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AskMe #2828899 11/18/14 07:04 AM
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Philippians 1:4 (NLT)
4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy

In the opening letter to the Philippians the apostles greets them and then shares with them that when he thinks of them, he prays from them. It is a joyful thing for him to remember his friends and give prayers to God on their behalf.




When I was little we use to visit my grandmother�s sister on occasions. Her husband�s name was Charlie. As it was customary to do before a meal, Charlie would say the blessing. Charlie�s blessings were short and sweet. He always gave a blessing quick enough so everyone could start eating. It was the intent of Charlie�s heart that counted.

When we pray for others it does not have to be complicated and drawn out. Prayers can be simple remembrances for the needs of others. We can do as the apostle did and when we think of someone and their need, we can stop and pray.

Often I have friends tell me they kept me in their prayers over the week. I am always appreciative for those who pray for me because I know they were thinking of me. They took the time to ask God to fill specific needs in my life.

In turn I also pray for people. As people run across my mind I stop and say a prayer for them. Sometimes I am asking God to answer a need. Sometimes I am asking God to heal a person. Other times I might be asking God to provide comfort and safety. Whatever the request I know God hears and will respond appropriately.


Never hesitate to remember others in your prayers. Pray for their safety, their health, their emotional needs, marriage or whatever thought crosses your mind. For The Bible tells us that God hears the prayers of the righteous. And while you are at it, remember your own needs and pray for them as well.

AskMe #2829087 11/19/14 07:22 AM
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Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)
21 You can make many plans, but the Lord�s purpose will prevail.

This proverb tells us that we can make all the plans our heart desires, but if The Lord has a purpose that needs to be fulfilled that purpose will prevail over our plans.



Many of us have grown up hearing the story of Jonah and the whale. The Bible says, �The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: �Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.�

As a prophet it was Jonah�s mission to spread God�s word to other areas. God has chosen Jonah to go to Nineveh to speak against the great wickedness taking place there and to give the people a chance to repent towards God. Yet Jonah wasn�t happy with the mission he was assigned. He knew the wickedness of Nineveh and in his mind believed the city deserved whatever consequences it might receive.

So what does Jonah do? Jonah pays for a fare on a ship heading the opposite direction. Jonah was determined to go as far away from Nineveh as he could. I�m sure he thought if I�m not there, surely I can�t preach to the people of the city. And if I can�t preach to the people then they can�t repent.

God had different plans for Jonah. A violent storm came up tossing the ship Jonah was on all about. While the crew attempted to keep the boat under control Jonah slept. The crew called to their gods, but no help came. They threw the cargo overboard in hopes of making the ship lighter, still the storm persisted. They woke Jonah to pray to his God for help. They were desperate, so desperate they cast lots to see who might be the cause of their problems.

The Bible then says, �When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit. �Why has this awful storm come down on us?� they demanded. �Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?� Jonah answered, �I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.� The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the Lord. �Oh, why did you do it?� they groaned. And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, �What should we do to you to stop this storm?� �Throw me into the sea,� Jonah said, �and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.�

Jonah decided he would just surrender to the sea instead of going to Nineveh. So they threw him over and a great fish swallowed Jonah and took him to Nineveh.

After being in the fish for 3 days and nights, time Jonah was ready to preach to the city of Nineveh and when he did The Bible says, �The people of Nineveh believed God�s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes.�

Despite Jonah�s determination to avoid helping the city of Nineveh, The Bible says, �When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.� God�s purpose had prevailed despite the plans of Jonah.

AskMe #2829269 11/20/14 07:09 AM
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Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

The apostle gives encouragement to the Galatians. Though we all grow weary in our efforts to do well; there is a benefit to not giving up. We must press forward with good hope that we can accomplish what we set out to do.



R. L. Russell writes in �Triumphing over Trials�, John Claypool, when he was the preacher of the Crescent Hill Baptist Church here in town, had a little daughter who suffered with leukemia. When she went into remission, everybody thought maybe God had healed her. On an Easter Sunday morning she went into a terrible recurrence. In his book, Tracks of a Fellow Struggler, Claypool relates how for two weeks his daughter was wracked with pain, her eyes swollen shut. She asked him, "Daddy, did you talk to God about my leukemia?"

He said, "Yes, dear, we've been praying for you."

