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AskMe #2769935 12/09/13 07:40 AM
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2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (NKJV)
6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

This is a reminder from the apostle that while we remain in our human bodies we walk with faith knowing the Lord is near us though we cannot see. We do God�s will here on earth knowing there is hope waiting for us. When we die and receive our eternal, heavenly bodies then we will be able to see The Lord and worship Him with praise.




Tomorrow I plan to have coffee with a good friend from high school/pharmacist at the hospital. We were close in high school, but became even closer from seeing each other at the hospital so often. At night, I will be having dinner with some of my great girlfriends. We�ll be making dinner, watching movies, and probably giggling of some sort. I am so thankful for laughter nowadays. Laughter really is an important kind of medicine. I cannot wait to be with my family this week!! We all have a lot to be thankful for this year� I cannot wait to thank God for his praises with my family. :-)

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. I love all of you so much and I�m thankful for you to the moon and back!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 <>< Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Just keep swimmin� friends,

Michelle


The above was the closing of Michelle�s blog on November 23rd, 2013. The 28-year-old teacher was voted teacher of the year at her school in February. She was diagnosed with uterine sarcoma cancer in June. She fought the battle against cancer until she passed away on December 6, 2013 surrounded by her loving family.

She was an encourager to many. She was loved by many. She loved to laugh. She always showed concern for others because she felt she they were too concerned about her. She loved The Lord and I am confident now that she is absent from her body that she is with The Lord in heaven. Michelle will be missed by many.

We never know when death may occur, but we can know Jesus Christ so when we are absent from this human body we will be able to see Jesus face to face with our eternal heavenly bodies. Michelle said above she could not wait to thank God for his praises and I am sure she is doing that very thing.

Please keep the family in your prayers as they deal with the loss of this beautiful young woman.

AskMe #2770126 12/10/13 06:59 AM
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Deuteronomy 18:18 (NLT)
18 I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him.

God, having raised up his Son Christ Jesus, sent him to bless us. That he should be like unto Moses, only as much above him as the other prophets came short of him. Moses was such a prophet as was a law-giver to Israel and their deliverer out of Egypt, and so was Christ: he not only teaches, but rules and saves. Moses was the founder of a new dispensation by signs and wonders and mighty deeds, and so was Christ, by which he proved himself a teacher come from God. Was Moses faithful? So was Christ; Moses as a servant, but Christ as a Son. [Matthew Henry]




Matt Woodley writes in The Gospel of Matthew: God With Us, (Intervarsity Press, 2001) - A number of years ago, when I was playing in a friendly men's softball game, the umpire made a call that incensed our coach. My coach didn't agree with the ump's interpretation of a specific league rule. The game stopped, and a heated discussion ensued. Finally, the ump sighed as he pulled a rulebook from his back pocket and proceeded to read page 27, paragraph 3b, section 1.

"As you can clearly see," he concluded, "this rule means that my call must stand." Unconvinced, my coach yelled, "But you're not interpreting that rule correctly." To which the ump replied, "Uh, excuse me, I think I should know: I wrote the rulebook." After an awkward silence, my coach walked back to the bench, shaking his head and pointing to the ref as he told us, "Get ahold of that guy. He wrote the rulebook!"

Throughout his ministry, Jesus didn't just affirm and endorse the words of Scripture; he talked and acted like he had authored the Scriptures. He lived with the authority of the One who wrote the "rulebook."


It is alright that there are times in life that we are just frustrated and want to take up our issue with God. We may not agree, we may want a different result, but in the end we must remember that our creator wrote The Book. I remember my wife commenting on a life changing event for a friend of hers, �I just don�t understand why God would allow that.� There are times we won�t understand for The Lord�s ways are not our ways. We must trust The Lord. Romans 11:33 tells us, �Oh, how great are God�s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!�

AskMe #2770329 12/11/13 08:46 AM
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Proverbs 11:30 (NLT)
30 The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends.

This shows what great blessings good men are, especially those that are eminently wise, to the places where they live, and therefore how much to be valued. [Matthew Henry]



When you think wisely it becomes easier to win over friends. I read a story about a woman waiting in a long fast food line. Another woman blew her horn indicating she wanted in the line. The first woman graciously allowed her to get in front of her although it was obvious who was there first. The woman she let into the line made some rude gestures towards her and appeared upset.

