The Character of God’s Voice Is Love

Maybe the reason we’ve never heard from God is because we expect His voice to be angry, harsh, and full of wrath. But our Heavenly Father can scold and correct our wrong behavior, and still do it in love. God’s voice is loving!

Even though we are prone to wander (like sheep) and sin, Jesus, “The Good Shepherd,” chooses to interact with us with grace and forgiveness.

Why Christians Should Give Their Best at Work

Christians should be the best employees and students, always going the extra mile to serve diligently and with contagious joy. We should be dependable and accountable — even when no one is looking — because God is always watching! And we ultimately work for Him.

When we demonstrate that level of integrity and character, we make Jesus attractive and make Him known without even having to mention His name. And our excellence will increase our influence. People will wonder why there is something different about us. That gives us an opportunity to speak into someone’s life — maybe even offer to pray for them and invite them to our church.

And while we don’t often get to share our faith openly at work, we do have the extraordinary opportunity to live out Jesus every day. We glorify Him when we do.

Learning to Value Others

When things are going very well, it’s easy to slip into self-importance. We start to believe we’re the very reason the business or marriage is so extraordinary. But things don’t typically grow and prosper forever. Difficulty usually sets in.

When God has us in a season of humility and things aren’t going so well, perhaps He’s teaching us to value others.

Teenagers: Prepare to Reach Your Dreams

Don’t listen to people who tell you that you can have success in life without “churn.” If you want to reach your dreams and have the better life God desires for you, you should cultivate good character during your teen years. The world is lying to you when they tell you that your teen years are merely for fun and indulgence. If you want to reach your dreams, cultivate the character to “churn” now.

Churn

One Dare: Keep churning the butter because it makes life better!

2 Observations (of people with a better life)

  1. They learn what makes life better. (What is the butter?)
  2. They grow their character to churn. (Keep churning the butter.)
    • There is no butter without churn.
    • Churn in the consistency behind a worthwhile dream.

3 Lessons

  1. “Picking up garbage” is part of reaching dreams.
  2. Don’t get so used to “picking up garbage” that you forget “WHY”.
  3. Don’t get weary in doing the work of churn.

Redefining “Giving It My All”

Jesus gave His all. When we look to His life as an example, we must redefine what it means to “give our all.” Our “all” compared to His “all” is surely lacking.

In the Bible, we’re commanded to love God with our “all.” How much better would your life be if you loved God with your “true all?”

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”

– Matthew 22: 36-37

Trying vs. Training

Improving your walk with God requires more than trying – it requires training. It starts with putting God first in every area of your life: your calendar, your finances, your actions. A faith training regimen might include weekly worship, daily devotion and prayer time, cheerful giving, and making sure your actions are in alignment with God’s standard for holiness.

Make Your Commitment Public

Most of us are double-minded. We can make a genuine commitment to better an area of our lives and then simultaneously – and completely – quit on ourselves. We need to stop being double-minded, conquer our character, and go after the very area God is challenging us to improve. And by making our commitment public, we are giving ourselves the gift of accountability.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

– James 4:7-10

Push Yourself to Get God’s Better Life

God has given us all the tools we need to have a better life, but there are some things we simply must do for ourselves. If we want to reach a goal, we need to push ourselves – because it’s always tempting to quit.

Jesus modeled this for us with His life and eventually His death. It would have been easier and much less painful to quit, but He pushed to complete His mission. His final words on the cross were, “It is finished.” And because He didn’t quit we get to experience new life!

Availability vs Self-Centeredness

Scripture: Luke 9:23-25; Philippians 2:1-11

We live in the tension of love yourself and deny yourself.

To get past self-centeredness we must develop self-awareness.

Awareness of “if” (Philippians 2:1)

Availability to “then” (Philippians 2:2-8)

Simply put:

Availability is focusing your life (like Christ) on being a giver rather than a taker.

Grit vs Quit

Scripture: 2 Kings 13:14-19, Philippians 3:10-14

Grit: “Unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger. Perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”

Why do we need Grit?

  1. Everybody has challenges.
  2. We don’t choose our challenges, but we choose our response.
  3. The key to having Grit trending in your life is internal.

How to trend #grit in your life:

  1. Determine what you want.
  2. Let the past propel you and the future compel you.
  3. Practice Grit.
  4. The Final Step – Break the tape.

