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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....


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A Father And His Daughter

Suppose that you wish to teach a skill or a technique to other people. What is the most effective way to do so? Should you hand them a text-book on the subject and tell them to read it? Should you put them in a classroom and lecture them about how to do it? Should you create teams of students and tell them to discuss the procedures? Should you let your students discover the way to do something by trial and error?

All of these methods have a place. A text-book may go into a subject more thoroughly than you can. Classroom instruction may be necessary to give your students the background and theory they need to know before trying a particular task. Teams might be appropriate when a particular task requires more hands or greater strength than one person can provide. Often, mastery can only be achieved by doing.

Who Are My Relatives?

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Man Holding a Child

There is a saying that “blood is thicker than water.” What we mean by it is that our family relationships are more important than any other. This is often true. In a dispute we will take the side of a family member even if the dispute does not directly involve us. We will help a family member even though it interrupts our plans or inconveniences us. We will cut short a visit with friends to go to a family function we do not even wish to attend. Yes, family is important to us and we will do things for a relative that we would not do for anyone else.


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Heart Symbol

We humans invent all kinds of rules and social conventions in order to regulate behavior. These rules and conventions govern our speech, our conduct and our interactions with one another. If someone ignores one of these practices we consider him rude, uncultured or a boor. We tolerate behavior which violates our rules or customs only if the person who does so is a child or a foreigner. In such cases we may excuse him because he does not know any better. But, even in such cases we expect the individual to learn what is proper and, once having learned, to comply with our standards.

Whose Responsibility?

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Brothers Keeper?

Once upon a time a man went missing. No trace of him could be found. But when his brother was asked where the missing man was, instead of showing any concern he snarled, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Implied in this answer is that we have no responsibility for looking after the wellbeing of our relatives. Whatever happens to them is their problem. I will live my life however I wish and whatever my brother chooses to do is up to him. It is none of my business. But is this how things ought to be?

He Resolved Not To

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A Cup of Wine

There was once a young man who was faced with a very serious moral dilemma. Would he follow the example of those around him and obey those in authority over him, or would he remain faithful to God? The youth’s name was Daniel. You can read his story in the Bible in the book named for him.

Because the Jewish people were unfaithful to their covenant with God, God had to let them suffer the consequences. The Babylonians conquered the land and sent many of the people into exile. “Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility—young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.” (Daniel 1:3-6 NIV)

Zero Cost Worship?

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Altars For Sacrifice

It is a natural human tendency to feel uncomfortable around those who have less than we. We are especially uncomfortable around those, who through no fault of their own, are suffering want. We sympathize with those who are unable to find work. We feel for those whose illness or misfortune has consumed their resources, leaving them little to live on. Their need makes us conscious of how blessed we are.

Providing For Relatives

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Eating From A Common Pot

There are many times in life when we are perplexed and don’t know what to do. Perhaps we are faced with several choices and don’t know which of them would be best. Perhaps we are in a situation where there seems to be no solution at all and wonder if there is a different way to approach the problem. Sometimes the most difficult situation we face is determining what God’s will is. We want to do what is right. We want to please God. Yet, what is it He desires in this particular situation?