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AskMe #2142729 10/16/08 06:51 AM
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Matthew 11:25-30 (NLT)
25 At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. 26 Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way! 27 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” 28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

In these verses we find Jesus offering a prayer of thanksgiving for those who see the blessing of salvation that has come. Jesus calls God Father and also Lord, something we should also do. Jesus also acknowledges God plan pleased God. We must too remember God has a plan for all of us that please Him. When we assert our own will we deviate from that plan and may find consequences for our actions. Jesus then acknowledges His commission as savior and then prays that the burdens of others may fall upon Him.

There are those in this world who believe they have all the answers. The arrogance of their intelligence is such they do not seek out God to explain their daily lives or to seek direction for things they do not understand. As Solomon told us there is many a man who is wise in their own sight but the true wise are willing to listen to others and that includes God and Christ. Isaiah said, “What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think to themselves so clever.” 1 Corinthians 3:19 says, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” There is nothing wrong with seeking wisdom to understand God, but to believe we are wise without critique is foolishness. Christ offers to carry our burdens with us. Christ offers rest to the weary souls. Christ offers the teaching of wisdom that brings about gentleness and humility. Pray for Christ to carry your burdens with you and let Him ease the struggles of life. Be humble yourselves and let the love of Christ be with you.


AskMe #2143373 10/17/08 05:59 AM
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Romans 12:9-10 (NLT)
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Here we find the apostle giving instruction on how Christians should relate to one another. There is not to be pretence of love towards others, but a genuine love that shows care and concern. When we turn from those things that are wrong and hold onto what is good and just our love can be genuine and we find delight in honoring each other according to God’s will.

Are you willing to break the bonds that hold you back from caring and good relationships? There are people in life walking around holding onto anger, bitterness, and resent that are unwilling to let go. You may have seen it in families where an event takes place disrupting relationships; instead of holding on to what is good and trying to mend the relationship the fellowship remains broken. There are relationships with friends so broken friends have not spoken in years. There are husbands and wives on the brink of divorce because they are unwilling to soften their hearts and really love the other person for once. Are you allowing the love of Christ to work through you where you genuinely reach out to love others? 2 John 1:6 says, “Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.” The Christian musician Don Francisco had a song that said, “Love is not a feeling, it’s an act of your will.” Let the words of Christ resonate in your heart, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

AskMe #2144796 10/20/08 06:16 AM
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Proverbs 20:5 (NLT)
5 Though good advice lies deep within the heart, a person with understanding will draw it out.

Most of us have the capacity to reason and to determine the proper course in life we must take. Good advice lies deep within our hearts often suppressed by fears and misunderstanding. But a person who take time to understand and grabs hold of that advice will draw it out for their use and purpose.

I remember as a child visiting my grandmother’s sister’s farm. On the farm was an old well surrounded by a rock wall to keep anyone from falling in. There was a roof above the well with a hand crank for lowering down a bucket. Looking down into the well you could not see anything but darkness. As I watched, my grandmother lowered the bucket deep into the well and when it came back up the bucket was full of water. The King James Version of the bible says this about Proverbs 20:5, “Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.” Thinking about that old well it took some patience to lower the bucket, wait a little bit and then draw it back up to the surface. There are times when we are just not patient enough with ourselves. When we are thirsty enough we might find ourselves diving in head first for the cool water only to find once we have satisfied ourselves we are not at the bottom of a well hopelessly trapped. If only we had taken the time to gain clear reason and understanding we could have been patient and used the bucket like so many of those before us. When it comes to sin we are much the same way. There is something that appeals to us and instead of waiting we become like the wild animal that rushes forth without thought or reason to find itself trapped. Before you fall to sin stop and take the time to reason through your actions and you will be able to pull wisdom from deep within your heart. May God be with always pointing you to the wisdom that lies within your soul.

