Category Archives: Responsibility

John Wesley’s Advice on How to Vote in an Election

wesley“October 6, 1774
I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

― John Wesley, The Journal of John Wesley

Character Training Should Take Precedence Over Academics

A wise parent will begin early to teach their children character and will be constantly evaluating where their children are at and what character qualities they need to develop.

Think about the children that God has blessed you with. Do they have the necessary character traits to have a successful marriage and a successful life?

Do they know how to yield their rights and give in, or are they constantly arguing and fighting so that they can have things their way?

Do they know how to forgive, or are they angry and bitter toward others who have hurt or offended them in the past?

Most conflicts in marriage, church and the workplace can be traced back to the absence of needed character qualities.

If a young lady is not submissive to her parents then she will not be submissive to the leadership of her husband and there will be all kinds of conflicts and problems.

If a young man is not kind and loving to his mother and his sisters, he will be unkind and selfish toward his wife and they will experience all kinds of tension in their relationship as a result.

Teaching Godly character should be the goal of every Christian parent. And if you have young children especially, your main goal is not to teach 1+1=2 – as important as that knowledge is. Following their salvation, your main goal is to teach your children the character of Christ. 

There is a Biblical order given in 2 Peter 1:5 – “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.” Virtue – or character – should take precedence over academics. That doesn't mean that you throw out the textbooks! It’s simply a question of priorities.

By investing in their character training now, you could be saving your children’s future marriage from the tragedy of divorce and failed relationships.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

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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

Discipline – A Biblical Balance

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15).

When it comes to child discipline there are two extremes.

There are some who teach spanking as the predominant aspect of Biblical child rearing, but it’s not. It should be the exception rather than the rule and only when they have intentionally disobeyed. Don’t discipline a child for just spilling a glass of milk if he didn’t intentionally do it on purpose.

The key factor in child rearing is not discipline – if that’s you’re emphasis then you’re headed for trouble. The key factor in child rearing is to win the child’s heart (Proverbs 23:26; Malachi 4:6). If you discipline without having the child’s heart then you are sowing the seeds of bitterness and rebellion. The more you have of your child’s heart, the less you will need to discipline.

There is also a fine line between discipline and abuse. If you discipline in anger then you have stepped across that line (Proverbs 22:8). Don’t ever discipline a child if you’re angry. And if you do, you need to take responsibility for your anger and you need to sincerely ask that child’s forgiveness. You may also need to make yourself accountable to your spouse or church leadership.

The other extreme refuses to discipline at all. The parents themselves may have been abused. They may have witnessed the frustrated mother exploding in the grocery store and they associate any form of physical discipline in a very negative light. But the right kind of discipline is not negative – it’s positive. There is nothing violent or abusive about discipline if it is done Biblically.

The motivation of Biblical discipline is not to punish but to teach the child. Proverbs 29:15 says “The rod and reproof give wisdom…” It would be inapt for a parent not to correct his child’s math allowing him to believe that 1+1=3; but it is also inapt for the parent not to correct his child’s selfishness and disobedience allowing him to believe that his inappropriate behavior is acceptable.

The Bible is very clear that God expects parents to discipline and teach their children. It’s not the job of the school, the day-care, the church or even the state. It is the parent’s responsibility to “… bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Eight Words We All Need to Say

“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10).

Whenever there is contention, anger or bitterness, you can know that pride is certainly involved. Pride destroys marriages and families. Pride is unteachable. It refuses to see its own problems. Pride is quick to blame others and refuses to take responsibility.

No conflict will ever get resolved while blaming others for all the problems.

We need to examine ourselves. Certainly there may be more fault on one side than there is on the other, but virtually always there is some fault on both sides. And good relationships are not built by two people who never do anything wrong. Good relationships are built by people who aren’t too proud to admit where they are wrong and try to make it right.

Maybe you are only 5% responsible and your spouse or some other family member shares 95% of the blame. Don’t focus on the 95% of that other person. That’s their problem. That’s their responsibility and God will hold them accountable for that. Focus instead on your own wrong actions or attitudes that make up that 5% and take full responsibility for them.

Be willing to humble yourself and to go to that person with whom you are having the conflict and without mentioning their offenses, humbly and meekly take responsibility for your own.

It’s amazing how many times, all it takes is for someone to assume full responsibility for their own sin, and God will begin to heal the hurts and bitterness and restore that broken relationship.

There are eight words that every married person ought to learn to say regularly – “I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?”

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

The Christian Home Should Be a Place of Security

“That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 11:21).

The nation of Israel is told to carefully follow God’s Ways, to turn from idolatry and to teach God’s Truth to their children, in order that their days may be “as the days of heaven upon the earth.”

