Tag Archives: honest

Valleys and Mountains of Experience

My daughter loves to sketch and paint. She has a lot of talent. Yes, I’m biased but you can look for yourself. Talent can get you so far in life, but experience is always necessary. God gives us all talents, but He also takes us through many experiences in life to grow us to properly use our talent.

In Exodus 18 and Deuteronomy 1, we read of the leader selection process in the Old Testament. Listed character traits include those who fear God, who are honest, who are wise, who are understanding, and who are EXPERIENCED. The wisdom and the understanding comes as we continue to fear God and walk with Him. The experiences of life, the dark valleys and high mountains of life that God leads us through, teach us and stretch us. It is through experience that we become more capable.

Each of us are leaders. We are created to be leaders. But we aren’t where we are meant to be in life, and we certainly aren’t the leaders we could be to those we lead. Allow God to use you where you are at right now. Keep your ears and eyes open. Ask for Him to use you. Don’t be selective. Allow the Spirit to lead you. Serve where He places you. Soak up the experience. Glean from what He has placed before you. God wants to teach you. He wants to raise you up. Don’t let yourself get in the way. To be a better leader in your home, at church, in your workplace, on the field, you need to humble yourself as a servant of Christ, and forever remember that He both qualifies you and places you. Always stay focused on Him; always point to Him.

“But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” – Exodus 18:21 [NIV]

“Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.” – Deuteronomy 1:13 [ESV]

 

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Colossians Study: Good Words

[Colossians 4:1-18]

5- 6 [CEV] “When you are with unbelievers, always make good use of the time. Be pleasant and hold their interest when you speak the message. Choose your words carefully and be ready to give answers to anyone who asks questions.”

  • Always make good use of time
    • Walk in wisdom.
    • Use your head. Don’t miss a trick.
    • Remember it’s when you act the fool that all eyes are upon you.
    • Be honest (we all need Jesus) and point to Jesus in all you do.
  • Be pleasant & hold their interest
    • Be gracious in your speech – grace stoops down and brings up
    • Speech seasoned with salt (salt elevates)
  • Choose words carefully
    • Words can build up and tear down, encourage or kill
    • Consider the motives for your words before you speak
    • Grace with Truth. Not one or the other.
    • Consider what God’s Word says—and say that!
  • Be ready to give answers
    • Always be prepared to answer questions.
    • One is prepared to answer questions from Bible reading & study, daily prayer, and the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. It’s God’s Word that gives the answers and God’s Spirit which leads the way. You aren’t in this alone.
    • Don’t fear being asked questions. No one knows all the answers. When in doubt, admit you don’t know and seek answers together. It is better to say you do not know and look together than to be proud and pretend you know and lead someone down the wrong path. Stand for truth at all cost. Seek the Truth always.

Bible Study Questions:

1) The Bible says we are to make good use of time, walking in wisdom. What does that mean? Do we always have to be so serious?

2) The Bible says we are to be pleasant and hold the person’s interest. What does that mean?

How do you hold someone’s interest without trying to entertain them with the aim of making Jesus “more exciting”?

What does “speech seasoned with salt” mean to you?

3) The Bible says we are to choose our words carefully. What happens when our speech is all truth? What happens when our speech is all grace?

How can we use words that build up instead of tear down whenever we speak?

4) The Bible says we are to be ready to give answers. Does it mean we always have to know the answer? What does it mean to be ready? If we don’t know the answer, what are some ways we can respond?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Lights Out

Signing your name to something is often known as an endorsement. When you sign a check, you are endorsing it. By signing your name on the check, you are giving your word that there is money in your bank account to cover whatever amount is on the check. In life we endorse more than just checks. We can endorse people by giving them a written or verbal reference, or by slapping a bumper sticker on our car. We can endorse products by writing a review. When an accountant prepares your tax returns, he endorses the returns by signing them. When a person inspects your vehicle, that inspection sticker is an endorsement, stating that the car passed inspection per the state codes.

But what happens when one endorses something but it turns out to not be good? Often when a person’s word was trusted but found to be unworthy of trust, there is a loss of moral authority. This past week, I was on the bad end of a faulty endorsement. My family was blessed with a new van; however, the fellow that sold the vehicle promised to inspect it so it could have a fresh inspection sticker good for another year. I was happy and appreciative of the gesture. I was not happy a few days later; however, when I found myself being pulled over by a police officer for malfunctioning lights. They would have been checked with the inspection. What do you mean a few are out? How could that be? Today a different mechanic looked at the van and said he never saw anything like it. So many bulbs that weren’t working, among other items that would have failed with a state inspection. It was clear that I would never do business with the man that sold the van again. He lost my trust.

