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AskMe #1516727 10/03/06 06:47 AM
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Romans 8:31-39 (The Message)
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

In Romans 8 the apostle is writing of God’s love for us. It is a reminder of how God sacrificed His most precious gift for our sakes. The apostle understood the life of a person who follows Christ is not always a trouble free life. There are hardships and problems to face, but Christ who understands is taking up for us. And in our own limited thinking we may only think Christ takes up for us here on earth, but he is also taking up for us in the heavenly realm.

Have you ever faced a situation where you needed to speak up to someone, but you needed others to stand with you? Maybe the problem is with a boss, friend or relative and everyone seems to be in favor of discussing the problem. You feel confident everyone is behind you as you go to discuss whatever the issue is. You go and state the issue to the person, but as you do everyone else suddenly falls silent. They leave you totally alone to face the other individual and never once back you up on anything you are saying. Christ will never do that to us. He is there standing up for us as we face our difficulties. Stephen as he was about to be stoned saw Christ standing up for him. Acts 7:55 says, “55But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God”. Normally the scriptures refer to Christ as sitting at the right hand of God, but here He was standing. Christ does not give up on us, but is always supporting us and loving us. Aren’t you glad Christ does not give up on you? Pray and give praise to Christ who loves you deeply. Praise Him for His faithfulness and support. Thank Him for all the times He was there and stood up for you.

AskMe #1516728 10/05/06 06:20 AM
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Matthew 15:32 (Holman Christian Standard)
32 Now Jesus summoned His disciples and said, "I have compassion on the crowd, because they've already stayed with Me three days and have nothing to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry; otherwise they might collapse on the way."

A crowd had come to Jesus along the hilltop next to the Sea of Galilee. There he healed the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many other problems brought before Him. He healed them all and they stayed there with Him for 3 days. These people had run out of food in their desire not to depart from Jesus. Jesus knowing their needs felt a deep concern for the people and told the disciples He didn’t want to send them away without feeding them.

Take a poll sometime about the needs of people around you. Ask them to share what is really on their heart so you might pray for them. After a while you will probably feel overwhelmed as people bring request after request. There are so many people with genuine infirmities, problems and needs it may become impossible after a while to pray for everyone. Yet Jesus remained in a crowd for 3 days healing person after person. Not a one was overlooked. Any of us would be ready to quit and go home, but Jesus saw another need for the people. He wanted to nourish and sustain their physical bodies. The disciples even sounded a little short when Jesus told them what He wanted to do. Yet Jesus performed a miracle once again to care for the people by feeding those who followed Him. Even today Jesus watches over our needs and He wants to nourish and sustain our spiritual bodies. In John 6:35, “Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again. Those who believe in me will never thirst.” Have you looked to Jesus to sustain you through life? Pray that Jesus will meet your needs; for He knows the things you need. Praise Him for His understanding, grace, mercy and blessings. Wait on the Lord to bless you and feed you with His spiritual blessing.

AskMe #1516729 10/09/06 07:17 AM
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Proverbs 9:1-6 (The Message)
1 -6 Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home; it's supported by seven hewn timbers. The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted, wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers. Having dismissed her serving maids, Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place, and invites everyone within sound of her voice: "Are you confused about life, don't know what's going on? Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me! I've prepared a wonderful spread—fresh-baked bread, roast lamb, carefully selected wines. Leave your impoverished confusion and live! Walk up the street to a life with meaning."

Wisdom is very magnificent and very generous. She has prepared for those who will come to her. She offers an invitation and waits for them to accept her wonderful treat.

God’s word is the start of our wisdom. Contained in the scriptures are lessons for life. The verses show the rewards of a life dedicated to God and they also show a life of those who fall away from God. Christ should be included as a part of gaining wisdom, as He is the true bread of life. In John 6:35 Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jesus is also the wine, the blood which covered our sins. Wisdom accepts Christ, folly rejects Him. In Matthew 21:42 Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’ The cornerstone is the strong foundation of the building. Rejecting a strong foundation does not show wisdom, but God through His grace revealed Him to all for everyone to gain wisdom, grace and mercy. Have you accepted God’s wisdom? Pray God would lead you in a life of wise decisions. Ask Christ to be there guiding you every step of the way. Depend on His strength as the cornerstone of your life.