Jesus said In John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you…” God is preparing “a place” for His children. It will be a wonderful place – we call it Heaven.

As parents, we are responsible to provide a place for our children. Whether it’s a trailer, a semi-detached, or a mansion, parents have the responsibility to make that place a “heaven upon the earth” for their children.

One of the chief characteristics of a “heavenly” home is that it should be a place of security. It should be free from fear and anxiety. We need never worry about ever being separated from our Heavenly Father. Jesus said in John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand…”

God is providing for us a place that is absolutely secure. That is the pattern we are to provide for our children: a home that is safe and secure, a home where the children know that mom and dad love each other, and each child is loved and accepted unconditionally. We need to provide a home where our children can retreat and find a safe haven of rest, a home where there is absolutely no possibility of divorce. A home that is totally secure!

One of your child’s greatest fears may be that one day my mom and dad are going to divorce just like the parents of their friends at school. You need to assure them that won’t happen. That means you don’t raise your voice in anger at each other in front of the children — or any other time for that matter.

Children are full of insecurities. Ask specific questions and get to know the needs and fears of each child. Help make those childhood years “as the days of heaven upon the earth” for your children.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Focus on One Character Quality at a Time

You don’t have to teach your children how to steal, how to cheat, how to lie or how to be disobedient. That comes very naturally for all children. But you do need to teach them how to be truthful, how to respect authority, how to be kind, how to yield their rights, and how to forgive.

That’s the responsibility of every Christian parent. If God has blessed you with children, then He has given you the responsibility of teaching and instructing them in the ways of God. It’s not the responsibility of the church, the youth leader, or even the pastor; but it’s the responsibility of the Christian home. The Bible repeats time and time again the principle, “teach these things to your children” (Genesis 18:19; Exodus 13:14; Deuteronomy 4:9; 6:6; Psalm 78:4-6; Ephesians 4:6).

One of the best ways to teach Godly character is to study one character quality at a time in order to understand its nature, its importance, and its benefits. Attached to today’s posting is a sheet listing 49 character qualities and their definitions. (http://hlm.org/files/CharacterDefinitions.pdf).

Go through that sheet of character qualities and ask each person in your family to list what they think is the ten most important qualities that make a successful family.

List all the qualities they have chosen.

Then put the numbers beside the quality that corresponds to the priority placed on it by each member of the family. For example, if your wife listed “kindness” as her number one priority put a “1” beside it. If your son listed “kindness” as his number three, then put a “3” beside it.

Then add the numbers together to determine your priority list; and the quality with the lowest total should be the first quality you study and learn.

We have created a website to assist the teaching of Godly character to your children. You can find it at www.characterjournal.com. It provides Bible verses, stories, illustrations and games which you can use with younger children. This has also been used effectively with Bible clubs and the AWANA program.

In Matthew 11:29 Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me…” As you look through that listing of 49 character qualities, all of these qualities are personified in the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot get to know Jesus Christ intimately apart from understanding His character.

There are artists who have painted portraits of Jesus – trying to imagine what He must have looked like. We don’t know what Jesus looked like on the outside, but by studying these character qualities we get a beautiful picture of what He looked like on the inside.

Don’t Sacrifice Family on the Altar of Corporate Success

Some time ago I had opportunity to talk to two Christian leaders. Both were well respected in their churches and had successful careers.

When asked how his family felt about his travelling from home so much (and he was gone sometimes weeks at a time), one of the men replied, "My family understands that my work comes first." There was no question that everyone understood this – especially his family.

While enjoying a meal with the other gentleman and his family, I asked if his wife cooked such good meals for him every evening. He replied, "I travel so much, I rarely eat at home."

What makes these examples so tragic is that both of these men had teenage children that had rejected the Lord, and both these men believed that their job or ministry was more important than meeting the spiritual and emotional needs of their family.

If you are a parent then the most important ministry you have is toward your family (1 Timothy 3:5; 5:8; Deuteronomy 6:7; Genesis 18:19; Ephesians 6:4). If God has blessed you with children then they and your relationship with your spouse are your top priority after you own personal relationship with the Lord (Matthew 6:33).

Tom Peters is a secular author who has written several best sellers on the subject of business and excellence. He says, "We are frequently asked if it's possible to 'have it all'—a full satisfying personal life and a full and satisfying, hard-working professional one. Our answer is: No. The price of excellence is time, energy, attention and focus, at the very same time that energy, attention and focus could have gone toward enjoying your [child’s] soccer game."

