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AskMe #2554404 10/18/11 06:08 AM
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Proverbs 18:13 (NLT)
13 Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.

Matthew Henry said of theses verses -- Some take a pride in being quick. They answer a matter before they hear it, hear it out, nay, as soon as they but hear of it. They think it is their honour to take up a cause suddenly; and, when they have heard one side, they think the matter so plain that they need not trouble themselves to hear the other; they are already apprized of it, and masters of all the merits of the cause. Whereas, though a ready wit is an agreeable thing to play with, it is solid judgment and sound wisdom that do business. Those that take a pride in being quick commonly fall under the just reproach of being impertinent. It is folly for a man to go about to speak to a thing which he does not understand, or to pass sentence upon a matter which he is not truly and fully informed of, and has not patience to make a strict enquiry into; and, if it be folly, it is and will be shame.


From Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (New York: Harper & Row, 1954), pages 97-8, come these words: The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God's love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear. So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him. Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking. Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. But he who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life, and in the end there is nothing left but spiritual chatter and clerical condescension arrayed in pious words. One who cannot listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the point and be never really speaking to others, albeit he be not conscious of it. Anyone who thinks that his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and his brother, but only for himself and for his own follies.

AskMe #2554917 10/19/11 06:39 AM
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Philippians 4:15-17 (NLT)
15 As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. 16 Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. 17 I don�t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.

The apostle Paul gives thanks to the Philippians for the financial support they offered him when he traveled through their area speaking on the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Philippians didn�t stop with the original gift, but also sent a second gift to meet Paul�s financial needs. Many might make an excuse they have given once and why should they give again? But that was not the case with the Philippians who were generous from the heart. Paul then went on to tell them he was thanking them, not begging for more financial assistance, but for the kindness they had already displayed.


C. H. Spurgeon once said, �You say, �If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.� You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled. Jerry Bridges, an evangelical Christian author wrote, �The contented person experiences the sufficiency of God�s provision for his needs and the sufficiency of God�s grace for his circumstances. He believes God will indeed meet all his material needs and that He will work in all his circumstances for his good. That is why Paul could say, �Godliness with contentment is great gain.� The godly person has found what the greedy or envious or discontented person always searches for but never finds. He has found satisfaction and rest in his soul.�

The very first temptation of the world was about contentment. Adam and Eve were tempted with being more than who they were and they fell into Satan�s trap of discontentment. When we are discouraged it is because discontentment tells us we are lacking something. Those who are content have gratitude in their hearts for what they have received and they bless others for their kindness. They don�t see themselves as one giving too much to God, nor do they see themselves as one who does not receive enough from God. Instead they are rich, for they know God will meet their needs and they need no more than what God provides.

AskMe #2555350 10/20/11 06:18 AM
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Exodus 23:2 (NLT)
You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong.

This was a call from God to follow justice and not the crowd. The people were being reminded they should not be swayed by opinion, but instead seek the truth in a situation. They were to seek God�s wisdom and speak on their own accord.


Stuart Briscoe told the following story in his book, Everyday Discipleship for Ordinary People: One of my young colleagues was officiating at the funeral of a war veteran. The dead man's military friends wished to have a part in the service at the funeral home, so they requested the pastor to lead them down to the casket, stand with them for a solemn moment of remembrance, and then lead them out through the side door. This he proceeded to do, but unfortunately the effect was somewhat marred when he picked the wrong door. The result was that they marched with military precision into a broom closet, in full view of the mourners, and had to beat a hasty retreat covered with confusion.

It is so easy to follow the crowd, but it doesn�t mean we end up where we are supposed to be. This is why it is so important we have a solid foundation in our life from which we can make good choices.

AskMe #2555795 10/21/11 06:54 AM
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Proverbs 21:2
2 People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart.

