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AskMe #1516907 11/16/07 08:12 AM
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Revelation 7:9-12 (NLT)
9 After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10 And they were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God. 12 They sang, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

In the verses above it says the number of people saved from all nations was too great to count. They stood before Christ clothed in white, symbolizing their justification, their holiness and victory in Him. In their hands were palm branches used to symbolize triumph and victory. They shouted out their praise of Salvation and all the angels fell before God to worship him. Their attitude was one of thanksgiving to God for all He had done.

John 12:12-13 says, “The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!” People greeted Jesus with palm branches the symbol for peace and victory. Perhaps many of the same who John saw in his Revelation were present the day Christ came to Jerusalem. They hailed Jesus as King and gave praise to Him. During this Thanksgiving season take time to praise the one who brought Salvation to the world. Give glory, honor and praise to the Lord. Without God there would be nothing to be thankful for, because all that has been created is His.

AskMe #1516908 11/26/07 07:20 AM
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Proverbs 26:3 (NLT)
3 Guide a horse with a whip, a donkey with a bridle, and a fool with a rod to his back!

In this versus Solomon compares the wicked to a horse and donkey, which can be unruly so a whip and bridle are required to guide them back on the right path. Even Solomon’s father David said men should not be as horses and donkeys, which have no understanding. Like so, a fool to sin will sometimes feel as through they have had a rod to their back to move them back into a place of doing right.

Henry Frederick Cope, author and major contributor to the rise of the Religious Education movement in the 20th century wrote these words, which are found in “Our Father and our Fellows”: “Men in the days of the great Teacher were as we-are-today, prone to compound for the neglect of duties near at hand by the adoration of spiritual delights far off. They talked about getting right with God while they continued to do wrong with men. The problem of the hypocrite who is so thrilled with the delights of heaven that he scorns earthy duties and decencies is not a new one. How easy it is to substitute syllogisms for service, to think that we do our duty by describing it, so to exhaust oneself in pleasant and seductive dreams of a distant heaven that we have no power left to apply to the problems of a needy present day world. The mockery of religion today is that men and women are going to churches, singing themselves into ecstatic complacency and imaginary harmony with their God while their greed is crushing the hearts of the helpless and they are blinding themselves to the world’s gloom and pain that unhindered they may enjoy spiritual delights. Things cannot be made right in our relations to the Father of Spirit’s until they are made right in our relations with our brothers in the flesh.” Has God been leading you back to a place of service or to a place to do what is right? Pray God will open your eyes to those place you have resisted like the horse and donkey and let God free you to do His work.

AskMe #1516909 11/27/07 06:53 AM
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James 1:22-25 (NLT)
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 instructs those who hear God’s word that they should also follow His word. It is not just enough to hear and remember, but to also practice what is heard. Just as a mirror shows us who we are, God’s word also shows us who we are. It reflects back those areas of our life containing sin and shows us our imperfection.

The word compartmentalize means to cut up or separate into isolated compartments or categories. Compartmentalization is a psychological term for figuratively taking parts of one’s life and placing it into different containers and then believing those parts can remain separated. For instance President Clinton was highly disciplined, highly motivated, charming and at ease speaking to others. Yet Bill Clinton stood in front of a camera, pointed his finger at American and said, “I did not have sex with that woman.” Bill Clinton thought he could separate off the part of his life that would bring disgrace and humiliation from the rest of his life. He was trying to be multiple people to multiple situations. But as America witnessed those pieces Clinton had separated eventually came together. This is what James is talking about. When we hear God’s word we should practice what we hear to the point we are one person. If someone sees us at church we are the same person seen out in the public or at work. But when we allow sin to take over parts of our life we suddenly find ourselves being different in different situations trying to hold a reflection of our life together. No matter how hard we try to keep it separate it is all there reflected back at us. James starts out in chapter 1 saying, “3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” Pray that you might be perfect, complete and whole in Christ. Pray sin might not separate your actions and words from others.

