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    Part 2

    Quotes, Quips, Quotations, Wit, Humor, Thought Provokers

    By Grantley Morris

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    Though I’m all for emotional exuberance, the Bible measures love, not in tingles per second, but in putting one’s life on the line (1 John 3:16-18). It’s pain endured in the valley, not gooey feelings in the afterglow of mountaintop ecstasy, that validates love. By all means, passionately seek the face of God, but don’t assume that emotional deadness a normal phase of anyone’s spiritual life implies spiritual deadness. We march by faith, not by warm fuzzies.

    Taken from When Things Get Tough

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    I say it with tears: relative to our enormous potential in Christ, most, perhaps all of us live stunted, malformed lives.

    Taken from Hostile Forces

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    It is frighteningly easy to fall into deception. Even more devastating is that anyone deluded is completely unaware of it. Those in the greatest danger are the ones who think it couldn’t happen to them.

    Taken from Help in Finding God’s Will For Major Life Decisions

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    You might have every reason to hate the person you think God to be, but is that ‘God’ real? Your anger feels justified. We can understand infinite wisdom, however, no more than a babe understands its mother. What if your resentment towards God is like that of a desperately sick child who bites his doctor, imagining the caring doctor to be the cause of his torment, rather than his only hope of recovery? What a tragedy if you let the simple fact that you don’t have infinite IQ rob you of your greatest source of comfort.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    We all know that humanity’s first ministry was nude gardening. It worked. It had God’s blessing. Yet – I hope – we feel no compulsion to emulate their approach to ministry. Nor do I see many people trying to organize their own crucifixion to replicate the most powerful ministry earth has seen. So why try to steal anyone’s ministry style? We would end up looking as ridiculous as skinny David clunking an erratic course in Saul’s ponderous armor.

    You’re a unique work of God. Only a fool would vandalize Leonardo da Vinci’s priceless works by trying to turn them all into Picassos.

    Taken from The Spirit-Led Ministry: Dare to Break the Shackles

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    Although justice would be fully met if God sent us all to hell, he is the good Shepherd. He does not desert the lost even if it is their fault that they wandered off. On the contrary, he seeks the lost, giving them priority over those who are secure (Luke 15:3-7). This is the heart of my Lord. He is the God who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but longs for them to repent and live (Ezekiel 33:11).

    Taken from What about those who have never heard the Gospel?

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    Ministry is the height of intimacy. It is God and you in exquisite harmony bringing heaven to earth. It is your spirit mingled with God’s Spirit flowing out to a needy world. After refreshing the land, bringing life to desert sands, it ascends in clouds of adoration to heaven’s throne. All service should be an act of worship; the overflowing of a heart brimming with love; a cascade of joyous thanksgiving to your wonderful Savior.

    For more see Waiting for Your Ministry

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    After years of slinking away whenever memory of the offense rises, there is nothing so liberating and empowering as seizing the courage to stare down the beast. Too often, however, we hide from admitting to ourselves the extent to which we have been sinned against because we fear that it is just too painful to face and/or that if we fully acknowledged how atrociously we have been treated, we could not find within us the power to forgive so great an offense. Nevertheless, if through faith in Christ you are in true spiritual union with him, the almighty, forgiving Lord is within you; the God of truth who says, “Be ye angry, and sin not” (Ephesians 4:26) and declares that all things work together for good because we are destined to be conformed to the likeness of his glorious Son, (Romans 8:28-30) – the one whose power to face reality and truly forgive knows no limit.

    Taken from Why to Truly Forgive Hinges on Getting in Touch with Your Anger

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    Trust God to treat you as being sinless as Jesus, just as God treated the crucified Christ as being sinful as you.

    For more, see Feeling Condemned? There’s Hope!

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    Intimacy with the Lord Jesus is our only protection against deception.

    For more see Truth: An Awesome Responsibility

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    You could walk down church aisles all your life without ever marrying. Everyone knows that. Yet, tragically, countless thousands have walked down a church aisle and falsely assumed that made them born again. Like marriage, it is a relationship, not a ritual that counts. Spiritual rebirth results from a life-changing union between two persons. You can mumble the sinner’s prayer, the saints’ prayer, any prayer you like; you can join the best church, get wet, slurp communion, look more godly than an archangel, and have not a throb of spiritual life. Your act can be so convincing that you even fool yourself, and remain unaware that your life has missed an entire dimension.

    Taken from Keys to Spiritual Growth

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    Now that God is our Father, we bear the family likeness. At present we are mere embryos relative to what we will become, so our Godlike nature is not yet particularly apparent. Jesus put it this way: humanity is like a field of wheat interspersed with weeds that initially are nearly indistinguishable from wheat (Matthew 13:24-30). With the weeds Jesus had in mind, only an expert could tell which is the true wheat when the crop is young. As both species mature, however, the difference becomes pronounced.

    The exciting news is that through the spiritual miracle made possible by the Son of God trading places with us on the cross, we can, as it were, undergo the gene manipulation that transforms us from weeds to wheat. Once this happens, though there may be little obvious change at first, a fundamental change is initiated. As effortlessly as a child’s nose begins to take on the shape of its father’s nose, so we will grow more and more like Father God, not merely because we try to model ourselves upon him but because God has transformed who we are by seeding his very own nature into our genetic blueprint.

    Taken from Jesus our Brother

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    Forgiving someone who has hurt us does not mean shifting blame from the other party to ourselves or trying to minimize the horrific gravity of the offense. That would not facilitate healing. Christian forgiving transfers all blame to the cross. We find it so hard to let go and entrust the blame and justice issues to Jesus. Nevertheless, our peace and healing hinges on us letting go and letting Jesus bear that blame so that it ends up dead and buried with him and you can rise with him to a new life.

    Moreover, as a consequence of Christ taking our shame, we become spiritually united with Almighty God. That opens up amazing possibilities, even miracles.

    Taken from Serious, Do-It-Yourself Healing

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    Satan is a sore loser. Once he finds something that shakes us up he keeps trying it over and over relentlessly until he is absolutely convinced that his tactics will never again work with you. When, finally, he seems to leave, it is only to bide his time for a surprise attack. His persistence is so very unpleasant. The positive side, however, is that this will make you stronger and stronger as you keep resisting his lies.

    Taken from Nightmare Help

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    The perfection of divine love means that God passionately loves even your worst enemies; more fervently yearning to forgive them than any human is capable of craving anything. He recoils at the thought of in any way letting his beloved Son’s agonizing sacrifice for the sins of the entire world be in vain. He wants NO ONE to perish (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 33:11).

    For more see Forgiving Yourself

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    Some scholars make much of the Bible saying, “The fruit of the Spirit is . . .” rather than, “The fruits of the Spirit are . . .” If someone learning English asked what part of an apple is the fruit, you would reply, “The fruit is the skin, flesh, core and seeds,” just like the Bible says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace and so on. The various elements of an apple are not fruits. It is only fruit when all the elements form one whole, by being united in the way that God grows fruit. Each element is so dependent upon the others that if just one element – the skin, the core, or whatever – were removed from a fruit growing on a tree, the entire fruit would soon begin to rot.

    Every part of the Spirit’s fruit is not only from the same source – our intimacy with God – it is a facet of the one jewel or, looked at another way, a vital organ of the same divinely-conceived baby.

    For more see The Fruit of the Spirit

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    If seeking peace means we are seeking an easy life, we are hurtling headlong into a spiritual crisis.

    We want peace to be something we don’t have to work at. We hope for a divine miracle that requires little or no input from us. But despite being all-powerful, the God of love is into partnership, not domination. He is into relationship and faith. He yearns for regal children, not slaves; Christlike confidants, not robots; moral achievers, not drugged-out zombies.

    Peace is a virtue; a praise-worthy achievement that requires divine help but demands our full-blooded cooperation and input. Like the love the Bible keeps commanding, biblical peace is a decision, not a feeling. And living in peace is about continually opting to do so.

    For more see Find Peace in the Storm

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    Ministry that impresses heaven and ministry that impresses earth are popularity polls apart.

    Let’s not waste our lives trying to hide from criticism. If even cowardly yes-men cannot avoid it, the righteous don’t stand a chance. In fact, Jesus said ‘Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you.’

    Anyone highly respected by sections of the Christian church will invariably be scorned by other sections of the church.

    Great men and women of God, however, do not crumble under criticism. It may wound them, but they push on with what they believe is God’s calling. Spurning the way of least resistance and its pseudo peace, they choose what I call the peace de resistance.

    For more see Coping with Rejection & Cruel Criticism

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    Your need to make a critical decision looms like a fast-approaching freight train. Yet despite desperately wanting to hear from God, he is frustratingly silent. That’s no surprise. God loves drama. Often he waits until almost the last split second before snatching us out of harm’s way. That builds faith. It puts steel in our backbone, spiritually.

    But there is another reason for God having his own timetable. You are loved with an intensity beyond human comprehension. Relentlessly, the One who gave his all for you seeks to draw you closer to him, because that is our deepest need and our most exciting destiny. We, however, tend to be aware of our chronic need for his whispers only when our need for guidance is screamingly obvious. We get annoyed with God because we rarely recognize the extent to which our real need is not for occasional guidance, but constant companionship.

    We long to know what to do; God longs for us to know HIM. Guidance can come in a flash, but getting to know someone – especially when that Someone is infinite – is an adventure that never ends. Whereas we want a five-minute consultation, the Lover of our souls wants for us a lifetime of ever-increasing intimacy, culminating in an eternity of incomprehensibly greater intimacy.

    For more see The Thrilling Mystery of Hearing from God

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    It is alright to feel lonely. We were divinely created with a need for human companionship that can be satisfied by nothing else. Not even a thrilling, fulfilling relationship with God is a complete substitute, any more than having a wonderful friend removes our longing for marriage. Just as God could miraculously eliminate our need for oxygen, he could eliminate our need for human companionship, but he rarely does, because we can bring eternal glory to ourselves by the way we respond to this longing.

    For more see Overcoming Loneliness

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    From a poem by a man whose babies died by miscarriage:

    They’ve breezed their way to Paradise.
    How smooth their getting there;
    So free from blame and shame.

    More pain than them I’ve known,
    Yet our destiny’s the same.
    Their journey there was easy;
    Long and hard is mine.
    But whether quick or long,
    We will meet again.

    Till then, my loves, rest easy.
    Behold his face and rejoice
    Without a single fear.
    I shall come to you some day
    And you shall dry my tears,
    As I weep in joy
    To see your cheery face.
    And even now at times
    I think I hear your giggles,
    But rest, my loves, in his arms,
    Till I am with you there.

    Taken from Where Do Babies Go When They Die?

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    It’s said a little knowledge is dangerous, but the frightening reality is that more knowledge is even more dangerous because it increases the likelihood of being blinded by pride and becoming unteachable.

    Taken from The Spiritual Essentials For Accurate Bible Interpretation

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    Even though forgiving others is not the cure-all that some people ignorantly suppose it to be, most of us realize that forgiving those who have wronged us is a critical step on one’s healing journey. A common mistake, however, is supposing that making light of an offense against us means we are gracious and forgiving. The truth is very different. No one can forgive an innocent person. To forgive anyone, an offense has to be committed. This means that for complete forgiveness, the gravity of the offense must be acknowledged. Yes, admitting to ourselves the full extent of the offense makes it harder for us to forgive, but it makes forgiveness genuine and, by doing so, brings deeper healing.

    Taken from Why Minor Sex Abuse Hurts So Much

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    Taken in context, Romans 8:28 seems to be saying that the good that God works towards by manipulating all things that beset us, is not that we get our selfish pleasure but that we end up conformed to the image of Christ. If that disappoints you a little, you haven’t thought it through. To be like Christ is something far more wondrous that any cheap thrills you might have had in mind.

    To be like Christ is to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit – love, peace, goodness, self-control, and so on. That’s thrilling, but there’s more. To be like Christ is to be not just dignified but regal, not just powerful but ruling from heaven’s throne, not just smart but having access to divine wisdom, not just attractive but radiant with unsurpassable inner beauty, not just morally upright but perfect in the piercing eyes of humanity’s holy Judge, not just happy but overflowing with inexpressible joy, not just youthful but eternal, not just sympathetic but empowered to transform lives.

    Taken from Turning Wasted Years into Blessing

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    “Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me,” declared our Savior (Matthew 10:38). I dare not rob that chilling statement of the dread filling the thumping hearts of Jesus’ original hearers. Crucifixions were so common that all Jesus’ contemporaries must surely have seen condemned criminals dragging their crosses on the way to a most torturous death. Later, many of his hearers witnessed their Leader agonizing on the cross, confirming the enormity of the cost involved.

    It is an inescapable fact that the cross is sheer agony. I would be little better than a charlatan to suggest otherwise.

    Following Christ starts by sweating drops of blood, sobbing the prayer, “Not my will but yours.” It necessitates abandoning our pet sins, even though the incessant craving may gnaw at our insides day after endless day. It involves lowering ourselves in our own eyes; viewing ourselves as weak, ignorant and useless without Jesus’ constant input, and believing we are so morally corrupt that we deserve endless torment in hell. It could well mean letting people walk all over us, or choosing a path that exposes us to rejection, ridicule, perhaps even physical suffering. It will probably involve giving up whatever is dearest to our heart. It might be prized possessions, hobbies, loved ones, a promising career, financial security, or the right to marry the person we love, but whatever most rivals our love for God may have to go. Jesus’ teaching is crammed with this emphasis and if it is currently unpopular to talk about it, that just shows how far we have yet to go before we truly reflect Jesus.

    The cost is exceeded only by the reward.

    Taken from Spiritual Secrets

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    Relax. Know that you are in God’s strong, capable hands. There is no need to fear or fret about a thing. The Lord is in control and he is eager to sort out all your problems.

    Taken from Developing Your Love Affair With God

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    To cut through spiritual deception and blindness to discover eternal truth, it is essential that we get passionately serious with God. No matter how uncomfortable it makes me, I must continually seek to expand my mind and heart to embrace the staggering vastness of God’s full biblical revelation.

    Taken from Forgotten Christian Secrets of Prosperity

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    Over many years, hundreds of people have confidentially bared their hearts to me. Throughout this time I have found myself repeatedly flabbergasted by the astounding power of ordinary husbands and fathers to mold, almost in concrete, their loved ones’ conception of God. They achieve this not by theological dissertation, but solely by the way they exercise their God-given authority over their loved ones. I keep trying everything I can to help people whose spiritual lives have been crippled by inadequate men. “God is not like that man!” I desperately plead, almost to the point of uprooting my hair, “The Lord is altogether different. God is trustworthy. You’re so special to him.” But most of my words bounce off the concrete poured by a solitary, apparently insignificant man, whom they call husband or father.

    Taken from Husband, Head of a Submissive Wife?

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    A prayer:

    You are no killjoy, precious Lord. In the extravagance of your love and creative genius you have crafted for your children a stunning array of exquisite delights. Before sin’s pollution, when everything sparkled with your perfection and purity, pleasure was an integral part of the creation that you pronounced to be very good. But I know it is not good to be a slave to pleasure, nor to be defiled.

    May I delight you and thank you by enjoying all the thrilling things you have lovingly planned for me. And may I avoid every treacherous imitation of eternal fulfillment; every enemy of lasting joy.

