Life Lessons - Section 1

  1. Too  often we take our faith seriously in the wrong ways. When we present only the somber, quiet side of faith, without expressing the joy, the result is not always so attractive. Christians have gained the reputation of not being too much fun, and nothing should be further from the truth. Being a Christian is the most joy-filled and lively experience we can have. Others need to see that. Live the happiness, laughter, and singing of being a Christian, so the whole world might know. 
    Prayer:  Never let me forget the intense joy that accompanies being a Christian. Turn my tears to laughter, my sorrow to dancing, and let me spread my delight to everyone. Amen.
      - From the October 21, 2015 Wisdom from the Psalms by Dan Dick.
  2. Your life is a vapor. And no matter how old you are when the Lord calls you home, the truth is that your time on this earth is limited... your days are numbered. Consider every single day you live to be a gift from God. Thank Him for it, and live it to the fullest for His glory! EVERY DAY IS A GIFT. GIVE TODAY TO GOD, KNOWING HE’S GIVEN YOU EXACTLY THE NUMBER OF DAYS YOU NEED TO FULFILL HIS CALLING ON YOUR LIFE. - From the September 5, 2016 PowerPoint devotional by Dr. Jack Graham.
  3. As  2 Corinthians 4:17 reminds us, “Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” 
    No one is exempt from experiencing the storms of life. God is doing a work. And that is what we have to understand: God is at work. He will not waste our pain. He will produce something in our lives that we need. He is looking for a desired result. 
    Romans 8:28
    ,
     promises that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
    God  will take the things we are going through and use them for His glory in time. God’s end game, if you will, His primary purpose for us, is to make us more like Jesus. He is getting us ready for heaven. - From the September 29, 2016 Harvest Daily Devotion from Greg Laurie.
  4. Today also those who are the enemies of Christ depend on equally foolish lights and weapons. It is not literal lamps upon which our contemporaries rely, of course. It is rather the light of “progress” or the light of “reason.” But however valuable these lights may be in purely human terms, they are clearly foolish when arrayed against him who is himself the Light. His light cannot be extinguished by our lights, for ours owe their existence to him. He is the source of all light and reason. Thus, our thinking runs to foolishness when we fail to acknowledge him, as Paul indicates in Romans when he says that having refused to glorify God as God, men and women became vain in their imaginations, “and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like motal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (1:21–23). Similarly, human weapons, which the enemies of Christ frequently resort to when reason fails, are also useless. - From the commentary on John 18:3-11 from the Boice Expositional Commentary by James Montgomery Boice.
  5. Ecclesiastes 2:24-26: Life is empty, meaningless, and unsatisfying apart from God. The only lasting satisfaction in life is found in God. The only thing of enduring value is a person’s relationship with God, and whatever is accomplished in life as the individual walks with God—under God’s guidance and leadership. Listen to the counsel of the world’s wisest, richest, most accomplished, and most powerful man (Solomon): 
    a. Live day by day—eat and drink and enjoy what God gives you (v. 24a). 

    When you trust God, day-1 life is enjoyable and has meaning. Warren W. Wiersbe explains what Solomon is saying here:

    Solomon is not advocating “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” That is the philosophy of fatalism not faith. Rather, he is saying, “Thank God for what you do have, and enjoy it, to the glory of God.” Paul gave his approval to this attitude when he exhorted us to trust “in the living God, who gives us all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17, NKJV). 

    All that we have is from the hand of God. Solomon counseled the reader to be thankful for it, to give God glory for it, and to enjoy it! There is nothing better in life than what God gives—not riches, not power, not pleasure. In truth, nothing this world can offer is better than what God gives. Whether God gives little or much, a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction are found in the Giver, not the gifts. - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  6. It is pride that makes us lust and covet and envy and murder and fight and war. Pride is to the life of the flesh what humility is to the life of the Spirit. It is at the very foundation of the lifestyle which displeases God. Pride always brings contention. - From commentary on James 4:1 from The Preacher’s Commentary Series  (Volumes 1-35: Genesis - Revelation) by Stuart Briscoe
  7. Psalm 46:10: Be still, and know that I am God!  Confess your busyness. Repent of the ways you run here and there, reacting to circumstances and fears. Say to yourself, “Hush, be still, for God is God and he will be honored here!”  Ponder these words of C.S. Lewis:  The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in simply shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking the other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. Patterson, Ben (2008-09-22). God's Prayer Book: The Power and Pleasure of Praying the Psalms (p. 131). Tyndale House Publishers - A. Kindle Edition. 
  8. Matthew 10:28 - Do not fear those that kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Without God, this world is a frightening place, but there is no need to lead a life of trepidation.  We know the One who created the heavens and earth and told the winds and the waves to obey Him.  If we call ourselves children of God, we do not have to fear the things of this world, because God tells us that He “has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind” (2Timothy 1:7). The only fear we need to live in is the fear of the Lord, for He is awesome in might and perfect in holiness.  
    God is down in front.  He is in the tomorrows.  It is tomorrow that fills men with dread.  God is there already.  All the tomorrows of our life have to pass Him before the get to us - F. B. Meyer. - From page 265 of Turning Points with God by David Jeremiah.
  9. The Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God’s view of life: Life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment. These ideas are the foundation of purpose-driven living. … God continually tests people’s character, faith, obedience, love, integrity, and loyalty. Words like trials, temptations, refining, and testing occur more than 200 times in the Bible. … Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test. You are always being tested. God constantly watches your response to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment, and even the weather! He even watches the simplest actions such as when you open a door for others, when you pick up a piece of trash, or when you’re polite toward a clerk or waitress.We don’t know all the tests God will give you, but we can predict some of them, based on the Bible. You will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies. In my own life I have noticed that God tests my faith through problems, tests my hope by how I handle possessions, and tests my love through people.
    A very important test is how you act when you can’t feel God’s presence in your life. Sometimes God intentionally draws back, and we don’t sense his closeness. …
    When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life. Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development. Every day is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to demonstrate love, or to depend on God. Some tests seem overwhelming, while others you don’t even notice. But all of them have eternal implications.

    The good news is that God wants you to pass the tests of life, so he never allows the tests you face to be greater than the grace he gives you to handle them. The Bible says, “God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” - From the book “The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren 
  10. Psalm 128:1,2 - Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shall eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.  Many people find no satisfaction in the work they do. Their lives lack purpose and meaning. Christians have an alternative source of meaning in their lives. If a Christian does a job, no matter how large or small, to God's glory, then that person will find satisfaction. God doesn't much care what we do, but He is always interested in how we do our jobs. If we do our work without grumbling and with a joyful heart, then we are witnessing to His power in our lives and we are pleasing to Him.
    Prayer:  Let me be not so concerned with the prestige of my job, or the salary it pays, or what other people think of it. Instead, assist me to always do the best that I can, to Your glory, Father. Amen. - From the October 26, 2016 Wisdom from the Psalms by Dan Dick.
  11. To delight in God is to desire what God desires—and never to wallow in disappointment, knowing we can trust his wise sovereignty and providence in any situation. We can do anything through the God who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13)Are you delighting in God? If not, take your disappointments to him; then pray that he will give you the desires of his heart. Patterson, Ben (2008-09-22). God's Prayer Book: The Power and Pleasure of Praying the Psalms (p. 115). Tyndale House Publishers - A. Kindle Edition. 
  12. Let me say something about circumstances, which we often think are so bad. Circumstances refer to things that are without. The word itself is based on two Latin words: circum, which means “around” (as in the word “circumference”), and stare, which means “to stand.” So circumstances are the things that are standing around us. They are external. But where is the Lord in this picture? Is he without? No, he is within. It is a case of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). So why worry about what is without if Christ is within? To know that he is within and that he is directing us moment by moment, day by day, is the secret of that supernatural joy that is our rightful birthmark as God’s children. - From the commentary on John 15:13 from the Boice Expositional Commentary by James Montgomery Boice.
  13. It seems as if our desires are never satisfied.  Have you noticed that we always want more? We try to fill the hole with purchases or things we shouldn’t do.  Contentment is a difficult and elusive virtue.  Have you ever wondered why that is? It is because nothing on this earth will ever fill the hole of desire for more, our deepest longings or the feeling of belonging.  The answer lies in our relationship with God and Jesus.  We long to be in a relationship with Jesus and one day see God. When you accept Jesus as your Savior, you receive His grace, peace, rest and hope.  Accepting Jesus’s offer of salvation allows the Holy Spirit to come establish residence in you while here on earth.  This is as close to heaven as we can get while here on earth.  While you may not be fully content while here on earth, which is not your true home, you have moved in the right direction and will find yourself that much closer to the home we will finally occupy with the true source of our desire, God.  
    Apart from Christ, life does have a very bleak outlook. People will try and try to find satisfaction in the world, yet that satisfaction will always elude them. But as C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world!

