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No One to Help

If you were hiking along a trail and found someone who had fallen and was bleeding, what would you do? The very first thing you must do is to stop the bleeding. You should use a cloth and wear gloves if you have them, and press down on the bleeding wound. It?s important to keep a person from losing too much blood. You would be a ?good Samaritan? for helping the person.

Today?s verse, though, tells a sad story. It talks about someone no one wants to help. In fact, people are clapping when this person falls and hurts themselves. Why aren?t others sad? It?s because the injured person is a cruel person. That person hasn?t treated people nicely at all, and now no one wants to help.

Remember that a ?good Samaritan? should always help anyone they can, even a cruel person. But there?s another very important lesson to learn here. Be a nice person. Treat others like you want to be treated. Help others when they?re in trouble. Someday when you?re in trouble, you might find someone happy to help you.  

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Smooth As Ice

Have you ever noticed that ice gets more slippery if there?s water on it? It?s true?when you slide across ice with water on it, you go faster. Actually, that?s what happens when you skate. When the blade on your skate slides on the ice it actually rubs that little bit of ice and melts it. You skate smoothly and quickly because you?re actually skating on a layer of water.

God?s Holy Spirit has melting power too. Sometimes people?s hearts can be cold. Maybe they?ve been hurt by others and their heart is as hard as ice. But the Holy Spirit can glide across an icy heart and melt it.

The Holy Spirit can use you to do the same thing. Do you know someone with a frozen heart? Ask God?s Holy Spirit to fill your life with kindness and melt away some ice today. 

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Christ In the Crucible

God could have destroyed Satan and his sympathizers as easily as one can cast a pebble to the earth; but He did not do this. Rebellion was not to be overcome by force. Compelling power is found only under Satan?s government. The Lord?s principles are not of this order. His authority rests upon goodness, mercy, and love; and the presentation of these principles is the means to be used. God?s government is moral, and truth and love are to be the prevailing power.?The Desire of Ages, pp. 758, 759.

Every act of transgression, every neglect or rejection of the grace of Christ, is reacting upon yourself; it is hardening the heart, depraving the will, benumbing the understanding, and not only mak­ing you less inclined to yield, but less capable of yielding, to the tender pleading of God?s Holy Spirit. . . .

Even one wrong trait of character, one sinful desire, persistently cherished, will eventually neutralize all the power of the gospel. Every sinful indulgence strengthens the soul?s aversion to God. The man who manifests an infidel hardihood, or a stolid indifference to divine truth, is but reaping the harvest of that which he has himself sown. In all the Bible there is not a more fearful warning against trifling with evil than the words of the wise man that the sinner ?shall be holden with the cords of his sins.? Proverbs 5:22.?Steps to Christ, pp. 33, 34.

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Glorifying God Today

We glorify the Father through discipleship to His Son. The re­bellion that emerged in heaven began with the personal animosity of Satan toward Jesus. Jesus Himself was the focus of Satan?s irritation and rebellion. Because the Father and Son made humanity in Their image, we become the secondary object of Satan?s anger. So if Satan can tempt us away from God, he can hurt the Father and the Son. By choosing to remain a disciple of Jesus, we honor the Father. The more we imitate the Son, the more we glorify the Father. It?s not a coincidence, there­fore, that our primary discipleship is to Jesus. Jesus has always been the focus of Satan?s jealousy and the one that he desires to replace. As we increasingly reflect the character of Jesus, we are again making a choice, not simply for a good way to live, but for the true Lord of our lives.

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Calm Down

It is imperative that we calm down before we attempt to have a discussion. Anger prevents healthy communication from occurring, and many decisions are made and many words are spoken in the heat of battle that cannot be reversed.

According to Psychology Today, we need to take ample time to calm ourselves: ?When the fight/flight mechanism is fully engaged, it takes about 20 minutes to regain the ability to fully process information again.?

So the first strategy for managing conflict is to take the necessary time?at least twenty minutes?to calm down. Cooling down takes time, and trying to deal with an overheated situation immediately may prove futile.

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Called to Reach a Higher Standard

Paul tried to impress the believers with the importance of spiritual self-discipline and used an example from the athletic competitions in Corinth. The most popular sport was foot racing. Young men from all ranks of society took part. Contestants disciplined themselves and trained hard to win. Commoners, nobility, and public officials all followed the races.

The rules for the competition were strict and judges? decisions were final. If a runner broke the rules, even if he came in first, he did not receive a trophy. However, if he did everything right and won, he won the trophy and the applause of the people, which was so loud that it echoed back from the surrounding hills.

