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May 2011

Chuck Swindoll: Women, Men, Clothing


Help Me Understand‌ Fear, Anxiety, & Worry

in this issue 3 Clothing Charles R. Swindoll pressure points

6 When Your Mother Thinks You’re Crazy Steve Johnson lifetrac

9 An Open Letter to Jenny Bryana Murphy

moment of insight

14 Learning Obedience

“To be like Christ

is our goal. But it is neither easy nor quick

nor natural.”


15 Character Charles R. Swindoll laughing matters

18 What My Mama Did Right Phil Callaway Help Me Understand

21 Fear • Anxiety • Worry

Copyright © 2011 Insight for Living Canada. All rights reserved. No portion of this monthly publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the publisher. Insights is published by IFLC, the Bible teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. IFLC is an autonomous ministry and certified member of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture passages are taken from the NASB. Printed in Canada. Unless otherwise noted, photography by IFLC staff.

Clothing by Charles R. Swindoll



he clothing industries made a killing last month. People came out from under the rocks to wrap themselves in new Easter threads, shoes, and hats. Kids were dragged from store to store as their little frames were fitted with Sunday dress-up stuff. The boys didn’t want to, but they had to wear stiff shoes, dinky caps, bow ties, and (ugh!) long-sleeved shirts with cuffs that go halfway over their hands. Now the girls—that’s different. With glee, they waltzed from shop to shop, picking up new frills, white gloves, patent


Clothing continued from p. 3

leather purses, and round hats with long ribbons. To them, heel blisters, starchy pinafores, and hair clips to hold on big bonnets were hardly noticed. Not so with the guys! What the fellas hated most was their discomfort, posing for camera shots, nuttylooking vests, pants that hadn’t been “broken in,” and Mom’s adamant refusal, “No, you can’t wear your sneakers!” I’ve been through the Easter-apparel torture chamber too many years to ignore this great contrast between fellas and gals. I’m now ready to make a startling declaration:

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most boys never outgrow their shrug-ofthe-shoulders attitude toward new clothes . . . and most girls will maintain their ecstatic delight for such. Why? Now that’s a question worth some thought. I’m of the opinion that most men buy their clothes for purely functional purposes. A suit of clothes serves a set of practical purposes—to hide his underwear; keep him warm (or cool); provide pockets for wallet, coins, cards, a pen, sun shades, and a cell phone . . . and little more than that. But when most women buy a comparable garment, it is not mainly a material purchase. It is more of a “moment of magic.” I suggest that she is not looking, basically, for something to cover her, but something to, well, change or enhance her. Now wait before you reject that suggestion of mine. Sydney J. Harris, the syndicated newspaper columnist, agrees. He wrote: Husbands who are impatient and derisive and superior about their wives’ clothes-buying habits fail to appreciate perhaps the most fundamental difference between the male and the female. The male is idealistic in his beliefs, and practical in his conduct, the female is practical in her beliefs, and idealistic in her conduct. . . . It is in their conduct that idealism displays itself: and nowhere more so than in the purchase and wearing of clothes. Here, all practicality deserts them, and they become the victims of abstract delusions with no basis in fact. [Harris said that, not Swindoll!] What a woman wants in a new dress, or suit, or coat is another facet to her personality.1 Frankly, this helps explain three mysteries men often wrestle with: 1. How can a woman stand before a closet full of garments and say, “I don’t have a thing to wear!”? 2. Why do so much of women’s clothes

seem to be made in such a flimsy fashion with loosely held snaps and hooks? (You see, they are not supposed to last eight to 10 years!) 3. Why is a woman so distraught when she sees another lady wearing the same garment? Well, so much for my philosophizing. Maybe it will help some husbands to be more tolerant . . . and some wives to not feel guilty about having fun in Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, or Dillard’s this week. Relax! We men love the difference between you and us. If clothing helps express another facet of the real you, have at it!