AskMe #1516730 10/10/06 07:08 AM
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1 John 3:18-20 (The Message)
My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

In these verses John reaffirms that the quality of love is an indication of our love for God. He also states love is also a way to shutdown our own condemnation. We may have something we feel condemned over, but the condemnation is not from God. God knows what is going on inside of us and it’s His love that is drawing us to Him.

For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have ever lasting life. John 3:16 is a verse familiar to many. It shows God’s love for us. God loved us so much He gave His son’s life for us. Now the question to ask is “If God loves us to the point of sacrificing Christ for us, why would we feel God would want to condemn us?” Following John 3:16 it says in verse 17, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” God wants to save us to be with Him. It stands to reason someone who wants to be close to us would not condemn us. He instead shows His love, His grace, His mercy and draws us close. It is ourselves who feel condemned by our own sins, but we placed those there ourselves, not God. Christ also said in Luke 6:37, “"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged. Condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned. Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” If we learn to love and not condemn then we can find God’s love and loose the condemnation we place against ourselves. Do you feel condemned by your sins? Look for the love, the grace and mercy God extends to each of us through Jesus Christ. Pray and accept His love. Ask that the feelings of condemnation would vanish and that only His love would be present.

AskMe #1516731 10/11/06 06:40 AM
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Romans 14:1-4
1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

The apostle refers to Christians who have various degrees of faith. One may have a strong enough faith to realize they are free in Christ while another depends on following strict guidelines. One may have realized there are certain rules man has made trying to please God, while the other follows man’s rules because they are too weak to determine their path. In either case one is not to judge the other for God has accepted them. Those who have accepted Christ are His and who is anyone else to challenge His authority.

What is the freedom given in Christ? It is the freedom to enjoy whatever choices we make not addressed by the scriptures. The things God commands: We should do. The things God condemns: We should stay away from. We should be able to make these choices without fear or punishment from other believers; but that is not always the case. Proverbs 16:2 says, “People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.” Again in Proverbs 21:2, “People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart.” These verses show sometimes people fool themselves into their own beliefs, but God knows their true intent. Even Proverbs 20:6 says, “Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?” Isn’t it true some who say they live as God would have them are not always reliable and loyal? So we cannot go by the criticism of others but by God’s desire. Are you listening to the desires of God? Pray God would open your heart to listen as He speaks to you. Pray you will know the right choices to make in life. Ask the Lord to keep you on a path that keeps you free from sin.

AskMe #1516732 10/12/06 07:02 AM
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Matthew 5:43-47 (NLT)
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

There were crowds around Jesus on the mountainside as He was preaching to them. Jesus tells them they should love all people and not just their neighbors. Their enemies are especially to be prayed for in hopes they may become friends. He points out the Father gives rain and sunlight to everyone. So the Father cares even for those who are against Him. Then Jesus makes His point by saying even those who are ungodly love those they are close to. Jesus encourages everyone to be perfect, just as God is perfect.

Draw a line at the top of a piece of paper. This line represents God’s perfect and holy nature. Let’s say God is at the 100% mark. Think of people you know ministers, deacons, friends, family and place them on the page where you think they rank in relationship to the 100% mark. You probably will end up with people all over the page. Some may exhibit some holiness and righteousness, while others may have rejected God’s principles all together. Now place yourself on the page where you think you fall. No one should at the 100% mark except God. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” So the Bible tells us there should be no one at the 100% mark except God. Then how is it we are made perfect so that we can be with God, these verses following Romans 3;23 gives us the answers, “Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26) Are you right in God’s sight? Do you know Christ personally as a friend and savior? Pray for those who may not know Christ that they may understand His love and sacrifice. Give thanks for the redemption of sin through faith in Jesus. Praise God for His holiness and righteousness.