AskMe #2145491 10/21/08 05:50 AM
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1 Peter 3:8-12 (NLT)
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. 10 For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. 11 Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. 12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”

These verses are addressed to all Christians. As Christians we are to love those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to be sympathetic, tenderhearted and humble towards others. Our mindset should not be one of payback for wrongs done towards us, but instead we should be willing to seek out what is good. Peter reminds us to be careful of the words we speak and always tell the truth.

In a sermon on prayer, Bruce Wilkinson said: On my first trip to Israel I was on a ship that docked on the Isle of Patmos, where John wrote Revelation. I was so lonely for my family I didn't even go back up to the cave where he wrote it. I wanted to be by myself so I walked the streets of Patmos until I found a coffee shop. I sat down and prayed. "Lord, I'm in the middle of nowhere. I don't know anyone. Send someone who needs you." The guy at the next table said, "Do you want some coffee? I'll buy. Are you off that ship?"
"Yes," I said. I moved over to his table and he bought me a cup of coffee. "What's the matter?" He said, "What do you mean what's the matter?" I said, "I don't know. What's the matter?" "I just left my wife, and I'm not going back. I'm going to try to go on the ship to get to the next island so I can fly out of here." "Would you believe I'm all the way from Atlanta, Georgia, for one reason—to get you back to your wife?"
"Impossible," he said. "Let me return the favor of the coffee." And for the next hour God broke through and that young man came to know Christ. I told him, "If you make it up with your wife before the boat leaves, you come wave." "It'll never happen." "You're a miracle. Give God a chance." I got on the boat, and was praying like crazy. I went to the back of the boat overlooking the harbor and will never forget what I saw. Down off the rocky cliff came this young couple holding hands and waving! I'm convinced that if I hadn't prayed, that man would have never said a word to me.

AskMe #2146153 10/22/08 06:23 AM
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2 Corinthians 7:8-10 (NLT)
8 I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. 9 Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

The apostle Paul had confronted the Corinthians on an issue taking place in the church they had not confronted. Now Paul is writing to express his joy at the repentance taking place in the church. He explains how he knew what he wrote was harsh also to the point of feeling sorry for what he had to say. But because of his words the church repented and they changed direction on what they were doing. He said their repentance brought them to sorrow, but it is the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience to lead us away from sin. Paul goes on to say there is no regret for that sorrow. Regret only comes when there is worldly sorrow resulting from a lack of repentance.

According to Webster’s, regret is a sorrow aroused by circumstances beyond one’s control or power to repair. Because we cannot control or repair what has happened in the past many of us continue to live as though there is no hope for our past sins. We stay focused on the sin we committed to the point it grieves us, holds us emotionally captive, and causes us to continue in our sorrow. And while it is true the sins of the past are beyond our control, it is not beyond God’s control. Our continued regret of sin is self centered, because we are saying God cannot help. Christ died for those sins of the past allowing us to live in freedom from sin in the present, the future and even the past. We can take the experiences of our past failures and let them bring us joy knowing we have repented and been freed from that sin. We can use our experiences to help others and show them God is in control and does have the power to repair the past. Our God lives beyond the boundaries of time and can heal our wounds no matter when they took place. Is there something you regret? Maybe it is because you realized you have no control to change the past, but remember God can. Pray God will free you from the regrets that bind you and let His forgiveness bring you joy and healing.

AskMe #2146705 10/23/08 06:05 AM
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1 John 5:1-5 (NLT)
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

The apostle John describes the life of a person who believes in Christ. Their battle is already won for Christ has defeated sin and brings hope to those who believe in Him. The believer shows love for God by wanting to fulfill his commandments. These commandments are not burdensome as those imposed by the Pharisees and Scribes; for Jesus said they burdened the people with laws they themselves could not keep. As believers we are God’s children and we are to love all those who are a part of the family of God.