    Taken from How to Receive Spiritual Revelation

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    Christianity is a crutch?

    More than a crutch, it is a whole new set of legs. A living relationship with Jesus – and not everyone claiming to be a Christian has one – makes everything else look like a crutch. It’s power to face problems head on. The transformation is like a machine with nearly dead batteries being plugged into a new power source.

    Jesus fills the unfillable hole within us. He makes us whole. He meets our deepest needs. As pianos were made to be played, we were made for Jesus. He alone releases our full potential.

    Everything anyone has ever enjoyed springs from God’s creative genius and generosity. Like babies, all of us used to take everything from God and in the height of selfishness give our Maker barely as much as a ‘Thank you,’ in return. To become a true Christian is to come of age. It is to take up your responsibilities with the One to whom you owe everything.

    Until we face our spiritual inadequacy, we are shutting our eyes to reality, like dungeon dwellers recoiling from sunlight; like burns victims smashing mirrors (John 3:19). Christians who have truly found God are very ordinary people who dared confront the spiritual need the rest of us fearfully suppress. Through Jesus they somehow found the courage to push against the torrent of popular opinion and say good-bye to their favorite sins and the stranglehold of almost life-long habits. They put their life on the line and to their surprise found the warm presence of God.

    Taken from Don’t need God?

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    God weeps. No one in a lifetime has been so spurned, so misunderstood, so much hated without cause as God is every moment of every day by millions of people, each of whom he loves more than we could conceive. No one is touched as deeply by humanity’s anguish as its Creator. No one is as aware of suffering humanity as God is, and no one loves with the intensity that God loves. And your pain intensifies his pain.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    Lost in prayer, David Brainerd did not see the reared rattlesnake poised to strike his face. Watching wide-eyed with glee, were hate-crazed savages who had snuck up to the tent for the express purpose of murdering him. Unexpectedly, the snake suddenly veered and slid away. The Red Indians also silently retreated, awed by the snake’s reaction and intent upon spreading the word about this pale-face who so clearly had the Great Spirit’s protection. Oblivious to the entire episode, David broke camp and continued his journey. Yes, that was unusually dramatic, but are you any less ignorant of what takes place in the unseen spirit-world and within the sealed vault of people’s minds as you go about your normal affairs with the touch of God upon your life?

    Taken from Prayer Motivation

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    Perhaps our greatest need is not huge faith, but to fully use our small faith. Perhaps we miss out because we devalue our faith, not using it to the fullest because we wrongly imagine that tiny faith is too insignificant to move the hand of God. If faith is more valuable than gold (1 Peter 1:7), the merest speck is too precious to despise. Do not let feelings of inadequacy strangle your faith. Just keep pressing on. Past greats achieved much with floundering faith. So can you.

    Taken from Depressed Saints

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    When, as they often do, Christians admit to me that they are angry at God, I’m delighted. When angry at God, if you don’t get it off your chest it could crush the life out of you. Suppressing it or trying to convince yourself that you don’t feel that way is as smart as pretending you don’t have a medical condition that is curable if treated in time but deadly if ignored.

    Taken from Angry at God

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    Although we can gain a little insight into God’s wisdom, were all our attempts to fail utterly, we have the security of knowing that our sorrow plunges a knife into the heart of the all-powerful Lord. That’s the ultimate proof that secreted within the stupendous intellect of Almighty God is an ingenious, love-filled reason for allowing it.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    Royal blood flows in your veins. Dam-busting, mountain-blasting, Satan-crushing power resides in you. You are in Christ, incandescent with God’s glory; one spirit with the almighty Lord of heaven and earth. Jettison the dead-weights of doubt and defeatism and wing to the heights you were born for.

    Taken from Know The Time

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    James 4:6  . . . God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

    For most of my life, scriptures like this have filled me with such dread of the dangerous trap of pride that I felt driven to avoid it at all costs. Tragically, this commendable attitude got me nowhere. My godly intentions were sabotaged by such a mistaken understanding of pride that all I managed was to fall into false humility. I wrongly thought I could foster humility by thinking negatively about myself. To my horror, I eventually discovered that false humility is itself a form of pride.

    I correctly understood that if I thought I could achieve anything of lasting value without God’s help, or if I thought I were moral enough to gain God’s approval outside of Christ’s forgiveness, then humbling myself involved lowering my opinion of myself. My mistake, however, was in wrongly concluding from this that the basic ingredient of humility is having a low opinion of oneself.

    Godly humility flows not from thinking lowly of oneself but from seeing things through God’s eyes. Pride is having the audacity to disagree with God. It is saying I know more than the God of the universe; my puny intellect knows better than the Almighty; the God of truth is wrong and I am right.

    Since the God of love sees you as lovable, and true humility involves taking God’s assessment of everything as gospel, humility requires you to see yourself as lovable. If God sees you through eyes of love, how dare you see yourself in a different light, as if your perspective is right and your Creator and Savior is wrong? If God forgives you, to refuse to forgive yourself is to have the audacity to imply that you have higher moral standards than the Judge of all the earth; that you are holier than the Holy Lord. Isn’t that the very pinnacle of pride? Please avoid this deadly trap.

    Taken from Help, Comfort and Healing for Everyone Who Says, ‘I Can’t Forgive Myself’

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    You’re special to God, not because of your greatness but because of the greatness of his love.
    It’s not that you are perfect but that his love is perfect.
    You can kick off your shoes, slip off your masks and rest in that love.
    Make yourself cozy, let your cares float away and bask in his love.
    Lie in the warmth as you snuggle content and enjoy that love.
    Let go of your sin, luxuriate in peace, knowing the reality that God is love.

    Taken from Why, in God’s Eyes, You are Irreplaceable

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    Jesus likened the Christian spiritual experience to buried treasure. Millions walk past it, never suspecting the wonders that lie below the surface. Anyone who makes the discovery, however, would eagerly trade for it everything they had previously treasured, like trading trinkets for truckloads of diamonds.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    Many of us think of a father as colder and sterner than a mother and this unconsciously affects our feelings for God.

    For more, see God as Tender as a Mother?

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    The presence of obvious physical reasons for our problems does not reduce the likelihood that they are shots fired from the spirit world. Paul faced enough natural dangers to seize anyone’s attention – wild seas, infected wounds, bandits – yet he focused on spiritual battle.

    Though Paul regularly bled at the hands of human opponents, he insisted that our fight is not with people but with spiritual powers (Ephesians 6:12). His gospel threatened the livelihood, pride and traditions of thousands. Wherever he looked, human reasons for his struggle glared at him. Yet he saw the human component of his conflict as inconsequential. Either Paul was a fruitloop or we clash with the non-physical realm more than most of us suppose.

    Taken from Prayer Motivation

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    If the mess this world is in causes you to question God’s goodness: think again. We aren’t in heaven yet. On the contrary, we live in a world in which the dominant species – humanity – is in rebellion against the good Lord. If acting contrary to God’s will produced something good, then God’s will could not be good. Of logical necessity, a world rebelling against a good God must be filled with pain, suffering, injustice and despair.

    Taken from Help When Doubt Knocks

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    Try we hard enough in every circumstance we can find reason to complain and reason to rejoice. To praise is to feast on the goodness of God. To complain is to languish in the squalor of self.

    To praise God is to party. It is cutting the cords to earthly burdens and heading for heaven’s joys. It infuriates the devil because it not only plucks us out of the misery he had meticulously planned, it lets us sneak into the victory celebration ahead of time. To praise is to cheat the devil, laugh in his face and step into God’s time machine.

    Taken from God’s Anti-Depressant

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    When the doubled-over woman met Jesus he could have said, ‘See me at sundown.’ That was the end of the Jewish Sabbath and presumably no more than twelve hours away – a mere 0.0076% extension to her eighteen-year wait for healing. To heal on the Sabbath was to gush petroleum upon the smoldering wrath of his enemies. The inferno could even offend sincere believers and convince the undecided that his powers were Satanic. But to the eternal Son of God those few uneventful hours in the life of a nameless woman – a 0.0076% deferral – was too high a price.

    For the One to whom a thousand years are as a day, one day is like a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8). Infinite Love will restrain himself until the perfect time, but not one second longer.

    Your name is on God’s calendar.

    Taken from Know the Time

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    The Bible opens by affirming that God created humanity to rule. From the onset, the Lord of hosts delegated authority to man and woman (Genesis 1:26-28). Humanity lost much when it lost its innocence, but with the breaking of sin’s curse by the shed blood of the innocent Son of God, we are again expected to rule, acting like Jesus in ousting evil hordes.

    If you were granted police powers, would you tolerate a law breaker vandalizing a sacred place, or assaulting someone, or molesting a child? Well aren’t you the Spirit’s holy sanctuary, part of Christ’s body and God’s own child? Is it proper for you to passively endure an evil assault upon your person? Shouldn’t you be incensed that cowering low-life, whose defeat cost the very life of the Son of God, would have the audacity to trespass onto God’s turf, insult a work of God and violate a part of Christ’s very body? When opposed by vile spirits, rise with indignation and enforce your Christ-won authority by ousting those frauds.

    Taken from Turning Spiritual Attack into Victory

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    When people suppose they are avoiding pain, and think the damage they have suffered is untreatable anyway, people are content to let unpleasant memories remain buried. But the surfacing of suppressed memories can be a blessing – and might sometimes be a direct act of God – because the damage can be treated and the pain can end, provided people with these pasts stop living in denial.

    You need never fear truth. The Healing Lord is the God of truth and he moves in an atmosphere of truth, not one of living in denial. Just as Jesus offers full forgiveness but we must confess our sins – admit to ourselves that we are morally damaged – so healing is available to us but we must first admit that we have been internally wounded.

    To deliberately live in denial is to resist the Spirit of truth. Even though he knew they needed healing, Jesus – the truth (John 14:6) – didn’t heal people without them facing reality and admitting their problem. As much as Jesus wanted to heal them, their healing hinged on them admitting that they were sick and needed healing. Had they said, “I’m fine,” they would have missed their healing. This principle applies to emotional healing as well as physical healing. There is no truth that takes God by surprise. There is nothing too hard for him or is beyond his ability to forgive.

    God wants you empowered to get on with your life but this cannot happen until with Christ you face the ghosts of the past. Living in denial is a sure way to keep the pain nagging in the background and hinder healing.

    Taken from Positive Confession or Living in Denial?

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    I make no plea for blind tolerance. That’s one of the fad heresies of our age, and even the bigoted Pharisees wrongly tolerated temple money-changers. But whether they erred on the side of acceptance or rejection, the Pharisees’ error was always the same: they let the accepted norms of their group ring so loud in their ears that they couldn’t hear the heartbeat of God. Like us, they were sure they would never make such a mistake.

    We must bow before the Holy One whose ways are not our ways. All our joy is to be found in the perfection of his will, no matter how it clashes with human tradition – even the accepted norms of our own church.

    Taken from The Spirit-Led Ministry: Dare to Break the Shackles

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    If by answered prayer we mean being given what we want when we want it, it is a biblical fact that not every prayer will be answered, no matter how godly or filled with faith we are.

    Paul acknowledged that the thorn in the flesh he was suffering was from Satan. The torment was so awful that three times the mighty apostle pleaded with God to remove it. And yet God refused to answer his prayer of escapism. It was God’s plan for the affliction hammering him to bless him by saving him from the quicksand of pride.

    Over and over Scripture tells us to rejoice in trials. This is not so that we can act macho but because trials really are something to rejoice about. Trials do us good, developing character and spiritual benefits that will last for all eternity. Trials truly are a blessing. They equip us for ministry. They equip us for eternity. Like Paul, however, when we’re in the midst of them we want them to end this instant. Nevertheless, there are times when God loves us too much to answer those escapist prayers. God has our long-term good at heart, not some short term high that fizzles.

    Taken from The Joy of Unanswered Prayer

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    The Word of God often identifies a “hard heart” as the reason for people failing to perceive spiritual truth.

    There is nothing like a head knowledge of Scripture for so blinding us with pride that we suppose we have arrived when we haven’t left the starting blocks.

    1 Corinthians 8:1  . . . Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

    Both knowledge and love make a person seem bigger but one is nothing but hot air.

    Jesus kept clashing with people who, in zeal for upholding the law of God seemed faultless, but in loving as God loves were seriously flawed.

    I’m reminded of how the disciples’ reaction to the man born blind differed from Jesus’ reaction:

    John 9:1-2 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

    What an intriguing question! That would keep theologians in fever pitch for years. Instead, Jesus healed the man.

    It is so easy to find ourselves delighting in theological and intellectual discussion, rather than being moved by compassion for needy people.

    When encountering gays, prostitutes, child molesters, abortionists, liberal preachers or fallen pastors we might be exceedingly zealous in upholding God’s standard of righteousness, but do we uphold God’s standard of love and grace? How tender our heart is towards those who have failed morally is at least one measure of the hardness of our heart. How much our eyes are filled with God’s compassion is an indication of how likely we are to see biblical truth through God’s eyes.

    Taken from The Heart of Bible Interpretation

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    Don’t need God?

    People sometimes say they don’t need love. They hope it’s a sign of strength. Sadly, all it indicates is a fear of getting hurt, and the result is a hollow life. Asserting that we don’t need Jesus is similar, and even more tragic.

    No one could survive a millisecond without God. He holds the entire universe together, including every atom in our body. We are like a delicate fish in an aquarium blissfully unaware of its dependence because it thinks it is simply the nature of food to suddenly appear every day and that water quality, temperature and aeration take care of themselves. For years we have acted like a parasite, sucking everything we can from the Creator and more or less treating him as if he doesn’t exist. God in his kindness has let us abuse his generosity, giving us time to come to our senses. Our time, however, is running out.

    We might survive a month without eating (but who would want to?). To live for years, however, we must have food. We might survive a hundred years without surrendering to God (though it would be a tragic waste). But to live forever, we must yield to Jesus.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    Islam is not founded upon sacrificial love. So I can understand a few hate-filled people claiming to be true Muslims. I can find no such excuse, however, for anyone responding with hate to Muslim radicals, while claiming to be loyal to Christianity’s Founder who so loved his enemies that he shed his blood for them.

    Taken from Love Your Enemies?

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    Why does God miraculously deliver some people from addictions or habits, whereas for others it is an agonizingly tough, prolonged battle? As I prayerfully pondered this mystery, I was staggered to discover that miraculous deliverances reveal God’s power and bring him glory, but it is allowing prolonged battles with sin that reveals God’s love and wisdom and bring us glory.

    For more, see Life’s Mysteries Explained

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    Intellectual arguments for not becoming Christians are a smokescreen. Look below the surface and see that we humans are basically Adam, naked and running for cover. Without Christ we all stand guilty before a holy God and we know it. We try everything to move the spotlight from our dirty conscience onto other things, not realizing that we can turn and enjoy the warm embrace of our Savior.

    For more, see Witnessing Made Easy

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    Music began in the heart of God.

    For more, see In Tune with God: Chapter 1

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    The more we fall in love with someone, the more totally we want to know that person. Take Moses and the Apostle Paul as examples. These great men of God, after having already experienced God in a very deep way, both expressed the yearning to know God in an even fuller, more intimate way (Exodus 33:13,18; Philippians 3:8,10).

    Knowing God is so basic that it is the essential part of eternal life (John 17:3). It is the one thing worth boasting about (Jeremiah 9:24).

    Even in intimate human relationships, getting to know someone fully is a life-long process. How much more should this be the case in getting to know God.

    If we probe too deeply into the personal life of a human being, we must brace ourselves for disappointment. We will inevitably find faults in the person, but we never have to fear discovering a flaw in God. He is the most exciting, fascinating and wonderful person there is. His character is so beautiful that the more you know him the more you will fall in love with him.

    Taken from Developing Your Love Affair With God

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    Most of us misunderstand the nature of prophecy. The prophet Jonah’s unfulfilled prophecy of the imminent destruction of Nineveh is but one of many Bible proofs that whether God’s prophecies come true often hinges on human response to the prophecy.

    For more, see The Mysterious Nature of Prophecy

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    Without knowing it, you have probably met someone with multiple personalities. You might even know the person quite well and not realize this about him/her. As Christians it would seem a good guess that multiple personalities is demonic but it turns out to be not just a bad guess but as dangerous as a surgeon blissfully supposing he is doing wonders by amputating the leg of the wrong patient.

    For more, see Multiple Personalities

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    “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ,” said Paul (1 Corinthians 11:1). And we know how much both Paul and Jesus suffered.

    The cost highlights why faith is so essential to authentic Christianity. Faith is the glue without which our entire spiritual life disintegrates. Without faith, we would not dare pay the price. We would be left only with false religion, no matter how much we cite Christian doctrine. And what faith it takes! Without a foretaste, it is nearly impossible even to imagine anything so wonderful as to make the cost worthwhile. Whatever could move anyone to pay such a price? I suggest the greatest of all motivations: love. The future joy that moved Jesus to endure the cross was not the happiness that ease and luxury gives, nor an empty euphoria like a drug-induced high. What held Jesus to the cross was the thrill and matchless satisfaction of knowing he was delighting the Father who meant everything to him, and the ecstasy of obtaining eternal fellowship with us, whom he loves with an intensity beyond our comprehension. Likewise, it was supernatural love pumping through the hearts of the early Christians that propelled them to exult in what they regarded as the privilege of suffering for their Lord (Acts 5:40-42). And it was that same love that exploded within the heart of Paul, driving him to count all his earlier achievements as trash relative to the joy of intimately knowing Christ and of sharing in Christ’s suffering (Philippians 3:8-10). We love because Christ first loved us. We embrace pain because he first did it for us.

    When I remind you that “hope” is a theological term about the certainty of the reward, you will see that we have been discussing the big three – faith, hope and love. No wonder Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 sang the praises of these three qualities. They empower us to embrace the cross and thus plunge into the riches Christ has purchased for us.

    Taken from Spiritual Secrets

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    On the pretext of having a high view of God, people sometimes end up portraying God as sub-human – an impersonal force more akin to a machine or gravity than the Creator of us all. The secret attraction of this presumption is that it is easier to ignore a nebulous force than a God who thinks and feels and judges. If we can feel and love, our Maker can do all that – and more. If to some of us God seems impersonal, it suggests not the shallowness of God’s nature but the shallowness of our relationship with him. God is warm. His standards are granite. His heart is soft.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    Why do the innocent wouldn’t suffer?

    Humanity can boast one perfect Person. We killed him. Yet our only Innocent gladly suffered the injustice to free the guilty from suffering eternal justice. In this cataclysmic exchange, the Innocent and the guilty traded places, making it spiritually legal for his suffering to end your suffering. As incredible as it seems, this has ushered us to the brink of a new world where the longing deep within us will be met – deceit, abuse, and hurtful actions will be swallowed by goodness; misery will dissolve in endless joy.

    But temporary earthly pain continues for a wonderful reason. A paradise of harmony, trust, openness and love would quickly spoil if just one of its citizens acted remotely like we presently behave. To enter a perfect world without shattering its perfection, would require a personality transformation more radical than ever seen on earth. Through Jesus’ intervention, God can perform this miracle and make us fit for such a world, but he won’t abuse us by forcing a personality change upon us against our will. We must be willing to let God take our pet sins from us and, in his unlimited wisdom and love, rule every part of our lives.

    Humanity quivers on the brink of extinction, mesmerized by sin like serpent’s prey. Each moment that God suppresses his explosive urge to extinguish evil, is a moment in which billions of us have yet another chance to come to our senses and let Jesus deliver us from our infatuation with sin. But the end of this period of grace is hurtling toward us. Soon all suffering will cease. All wrongdoing will be destroyed, along with everyone still caught in its deadly embrace.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    Prayer is fearsome ammunition. Without a canon, however, even the deadliest ammunition cannot pound the enemy. For faith-packed prayer to reach its full ferocity it must be used in conjunction with two other aspects of spiritual warfare. One aspect – legality – is automatic for the born again warrior. It is the other – authoritative aggression – where many of us falter.

    If undesirables have moved into our house, it is insufficient to establish that their action is unlawful. Nor is it enough to complete an assertiveness training course. Confirming our legal standing and strengthening our resolve to enforce our rights are both vital steps, but it is futile to stop here. We must actually evict the squatters.

    Our spiritual union establishes the illegality of Satan’s move against us. Without this, as the sons of Sceva discovered, good intentions and pious or aggressive ranting achieves nothing (Acts 19:13-17).

    In addition, we need prayer to build us up, empowering us for spiritual confrontation. We often so focus on Paul’s itemization of the armor in his classic on spiritual combat that we forget it culminates in ‘praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit’ (Ephesians 6:18). The disciples, bewildered by their inability to expel a demon, needed Jesus’ revelation that there is no alternative to prayer (Mark 9:17-18,28-29). No matter how intimately they knew Jesus, prayerlessness still meant powerlessness.

    Yet with our union with Christ resolving the legal issue and prayer girding us with divine strength, insidious trespassers will continue until we enforce our blood-bought rights. Jesus, ‘who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil,’ (Acts 10:38) not only spent entire nights in prayer, he authoritatively confronted anti-God forces. Time and again he rebuked opponents to God’s will, be they fevers, storms, demons or whatever. We must follow his lead.

    Taken from Turning Spiritual Attack into Victory

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    To humble yourself is to be exalted. To make yourself everyone’s servant is to rule with the King of kings. To die to selfishness is to come alive to God and the exquisite perfection of his love. To yield to that love, letting it flow through you to all around, is life eternal.

    Taken from God’s View of Marriage

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    The way we revere a few gifts and denigrate the rest, you’d think the ideal body of Christ consisted of a giant set of flapping gums, a fingernail emitting divine bolts of power, and a few emaciated odds and sods.

    Is there really such a thing as a lowly ministry? Might it not be that the only thing that can make a ministry mediocre is a mediocre effort? In the context of ministry, Paul speaks of ‘striving to excel’. (1 Corinthians 14:12 – Amplified Bible – many versions are similar) The pursuit of excellence is a challenge from the throne of God to every Bible-believing Christian.

    ‘Do small things as if they were great, because of the majesty of Christ,’ counseled Hudson Taylor. He said we should even ‘hang up clothes, wash, dress and comb our hair in a way to use to the full measure of ability which God has given us to the glory of his holy name.’ I was so impressed I chose a likely spot on the floor, rummaged through two dirty shirts, assorted books, three socks and a shoe, finally found a pen, blew off the fluff and recorded the quote. (My special gift is the ability to encourage – people come to me thinking they are the world’s worst and leave greatly encouraged.)

    If you are called to be a cleaner then rise to that challenge with the grace of Strauss, the flair of Michelangelo, the persistence of Edison and the dedication of Jessie Owens. Polish with the love of a mother, the care of surgeon, and the joy of a lover. Pour your soul into your work till it gleams with heavenly glory; till God can look at your floors and see his face in them; till all of heaven exalts you as an example of what a cleaner should be.

    Taken from God’s Radical Views

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    Marriage continues to be a never-ending honeymoon for me and, as mind-boggling as it seems to me, it gets even better. I never dared hope that anyone could have such a superb wife. I was sure that such a ridiculous fantasy would doom any man to deep disappointment. I am convinced that if anyone knew how much like a king Vicki treats me and how in love and powerfully attracted she is to everything about me, I would be the envy of almost every man, and most women would resent her for setting the bar far too high.

    Perhaps one reason for Vicki’s intense physical attraction to me is that, starting from her mid-teens, God gave her several not merely symbolic but physically accurate visions of me.

    I keep pleading with Vicki to ease up on waiting on me hand and foot and going way beyond fulfilling my every whim, asking nothing in return, but to my bewilderment she delights in daily lavishing me with extravagant acts of love. To her it is not servitude but rich fulfillment of longings she has cherished since youth.

    If anyone is interested, I believe a significant factor in the astounding happiness of our marriage is that we take nothing about each other for granted. We are exceedingly grateful for everything our partner does and is; being acutely aware of how many people do not have such wonderful partners. Whereas we see pamper our partner as our duty, as well as our joy, we treasure anything our partner gives us as an undeserved privilege; not our marital right.

    For decades I have strongly believed in concentrating exclusively of one’s marital obligations; never one’s supposed rights. And I refused to let myself fantasize about the perfect wife but focused instead on how to make the most of it should I end up with a far less desirable wife. Very many years ago, the Lord asked Vicki whether she would live for self or live for love. Likewise, I live to give, not to get. That’s just who I am. In fact, to have meeting one’s own desires as one’s focus is to shrivel up and die.

    I had thought that all those agonizing decades of singleness were making me set in my ways and undermining any capacity I had to be a good husband but now it seems those painful years were actually equipping me to treasure and cherish Vicki. I had expected that if ever I were granted marital happiness it would be marred by the knowledge that I had missed out on it for most of my life. This is nothing like the case. Though I still remember the pain, I have not the merest tinge of regret.

    So our marriage is bliss but earthly happiness is of little consequence. Actually, more often than not, happiness is a negative; lulling its victims into growing soft. It is in the tough times that we usually learn the most and develop spiritually. Not even eternal reward means much compared with honoring God. I would gladly trade all of heaven’s rewards if it would enable me to bring the slightest joy to the love of my life: the Lord Jesus.

    Taken from Who is Grantley Morris?

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    Should you start looking for reasons to doubt God’s goodness, the stench will attract demons from every direction. If, for example, you are willing to let one or two Scriptures sabotage your faith in God’s integrity, slimy hordes will rush to your assistance in finding Bible verses to bolster your doubts, just as Satan quoted Scripture to tempt Jesus (Luke 4:9-12).

    Rather than wrestle incessantly with the Scripture Satan cited, Christ considered it sufficient simply to quote another Scripture and cling to it. In contrast, the way to send demons into a frenzy of malicious delight is to refuse to accept the rest of the Bible as sufficient and focus on an inadequate understanding of one or two Scriptures; arrogantly demanding a full explanation of obscure Scriptures before conceding the truth of all the other Scriptures that unambiguously insist on God’s goodness, selflessness, dependability, love of justice, and so on.

    Once demons see that just one or two doubts is all it takes to undermine your faith, they will delight in you as a soft target and pour their united effort into keeping you focused on doubts and the arrogant stupidity of demanding full understanding of every Scripture and circumstance before you will put your faith in Christ.

    The great temptation is to rely on our intellect to battle such attacks but the weapons of our warfare are not human but spiritual (cf 2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 6:12-13; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:4-5; Zechariah 4:6; 1 Samuel 17:45,47). The way to win is not through argument but to rebuke the spirits behind the lies, stubbornly refuse to cave in to the doubts that incessantly scream at you, and keep clinging to the fact that God is so much more righteous than us that, as Jesus indicated, no one but God is truly good (Mark 10:18).

    It is proper to seek God for deeper understanding but we must not make our determination to love and serve God conditional upon receiving instant answers that our finite minds can grasp. If all God’s ways were intelligible to us he would not be God but an imposter. God not our puny intellect must be our God.

    Taken from Help When Doubt Knocks

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    Put bluntly, the main reason we undervalue many important ministries is worldliness. The world looks for human recognition (Compare Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18; 23:2-12, 27-18; Luke 6:22-26). We do lip service, for example, to the power of prayer, yet view an evangelist basking in the limelight more favorably than the prayer-wrestler hidden in the back room. We exalt the virile missionary and sneer at the withered old lady whose paltry dollars God multiplied to carry that missionary to the field. If we’re blinded by carnality, heaven isn’t. To measure success in terms of human acclaim is to serve man, not God.

    Your average evangelist steals glory for soul-winning from those who prayed, witnessed and worked the miracle of enticing non-Christians to a Christian meeting. Many of the evangelist’s ‘converts’ either found Christ before he arrived or through counseling after he left. Though few preachers are deliberate glory thieves, there will be many reversals in the next life.

    Taken from Prayer Motivation

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    Your relationship with God should be grounded not on fickle feelings but upon the integrity of God’s character. God is the most reliable source of information there is. If he says something, it is true, regardless of temporary and superficial appearances and how we happen to feel at the time. Our physical senses, intuition and emotions are all highly unreliable when it comes to detecting spiritual reality. For instance, virtually every genuine Christian on this planet has at times had an inner feeling that could be interpreted to mean that God has deserted them. In reality, you can know he is still with you because God has promised to be always with you (Matthew 28:20) but you will need to trust that promise. To give another example; it is not uncommon for a Christian to be absolutely pure in God’s sight and yet still feel guilty.

    If a pilot were to place more credence upon his feelings (whether he ‘felt’ that his plane was upright, etc.) than on his plane’s instrumentation he would be in great danger. God’s Word is 100% reliable, but our feelings lack that reliability. The only safe thing is to place full confidence in God’s Word.

    Taken from Developing Your Love Affair With God

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    Many people imagine they despise Christianity when they are merely rejecting aspects of Churchianity that Jesus himself would reject.

    Jesus denounced religious hypocrites. So if hypocrisy turns your stomach, you might be Christlike, but to make this claim stick you must have Jesus’ attitude to hypocrites: he forgave them.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    There is no God?

    To see the logic of leaving God out of the equation, consider this:

    Frog + Princess’s kiss = Handsome Prince (fairy tale)

    Frog + Chance + Millions of years = Handsome Prince (science)

    By definition, no one knows what lies outside their tiny circle of knowledge. To claim you know there is no God is to claim you have exhaustively searched every part of every universe and dimension with an infallibly accurate method of detecting every non-physical entity that could possibly exist. The claim that God has taken the initiative and chosen to reveal himself to some people is not nearly as unbelievable.

    Don’t be like a blind person trying to convince himself that because he has never seen, everyone else claiming to see must be mistaken. In the realm beyond your present experience amazing things could dwell – even a God poised to shatter your insensibility to him.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    Jesus is our Savior – saving us from many things we could never bear, including an eternity in hell. In addition, Jesus is our Example – the Pioneer who trail-blazed the route for us to follow, all the way to the cross and beyond. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2). Not only was it necessary for our Leader to suffer en route to indescribable victory, joy and honor, so must his followers. Prayerfully consider such Scriptures as:

    1 Peter 2:20-21 . . . if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

    1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude . . .

    1 Peter 4:12-13 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

    Taken from Spiritual Secrets

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    A thankful person is a happy person. An envious person torments himself with needless misery.

    Our fallen nature is such that we find it easier to be grumpy about what we don’t have than to be grateful for what we have. To rise above this degradation is a continual challenge. The more we praise God, however, the more he will praise us.

    Taken from Forgotten Christian Secrets of Prosperity

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    “If God really loved me he would act differently.” Though that thought that may often sneak in, what we are actually saying is if God cared for us as little as we are for ourselves; if he were as short-sighted as us; if he knew as little as we do; he would immediately gratify us. We have every reason to revel in the certainty that our Lord does not share our inadequacies.

    Taken from Know The Time

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    Without ever intending to, vast numbers of caring, Bible-loving Christians have slipped from the Bible’s view of grief. They suppose they should be more lion-hearted than David the giant-killer, the man after God’s own heart who, upon finding Ziklag burnt and his family taken captive, wept aloud until there was no strength left in him, before heroically seizing back from the enemy everything that had been stolen (1 Samuel 30:3-19). There are Christians who think they should be less human than Jesus, who often wept, and more spiritual than the Spirit-filled early church. See how the power-packed early church reacted to the death of its first martyr: “Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him” (Acts 8:2).

    Taken from Real Christians Grieve

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    Let’s be frank: most biblical revelation is the exact opposite of what any sensible human would come up with. This should come as no surprise. There would be little point in God giving us a Bible if it were filled with truths that mere common sense tells us. A helpful way to understand why spiritual principles seem illogical and unworkable is to consider many tragedies that have occurred in Australian deserts.

    A rule of survival in the harsh Australian Outback is if your only vehicle breaks down in a remote place, stay with the disabled vehicle. That seems dangerously out of touch with reality if you have no means of raising an alarm, you are somewhere that does not see a human for weeks at a time, and your water supplies can keep you alive for only a few days. So people in this predicament often disregard the warning and try walking the long distance to where help is more likely to be found. Eventually, they are reported missing, a search locates their vehicle, but no one is there. The Coroner’s investigation later confirms that vehicles are more easily located than walkers, there was more water in the vehicle than walkers can carry, and the extra exertion demanded of walking hastened the dehydration and sunstroke that led to their death. They died because they tried to save themselves. Had they done nothing except trust that they would be saved, they would have lived. They dismissed advice that would have saved their lives because such instructions only make sense to people who can believe that rescuers will arrive in time.

    Likewise, whether Jesus’ advice seems reliable enough to bet your life on it hinges on whether you can believe that someone – in this case, God – will come to your rescue. This is why faith is so critical to Christianity. If the Almighty will powerfully intervene for you, the best course of action is usually the exact opposite to what you would do if you are in this predicament alone. The tragedy is that most of us, petrified that God might let us down, usually suppose we are playing safe by choosing whatever option would work best if God doesn’t care enough to intervene. We would dearly like to have a bet each way – hoping that God will act, while covering ourselves in case he doesn’t. With the God who knows our every motive, however, hedging our bets is as impossible as surviving by walking in tight circles half way between a stranded vehicle and a very distant source of help.

    Taken from Spiritual Secrets

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    Satanic opposition hampered Daniel’s ministry. He had sought a revelation. Heaven was silent. Though uncertain about what was happening, Daniel fought on in prayer and fasting, day after day. Heaven’s reply had been dispatched on angel’s wings, but evil powers blockaded it. When the celestial courier finally arrived, he revealed he had been engaged in heaven’s answer to Star Wars. (Daniel 10:12-13) Spiritual powers had been locked in supernatural combat. For twenty-one earth-days the battle raged.

    Perhaps the weapons used defy our comprehension, but I believe a deciding factor was something we know a little about – the impassioned prayers of a man who longed to serve God. With the resolve of a marathon winner, Daniel prayed on and on and on. Had he accepted the hold-up as heaven’s final answer, the enemy might have successfully intercepted the prophetic message.

    Taken from Spiritual Warfare

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    Because of your spiritual oneness with Jesus Christ, God sees you as someone infinitely attractive, desirable and lovable. Before you committed your life to Christ, God loved you, not because he found you spiritually, morally or physically attractive, but simply because it is his very nature to love. He loves even his enemies. However, since you trusted Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, you are now identified with Jesus. In other words, when God looks at you, he sees the beauty, purity and perfection of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:27; 1 John 4:17). (You are not Jesus, of course, but you enjoy an extremely intimate union with him – John 15:5; 1 Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 5:30; etc.) When God looks at you, he therefore sees a person of infinite value, beauty, purity, goodness – in fact, all of the virtues of his Son Jesus. For example, your Holy God no longer sees your past sins. He sees you as having the moral excellence of the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians. 5:21).

    It is difficult to illustrate this truth, because what the Lord has done for you is so extensive and miraculous that it is without parallel. Nevertheless, if a commoner were to marry a king, she would take on a whole new dignity, not because of her own virtues or abilities, but because of her relationship with the king. Likewise, you have suddenly become ever so important because of your relationship with King Jesus.

    Moreover, because you are allowing God to do what he likes in your life, he is gradually changing you (2 Corinthians 3:18) so that one day you will be completely Christ-like (Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 15:49; 1 John 3:2). So when your Maker looks at you now, he sees the perfect person that you will become when he completes his work in your life (Colossians 1:22,27).

    Taken from Developing Your Love Affair With God

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    People dismiss Christianity on the basis of an outsider’s glance, like a little boy certain he will always hate being kissed. Knowing Jesus is more wonderful than the uninitiated could dream.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    God’s blessings flow into our lives at the rate that we let them flow out to our enemies.

    Forgiveness is a spiritual pilgrimage crammed with so many unexpected twists and turns and traps that we can’t make it without divine guidance and empowering.

    It hurts to forgive. It hurts even more not to forgive. And pain is so intensely personal that it is isolating. How many people have snapped at someone claiming to know how a hurting person feels? And yet, with God, the tables are turned. Superficial friends share superficial feelings; deep friends share their deepest feelings. This is why the apostle Paul yearned for the privilege of knowing intimately the most exciting Person in the universe and “the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).

    No matter how impossible and lonely the adventure of forgiveness can feel, the all-knowing Lord truly understands, the God of love feels your pain as his very own, the God of infinite wisdom is eager to guide, and the all-powerful One is keen to place the humanly impossible within your grasp. All he asks is that we not assume we have already arrived or that we know it all but that we keep seeking him so that we might not just share his joy and revel in the intimacy of companionship with the most beautiful and exciting Person in the universe but that we might end up more like him.

    Overcoming evil with good, loving our enemies, turning the other cheek and blessing those who curse us is spiritual heroism. It is taking up our cross and following Jesus on the road to glory; remembering that it was for the joy set before him our crucified Lord endured (Hebrews 12:1-2). Forgiving is the way of joy because it is the way of love – not the fickle, flimsy puff of emotion that inflates hopes and fizzles into disappointment, but anyone taking this journey is bathed in the indestructible dependability of love that is tougher than diamonds and gentler than the sweetest caress; the unwaning, inexhaustible, supernaturally powered love of the Eternal Lord whose tenderness is as boundless as his faithfulness.

    Taken from When “Forgiveness” Does Not Bring Healing

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    Defeatists and escapists say nothing can be done about the past, so just forget it and get on with life. The truth, however, is that much can be done about the past. We can heal from the pain of the past, we can forgive those who had hurt us in the past, we can learn from mistakes that occurred in the past, we can identify sins in our past and enjoy God’s cleansing, we can seek to undo damage that we did to people in the past. All of these are very important to God and sidestepping any of them displeases him.

    Yes, the apostle Paul wrote, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead . . . “ (Philippians 3:13) but this is the same man who at least twice in his spoken testimonies (Acts 22:3-5; 26:9-12) and at least four times in his writings (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13; Philippians 3:6 1 Timothy 1:13-15) (and no-one knows how many other times not permanently recorded) glorifies God by recounting his sordid past. In fact, most of the Bible is devoted to recording past events – often analyzing them over and over.

    Should someone who has made marriage vows forget the past and commit adultery? If someone cheated you out of thousands of dollars before he become a Christian, does he honor God by “forgetting what is behind,” declaring that he “is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” and continue to live in luxury at your expense, or should – before moving on – he do what can to rectify his past by returning your money? It was after Zacchaeus had resolved to put right his past misdeeds that Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house . . . “ (Luke 19:8-9).

    Let’s not pervert the Holy Word of God in a shameful attempt to justify cowardice or sin. God wants us not to bury the past but to learn from the past so that it ceases to be a useless waste and what was once a stumbling block is transformed into a stepping stone to greater things. We were born again not to hide from the past but to take the hand of our victorious Lord and boldly face it. The crucified Lord who did not sidestep the ugliness of our past but in his own body bore the full consequences, wants us to partner with him to resolve and restore our past so that we can live in freedom and purity and wholeness.

    Taken from Positive Confession or Living in Denial?

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    What would it be like to experience the sensations a lizard feels when it detects a sexually desirable lizard or a delicious cockroach? No matter how much ingenious research we did, trying to figure out what it feels like to be a lizard would remain mostly guesswork and we’ll never know how off the mark our presumptions are. The only way to perceive things as a lizard does, is if, for a while at least, we had the mind of a lizard. And even if offered that opportunity, some of us would find the offer too scary to accept.

    This is like the impossibility we face in trying to understand spiritual truth. It is something so foreign to human experience that no matter how great our intelligence and how deeply we ponder and analyze it, we cannot perceive things as God perceives them without undergoing a transformation of mind-boggling proportions.

    Learning facts will never do. We cannot understand as God understands without a supernatural transference of God’s mind/nature to our mind. This life-changing experience does not come in a one-off explosive burst, wrecking every neural connection in our brain. It comes one staggering revelation a time throughout the life of everyone who is in intimate union with the divine. It is because it is an on-going process that we can stop or hinder at any moment that Peter urges Christians to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

    Taken from The Neglected Spiritual Dimension to Bible Interpretation

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    You are in excellent company if you seem to have spent your entire Christian life crying in pained desperation, ‘How long?’ (Job 7:19; Psalm 6:3; 13:1-2; 35:17; 74:10; 79:5; 80:4; 89:46; 90:13; 94:3; Isaiah 6:11; Jeremiah 12:4; 47:6; Daniel 8:13; 12:6; Habakkuk 1:2; John 10:24; Revelation 6:10) Patience frays. Anger builds. A sobering fact, however, sleeps in a Bible statistic. The number of Scripture references to people asking God ‘How long?’ is matched almost exactly by the times God asks this question of humanity. (Exodus 10:3; 16:28; Numbers 14:11,27; Joshua 18:3; 1 Samuel 16:1; 1 Kings 18:21; Proverbs 1:22; 6:9; Jeremiah 4:14,21; 13:27 (NIV); 23:26; 31:22; Hosea 8:5; Matthew 17:17; Mark 9:19; Luke 9:41)

    Taken from Know The Time

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    In Christ, Invincible

    You’re fruit growing sweeter,
    Wine gaining value.
    Not milk turning sour
    Or cardboard caving,
    Colors fading,
    Under the weight of time.
    You’re concrete drying stronger,
    A tree growing higher,
    Dawn glowing brighter.

    Taken from Too Old?You’re Joking!

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    Through your union with the holy King of kings, every trace of filth has flushed out by a torrent of divine purity; all your guilt replaced by pristine innocence; all your shame by royal dignity; all your ugliness transformed into dazzling beauty. You are exalted to the very heavens as someone worthy of eternal honor. Who could think lowly of such a person?

    Taken from Cure for Self-Hate

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    Many things are murky or unknown to us – the view from eternity, the non-physical realm, the intricate chain reaction set off from person to person and generation to generation whenever anything happens. Relative to the all-knowing Lord, we are as short-sighted as King Midas, who wanted everything he touched to turn to gold. We have no idea of the full consequences of our wishes coming true.

    We vainly pit our puny intellect against the Infinite Mind, using brain cells he gave us to try to out-think him. If God’s ways don’t always make sense to us it merely confirms that our combined brainpower couldn’t light a single galaxy. And too often we confuse a good life with a soft life. Too often virtue slips in our priorities. Of necessity, God’s love must be like that of a wise parent, focusing on long-term good, even at the price of tearing his own heart by infuriating the tiny minds of people he loves. His goal is the highest good for all humanity, not some short-term gain that fizzles or ends up robbing others.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    Justice demands “an eye for an eye.” Unforgiveness tells the offender, “I refuse to release you from your debt to justice.” In fact, when we don’t forgive we become so obsessed with the payment that we condemn ourselves to misery, effectively telling ourselves, “I refuse to be happy until I see you pay in full.” In effect, we keep endlessly tormenting ourselves with the thought, “He/she owes me . . . He/she owes me . . . He/she owes me . . . “ And what buries us even deeper into infuriating hopelessness and despondency is the nagging awareness that it is like demanding blood from a stone. Even if the offender desperately wanted to put things right, there is usually nothing he/she can do to adequately compensate us for what we have suffered.

    Our fixation on what we are owed, keeps us feeling miserably deprived and dependent upon the offender – feeling that we need him/her to do something for us. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is escaping this degrading cycle of despair and dependency. Forgiveness is to be free at last, victoriously declaring, “My happiness is no longer chained to what the offender does or suffers. He/she owes me nothing. To the last drop of sweat and blood, the horrendous penalty that atrocious sin deserves has already been paid in full by Jesus’ agonizing death. Moreover, I look in breathless anticipation to the mind-bogglingly supernatural way the Almighty will turn this evil around for my good and will spend eternity lavishing me with never-ending compensations.” Instead of languishing over our relentless sense of loss, we are able to lift high our heads and celebrate the victory. Feeling enriched, this new attitude transforms us, empowering us with all that it takes to truly move on with life and become the spiritual high achievers we are divinely destined to be.

    Taken from When ‘Forgiveness’ Does Not Bring Healing

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    I have sometimes so much craved sin that I actually felt that without it life was hardly worth living. That is utterly ridiculous and yet temptation is all about the enemy of our souls creating a dangerously false but highly convincing illusion. The critical issue, however, is that even if sin really were the only thing that made life seem worth living, I should lay down my life for the sake of the One who laid down his life for me.

    Christ paid the ultimate price for me, even though I deserve nothing. This leaves me utterly without excuse for not laying down my life for the exalted Lord who deserves everything. As Christ resurrected to a new and glorious life, so will I, as I cling by faith to my Savior. Through the One who died a slow, agonizing death for me, I will gain a sparkling new life, far superior to the old, sin-stained one. This new life will be fully manifest only after I physically die. Nevertheless, as I “die daily” – daily sacrificing a life of self-centeredness for the sake of my Lord – I will receive greater and greater foretastes of this new and excitingly superior life. Since they are only foretastes I will still have times when life feels awful, but in faith I plow through those times, refusing to surrender eternal reality for temporary illusion.

    Taken from Spiritual Secrets

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    Despite what some seem to think, we are not called to be less human than our Holy Lord.

    Thousands of Christians must slip on blindfolds whenever they meet such Scriptures as:

    Mark 14:33-34  . . . he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” . . .

    Luke 22:42,44 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” . . . And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

    Hebrews 5:7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death . . .

    The highest we can ever hope for is to be like Jesus. It was prophesied that he delighted (King James Version of Psalm 40:8, but not Hebrews 10:7) to do God’s will. That sounds like the spiritual euphoria we hope for – until we face the reality that the one we worship sweat profusely while wrestling over submitting to God.

    Don’t imagine you have failed if you find life as hard as our Lord did.

