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AskMe #2124628 09/10/08 06:49 AM
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Psalm 18:30-36 (NLT)
30 God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. 31 For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? 32 God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. 33 He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. 34 He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. 35 You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. 36 You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.

God, known as Jehovah, was the author of creation and continues to perfect it. God perfected the path for David to follow and gave him solid ground to walk upon. Man is not perfect, so God made life’s path wide enough to keep David from slipping. God is the one who strengthens him and reassures him of the victory that is ahead. God is a shield against the sin that comes at man and He is there to support us when there is a need for help.

The apostle James made this observation, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” In other words we can’t even control the words that come out of our mouths, much less our actions; for if we could do so we could become perfect on our own. But God has a plan to perfect our lives. The apostle James said also, “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” God tests our faith through trials in life. While each trial may bring suffering, tests of faith, annoyances, or even painful experiences; God strengthens us and teaches us how to depend on Him. Like a runner who runs each day to run greater and farther distances; our trials strength and make us more perfect as we lean on God. Our Lord is a solid rock. His feet are planted firmly in perfection and our Lord is our shield to victory. David knew this when he said, “You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great.” Believe and trust in God for He wants to make your life a life of victory.

AskMe #2125362 09/11/08 07:20 AM
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Revelation 2:2-5 (NLT)
2 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. 4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! 5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.

The apostle John writes according to God’s command about the current state of the church of Ephesus. There are commendations given for the good work they have done and then a rebuke for those areas they have neglected, fallen short in or have turned away from. Ephesus did not tolerate evil and they closely examined the claims of those who tried to say they were apostles of Christ, but were not. The rebuke to the church was their falling away from Christ and the values they had in the beginning of their relationship with Christ. They were beseeched to repent and return back to their love for Christ.

The book of revelation revealed the church of Ephesus had not tolerated evil people. They had no tolerance for those who performed evil against God’s word. In the world we live in today there is a continual push for tolerance. There are organizations which promote teaching tolerance. The apologist Josh McDowell realized how engrained tolerance was in our education system when he asked his son, a senior in high school, what absolute truth he had learned. The response from his son was “tolerance”. Tolerance is being preached in the school, in the media, and from our government officials. Tolerance meant to simply recognize and respect others beliefs or practices without the necessity of agreeing with them. Today the definition of tolerance leans more towards not only does everyone have a right to their beliefs, but their beliefs are equal in value to all other beliefs. The apostle Peter told us, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” There is a difference between extending God’s love to others and tolerating every new belief to the point of acceptance. The Church of Ephesus did not tolerate evil in it’s beginning, but it had started to slip towards the tolerance of acceptance. Tolerance says I must approve of what you do; love says I will do something more difficult by loving you even when you behavior offends me. Tolerance says, you must allow me to have my way; while love says I will do something that is harder and plead with you to follow what is right because I think you are worth it. Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive; love takes risks to the point of being offensive. Tolerance glorifies division; love seeks unity. Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Are you a person who loves or a person who tolerates?

AskMe #2126137 09/12/08 09:28 AM
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Colossians 4:12-13 (NLT)
12 Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. 13 I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

The apostle Paul writes about Epaphras, a member of the church of Colossae. Paul says Epaphras sends his greetings and that he is always earnestly praying for those in the church. Then Paul mentions what Epaphras prays for: that God will make them strong; that God will make the perfect; and that God will make them confident they are following God’s will. Paul even says that he prays hard for them and for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

Our desire in life should be to stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. It should also be our desire, as it was Epaphras’s, that others follow the will of God. And we should be willing to pray diligently and earnestly to understand God’s will for our life and also pray for others that God’s will may be done in their lives. Recently the news has been creating controversy over Governor Palin saying she wanted to see God’s will done. In an interview with Charley Gibson, Palin rebuted, “But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's words when he said -- first, he suggested never presume to know what God's will is, and I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side. That's what that comment was all about, Charlie.” And that is what we want to ensure when it comes to God’s will. We want to pray to understand what God would have us to do and not act out of our own will. God is a loving, gracious, and merciful God. To know God and His will means we know who to correctly show our love, mercy and grace to others because we understand how God wants to do the same. We can’t assume what God wants, nor can we make judgment for Him. But to know God’s desire is to know the path for our life.

