Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Keys

Psalms 100.4-5

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

“The Keys”

I have a slightly different take on these scriptures than I have heard others expound. I am not claiming to have a new revelation. I am just coming here from a different direction.

If you ask me how to get to my house, I will tell you to take Interstate 64 to the proper exit. I can give you turn by turn directions. There are a number of ways to get here. You can avoid the interstate and travel the old road, US 60. You can travel the bypass or drive through town.

Now, if you ask me how to get into my house, I will show you the key that fits the doors to my house. This is how you enter my house. Anyone that tries to enter any other way is not a welcomed guest. Friends come in the front door. Thieves and robbers try to enter another way. The proper way to enter my home is to use the key that unlocks and opens the front door.

The Psalmist David was saying, if you want to enter into his gates, you must use this key. You must reach within you and take out the key of thanksgiving. There is no other way to gain admittance beyond the gates of the dwelling place of God.

The thanksgiving and praise spoken of here in Psalms 100 is much more than a token. It is much more than the thank you card we send to Aunt Bessie for her Christmas check. It is far and above the thanks we utter for our neighbors gift of a fruit cake. The words are towdah and tehillah.


Towdah speaks of the open hand throw out in adoration. It is the emptying out of one's heart. It is the utter realization that we are lost and hopeless without the blessings and benefits of God. It is based on the revelation of where God brought you from to where you are now. It is born of understanding that without the gift of God, we would be as ships tossed on the stormy sea, lost and directionless.


Tehillah speaks of a song of laudation. It is akin to the fountains of your heart breaking open in song for the things that God has done for you. When the Children of Israel watched the Red Sea close in upon the Egyptians, Moses began to sing onto the Lord. He sang a song of laudation. This is the praise that God seeks. It is a praise that cannot be contained inside your heart. It is a praise that will be not restrained. It is created by the works of God and results in the utter pouring out of oneself. It is the emptying.

I accept that God is omnipresent. He is everywhere all at once. There is no place that you can go that He is not already there. However, God exists on a different plane than the plane upon which we exist. This makes Him no less omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. He can still move where no one can move. He can still heal to the uttermost of all diseases. He can still lift up out of the darkest depression. He is still able to forgive all of our iniquities. He alone is still able to redeem our life from destruction.

His existence in a non-tangible form does not abate in the slightest the power of His might. John tells us in the fourth chapter, the twenty-fourth verse, “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.” Stephen tells us in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter seven, verse forty-eight, “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands;” speaking of the words of Solomon in 1 Kings 8.27. Solomon said that the heavens and the heavens of the heavens could not contain Him.

His presence and power surrounds us completely. They are not in a tangible form that one can hold in their hands and put in their pockets. They exist as does He, in a metaphysical plane. Metaphysical come from two Greek words, meta and physika. Meta means ‘beyond’ or ‘after’. Physika means ‘physical’. God exists in a plane beyond the physical. It stands to reason that the way to enter such a metaphysical place would not be by a conventional vehicle or means. If God is indeed, and I do know in my heart that He is, omnipresent (everywhere,) omniscient (all knowing,) and omnipotent (all powerful,) then we are every in his presence. We are always in reach of his knowledge and power. If then, we are always in His presence, why do we need to go farther? Why do we need to get into the gates? Why do we need to enter into His courts?

What will we find inside the gate that is not everywhere we turn?

What do we find in the court that is not everywhere we turn?

In David’s day, outside the gate was to be open to marauding bands of thieves and murderers. Outside the gate you were protected only by your own strength.

Inside the gate, you fell under the protection of the city. Inside the gates, you were protected by the king of the city.

We are assailed daily by the wiles and temptations of Satan. Every day he buffets our souls. We have to be out in his world. We work jobs in it. We shop for groceries in it. We walk amongst his blind followers on a daily basis. Out there, we are open and exposed to his onslaught. Where do we turn for protection? Where is our refuge? Oh, if we could rest our burden for a time; if we could stop the attacks until our strength returns; if we could only step inside the gates; there is our respite.

I cannot reiterate it strongly enough; we must get inside the gates. There is peace inside the gates. There is rest inside the gates. There is strength inside the gates. There is protection inside the gates.

In Numbers, the command was given to set up six cities of refuge within the kingdom. These cities were set up in the cities given to the Levites. These cities were to be a place a person guilty of murder by accident could go and find safety until his case could be heard by the elders. The law of the day was an eye for an eye; a life for a life.