    This world’s offerings will always fall short of bringing you real and lasting joy. But rather than causing you to despair, let it point you to a greater focus on the life to come. That’s where your true promise is, and where you’ll find ultimate satisfaction!
    FIND ULTIMATE SATISFACTION NOT IN THIS LIFE, BUT IN LOOKING FORWARD TO THE LIFE TO COME!  - From the August 6, 2015 PowerPoint devotional by Dr. Jack Graham.
  14. Those who cannot be content with the necessities of life pay an enormous price for all the things they pursue. Consider the high cost of covetousness, how seeking after the possessions and pleasures of this world affects so many people’s…
    • marriages
    • children
    • health
    • good name and reputation
    • opportunities to enjoy the simple life and its blessings
    • peace of mind
    • chances to hear the gospel and to gain eternal life
    • rewards at the judgment seat of Christ

    The price of having both hands full is not worth the cost unless a person can balance work with other obligations and needs in life. Proverbs frequently emphasizes the value of a peaceful, restful spirit:

    “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith” (Pr. 15:16).
    “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right” (Pr. 16:8).
    Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife” (Pr. 17:1).

    The life of the believer is about more than just things, the pleasures and possessions of this world. Jesus said:
    “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Lu. 12:15).
    “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” (Mt. 6:25).
    Jesus went on to say in Matthew 6:32 that those whose focus is solely on the things of this world live like the heathen, those who do not know the Lord. - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 4:6 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  15. We often seek to please ourselves first, instead of God.  What is interesting is that when we seek to please God first, very often we discover that we end up far more pleased than we did when we put ourselves first. - From Page 150 from Billy Graham in Quotes by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney.
  16. We typically don’t fall into sin, rather we walk -  Judges 3:6 (b)… and served their gods.  Finally, the children of Israel worshiped with their enemies. - In this, we see a pattern repeated in our own lives if we’re not oh, so careful. We dwell with the world. We start relating to the world. We end up worshiping with the world. Let me remind you once again that none of us falls into sin. We walk into it one step at a time. All along the way, the Lord is saying, “Wait. Stop.”  
    “Oh, Lord, this is okay,” we say. “I just won’t do that.” But when we end up doing that, we say, “Well, Lord, that’s okay, but I sure won’t do the next”—until we end up doing the next.
    Sin is not fallen into—it’s walked into one step at a time—which is why we are to make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14). When we fail to do this, the slow leak of compromise is bound to take its toll. - From commentary on Judgers 3:6b  from Courson’s Application Commentary by Jon Courson.
  17. It's not easy loving unlovable people. Some people do such terrible things. King David looked at evil men and felt nothing but contempt. Why should evil men prosper while good men struggled just to get by? Why should hateful women set their hearts' desires while virtuous women could hardly lift their heads? David wrestled with God's justice throughout his lifetime.
    It is difficult to remember that God's justice plays itself out in eternity, not just in our lifetime. In the end of times, righteous people will prevail, while the evildoers are left out in the cold. The Lord has little desire to reward only good people and punish those who are bad. If He did that, people would follow Him for the wrong reason. God wants His children to come to Him because they love Him, not because they think it will bring them good things.
    Prayer: Help me to accept the fact that bad things happen to good people, and that bad people are often prosperous. I may not like it now, but I need to keep in mind that one day each of us will receive exactly what he deserves. Amen.
    - From the Friday June 26, 2015 Wisdom from the Psalms by Dan Dick.
  18. God tells us that, even when it comes to those who make us angry, those whom we consider our enemies, don’t let our anger lead to sin. That means the initial anger itself is not sin, but how that anger fleshes out in your life may or may not be sinful. Anger that leads to harsh words and resentment is sinful. But anger given over to the Lord is holy!
    If  anyone had a reason to stay angry, it would’ve been Jesus. He was perfectly holy and yet accused of so much wrongdoing. But instead of letting anger take hold of His life, He entrusted it to His Father. Follow Christ’s example of giving your anger to God and live in freedom from resentment and bitterness!

    GIVE YOUR ANGER OVER TO GOD AND YOU’LL LIVE IN FREEDOM FROM RESENTMENT AND BITTERNESS TOWARD OTHERS.  - From the July 28, 2016 PowerPoint devotional by Dr. Jack Graham.
  19.  We can't handle life unless we are assured that God loves us and has accepted us, that we are dear to Him, precious to Him.  When we know this, then we know who we are.  Then we have a sense of well being.  Love gives us that.  This sense of identity and being loved gives us the ability to relate to others, so we can comprehend with all the saints the magnitude of the love of God.  Knowing God's love is not an individual accomplishment.  It occurs only in the loving context of the church and involves the whole church, not isolated individuals.  You impress others with what you know.  You impact others with how you love. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Galations 6 - pg. 82.
  20. Life is like a boomerang; what you throw is what returns to you. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Galations 6 - pg. 82.
  21. Jeremiah 2:13 My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns - broken cisterns that can hold no water.  Many people today are seeking inner fulfillment and emotional peace by lifting one cup after another totheir lips.  But Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink…Out of His heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).
    Without the risen Christ in our homes and hearts, we’re missing the kind of encouragement we need to keep going.  He is the true source of encouragement, and as we partake of the living waters of His grace, we’ll overflow with true encouragement into the lives of others.
    Put down your empty cups, and drink richly of Christ!
    - From page 236 of Turning Points With God by David Jeremiah. 
  22. You harvest spiritually, mentally, relationally, and physically in direct proportion to what you plant.  There are no miracle crops. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Galations 6 - pg. 82.
  23. Not only our deeds, but also our motives, are important. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Galations 6 - pg. 82.
  24. Spiritual change is an inside job begun with the new birth and sustained by a new power - The Holy Spirit. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Galations 6 - pg. 82.
  25. Scars for Christ here on earth produce stars from Christ there in heaven. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Galations 6 - pg. 82.
  26. Put yourself in other's shoes before you judge them too harshly for sin. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Galations 6 - pg. 82.
  27. Put yourself in others' shoes before you turn away from their material needs.  We cannot help everyone, but we must be sensitive to the Lord's leading. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Galations 6 - pg. 82.
  28. Ephesians 6:12 - For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?

    The limitation of knowing how best to spend one’s days (Ephesians, 6:12a).

    When Solomon asked, “Who knows what is good for a man in this life?” he could not have known how profound his question really was. People are constantly seeking direction and counsel from other individuals, people who are just as mortal and sinful as they are. No one knows where to turn or what to do. As a result, they must deal with the consequences of their wrong choices and poor decisions.