AskMe #2128707 09/17/08 06:18 AM
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Ezekiel 44:10-14 (NLT)
10 And the men of the tribe of Levi who abandoned me when Israel strayed away from me to worship idols must bear the consequences of their unfaithfulness. 11 They may still be Temple guards and gatekeepers, and they may slaughter the animals brought for burnt offerings and be present to help the people. 12 But they encouraged my people to worship idols, causing Israel to fall into deep sin. So I have taken a solemn oath that they must bear the consequences for their sins, says the Sovereign Lord. 13 They may not approach me to minister as priests. They may not touch any of my holy things or the holy offerings, for they must bear the shame of all the detestable sins they have committed. 14 They are to serve as the Temple caretakers, taking charge of the maintenance work and performing general duties.

In this chapter of Ezekiel he is brought once again to survey that which he has looked at before. It is a lesson we should learn to continuously review what God puts in front of us over and over again. Here we find a reproof send to the men who had served God but had fallen away. God says they must bear the consequences of their unfaithfulness. Their position of rank has changed and they are not longer able to minister as priests to God. They are requited to server the Temple caretakers, so they are not excluded, but instead can witness how others perform their duties before the Lord.

The Greek words nasa’ and ‘avon together indicate the consequences the Levites were to carry. The words literally mean to carry and continuously bare their perversity, depravity, shame, iniquity, and guilt as a consequence of their actions. God is more than willing to forgive our sins. In fact God still allowed the Levites to serve in the temple, but instead of being the leaders they became servants to others so they may once again learn how to carry out the duties of the Lord. So while God does forgive sin; there are still earthly consequences for our failures. A popular TV game show that ran from 1941-1988 was called Truth or Consequences. The object of the game was to answer a given question correctly or face the consequences of having to perform a zany embarrassing stunt. Ralph Edwards the creator of the show said, “From the start most contestants preferred to answer the question wrong in order to perform the stunt.” While the show had its humor if God told you there would be consequences for disobeying His commands, would you try to do things wrong to face the consequences or would you try your best to do what was right? Well the truth is the Bible does tell us there are consequences for sin, some which even bring death. Yet we continue on as though we would rather chance the consequences instead of following. Consequences can be devastating, so meditate on God’s word that you might know what is right and just to do.

AskMe #2129287 09/18/08 06:17 AM
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Genesis 15:4-6 (NLT)
4 Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” 5 Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” 6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

The Lord told Abraham he will be greatly blessed, but Abraham has a concern his possessions will not be passed on because he does not have a son. In chapter 12 of Genesis it indicates Abraham was 75 as he set out on his journey and even more time had passed. But the Lord tells him that he will have a son and as many descendants as there are stars before him in the sky. It then says Abraham believed the Lord and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

The apostle Paul says in Romans, “Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? 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. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” In other words having faith in the promises of God and following those promises makes us righteous. Attempting good deeds on our own, trying to find our own way of pleasing God is not what God desires. God desires we believe and trust in Him to the point we are willing to go wherever He says go and do what He says do. The apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” God has a plan for our lives and that plan includes salvation that came through the death of Jesus Christ. Have faith in God. Trust God loves you and has your best interest at heart even when times seem difficult. The apostle Paul struggled through life. He said, “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Have faith in God and let the grace of Christ work through you.

AskMe #2129725 09/19/08 07:23 AM
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Revelation 3:20-21 (NLT)
20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.

In these verses of Revelation, Jesus gives John a message for the Christians of the church of Laodicea. He tells them He knocks at the door of their heart and if they open themselves up He comes and has fellowship with them. Christ is expressing His love for those He loves even when they sin. Having a meal with someone was an intimate way to get to know them and talk about life. Christ wants to know what is going on in the lives of those He died for. For those who are victorious He even invites them to sit with Him on His throne, just as God placed Him at God’s right hand.

