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AskMe #2824608 10/20/14 07:38 AM
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Psalm 51:12 (NIV)
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

This Psalm was penned after David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband put on the front lines of battle where he would be killed. David is feeling remorse for his sins and in prayer asks God to restore the joy of his salvation. �When we give ourselves so much cause to doubt of our interest in the salvation, how can we expect the joy of it? [Matthew Henry]�



On August 16, 1987, Northwest Airlines flight 225 crashed just after taking off from the Detroit airport, killing 155 people. One survived: a four-year-old from Tempe, Arizona, named Cecelia.

News accounts say when rescuers found Cecelia they did not believe she had been on the plane. Investigators first assumed Cecelia had been a passenger in one of the cars on the highway onto which the airliner crashed. But when the passenger register for the flight was checked, there was Cecelia's name.

Cecelia survived because, even as the plane was falling, Cecelia's mother, Paula Chican, unbuckled her own seat belt, got down on her knees in front of her daughter, wrapped her arms and body around Cecelia, and then would not let her go.

Nothing could separate that child from her parent's love�neither tragedy nor disaster, neither the fall nor the flames that followed, neither height nor depth, neither life nor death.

Such is the love of our Savior for us. He left heaven, lowered himself to us, and covered us with the sacrifice of his own body to save us. [Bryan Chapell, In the Grip of Grace (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992)]


We have a savior Jesus Christ who loves us so much He willingly gave His life as a sacrifice for all of our sins. Even knowing Christ�s love for us; we will still commit acts of sin that hurt others and hurt ourselves. It is in these time we often feel like King David that the joy of our salvation has been lost. We think, �How could God love us when we have done such horrible things?� And yet, God does still love us. Had He not loved us He would not have sent His only Son to die for each and every sin we have committed and are yet to commit.

The Bible tells us in James 4:10, Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

AskMe #2824861 10/21/14 06:14 AM
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Psalm 40:8 (NIV)
8 I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.

God�s law rules within our heart; it is the conscious of our soul. Knowing God�s law and having a desire to perform God�s will gives us a joy and delight.



Lee Eclov shares the following true story about a conversation between Max, a first grader in Lee's congregation, and Max's dad, Todd.

Dad: Max! Why didn't you answer me when I called you?

Max: I didn't hear you, Dad.

Dad: What do you mean you didn't hear me?

Max does not respond.

Dad: How many times didn't you hear me?

Max: I don't know, maybe three or four times.


Although God abides with us and His law is with us there are many times we do not listen. We can hear God calling to us. We may be asked to perform a charitable act and yet we don�t respond. Sometimes we are directed away from things that are not good for us, but we do them anyway. And other times we just consider ourselves ignoring everyone else. Still God is calling, calling maybe three or four times and we still don�t listen.

The challenge in life is to pause and heed God�s calling. Listen closely as God speaks; and allow Him to direct the paths in your life.

AskMe #2825180 10/23/14 06:41 AM
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Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
2 Carry each other�s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

The apostle encourages the reader to act out of love thereby fulfilling the law of Christ by helping others to carry the burdens of life that are common to us all. There are many times compassion needs to be shown to others to help them through difficult spots. Also, there are times they may have needs they are unable to attend to by themselves; in those cases we are to help as we can.


In John 13:34-35 Christ told us, �A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.�

Emmy Award winner Leeza Gibbons is one of the most well‐known pop‐culture icons on the air. In addition to her impressive background in the field of entertainment and news media, Leeza is an instrumental advocate for healthcare, wellness, and caregiving. She is also a wife, mother, businesswoman and a New York Times bestselling author.

Recognized as a social entrepreneur, Leeza has become one of the leading voices for issues facing family caregivers. When her mother and grandmother were struggling with Alzheimer�s disease, she created what she wished she and her family had and started the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation. Her training as a journalist united with her compassion and business savvy when she opened the foundation�s signature programs, Leeza�s Place and Leeza�s Care Connection, offering free services for family caregivers encouraging them to call on their courage and summon their strength for the long journey ahead. [http://leezagibbons.com/about/#sthash.wDXWDMcz.dpuf]

It is through these programs that Leeza has helped carry the burdens of others.

Dr. Drew Pinsky is a practicing physician, Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Board Certified in Addiction Medicine and a member of the staff at Huntington Memorial Hospital. Pinsky is also Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Keck USC School of Medicine.