AskMe #1516910 11/29/07 08:23 AM
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Luke 6:27-31 (NLT)
27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

These words were spoken by Jesus to all who are willing to listen. They are very similar in nature to the words recorded in Matthew chapter 5. Jesus tells everyone they should learn to love their enemies. They are to pray for those who have hurt them. In addition to the prayers there are also personal actions to be taken. The person is not seeking revenge against their enemies, but instead trying to do what is right to reconcile. They should examine themselves to understand what they would want to happen if the roles were reversed.

Norman Rockwell, an artist known for painting pictures depicting American life, included in his artwork a painting called “The Golden Rule”. The painting contains many people of varying ages from varying nationalities and cultures. They are all posed in very solemn, very reflective and prayerful poses. Included in the center of the painting are the words, “DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.” Rockwell was referring to the words spoken by Christ, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” He wanted to show most people could agree on this principle regardless of their religion, belief or culture. Christ said the words for all to hear. We should learn to forgive those who have hurt us and take steps to reconcile. We should not be bearers of grudges or hatred. Instead we should learn to forgive as God forgave us.

AskMe #1516911 11/30/07 07:23 AM
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Numbers 16:42-46 (NLT)
42 As the community gathered to protest against Moses and Aaron, they turned toward the Tabernacle and saw that the cloud had covered it, and the glorious presence of the Lord appeared. 43 Moses and Aaron came and stood in front of the Tabernacle, 44 and the Lord said to Moses, 45 “Get away from all these people so that I can instantly destroy them!” But Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground. 46 And Moses said to Aaron, “Quick, take an incense burner and place burning coals on it from the altar. Lay incense on it, and carry it out among the people to purify them and make them right with the Lord. The Lord’s anger is blazing against them—the plague has already begun.”

Korah, a son of a Levite, one of the priesthood, conspired with Dathan, Abriam and On. They incited a rebellion against Moses and led 250 other prominent men to oppose and challenge Moses’ authority. Moses told them it was not him they were rebelling against, but God. He asked Korah if it was insignificant Korah had been chosen to serve the Lord. But Korah and the others continued to challenge Moses and refused to move forward with him. God moved against these men and the ground swallowed them. Now others started protesting against Moses even after seeing God’s punishment and God’s presence around the Tabernacle. As a result people started to die from a plague. Moses prayed for them and sent Aaron to purify them, but 14,700 still died.

Romans 12:20-21 says, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” The world sometimes can be a hopeless place. The first time turning on the news in a large metropolitan city many people will be confronted with robbery, murders and many other heinous crimes. Most Christians know they cannot overcome evil alone, but instead must humbly trust in God and Christ. It is God who can take evil and turn it into something good. Joseph understood that as he said the following to his brothers who had sold him into slavery; “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” God is able to change lives and circumstances and bring good out of something started as evil. Therefore we must submit ourselves to the Lord. We must be willing as Moses did to fall before God and pray for those who might attack us. Our actions need to agree with our prayers in that we would reach out to extend God’s grace to those who have hurt us. Pray God would give you a spirit of mercy that you could reach out in grace as God has reached out to us.

AskMe #1516912 12/03/07 07:29 AM
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Lamentations 3:31-33 (NLT)
31 For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. 32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. 33 For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.

This chapter is a continuance of the two preceding chapters. Its poet style has changed from long verse to short verse. It reflects a sad complaint of God’s displeasure and the fruits of it. The Lord says the sufferer is not abandoned. Even though we may fallen, we have not become outcast. Whatever sorrow we are in the Lord has allotted and he is in control. And because God is in control we can be assured the sorrow that has been given us will only last for a portion of time.

