By Topic

Character

Friday

June 9, 2017

Tug-of-War

Read

Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”.

Think

You’re at a crowded restaurant jammed like a sardine in the waiting area. You see a seat open up and rush over to sit down. Finally, feeling nice and relaxed, you notice an elderly women standing nearby. You know you should offer her your seat, but you just sat down after standing in one spot waiting for forty-five minutes. Suddenly, your conscience starts playing tug-of-war. You try to ignore it until the Holy Spirit brings out the heavy artillery—and you keep hearing three words: “Love one another”. What do you do? As Christ followers, no longer bound by sin and shame, all we have to do is look to the cross for motivation to act. The inner turmoil we feel in such situations is the Holy Spirit prompting us to remember who we have become supernaturally in Christ versus our natural sin behavior.


As Christ followers, God has planted the seed of His Spirit in us, and His objective is to produce Spiritual Fruit in our lives. If we are ready to do battle, He is willing and able to bring in reinforcements to help us defeat character struggles, which we can’t do on our own. Every time we cooperate with God’s Spirit several things occur in our lives: A little more of our old self dies, it delights and moves the heart of God, it greatly impacts others when we put their needs above our own, and it will often provide the opportunity to share what Christ is doing in and through our lives.

Pray

Father God, I know I’m a self-centered sinner. Take my thoughts captive when I start thinking, “it’s all about me” versus all about Thee. Help me to love as Jesus loves. I seek to please You and am grateful for the blessing of Your Spirit.

Act

Seek to encourage someone today, and be willing to give of yourself if needed.

 

Tuesday

June 6, 2017

Call Me Righteous

Read

Matthew 1:19, “Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly”.

Think

Yesterday we talked about how confused and overwhelmed Mary’s parents must have been when she made her big announcement. Likewise, Joseph was devastated. He knew Mary was pregnant, and it didn’t take a DNA test or an appearance on Maury Povich to find out that he was “indeed not the father”. Put yourself in his shoes for a moment—the godly woman you thought you knew was suddenly pregnant. As Christ followers, we believe all things are possible through Christ. But—and it’s a big but—we know what a bitter pill that must have been to swallow.

Today’s scripture says that Joseph was a righteous man—now hold that thought. In biblical times, breaking an engagement involved far more than simply returning a ring. It was a binding agreement, which required a divorce prior to wedding day. Therefore, as a man considered righteous before God, he didn’t want Mary to become a societal outcast. So before reacting, he reflected on the situation. Describing someone as righteous is an incredible statement! It means they wait patiently for the Lord to guide their next step, and place the needs of others first. Today, if someone were to summarize your character in a single word, would they call you righteous? Marinate on that thought as you move throughout your day!

Pray

Father God, I love You with all of my heart! Help me to be a person of great character. I seek to glorify Your name with my actions, words, and deeds. Thank You, Lord, for loving me as a work in progress. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Act

Despite the hardships she was soon to endure, Mary still praised the Lord. Read her song of faithfulness in Luke 1:46-55. Journal words or phrases that stand out as a positive reference for the next time life hands you lemons.

Wednesday

May 31, 2017

Commit Your Way

Read

Psalm 37:5, “Commit your way to the Lord. Trust also in Him, and He will do it”.

Think

Commitment is pledging ourselves to a position no matter the cost. It is a powerful quality that stands at the core of every other great character trait. When we remain committed, we discover integrity and honor. And we experience a reality that would otherwise be absent in our lives. But there’s something else about commitment; it swims against the current of our culture. Our society is committed to being non-committal. Too many people would rather quit something than commit.

To get the most out of life, to experience all that God has in store for us, commitment to being who He wants us to be and doing what He wants us to do is crucial to our spiritual development. Are you committed to where you are, to others, and to God who loves you?

Pray

Ask God for the ability, strength, and courage to stay committed to those around you and most of all to Him. And pray for the conviction to be a shining example to others, as you remain accountable to finish the work set before you.

Act

Use today to focus on your commitment to God.