The Toys for Tots program has a mission statement that says, “The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.” Surprisingly the Toys for Tots program initially rejected 4,000 new packaged toys heading into the 2006 Christmas season. The toys rejected were battery-operated, talking representations of Jesus Christ. According to the website of the dolls' manufacturer, One2Believe, the button-activated, bearded Talking Jesus doll is dressed in hand-sewn cloth outfits and sandals. It also recites Scripture verses, such as, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again" and "Love your neighbor as yourself." The vice president of the Toys for Tots program, said the charity chose to reject the dolls. As a government entity, the Marines "don't profess one religion over another. We can't take a chance on sending a Talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family." It seems they forgot these were Christmas presents. The Marines took a public-relations hit from both Christian and secular organizations after the Daily News reported that the toy charity had rejected a donation of 4,000 battery-operated Jesus, Virgin Mary, David, Moses and Esther dolls for its holiday giveaway. Later on the Toys for Tots website they posted, "The talking Jesus doll issue has been resolved "Toys for Tots has found appropriate places for these items. We have notified the donor of our willingness to handle this transaction." Jesus said, “But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels.” Always be ready to open your heart to Christ when the opportunity knocks.

AskMe #2130760 09/22/08 05:56 AM
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Acts 12:20-23 (NLT)
20 Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they sent a delegation to make peace with him because their cities were dependent upon Herod’s country for food. The delegates won the support of Blastus, Herod’s personal assistant, 21 and an appointment with Herod was granted. When the day arrived, Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to them. 22 The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!” 23 Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died.

Herod Agrippa reigned as the King of Judea. He had imprisoned the Apostle Peter and had beheaded the Apostle James who was the brother of John. Here in these verses we find the people of Tyre and Sidon sending a peace delegation to Herod to make a request for food. They had won the favor of Herod’s personal assistant and were granted an appointment. The people listened to his eloquent speach and looked upon the splendor of Herod’s clothing. They yelled out that he must be a god and not a man. It was at that point an angel of the Lord struck Herod with an illness and he died.

Many of you may have been recently impacted by the shortage of gasoline at your local gas stations. Yesterday before my son could get his truck back to a place we saw open they had already ran out of gas and closed down. I took a spare can of gas and probably drove for 40 minutes before finding a station open selling gas. Cars were backed up out into the street waiting for their chance at the pumps. This country needs to be careful that its dependence for oil does not turn into a situation like those of Tyre and Sidon. They were so dependent upon Herod for food they were willing to look up to him as a god. We need to remember to look towards the true God to meet our needs. We need to be in prayer for our country that God will lead us in the right direction to find the alternatives we need. And we should never bow to another as god just because they hold what we need.

AskMe #2131197 09/23/08 06:07 AM
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Psalm 119:116-118 (NLT)
116 Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed. 117 Sustain me, and I will be rescued; then I will meditate continually on your decrees. 118 But you have rejected all who stray from your decrees.They are only fooling themselves.

King David prays for the sustaining grace that is sufficient to carry him through life. David is at a turning point in life where he needs the comfort of the Lord. He looks to God to keep Him from failing and to keep him from tiring against the evil which wants to crush his spirit. He pleads for God’s intercession in his life that God will fill him with what he needs to survive. Then he acknowledges that those who fall away from God to other hopes are only fooling themselves.

What is it in life that you have placed your hope in? In other words, where do you run when times get tough and you feel there is no hope just as David felt? Many find their comfort in the pleasures of the world. They think if I could just have this one thing it would bring happiness into my life. I remember my daughter saying, I would be happy if I could just have a dog. Well she has a dog, but happiness did not come with it. There are others who think if I could be successful in my job and obtain all the things I want; then life would be good. But what those people find at the end of life’s journet is they have given up time with family, lost time with friends and have ignored the Lord. Some seek out other ways to sustain their lives when hope seems to be lost. They turn to drugs, alcohol or other pleasures of this world. As David’s son King Solomon noted everything is vanity and does not satisfy what we are was looking for. He said in Ecclesiastes, “I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind. What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.” There is only one secure place for your hope in life and that is in God. So as you look for things to fill the voids in your life remember God who can fill all your needs. And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

AskMe #2131825 09/24/08 06:11 AM
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Ephesians 3:8-11 (NLT)
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.

