Saturday, April 29, 2017

pride, humility or both

Humility does not mean we can not (or are not allowed to) find satisfaction ("take pride") in completing a task. Humility is knowing the energy that drives us and the resources we utilize to do so are all gifts; they come from outside of us, not from us.

To "take pride" in accomplishment can simply mean we recognize we are Gods appointed means (the instrument and conduit) by which things are accomplished and are grateful and humbled by being that instrument to bring about his purposes.

In fact when we clearly understand our role (as stewards) we can be "proud" (in this sense) and humbled at the same time

To be recognized for doing something well is truly humbling when we properly understand how this comes about and who we truly are... Broken, rebellious, yet fully redeemed, Spirit infused and empowered, infinitely cherished and totally loved/embraced image bearers of God.

God honors/values/takes pride in our accomplishments done for his honor:

"For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 

Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 
And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.'  

His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.

And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' 

His master said to him,  'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'  - Jesus Mat 25:14 -23 



Monday, April 24, 2017

worry vs care

Being weighed down with the care for those things God cares about is not worry; it is concern. God is always caring. He never worries.

Worry is all about us. 
Care is all about others.

In caring we are never alone. 
In worry we are always alone.

Never expect or demand others to share your worry. 
Always hope others will help shoulder your care.

Worry is never legitimate. 
Caring is always legitimate. 

Worry is inward focused on "me"
Care is outward focused on others 

Worry locks us up and shuts us down
Care energizes and moves us forward

We are called to always care, never to worry.

Most of us don't just worry or only care. We are usually a mixture of both but should always seek to embrace care and abandon worry. The good news is because of Christ, he loves us the same either way. 

Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you.



