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AskMe #2543543 09/13/11 06:40 AM
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2 Samuel 11:1-5 (NLT)
1 In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem. 2 Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. 3 He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, �She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.� 4 Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home. 5 Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, �I�m pregnant.�

These verses describe the events that led to King David�s affair with Bathsheba who was married to Uriah the Hittite. Uriah was out fighting a war, which is where David should have been. Instead David purposely stayed behind and fell into the consequences of his actions.


Veggie tales is a kid�s cartoon which teaches important life lessons. In Veggie Tales� �King George and the Duck,� an adaptation of the story of David and Bathsheba, Larry the Cucumber stars as King George and Bob the Tomato is his faithful servant, Lewis. The privileges of royalty�kingdom expansion, castles, power, and treasures�do not appeal to King George. But King George loves to bathe with his rubber duck. Splishing and splashing, he sings an ode to his rubber duck called�what else? �I Love My Duck.�
One day while standing on the royal balcony in his purple robe and golden crown, King George peers through binoculars, and his eyes grow wide with desire. He spies something wonderful�a rubber duck. But it belongs to Billy, who happens to be bathing with his rubber duck on his own balcony. Billy�s rubber duck looks exactly like King George�s rubber duck. Nonetheless, the King covets it, exclaiming, �I want it.� Lewis reminds the King that he already has a duck and that the other duck belongs to someone else. �Are you saying I shouldn�t have whatever I want?� asks the King. Lewis opens a large wardrobe overflowing with hundreds of identical rubber ducks and says, �If I could just jog your memory, you already have quite a few ducks.� King George�s rationale is simple. He shoots a condescending look at his unlearned servant and replies, �Those are yesterday�s ducks.� [King George and the Duck (Big Ideas, 2000), not rated, written by Jennifer Combs, directed by Mike Nawrocki]

When we seek to find fulfillment apart from God we fall into the trap of never finding satisfaction in the things we desire. We think it�s what we want, but the desire vanishes and we find ourselves seeking something new, something different that still won�t provide the fulfillment in our lives. The Tenth Commandment says, �Thou shall not covet.� Exodus 20:17 spells it out for us, �You must not covet your neighbor�s house. You must not covet your neighbor�s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.� Jesus said in Luke 12:15: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." The abundance of life exists in God and nowhere else.

AskMe #2543825 09/14/11 06:45 AM
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Luke 6:36 (NLT)
38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full�pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.

This verse is part of a passage where Jesus tells us not to just others by what they have, by the condition of their life, or for who they are. We are to be forgiving and loving towards people. In verse 38 Jesus says we should give freely out of our hearts and in doing so a gift of full measure will be returned to us.

I love watching people at a self-serve soda fountain. People will stand there for the longest time trying to get their cup filled right up to the brim. They try to get as much as they can while waiting for the foam to die down before attempting to put more in the cup. Some will even go as far as taking a few drinks before finally settling for a full cup. This is a description of the gift you receive when you give to others. It may not be money that is returned or even something tangible. What you get though is a great reward that satisfies the heart. And it will feel as if your heart is packed down, overflowing with the joy of what you have done for another. What you give will be abundantly more satisfying than anything you could be handed.

AskMe #2544126 09/15/11 06:55 AM
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Proverbs 15:31 (NLT)
31 If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.

Solomon tells us that it is the character of a wise person to listen to words of criticism that are good for one to hear. The verse also implies the person who gives ear to the criticizer also will love them in return for their constructive words. Those who listen well will learn well, follow well, and in time likely teach and manage others well.



Gordon MacDonald in his sermon, �Feeling as God Feels� tells the following. One time, twenty or so years ago, I was in Japan on a speaking tour with a close personal friend. He was a number of years older than I was. As we walked down the street in Yokohama, Japan, the name of a common friend came up, and I said something unkind about that person. It was sarcastic. It was cynical. It was a put-down. My older friend stopped, turned, and faced me until his face was right in front of mine. With deep, slow words he said, "Gordon, a man who says he loves God would not say a thing like that about a friend." He could have put a knife into my ribs, and the pain would not have been any less. He did what a prophet does. But you know something? There have been ten thousand times in the last twenty years that I have been saved from making a jerk of myself. When I've been tempted to say something unkind about a brother or sister, I hear my friend's voice say "Gordon, a man who says he loves God would not speak in such a way about a friend."