Matthew Henry writes, �Note, 1. We are all apt to be partial in judging of ourselves and our own actions, and to think too favourably of our own character, as if there was nothing amiss in it: Every way of a man, even his by-way, is right in his own eyes. The proud heart is very ingenious in putting a fair face upon a foul matter, and in making that appear right to itself which is far from being so, to stop the mouth of conscience. 2. We are sure that the judgment of God concerning us is according to truth. Whatever our judgment is concerning ourselves, the Lord ponders the heart. God looks at the heart, and judges of men according to that, of their actions according to their principles and intentions; and his judgment of that is as exact as ours is of that which we ponder most, and more so; he weighs it in an unerring balance, ch. 16:2 (All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.)�


First I want to make a confession about myself. There are many times I make statements which I truly believe, but it does not make them right. I know I have been guilty of thinking I know the facts, thinking I know the truth, and thinking I have the right understanding only later to be convicted I was slanted or wrong in my thoughts. Sometimes it is a friend who gives reproof and I see my error. Often it is God who convicts my heart there are other ways to see and view the truth. God is the one who examines the hearts of people and He alone knows what is right. I need to listen more to God and listen less to myself.

With that said I want to share a quote I read yesterday that said, �Those who try to enforce tolerance upon others need to be careful or they themselves will be found intolerant.� I find that often to be true. People try to make something so right they go beyond what is right and make their objective wrong. I have seen it happen in racial issues where one group says things should be this way to be fair, but then they go on to establish benefits slanted towards their own desires. We all need to stop trying to figure out what is right and fair for us and instead determine what God believes is just and fair for all.


AskMe #2557009 10/24/11 06:41 AM
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Proverbs 24:3-4 (NLT)
3 A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. 4 Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.

We are always tempted by riches of the world thinking that wealth brings happiness to a home. Yet there are many who are rich and still painfully suffer the trials of everyday life. King Solomon recognized it is one who builds their family and home by honest means, with a good conscience, a good name, and a respect of God that will find their rooms filled with the precious riches of life. For each family member will possession a wealth of wisdom, a love of God, and a hope for eternal life.

Donald Miller relates in his book, To Own a Dragon, an interesting story goes like this: I lived for a time with my friend and mentor John MacMurray, where the first rule is to always tell the truth. John and I were sitting in the family room one night when he asked about my new cell phone. �I got it free,� I told him. �How did you get it for free?� he asked. �Well, my other one broke, so I took it in to see if they could replace it. They had this new computer system at the store and they didn�t have their records. They didn�t know whether mine was still under warranty. It wasn�t, I knew, because it was more than a year old. The guy asked me about it, and I told him I didn�t know, but it was right around a year. Just a white lie, you know. Anyway, the phone was so messed up they replaced it with a newer model. So, I got a free phone.� �Did you ever see that movie The Family Man with Nicolas Cage?� John asked. �There�s this scene where Nicolas Cage walks into a store to get a cup of coffee. And Don Cheadle plays the guy working at the counter. There�s a girl in line before Nicolas Cage, and she�s buying something for ninety-nine cents, and she hands Cheadle a dollar. Cheadle takes nine dollars out of the till and counts it out, giving her way too much change. She sees that he is handing her way too much money, yet she picks it up and puts it in her pocket without saying a word. As she is walking out the door, Cheadle stops her to give her another chance. He asks her if there is anything else she needs. She shakes her head no and walks out.� �I see what you�re getting at, John,� I say. �Let me finish,� he says. �So Cheadle looks over at Nicolas Cage, and he says, �Did you see that? She was willing to sell her character for nine dollars. Nine dollars!�� After a little while, I spoke up. �Do you think that is what I am doing with the phone? Do you think I am selling my character?� And to be honest, I said this with a smirk. �I do,� John said. �The Bible talks about having a calloused heart. That�s when sin, after a period of time, has so deceived us we no longer care whether our thoughts and actions are right or wrong. Our hearts will go there easily, and often over what looks like little things�little white lies. All I am saying to you, as your friend, is, watch for this kind of thing.� Miller concludes the story saying: I went back to the store the next day. It cost me more than nine dollars, but I got my character back.

Do you have friends you will confront you in love for your own good? It�s important to have friends who know God�s heart. When confronted do you react smugly or humbly? We need to humble ourselves and listen to those who have our best interest at heart. Could it be that something came to mind as you read this story and there is something you need to do? Maybe now is the time to act in order to get your character back.

AskMe #2557351 10/25/11 06:19 AM
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Philemon 1:21 (NLT)
21 I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more!

The book of Philemon is written by the Apostle Paul as a letter to a fellow Christian named Philemon whom Paul had the privilege of leading to Christ. The main purpose of Paul�s writing was to ask Philemon to reconcile with Onesimus, an indentured slave who had run away from Philemon. Paul wanted Philemon not only to reconcile, but also consider releasing Onesimus that he might serve the Lord freely.


