This is the time of the year for advancements and transition! Graduations are happening all over, from Kindergarten to College. Whether you've graduated from elementary school, a trade school or college, we salute you and bid everyone Congratulations!
Advancement is exciting and challenging at the same time. Henry S. Haskins* (American Author & Educator) once said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Although one has obtained all the education needed to receive high degrees of honor, it's important to know that the character of a person is most significant. Proverbs 5:21, "For the ways of man are directly before the eyes of the Lord, and He [Who would have us live soberly, chastely, and godly] carefully weighs all man’s goings." In today's society image has become more notable than character. Style is chosen as significant rather than integrity, morality, or a good reputation. Proverbs 22:1, "Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold." People look good on the outside, having the right clothes, shoes, handbag, or even the right educational degree, but their 'reputation' is less than ethical.
What is good character? Character is a distinctive trait, a pattern of behavior that shows moral strength, self-discipline and fortitude. It's revealed by what is said or done. Most of us have seen shameless indifferent demonstrations of misconduct. Sadly many believe that if it doesn't hurt anyone, it's alright! If you are a person of good character, it was possibly formed during your young age. Should there be one that is of questionable character reading this, and you want to change there is hope for success.
To improve your character skills you can:
1) Realize everyone is challenged everyday to make good or bad choices. The key to choosing right is to look past the options and regard the results you will gain. Jesus saw past the pain and shame of the cross and saw the effect of His sacrifice. Even though there were distractions and the choice to disobey, He chose to see the joy of His obedience. (Heb. 12:2) You too can consider and select the 'right' thing to do.
2) Be selective with whom you socialize. Proverbs 13:20 "Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm." It's true, we become like those with which we associate. Be sure to surround yourself with people of upstanding character, those that encourage and inspire, and who love God valuing His standards. By allowing yourself to interact with such individuals you will be motivated to make honorable choices.
3) Never give up! Although the trials of temptations come to fall back into an old habit or way of life, DON'T! Consider all those people that are superb examples of faith for an encouragement! Use every ounce of faith to push aside discouragement, old friends' enticement, or thoughts of past feelings. If all else fails, run, don't walk, away! Read your Bible to renew your mind to learning God's ways to choosing right. Pray! Have a friend that will be your prayer partner, that you can call upon in times of confrontation. You are more than a conqueror through Christ. (Rom. 8:37)
Proverbs 19:23 Amp. says, "The reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it rests satisfied; he cannot be visited with [actual] evil." Anyone who decides to live for the right character and not for image makes the right choice. Will it be easy? No, but anything in life worth achieving or obtaining is a value high above fame or fortune. We end with a charge from the writer of Hebrews "....don't become lazy, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Remember you have the power to choose!
Are there times you feel defeated, hurt, or perhaps angry over situations that have happened to you? There may have been people that said hurtful things or family members that treated you unfairly. Perhaps some of you had an abusive childhood. All these types of 'life incidents' can develop certain attitudes within us. This type of perspective can influence the way we think about ourself, about others, our values, our priorities, and even how we treat people. It's time we stop allowing these feelings to continue within us and govern our life. I know we can't change what happened to us, but we CAN decide what we will allow to affect us through life's journey. John 10:10 (spoken by Jesus) "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly."
In this world there are two forces at work, destruction and restoration. Of course we recognize that the devil wants to steal any joy or peace that we have, thus bringing up the past and it's hurtful experiences. But notice Jesus said in John 10:10, "....I have come that they may have life and they may have it more abundantly." That's restoration! He wants to restore what the enemy has stolen from you. Wouldn't it be wonderful to live free of anger, resentment, or grief? I know you're asking, "How can I do that? The circumstances are dreadful. I really feel hurt from what happened."
First we must realize we can choose to quite blaming the people or the circumstance on why our life is the way it is today. God said in his Word, "...I set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life..." (Read Deu. 30) We hold the key to our future. Know this, what others have done TO you is not a reflection of who YOU are! It is an expression of who THEY are! Although we can't change what happened, we can decide right now not to take ownership of the heartache! Let's not allow any bad feeling cling to us. We need to enable the Word of God to bond to us and the bad feelings to roll off. Eph. 2:10 (AMP) says, "For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]." Agreeing with the Word instead of the pain begins the restoration process. That's when we will be able to see there's a good life in store for us.
