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”The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26 The righteous ought to practice the art of carefully choosing their friends. Once the purpose of friendships is understood, each one can be taken seriously. There are commitments made to each other to be genuine and trustworthy at all times. The character of men is similar to a magnet which draws like-minded individuals together. Deceptive people may seek out those that they envy who possess the character that they wish was their own. Yet their deceptive ways have reduced them to mere pretense which leads many who trust them astray. Our influence is either positive or negative. We assimilate the character of the company that we keep. Choose friends carefully because one’s own character is reflected by their choices.

“From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. (14) Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.” John 14:13-14 (MSG) Out of the personhood of Jesus, He does what only He alone is able to do. It is the character of Christ to love unconditionally. Every act was an act motivated by love and an expression of love. His objective is to free those who have sought the authentic but have settled for a substitute. Too many seekers have succumbed to merely settling for a level far beneath the level established by Christ. Therefore the requests are restricted to their limited understanding. The only prayer that the Father is obligated to answer is the prayer of His Son, as His passion burns deep within our hearts. He honors His Son through hearing His prayers through yielded vessels whose lives are fully engaged in the works of Jesus. They are His sons brought to glory. Through them, the works of God continue.

“Don’t run roughshod over the concerns of your brothers and sisters. Their concerns are God’s concerns, and he will take care of them. We’ve warned you about this before. (7) God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful — as beautiful on the inside as the outside.” 1 Thessalonians 4:6-7 (MSG) The care and concern we share with the brethren reflects the character of Christ that we possess. We share with them the love so richly bestowed upon us that is now demonstrated through us as an extension of God’s love. Our love must be intentional. Unless we are deliberate in our lifestyles to share the life of Jesus, the message would be shrouded by our careless living. We have been transformed into a vessel of honor. The riches of His grace reside within us as a priceless treasure. What more could we ever want other than a complete and glorious expression of life brought forth through us by way of His Spirit? Therefore we live for Him and He lives through us touching and changing all things by His renewing power. Praise God for the beauty of holiness!

“Let love be without hypocrisy.” Roman 12:9 Love is to be an expression of one’s real character or actual behavior. It is a movement and not a state of being. God is love and as we move in His direction, His love within us moves us in the direction of becoming more like Jesus. It is the Spirit of love within our hearts that transform our personalities. Therefore we cannot take credit for any good that may generate from us. We know that it is the love of Christ within us that we have received from God as evidence that we belong to Him. Whatever may try to remain outside of love must be surrendered. It is a strain on occasion to walk in love among those who may not deserve it. But in light of His love released towards us before we were enabled to respond, we can love the unlovely. Remember that it is His love and not our own. It is not ours to withhold from those who He wills to love through us. Let it flow without our interference. We will benefit more than those who are the recipients.

“Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach.” Mark 3:14 The series of events are in sequential order. First, they were appointed that they might be with Him; then they were sent out to preach. If they had not come to Him when He called them to be with Him, they would not be in position to be sent out. They learned from Him how to live and what to preach by being with Him. It is not enough to merely hear about Him from a book or word of mouth, the experience must be personal. We are called to an intimate relationship with Him. His life is an open book to those who will to know Him, but to the casual inquirer, He is misunderstood and often misaligned. They accuse Him of things that is not a part of His character because they only know Him from a distance. John, the beloved disciple, laid His head upon His breast; Peter, the Zealot, stepped out of the boat in order to join in on what Christ was experiencing while walking on the water. Intimacy includes both the emotional and…

“And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Hebrews 6:15 The rush towards the promise, without patience to endure the interval trials, is giving expression to doubt and unbelief. Those careless movements are usually met with disappointments with self as well as with God. Misunderstandings arise concerning God’s character of love and concern when one caves in while engaged in the battle. This happens when Christ is not being seen and known throughout all of the circumstances of life. Faith requires one to believe in God and what He has promised even before the evidence is present. His desire is to reveal Himself through His Word that is able to withstand every crisis met along the way. His Word is truth and can outlive the lies of Satan. The bump in the road was not a roadblock but a stepping –stone leading towards the life that lies ahead. There are times when there is nothing left but His promises and pressures. The pressures may try to shroud the promise but the promises are true regardless of the amount of pressure. Perhaps this could be the path of authentic faith being developed within one’s life. Many need to…

“Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.” Psalm 19:12 The degrees and dimensions of transgressions are not easily and readily understood. It is extremely difficult for a person who is engaged in an act to fully understand the full effect of that act upon others was well as his own future. This is also true both in doing good as well as doing evil. God measures the distance between His heart and our own which is affected by deeds done daily. We are forging character one act at a time into becoming whatever we will ultimately become. Those things done in secret are things that produce both guilt and shame. The reason why they are hidden is because the objective is to conceal them from any other ever knowing about them. But ultimately our character will deceive us into making public what we once tried to hide. When it is known there appears no reason to further hide it. Who can know the depth of such errors? We need to be cleansed of anything that we would rather not be made public. Then we will not reach a place of becoming so desensitized as to blatantly rebel…

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13 Careful preparation is required if one is to continue standing under the pressures of the world, the flesh, and the devil. The armed attack of the enemy which may work through all three, are aimed at the weakest part of our character. It is impossible for any to fully know all of his weaknesses. Surely in the areas of perceived strength temptations will come to test the strength of our commitment to God and the truths that we profess to uphold. This is why an accurate and spirit-guided articulation of the message from God is so important. Equally so, this is why the enemy of our souls would much rather see us doing any other thing that taking heed to the words that are given for the salvation of our souls. The whole armor of God, not just those portions that are comfortable and in fashion must be continually worn. The attacks do not come at a scheduled time, but when we least expect them to come. They may come successively if there…

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” 1 Timothy 1:12 The challenges of ministry are constant. There are always important things to do and areas of significance in need of being addressed. It is too easy to take the path of least resistance and say what would be pleasing to the masses and tickling to the ear. But the call of God is a call to faithfulness and dedication to a cause that is greater than any man. It is that call to which we must be faithful. Our efforts are not to be carried out as others who would place professionalism over character. If we are to most effectively carry out the call that is upon our lives, we must first be faithful to the God who has called us. He is the Great Teacher who will make known both His Word and His ways. It requires the discipline of character so that we are able to listen to Him first before we speak. Then our lives become of message and we live a message and not just speak one. We do not merely choose…

“Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23 The price paid for the truth may be the loss of friends and love ones. It may be the loss of the potential of profit requiring the compromise of our integrity. Our integrity is worth more than the things acquired through dishonest gain. Even though they may bring immediate success, but the high cost paid in the end far out measures its temporal benefits. We must be willing to pay the price for the truth. The price of self-denial and sacrifice for the sake of having the character to stand for what is right. This is accompanied with wisdom which comes from above. God can speak His truth to our hearts and there is nothing within us rejecting it. The lust for things not sanctioned by God choke the Word and it becomes unfruitful. It is the fool that despises instructions. The ownership of truth will deliver us from the bondage of greed and self-centeredness. We can then understand what the will of the Lord is and comply with joy because we are enabled to see the benefits of our faithfulness to Him.