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Post  Admin on Wed 28 Nov 2012, 9:33 pm

November 28, 2012
The Soul Belongs to God
by Charles R. Swindoll

And my soul shall rejoice in the LORD;
it shall exult in His salvation.
Psalm 35:9

Nothing physical touches the soul. Nothing external satisfies our deepest inner needs.

Remember that! The soul belongs to God. He alone can satisfy us in that realm.

The soul possesses an inescapable God-shaped vacuum. And not until He invades and fills it can we be at peace within---which is another way of saying, "If God isn't in first place, you can't handle success."

If God fills your soul, if God fills your mind, if God satisfies your spirit, there is no problem whatsoever with prosperity. You've got it all put together. Your priorities will be right, and you will know how to handle your life so you can impact the maximum number of people.

If He prospers you, if He entrusts you with material success and you continue walking with Him, God can use you mightily in His plan.

Furthermore, if you lose it all, He can give you what it takes to handle the loss and start all over again.
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
November 27, 2012
Deflating Pride
by Charles R. Swindoll

Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
and to the quarry from which you were dug.
Isaiah 51:1

In the Hebrew text, the word quarry actually refers to "a hole." The old King James Version doesn't miss it far: "the hole of the pit whence ye are digged."

Never forget "the hole of the pit."

What excellent advice! Before we get all enamored with our high-and-mighty importance, it's a good idea to take a backward glance at the "hole of the pit" from which Christ lifted us.

And let's not just think about it; let's admit it. Our "hole of the pit" has a way of keeping us all on the same level---recipients of grace.

And don't kid yourself---even those who are extolled and admired have "holes" from which they were dug.

•With Moses, it was murder.
•With Peter, it was public denial.
•With Rahab, it was prostitution.

The next time we're tempted to become puffed up by our own importance, let's just look back to the pit from which we were dug. It has a way of deflating our pride.
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 26 Nov 2012, 9:37 pm

November 26, 2012
A Rat in the Corner of Life
by Charles R. Swindoll

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?
And yet not one of them will fall to
the ground apart from your Father.
Matthew 10:29

Maybe you have a worry related to some simple, daily problem that eats away at your peace, like a rat in the corner of your life. It just gnaws and gnaws and gnaws. You can't seem to get out from under it. Maybe it was a foolish mistake you made and you're paying for it. . . .

[One] problem with worry is that it makes you forget your worth.

Worry makes you feel worthless, forgotten, and unimportant.

That's why Jesus says that we are worth much more than the birds of the air who neither worry nor die of hunger because their heavenly Father feeds them (Matthew 6:26). They enjoy what's there. If God is able to sustain the lesser creatures, won't He sustain the greater?

Maybe you're worried about things that seem important in your life. Yet your heavenly Father knows what is essential better than you do.

And you are worth so much that He is taking things one at a time, dealing with more important things right now in your life.
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 24 Nov 2012, 2:43 pm

November 24, 2012
Leisure Is Free
by Charles R. Swindoll

A little sleep, a little slumber;
a little folding of the hands to rest.
Proverbs 24:33

Please understand that leisure is more than idle free time not devoted to paid occupations. Some of the most valuable work done in the world has been done at leisure . . . and never paid for in cash.

Leisure is free activity. Labor is compulsory activity. In leisure, we do what we like, but in labor we do what we must. In our labor we meet the objective needs and demands of others---our employer, the public, people who are impacted by and through our work. But in leisure we scratch the subjective itches within ourselves.

In leisure our minds are liberated from the immediate, the necessary. As we incorporate leisure into the mainstream of our world, we gain perspective. We lift ourselves above the grit and grind of mere existence.

Interestingly, leisure comes from the Latin word licere, which means "to be permitted." If we are ever going to inculcate leisure into our otherwise utilitarian routine, we must give ourselves permission to do so.
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.
November 23, 2012
The End of the Story
by Charles R. Swindoll

The end of a matter is better than its beginning. . . .
Wisdom along with an inheritance is good. . . .
For wisdom is protection just as money is protection.
Ecclesiastes 7:8, 11, 12

"The end of a matter is better than its beginning." That makes sense, doesn't it?

