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Tag: character


God’s Team

If we are on God’s side, we should wear His colors. What does this mean? It means we reflect His character, take up our place on His team, and seek to play the game of life by His plan.

We are all members of God’s team, and He does not value one player’s skills or position over another. We all serve in the best of our capacity. Faithfulness in that capacity is the key to being a team player.

We need to understand that, as a member of the team, there will be times when our ideas are not chosen; we may even feel insignificant or overlooked because of it, but we need to keep an open heart!

Psalm 84:10 says, “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” If we can maintain a clean heart that seeks God’s perspective over our own, we have a good chance of finding peace and contentment.

Refuse to dwell on hurts! You are on God’s team no matter where you serve! Cheer! Applaud! Shout encouragement to one another and do your part as member of God’s team.

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Is He/She the One?

Do you like to worship the same way? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Do you share moral and ethical standards? (Mark 7:20-23, 1 Corinthians 15:33)
Do you enjoy his/her company? (Luke 6:31, Ephesians 4:29-32)
Could his/her ambitions and wants work with yours?(Proverbs 29:18, Ephesians 5:21)
Can you respect his/her family? They are a part of the marriage deal. (Ephesians 6:2)
If habits/beliefs never changed, would you still make a life commitment in marriage to him/her? (Malachi 2:16)


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Parenting Strong

Balancing Trust with Wisdom

It is typical for growing children to complain that their parents do not trust them. It’s actually often true because parents usually have good reasons not to trust their kids. Kids face a lot of temptations that they are not prepared to deal with on their own. They need parental guidance and experience in order to make good choices and gain their parents’ trust. This is not a trust based on who our children are but on our confidence that they will make good choices when questionable situations arise.

We have had these conversations with both of our children and, as they have shown trustworthiness and responsibility, we have broadened their boundaries. Responsibilities, as much as children complain about them at times, win children’s respect. Giving your children responsibilities shows them that you as their parents have confidence in them and trust in their abilities and character. Admittedly, often the oldest child grows up with more rigid guidelines, but we parents are learning as we go along too.

One of my girlfriends has just discovered that her middle child, a daughter, has been missing school for three weeks. She would come home after role call and do her schoolwork but would not tell her parents. After discovering the truth and investigating further, it appeared that the girl was skipping class because she was being bullied terribly at school. She was overwhelmed and did not know how to cope with this daily crisis.

Fight for Your Children

Children can be cruel, and it is incredibly difficult for a lot of children to deal with this kind of treatment on their own at school. In this situation, once mom and dad became aware of the problem, they were able to put some structures in place and help their daughter fight battles that were too big for her to fight alone. Children need their parents to parent: to stand and fight for them when the task is too large rather than to have them to fight alone.

Boundaries and instruction provide security. As much as a child loves to laugh and spend time with a fun mature person, in a dilemma they will find the people that can give them safe and reliable guidance. This should be their parents.

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What Do We Worship?
Often I faced moments of irrational fear in raising our first born son. I’d find myself obsessing with thoughts that I would lose him and so as a mom I overprotected him. While protecting a child is good, at the same time parents need to provide space for children to make their own decisions as they grow. When fear dominates a relationship rather than faith and love, it creates problems.

Letting Barn move to Australia at eighteen was a huge step but had added complications because it was at this point in time that I had to face that my life was ruled with irrational fear regarding Barnabas.

We should question the things that dominate our time, imagination, emotions and thought life. Is it a sickness, a relationship or the lack thereof? Is it a career, resentment or even jealousy? These things may reflect that which we truly worship.

True Worship
Churches often refer to the music part of a service as worship. However worship of God is about the position of our heart. “Proskuneo” is a New Testament word which translates as “worship” but it also means “to fall down before” or “bow down before.” For example rather than surrendering my hopes for Barnabas to God as a young mom I preferred to hang onto my irrational fear for my son, thinking that I could protect him better than God.

What’s Another God?
Deuteronomy 6:13-14 is written, “Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods.”

We can think that other gods are idols established by other religions. However other gods are things that consume our lives including certain emotions, material goods, a relationship or even a sickness. That upon which we dwell mostly can be that which we are worshipping. For myself as a parent I had to realize that my fear for my son was dominating my life and in a sense I worshipped fear.

