Saturday, December 02, 2006

Steps for the righteous

Week One...

A word spoken in due season, how good is it! Proverbs 15:23

The power of words cannot be overemphasized. One of the greatest gifts you can give anyone, and especially your potential mate, is the gift of encouragement. I (Chris) know that there are few things that energizes a man as much as a word of encouragement from the woman in his life. Respect and affirmation are the oxygen that men breathe. Words acclimatize the home. The words that a woman speaks there will either teach her children to love and respect their Dad, or how to disrespect and slander him. Man or woman of God, let's make sure the atmosphere in your home is one filled with words of encouragement and love. Practice today: Can you give someone you're not happy with a word of encouragement? (Then it will be a breeze later when you've attracted Mr. or Mrs. Right.)

Week Two...

Jeremiah's vision was in his heart, like a burning fire shut up in his bones. Jeremiah 20:9

Passion is the genesis of genius! Is the passion you're burning with toward the things of God…or something else? If you are feeling unhappy, unsettled, unfulfilled—take hope! Divine discontentment always precedes great vision. So every great vision starts with a problem that someone (you!) were created to solve. Pay attention to the things that you observe that create frustration. This could be your Personal Mentor, the Holy Spirit, giving you the "bold print" as a clue to why you're on earth. Commit to converting that frustration into fuel, and let it propel you to your purpose! Ask and discover a piece of your destiny: What is the thing that your heart burns to accomplish in the world?

Week Three...

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and sliver but also wood and clay, some for honor, some for dishonor. 2Tim 2:20

Given the great house God made you, anything other than a commitment to excellence is an acceptance of mediocrity! Each one of us must purpose in our heart that we will pursue what the bible calls "the more excellent way." The road to compromise is wide with many companions, but the road to excellence is narrow with few companions. While it may seem lonely at times, what could be better at the end of your life than hearing Jesus say, "Well done good and faithful Sara, Tony, Jenay, YOUR NAME!" God gave us His best—now we must give Him ours. Ask Him what "vessels of dishonor" you need to clean out of your great house today, so it can be excellent.

Week Four...

He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him. Proverbs 18:13

Communication is the lifeline of healthy relationship, and discretion undergirds that lifeline. It is a rare person who has not experienced the hurt and pain over someone drawing a conclusion about them without hearing their side of the story. We should practice restraint now as singles, and refuse to 'make up our minds' about an issue before we gather all the facts. This discipline will serve well in the covenant of marriage. Few things can cause as much damage as a spouse who jumps to conclusions without hearing their mate's point of view. It creates a tear in the fabric that becomes hard to patch. What can you not say today to avoid feeding a conclusion that might be all wrong?

Week Five...

He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him . Proverbs 18:13 NLT

In a relationship, it is crucial that we learn to seek to understand before we seek to be understood. In a conflict, most of us want them to know how they have made us feel. While this desire is natural, living there is mediocre. The "special sauce" relationship God desires for us requires that we discipline our ears and our tongues, and think of others as greater than ourselves.

Week Six...

For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime. Psalm 30:5 NLT

Do you know that one of the best things about being a child of God is the fact that He disciplines us? His discipline, which is designed to be instructive, is different from the enemy's punishment, which is designed to be punitive. God disciplines for a season. If we receive it, He will bring us to a place where we can receive His blessings full force!

Week Seven...

'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.' Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV

When you become intimate with God—opening up to Him the good, the bad, and the ugly you (which He sees anyway), that's "into-me-see." As you do this, He will begin to reveal things that he wants you to accomplish, and give you a perspective on your future you have never seen before. It will be beyond all you can think, dream or imagine!

Week Eight...

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21 NLT

If your words were a film of your life, what type of movie would it be? An adventure, comedy, drama, or tear-jerker? Being good stewards over our words is important—especially the words we speak within ourselves. The content of our inner dialogue greatly impacts our outward attitude. Ask yourself, 'Are my inner and outer dialogues consistent with what God has spoken about me in the scriptures?'

Week Nine...

Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?" Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT

We must recognize that we serve a God who always wants to do new things in our lives. Believe it or not, our "old" Bible is really a book of the new. It speaks of new songs, new wine, new names, new covenant, and new instructions. Are you willing to accept the new thing God desires to start in your life today?

Week Ten...

He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted. Isaiah 61:1 NKJV

Isaiah tells us that if you are dealing with emotional pain—perhaps shame, guilt, betrayal, or disappointment--Jesus came specifically, not accidentally to heal those areas of hurt. One of the Old Testament names for God is Jehovah Rapha, the God who mends us stitch by stitch. Let Him sew up your wounded places, make you whole again, and give you true peace—with 'nothing broken, nothing missing.'

Week Eleven...

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me , for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 NKJV

Jesus too was tempted, but lived a life without sin. What a great promise He offers us here! If we will read His Word, and listen to the inward witness of the Holy Spirit (our Personal Relationship Counselor), He will show us how to negotiate any and every temptation or challenge we encounter also. And best of all, our souls (mind, will and emotions) will find rest.

Week Twelve...

You've been wandering around this hill country long enough, turn northward. Deuteronomy 2:3 NLT

Though you may feel sometimes like you're wandering in the desert, you are not alone. God knows your footsteps in the sand. He is your Good Shepherd. Trust Him to lead you and transform your thinking about relationships. Place your pre-conceived notions of marriage at the foot of the Cross and, like a good sheep, say, "Lord, show me Your rules, Your ways." His pastures are always green.

Christopher L. Burge leads Chris Burge Ministries, Inc. and has facilitated a dynamic young adult Bible study in New York City for the past 12 years. After stellar academic and athletic performances at Brown University, Chris went on to enjoy a successful career on Wall Street before he heard the call to ministry. He is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center, where he received three years of biblical and pastoral instruction. Chris administers "tough love and straight talk" to singles young and old, inbuing biblical principles with twenty-first-century pizzazz, which has become his trademark. He attends Chrsitian Cultural Center in New York with Pastor Dr. A.R. Bernard.