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AskMe #2449064 12/06/10 07:35 AM
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Romans 5:1-2 (KJV)
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

The sacrifice of Jesus brought about justification of our sin, which by our faith in Jesus Christ brings peace with God and reconcilement unto Him. Also with our faith in Christ we have access to the grace of God, and we will be able to stand boldly in front of God to rejoice in the glorious life He has reserved for us.

When we move away from God we lose peace in our lives. I�m not saying we won�t ever have struggles or difficulties when we are close to God. What I am saying is that moving away from God will cause us to miss out on the peace He gives us to handle very difficult situations. When Paul was in jail, bound in chains, sitting in a dark, damp cavern; Paul still found peace because he was close to God. He was able to express joy through song because He understood God was with him. For you see God is peace and without God we lose sight of what peace should look like. Galatians 5:22 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and faith. In our relationship with God He provides us with the tools to cope with life even under difficult circumstances. When you find yourself not feeling very peaceful, take a moment to think about what might be moving you away from God. Are you harboring resentment towards another? Are you involved in sinful actions that move you further from God? Whatever it might be God will restore you if you repent and turn back to Him. Rest on God�s peace and find the happiness you need in your life.

AskMe #2449510 12/07/10 06:58 AM
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James 4:1-3 (NLT)
1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don�t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don�t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can�t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don�t have what you want because you don�t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don�t get it because your motives are all wrong�you want only what will give you pleasure.

The Apostle James gives an explanation for quarrels, fights and wars that break out among people. These wars come from a jealous desire to have what others have which leads to a desire to take it from the person who has it. There are two problems, one they probably have not consulted with God before acting to do so; two their motives are entirely self-motivated without regard for others.

December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called this day �A day which will live in infamy.� On this day we observe the ultimate sacrifice of many Americans in the Pacific on Dec. 7 and mark the moment that we committed ourselves to fight the good fight. Fighting is never pleasant, never desired, but is necessary to defend against those who attack in war. We pray God will bring peace and that God will deliver this country safely through the battle. The Bible tells us there are many wars yet to be fought so let us not turn from God, but always ask God for the right direction and causes to pursue. Let not our motives for war be out of jealous desire, but rightly justified in God�s eyes. For those who have served this country faithfully, God bless you. For those who have lost loved ones who have served I pray God grant you peace and mercy. And for all other I pray God will watch over this country and we would follow Him.

AskMe #2449891 12/08/10 06:28 AM
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Proverbs 8:22-31 (The Message)
22 -31 God sovereignly made me�the first, the basic� before he did anything else. I was brought into being a long time ago, well before Earth got its start. I arrived on the scene before Ocean, yes, even before Springs and Rivers and Lakes. Before Mountains were sculpted and Hills took shape, I was already there, newborn; Long before God stretched out Earth's Horizons, and tended to the minute details of Soil and Weather, And set Sky firmly in place, I was there. When he mapped and gave borders to wild Ocean, built the vast vault of Heaven, and installed the fountains that fed Ocean, When he drew a boundary for Sea, posted a sign that said no trespassing, And then staked out Earth's Foundations, I was right there with him, making sure everything fit. Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause, always enjoying his company, Delighted with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family.

Wisdom is given personal properties and actions in these verses and is spoken of as in reference to Christ. Jesus was with God from the beginning of creation until He was sovereignly brought into this world as man. Jesus, just as The Father, delighted in the creation of man and He also celebrated mankind.

As parents when our children come into this world we delight in them, want the best for them, and want to protect them. When they are small and dependent upon us they easy give us hugs and eagerly want to be with us. As they grow older the hugs come less frequently and we find they don�t want to be with us as much. Most of this is from the awkwardness of adolescence, but it is also because they are trying to find their independence. The parental rules given out of love to protect and preserve start being viewed as a jail sentence. They want to be free of us and free of these rules forgetting that what we do is because of our love for them. The question is how do we react to God�s delight and love for us? When God places His hand of discipline upon us do we feel comforted or do we want to resist. When God is walking with us do we want to pull away or do we want to pull close? We can be just like a teenager wanting our independence from God, but that independence can and will pull us away from God. Remember God is pursuing you out of love. Remember God delights in you. Instead of looking for independence from God look for dependence upon God.