A genuine rebuke is a noble communication; its intention is to free a person for growth and effectiveness by speaking, as Paul puts it, "truth in love". Rebukes are often tough to give and for some even tougher to receive. I am sure it was difficult for Peter when Jesus said to him in Matthew 16:23, �You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men". But we know Peter listened to Jesus and went on to be the foundation of the church. A good rebuke is issue-specific. Words are not minced, and the hearer has no question about what is being said. A good rebuke does not normally come off the top of someone's head; rather it is thought through carefully. It is framed in prayer and sometimes in tears.

AskMe #2544472 09/16/11 07:44 AM
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Leviticus 19:33 (NLT)
33 �Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. 34 Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

This verse was God�s charge to the Israelites to show compassion to those who lived among them who were foreigners and did not know the Lord their God. They were to extend love to them as if they were one of their own remembering they once had lived in a land foreign to them. Except in the land of Egypt they were treated as strangers and slaves who had no freedom. Their past was to serve as a reminder of why they needed to show compassion.

There are many people around us who do not share our own views or have our own interests. There are people with different values and people of different religious beliefs. It is our responsibility as Christians to love these people despite their differences. We should treat them with the same respect as we would expect to be treated. Tolerance says we should have sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own. Tolerance does not mean we let go of our beliefs nor does it mean we do not speak up when we are attacked for what we believe in. Tolerance allows us to see the differences in other people and love them despite those differences.

AskMe #2545248 09/19/11 06:17 AM
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Luke 24:1-7 (NLT)
1 But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 3 So they went in, but they didn�t find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. 5 The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, �Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6 He isn�t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.�

The event above follows the crucifixion of Jesus. Those who traveled to the tomb were doing so to anoint the body of Jesus with burial spices. When they arrived they were surprised His body was not there. Instead they were greeted by angles who asked them an important question, �Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?� For Jesus had told them that He would rise to life after his crucifixion.


I�m going to leave a simple question for those who read this to think about: Are you looking for Jesus somewhere besides where He told us He would be? In other words are you trying to fill your life with something besides Jesus?

AskMe #2545667 09/20/11 06:27 AM
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Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT)
18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God�s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Writing to the Ephesians the apostle hopes they will come to understand the depths of God�s and Christ�s love for them. He goes further to say while he hopes they can understand this love it is actually too great to fully understand and appreciate.


The other day I was annoyed with something. The sad part is I can�t even remember what it was about. It bothers me I can�t remember, because it just shows me how we get upset with something that is just not important - otherwise I would remember, right?

Anyway some of my venting ended up being directed towards my wife. And while I don�t remember what I was annoyed with, I do remember her response. She just looked at me and said, �I love you.� Of course I believe I responded with the famous, �Yeah, but��..� to which she just looked at me and said again, �I love you.� You know what? You can�t stay annoyed too long when someone keeps looking at you and telling you they love you. It didn�t take long for me to get over whatever I was annoyed with. I just smiled, went back to being my normal self and said, �I love you too.�

We vent an awful lot towards God. You can look all through the Bible and see people expressing their frustrations towards God. And what is God�s response, �I love you.� God keeps reminding us that He loves us no matter what we may throw towards Him.

AskMe #2546015 09/21/11 07:01 AM
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2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (NLT)
6 So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. 7 For we live by believing and not by seeing. 8 Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

In these verses the apostle tells the Corinthians that while we live life, our life is yet to be lived with the Lord for eternity. The privilege of living an eternal life in heaven comes from the faith we place in Christ. Unlike the disciple Thomas we were not a witness to the events that took place surrounding Jesus. Yet the Holy Spirit testifies to us Christ lives and that we should have faith in Him. Paul says we might want to be at home with God, but for now we live in earthly bodies and we have a goal to place God. For when the time comes to go home we must face how we lived out life, but the Christ steps up to say He has paid the debt for whatever wrong we might have done.



