Category Archives: Decisiveness

Veins Running Fire

jane-eyre-charlotte-bronteThe awful struggle between spirit and flesh is best known by those who believe that the difference between them is of very great importance. Mr. Rochester’s agonized plea to Jane Eyre expresses that terrible conflict exactly.

"One instant, Jane. Give one glance to my horrible life when you are gone. All happiness will be torn away with you. What then is left? For a wife I have but the maniac upstairs: as well might you refer me to some corpse in yonder churchyard. What shall I do, Jane…?"

"Do as I do: trust in God and yourself. Believe in heaven…"

"Is it better to drive a fellow-creature to despair than to transgress a mere human law…?"

This was true: and while he spoke my very conscience and reason turned traitors against me, and charged me with crime in resisting him. They spoke almost as loud as Feeling: and that clamoured wildly. "Oh, comply!" it said. "Think of his misery; think of his danger — look at his state when left alone; remember his headlong nature; consider the recklessness following on despair — soothe him; save him; love him; tell him you love him and will be his. Who in the world cares for you? or who will be injured by what you do?"

Still indomitable was the reply — "I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad — as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth — so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane — quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot."

Lines must be drawn — in advance. “Foregone determinations” she called them. Principles. These established guards in advance, destined to prevent us from faltering when our steadfastness may be put on trial.

Quoted by Elisabeth Elliot in Chapter 7 of her book, Quest for Love

Home Is The Boot Camp for Life

Boot-camp“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank…” (Daniel 1:8).

Daniel had been taken from the security of his home and family into the corruption and sensuality of Babylon. He was a teenager. His decisions, however, were not governed by hormones but by inward convictions. As a young man, Daniel purposed in his heart to do what was right. Where did he learn that? He learned it at home.

Home is the boot camp for life. It’s the Basic Training that helps prepare a child for every eventuality. The Training Manual is the Word of God. Parents have sixteen plus years to build God’s Ways into the life of each child. That sounds like a long time but it quickly passes.

Parents, if you want to pass on to your children a purpose that’s worth living for, then you need to start teaching them and passing on convictions that are worth standing alone for. If our children do not have a purpose worth standing for, then they have absolutely nothing worth living for.

Life is meaningless apart from Jesus Christ, and it is the responsibility of every Christian parent to communicate this to their children. The most effective way to communicate this truth is not only to teach it but to practice it. Show them that Jesus Christ is important to you by spending time with them in God’s Word. If they ask you a question, don’t just tell them what you think. Ask them what God thinks and take them to the Word of God for their answers. Don’t just tell them they can’t do a certain thing, explain the Biblical principle behind the restriction.

Following Scriptural principles represents a far superior way of life than anything else that the world has to offer. When a Christian stands alone in doing what is right or refusing to do what is wrong, he is saying to the world, “I have something worth standing for.”

The world today is frantically looking for meaning and purpose in life and they’re not going to find it in Christianity unless we as Christians are willing to make a stand for the Truth of God’s Word without compromise.

Give your children the desire to follow God’s ways by being a living demonstration of its truths and principles.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

He Gave Away His Life in Handfuls

Although growing up in Northern Ireland, I had the privilege of attending Columbia Bible College in the United States. In March of 1990, Robertson McQuilkin, the former president of Columbia Bible College, announced his resignation with the following letter.

“My dear wife, Muriel, has been in failing mental health for about 8 years. So far I have been able to carry both her ever-growing needs and my leadership responsibilities at Columbia Bible College. But recently it has become apparent that Muriel is contented most of the time she is with me and almost none of the time I am away from her. It is not just “discontentment.” She is filled with fear – even terror – that she has lost me and always goes in search for me when I leave home. Then she may be full of anger when she cannot get to me. So it is clear to me that she needs me now, full time.

Perhaps it would help you to understand if I shared with you what I shared at the time of the announcement of my resignation in chapel. The decision was made, in a way, 42 years ago when I promised to care for Muriel “in sickness and in health . . . till death do us part.” So, as I told the students and faculty, as a man of my word, integrity has something to do with it. But so does fairness. She has cared for me fully and sacrificially all these years; if I cared for her the next 40 years I would not be out of debt. Duty, however, can be grim and stoic. But, there is more; I love Muriel. She is a delight to me – her childlike dependence and confidence in me, her warm love, occasional flashes of wit I used to relish so, her happy spirit and tough resilience in the face of her continual distressing frustration. I do not have to care for her, I get to! It is a high honor to care for such a person.”

