Topic | Character

Posts Categorized: Character

How to Be Bitter

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Bitter from Birth There exists a brilliant prescription for bitterness and we do not even have to wait in line at the CVS to pick it up. We are just born with it. From birth we have assumed that we are the center of the universe, that all of life and those other creatures we see around us exist to serve us. If we have very godly parents and at least one sibling, this notion becomes diffused a bit, though we suspect that the operating law is still valid but must be obeyed in light of several (annoying) amendments. We. . .
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Reflections on a Faithful Life

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The Legacy As I write this, it is the eighth anniversary of my father’s death. I’ve gotten lots of comments from friends and family about the impact of his life on them. He wasn’t a well-known guy and didn’t have an extraordinary amount of earthly success. He came from a very poor upbringing, even by Depression standards. He left a successful and promising corporate retail career to care for his aged aunt and grandmother in Mississippi. He enjoyed relative anonymity in the country, while my mother became the successful merchant, choir director, and business woman. I think he preferred it. . .
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5 Ways to Judge if Good Activities Have Become Sinful

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Any amount of sin is too much. Any slander, drunkenness, covetousness, or lust is over the line for God’s people. But on a whole host of issues that aren’t sinful in themselves, it isn’t spelled out in Scripture how much is enough and how much turns an innocent pleasure into an occasion for repentance. The Bible doesn’t tell you how much money you should spend on yourself before giving the rest away, but it does warn against greed. The Bible doesn’t tell you how much time it’s acceptable to spend on Netflix, Facebook, or Twitter, but it does condemn sloth. . .
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Personal Rituals & Doing What Matters

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First I take the cream out of the fridge and pour a half cup into the bowl on the stove top next to the pot where the steel-cut oats will cook. This is so that the bowl and the cream will be warm after the oats are done. Walnuts, raisins, nutmeg, and cinnamon are also added to the cream (or sometimes eggnog instead of cream). The coffee beans are then ground and the French Press is also strategically place on the stove near the kettle and the small pot of oatmeal so that it too might be pre-warmed. Soon the. . .
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Profiling

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When I was born They looked at me and said What a good boy What a smart boy What a strong boy When you were born They looked at you and said What good girl What a smart girl What a pretty girl We’ve got these chains Hanging ‘round our necks People wanna strangle us with them Before we take our first breath Names, descriptions, categories, We are born with them, gifted or cursed with them, as we move into and through life. Parents, peers, teachers, drill sergeants, friends, and enemies all play Adam with our lives, for better and. . .
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Beware of Bitterness {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Beware of Bitterness (woman tasting sour lemon)

Situational Bitterness Whatever it is we think we deserve; we don’t. It seems merciless to strip our presumed entitlements of their sympathetic narratives and leave them standing stark naked in such unforgiving light. Why be so brutal about it? Because cherishing feelings of entitlement is just the type of thing that nourishes the root of poisonous bitterness and bears an abundance of rotten fruit. When the Israelites were preparing to enter the Land, they received a warning: Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord. . .
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How To Break Bad Habits & Develop Better Ones

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In a word, the daily life of the Christian is described by, Walk. This simple term captures the idea of incremental routine, of ‘steps’. All of us generally ‘go’ somewhere everyday and usually it is the same places (duties/responsibilities) and at the same pace (again, think: routine). But how we do these things—these everyday things—varies in quality, but more importantly, in godliness. Personal evaluation is vital for sanctification. Growing in Christ and living out our faith is to be natural; habitual. But what if our living habits produce a substandard life compared to what we are offered in Christ? How. . .
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Transform Your Bad Attitude into Beatitudes

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Beatitudes Are Scarce These Days In this time of intense political debate, I have providentially been working through the beatitudes in Matthew 5. There are two beatitudes that are connected that have jumped out at me in our present political context. In verse five, Jesus pronounces His blessing on the meek, which is fundamentally an attitude of selflessness. The meek person consciously puts the interest of others before himself and does not seek to defend or vindicate himself before others. He only seeks to be faithful to God and to love his neighbor and leaves the rest to God. He. . .
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Basement Tape #171: Fear

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AUDIO: Fear (Basement Tape #171)

We are told to “fear not” and yet we do. We fail to fear our own sin. And we are told to fear God and yet we don’t. Join us as we look at Fear, something we are supposed to have but only as God directs.