Now at this point many of us might have let our anger start getting the better of us. Not only did this woman force her way into the line, she was totally unappreciative about it. However, the lady who graciously let her in line thought differently.

She thought, �You know, maybe she is just having a bad morning.� So when she pulled up to the speaker she told the fast food employee that she would pay for the car in front of her. She said the lady may decline, but tell her I insist and I hope she has a good day � this one is on me. When the woman in front got her food the woman behind her could see her talking to the employee. Then surprisingly the woman who had been so rude turned and gave an appreciative wave. When the other lady pulled up the employee said, �The previous lady told me to thank you and said she was sorry for her behavior. She was running late for an appointment and the long line had just irritated her.�


The wisdom this woman showed of being gracious, kind, compassionate and generous won over a friend that day. Instead of driving off bitter the other woman had left with a friendly wave and a smile.

AskMe #2770502 12/12/13 06:50 AM
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Galatians 4:4-5 (NKJV)
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

God gave the world His Son so He could live out a life free from sin; something mankind was unable to do. God did this in His time, in His way, for His purpose that we would become adopted heirs of heaven by placing our faith in Christ.




The genius of Christianity takes the words of Paul "who gave himself for our sins" as true and efficacious. We are not to look upon our sins as insignificant trifles. On the other hand, we are not to regard them as so terrible that we must despair. Learn to believe that Christ was given, not for picayune and imaginary transgressions, but for mountainous sins; not for one or two, but for all; not for sins that can be discarded, but for sins that are stubbornly ingrained.

Practice this knowledge and fortify yourself against despair, particularly in the last hour, when the memory of past sins assails the conscience. Say with confidence:

Christ, the Son of God, was given not for the righteous, but for sinners. If I had no sin I should not need Christ. No, Satan, you cannot delude me into thinking I am holy. The truth is, I am all sin.

My sins are not imaginary transgressions, but sins against the first table, unbelief, doubt, despair, contempt, hatred, ignorance of God, ingratitude towards Him, misuse of His name, neglect of His Word, etc.; and sins against the second table, dishonor of parents, disobedience of government, coveting of another's possessions, etc. Granted that I have not committed murder, adultery, theft, and similar sins in deed, nevertheless I have committed them in the heart, and therefore I am a transgressor of all the commandments of God.

Because my transgressions are multiplied and my own efforts at self-justification rather a hindrance than a furtherance, therefore Christ the Son of God gave Himself into death for my sins.

To believe this is to have eternal life. [Martin Luther, A Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians]


Christmas is the time of year we remember the birth of Christ who died for our sins. Without Christ there would be no Christmas. Without Christ there would be no freedom from sin.

AskMe #2770725 12/13/13 08:02 AM
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Matthew 2:4-6 (NLT)
4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, �Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?� 5 �In Bethlehem in Judea,� they said, �for this is what the prophet wrote: 6 �And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.��

In their search, wise men from the east stopped to ask Kind Herod where the newborn king of the Jews was located. They assumed a king would know the location of another king. This worried Herod that there would be mention of another king so he called together religious leaders to inquire where the child would be.




Not much is known about the wise men that came to visit Jesus. While many manger scenes depict three wise men standing near Jesus at the manger, even the number of wise men is not accounted for. Some have assumed there were three, because there were three gifts. However we don�t know the true number. Also, the wise men did not visit the manger. The only ones present after the birth of Jesus in the manger were Joseph and Mary, local shepherds and the animals that were present. The wise men went to the home of Mary and Joseph where Jesus was a toddler. The wise men worshiped Jesus there and presented the gifts they carried.

What is important is that kings came to visit The King of Kings and they brought gifts that recognized who He was. Gold was traditionally offered to a king as a gift. Frankincense was used as a specialize incense at the temple and therefore recognized the deity of Jesus. Myrrh was another fragrance and was used for burials, so this foreshowed the coming death of Jesus. Some even believe the myrrh used on the body of Jesus came from this gift.

As we celebrate Christmas, put aside for a while all the commercialism. Remember we are celebrating the birth of Jesus who came to free us from sin. Remember that even as a child he was born to die for our sins. Give thanks and praise for the birth of the Son of God this holiday season.

AskMe #2771120 12/16/13 06:09 AM
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Proverbs 16:2 (NLT)
2 People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.

