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AskMe #2729060 05/21/13 06:11 AM
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Proverbs 21:2 (NLT)
2 People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart.

King Solomon tells us in this proverb that when it comes to ourselves - we are often partial to the judgment of ourselves and our actions. We often think too highly of ourselves and overlook the flaws that are present. Many are prideful and pride clouds judgment of one�s character. We also try to make actions appear right when all along we know they are wrong. Even when caught in wrong actions we tend to justify what we have done. We can be sure of one thing � when God examine our heart all the truth is revealed. God looks at our actions, our intentions, and our purpose then weights the evidence and convicts us according to the truth of the evidence.



It was a dark and foggy night at sea. The captain of the ship looked into the dark night from the bridge. Suddenly he saw the faint glow of lights approaching through the fog. Immediately he ordered the radio operator to send a message � Alter your course 10 degrees south. A reply came back � Alter your course 10 degrees north.

In anger the captain ordered a second message � I am the captain of this ship; alter your course 10 degrees south. Again a response � I am Petty Officer Third Class Jones � alter your course 10 degrees north.

Furious his orders were being ignored by a lower rank and wanting to evoke fear in Petty Officer Third Class Jones the captain ordered a final demand � I am a battle ship and if you don�t want to be sunk alter your course 10 degrees south. Then came the response � I am afraid your battleship will be sunk if you don�t alter your course 10 degrees north � I am the lighthouse.

How often we live our lives in a fog not seeing the truth for what it is. We make demands without understanding. We make assumptions without hearing all the facts. We even respond in anger because our view is not accepted. Our pride takes over and we won�t even let ourselves see the truth when it is right in front of us.

We need to allow the Lord to examine our hearts and show us the truth. We need the accountability of good, wise and responsible friends who can see our faults and tell us about those faults in love. We need to take away pride and open our eyes to the truth before us.

Jesus said, �I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won�t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.�

AskMe #2729418 05/22/13 06:12 AM
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Galatians 5:13 (NLT)
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don�t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

In this verse the apostle tells Christians they are to stand fast in the liberty from sin that Jesus Christ provided through His death. For in liberty we are free to choose and it would be so easy to fall back into bad habits of choice instead of standing fast. One must see that while they are free from the penalty of death created by the law they still have an obligation to satisfy the original intent of the law, which is to create love and respect for one another. The apostle confirms this by saying we should use our liberty to help others as we can and therefore do what Jesus commanded when Jesus said, �you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.�



According to Topsy.com as of 5/11/2013 at 11am there were over 64,000 mentions of the hastag #PrayForOklahoma on Social Media, such as Twitter and Facebook after the tornados hit Oklahoma. There were critics of the #PrayForOklahoma hastag, who discounted prayer, who said quit praying and start doing. However this nation, The United States of America, needed to unite in prayer for the victims of the Oklahoma tornados. Christians all over the world needed to also join in prayer as Christians so often do when devastating events occur in the world. There were people hurting, suffering, helpless and when we can�t immediately do something - we can pray.

Throughout The Bible prayer is used in mighty ways to change events, to heal, to rescue, to bring change and to bring comfort and calmness. Yes, the people of Oklahoma needed to feel the prayers of God�s people. They needed to feel God close to them as we prayed for them.

Now I can agree with the critics on one thing, don�t stop with prayer. Galatians 5:13 tells us that we are to take the freedoms we have in life and serve one another in love. Charitable organizations need donations to help with the care of the people left homeless. The Red Cross often needs blood and money donations after a tragic event. There are many ways to help even if it is raising awareness for others to contribute or donate what they can.

So this morning let us continue to be in prayer for the people of Oklahoma and for so many others around the world who are facing hardships. Let consider what we can do to help and help as we know how to do.

AskMe #2729673 05/23/13 07:55 AM
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James 1:2-4 (NLT)
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

The apostle tells us that when we face adversity in our lives that we should count it as joy as opposed to sadness. For in the face of adversity our faith is tested and we have a chance to grow stronger in life. Therefore we should be joyful to face the adversity and let it develop us through our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be perfect and complete, needing nothing.




Our 26 year old daughter is experiencing a psychiatric issue. This problem doesn�t just affect her, but also affects the people around her. For in her current mental state the words she can use are like venom that brings pain. She vents anger like hot steam blowing into your face. You know you have done nothing to deserve the words she spews, but they sting, they burn and they hurt.

