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Post  Admin on Mon 29 Jul 2013, 2:49 pm

Insight for Living Ministries
 A Life of Purpose
by Charles R. Swindoll 
Psalm 101:1-8 
Some people seem to drift aimlessly through life, headed in no specific direction. Without clearly defined objectives, it is not surprising that many adopt a lifestyle that lacks definition and purpose. 
I know a few folks who sort of take life as it comes; no big deal. Reminds me of the time I had been invited to a college campus to speak. On my way to the meeting hall, I met a fellow who was obviously apathetic. Hoping to put a little spark into his plans beyond graduation, I asked him a few probing questions. I'll never forget his answer to my asking, "Where are you going? What are your plans?" With hardly a hesitation, he responded, "Plans? Well, uh, I'm going to lunch." 
How typical of those caught in the grind of aimlessness! They live from one meal to the next, without much concern beyond that evening' s television programs. They drift through life like a skiff in a swamp. 
According to the superscript, this is a song of David, whose life was guided by a specific purpose. He understood God's plan for him and, aside from a temporary slump into disobedience, he pursued the course laid out for him. He made decisions in accordance with his purpose, and served the Lord faithfully for many, many years. He was indeed "a man after God's own heart." 
Perhaps more than any other passage of Scripture, these eight verses explain David's philosophy of life. In fact, an appropriate title for Psalm 101 might be "David&# 39;s Statement of Faith." This is his credo. It declares his spiritual aims. 
David committed himself to this credo without reservation. He, of course, failed at times; he wandered from the course, but he always kept the standard before him. In this psalm there is not the slightest trace of diplomatic compromise or vacillation, only simple, straightforward, devout words. Therefore, all who hope to live beyond the grind of aimlessness would do well to observe how David decided to conduct himself. 
The Passage and Its Pattern 
Psalm 101 could be called "the psalm of resolutions. " I count at least ten "I wills" or "I shalls." It reminds me of Joshua's declaration when the nation of Israel wanted to disobey the Lord: "Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15). For four verses David implies "as for me" and lists his resolutions in five "I wills." Following that, in verses 5-8, he turns to his kingdom, implying "as for my house" and lists seven different types of people, making a declaration about each one. An outline could look like this: 
1. As for Me: Resolutions (101:1-4) 
1. I will sing (101:1) 
2. I will give heed (101:2a) 
3. I will walk (101:2b) 
4. I will set (101:3) 
5. I will know (101:4) 
2. As for My House: Declarations (101:5-8) 
1. Slanderer (101:5a) 
2. Proud (101:5b) 
3. Faithful (101:6a) 
4. Blameless (101:6b) 
5. Deceiver (101:7a) 
6. Liar (101:7b) 
7. Wicked (101:8) 
  
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012). Copyright © 2013 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are 
reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 31 Dec 2012, 11:30 pm

December 31, 2012
Hand-in-Hand
by Charles R. Swindoll
Make my joy complete by being of
the same mind, maintaining the same love,
united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Philippians 2:1
It is only when I share life's experiences with others that I can enjoy them or endure them to the greatest advantage.

This is what the early Christians did. They learned quickly that survival would go hand-in-hand with "fellowship."

You see, having a relationship calls for being in fellowship with others, and that cannot be done very easily at arm's length. It implies getting in touch, feeling the hurts, being an instrument of encouragement and healing.

Fences must come down.

Masks need to come off.

Welcome signs need to be hung outside the door.

Keys to the locks in our lives must be duplicated and distributed.

Bridges need to be lowered that allow others to cross the moat and then share our joys and our sorrows.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sun 30 Dec 2012, 3:23 pm

December 29, 2012
Nothing Helps Like Hope
by Charles R. Swindoll

Let us hold fast the confession
of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23

Hope is a wonderful gift from God, a source of strength and courage in the face of life's harshest trials.

When we are trapped in a tunnel of misery, hope points to the light at the end.

When we are overworked and exhausted, hope gives us fresh energy.

When we are discouraged, hope lifts our spirits.

When we are tempted to quit, hope keeps us going.

When we struggle with a crippling disease or a lingering illness, hope helps us persevere beyond the pain.