Parenting is one of the most important jobs we will ever have. We can be successful in business, successful in the ministry – but if we are not first successful at home as a spouse and parent, what does it all matter? The most precious thing we have is the relationships we have with each other – especially family. Don’t sacrifice those relationships on the altar of corporate or even ministerial success.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Home Comes First

“For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” (1 Timothy 3:5).

While driving together along the A1 in Cambridgeshire, England – a pastor friend shared with me how the Lord had changed his attitude toward the family and made him realize that his responsibility toward his wife and children took precedence over his ministry.

As a young man, new in the ministry, my friend took every opportunity he could to preach and take meetings, often to the neglect of his family. One evening, after returning from a youth meeting, he found his young son in tears. “Daddy,” he said, “how is it that you find time to be with other boys and girls, but you never have time to be with me?” Those pleading words from the heart of that little child broke his father’s heart and caused him to re-evaluate his priorities.

Many years later, my friend devotes special attention to young husbands and fathers in his congregation. He shared how he told one young man who had been away from his family all week on a business trip that he did not want to see him at church on Sunday evening – he was to be at home with his wife and children. Oh, that more men in the ministry would have these same priorities and preach them with conviction to their congregations.

Someone said that asking God to bless your family without investing both quality and quantity time with them is like asking the Lord to send a gust of wind to stop your speeding car because you neglected to check your brakes.

The most precious thing we have is the relationships we have with each other – especially family. Don’t sacrifice those relationships on the altar of corporate or even ministerial success.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

The Reformation’s Two Martins

At the beginning of the reformation, Martin of Basel came to a knowledge of the Truth; but, afraid to make a public confession, he wrote on a leaf of parchment:

“O most merciful Christ, I know that I can be saved only by the merit of Thy blood. Holy Jesus, I acknowledge Thy sufferings for me. I love Thee! I love Thee!”

Then he removed a stone from the wall of his chamber and hid it there. It was not discovered for more than a hundred years.

About the same time, Martin Luther found the Truth as it is in Christ. He said:

“My Lord has confessed me before men; I will not shrink from confessing Him before kings.”

Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and Anybody

Once upon a time, there were four church members;

Their names were Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and Anybody.

Whenever there was an important job to be done, Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

When Nobody did it, Everybody got angry because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought that Somebody would do it, but Nobody realized that Nobody would do it.

So consequently Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done in the first place.

If You Aren’t Praying, Then Who Is?

“And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

If you aren’t praying for your children, then who is? Given the pressures placed upon young people in our society today, your children need prayer! And if you aren’t praying daily for them, then it is very likely that they have no one else to plead for them before the throne of grace.

But what should you be praying for your children?

Above all else, pray that they will know Christ early in life. Ideally, we can begin this teaching and training before the child is even born – while he is still in the womb. This is confirmed by the Greek word Paul used for child in 2 Timothy 3:15. It’s the Greek word “brephos.” Its precise definition in Strong’s Concordance is “an infant (properly, an unborn infant).” The same word is used in Luke 1:44 when Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth and the unborn “babe” (John the Baptist) leaped for joy when he heard the voice of the Saviour’s mother.

Paul says to Timothy, “And that from a child [while you were still in the womb] thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Lois and Eunice the grandmother and mother of Timothy faithfully read to Timothy the Word of God before he was even born – while he was still in the womb – and Paul states that this was instrumental in Timothy coming to faith in Christ.

There is no greater joy or blessing for Christian parents than to lead their children to personal faith in Jesus Christ. Never take the salvation of your children for granted. Just because they have attended church all their lives is no guarantee that they have ever accepted Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour. Pray for your children and your grandchildren. Pray that those children will come to know Christ as Saviour at an early age.

D.L. Moody was once asked how many people were converted at a meeting where he was the preacher. “Three and one half,” he replied. “What? Three adults and one child?” asked the man. “No. Three children and one adult,” said Moody. “The adults have already wasted half their lives but those children have practically all their lives to live for God.”

Many parents are quick to cast the blame for their children’s disinterest in spiritual things upon the church or youth group; but we need to remember that leading your children to Christ is not first and foremost the responsibility of the church or the Sunday school, but the responsibility of the home.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

God Loves Humility

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6)

God loves humility. He hates pride – but He loves humility. This is the starting point for rebuilding broken relationships in your family.

One of Satan’s most effective ways to destroy or weaken your effectiveness as a parent is to erect barriers between you and your children. Some of the most difficult words we will ever have to say are, “I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?”

Most family conflicts could be resolved and even avoided right here! If you have wronged a member of your family, humble yourself and ask their forgiveness.