You see, the end of a matter is maximum reality. Those little idealistic dreams have ended. The whole truth is on display. . . . The complete picture has developed. Once we reach the end, we know the whole story, and that is better than the beginning of a matter where desires lack substance.

I had a grandfather tell me recently that he plans to record a lot of his thoughts because, he said, "I don't know how long I'm gonna live and I don't know how long I'll have my mind, so I'm gonna record some important counsel and let my grandchildren listen to it later on."

The most influential man in my life was my mother's father. I can still hear his wise counsel. Such counsel is better than most advice given to a child because it is end-of-the-matter information coming from one who has been seasoned with wisdom.
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 22 Nov 2012, 6:21 pm

November 22, 2012
A Season for Humble Gratitude, Part 2
by Charles R. Swindoll

Psalm 116:1-7

(continued from yesterday)

Sometimes it can be a challenge to give God daily praise, even when we possess the knowledge of His love and faithfulness. If you find yourself in this situation, the Psalms are often a great source to get you back on track.

Psalm 116 is an extraordinary expression of love---addressed to God. "How do I love Thee, God?" It reminds me of Browning's poem: "Let me count the ways." In counting the ways, the psalmist sets forth several magnificent truths about God's goodness and deliverance.

I love the LORD, because He hears
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
The cords of death encompassed me
And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;
I found distress and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the LORD:
"O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!"
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
Yes, our God is compassionate.
The LORD preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. (116:1-7)

How do we love our God? We love Him by counting the many ways He has been good to us and, as the psalmist did, by sharing His goodness with others. What does God desire? Our humble thanks. Our heartfelt gratitude. He wants us to be hungry for life, to treasure every day He entrusts to us. When you have a quiet moment, read the entire 116th Psalm, and pause several times to express your own heart of gratitude to our loving Lord.

Let the wonder of the season wash over you again. God loves you and me with every bit of His heart, to the extent that He gave us the very best gift: life, wrapped up in the form of His one and only Son. It's this life---the abundant life---that Jesus promised. This is the true spirit of the season.

Let's be humbly grateful.

Copyright © 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc.
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Post  Admin on Wed 21 Nov 2012, 10:27 pm

November 21, 2012
A Season for Humble Gratitude, Part 1
by Charles R. Swindoll

Psalm 116:1-7

It's baaaack!

The age-old yuletide season is about to slip in the door once again. Better not shout, better not pout, for the malls will be playing "Jingle Bells" several thousand times between now and December 25. If you're not careful, the crowds and commercialism will weigh you down like that fourth helping of stuffing at Thanksgiving dinner. And there's nothing worse than a jaded attitude that resists the true spirit of the season.

Although this has been a challenging year in numerous ways, we have a practical reason to look back over it with gratitude for God's protection and grace. This reflection sets in motion the ideal mental attitude to carry us through the weeks ahead. In other words, a sustained spirit of humble gratitude will make the period leading up to December 25 an integral part of the Christmas celebration rather than a dreadful marathon run toward the finish.

We live in a world fraught with evil---one in which innocent people are gunned down as they go about their business, where world governments seem powerless to stop those whose intent is to control through fear. But we cannot afford to end the year in frustration. I---like you---have seen and experienced God's hand of protection and mercy, even in the toughest moments.

During this holiday season, let's pledge not to let ingratitude become our creed or allow cynicism to cause a stumbling block. As we consistently remind ourselves of God's provision in our lives and the lives of our loved ones, the holidays will become a special time of spiritual enrichment, personal renewal, and genuine gratitude.

(to be continued tomorrow)
Copyright © 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc.
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Post  Admin on Tue 20 Nov 2012, 6:45 pm

November 20, 2012
Let Go and Let God
by Charles R. Swindoll

Do not fear! Stand by and
see the salvation of the LORD which
He will accomplish for you. . . .
Exodus 14:13

We Americans use a number of words to describe a predicament. If you're from the East, you probably know about "being in a pinch." If you like to cook, you're "in a jam" or "in a pickle." If you're from the South, you're "between a rock and a hard place." . . .

It may be that right now you find yourself in a predicament. . . .

And what should your response be?

Most people are prone to say, "God helps those who help themselves." People think that despicable saying comes from the Bible, but it doesn't. It's from the pit. No, God helps the helpless! As long as we're helping ourselves, who needs God? It's when we reach the end of our tether, and we're dangling out in space, that we finally cry out, "God, help me!"

