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Devotions

What is True Success

Today's devotional reading is Acts 16:16-36.

The woman's masters appeared to have true success. When Paul cast here demon out, he had success in making her free. But she was no longer of any value to her master. So who had true success? At the time when you cannot see what is ahead and what is present and past is bleak and dark, how can you tell that success will ever come?

Just as the earthquake shook the chains loose from Paul and Silas, we must remain faithful through our darkest times and trust that God is shaking our lives to make us free. When He does not shine the light to show us where we are going, it is because if He did, we would not go. True success, which is given by God, is killed by our attraction to worldly people, places and things. Let us pray that our success be found in continuing in God's will and way.

Walk with the Lord today, and be a blessing to someone else.

Nicole Batista


Self-Control

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. Acts 24:16.

Strength of character consists of two things--power of will and power of self-control. Many youth mistake strong, uncontrolled passion for strength of character; but the truth is that he who is mastered by his passions is a weak man. The real greatness and nobility of the man is measured by his powers to subdue his feelings, not by the power of his feelings to subdue him.
Never should we lose control of ourselves. Let us ever keep before us the perfect Pattern. It is a sin to speak impatiently and fretfully or to feel angry--even though we do not speak. We are to walk worthy, giving a right representation of Christ. The speaking of an angry word is like flint striking flint: it at once kindles wrathful feelings.

Never be like a chestnut bur. In the home do not allow yourself to use harsh, rasping words. You should invite the heavenly Guest to come into your home, at the same time making it possible for Him and the heavenly angels to abide with you. You should receive the righteousness of Christ, the sanctification of the Spirit of God, the beauty of holiness, that you may reveal to those around you the Light of life. . . .

Said a celebrated emperor when on his dying bed, "Among all my conquests there is but one which affords me any consolation now, and that is the conquest I have gained over my own turbulent temper." Alexander and Caesar found it easier to subdue a world than to subdue themselves. After conquering nation after nation, they fell--one of them "the victim of intemperance, the other of mad ambition."

The highest evidence of nobility in a Christian is self-control.

In the Lord's work you are constantly in a school where you may learn lessons of self-control, of sanctified dignity, of gentlemanly manners and behavior.


Purity

He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands. Job 22:30.

He who deservedly bears the name of Christian, which signifies Christlike, will be filled with piety and purity, with love and reverence for God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent; and his spirit, his words, his actions, will all bear the impress of Heaven. Others will see that he has been with Jesus and learned of Him, His prayers will be simple and fervent, and will ascend to God on the wings of faith. Learning in the school of Christ, he will have a humble opinion of himself; and though he may be poor in this world's goods, he may be rich in the graces of God's Spirit, and may bless and enrich others by his spirit and influence, because Christ is in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. He will shed about him an atmosphere of hope and courage and strength, and will put to shame those who are worldly, selfish, formal professors, who have a name to live and are dead.

The precious faith inspired of God imparts strength and nobility of character. As His goodness, His mercy, and His love are dwelt upon, clearer and still clearer will be the perception of truth; higher, holier, the desire for purity of heart and clearness of thought. The soul dwelling in the pure atmosphere of holy thought is transformed by intercourse with God through the study of His Word. Truth is so large, so far-reaching, so deep, so broad, that self is lost sight of. The heart is softened, and subdued into humility, kindness, and love. . . . Being pure-minded, they will become strong-minded.

Purity of heart and loveliness of spirit are more precious than gold, both for time and for eternity. Only the pure in heart shall see God.


Simplicity

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Cor. 11:3.

He who will observe simplicity in all his habits, restricting the appetite and controlling the passions, may preserve his mental powers strong, active, and vigorous, quick to perceive everything which demands thought or action, keen to discriminate between the holy and the unholy, and ready to engage in every enterprise for the glory of God and the benefit of humanity.

The little ones should be educated in childlike simplicity. They should be trained to be content with the small, helpful duties and the pleasures and experiences natural to their years. Childhood answers to the blade in the parable, and the blade has a beauty peculiarly its own. Children should not be forced into a precocious maturity, but as long as possible should retain the freshness and grace of their early years. The more quiet and simple the life of the child--the more free from artificial excitement and the more in harmony with nature--the more favorable it is to physical and mental vigor and to spiritual strength.

Parents should by their example encourage the formation of habits of simplicity, and draw their children away from an artificial to a natural life. Those children are most attractive who are natural and unaffected.

The greatest Teacher the world ever knew was admired for His simplicity; for He presented divine truth in such a way that even children could comprehend His words, and at the same time He drew the attention of the best educated and deepest thinkers of the world. By the use of familiar illustrations He made truth plain to the minds of the common people. In simplicity He sowed the seed of the gospel truth in the minds and hearts of His hearers, and it sprang up and yielded a harvest unto everlasting life.

His {Christ's} glory was in His simplicity.


Steadfastness

For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear. Job 11:15

It is right for the youth to feel that they must reach the highest development of their mental powers. We would not restrict the education to which God has set no limit. But our attainments avail nothing if not put to use for the honor of God and the good of humanity. . . .

What we need is knowledge that will strengthen mind and soul, that will make us better men and women. Heart education is of far more importance than mere book-learning. It is well, even essential, to have a knowledge of the world in which we live; but if we leave eternity out of our reckoning, we shall make a failure from which we can never recover. . . . If the youth understood their own weakness, they would find in God their strength.

