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Archive for the ‘integrity’ Category

The best way to weaken the influence of an attacking troublemaker is almost always by indirect action rather than a loud “Shut up!”

You see, the troublemaker likely won’t shut up and might spew even more poison about you.

You’ve seen this happen at the job or at the school or among extended family or perhaps even at church.

What’s so much better to do is to display personal integrity, kindness and Christlike character in order to reveal the truth to others that the poison words are bogus.

Fortunately, most of us don’t have to deal with this very often.

But when we do, it’s vital that we get it right.

Just like the Apostle Paul did in 2 Corinthians 11:7-15. If you’ll click this link and read the passage from today’s section in the One-Year Bible, you’ll see that enemies of the Gospel and Paul were trying to destroy his influence.

Paul didn’t respond with poison. Instead, he responded by pointing to his efforts to live with humility and integrity.

Paul wanted to leave his enemies firing blanks so that their attacks only made noise but scored no hits.

For Paul to say in verse 9, “I have never been a burden to you and I never will be,” not only confirmed his commitment to the believers at Corinth but it also displayed his pastor’s heart that he never wanted the sheep to suffer because he was a mooching minister.

It had to have pained Paul’s heart to know that lies were being told about him just so his protective influence would be lessened.

But this wasn’t about defending one’s ego. This was about affirming his love and personal integrity in order to continue shepherding the flock. This was about equipping the sheep to know the truth in order to alert them to falsehood coming from opponents of truth.

Regardless of the setting wherein you might be facing attacks on your character, please focus first of having the personal character that honors and imitates the Lord and then focus on humbly communicating that reminder to those who might be hearing lies and attacks upon you.

It’s not about shouting down the masquerading angels, the wolves in sheep’s clothing, but instead about equipping and protecting the ones listening.

It’s about being known as a blessing in people’s lives, not a burden.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Cheaters never …..”

You know how the sentence goes since you heard it countless times during your childhood years.

Hopefully, the lesson stuck.

If we’re living the godly life, we’re living the honest life.

Particularly in our business dealings.

God rejoices when we resist cheating in commerce, just as He expects of our behavior in any setting.

“The Lord demands accurate scales and balances; He sets the standards for fairness.” (Proverbs 16:11)

Be a winner.

Be truthful when selling or buying and working or supervising.

Always.

Even when cheating might pad your pockets more thickly in this life.

For the day is coming when every pocket is going to be turned inside out.

That’s when the only lasting assets will be the unfading memories of the godly actions done to please God and serve others.

You know the line, “You can’t take it with you.”

That’s true. But when it comes to eternal assets, you can sure send them on ahead by serving God and others.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Sometimes, it’s not enough for us to be satisfied with our integrity.

We need to do what we can to demonstrate that integrity to others.

For there are plenty of people whose personal standards are acceptable to them yet those same standards miss the mark of acceptability in the eyes of others.

Particularly God.

You might work with people who have no qualms about cheating their employer with pilfering (“I should be paid more and I’m just compensating a bit“) yet most co-workers would see the behavior as stealing.

It is so important — particularly for Christians — to protect against any criticism of personal integrity.

For if our walk doesn’t match our talk, then our words about faith will have little or no positive influence in others’ lives.

The Apostle Paul knew this and that’s why he wrote the words of 2 Corinthians 8:20-21.

We are traveling together to guard against any criticism for the way we are handling this generous gift. We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honorable.”

Paul was talking about the stewardship of a very large amount of money that had been collected from various Christian churches for the sake of famine- and persecution-ravaged Christians in Israel.

Paul’s conscience was clear in knowing that the offering quantity was not being handled as a slush fund for cushy travel, but instead as a precious possession of God for the sake of His suffering saints in Jerusalem and surrounding regions.

But that wasn’t good enough.

Paul knew that Satan could have a corrosive field day with spreading poison if believers thought the top leaders of faith were dipping into the money bag for themselves.

Here’s the point — Satan is pre-disposed to fueling division via lies. Let’s do our best to not give him any facts of our failure that will fuel the flames of doubt and division.

Let’s do everything with the integrity of Christ, keeping the fuel away from the Enemy, whether at work or home or school or church.

For there is NO way that the penny we pinch from a purse that isn’t ours will not turn out to be very costly when we have to give an accounting to God for our life choices.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Virture is a universally appreciated trait.

For the virtuous person is one governed by redeeming principles that produce good in the lives of others, not by coercion but instead by character.

King Solomon, a man whose early reign was characterized by virtue, provides in Proverbs 21:29 a means for measuring virtue.

The wicked bluff their way through, but the virtuous think before they act.”

Sadly, Solomon gradually discarded virture from his life because of non-virtuous choices to marry idolatrous women from other nations. You see, he didn’t think about the consequences of rejecting God’s command against marrying foreign, non-Herbrew wives whose charms would lead his heart into rampant compromise and corruption.

