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AskMe #2476752 02/15/11 06:52 AM
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Psalm 18:20-24 (The Message)
20 -24 God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I'm alert to God's ways; I don't take God for granted. Every day I review he ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I'm watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

In these verses David reflects upon his integrity God has restored in his life. David tells us his life was in pieces. He gave what he had to God so God could restore him and give him a fresh start. With a new beginning David longs to seek God and not miss anything God is trying to do in his life. He feels restored as if all the pieces of his life have been glued back into one piece. Yet David watches his step for he knows sin could cause him to fall and once again shatter his life. David acknowledges it was God who rewrote the text of his life and open his eyes and heart to his purpose.

In November 2010, a wedding party in Glenelg, Australia, was unexpectedly called into action right after the wedding ceremony. While they were posing for pictures on a scenic ledge, a woman unrelated to the wedding fell into the water and started drowning. Dressed in his tuxedo, the best man jumped in and brought the woman back toward shore. Then the bride, a trained nurse, waded into the water and started administering CPR. By the time the Surf Life Saving volunteers had arrived, the woman had regained consciousness. But according to one safety official, "[The victim] was very lucky that the bridal party was there and they acted quickly and got her to the shallows." After the daring rescue operation, the drenched but heroic best man and the bride happily rejoined the wedding reception and continued with the festivities.

In some ways, this unusual event serves as a great image for the calling of every local church: we're dressed up for a party (celebrating worship), but at the same time we're also prepared to dive into mission, even when it's inconvenient and dangerous. Worship and mission, loving God and loving others, praising and serving�these combinations aren't opposites; they form the dual nature of our calling as the church. [Best man jumps off Glenelg Jetty to save woman, News.com.au (11-29-10)]

God has called each of us for a purpose in life. Give the broken pieces of your life over to God and let Him put you back together as one who is ready to serve Him. May God bless and tough the depths of your soul and heal every wound.

AskMe #2477433 02/16/11 08:17 AM
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Exodus 34:14 (NLT)
You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.

God was establishing a covenant with Moses and his people. The covenants or Ten Commandments were chiseled onto stone for the people to read and adhere to. In verse 14 God stated the people must not worship any other form of god for the living God is jealous about his relationship with us.

From Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster? (Baker Books, 2011, pg 35) he says, �The Bible frequently describes God as a jealous lover. In his book titled Is God a Moral Monster? Paul Copan asks the question, "When can jealousy be a good thing?" Here's part of his answer: In God's case, it's when we're rummaging around the garbage piles of life and avoiding the source of satisfaction. It reminds me of a comic strip I once saw of a dog who had been drinking out of a toilet bowl. With water dripping from his snout, Fido looks up to tell us, "It doesn't get any better than this!" Instead of enjoying fresh spring water, we look for stagnant, crummy substitutes that inevitably fail us.�

Are you trying to fill a need in your life with something other than God and Christ? If you think the only way to achieve happiness is to have something specific you may just be doing that. For instance if you think you could not exist without your spouse, then you are saying no one else can meet my needs, not even God. Or maybe you think unless you have a wealthy job position you just could not be happy. In that case money has become your idol and God is no longer your reassurance and comfort. Examine your life and ask what is it I must have to be happy? Then really look to see how true that answer really is.

AskMe #2478122 02/17/11 06:57 AM
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Proverbs 17:9
9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.

The best way peace can be preserved is to make the best of everything. Let go of faults and not pass on the problem to others when it doesn�t involve their safety or wellbeing. And for the sake of yourself, let go of a fault. Repeating the problem to others over and over does not help, but instead causes people to distance themselves from the issues. So forgive and let love grow.

