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AskMe #2628795 05/23/12 07:51 AM
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Luke 9:51-56 (NLT)
51 As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. 53 But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. 54 When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, �Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?� 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 So they went on to another village.

From the words of Matthew Henry - This passage of story we have not in any other of the evangelists, and it seems to come in here for the sake of its affinity with that next before, for in this also Christ rebuked his disciples, because they envied for his sake. There, under colour of zeal for Christ, they were for silencing and restraining separatists: here, under the same colour, they were for putting infidels to death; and, as for that, so for this also, Christ reprimanded them, for a spirit of bigotry and persecution is directly contrary to the spirit of Christ and Christianity.



The Samaritans rejected Jesus because he was on His way to Jerusalem. The Samaritans were at odds with those in Jerusalem over the proper place to worship. The Samaritans were particularly incensed against Christ, who was a celebrated teacher for adhering to the temple at Jerusalem when the priests of that temple were such bitter enemies to Him. The disciples understanding this bitterness between the Samaritans and the Jews wanted to destroy them for the sake of Christ. Yet we see Jesus stopped, turned and rebuked them for their thoughts and then they continued on to another village that would accept Him.

Those who obstinately or intolerantly are devoted their own opinions lose sight of Christ�s purpose. God tells us that He so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus, that whoever places their faith in Him will have everlasting life. The ministry of Christ was to show people their need for redemption from sin. Often Jesus would go to a sinner, tell them of their sin, and then say to them �go and sin no more.� We never hear Jesus threatening people nor do we find Jesus condemning those who needed His love. In fact in the verses above we see Jesus rebuking His disciples for the thought of harming a town for His sake.

The ministry of the church is the same ministry of Jesus. The church should love people, reach out to them, teach them about sin, share with them the redeeming freedom from sin found in Jesus and encourage them to sin no more. Yet there are Christians who are devoted to their own opinions and are intolerantly attacking individuals. I have no issue with the church stating what sin is and taking up for moral causes; but their actions should be directed towards the sin and not the people. To hear a pastor in the news say a group of people should be rounded up and put behind electric fences is not in line with the ministry of Christ or the love of Christ. How can The Church reach out to people with love when they are voicing hatred?

AskMe #2629553 05/25/12 08:05 AM
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Matthew 5:17-20 (NLT)
17 �Don�t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God�s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God�s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 �But I warn you�unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

In these verses Christ acknowledges the Law of Moses and the commentaries placed on the law by the prophets of the Bible. Christ did not come to abolish the law, but to amend it with grace and mercy. Christ did not come to destroy the principles of righteous which God set forth, but instead to destroy the strongholds of Satan against man. Christ honored the law of God. Christ in all respects yielded obedience to the law, honored his parents, sanctified the Sabbath, prayed, gave alms and did that which no one did - obeyed perfectly and never broke the law. Christ often rebuked the teachers for their overly pious attitude and harsh punishments; yet He commended their righteous ways. The law was meant to reflect man�s sinful nature and show a need for God�s love, grace and mercy which He gave through His Son Jesus Christ who died for our sin.



There are two types of truth � relative and absolute. Relative truth says each culture or individual discovers what is true for them. Since relative truth is invented individually there is no consistent or universal truth and the truth changes as the culture changes. Relative truth changes over time to meet opinions. Those who believe in relative truth believe there is no absolute truth one can hold to.

Absolute truth is discovered and not invented. Absolute truth holds true across individuals and cultures. Absolute truth is unchanging and stays uniform across time. A culture or individual cannot change absolute truth and the truth is unaffected by the person�s attitude professing it. Absolute truth is absolute and understood without a need for opinion.

Hebrews 13:8 tells us, �Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.� Malachi 3:6 says, �I am the LORD, and I do not change.� The Lord�s truth is absolute and not open to relativism. Today�s religious beliefs are not governed by opinions of our day but instead are discovered in God�s word. The value of righteousness God holds is the same yesterday, the same today and the same tomorrow. We cannot change what God has ordained nor can we bend His word to suit our need.

In the news there are some arguing Christianity must change to fit the times. I submit God does not change therefore the beliefs of the church must not change. The church must stand on the absolute truth of God and voice His word. America was based on the foundation the church has a right to its opinion and is separate from the control of the government. Likewise government is free from control of religion and is allowed to rule as it chooses. However, our government, a representative government, is also to listen to the will of the people, weight the issues and pass fair legislation.

Some groups of people are confusing the role of church. Some suggest the church has no right to speak up and voice an opinion. The truth is the individuals of the church have the same right and every other individual under our government. We all have the right to an opinion and for that opinion to be heard and represented.

AskMe #2632594 06/05/12 06:18 AM
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Galatians 5:19-21 (NLT)
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.

