Advent – A Season of Waiting Begins


Advent – A Season of Waiting Begins

(In the Church Year, the season of Advent begins this coming Sunday, November 29, 2015)

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

adventshepherdsImagine waiting more than 400 years for an answer to prayer!

That’s what God’s chosen people had to do – waiting in the dark, hoping for deliverance. Perhaps singing their own version of  “Come, Thou long expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free; From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee.” (hymn, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,” Charles Wesley, 1745)

In between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the heavens seemed closed to the nation of Israel. God appeared to be silent. They thought nothing was happening. And certainly their prayers for a Messiah were falling on deaf ears.

Yet, in reality, God was still at work bringing about the perfect political and religious setting for the appearance of His Son.

“But me! I will keep watch for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”  Micah 7:7 CEB

adventcandlesGod’s timing is always best. Even if it means we have to wait. We can be assured that “my God will hear me.”

During those waiting years, the Jews had become unwilling subjects of the Roman Empire. But they wanted more than just limited freedom to worship and hope. As they read the prophecies of the Old Testament, they dreamed of the Messiah who would finally arrive and restore them as a powerful nation as in the time of King David. Surely this person would be a mighty warrior, a strong and larger-than-life hero!

No one was looking for a helpless, newborn baby. In a barn.

What are you waiting for these days?

adventpreparingFor that feeling to go away? You know, the one that keeps reminding you that you’re not enough and never will be, the one where you are searching for something that will make everything else fall into place…but it’s just beyond reach. Sometimes I think I’m waiting to experience that Perfect Family Gathering with diverse loved ones all in agreement and full of praise for me as the matriarch (you know, when “her children rise up and call her blessed…”).

God knows.

He desires good things for us but often His timing is not in sync with ours. “We orient our lives to speed. We want faster computers, fast food, instant coffee. We want what we want now, so waiting becomes hard. Waiting in our prayer life and waiting for Christmas become disciplines we return to every December. For what do we wait? Do we wait for a baby to be born? Do we wait for peace to dwell in the whole world and in our fractured, busy lives? Do we wait for the rebirth of joy, a rekindling of hope?” (from“Openings”)

adventwaitinggirlHere are some steps I find helpful during those excruciating waiting times:

  • Write down your prayers and concerns for this situation.
  • Assure God you truly desire His will in His way.
  • Intercede in prayer for others you know who are also waiting.
  • Take the next step that has been made clear to you.

Why not choose to try one of these in the upcoming days of Advent?

“Keep watch.” God will show up.

under the mercy, Cindy

©2015 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

dwellingplacescoverabingdon-excerpt from the “Shine” season of Dwelling Places – Words to Live in Every Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell, Abingdon Press, June 2016. Available in Paperback and Hardcover.

Preorder from Amazon HERE

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Finding it Hard to be Thankful?


Finding it Hard to be Thankful?

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever!” (Psalm 118)

thankslonelyPerhaps you aren’t feeling very Thankful today. The world is a scary and volatile place. The losses have piled up one after another — health, relationships, financial security, dreams — and you really wish everyone would just quit asking you to list what you are thankful for…

Some people call this “Turkey Day” but that would be limiting. It is called Thanksgiving to prompt us to dig deep enough to find something which offers hope and promise. When I am in these hard places, I find it helpful to focus my soul on these two things:

1. Remember that GOD is the One we thank.

thanksgodGod is the One we thank because He loves us more than we can possibly imagine. He has our back. Knowing that we are created, loved and sustained by a merciful and gracious God is the ultimate reason for giving thanks.

          “It is a good Thanksgiving because we have Someone to thank Who loves us, Who shows Himself to us in the dark and Who is in control of the mess. Some of us will have more ‘stuff’ than others. Some will be going through some rough waters and some will be sailing through the calm between the storms. Some will be facing emotional or physical pain, loss of a loved one or the prospect of great failure, while others will be sitting on top of the world. Those aren’t even the issues though. The issue is GOD. Run to Him. Thanksgiving will be natural.” (Steve Brown)

2. Make a CHOICE to live in Gratitude, no matter what.

thankspersonSo, I can either complain and whine about the direction life has taken me— the detour in the road, the closed door, the seemingly impossible challenge — or I can believe that nothing is too hard for God-with-us (that is Emmanuel, one of the names of Jesus). Maybe your situation is darker this year than last, but if you know God as the Great Provider, you can choose to declare:

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails  and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength…” (Habakkuk 3.17-19)

I’m grateful for parents who taught me early on that Thanksgiving is actually a way of life. Recently I discovered a small piece of paper with a long childhood list — my ‘ticket’ to Thanksgiving dinner…


Thankful Girl – Cindy with 3 dogs!