Amy Sutherland communicates some interesting ideas about husbands and wives in an article she wrote for the New York Times called, "What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage." Sutherland begins by explaining that, after 12 years of marriage, she became dismayed that her husband still exhibited several irritating habits. Her reaction to this realization is shared by many women today: These minor annoyances are not the stuff of separation and divorce, but in sum they began to dull my love for Scott. I wanted�needed�to nudge him a little closer to perfect, to make him into a mate who might annoy me a little less, who wouldn't keep me waiting at restaurants, a mate who would be easier to love.
So, like many wives before me, I ignored a library of advice books and set about improving him. By nagging, of course, which only made his behavior worse: he'd drive faster instead of slower; shave less frequently, not more; and leave his reeking bike garb on the bedroom floor longer than ever. A breakthrough came when Amy began traveling to a school for exotic animal trainers in California in order to research a book she wanted to write: I listened, rapt, as professional trainers explained how they taught dolphins to flip and elephants to paint. Eventually it hit me that the same techniques might work on that stubborn but loveable species, the American husband. The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't. After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband. Back in Maine, I began thanking Scott if he threw one dirty shirt into the hamper. If he threw in two, I'd kiss him. Meanwhile, I would step over any soiled clothes on the floor without one sharp word, though I did sometimes kick them under the bed. But as he basked in my appreciation, the piles became smaller.

What are you focusing your attention on: the things that irritate you or the things you enjoy? Learn to forgive the faults, accept them and love the good things a person has to share.

AskMe #2478761 02/18/11 07:27 AM
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2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NLT)
20 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

In these verses the apostle uses an illustration to help Timothy understand the purpose of living a Godly life. He says in the home there are utensils, some which are everyday use items and some which are used for special occasions. Paul said keep yourself pure and you will be like a special utensil ready for honorable use.

Clean House is the name for a TV show on the Style Channel where experts in cleaning, organizing, remodeling, and painting sweep into a cluttered home with the purpose of leaving it more comfortable, attractive, and livable. The experts face the challenges of clothes strewn across the floor, bulging cabinets, closets filled from top to bottom, filled counter tops, and overflowing kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and living rooms�not a clean room in the house! The experts� first step is to take an inventory of all the "stuff." Then, decisions are made about what to sell at a yard sale and what to keep. The home�s inhabitants hesitate and hold on to favorite clothes from years gone by, childhood keepsakes, space-taking trivia, but then they yield. The sale is held, and money comes in to help with the makeover. Then the family leaves, and the work begins. Rooms are cleaned out, redone for more efficiency and attractiveness, and repainted. Curtains are hung, cabinets set in, and walls decorated. A transformation takes place, and when the family returns, what a difference it makes! Any nervous anticipation quickly gives way to excitement and laughter when the family sees what�s taken place. "Thank you, thank you," the family says often amid smiles and tears.

In life we need to take an inventory and clean up our hearts. There are some repairs and remodeling to be done. And fortunately like the families above we have an expert in our life to help, Jesus Christ, who can transform us in a marvelous way.

AskMe #2480244 02/22/11 07:48 AM
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Mark 14:66-71 (NLT)
66 Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by 67 and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, �You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.� 68 But Peter denied it. �I don�t know what you�re talking about,� he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed. 69 When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, �This man is definitely one of them!� 70 But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, �You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.� 71 Peter swore, �A curse on me if I�m lying�I don�t know this man you�re talking about!� 72 And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus� words flashed through Peter�s mind: �Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.� And he broke down and wept.

Jesus has already told Peter he would Deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed twice and Peter did exactly that. When questioned, Peter denied knowing Jesus or anything about him. Then he remembered the words of Jesus, �Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.�

When we are in an uncomfortable setting it becomes so easy to deny the truth when others around us are not sure what the truth is. We become like Peter denying the truth or even lying about it to make things easier. Yet this was truth Peter should have been proud to share, but he was afraid for his own sake. The other night on TV a celebrity news reporter was with her fellow peers. One of them made a comment to her that she didn�t know what the Big Bang theory was. They teased her a bit but she knew enough to respond in a bold way. She said, �God said bang and the universe appeared.� Even though she was being teased and picked on she still held onto her faith and shared it with others. Man can conceive many theories and ideas how something happened, but for those who have faith they know however it happened it was a result of God.

AskMe #2480754 02/23/11 07:24 AM
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Romans 2:17-24 (The Message)
17 -24 If you're brought up Jewish, don't assume that you can lean back in the arms of your religion and take it easy, feeling smug because you're an insider to God's revelation, a connoisseur of the best things of God, informed on the latest doctrines! I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and, because you know God's revealed Word inside and out, feel qualified to guide others through their blind alleys and dark nights and confused emotions to God. While you are guiding others, who is going to guide you? I'm quite serious. While preaching "Don't steal!" are you going to rob people blind? Who would suspect you? The same with adultery. The same with idolatry. You can get by with almost anything if you front it with eloquent talk about God and his law. The line from Scripture, "It's because of you Jews that the outsiders are down on God," shows it's an old problem that isn't going to go away.