In these verses we find the Apostle Paul describing the desires of our sinful nature. Apart from God and allowing our sin to go unchecked we can fall into any one of these sins. Most people can find at least one or more sins they can identify with and know they are guilty of. For this reason Jesus could look at a crowd of people ready to stone an adulterous woman and say, �He who is without sin cast the first stone.� Of course no one did because each realized they had sin in their lives.



I�m going to say it straight out � you can�t whitewash sin and please God. I am going to include myself when I say I have heard people minimize the sin in their lives thinking it would make it better. I hate to think of how often I have minimized my own sin. I am not in a position to judge a person for their actions; God has done that already by pointing out what is sin. What I am in a position to do is to help hold others accountable in love while they hold me accountable so we all stay on the right course and avoid the temptations of sin.

Let�s see if you have heard these statements before. We went partying, but no one really got that drunk or out of control (wild parties, drunkenness). I had a right to get angry and show my temper � after all they got something I really deserved (outbursts of anger, hostility, quarreling, envy, jealousy). What�s wrong in going out with the guys to have a little fun at the clubs (lustful pleasure, impurity). People should have the right to physical love; after all sex is natural in our society (sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures). I only do those things for good luck (idolatry, sorcery).

Any of those sound familiar? I�m not trying to make you feel guilty, but I want you to understand we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. We can�t make excuses for sin and think God is going to agree with us. How can we say they are right when God says they are wrong? God is holy and just and God will not tolerate continuance in sin. God looked at the people of Noah�s time and was sick over man�s sin and only found favor in Noah. All other men perished except Noah and his family. God told Abraham he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their sinful sexual acts. Abraham begged they be spared if righteous people could be found, but they weren�t. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their uncontrolled sexual perversion. Only Lot and his daughter�s were spared. Lot�s wife looked back toward the sin she desired and died. And even afterwards Lot�s daughter perverted sex because of their desires.

So let�s not whitewash sin. Call sin out for what it is whether it is adultery, lust, gluttony, pride, homosexuality, gossip, drunkenness, hostility, murder, envy, jealousy, idolatry and as The Bible says, �other sins like these.� But remember God gave His Son Jesus Christ to pay the debt for these sins and write upon our hearts what is right and wrong to give us direction in life. Don�t hamper the efforts of the Holy Spirit trying to work in your life by covering up sin. Confess your sin and allow God to show you the steps you need to take in your life to overcome sin.

One final word, I love people and try to love people as Jesus did. I pray you are able to do the same as well and encourage people away from sin through love and not hate.

AskMe #2634621 06/11/12 06:58 AM
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Jeremiah 13:15-17 (NLT)
15 Listen and pay attention! Do not be arrogant, for the LORD has spoken. 16 Give glory to the LORD your God before it is too late. Acknowledge him before he brings darkness upon you, causing you to stumble and fall on the darkening mountains. For then, when you look for light, you will find only terrible darkness and gloom. 17 And if you still refuse to listen, I will weep alone because of your pride. My eyes will overflow with tears, because the LORD�s flock will be led away into exile.

The prophet Jeremiah is attempting to awaken this secure and stubborn people to repentance, by the consideration of the judgments of God that were coming upon them. He calls upon them to repent and to humble their self before God by putting away their pride.



Jack Hayford, Midday Connection wrote that early in Matt Redman�s career, the popular Christian musician in Britain, was singing with his church's praise band when his pastor confronted them. They were proud of their musical performance, he said, but they were neglecting true worship. Insulted by the charge, the members of the band left the church�all, that is, except Redman. Shortly afterward, he wrote his hit song "The Heart of Worship," which included these words: "I'm coming back to the heart of worship, and it's all about you, Jesus."

When someone speaks honestly to you there are two ways to respond. You can listen with either humility or pride. When you listen with humility you are open to hearing what others have to say. It allows you to reflect on your words through the eyes of another person. When you listen with pride your heart hardens and the only thing important is what you believe.

The Israelites were prideful and God was going to lead them away to exile for hardening their hearts. We think we are being strong when we are being prideful, but actually we are weak because we are not allowing God to work in our lives. Submit to God through humility and allow Him to lead you in your life!

AskMe #2635199 06/13/12 07:33 AM
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Proverbs 13:21 (NLT)
21 Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous.

King Solomon states two truths. 1) The person who engages in sin will be chased by trouble. It is like an enemy that pursues its prey waiting for the opportune time to strike. 2) Those that follow the path of righteousness will be rewarded with blessings, which consist of happiness, gladness, kindness, rightfulness, excellence and riches of life. Living a righteous life doesn�t mean one will not face trouble, but that in the face of trouble they will be able to count their blessings and face the adversity.


