Character: Next Right

When you are a person of character, you won’t question IF you should do the right thing, because you’ll know the right thing must be done.

Character is proven in moments of difficulty or trial when it’s easier just to walk away. Character is sustained when a crisis arises, and criticisms and ridiculed may be at their worst. Character is deepened each time the right choices are chosen, regardless, the sacrifice or struggle that may be endured.

Ask yourself today, “Are you a person of character or a person of reputation (conformity)?” Do you stand alone to make the right choice, or will you bend and sway like a daffodil, depending upon the wind and waves to guide you?

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Not Equipped

A couple of years ago, we had a truck that had off road suspension, but it did not have four-wheel drive. However, we found ourselves going straight up the side of a mountain in this truck…or at least we attempted to. My husband tried to get the truck to cooperate. The front tires went up, but the back tired started spinning in the mud, and we started sliding backwards. He tried once more, and more sliding occurred. All the while, I am holding my breath, because I can visually see, in my mind, the whole truck getting completely vertical and then flipping straight over, with all four of us in tow! He tried once more with the same results; so, he allowed the truck to roll backwards, and we didn’t go up that hill, because our truck simply wasn’t equipped to do so…

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I think, sometimes in our Christian walk, we can find ourselves in this same predicament. We are attempting to go up and over a mountain that we, in our human strength, are just not equipped to travel. We try, and we try, and we keep ending up with the same results: sliding backwards or, if we push it too far, flipping over into a ditch! We are not equipped to travel some mountains, because God hasn’t yet prepared us, we’re attempting to go over the wrong mountain, or we are simply attempting it without His help!

There are many things in our faith that God has to prepare us, strengthen us and teach us before we are ready to face it. When we get ahead of Him, we end up making a mess of things, and often, we walk away from the trial, bruised and wounded when we didn’t have to be. Waiting on God for our preparation only undergirds our cause. If you’re in the middle of a process, but you long to jump ahead, can I encourage you today? Just wait on Him. He will bring you to that mountain at His proper time, and when you follow His lead, He will give you the exact tools you need to conquer it!

Sometimes, we are trying to climb a mountain that God never called us to climb. It might be someone else’s mountain. It might be a “mountain” in our past that we keep trying to hold on to, but He has already forgive and told us to move beyond. It might be a mountain that we want to climb over, but it’s not the direction in which He is leading us. If we will listen to and follow His voice, rather than our own, we will have plenty of mountains to trek upon without challenging ourselves with the ones at which we’re not suppose to be!

Other times, we have simply attempted to scale a mountain without His help. Just as my truck didn’t have four-wheel drive, there are times in our lives, when we try to accomplish things in our own strength, and we leave Him behind. Then, we find ourselves worn out and burn out, wondering where God is and why isn’t He helping us through this.

If we are to climb the mountains that we will surely face in this life, we must be prepared, we must ascend the right ones, and we must have His assistance and lead to conquer them! With God by our side, there is nothing we can’t accomplish, and oh, the view (and rest) we will receive once we reach the top!

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What Will You Choose?

What are you choosing today? Are you choosing life, or are you choosing death? Are you choosing joy, or are you choosing sorrow? Are you choosing peace, or are you choosing chaos?

You might say, “Well, you don’t know my circumstances. I can’t choose anything! I am a victim.” Yet, I have to disagree. You may not have control of your circumstances, but you do have control of YOU! You can choose how you handle those circumstances, and you can choose how you react to whatever you are facing.

Just as you cannot control or change the wind and the storms that come, you may not be able to control or change bad things from happening around you or even to you. However, you have complete control over your emotions and your actions. You can decide, right now, how you will react to those bad things. Will you “flip out,” refusing to be consoled or comforted? Will you become angry, lashing out in anger? Or will you take a deep breath, step back and assess the damages, and approach the situation with peace and wisdom? Will you handle the chaos with the kind of strength and grace that helps someone else along the way?

You have the ability to choose today. Choose life. Choose peace. Choose joy. Your choices not only impact those in that present situation, but they can impact others for generations to come.

What will your choices leave behind?

Paving Their Path

 

Once a child reaches the age of accountability, every child must make his or her own choices, and every child is responsible for what he or she does. However, I have found that we, as parents, do have a part to play in helping to pave the path they choose in life. We can’t make their choices, and we can’t be accountable for their decisions. However, we do have the ability to make those choices easy or hard to find.

You see, our children walk down their own paths into the destiny of their own choosing. They will be faced with the good and bad consequences of their actions and with the fruit from the seeds they choose to sow. However, we can pave that path with the “asphalt” of faith, the guard rails of love and the road signs toward joy and fulfillment, or we can lay down layer upon layer of rock, rubble, nails and thorns from the bitterness, foolishness, enablement and even pain of our own lives, layers through which our children will have to fight and claw just to find those good decisions they long to choose.

 

When we live as good examples for our little ones, make good decisions for our own lives as we try to raise them the best way we know how, and strive to correct in front of them the mistakes we are sure to make along the way, their paths will be lined with the good substance they need to not only survive this life, but it also will build the foundation upon which they can thrive through this life!

If you realize your children may have a rocky road ahead, I have good news for you! You can begin TODAY picking up the stones of hatred and anger that have been thrown along their path. The rocks and rubble of foolishness and enablement can be pushed aside. The nails of spite which have been dropped and the thorns of pain which have been sown can be picked up, cut back and removed as you reach out with repentance, forgiveness, truth and love.

This process can only begin with a right relationship with God, a daily seeking of His Word and a continual reaching out to your child with loving kindness. It may not be an instant reconciliation, but with Christ, it can be an instant healing within your own heart and mind. He can help you to clear the path and to make things right again. He can guide you and your child to a better way.