Focus on What You Can Control

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” – Luke 12:25,26 Today, let’s take a moment to expand our understanding of how important our daily thoughts and disciplines are and how they affect our lives. Similar to a car getting a tune-up, our thinking could use a tune-up from time to time. Over the next few days, we will discuss how to do this. To start, what do you think most people focus on? Do they focus on what they can control or what they cannot control? If you are tossing and turning at night, chances are you’re obsessing about what you cannot control. So many things can consume our thoughts, be it politics, the news, or inflation. None of these are within our control! The first area of your

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Build Yourself Up

“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.” – 1 Corinthians 3:10 Today, as we conclude our series on the types of treasures we are to build, I want you to acknowledge that we develop our treasures one brick at a time! If you were to create a brick wall, you place the mortar and set the bricks from end to end after the foundation is laid. You continue upwards until you have the desired structure. This is how we build ourselves up, brick by brick. When you read books to improve your character, that’s a brick. As you start the day in a courteous and caring manner, that’s a brick. When you clean up your desk or garage, that’s a brick.  Every day we practice these disciplines, we’re

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Overcome Evil with Good

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21 Yesterday we encouraged you to not be fearful, and always share the reason for your hope in Jesus! I want to look further into the great question Paul asked: “Who is going to harm you if you do what is good?” Will God or good people harm you? The answer is a resounding no! God and people with sound character will not hurt us. So, who exactly will  harm you if you are good-natured? The answer is people of questionable character. So stop trying to get people of questionable character to like, love, appreciate, or root for you. That’s the kind of goodwill you’ll never receive from people like that. And I guarantee you this type of relationship will not be to your benefit. I think it’s important to understand how people of uncertain character view

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How to Love Your Enemies

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” – Luke 6:35 Yesterday we talked about EGRs, or those people in our lives who require extra grace. We agreed that the best way to deal with them is to love them. Today, I want to elaborate on how we do that, particularly the fact that our ability to love does not come from a place of trying harder, but rather from transformed character. You see, when we submit to the work of Jesus and cultivate true faith and selflessness, agape love bubbles up from within us! Loving our enemies is not a spontaneous happening, nor is it an end in itself. Rather, it is the fruit of

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Bumped and Bruised

“When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, ‘This is the king of Israel.’ So they turned to attack him, but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him. God drew them away from him.” – 2 Chronicles 18:31 Yesterday, we learned that Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, and Ahab, the King of Israel, banded together to attack the country of Ramoth-Gilead, despite knowing that it was dangerous. Because Ahab was full of pride, he refused to heed the words of the prophet Micaiah, who foretold that he would lose his life in the war. When the moment of conflict came, he dressed Jehoshaphat in his clothes to detract attention from himself, and his “friend” nearly died at the hands of the enemy. However, in the heat of the battle, Jehoshaphat cried desperately to the Lord, and he was saved. Because he took a humble stance, God had mercy on

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The Blessing in Wisdom

“God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.” – 1 Kings 4:29 In addition to righteousness, the second of the three virtues I believe leads to a blessed life is wisdom. While many of us hear this somewhat intimidating term and think it refers to intelligence or “book smarts,” the truth is that wisdom is inextricably linked to character. For this reason, it can always be cultivated and inherited in greater measure. Perhaps this is why James 1:5 says to ask God for more of it, and He will gladly provide. So what exactly is wisdom? I believe it’s simply humility — the opposite of arrogance. Wisdom is an attitude of heart that doesn’t assume it knows best but that seeks advice and input from others. It yields to the Lord’s way and is willing to consider

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