She asked, "Did you ask him how long the leukemia would last? What did God say?"

What do you say to your daughter when you can't help her, and the heavens are silent? Emotionally and spiritually he was exhausted. A few hours later, she died. The following Sunday morning, John Claypool got into the pulpit to preach. I've heard the tape. It's one of the most powerful sermons I've heard. He preached on (Isaiah 40:31), which says, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Dr. Claypool said something to the effect, "There are three stages of life. Sometimes we mount up with wings as an eagle and fly. We're on top of the world. Sometimes we run, and we don't grow weary. We just go through the routine. Sometimes it's all we can do to walk and not faint, and I need your prayers and your encouragement."

At the moment John Claypool was at his lowest, he preached probably his most influential sermon. Perhaps his greatest contribution came at his darkest hour. He could have said like Paul, "For when I am weak, then I am strong."


There are some of you reading this thinking, �It is all I can do to walk and not faint today.� You have been through some tough struggles. Maybe life has been unfair in various ways and you just seem to be pushed to the bottom of life�s barrel.

But let us always remember, �When we are weak, then we are made strong.� The grace and mercy of Christ comes through in those difficult moments to life us up and keep us moving.

For those who are struggling, I pray God will minister to you, comfort you, calm you, nurture you, and care for you. Even when you don�t feel like loving yourself, just know God loves you more than you will ever know.

AskMe #2829434 11/21/14 08:52 AM
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Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Filthy and unclean words and discourse are poisonous and infectious, as putrid rotten meat: they proceed from and prove a great deal of corruption in the heart of the speaker, and tend to corrupt the minds and manners of others who hear them; and therefore Christians should beware of all such discourse. [Matthew Henry]



This morning I was listening to a video blog by Karamo Brown. Karamo Brown is a television personality, single father of two boys and prides himself on being a trusted friend. I enjoy listening to him.The question he posed was �Are White People Wrong For Using The N-Word?� This blog was prompted by a video of a 15 year old Justin Bieber who flippantly used the N-Word in an interview.

While Justin apologized for his comments there were still many people who were hurt. The corrupted words that came out corrupted the thoughts of others into disgust and hatred. The words did not encourage, but discouraged those who were offended.

Karamo made a statement I liked, �Stop teaching those that are ignorant that their ignorance is OK.� In other words, no matter who you are, don�t use language that makes it seem acceptable for others to use.

I�m white and personally the N-Word offends me. If someone asked me have you said it, I would have to admit I have. There is no denying it. I was raised in the South and it was a word I often heard as a kid. I may have repeated it. I may have used the word to indicate something was rigged up in an unacceptable manner, but at no time did I used the word towards another person. As I have grown older, I won�t even use or repeat the word.

I can tell you how messed up all this is. I went to see a black comedian who I enjoyed watching on TV. My wife and I were 1 of 3 white couples at the shows. Several black comedians came out to perform their routines and most used the N-word. It was used so many times that night I couldn�t even give you an estimate of the number of times it was used. Embarrassing to me, blacks sitting around us laughed when it was used. In this instance my wife and I were the ones feeling uncomfortable about a word we dislike.

So Karamo is right, we need to keep away from corrupt talking so as to build up others. If others hear us tear ourselves down and laugh others are most likely going to learn to do the same. Let us all learn to say things that build each other up and not hurt one another. I love encouraging others and the best way to encourage is to use affirming words.

Would you take a stand with me not to use words that tear down people? Would you instead help build up people and affirm them so they know they are valuable? For God the Father sees everyone as precious and valuable and so should we.

AskMe #2830001 11/24/14 07:55 AM
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Proverbs 24:26 (NLT)
26 An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship.

An honest answer tempered with wisdom is always the best answer to give. For like a kiss of friendship an honest answer is trusting and shows the affection of friendship.



After interviewing business leaders at over 100 companies, the authors of a 2012 Harvard Business Review article concluded: "Smart leaders today � engage with employees in a way that resembles an ordinary person-to-person conversation." According to the authors, an essential part of "ordinary person-to-person conversation" involves listening well and getting honest feedback.

