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Basic Life Principles

Robert Edward Lee suffered many disappointments in life. Near the end of his life, Lee wrote a letter to a close friend and former staff officer, Colonel Charles Marshall. The letter reveals how Lee’s hope was anchored in his understanding of the eternal nature of God. Lee wrote: “The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.”
Throughout his realm, Duke Wenceslas I earned the nickname “The Good” for his deeds of piety and charity. He strived to defend his borders from the invasions of the Hungarian clans called the Magyars. The duke also promoted the expansion of Christianity throughout his dominions. His leadership had a positive impact upon his people; after his death, many stories and legends would spread in remembrance of him. Some of the reports surely are true, while others are questionable.
The Brewsters took a bold step when they left the established church to unite with a small, persecuted body of believers known as Separatists. William Brewster knew that he was risking his status, his livelihood, and perhaps his own life by uniting with these despised Christians, but he saw the justice of their cause and he loved the truth more than his own life.
Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was a man of God who consistently and faithfully loved his neighbor. His name is of Greek origin and means “crowned one.” When Stephen first became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is uncertain. He was probably a Hellenistic (Greek) Jew from Jerusalem who came to trust and follow the Lord Jesus during His public ministry.
The French nobleman opened again the book he held in his hands. The nobleman was a prisoner of war, taken captive by the Spanish while defending Saint Quentin (France) in 1557. His brother had sent the book for him to read in his captivity. In the eyes of many, it was a forbidden book—a French Bible. Admiral Gaspard de Coligny was about to read that forbidden book! How might that book change his life?
The tenth commandment warns against the danger of coveting the possessions or positions of other men. Obedience to this important command calls for us to abstain from coveting. However, this is only the bare minimum required by the commandment. On the positive side, we are to learn contentment with the various items that God has provided to us.
Contentment does not come naturally to the selfish heart of man. Neither did it come naturally to the Apostle Paul. In a letter to the Philippians, he testified that it was through hardships and adversity that he had “learned to be content” (Philippians 4:11). We too must learn contentment through the daily experiences of our lives.
Rare in this world is genuine contentment. Very easily we can compare ourselves with others and then grumble and murmur about our difficult lot in life. Covetousness arises very naturally to the heart of man, and it is very easy to envy the blessings that others enjoy. While it may seem that our trials and difficulties are insurmountable, we can always find another man in circumstances that are worse than our own. Today’s biographical sketch looks at the inspiring example of a pastor who not only became blind and lame, but even lost his voice. Still, he remained content with the providence of God.
Are you satisfied? Real satisfaction springs from a heart deeply filled with gratitude to God—not only gratitude for what He has provided, but a deeper gratitude for the essence of Who He is. A soul that is truly satisfied with God’s provision is fully content with God’s goodness, resting in His unchanging character even amidst the changing circumstances of life.
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As you seek to discern how to find meaning, strength, and growth when trials come, these seven basic questions can be a helpful tool for you. By asking questions and seeking wisdom and guidance from God, you can discover purpose as you recognize the transforming work of Christ, even in the midst of suffering.
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Endurance is associated with the physical stamina required for a race. However, the character quality of endurance is much deeper than physical stamina. It includes the strength that comes by rejoicing in the reproaches that come as we follow the ways of God.
A key to forgiving your offenders is realizing that God can work through your suffering to accomplish His purposes in your life. This understanding enabled many people in Scripture to forgive their offenders.
In the Gospel record, we meet a man who was much like us in many ways. He was a working man; in his case, he was an ordinary fisherman from Galilee. He struggled with pride, anger, and self-confidence. But his life was transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ, and God was able to use him mightily, even after his many failures. This man’s testimony can be an encouragement to us all. Let’s look at one particular moment in his life.
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What do we do when someone hurts us deeply? What happens when we hold bitterness toward others? Affirming Biblical Foundations (ABF) is a ten-part, interactive workshop where participants walk through common conflicts we often face, whether in the family, the church, the work place, or the civil arena.
God wants each believer to grow in his knowledge of Him and in his understanding of His ways. He will use situations and circumstances to reveal His love for us and our need for Him. God will use disappointments, hindrances, and what seem to be “dead ends” or hopeless situations in life to motivate us to look to Him for His strength and timing for fulfilling a vision. As we wait on Him, God often works in ways that we never would have expected.
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When someone offends you, your response can lead to the bondage of bitterness or the freedom of forgiveness. You might be surprised by the far-reaching results of your attitudes and actions!
When Truett opened his first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta’s Greenbriar Mall in 1967, the operators of the mall urged him to stay open all seven days of the week. However, he firmly but kindly explained that Chick-fil-A restaurants were closed on Sunday as his policy was to keep the Lord’s Day set apart for his employees to rest and worship with their families.
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The greatest example of one laying down his life for his friends is Christ. We will never be able to fully comprehend the spiritual aspect of Christ’s suffering and shame, but medical studies shed glimpses of light on the physical agony and all the horror that Jesus endured on the cross.
In one terrible day, Job was stripped of every outward manifestation of God’s goodness. As we meet Job in the Bible, God calls him “the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3). He was a man of upright character. He feared the Lord. He avoided evil. He regularly prayed and offered sacrifices. In spite of this consistent, God-honoring character, God had a purpose in the testing of Job. He allowed Satan to tempt Job and to take from the man all that he held dear. In one heartrending parade of messengers bringing bad news, Job was informed that his donkeys and oxen had been stolen by the Sabeans, his sheep had been burned with fire, his camels had been stolen by a band of Chaldeans, and his servants had been slain. Worst of all, his sons and his daughters had been killed when the house in which they were feasting collapsed upon them, leaving Job with no living posterity. Job’s response is a remarkable testimony to his character. As he grieved over the loss of his precious children, we are told that he “rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and […]
The first petition of “The Lord’s Prayer” shows us the high regard in which our Lord Jesus held the name of His Father. When the disciples came to Jesus asking Him to teach them to pray, He answered them, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9). The word hallowed used here is the same word that is usually rendered “sanctified.” The beautiful parallel construction in Greek is easily lost in any English translation. The first three petitions of this prayer, all directed toward our Father in Heaven, are given to us in a distinctive word order. The word order has the verb first for emphasis so that it literally translates: “Let it be sanctified: the name of Thee. Let it be established: the kingdom of Thee. Let it be performed: the will of Thee.” Let’s take a closer look at these statements of affirmation that Christ instructed us to use when we approach our Heavenly Father in prayer.  Let it be Sanctified: The Name of Thee The chief goal of the Lord Jesus Christ was to sanctify the name of His Heavenly Father on earth. When Jesus was born, the angels […]
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