When it comes to examining our own actions we are often partial to ourselves. We go to lengths to prove we are right and others are wrong. The judgment of The Lord concerning us is according to truth.



Rebecca Pippert relates a story about a famous physicist who confided in her and said:

I'm a scientist, you know, a rational person. I've never seen much need for God. All my life I've felt in charge and in control. I've been extremely successful and made it to the top. If there's a problem at work, I call a meeting or write a note to my secretary, and it is quickly resolved.

Yet nothing is simple or easily resolved at home. My children don't relate to me easily �. They accuse me of trying to control their lives. When I walk into the same room as my son, he starts to stammer. What hurts is that they can't seem to appreciate how much I care and that I'm doing all of this for them.

But I'll tell you one lesson I've learned. I always said that since I had my children's best interests at heart, they'd be glad for my direction �. My children have taught me the hardest lesson of my life�that I'm not in control over what matters to me most. It's funny, but it's now when I see I'm not God that I see I need some help. The question of whether there is a God has finally started to matter. [Rebecca Pippert, Hope Has Its Reasons (InterVarsity Press, 2001), pp. 52-53]


There is an age old problem; we all want to be God. Satan wanted to be God and fell from God�s grace. When man entered into sin it was because he was told he could be like God knowing good from evil. Yet we are not God and we don�t see the things the way God does. God�s motives are pure and just, while man�s motives are often selfish and prideful. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives; and yet The Lord is willing to guide us on the right path if we will just listen.

AskMe #2771305 12/17/13 07:17 AM
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Matthew 1:18-21 (NKJV)
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, �Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.�

As Joseph learned of Mary�s pregnancy he wondered what he was to do, since they were not yet wed. An angel appeared to him to comfort his thoughts and explain that Mary was the bearer of God�s child. This child would grow up to save His people from their sins.



Eleanor looked thoughtful; her aunt laid down her knitting, and said, in a tone of gentle seriousness, "Whose birth does Christmas commemorate, Ella?"

"Our Savior's, certainly, aunt."

"Yes," said her aunt. "And when and how was he born? In a stable! laid in a manger; thus born, that in all ages he might be known as the brother and friend of the poor. And surely, it seems but appropriate to commemorate his birthday by an especial remembrance of the lowly, the poor, the outcast, and distressed; and if Christ should come back to our city on a Christmas day, where should we think it most appropriate to his character to find him? Would he be carrying splendid gifts to splendid dwellings, or would he be gliding about in the cheerless haunts of the desolate, the poor, the forsaken, and the sorrowful?" [Excerpt from Harriet Beecher Stowe's short story: Christmas; Or, The Good Fairy]


In this short story Harriet Beecher Stowe reminds the reader that Christ was born under conditions that most of us could not comprehend. He was born in an unsanitary manger, no crib, and no doctor. Christ was born for all, including the lowly, the poor, the outcast and the distressed. Giving at Christmas is a good gesture, but it has become overly commercialized and we have tended to forget about those in need. In some cases we have even forgotten what Christmas is about, which is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Take time this Christmas to do something good for someone in need, however you may do that. Remember that Christmas commemorates the birth of Our Savior Jesus Christ. Take time to give The Lord praise for His grace and mercy. Christmas is the season during which Christians everywhere give thanks to God the Father for the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ. Don�t let any fool you into thinking that Christmas is anything less.

AskMe #2771520 12/18/13 07:44 AM
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Psalm 53:1-3 (NASB)
1 The fool has said in his heart, �There is no God,� They are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; There is no one who does good. 2 God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men
To see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God. 3 Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.

This psalm speaks of the corruptness and wickedness of mankind. They have become corrupt in their ways and are incapable of justice. There are few who can be found that does good.



There has been real-life stories presented and discussed on the TV show Dr. Drew On Call recently that shows just how corrupt our nature in America is. Last week there was the story of a six year old who kissed a girl on the hand at school. That action landed him a two-day suspension from school and an entry of sexual harassment in his school files, which was later revised due to protest. What has happened to people that they can�t evaluate a situation and make a rational judgment call? Why is it we have to treat children with injustice because a reasonable solution cannot be found? Come on, how many six year olds really understand the meaning of sexual harassment?

Last night Dr. Drew and his panel discussed a story from Duluth, Georgia. It dealt with Sam McNair, a 17 year-old high school senior who thought he was giving a teacher an innocent hug. "You never know what someone's going through," McNair told CNN affiliate WGCL in Atlanta. "A hug might help." It didn't in this case because after McNair hugged a teacher, he ended up with a year-long suspension from Duluth High School, putting his college plans in jeopardy. Sam can�t even attend the SAT testing held on school grounds because he could be arrested for trespassing. We have kids who are violent, but yet when they are trying to show a caring gesture they are penalized. Surely there is a different way to handle a case like Sam�s.

My own daughter was in first grade when a boy in her class came to school with his head shaved. Most likely he had lice and this was the parent�s way of correcting the problem. The boy was embarrassed and the principle told the class they were not to make fun of the boy. My daughter being who she is yelled out to the boy on the playground, �Hey baldly, want to come and play with us?� She wasn�t trying to be hateful, she just didn�t think about her words. After all she was in the first grade. The teacher who overheard her later sent her to the office asking that she be suspended for 3 days for harassment. My daughter�s response was, �We are good friends. I told him I was sorry and he said it was ok. What else do you want me to do?�

It seems adults can�t think for themselves to resolve a situation in a reasonable manner. It appears the world is so corrupt the only thing we know to do is follow a single rule and apply it to everyone. Let us pray that people will find it within themselves to do what is right and just. Hopefully we can show the youth of this country how to live so they won�t become embittered for being penalized for insignificant actions.

AskMe #2771721 12/19/13 08:53 AM
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John 15:18-20 (NKJV)
18 �If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, �A servant is not greater than his master.� If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

Jesus comments to His followers that those who hate Him will also hate those who follow Him and hold to His beliefs. If they speak up on behalf of the world, the world will accept them, but if they speak up on behalf of Christ there will be conflict.



Yesterday A&E network suspended Phil Robertson from the show Duck Dynasty after Phil, who is 67, gave his opinion on sin. Quoting Phil from his interview, ��Everything is blurred on what�s right and what�s wrong. Sin becomes fine," he later added. �Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don�t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won�t inherit the kingdom of God. Don�t deceive yourself. It�s not right.��

Everything Phil said is in line with Christian belief. Part of what he quotes comes straight out of The Bible. Homosexuality is considered a sin, but there are also many more sins that can be named and each one is just as offensive to God. I affirm there are many other sins such as laziness, pride, hatred, malice, gossip, name calling, murder, adultery, theft and the list goes on that fall under the category of sin. We are all sinners in this world and no one who is exempt.

It is bad enough on TV shows that Christians are not always allowed to end a prayer with, �IN JESUS NAME, AMEN�. As Jesus said they hate me so they will hate you and even today that stands true.

I will say this about a Christian who understands Jesus. Jesus always pointed out the sins of a person and then told them to go and sin no more. Jesus never condemned the person, but instead showed love, mercy and grace. Most Christians understand this about Jesus and while they point out sin they are also ready to love the person who is dealing with sin.

Phil Robertson was just standing up for what he believed. He didn�t attack anyone directly. We all should be able to have freedom of speak to discuss our beliefs even when they conflict with others. And Phil didn�t use Duck Dynasty to promote his beliefs as many commentators do today. He was talking in an interview and gave an opinion.

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Psalm 90:12 (NLT)
12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

This psalm was most likely penned by Moses. It was likely written upon Israel�s delivery out of Egypt. While written as a psalm, it was a prayer to the Almighty God. In this verse Moses prays that we realize how brief life is that we may use our lives wisely.



When Bill Clinton was appointed the Attorney General of Arkansas, he was just 30 years old. He was elected governor of Arkansas two years later, easily becoming the youngest person in the nation to hold that position. He was a youthful 44 when he was elected President of the United States, and still holds the distinction of being the youngest person ever to leave the office of President. In other words, the vast majority of Bill Clinton's life and accomplishments were characterized by youth.

But in August of 2006, while enduring a 60th birthday celebration, a melancholy Clinton reluctantly admitted that life had changed. No longer the youthful saxophonist wailing away on MTV, the white-haired former-President said: "For most of my working life, I was the youngest person doing what I was doing. Then one day I woke up, and I was the oldest person in every room. In just a few days, I will be 60 years old. I hate it, but it's true." [David Slagle, Atlanta, Georgia; source: "I'm 60 and I Hate It: Bill Clinton," Breitbart.com (8-15-06)]


Age sneaks up on us quickly. I remember when the year 2000 seemed so far away and now we are in 2014. Happy New Year to all and may God bless you through the year.

