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AskMe #2525959 07/07/11 06:49 AM
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Psalm 23:1-6 (NLT)
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. 6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Many of David�s psalms are filled with the problems he is facing in life. Usually David expressed the deepest pains of his heart and reflected upon how God was always with him even in the most difficult of times. In Psalm 23 David expresses nothing but his delights, comfort and the great goodness he finds in God. David understood his faith in God and how it was sufficient to meet the needs of his life. David recognized God for providing salvation and that he would spend eternity with the Lord in heaven because of his faith.

As a boy David was a shepherd and in Psalm 23 David uses metaphors related to his younger years. He said, �Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.� A pastor friend of mine spent time as a missionary in Africa. Living in Africa he was responsible for his family�s welfare, which included herding sheep. Sheep in remote countries are often used for meat, skins, milk and wool. Each day there were chores related to the sheep. He had to lead the sheep to food and water. Stubbornly sheep sometimes won�t move so the shepherd carries a rod, which is blunt stick, to prod the sheep along. A tap from the rod on the rear and the sheep gets moving. Sometimes the sheep would wonder into a ditch which they could not get out of. A staff, which was a long pole with a crook at the end to put around the sheep�s neck, was used to help pull the sheep up out of the ditch. David�s reference to God�s rod and staff was a reminder sometimes God has to give us a little push to get us going back on the right path. There are other times God has to rescue us from what we have done to ourselves. We should delight in the fact whether we are being disciplined or rescued God does so because He loves us. God wants to protect and comfort and that is something we can find great joy in.

AskMe #2526320 07/08/11 06:49 AM
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Luke 23:18-25 (NLT)
18 Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, �Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!� 19 (Barabbas was in prison for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government, and for murder.) 20 Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus. 21 But they kept shouting, �Crucify him! Crucify him!�22 For the third time he demanded, �Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.�23 But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded. 25 As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he turned Jesus over to them to do as they wished.

This is the account of Jesus after he had been arrested by the Roman guard. Jesus was brought before Pilate to be judged and Pilate found no wrong in Christ. Pilate sent Jesus to Herod who also found no wrong. It was then left up to Pilate as how to sentence Jesus, which he was opting for a flogging to satisfy the crowd. However the crowd shouted crucify him, crucify him. They even shouted to release Barabbas a prisoner who took part in an insurrection against the government in Jerusalem in exchange for the crucifixion of Jesus. Pilate bowed to the will of the people and sent Jesus to be executed.

As I read this account of the people shouting out for the execution of Jesus I was reminded of recent media events. I watched as a mob of people stood outside the courthouse where Casey Anthony was being tried and shouted, �Justice for Caylee, Justice for Caylee� over and over again. I remember mobs of people standing outside the Anthony home shouting mean and cruel words. I saw people holding signs mocking Casey just as Jesus had a sign held against him to mock Him. Even with a mob of people calling out against Casey our justice system did what was right. The judge did not stop the trial and say, �You know there is a mob of people outside who would like to see Casey executed.� The judge did not hand her over to others for them to take action into their own hands. Instead the judge followed the laws this country lives by and is known for throughout the world. We are a country of grace when we do not have all the answers. Ultimately God does have all the answers and knows all the things that took place. Even though this family was called a family of secrets, there are no secrets to God. God knows the depths of each person�s heart and God will judge accordingly.

AskMe #2527134 07/11/11 06:36 AM
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Proverbs 11:27 (NLT)
27 If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!

In this proverb King Solomon tells us those who endeavor to do good reap both the favor of men and God. This is a person of love and kindness. They search out opportunities to serve their fellow man and in doing so find the favor of others blanketed upon them. However there are also those who seek our evil. It does not take long to find evil for evil comes to them quickly.