Pinsky starred in the hit reality series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew which chronicled the struggle for sobriety and the cycle of addictive disorders of a group of celebrities. The sixth installment of the series Rehab with Dr. Drew followed the real-life experiences of everyday people who are struggling with addiction as they undergo detoxification and treatment. [http://drdrew.com/]

For over a decade, Dr. Drew Pinsky and his wife Susan Pinsky has been active as Co-Chair for Hillsides, a Los Angeles based children�s charity dedicated to improving the overall well-being and functioning of vulnerable children, youth and their families. Hillsides kicked off its Fifth Annual Foster Soles Charity Event with Elton John, Carson Daly and No Doubt. The charity provided high quality care, advocacy, and innovative services that promote safe permanent environments where young people can thrive. [http://www.consciousnessmagazine.com/DrDrew.htm]

Dr. Drew and his wife Susan are helping to carry the burdens of young children who need help.


Let us strive to love one another and help carry difficult burdens people face just as those above have!

AskMe #2825375 10/24/14 06:59 AM
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Proverbs 9:10 (NIV)
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

The heart must be principled with the fear of God; that is the beginning of wisdom. A reverence of God's majesty, and a dread of his wrath, are that fear of him which is the beginning, the first step towards true religion, whence all other instances of it take rise. [Matthew Henry]



Suppose you were exploring an unknown Greenland glacier in the dead of winter. Just as you reach the sheer cliff with a spectacular view of miles of jagged ice and mountains of snow, a terrible storm breaks in. The wind is so strong that the fear rises in your heart that it might blow you over the cliff. But in the midst of the storm you discover a cleft in the ice where you can hide. Here you feel secure.

But, even though secure, the awesome might of the storm rages on, and you watch it with a kind of trembling pleasure as it surges out across the distant glaciers. Not everything we call fear vanishes from your heart, only the life-threatening part. There remains the trembling, the awe, the wonder, the feeling that you would never want to tangle with such a storm or be the adversary of such a power.

And so it is with God. The fear of God is what is left of the storm when you have a safe place to watch right in the middle of it. Hope turns fear into a trembling and peaceful wonder; and fear takes everything trivial out of hope and makes it earnest and profound. The terrors of God make the pleasures of his people intense. The fireside fellowship is all the sweeter when the storm is howling outside the cottage. [John Piper, The Pleasures of God (Multnomah, 1991), pp. 205-206]


We have an awesome God! When we talk about the fear of The Lord we are talking about the mighty awesomeness of God that is so wonderful and so powerful it shakes the depths of our soul. For those of you who have had an experience like this with God you know what I am talking about. You have all the feelings of fear, but there is a great pleasure in knowing you have just seen God at work and you know God is on your side. Let us give The Lord praise for those moments in our lives!

AskMe #2825759 10/27/14 06:22 AM
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Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The written word of God is active and lively in all of its efforts. It grabs the conscience of a sinner and cuts into the heart to divide right from wrong. The word gives discernment to our thoughts and shows the intentions of our heart.



In Isaiah 55:11 God says, �It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.� God�s word will always prosper when it is heard. It will move the hearts of people to understand things they did not know. It will cause them to realize their faults and to make corrections in their life.

For years I have written devotions using God�s word from The Bible. I started writing my devotions as a way to encourage a friend who was dealing with depression. It became obvious after a while that the words I read from The Bible were just as much for me as they were for my friend. The words of The Bible became encouraging, uplifting, inspiration, pointed out my faults and showed that I was not alone in the world with my problems.

Over the years I expanded the list of people I sent devotions to. People would tell their friends and they would ask me to place their names on my email list. Then I started placing the devotions on websites for others to read.

There have been many times over the years people would write back to me and ask, �How did you know what I needed today?� Or they might have said, �I was struggling with an issue and the Bible verse you used gave me the answer I needed.

Let me stop right here and say, when I write, I am not spying into people�s lives. I also do not direct my devotions towards a particular person. I usually start with a Bible verse and expand my devotion from there. And most of the time I am writing to myself. So don�t get paranoid if it sounds like I am talking to you.

Let�s go back to the verses I referenced above. God�s word cuts into our heart and shows us the intentions of our heart. God�s word produces fruit in our lives that we can use to live out our life. We prosper when we hear God�s word and it moves our heart to follow the will of God.

So when you are touched by words in a devotional, God is the one using His word to touch your life. His word is filling your heart and telling you what you need to hear. His word does not come back void but produces fruit in you that you can use to live.

So my friends meditate on God�s word that you may enrich your life. Let it give you wisdom and discernment. Let it teach you the things God wants you to know.

AskMe #2825986 10/28/14 05:48 AM
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1 Peter 1:24-25 (NLT)
24 As the Scriptures say, �People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. 25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.� And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.