There is a sad truth in life; everyone is not given the same time to live. Some live to a comfortable old age, while there are those who pass away young.

�Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us�a crucified God�must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.� &#8213; John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life

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Titus 2:11-13 (NLT)
11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.

The grace of God has provided salivation to all people through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus. You see one must first know and admit to being a sinner before they can accept the salvation from sin. It is that understanding that motivates one to live righteously, to live as an example and to live as Jesus would desire them to live.



According to Open Doors Ministry, Chinese government officials became so fed up with sky-high rates of crime, drug addiction, and sickness in the county of Lancan Lahu, Yunnan province, that in the mid 1990s they turned for help to the only model citizens in the area: the Christians.

"We had to admit that the Lahu people were a dead loss because of their addiction to opium," confessed an official who did not want to be named. "Their addiction made them weak and sick. Then they would go to one of their "priests," who required animal sacrifices of such extravagance that the people became poor. And because they were so poor, they stole from each other, and law and order deteriorated. It was a vicious cycle that no amount of government propaganda could break.

"We noticed, however, that in some villages in the county, the Lahu were prosperous and peace loving. There was no drug problem, or any stealing or social order problems. Households had a plentiful supply of pigs, oxen, and chickens. So we commissioned a survey to find out why these villages were different. To our astonishment and embarrassment, we discovered the key factor was that these villages had a majority of Christians."

Officials launched a daring experiment in 1998, the likes of which would have been unthinkable in China 10 years previous&#151;they sponsored Christians to go into the troublesome villages and share their faith.

They started by picking out the worst village, which had 240 people, 107 of which were hopelessly addicted to opium. Christian Lahus were bussed into the village at government expense, and the villagers were herded together by the police and made to listen to the testimonies of the Christians.

A year later, there were 17 converts in the village, and they began to grow rich because they stopped spending money on drugs. Eight of the 17 converts even had enough to own sewing machines and start small businesses.

By early 2002, 83 of the villagers were Christians and the prosperity had spread. The government official said, "We are delighted with the results and have been extending the tactic to many other villages since then." [The Pastors Connection (Open Doors USA e-mail, August 2002); corroborated by Kelly Callaghan, prayer and courier coordinator, Open Doors USA; OpenDoors serves the persecuted church worldwide.]


Our lives are examples to others; live them well for the one who lived and died for us!

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Romans 8:28 (NLT)
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

This is a reminder and promise that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God; for we are all called upon to glorify God in our actions. Ephesians 1:14 says, �The Spirit is God�s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.�



Titus 2:11-14 in The Bible tells us, �11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.�

As noted above we live in an evil world, a world that contains pain and sorrow. There are things happening around us each, such as death, pain, suffering, and hardships. I remember a movie where a man stands screaming after a tragic even, �Why God, why?�

It is at this these times that we must remember the evil world in which we live. Even when we live wisely and try to do what is right, does not mean we have immunity from the evil in this world. Because we love God and have given our lives to Him, God does watch over us, but there are times God allows us to encounter trials to test us, to strength us, and to use us for His Glory.

God can take things that were meant for evil and turn them to good. I have heard stories of someone committing a crime even though they knew The Lord. They weren�t wise in their actions and maybe strayed off course, but while in jail they ministered to others. In some cases I have even heard where their testimony led another to know about Jesus Christ.

We are often faced with death and pain in our lives, but even that can be used for good to glorify God. For we learn we can endure those trials leaning on God for strength. Then when the same issues are experienced by another we can step in and say, �I have been there and while it may be painful, things will be alright. Again we glorify God from our own painful experiences.

Isaiah 40:5 tells us, �Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!� And while all we do is to give glory to The Lord, we too will share in the glory. For Colossians 3:4 tells us, �And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.�

Yes, we live in a troubling world, but God takes what was meant for evil and uses to His own God. While we may not immediately realize what God is doing in our lives, one day all of His glory will be revealed to us. Then we will finally see the reasons for the things that have happened through our lives.

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Ephesians 5:1 (NJKV)
1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

The apostle calls us to be imitators of God. Children often imitate their parents, pick up their habits and even act as their parents do. As children adopted into God�s family we are called to do the same.