There is a vivid picture of Christ's sacrifice for sin in Mark Twain's novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The story tells the adventures of an ordinary man (the Connecticut Yankee) from the 19th century, who is transported back to the medieval world of King Arthur. At one point he convinces King Arthur to dress like a peasant and take a journey through his kingdom. The results are generally laughable as the king, completely oblivious to life in the trenches, tries to carry on with all the pomp of the court while those around him simply think he is crazy. But there is a touching chapter titled "The Smallpox Hut" describing how the king and his companion happen upon a beggar's hovel. The husband lies dead, and the wife tries to warn them away: "For the fear of God, who visits with misery and death such as be harmless, tarry not here, but fly! This place is under his curse...." The woman asks the king to go into the loft and check on their child. "It was a desperate place for him to be in, and might cost him his life," observes the Yankee, "but it was no use to argue with him." The king disappears up a ladder looking for the girl. "There was a slight noise from the direction of the dim corner where the ladder was. It was the king descending. I could see that he was bearing something in one arm, and assisting himself with the other. He came forward into the light; upon his breast lay a slender girl of 15. She was but half conscious; she was dying of smallpox. Here was heroism at its last and loftiest possibility, its utmost summit; this was challenging death in the open field unarmed, with all the odds against the challenger, no reward set upon the contest, and no admiring world in silks and cloth-of gold to gaze and applaud; and yet the king's bearing was as serenely brave as it had always been in those cheaper contests where knight meets knight in equal fight and clothed in protecting steel. He was great now; sublimely great. The rude statues of his ancestors in his palace should have an addition-I would see to that; and it would not be a mailed king killing a giant or a dragon, like the rest. It would be a king in commoner's garb bearing death in his arms."

There is Jesus on the cross; a king in commoner's garb bearing sinners in his arms. We are ambassadors for Christ. Let us share with others about our King who came from heaven to dwell among us and give His life so that we might live eternally with Him.

AskMe #2546345 09/22/11 07:06 AM
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Matthew 5:38-42 (NLT)
38 �You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: �An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.� 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don�t turn away from those who want to borrow.

In these verses Jesus basically repeals an individual�s law of retaliation. The Mosaic Law stated retaliation could take place equal to an offence, but no greater than the offence itself. There wasn�t a government in control, nor were there rulers or kings for the people; instead there were only leaders. So they needed a basis set of rules to guide them in their individual actions. The law stated if a man killed another man the family had the right to put the offender to death. If a person was hurt the wounded person could respond in the same manner back to the person who hurt them. It was a simple set of rules to help individuals understand how they could respond to sin. In the verses above Jesus tells us that as an individual we should go the extra mile, literally, when we are hurt or imposed upon. Roman Soldiers could demand a person to carry their armor for a mile. Jesus said if they demand you carry it a mile, carry it two.



The other day I saw a sign painted on a 4x8 piece of plywood and posted next to the road in front of a home. The sign read something like this: TO THE PERSON WHO BROKE INTO OUR HOME AND STOLE FROM US, NEXT TIME PLEASE RING THE DOOR BELL. WE DON�T MIND HELPING THE NEEDY, BUT WE DON�T LIKE HAVING OUR THINGS STOLEN.� No one really enjoys being inflicted with unhappiness, disappointment, pain and suffering by the hands of another. God established governments and allowed them to put laws into effect to restrain the sinful behavior of people. In America, government is established for the people and by the people. Many of the laws reflect the balanced beliefs of the people. There are some who are not happy with some laws and there are some who are not happy because there isn�t a law or punishment. Our government was designed so laws take time to be put in place and they are reviewed, debated and voted upon by those representing the people. We as individuals should follow what Jesus said and extend every courtesy we can to people. It is not our responsibility to retaliate, but the government which is there to protect and assign consequences for individuals. It is not our responsibility as an individual to enact our own consequences, but instead to love others as Jesus would have loved them. I was very mindful of this last night as Troy Davis was being executed. We the people should not have an individual desire to rejoice in the death of person, nor should we let bitterness rule our heart. We can however trust in God that He has put in place our government to administer the law in a just and fair manner even when it might seem unfair. Love like Christ and maybe we can change the hearts of some before they ever take things too far.

AskMe #2547445 09/26/11 06:19 AM
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Romans 14:1-4 (NLT)
1 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don�t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. 2 For instance, one person believes it�s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don�t. And those who don�t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn someone else�s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him judge whether they are right or wrong. And with the Lord�s help, they will do what is right and will receive his approval.