James 4:6 says, “God resisteth the proud…” If God is for you, it doesn’t make any difference who is against you; but if God is resisting you, it doesn’t make any difference who is for you. And when does God resist us the most? When we’re proud!

But James goes on to say that God “giveth grace unto the humble.” Grace is the desire and the power that God gives us to do His will (Philippians 2:13). The way then to deal with pride and to get more grace (more desire and more enabling power to do what is right) is to humble ourselves by taking responsibility for our wrong actions and words and attitudes.

Some of the most successful marriages and families are those that follow through and ask each other forgiveness several times each week. There is no such thing as the perfect family. We all make mistakes. But God wants us to develop the Christ-like quality of humility. He wants us to humble ourselves; and through that demonstration of humility, He will bind and knit our hearts together.

Don’t wait for the other person to make it right. Take the initiative by taking responsibility, and help restore that broken relationship today.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

What A Person Is Really Like

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).

If you want to find out what an animal is really like, where do you go? You don’t go to the zoo or the circus – because that’s where they’re on display; that’s where they perform. If you want to find out what an animal is really like, you need to observe it in its natural habitat.

If you want to find out what a Christian is really like, where do you go? Don’t go to the church – because that’s where we’re on display; that’s where we perform. If you want to find out what a Christian is really like, you need to observe him in his natural habitat – his home. If you want to find out the sincerity of a man’s commitment to Jesus Christ and to following Biblical principles, you don’t ask his pastor or church leaders, you need to ask his wife and his children.

I am becoming increasingly convinced that the reality of a person’s spirituality is not found in the church, but in the home. It is one thing to be kind and gracious to those we meet for a few hours each week. It is quite another thing to be kind and gracious to those we live with every single day.

If our Christianity is going to be effective in reaching a lost world for Jesus Christ, then it must first prove itself in the Christian home.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

The Next Step

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

Right at this point, Paul separates Christians into two distinct categories: There are those who have dedicated their lives totally to God, and there are those who haven’t.

Scripture makes it very clear that God does not group all Christians together in one large bunch; but there are different categories of Christians in Scripture that the Lord is very careful to distinguish.

In Revelation chapter three, there are Hot Christians, there are cold Christians, and there are also lukewarm Christians. In 1 Corinthians chapter 3, there are Spiritual Christians and there are carnal Christians. There are those who are spiritually mature and those who have never matured and are spiritual babes. There are those who are going the whole way with God and those who are going their own way. There are those whose life’s work will amount to gold, silver and precious stones and others whose life will amount to wood, hay and stubble. There are Christians who are overcomers and there are those who are overcome by the world, the flesh and the devil. There are those who will be great in the Kingdom of heaven and those who will be the least. There are those who will be greeted with the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” and others who will be ashamed when they stand before Him at the Judgement Seat of Christ (1 John 2:28).

What are you doing with your life that is going to make a difference in eternity? When you stand before the judgment seat of Christ, what will you be able to look back on and say this is what, by God’s grace, I’ve accomplished for the kingdom of God?

Morris Hull

See The Potential of Godly Children

The visiting preacher at a small village church I attended in Cambridgeshire, England, shared about his calling into the ministry. As a young woman, his mother had been deeply impressed and challenged by the martyrdom of the five young American missionaries in South America in January 1956, including Jim Elliott and Nate Saint. As a result, she dedicated her own life to missions; and after she was married, she prayed and asked the Lord to bless her with five sons to replace the five young missionaries who had been killed.

The young man I heard preach that Sunday evening was the youngest of five boys that the Lord blessed that woman with and each one of those young men was serving the Lord in full-time Christian ministry.

So many Christian parents miss the potential of training their sons and daughters to make an impact upon eternity. The Bible calls children arrows (Psalm 127:4). Our job as parents is to straighten the shaft, to sharpen the point and to trim the feathers so that when we shoot them into the world they hit the target and make an impact in this world for Jesus Christ.

Think of the children that God has blessed you with. Think of their potential and the difference their lives could make if you were to take the time and energy to invest spiritually and emotionally in their young lives.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Webster’s Greatest Thought

Someone once asked Daniel Webster, “What is the greatest thought that you have ever had?” He said, “The most awesome, the most terrifying, the most shattering thought I’ve ever had, is my personal responsibility to God.”

The Bible makes it clear that we are each responsible for five things. Each one of us as Christians will be held responsible for every thought (2 Cor 10:4-5), word (Mat 12:36), deed (2 Cor 5:10), attitude (Phl 2:5), and motive (Jer 17:9-10).

