Character

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Happy New Year!

 Goals are what most people focus on at the beginning of a new year. As I was praying about what to write, I felt I should discuss character. For without good character, success means nothing.

 Character has to do with the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual; a person’s good reputation. Synonyms are: integrity, honor, moral strength, moral fiber, strength, fortitude, backbone, resolve, grit, willpower, reputation.

 In the bible, there are several places that tell us where strength of character comes from.

 1 Corinthians 1:30 says that Jesus is our wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and redemption. As believers in Christ, we get strength of character through our relationship with the Lord. It’s in our DNA. We grow in it as we grow in our knowledge of who we are in Christ. God is holy and we are too because we are in him.

 Trials and troubles help form character as we endure through them. Enduring means we continually put our trust in the Lord through tough times. As we trust him, it develops strength of character in us. Romans 5:3-5 and James 1:2-4 attest to this. When our faith is tested, endurance grows. As our endurance is developed, we become strong in character and ready for anything. It’s going through those tough times with joy because of our trust in the Lord. We have joy and peace in believing. True character development comes through faith in God.

 In Matthew 13 and Mark 4, Jesus tells the story of a farmer planting seed. In it, he speaks of different types of ground the seed is sown on. The seed that lands in the gravel is like a person who hears God’s word and instantly responds with enthusiasm. Because there is no character, when the emotions wear off and difficulty arises, they have nothing to show for it.

How often do we hear something, get excited about it. and when it gets difficult, stop going in the right direction? It happens at this time of year all the time. We make New Year’s resolutions and don’t keep them. The gyms are packed in January. After that, the numbers continually go downhill because people don’t endure. They give up. We all do it. We decide we are going to improve, but don’t want to pay the price for the improvement. When we do stick to it and pay the price, the benefits far outweigh the cost. We accomplish something and good character is built in us.

I want to encourage you to endure through the hard, difficult times. When you do, good character is developed and it makes for smooth traveling. Proverbs 11:5

Shame

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All of us have experienced shame of one form or another. It may have been in a minor way (which actually is embarrassment), like having your pants split in public, or in a major way, like something really bad you did from your past. NO matter what, we all deal with it.

The truth is Jesus bore our shame. He wiped our slate. He made us righteous in him. We are his masterpiece. As we embrace what God’s word says about us, it enables us to stand tall knowing who we are in Christ and whose child we are.

Romans 10:11 is a powerful affirmation of this.

Rom. 10:11 “NO ONE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL HAVE REASON TO FEEL ASHAMED.” Weymouth

Rom. 10:11 Scripture says, “Whoever believes in him will not be ashamed.” God’s Word Translation

Colossians 1:22 says that we are blameless in God’s sight because of the blood of Jesus. This means we are innocent of wrongdoing, without guilt, faultless, above reproach. With this there is nothing to be ashamed of. When God looks at us he sees Jesus.

Recently, I saw a movie about a girl who was a little chunky and did not like herself. She fell and hit her head. As a result of the fall, she began to think she was pretty. She walked confidently, faced people and challenges, and went after her dreams as a result of the change.

When we come into a relationship with the Lord, we change our thinking. We renew our mind to what God says about us in his word. Shame leaves because we embrace what God says.

Shame keeps us from walking confidently.

Shame keeps us from pursuing our dreams.

Shame makes us shrink back.

In Christ the shame is gone. It’s been lifted.

We can do all things through Christ which strengthens us.

We are more than conquerors because of God’s love for us.

We are without fault.

We are blameless.

We are God’s masterpiece created in Christ.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We are made in God’s image and likeness.

No matter what kind of shame tries to come our way, we have the antidote. It is a Father who loves us and has written many wonderful things about who he created us to be. We look and act just like him.

We have the ability to stand with confidence before shame or any negative thought that comes our way and declare,

“NO SHAME FOR ME. I AM FREE.”

 My prayer is that we would believe what God says about us so we can walk free from any shame.

A lifestyle of Giving

Happy New Year! 2017 will be a great year!  The number 17 in the bible symbolizes “overcoming the enemy” and “complete victory”. I believe this will happen through the power of God and as we can work with him living a life of giving.

What are the two things that many people focus on in January? One is goals. The other is Christmas bills.  At first setting goals can be very motivating. They can be scary too because you don’t want to write anything down that you won’t accomplish or make you feel like more of a failure. It can be discouraging and cause you to pull back from giving. Now is the season to be a real giver and it’s not about only giving money and things. Let it be about giving as a lifestyle. Make a goal to be more of a giver in every area of your life.

Quite often people focus on the benefits of giving and there are many, but they really miss out if that is their focus.

The focus of giving is to be a blessing to others.

What can be more rewarding than bringing other people joy, putting a smile on their face, meeting a need, etc…

While the bills may be rolling in because of the giving you did for Christmas, don’t pull back. When the desire is greatest to pull back from giving is the time we need to give.

