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"....but the Lord Tests the Heart."

Another great bible study this past Friday evening, Brothers and Sisters chewing on the incredible word of Our Savior Jesus Christ. As Psalm 133: 1 says “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”, But, I digress……

We were in Genesis Chapter 33 and a thought was offered about Esau’s attitude towards Jacob at their meeting. Esau seemingly had forgiven Jacob of all the things that had decades earlier provoked Esau to kill Jacob. In kicking this notion around we began to contemplate what kind of attitude we as Christians should have towards people we run into daily. How we react to various people in various circumstances. This has caused me to consider what is “Christian Character” (?) and I share the following thoughts I have gleaned from an article in gotQuestions.org.

Character is defined as strength of Moral Fiber. Merriam Webster defines character as “one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual”.  A W Tozer described character as “the excellence of moral beings”. Honesty, and Charity are noted as qualities of good character. We see in the scriptures that Ruth (Ruth 3:11), Hanani (Nehemiah 7:2), David (Psalm 78:72) and Job (Job 2:3) are described as having Noble Character. These lives were distinguished by persistent moral virtue. It is to be noted that an individual’s character should be based on an individual’s general tendencies and not on a few isolated actions. For example King David was a man of good character (1 Samuel 13:14) although he sinned on occasion (2 Samuel 11).King Ahab may have had noble actions once 1 Kings 22:35) yet overall he was a man of bad character (1 Kings 16:13).

Character is influenced and developed by our choices. This is a notion I can recall my wife continually bringing to the attention our kids. As Daniel resolved not to defile himself in Babylon (Daniel 1:8), so are we reminded that Godly choices are an important 1st step in developing Godly integrity.

It is the Lords purpose to develop character within us, and is the result of the Sanctification process of the Holy Spirit. “Character in the believer is a consistent manifestation of Jesus in his or her life.”

“You test the heart and are pleased with integrity” (1 Chronicles 29:17). Character is developed by: Controlling our thoughts (Philippians 4:8, practicing Christian Virtues (2 Peter 1:5,6) guarding our hearts (proverbs 4:23) and keeping good company 1 Corinthians 15:13)

Men and women of character will set a good example for others to follow, and their godly reputation will be evident to all (Titus 2:7,8).      …. Larry

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Blessings in Disguise

I heard a song today by Laura Story, I have heard it many times, but maybe today is the first time I actually “heard it.”  In truth I was having a Bad Day and was more than a little upset when the song played. The name of her song is “Blessings” and the chorus is as follow……

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching’s of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Sounds like trials and tribulations are a good thing, something a merciful God may use to bless us? Why would a loving God allow us to go through hardships, worry and fear? If He loved us would he not take these things out of our lives? Romans 8:28 reminds us “He works all things together for good” for us. I would suppose “all things” means trials and tribulation as well as grace, mercy and joy. Trials and tribulation must have a purpose. God’s purpose for our lives is to grow us into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29). Everything we go through in life, the good and the not so good and yes the “extremely not so good” help us to grow into that image of our Lord Jesus. It is called Sanctification, being set apart for God. 1 Peter 1:6-7 tells us “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ”.   The New international readers version says Because you know all this, you have great joy. You have joy even though you may have had to suffer for a little while. You may have had to suffer sadness in all kinds of trouble. 7 Your troubles have come in order to prove that your faith is real. Your faith is worth more than gold. That’s because gold can pass away even when fire has made it pure. Your faith is meant to bring praise, honor and glory to God. This will happen when Jesus Christ returns.’  So thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ……. Larry

 


 

 

 

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Go El (Hebrew for Kinsman Redeemer)

We enjoyed a very good teaching today on the "Kinsman Redeemer". The Go El or Kinsman Redeemer is one who delivers or rescues. The Go El is a male relative who is privileged to act on behalf of a relative who is in need. The book of Ruth illustrates very clearly the concept of a Kinsman Redeemer. In Chapteer 3 we see Ruth, clearly in need and unable to rescue herself (and take care of Naomi). She Requests of Boaz (Kinsman Redeemer) that he cover her with his protection, redeem her and make her his wife. In this same way, Our Lord Jesus  has bought us for Himself, out of our destitution and sin, and has made us His own bride. He has blessed us for all generations. Jesus is the true "Kinsman Redeemer" of all who call on Him in faith.  ................Larry

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