In our culture of blame and civil law suits, people refuse to accept responsibility for anything. I heard one pastor say, “I could be a great pastor if it wasn’t for my congregation.” I suppose we could also say, “I could be a great father if it wasn’t for my kids” or “I could be a great husband if it wasn’t for my wife.”

But if there is ever going to be any hope of restoring broken relationships, we need to take full responsibility for our own wrong actions and words and attitudes. As long as we are focusing on the offenses of others, our conflicts will never get resolved.

Don’t wait for the other person to make it right – it may never happen. He may be 95% to blame and you may only be 5% responsible; but take responsibility for your 5% and fully forgive his 95%.

“I Wish I Had Given Him More”

The story is told of a prince who disguised himself in the clothes of a beggar. As he was walking through the streets of the city, he came across another beggar who had just been given a large loaf of bread. The prince pleaded with the beggar for some of the bread. The beggar at first refused, but then rather grudgingly gave the prince three small pieces of bread.

The next day when the prince returned to his palace, he sent his servant to the place where the beggar sat, with a gift of three gold coins and a note that read: “One piece of gold for each piece of bread.” As the servant explained what had happened the previous day and read him the note from the prince, the beggar said, “Oh, I wish I’d given him more.”

That will be the cry of many Christians as we stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ. Not, “Look at all the great things I have done.” Not, “Look at how much I’ve given to the church and missions.” But we will be confronted with the reality of the time wasted, the money misspent and the opportunities missed to share the Gospel with others.

When you get to the end of your life, what will you be able to look back on and say, “This is what by God’s grace, I have accomplished for the kingdom of God.” What are you doing with your life that is going to make a difference in eternity?

“And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28).

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

George Washington’s “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation”

When George Washington – the first president of the United States – was just fifteen-years-old, he wrote the following Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation:
 