They use the following story as an example: James E. Rogers, the president and CEO at Duke Energy, instituted a series of what he called "listening sessions." In a series of three-hour meetings, he invited the people he led to raise any pressing issues. He also asked for their brutally honest feedback about his own leadership performance. The authors of the article wrote:

He asked employees at one session to grade him on a scale of A to F. The results, recorded anonymously, immediately appeared on a screen for all to see. The grades were generally good, but less than half of the employees were willing to give him an A. He took the feedback seriously and began to conduct the exercise regularly. He also began asking open-ended questions about his performance. Somewhat ironically, he found that "internal communication" was the area in which the highest number of participants believed he had room for improvement. Even as Rogers sought to get close to employees by way of [conversation], a fifth of his people were urging him to get closer still. True listening involves taking the bad with the good, absorbing criticism even when it is direct and personal�and even when those delivering it work for you. [Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind, "Leadership Is a Conversation," Harvard Business Review (June 2012)]


It is not always easy the listen to the honesty of others. Sometimes it hurts a little when someone gives us some constructive criticism to help us grow. It�s not always pleasant to hear our faults and know that we have imperfections. The truth is none of us are perfect. We all have faults and flaws and if we can just listen and for the areas where we need to change we can start growing into something better. All of us have room for improvement so open your arms wide to an honest answer.

AskMe #2830431 11/26/14 10:45 PM
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You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

For American Thanksgiving today, the Revised Common Lectionary has the following readings:

Deuteronomy 8:7-18

7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

11 �Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 Beware lest you say in your heart, �My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.� 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Psalm 65

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song.

Praise is due to you,[a] O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
2 O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
3 When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!

5 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
6 the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
7 who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
8 so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

9 You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully[a] will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,

�He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.�

10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they[c] will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

[b]Luke 17:11-19


On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers,[a] who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, �Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.� 14 When he saw them he said to them, �Go and show yourselves to the priests.� And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, �Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?� 19 And he said to him, �Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.

Last edited by markos; 11/26/14 10:46 PM.

If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 19 years. Father of 8.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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John 1:1-2, 14 NLT
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father�s one and only Son.

These verses remind us that Christ was fully God and existed with God before living among us as a man. Christ�s love for us was unfailing. He gave His life that we could be free from sin.



Joshua Bell emerged from the Metro and positioned himself against a wall beside a trash basket. By most measures, he was nondescript�a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt, and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money and began to play.

For the next 45 minutes, in the D.C. Metro on January 12, 2007, Bell played Mozart and Schubert as over 1,000 people streamed by, most hardly taking notice. If they had paid attention, they might have recognized the young man for the world-renowned violinist he is. They also might have noted the violin he played�a rare Stradivarius worth over $3 million. It was all part of a project arranged by The Washington Post�"an experiment in context, perception, and priorities�as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste. In a banal setting, at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?"

Just three days earlier, Joshua Bell sold out Boston Symphony Hall, with ordinary seats going for $100. In the subway, Bell garnered about $32 from the 27 people who stopped long enough to give a donation. [Gene Weingarten, "Pearls Before Breakfast," The Washington Post (4-10-07); submitted by Stephen Nordbye, Charlton, Massachusetts]


Christ appeared to the world for all to know The Good News of salvation. However, there are many people who still do not recognize Christ for who He is. Christ died to save us from the sins of the world. Share the news with those who do not know Christ. Pray for those who do not know Christ. Most of all praise Christ for the wonderful works He has done. May those who don�t know Christ come to know Him.

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Hebrews 1:1-2 (ESV)
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Here the apostle begins with a general declaration of the excellency of the gospel dispensation above that of the law, which he demonstrates from the different way and manner of God's communicating himself and his mind and will to men in the one and in the other: both these dispensations were of God, and both of them very good, but there is a great difference in the way of their coming from God. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



Thomas Brooks was an English Puritan preacher and author in the 1600s. Though he's best known for his many books and theological treatises, we have several of his sermons in print, some of which are funeral sermons. In one funeral sermon, Brooks reminds his listeners that for the believer, death not only ceases to be our conqueror; death actually becomes God's meek helper. He wrote: "Death is another Moses: it delivers believers out of bondage, and from making bricks in Egypt." He continued:

Remember this�death does that in a moment, which no graces, no duties, nor any ordinances could do for a man all his lifetime! Death frees a [person] from those diseases, corruptions, temptations � that no duties, nor graces, nor ordinances could do �. Every prayer then [when we die] shall have its answer; all hungering and thirsting shall be filled and satisfied; every sigh, groan, and tear that has fallen from the saints' eyes shall then be recompensed. That is not death but life, which joins the dying man to Christ!


