Life Lessons - Section 3

  1. Envy and greed always - always - exact a terrible price.  I have never met an envious or greedy person who was at peace.   - From page 159 of “Billy Graham in Quotes” by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney.
  2. Matthew 6:21 - The heart will be where the treasure is.  A Life Free of Clutter - The most powerful life is the most simple life.  The most powerful life is the life that knows where it is going, that knows where the source of strength is, and the life that stays fee of clutter and happenstance and hurriedness.
    Being busy is not a sin.  Jesus was busy.  Paul was busy.  Peter was busy.  Nothing of significance is achieved without effort and hard work and weariness.  Being busy, in and of itself, is not a sin.  But, being busy in an endless pursuit of
    things that leave us empty and hollow and broken inside - that cannot be pleasing to God.
    One souce of man’s weariness is the pursuit of things that can never satisfy; but which one of us has not been caught up in that pursuit at some time in your life?  Our passions, possessions, and pride - these are all
    dead things.  When we try to get life out of dead things, the result is only weariness and dissatisfaction.  What can you do to pursue a more simple life, to keep your life more free of clutter and hurriedness?  - From page 518 of Grace For the Moment by Max Lucado.
  3. Unless God changes a person’s heart, nothing lasting will be achieved. - Will Metzger
  4. Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.   Begin the New Year with the objective to live a Spirit-filled life - and see what will be accomplished in and through your life in the coming year.  One goal achieved by the power of the Spirit would be better than a multitude of unfilled good intentions.  He who has the Holy Spirit in his heart and the Scriptures in his hands has all he needs. - Alexander McLaren.  From page 382 of Turning Points with God by David Jeremiah.
  5. Psalm 139:23-24: - Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.  .. When wrong comes your way, be open before the Lord. Invite Him (1) to make an internal search and examination of your life for the purpose of determining your character, (2) to undertake an intensive, in-depth process of revealing to you the real condition of your heart, and (3) to refine you, and in the process, to remove any impurities. - Swindoll, Charles R (2012-08-01). Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (pp. 84-85). Worthy Publishing. Kindle Edition. 
  6. Most people fail to realize that money is both a test and a trust from God. God uses finances to teach us to trust him, and for many people, money is the greatest test of all. God watches how we use money to test how trustworthy we are. The Bible says, “If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?”
    This is a very important truth. God says there is a direct relationship between how I use my money and the quality of my spiritual life. How I manage my money (“worldly wealth”) determines how much God can trust me with spiritual blessings (“true riches”). Let me ask you: Is the way you manage your money preventing God from doing more in your life? Can you be trusted with spiritual riches?

    Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Life is a test and a trust, and the more God gives you, the more responsible he expects you to be. - From the book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren.
  7.  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 June 26, 2015 PowerPoint Devotional reading by Dr. Jack Graham.
  8. God’s inherent glory is what he possesses because he is God. It is his nature. We cannot add anything to this glory, just as it would be impossible for us to make the sun shine brighter. But we are commanded to recognize his glory, honor his glory, declare his glory, praise his glory, reflect his glory, and live for his glory. Why? Because God deserves it! We owe him every honor we can possibly give. Since God made all things, he deserves all the glory. The Bible says, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything.” - From the the Day 7 reading from the book :The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren
  9. James 4:14-15 - What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.  We all arrive on earth with a figurative hourglass suspended over us. We cannot see it, but God can. The sand runs down, day and night, relentlessly, continually, as our moments speed by. We do not know how much sand is still left in our glass. All we know is that it is less now than it was an hour ago. Ours is a transient life. It is a vapor in the air. 
    The vapor, however, has another message. It reminds us not only of a transient life but also a transformed life. "What is your life?" James insists. "It is even a vapour." And what is vapor? Nowadays we call it steam. In chemical composition, it is H2O- water. However, it is water the nature and behavior of which has been changed. Water obeys the downward pull of this world; steam, or vapor, overcomes the downward pull. Water always seeks the lowest level; steam, or vapor, soars to its highest level. Water gravitates toward the sea; vapor rises to the sky. Water has its place on earth; it belongs eventually in the sea. Vapor has its seat in the heavenlies; it belongs ultimately with the clouds.
    What is it that seats vapor in the heavenlies? The sun! It draws the water to itself and seats it on high. Not all water responds to the drawing power of the sun, but that which does dwells above. So it is with us. Some respond to the Lord Jesus, "the Sun of righteousness" (Mal. 4:2). Those who do are seated with Him "in heavenly places" (Eph. 2:4- 6).
    Vapor has one other lesson for us. It speaks to us of a triumphant life. The idea for the steam engine was born when a thoughtful scientist observed an iron pot, which was sitting on the fire, full of water. As the water temperature began to increase, the heavy lid of the pot began to rise. The scientist observed that this action allowed the steam to escape. Millions of other people had observed this penomenon, but this scientist carried the observation further. He concluded that as weak, unsubstantial, and vaporous as steam was, it must possess considerable power to lift that heavy iron lid. It then occurred to him that if that steam, or vapor, could be contained and channeled properly, it could be put to work. In time, it was used to push pistons, which, in turn, were harnessed to wheels. All kinds of steam devices were invented. Some were set to work to pull trains along tracks. Others were made to drive the engines of the Industrial Revolution. Feats long impossible to men became everyday events. Factories sprang up all over the world. Men had learned how to put vapor to work. It simply needed to be channeled.
    James never dreamed of that possibility! But it is so! And it has a lesson for us. Our lives can be dissipated, wasted, allowed to drift like vapor in the air until we vanish away. Or we can be changed and channeled and accomplish great things for God. So much, then, for our frailty.
    - From commentary from James 4:14-16 of John Phillips Commentary Series (27 Volumes) published by Kregel.
  10. Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 - The conclusion: Trust God (2:24-26)
         a. Live day by day (eat & drink)
         b. Find satisfaction in your work: Know that life & work are gifts of God
         c. Know that God alone can fully satisfy the human heart
         d. Obey & please God & know that God meets the needs of His followers: He gives them…
             1) Wisdom, knowledge, & joy
             2) Wealth amassed by sinners
         e. Know that the sinner’s pursuit of wealth is meaningless—not fully satisfying, lasting, or enduring
     - 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
  11.  Psalms 107: 2-3: Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.  
    Often we need to have a terrible trial in order to remember what it means to be truly thankful. Our praise is from the heart when we have been in danger or discomfort. Bad situations help us to appreciate how good our lives can be. Even in trial, God reaches through to help us to a deeper understanding of ourselves. Praise the Lord for all the good things He has given, and know that He will rescue you from all perils. 