And God says, "I will. Let go."

Letting go works against human nature. But God wants us to do just that---to free-fall into His everlasting arms and trust completely in Him.
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 20 Nov 2012, 12:05 am

November 19, 2012
A Cavalier Culture
by Charles R. Swindoll

There is a friend who
sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24

A hurry-up lifestyle results in a throwaway culture. Things that should be lasting and meaningful are sacrificed on the altar of the temporary and superficial.

The major fallout in such a setting is the habit of viewing relationships casually. This cavalier attitude cripples society in various ways:

Friends walk away instead of work through.
Partnerships dissolve rather than solve.
Neighbors no longer visit and relax together.
The aged are resented, not honored.
Husbands and wives divorce rather than persevere.
Children are brushed aside rather than nourished.

Relationships! Never sell them short.

If we'll slow down the hurry-up lifestyle for a moment and pause to catch our breath, we'll realize the need to call a halt to our throwaway culture.
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 16 Nov 2012, 5:46 pm

November 16, 2012
Watch Those Choices!
by Charles R. Swindoll

Apply your heart to discipline
and your ears to words of knowledge.
Proverbs 23:12

Living in truth is making the right choices. Here's what I mean.

In the light of truth, you and I are able to see both truth and lie, both light and darkness---that which is simple, pure, and clear and that which is deceptive. . . .

The secret, of course, is making the right choices every day. So? Watch those choices! Watch your decisions!

No married couple suddenly splits. Nobody becomes a cynic overnight. Nobody makes one leap from the pinnacle of praise to the swamp of carnality. Erosion is a slow and silent process based on secret choices.

And isn't it remarkable? If you don't stop yourself in the downward process, last week's wrong choice doesn't seem quite so bad this week. In fact, in a month's time it seems like not that bad a choice at all!
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 15 Nov 2012, 10:26 pm

November 15, 2012
Brilliant Days, Broken Days
by Charles R. Swindoll

I will strengthen you, surely I will
help you, surely I will uphold you
with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Our problem isn't that we've failed. Our problem is that we haven't failed enough. We haven't been brought low enough to learn what God wants us to learn. . . .

Remember one of the songs from the Seventies we used to sing again and again? It mentioned how we learned to trust in Jesus and to trust in God by going "through it all." Not around it.

Through it.

Through it all.

That's the ticket. Through the victories and the failures. . . . Through the brilliant days of accomplishment and the broken days. . . . Through the heady days of laughter and success and those nameless intervals of setback and blank despair.

Through it all, He is with us, leading us, teaching us, humbling us, preparing 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.
November 14, 2012

Divine Relief
by Charles R. Swindoll

It does not depend on the man
who wills or the man who runs,
but on God who has mercy.
Romans 9:16

Few feelings bring a greater sense of satisfaction than relief, which Webster defines as "the removal or lightening of something oppressive, painful, or distressing." . . .

God calls this divine gift or relief mercy.

That's right, mercy. It's a twin alongside grace. . . .

The essential link between God's grace and our peace is His mercy . . . that is, God's infinite compassion actively demonstrated toward the miserable. Not just pity. Not simply sorrow or an understanding of our plight, but divine relief that results in peace deep within.
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 14 Nov 2012, 11:18 am

November 13, 2012
An Attitude of Humility
by Charles R. Swindoll

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty,
but humility goes before honor.
Proverbs 18:12

Humility is not how you dress, it is not the money you make, it is not where you live, it's not what you drive, it is not even how you look. We're never once commanded by God to "look" humble.

Humility is an attitude. It is an attitude of the heart. An attitude of the mind. It is knowing your proper place. Never talking down or looking down because someone may be of a financial level less than yours. It is knowing your role and fulfilling it for God's glory and praise.

I repeat, it is an attitude. . . .

The attitude Christ had, who emptied Himself of the voluntary and independent use of His divine attributes. There is no quality more godlike than humility. . . .

The place of highest exaltation, as we see in the Lord Jesus Christ, is a place of self-emptying humility. It's not a phony-baloney style of fake piety. It's true humility of mind. It's putting the other person first. . . .

It is being like Christ.

