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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The truth sets us free.

I know that a lot of people insist on putting the capital "T" in that thought --every single time! I don't deny that Jesus is the one who sets us free from sin - but I want to avoid exalting that one thought to the place where I no longer consider the implications of the lowercase "t" either.

I mention that because there are times in our walk when God makes a lowercase "t" truth real to us, and this is a precious thing that God does for His children.

I could give many examples, but I am going to talk about humility for the next couple of minutes, because that is where the Lord is working on me these days.

Had you asked me five years ago if I was humble, I would have done everything in my power to say that I wasn't humble, but do so in such a way that in the same moment you would come away with the unmistakable impression that I was in fact very, very humble.

To be sure, I knew what humility was, what it ought to look like, and because I was zealous, I aped it well enough. I wasn't doing this deceitfully, though in hindsight I see now that I was self deceived. To be sure, I was not without evidence that my humility was (in practice) only skin deep, for example:

I was asked to write a very delicate for our leadership once. It was a difficult letter to write, dealing with a very delicate situation - and I was asked to write it because the other fellows felt I had a better command of language than they did. I wrote what I can honestly say was a brilliant letter. It said all that needed to be said, and did so in such a way that looked so very humble, we were all quite impressed by the beauty of it. The only problem was that it really was describing where we (as the writers) should have been at spiritually, and not where were really were at spiritually.

One of the fellows couldn't place his finger on it, but knew something was wrong about the letter. It took us a prayerful while to learn what it was - and when we finally came to the heart of it, we realized it was disingenuous. It painted a picture that wasn't real, and since we were genuinely committed to keeping it real, we re-wrote the letter. Not quite as beautifully (according to man's wisdom), but far more beautiful in the Lord's eyes I am sure.

It isn't as though I didn't understand humility; I knew what it looked like, I could articulate it, and I could certainly imitate it - but acting humble is not the same as being humble, no matter how self deceived I was.

To be sure, even as recent as only a couple of months ago I really thought, deep down, that I was a fairly humble fellow... But so much has happened to me in the past four or five weeks.

To begin with, one of the ladies who left the church shortly after I began preaching, contacted me and let me know (in no uncertain terms) that I, and I alone, was the reason she stopped fellowshipping with our congregation. I had suspected as much, but the weight of that truth was crushing. She explained that she saw in me an arrogance that was out of step with my profession, and for my part I was likewise convinced that I probably came across that way - I mean, I wasn't arrogant, I was just, just... just being me and if you knew where I was coming from (oh, how we justify ourselves?), you would understand that what you see as arrogance is not, but is just a personality quirk, to be dismissed and ignored. My reply was full of grace of course, and we were reconciled at once - but truly some part of me felt that she was mistaken.

Yet today I would say that she was not mistaken, but in possession of a precious and rare sensitivity to such things - whether she has always had it or the Lord brought it to the table just for me, I leave to the Lord. But she saw right through me, and with a clarity that even I didn't have.

I say this because I would have dismissed it all, but God had other plans. In a short order another brother, who knew nothing of this, replied to an email I sent him regarding another matter entirely, and his prayerful reply included a heft section on the way I came across as arrogant. God bless that brother for his prayerful reply, for I wonder had he replied without prayer if he would have included such a section. He was so gracious to speak without accusation or unkindness, but the coincidental mention of my "seemingly" arrogant persona struck me as significant.

I could bore with with several similar anecdotes - people who know nothing of what is going on suddenly drawing my attention to a falseness that seemed to be in me, or how no matter where I turned in scripture, I was instructed again and again about falsehood and deceit.

The greatest blow however came during our pastoral search. I had been the primary preacher on Sunday for many months, and being a member of the leadership, and the primary teacher in the church, I really expected our pastoral search team to ask me to candidate as pastor. I was so certain of it, that I didn't want to be on the pastoral search team in order to remain aloof enough from the process that my own bias and expectation wouldn't end up influencing the process. Yet when the team finally passed me over, and when I saw that this was prayerfully and unanimously done - I was both prepared for it, and taken off guard.

I mean, I swallowed their decision as graciously as I could, but it hurt me too. No one who has ministered to a congregation can deny their love for that congregation, even if it is tainted and selfish. The rejection felt like a stomach full of flu, as I felt not only rejected by the congregation, but shown to be wanting in the eyes of my Lord.

In rapid succession others voices began to express polite concern that much of my manner seemed a sheen of polity, and not terribly genuine. Oh, they didn't say it this way, nor do I think they meant it this way, but in the space of a few weeks I seemed to be bombarded on all side by people who, although had no contact with one another, yet with the same voice and language began to show me that I needed to re-evaluate my own opinions of myself.