My Thankful List 1965

(misspellings are original, italics are updated notes)

“Food: Turkey, Ice Cream, Spagetti

Shelter: Brookside (our farm in the country), Pinecrest (our house in town), Treehouse (mine!)

Family: Mama, Daddy, Susan, Cathy

Pets: Friskey, Rusty, Animals (Frisky, Rusty and Polka Dot are pictured right with me)

School: Education, Teachers, Materials

Clothes: Slacks, Skirts, Dresses, Shoes (old), Jeans

House: Kitchen, My Room,

thanksplateGovement: Free Country, Leaders, Democracy, President (even though he is Mr. Johnson), White House, Capital, Heroes, Republicans

Senses: Hearing, Seeing, Tasting, Feeling, Smelling

Workers: Fireman, Doctors, Nurses, Pulpwood Dealers (this is what my daddy did at the time), City Workers, Farmers, Radiomen

Transportation: Bycicle, Automobiles, Airplane, Train, Jet, Rockets

thankshandsChristen Life: Church, Music, Preacher, Deacons, Elders, Missionaries

Movie Stars: Hayley Mills, Kevin Corcoran, Doris Day, Peter McEnery

Machines: Television, Radio, Intercom

Keystone Camp!

Nature: Birds, Trees, Plants, Animals, Music, Smell, Wonders

And that is just a little bit of what I’m thankful for.”                                                                                              Cindy Secrest, Thanksgiving 1965

thankslistIf I could just sit down and write out 70 things on my thankful list (in categories, no less) back when I had only lived a few years, then surely I can think of at least ONE today.

What is ONE THING you can Thank God for today?

Even in the pain, even in the loneliness, even in the uncertainty. Now breathe it out or write it out. Good for you.

under the mercy, Cindy

And now, here’s my Thanksgiving Gift to you — a stressless way to cook the Turkey!


©2015 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
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NOTE: Did you enjoy this blog? If so, would you consider entering your email in the above right form and subscribing to it by email? I assure you I won’t overload your in-box, but would love to send you these ‘encouraging words’ each Wednesday. Thanks!
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Letter To My Kids I Wish I’d Written

 Letter To My Kids I Wish I’d Written

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

kidswriting“I wish I had written that.”

Have you ever read something and thought those words? Me too.

I don’t know Jen Hatmaker personally. And no, I’ve never seen her reality TV show. But I did just read her newest book “For the Love” and appreciated many of the things she wrote and the way she wrote them. I definitely think we could be friends.

Jen and I agree that some of the best advice for young kids (and especially teens) is to “Be Kind” and “Be Yourself.”    Kindness: “I pray for your kindness more than your success, because the latter without the former is a tragedy. God measures our entire existence by only two things: how we love Him and how we love people. If you get this right, you can get a million other things wrong.”(JH)         Be Yourself: “It takes courage to march to your own drummer. Popularity is a terrible goal, because you have to lose yourself to find it. If you sacrificed one precious part of yourselves, it would be a calamity. It will take courage to live truthfully, but do the hard word now or later when its harder.” (JH)

kidsringroseThough I never wrote a book about it, that is also what I’m most grateful for in my parenting years (even though I functioned in ‘survival mode’ much of the time) — that I encouraged each of my 4 kids to be the person God created them to be. And to share grace and kindness and compassion widely around them.

Those four (plus my two new sons) do that in spades today. They are kind and they are unique.

Since I’m speaking today (at a Veteran’s Day luncheon) on how to leave a legacy, I must admit that has been in the forefront of my mind and heart. What is the most important legacy I leave my children?

A lifetime of believing God is Enough.

That the “with God” life is the only way to fly — counting on His presence, provision and power. I’ve said it and (hopefully) lived it in countless ways through the years. Never perfectly. But that’s part of understanding the concept, isn’t it? That God is Enough – especially because we are imperfect!