These cities were placed to where an Israelite or stranger could find them and get there quickly. The six cities were: Kedesh, Shechem, and Hebron to the western side of the Jordan River and Golan, Ramoth, and Bezer on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Many were set on high hills or mountains, where anyone that needed them could see them. Some were set in the open plains. The Children of Israel were commanded that the roads to these cities be clear at all time. Nothing was to impede a traveler needing refuge.

Once someone needing the city made it to the city, they were safe within. If the trial confirmed the death to be accidental, the seeker of asylum was returned to the city and there they would live under its protection. As long as the High Priest of that city lived, they were safe. When the High Priest of that city died, they were free to go, without fear of vengeance. The death of the High Priest was considered atonement.

Their safety was within the gates.

In the book of Samuel, there was a battle between warring sides of Israel. Following this battle, Asahel, the brother of Joab, pursued Abner, the first cousin of Saul. When he would not relent, Abner killed Asahel in self defense. Abner went to the city of Hebron for refuge. However, while there he was enticed by Joab to step out of the city and Joab slew him. David lamented that Abner “died as a fool dieth.”

Kedesh: the word means to be clean, to be holy. There is cleansing and holiness inside the gates of the city. Outside the gates there was decay and decadence. The prodigal son came to himself, craving to eat after the swine. He said to himself, “In my father’s house, the servants have bread to eat. If I can just make it back to the gates of father’s house, I will be alright.” Inside the gates of father’s house was cleansing and holiness. Inside the gates were a new robe of righteousness and a ring of reconciliation.

When you begin to give thanks, you are spiritually transported inside the gates of the city. There begins the work of cleaning your soul. There begins the washing. How do I get inside the gate of holiness?

Shechem: the word means shoulder. The Bible talks about the shepherd, having a hundred sheep, and seeing that one had gone astray, left the ninety-nine to find that one lost lamb. When he found it, he put it on his shoulder and carried him back to the fold. There is forgiveness inside the gates. There is a loving savior waiting to put you on his shoulder. How do I get into the gate of forgiveness?

Hebron: the word means the seat of association, fellowship. There is comfort in fellowship. There is strength in fellowship. There is victory in fellowship. When I begin to give thanks, I am joined in a fellowship of believers. Their strength becomes my strength. Their courage becomes my courage. Their faith becomes my faith. How do I get inside the gates of that fellowship?

Bezer: the word means inaccessible. All day in this world we are buffeted by Satan and his minions. This is the warring of the members that Paul spoke about. He said, “When he would go to do good, evil was present.” When I try to serve God, the devil fights me. When I try to do the right thing, the wrong thing presents itself as well. Paul went on to say, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” There is a place we can go where we are inaccessible to the devil. He cannot reach us there. How do I get inside the gates of that inaccessibility?

Ramoth: the word means heights, high values. The devil will tell you that you are not worthy of the blood of Jesus Christ. He will tell you that you are not worthy of salvation. He is right. We are not worthy. None of us have done anything that makes us worthy of the sacrifice of Jesus. However, the devil wants to beat you up with that feeling of unworthiness. The scripture says, “Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:” By the blood of the lamb and our thanksgiving, we can enter inside the gates of worthiness. How do I get inside the gates of worthiness?

Golan: the word means captive. Paul said that he was a prisoner of Jesus Christ. The word implies a bonding. The root word also implies to be knit together. Paul said that his goal and God’s goal were knitted together. Their aim was one aim. Their goal was one goal. Inside the gate, you will find a bond with God. How will you know the mind of God? How will you see His plan for your life? How will you know the direction He wants you to take? How do you get inside the gates of bonding?

It is all there for you … inside the gates. What is the key to take you through the gate? Thanksgiving.

When we begin to give thanks to God, we are metaphysically transported inside the gates. The cleansing begins. The comfort of His shoulder in forgiveness is there. The fellowship of like believers is established. The protection from the wiles of Satan is there. Worthiness is inside the gates. The bonding with Christ is there as well. How do you get into those gates?

The road is clear of obstructions. The way is known. How do you get inside the gates?

When we begin to give thanks to God for His marvelous works; for His gracious nature; for His abundant blessing, we are spiritually transported inside the gates of the tabernacle of God.