    Prayer: In times of darkness, help me not to dwell on what is wrong, but turn my mind to all I have to be thankful for. Amen. - From the August 24, 2015 devotional readiing from Wiasdom from the Psalms by Dan R. Dick
  12. Jeremiah 32:27 - Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh.  Is there anything too hard for Me?
    "Rather than saying ‘God, here is my problem,’ we should put the problem into perspective by saying “Problem, here is my God!”  Whoever wrote those words must have understood that there is no problem in our lives that God cannot handle.  When you visualize introducing your problems to almighty God, suddenly they seem smaller, and you realize just how triumphant you can be with His help.
    Often it is a matter of changing our perspective in order to overcome adversity.  No matter what troubles you are facing, always remember our God is big enough, strong enough and powerful enough to take care of them.  He is the answer to all life’s problems and He is enough.
    He comes to us in the brokenness of our health, in the shipwreck of our family lives, in the loss of all possible peace of mind, even in the very thick of our sins.  He saves us in our disasters, not from them. - Robert Farrar Capon. - From page 247 of Turning Points with God by David Jeremiah.
  13. Envy and greed starve on a steady diet of thanksgiving.  From page 159 of “Billy Graham in Quotes” by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney.
  14. Fear God and stand in awe of Him (v. Eccles 5:7b).
    The fear of God ought to be the ultimate safeguard against false and insincere worship (v. 7b). When we enter the Lord’s presence, whether in private or public worship, it is no trivial matter. Rather, it is time to fear the Lord. But it is not merely being afraid of God and the consequences of displeasing Him that should concern us, though fear of God does include that aspect. It is much, much more. It is also…
    • recognizing how excellent and great God is
    • revering and lifting up God’s Name ever so highly
    • acknowledging God’s power and supremacy
    • humbling ourselves before God
    • giving God the honor He is due
    • making God the first priority in our lives
    • standing in awe of God
    • glorifying God as the Sovereign Lord and Majesty of the universe
    - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 5:7 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. Walk closely with God in secret, and he will spread his almighty covering over you for your safety. Avoid fellowship with those who will hinder your fellowship with God.  - Proverbs, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Charles Bridges. 
  16. Applications from Matthew 3-4:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 47.
    1. Be sensitive to how others hear your words, and careful not to compromise your faith with your speech.
    2. Resolve to be truthful in both word and deed, in spite of circumstances and presures to compromise.
    3. Trust God's righteousness that he offers in Christ and not your religious heritage.
    4. When tempted, trust Jesus who has been tempted in that way and stands ready to help you be victorious over your temptation.
  17. Applications from Matthew 5:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 71.
    1. Ask Jesus to build character within you that will be salt and light to society.
    2. Don't measure you lives by others.  Look to the exacting standards of Jesus.
    3. Ask for God's grace in meeting the high standards of discipleship.
    4. Be as mindful of motives and attitudes as you are of your public behavior.  Ask Jesus for help in making corrections.
  18. Principals from Matthew 6:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 89.
    1. God sees the motives for our benevolent actions.
    2. God is a father who cares about his children.
    3. God, who provides for plants and animals, cares even more for his children.
    4. Humans need to be forgiven and need to forgive those who have wronged them.
    5. God's kingdom is our first priority.
  19. Applications from Matthew 6:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 89.
    1. Pray to God according to his character as a generous Father.
    2. Build our prayer life on the simple but profound petitions of the Model Prayer.
    3. Seek reward from your Father in heaven, not the admiration of people on earth.
    4. Seek first to serve God and advance his kingdom.  Do not allow any of the many possible distractions to pull this down on your priority list.
    5. When worry or anxiety intrudes, turn to God who cares for the flowers and provides food for the birds.
  20. Principals from Matthew 7:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 104-105.
    1. Human beings exaggerate their own virtues and minimize or ignore their faults.
    2. Humans are quick to judge others.Disciples are to be proactive and persistent in their relationship with God.
    3. Actions and attitudes have eternal consequences.
    4. False prophets are wolves disguised as sheep.
  21. Applications from Matthew 7:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 105.
    1. Keep on asking, seeking, and knocking.
    2. Take a close and accurate look at yourself before you judge others.
    3. Evaluate present actions and attitudes in light of God's judgment and the eternal consequences that result.
    4. Use discernment in timing and persistence when you share the gospel with unbelievers.
    5. Understand and accept the narrow road of hardship and persecution (7:13-14).
    6. Recognize the false prophets by their fruit and realize they are malicious.
  22.  Principals from Matthew 8-9:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 131.
    1. Jesus has absolute authority to heal physical diseases.  He is not only the healer of the physical body, he is also the healer of spiritual wounds.
    2. Jesus has absolute authority over nature.
    3. Jesus has absolute authority to forgive sin.
    4. Jesus has absolute authority over spiritual forces.
    5. Jesus is the ultimate example of compassion towards others.
  23. Applications from Matthew 8-9:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 131-132.
    1. Recognize the authority of Jesus in your life.
    2. Draw upon the authority of Jesus in your life.
    3. Seek heeling of your wounds from Jesus the healer.
    4. Recognize Jesus' compassion toward you.
    5. Follow Jesus' compassionate example in your attitude and actions towards others.
    6. Be a devoted follower of Jesus; do not use excuses to postpone your devotion.
    7. Be a willing worker in God's harvest.
  24. Principals from Matthew 10:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 151.
    1. Jesus suffered persecution during his time on earth.
    2. Hostility often comes from those closest to us because of our loyalty to the king.
    3. We need not fear bodily harm or death because the Father will guard our souls, which are eternal and more significant.
    4. Loyalty to the king is more important than loyalty to our closest family and friends.
    5. Letting go of this life is to gain the next life.
  25. Applications from Matthew 10:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 151.
    1. Do not fear damage to your reputation.  The truth will ultimately vindicate you.
    2. Look for opportunities to aid other disciples of the king.  We will share in the reward.  And anyone who aids us will share in ours.
    3. Be prepared for long-term endurance of the same kinds of suffering the king endured.
    4. Publicly confess the king on earth.  He will be our advocate before the Father in heaven.
  26. Principals from Matthew 11-12:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 182.
    1. The only way to know God is by his own decision to reveal himself-particularly through Jesus.
    2. The blessing of living in right relationship with Jesus is rest from the burden of selfish living and prideful self-striving.
    3. Living in right relationship with Jesus does not mean a burden-free life, but carrying a burden which is reasonable and meaningful.
    4. In God's kingdom, compassion and mercy are higher priorities than keeping the rules.
    5. The King is a humble, gentle servant to his subjects, not a harsh overlord.  He gives hope and victory to all who will trust him.
    6. Anyone who does harm to the kingdom of Satan by the power of God is doing good for the kingdom of heaven.
    7. It is impossible to take a "neutral" position with respect to Jesus.
    8. It is possible to live in permanent refusal to acknowledge and trust Jesus the King, thus making his forgiveness inaccessible.
  27. Applications from Matthew 11-12:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 183.
    1. Never allow pride to take root in your life.
    2. Exercise humility toward others.
    3. In everything, acknowledge and trust Jesus, the Messiah-King.
    4. Avoid a legalistic approach to the life of faith.  Rather, actively exercise compassion and mercy toward others.
  28. Principals from Matthew 13:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 206-207.
    1. The person who receives God's truth and commits to Christ will live a fruitful life for the kingdom.
    2. Satan and sin are the causes of evil in the world.
    3. Believers must endure in the midst of evil until the final judgment.
    4. At the final judgment, God's justice will punish the evil and reward the righteous.
    5. Even though the kingdom is largely "hidden" today, it is worth our lives.
    6. Even though the kingdom seems to be small and insignificant, it is of great value, and it is worth our lives.
    7. The Old Testament serves a critical purpose in God's plan; it must be understood, valued, and taught as the foundation of God's plan, which comes to completion in the New Testament.
    8. The people whom we know best may become the most resistant to our attempts to share the gospel.
    9. God will not work supernaturally in the lives of people who consciously disbelieve him.
  29. Applications from Matthew 13:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 207.
    1. Cultivate your Christian character.  Grow in the grace of the Spirit.
    2. Be a student of the Scriptures.  Study the Old Testament to understand the foudation of God's plan in the New Testament.
    3. Trust God genuinely, avoiding Satan's temptations to disbelieve.
    4. Live your life according to kingdom values.
    5. Don't be discouraged about your seemingly small contributions to the kingdom.  God will use them to build toward his ultimate, glorious kingdom.
    6. Don't be discouraged if you don't see the kingdom growing as rapidly as you wish it would.
  30. Proverbs 4:23 -  Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.  - First the heart, man's citadel, the center of his dearest treasure. It is frightening to think about its many assailants. Let it be guarded carefully. Never let the guard sleep at his post (Deuteronomy  4:9). The heart must be known, so that it may be kept safe. Nothing is more difficult, but nothing is more necessary. If we do not know our hearts, it will be as if we knew nothing at all. Whatever else we know, to neglect this knowledge is to be a prize fool. If we do not know our weak points, Satan is well aware of them, "the sin that so easily entangles" (Hebrews  12:2). Then, when I know my heart and feel that it is in the middle of so many dangers, the question arises, can I guard my own heart? Certainly not. This is God's work, though it is carried out through the agency of man. He works through our efforts. He implants an active principle and sustains the ceaseless exercise. When this is done in his strength and guidance, all the means of our preservation are greatly increased. Watch and pray. Nurture a humble spirit and a dependent spirit. Live in the atmosphere of the Word of God. Resist the evil world, even in its most plausible forms. This will be a conflict until the end of our lives. "The greatest difficulty in conversion is to win the heart to God, and after conversion to keep it with him" (Flavel). "What is there," asks Mede, "that will not entice and allure so fickle a thing as the heart from God?" Above all else, exhorts the wise man, guard your heart. As Satan keeps special watch here, so must we keep special watch as well. If the citadel is taken, the whole town must surrender. If the heart is captured, the whole man - affections, desires, motives, pursuits - will be handed over. The heart is the vital part of the body. If the heart is wounded, that means instant death. Spiritually as well as naturally, the heart . . . is the wellspring of life. It is the great vital spring of the soul, the fountain of actions, the center and the seat of both sin and holiness (Matthew  12:34 - 35). The natural heart is a fountain of poison (Matthew  15:19); but the purified heart is a well of living water (John  4:14). As the spring is, so will be the streams. As the heart is, so will be the mouth, the eyes, and the feet. Therefore, above all else, guard your heart. Guard the spring so that the waters are not polluted. If the heart is not guarded, everything else is of no avail. - Proverbs, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Charles Bridges. 
  31. It is not wrong to want to work and earn a decent living; in fact, God has given work to us.  But this legitimate desire can very easily cross the line into greed - especially in our materialistic society.   - From page 160 of “Billy Graham in Quotes” by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney.
  32. Eccl 7:10 -  Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.  - In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus exhorted us to focus on today rather than lingering in the past or worrying about tomorrow (Mt. 6:34). Being anxious about the future is just as useless and unproductive as longing for the past. If we are wise, we will learn from the past, face today, and make the most of its opportunities.
    The God who was faithful yesterday will be faithful today. Though the world and circumstances are continually changing, God never changes. The Lord knows every detail of our lives and He is fully aware of our needs. He will never fail to take care of us who truly trust and obey Him (Mt. 6:25-33; Ro. 8:28).
    “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? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”
    (Mt. 6:25-34).
    “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible” (1 Co. 9:24-25).
    “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ep. 5:15-17).
    “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Ph. 3:13-14).
    “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”
    (He. 12:1-2). - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 7:10 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  33. Proverbs 4:24 - Put away from you  crooked speech, and put  devious talk far from you.  - As we guard our hearts, we must not forget to guard the outlets of sin. What a world of evil the heart pours out from the mouth (James  3:5 - 6). Commit, therefore, both heart and mouth to divine discipline. Then let prayer and faith be the way you keep watch. Do not just shun but put away - yes, far away from you - perversity from your mouth. - Proverbs, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Charles Bridges. 
