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AskMe #2430573 09/28/10 06:20 AM
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Mark 10:17-22 (NLT)
17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, �Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?� 18 �Why do you call me good?� Jesus asked. �Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: �You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.�� 20 �Teacher,� the man replied, �I�ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.� 21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. �There is still one thing you haven�t done,� he told him. �Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.� 22 At this the man�s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

In these verses we find a young rich man running up to Jesus calling him �Good Teacher� and asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replied with a question and a statement before following up with the answer the man was expecting. Jesus first asked �why do you call me good� and then he replied �only God is truly good.� Jesus was good and Jesus was God. Jesus never denied those facts, but He was testing the man�s faith to see if he understood who Jesus really was. Then Jesus quoted the Mosaic commandments and the man said he had obeyed them all. A pious answer considering the statement Jesus just made saying Only God is truly good. Had the man understood how unjustly he saw himself he would have seen his need for the loving grace and salvation of Christ. Jesus gave the man another action; one to give up what he owned and follow Him. The man walked away sad for his desire for possessions was greater than his desire for salvation.

Proverbs 3:7 says, �Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It is so easy for us to get wrapped up in the idea that we are without fault. It doesn�t matter how righteous we think we are or how good our actions have been. The truth is we are unable to see the extent of our sins even if they are right in front of us. The Bible tells us for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is no one exempt from sin. Therefore �ALL� of us are sinners and need the loving grace and salvation provided through Jesus. So before we look at the actions of another and say, �That person is living a sinful life.� We must first stop and consider our own life. When the woman was accused of adultery by the religious leaders Jesus calmly said to them, �He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.� With those words each man realized how sinful they were and could no longer pursue their desire to punish this woman for they knew they also deserved punishment. Praise God for His Son Jesus Christ who takes away the sins of the world.

AskMe #2430895 09/29/10 07:14 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 the temptation to sin does not come from God. Logically James states if God is never tempted to do anything wrong; then how could God tempt someone to do wrong? God does not promote that which He Himself considers evil. Therefore temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and call us to follow.

The comedian Flip Wilson was responsible for creating popular cultural phrases, such as �What you see is what you get�. It was so popular Xerox used WYSIWG (What You See Is What you Get) as an acronym to describe viewing and printing. Another famous quote Flip Wilson coined was, �The devil made me do it!� Often in Wilson�s comedy routines the character Geraldine Jones would explain to her husband, the reverend, she was not to be blamed for her actions because �the devil made her do it�. If she bought a dress, wrecked a car, gambled, etc, her excuse was always �the devil made me do it�. The bible calls Satan the tempter, but nowhere in the bible does it say Satan controls our thoughts or our response to temptation. The truth is our sinful nature wants to blame someone else when we sin. I really don�t need any help to sin. I sin just fine by myself. Satan may point out opportunities to sin, he may place the enticement in front of me, but he does not and cannot make me sin. If I sin it is my own fault and I bear the responsibility for my sin, not Satan, not God, not my wife, and not my friends. We may be tempted, but we are not forced to sin. I thank God he does not leave us alone to our own demise. God gave us His son Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for sin. It is Christ who gives us strength to resist that which we wrongly desire.

AskMe #2431141 09/30/10 07:29 AM
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1 John 3:18-20 (The Message)
18 -20 My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

The Apostle John writing to those who believe in Christ tells them to practice demonstrating real love in their life towards others. By doing so one knows they are fulfilling God�s purpose to show His love through them to others. Yet there are times when failure to do so hinders our thoughts and makes us critical of ourselves. The apostle reminds us that God is greater than our worries and already knows what is going on with us. So we can confidently come to God knowing He is ready to ease our fears.

The American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, �No man can for any considerable time wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which one is true.� People will often deceive themselves and others by putting on different masks to hide their inward emotions. They do this to hide self doubt, fear, anxiety, depression, hurt, resentment, guilt and shame. These masks are uncomfortable to wear because we fear we might not be wearing the right mask for the right group. Relationships are false because we present a false image to others. Eventually we even begin to believe in our false self putting aside problems, difficulties or sins we are dealing with. And thought we might fool others and fool ourselves; God is not fooled. God knows who we are. God knows the motives behind our actions. God knows our heart and all of our ways. God knows our every thought. He is aware of our faults, our pains, our joys, our hurts, our happiness and our worries. God is not and cannot be fooled by the masks we were. Taking off the masks can be painful. It means being honest, it means being vulnerable, it means showing others our inward emotions. For most of us the masks have held back pain and kept it hidden inside of us. You may think you have it �all together� but in reality everything is falling apart. It is nice to know that God even seeing through our false masks loves us unconditionally. You might not believe that, but God is the only one who knows everything about you and loves you despite your flaws. God delights in us and finds us precious in His sight. It is time to let God help us take off our masks and stop pretending. It is time to let God enable us to see who we are and to be real with others.

