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AskMe #1516847 07/09/07 06:19 AM
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Job 23:10-13 (NLT)
10 “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. 11 For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. 12 I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food. 13 But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind? Whatever he wants to do, he does. 14 So he will do to me whatever he has planned. He controls my destiny.

Job says God knows him. Job’s friends had judged him without even knowing what was taking place. They accused Job of things he had not done, but Job understood God knew the truth of his actions. God is justly right in His sovereignty and no man can contest his plans, not even Job. For he knows God ultimately is in control of his life.

Job had lost everything he owned. He lost family he loved. Bankrupt and broken he had to sit and listen to his friends as they unfairly accused him of wrongful actions. Even Job’s wife didn’t have sympathy as she told Job that he should curse God and die. Although Job was suffering he knew God had a right to do as He willed. The troubles brought into Job’s life had a purpose and God knew what was best. The suffering had been approved by God and Job was to draw his strength from his faith in God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 says, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.” Do you find your comfort in God or are you looking elsewhere? Pray God may comfort your suffering. Draw close to Him and draw upon His strength knowing Christ also suffered.

AskMe #1516848 07/10/07 06:47 AM
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John 3:16 (KJV)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The word for love above is “agapao” meaning, “to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly.” God greatly loved all those in the world and His love was magnified even more by His willingness to give His son’s life for others. God’s intent was to provide everlasting life and fellowship with Him and put aside the law.

Someone once asked what one word would sum up my life? How do you describe the whole of someone’s life with just one word? If you pick a word you might leave out the other good qualities of that person. Or it may be the intent to leave out all the undesirable things by only focusing on the good. But no matter how you look at it a person is the sum of all their good and bad qualities. So when God looks at us to sum up our lives in one word, the word would be LOVED. God loves us despite our failures and weaknesses. God loves us in the good moments and the bad. In fact the Bible says there is nothing that can separate us from His love. So how would you sum up your life? Do you know you are loved by our heavenly father? Thank God for His love that He gave His son Jesus so we could have eternal life with God, always loved by Him.

AskMe #1516849 07/12/07 07:15 AM
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2 Chronicles 27:6 (NLT)
6 King Jotham became powerful because he was careful to live in obedience to the Lord his God.

King Jotham assumed the role as king when he was 25 years old and reigned for 16 years. Jotham followed the good examples set by his father. Because of his obedience to God he became a powerful king.

The Star Tribune in South Dakota reported the execution of a 25 year old man, Elijah Page. He had been convicted for torture and slaying of a teenager who was forced to drink hydrochloric acid during a robbery of the victim’s home. “After the execution, the victim’s mother, Dottie Poage, who witnessed Page’s death, stood before a row of TV cameras and displayed photos of her son at various stages in his life. She spoke of the dreams he had for his life. I told him a friend, a real friend, you have to earn through time and to have trust, she said. He evidently didn’t listen to her on that one, she said. He supposedly came across three guys that he wanted to make a friendship with, she said. Who would ever do something like this to a friend? I never dreamt that I would be dealing with what I’ve dealt with this last seven years.” Two men both 25 years old. One who becomes a good king by following God and the other who followed his friends and fell into trouble that cost him his life. We need to help others see the need to follow God and not follow in the wrong footsteps. Pray for those who are troubled, those who need someone in their life, and those who feel abandoned. Pray others may follow God and not follow the paths of evil.

AskMe #1516850 07/13/07 07:33 AM
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Mark 12:1-9 (NLT)
1 Then Jesus began teaching them with stories: “A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. 2 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. 3 But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. 4 The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. 5 The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed, 6 until there was only one left—his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ 7 “But the tenant farmers said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ 8 So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard. 9 “What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.

Jesus tells a parable about a man who owned a vineyard and then trusted to leave it in the hands of tenant farmers. Jesus was relating how God had given to the Jews in order to build His church, but they had not believed the prophets and others who had been a witness for God. Then Jesus said even the son came, but they murdered him too. He then asked what you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do. Actually He was asking, what should God do since you have rejected his prophets, and are now rejecting His son? And His reply was they would die and the vineyard given to others.

Stewardship is defined as the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. In the parable above the owner entrusted the care of his vineyard into the hands of others, but he was rejected as though he had no ownership of the land. In the end Jesus said the owner will come and kill the farmers and give the land to someone else. God entrusts each of us with all our possessions and we are only stewards of what He has given us. We need to wisely follow God and carefully use what He has entrusted us with. And we should always recognize if not for God we would have nothing. God wants us to use our resources to draw others close to Him and build a relationship with Him. Are you a good steward of what God has given you? Pray and ask God how you can be more obedient to manage what He has entrusted you with.

AskMe #1516851 07/16/07 07:02 AM
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2 Peter 1:5-11 (NLT)
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. 10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In these verses the apostle marks out step by step the path a Christian should take to grow in their productivity and closeness to God. They are to add moral excellence, self-control, enduring patience, godliness and love for all. He said if you fail to add these things then you are blind to what God wants for you forgetting what He has already done for you. For those who do not forsake their obligations the apostle says God will provide a grand entrance into heaven to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus.

Maybe you have seen the movie Castaway where Tom Hanks becomes marooned on an island after the cargo plane he is flying on crashes into the sea. For one of the Super-Bowl games FedEx made a commercial spoof on Castaway. A man shows up at a door of a customer and delivers a package he said he had kept 5 years while castaway on an island. As a FedEx employee he wanted to make sure she got the package. As he started to leave he asked what was in the package. The woman replies, just silly things, a satellite phone, a GPS locator, a fishing rod, a water purifier and some sun seeds. All along the man had the tools he needed in order to return to a productive life. But he allowed himself to be blinded by what he thought was the correct thing to do. Often we have the tools God has given us to do what He has planned for us. But we look and see other things in the future that are our own desires. And because we focus on the wrong things we miss using what God has laid out for us. Pray that you might see the tools God has in front of you to perform His calling. Pray God will show you how the live your life fully and not be blinded by your own desires.

AskMe #1516852 07/17/07 06:41 AM
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Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

Here the apostle tells the Hebrews there are many people who are always watching their every action. They are told they must prepare to face the race that is before them by putting aside the sins, which can so easily burden a person. Then they are to live as if in a race keeping their eyes focused on Jesus who has already so perfectly lived by faith.

Many years ago I was in a car accident. As I was traveling down the road to my home I saw a lady with 2 small kids in her car starting to pull out to the road from the convenience store where she had just stopped. She was looking at her children in the back seat as she moved out onto the road. I started slamming on brakes hoping to avoid the car. I could tell the woman was still focused on her children in the backseat. I kept thinking if she will just look my direction and put on her brakes I can swerve around her, but she never looked my way. The accident was unavoidable. Had she only kept her eyes focused ahead where they should have been, an accident could have been avoided. Like the story of the accident if we keep our eyes on Jesus we can avoid many sins. We can then see clearly where we are headed and avoid the dangers lying in front of us. Pray and ask that your focus will always be toward the Lord and away from sin. Pray for His strength and guidance.

AskMe #1516853 07/19/07 06:48 AM
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Colossians 4:3-4 (NLT)
3 Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. 4 Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.

The apostle Paul is writing to the Colossians asking for prayer that he would be given opportunities to speak about God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Paul understood being in prison was a part of God’s plan, which has given him the opportunity to share the gospel with others. He again asks for prayer as he speaks to others about the gospel that the message will be clear to others to understand.