The bible tells us that Satan is the prince of this world. In one of his parables Jesus said, “The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away.” Satan is ready to rob each of us of our joy in life. What Satan takes he wants to hold onto. Jesus said, “For when a strong man like Satan is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe—until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.” But because of Christ there is hope and the Lord promises us he will not abandon us forever. Zechariah had a vision of Jeshua as the Lord saw Jeshua with his sins. He said, “Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.” Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.” Then I said, “They should also place a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the Lord stood by. Then the angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here.” Filthy and dirty from the sins that had captured him; Jeshua was renewed and made clean by the Lord. What a great God we have who patiently waits to bring us back to Him.

AskMe #1516913 12/04/07 07:39 AM
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Romans 13:11-14 (NLT)
11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.

The apostle started chapter 13 of Romans by saying people should submit to the authority of those who govern and those who lead. Then he moved into other not to do, such as commit adultery, murder and theft. Then here in these verses he is urging believers to put aside their sins and refers to them as dirty clothes. Instead he encourages them to put on the shining armor of pure living and to eliminate the immoral living that causes them to be filthy.

When I was a teenager I worked in a gas station. Twice a week a garbage truck would come to the gas station and the men would get out and empty the waste containers. These men wore protective covers over their clothes. They came in contact with many things like grease, oil, and every imaginable thing that drips from a trash can. Their clothes were always soiled and I am sure they appreciated a good bath at the end of the day. The men were always friendly and would stop for a few minutes and talk to my boss. On hot days he would buy them something to drink, because he appreciated the hard work they did. One day a nicely dressed man in a suit came into the gas station asking my boss if he would cash a check. My boss looked at him and said I don’t cash checks for people I don’t know. The man quickly replied, you know who I am. I’m Ed the guy who comes in each week from Jones garbage to empty your waste cans. Because he had removed the filthy clothes he was usually wearing and had cleaned up and put on a suite it was as if he had become a new person to us. Like in Romans, strip off that which makes you filthy and dirty and clothe you with the presence of Jesus Christ and people will see someone different. They will see someone in shining armor living the good and right life. Let Christ transform you and remove the dirty sin from your life.

AskMe #1516914 12/06/07 08:15 AM
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Matthew 28:11-15 (NLT)
11 As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. 12 A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. 13 They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ 14 If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” 15 So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary had gone to the tomb of Jesus early Sunday morning after his crucifixion. A great earthquake took place and an angel appeared who rolled back the stone on the temple. The Roman soldiers guarding the tomb fell faint from fear. The women were told to go tell the others Jesus was raised from the dead. Some of the guards who had seen what took place went to the religious leaders. The leaders offered these guards a bribe to lie about what happened and they took the bribe. It became a wide spread story that the disciples came and stole the body of Jesus.

Years ago I was sitting at a stoplight waiting for it to turn green. As I looked up into my rearview mirror I saw a car about to ram into mine. The other car impacted and knocked me so hard the drink I had in my hand went flying into the dashboard. As I got out of the car to see what happened the man in the other car jumped out with a gallon of brake fluid and starting filling up his master brake cylinder. Then he turned to me and said he was sorry and wondered if I could just forget the accident. Looking at the back of my car it wasn’t going to be easy to forget with the rear smashed in. So I called the highway patrol to the dismay of the other person. When the office asked my story I said, “I was sitting at the traffic light waiting for it to turn green. I looked up in my rearview mirror just about the time he ran into me. I guess his car must have brake problems because he immediately jumped out and started filling the car up with brake fluid.” The officer said, “Now if the brakes are bad on that car we are going to have to tow it, so what is your story?” The other man said, “I thought his car was moving. The light was green so I assumed he wasn’t stopped, but as I got up close to him I saw he was stopped at a green light and I ran into him.” I was stunned. This man told a lie to keep from admitting to a brake problem and having his car towed. Relating to the verses above the guards changed their story to protect their interests. They lied to keep the truth silent. And because there were two stories some came to doubt the resurrection of Christ, while others believed fully with their hearts. But the truth of the evidence was still there for anyone who would have believed to look.

AskMe #1516915 12/07/07 07:46 AM
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Colossians 1:6 (NLT)
6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.