The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:34 said �Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning.� We should evaluate every step we take in life to ensure we are not following sin, but instead following the desires of God. When we follow sin trouble will eventually find us. I have talked with people who have said, �I just wish I had stopped what I was doing because I lost everything over my sinful desires.� So stop, think and ask � Am I following sin or am I following righteousness.

AskMe #2637289 06/19/12 06:21 AM
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Exodus 14:10-12 (NLT)
10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the LORD, 11 and they said to Moses, �Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren�t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? 12 Didn�t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, �Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It�s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!��

The Israelites have started their departure from Egypt for The Promised Land. They have been witnesses to the miracles God had performed to allow their freedom from Pharaoh. They were finally free of the slavery they had faced for decades. Yet as God was leading them away from the armies of Pharaoh they feared for their lives because they were at a place where they believed there was no escape.


When Joseph was the second command of Egypt - the Israelites prospered. However, when Joseph died it was not long before the Egyptians despised the Israelites and made slaves out of them. The Israelites performed some of the most arduous tasks. The Israelites cried out often to God in their distress, begging to be released from their bondage. God listened and brought them to a point where they were about to rid themselves of their Egyptian oppressors. All they could see was the Red Sea before them and the Egyptians behind them and they cried out to the LORD, and they said to Moses, �Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren�t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt?

Have you ever known anyone who was given an opportunity for a better chance in life and then they started giving excuses about why they wanted to go back to where they came from. I often watch a show on AETV called Intervention. On the show addicts are given a chance to become free from their addiction. The family comes together with the assistance of counselors to tell the addict they will get them the help they need to set them free. Yet instead of wanting to be free some of the addicts will reply with statements such as � Why are you doing this? Can�t you just let me live my life like I want? Why are you turning you back on me?

Just like the enslaved Israelites they want out of the bondage, but they don�t want to take the route given them. They would rather give up the help and keep going down a path of destruction. If you know someone like this reach out to them every chance you can. Reach out and share God�s love with them and show them there is hope. Maybe they will see like the Israelites that God is there to help and not to destroy them. There is a road of hope to follow.

AskMe #2638228 06/21/12 07:01 AM
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Hebrews 13:21 (NLT)
21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

From the Commentary of Matthew Henry it says of verse 21 - Observe (1.) The perfection of the saints in every good work is the great thing desired by them and for them, that they may here have a perfection of integrity, a clear mind, a clean heart, lively affections, regular and resolved wills, and suitable strength for every good work to which they are called now, and at length a perfection of degrees to fit them for the employment and felicity of heaven. (2.) The way in which God makes his people perfect; it is by working in them always what is pleasing in his sight and that through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever. Observe [1.] There is no good thing wrought in us but it is the work of God; he works in us, before we are fit for any good work. [2.] No good thing is wrought in us by God, but through Jesus Christ, for his sake and by his Spirit. [3.] Eternal glory is due to him, who is the cause of all the good principles wrought in us and all the good works done by us. To this everyone should say, Amen.



God works in our lives to perfect us. Job of The Old Testament was a good and faithful man. Every morning he prayed for his family and offered sacrifices to God. Job remembered God and gave Him thanks. Satan wanted to destroy Job�s faith in God so he asked God to allow pain and suffering to enter into Job�s life. While Satan�s intent was to destroy Job, God�s intent was to work perfection into his life.

God won�t protect when His intention is to perfect your life. It is for God�s glory we face adversity and trials in our lives so that in the end we become more perfect. I can think of many examples of people who faced pain and suffering in their lives and became better because of it.

George Foreman who faced divorce after his wife could not cope with the new George said the pain was so fierce he told God, �If you'll take away this pain, I promise I'll tell people they can make it through anything.� George found the strength to move forward and he never forgot his promise to God.

When Evander Holyfield was in high school, he only weighed 110 pounds. He had an immeasurable tenacity but his football coaches felt he wasn�t tough enough to be on the field. Evander after that turned to boxing. Early on he wanted to quit boxing because he couldn�t beat a fighter named Caesar Colin in the junior Olympics, who he lost to twice. We know Evander succeeded and now he encourages others in their Christian walk.

Tyler Perry�s story is an excellent example of overcoming adversity. Perry went from being molested in a broken home to the president and founder of Tyler Perry Studios. Tyler has used his success to help others.

We may face problems but God is using those problems to perfect us and make us into something He can use for His Glory.

AskMe #2639800 06/26/12 06:11 AM
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1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

The Apostle Paul said in verse 3, �If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn�t love others, I would have gained nothing.� In other words love is the most important thing when it comes to people. So the apostle continued in verses 4-7 to define love. The essence of love is summed up in the verses above.