There is a story of Duncan Campbell a minister and friend of Wesley Duewel the missionary and author. In the book Let God Guide You by Wesley Duewel, Duewel speaks of his friend who suddenly felt God saying he needed to go to the island of Berneray. In fact Duewel left from where he was suppose to speak so he might go to this island. He knew no one there, had never been before and knew nothing much about the island. It took some effort for him to get to the island, since there were no airports, nor were there any commercial boats traveling to the island. Finally he arrived and saw a farmer. He asked if he could speak to the minister of the church there, but he found there was no minister at the present time; He did find there was an elder of the church who was waiting to speak to him. It turned out the elder had been praying for revival on the island. He was holding onto God’s word and knew God would provide if he prayed. He was so sure his prayers were going to be answered he had already made arrangements to use the church and make announcements of the services that were going to be held. And he knew God was going to send Duncan Campbell because he had already led other revivals throughout Scotland. What if this elder had never prayed, what would have happened, we don’t know. But we do know because he prayed his prayer was answered and revival came to the island of Berneray. What can God do? You won’t know until you seek Him out in prayer.

AskMe #1516854 07/20/07 05:09 AM
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Romans 4:1-3 (NLT)
1 Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? 2 If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. 3 For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”

Here the apostle is saying Abraham believed God. And because of Abraham’s unwavering faith, God counted him as righteous. Abraham was not trusting in good deeds he performed, but trusted instead in God. Abraham was a man of faith and demonstrated that faith when he went to sacrifice his only son because God had told him to. He knew God had given him a son, and he knew it was God’s right to take or give back his son. If only we could have the faith of Abraham just think what we could accomplish.

The following passages come from Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, “It was about this time I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wished to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into.” “While my attention was taken up and care employed in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another. Habit took the advantage of inattention. Inclination was sometimes too strong for reason. I concluded at length that the mere speculative conviction that it was our interest to be completely virtuous was not sufficient to prevent our slipping, and that the contrary habits must be broken and good ones acquired and established, before we can have any dependence on a steady, uniform rectitude of conduct. For this purpose I therefore contrived the following method.” So, what was it in his quest for moral perfection that Dr. Franklin quickly discovered? Basically, that it wasn’t all that easy to simply make a decision and have the results happen just because you want them to. As human beings we get used to doing things in a certain way. Those ways – those traits – become habit-forming. And, once they become a habit, whether positive or negative, they become very difficult to break. Perhaps impossible to break without a method or system. Dr. Franklin apparently thought he could, through superior will-power, simply get rid of bad habits or character traits, and take on good ones instead. He found, however, that it didn’t quite work that way. And most of us have discovered that same thing at one time or another. If the wise Benjamin Franklin had difficulty grabbing hold and keeping moral perfection, why do we think we can do the same? God wants us instead to place our faith and dependence in Him. We need to let him guide us and strength us as He sees fit. Pray God will build your faith in Him. Pray you will humble yourself before Him knowing that He knows what is best for your life.

AskMe #1516855 07/23/07 07:45 AM
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Luke 10:30-37 (NLT)
30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. 31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. 33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ 36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. 37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

A Jewish scribe or lawyer was testing Jesus by asking Him how to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked the man what the law of Mose’s had said. He replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” He was looking to justify his own actions. The man then asked who his neighbor was, because he knew in his heart there were people he did not treat fairly. So Jesus told him the parable of the Good Samaritan above.

The man answering Jesus did not focus on the first part of his answer, which was that a person should love God with all their heart. That was easy enough to hide and leave open to interpretation. After all, one person cannot see another’s heart. Instead he focused on what everyone else could see and that was how he treated his neighbors. So he wanted to ensure who his neighbor was. Jesus instead showed him his flawed thinking. Jesus used the parable of the Good Samaritan to point out how someone that would not be considered a neighbor was the only one who helped a Jewish man in distress. While the man thought he would always be the one giving, there are actually times when a person needs the love, grace and mercy of another. And if their heart has never been open to helping others they cannot see how another might be able to help them. It’s like us; we need to open our hearts so Christ can work through us to reach others. And because of Christ reaching to help us we can do that.

AskMe #1516856 07/24/07 06:27 AM
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Galatians 3:1-5 (NLT)
1 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. 2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? 5 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.