Now you are there. You are inside the gates. You have availed yourself of the cleansing, forgiveness, fellowship, protection, worthiness, and bonding. What else is there for you?

When we begin to praise Him for His love; for His grace; for his blessings, we are spiritually transported into His courts. What will we find in His courts?

It is in the court of the king, that petitions are made known.

It is in His courts that we may ask what we will.

The Bible tells us that we are to approach the throne of God boldly. The word ‘boldly’ is a compound word. It is ‘meta-parreesias’. It refers to a beyond frankness. Why do we boldly approach the throne? It is because we have been brought to the court for just this purpose. It is the reason we are there. We know it. God knows it. There is no need to hem and haw around. Get to the heart of the matter. With your thanksgiving, you have made it inside the gates. With your praise you have made it into the courts. This is the place where prayers are answered. This is the place where petitions are met.

In the time of King David, sojourners would come with their petitions and complaints. They came to stand in the court of the king. They came to get resolution. Absalom would stand at the gate and intercept them. He would ask what country/tribe from which they came. When they would tell him, he would say there was no one in the court to hear them. He would offer resolution. “If I were the king,” he would say. In this, he offered no real resolution, but stole the hearts of the people.

Real resolution comes from the king. The devil will stand in the gate to prevent you from entering. You must make it to the courts. The answer is not outside the gates. The answer is not in the smooth talkers. The answer is in the courts. How do you get to the courts?

Are you discouraged? Get to the courts.

Are you hurting? Get to the courts.

Do you need to stand in the presence of the king?

How will you get into his courts?

There is a key. Praise is the answer.

Prayers are not answered unless we get into the courts. Restitution is not offered except in the court. Resolution is available only in the court.

When we begin to give thanks, we are metaphysically transported into the gates. When we begin to offer praise, we are metaphysically transported into His court.

When we go to court, we need an advocate. When we are transported to the court, we stand before God in all of our humanity. We stand in all of our frailty. We stand in all of our weaknesses. We stand in front of God in our sinful nature. We need an advocate. Timothy said we had just such an advocate. The word is ‘parakletos’. It is used in John 14.16, we Jesus speaks of the comforter that will come. The word is a compound word which means ‘one called alongside to help.’

He went on to say in verse 18, that He “would not leave them comfortless.” The word for comfortless is ‘orphanos’. In that day, when followers of a religious leader lost that leader, they were called ‘orphans.’ Jesus knew He was leaving his followers. He wanted them to know that they were not going to be orphaned. He was going to send a comforter. He was going to send an intercessor. He was going to send an advocate. The Bible tells us that this Spirit makes intercession for us. When we have a need, and we begin to give thanks and offer praises, the intercessor carries us to the courts of God. There we can ‘ask what we will.’ We can boldly approach the Throne of Grace.

Psalms 100.4-5

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Words, Thoughts, Emotions, Decisions, Actions, Habits, Character, and Destiny

Genesis 12.1-3
1. Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Abraham, I am going to do all these things for you, but first we have to get you in the right place. The right place is firstly, away from the idolatrous inhabitants of Haran. Abraham lived in a land where the inhabitants worshipped their god through the moon. They worshiped the creation and not the creator.

There is much negative connotation when we start talking about destiny. I am not talking about an individual predestination. There are those that feel we have an individual predetermined destination. Some are destined from birth to fail God, while others are destined from birth to serve God. That is ludicrous and in direct conflict with the Word of God. Mark 8.34 says, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.Revelation 22.17 says, “And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

These two words are phenomenal. I call one, the great equalizer, and the other, the great divider.
· Whosever. This is the great equalizer. This applies to everyone equilaterally. It applies to every man as it does to every woman. It includes every boy as well as every girl. It spoke to the Jew as well as to the Gentile. It does not matter if one is an American or a Russian. It reaches out to every Democrat and to every Republican. This one word places us all on equal footing at the base of the cross. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” All of us are/were in need of a redeemer. The song says, of the blood of Jesus, that “it reaches to the highest mountain; it flows to the lowest valley.” It crosses the path of every man. “Whosoever” say we all stand together in our need of the sacrifice that Jesus provided and in the ability to access His forgiving nature and be washed in His blood.

· Will. This is the great divider. While ‘whosever’ makes us all equals, ‘will’ divides us all. Because, while His forgiveness is available to everyone, everyone will not avail themselves of it. To some, it will be too hard (Rich young ruler .. Luke 18;18-23.) To others, it will be too confining (a strait gate, a narrow way .. in the original text, narrowed by many obstacles.) some will be saddled with doubt, others with pride, and still other with desires. Sadly, as well as ‘whosoever’ joins us, ‘will’ quickly individualizes us. One writer says we are to work out our own salvation, with fear and trembling, before the Lord. When it comes to our own salvation, we are divided from the crowd.

When it comes to destiny:
· I fully believe the Church, the Bride of Christ, is predestined to spend eternity in the presence of God in a city He is building.

· I fully believe those that do not avail themselves of this simple plan of salvation, are predestined to spend eternity in a place of torment.

Beyond that, I do not, in any way, on any day, believe that when I was born, God stamped on my forehead the words “Saved” or “Lost” and that I could do nothing to change that.

When I talk about destiny, I am talking about an eventual destination. I determine that destination or destiny.

Words determine your thinking. Your thinking determines your emotions. Your emotions determine your decisions. Your decisions determine your actions. Your actions determine your habits. Your habits determine your character. Your character determines your destiny.

We need to learn to step back sometimes.
If you are not happy with your destination, change your character.
If you are not happy with your character, change your habits.
If you are not happy with your habits, change your actions.
If you are not happy with your actions, change your decisions.
If you are not happy with your decisions, change your emotions.
If you are not happy with your emotions, change your thinking.
If you are not happy with your thinking, change your words.

Negative words produce negative thinking … produces negative emotions … produce negative decisions … produce negative actions … produce negative habits … produce a negative character … produces a negative destination.

Godly words produce Godly thinking … produces Godly emotions … produce Godly decisions … produce Godly actions … produce Godly habits … produce Godly character … produce a Godly destination.

I have much for you to do for me, Abraham, but first, I need you to get away from that idolatrous nation where ungodly words are crippling your thinking.

Isaiah 55.6-11
6. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

God said, your thoughts are not my thoughts. My actions are not your actions. How do we change that? How do we bring our thoughts and imaginings into captivity?

2 Corinthians 10.4-5
4. (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

How do we become thinkers of God’s thoughts?

Proverbs 23.6-8
6. Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:
7. For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
8. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

The bread represents the words.
John 1.1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 6.32-34
32. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

How do we become thinkers of God’s thoughts?

We become thinkers of God’s thoughts when we begin to listen to God’s words.

Your brain is like a massive super computer. It is constantly taking in information and storing it for a time when it will need it. We consciously and unconsciously learn. On a computer we store various bits of information in binary code. When we ask the computer to do something, it searches ever bit of information to determine how to do what we have commanded. Our brain works like that. When we try to reason or think, our brain accesses all the information we have stored to determine how to respond or think. By inputting the right words we will think the right thoughts.

Thoughts become emotions

Back to Proverbs 23.7 “… as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” The heart is the seat of emotion. Thoughts produce emotions. When you are angered by something and you ponder it, turning it over and over in your thoughts, it begins to produce that anger and rage. That negative word/seed has tainted your thinking. It has marred the God inspired process of forgiveness. It has produced a negative emotion.

That negative emotion will contaminate the decision making process. Everything you do is stained by that negative emotion. Have you ever had someone cut you off in traffic with their bad driving? What do you do? You get mad. You speed up and try to get back at them. You become the thing that angered you. You become the bad driver. The bad seed has grown and choked the life out of it.

Luke 8.7
“And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.”

The Good Word is being sown in our lives, but if do not exercise the proper caution, we will also incorporate the thorns of those with whom we come in contact and allow them to grow freely, and they will choke away the benefit of the positive Word of God.

There is a psychological process that occurs when we allow wrong thoughts to remain in our thinking. The process is in three steps: Association, Influence, and Transference. When we entertain these kinds of thoughts brought by the wrong words, when we do not bring them into captivity, we are allowing them to freely associate with our thoughts. Eventually that association will become influence. Those thoughts will begin to influence our emotions. They will bend our emotions in their direction. Finally, they will achieve transference. They will transfer into our thinking and become our emotions. The easiest stage to change this process is in the beginning. We cannot afford to allow wrong thoughts to become our emotions. We must bring them into captivity. Paul said that he brought his body (his words, his thoughts, his emotions) into subjection, lest he should end up a castaway.

