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Posts tagged with: Character

Thoughts – Decisions – Reputations…Oh my!

I recently tweeted out a thought that was inspired by a fiction book I’m reading called “The Noticer Returns” by Andy Andrews… “Your thinking leads to your decisions which leads to results.  These 3 work together to create your reputation.  Guard your thoughts. Phil4:8”

As I prepare to teach another year at Joy Christian High School, I will also be taking on the discipline of students as part of the administrative team.  I’m thinking that not one single student should have to be disciplined.  The choices of the student is what leads to discipline having to happen.  I say the same thing about the incarcerated.  Every prisoner made a choice that led them to be in prison. Our prisons should be empty.  What choice did that student or that prisoner have to make that landed them in prison?  They weren’t forced.  They didn’t have to make the decision that landed them in trouble.  They chose to make the decision.  They chose to be in trouble. They chose to be incarcerated.  Again, they were not forced to make a decision that resulted in trouble.

This has me thinking about why people do what they do.  

I think there are some key words we must fully define before we can implement into our lives this phrase I tweeted out, referenced above.  We must define words like Integrity, Morality, and Character.  At first glance, I think these three words all seem to be the same thing.  Below you will understand this to be quite untrue. integrity

I think Integrity at its foundation means to be capable of doing what you were created to do.  A bridge can have integrity.  A seat belt can have integrity.  The chair you sit on.  Integrity deals with trustworthiness and reliability.

morality-logoI think Morality, at its foundation, means to be a person who is doing no wrong.  A moral person will not cheat, or steal, or lie. This is a great trait, but in my striving to fully grasp my tweet, we must get very technical.  One can be a very moral person and do nothing.  I can stay in bed all day, doing nothing, and still be a moral person.

So…are you grasping with me that a person can have great integrity and morals and do nothing?   Integrity is capable. Morality is doing no wrong. Character is where the magic starts to happen.

I think Character is active.  Character is defined in action.  Character is doing the right thing.  We actively build character. Character-Building

A person of integrity can see an injustice, not get involved, and still be a moral person.

A person of morals will not do wrong.

A person of character cannot sit still and do nothing…ever. Character has a spine. Character has action.  Character will still experience fear, but pushes through it.  Character cannot sit still.

A person of character uses their capability (integrity) and righteousness (morality) to DO!

Doing what is right is a result.  Results create reputations.

I could take the negative route here and show that just because there are results doesn’t mean morality and character are present. ie…Adolf Hitler produced many results.  But…I want to focus on the positive results…aka…holiness.

Integrity = Capability.

Integrity + Morality = Capability.

Integrity + Morality – Character = Capability.

Integrity + Morality + Character = Results.

It is not a compliment to be told that I am a person of potential.  Potential means capable, but capable doesn’t equal results. A person of potential means they have integrity and morals, but lack character.  Lacking character means lacking action.

A lack of character/action, I believe, simply demonstrates how you think about yourself.

A person of great potential is a person of integrity and morals but not action.  This could mean the person thinks poorly of themselves or of their abilities.  This could mean the person has allowed the world or someone in it to influence their identity instead of Jesus.

Jesus is your identifier.  He is the one who died so you could live.  He is the one who tells you how capable you are.  He is the one who tells you how moral you can be.  He is the one who created you to be of great character, thus action.  He is the one who commanded you to “Go” & “Do”.

This is all about your thinking.

“Your thinking leads to your decisions, which leads to results.”  This all creates your reputation.

I can’t think of a more important passage to back this all up other than Philippians 4:4-8.

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Take a minute to double check the character that is splashed all over that passage.  Remember, character is action.  So look at the last four words of verse 9.  “Put it into practice.”

Put what into practice?  Your thinking…as long as that thinking is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy!

Put your thinking into character, is exactly the same as putting your thinking into action.  I suppose it could be strangely translated to say, “put your integrity and morality into character!”

Since we are in Philippians 4…I can’t help but point out verse 13…

“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

all things

Do you believe you have that much character?  Do you believe that you can do all things?  I believe you do.  Way better yet…Jesus knows you do.  He made you that way.

We all know Philippians 4:13…and it can be intimidating, because our stinking thinking many times will tell us that we cannot do all things.  The problem is that we read verse 13 and then stop.  We read it as if it says, “I can do all things.”  But it doesn’t say that!  The rest of verse 13 & 14 dilutes the individual factor.

13b “through Christ who gives me strength.” &

14 “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.”

Please note…Nothing in that verse says “I” can do all things by myself.  It says “I can do all things with Christ.”