The Apostle Paul is writing to the Ephesians explaining the purpose in life God gave to him. Paul said he had the privilege of telling the Gentiles about Christ and the wondrous treasures Christ brings into our lives. He explains how God had this purpose planned out. It was to use the church to show God’s wisdom and glory to all those who abide in the heavenly places. This eternal plan He carried out through His son Jesus Christ.

During World War II one of the most inspiring events was not a battle, but a retreat. In June of 1940, from the northern beaches around Dunkirk France 338,682 men were evacuated. Two thirds of them were British troops while the other third were allied soldiers. Winston Churchill called it a “miracle of deliverance”. These men were surrounded by Hitler’s army, pushed back to the ocean and facing certain death or capture. The large battleships were unable to come close enough to rescue these men. Their defeat would mean the overrun of England by the Germans. Suddenly there appeared a fleet of the most unlikely rescuers. From the streams of Kent and Dover appeared trawlers, tug boats, scows, fishing boats, lifeboats, pleasure craft, coasters, ferries and other various crafts all manned by civilian volunteers. This strange ragtag armada ferried thousands of men to the destroyers which could not enter the shallow waters. Each unusual vessel was able to fulfill the purpose of rescuing these men. Think about this in reference to the church. God has pulled together various people, some weak, some limited, some strong, some very different from others to carry out His purpose of salvation. We should never underestimate the purpose which God has given the church. Like the unusual armada that rescued the soldiers the diversity of the church is able to step out and rescue many who are backed up against sin. We all are like the civilian volunteers, we are a part of the purpose to rescue others from the hands of Satan.

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Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NLT)
17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

Throughout Habakkuk there is a correspondence between God and his prophet. Habakkuk In the first chapter spoke to God and God spoke back; then he to God again. In the second chapter God spoke wholly to Habakkuk by the Spirit of prophecy; now, in this chapter, he speaks wholly to God by the Spirit of prayer, for Habakkuk did not want his conversation with God to end. In these verses we find Habakkuk saying no matter what bad circumstances might come his way he will still find joy in God who grants him salvation. We can find joy in the moments of our greatest distresses because our salvation cannot be hindered and we move closer to God.


In the final years of my wife’s grandmother’s life she fell ill to a stroke and heart attack. She was a Christian who looked forward to the day when she could be with the Lord. During one of her attacks the doctors revived her and brought her back from a near state of death. As she looked up at the doctors she said, “I was this close to being with Jesus in heaven and you had to bring me back.” She was ready to be with the Lord and looked forward to an eternal life with him. Through her final days she suffered with poor circulation which caused terrible pain. She became unable to eat and even drinking water was difficult. But she continued to hold onto the hope of being with the Lord, which is where I believe she is today. Terrible distresses may come our way, but they only place us closer to God. There is great hope and joy in the salvation the Lord provides. Like Habakkuk always be joyful over that hope.

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Proverbs 30:3 (NLT)
1 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. 2 I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. 3 I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.

This proverb is a reflection on one’s own inadequacies. The person says they are weary and worn out. They say how can there be a God when they look at their own humanity and find themselves not feeling much more than an animal that lacks wisdom and the knowledge of God.

I understand being weary and worn out. This past week our company migrated another company’s computer system into our computer system. It was a year of planning and a weekend of hard work to get everything accomplished. After working from Saturday night at 7pm until Monday midnight , then back again Monday at 6am and staying to 7pm; I realized just how weary and worn out I can be. But the good part about my life is I understand the remaining words in proverbs where it says in verse 5, “Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.” Even in my weariness I leaned on God and Christ and they were a comfort as they always are. I was too tired to even to sleep; so I prayed for others until the Lord brought sweet sleep. Be glad to know God is a shield of protection to us and He comforts us in our worn out states. And for those who do not know God and Christ pray they may know their love, comfort and grace.