Pray, Heavenly Father I want to be real to You and others. I am tired of trying to be someone I am not. Father please help me to be the person You called me to be. Remove these false masks I wear so I know who I really am in Christ. Help me to be honest with myself and others. Guide me where I need guidance. Most of all Lord thank you for loving me when I find myself not lovable. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

AskMe #2431415 10/01/10 06:27 AM
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1 Timothy 5:19-20 (NLT)
19 Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses. 20 Those who sin should be reprimanded in front of the whole church; this will serve as a strong warning to others.

The Apostle Paul gives advice to his beloved friend Timothy concerning the administration of the church. Paul states one should take the time to listen to several people before jumping to a conclusion concerning another. It is best to have at least 2 or 3 who can independently confirm an accusation and not just depend upon the voice of one person. Paul also says those who have been confronted and continue in their habitual sin while professing Jesus Christ should be reprimanded before the church so others will know those actions are inappropriate.

This is a story written by Pastor Matthew Woodley, �Evangelized by the Pizza Man�, from his blog dated 08/13/09. It demonstrates how uncontrolled sin in the church affects those around us.

My friend Emilio owns a tiny pizzeria that makes the best New York pizza on Long Island. Emilio hates �organized religion.� Above the stove where he sticks the orders he also collects small newspaper clippings about flawed and fallen ministers. I call it his �rack of shame.� Every time I come in for pizza he leans over the counter, slides a few clippings on to the counter and whispers, �Hey, look at this. This padre walked off with $80,000. This pastor slept with three church members. This guy abused little boys for twenty years. Okay, do you get why I don�t need your church?� Then with a triumphant flair he sticks the articles back on his �rack of shame.�

A few months ago, fed up with his clergy-bashing, I blurted out, �What does this prove, Emilio? So priests and pastors do despicable things. What if I started a rack of shame for people in your profession and then declared that I will never eat pizza?� Actually, over the next few weeks I tried rummaging through newspapers looking for articles about pizza guys doing nasty things � spitting in the bread dough, using cheap Ragu instead of homemade sauce � but apparently pizza guys live pretty clean lives.
Finally, after a month or two of bickering back and forth I came to Emilio and said, �I need to order two slices of cheese and I need to ask your forgiveness.� He bristled and shot back, �Is this a joke or a trick?�
�No, really, Emilio, I�m truly sorry for being a jerk and for arguing with you � and I want the cheese slices too. The truth is that ministers do screw up. We can be pretty decent people; but sometimes we�re frauds and hypocrites. Sometimes I�m a sham.�

Emilio immediately softened (and we�ve actually become friends), but I didn�t say this as an evangelism strategy. I said it because it�s true and it�s the Gospel. I love the line that summarizes the Gospel this way: We are more flawed than we�d ever dare to admit; we�re more loved than we�d ever dare to imagine. I�m not sure why it�s so hard to get this simple truth. I qualify for the cosmic rack of shame, but then through God�s infinite mercy, Jesus took my place on the rack and set me free.

Emilio, my outraged, anti-clerical, unchurched, pizza-making friend helped me see the Gospel again. I guess he evangelized me. Gosh, I have to be more careful: Jesus keeps sneaking up on me. I never know where he�ll pop up next.



AskMe #2432006 10/04/10 06:56 AM
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2 John 1:10-11 (NLT)
10 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don�t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. 11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.

The Apostle John tells us we should take care about who we invite to speak to our family and friends. There are those who speak as if teaching religious truth, but they are deceived and they try to deceive others with false claims about Christ.