Disaster ensued in Israel as a result, with the negative consequences still in place 3,000 years later.

Let’s apply the wisdom of Proverbs 21:29, even though Solomon dropped the ball with this one.

I’m sure we’ve all dropped the ball on occasion by acting before we thought a decision through.

It’s SO much better to think before acting.

You’ve heard the silly phrase — and perhaps lived it out — “Ready! Fire! Aim!”

Let’s aim before we fire.

Let’s think before we act.

Let’s consider first what would honor God and help others.

It’s the virtuous thing to do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s not only the unselfish acts of mercy or generosity or personal holiness toward others that please the Lord.

Sometimes, it’s simply the choice to be honest in a business deal or shopping transaction that puts a smile on God’s face.

We all — including God — know that circumstances arise when it would be very easy to sacrifice integrity for the sake of financial gain.

In fact, not including God, we’ve all done so in one way or another at one time or another.

We put a frown on God’s face, not a smile.

Not good.

Hopefully, our predominant pattern has been to choose honesty ahead of illicit gain.

For it is when we please God that we are compiling enduring riches of knowing we’ve pleased our Creator and eternal Judge.

Here is God’s view on financial honesty.

“The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but He delights in accurate weights.” (Proverbs 11:1 NLT)

Please God today, my friend.

Let’s do our best to be completely honest with our business dealings or with what we claim to have earned at our job. Ethical lapses aren’t going to help us because God sees it all.

If you’re paid for eight hours, make sure that you work eight hours, not six hours and 37 minutes because of selfishly long coffee breaks or lunch breaks or any other disruption at or on the way to work.

If you’re selling something, don’t lie about its condition. Please make sure that the buyer knows accurately what he or she is purchasing.

After all, Jesus said do for others what you would want them to do for you.

None of us like being cheated.

Let’s make sure that we don’t find ourselves listed among the cheaters.

God wants the best for us and from us.

Honestly.

As always, I love you
Martin

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There’s always the temptation to get ahead at work or school by taking ungodly shortcuts.

This sometimes even happens within extended families when it comes to social ranking or popularity with the wealthy, aging grandparents.

It’s always better, of course, when we take the high road in all of our plans.

The challenge is to actually live this way on a 100 percent basis.

God helps us in that direction with encouraging, equipping verses sprinkled throughout the Bible. Such a passage surfaced in today’s reading from the One-Year Bible.

“Scoundrels use wicked methods, they make up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just.

“But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.” (Isaiah 32:7-8)

Noble people making noble plans that produce noble deeds. Hmmmm……. I love how God promises that this sequence will result in a faith that will not be crushed by calamity and corruption.

It’s very clear that we should be noble.

How do we do that?

Philippians 4:8-9 comes to mind:

Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever 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.”

We don’t have to be political royalty to live as nobility. Instead, it is our humility before God that so often leads to our nobility in His sight.

As we act like Jesus, the King of the ages, then our noble nature will overflow with noble plans that produce noble deeds.

And then we will stand in God’s presence forever.

As always, I love you
Martin

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We’ve all seen those climactic moments in the movies when the good guy’s arch enemy is coming in for the kill.

Battling soldiers fill the backdrop, as do fallen warriors whose shields and swords weren’t enough.

Of course, our hero is wounded and grimy from his fighting before the showdown scene.

And the evil enemy’s face smirks because of the presumed victory soon to be his.

Blade against blade, shield thrust against shield thrust, the struggle moves this way and that across the movie screen.

Then the hero trips and falls to his back, presenting what the enemy thinks is his window for finally destroying goodness personified.

Down comes the heavy, blood-stained sword…. clang!

Again it falls with all the enemy’s might…. clang!

Again and again…. with the same result.

The hero’s shield, however, would not fail and moments later, the hero was on his feet before the tiring foe and soon, the enemy was no more.

It’s a great scene that we’ve seen in various forms over the years, but the lesson is always the same.

Without a shield — a strong shield — we won’t survive the attacks of the enemy.

I read this morning of what fashions the strong shield that we need to withstand the enemy’s attacks.

“May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.” (Psalm 25:21)

Many of the most dangerous attacks that Christians face are launched with sharp-edged lies intended to wound or destroy. We’ve all faced them. Our responsibility as believers is to rely on truthfulness and character when it comes to how those watching decide what to think.

The Apostle Paul taught that believers are to carry the shield of Truth in order to fend off the Enemy’s lies.

If we’re committed to truthfulness with God and others, He will always sustain and deliver our spirits and souls, no matter what happens to our flesh, our jobs, our family status, our social standing or whatever.

You’ve seen Him do this before for you and He’ll do it again because your hope is in Him and your integrity is your shield.

Always carry your shield, my friend. That way, you’ll always have hope.

As always, I love you
Martin

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