I like this letter Jen wrote to her kids. And so I’m “borrowing” it for mine as well. You can too:

Dear kids,

kidpew“Let’s talk about God. You are pastor’s kids. Sorry about that. We try not to put unreasonable “should” and “should nots” on you guys, but I’m sure we do (you can sort this out with your therapists one day)… I know we don’t get even half this parenting thing right, but we so hope that however imperfectly we do it, we give you God.

He is the only thing I’m sure of… if you love Jesus, I am not afraid for you. Long before you were ours, you were God’s. I cannot imagine the plans He has for you, but I’m sure they are spectacular, because He is and you are.

Love God and follow Him. Really, nothing else matters. If you are ever unsure what to do, remember how Jesus loved people. He was the best at it. You can trust Him because anywhere He asks you to go, He has been there too. This is not an easy path… Jesus went to hard places and did hard things; He loved folks everyone else hated or despised. But if you trust us at all, believe me: this is the life you want, this Jesus life.

When people fail you – and they will – Jesus is ever faithful. When circumstances tank – and they will – Jesus will hold you fast. He is the most trustworthy, dependable Savior, and you will never be alone. This gives me such comfort, because as imperfect parents who failed often, we are terrified to send you out knowing we didn’t do enough. But Jesus is enough for all of us. He is enough for you. No one is safer. No one loves you more. No one will lead you better.

So these are my dreams for you:

  • Be kind.
  • Be you.
  • Love Jesus.

mamathenandnowThat’s about it. Everything else will fall into place.”

            Love Mama (Jen Hatmaker “For the Love”)

Or maybe this letter is for you (not just your kids) today. I know it is a reminder to me as well.

What would the world look like around us today (without and within) if we embraced and lived these three:

  • Be kind.
  • Be you.
  • Love Jesus. 

Perhaps it’s time to find out….                                               under the mercy, Cindy

©2015 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Amazon author site 
NOTE: Did you enjoy this blog? If so, would you consider entering your email in the above right form and subscribing to it by email? I assure you I won’t overload your in-box, but would love to send you these ‘encouraging words’ each Wednesday. Thanks!
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Honey, Worry Can Strangle Your Soul

Honey, Worry Can Strangle Your Soul

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Leave all your worries with Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5.7 

worryhitchhikerWhen I arrived home from the conference Sunday evening, I realized a hitchhiker had accompanied me in the door.

His name was Worry.

At once he set to work bringing up all those things that had conveniently been dormant while I had focused on an enjoyable weekend of ministry. One by one, people and circumstances – ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’ – popped into my mind and got me to thinking.

And worrying.

I might as well have just snatched back from God everything (and everyone) I had ever entrusted to Him. I might as well have emailed all those women to just forget what I had taught them, because by now even I wasn’t buying it.

I had retrieved those worries and I was planning to carry them – drag them – along into my new week. Oh yeah, that hitchhiker had already settled in to my home and heart quite comfortably.

worryheadhandsMy grandmother used to say that “Worry is a lot like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but you don’t get anywhere.”

Actually worry causes regress, not progress. Experts say that most of what we spend time worrying about never actually comes to pass. Think of all that time and energy spent worrying, now lost to us forever.

I, for one, do not have any time or energy to waste that way.

I’m also not prepared to pay the price of holding on to my worries. “Just from a medical perspective, living in a constant state of anxiety, worry, or fear can cause all kinds of irritability and frustration, mood swings, depression, and decreased mental function.”

I’d rather do what this verse says– “Leave all your worries with Him.”  Why? “Because He cares for you.”

worrycrossGod wants to carry our burdens. God wants to assure us that He has everything under control and we can leave all concerns in His care. Dr. Richard Swenson says, “God is not pacing the throne room anxious and depressed because of the condition of the world. He knows, He is not surprised, and He is sovereign.”

Some of us excuse our worrying by saying that it’s just our nature to do so. Nothing could be farther from the truth – we make a choice to worry.

Not only that, the root words for ‘worry’ are rather violent. The Old English derivation is wyrgan, which means to strangle. This term later evolved into worien, which meant grabbing another creature by the throat with your teeth and shaking it to death. Okay.