Secondly, we must decide to forget. Phil 3:13 "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,". Forgetting can be difficult, but we must understand what forgetting really means. Forgetting is NOT, denial, amnesia, concealing the facts, or even ignoring. A certain minister once said, "Forgetting is a process whereby the former events loose their power to control your present or dominate your future. Forgetting doesn't erase the history, but eliminates the past from being the predominate factor in your life." You know there's always going to be tribulations. There will always be people against us. And there will be situations that cause hurt. But we must remember God is always for us! Rom. 8:31(b) "...If God be for us, who can be against us?" His intervention of love and grace will allow healing to transpire and thus lead us into an extraordinary life.
Letting the Word of God become more influential than the pain and hurt will free us from the hold of the wounding experience. It's time we take the necessary steps towards living a life of victory, not influenced by anything other than God's Word. Why don't you make a decision today to focus on the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. It will set you free from the law of sin and death! Be the master of your attitude not the victim!
In our house we have an alarm system. To activate or deactivate that alarm, one must have right code. The proper numbers must be entered in proper sequence or the system won't work. Surprisingly there is a code to faith and the operation of it is just like working an alarm system. Unless you're willing to use the code the alarm is good but you'll never activate it. Most people would say, they have not yet found out how to operate their faith consistently and have trouble setting it in motion.
The Bible says, Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. (Rom. 10:17) However, faith does not operate by just hearing or just knowing. As in our previous blog (Fully Persuaded Faith 8/13/13), you have learned that just knowing something does not make it so in your life. The key to a successful and prosperous life is what we do with the Word! Look here at Joshua 1:8,9, "This Book of the Law shall not depart (cease) from your mouth, but you shall meditate (mutter) in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success." Notice a favorable outcome is determined by us! Saying the Word, and doing it is an activation of our faith! One can tell what one believes by what is said and done. Because people say what's in their heart and act out what they truly believe.
Everywhere individuals are confronted with problems that they wish would change. And generally instead of putting Godly faith on that situation, they just talk about it, complain about it, and think about it. In essence, you could say they put negative faith on it, believing it will be that way always. Emotions, such as anger, fear, sorrow, grief, or the like, will not activate faith. There's a 'code' to activating faith in your life and that's the only way to have a move of God in your situation.
Let's look at Mark 11:23,24 Amp. where Jesus says, "Truly I tell you, whoever, says to this mountain, be lifted up and thrown into the sea, and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you and you will (get it)."
So what's the code of faith? Just like in Joshua 1:8,9 we must:
1) Find out what the Word says about our situation and for what we are believing. Write those scriptures down. It's important to know what's the basis of our faith, how it lines up with God's Word.
2) Meditate on that Word. Get it down in our heart to the point that the Word comes out instead of the complaint. Mutter it to ourself - remember faith comes by hearing.
3) Confess or say what we're believing, instead of what we're seeing. This will encourage our faith. How long do we say it? As long as it takes for it to manifest.
4) As in Mark 11:23-24 Believe we receive it as we say or pray for it, before it materializes. Faith without works is dead. Putting belief to our confession activates faith!
and 5) Praise and rejoice! True faith that believes the answer has shown up, rejoices and Praises the Lord before it actually arrives. (Read about Paul and Silas who were praying and praising before their answer came. Acts. 16:25-26)
These steps will help activate faith in your life if you exercise them regularly and consistently. Remember faith works by love, faith without works is dead and faith opens the door giving access to God's power.