There is an importance to understanding The Gospel or Good News of Jesus Christ. For the Gospel gives us Good News of an eternal life; a life lived free from the problems of the world. This freedom came through Jesus Christ, God�s son, who was appointed heir of all things. God�s Son has spoken and has told us how to have victory over death and live eternal life in heaven.

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John 6:35 (ESV)
35 Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

To believe in Christ is to come to Christ. For it is not just knowledge of Christ that saves, but a firm belief that eternal life through Christ can be found.



The town of East Porterville may be the hardest-hit place in California's punishing drought. Of its 7,300 people, almost 1,000 have no running water. Groundwater levels have plunged by 60 feet or more in some spots, and tens of thousands of wells are in danger. But few knew that until 72-year-old Donna Johnson started driving around town and asking neighbors, "Hi. Do you have water?" Again and again, the answer was no.

When Johnson's well ran dry in June, she and her husband had no idea they were part of something bigger. "I guess I was just oblivious to how bad it had gotten," she said. But that changed when she started stopping to listen. At the local gas station, for instance, she tuned into conversations and kept hearing, "So-and-so's well ran dry."

In July, Johnson decided to put together a list of people out of water in East Porterville. The local paper ran an article that gave her phone number and address and said she was collecting bottled water for drought victims. The next day there were pallets of plastic bottles under her tarp carport. Johnson recruited a neighbor to make the deliveries. The calls from people needing water came as quickly as the donated bottles.

Families would call at midnight and say "We're completely out of water" and she'd go and take some. When she drove up to one local driveway she asked her typical question: "Hi, do you have water?" "A little," a woman named Veronica said. "But if two people take a shower, it's done." Eight people live in the small, water-deprived home. After the Johnson dropped off the water they told her, "Thank you for the water. We didn't know where to go. We're grateful." [Adapted from Diana Marcum, "'Hi, do you have water?' In a Central Calif. town, answer is often no." LA Times (9-18-14)]


There are those who thirst for a happy eternal life spent with God in heaven. Many of us walk around each day not realizing there are those in our community who thirst for eternal salvation. We have come to think everyone should know the source, but as seen above some people didn�t know where to get their thirst satisfied for something as basic as water. Take time and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others and help them learn about God�s gift of eternal salvation.

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John 8:12 (ESV)
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, �I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.�

There is a sun that illuminates the world and takes away the darkness. There is also the Son of God that illuminates the lives of people and takes away the darkness they walk in. The visible light of the world is the sun, and Christ is the Sun of righteousness.



I am the light of the world, the founder of the Christian religion said. What a stupendous phrase! And how particularly marvelous today, when one is conscious of so much darkness in the world! Let your light shine before men, he exhorted us. You know, sometimes ... someone asks me what I most want, what I should most like to do in the little that remains of my life, and I always nowadays truthfully answer--and it is truthful--"I should like my light to shine, even if only very fitfully, like a match struck in a dark, cavernous night and then flickering out." [Malcolm Muggeridge in Jesus Rediscovered. Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 11]


Many of us become so wrapped up in our own issues, problems and daily routine that we forget there are those wandering lost in a dark world. There are many who do not know the love, mercy, and grace of God. They don�t understand the concept of salvation that brings them eternal life with God in heaven.

Jesus Christ said He is the light of the world. Jesus Christ came to reconcile man with God by providing light on the word of God that man could clearly see.

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Proverbs 5:22 (NLT)
22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.

We can see that a person becomes held prisoner by their own sins. For like ropes to hold and bind, sin holds a person by the consequences of their actions. They are slaves to sin; a prisoner to their own desires.



Mr. Holland's Opus is a movie about a young, frustrated composer in Portland, Oregon, who takes a job as a high school band teacher in the 1960s in order to provide for his family. Diverted from his lifelong goal of achieving critical fame as a classical musician, Glenn Holland (played by Richard Dreyfuss) believes his school job is only temporary. At first he maintains his determination to write an opus, composing at his piano after putting in a full day teaching. But, as family demands increase and job pressures multiply, Mr. Holland recognizes that his dream of leaving a lasting musical legacy is merely a dream.