“Most boys never outgrow their shrug-of-the-shoulders attitude toward new clothes . . . and most girls will maintain their ecstatic delight for such.” Simon Peter was married. He knew what he was talking about when he wrote a reminder to the ladies—lest they try to substitute outer garb for inner godliness: Your beauty should not be dependent on an elaborate coiffure, or on the wearing of jewelry or fine clothes, but on the inner personality—the unfading loveliness of a calm and gentle spirit, a thing very precious in the eyes of God. (1 Peter 3:3–4 Phillips) I close with one final plea. Enjoy your shopping, but when it comes to clothes for your little guys, have a heart! Go easy on the vests and caps. They look funny with jeans, T-shirts, and beat-up sneakers.

Photograph of Chuck Swindoll © 2010 by David Edmonson 1. Harris, Sydney J. On the Contrary. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1964.


Pressure Points

When Your Mother Thinks You’re

Crazy by Steve Johnson


As told by Mary, the mother of Jesus, about 33 AD


or so long He had been such a good son. Doing good work in the family carpentry business along side His father all these years. We built a solid reputation in the town of Nazareth. I was so proud of my son Jesus. True there had been strange things, God-things, about Him from before He was conceived. Angels were involved in His birth. And then later when the magi came and we fled to Egypt. When all that happened I didn’t know what to presume. I pondered what it meant and what to expect. Then there was that episode in the temple with the teachers when He was 12. When all that happened I didn’t know what to think. But things settled down and were pretty normal. I’ve pondered I thought, this is what it meant and wondered what to expect. But I never expected this. enough! Poor Jesus I think it was the influence of is out of His mind.” His wild cousin John. He’s from Elizabeth’s side of the family, you know. That boy just isn’t right. He lives in the wilderness, acting like he is the prophet Elijah. But ever since John baptized Jesus in the Jordan, and after that 40 days in the wilderness without food and water Jesus has become… well, different. He suddenly quit the family business and became an itinerant preacher! I mean, who does that? And then one day He came to the synagogue in Nazareth where all our friends and family were. It all began well and I was so proud of Him. But then He said some harsh things about us and by the time He was finished everybody was absolutely furious! They grabbed Him and dragged Him out and were actually going to throw Him off a cliff! (Luke 4:14-28). Fortunately He managed to get away…this time. Tell me, why would Jesus do that and say those things? What is wrong with Him? I was beside myself. I was hurt, embarrassed, and afraid for Him. He left home and is now living in Capernaum. Word came one day that He was at home in Capernaum and people said He was healing people and casting out demons—wild stuff. I thought, this is enough! Poor Jesus is out of His mind. Everyone around here thinks that. Some even think He’s demonized and in league with the Beelzebub, the devil himself. Finally, my other sons and I went to Capernaum to get Him and bring Him home. Jesus had a huge crowd of people at His house, so we sent word to Him we were there looking for Him. And all He said was, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” And then pointing to the crowd said, “Behold, My mother and My brothers!”(Mark 3:31-35) I was hurt! I knew then He wasn’t in His right mind!


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“They may think we have lost our minds. They may reject and even disown us.”


ave you ever been misunderstood by your family because you were trying to do God’s will? As Jesus experienced, they may think you are crazy. He paid a price to do the Father’s will. That price of bearing the knowledge that His family thought He was out of His mind. Because that happened to Jesus it can happen to us, His followers, too. Often when we start to follow Christ, our family and friends don’t understand. They may think we have lost our minds. They may reject and even disown us. Jesus gives us one truth that helps soften the blow of rejection by our earthly

family. He asserts in Mark 3:34, 35 that those who do His will are closer to Him than real family. For believers there is a kinship and bond that ties us closer than any earthly bonds. It isn’t flesh and blood that bind us. Flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom. We become part of the family of God. We are one in the Lord as a result of the work of none other than the Holy Spirit of God. And that is our comfort when our own family thinks we are out of our minds for our faith in Christ. The Lord promises that “…everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29). There’s also comfort and encouragement for us by remembering that eventually Mary and her sons, Jesus’ brothers, came to know who Jesus was and what He was doing. They even went on to play significant roles in the formation of Scripture and of the Early Church. For you and me, being a loving witness can be just the thing to impact our family—these same ones who think we’re crazy now. Steve Johnson is the interim executive director at IFLC