Sadly there are many people in the world that don�t know love or love as it was meant to be. I remember a story a friend told about a neighbor who was knocking on their door at 1am in the morning. The neighbor�s husband had beaten her black and blue and she was pleading for help. My friend called the police while his wife tried to comfort her. She kept repeating, �He says he loves me, but what kind of love is this?�

I remember the testimony of a woman who had been a prostitute. Her pimp had rescued her from the street. He provided a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear and even a share of the money. He forced her into situations she was not comfortable with. Yet all the while he told her he loved her and if she loved him she would do these things for him. She did those things believing she was doing it out of love for him.

Even in the news lately we have heard and seen the results of the Sandusky trial. Perpetrators such as Sandusky will often reassure their victims they love them. They do things for them, which they say is out of love. Then they abuse and molest also saying that is part of love.

The examples above are not examples of love, but instead examples of sin. For The Bible tells us when we follow the desires of our sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.

Let�s put aside sin in all of our lives no matter how small it may be so that love may abound. Let us never think our sacrifices are enough, but let us understand the full extent of love and show love to others as it is intended to be shown.

AskMe #2640411 06/28/12 05:50 AM
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Romans 7:21-25 (NLT)
21 I have discovered this principle of life�that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God�s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God�s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

Prior to these verse the apostle says, �And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can�t. I want to do what is good, but I don�t. I don�t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don�t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.� The Apostle wants to please God, but he knows sin is against him, dominating him and trying to hold him a slave. Thankfully he knows Jesus Christ is the answer to his struggle with sin. Jesus Christ provides the forgiveness, the mercy and the grace to move past the grip of sin and look to the love of God.



In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins passes on to Frodo a coveted ring. Gollum, one of the original owners of the ring, was twisted and monstrous, but he had not always been so. The longer he possessed the ring, however, the more the ring distorted his body, mind, and soul. He so loved the ring that he referred to it as "my precious." Bilbo Baggins steals the ring from Gollum. Bilbo does not fully appreciate the hold this ring has upon him until he attempts to turn it over to his cousin Frodo. Like Gollum, Bilbo has taken to referring to the ring as "my precious," and though he understands the danger and corrupting power of the ring, he is reluctant to let it go.

What happens is we are reluctant to let go of sin. Just like the ring, sin corrupts, ensnares, and even endangers the one that harbors it. Sin destroys and make our lives grotesque. Sin is hard to relinquish and that is why we need the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Allow Jesus Christ to work in your life to remove the dominance of sin.

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Romans 8:1 (NLT)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

It is God�s will that His people should be comforted. In this verse the apostle reassures us there is no condemnation to those who belong to Christ Jesus, having repented of their sin and shown a desire to follow after the Spirit of God. The commentary of Matthew Henry tells us, �He does not say, "There is no accusation against them,�� for this there is; but the accusation is thrown out, and the indictment quashed. He does not say, "There is nothing in them that deserves condemnation,�� for this there is, and they see it, and own it, and mourn over it, and condemn themselves for it; but it shall not be their ruin. He does not say, "There is no cross, no affliction to them or no displeasure in the affliction,�� for this there may be; but no condemnation. They may be chastened of the Lord, but not condemned with the world. Now this arises from their being in Christ Jesus; by virtue of their union with him through faith they are thus secured. They are in Christ Jesus, as in their city of refuge, and so are protected from the avenger of blood. He is their advocate, and brings them off. There is therefore no condemnation, because they are interested in the satisfaction that Christ by dying made to the law. In Christ, God does not only not condemn them, but is well pleased with them.�


There are those who believed their sin is so horrendous God cannot forgive them. They believe even though Christ gave His life for their freedom from sin that it does not exclude them from God�s punishment. I have heard it and you may have heard it said, �God is punishing me for my sins.�

Satan wants us to believe that lie. If Satan cannot have us then he wants to render us ineffective to serve God by having us believe our sin is unforgivable. I heard a man recently say he once believed sin he had not confessed was so great God brought sickness upon one of his children. Let me clear this up, God does not punish us for our sin when we have placed our faith in the salvation of Jesus Christ.

I want to say one more time, �God does not punish us for our sin when we have placed our faith in salvation of Jesus Christ.� There are consequences resulting as of actions we take. We may commit a sin as a direct result we may suffer a consequence, but it is not God�s doing we suffer the consequence, but a result of the actions we took.

For instance if I steal, I may be arrested and imprisoned as a consequence, but God is not going to punish a member of my family for my actions. If anything my own actions would cause them harm. The sin I committed was forgiven long ago when Christ put sin to death upon the cross. Therefore God does not punish me, my family or anyone close to me. Instead I brought my own consequences, which is not punishment from God.

Hopefully you will see the truth in this message and allow yourself to feel the forgiveness, grace and mercy Christ offers. Hopefully you will no longer believe Satan�s lie, but instead trust in the loving grace of God.

