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Too often, we end up saying “if only I had known then what I know now.” Since there’s no way to go back and relive our lives, we need to focus on the best way to respond to these painful memories. Otherwise, we will live under clouds of blame and shame and be paralyzed by fear.

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An Endangered Species?

Most of us are weary of substitutes. We prefer the genuine to the imitation. Let's think through some of the distinctives that make a home genuinely Christian.

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Read Psalm 15:1-2

If some corporate position is the god of your life, then something terrible occurs within when it is no longer a future possibility. If your career, however, is simply a part of God's plan and you keep it in proper perspective, you can handle a demotion just as well as you can handle a promotion. It all depends on who's first and what's first.

Breaking the magnet that draws things ahead of God is a lengthy and sometimes painful process. There is a line found in the Jewish Talmud that puts it well: "Man is born with his hands clenched; he dies with them wide open. Entering life, he desires to grasp everything; leaving the world, all he possessed has slipped away."

Everything created was through Christ and His power, and furthermore, it was created for His honour. That includes everyday things today. If you have a good job, it's to be enjoyed for Him. If you have a nice salary, it's to be enjoyed and invested for Him. Do you have good health? It is for Him. Are you planning a move? It's to be for Him. You're thinking about a career change? It needs to be for Him. That is true because He's the ruler of our kingdom. He is Lord.

You're dating a young man. You think you're falling in love with this man. Does Christ have first place in that relationship? Or have you decided that a moral compromise really feels better? Maybe you have chosen not to maintain such a strict standard of purity as before. If you've made that priority decision, then face it—Christ really isn't in first place in that romance.

Are you struggling right now between a decision that requires doing what is exactly right and losing closeness with an individual or giving in a little and keeping that friendship? You know the rest of the story. If Christ is going to have top priority, it must be according to the standard of His righteousness.

Just remember: Whatever is in first place, if it isn't Christ alone, it is in the wrong place.

Excerpted from Dear Graduate: Letters of Wisdom from Charles R. Swindoll, Copyright 2007 by Charles R. Swindoll Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

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