In an instant her mood flips to one of kindness and love. Words a second ago now confuse you as she expresses words of gratitude and love. She is pleasant, kind and then she starts complaining about all the things that are wrong and then she begs for help. Yes, it�s very confusing, but we also know she is ill.

My wife and I went through this with our daughter from the age of 18-19. It was one of the hardest times of our life. It was difficult to explain to others the problems we faced. Each medication was trial and error until they found something that worked. The medications were a challenge in their own way because they brought on serious side effects that had to be dealt with. Eventually she did become well.

Our daughter got married in November and her husband knew about this problem before he married her. Knowing about a problem and experiencing it are two completely different things. This has been difficult for him watching her change constantly before his eyes. What was so loving and kind at times isn�t so loving and kind. My daughter asked my brother-in-law and sister-in-law to visit her in the hospital. They had never been in her presence when she was going through this phase and it was difficult for them to be present with her, but God bless them for being there and wanting to help her.

My wife and I know the verses in James 1:2-4 are true. We are facing once again the issue we faced years ago with our daughter. This time we are more confident in our actions. It is painful placing a loved one in a psychiatric hospital, but it is also reassuring they are safe. Sometimes we want to give into fear, but we know God has brought us through this before. Sometimes we want to cry, but we learned we can be stronger than we thought.

Fortunately we can use our strength from the past to encourage her husband that things will return back to where they were, maybe even better. We know God can bring about healing and we just have to be patient for the healing to take place through the hands of the doctors. For God is still working on us, developing us and teaching us what we can be. God is also developing her and her husband. I know if her husband can endure this, his relationship with her will grow stronger. And I know our daughter will love him more for his courageous love and support.



AskMe #2730114 05/24/13 06:08 AM
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Romans 12:10 (NLT)
10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

The apostle tells us that one must have a readiness and inclination to love in a genuine way. This love is the love within a family that is genuine, natural and comes from the heart. And what can be sweeter on this side of heaven but to love and be loved.



Evangelist, author, and apologist Josh McDowell writes in his book, THE NEW TOLERANCE: How a cultural movement threatens to destroy you, your faith and your children, on page 95 �

Tolerance says, �You must agree with me.� Love responds, �I must do something harder; I will tell you the truth because I believe �the truth will set you free.��
Tolerance says, �You must approve of what I do.� Love responds, �I must do something harder: I must love you, even when your behavior offends me.�
Tolerance says, �You must allow me to have my way.� Love responds, �I must do something harder: I will plead with you to follow the right way, because I believe you are worth the risk.�
Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive, love takes risks. Tolerance is indifferent; love is active. Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything.
Once again Jesus is the supreme example of true Christian love, which is sometimes the antithesis of tolerance. His love drove him to a cruel death on the cross. Far from being indifferent to the �lifestyle choices� of others, he paid the price of those choices with his own life, and lovingly paved the way for everyone to �go, and sin no more� (John 8:11, KJV).
Another example of what real love won�t do is this: Love won�t minister condemnation. It won�t leave a person feeling condemned but will offer hope of forgiveness and restoration.
If anyone had the right to condemn sinners, it was Jesus. He was perfect, without sin. Yet, �God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world� (John 3:17).


I believe, as Josh McDowell, there is an obvious difference between genuine affection and love for another; and just tolerating someone. It is this love the apostle was writing to us about in Romans 12:10. We are to take delight in honoring and respecting each other, but we must love others actively and not just passively tolerate them. We are to do the harder part in life and love even when it is difficult to do so.

AskMe #2731134 05/28/13 05:57 AM
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Proverbs 28:13 (NLT)
13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

A person who attempts to conceal their sin finds that when they hide their sin they do nothing for themselves. In hiding sin they do not learn to grow spiritual. They fail to deal with the sin of the past so they can move forward into the future. Holding onto secret sin keeps an opportunity for mercy to be given.



Married for 16 years and with two great kids, Kurt Stansell seems to have it all together. He has a successful investment counseling business, and he's a founding elder at his church. And he's a sex addict. Kurt's the first to admit it.

For years, Kurt struggled with pornography. It started with magazines, but eventually turned into visits to Triple-X theaters and strip joints. Kurt kept repeating a cycle of guilt and remorse, then prayer and repentance, only to find himself back at it again.