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James 1:3
1:3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. (NLT)

James chapter 1 starts out with these 2 verses � (1) this letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is written to Jewish Christians scattered among the nations. Greetings! (2) Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. Then James leads into verse 3 to say when Christians face adversity, difficulties, pain, problems, issues, tough decisions, sickness, etc. � the endurance of your faith has an opportunity to grow.


I can relate very well to James 1:3 these past several months. I understand the struggles and adversity that come into life. Looking back at the past 3 months these are some of the issues our family has been dealing with.

My single mother had a mini-stroke.
I was in a car accident and totaled my car.
As a result of the accident I have been dealing with physical pain.
Medical bills have been pouring in one after another.
I had to purchase a new car � the other was paid for but the new one has payments.
My mother fell and started having dementia.
Our washing machine only 6 years old had to be replaced after it malfunctioned.
My future son-in-law, a chef, lost his job and is now trying to find a new one.
Our daughter is trying to obtain a home and now there are legal issues with the sale.
We have had to assist our daughter with the legal fees for an attorney.
My mother had to be moved from the hospital to assisted care � a costly expense.
My daughter has had to take time off work due to a chronic illness she has.

These are a handful of the most pressing issues we have dealt with as a family in recent months, but there are also the regular day to day issues we face as well. I won�t say I�m perfect at keeping a smiling face. I won�t say there aren�t nights where I don�t sleep well. And I can�t say there aren�t days when anxiety tries to overcome me. However I can say I know Christ is watching over me and encouraging me to face the trials. I am blessed to have Christian friends I can turn to and ask for prayer. I am blessed we are managing even though it�s a struggle. I am blessed I wasn�t killed in the auto accident, which would have left my wife to face these trials alone. I am glad even though it�s a struggle we can help our daughter and her future husband. God tells me I am to be thankful for all things that come our way, even the difficulties in life. And because of these trials I am learning I can endure and my strength to endure grows with my faith in Christ.

Let me encourage you! If you are facing the trials of life stay strong in the power of The Lord. You may be weak, but Christ is strong. Allow Christ to lead you, guide you and show you how to keep faith in Him. May God bless each and every one of you giving you the hope to face each new day that arises.

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Psalm 8:3-4 (NLT)
3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers--the moon and the stars you have set in place--4 what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us?

Psalm 8 dwells on the glory of God and His greatness. It acknowledges God�s creation of the universe and gives thanks that He allows us to watch over that which He has created.


When I was a young child my grandfather would wrap me up in a blanket on a cold night and take me out on the back porch to point out the constellations. It is a comfortable memory I still cherish. I loved looking at the heavens, observing the twinkling stars, and listening to my grandfather talk about the different ones. It�s been many years but I still look at the sky when the stars are out and think of those wonderful evenings just being there with my grandfather, sitting, looking and listening.

It is comforting to think God loves us so much that He gave us His creation to watch over, enjoy, and to use. God has blessed us with many things we often take for granted. Stop a moment today and give God thanks for the little things in your life. Praise God for the blessings and the good memories.

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2 Peter 1:2-7 (NLT)
2 May God bless you with his special favor and wonderful peace as you come to know Jesus, our God and Lord, better and better.3 As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! 4 And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature.5 So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better.6 Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness.7 Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone.

In these verses the Apostle Peter writes about living a godly and moral life. Moral excellence leads to a better understanding of God, which leads to one�s own self-control, which then leads to genuine love for others.


I think most people would like to say they try to live a godly and moral life, but what is that? A godly and moral life is where someone holds onto religious convictions and values of what they believe to be right or wrong. These values help us decide our actions in life. The Bible gives us some of the best examples of moral beliefs. The Bible also points out that which is considered to be against the nature of God, such as in Galatians 5:19-21 where it says, �Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such. If I am to hold onto a godly and moral life then I believe in what is right and I am opposed to what is wrong.

Even Ephesians 5 tells us to live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved us and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away our sins. It then goes on to say, let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes--these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

Most of us know these are true moral values and they are meant to inspire each of us to live good lives. We hold them close to our heart so that we might learn how to love one another the way God intended. However there are some who try to distort this truth by saying when you hold onto a moral value you hate anyone else who does not hold that same value. That is so far from the truth. Remember the purpose of having godly and moral values is so we grow to have genuine love for everyone.

I believe it is wrong to lie, but I can be honest and say I know I have lied before. I know it is wrong to hate, but there have been times I could not control my feelings. I know it is wrong to talk about others and yet I have done that too. It is why I have compassion for those who struggle against what is considered to be godly and moral. We might know what is right, but we often don�t do it. We might know what is wrong, but we do it anyway.

When I hear someone standup and say, �This is a moral value I believe in�, I�m not hearing them say they hate anyone or wish to do them harm. I�m hearing them say this is what I believe best for me that I may learn to love in the manner my God wants me to love.