William Culbertson in Listening to the Giants, Christianity Today writes, I find that discipleship means, first, truly living. It does not mean a joy ride to heaven; it does not mean that there are no trials and no burdens. But it does mean peace in your soul and joy in your heart, and a sense, a supreme sense, of the smile of the Lord upon you. It is living. And discipleship means that you are using your time on earth to the best possible advantage. The Lord Jesus says so.

The Apostle Paul lived under a tremendous burden of being imprisoned for following in the footsteps of Jesus. Paul suffered and faced painful trials in his life. Yet Paul had a strong faith in God that God would answer his prayers. In the midst of Paul�s difficulties, Paul still found it within himself to reach out and disciple others. Paul reached out to the churches and to individuals. Paul continued to love and support others even if his circumstances were dismal.

Considering the circumstances of your life are you using your time to the best possible advantage? Are you focused on yourself or are you looking to help the needs of others?

AskMe #2558156 10/27/11 07:30 AM
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Galatians 5:14 (KJV)
"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Matthew Henry wrote of this verse, �Love is the sum of the whole law; as love to God comprises the duties of the first table, so love to our neighbour those of the second. The apostle takes notice of the latter here, because he is speaking of their behaviour towards one another; and, when he makes use of this as an argument to persuade them to mutual love, he intimates both that this would be a good evidence of their sincerity in religion and also the most likely means of rooting out those dissensions and divisions that were among them. It will appear that we are the disciples of Christ indeed when we have love one to another.�


When our love for God comes first everything else just fits into place. We learn what a true relationship is like. We learn how God�s love for us is not dependent upon our actions. We learn mercy and grace is offered to us when we don�t deserve it. We find God loves us no matter what the circumstance. We find forgiveness for others as God forgave us.

As I watched the TV show �The Middle� last night, Patricia Heaton�s character, Frankie, was struggling with the issue of how people respond in happenstances. She happened to bump into one man�s shopping cart and he became very rude and disrespectful; even when she said she was sorry. Later while taking a group of her son�s classmates Trick-or-Treating the kids happened to be in the way and again Frankie said �I�m sorry�. But the words went unnoticed and the woman who couldn�t get by with her daughter made a rude comment about the kids. This time Frankie wanted to show the children people shouldn�t treat a person that way so she confronted the woman and gave her a lecture. At the end of the frustrated lecture the woman said, �I�m sorry� and Frankie replies, �It�s ok�, smiles and walks off.

We need to learn the words �I�m sorry� and say them when it is perceived we have done something wrong. We also need to let go of anger and replace it with love by saying, �It�s ok, I understand.� Most of us have wronged someone and there are those who have wronged us. Make it right by loving your neighbor instead of hating your neighbor and by forgiving as God would forgive.

AskMe #2559391 10/31/11 08:31 AM
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Daniel 3:13-18 (NLT)
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, �Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?� 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, �O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn�t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.�

Nebuchadnezzar had made a decree that at the time everyone heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, they must fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Whoever did not fall down and worship the golden image would be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Three men who stood for God refused and were seen not bowing in public. The king gave them the chance to bow or be thrown into the fire. They chose to be thrown into the fire whether God saved them or not.



Johnny Cash had a song called The Forth Man in the Fire. It went like this:

Refrain: They wouldn't bend. They held on to the will of God so we are told. They wouldn't bow. They would not bow their knees to Idols made of gold. They wouldn't burn. They were protected by the Fourth Man in the fire. They wouldn't bend. They wouldn't bow, they wouldn't burn. Now the prophet Daniel tells about three men who walked with God Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Before the wicked king they stood and the king commanded them bound and thrown into the fiery furnace that day. But the fire was so hot that the men were slain that forced them on their way.

Refrain: Now when the three were cast in and the king rose up to witness this awful fate.
He began to tremble at what he saw in astonished tones he spake. Did we not cast three men bound
into the midst of the fire? Well, Lo, I see four men unhurt, unbound and walkin' down there; there's Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the fiery coals they trod. But the form of the Fourth Man that I see is like the Son of God

Three men refused to do anything but God�s will in their lives. They were willing to die for what the believed. The fire was hot enough for it consumed the guards who threw them into the fire. These three men met the pre-incarnate Christ who was there in the fire with them, reassuring them they would survive. And they emerged untouched by the fire showing the true God was their protector.