The apostle writes that it is not religion that saves a person. For even though the law was preached to many those responsible for preaching the law did not uphold it themselves. The same people who said, don�t steal, don�t commit adultery, part of God�s commandments, did so anyway causing others to stumble on this religious hypocrisy.

John Ortberg , in the sermon The Way of Wisdom recalls, �My friend, Jimmy, and his son, Davey, were playing in the ocean down in Mexico, while his family�his wife, daughters, parents, and a cousin�were on the beach. Suddenly, a rogue riptide swept Davey out to the sea. Immediately Jimmy started to do whatever he could to help Davey get back to the shore, but he, too, was soon swept away in the tide. He knew that in a few minutes, both he and Davey would drown. He tried to scream, but his family couldn't hear him. Jimmy's a strong guy�an Olympic Decathlete�but he was powerless in this situation. As he was carried along by the water, he had a single, chilling thought: My wife and my daughters are going to have to have a double funeral. Meanwhile, his cousin, who understood something about the ocean, saw what was happening. He walked out into the water where he knew there was a sandbar. He had learned that if you try to fight a riptide, you will die. So, he walked to the sandbar, stood as close as he could get to Jimmy and Davey, and then he just lifted his hand up and said, "You come to me. You come to me."
If you try to go the way your gut tells you to go�the shortest distance into shore�you will die. If you think for yourself, you will die. God says, "If you come to me, you will live." That's it�death or life.

AskMe #2481672 02/25/11 08:13 AM
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Genesis 40:1-4 (NLT)
1 Some time later, Pharaoh�s chief cup-bearer and chief baker offended their royal master. 2 Pharaoh became angry with these two officials, 3 and he put them in the prison where Joseph was, in the palace of the captain of the guard. 4 They remained in prison for quite some time, and the captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, who looked after them.

In these verses we find the Pharaoh�s chief cup-bearer and chief baker have offended the Pharaoh in some manner. We could speculate the offense was anything from trying to take the Pharaoh�s life to just allowing him to be served bad food and drink. Whatever the offense; they were assigned to Joseph for him to look after him. Interestingly it says they were assigned by the captain of the guard. The Bible says the captain of the guard was Potiphar who had Joseph wrongly thrown into prison.

Amazing how pride steps in the way of Potiphar�s life. Joseph was a trusted servant to Potiphar until Potiphar�s wife accused Joseph of wrong doing. Yet even in prison Potiphar still trusts Joseph enough to put people under his charge. Because of pride Potiphar could not let himself consider that he may be wrong about his wife�s accusations. Instead Joseph remained imprisoned, but as a trusted servant. We all should be careful not to let pride keep us from doing what is right. Pride destroys relationships and often the person themselves. Pray God would remove pride as an obstacle and allow you to clearly see your life for what it is.

AskMe #2482706 02/28/11 07:13 AM
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Isaiah 53:4-6 (NLT)
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God�s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

Before the birth of Christ the prophet Isaiah spoke of Him. The prophet tells us that it was out weaknesses and sorrows that he carried. He goes on to say Christ took the punishment we should have endured for our sin. While we tend to want to follow our own paths, pursuing our own way; God in His mercy laid on Christ the sins of us all.

A principal at a parochial middle school asks, "How many times have you been to my office?" The boy says, "Not enough, I guess." "You've gotten the belt each time." "Yeah, and I can take whatever you dish out." The principal pauses for a moment to think and then quietly says, "Today you learn about grace."
The boy asks, "You gonna let me walk?" The principal replies, "Yes, I'm going to let you walk." The boy studies the face of the principal. "No punishment at all?" "Oh, there has to be punishment," says the principal. "What you did was wrong, and there are always consequences to our actions." "I knew it," says the boy as he holds out his hands. "Go ahead." The principal takes hold of a belt, folds it in two, and then hands it to the boy's teacher. He tells the boy, "I want you to count the blows." The principal then extends his own hands toward the teacher and says, "Ten strokes." The belt snaps across the outstretched hands of the principal. Shock registers on the boy's face. By the fourth stroke, tears well up in the boy's eyes. "Stop! That's enough!" the boy yells. But the belt continues to crack across the principal's hands. The boy counts out loud, "Five�six�seven�eight�nine�ten." The principal stands with sweat glistening on his forehead, his hands swollen and red. He reaches over, puts his swollen hand on the shoulder of the boy, and says just one word: "Grace."