    The answer to Solomon’s question is actually quite simple: God knows exactly what is good for man as well as what is evil. Man’s role, of course, is to seek God’s guidance and then to follow His directions, obeying God’s will in all things. Tragically, the very opposite usually takes place. 
    - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 6:12 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  29. Any boasting or bragging words in your mouth should speak about Christ and not about you. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Ephesians 2:22 - pg. 117.
  30. God is the giver of spiritual growth and insight.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Ephesians 3:20 - pg. 133.
  31. It is valid, even important to ask God to increase our spiritual growth and perception. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Ephesians 3:20 - pg. 133.
  32. Approach God with freedom and confidence. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Ephesians 3:20 - pg. 134.
  33. The wisdom of God reveals itself not only in great salvation themes in the Bible but also in the little things we see in the process of living daily life.  Many things are backwards, upside down, and inside out:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Ephesians 3 - pg. 138.
    1. Exalting yourself lowers you; lowering yourself raises you
    2. To keep what you have is to lose it; to give it away is to keep it.
    3. To find your life is to lose it; to lose your life is to find it.
    4. Abundance can bring poverty; poverty can bring abundance.
    5. Freedom leads to slavery; slavery leads to freedom.
    6. Cleverness can be folly; foolishness of God is wisdom.
    7. Strength leads to weakness; weakness brings strength.
    8. The first shall be last;  the last shall be first.
  34. When we fail to subordinate ourselves to others, however, we focus on meeting our own needs.  This way we may accumulate to ourselves those things which we want, but we become lonely.  Christians cannot be satisfied in a context of individualism and isolationism.  It is not good for man to be alone.  Only humility leads away from loneliness. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Ephesians 4:2 - pg. 148
  35. Gentleness or meekness literally means "power under control."  Being meek for a week will make you realize it takes strength to be meek.  Moses was described as the meekest man who ever lived.  Yet, he was a great, dynamic, charismatic leader who challenged the power of the throne of Egypt.  His strength stood under God's control. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Ephesians 4:2 - pg. 148
  36. Patience is believing God's timetable is good, no matter what it is.  Patience does not always come quickly. Patience is the characteristic of mature people.  When we have a proper expectation, it actually helps us be patient.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Ephesians 4:2 - pg. 149.
  37. Anger - A Christian may legitimately become angry.  Jesus became angry at times.  In those times we must be extra careful how we act, for anger gives no excuse to sin.  When we get angry, we should deal with it before the day is through.  When w allow our anger to become sin or when we allow ourselves to keep our anger for more than a day, it gives the devil an opportunity to gain control over our attitudes, our actions, and our relationships.  It gives him a foothold to lead us into greater anger and more sin. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Ephesians 4:28 - pg. 155.
  38. Eccl 11:7-8 - Enjoy life because every year of your life is to be celebrated and enjoyed (v. 8a). - For the sixth time in Ecclesiastes, Solomon exhorts us to enjoy life. The phrase “rejoice in them all” indicates that we can find unique, special joys in every stage and age of life. Childhood holds joys that can be found only in the minds and eyes of innocent, trusting, carefree children. Adolescence holds the joys of some newfound independence, an interest in the opposite sex, and a myriad of other firsts. Young adulthood enjoys the early years of marriage and having children, followed by the unparalleled joys of watching your children grow. In our senior years, we reap the good seeds sown earlier in life, and heaven is nearer and dearer than ever before. Life—all of it—is to be celebrated and enjoyed in all its wonderful phases!   - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 11:7-8 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  39. God can use our afflictions to further the gospel and exalt the Lord, so we should live exemplary lives in the face of our afflictions. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philippians 1 - Pg 211.
  40. Ask God to help you see his vantage point in your circumstances. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philippians 1 - Pg 212.
  41. Hold a steady course in the midst of perplexing problems by trusting God. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philippians 1 - Pg 212.
  42. If you know Christ as your personal Savior, then you don't have to fear death.  You can see it as a home-going, a graduation, a passage.  Death is a door through which we pass from this life to the next. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philippians 1 - Pg 213.
  43. If you know Christ as your personal Savior, then you don't have to fear death.  You can see it as a home-going, a graduation, a passage.  Death is a door through which we pass from this life to the next. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philippians 1 - Pg 213.
  44. So, what is your conscience telling you? If you will trust God enough to admit it and open up to his grace, he will start healing your broken heart more than you can imagine.   - From the book Isaiah: God Saves Sinners by Roy C. Ortlund, Jr. - Read more at location 466
  45. We tell ourselves, “If only I had more time, if only I had a better wife/husband, if only I were married, if only my job weren’t so demanding, if only I had more money, I’d really live for the Lord.” We tell ourselves, “If only we had contemporary music in our church, if only we’d keep that contemporary music out of our church, we’d be the church we ought to be.” “If only this, if only that . . .” These are all excuses. At bottom each one implies a criticism of God, as if he hasn’t already given us all we need to live well for him (2 Peter 1:3). - From location 1058 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners by Roy C. Ortlund, Jr. 
  46. (Isaiah 5:10). Isaiah is saying that greed disempowers grace and dissolves into emptiness. - From location 1098 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners by Roy C. Ortlund, Jr. 
  47. The gospel explains that there are basically two kinds of people in the world: sensate and spiritual (Romans 8:5, 6).5 The sensate mentality is drawn to entertainment, while the spiritual mentality is drawn to worship. Isaiah condemned Judah’s unreasoning passion for one thrill after another, because a visceral approach to life quenches the Holy Spirit. The gospel says, “Do not get drunk with wine . . . but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The power of grace does not lie in spiritual moderation but in deep, repeated gulps of the Spirit. And that kind of excess does not dull our minds; it sharpens our awareness, so that God becomes real to us. - From location 1115 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners by Roy C. Ortlund, Jr. 
  48. Determine what you want your life to be ike at its end, and then work toward that during the days you have left. - From the Holman Old Testament Commentary - Proverbs - by Charles Bridges - Pg 317.
  49. Aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in.  Aim at earth, and you will get neither.  - From the Holman Old Testament Commentary - C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity  - Pg 340 of Holman.
  50. The message of God, and the Holy Spirit, convict people and change lives. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - I Thessalonians 1 pg. 12. 
  51. Faithfulness to God is rewarded by greater effectiveness and influence. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - I Thessalonians 1 pg. 12.  
  52. Take the long view of life, looking ahead to a certain eternity with God.  This gives proper perspective to your work and produces endurance when setbacks and difficulties come. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - I Thessalonians 1 pg. 12. 
  53. Above all, be known by your love - to God, and to others.  After all, these are the two greatest commandments. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - I Thessalonians 1 pg. 12. 
  54. In our Christian journey we become confused as we wonder about our part in the process of Christian development.  What does God expect me to do?  Paul commended a spiritual growth based on relationship.  We see God initiating an action and the Thessalonians responding in faith and love.  All of us long for a close bond with others; we desire intimacy and acceptance.  And while we realize that we can know God personally, we often find ourselves confused in the day-by-day interchange between ourselves and the Lord.  The solution to our uncertainty is to focus less on tasks and more on our responses.  This turns our attention away from trying to figure out what God is doing.  We learn to take the biblical principals which God has given and turn them to our daily circumstances as well as the unconquered territory of our hearts and wills.  Rather than following a simple checklist of how to behave, God wants us to live through the continual development of a relationship with him.  We can do this by developing a sensitivity to his Spirit, a greater knowledge of his revelation, and a stronger commitment to obedience.  Then we will continue to change and deepen within ourselves and God, accomplishing what rules and duty never could.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - I Thessalonians 1 pg. 13. 
  55. People are to remain the priority of our lives and efforts.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - I Thessalonians 2:17-20 pg. 27.
  56. God despises sinful pride. There is a legitimate pride and an illegitimate pride. Pride in oneself is essential for a healthy personality and a productive, fruitful life. All people should esteem themselves—but not too highly, for every person has weaknesses that must be acknowledged in order to strengthen them. An unacknowledged weakness will grow into a greater weakness. And the greater a weakness is, the more it will eat away at a person’s strength. For this reason we must never walk around arrogantly, exalting ourselves and denying our weaknesses.
    When we are always looking at ourselves, thinking only of our own affairs, we are being self-centered. We are 1 ourselves more important than others. To avoid this, we must give attention to the concerns of others. Walking humbly among others, acknowledging them, and being friendly with them pleases the Lord. No matter what our social position in life, no matter where we live or how much money we make, we are to acknowledge the dignity of all other human beings. Every human being is a living person with an immortal soul that is important to God. Therefore, we are to take an interest in and care for our fellow human beings. To esteem ourselves more highly than anyone else is sinful pride, and God despises it. 
    - From the “Introduction to Section G” reading from Isaiah 23:1-18 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  57. Regardless of the saying that "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me," it is patently wrong, as words do have power.  Words sink deep within our minds and souls.  We carry their joy or poison with us wherever we go, and they can affect us for a lifetime.  They can heal or wound, inspire or devastate.  Perhaps this is why Jesus warned that "men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken.  For by words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matt. 12:36-37)  Why?  Because "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34).  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - I Thessalonians 2 pg. 31.
  58. God's revealed words also come from the overflow of his heart: "the word of the Lord is flawless" (2 Sam. 22:31).  God is perfect, complete, the source of all truth and reality.  His Word carries the dynamic of his nature; it speaks with the power of eternal reality.  That is why he could speak the world into existence.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - I Thessalonians 2  pg. 31.
  59. God's Word has inherent power because it is the carrier of undisputed truth.  Nothing can withstand it, suceed against it, overcome it, or disprove it.  In fact, God's Word "is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - I Thessalonians 2  pg. 31.
  60. There is not a point in this life when we decide we have arrived and everything is settled.  There is no complete maturity level where we sit back and gaze at the past for the rest of life.  There is always the challenge of moving forward and doing more of what Christ has commanded.  All believers need to keep growing in love.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - I Thessalonians 4  pg. 56. 
  61. We should all work hard at living wholesome, responsible lives, not only to please God, but to achieve a good reputation for Christ's church and his people.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - I Thessalonians 4  pg. 56. Out of our beliefs are born deeds; out of our deeds we form habits; out of our habits grow our character; and on our character we build our destiny - Henry Hancock
  62. Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul; everyone needs it and they perform better when they get it.  Good leaders liberally hand out encouragement.  It costs little to affirm others, yet pays great dividends.  Encouragement should be:   - From the Maxwell Leadership Bible 2 Thessalonians 1:1 pg 1494
    1. Personal (v. 3)
    2. Pointed - specific (v. 4)
    3. Public (v. 4)
    4. Purposeful (vv. 5, 6)
  63. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (Jas. 1:2-4) - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Thessalonians 1 Pg 96.
  64. We must come to understand that the "good" which God is determined to accomplish in our lives is to make us like Christ.  We can live above our circumstances.  Every  wonderful or crummy thing that happens to us is not excluded from the creative finger of God.  Nothing in our experience is wasted.  He is committed to our transformation and will use everything at his disposal to shape our character, faith, obedience, and love.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Thessalonians 1 Pg 97.
  65. The worthiness of our life does not depend on success of our efforts but on becoming more and more like Jesus Christ.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Thessalonians 1 Pg 97.
  66. No teaching should ever replace the Word of God.  No interpretation should undercut what is clearly taught in scripture.  Stick to the apostles' teaching; stay with the Word of God.  There will always be new twists and theories, new claims to entice, but the Word of God remains steady and dependable.  It is absolute and trustworthy.   (2 Thess 2:5-7) - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Thessalonians 2:4 pg. 106. 
  67. We should develop a reputation for kindness, helpfulness, and tact.  We should refuse gossip, use our time wisely, and not succumb to laziness. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Thessalonians 3  pg. 133. 
  68. Work and attitude towards such - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Thessalonians 3  pg. 133-135. 
  69. Work was originally an expression of God's image, a reflection of the creative impulse.  But the entrance of sin into the world rocked the established order with confusion and imbalance.  From that moment, nothing remained safe from the possibility of perversion or corruption. (Gen. 3:17b-19).  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Thessalonians 3  pg. 133. 
  70. Engage in life with integrity and purpose.  Laziness is shameful and disobedience is intolerable.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Thessalonians 3  pg. 131. 
  71. Christians should build a reputation for hard work, personal integrity, and a willingness to go beyond the minimum requirements of a job. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Thessalonians 3  pg. 133. 
  72. People approach work in one of four basic ways - through neglect, hatred, idolatry, or balanced esteem.  In each case, a person's assessment of work reflects his idea of God as well as his view of himself.  What approach or assessment do you have? - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Thessalonians 3  pg. 134. 
  73. Some people fall into the delusion that they refuse to work because certain jobs are beneath their dignity or training.  God views all legitimate work as useful and sacred, as long as it is carried out in his glory. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Thessalonians 3  pg. 134. 
  74. A more prevalent problem today is that of hating work.  This attitude has existed since sin tainted work.  Indeed, many people refer to work as a "necessary evil." - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Thessalonians 3  pg. 134. 
  75. Priorities (Work and God) - In our own day, the machine, the clock, and the development of transportation have conspired to alienate people from the thing that should bring a measure of satisfaction - their work.  Modern people have become so time conscious that they hear within their brains the constant ticking of the clock partitioning their hours into isolated categories of duty and leisure.  Transportation has torn man's work from a meaningful context, making his labor a small piece of a greater whole that he rarely sees.  As a result, many people despise their jobs.  In the process, they belittle God's directives and gifts.  