Eventually, Kurt found an accountability partner named Stan. At first, Kurt held back, being less than honest about his problem. But when he finally confessed, telling Stan the whole truth, Kurt immediately felt a weight lifted from his shoulders. He was on the road to victory.

"I began to understand what shame does," Kurt says. "When we Christians try to hide something in the darkness, we give Satan incredible license to work in our lives. So, the more open I could be, the less of a hold Satan seemed to have." [Gregg Lewis, author of The Power of a Promise Kept. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.]


Satan loves to take the hidden sin in our lives and use it against us to accuse us over and over. It is a trap so many people have fallen into. They try to hide their problem, they feel guilty about their problem and they restart their cycle of sin because they have not trusted anyone to help them through their problem. There is freedom in letting go of hidden sin. Yes, we may have consequences to face, but the burden and weight of sin is lifted from us making us free.

AskMe #2731394 05/29/13 04:24 AM
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Psalm 103:17-18 (NLT)
17 But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children�s children 18 of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!

Here the psalmist ponders God�s love for his people and notes that God�s love lasts longer than their lives even continuing on to the lives of future generations. There is salvation to those who are faithful and obedient to God; and that salvation is also extended to generations yet to come.



There was once a young man from Chicago who went down to the bluegrass regions of Kentucky where he met and wooed a young woman who ultimately came back to Chicago as his bride. They enjoyed three lovely years of marriage, and then one day in the midst of a sickness in a seizure of pain the young woman lost her mind. When she was at her best, she was a bit demented. At her worst, she would scream, and neighbors complained because the screams cut the air and it was hard to live with.

And so the young businessman left his home in the middle of Chicago, went out to one of the western suburbs, built a house, determined that there he would try to nurse his wife back to health and sanity again. One day the family physician suggested that perhaps if he were to take his wife back to her Kentucky home that something in those familiar surroundings would help her restore her sanity, and so they went back to the old homestead. Hand in hand they walked through the old house where memories hung on every corner. They went down to the garden and walked down by the riverside where the first cowslips and violets were in bloom. But after several days nothing seemed to happen.

So, defeated and discouraged, the young man put his wife back in the car, and they headed back to Chicago. When they got close to the house, he looked over and discovered that his wife was asleep. It was the first deep, restful sleep she had had in many weeks. When he got to the house, he lifted her from the car, took her inside, placed her on the bed, and realized she wanted to sleep some more. So he placed a cover over her and then just sat by her side and watched her through the midnight hour, watched her until the first rays of the sun reached through the curtain and touched her face. The young woman awoke, and she saw her husband seated by her side. She said, "I seem to have been on a long journey. Where have you been?" And that man, speaking out of days and weeks and months of patient waiting and watching said, "My sweetheart, I've been right here waiting for you all this time."

And if you ask me, "Where is God?" the answer is very much the same. He's right here, right here waiting for you to respond with love to love, waiting for you to respond with trust to promise, waiting for you to cast yourself with a reckless abandon upon the grace of God, and waiting for you to discover what it means to be loved by God. [Haddon Robinson, from the sermon "The World's Best Love Story"]

AskMe #2732822 06/03/13 06:20 AM
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Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

We must have confidence, knowing that God has our best interest at heart, knowing that God provides love, mercy, grace, compassion, and so much more that we can trust God with all of our heart even when we do not understand the things taking place around us. It is because of our full trust in God that we are able to submit to God so that God alone can show us the proper directions to take in our life.



Ever wonder if the Lord really knows what you want and need?

David Smallbone felt God leading him to promote Christian concerts in his homeland, Australia, where only 5 percent of the people believed in Christ. When too few fans filled his seats during one major tour, however, David took a $250,000 bath in red ink.

Creditors repossessed his home, and the father of six looked for work elsewhere. A top artist offered him a job in Nashville, so the Smallbones sold their furniture and other possessions and purchased tickets to the United States.

A few weeks after they arrived, however, David was informed that his position was "no longer available." He literally could not get out of bed for several days. When he and his wife explained to their children what happened, they all got on their knees and asked God to help them.

Interesting things began to happen. God provided bags of groceries, a minivan, and odd jobs. Then the biggest surprise of all�a recording contract for David's oldest daughter, Rebecca, age 15. She recorded her first album using an old family name, St. James.

Flash forward to today. David promotes his own daughter's sold-out concerts. Rebecca St. James has become one of the hottest Christian artists in America. Christianity Today magazine has named her one of the top 50 up-and-coming evangelical leaders under age 40.