The greatest consequence for sin was death, eternal separation from God. Yet God sent His son Jesus to take the punishment for our sin extending the greatest love He could offer, His own death to give us Life. Grace! It is a word we should all remember.

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Matthew 5:43-48 (NLT)
43 �You have heard the law that says, �Love your neighbor� and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Jesus tells us in these verses we are to love our enemies just as much as we love our neighbors. We are to pray for them and act kind towards them. Those who do not know God show kindness to their neighbors; so those who know God should imitate Him and love all, friends and enemies.

A mother went to Napoleon pleading with the emperor for her son�s life. She asked for a pardon, but Napoleon pointed out this was his second offense and justice demanded death as the consequence. The women still begged, �I plead for mercy.� Napoleon responded her son did not deserve mercy. The mother then said, �It would not be mercy if my son deserved it.� With that comment Napoleon granted the pardon. When we pray for our enemies and seek their best interest, we are not giving them what they deserve. Neither does our God in heaven hand out the punishment we deserve. So we like God should show mercy and grace to others just as God has shown us. The unlovable might not deserve love, but love is what they need.

AskMe #2483845 03/02/11 08:26 AM
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Psalm 34:3-4 (KJV)
3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

In this psalm we find David giving praise and worship to the Lord God. We cannot make God greater than He is, but we can glorify His name to others and to ourselves. When we all do so and join in the praise our praises raise to God in glorious harmony. In praising God David�s fears were eased. David knew God would handle his fear and see him through the difficult times.

If we give fear a chance it will consume our lives. If we stop to take in all the world�s events and let the evil sort through our minds we may allow evil to grab hold of our thoughts and place terror there. Fear can consume a person to the point of rendering them stalled and unable to move forward. Fear can keep someone from facing a decision that needs to be made. Fear can make us walk away when we need to be standing up for an issue. But our Lord God is greater than any fear we can possess. There is nothing in our lives God cannot handle if we are willing to leave our fears with God. Start praising God for who He is and watch as your fears melt away. God bless you and give you peace.

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Jeremiah 5:3 (NLT)
3 Lord, you are searching for honesty. You struck your people, but they paid no attention.You crushed them, but they refused to be corrected.They are determined, with faces set like stone; they have refused to repent.

The prophet acknowledges God is looking for honesty. God wants His people to be honest and truthful with their thoughts and words. Yet they have set their faces like stone refusing to be honest. Their dishonesty keeps them from acknowledging their sins and repenting.

I want to examine the life of an addict for a moment. An addict continues in a wrongful behavior despite the consequences they will face. The addict continues to tell themselves and others around them there is no problem. Even when their actions blatantly acknowledge there is an issue in their life their words will continue to say �I do not know what you are talking about; I can handle this�. We have seen this modeled in celebrities before the camera. While everyone notices their corrupt actions the person still refuses to admit the truth. Most of the time the addict knows what they are doing is wrong, but has a difficult time admitting it. To admit a failure in their life it to admit they are flawed and that is the last thing they want to hear. Jesus knows every action we take and can see the truth in our heart. Jesus understands the temptation and battles we face, but He wants us to be honest with ourselves and with Him. He always knows our flaws, yet He is willing to accept and love us. If was cannot admit our sin, our failures, our temptations then it leaves Christ little room to help. We are covering up our sin in order to preserve it and it keeps us from revealing the truth.

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Deuteronomy 29:29 (NLT)
29 �The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.�

This verse tells us that God has knowledge that is not known to others. It is because of His greatness God is able to make decisions without us and shares what he chooses to share with us. For God has the knowledge, understanding and wisdom of things we do not understand. We are accountable for what God reveals to us so that we may obey him. But there are some things God withholds to reveal at the proper time and place.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are camping. They pitch their tent under the stars and go to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, Holmes wakes Watson. "Watson, look up at the stars and tell me what you deduce." Watson says, "I see millions of stars, and if even a few of those have planets, it's quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life." Holmes replies, "Watson, you idiot, somebody stole our tent!" [Tom Kuntz, "The World's 'Funniest' Jokes," N.Y. Times (1-27-02)]

Watson missed the obvious being he was looking for something more important. Watson was missing the obvious truth which Holmes gladly shared with him. It is so easy for us to miss the obvious because we are trying to seek out what God has not revealed to us yet. Ask God for patience that all things might be revealed in their proper time. Let God speak to you instead of making your own assumptions about life. Micah 7:7 says, �Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.�

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Philippians 3:17-21(NLT)
17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.

