The Origin of Self

TO FULLY UNDERSTAND the battle against “self” we must go back, way back, to that ancient scene pictured for us in the second and third chapters of Genesis: the Garden of Eden. What a splendid setting! Beautiful beyond description, a perfect, pollution-free atmosphere, luxurious foliage, fragrant flowers, crystal-clear water—that Garden would make Tahiti look like a pigsty by comparison.

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Season of Obedience

SAMUEL WAS NOT IMPRESSED. Having discovered that the self-reliant king had once again disobeyed God’s command, the exasperated prophet rebuked the stubborn king as few men in Scripture were rebuked: What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.

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Open to Change

ALL OF US HAVE PRACTICED certain areas of wrong from our youth. It is a pattern of life that comes “second nature” to us. As a result, it strongly resists change. We gloss over our resistance with the varnish of excuses: “Well, nobody’s perfect.” “I’ll never be any different; that’s just the way I am.” “I was born this way—nothing can be done about it.” “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Jeremiah tells us why such excuses come easily:

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From Depraved to Saved

WHOEVER IS SOFT ON depravity should watch Schindler’s List. It’s not for the fainthearted, I should warn you. It is a raw, harsh, shocking exposé of unbridled prejudice, the kind of anti-Semitic brutality spawned in hellish hate among the Nazis prior to and during World War II.

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Breaking Bad Habits

I USED TO BITE MY FINGERNAILS right down to the quick. I’d rip off those babies just as soon as the first signs of new growth would appear. For well over twenty years I carried around ten ugly stumps that resulted in two miserable experiences: personal embarrassment and physical limitations. God began to convict me about my nail-biting habit. It took Him, let’s see, nearly a decade to bring about a final and complete victory, ashamed as I am to admit it.

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Is It Can’t or Won’t?

DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU are the recipient of limitless ability . . . incredible strength? Just read a few familiar lines out of the Book, slowly for a change: “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness'” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

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Echoes

A YOUNG BOY LIVED WITH his grandfather on the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alps. Often, just to hear his voice echoing back to him, he would go outside, cup his hands around his mouth, and shout, “HELLO!” Up from the canyons it reverberated over and over, “HELLO . . . HELLO . . . hello . . . hello . . . hello . . .”

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Consequences

GENESIS 21 gives the account of a man whose previous sin now haunts him and harms the people he loves. The birth of Abraham’s long-awaited heir, Isaac, gave him and Sarah great joy, but their delight became tinged with regret.

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A Cycle of Sin

THE BIRTH of a newborn is a momentary event, taking place in a matter of hours, but at that moment, life has only just begun. Growth and maturity occur steadily and gradually as a child develops from infancy to young adulthood.

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The Poison of Impurity

WHEN GOD paid His visit to Sodom and Gomorrah, these twin cities controlled a lush, fertile valley through which ran the Jordan River.

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