We need to remember we should always stand for God no matter what the cost. For this world is a temporary place and if God still has plans for us here He will protect us.

AskMe #2559691 11/01/11 06:54 AM
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Proverbs 1:10-14 (NLT)
10 My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! 11 They may say, �Come and join us. Let�s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let�s ambush the innocent! 12 Let�s swallow them alive, like the grave; let�s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.13 Think of the great things we�ll get! We�ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take.14 Come, throw in your lot with us; we�ll all share the loot.�

This proverb is the advice of a father to his child to acquire wisdom and stay away from those who might lead them away from wise action. We see the follies of those ignoring wisdom. They look for those they may attack and kill just for the pleasure of taking their riches.


The following is a true story from Dave Jackson written in Leadership magazine. "Our train rolled into Kansas City at 1 a.m. Dim lights came on to help the new passengers find seats. Many of us who had been riding home through the night had spread out to occupy two seats apiece. An attractive woman made her way down the aisle with her bags. She was looking from side to side, hoping for someone to move. I turned toward the window and watched her in the reflection. �May I sit here?� she asked. �Sure.� I looked up and smiled as I moved over. She threw her things into the rack above and sat down. Near the back of the car, only one of my colleagues from the church had managed to keep his extra space. �Lucky guy�. �My name's Kathy. What's yours?� I told her, and we talked quietly for a while. She was on her way to visit her mother after some rough spats with her husband. I was eager to get home and see my wife and family after an exhausting church leadership conference. Soon we both slipped off to sleep. At some later stop, I awoke to find Kathy cuddled next to me. 'You don't mind if I lean my head on your shoulder, do you?' she said sleepily. �Uh, no. I guess not.' She was just tired... wasn't she? And besides, I had a wonderful wife and a great marriage and would be home before noon. I looked around to see if anyone was noticing. She cuddled closer. I wondered what she really wanted‑‑or would allow. At first I couldn't believe what I was thinking. But then it was her fault. She knew exactly what she was doing. I might as well enjoy it. After all, what could happen on a train full of people? Nothing, nothing really... except what Jesus warned about happening in the heart. Finally, I excused myself so I could go back and talk with my friend‑‑the �lucky� one with the empty seat beside him. Or maybe I was the lucky one since that extra space was still available. I only knew I didn't need to stay where I had been.

We need to watch the circumstances we fall into and beware of those who might lead us into the temptation of sin. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 �If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

AskMe #2559981 11/02/11 06:29 AM
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Hebrews 10:1-2 (NLT)
1 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.

In these verses the apostle explains how the Mosaic Law required a repeated cleaning for sin. Why? Because no matter how hard one tried they always fell back into repeating sin which required atonement. Had it been possible to provide a onetime permanent cleansing there would have been no need to repeat the process time after time.


Here's the gospel: you're more sinful than you ever dared believe; you're more loved than you ever dared hope. (Tim Keller) Christ gave His life to atone once and all for the sin of the world. Christ sacrificed himself so our repetition of sins would not require a repetition of cleansing. For every time a sin was repeated there was also the shame that came with the sin knowing the sin needed to be cleansed. But in Christ there is no shame for He paid your debt in full once and for all and for all time. Give thanks to Christ who took away the guilt and shame of sin that you could live a life to glorify God.

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AskMe #2560688 11/04/11 07:17 AM
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Hebrews 13:5 (NLT)
For God has said, �I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.�

In these verses we find important promises from God. First God will never fail you. No matter what the circumstance is that you are going through God won�t fail to keep His promises towards you. Second, God will never abandon you. Whatever trial, whatever difficulty, whatever pain you face, God is there with you.



The word abandoned means to be given up. Someone abandoned has been left behind, forsaken. Whoever was responsible for providing care has failed. They have betrayed trust and left the person alone. My father was an abusive alcoholic. My mother had to divorce him because he continued to beat her. He shot at her, tried to run her over with the car and did many other abusive things. He abandoned us for the sake of his alcohol. My mother remarried and my step-father left just after my brother was born. He abandoned us because he didn�t want to face responsibility. The fear of abandonment can become overwhelming. I think back to all the times I was the responsible one for watching my brother, for cleaning the house, for taking care of the yard. I was abandoned to those duties because the men who should have been there to help were not. Thankfully my Father God has always been there to encourage me, watch after me, and lead me through difficult times. Thankfully I can say I never abandoned my children because my God never abandoned me.