A popular belief among doctors and social scientists has been that many teens begin drug use and sexual activity to deal with depression. However, a study published in the October 2005 edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reverses those beliefs. Health policy researcher Denise Dion-Hallfors comments: "Findings from the study show depression came after substance and sexual activity, not the other way around." The data was gathered from a national survey of 13,491 adolescents. A large group of these teens, about 25 percent, were called "abstainers." They had never had sex, smoked, drank alcohol, or taken drugs. Only 4 percent of these teens experienced depression. The study also reported that girls among the 75 percent who had taken drugs and experimented with sex were 2�3 times more likely to experience depression than abstaining girls. Boys who engaged in binge drinking were 4.5 times more likely to experience depression than boys in the abstaining group. Boys smoking marijuana were more than 3 times more likely to be depressed than those who abstained. Dr. Hallfors warns: "Parents, educators, and health practitioners now have even more reason to be concerned about teen risk behaviors, and to take action about alcohol, drugs, and sex." [Taunya English, "Teen Sex and Drug Use May Be Cause of Depression, Not the Effect," Health Behavior News Service (September 2005)]


AskMe #2527469 07/12/11 06:51 AM
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1 Corinthians 13:11-12 (NLT)
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church of Corinth about love and the importance of it. The church was focused on too many other things and the apostle wanted to get them on the right track. One of Paul�s most well-known statements to the church which comes from this chapter is: �Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.� Then Paul reminds them as a child we think as a child, but one hopes to mature and put away the childish thoughts. It was his hope they would grow up and see the important need for love.

I am sure you have heard the phrase, �QUIT BEING CHILDISH�. People often say it during the midst of an argument from one adult to another when one adult sees the other responding in a childish manner. Truthfully there are times some of us do respond like a child because we never got past a hurt in our lives. The love and nurturing we needed was missed, which left us stuck with childish thoughts. We did not learn how to express ourselves clearly and hence our response is very childish in nature. I was reminded of our need to be loved and nurtured as I watched Dr. Drew�s Celebrity Rehab. One of the celebrities being treated for addiction had painful memories of the past flash back into their mind. They said it made the feel small, helpless and like a child. The thing is as adults we are no longer children and we must assume the responsibilities of an adult. We have an imperfect vision of our lives because of our hurts and pains. The cloudy mirror we look into shows us pains and hurts of our childhood past. We feel incomplete and just a partial piece of what we should be. We need the love for ourselves, the love from others and the love of God to see us through to difficult times. We need to move past our childish thoughts and mature in the way we handle problems. Allow God and others to work in your life so that you might become complete as God has intended for you to be.

AskMe #2527763 07/13/11 07:02 AM
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Genesis 27:41-46 (NLT)
41 From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: �I will soon be mourning my father�s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.� 42 But Rebekah heard about Esau�s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, �Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you. 43 So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. 44 Stay there with him until your brother cools off. 45 When he calms down and forgets what you have done to him, I will send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?�46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, �I�m sick and tired of these local Hittite women! I would rather die than see Jacob marry one of them.�

Rebekah was the mother of Esau and Jacob who were fraternal twins. Esau was technically the older brother because he was born first and would have inherited the blessings of his father. Yet their mother Rebekah preferred Jacob more than Esau and she helped Jacob receive the blessing from his father under false pretense. Isaac was too old to see so Rebekah helped Jacob appear to be Esau, who Isaac preferred. This outraged Esau and he sought in his heart to kill his brother. Rebekah knowing Esau�s intent once again plotted to help Jacob. She planned for him to go to her brother who lived far away and did so by telling her husband Isaac she wanted Jacob to marry a woman from his homeland.

Family dysfunction is seen when family members inconsistently attempt to fulfill their family responsibilities. Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau were living in a dysfunctional family. There were two parents with different preferences for their children. Esau was what we might call a man�s man, while Jacob was reserved and stayed close to home. There was a constant battle between the two brothers most likely fueled by the parents. Their battle finally led Jacob to unrightfully acquire his father�s blessing (inheritance). This caused bitterness, jealousy and contempt towards Jacob. Many of you have probably lived with some type of dysfunction and did not even know it. You may not have seen your family was dysfunctional because to you the life you lived was normal; well normal to you at least. But normal for one person or family does not mean what took place in the home was really normal or good. It does not mean there were people without flaws, problems and errors. More than likely most were doing the best they knew how, but they were not doing the best they could. Instead they were most likely following generations of dysfunctional behaviors; not realizing there was a problem. God gives us the wisdom to seek out answers and in doing so we can learn to recognize dysfunctional behaviors. We can learn to change those behaviors for the better so future generations can learn from our progress instead of our mistakes. Pray God would give you the wisdom to see the dysfunction of your family and grant you the knowledge to make life better for the entire family.

