Friday, October 2, 2015


Great CHARACTER is known by the desires of our heart, by our hope in the unseen, by our reliance on help from God and by our request for discernment and wisdom.  Character accounts the sum of our values lived out fearlessly. As we become less interested in how we are perceived and more interested in how Jesus is perceived, we consider each word spoken, each action taken...with a hope to glorify God.  Without the shadow of our image, we can clearly reflect, as in a looking glass, more of Him and less of us.  The character of God is unchanging, unchallenged, undisputed, unmatched, and never undone by our choices.  What about our personal legacy? How will our life, our imprint, our contribution best linger? Like Solomon, will we be remembered because of our reflections and our praise of God for the times we witnessed God work miracles through ordinary people? 1 Kings 3:1-15 The Message: Solomon arranged a marriage contract with Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He married Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her to the City of David (Jerusalem) Meanwhile, the people were worshiping at local shrines because at that time no temple had yet been built to the Name of God. Solomon loved God and continued to live in the God-honoring ways of David his father, except that he also worshiped at the local shrines, offering sacrifices and burning incense. (God chose Solomon, He knew his heart, and his intent to honor God by his style of worship) The king went to Gibeon, ( 7 miles away from Jerusalem) the most prestigious of the local shrines, to worship. He sacrificed a thousand
Whole-Burnt-Offerings on that altar. That night God appeared to Solomon in a dream: God said, “What can I give you? Ask.”  Solomon said, “You were extravagantly generous in love with David my father, and he lived faithfully in your presence, his relationships were just and his heart right. And you have persisted in this great and generous love by giving him—and this very day!—a son to sit on his throne.  “And now here I am: God, my God, you have made me, your servant, ruler of the kingdom in place of David my father. I’m too young for this, a mere child! I don’t know the ropes, hardly know the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of this job. And here I am, set down in the middle of the people you’ve chosen, a great people—far too many to ever count.  “Here’s what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their
own is capable of leading your glorious people?”  God, the Master, was delighted with Solomon’s response. And God said to him, “Because you have asked for this and haven’t grasped after a long life, or riches, or the doom of your enemies, but you have asked for the ability to lead and govern well, I’ll give you what you’ve asked for—I’m giving you a wise and mature heart. There’s never been one like you before; and there’ll be no one after. As a bonus, I’m giving you both the wealth and glory you didn’t ask for—there’s not a king anywhere who will come up to your mark." One person's wise choice can and has changed a whole nation. Ruth, Joshua, Esther, David, Solomon, Jesus. Do you count on God to use you to positively influence your mate, child, neighbor, co-worker, or friends? When we FEEL His presence, are we convicted by His Holy Spirit to be a Godly example when faced with choices that could possibly compromise our faith?  As citizens of heaven, we are here on a mission, chosen by God, and equipped by the Holy Spirit to make a difference for His kingdom. When we are convicted to HOLD on to GOD, we stand upon a certain BELIEF in Jesus Christ as Lord, and in the inspired whole Word of God.  
Charles Baker was raised in a small town in Texas. As he shared a message on character, Charles reflected on his dads trustworthy character. His dad owned a store and the people of this small town signed their name to a book for goods purchased. His dad trusted the people of his town to be honorable and PAY their debt. Amazingly, the old ranchers did. Our character is built upon the promises we give and keep.  Our character is defined by our choices to trust in God, no matter the circumstance, challenge or criticism. Our character is more than a reputation, it is based upon the relationships that we  treasure. Who is worthy of your ear? Who is more worthy of your lingering gaze?  Is it a sports writer, a politician, a great orator, actor, singer or Jesus Christ?  Character building moments are when we face the choice to NOT act like the majority, but to separate ourselves and honor God with our every request for His help, His assistance, His presence, His wisdom.  Choosing what we watch on TV, who we listen to, and what person we select  as our friend, these choices measure our character.  Daniel is a great example of a man who lived according to his strong relationship with a trustworthy Holy God. Daniel's choice to not eat meat, to not drink wine positively influenced his friends to do the same.  His conviction to trust God could have cost him his life, but in the end, Daniel a foreigner to Babylon, became the adviser to the King. 
Who is watching you?  Are you being a godly example?
A. Daniel chose to keep the Law of Moses when he was a teenager.
B. Daniel's choice to live in obedience to the Lord set an example for other Jewish youths. 
C. Daniel's confidence in God gave him the boldness to risk a different diet.
D. Daniel committed to being true to the Word of God. King Nebuchadnezzar had an alarming dream, the Lord gave Daniel the interpretation and Daniel told the king the truth.
E. Daniel's honest relationship with God gave him courage and the conviction that he was not going to bow down to any other god. When Nebuchadnezzar made an image of himself and commanded all the people to bow down to it, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused, even though they faced being thrown into a burning furnace.
F. Daniel could not be persuaded by the threat of death to deny God. 
     G. Daniel was taught by his parents to stand firm and obey the law no matter what. 
H. Daniel studied the Word of God, he knew God would do what He promised. 
I.  Daniel loved the Lord, he was devoted to God. The Word of God empowered him. 
J. Daniel committed to obey God and he proved it with his actions and choices. 