In these verses Paul is writing to the Galatians who had accepted Christ as their savior. Paul was calling them down for still trying to justify their sins by practicing the Law of Moses. Paul asks some pointed questions, such as did they receive the Holy Spirit. Did it come while they were following the law or after they accepted Christ? It was through faith in Christ, acknowledged by the receiving of the Holy Spirit that they received true justification. And now they were perverting that justification by attempting to become perfect through the law, which would only lead them to disappointment and shame. Paul reminds them a second time it is because of Christ that their lives are different.

Paul understood there are none of us perfect in life and perfection cannot come from our own attempts. Many of us want to believe we can reach a perfect state of marriage, a perfect state of morality, a perfect state of ministry or perfect ourselves in such a way that we do not feel inadequate. Isaiah clearly tells us why we can’t reach this perfection we so desperately want. In Isaiah 64:6 it says, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.” God’s intent from the beginning was for us to become perfect, but sin prevented that from happening. So God gave His son Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, who provided a perfect cleansing for those who believe in Him. It is through Christ that we become perfect to enter into heaven. It is because of Christ we are justified. It is because of Christ we have hope in an eternal life with God. We couldn’t become perfect on our own, but God made us perfect through Jesus. Praise God for the work He is doing in your life. Praise Him for the perfection you will receive through Christ.

AskMe #1516857 07/27/07 07:03 AM
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Ecclesiastes 7:15-18 (NLT)
15 I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people. 16 So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself? 17 On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time? 18 Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes.

Solomon tells us when the wicked prosper we should not become dishearten, nor when the innocent and young die. In some translations Solomon says all that he has seen here on earth is vanity, because while Solomon’s thoughts are this world; there is a greater place waiting for him in heaven. Solomon calls for a balance in life knowing God wants our life to be enjoyable, but enjoyable without sin. He says if we understand and respect God then we can avoid the extremes of life.

The story of Job is an illustration of what Solomon was trying to tell us. Job served God and feared God in a respectful way. Yet Job lost his possessions, his workers, his children, and even his enjoyment of life itself. He sat miserable and worried in ashes to comfort his sores. Then Job’s friends came around and accused him of offending God; saying he did something that was so wrong he was being stricken with affliction. But the truth is life does not come with rose-colored glasses. The world is not a perfect place and neither are our lives that are in it. Solomon even says in Ecclesiastes 2:22-23, “So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety? Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless.” Can you relate to those restless nights where your mind is troubled? Solomon also came to another conclusion; God provides for us in this world whether it is food or drink. So there is no escaping the fact that there is nothing we can do apart from God. God is there involved in our lives during the times of hardship and during the times when there is plenty. Seek the wisdom of God to understand and find comfort in Him. Pray God will be with you during the rich times of your life as well as the difficult times. Praise Him that he is always there concerned for you as one of His precious children.

AskMe #1516858 07/30/07 06:43 AM
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Philippians 1:20-26 (NLT)
20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.
25 Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. 26 And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me.

Paul starts these verses by saying he wants to honor Christ and he expects never to be ashamed of his beliefs. Paul is torn between death and life. He knows death will bring him an eternal reward with Christ in heaven. But Paul also understands his time here on earth has a purpose far beyond his own and that is to do the work of Christ.

Jesus was speaking to the crowd and said the following, “Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' "Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?’And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' Christ is telling the people the ministries they are to perform. They are ministries of attending to the poor and hungry; providing shelters and clothes; watching over the sick and distressed; and visiting those who are bound in prison. These areas are where we can share the gospel of Jesus Christ while we minister to the needs of others. Jesus often took care of peoples needs and then He took care of their spiritual needs. He set an example and gave us the words to follow Him. Think about what you can do for Christ and don’t be ashamed to live according to His word; to live ministering to others; and live showing how you love your saviour!

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Colossians 2:6-8 (NLT)
6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. 8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

In these verses the apostle is telling the Colossians they need to be firm in their beliefs about Christ. They are to let their faith grow strong and not be caught by the thoughts that come from this world. Instead their thoughts are to be on Christ.