 

Wednesday

May 10, 2017

Spiritual Spotting

Read

I Timothy 4:7b-8, “Discipline yourselves to be godly. Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

Think

Fitness trainers don’t look like they do by accident. They spend countless hours every week working out. It takes discipline, commitment, and a certain level of sacrifice. Because as the saying goes, “No pain, No gain!” The same is true spiritually. We should be championing our children’s faith in Christ with the same intensity that body builders approach their daily workouts. With God as our ‘weight’, our foundation, we have the ability to tap into His supernatural power to lead our children into an everlasting relationship with Jesus. This unbelievable octane empowered by the Holy Spirit is what develops character, conviction, courage, and compassion within the family fitness center.

Parents, our main goal is not to develop scholarship athletes, famous superstars, or academic scholars. No, it is to lead our kids to be full-court followers of Christ. Today’s scripture says to ‘train in godliness’. Following the Deuteronomy 6 method, we can help them achieve a much greater calling. Verse 5 is the Greatest Commandment, to love God with every aspect of our being. Verse 6 says to commit wholeheartedly to His commands, and verse 7 says to repeat them continuously to our children in every facet of life. In doing so, we are their ‘spiritual spotters’ helping them to push past what they’d do normally. And it’s showing the importance of doing extra reps in God’s economy to gain a strong understanding of what it truly means to be a child of God.

Pray

Father God, help me commit to being a great spiritual spotter at church and at home. Place someone in my family’s path this week in need of Jesus. And give us an opportunity to invite them to experience Mother’s Day at Fellowship Church.

Act

Memorizing key scripture verses helps to revitalize our faith each day. Have your family memorize Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline”.

Thursday

May 4, 2017

Attention!

Read

Proverbs 29:17, “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire”.

Think

Infants quickly champion the art of manipulation in their cribs. Children are masters of both overt and covert hostile takeovers. Parents, beware! 24/7 catering and cratering to their demands is not what God wants! Do children need your undivided attention at times? Yes, but like oxygen, a life necessity, too much causes toxicity. Believe it or not, Moms and Dads, kids need to spend time alone. Children that act starved for attention are often receiving too much, not too little. Do not feed the frenzied “It’s all about me” monster. You know what’s best for your children. Just because they may get upset when you make a decision doesn’t mean it’s a bad decision. Just because they’re crying doesn’t mean you need to offer a quick fix. No child has ever cried itself to death. So, let them cry and they’ll soon learn they can’t always get their way.

Do you really love your child? Assuming the answer is yes, then lead them today to become who you want them to be tomorrow. What kind of adult do you want them to be? If you don’t want them to act entitled, self-absorbed, or lacking in life skills, you might want to consider the following. Don’t allow them to interrupt you in the middle of conversations. Teach them manners, such as saying please and thank you, so they learn to appreciate the daily things you do for one another. Don’t let them get away with breaking the rules. They must learn to respect authority and understand the consequences of bad behavior. Let them fail, be cautious not to step in too quickly. Failure isn’t fatal and God works through it to build character. Again, do you really love your children? Then train them to live out a “Greatest Commandment” life!

Pray

Give thanks to God for ‘lavishing His love’ upon you, and for the opportunity to raise children in a Christ-centered home. Ask Him to guide your decisions. Then thank Him again.

Act

Take advantage of the Parenting Classes starting this weekend at FC! There’s a Prep For Parenting class available for expectant parents and newborns, Parenting 101 for ages 1-3 years, Parenting 201 for ages 4 yrs-5th grade, and a Parenting Seminar for teens. To register click here, or for more information contact Jesse at 972-471-6738.

 

Wednesday

March 22, 2017

Invest In the Best

Read

I Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’”.
Proverbs 13:20, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”.

Think

We’re all familiar with sayings such as, “You are what you eat” “One rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch” and “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Today let’s focus on another idiom: “You are who your friends are”.  You see, when it comes to financial stewardship, one of our greatest investments should be in great people with great character. We are far better at managing our money God’s way when we cultivate and maintain quality relationships built on trust. Conversely, we will never be who God wants us to be if we refuse to change or limit relationships with those still involved in sinful activities or harmful habits. Who is in your inner circle? Who is your bestie? Do they know Christ personally?

We all know that Christianity is not a solo sport. We were created for community. I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up”. Our best friends should be our allies of encouragement if we are having financial difficulties. Often in such circumstances, we need to be held accountable for our spending, and accountability emerges from affinity. Proverbs 27:7 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. Again, who are you spending the lion’s share of your time with? Reckless spenders or wise investors? Because it’s also said that if you hang around with trash long enough you start to smell like trash. And, the kind of friend you are is the kind of friends you will attract. When we invest in God’s best in every way, we will pass the test every time and be blessed for it.

