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nChrist
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« on: March 02, 2006, 09:30:49 PM »

Bible Minute
Daily Bible Study
by Woodrow Kroll

Date: Mar 2, 2006
Topic: Relationships

Coming Home

Do you have a prodigal in your family? Maybe you have a rebellious child, an unfaithful or angry spouse, perhaps even a parent whose choices have damaged the rest of your relationships?

They've turned away from you, severed communication in anger or rejected all you try to do. You long to have them back into the family circle, perhaps waiting and praying for years. How will you respond when you see them come home? Will you reject them in return? Or wait with an open door and open arms?

What Does God Say?

Jesus tells the story of a man with two sons, one of whom decided to go his own way and rejected his father. Read Luke 15:11-24, and put the story in your own words.

While we want our prodigal to come home, we often want them "fixed" first: their problems resolved and everything restored to "normal." We want to see them repentant, changed, making restitution or cleaned up before we let them back in. In Luke 15, what conditions did the father make for his son? Had anything changed in his son?

Frequently, prodigals are reluctant to come home because they're afraid of the reaction or judgment they'll receive. Go back to Luke 15; what did the son expect from his father? What did he deserve? What did he get?

My Thoughts

This is a great story of love without conditions, and God tells us that this kind of love, like He has for us, makes it evident that we are Christians. Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us to "be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us" ( ESV).

As heartbreaking as it is to have a prodigal in your family, it requires you to exercise the type of love that Jesus commands us in John 13:34-35 and John 15:12-13.

    * What does our love for each other say to the world around us?
    * Who needs to see you live out this example of love today?

We've all been prodigals with God. But Romans 5:8 says, "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" ( ESV ). Read on through Romans 5:11 to catch a glimpse of how we've been reconciled to God.

My Part

Create a three-panel cartoon of Luke 15:20 with a sketch (or words). In the first, the son comes home; in the second, picture the father's response; and in the third, how you imagine the son's reaction to his dad.

    * If you have a prodigal in your life, is this the response they'd get from you?
    * Post your cartoon somewhere to remind you and to help prepare you for that day.

Perhaps you've been that prodigal. Have you tried to go home? What kind of response did you receive? How has it shaped your life? Do you need to forgive those who didn't receive you in a godly manner? Ask God to remind you of His unconditional love and to give you grace to respond to those you need to forgive.

Maybe you're that prodigal today; you want to go home but you're not sure you can or if you'll be welcome. Begin with God; make sure your relationship with Him is reconciled through Christ Jesus, and then ask for His help in giving you the courage to restore relationships with your family.

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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2006, 10:46:35 PM »

Daily Bible Study
Bible Minute by Woodrow Kroll

Date: Mar 3, 2006
Topic: Christian Living/Situational

Balancing a Family

Haven't you admired a circus performer as he or she balanced swirling plates on a stick or rode a galloping horse around the ring while standing on one leg? None of us, however, are probably inclined to do the same. Yet sometimes keeping the balance in a family is equally challenging.

In the story of the prodigal son, Jesus shows us a father who knew how to deal not only with the prodigal who left home but also the one who stayed behind. Let's see how to get a family back in balance when the dynamics between family members are changed.

What Does God Say?

"Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 'Your brother is back,' he was told, 'and your father has killed the calf we were fattening and has prepared a great feast. We are celebrating because of his safe return.'

"The older brother was angry and wouldn't go in. His father came out and begged him....His father said to him, 'Look, dear son, you and I are very close, and everything I have is yours'" (Luke 15:25-28,31; NLT).

    * What is the older brother's response when the family's relationships become imbalanced?
    * Who takes the initiative to deal with this problem?
    * What kind of assurances does the father give?

My Thoughts

Whether it's the loss of a family member or the addition of a new person to the family, the change creates at least a temporary imbalance. If you follow the example of the father in Jesus' story, how would you deal with this imbalance?

My Part

Make a list of the members of your family who are affected by the change in your family's relationships. Under each name list the assurances that you can give that person that will provide comfort and stability at this time. As much as possible, attach a Scripture verse to each assurance. Find a time to privately talk to each family member.

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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2006, 12:09:16 PM »

Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 6, 2006
Topic: Christian Living/Situational

Home Education

It makes sense that people learn the most from those they spend the majority of their time with. In that case, many people learn the most from their families. Whether growing up in your parent's household or while establishing a household of your own, more education takes place at home than school.