When we fear the worst, hope brings reminders that God is still in control.

When we are forced to sit back and wait, hope gives us the patience to trust.
Put simply, when life hurts and dreams fade, nothing helps like hope.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 28 Dec 2012, 10:57 pm

December 28, 2012
Let God Build Your House
by Charles R. Swindoll
Unless the LORD builds the house,
they labor in vain who build it.
Psalm 127:1
Here's the idea.

During those all-important early months and years of marriage, make sure that the Lord your God is the heart and center of your family! If He is not, the whole experience is a study in futility---a wasted, empty, counterproductive effort. It will all be in vain.

He doesn't have in mind a home that hangs a lot of religious mottos on the walls or a couple that simply goes to church regularly or offers up a quick prayer before meals or places a big Bible on the living room coffee table.

No, the essential ingredient is "the Lord."

A family gets started on the right foot when Jesus Christ is in each life (husband and wife are both born again), and when the lengthening shadow of His Lordship pervades that relationship.

When a couple makes Christ a vital part of their life, in the terms of the psalm, that's when "the Lord builds the house."

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 27 Dec 2012, 8:19 pm

December 27, 2012
God Is All in All
by Charles R. Swindoll
The king's heart is like channels of water in the
hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Proverbs 21:1
God rules, God reigns. God, and God alone. And His way is right. It leads to His glory.

Deep within the hearts of men and women, even though most would never acknowledge it, is the realization that we really don't have the final answer.

There is this little hidden clause tucked away in the deep recesses of most thinking minds that says, "There may be a God after all."

When we take this to the ultimate future for humanity, God is sovereignly in charge.

One second after they die, the men and women who have rejected and resisted the Lord for years will step into eternity. One second . . . and they will be totally at a loss to determine their future.

God's sovereignty steps over their lives and sets forth His decree, "That God may be all in all" [1 Corinthians 15:28].

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 27 Dec 2012, 12:39 am

December 26, 2012
The Fairest Flower
by Charles R. Swindoll
O LORD, my heart is not proud,
nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve
myself in great matters.
Psalm 131:1
Genuine humility isn't something we can announce very easily.

To claim this virtue is, as a rule, to forfeit it. Humility is the fairest and rarest flower that blooms. Put it on display and instantly it wilts and loses its fragrance!

No, humility is not something to be announced. It simply belongs in one's life, in the private journal of one's walk with God.

There are two simple and quick ways God says the true condition of the heart is revealed. The first is through the eyes and the second is through the mouth (Luke 6:45).

Keen counselors and wise people are careful to listen to words (what is said as well as what isn't said) and watch the eyes of others. You soon discover that the heart is like a well and the eyes and tongue are like buckets that draw water from the same well.

If true humility is not in the heart, the eyes show it.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
December 24, 2012
Looking at the Big Picture . . . and Finding Hope, Part 1
by Charles R. Swindoll
Luke 2:1
Before you read again on the birth of Jesus, it might be best for you to lay it aside and start from scratch.

The Christmas story has been so sanitized and romanticized over the centuries that even Hollywood---as jaded a culture as can be found anywhere---fails to capture the gritty pathos that surrounded Jesus's arrival. Truth be told, even some churches annually idealize the birth of our Savior. Yet it was anything but ideal.

Without question, 6 BC was a lousy time to live in Judea. Herod the Great had seized the throne of Israel through bloody intrigue and with political support from Rome. Then, once in power, he guarded his stolen title, "King of the Jews," so ruthlessly he even put his own sons to death when any of them posed a significant political threat. Macrobius, a fifth-century writer, recorded, "When [Caesar Augustus] heard that Herod king of the Jews had ordered boys in Syria under the age of two years to be put to death and that the king's son was among those killed, he said, 'I'd rather be Herod's pig than Herod's son!'"1

Caesar's comment illustrated the sad irony of Israel's condition. Herod, though not really Jewish, pretended to be a pious religious Jew by eliminating pork from his diet, but he indulged an insatiable appetite for power. He built a magnificent temple for the God of Israel---an architectural wonder in its day---and gave its administration to one corrupt high priest after another. He taxed Jews through the temple in keeping with the Old Testament Law and then used the proceeds to break the first commandment, building cities and temples in honor of the emperor and his pantheon of Roman deities.

The larger Roman Empire---bounded on the west by the Atlantic . . . on the east by the Euphrates . . . on the north by the Rhine and Danube . . . and on the south by the Sahara Desert---was as vast as it was vicious. Political intrigue, racial tension, increased immorality, and enormous military might dominated everyone's attention and conversation. Judea existed under the crush of Rome's heavy boot. It was a time of unprecedented economic and political advancement for the rich and a time of horrific oppression for everyone else. By the first century BC, a dark cloud had settled over Israel, blocking any ray of hope.

The first Christmas, all eyes were on Augustus---the cynical Caesar who demanded a census to determine a measurement for increasing taxes even further. At that time, who was interested in a young couple making an 80-mile trip south from Nazareth? What could possibly be more important than Caesar's decisions in Rome . . . or his puppet Herod's edicts in Judea? Who cared about a Jewish baby born in a Bethlehem barn?

God did.
(to be continued tomorrow)

1. Macrobius, The Saturnalia, trans. Percival Vaughan Davies (New York: Columbia University Press, 1969), 171.
Copyright © 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc.
December 25, 2012
Looking at the Big Picture . . . and Finding Hope, Part 2
by Charles R. Swindoll
Galatians 4:4
Continued from yesterday.
Here is the apostle Paul's version of the Christmas story:
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
Without realizing it, mighty Augustus was only an errand boy for the commencement of "the fullness of time." He was a pawn in the hand of God . . . a mere piece of lint on the pages of prophecy. While Rome was busy making history, God arrived. He pitched His fleshly tent in silence on straw . . . in a stable . . . under a star. The world didn't even notice. Reeling from the wake of Alexander the Great . . . Herod the Great . . . and Augustus the Great, the world overlooked Jesus the baby.

It still does.

As they were in Jesus's day, so our times are desperate. Moreover, they often are a distraction from the bigger picture. Just as the political, economic, and spiritual crises of the first century set the stage for the "fullness of time" to occur . . . so today, in our own savage times, our God is weaving His sovereign tapestry to accomplish His divine will. Times are hard, indeed---but they never surprise God. He is still sovereign. He is still on the throne. As the psalmist reminds us: "Our God is in the heavens; / He does whatever He pleases" (Psalm 115:3).

In my 50 years of ministry, I have never been more committed than I am today to pointing our generation to the Word of God. It remains the single most accurate source of strength and divine direction during these difficult days. I exhort you---wherever God has placed you---to live out the truth of God's Word before your family and neighbors through evangelism, Bible study, and memorization of God's Word.

Feeling anxious about these difficult days? I understand, and Jesus does too. Times were no different when Jesus was born. Because so many lives have been turned upside down this year for one reason or another, I encourage you to do more than preach it again this year. I also urge you to reflect---just as Mary did---on what God is doing in your life. Christmas is a good time to ask ourselves this question: Will I focus on Jesus as the center of my life and cling to Him regardless of the circumstances I face?

Political corruption . . . religious compromise . . . economic crises---these will always be front-page news. But we must remember that our God is on the throne. He promises to use our desperate times to accomplish His bigger and better purposes in our world . . . and in our lives.
Copyright © 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc.
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Post  Admin on Sat 22 Dec 2012, 8:59 pm

December 22, 2012
Stubborn Sometimes
by Charles R. Swindoll

Do not be as the horse or as the mule
which have no understanding. . . .
Psalm 32:9

You've heard of God's children referred to as sheep. It isn't a bad picture, all things considered. The image conjures up visions of green pastures, still waters, and a gentle Shepherd, keeping watch over the flock.

But He also refers to us as mules. Sometimes, I think that's a better analogy.

Don't be like a balky mule!

Don't be stubborn when God speaks.

Don't continually fight and resist Him.

Don't keep running away from Him so that He can't speak to you.

Don't force Him to lasso you before you'll let Him draw near.

Why do we resist such a magnificent God who loves us? It makes no sense!
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 21 Dec 2012, 9:50 pm

December 21, 2012
Welcome Wise Rebukes
by Charles R. Swindoll

Better is open rebuke
than love that is concealed.
Proverbs 27:5

Hearing a wise person's rebuke is far better than humming a fool's song. That's the idea.

Most of us fail to hear the rebukes of the wise.

Sometimes the wise person is a boss who attempts to evaluate our job. At other times it's a parent who pulls us up close, in one of those nose-to-nose encounters, and tells us some things we need to hear. But we find such occasions difficult to bear.

Are we listening to the rebuke of the wise?

Sometimes the wise rebuke comes from a former mate. Or the wise person could be a pastor, or a therapist, or a physician, or an attorney.

We must be open and willing to learn from rebukes.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 20 Dec 2012, 11:36 pm

December 20, 2012
Stop the Blame Game
by Charles R. Swindoll

He who conceals his transgressions
will not prosper, but he who confesses
and forsakes them will find compassion.
Proverbs 28:13

Let's not kid ourselves. When we deliberately choose not to stay positive and deny joy a place in our lives, we'll usually gravitate in one of two directions, sometimes both---the direction of blame or self-pity.

The aggressive attitude reacts to circumstances with blame. We blame ourselves or someone else, or God, or if we can't find a tangible scapegoat, we blame "fate."

What an absolute waste!

When we blame ourselves, we multiply our guilt, we rivet ourselves to the past (another "dangling" unchangeable), and we decrease our already low self-esteem.

If we choose to blame God, we cut off our single source of power. Doubt replaces trust, and we put down roots of bitterness that can make us cynical.

If we blame others, we enlarge the distance between us and them. . . . We settle for something much less than God ever intended.

And on top of all that, we do not find relief!
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 19 Dec 2012, 12:42 pm

December 19, 2012
Undeserved Kindness
by Charles R. Swindoll
But we believe that we are saved
through the grace of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 15:11
If you have traveled to London, you have perhaps seen royalty. If so, you may have noticed sophistication, aloofness, distance.

On occasion, royalty in England will make the news because someone in the ranks of nobility will stop, kneel down, and touch or bless a commoner.

That is grace.

There is nothing in the commoner that deserves being noticed or touched or blessed by the royal family. But because of grace in the heart of the queen, there is the desire at that moment to pause, to stoop, to touch, even to bless.

To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn't deserve it and can never earn it.

Receiving God's acceptance by grace always stands in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works.

Every time the thought of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved. In no way is the recipient getting what he or she deserves. Favor is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 18 Dec 2012, 1:33 pm

December 18, 2012
The Beauty of God’s Holiness
by Charles R. Swindoll
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God,
the Almighty, who was and who is
and who is to come.
Revelation 4:8
We live in a day of pitifully shallow concepts of God.

Some of today's contemporary Christian music leaves the impression that God is our buddy—a great pal to have in a pinch. . . . One pop song asks, "What if God were just a slob like us?" That is not the biblical view of God. That is man's feeble attempt to make God relevant.

Do you hear the cheap twang of such a concept of God? These small ideas of Him diminish the beauty of His holiness.

The Puritans, that rigorous people of old, possessed a solidly biblical concept of God. Do you know why it is so crucial for us to recover such a respectful understanding? Because a shallow view of God leads to a shallow life.

Cheapen God and you cheapen life itself. Treat God superficially, and you become superficial.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
December 17, 2012
Hurried, Harried Homes?
by Charles R. Swindoll
Know well the condition of your flocks,
and pay attention to your herds.
Proverbs 27:23
What's the atmosphere like in your home these days?

Are you in danger of raising a "hurried child"?

Capture some time this week and take an honest look at the quality of childhood your family lifestyle is providing for your little ones. What will be memorable to your kids when they, as adults, look back on the early years? Will it all seem like a high-pressure blur to them . . . one long breathless marathon? Have you allowed television to snatch up much of your children's unscheduled minutes . . . and hours?

Seeking God's wisdom, ask yourselves, "What can we do as mom and dad to encourage our kids to enjoy being kids?" Are you creating an atmosphere of relaxation and flexibility . . . or do the words hurry and rigidity better characterize your home? Any plans for a relaxed family vacation in the works?

As you plan, remember that childhood is an infinitely precious commodity. Your children will only grow up once.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sat 15 Dec 2012, 11:24 pm

December 15, 2012
Diligence and Faithfulness
by Charles R. Swindoll
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before him with joyful singing.
Psalm 100:2
Servanthood implies diligence, faithfulness, loyalty, and humility.

Servants don't compete . . . or grandstand . . . or polish their image . . . or grab the limelight. They know their job, they admit their limitations, they do what they do quietly and consistently.

Servants cannot control anyone or everything, and they shouldn't try.

Servants cannot change or "fix" people.

Servants cannot concern themselves with who gets the credit.

Let's serve . . . in the name of Jesus.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission
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Post  Admin on Fri 14 Dec 2012, 9:41 pm

December 14, 2012
Self-Control Is Inner Strength
by Charles R. Swindoll
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23
Every one of us has gotten angry and lost our temper, only to regret it. Every one of us has allowed our schedule to get so overloaded that, looking back over the week, we must admit to ourselves, if we're honest, we've not stopped to pray even once. Every one of us has eaten too much, even when we swore we wouldn't.

Who hasn't fought yet again the old battle with lust or greed or materialism or anger or envy?

There is an answer to this daily dilemma, a solution that is easy to identify. There is a secret to holding back.

"Self-control" . . . that's the key . . . that's the answer.

The best synonym for self-control is "discipline." Self-control means "inner strength."

The fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Self-control frees us from slavery.

Self-control stops bad habits. It checks us. It halts us.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 13 Dec 2012, 10:09 pm

December 13, 2012
Walking with God
by Charles R. Swindoll

It is better to take refuge in
the LORD than to trust in a man.
Psalm 118:8

Walking with God is the most exciting and rewarding of all experiences on earth. I should add, it is also the most difficult.

I don't think I've ever met an exception to the rule, that those who walk closest to God are those who, like Jesus, become acquainted with trials and testings. God takes us through struggles and difficulties so that we might become increasingly more committed to Him.

God may be leading you somewhere . . . that doesn't make much sense. I want to encourage you: Don't try to make sense out of it, just go.

If God leads you to stay in a difficult situation and you have peace that you are to stay, don't analyze it, stay.

Do your part. Do what He tells you to do, for His promises often hinge on obedience.

You can walk with Him in perfect trust. That's your part.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 11:26 pm

December 12, 2012
Our Weakness, His Strength
by Charles R. Swindoll

Wait for the LORD; be strong
and let your heart take courage;
yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27:14

Let's look at that term wait. It is from the Hebrew verb kah-wah meaning "to twist, stretch." The noun form means "line, cord, thread."

A vivid picture emerges here.

[Kah-wah] is a verb describing the making of a strong, powerful rope or cord by twisting and weaving ourselves so tightly around the Lord that our weaknesses and frail characteristics are replaced by His power and unparalleled strength. It describes very literally the truth of what has been termed the "exchanged life."

As we wait on God, our weakness is exchanged for His strength.

Strength and courage are developed during a trial, not after it is over.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 11 Dec 2012, 4:05 pm

December 11, 2012
God’s Will and Ways
by Charles R. Swindoll

As the deer pants for
the water brooks, so my soul
pants for You, O God.
Psalm 42:1

Godliness is something below the surface of a life, deep down in the realm of attitude---an attitude toward God Himself.

The longer I think about this, the more I believe that a person who is godly is one whose heart is sensitive toward God, one who takes God seriously.

The godly individual hungers and thirsts after God. In the words of the psalmist, the godly person has a soul that "pants" for the living God (Psalm 42:1-2).

Godly people possess an attitude of willing submission to God's will and ways.

Whatever He says goes. And whatever it takes to carry it out is the very thing the godly desire to do.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 10 Dec 2012, 7:53 pm

December 10, 2012
A Joyful Heart
by Charles R. Swindoll

You have put gladness in my heart.
Psalm 4:7

We need to lighten up!

Yes, spirituality and fun do go well together. Scripture speaks directly to this issue, you know: "A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad the spirit is broken" (Proverbs 15:13).

