The Spiritually Vigorous Saint

…that I may know Him…  Philippians 3:10

A saint is not to take the initiative toward self-realization, but toward knowing Jesus Christ. A spiritually vigorous saint never believes that his circumstances simply happen at random, nor does he ever think of his life as being divided into the secular and the sacred. He sees every situation in which he finds himself as the means of obtaining a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ, and he has an attitude of unrestrained abandon and total surrender about him. The Holy Spirit is determined that we will have the realization of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives, and He will bring us back to the same point over and over again until we do. Self-realization only leads to the glorification of good works, whereas a saint of God glorifies Jesus Christ through his good works. Whatever we may be doing— even eating, drinking, or washing disciples’ feet— we have to take the initiative of realizing and recognizing Jesus Christ in it. Every phase of our life has its counterpart in the life of Jesus. Our Lord realized His relationship to the Father even in the most menial task. “Jesus, knowing…that He had come from God and was going to God,…took a towel…and began to wash the disciples’ feet…” (John 13:3-5).

The aim of a spiritually vigorous saint is “that I may know Him…” Do I know Him where I am today? If not, I am failing Him. I am not here for self-realization, but to know Jesus Christ. In Christian work our initiative and motivation are too often simply the result of realizing that there is work to be done and that we must do it. Yet that is never the attitude of a spiritually vigorous saint. His aim is to achieve the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: Psalms 1-3; Acts 17:1-15

Doing What Comes Naturally

new dev 4 couples

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:5

Humanistic and Christian psychologists differ significantly in how they view human nature. Secular psychologists see children as born “good,” or at least “morally neutral.” They believe children learn to do wrong from parental mistakes and a corrupt society.

As Christians, however, we know otherwise. Deep within our character is a self‐will that is inborn, part of our genetic nature. We desire to control people, our circumstances, our environment—we want what we want, and we want it now. Adam and Eve demonstrated this when they ate the forbidden fruit. Toddlers stamp their little feet and throw temper tantrums. Husbands and wives illustrate the same willfulness when they argue about how to spend money—or about whether the toilet paper should roll from the front or the back. King David referred to this basic human nature when he wrote, “In sin did my mother conceive me.”

Only Jesus Christ can help us deal with the depravity that leads us to be selfish, arrogant, and disobedient. He has promised to do for us what we are powerless to accomplish on our own. Let’s talk about that.

Just between us…

  • Do you agree that humans are born with a bent toward sin? Why or why not?
  • Is there an area of your life that used to be a struggle, but that you’ve given over to God with positive results?
  • Do you think selfishness is a problem in our marriage?
  • How can we encourage each other in this area?

Father, we admit our sinful and selfish ways. We look to You for forgiveness and healing. Thank You for Your mercies. We need Your power to change— and we reach for it together. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

4 Overlooked U.S. Beach Towns to Visit This Summer

When summer heat hits, a tranquil beach getaway is just what the doctor ordered. Avoid getting someone else’s sand on your blanket and plan a visit to one of these overlooked beach towns this summer, where relaxation is high and crowds are low.

Gloucester, Massachusetts

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This hidden gem is well-known by locals and art lovers alike. Gloucester calls itself the “oldest working art colony in North America” and has no shortage of artistic representation. Visit one of the beach town’s many art galleries or pop on over to the weekly Cape Ann Farmers Market for some fresh produce and live music. Home to America’s oldest seaport, the cuisine in Gloucester is a seafood lover’s dream. Summer is also the best time to spot whales on one of the many whale-watching tours that depart from the town’s port.

Jensen Beach, Florida

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Share the beach with turtles instead of tourists at Jensen Beach, Florida, where the sands every year are home to a huge number of nesting sea turtles. During the months of June and July, visitors can even go on guided sea turtle walks each night led by the Florida Oceanographic Society. Jensen Beach Causeway Park is a popular spot for a picnic or a kayak launch, and offers great fishing as well as beach access. Grab a quick drink or a vitamin-packed açai bowl at the Bunkhouse Coffee Bar and enjoy the local wildlife — which in this case means wild birds and manatees.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

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Located right next to the popular Pebble Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea is much less crowded but no less beautiful than its neighbor. Enjoy the flavors of Monterey County at one of its many wine tasting roomsor take in the gorgeous views on a wildlife hike. The Carmel River State Beach has launch spots for kayaking and scuba diving and is a great location to spot various wild bird species preening by the lagoon. No matter what your style, this fairytale village has something to suit everyone — and at only one square mile, it’s easy enough to explore everything this romantic little town has to offer.

Harpswell, Maine

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If you’re longing for a glimpse into seacoast life, look no further than Harpswell, Maine. Situated about 45 minutes outside of bustling Portland, this historic region is made up of almost 200 tiny islands, some of which are only accessible by boat. Learn to sail, take a kayak tour or relax on a yacht as you explore the coast. With fewer attractions than other coastal towns, Harpswell is perfect for those who want to relax in solitude and enjoy the area’s natural beauty. Join in the Harpswell Hiking Challenge on the first weekend of June to hike the views of Casco Bay or simply relax and take in the calm ambience of rural Maine.

5 Famous Statues You Didn’t Realize Had Replicas

Replication in the art world is a tricky business. For example, in the case of Michelangelo’s David, the statue’s replica serves to honor the original piece. In other instances, however, replicas prove to be a source of friction between the creator and the imitator. Here are five famous statues you didn’t realize had replicas.

Statue of Libert

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Although there are many replicas of the Statue of Liberty, the most notable is on Ile aux Cygnes, a small man-made island on the River Seine. This Parisian “replica” was built before the Statue of Liberty you know was unveiled in 1886. It was an original working model of France’s famous gift to the U.S. In Paris, Lady Liberty stands 37 feet tall and deliberately faces west, toward the United States.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

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Another iconic landmark with replicas all over the world, a version of the Eiffel Tower can be found in China, Japan and the U.S. Japan’s replica is 1,000 feet taller than the original, soaring above the Tokyo skyline and serving as a communication and observation tower. The Las Vegas version is part of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino and is only half the size of the real thing. China’s replica in Tianducheng is perhaps the most similar to its predecessor, imitating details such as the surrounding park and landscaping. It’s safe to say, however, that none of these versions can compare to the original.

Great Sphinx of Giza

Great Sphinx of Giza

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The Chinese replica of the Sphinx, the world-famous ancient Egyptian sculpture, has caused some discord between the two countries. The full-sized replica was first created in 2014 as part of a theme park. Upon learning about the reproduction, Cairo launched an official complaint with UNESCO, the world heritage agency. In 2016, the Chinese relented by removing and demolishing the replica’s head. As recently as 2018, however, reports of a fully intact reproduction surfaced once more.

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Michelangelo’s David

Michelangelo’s David

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The original David, the world-famous sculpture by Michelangelo, is located in the Accademia Gallery of Florence, where it is safe from deterioration caused by the elements. A second copy of the “World’s Greatest Sculpture” can be found at the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio, also in Florence. This version is so similar to the original that many tourists believe it to be the real thing. A third replica can be found in the same city, but instead of being carved from stone, it is made of bronze and stands in the center an Italian piazza.

Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate


More commonly referred to as “The Bean,” Cloud Gate is the famous sculpture located in the heart of Chicago’s Millennium Park. However, another lesser-known version of this piece is also located in Karamay, China. Although it has been called “blatant plagiarism” by representatives of Anish Kapoor, the artist, China maintains it is an original. Claiming the Karamay version to be in the shape of an oil bubble, not a bean, this Chinese replica of Cloud Gate was built in honor of the city’s nearby oil reserves.