When times are difficult, who, what or where does your instinct tell you to turn to? There is a constant battle going on in this world. There is a struggle against what is right and what is wrong. In those difficult times some choose to turn to the world for answers. They reach out to those who might seem to have the answers they are looking for, but in actuality those people are only looking out for themselves. Others may turn to things such as drugs or alcohol to help them cope with the problem. But instead of coping they introduce a whole new set of problems. John tells us it is belief in Jesus that can help us overcome our battles. King David said we should give our burdens to the Lord and He will take care of you. Jesus said he was willing to share our burdens. Likewise God asks of us to share the burdens of others of believe in Christ out of our love for God. The apostle Paul warned Timothy in his letters, “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” So remember to turn to God and Christ when times are difficult. Don’t lose your love for God or for those who believe as you do.

AskMe #2147284 10/24/08 08:19 AM
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Job 38:1-3 (NLT)
1 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: 2 “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? 3 Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.

Job, lamenting over his situation of the loss of family, possessions, and servants, was being taunted by his friends who thought surely he deserved this punishment for something he did. Job was becoming frustrated with his replies when finally the Lord spoke. First God asks, “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words.” Secondly God says, “Brace yourself like a man because I have some questions for you.”

When we think we have all the answers in life we need to remember our God who does hold the answers. As God demonstrated to Job and his friends their knowledge was limited. God ask some of the following questions:
• Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.
• Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line?
• What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
• “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb, and as I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it in thick darkness? For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores.
• “Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east?
• Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth, to bring an end to the night’s wickedness?
• Do you know where the gates of death are located? Have you seen the gates of utter gloom?
• “Where does light come from, and where does darkness go? Can you take each to its home? Do you know how to get there?
• “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of hail? (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war.)
• Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?
Even today we are unable to answer many of those questions. No one knows for certain the laws of the universe and what regulates everything. Who knows for sure how the earth and seas were formed. There are theories, but that is all. The next time you have questions about life, stop, pray, and then listen for God’s answers. Give the Lord time to respond and help you to understand the life you are facing.


AskMe #2148555 10/27/08 06:05 AM
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Titus 2:1-7 (NLT)
1 As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. 2 Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. 3 Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. 4 These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, 5 to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. 6 In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. 7 And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. 8 Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.

In these verses from Titus, the apostle Paul encourages believers to promote right teaching. Men and women, old and young are encouraged to live wisely and teach wisdom to others. They should also live lives that are examples for others to follow so no shame can come upon them.

When you open up yourself to God, God uses you in ways you can never expect. Before I went out of town on a business trip I had read some Christian material on how a believer should take the time to listen to others and be good examples to them. Usually when I was out of town I was alone and ate alone. So I went to a place I had been told about called Hamburger Hamlet. They supposedly had some of the best hamburgers in the area. When I went inside the waitress asked if I was alone and I said yes. She said there was a 30 minute wait unless I didn’t mind eating at the bar. I thought I might be one of the few eating and not drinking, but it was better than waiting. As I sat down I noticed a glass that maybe had an inch of beer left in the bottom. As the barkeep wiped up my area he removed the almost finished glass. It probably wasn’t 3 minutes later this man came up angrily protesting his beer was gone. Now remember there was just a small amount left, but he wanted it. The barkeep wanting to calm the man down said, “Listen, I’ll just give you another glass on the house.” I sensed God wanting me to say something to this man. I could tell he was bitter about something in life. So I said, “You sound a little frustrated.” The man surprised me when he started telling me how he had just gotten out of jail and he couldn’t find a job. As I sat there with my meal I continued to talk to the man and asked him where he was staying. He told me his grandmother was letting him live with her that she was a decent church going woman. So I asked him, “What about you, do you go to church?” No not really was the response, being in jail and such I just haven’t had time. So I asked him if he knew if he was going to heaven and his answer was this, “While I was in jail a chaplain came to see me with a bible that he gave me. I knew my grandmother went to church so I figured it couldn’t hurt to listen to this man. He told me how Jesus died for my sins and how I could live eternal life with Jesus in heaven if I would just trust Jesus.” I asked, “Well did you?” He said, “Yes, I got saved, I want to trust Jesus, but life is so hard.” I talked with him about his situation and his difficulties. I talked about the jobs he could possibly look for and that maybe his grandmother knew someone at the church who could help him. The man listened intently and said, “You know, my grandmother said about the same things you did. I think I’ll go home and talk with her some more to see if she can let me talk to someone at the church.” The man got up. He thanked me for talking with him and he said, “God must have placed you here today, because I just needed someone to listen to me.” The man walked away. Still sitting there on the counter was the full glass of beer the barkeep had given him. The man just needed some guidance and someone to listen who cared. His anger wasn’t about the inch of beer he lost, but it was about being frustrated with life and not knowing where to turn. You never know how God can use you if you just make yourself available to be used. And the time I took talking with the man became a blessing to me that I still remember.