Memories are powerful in our lives. The smell of cooked popcorn can fill the room and it will bring back childhood thoughts of walking into a movie theater. The pleasant memories of going with your parents to the movie and watching as they buy you popcorn, a drink and a candy bar so easily return. But memories can also bring back unpleasant feelings. When I was a child I had a prank played on me where a plastic spider was put on my shoulder and then I was told to look. It scared me at first because I thought it was real. Then a few days later a real spider crawled out from the sheets of my bed. It took a while before I felt comfortable getting into my bed because of the fear that had been created in me. Even though it has been over forty years ago those memories are still vivid. The world creates in us many thoughts, many memories, and many ideas that are sometimes just nonsense as Paul said. Some of us have had memories built because of our own sin or the sin of others. These thoughts weight heavy on our minds. Each time the memory is triggered it just spins us out of control with fear, guilt or shame. But as we are reminded by Paul so often, we need to be firmly rooted in the understanding of Christ so we are not attacked by our own mind. Even in 2 Corinthians Paul says, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” We have to let Christ be in control of those memories that are painful and hurtful. We have to turn loose of the things we were wrongly taught and focus instead on what Christ would have us do. Maybe your thoughts and memories have been corrupted by the world? Pray God would free you from the thoughts that hold you captive. Pray instead you can take hold of the painful memories and give them to Christ. Let Christ be firmly rooted in your life so nothing can pull you away from Him.

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Colossians 3:5-11 (NLT)
5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

In these verses the apostle Paul is encouraging the Colossians to mortify the sin that lives inside them. Paul lists out sins which he said brings God’s anger against the world. He encourages them to know God so they can be more like Him. And he wants them to put aside prejudices and judgments because Christ lives in all who have placed their faith in Him.

There are many people who have been on diet programs. One person may get motivated to loose weight; so they go out and buy the best exercise equipment. But instead of changing their old self they continue in their previous eating habits. Later the exercise equipment they purchased is just sitting there because they gave up hope. There are also people who know they must change themselves in order to loose weight. They understand they need to take on good habits and follow good plans that have been laid out for them. They understand the struggles of others and they encourage and motive each other by their positive attitude to change. As Christians we should be willing to throw off the old self and take on the new habits and practices that eliminate sin from our lives. We should be an encouragement to others with a positive attitude letting them know they can move forward in life too. Pray that God would help you see the areas of life you need to throw away and change. Pray that as God helps you with your struggles that you can help others with their struggles.

AskMe #1516861 08/06/07 06:28 AM
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Isaiah 55:8-11 (NLT)
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. 10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit.

In these verses from Isaiah God reminded the people His ways and His thoughts are beyond comparison and beyond anything they could comprehend. He tells them their thoughts are on this world verse His thoughts which are on the entire universe. Then God compares His words and scriptures to rain and snow. The rain and snow fall from heaven and help product grain and seed for those who want to eat. God’s word falls from heaven to feed those who desire God and His word produces fruit in their life.

