Character

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I was reading several articles on-line concerning character and character traits. Many interesting ideas, but quite valid and handy, in my opinion. We each have our own beliefs about what are good character traits that we should possess; perhaps even desire. As we grow older we find that we needed many different traits, but failed to realize such and also failed to instill them as good habits. They say, “Youth is wasted on all the wrong people.” I tend to agree with that and believe it even stronger now, while in my youth challenged state. Perhaps, I can learn something new in my elderly status…or, perhaps, I am simply reminding myself that in this respect I must live vicariously through others who happen to be far more youthful than I.

Character traits are those things that make you stand out to a crowd of people. It is what you might deem to be a bright yellow highlighting of you among the rabble of black and white words on a page…helping you become noticeable to others, in order to stand out for memory’s sake. For instance: being on-time for an interview is a character trait a business seeks in it’s new hires; thinking fast on your feet or in less than optimal circumstances is another trait others seek; courtesy and chivalry are other traits that people desire to see in others that they come in contact with; kindness toward others and toward animals;..and the list can go on,  etc.

In order to better ourselves, we need to assess our present character traits and decide if they need to be better than they are presently, or if we must replace some traits with other traits. We each go through this at some point in time, thus allowing us to expand our horizons and better ourselves! Not just for our own sake, but for the sake of humanity and the betterment of society. God tugs at our heart from time to time insisting that we better ourselves; unfortunately, in God’s eye, we have a plethora of changes that need to be made!

In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character. In his autobiographytp, Franklin listed his thirteen virtues.  Benjamin Franklin spent one week on each trait, then switched to the next one in the list. Upon completion of each on the list (i.e., 13 traits in 13 weeks,) he would start the list all over again. In one year’s time you can go through the list 4 times. While these are not necessarily the only traits within the context of the bible, but Benjamin Franklin  found them to be the best ones for himself. But, in this respect, we each must find such a path for ourselves, because we each handle things differently than others. In fact, some of us may have a longer list of virtues to create as character traits we desire to possess, other might have a shorter list.

Good character traits can be learned, as they are simply good habits of an outward and caring nature toward others. In the blog post of “God’s Ten Commandments versus Jesus’ Two Commandments“, on May 8th, 2017, I had explained about Jesus’ Two Commandments to us, explaining the nature of such commands. Their simplicity is what makes them so great! In essence, we love God by our outward show of love toward Him. Which is done by our actions of honoring His commandments, showing our gratefulness by giving our tithes and offerings, by also treating our fellow neighbors with love and honoring our word that we may give when we strike a deal or bargain. The simplicity of Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:37-40 are as such:

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

We are witnessing, in present day, the demise of character within the millennial community; as well as within society as a whole. The majority of millennials are under the belief that all things should be handed to them, even when they have lost the battle or election. They believe the government owes them something (a job, free education, free healthcare, etc.) They have been taught, indoctrinated really, to believe and understand facts that don’t exist in our history. We are also witnessing the demise of American history, soon to be revised within the history books…a sad chapter in our future history books. Think about this for a bit…Robert E. Lee’s monument is being removed, Jefferson Davis’ monument is being removes, Confederate monuments are being removed, and the Ten Commandments monument was removed by order of the US Supreme Court. This sanitizing of our history, good or bad as it may have been, is a purposeful destruction of what actually happened in our history. This will at some point in time, should I gamble on this,  be scrubbed from the history books in favor of a more likeable historical write-up?

The sad truth is this, character is built upon all of the good and the bad, together! We are human and thus we make mistakes. If we are smart, we will learn from those GeorgeSantayanaQuote1mistakes and use those weaknesses in order to become stronger and wiser. History, good or bad, is there to remind us where we did things right and those things we did wrong. By remembering history, we are reminded never to let such bad things ever happen again. Unfortunately, we as humans are a stupid race and if we are not reminded from time to time of our mistakes…we will repeat them! Sadly, yes we will.

Character is built as you are growing up by watching your parents. As your relationship with your parents wane away your character is developed partially by your peers and your heroes.

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Character is something we build up over the years. It is, for the most part, trial and error. But if we are wise, or shall I say if we grow in wisdom, our character traits of our older age will be better than when we were growing up and maturing. There is one place I believe you can truly gain the wiser wisdom to learn from and that is the Bible and the text within that cumulative set of writings. Based upon the wisdom and writings of over 50 authors, written over the span one thousand five hundred years. And if you think about it, our thoughts are not original in the least. Though the technology may change, the basis of most, if not all, thoughts is not original to us. They are synthetic changes on something that has happened in the past.

