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AskMe #2505206 05/04/11 07:17 AM
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Matthew 27:34 (NLT)
3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. 4 �I have sinned,� he declared, �for I have betrayed an innocent man.� �What do we care?� they retorted. �That�s your problem.�

After Judas betrayed Jesus by leading the religious leaders to Him he was given thirty pieces of silver as his reward. But Jesus began to feel remorse after he understood his betrayal would mean the death of Jesus. So Judas trying to clear his guilty tried to return the silver, but the priests looked at him and said �that�s your problem.�

Sometimes you take the wrong action in life and you find yourself remorseful over the situation. It may not be genuine repentance, but you feel guilty for your actions. Like Judas you want to say, �Can we forget this and start over?�, but unfortunately it�s too late. The actions have been done and whoever was hurt was hurt. There is no going back to undo what has been done and as the priests stated, �it�s your problem.� Fortunately we have a God of grace who forgives when we repent. So we repent and then it is up to us to rebuild any damaged relationships. It is not the other person�s fault, it�s our problem. But again the good news is we can ask Christ to help and he will be there with us in our struggle to make things right.

AskMe #2505540 05/05/11 06:35 AM
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Jeremiah 29:10-14 (NLT)
10 This is what the Lord says: �You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,� says the Lord. �They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,� says the Lord. �I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.�

In these verses Jeremiah assures Israel that God would mercifully restore them to their own land again, at the end of 70 years. We often don�t understand our own thoughts or the plans we want to accomplish, but God assures us He knows the purpose of His plans. God tells the people His plans are to bring about a lasting future that is backed by hope. There is a condition to His words the people are to seek Him out and when they do He will make his presence known to them. Then He will end their captivity and restore them to their own land.

In a 2008 adaptation of Pinocchio, Bob Hoskins as Geppetto looks at Pinocchio the puppet he created and says, �"You're alive! Do you understand? You're alive!" Geppetto turns to look at a portrait of his late wife that hangs on the wall. "If only you were here! You could see him, too! He is alive!"
Pinocchio happily repeats Geppetto's verdict: "I'm alive!" Then a pensive look comes over the face of the puppet-turned-boy. "What do you mean 'I'm alive'?" "What does it mean? Well, unless I'm going mad, and this isn't just a dream, it means you have a life to live," says Geppetto."And what do you have a life for?" Pinocchio asks in return.� Geppetto falls silent, unable to find an answer.� Fortunately God who created us knows the purpose for our lives. God has set that purpose in motion and knows the exact plans we are to follow for our life. Our only response is to seek out God so that He can share that purpose with us. Pray God shows you the purpose for your life and let Him lead you to your own land where your purpose can be fulfilled.

AskMe #2506692 05/09/11 07:17 AM
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Proverbs 9:9 (NLT)
9 Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.

This proverb tells us the wise can learn to be even wiser when they are instructed and the righteous can learn to be even more righteous when they are taught the proper things. God�s word is intended to minister, to reprove, to correct and to instruct.

The other day I was watching a Dr. Phil segment where a dad admittedly was verbally abusive and physically abusive at times towards his children. The dad stated he was doing the best he could. But I want to rephrase his words. The dad was doing the best he knew how to do. It definitely was NOT the �best� he could do or the abusive behavior would not have been present. Dr. Phil offered him help through counseling and he agreed to accept it. One of the grown sons who no longer lived in the home was asked, �Was your dad ever physically abusive towards you?� The son responded, �Yes, when I deserved it.� It was a really sad answer because it meant the son now believed abuse what acceptable and would most likely follow that behavior in his own family. But again, the son only knew what he was taught. It was not the best he could have been taught and therefore he was never going to do the best possible. So ensure you follow the proverb above and take instruction and righteous and learn more for your own sake and the sake of your family. Pray that God would give you wisdom to live life as you should.

AskMe #2507176 05/10/11 06:11 AM
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Deuteronomy 6-11:9 (NKJV)
(6) "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. (7) The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; (8) but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (9) "Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; (10) and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face. (11) Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.

These words are a reminder from God to the Israelites that God choose them as the people He would lead from captivity. God loved them because He made a promise to do so. God made a promise to keep His covenants with the people and have mercy upon them. God loves those who love Him. But God also judges those who turn against Him and He repays their hate back to them.