1 Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.
2 When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body not usually discovered.
3 Show nothing to your friend that may affright him.
4 In the presence of others, sing not to yourself with a humming voice, or drum with your fingers or feet.
5 If you cough, sneeze, sigh, or yawn, do it not loud but privately, and speak not in your yawning, but put your handkerchief or hand before your face and turn aside.
6 Sleep not when others speak; sit not when others stand; speak not when you should hold your peace; walk not on when others stop.
7 Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out your chamber half dressed.
8 At play and attire, it's good manners to give place to the last comer, and affect not to speak louder than ordinary.
9 Spit not into the fire, nor stoop low before it; neither put your hands into the flames to warm them, nor set your feet upon the fire, especially if there be meat before it.
10 When you sit down, keep your feet firm and even; without putting one on the other or crossing them.
11 Shift not yourself in the sight of others, nor gnaw your nails.
12 Shake not the head, feet, or legs; roll not the eyes; lift not one eyebrow higher than the other, wry not the mouth, and bedew no man's face with your spittle by [approaching too near] him [when] you speak.
13 Kill no vermin, or fleas, lice, ticks, etc. in the sight of others; if you see any filth or thick spittle put your foot dexterously upon it; if it be upon the clothes of your companions, put it off privately, and if it be upon your own clothes, return thanks to him who puts it off.
14 Turn not your back to others, especially in speaking; jog not the table or desk on which another reads or writes; lean not upon anyone.
15 Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean, yet without showing any great concern for them.
16 Do not puff up the cheeks, loll not out the tongue with the hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them, or keep the lips too open or too close.
17 Be no flatterer, neither play with any that delight not to be played withal.
18 Read no letter, books, or papers in company, but when there is a necessity for the doing of it, you must ask leave; come not near the books or writings of another so as to read them unless desired, or give your opinion of them unasked,- also look not nigh when another is writing a letter.
19 Let your countenance be pleasant but in serious matters somewhat grave.
20 The gestures of the body must be suited to the discourse you are upon.
21 Reproach none for the infirmities of nature, nor delight to put them that have in mind of thereof.
22 Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy.
23 When you see a crime punished, you may be inwardly pleased; but [damaged manuscript] show pity to the suffering offender.
24 [damaged manuscript]
25 Superfluous compliments and all affectation of ceremonies are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be neglected.
26 In putting off your hat to persons of distinction, as noblemen, justices, churchmen, etc., make a reverence, bowing more or less according to the custom of the better bred, and quality of the persons; among your equals expect not always that they should begin with you first; but to pull off the hat when there is no need is affectation, in the manner of saluting and resaluting in word keep to the most usual custom.
27 'Tis ill manners to bed one more eminent than yourself be covered, as well as not to do it to whom it is due. Likewise he that makes too much haste to put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to put it on at the first, or at most the second time of being asked; now what is herein spoken, of qualification in behavior or saluting ought to be taking place and sitting down for ceremonies without bounds are troublesome.
28 If any one come to speak to you while you are [are] sitting, stand up, though he be your inferior, and when you present seats, let it be to everyone according to his degree.
29 When you meet with one of greater quality than yourself, stop, and retire, especially if it be at a door or any straight place, to give way for him to pass.
30 In walking the highest place in most countries hand; therefore place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to honor: but if three walk together the middle place is the most honorable; the wall is usually given to the most worthy if two walk together.
31 If anyone far surpasses others, either in age, estate, or merits [and] would give place to a meaner than himself, the same ought not to accept it, s[ave he offer] it above once or twice.
32 To one that is your equal, or not much inferior, you are to give the chief place in your lodging, and he to whom it is offered ought at the first to refuse it, but at the second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.
33 They that are in dignity or in office have in all places precedency, but whilst they are young, they ought to respect those that are their equals in birth or other qualities, though they have no public charge.
34 It is good manners to prefer them to whom we speak before ourselves, especially if they be above us, with whom in no sort we ought to begin.
35 Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive.
36 Artificers and persons of low degree ought not to use many ceremonies to lords or others of high degree, but respect and highly honor then, and those of high degree ought to treat them with affability and courtesy, without arrogance.
37 In speaking to men of quality do not lean nor look them full in the face, nor approach too near them at left. Keep a full pace from them.
38 In visiting the sick, do not presently play the physician if you be not knowing therein.
39 In writing or speaking, give to every person his due title according to his degree and the custom of the place.
40 Strive not with your superior in argument, but always submit your argument to others with modesty.
41 Undertake not to teach your equal in the art himself professes; it (manuscript damaged ) of arrogance.
42 [damaged manuscript]; and same with a clown and a prince.
43 Do not express joy before one sick in pain, for that contrary passion will aggravate his misery.
44 When a man does all he can, though it succeed not well, blame not him that did it.
45 Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in public or in private, and presently or at some other time; in what terms to do it; and in reproving show no signs of cholor but do it with all sweetness and mildness.
46 Take all admonitions thankfully in what time or place soever given, but afterwards not being culpable take a time and place convenient to let him know it that gave them.
47 Mock not nor jest at any thing of importance. Break no jests that are sharp, biting, and if you deliver any thing witty and pleasant, abstain from laughing thereat yourself.
48 Where in [wherein] you reprove another be unblameable yourself, -for example is more prevalent than precepts.
49 Use no reproachful language against any one; neither curse nor revile.
50 Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the disparagement of any.
51 Wear not your clothes foul, or ripped, or dusty, but see they be brushed once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any uncleanness.
52 In your apparel be modest and endeavor to accommodate nature, rather than to procure admiration; keep to the fashion of your equals, such as are civil and orderly with respect to time and places.