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

C.S. LEWIS TALKS TO A DOG ABOUT LUST


C.S. LEWIS TALKS TO A DOG ABOUT LUST

·                                                     
The following is a reproduction of the original article found here
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People sometimes think of Christian morality as a straitjacket—as if God has given us arbitrary commands that we must keep in order to prove our devotion to him. Following God’s instructions (especially in matters related to sexuality) requires us to sacrifice what we truly want, or to squelch our desires, in order to show God how much we love him. We are to give up what we want and obey him instead.
Reading through the collected letters of C. S. Lewis this year, I came across this gem in a letter from Lewis to his lifelong friend, Arthur Greeves, on September 12, 1933. Lewis was no stranger to lust and sexual temptation, and neither was Greeves, who experienced same-sex attraction.
But Lewis believed that the “Christian morality is arbitrary” perspective doesn’t go deep enough. It doesn’t consider what we really want. Neither does it deal with what God really wants. He uses his dog as an example:
“Supposing you are taking a dog on a lead through a turnstile or past a post. You know what happens (apart from his usual ceremonies in passing a post!). He tries to go to the wrong side and gets his head looped round the post. You see that he can’t do it, and therefore pull him back. You pull him back because you want to enable him to go forward. He wants exactly the same thing—namely to go forward: for that very reason he resists your pull back, or, if he is an obedient dog, yields to it reluctantly as a matter of duty which seems to him to be quite in opposition to his own will: though in fact it is only by yielding to you that he will ever succeed in getting where he wants.”
I wish I’d come across this illustration sooner, because I would have included it in This Is Our Time as an example of one of my book’s main pointsthat underneath the myths we believe and the actions we perform are both longings and lies.
The dog believes the lie that the only way forward, the only way to get what it wants, is to push ahead. Lewis, the dog-owner, affirms the longing of the dog to go forward, but he must pull the dog back in order for it to actually make any progress.
Lewis Talks to His Dog
Next, Lewis explains what he would say to his dog, if suddenly it became a theologian and was frustrated by the owner’s thwarting of its will:
‘My dear dog, if by your will you mean what you really want to do, viz. to get forward along the road, I not only understand this desire but share it. Forward is exactly where I want you to go.
‘If by your will, on the other hand, you mean your will to pull against the collar and try to force yourself forward in a direction which is no use—why I understand it of course: but just because I understand it (and the whole situation, which you don’t understand) I cannot possibly share it. In fact the more I sympathize with your real wish—that is, the wish to get on—the less can I sympathize (in the sense of ‘share’ or ‘agree with’) your resistance to the collar: for I see that this is actually rendering the attainment of your real wish impossible.’
God Shares Our Ultimate Desire
Lewis applies this parable to our own situation. As human beings, we long for happiness, yet believe the lies that lead to evil actions:
God not only understands but shares the desire which is at the root of all my evil—the desire for complete and ecstatic happiness. He made me for no other purpose than to enjoy it. But He knows, and I do not, how it can be really and permanently attained. He knows that most of my personal attempts to reach it are actually putting it further and further out of my reach. With these therefore He cannot sympathize or ‘agree’: His sympathy with my real will makes that impossible. (He may pity my misdirected struggles, but that is another matter.)
So, over against the person who says, “I must squelch my desires, out of duty to God” Lewis says, No, God actually shares your ultimate desire. He is redirecting your path so you can actually find that joy you long for.
And over against the person who says, “God affirms me as I am and sympathizes with all my desires,” Lewis would say, No. Because God affirms your ultimate desire, he must categorically reject your sinful actions and desires, for they will forever keep you from what you really want.
The Longing for Joy and the Lie of Sin
What’s the takeaway? First, Lewis says we can look back at our history and see there is a God-given longing behind many of our sinful actions.
“I may always feel looking back on any past sin that in the very heart of my evil passion there was something that God approves and wants me to feel not less but more. Take a sin of Lust. The overwhelming thirst for rapture was good and even divine: it has not got to be unsaid (so to speak) and recanted.”
But now Lewis exposes the lie: the idea that giving into your sinful, illicit lust will fulfill that longing:
“But [the thirst] will never be quenched as I tried to quench it. If I refrain—if I submit to the collar and come round the right side of the lamp-post—God will be guiding me quickly as He can to where I shall get what I really wanted all the time.”
The Gracious, Ruthless God
Second, Lewis says this parable applies to future temptation, and helps us understand why we should expect God to be ruthless in condemning our sin:
“When we are thinking of a sin in the future, i.e. when we are tempted, we must remember that just because God wants for us what we really want and knows the only way to get it, therefore He must, in a sense, be quite ruthless towards sin.
“He is not like a human authority who can be begged off or caught in an indulgent mood. The more He loves you the more determined He must be to pull you back from your way which leads nowhere into His way which leads you where you want to God. Hence MacDonald’s words ‘The all-punishing, all-pardoning Father’.”
It is impossible to appeal to God’s “love” in order to affirm you in your lusts. God cannot and will not affirm your sinful desires and actions because to do so would make it impossible for you to know true joy.
So what should you do when you fall into sin? Ask for forgiveness and redirection.
“You may go the wrong way again, and again He may forgive you: as the dog’s master may extricate the dog after he has tied the whole lead round the lamp-post. But there is no hope in the end of getting where you want to go except by going God’s way.”
Longings and Lies in Our Lust
This parable about the dog helps us see both the longings and the lies in the world’s understanding of sexuality, and it smashes the idea that God wants to kill our joy or obliterate all our desires. Far from it! Instead, Lewis believes that God pulls back the collar precisely because He wants us to find the delight we crave, in Him:
“I think one may be quite rid of the old haunting suspicion—which raises its head in every temptation—that there is something else than God, some other country into which He forbids us to trespass—some kind of delight which He ‘doesn’t appreciate’ or just chooses to forbid, but which would be real delight if only we were allowed to get it. The thing just isn’t there. Whatever we desire is either what God is trying to give us as quickly as He can, or else a false picture of what He is trying to give us—a false picture which would not attract us for a moment if we saw the real thing.
“God knows what we want, even in our vilest acts. He is longing to give it to us. He is not looking on from the outside at some new ‘taste’ or ‘separate desire of our own.’ Only because he has laid up real goods for us to desire are we able to go wrong by snatching at them in greedy, misdirected ways. . . . 
“Thus you may well feel that God understands our temptations—understands them a great deal more than we do. But don’t forget MacDonald again—’Only God understands evil and hates it.’ Only the dog’s master knows how useless it is to try to get on with the lead knotted around the lamppost. This is why we must be prepared to find God implacably and immovably forbidding what may seem to us very small and trivial things.”
God understands our temptations. He knows our hearts better than we do. He sympathizes with our ignorant attempts to find joy apart from him. But in his great love, he refuses to affirm us in our misdirected ways. To do so would be to abandon us to the leash and lamppost, where we would strangle ourselves.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

the most valuable values us

Our value is reflected by the value of the one who values us i.e. the value of the one who values us, says something about our value. 