AskMe #2134650 10/01/08 06:22 AM
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1 Corinthians 15:24-28 (NLT)
24 After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. 25 For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. 26 And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) 28 Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.

The Old Testament helps us to understand what is to come in the New Testament. In Genesis Joseph is sold into slavery where he is treated unfairly, yet he continues to do what is right. Later in Genesis the Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” Joseph was not the ruler, nor could he override the Pharaoh, but in every other way he was in control over all things in Egypt. Christ has been given the authority and power over all things earthly and heavenly. There is nothing that is not under the authority of Christ. Most important death with be destroyed and man will live be able to live eternally as God had planned.

In this world evil has highly exalted itself. The force behind the continuance of evil is Satan who is vastly superior in his capability and abilities to mankind. He became proud of his own superior abilities and led other angels with him away from the rule of God. 1 Timothy 3:6 mentions this pride, “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” Pride and arrogance of his superiority and mighty abilities God Himself had given to Satan was Satan’s undoing. After being cast down from heaven he highly exalted himself here on this earth. Through temptation, Satan lured the original parents of this world to sin and God had to move them away from an eternity of life in sin. The result was death for man. Satan and the fallen angels were able to lead the world into corruption; a corruption so universal and extreme that God sent flood waters against the earth leaving only Noah and his family. When Christ came he warned of Satan’s temptations. Christ himself was tempted by Satan, but refused to fall away from the love of His Father God. Yet he was betrayed by one of his own disciples and denied by one who dearly loved Him. With sin came guilt. Its power was to hold one captive to sin; to make one feel unworthy; and to believe there could be no forgiveness from God himself. Christ wanted to make know the forgiveness and salvation of God. Christ endured the misery, the torture, the unfair treatment and even death. Christ won out over death and lives with the Father with all the power and authority of the Father. Because of Christ’s authority over death, we too can have eternal life with Christ.

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Matthew 7:1-6 (NLT)
1 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. 3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. 6 “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

Christ points out that we should not act as magistrates over others. It is not for us to assume authority which is not ours for we would not allow authority over us from someone who is not appointed to do so. When one judges outside of their authority they can expect others to judge them in return outside of their authority. There is allowance for reproof or pointing out of a fault when we have learned to search out our own sins and make corrections in our own lives. We can then share our experiences of overcoming sin to help others overcome their own. Christ points out there are those who we would waste time with trying to help when they must first turn their lives over to Christ. Christ was always tender to those he reproved and we should also act accordingly.

Perhaps you have read or seen the movie Charlotte’s web. In the story is a pig named Wilbur who is scared about the end of the season because he has come to realize he might become the meal on the dinner table. Wanting to help Wilbur and make sure this does not happen Charlotte spins webs with messages calling attention to the pig’s virtues. Spun into the webs were messages like Outstanding Pig, Wonderful Pig, and Radiant Pig. These messages brighten up Wilbur and brought attention to the possibility this was a pig worth keeping. Our words to others should be like the words of Charlotte. Our words should lift up the spirits of others. We should identify with others and realize they sin just as we too sin. Our words should provide the encouragement to do the right things. We can point out faults, but we do it in a way that is positive and brings about restoration. We should not be quick to judge the actions of others because we too may find ourselves in a place of judgment. Which is more encouraging to you? Words of condemnation or words of encouragement on how to move forward and do what is right.

AskMe #2135947 10/03/08 07:22 AM
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1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NLT)
13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. 15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.

The apostle Paul writes to the Thessalonians regarding the hope of the resurrection. There may be times we grieve the loss of someone close to us; but even in our grief we have the hope of being rejoined with them. Christ died and was raised back to life to give us an example of what we have to look forward to. The hope we have in Christ is a comfort we can depend upon, an encouragement to our faith so that we can be an encouragement to others.

The reverend Billy Graham witnessed death along his journey of being an evangelist. Often he comforted others who lost loved ones. When his wife Ruth Graham died, Billy Graham said, “No matter how prepared you think you are for the death of a loved one, it still comes as a shock, and it still hurts very deeply.” Graham realized a special part of him had been taken away when Ruth died, but it gave him a new compassion for those who mourn the loss of a loved one. . "Over the years I've seen people lose a spouse and then withdraw and lose interest in life," he says, "and I believe we need to resist that." But it has become clear that a man who spent his life teaching people how to live is now in a position to show people how to die, with hope for an eternal kingdom that is no longer a theological abstraction to him. Heaven is where Ruth is. "Someday soon I will join her," he says. "Most of all, I take comfort in the hope we can have of eternal life in Heaven because of Christ's death and resurrection for us. I've preached this message almost all my life, and it means more to me now than ever before." Isn’t it good to know we can have eternal life through Jesus Christ and be reunited with those we have loved.

AskMe #2137415 10/06/08 06:43 AM
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Romans 3:9:20 (NLT)
9 Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. 10 As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. 11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. 12 All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” 13 “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “They rush to commit murder. 16 Destruction and misery always follow them. 17 They don’t know where to find peace.” 18 “They have no fear of God at all.”19 Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. 20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

The apostle Paul explains that all have sinned. The Jews are not better than the Gentiles; or the Gentiles better than the Jews. Paul then quotes the scriptures to say there are none who are righteous. The law was given to show the entire world is guilty before God. Paul says no one can ever be made right with God doing what the law commands for it is just a mirror to reflect our sin.

Many of us are familiar with Adolf Hitler and the atrocities he ordered to be carried out. Needless to say many of the things done were horrendous, inexcusable, and horrific. What some might not know is that Hitler was raised by Roman Catholic parents. Hitler even professed a faith in Jesus Christ and gave praise to Germany’s Christian culture. Hitler took Christianity and twisted it to meet his needs. He used Christianity as a motivational reason for anti-Semitism. Hitler often gave statements related to his belief in Christianity, “As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for justice and truth.” “May God Almighty give our work His blessing, strengthen our purpose, and endow us with wisdom and the trust of our people, for we are fighting not for ourselves but for Germany.” “The judgment whether a people are virtuous or not virtuous can hardly be passed by a human being. That should be left to God.” It is hard to believe a man who committed atrocities that left a mark on humanity could even be a Christian. There are those who have their doubts based on the observation of Hitler’s life. But what if someone was reviewing our life? Would if they took all of God’s laws would they find us guilty of many wrongful acts? Galatians says when you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Are there any of these sins you might be guilty of? We can thank God for the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Therefore those of us who hold Christ as our savior are not held by the laws of sin. By God’s love, grace and mercy the work of the Holy Spirit living in us we can bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

AskMe #2138575 10/08/08 06:15 AM
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Psalm 118:5-9 (NLT)
5 In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. 6 The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? 7 Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people. 9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

King David starts Psalm 118 by saying, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” David understands God has always been there with him, loving him, and watching over him as he endured the storms of life. David often prayed in his times of need and he acknowledges God answered him and took care of him. He continues with his praise of God knowing it is better to trust in God than to trust men or even powerful men. David had been thrown onto the battlefield of life and God saw him through it.

Our lives are a journey. We each walk down a road of purpose God has laid out before us. As we walk down that road we may find ourselves at different seasons of life. Sometimes like winter; life is desolate and cold. The sun appears only for a while and then quickly moves to darkness. Other times life is full of hope like the rays of light glistening from the summer sky. Maybe we know we are moving into desperate times as fall approaches showing us changes taking place that seem cold and uncertain. But there is always the hope of summer as spring emerges bringing new life. We all go through periods of desperation in life. As we sense desperation we feel hopelessness; we feel abandoned; and we feel a sense of urgency. God can use desperation in our lives in a powerful way to change us and mold us into something stronger. In the Old Testament Pharaoh faced one desperate moment after another as each plague was brought against his country; and yet he continually turned his heart away from God. He would have rather seen one more night of misery, one more night of infestation, one more night of suffering than to turn his heart over to God. Maybe you are holding onto desperation and worries instead of turning them over to God? Maybe today is the right time to say, “GOD I TRUST YOU AND I TURN ALL MY WORRIES OVER TO YOU. I WANT TO END THE DESPERATION IN MY LIFE AND LET YOUR HOPE ABIDE WITH ME.”