Two words go together in Scripture to demonstrate the love of Christ: the words “loved” and “gave.” Paul talks in Galatians 2:20 about “the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Ephesians 5:2 exhorts us to “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us…” That is the love that the Christian husband is to have for his wife.

Paul uses the Greek word agape. It’s the highest form of love. The world’s love is always object oriented. The person is loved because she’s pretty or because he’s got lots of money; but the moment a person looses that quality, the love based on that quality disappears. But agape love isn’t like that. It gives and it gives sacrificially.

Of Oliver Goldsmith it was said, “He gave away his life in handfuls.” That’s the Christian husband.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries
 
Robertson McQuilken’s Resignation Speech

[KGVID width=”640″ height=”360″]http://www.characterjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/Robertson-McQuilken.mp4[/KGVID]

Daniel Purposed in His Heart

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank…” (Daniel 1:8)

Daniel is a man whose life and experience touches right where we are. He is a man who is trying to live a Godly life in the midst of a corrupt, pagan society. Daniel is different from all the other prophets – Jeremiah, Isaiah and the other prophets were in what we would term, “full-time ministry.” Daniel was called into secular employment – he was a government official. But God was able to use Daniel just as much as any full-time prophet because the power in Daniel’s ministry lay not in his calling but in his character.

Daniel was a man of Biblical convictions! He believed God’s Word and he obeyed it! He didn’t try to rationalize it or ignore it. He accepted it as the single authority by which to live no matter what the circumstances or consequences might be! He was taken as a teenager from his family, yet he stood alone and remained true to God and to His Word. Where did Daniel learn these convictions? He learned them at home!

Parents, if you want to pass on to your children a purpose that’s worth living for, then you need to start teaching them and passing on Biblical convictions that are worth dying for. Spend time with your children in God’s Word. Show them that the Bible is the ultimate authority for life – not Hollywood, not their teachers at school, and certainly not their peers.

Could I encourage you – if you are not spending time with your family around the Word of God, then you are missing out on one of the most effective ways to pass on your faith to the next generation.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Not Can’t But Won’t

The choices we make tell a lot about the type of person we are – like our choice of friends, vocation, and how we spend our money. But there are choices which we as Christians make every day that not only reveal what type of Christian we are but those choices also shape our destiny.

Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” This speaks of the special power or enablement that God provides to help us live victorious Christian lives.

Now I’d like to contrast this verse with a list of statements which we as Christians have a tendency to make:

  • “I just can’t get along with my wife.”
  • “My husband and I can’t communicate.”
  • “I just can’t give up the affair I’m having.”
  • “I can’t find time to read my Bible and pray.”
  • “I can’t give up this certain habit.”
  • “I just can’t speak to people about Christ.”
  • “I just can’t be the spiritual leader in my home.” 

Based on Philippians 4:13, you’ll have to agree that the word really should not be “can’t” but “won’t.”

As Christians, every one of us has the choice each day to walk in the flesh or to walk in the spirit. How do you walk in the flesh? That’s very easy – just live as though God’s Word isn’t important; as though the only thing that matters is your happiness or success. That’s how to walk in the flesh!

How do you walk in the spirit? That’s a different matter! It begins with a choice that only you can make – no one can make it for you. It begins with a choice to die to self – your own will, your rights, and your expectations of others (especially those in your own family).

You can make that choice today.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Choices We Live And Die With

In Deuteronomy 30:19, Moses addresses the children of Israel and says, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your children may live.”

Life is full of choices. You and I make hundreds of them everyday. Some of our choices are fairly insignificant – should we go to Burger King or McDonald’s? But there are also choices that impact our lives greatly – choices we live and die with. Are we going to encourage or are we going to criticize? Are we going to forgive or are we going to be bitter and angry?