The Apostle Paul didn’t make it just a Jesus and “I” thing.  It is clear in verse 14 that Paul and Jesus shared in Paul’s troubles with the people of the Church in Philippi.  Paul didn’t do anything by himself.  Verse 14 basically says, “thank you for sharing my troubles with me.”

They did it together.  You were never created to go it alone…in anything.  Check your thinking on this.

Your thinking matters.  Your thinking is what creates your results/reputation.  Your thinking defines your integrity and your morals.  Thinking. Integrity. Morals. Character. They matter deeply because they create results. But…

When Jesus returns…I believe He will not judge us by our results…no…He will judge us by our thoughts.

How you think…is everything…It is your thinking that leads to the character you make everyday.


Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #11”

My God, My God, why have you abandoned me? –JC
Matthew 27:46 (NLT)

Are you a person of Integrity?
Is God a God of Integrity?

I don’t know the answer to the first question above, and I must say that I have only a very few things that I am absolutely positively for-sure about. The answer to the second question is one. Not only does God have integrity…He IS integrity.

Buckle in for this study. Its a long one. But its the foundation for all of Christianity. Its not one that we can just “cheap” our way through.

Understanding that God is all about integrity is the foundational understanding that is required to begin to comprehend what Jesus is saying when He tweets, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me.”

If God is Integrity…AND God has created some rules or laws for life, then God must follow His own rules or He wouldn’t be integrity…if He isn’t integrity then He isn’t God.

One more “foundational point” we must understand. Be patient with me in this teaching part. (Don’t get frustrated as you read this…keep reading and really put your thinking cap on.) Its important to understand the most essential parts of God are not just Integrity, but also His CHARACTER.

Character is WHO you are.
Integrity is HOW you live.

Character and Integrity are so closely linked. Just like the spelling of WHO & HOW. They are the same, yet different.

The Character of God is best described in these words. PERFECT/PURE. This character trait about God is what makes Him the best law giver/law creator/law follower/law officer/law judge. This is what makes Him the final authority. Because of this Perfection/Purity trait of God, God WILL NOT be in the presence of sin. Its really not that He won’t…its just impossible. It would be like saying you are going to take a little light and mix it with a little darkness. It would be like saying you are going to take intense heat and mix it with extreme cold. Its impossible. You just would end up with something totally different. The Bible is clear. God is the same, yesterday, today and forever.

Its important to understand this Integrity and character of God to fully grasp this Tweet of Jesus’.

If God is perfection/integrity/character/purity…this means then, when God creates a law, He must follow it Himself. So in Leviticus we can read about God creating the very first laws. The Core Law that God creates…which means…every other law stems from it, is Leviticus 17:11 “Life is in the Blood.” You can see how important this is even in reading about it in Genesis 9:4. “Life is in the Blood,” is best demonstrated when God says to Cain…after Cain killed Abel…”Cain, your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” I didn’t know that blood has a voice. Think about that. That paints a clear picture about “Life is in the blood.” The 2nd Core law that God creates is found in those same passages. “It is the blood given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible.”

I don’t think there can be any disagreement with you and me on this…. God IS Integrity/Character! God is Pure.

So when God uses HIs purity through Character and Integrity to form some basic principles of life…we end up with God laws. God Laws are things that God asks of us so that when we do them we live full lives that are healthy and Character and Integrity and Pure, which allows us to stay in His presence. When we chose to not follow God’s laws then we brought the opposites of Character and Integrity and Purity. God knew this would happen. He knew we would sin. (Sin is a term that simply means to miss the mark. Think archery…aiming at the bulls eye, but missing…Sin.) God is our Bulls Eye. God IS Perfect/Integrity/Purity. And because God is Perfect/Pure He knew if we sinned, He could no longer be in our presence because of His purity. He wants you to be close to HIm all the time. He loves you that much. So in His wisdom He created a way for us to be “Pure” again. God said that if life is taken (“Life is in the Blood”), then we could be made pure again so that God could then be with us again. So in the Old Testament times, God said that if a person sins and thus is separated from God, then we could take an animal, kill it, put its blood on us and then we would be considered pure again. (Its okay to say its a weird system, but it is how God designed it.) So, be careful saying its weird! LOL

Now…to the Tweet of today. Jesus is hanging on the cross. Why? Because God determined that animal sacrifices where not working like He wanted it to work. (We are a stubborn people!) I should only speak for myself…but I’m speaking for you too. 🙂

We all have sinned which separates us from God. Animal blood isn’t doing the job in restoring us back to God. So God has to make a decision. The sin has to be paid for. What does that leave God as an alternative if animal blood isn’t working? The answer, Human blood. (You don’t even have to be a vampire for that statement to get your attention.)