    Conversely, other people elevate their jobs, idolizing labor and personal accomplishments.  Unlike those in earlier times who viewed work as a response to God's goodness, man has now eliminated God from the equation, making his work a means to his personal identity.  Productivity has become equated with self worth.  Those who aspire to a meaningful and purpose-filled life cannot conceive of it outside the arena of paid labor.  

    Such an approach, however, leads either to recurring frustration or denial of work's inability to bring true meaning to life.  Once work or work's rewards (such as money, vacations, benefits) become the central purpose in life, we supplant God in our search for identity, security and meaning. 

    The biblical approach to work values diligence without enslavement to the job, offers personal satisfaction without regard to occupation, and esteems labor without glorifying it.

    The Christian recognizes that personal worth comes only through a relationship with Jesus Christ.  People cannot merit or work themselves into a position of importance.  At the same time, our security rests in the sovereign will and goodness of God.  Life's meaning resides in our devotion to God and his glory, not in what we produce.  Any legitimate work can bring meaning to life and honor to Christ. 

    The Christian needs to approach work not as a means to personal ends, but as an expression of God's blessing.  Our work can provide ways for us to express God's original intent - that selfhood, safety and significance issue from God's grace.
  76. Today we say, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.” That’s how the gears of everyday life are lubricated. It gets things done. But when it overrides justice, it’s wrong, no matter how well it works. When responsible people choose expediency, they are not judges; they are auctioneers, with the “truth” going to the highest bidder. That is why helpless people get stepped on — powerful people lose their sense of God. When the only ones who matter are successful, formidable people, life becomes savage. If people do not believe that the very hairs of their head are numbered by a loving Father in Heaven (Matthew 10:30), they have no logical reason to care about anyone else. This is why the most important thing about us is our sense of God. Therefore the Lord declares, the LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: “Ah, I will get relief from my enemies and avenge myself on my foes.” (Isaiah 1:24) To his glory, no matter what we do, God just won’t go away. He will never un-God himself. There is a Lord in Heaven, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, who cares deeply about his own offended justice. And his commitment to his own cause is our hope. He will get relief from his enemies. He will avenge himself on his foes. Nobody is getting away with anything, and redemption will never be defeated.  - From location 669 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners 
  77. Genuinely caring for people is one of the marks of true greatness. Caring for people means to consider them, tend to them, and keep an eye on their welfare. It means to protect, provide for, and pay attention to them. But caring for people also means disciplining them when they need to be corrected, lest they harm themselves or others. A person who wants to be truly great will acknowledge others, respect them and care for them. He will naturally look after his own interests, but he will also look after the interests of others. He will highly respect himself, but he will also highly esteem others (Ph. 2:3-4). So it is with the Lord. - From the Introduction reading about Isaiah 26:1 - 27:13 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  78. If we set the course of our lives by the earthly things we foolishly desire and choose, we will end up with nothing. - From location 726 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners 
  79. That is when Christ comes to us. Through him our losses can become pathways to hope. For us privileged people in the Western world, the supreme privilege of life is when we find that God himself is all we really need.  - From location 746 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners 
  80. He invites us to join him in his unblinking realism about all false hopes (2:22). He is saying to us, “Relocate your happiness in the future, in a world that doesn’t exist yet except in the promise of God. If you do that, you won’t be devastated when the idols of human pride are trashed, as they will be. In God you can possess both the present and the future.” Here are the terms: “Aim at heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.”  - From location 750 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners 
  81. Why does Isaiah link hope with humility? Because we use the idol of self-advancement to stabilize ourselves. But God can replace our fear and pride with hope and humility.   - From location 756 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners 
  82. When believers stuff their lives full of false ideals and comforts, it’s because they feel empty within. They have lost their sense of God.4 Isaiah arrives at a shocking conclusion for his own generation: So people are humbled, and each one is brought low— do not forgive them! (v. 9) If we fill ourselves with anything other than God, we are not enriched; we are brought low. There can come a point of no return, where God’s people are so filled with the wrong things and so empty of a sense of God that forgiveness becomes unthinkable, and God moves on.  - From location 816 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners 
  83. We think of ourselves as sophisticated, but the fact is, we are too easily impressed. Our self-confidence keeps us from walking in the light of the Lord. So God is calling us to take a bold step. “The greatest need of man is to reject man” and humbly to live for the glory of God alone.   - From location 866 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners 
  84. If God seems severe at times, it’s only because his love is so intense, his imagination so colorful, that he settles for nothing less than our complete salvation. - From location 908 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners 
  85. The true goal of our faith and life should be to glorify God through love, faith, and purity. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 1:3-5  pg. 145.
  86. Many people refuse to believe the truth that they are sinners.  It is too hard to admit.  They cannot admit that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"  (Rom. 3:23) - including them.  It is the place each person must come to, an admission that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 1:15  pg. 151.
  87. We must not be unduly impressed by a teacher's style or credentials; we must look to his teaching about Jesus Christ.  His conclusions about Christ show the source of his message.  - Life Application Study Bible NIV Version - 1 Timothy 4:1-5 Note- Pg 2192.
  88. Everything God created is good (see Genesis 1).  We should ask for God's blessing on his created gifts that give us pleasure  and thank him for them.  This doesn't mean that we should abuse what God has made (for example, gluttony abuses God's gift of good food, lust abuses God's gift of love, and murder abuses God's gift of life).  Instead of abusing, we should enjoy these gifts by using them to serve and honor God.  Have you thanked God for the good gifts he has given?  Are you using the gifts in ways pleasing to you and to God?  - Life Application Study Bible NIV Version - 1 Timothy 4:4, 5 Note- Pg 2192.
  89. Regardless of your age, God can use you.  Whether you are young or old, don't think of your age as a handicap.  Live so others can see Christ in you.  - Life Application Study Bible NIV Version - 1 Timothy 4:12 Note- Pg 2192. 
  90. The promises made to godly people concern the present life, but especially the life to come.  If godly people have only a little of the good things of the present life, it will be made up to them in the good things of the life to come.  - The New Matthew Henry Commentary, 1 Timothy 4 Verses 6-16, Page 2166.
  91. However fascinating a new fad may be, however benign a practice may appear, Christians who venture into uncharted ideas risk their spiritual lives upon the hidden shoals of false doctrine and among predators who promise new experiences.  Christians must devote themselves to the orthodox beliefs and observances which the scriptures promote and the Holy Spirit empowers. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 4 pg. 212.
  92. People are always attracted to rules and human effort to achieve, often carrying this over into the practice of religion.  It is easier to follow strict rules and feel we have contributed to our own salvation than it is to admit our helplessness and inability to gain God's approval.  This is both the attraction and danger of legalism.  But the life of faith cannot be condensed into lists and rules.  It demands a personal relationship with God first.  Out of this relationship will come the desire and the discipline to follow his will. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 4 pg. 214.
  93. Family - Those who give proper care to their family have put their religion in practice, and this is pleasing to God.  This is the practicality of faith, the essence of belief, for God tells us to honor our parents (Deut. 5:16; Eph. 6:1-2).  This is one way in which we carry out our trust in God's values.  While no parent invests time and energy into raising children simply to be repaid for it, the ties and obligations of family relationships do not rest entirely upon parents..  Children and grandchildren have the opportunity to give back time, love, and material support.  They should also grow up with the expectation that it is their privilege and duty, especially to those widowed within their family.  Someone who does not provide for his relatives, particularly imediate family, has denied the faith.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 5:3-8 pg. 221-223.
  94. If people spend on their sinful desires what should be used to maintain their families, they have denied the faith. Rich people should be ashamed to burden the church with their poor relatives. - The New Matthew Henry Commentary, 1 Timothy 5 Verses 3-16, (v. 16) Page 2167. 
  95. If any provide not for his own, &c. If any men or women do not maintain their own poor relations who belong to them, they do in effect deny the faith; for the design of Christ was to confirm the law of Moses, and particularly the law of the fifth commandment, which is, Honour thy father and mother; so that those deny the faith who disobey that law, much more if they provide not for their wives and children, who are parts of themselves; if they spend that upon their lusts which should maintain their families, they have denied the faith and are worse than infidels. Charity misplaced is a great hindrance to true charity; there should be prudence in the choice of the objects of charity, that it may not be thrown away upon those who are not properly so, that there may be the more for those who are real objects of charity.  - From the MHC - 1 Timothy 5 II. of the MacSword Software program
  96. Those who want to find mercy when they are in distress must show mercy when they are in prosperity.  - The New Matthew Henry Commentary, 1 Timothy 5 Verses 3-16, Page 2167. 