Author Christin Ditchfield explains, “When we worry, that’s what we do. We deliberately ignore God’s admonishment to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10.5), not be anxious and trust Him…Instead, we latch on to a bunch of negative thoughts. We grab them with our teeth and refuse to let go of them. We churn. We toss and turn. We shake them this way and that. From a distance it looks like we’re strangling them. But the truth is, they’re strangling us.”

Kick that hitchhiker out of your heart and home!

worrypathWill you leave every person, every circumstance, every concern at the foot of the Cross and draw near to the One who cares for you and me?

 “Father, thank you for providing for my every need. Thank you that I don’t have to spend my days consumed with worry; I can be consumed with You. No need enters my life for which you have not already planned and provided. I choose to keep anxiety from cluttering my heart, and instead let it be filled with You. Amen.”  (Jennifer Kennedy Dean)

under the mercy, Cindy

~ Excerpted from Day 32 in “Live These Words” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell3d cover live these words
 ©2015 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
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NOTE: Did you enjoy this blog? If so, would you consider entering your email in the above right form and subscribing to it by email? I assure you I won’t overload your in-box, but would love to send you these ‘encouraging words’ each Wednesday. Thanks!
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The Power that Lifts Up When We Fall

 The Power that Lifts Up When We Fall

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

My first thought was, “What am I doing sprawled at the bottom of these stairs?”

Beside me, I noticed my purse in the corner and one shoe lying nearby.

I didn’t know exactly how I had fallen down the stairs, but as I was bundled off into an ambulance, I knew I was in big trouble.

My mind raced with the ambulance.

I thought about how great the weekend conference had been going and how well-received my first two presentations had been. I remembered eager anticipation of a free afternoon exploring the quaint Amish countryside.

A trip to the Lancaster emergency room had not been on my agenda.

Now here I was – injured in an unfamiliar city. Tears streamed down my face as I prayed for God to help guide me and be with me in this strange hospital.

fallhospitalGod’s promise “Fear not, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 43.5) calmed me during the hours of treatment for a broken leg and the dread that engulfed me after hearing I’d be immobilized all of November and December.

“So, what’s the subject of your talk tonight?” the technician teased after she had heard my story.

“God’s Presence in the Midst of Suffering,” I weakly replied, the irony all too apparent.

falllegswheelchairAfter vulnerably receiving lots of help in getting dressed later that evening, I rolled into the meeting room and invited the ladies to gather around my wheelchair. And very quietly and gratefully I experienced the reality of Acts 1.8Receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”

“Let’s have a fireside chat about Christ’s presence in the midst of our suffering,” I said. Armed with power from on high and a slight dose of painkillers, I found the strength to speak and pray with them all evening.

My pain subsided. I sensed a power go through my words; but more importantly, a peace came through my willingness to be a living example of a surrendered soul. My natural responses of panic and worry faded, replaced by serenity and trust.

fallpotholderquiltSoon after I returned home, a beautiful potholder quilt made by all the conferees arrived with this note, “Thanks for showing us the power of the Holy Spirit to persevere and be used even when the going gets tough.”

I believe that “God’s divine power has given us everything we need” (II Peter 1.3) for all the unexpecteds that come our way. Yes, the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is available to every believer. But that doesn’t mean we always choose to live in that power. It is up to us to willingly receive it.

The power and strength of God live within us by His Holy Spirit and the revelation of that truth releases spiritual power in our lives which strengthens both our bodies and spirits. The Greek word dunamis is often used in reference to the power of the Holy Spirit available to us. This word is the root word for dynamic, dynamo and dynamite. Dynamite power, by way of the Holy Spirit, enables us to be more than conquerors (spiritual dynamos) and stronger people.

“The anointing of Holy Spirit power is the difference between what you can do and what God can do. It’s the place where the power of God and the favor of God intersect. It’s the difference between the natural and the supernatural. It’s the difference between the temporal and the eternal. It’s the difference between success and failure.”  (Mark Batterson)

Are you tired of trying to live an unlimited life with only limited power?