AskMe #2149168 10/28/08 06:15 AM
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Romans 16:17-19 (NLT)
17 And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. 18 Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. 19 But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong.

In this final chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul makes a request to those who are receiving his letter. He asks them to watch out for those who teach contrary to God’s word. He goes as far as to say “Stay away from them” knowing these people are only looking out for themselves and not the interest of others. Their words are smooth talk and polished language that take over the minds of the innocent.

In the KJV of the bible verse 16 says, “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” The word for “fair speeches” is the Greek word eulogia. Our modern day English word “eulogy” is derived from this word. As defined by Webster’s a eulogy is a commendatory oration or writing especially in honor of one deceased; high praise. There is an episode of Everyone Love Raymond where Ray was practicing what he might say at his father’s potential funeral. Even though the father in the show has his flaws and imperfections Ray was concentrating on the just the good parts of his father’s life. His father found out about the eulogy and got angry. His anger didn’t come from Ray writing a kind eulogy; it came because Ray didn’t say he was a tough, mean, son of a gun. Some of the real truth was being hidden with kind and sweet words. I have never attended a funeral where I have heard someone say anything in regards to “this was mean person, an evil person, a wicked demented individual.” No, usually the words are smooth, pleasant and commending. With those thoughts in mind remember “glowing words” and “fair speeches” at times purposely hide the truth. The words are meant to sway opinion and lead innocent people astray. As the election for President of the United State approaches, pray God reveals the true character of each man. Don’t let fair speeches and glowing words win your heart. Instead look for a leader who will lead with God as his leader.

AskMe #2149789 10/29/08 06:59 AM
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Galatians 5:19-23 (NLT)
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

In this chapter of Galatians the Apostle Paul discusses our freedom in Christ and how we should let the Holy Spirit guide our lives. Paul explains we still have a sinful nature that wants to be in control and perform evil. But he goes on to say the Holy Spirit gives us desires which are the opposite of the sinful desires. Paul wants us to know we can have a choice either to be led by that which wants to consume us or that which wants to free us. So in the verses above Paul points out what is sinful and what the Holy Spirit wants to lead us towards.

Paul has given us two check lists. The first check list is an inventory of that which our sinful nature wants to follow. Carefully look at the items that follow; are there any in the list you can see in your own life?

- Sexual immorality
- Impurity
- Lustful pleasures
- Idolatry
- Sorcery
- Hostility
- Quarreling
- Jealousy
- Outbursts of anger
- Selfish ambition
- Dissension
- Division
- Envy
- Drunkenness
- Wild parties
- And other like sins

When Christ died on the cross we were set free. Our sinful passions and desires were nailed to the cross with Christ. Because we have been set free we can follow the desires of the Holy Spirit. Those desires are:

- Love
- Joy
- Peace
- Patience
- Kindness
- Goodness
- Faithfulness
- Gentleness
- Self control

These are the good things the Holy Spirit will guide us towards if we surrender our self desires. Have you surrendered to the love of Jesus? Check the lists above and discover for yourself.

AskMe #2150483 10/30/08 05:47 AM
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Romans 8:1 (NLT)
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

In this verse the Apostle Paul says there is NO CONDEMNATION for those who belong to Jesus. Anyone who belongs to Christ Jesus is free from the proclamation of the damnation of sin.