The other day I saw a couple driving a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder Convertible with a new car tag. This car easily stands out in the traffic. People were rolling their windows down to speak to this couple and tell them how much they loved the car. After all, this car is valued around $270,000 and is designed to impress. But I noticed a highway patrol staying back a few cars following this vehicle. This couple may have been out for a test drive; they may have just bought the car; or they could have taken it illegally. Either way the officer appeared suspicious about this couple driving this car and taking the time to ensure they were not in false ownership of the car while others were praising them about their car.

The Bible offers us some warnings about those who do not teach the truth concerning God and Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:13 says, �For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into Apostles of Christ.� These people claim a special knowledge of Christ, but they twist and warp the gospel of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:14 goes on to say, �And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; who end shall be according to their works.� Satan is a deceiver. He presents what appears to be the truth, but he has warped the truth to conform to his desire to lead people from the truth of God. In the same way Satan has tempted others to follow in his footsteps. These people preach what appears to be the word of God, but the principles do not line up with God�s purpose and will. Take care in listening to such people. Remember Jesus said such people come to you in sheep�s clothing, but inwardly they are ravaging wolves. So be vigilant and watch out for those who are false in their teachings. We need to ensure the words spoken by others line up with the word of God and present the gospel in truth The gospel is Christ was beaten, tortured and executed on a cross for our sin; then he rose to life on the third day; and because of Christ�s sacrifice God has given grace and forgiveness of sin to all who believe.

AskMe #2432244 10/05/10 06:16 AM
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Hebrews 10:1-2 (NLT)
1 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.

The apostle tells us the Old Testament law had a purpose to show us the reality of a good, just and holy life. The law was just a shadow, just a slight image of the greater eternal life to be lived with God in heaven. But first there had to be a cleansing of sin. This cleansing came in the form of sacrifices, but it was only temporary and required repeated cleansing in order to properly worship God. It was not until Christ died as the perfect sacrifice that we were made right and justified before God once and for all time. Knowing there was always the need for cleansing left those under the law guilty for there was always another sin to follow another day.

Two different fathers instruct their child to clean up their room and then they will go get ice cream. Each child goes to work putting things in order, placing toys upon the shelves, and straightening what had become a mess. At the end of cleaning their room each child knows they have done what they should do; so they decide to play with one of their favorite toys. The first father walks in and the child begins to fear. He knows the father will see the room is no longer straight. Other toys have been pulled down and been put on the floor. The child feels guilt and waits on his father to scold him. The second father comes in to check on the progress of his child and finds the child playing with their favorite toy. The child knows his father understands he has done their best to clean the room, but has taken a moment to rest and play. Which father do you see God as? Do you see Him as one ready to scold you or do you see Him as one who understands? Never was it said the first father scolded the child or didn�t take them for the ice cream. It may have been the child�s own feeling of guilt and not understanding his father�s expectations that caused the fear. We have a God who loves us, who no longer requires us to perform a perfect cleansing. For God gave His son as the pure sacrifice for sin and we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

AskMe #2432498 10/06/10 06:27 AM
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Ruth 2:21-22 (NLT)
21 Then Ruth said, �What�s more, Boaz even told me to come back and stay with his harvesters until the entire harvest is completed.� 22 �Good!� Naomi exclaimed. �Do as he said, my daughter. Stay with his young women right through the whole harvest. You might be harassed in other fields, but you�ll be safe with him.�

Naomi had lost both her husband and sons. Ruth was one of Naomi�s daughter-in-laws who had chosen to stay with her and care for her. Ruth had said to Naomi, �"Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.� Ruth was determined to be with her mother-in-law in order to help her. Naomi encouraged Ruth to work in the fields of Boaz, who was a relative of hers. Naomi knew Ruth might be harassed or assaulted in other fields, but the field of Boaz was a safe and refreshing place to be.

Unfortunately harassment and assaults of many types have taken place throughout history. In The Bible King David was familiar with harassment when he said in Psalms 119:161, �Powerful people harass me without cause.� Christ understood harassment as Jewish leaders persecuted Him for His acts of mercy towards others. Harassment in any form is wrong. Read the news and you will see many different reports of harassment today. There are teens driven to suicide by harassment from classmates. Politicians have been investigated for their harassment of assistants. It seems there is no place safe, but we know Ruth was offered a safe place where she could feel comfortable and protected. The church needs to be a safe place, a place of protection and free from harassment. And the church should understand this well for the church itself has been persecuted and harassed throughout history. Pray God�s people would provide a safe tower of refuge for those who are in need. Pray for those who have faced harassment that the Lord himself would heal their wounds.

AskMe #2432881 10/07/10 07:02 AM
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Romans 3:23-26 (NLT)
23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God�s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

The apostle gives a reminder there is NO ONE without sin. Everyone has fallen short of God�s standards, short of His righteousness, short of His glory, short of His compassion, short of His fairness, short of His justice and short of His mercy and love. Yet God declares those who believe in Jesus Christ justified and made right in His sight. It is not through keeping rules and laws that we are justified, but instead we are made right by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.

The apostle has some additional words that are helpful in Romans 9:30-33, �Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God�s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, �I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.�� If we could take an inventory of those in heaven we might be surprised because of our own arrogance. The list would include those who had been thieves, liars, prostitutes, drunkards, adulterers and murderers. Their lives may have been met with disapproval and we would have condemned them. Some would be believe it was impossible for them to be in heaven. However, when they placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior they become justified in God�s sight. They may have been imprisoned for their deeds, but even in prison they were able to receive God�s mercy and grace. They may have been put to death, but they received eternal life in heaven because of their faith. You see Jesus Christ came for sinners, not just some, but for ALL sinners. So no matter what your past, no matter what you have done you can come just as you are to Jesus and be forgiven for all your sin.

AskMe #2433116 10/08/10 06:40 AM
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Colossians 2:20-23 (NLT)
20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 �Don�t handle! Don�t taste! Don�t touch!�? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person�s evil desires.

The apostle was pointing out rules established by man had no intrinsic worth and corrupted Christian faith. For there were those who tried to follow both Christ and follow Mosaic law thinking they would be wiser in doing so. Following these rituals did nothing more than to hinder their fellowship with Christ and tighten the yoke of sin.

In the film The Shawshank Redemption, Ellis "Red" Redding has spent his prime wasting away in prison because of a reckless act of violence he committed as a teenager. After 40 years of incarceration, Red finally receives his release to enjoy the freedom for which he's longed. However, he can't free himself from the habit of asking for permission each time he wishes to use the men's room. He's become "institutionalized." This newfound life scares him, because he's grown accustomed to the structure behind bars. Imprisonment had become safe for Red. He didn't have to exercise his own decision-making. Someone else did the thinking for him, and now, on the outside, he faces a prospect more daunting and terrifying than incarceration: freedom. Red confesses that he contemplates various ways to break his parole and return to the security of his prison cell. He sums up his dilemma in one line: "It is a terrible thing to live in fear." People caught up in legalism are no different than Red�scared to death of the freedom grace brings. It's much easier to retreat to our cells of dos and don'ts, of black and white categories. But the church should not protect people by erecting legalistic walls. Instead it can release people by equipping them to discern godly choices on their own. [Graham Johnson, Preaching to a Postmodern World: A Guide to Reaching Twenty-First Century Listeners; Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2001]

AskMe #2433742 10/11/10 06:19 AM
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Acts 15:7-11 (NLT)
7 At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: �Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. 8 God knows people�s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. 10 So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? 11 We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.�

There were Pharisee Christians teaching Gentiles they needed to follow Mosaic laws along with their Christian belief in order to be saved. A meeting was convened and the apostle Peter addressed the group. The content of his message was the good news of salvation was given to all men without a distinction between them. Therefore it was unreasonable to impose laws and rules upon the Gentiles that even the Jews who lived under God�s hand were not able themselves to keep.

Margaret Thatcher in her October 1988 speech to The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland said the following: �Ideally, when Christians meet, as Christians, to take counsel together their purpose is not (or should not be) to ascertain what is the mind of the majority but what is the mind of the Holy Spirit�something which may be quite different.�

Sometimes we forget a Christian life is not about our rules, judgments or impositions we place on ourselves or others. A Christian life is about receiving the underserved grace of our Lord Jesus. It is about letting the Holy Spirit guide our individual lives and having a close fellowship with our Lord and Savior. A Christian life contains forgiveness and love towards each other as God has extended His merciful love towards us. And while we desire to live a righteous and holy life, perfection is impossible. So we to stop trying to impose rules on others which we ourselves cannot keep.

AskMe #2434133 10/12/10 06:58 AM
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Matthew 8:5-10 (NAS)
5 And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6 and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented." 7 Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." 8 But the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 "For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it." 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, "Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.