The following story appeared in a 2011 edition of the Indianapolis Star. The title read: "Small gesture on busy street alters view of police."

While walking back to the office after lunch, I noticed two burly Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers outside Circle Centre mall. Between them, sprawled on the hood of one of the patrol cars, his arms at his sides, was a shabbily dressed man in his late 50s. He was weak and shivering; next to him on the asphalt appeared to be his worldly possessions.

The older of the two officers was stooped over in front of the man. His partner stood watching intently. My initial take was that the older officer was frisking the man. Five steps closer, my cynicism turned to amazement. The officer wasn't patting the man down; he was bent over tying the man's boot laces because the [homeless man] was in such bad shape he couldn't do it himself. As the officer put one dirty boot on his own pant leg and then another, his young partner softly talked to the man, trying to determine what kind of help he needed.

At a time when a relative handful of cowboy cops often dominate the news and public opinion, officers of courage and character perform quiet, unnoticed acts of selflessness. [Ernie Reno, "Small gesture on busy street alters view of police,' Indianapolis Star (2-24-11)]


The Lord takes care of us in many ways that we do not understand or even see. The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 29:11, �For I know the plans I have for you,� declares the Lord, �plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.� Enjoy the plans God has for you and enjoy being a part of His family by imitating Him.

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Amos 5:14-15 (NIV)
14 Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. 15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.

This chapter of Amos is a calling to the people to prepare to meet God. They have lived under deplorable conditions and sin was the cause. Their joy would come from seeking God; for God was waiting for them. They were told to seek good while hating evil. They were to maintain justice in the light of injustice. Maybe then God would see their repentance and have mercy on them.




Lee Strobel, in his book The Case for Faith, quotes Peter John Kreeft saying: On my door there's a cartoon of two turtles. One says, "Sometimes I'd like to ask why he (God) allows poverty, famine, and injustice when he could do something about it." The other turtle says, "I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."


We often want to point to God as the cause for allowing our problems, when actually we are the responsible ones. Imagine looking out of a restaurant while enjoying your meal and seeing a homeless man and thinking, �God why don�t you provide that man with food.� It might just be a little hypocritical of God when you could buy the man some food yourself.

Instead of blaming God for all the things that are wrong in this world we need to learn from Jesus who was an example of how we should live our lives tending to the needs of others. As you follow Jesus, also follow His actions. Hate the evil in this world and love to do what is good and just.

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Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV)
19 �Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Worldly-mindedness is as common and as fatal a symptom of hypocrisy as any other, for by no sin can Satan have a surer and faster hold of the soul, under the cloak of a visible and passable profession of religion, than by this; and therefore Christ, having warned us against coveting the praise of men, proceeds next to warn us against coveting the wealth of the world; in this also we must take heed, lest we be as the hypocrites are, and do as they do: the fundamental error that they are guilty of is, that they choose the world for their reward; we must therefore take heed of hypocrisy and worldly-mindedness, in the choice we make of our treasure, our end, and our masters. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



Integrity, whether at work or at home, is not the sort of thing you work on every now and then. You don't set aside one day a month to work on your integrity much like you might pay your bills. It's something we have to address almost 24/7 because of the insidious nature of dishonesty, which always presents us with small, seemingly insignificant openings. Few people actually decide to outright lie or cheat; rather, they find themselves taking shortcuts out of convenience. I read somewhere that according to a company that conducted 3.8 million background checks on people applying for jobs, more than half lied on their resumes. These aren't horrible people or chronic liars but ordinary citizens like you and me who think those little white lies are okay and will never be caught anyway. Unfortunately, even if they are never caught, they erode our standards and make it easier to make duplicity the norm.

In 1912, Leon Leonwood Bean started a mail order business in Greenwood, Maine, by selling a hunting boot with a money-back guarantee. However, defects in the design led to 90 percent of them being returned. Making good on the guarantee could ruin his fledgling business, but Leon kept his word, corrected the design, and continued selling the boots. L.L. Bean is now one of the largest mail-order companies in the United States, in large part because it has continued the tradition of treating its customers with integrity. [Louis Upkins Jr., Treat Me Like a Customer (Zondervan, 2009)]


The Apostle Paul provides a good summation in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, �Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.� Let your heart be with God in heaven that you may live according to His will.