Who belongs to Jesus? The bible gives us answers to this question.

Romans 1:6 “And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ.”

Romans 8:9 “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Galatians 5:24 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.”

1 Peter 3:16 “But do this in a gentle and respectful way. [ Some English translations put this sentence in verse 15.] Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.

There is a calling by God to give up self and belong to Jesus Christ. The invitation is open to everyone. Those who accept this calling will find they are not controlled by their sinful nature, but instead are led by the Holy Spirit. Sin still exists, but its power has been rendered useless. Because the person is no longer a slave to sin they are free to begin a new life apart from sin. As they come to know Christ their old life passes away and they become a person renewed in their ways and thoughts. These people have taken their passions and desires of sin and left them with Christ at the cross. Christ paid for each of those sins through His sacrifice there. And the life of those who belong to Christ, while not always sin free, should look towards keeping a clear conscience of their actions so they will not fall to shame. Those who belong to Christ should be examples to others; light that reaches out and shares the Good News of Jesus Christ. These are the ones free from condemnation; those who believe in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior.

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Revelation 7:9-10 (KJV)
9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

These verses are a part of the revelation given to John. Here we find that John saw people from all over the world standing before God and Christ. The number standing there was so great no man could count the individuals that were present. The NLT translation makes verse 10 easier to read, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”

Today is known to many of us as Halloween. It comes from a Christian celebrated holiday call Hallows Day, Hallowmas, or All Saints Day. So today is the eve of Hallows day, the start of a remembrance of those who stood for the church and are now with God and Christ in heaven. John had the privilege of seeing all those who would be there in heaven. He saw the great saints and multitude of people too great to count. Those verses were to reassure us of our place in heaven. In the early church Christians would celebrate the anniversary of a martyr’s death for Christ. There would be an all night vigil leading up to the celebration of their remembrance. Around 270AD a celebration of All Martyrs began. It was a remembrance of all the saints who had died defending Christ and the Church. Today many have forgotten this tradition. The holiday has become mixed with other festivals to accommodate those from many cultures. Along the way some pagan traditions were introduced. Many have also turned the holiday into a dark and gloomy imagery of death instead of the celebration of life after death. James tells us, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” The Halloween holiday can be a day of fun if our mindsets are correct. It can be a celebration of those who died for the church. But if we allow ourselves to focus on the evil and allow Satan to have credit then we are dishonoring the intent of the holiday. Deuteronomy 18:9-14 says, “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you. But you must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the Lord your God forbids you to do such things.” So how do you celebrate Halloween? Do you focus on the dark side or do you stand in the light with Christ. There is nothing wrong with celebration and fun, but make sure you do it wisely. Remember Christ in all that you do and let your love for Him shine through.

AskMe #2152380 11/03/08 07:12 AM
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1 Peter 3:13-17 (NLT)
13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

In these verses the Apostle Peter reminds us to do good. He questions who would want to harm someone who does good in the lives of others; but acknowledges there are times when it might happen. In those times do not fear for God will be with you. And if you are questioned about your Christian faith, be firm, yet gentle to defend what you have learned from God. It is better to suffer for doing good that it is wrong, so speak up and be heard. Yet show love for everyone even those who might seek to do you harm.