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for those who might be feeling desperate and hopeless. Times are difficult. Jobs are disappearing. People are losing the homes they dreamed of having. Retirements are vanishing and there is just a sense of desperation from many people. Lord I pray for those feeling desperate that you Lord will reassure and affirm you Lord are with them every step of their journey. Bring hope when there is hopelessness and let us trust in You. AMEN

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Ecclesiastes 9:1-3 (NLT)
1 This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God’s hands, no one knows whether God will show them favor. 2 The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t. 3 It seems so tragic that everyone under the sun suffers the same fate. That is why people are not more careful to be good. Instead, they choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway. 4 There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!”

Solomon reflects on death and how it comes to all people. There are no favorites. There are none protected. Death is a fate for everyone. Solomon ponders why it is that way. He reasons people go their careless way because they will face death eventually. His thoughts are it is better to be alive as a dog than to be a mighty lion and dead; for only the living have hope.

The apostle tells us in Romans, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” The consequence of choosing sin was to face death. No one was spared from that consequence. It is why God gave His Son Jesus to the world to pay the debt of sin. God in His loving mercy wanted us to have eternal life, a rich, full, and meaningful life; a life that would be different from Solomon’s description of meaningless and hopeless existence. 1 Corinthians 15 tells us, “For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

AskMe #2139838 10/10/08 06:33 AM
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Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 (NLT)
13 Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked? 14 Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.

Solomon contemplates God’s awesome abilities and power. He questions who can straighten out something God has intended for His own purpose. God may put forth desolating judgment and because of His power no one can stop them. Solomon points out there may be times of prosperity, but there may also be hard times. In this world there will be those with prosperity and those with adversity. Those who are prosperous may one day find themselves grieving for the things they lost. Prosperity and adversity can strike the same person at the same time so that nothing in life is certain.

The words of Solomon were written thousands of years ago, yet the truth revealed to him by God still remains today. There are times when there seems to be a general prosperity among man. Yet there will still be those who remain homeless and in poverty even with prosperity all around them. Those who live in prosperous times must realize prosperity can suddenly end and they can find themselves in the positions of others not so fortunate. Look around at this world today. The country of Iceland seized control of its banking system to force mergers or bankruptcies because of the financial failures taking place. This small country has been put in the position of having to negotiate a loan with Russia in hopes of bringing some stability. World economy is such that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has started work on emergency plans stating no country will be safe from the credit crunch that is taking place. The European Union has started to leave countries to themselves to face their financial crisis. Our own government is taking new financial roles as panic sweeps through the markets. Retirement plans are failing as stock markets fail. However, even with the turmoil all around us our God is in control. The book of Revelation tells us, “For God has put a plan into their minds, a plan that will carry out his purposes.” Phillipians says, “He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” Daniel said, ““Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings.” So we have an awesome God who has a plan, who is in control and knows what will happen although everything seems like chaos to us. Praise God in every situation for He is with you.

AskMe #2141330 10/13/08 06:33 AM
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Isaiah 65:1-7 (The Message)
1 -7 "I've made myself available to those who haven't bothered to ask. I'm here, ready to be found
by those who haven't bothered to look. I kept saying 'I'm here, I'm right here'
to a nation that ignored me. I reached out day after day
to a people who turned their backs on me, People who make wrong turns,
who insist on doing things their own way. They get on my nerves,
are rude to my face day after day, Make up their own kitchen religion,
a potluck religious stew. They spend the night in tombs
to get messages from the dead, Eat forbidden foods
and drink a witch's brew of potions and charms. They say, 'Keep your distance.
Don't touch me. I'm holier than thou.' These people gag me.
I can't stand their stench. Look at this! Their sins are all written out—
I have the list before me. I'm not putting up with this any longer.
I'll pay them the wages They have coming for their sins.
And for the sins of their parents lumped in,
a bonus." God says so. "Because they've practiced their blasphemous worship,
mocking me at their hillside shrines, I'll let loose the consequences
and pay them in full for their actions."