In order to change the society in which we live, for the better, we must first ourselves possess the character traits and leadership traits to lead other to make all of the necessary changes. Prayers is our starting point…on our knees in reverence to God seeking His will to accomplish His greatest good. We as Christians, must take on the roles to necessary to accomplish what must be done. Such as: Teaching and education positions, leadership and political position, law enforcement and first responder positions, etc. We need to stop cow-towing down to these other people of other faiths, or non-faiths if you will, and stand up for the will of God and to become know as lovers of Jesus.

What will you be known best for by all your fiends? I would like to be known as a person who loves God and a sharer of the faith! What about you??

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Who Knows What the Tide Could Bring?

A powerful monologue for those troubled times in our lives, we have all had those moments. Just admit that to yourself and then think on it for a little while! In our darkest moments, in the deepest recesses of our minds and our intellect, we will not have hope and all will be dismal and dank. We may even do something stupid and against our nature, and we will fail at that attempt. Why is that?

God has more for us! More challenges and more failures, or non-successes or “success challenges” (to be PC.) God has something greater for us, a task to complete which will glorify Him in no uncertain terms! But sometimes all these failures and problems before us are just simple wake-up calls to our spirit, our mind, our human nature…because so many of us have forgotten to speak and pray to God. We need to make a greater effort to pray to Him who created each and everyone of us! It takes time, which so many of us refuse to part with because we are so busy. Guess what? We should always, ALWAYS be thankful to our Creator! ALWAYS!

We so often don’t get our way, but then we turn always from Him. We really need to steer clear of being spoiled brats in His sight. Because one day it will bite each and every one of us in the butt. As we owe Him; honor, blessings, tribute, etc. If it were not for Him we would not have an existence. Regardless of what is happening in your life, as well as mine, troubles and trials come our way to test our resolve, our faith, our hopes, our beliefs. But remember this:

…that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust… ~Matthew 5:45 NKJV

>AND<

Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? ~Job 2:9-10 NKJV

Keep these thoughts in your mind. Man is equal before God. The sun rises upon his head and the rain falls upon his head. All so much, the very same! The righteous gain riches by following God’s mandates, yet this is not promised to all of us, now is it?? No, as we are simply promised a life of toil and the only guarantee we have is if stay true to God to the very end…we will be rewarded with a judgement by God permitting us to enter into heaven’s glory radiated by God and Jesus Himself.

…Yet man is born to trouble ~Job 5:7 NKJV

How do we know all of this stuff? Simple, the spirit of God within us all, granted at our birth:

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. ~Genesis 2:7 NKJV

>AND<

The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life. ~Job 33:4 NKJV

And through that blessing of birth and endowment of the spirit of God

But there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding. ~Job 32:8 NKJV

we are also granted many bits & pieces of knowledge that other cannot know because they have turned their backs on God and God’s ways of life.

If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. ~1Chronicles 28:9 NKJV

And at times, we screw up and are separated from God’s voice. Because God cannot be associated with evil and wickedness. It is that simple! The prophet Isaiah told us, and I have mentioned this before in other postings:

But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear. ~Isaiah 59:2 NKJV

But this is why David was the man after God’s own heart, the apple of God’s eye (if you will); this is because despite his evil nature as a man and all the temptation which he succumbed to, when he was faced with his guilt and evil nature…he ALWAYS sought God’s forgiveness! He always returned to God, knowing that God was the reason for all his blessings and conquests. We tend to forget such things. This was why, when pressed, Jesus answered:

“I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” ~Matthew 18:22 NKJV

We must forgive and be compassionate to those who have sinned against us. And in turn, God will grant us the same forgiveness. Even though, we are often not deserving of such forgiveness! (refer to The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant)

None of us knows what the tide could bring, each day is a new adventure (so-to-say). Each and every time we open our eyelids and find ourselves on the cleans side of the grass we could be presented with opportunities beyond our wildest dreams, or just sheer havoc; the blessing of a newborn child, or grandchild…, or a death sentence, or a long road of recovery. We each have a path which each of us must follow, but how we follow that path is strictly on us, no one else. We must either choose the path where we will follow the faith in which we hold our trust, and the God who promises to be with us in both the good and the bad times by never forsaking us. Remember but one promise:

…For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~Hebrew 13:5 NKJV , ~Deuteronomy 31:6,8 NKJV, ~Joshua 1:5 NKJV

Or we can choose to forsake the God that Created us, turn our backs on Him out of our anger for something we do not believe we deserve. Keep in mind that all sin is equal before God’s Judgement:

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.~James 2:10-11 NKJV

dont-worry-theres-always-tomorrowAnd guess what else? We often push off and pawn off our decisions until a later date, because we always belief we will have more time later. Friends, let me tell you this: DON’T PUSH OFF THESE IMPORTANT DECISIONS! You may not have the time you think you have. Judgement, death, the second coming, etc., all have one thing in common: They all come as a thief in the night, you do not know when nor what time of night it comes. But it will come when you least expect it! Remember the old adage: Don’t worry, there is always tomorrow…or is there?