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 12 Nov 2012, 9:16 pm

November 12, 2012
Worry Is Worthless
by Charles R. Swindoll
My soul takes refuge in You;
and in the shadow of Your wings I will
take refuge until destruction passes by.
Psalm 57:1

Worry is a complete waste of energy. It solves nothing.

That's why Jesus said, "Which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span?" (Matthew 6:27). In essence He was saying, "You go to bed tonight and fret and fuss because you're not five feet, eleven inches; you're only five feet, nine inches. But when you wake up in the morning, you're still going to be five feet, nine inches."

Worry will never make you stretch! And it won't solve that anxiety on your mind either.

Let me be completely candid here. Do you know why we worry? We have a quiet, hidden love for worry. We enjoy it! When one worry is gone, we replace it with another. There's always a line of worries waiting to get in the door. So as one goes out the back door, we usher in the next one through the front door. We enjoy entertaining them.

Worries are our mental and emotional companions. But Jesus says, in effect, that they're worthless!
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 11 Nov 2012, 3:33 pm

November 10, 2012
The Benefits of Solitude
by Charles R. Swindoll

Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who
take refuge in Him.
Proverbs 30:5

The Scriptures are replete with references to the value of waiting before the Lord and spending time with Him. When we do, the debris we have gathered during the hurried, busy hours of our day gets filtered out, not unlike the silt that settles where a river widens.

With the debris out of the way, we are able to see things more clearly and feel God's nudgings more sensitively.

David frequently underscored the benefits of solitude. I am certain he first became acquainted with this discipline as he kept his father's sheep. Later, during those tumultuous years when King Saul was borderline insane and pursuing him out of jealousy, David found his time with God not only a needed refuge but his means of survival.

God still longs to speak to waiting hearts . . . hearts that are quiet before Him.
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 09 Nov 2012, 9:23 pm

November 9, 2012
Safe in God’s Hands
by Charles R. Swindoll

I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you
on the palms of my hands.
Isaiah 49:16 NIV

"The Lord has forsaken me . . . He has walked away . . . He has totally forgotten me."

Ever said that? Of course you have! How about on Monday morning? You've just come off a glorious weekend retreat. Time in the Word. Great worship. Lots of laughter. Meaningful prayer. . . . Then comes eight o'clock Monday morning back home, and your whole world caves in.

"The Lord's forgotten me. He's completely left the scene."

But God says, "You are written on the palms of My hands. You are continually before Me."

Stop and glance at the palms of your hands. Now, imagine they are God's hands and that you are right there. . . . Our ways remain continually before Him. Not one fleeting moment of life goes by without His knowing exactly where we are, what we're doing, and how we're feeling.
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 08 Nov 2012, 6:01 pm

November 8, 2012
The Whirlpool of Wickedness
by Charles R. Swindoll

His own iniquities will capture
the wicked, and he will be held
with the cords of his sin.
Proverbs 5:22

What a word picture!

We usually think of this situation as applicable only to an unbeliever. But it could just as easily be applied to a Christian who deliberately chooses to disobey his Lord. And instead of seeing the error of his way, he stays in a state of carnality, which grieves the Spirit of God living within him.

Carnality occurs when a believer deliberately operates in the strength of his or her own will . . . stubbornly refusing to acknowledge wrong and choosing to walk contrary to the teaching of Scripture. The promptings of God's Spirit are ignored as disobedience becomes a lifestyle.

Choosing to live like that is like getting caught in a whirlpool. The wickedness intensifies. It gets more treacherous as he goes deeper into it. Like the prodigal son, he winds up in misery and filth.

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 07 Nov 2012, 9:29 pm

November 7, 2012
Still, Small Nudges
by Charles R. Swindoll

Whom the LORD loves
He reproves, even as a father corrects
the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 3:12

What brings wisdom into our lives?

Accepting Godʼs reproofs. Reproof is from a Hebrew term that means "to correct . . . to convince.ˮ

I often think of reproofs as Godʼs proddings, those unmistakable nudges, His "still small voice.ˮ They are inner promptings designed to correct our ways. They alert us to the fact that we are off course. They communicate, in effect, "My child, thatʼs wrong; change direction!ˮ

These God-given reproofs sometimes appear in Scripture. On other occasions, the reproofs come verbally from those who love us.

