Envy, Part Two

Shakespeare called it “the green sickness.” Bacon admitted “it has no holidays.” Horace declared that “tyrants never invented a greater torment.” Barrie said envy “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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Balance, Part One

Two extreme tests exist that disturb our balance in life. Each has its own set of problems. On one side is adversity. Solomon realized this when he wrote: If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! (Proverbs 24:10 NIV) The Message paraphrases that verse: If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place. Adversity is a good test of our resiliency, our ability to cope, to stand back up, and to recover from misfortune. Adversity is a painful pedagogue.

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Bigness

It was a cold, blustery January night in 1973. Senator John Stennis, the venerable hawkish Democrat from Mississippi, drove from Capitol Hill to his northwest Washington home. Although older (71), he was still the powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. At precisely 7:40 p.m., Stennis parked his car and started toward his house 50 feet away.

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Think with Discernment, Part Two

Discernment is essential. Undiscerning love spawns and invites more heresy than any of us are ready to believe. One of the tactics of survival when facing “the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16) is to make certain we have cinched up the belt of truth rather tightly around ourselves. And what helps us do battle with the enemy also strengthens us in relationships with friends.

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The Antidote to Anxiety

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4–7)

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Fighting Against Self-Focus

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3–4) Our Father, we who operate in such selfish realms often find ourselves preoccupied with stuff of our own.

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Lifestyle

We live in a negative, hostile world. Face it, my friend, the system that surrounds us focuses on the negatives: what is wrong, not what is right; what is missing, not what is present; what is ugly, not what is beautiful; what is destructive, not what is constructive; what cannot be done, not what can be done; what hurts, not what helps

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Contentment

Let’s take a brief look at greed. Practically speaking, greed is an inordinate desire for more, an excessive, unsatisfied hunger to possess. Like an untamed beast, greed grasps, claws, reaches, clutches, and clings—stubbornly refusing to surrender. The word enough is not in this beast’s vocabulary. Akin to envy and jealousy, greed is nevertheless distinct.

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Watch Out for Fakes

A friend of mine ate dog food one evening. No, he wasn’t at a fraternity initiation or a hobo party . . . he was actually at an elegant student reception in a physician’s home near Miami. The dog food was served on delicate little crackers with a wedge of imported cheese, bacon chips, an olive, and a sliver of pimiento on top. That’s right, friends and neighbors, it was hors d’oeuvres a la Alpo.

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What You Gain in Losing

FORMER PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN kept a plaque on his desk in the oval office which read: There’s no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit. Little wonder President Reagan achieved so much in his eight years as leader of the free world. Yet that principle was not original with him. It comes from the heart of God. Here’s how the apostle Paul stated it:

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