These words are reminders that we are live temporary lives here on earth. We blossom in our youth and wither away as we grow old. However God�s word promises us Good News of an everlasting eternal life. It is become of God�s love that we have the hope of eternal life found in Jesus Christ.



Many years ago, a doting groom penned a love letter to his bride. Stationed at a California military base thousands of miles away from his wife, James Bracy's link to the lovely woman waiting for him to come home were their love letters.

But this letter didn't get delivered. Somehow it was lost, lodged between two walls in Fort Ord's mailroom in San Francisco. The letter was lost in the shadows, with its romantic affections of a youthful marriage, sealed with a kiss.

A half century later, James and Sallie Bracy had just finished celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and were relaxing in the living room when "Once in a While," their song, began to play on the radio. Sallie remembered affectionately the 1950s song and how she used to get calls and letters from the man who owned her heart. They joked together knowing there would be no letter or phone call this time because James was at her side.

Meanwhile, a construction crew was dismantling the old post office at Fort Ord, and they discovered a long-forgotten letter from a young army corporal. The crew turned the letter over to Bob Spadoni, the postmaster in nearby Monterey. Spadoni began the process of delivering that letter, tracking down the Bracys through post office records and phone books.

Just a few days after hearing their song, the letter, dated January 28, 1955, was delivered to Sallie Bracy. The letter sent her heart aflutter, tears welled, and she again became a love-struck 22-year-old. "It meant a lot to me then," said Sallie. "It means even more now."

Many years ago God wrote his love letter to us. It's waiting to be delivered, to be opened at just the right time. It meant a lot then, and it means even more now. [Drew Zahn, assistant editor, Leadership Journal; source: "After 46 years lost in post office, love letter finally arrives," Jefferson City News Tribune (4-25-01)]


The Bible contains God�s words to us. They are words of direction, words of encouragement, words of hope and words of an eternal life with Him. God has written us a love letter of things yet to be seen. John 3:16 tells us, �For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.�

AskMe #2826229 10/29/14 07:12 AM
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Proverbs 29:11 (NKJV)
11 A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.

A wise man will not utter all his mind at once, but will take time for a second thought, or reserve the present thought for a fitter time, when it will be more pertinent and likely to answer his intention; he will not deliver himself in a continued speech, or starched discourse, but with pauses, that he may hear what is to be objected and answer it. [Matthew Henry]



As a young woman, Frances Havergal, author of the hymns, "Take My Life and Let It Be" and "Like a River Glorious," had a very quick temper the kind that would explode. Afterward she would be mortified and confess it to the Lord. But then she would lose her temper, again and again.

One day after a particularly bad explosion, she threw herself down by her bed and wept. She prayed, "Lord, must it always be so? Will I always have this temper to keep me humble before you?"

While she was on her knees, the Lord injected a verse of Scripture in her mind: "The Egyptians whom you have seen today you will see no more forever." God spoke these words to Moses when the Egyptians pursued the Israelites to take them back into bondage. Havergal related the verse to her temper and the way in which Satan wanted to use it to pull her into bondage. She saw that God could take her temper away.

She asked, "Lord, could it be forever?"

It seemed to her that the words came back from the Lord, "Yes. No more, forever."

Her sister said that from that day Frances Havergal never again lost her temper. She believed God, and God did a miracle. [J. Oswald Sanders, "How Do You Love?" Discipleship Journal (March/April 1981)]


My wife and I will often watch Dr. Drew on HLN in the evenings. Last night on the show a Facebook poll was shown on Jodi Arias as to whether she could be rehabilitated. 95% of the respondents said no, while only 4% said yes.

Most of the people saying she cannot be rehabilitated see the hard callousness of Jodi Arias and what appears to be a very unrepentant person. The remorse one would expect from such an act of murder just isn�t there as many would expect.

God can bring about changes in anyone. For Frances Havergal,she had an explosive temper that she begged God to take away. As she cried out to God for change, God listened. As she heard God she questioned the response, �Lord, could it be forever?� What she heard was, �Yes. No more, forever.� And from that point she never lost her temper again.

Let us all pray for Jodi Arias that she will humble herself before God and ask for the changes that need to take place in her life. Let God respond that she may hear the answers she needs. Let God bring about change in the life of Jodi Arias and in the lives of others that we may see God�s power and might. God can change anyone!

