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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It’s about Time

I AM A SUCKER FOR TIME-MANAGEMENT BOOKS. Some people can’t say no to a salesman at the door. Others have the hardest time passing up a litter of free puppies. Some people struggle with driving by a garage sale without stopping. Still others find it almost impossible to withstand the urge to gamble. Not me. My weakness is books that teach me about the investment of my time—all of those volumes that promise to tell me how to replace simply being busy with being effective.

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Who’s Imitating You?

WHO IS IT THE LORD HAS used to model His message and challenge you to change, to shake off that tendency to settle for less than your full potential, to stretch and pursue and conquer new territory you once never dreamed possible? All of us can name atleast one individual, can’t we? Four characteristics are usually found in those who impact our lives:

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Saul’s Disobedience

Saul’s disobedient actions involved at least three major errors. First, kings weren’t supposed to offer sacrifices on behalf of the community. Kings could offer sacrifices for themselves, but never for the nation.

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