In these verses the apostles tells us how we are to handle differences in belief between each other. There were some who had strong convictions it was ok to eat anything, while there were some who would only eat vegetables. The bottom line was one group should not condemn the other for God had accepted them. If we are God�s servants and responsible to the Lord; then we have no right to judge each other. In the end God will give his approval to those who are doing right.


Improvisation is the willingness to live within the bounds of the past and yet search for the future at the same time. Improvisation is the desire to make something new out of something old.� It is experienced in being open to letting the people around you�have impact on what you are creating. Wynton Marsalis is the artistic director of jazz at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. He's earned a Pulitzer Prize, written several books, and plays a mean trumpet. On a Tuesday evening late in August 2001 at the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village, he was playing "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You" on his trumpet without accompaniment. As he neared the end of the song, the sound of a cell phone intruded into the drama of the moment. A jazz critic in the audience scrawled on a sheet of notepaper, "MAGIC, RUINED," and people began to chatter. Marsalis improvised. He played the notes of the cell phone ring tone�slow, fast, and in different keys�and when all ears were back on him, he seamlessly transitioned the silly cell phone tune back to the ballad and finished the song. In the words of the jazz critic, "The ovation was tremendous." [Robert Gelinas, Finding the Groove (Zondervan, 2008), pp. 33-34]

There are many of us called by Christ to perform His work within His church and yet many of us are different. We have different feelings about how things should be done. We have different thoughts about what is good for us and what is not. Yet we can bring all those differences together and use them as a great contribution to the Lord. For instance, in the verses above those who only ate vegetables could relate to those who followed the same manner of eating and could lead them to the Lord. Some enjoyed eating whatever they pleased and they too could appeal to a certain group. We should always be willing to embrace the differences of others as long as we are all following and serving our Lord and Savior.

AskMe #2547719 09/27/11 06:39 AM
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Proverbs 23:29-35 (NLT)
29 Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30 It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. 31 Don�t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. 32 For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. 33 You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. 34 You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. 35 And you will say, �They hit me, but I didn�t feel it. I didn�t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?�

In these verses King Solomon lays out the consequences for those who consume too much alcohol. The people he refers to are most likely alcoholics since he describes them having hallucinations and saying things that don�t make sense. They are unable to manage themselves physically as they stagger around trying to hold onto something to steady them. They even fall prey to others; victimized because they are unable to defend themselves in their stupor. Even with the consequences they don�t learn as they wake up looking to consume another drink.


At the Sundance Festival in Park City, Utah, Robert Downey Jr. said: Oh, I can't drink these days. I'm allergic to alcohol and narcotics. If I use them, I break out in handcuffs.

A recent study ranked alcohol as the "most harmful" drug among a list of 20 other drugs. The study, released in a British medical journal, claimed that alcohol was even more dangerous than crack and heroin�when assessed for its potential harm to the "drug-taker" and those harmed by his drug-taking. Hardcore drugs like heroin, crack cocaine, and crystal meth are the deadliest drugs. But when researchers analyzed other important categories�the addictive nature of the drug, how it harms the body, the drug's role on society (such as tearing families apart)�alcohol far exceeded all the other drugs in terms of overall harm.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has also noted the harmfulness of alcohol abuse. This institute places a whopping price tag�nearly $235 billion�on the annual bill in the United States for the medical, social, and economic cost of alcohol abuse. That's almost 80 percent more than the related costs for all other addictive drugs combined. In the United States, alcohol also claims more than 80,000 lives every year, and is responsible for or involved in about one-third of all fatal car crashes, half of all homicides, one-third of all suicides and one-third of all hospital admissions. [Sources: Maria Cheng, "Study finds alcohol most dangerous drug," Post and Courier (11-1-2010); "The Party's Over," Nature (11-25-2010)]

God�s purpose in warning us about issues such as alcohol is to prevent us from falling into a trap such as addiction. God loves us and wants the best for us. He doesn�t want us to fear that we will wake up, beaten and find ourselves in handcuffs because we chose sin over His words of wisdom.

AskMe #2547971 09/28/11 06:51 AM
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Proverbs 28:23 (NLT)
23 In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.