All along�no surprise�God knew what he was doing! [Christian Reader (January/February 2002), pp. 13-14; source: Luis Palau, It's a God Thing, www.palau.org/godthing]



God put David and his family right where they needed to be. No one may have seen it at the moment, but God was working in their lives to do something special. God took the faith of a family and used it to place Rebecca St. James in a place where she could minister through her music and words to millions of people.

Sometimes we may think God has forgotten us, but stay strong in your faith and watch the mighty works of God unfold in your lives.

AskMe #2733095 06/04/13 05:58 AM
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Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

In these verses the apostles tells us we are to fix our thoughts on good things. We are to think about truths which we know to be real and sustain us. We are to be honorable and right in our thoughts so that we do not mistreat others, but hold to a higher standard of living. We are to keep our minds pure and off sinful thoughts that might bring us harm or destroy us. We are to have loving and admirable thoughts towards God and others. In our culmination of thoughts we are to think of those excellent things which bring praise and honor to God.



I have heard many a Christian say, when I know I am going to sin I start praying for God to that that thought from my mind. I know I have done that exact thing and I am sure many others have as well. Then I heard someone speaking who gave me a new way to think when I am faced with trials and temptations. Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on God and give him the praise for the things he has already done in your life.

One of the reasons for doing this is to draw your mind away from the sin you are facing. For instance, if I said, �Don�t think about an elephant�, what is the first image that pops into your mind? Usually it is an elephant. So what happens when we start asking for the sin we are facing to be taken away we are continuously thinking about that sin. So instead say something like, �God, you have brought me through many trials and temptations and I give you praise for that. Lead me now in the right direction.�

God knows the temptations and trials you face and by praising and honoring God he will see you through those times of difficulty. King David was always offering his thanks and praise to God for what he knew God was going to do in his life. When David was faced by enemies and the wrath of Saul, this is what David prayed in Psalm 18:1-3 �1 I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.�

Remember to call on God in your troubled times and give Him praise for the things he has done in your life. Take your mind off the negative and look forward to the positive results.

AskMe #2733390 06/05/13 05:21 AM
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James 3:9-10(NLT)
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God�s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

The apostle points out that many can praise God with their voices and their words and then use the same mouth to curse others. In our reverence and praise for God we should learn how to treat others. When we speak to them we should do so with reverence and kindness. Instead many utter curses against their brothers and sisters in faith and forget they are creations of God, His children who he cares for himself and finds precious in His sight.



Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Words That Hurt, Words That Heal, has lectured throughout this country on the powerful, and often negative, impact of words. He often asks audiences if they can go 24 hours without saying any unkind words about, or to, another person. Invariably, a small number of listeners raise their hands, signifying "yes." Others laugh, and quite a large number call out, "no!"

Telushkin responds: "Those who can't answer 'yes' must recognize that you have a serious problem. If you cannot go 24 hours without drinking liquor, you are addicted to alcohol. If you cannot go 24 hours without smoking, you are addicted to nicotine. Similarly, if you cannot go 24 hours without saying unkind words about others, then you have lost control over your tongue." [Rick Ezell, One Minute Uplift (7-21-06)]


There is an old saying, �Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.� We forget the saying is usually said by someone strong enough to stand up to the taunts of the hurtful words. They have empowered themselves to resist what was meant to strike deep into their hearts and they stand firm against what is being said.

However there are some who are not prepared. They are weaker people who do not know how to handle insults and vicious words. It is these people who feel like they are being struck with sticks and stoned with insulting words hurled at them. In just moments a few words can tear down the very spirit of a person and send them into despair.

Let us all realize if we can praise God, sing glory to his name then we are also capable of doing the same for our fellow man. Take a stand and challenge yourself to refrain from negative and hurtful comments. Instead let your words lift people up, make them smile, and give them hope. If you are unable to do this even for a short period of time then maybe you are addicted to unkind and hurtful words. Next time stop and think about how you can lift someone up and nurture them instead of tearing them down with unkind words.

AskMe #2733651 06/06/13 05:59 AM
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Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me�everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

The apostle implores us to fix our thoughts on those things which are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. We are to put aside negative and unrighteous thoughts and instead think about what is worthy of praise. We are to put these good thoughts into practice that we may always be at peace with God.