We each mismanage our lives in differing ways, but the most common is through procrastination! Think about that for a little while…how many decision have you put off until later?…and then, later becomes even later? Take a more wise and proactive roll in your life, financially, spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.

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May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

 

Watching Others Evangelize at times, is quite comical

I often feel some who evangelize are in it for the argumentation! Others are in it for the comical value for others to smile. And others are in it to bring souls to God’s kingdom. As we start out we are often ill prepared and poorly understand the concept of touching the lives of others. I know I have been in these shoes…and sadly, I fall back on bad habits. If some of these occurrences weren’t so hilarious, we would probably cry. Most people are just like the Monty Python skit…”I would like to have an argument, please!”

This is but one reason I blog, in order to inform and hopefully educate and aid others in the apologetic field. In order for each of us to evangelize, properly, we need to have a good foundation in the knowledge of the bible and the apologetic forum. We must be able to critically think and to be able to think on our feet. And how do we do this? Through study and education. You must (not just must but you need to want to do so, with such a passion!) study the bible, commentaries, have a voracious desire to read, capture the knowledge and access the information. That being said you also need other traits, such as: study habits, memorization, speed reading, note taking, among other things.

While I was thinking of some other things recently, something to do with evangelizing – the above clip came to mind of the old Monty Python’s Flying Circus. It brought home a point, that many agree on…people are ill prepared from church and Sunday School to evangelize the Word of God to others. What we learn in Church and in Sunday School is cursory at best and piecemeal. However, what many fail to realize is the fact that apologetics and evangelizating are specialized fields within the Church itself. Each and every Church should have a specific course on each and the person who takes such a course needs to desire to take it with such a passion in order to promote and expand the word of God beyond his own boarders of his/her own little world!

Nabeel Qureshi (Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus) converted from Islam to Christianity because of his friend who was a Christian who witnessed to him over the course of years, as they were making their way through medical school. The argumentation started with the Christian belief and made it’s way to the Islamic faith. Islamic believers are given much the same faith as we as Christians…meaning that we are given a cursory understanding and we each believe we are ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, we find ourselves sorely under prepared and almost stripped of all armor and defenses. Because we did not follow on with more of our own self guided studies.

There are a great many people who are misguided out there, including some of us, but we can change that by studying and searching and researching the truth. A truth which is knowable and understandable. And we each have a responsibility and an obligation to pass on our knowledge to our families, our children, our friends and our brothers and sisters in Christ. You can study on your own, with your family, or have a group meeting with others from your church or community. There are numerous ways we can go about it…BUT we need to follow through with the idea of doing so. We have been mandated to love God, love our neighbors and to spread His Word!

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”~Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. ~Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV

We, as Christians, need to take the word of God and it’s mandates more seriously finger-pointingthan we do! We allow ourselves to become so wrapped up in our lives, earning a living, increasing our income, paying our taxes, and paying our bills. Yes, we do go to church on Sunday and perhaps even to Sunday School and talk ourselves into believing it will all be good. But, guess what? You have to do things, you know! We are obligated to God for our life, for the breath of life in our very being, for our very souls and spirits that reside within each of us. Don’t you think that we should do something, like maybe…what we were told to do?

IMG_3148We are all destined to do great things, if only we would place God at the head of our lives as we are at the precipice of our own destruction due to our flippant and arrogant treatment of God within our own lives! We are making God’s decision for our judgement at the end of our lives, because we tend to send ourselves to Hell – God is just following the desires of our hearts through the decisions throughout our lives. But we are meant for something greater and much better than such things. But God MUST come first in our lives! We are blessed with just so much time on earth. In the words of one of the old Church Father’s, St. Cyprian, “We were born with a noose around our necks.” Thus, we have one human lifetime to accomplish what God desires of us. Some of us have longer than others and waste our time when we could be doing something much more constructive for God!

circle-dotWithin the Islamic faith their faith is represented by the circle and their lives (individually) are represented by the dot. Within the Christian faith, we are just the opposite. Our lives are represented by the circle and our faith/God is represented by the dot. God is, and has been, minimized within the context of our lives. It has been educated out of us, we have forgotten the prominence of God in our lives, and we all wonder why things have gotten so bad in this country. WOW! Think about that for a little bit!

Stop sitting on the couch, stop watching all those re-runs of days long gone by! I am not saying you have to give all things fun, but this country and this world is going to Hell in a hand basket and we are just watching it happen. And the only thing we are doing is to bitch and complain at our neighbors, they in-turn bitch and complain to us. That gets nothing accomplished! You have to get up and DO SOMETHING!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD