples.

As I ponder the arrogant people in Scripture, they’re not at all different than the self-absorbed people I know today. As they say, “it takes one to know one.” So I’m ashamed to say I see myself all over these character traits. As I reflect on the issue of pride, I’ve come up with 10 indicators of arrogance. Ten characteristics that indicate we might have a slight issue with arrogance. Check it out:

10 Indicators of Arrogance:

  • Deceived into believing we are “flawless” or not as flawed as others
  • Trusting in our own strength, knowledge, talents, skills, etc.
  • Stubborn, rebellious, and unwilling to submit to authority
  • Ungrateful for the kindness, grace, and/or mercy shown to us
  • Blind to our own faults and/or to the needs of others
  • An entitlement attitude which insists we deserve better, deserve more, etc.
  • Comparing ourselves to other people and looking for opportunities to claim greater importance
  • Wanting our agenda to prevail over others’ (…or even God’s)
  • Inconveniencing others for the sake of our own convenience
  • Life is about us and our glory, not God and His glory

Do these things describe people you know? Most assuredly they do.

Do they describe you? I know…you don’t want to answer that.

Hezekiah was a good and godly king, but for a season got caught up in a vine of pride. The cruddy thing is that we’re all guilty just like him. We all have a pride issue. And if we have a pride issue, we have a sin issue. And if we have a sin issue, we need a Savior.

Though God detests the proud of heart (Proverbs 16:5), He loves us too much too leave us there.

Hezekiah humbled himself and repented of his arrogance (2 Chronicles 32:26). God was merciful and forgave him. The same God who loved and forgave Hezekiah offers us forgiveness as well. And though we may not be kings, by God’s grace, we can continue our journey onward to being good and godly in the every day.

 

 

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