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Posts Tagged ‘integrity’

Faith, Hope, and Love

November 8th, 2017

Hope is a picture in your heart of a desired future.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.” Hebrews 10:23 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Faith, Hope, and Love.”

The Biblical concept of hope has been sorely diluted. Biblically, hope is a powerful force, even described as, “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hope is a picture of a desired future. God places hope in your heart – of what should be and therefore could be. Incorrectly, it is easy to think of hope as not dissimilar to wishful thinking, something you wish would happen, but really doubt it will. We assume hope is something unlikely, anything but certain. To the contrary, the Bible places hope in the esteemed company of the dynamic, spiritual forces of faith and love. (Reference Hebrews 11 and I Corinthians 13). “Now we see things imperfectly . . but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now. There are three things that will endure – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 NLT.

For now, yours and my personal knowledge is limited, imperfect, and incomplete. Why would you rely upon such unreliable things? Yet that limited, imperfect and incomplete knowledge seems to most often be the foundation for our feelings, fears, and expectations. Those offer only an uncertain foundation. In contrast, the Bible describes hope this way, “We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:18-19 NIV. Strength and stability is found in Biblical hope.

Such hope is not fragile, but our assurance and conviction can be. Learning to, “walk by faith and not sight,“ is challenging. “We were saved in this hope, [the redemption of our body], but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Romans 8:24-25 NKJV. Are you learning, “to eagerly wait with perseverance.” There is a dynamic tension between those two character attributes that results in each being stronger than it could be alone. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He Who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 NIV.

God’s Word is filled with examples. Let’s just look at Abraham, an elderly man with a barren wife who was told by God that he would be, “the father of nations.” The Bible shares Abraham’s story in both Old and New Testaments. His story is a story of indiscourageable hope. “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed . . he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.” Read Romans 4:18-21 NIV. With God, present truth trumps previous facts. Abraham faced the facts but believed the truth of God’s promise. Read Jeremiah 17:7-8 NKJV.

The sum of the matter is the Apostle Paul’s clear instruction, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 NIV. I am not sure the latter two attitudes and actions are possible without a joyful hope. How do you and I develop a joyful hope? Hope rests on truth. Truth that is eternal is found in God’s Word and character. “That we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 NKJV. The Bible is clear, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but My Word will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to know and trust the integrity of God’s Word, in spite of all else.

Christian Communications 2017

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Contradictions and Inconsistencies

June 30th, 2017

Never allow your life to contradict your values

For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing” Romans 7:19 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about,Contradictions and Inconsistencies.”

Keep your convictions clear and your contradictions few. “To thine own self be true and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” William Shakespeare. Musically, the effect of incongruity is dissonance. Relationally, the result is discord. Spiritually, the consequence is disunity. When behavior contradicts professed belief, your integrity and reputation are diminished. From my Dad I learned, “A man is only as good as his word.” James, the brother of Jesus, made it simple and clear. “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” James 5:12 NIV. James’ instruction is about far more than vocabulary. James’ words are about living with clarity, consistency, and integrity. Always do more than you promise, never less. Be true. Be real. Be consistent.

Never allow your life to contradict your values. As a young minister, I was challenged by a probing question that Jesus asked. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46 NIV. That is a glaring inconsistency to which all of us have to plead guilty on occasion. Jesus then told a story contrasting a man who built his house on solid rock and another who was content to build his house on shifting sand. Which do you think succeeded? Read Luke 6:47-49 NIV. Whatever its momentary circumstance, the safest place in the world is in the center of God’s will. Your future rests securely on that which will neither change nor fail – the Word and will of God.

Jesus told another story about two sons. One promised something to his father, but never did what he said. His action was inconsistent with his words. The other at first refused but later complied. Read Matthew 21:28-31 NIV. Which did the will of his father? Perform above your promise; God does.

Paul identified our common dilemma but also pointed us to the only One who gives us success and victory. “I do not understand what I do . . For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is [a sin nature] living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me . .  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Then, Paul shares the only answer to his victory and ours. “Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Read Romans 7:15-25 NIV.

James wrote of this same spiritual/carnal contradiction, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? James 3:9-11 NIV. The inconsistency is consistent! “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Read Luke 6:43-45 NIV.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT. That is achieved only by allowing the Word of God to dwell within you. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.” Colossians 3:16 NIV. If God is Sovereign – and He is – His Word is absolute and His will is final. “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 NIV. My desire and intent is to never allow my life or words to contradict the faith I profess and the Word of God I preach.