What Does God Say?

Genesis 18:19 says, "I have singled him [Abraham] out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the LORD and do what is right and just. Then I will do for him all that I have promised" (NLT).

    * What is Abraham supposed to do with his family?
    * What will the result be?

In Proverbs 22:6, we read, " Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it" (NLT).

    * What is the result of good education in the home?

And Ephesians 6:4 says, " And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord" (NLT).

    * What are fathers told not to do?
    * What are fathers to do?

My Thoughts

With the pressures of work and school, home often becomes the place to "let your hair down." But it's important, especially for parents, that the life they model at home be the life they wish their children to lead.

My Part

Are you one of those growing up in your parent's house? What are you learning? Take a moment to praise God if your parents take the time to read the Bible and model Christian living for you. It's a blessing that will last your entire life.

Are you a parent? What steps are you taking to prepare for your children's spiritual future? College funds are great, but a godly character is the best investment.

Additional Scripture: Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4

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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2006, 12:10:50 PM »

Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 7, 2006
Topic: Christian Living/Situational


The Family as a Sounding Board

Christa McAuliffe, the teacher-astronaut who was killed along with six others in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, once said, "I touch the future; I teach." Every family can say the same. Whether it's formally or informally, a family is a place where learning takes place. It is the place where children (and sometimes adults too) can bring ideas they've learned elsewhere and determine if they have value.

So, how does a family do that? Let's see what God's Word says.

What Does God Say?

"As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend" (Proverbs 27:17, NLT).

    * What does one friend do for another?
    * How would you put this in your own words?
    * How does this apply to a family?

My Thoughts

Everyone has areas where they are not as sharp as they need to be. These are places where a family member or friend can give you some insight. What areas like that might you have in your life?

My Part

This week choose a topic that has been a concern for you. It might be something that has been on the nightly news, a subject your child has been taught at school or an issue that came up at work. Let your family know ahead of time what is to be discussed. Ask them to spend some time in the Bible looking for answers, and then come together to share what they've learned.

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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2006, 12:12:42 PM »

Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 8, 2006
Topic: Christian Living/Situational


When to Teach

It doesn't matter if you send your children to a Christian school, a public school or you educate them at home, one thing is still clear: It's the parents' responsibility to teach their children about God's Word.

Memorizing Bible verses, having family devotions or studying the Bible with your kids are all great. But there's a lot of "education" that can take place in those teachable moments when you help your kids understand how God's Word applies to their daily lives.

What Does God Say?

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (Deuteronomy 6:5-7, NIV).

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them" (Deuteronomy 4:9, NIV).

    * Before you teach your kids, what needs to happen with you first?
    * How do you "impress" God's commandments upon your children?
    * When should you teach your children God's Word?

My Thoughts

Think about these situations:

Your seventh-grade daughter comes home from school, crying because she overheard a friend talk badly about her at lunch.

    * What godly counsel could you give her? What verses could you share with her--about forgiveness or about loving those who hurt you? About not being vengeful?

Your son doesn't make the team, and he's really discouraged.

    * How could you use God's Word to encourage him? To share with him that he's highly valued--priceless to you and God? Or that God has great plans for his future?

You overhear your nine-year-old use a few words she picked up from the playground at school--words you'd rather not hear.

    * What could you share with her about her speech--about carefully choosing the words that come out of her mouth? How could you impress upon her the importance of "glorifying" God in everything we do?

My Part

Look this week for "teachable moments" with your kids--opportunities to "impress" biblical truths upon their hearts. It's easy to get busy with all the daily stuff that crowds our calendars and just go into task mode. But be aware this week of what your kids are really dealing with, and take moments here and there to help them understand how God's Word fits into the context of their lives.

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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2006, 12:14:08 PM »

Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 9, 2006
Topic: Christian Living/Situational


Anchor Your Values

No matter what their generation, parents throughout the ages have realized they have to be careful about where their children get their values.

To many parents, it should come as no surprise that a lot of kids get their values outside the home. That's why the home needs to become the values clarification center, so that children learn which of the values they pick up are right and which are not.

What Does God Say?

God has designed the family as the place for values to be clarified. You want to be able to take your children to God's Word so they know the source of your values and learn how to filter their values through what He has said.

