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Don’t Let Defeat Have the Last Word

We are all working on what the Hill Foundation points out below in varying degrees, because we all suffer failure of one kind or another in our lives. I have been encouraged to not let defeat defeat me by what I have been reading recently. In Mark 9-12 I see the miserable failure of a couple of hard headed disciples. Jesus went to great lengths to make clear to them the importance of servanthood in the kingdom of heaven.

Mark 9:33-37 They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”

A pretty clear and simple illustration wouldn’t you say? When it comes to receiving believers, don’t take the role of a parent, but be humble and childlike; be a sister; be a brother.

To keep the principle in the forefront of the mind, Jesus reminded His followers with the severest of warnings.

Mark 9:42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.

Regardless, nevertheless, as if Jesus had been talking to a wall, not many days later to our astonishment we read this.

Mark 10:13 And they [those in the crowd] were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.

If this is not failure, I don’t know what it is. Jesus, now upset and not willing to let them slide on this crucial principle, repeated Himself.

Mark 10:14-16 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.

So by now you might think they got it, right? Jesus settled it, right? Well, you know how stubborn and slow of hearing we can be.

Mark 10:35-45 James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. 40 “But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41 Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. 42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Oh, what an example Jesus went on to be. What ever became of James and John? At this point, not half, but all 10 of the apostles were highly irritated at what these two sons of thunder had become. Did they ever learn? Did they die defeated? Far from it. James, according to Acts 12:2 was the Church’s first martyr. He died serving His Lord, not his own interests. Likewise, John would rather be banished to the island of Patmos than deny His Lord. He would write a significant portion of the New Testament and come to be known as the apostle of love. Message received; they finally got it.

Therefore I say all this to say this, (and as Hill says below), we can’t let our mental attitude toward our own failures overcome us. Persevere. The Lord is not done with us yet.

From: NHF World Learning Center

Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 3:10 AM
To: Robert Coss
Subject: Napoleon Hill’s Thought for the Day

It isn’t defeat, but rather your mental attitude toward it, that whips you.

There are many things in life that you cannot control, but you can always control your attitude toward them. Defeat is never permanent unless you allow it to be so. When you have a positive attitude, you will recognize failure for the impostor that it is and realize that it is really a learning experience, a valuable lesson that will help you succeed with the next attempt. Ask yourself: What could I have done differently that would have altered the outcome? What can I do in the future to minimize problems and mistakes? What did I learn from this experience that I can put to good use next time? If you approach obstacles and setbacks with a positive attitude, you will be surprised how quickly you can turn defeat into victory.

Permanent link to this post: It isn’t defeat, but rather your mental attitude toward it, that whips you.

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Bible Study Tip

When questioned upon the lawfulness of divorce, consider how Jesus answered.

Mark 10:2-5 Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. 3 And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses permitted a man TO WRITE A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. NASU

He resorts to Scripture. He draws attention not only to what God said, but why He said what He said.

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Bible Study Tip

Upon defending the doctrine of the resurrection, consider how Jesus did this.

Mark 12:26 “But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, and the God of Jacob’? NASU

He resorts to Scripture. He draws attention not only to what God said, but how He said what He said.

“Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? (Mark 12:24)

How many things are we mistaken of because, being superficial, we do not consider the how?

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the immoral man sins against his own body

This video is a talk about how our brain is wired and the physiological effects upon it by the sin of pornography.  The speaker is by no means a Christian which makes this talk all the more interesting in light of a few Bible verses.

The great porn experiment | Gary Wilson | TEDxGlasgow – YouTube

It makes one wonder just what God meant when He said,

1 Cor 6:18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. NASU

Also, one has to ask if this physiological effect upon the brain by this particular sin is like the effect of all other sin to one degree or another as described here…

Rom 1:24-32  Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.   25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.   26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,   27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.   28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,   29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,   30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,   31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;   32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. NASU

It is as if a man who rejects God by the practice of sin is released by God to come into bondage to the full force of sin.  The man creates a black hole of sorts within himself that attracts with immeasurable force all manner of unrighteousness. 

Is it any wonder then that God would use such severe and hyperbolic language in His commands to repent and avoid it? 

