Persistence, Part One

Persistence pays. It’s a costly investment, no question about it. But the dividends are so much greater than the original outlay that you’ll almost forget the price. And if the final benefits are really significant, you’ll wonder why you ever hesitated to begin with. A primary reason we are tempted to give up is other people . . . you know, the less than 20 percent whose major role in life is to encourage others to toss in the towel.

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Suspicion

If the truth were known, there’s a secret “detective spirit” in most of us. With the best of the paperback and television detectives, we vicariously probe for motives, analyze the evidence, and ponder the killer’s next move. Our curiosity forces us to investigate things that are just slightly irregular. Even a child is known to pry deeper because of a built-in bent to inquire.

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Starting Over

Instant replays have become old hat. We now expect them in all televised sports. Whether it’s a tennis pro’s impressive backhand or an NBA center’s slam dunk or a heavyweight boxer’s smashing jab, we never have to worry about missing it the first time around. It’ll be back again and again and, probably, again.

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Fallibility, Part Two

God’s Word is infallible; people are not. Yesterday, we noted that this point is particularly underscored in the realm of leadership. We naturally seek after ministers we can respect and follow. And then—glory!—we come across some whose lives are admirable, whose leadership seems to be blessed of God, and whose instruction is biblical, wise, and dynamic.

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Good Intentions

Even though we have mentioned various aspects of this subject and have glanced at these sayings on more than one occasion in our study together, we need to give them further attention. Who hasn’t struggled with the daily grind of displeasing the Lord? Is there a grind that brings greater ache to the soul? None of us begins the day thinking about how we might displease God.

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Anger against God’s Enemies

As David thought about God’s intricate design of humanity in Psalm 139, and he pondered the Lord’s loyal love for each individual He took such care to fashion and endow with purpose, the king grew angry at the enemies of God. How ungrateful. How disloyal! How outrageous that they should rebel!

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Remember God’s Promises

After relating the anguish of lingering consequences in Psalm 137:1–3, the writer does a little self-analysis. His perspective shifts from looking outward to searching within. He asks a reasonable question in verse 4: “How can we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?”

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Losing God’s Blessings

The historical background of Psalm 137 is very sad. The people of God failed to heed centuries of warnings and found themselves living with the consequences of disobedience. While God had not removed His fellowship—He loved the people of Judah as much as ever—He stripped them of their covenant blessings. No longer did they live in the land promised to Abraham and his descendants. No longer could they worship in the temple in Jerusalem.

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Consequences of Bad Decisions

No one can deny the relentless pain brought on by enduring the consequences of wrong actions. It may be as quick and simple as the sting following a swat from a parent’s paddle or as lingering and severe as a prison sentence. Either one, however, is hard to bear. The person who cheats on a mate and later leaves the marriage must ultimately endure the consequences.

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Freedom in Truth

Ants, conies, locusts, and lizards offer very significant illustrations of virtues everyone can apply to their life. These four animals also demonstrate how to escape the daily grind of excuse making. These four diverse creatures share a common predicament: they are relatively small, fairly powerless, and easily destroyed. But these species continue to thrive because, for each, a particular virtue more than offsets their disadvantages:

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