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Your daily dose of true beauty advice… “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.”  Ephesians 4:19 What, would you say is the opposite … Continue reading

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice… My friend, Diana, has struggled with her weight ever since I knew her in high school. In the last few years, though, her size brought on big problems in her joints, her heart, and … Continue reading

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…  Notice how close the word discipline is to another biblical word, disciple. God’s discipline serves to make us Christ’s disciples. The trials we face are divinely designed to mature us so that we become more serviceable disciples … Continue reading

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Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

God’s continuing presence is a shield against overwhelming temptation. Any time Satan wants to get to a believer, he has to go through God. First Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able endure it.”

God is present personally and individually with every believer to defend him against temptation he can’t handle.

That God is present everywhere ought to motivate us to obey Him more carefully. When we sin, whether it is a sin of thought or a sin of words or a sin of actions, it is done in the presence of God. Psalm 90 is a prayer of Moses, and in verse 8, Moses acknowledges the implications of God’s omnipresence with regard to our sin: “You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of your presence.”

In other words, when we sin, it is as if we ascended beyond the clouds, came into the throne room of God, walked up to the foot of the throne of God and committed the sin right before His face. That is a sobering thought.

~John MacArthur in Worship: The Ultimate Priority

Photo: OBMonkey

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Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity. —Hebrews 2:14 

When we are hurting, if there is one thing that eases our pain or grief, it is this: We want someone to understand. We want somebody to really identify with us, to have some idea of what we’re enduring. 

It is certainly like that for me. I hate feeling alone and alienated in those dark times when my paralysis seems overwhelming. On my really rough days, it helps to remember what the Bible tells us about Jesus identifying with us in our sufferings. It says that He was tested and tried in every way like us. That helps!

When it comes to suffering, the Lord Jesus has gone ahead of us, and has intimate, experiential, first-hand knowledge of the pain, the weight, the frustration, and the struggle. He appreciates. He understands. He connects. 

But it works both ways! Not only does Christ identify with us in our suffering, we identify with Him in His suffering. He identifies with us, and we identify with Him. He appreciates all that it means to be human, and we appreciate all that His divine grace supplies. Through suffering, He participates in our humanity; through suffering, we participate in His divinity

So why do we struggle so to escape our suffering? Why do we look so desperately for release? I suppose this is why I’m not earnestly seeking to be healed and raised up out of this wheelchair. I see this trial of mine as a window into the heart of Jesus. Suffering is a connecting point between my Savior and me. And when I see His great love on the cross, it gives me courage to take up my cross and follow Him.  

~Joni Eareckson Tada in “The Price of Identifying,” October 11 Daily Devotional

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Discipline toward holiness begins with the Word of God. Paul said, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The last item he mentions is training or discipline in doing righteousness. This is what the Scriptures will do for us if we use them.

Jay Adams says, “It is by willing, prayerful and persistent obedience to the requirements of the Scriptures that godly patterns are developed and come to be a part of us.”

We read in Scripture, “You were taught…to put off your old self…to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). Where are we taught these things? Only in the Word of God.

Discipline toward holiness begins then with the Scriptures—with a disciplined plan for regular intake of the Scriptures and a disciplined plan for applying them to our daily lives.

~Jerry Bridges in The Pursuit of Holiness

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No Child Left Behind

Don’t you love the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing something you’ve started? Cleaning out your email inbox, submitting a final paper, folding the last piece of clean laundry, crossing the stage to take your diploma in hand—something just feels so right about reaching the finish line of any project.

The problem for me is, I don’t get that feeling nearly as often as I would like. My house could easily double as a museum for unfinished projects. If you were to come over for a tour, you’d find partially read books, half-completed paintings, unassembled craft projects, and a wide assortment of other good intentions gone bad.

The Frustrating Reality

Believe me, if I could blame my lack of follow-through on anything outside of myself, I probably would, but I know the truth—I am the only reason that after two years, that autumn wreath is still in pieces in a bag in the closet instead of ready to hang on my front door.

If my distractibility and lack of discipline only affected my attempts at seasonal decorating, then things wouldn’t be all that bad. What’s really discouraging to me is thinking about all of the unfinished business in my spiritual life. After all these years of following Christ, shouldn’t I be further along in my pursuit of holiness? 

Sometimes in the midst of struggles with particular sins or sin patterns, I can’t help feeling like I’ve made just about as much progress in my sanctification as I have with that bag of wreath parts in the closet.

The Reassuring Promise

In those moments, I’m encouraged to remember that God is the polar opposite of me. He knows how to get things done.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

God’s good intentions always result in finished products. When Paul says in this verse that God “will perfect” His good work, he means God will accomplish, complete thoroughly, and bring what He began in us at the moment of salvation to a successful finish.

What a promise! Although our progress on earth is slow, intermittent, and sometimes difficult to identify, we, like Paul, can have confidence that God never begins something He won’t eventually bring to completion.