AskMe #2650033 07/26/12 08:17 AM
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Mark 10:7-12 (NLT)
7 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife 8 and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, 9 let no one split apart what God has joined together.� 10 Later, when he was alone with his disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again. 11 He told them, �Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.�

In these verses Jesus discusses the institution of marriage. Jesus said it was God�s intent for a man and woman to be joined together as one in marriage. When asked about divorce Jesus said it was God�s intent for man and woman to remain married, but Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of people�s hearts. And the act of divorce and marrying another was committing the sin of adultery.



Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, told the Baptist Press that he and his company are "guilty as charged" when it comes to a stance on traditional family values and, namely, a stance against gay marriage. Cathy says in the Baptist Press that he doesn't run a "Christian business" per se, but that the organization is run on Biblical principles. In a statement to CNN, Chick-fil-A spokesman Don Perry said that the company's intent, though, is to leave the debate over gay marriage "to the government and political arena."

Chick-fil-A has a long history of exhibiting its Christian values. The chain's 1,600 stores are closed on Sundays nationwide. It's hardly the only fast-food company in the United States to exhibit those values, though. Since the early 1980s, In-n-Out Burger has printed references to Bible verses on its packaging.

I have often said Christians must stand firm in their faith. I am proud of Dan Cathy for taking a public stand on Marriage, because not only is it his right to do so, it is also his calling as a Christian. There are those who want to call this intolerance, but I submit those same people are being intolerant to a Christian�s belief. They want to call personal belief�s hatred. This is not hatred, but a belief of faith. If Dan Cathy believes marriage is between one woman and one man that is his right to believe. It is also his right to instill those principles in the company he owns; just as other companies have a right to instill their work ethics and values.

I believe as Chick-fil-A�s spokesman Don Perry said, the debate over gay marriage should be left to the government and political arena. After all, a single individual or company cannot enact laws to govern others. We all have a right to express our own personal belief and let those beliefs take place in our legislative process. We all have a right to vote on these matters when they are presented before us. Having an opinion is not hatred; it�s an opinion no matter what side you are on.

I support all people who want to vote and express their opinion. We all have our own beliefs and it�s our right to take them to the voting poll. Instead of name calling, spewing hatred -- get out and vote. Call your local representative and voice your opinion so you may be heard. If you feel that strong about your belief support those who agree with you.

I also want you to know whoever you are; Jesus said I should love all people. I try to follow that belief and love everyone no matter what their difference of opinion may be. It�s ok if you disagree with me because I may disagree with you, but I promise to still love despite the disagreement.

AskMe #2652435 08/02/12 06:29 AM
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Luke 10:3 (KJV)
3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

In this verse Jesus tells the disciples they must set out on their duty with the expectation of trouble and persecution. Their enemies will be as wolves, vicious, cruel and ready to shred them into pieces. The enemies will howl as wolves trying to terrify, threaten and make them run away from their obligations as Christians. Yet they are to press forward as peaceful and innocent lambs.


I am often reminded of the story of Elijah who ran from Jezebel after she had slain the godly prophets around him. Elijah hid out in a cave in fear for his life; depressed over the murder of so many of God�s people. Elijah felt like he was all alone, chases by wolves, trying to stand up for God. Yet God called out to Elijah to encourage him and said, �I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.� In other words Jezebel failed to kill all of God�s prophets because God had preserved 7,000 prophets who had devoted themselves totally to Him. Elijah was not alone after all, but had 7,000 others who would stand up with him.

Sometimes in our Christian walk we may feel like we are alone when we stand up for God�s word. However we must remember there are others who are willing to stand up with us. We must as Christians support one another and stand up in one voice to let others know what we believe about God. Our duty is not to attack individuals, but to speak up on morality and speak out against sin.

I am proud of the many who took part in standing up for the free speech of God�s word when they participated in joining thousands of others by going to Chick-fil-a on August 1st. There was picture after picture showing crowds forming around Chick-fil-a buildings patronizing them. May we as Christians continue to support what God has ordained and stand up for His word. May we be like the 7,000 prophets who devoted themselves to God and did not bow to evil.

AskMe #2653946 08/07/12 07:22 AM
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1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.


In these verses the apostle is writing to the Corinthians about the qualities of love. The apostle tells us what love is and what it is not. In John 13:34 Jesus said, �So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.� This was an additional command from the Son of God that we should love each other, so it is with importance that we understand love.







The famous and luxurious Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina, was originally owned and managed by George and Edith Vanderbilt, an elegant couple known for their exceptional treatment of rich and famous guests. But today when people summarize the Vanderbilts' management of the Biltmore House, they don't just retell stories about how they treated their wealthy guests; they also point to the story of how George Vanderbilt treated a young employee named Bessie Smith.