Integrity and moral authority are important; however, the world does not pay much attention to these items anymore. It is so often that one can lie and cheat their way to the top. We have accepted some sins as not-so-bad and traded the truth for a lie. We will endorse anything, not caring what it will do to our moral authority. Doing our best for God’s glory is put on the back-burner. Power, pleasure and possessions trump grace and truth. Today, remember God’s word reminds us we are not part of this world. We have a higher calling. Walk with integrity friends. You may be the only gospel a person reads. Point to Jesus.

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” – Proverbs 11:3 [NIV]

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2 [NIV]

Integrity

Honesty. Moral uprightness. Integrity. It is something you are not just given. It is something you earn. It is something you can lose in the blink of an eye. It is something of great importance. Often in our society today we don’t see its importance. We see people in the limelight fall from great heights, months go by and they are back on top. But understand this isn’t integrity—this is fame. In the real world, what you don’t see on television or read in the paper or online, when a person loses his or her moral authority, it is not so easy to reclaim.

Integrity is something to value—it is something that will help you to be of great use to God’s Kingdom. Recently I was told about a person who was walking around sharing the Good News with everyone she met. She understood the importance of the Great Commission. Yet her technique was forceful and judgmental, absent of love. Even more so, integrity was not a word one used to describe her. She spoke of God’s Word, but she lived something very different. The end result was people turning away.

Today I implore you to understand the importance of your integrity. Yes each of us will fall short, each of us will sin. But let us seek strength and encouragement from the Spirit so that we can be men and women of integrity, godly examples that reflect Christ. This is something we cannot do alone; we can only do this through Christ. But living a life of moral uprightness will share Christ with more people than your words. That is a true testimony.

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.” – Psalm 15 [NIV]

As an Angel

In 1 Samuel 29, we read of Achish telling David that he is “blameless in (his) sight as an angel of God.” Those are some kind words for David. Even so, the Philistines were going off to battle, but they didn’t want David to go with them. They were concerned that he would become an adversary if he accompanied them.

In verse 3, we read, “I have found no fault in (David) to this day” (ESV). Though “the lords do not approve” Achish recognized David as “honest” and “found nothing wrong” (v. 6 ESV). David was a man with a good reputation. He was trusted by those who knew him.

Today consider the words one would say about you. Would people say you are honest? Would people find any fault with you? Would they speak kind words? We are to please God rather than man (Acts 5:29). As we live a life pleasing to God – obeying His Word and following His will, we too will be on the receiving end of kind words. People will take notice as you rebel against the world, as you live differently than what the world says. Stand up for the truth and you will stand firm.

“And Achish answered David and said, ‘I know that you are as blameless in my sight as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the commanders of the Philistines have said, ‘He shall not go up with us to the battle.’” 1 Samuel 29:9 [ESV]

And Mean It

 

We often say things but do not mean what we say. We make promises we don’t keep. We give our word but do not keep it. Even when we pray, we simply recite words that we have said again and again.

Tradition is great. I cherish many traditions; however, we need to be careful that we do not become so routine with our relationship with Christ that we only spend time repeating the same words over and over again. You do not have to recite the same words as the person sitting beside you at church when you are praying. You should not be praying the exact same prayer everyday as your life is continually changing. When you are doing this, your prayer life has become a duty rather than a real conversation with God.

Your Father loves you and He wants so much for you to pour your heart out to Him. He knows what is on your heart but He wants to hear it from you. He wants you to open up and let Him in. When you pray, He is listening. Pray and mean it. Every word you say. Pour yourself out to Him.

“God’s there, listening for all who pray,
for all who pray and mean it.”

-Psalm 145:18 [MSG]

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My Complaint

There’s a phrase that I often hear from people when I ask them how they are doing. I guess I will say I am okay. It does no good complaining. No one cares anyway. Now for my complaint…

It really upsets me to hear people say things like this because I know that no matter what, someone cares. Always. And yes, complaining too much is a bad thing. The Israelites spent a lot of time grumbling in the Wilderness. But there are moments when we are upset and it is okay to verbalize our feelings.

I am currently reading the Book of Psalms. As I page through, again and again I read of the Psalmist crying out to God, pouring out his emotions. There is no holding back. There is nothing but pure, honest truth. And yes, there is some complaining. Today I want to remind you that God cares about you and EVERYTHING you are going through. And there are people in this world who care as well. Don’t go through your days not opening up and connecting. If you keep everything to yourself, then you are not really having a relationship at all.