AskMe #2527968 07/14/11 06:54 AM
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Proverbs 14:12 (NLT)
12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

King Solomon gives us an account of those who have become deluded in their judgment of themselves. The way they are conducting their life seems fair or reasonable to them. They feel their opinions and practices are good from what they know. Matthew Henry said, �The way of ignorance and carelessness, the way of worldliness and earthly-mindedness, the way of sensuality and flesh-pleasing, seem right to those that walk in them, much more the way of hypocrisy in religion, external performances, partial reformations, and blind zeal; this they imagine will bring them to heaven; they flatter themselves in their own eyes that all will be well at last.� The problem becomes those who deceive themselves also destroy themselves.

�Florence Foster Jenkins, a soprano, loved to sing�especially the great operatic classics. She inherited money when she was in her 50s, which funded her musical career. It wasn't long before her popularity skyrocketed, holding annual recitals at the Ritz-Carlton in New York throughout the 1930s and 40s. But as one writer puts it, �History agrees, with hands held over its ears, that she couldn't sing for sour apples. Jenkins' nickname, behind her back, was 'the Tone-Deaf Diva,' or 'The Terror of the High C's.' The writer adds that if you ever hear one of her old recordings, all that you'll hear will be �squeaks, squawks, and barks.� But get this: she didn't ever grasp that she was bad! When people laughed and hooted as she sang, she took it to be delirious enthusiasm for great music. She thought they loved her and her music.
["Florence Foster Jenkins: She played Carnegie Hall and she really couldn't sing a note?" Chicago Tribune (11-20-09)]

People may think it doesn�t matter what you believe about yourself as long as it seems right to you. But the truth is what you believe needs to match up with the reality of life. You can believe you don�t have issues or problems, but reality better prove it out or you may be quickly heading for defeat.

AskMe #2528225 07/15/11 06:09 AM
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1 Peter 5:6-11 (NLT)
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. 10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.

These words are from Peter who Jesus said would be the rock of the church. He tells us to keep humble in our ways and give our worries and problems to God. We are also to watch out for temptation which comes from the devil when we are at a low point in life. Peter reminds us we are not alone in our struggles. There are others who are struggling and who have struggled that understand our suffering. Peter says we will suffer, but that in time God will restore, support and strengthen us to a place that is solid.

Gregory Boyle retells the story of a 15-year-old gang member named Rigo. Rigo was getting ready for a special worship service for incarcerated youth when Boyle casually asked if Rigo's father would be coming. The following is a summary of their conversation: "No," he said, "He's a heroin addict and never been in my life. Used to always beat me." Then something snapped inside Rigo as he recalled an image from his childhood. "I think I was in fourth grade," he began, "I came home. Sent home in the middle of the day � . [When I got home] my dad says, 'Why did they send you home?' And cuz my dad always beat me, I said, 'If I tell you, promise you won't hit me?' He just said, 'I'm your father. Course I'm not gonna hit you.' So I told him." Rigo began to cry, and in a moment he started wailing and rocking back and forth. Boyle put his arm around him until he slowly calmed down. When Rigo could finally speak again, he spoke quietly, still in a state of shock: "He beat me with a pipe � with � a pipe." After Rigo composed himself, Boyle asked about his mom. Rigo pointed to a small woman and said, "That's her over there � . There's no one like her." Then Rigo paused and said, "I've been locked up for a year and half. She comes to see me every Sunday. You know how many buses she takes every Sunday [to see me]?" Rigo started sobbing with the same ferocity as before. After catching his breath, he gasped through the sobs, "Seven buses. She takes � seven � buses. Imagine."