  97. Therefore God sometimes brings his people into such straits that they have nothing else to trust to, that they may with more confidence trust in him. Those who trust in God must continue in prayer. If by faith we confide in God, by prayer we must give glory to God and commit ourselves to his guidance. - From the MHC - 1 Timothy 5 I. of the MacSword Software program
  98. For most people, becoming a Christian does not entail a dramatic change in occupation, living conditions, salary or neighborhood.  Christ calls us to extend his kingdom from the place we now occupy.  Contentment, the pursuit of godliness, and bold identification with Christ are foundational to effective Christian living. Money does not buy happiness, but what exactly does it buy?  What does preoccupation with material goodies get us?  Admittedly, a little more comfort.  Most certainly, a lot more headaches.  Without a doubt, loss in the life to come.  We all need to understand that contentment is not found in circumstances or stuff.  Peace of soul is found in pursuing godliness, in chasing after God. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6:1  pg. 240.
  99. Becoming a follower of Christ does not release a person from obligations or unpleasant conditions.  Instead, being a Christian presents us with a higher standard in all circumstances and relationships.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6:1  pg. 240.
  100. As Christians, masters and slaves become spiritual equals, brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).  His counsel for the master/slave relationship can be applied to the employer/employee relationship today.  Employees should work hard, showing respect for their employers.  In turn employers should be fair (Ephesians 6:5-9); Colossians 3:22-25).  Our work should reflect our faithfulness to and love for Christ. - Life Application Study Bible NIV Version - 1 Timothy 6:1-2 Note 6:1,2 - Pg 2195.  
  101. Prosperity is everything God gives you above food and covering.  We must be content with God's provision and placement.  We must remain dissatisfied with our own fruitfulness and pursuit of God. - The Maxwell Leadership Bible - 1 Timothy 6: 3-10,  pg 1504.  
  102. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  1 Timothy 6:9-10. - Life Application Study Bible NIV Version - 1 Timothy 6:9-10 Note 6:9-10 - Pg 2195.  
  103. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, most people still believe that money brings happiness.  Rich people craving greater riches can be caught in an endless cycle that only ends in ruin and destruction.  How can you keep away from the love of money?  Paul gives us some guidelines: (1) realize that one day riches will be gone (1 Timothy 6:7,17); (2) to be content with what you have (6:8); (3) monitor what you are willing to do to get more money (6:9,10); (4) love people more than money (6:11); (5) love God's work more than money (6:11); (6) freely share what you have with others (6:18). (See proverbs 30:7-9 for more on avoiding the love of money.) - Life Application Study Bible NIV Version - 1 Timothy 6:6-10 Note 6:6-10 - Pg 2195.   
  104. Money and material wealth are unworthy goals: we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of it.  Nothing we own will follow us into the next world.  We end life as we started it - empty handed. So, in the interim, if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  For Christians, God's " divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness" (2 Pet. 1:3).  Paul was not advocating a Christian culture that requires poverty.  He was drawing a definite line between possessions and true contentment.  The former has no bearing on the latter. These "things" ((material possessions) can be kept in balance, but it requires a constant critique of our daily living and choices.  Balance demands an objective understanding of our culture's values and the ways money can entice us.  If extreme care is not taken, the temptations that money can buy entrap us into the values and pleasures which Satan peddles.  It begins because those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap.  Once we become vulnerable to temptation, it is easier to fall into many foolish and harmful desires.  Compromise leads to participation.  James outlined this same process: "each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then after the desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin" (Jas. 1:14-15).  Many people have lost their integrity or abandoned their faith for fifteen minutes in the spotlight or for a little sensual pleasure.  Such things plunge men into ruin and destruction. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6:7-8,  pg. 243-244. 
  105. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Money is not the only cause of misfortune and evil, but it is a powerful one.  Love of money is the root, the life support for a variety of wrongs and destructive behaviors.  In order to end the evil behavior, each person must dig out its root - the love of money.  Resistance to wealth's temptations becomes difficult.  Though we would never deny the faith, it is easier (though just as deadly) to wander from it.  Paul's warning should not be minimized.  Those who love money and wander from the faith have pierced themselves with many griefs.  It becomes a choice as to whether we will trust in God or the stuff around us.  God allows us to make the choice.  There is always a price to be paid.  Paul was not against thedrive to accomplish or the ambition to make a difference in the world or on the job.  The Bible states clearly that we are to work hard, to be model employees or employers.  But money should not be the driving force.  It should be God's glory that pushes us - love of people, the mission of the church, our devotion to Christ. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6:10,  pg. 245-246. 
  106. It is often helpful to distinguish between needs and wants.  We may have all we need to live but let ourselves become anxious and discontented over what we merely want.  Like Paul, we can choose to be content without having all that we want.  The only alternative is to be a slave to our desires.- Life Application Study Bible NIV Version - 1 Timothy 6:10 Note 6:10 - Pg 2195.
  107. Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness: righteousness in his conversation towards men, godliness towards God, faith and love as living principles, to support him and carry him on in the practice both of righteousness and godliness. Those that follow after righteousness and godliness, from a principle of faith and love, have need to put on patience and meekness - patience to bear both the rebukes of Providence and the reproaches of men, and meekness wherewith to instruct gainsayers and pass by the affronts and injuries that are done us. Observe, It is not enough that men of God flee these things, but they must follow after what is directly contrary thereto. Further, What excellent persons men of God are who follow after righteousness!  - From the MHC - 1 Timothy 6 I, 2, II. of the MacSword Software program
  108. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:6.
  109. Recognize God's generosity and the fleeting nature of this world.  Christianity does not require a vow of poverty or the forsaking of wealth, for Paul wrote, command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant.  Circumstances make little difference in the value system of God.  It is how a person behaves in their circumstances that makes the difference - either glorifying or discrediting the name of Christ.  However, there are inherent dangers in having wealth.  Those who are rich can easily fall into arrogance.  Wealth can be your undoing.  "When you eat you are satisfies, when you build fine houses and settle down, and your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery" (Deut. 8:12-14).  Abundance breeds pride - toward God and others.  The person who has much begins to credit himself with his wealth.  Creeping into his heart is the notion that he has done well on his own, that he can get by without God.  Wealth creates an economy of false values.  Another danger that confronts the wealthy is that they easily place confidence in what they see - their stuff.  Paul told them not to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain.  Jesus cautioned about the uncertainty of money (Matt. 6:19).  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6:17,  pg. 249. 
  110. Wealthy believers are to hold their money with an open hand; they are to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Putting hope in money is no different from the primitive man or woman who bows to an idol of wood or stone, expecting it to protect or provide.  This is worshiping the creation instead of the Creator (Rom 1:25).  The Christian must never trust in things but in relationships-particularly with God, maker of all that exists (John 1:3). - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6:17,  pg. 250. 
  111. Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast about his strength or the rich man boast about his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this:  'that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the LORD" (Jer. 9:23-24).  Riches are unworthy to be the center of our hearts. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6:17,  pg. 250. 
  112. If the rich are not to devote themselves to things, then they are to invest themselves in doing good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  How we invest ourselves and our time is more valuable than money.  God desires that we spend ourselves in doing good, helping others, benefiting those around us.  It is a tendency of the wealthy to think that others exist for their benefit, to do their bidding.  In God's eyes it is just the opposite.  Those who have been richly blessed must give abundantly.  Once again, God desires that we imitate him.  Just as he richly provides us everything for our enjoyment, just as his mercy and love are without limit, so his people are to live with the same extravagance.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6:18,  pg. 250. 
  113. By imitating the generous nature of our Lord, they lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age.  The treasure of which Paul spoke is spiritual, and it lasts for eternity.  This eternal wealth - the generous and giving life expressed in the world - is evidence of true faith in God.  In this way it is a firm foundation for entry into eternity.  How we use our time and our resources indicates where our heart truly belongs.  If it is directed by the values and compassion of God, we take hold of the life that is truly life. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6:19,  pg. 250. 
  114. When compared to the rest of the world's peoples, most Americans would be placed in the "wealthy" category.  This should lead us to examine your values:  1) What concerns me more; how much money I have or how much of me God has?  2) Do I pray about God supplying material items than I do about developing my character?  3) Do I spend more time and money caring for my house and lawn than I do helping others?  4) Am I confident about the future because my bank account is healthy or because my spirit is secure in Christ? - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6:19,  pg. 250-251. 