Psalm 1:1-2 says,

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night" (NASB).

What does the above passage teach us about values?

My Thoughts

So, where do your kids get their values today? Put a check by all those that apply. Then note what you think are the top three and "star" them.

Is the source of your children's values from:

    * their Bible study in Sunday School
    * what you talk to them about at home
    * their friends
    * the school they go to
    * the television
    * games they play on the Internet
    * the music they listen to

List three things that would help your home become a place where values are clarified by the truths and teachings of the Bible.

My Part

When it comes to our children, we have to commit them to the Lord and ask God to help us be a values clarification for them.

What we do need to do is find ways to engage our children in the value system of God. That could mean having a specific time for family devotions or engaging your children in conversation about the value system in God's Word.

Pray now and ask God for His wisdom and help so that you may shape your home to be a place where biblical values are taught and lived.

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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2006, 12:15:43 PM »

Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 10, 2006
Topic: Christian Living/Situational


Making Decisions

Helping your children make wise decisions is a lot like teaching them to play games. When they're small, they hold the cards or move the pieces but you show them what to do. As they get older, they may make the moves but they look to you for hints and suggestions.

Later on, you're reduced to asking, "Are you sure that's what you want to do?" And they hesitate to reconsider their options. Eventually, you play each other competitively, without questions or coaching...and you probably get beat. They've learned to make a wise decision--to process information, weigh their options, think through the consequences and then act.

What Does God Say?

God has given parents a special responsibility with their children. Not only to feed, clothe and house them but to guide, direct and discipline them so they become men and women who honor God. In decision-making, it means showing them that choices need to be influenced and shaped by God and what pleases and honors Him. Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and then verses 20-25 to see what we're to teach our kids.

In teaching our children the things of God, we build a grid through which they can sort out what's right, what's wrong, what pleases God, what is better left alone. Deuteronomy 5:1-21 reviews the commandments. Galatians 5:16-24 and Colossians 3:5-17 both explain what should and what shouldn't be part of our lives as Christians.

My Thoughts

The Bible may not address some of the specific choices we're faced with in our modern world, but it does offer us foundational principles. Take a look at the following passages and note a few guidelines you find.

    * Galatians 5:16-24
    * Philippians 4:8-9
    * Colossians 3:5-17

Now, go back over your notes and see which of these might apply to a decision or choice your children are facing.

As you talk with your kids, point them to God's Word for direction. Encourage them to memorize something like Psalm 1 or a section from Psalm 119 like verses 9-16, verses 41-48 or verses 57-64.

My Part

Take a few minutes to examine your own decision-making.

    * Are your choices grounded in God's Word?
    * Do your children see you making wise decisions?

Then look at your family:

    * In what areas does your child--or each of your children--need help in making decisions?
    * At what stage of decision-making are they? Do they need direction and specifics? Coaching and options? Encouragement to act? Advice or review?
    * What steps can you take today to help them where they are?

By the way, if you're not a parent, you're still a decision-maker. And you may have others around you who look to you for help and an example in making godly choices.

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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2006, 09:31:40 AM »

Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 13, 2006
Topic: Finances


Money Management

Someone claimed that nine out of ten families that earn a paycheck don't know how to spend it. Whether this overstates the case or not, it's still true that many people, including Christians, don't know how to wisely handle the money and resources that God gives them.

Let's see what the Bible says about God's expectations when it comes to the use of your money and possessions.
What Does God Say?

Consider the verses below and determine how God expects you to manage your wealth.

"Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and be wise! Even though they have no prince, governor, or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter" (Proverbs 6:6-8, NLT).

"Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces" (Proverbs 3:9, NLT).

"So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could" (Acts 11:29, NLT).

What is God's expectation in each of these three verses?
My Thoughts

As you consider these expectations when it comes to managing your money, are all three present in the way you currently spend your wealth? Where might you be lacking?
My Part

This week sit down and spend some time praying about your finances. (If you are married, be sure to include your spouse.) Ask the Lord for wisdom as you consider how you should spend the wealth He has given you. Put together a budget that not only includes your expenses but also covers the three areas of expectation above.