Boyle concluded this story with an analogy. God, as revealed in the person of Jesus, loves us like Rigo's mother loved her son�with commitment, steadfastness, and sacrifice. According to Boyle, we have a God "who takes seven buses, just to arrive at us." All throughout Jesus' ministry�his birth on Christmas morning, his meals with sinners, his healing of the sick, his death on the cross for our sins�he showed us the heart of God, the God who will take a long journey of love to find us. [Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart (Free Press, 2010), pp. 26-27]

AskMe #2528792 07/18/11 06:14 AM
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Proverbs 18:1 (NASV)
1 He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.

This verse from proverbs speaks of a person who pulls away from the wisdom of all others to seek after their own thoughts and desires. Sound wisdom is put aside in favor of gratifying one�s self with their conclusions against what those with sound thoughts and principles reached.

In his book, Thinking For a Change, John Maxwell explains, �If you are successful, it becomes possible for you to leave an inheritance for others. But if you desire to create a legacy, then you need to leave something in others.� An inheritance leaves something for others. A legacy leaves something in others.
Adam, the first father of the human race, must have understood this. We do not know if Adam was a wealthy man who left a valuable estate to his children, but we are told that beginning with his son, Seth, and grandson, Enosh, �men began to call on the name of the LORD� (Genesis 4:26). Adam must have done something right. I believe he did. When his descendents looked back, they remembered how Adam lived, loved and left (Genesis 5:3-5). To pass down a godly legacy we must follow Adam�s example. When our children and future generations look back, they will remember how we lived [John Maxwell, Thinking for a Change (Warner Books, 2002)]

The question to ask yourself are you being real seeking out sound wisdom from God or are you counting upon yourself for answers to life? Adam obviously realized his flaw in counting upon himself when he brought sin into the world. So the advice he gave others was they needed to call upon God for their answers.

AskMe #2529025 07/19/11 06:34 AM
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1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT)
24 Don�t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

The apostle is encouraging the Corinthians to live as if they are seeking a prize in a race. Paul uses the example of a race to explain the pains and hardships they will face. But while a runner receives a prize that fades away; the prize for the Christian is eternal salvation.

In my life I ran three marathons: San Francisco Marathon, New York Marathon, and the Kiawah Island Marathon. Each race had its uniqueness. The San Francisco Marathon was extremely hilly. Just as I thought it was getting easy I would turn a corner and a mountain of a hill would be facing back. Then there was the New York Marathon. This race had inclines and descents, but they were usually moderate. There were a lot of people out on the streets shouting words of encouragement; motivating everyone to keep going. The Kiawah Island marathon was isolated and flat. The ground was so flat the same muscles groups were used all the time, which made running more difficult. Plus there were no supporters, no one cheering you on.

This is a lot like life. There are times when we face hills that just overwhelm us and we want to give up. There are other times life is going along smoothly and there are plenty of people encouraging us. Other times we are running alone and the path before us seems easy; but deep down there is difficulties and pain. The goal however is to finish the race even if it takes longer than expected or is more challenging than we could have imagined. We are not to give up hope, but instead we are to stay the course in order to cross the finish life. Lord I pray each and every one will not give up on life, but press forward even in difficult moment. Lord I pray You would give strength and let us see the reward that is waiting.

AskMe #2529371 07/20/11 06:04 AM
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Proverbs 20:24 (NLT)
24 The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?

King Solomon tells us that everything we do depends upon God. All of our actions depend upon His Grace and His Mercy. We are unable to predict the future or even get a small glimpse of what it looks like. So how can man understand what he is to do when he doesn�t even know what is going to happen.

Every now and then you find yourself in a place where God has put you for a purpose. I am still amazed by a story I have told several times. I was out of town and went to a restaurant. The only place they had to sit at the moment was the bar and since I was alone I said why not. I sat down and noticed a beer mug next to me that was almost empty, which the bartender cleared off. A few minutes later a man came back arguing with the bartender that someone took his drink after he just stepped away for a minute (actually it was several). To calm an argument the bartender poured him another full glass. I sensed I needed to say something to this man so I said, �Having a bad day?� He responded, �You just don�t know. I just got out of prison. I don�t have a job. And then my beer was gone.� I started asking about his prison experience and I asked if anyone from his church ever visited him. He said yes. In fact he said that during a visit from a chaplain he came to know Christ, but that didn�t make life easy. I assured him no one�s life was easy and that being a Christian wasn�t always easy. At times we have to wait on God and see what He has planned for us. The man then said, �You sound like my grandmother who I am staying with. She said God has a job for me and she even knows some people who want to give me work. �I told him it was nice to have a grandmother who cared and he could count on the fact that God and Christ also cared about him. With that he said, �You know I think I will go talk to my grandmother about those jobs.� Then he thanked me for talking with him and got up and left. The surprising part is the beer he so craved and argued for was left there intact on the counter without a sip taken from it. This man wanted to drown his sorrows in beer when what he really needed was someone to show him some compassion and reassure him life would be ok and that God was in control. Remember God directs us and we don�t have to always understand why, but know that He cares for us.

AskMe #2529596 07/21/11 06:34 AM
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John 17:20-21 (NLT)
20 �I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one�as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

In these verses we find Jesus not only praying for the disciples, but for all Christians who have come to have faith in Christ. The prayer was meant for those who had come to believe in Him and for those who were yet to believe in Christ. His prayer was all Christians would be united so those who have not believed in Him would come to believe in Him through the Christian�s actions.

Sadly I have heard it said Christians wound other Christians and leave them on the battlefield. Our purpose as Christians is to work as one; as Christ prayed we would do. We are not to put down another Christian for their sin, but instead we are to help that person see their failure and help restore them. Some we will say we are not to judge others, but we do know when someone is not following the will of God. God has instilled in us with His Holy Spirit the ability to discern right and wrong. The Bible tells us we are to reprove others so they can see the sin they have fallen into. But we are to also gently restore them by aiding them in their recovery. Instead of wounding others we should be like soldiers who defend each other and leave no one behind. Pray for those who have fallen to sin that you may be able to minister to them and help restore them to their proper relationship with Christ. Who knows, one day there may be a failure in your life and you will need someone to reach out to you. I hope God blesses each and every one of you keeping you close to Him and protecting you. I pray as Christ we all will be one in our effort to show the world Jesus and His merciful salvation.

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Matthew 22:34-40 (NLT)
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 �Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?� 37 Jesus replied, ��You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.� 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: �Love your neighbor as yourself.� 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.�

The Sadducees were distinct from the Pharisees in several ways. The Sadducees rejected the oral traditions that the Pharisees held to. The Sadducees believed only the first five books of the Bible written by Moses were authoritative. The Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead and in angels and spirits; while the Sadducees rejected such beliefs. Two groups very different in their beliefs tried to show where the statements of Jesus were wrong. They were trying to humiliate Him, but in doing so created their own humiliation. The Pharisees were trying to pit Jesus against the Sadducees. They asked what the most important commandment was in the Law of Moses. The response Jesus gave was simple; love God with all your heart, soul and mind and also to love one�s neighbor. The proper relationship with God allows the proper relationship with others, which drives us to act responsibly towards God and each other.

In the Greek language there were separate words for love; there is a godly love, a friendly love, and a lustful love. Jesus was speaking of a godly love for both God and man. We are not just to love others as friends; we are to love others as God would love them. We need to avoid arguing over small differences in beliefs and focus on meeting the needs of each other. When we see our fellow man struggling we are to help and not hinder. When we have a difference we should seek to reconcile. When there is an injustice we are to seek justice. The proper motivation founded in godly love will always point us in the right direction. Let�s follow what Jesus said, �Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind; love (godly love) your neighbor as yourself.�

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John 14:6 (NLT)
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Jesus tells those around Him that is He the way, the truth and the life. It is through knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ that one comes to know salvation. Jesus is stating a clear truth, �No man cometh unto the Father, but by me. � Only because of Jesus is there access to salvation. Only because of Jesus is forgiveness of sin found. Only through Jesus is God�s love confirmed with His gift of eternal life in heaven. There is no other way to be found except in Christ.