AskMe #2450286 12/09/10 05:42 AM
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Philippians 2:1-4 (NLT)
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 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 starts by asking several rhetorical questions. He wants them to see how Christ has changed their life for the good of one another. Then he encourages them to work together, being humble and taking interest in others. For each believer is a member of the body of Christ and serves a purpose to help others.

The Investigative Discovery Cable Channel launched a new show last night called Hookers: Saved on the strip. This show is about a Christian ministry, Hookers for Jesus, started by Annie Lobert in Las Vegas to help women get out of the adult business that has ensnared them. Her husband Oz Fox of the Christian Heavy Metal Band, Stryper, supports her in this ministry. You see Annie was once in the adult business herself, but Jesus saved her and set her free. Her family thought she would never be able to find a husband who could love her because of her past, but Oz Fox loves her for who she is and accepts her past. Jesus is a big part of their lives. Because of Annie�s past and the love of Jesus she is able to relate to other women in the adult business and love on them with a tender and compassionate heart. She takes on the interest of others by helping them get out of the adult business, providing them housing, food, and other needs as they make the transition away from their previous lifestyle. It is a tough journey for some; jobs are hard to find and the jobs that are available pay a lot lower than what they were earning. God bless those who support this ministry for they partner with Annie in showing compassion to those who are in desperate need of it. Pray God would open your heart to love others, put aside self to serve others, and look out for others who need help.

AskMe #2450701 12/10/10 06:39 AM
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Matthew 2:16-20 (The Message)
16-18 Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he'd gotten from the scholars.) That's when Jeremiah's sermon was fulfilled: A sound was heard in Ramah, weeping and much lament. Rachel weeping for her children, Rachel refusing all solace, Her children gone, dead and buried. 19-20 Later, when Herod died, God's angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: "Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead."

King Herod upon hearing about the birth of Jesus had all boys 2 years old and under put to death. For Herod was trying to ensure no other king would take away his position. His fear, jealousy and arrogance brought about the slaughter of innocent children. Yet God had already known this was going to occur and that Jesus would return. Hosea 11.1 said, �Out of Egypt have I called my son. �

Parents once asked their young child where Jesus lives. The response was �in our basement�. They asked further and the 3 year old said that is because we keep the baby Jesus there with the wise men. The basement was where the manger scene was stored each year. The verses above tell the story of what happened after the wise men visited Herod. It was now almost 2 years after the birth of Jesus and Herod learned of this king who would one day lead the people of his nation. Out of arrogance, fear and jealousy he killed the young boys. Some might say God allowed these children to be killed. It could be said a cruel and unjust king killed innocent children. Or it could also be said the people had placed their faith above God in a king who was unjust and they received the consequences of their decision. I believe it was the consequences for allowing an unjust king to rule over them. We need to be careful in our choice of leaders for we never know what rules they may impose upon us.

And as a point of trivia, the Wise Men were never at the manger where Jesus was born, but instead went to the home of Joseph and Mary years later. Only shepherds, the most common of man was there to witness the birth of our Lord and Savior.

AskMe #2451662 12/13/10 05:56 AM
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1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NLT)
6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can�t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

In this section of 1 Timothy 6, the Apostle Paul speaks to Timothy about false teachings and true riches. His main point is godliness and contentment by itself is a great wealth to be treasured. Paul reminds Timothy we come into this world with nothing and we depart from this world with nothing. So as long as our basic needs are met we should learn to be content with life.