All of us have sagging character qualities that need attention. To ignore them is to open the gate that leads to disobedience.

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 06 Nov 2012, 6:42 pm

November 6, 2012
A Battle for Integrity, Part Two
by Charles R. Swindoll

So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful hands.

Psalm 78:72

(Continued from yesterday)

Integrity is rock-like. It won't crack when it has to stand alone, and it won't crumble though the pressure mounts. Integrity keeps one from fearing the white light of examination or resisting the exacting demands of close scrutiny. It's honesty at all costs.

The words of Louis Adamic seem fitting, "There is a certain blend of courage, integrity, character and principle which has no satisfactory dictionary name but has been called different things at different times in different countries. Our American name for it is 'guts.'"1

I like that. Integrity is having the guts to tell the truth, even if it may hurt to do so. Integrity is having the guts to be honest, even though cheating may bring about a better grade. Integrity is having the guts to quote sources rather than to plagiarize.

But there are some things integrity is not. It is not sinless perfection. A person with integrity does not live a life absolutely free of sin. No one does. But one with integrity quickly acknowledges his failures and doesn't hide the wrong.

Now, in addressing this crucial mark of character, I could come across as the "white knight," but you know me better than that. I fail like everyone else. The sooner you remember that, the better we'll get along. But concerning the issue of integrity, I give you my word. You will know if I have failed or if Insight for Living has failed in some way. I will tell you. I will not lead you to believe something is true if it is false. That is the least I can do as a minister of the Gospel.

Integrity is essential in the church, in the marketplace, and especially in the home. When you walk in integrity, you leave it as a legacy for your children to follow (Proverbs 20:7). It's what I call the father's thumbprint. Blessed are you if you had a father with integrity and a mother with guts.

When you work with integrity, you honor the Lord. Regardless of your profession, your character and conduct are methods of ministry. Over 50 years ago, Elton Trueblood wrote,

It is hard to think of any job in which the moral element is lacking. The skill of the dentist is wholly irrelevant if he is unprincipled and irresponsible. There is little, in that case, to keep him from extracting teeth unnecessarily, because the patient is usually in a helpless situation. It is easy to see the harm that can be done by an unprincipled lawyer. Indeed, such a man is far more dangerous if he is skilled than if he is not skilled.2

Do you put wire in walls? Do you repair cars? Do you work with numbers? Do you sell clothes? Perhaps you practice law or medicine. The important thing is not what work you do, but whether you do your work with integrity. Perhaps you labor behind the scenes, and your only thanks is the inner satisfaction of a job done right. Do you cheat on your exams? Are you cheating on your mate? Some have the audacity to do such things and call themselves Christians. No wonder the world is confused!

You want to shock the world? Start here . . . demonstrating the guts to do what's right when no one is looking. It takes real guts to stand strong with integrity in a culture weakened by hypocrisy. Start today.

1. Louis Adamic, A Study in Courage, 1944, as quoted by John Bartlett in Familiar Quotations, 13th ed. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., n.d.), 981.
2. Elton Trueblood, as quoted by Charles R. Swindoll in Leadership: Influence That Inspires (Waco, Tex.: Word Books, 1985), 35.

Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, "A Battle for Integrity," Insights (March 2003): 1-2. Copyright © 2003, Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Post  Admin on Mon 05 Nov 2012, 7:00 pm

November 5, 2012
A Battle for Integrity, Part One
by Charles R. Swindoll

So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful hands.

Psalm 78:72

I must tell you that I have been troubled regarding the face of things in our country and within the family of God. My major battle has had to do with one word, one concept. My battle has to do with integrity.

In our nation---and in the church---there has been a falling away, a breakdown, and a compromise in integrity. Recent headlines have taught us that the boom of the 1990s was built on a foundation devoid of integrity. But compromise isn't limited to CEOs who greedily sell out their employees or to pork-happy politicians. All too often we find a moral laxity behind our pews and, even worse, behind the pulpit.

Let me define what I mean by integrity. Webster's tells us integrity means "an unimpaired condition."1 It means to be sound. The Hebrew word for integrity, tom, also means to be complete or solid.