For example, our being valued by our pet that is totally dependent on us is completely different (and far less significant) than being highly regarded (valued) by an extremely important, successful, well know and highly sought after leader of a high profile organization who needs nothing at all from us (the more influential this leader is, the more significant their regard for us becomes).

To say it another way, if the one who values us is of the highest value, doesn't that say something very significant about our value? I would suggest, the more important or significant the one is who values us, the more significant our value must be.  

What if the one who values us is the most valuable being in the universe? A being that all other things and beings are totally dependent on for their very existence and sustenance. And not only does this one all powerful and all sufficient being value us, but they value us to such an extent they actually gave up something they valued most that we might have a relationship with them and share in all they are (as the most valuable and glorious being of all) and have.

The more it costs us to engage or participate in something, the more we value it. i.e. you are only willing to pay a high price for something when you place a high value on it and actually pay a high price for it. We simply would not be willing to give or sacrifice much for something we valued little. 

If the value of something is determined by the price paid for it, how valuable we must be in the eyes of God. 

31  "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son (i.e. that which is most valuable to the Father) but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Rom 8

Joh 3:16  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped (clung to), but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."  Php 2:5-8

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich."  2Co 8:9  

For a further discussion of our value click here and here.  




Sunday, April 9, 2017

services offered

In the 46 years I have been walking with the Lord, one of my biggest passions has been spiritual formation i.e. how does God changes us. What are the essential realities/truths we must learn, first about God, then about ourselves, for this change to occur? 

To say it another way, why do we do what we do, how can we be freed from those things we wish we didn't do and released to flourish and do the things we were created to do. What is it we need to see about God and ourselves so we can increasingly become more the person God designed us to be for his greatest glory and our greatest joy. 

Only God can change you (though you certainly play a vital part). To help facilitate this spiritual change/formation for others, I offer the following.

· "Life skills"coaching/mentoring: 
click for details

·  Preaching: 
click for details

·  Teaching: 
click for details

Ministry/Leadership Experience:

ministry/leadership experience

Ministry Experience: 
DOB: 12/1953   
                                                                    
Teaching and preaching (starting from the present):

·      I lead/facilitate two Missional Communities (though different in significant ways, these are often referred to as home group fellowships in many circles). I also lead a men's weekly mentoring/discipleship group.

·      Currently going through Galatians with our men's group, the gospel of John with one MC and I Peter with another. I also continue to mentor the gentlemen who took over my class back in San Diego. Some of my past classes are recorded and available upon request. Donations for recorded material are appreciated but not required. 

·      I taught an adult Sunday school class at my former church from the fall of 2003 until May of 2015 when I relocated. 

Classes taught: 

Job, Romans twice, Daniel, Revelation, Survey of the Bible, Genesis, Hebrews, I John (tag teamed), The commands of Christ. Christ: Who he is, what he did and why he did it (covered in John 13-17), II Corinthians.

·      Have been managing http://thotsaboutgod.blogspot.com since 2010. 

·      Wrote and anticipate publishing "HOW WELL DO I KNOW GOD.” (Subtitled “KNOWING GOD, THE ONLY FOUNDATION AND FOUNTAIN OF LASTING FULFILLMENT”). Included in this work is a commentary of Romans 6-8. I plan to edit and publish once additional resources are available. Some excerpts are available on this blog.

·      Taught one year at a private Christian Hi School near Boston Massachusetts, approximately 24 years ago. I taught biology and psychology. I was also an assistant to the principle, bus driver and basketball coach. (I was only their the second year of operation and taught one year as the school did not reopen the year after due to lack of funding)

·      Gave the Sunday morning message twice a month at the Bolton, Massachusetts Pre-release Prison for approximately 2½ years, from 1990 to 1993. Delivered two messages per visit (due to separate services for men and women). I shared this responsibility with my pastor and another lay minister in my church.

·      Have a B.A. in biblical studies with a minor emphasis in philosophy and psychology from Columbia Bible College (now Columbia International University). I also love history, particularly church history.

Additional ministry leadership:

·      In addition to things mentioned above, I co-led one of the men’s discipleship programs at my former church in San Diego from 2007 until I moved in 2015. I met with 5 to 7 men weekly for discipleship.

·      Mentored several men one on one in my previous church who are all in leadership rolls within their respective churches.

·      I have lead different home groups as a lay pastor for approximately 25 years. 

·      Though not in ministry in the conventional sense, but relevant to encouraging and supporting others, I was a residential counselor in the mental health field for 8 years. 

