Recently I read a story about a man and his wife that had six children. Explaining how vigorous a household of eight can be, they began to share some of the rules they enforce within the family. One specific edict, caught my attention. They called it 'Double Trouble'! This ordinance specifies that if a child overhears a command that's been given to another, and proceed to disobey, they get 'Double Trouble'. For instance, the instruction to child #1 is no cookies before dinner. Child #2 overheard the direction, but ate cookies before dinner. Therefore, Child #2 received double the punishment based on the awareness of the rule. Although he argued, 'you told Child #1 he couldn't eat cookies, not me', he deliberately disobeyed. A value aspect in life is recognizing that we each are responsible for our actions, especially if we know right from wrong.
It works the same way with our governmental laws. We didn't hear directly from the initiator of the law, but we received the information through other means, and we are responsible for the doing. A great biblical example would be Adam and Eve. Before Eve was, Adam walked and talked with God, Who gave him instructions, especially about the 'tree in the middle of the garden'. The Lord God hadn't spoken directly with Eve about that tree, but she was still responsible for what she heard that God had said.
Acting upon the Old Testament Word of God is similar. The O.T. isn't directly addressed to us, but is there for a guide and for instruction. There are many truths in it. God gave us these so that we would gain understanding of His nature, His will and direction for our life. This makes us accountable to obey regardless of the 'way' we heard. 2 Tim. 3:16 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," Avenues of hearing can be from reading it yourself or hearing it preached.
Upon my daily Bible reading, I came across this powerful truth that gave me insight to a long good life, peace, favor with God and people, direction for decisions, healing in the body and financial freedom. If you're like me, these elements are part of a daily prayer regiment. I don't know of anyone that isn't believing God for long life, favor, healing or financial breakthrough! Let's take a look at Proverbs 3: 1-10 "My son, do not forget my teachings, and keep my commands in mind, because they will bring you long life, good years, and peace. Do not let mercy and truth leave you. Fasten them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and much success in the sight of God and humanity. Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths smooth. Do not consider yourself wise. Fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. Then your body will be healed, and your bones will have nourishment. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first and best part of all your income. Then your barns will be full, and your vats will overflow with fresh wine."
This instruction from the Lord has it all! To see these things operational in our life, we must be a doer of this Word. That's our responsibility! This Word gives us five key points to activate God's promises for us, 1) Heeding and meditating on the Word of God brings a long, good life with peace. (Josh. 1:8) 2) Always acting in mercy and truth, holding them dear in our heart gives us favor and success with God and man. (Pro. 16:6) 3) Trust the Lord instead of our own thoughts allows God's to direct our steps. (Ps. 18:30) 4) Putting down pride, and making a 180 degree turn from evil brings healing to our body. (Rom. 12:16; Pro. 14:16) and 5) Honoring God by giving and tithing from our income insures that we shall never lack. (Luke 6:38)
We can no longer blame God or others for the situations in our life, we have become responsible by hearing. The truth is, consequences are the outcome of our choices. What happens to us in life isn't about the unfairness, it's about our response to His ability! Whatever arises in life, choose to respond using the Word in order to obtain His promises.
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!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."