Make a decision to have giving be a lifestyle.

Ask the Lord to show you how you can be more of a giver like him. That’s what Christmas is all about. God loved so he gave. Let’s love God so much that we want to be more like him. He is the greatest giver of all time. We have his genes in us if we’ve made Jesus our Lord. As we read the bible we see what a giver he has always been.

2 Corinthians 9 says that God loves, prizes above all things, a prompt-to-do-it giver whose heart is in their giving. I want to be that person. My goal is to become this type of person more and more everyday. My prayer is that you do too.

So while you’re thinking about goals and your bills, join them together to make a goal of being more of a giver. Choose giving as a lifestyle. Ask the Lord to help you be more sensitive to giving of yourself to others spirit, soul, body, financially and socially. Don’t limit your giving to finances or things. Giving as a lifestyle comes in many forms. It’s fun! It’ll bring you joy and bring joy to those you give to.

During the month we will be posting scriptures that I hope will encourage you to move forward in giving as a lifestyle.

God bless you. I pray 2017 is an exceeding abundantly blessed year for you.

He Directs My Goals

he new year is quickly coming upon us. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important for us to think about our goals for 2017. Don’t wait to throw some things together January 1 and hope they come to pass. Spend time this month praying and seeking God about what he wants to see accomplished in your life.

Ask God for a picture of what he would like you to do. Don’t just come up with something and expect him to bless it. He will show you.

Prov. 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart,  And lean not on your own understanding;

Prov. 3:6  In all your ways acknowledge Him,  And He shall direct your paths.

Prov. 3:7  Do not be wise in your own eyes;  Fear the LORD and depart from evil.

Prov. 3:8  It will be health to your flesh,  And strength to your bones. NKJV

 

It’s about going to God, acknowledging him and him directing our steps.

 

Psa. 37:3  Trust in the LORD, and do good;  Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Psa. 37:4  Delight yourself also in the LORD,  And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Psa. 37:5  Commit your way to the LORD,  Trust also in Him,  And He shall bring it to pass.

As we trust in the Lord, we will feed on his faithfulness. Feeding on his faithfulness, fuels delighting ourselves in him. Then he puts desires in our heart. As he gives us desires, we trust him and he brings it to pass. It’s not about coming up with a desire. It’s about spending time with God and he gives us desires that he brings to pass as we commit our way to him.

John 16:13 tells us that the Holy Spirit leads and guides us into all truth and shows us things to come. He lives in us. He shows us what God wants and he leads us in the way we should go to accomplish it.

 

No matter our age we should have things we want to accomplish and have desires, in spite of what it may be. Problem is over the years, oftentimes, we stop believing and we stop dreaming, we stop having goals. God is eternal. We will always be dicovering new things in him and we will throughout eternity. This means we will always dream, have visions and goals. There will always be new territory for us to discover and to move toward

First we go to the Lord. The next step is writing it down. Habukkak 2:2 tells us to write the vision and make it plain so we can run with it. Writing it down, creates some accountability, especially when we keep it in front of us. When we don’t look at it, it still nags us because we know we have it written somewhere and don’t want to look at it because we don’t want to be accountable to it.

When we don’t write it down, it’s not plain.

Map out the steps the Lord shows you to get to the goal or desire. All the steps may not be revealed all at once, but some of them will be. As you spend time with God and in his word, the Holy Spirit will lead you and God’s word will be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Ps.119:105).

If you had a light on your feet it wouldn’t brighten the whole path. It would only lighten the next step. Isaiah 28:10 says that it is a process that happens “line upon line…precept upon precept…here a little, there a little.” Be purposeful about what you do and continually move forward.

Don’t be hasty. Isaiah 28:16 says, “he that believes does not make haste.” In today’s society people want everything right away without effort or taking time. Let it be the like the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare should have won, but he was overconfident and definitely not consistent. The tortoise was consistent. He kept moving forward. He didn’t allow distractions and his flesh to stop him. He stayed in the race, finished the course and won.

1 Corinthians 9 tells us to be like an athlete in training.

1Cor. 9:24  Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win.

1Cor. 9:25 All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

1Cor. 9:26 So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches.

1Cor. 9:27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. NLT

Head toward the goal with purpose in your steps. Move forward like you are going to win. Have self-control. Keeping your eyes on Jesus the entire time. He is the author and finisher of your faith.

Trust in the Lord. Commit your way to him. He has great plans for your life. He’ll show you the way to bring it to pass.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

To Goal Or Not To Goal...

 
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With the onset of a new year, goals are something that are on everyone’s mind.

A sad fact is that only 3% of Americans have written goals. Less than 1% review & rewrite their goals on a daily basis. Every article I have read concerning goal setting states that the power of goal setting is in writing them down and reviewing them regularly. This is a scriptural principle.

Habakkuk 2:2 tells us to write the vision and make it plain so we can run with it.