Additional Scripture: 1 Chronicles 29:11, 2 Corinthians 9:7

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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2006, 09:33:36 AM »

Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 14, 2006
Topic: Finances


Gift from God

How do you teach a child that the money we have is a gift from God? It's easier sometimes to teach them that things like the ability to sing well or the ability to make friends are gifts from God. But our entire society is built around the concept that money is something that we earn for ourselves. It's hard to see how the money we worked hard for is actually a gift from God.
What Does God Say?

Deuteronomy 8:18 explains this contradiction:

"Always remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you power to become rich, and he does it to fulfill the covenant he made with your ancestors" (NLT).

According to this verse, what is the ultimate source of our money? Why is this true?

In Proverbs 3:9-10 God shows us the way we are to use our money:

"Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine" (NLT).

    * What does God ask that we do with our money?
    * What will the result be?

My Thoughts

When we think of ourselves as the source of our income, it's nearly impossible to be anything but selfish with it. And if this is the attitude we show to our children, they'll grow up thinking the same thing. The best way to teach our children to honor God with their money is to demonstrate it for them.
My Part

Modeling wise handling of money for our children is likely to teach us as much about humility and trust as our children. If your children receive an allowance, take some time to pray and work out a budget with them each time you distribute the money. Teach your children to include God in their budget as a way of acknowledging that He is the source of their wealth.

Additional Scripture: Proverbs 3:9-10

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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2006, 04:34:25 PM »

Daily Bible Study
With Woodrow Kroll

Date: Mar 15, 2006
Topic: Finances


Kids and Money

Money is such a big part of our lives. In fact, according to marriage counselors, the number one cause of conflict in marriage is financial difficulties. The problem is not usually how much or how little income a couple might have, as how they manage what they do have.

While good money management can be taught at any age, it is best learned long before marriage.

What Does God Say?

"And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again" (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, NLT).

What does this verse say about where and when God's command should be taught? Who should they be taught to?

But what about principles for money management? Deuteronomy 8:18 says,

"Always remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you power to become rich, and he does it to fulfill the covenant he made with your ancestors" ( NLT).

What does this verse tell us about money? How does this apply to managing our money?

My Thoughts

There are three aspects of using money that children need to learn and experience:

    * In a godly and biblical way, we should earn what we get.
    * We first give to God a part of what He has enabled us to earn.
    * We seek God's wisdom in how we manage what we spend, what we save and what we keep.

What are ways that you can teach your children about each of these three aspects?

My Part

God's way of managing finances should not only be taught to our children, but must also be caught by our children. In other words, we need to walk our talk.

    * Ask God to help you honestly evaluate whether the way all the money is handled in your home is pleasing to God.
    * Ask God to give you wisdom in teaching your children the basic lessons of financial responsibility so as young adults, they have the necessary experience and know-how in living for the Lord responsibly with their money.

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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2006, 07:14:40 AM »

Daily Bible Study
With Woodrow Kroll

Date: Mar 16, 2006
Topic: Christian Living/Situational


Potential Greed

Ever had a child stand in the checkout line at the grocery store and beg for a candy bar--even after you just filled your cart with food, including kid-friendly treats?

Or had one ask, "Is that all there is?" after opening several presents at Christmastime?

Or had one receive birthday money from a grandparent, but hold on to it for as long as possible while trying to talk you into buying them what they want?

Greed is something we all struggle with at one time or another--even as kids. The challenge we have as parents is helping our children fight against the tendency to want "just one more."

What Does God Say?

"Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15, NIV).

"A greedy man brings trouble to his family" (Proverbs 15:27, NIV).

"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God" (Ephesians 5:5, NIV).

    * Judging by the tone in these verses, God obviously takes greed seriously. How can you convey that to your children?
    * How would you define greed to your kids? Why do you think God warns us against being greedy?
    * How would you explain Proverbs 15:27 to your kids? What kind of trouble does a greedy man bring to his family?

My Thoughts

    * How can you fight against your own tendency to want just "one more"?
    * Is there anything you currently do to feed your children's greed?
    * What is one thing you could do to combat any attitudes of greed in your               family?

My Part

Here's a thought: Usually giving is an anecdote to wanting. Think of something you could do with your kids that's all about giving to others. You could have a garage sale to get rid of clothes and toys your children have outgrown and give the proceeds away to a charitable organization. Or help your child choose some "gently used" toys to give away to a children's home or the city mission. Look for opportunities to get your children's eyes focused on others' needs rather than their own wants.