There is great mercy in hearing the news of the salvation that came through Jesus Christ. It was Christ who commanded us to go out into the world and tell others of His love. The Good news provides the hope waiting in heaven, but also provides for grace and mercy here on earth.

Zack Hunter was a student at Christian Fellowship School in Virginia when he started to raise awareness of slavery that existed in the world. In seventh grade, he along with his church youth group and fellow students raised $8,500 to assist those who had been oppressed. Zach started a program called Loose Change for Loose Chains. He began to educate others about the slavery and oppression that exists in other parts of the world. Now at 16 he is actively speaking to groups, has written a book on the subject and is motivating others to aid in this cause to free those who are bound. Zack’s book Be the Change: Your Guide to Freeing Slaves and Changing the World points out how there is more slavery in the world now than any other point history. Zack has gained support from others such as the Christian music artists like Jon Foreman and Leeland Mooring. Zack is actively trying to spread the love of Christ through his actions around the world. There is Good News in the salvation of Christ. It frees us from the bounds of sin here in this world. And it allows us to free others who are bound in oppression throughout the world. Pray for Zack’s efforts and that he will have an impact on the world.

AskMe #1516916 12/10/07 07:54 AM
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Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT)
6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

God who has the power and capability has said he will preserve the throne of David until the Prince of Peace is seated there to rule. And in these verses Isaiah expresses the birth of Christ, who is a wonderful counselor, Mighty God himself, everlasting Father of all creation and the one who brings peace to all. God’s desire is to advance the kingdom of Christ among all.

The Olde English word for Christmas is Cristes Maesse, which means The Mass of Christ. The word has been noted back to 1038. There were feasts dating back to 200 A.D. in celebration of Christ’s birth. Throughout history in the cities of Alexandria, Cyprus, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Asia Minor, Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, Rome, there were notations of the celebration of Christ although celebration dates varied from one area to another. As history is explored there are many traditions that created themselves along with the celebration of the birth of Christ. Some pagan customs which were centered on other traditions migrated to those of a celebration of Christmas. Hand written cards and presents became part of the tradition of remembering Christ. The Christmas trees developed out of celebrations which included greenery. The first noted Christmas Tree was in Strasburg in 1605. But no matter where the origin, no matter how the event was first celebrated, the celebrations were born to commemorate the birth of Christ into this world. Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, Christmas Trees, Christmas meals, all of those were put in place to recognize Christ and the miraculous birth which took place. There may be some who try to remove Christ from Christmas. They may try to remove traditions which have become a part of the celebration. But Isaiah reminds us the passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will preserved the throne of David through Christ and His kingdom will be established. Remember what Christ has done for you and give Him Honor, Praise and Glory this Christmas.

AskMe #1516917 12/11/07 08:10 AM
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Proverbs 11:1 (NLT)
11:1 The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights.

God extends His righteousness towards men. Therefore those who take righteousness to heart and spread it to other men are following God’s desire. In His holiness, fraudulent practices, dishonesty in dealing with others, and deceitfulness are abominations to God. We find in the verse above that God detests those who try to deceive others for their own profit and gain. When it comes to money men often justify their decisions because of their love of money. But God wants it understood that stealing from another by dishonesty is a sin. He delights instead in those who use fairness and equality of trades.

In many court rooms around our nation are modern day statues of Lady Justice. She is blindfolded to indicate justice should be dealt with fairly and objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, power or weakness. Lady Justice also holds a double edged sword in her right hand representing the power of reason and justice. The double edge sword can be swung in two directions either for or against the parties present. In her left hand is a set of evenly balanced scales with which the strengths of support are weighted against those of opposition. There is justice and rightness in fair scales that weight correctly. God wants us to see that we must always be just and fair. The balance scales are not only used in ways that affect us monetarily, but also affect the circumstances of our life. Pray men would be righteous and just in dealing with all people. Pray God’s righteousness would be extended to others throughout the world.