We're not talking about a person's face here as much as we are about the heart.

Internal joy goes public. We can't hide it. The face takes its cue from an inside signal.

A well-developed sense of humor reveals a well-balanced personality. . . . The ability to get a laugh out of everyday situations is a safety valve. It rids us of tensions and worries that could otherwise damage our health.

You think I'm exaggerating the benefits? If so, maybe you've forgotten another proverb: "A joyful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22).

What is it that brings healing to emotions, healing to the soul? A joyful heart!
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sat 08 Dec 2012, 10:50 pm

December 8, 2012
Faith for the Future
by Charles R. Swindoll

[I rejoice] to see your good discipline
and the stability of your faith in Christ.
Colossians 2:5

The nature of the beast within all of us resists change.

Even though our past has been painful and in some ways unrewarding and perhaps even unproductive, it would be interesting to know how many of us would rather return to our past than face the uncertainty of our future.

Being creatures of habit, we would rather have the security of our yesterday than the uncertainty of our tomorrow.

But it's the uncertainty of our future that really strengthens our faith. I mean, if we knew what it was all about, then it would take no faith. All it would take is obedience.

If you knew what was going to happen in the next ten years of your life, what kind of faith would it take to walk that path?

It's the mystery of it all that gives it the power; the mystery of the whole process called God's working that makes the power so magnificent.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 07 Dec 2012, 3:07 pm

December 7, 2012
A Message for the Marketplace
by Charles R. Swindoll

Whatever your hand finds to do,
do it with all your might.
Ecclesiastes 9:10

I'm just maverick enough to say that I think fewer Christians ought to be going into the ministry and more should be going into business and into occupations that have nothing to do with the vocational Christian service.

I don't see life divided into public and private, secular and sacred. It's all an open place of service before our God.

My hope is to see . . . a group of Christians who will infiltrate our society---in fact, our entire world---with a pure, beautiful message of grace and honesty in the marketplace.

Recently I had a delightful talk with a keen-thinking young man . . . at our church. As we visited, I asked him about his future plans.

"Well, I've just graduated from law school," he said. When I asked about how he hoped to use his training, he said, "I want to be a man of integrity who practices law."

What refreshing words! They reflected the right priority.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
December 6, 2012
Humble in Heart
by Charles R. Swindoll
Take my yoke and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29

What is the most Christlike attitude on earth? Think before you answer too quickly.

I am certain many would answer love. That is understandable, for He did indeed love to the uttermost.

Others might say patience. Again, not a bad choice. I find no evidence of impatience or anxious irritability as I study His life.

Grace would also be a possibility. No man or woman ever modeled or exhibited the grace that He demonstrated right up to the moment He breathed His last.

As important as those traits may be, however, they are not the ones Jesus Himself referred to when He described Himself for the only time in Scripture: "I am gentle and humble in heart" (Matthew 11:29), which might best be summed up in the one word unselfish.

According to Jesus' testimony, that is the most Christlike attitude we can demonstrate.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 05 Dec 2012, 6:42 pm

December 5, 2012
The Heartbeat of the Home
by Charles R. Swindoll

Cease listening, my son, to discipline,
and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
Proverbs 19:27

The birth of a child is not taken lightly by the Lord. Each one is significant. Each one is viewed by God as a transfer of love from His heart to the couple receiving the gift.

God never wastes parents. He doesn't inadvertently "dump" kids haphazardly into homes. Nor does He deliver "accidents" into our lives.

It is exceedingly important that families place the same significance on children that God does.

Again, this is contrary to the mentality of many people in our society today. We are considered as somewhere between weird and ignorant if we have this kind of attitude toward children, especially if we have a large number of them.

It is axiomatic. Healthy, well-disciplined, loving homes produce people who make a nation peaceful and strong. As the family goes, so goes the nation.

When you boil it down to the basics, the pulse of an entire civilization is determined by the heartbeat of its homes.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 04 Dec 2012, 11:20 pm

December 4, 2012
God’s Mysterious Plan
by Charles R. Swindoll

I am the LORD, and there is no other;
besides Me there is no god.
Isaiah 45:5

There are occasions when we are surprised by God's decreed will . . . like when we get the results back from our physical exam and the MRI reveals a tumor we had no idea was there. . . . Or when the stock market plunges in one day to a ten-year, record-setting low.