The man coming before Jesus was a Roman Centurion. These men were gentiles, professional soldiers in command of 80-100 men. They led other soldiers from the front of the battle, occupying a position at the front right of the century formation. They inspired their men by example. Centurions were highly respected and educated men. Yet even with all his respect and power this centurion humbled his self to Jesus to ask for grace upon his servant. The centurion went further in his faith saying all Jesus needed to do was �say this and it will be done�.

In Matthew 16:15, Jesus asked an important question to His disciples. He asked, �Who do you say that I am?� It is a question relevant for us today. Who is it we believe Jesus to be? Do we really and truly believe He is Savior, King of Heaven, Lord above all Lords or do we place limits on him? Can we go to Jesus, ask what we need and believe He will answer in our best interest? Like the Centurion we need to be able to ask in confidence and have genuine faith Jesus will answer our request. The Centurion understood the power and authority of Jesus. Sadly the response to Israel, who knew God, who had witnessed the miracles of God and Christ, was there was no one who had such faith as this Roman Gentile. Pray we may put aside our doubts, put aside our feelings and learn to have to total faith in Christ. Pray we really know and believe who Jesus said He was.

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Isaiah 5:21 (KJV)
21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

In this chapter of Isaiah the prophet speaks to the people of Israel about their sins and the consequences to follow. One of their transgressions is founded in self-conceit and pride. The people believe they have a clear insight into their own ways of life. They believe they can disprove the reproofs of God against them. They believe themselves superior to others because they fail to see their own sinful ways. They think they are wise, but actually they are foolish in their thoughts.

Which would you prefer to eat, �Patagonian toothfish� or �Chilean sea bass�? Most people probably find Chilean sea bass sounds more appetizing; but actually they are the same fish. The Patagonian toothfish was cheaply sold in Chile because the Chileans considered it too oily. However, it was marketed in the United States as Chilean sea bass. It became so popular it has been overfished and to the point where it has been put on the Seafood Red List. It seems in this case one man�s trash became another man�s treasure.

What may be right in the mind of one person is sometimes wrong in the mind of another. Unfortunately it is the way most of us look at life. We see the actions of another and say that is wrong, but we often do not see what is wrong with ourselves. We are ready to judge and condemn, but we have failed to look at our own actions because we believe we are right and just. We pick and choose morals to uphold, while we allow other morals in our life to go unchecked. We think �I am better than they are�, but we have obvious faults which prove us wrong. God is the only one who sees the world clearly and understands the minds of man. King Solomon said, �People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart.� Listen to the Lord and ask for wisdom that you might understand your own failures and flaws. Give mercy and grace to others knowing that you also need mercy and grace for the sins you do not see.

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Revelation 3:8 (KJV)
8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Christ speaks to the Church of Philadelphia to let them know what He has done for the church. Christ is the one who placed liberty and opportunity before them. It is a door which has been opened and no one apart from Christ can shut. Christ acknowledges the church has not denied Him nor failed to follow Him. It is the reason for their liberty and opportunity to reach out to others. Those against God would love to do nothing more than shut this door, but as long as Christ is not provoked the door will remain open.

In the phrase from Revelation 3:8, �no man can shut it�, the Greek word for �can� is dynamai, which means having the ability, strength or power to do something. It is the word from which dynamite is derived. So let�s think about the verse this way, �Once Jesus has opened a door of opportunity no person has enough dynamite to affect the door.� It cannot be blow shut, it cannot be destroyed, and it cannot be made impassable. Jesus has opened the door and it will remain open until Jesus decides to shut it. So if you have been given an opportunity by Christ don�t let the opportunity pass. The door is being held open for you to accomplish want needs to be done. And when your task is through give Jesus the honor, praise and glory He deserves.

AskMe #2435715 10/18/10 06:48 AM
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Genesis 32:11
11 O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children.

Esau had carelessly given away his birthright to Jacob to satisfy his physical hunger for food. Jacob in turn, with the help of his mother, fooled his father into blessing him instead of Esau in order to obtain Esau�s birthright. Jacob fled because he feared Esau and the issues between them went unresolved. It was now many years later and Jacob was about to face Esau who he had feared for so many years.