God had expectations for the people of Israel who He chose to model His love, His mercy, His kindness, His love, and all of His other wonder attributes. God also expected them to provide disciple when all else failed. God wanted to create an abundant nation of people who would model themselves before others. God wants those who know and love Him today to be the same faithful witnesses and models for Christ. God wants us to share the same love, mercy and grace He bestows upon us. If you find yourself praying for someone, put your words into action and do what God calls you to do. If your heart desires to minister; minister to others. If God says go love the unlovable that is your ministry. God has chosen you, a special treasure with a special purpose. Don�t ignore Him but be faithful to do what God calls you to do.

AskMe #2507683 05/11/11 06:20 AM
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Proverbs 11:9 (NLT)
9 With their words, the godless destroy their friends, but knowledge will rescue the righteous.

The hypocrite with his own mouth uses words to destroy the integrity of friends and others. They may flatter a person only to gain information to be used to mislead others. They may decoy someone into sin by false pretenses all the while knowing they are laying a trap. The Apostle Paul says in Romans, �Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. � Those who are obedient to God�s word have nothing to fear for they shall be found innocent by their own righteousness.

It is said it takes a person two years to learn to talk and seventy years to learn how to control the words coming out of their mouth. The Apostle Paul told us, �Everything is permissible��but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.� Words matter and they can do a lot of good or harm. The news media will often quote �FREEDOM OF SPEAK� when expressing their thoughts; even if those thoughts are twisted or not beneficial to others. How often do we see the news media come down harshly on the actions of a celebrity, but we never hear them build them back up with honest truth? Pray God would always lead you to use words for good and not evil. Pray the truth would be spoken or written by others in such a way that the intent is honest and good. There is nothing wrong with speaking truth to help build a person. However falsehoods and warped truth should not be used to tear others down.

AskMe #2508271 05/12/11 06:31 AM
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Mark 6:30-34 (NLT)
30 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. 31 Then Jesus said, �Let�s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.� He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn�t even have time to eat. 32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. 33 But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. 34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

In these verses we find Jesus and the disciples are performing a large ministry for others. There were so many people Jesus sought a quiet moment with His disciple. They were in need of something to eat and rest. But the people kept seeking out Jesus and He had compassion for them. So even though Jesus needed to eat and rest He stopped to once again teach the people.


Mother Teresa gave her life serving others in overwhelming conditions. She had words of wisdom for all of us. �Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own. One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.� Jesus saw the need of people and reached out to them even when He was tired and hungry. Are you taking the time and effort to love and care for others?

AskMe #2508782 05/13/11 06:26 AM
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1 Kings 8:23 (NLT)
�O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. 24 You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.

Solomon, the king of the people of Israel, prayed this prayer in front of the people. He gave recognition to God for being a God greater than any could imagine. The people were capable of creating a false god or gods, but this was the true God who was above any thought or creation. Solomon thanked God for the completion of the temple which God promised His father David. Solomon lets the people know God is a God who fulfills his promises.

Some forget it was because of God�s promise to Israel that we have a savior named Jesus Christ. God made promises to both Abraham and King David about future events that would take place. One event was the completion of a temple to worship God. The greatest promise was there would be a savior who would take away the sins of the world. The prophets who followed even reminded the people of God�s promise to deliver them from sin. I think it is important to point out that the wisest king who ever lived acknowledged the promises of God in front of the nation. Today we need leaders who will stand up for God and recognize the promise of salvation given through Jesus Christ.

AskMe #2509565 05/16/11 06:22 AM
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John 4:27-30 (NLT)
27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, �What do you want with her?� or �Why are you talking to her?� 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 �Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?� 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

Jesus had been sitting by a well when a Samaritan woman approached. Jesus had asked her for water and as she started to question Him He started revealing things about her life. The disciples were shocked Jesus would be talking to a woman, much less a Samaritan woman, but none were about to question his authority. The woman then ran to the village to tell everyone to come see who she believed was the Messiah for Jesus knew everything about her and everything she ever did.