Matthew Henry gave the following comments regarding this verse. Note, 1. Flatterers may please those for a time who, upon second thoughts, will detest and despise them. If ever they come to be convinced of the evil of those sinful courses they were flattered in, and to be ashamed of the pride and vanity which were humoured and gratified by those flatteries, they will hate the fawning flatterers as having had an ill design upon them, and the fulsome flatteries as having had an ill effect upon them and become nauseous. 2. Reprovers may displease those at first who yet afterwards, when the passion is over and the bitter physic begins to work well, will love and respect them. He that deals faithfully with his friend, in telling him of his faults, though he may put him into some heat for the present, and perhaps have hard words, instead of thanks, for his pains, yet afterwards he will not only have the comfort in his own bosom of having done his duty, but he also whom he reproved will acknowledge that it was a kindness, will entertain a high opinion of his wisdom and faithfulness, and look upon him as fit to be a friend. He that cries out against his surgeon for hurting him when he is searching his wound will yet pay him well, and thank him too, when he has cured it.



The creator of Dennis the Menace, Hank Ketcham, once said, �Flattery is chewing gum. Enjoy it, but don�t swallow it.� We all enjoy flattering comments; it�s part of our nature. However, there are times when we need to hear constructive criticism. Criticism may be painful to hear, but if it helps us correct something in our lives for our benefit we need to hear it. In the end we will appreciate the honesty shared with us more than any flattering comment someone could make.

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Proverbs 29:1
1 Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.

This proverb tells us there are many who stubbornly refuse to listen to reason when it comes to their faults. They may be reproved by parents, friends, ministers, police, judges, or the consequences God has set in front of them. Yet they harden their hearts and will not give a thought to the reproof presented to them. There is a great consequence for these people in that their sins will take them to a point of destruction where there is no hope for recovery.



Anthony Mangione entered his plea in federal court Wednesday. The 50-year-old was indicted on charges of transportation, receipt and possession of child pornography. If convicted, Mangione could face up to 20 years in prison. Each of the transportation and receipt charges carry mandatory minimum sentences of five years. [Associated Press, Sept. 28, 2011] The problem is that Anthony Mangione has been chief of the Federal Government�s ICE Miami-based office since 2007. ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is responsible for cybercrimes and child exploitation. The Child Exploitation Section employs the latest technology to collect evidence and track the activities of individuals and organized groups who sexually exploit children through the use of websites, chat rooms, newsgroups and peer-to-peer trading. If it is true Mr. Mangione is guilty of the crimes he is charged for then he has truly not listened to his own criticism or the criticism of others around him regarding these crimes against children. Proverbs 29:1 tells us those �whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.�

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Nahum 3:7 (NASV)

7"And it will come about that all who see you Will shrink from you and say, 'Nineveh is devastated! Who will grieve for her?' Where will I seek comforters for you?"



The city of Nineveh had been spared when Jonah spoke to them of God�s judgment and they had repented from their sins. But the city had fallen back into its evil ways, repenting of their repentance. The city had once again become an enemy of God and Nahum was warning the people of its destruction. God had trouble getting Jonah to plead to the city, and now God was saying where will I find comforters for you when the city is devastated?



The great city of Nineveh had been given a chance by God to repent and begin a new life. Even though Jonah did not want to preach to Nineveh because of its great sin, God sent Jonah to preach about their imminent fall from grace. The people realized their sins and turned to God and were spared the destruction Jonah wanted to see fall on the people. Jonah knew how great their sin was and he did not want to see God�s grace given to them. And here they were once again, another prophet speaking to them as they were about to be destroyed. This time the people had hardened their hearts against God and this time they were not willing to repent. In verse 19 Nahum speaks for God and says, �There is no healing for your wound; your injury is fatal. All who hear of your destruction will clap their hands for joy. Where can anyone be found who has not suffered from your continual cruelty?� God desires to give grace. God desires to see everyone repent of their sins and follow him. But God will not be mocked by those who receive His grace and then abuse it. Remember the words of the great hymn below:



Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,
Yonder on Calvary 's mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all my sin.

Sin and despair like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide,
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! there is flowing a crimson tide;
Whiter than snow you may be today.