Maybe some of you have been abandoned and because of that you have held on to bitterness in your life. Maybe your abandonment issues have caused you to abandon others. I pray God will heal your heart and fill it with His love. May you know God will never fail you nor will he abandon you.


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1 Corinthians 1:20-23 (NLT)
20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world�s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it�s all nonsense.

The apostle tells us that all the wisdom of man put together cannot fathom the wisdom of God. The apostle says the teaching of the crucifixion of Christ is foolish to the Jewish religious scholars who look for signs. The Greek scholars are also baffled by why God does for it does not fit human wisdom. Yet Paul continues to preach the message of Christ crucified even when it offends or makes no sense to those who do not wish to believe.



Gary Thomas tells the following story in his book Holy Available about a friend of his who was on a business trip: After the sessions an attractive young woman knocked on his hotel door �. When he opened the door, she pushed through and walked right into his room. You can't be in here," he said.
"Why not?" she asked teasingly. "Are you scared?" The woman started acting seductively. She made it very clear that she was available for any favor of his choosing. When he insisted that she leave, she finally did something � [that] was over-the top provocative. Immediately afterward, my friend wisely told two business associates exactly what happened �. My friend is a godly man, but he's human. He admits he slept very little that night �. He couldn't get this woman's words or related images out of his mind. He tossed and turned, thankful he hadn't fallen but exhausted from being so provoked. Two months later, he returned to that city, working with the same company he had worked with on his previous visit�when the [same] young woman pulled him aside. "We have to talk," she said. My friend's heart started racing as he feared the worst �. Her first words put him at ease. "I can't thank you enough for being the first man who has ever cared about me more than my body." My friend learned that this woman had been abused earlier in life. She had been promiscuous ever since her early teen years, and because of her physical appearance no man had ever been willing to walk away from her advances. And so she kept reliving the moments of her deepest hurt. "I'm going back to church," she told him. "I need to get my life back together. When I finally met a man like you who was more interested in me than in my body, it showed me how messed up I had become." Sisters and brothers, how we live our lives makes a difference. We need to be the people that we already are in God�s eyes. We need to live in the light so that others will come to know Jesus. We need to teach our children by what we say and what we do, that the things of this world don�t compare to the glories we have in Christ. It�s time to stop living like we�re asleep.

Following Christ and living as Christ would have us live might seem foolish to some people, but it will change lives. Our mission is to show the love of Christ and not beat people down for the sins they are committing; that is God�s job move and motivate people in the right direction. This man did what was right and his devotion to God helped change a life. It may have even saved her life.

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Colossians 2:20-23 (NLT)
20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 �Don�t handle! Don�t taste! Don�t touch!�? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person�s evil desires.

Matthew Henry said, �They thought themselves wiser than their neighbours, in observing the law of Moses together with the gospel of Christ, that they might be sure in the one, at least, to be in the right; but, alas! it was but a show of wisdom, a mere invention and pretence. So they seem to neglect the body, by abstaining from such and such meats, and mortifying their bodily pleasures and appetites; but there is nothing of true devotion in these things, for the gospel teaches us to worship God in spirit and truth and not by ritual observances, and through the mediation of Christ alone and not of any angels.� The apostle was pointing out it is our relationship with Christ that motivates us and moves us to do what is right, not traditions, not learned rules, but our love for our Lord and Savior.


The Apostle Paul asks an important question to the Christians he is addressing, �Why do you keep on following the rules of the world?� Everyone struggles with some temptation in their life. And then there are those, such as addicts, who let temptations take over their life. So an addict may set up boundaries that consist of rules as a safeguard. For instance someone addicted to gambling may decide to follow rules such as:

Not watching sporting events
Making sure to stay away from casinos
Keep away from friends who talk about making idle bets

And while those rules are good to help establish boundaries the person finds themselves always in a constant battle to follow those rules. They may even add new rules worried the current rules aren�t good enough to keep them away from temptation. So they become trapped worried about following the rules of the rules; how to measure up to the world; and how to live to other�s expectations. In truth it is Christ�s expectation we want to live up to. It is Christ who should guide us and set us free from rules. We should follow Christ in our hearts and trust that He will lead us to do what is right. Rules are good to start a boundary, but then let Christ take over so you no longer worry about those boundaries, but instead live a holy and righteous life for His sake.