If you want to make a bet that is a sure winner, you can bet there are people who enter into the sanctuary of a church every day and never reveal any issues, sins, or problems in their life. People are afraid to admit their problems because of a fear of rejection. Yet we see Jesus did not reject this woman. Instead He talked with her when no one else would. Jesus listened to her and then pointed out the problem areas of her life. But Jesus did not condemn her instead He was trying to heal her from the sin she had been suffering through. Our churches need to be a refuge for people who have sin in their lives and need a place to remove it. As Christians we need to be open to everyone ready to listen, ready to comfort, ready to restore those who have fallen into sin. Yet I�m afraid to say too often we are ready to push away and criticize those in sin. Ask the Lord to give you a compassion heart such as His own so that you may love people the way He did. Love those in sin in order that they might see the hope of salvation, mercy and forgiveness. For salvation starts with justification by Jesus, followed by sanctification as we allow Jesus to work in our lives and glorification when we finally are united with Jesus in heaven.

AskMe #2510059 05/17/11 07:04 AM
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Psalm 95:6-11 (NLT)
6 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, 7 for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today! 8 The Lord says, �Don�t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness. 9 For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw everything I did. 10 For forty years I was angry with them, and I said,�They are a people whose hearts turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.� 11 So in my anger I took an oath: �They will never enter my place of rest.��

This psalm was a reminder to give praise to the Lord. It is also a reminder to the people God had been with Israel through their trials after departing Egypt. Even though God took care of them and met their needs the people still turned from God. So God said for hardening their hearts and turning away from Him they would not enter the Promised Land.

This psalm is a good reminder for us. We can cry out to God to meet our needs, but if we are not humbling ourselves before God the blessings will stop. Why should God continue to hand us what we ask for when we don�t acknowledge where we received it from? Why should God continue to poor blessings out when we are not thankful for the ones we received? Take time to give God praise and thank Him for what you have. Consider His blessings and be thankful for each and everyone one. By doing so we demonstrate our dependence on God and we give Him the glory He deserves.

AskMe #2510452 05/18/11 06:31 AM
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1Timothy 1:8-11 (NLT)
8 We know that the law is good when used correctly. 9 For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. 10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching 11 that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.

The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy telling him some people have missed the point of God�s love, grace, mercy and salvation. They wanted to be teachers of the Mosaic Law; however they forgot the debt of sin paid for by the blood of Christ. A new covenant with God was established through Christ�s death. Christ became our propitiation for sin. These teachers dwelt on arguments and speculation, but they missed out on being filled with God�s love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience and genuine faith in Christ. They pointed to the law and said,�Look at what these people are doing� while forgetting they were also sinners. The Law was to give us a reflection of right and wrong, but The Law was something no man could live up to, except Jesus Christ.

The list of sins given in 1 Timothy 1:8-11 include those who: hold nothing sacred, defile what is holy and ignore Gods commandments, murder, practice immoral sexual acts, force various forms of slavery upon people, lie, break promises, and lastly they go against the Good News of Salvation itself. There is no one in this world without sin. Even when the most holy religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus who committed adultery; Jesus said to them �He who is without sin cast the first stone.� Everyone then left for they knew they were all filled with sin. If the most holy religious leaders of The Law could not stone this woman; what about the rest of us? Remember the Bible tells us there is no one without sin. There are people in our world today who attack different groups of people because of their sin. Gays become a target when they announce their sin. Those who commit adultery are abandoned as if they are lepers. Those in jail are forgotten for they too must be horrible sinners. And those who lie and gossip are avoided. Yet we must remember the truth - Christ died for all our sins; not just the pastor�s, not just your friend�s, not just your parent�s, not just the best of the best, but for ALL. Let�s not act like the people of Timothy�s time and engage in meaningless discussions. Instead let us promote the love of Christ, God�s mercy and grace and the glorious eternal life He holds for us.

AskMe #2510855 05/19/11 07:08 AM
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Matthew 19:13-15 (NLT)
13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. 14 But Jesus said, �Let the children come to me. Don�t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.� 15 And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.

In these verses we find followers of Jesus bringing their children to be blessed. They did this because of their respect for Jesus. It was also out of kindness for their children they brought them to be blessed; for they saw the blessings of Jesus as precious. They wanted Jesus to lay hands on their children, such as the blessing of a father given to a son. The disciples not wanting Jesus to be bothered scolded the parents, but Jesus openly welcomed the parents to bring the children to Him.