Matt 5:27-30  “You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall not commit adultery';   28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.   29 “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.   30 “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.  NASU

In fact, when we look deep into the Gospel, which is man’s only hope for escaping such diabolical control, we find an even more radical command. 

Surely the Gospel is the answer…

Rom 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.   17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”  NASU

…but the Gospel requires much more than just the throwing off of an arm or an eye.

Mark 8:34-37  And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.   35 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.   36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?   37 “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  NASU

According to Jesus, everlasting life, true spiritual life requires the giving up of one’s entire being.  It is not just following Jesus, but first denying and then dying and finally following. 

And just to make sure you understand I am not just trying to pick on those struggling with sexual sin, but seek to illustrate that this is the nature of all sin, I want you to notice that Jesus specifically said, “If ANYONE wishes to come after Me…”  It is not just those caught up in sexual sin, but anyone, anyplace, at all time that is in mind here.  This applies to all of us for we all struggle with sin. 

Paul says the same thing.  Without mortification the forces of sin residing in our body (probably much like that depicted in this video) will cause us to succumb to its black hole like gravitational pull. 

Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. ESV

The question remains then, how does one “by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body?”  This is one of the most important questions a person could ever seek to answer.  But first, I would like you to watch the video.

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Know this, and you may know whether you have true self-denial.


Richard Baxter

“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Luke 9:23

You hear ministers tell you of the odiousness and danger and sad effects of sin; but of all the sins that you ever heard of, there is scarce any more odious and dangerous than selfishness; and yet most are never troubled at it, nor sensible of its malignity. My principal request therefore to you is, that as ever you would prove Christians indeed, and be saved from sin and the damnation which follows it—take heed of this deadly sin of selfishness, and be sure you are possessed with true self-denial; and if you have, see that you use and live upon it.

And for your help herein, I shall tell you how your self-denial must be tried. I shall only tell you in a few words, how the least measure of true self-denial may be known: wherever the interest of carnal self is stronger and more predominant habitually than the interest of God, of Christ, of everlasting life, there is no true self-denial or saving grace; but where God’s interest is strongest, there self-denial is sincere. If you further ask me how this may be known, briefly thus:

1. What is it that you live for? What is that good which your mind is principally set to obtain? And what is that end which you principally design and endeavor to obtain, and which you set your heart on, and lay out your hopes upon? Is it the pleasing and glorifying of God, and the everlasting fruition of Him? Or is it the pleasing of your fleshly mind in the fruition of any inferior thing? Know this, and you may know whether self or God has the greatest interest in you. For that is your God which you love most, and please best, and would do most for.

2. Which do you most prize—the means of your salvation and of the glory of God, or the means of providing for self and flesh? Do you more prize Christ and holiness, which are the way to God—or riches, honor, and pleasures, which gratify the flesh? Know this, and you may know whether you have true self-denial.

3. If you are truly self-denying, you are ordinarily ruled by God, and His Word and Spirit, and not by the carnal self. Which is the rule and master of your lives? Whose word and will is it ordinarily that prevails? When God draws, and self draws—which do you follow in the tenor of your life? Know this, and you may know whether you have true self-denial.

4. If you have true self-denial, the drift of your lives is carried on in a successful opposition to your carnal self, so that you not only refuse to be ruled by it, and love it as your god—but you fight against it, and tread it down as your enemy. So that you go armed against self in the course of your lives, and are striving against self in every duty. And as others think—it then goes best with them, when self is highest and pleased best; so you will know that then it goes best with you—when self is lowest, and most effectually subdued.

5. If you have true self-denial, there is nothing in this world so dear to you, but on deliberation you would leave it for God. He who has anything which he loves so well that he cannot spare it for God, is a selfish and unsanctified wretch. And therefore God has still put men to it, in the trial of their sincerity, to part with that which was dearest to the flesh. Abraham must be tried by parting with his only son. And Christ makes it His standing rule, “Any of you who does not give up everything he has, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

Yet it is true that flesh and blood may make much resistance in a gracious heart; and many a striving thought there may be, before with Abraham we part with a son, or before we can part with wealth or life; but yet on deliberation, self-denial will prevail. There is nothing so dear to a gracious soul, which he cannot spare at the will of God, and the hope of everlasting life. If with Peter we would flinch in a temptation—we should return with Peter in weeping bitterly, and give Christ those lives that in a temptation we denied Him.