Last night I watched Governor Mike Huckabee as he interviewed Bill Maher. Mr. Maher is a standup comedian, television host, social and political commentator and author. He is an outspoken critic of religion even going as far once to say it’s a neurological problem that justifies crazies and stops people from thinking. Maher opposes religious monuments, such as The Ten Commandments being placed in or near court houses, pointing out that this would violate the separation of church and state. He has countered the assertion of conservative Christians who claim that American law is based on the Ten Commandments by saying that of the ten, only two (the prohibitions on murder and theft) apply to American law. The other commandments, he argues, such as honoring no god before the Judeo-Christian God, keeping theSabbath holy, or honoring thy mother and thy father, are not American laws at all. In answer to the suggestion that a divine moral authority is necessary, he suggests "Couldn't we just get together and agree on the few basic Commandments that are laws? What I personally have to say is that I admired Governor Huckabee during this interview. The governor kept very composed, never raising his voice, but did defend his stance on Christianity. There were times Maher had looks of puzzlement on his face as Huckabee explained his Christian views. Maher challenged him saying if God is so loving why are there so many problems in this world? Why were children born deformed? Mike Huckabee responding again very calmly said this is a world that is filled with sin and God allows choices and struggles we must deal with. It is a way of growing our faith. He went as far to say that if he pushed his beliefs on someone that didn’t want to hear them it would be in his mind equivalent to rape. With that Maher looked shocked as though he could not understand that concept. I think Mike Huckabee did an excellent job defending Christianity, yet remaining loving and humble. As you engage others in discussions of religion remember the words of Peter, “be gentle, be respectful.”

AskMe #2154049 11/06/08 06:45 AM
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Jeremiah 32:17-19 (NLT)
17 “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! 18 You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19 You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve.

In this prayer from Jeremiah, Jeremiah states some principles of God we should all be reminded of. First the Lord God is sovereign and has authority over all. Second, there is nothing too difficult for God to accomplish. He made the heavens and the earth and therefore has dominion and control of them. Third, His love is unfailing, but the Lord is ready to disciple so that sin does not continue its course one generation after another. Fourth, the Lord is wise, capable of many miracles and He watches over the people allowing their actions to dictate what they deserve; good or bad.

Genesis 1:1&31 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” God created a good world for us. He provided a place where we could fellowship with one another and also fellowship with God himself. It was a perfect place where man had what he needed and could live out his life with all he needed. But then woman and man ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil all that changed. God in his unfailing love had to protect man. In Genesis 3:22-24 it says, “Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” Adam and Eve received what they deserved for their disobedience. And what they received was the love, mercy and grace of God to keep them from living in eternal sin. God offers that same love to us today through Jesus Christ. While we may live in a world corrupted by sin, there is hope of eternal life with God. An abundant and joyful life just as we were meant to have. You might hear people say, if God so loves why does He allow bad things to happen? God gives us choices and by our own hands we receive what we deserve. And sins are passed from generation to generation until one day someone stands against the sin meant to destroy them. May you all stand firmly against sin and pray God will help you overcome the desires of the world.

AskMe #2154780 11/07/08 08:05 AM
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1 Peter 1:23 (NLT)
For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.

The apostle Peter reminds us that we have an eternal life through Jesus Christ. God’s word, His promises, His wisdom, His living and breathing scriptures tell us of our new life.

There are times you think things are impossible, but God’s word says “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” His word is used for correction, reproof and purification. When you are tired and weary and the struggles of life are a constant battle remember Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” When you feel as though no one cares that no one loves you, don’t forget God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. Whenever things are difficult and you think you can’t go on, remember what Paul said, “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.” Let Christ carry your burdens when you feel there is no more hope. And when you think you can’t do it, remember from His word that Paul said, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them, so do not think you are not worth it for God finds you precious in His sight. Don’t believe you are unforgivable for God tells you there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. It is Satan’s lies that discourage and trouble you. When you believe things cannot be managed remember Paul said, “God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches” When you are worried, give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. When fear overtakes you and you begin to dread what will take place, remember God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. And if you aren’t convinced God is with you, remember these words; For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” May God bless you through His Living Word and may you find the peace and joy you were meant to have.

AskMe #2155930 11/10/08 07:44 AM
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Matthew 20:20-23 (NLT)
20 Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. 21 “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” 22 But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” 23 Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”

In these verses we have the mother of James and John coming to Jesus with a request for her sons. She had faith in the kingdom Jesus would establish, but misunderstood how it was to come about. Her request was for each of the sons to take a place of prominence next to Jesus. But Jesus rebuked them and asked if they knew what they were asking for? In order for Jesus to come into His kingdom he had to die. There would also be many who would die for Jesus and He said the Father is the one who would prepare the places of honor.