Unresolved conflict will affect us until the conflict is resolved. Jacob fled home because he feared retaliation from Esau for tricking his father into blessing him instead of Esau. Jacob lived in that fear and many years later the fear still controlled him. Often we wonder why someone will keep bringing up a past argument in the midst of another argument. Most often it is because the person felt the issue was unresolved and they still live in their own fear. They never felt as though their feelings were heard and acknowledged. They are in conflict and fear pulls at their weakest emotions. The easiest way to help someone resolve that conflict is to ask them to talk about their past anger and intently listen to them. Confirm what you heard them say by repeating back in your own words. It is not important whether you agree with them or not; this is about how they feel, not how you feel. So put aside any discussion you may want to bring up for a later time. Express your sorrow for their pain and suffering. Let them know you care and help remove their fear. Once they know their fears have been acknowledged it will be easier for them to let go of the past. Remember you don�t have to agree with someone to acknowledge their feelings and express sorrow over their emotions. Feeling as though we have to defend ourselves is a problem we ourselves need to work on. Let go of your defensive feelings and listen.

AskMe #2436064 10/19/10 06:30 AM
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Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT)
3 Don�t be selfish; don�t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don�t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

The apostle writes to the Philippians to encourage them in their Christian duties. He exhorts them to be more like Christ by humbling themselves before others. They should put aside selfishness and pride. They should attend not only to their own interests, but also to the interests of others. Paul is encouraging them to do as Christ said, �Love one another.�

Richard Manning and Ray Brennan had been friends since Marine training school in Quantico, VA. During the Korean War, the unit in which the two Marines served arrived in Pusan in the fall of 1951. It was a little after midnight, and a light snow was falling. Huddled in the bunker, the two were passing a cigarette back and forth when a hand grenade landed squarely between them. Ray Brennan spotted it first. He nonchalantly flicked the cigarette butt aside and fell on the grenade. It detonated instantly, but Brennan's stomach absorbed the explosion. He winked at Manning and rolled over dead. Four years later, Manning entered the priesthood. When he took his vows, he took a new name to symbolize his new life in Jesus Christ. He changed his given name to Brennan Manning in memory of his friend. One summer, Father Brennan Manning dropped in on Ray Brennan's widowed mother in Chicago. After dinner, they were reminiscing about the days when Ray was alive. Unexpectedly, the priest asked, "Ma, do you think Ray really loved me?" "Oh, Brennan," she laughed, "You can't ever be serious." "I am serious," Brennan replied. She looked at him in disbelief. She stood up and screamed in her Irish brogue, "Good Lord, man, what more could he ha' done fer ya?" I've been thinking about that question. Sometimes when I am disappointed; disillusioned; or doubting Jesus Christ--I need to ask myself: "what more could He have done for me?"

[Richard Anderson, Christ Presbyterian Church, quotes from The Importance of Being Foolish by Brennan Manning]

AskMe #2436506 10/20/10 07:13 AM
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Proverbs 18:2 (ESV)
2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

King Solomon has several proverbs relating to the wisdom of opinion. In 12:23 he says, �A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.� And in 15:2 Solomon says, �The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.� There are basically two types of people: 1) There are those that have knowledge, use it wisely and only speak of it only at proper times; 2) There are those that think they are wise, but foolishly proclaim their opinions only for the sake of their own beliefs.

Opinions are common. There are opinion polls to show averages of people�s opinions on a subject. Rarely, if never will you see a single opinion at 100% for everyone is different. News commentators give personal opinions in addition to factual information; so in essence they mix fact with founded or unfounded personal belief. Letters to the Editor are opinions, individual points of view. Even someone selling you something will say, �In my OPINION this is a good buy.� Everyone has an opinion, but that does not mean their opinion is valid. Many opinions are not based on fact, not founded in wisdom or shown to be true. They are what they are; the personal belief of an individual. An important lesson to remember is when someone confronts you with their opinion, remember �it is just their opinion�. You have an opinion of yourself that counts too. Even greater is God�s opinion of you - He calls you precious and dear to Him. When a loved one or someone we respect gives us an unfavorable opinion of ourselves it can hurt. Maybe they got pieces of facts, heard rumors, or listened to lies and they presented a foolish opinion. Again, remember it is their opinion, you don�t have to agree, you don�t have to defend your own opinion of yourself, and you don�t have to respond in anger. Thank them for their opinion and keep your opinion of them to yourself. Seek God�s wisdom and let God speak to you on what is true and what is not to see if there is any truth in their opinion. Hand your emotions over to God and let the peace of Christ rule in your heart so that you may know the truth. Pray God would show you His opinion of you matters more than the opinion of others or even yourself.