AskMe #2549912 10/05/11 06:02 AM
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1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV)
6 So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. 7 These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Peter is writing to Christians who have been scattered throughout the nations. Peter is preparing them for the hardships they will possibly face as they live out their Christian faith. He tells them there will be trials of faith that will take place, but these are to purify their faith, to make it stronger. And if their faith remains strong it will be something to celebrate when Christ returns.

If someone walked up to you and said, "Be joyful! Distress, suffering and pain is about to come your way.", wouldn't you think they had lost their mind? How can a person even think about joy when they are about to face horrible problems? James tells us to "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." So the joy to be found is that God is maturing us, completing us and shaping us to be more like the person he wants us to be. The trials we go through may not be pleasant or desired, but God has a purpose for putting us through those trials. Maybe you have experienced or are experiencing a test of faith. Pray that God would strengthen your faith in Him and help you endure whatever trial you face. Look for the joy of things to come, knowing that he is building and molding who you are.

AskMe #2551498 10/10/11 09:16 PM
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Genesis 39:5-9 (NLT)
5 From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master�s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar�s household for Joseph�s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. 6 So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn�t worry about a thing�except what kind of food to eat! Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, 7 and Potiphar�s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. �Come and sleep with me,� she demanded. 8 But Joseph refused. �Look,� he told her, �my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. 9 No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked
thing? It would be a great sin against God.�

This is the account of Joseph being held as a slave in Egypt after his brothers sold him into slavery. Joseph�s brother first sought to kill him out of jealousy, but then relented and sold him as a slave. As a slave, Joseph was put in charge of Potiphar�s house, the prison guard. Potiphar trusted him with everything. But Potiphar�s wife had lustful thoughts for Joseph and sought to seduce him.

Joseph understood the concept of trust. He understood he was given privileges that came with the trust he earned from Potiphar. Joseph even stated, �my master trusts me with everything in his entire house.� Joseph was responsible for all that went on in the home even the safety and integrity of his master�s wife. And even though Potiphar�s wife plotted to seduce Joseph, Joseph maintained his integrity. He knew ultimately God saw and knew everything he did. It was God Joseph was out to please by maintaining Potiphar�s trust. Yet The Bible tells us Potiphar lost trust in Joseph when Potiphar�s wife lied about Joseph. Joseph was thrown innocently into prison. God knew what happend and watched over and blessed Joseph. We might desire the trust of others, but it is God whose trust we should earn.

AskMe #2551973 10/11/11 08:11 PM
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Psalm 91:9-16 (NLT)
9 If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. 11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. 12 They will hold you up with their hands so you won�t even hurt your foot on a stone. 13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! 14 The Lord says, �I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.�

In these verses the psalmist assures those who believe in God they will receive rich and precious mercy from God. If they make God their refuge; God becomes their shelter and their protector. They find rest from threats and they are able to persevere. They become strong in the face of adversity knowing God will rescue and protect them; for salvation and long life is theirs to hold.



In Leadership Weekly, �God Winks� (12-18-02) , Joe McKeever writes: Late one night, a man in Slim Cornett's church was showing Slim around a county airport in rural Mississippi. "This switch lights up the runway," the man said as he flipped it. "Then, let's say there is a plane in distress up there. I would throw this switch and turn on the search lights." As the night skies lit up, a small plane materialized out of the darkness and landed. Slim and his friend watched in amazement as Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist, stepped off the plane. The pilot had been flying Franklin back to school in Texas when the electrical system shut down, leaving them stranded in the Mississippi night without lights or radio or any means of guidance. From out of nowhere, the search beam had come on and guided them to the landing strip. As Franklin's mother, Ruth, tells the story, earlier that evening before they left home, Billy Graham had prayed for the Father to protect and guide his son and the pilot.

God is our protector and hope in the face of fear. Out of the dark God shines brightly guiding us to a path of safety.

AskMe #2551985 10/11/11 08:31 PM
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AskMe, I stumbled onto these devotionals, and I just want to say thank you

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Originally Posted by ConstantProcess
AskMe, I stumbled onto these devotionals, and I just want to say thank you

You are more than welcome and thank you for the encouragement. Have a wonderfully blessed day!

