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Self-Control
Wednesday, July 09 2014
Self-Control 
By: Nagi Philips

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Bible Examples of Self-Control

There are numerous examples of men exhibiting heroic self-control in the Bible. Let’s consider three of these.

Joseph: He was sold by his envious brothers into slavery in Egypt. As a youth he was purchased by Pharaoh’s captain of the guard, Potiphar. Joseph served his master well and the entire house prospered (Genesis 39:5). After a while, Potiphar’s wife began to seduce Joseph. She wearied him incessantly with her invitations to commit adultery (39:7-10). His response was always the same -- No!

The free thinkers and free lovers of today would mock Joseph’s Godly morals.  They claim, “Teenagers are going to have sex; nobody can stop this from happening.” Their view of things is that teens do not and cannot have mastery over their desires. Yet, Joseph a teen away from home, on his own, with a willing partner refused to sin against God, his master, his master’s wife and his own body (I Corinthians 6:18).

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah: They were four youths that demonstrated incredible mastery over themselves (Daniel 1). These four teens were brought from Palestine to Babylon by king Nebuchadnezzar. His intent was to train them for service in the government. One aspect of their training involved their diet, which was provided from the king’s table. This food and drink was regarded as unclean by Jews because it had been offered to idols (Leviticus 11; cf. I Corinthians 8) The drink may have been rejected because it was intoxicating (Proverbs 23:31; Isaiah 5:11, 22).

Again, these views would be ridiculed by most men today. The disbelief that youth can possess self-control is popular, even among the most educated. For example, Richard Keeling M.D. said, “Teenagers are going to drink no matter what the legal age is” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 07/15/05). However, here are four teenagers that did not and they proved themselves the better for it (Daniel 1:12-16).

The greatest example of self-control found is that of our Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. The test began after He had fasted for forty days and nights. Having had no food and no water He was hungry (Matthew 4: 2). In this time of weakness, Satan came and tempted Him to turn stones into bread. But, our Lord refused because “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Luke 4:4).

It was only natural that He should be hungry; there was no sin in hunger. Yet, He understood that He must rely upon God for His needs to be supplied, and, so, He disciplined Himself. God had brought Him into the wilderness and God would provide (Psalm 78:19).

How foolish this seems to men today. The psychiatrist Theodore Rubin claims we are not human if we exhibit mastery, saying, “I must learn to love the fool in me…it alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility and dignity but for my fool” (Love Me, Love My Fool, p. 76). Well, our Lord Jesus was ever as much a man as lived (Hebrews 2:17–18; 4:15) and He gained the mastery over the flesh (Romans 8:3).
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Grace and Patience in the New Year
Friday, January 10 2014
Grace and Patience in the New Year
By: Christine Agaibi

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Wait patiently upon the Lord (Psalm 40:1); again I say wait patiently upon the Lord.  What a tall order this seems at times!  Even the most fervent of Christians and even the most compliant can struggle with patience when life gets hard.  Can you wait patiently on the Lord when you experience a health crisis; when you are lonely; when you seek a life partner; when you await a promotion or search for a job; when things do not make sense or when you seek any long awaited answer and the answer does not seem to come?  Can you wait patiently on the Lord when things seem hard?  Can you seek His will and Grace when times are challenging?

We live in a very fast paced world.  Another year has just ended and another has just begun.  Days turn into weeks and weeks into months in what seems to be the blink of an eye.  We want everything now.  We rush our meals, our conversations, even our prayer.  We worry and are filled with anxiety when things do not happen in the way we want in the time frame we want.  However in this verse in the Psalms, God is teaching us to wait.  He also shows us that waiting and patience will be rewarded (“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry” Psalm 40:1). However, why does He want us to wait when all it seems to do is create anxiety?

Plan but Wait – “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
The Bible helps us understand that planning is important (Luke 14: 28-33).  In this New Year, we may do what we have done in previous year ends.  We take inventory of our life.  We think of what we have done and what needs improvement.  This is great because it means we take an active role in planning what happens to in our lives.  However, what happens when our plans change or become tangled?  This is an inevitability of life and things don’t always go as we plan.  This is where the importance of grace and patience come, in times of challenge.  God makes a contingency plan for our broken plans and lets us know that though we plan, His infinite wisdom directs our steps closer to Him, closer to His will, and closer to what we actually need.  All we have to do is be patient and exhibit grace as we wait for His plan to unfold.

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