So he shepherded them according to the integrity [tom] of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful hands. (Psalm 78:72)

Integrity is completeness or soundness. You have integrity if you complete a job even when no one is looking. You have integrity if you keep your word even when no one checks up on you. You have integrity if you keep your promises. Integrity means the absence of duplicity and is the opposite of hypocrisy. If you are a person of integrity, you will do what you say. What you declare, you will do your best to be. Integrity also includes financial accountability, personal reliability, and private purity. A person with integrity does not manipulate others. He or she is not prone to arrogance or self-praise. Integrity even invites constructive and necessary criticism because it applauds accountability. It's sound. It's solid. It's complete.

(to be continued tomorrow)

1. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed. See "integrity."
Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, "A Battle for Integrity," Insights (March 2003): 1-2. Copyright © 2003, Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Post  Admin on Sat 03 Nov 2012, 4:41 pm

November 3, 2012
True Excellence
by Charles R. Swindoll

No one can serve two masters.
Matthew 6:24

If we hope to demonstrate the level of excellence modeled by Jesus Christ, then weʼll have to come to terms with the kingdom we are going to serve: the eternal kingdom our Lord told us to seek (Matthew 6:33) or the temporal kingdom of today.

Generally speaking, Godʼs kingdom is a synonym for God's rule. Those who choose to live in His kingdom (though still very much alive on Planet Earth) choose to live under His authority.

For centuries God has been at work reestablishing His rulership. Jesusʼ words describe the problem: "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to the one and despise the otherˮ (Matthew 6:24).

The kingdom is the invisible realm where God rules as supreme authority. Only by letting Him reign in your life can you experience true excellence.
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 02 Nov 2012, 10:26 pm

November 2, 2012
Let God Handle It
by Charles R. Swindoll
Cease striving and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

Sit down. That's right, my friend, sit down!

You have run far enough. You have stood long enough. You have fought, pushed, and manipulated your way for too many years. God has finally grabbed your attention. He is saying, "Quit! Stop! Let Me handle it! Sit there on the hot sands of the desert where you have brought yourself. Look at what lies next to you. It is a well, full of fresh water.

Soon it will be God's delight to bring that bucket up and refresh your soul. Sit still. Stay there. Be quiet.

Cease all the striving. Relax. Be contented by that well, and drink deeply.

You are thirstier than you realize.
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 01 Nov 2012, 7:09 pm

November 1, 2012
The Power of Reconciliation
by Charles R. Swindoll

If you forgive others for their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Matthew 6:14

We cannot be right with God until we are right with one another.

The power of reconciliation is stronger than revenge. It is amazing how forgiveness unloads the weapon in the other person's hand.

When you reconcile with your brother or sister, it is amazing what it does in both hearts. It is like having your nervous system flushed out. It is like getting over a longstanding fever and cleansing the corruption that has been diseasing your mind.

You don't need an attorney for that. You probably don't need a minister or a counselor, either. You just need humility. To put it straight, in the final analysis you need guts.

Don't wait any longer.

Keep it simple---go and make it right.
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 31 Oct 2012, 12:25 pm

October 31, 2012
Our Guide for Life
by Charles R. Swindoll
I will instruct you and teach you
in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eyes upon you.
Psalm 32:8

When we arrive at dilemmas in life and are unable to decipher the right direction to go, if we hope to maintain our joy in the process, we must allow the Lord to be our Guide, our Strength, our Wisdom---our all!

It's easy to read those words, but so tough to carry through on them. When we do, however, it's nothing short of remarkable how peaceful and happy we can remain. The pressure is on His shoulders, the responsibility is on Him, the ball is in His court, and an unexplainable joy envelops us.

To be sure, such an unusual method of dealing with dilemmas is rare---there arenʼt many folks willing to turn the reins over to God---and calls for humility, another rare trait among capable people. But it works!

The Lord is a Master at taking our turmoil and revealing the best possible solution to 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.
October 30, 2012

Count Your Blessings
by Charles R. Swindoll
Let us come before His presence
with thanksgiving. Let us shout joyfully
to Him with psalms.
Psalm 95:2

Sometimes when you don't feel like praying, or you're consumed with needing to speak to the Lord but can't gather the words, try that old standby . . .

Count your many blessings, count them one by one.