I read an article the other day that said a great mistake many Christian Evangelicals make is trying to convert someone to Christianity instead of trying to lead them to Jesus. Now some may think it is the same thing, but Christianity is made up of various denominations. There are Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and Catholic. All of these denominations have some things in common, but they also have many different beliefs. However the common theme for Christianity is:

- Christ is God�s son and was born of the Virgin Mary.
- Christ lived a sinless life.
- Christ was beaten, tortured and died on the Roman cross for our sin.
- Christ was placed in a grace.
- Three days later Christ rose from the grave defeating sin and death.
- Those who place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ will have eternal life in heaven.

Those are the common traits, after that each denomination and various offshoots of denominations have other religious sacraments and traditions. Each denomination has its beliefs about how different sins should be addressed. Even each church in a denomination may have a separate view as to how the church functions. We first need to leave behind the traditions of church and focus on people getting to know who Jesus is. If we can show them the love of Jesus and they accept Him on faith then Christ will lead the person to the proper place in life. We need to give up trying to do things in our power and instead let the power of Christ work in people�s lives.




AskMe #2530891 07/26/11 07:25 AM
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Proverbs 26:4-5 (NLT)
4 Don�t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are. 5 Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.

There verses seem to contradict themselves, but in actuality they don�t. A person needs to know when to speak and when not to speak towards the foolish words of another. There are times a person should remain silent so as not to join in the foolish talk of another. Yet there are other times when a wise person should convict someone of their foolish words for the betterment of the one speaking or for those listening.

The futility of trying to impart wisdom to a fool is the basis of Proverbs 26:4-5, which tell us how to answer a fool. These seemingly contradictory verses are actually a common form of parallelism found in the Old Testament, where one idea builds upon another. Verse 4 warns against arguing with a fool on his own terms, lest we stoop to his level and become as foolish as he is. Because he despises wisdom and correction, the fool will not listen to wise reason and will try to draw us into his type of argument, whether it is by using deceit, scoffing at our wisdom, or becoming angry and abusive. If we allow him to draw us into this type of discourse, we are answering him �according to his folly� in the sense of becoming like him.

The phrase �according to his folly� in verse 5, on the other hand, tells us that there are times when a fool has to be addressed so that his foolishness will not go unchallenged. In this sense answering him according to his folly means to expose the foolishness of his words, rebuking him on the basis of his folly so he will see the idiocy of his words and reasoning. Our �answer� in this case is to be one of reproof, showing him the truth so he might see the foolishness of his words in the light of reason. Even though he will most likely despise and reject the wisdom offered to him, we are to make the attempt, both for the sake of the truth which is always to be declared, and for the sake of those listening, that they may see the difference between wisdom and folly and be instructed.

Whether we use the principle of verse 4 and deal with a fool by ignoring him, or obey verse 5 and reprove a fool depends on the situation. In matters of insignificance, it�s probably better to disregard him. In more important areas, such as when a fool denies the existence of God (Psalm 14:1), verse 5 tells us to respond to his foolishness with words of rebuke and instruction. To let a fool speak his nonsense without reproof encourages him to remain wise in his own eyes and possibly gives credibility to his folly in the eyes of others.

In short, in negligible issues we should just ignore fools, but in issues that matter, they must be dealt with so that credence will not be given to what they say.

AskMe #2531192 07/27/11 07:21 AM
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Proverbs 27:5-6 (NLT)
5 An open rebuke is better than hidden love! 6 Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.

It is good when our friends care enough about us to be open concerning our faults. It takes courage for a friend to bring forth our faults and sins. It is a lot easier to hide a problem fearing love will be lost than to give criticism for the fault. While the rebuke may be painful at first it is better than suffering at the hands of those who might despise us.

How do you respond when you have a close friend who knows you and cares for you tells you something about yourself that is unpleasant to hear. Do you stop and listen? Or do you push your friend aside so they are unwilling to talk to you?