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1 Peter 1:15-16 (NKJV)
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, �Be holy, for I am holy.�

The grace of God in calling a sinner is a powerful engagement to holiness. It is a great favour to be called effectually by divine grace out of a state of sin and misery into the possession of all the blessings of the new covenant; and great favours are strong obligations; they enable as well as oblige to be holy. [Matthew Henry]




Craig C. had been an alcoholic for more than a dozen years. He'd lost everything he had, including his wife and son, due to his selfishness and addiction. Things began to change after he gave his life to Christ, but he still fell regularly into his old habits. It didn't help that he'd lost his well-paying job and was clerking at a local grocery store that was well stocked with all his favorite drinks. After a few years of going back and forth between Christ and the bottle, he finally cut the ties, and, out of obedience to Christ, quit his job.

With no income and hope only in Christ, he was in desperate condition. After an interview with a sheet metal company down the street from his new church, he cried out to God. "God, if you give me this job I will give you my first paycheck." Surprisingly, he got the job.

He clearly remembers the day when he got his first paycheck. Stacks of bills needed to be paid. Penniless but determined, he endorsed it over to the church and walked it to the church office without waiting for the Sunday offering. That was the moment, he says, that changed his life because now he understood what it meant to trust God.

As of today, Craig has been sober for 25 years, he's a manager at that sheet metal company, and he serves as an elder at his local church. [Bill White, pastor of outreach at Emmanuel Reformed Church in Paramount, California]


In Psalm 99:9, the psalmist says, �Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain in Jerusalem, for the Lord our God is holy!�

Sometimes it takes a while for a Christian to grasp the meaning of being holy. On occasions it takes some a lifetime and for some there is an immediate noticeable transformation. Where ever we are in our Christian lives, let us remember to exalt The Lord our God for He is Holy! As we praise God for His holiness we become aware of the changes we may need in our lives.

Craig C. above realized what it meant to trust God for God is Holy and keeps His promises. It was then he realized he needed to keep his own promises. It changed Craig C.�s life and realizing the holiness of God and Christ can change our lives too.

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1 John 4:20-21 (NKJV)
20 If someone says, �I love God,� and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can[a] he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

The premise of these verses is that someone who loves God would also love his brethren who are also of Christ. For The Lord gave us a command to love God and to also love one another. Therefore if a man claims not to love his brother in Christ who is close and near to him, how can it be that he loves God whom he has not seen or touched?




If love is the soul of Christian existence, it must be at the heart of every other Christian virtue. Thus, for example, justice without love is legalism; faith without love is ideology; hope without love is self-centeredness; forgiveness without love is self-abasement; fortitude without love is recklessness; generosity without love is extravagance; care without love is mere duty; fidelity without love is servitude. Every virtue is an expression of love. No virtue is really a virtue unless it is permeated, or informed, by love. [Richard P. McBrien in Catholicism. Christianity Today, Vol. 40, no. 1.]


Some words given to us on love from The Bible are: I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love--I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love--I gain nothing!" 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 "Above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness." (Colossians 3:14.) "The end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart" (1 Timothy 1:5.) "Above all things, have fervent love among yourselves: for love shall cover the multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8.) "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34, 35.) "Owe no man anything--but to love another: for he who loves another has fulfilled the law." (Romans 13:9.) "Walk is love, as Christ also has loved us." (Ephesians 5:2.) "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:7, 8.)

The Bible tells us we are love like God and Christ who loves us. We are to put love into actions.

Let us remember what Christ said about the lack of love in our lives, "Then He will say to those on the left: Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in; I was naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not take care of Me." (Matthew 25:41-43.)

Mother Teresa once said, �The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.�

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Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The apostle hear speaks of the works of the flesh that should be despised and put to rest as opposed to the fruits of the spirit which should be cherished and allowed to grow to full maturity.



The Jewish Virtual Library lists the following as the 10 commandments in Exodus 20 as spoken to the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai.

1) I am the Lord thy god, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
2) Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
4) Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
5) Honor thy father and thy mother.
6) Thou shalt not murder.
7) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8) Thou shalt not steal.
9) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10) Thou shalt not covet anything that belongs to thy neighbor.

