Watch Out for Fakes

MY FRIEND ATE DOG FOOD ONE EVENING. He was at an elegant student reception in a physician’s home. The dog food was served on delicate crackers with a wedge of imported cheese, bacon chips, an olive, and a sliver of pimento on top. It was hors d’oeuvres a la Alpo. The hostess, just graduated from a gourmet cooking course, decided to put her skill to the ultimate test. Did she ever!

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Mental Barriers to God’s Voice

DO YOU REALIZE THE POWER OF humanistic reasoning to block the power of Scripture? Let me be specific. Perhaps you’ve formed the habit of getting even rather than overlooking wrongs done against you. So, when you come across scriptural instruction that requires an alternative attitude, your inner reaction is “No way!”

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Sticking with a Commitment

A FULL YEAR BEFORE THE apostle Paul wrote to people who comprised the Corinthian church, they had begun a project. No doubt they got started with a burst of enthusiasm, the thrill of a fresh beginning. But with the passing of time, the newness had worn off. The edge of their spontaneous motivation had gotten dull. It became a monotonous marathon that dragged slowly on and on.

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Making a Thorough Self-Evaluation

I’LL NEVER FORGET SOMETHING I heard on the radio several years ago. A woman in West Palm Beach, Florida, died alone at the age of seventy-one. The coroner’s report was tragic. “Cause of death: malnutrition.” The dear lady wasted away to fifty pounds. Investigators who found her said the place where she lived was a veritable pigpen. One seasoned inspector declared he’d never seen a residence in greater disarray.

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When Actions Matter More than Words

THE CHRISTIANS IN THE Macedonian churches were servants who gave without any concern about receiving the credit for their generosity. But Paul reveals something else remarkable about the nature of their gift: Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor.

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A Gift That Overflows

THE CHRISTIANS IN THE Macedonian churches were servants who gave without any concern about receiving the credit for their generosity. But Paul reveals something else remarkable about the nature of their gift: Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia.

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A Nameless Giver

WHEN THE APOSTLE PAUL MADE his way through Europe, specifically the region of ancient Macedonia, he shared with those believers the financial need of the Jerusalem church. Macedonia was already an economically depressed area. Macedonia was to Paul what Bangladesh would be to the US. It would be like encouraging the poorest people of Appalachia to respond to those who are hurting in the ghetto of Harlem.

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Absolute Honesty

LET’S THINK ABOUT an essential mark of following Christ: absolute honesty. Remember these words? Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this. 2 CORINTHIANS 4:1–2

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Beware of False Prophets

THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE. That isn’t funny; it’s tragic. Fakery draws its fuel from the pit. That’s what God tells us. These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. . . . Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. 2 CORINTHIANS 11:13–15

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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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