Have you ever heard someone say, 'he's got stalwart faith'? What is stalwart, anyway? After researching it, I found that stalwart means loyal, reliable, committed, steadfast, unwavering, dependable and steady. So stalwart faith never gives up, never gives in, always relies on and believes in the Word of God, over any circumstance. It's where we choose to believe God's Word over the evidence of the senses. (Things we feel. see, hear, or think) . It's knowing that all natural circumstances, sickness, financial woes, fears, and such are to be kept subject to the Word of God. I'm not talking about denying the circumstances, but believing God's Word and living in agreement with it. That means declaring His Word over the situation and believing that it has the divine power over it to change it. You may have a broken arm, but instead of saying "I have a broken arm", you should say, "By His stripes I am healed". That's acting on the Word, being a doer of the Word.
We must be committed, steadfast, unwavering in belief of His divine power through the Word of God, remaining steadfast to 'see' by faith His results. It's almost like the time, when you were a child and saw into the imaginary realm. You really thought that it was real, no matter what anyone else told you. That's were we need to be in our faith in God's Word. No matter what anyone says. No matter what we see. Regardless of how we feel, we just KNOW that the Word of God is ultimately the real truth with power to accomplish what it's sent to do. (Is. 55:11)
1 John 5:14-15 "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, And if we know He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him."
There was a time in our life, where the powers of hell came against us. A business partner stole $60,000. As a result we were evicted from our house, our car was repossessed, our electricity was turned off, and to top it all off, we had no money to buy food. What seemed like the end, was really the beginning for God to work in our life. It took faith to forgive this person, it took faith to believe that we wouldn't be homeless, it took faith to believe that things could turn around to be better than they were. Because we held onto faith, we got a bigger and better house with no payments for 3 month and we were given a new car debt free. Within nine months we received in the mail a check for $10,396.00 and $11,670.00 a month later, from an unexpected source. All because we forgave and exercised stalwart faith in God!
You see, we need to keep our focus on the Word, rather than on the circumstance. Things can change if we stay humble and faithful to believe. Trust the Word, know that all things are possible to him who believes. (Mat. 19:26) Keep your conversation ordered aright, there's the power of life and death in the tongue. (Pro. 18:21) Choose life! Speak faith, speak the Word and Believe God!
Have you ever looked at your life and wondered, 'why am I still dealing with this problem' and 'when will it ever stop'? It probably seems like day after day, month after month, even year after year, you are faced with the same adversity, and nothing ever changes. If you're ready for a change read on!
We have to stop cooperating with the devil. Quit believing his lies, cease from listening to the words of defeat echoing in our thoughts and come to the place of freedom and peace.
Rom. 12:1-2 NKJ "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
#1) We need to present our bodies to God. Yielding the flesh to God, means we're in cooperation/agreement with Him. Submitting ourselves to God and His Word is a lifestyle that displays the attributes of God. It means we go to our local church, even when our body doesn't feel like it. Or although we're busy we make our attendance to church our priority, because the local church is God's priority. It means, we resist unrighteous or unholy actions. It's where we keep our conversation God like. That's presenting our body to God!
#2) We are to renew our mind by thinking the way He thinks. This is where we cast down any thoughts that's not God ordained. It's taking any opinion or a pondering and bringing them in line with the Word! That's making yourself think on things that are true, worthy of reverence, honorable, proper, whatever is just, pure, lovely and lovable, kind and winning, gracious, things of virtue and excellence, and anything worthy of praise. By that, we will begin to live/act/behave like the Word!
It won't matter how many times we quote the Word of God, if we're not exhibiting it everyday in our actions, the truth is, our mind is not renewed. Because a renewed person acts like it! Having a renewed mind, will make us a master over our situations, over our emotions, and even over the enemy. A mind that not renewed is immature, like a child, and is tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine. (Eph. 4:14)
Renewing the mind is a consistent process and will put you in the position of receiving from God wisdom and answers in the face of adversity and crisis.
So how can I get a renewed mind, you ask? First get into a good Faith, Word preaching church. Be faithful and committed to attend every service. Listen and then do what you're learning from the preached Word. Next as you continue to apply the Word to your daily living, remain constant in your personal Bible study. Reviewing the scriptures your Pastor has taught on. Then rejoice in the Lord.
Note: Having a renewed mind, does not mean you won't have fleshly desires - but what it does mean is that you won't run with them! Stay steady and faithful in the Word!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."