C.H. Spurgeon once said, �You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled. �� Our sin nature causes us to always want that little bit more that we don�t have. It often drives us to buy beyond our limits. It will cause use to covet what another may have. If we can�t be happy with what we have, surely we will not be happy when we gain more. Are you content in life? Then you have received that contentment by trusting in God to meet your needs. However, if your heart is filled with covetousness then you are worshiping yourself with the riches you supply with your own greed. Pray God would give you peace and contentment with life. Build heavenly treasures that are lasting and not earthly treasures that will perish.

AskMe #2452076 12/14/10 06:29 AM
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Proverbs 14:15 (NLT)
15 Only simpletons believe everything they�re told! The prudent carefully consider their steps.

Solomon tells us it is foolish to believe everything we hear, to trust what seems so probable, to always count on a friend�s recollection, and to give credit to everyone who would make a vow of truth. Wisdom lends itself to caution and discernment. The prudent person will weigh the credibility of what they hear. They will examine who and how something is related to them. They will carefully weigh the facts giving judgment to what is known and to suspend judgment when facts are not present.

Henri J. M. Nouwen in The Inner Voice of Love said, �As a child of God, you need to be prudent. You cannot simply walk around in this world as if nothing and no one can harm you. You remain extremely vulnerable. The same passions that make you love God may be used by the powers of evil.� In life we need to carefully examine everything put before us without jumping to a quick conclusion. Often we look at life through filters created by our own experiences. These filters affect the way we perceive and review facts. The problem is that because of these past experiences the filters we create may cause us to jump from step A to step D without understanding what took place at step B and C. For example if you lived with someone who as soon as they got angry became abusive you might jump to the conclusion that anyone who expresses anger will turn to abusive aggressive, which is not always true. You may have a friend that repeats rumors and 90% of the time they are true. But what happens if there is a negative rumor against someone and it falls into the 10% false category. You will make a false judgment based on false fact. So be prudent and carefully consider all things, asking yourself do you really know or are you basing your information on hearsay, rumor, unsubstantiated facts or your own false beliefs. Pray God would give you the wisdom to live cautiously using discernment as your guide.

AskMe #2452511 12/15/10 06:12 AM
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Revelation 2:14-16 (NLT)
14 �But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15 In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Jesus reproves the Church of Pergamam in these verses. The Christians there were following in corrupt doctrines leading to corrupt worship and corrupt teachings. They were being drawn into sin just as Balaam had drawn the Israelites into sin. [Though the church, as such, has no power to punish the persons of men, either for heresy or immorality, with corporal penalties, yet it has power to exclude them from its communion; and, if it do not so, Christ, the head and lawgiver of the church, will be displeased with it. ~ Matthew Henry]

Desmond Tutu � the Nobel peace prize winner and Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South African � famously said in a 2008 speech that, �There�s nothing more radical, nothing more revolutionary, nothing more subversive against injustice and oppression than the Bible. If you want to keep people subjugated, the last thing you place in their hands is a Bible.� For you see God�s Word is a first step in beginning to understand who God is. In Acts chapter 8 Philip met a man reading scripture and God�s spirit moved him to want to know more. So Philip shared the message of Jesus dying for our sin with this man. The man responded he believed Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The man declared he wanted to be baptized and had the chariots stopped immediately so Philip could so. When God�s Word and Spirit move you there is a desire for an immediate response. As God�s Word speaks you become closer and begin build a relationship with the Lord. This relationship is not based on man�s ideas or how the world tells you to act, but based upon what the Lord would have you do. Yes, let men build a relationship with the Lord and their submission will be to Him and not the world.

AskMe #2453012 12/16/10 07:46 AM
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2 Corinthians 5:8 (ESV)
8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

The apostle reminds us to stop to consider our Christian faith and the prospect of a new life with Christ in heaven. It is then we can be comforted from the troubles of this life. While we are here on earth we live to serve the Lord, but when we face our last enemy, �DEATH�, we can take courage in knowing we will be home with the Lord. When it is God�s will one should go home we can rejoice for they have left this painful world to go unto the comfort of Christ.