AskMe #2826388 10/30/14 07:41 AM
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Matthew 27:51-53 (NLT)
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

It is unknown who the saints were that arose from their graves and went into Jerusalem where they appeared to many people. �That Jesus Christ, by dying, conquered, disarmed, and disabled, death. These saints that arose, were the present trophies of the victory of Christ's cross over the powers of death, which he thus made a show of openly. Having by death destroyed him that had the power of death, he thus led captivity captive, and gloried in these re-taken prizes, in them fulfilling that scripture, I will ransom them from the power of the grave.�



All Hallows Eve is a yearly celebration that takes place on October 31th. It has also been called Halloween as a contraction of Hallows Evening. It is a time to remember the dead, including the saints, the martyrs and all the faithful departed Godly believers. The traditional focus of All Hallows' Eve revolves around the theme of using "humor and ridicule to confront the power of death.�

Over time Halloween changed as other customs were incorporated. Some believe pagan traditions were allowed to be mixed with Christian celebration so as to incorporate the non-believers into participating in the Christian holidays.

Today we have a mix of many traditions during the Halloween season. There are those who try to keep Christian traditions. There are those who participate in the fun of going house to house asking for candy, which grew out of an ancient English tradition of begging for soul cakes on Hallows Eve in order to pray for the dead of the house. And while many traditions are for fun, we have to be careful to separate the fun from the maliciousness of Satan and his demons.

Halloween has caused many to believe in ghosts and evil spirits, but The Bible infers demons pose as the dead in order to trick and deceive us. However, as in the verses above there have been times when those who had passed away came back to life. The Apostles were witnesses to those faithful to God, had died and then appeared to them. Lazarus arose from the grave and appeared to his friends and family. Christ has the power over death, but Satan and his demons only have the power to deceive us about the truth of death.

So let me wrap up by saying enjoy Halloween and the festivities around it, but avoid anything that does not line up with the word of God. It may be there are times when the image of someone may appear to speak for God, but if that were to happen it is to give glory to God and to comfort whoever may be the witness to such event.

AskMe #2826541 10/31/14 07:19 AM
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1 Peter 5:8-9 (NKJV)
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

These verses are a solemn warning. With a roar, a lion proclaims dominion over a territory and calls out to other lions to come and partake of the meal that has been captured. So we are warned to watch out, to resist the temptations of Satan through a steadfast faith in The Lord; with the understanding that those who are faithful to God will always be tempted. We should never forgot that the one who deceives us, wait for an opportunity to take us.



In a classic "Twilight Zone" episode from 1960, an American on a walking trip through central Europe gets caught in a raging storm. Staggering through the blinding rain, he chances upon an imposing medieval castle. It is a hermitage for a brotherhood of monks. The reclusive monks reluctantly take him in.

Later that night, the American discovers a cell with a man locked inside. An ancient wooden staff bolts the door. The prisoner claims he's being held captive by the "insane" head monk, Brother Jerome. He pleads for the American to release him.

The prisoner's kindly face and gentle voice win him over. The American confronts Brother Jerome, who declares that the prisoner is actually none other than Satan, "the father of lies," held captive by the Staff of Truth, the one barrier he cannot pass.

This incredible claim convinces the American that Jerome is indeed mad. As soon as he gets the chance, he releases the prisoner�who immediately transforms into a hideous, horned demon and vanishes in a puff of smoke!

The stunned American is horrified at the realization of what he has done. Jerome responds sympathetically. "I'm sorry for you, my son. All your life you will remember this night and whom you have turned loose upon the world."

"I didn't believe you," the American replies. "I saw him and didn't recognize him"�to which Jerome solemnly observes, "That is man's weakness and Satan's strength." [Kevin Stump, "Is the Devil Dead?" The Plain Truth, (Mar/Apr 2001)]


In Luke 21:8 Jesus spoke, �And He said: �Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, �I am He,� and, �The time has drawn near.� Therefore do not go after them.�

Be careful in this world for there are many already deceived by Satan because he has called them to come and abide with him. Having been deceived they set out to deceive others and draw them into the snares that wait. Do not be deceived, stand firm in the power and the might of The Lord.

AskMe #2826716 11/03/14 07:42 AM
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Romans 13:1 (NKJV)
13 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

�There is no power but of God. God as the ruler and governor of the world hath appointed the ordinance of magistracy, so that all civil power is derived from him as from its original, and he hath by his providence put the administration into those hands, whatever they are that have it. By him kings reign, Prov. 8:15. The usurpation of power and the abuse of power are not of God, for he is not the author of sin; but the power itself is. As our natural powers, though often abused and made instruments of sin, are from God's creating power, so civil powers are from God's governing power.� ~Matthew Henry



Joel Belz wrote in World Magazine, 07/22/2006, an article �Tender Toughness�: The sentence still jumps out at me from the middle of an editorial in The Wall Street Journal. It's been half a decade since I read it, but it was one of those electric expressions that you can't forget: "People want to be lightly governed," the writer said, "by strong governments."