There are the choices we make that are literally choosing and imparting life to those around us. And there are choices we make that are literally bringing death and destruction to our lives and relationships.

Choices that Bring Life or Death:
Forgiveness OR Bitterness
Encouragement OR Criticism
Believing the truth OR Believing Satan’s lies
Yielding our rights OR Fighting for our rights
Serving others OR Demanding others serve us
Humility OR Pride
Overlooking an offense OR Being easily offended
Giving OR Withholding
Loving OR Selfishness

Following God’s Ways represents a far superior way of life than anything else the world has to offer, therefore choose life (as Moses has said) “that both you and your children may live.”

Family Iniquities and Curses

Parents who keep their eyes from evil and their minds from impure thoughts will not only receive blessing in their own lives but also in the lives of their children. Their own past failures are less likely to be repeated in their children’s lives.

Family iniquities, or self-will in a particular area of life, can be passed from generation to generation. How do we stop the cycle and find freedom in Christ? Here are four basic action steps…

1. Acknowledge the specific iniquity. For help in how to pray, read Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:3-19.

2. Ask God to cleanse the iniquity in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Ask God to reclaim any ground given to Satan and tear down every stronghold.

4. Claim Psalm 103:17 that from now on, the righteousness of your family will be your heritage for your children and for future generations. Also, commit this great verse to memory. For the breaking of a curse, here is a suggested prayer you may find helpful:

Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, I come to you desiring to be free from all curses and their results. I thank you for saving me and cleansing me of my sin. I confess that I belong to you. I now confess and repent of all my sins, known and unknown. I now confess the sins of my forefathers. In the name and through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ I break and renounce the power of every demonic curse that was passed down to me by the sins and actions of others. I now renounce, break, and loose myself and my family from all demonic subjection to any human being who has in the past or is now controlling me or my family in any way contrary to the Word and the will of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, I break the power and hold of every curse that has come to me through disobedience-mine or my forefathers. I claim release and freedom through the blood of Christ. Amen.

-from Reclaiming Surrendered Ground by Jim Logan – Moody Press

Joseph: Alert to Immorality

Genesis 39 provides an example of a man exemplifying alertness.  Joseph, son of Jacob, found his life at a crossroads where alertness saved him from falling prey to sexual immorality. He lived in the house of an Egyptian official, Potiphar.  Because of Joseph’s intellect and charm, Potiphar placed him in charge of the entire household. 

In the midst of rising success and favor from his master, Joseph did not forget to be alert.  He was on his guard against things that could destroy him.  After working for Potiphar, Potiphar’s wife took notice of Joseph.  Daily, she tried to lure Joseph [into immorality].  However, Joseph steadfastly refused—he was alert to the temptation. The climax came when they were alone in the house one day and Potiphar’s wife grabbed Joseph’s cloak. However, because Joseph was a man of character, he was alert to the fact this was sexual immorality and could destroy him—so he fled.  In the face of temptation, Joseph chose to respond by fleeing the temptation.  He only could do this because he was aware of his surroundings and knew his only chance to escape the temptation was fleeing.  Joseph practiced alertness.

Michael C. Lyons, Editor of Faith Outreach, Character Council, Cincinnati, Ohio

Be Decisive to Obey God’s Word

Just about every Christian has asked the question – “What is the will of God for my life?” And whenever a Christian asks that question, he implies 2 things:

1. He doesn’t know God’s will but he would like to.
2. He would like to know God’s will; but because he doesn’t know, it’s God’s fault.

But God has already revealed His will to us. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification…” You don’t have to pray about that! Sanctification is the process by which we become less and less like ourselves and more and more like Jesus.

God’s will for our lives then is not first and foremost a matter of our vocation or our location but a matter of the condition of our hearts. It’s not where you are; it’s not what you’re doing; but it’s what you are that is of primary importance to God.

In John 17:17, Jesus prays to His Father and says, “Sanctify them with Thy truth; Thy Word is truth.” God’s will is that we be sanctified, and Jesus is telling us how that happens: by a constant exposure to the Word of God. A Christian that is in the will of God is a Christian that is in Word of God.

Resolve to be a Christian that is in the will of God by not only reading but applying God’s Word.

Morris Hull – Home Life Ministries