AskMe #1516733 10/16/06 06:58 AM
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Galatians 5:19-21 (The Message)
19 -21 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.
This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

In these verses the apostle writes about the acts of flesh, or those inward desires of man. These desires if left unchecked grow and build into many sins. Many of these sins lead to uncontrollable and insatiable pursuits, such as addictions and never finding peace because of the pursuit of desires. The apostle gives a warning these are not the ways of someone who is seeking a relationship with Christ.

In Mark 7:20-23 Jesus spoke about the nature of original sin: "That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man." It’s amazing when people are faced with the sins in their life the first reaction is to blame the environment they are in. One might say something like, “if it weren’t for my wife I would not have had the affair.” Or they may blame their job and family to justify they stole for their family. But if someone were put in the ideal conditions, does it change the man? No because there are those with perfect wives who still cheat. There are those who are rich, yet they steal due to their own desires. And there are those who ignore God as gracious, loving and merciful as He is, because they seek their own idols. Given what is good and perfect man will mess it up because of the sin within his life. Only Christ can cleanse us from that sin and restore us back to a proper relationship with God. Are you letting Christ be a part of your life? Is Jesus guiding you along the path of life? Pray God will subdue the desires hidden in you that seek to satisfy fleshly sins. Ask for Christ to help you and guard you from those pursuits. Repent for the times you have allowed your flesh to take over and lead you on a path away from God.

AskMe #1516734 10/17/06 06:57 AM
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James 1:22-25
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

James writes to say attentive listening to God’s word is not taking us anywhere in our lives. Those who think they can listen and not respond are just fooling themselves. It’s like staring in a mirror trying to remember every detail of your face, but as soon as you walk away you start to forget. You may look at sin that blemishes your life, but if nothing is done the blemish remains and sin soon fades in your mind. God blesses those who respond to him and put into practice His desires.

Everyone knows the phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind.” We use it to say once we are no longer looking at something we soon forget it. God’s word reflects our life back to us. When we read the scriptures, God reveals to us our nature and our purpose for life. He shows us the sin that wants to dominate us. He also shows us His will so we know how to avoid sin’s domination. But if we walk away and do not put His word into practice then His words become out of sight, out of mind. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” The natural man is one who has not searched the depths of God, but relies upon himself. It’s like the person who looks in the mirror and ignores what they see because it’s all they know. But the person who puts into practice what God desires will see something different. They will see the sin in their life, but most of all they will see God standing with them, loving them, and offering His mercy and grace. What do you see in your life? Do you see God’s work taking place? Pray God will give you a clear picture of your life. Pray you will understand His desires. Pray for strength to carry out His perfect and glorious will.

AskMe #1516735 10/18/06 06:57 AM
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Romans 16:25 (NLT)
Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time.

The apostle’s Good News is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Good News overwhelmed Paul who had to give glory to God just to think about what God had done for him. It is a plan God established from the beginning of man for the redemption of man. And now it was being made known to the Gentiles of the population.

The King James Version of the scriptures says God’s plan was a mystery revealed. To man the sacrifice of Jesus at the cross does not make sense. How could one man who died save the entire world from sin? It is not something easily understood. Romans 9:20 helps us in that is says, “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'” Who are we to question what God has done? He is the creator, the designer of us all. What He has done is a mystery, something far beyond our understanding. Many of us have computers at home, which perform amazing feats of calculations. Do we understand how they work or can we question the engineers who designed them? Most of us cannot. Yet we sit down with faith every day that those computers will produce the results we wish. And yet a computer is just a machine designed by man. God’s design and plan for our lives is far greater than man can imagine. God created a perfect plan for our salvation from sin. It is by faith in His Son Jesus Christ who died for our sins, who rose again to life and established His kingdom for all those who believe that we shall be saved. Have you confessed Jesus Christ as your savior? If you have, give all glory to God and praise Him for His wonderful plan; for God has revealed to you a mystery. Pray and give praise to the Lord. Bless His name as the Almighty King. Give thanks for His free gift of salvation.