That's what you've wanted since you were a small child. You wanted your dad to be big and strong and able to do anything you could think of�except that, when he dealt with you, it had to be with gentleness and tenderness. You wanted a policeman on the corner tough enough to handle any neighborhood bully, but who would also hoist you to his shoulders and help you find your parents when you got lost in the crowd.

Lots of muscle; lots of restraint. There's an innate yearning in almost all of us for that rare combination. When evil people rise up, we want a government with the clout to back them down. Yet we never want that clout turned on us.

In the final analysis, people want to be lightly governed by strong governments because that's how God governs. The omnipotent ruler of the universe is also the one who invites us tenderly: "Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."


There is a lot to be said about the contrast of God�s use of power compared to man�s use of power. In our corrupted world man may use power for either good or evil. We see this in the contrast of nations. Leaders take power and abuse that power to beat the people into submission. In other countries leaders use power to establish trust, to make the best use of resources, and to govern fairly the people for which they are responsible for.

However when we think of God, we think of someone who loves us dearly. God�s power reins above any and all power, yet God restrains His power to show love, compassion, mercy and grace. God uses His great power to protect and still keeps His people safe and secure. We should all desire to live under God�s rule for He is just, righteous, fair, impartial, loving, caring, merciful, gracious and most of all mighty. Pray that God would guide the nations to impart His righteousness and justice to all.

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2 Corinthians 3:6 (NLT)
6 He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

As able ministers of the New Testament, they were ministers not merely of the letter, to read the written word, or to preach the letter of the gospel only, but they were ministers of the Spirit also; the Spirit of God did accompany their ministrations. The letter killeth; this the letter of the law does, for that is the ministration of death; and if we rest only in the letter of the gospel we shall be never the better for so doing, for even that will be a savour of death unto death; but the Spirit of the gospel, going along with the ministry of the gospel, giveth life spiritual and life eternal. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



If you've read the book The Hunger Games or seen the movie you'll know the plot revolves around a horrible contest fought between young representatives of twelve futuristic districts. The winner of the Hunger Games is the last one standing as the contestants are forced to kill each other to stay alive. When the authorities come to choose the contestants�one boy and one girl�from District 12 for the 74th annual Hunger Games, the name of Primrose (or Prim) Everdeen is plucked from a large bowl containing all the children's name. As the authorities lead Primrose away, her older sister Katniss suddenly intervenes and shouts Prim's name. The guards stop Katniss from approaching Prim, but Katniss shouts, "No! I volunteer! I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!" So Katniss becomes the representative for District 12.

Katniss provides a moving example of courage and sacrificial love. After all, she voluntarily substitutes herself for another human being. But it's also an understandable substitution. She does it for her little sister. It's admirable, but it's the kind of thing we hope we'd all do for our younger siblings or our children or our spouses.

But Jesus' substitution doesn't work like that. Whose place does Jesus the Messiah take? He takes the place of people like the cowardly disciples, the scheming religious leaders, and spineless politicians. He takes the place of people like the blood-stained Barabbas and the cursing criminal. The people are the reason that Jesus has to drink the cup of God's wrath. We're the reason that Jesus is dying. How could we ever take this for granted? [Gary Millar, "Jesus, Betrayed and Crucified," PreachingToday.com]


Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ are ministers of the message of love that Christ demonstrated to all people. When Jesus was dying on a cross there were two criminals dying alongside of him. One criminals was spewing vile curses, while the other asked for respect for a man who had done no wrong. This man said, �Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.� And Jesus replied, �I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.�

Would you volunteer to die for another? They at least let others know about Jesus Christ who died for all of us that we all may partake in eternal life in heaven.

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Roman 13:8-10 (NKJV)
8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, �You shall not commit adultery,� �You shall not murder,� �You shall not steal,� �You shall not bear false witness,� �You shall not covet,� and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, �You shall love your neighbor as yourself.� 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The apostle sums up many of the Ten Commandments by saying �You shall love your neighbor as yourself.� For we all want what is good for our lives and if we supply the same to others hopefully they will be appreciative for the things we do and extend the save favor to others.



An act of kindness at a Starbucks drive-thru in Florida inspired an 11-hour chain of paying-it-forward.