The movie A Beautiful Mind traces the life of genius mathematician and Nobel Prize winner John Forbes Nash, Jr. (played by Russell Crowe), who is tortured by paranoid schizophrenia.

Nash was a genius mathematician studying at Princeton, seeking to discover a truly original idea. He explained his concept of equilibrium in his 1950 dissertation, Noncooperative Games, which eventually earned him the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics. Long before this, while a student at Princeton, Nash began to experience paranoid schizophrenia. Several delusional characters left him unable to discern reality from hallucination.

His paranoia climaxed while Nash worked as a professor in the early 1950s at M.I.T.'s Wheeler Defense Labs. Nash was recruited to decipher Soviet codes for the U.S. government, but following his initial experiences with code breaking, he descended into a delusional world where he continued to work for government agent William Parcher (Ed Harris).

During this time, Nash's wife, Alicia (played by Jennifer Connelly), admitted him to an institution that diagnosed and treated his disease. After shock therapy and medications left him unable to think through math problems, care for his young son, or be intimate with his wife, Nash determined to get off the medications and reason his way through his severe mental illness. His determination to overcome his illness led him to re-establish his relationship with Princeton and eventually to resume teaching.

In 1994 Thomas King (Austin Pendleton) from the Nobel Committee met with Nash to assess his mental state and determine if he would be a suitable Nobel laureate. In their conversation, Nash says to King tongue in cheek, "I am crazy." Then more soberly, "I take the newer medications, but I still see things that are not here. I just choose not to acknowledge them. Like a diet of the mind, I just choose not to indulge certain appetites." [A Beautiful Mind (Dreamworks, 2001), rated PG-13, directed by Ron Howard, written by Akiva Goldsman; submitted by Todd Dugard, Ontario, Canada]

I love the words Nash used, �I still see things that are not here. I just choose not to acknowledge them. Like a diet of the mind, I just choose not to indulge certain appetites.� As Christians our minds are flooded by many thoughts from the world. Some are healthy for us, while others are intent on destroying us. Like Nash we must choose what to indulge in and what to avoid. We should keep our thoughts on what the apostle describes above as true, right, pure, love and admirable and avoid the evil thoughts that attempt to cloud our minds.

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Colossians 1:21-22(NLT)
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

The apostle tells the gentiles of Corinth they were once estranged from God. They were considered enemies by their actions and their thoughts. However they are now reconciled to God by accepting Christ as their savior. Christ presents them holy, blameless and without fault before God; for Christ has taken on their sins and banished those sins forever. The greatest enemies to God, who have stood at the greatest distance and bid him defiance, may be reconciled through Christ Jesus.



Arthur Burns, a Jewish economist of great influence in Washington during the tenure of several Presidents, was once asked to pray at a gathering of evangelical politicians. This was his prayer: Lord, I pray that Jews would come to know Jesus Christ. And I pray that Buddhists would come to know Jesus Christ. And I pray that Muslims would come to know Christ. And Lord, I pray that Christians would come to know Jesus Christ.� [Mark Buchanan, �Singing in the Chains,� Christianity Today, February 2008, p. 33]

The apostle Paul wanted all people to know about Christ who takes away the sins of the world and presents us holy and blameless before God. Christ willingly died for our sins that we could be reconciled with God. It doesn�t matter who we are or what we have done for Christ wants us to come just as we are and allow ourselves to trust, to obey and place our faith in Him. There are those who may think God could never forgive them for the horrible things they believe they have done, but God has his arms open wide ready to embrace and ready to forgive each and every person who places their faith in His son Jesus Christ. There are Christians who have fallen away from their faith and God also is waiting on them to come back as the prodigal son returned to his father. There is no sin that can keep us away from the love of God except to reject God and the salvation He offers. Turn to God today and allow His love to pour out upon you, restore you and make you whole with God again.

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Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
13 Make allowance for each other�s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

The apostle starts by saying we should bear with each other when we find faults; for each of us have faults so in good turn each other should be ready to let the faults of another pass. If those faults rise to an occasion when they cause personal hurt then we should be ready to give peaceful explanation for the hurt and forgive in our hearts whether the person takes responsibility for the fault or not.




When we are young we often don�t know the proper ways to handle situations in life. My mother was in high school trying out for a school club. For whatever reason there was a girl who voted against my mother joining the club and she did not make it into the club. Instead of asking why, my mother went off with hurt feelings. She held on to those feelings for years always wondering what this girl had against her.