    Taken from Fear: Help & Cure

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    Alex, a friend of yours, inherits a massive fortune in diamonds. He knows you have a small safe for personal valuables. “I have many diamonds with me,” he says, “I’d hate for them to be stolen. Could you put them in your safe?”

    “Okay,” you say, none too pleased. You open the safe. It’s crammed with stuffed toys and fake jewelry.

    “You’ll have to remove your things to make room for the diamonds,” Alex observes.

    “What?” you exclaim, “and risk having my valuables stolen? Not on your life!” You angrily show Alex the door.

    You later meet a friend and tell him about it.

    “Alex kindly approached me, too,” your friend replies with a big grin, “I gladly threw out my valuables for his diamonds!”

    “You did?” you reply, taken aback. “You took your valuables out of your safe, when he has enough wealth to buy a million safes of his own?”

    “Alex didn’t want to use our safes!” laughs your friend, “He wanted to share his new-found wealth with us. All he wanted was to ensure you had a secure place to store your diamonds until you made up your mind what to do with them.”

    “You mean all those diamonds would have been mine to keep?” Your ‘valuables’ suddenly seem worthless. “If only I’d understood, I’d have immediately emptied that trash out of my safe!”

    Most of us make that same tragic mistake when God makes his offer. Like no one else, God is a giver, yet we mistake him for a taker. We each have, as it were, a treasure chest within us. We usually cram it full with such trinkets as self-righteousness, self-pity, self-promotion and bloated self-esteem. Pathetically, we horde these fake commodities, foolishly thinking them valuable. We realize they are inadequate, but they are all we have and we don’t think God would give us genuine valuables. We think the Lord asks for sacrifices, when all he wants is for us to clean out lesser things to make room for priceless treasures. Most of us fail to realize that by making room for God, we are making room for a vast treasury of divine riches that will be ours to keep.

    Taken from Spiritual Secrets

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    Succeeding in situations where others would succumb, necessitates defiant faith in either yourself or in God, and which of the two you spend your faith on determines whether your achievement will be temporal or eternal.

    Taken from False Humility Exposed

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    Few people have discovered just how powerful and life-transforming thanking and praising God is. Our failure to fully appropriate this power is because, although most of us imagine we have tried it, we typically engage in thanking and praising God with the half-heartedness of couch potatoes, rather than anything remotely approaching the steely resolve and daily discipline of Olympic champions.

    Like desperately needed medication, taking the following Scriptures as prescribed will have a profound effect, but taking them only when you feel like it will achieve little.

    Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

    Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

    1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances  . . .

    Hebrews 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise . . .

    Psalms 119:164 seven times a day I praise you

    Psalms 34:1 . . . I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. (Emphasis mine)

    The above is a mere sampling of the many Scriptures that make it as obvious as knocking on your door with a sledge hammer that the divine Psychiatrist – the one who made our brains – prescribes huge daily dosages of praise and thanks. Grasp the fact that this is not the command of an ego-centric maniac but the best friend anyone could hope to have; the all-knowing Lord whose only Son sacrificed everything for your well-being. It is for your sake – for your mental and spiritual health – that he asks you to love and praise him.

    Taken from Help for Insomnia

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    It might be okay for someone happily married, but for the rest of us the gift of sex seems a cruel joke. Yet, when you stop to analyze it (and who does?) to slight the gift is to slight the Giver. Resent the gift and we’ll end up (at least subconsciously) resenting the Giver.

    The last thing we need is to grieve the one Person who perfectly understands our problem; the all-powerful Lord who loves us more than we love ourselves, and who, like no one else, has the solution to our dilemma.

    For someone to entrust a priceless gift to you is an honor. It means the giver believes in your ability to wisely handle it. God’s gift of sex fits this category exactly.

    It is almost like the President of the United States bestowing on you the authority to use the nation’s nuclear arsenal. You may never have a legitimate opportunity to use America’s nuclear capability, and enormous harm would result if you misused it, but by entrusting you with this huge responsibility, you have been greatly honored. Likewise, regardless of whether you ever get to use it, by making you a sexual being, God has honored you with a responsibility that not even angels are granted.

    Taken from SINGLES: Celebrate your sexuality!

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    As someone who looks to drugs for fulfillment will find himself hollowed out by cravings and gnawing emptiness, so are we when we look for fulfillment in whatever is popularly hoped could bring it. There are many contenders – sex, romantic highs, financial prosperity, status, popularity are a few – but the net result is an endless striving, a chasing after a vapor.

    Our current economy is fuelled by greed, envy, covetousness, lust, dissatisfaction and insecurity (such as fear of being rejected if we don’t have the latest clothes, accessories, beauty products, status symbols, or whatever). We fill with frustration, and the only answer we’ve got is more, more, more. We find ourselves so frantically spinning our wheels on ice that we don’t realize that our only direction is down.

    This is so much the disease of our age that if we want solutions we will have to look somewhere other than modern society. We need to discover the power of an ancient secret. The liberating truth we need is in the Bible, of course, and yet we are so infected by the inferior – so frenzied and diseased by the incessant craving for more and more of what never satisfies – that we rarely even see the answer when we stare right at it in the Word of God.

    Taken from Satisfied: The Christianity that Most Christians have Missed

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    You’re forever doing nothing,
    A useless pebble on the beach.
    They pass you by without a thought;
    A useless pebble on the beach.
    You’re cold, common and lifeless;
    A useless pebble on the beach.

    God looks down and sees you there;
    A precious egg within his nest.
    Nurtured, warmed, protected;
    A precious egg within his nest.
    Divine life stirs inside
    That precious egg within God’s nest.

    From stony shell bursts forth
    A tiny chick, so strong and free.
    People gather and stare amazed:
    A lovely bird, so strong and free!
    Wings are stretched and upward soars
    That mighty bird, so strong and free.

    ‘What grace, what power!’ they gasp in awe,
    “Who’d have known in a stone
    Slept a life so rare, so full of beauty!”

    Taken from Know The Time

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    Jesus’ teaching – in fact the entire Bible – has dire consequences if ignored, yet God’s way seems so illogical and unworkable that few of us dare try it. Even among devout believers much of the Bible gets left gathering dust on the “nice sentiment but impractical” shelf. Our brain flashes, “Does not compute,” and fails to program the instructions into our daily living. It is easy to become so familiar with the words of Scripture and so conscious of the importance of revering the Word of God, that we are barely aware that we are not actually living according to its directives.

    After staking virtually everything on God’s method we will gradually begin receiving personal confirmation that it really works. We must first, however, reach that critical point where we are willing to risk this plunge into the unknown. Much of my writings is therefore devoted to building confidence in God’s way of doing things.

    Taken from Making Sense of Jesus and the Bible

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    In pristine conditions eyes of faith can see forever. When storms close in, it is a mammoth task for those same eyes to even slightly pierce the swirling murk. It is the conditions, not you, that have deteriorated. Contrary to every feeling, you are not regressing.

    Taken from When Things Get Tough

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    No clever argument and no supposed spiritual experience can hide one unavoidable fact: a holy God would yearn to wipe out every cause of pain. If he eradicated everyone who has ever caused pain by selfishness, cheating, lying, gossiping or hurtful remarks, however, who would be left?

    ‘Suffering is God’s fault!’ we sneer, conveniently forgetting times our anger, greed and lies hurt others. Naturally, there is a degree of hurt we deem excusable, and for some suspicious reason the hurt we have inflicted happens to fall within the standard we arbitrarily set. It is like failing an exam and then moving the pass mark to make our score look good. A holy God could not be partner to such hypocrisy. To wipe out some people who cause suffering and spare you and me would make God guilty of gross injustice. We have each added to humanity’s shame. If there is a God of love, the people he loves and longs to place in a pain-free world are the very ones who cause humanity’s suffering.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    If the measure of people’s worth is the price Christ paid for their friendship, then you are surrounded by people of incomprehensible value. To do the tiniest thing for the least of them is an enormous privilege. Grasp this and you will discover that unless you are marooned alone on an island (and even then you can worship and intercede), you are constantly inundated with ministry opportunities. Whenever you meet someone, think to God, ‘How may I show this person your love?’ Anything could happen. You might end up being a little friendlier or breathing a five second intercessory prayer. By some measures the result may seem small, but for a few moments you have allowed yourself to be a critical link in a flood of love from Almighty God to a person of infinite importance. That’s an honor of the highest order.

    Ex-slave-trader, John Newton, became an Anglican cleric. His preaching was poor and the results discouraging, but he found an avenue that worked for him: letter writing. You could be bed-ridden and too weak to write, yet still bless people over the phone. Ferret opportunities.

    Taken from Know The Time

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    Even if God abandoned his commitment to making everything unique, and chose to craft someone with an absolutely identical body and intellect to yours, no one in the universe has ever had exactly the same combination of thoughts that you had in the last hour, and the same applies for every single hour of your entire life.

    You might be ho-hum about that, but it fires God. If you don’t think much of yourself, your uniqueness might mean little to you, but to someone passionately in love with you, your distinctiveness makes you utterly irreplaceable.

    If a child in a large family died, no sane person would dare try consoling the grieving parents by saying, “Don’t worry, you can easily adopt another child.” Not one, not a hundred, not a thousand children could ever replace that child, and neither could a trillion dollars. If imperfect human love perceives the uniqueness of a loved one and delights in that uniqueness to the point of making that person irreplaceable, this is magnified stupendously in the way God feels about you.

    Condensed from To God, You Are Special!

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    No one imagines that an all-powerful God would be incapable of using processes or unable to control vast numbers of intricate, seemingly insignificant events. Early Christians deprived of modern science were as aware as today’s generation that a baby’s conception gives every appearance of resulting from chance and human whim. This has never embarrassed Christians, as if the development of a fetus from the joining of two cells demolished the fact that the resulting life is a work of God, or that God is unable to bring good even out of anti-God behavior such as rape.

    With an act of God there are two levels of explanation, one of which science can contribute to. Consider, for instance, when Jesus told a man to stretch out his withered hand and it immediately healed. (Luke 6:6,10) Scientists might describe what took place within that man’s hand in terms of multiplication of cells, suddenly improved blood flow, etc. Such an explanation, though accurate, would miss an entire dimension to this event: the hand was restored at Jesus’ word.

    It is as if science lets us examine a masterpiece with an electron microscope (and such a view can be of value), whereas the Bible empowers us to see the big picture, enabling us to grasp the divine meaning and purpose of that masterpiece we call life.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    “All yearning is a yearning for Jesus,” discovered someone enjoying the ultimate adventure. The love, excitement, challenge, fulfillment and understanding we crave are found in the One who made us.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    Doug Hunt, chief pilot for Wycliffe Bible Translators – dead. Dr Darlene Bee, brilliant linguist and Bible translator – dead. In all, seven mangled corpses lay strewn amongst the aircraft wreckage. All because a missionary-mechanic neglected to tighten a nut.

    “The funeral was a ghastly ordeal,” confessed the shattered mechanic. “The sight of those caskets lined up . . . hit me like a blow to the stomach. I wanted nothing but to get out of there . . . How could I face my friends? How could I face myself?”

    Anyone who can keep going after that is not a negligent mechanic. He’s a spiritual giant.

    “Except for God’s grace,” he later wrote, “I’d be somewhere cowering in a corner in guilt-ridden despair - the eighth fatality of that Aztec crash.”

    Taken from When one’s own stupidity or inadequacy cuts like a knife

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    The tender love of God is shown in the heart of Jesus. Imagine the anguish and frustration Jesus must have felt when he said, ‘0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . How often I have yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young around her, but you wouldn’t let me’ (Luke 13:34).

    It’s the same today. Jesus longs to help you, but it’s up to you whether you let him. ‘Leave your worries with him . . .’ (1 Peter 5:7). When we ask Jesus’ help but we continue to worry, it’s obvious that we have not left our worries with him. We have taken them back again!

    Taken from Developing Your Love Affair With God

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    What Jesus achieved makes no sense until we realize that he is not just a spectacularly special man, nor even the world’s greatest ever miracle worker; he is divine. With him, nothing is impossible. He is supernatural and he longs to give you the most profound supernatural experience imaginable – a supernatural union in which you and he merge with each other, melting into one so that, as the Bible declares, he is in you and you are in him.

    Since Jesus is no abuser, he seeks your full consent before proceeding, but he is so devoted to your lifelong well-being and eternal happiness that he wants to bond with you so that you and he are inseparable. When this happens, both of you have the same spiritual bank account, the same status, the same spiritual genes, the same past (that’s why he suffered) and the same future (that’s why your future is unbelievably bright).

    Taken from Cure for Self-Hate

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    If you had blood gushing out of massive wounds, you would have almost everyone’s sympathy but if there were no obvious injury – such as chronic back pain – the extent to which people believe you and sympathize will be much more variable.

    With no one but God able to get inside you and literally feel your feelings, you are left wide open to being misunderstood and feeling devastatingly alone. And this is precisely what the enemy of our souls lusts for.

    Our spiritual enemy is like a hungry lion that does not attack an entire flock but strives to isolate one sheep from the flock before attacking it. But the enemy we face employs this tactic with more intelligence than any lion. He is the master of psychological warfare, seeking to weaken us by telling us over and over and over that we are pathetic, useless, and so on. His most potent weapon, however, is condemnation. What makes condemnation so dangerous is that it deceives us into feeling cut off, not just from other Christians, but from God, our protector.

    Since we all tend to shrink from anyone we suspect thinks negatively of us, if we slip into the satanic snare of supposing that our fear causes Christians and God himself to think poorly of us, we will begin to see little point in staying close to the flock and to the Shepherd and so tend to drift from them, thus making ourselves highly vulnerable to spiritual attack.

    Taken from Fear: Help & Cure

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    Since the Bible is the Word of God, every statement in it is backed with an iron-clad guarantee from Almighty God. To ratify his pledge, the One who put the stars in space and who keeps your heart beating, put his guarantee in black and white, and signed it in the blood of his own Son. He who cannot lie, then had his guarantee published around the world in thousands of languages so that the Holy One’s entire reputation with humanity hinges on him keeping his word.

    Whenever Scripture says something that seems out of touch with reality, the One who runs the entire universe is pledging his integrity and power on the fact that he will make it happen. It means the Creator and Sustainer of every law of physics is announcing a new law.

    Taken from Spiritual Secrets

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    Frankly, the average Christian has weird ideas of what it means to be truly spiritual and divinely favored. The holy Son of God, of course, is the most Spirit-filled, not-of-this-world, apple-of-God’s-eye person ever to wear human flesh and yet not even he floated on some sort of spiritual equivalent of a drug-induced haze that insulated him from the devastating emotional intensity of life’s blows. Far from being granted super-human power to endure, the divine miracle worker who brought the supernatural into the lives of many failed even to drag his cross the required distance.

    Despite what some seem to think, we are not called to be less human than our Holy Lord.

    Thousands of Christians must slip on blindfolds whenever they meet such Scriptures as:

    Mark 14:33-34  . . . he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” . . .

    Hebrews 5:7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death . . .

    Not even angels could lower the intensity of Jesus’ anguish. It was after an angel came to sustain Jesus in the garden that his sweat dripped like blood to the ground (Luke 22:42-44).

    Don’t imagine you have failed if you find life as hard as our Lord did.

    Taken from Fear: Help & Cure

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    Not only are apparent failures rarely the disasters we imagine, they are often not even failures. God’s definition of success may be far more generous than you imagine.

    Taken from Know The Time

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    Who made God?

    Everyone is forced to conclude that there has always been something in existence, whether it be gas, God or a full-blown universe. Every physical thing we have ever observed tends to degenerate. There is even a scientific law – the second law of thermodynamics – that states this. So whatever has always existed must be radically different from anything we have ever seen – like God, for instance.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    If those who hold a grudge against God knew the gravity of their own sin, and the mercy of God, they would (or should) be thoroughly ashamed of their attitude (Romans 3:19; Isaiah 45:24). Our consciences have become so hardened that few of us realize that we each have been so evil that we should have been thrown into Hell years ago (Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:4; Matthew 5:22; Revelation 21:8). If we understood this, we would never again ask God to give us what we deserve! It’s a very sobering thought to realize that even if we suffered immensely, we would still be receiving more mercy and kindness than our sins deserve (Ezra 9:13; Psalm 103:10-11; Lamentations 3:22,39). This is a difficult concept to grasp and we tend to rebel against it because it completely crushes our ego, but the more we face this shattering truth, the freer we become.

    Taken from Developing Your Love Affair With God

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    God is God! His decisions are totally wise, good and unselfish. They can never be improved upon. The smartest thing we could ever do is obey them promptly.

    Taken from Developing Your Love Affair With God

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    Everything that distinguishes you means so very much to the God who keeps track of every hair on your head. To mind-boggling extremes he is the most attentive of lovers. You move him, you fascinate him, you captivate him. In the nicest, most respectful possible way, the infinite God of love is, as it were, infatuated with you.

    Nevertheless, if you push him away, he will not abuse his power, violating the dignity he has decided to grace you with, by forcing himself upon you. Instead, the All-powerful One selflessly chooses to endure the pain and suffer his heartache in secret.

    Truly, the Lord of the universe is worthy of all power because he wields it with matchless nobility and exquisite selflessness. The Perfect One is not too good to be true, but far too good to be human. He totally eclipses everyone in being worthy of your time and your unerring devotion.

    Condensed from To God, You Are Special!

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    Faith means believing that God not only can do a certain thing, but that he will do it for you. The power of such faith is not the power of positive thinking. It is the power of the majestic Lord himself. God releases this power on your behalf when you place full reliance upon the fact that God is utterly able and willing to help you. Once you start exercising this kind of faith, everything is possible (Mark 9:23) because everything is possible with your wonderful God (Mark 10:27).

    Taken from Developing Your Love Affair With God

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    We all know what a thrilling, fulfilling experience being in love is. It’s not perfect – there is usually a hint of selfishness in being in love – but it is a giant leap in the direction of what the Bible calls dying to self. When in love we hardly think about ourselves other than wanting to make ourselves more desirable for the one we love. Our thoughts and dreams revolve around the other person. There is a huge shift away from ourselves. The one we love becomes the center of our universe. Does this make us feel half dead? Is this losing of our pre-occupation with ourselves a painful, miserable experience? Of course not. Anyone in love has never felt more excited or more alive. Falling in love with the King of kings, the most exciting Person in the universe, is the ultimate solution to self-consciousness and low self-esteem. The answer is not to try to boost ourselves, but to delight in our God and make him the center of our universe; to thrill in his perfection.

    Taken from Mysteries in Jesus’ Teaching

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    When a woman was battling lust she claims the Lord opened her eyes to see that she was fighting a hideous-looking creature – an evil spirit of lust that wanted to attach itself like a leech.

    It is for you to decide whether what this supposed revelation is primarily the product of an overactive imagination. Before leaving it with you, however, I should remind you that if ever evil intelligences were involved, it seems logical to expect them to be cunning enough to deceptively hide from their victims not only their repulsive side but conceal their very presence from all but the very few who might actually like the thought of being manipulated by demons. On the other hand, they might be less cautious if convinced that their victims would never resist them even if they knew their true identity and, of course, if one sought God about it, he is capable of unmasking them. Not even the claim that Christians cannot be “possessed” lets any of us sidestep the alarming possibility of demonic involvement. There was certainly satanic involvement in Jesus’ temptations, and although Satan was personally involved in that instance, the Evil One does not have God’s ability to be everywhere at once, so when most of us are tempted it is presumably the work of his underlings – evil spirits.

    Since even the holy Son of God was tempted by an evil being, we know with absolute certainty that, in itself, such an attack is not corrupting. Even to yield to evil and then repent puts God back in control. To stop fighting a particular temptation, however, is a disturbingly different matter. It is to give yourself over to demonic delusion and yield a significant part of your life to the control of an anti-God, hideously evil dictator.

    Adapted from Towards a Christian View of Sexual Self-Stimulation

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    Has Science crippled Christianity?

    One has only to consider weapons of mass destruction, brainwashing techniques, and electronic invasion of privacy to realize that scientific advance has only heightened our age-old dilemma: human nature. For our most fundamental problem, Jesus is the only answer.

    And technology has not changed the fact of death. Not only did Jesus make the brazen claim to have brought to humanity the secret of eternal life, the proof that he actually conquered death in his own body is so compelling that it has floored modern doubters. After his horrific death, Jesus appeared alive; eating, cooking, being handled, displaying mortal wounds to skeptics, conversing with friends while hiking kilometers. Hundreds saw him. (1 Corinthians 15:3-7; Acts 1:3-4; Luke 24:13-43; John 20:24-21:14) More recently, highly skilled opponents of Christianity who sifted the evidence for the sole purpose of exposing Jesus’ resurrection as a hoax or hallucination or misunderstanding have been so confounded by what they uncovered as to publicly declare that Jesus rose from the dead.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    As a child, I memorized what is arguably the Bibles most powerful promise of victory over temptation. Ever since, I have clung to this glorious truth like a limpet to a rock in stormy seas. Ironically, despite my passion for this life-saving Scripture, there is an aspect of it that had eluded me for almost half a century. Thankfully, I had gleaned this truth from other parts of God’s Word but I had not seen it in this Scripture. Here’s the verse:

    1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

    What had not hit me is that this is nothing remotely like a promise that God would make strong temptation melt away for his beloved. Instead, it is a promise that we would be able to stand up under it. The King James Version uses the expression able to bear it. The promise is not that God will mollycoddle us, treating us as embarrassing weaklings who would shame him the moment things get tough, but that God will hide within us everything that we need to heroically survive the onslaught – and by so doing be acclaimed forever as spiritual champions.

    Too many Christians wrongly suppose that if temptation continues to rage after prayer, there must be something wrong. The divine game-plan has never been to prevent us from being hit repeatedly by fierce temptation but to empower us to endure it. The promise is not that God will mollycoddle us, treating us as embarrassing weaklings who would shame him the moment things get tough, but that God will hide within us everything that we need to heroically survive the onslaught – and by so doing be acclaimed forever as spiritual champions.

    Taken from Life’s Mysteries Explained

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    God’s usual way is to empower us to “bear” severe temptation rather than simply make it go away (1 Corinthians 10:13).

    The spiritual attack on Paul allows us to see an aspect of this played out in real life:

    2 Corinthians 12:7-9 To keep me from becoming conceited  . . . there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you . . . “

    Paul was adamant that this “thorn” was anti-God, “a messenger of Satan” that tormented him. Despite the mighty apostle’s immense faith and spiritual authority, however, God cared too much for Paul’s spiritual well-being to answer his repeated prayers for the attack to end. God’s “grace” – the spiritual empowering to endure, divinely seeding within Paul – was enough.

    The Lord revealed that the quick delivery most modern-day Christians expect, could have spiritually ruined Paul because of the greater danger lurking in the shadows – pride.

    Even in the Old Testament, God’s people were called to fight the enemy, keep themselves holy and in no way compromise and yet, for at least two divinely brilliant reasons, God chose not to give them quick deliverances but to keep them battling their enemies year after year:

    Exodus 23:29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you.

    Judges 3:1-2 These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience)

    As Peter affirmed, despite our intimate relationship with the all-powerful Lord, we should “not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).

    Taken from Life’s Mysteries Explained

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    Just as Naaman’s miraculous healing hinged on whether he decided to dip in the Jordan (2 Kings 5:10-14), God lets us determine the extent to which he moves in our lives. In fact, God so humbles himself that in the entire biblical record of God’s acts, the Omnipotent One did almost nothing without rendering himself dependent upon human help. For example, the sovereign Lord declared:

    Exodus 33:2 I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

    Nevertheless, even the commencement was delayed forty years because of the Israelites’ lack of faith. Even the miraculous collapse of Jericho’s walls depended upon the Israelites marching around it again and again and again. Then the next step in the divine battle plan was sabotaged because of Archan’s sin (Joshua 7). Next, the Lord’s plan to annihilate the inhabitants of Gibeon was foiled because Joshua forgot to consult God and mistakenly made a peace treaty that the Almighty then obligated himself to respect forever (Joshua 9:3ff). And the saga of people messing up the sovereign Lords battle plans continued

    Regardless of how unworthy we might think ourselves, God loves, honors and trusts us so much that he refuses to reduce us to automatons but insists on moving in partnership with us.

    Taken from Find Peace in the Storm

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    Matthew 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

    That sounds as if we will get anything we ask for, but read on:

    Matthew 7:9-11 Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

    That still sounds like we will get anything we ask for, but consider the implications of Jesus’ teaching that God is the perfect Father.

    If a child asks for bread, he won’t be given a stone. Nevertheless, a child will sometimes be given vegetables that to him seem as tasteless and as useless as a stone. The child might complain as bitterly as if he were actually given a stone. Nevertheless, his cries for candy and ice-cream will sometimes go unheeded because wise parents know how to give good things to their children.

    In order to remain the perfect Father that he is, God must refuse our request when in our ignorance we ask for things that to us seem good, but ultimately are not in our best interest.

    Little children focus on their immediate pleasure, whereas wise, loving parents look out of their children’s longer term good. This is the source of many a complaint from children who mistakenly think their parents are being harsh and stingy. As we grow up we come to realize the benefits of focusing on our longer term good, and we become grateful that our parents did not let us have all the things that we now recognize as being unwise or even dangerous. Yet even as mature adults, we often focus on a ridiculously short time-frame, relative to eternity. Like the perfect Parent he is, God gives the very best to his children, even at the expense at incurring their wrath if they foolishly misjudge what is best for them.

    Taken from Prayer Mysteries

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    Royal blood flows in your veins. Dam-busting, mountain-blasting, Satan-crushing power resides in you. You are in Christ, incandescent with God’s glory; one spirit with the almighty Lord of heaven and earth. Jettison the dead-weights of doubt and defeatism and wing to the heights you were born for.

    Taken from Know The Time

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    To attempt description of the benefits of spiritual union with Jesus sounds as hollow and self-centered as listing receiving a gold ring as a benefit of marrying the most wonderful person. It’s like dissecting the most exquisite, priceless flower and offering the individual parts to the highest bidder. Moreover, it sounds like hype – just too good to be believable. This is to be expected. We were made to enjoy the God who made us, so it is hardly surprising that a relationship with him will fulfill our deepest longing. Nevertheless, it still sounds too good to be true.

    Taken from Issues that Make Christians Squirm

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    We must completely leave our old sinful life and not longingly look back to it (Luke 9:62). Wives of political leaders often represent their husbands at official functions. People expect them to reflect the integrity and dedication of their husbands. Similarly, we are God’s representatives (2 Corinthians 5:20) and our lives should therefore reflect his integrity.

    Taken from Developing Your Love Affair With God

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    Only God can remove sin from your life, but as a true lover of Jesus, you will want to do the little you can to rectify matters.

    Return (or pay for) anything you have ever stolen (Ezekiel 33:15; Luke 19:8). Don’t allow anyone to continue believing a lie you have told. Destroy anything you possess that is associated with the occult, or other false religions, irrespective of its material or sentimental value (Acts 19:19; Isaiah 27:9; 2 Kings 23:4). Where possible, cease having close friendships with those who do not love Jesus (Psalm 1:1; Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33; 1 Peter 4:3-5). Pay your debts (Romans 13:8).

    Offer to pay for any damage you have caused to other people’s possessions (eg. Exodus 22:5-6). Apologize to anyone you have been angry with (unless they are unaware of it and your apology would merely increase their distress). And so on.

    Give yourself (and all you’ve got – time, abilities, money, possessions, and so on) fully to your Master. Keep nothing back. You will never regret it.

    Taken from Developing Your Love Affair With God

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    What is the quickest, easiest way to soar to cloud nine and become wealthy, honored and the envy of millions? Fall in love and become united in marriage with someone rich, famous and adorable. God not only fits the bill like no one else, he has the love and integrity to remain devoted to you forever.

    Taken from Mysteries in Jesus’ Teaching

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    Real love is not a whim that spurts and splutters at the fickle mercy of hormones and circumstances. It does not fizzle when hot-blooded leaps of imagination hit cold reality. It is unfazed by sagging beauty, declining abilities and changes of fortune. This unstoppable force powers on regardless. It is fueled not by the beloved but by daily dying to self and coming alive to the God of gods who sacrificed everything and became the highest by becoming the lowest. Yes, for love that never dies you must die daily. To find such love you must lose self.

    This love is noble, making you worthy of never-ending honor. Like an exquisite garden, it does not magically arrive; it is carefully nurtured. It is a virtue; a perpetual choice; a way of life for which you will literally be eternally grateful.

    Taken from God’s View of Marriage

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    Those who live as if earthly comfort is their reward are to be pitied. Like couch potatoes squandering their lives, those living the soft life miss the excitement and achievement and fulfillment of extending themselves to the max. They are two-time losers: despite their ease they get so little out of life on earth and in addition they miss their heavenly reward.

    Taken from Forgotten Christian Secrets of Prosperity

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    In the vastness of God’s nature there must be a tiny element that you can portray better than anyone else ever has – if you accept the challenge of a truly Spirit-led ministry, instead of a pale imitation of someone else.

    Just as the life-styles of Jesus and John the Baptist differed enormously, (Matthew 3:4; 11:18-19) there should be a rich diversity within the body of Christ. Unfortunately, a warped view of holiness and/or submission often leads to drab conformity. In reality, this is carnality – the inability to love or appreciate anyone different from ourselves. Deodorized saints are the order of the day. Real saints get up hypocrites’ noses.

    To reach the many different people groups he encountered, Paul became “all things to all men”. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23) If Paul as an individual could contemplate this, imagine the breadth that should be evident within the body as a whole. This is possible only if we allow the Spirit to nurture our individuality. Consumerism is a tragically appropriate name: it consumes whoever it gets its claws into. Lusting after objects – or whatever one imagines money might buy – gnaws away at one’s soul, leaving each victim a hollowed out shell of a person.

    Once the lie enters our heart that having a few more things will bring us happiness, we quickly degenerate. The devastating result is more pathetic than a hungry donkey reducing itself to a laughing stock by ignoring plainer food to keep chasing a carrot dangled in front of its nose until it collapses in exhaustion and hunger. The tragedy is that people waste not just a few days or even their entire lives chasing an illusion but end up ruined for all eternity.