God is marvelous, wonderful and amazing. I had an opportunity to share the gospel with a cab driver in Washington, D.C. I was there to teach a class. On the morning of the class I had been up studying a course on witnessing from our church. I left my hotel and walked up to the corner of the street and flagged down one of the thousands of taxis looking for passengers. A cab stopped and picked me up. Immediately I could tell the cab driver was not in a good mood, so I asked how he was doing. The driver replied he was just having a bad day and wondered how I could be happy so early in the morning. I told him I had been up a while reading my bible and studying and it just encouraged me. Then he said something that let me know God had arranged this cab ride. The taxi driver said, “I don’t know about me and God. I don’t know if I would go to heaven if I died. I have been playing in a church band a bit, but I just don’t understand some things.” I could feel God nudging me as though He were saying that was my chance to speak up. So I started sharing the gospel of Jesus with this man as he drove me to my location. Just as I finished he pulled up in front of the building I was going to. Then he turned around and said he didn’t know what he had to do to have Jesus in his life, but he wanted Him. So I prayed with the man to receive Jesus and to reassure him Jesus would always be a part of his life. The man said, “I know God sent you today.” I even got his business in case I could ride back with him later or send him some information. Well I tried to ride back that afternoon, but he had customers on the other side of town so I told him to expect some Bible brochures, and have a blessed day in the Lord. I figured I would never see Walter Brown the taxi driver again. Over a year later I was back in Washington, D.C. to teach another class. I walked up to a corner to flag down a taxi as I had done many time before. I got in the taxi and the ID picture for the drive said, Walter Brown. It was the same cab driver from the year before. I was somewhat shocked to be back in his cab, so I said, “Mr. Brown, do you remember me?” He looked back in his mirror and said, “YES I DO, you are that man that told me about Jesus and now I know I am going to heaven.” God let me come back and see this man to witness the fruit of His word. I got to see how the man had grown in God’s word and now was so happy about it. It was an event I could not have arranged had I wanted to, but God who is so great setup that meeting a second time to encourage me. Be encouraged in God’s word and know that His word sows fruit into the lives of others.

AskMe #1516862 08/07/07 07:02 AM
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Romans 8:9-11 (NLT)
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

In these verses the apostle Paul talks about the Spirit of Christ that indwells in those who have accepted Christ on faith. He refers to one’s own sinful nature and how if Christ does not dwell within they do not belong to Christ. The Greek word for dwells, used in the King James, means to belong to a particular place of being. So Paul is saying if Christ dwells within you then you are free to live according to what God would desire from you.

Romans 8:9-11 is an excellent example of seeing God, Christ and the Holy Spirit together as the trinity. Paul mentions the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit. We find that God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are all working to subdue the sin that wants to destroy our lives. God did not free us so that we might indulge in sin without regard to the future. Instead God gave His son Christ so that we would know the love He has for us. And He placed His Spirit within us to guide us away from our sinful nature. If you believe in Christ then as Paul says to each of us, we are not controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit. Pray you would walk with God and not let sin hold you back. Pray whatever sin you have in your life that God will help you overcome it. Praise Christ who has already taken away the sins of the world through His own sacrifice.

AskMe #1516863 08/09/07 06:37 AM
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Ephesians 6:6-11 (NLT)
6 And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. 7 By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. 8 Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. 9 I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning. 10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul talks about his privilege to be able to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Paul refers to it as a privilege because he understands the grace and mercy shown towards him because like everyone else he didn’t deserve the mercy and grace. Paul was given a mission to tell others about God’s grace and mercy found in Jesus Christ. Paul was to prepare the church so that the church might show the glory of God to others. All of this was a part of God’s plan brought about in Jesus Christ.

Out of the book of Acts it says, “The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.” Saul began a life of persecution of Christians until one day Jesus came to him and asked why he was persecuting Him and His people. All of this changed who Saul was. The name Saul meant desired, but Saul took on a new name as he started to serve Christ, it was Paul. Paul meant small or little. He realized in God’s eyes he was a small person who needed salvation just like everyone else. So Paul’s new mission was to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who he would have earlier prosecuted and stoned to death. God can change people’s lives. God desires to change your life for the better. Allow God to work in your life and listen to His calling.

AskMe #1516864 08/10/07 05:55 AM
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Mark 5:25-34 (NLT)
25 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. 30 Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”
31 His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

This is a familiar story about an ill woman who had been sick for years. She saw Jesus as her only hope because she had tried all the scientific methods of the day to be healed. She believed and had faith if she could just touch Jesus she would be healed of her illness. So in a crowd of people she managed to touch the robe of Jesus and was instantly healed. Jesus knew what happened and kept asking “who touched me?” Finally the woman fell at the feet of Jesus and admitted it was her. In response to her Jesus told her it was her faith that made her well and her suffering was now over.