A young construction worker bragged about his strength. He told the other workers he could out perform any of them when it came to his strength and abilities. He even taunted some of the older workers trying to force them into competition with him. Finally one of the older construction workers had enough. He walked over to the young man and said, “Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is. I’ll bet you a week’s wages I can haul something over to that building in a wheelbarrow and you won’t be able to do the same thing. “The young worker feeling confident he could outperform the older man said, “You are on old man!” The older construction worker grabbed the handles of the wheel barrow, looked at the younger man and said, “Ok stupid, climb in.” Sometimes we all think we are capable and better than others. James and John in some sense felt they deserved to sit next to Christ when his kingdom came, but Jesus let them know God would look at their life and make that decision. Instead of bragging about what we can do, we should let actions speak for us. We should let others see our love for Christ by the works we do and not the words we use. We may think we deserve what others might receive and even deceive ourselves into believing it. God knows our hearts and our intent. Pray God would show you the true intent of your heart and may you serve Him faithfully out of love and respect.

AskMe #2157065 11/12/08 07:33 AM
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1 Samuel 23:13-18 (NLT)
13 So David and his men—about 600 of them now—left Keilah and began roaming the countryside. Word soon reached Saul that David had escaped, so he didn’t go to Keilah after all. 14 David now stayed in the strongholds of the wilderness and in the hill country of Ziph. Saul hunted him day after day, but God didn’t let Saul find him. 15 One day near Horesh, David received the news that Saul was on the way to Ziph to search for him and kill him. 16 Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. 17 “Don’t be afraid,” Jonathan reassured him. “My father will never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be next to you, as my father, Saul, is well aware.” 18 So the two of them renewed their solemn pact before the Lord. Then Jonathan returned home, while David stayed at Horesh.

David has been on the run from King Saul who was seeking to kill him. David had been in the area of Keilah with his men defending them against the Philistines. Saul was still on the search for David, so Saul’s son who was a friend of David’s came to warn David and encourage him to stay strong in his faith in God.

Around the holidays it seems some people go through difficult times. It is during this time people reflect on the past; remembering lost loves ones; failed relationships; or economic problems. I want to encourage each and everyone as Jonathan did to stay strong in your faith in God. For Jonathan it was such an important message to deliver to David he risked his relationship with his father in order to maintain his relationship with his friend David and God. In Ephesians Paul said, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” In second Timothy he said, “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” So my friends I encourage you to also be strong in the love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. When sadness comes, remember God can bring joy. When times are desperate, God provides hope. When you are anxious, cast your worries upon Jesus. When friends fail and family disappoints, remember God will never let you down. When you are lonely, remember Jesus lives within you. When you are afraid, don’t forget Jesus holds your soul securely in His hands. My friends stay strong in the Lord for He will see you through any difficulty. May God bless each and everyone keeping you safe and secure.

AskMe #2157687 11/13/08 07:08 AM
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1 Peter 1:18-19 (NLT)
18 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. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

The words of the Apostle Peter remind us we inherited an empty life. God had planned a full and rich life for man, but when man fell to sin we were robbed of that richness. The rich life is not one paid for with gold or silver. It is a rich life free from sin paid with the ransom of the blood of Jesus Christ.

The Red Cross frequently calls me asking if I would be willing to donate blood. I was always curious why they called until one day the lady on the phone asked me that very question, “Do you know why we call you so frequently to give blood?” I told her no and she explained I have what is called CMV negative blood. CMV stands for Cytomegalovirus. It is an extremely common infection most of our population has been exposed to. Once a person is infected with CMV the virus remains in the body. For most people the virus poses little problems, or shows no obvious symptoms. However for those with weak or compromised immune systems the virus can be deadly. The lady from the Red Cross went on to tell me because I never acquired the virus my blood was used for neo-natal babies, burn patients and cancer patients who had compromised immune systems. She then told me, “Did you know your blood has saved 37 lives?” Jesus Christ who never acquired sin gave His blood for our lives. He was free from the sin everyone had inherited and because of His pure blood Jesus was able to save all of us infected with sin. No one else’s blood would have worked; it was His alone. Praise Jesus who gave His blood to save our lives from sin.