Paul closes this letter to the Philippians warning them there are enemies who will always attack their belief. Paul tells us the character of these people; they love to brag about shameful things; and they only think about their life here on earth. Then Paul exhorts the Philippians to live life as though it were meant for heaven, because that is where we all will be one day; living our eternity with Christ.

Research on young adults leaving Christianity by Drew Dyck, "The Leavers,"Christianity Today (November, 2010), p. 40; shows Among young adults in the U.S., sociologists are seeing a major shift taking place away from Christianity. Recent studies have brought the trend to light. Among the findings released in 2009 from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), one stood out. The percentage of Americans claiming "no religion" almost doubled in about two decades, climbing from 8.1 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2008. The trend wasn't confined to one region. Those marking "no religion," called the "Nones," made up the only group to have grown in every state, from the secular Northeast to the conservative Bible Belt. The Nones were most numerous among the young: a whopping 22 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds claimed no religion, up from 11 percent in 1990. The study also found that 73 percent of Nones came from religious homes; 66 percent were described by the study as "de-converts." Other survey results have been grimmer. At the May 2009 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, top political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell presented research from their book American Grace, released last month. They reported that "young Americans are dropping out of religion at an alarming rate of five to six times the historic rate (30 to 40 percent have no religion today, versus 5 to 10 percent a generation ago)."

There is a race ahead of us all. There are many dropping out and giving up. There are some who are tired and would like to stop, but they keep hearing the encouragement of others. Be an encourager and tell people about Christ. Share your struggles and how Christ has helped you to overcome to most difficult situations. Share your faith with you children and lead them to understand the rewards God has for the faithful. Most of all keep your faith in Christ and look forward to what is in heaven.

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Romans 11:11 (NLT)
Did God�s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves.

The apostle states salvation was made first available to the Jews, yet many refused to accept the sacrifice Christ made on the cross. So God in His divine plan made salvation available to the Gentiles so they might be saved from their sin. God wanted the Jews see others accept Christ and become jealous and claim salvation for themselves. For God always had a plan of salvation prepared for the Jews, but because of His mercy and grace He made it available to all.

In Matthew 22 Jesus tells the following parable, ��The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come! �So he sent other servants to tell them, �The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!� But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. �The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. And he said to his servants, �The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren�t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.� So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. �But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn�t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. �Friend,� he asked, �how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?� But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, �Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.� �For many are called, but few are chosen.��

God first gave the invitation of salvation to His chosen people, but because they rejected it God gave salvation to those who would properly accept it. The man who was at the banquet improperly dressed did not understand his responsibility or duty. He could not answer the king. If God asked, �Why should I let you into my heaven, what would your response be?� Hopefully you could say, �I have faith Jesus Christ died for my sin and rose to life that I might also live.�

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1 Peter 4:12-14 (NLT)
12 Dear friends, don�t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad�for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. 14 So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people�s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!

In these verses the apostle Peter tells us there will be angry and serious trials that come against Christians. He tells us to be glad when we face trials due to our belief in Christ for we have become partners with Christ in His suffering for us. However our suffering is not to be self-inflicted. We should not pursue things of this world that bring troubles to us, such as murder, stealing, making trouble or prying into the business of others. We should always find joy to be known by the name of Christ even when the trials of suffering come our way. Praise God that you are called a Christian for you have Christ and you have eternal salvation.