Paul used these games as an example of the spiritual race for Christians. We also must employ self-discipline and strength, focus on Christ, and follow God?s rules without collapsing or quitting. The trophy is eternal life.

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Tithes and Offerings

To keep the economy of the country going, God?s system of tithes and offerings continued as it had been for years. The Lord had said to the people, ?The tithe is mine, which includes one-tenth of your income and from whatever you get from your flocks and herds. It is for the support of the priests, while the freewill offerings support the sanctuary and help those in need.?

God also reminded the people that each per-son was a steward of the Lord?s property because everything belonged to Him. In that sense we are laborers together with Him, advancing His king-dom, and He wants us to tangibly and sacrificially express our gratitude to Him. In return, he pours out blessings from heaven on the faithful.

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A Facet of God's Love

?Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried? (Ruth 1:16, 17, NLT).

Ruth could have chosen to look after her own future and not return with an old woman for whom she would have to care and work, making a living for them both. Yet she made the loving choice, even knowing there would be additional hardship in leaving her own country to live in an unknown country. I admire the love that exists between the two women and how they put the well-being of each other first.

In this world of selfishness and abuse, where many values are being lost and the family is in crisis, we look at these two women and their decisions: they modeled the principle of not seeking their own comfort but rather ?the other?s well-being? (1 Corinthians 10:24, NKJV). What a breath of pure, clean air for us!

May the Lord help us to have these same family relationships where love flows in both directions. Let?s give and receive, because mutually caring relationships are the ones that provide happiness. They demonstrate a facet of God?s love.  

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Selling the Birthright

And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. ?Genesis 25:34

It is as perplexing a Bible story as virtually any you will read. A grown man sold his birthright for the princely sum of . . . a bowl of lentil stew. And for the simple reason that he was hungry.

Jesus offers everlasting life. In exchange, we surrender our will and allow Him authority in our lives. To reject salvation, someone must say, ?I would rather have my pride than Jesus.? ?I would sooner have lust than life everlasting.? ?I prefer anger, dishonesty, racism, and a bad temper to the love of Jesus in my life.?

Esau could have walked the short distance to his parents? home to find food without discarding the blessing that belonged to him as his father?s firstborn son. He failed to value the privileges that were his. Esau?s experience reminds us of the folly of trading everything for nothing, of exchanging everlasting life for the short time we have on this earth. 

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Dying Like a Seed

The reason many in this age of the world make no greater advancement in the divine life is because they interpret the will of God to be just what they will to do. While following their own desires, they flatter themselves that they are conforming to God?s will. These have no conflicts with self. There are others who for a time are successful in the struggle against their selfish desire for pleasure and ease. They are sincere and earnest, but grow weary of protracted effort, of daily death, of ceaseless turmoil. Indolence seems inviting, death to self repulsive; and they close their drowsy eyes and fall under the power of temptation instead of resisting it.

The directions laid down in the word of God leave no room for compromise with evil. The Son of God was manifested that He might draw all men unto Himself. He came not to lull the world to sleep, but to point out the narrow path in which all must travel who reach at last the gates of the City of God. His children must follow where He has led the way; at whatever sacrifice of ease or selfish indulgence, at whatever cost of labor or suffering, they must maintain a constant battle with self. ?The Acts of the Apostles, p. 565.

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Dying Like a Seed

How will God bring you to this point of total surrender? It?s hard to predict, but you will certainly know it when it happens. The point of total submission often comes only when we are in the center of the cru­cible, because the crucible is normally the only place that God can re­move the selfish hankering of our hearts. No person learns to truly offer themselves to Jesus unreservedly unless they are at their wits? end (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, reading for Aug. 28). At that moment, when we are willing to offer God everything, we yield up what we have hung on to the longest, and He takes control. I think this is what the disciples started to understand as they began to wait together before Pentecost.

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Rejection of Light

Spiritual darkness does not come from God?s arbitrarily withdrawing His divine grace, but from men and women?s rejection of light. By devotion to the world and forgetfulness of God, the Jewish people had been ignorant about Messiah?s advent. In their unbelief they rejected the Redeemer. Even then God did not cut off the Jewish nation from the blessings of salvation. But those who rejected the truth had ?put darkness for light, and light for darkness? (Isaiah 5:20). . . .

All who stifle conviction of duty because it interferes with their desires will finally lose the power to tell the difference between truth and error. They become separated from God. Where people spurn divine truth, the church will be in darkness, faith and love grow cold, and conflicts enter. Church members focus their interests on worldly ventures, and sinners become hardened in their rebellion.

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