Webster’s says the following about faith. It is an allegiance to duty or to a person. Faith is a sincerity of intentions. It is a belief and trust in and loyalty to God. Faith is a firm belief for something which there is no proof. It is complete trust. It is something that is believed especially with strong conviction. The woman in the story had a strong conviction Jesus could cure her, but the only proof she had was the testimonies of others. She had lost hope in everything else, but when it came to Jesus her faith was firm and committed. Faith is intangible. It is something which one possesses without firm foundation of proof. What happens when you are somewhere and you decide to rest by sitting down? You may be walking at the mall and see a comfortable bench to sit on. Without hesitation you walk over to the bench, you sit down, and you never give a second thought to the fact the bench could have collapsed; that is faith. When we trust God and believe He will take care of our lives in the best manner that also is faith. In the bible James says, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. He was even called a friend of God.” So are you looking for proof God exists? Start by not trying to prove it and place your unproved faith in Him. Trust God, be loyal to Him and keep your faith firm that He will be real in your life. And while I can only offer testimony of God in my life, and I can offer no proof other than what I believe, there is a God who cares so much for us that He gave the life of His son Jesus Christ as a Holy sacrifice. And the bible tells us, for whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. Take hold of that everlasting life through faith and let God change you into what He wants you to be.

AskMe #1516865 08/14/07 07:04 AM
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Romans 8:38 (NLT)
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, [Greek nor rulers.] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of ****** can separate us from God’s love.

In these verses the apostle Paul expresses the love God has for us. He gives reassurance God’s love is not conditional and cannot be taken away. Even when we have fear and worries that might cause us to think God couldn’t love us, He still loves us. God’s love is unconditional.

It is hard to understand the depths of God’s love. Every day children are abandoned; divorce is prevalent; and families dissolve. If you are an abandoned child whose father and mother left, what would your concept of love be? Would it be easy to relate to a God who loves unconditionally? What about a spouse who is angry and bitter and you are doing all you can do to make things work? Is it is easy to grasp unconditional love when you feel the day to day pains that fall on you. What about families that break apart and no longer talk to each other over small issues? Won’t people ask how can God love me when no one else will? It’s no wonder some people think they have to work hard, put forth an effort, or to try and earn love. Maybe if I could just change this about me, if I could just get that job, if I could just make myself more loveable. The problem is we see love as something to be earned, but love is an unselfish and benevolent concern for the good of another. It’s not something to be bought or earned. It’s freely given by another because they have a desire to love. Our God loves us and He loves us just as we are. He offers His love freely just as He offers salvation freely to those who accept it. Pray and thank God for his unconditional love. Thank Him that even when you might not feel loved, He still loves you. Thank Him that when you feel everyone around you has deserted you God still loves you. May God bless your day and fill it with His love.

AskMe #1516866 08/16/07 06:43 AM
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1 John 5:1-5 (NLT)
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

The apostle has been urging Christians to show love. Here in the beginning of this chapter he talks about those who love God should also love His children as brothers and sisters. Love is action that comes by obedience to God’s commands. The believer is ready to defend against evil and is able to do so because of faith in God and Christ.

When I get in my car and place the key in the ignition every morning I have faith the car will start. There have been a few times in my life where my faith was weak because the car just wasn’t working as I thought it should. And there were other times I felt let down by my car because it didn’t start. But then the battery would get replaced, the car recharged and once again I had faith it would start. Faith is trusting when we have no way of knowing what will happen when we put that key in the ignition. Faith in God trusts when we put our hand in His hand; God will do what He says He will do. There are times our life just doesn’t seem right and our faith gets weak. We become fearful our life is just not going to go where we want it to go. Then things get better and we can see God at work recharging us, restoring us, and strengthening us. Once again we fell the confidence of God at work in our lives ready to carry us forward. It is in those strong moments we are able to defend against the enemy and show our love for others. Are you due a recharge in your faith? Pray God will strengthen you and show you He is there with you. Pray in your fear, in your desperation, in your loss of hope that when you are weak your faith will be made strong. God bless you and may we love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

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