As Christians we are not to be ashamed of the name of Jesus Christ and we are not to be ashamed to be called Christians. Yet for being a Christian we may face those who want to ridicule and belittle the name of Christ and their hate is railed towards us. Yesterday I read a message that said the following, �DON'T donate to Christian charities for Japan quake. We need blankets & food, not bibles & Fundamentalist propaganda.� There are many Christian charities that hand out food, clothes and even blankets. I think of Jesus saying about fathers, �If a child asks you for a fish do you hand them a snake?� Similarly when people ask for food and blankets that is the priority in which a Christian reacts. Meet a person�s needs first and explain later when asked why you desire to meet their need. I know Christians ministering in parts of the world where they are forbidden to say they are Christian unless someone asks. Yet it seems like Christians are the only ones attacked, the only ones mentioned in a negative way. So I encourage everyone to stand firm in their faith knowing Christ understands the suffering you will endure for His Namesake.

AskMe #2488503 03/15/11 06:53 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 expresses that everyone in the world falls short of God�s standard for righteousness. Yet God by His grace and mercy had a plan to make right the sin of the world. God looking ahead planned to give His Son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for sin. Those who believe in God�s plan are made right in His sight when they believe in Jesus Christ.

There is a concept some often do not understand: There is no one in this world that can live up to God�s glorious standard. The Ten Commandments was the simplest form of the laws given. These laws include not having any type of idol, keeping a love for God and His law, not taking God�s name in a vain in any way for self-purpose, keeping a holy day of worship, honoring your mother and father, not murdering, not stealing, being truthful, and not desiring what does not belong to you. If you are like me there is at least one or more of those laws that have been broken. By those laws alone I fall short of God�s standard for righteousness. I miss the 100% mark and if I were only judged by the law I would be found guilty and condemned. Fortunately Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world that we might be found justified and righteous in God�s sight. All of us will continue to sin in this world and some sins will have greater consequences in this world than others. But those who have faith in Jesus Christ know they are justified and made righteous by Christ. We no longer fear missing God�s mark; for Christ has redeemed us in God�s eyes. Our love for God and Christ gives us a desire to follow His ways, but yet there will be times we will still fail. However, God in His loving mercy and grace always forgives even if those in the world cannot forgive us for our sin.

AskMe #2489455 03/17/11 06:28 AM
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Matthew 28:16-20 (NLT)
16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him�but some of them doubted! 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, �I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.�

Jesus after His resurrection told the remaining disciples to go to Galilee. In faith they went even through some were weak in their faith and doubted. Jesus appears to them as He said He would and gave them what is known as the Great Commission; they were to go out into the world to make new disciples, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and to teach them what Christ had taught them. Jesus gave them assurance he would always be with them.

St. Patrick�s Day is a religious holiday celebrated on March 17th. It is a day many have associated with wearing the color green, which originally referred to wearing a shamrock. The shamrock was supposedly used by St. Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity. God is represented in the Holy Trinity as one, but also three distinct individuals � Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So the entire shamrock was used to show the unity of a Godhead and the three separate leaves was used to represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Whatever attributes and power God the Father has, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have as well. Thus, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are also eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, infinitely wise, infinitely holy, infinitely loving, and omniscient. St. Patrick used this illustration to help explain God, Christ and the Holy Spirit to the pagan Irish. In doing so he was able to win many over to Christianity. Isn�t it comforting to know that the Holy Spirit is always with you, which means God the Father and God the Son is always present with you too?

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Proverbs 18:1 (ESV)
1 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.

This verse refers to a person who takes pride in separating themselves from the sentiments of others. They seek to contradict what has been said before them in order to advance their own ideas and notions. These people are driven by vanity, lust or desire and they often will meddle in what does not concern them. They are often opinionated and conceited and to others they become a thorn. They create animosity which separates them from those with sound judgment.

Reading this verse reminded me of an event from my past. I was at a drive-thru window waiting on a breakfast item. The cashier said it might be a few minutes and could I pull forward as possible so that they could serve other customers. Well there was only so much room to move forward without blocking the parking lot, but I moved as forward as possible. A few customers had been served and managed without problem to pull around my waiting car. Then a customer driving a new, very expensive car refused to go around me and started blowing his horn for me to move. I was held captive waiting on my food and now I was becoming frustrated by the individual behind me. It wasn�t long that in addition to the horn the man started using finger gestures and I could hear the vulgar profanity as he yelled for me to move out of his way. With nowhere to move I got out of my car to explain I was waiting on my food, but I was insulted with some of the most vulgar language I had ever heard. So I left my car and walked into the store and said I either needed my food or a refund because there was an irate customer at their window refusing to pull around my car. They assured me they would be out in a second with my food so I returned to my car where the man continued to hurl insults. Then as I waited he finally pulled around my car and again demonstrated the versatility of his fingers.