AskMe #1516736 10/23/06 07:32 AM
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Jeremiah 16:19-21 (NLT)
19 Lord, you are my strength and fortress, my refuge in the day of trouble! Nations from around the world will come to you and say, “Our ancestors left us a foolish heritage, for they worshiped worthless idols. 20 Can people make their own gods? These are not real gods at all!” 21 The Lord says, “Now I will show them my power; now I will show them my might. At last they will know and understand that I am the Lord.

This is a prayer of Jeremiah to the Lord. He acknowledges the strength and power of God. He acknowledges God provides for him a place of refuge in times of trouble. Then Jeremiah turns his attention on others to say they will come to recognize what God has done for them. They were misled by family before them. Their families worshiped idols, but they now see the idols are not gods. Then God acknowledges He will show them His might so they may understand He is Lord.

When I was a teenager, a friend of mine knew the manager of the downtown auditorium. He went to church with the man’s children and was good friends with them. Even back then one of the popular things to do was to go watch the wrestling matches. While they were mostly show instead of competition it was fun to watch everyone in attendance and how they reacted. But the best part was walking up to the back door of the auditorium to the manager my friend knew. There the man would open the door wide and welcome us in because He knew us. We walked in free of charge, no cost to us just because of my friend’s relationship with this man. The manager included me because I was a close friend of his son’s friend. God includes those who are close friends of His son Jesus. He welcomes them just as he would any other close friend or member of the family. As Jeremiah prayed he knew God’s love for him and he welcomed God bringing others close to him. Acknowledge God and the power of his might and pray for those who need God in their lives. Pray God will bring others close to Him.

AskMe #1516737 10/24/06 07:01 AM
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1 John 2:15-17 (Holman Christian Standard)
15 Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. Because everything that belongs to the world— 16 the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one's lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God's will remains forever.

John states those who believe in Christ should not love the ways of the world, but should put them aside. God made the world and admired what it was. But man brought sin into the world that was not from God. John says there are three classes of worldly love; there is our flesh, which cries out for fleshly pleasures; there are our eyes, which look upon riches, possessions, and covetousness of others; and finally our own pride, which places importance on ourselves and not God. If a person holds onto to God’s purpose they will not notice the world as it vanishes. But for those who partake in the world they will see its vanishing glory.

The world is forever changing. The television has expanded from the days of black and white pictures to high resolution color pictures. The telephone has transformed from a heavy wooden box with a crank to lightweight cellular phones with every conceivable feature. The little red wagons children coveted are now ignored in favor of X-Box and Nintendo games. Computers were once housed in room after room, but now they can be carried in your pocket. Watches, which were once bulky and had to be wound are miniaturized and can do everything from taking your pulse to recording your voice. The world is changing constantly and things of today pass away in favor of something new. We can love the world and all its inventions, but they will fade away from our life. We can desire things or others, but they too will pass away. The only thing constant is God, who is the same today as He was yesterday and He will be the same tomorrow. Where do you want to place your love; on “The One” who is here to stay; or on a fading world? Pray God will be a constant part of your life. Pray the world will never replace your love for God.

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1 Samuel 12:18-22 (NLT)
18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day. And all the people were terrified of the Lord and of Samuel. 19 “Pray to the Lord your God for us, or we will die!” they all said to Samuel. “For now we have added to our sins by asking for a king.” 20 “Don’t be afraid,” Samuel reassured them. “You have certainly done wrong, but make sure now that you worship the Lord with all your heart, and don’t turn your back on him. 21 Don’t go back to worshiping worthless idols that cannot help or rescue you—they are totally useless! 22 The Lord will not abandon his people, because that would dishonor his great name. For it has pleased the Lord to make you his very own people.

Israel in their fear had requested a king to rule over them. Samuel had reminded them the Lord was their king and there was no need for an earthy king. God had granted their request and now they must live with that choice. The people had sinned by looking for another to rule over them, but Samuel reassured them that if they turned back to God, God would not abandon them. It is not in God’s nature to abandon those who belong to Him.

In the verses above the people looked to Samuel to pray for them. They felt their prayers would go unanswered if there was not someone taking up for them. They knew Samuel had always prayed before and God would listen to him; so they pleaded for his help. In Romans 8:26-27 it says, “ In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. 27 And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit's mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Those who have accepted Christ on faith have been given the Holy Spirit, which intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray. And Christ himself takes up for us according to the will of God. Unlike those who needed Samuel to pray we have everything we need. Turn your hearts to God in prayer. Open up yourself and let God know your deepest feelings, your thoughts, your burdens and cares. God is waiting to hear from you and there is no need to fear prayer. You have help with you to assist in your prayers.

AskMe #1516739 10/26/06 06:59 AM
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1 Samuel 18:18 (21st Century KJV)
18And David said unto Saul, "Who am I? And what is my life or my father's family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?"

Saul had made an offer to David to give his eldest daughter Merab to him if David would fight in battle. Saul had planned on David being killed, but that did not happen so Saul gave his daughter to another man. Later Saul made another offer for his second daughter Michal, which David also fulfilled. This time David was given Michal who loved David dearly. With Saul’s plans defeated, Saul became an enemy of David.

Who am I? It is a question some may have asked themselves along the way of life. When God asked Moses to speak for Israel to the Pharaoh, he responded “"Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" We should remember Moses was raised in the home of a Pharaoh. He had been treated as royalty; had access to the best education of the time; and was groomed to speak with those of importance. Yet Moses, like David was defining himself. God finally responded to Moses, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” God wanted Moses to know He created Moses and God was capable of anything in a person’s life. Moses should have been asking, “Who am I to define myself when the Lord God Almighty created me?” In Isaiah 45:11-12 it says, “This is what the Lord says—the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: “Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands? I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command.” Are you defining yourself by your own works or the works of God? Let God show you who you are in Him. Pray that God might reveal your true self. Pray to acknowledge you are His creation, His clay that He molded.

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Psalm 40:1-3
1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. 3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.

In these verses David wrote there is no indication of anything externally taking place. For whatever reason he feels as though he has sunk to the depths of despair. David knows to call upon God in his time of need. And once he does God comes and comforts him and steadies him in his faith. David knows others will be surprised at David’s new joyfulness and they will come to also put their trust in God.

Sometimes in our distress we want things fixed now. We want whatever is troubling us to go away right then and there. Yet David learned he had to be patient. God was using the troubles David had brought upon himself as a reminder of his dependence on God. And by David placing his trust in God, the Lord was able to take David from the sinking ground he was standing on to a sturdy and firm foundation. There is a hymn that says, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” The choice is ours to either stand on a firm foundation by trusting patiently in Christ. Or we can sink to depths of despair trying to rely on ourselves. Where do you stand today? Are you on a solid foundation? Pray God will move you from the places in life where you are sinking to a place solid and firm. Pray your troubles will turn to joy as God sees you through each and every one.

AskMe #1516741 10/31/06 09:30 AM
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Matthew 13:45-46 (21th Century KJV)
45 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Jesus had sent away a multitude of people who had been listening to Him preach. The disciples were alone with Jesus inside a house they came and asked Him to explain the parables. He explained the parable of the wheat and tares and then proceeded to describe the Kingdom of Heaven.

Recently in the news a man was in an Arkansas park where searching for diamonds was permitted. The man found a flawless 4.21 carat, canary yellow diamond. Because of its value it captured the attention of many and the news spread. In Christ we have a perfect pearl that is flawless, since He committed no sin. The pearl is as white as fresh snow, because sin did not stain Him. The merchant sought out the pearl until he was able to obtain it. There are many who seek out Christ and obtain in Him an everlasting salvation. A relationship with Christ is worth more than anything here on this earth. Are you willing to give up all you have for Christ? What are you holding on to that you should let go of? Pray that God will examine your heart and ask what is keeping you from the pearl. Ask God what you might give up that is of the world. Thank Him for His saving grace.