·      I was a summer intern at Kittanning Reformed Church, Kittanning, PA., the summer of 1977 as part of my college graduation requirement. This involved being an assistant to the Pastor with some pulpit duties, youth director and taught an adult Sunday School Class during that summer.

·      I have never been in "full time" or "vocational" ministry but always in business. I am glad to share the story of why I went to Bible College yet landed in business if interested. 

I also offer business coaching and consulting on training, building, working and motivating a companies sales team, therefore the following is a history of my business experience as well.

Business leadership experience:

Aug 2015 to present, Kiosk Prepaid: Distributor. A start up company offering an array of financial services (ATM, bill paying, payroll check cashing, wiring of funds, debit card, gift card purchase and redemption, phone top off) through a one stop financial kiosk. Also offered to be the assistant to the National Sales Director once the company fully launches.

Sept 2010 to present, KB Gold: They offer a simple precious metals (primarily gold) savings account. The company opened in the USA June 6th, 2010. Started part time. Built a team of affiliates with approximately 12000 affiliates in over 15 countries.

Dec 2009 to Jan 2011, Advisors Choice Network: A financial services marketing business. Promoted to "Vice President" March of 2010. Built a sales team of 150 reps in 32 states during our time there but the company ran into challenges and dissolved in 2011.

1998 to 2008, F F Associates: Asset protection, estate planning. Began as a sales rep, promoted to sales manager within a year. Became a full partner after 2 years. Took over the business with a new partner in 2000 when the original owner retired. Phased the business down in 2007 and closed in 2008.

1990 to 1998, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Worked in mental health and mental disability part time as a residential counselor.

1980-1991, A. L. Williams and Associates:  A financial service marketing company. Started part time and reached the position of "Regional Vice President" in 12 months. Eventually became a Senior Vice President with 13 Regional Vice Presidents total on our team. Opened two separate offices, the first in Virginia, and the second in Massachusetts and built a sales team from scratch out of each office.

What I have most 
to offer of value is what I have learned from my mistakes more then from my successes. The most important things we learn are learned best when our independent efforts do not work.

God speed



In the 46 years I have been walking with the Lord, one of my biggest passions has been spiritual formation i.e. how does God changes us. What are the essential realities/truths we must learn, first about God, then about ourselves, for this change to occur? 

To say it another way, why do we do what we do, how can we be freed from those things we wish we didn't do and released to flourish and do the things we were created to do. What is it we need to see about God and ourselves so we can increasingly become more the person God designed us to be for his greatest glory and our greatest joy. 

Only God can change you (though you certainly play a vital part). To help facilitate this spiritual change/formation for others, I offer the following.

· "Life skills"coaching/mentoring: 
click for details

·  Preaching: 
click for details

·  Teaching: 
click for details

preaching/teaching

· Preaching:

I can do a one time message or both a morning and evening message or a weekend retreat at the venue of your choice. This can be at your church, retreats, campus ministries, etc.


· Teaching:

I offer a workshop on the essentials of spiritual formation. Depending on your needs and schedule. This can run anywhere from 6 hours of class time to 12 hours (or longer if desired). We cover the same essential material regardless of the length of a workshop but break it down into greater detail in the more extended presentation.

Though I don't charge for speaking time itself, I ask that all expenses related to any travel be covered in advance. An offering is always helpful and appreciated but is not required for me to come. Gifts however do free me to spend more time in continuing to support others and post new articles to our blog. 

You can reach me by email at: thotsaboutGod@gmail.com 

· "Life skills"coaching/mentoring: 
click for details 

Ministry/Leadership Experience:

coaching/mentoring

Why do we do what we do, how can we be freed from those things we wish we didn't do and released to flourish and do the things we were created to do? 

What are the essential realities/truths we must learn, first about God, then about ourselves, for change to occur? 

What is it we need to see about God and ourselves so we can increasingly become more the person God designed us to be for his greatest glory and our greatest joy? 

Only God can change you (though you certainly play a vital part). To help facilitate this spiritual change/formation for others, I offer:

· "Life skills" coaching/mentoring:

During our time together we will assess, identify and discuss areas of greatest challenge and seek to determine those things about God and yourself that need greater clarification to help resolve those challenges. 

These sessions are available for as long or as often as desired. I recommend each session be an hour for maximum benefit. But I also offer half hour sessions.