Smith was a teenager when she began working at the Biltmore, and she was intimidated by its opulence. On her first day as a server, she walked into the house's grand banquet hall and, startled by the vastness of the room, dropped the tray of monogrammed china she was carrying. George Vanderbilt, a professorial figure with dark hair and a slightly curved moustache, rose from his chair as his guests looked on, their eyes begging: What on earth are you going to say about this distraction? But he didn't say anything. Instead, he got down on his hands and knees and helped her pick up the shards before saying, 'Come see me in the morning.'" Bessie Smith assumed she was going to be fired. Instead, George Vanderbilt promoted Bessie to chambermaid, so she wouldn't have to carry such heavy dishes. [Leigh Ann Henion, "Biltmore Insider's Tour," Our State North Carolina (March 2011)]


George Vanderbilt was not irritated with Bessie, but instead was patient. George could have stood prideful in front of his guests and rudely chastised this young girl, but he instead showed love to kindly help this young girl.


Do you understand the love, grace and mercy God extends to all? If not seek out God and His Son Jesus and find out the answers for yourself.

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Romans 7:15-19 (NLT)
15 I don�t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don�t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can�t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don�t. I don�t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

In these verses the apostle describes his struggle with sin. He does not understand how he could want to do what is right, but doesn�t do it. The apostle knows there is a battle taking place within him � on one side he wants to do what is right and on the other side he is pulled towards sin. Verse 19 sums it up well, �I want to do what is good, but I don�t. I don�t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.�


How many of you feel like the apostle? I know personally I do. I cannot number the times I have told myself I want to obey the Lord and then did the complete opposite. I remember telling my mother as a child �I didn�t want to be a teenager because they grew up and get into trouble.� She said she couldn�t stop me from being a teenager - and she was right. I eventually turned 13 and in those teen years I often sinned. Even as an adult I tell myself I want to do what is right, but I still catch myself committing the sins I so much wanted to avoid.

The apostle tells us in verses 9-13, �At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died. So I discovered that the law�s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.�

As we begin to understand the Lord we find ourselves in a battle. I am aware God does not want me to covet and yet what do I do? I find myself desiring those things I do not need or do not belong to me. The laws made me realize those desires are present and against what God wants for me.

In the Old Testament God made covenants between Himself and man. These covenants were agreements mediated between God and man that said if you followed His laws God would bring blessings into your life, but if you disobeyed His laws there would be curses you must recon with.

The New Testament brought about a New Covenant. Jeremiah 31:31-34 gave us a preview of this covenant. The day is coming,� says the Lord, �when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,� says the Lord. �But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,� says the Lord. �I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, �You should know the Lord.� For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,� says the Lord. �And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.�

In the Old Testament the people did not always follow God�s word so they had to deal with the curses brought against them. In the New Testament Jesus mediated a New Covenant with God for Man. Jesus paid the debt for sin for all time through his death on the cross. There was no longer a need for a system of curses and blessing. Instead God put the law on the hearts of man so they would know what is right and wrong. They would continue to battle against sin in their lives, but when we they failed it was not a permanent failure. They could ask for and receive God�s forgiveness and the sin was never remembered again. Jesus blessed us in a tremendous way. We were freed from the slavery of sin that we might live to please God without fear of retribution when we slipped and fell. The laws were not removed, but the law no long had a grip on us that said one failure meant condemnation. There may be consequences from our own actions, but the curses of God would no longer be upon us.

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Proverbs 10:12 (NLT)
12 Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.

King Solomon tells us hatred is a great mischief-maker, always trying to stir up conflicts and add problems to circumstances. Hatred readily brings a person to do the devil�s work. Hatred takes pleasure in setting neighbors against each other with misrepresentations and lies that create sparks of contention. Love, however, is the great peacemaker and covers a multitude of sins. There are often occasions of discord, but when love enters the picture instead of aggravating the offence, love extinguished the flames of the argument and conceals the sparks of contention. Love will excuse an offense that is often a mistake or done without ill intention. Love recovers peace and quickly restores fellowship.



I started out this morning to write about hatred, but the more I looked at statistics on hatred and quotes and news articles on hatred I began to feel strife being stirred up in myself. I was actually beginning to get angry looking at statistics and news articles about hate. So I�m changing my focus and turned my devotion towards love.

Solomon tells us love makes up for all offences. It is hard to be angry with someone as they face you back in love. I have watched the TV show Intervention before and many times the person facing the intervention will become angry. They feel resentment and they fear what their family is trying to do to them. But as the family expresses their love for the individual the hatred and feelings of resentment often fade. There is nothing like love to quench the feelings that grow from hatred.