AskMe #1516742 11/01/06 07:42 AM
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Luke 18:9-14 (NLT)
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Tax collectors during this period of time were considered corrupt. Many would add additional taxes for their own gain. Here in this parable Jesus tells us about a religious leader and a tax collector. The religious leader was praising himself for his good acts, while the tax collector humbled himself because of his sins. Jesus said it was the humble tax collector who stood justified before God.

John Grisham wrote a book called The Testament. The story is about a missionary living in the depths of the Brazilian jungle who inherits a large sum of money. Nate O’Reilly is a disgraced lawyer with a personal life of failures. It is O’Reilly’s job to ensure the missionary gets her inheritance. John Grisham reveals O’Reilly’s character as Nate stands alone in a church one night: “With both hands, he clenched the back of the pew in front of him. He repeated the list [of his weaknesses], mumbling softly every weakness and flaw and affliction and evil that plagued him. He confessed them all. In one long glorious acknowledgment of failure, he laid himself bare before God. He held nothing back. He unloaded enough burdens to crush any three men, and when he finally finished Nate had tears in his eyes. “I’m sorry,” he whispered to God. “Please help me.”As quickly as the fever had left his body, he felt the baggage leave his soul. With one gentle brush of the hand, his slate had been wiped clean. (…) He heard the guitar again. He opened his eyes and wiped his cheeks. Instead of seeing the young man in the pulpit, Nate saw the face of Christ, in agony and pain, dying on the cross. Dying for him.” Not only did John Gresham portray a man with a repentant heart, he also pointed to the face of Christ, dying for the sinner. Have you looked towards Christ in your moment of sin? Have you repented and asked for His forgiveness? Pray God would forgive you of past sins. Pray your heart would be clean and justified before God. Thank Christ who died for your sin.

AskMe #1516743 11/02/06 07:43 AM
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Genesis 43:29-34 (NLT)
29 Then Joseph looked at his brother Benjamin, the son of his own mother. “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” Joseph asked. “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Then Joseph hurried from the room because he was overcome with emotion for his brother. He went into his private room, where he broke down and wept. 31 After washing his face, he came back out, keeping himself under control. Then he ordered, “Bring out the food!” 32 The waiters served Joseph at his own table, and his brothers were served at a separate table. The Egyptians who ate with Joseph sat at their own table, because Egyptians despise Hebrews and refuse to eat with them. 33 Joseph told each of his brothers where to sit, and to their amazement, he seated them according to age, from oldest to youngest. 34 And Joseph filled their plates with food from his own table, giving Benjamin five times as much as he gave the others. So they feasted and drank freely with him.

Joseph had been sold into slavery at a young age by his older brothers. Because of lies he had been thrown into prison. Because of his faithfulness to God he was given freedom and ruling power by Pharaoh. And now in these verses his brothers have come to him seeking food, but they do not recognize Joseph. Joseph invites them to eat with him. And his younger brother Benjamin is given special treatment. The other brothers all have the same father, but not the same mother. Benjamin is special in that he is a full brother to Joseph, both born of Rachel their mother.

Jeremiah 30:22 says, “And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” God created us to have a desire for relationships. He first wants us to have a relationship with Him so we may know His desires for our lives. Then He wants us to extend our relationship to family and then to friends. Joseph had a strong desire to be reunited with his brothers even after they had plotted his death and sold him into slavery. And he desired a close relationship with Benjamin who was his younger brother. This was his brother, born of his mother who died giving birth to Benjamin. What joy Joseph felt to see his family and be reunited in his relationship with them. What joy Christ feels when we return to Him in our relationship. Joseph put aside the sins of his brothers for the sake of a relationship with them. Christ puts aside our sins so that we may be a part of His family. Are you seeking a relationship with Christ who loves you greatly? Pray you might understand Him more. Pray as your relationship with God strengthens your relationship with others might grow.