“The cuts in my flesh stink and grow maggots
because I’ve lived so badly.
And now I’m flat on my face
feeling sorry for myself morning to night.
All my insides are on fire,
my body is a wreck.
I’m on my last legs; I’ve had it—
my life is a vomit of groans.”

-Psalm 38:5-8 [MSG]

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We Will Do It

Jeremiah 42 discusses something that we can see again and again in life. The people asked Jeremiah to pray to God for them. They wanted to have their prayers answered. They told the prophet that if he would seek out the Lord for them, they would do whatever God said. The problem was when they found out what God desired. They would not obey.

When you seek God, do you seek Him to hear what you want or do you seek Him with the intention to follow? Do you start out with good intentions only to back down when you find that His plan is more of a challenge than you imagine. Do you have a measuring stick faith where you have only a certain distance you will go?

Judah was told not to go to Egypt. He didn’t want them there. He wanted them to trust in Him. They said they would listen to His commands but when they received them, they changed their minds. Today when you pray to the Lord, remember that the answer may not be what you expect. Even so, when we follow God we are to be all in. We cannot ask but turn away every time we don’t get the answer we want. God has a much better plan than you or I can imagine. He wanted Judah to trust Him. He wants you to trust Him.

“Listen, you remnant of Judah. The LORD has told you: ‘Do not go to Egypt!’ Don’t forget this warning I have given you today. For you were not being honest when you sent me to pray to the LORD your God for you. You said, ‘Just tell us what the LORD our God says, and we will do it!’ And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the LORD your God any better now than you have in the past.” – Jeremiah 42:19-21 [NLT]

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Dishonest Scales

Scales have a way to be leveled out to zero so that the weights are accurate. When doing business, you want to be sure that scales are zeroed out so that you are not overcharging or undercharging a person. When weighing yourself, you usually first check that the scale is on zero because you do not want any help adding more pounds to your weight.

Over the years, many people have done things to their scales to overcharge people. Extra weight was added to make it charge more. Gasoline pumps were configured to give less gasoline for the price. These things are actions of greed and God detests greed. The proverb continues to say that “he delights in accurate weights.” Accurate weights are true weights. They are honest weights. There is effort taken to be sure that they are accurate.

The person with accurate weights goes the extra mile to always ensure that the weights are accurate. They take the time because they are honest. They are of good character. They walk with integrity. The Lord delights in their honesty. The Lord delights in the Truth. Today’s a great day to check the scales in your life.

“The LORD detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights.” – Proverbs 11:1 [NLT]

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Facing the Music

At times we slip up and end up having to face the music. I would say it is usually not fun; however, it is a part of life. When you make a mistake, make the wrong decision, go against the rules, etc., there are consequences. This morning my daughter didn’t want to school, because she knew she would have to face the consequences of forgetting her homework at school. She understood she deserved the punishment for missing her homework, but she didn’t want to face the hardship of the punishment.

I have taken notice to a lot of parents who try to keep their children from punishment and discipline. I use the word “discipline” also because punishment is given to those for justice of wrongdoing, but discipline is training that will help correct and perfect a person. I have heard a parent say, “Well I feel bad for him.” It is okay to empathize about the situation, because we have all had to undergo consequences; however, we cannot try to teach them to avoid the consequences. We cannot tell them ways to get around facing the music.

In the Bible, we have a lot of promises of blessing and of love. We can read some verses standing alone and feel like we are basking in the love of the Father and the world is ours. But if the Bible is read closely, there is another side that people like to leave out of the equation. There is punishment and discipline in life. There are consequences. Our consequence for sin is separation from God. We have redemption through the blood of Christ; however, it doesn’t give us a free pass to go on sinning, nor does it change the fact that there are consequences for our actions. We are not perfect either, and so we need discipline to help make us a better person.

Today, maybe you have some consequences that you need to face for your actions. Perhaps you have been putting off being honest because you do not want to face what comes next. Or maybe you are a parent and you try to shield your child from facing punishment. Please know that if you “protect” your child from punishment, then you are saying that their actions are okay. You are teaching the child that they do not deserve the punishment.

My daughter went to school today without her homework. She will be stuck serving time instead of enjoying recess. It will help her to understand that she needs to remember to do her homework. We all make mistakes and misjudgments; we all face the consequences. Nonetheless, if you are honest about your shortcomings and you face the music, you experience personal growth and you become a better person. You may not see it at first, but understand that God loves you and He wants the very best for you.

For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
– Hebrews 12:10-11 [NASB]