6. In a word, true self-denial is procured by the knowledge and love of God, advancing Him in the soul—to debasing of self. The illuminated soul is so much taken with the glory and goodness of the Lord, that it carries him out of himself to God, and as it were estranges him from himself, that he may have communion with God. This makes him vile in his own eyes, and to abhor himself in dust and ashes. It is not a stoical resolution, but the love of God and the hopes of glory—which make him throw away the world, and look contemptuously on all below, so far as they are mere provision for flesh.

Search now, and try your hearts by these evidences, whether you are possessed of this necessary grace of self-denial. O make not light of the matter! For I must tell you that self is the most treacherous enemy, and the most insinuating deceiver in the world! It will be within you when you are not aware of it and will conquer you when you perceive not yourselves much troubled with it. Of all other vices, selfishness is both the hardest to find out and the hardest to cure. Be sure therefore in the first place, that you have self-denial; and then be sure you use it and live in the practice of it.

 A Treatise Of Self-Denial <eBook

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Sobriety: Alcohol

The following is taken from the book Under the Influence by James Milam.

    • Alcohol is an infinitely confusing substance

    • alcohol is addictive for only a minority–an estimated 10 percent in the United States–of it users. For most drinkers alcohol is a relatively harmless social beverage.

    • alcohol’s most surprising property is its ability to relieve the distress it creates in the first place. An alcoholic suffering from withdrawal has only one priority: alcohol. A malnourished alcoholic does not want food; he wants alcohol. Alcoholics drink because drinking makes them feel good. Only when they stop drinking do they experience the full effect of alcohol’s disruptions in the body.

    • Understanding the disease alcoholism must begin with an understanding of the substance alcohol–a combination chemical, drug, and food capable of creating both extraordinary pleasure and extraordinary pain.

    • How It Works

    • When human beings drink alcohol, it travels rapidly to the stomach, where approximately 20 percent immediately passes through the stomach walls into the blood stream. The remaining 80 percent is transferred from the stomach to the small intestine, where it is then absorbed into the blood stream.

    • Once in the blood stream, alcohol is distributed throughout the body in simple diffusion.

    • The brain, liver, heart, pancreas, lungs, kidneys, and every other organ and tissue system are infiltrated by alcohol within minutes after it passes into the blood stream.

    • At low doses, alcohol stimulates the brain cells, and the drinker feels happy, talkative, energetic, and euphoric. After one or two drinks, the normal drinker may experience some improvement in thought and performance.

    • With large amounts of alcohol surging through the brain’s labyrinthine passageways, the central nervous system cells can no longer function normally. The brain malfunctions, and the major visible effect is a change in the drinker’s psychological and emotional state. After several drinks, the normal drinker may begin to show signs of intoxication. He may become emotionally demonstrative, expressing great joy, sadness, or anger. He may also begin to show signs of motor incoordination, staggering slightly when he walks, knocking his drink over as he leaves the table, or slurring his words. If he continues to drink, his vision may blur, and his emotions, thoughts and judgment may become noticeably disordered.

    • The body, in the meantime, is doing its best to eliminate alcohol. Small amounts are eliminated in the urine, sweat, and breath, but the primary site of alcohol elimination is the liver

    • The process of elimination begins as soon as alcohol enters the liver. An enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) attacks the alcohol molecule, quickly removing two hydrogen atoms to create a new substance called acetaldehyde. Since acetaldehyde is a highly toxic agent which can produce nausea, rapid heart beat, dizziness, headache, and mental confusion if present in the body in large quantities,* the liver quickly initiates the second step in the elimination process. It employs another enzyme with a similar name, aldehyde dehydrogenase, to transform acetaldehyde into acetate.

    • Acetate is then converted to carbon dioxide and water and eventually eliminated from the body. During these two steps in alcohol oxidation, a great deal of energy is released. In fact, with ordinary rates of alcohol metabolism, almost the entire energy needs of the liver can be satisfied. Most of the acetate is passed into the blood stream and oxidized to carbon dioxide and water in other organs. The energy produced in these reactions contributes to the energy needs of the entire body. In the alcoholic, up to two-thirds of the body’s total energy needs may be satisfied by substituting alcohol for other foods. This explains why alcoholics often neglect eating for several weeks at a time.

