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What were Judas' motives which moved him to the greatest act of treachery in history, and which made his name an epitome of all that makes a traitor?  John writes: (John 13:2) "During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him." Just as God is looking for hands to use to do His work, so the devil is looking for them too, and the devil found his instrument in Judas. But the fact remains that no man can be used without his own consent.  Judas is the man who consented to be used by the devil and by powers of evil, for Judas could have kept the devil out of his life and could have shut his heart against temper. (Barclay, 1960)

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"Human societies train people to "keep a stiff upper lip" and to "be strong" by which they mean the person should endure negative emotions.  This is bad advice.  Several branches of science have been studying human thriving.  The results, when compiled, point to the fact that people thrive when they feel emotionally good and suffer when they do not."-- Jeanine Joy, PhD.

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As Jesus and His disciples leave the Upper Room and move toward the Garden of Gethsemane they pass the temple.  Here one of the chief ornaments is a "golden vine with a cluster as large as a man." This decoration becomes the basis of a visual parable. Jesus' intimate relationship with these men cannot be stated in precise, theological terms. So, as He has done all through His ministry, He uses the motif of a vine and its branches to illustrate spiritual truth.  His union with these men is as alive as the relationship of the vine to its branches. (Fredrikson, R.L., & Ogilvie, L.J. 1985)

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Introduction: Your ability needs responsibility to expose its possibilities. Do what you can with what you have where you are. (President Theodore Roosevelt)

Background: The prayer of Ephesians 1:15-23 and the doxology of Ephesians 3:20-21 clearly establish the power of God as a key theme of the epistle.  The power provides salvation which the author understands as a release from the bondage of death and the dominion of the devil and his "powers". (Dr. Clinton E. Arnold, 1989)

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Don't just reflect on what God has done in the past circumstances, but let your request be made known to God. "Not that God needs to be told either our wants or desires; for he knows them better that we can tell him: but he will know them from us, and have us show our regards and concern, express our value of the mercy and sense of our dependence on him." Henry, M. (1994)

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For a Christian to experience depression is one thing, but the fact remains depression is not the final act in the life story of a Christian. There is a proper use of memory in times when we are depressed, remembering  God's past acts as an encouragement to believe that He will act for us again.  So, a key tool for the depressed is to reflect on what God has done in past circumstances.

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When your heart is right, your sense of well-being, or happiness, will grow.  So, to increase your happiness, take a look at the ways you are not guarding your heart.  Are you allowing someone to "steal our happiness"?  Is there a person or persons who are able to manipulate you or "make you feel bad"?  Is there someone who is actively hurting you in some way?  If so, get back in control by not allowing that person or persons to affect you in hurtful ways. (Dr. H. Cloud, 2011)

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True forgiveness-- begins with oneself.  The Bible is silent on the subject of forgiving oneself, but there were implications of forgiveness behavior toward oneself, in the scriptures.

In order to forgive others, we need to first come to terms with how and why we reacted the way we did and what we can to to ensure that we do not repeat the same behavior in the future.  Self-forgiveness is both a beneficial part of the forgiveness process and a necessary skill in learning to overcome being upset with ourselves. (Luskin, 2002)

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One day this present age will have run its course.  When it has, our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will come again and introduce a whole new order of things. But how are we to live in the meantime, as we wait for this great event? The grace of God is salvation and the self-giving of Christ on Calvary together point us to the answer.  Campbell, D. (2007). Opening up Titus (p. 76). Leominster Day On Publications.

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We are commanded to rejoice at all times and in all things... We should never forfeit our joy to sullenness, bitterness, or negativism simply because things aren't the way we would like them to be. Nevertheless, it is typical for believers to let changing circumstances of difficulties, confusions, trials, economic troubles, attacks, disagreements, unfulfilled expectations or ambitions, strained relationships, and so forth throw them off balance and steal their joy (MacArthur, 1999)

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