    Taken from Forgotten Christian Secrets of Prosperity

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    Some people have the mistaken idea that the Lord of creation is cruel because he sentences people to hell. Regrettably, many people will suffer eternal anguish in Hell (Matthew 7:13-14; 25:41,46; Mark 9:47-48; Luke 12:5; 16:22-28; John 5:29) but this is not because it is God’s wish for them (Ezekiel 33:11; Matthew 18:14; 2 Peter 3:9). Our loving God went to the extreme of sending his only son to die so that everyone might be saved (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4,6; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2). But sin is so evil that Hell is the only alternative for those who ignore God’s offer to make them clean (2 Thessalonians 1:8,9; Hebrews 2:2-3; 10:28-29).

    Taken from Developing Your Love Affair With God

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    It was hardly a contest: two elderly ladies on their knees, versus a confident evangelist in the prime of manhood. They wanted Dwight Moody to have the Spirit’s power. He thought he already had it. But for him to resist was to pit his power of positive thinking against their prayers to the invincible Lord of every universe. A worn-out pop-gun versus a nuclear arsenal might have been less one-sided.

    The One who hears the prayers of the frail gave power to the ‘strong’. The impact shook the planet. Moody preached the same sermons but suddenly hundreds were being converted. He declared he wouldn’t return to his earlier days if offered the entire world.

    Taken from Prayer Motivation

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    If we really think the one we can never hide from and who has the power to torment us for all eternity is cruel or heartless, why would we risk the fury of the Omnipotent One by raging against him? That he lets us get away with this shows that God is extraordinarily loving and patient. Astoundingly, it is this mind-blowing love and patience that not only lets us rage but is the reason for our rage. We foolishly want God to execute instant justice without stopping to realize that instant justice would have sent us to hell. Ironically, what infuriates us about God is the very thing we should be most grateful for. No, we should not be grateful for all the evil in this world – it grieves, hurts and infuriates God even more than it does us – but God’s decision to give time to repent rather than instantly executing justice is the very thing that has given us time to come to our senses before it is too late.

    Taken from Angry at God

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    Scripture indicates that although King David let many of his sons run wild, he carefully trained Solomon from childhood. Presumably, David was grooming Solomon to be king from a young age. Solomon did not take the throne until he was fairly mature. All the ground-breaking work of establishing and structuring the monarchy had already been done by Saul and David.

    So Solomon had many reasons to be confident that he had all it takes to be a good king. After he had reigned for a while the Lord offered Solomon whatever one thing he asked for. He could have asked for security. Some of his subjects would like him dead, and certain foreign countries that were subject to him would like to rebel, whereas some other nations would like to invade and plunder Israel. But he did not ask for security. He could have asked for world-wide fame. But he didn’t. He could have asked for wealth. But he didn’t. He humbled himself so much as to ask for what he must have been tempted to think he already had – the wisdom to rule. And he sought it not so he could boast of his intellectual prowess but so he could better serve God and God’s people.

    Humble yourself to see inadequacies within you and you will be exalted. Lower yourself, seeking to serve, and you will be raised high. Because Solomon sought wisdom, he got everything – wisdom, security, fame and wealth.

    Jesus is the Wisdom of God. Sacrifice everything to get him. Get him and you get everything.

    Taken from Mysteries in Jesus’ Teaching

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    Spend time trying to contemplate the overwhelming vastness of the number of grains of sand there are on earth. That incomprehensible number is equivalent to the number of thoughts God has had about you, says Psalm 139. Whether you are asleep or awake, no detail of your life, no matter how hidden and secret or insignificant or embarrassing, past or future will ever escape his intimate awareness. He has known your every thought and he knew every word you would speak before you even uttered it. And this mind-bogglingly intense level of concern for you will keep hurtling on like an unstoppable freight train fueled by limitless love for all eternity.

    Add infinite intelligence to this unlimited knowledge and you are totally understood – not just more than any other human can possibly understand you but exceedingly more than you could even hope to understand yourself.

    In the most intensely intimate, infinitely detailed sense of the word, God knows what you are going through.

    Your pain matters – so astoundingly so that, rather than luxuriate in ease, the most important Person in the entire cosmos would willingly suffer every trace of your pain for you. The stupendous Lord of the Galaxies, the Source of all beauty, feels for you so immensely that it would actually relieve his distress for him to fully bear your torment himself.

    You are not alone: even though you are rarely even conscious of it, from the moment of your conception and for the rest of eternity you have the ultimate companion who is infinitely concerned about the tiniest aspects of your life.

    Taken from Cure for Self-Harm

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    Imagine growing up in a jungle tribe of headhunters in which you and everyone you have ever met firmly believe that one’s masculinity is affirmed by murdering innocents. The more human heads in your collection of personal kills, the bigger the man you are. Only weak, effeminate, no-hopers would pass up an opportunity to murder a vulnerable person. With this background, if a man became a Christian, he would face nothing short of an identity crisis. To stop headhunting would be as devastating to this manhood and self-image as for a normal man in our society to start wearing high heels and dresses in public. Even though after his encounter with God he realizes that it is morally right not to murder, he would be repeatedly assaulted by self-accusations of being weak and effeminate if he stops murdering innocents.

    Each man’s conception of masculinity is a very deep part of his identity, built into him by his upbringing. To tamper with it could make breaking and re-setting one’s bones seem like fun.

    Our dilemma is that our own society is as far from God’s ways as a tribe of headhunters. Because it is the society we have grown up in, however, we have absorbed its values into our personalities as surely as food becomes a part of our bodies. Much of our society has indoctrinated us to equate masculinity with stubborn selfishness and inflicting emotional pressure upon those we love. So strong and unconscious is the worldly indoctrination we have suffered, that we are usually unaware when we are twisting the Bible to force it to conform with modern society’s godless presumptions.

    Taken from Husband, Head of a Submissive Wife?

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    No one but God could slip inside your head and feel your pain. But guess what! That is exactly what God does!

    “Laugh, and the world laughs with you, cry, and you cry alone,” can only be true if you leave God out of the equation. And the stupendous news is that we don’t have to leave God out.

    You are of such astounding importance and value to the Lord of the universe that every minute aspect of your life captivates his attention. He knew you and yearned for your companionship long before you had ever heard of him – before you even gained consciousness, in fact. He cares for you so much that ever since the moment of your conception, God has been with you, observing the multiplication of your every cell as you slowly formed within the womb.

    Taken from Cure for Self-Harm

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    You’re a leader, not a loner. It might be frustrating to have to go slow for the sake of the others, but a general who charges off at his own pace is in for a rude shock when he encounters the enemy and looks behind to find himself alone because his army was unable to keep up with him.

    Taken from Healing from Dissociative Identity Disorder

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    In Jesus’ day, devout Jews poured enormous effort into knowing the Word of God, but little into knowing the heart of God. They ended up knowing Scripture so well and understanding it so little that they could “prove” emphatically that the Son of God was guilty of blasphemy and that it was their holy duty to murder their Messiah.

    The frightening thing is that most of us imagine we could never make the same mistake as the clean-living, Bible-revering, Christ-killing First Century theologians. Tragically, those devout murderers were equally certain they would never make the same mistake of their forefathers who murdered the prophets.

    Every day, we walk through a spiritual minefield, foolishly unaware that at any moment just one false step could be disastrous. The entire Christian life must be lived in total dependence upon our Lord. We either cling to Christ, trusting him alone – not our intellect, knowledge and experience – or the consequences are unthinkable.

    Taken from How to Receive Spiritual Revelation

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    She was ashamed. She was tormented. She was barren. Her husband tried to console her. ‘You’re already blessed,’ he virtually told her. Yes, Hannah was a beloved wife. Hundreds of lonely, rejected women would be content with that, but not Hannah. She could know no peace until she had borne a child. (1 Samuel 1:1-8)

    This yearning for a baby arose from within, was fuelled by her society’s attitude and further intensified by her rival – her husband’s second wife. Ultimately, however, I believe the pressure was from God.

    ‘And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. And she vowed . . . , “O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt . . . give unto thy handmaid a man child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life . . . “ ’ (1 Samuel 1:10-11)

    It seems the Lord had long been waiting for this degree of commitment. Perhaps reaching this point sooner would have shaved years off her wait. Nonetheless, to her vow of consecration she added faith. Before any tangible sign of answered prayer ‘her countenance was no more sad.’ (1 Samuel 1:18) Years of anguish fostered prayer, devotion, and now, faith. A miracle was hurtling toward this planet. (1 Samuel 1:20)

    That’s how God moves. Isaac, Israel, Samson, Samuel and John the Baptist were all born to women who had been barren. Barrenness forced these women to exceptional fervor in praying for conception. Little wonder that they conceived exceptional children. They were barren, but barren for a purpose.

    Is your life barren for a purpose?

    Taken from Turning Barrenness into Blessing

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    An athlete, in the midst of a record-breaking run, has never in his life been so fit and strong. Yet his pain-racked body may have never felt so weak. Likewise, in the midst of a spiritual trial, it is not uncommon to be stronger and yet feel weaker than ever before. And to fellow Christians you might seem hopeless. An ultra-marathon champion staggering up the final hill looks pathetic. A child could do better. Anyone not understanding what this man has gone through would shrink from him in disgust. Only someone with all the facts would be awed by his stamina as a champion stumbles on.

    Taken from When Things Get Tough

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    If we’re less than ten years behind the world we’re considered worldly. If we’re a century behind, we’re ‘model Christians’. But if we’re bound to the Timeless One, why aren’t we ahead of the world?

    Taken from The Spirit-Led Ministry: Dare to Break the Shackles

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    Christianity is not the product of human reasoning. It is the revelation of the most powerful Intellect in the universe – the God who made our brain cells. Christianity is not a vain attempt to use tiny human brains to guess the mind of Almighty God. True Christianity is about connecting to the God of the universe, the Designer of our bodies, the Creator of everything we use and abuse, and letting him reveal his ways, which are infinitely superior to our own, and letting him rule in our lives in the perfection of his love and wisdom.

    Taken from How to Receive Spiritual Revelation

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    A missionary’s monthly allowance failed to reach her. For quite a while all she had to eat was oats. To make matters worse, she was sick. Where was God? When she later returned to her home country she mentioned this to a doctor, who happened to also know about the serious stomach condition she had had at that time. The doctor informed her that not only was oats the ideal diet for such a condition, a normal diet could have killed her. Clearly, the Lord had amazingly protected her, but why did he use such a convoluted means?

    I once heard of an astounding miracle that caused a sick person to receive medical attention. For the Lord to have healed supernaturally almost would have been less miraculous. Why he chose western medicine, I have no idea, but, like the missionary forced to eat oats, it is typical of God, in that the Almighty refused to act in a way that our puny minds find predictable. Our exciting Lord is forever taking us by surprise. Never limit him. He is just as capable of using western medicine, as he is of using traditional medicines, as he is of bypassing human intermediaries.

    Taken from Medicine and Doctors: A Christian Perspective

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    We tend to be so tradition-bound as to confuse ministry with mimicry. Unless we are called to a musty, second-hand vocation we conclude we’re not called at all. Don’t be a buzzard circling the corpse of a worn-out ministry when you could be an eagle soaring with the Spirit to fresh expressions of the grandeur of God.

    Taken from The Spirit-Led Ministry: Dare to Break the Shackles

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    I don’t think I’ve heard anyone preach more powerfully against sexual looseness. He kept it up year after year – until it was discovered that he visited prostitutes. I don’t believe his preaching was blatant hypocrisy. I suspect he was preaching at himself, trying to bolster his flagging resolve to fight temptation.

    Personal experience cannot change God’s truth, but it can hinder one from discovering the truth or from accurately conveying that truth to other people. Not even a genius can think straight about an activity that enslaves or entices him. Even people who are now free from a previous addiction often have clouded thinking. Ex-smokers, for instance, are legendary for the emotive way they react to people smoking in their presence.

    People yearning for a clear conscience while wanting to continue indulging themselves, or to keep questionable behavior as an emergency backup should their lives suddenly go haywire, will be strongly pressured to interpret the Bible in a way that justifies their secret longings. On the other hand, people wanting to argue the sinfulness of a behavior, to bolster their fight against a habit, or fearing a return to the habit, will be pressured to come out strongly in the other direction, overstating their case and making loud noises like the evangelist just mentioned.

    No one peering through the haze of guilt feelings, defeatism and fleshly cravings can hope to see clearly.

    Taken from How to Receive Spiritual Revelation

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    Christ took all your shame, blame and pain, bearing it all in his own naked, tortured body so that you can lift your head high. Through Christ, you are a winner; not one who runs away, but a hero clothed with divine majesty in God’s royal family.

    Our walk with Christ is about love, adventure and glory. It’s not about escapism, wasting one’s life and trashing opportunities for greatness. It has no partnership with cowardice and the eternal regret it brings. We might be born failures but through Christ we are transformed; born anew for achievement, heroism and honor. God has astounding faith in what you can do empowered by him. You are called to jettison shame, defeatism and self-indulgence to enter into holy union with the all-powerful Conqueror and, thus endowed, to reign with him in regal splendor:

    2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him . . . (KJV).

    Romans 8:17  . . . we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

    Revelation 3:2 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

    Don’t dare dishonor the Lord of glory by thinking this is beyond you. For Christ, who has invested the last drop of his blood into ensuring your success, impossibilities are playthings. You are one with the Almighty Lord. You are in him and he is in you; melded together in the most thrilling of unions.

    Taken from Healing of Memories

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    True leadership is not about big-mouthing oneself or suppressing people. True leadership is about bringing the best out of people and seeing them soar to their full potential. Weak men are too scared to accept this challenge. They quake before the words of Richard Bach:

    If you love something, set it free; if it comes back it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was.

    Weak men are so insecure that they think the only way they can gain their wives’ respect or prevent them from leaving is by shattering their self-esteem by verbal abuse, put downs and restricting their freedom. This is a key method abusers use, whether it be wife bashers or child abusers or hypocrites who think themselves better than such people and yet ruin their women by keeping them from being the achievers God created them to be.

    Which is the higher glory: to be the leader of elite soldiers or to be followed by those who feel defeated? Who is greater: the man confident of winning the love and admiration of an intelligent, high achiever, or the coward who thinks his only chance is to crush his wife’s self-esteem or keep her from advancing?

    Taken from Husband, Head of a Submissive Wife?

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    A prayer:

    I come to you, the all-knowing Lord of the universe, seeking truth. I ask that in your mercy you lift from me legalism, fear of pleasure, worldliness, selfishness, undesirable cravings, a know-it-all attitude, and anything else that could fog my mind from detecting and delighting in your truth. Give me your heart so that I might be worthy to be given your mind on every subject that you consider important.

    Taken from How to Receive Spiritual Revelation

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    I was once reading in Scripture about how the godly King Asa trusted in a political alliance for the security of his country, rather than trusting in the Lord. Although the link is far from obvious, the thought came to me that this king’s misplaced trust – doing what made good, human sense, rather than go out on a limb with God – parallels our tendency to trust medical experts for healing rather than the Lord.

    To my surprise, I continued reading to discover that just a couple of verses later it says that Asa made this exact mistake! He had diseased feet and trusted his doctors instead of the Lord (2 Chronicles 16:1-12).

    About a year later, long after I had forgotten all about this, I re-read the passage and exactly the same thing happened – first thinking how Asa trusting a political alliance is like us trusting a doctor and then discovering that Asa actually made the mistake of trusting in doctors. Only then did I remember the previous time I had read that passage.

