A wise man once said that when Moses came down from the mountain of God, he didn't come down with ten commandments, he came down with ten character issues. God is all about character. People may focus on what church you go to or how many bible scriptures you can recite or maybe how much you put in the offering plate, but God focuses on your character. God looks on the inside at the person you are when you think no one is watching! We need to check now and then to see if we are people of character.
If you're sitting at a red light at three o'clock in the morning and there's not another car in sight, do you wait for the green light, or just go on your way? If you're on a business trip and your employer will reimburse you for up to twenty dollars for lunch but you only spent fifteen, do you "adjust" the receipt to show the full twenty anyway? If you're getting in your car to leave the mall and your door opens too wide and scratches the car next to you, do you wait for the owner to come out and make it right or jump in and speed away before anyone notices? These may seem like small, insignificant things, but God takes them very seriously! Remember, the Bible says that it is the "little foxes" that spoil the vines! It is often these "trivial" character flaws that bring down the "biggest" people!
With God, character is everything. People may notice what you did, but God also notices why you did it.


The Lie

I have just recently gotten my first real taste of having my reputation slandered. It comes as such a shock when someone spreads a lie that has you supposedly acting in a way that you would never act (and anyone who really knows you would know you could never act!) and saying things you would never say. I guess that because I would never think of doing something like that to another human being, it's hard for me to imagine someone doing that to me! But, they did. And it hurts. And it makes me angry. And it's unfair. I live my life trying to be as Godly as I can (sometimes I do a better job than other times!) and then someone comes along and, with one unfounded lie, tries to steal my reputation from me! Granted, those who know me won't believe the lie, but what about those who don't know me? Has this lie ruined any chance I may have had to reach them for Christ? Has this lie stained my reputation in their eyes and will they spread the lie to others?
I have to admit that my flesh wants revenge. My flesh wants to go to this person and "have it out"! My flesh wants to punch somebody out! But I feel the Holy Spirit restraining me. I hear Him telling me that revenge is God's thing and not my thing. I hear Him telling me to love my enemies and bless those who abuse me. I feel Him compelling me to be like Jesus who, when He was mocked and lied about and betrayed, offered no retaliation, but went on about His Father's business and "no guile was found in his mouth".
I am grateful that God won't allow me to be merely "human". I am his child, born of His Spirit, called by His name and made in His image. He has called me to be like Him, holy and mature, and I want to be obedient. I want Him to be pleased with me and proud of me as His son. But it sure is tough sometimes! I pray that this person repents of the lie and asks for God's forgiveness. They already have mine. I also pray that God will be merciful in His revenge against them if they refuse to repent.


Heaven on Earth

I'm a Kentuckian. I'm a southerner. I don't have to tell you those things, you'll find it pretty easy to tell. The way I talk, walk and dress will give me away. Where I'm from has impacted forever my speech, my likes and dislikes, my feelings about family and friends, and much more. My home state's culture has impacted my very being. No matter where I go, Kentucky goes with me. Even in the farthest reaches of the north, I'm still southern. That's just the way it is.
The Bible says that we Christians are citizens of Heaven. We are in this world but not of this world. Shouldn't people be able to tell that when they meet us? Shouldn't we talk differently, act differently and think differently than citizens of this world? I'm not talking about "Bible-thumping" for show (you know, every word that comes out of your mouth is thee and thou). I'm not talking about being weird for the sole purpose of being different (the Bible tells us "be thou holy", not "be thou weird"). I'm not talking about being self-righteous and self-important and holier-than-thou. I'm talking about reflecting the culture of our homeland. I'm talking about living out the morals, values, and priorities of Heaven in our earthly lives. I'm talking about being "heaven-ly" even though we're here on Earth.
If you've ever visited China Town in San Francisco, you would almost swear that you had left the US and entered China. These people are United States citizens but they didn't abandon their Chinese culture. They will always be Chinese in their hearts, even though they love the United States and feel blessed to live here. They recreated a little bit of China here in the US just by "being Chinese"!. Jesus taught us to pray to our Heavenly Father "thy kingdom come, thy will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven". We recreate the kingdom of Heaven here on Earth when we live out Heaven's culture in our Earthly lives, when we live on Earth by Heaven's rules.
I find I don't have to tell people that I'm from Kentucky and I find I don't have to tell people that I'm a Christian either. They watch me live and they just know. They hear it in my voice, see it in my actions and recognize it in my lifestyle.