Emotions become decisions

Be careful of the decisions you make based on bad words. Find the source. Ask the question. Pray about it. Know the will of God concerning it. Haste is generally the enemy of good decisions. I know there are going to be people that will tell you about times they waited and lost. Let me assure you, more is lost by hasty unsure decisions than will ever be lost by prayerful consideration.

The Word tells us that we are to try the spirits whether they be of God or not. It further tells us that every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist.

What does that mean to me? It means, in my opinion, that voice that tells me that God does not understand, that God does not care, that God is not interested in my problems, is denying that Jesus Christ came in the fullness of the flesh, and that is the spirit of the antichrist. It is the devil trying to twist my emotions to make a wrong decision. Bad words lead to bad (wrong) thoughts, which in turn lead to wrong emotions, which will then lead to the wrong decision.

We are emotional creatures. Rarely will a decision be made in our lives based solely on logic. Every decision is dripping with emotion. This is the reason we will defend our choices even in the face of overwhelming evidence that it was the wrong choice. We came to this decision based on our emotional state. In this, the decision is not separate from us, it is part of us. When someone criticizes the decision, they are criticizing us. For better or worse, we are usually married to our decisions. For this reason, we must exercise Godly caution when we are in the process of making a choice. Associate with the Words of God. Let His love influence you. Transfer His Spirit into your process. Make right decisions.

Decisions become actions

I wanted a pool for my kids. I wanted to spend about $400. I went to a pool store in Lexington. I told the salesman from the start that I was looking for a small above ground pool for around $400. He proceeded to show me a $10,000 pool. It was wonderful. It was well built (he went through the entire process of manufacturing and building.) I did the usual polite dodges. “Let me think about it and get back to you.” No deal. He called his manager in New York. Between the two of them they got the price down to under $7,000. (Uh … $400 pool?)
The NY manager asked to speak to me. He told me it was a once only offer. I could only buy that pool for that price on that day. I carefully explained to the NY’er that I agreed that the pool was well worth the $7,000 they were asking. However, I came in and told this salesman specifically that I was looking for a $400 pool. While I completely agreed that this was an incredible deal, it was still not what I was looking for when I came in.

Decisions become actions. I decided I wanted a $400 pool. I went to Montgomery Wards and bought a $400 pool.

In the Bible story of the building of the Tower of Babel, the Word says that the people were of one idea and one language. The Word tells us they had made a decision to build a tower into the heavens, to make a name for themselves, and so they would not be scattered. This was in conflict with God’s plan and command for them to multiply and fill the earth. There are many Bible studies in the story of the Tower of Babel, but I want to deal with this one aspect. They made a decision, albeit a wrong decision, and that decision became an action. When we come to a decision, action will soon follow.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

We must make sure our actions glorify God in Heaven. Paul, in his letter to the church at Rome, told them that men should see their works and glorify God. Godly actions require godly decisions.

Actions become habits.

There are good habits and bad habits.

I have always heard that any action you do consistently for 21 days becomes a habit. Conversely, to break a habit, one must not do a certain action for 21 days consecutively. We are familiar with many bad habits. People do them without thinking.

I used to bite my fingernails. I would do it without conscience thought. Many times I would become aware of it after the fact, when I had gotten to the quick and my fingers were bleeding. The habit superimposes itself over health concerns. It places itself over common sense. It lays itself over top of thinking.

This is any habit.

It is another form of integration (a process by which an action becomes part of the whole.) An animal first responds to a stimulus, but if it is neither rewarding nor harmful the animal reduces subsequent responses. One example of this can be seen in small song birds - if a stuffed owl (or similar predator) is put into the cage, the birds initially react to it as though it were a real predator. Soon the birds react less, showing habituation. The stuffed owl simply becomes part of their everyday life and, to them, constitutes no threat. If another stuffed owl is introduced (or the same one removed and re-introduced), the birds react to it as though it were a predator, showing that it is only a very specific stimulus that is habituated (namely, one particular unmoving owl in one place). Habituation has been shown in essentially every species of animal.