  115. For most people, becoming a Christian does not entail a dramatic change in occupation, living conditions, salary or neighborhood.  Christ calls us to extend his kingdom from the place we now occupy.  Contentment, the pursuit of godliness, and bold identification with Christ are foundational to effective Christian living. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6,  pg. 252. 
  116. Money blinds us to the truth of life's insecurities.  We cling tenaciously to its promises of happiness; we depend on it for our sense of well-being, our place in the social order.  Many people also flounder and drown spiritually.  In spite of Scripture's warnings, the plow ahead as though they were exceptions to God's rule that focusing on money leads a person into temptation and ruin.  The best conclusion we can make about money is that we must keep it in its place.  It can be used for Christ's glory, but it cannot bring true meaning.  Money is to be held loosely; our reputation is to be made on goodness to God and others, not on accumulation of goods.  Money can buy many things, but it cannot save a life or a soul (Matthew. 16:26).  The love of money and the things it will buy are among the main competitors for our hearts.  Rich people can do a great deal of good with their resources - good that lasts forever.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6,  pg. 252-253. 
  117. One of the Christian's most difficult tasks is to learn how to live in this world without becoming part of it - to live as a citizen of society without adopting its values. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 1 Timothy 6,  pg. 252-253.
  118. When we allow people to intimidate us, we neutralize our effectiveness for God.  The power of the Holy Spirit can help us overcome our fear of what some might say or do to us, so that we can continue to do God's work.   - From the NIV Life Application Bible 2 Timothy 1:6,7 Note 1:6,7 pg 2199. 
  119. Teen Commandments - I think my wife found these in a Christian book store and it is from the Tract League.  We have had it on our refrigerator for a long time as our kids grew up, but I think it applies to many adults as well.  Here are the Teen Commandments:
    1. Don't let your parents down; they brought you up.
    2. Choose your companions with care; you become what they are.
    3. Be master of your habits, or they will master you.
    4. Treasure your time; don't spend it, invest it.
    5. Stand for something, or you'll fall for anything.
    6. Select only a date who would make a good mate.
    7. See what you can do for others; not what they can do for you.
    8. Guard your thoughts;  What you think, you are.
    9. Don't fill up on this world's crumbs; feed your soul on the Living Bread.
    10. Give your all to Christ; He gave His all for you.
  120. In 2 Timothy, Paul directed us to consider our heritage of faith and the responsibility to faithfulness which this places upon us.  He also established the need for all believers to find their identity in Christ Jesus.  If we rely on accomplishments, status, wealth, friends, or anything else for our sense of identity, we cannot endure hardship or serve with commitment.  Paul always returned to the foundation of our faith and identity - the work of God through Christ Jesus.  The risen Lord enables his people; his grace bestows upon us the treasures of the heavens.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 1,  pg. 272. 
  121. Real life, a life that gives a person fulfillment, purpose, and eternal significance, is found in Jesus Christ. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 1,  pg. 273. 
  122. Each person should examine his or her life to see if belief and conduct are in harmony.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 1,  pg. 273. 
  123. Identification with the suffering Christ compels us to embrace suffering on his behalf.  The early Christians discovered in holy suffering a closeness to the risen Christ.  When we comprehend our self-identity as resting exclusively in the person of Jesus, we dare not avoid what he willingly endured.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 1,  VI. Deeper Discoveries, pg. 275. 
  124. The stronger one's purpose and calling, the more effective one will be.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Romans 1:1-17,  pg. 35. 
  125. The loftier one's public position, the lower one's private perspective should be.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Romans 1:1-17,  pg. 35. 
  126. Difficult circumstances, our own weaknesses and fears, and the negative attitudes or unfaithfulness of others should not determine our course in life.  Just as Paul wrote of the power which comes from the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 1:7), so now he wrote of the strength which comes from Jesus Christ. Our confidence and ability to live successfully as followers of Christ comes when we are strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. God's grace not only saves us; it enables us to carry out the life of faithful obedience.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 2:1,  pg. 280.  
  127. He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain this, which he can never lose.  - From location 1010 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  128. We tell ourselves, “If only I had more time, if only I had a better wife/husband, if only I were married, if only my job weren’t so demanding, if only I had more money, I’d really live for the Lord.” We tell ourselves, “If only we had contemporary music in our church, if only we’d keep that contemporary music out of our church, we’d be the church we ought to be.” “If only this, if only that . . .” These are all excuses. At bottom each one implies a criticism of God, as if he hasn’t already given us all we need to live well for him (2 Peter 1:3).  - From location 1058 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  129. But God himself is telling us to face our weaknesses. So let’s stop thinking how successful we are and figure out what it’s going to take to go to the next level of productivity. And when by grace we get there, then let’s ask how to go to the next level above that, and so forth. We must take full advantage of the opportunity God has given us, or we will lose it (vv. 5, 6).  - From location 1081 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  130. Sin is very clever; it always brings forward its reasons, its arguments. Sin knows us so well; it knows that we like to think of ourselves as highly intelligent people. So it does not just tell us, “Do this”; it gives us reasons for doing it, and they appear to be so wonderful. But the whole point is that in reality they are specious; they are empty and foolish. The reasoning is always false reasoning. The arguments are always wrong.6 But we start to see through the plausible arguments of compromise as we ask God to save us from our brilliant foolishness.  - From location 1153 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  131. Picture people, not horses, harnessed to a heavy wagon, pulling it along, straining with all their might. Isaiah understands the burden that sin is. But we do it to ourselves! Why? Because sin is deceitful. - From location 1133 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  132. How we treat God determines how we experience God, either as a sanctuary or a snare: “And he will become a sanctuary and . . . a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (v. 14). Every one of us will experience God one way or the other. If we take him into account as God, we will enter his sanctuary and experience his presence. But if other things compel us — well, God isn’t going away. We end up colliding with him and tripping over him as a snare. - From location 1622 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  133. Decision: If God’s people choose evil, his wrath works with unrelenting force (9:8—10:4) A Pride leads to humiliation (9:8-12) B Impenitence leads to irresponsible leaders (9:13-17) C Self-seeking leads to self-destruction (9:18-21) D Injustice leads to helplessness (10:1-4).  - From location 1758 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  134. “Yes, God has struck you. And he isn’t finished yet.” This is why the outline reads, “God’s wrath works with unrelenting force.” God has more resources for confronting us than we have tactics for evading him. - From location 1774 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  135. Here is an axiom lying at the very foundation of the moral order we live in: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). - From location 1788 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  136. When God strikes you, the biggest mistake you can make is to turn away from him instead of turning to him and inquiring of him. - From location 1793 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  137. In all our afflictions, the only way to run from God is to run to God. - From location 1800 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  138. And God’s hand was stretched out still. You and I will never wear God down until he relents and we get our own way. In Almighty God we have met our match. Whom should we fear? Whose favor should we cherish? We fear people and curry favor with them. This is all wrong. There is a God in Heaven who loves us more than they ever will. It is his wrath, not theirs, we should fear. It is his favor, not theirs, we should cherish. It is not the powers of this world with whom we have to deal, primarily. It is God, always. - From location 1813 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  139. The gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.”1 The secret to who you really are, and the key to your future, is not your self-image but your God-image. The gospel saves us by improving our God-image. It gets us thinking realistically about the wrath of God and longingly about the grace of God. There is a grace for us worthy of no one less than God, beyond all we can ask or imagine. - From location 1883-1886 in the Kindle Book -  Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  140. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). God has assembled reality in such a way that, for his remnant people, the ratchet turns only one way — toward the coming kingdom. - From location 1963 in the Kindle Book - Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  141. Fourth, pursue your doubts into the ground. We’ve seen that the secret to handling doubt in our lives is not to resolve every question but to learn to live victoriously with unresolved questions. Any thinking Christian will have a “question bag” filled with unresolved difficulties he must learn to live with. But from time to time, as you have opportunity, it’s good to take the bag down from the shelf, select one of the questions, and go to work on answering it. Indeed, I can say that working hard on an unresolved question and pursuing it until you finally find an answer that satisfies you intellectually is one of the most exhilarating experiences of the Christian life. To resolve a doubt that has troubled you for some time brings a wonderful sense of intellectual peace and inspires confidence that there are solutions to the remaining difficulties in your question bag.  - From the Kindle book - Hard Questions, Real Answers by William Lane Craig, location 601.
  142. Humility and Grace - "Be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5)”