AskMe #1516744 11/06/06 08:15 AM
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2 Corinthians 12:6-10 (NLT)
6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The apostle Paul speaks to boasting of prideful things and says while he could do so he chooses to focus on his weaknesses. In particular there is one weakness he has considered to be a thorn in his life. Three times he asked God to remove the problem, but God told Paul grace was all he needed. For Paul to be weak meant God could be strong in Paul’s life. Paul learned what it meant to surrender to God and allow Him to take care of his problems.

Have you ever prayed and felt like God was not responding? It might have been a prayer for something you felt you desperately needed. In an interview with Ted Turner, he said he prayed for his sick sister an hour each day. Obviously distraught over what his sister went through, Ted didn’t get the answers he wanted. He abandoned his relationship with God, because God didn’t give him the answer he wanted. The problem we all have is we want things our way. It’s why Burger King’s ad slogan is so popular. The truth is our way is not always the right or best way. There is a movie called Mr. Destiny, which is excellent demonstration of this principle. In the movie Jim Belushi keeps wishing he could have hit a homerun in the final game of his senior year of high school. He thought if he had his life would be so different; he would have become popular; he would have run the sports company; he would have married Mary Jo; he would have been rich. But Jim soon found out fulfilling his dream would have given him a life of misery and nothing would have been as he expected. God knows what is best for us and our future. We need to trust our creator who has our best interests in His hands. Are you praying God will answer you according to His will? Pray God’s will be done in your life. Accept the grace of God and ask Him to work His power in you. Let His strength meet your every need.

AskMe #1516745 11/07/06 07:52 AM
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Psalms 101:2 (Holman Christian Standard)
2 I will pay attention to the way of integrity. When will You come to me? I will live with integrity of heart in my house.

David wrote Psalms to God to praise Him and to also dedicate his life to God. Here in verse 2 David proclaims his intention to lead a life of integrity and that he will demonstrate that intent to his family. But David also recognizes he cannot do this without God’s help, so he longs for God to come to him.

There are many of us who recognize the sin in our lives and we think, “This is something I need to stop.” We go about listing all the problems we encounter and each time come up with an action to prevent its reoccurrence. David did something different. David had a fore thought of a plan of action instead of an after thought. He said he was going to pay attention to the way of integrity and this was going to be a way of life for him. It wasn’t going to be something he just did in public, but it was the way he was going to live in private as well. The plan also included God because David knew he could not fulfill his plan alone. Have you made a plan to live life for God? Pray you will live life according to God’s desire. Ask for His help in fulfilling your plan. Pray you would live in victory.

AskMe #1516746 11/08/06 07:37 AM
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1 Kings 12:6-11 (NLT)
6 Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”
7 The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.” 8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. 9 “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?” 10 The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’”

Rehoboam was the son of the wisest man who ever lived, yet he did not have the wisdom of his father King Solomon. The people requested their burdens be eased. Rehoboam first listened to the advice of his fathers counselors. These older men had wisdom and advised he should go easy on the people. Yet Rehoboam rejected their advise and went with the advice or his friends, whose interest was on themselves instead of others.

1 King 12:6-11 presents an easy lesson, choose your advisors carefully. There are plenty of people who are willing to give you free advice. You can mention a problem standing in line somewhere and someone will speak up with their solution to your problem. They have good intentions, but often they don’t know the entire scope of your plight. Also there are those who give ungodly advice because they lack a relationship with God. So be warned to take care in seeking advice that may impact your life. As Job said, “true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his.” Look to God first and then choose those who are also looking to Him for answers. Pray God would lead you in correct decisions. Pray for His counsel and understanding. Ask He would bring those to you who are wise and knowledgeable.

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