Throughout the movie, Mr. Holland's relationship with his wife is in throes, due in part to raising a deaf son. While directing the school musical, the middle-aged teacher is intrigued by the musical skill and physical beauty of a senior named Rowena. As he affirms her abilities, Rowena becomes attracted to him. She tells her teacher that she has decided to move to New York City in pursuit of her own dreams, but she wants him to go with her. Rowena tempts him with the chance to escape the constraints of his current life and finally be able to write music. After the final performance of the musical, Mr. Holland meets her at the local drug store where the bus picks up passengers. Her eyes light up as she sees him approach, but then notices that he has no luggage.

"You pack light," she jests.

Mr. Holland doesn't acknowledge her attempt at humor, but hands her a slip of paper with the name of a couple he knows in New York where she can stay.

"This isn't the way I imagined it," Rowena reluctantly admits.

"But it's the best way," Mr. Holland says, finding the inner strength to resist temptation.

That evening, Mr. Holland walks into his bedroom where his wife appears to be sleeping. He looks tenderly at her and says, "I love you." His wife looks up at him and responds, "I know." Aware of the victory he has won by honoring his wedding vows, he takes his wife in his arms and holds her.
[Mr. Holland's Opus, (Hollywood Pictures, 1995), rated PG, written by Patrick Sheane Duncan, directed by Stephen Herek; submitted by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois]


James 4:7 tells us, �So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.� When we are humble are desire to sin diminishes.

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John 14:6 (NLT)
6 Jesus told him, �I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Here Christ tells gives us the statement of His purpose, He is the way to eternal life, He provides the truth about God the Father and He is the life we should follow. Fallen man must come to God as a Judge, but cannot come to him as a Father, otherwise than by Christ as Mediator.



Someone once asked the question, �Are you more aware of other�s sins than your own?� I�m afraid sadly there would be many of us who would say � Yes. It becomes easy for us to see the sins of others, but we fail to see our own faults, our own prejudices and our sin that God so despises.

Amazingly God�s heart is gracious towards us. For God gave His only Son, Jesus Christ to become a sacrifice for our sin. Although we deserved God�s wrath, because of God�s love, mercy and grace towards us he appointed Jesus Christ as King of Kings, Ambassador, a Divine Mediator between man and God.

In stories about Sparta, we find there were more than one king at Sparta, who governed by joint authority. A king was occasionally sent to a neighboring state as a Spartan ambassador. Did this king cease to be a king of Sparta, because he was also an ambassador? No, he did not divest himself of his royal dignity, but only added to it that of public deputation. So Christ, in becoming man, did not cease to be God; but He still continued to be King of the whole creation and served as the voluntary Servant and Messenger of the Father.

AskMe #2832806 12/09/14 10:21 AM
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1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)
12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

We live in an imperfect world and. The imperfect world clouds our mind with things that confuse and puzzle us. Like trying to perform actions in a mirror we often move opposite to what is correct. We are limited to the range of view of the mirror and to the size of the reflection. But one day things will come into full and complete view that we may fully know God and the things that were in this world.



As long as you have faith, you will have doubts. I sometimes use the following illustration when I'm speaking. I tell the audience that I have a twenty-dollar bill in my hand and ask for a volunteer who believes me. Usually only a few hands go up. Then I tell the volunteer that I am about to destroy his (or her) faith. I open my hand and show the twenty-dollar bill. The reason I can say I am destroying his faith is that now he knows I hold the bill. He sees the bill and doesn't need faith anymore. Faith is required only when we have doubts, when we do not know for sure. When knowledge comes, faith is no more.

Sometimes a person is tempted to think, I can't become a Christian because I still have doubts. I'm still not sure. But as long as doubts exist, as long as the person is still uncertain, that is the only time faith is needed. When the doubts are gone, the person doesn't need faith anymore. Knowledge has come.