There is a science of Christianity to be mastered,--a science as much deeper, broader, higher than any human science as the heavens are higher than the earth. The mind is to be disciplined, educated, trained; for we are to do service for God in ways that are not in harmony with inborn inclination. Hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil must be overcome. Often the education and training of a lifetime must be discarded, that one may become a learner in the school of Christ. Our hearts must be educated to become steadfast in God. We are to form habits of thought that will enable us to resist temptation. We must learn to look upward. The principles of the Word of God,--principles that are as high as heaven, and that compass eternity,--we are to understand in their bearing upon our daily life. Every act, every word, every thought, is to be in accord with these principles. All must be brought into harmony with, and subject to, Christ.


Patience

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Heb. 10:36.

The lives of some are without peace or gladness because they never get out of the range of self. They are ever reaching out for sympathy from others. If they would go to work to see how helpful they could be, and would speak words of love and courage, their souls, now dry and sorrowful, would become like a watered garden.

You must learn in the school of Christ precious lessons of patience. Do not become discouraged, but keep at the work in all humility. It will drive you to Jesus; it will lead you to study the Pattern. You want to work as Jesus worked.

Trials will come, it is true, even to those who are fully consecrated. The patience of the most patient will be severely tested. . . . Often silence is the severest rebuke that could be given to the one who has sinned with his lips.

When they {the children and youth} lose self-control and speak words that are passionate, an attitude of silence is often the best course to pursue, not taking up a line of reproof or argument or condemnation. Repentance will come very soon. The silence that is golden will often do more than all the words that can be uttered.

When others are impatient, fretful, and complaining because self is not subdued, begin to sing some of the songs of Zion. While Christ was working at the carpenter's bench, others would sometimes surround Him, trying to cause Him to be impatient; but He would begin singing some of the beautiful psalms, and before they realized what they were doing, they had joined with Him in singing, influenced, as it were, by the power of the Holy Spirit which was there.

Christ's perfect example and the grace of God are given him {man} to enable him to train his sons and daughters to be sons and daughters of God.


Self-denial

Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. Mark 10:28.

All have daily lessons to learn in the school of Christ, and a daily experience to gain, that they may understand their duty as His children.

Many an honest, well-meaning person makes no advancement in the Christian life because he does not see the necessity of constantly learning more of Jesus. When first converted, he rejoices that he has taken his position on the Lord's side. A year later, he bears the same testimony. There is no evidence of spiritual growth; he is still weak as a child. . . . The first experience of the new convert is happy and joyous; but trials come; the perplexities of life are to be met; sinful traits of character that have not been controlled, strive for the mastery, and too frequently obtain it. Then come a loss of confidence and peace, neglect of prayer and the reading of the Scriptures. For want of the knowledge and experience which they should have, many are overcome by Satan. They do not know how to discern his temptations, or to resist them. . . .

Have faith in Jesus as your helper. Remember that you are not to choose your own work, or follow your own ways, but to look to Jesus as your guide and pattern. Keep His example before you, and constantly ask what will be pleasing in His sight. Learn from Him lessons of self-denial and self-sacrifice.

Watch every moment, keeping your mind stayed upon God, instead of having it upon dress, and suffering pride to dwell in your heart. Seek to deny yourself; be holy; let your mind dwell upon heaven, and let your conversation be there also. . . . Those who follow Christ will choose the suffering, self-denying part, and will have His approbation here, and . . . glory, immortality and eternal life hereafter.


Forgiveness

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Col. 3:13.

The religion of Jesus Christ means progress; it means to be ever reaching upward to a holier and higher standard. The Christian whose heart has been touched with the beauty of the Saviour's character, is to put into practice that which he learns in the school of Christ. We must be apt pupils in the school of Christ, readily learning that which He teaches us from day to day.

We can never attain perfection of character if we do not hear the voice of God and obey His counsel. This instruction does not apply simply to those who have had no trials to meet which would create dislike to their brethren, but it applies to those who have been injured, who have suffered from financial wrong, from reproach and criticism, from misapprehension and misjudgment. These must not allow hatred to enter the heart, or permit unkind feelings to arise when they look upon those who have injured them. . . .

Like Christ we shall forgive our enemies, and watch for opportunities to show those who have harmed us that we love their souls, and if we could, would do them good. . . . If those who have injured us, still continue in their course of wrong-doing . . . we must make efforts to be reconciled to our brethren, following the Bible plan, as Christ Himself has directed. If our brethren refuse to be reconciled, then do not talk about them, nor injure their influence, but leave them in the hands of a just God, who judgeth all men righteously. . . . The youth may profess to have great love for the cause of God; but while they are unreconciled to their companions, they are unreconciled to God. It is these . . . selfish feelings that are cherished, that keep the blessing of God out of our hearts and homes. Let the love of Christ flow into the heart and transform the character, or we shall not be children of God.

  Bible Studies:

    - The Bible

    - The Origin of Sin

    - Salvation

    - Heaven

    - Faith

    - Prayer

    - Oil of the Spirit

    - Baptism

    - Destination of Evil

    - The Christian Life

    - Death

    - Happy Happy Home

    - The Law and Grace

    - Jesus

    - The Sabbath

    - Change of Sabbath

    - The Seal of God

    - The Second Coming

    - The True Church

    - Not Enough Room

    - God's Health Plan

Everyday Bible Studies:

    - Speaking in Tongues

    - Forgiveness

    - Morality or Immorality

    - Entertainment

    - Christian Dress

    - Victory Over Sin

    - His Righteousness

    - Guaranteed Security