Recommended Reading: “And Then Came the Angels” by Beth Gayle

Truthfulness vs Deception

Scripture: Genesis Chapters 25 & 27

Three truths about truth and deception:

  1. If you lie you scar your soul, when you tell the truth you strengthen your soul.
  2. If you lie you hurt people, when you tell the truth you help people.
  3. If you lie you lose God’s cover when you tell the truth you gain God’s character.

Trending Truth:

  1. Truth aligns your heart with the heart of God.
  2. Truth leads to grace and forgiveness.
  3. Truth sets you free.

Two Key Questions:

  • What lie do you need to clean up?
  • What truth do you need to speak up?

Honor vs Dishonor

Scripture: Mark 6:4-5, Matthew 10:40-42

Honor is the gift of communicating and demonstrating the value of people in relationships and roles.

The ROI of Honor:

  1. You will extend life.
  2. You will reap what you sow.
  3. You will be open to receive from the giftedness of others.

4 Ways to Trend Honor in your life and leadership:

  • Share words of affirmation.
  • Show your appreciation.
  • Give the credit to others.
  • Pass the ball.

Authority

Scripture: Matthew 4

Everybody bows to authority.

“The World will Bow to your authority, if you will Bow to my authority.”

– Satan to Jesus

3 Lessons to learn from Jesus:

  1. Strength to Detect a Lie
  2. Strength to Stand on Truth
  3. Strength to Conquer Temptation

[one_half] Lie: Source Permanent[/one_half][one_half last=last] Truth: Straw Temporary[/one_half]

Reflect:

What good is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul? What are trading for your soul? (Matthew 16:26)

Applause

Scripture: Matthew 4
Where you look for approval is where you give your allegiance.

3 Lessons to learn from Jesus:

  1. Strength to Detect a lie.
  2. Strength to Stand on truth.
  3. Strength to Conquer Temptation.
  • We all desire approval from others.
  • One satan’s favorite lies: People’s applause is worth living for.
  • When the world sins, they want you to sin with them.
  • Where you look for approval is where you give your allegiance.
  • Have you committed your allegiance to The Creator but unconsciously looking for approval from the crowd?
  • God’s applause is worth living for.
  • When you settle something in obscurity you don’t need applause publicly.

Satan only has the power to entice with Sin, he cannot make you embrace Sin!

He can only tempt w/ sin, not make you try sin.

He does not have the power to make you sin – you have to choose to sin.

Change what you expect:

I don’t have to give in to temptation.

Reflect:

Where do you look for your approval ratings?

Challenge For The Week: 

Memorize with your family:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13

 

Appetites

Scripture: Philippians 4:13, Matthew 4

  • We live in a world where appetites lead decision making.
  • Jesus modeled that truth leads.
  • Truth or appetites: which one leads your life?

What strengths did Jesus display in the first temptation?

1. Strength to Detect a Lie.
Change how you think:
The Temptation to LIVE for Physical Appetites!

Satan tempts us to satisfy Godly appetites in un-Godly ways.

2. Strength to Stand on Truth.
Change what you do:
Tell the truth to someone who stands on truth. (Hebrews 12)

3. Strength to Conquer Temptation
Change what you expect:
I don’t have to g_____ to temptation. (to be filled in next week)

Reflect:

  • Where are you being tempted in physical appetites?
  • Who can you trust in accountability? (Who can trust you?)

Recommended Reading: This series was inspired by and is tapping heavily into the book, “Anonymous” by Alicia Britt Cole.

Secrets of Strength

Scripture: Philippians 4:13 & Matthew 4

What did Jesus learn in Obscurity?
1) Strength to detect a lie.
2) Strength to stand on truth.
3) Strength to conquer temptation.
  • Before God uses someone publicly, he forms them privately.
  • What if in obscurity, God is forming future strength?
  • In obscurity, you either sabotage your future or build strength for your future.

What new strength could you find if you embraced obscurity?

Recommended Reading: This series was inspired by and is tapping heavily into the book, “Anonymous” by Alicia Britt Chole.

Really Short Stories for Really Busy People

The Wizard of Oz, like all great stories, borrows its power from the Original Story. They share a common construction, and we’re drawn to the story because it’s our story:

  • Everyone Gets Lost.
  • Everyone Needs Help.
  • There’s No Place Like Home.