The prophecy given by Isaiah is later told by the Apostle Paul as the calling of the Gentiles and the falling away of Jews who had rejected God. God speaks out as he says, “I kept saying, ‘I’m here, I’m right here’ to a nation that ignored me.” God was tired of those who had become obstinate and followed their own ways, their own beliefs and their own pride. God was ready to let loose the consequences on a nation that had turned away from him.

In 2 Corinthians the Paul says the following, “But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.” The apostle is spreading the gospel of Christ. There are some who reject the message just as those who in Isaiah rejected God. But there are also those who accept the message of Salvation and to them it is a sweet perfume. Senator Obama make this statement in 2007, “Whatever we once were, we're no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers. We should acknowledge this and realize that when we're formulating policies from the state house to the Senate floor to the White House, we've got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community.” The Senator is correct in some aspects; this country has moved away from its roots of Christianity. There are those who are protected to worship as they please and that is ok. But maybe we as Christians haven’t been vocal enough in our beliefs. Instead we have let the media and other organizations push us aside. Christ commanded us to reach out to others and love them. So we should not sit back and allow others to trample over our beliefs. Some declare we should be tolerant, but where is the tolerance for Christianity. Even the Christmas Holidays have become a target where Christmas has become X-mas and X=anything but being Christian. Pray for the healing of this nation that many would turn back to the God of our forefathers and exhibit the love, grace and mercy Christ intended us to show even in the face of adversity. We are told to be proud that we are Americans, but also be proud we are Christians.


AskMe #2142728 10/16/08 06:51 AM
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Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.






Paul encourages the believers in Ephesus to pray against the spiritual warfare they face by praying as often as possible. He tells them to pray for all believers seeking and asking for God's favors to abound in those seeking to do God's will. Following this verse Paul says, "And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God's mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God's ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should" Paul knew he needed the prayers of others.





Prayer is something that should be taken seriously. It is something to be done when there is a need, an occasion for celebration, when one is looking for hope or there is need to fellowship with our Lord. While we should have the mindset of prayer without ceasing we still have the duties of our perspective place in this world where God has placed us. Prayer can be many things: public or private; in a group or in solitude; spontaneous or planned. In our prayers we should confess our sins. We should ask for grace and mercy, not just for ourselves, but others. There is prayer offered in times of need, but our moments of happiness and thanksgiving should also be shared with the Lord. Our prayer should acknowledge God and our Savior for what they have done in our lives. The book of Acts tells us, "Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." So make sure we pray for others who are facing trials and tribulations.





Dear most gracious and loving Heavenly Father,

Lord you have placed us here in this world for your purpose to serve and honor you. Father we pray our lives would reflect the future hope of life we have with you in heaven. Lord I pray for the many believers who have needs; some which are common to all and some which are unique. Lord for each person I ask their need would be examined and with your gracious loving mercy respond to their needs according to your will. Provide hope where hope is needed. Father God, provide mercy and grace to those who have fallen away from you and let your love pull them back close to you. Thank you for the salvation you have provided through your son Jesus. Lord thank you for the forgiveness of sin. Father you know our hearts and the secret places where we hide the things we don't want examined; but examine us Lord and let us confess with joy our sin knowing it is forgiven. Lord let us learn to forgive as you have forgiven us. Let us live holy lives pleasing to you; but when we fail let us acknowledge our weakness and find glory in your strength. Lord keep us from the temptation of sin and lead us towards a life that honors you. Lord you are mighty, great, awesome, powerful and can do beyond our expectations or wisdom. Thank you Lord for hearing our prayers we commit them to you.


In the precious name of your son Jesus Christ,

Amen


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