God has never spoken to me in a mystical voice that I heard in my ear, but I do believe that God sometimes answers my prayers in a way that I can understand. In this case, though I never prayed the thought out loud or even dared to think it, yet some part of my had been crying out to the Lord: how have I failed you? What do I lack for service? Why have you set me aside like this?

The answer came, as I said, not by mystical voices, visions, or visitations - but by seeing in God's word and in the multitude of people who providentially (all of a sudden) began to express simultaneously my own lack of humility --my falsehood in this area of my walk.

Truly, deep down, I think I have always felt that I was better than others. I hadn't really seen it before, but it came out through this process. Some deep part of me that is more me than the sheen I put up - that part is so ugly, and I began to look it square in the face, and I could see how God would hate it - for this thing was a source of so many wrong motives, wrong attitudes, and the well from which much lovelessness drew its strength. To be sure, I could almost describe it better as saying that I felt, truly, that I was here to serve myself, and that I deserved that service.

It is one thing to know a thing is true - we all know (or should know) that we are wretches - sinners who think the world of ourselves. We don't deny that we are selfish and sinfully so. That is, we have the truth, but there is a disconnect there: We have the truth, but the truth was not -in- us. If ever I knew that I was a leopard yet I had learned to hide my spots, rather than deal with them spiritually and biblically.

Well, for weeks the same message (though in many flavors and from many sources) continued to come to me.

I now see that humility cannot happen until I see myself as God sees me. O what a profound truth that little sentence contains, but how cliched it sounds, and how little the words satisfy the magnificent thought they portray!

I am created to serve, not to be served. Humility happens when I do more than agree that this is true - humility happens when that truth takes hold of me, and changes me from the inside out. Oh scrub all day my friends at the outsides of your cups! You won't impress the Lord.

I see now, babe that I am, that the ground work of genuine service is genuine humility. Would that the Christian world could sing:
I am a servant,
like my Master before me,
created for His purpose,
and not for my own.

If God has been pleased to grant me some small responsibility, and to give me some gifts with which to edify others, how beggarly a steward I have been to have neglected humility for so long.

My prayer of course is that God would make me a truly humble servant, though I see that one cannot be a servant without humility, nor can one be truly humble who isn't a servant.

We serve a God who grows in glory the more we see of Him.

Grace and Peace.


posted by Daniel @ 12:34 PM  
  • At 7:08 PM, April 30, 2008, Blogger Neil said…

    Grace and peace to you too!

  • At 10:42 AM, May 01, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    Thanks Neil.

  • At 11:36 AM, May 01, 2008, Blogger Even So... said…

    We serve a God who grows in glory the more we see of Him.

    Indeed...humility (the real, biblical sort) is an integral part of holiness...as we become more holy, practically speaking, we should be becoming more humble (Philippians 2:1-15)...

  • At 1:16 PM, May 01, 2008, Blogger St. Lee said…

    Daniel, thanks for sharing this. Sounds as though the Potter is still shaping the clay. That is another thing to praise him for. May God bless you.

  • At 2:10 PM, May 01, 2008, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, I sincerely appreciated this post. Unfortunately I can relate all too well.

  • At 6:15 PM, May 01, 2008, Blogger Lisa said…

    I did not realize how difficult it is to be humble until I tried really hard to be humble. The people I most admire are humble and the people who lack humility are those I find most annoying. Perhaps it is because they remind me too much of my own struggle for humility.It seems the more prideful we are, the more we dislike it in others. The perfect humility of Christ is what I long for and fall so short of. I long for humility to define me. It seems that the path toward humility is often trampled by my struggle to keep before me who I am before a holy God. It is much easier to rely on comparative righteousness when what I am comparing myself to is, well, not God, but fallen man.

    Only Christ is the beginning and the end of our search for meaning and significance. His Truth is where we look for how to live. His life is not only our example of what we, as believers, should do but how we do it.

    Easy to write, hard to really live. Have I been to selective in the portrait I have perhaps painted of Christ? Have I made Christ too palatable for the world in the way I live? Have I given up on imitating Christ because it is just too demanding?Is He my Saviour AND my Lord?

    To be humble I cannot just imitate Christ, I must submit to Him... a total giving up of myself... an utter rejection of my own pride.

    The first step to humility... admitting that you lack it. The problem is that people will admit that they are prideful, sometimes not because they see the evil of it, but because they if they do not admit it they will not be considered humble. I have read somewhere that the secret to embracing humility is to embrace the life of Christ... to carry a cross and not to wear a crown... yet.

  • At 3:36 PM, May 02, 2008, Blogger Marcian said…

    I liked especially Lisa's sentence above.

    But I have been considering this lately, though the Lord has been gracious to pain me in small ways, while seeing the gravity of the larger picture. My lack of humility is a serious danger. My pride is my own and I cannot weigh my actions against those of others.