A woman drove up and paid for her own iced coffee at 7 a.m. Wednesday at a St. Petersburg store, and also asked to pay for a caramel macchiato for the driver behind her, who then did the same for the next customer.

After a few people continued the chain, the employees started keeping a tally on a piece of paper by the window.

By 1:30 p.m., 260 people had paid it forward, according to the Tampa Bay Times, ordering their own drinks and paying for one for the stranger behind them. After people ordered their drinks and drove up to the window, barista Vu Nguyen explained that the drink had already been paid for and asked if they'd like to return the favor. In total, 378 people agreed to keep it going.

The baristas thought that if the chain lasted until closing, at 10 p.m., they would put the remaining money on a gift card and continue the next day, according to the Tampa Bay Times. But the chain finally ended in that evening.

At 6 p.m., the 379th customer ended the chain by ordering a coffee and declining to pay for the next one. [Paulina Firozi, USA Today Network 10:12 a.m. EDT August 21, 2014]


It was a small act of kindness. The first person made the greatest sacrifice by paying for their order and then for the car behind then. The rest of the cars just paid the other cars bill, whatever it might have been. Maybe their order was four dollars, which had been paid by the car in front of them, but the car behind them might have had a ten dollar bill. Yet people did this for most of the day treating others as they would like to be treated until one person stopped the chain.

The act was just a nice gesture by people that probably put a few smiles on others faces. Look for opportunities to do good things. Don�t just avoid the things that hurt people, but do things that help other people and find the blessing in it.

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I did a couple days ago!

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1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NKJV)
2 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Here the Apostle Paul reminds Timothy to pray for all people. They are to plead on the behalf of their needs and also give thanks for all people. Those in authority should especially be prayed for. These prayers are for a peaceful life lived in godliness and reverence.




In When Being Good Isn�t Enough, Steve Brown writes: Early in my ministry I counseled a woman who, some twenty years before, had been unfaithful to her husband. For years that sin had haunted her. I was the first person she had ever told about it. After we talked and prayed for a long time, I recommended she tell her husband. (That, by the way, isn't always the advice I give. In this case, I knew the woman's husband and knew that her revelation, after the initial shock, would probably strengthen their marriage.) It wasn't easy for her, but she promised she would tell him. "Pastor," she said, "I trust you enough to do what you ask, but if my marriage falls apart as a result, I want you to know I'm going to blame you." She didn't smile when she said that, either.

That's when I commenced to pray with a high degree of seriousness. (I pray best when I'm scared.) "Father," I prayed, "if I gave her dumb advice, forgive me and clean up my mess." I saw her the next day, and she looked fifteen years younger. "What happened?" I asked. "When I told him," she exclaimed, "he replied that he had known about the incident for twenty years and was just waiting for me to tell him so he could tell me how much he loved me!" And then she started to laugh. "He forgave me twenty years ago, and I've been needlessly carrying all this guilt for all these years!" Perhaps you are like this woman: you've already been forgiven years ago, but you don't know God's forgiveness. Instead, you've been haunted by a load of guilt for years. [Steve Brown, When Being Good Isn't Enough (Lucid Books, 2014), pp. 10-11]


Prayer is a powerful tool we all have at our disposal. The Apostle reminds us to pray for all people. Those prayers should include us, our families, our friends, our leaders and even those who have wronged us. Jesus told us, �whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.�

Prayers can be spontaneous, they can be deliberate, that can be silent, and they can be spoken with others that they may agree in spirit with the prayer. Prayers can tell God about the joys of life and praises you have for God. Prayers can also relay disappointments and painful experiences that you desire God to heal.

God may not always answer our prayers the way we desire, but God has a plan for those prayers to answer them for our good.

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Jonah 1:1-3 (NKJV)
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 �Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.� 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

The people of Nineveh were wicked and God told Jonah to go pray and preach to the city that they might return to God. Jonah didn�t want to, instead he chose to �pay� the fare to go the opposite direction that God desired him to go.



The other day I wrote a devotional about praying for all people. A friend asked, �How does this square with the preponderance of people praying that "God bless America"?�

I believe we all need to be praying for America, but not just for blessings, but that we would know God and that this country would find a revival of God in our lives. We should desire God�s wisdom, justice and liberties. For when God is with us, who can be against us?

We should also remember to pray for countries stricken with famine and disease. We need to pray for those who are less fortunate and need care. We should pray they too would know God�s love, acceptance and salvation. For understanding God can turn the hearts of people from wickedness to something beautiful just as the preaching�s of Jonah did in Nineveh.

