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Praying Always

Our spirits are indeed willing, but our flesh is dreadfully weak. This is why, as we go forward seeking to stand strong against the attacks of the enemy, we must constantly be in a state of watchful prayer. We must be alert, on our guard, ever in tune with the Holy Spirit's promptings, anticipating danger or compromise before it occurs so that the enemy cannot sneak up and catch us unawares. Inspiration tells us, "no man is safe for a day or an hour without prayer."

Christ himself, when facing the biggest trial of his life in Gethsemane, asked his disciples to "watch and pray" (verse 41). They failed to do this, being too sleepy. Inspiration tells us, "it was in sleeping when Jesus bade him watch and pray that Peter had prepared the way for his great sin [of denying Christ three times]. All the disciples, by sleeping in that critical hour, sustained great loss." What loss might we personally?and corporately?be sustaining today because we are too busy, too sleepy, or too lazy to take the time to watch and pray?

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The Church and Education

In the church at home the children are to learn to pray and to trust in God. Teach them to repeat God?s law. Concerning the com­mandments the Israelites were instructed: ?Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.? Deuteronomy 6:7. Come in humility, with a heart full of tenderness, and with a sense of the temptations and dangers before yourselves and your children; by faith bind them to the altar, entreating for them the care of the Lord. Train the children to offer their simple words of prayer. Tell them that God delights to have them call upon Him.

Will the Lord of heaven pass by such homes and leave no bless­ing there? Nay, verily. Ministering angels will guard the children who are thus dedicated to God. They hear the offering of praise and the prayer of faith, and they bear the petitions to Him who minis­ters in the sanctuary for His people and offers His merits in their behalf.?Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 110.

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He Can Lighten Our Burdens

Life is pretty complicated, isn't it? It seems one of the biggest challenges we face is trying to find a balance between relationships and work. We need money to survive, pay our bills, buy food, and put a roof over our heads. And to earn money we must work. This can cause a lot of stress which can impact our relationships.

There is no better place to find strength and wisdom than in God. Jesus invites us to bring our cares and concerns to Him so that He can lighten our burdens. He knows your heart and the worries that overwhelm you; so share everything with Him.

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Thanking God

?In everything give thanks; for this is God?s will for you in Christ Jesus.? ?1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)

Being thankful changes our life for the better. Giving thanks brings countless blessings. Giving thanks is God?s way for our life. The one who exercises a thankful spirit lives not just more grate-fully but also more happily and thereby in the end also more healthfully. Giving thanks means to remember that someone has done something good for me, and I express my appreciation in words. Gratitude changes my perspective and opens up a positive attitude toward life.

You can noticeably experience the life-changing effects of thankfulness if you practice the following simple exercise for several days: Every day write down ten different words that summarize things for which you are grateful. Then think about what these things mean to you (e.g., What does my bed mean to me? How would it be if I always had to sleep on a hard and cold floor?). Then take each word and write a short sentence expressing your gratitude to Jesus (e.g., ?Lord Jesus, thank You for my eyes with which I can see colors and read books.?).

At the end of just one week, you will already have seventy (!) reasons to be grateful. In one month?s time, at the most, gratitude will have changed your life. Guaranteed!

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Patience is fourth on Paul?s list of fruits of the Spirit. With all he had to put up with, Paul really needed the fruit of patience. You might need it too. Maybe there are people who drive you crazy. They won?t share, they whine, they tattle?they are pests. When you are around people like that you might want to smack them.

But there?s a better solution: Be patient. If you hit people who irritate you, they?ll want to hit you back, and it only gets worse from there. But there?s a good chance things will get better if you bear with them and love them and remember that they?re having to learn how to be good too.

Patience is one of the hardest things to learn. But be patient! Keep trying!

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Acts 17

"The brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea. . . . These were more noble . . . in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily" Acts 17:10, 11, KJV.

How thankful we are for the noble Bereans, who studied their Bibles every day. What a wonderful example they are to all Christians. Throughout the years many Bible reading or study groups have taken the name Berean. But remember, the Bereans did more than just read their Bibles?they searched them. They studied the Word of God.

There is a ?fortune? in the Word of God, but you have to search for it. You have to dig for it. Skimming over the surface and getting the story will give you some blessing, but the richest blessing comes when you study, when you think, when you compare one text with another, and when you compare your life with the ideas found in the Word of God.

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The Day After

As the world races through the twenty-first century, have you ever considered what our greatest need is? What do men and women living in the twenty-first century need most? If you were starving, it might be food. If you were homeless, it might be a place to live. If disease ravaged your body, it might be medicine. If you were lonely and discouraged, it might be love. Is there one thing more than any other that could take you through any difficulty you might face in life? Is there one thing that can make the human spirit soar? All over the world people are desperately looking for hope. Someone has well said, "What oxygen is to the lungs, hope is to the human spirit."

Hope buoys up our spirits. It lifts our vision from what is to what will be. It is a candle in the darkness. It provides encouragement for the future. Hope is one thing that lifts the human spirit and keeps us going amid the challenges we face. 

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A Sign of Christ's Return

Is the COVID-19 virus that has ravaged the world a sign of Christ's coming? It does not stand alone as the sign. But when you look at the larger picture, pestilences are one of multiple signs that Jesus predicts will occur preliminary to His return. These events indicate that the time is running out and that we are living on the verge of eternity. The stage is being set for the climactic events described in the prophetic books of Daniel and Revelation to soon be fulfilled.

In the light of Christ's predictions in His prophetic word, what can we expect in the future? Natural disasters will increase. Famines, earthquakes, and pestilences will escalate. Just as in Noah's day, when a sinful world full of immortality and violence filled the cup of its iniquity in rebellion against God and the floodwaters deluged this world, so our world is preparing for God's final judgments. God lovingly appeals to a wayward planet. There is nothing more important to God than saving as many people as possible. When God withdraws his protective power, natural disasters and death dealing disease run rampant. God does not cause these disasters, but uses them to appeal to us on the fragility of life. They drive us to our knees to seek the only source of security, which is in Christ and the promises of his word. The Bible is a book filled with the hopeful promises of God.

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Education and Redemption

If the influence in our college is what it should be, the youth who are educated there will be enabled to discern God and glorify Him in all His work; and while engaged in cultivating the faculties which God has given them, they will be preparing to render Him more efficient service. The intellect, sanctified, will unlock the treasures of God?s word and gather its precious gems to present to other minds and lead them also to search for the deep things of God. A knowledge of the riches of His grace will ennoble and elevate the human soul, and through connection with Christ it will become a partaker of the divine nature and obtain power to resist the advances of Satan.

Students must be impressed with the fact that knowledge alone may be, in the hands of the enemy of all good, a power to destroy them. It was a very intellectual being, one who occupied a high posi­tion among the angelic throng, that finally became a rebel; and many a mind of superior intellectual attainments is now being led captive by his power. The sanctified knowledge which God imparts is of the right quality and will tell to His glory. ?Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 422.

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Education and Redemption

In the setting of Christian education, we have incarnational teachers, deans, and administrators who combine law and grace in their lives. They model living the rules and loving the students. The institution does not communicate grace by either throwing out the rules or making them innocuous. It commu­nicates grace by having grace-filled people, those who have experienced the gospel in their own lives, mediate the rules of institutional life. Pastors, faculty, and staff first must melt students with their love before they can mold their opinions. Too often, we seek to mold their opinion before we melt them?and they rebel. Through loving relationships, we can unite grace and law.

So is institutional grace an oxymoron? No, unless the people of the institution are not incarnational representatives of Jesus and His love. When pastors, administrators, and teachers expe­rience God?s love and His unconditional acceptance, there will be institutional grace, and it will not be an oxymoron.

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Golden Joy

Experiencing the feeling of joy can be intoxicating?there's never enough. Most of the time, joy happens to us effortlessly?spontaneously?without planning?if you choose to be content with whatever life brings and allow time for fun and positive relationships. When joy comes without you expecting it, it brings a high?an amazing feeling of pleasure.

What good news it is to know that we can experience this awesome feeling of joy if we just take time to draw closer to Jesus and at the same time concentrate on loving others as Jesus loves us. If we do this, Jesus promises joy?but not just any old kind of joy. He says we will experience "abundant joy." Now that's good news!

So slow down, draw closer to God, love others, and before you know it, you should be feeling the splash of God's golden joy!

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His Glory

The glory of God is His character, and "the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. . . . In their own life and character they [the followers of Christ] are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them." The last message to be carried to the world is not a time prophecy or a retreat to the Old Testament ceremonies. The last message for the world is a revelation of Gods character in your life! Your testimony of His presence in your life ? how He has changed and transformed you ? is the light of the world!

The oil makes the difference. Without it, it is like a gun without bullets, a flashlight without batteries, and the form of godliness without the power. Without the Holy Spirit we are not ready for the wedding and we are not serious about the war.

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