As Stan Caffy prepared for married life, he and his bride-to-be cleaned out their respective garages and sold everything to Goodwill. Between the two of them, they sold an assortment of clothes, bicycles, tools, computer parts, and a tattered copy of the Declaration of Independence that had been hanging in Stan's garage for the last decade. Stan's trash turned out to be another man's treasure. That particular version of the Declaration of Independence was a rare copy made in 1823. A man named Michael Sparks spotted it, and he purchased the document for $2.48. Sparks later auctioned it for $477,650. Not a bad profit. Caffy, the previous owner, was later quoted as saying, "I'm happy for the Sparks guy. If I still had it, it would still be hanging here in the garage, and I still wouldn't know it was worth all that.� [Associated Press, "Sold! One Declaration of Independence Copy," MSNBC.com (3-23-07)]

The question we should ask ourselves is do we know what the worth of our salvation is? It is a valuable treasure we don�t cash in on until we are at home with the Lord.

AskMe #2453442 12/17/10 06:52 AM
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Galatians 6:1-3 (The Message)
1 -3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

In previous chapters the apostle has encouraged Christians to love and serve one another. Paul talked about how an angry temper would hinder our lives and keep us from showing the appropriate love for others. Paul continues to teach in the verses above about ministering to others. When someone falls into sin it is the duty of the Christian to help restore that person in a forgiving manner. Criticism should be reserved to examine one�s own self. For we are all sinners and we never know when we might need the same forgiveness granted to us. We should never think of ourselves above others; for we are sinners whose best of works to God are like filthy rags.

Imagine being in a restaurant and observing an individual nicely dressed ready for their next business appointment. Then you happen to see them drop some food on their clothes and as they get up to leave they are unaware of the stain. What should you do? The nice thing would be to make them aware of the problem. It would be embarrassing though if you tell them about the food on their clothes and then you find out you there is a glob of potato salad on your pants, which they tell you about. So we need to take care not only what we say to someone, but also how we present a problem someone. We should never think of ourselves as better for we might also have some stains on us called sin. Learn to extend grace, mercy and love to others just as Christ has done for you.

AskMe #2454464 12/20/10 07:05 AM
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Galatians 5:24 (NLT)
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.

The apostle gives a summary of his previous words in this verse. He has talked about the sinful nature of man and what it consists of: immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. He has also talked about the Holy Spirit working in our lives and the good qualities that are produced: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The apostle reminds us in verse 24 that those who have placed their faith in Christ had their sinful nature hung on the cross with Christ that He bore our sin in sacrifice that we may enjoy the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

December 25th we traditionally celebrate the birth of Jesus. There have been debates as to the actual date of Christ�s birth, but the point is we have chosen a date to remember the birth of Christ and what that has meant to us. A small baby came into the world with tiny hands, tender feet, and the delicate body of a new born. The same body was tortured for our sin. His hands were nailed to a Roman cross along with His feet. This baby, the son of God, Immanuel or sometimes spelled Emmanuel, was God with us. The name of Jesus means, Jehovah is salvation. God because our salvation through His son Jesus Christ. On Christmas think of the tiny baby in the manger, this baby who gave His life for your sin as the son of God.

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Proverbs 4:14-15 (NLT)
14 Don�t do as the wicked do, and don�t follow the path of evildoers. 15 Don�t even think about it; don�t go that way. Turn away and keep moving.

King Solomon gives instruction to his son about wisdom and making wise choices. He tells his son not to follow in the way of those who are wicked and perform evil acts. Instead the thoughts should be put out of his mind and he should continue past them never looking back or thinking about following in their footsteps.

During the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Selena Roberts wrote in the New York Times of a heated controversy that threatened the integrity of the games:

About 10 yards past a security checkpoint along the path of a cinder-block hall inside the Salt Lake Ice Center, a panel of nine judges filtered into a room for a standard post-competition meeting last Tuesday morning. Twelve hours removed from the controversial moment when gold medallions were draped over Russia�s Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze instead of Canada�s Jamie Sal� and David Pelletier, the judges assembled for a review of the decision under Ron Pfenning, the head referee.