Be filled with God’s Spirit today – and then, watch out world!

fallteafireplace “O Holy Spirit, as the sun is full of light, the ocean full of water, Heaven full of glory, so may my heart be full of Thee. Give me Thyself without measure, as an unimpaired fountain, as inexhaustible riches. Suffer me not to grieve or resist Thee. Come as Power, to expel every rebel lust, to reign supreme and keep me Thine; Come as Teacher, leading me into all truth, filling me with all understanding; Come as Love, that I may adore the Father, and love Him as my all; Come as Joy, to dwell in me, move in me, animate me; Come as Light, illuminating the Scripture, molding me in its laws; Come as Sanctifier, body, soul and spirit wholly Thine; Come as Helper, with strength to bless and keep, directing my every step. Magnify to me Thy glory by being magnified in me…Amen.”  Puritan Prayer (“Valley of Vision”)

under the mercy, Cindy

~ Excerpted from Day 22 in “Live These Words” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
 ©2015 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
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NOTE: Did you enjoy this blog? If so, would you consider entering your email in the above right form and subscribing to it by email? I assure you I won’t overload your in-box, but would love to send you these ‘encouraging words’ each Wednesday. Thanks!
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Because I Hate Cancer So Much…

 Because I Hate Cancer So Much…

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

cancerpumpkinI’ll bet you’ve felt this way too. Someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, embarking on an unwanted journey through a labyrinth of pain and puzzlement, prayer and perseverance.

You want to help, to be there, to comfort and encourage. But you don’t know how. Or what. Or when.

And as you are struggling with how to be a support, the cancer patient ends up ministering to you!

My little sister, Susan, is one of 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today.

cancersusanShe is also one of my heroes.

“None of us know what twists and turns lie ahead on our road of life and it’s good that we don’t.  But what we can know is that God is sufficient and we can experience His power, presence and peace through the darkest storms of our lives.  His grip is firm regardless of the size of the waves.  I will never again think of cancer as the Big “C”.  The Big “C” is Christ who enabled me to conquer the little “c” — cancer.  This has been a speed bump and not a brick wall.  To God be All glory, honor, and praise!” (Susan Secrest Waters)

Susan is in good health today and I am so grateful. But there are others for whom the cancer journey is still fraught with detours and roadblocks to recovery. Today as I write my husband is speaking at the funeral of another young friend with cancer.

cancerhandAnd one of my friends – award winning novelist Cathy Gohlke –  recently wrote me of her struggles during treatment:     “…trying to grasp or form a coherent line of thought is almost beyond me. But it feels not far, as if I could just reach a little farther into the universe I might grasp it. And yet it escapes me just as I think I might lay hold of it. I know this is part of my journey. For me, it is the most frightening part. Physical pain and illness is a place easier for me to surrender and rest and trust than is this mental fog that sometimes stirs up a panic or anxiety within me. The doctors call it ‘chemo brain’ and say that for some people it is not a problem and for some it goes away fairly quickly. For others they say it can last a year or more after chemo is finished, or never go away. Mine has not gone away.”

I continue to pray for her, write her, send her words of encouragement. But I honestly feel helpless in the face of her struggles. Perhaps you do as well?

cancercemetaryI hate cancer. I hate what it does to body, mind and soul. I hate how it seeks to rob people of hope and dreams. I hate the effects of cancer on families and friends of the one suffering.

This year too many people who were way too young to die, succumbed to the ravages of cancer. And some of them were my friends.

Steve Hayner’s last nine months were like an advanced course in living and dying in faith. They were a story of honesty and hope (these words are recorded in the new book, Joy in the Journey.) Our mutual friend, Mark Labberton, observed those last days, cancersteve“In Jesus’ name, Steve gave us joy in the midst of wrestling and questioning and seeking and hurting and hoping because he was living a resurrection life. He was not a nervous Christian. His only comfort in life and in death was that he belonged body and soul, not to himself, but to his faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”

“His witness to us all in these last months was not a tale of people straining to find an absent God, but of lives largely free of entitlement and presumption, of people with grateful hearts filled by God’s resurrection life and set free for the honest adventure of hearing and following the call to follow Jesus and, in the midst of all else, to find life even in death.”

I want to see hope in every situation today – especially for those who are ill. I know God is present when His children suffer. I just wish I knew how to be present….and helpful.