AskMe #2562517 11/10/11 08:32 AM
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Matthew 6:7-13 (NLT)
7 �When you pray, don�t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don�t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! 9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today the food we need, 12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. 13 And don�t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

In these verses Jesus was teaching those listening how to pray. He started by saying not to repeat chants over and over like some might do. Instead Jesus offered the listeners a direct prayer. There was no repetition. The prayer was spoken directly to God. Jesus praised God. He asked for God�s grace to be upon us. Jesus asked that our needs might be met; our sins forgiven; and protection from spiritual battles.

Our prayers are our conversations with God. Some of us learned as children to repeat prayers and that is appropriate when young and learning about God. Most of us should have matured such that we have a relationship with God where we are able to talk to God about our lives, our issues, our love for Him, and anything else that we desire. In Psalms King David would often express his anger, his fear, his hopelessness and other emotions he was feeling. David would also give thanks to God and praise Him for the work in His life. Often I will hear a Muslim speak and they say �thanks be to God� when something is good in their lives. As Christians we too should include God in our conversations and give thanks for what He has done for us. My pastor Johnny Hunt once said he was out at dinner with his wife and he thought how lovely she looked. So he stopped and said, �God I just want to thank for Janet. She looks lovely tonight, doesn�t she?� God wants our spontaneous thoughts and He wants us to express how we feel, what we need, and how He can help. Take time through your day to stop and pray for yourself, for your family and for others and see how God will bless you.

AskMe #2562880 11/11/11 08:27 AM
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Zechariah 7:9-10 (NLT)
9 �This is what the Lord of Heaven�s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. 10 Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.�

This is part of the message given by God to Zechariah to express to the people. It was a call for justice and mercy to be given to all. Zechariah said previous generations had refused to listen to this call, but God was once again calling the people to listen. God reminds the people in verse 13, ��Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me, says the Lord of Heaven�s Armies.�


Whoever you are, whatever you might believe the idea to �judge fairly, show mercy and kindness to one another� is something we in the world should all do. We all should also avoid taking advantage of and oppressing widows, orphans, foreigners and the poor. And lastly we all should show love to one another, not scheming or plotting against each other; but instead seeing how we can benefit another person. If we were honest with ourselves the reason we might not do this is because we are selfish and self-center. We tend to put our desires first and sadly we neglect the needs of other people, even sometimes going to the extent of taking advantage of them.

Now speaking to Christians, Christ gave himself freely on the cross as a sacrifice for all of our sin. His motives were not self-centered, they were not selfish; but instead were focused on mercy and grace for others. Christ showed kindness, He showed mercy and most of all He watched after those who could not defend themselves. Take the time to start focusing on others and see what you can do for them. Reach out and help in ways that no one else can help. Love like no one else has loved them before. And always give your heart to the Lord so that He can lead up in your mission to lead others to Christ.

AskMe #2564090 11/15/11 07:24 AM
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Proverbs 15:3 (NLT)
3 The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.

This is a reminder from King Solomon that God sees everything that takes place in the world. God sees when people do well towards others and do so in an unselfish way. God also sees those who are evil, corrupt and look after only themselves.

It doesn�t matter what we are doing God is there with us. God is constantly watching over all good and all evil so He is there in the quiet moments of our life, the busy moments or our life, the frustrating moments of our life and even the sinful moments of our life. God is always present, always waiting for us to reach out to Him. There isn�t a moment we can�t bow our heads and ask God for help. There isn�t a moment we are tempted by sin that we can�t turn to God for an answer. Remember God is always with you in good times and rough times. Never forget He waits for us to turn to Him for what we need in our lives.

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Proverbs 3:(1) Trust in the LORD with all your heart And (2) do not lean on your own understanding.