At first, it was business as usual as the judges sat around a table, pouring over marks for several skaters, according to two high-ranking figure skating officials who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity. Then the meeting took a bizarre turn. Pfenning, known as a gentle and meticulous caretaker of skating, handed each judge a piece of paper with a passage about honesty and integrity, officials said. As each person passed back the pieces of paper, the judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne began to sob, officials said.

�It was a rambling avalanche of words,� Pfenning said when reached by telephone. �I hadn�t asked her a question. She had been teary-eyed through a lot of the meeting. It was an outburst: �You don�t understand. You don�t understand. We�re under an awful lot of pressure. My federations, my president Didier, I had to put the Russians first.� Didier Gailhaguet is the president of the French Figure Skating Federation. Pfenning said that when Le Gougne called out Gailhaguet�s name, he knew he had to report the incident to the International Skating Union. �I never gave it a second thought,� Pfenning said.

For several minutes, the wail from Le Gougne grew so loud, one official said, that a person in the room stripped tape over the crack in the door in an apparent soundproofing effort. The two high-ranking skating officials said no one embraced Le Gougne, the stylish 40-year-old Frenchwoman, as she cried out. Many of the judges, officials said, saw her as a pathetic figure. They already knew why Le Gougne was distraught, they said: her conscience had caught up to her.

What do we do when our conscience catches up with us? How does a commitment to Integrity of heart and life save us from disastrous relationship crises? [Selena Roberts, "Early Tears: Sign of Scandal to Come," New York Times online (2-17-02)]

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Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

The apostle explains the fruits of our justification in Christ. Though we will still face problems and trials in our Christian walk these are meant to develop us and mold us. As we work through these problems we build character that comes from endurance and confidence in our salvation. Our character becomes who we are in Christ and we understand how deeply God loves us.

Our character contains many qualities and traits. Our character defines who we are and is the aggregate of features and traits that form our individual nature. We may have a high standard of moral and ethical quality that says we are a great people of honorable character. We may live by traits such as integrity, honesty and courage that are deeply rooted in who we are. Character is not the same as reputation. Character is the truth we know about ourselves while reputation is what others know about us. A reputation is seen by the public, while character is consistent even in the most hidden places. God knows our character and He strengthens us so our character may match the reputation we have in front of others. Pray God would continue to develop our character through all trials and troubles so that our reputation may also stand firm.

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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 previously written the church of Corinth concerning an issue taking place in the church. At first he was sorrowful for having to write such a letter, but the sorrow turned to joy. The church had repented and made a change for the good.

�I am sorry.� For some those are difficult words to say. A person may be so entrenched in their problems they refuse to examine the feelings of anyone else. The words �I am sorry� acknowledges to another person that you understand their feelings and you can relate sympathetically to them. �I am sorry� says I understand you were hurt and in the future I will try not to hurt you in that same manner. However, there are some who abuse the words �I am sorry� as an excuse for their behavior. They do not relate to how the other person is feeling, nor do they care. They just want to provide a quick escape, an excuse that might move them past where they are. The apostle tells us �the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin�. It is the same type of sorrow that brought to salvation realizing how our actions have hurt others including God. With this sorrow comes a desire for change, a desire to make things right, and a desire not to repeat past actions.

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James 4:11-12 (NLT)
11 Don�t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God�s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. 12 God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?

In these verses the apostle tells us to carefully consider the rashness of our judgment against others. Those judgments are to be carefully avoided for God is the judge of people�s hearts and it is up to each individual to follow as God would lead them. The Greek word used by James for speaking of someone harshly is katalaeite, which signifies speaking anything that may hurt or injure another. Krino is the word for judge, means to pronounce an opinion of right and wrong. It is a choice, a preference, and opinion. James wants us to understand we are not to give an opinion that hurts someone, but instead love the person while understanding what God desires.