Forty years later my mother was at a high school reunion and the woman who voted against my mother was there. My mom decided to finally ask what she had against her in high school. My mother explained how she was not allowed in the club because of her and wanted to know why. The woman looked puzzled at my mother and said she did not remember the incident. However, she said if she had done something to hurt her she apologized.

For forty years my mother carried a burden she didn�t have to carry. She could have asked the girl years before at school and perhaps found an answer to her question. But instead my mother carried that hurt feeling instead of allowing herself to forgive the person. The other person was unaware of my mother�s hurt and pain while my mother had been trapped in her own self-made prison of pity and hurt.

I heard a quote once that said when we don�t forgive people we allow the pain they inflicted to live rent free in our minds until we let it go. Forgiveness is more for us than for the other person. It frees us from the pain we are holding so we don�t have to carry that burden any longer.

Learn to forgive others so you don�t carry those painful memories through your life. Think of Jesus who on the cross had been beaten and tortured and yet He said, �Father, forgive them, for they don�t know what they are doing.�

AskMe #2734968 06/11/13 06:13 AM
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Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
6 Don�t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God�s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Here the apostle tells us that we should avoid anxious thoughts, thoughts that distract us and move us away from God. Instead we should focus on what God has done for us, asking Him to provide for our needs and allowing His peace to rule in our hearts and minds.



The story is told of a father of a wealthy family who took his son on a trip to the country to show his son how poor people can be. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from the trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad."

"Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked.

"Oh yeah," said the son.

"So what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered: "I saw that we have one dog, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon.

"We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond sight. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, but they have their friends to protect them."

With this, the boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are."
[Ron Blue, Faith-based Family Finances (Tyndale, 2008), pp. 29-30]


The father thought he was going to teach his son a lesson, but it was the son who taught his father. For the son didn�t look at the material things of life, but of the things to be enjoyed. He saw what God provided to those who had less money and what he saw was peace and contentment.

Money is not what brings happiness into our lives. Instead it is a relationship with Jesus Christ who shows us what is good and right. We are to fix our thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable and avoid what the world would have us see instead. May you always be reminded of Christ�s love for you and the gracious provisions He places in your life.

AskMe #2735450 06/12/13 06:29 AM
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Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

We often do not know our own thoughts, nor do we understand our own mind, but God is never uncertain about his thoughts or intentions. We sometimes fear that God�s plan and designs for us may fall against us; but God knows the contrary for his children; for his thoughts are of good and not for evil; even when those plans may seem harsh and painful they are designed for our good. They work together as a plan for our lives to give us a future of hope.



In his book Jesus Among Other Gods, [(Zondervan, 2000), pp. 17-18], Ravi Zacharias tells the story about how God, the Master Weaver, sovereignly works to weave beauty into our lives as we respond to his will. During a trip to India, Zacharias noticed a father and son who were weaving some of the most beautiful Indian wedding saris in the world. Zacharias explains the background and then describes the scene:

The sari, of course, is the garment worn by Indian women. It is usually six yards long. Wedding saris are a work of art; they are rich in gold and silver threads, resplendent with an array of colors. The place I was visiting was known for making the best wedding saris in the world. I expected to see some elaborate system of machines and designs that would boggle the mind. Not so! Each sari was being made individually by a father-and-son team. The father sat above on a platform two- to three-feet higher than the son, surrounded by several spools of thread, some dark, some shining. The son did just one thing. At a nod, from his father, he would move the shuttle from one side to the other and back again. The father would gather some threads in his fingers, nod once more, and the son would move the shuttle again. This would be repeated for hundreds of hours, till you would begin to see a magnificent pattern emerging. The son had the easy task�just to move at the father's nod. All along, the father had the design in mind and brought the threads together. The more I reflect on my own life and study the lives of others; I am fascinated to see the design God has for each one of us � if we would only respond to him.


Our minds cannot comprehend all that God has in store for us. God walks us through changes in life that are at times joyful and at times sad. God is working with us to develop us into something special, something beautiful and all we need to do is be patient and listen to God in order to know what to do. We face trials in life that are difficult, but those trials strengthen us and even allow us to encourage and strengthen others when they face the same trials. God wants us to have peace in our lives knowing we can count on him to see us through any adversity. Every step we take grows the hope we have in God and Christ Jesus and brings peace and contentment to our lives. It is said, �without hope people perish�; but with God and Christ we have all the hope we need.