He is at work in us, and by His grace is providing us with the power to join Him in that work (Phil. 2:12-13). According to Scripture, the reason God saves us is to make us like His Son (Rom. 8:29). We can rest assured that in the end, no child of His will be left behind.

The Completed Picture

Do you know Christ as your Savior? If so, be encouraged that what is now incomplete in your life will one day be brought to perfection. Praise the Lord, He always gets the job done!

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him
(1 John 3:2) 

Image: Billy Alexander

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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Hebrews 10:24-25 

Today’s verse underscores why there’s such a thing as friendship. It’s what we do in the body of Christ. We are to consider think creatively aboutspurring one another on in our Christian walk. Christian friendships are never idle. Our relationships with our brothers and sisters in the Lord are either moving onward and upward, or we are diminishing each other. 

We are to see our friends in the light of what God intends for them to become. We must not become complacent or disillusioned when friends disappoint us—like anyone, our friends are fallen image-bearers, marred and defaced by the world, the flesh and the devil. But God is in the business of re-creating them. His goal is to restore His imagethe image of Christin our loved ones.

It is our role to join with God in His glorious work to redeem the people we love, as we encourage them with vision for their growth in Christ (Ephesians 4:15). We can help enhance the “new creation” in them (II Corinthians 5:17). We can push and prod our friends through our prayers (James 5:16). We must never let our passion for our friendships wane because we lose this marvelous sense of purpose. We must constantly consider ways we can spur one another on. 

~Joni Eareckson Tada in “Friendship Has a Purpose,” Joni and Friends Daily Devotional, August 19, 2012

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Remember that the mind is the watchman of the soul, commanded to judge and determine whether something is good and pleasing to God, so the affections can long for it and the will can choose it. If the mind fails to identify a sin as evil, wicked, vile, and bitter, the affections will not be safe from clinging to it, nor the will from giving consent. 

This is one side of the castle wall, the first line of defense: to keep in mind that every sin is a forsaking of God (Jeremiah 2:19), to never forget the polluting, corrupting, defiling power of sin—to be shaken to the core by how much God loathes sin.

When Paul said Christ’s love compelled him (2 Corinthians 5:14), he described the other side of this first defense: the mind must stay fixed on God, especially on his grace and goodness toward us. His love propels, fuels, drives us to obey. It is the fountain of our obedience, and our highest motive to finding out what pleases the Lord and doing it.

In order to walk before God, this is the mind’s first duty: to know and hold on to the evil of sin and the love of God.

~Kris Lundgaard in The Enemy Within

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The source of most of the problems people have in their Christian lives relates to two things: either they are not worshiping six days a week with their life, or they are not worshiping one day a week with the assembly of the saints. We need both.

If you go to church only when it is convenient, you will never be very fruitful as a Christian. You can’t thrive spiritually on your own; you need to have the spiritual stimulation of fellow believers. We live in such an easy-come, easy-go, casual, flippant society that people don’t make consistent, faithful commitments, and then they wonder why they fail.

The answer is clear. Our spiritual growth and stability cannot flourish without the support and mutual encouragement of other Christians.

~John MacArthur in Worship: The Ultimate Priority

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Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. -Hebrews 12:2-3

The path to joy is full of pitfalls, valleys and steep climbs. That’s the way it was for Jesus. But through all the hardships, he kept focused on “the joy set before him.” Jesus was able to endure his cross because he kept in mind the joy of reunion with his Father, the joy of triumph over sin, the joy of all his divine rights finally restored to him, and perhaps most wonderful of all, the joy of being eternally surrounded by the very people for whom he bled and died. This is why Jesus Christ was able to endure the cross and scorn its shame. All for joy!

It’s very much the same for you and me. Our path to joy is full of pitfalls, too. But Christ has gone before us, imparting to us his enabling power to suffer with him. Jesus assures us in Matthew 5:11, “Blessed [or happy and joyful] are you when others revile you and persecute you…Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” And exactly what is our reward at the end of all our hardships? Our reward will be to enjoy God with the same joy that Jesus has in his Father. Oh happy day!

Christians have no reason to be miserable or pessimistic. There is no room for gloom and doom when you’re a believer. If your heart is troubled by pessimism or doubts, repeat several times today’s verse, especially the part, “Consider him who endured… so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” This is the secret to finding joy. Consider him.

~Joni Eareckson Tada in “A Hard Path to Joy,” Joni and Friends Daily Devotional, March 9, 2012

Photo: OBMonkey

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For me, gossip was a serious struggle. Oh, I knew God spoke specifically to women who gossip (Titus 2:3—women are not to be slanderers), but I did it anyway. I tried everything to break myself of this habit. I taped little notes on the phone like: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it helpful? I prayed about gossiping each day, and still I did it. I was so sick of failing.

I finally reached the point where I asked God to do radical surgery. Real change only began when I started to confess gossip as a sin—each time I did it. I’ve had some lapses since then, but calling gossip sin and confessing it was a turning point. With God’s help, gossip no longer has such a hold on me. Praise be to Him!

~Elizabeth George in “Gossip

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