The Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling. PSALM 132:13 NIV
Before David became qualified to rule as King in Zion, he had to be found faithful in three places. Examine them carefully, for you too must pass these three tests:
(1) At home in Bethlehem. That’s where David learned to be responsible, to earn a living and support his family, to develop his relationship with God, and to overcome the resentment of others because of God’s favor on his life. “Charity begins at home.” It’s here you become qualified to handle bigger assignments by being faithful in smaller ones. It’s here your character is developed and your dependability proven.
(2) In the cave of Adullam. By living among the misfits and rejects of society David learned to give of himself to others without expecting anything in return; to love and serve others even when his own life was under attack. “Adullam” is where our kingdom dies and God’s kingdom is showcased through us. It’s here that God deals with every self-seeking, self-serving motive in our hearts. Sadly, some of us never make it out of this cave.
(3) On Mount Hermon. The word “Hermon” means “covenant.” It was the highest mountain in Israel and there was no easy road to the top; it was uphill all the way. And it’s that way with covenant relationships! They require loyalty regardless of circumstance, truthfulness regardless of cost, and forgiveness regardless of pain. When we begin to live this way the world will look again to Zion (the church) for answers, because they’ll see God working in us.
In June 1, 1965, a thirteen-foot boat slipped quietly out of Falmouth, Massachusetts. Its destination? Falmouth, England. It would be the smallest craft ever to make the voyage. Its name? Tinkerbelle. Its pilot? Robert Manry, a copy editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper who felt that ten years at a desk was enough boredom for anyone. Manry was afraid, not of the ocean but of all the people who would try to talk him out of the trip. So he only shared it with some relatives and his wife Virginia, his greatest source of support. The trip? He spent harrowing nights of sleeplessness trying to cross shipping lanes without getting run over. Weeks at sea caused his food to become tasteless. Loneliness led to hallucinations. His rudder broke three times. Storms swept him overboard. Had it not been for the rope around his waist he would never have been able to pull himself back on board. Finally, after seventy-eight days alone at sea he sailed into Falmouth, England. During those nights at the tiller he had fantasized about what he would do once he arrived. He expected to simply check into a hotel, eat dinner alone, then next morning see if perhaps the Associated Press might be interested in his story. What a surprise! Word had spread far and wide. To his amazement, three hundred vessels with horns blasting escorted Tinkerbelle into port. And 47,000 people stood screaming and cheering him to the shore.
One of the great themes of Scripture is perseverance. No matter how great your calling, your talent, your cause or your goal, without perseverance you won’t make it. Hence James writes, “Blessed is the man BUILDING STRONG CHARACTER (1)
[It is] better to have self-control than to conquer a city. PROVERBS 16:32 NLT
First and foremost, building strong character requires self- discipline. Self-discipline is the ability to do what’s right, when you don’t feel like it. Plato asserted, “The first and best victory is to conquer self.” Yes, your greatest victories are internal ones. Bobby Jones was winning golf tournaments by age twelve. But he had a temper. His nickname was “club-thrower.” An older gentleman called Grandpa Bart recognized Jones’ talent and his character issues. He said, “Bobby, you’re good enough to win, but you’ll never win big until you control that temper of yours.” Jones did master his temper, and went on to win his first U.S. Open at twenty-one. Grandpa Bart used to say, “Bobby was fourteen when he mastered golf, but he was twenty-one when he mastered himself.” English theologian Henry Parry Liddon observed: “What we do on some great occasion will probably depend on what we already are; and what we are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline.”
If you’re serious about building strong character, set higher standards for yourself and refuse to lower them. Need a role model? You won’t find a better one than Jesus. He said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself” (Mt 16:24 NIV). Each day look for an opportunity to say no to yourself in some small area. Try it; you’ll be surprised how hard it is. But the payoff will come when you need to say no to yourself in some big area of life. Like saving for a rainy day, you’ll have spiritual strength to draw on when you need it.  who perseveres.”
Pay careful attention to your own work. GALATIANS 6:4 NLT
You  can only pray, plan and prepare for so long, then you must step out in faith and act. The Chinese say, “He who deliberates too long before taking a step, will spend his whole life on one leg.” The reason we never get started is because we focus on tomorrow instead of today. The only time over which you have any control is the present. James writes: “Look here, you who say… Tomorrow we are going to a certain town… We will do business there and make profit.’ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog-it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (Jas 4:13-14 NLT).
Edgar Guest wrote: “The greatest of workers this man would have been-tomorrow. The world would have known him, had he ever seen-tomorrow. But the fact is he died and he faded from view, and all that he left here when living was through, was a mountain of things he intended to do-tomorrow.” The idea of tomorrow can be very seductive, but the promise it holds is often false. It’s starting, that stops us! Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, observed: “The greatest time wasted, is the time getting started.” The hardest part of writing a letter is penning the first line. The hardest part of making a tough phone call is picking up the phone and making the call. So how do you overcome this difficulty? Schedule a specific time for doing what you don’t like to do or fear to do, and each time you follow through and do it, it will get easier and you’ll get better at it.

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