AskMe #2437702 10/25/10 06:08 AM
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Genesis 31:22-30 (NLT)
22 Three days later, Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 So he gathered a group of his relatives and set out in hot pursuit. He caught up with Jacob seven days later in the hill country of Gilead. 24 But the previous night God had appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and told him, �I�m warning you�leave Jacob alone!� 25 Laban caught up with Jacob as he was camped in the hill country of Gilead, and he set up his camp not far from Jacob�s. 26 �What do you mean by stealing away like this?� Laban demanded. �How dare you drag my daughters away like prisoners of war? 27 Why did you slip away secretly? Why did you steal away? And why didn�t you say you wanted to leave? I would have given you a farewell feast, with singing and music, accompanied by tambourines and harps. 28 Why didn�t you let me kiss my daughters and grandchildren and tell them good-bye? You have acted very foolishly! 29 I could destroy you, but the God of your father appeared to me last night and warned me, �Leave Jacob alone!� 30 I can understand your feeling that you must go, and your intense longing for your father�s home. But why have you stolen my gods?�

Jacob had been told by God to leave the land of his uncle and father-in-law, Laban, and return to his homeland. Over the years, Laban had taken advantage of his son-in-law Joseph; but God prospered Joseph in everything he did. Joseph and his family secretly left. Laban chased after Joseph and his family. One reason it was thought he was in such hot pursuit of Joseph was that Rachel had stolen her father�s idols; perhaps not for the rich metals or what they represented, but that it gave her a right to establish a future claim to the headship of the family and the possessions of the family. Labal perhaps thought Joseph was trying to take all Laban had.

Laban goes through a long list of complaints. He complains to Joseph about slipping off secretly, taking away his family, not giving a proper farewell, and not allowing him to say goodbye to his family. Then Labon gets to the heart of his complaint, �Why have you stolen my gods?�

Is this scenario familiar to you: a complaint is made, but it is not what the real issue is about? Then finally after some arguing and confrontation the true problem is revealed? Most people are afraid to address an issue straight on so they attack other things close to the issue. None of them are the true problem and so the confrontation grows even hotter because more than one complaint is lodged. Each of us has probably been at fault for this somewhere in our life. Pray we would learn to be honest with others in a way that is non-threatening. Pray we could learn to live through the power of God and not out of the fear we have for others.

AskMe #2437959 10/26/10 07:19 AM
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Proverbs 26:18-19 (NLT)
18 Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon 19 is someone who lies to a friend and then says, �I was only joking.�

This proverb speaks of the person who commits a willful sin pretending to be polite with their words, but in reality they are cunning, malicious and deceitful. They give a frivolous excuse for their behavior and then try to play it off as humorous fun. But there is no fun for the victim of a lie and valuable truth is being sold off as a joke.

Webster�s Dictionary says when a person lies they make an untrue statement with intent to deceive; or the intent is to create a false or misleading impression. A lie is deliberate; it is calculated and meant to intentionally cheat a person from the truth. The book of Jeremiah tells us a person that tells lies practice with their tongue and wear themselves out sinning. The Bible tells us Satan is the master of deception. Through a lie Satan encouraged Adam and Eve to sin. Through deception Satan has led people away from Christ so they may not know the truth of mercy, grace and salvation. St. Augustine said, �For a person is to be judged as lying or as not lying according to the intention of his own mind, not according to the truth or falsity of the matter itself�.In reality, the fault of the person who tells a lie consists in his desire to deceive in expressing his thoughts.� Lies are separate from falsehoods and omissions. A falsehood is where one believes a statement to be true, but their facts have not been confirmed. Omissions can be contested as a lie if the intent is to harmfully deceive; but omission by itself without intent to do evil is not always a lie. Omission may be for the purpose of protection, such as withholding information when it is known the truth will cause harm. Omission can just be the fault of a person to not include facts they did not think about and therefore they had no intent to lie. Generally there are four conditions to a lie: 1) a person makes a statement, 2) the statement is untruthful and the speaker understands the statement to be false, 3) the statement is purposefully directed to another person, and 4) there is intention of the speaker for the listener to believe the untruthful statement. We all must take care not to lie for the purpose of deception and evil. We are all sinners and all prone to lie in some manner; therefore we must take care in our judgment of others. Pray for discernment from God that you may know the intent of individuals and whether their intent is to harm. Pray also that you would follow truth and use it wisely.