AskMe #1516918 12/13/07 08:31 AM
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Matthew 1:18-21 (NLT)
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. 20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

This is the beginning of the story of the birth of Jesus. Mary was espoused to Joseph when she conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit. Being a good man Joseph was going to quietly send Mary away so she would not be humiliated or stoned as they would in those days for such a sin. But God appeared to Joseph and told him to go through with the marriage for a son would be born that would be The Savior of the world.

Can you imagine the turmoil Joseph must have felt when he found out Mary was pregnant? We are talking about a time in history where the woman would have been considered a harlot and stoned to death had Joseph rejected her. This was Joseph’s bride to be. This was the woman he was contracted to marry. He had faith and trust in Mary and suddenly that faith and trust were being called into question. Most of the religious people would have been ready to punish Mary. They would have spoken out about her pregnancy, and called her morality into question. And Joseph being one to follow the law could have easily done the same. But Joseph was willing to forgive, have mercy and quietly send Mary away where she would be safe. Joseph had taken the matter as far as he could in his own mind. Then God intervened and spoke to Joseph. Because Joseph had his heart open to doing the right thing, God was able to work in Joseph’s life and direct him on a path to follow. God reminded Joseph he was a descendant of David and gave him hope in a son who would save the people from their sins. Jesus became the “son of a carpenter” and not the son of a harlot because Joseph was willing to listen to God.

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Proverbs 14:29 (NLT)
29 People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.

A mild patient man is to be counted as one with intelligence and wisdom. They understand how to express themselves and keep emotions under control. But there are some who are provoked at the simplest spark of provocation. Their anger flares as they attempt to place fear in others and stand in awe of themselves. But the hot tempered person is only fooling themselves because instead of others standing in awe they come to distrust, and not respect the individual.

There was a great Super Bowl commercial where a man walked into a convenience store talking on his cell phone. Oblivious to the rest of the world the man continued to talk back and forth on the phone as he approached the clerks behind the cash register. As the man continued his cell phone conversation he blurted out “YOUR GETTING ROBBED” in response to something said on the other end of the cell phone. Upon hearing that statement the clerks pulled out cans of pepper spray and started to attack the man talking on the phone. They lost their cool because they thought they were being robbed. They reacted to emotion instead of understanding the situation taking place. If they had taken the time to think about the man talking on the cell phone they could have realized it was a part of his conversation that they misinterpreted. But how often do we misinterpret things because we don’t take the time to understand. How often will we react in anger before we grasp the feelings of the other person? Pray for understanding that you may control your response to anger. Pray God will help you to be slow to react, slow to speak, and fast to understand.

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2 Timothy 3:1-9
1 Here is what I want you to know. There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will love themselves. They will love money. They will brag and be proud. They will tear others down. They will not obey their parents. They won't be thankful or holy. 3 They won't love others. They won't forgive others. They will tell lies about people. They will be out of control. They will be wild. They will hate what is good. 4 They will turn against their friends. They will act without thinking. They will think they are better than others. They will love what pleases them instead of loving God. 5 They will act as if they were serving God. But what they do will show that they have turned their backs on God's power. Have nothing to do with those people. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into the homes of silly women. They get control over them. Women like that are loaded down with sins. They give in to all kinds of evil longings. 7 They are always learning. But they never come to know the truth. 8 Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. In the same way, the teachers I'm talking about oppose the truth. Their minds are twisted. As far as the faith is concerned, God doesn't accept them. 9 They won't get very far. Just like Jannes and Jambres, their foolish ways will be clear to everyone.

As Paul writes to Timothy he wants him to know that it is not strange to find those committing sin within the confines of the church. The gospel is thrown like a net unto fish and it pulls in with it all kinds of life. Some give their lives to the gospel, while others pull away to escape. Jesus taught even when gold is found it also contains dross which must be burnt off. He even talked about the chaff among the wheat of the harvest floor. Many may enter into a church, some will be changed, some will start to listen and one day accept what they hear and there will be others who act as though they are serving God, but they are serving themselves.

