Tag Archives: purpose

Character is something you either have or are. Some people try to make something for themselves. Others try to make something for themselves. Tyron Edwards said, "Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny." The Bible asserts in Proverbs 22:1, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches."
Character is the real foundation of all worthwhile success. A good question to ask yourself is, "What kind of world would this be if everybody were just like me?" You are simply a book telling the world about its author. John Morely remarked, "No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character."
Never be ashamed of doing right. Marcus Aurelius exhorted, "Never esteem as of advantage to thee that which shall make thee break thy word or lose thy self-respect." W. J. Dawson counseled, "You need not choose evil; but only to fail to choose good, and you drift fast enough towards evil. You do not need to say, 'I will be bad.' You only have to say, 'I will not choose God's choice.' and the choice of evil is already settled. There is no such thing as necessary evil. Phillip Brooks said, "A man who lives right and is right has more power in his silence than another has by his words."
Many a man's reputation would not recognize his character if they met in the dark. To change your character, you must begin at the control center - the heart. Spiritual bankruptcy is inevitable when a man is no longer able to keep the interest paid on his moral obligations.
Henry Ward Beecher said, "No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has." Live so that your friends can defend you, but never have to do so. Consider what Woodrow Wilson said: "If you think about what you ought to do for people, your character will take care of itself." Excellence in character is shown by doing unwitnessed what we would be doing with the whole world watching.
Let me pose this question for you: Would the boy you were proud of the man you are? You're called to grow like a tree, not like a mushroom. It's hard to climb high when your character is low. The world's shortest sermon is preached by the traffic sign: Keep Right.

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(From John L. Mason's "An Enemy Called Average" I encourage you to buy his book.)

Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves - to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterdays by today, to do our work with more force than ever before" (Stewart John). If you would like to know who is responsible for most of your troubles, take a look in the mirror. If you could kick the fellow responsible for most of your problems, you wouldnt be able to sit down for three weeks. It's time for us to stay out of our own way.
Most of the stumbling blocks people complain about are under their own hats. Louis XIV commented, "There is little that can withstand a man who can conquer himself." The Bible's wisdom counsels. "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls" (Proverbs 25:28)
"Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you" (Frank Tyger). You may succeed if nobody else believes in you, but you will never succeed if you don't believe in yourself. Zig Ziglar observes, "What you picture in your mind, your mind will go to work to accomplish. When you change your pictures, you automatically change your performance." Whatever you attach consistently to the words "I am," you will become.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "It is impossible for man to be cheated by anyone but himself." Gain control of your mind, or it will gain control of you. Your imagination dictates your openness to positive direction. As Norman Vincent Peale remarked, "Do not build up obstacles in your imagination. Remind yourself that God is with you and that nothing can defeat Him."
"Our best friends and our worst enemies are the thoughts that we have about ourselves" (Dr. Frank Crane). Stop looking only at where you are, and start looking at what you can be. The Bible declares, "As [a man] thinketh in his heart (Proverbs 23:7). Be carefl of your thoughts. They may become words at any moment and actions very soon. Wrong thinking almost always leads to misery.
No one can defeat you unless you first defeat yourself. Self-image sets the boundaries and limits of each of our individual accomplishments. Charles Colton said, "We are sure to be losers when we quarrel with ourselves; it is civil war." If you doubt yourself, listen to Alexander Dumas: "A person who doubts himself is like a man who enlists in the ranks of his enemy and bears arms against himself." Tim Redmond observed, "Don't commit treason against your own life and purpose."
Your world first exists within you. Marriane Crawford said, "Every man with him the world which he must live." Having trouble hearing from God? "When God speaks, your mind will be your biggest enemy" (Bob Harrison). Facing major obstacles in life? James Allen answered, "You are the handicap you must face. You are the one who must choose your place." Remember you are your own doctor when it comes to curing cold feet, a hot head, and a stuffy attitude.
(From John L. Mason's "An Enemy Called Average")

Years ago, I spoke in the Dominican Republic for a ministry that works with American kids struggling with behavioral problems, I addressed them several times a day during their spiritual-emphasis week.

