Monthly Archives: August 2020

Character – Do we have it? – Do we need it?

Godly character starts with our faith in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. When we put our faith in the Three-in-One, we develop (through everyday life experiences which God orchestrates), traits that together make up our character – obedience, trust, discipline, patience, strength, understanding, wisdom, discernment, compassion and honesty. A person with character in turn exhibits love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Why is it important to understand and develop our own Godly character?

Why is it important to encourage others in the development of their Godly character?

Godly character provides us with a compass for living. It provides us with a means to evaluate life. It provides us with discernment into situations so that we are not misled. In this day and age, Godly character is essential to navigating life.

When we have Godly character, we strive to make each moment holy by doing the next right thing. We strive to follow the Law and the Prophets and the teachings of the New Testament. We strive to do what Jesus taught us: “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 NIV.

 We strive not because it will “earn” us eternal life but because we are indebted to Jesus for what He has already done for us. Jesus already provided the pathway to heaven for us. Our works are a reflection of our great love for Him and our outpouring of love for others – wanting them to also share in the gift of eternal life. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove. James 2:18 The Message

So let us evaluate ourselves . . . Do we need some growth in Godly character? Probably. How do we determine what we need? How do we gauge Godly character?

One way is by determining if we are exercising it during the drudgery of everyday life. Do we exhibit Godly character in everyday situations? Can we respond to those situations as our Savior would? Does love, peace or joy come from our spoken words? Are we patient and kind with our families and co-workers in everyday life? Do we pray without ceasing? Are we on the look out to help others as we go about our day? Do our minds dwell on things of God or things not of God?

Character developed in the drudgery of life prepares us for the crisis we will face. It is in our everyday, day in and day out existence, that God trains us. In a crisis, what is exhibited is what has already been developed in us. It is not developed instantaneously – we rise to the occasion because we have been training for it!

Another gauge – evaluation of our projects and works. Are they disciplined to Christ?   See 2 Corinthians 10:1-6. In other words, are we looking to Christ before we start our day or a new project to see where we should start and what we should be doing? Many projects and works are of no consequence because they are not done at the direction or in conformity with Christ. Shouldn’t we be starting our day asking for Jesus to go before us and direct us in His work?

Another gauge – do we worship God everyday, all day, in all kinds of situations and with joy? If we only worship God on Sundays, are we in need of some character building in this department?

These are just a few examples of how we gauge our Godly character. Each of us needs improvement in different ways. This is an on-going life challenge – to continue to develop Godly character until we are fit and ready for eternal living.

As we look to this season in our lives, let us evaluate where we are in the development of our Godly character and work on areas where we discern a deficit. In all probability, we have enough work to do in our own character development that we will not have time to focus on the character development of others.

Just saying . . .

SPOILER ALERT!

SPOILER ALERT – THIS DEVOTION IS FOR MATURE CHRISTIAN READERS – YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE – THE ONES WHO BY YOUR WORDS AND ACTIONS FOLLOW JESUS!

Then Jesus told them, “Before the night’s over, you’re going to fall to pieces because of what happens to me.

There is a Scripture that says,

I’ll strike the shepherd; helter-skelter the sheep will be scattered.

But after I am raised up, I, your Shepherd, will go ahead of you, leading the way to Galilee.”

 Peter broke in, “Even if everyone else falls to pieces on account of you, I won’t.”

 “Don’t be so sure,” Jesus said. “This very night, before the rooster crows up the dawn, you will deny me three times.”

Peter protested, “Even if I had to die with you, I would never deny you.” All the others said the same thing. Matthew 26:31-35

 So for you Christians out there, what do you think God is up to by allowing this pandemic and its resurgence? What are you discerning from this whole thing? Are you discerning anything? Are you actually taking the extra time you now have to sit with the Lord in prayer?

Maybe you are concluding that this country and world were in need of an adjustment – a wake up call to alert us that we are off in many wrong directions.

Maybe you have determined that it is hard to discern the “world’s truth” because there are so many conflicting stories coming from so many “reputable” sources.

Maybe you have found out that it is a good time to be praying for each other, our elected leaders, our health care workers and nursing home staff, our families we can’t see in person because you have no control over any of this.

Maybe you have discovered that you really don’t like some elected and non-elected persons in power and disagree with their mandates because it is not what you would do.

Maybe you are figuring out that there are things you have been doing that you now can’t do that you should not have been doing in the first place.

Maybe you have discovered your defiance of authority and put your “ideas” of what is “right” ahead of the leaders God has placed where they are and have taken on a “critical” spirit spewing hate through ridiculing and complaining.

Maybe you are discouraged, feeling sorry for yourself because life just took a turn and it is harder than it ONCE was.

STOP BEING LIKE PETER . . . WAKE UP . . . GET ON YOUR KNEES. . . PRAY. . . PRAY . . . AND THEN . . . PRAY SOME MORE.

Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

 Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?”

When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”

He then left them a second time. Again he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.”

When he came back, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open. This time he let them sleep on, and went back a third time to pray, going over the same ground one last time.

When he came back the next time, he said, “Are you going to sleep on and make a night of it? My time is up, the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the hands of sinners. Get up! Let’s get going! My betrayer is here.” Matthew 26:36-46 The Message*

Do we think our situation is worse than our Savior’s?

The bottom line is we don’t know why this is happening. But rest assured, God knows. His Will is what we want not ours.

Therefore, let us stop complaining . . . stop feeling sorry for ourselves . . . stop being rebellious . . . stop criticizing those in charge . . . stop being defiant . . . stop being disobedient . . . stop putting ourselves first and instead do what Jesus did:

PRAY FOR GOD’S WILL TO BE DONE – HIS GOOD, PLEASING AND PERFECT WILL.

AMEN.

 

*Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Hope for Help from God

It’s a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God

 19-21 I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

 22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.

 25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
to stick it out through the hard times.

 28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.

The “worst” is never the worst.

 31-33 Why? Because the Master won’t ever
    walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
    His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
    in throwing roadblocks in the way:

 34-36 Stomping down hard
on luckless prisoners,
Refusing justice to victims
in the court of High God,
Tampering with evidence—
the Master does not approve of such things.

Lamentations 3:19-36 The Message*

Have you reached the bottom?

or

Are you in a never-ending valley of the ordinary?

Have you quietly sought help from God?

Have you waited in silence for hope to appear?

 

*Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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