Habituation need not be conscious - for example, a short time after we get dressed, the stimulus clothes create disappears from our nervous systems and we become unaware of it. When we first put on a shirt/blouse, we are aware of how it feels against the skin. However, very shortly thereafter, we become accustomed to that feel and no longer notice it. In this way, habituation is used to ignore any continual stimulus, presumably because changes in stimulus level are normally far more important than absolute levels of stimulation. This sort of habituation can occur through neural adaptation in sensory nerves themselves (our tongue is accustomed to the way our teeth feel against it and does not respond to that stimulus, but will respond to a tiny hair in the mouth,) and through negative feedback from the brain to peripheral sensory organs (the brain tells the skin not to respond to the feel of the fabric.)

The learning underlying habituation is a fundamental or basic process of biological systems and does not require conscious motivation or awareness to occur. Indeed, without habituation we would be unable to distinguish meaningful information from the background, unchanging information.

We need habits to allow us to see the difference in the world. When we are not caught up in the common day-to-day routine, we can see the differences in our lives.

That being said, we must guard ourselves against becoming common with the things of the flesh. The works of Satan must, now and always, bring up our sense of concern. We must be an ever vigilant as the watchmen on the wall. We stand between our families and the wholesale works of the Devil. We stand in the gap. We make up the hedge.

How do those around us know us? What dictates their opinion of us and does it matter?

We are known by the assemblage of our actions. We have all heard the old adage, “Actions speak louder than words.” I can tell you all day long that I am a good man, but if you see me kicking kids and drowning kittens, what will you believe?

I heard someone say recently, “Do not confuse the man for the moment.” We are all human and subject to that one moment of weakness. Rest assured, if you have a weakness, the Devil will exploit it. When it comes to works of the flesh, he is the master. He will allow you to progress until he feels it is the optimal moment to create the most damage to those around you. He will allow you to operate unfettered because he knows your actions will become your habits, and your habits will become your character.

Never mistake grace for approval.

When you make a mistake, when you sin by error, and the lightning doesn’t proceed from heaven, it does not mean God approves. He is graciously allowing you space to repent. “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, .. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, ..”

Repentance is essential to the life of a Christian. While repentance is so much more than saying one is sorry, it does begin with the vocalization of said sorrow or conviction. In Acts, following the message from Peter, the crowd was ‘pricked in their hearts’ and cried out, “What must we do?”

Your habits become your character. “Character is what you do when no one is looking”

Character is what we do in our lifetime. Have you ever heard it said of someone, “That was out of character.”? What does that mean? It means that the habits of an individual have defined his character and what they have seen is out of step with the expected actions.

Christians were first called Christians at Antioch. They did not call themselves Christians. They did not proclaim they were Christians. Someone saw their character and said they were ‘like Christ’. I knew a guy once that had a denim jacket that was covered with scriptures embroidered all over it. It was his walking billboard of his Christianity. It was the thing that identified him as a Christian. How sad, if our life does not identify us. What do others say about you? How do they identify you? What is your character in their eyes?

The things they see you do consistently are how they will identify you.

Do they see you leaving for and returning from church regularly?
Do they hear you talk about God in daily conversation?
Do they see you pray at neighborhood cookouts or at work before eating a meal?
Do they know you are a source of prayer when there is a problem in their lives?

What is your character?

Your habits become your character.

Finally, your character determines your destination.
Now, to clarify, it will take more than character to reach Heaven. There are steps to salvation, but right words will lead to rightful thinking, which will lead to the proper emotions, which will lead to the true decisions, which will bring about the accurate actions, which will create the proper habits, and create the appropriate character, and lead to the right destination. You will not come to know Christ in his fullness without these things.

Your character is the sum total of your words, your thoughts, your emotions, your decisions, your actions and your habits. If your words are not pure, if your thoughts are not untainted, if your emotions are not uncontaminated, if your decisions are not wholesome, if your actions are not uncorrupted, if your habits are not clean, and if your character is not spotless, you will not reach a heavenly destination.

Our old life is passed away, when we become a new creature in Christ. Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2.20)

Why are we here? This is the question that is said to have plagued the thinking of mankind throughout the ages. To the one that doesn’t believe in God, I can see how this would be a difficult question. However, to those of us enlightened ones (Satan has blinded those lest they should see this marvelous light) this is an easy question. Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” We are here to revere God and keep His commandments. We are here to do the right thing. We are here to make our way to the right destination.

My friend,

Get your words right
Get your thoughts right
Get your emotions right
Get your decisions right
Get your actions right
Get your habits right
Get your character right
Get your destination right