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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2006, 07:39:10 AM »

Daily Bible Study
With Woodrow Kroll

Date: Mar 17, 2006

True Value

Value. Webster's dictionary indicates that this can mean the worth we place on something based on its importance or usefulness to us. When it comes to teaching our family what to value in the people around us, too often we accept what others tell us apart from God's Word.

The Bible has definite ideas on what creates value. Let's take a look at what it says.

What Does God Say?

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise" (Proverbs 31:30-31, NLT).

    * Why do you think the Bible says that charm is "deceptive"?
    * While beauty doesn't last, what will? How would you explain this to someone else?
    * How should we respond to a person like this?

My Thoughts

When you think of a beautiful woman (or a handsome man), what comes to mind? How consistent is this with what the Bible considers important?

My Part

Sit down with your family (or on your own if you don't have a family), and draw up a list of characteristic that would fit a "woman [or man] who fears the Lord." Rate your own self on these characteristics. Pick one or two that you want to improve during the coming month.

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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2006, 08:59:45 AM »

Daily Bible Study
With Woodrow Kroll

Date: Mar 20, 2006

Pass the Baton

Running a race is often used as an analogy for life. When it comes to the responsibilities of Christian parenting, the more correct analogy is that of a relay race. Christians are to "hand off" godly values to their children and pray and trust that those same values will be passed on to their grandchildren.

What Does God Say?

The Bible provides insights as to how we can successfully run our segment of the race.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 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" (Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV).

    * List four things from the above verse that will help us run our best.

My Thoughts

As with all aspects of the Christian life, godly parenting begins with a focus on, and a commitment to Jesus. The teaching of biblical values is to be done on the foundation of who we are in Christ. It's not about us as parents or about our children, it's all about Jesus and what He did on the cross and what He is doing in our lives. How would you answer the following questions?

    * Is it obvious to your children that you have a personal, vital and active relationship with Jesus?
    * Will your children pick up on the fact that the values in your home are based on the Bible?
    * As you look at your life, what are two things you feel you need to do to finish your race well?

My Part

Take a few moments now to pray and ask the "author and finisher of our faith" to enable you to install His ways in the hearts and minds of your children.

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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2006, 09:05:33 AM »

My Thoughts

As with all aspects of the Christian life, godly parenting begins with a focus on, and a commitment to Jesus. The teaching of biblical values is to be done on the foundation of who we are in Christ. It's not about us as parents or about our children, it's all about Jesus and what He did on the cross and what He is doing in our lives. How would you answer the following questions?

    * Is it obvious to your children that you have a personal, vital and active relationship with Jesus?
    * Will your children pick up on the fact that the values in your home are based on the Bible?
    * As you look at your life, what are two things you feel you need to do to finish your race well?


AMEN!
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2006, 02:33:13 PM »

Daily Bible Study

Date: Mar 21, 2006

Valuing Virtue

You've probably heard the expression, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Well, that phrase is also very descriptive of what a "value" is. Values change from person to person. A virtue is just the opposite. If values are different for everyone, virtues are the same no matter who you are.

For instance, when patience is only a value, people are only patient when it suits them to be patient--this is often not during rush hour traffic. But if patience is a virtue, you'll seek to be patient even when you don't feel like it.

The difference is subtle, but it needs to be understood especially in light of the virtues outlined in the Bible. God didn't give us commands to follow only when we feel like it.

What Does God Say?

Read Colossians 3:1-17 and answer the following questions.

    * What is the reason we can stop doing bad things and start doing good?
    * What are the virtues the apostle Paul lists in verses 12-14?
    * Which is the greatest of these virtues?
    * What is the result of people adopting these virtues?

My Thoughts

It can be hard to practice virtues in virtueless surroundings. "Will anyone even notice if I tweak these numbers a bit?" "I've been patient with my coworker and he's still annoying!" Practicing virtue isn't so much about changing the world around you; it's about changing your heart and mind into effective tools for Christ's glory.

My Part

Which of the virtues Paul wrote about stuck out as something you could stand to work on? What situations regularly come up that test that virtue? Determine now how you will face that situation next time it occurs. Pray that God will help you as you seek to honor Him with all your life.

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