Don’t Be Too Nice {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Nice isn’t Everything If I were to ask you what are some desirable traits in a Christian woman, what would you say? Meek? Patient? Loving? Kind? Joyful? Submissive? These are all biblical words, but I’m afraid we often infuse them with mushy meaning they were never intended to carry. We have a tendency to amalgamate all the words descriptive of Christian character under the single moniker: nice. Now there’s a word that isn’t biblical. Jesus never said, “blessed are the nice.” God didn’t thunder from Sinai, “Thou shalt be nice.” We have adopted this idea, I suspect, because niceness has. . .
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Be Open to Change

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What are we really saying when we say, “That’s just who I am”? It is good to understand our strengths and weaknesses, but we shouldn’t close ourselves off to change. God works change in the lives of Christians throughout our lifetimes, and this is a good thing.

Be True {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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The Devil is a liar, the father of all lies, and every minute we spend wallowing in unbelief of the truths of God, we spend swamped by the lies of the devil. The supreme Liar will ooze falsehood, it is all he contains. Our Father, however, is true in all His being. Jesus promises us that His truth will lift us out of the soggy mire. If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.—John 8: 32 Here’s the thing. We all know. . .
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Be the Right Kind of Busy {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Filled Up Lives Admit it, you have been known to blink the a.m. crusties out of your eyes and respond to the call of your accumulated notifications even before you answer the pressing call of nature. You are not alone. Your priorities may not be completely rational, but you are not alone. Apparently, as a culture, we think it a reasonable assumption that something may have happened during the night which is so critical to the next two minutes that it just can’t wait; with more than one urgency calling for our attention, we may even try to multitask and. . .
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Seeing God in All Things

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Enjoying God’s Gifts God has given us good things in the world and not only for their base use. Food is a gift that serves our needs far more than for basic survival. We have food in all its varieties, colors, and flavors to see that God is good and gives us good things. The sun does many things for us, but to only see the thing in the sky that provides light is to only see the sun. The sun is bright, large, and powerful, for us to see the majesty and glory of the Triune God. God gives us. . .
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Don’t Be Stupid {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Crooked Perspective Christian women often have a hard time gaining a firm footing in life. Young girls want more freedom, like their friends. Single girls want Prince Charming, like in the movies. Married women want children, or more children, or grown up children because toddlers are exhausting, or to reverse time to when their kids were babies again because it all went too fast. Working women may want to stay home while stay-at-home moms see their lives as tedious. We too often grasp after circumstances to steady our stance when we should pursue righteousness in everything and leave the circumstances. . .
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Resolutions: Choosing Your Hard

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Woman making a choice.

It’s hard to be consistent. Inconsistency also brings its own kind of hardship into your life. Making useful goals and resolutions has more to do with choosing the kind of hard you will endure and focusing on prioritizing things that will have the most impact. Small changes can make a big difference in your day-to-day living.

When You Don’t Want a Fresh Start, You Just Want to Succeed

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Frozen Possibilities A new year might open up like a fresh can of paint full to the brim with vibrant possibility. On the other hand, it might dawn with piercing frigidity leaving you stone cold frozen. Festive tunes about sleigh rides and wonderlands aside, winter can be a pretty inhospitable season. I know, I am a Minnesota girl, born and raised. If you’ve never experienced the freezing of the contents of your nose upon inhaling the outside air, you don’t know what cold is. Even after relocating to more temperate climes, you never forget the kind of cold that makes. . .
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Basement Tape #165: Morality v. Holiness

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[Audio] Morality v. Holiness (Basement Tapes #165)

One of the purposes of the law is to make it clear that we are a very sinful people, it is not to be a point of pride for us. Pursuing morality tends to lead us to pharisaical behavior but pursing holiness leads us to Jesus.

Keeping Hope Alive While You’re Waiting

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Woman with a clock, waiting in hope.

Our earthly days are often strung together by threads of waiting. we catch it in mentions as our friends tell their stories: “I had given up on getting pregnant, and then along came little Jackson.” “I was nearly bankrupt when I landed that big contract.” “My sickness was undiagnosed for years, now I can finally get treatment.” “I was sure I would be single forever, and then I met Seth.” Most of us have stories of our own. Holding on to hope when fulfillment seems completely out of reach is not natural to us. We are plagued by doubts and. . .
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Viewing Your Children as Future Adults

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Developing Maturity Do all that you can to give your kids a wonderful childhood full of laughter, discovery, security, and grand memories, but always with a constant perspective toward their maturity. The idea here is to see how what you are doing is moving them forward toward maturity which then begs the question, “What is maturity?” Maturity is an evaluation of character development. Virtue equates to maturity but vice just means that you’ve gotten older while staying sinfully immature. For example, I am sure that you have noticed that babies are some of the most self-centered beings on the planet.. . .
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