Regularly I’ve had to reevaluate my focus. What am I truly worshipping? God doesn’t have a problem with us having goals but it’s a problem when we allow these to be pursuits above our worship or bowing down before Him. He is jealous for our attention and it is Him that is the source of true happiness.

Surrender Is Freeing

At times I’ve had to recheck my marriage as I’ve found that my expectations for this relationship have ruled my life. And again I have had to fight an obsession with sickness and this dominating my thought life. Every single time I have had to take hold of the truth that God has a greater plan for myself and my family and therefore I have had to lay down my agenda.

This surrender is actually freeing. There is an understanding that I no longer have to make my life happen on its own but I have a supernatural God that cares for me deeply.

Sometimes the objects that we worship are not necessarily things that bring joy. Sickness, a bad relationship or unforgiveness are all examples. We may be singing along in church but obsessing about someone that has hurt us.

We may not physically bow down to them, or lift our hands in song to them but we allow ourselves to devote our thoughts, imaginations and time to these things. In dealing with kidney disease, I had to determine that while this affected my body, it was not going to own me and that God would have His way in spite of sickness if I determined to surrender my heart to God.

The One To Worship
God knows we have an inner need to worship. He, being God, can handle the weight of being worshipped; humans cannot. And so, it’s good to regularly give yourself a heart check. Where do we spend our time? Do we obsess about a health issue or a relationship? Do we overprotect a child or harass a husband to provide emotionally for ourselves in an impossible way? These are great indications that help us reevaluate that which we worship.

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In life most people will experience disappointment. Believers are no less a victim of this. We face the onslaughts of relationship battles, sickness, death, financial loss and aging amongst other things. We often think that others removed from our circle of friendships face less battles. This usually is a false perception. Every one faces disappointments.

The Disappointed Life
In Proverbs 13:12 it is written, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” God knows man’s nature. This means that man should communicate with God concerning his disappointments. If not we tend to falsely blame others including the church. There are many churches that have commenced out of one’s complaints and disillusion rather than vision.

When we are disappointed we tend to view life through this lens. We judge others and see the negatives of life rather than the positives. We gather with others that are like minded which only further fuels our pain. We return from a church service and pick holes in the message rather than seeing things of significance – a relevant scripture, someone’s breakthrough or the salvations that took place.

However faith is released out of hope rather than complaint. And so it is necessary that we decide to break out of the state of complaint.

Maturing Christianity
Maturing as believers means that we are willing to become responsible for our lives. To want something out of life means that we own the responsibility of acquiring this desire.

Maturing Christianity defaults to a bigger picture rather than our own wants. Mark says in his gospel in Mark 6:15, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” How easy it is to forget this primary purpose. It is not a natural thing for most of us but generally it is hard work. However when we refocus according to the Bible, suddenly life takes on new meaning.

Maturing Christianity means that when life is not moving according to plan, we shift our vision and are flexible.

Maturing Christianity means that we allow God to grow us into adulthood spiritually rather than wanting to remain a child. We take responsibility for our concerns and minimize blame elsewhere.

Maturing Christianity understands that we as adults realize that our attitudes and words are shaping our children.

Maturing Christianity recognizes the perils of bitterness and jealousy and therefore determines to squash these feelings in favor of cheering others on. Maturing is tolerant, loving and patient. Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:12, instructing him to “fight the good fight.” Therefore we must determine to fight that which is of eternal value. To give in only leads to further disappointments in life. Determine to fight for the future. The past is finished except for the lessons that we can learn for today.

Determining Change
When we blame others for our lives, we default from our responsibilities. God told Adam and Eve to not eat of only one tree in Genesis 2:15. And yet they did eat of this tree. We then see Adam and Eve blame each other when God gave each an opportunity to take responsibility for their sin.

Yes other people do affect our lives and unfairness exists. However God at our salvation gave all two essential ingredients that empower us to move beyond disappointment no matter the dilemma. These are faith in Him and the choice to believe His promises. Life will present disappointments but no one can take these ingredients from us.

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