AskMe #2552563 10/13/11 06:02 AM
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Mark 12:13-17 (NLT)
13 Later the leaders sent some Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. 14 �Teacher,� they said, �we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don�t play favorites. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us�is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay them, or shouldn�t we?� Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said, �Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a Roman coin,[c] and I�ll tell you.� 16 When they handed it to him, he asked, �Whose picture and title are stamped on it?� �Caesar�s,� they replied. 17 �Well, then,� Jesus said, �give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.� His reply completely amazed them.

Matthew Henry wrote the following commentary about these verses above -- The persons (enemies of Christ) they employed were the Pharisees and the Herodians, men that in this matter were contrary to one another, and yet concurred against Christ, v. 13. The Pharisees were great sticklers for the liberty of the Jews, and, if he should say, It is lawful to give tribute to Caesar, they would incense the common people against him, and the Herodians would, underhand, assist them in it. The Herodians were great sticklers for the Roman power, and, if he should discountenance the paying of tribute to Caesar, they would incense the governor against him, yea, and the Pharisees, against their own principles, would join with them in it. It is no new thing for those that are at variance in other things, to join in a confederacy against Christ.


The religious leaders had tried to find anything wrong with Christ that they could and they had failed. Now they plotted to wage Jesus against both religion and politics by asking Him a tax question. However Jesus responded in a way that answered those who were religious and those who were political. Jesus knew where He stood both on religion and politics. God had established government and put it in power and Jesus knew to give an answer that was correct for both groups. In our everyday lives there will be those who try to find issue against us whether it be personal, religious or political. It is important to know who you are in Christ so that your decisions and answers reflect God to those who hear you.

AskMe #2553008 10/14/11 06:10 AM
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1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV)
22Abstain from all appearance of evil.

In this verse and the prior verses the apostle encourages the church to do those things which are right in God�s eyes. Here we find the apostle saying to abstain not only from those things that are evil, but to also abstain from the things that might even appear evil. Corrupt affections indulged in the heart, and evil practices allowed in one�s life will tend to promote flawed thoughts in the mind. However a pure heart and integrity in life will move men towards the truth God has given them. Matthew Henry gave this observation, �He who is not shy of the appearances of sin, who shuns not the occasions of sin, and who avoids not the temptations and approaches to sin, will not long abstain from the actual commission of sin.�


In a September 20, 1998 segment of ABC's news magazine show "20/20," reporter John Stossel interviewed Dr. Roy Baumeister of Case Western Reserve University. Baumeister said, "If you look at the social and personal problems facing people in the United States�we're talking drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, unsafe sex, school failure, shopping problems, gambling�over and over, the majority of them have self-control failure as central to them. Studies show that self-control does predict success in life over a very long time."

The report included video of an experiment Stossel conducted at a nursery school. "By testing how well four-year-olds can resist temptation," Stossel explained, "researchers say they can predict what kind of adults they're likely to be. In the experiment, the kids are given a choice: They'll get five pieces of candy if they can wait ten minutes until the teacher comes back into the room�or just two pieces if they can't wait and give in to the temptation before the ten minutes are up.

"So the kids tried. It wasn't easy. Most fidgeted and looked as if they were being tortured. Some touched the candy. One boy counted the candy�maybe to remind himself that five is more than two. One girl looked heavenward as she waited, seeming to ask for God's help. Seven of the nine kids we tested lasted the full ten minutes. Most spent some time with their hand hovering over the bell." Ringing the bell meant the temptation to take the candy was too strong.

Stossel was recreating an experiment conducted thirty years earlier at Columbia University. Using a much larger group of children, the Columbia study found out which kids had the self-control to resist temptation and hold out for the full reward later�and which did not. The children were checked on over the next few decades to see which group tended to do better in life. The result of the study, Stossel said, was astonishingly clear-cut: "Kids who did well on this test years ago tended to do better in life. Better in lots of ways. Their SAT scores were higher. As teenagers, the boys had fewer run-ins with the law. The girls were less likely to get pregnant."

Self-control, then, is a key indicator of whether or not we will be successful. We can't control everything in life, but if there is one thing we can control and must control, it is the self. As Dr. Baumeister concluded on "20/20," "If we're concerned about raising children to be successful and healthy and happy, forget about self-esteem. Concentrate on self-control."

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