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Wednesday, June 13
, 201

Sunken tractor
I took this tractor photo in eastern Iowa near the Amana Colonies several years ago.  We wondered if the farmer got stuck one day, decided he'd had enough, jumped off his sunken tractor and declared,
 "My days of farming are over"!

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"Pleased With Integrity"

"I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity" (
1 Chronicles 29:17). "And he still holds fast his integrity" (Job 2:3). "Let Him weigh me with accurate scales, and let God know my integrity" (Job 31:6).

Brooksyne has a quote posted in our house that says a lot about integrity: "Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization....The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life is those hundreds of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private. Habit is the daily background of character." (Dan Coates)

Character qualities such as trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, loyalty, and respect are related to one’s integrity or reveal the lack thereof. There are few things in life that can't be forcefully taken away from us, but integrity is one. The choices we make are our own, or as some say, we own them.

Even if someone can take our life, they can't force us to make a choice that we believe is wrong. 
Mario Cruz writes, "Good character and integrity are easiest to demonstrate when facing public disapproval, but the true test comes when you can potentially get away with anything because then nothing is at stake but your own conscience."

Courageous movie sceneA memorable scene in the movie "Courageous" is when Javier, one of the main characters, faces a very difficult test that will reveal to others his truthfulness and integrity, or lack thereof. He passes the test and is awarded a better job for his unwillingness to compromise.

In real life it doesn't always work out that way.
Sometimes people go through what may seem like great loss as a result of acting with integrity. Daniel faced the lion's den even though his choices in captivity revealed integrity that clearly honored God.

Today's first verse was written by David concerning God,
"I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity."

The American Heritage Dictionary defines integrity as "steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code". Biblical integrity denotes moral strength and faultlessness.

John MacArthur notes, "Integrity to the truth and integrity to godly character — that's what should characterize you if you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Biblical integrity is so foreign to our world that those who have it are treated like aliens from another planet. But integrity is the badge of every true believer. That badge will bring you into conflict with the world, because the world is characterized by compromise."

God has a powerful commendation of Job after his first testing: "And he still holds fast his integrity." Job held fast to his integrity not only through the initial testing but he endured its increased intensity over time. That's evidence of true integrity and genuine faith. Later he stated, "Let God know my integrity." In the New Testament Peter explains that believers will experience trials of all kinds to prove that their faith is genuine (I Peter 1:6,7).

Consider these main bedrock characteristics of one who has true, God-honoring integrity and examine your heart to see that it is true in your life:

  • The person of integrity lives by the unchanging standards of God's Word rather than the vacillating standards of the world.
  • The person of integrity lives to please God rather than man.
  • The person of integrity lives with an eternal perspective rather than a temporal perspective.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You know the true content of my heart though others may be fooled by my words and actions. So it is with You that I must keep a short account and pray from a genuine heart that I will act in accordance to Your revealed will and think upon those things which are honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. Thoughts form in my mind before they are spoken from my mouth, so I pray that You would purify my mind, keep my tongue from evil, and enable me to stand for that which is honorable in Your sight so that I pass the tests of life and hear you say, "I am pleased with your integrity." In the name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Some verses on integrity from the Book of Proverbs:

"The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out" (Proverbs 10:9)

"The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity" (Proverbs 11:3)

"Righteousness guards the man of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner" (Proverbs 13:6)

A Rather Unusual Milestone

Elvin on 50th service anniversary at Val-Co (Photo by Joe Uliscny)
Stephen's Note:  Yesterday I attended a luncheon honoring Elvin Martin who has worked 50 years at the same location although under several different owners. He started when he was 20 and has worked his entire career in the same building, most of it in the tool shop where this photo was taken by our friend Joe Ulciny. Elvin is always a blessing to visit and interesting to talk to. Several years ago we joined him and his wife Mary for dinner in their home. Elvin is a member of an old order Mennonite group which uses a horse and buggy or ride bicycles for transportation. For many years Linford, another long time employee who lives in his neighborhood, has brought him to work. Elvin demonstrates a strong work ethic that has been an example and inspiration to many!

Brooksyne's Note:  I shared with our podcast readers a story about Elvin that I'll add here. We've served as chaplains at Elvin's company for over four years now and awhile back I asked Elvin what he and Lloyd, another fellow worker (now since retired), thought when it was first announced that chaplains would be coming regularly to the workplace. He responded, "We didn't know what to think. It kind of scared us. We pictured chaplains coming here walking around in their robes and weren't too sure how it would work out." Turns out, we established a solid friendship right away. I find it amusing that the chaplain they had some concerns about came on board wearing suspenders rather than a robe which surely made the two plain order men feel quite comfortable with their new chaplain!

The luncheon yesterday was a surprise and the dining room was filled with employees congratulating Elvin. A lunch was provided by the company which we all enjoyed including Elvin though his daily custom of eating a large tub of home-made apple sauce during his lunch hour.

Several years ago we shared a message about Elvin and an interesting work friendship that is also quite distinct.

Colorful pantry
Elvin and Mary are proficient canners, especially apple sauce. They put up 250 half gallon jars of home-made apple sauce annually!  It's a staple food in their diets everyday.  So... they practice the adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Heroes Of The Faith"  Video  Legacy Five  A song honoring those who have gone before us, passing on an example of a life of commitment and integrity. Who does this song bring to remebrance in your life?

"Blessings"  Video  Laura Story  A powerful perspective on the testings of life.

"Statement of Faith"  Video  Legacy Five

"Monuments"  Video  Legacy Five

"Things We Leave Behind"
 Video  Michael Card

"Ambassadors to a World of Compromise"  An excellent article on integrity by John MacArthur

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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