SOME THOUGHTS ON CHARACTER

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. (Romans 12:11-16 ESV)

character of founding fathersHave you ever really thought about the many qualities of your own character? The quality of a Christian’s character is extremely important because it should reflect the glory of God. Would people describe you as manifesting the character of Jesus? Romans 12:11-16 describes the character of a mature Christian. I have listed a few of the important characteristics I find in the verses above:

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MEANINGFUL WORSHIP

Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! (Psalms 150:1-2 ESV)

How much attention do you give to your personal and corporate worship of God? If your worship is to glorify God, have you examined yourself to make certain that glorifying God is actually what you are doing? According to Jesus:

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24 ESV)

Without true worship, we cannot continue to grow in the blessing of His grace. Our consciousness of God’s presence in our lives begins to fade. Worship is not simply an outward act; it is the demonstration of a heart on fire for God. Have you experienced the joy of His pleasure in your worship? We need to reflect on our worship because it should be done according to God’s will, not ours.

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NO MORE GRUMBLING!

And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. (Numbers 14:26-27 ESV)

Do you grumble when things are not going your way? I have met people who seem to always make grumbling the major topic of their conversation. Once I have had an earful of their complaints about any and everything, I tend to try to avoid too many future conversations with them. After all, grumbling is like a communicable disease. Perhaps, when this occurs, I am not responding as a Christian should. I have a long way to grow in Christ, however, God promised Israel that those who were grumbling (age 20 and older) would die in the wilderness and never enter the promised land. (Numbers 14:28-30)

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WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM THE BIBLE?

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

Many of us read the Bible with the purpose of knowing it better. Often, however, we read the Bible without allowing it to change our lives. We may scan the Scriptures daily looking for some reinforcement of our own “core values” but without allowing the Scriptures to speak to us personally about sin and righteousness.

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TAKE YOUR SINS TO CHRIST

40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. (Mark 1:40-42 ESV)

Jesus_healing_lepersLeprosy is a terrible disease in which the early symptoms are almost imperceptible and occur slowly. It may begin with a single small red dot on the skin which eventually multiplies into painless skin lesions over the entire body. One form destroys the nerve endings so that parts of the body lose the feelings of touch and pain. Pieces of the body begin to rot and drop off. This includes the ears, nose, fingers, toes, and other parts of the flesh. Leprosy also increases vulnerability to all kinds of infectious diseases.

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MEDICINE FOR THE BROKENHEARTED

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17-18 ESV)

Have you ever suffered from a broken heart? Most people have on some occasion in their lives. Perhaps it occurred after the death of a family member; perhaps it was a divorce; maybe a devastating illness; or the loss of a job. A broken heart may happen because you were denied entrance into the university you had hoped to attend, or because someone you thought was your best friend has begun to ignore you in favor of a new friend. A broken heart may be simple or complex in its cause. None of us are exempt from suffering its effects. It may give us a feeling of hopelessness. Solomon wrote:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, (Proverbs 13:12 ESV)

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OVERCOMING SATAN

For some have already strayed after Satan. (1 Timothy 5:15 ESV)

Not only are you fighting against normal human problems, but you now have engaged in war with Satan and demons and sin itself. (John MacArthur)

Many no longer believe in Satan. They think that he is the product of the uneducated, superstitious mind. The Scriptures are largely ignored concerning Satan and his minions in our current free-thinking culture. We look at evil with enlightened eyes and see a disease which only needs the right medicine to cure it.

Evil thrives on being unacknowledged. It separates man from God. It is an unrelenting malevolence against mankind. This is a spiritual battle on a cosmic scale and most are blind to its existence. (2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV) How is the master of evil overcome? James, the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, writes:

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