This new reality puts God in a real dilemma. The Bible says that God is a God of Justice & Mercy. Justice requires payment, mercy requires no payment. God loves you so much. God understands that you will be lost to Him forever if He makes you pay your own price for your own sin, which would be Justice. Giving all your blood to pay for your sin…would kill you and God would lose you as you died to pay for your own sins. If God lost you because you “justly” died to pay for your sins, God’s mercy would go unfulfilled. But if God just gives you Mercy, then He can’t have you close to Him because no blood would have been paid for your sin, thus you are still imperfect/impure. God still loses you. So how does He solve this dilemma?

God looks to His right while on His throne in Heaven and sees HIs only Son sitting there with Him. The Father knows that Jesus helped create mankind and everything else. The Father knows that there is a Spiritual side of Jesus that most of us humans don’t fully understand. God sees the answer to the great dilemma. He sees how the price could be paid with blood and at the same time be able to completely fulfill His own Justice nature and His own Mercy nature. He literally could “kill two birds with one stone.”

God decides to command His only Son, Jesus, to leave their “gated community” and become a human, starting as a vulnerable infant, growing into a grown man while remaining perfect and then give all His life blood to pay for the price that Justice demands and yet show His favorite creation, us, mercy at the same time. Jesus pays for the sin(Justice) and we don’t have to pay for our sin.(Mercy) Then Resurrect His only son and everybody wins. Mercy and Justice are fulfilled. (I love it when a plan comes together!)

Jesus says to His Father…”Your Will Be Done.” And God planted His only Son into the womb of a wonderful young woman named Mary. I hope you know the rest of the story. If not, start in the book of Matthew in the Bible and read on!

Fast forward approximately 33 years and we arrive now at this Tweet of Jesus. “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?”

Jesus knows the answer. We do to. God put all our sin on Jesus. Every bad decision I’ve made. Every selfish thing you’ve done. Imperfections. Character-less-ness. Impurities. Integrity-less-ness. ALL ON JESUS. That is a lot of “Nasty” put on the shoulders of Jesus. With all that imperfection now ON Jesus…God, the Father, must retreat His presence from Jesus. Jesus feels it so intensely, He cries out, “Why have you abandoned me?!” I think Jesus was upset. I think He was thinking…’Geez…I came to earth, I lived as a human, I have been beaten, humiliated, spit upon, I did everything you asked me to…Perfectly!…Couldn’t you just stick with me to the very end, Father?” “Why do you abandon me now?”

God so abandoned/retreated from the sin that was on Jesus in this moment, that the Bible records that it goes DARK for three hours. (Not a problem if its evening…but it is NOON!) Can you imagine the News headlines? Total chaos.

In the absence of God is the presence of darkness. (I wonder if in this moment, Satan is laughing?) It seems, at this moment in world history that the devil is winning. But its all a plan that God has knit together. We are so blessed to have the Bible that gives us the end of the story now.

God has Jesus bleed out all of His only Son’s blood to fulfill His own created laws and rules. Now…I have frequently wondered about why God chose this time in all of world history to have Jesus come and die…why did He choose the era He did?. This is the timeframe where the Roman Empire was ruling the world and their death sentences where horrifically cruel…brutal. He could have chose to have Jesus come more in this time frame. Lethal Injection or the Electric chair seem less cruel and unusual as a death sentence. Why did He God choose the era where Crucifixion was the form most used? (A guess?…God knows that we are drawn towards the dastardly, bloody, vicious story. Its why traffic slows down when an accident happens…everybody is trying to get a peak at the bloody scene.) This scene where Jesus is brutalized, will forever be branded in our brains and memory banks. It happened 2000 years ago…here we are still talking about it! So….

How much does God love you? How much does God love you…that He chose to do that to His one and only true son so that He may get you back?

What a huge price. God retreated and abandoned Jesus for a time, so that He may draw you back into a relationship with Him. When God had a choice to kill His only Son or Kill you to pay the price.

He chose you.

Maybe today you could show somebody in your circle of influence that kind of love. When you do…maybe they too will draw close to God.

What a purpose you have as you live today.
Show the love of God to others by being holy and pure.
Show the love of Jesus Christ by sacrificing your own will for God’s.
You’ll never be alone. God says He will never leave you. Jesus says He will be with you always.
Have a great day.