Tag Archives: integrity

The Truth About Character Building

Volume1So, I write character building resources for children and adults, for parents to help their children grow in godliness, for churches to instruct new believers in becoming Christlike, for individuals hungry for holiness.  Will studying character building books make you a model Christian?  Will they solve your integrity issues?  Here’s the truth: NO.

Christlike character is not something that can be gained from a book.  It is not something you can discipline yourself into achieving.  If we are not careful, we can become legalistic about good character in ourselves and in others.  You see, godly character cannot be applied from the outside-in.  It starts in the heart and spreads outward.

Volume2As I see it, Bible-based character building resources are meant to be tools to make us aware of Who God is and to spark a desire to be like Him as we see Him for Who He is.  They provide a framework, a guideline, to get us to think about His purity, to drive us to gaze at Him, so that as we gaze, we are transformed into His image.  They are not self-help materials that promise, “Do it this way and you will be perfect.”  They are not a set of rules.  They are not the answer.

Jesus is the answer.  True godly character comes from being with Him, in His Presence, spending time in love relationship with Him.  As we do that, Holy Spirit, Who dwells inside of all believers, begins to transform us into the image of Jesus.  He starts to nudge about this and that thing in our lives that He wants to make better.  Most of the time, when we are so close to Him, we don’t even notice the transformation taking place in us until after the fact.

RIver Life TeacherWhen I was first baptized in the Holy Spirit, I had a terrible temper.  But that melted away, because He was living in and through me, until one day, I discovered with shock, “I haven’t had a temper tantrum in the last six months! How or when did that happen?”  Today, it would be a totally foreign thing to me to blow up in anger.  Why?  He just did that in me.  It didn’t come by me striving for it.  Sure, there are times we must consciously exercise discipline over things we see in our lives that need to be different, but by and large, it is His transforming work from the inside-out that makes a genuine change.  We just cooperate with Him by staying attuned to Him and yielding ourselves — kind of like letting Him lead in the dance while we follow.

When we get hold of the truth of just letting Him re-form us, rather than striving to do it to ourselves (or to our children), we have freedom and joy in our Christian life.

So, how do you really come into having good character, excellent integrity?  Hunger after Jesus.  Listen for His whispers.  When He speaks, yield to Him.  He’ll get you where you need to be.  You are His workmanship, not your own. 

Full Gospel Family Publications

Rules of Engagement — Derek Prince (Review)


untitledI could probably count on my fingers and toes (maybe just the fingers) the books I call “keepers.”  A keeper is one of those books to cherish, to read again, and to buy copies of for my children and very closest friends.  Derek Prince’s Rules of Engagement: Preparing for Your Role in the Spiritual Battle is one of those books.

Many of you may know that Derek Prince was a pioneer in deliverance ministry.  He was also well known for his scholarly, yet practical, down-to-earth Bible teaching.  He was a lover of Israel, and lived there for several decades.

I thought I was getting a book that would help me understand more clearly the detailed ins-and-outs of how intercessors take part in warfare in the heavenlies, but I got much more than that.  It is a book about character and integrity — the integrity of God and the integrity we must come into if we are to win the war.

Here are a few quotes to encourage you and whet your appetite:

“God brings us to the place of total dependence upon Himself to demonstrate that He is totally dependable.”

“God applies special tests to those for whom He has special purposes.”

“God is more concerned with our character than with our achievements.  Achievements have importance only in the realm of time.  Character is eternal.  It determines what we will be through eternity.”

“God reveals His hidden wisdom only to those who have truth in their inward parts.”

“Truth is not obtained cheaply.  It demands much time given to prayer and study of the Scriptures, followed by practical applications in our daily lives.  It must take priority over the many forms of cheap entertainment offered by our secular culture.  It is a lifetime commitment.”

I also learned that the obstacle to taking up God’s purposes is independence (wanting to be self-sufficient and independent from Him).  This manifests in the world around us through a thirst for knowledge (as an antidote to dependence on God), religious rules and systems which shut out a personal need for God, and the accumulating of wealth (so that depending on Him is not necessary for daily needs).

 There is an excellent discussion on Antichrist and the domain of various types of angelic beings.

 Derek Prince concludes with a call to endure and to finish our race well, thereby winning the ultimate battle.

Buy from Amazon — Rules of Engagement: Preparing for Your Role in the Spiritual Battle


Character Building Bible Study for Adults

River Life Student EditionToday, I’d like to talk about one of the books I have written.  I’ve been authoring and publishing for thirteen years now, under the name Full Gospel Family Publications.  We started with one book, a family devotional Bible study for parents and children, called Character Building for Families, Volume 1.  The book really caught on, especially among home school families, and we published a Volume 2 as well.  The  Character Building for Families web site is still our main site today. I’ve since written eight more books and booklets, mostly on the subjects of character and prayer, with a ninth currently in production.

A few years ago, our pastor suggested that I write a character building Bible study geared toward adults.  River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus is the result of that suggestion.  It is an outline-based study covering nine main units, spread over 36 weeks:

  1. Obedience to the King
2. The Law of Kindness
3. Truthful Living
4. Unswerving Loyalty
5. The Servant Lifestyle
6. The Might of Mercy
7. The Humble Heart
8. Patience — Mark of Maturity
9. Joyful Generosity

There is a Teacher’s Guide, scripted with everything needed to teach and bring about group discussion, and also a Student Workbook, with an answer key in the back.

I like Bible studies that are simple to follow, easy for a group leader to use without gobs of prep time, that speak to where the newer believer is, and yet are meaty enough to provoke thought in the seasoned Christian.  Because that is what I want for myself, that is what I have put together in River Life.

I like to build a great deal of flexibility into how my books can be used.  River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus works well within the adult Sunday School or Christian education class, or as a home Bible study.  The student workbook is also a complete, stand-alone manual, so that those who cannot attend a group gathering can still use the book for individual study.  River Life is written with the intent to allow about one hour, once a week, for each lesson.  Besides covering nine major topics, the 36 weeks are further divided into twelve week sections (which works well for many adult education courses).

Probably the best part of the River Life study is that it hits Christians where they live.  The goal is to transform each of us into the image of Jesus.  It is not just head knowledge. It teaches solid biblical principles, but goes beyond that to bringing deep heart conviction and real-life application.  I had to live through each of the character topics personally while writing about them — either through God working on my own attitudes or through having to deal with other people’s attitude issues pastorally.  (My husband and I are elders in our local church, which amounts to being lay pastors.)  I tell people that writing this book took the “stuffin’s” out of me!

If you need a character study, whether for your personal life, your church’s Christian ed. program, or for home Bible study use, please take a look at River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus.  There are sample pages on the web site to give you a good feel for what the book is like.  There are also discounts available for multiple copy purchases.

River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus