Life Lessons - Section 4

  1. 1 John 4:1-2: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.    
    If you’re not sure whether something is of God or is not, ask yourself the question, “Does this glorify Jesus?” If it does, then you can know it’s from God. If it takes glory away from Jesus, then it’s not. Discern what’s from God and what’s from the enemy, and you’ll take the first step in finding spiritual victory!   
    TAKE THE FIRST STEP ON THE ROAD TO SPIRITUAL VICTORY BY ALIGNING YOURSELF WITH WHAT GIVES JESUS THE MOST GLORY!  - From the October 16, 2015 devotional reading from PowerPoint with Jack Graham by Dr. Jack Graham.
  2. James 4:14 - You do not know what tomorrow will bring. 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.” James shares with us a practical formula which we should use in making our plans for the future. This simple and important formula contains one basic contention, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”Instead of presuming or boasting or missing the mark by failing to do God’s will, we should commit ourselves to the Lord and to doing His will. Our planning is based upon the conviction that our lives and our future are not in our own hands but in the Lord’s! We need a dual sensitivity to the world around us and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. - From commentary on James 4:15 from the The Preacher’s Commentary Series by Stuart Briscoe.
  3. When Pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.  Proverbs 11:2  By humility, however, the Bible doesn’t mean a low self image.  We aren’t to put ourselves down or nurture an inferiority complex.  We’re just to think of Jesus more often than we think of ourselves, and we’re to put the needs of others before our own.  Today, try keeping a window before your face instead of a mirror.  Humility does not consist simply in thinking cheaply of oneself, so much as in not thinking of oneself at all - and of Christ more and more. - Keith Brooks. - From page 119 of Turning Points With God by David Jeremiah.
  4. Grow where you're planted, the saying goes. When you find a place of contentment, guard it. Don't be ready to throw it away for what may or may not be better. Too often we get into situations over our heads, and then it is too late to go back. God will not be impressed by your fame or wealth. What pleases the Lord is someone who uses his talents and makes peace for himself in the work that he does. 
    Prayer: Make my aspirations for myself realistic and worthwhile. Help me to keep my wits about me, to do the things I like rather than those things that are done merely to impress others. Amen. - From the November 1, 2016  devotional readiing from Wiasdom from the Psalms by Dan R. Dick   
  5. Inordinate longings make the affections miscarry. See how things that have too much of self seldom prove happy. We often find that people with much to worry about are unsuccessful; they turn this way and that and remain in the same place like a door on its hinges:"In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat" (Psalm 127:2). Success in human endeavors lies in God's blessing; it is a prerogative he has reserved to himself. Providence sometimes weans us from worldly desire and brings us to grace and shows us that a blessing is sooner gained by faith than by worldly care. - From commentary on James 4:2 in Crossway Classic Commentary by James Manton. 
  6. Jealousy is a powerful, formidable creature. It can quickly wreak havoc in our lives and relationships. Jealousy has destroyed countless marriages, friendships, families, businesses, and even churches. How can we as believers conquer or avoid this powerful temptation?
    (1) By doing all things for the glory of God, not self.  “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Co. 10:31).
    (2) By being content with what God gives us.  “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Ph. 4:11).  “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Ti. 6:8).  “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (He. 13:5).
    (3) By being filled with the Holy Spirit.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Ga. 5:22-23).  “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ep. 5:18).
    (4) By loving our neighbors as ourselves.  “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up” (1 Co. 13:4).  “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another” (Ga. 5:13-15).
    (5) By rejoicing in the blessings of others.  “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Ro. 12:15).
    (6) By staying humble before the Lord.  “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Mt. 23:12).  “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (Js. 4:10).
    (7) By esteeming others better than ourselves.  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others (Ph. 2:3-4).  - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 4:4 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  7. The crucial test of giving thanks in everything (1 Thess. 5: 18) occurs when we suffer mistreatment. That is the supreme test on our attitude of gratitude. There is every temptation to forget to give God thanks for the privilege of being His example to others when we have been “done wrong.” Learn to respond first with a genuine “Thanks, Lord,” when some undeserved attack comes your way. If you do this, you will be unique. Furthermore, a positive attitude clears our minds of needless debris, mental garbage that never fails to counteract all scriptural counsel. Swindoll, Charles R (2012-08-01). Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (pp. 89-90). Worthy Publishing. Kindle Edition. 
  8. Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. - Colossians 3:12-13   Biblical friendship reflects the love of Christ and sticks together through thick and thin. In the way that Christ accepts you regardless of your performance, so we are to accept others.  SEEK OUT AND BE A GOOD FRIEND WHO LOVES OTHERS DESPITE THEIR PERFORMANCE.  - From the May 20, 2015 devotional reading from PowerPoint with Jack Graham by Dr. Jack Graham.
  9. Proverbs 25:21-22 - If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. No man ever conquered his enemy's heart by revenge, but many have by love. - Excerpt from the commentary on Proverbs 25:21-22 from the Classic Crossway Commentary - Proverbs 
  10. Principals from Mark 6  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 108.
    1. Jesus calls us to be part of his ministry to the world, but our provisions always come from him.
    2. Jesus is aware of our needs and comes to us in our distress.  We can be assured that the waves will not overtake us.  He is watching and praying for us. 
    3. A good leader does not depend on public opinion but is confident in God's power.
    4. Good stewardship demands that we not waste God's resources.
  11. Applications from Mark 6:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 108.
    1. Our top priority is to tell people to repent and turn to God.  We must also bind our wounds, feed their hunger, quench their thirst, and cast out their demons.
    2. Establish a "quiet place" to be with Jesus so he can restore your soul and help you cope with the burdens of ministry.
    3. Depend on God to meet your needs.
  12. Jesus calls us to follow him.  We go where he leads, confident that he is not leading us to a place where he has not been.  And he has promised his presence, even if he leads us in the dark at times.  The darkness, whether it be through persecution or suffering, can highlight the growth and the beauty of the life within us.  But follow we must.  It is challenging.  Sometimes it is scary.  Sometimes it is fun.  By the end of the game, we know more about ourselves, even as we learn more about our leader. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 6, IV. Life Application, Follow the Leader, page 109.
  13. Jesus teaches that the purity of a person is not determined by external actions but an internal heart attitude.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 7, II. Commentary, C. A Matter of the Heart (Mark 7:14-23), page 119.
  14. Jesus shows that a radical, persevering faith in God's grace gets God's attention. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 7, II. Commentary, D. The Power of a Persevering Faith (Mark 7:24-30), page 119.
  15. Enjoy life and acknowledge God as the Giver of life.(Ecc 9:7)
    This is the third theme stressed by Solomon. In view of the first two—life is unpredictable and death is certain—Solomon counsels his readers to make the most of life while it lasts. Although life is unpredictable and death is certain, we should not permit these two realities to hinder or hamper our enjoyment of the time we have left under the sun. Every single day that we awaken and draw breath is a gift from God. We should enjoy it and praise Him for it. Once the day is spent, we can never reclaim it; so, since we are going to die, we should get out and enjoy every single day of our lives!
    Solomon begins this theme with a brief but cheerful command: “Go!”
    ➢ Do not walk around sad-faced and depressed.
    ➢ Do not sit around and lament what you cannot alter.
    ➢ Do not stand around idly awaiting the inevitable.
    ➢ Do not hesitate and hold back from life’s experiences and joys because you cannot be sure of what will happen. Some people are so paralyzed by the fear of what could occur, what could go wrong, that they miss much of life.
    ➢ Go—enjoy each day that God has given you.
    In telling us to enjoy life, Solomon is not counseling us to explore wild fantasies or to do everything we have ever dreamed of doing. Nor is he advising us to drop everything, to go into debt, and to run off on excursions to see the world. Rather, he recommends that we enjoy the priceless normalities of everyday life. These are the things that make life worth living. These are the things that bring true joy, peace, and fulfillment. Essentially, Solomon is telling us that the best things in life are free.  - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  16. Everything that we see about us that we count as our possessions only comprises a loan from God, and it is when we lose sight of this all-pervading truth that we become greedy and covetous.   - From page 159 of “Billy Graham in Quotes” by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney.
  17. Principals from Mark 7  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 123.
    1. The mere performance of religious acts does not produce personal purity and holiness.
    2. Humility, coupled with faith, is pleasing to God and invokes his favor.
    3. The Lord speaks to us in "our" language so we will understand his desires for us.
    4. Religious legalism can lead us away from God.
  18. Applications from Mark 7:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 123.
    1. Ask the Lord to make your worship of him meaningful rather than mechanical.
    2. Be aware of your own personality style and then see how God "communicates" to you in that way.
    3. Rejoice that there are no barriers that keep God from meeting your needs.
    4. Search yourself to see if you have any prejudices about race, culture, or gender.  Ask God to help you see people as Jesus sees them.
    5. Jesus has a perfect understanding of where we are in the process of growing as his disciples.  It is he who offers us insights through his Holy Spirit.  It is he who urges us along, reminding us of what has happened before, showing us what will happen next.  It is only through his graciousness that we understand anything of the spiritual life at all.  IF we deny ourselves and allow him to have authority over us, he will take us to some amazing places and wonderful experiences.  Through his authority, we will do great things in the process of building a kingdom.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 8, III. Conclusion, Trust the Process, ), page 137.
  19. Principals from Mark 8  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 137.
    1. Because Jesus had no "outcasts" in his preaching ministry, neither should we as his followers.
    2. Spiritual insight does not mean spiritual perfection.  Christian growth is a process.
    3. Confession must always be personal.  It is not enough to know what others say about Jesus Christ..
  20. Applications from Mark 8:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 138.
    1. Utilize your memory of how God has worked in your life in the past to make it through difficult times.
    2. Answer Jesus' question. "Who do you say I am?"  For further study, read an apologetics book about who Jesus is.  Two excellent books are Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell.
    3. Deny yourself daily and submit to Christ's authority over you.
    4. We cannot presume to know who is right and who is wrong.  We must leave judgement like this up to Jesus, who knows the heart of every person. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 9, II. Commentary, C.. The Servant's Glory (9:33-50), page 152.
  21. Principals from Mark 9  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 154.
    1. The Christian life is a balance between mountaintop solitude and valley service.
    2. Our power to do great things for God comes from God.
    3. Our commitment to Christ demands that we serve the weak and the outcasts of society as well as the powerful.
  22. Applications from Mark 9:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 154-155.
    1. When you are in solitude with God, surrender your "agenda" to him and ask how he would want you to serve.
    2. Remember that when you are faced with trials, there is a deeper glory and a deeper significance than what we can see in this world.
    3. Get in the habit of seeing things from an eternal perspective.
    4. Deal radically with the sin in your life.  Begin by confessing your sin to God and then to one other person whom you can trust.
  23. John 10:1-12 - Human selfishness is either directly or indirectly the cause of most marital discord and divorce.  We can serve our spouses by submitting ourselves to them in love. (Eph. 5:21).
  24. Principals from Mark 10  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 174.
    1. If anything comes between us and the Lord, we must cast it aside.
    2. We must not hinder anyone from coming to Christ because of our words or actions.
    3. In service to Christ we will find our true greatness, our true wealth.
  25. In submitting ourselves to others, we serve Christ.
  26. Applications from Mark 10:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 174.
    1. At least once a month, do some kind of service in your church.  Clean a room, dust, volunteer in the nursery, do some minor repairs.
    2. Take inventory of things that stand in the way of discipleship.
    3. Be persistent in your pursuit of Jesus.
  27. Principals from Mark 11  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 190.
    1. Impressive religious performance does not mean our lives are right with God.
    2. When life looks bleak and frightening, faith in God sustains us.
    3. No matter what barriers confront us, we can overcome them through prayer.
    4. Our first priority in prayer is forgiveness - to receive it for ourselves and to grant it to others.
    5. Commitment to Jesus removes all barriers to God.
  28. Applications from Mark 11:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 191.
    1. Keep short accounts; forgive those who have wronged you.
    2. Do not be guilty of making God too small.  Dream big things for God.
    3. Purge your life of external things that keep you from a true relationship with God.
    4. Do not be lukewarm.  Declare your commitment to Christ with boldness.
  29. Principals from Mark 12  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 207.
    1. Believers have an obligation to the state as well as God.
    2. Christ's love compels us to love others as we love ourselves, even those who are outcasts in our society.
    3. God sees our actions even when people do not.
    4. To give sacrificially is better than to give large sums without a willing spirit.
  30. Applications from Mark 12:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 207.
    1. How much money  would you give to the church if it were not tax-deductible?
    2. Love God with all your mind by studying his Word and learning about him.
    3. Love God with all your heart by allowing him to open up wounded emotions.
    4. Love God with all your soul and strength by making yourself available to him and his work.
  31. Principals from Mark 13  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 224.
    1. Believers can rely upon the Holy Spirit's sustaining power in the midst of persecution and problems.
    2. Believers can have absolute confidence in the certainty of God's Word.
    3. Believers are commissioned by God to preach the gospel, especially in light of Christ's imminent return.
    4. Believers are to live life consciously and not complacently.
  32. Applications from Mark 12:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 224-225.
    1. Pray for the Lord to help you live life consciously each day.  Ask him to help you be willing to witness for him while we are waiting for his return.
    2. Expect misunderstanding and even persecution from those you love because of your faith in Christ.  Take comfort in the fact that even our Lord went through similar experiences.
    3. The Bible tells us to "number our days" (Ps. 90:12).  Let's say the average lifespan of a person is seventy-five years old.  If you are 45 years old, you would subtract your age from 75 and then multiply the difference by 365 days (75-45 = 30 year; 30 x 365 = 10,950 days).  In light of the number of days and the imminent return of Christ, thank God for each day he has given you to live for him.
  33. Principals from Mark 14  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 245.
      1. What believers experience is not the result of circumstance but wise and good distribution from our loving Father's hand.
      2. Every believer can "do something" to bring glory and honor to Jesus.
      3. Believers can be sustained through "Gethsemanes" of life by prayer.
      4. Believers will face mistreatment, misunderstanding, and betrayal, even when there is no basis for such treatment.
      5. Every follower of Jesus has a future and a hope because of the new covenant based on Jesus' shed blood and the promise of a return.
  34. Applications from Mark 14:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 245.
    1. Pray for protection when feeling exhausted or weak.  Recognize your weakness, and avoid situations where you are likely to fall.
    2. Do something "special" for someone you love.
    3. Set apart a special place to pray.
    4. Do not be afraid to tell the Lord your deepest fears and frustrations.
    5. Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 15,  II. Commentary, A. Pilate's Dilemma, Mark, 15:1, page 253.
  35. Principals from Mark 15  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 263.
    1. Believers can expect ridicule and disrespect from others when it comes to their faith in Jesus Christ.
    2. Believers can feel secure in their love of God.
    3. Knoing that Jesus was willing to pay such a heavy price to have a relatinship with us gives us the security of knowing he wants only the best for us.
    4. Following Christ requires sacrifice.
  36. The Christian's right response to suffering causes unbelievers to take notice of our faith.
  37. Applications from Mark 15:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 264.
    1. Sarcasm and snide remarks are never appropriate.  They can hurt other people.  Monitor your speech and resist sarcasm in your remarks.
    2. Make a list of countries where believers are persecuted.  Pray regularly for God's grace to sustain them in their faith.
    3. Put a nail in your pocket or place it in a prominent place.  Let it be a reminder of the price Jesus paid to purchase our salvation.  Then thanks him for this great gift.
  38. Principals from Mark 16  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 278.
    1. The announcement by the angel about Christ's resurrection teaches us that God is always at work on our behalf, whether or not we see anything happening.
    2. God has the power to "roll away" the stones that block us from living life fully.
    3. Unbelief and hardness of heart keeps God from working through the believer's life.
    4. God is disappointed when we fail to believe him.
    5. The resurrection of Jesus teaches the believer that in the darkest circumstances there is always hope.
    6. Every believer is responsible for telling the "good news" of Jesus Christ.
  39. Applications from Mark 16:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 278-279.
    1. Identify the "stones" that keep you from breaking free and experiencing the fullness of the Christian life.
    2. Commit each obstacle to God and ask him to help you "move" the stones from your life.
    3. Memorize key verses about Christ's resurrection from the dead.  Let these be reminders to you that God can bring hope in seemingly hopeless situations.
    4. Write down the names of three or four people and pray for the opportunity to share the "Good News" of Jesus Christ with them.
    5. Pray about the possibility of going on a mission trip to impact another culture for Jesus Christ.
  40. Principals from Luke 1 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 16.
    1. God often accomplishes his will in unusual and unexpected ways.
    2. Born as a baby, Jesus was human in every respect.
    3. Jesus lived his life in dependence on the Holy Spirit.
    4. God fulfills his promises.
    5. God works out his will acccording to perfect timing.
    6. Faith brings blessings.
    7. Praise and adoration belong to God alone.
  41. Applications from Luke 1 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 16.
    1. Do not limit God by your thinking or with your actions.  He is the most creative being in the universe and often accomplishes his will in ways we might not expect.  Let him surprise you!
    2. Take God at his word.  Trust God to be true to his promises.  God responds to our faith and rewards our obedience.
    3. Be patient in the life of faith.  Although circumstances may often give us a "false reading," God's timing is always right.  In spite of circumstances, let God work out his will in your life according to his timing.
    4. Be receptive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your Christian walk.  As Jesus lived in dependence of the ministries of the Holy Spirit, so should we.  The indwelling Spirit empowers us to live the life of victorious faith.
    5. Give praise and thanks to God continually for his gracious gift of salvation.
  42. Principals from Luke 2 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 35-36.
    1. Jesus' role as Savior was proclaimed before his birth.
    2. Jesus' salvation was intended for all people.
    3. Jesus' salvation comes to us through the dedicated lives of the "insignificant people" of the world who choose to serve God in obedience and trust rather than carve out a niche in history for themselves.
    4. Jesus' salvation comes to us in the midst of the world history and even through the unsuspecting actions of unbelieving historical rulers.
    5. Jesus' salvation does not come automatically.  People retain the freedom to reject him.
    6. Jesus' salvation often brings pain to those closest to him.
    7. Jesus' salvation was accomplished only because a human baby faithfully accomplished the growth tasks of a child in order to enter a heavenly mission.
  43. Applications from Luke 2 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 36.
    1. Extend the ministry of your church to all people whom Jesus came to save.
    2. Expect pain and opposition as you learn from and serve Jesus.
    3. Expect to find God at work in places where people would never think to look, even in animal feeding troughs.
    4. Live each day in obedience so God can use you when his time comes.
    5. Tell everyone you meet the good news that God has shared with you.
  44. Principals from Luke 3 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 52.
    1. Forgiveness of sins comes only through repentance.
    2. God's salvation is available for every person, not just a chosen few.
    3. Repentance involves a change in lifestyle, not just a momentary feeling or statement.
    4. A family tree of faith cannot guarantee salvation.
    5. Christ's ministry was to bring the Holy Spirit to people and to bring judgment on those who refused to repent and believe in him.
    6. Faithfulness in ministry does not protect us from earthly hurt, suffering, or injustice.
    7. Jesus is the beloved Son of God.
  45. Applications from Luke 3 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 52.
    1. Confess your sins, repent and ask God for forgiveness.
    2. Ask God to show you the changes repentance should bring in your daily life.
    3. Change your life in the ways God shows you.
    4. Let God teach you to be content.
    5. Find your place in ministry for God, and carry out this ministry by seeking what God has called you to be and do.
    6. Pray for an awareness of the Holy Spirit guiding your life.
    7. Confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and ask him to save you.
  46. Principals from Luke 4 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 67.
    1. The devil tempts all of God's people.
    2. Scripture is the best weapon against God's temptation.
    3. We do not have to give in to temptation.
    4. Worship belongs to God.
    5. The Spirit gives direction in all ministries for God.
    6. God's ministry focuses on those whom the world ignores.
    7. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.
    8. Jesus has unequaled authority in his ministry and teaching.
    9. Ministry for Jesus must not be confined to one responsive place.
  47. Applications from Luke 4 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 67-68.
    1. Pray for God's wisdom in recognizing and facing Satan's temptations. 
    2. Memorize Scripture so that you will have it as a resource to use against temptation and trial.
    3. Review your daily ways of living to be sure you are worshipping God and him alone.
    4. Ask God to show you how to carry out his ministry to the poor and needy that Jesus began.
    5. Be ready for rejection and do not let it lead you away from Jesus.
    6. Find out where God is at work preaching the good news of the kingdom, and ask him to show you how to join in his work there.
  48. Principals from Luke 5 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 80-81.
    1. Jesus is the source of all power.
    2. Jesus has revealed his power through his teaching, his miracles, and his calling of disciples to follow him in his mission.
    3. Human religion devises ways for people to earn power by obeying laws and traditions.
    4. Christ's mission invites people whom human religion rejects and excludes.
    5. Prayer is the source of power and direction for life.
    6. The power lifestyle does not come from religious ritual but from enjoying the presence of Jesus.
  49. Applications from Luke 5 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 81.
    1. Let God be the power source in every area of life, even your business.
    2. See your mission as finding other people for Jesus.
    3. Find people whom your church excludes and include them in your circle of friends.
    4. Act in faith to help those who need help but cannot help themselves.
    5. Expect to find God at work revealing himself in the midst of human need.
    6. Know your greatest need is forgiveness of sin, not power in the world.
    7. When you think you are in the best religious health, you may be spiritually dead.
  50. Principals from Luke 6 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 95-96.
    1. Jesus and God's Holy Word are the absolute authorities we have to follow.
    2. Church traditions too often become church laws, keeping people away from God rather than leading them to him.
    3. Doing good is more important than obeying traditions.
    4. Prayer should precede all of life's decisions.
    5. Kingdom blessings rest on the poor, the hungry, those who mourn, those who are persecuted.
    6. One's position in human society does not determine one's position in heaven.
    7. Earthly prosperity may be the only reward we will ever get.
    8. Love for others, especially those who oppose us - not protection of self - is life's guiding principal.
    9. We are called to judge ourselves, not others.
    10. God expects from us good fruit, that is shown in obedience to him and love for others.
  51. Applications from Luke 6 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 96.
    1. Beware of the limits the church places on who, where, and when we can minister in Jesus' name.
    2. Look for opportunities to do good to other people we are associating with or the way things have always been done in church.
    3. We can expect to be attacked by religious people when we follow Christ completely.
    4. Pray every day and especially before every decision you face.
    5. See if wealth, position or power in this world is preventing you from joining those God  is blessing with eternal rewards.
    6. Take your enemy list down to zero by praying for and loving every person on the list.  The question is not how they are behaving but how much we are loving.
    7. Every time you find reason to judge someone else for an action or an attitude, look inward and see how much of that action or attitude controls your life.
    8. Ask God to show you the foundation on which you have built your life.
  52. Principals from Luke 7 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 112.
    1. No one is worthy to receive what Jesus offers.
    2. Faith often appears in the most unexpected places.
    3. God comes to care for his people.
    4. Our lives either justify God's path of redemption or reject his purposes.
    5. The Savior's call to faith is a call to action and decision.
    6. Our actions show our love and gratitude for Jesus.
    7. Jesus has the power and authority to forgive sins and offer salvation.
  53. Applications from Luke 7 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 112.
    1. Listen for the Savior's cal to faith, not the religious hypocrites' call to self righteousness piety and judgement.
    2. Know your place among the unworthy and wait in faith for God to act in your life.
    3. Tell others what God has done in your life.
    4. Study what Jesus did and taught and make up your own mind aboout who he is.
    5. Let God bring salvation the way he chooses and to the people he chooses rather than limiting him with your theology and expectations.
    6. Find unexpected ways to show gratitude to Jesus for his forgiveness and salvation.
    7. Respond to Jesus in humble faith and accept his forgiveness and salvation.
  54. Principals from Luke 8 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 130.
    1. Jesus' ministry depends on people sharing their resources to support his ministry.
    2. To follow Jesus is to listen to his Word, retain it, and persevere in producing a good crop for him and receiving more of his Word.
    3. To follow Jesus is to venture into unlikely places where Jesus sees opportunity for mission.
    4. To follow Jesus is to trust him in the storms of life.
    5. To follow Jesus is to care for people more than for possessions.
    6. To follow Jesus is to reach out to him for help when hope for human help has vanished.
    7. To follow Jesus is to believe in him when such belief brings laughter and scorn from friends and neighbors.
    8. To follow Jesus is to testify to what he has done for us so people can see who he is and have faith in him.
  55. Applications from Luke 8 - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 130.
    Study God's word every day, seeking to find where and how he wants you to show your commitment to him.
    Be ready to go places that people see as insignificant but where God is at work.
    Be prepared for life's storms by building your faith in Christ that he will guide you through each storm.
    Do not guard your possessions at the price of your faith.
    Begin today by telling people in your town how much God has done for you.
    Base your faith on the teaching of God's Word, not on simple expectations of miracles.
  56. Mark 8:33 - May I be more concerned about things of God than the things of men.
    Spend some time today asking yourself, What am I currently doing that will have an eternal impact? What do I need to spend less time doing in order to focus more on the eternally significant goals to which God calls me? Your responses to these questions will make a huge difference for all of eternity—one way or another. Don’t miss out on the purpose for which God created you. Keeping your eyes on eternity will change the way you see everything. 
    - From location 983 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  57. There have always been those who teach that God requires us to deny ourselves of life’s pleasures as part of our penance for sins. Certainly, sin should grieve us. Likewise, Scripture teaches that we should take our lives and responsibilities to the Lord seriously. There are even times when we should abstain from food or pleasure in order to focus on prayer and spiritual purposes. But never is the sacrificing of life’s joy required of us as a payment for our sins. The word favor (rathsah) is the Hebrew word specifically used for satisfying or repaying a debt. Our sin debt to God has been satisfied—paid in full by the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary. He has set us free to live abundantly and to enjoy the life He gives us. We do not owe God anything because of our sin. Jesus specifically said that He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly (Jn. 10:10). Imagine! God approves of us enjoying life. This is a life-transforming, revolutionary truth.   - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 9:7 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  58. Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. HEBREWS 12:1-2  - From location 987 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  59. Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. WINSTON CHURCHILL   - From location 993 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  60. Live Like You’re Dying - From location 1014 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  61. “The more you dread tomorrow,” he said, “the more you lose today. So when you wake up in the morning and start thinking about tomorrow, tell yourself, I’m not going to do it. I’m going to make today a great day.”  - From location 1023 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  62. People who have God’s breath inside them seem to savor each day as a gift. Like my dear friend Billy, they enjoy life to the fullest. These people are winsome and attractive, which only draws others to them. They seem to relish each new day as one of promise and hope, opportunity and optimism. Their lives aren’t any easier than anyone else’s, and yet they rarely complain or dwell on their losses.  They remember the past without remaining tied to it. They enjoy the present as a tremendous gift. They anticipate the future with great hope. They have influence and use it to positively encourage and shape those around them.  - From location 1046 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  63. Real life comes from God living inside us, and we are more likely to experience a breath of fresh air when our attitudes reflect the light of his presence. And attitudes can be adjusted. Most of us develop an outlook over time that becomes our default way of seeing things. Our thoughts shape our emotions, which affect our perceptions, which influence our actions. If we want to get the wind back in our sails, we must begin by examining the fundamental thoughts we carry around inside us. I’m convinced that there are some foundational beliefs that we can harness and use as a wind generator in our lives.  - From location 1054 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  64. If you want to breathe new life into your attitude, then you must be able to laugh. “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven . . . a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4). I believe that God loves laughter, which reflects a sense of joy in our lives. We’re told “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22) and “the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Jesus certainly displayed joy and humor. - From location 1075 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  65. The best day of your life is today, this one you’re currently in. Accept the present as the gift God intends it to be and make the most of it. Don’t squander it by worrying about the past or the future. Wake up and be in your life right at this moment.  - From location 1083 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  66. One of the best ways we experience our lives to the fullest is by loving people. Not just some people—everyone we encounter, even the ones we don’t like.   - From location 1086 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  67. As John Maxwell often says, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.   - From location 1090 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  68. We may not have had the same choices in the past, especially when we were growing up, but as adults we can choose how we will approach any challenges that come up. We can’t determine what happens to us, but we can determine what happens in us. Paul makes the distinction very clear for us: “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).  - From location 1121 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  69. Enjoy life because the dark days ahead (trials, sufferings, death) will be many (Eccl. 11:8b).  Again, in light of Ec. 12:1-3, Solomon is stressing that the younger years of a person’s life hold pleasures that cannot be enjoyed in the latter years. The advancing of age brings changes—physical and often mental limitations that prevent a person from enjoying certain things. Therefore, Solomon advises us, both young and old, to recognize that we will grow older and not have either the ability or the opportunity to do many of the things we can do now. Hear this wise counsel and remember…
    • that our strength and abilities will decline
    • that our senses will dull, that our physical capacity will diminish
    • that “the days of darkness…will be many”
    In light of these things, we must keep in mind that the days of darkness—an older age, even more limitations—are coming. 
     - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 11:8 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  70. Another of the most refreshing choices we can make each day is to forgive, which, as we mentioned earlier, is also an attitude. Jesus not only told us to forgive others, but to do it quickly and to practice it as many times as necessary. That’s why he told Peter we should forgive “seventy times seven” times when his disciple asked how many times we should forgive someone. Jesus didn’t want us to forgive others just to let them off the hook; he knew doing so would put wind back in our sails.  He knew that the only way to move forward is to forgive. He knew that he had a choice and decided he would never let someone else take that away from him, no matter what the offense. - From location 1135 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  71. People who have a high appreciation of life know that God is going to work everything out for the good. They may not always see it in this life, but they know they serve a good God who loves his children. They don’t sweat the small stuff. They let their Father take care of it all. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).  - From location 1157 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  72. One of the simplest ways to adjust your attitude is to look for something positive in every situation. I’m not talking about becoming a Pollyanna who spiritualizes everything and pulls silver linings out of every storm cloud. But I am talking about being willing to see what you have in the midst of the storm. - From location 1161 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  73. Whether it’s rainy or sunny, stormy or calm, resilient people see the upside to their present position. They never lose sight of all they have to be grateful for because they’ve learned what Paul himself learned and passed on: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  - From location 1168 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  74. Attitude is a choice. And for most of us, our attitude will not take care of itself. We need to manage it every day. One of the healthiest things you can do is take responsibility for your own attitude. The key is to focus on what happens in you, not to you. The choice is yours. - From location 1198 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  75. Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. . . . Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. EPHESIANS 4:23; 5:1-2, NLT  - From location 1204 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  76. When you’re in doubt or uncertain, when you’re confused or frustrated, turn to Scripture. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). When you give the Bible the authority it deserves, then it will speak into your life with clarity and certainty. You will go from reading words on the pagelogosto having ongoing “aha!” moments, or rhema. - From location 1344 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  77. We must make our relationship with the Bible part of our everyday lives. We are to be in the Word every day, not out of duty or to feel better about ourselves, but because doing so gives us room to meditate, which is the pathway to revelation and faith. The Bible is not a once-a-week, Sunday kind of book. It’s not even a morning devotional book, but instead it’s like food, something you and I need every day. Something to be devoured and digested, chewed on and chewed some more. - From location 1348 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  78. Accept the Bible’s authority, make it an ongoing part of your everyday life, and then put it into practice. Live it, do it, practice it. When God’s Word says to love, put it into practice. When it says to give, give. James tells us, “Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves” (James 1:22, NLT). - From location 1367 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  79. Our goal should be to take the living Word and plant it into the world around us. Into our relationships and our work. Into our classrooms and our cubicles. Into our kitchens and our bedrooms. Into our bank accounts and our bill paying. Everywhere. - From location 1370 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  80. It's important to realize that God does not lead us into temptation or set us up for failure.  We are actually asking him to help us when temptation comes our way, to give us the power to resist and say no.  Jesus is telling us that not only must we seek and grant forgiveness for what has happened in the past, but we must take our stand against the devil and ask God to help us resist his schemes against us in the future. - From location 1541 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  81. Psalm 1:3 - He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.  The imagery of the leaves and the fruit assure the godly that they will receive God's blessing and will enjoy life as a gift of God (cf. Ezek 47: 12). True to the language used in wisdom literature, the godly are characterized by the success the Lord sends their way. The "prosperity" of the righteous does not necessarily extend to the assurance of great wealth but primarily to God's blessing on their words and works (cf. 90: 14- 17). The psalmist thus encourages the godly to pursue the way of wisdom. The wise man is characterized by success. Nevertheless, the psalm does not encourage a success- oriented faith. The godly do not seek success for its own sake, but they do receive a measure of blessing on their lives. The prosperity of the righteous-- guaranteed or limited to the godly-- is a gift of God, a by- product of wise living. - From the Expositor's Bible Commentary by Frank Gaebelein of the Olive Tree Bible Study App from the 1st Psalm, Verse 3.
  82. Too often plans come before prayers. How many blessings we may miss by conceiving our own schemes only to see God frustrate them later and work out his own plan! - From the Expositor's Bible Commentary by Frank Gaebelein of the Olive Tree Bible Study App from the 3rd Psalm.
  83. Medical research is discovering that gratitude is the one emotional trait most likely to benefit physical health and recovery. Grateful people tend to be happier and more satisfied with their lives, and may actually live longer. “A grateful heart might be a healthy heart,” one researcher concluded after studying the effect of gratitude on relieving stress and hypertension. - From location 5651 in the Kindle Book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey.
  84. We live amid spiritual warfare and only God’s love will overcome the power of evil, poverty, and injustice. - From location 5679 in the Kindle Book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey.
  85. For the Christian, death also involves an anticipation of new beginning. We let go bodies that have served us, not perfectly but well enough, in exchange for new bodies. We let go a known life, touched with grace and pleasure but also evil and pain, in exchange for the promise of a life perfected. We let go the muddle of doctrine and wavering faith in exchange for sure knowledge at last. And during the rest of life we prepare for that exchange. - From location 5784 in the Kindle Book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey.
  86. 90 percent of praying is showing up. - From location 5895 in the Kindle Book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey.
  87. It cannot he stated too frequently that the life of a Christian is a warfare, an intense conflict, a lifelong contest. It is a battle, moreover, waged against invisible foes, who are ever alert, and ever seeking to entrap, deceive, and ruin the souls of men. The life to which Holy Scripture calls men is no picnic, or holiday junketing. It is no pastime, no pleasure jaunt. It entails effort, wrestling, struggling; it demands the putting forth of the full energy of the spirit in order to frustrate the foe and to come off, at the last, more than conqueror. It is no primrose path, no rose-scented dalliance. From start to finish, it is war. From the hour in which he first draws sword, to that in which he doffs his harness, the Christian warrior is compelled to "endure hardness like a good soldier."  - From location 836 in the Kindle book "Complete Works of E. M. Bounds on Prayer, The: Experience the Wonders of God through Prayer" by E. M. Bounds.
  88. What a misconception many people have of the Christian life! How little the average church member appears to know of the character of the conflict, and of its demands upon him! How ignorant he seems to he of the enemies he must encounter, if he engage to serve God faithfully and so succeed in getting to heaven and receive the crown of life! He seems scarcely to realize that the world, the flesh and the devil will oppose his onward march, and will defeat him utterly; unless he give himself to constant vigilance and unceasing prayer.  - From location 841 in the Kindle book "Complete Works of E. M. Bounds on Prayer, The: Experience the Wonders of God through Prayer" by E. M. Bounds.
  89. Sin - Sin is going astray; and we are most apt to wander from God when we are easy and think ourselves at home in the world. Prosperity is the unhappy occasion of much iniquity; it makes people conceited of themselves, indulgent of the flesh, forgetful of God, in love with the world, and deaf to the reproofs of the word. See Ps. 30: 6. It is good for us, when we are afflicted, to remember how and wherein we went astray before we were afflicted, that we may answer the end of the affliction.  Of the benefit of an afflicted state: "Now have I kept thy word, and so have been recovered from my wanderings." God often makes use of afflictions as a means to reduce those to himself who have wandered from him. Sanctified afflictions humble us for sin and show us the vanity of the world; they soften the heart, and open the ear to discipline. The prodigal's distress brought him to himself first and then to his father. - From Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible in commentary on Psalm 119:67.
  90. Key Teachings about God (From Psalms):
    1. 1) Yahweh reigns.  
    2. 2) God wants us to express trust in times of crisis.  
    3. 3) God is praiseworthy. 
    4. 4) God's law is a delight. 
    5. 5) God supports his king. 
    6. 6)  God watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.  - From the Introductory section of Psalms of the book "The Essential Bible Companion by John Walton, Mark L. Strauss, Theodore W. Cooper, Jr.
  91. "Someone asked me recently if I thought God was unfair, allowing me to have Parkinson's and other medical problems when I have tried to serve Him faithfully. I replied that I did not see it that way at all. Suffering is part of the human condition, and it comes to us all. The key is how we react to it, either turning away from God in anger and bitterness or growing closer to Him in trust and confidence."  - Written by Billy Graham
  92. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  - Prayer Coach - For All Who Want to Get Off the Bench and onto the Praying Field by James L. Nicodem
  93. Character Traits - Ones to Promote and Ones to Avoid (with Proverb References)
  94. Character Traits to be Promoted -
    1. avoidance of strife: 20:3
    2. compassion for animals: 12:10
    3. contentment: 13:25; 14:30; 15:27
    4. diligence: 6:6–13; 12:24, 27; 13:4
    5. faithful love: 20:6
    6. faithfulness: 3:5–6; 5:15–17; 25:13; 28:20
    7. generosity: 21:26; 22:9
    8. honesty: 16:11; 24:26
    9. humility: 11:2; 16:19; 25:6–7; 29:23
    10. integrity: 11:3; 25:26; 28:18
    11. kindness to others: 11:16–17
    12. kindness to enemies: 25:21–22
    13. leadership: 30:19–31
    14. loyalty: 19:22
    15. nobility: 12:4; 31:10, 29
    16. patience: 15:18; 16:32
    17. peacefulness: 16:7
    18. praiseworthiness: 27:21
    19. righteousness: 4:26–27; 11:5–6, 30; 12:28; 13:6; 29:2
    20. self- control: 17:27; 25:28; 29:11
    21. strength and honor: 20:29
    22. strength in adversity: 24:10
    23. teachableness: 15:31
    24. truthfulness: 12:19, 22; 23:23
    25. Adapted from Expositor’s Bible Commentary- Abridged Edition:The Old Testament by Kenneth L. Barker; John R. Kohlenberger III. Copyright © 1994 by the Zondervan Corporation. Used by permission of Zondervan
  95. Character Traits to Avoid -  
    1. anger: 29:22
    2. antisocial behavior: 18:1
    3. beauty without discretion: 11:22
    4. blaming God: 19:3
    5. dishonesty: 24:28
    6. greed: 28:25
    7. hatred: 29:27
    8. hot temper: 19:19; 29:22
    9. immorality: 6:20–35
    10. inappropriate desire: 27:7
    11. injustice: 22:16
    12. jealousy: 27:4
    13. lack of mercy: 21:13
    14. laziness: 6:6–11; 18:9; 19:15; 20:4; 24:30–34; 26:13–15
    15. maliciousness: 6:27
    16. meddling: 26:17; 30:10
    17. pride:15:5; 16:18; 21:4, 24; 29:23; 30:13
    18. quarrelsomeness: 26:21
    19. self- conceit: 26:12, 16
    20. self- deceit: 28:11
    21. self- glory: 25:27
    22. self- righteousness: 30:12
    23. social disruption: 19:10
    24. stubbornness: 29:1
    25. unfaithfulness: 25:19
    26. unneighborliness: 3:27–30
    27. vengeance: 24:28–29
    28. wickedness: 21:10
    29. wicked scheming: 16
    30. Adapted from Expositor’s Bible Commentary- Abridged Edition:The Old Testament by Kenneth L. Barker; John R. Kohlenberger III. Copyright © 1994 by the Zondervan Corporation. Used by permission of Zondervan
  96. We are never more like God than when we give. "God so loved the world, that He gave" (John 3:16).
  97. Stop evil before it starts.  Proverbs 17:14 - The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.   14. Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. Both destructive elements, fire and water, illustrate the danger of starting a quarrel (26:21; Judges 9:19- 20). To neither element can we say, "This far and no further!" We might as well try to tell a raging storm to stop. The dam may hold back a large body of water, but if you open its sluices, the waters may form a flood. In this way the starting of a quarrel has ended in thousands of murders, and even in the destruction of kingdoms.
  98. It is no less destructive in ordinary life. One provocative word leads to another. Every retort widens the breach. Seldom, when we have heard the first word, have we heard the last word. An inundation of evil overwhelms peace, comfort, and conscience. Does not Christian grace teach us to keep resentment at bay and to bear provocation rather than break the bond of unity?
  99. Truly it is a wise rule to stop evil at its inception. The riverbank is much more easily preserved than repaired. Once the breach is made, even if it is only to let out a drop of water, that is the beginning of evil, the results of which are incalculable.
  100. In being alert to quarrels and disputes, it must be remembered that the time to stop is not when things are at their worst but at the beginning. We must mortify our own proud tempers and cultivate our Master's meek and self- denying spirit. - From Crossway Classic Commentary - Proverbs by Charles Bridges
  101. Learn to live each day as if it were your last. Someday, it will be.
  102. Young men should be submissive to those who are older, and all of us should clothe ourselves with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5)
  103. God is the only source of true happiness, because He alone offers those intangibles that we mistakenly believe can be found on Earth: contentment, security, peace, and hope for the future. None of these can be found in a job, a human relationship, money, power, or position. They are God’s alone to give.  How hard it is for us to believe this, however! This is understandable if we haven’t given our lives to Christ; then, the Bible says, our spiritual eyes are blind, unable to see God’s truth until the Holy Spirit opens them. But blindness can happen to believers also when we fall into the pattern of the world, vainly pursuing happiness in the same ways the world does. That is why the Lord Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, told us where ultimate happiness lies: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). This is God’s promise—and it is true. Riches or righteousness? Which is your goal? - Graham, Billy (2012-06-12). Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 395). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
  104. At the end of my life, I don’t want to have any moments where I think back and say, “I wish I would have…” As believers, we can live life without those types of regrets by speaking up for the Gospel. Don’t stay silent. Speak life into our dying world and live life without regret! - From Jack Graham’s Powerpoint July, 16, 2014 Daily Word Devotional.
  105. As we look to God instead of to ourselves and our circumstances, our perspective changes. Don’t get bogged down in the circumstances of life. At the moment we see only our immediate problems and burdens, but God sees the whole. He sees not only the present but the future as well. He wants to lift us above ourselves. He wants us to see everything in light of His plans. The psalmist said, “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me” (138:8). Don’t get bogged down. Keep your eyes on God, for He sees the whole picture and knows what is best for you. You can trust Him, because He loves you. - Graham, Billy (2012-06-12). Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 420). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 
  106. Proverbs 18:17: Guard against a self-justifying spirit. Cultivate a spirit of self-distrust. Judge as if you are under God's eye. In sincere prayer lay yourself open to his searching out of your secret sins. - From Crossway Classic Commentary - Proverbs by Charles Bridges.
  107. When loneliness afflicts you, remember two truths. First, we are never alone when we know Christ. You can’t see Him, but He is more real than the chair you are sitting in, and He is with you. Take comfort in His promise: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). Second, learn to reach out to others. All around you are people who are lonely. Ask God to help you be a friend to someone who is going through hard times. Whom will you reach out to today? - Graham, Billy (2012-06-12). Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 472). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 
  108. If you think it’s tough following Jesus, try not following Him. That’s what’s tough. Going through disease, death, divorce, bankruptcy, being fired from your job, or being prosperous on Wall Street but empty internally— that’s what’s tough! If you who are struggling and suffering weren’t a Christian, you would still go through difficult times. The difference is, you would go through them with no solution, no promise, and no hope. That is why every time Jesus talked about the Cross, He never failed to speak of Resurrection. - Matthew 20:17-19- From Courson's Application Commentary by Jon Courson.
  109. Be Thankful - Each day is a gift from God—a gift to be used wisely, joyfully, and for His glory. And this gift of life should remind us of an even greater gift—the gift of eternal life in Christ. Thank God for the gift of today and for the gift of eternal life that awaits us in Heaven. - Graham, Billy (2012-06-12). Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 494). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 
  110. Patience - God’s way is not our way.  God always answers prayer.  Some times He says “Yes,” sometimes “No,” and sometimes “Wait.”  Being told to wait is sometimes the hardest but most life changing and fulfilling answer of all.  - From page 201 of the book “He Walks Among Us, Encounters with Christ in a Broken World, by Richard and Renee Stearns.
  111. Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. Proverbs 22:9 - Every Christian must remember that God's standard is sacrifice, not convenience. We are only stewards of God's bounty.    As Luther put it, "One good work done for God will be seen to show more glory than the whole frame of heaven and earth." We must continue to be partners with God and reflect his image. - Excerpts from Crossway Classic Commentary - Proverbs by Charles Bridges.
  112. Friends, God’s ways are not our ways.His thoughts are unlike our thoughts.  His plans are so much bigger than we could ever imagine or dream.  Let Him work His unique way, and watch His beautiful plan is revealed in your life.  "Keep praying, but be thankful that God’s answers are wiser than your prayers!" - William Culbertson - From the January 17th daily devotion from the book Turning Points with God by David Jeremiah
  113. How to Live Life to the Fullest - Every man or woman who truly loves God wants his or her life to bear good spiritual fruit. But all too often, there are things in our lives that hinder, and even choke out that fruit. So to prune our lives, God will very often send pain or hard times in order for those bad branches to be pruned away. 
  114. Some examples of this I’ve seen personally are men and women who fill their lives with the pursuit of success and neglect their spouses and families. So God allows struggles in their lives—a rebellious child, sickness, and even death—in order to prune away the insignificant goals in their lives and refocus them on what really matters. 
  115. So when you experience pain and hardships, be open to the idea that God is pruning you, simplifying your life, and refocusing you on what really matters!
  116. THINK OF AREAS OF HARDSHIP IN YOUR LIFE AND ASK GOD IF HE’S PRUNING YOU SO THAT YOU MAY LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST! - From the April 2, 2015 PowerPoint devotional reading by Jack Graham.
  117. Decisioning - Acts 24:25 Felix’s words in verse 25, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you,” are expressed in a multiplicity of different ways by people outside and inside the church. It is the old “don’t- call- me, I’ll- call- you” attitude to the communicator—really to God. Felix called for Paul, not in order to hear more of the gospel, but to make a deal for money.
  118. Eccl. 11:7-9: Now he admonishes us to heed this warning: the senior years are no different. Many are deceived into thinking that somehow in their twilight years all the wrongs of their lives will be righted. But let them remember that the days of darkness are coming, and when they do, life apart from God will still be empty. Without Him, life only gets worse, not better. God makes the difference. He alone gives satisfaction, fulfillment, and meaning to life.
    “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10b).
    “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Co. 9:8).
    “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ep. 3:20).
    “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:9-10).
    “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures” (Ps. 36:8).
    “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah” (Ps. 39:4-5).
    “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).
    “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works” (Ec. 9:7). - 
    - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 11:8 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  119. Consider the ways we say “go away for now” to the call of Christ or the claims of the gospel. A character study of what prompted Felix to say that leads into an honest inventory of the ways we put off the Lord. F. W. Boreham, the great Australian preacher, said, “We make our decisions, and then our decisions turn around and make us.” But I would say—we refuse to choose and our indecisiveness shapes us. There’s always a next step in growth in fellowship with Christ. Some obedience is demanded, some restitution required, some reconciliation mandated, some area of life awaiting commitment. Joel described life as a valley of decision. “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14). The Lord is pressing some of us to become more contagious in communicating love; others He is challenging to be more bold in sharing our faith; some He is disturbing with the biblical admonition to tithe; still others He has on the edge of responding to an opportunity of leadership. “Go away, Lord! Later Lord.”
  120. Now he admonishes us to heed this warning: the senior years are no different. Many are deceived into thinking that somehow in their twilight years all the wrongs of their lives will be righted. But let them remember that the days of darkness are coming, and when they do, life apart from God will still be empty. Without Him, life only gets worse, not better. God makes the difference. He alone gives satisfaction, fulfillment, and meaning to life.
    “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10b).
    “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Co. 9:8).
    “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ep. 3:20).
    “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:9-10).
    “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures” (Ps. 36:8).
    “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah” (Ps. 39:4-5).
    “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).
    “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works” (Ec. 9:7). 
    - From the reading about Ecclesiastes 11:8 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  121. Augustine put the Lord off for a long time. “I could give no reply except a lazy and drowsy, ‘Yes, Lord, yes, I’ll get around to it right away; just don’t bother me for a little while. ’ But ‘right away’ didn’t happen right away; and a ‘little while’ turned out to be a very long while.” The frightening thing is that we can express that not only before becoming a Christian, but at each new frontier of discipleship. One of my favorite sayings has been attributed to Etienne de Grellet. “I shall pass through this world but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do, let me do it now; let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

  122. Felix is a classic study in procrastination. The result of his indecision was that he missed his opportunity to allow the Lord to fill the emptiness of his things- oriented, power- hungry, money- grasping heart. He could not decide about Paul, Christ, or himself. The exposition of this passage about this dissolute Roman governor gives both communicator and listeners a walk through the valley of decision. - From Acts 24:25 in the book, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Volumes 1-35: Genesis - Revelation) by Stuart Brisco.