Early in the week, I met a young student who showed me what Plan A can look like lived out.

Lance approached me after one of my teaching sessions and asked if he could talk with me. Later, he shared what had been happening in his life that week. Clearly, God was lighting a fire in his heart.

Lance explained that he entered the program not because he was rebellious or had broken the law like many of other kids. His parents asked him to enter the program so he could gain more structure and discipline in his life.

"I've gotten a lot of my time here," Lance said, "but now I'm thinking it may be time to go home. I want to help people learn more about God. Maybe I could make a bigger difference in the lives of my old friends. What do you think, Dwight?"

"You may be right," I replied. "But is it possible that God is giving you temporary assignment while you're still here? Is it posible that He wants to use you to minister to kids right here while you're with them?"

Lance's eyes lt up as I continued sharing with him a vision for his temporary assignment.

"That's it!" he suddenly exclaimed. "There is something I can do for the other kids while I'm still here! I know things about their lives, their parents don't know - stuff not even our staff knows. I'll pray for them and talk with them as God leads. Dwight, some of them are pretty messed up, I hope I can help."

Over the next few days, Lance and I chatted about his newfound purpose for the rest of his time in the Dominican Republic. I gave him a book on prayer, and we prayed together for some of the other kids his dorm - including a kid named Chris, who professed to be an atheist.

After I left the campus, Lance and I continued to write back and forth. In one letter, he wrote,

The other day, Chris announced at the dinner table that he is no longer an atheist. I have now changed my prayer from, "Lord, show Chris that you're real" to "Lord Chris needs to know you personally. Please help him make the decision to accept and follow you." The power of prayer is really strong!!!

Unfortunately, that was the last letter I received from Lance. A few weeks later, one of the program administrators called me on the phone.

"Are you sitting down?" she asked. "There's been an awful tragedy here this wek. A group of boys from one of our dormitories was swimming in the river. A flash flood suddenly swept three of the boys downstream, including Lance. We rescued two of them, but we couldn't reac Lance in time...Dwight, I'm sorry to tell you. Lance is dead."

I sat stunned silence, trying to figure out how to respond. The administrator paused for a moment to let the difficult news sink in, then continued.

"Dwight, there's one more I want to tell you. As we were cleaning out Lance's locker and sorting through his belongings, we came across some things you sent him - encouraging letters and a book about prayer. The book had highlights and notes through it. We also found his prayer journal. We're amazed at how many kids and situations he was praying for. We've been piecing together a lot of recent things that have been happening as a result of Lance's prayers."

She went on to share specific answers to prayer. Discouraged staff members ready to give up experienced new strength, joy, and purpose in their work. Students struggling for years with emotional and spiritual issues showed new signs of growth and victory. Even some of the most troubled kids experienced major breakthroughs in their attitudes and behaviors.

"We now realize that Lance prayed for those needs," she said. "And God answered his prayers! We're amazed. Single-handedly, a teenage kid impacted our program, staff, and students through his prayers."

Several weeks later I learned that five kids gave their lives to Christ at Lance's funeral. One of them was Chris, the former atheist. He had watched Lance's life more closely than anyone realized. He experienced God's love through Lance before he even believed God existed.

Chris and the other kids embraced God's love because a fellow student caught a vision for the role he could play in their lives - as one who was up close to them.

God wants to give you a vision for the role you can play in the lives of people around you - on your assembly line, in your office, your neighborhood, your dormitory, or your class at school. Perhaps He wants you to pray for their needs - becoming their first-ever prayer intercessor. Perhaps He wants you to be His agent for meeting their needs.Perhaps God wants you to be his agent for meeting their needs. Perhaps God wants you to be a living testimonial of His love and grace that they see and feel firsthand.

Lance the Student followed Jesus' example of becoming God's up-close, on-the-scene connection to the kids in his sphere of influence.

And God did the rest.

(From Dwight Robertson's "You Are God's Plan A {and there's no plan b}")