One definition in Websters says trust is "one in which confidence is placed". I am sure like most people you have had an experience where the confidence you had in someone was shattered. Maybe they did not keep a promise, maybe they did not tell the trust, or maybe their character came into question. Whatever the experience, it created your own understanding of what trust meant. Proverbs 3:2 says "do not to lean on your own understanding" when it comes to trusting God because our understanding of trust has been warped through life's experiences. For if we trust God the way we trust others, then are we really trusting God with all of our heart?

If you have had your trust shattered in the past, pray that God may restore your trust in Him. Ask God to take away those thoughts, those feelings that prevent you from completly trusting in Him. Lean not on your own understanding, but trust God with all of your heart.

AskMe #2564991 11/17/11 07:37 AM
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Ecclesiastes 1:12-15 (NLT)
12 I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. 14 I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless�like chasing the wind. 15 What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.

In these verses we are privy to the wisdom of King Solomon who was reflecting upon life. He was trying to make sense of the lives we live. King Solomon though even being the wisest person to have lived still was frustrated in trying to understand life. He saw that life on earth was life chasing after the wind, which could never be caught, blew in many directions, and was an empty substance.



In the play Pinocchio a pensive look comes over the face of the puppet-turned-boy. "What do you mean 'I'm alive'?" "What does it mean? Well, unless I'm going mad, and this isn't just a dream, it means you have a life to live," says Geppetto. "And what do you have a life for?" Pinocchio asks in return. Geppetto falls silent, unable to find an answer. "And so is this a good thing or bad thing?" the puppet-turned-boy asks further. "No�it's a beautiful thing. A wonderful thing! What do you have it for? Uhhhhh." Geppetto still has a puzzled look on his face. He concludes, "I'll have to think about it."

Unless we understand what life is for it does become meaningless. It is why God gives us guidance on how we should live our lives through His Word. God gave us Christ, His Son, who showed us what it was like to live a sinless life. God has a desire that we use our lives to live for Him so that life will be a beautiful thing that can be shared with many.

AskMe #2565414 11/18/11 07:37 AM
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Luke 22:31 (NLT)
31 �Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.�

In these familiar verses Jesus knows Peter's sin that is about to take place. Jesus has prayed on behalf of Peter and Jesus gives words to encourage Peter that once he has failed to use the failure as a way to build up others.


W. Paul Jones, a Roman Catholic priest said, �What one sees depends on where one sets up one's shop. Mine is at the entrance of the empty tomb.� Sometimes God allows us to fail in order that we may be disciplined and learn valuable lessons. It's then that we can take what we intended for evil and let God work in us to use it for good. So when you fail, remember God still cares about you and He has a plan to use your failure for His good purpose. We sitting in God�s shop where God is in control and God is watching over us. Trust God that He will lead you through any difficult circumstance, bring you to repentance, and give you encouragement that you can share joyfully with others.

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2 Corinthians 4:13-15 (NLT)
13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, �I believed in God, so I spoke.� 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God�s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

In these verses we find it is faith that motivates the apostle and other believers to continue to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. The apostle states this was done that God�s grace might reach more and more people. The more people receive God�s mercy the more glory and thanksgiving that will be given to God.

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When I think of the generations of people who came before me, life on earth is short. Some get to enjoy a fruitful and long life, while others have their lives cut short in their early years. I have been praying for a young man, a childhood friend of my son, who is battling brain cancer. Hospice has been called and his life is potentially nearing an end. It is difficult for me to imagine what the family is going through on a week focused on Thanksgiving. I know this young man believed in an eternal life and he had accepted that Jesus Christ paid the debt for his sin. I am thankful that even in earthly death there will be eternal life. I am thankful for those who remain and can testify to the memories of his life. I am thankful the family has been there with him during these final precious moments. I am thankful for friends who have been praying and hoping for a recovery. I am thankful for those who love the family and have shown their support. Had these things not been true, then yes, there might not have been much to be thankful for.

I remember the story of a poor man who was distraught because he had no shoes. But when he met a man with no feet and no legs he bowed before God and gave thanks for his ability to walk. There is always something we can be thankful for even when we are facing grim and desperate moments. Like the man without shoes I too have been guilty of not giving God the praise as I should. But then I think of things that could be worst and I can�t help but praise God for what He has done.

This will be my only devotion for this week. If you wish to pray for this young man his name is Seth. God bless each and every one of you as you count your blessings this week.

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