    We have considered that humility and faith must be developing within our lives, if we are going to grow in grace. Let's take a few days to reconsider both, looking
    first at humility. "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  

    Pride leads
    the list of things that God despises.
    "These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue" (Proverbs 6:16-17). God wants our lives to be edified; pridedestructive is . "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). The Lord desires that people be established in truth; pridedeceptive is . "The pride of your heart has deceived you" (Obadiah v. 3). It is God's will that we grow in things that are honorable; pridedisgrace brings . "When pride comes, then comes shame" (Proverbs 11:2). Our Lord does not want His name dishonored or our lives destroyed by pride.

    On the other hand, humility is a character trait that God loves to develop in us. Note the terms God uses in His word to describe humility.
    "Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud" (Proverbs 16:19). The Lord reveals that it is better to be a humble person, who associates with modest people, than to partake of the wealth that the arrogant can often accumulate.

    Also the Lord says,
    "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). Here we are told that humility is a blessing, because the kingdom (the spiritual realm of God's rule and provision) is given to the humble.

    Elsewhere God revealed,
    "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isaiah 57:15). Although our Lord is most fully revealed in His heavenly abode on high, He also dwells withhumble the and the brokenspiritual revitalization on earth below, bringing them.

    Of course, we cannot manufacture humility. It is a relational reality that results from getting to know the Lord. Isaiah discovered this.
    "I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up…Then I said: 'Woe is me, for I am undone'!" (Isaiah 6:1, 5). When the Lord was revealed in all His glory, Isaiah responded in profound humility. This can happen in our lives, as we get into the Scriptures, seeking a deeper relationship with the Lord. As He is increasingly revealed to us, our response will be increasingly characterized by more humility.