Pray

Father God, thank You for giving us Your best in Christ, the ultimate relational role model. Help me to choose friends wisely and to be a great friend to others. May I honor You today with my words and actions. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Act

What people or circumstances do you need to avoid? Is bad company corrupting your attempt to improve your character? With these thoughts in mind, memorize Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds”.

 

Tuesday

November 8, 2016

Speaking the Truth in Love

Read

I Corinthians 16:13-14, "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love".

I Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love".

Think

When a child misbehaves a parent might say, "I love you too much to tolerate that kind of behavior". And as grown ups, there are times we have to deal with certain personalities that we find almost intolerable to be around. Unfortunately, now we are even saying that about the current presidential candidates. But the word tolerance has far greater implications than any specific behavior or characteristic. It is the willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs different from our own. As believer's, we must accept everyone. Why? Because, we will never lock eyes with anyone that Jesus didn't die for. Everyone matters to God.

In today's culture—a world sinking in a sea of moral relativism—truth is subject to individual feelings and proclivities. Everybody must not only accept everyone else's beliefs but approve of them and celebrate their differences. However, we cannot confuse acceptance with approval. Hence this faux tolerance contradicts exactly what it espouses. Those who are so emphatic about the approval of all lifestyles claim that anyone who speaks to the contrary is being intolerant. But aren't the 'tolerance watchdogs' being just as intolerant? It's crazy, so what do we do? We accept everyone, but we don't have to approve of their actions. Remember, Jesus loved the religious elite enough to call out their blatant hypocrisy. Thus, we aggressively love one another enough to speak the truth in love.

Pray

Pray for our country in the midst of the current divisive political climate. And yield to God as you pray for His sovereign will to be done.

Act

Every vote counts! So if you haven't voted yet—today's the day!

Monday

August 22, 2016

Singled Out

Read

I Kings 18:16-18, “So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, ‘Is that you, you troubler of Israel?’ ‘I have not made trouble for Israel,’ Elijah replied. ‘But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the LORD’s commands and have followed the Baals.’”
Matthew 16:24, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me”.

Think

In most circumstances, we don’t like the feeling of being singled out in a crowd. It goes against the grain of our being, because we crave acceptance and approval. As Christ followers, it’s not always easy to take a stand for the absolute truth of God’s Word in today’s relativistic culture. However, this is nothing new. The nation of Israel had fallen prey to corruption and idol worship. God sent the prophet Elijah to take a solo stand against the Israelites with a message of repentance. His stance on obedience and righteousness was not well received, and led to some major opposition. Nonetheless, his single-minded devotion to the Lord, led God to show up for Elijah in a major way.

Jesus said it is impossible to serve two masters. And He said to consider the cost of being His disciple. He never said it would be easy or the most popular thing to do. He said to expect conflict. This means not always getting invited to every party and maybe having a smaller group of friends—and that’s okay! When we single-mindedly place our faith in the one true living Lord the rewards are both exceptional, eternal, and pleasing to our great God.

Pray

Ask God to reveal any double-mindedness within your thoughts, words, actions, or deeds. And call upon the Holy Spirit to strongly convict your heart in moments of temptation.

Act

Reflect upon a time in the past when you went against the crowd to stand up for the right thing. Was it difficult? Did you waver at first? What was the initial outcome? Having experienced this moment is it now easier to stand up for God’s truth? Although initially difficult what have you gained from the experience in the long run?

 

Friday

July 15, 2016

Consistency is Key

Read

I Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain”. 2Thessalonians 3:13, “As for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right”.

Think

Can you imagine how much more wheels-off our world would be if God had said to Moses on Mount Sinai, “You know what? Scratch what I said about the 10 Commandments and just jot down a few brief notes about the difference between right and wrong”. What if Paul started each new church and merely relayed the rudiments of the gospel, and said, “Here you go. Feel free to make your own creative changes”? What if you showed up every weekend to attend church, but it only occurred on random unspecified weekends? Where would we be as the body of Christ? It’s inconceivable. We rely on the consistency of God’s Word and weekend worship.

