Watch It!

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Language abuse

The sign posted in a small-town grocery said, “No Profanity.”

“Does it work?” I asked the clerk. “No,” she replied.

Why doesn’t it? Do some feel it infringes on free speech? Are others so used to speaking profanely that they don’t give it a thought?

“God,” “damn,” and “hell” are legitimate Bible words—but out of place if used merely to express strong feeling or as a verbal filler.

Proper use

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).

If we offer our bodies as “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1), then our tongues are included.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Why Not?

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Doing right

Occasionally someone turns in a large amount of money they had found.

What motivates people to do right when they could so easily do otherwise?

What kept Joseph from committing fornication with Potiphar’s wife when repeatedly tempted?

What restrained David from killing his enemy Saul when it would have been so easy?

For both, it was a powerful awareness of God (Genesis 39:9; 1 Samuel 24:6, 10; 26:9-11, 23-24).

For the best reasons

While some people avoid sins for fear of getting an STD, going to jail, losing a job, etc., the Christian’s motives are far nobler.

“. . . for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light . . . trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord“ (Ephesians 5:8, 10).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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When Trouble Comes

What they faced

When Daniel learned that Nebuchadnezzar intended to execute the wise men of Babylon if they could not tell him his dream and interpret it, he went to his friends “so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven . . .” (Daniel 2:17-18).

Centuries later Peter and John were forbidden to preach Christ. They informed their friends and then together they “lifted their voices to God with one accord . . .” (Acts 4:18, 23, 24).

How they responded

In both cases: 1) they were threatened by the authorities, 2) they went to their fellow believers, 3) they prayed, 4) God answered them mightily.

Note: Before the crisis came, they already had a strong relationship with God and His people.

They had their resources ready.

Do we?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Do You Believe It?

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Bold statement

Sign seen in a hospital waiting room: “God is greater than any problem I have.”

Any problem?

Greater than cancer or heart disease, job loss and unpaid bills, the threat of crime or war, bondage to alcohol or drugs?

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . . But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:35, 37).

Goliath challenged David; God was greater. Moses faced horrendous obstacles; God was greater. Paul had his thorn; God was greater.

Bold faith

The key was not just that God is greater, but that they trusted Him. And they were not disappointed.

Any problem?

Yes, God is greater.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Now Don’t Forget!

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Misplacing the car keys is a nuisance. Forgetting an appointment can be costly.

But what can compare with forgetting God?

Peril

It happens when we receive blessing upon blessing, but forget to thank Him.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits . . . who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things . . .” (Psalm 103:2-5).

It happens when we worry ourselves sick and forget to pray.

It happens when we get our priorities turned upside down—devoting our energies to what cannot last.

Prevention

How we need reminders! Reading Scripture helps bring great truths back to the forefront where they belong.

“Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God . . .” (Deuteronomy 8:11).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Connections

What prayer is

Prayer is communication in its highest form. We speak to the One who made us, loves us, and who can help us as no one else can.

Prayer links human helplessness with divine strength (Romans 8:26-27; James 1:5-8).

Prayer is so versatile! In prayer we praise and thank God, make requests, intercede for others, and confess our sins.

Prayer spans the globe. The Christian can plead with God for those in office, for nations torn by strife, and for loved ones whom we seldom see.

Whose prayer God will hear

The God who sees all and knows all will grant our requests, according to His good will (1 Timothy 2:1-4; Ephesians 6:18-20).

But if we want God to listen to us, we must listen to Him (1 Peter 3:12; 1 John 3:21-22).

Let us pray!

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The World’s Way and God’s Way

Opposite views

Worldly wisdom advocates: “Never have unprotected sex” and “Know your partner.”

Others realize the inadequacy of this go-ahead-but-just-be-careful school of thought.

Sex is a beautiful, God-given blessing—when we go by the Book.

God made man and woman for each other, exclusively within the marriage relationship (Genesis 1:27, 28; 2:18-24).

Premarital sex, cohabitation, adultery, and homosexuality are all outside the boundaries God has set (Romans 1:26-28; 1 Corinthians 6:13-20; Hebrews 13:4).

When we submit to God’s will, how gracious He is to forgive! (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

The right aim

The goal should not be reducing risk, but pleasing God.

Respecting God’s boundaries isn’t easy, but it sure pays off in the long run!

When we do what God says, life goes so much better!

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