This Month’s Gift

WOMEN in the life of Jesus magazine-style publication by Insight for Living, 52 pages Get to know the women whose lives intersected with Jesus. They model for us just how personal God’s grace is. He meets us where we are and changes us in private and profound ways. 8

(see centrefold for ordering information)


An Open Letter to by Bryana Murphy



On and this month: What are Boundaries? By Robyn Roste

Dear Jenny,

Thank you for your letter! It is so refreshing to hear from a woman who desires to honour God in every area of her life. . . including her love life. Isn’t love so exciting? Falling in love was something that I dreamed about as a little girl from the first time I heard about Cinderella and Prince Charming. But when I grew up I started to really ponder the whole concept of love, and it was then that I realized that God is a romantic. He has to be—He created love! He created the feelings that a man and a woman have when they begin to fall in love. He created the feelings that you feel when you and your boyfriend are together as well. Being in love is not quite as easy as we once thought when we were little girls, is it? As Christians desiring to honour God we are called to live holy lives. “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you to be his children is holy” (1 Peter 1:15 NLT). Does this include our romantic relationships? You and I agree that it does! Doing the right thing is often not the easiest or most popular thing to do. The world we live in says that there are almost no rules or limitations, but they are needed if we desire to stay pure in our relationships.

“It is important to clarify that purity is much more than simply waiting until marriage to have sex.” In your letter you asked what a relationship between two Christians should look like. I believe that God’s desire is for us to honour and respect the man that we are dating and treat him as a brother in Christ, for that is what he is. We desire our brothers in Christ to be godly men with pure hearts and minds, and that is the kind of men we want to marAn Open Letter to Jenny continued from p. 9

ry! I applaud you for your decision to abstain from sex until marriage! What a gift you will be for your future husband! There are many ways that we as girlfriends can help our boyfriends to keep pure minds. One is the way that we dress. We should dress in a way that helps our boyfriends and other Christian brothers to keep thinking purely. There is a very romantic book in the Bible called Song of Solomon, where we find a key verse on the issue of romantic love. “Promise me, O women of Jerusalem . . . not to awaken love until the time is right” (Song of Solomon 2:7). The time that is right is in the sanctity of marriage, when a man and a woman commit to each other and vow to honour and cherish one another until death parts them. That is beautiful love, the way that God created it to be. Physical intimacy in marriage is beautiful and without shame. So how do we stay pure in our romantic relationships? It is important to clarify that purity is much more than simply waiting until marriage to have sex. We need clear physical boundaries in our relationships if we are really serious about our desire to save ourselves for our future husbands. Boundaries such as choosing not to kiss lying down or touching each other inappropriately. These are things that tempt us toward sex. The world says that it’s OK to do these types of things and still call yourself a virgin because you are still—technically speaking—a virgin. You may still be a virgin but purity is our goal! The word pure means untouched and unblemished. That is what we desire to be if our true longing is purity. Jenny, I encourage you to pray about these things and ask God to show you what boundaries would be good for you and your boyfriend. Tell your boyfriend of your desire for purity in your relationship. Ask him if the two of you together can decide on some

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physical boundaries so that you may keep your relationship pure and honouring to God. You are not alone! Every Christian that desires to have a God-honouring relationship has struggled with these same questions. The great thing about our God is that He gives us new beginning after new beginning. If you and your boyfriend have messed up in the past, you can start new today. If both of you are committed to honouring each other and God in the physical area of your relationships He will give you the strength to keep the boundaries that you commit to. Thank you for sharing your heart, Jenny. I pray that God will give you wisdom and discernment as you consider these things. Blessings,

Bryana “Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.” Proverbs 31:30 MSG

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Are You Ready for Kids?

Raising kids is neither an easy task nor for the faint-hearted. Here are a few humorous tests to determine if you’re ready for kids. Are you a new parent? You’re going to love this LifeTrac! Subscribe or listen free online at Bryana Murphy is a former IFLC listener services representative. She lives with her husband and young son in Camrose, Alberta.