  34.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17-18
    Think  about it... you come to an intersection in life and you have the right-of-way. Maybe it’s even one of those moments when you can say, “I told you so!” Sure, you can be right. But you might end up being dead right, hurting yourself and others.    
    As Christians, one thing we need to remember is that being right isn’t the most important thing. Yes, we believe what we say is true, but our command is to “love your neighbor,” not “prove yourself right to your neighbor.” Speak the truth in love and you’ll avoid being dead right!  SPEAK THE TRUTH PEACEABLY AND YOU’LL FOSTER AN ATMOSPHERE OF UNITY AND LOVE! - From the May 8 devotional reading from PowerPoint Today by Dr. Jack Graham.
  35. Millions spend a lifetime striving to arrive at positions of great influence and power, only to find that everything they have worked for is taken away by death. By contrast, a Christian may actually bury himself or herself in God’s service, having no outward earthly rewards, and in the end pass through death in obscurity. Yet that burial is actually a resurrection. And that sinking is actually an ascension into the presence of the Lord of life forever. - From the commentary on John 17:24 from the Boice Expositional Commentary by James Montgomery Boice.
  36. Proverbs 4:25 - Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. - After the heart and the mouth we come to the eyes: Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. The eyes are "the lamp of the body" (Matthew  6:22). Yet, all too often they are a most dangerous inlet to sin (Genesis  3:6; 6:2; 39:7; Matthew  5:28; 2  Peter  2:14). Therefore, like Job, we need to make a covenant with our eyes (Job  31:1). Place them under heavenly restraint (Psalm  119:37). Let your eyes look straight ahead, "like one plowing, who must not look back" (Cartwright). Fix your gaze directly before you. - Proverbs, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Charles Bridges. 
  37. Proverbs 4:26 - Ponder  the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. - Lastly, guard your feet. Has not experience, let alone Scripture, shown that you need to walk carefully? Traps are laid on every path - yes, for every step you take. The wicked attempt to snare your eating, your drinking, your calling, and perhaps most of all, your serving God. You should take great care as you travel along such a dangerous path. "The habit of calm and serious thinking makes the real difference between one man and another" (Dr. Abercrombie). - Proverbs, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Charles Bridges. 
  38. Christ adds the ultimate meaning to life; therefore, everything we do should be done to honor the Lord. We cannot divide our lives into categories, sections, or rooms where Christ is welcomed and included and others where He is not:
    “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s” (Ro. 14:7-8).
    “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”
    (1 Co. 10:31).
    “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God”
    (Col. 1:10).
    “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him”
    (Col. 3:17).
    “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (
    2 Ti. 2:15).  - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 9:7-11 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. Proverbs 4:27 - Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. - Here, then, is the voice of wisdom. Beware of mistaking presumption for faith, temptations for God's providence. Never deviate from a straightforward command for an uncertain command. Judge each step you take so that it is in line with God's will. The pleasures of sin lie to the right or the left. So your eyes need to keep looking straight ahead in order to keep your foot from evil. May we all have grace and wisdom to ponder these sound practical rules. The man of God must only have one standard (Isaiah  8:20). He must not think about anyone "from a worldly point of view" (2  Corinthians  5:16). He must often put the church to one side, no less than the world, in order to listen more carefully to God's command. He must discern and crush the first sign of sin, guarding every avenue of sin - the senses, the memory, the imagination, the touch, the taste. He must walk by the straight rule of the Gospel, or else he will not only make himself stumble but the church as well (Galatians  2:11 - 14). - Proverbs, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Charles Bridges. 
  40. There is an attempt in America today to remove every possible vestige of religion from national life. Will God be our God nationally? Or will we force him from national life? We can do either. We can have “no God but Caesar.” But God help us if that happens! And God save us from it for Jesus’ sake. - From the commentary on John 19:13-16 from the Boice Expositional Commentary by James Montgomery Boice.
  41. Principals from Matthew 14-15:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 234.
    1. Those who are faithful to Christ may be called to give their lives for the kingdom.
    2. Rash, foolish vows can cause us to do things we will later regret.
    3. Solitude and prayer are essential to a vibrant spiritual life.
    4. God honors our baby steps of faith.
    5. Faith is as good as the One we trust.
    6. God evaluates the quality of a person's heart.
    7. God loves the simple, humble, helpless cry "Lord, help!"
    8. True faith will persist in seeking God.
    9. God provides abundantly for believers and unbelievers alike.
    10. We may be surprised who are believers and unbelievers.
  42. Applications from Matthew 14-15:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 235.
    1. Beware of man-made regulations that contradict God's Word.
    2. Trust God for all your needs.
    3. Be guided by humble submission to the truth about yourself and God.
    4. Persistently seek God.
    5. Pray for the courage to be faithful to death.
  43. Principals from Matthew 16:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 258.
    1. Those whose minds are made up through conscience unbelief will not believe the obvious.
    2. Preoccupation with the mundane and earthy can keep us from understanding what God is trying to teach us.
    3. False teaching can have subtle but profound effects if it gets a foothold in our hearts. 
    4. Ultimately, only God can make the identity of Jesus clear to a person's mind.
    5. Death is no obstacle to God's purpose through his church.
    6. To his followers Jesus has entrusted the authority by the Word of God to open the door to eternal salvation.
    7. As we follow the guidelines of Scripture by depending on the Holy Spirit, we can be assured that we are acting in accord with God's will.
    8. Jesus demands out total obedience.
    9. Disciples of Jesus must be prepared to follow him everywhere he has gone - including the "cross."
    10. We receive life through believing.  We receive reward through endurance.
    11. Any sacrifice we make now will be richly repaid when Jesus returns.
  44. Applications from Matthew 16:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 258.
    1. Beware of resisting God's truth, lest you become numb to it.
    2. Measure teaching by the truth of God's Word.  Reject false teaching.
    3. Endure hardship in the life of faith, knowing that God will reward faith.
    4. Concentrate on God's thinking above human thinking.
    5. Invest your life in the eternal values and purposes of God.
  45.  Principals from Matthew 17:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 276.
    1. Jesus is the Son of God and the supreme Prophet whose word all believers must heed.
    2. Reverence and even fear are appropriate responses to the awesome glory of God.
    3. God is compassionate.
    4. Believers have an obligation to civil authorities.
  46. Applications from Matthew 17:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 276.
    1. Submit always to the authoritative Word of God.
    2. Revere God.  Praise him continually.
    3. Maintain a clear vision of the glory and power of God.  This helps the believer remain faithful even through hardship to the kingdom.
    4. Understand that righteous suffering occurs within the framework of God's purposes and power.
    5. Avoid adopting the mind-set and values of the world.
    6. Pay the taxes you owe.
  47. Proverbs 6:20-22 - 20 My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching. 21 Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they  will lead you; when you lie down, they will  watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.  - 20 The validity of parental authority is again enforced (see 1:8 - 9; 4:1). God never intended young people to be independent of their parents. Instruction from every quarter is valuable. But from parents, always supposing them to be godly parents, it is the ordinance of God. They will bring you God's Word, not their own.  21Therefore, bind them [your father's commands} upon your heart forever, as your rule, and fasten them around your neck, so that they may adorn you.   22Let the law be your friend at all times and in all circumstances. It is to be a guide by day and a solace when you sleep. It will be a friend when you awake. Take care that nothing hinders your early conversations with this faithful counselor before the world comes in. This is the best way to keep the world out. "Happy is the mind to which the Word is an undivided companion" (Bernard). - Proverbs, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Charles Bridges. 
  48. You will reap in old age what you have sown in youth:
    ➢ You will reap physically what you sow. Barring some sudden, unforeseeable infirmity (remember—life is unpredictable), good stewardship of your body will pay off in the golden years. Not taking care of this fragile, clay vessel throughout life will hasten and increase bodily decline.
    ➢ You will reap financially what you sow. Saving and wisely investing will make the retirement years more peaceful and enjoyable, or failing in these areas will make them more difficult.
    ➢ You will reap socially what you sow. Relationships nurtured and strengthened throughout life will yield dividends of lasting friendship and fellowship.
    ➢ You will reap in your family what you sow. The investments you made in your children by loving, nurturing, and disciplining them will bring greater joy and satisfaction to your life than you can imagine. Likewise, a lifetime of attentiveness, tenderness, patience, and adoration will make the twilight years of marriage the sweetest and most precious. In the final years, you will thank God that you honored your vows and stayed with your spouse for a lifetime.
    ➢ You will reap spiritually what you sow. Faithful time spent in God’s Word and God’s house throughout the years will produce a Christlikeness, holiness, and spiritual maturity that will make you ready for heaven. Years of walking in daily fellowship and communion with the Lord will make the last lap of the race victorious and triumphant. You will receive the rewards of a life spent in the Lord’s service and presence.  
     - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 11:-1-10 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  49. Principals from Matthew 18:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 299.
    1. The children of God's kingdom exude a childlike humility.
    2. Our greatness in God's kingdom will depend largely on how we humble ourselves (James 4:10)
    3. A hospitable heart towards God's people is hospitality toward Jesus himself.
    4. Anyone who causes a fellow believer to sin will be subject to God's wrath.
    5. Temptations in the world are inevitable, but the world will be judged for its temtations.
    6. There are angels who protect us and help represent us in God's presence.
    7. The father will make every effort to restore a believer who stray's into sin.
    8. The father rejoices over each believer who is brought back from sin.
    9. The father's desire is that no believer follow the path of sin to self-destruction.
    10. We have been entrusted with authority to open and close the door to the community of faith.
    11. Our debt of sin before God is infinite, and we are powerless to pay it.
    12. God provided an infinite payment for our sin - his Son - completely at his disrcretion and initiative, not because of any merit of our own.
    13. Any sin of others against us is small, in comparison to the debt of sins the Father has forgiven us.
    14. The Father is angered when we do not forgive one another.
  50. Applications from Matthew 18:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 300.
    1. Accept from God the free gift of salvation.
    2. Take radical action to prevent sin and avoid God's judgment.
    3. Do not look down pridefully and disdainfully on any believer.
    4. Forgive one another, as the Father has forgiven you.
    5. Show mercy toward fellow believers, not judgment.
  51.  Principals from Matthew 19-20:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 326-327.
    1. God's intention for marriage is lifelong faithfulness.
    2. There is a mysterious but authentic spiritual oneness in marriage.
    3. Because of the reality of man's own sin, God has provided guidelines to limit the breaking of the marriage covenant.
    4. Unrepentant, gross sexual immorality may be the reason to allow divorce; but even then, divorce is not a mandate.  Reconciliation is God's intention.
    5. Some people have been gifted by God to remain single for greater investment in the kingdom.
    6. Kingdom citizens are characterized by the humble faith of a child.
    7. Eternal life cannot be earned.  It can only be received as a gift.
    8. True kingdom disciples exhibit devotion to the king.
    9. The devotion of a true kingdom disciple is made possible by the supernatural enabling of God.
    10. Any false god hinders people from entering God's kingdom.
    11. Any sacrifices we make for the king and his kingdom will be abundantly repaid.
  52. Applications from Matthew 19-20:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 327.
    1. Resolve to remain faithful to your spouse.
    2. Avoid immorality.
    3. Follow our Lord's example of humility in your service to him.
    4. Remain faithful in your devotion to God.
    5. Don't evaluate yourself in terms of others.
    6. Prepare to suffer as a follower of Christ.
  53.  Principals from Matthew 21-22:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 360-61.
    1. Our king is meek in spirit, possessing tremendous power, but wielding it gently, for purposes of peace. 
    2. Our king is a prophet, speaking the truth of God without error.
    3. Our king zealously guards his worship.
    4. Our king's identity is so obvious that even children proclaim it.
    5. Our king will judge the fruitless life, particularly when it advertises fruit but is found barren.
    6. Even weak faith, when exercised according to God's will, can accomplish the seemingly impossible.
    7. Our king's authority threatens those who claim authority falsely.
    8. Our king values obedient deeds over claims to obedience.
    9. Our king will reward worthy stewards who obediently manage his kingdom.
    10. Those who expect to be in the kingdom will be rejected if they reject a right relationship with the king.
    11. Our king validates both civil government and spiritual government.
    12. Human marriage is for this life, not the next.
    13. The resurrection is a reality.
  54. Applications from Matthew 21-22:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 361.
    1. Do not replace your worship of God with mundane, earthy pursuits.
    2. Pay what is rightfully due civil government.
    3. Pay what is rightfully due God.
    4. Be bold in your righteous requests of God.
    5. Obey more than talking about obeying.
  55. Principals from Matthew 23:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 383.
    1. Seeking the attention and approval of others to promote oneself is prideful and wrong.
    2. In God's kingdom, the person who serves is the most highly esteemed.
    3. The proud will be humiliated in the future while the humble will be exhalted.
    4. We set ourselves up for judgment when we lead people astray.
    5. Righteousness must begin with the inner person, not with external obedience alone.
    6. God is persistent in his attempts to reclaim rebellious people.
    7. God will judge persistent rebellion.
  56. Applications from Matthew 23:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 383.
    1. Do not seek the approval of men.  Strive to please God.
    2. Carefully listen to God's Word and obey it.
    3. Never pervert God's Word for personal convenience or gain.
    4. Never shy away from the central requirements of God for his people.
    5. Beware of those who seem righteous on the outside but are unrighteous in their hearts.
    6. Listen to God's messengers of truth.  Be careful not to reject them because you do not like the content of their message.
  57. Principals from Matthew 24:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 408.
    1. History is filled with many horrible things - wars, famines, earthquakes - but we must be careful not to assume that these things mean the end is near.
    2. We as believers will encounter persecution, including persecution by those who formerly claimed to be believers, as well as hatred from nations and a growing abandonment of God's righteous values. 
    3. No man knows when the Son of Man will return.
  58. Applications from Matthew 24:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 409.
    1. Be careful about placing confidence in past successes or religious monuments rather than in continued faithfulness to the Lord.
    2. Be discerning of false teachers; they can be convincing, thus deceiving negligent believers.
    3. In spite of all the hardships, we must endure faithfully to the end.
    4. Serve as God's instruments to take the gospel to all peoples of the earth.
    5. Find hope in the promise of the final gathering of the faithful out of the world.
    6. Be always alert and ready for the return of Christ.
  59. Principals from Matthew 25:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 427.
    1. No person can share his heart preparedness with anyone else.
    2. Faithful investment of your life will earn both your Master's blessing and an eternal share in his joyous heaven.
    3. The Lord has high standards for obedience and faithful stewardship, but he enables us to achieve these things by providing his wisdom, love and power.
    4. You will be rewarded for your faithful work by receiving even greater responsibility and privilege.
    5. The punishment for negligence of kingdom investment is harsh.
  60. Applications from Matthew 25:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 427.
    1. Be obedient for the long term.  Life, while awaiting the king, is a marathon, not a sprint.
    2. Decide today to prepare for a life of obedient readiness.
    3. Apply yourself to the kingdom's work with 100 percent faithfulness.
    4. Obey promptly.
    5. Do for the kingdom what God has uniquely prepared you to do.
  61. Principals from Matthew 26:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 449.
    1. Steadfast, loyal obedience is more important than our lives.
    2. Loyal worshipers give unreservedly of themselves.
    3. Loyalty is very expensive and valuable.
    4. Even those closest to us are capable of becoming disloyal, and we to them.
    5. We can anticipate our reunion with the king in his kingdom.
    6. Jesus longs for our companionship.  He is a friend of his humble creatures.
    7. Even the most tragic of circumstances can be used to accomplish God's sovereign purposes.
  62. Applications from Matthew 26:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 449.
    1. Remember the Lord's sacrifice for us through the regular celebration of the Lord's supper.
    2. When the truth must be spoken, speak it in spite of the cost.
    3. Never forget how much the king endured for you.
    4. When no words will help, stay silent.
    5. Trust God and stay the course, even in the midst of difficult trials.
  63. Principals from Matthew 27:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 470.
    1. A sin that seems in our best interest at the time is certain to turn sour as we live with its consequences.
    2. Justice is more important than the "letter of the law."
    3. All of us are guilty of Jesus' execution.  We have his blood on our hands.
    4. Denying guilt does not remove it.
    5. The Son of God was forsaken by the Father so that we might be accepted by him.
    6. We have free access to God through the blood of Jesus.
    7. Humble service receives the highest honor.
    8. It is possible for a rich person to be a disciple of Jesus; but only some have the ability to handle great wealth while worshipping the true God.
  64. Applications from Matthew 27:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 471.
    1. Resist temptations to sin, claiming God's promise to strength.
    2. When speaking the truth, we need to speak more than is appropriate to the situation.
    3. When no words will help the situation, remain silent.
    4. Beware of the fickleness of your heart.  All of us can turn quickly against the Lord, especially under pressure from others.
    5. Serve God with humility, not for selfish gain.
    6. Remember daily the price Jesus paid for your salvation.
  65. Principals from Matthew 28:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 487.
    1. The king is alive.
    2. We have hope of eternal life because of his conquest of death.
    3. The risen Jesus deals with us personally.
    4. Even in the face of undeniable evidence, people may still hesitate to believe.
    5. All the authority of Jesus goes with us and empowers us, wherever we go, as we fulfill our mandate to make disciples.
    6. The risen king is always with us.
  66. Applications from Matthew 28:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 487.
    1. Think daily of Jesus' resurrection and what it means to you.
    2. Learn to communicate the certainty of Jesus' resurrection with others.
    3. Obey Jesus' command to make disciples of all nations.
    4. Rely on Jesus' promised presence and power as you make disciples.
  67. When Christ returns to earth, He will meet every need in the world. No person will lack anything. All needs will be met. But what about today? How about the needs that confront us now? Needs such as…
    • sufficient finances
    • gainful employment
    • training or skills to secure adequate employment
    • food, clothing, and housing
    • adequate heat and shelter during extreme weather
    An endless number of needs exist among people today. What can the Messiah, Christ our Lord, do to help meet these needs now? He gives us the most wonderful promise: if we will seek God and His kingdom first, He will help us meet our needs. If we will believe in Christ, turn our lives over to Him, and obey His Holy Word, He promises to provide us with the basic necessities of life. He will make sure we have food, clothing, and housing. This does not mean that we are to sit around lazily waiting for God to meet these needs. To the contrary, the Lord teaches that we are to work diligently at our jobs and be faithful in all our tasks. When we are faithful, He makes sure that our basic needs are met. If by chance we are unemployed but diligently trying to find jobs to provide for our families, He will provide for us—if we are genuine believers. The Lord must provide if we are faithful, for if He did not, He would be untrue to His Word. But we can rest assured that the Lord is not a deceiver. He never lies. He always fulfills His promises. If we are genuinely trusting Him and doing all we can to meet our needs, He will provide for us. This is the wonderful promise of His Word:
    But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33).
    “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mk. 9:23).
    “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (Jn. 6:35).
    “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Ro. 8:28).
    - From the “Thought 1” reading from Isaiah 23:13-18 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  68. Principals from Mark 1:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 17.
    1. Believers can trust in the perfect timing of God.  He may not always come when you want him, but he is always right on time.
    2. Believers can trust in God's Word.  He is faithful to do what he has promised.
    3. Believers must consistently repent and confess sin so that God can work in and through them.
    4. Believers can trust God to protect, preserve, and provide for them during the "desert times" of their lives.
  69. Applications from Mark 1:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 17.
    1. Trust in the fact that God keeps his word and submit your fears to him.
    2. Select a special place you can go to daily for quality time with the Lord.
    3. Recognize that God is at work on your behalf, whether or not you see anything happening.  Thank him for what he is doing and look expectantly for him to work.
    4. Recognize that there is no wasted experience for a believer.  Rejoice that God will use all your experiences to prepare you to be more effective for him.
  70. Principals from Mark 2:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 37.
    1. Every person can be forgiven by Jesus if they will come to him and ask for his healing.
    2. Every believer becomes part of a new family with new relationships.
    3. Every believer is freed from the law in order to serve the Lord.
  71. Applications from Mark 2:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 37.
    1. Do not be affraid to go to God who loves you and wants to heal you.  Repent of your sins and receive his healing with thankfulness.
    2. When church politics or arguments begin to choke off your relationship with others, remember that they are family squabbles and that Jesus has paid the ultimate price for them as well as for you.
    3. Biblical exegesis, disagreements, and doctrinal differences cannot separate brothers and sisters.
    4. Recognize that Jesus is your Lord even if you have not given him all areas of your life.
    5. Ask Jesus where his Lordship will take you.  Log for opportunities to emulate your master.
  72. Principals from Mark 3  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 56.
    1. While we can have many acquaintances, we need people who know us intimately.
    2. No matter who else in our family believes in Christ, we must claim this relationship for ourselves.
  73. Applications from Mark 3:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 56.
    1. Try to look beyond people's sin to the hurting person underneath.  While we cannot excuse or ignore sin, we can offer love and compassion to sinners.  They may come closer to Christ because of our charity.
    2. If you do not have a close, intimate friendship with someone, pray that God will prepare one for you.  Keep your eyes and your heart open.
    3. Examine your life for places where you put family, work, church, and amusements before Christ and his love.  Ask for his forgiveness and strength to enable you to do his will.
    4. Submit your life and desires to Christ and allow his unfailing love to melt the hard spots in your heart.
  74. Principals from Mark 4  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 73.
    1. Good soil will produce a good crop.
    2. The hidden things of God will eventually, in the fullness of time (Gal 4:4), be revealed.
    3. Christian growth is a process involving time and spiritual nurture.
    4. Christians sow the seeds of the gospel, but God is responsible for the growth.
  75. Applications from Mark 4:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 73.
    1. Because God is responsible for the growth of the gospel, be bold in your testimony and witness for Christ.
    2. Turn a discerning, critical eye upon yourself, first and foremost.
    3. Examine your "root system."  Feed yourself through Scripture and prayer so that in times of drought your roots will go deep into the soil.
    4. Cultivate a time of listening to God.
  76. Principals from Mark 5  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 90.
    1. The human spirit and body are linked; God created both.
    2. When we admit our need to God, he forgives and heals us.
    3. Our relationship to Christ must not be secret.  No matter the cost or the risk, we must acknowledge Jesus.
    4. For Christians, death is a passage to joy.
  77. Applications from Mark 5:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 90.
    1. Use different body postures when praying and see how it affects your prayers.  For example, lift your hands in worship, kneel or prostrate yourself when confessing sin.
    2. Take care of your body because it is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17).
    3. Be willing to give your schedule to God when opportunities for ministry present themselves.
  78. Fear - Some fear is good - especially the fear of the Lord.  This is a reverential fear that may also be called "awe."  God is a lawgiver and we do well to fear his retribution.  However, if we accept the terms he has offered - the atoning death of his Son - we do not need to fear.  Another type of fear would more properly be called worry or anxiety.  It may also be irrational because nothing can be accomplished by worrying.  This type of fear shows a lack of trust in God.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Deeper Discoveries, A. Fear (Mark 5:15, 33, 36), page 92.
  79. Contrasts help to highlight opposing characteristics.  The beauty of a diamond shows up best against a dark background.  Sometimes Christian growth occurs dramatically during times of persecution or tribulation.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 6, I. Introduction, A. Dramatic Contrast, , page 99.
  80. Whether in business or in your family, how is a man’s position held? By mercy. If you’re working with others in any realm, this is a key. We must be people of truth, but we must also be those who show mercy. Jesus, of course, is the epitome of truth and at the same time the essence of mercy. - From Proverbs 20:28 from Courson’s Application Commentary by Jon Courson.