AskMe #2438232 10/27/10 07:07 AM
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Proverbs 27:1 (NLT)
1 Don�t brag about tomorrow, since you don�t know what the day will bring.

King Solomon offers a caution about presuming what the future may bring. We should not make promises to ourselves about our life and its continuance for we cannot make promises to ourselves we cannot keep. For God does not reveal to us future events, but wisely reserves the knowledge for Himself. Therefore we prepare for tomorrow knowing we must be willing to submit to the will of God. And we should not linger in worry about the events of the future, but instead place our trust in the hands of God.

In the movie Life or Something Like it, an ambitious TV anchorwoman, Lanie Kerrigan (Angelina Jolie) decides to change her destiny when a homeless man tells her she'll die within a week. Lanie is perfect; engaged to Seattle Mariners star Cal (Christian Kane), the famous host of a popular TV show, and adorned in a perfect wardrobe enhanced by her trademark Marilyn Monroe-inspired blonde buffont. To top it all off, her boss recommends her for her dream job, a network position in New York City. In order to increase her chances, he sends her to do field work with the renowned, but difficult, cameraman Pete (Edward Burns). On an assignment, Prophet Jack (Tony Shalhoub), tells Lanie three predictions: that the Seattle Seahawks will beat the Denver Broncos 19-13, that it will hail the following day, and that she'll be dead by next Thursday. When the first two predictions come true, Lanie reevaluates her life and realizes she's missing out on the smaller things because of her ambition.

What would you do if you found out you only had one week to live? Would you stop and change your priorities in life? Would you continue the same routine or would you take advantage of the time that was left? None of us are guaranteed another second of life. Our lives can end with a single heart beat; yet we presume to know what tomorrow holds and fail to see the important parts of life. Pray God would give you wisdom to see the purpose of your life and what you should be doing. Give praise to God for what you have and pray He would meet your needs for those things you do not have.

AskMe #2438607 10/28/10 06:31 AM
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Amos 3:3 (NLT)
3 Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?

After exposing the sins of the people in the various surrounding areas and proclaiming God�s judgment upon those people Amos now speaks to Israel. The first question Amos asks is, �Can two people walk together without agreeing on a direction?� If the people are at odds with God there can be no fellowship with Him. To walk with God they must first accommodate that which is in difference to God. Amos expresses the idea that one cannot expect God to be present with us or act with us unless we have reconciled ourselves to God through repentance and alignment with God�s will.

The Rev C H Spurgeon delivered this message as a portion of his Oct, 30, 1864 sermon at Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. Yet again, dear friends, are we agreed this day as to our utter helplessness in this work? I caught a good sentence the other day. Speaking with a Wesleyan minister, I said to him, "Your denomination during the past year did not increase: you have usually had a large increase to your numbers. You were never so rich as now; your ministers were never so well educated; you never had such good chapels as now, and yet you never had so little success. What are you doing?�knowing this to be the fact, what are you doing? How are the minds of your brethren exercised with regard to this?" He comforted me much by the reply. He said, "It has driven us to our knees: we thank God that we know our state and are not content with it. We have had a day of humiliation, and I hope," he said, "some of us have gone low enough to be blessed." There is a great truth in that last sentence, "low enough to be blessed," I do fear me that some of us never do go low enough to be blessed. When a man says, "Oh! yes, we are getting on very well, we do not want any revival that I know of," I fear me he is not low enough to be blessed; and when you and I pray to God with pride in us, with self-exaltation, with a confidence in our own zeal, or even in the prevalence of our own prayers of themselves, we have not come low enough to be blessed. An humble Church will be a blessed Church; a Church that is willing to confess its own errors and failures, and to lie at the foot of Christ's cross, is in a position to be favoured of the Lord. I hope we are agreed, then, with God, as to our utter unworthiness and helplessness, so that we look to him alone.

Pray our nation would look to God for His thoughts and that we, His people, would follow Him. Pray that our minds may be one in agreement with God and give thanks always for God�s generosity, grace and mercy.

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