As Christians we are all ambassadors for Christ. Our lives are to represent Christ and we are to spread His message of salvation to all people. We are not to selfishly think of just America, but of other countries and other people. We are to take actions to help those we pray for.

Irving Berlin wrote the song �God bless America�. Irving was a Russian Jewish immigrant. Nicolass II, the Russian Tzar had revived anti-Jewish pogroms of brutality. As a child, Irving had watched his home burn. His family fled to America, which became a safe haven. It was in that understanding that �God bless America� was written. Berlin's daughter, Mary Ellen Berlin-Barrett, states that the song was actually "very personal" for her father, and was intended as an expression of his deep gratitude to the nation for merely "allowing" him, an immigrant raised in poverty, to become a successful songwriter.

President Nixon was the first president to use the words, �God bless America�, in a speech. In the heat of Water Gate, Nixon finished a damage control speech by saying, "Tonight, I ask for your prayers to help me in everything I do throughout the days of my presidency," he said. "God bless America and God bless each and every one of you." As we know there were later consequences for the unlawful actions that had been taken. I don�t believe God blessed America through those actions.

So while it is not a bad thing to say �God bless America�, we need to keep our focus on God and less on America. For God is our provider, our deliverer and our salvation. Let us all praise God and that all people would turn to Him.

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1 John 2:15-16 (NKJV)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world�the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life�is not of the Father but is of the world.

The apostle gives a warning to not love the world of things of the world. The world is corrupted by sin and our natural self is often drawn to the sin in the world. Our focus should be on God and His desires; for our stay on earth is but a moment compared to the eternity of a life in heaven.



Richard S. Halverson, the former U.S. Senate Chaplain, used to challenge people with the following image:

You're going to meet an old man [or woman] someday down the road�ten, thirty, fifty years from now�waiting there for you. You'll be catching up with him [or her]. What kind of old man are you going to meet? He may be a seasoned, soft, gracious fellow�a gentleman who has grown old gracefully, surrounded by hosts of friends, friends who call him blessed because of what his life has meant to them. Or he may be a bitter, disillusioned, dried-up old buzzard without a good word for anyone�soured, friendless, and alone.

That old man will be you. He'll be the composite of everything you do, say, and think�today and tomorrow. His mind will he see in a mold you have made by your beliefs. His heart will be turning out what you've been putting into it. Every little thought, every deed goes into this old man.

Every day in every way you are becoming more and more like yourself. Amazing but true. You're beginning to look more like yourself, think more like yourself, and talk more like yourself. You're becoming yourself more and more. Live only in terms of what you're getting out of life and the old man gets smaller drier harder crabbier more self-centered. Open your life to others, think in terms of what you can give, your contribution to life, and the old man grows larger, softer, kindlier, and greater.
[Daniel Henderson, The Deeper Life (Bethany House Publishers, 2014), pp 165-166]


What is in the past is there and has been left behind. It is unchangeable and permanent. However, the future is not fixed. As each day comes we can make it into something beautiful that creates in us a loving, gentle, kind and gracious person. Let us strip away our pride and give our hearts to The Lord that He would mold up and shape us into what He wants us to become. Look away from the world and look towards The Lord.

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1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)
4 Love does not give up. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. Love does not put itself up as being important. Love has no pride. 5 Love does not do the wrong thing. Love never thinks of itself. Love does not get angry. Love does not remember the suffering that comes from being hurt by someone. 6 Love is not happy with sin. Love is happy with the truth. 7 Love takes everything that comes without giving up. Love believes all things. Love hopes for all things. Love keeps on in all things.

The apostle expresses that he could do acts of charity, but without love there is no meaning behind his work. So in there verses he provides a description of what love should look like.



Apologist, author, and speaker Josh McDowell writes:

Tolerance says, "You must approve of what I do." Love responds, "I must do something harder: I will love you, even when your behavior offends me."

Tolerance says, "You must agree with me." Love responds, "I must do something harder: I will tell you the truth, because I am convinced 'the truth will set you free.'"

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 glorifies division; love seeks unity. Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything.


Two items the apostle points out shows the tenacity of love. He says, Love does not give up; and Love keeps on in all things. Think of the life of Christ. Even with all the harsh comments made by religious leaders, Christ kept going and never stopped loving people. In the face of death Christ did not give up, but instead surrendered Himself to the will of God and gave His life out of love for us.

Over the years I have seen families divide over their own pride. Often it was because someone felt wronged and neither side wanted to release their pride to give in. Marriages have broken up because one or both of the spouses were only thinking of themselves. One would get angry over what the other was doing and could not let go of that anger.