Almost all successful business models claim that consistency is the key to success. Likewise, consistency is paramount in our walk with Christ. There are no such things as part-time Christians. Our morals and virtues are not on some sliding scale. Biblical truth is truth. There are no disclaimers or conditional clauses. God has never given us a command that He later decided to retract. He never changes, and is the same—past, present, and future. And because we are created in His image, we must strive to be consistent in every aspect of our lives: relationally, maritally, vocationally, physically, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually.

Pray

Thank God for providing the perfect model of consistency embodied in Christ. And ask God to show you any areas of inconsistency in your life. Then thank Him again for the consistency of His faithfulness and provision.

Act

Write down the following words: relationships, spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, work, exercise and diet, emotions, and faith. Note areas of both consistency and inconsistency. Then spend some time considering what habits can be formed or replaced to improve on your less consistent areas.

Wednesday

March 9, 2016

Be a Blessing

Read

“But just as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7

Think

We’ve been learning about the fact that God is a generous God and He wants us to reflect that generosity as well. But it’s more than performing acts of generosity every now and then. Reflecting God’s generosity to the world around us is something that should permeate every area of our lives. To put it simply, generosity is all about our attitude. What it comes down to is your attitude toward God, toward others, and toward the things God has given you.

Generosity is something that goes far beyond just doing things for others; it’s all about using the things God has given you to reflect His character. Do you recognize God as your blessor? Do you see the blessings of God as things that you can use to glorify Him? Or do you think they are things that you can use to glorify yourself? Be sure to hold on loosely to the blessings of God, and remember that generosity is all about your attitude!

Pray

Pray for opportunities to reflect God’s generosity to the world. Pray for a heart that beats fast for God and for a perspective on your “stuff” that God wants you to have.

Act

Take a look at the list you made yesterday of all that God has blessed you with. Next to each item, write down one way you can use that thing to bless others.

 

Friday

August 14, 2015

Light of the World

Read

“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14

Think

This week, we’ve talked about three major keys to maximized influence: conviction, compassion, and character. But the question remains, how can I use my influence to benefit the people around me? Scripture tells us that we, as followers of Christ, are the light of the world! (Matt 5:14) The church, our community of believers, shares a responsibility to reach out to the “idle, fainthearted, and weak” and invite them to experience God for themselves. Where? The local church.

God has called us to be a beacon of light and hope to the people around us so that we can lead them to Christ. Take that first step – invite them to church.

Pray

Who was the “light” that brought you to church for the first time? Thank God that He placed that person in your life. Pray that God will use you that same way in someone else’s life.

Act

Read Matthew 5:13-16. Ask God to show you areas in your life where you can be a light.

Thursday

August 13, 2015

Your character!

Read

"And this is the secret: Christ lives in you." Colossians 1:27

Think

To have influence on those around us, we’ve got to have conviction (like we ready about a few days ago). We’ve got to have compassion (like we read about yesterday). But we’ve also got to have the right character. There’s an old football coach who was quoted as saying, “Your reputation is your reflection; your character is your face.”

Character is who you are when no one is looking. And after all, who you are when no one is looking is who you really are. The world needs the kind of people who will do what is right, even if no one is there to see it.

As Christ followers, we have the power and potential to be people of strong moral and ethical character. We can tap into the power of Christ every day to help us accomplish His purpose and His mission. We can be the kind of influential people that can change everything – if we are willing to stand with character. Do you have the character of Christ in you?

Pray

Pray for the character that God wants you to have, that you would be able and willing to display that character every day.

Act

Write a list of people you have influence with (friends, teachers, co-workers, etc.) Now say a specific prayer with these people in mind for the kind of character God wants you to have to make a difference in their lives.

Friday

February 20, 2015

An attitude of gratitude

Read

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

Think

We all rub shoulders with other people, from acquaintances to our closest friends. And God wants our connection to those people to be meaningful, intentional, and powerful. The right THEY in our lives don’t just happen. This entire series, “Fifty Shades of They,” is all about learning to be intentional about who we surround ourselves with.

Every relationship you have is an opportunity to grow in your own life and a chance to influence someone else to grow in theirs. Are you intentional in your interactions? Are you focused in your friendships? Are you surrounded by the right THEY?

Pray

Thank God for creating you as a relational being. Ask Him for direction and discernment in developing meaningful, powerful relationships in life.

Act

Write a list of the three most important relationships in your life. Over the next day, tell each of these people what they mean to you. And remind them that THEY are the right they!