    I feel somewhat apprehensive to tear down that wall of pride. Humility often means exposing ourselves in the most transparent way because we know it is how God sees us. We have nothing to hide from Him, and we should have nothing to hide from each other. But there is indeed a sinful apprehension there that I am dealing with, though I am confident that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion.

    I understand your recent situation somewhat, though my circumstance involved a relationship that ended leaving me thinking the same things. I did see the danger in my pride, and some days I am more prompt in dealing with it than others. Again, I see the bigger picture concerning the danger of not pursuing humility, but oh, the pain of being exposed.

    Thanks for this timely post. I'm scanning through the pages of Wayne Mack's Humility: The Forgotten Virtue. But this kind of war needs a more "boot camp" mentality than a weekend in the woods. Oh, that I would slow down and take this much much more seriously.

  • At 8:33 PM, May 03, 2008, Blogger donsands said…

    Good words.

    Thanks for the good words on humility. Very difficult truth to learn, and then be.

    God works in us to will and to do. And He is a faithful and loving Father to His beloved children, to discipline us in His perfect love and righteousness.

    have a blessed and wonderful Lord's Day. Rejoice, and again I say rejoice! For Christ gave Himself for us!

  • At 3:39 PM, May 05, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    It is a work in progress. First I see, then I believe, then I live. I wish I could expedite the process.. :^)

  • At 4:47 PM, May 05, 2008, Blogger Lisa said…

    We are all a work in progress and God has been very longsuffering with me... :-/

  • At 6:39 PM, May 05, 2008, Blogger donsands said…

    I wonder if learning to be content, as Paul tells us, is connected to learning to be humble, as our Lord Jesus said, "Learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart"?

    May our Savior continue to work upon our hearts, so we can learn, in faith, to be more pleasing to Him. Amen.

  • At 1:27 AM, May 06, 2008, Blogger Strong Tower said…

    There is a saying that goes like this, A man is tested (proven) by the praise he receives.

    At first glance it is innocent, like, yea, sure when you do rightly people appreciate it, right? It's like you know how great a man is by the number of his friends at his funeral...

    But that is not what it says. Praise has a strange effect on us. For we glory in the glory of men. A simple test is what happens with in when we are complemented.

    Isaiah response, now dig this, when he was blessed to stand in God's presence (what a compliment) became undone. 'Know yourself' is not just a pagan phrase. To know who you truly are in the sight of God is a great gift.

    Woe is me, I am undone should be our response to praise, because it is our undoing as it raises within us the grasping for our own glory. No wonder then that to esteem others is likened to God.

    The thing that Paul wanted taken away perhaps was his pride, for he had been given the messenger so that he would not be puffed up beyond measure. Which leaves us wondering to what measure he was puffed up? Pride is that thing which always takes the legs out from under the righteous humbliing him. But for the wicked, a high head goes before a fall, and pride before destruction.

    Count it a blessing then, that in your weakness God's power is perfected.

    And this after you were attacked by a goose? That was a still small honk!

  • At 8:42 AM, May 06, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I used to confuse my shyness, timidity or a certain 'fear' of others as humility, until I started bumping into my own pride. And kept bumping into it. And still am. And it often leaves a bruise, until I finally finally get on my knees about it. And still I bump into it.

    I am all too often reminded how highly I think of myself, when I should not.

    My own prayer as of late is that God would help me to love Him more. And as this grows, I see that I am starting to occupy much smaller a space.

    In fact, as I continue to pray this prayer of desiring love for God and Christ more and more and more, other prayers seem to be rising to the surface, one of which has been that I would think less of myself next to my husband. It was an interesting and revealing prayer because it didn't seem to come from me. That's not the way *I* would think! But it is so.

    Grace to you, Daniel.

  • At 8:58 AM, May 06, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This post must have been difficult to write. I was sorry to read of your pain (most understandable) in the decision regarding the pastoral position. I have long thought, however, that you are a pastor in your ministering to others (which indeed you do - in a big way truly) on the Internet.

    In fact, I didn't write the followiong in my first comment, but will tell you that I have shared some of your posts with folks dear to me. The most recent sharing was last Tuesday, when I linked your discussion with your daughter in an email to a few folks from our church. In an evening Bible study that night, my pastor noted that he asked his wife to share the conversation of that blog post with their four daughters in the family's daily evening Bible time, since their eight-year-old is questioning as is your daughter. (When he asked how old your daughter is, I guessed between seven and nine? I'm not sure, but I thought that's the age range.)

    Anyway, I almost shared this in my first comment, but didn't want to give you yet another thing about which to be proud. :-) But ah well. The Lord is faithful in His dealing with you as need be, and I thought you might like to know anyway.

    For some reason, Galatians 6:14 comes to mind.

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