Though there is no required payment, I do accept donations of $110 per hour ($75 for a half hour session and $35 for any subsequent 30 minutes e.g. requested donation for a 90 minute session would be $145)

Donations allow me to focus more of my time and energies in providing this kind of support to as many as possible. No one will be turned away for financial hardship. Though I do retain the option to offer only 4 one hour sessions without donations.

Before I begin work with anyone I do an initial session (from 30 minutes to an hour) to assess your needs and goals and answer any questions you may have of me or the coaching process. We can do all our calls through an app called "Skype." If you don't already have it, it is free to download and use.

No donations are accepted for this initial session.

We also will accept gifts in the form of gold or silver. I am open to barter as well if you offer services or products I need or may be interested in.

You can reach me by email at: thotsaboutGod@gmail.com

· Preaching/Teaching: 
click for details

Ministry/Leadership Experience:
God speed
Jim

Saturday, April 8, 2017

heads up

Friends and subscribers

Just a heads up that you will see several posts (4 in a row) tomorrow or Monday, to follow this one.

I am now offering various ministry services from my blog and had to create separate but related posts in order to do so. It will be apparent why, once you see them.

Thanks for your understanding and patience.

God speed

Jim

p.s.  Once the other posts follow, if you have any questions about the services I will be offering or know others who may be interested, don't hesitate to get back to me.

p.s.s. If there are also topics of interest you would like me to post on, let me know.



Thursday, April 6, 2017

The empowering of the Spirit

How does the Spirit empower us. He awakes our spirit by revealing to us the beauty, majesty and glory of God, which arouses in us affections for God (which increase over time as we see more and more of his glory 2Co 3:18).

Why does our beholding God in his glory arouse affections?

To say it succinctly, we are in God's image. This means we are like God. 

But what is it about us that is like God and what does this have to do with our capacity for affections? To answer this we must first know what God is like. 

We are told God is love. But this begs the question of why is he love and what exactly is love.

Let's break it down.

Love is essentially valuing something to such an extent it stirs up affections for that which is valued. We are attracted to it/them. The reason affections are stirred is because the object of our love/affections matches up with and meets in us our desire and need for being valued and loved. To be able to value something (God) we have to have the capacity to value it. There must be a corresponding quality in us that enables us to enjoy his glory. 

This is true of us because it is true of God first.

God is the most valuable, worthy, glorious, beautiful etc. being over and above all other beings/things. 

The Son who emanates from this most beautiful Father is his express (exact) image, Heb 1:3; Col 1:15; John 14:6-10. i.e. His only begotten (eternally imaged forth) Son. 

This means the Son is equally valuable, worthy, glorious and beautiful as the exact representation and perfect image of this all beautiful Father. 

Now as the Father beholds this exact and perfect image of himself he values that image above all else, resulting in affections for this perfect image which is also most valuable, worthy, glorious, beautiful. 

God being the most valuable and worthy of adoration loves the perfect image of himself, his only begotten Son, resulting in praise, adoration, joy and happiness in the Father beholding him. 


His Son in turn responds back to the Father, the most valuable, worthy, glorious, beautiful source of love and life, reflecting this love back to him.  

This is referred to by many past theologians as the beatific vision i.e. a vision of loving/valuing the most lovely/beautiful, which creates affections of joy, delight, pleasure, bliss and happiness in beholding that which is most valuable/beautiful/glorious etc.

This beatific vision is so passionate and "solid" it is considered by some (Jonathan Edwards in particular) as the separate, distinct and actual person of the Spirit (passion) of God. 

The Spirit of God is the very Spirit of passion expressed between the Father and Son as they gaze upon the beauty of the other. We are told that God is Spirit and is love i.e. both. This is why. These are tied together. 

In order for us to behold and enjoy this beautiful God, we had to be like God with the ability to behold and enjoy him in all his glory in the same way the Father and the Son behold, love and value each other. As God's created image bearers, our sense of value, worth and glory is bound up in and dependent on beholding and participating in God's value, glory, majesty etc.

However, we have a problem

When we turned away from God, we died spiritually i.e. beholding, receiving, participating in and responding to the God of infinite love and beauty was lost. We no longer experienced the joy and bliss of participating in the unobstructed **love and life of God. Our connection (relationship) was severed (or more correctly we pulled away and severed it by acting in rebellious independence...attempting to be our own god). 

