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Basic Life Principles

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Imagine your spouse, your children, and the spouses of your friends and their children being captured and taken to another country. The enemy had looted your neighborhood and burned down your home and the homes of your friends. Now your friends blame you for their losses! Would you be angry? Frustrated? Would you cry out to God to know what to do?
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Contentment is a rare grace today. Finding men and women who truly submit to and delight in the will of God is like getting a breath of fresh air. Frances Ridley Havergal is one of these fresh breezes among the pages of history.
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When I come up against a difficult problem, I throw all my weight against it. I say, “I’m tough, I’m tough.” Sometimes, when I give it everything I have, I find that problems give way. But there are those times when every ounce of strength I can muster, every bit of creativity at my disposal, every talent I can apply leaves me helpless with my problem.
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.”
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 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.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). How many times have you heard this familiar, beloved verse? It has been used in a variety of ways. Christian business leaders have used it to encourage their employees to do their best. Christian politicians have quoted this verse to announce hope for the future. Christian military officers have referenced it on the eve of battle, encouraging the soldiers under their command that Christ gives strength for the victory. It has even been used by Christian volleyball teams as a pep cheer before a game!
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.
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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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New from Character Sketches, Volume IV! A captivating “read-aloud” nature story introduces the character quality of Boldness. This is followed by a story from the pages of Scripture! Character Sketches is designed to be a tool that fathers can use to teach their children basic concepts of Scripture that are also illustrated in the world of nature.
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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.
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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!
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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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