As Christmas approaches think about who you are serving. Are you trying to do what pleases God or are you trying to bring joy to yourself. Seek out the truth of the birth of Christ and why he came into the world. Pray God would show you what is right and just. Pray for those who need His healing to be upon their lives. And pray that you can discern the truth and know right from wrong. May your Christmas be blessed in all ways.

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Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)
14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

God proclaimed a sign through Isaiah that a child will be born to a virgin woman. It is a sign of divine power and divine purity. The child is to be an extraordinary person and given the name Immanuel to represent God is with us. God came to us, lived at peace with us and formed a covenant of salvation with us. And although this sign took place 500 years later it showed God’s mercy, His love, and His faithfulness to fulfill a promise. For if God had not been with us He could not have been Jesus, a savior and blessing to many.

Isaiah 7:14 is a verse that joins Jewish tradition and Christian beliefs, but also causes a point of contention. Christians see this verse as the prophecy of Christ, which was fulfilled through Mary. Others of Jewish belief find the Old Testament translation lacking in its explicit meaning. The translation for some means a young woman of marrying age as opposed to a virgin who would have an immaculate conception. They content the Hebrew word bethulah should have been used if this verse were truly referring to a virgin. However, Matthew clearly writes about Christ and makes reference to this same verse in Isaiah, “As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.” Later in Jesus’ life he asked the disciples an important question, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” The question for us is who do we say Jesus is? Is He our savior, our God, our hope or just an ordinary person?

AskMe #1516922 01/02/08 07:22 AM
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Genesis 8:15-22 (NLT)
15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Leave the boat, all of you—you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. 17 Release all the animals—the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth.” 18 So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. 19 And all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat, pair by pair. 20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose. 21 And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. 22 As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

Noah has waited on God for Him to say leave the boat. Then the Lord gave Noah a vision for the world that the animals would be released and man and animal would once again populate the world. Knowing all life had been extinguished on earth Noah willingly offered a sacrifice from the animals that had been set aside for such purpose. Some men may have feared to give up these animals lest they not eat, but Noah trusted God to provide for his needs. Noah and his family had been on the boat for a long period and God had taken care of him and his family from the time they had boarded. Now was a time to continue that trust and show appreciation to God.

It Genesis 8:13 it says, “Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the New Year, ten and a half months after the flood began; the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying.” Noah saw hope in the New Year that had come. He saw God fulfilling His promise to care for Noah and his family. The New Year was the beginning of new life and world to spring forth once again. As this New Year begins remembers the blessings of God and look forward to the hope He brings. May each person be blessed as the Lord works in the lives of His people.

AskMe #1516923 01/03/08 06:49 AM
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Matthew 6:25 -34 (NLT)
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Jesus gives these words to His disciples. In them He points out the things in this life that are disheartening, disquieting, distracting and distrustful. Jesus wants the disciples to think about where their treasure and their hearts lie. Is it here with the earth or is it with the heavenly realm of God.

Those who have taken time management courses learn some key principles to managing time more effectively. Some of those principles are: lay out a solid plan for your life; focus on each day and what needs to be accomplished; don’t be discouraged, but look for the positives in your accomplishments. God already has that kind of plan for us. He wants us to have a solid, Christ like life focusing on the eternity of heaven, but living here in the moment on earth. Jesus tells us not to worry about others days yet to come, but focus on today and what God will provide. For instance the Israelites had to gather manna each day to eat while they were in the wilderness. Every day there was enough and every day their need was met. So we must live today doing what we need to do, putting aside the fears of the future. And we must always remember God will take care of us if our hearts are with Him. For our treasure and our hope is in the eternity of life with Christ in heaven.

AskMe #1516924 01/04/08 06:21 AM
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Proverbs 4:14-16 (NLT)
14 Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers. 15 Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way. Turn away and keep moving. 16 For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day. They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble.