The parents in Matthew 19 wanted their children blessed for protection and prosperity. It is a parent�s duty to protect and guard over their children. Most of us know Alison Arngrim as Nellie Oleson from Little House on the Prairie. She is a founder and board member of PROTECT.ORG founded as an advocate organization for children. Abused herself she found this a high priority in her life. Protect is founded on the belief that their first and most sacred obligation as parents, citizens, and members of the human species is the protection of children from harm. They are committed to building a powerful, nonpartisan force for the protection of children from abuse, exploitation and neglect. As parents this should be our goal to make our children a priority and protect their rights and lives. There are many children who have suffered either by neglect or because parents were unaware of circumstances. (Sugar Ray Leonard's autobiography will be in stores next month. Leonard details his troubled home life as a child and tells, for the first time, of being sexually abused by a boxing coach. When first writing the book, he wasn't going to tell the whole story. Even telling his co-author Michael Arkush part of his experience was difficult to do. Leonard then said, "But last year, after watching the actor Todd Bridges bare his soul on Oprah's show about how he was sexually abused as a kid, I realized I would never be free unless I revealed the whole truth, no matter how much it hurt." Source: Protect.org)

Parents take part in your children�s lives and ensure they are protected, safe, and secure. Support organizations that help safeguard your children such as Protect.Org. Keep a vigil watch for problems and issues and communication openly with your children. Children are a blessing from God; make sure that blessing is preserved.

AskMe #2511178 05/20/11 06:40 AM
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1 Samuel 16:6-12 (NLT)
6 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, �Surely this is the Lord�s anointed!� 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, �Don�t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn�t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.� 8 Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, �This is not the one the Lord has chosen.� 9 Next Jesse summoned Shimea, but Samuel said, �Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.� 10 In the same way all seven of Jesse�s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, �The Lord has not chosen any of these.� 11 Then Samuel asked, �Are these all the sons you have?� �There is still the youngest,� Jesse replied. �But he�s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.� �Send for him at once,� Samuel said. �We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.� 12 So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the Lord said, �This is the one; anoint him.�

These passages describe God�s selection of David as the future king of Israel. God gave instructions to Samuel to select one of Jesse�s sons, but he did not know which one until the Lord spoke to him. At first Samuel went by appearances thinking Eliab should be king, but Samuel was wrong. God was looking at the heart and soul of the person He was going to select as king, while Samuel was looking at the outward appearance.

God knew David�s character even saying that He sought out David because he was a man after His own heart. God wanted a king that desired to follow God. Yet David was not a perfect man. David lived under some tough conditions as a child, which affected his life. He was often left as a young child to defend the sheep against wild animals. His older brothers were always put ahead of him. Even above we see that Jesse his own father failed to include him in the selection for king. David was mistreated by King Saul and Saul even attempted to kill David. These trials are traumatic events in any child�s life. And while these trials made David stronger they also weakened some areas of his life. David did not do well with relationships. He committed adultery. He failed his children in several areas. Yet God understood the true nature of David�s heart despite the impacts made upon David�s life. Often we see someone who commits a moral failure and we are quick to believe they have no morality and they are unscrupulous. However God sees the whole person. God knows what the person has been through in their life. God sees their heart and knows if they are committed to Him even though they fell to the temptation of sin; for they will repent and ask God for forgiveness. When we see those who fail us in life try to see them as God sees them. Are they normally someone who is seeking God? Have they been through difficulties and challenges which made life challenging? Are they willing to repent and seek help and guidance for their failure? These are some ways we can know the heart of a person. Look past appearances and use the wisdom of God to understand others.

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Psalm 51:17 (NLT)
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

After David committed adultery with Bathsheba the prophet Nathan came to him and confronted him about what David had done. David was blind to his sin, but when Nathan called it out to him David immediately realized what he had done and the consequences he would have to day. This psalm reflects David�s thoughts at that moment. We see in verse 17 David knew he had to humble himself and get past pride. David understood God was quick to forgive those who were repentant in their heart.

Psalm 17 says God desires a broken spirit. The Greek word for broken, means crushed, shattered, broken to pieces. In other words God wants us to see the devastation sin has caused in our lives and admit to it. God wants us to understand the sin we committed has shattered opportunities, shattered relationships, and shattered even our own emotional health. God does not want us stay there though for He is a forgiving God who loves us and shows us mercy and grace when we repent and turn to him. Think about the sins you have committed and humble yourself to God admitting you need Him in your life.

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1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV)
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

This was a reminder from the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian church that for those who did not understand the message of salvation it seemed like something crazy or foolish. Many of the Jewish of the time were looking for an earthly king that would bring about a peaceful life here on earth. What they missed is God had a better plan and that was to live eternity in the comforts of heaven with Him.

I was reminded of this verse as I watched a TV show last night and the commentator said, �There are crazy people who believe in this rapture nonsense.� He went on to say that even beyond the claims of a rapture, which was supposedly to take place this past Saturday, on May 21th, there were still people who believe in �the rapture nonsense�. Sorry, but I happen to be one of those people believe in the rapture because it is written in the Bible. Jesus told us there would be a rapture, but Jesus also said no man would know the day or time of the event. When the Israelites were in the wilderness and committed serious sin against God, God sent poisonous snakes upon the people. Moses was told to place and image of the snake upon a pole and those who looked upon the image would live if bitten, but those who refused would die. It doesn�t seem to make sense, look at a snake on a pole and live, but that was the solution God gave. God has given us answers to many of our problems, yet we fail to listen. And God have given us a solution to Salvation through Jesus Christ that by His Death on the cross and through His resurrection if we have faith and believe then we too can be saved. I pray you have that faith and I ask you pray for those who you know still think salvation is foolishness.

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Galatians 2:17-21 (NLT)
17 But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! 18 Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. 19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law�I stopped trying to meet all its requirements�so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

Matthew Henry writes of these verses, �With the practice of the Jewish Christians themselves: "Wewho are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles , knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we ourselves have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law. And, if we have thought it necessary to seek justification by the faith of Christ, why then should we hamper ourselves with the law? What did we believe in Christ for? Was it not that we might be justified by the faith of Christ? And, if so, is it not folly to go back to the law, and to expect to be justified either by the merit of moral works or the influence of any ceremonial sacrifices or purifications? And if it would be wrong in us who are Jews by nature to return to the law, and expect justification by it, would it not be much more so to require this of the Gentiles, who were never subject to it, since by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified?��

The Jews considered their selves righteous people and considered the Gentiles sinners who did not know God�s law. Yet the death of Christ abolished the law and set man free from sin. Paul reminds us it is not good works we should return to, but instead it is Christ who we should turn to. Christ will guide us to do what is right in our lives as long as we maintain our relationship with Him. Sin has been put to death and the law or good works and deeds no long applies. Let your faith in Christ be strong by giving your life over to Him and letting your weaknesses fade as Christ rules in your life. Stop hanging on tightly to your good works as a way of pleasing God and instead please God by admitting your sin and giving Christ your life.

AskMe #2513024 05/26/11 06:50 AM
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Psalm 106:41-47 (NLT)
41 He handed them over to pagan nations, and they were ruled by those who hated them. 42 Their enemies crushed them and brought them under their cruel power. 43 Again and again he rescued them, but they chose to rebel against him, and they were finally destroyed by their sin. 44 Even so, he pitied them in their distress and listened to their cries. 45 He remembered his covenant with them and relented because of his unfailing love. 46 He even caused their captors to treat them with kindness. 47 Save us, O Lord our God! Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you.

The Israelites kept falling away from God. They knew God. They had witnessed the miracles of God. They had passed along stories of what God had done for them, yet they continued to sin and move away from God to their own gods and idols. So God allowed what they asked for and handed them over to nations who worshiped other gods. There they were mistreated by their captors until God would hear their cries for mercy and He would relent because of His unfailing love for them. He caused the captors to treat them with kindness and the captors would learn of God�s love. Yet they desired to be back home, back to the land they were promised, back to what they could call their country.

The current nation of Israel declared independence May 14, 1948 and within a day they were invaded. But they have managed to hold onto their country and clam it as they always desired to do. The other day President Obama called Israel a great nation. Israel�s leader made a different statement. Netanyahu the leader of Israel said, �I'm the leader of an old nation. The president said a great nation. I said he is the leader of a great nation, the American people. And I have the greatest respect for America and for the office of the presidency.� America is a great and powerful nation, while Israel is small, lacking in resources but does what it needs to do to protect itself. It is an old nation one separated thousands of years ago by the hand of God and by the miracle of God brought back again just as the psalmist asked. We must remember while our nation is great God can take His hand away from us and we too will be scattered around the world. Pray for our country and pray the people will listen to and follow the Lord.

AskMe #2514552 05/31/11 06:24 AM
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Matthew 5:6 (ESV)
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Preaching the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gave this verse as one of the beatitudes describing those who were blessed. Jesus said those who seek after righteousness will be blessed for they will be satisfied with what they find. The pursuit of righteousness leads one into contentment where they will be satisfied with what God provides them.

Kary Oberbrunner, author of Your Secret name, shared a story about his encounter with an older man named Bob. While Kary was at the local gym, trying to stay focused on his exercise routine, he noticed an elderly man fumbling with an MP3 player and headphones. At first, Kary tried to ignore the man, but as the man was becoming more frustrated with the technology, Kary reluctantly introduced himself and asked if he could help. The man dejectedly explained, "Hi, I'm Bob, and I love jazz, but I can't get it on this dumb player." When Kary asked Bob if he had heard of iTunes, Bob shot back, "'I' what?" It slowly dawned on Kary that God had placed Bob in his path for a reason. So they set a date when they could spend some more time unraveling Bob's MP3 troubles.

Kary continues the story:
Against his initial wishes, I visited him at his apartment. Turns out his wife had died a couple years before, and all his earthly possessions were crammed into a small apartment. She had been their main breadwinner, so the bank repossessed his house when he was unable to make payments.
Bob and I made a makeshift space in his back room near his desktop computer. One at a time I imported his jazz CD collection onto his hard drive, intending to transfer the MP3s eventually to his player. While importing his music, Bob and I talked about life, his wife, and God. The weeks following I checked in on Bob often. Kind of funny how two guys who are complete opposite can become the best of friends, all because of an MP3 player. Bob is 71. I am 32. Bob is black. I am white. Bob doesn't have much money. I have more than I need. Bob is an ex-convict. I've never been to jail. Bob is a widower. I'm married. [In short], we're opposites. A short time later I invited Bob to church, deeply desiring for him to meet Jesus. After a few invitations, he eventually accepted and sat with my wife and me last spring. If he felt awkward sitting in our mostly white church, he didn't let on. After the service � [we] knelt near the altar, and Bob told Jesus that he wanted to follow him. Bob confessed that he wanted to stop trying to control his life and invited Jesus to take over �. Bob wept and when I looked into his eyes I noticed the distinct peace that now defined his face. Bob changed my life and the life of my church. I get more joy from him than he'll ever understand. Whenever I say goodbye to him at the YMCA or hang up the phone after talking with him, he always tells me to "give his love to my family." He wants me to baptize him this June at our next baptism. I'm saddened by the reality that I almost missed Bob simply because I was too engrossed in my own little world. [Kary Oberbrunner, "'What About Bob?' How That Question Changed My Life," New Man. eMagazine (4-14-09)]

AskMe #2514982 06/01/11 07:23 AM
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2 Corinthians 5:2-5 (NLT)
2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it�s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.

The apostle reminds us at times we grow weary with this earthly life and long for the heavenly life waiting for us. He states it is not that we desire to die to be in heaven, but that we are being called there by the Holy Spirit with the guarantee of salvation given to us by Jesus Christ. It is in heaven we will receive new bodies, perfect, without flaw and without pain or suffering. But here in our earthly bodies we wait, serving God while feeling the pain of the sin left on this world.

May 31th, 1985 tragedy struck the Smith family in Lexington, SC. Shari Smith was abducted and later found murdered by Larry Gene Bell. Larry Gene Bell allowed Shari to write a letter of farewell to her family. She wrote, "Please don't let this ruin your lives. Just keep living one day at a time for Jesus. Remember, everything works out for the good to those that love the Lord. Some good will come of this." Difficult words to endure as a family knowing the fate of your loved one. One has to wonder how �good� could come of this.

Shari�s sister, Dawn a former Miss South Carolina, took Proverbs 3:5-6 and committed them in her heart, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" It seems hard to trust when you have been through a difficult time, but God says trust me and I will help you walk straight through this pain. Dawn has been a bold witness for Jesus sharing her testimony of a painful and healing walk with the Lord. Dawn has reached out to others in the name of Christ to share God�s mercy and grace. From Dawn�s website it says, �In 1989 Dawn received a letter from the man that killed her sister, and while on Death Row, he claimed to have met Jesus Christ, asking Dawn to forgive him for what he had done. Dawn shares how God brought her to the place of understanding how true healing from the hurts of life cannot take place apart from the supernatural act of forgiveness in our own lives. Later she would learn to not only forgive the murderer, but to daily choose forgiveness as a path to healing and wholeness. The brightest future will always be based not on a forgotten past, but on a forgiven past.�

We may desire at times to give up this painful life and be with the Lord, but God has a purpose for our lives here on earth. While the process may be painful God builds us up and prepares us to share His word to bring others to Jesus. All my sympathy goes to the Smith Family for their loss, but I also rejoice in knowing they will be reunited with Shari in the heavenly realms with Christ. May God bless those who knew Shari and may her loss bring gain and hope to others through Jesus Christ.

AskMe #2515438 06/02/11 06:19 AM
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1 Corinthians 7:10-11 (NLT)
10 But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. 11 But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife.

The apostle gives a statement he said he obtained directly from Christ, �A wife must not leave her husband and a husband must not leave his wife. But we see there is also a condition that says if someone does leave they should remain single or be reconciled to the person they left. These words affirm marriage is a commitment where each party must be responsible for their actions.

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of marriage for my wife and me. She was 15 and I was 17 when we met so marriage was a little ways off. When I figure the percentage of years I have known my wife Robin it is 67% of my life. While that seems like a long time I remember our wedding day as clear as yesterday. Some might ask has marriage been easy. The answer I would give is marriage has been a full and real commitment to each other. It is not always easy, but no relationship is. It takes work and a willingness to love the other person for who they are just as God loves us for who we are. We joined in marriage with all our faults, dysfunctions and problems and yet we have worked through many of the issues we have faced in life. I am thankful Christ has been a part of marriage for He has carried the burdens of life when we could not. We have had some serious trials and temptations in our life that could have ended a marriage, but God�s grace and mercy was upon us and lead us through those difficult times. I am in no way perfect; only Christ was perfect. I know my wife would love hearing me admit this right now, but it is the truth. I have my problems and still do. My life was filled with dysfunction and it still bites me in the rear at times. There have been times I have messed up royally. I am just thankful God�s grace is sufficient to help me deal with my problems. I am thankful Christ releases me from my sin so shame does not hinder our marriage. For those entering marriage understand the baggage you carry with you has to be dealt with if you are committed to making your marriage work. If you have not dealt with the baggage and jump from one marriage to the next, guess what? You carry the same baggage again and again to the next marriage until that baggage has been dealt with. So today I honor my wife as I quote from Proverbs 31, �Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.� I thank God for my wife Robin who I love and who has complimented my life where I am lacking and enriched it greatly.

AskMe #2516716 06/06/11 07:08 AM
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James 1:2-4 (NLT)
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, writes to all the Israelites. In these verses he tells them to look for opportunities of joy when problems rise up against them. These problems and afflictions are trials that test faith and prove that one can endure with God�s help whatever comes their way. There should be a desire to welcome these trials so ones faith might develop leading one to a greater perfection and completeness.



In a Leadership Journal article, John Ortberg argues that sometimes stressful and painful situations can actually help us grow. Ortberg creates the following scenario:

Imagine you're handed a script of your newborn child's entire life. Better yet, you're given an eraser and five minutes to edit out whatever you want. You read that she will have a learning disability in grade school. Reading, which comes easily for some kids, will be laborious for her. In high school, she will make a great circle of friends, then one of them will die of cancer. After high school, she will get into her preferred college, but while there, she will lose a leg in a car accident. Following that, she will go through a difficult depression. A few years later she'll get a great job, then lose that job in an economic downturn. She'll get married, but then go through the grief of separation.

With this script of your child's life and five minutes to edit it, what would you erase? Psychologist Jonathon Haidt poses this question in this hypothetical exercise: Wouldn't you want to take out all the stuff that would cause them pain?

If you could erase every failure, disappointment, and period of suffering, would that be a good idea? Would that cause them to grow into the best version of themselves? Is it possible that we actually need adversity and setbacks�maybe even crises and trauma�to reach the fullest potential of development and growth?

Ortberg contends that God doesn't always erase all our stress and pain before it starts. Instead, God can use the failures, disappointments, and periods of suffering to help us grow. Ortberg writes, "God isn't at work producing the circumstances I want. God is at work in bad circumstances to produce the me he wants." [John Ortberg, "Don't Waste a Crisis," Leadership Journal (Winter, 2011)]

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