  81. Be diligent in your labor and be sure to diversify (Eccl 11:6).
    As just stated, Solomon challenges us to sow our seed, and he commends those who diversify their investments and labor diligently (v. 6). We must work hard at every task, morning and evening. We are to get up in the morning and go to work, and work diligently until day’s end. And we must work in spite of less-than-ideal conditions, remembering that life never presents a perfect set of circumstances. A slack or idle hand is a symbol of slothfulness.   - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 11:6 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  82. Using time wisely: What do you think about when you wake up? Are your thoughts instantly focused on the day ahead, or are they centered on the Lord? Although most of us have busy lives that consume much of our time and attention, the most important and time-saving part of each day is that spent in quiet solitude with God. Yet many believers feel so rushed that they don't think there's time for the Lord. They immediately jump onto the treadmill of life and then wonder why they're so frustrated, confused, and dissatisfied. Even if their desire is to follow God, they don't know where He's going since they haven't stopped to get directions for the day. There's also a disconnect because they've ignored their relationship with Him. No one can have intimacy with Christ without daily communication. Perhaps the problem is our own human logic. We think spending time reading the Bible and praying each morning will result in having less time and lower productivity. However, when we seek Christ's direction and wisdom for the day and invite Him to control our lives, He'll accomplish more through us than we can do by ourselves. He'll give us wisdom for good decisions, increase our strength and energy, and free us from time-wasting anxiety. Are you too busy for the Lord? If so, you're denying yourself the blessing of an intimate relationship with Christ. When you make time for Him, He'll fill you with peace and joy, guide your decisions, grant you wisdom, empower you to obey, make you more productive, and comfort you with His love. - From the "In Touch" daily devotional for October 4/5, 2014 from Charles Stanley on www.crosswalk.com
  83. Proverbs 21:17:  He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich. Does this mean that we should have no pleasures? This would indeed stop people from believing in God. For pleasure is the characteristic of the ways of God (3:17). Should we not rejoice in our earthly comforts? God has provided us with everything for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17). Yet, strange as it may seem, the way to enjoy pleasure is not to love it or to pursue it as if it is our goal in life. The person who gives his whole heart and all of his time to pleasure is on the road to becoming poor. As Rutherford observed, "Certainly the more a man drinks of the world, the more it intoxicates him." Our spiritual character is our glory. Personal holiness is indispensable to spiritual enjoyments. So always bear in mind how empty the pleasures of this world are. - From Crossway Classic Commentary - Proverbs by Charles Bridges.
  84. Merriam-Webster.com defines “Opportunity” as “a favorable combination of circumstances, time, and place.” But Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”  Francis Bacon wrote, “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”  And writer Thomas Peters warned, “If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”  
    The Bible also talks about opportunities, but with a difference.  While the world looks for opportunities for success, the Christian looks for opportunities for servanthood.  Unexpected windows of opportunity will appear today, giving you the chance to serve and to give.  Look for those occasions, and don’t pull down the shade.  
    Opportunity rarely knocks on your door.  Knock rather on opportunity’s door if you ardently wish to enter. - B.C. Forbes. - Excerpt from January 15th devotional reading from “Turning Points with God - 365 Daily Devotions” by David Jeremiah. 
  85. Accepting defeats. Ours is a winner-oriented world. But isn't it strange that the best lessons are invariably learned from defeat? Pain remains a strict but faithful teacher, and the crucible produces much more character than waving the winner's flag. We know that theoretically. But let some defeat hit us squarely in the chops, and we drop like a two-ton anchor. Job's question—"Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?"—seems to take a lifetime to answer with "yes, we willingly accept both” -  (Job 2:10). - From the March 22, 2015 devotional by Charles R. Swindoll
  86. Appreciating aging. I am amused at the extent to which some folks will go to hide or deny the presence of age. Now, I'm all for keeping one's mind young and body strong and perceptions keen, but the last time I checked, the Scriptures honored age and spoke of gray hair with respect. Besides, it means we are all that much nearer to seeing our Lord face to face . . . a truth for which "we hope . . . we wait.”  The good news is that in the process we're gaining wisdom. - From the March 22, 2015 devotional by Charles R. Swindoll
  87. Getting to know God and being able to call on Him is the most important step in toring up for the storms. - From page 147 of the book Billy Graham in Quotes by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney. 
  88. The Reward that Comes through Struggles - Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. - James 1:2-4 - We must never seek to shortcut the process of struggling. Everyone experiences struggles and they’re meant for a specific purpose… to make you stronger. And when we try to cut them short by numbing the pain with drunkenness, sex, or some other kind of sin, we miss out on the strengthening God wants to bring about!
  89. Don’t shortcut the struggles in your life. They have a purpose. Instead, hold fast to Jesus Christ, who has a purpose for your pain and promises He will always bring you through victoriously!
  90. ALLOW YOUR STRUGGLES TO BUILD YOU UP BY TRUSTING IN GOD TO BRING YOU OUT OF THEM STRONGER THAN EVER! - From the April 1, 2015 PowerPoint devotional reading by Jack Graham.
  91. Psalm 25:15:  My eyes are ever toward the Lord. Nineteenth-century humorist Josh Billings said cleverly, “Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists of the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”  As Christians, we can apply these witty words to our goal of living for Christ until the day hHe returns.  
  92. Glorifying God should be our focus in everythhing we do.  The only way to accomplish that is by giving Him 100% of ourselves 100% of the time, and like the postage stamp, sticking to that goal until we reach heaven.  Let your eyes look straight ahead: fix your gaze directly before you…Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.  Solomon (Proverbs 4:25, 27 NIV). - Excerpt from April 16th devotional reading from “Turning Points with God - 365 Daily Devotions” by David Jeremiah. 
  93.  Psalms 71:9 - Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.  Once, older people were revered for the wealth of knowledge and wisdom they possessed. Today they are often treated as an inconvenience. They are shoved aside and ignored. Certainly, this is not true in every case, but that is happens at all is a tragedy. Older men and women are gifts from God. They are the conquerors in this life. They have fought the battles, and they have war stories to tell that can benefit us all. To have lived a full and fruitful life should be a joy, not a burden. In a society gone youth crazy, the need for the elderly is greater than ever. They provide the balance we need. Theirs is the voice of reason and experience. Theirs are the spirits of perseverance and triumph. They have walked our roads before us, and they can guide us when times get rough. Reach out to the older branch of God's family. Reach out and grasp the treasure.   
  94. Prayer: As I grow older, Lord, let me not worry whether or not I will be welcome. Open my heart to older people, and have me treat them as I will one day want to be treated. Amen. - From the June 3rd devotional reading from “Turning Points with God by David Jeremiah.