AskMe #2735672 06/13/13 06:26 AM
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Luke 11:13 (NLT)
13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.

Here Jesus tells the disciples that if we as sinful people know how to give good gifts to our children then God who is holy and righteous will give the best of gifts to his children when we ask. Then Jesus says, �How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. It is in our asking that we receive from God the gifts He has prepared for us. The Holy Spirit is an important gift because the Holy Spirit dwells within us, convicting us of sin, leading us upon paths of righteousness, and speaking on our behalf when we don�t even know how to pray.




George M�ller (German � born as : Johann Georg Ferdinand M�ller) (27 September 1805 � 10 March 1898), a Christian evangelist and Director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life. M�ller prayed about everything and expected each prayer to be answered. One example was when one of the orphan house's boiler stopped working; M�ller needed to have it fixed. Now this was a problem, because the boiler was bricked up and the weather was worsening with each day. So he prayed for two things; firstly that the workers he had hired would have a mind to work throughout the night, and secondly that the weather would let up. On the Tuesday before the work was due to commence, a bitter north wind still blew but in the morning, before the workmen arrived, a southerly wind began to blow and it was so mild that no fires were needed to heat the buildings. That evening, the foreman of the contracted company attended the site to see how he might speed things along, and instructed the men to report back first thing in the morning to make an early resumption of work. The team leader stated that they would prefer to work through the night. The job was done in 30 hours.

Prayer is a mighty tool if we take the time to pray and earnestly believe God will answer. George M�ller knew this and never hesitated to ask God for things that were needed in the lives of the orphans. We too must take the time to pray and expect our prayers to be answered.

AskMe #2735983 06/14/13 05:56 AM
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Proverbs 14:34 (NIV)
34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.

Justice, reigning in a nation, puts an honor upon it, however vice, reigning in a nation, puts disgrace upon it. Throughout The Bible the people of Israel were often instances of both parts of this observation; they were great when they were good, but when they forsook God all about them insulted them and trampled on them. It is therefore the interest and duty of those in authority to use their power for the suppression of vice and support of virtue.




Whenever there is a separation between values and practice, things break down. In ancient China, the people desired security from the barbaric, invading hordes to the north. To get this protection, they built the Great Wall of China. It's 30 feet high, 18 feet thick, and more than 1,500 miles long!

The Chinese goal was to build an absolutely impenetrable defense�too high to climb over, too thick to break down, and too long to go around. But during the first hundred years of the wall's existence China was successfully invaded three times.

It wasn't the wall's fault. During all three invasions, the barbaric hordes never climbed over the wall, broke it down, or went around it; they simply bribed a gatekeeper and then marched right in through an open door. The purpose of the wall failed because of a breakdown in values. [James Emery White, You Can Experience a Purposeful Life (Nashville: Word, 2000)]



We should never forget when sin and corruption live in a nation there will always be that one person to open the door to destruction. Pray that God would revive this nation with a passion for righteousness and justice. Pray the people would include Christ in their lives and live as Christ would. Pray that this nation would be a nation under God and for God.

AskMe #2736640 06/17/13 06:50 AM
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Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)
9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.

The best way to keep peace among all is to not tell others what a person has said when they did not through their words. If their actions cause no harm to others and no issues of safety are present then consider an act of amnesty by keeping quiet that which has been said. Allow the fault to be forgiven. For to dwell on the words only increases our own frustrations and anger and before we know it we are repeating things that should have remained unsaid.



It is impossible to keep peace between man and woman in family life if they do not condone and overlook each other's faults but watch everything to the smallest point. For who does not at times offend? [Martin Luther. "Martin Luther--The Later Years and Legacy," Christian History, Issue 39.]


Each day I walk through life my sinful nature eventually wants to reach up and take control. My weak and faulty self makes me relate to the words of the Apostle Paul: �For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do� (Rom. 7:19). In marriage we make a vow before God to love honor and cherish and that includes forgiving the faults of our spouse. For that reason, we do not want to allow our flesh to get the upper hand to diminish the gift God has given, but in order to keep it, we must practice humbleness, patience, kindness, forbearance, and forgiveness (Col. 3:13, Eph 4:2). We must allow love to prosper so that we remain close.

AskMe #2736956 06/18/13 07:01 AM
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Matthew 5:47 (NLT)
If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.