I love tell the story of how one day I was just having a miserable day. Every time I would say something negative my wife would just look back at me and say �I love you� and she would just smile. After a while I couldn�t complain any more, but instead had to smile back as she attempted to make me happy through love.

As I said earlier just looking at hate brought up strong emotions. We all should turn away from feelings that stir up hate and instead seek out ways to love people. People who focus on negative thoughts and feelings will often direct their frustrations at others. If the other person is not prepared they will eventually begin to respond to the hatred and a quarrel will break out. Let us all learn to love and seek out positive feelings that are good for us. Allow God to work in our lives to show us where we need to change and how we can love others.

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Proverbs 13:10 (NLT)
10 Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.

Matthew Henry says, �Foolish pride is the great make-bate. Would you know whence come wars and fighting? They come from this root of bitterness. Whatever hand other lusts may have in contention (passion, envy, covetousness), pride has the great hand; it is its pride that it will itself sow discord and needs no help. Pride makes men impatient of contradiction in either their opinions or their desires, impatient of competition and rival ship, impatient of contempt, or anything that looks like a slight, and impatient of concession, and receding, from a conceit of certain right and truth on their side; and hence arise quarrels among relations and neighbors, quarrels in states and kingdoms, in churches and Christian societies. Men will be revenged; will not forgive, because they are proud. [However] those that are humble and peaceable are wise and well advised. Those that will ask and take advice, that will consult their own consciences, their Bibles, their ministers, their friends, and will do nothing rashly, are wise, as in other things, so in this, that they will humble themselves, will stoop and yield, to preserve quietness and prevent quarrels.�



There are decisions that will lead us away from a relationship with God. Our choices may not just have negative effects on us and our own walk with Jesus, but it�s very possible that those choices will damage other people�s relationship with Jesus.

�During a 1923 training exercise, a naval destroyer called the USS Delphy led a flotilla of seven vessels down the California coast. The USS Delphy was captained by Lieutenant Commander Donald T. Hunter, an experienced navigator and instructor at the Naval Academy. Without warning, about half way on their training mission, a thick blanket of fog descended on the ships. In the midst of the fog (Hunter claimed it looked like "pea soup"), Hunter couldn't get an accurate evaluation of his location. Contrary to Hunter's calculations, the lead ship was headed right into Devil's Jaw, a scant two miles off the California coast. But that didn't stop Hunter from plowing ahead. That is not surprising, for Hunter was known for his self-confident decisiveness [pride] and what others called his �magic infallibility� to guide his ship.
�Traveling at 20 knots, suddenly the USS Delphy smashed broadside into the rocky Point Arguello shoreline. The force of the massive collision of welded steel and jagged rock split the hull of the USS Delphy in half. One by one, the other destroyers followed the Delphy's lead and smashed into the rocks. Twenty-two naval men died. The accident resulted in the loss of all seven ships. It still stands as one of the worst peacetime naval disasters in history.� [Robert McKenna, The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy (McGraw Hill, 2003), p. 97; Charles Lockwood & Hans Christian Adamson, Tragedy at Honda (Naval Institute Press, 1986), pp. 29-49]

I�m sure someone on the deck was trying to give advice about ship�s course, which the captain falsely believed to be correct. In the end one man�s decisions lead to both ships and life being lost. The accident was one of the worst recorded and to this day no other ship has been named Delphy.

Listening to advice is a wise thing to do; and putting that advice to use ever wiser. Pride that holds back from listening to sound advice will often to lead to disaster and serious conflict in life. Are you taking time to listen wisely and make sure pride is not getting in your way?

AskMe #2656079 08/14/12 05:43 AM
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Psalm 139:1-6 (NLT)
1 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I�m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. 5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

In this Psalm King David asserts God is everywhere and knows everything. As our creator God knows and understands our most reserved thoughts. David goes on to say God�s knowledge is too great and wonderful for him to understand. God is truly omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.



Natalie Grant sings a beautiful song called �The Real Me� that asks the question in the following way:
Foolish heart looks like we're here again
Same old game of plastic smile
Don't let anybody in
Hiding my heartache, will this glass house break
How much will they take before I'm empty
Do I let it show, does anybody know?

Let me encourage you, if you are asking these questions:
-Does anybody know the heartaches I feel?
-Does anybody understand the pain I bear?
-Does anybody understand the difficulties I face?
-Does anybody understand the mask of frailty I hide behind?

Let me assure you there is an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God who understands. Yes, God does understand and is concerned about every problem you face and His desire is to love you through each of those issues. God is present with you every moment, knows the real you, and is just waiting for you to loosen your grasp on your fears and take His hand and trust Him. Let me encourage you today along with Natalie�s beautiful song to turn to God and ask for His help however great or small the problem might be. Let God love you through the process without hiding behind a mask. For God sees you as a beautiful and precious child of His.

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