The problem was not with me, the man in the expensive car owned the problem. Everyone else had used sensible judgment to pull around my car; but this man refused. It may have been vanity, pride or his own desires, but he refused to do what other sensible people had done. His rudeness, his demeanor, his actions and his words were enough to separate and isolate him from anyone watching or listening. Make sure to always use sound judgment in dealing with people so as not to separate you from other as this man did.

AskMe #2490787 03/21/11 06:27 AM
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Proverbs 21:29 (NLT)
29 The wicked bluff their way through, but the virtuous think before they act.

This proverb compares two different people those who plan evil in their hearts and those abstain from evil keeping morally pure hearts. This proverb tells us the wicked person becomes hard in their ways so that a lie doesn�t even faze them. No rebuke, no reproof, nothing will hinder this person from committing their acts of evil and keeping a stone cold face about their actions. The virtuous however need not bluff their way because they have remained pure at heart. There is no need to cover up something which has not been committed.

You may have done this at some point in your life. You do something you know is totally wrong and then you find yourself lying to cover up what you have done. This relates back to the proverb above for when someone does what is wrong they begin to guard those actions. They begin to justify the wrong to themselves and even try to convince others of their innocence. The truth is they have sinned and what they are trying to hide is the sin God already knows about. We sure try to hide the truth from others, but we can�t hide it from God. However for those who take seriously a temptation and think through the consequences; they can see if they choose what is right there is no need for lies. What is to hide when you have done what is right?

AskMe #2491282 03/22/11 06:46 AM
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2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (NLT)
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people�s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ�s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, �Come back to God!� 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

These verses are about the reconciliation of God to man. God through Christ brought us back to Him. Christ was the propitiation for our sin. Christ redeemed our sin and made us once again presentable to God who no longer counted or held our sins against us. Christians therefore should be willing to share this wonder message of reconciliation with others. We are to be ambassador�s speaking on behalf of God and Christ encouraging others to �come back to God�.

In Decision magazine, Peggy DesNoyers writes in the article �Silent No More�:

My job as a psychiatric home-health nurse brought me in touch with many people who were hurt or angry and who were searching for answers to problems in their lives. I knew that Jesus was the answer, but I couldn't bring myself to talk to them about him. I was the master of excuses. [Until] one patient changed my life. Wanda was a 56-year-old widow in chronic depression. All of her family had died, some of them tragically, within a span of 16 years. The loss and her grief overwhelmed her until life for her became a burden she was unable to bear. One day she quit her job, went home, pulled the curtains, and refused to leave her house. Eventually she stopped eating, and even the smallest of tasks became too difficult for her to do. An observant neighbor had noticed the changed in Wanda's behavior, and that neighbor made arrangements for her to be taken to a hospital where she was admitted to the psychiatric ward. At the end of her hospital stay, when she went home, I was assigned to be her home-health nurse. I visited her weekly to make sure she was taking her medication and was eating and taking care of herself. Over the course of six months Wanda continued to recover. Although I knew she needed to meet Jesus as her Savior, I reasoned that she would soon be attending church and would hear about him there. One day I went to Wanda's house for my regular visit, and I was surprised to find the door ajar. I knocked and when there was no response, I pushed the door open and stepped inside. The living room was vacant, so I went to her bedroom and found her lifeless body on the bed. There were several empty medication bottles beside her, and in her hand she held a noted addressed to me.
I sat on the bed beside her and took the note. I read: "Dear Peggy, I'm so sorry. I tried it your way, but I got tired. Please forgive me. I tried. I just couldn't do it. I got tired."
I slid off the bed onto my knees and cried my heart out to my loving, forgiving Father: "Lord Jesus, she tried it my way. I gave her the best that I had. But it was my way. I didn't tell her about you. I didn't tell her about your way." On my knees beside [Wanda's] lifeless body I promised God that I would never pass by another opportunity to tell someone about him.

Never forget we are ambassadors for Christ and we have been given the privilege of sharing the Good News of Salvation with others who may not now Christ. Never wait until it is too late to do so.

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