Building Character

“Because I gave him my word” was the answer to the question I had just asked.  The question was, “How does he know you will pay him?” It was an interesting conversation, and one that I’ve remembered for almost 50 years.

Even though the word “reputation”was not used, it was the subject of the discussion.  Pop finished the conversation with this statement:  “A man is only as good as his word.”

I posted a comment about reputation to my Facebook page yesterday:  People wouldn’t have to spend so many minutes protecting their reputation, if they would pause for 60 seconds to guard their character.

You can read the character-focused Scripture I’ve provided below in less than 60 seconds:

  • Proverbs 22:1:  “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”
  • Ecclesiastes 7:1:  “A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.”
  • Hebrews 11:1-2:  “Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see. It was this kind of faith that won their reputation for the saints of old.”

It was Helen Keller who said:  “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

The quote above reminds me of Romans 5:1-5:

Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory.  Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance, character, and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Do you see the cause and effect links in the verses above?  “Suffering produces endurance,  and endurance, character, and character, hope.”  



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I’m not sure that Paul would agree with Calvin’s dad, but you may have the opportunity to build some character with snow in the forecast for this weekend.

Eye of the Storm

stormDuring the early service at church this past Sunday, a violent storm just missed El Dorado. It was close enough, however, to rattle the church with the rumbling thunder.

As I think about the power of a storm, it occurs to me that many storms have an “eye” associated with them. When you think about the dynamics of a hurricane, it’s easy to associate the powerful winds with the adversity that surrounds you. Meteorologists will tell you that regardless of the size of the storm, there is always calm at its center or eye.

Remember what Jesus did when His disciples were at sea and they were at the mercy of a storm? Just when they thought their boat would be swamped and they would drown, Jesus walked on the water and calmed the storm.

To find the calm in the storm, we need to do several things:

• Listen and obey His words: “Whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil (Proverbs 1:33).”
• Trust Him for protection: “:How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 36:7).”
• Seek a relationship with Him: “Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, “The Lord be magnified! (psalm 40:16).”
• Rely on Him for rest: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30).” ~ The Message

Whenever you are about to be swamped with trouble and turmoil, remember to look for the “I” in the storm. Jesus said “I” will never you nor will “I” forsake you. The presence of Jesus will give you a peace that is beyond comprehension (Phil. 4:6-7).