53 Run not in the streets, neither go too slowly, nor with mouth open; go not shaking of arms, nor upon the toes, nor in a dancing [damaged manuscript].
54 Play not the peacock, looking every where about you, to see if you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit neatly and clothes handsomely.
55 Eat not in the streets, nor in your house, out of season.
56 Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company.
57 In walking up and down in a house, only with one in company if he be greater than yourself, at the first give him the right hand and stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him; if he be a man of great quality walk not with him cheek by jowl but somewhat behind him but yet in such a manner that he may easily speak to you.
58 Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for 'tis a sign of a tractable and commendable nature, and in all causes of passion permit reason to govern.
59 Never express anything unbecoming, nor act against the rules before your inferiors.
60 Be not immodest in urging your friends to discover a secret.
61 Utter not base and frivolous things among grave and learned men, nor very difficult questions or subjects among the ignorant, or things hard to be believed; stuff not your discourse with sentences among your betters nor equals.
62 Speak not of doleful things in a time of mirth or at the table; speak not of melancholy things or death and wounds, and if others mention them, change if you can the discourse; tell not your dream, but to your intimate.
63 A man ought not to value himself of his achievements or rare qualities [damaged manuscript] virtue or kindred.
64 Break not a jest where none take pleasure in mirth; laugh not alone, nor at all without occasion; deride no man's misfortune though there seem to be some cause.
65 Speak not injurious words neither in jest nor earnest; scoff at none although they give occasion.
66 Be not froward but friendly and courteous, the first to salute, hear, and answer; and be not pensive when it's a time to converse.
67 Detract not from others, neither be excessive in commanding.
68 Go not thither, where you know not whether you shall be welcome or not; give not advice [without] being asked, and when desired do it briefly.
69 If two contend together take not the part of either unconstrained, and be not obstinate in your own opinion; in things indifferent be of the major side.
70 Reprehend not the imperfections of others,for that belongs to parents, masters, and superiors.
71 Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others and ask not how they came. What you may speak in secret to your friend, deliver not before others.
72 Speak not in an unknown tongue in company but in your own language and that as those of quality do and not as the vulgar; sublime matters treat seriously.
73 Think before you speak; pronounce not imperfectly, nor bring out your words too hastily, but orderly and distinctly.
74 When another speaks, be attentive yourself; and disturb not the audience. If any hesitate in his words, help him not nor prompt him without desired; interrupt him not, nor answer him till his speech has ended.
75 In the midst of discourse [damaged manuscript] but if you perceive any stop because of [damaged manuscript]; to proceed: If a person of quality comes in while you're conversing, it's handsome to repeat what was said before.
76 While you are talking, point not with your finger at him of whom you discourse, nor approach too near him to whom you talk especially to his face.
77 Treat with men at fit times about business and whisper not in the company of others.
78 Make no comparisons and if any of the company be commended for any brave act of virtue, commend not another for the same.
79 Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth thereof. In discoursing of things you have heard, name not your author always; a secret discover not.
80 Be not tedious in discourse or in reading unless you find the company pleased therewith.
81 Be not curious to know the affairs of others, neither approach those that speak in private.
82 Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise.
83 When you deliver a matter do it without passion and with discretion, however mean the person be you do it to.
84 When your superiors talk to anybody neither speak nor laugh.
85 In company of those of higher quality than yourself, speak not 'till you are asked a question, then stand upright, put off your hat and answer in few words.
86 In disputes, be not so desirous to overcome as not to give liberty to one to deliver his opinion and submit to the judgment of the major part, specially if they are judges of the dispute.
87 [damaged manuscript] as becomes a man grave, settled, and attentive [damaged manuscript] [predict not at every turn what others say.
88 Be not diverse in discourse; make not many digressions; nor repeat often the same manner of discourse.
89 Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust.
90 Being set at meat scratch not, neither spit, cough, or blow your nose except there's a necessity for it.
91 Make no show of taking great delight in your the table; neither find great delight in your victuals; feed not with greediness; eat your bread with a knife; lean not on the table; neither find fault with what you eat.
92 Take no salt or cut bread with your knife greasy.
93 Entertaining anyone at table it is decent to present him with meat; undertake not to help others desired by the master.
94 If you soak bread in the sauce, let it be no more than what you put in your mouth at a time and blow not your broth at table; let it stay till it cools of itself.
95 Put not your meat to your mouth with your knife in your hand; neither spit forth the stones of any fruit pie upon a dish nor cast anything under the table.
96 It's unbecoming to heap much to one's meat keep your fingers clean; when foul wipe them on a corner of your table napkin.
97 Put not another bite into your mouth till the former be swallow; let not your morsels be too big.
98 Drink not nor talk with your mouth full; neither gaze about you while you are a drinking.
99 Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. Before and after drinking wipe your lips; breathe not then or ever with too great a noise, for it is an evil.
100 Cleanse not your teeth with the tablecloth, napkin, fork, or knife; but if others do it, let it be done without a peep to them.
101 Rinse not your mouth in the presence of others.
102 It is out of use to call upon the company often to eat; nor need you drink to others every time you drink.
103 In company of your betters be not [damaged manuscript] than they are; lay not your arm but [damaged manuscript].
104 It belongs to the chiefest in company to unfold his napkin and fall to meat first; but he ought then to begin in time and to dispatch with dexterity that the slowest may have time allowed him.
105 Be not angry at table whatever happens and if you have reason to be so, show it not but on a cheerful countenance especially if there be strangers, for good humor makes one dish of meat and whey.
106 Set not yourself at the upper of the table but if it be your due, or that the master of the house will have it so, contend not, lest you should trouble the company.
107 If others talk at table be attentive but talk not with meat in your mouth.
108 When you speak of God or his Attributes, let it be seriously; reverence, honor and obey your natural parents although they be poor.
109 Let your recreations be manful not sinful.
110 Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