It is easier to tolerate something than to love something; but over time tolerance grows old and starts to break down. There gets to be a point where people give up and stop trying. Instead of tolerating people around you, let us all try to learn to love the people around us. We still keep safe boundaries to protect ourselves, but we can still love in the right an appropriate ways even with boundaries.

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1 Peter 2:15-16 (NLT)
15 It is God�s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God�s slaves, so don�t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.

A Christian must endeavour, in all relations, to behave himself so as to put to silence the unreasonable reproaches of the most ignorant and foolish men. [Matthew Henry�s Commentary]



In the Navy there is a term Liberty, which means time off from the daily routine of work. However, there are certain rules that must be followed for Liberty, especially for new graduating recruits.

1. Graduating Sailors may not smoke, drive, or consume alcoholic beverages while on liberty.
2. Graduating Sailors must stay within a 50-mile radius of RTC.
3. Graduating Sailors must remain in their complete uniform while on liberty. If they are engaging in physical activity or swimming, they must be in authorized Navy issued workout gear.
4. Recruits reporting to A School at Training Support Center Great Lakes will detach from RTC on Friday. All other recruits will depart on Saturday. To get the most accurate information please contact your recruit.
5. Families may not enter the base after graduation and will need to meet graduating Sailors for liberty at the main RTC gate.
6. Graduating Sailors departing RTC for follow-on training the same day as graduation or in a duty status will be granted limited on-base liberty.
7. Graduating Sailors receive an in-depth liberty briefing prior to their graduation day.

So while they have freedom to go out and enjoy life, there are rules they must follow or they will face the consequences for their misconduct.


In the same way Christians have a freedom or liberty in their lives. They have been made free from the slavery of sin. However, their lives should still reflect an honorable life that would silence accusations brought about by anyone. They belong to God and should therefore act as one of God�s children.

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Proverbs 14:29 NLT
29 People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.

There are those whose fiery passion is unbridled and invoked without notice to others. It can come in an instant without explanation and shows great foolishness on the part of the person when their temper rages.



A simple but marvelous illustration of nonirritable love took place during a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals during the 2009 pennant race. Phillies fan Steve Montforto was sitting with three-year-old daughter Emily when a foul ball curled back into the upper deck. Montforto leaned over the railing to catch his first and only foul ball�every fans dream. But when he handed the ball to little Emily, immediately she threw it back over the railing and down into the lower deck. Everyone gasped. Monforto himself was as surprised as anyone to see her throw the ball away. But rather than getting irritated with his little girl, he did what a loving father should do: he wrapped his daughter up in a tender embrace.

This is the way God loves us. He puts gifts into our hands that we could never catch for ourselves. Without realizing what we are doing, sometimes, we throw them away. Yet rather than getting irritated with us, he loves us again. Then he gives us the freedom to go love someone else with the same kind of love. He even gives us the grace to go back to people who throw our love away and love them all over again. [Phil Ryken, Loving the Way Jesus Loves (Crossway, 2012), page 58]


Anger is what many psychologists call a secondary emotion, because behind the anger are other emotions pushing a person towards anger. For the father above instead of being surprised, he could have been easily disappointed to have lost the ball he wanted so much to catch. Disappointment could have turned to anger and then anger could have exploded with criticism towards his daughter. Instead even though he was surprised about his daughter�s actions; he had the understanding to control any anger and show love towards his daughter. Let us all learn to stop our emotions before we reach anger by understanding our triggers and learning to turn our feelings towards love for the other person.

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Psalm 119:105 (NLT)
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

Psalmist reminds us that God�s word guides people in good ways. His word helps them not trip and stumble as they go through life.



There have been people throughout history who have tried to destroy the words of God. Scrolls and Bibles have been burned in an attempt to keep people from the knowledge of God. The Bible even speaks of King Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, who burned the scroll of Jerimiah. Yet God had Jerimiah dictate another scroll that lasted thousands of years.

People are afraid of God�s word for it holds truth, wisdom and knowledge. It also talks about man and his failures and the troubles that comes when man does not follow the wisdom of God. It talks about the punishment man receives as consequences for his action. These words put fear into man and they believe that just by removing God�s word they can also remove God.

However, God is always present and can always redirect man. God has put His Holy Spirit among men that his word is present in their hearts. They know right from wrong and it becomes their decision to make the right or wrong choice.


Choose today to follow the words of God for they shall make a path in your life that will lead you to a prosperous and rewarding life. Let God direct the ways of your life.

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