    1) Daniel won his first battle when he refused to defile himself with the king’s food. His companions followed his example and trusted God for their safety in a foreign place. 
     2) Because Daniel was a person of high standards and moral character, his obedence opened doors for him to counsel and influence kings to listen to the one true God.
     3) God gave him favor with the kings. Although Daniel was a foreigner who held firmly to his Hebrew beliefs, he was promoted to the highest places of authority by every king he served. Instead of persecuting him for speaking the truth, they raised him up.
    4) God endowed Daniel with one of the most important prophecies in His Word. Because Daniel had remained a trustworthy and obedient servant in the midst of the Babylonian culture, the Lord entrusted him with amazing prophecies about future events.
God is looking for followers of Christ, doers of His word. In the face of threat or temptation to compromise for pleasure, ease or profit ~ are you ready to answer WHY you believe? 
A. What convictions guide your conduct?  Write them down.
B. What convictions are you unwilling to compromise? No negotiation! 
C. Are you firm when faced with losing comfort, money, the familiar or a friend? 
Dr Charles Stanley's Conclusion: "Godly character is a quality that is worth far more than anything you could gain or lose. If we are Ambassadors for God, we must not give in to fear of criticism, rejection, failure, or loss. One strong, uncompromising, obedient child of God is a powerhouse of influence, who—like Daniel—can impact a nation."  Let us be mindful of our impact for our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ.

HELP IN TIME OF TROUBLEGod knows the Christian life is not easy. And it never will become easy, no matter how long we live. In this world, we will face opposition, both from the world and from the enemy of our souls, the devil. Jesus told us, “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16:33).
As foreigners, we are constantly surrounded by opposition, by the enemy who plots to destroy our mission on earth. To live in a way that pleases God,  we must be subject to His will, we must surrender our inferior ways and develop endurance. The saints before us endured stoning, rejection, mockery, prison, and fierce opposition to their work.  Hebrews 11, is called the “Hall of Faith,” our heroes of faith.
We develop needed endurance by:
Receiving encouragement from God in His word and from others. The writer of Hebrews encourages us to ponder the lives of those he lists in chapter 11. He refers to them as “a cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1). We cannot see this great cloud of witnesses, but we can read about them in God’s Word and glean from their inspiring stories of endurance. Then among your friends of the faith, who do you know that has received a miracle healing, surprising open door, a changed heart?
Getting rid of hindrances. “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us” (12:1). This means we need to identify those things that could slow us down, including any wrong food, old habit of thinking the worst, or sin that God brings to our attention.
Running the race. Hebrews 12:1  “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” When the going gets rough, we don’t run away, but we persist, we press on. Our character is boosted as we act in confident trust, and the longer we persevere, the stronger our faith, our belief, our reliance on Jesus becomes. We depend on His strength to give us the endurance we require to finish well, not quit.
Fixing our eyes on Christ. Hebrews 12:2 advises “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Nothing helps us endure like seeing the final prize before us—and that prize is Christ Himself. Do you want the prize? Then you must endure. And Jesus promises to help you.