Character Gets Noticed

In 1737, Colonel Spotswood, late governor of Virginia, and then postmaster-general, being dissatisfied with the conduct of his deputy at Philadelphia, respecting some negligence in rendering, and inexactitude of his accounts, took from him the commission and offered it to me. I accepted it readily, and found it of great advantage; for, tho’ the salary was small, it facilitated the correspondence that improv’d my newspaper, increas’d the number demanded, as well as the advertisements to be inserted, so that it came to afford me a considerable income. My old competitor’s newspaper declin’d proportionably, and I was satisfy’d without retaliating his refusal, while postmaster, to permit my papers being carried by the riders. Thus he suffer’d greatly from his neglect in due accounting; and I mention it as a lesson to those young men who may be employ’d in managing affairs for others, that they should always render accounts, and make remittances, with great clearness and punctuality. The character of observing such a conduct is the most powerful of all recommendations to new employments and increase of business.

-Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Impact of Negative Words

One speaker comments: Over the past decade, whenever I have lectured throughout the country on the powerful, and often negative, impact of words, I have asked audiences if they can go for twenty-four hours without saying any unkind words about, or to, anybody. Invariably, a minority of listeners raise their hands signifying “yes,” some laugh, and quite a large number call out, “no!” I respond by saying, “Those who can’t answer ‘yes’ must recognize that you have a serious problem. If you cannot go for twenty-four hours without smoking, you are addicted to nicotine. If you cannot go twenty-four hours without a drink, you’re most likely an alcoholic. Similarly, if you cannot go for twenty-four hours without saying unkind words about others, then you have lost control over your tongue.”

“Here’s My Hand”

F. B. Meyer told of a revival meeting that was dragging along without signs of success until one evening an elder arose and said, “Pastor, I don’t believe there is going to be a revival as long as Brother Jones and I don’t speak to each other.” He went to Jones and said: “Brother Jones, we have not spoken for five years, let’s bury the hatchet. Here’s my hand.” A sob broke from the audience. Soon another elder arose and said: “Pastor, I’ve been saying mean things about you behind your back and nice things to your face. I want you to forgive me.” Many arose and confessed their wrongs and God began to visit them. A revival swept over the community for three years.

-Encyclopedia of 7,700 Illustrations

Ways to Invest in Younger Brothers and Sisters

Take the initiative to invest in the lives of younger brothers and sisters. Here are a few ways to motivate younger brothers and sisters to spiritual maturity. A parent’s guidance is also invaluable in working with brothers and sisters.

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21)

  • Praise your siblings in public; never correct in public.
  • Only correct if absolutely necessary; earn the privilege to correct through praise.
  • Be what you want your siblings to be.
  • Pray together for your parents each day.
  • Fast and pray together during a mealtime.
  • Make a prayer list and record God’s answers together.
  • Challenge them to rise early with you to pray and study God’s word.
  • Choose a specific country to pray for together and research this country at the library.
  • Memorise Scripture together and then give appropriate rewards.
  • Go for a walk each morning, sharing with each other your rhema for the day.
  • Make a tape of a passage of Scripture for them to listen to at night.
  • Share your struggles and ask them to pray for specific prayer requests.
  • Receive God’s grace by asking them to point out your blind spots.
  • Clear your conscience and create projects to counteract the damage of past actions and poor examples.
  • Memorise the names of God together and choose one to focus on each day.
  • Memorise the 49 character qualities and their meanings and choose one to focus on each day, being accountable to each other.
  • Discover the meaning of their names and look for ways that they are demonstrating this and them praise them for it.
  • Find out the spiritual gifts of your family members and discuss how they affect the way each one responds.
  • Research together the four types of smiles and them reward them for demonstrating a consistent smile.
  • Sing hymns together and learn hymn histories.
  • Teach them how to present the gospel.
  • Treat them better than you treat your best friend.
  • Plan a special time each month to take them out individually for a time of fellowship (i.e. dinner, picnic, the park, zoo, etc.)
  • Spend five minutes a day with each sibling talking, reading, or doing whatever they would like to do.
  • Write notes of encouragement telling them how much you appreciate them.
  • Choose a relative to whom you can express gratefulness and write a thank you letter.
  • Teach younger sisters how to sew or bake for neighbours, friends and church members.
  • Show younger brothers how to be good stewards by teaching them basic auto mechanic skills (i.e. how to change a tire, the oil, and sparkplugs.)
  • Plan special times to meet the needs of a widow in your area.
  • Teach orderliness by instructing them how to properly care for their clothes (i.e. polish shoes, do laundry, hang them up)
  • Volunteer to clean your church or take care of your church grounds together.

Christianna Reed – COMMIT

No Excuses

Almost everyone has come to recognise the international symbol for “NO!” It is a red circle with a red diagonal bar crossing out a picture of whatever is prohibited. Encourage children to take responsibility for words and actions by prohibiting excuses in your home.

Write the word “EXCUSES” on a piece of construction paper. Draw a bold red circle around it and put a red clash across the word. Cut out the circle and hang the international symbol in a conspicuous place to remind children that “EXCUSES” aren’t accepted.

Character First! Education Series 2