    • The conversion of alcohol into acetaldehyde and acetate is an efficient process in most drinkers. The liver works at maximum efficiency, converting alcohol at the rate of approximately one-half ounce per hour, until all the alcohol in the body is broken down and its energy released to the cells. The liver is then able to return to its other duties.

    • If alcohol is present in the body in large amounts for long periods of time, however, the liver must work constantly to break it down and flush it out. The liver’s preoccupation with alcohol results in the neglect of its other duties and, as a result, toxins accumulate and nutritional functions are disrupted. The health and vitality of the body’s cells, tissues, and organs begin to suffer.

    • alcohol is an addictive drug only for the minority of its users who are physically susceptible.

    • A built-in deterrent to overdrinking seems to be working in most drinkers, somewhat like the natural deterrent to overeating which most people have, although the mechanism is different. The average person enjoys sweets, for example, and will eat a candy if it is offered. Some people will eat two or three, and a few will gobble down the whole box. Most people, however, will feel sick if they eat more than a small amount of concentrated sweets.

    • Likewise, the average drinker is unable comfortably to drink more than a few beers, a glass or two of wine, or several mixed drinks. The benefits of drinking are usually available only with low doses of alcohol, and when sedation begins to override the stimulation, the average drinker ceases drinking.

    • The point at which alcohol’s stimulating effects are overshadowed by the sedative and toxic effects varies from drinker to drinker. For some people, one drink is the limit. Others can drink four, five and more drinks and still experience alcohol’s stimulating and euphoric effects. Alcoholics develop an increased physical resistance to alcohol’s effects (called "tolerance”), and some can drink many times more than nonalcoholics while continuing to behave as if they were on their first few drinks.* Thus alcohol remains stimulating and pleasureable for alcoholics even after they have drunk amounts which would cause nonalcoholics acute discomfort.

    • A Selectively Addicting Drug

    • Addiction-producing drugs, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), are those drugs which produce in the great majority of users an irresistible need for the drug, an increased tolerance to the effects of the drug, and physical dependence on the drug, manifested in severe and painful symptoms when the drug is withdrawn.2 Examples are heroin, morphine, and codeine. Heroin is addictive for almost 100 percent of its users; morphine is addictive for some 70 percent. With these drugs, addiction occurs after approximately four weeks of use, and the addict typically graduates to quantities well above the normally lethal dose, usually from twenty to one hundred times the initially effective dose.

    • Alcohol does not qualify as an addictive drug under the WHO guidelines simply because it causes addiction in only a minority–approximately 10 percent–of its users. Furthermore, addiction to alcohol for some requires a period of years, not weeks, to become established, and tolerance may be only three to four times greater in some alcoholics than in nonalcoholics.

    • It is also difficult to place alcohol in the category "habit-forming drug,” defined by the WHO as a drug capable of causing an emotional or psychological (rather than physical) dependence in the user and which can be withdrawn without causing physical harm or pain. Of course, it does qualify in the limited sense that millions of people–alcoholics and nonalcoholics alike–become psychologically and emotionally dependent on it. However, alcohol does not fit snugly in this category because it does cause physical dependence in a minority of its users and those users definitely suffer both physical and mental anguish when the drug is withdrawn.

    • Alcohol, then, belongs in a category somewhere between the habit-forming and addiction-producing drugs. The WHO labelled it "intermediate in kind and degree” between the two categories of drugs, but even this label is inaccurate. The fact is that the effects of alcohol simply cannot be generalized for both alcoholics and nonalcoholics. For most drinkers, alcohol is not addictive; yet for the minority who are alcoholics, the criteria of true drug addiction are fulfilled: an increased tissue tolerance to the drug, a physical dependence on the drug with physical withdrawal symptoms, and an irresistible need for the drug when it is withdrawn.

    • The only way to clear up the confusion is to label alcohol a selectively addicting drug. It is addictive only for those individuals who are physically susceptible.

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