A bank robber, nicknamed the �Gentleman Bandit�, would rob banks while apologizing for his actions. So gentlemanly was this robber that his notes to the teller were always kindly written. Unfortunately there was a Catholic priest who resembled the robber. A woman came forward saying the priest was her lover and he may have been the robber. At first the church stood behind the priest, but as the prosecutor continued to press the case people began to believe he was actually the perpetrator. They conceived a priest might be a mild manner gentleman robber. During the midst of his trial the real robber came forward and confessed to the crimes. The Catholic priest was innocent and was set free after the confession by the other man proved true. People need to be careful about their judgments of others. It is best to remain silent than to speak of a person in a way that hurts them. Our words should be motivated out of love and not out of harsh emotion.

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Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 (NLT)

11 I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn�t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn�t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don�t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time. 12 People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy.

The preacher of these words reminds us all our works are in the hands of God. The most likely to win the race does not always win. The strongest does not always triumph in battle. There are those who are wise and skilled yet they end up hungry and without wealth. Trying to predict the outcome of the future is like trying to predict fish being caught in nets or birds caught in snares. One never knows what the day might bring.

In 2007, the Boon family was on their way to their mountain cabin when they were swept off the mountain by an avalanche of snow. It only took a second for the avalanche to strike their car and send it hurling down the mountain. In their younger years the Boons did a lot of mountaineering. They even named their daughters after some of the mountains they had scaled. They knew all about avalanches, the danger, but never in their wildest dreams did they ever think about an avalanche pushing their car down the mountain. Fortunately no one was hurt, but it just reminded the family how quick catastrophe can be upon you. Solomon taught we cannot predict when sudden tragedy will strike for only the Lord knows. Therefore we should submit to the Lord and always ask for his guidance and protection.

AskMe #2464029 01/14/11 07:23 AM
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Hebrews 11:35-40 (NLT)
35 Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.

In this chapter of Hebrews the apostle has given many examples of faith. The apostle tells us in verse 1 �Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.� Faith is untouchable, faith is not logical; faith is only found within the depths of a person�s soul. There have been many who have suffered for the sake of their faith in Christ. They gained a good reputation and commendation from God who declared the world is not worthy for them. These faithful have been taken to a better place where they have found rest and freedom from abuse.

When Detroit sportswriter Mitch Albom heard his favorite college professor, whom he hadn't seen in 20 years, was dying of Lou Gehrig's disease, he renewed their friendship through weekly meetings. In his best-selling book, Tuesdays with Morrie, Albom describes their visits, focusing on his old professor's wit and insights. During one of their conversations, Mitch asked Morrie Schwartz why he bothered following the news since he wouldn't be around to see how things would turn out anyway. In response, Morrie offered a brilliant insight into empathy: It's hard to explain, Mitch. Now that I'm suffering I feel closer to people who suffer than I ever did before. The other night on TV I saw people in Bosnia running across the street, getting fired on, killed, innocent victims�and I just started to cry. I feel their anguish as if it were my own. I don't know any of these people. But�how can I put this?�I'm almost drawn to them. [Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois] Jesus is drawn to us because he knows our struggle. He knows all of our struggles including yours.

AskMe #2465181 01/18/11 06:42 AM
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Galatians 1:6-7 (NLT)
6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News 7 but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.

The apostle Paul writes to the Galatians saying they have allowed the truth about God�s salvation to become twisted. What was the Good News of mercy and grace through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was being put aside for Jewish law. Where Christ sets us free from the law, there were those in the church insisting the law should be mingled in with the doctrine of Christ, which added back the guilt and shame always reflected by the law. Paul refers to it as another way of justification and salvation different from the Gospel of Christ.