    "O God Most High, I repent of those many times when pride was the despicable attitude I displayed. Lord, teach me to despise pride as You do. Stir in my heart a growing appreciation of humility. I desire to be clothed with humility. I humbly seek You afresh that I might live by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen." 
    - From the DBD 2/5 message in the MacSword Program.
  143. "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble…through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand. (James 4:6 and Romans 5:2)" - From the DBD 2/4 message in the MacSword Program.
  144. Nothing of value is gained without hard work and suffering.  Suffering is a part of commitment; it is in difficulty that true commitment shows itself.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 2:8-9  ppg. 284.
  145. Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.   - From the Life Application Study Bible (NIV) 2 Timothy 2:22.
  146. Running away is sometimes considered cowardly.  But wise people realize that removing themselves physically from temptation often can be the most courageous action to take.  Timothy, a young man, was warned to flee anything that produced evil thoughts.  Do you have a recurring temptation that is difficult to resist?  Remove yourself physically from any situation that stimulates your desire to sin.  Knowing when to run is as important in spiritual battle as knowing when and how to fight. (See also 1 Timothy 6:11).  - From the Life Application Study Bible (NIV) 2 Timothy 2:22 Note 2:22.
  147. Sin has consequences, and no one will get away with it forever.  Live each day as if your actions will one day be known to everyone.  Now is the time to change anything you wouldn't want revealed later.  - From the Life Application Study Bible (NIV) 2 Timothy 3:9 Note 3:9. 
  148. In 2 Corinthians 5:15, Paul wrote: "Those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again."  In this era, people refuse the love of God, choosing instead to be lovers of themselves.  When we fall in love with ourselves, our own appetites consume our souls.  We become our own lover, pandering to the solitary "i" which must, of necessity, dismiss all threats and counterclaims to our affections.  Everything from thoughts to possessions must be lavished upon the one we love - ourselves.  This leads quite naturally to becoming lovers of money.  Paul dealt with this rather extensively in 1 Timothy 6.  Loving money and all it buys opens the soul to Satan's traps, ensnaring the person in desires which cannot be met and enslaving him to a continual lusting for more money, possessions and power.  Selfish people are typically boastful and proud,  In stubbornly holding to the view that they are the center of the universe, such people have an exaggerated view of themselves.  They actually believe in their own superiority.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 3 2-5.  Characteristics of ungodliness (3: 2-5)   pg. 301.
  149. Pride can lead to abusive speech and behavior.  In order for arrogance to survive, it must view others as lesser individuals, as unworthy or unfit.  This degraded view dehumanizes others, stripping away all respect and allowing the proud to slash with words or hurt by actions.  When someone fails to see another person as wholly human, it becomes easy to destroy them.  This is the antithesis of Christian teaching.  Christ left us an example of servanthood, submission, and sacrifice (Phil 2:6-11).  Paul wrote: "Consider others better than yourselves" (Phil 2:3). - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 3 2-5.  Characteristics of ungodliness (3: 2-5)   pg. 301.
  150. As we seek God's power for patience and Godly character, Colossians 1:9-14 is a wonderful prayer for believers.  We often think of God's might as applying only to momentous occasions.  But his strength finds expression as he supplies power for daily endurance, courage to choose what is right, the ability to love and forgive, and the commitment to follow Christ.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 3 2-5.  Characteristics of ungodliness (3: 2-5)   pg. 302.
  151. The weight of guilt reduces a person's ability to make proper decisions.  It also leaves the conscience scarred so that temptations overcome the will more easily.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 3 6.  The false teachers (3: 6-9)   pg. 303.
  152. People who obey God and live for Christ will be persecuted.  Don't be surprised when people misunderstand, criticize, or even try to hurt you because of what you believe and how you live.  Don't give up.  Continue to live as you know you should.  God is the only one you need to please.  - From the Life Application Study Bible (NIV) 2 Timothy 3:12 Note 3:12, page 2203.
  153. Persecutions are not reserved for the super saints and apostles.  In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  Distress belongs to the believer who commits himself to loyal obedience and growth in godliness.  But, it remains in the hands of each believer whether he will choose the life of godly obedience or shy away into the shadows of compromise.  The fate of godly men and women is persecution;  the fate of evil men and impostors was ongoing corruption as they go from bad to worse.  Godliness elicits a strong reaction from unbelievers.  The reaction becomes all the more intense and violent when Christians live out their godliness because it convicts others of their sin. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 3:12-13.  pg. 304-5.
  154. Each of us is susceptible to the dangerous trap of deception unless we obey Scripture vigilantly.  Following Christ is more than a one-time decision of an occasional church service or kind act.  True Christianity involve continual dependence and obedience to Christ the king.  Our faith is proved by its endurance. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 3:14-15.  pg. 305. 
  155. We are living in what the Bible calls "the last days."  These days began when Christ ascended into heaven and they conclude when he returns to earth.  The last days are characterized by increasing ungodliness.  Truth will always be opposed.  A spiritual war rages, and those who commit themselves to living obediently to Christ will suffer; often the persecution will be harsh.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 3  Principals - pg. 308.
  156. The safest road to hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. C. S. Lewis. - From location 646 of the Kindle Book "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn
  157. God welcomes prayers of thanksgiving for meals, warm fires, games, books, relationships, and every other good thing. When we fail to acknowledge God as the source of all good things, we fail to give him the recognition and glory he deserves. We separate joy from God, which is like trying to separate heat from fire or wetness from rain.  - From location 3119 of the Kindle Book "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn 
  158. Discipline - 1 Cor. 11:32: When we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.  Hebrews 12:7: Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons, for what son is not disciplined by his father?  Hebrews 12:11: No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Titus 2:11-12:  The favor of God may discipline us through the reprimand of a friend, injustice, gossip, death of loved ones, sickness or inner anguish.  Whatever the particulars, God uses difficulties, rebukes, and hardships to exercise our spiritual dependence on him and to strengthen us in righteousness.  The intention is to create holy, godly people who live on the basis of God's grace and nature in the midst of a world opposed to him.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus 2, VI. Deeper Discoveries, B. Grace Teaches Us (vv. 11-12)  pg. 373-374.
  159. It is common practice to destroy others in order to reserve one's self.  Without Christ we cannot understand ourselves, nor can we comprehend our place in the world.  In an effort to make sense in a violent, threatening environment, people often protect themselves by striking out at others.  Malice seeks to harm others; envy betrays our discontent and restlessness.  Our self-protection results in hatred toward others, and they return the favor.  It is a vicious cycle from which we need to be freed, but we remain enslaved, unable to cast off the shackles.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus 3:3,  pg. 382.
  160. Some observations from Paul in Titus 3:8: 1) Christians are called to a high standard of thinking, attitudes, and conduct, 2) Every believer comes with a background of disobedience toward God and with selfish drives which alienate him from God and others, 3) God has provided a way for people to reestablish a pure and honest relationship with him through Jesus Christ, 4) Faith in Christ's death and resurrection results in God;s pardoning our corrupted lives and spirits, and 5) Our future holds a glorious existence with God in eternity.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus 3:8,  pg. 384.
  161. Christians should be characterized by gratitude and thanksgiving as they live with the daily blessings of God's salvation, grace, and mercy.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus, Applications,  pg. 390.
  162. Christians should search for ways to use their abilities for the welfare of others.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus, Applications,  pg. 390.
  163.  Theology is empty unless it is connected to real life.  We can speak the Christian jargon and go through the motions of worship, but true faith must intersect life's choices.  True faith is constant, uninterrupted and unbiased in its application.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philemon v 6,  pg. 403.  
  164. God's grace enriches, proving "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28).  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philemon vv. 15-16  pg. 407. 
  165. We who live under the new covenant of grace are earthen vessels. We have no true spiritual life in ourselves. "You have no life in you" (John 6:53). The treasure who lives within us (Jesus) is our daily source of spiritual life: "Christ who is our life" (Colossians 3:4). Consequently, we must always be dying in order to live. We must be embracing the cross of Christ so that our bankrupt self-life will not be our resource for living. We must look to the Lord as our sufficiency.
  166. The Lord helps us in this process by putting us into impossible situations that necessitate our dependence upon Him. He faithfully responds to our trust and manifests Himself through us.  
  167. Every difficulty that God brings into our lives not only has significance for us, but it can also have an impact on those to whom we are ministering. "For all things are for your sakes." How important it is to have a perspective on life that includes God working in us that He might touch others. Paul certainly viewed life and ministry in this manner. "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you…Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all…Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory" (Colossians 1:24; Philippians 2:17; Ephesians 3:13).
  168. "My God and Father, teach me to handle trials in a way that will encourage people to trust in You. I want to touch others with life, as I am dying circumstantially. Please make my life a vessel through which You cause Your grace to spread to many lives. May much thanksgiving result, all to Your honor and glory, Amen."   - From the DBD 5/27 message in the MacSword Program.
  169. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)"
  170. Those who learn to live by the grace of God are increasingly protected from discouragement. "Therefore we do not lose heart." This truth was touched upon in an earlier verse from this fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians. "Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart" (2 Corinthians 4:1). The protection from discouragement there involved mercy and grace. Since we serve the Lord by mercy and grace (and not by our merit or by our resources), we have a built-in supply of heavenly encouragement available to us daily. - From the DBD 5/26 message in the MacSword Program.
  171. Consider that the difficulties of life are "but for a moment," whereas, the resulting heavenly blessings are "eternal." Trials often seem as though they will never end. Yet, they eventually pass away. Actually, it is the heavenly glory that results from the trials that will never end. 
  172. What an amazing plan God has! He wants to use the trials of our lives to enlarge our spiritual capacity to enter more fully into the glory of knowing Him, worshiping Him, and serving Him forever and forever!
  173. "Eternal Father, give me more and more of this perspective on afflictions. Help me to see them as potentially productive in an eternal sense. Remind me that my trials are momentary and light, considering the eternal weight of glory they can produce, Amen."  - From the DBD 5/27 message in the MacSword Program.
  174. Examine yourself to be certain that you are not failing to follow God's promises. Live with a conscious awareness of Jesus' presence in your life. Read God's message in the Bible to learn his diagnosis of your needs. Don't be timid about coming to God to confess your sin and claim his forgiveness. Tell Jesus your areas of weakness and ask him to lead you to understand his power.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary" - Hebrews 4,  at location 1905.
  175. Thankfulness isn’t our usual response when something goes wrong. We may have a hundred good things for which to be thankful, but let one bad thing happen, and it’s all we think about! But the Bible says, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). No matter what happens, we are to give thanks. So cultivate a spirit of thanksgiving in your life. Thank God for every blessing He gives you. Thank Him for Christ and what He has done for you. Even when things go wrong, thank God that they aren’t worse and that you are still in His hands. - Graham, Billy (2012-06-12). Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 496). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 
  176. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. JAMES 1:2–3 NIV - Trials will either make you turn away from God or drive you toward Him. When we choose the latter, our faith will grow stronger—and we will be better equipped to meet the next challenge that comes our way. - Graham, Billy (2012-06-12). Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 497). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 
  177.  (2 Peter 1:5-8) - I will be diligent to add to my faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are mine in increasing measure, they will keep me from being barren and unfruitful in the full knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  178. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not break.
  179. Acts 20:18 (b) - ...he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you… Paul said, “From the day I arrived in your city, you knew what kind of man I was.”  In talking to a couple moving to a different part of the country, I said, “You’re going fifteen hundred miles away from here. No one will know you. You don’t have to live down, worry about, or explain any mistakes and misunderstandings of the past. So from day one, identify yourself as a radical Jesus person. If you carry your Bible to your new job or school the first day, people are not going to say to you, “Hey, want to party?” because they’ll know from the very beginning that you’re a follower of the Lord.  Parents, help your kids:When they graduate from elementary school and go to junior high, say, “You have a new start. Be radical for the Lord.” And when they get through junior high, say, “You’re going off to high school. Here’s another chance for a first impression. Be extreme for Jesus.” At each stage of life, encourage your kids or your grandkids to go for it from the first day. I don’t know where we get this idea that we should “fit in” and “relate,” because if people don’t know where we stand, there will be temptations coming our direction that wouldn’t have been there had we taken a stand the first day. - From Jon Courson’s Application Commentary by Jon Courson.
  180. The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. PROVERBS 22:7If it is possible, owe nobody anything except love (Romans 13:8). "Guard against that poverty which is the result of carelessness or extravagance. Pray earnestly; work diligently. If you should become poor, bear poverty with patience. Throw yourself in childlike dependence on your God” (Grier).  - From Crossway Classic Commentary - Proverbs by Charles Bridges.
  181. The worst failure is failing to act on (have faith in) that which you know to be true.  "You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying in there." - Edwin Louis Cole - From the January 19 devotion from the book “Turning Points with God” by David Jeremiah
  182. Once God leads you to make a decision, don’t draw back.  Instead, trust His leading, and believe He goes before you - because He does. - From page 103 of “Billy Graham in Quotes” by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney
  183. Paul tells us our speech is always to be seasoned with salt, that is grace (Colossians 4:6). What does this mean? It means that in any given moment I can bring healing to an otherwise poisonous situation by speaking grace. If I keep talking about how gracious God has been to me, and how gracious He’ll be toward others, the polluted puddles of put- downs and pettiness will become pools of purity and praise.  
  184. I want this in my life so badly I can taste it. Oh, I’m far from what I should be—but I see the wisdom of James, for I’ve known people who have refused to listen to gossip and who have, instead, learned to speak graciously. There is a beauty about their lives and refreshment from their lives I so desire. If you want to be the man or woman God uses, join me in praying that we will be those who add the salt of grace to everything we say. - Excerpt from Courson’s Application Commentary on James 3:1–12(b) by Jon Courson.
  185. The truth is clear- proud, ambitious, fighting "wisdom" comes from the world, the flesh, and the Devil. We must never let anyone convince us that such conduct is "common sense," or that if we don't learn "to give as good as we get" we will never succeed in life, or that meekness is "unmanly" (or "unwomanly"), or that the wise must always have the last word. Such wisdom is from below and can only take us down, down, down, down. - From Preaching the Word Commentary about James 3:13 by Crossway Publisher.