Jesus speaking to a crowd explains it is not enough just to love friends and family, but our love should be extended to all people; for those who do not know God know how to love a friend. Since God loves us despite our sins, we too should learn to love despite the problems and faults of others. We need to learn to love unconditionally.


Jean Vanier, founder of the L�Arche communities, told the following story about persevering in our practice of unconditional love:

I know a man who lives in Paris. His wife has Alzheimer�s. He was an important businessman � his life filled with busyness. But he said that when his wife fell sick, �I just couldn�t put her into an institution� I fed her. I bathed her.� I went to Paris to visit them, and this businessman who had been very busy all his life said, �I have changed. I have become more human.� I got a letter from him recently. He said that in the middle of the night his wife woke him up. She came out of the fog for a moment, and she said, �Darling, I just want to say thank you for all you�re doing for me.� Then she fell back into the fog. He told me, �I wept and I wept.�

Sometimes Christ calls us to love people who cannot love us in return. They live in the fog of mental illness, disabilities, poverty, or even spiritual blindness. We may only receive fleeting glimpses of gratitude. But just as Jesus loved us in the midst of our spiritual darkness, so we continue to love others, even as they may walk through a deep fog.

(From Leadership Journal � Winter 2011, quoting from Living Gently in a Violent World by Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier.)


There are many of you who can probably relate to the story above. I also know there are many who have been able to love unconditionally. You have given a part of your life to serve others. May God bless you and allow to continue loving others with mercy and grace just as God loves you.

AskMe #2737153 06/19/13 06:05 AM
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2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)
18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, works in us, convicts us of sin, and provides liberty of access to God in freedom and assistance of prayer. Moses had to cover the glory of God, but those who have placed their faith in The Lord Jesus Christ are to reflect His glory for others to see. As The Spirit of The Lord directs us we are transformed more into the likeness of Christ from one degree to the next.



Mike Yaconelli, in Messy Spirituality (Zondervan, 2002), writes on p. 13 �� Spirituality is not a formula; it is not a test. It is a relationship. Spirituality is not about competency; it is about intimacy. Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection. The way of the spiritual life begins where we are now in the mess of our lives. Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality, not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws, but because we let go of seeking perfection and instead seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives. Spirituality is not about being fixed; it is about God's being present in the mess of our unfixedness.


I was reminded about transformation looking at photos taken prior to the Daytime Emmys. Slowly the celebrities were transformed from their everyday hairstyles and clothes to something special for the event. They had stylists helping them with their clothes, their hair, and their makeup. Yes they could have done it themselves, but it was so much easier to have a relationship with someone they trusted to take care of the essentials for them. That is how we should be in our relationship with Christ, trusting Him to take care of the essentials and allowing Him to transform us more into His likeness.

AskMe #2737454 06/20/13 05:47 AM
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Mark 8:36 (NLT)
36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

The disciples have proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. They have been witness to His miracles and have heard His remarkable teachings. Jesus talked openly about His coming death and the resurrection that would take place to overcome death from sin. Peter tried to reprimand Jesus for His comments, but Jesus took Peter aside and said, �Get away from me, Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God�s.� With that Jesus addressed the crowd and asked the question in verse 36 followed by the question, �Is anything worth more than your soul?�



In the 1959 Twilight Zone Episode of - Time Enough at Last, the character Henry Bemis, wore thick glasses and loved to read books beyond anything else. Henry worked at a bank and would steal away time to read the books he found so precious. One particular day Henry wanted to read in silence during lunch so he locked himself in the bank vault. It just so happened that a thermo-nuclear attack was launched during his time in the vault. Henry emerged to find a city that had been destroyed and no life in sight. As he walked around he came across a crumbled library with books scattered all about. Henry thought - now there will be time enough to read all the books I desire. In his excitement Henry dropped his glasses and they were smashed on the steps of the library. The narrator closed saying, �The best-laid plans of mice and men - and Henry Bemis, the small man in the glasses who wanted nothing but time. Henry Bemis, now just a part of a smashed landscape, just a piece of the rubble, just a fragment of what man has deeded to himself.�


Henry gained what he thought was the whole world but lost what was dear to him, the ability to read. Now time was meaningless because it would not be spent the way Henry wanted to spend it.

Christ asks that we put aside the desires of the world and place our desire and faith in Him. When we do we find a lasting relationship with Christ that leads to eternal salvation with God in heaven. Ask yourself, �What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?�

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