These laws are the basis for which the Apostle Paul speaks out against the works of the flesh. These people were to understand they had one God and only one God. No other God was to represent them; therefore they should not participate in practices of idolatry or sorcery for those are of other gods. They were to live in a holy manner honoring their father�s and mother�s by not acting lewd or in drunken manners. They were to live in peace among each other, putting aside jealousies, covetous, dissensions, and outbursts of wrath, envy and murder. For these were the laws God put before man that people should know right from wrong. If judged by the law, there was no place for those who had a habitual practice of striking out against God�s commandments and kingdom.

In Galatians 5:13-14, the apostle has previously said of living in faith in Christ, �For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: �You shall love your neighbor as yourself.�

If what you are doing in life does show love towards those who are your neighbor then perhaps instead of living in the freedom of Christ you are being help by your own fleshly desires.


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The Holy Name of Your Awesome God

January 20, 2014

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Proverbs 18:10

I�ve found there are many people who have names prophetic of what they will do in life. Years ago when I was living in Florida, there was a dentist in our town by the name of Dr. Toothman. In another town, I heard there was a barber by the name of Dan Druff. And I was once told of a man named Will Crumble. His profession? A builder!

Yes, there are some strange and silly names out there. But when it comes to God, He takes His name very seriously. Why? Because God�s name isn�t an empty or powerless word, but it�s a powerful message of His character � who He is to believers (a loving Father) and who He is to unbelievers (a righteous judge).

So what does it mean to revere the name of God? We�ll, it�s more than just not using His name as a curse word, though it would include that. It�s understanding that we�re not to abuse God�s name by taking it too lightly. We shouldn�t be so casual in our approach toward God that we forget about His power and righteousness.

The Lord�s name is a strong tower, not a grass hut. So in a world that�s become so flippant about how it talks about God, remember to maintain a healthy reverence for the Lord�s name!

THE LORD�S NAME IS A STRONG TOWER THAT HAS THE POWER TO SAVE. RESPECT GOD�S NAME BY REVERING HIS MIGHT AND HOLINESS.

(from Jack Graham Devotional)

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-�The elderly woman stood looking at her house and shaking her head. The tornado that had ripped through her town had been a shock, for sure. And she had been surprised by the 14 volunteers who had quickly shown up to put a new roof on her home and repair her front porch and windows. The speed with which they had completed the job was nothing short of amazing! But what shocked her most was the color of the group.

How sad that it often takes a disaster for people to look beyond skin color and simply see another person in need. In God�s eyes we are all equal. The civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s focused attention on discrimination against African Americans in the U.S., and resulted in the abolishment of a number of unfair laws and practices. Martin Luther King Jr. was the movement�s most influential leader and used his eloquent speaking ability to articulate blacks� grievances. Sadly, King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. In 1983, Congress made the third Monday in January a federal holiday to honor King.

One of the most memorable highlights of King�s career was a speech delivered on August 28, 1963, to a gathering in Washington, D.C., King said, �I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: �We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.� �

Prejudice appears to be a universal weakness in human nature, with every race and every group of people. We all struggle with a tendency to judge others by external characteristics rather than their intrinsic value as people created by God. If not skin color, we may discriminate on the basis of economic or educational status, physical attractiveness, clothing, manners, or accent.

In his letter to early believers, James described a hypothetical situation to show the importance of not favoring one person over another.�(James 2:1-13)�His example included two men visiting a worship service, one dressed in fine clothes and the other shabbily dressed. The rich man was given the best seat while the poor man was told to stand or sit on the floor. �Aren't you discriminating against people and using a corrupt standard to make judgments?� James challenged.�(verse 4)�He labeled such preferential treatment as how God views it: �If you favor one person over another, you're sinning.��(verse 9)

Anyone who claims to be free of prejudice is kidding themselves. We all react to people according to preconceived notions and our first impressions. It�s human nature to identify with some people more than others based on any number of things. But that doesn�t give us an excuse to treat some people better than others.

Such behavior is incompatible with faith in Jesus Christ. God wants us to do our best to treat everyone with dignity, respect, and compassion. Rather than act on the basis of our impressions, we can remember that each person we meet is someone whom God created and Jesus died for. Since God went to such lengths to offer his favor to everyone, how can we favor one person over another?

In�Galatians 3:28�we are given a beautiful picture of relationships among believers as God intended:

�There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.�

One in Christ�that�s a dream we should all have.

Ask yourself: Do I do my best not to let preconceived notions or first impressions affect how I treat people?


(Devotion from CBN)

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