How’s Your Attitude?

I LOVE THE STORY OF a sea captain who, while navigating his ship through a storm, found himself on a collision course with what he thought was a large vessel in the distance. He ordered the approaching vessel to alter its course ten degrees south. The reply came back: “Alter your course ten degrees north.” Incensed, the captain shot back, “Alter your course ten degrees south.

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A Servant, Not a Celebrity

EVER WONDER if Jesus would have agreed to star in His own reality TV show? Let’s allow Him to answer in His own words: The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. (MARK 10:45) No mumbo jumbo. Just a straight-from-the-shoulder response. Jesus came to be a servant. Being a celebrity wasn’t in His DNA.

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Monuments

THE FOUR MONUMENTS OF HUMAN NATURE: Fortune, Fame, Power, Pleasure Built in clusters, making them appear formidable . . . and acceptable. As the idols in ancient Athens, our society is saturated with them. Fortune. How neatly it fits our times! Its inscription at the base is bold: “Get rich.” The figure in the statue is impressive—a hardworking young executive, a clever, diligent businessman unwilling to admit the greed behind his long hours and relentless drive.

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Avoiding Self-Praise

“SELF-PRAISE,” says an ancient adage, “smells bad.” In other words, it stinks up the works. God says He hates “haughty eyes” (Proverbs 6:17). He calls a proud heart “sin” (Proverbs 21:4). He says if praise is going to be directed your way, “Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth” (Proverbs 27:2). The apostle Paul, who had much to brag about, drove home the message with these words:

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Overcoming Envy

SHAKESPEARE CALLED IT “the green-eyed monster.” Bacon admitted it “keeps no holidays.” Horace declared that “tyrants never invented a greater torment.” Barrie said it “is the most corroding of the vices.” Sheridan referred to it in his play, The Critic, when he wrote, “There is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as [this].” Philip Bailey, the eloquent English poet of yesteryear, vividly described it as “a coal [that] comes hissing hot from hell.”

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Don’t Flinch, Stand Firm

TUCKED AWAY IN THE FOLDS OF Hebrews 11 is a two-word biography worth a second glance: “He endured” (11:27, NASB). The Living Bible says, “[he] kept right on going.” The New International Version: “He persevered.” The New English Bible: “He was resolute.” The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition: “He held staunchly to his purpose.” And Moffatt’s quaint rendering: “He never flinched.”

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The Forgotten Side of Success

OURS IS FAST BECOMING a success-saturated society. The telltale signs are everywhere. Check the magazine racks at airports, hotels, and drugstores. Click on the webinars and podcasts. Seminars by the hundreds are held every year, offering ideas, motivation, techniques, and mainly promises of prosperity. Books by the dozens and scores of audio and videotapes promoting the dream are published on an annual basis.

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Humility before Honor

IN A WORLD WHERE EVERYONE is out to serve self, it’s refreshing to read these ancient words from the pen of one of the most powerful men who ever lived: Solomon. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. Fear of the LORD teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor. In different words, Jesus says virtually the same thing . . .

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Take Heed Lest You Fall

OURS IS A DAY OF SUPERFICIALITY. If you can fake it, you’re often admired as being clever, not criticized for being phony. Mediocrity can mark the ministry just as overtly as it marks many of those who work for the government and are employed in industry. I’ve also noticed that staying longer in the same place can only perpetuate the problem. People tend to let seniority excuse the erosion of excellence.

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Stay in the Kitchen

NOT LONG AGO I was reading through Psalm 78 when my eye fell upon verse nine. I was intrigued by the strange stroke of the psalmist’s pen. See if you get the same vibes: The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and fled on the day of battle. Like foxes hunted by hounds, they ran. The only weapon they used to restrain the enemy was a cloud of dust they stirred up as they retreated en masse, in a hurry, while “armed with bows.”

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