97% of you reading this do not have written goals. Over the years, sad to say, I have been in the 97%. There have been times when I wrote down goals, but I never reviewed them and pushed them aside for different reasons. I am sorry that it’s been that way for me. I know it would have helped me be more focused and I would have accomplished more.

This year is going to be different. I’m writing my goals and am putting reminders on my phone so that I look at them. I know this is not going to be easy since it never has been my habit. I am excited to see what God is going to do as I get up the nerve to write them down and share them with my husband and others. Telling others helps us to be accountable to someone for what we want to accomplish. We become vulnerable.

There are a number of reasons I haven’t written goals in the past. Fear is the biggest factor for me. Fear of failure. This is a silly reason. Isn’t better to have written them and tried to accomplish something, than to not have tried at all? At least writing goals down points me in a direction.

You might be thinking you don’t have to write them down because they are in your head.

WRONG! There are so many thoughts going through our mind, our goals get lost in the shuffle. Staying focused on the goal doesn’t usually happen when they are not written down. I can certainly attest to that.

Another reason I didn’t write down goals was that I didn’t understand how to or why I should. Of course, I never tried to learn how to or why I should. I even thought I was different. I didn’t have to. I wasn’t one of those people who fit in the non-accomplishment category. It was a foolish thought. I could never look back and see what I had written down and say, “I did it.” It’s a great sense of accomplishment to see a finished project that was planned. Most of the time I would look back at my year and see things I did that were good, but it didn’t give me the enjoyment of finishing what I set out to do.

There are many more reasons I could site for why I didn’t write down my goals. I will share one last thought about why…. I felt like the “Goal Thing”, as I called it was, being abused. I saw people talk about goals that I judged thinking they hadn’t gotten their plan from the Lord. I was under the pressure of trying to perform or outperform someone else. Rather than writing down and pursuing what I thought God wanted from me, I didn’t focus on anything. Sometimes we throw out the baby with the bath water.

I hope my transparency has been helpful to you. I want to encourage you to write some goals. Don’t make so may that you won’t accomplish anything. You might want to try starting with a couple and adding more on as the year progresses. The new goals would have different timelines for finishing. Do something that is manageable so you can have a sense of accomplishment. Once you do, I’m sure you’ll wonder, like me, why it took so long for you to start.

HAPPY GOAL-SETTING!

 
 

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Listening to the Holy Spirit

Did you ever think you were supposed to do something & you didn’t?

Has the Lord ever spoken to you about something minor and you dismissed it?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. There have been a number of times when a thought came to me to go in a particular direction, call someone, do something now, etc. and I didn’t do it.

For example, one day I was driving home from downtown and the thought came into my head to take the Dan Ryan Expressway vs. Interstate 55. I took I-55 because it was the way I usually take. There was a lot of traffic. What should have taken me 35-40 minutes took me an hour and a half!!!! I never checked to see what traffic was like on the Dan Ryan, but I’m sure Holy Spirit was trying to show me a better way. Obviously, this wasn’t a life threatening decision, but it could’ve been. Sometimes the Lord reroutes us in order for us to avoid an accident. We never know what could have happened had we gone another way, but God does. We only need to listen and obey.

When I go shopping for people, I always pray and ask the Lord to lead me to the right item for the person and for a good price. He always comes through for me. Before I started praying, I did not enjoy shopping. I would go from store to store thinking I would discover something better at the next store and leave the mall empty-handed.

God cares about everything in our lives.

He cares about the little things. As we listen when He tells us something minor, it is training to hear and obey concerning the big decisions in life. Each step in life leads to another. Oftentimes, we do not understand how little steps prepare us for big ones.

Think about a baby. When a baby begins to walk, they take small steps, are not stable and kind of waddle from side to side. The more they walk the more proficient they get at it, until the time comes when they are balanced and fast. It takes practice. The muscles have to be used. When they are used it becomes natural for the muscles. It is no longer a consciously learned response.

It is the same concerning listening to the Lord.

He is always talking to us. He doesn’t speak loud. He is a gentleman. His voice is soft and clear. The other voices in our head are usually loud. God doesn’t get down on us when we don’t listen. He encourages us to listen next time.

Hebrews 5:12-14 tells us that as we use God’s word our senses get exercised to discern good from evil. Following the Lord takes practice. As we follow we get better at listening and then our actions follow.

-- Linda Thompson


CONFESSION 

The Holy Spirit leads and guides me into all the truth and shows me things to come.

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. - John 16:13


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Making New Goals

Making New Goals

A new year marks a time for making new goals. We see it everywhere. Did you know that the Bible encourages us to have goals? The Bible is filled with God’s goals, plans, & purposes for us and for our future with him. It’s important to keep his goals in front of us so we can accomplish his will for our lives and his will in the earth. As we reach our goals, it inspires others to reach theirs.