If you are in the category of stopping to listen you must be commended for your willingness to listen to the reproof of a friend. Their words may hurt, but their intention is pure. They want to show you a fault in your life that needs correction. Imagine steering a boat into the fog. Blindly you are heading towards the shore, confident of your abilities, but lacking information. Suddenly you see a light house pointing the way to safe and secure waters. It is there you find safety because of the guidance of the lighthouse. Your friend is the light house showing you the safe path you need to follow. You have missed something, overlooked, ignored, or didn�t want to deal with a problem in your life. Your friend has brought the problem to light and their desire is to guide you to a place of safety. Listen and heed their advice.

On the other hand if you are in the category of pushing aside those who want to warn you of problems in your life you limiting your chances for success. You will miss the opportunities to make a correction. These missed opportunities will lead you down a wrong path where you will fall into the hands of the enemy. There you may find flattery and sweet words to allure you, but their motive is self-seeking and not in your interest. Be careful for your fall may be near.

AskMe #2531410 07/28/11 06:30 AM
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Proverbs 28:13 (NLT)
13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

The folly of sin is when one indulges them with sin, they excuse their actions, they ignore their self-inflicted problems, and even worst they blame their faults on others. Compassion will be shown to those who acknowledge their sin and confess it; to themselves, to God and to those who have been hurt.

Addiction is a continued involvement with a substance or activity despite the negative consequences that follow. This is reflected in an individual pursuing reward and/or relief either through the use of a substance or other behaviors. People with addictions usually dismiss their problem. If confronted often they will blame the confronter for the issues in their life. The addiction brings about impairment in behavioral control, craving, inability to consistently abstain, and diminished recognition of significant problems with one�s behaviors and interpersonal relationships. The prosperity in their lives diminishes as they lose control. They lose what they have and those close to them over the desire for the addiction. The addiction has become their new desire; their new love. They conceal it for their own self-gratification so others won�t attempt to take it from them.

The start of recovery from an addiction is the confession of the problem. The person must acknowledge they are no longer in control of their actions and that the addiction is controlling them. They should be willing to seek help and share their problem with others. In doing so they will gain mercy and grace from those who care to see them healed. No longer will they be pushed aside for their problem, but instead they will be comforted. I pray for those with addictions that they would no longer conceal them, but confess them to others in order to find help. I pray their lives will be blessed with mercy. I pray too that healing and restoration will come to them. May God bless your lives as you confess your faults to Him.

AskMe #2531697 07/29/11 06:49 AM
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Galatians 5:16-21 (NLT)
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won�t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God

The apostle instructs us to let the Holy Spirit guide our lives so we put aside our craving for sinful things. We have a sinful nature that drives us toward sin. We also have the Holy Spirit, from faith in Christ, which makes us aware of sin and directs us to do what is good.

The basic definition of sin is a willful and deliberate violation of a religious or moral principle. This holds true for most religions of the world. What becomes complicated is how we list out sins. We know one of the Ten Commandments says �thou shall not steal�. Most of us realize there is a difference between someone who robs another for their own pleasure and someone who takes food to feed their hungry family. The Bible also tells us �thou shalt not murder�. Again we know there is a difference between someone killing in cold blood and someone who kills to defend their family. Hebrews 10:13 says this, �This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them�. When Jesus died on the cross God made a new covenant and God laid on our hearts what is right and what is wrong. In fact the Bible tells us what may be a sin for one person may not be a sin for another. We ask how could that be and the answer is �God is righteous and just�. God gives mercy and grace where it is needed and holds accountable those who should know right from wrong. The Lord has given us the ability to recognize sin, to see the grey areas and to provide justice as needed. Jesus spoke often about this as the religious leaders tried hold Jesus to the letter of The Law. Jesus taught his disciples to let God�s will rule in their life instead of man�s interpretation of the law. They were then also to have faith in their convictions and follow those convictions. Place emphasis on what God has placed within your heart concerning sin and challenge areas of your life that are in violation of His will. While some sins may seem impossible to remove they will be easier to overcome as your walk with Christ remains on solid ground.