Today, I pray for you to walk before God and man with integrity and authenticity.

 

Christian Communications 2017

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Integrity and Skillfulness

December 9th, 2015

Allen Randolph

For any of you living in the St Louis, MO/Granite City, IL area, I will be speaking next Sunday, December 13, 10:45 am, at City Temple, 4751 Maryville Rd, Granite City, IL. I would love to meet you after the service.

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“Bless all his skills, O Lord; be pleased with the work of his hands.” Deuteronomy 33:11 NIV.

The Gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit are invaluable.

My thoughts and comments today are about “Integrity and Skillfulness.”

You have a potential beyond whatever your natural abilities and talents may be. If you wish to realize your potential and be exceptionally successful, there are skills you will need to acquire – intellectual, social, business, writing, speaking, and other practical skills of everyday life that require your best effort and diligent practice. However well you develop your natural skills, there is a spiritual potential that is important to your becoming all that God has designed you to be. Beyond your own best efforts, God offers something more – His blessing and anointing. The Gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit are invaluable. Without those, the best of yourself will never be realized. Ephesians 4:13 NIV.

In particular, our current theme of “Integrity” has focused on God’s testimony about David from Psalm 78:72 NKJV, “So David shepherded (fed) them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided (led) them by the skillfulness of his hands.” David’s heart aligned with God’s heart. From his heart and hands, David fulfilled God’s ministry assignment to him; David fed and led Israel with integrity and skills. God is interested in both your inner character and outward skills. To fully achieve God’s calling upon your life, both who you are and what you can do will be required.

David demonstrated qualifications of both heart and hands. With a shepherd’s sling David evidenced physical skills to protect his father’s sheep against a lion and a bear, which prepared him to defeat Goliath without fear or hesitation. Read 1 Samuel 17:32-37. Equally important, God used David’s spiritual sensitivities and musical skills to soothe Saul’s troubled spirit and refresh the King with rest. David was described as one, “who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.” Read 1 Samuel 16:16-23. The final phrase is the most important of all that is said about David. That is quite a well-rounded description of attributes.

In matters of ministry and service, a spiritually empty heart results in hands without blessing to God or for man; a heart overflowing with God results in life-giving hands toward others. Jesus was clear, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45 NIV. There must be consistency of your heart and hands. A simple act of touch has the power of spiritual impartation. A hand reaching out to another offers hope and help. Your hand on a shoulder can encourage. A pat on the back can cheer and congratulate. An embrace can express comfort.

As Moses faced the end of his life, he spoke blessings over the twelve tribes, that had arisen from the twelve sons of Jacob. Moses spoke blessing over Levi, the priestly tribe, “Bless all his skills, O Lord; be pleased with the work of his hands.” Deuteronomy 33:11 NI V. It is interesting to read the entire chapter, Deuteronomy 33. God has personal blessings just for you.

Today, I pray for you that your skills would be blessed and useful to God’s purposes.

Reminder: This is the final of three devotionals, “Integrity and Potential, Integrity of Heart, and Integrity and Skillfulness.” All of this series are available at the EDL website, www.allenrandolph.com. If you have not yet listened to my video teaching on Integrity titled, “Heart and Hands,” I encourage you to do so. Just click on the title here . .

Christian Communications

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Integrity and Potential

December 1st, 2015

“David walked in integrity of heart and in uprightness.” 1 Kings 9:4 NKJV.

God evaluates a person by their potential.

My thoughts and comments today are about “integrity and potential.”

Contrary to common belief, “What you see is not always what you get.” Our culture is content with style more than substance. People are too easily impressed with much that is superficial rather than substantial. First impressions are usually formed on outward appearance, without the bother of looking further. Buyers are enticed with more that is promised than delivered. Exaggeration seems the rule. Fad and fashion take precedence over utility and durability. The hype of advertising typically exceeds the real worth or quality of the product advertised.

That must never be true of your spiritual life. Be advised; do not demand of others more than you require of yourself. Integrity seems increasingly scarce. Integrity is defined as: “adherence to moral principles, unimpaired, soundness, honesty, unity, wholeness.” In mathematics, an “integer” describes a whole number as distinguished from a fractional number. Integrity is neither defined nor achieved in a single moment or by sporadic conduct; integrity is the sum of one’s Godly aspirations to all that is right before God, alongside uncompromised allegiance to God’s will and faithful adherence to God’s Word.