May Featured Resources Releasing Worry and Finding Worth as a Woman

Cultivating Purity in an Impure World 2 CD messages

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This Month’s Gift Women in the Life of Jesus

Laughing Matters: Learning to Laugh when Life Stinks

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May Featured Resources



$17.25 reg $23.00 Embraced by the Spirit: The Untold Blessings of Intimacy with God NEW! Hardcover by Chuck Swindoll, 240 pages Chuck Swindoll comes alongside believers who are running on empty and eager to experience all the blessings God has in store. To be vital, joyful Christians, he believes we must find a more spontaneous, intimate, and dynamic relationship with God.

$6.00 reg $8.00 The Woman Who Fears the Lord single CD message The fear of the Lord—a rare quality in our culture—involves following God with reverence and taking His direction seriously. Proverbs offers today’s woman guidance on becoming a woman who fears the Lord.

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Regardless of where you came from and despite what you have done, your journey to moral purity can begin today. The battle is winnable with God! In four powerful messages, Chuck Swindoll uses timeless biblical principles to help you stay pure in a world gone wild.


Moment of Insight

To be like Christ. That is our goal, plain and simple. It sounds like a peaceful, relaxing, easy objective. But stop and think. He learned obedience by the things He suffered. So do we. He endured all kinds of temptations. So must we. To be like Christ is our goal. But it is neither easy nor quick nor natural. It’s impossible in the flesh, slow in coming, and supernatural in scope. Only Christ can accomplish it within us.

-Charles R. Swindoll

Swindoll, Charles R. The Quest for Character. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982 (29).

Strong Family


by Charles R. Swindoll

Strength and Dignity Esther exhibited a grace-filled charm and elegance. In Esther 2:9, the literal translation of the original language says, “She lifted up grace before his face.” Isn’t that a beautiful expression? Though she was brought to the harem and participated in these things reluctantly, Esther did not display a sour attitude. I’m convinced she sensed God’s hand in her situation. Esther modelled grace before the face of the king’s influential servant, Hegai. What a difference between Esther and all the other women around her. Her inner qualities could not be ignored. They, in fact, captured the attention of the king’s servant. Esther exhibited an unusual restraint and control. She told no one she was Jewish. Why? Because that is what Mordecai instructed her to do. Not even the head-spinning, Himalayan heights of the harem could tempt her to break her covenant with Mordecai. God has given women an air of mystery. This is something, quite candidly, men don’t have. We are a pretty predictable bunch. Yet how often I have heard a man say, “I just don’t know how to figure her out. I just don’t understand.” For example, a woman will say, “What I need

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is a good cry.” My friend, in all of my life I have never experienced a good cry. My wife knows them. Other women in our family know them. But it’s a mystery to men. I’m honest; I’ve never been able to figure out how you can feel good after crying. There is an unexplainable air of mystery about a woman, an unpredictability that men find intriguing. Esther’s ability to restrain herself only heightens the mystery—especially her verbal restraint. She knew much more than she told. She could keep a secret. Verbal restraint is fast becoming a forgotten virtue. Thanks to tell-all tabloids and hide-nothing television talk shows, nothing is restrained. When was the last time anyone in the media blushed? Yet restraint and control always work in your favour. Learn to keep confidences. Come to be known for keeping secrets! It’s part of having character marked by strength and dignity. Then, perhaps, you too can lift up grace before His face.

Modesty and Authenticity Esther exhibited an unselfish modesty and authenticity (Esther 2:12-14). Think of it: no job, no responsibility, no cooking, no clean up, no washing, no ironing, no errands, no budget-watching, no holding back in any area. Imagine! Pampered and indulged, in this self-centred harem of Persia, all of the emphasis rests upon her becoming a woman of greater physical beauty. Jewelry, clothing, perfumes, cosmetics, whatever she wishes, from coiffure to pedicure, are hers. The only thing on everyone’s mind is to win this contest—to please the king and gain his favour. Remember, at this time Esther cannot be more than 20 years old or so, and she 16

could have been even younger. This is a chance of a lifetime for her to have whatever she wishes. Instead, she remains true to what she has been taught and abides by the counsel of Mordecai, believing that he knows what’s best for her. She does not succumb to the temptation around her— the superficiality, the selfishness, the seduction, the self-centredness. She displays an unselfish modesty, an authenticity, amid unparalleled extravagance.