AskMe #2532238 08/01/11 06:16 AM
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2 Kings 5:6-14 (NLT)
6 The letter to the king of Israel said: �With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.� 7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, �This man sends me a leper to heal! Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? I can see that he�s just trying to pick a fight with me.� 8 But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: �Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.� 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha�s house. 10 But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: �Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.� 11 But Naaman became angry and stalked away. �I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!� he said. �I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! 12 Aren�t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn�t I wash in them and be healed?� So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his officers tried to reason with him and said, �Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn�t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, �Go and wash and be cured!�� 14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child�s, and he was healed!

In these verses we find the story of Naaman being healed from leprosy. First he went to the King of Israel who became distraught over the message he received. Elisha upon hearing the story comforted everyone and said send him to me so I can show him there is a true prophet of God in Israel. At first Naaman did not want to listen to Elisha�s words, but he was convinced by others to follow the prophet�s orders and he was healed.

Sometimes we need encouragement from others to get us pushed in the right direction. The first encouraging words for Naaman came in verse 3 where it was said, �I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.� On faith he followed this advice and sought his king�s permission to go to Israel. I�m sure when he saw the King of Israel tear his clothes in anguish he probably thought that was the end of any chance to be healed. But then the message came from Elisha that he was willing to heal Naaman and Naaman went on faith to Elisha. Naaman had his own expectations as we often do; wanting things to happen a certain way. So Naaman turned away in anger and that is when he got another encouraging word from those close to him. They said, �Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn�t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, �Go and wash and be cured!�� Encouraged Naaman did as was told and found immediate healing. We need to remember God puts people in our lives to encourage us and push us in the right direction. May God bless your life with those who care enough to encourage.

AskMe #2532488 08/02/11 07:17 AM
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Proverbs 2:9 (NLT)
9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go.

In chapter 2 of Proverbs Solomon speaks about the benefits of wisdom. The advice he gave was to honor God, to fear Him in reverence and to concentrate on understanding the knowledge imparted to man. In the verses above Solomon says the person who seeks wisdom and finds it will understand what is right, what is just and what is fair.

Do you know what is right, what is just and what is fair? When something is right we understand it is within normal, understood boundaries. For instance if our car holds 20 gallons of gas and we fill up the car and the gas pump registers 45 gallons we know something is not right. In life to understand what is right we must have understanding of a subject or situation. We must have sound opinions that are not based on assumptions, but based on fact that comes from wisdom. When we know what is right then we can determine what is just. In the example above if we know our car holds 20 gallons then we know we have been unjustly charged for more gas than we could have possibly received. We have to be able to look at the evidence before us and apply what is right to reach a judgment. It is then that we are able to determine fairness in matter. We know it is fair to pay for at most 20 gallons, but no more. If we are told we must pay for the 45 gallons we know that to be unfair.

There are many situations in life that require us to be right, just and fair. We should never take things for granted nor come to conclusions that may be wrong. Seek God�s wisdom and understand what is right, what is just and what is fair.

AskMe #2532784 08/03/11 06:29 AM
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Luke 6:46-49 (NLT)
46 �So why do you keep calling me �Lord, Lord!� when you don�t do what I say? 47 I will show you what it�s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn�t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.�

Jesus tells us that we can listen to Him, but that is not enough. We must also be willing to do those things He commands and leads us to do. We should make an effort to obey Him and not just profess a relationship with him. Jesus tells us that those who listen and obey stand on solid ground, while those who do not listen are on a foundation that falls away.




Ninety percent of the heart patients do not change. They remain the same, living the status quo. Study after study indicates that two years after heart surgery, the patients have not altered their behavior. Instead of making changes for life, they choose death. Change is that difficult. The majority of the heart patients choose not to change. They act as if they would rather die. (Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger, Simple Church (B & H Publishing Group, 2006), p. 229)

As Christians we have been given a chance to live a joyous life. Just as the doctor has told the heart patient, Christ has told us what we need to do. The commandments Christ gave us were not to restrict our living, but were instead given that we would live a full, meaningful and joyful life, being complete, and looking forward to a future with Him. Place your foundation of living upon Christ that you would know Him, obey Him, and live according to Him.

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