It may seem to many that the One who made us is too far removed to concern Himself with such tiny details of life on this old globe.

But that is not the case.

His mysterious plan is running its course right on schedule, exactly as He decreed it.

This world is not out of control, spinning wildly through space. Nor are earth's inhabitants at the mercy of some blind, random fate.

When God created the world and set the stars in space, He also established the course of this world and His plan for humanity.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 03 Dec 2012, 9:26 pm

December 3, 2012
Sensitive Rather Than Strong
by Charles R. Swindoll

Husbands, love your wives,
just as Christ also loved the church
and gave Himself up for her.
Ephesians 5:25

God's goal for us as husbands is to be sensitive rather than to prove how strong and macho we are.

We need to love our wives, listen to them, adapt to their needs.

We need to say no to more and more in our work so we can say yes to more and more in our homes . . . so we can say yes to the needs of our children and our families. (How else will your children learn what it means to be a good husband and father?)

Mind you, this is not to be a smothering kind of attention---the kind that says a husband is so insecure he cannot let his wife out of his sight.

Instead, this is the kind of love that means your wife can't come back fast enough to your arms.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sat 01 Dec 2012, 8:09 pm

December 1, 2012
Face to Face with God
by Charles R. Swindoll

God will bring every act to judgment,
everything which is hidden,
whether it is good or evil.
Ecclesiates 12:4

If God says that He will bring every act to judgment . . . I know He will. I don't know His method and frankly, that doesn't bother me. What ought to bother us is that He will do it!

Somehow in God's own timing and in God's own way, He will cause there to be a replay of our lives.

It makes a lot of sense to me that the One who made us has every right to hold us accountable.

We cannot live the life of an irresponsible playboy and get away with it. We aren't free to run wild and wink in God's direction, thinking that, no matter what, the big Teddy Bear in the sky will yawn, pat us on the head, and say, "Everything is going to be just fine." No, it doesn't work like that.

Our ragged-edge journey is headed for a sudden stop. And all alone, standing face to face with God in that epochal moment, we will give an account of the life we have lived.

Sober, serious thought!
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 30 Nov 2012, 11:02 pm

November 30, 2012
A Dad's Greatest Gift
by Charles R. Swindoll

Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, and
give attention that you may gain understanding.
Proverbs 4:1

Dad, is it possible you've gotten overly committed, so involved in your work or some away-from-home project or hobby that it is draining your time and energy with your family?

I understand, believe me, I do. . . .

Instead of challenging fathers to give of themselves, our cultural system encourages them to give the stuff their increased salaries can buy---a better education, a membership at the club, material possessions, nicer homes, extra cars. . . .

But what about dad himself? And that priceless apprenticeship learned in his presence? It's gotten lost in the shuffle. . . .

C'mon, dads, let's lead a revolt!

Let's refuse to take our cues from the system any longer. Let's start saying no to more and more of the things that pull us farther and farther away from the ones who need us the most.

Let's remember that the greatest earthly gifts we can provide are our presence and influence while we live and a magnificent memory of our lives once we're gone.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 29 Nov 2012, 10:40 pm

November 29, 2012

We Want Relief
by Charles R. Swindoll

I love the LORD, because He hears my
voice and my supplications. Because He
has inclined His ear to me, therefore
shall I call upon Him as long as I live.
Psalm 116:1-2

Do you ever find yourself saying something like this?

"Lord, I give You my life, but I'm weary to death of this irritation, this person, this circumstance, this uncomfortable situation. I feel trapped, Lord. I want relief---I must have relief! And if You don't bring it soon . . . well, I've had it. I feel like walking away from it all."

You may walk, my friend, but there are no shortcuts.

Here's a better plan: Reach for the hand of your Guide! He is Lord of the desert. Even your desert. The most precious object of God's love is His child in the desert. If it were possible, you mean more to Him during this time than at any other time. . . .

You are His beloved student taking His toughest courses. He loves you with an infinite amount of love.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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