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Overcoming Evil

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Why do we have courts? One reason we have courts and judges is to settle disputes. People have a disagreement and are unable to settle the matter on their own. When this happens they bring their dispute before a neutral judge who will decide the matter for them. But there is another reason we have courts. One of their duties is to decide whether someone is guilty of breaking the law and, if so, what their punishment should be. As the Apostle Paul writes concerning rulers, “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” (Romans 13:3-4 NIV)

Why Should I Listen To You?

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Certificate

Before we entrust ourselves or our property to someone we like to make sure that they are capable of doing whatever it is that we need done. For example, if we have a toothache we will not ask a carpenter to fill the cavity. Instead, we will go to a dentist. Why? Because the dentist has studied and been trained to work on teeth. He has a certificate showing that he has passed an examining board and is qualified to do the work. Similarly we will not rely on a friend to design a house for us – unless that friend is also a certified architect. We need someone who has been trained to calculate where to place pillars and beams of the proper dimensions so that the house is structurally sound and will not collapse.

Names

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No Christians

We often give ‘pet’ names to those we love. When we are at home or in an informal setting instead of addressing them by their legal or given name, we will use our own made-up name for them. We use these made-up names as a sign of affection. Often we derive the names we use for family members from the speech of little children who are as yet unable to pronounce a person’s real name properly.

We Will Not Serve

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Hindu Idol

The Bible teaches us that we should be obedient to the government. We are to respect, honor and pray for those who rule over us. The followers of Christ should be model citizens who set the example for others. However, there is one circumstance in which we should not obey. In fact, we should oppose those over us, even if it costs us our life.

There were three men who lived during the time of the Babylonian Empire. They were government officials who enjoyed the favor of the emperor. They were competent and served diligently. They were intelligent, loyal and good administrators. In short, these men were everything a ruler could ask for in government service. They were ideal for the jobs they held.

Masks

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Masks

Have you ever known someone who pretended to be something he wasn’t? There are some people who want others to think that they are very well-off and well-connected. For example, a man dresses in the latest fashion. He shows off his jewelry. He talks about the business deals he is negotiating. He boasts about the celebrities he knows. He hints that he has influence in high places.

Where Is Your Heart?

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A Black Heart

The world is not lacking in advice. There are all kinds of people who are not only willing, but eager to tell us what to do. Bookshops are filled with teaching manuals and self-help books. The Internet and social media platforms are awash in courses and instruction videos. Newspapers and magazines have help columns.

While all these things may be helpful in answering specific questions about how to accomplish something, very few of them address the most important things in life. Knowledge is important and useful, but it is only a tool. It cannot make us a better person. If a person is inclined toward evil, obtaining an education will only make him more effective in doing wrong.

Wait!

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Men Praying

We don’t like to wait. For example, we become frustrated when we go to the doctor and instead of being able to go right into the exam room, we have to sit for a long time until the doctor is free to see us. We become frustrated when someone makes a promise but delays in keeping it. We become frustrated when a project takes longer to complete than we thought. We even become frustrated at the amount of time it takes to be served at a restaurant. No, we don’t like to wait!

The Secret Of Contentment

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A Smiling Girl

Have you ever known someone who, no matter what the circumstances, would find something to complain about? If the weather is warm, the sun is out and a gentle breeze is blowing he will complain that there is too much dust in the air. If a gentle rain falls which settles the dust he will complain about the damp and the mud in the streets. At a bountiful and delicious meal he will find fault with how the food is served. No matter which political party is in power, he will complain about their policies. If a large sum of unexpected money comes his way he will point out that someone else received more and become angry about the extra taxes he has to pay. Words of gratitude and appreciation rarely, if ever, pass his lips. Such a person is not content regardless of how much he has or how he has been blessed.

True Worship

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Women Praying

Most people would probably agree that God desires our worship. But this raises a question. What does it mean to worship? There are several different answers to this question. Some say that worship consists of observing religious rituals. For example, they consider going on a pilgrimage, counting a rosary or putting some money in the offering box acts of worship. Others say that participating in the activities of the regular meetings of the church is worship. They point to the singing of songs, bowing their heads when prayers are said and participation in Communion as worship. But does worship merely consist of activities, or is it something more?

Against You?

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Tribal Guard

We tend to see danger in the unfamiliar. We are easily threatened by situations we do not understand. We feel unease when confronted by a foreign culture or even by social conventions with which we are unfamiliar. Usually, if we do not allow ourselves to give into fear, we discover that the unfamiliar culture or situation is harmless. People who act differently than us are not intentionally trying to make us uncomfortable. Once we realize this, we can start to enjoy the different people and cultural experiences we encounter. However, there is another attitude which is far more harmful than our fear of those who are different than us....