    Both times, I felt there is nothing intrinsically wrong with using doctors, but that where we place our faith determines the ceiling of what we can expect. If we place our faith in doctors (and of course the same applies to alternative medicine) we become subject to their errors and limited knowledge. If we place our faith in God, however, even if we were to use a doctor (provided this use is not an indication that we have lost faith in God), we then have every right to expect God to over-ride the doctor’s errors.

    Taken from Medicine and Doctors: A Christian Perspective

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    Marriage is all about two people becoming one. How can we claim to be living in this realm if we enjoy winning an argument with our marriage partner? How can anyone win at the expense of the person he or she is one with? Being one flesh means, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

    True love delights in the success and achievements of the beloved.

    Taken from Husband, Head of a Submissive Wife?

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    Let’s not think that service must conform to our petty notions before it can sparkle with divine greatness. Let’s cut the ropes of conformity and let God express his boundless creativity through us.

    Taken from The Spirit-Led Ministry: Dare to Break the Shackles

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    Jesus kept clashing with people who, in zeal for upholding the law of God seemed faultless, but in loving as God loves were seriously flawed. It is so easy to find ourselves delighting in theological and intellectual discussion, rather than being moved by compassion for needy people.

    Though one might remain fervently religious and completely self-deceived about one’s spiritual state, to harden one’s heart is to become the exact opposite of Jesus. It is the breaking of what Jesus pronounced to be the essence of the entire old covenant: loving God and loving man (Matthew 22:37-40).

    How much they needed to pray the prayer made famous by Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision: “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”

    When encountering gays, prostitutes, child molesters, abortionists, liberal preachers or fallen pastors we might be exceedingly zealous in upholding God’s standard of righteousness, but do we uphold God’s standard of love and grace? How tender our heart is towards those who have failed morally is at least one measure of the hardness of our heart. How much our eyes are filled with God’s compassion is an indication of how likely we are to see biblical truth through God’s eyes.

    Taken from The Heart of Bible Interpretation

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    We are not in heaven yet. That simple fact changes everything. We are on a relatively short but critical special assignment to planet Earth, just as the eternal Son of God once was. As Jesus sacrificed everything to rescue us, so we, despite our Christ-bought status, must have the same attitude while we are on this needy planet.

    Taken from Forgotten Christian Secrets of Prosperity

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    Our Leader’s behavior shocked the religious establishment. Christ partied with people considered by others to be crooks, drunks and sluts. A woman of questionable morals kissed his feet. He did things on the Sabbath he wasn’t supposed to. He insulted dignitaries, calling them vipers, blind fools, whitewashed tombs and other endearing names. Those closest to him usually had no idea what he was talking about – he’s warning them about the Pharisees and they think he’s complaining about leaving the bread behind – but to those outside his inner circle, Christ wasn’t nearly so intelligible. He was acknowledged by demons and rejected by theologians. He spoke to a fever, a tree, even a storm. Before long, Jesus’ sanity was called into question and at one stage his family came to take charge of him. He was forever messing up funerals, wrecking beggars’ only source of income – their infirmities – and outraging religious leaders. He made goo with spit and smeared it on a beggar’s eyes. He stuck his fingers in a man’s ears, spat, and grabbed the man’s tongue. How many churches would tolerate such ludicrous behavior? He took a short-cut across the lake – without a boat. He sent two thousand swine hurtling to their death. He physically assaulted temple workers. No one – whether friends, family, admirers; devout, legalistic or lax – could agree with him for long.

    Are you sure you want to be Christ-like?

    Taken from The Spirit-Led Ministry: Dare to Break the Shackles

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    God is highly personal. He is no machine storing incomprehensibly vast quantities of information. God is love. Infinite love not only cares enough to want to know everything about you; love feels. Your pain and distress sends him reeling in pain. Even imperfect humans can love with such intensity that they would rather suffer themselves than see their loved one suffer. And this is what God has done.

    Taken from Cure for Self-Harm

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    A prayer for us all:

    May I never again be content with a needlessly shallow understanding of spiritual reality. Help me hunger and thirst after righteousness and be rid of all the sin that so easily seduces and deceives; grieving you and robbing me of your best. May I die to self and come alive to you. Give me the courage and determination to pay whatever price it takes to know you and delight you as fully as any human can. Help me break through fears, biases and preconceptions to truly hear from you.

    Taken from Forgotten Christian Secrets of Prosperity

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    Though I’m all for emotional exuberance, much sentimental waffle is sometimes uttered about returning to one’s ‘first love’, as if the starry- eyed euphoria of new Christians is greater than the mature depths of your average older Christian. Poppycock! Most spiritual honeymooners are radiant primarily because they think they have entered a blissful world of near-perfect Christians, instant answers to selfish prayers and a life forever free from pain, heartache and trials. Theirs is most likely mere puppy love, relative to the ardor moving you to tough it out.

    Taken from When Things Get Tough

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    It’s your choice to rejoice

    Or to blame and complain.
    To sing a refrain
    Or refrain to sing
    Is to gain new ground,
    Or go round and round.
    Raise your praise
    Or weep in defeat;
    Make the gain
    Or remain the same.
    Curse and be worse,
    Or sing and bring
    Heaven to earth;
    Complain and remain
    Or praise and be raised.
    It’s YOU who choose
    To win or lose.

    Taken from God’s anti-depressant

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    Could insidious psychological forces be undermining your progress?

    Perhaps in the lower realms of your consciousness is a growing fondness for the sympathy failure attracts, or a driving fear of the disruption, responsibilities and temptation success might bring. Do what were once cruel bars now seem more like friendly protectors against a cold, unpredictable world? The crucified Lord has made your fears groundless. Push on and watch mountains crumble.

    Taken from Know the Time

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    It is tough, lonely training sessions that turn an average athlete into a champion. If you’re alone, you’re in great company in that most of humanity’s great achievers have spent much time alone. In order to excel, they have sacrificed relationships, either completely or by slashing the time available to enjoy relationships. Even famous, popular people usually get that way by spending much of their time separated from loved ones.

    Your time of aloneness might not be your conscious choice, but if you hand it to God it can achieve much.

    For more see Overcoming Loneliness

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    Many couples wonder whether, within the sanctity of marriage, is there any sexual activity that does not have God’s blessing. For gentle help in finding God’s tender heart on this matter, see Is it Perverted? and A Second Look at Conjugal Rights

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    To hate those who hate you is to copy their behavior and exalt them as your role model. Hate your enemies (be they Muslims, Satanists, abortionists, or whatever) and you will become increasingly like those you hate. Love your enemies and you will become like God.

    For more see The Christian Dilemma

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    Anyone can parrot words; what both God and humanity seeks is LIVING PROOF of the power of the Gospel. You are called to be that proof.

    For more see Effective Evangelism

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    An easy life is no more a measure of spiritual success than being fat and lazy is a measure of athletic prowess.

    Taken from My Thirty-Year Battle with Blasphemous Thoughts

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    Lack of temptation does not make a person holy, any more than lack of opposition can make anyone a champion. Christlikeness means acting like Jesus in Gethsemane sweating as it were drops of blood. Everything within him screamed to flee from God’s will, and yet he forced himself to submit. That, not lack of temptation, is true holiness.

    Taken from Find Peace in the Storm

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    We don’t need more self-proclaimed experts who trample on other people’s feelings; arrogant theorizers exposing themselves to the wrath of God by ignorantly thinking they are helping when they are devastating people who are already writhing in inner agony. The world is filled with – in fact has had its fill of – such people. What are as rare as diamonds, however, are people who truly understand; people whose advice does not come from a book or vain imagination but from genuine experience; leaders who, like Jesus, can say, “I’ve been there – follow me.” The more you have suffered, the more you have qualified as one of those rare and valued people who truly know.

    Taken from Healing of Memories

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    Let’s rise to the challenge of being Spirit-led. God’s will for us last week, might be different to his will for us this week. Often the Lord deliberately takes us by surprise in his leading because he seeks intimacy with us. He wants us to be constantly trusting and seeking him; not to imagine we have God figured out and end up settling for our own presumptions about his will for us, rather than clinging to God himself.

    Taken from Medicine and Doctors: A Christian Perspective

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    Most of us suffer deeply from the Christian superstar mentality. A few burn in the limelight while the rest of us shiver in the shadows. The exaltation of a few and the hiding of their flaws makes us ordinary Christians feel inferior; hindering us from achieving the greatness we were born for. And yet we shrink from someone who exposes his true self, standing spiritually naked before us. “How can I be inspired by someone so weak and messed up?” we ask. Jesus is the only inspiration I can offer. He alone is the personification of perfection. Like no one else, he is the magnet that draws the best out of us.

    Taken from Who is Grantley Morris?

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    Frankly, the average Christian has weird ideas of what it means to be truly spiritual and divinely favored. The holy Son of God, of course, is the most Spirit-filled, not-of-this-world, apple-of-God’s-eye person ever to wear human flesh and yet not even he floated on some sort of spiritual equivalent of a drug-induced haze that insulated him from the devastating emotional intensity of life’s blows. Far from being granted super-human power to endure, the divine miracle worker failed even to drag his cross the required distance.

    Don’t imagine you have failed if you find life as hard as our Lord did.

    Taken from Fear: Help & Cure

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    To turn a vibrant, growing Christian into a tragedy, convince him he has already learnt all that he needs to know. It’s not where you start that matters; it’s where you end.

    For more, see Help in Understanding the Bible

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    Even when the devil wins, he loses. All his weapons are boomerangs that end up hitting him in the head.

    For more, see Euphoria: Chapter 7

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    Winning anti-Christian people to Christ is not about winning arguments. For someone to fall in love with you, how many arguments would you have to win? So it is with helping even God-haters to fall in love with Jesus.

    Taken from Witnessing Made Easy

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    The clean-living servant who buried his gift is typical of too many of us. He did not blow his talent on an orgy of self-indulgence. He simply neglected what was loaned to him. (In several modern versions, Luke 19:20 tells us he kept it in his handkerchief, of all places.) His implied excuse of fear of failure merely incurred the master’s wrath. Moral: if you hide your gift in a hanky, you’re sure to blow it.

    Taken from Waiting For Your Ministry: Chapter 16

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    To suppress grief is suppressing not just part of our humanity but a part of us that is in the image of God. Rocks and robots don’t cry. Jesus did. The one in whom “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9) wept – often.

    Taken from Real Christians Grieve

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    The devil’s dirtiest trick is to do something evil and then try to accuse God of having done it. And many people get themselves into a thorough mess by acting foolishly (such as ignoring God), and then have the audacity to blame God for the resulting disaster (Proverbs 19:3; Job. 40:8) They accuse God of injustice when they themselves are being unjust by falsely accusing God.

    Taken from Developing Your Love Affair With God

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    To be mad at God is as mad as a little child so furious at his loving parents for not letting him drink poison that he runs away from home; having no conception of the dangers and deprivation he is exposing himself to.

    To be mad at God is as mad as being angry at an encyclopedia for always being right; as mad as being angry at a doctor for diagnosing your lump as cancerous and wanting to treat it; as mad as a drowning man fighting off his rescuer.

    Tragically, when we are reeling in pain, hurt and frustration we often get things so horribly wrong that we act like people too delirious with pain to realize they are fighting off the only person who cares enough to tend their wounds.

    Taken from Angry at God

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    God is warm, passionate, highly personal and yet consistent and utterly dependable. His intelligence soars far too high above us for his ways to be predictable by mere humans, but his loving heart never changes. Everything God does – even his anger and judgments – is driven by love. Behind his every action beats a tender heart that longs to forgive and bless.

    My certainty that God is like this is not book knowledge – though Bible knowledge was the critical starting point – it is something I know in every cell of my body. This unshakable conviction became mine only by enduring years and years of tough times. I cannot give you your certainty about God’s nature. I could hand you spiritual maturity no more than I could hand you physical maturity. It only comes through prolonged experience with God. It slowly forms after years of feeling you are forever hanging on by your fingernails to what seem almost unbelievable Bible truths. There are no shortcuts. What I can do in a webpage, however, is share some of those Bible truths and urge you to hold on in the exciting, hair-raising, and sometimes lonely, roller coaster ride to joy and fulfillment.

    For more, see Feeling Rejected by God

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    People keep telling us not to live in the past, to “get over it,” and so on. There is a time when such advice is applicable but only after one is well on the way to full healing. For example, there is point in healing from a broken leg when one must discard crutches but to expect anyone to run on a broken leg too early in the healing process is both foolish and cruel. It will only worsen the injury. So it is with inner healing, but those who insist people should act as if they have never been wounded typically have the audacity to blame others when their foolish advice does not work.

    Taken from Why Minor Sex Abuse Hurts So Much

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    You might have heard it said, “God does not make junk.” There’s some obvious truth in that but there’s a flaw in the logic. A brilliant artist will only make masterpieces, but any fool can vandalize a work of art until it is worthless. Our value lies in our potential to be restored to the condition the Master originally intended. This restoration cannot happen if we keep Christ at arm’s length. We were divinely crafted to be filled with Jesus. That potential makes every human priceless, and yet as a human body without life is nothing but a putrid, decaying shell, so is a human spirit without Jesus.

    Taken from Spiritual Secrets

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    God cares passionately about every trace of injustice you have ever suffered. The greatest torment you, in fit of fury, have ever wished to be savaged upon those who cruelly hurt you was rained upon Jesus to secure the justice you craved.

    To understand, see Revenge!

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    We gain insight into God’s heart as a branch slowly gains fruit – by remaining spiritually connected to Christ, the vine and by allowing God to “prune” us. To the inexperienced, pruning seems a cruel and senseless waste of parts of the branch that have great potential. Despite appearances, however, pruning increases fruitfulness. I believe pruning can come in the form of trials for which Scripture tells us to be thankful. When teaching about the vine, however, Jesus emphasized the role of his Word in pruning us (John 15:3). By obeying God’s Word we let him cut off our favorite sins and our favorite theories. We gain God’s heart by maintaining intimate oneness with Christ and letting God’s Word “remain” in us (John 15:7) by heeding what it says. This is why Scripture says:

    James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (Emphasis mine)

    Taken from The Heart of Bible Interpretation

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    People today claim to be horrified about anyone not marrying for love, but marrying for one’s own happiness is marrying for selfishness, not love. If marriage is all about selfishness it is doomed to fail. Marriage was instituted by the God of selfless love.

    Taken from God’s View of Marriage

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    Creator God, Almighty Ruler of the galaxies, sees in you things he sees in no one else – and it thrills him. And he truly wants you to be you; not some copy of a Christian you admire.

    Taken from Why, in God’s Eyes, You are Irreplaceable

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    Right now, your life may seem a hopeless mess of shattered pieces, but your divine Lover treasures every fragment, even those life experiences you have suffered that seem worse than useless. Discarding nothing, he will lovingly treat each incident in your life as a critical piece of a jigsaw that only a supernatural genius could solve. He will reassemble every meaningless disaster, shameful failure and hideous sin, until together they form priceless beauty that no one would ever guess could emerge from such evil and chaos.

    Taken from Turning Wasted Years into Blessing

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    Christians looking for a soft life in this age are like firefighters partying while houses go up in flames. Like want-to-be athletes who think they can avoid the rigor and austerity of training, they will make a laughing stock of themselves on the Big Day.

    Taken from Forgotten Christian Secrets of Prosperity

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