As I read the Bible, I am intrigued by the concept of integrity, a critical subject about which the Bible has a lot to say. See Proverbs 10:9/Psalm 41:12 NKJV/ Proverbs 11:3/ Psalm 25:21 NIV. Ever wondered how and why God chooses people He anoints and uses extraordinarily? God values character above natural abilities. Our God is purposeful, never whimsical. He is consistent with His own eternal principles, working by design not coincidence.

When God chose David, the youngest of seven sons from the Bethlehem hillsides, His instruction to Samuel was, “Do not consider his appearance or his height . . the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7 NIV. Jesse and Samuel, David’s father and a prophet there to anoint a new King, did not see in David what God saw in him. They saw what they could see; God saw what only He could know – the Godly potential in, “a heart after God.” Read Acts 13:22-23 NKJV.

“David walked in integrity of heart and in uprightness.” 1 Kings 9:4 NKJV. That is encouraging to those of us who seem less obvious choices, less naturally gifted, with limited natural abilities. God evaluates a person by their potential. Potential never exceeds integrity. God sees possibilities others assume improbable. The Almighty God has everything you lack and will supply everything you need, if you possess a heart that delights in God above all.

Today, I pray for you that your passion for God flows from a heart do all His will.

To be continued . .

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Spiritual Intimacy

November 14th, 2014

“That I may know Christ.” Philippians 3:10 NKJV.

Relational integrity is essential for spiritual intimacy.

My thoughts and comments today are about “spiritual intimacy.”

Life requires purpose and a superceding objective. Your purpose has to be consequential enough to weather the demands life will require of you and influential enough to empower you to give the effort necessary to achieve and excel. Any person is insufficiently inspired who lacks an objective worthy of the sacrifices needed. The greatest purpose is knowing Jesus Christ in a practical, personal, and intimate way. His intent is that you, “. . know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Read Ephesians 3:17-20 NIV.

Intellectual knowledge alone is inadequate for the personal and experiential knowledge of Christ that Paul sought. He desired a transformative experience of soul and spirit that redeems the heart (See Romans 7:15-26 NIV) and forever alters the desires and direction of one’s life. Read Acts 9:1-6. Subsequently, Paul pledged a devotion to Christ that did not exclude the most severe of mortal threats. “None of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself . .” See Acts 20:22-24.

Relational integrity is essential for spiritual intimacy. Information without corresponding experience becomes intellectual, without relational integrity. As I intend, “relational integrity” describes a commitment to absolute authenticity in relating to God or others. Authenticity is the only enduring basis for real intimacy. Worse yet, intellectual information without corresponding, spiritual experience immunizes you from a real and vital relationship with God.

As a young, college student preparing for ministry, I prayed that Paul’s passion for Christ would be my passion as well. “That I may know [Christ] and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:10. This verse became, and remains today, my “life verse.” Paul’s words describe my purpose and objective. I am committed to daily experience an intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Paul’s passion to “know Christ,” expressed an unparalleled intimacy, with disregard for suffering or sacrifice. The same expression is found in the Old Testament, “Adam knew Eve, his wife, and she conceived . .” (Genesis 4:1), as well as in the New Testament, describing Mary’s incredulity at the angel’s announcement, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” Luke 1:30-38. The word expresses experiential knowledge that forcefully creates and releases new life. Do not be content to know about God, without experiencing Christ personally and powerfully. Anything less is inadequate.

Passionately, Paul desired an encounter with Jesus that releases God’s power and new life, in and through him. Such spiritual intimacy evidences itself in a power for life that is linked to and sourced from the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. See Ephesians 1:17-21 NIV. Nothing you encounter will ever prove His Resurrection power insufficient. In Jesus’ resurrection, God turned apparent defeat into glorious triumph.  Whatever is broken in your life can be fixed. What seems listless and lifeless can receive life abundantly.

If you desire anything more than Him, then your passion to know Him as He desires to be known is lacking. Jesus was clear, “And this is the way to have eternal life – to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One You have sent to earth.”  John 17:3 NLT. There is a depth of relationship that results from intimate fellowship experienced with God through Christ. Only then will you know the power that flows from His Resurrection into the very circumstances where you walk and live every day.

Today, my prayer for you is to know Jesus to the extent you could never again be the same.

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