Years ago I read Amy Carmichael’s book “written from the ill to the ill” –Rose from Brier. She lived in chronic pain whilst ministering to children freed from human trafficking in India. Occasionally I order copies online and send them as gifts to those who are in pain. Months ago I chose a selection from that book for the opening epigraph of my new book Dwelling Places. Then this week a recipient of my gift wrote me that it is this same poem which touched her heart the most.

God will show us how to love and lift. He will grant His presence in the midst of the suffering. Cancer will not win.


under the mercy, Cindy

 ©2015 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Amazon author site 
NOTE: Did you enjoy this blog? If so, would you consider entering your email in the above right form and subscribing to it by email? I assure you I won’t overload your in-box, but would love to send you these ‘encouraging words’ each Wednesday. Thanks!
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When It’s Hard to Put Others First…

 When It’s Hard to Put Others First…

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  – Philippians 2.3-4

Pattaya-City-viewPeople came from many nations and backgrounds to the Lausanne Committee 1980 Consultation on World Evangelization, held in Pattaya, Thailand. I was the communications editor for the event and my exposure to these servants of God from so many different countries changed my world view immensely.

But it was a simple story of two Americans that fleshed out this verse in a very real way.

Our venue was on the Gulf of Siam and rooms on one side of the hotel had a magnificent view of the ocean, while rooms across the hall saw only the ugly parking lot and dump outside their window. Boston area pastor Gordon MacDonald and seminary professor J. Christy Wilson arrived late at night and had gone straight to their shared room after a long travel day.

Gordon awoke early, opened the drapes and looked out upon the dump, blurting out “Oh, no, we got the terrible view.”


1980 – Pattya, Thailand l-r: Gordon MacDonald, Cindy Secrest, Ramez Attalah, J. Christy Wilson Jr

Dr. Wilson, just awakening, immediately responded, “Isn’t that wonderful! It means that some of the brothers and sisters from the Third World who have so little will get a chance to enjoy a beautiful sight this morning.”

Gordon later commented on this gentle rebuke, “Almost never do I forget Dr. Wilson’s words and his attitude when I feel the temptation to complain about something that does not seem in alignment with my best interests.”

Let’s face it. Most of us do not automatically respond with such gestures of selfless consideration. And yet, we could. The assumption of others as better than ourselves could be our default reaction, rather than our try-hard reaction.

But only as we have the mind of Christ.

humilityhandsThe apostle Paul admitted that this mindset was a struggle for him to achieve as well. Earlier in this passage he asks God to let him do nothing out of selfish ambition (translated from the Greek word epithelia, which means jockeying for position or acclaim) or vain conceit (translated from the Greek word kenodoxia which means empty praise or jealousy). He then urges us all to consider others in advance of our own concerns.

That’s exactly the way my seminary mentor Dr. Wilson lived, and thus the first words out of his mouth that early morning (when he was barely awake) were joy that someone else would get the best view.

Perhaps it would be helpful to review what the first generation of Christ-followers did in response to words that many of them actually heard Jesus say in person.  A document from the philosopher Aristides in 125 AD described them this way:

humilityearlychristianworship“They walk in all humility and kindness, and falsehood is not found among them, and they love one another. They despise not the widow, and grieve not the orphan. He that has, distributes liberally to him who has not. If they see a stranger, they bring him under their roof, and rejoice over him as if he were their own brother: for they call themselves brethren, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit of God; but when one of their poor passes away from the world, and any of them see him, then he provides for his burial according to his ability; and if they hear that any of their number is imprisoned or oppressed for the name of their Messiah, all of them provide for his needs, and if it is possible that he may be delivered, they deliver him. And if there is among them a person that is poor and needy, and they have not an abundance of necessaries, they fast two or three days that they may supply the needy with their necessary food.”

humilityshellIf we are to live the words found in Philippians 2, we must obviously look after our own interests, which is not usually much of a stretch. But our primary focus should be first and always to look after the interests of others, considering them more important, more worthy.

Christ did that for you and me.

Will we follow Him and do likewise?

Litany of Humility

 “O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being loved, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being honored, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being praised, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being approved, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being despised, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, O Jesus.

humilityfeetThat others may be loved more than I, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, 

           O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be preferred to me in everything, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, 

            O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. AMEN.”

Cardinal Merry de Val (1865-1930)

under the mercy, Cindy

~ Excerpted from Day 34 in “Live These Words” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
 ©2015 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
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