But the capacity was not lost. In other words, we still are designed for, desire and need infinite love. This is who we are; these desires/needs did not disappear. They still exist and are fully intact. This is evident by our constant effort to replace this missing love and fill it with something, often anything within our reach. We can not operate without a sense of value, love, relationship, meaning, purpose etc. It is hard wired into our make up by God himself. So much so that when someone feels totally worthless or loses hope of experiencing a sense of value/meaning/love, they end their life. 

However we now seek to meet that desire in or by created things instead of the Creator of those things since we no longer directly receive love and life from this Creator and true Source of love, life and all created things. We go for the next best thing, *his creation (Rom 1:20-23). We now have an infinite void from the absence of infinite love i.e. God himself. All our efforts are now an attempt to replace the Source of this infinite love, now absent and missing (and missed), with whatever we can "get our hands on" i.e. creation

Our capacity for love is infinite because the source of that capacity designed to fill it was (at one time for us) and is infinite. 

So back to the original question. How does the Spirit empower us? 


When the infinite love of God comes to dwell within us again as His Spirit, he reveals to us the beauty of God, awakening and stirring up our love for him again. The more he reveals his beauty, the more we are stirred up and attracted to him. The more we are attracted, the more we desire him and are moved (empowered) to pursue him in faithful obedience causing us to experience Him even more in his infinite love. This increases more and more as we draw near to him in faithful pursuit of him i.e. in loving, trusting obedience. 

In short the love of God poured out in us by the Spirit of God moves (empowers) our faithful pursuit of God. 

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* This includes our own God given and created internal abilities to utilize the external creation all around us.

** Some argue that the life of God is the love of God i.e. That which enlivens and moves God in all he is and does is his love. God's life consists of the love between the Father and Son, expressed and bound together by the Holy Spirit (the holy passion of God). 

This is also suggested in Christs prayer in John 17 and particularly verses 1-5; glory being the manifest display of this love and life. 


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Inspiration

Actions that come forth from the heart of one that trusts, are steadysolid and strong. They come out of a heart resting in the certainty, steadiness and absolute reliability of another i.e. In the strength derived from trusting in another's power, wisdom and love for them. Because the source of these things is steady, so is the recipient. 

Actions that flow out of the heart of one who knows they are loved, are not forced. They spring forth from an overflowing heart of one that knows they are infinitely loved, not from the heart of one seeking love or approval. 

These overflowing actions do not result in pride but in humility for they are the inspiration/fruit of another's reliability, strength and kindness to us, not our own. 

·        We trust because of the absolute trustworthiness of the One trusted.
·        We love because of the infinite love of the One who loves us. 

Actions that cause us to have pride in ourselves are the fruit of self effort, not the fruit that springs forth from knowing and trusting we are firmly loved. 

Actions inspired by God's love and dependability (i.e. trustworthiness) result in humble gratitude to God. They are fruit from him; from who he is  for us.

Inspiration: 
In - comes from within
spiration - comes from the spirit.

i.e. inspiration is being moved by the spirit within us. 

Inspiration can come either from *our spirit or Gods. If from ours only, it is designed to get something by giving something i.e. we give to get. If from God's, it is designed to give something because of what we have already received.

(Even if it is only from our spirit, it is still from another in the ultimate sense, for we are created by another i.e. by God, in the image of another i.e. God. Everything we have and are is from him.)

When actions (or attitudes) flow out of us from the inside they are not forced. They flow freely. They are inspired. 

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*Some would argue we can be inspired by an evil spirit, particularly if we are not indwelt by God's Spirit. In this case I would say our natural abilities are engaged and utilized to create something through the outside influence of an evil spirit for the purpose of garnering attention to ourselves. Some even deliberately try to summon and utilize this kind of influence to that end. 

Any unhealthy promotion of self, in itself, is opening up ourselves to be influenced by an "evil spirit." Evil being anything that causes harm to others (God or men) or ourselves. Actions solely for our benefit do not usually benefit others (unless it is some kind of co-dependent relationship. 

But even in a co-dependent relationship, the motive by each is to get something from the other, not solely to give something to the other. It is a mutual using of the other to get what each seeks. Co-dependent relationships work as long as each feels overall they are getting more than giving. Once either feels they are giving more, it falls apart). 

Though there my be short term gain in self exaltation and promotion there is long term harm and destruction. We simply were never designed to be (and never will be) all we are created to be through and by self effort. 

We can only truly (i.e. permanently and fully) flourish when we are operating under and in the power and influence of God and his love, not in an effort to acquire love.