It's amazing how you can get carried away from worries and woes and self-concern when you start naming out loud what you're thankful for. Right away, your focus shifts from your needs to the Father's graciousness and love.
Try 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.
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Post  Admin on Mon 29 Oct 2012, 11:48 pm

October 29, 2012
The Central Piece of Life’s Puzzle
by Charles R. Swindoll

My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is perfected in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Suffering comes in many forms and degrees, but Godʼs grace is always there to carry us beyond it.

I've lived long enough and endured a sufficient number of trials to say without hesitation that only Christʼs perspective can replace our resentment with rejoicing. Jesus is the central piece of sufferingʼs puzzle. If we fit Him into place, the rest of the puzzle---no matter how complex and enigmatic---begins to make sense.

Only Christʼs salvation can change us from spectators to participants in the unfolding drama of redemption. The scenes will be demanding. Some may be tragic. But only then will we understand the role that suffering plays in our lives. Only then will we be able to tap into hope beyond our suffering.

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 27 Oct 2012, 1:58 pm

October 27, 2012
Time Well Spent
by Charles R. Swindoll

Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
so a man's counsel is sweet to his friend.
Proverbs 27:9

How valuable to you are relationships?

If you have trouble answering that, I'll help you decide. Stop and think back over the past month or two. How much of your leisure time have you spent developing and enjoying relationships?

Jesus, God's Son, certainly considered the relationship He had with His disciples worth His time. They spent literally hours together. They ate together and wept together, and I'm sure they must have laughed together as well. Being God, He really didn't "need" those men. He certainly did not need the hassle they created on occasion. But He loved those twelve men. He believed in them.

Whatever leisure time we are able to invest in relationships is time well spent. And when we do, let's keep in mind we are "imitating God," for His Son certainly did.
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.

October 26, 2012
Affection and Affirmation
by Charles R. Swindoll

The father of the righteous
will greatly rejoice, and he who sires
a wise son will be glad in him.
Proverbs 23:24

To you who bear the name "Dad," I cannot impress upon you enough how imperative it is that we show our affection.

We can do that in two ways. First, we affirm who our child is; and second, we appreciate what our child does. This twofold assurance, however, must be given in more than words. Affection---the nonverbal communication of closeness---is among the most important experiences we share with our children. . . .

Unaffectionate dads, without ever wishing to do so, can trigger a daughter's promiscuity. All this leads me to write with a great deal of passion, dads, don't hold back your affection!

Demonstrate your feelings of love and acceptance to both sons and daughters. . . . They will love you for it. And, more importantly, they will emulate your example when God gives them a family of their own.
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 25 Oct 2012, 8:54 pm

October 25, 2012
A Heart for the Task
by Charles R. Swindoll

For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro
throughout the earth that He may strongly
support those whose heart is completely His.
2 Chronicles 16:9

God's choices often seem so illogical from our point of view. We tell ourselves it can't be what He really means. . . .

Would you have singled out a sun-withered, eighty-year-old shepherd to face down one of the mightiest kings in the world? Moses had been out to pasture for forty years. He had completely lost touch with his people. He'd been raising a little family, living with and working for his father-in-law. In four decades, the man couldn't scrape together enough shekels to build a little place of his own.

Admit it, doesn't he seem like a highly unlikely prospect for the job of delivering an entire people group from the clutches of a mighty nation? . . .

God's eyes roam across the planet to find specific individuals whose hearts are just right for a particular task He has in mind. And when He finds them, watch out! He plunges them into the stream of action, upholding them with His mighty hand.

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 24 Oct 2012, 10:04 pm

October 24, 2012
Get Eternity Securely in Place
by Charles R. Swindoll

He has also set eternity in
their heart, yet so that man will not
find out the work which God has done
from the beginning even to the end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

God has put eternity in our hearts.

What in the world does that mean? Well, let me help you with the key word---eternity. Let's expand it to mean, "curiosity about our future."

God has put within every human being's heart a curiosity about tomorrow . . . an eternal capacity that prompts me to probe, to be intrigued, to search. That explains why your child---just about the time that little fella or gal starts to run around the house and talk---begins to ask questions about tomorrow, about life, and about life beyond. . . .

It's the way God made human beings.

God has not put eternity in the heart of animals, only into the hearts of men and women. And since that is true, since we will not find out about tomorrow without God, our pursuit must be of Him.

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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