“What a difference between Esther and all the other women around her.” As ironic as that may sound, I think that most Christian women do not use cosmetics to appear false or become other than who they are. The women we admire use cosmetics to subtly enhance the natural beauty that is already there. I’m sure that was true of Esther. Frankly, I’m convinced that Esther went in to the king without fear because she had no driving ambition to be queen. Her life didn’t revolve around her physical appearance or making a king happy. She was there for one reason: because she knew that the hand of God was on her life, and through circumstances and Mordecai’s wisdom, she had been brought to this place for a reason. To use one of my favourite expressions, she had her stuff together. She knew where she was coming from. She knew who she was. She knew what she believed. And she knew that God’s hand was on her life. If it was His pleasure that she be here, if it was part of His plan, then she would willingly accept it. If not, she would willingly relinquish it. She was modest about her own person, and she was authentic. Can you say the same thing about yourself ? After all, God’s hand is on your life too.

Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives: Daily Insight from Great Lives of the Bible (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005) 195, 197. Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.



The all-new Insight for Living Canada iPhone app! This free app brings our broadcasts, blogs, videos, and more right to your fingertips. If you listen to our broadcasts, you’ll love the added convenience of IFLC’s new iPhone app. It’s easy. It’s convenient. And it’s free.

Look for us in the Canadian App Store or follow the link from 17


Laughing Matters

A little kid found himself lost and wideeyed in the lingerie department of a store. Blinking a little, he asked a clerk where he could buy a slip for his mom. “What’s her size?” the clerk wondered. He didn’t have a clue. She asked if he could describe her—was she fat, thin, short, or tall? “Well,” the little guy smiled, “she’s just about perfect.” He went home with a size 32. A few days later, his mother was back to exchange the gift. She needed a size 52. I’m a little like that kid. My mom made her share of mistakes, but as I celebrate the first Mother’s Day without her around, I’d like to tell you four reasons she was just about perfect. 1. She loved life’s surprises. When I was born, Mom was 39. Ladies on our block whispered about her in front of her back. One was bold enough to ask her what in the world she was doing having a child when her biological clock was blinking midnight. But I can’t count the times Mom told me how thankful she was for me. Over and over she said, “I don’t know what I’d do without you.” She accepted life’s surprises as part of God’s plan for her. 2. She spanked me. One day she gave me money to buy her a newspaper. I decided it would be better spent on black licorice. “A big guy grabbed me and stole the money,” I told her, lying through my teeth, forgetting that they were black as coal. I could fool some of the people most of the time, but I could never fool my mother. Thankfully her heart was never really in those spankings— they really did hurt her more than me—but from her I learned that life would hold painful rewards if I didn’t obey higher laws than my own. 3. She loved my dad. Within a few months of buying a DVD player at a store that rhymes with MalDart, it quit (the DVD player, not the store). I returned it and discovered that the replacement part cost more than a brand new machine. “We don’t fix ‘em,” the Customer Service person informed me. “It’s not worth it.” That’s our culture. If it’s broke, trash it. If your marriage isn’t working, pack it in. The truth is, Ramona and I fought like two cougars in a duffel bag the first few years of our marriage. If she’d have had a warranty, I’d have probably traded her in. But 28 fabulous years later I thank God for the example of a mom and dad who hung in there 19