As Solomon reflects on the words of his father King David, he cautions about the path of the wicked. Previously Solomon has said wisdom is the path to seek and to follow. One must take heed to avoid the ways of sin and everything that leads in the direction of sin. His words of caution are to stay clear of those committing evil for fear of falling into sin ourselves.

Job 22:26-30 says, “Then you will take delight in the Almighty and look up to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him. You will succeed in whatever you choose to do, and light will shine on the road ahead of you. If people are in trouble and you say, ‘Help them,’ God will save them. Even sinners will be rescued; they will be rescued because your hands are pure.” These words go well with the Wisdom of Solomon. As we take delight in God and take His word to heart, and we fellowship with God through prayer; we find ourselves wanting to do as the Lord has asked. We become a reflection of the light of God. Our deeds reach out to others; those who need help and those who are in sin. Keeping away from sin keeps our hands pure and as we walk in righteousness others can be rescued from sin. We must heed Solomon’s warning not to walk in the way of the wicked or we will fail to lead others from sin. Ask God that you might walk in purity and holiness. Ask that you would succeed in following the path of wisdom and righteousness, always avoiding the temptations of evil.

AskMe #1516925 01/07/08 07:10 AM
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2 Peter 2:4-9 (NLT)
4 For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into ******, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. 5 And God did not spare the ancient world—except for Noah and the seven others in his family. Noah warned the world of God’s righteous judgment. So God protected Noah when he destroyed the world of ungodly people with a vast flood. 6 Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. 7 But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. 8 Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. 9 So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.

Simon Peter writes these words of truth and encouragement. He states God did not spare the angels who sinned and followed Satan’s path. Nor did he spare the men of the world who had totally turned away from God. Water removed all those but Noah; and fire removed all those from Sodom and Gomorrah except Lot. These men and their families were saved because of their righteousness; while others fell because of their total wickedness against God.

Romans 5:19 says, “Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.” The bible tells us one person brought sin upon us. The sin has been carried forward from generation to generation. And while there have been righteous men who have endured and fought against the temptations of sin, only one man, Jesus Christ was without sin. No one has ever been able to live a holy and righteous life, without sin, without flaw, other than Jesus Christ. Because God had a plan of Salvation, which he promised to Abraham, and to King David; He fulfilled that promise through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The verse from Romans says many will be made righteous because of Christ. It has been the righteousness of some men who have preserved others. Even when Abraham pleaded with God over saving Sodom and Gomorrah, he asked God if righteous men could be found would He spare the cities. God replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.” But there were not 10 righteous men in either of the cities. Pray that you may be able to live a righteous and holy life. Ask God to keep you from temptation and ask that you might be able to lead others from sin.

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Proverbs 8:1-2 (NLT)
1 Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice! 2 On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads.

The Hebrew word for wisdom in these verses means, skilled in war, wise in administration, shrewdness, prudence in religious affairs, wise of ethical and religious values. It is a word that shows belief towards God and His values. The proverb says WISDOM takes a stand where all paths cross. Wisdom is there calling out to those who will listen as they make their choices of the pathway they will choose to head down.

In the poem the ROAD LESS TRAVELED by Robert Frost he writes, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both, and be one traveler, long I stood, and looked down one as far as I could.” In life we all come to a place of decision. We stand at an intersection sometimes looking multiple directions at a time. But we must decide on one direction to take. We try to look as far ahead as we can, hoping for a glimmer of something to tell us which way to go. Some ways seem more appealing and more frequently traveled. Other ways may be safer, but more difficult to follow. As Robert Frost pointed out in his famous poem, “Yet, knowing how way leads onto way, I doubted if I should ever come back”. Sometimes there is no turning back once we have chosen a road to follow. The road may lead one way with no hope of return. Therefore we must choose wisely the way we will travel. We must listen to the reason of wisdom as Wisdom calls out at the intersection of life. Choose this way, Wisdom says. Follow me and I will lead you safely through the journey of life. Listen to God’s wisdom. Listen as His words speak out to you telling you which paths to follow. Give praise to God who leads us forward.

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