AskMe #2158288 11/14/08 07:46 AM
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Luke 2:8-12 (NLT)
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

This is the Bibles birth announcement of Jesus being born. It was given to shepherds out in the fields protecting their flock of sheep that were first in darkness and suddenly surrounded by light from the radiance of the Lord’s glory. The angels brought “good news” of the birth of a savior. The message was brought to the common people and not those who were in high position or power. The shepherds were given instructions for finding the baby Jesus so they could look upon the baby born to be their savior.

Cristes mæsse a word found in 1038 is where the word Christmas comes from. It means the Mass of Christ. While the date of December 25th is the celebrated date of Christmas there is no official determination of the day when Christ was actually born. Throughout history the Christmas Holiday has included many traditions. Some we are familiar with such as nativity scenes placed about showing Joseph and Mary with baby Jesus. Many people send out warm welcomes of Christmas cards. Greenery is used for decoration, which includes items such as mistletoe, wreaths and spruce trees. Celebrations or parties are often given around Christmas and gifts are handed out. Hymns and carols are sung by choirs recognizing the Christmas holidays. Some recognize Christ while others just provide merry entertainment. The celebration of Christmas has been questioned through history. In 1644 it was forbidden by an act of Parliament. Some of the traditions because of their pagan origins were stopped at times or made more suitable for the holiday. As we begin to enter what we know as the Christmas season I encourage everyone to remember the true reason for the holiday. It is to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is recognition of Him who saved us from the death of sin being born into this world. There are many trying to tear the true meaning of Christmas away from us. Just this week there was a published news article saying an organization in Washington, D.C., our country’s capital, will be placing signs on buses that say, “Why believe in god? Just be good for goodness sake.” The American Humanist association is putting out this ad because they say, “Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion." So let’s stop here a second and ask this question, “WHAT IS CHRISTMAS?” Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; PERIOD. Other religious holidays don’t seem to be attacked like those of Christians. The Apostle Peter said, “So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!” Be prepared for those who attack your faith with a sound answer that recognizes Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Remember to put Jesus first for He put you first by dying for your sins.

AskMe #2160295 11/18/08 10:27 AM
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James 1:13-14 (NLT)
13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.

The Apostle James reminds us temptation does not come from God. God is above sin and temptation and therefore does not tempt us nor lead us towards sin. It is our own sinful nature which draws us close to sin and if we partake of the sin it drags us away from God.

The Flip Wilson show appeared weekly on NBC from September 1970 until June 1974. For the first two years the show was rated second from the top following “All in the Family”. Flip Wilson was a successful comic who created entertaining characters for his show. One such character played by Flip Wilson was Geraldine. Geraldine was a liberated, married woman whose clothing was designer in nature, but contrasted with her own mixed flair of colorful stockings. One of the lines Flip Wilson made popular with Geraldine was “The devil made me do it.” It seems we need someone to blame for our failures and Geraldine would point to the devil as being responsible for hers. Is Satan at fault for our failures or is it our own sinful desires? Adam blamed God for falling into sin. Eve turned to the serpent as her excuse. Even in this world today you will hear many people ask the question, why did God allow this to happen to me? When Jesus was alone in the wilderness for 40 days Satan placed many temptations in from of Jesus, but it was Jesus who refused them. He said, “Get out of here, Satan,” “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus. Satan may show us the temptations, but it is our own desires that entice us and drag us away from God. The next time you are faced with temptation remember to reach out to God, because it is not His desire for us to sin, but instead lead us away from the sin which so easily tempts us.

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