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and made their marriage work. It was among the best gifts Mom ever gave me. 4. She listened to my music. Almost every night I would invite her into my room and play her the latest rock and roll. We listened to everything from ABBA to Chuck Girard and Phil Keaggy. Sometimes I explained the lyrics (apparently she couldn’t hear them). I’m sure it sounded like someone trying to vacuum a cat, but she cared enough to listen. And she encouraged me when she heard something praiseworthy. While many of my friends heard only, “Turn it down, turn it off, or throw it out!” I was privileged to have a mother whose attitude was, “If he’s going to listen, I’d like to know what he’s listening to.” I miss those days. I miss my hearing. And my memory isn’t as sharp as it once was. But my memories are fabulous. All because of a godly mother who took the time. Well done, Mom. How immeasurably great is the influence of those who care. Visit Phil at

Question of the month When you think of your mother, what stands out the most? Choose the closest answer: 1. The example of her character 2. Her love for the Lord 3. Her sacrifice for us, her family 4. The things she taught me 5. None of the above 20

visit to submit your answer!

Fear • Anxiety • Worry


Fear • Anxiety • Worry

“I can’t even sleep anymore.”

My fears are like a boomerang. It’s not like I’m against giving my worries to God—in fact I do so constantly. The problem is they keep coming back. At night sleep avoids me, despite my best efforts to find it. The thoughts I push back throughout the day beat against my mind in the wee hours. Where will the money for next month’s bills come from? When will my health problems finally be resolved? Will I ever find someone I trust to look after my children? When will the next disaster strike? On and on worry gnaws at me. My stomach is perpetually in knots. I feel numb. Not even church can stir my spirit these days. God’s promises don’t seem real. Where is His peace? Where is His rest? My anxiousness threatens to consume me; panic is always just around the corner. I think of little else. Maybe you’ve felt the terrifying grip of fear, anxiety, and worry. Banishing these peace-stealers requires understanding and learning what the Bible teaches about them.


Our Problem — Fear is what we feel when we’re aware of a real or imaginary danger or a threat. When that continues into a more general, sustained, long-term uneasy state of mind that is Anxiety. Anxiety is distracting care. While there are legitimate daily concerns about things like health, safety, and relationships, anxiety is a state of mind where our thoughts are continually pulled to dwell on circumstances. This activity of bringing fears to mind, chewing them over, and creating mental worstcase scenarios like we do is called Worry. The basic assumption behind fear, anxiety, and worry is that God isn’t involved in our situation for our good. Looking at things from that perspective, our nature is to think and respond to things apart from God in the picture.

God’s Answers — The Bible tells us over and over to not fear. God’s answer to our fears is to have confidence in His control and care. “For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13). Centre your thoughts on Him. He’s not only involved He’s in control. He can be trusted to be working for our good. You can commit your fears to Him because He cares about you (1 Peter 5:7). The Lord also tells us not to be anxious. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into

practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:6-9 NIV). Jesus tells us to not worry (Matthew 6:25-33). If things in this world constantly distract your mind you are worrying. Worry doesn’t help us, or solve anything. Instead, focus on God and His purposes.

“The basic assumption behind fear, anxiety, and worry is that God isn’t involved in our situation for our good.” The Solution — The Scriptural antidote to fear, anxiety, and worry then is as follows: 1. Recognize that God is good and is in control of everything (Romans 8:28). His control of everything is motivated by love for us, for our good and His glory. Even though we don’t know the big picture we can be at peace because we know Him. 2. Rest in God. Commit the situation to Him through prayer. Prayer is the exercise of our dependence and trust in Him. Whenever tempted to fear, we are to commit to Him. 3. Realize what is real and true. Do not focus on hypothetical “what-if” scenarios. Refuse to turn a situation into a worst-case scenario. 4. Responsibly keep walking in trusting obedience to the Lord, living a God-honouring life. “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3 NIV). Comment on this article


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On The Air in June: beginnings:



A Survey of Genesis to Deuteronomy This fascinating study of the first five books of the Bible lays a foundation for a lifetime of personal Bible study and application.

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Genesis: Where It All Begins Exodus: Story of Miraculous Freedom Leviticus: God’s Picture Book on Worship Numbers: A Tragic Pilgrimage Deuteronomy: Remember! Remember!

Insights Magazine: May  

Insights Magazine is the monthly publication of Insight for Living Canada, the Bible teaching ministry of Chuck Swindoll.

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