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James deals directly with a common problem among Christians—“playing God.” Having just exposed our tendency to be self-assertive and quarrelsome, he goes a step further and shows a couple of the more familiar ways we assert an arrogant spirit.

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Stuff I've Learned That I'll Never Forget: Sixteen Essentials from the Last 50 Years

Chuck condenses 50 years of studying God's Word into 16 practical truths. These nuggets of wisdom can help you manoeuvre life with insight and wisdom. Great gift for graduates!

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Read Genesis 22:1-2

Each of our children grew to become a self-sustaining, responsible servant of Jesus Christ, in his or her own way. As God intended from the beginning, we released them to follow their destinies.

Some of you reading these words did not release your children in this way. Perhaps you have lost your child through death, a terrible crime, divorce, or some other horrible tragedy. Let me be clear about this. While God is the sovereign ruler of all and nothing is beyond His power or knowledge, a horrible tragedy is never a cruel, merciless act on God's part. God did not find delight in making you endure such grief. Yes, as with Job, He permitted it, but He is not the author of evil. The evil intent of a world that has been twisted by sin took your child from you.

God hates not only sin, He also hates death. He hates it so much that He sent His Son to destroy death by dying and rising again. Death is called in the Scriptures our "last enemy" (1 Corinthians 15:26). Ultimately, the Lord will have the last word in this fight against evil, and He spoke that word to us through Jesus Christ. Put simply: Death is the will of a world gone wrong. Resurrection is God's final triumph over evil.

Whether we lose our children by tragedy or design, this much is true: Anything we hold dear, we must learn to hold loosely. Let's face it, if we hold anything too tightly, it probably has us rather than our having it. And God will not allow that for your sake or the sake of your loved one.

Ultimately, the decision to hold anything loosely—especially as it applies to relationships—is an act of faith. Human instinct would have us clutch the things we adore most. Releasing them, presenting them to God, requires that we trust Him to do what is right. When we do this for our children, the lasting impact we leave is a practical model of faith. And I can think of no better way to teach our children about the God we worship than by modelling our trust in Him daily.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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