I believe a person who becomes a Christian is always a Christian. The Bible tells us that it is faith in God and Christ that saves us from sin. It goes on to say there are no good works we can do on our own to save us from the judgment of sin. Christ became the propitiation for sin, justifying those who believe in Him once and for all. To give an example, let us assume without Christ God�s requirement of holiness and righteousness should be equal to His. If God�s holiness and righteousness is 100%, where does everyone else fall on the scale? I can guarantee without a doubt there is no one on this earth who would measure 100%. Some will be at the 10% mark, maybe some at the 25% mark, but no one can say they are without sin. Therefore we all have sin in our lives, varying degrees for various people, but there is no one without sin. There is no one who can live up to God�s standard so God allowed His Son Jesus to be sacrificed to atone for the sin of man. Through faith in Christ we have forgiveness from sin and we are able to enter into God�s presence. Now with acceptance of Christ there begins a change, a desire to move away from sin. But sin still remains in the world, always tempting, always trying to cause a person to feel shame and guilt for their actions. For if sin can pull a person away from their relationship with God and Christ it has marked a victory. Therefore understand when you place your faith in Christ you will still be tempted to sin, but Christ will always be there reminding you that you are forgiven and that you do not have to give into sin, not linger on the shame and guilt if you do. Instead confess your sin and let God forgive, grant you mercy and love on you with all His heart.

AskMe #2465713 01/19/11 05:59 AM
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Proverbs 19:2 (NLT)
2 Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.

There are two things this proverb points out that lead to negative consequences. The first is reacting in ignorance. A person can become enthusiastic thinking they have a clear perception, but all the while they are ignorant of the truth set before them. The second part is reacting quickly without having the right information. The person jumps to conclusions because they do not have all the facts and find themselves making a mistake.

�Four-year-old Jason was visiting his grandparents. Grandpa was in his study intently reading. Jason walked in carrying a peach, said something Grandpa didn�t catch, and handed the peach to him.
�Thinking his wife had sent him a snack, Grandpa took it and ate it. Just as he swallowed the last bite, Jason, with lip quivering, said, �But, Pap, I didn�t want you to eat it. I just wanted you to get the worm out��. [(Edward K. Rowell & Leadership Journal, 1001 Quotes, Illustrations & Humorous Stories for Preachers, Teachers & Writers (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, 1997), 435)]

Often we are too quick to react without understanding. We see or hear partial facts and reach a conclusion because we make assumptions and are ignorant of the full truth. Many a person has been judged this way by people because they only saw the external facts and did not know the internals of what was taking place in the person�s life. Pray God would give you the wisdom to wait and discern properly the things taking place around you. Pray you would not move in haste, but allow God to give you the patience to see and react with full knowledge of the truth.

AskMe #2466192 01/20/11 06:49 AM
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1 John 4:21 (NLT)
21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.

In this chapter of John the Apostle has spoken of God�s love for us. God loved us before we could love Him. God loved us enough to give His Son as a sacrifice for our sin. God has communicated His love for us and because God loves each of us we should respect His desire and love our Christian brothers and sisters as He loves us.

In the 19th century Charles Bradlaugh, a prominent atheist, challenged a Christian man to debate the validity of the claims of Christianity. The Christian was Hugh Price Hughes, an active soul-winner who worked among the poor in the slums of London. Hughes told Bradlaugh he would agree to the debate on one condition. Hughes said, "I propose to you that we each bring some concrete evidences of the validity of our beliefs in the form of men and women who have been redeemed from the lives of sin and shame by the influence of our teaching. I will bring 100 such men and women, and I challenge you to do the same." Hughes then said that if Bradlaugh couldn't bring 100, then he could bring 20. He finally whittled the number down to one. All Bradlaugh had to do was to find one person whose life was improved by atheism, and Hughes�who would bring 100 people improved by Christ�would agree to debate him. Bradlaugh withdrew! [D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (Thomas Nelson, 1997)] When we know God�s love we can reach out to others when we see them through God�s eyes. However, when we are focused on self we only see others through our own understanding of love and often our efforts to love fail. Let God�s love for you allow you to see how God loves others and love them as God would.

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