I tell the audience that this is exactly the point Paul was making in his first letter to the church at Corinth: "Now we see [that a 'knowing' word] but a poor reflection [now we have confusion, misunderstanding, doubts, and questions] � then we shall see face to face [we don't see face-to-face yet]. Now I know in part [with questions and doubts]; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known" (13:12). [John Ortberg, Faith & Doubt (Zondervan, 2008), pp. 139-140]


Faith comes with doubts. Just because we have doubts does not mean we don�t have faith. However, it does mean we are looking at an imperfect world we cannot trust. We do not know if what we are seeing is a complete and whole picture. When truth is revealed to us our doubt is removed and our faith is no longer required. We become complete, just as God knows us completely.

AskMe #2833056 12/10/14 10:06 AM
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Proverbs 10:32 (NLT)
32 The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.

The righteous person speaks words helpful and beneficiary to others. A good person will bring forth wisdom in the lives of others. The proverb then speaks of the wicked who use perverse words which provoke and bring up controversies.



"He made drinks sparkle, desserts shimmer, and Richard M. Nixon look less shadowy�all with meticulous tricks of lights." So begins an obituary for Imero (or "Immie") Fiorentino, the man who was called "the maestro of lighting" and "The Picasso of lights and strobes."

Because he usually worked quietly behind the scenes, most Americans have never heard of him. But when Fiorentino died at the age of 85 on October 1, 2013, he had served as an adviser to every president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Bill Clinton. His work had illuminated some of the biggest entertainers of his day, including Frank Sinatra, Bill Cosby, Neil Diamond, Barbara Streisand, and Muhammad Ali. He orchestrated the lighting behind everything from Walt Disney's Epcot Center to TV commercials for Jell-O and ginger ale.

But if it wasn't for the encouraging words from one of his high school teachers, Mr. Fiorentino's career may have ended before it started. The New York Times records what happened:

Several months before graduating from high school, he found what he thought was an empty shell casing in the street. Wanting to make it into a key chain, he took a soldering iron to it. It was a live round. Shrapnel from the explosion pierced his right eye, blinding it. He despaired of being able to work in lighting. Then one of his teachers, visiting him in the hospital, told him, "You're going to be the best one-eyed lighting designer ever." "I can do that," Immie replied.

Due to those words of encouragement, Mr. Fiorentino went on to earn a bachelor's degree in theater from Carnegie Tech in 1950. On graduating, he was hired to teach theatrical lighting at Indiana University, and from there his career took off. [Adapted from Margalit Fox, "Imero Fiorentino, Lighting Designer Who Mastered Television, Dies at 85,' The New York Times (10-13-13)]


The right word, said at the right time will often bring life to a person and give them hope they had lost. Today let me encourage each of you that God has a purpose for your life. There is something important for you to do that will benefit others and give joy to your own life. Don�t give up on life, but embrace life and let the love of God fill your hearts. Allow God�s wisdom to speak to you that you may speak wisdom to others. All of you are precious, all of you are loved, and all of you have gifts of life that can be shared with others. May God bless you, keep you safe and guide your life in a positive way.

AskMe #2834063 12/15/14 07:56 AM
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Luke 1:30-33 (NKJV)
30 Then the angel said to her, �Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.�

This was the announcement to Mary that she would become the mother of Jesus and it was also a proclamation of the fulfillment of a promise made to King David.



Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin's womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked "No Entrance" and left through a door marked "No Exit." �Peter Larson

Man�s desire to become like God brought sin and death into the world. We tried to push God out of the world He created, but God wasn�t going to let that happen. Instead God had a plan to bring salvation through a baby born to a virgin mother. The baby would grow up living a sin free life to become the perfect sacrifice. Through no fault of His own, Jesus was condemned to death. The life of a criminal, Barabbas, was spared and Jesus died a physical death in place of Barabbas.

Again, it was Man�s choice. The crowd was offered a choice of whether to have Barabbas or Jesus released from Roman custody. The crowd chose Barabbas to be released and Jesus of Nazareth to be crucified. Pilate who made the decision is portrayed as reluctantly yielding to the insistence of the crowd. A passage found only in the Gospel of Matthew has the crowd saying, "Let his blood be upon us and upon our children."

This Christmas and every Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ into our world. It is a reminder that God stepped down from heaven to become man and to live among 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.� God continues to call out to us offering His salvation and freedom from sin. Christmas is that special time of year to celebrate God�s gift to us; the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Barabbas was set free because of Jesus Christ and we too can be set free from sin because of our faith in Him.


This time of year I take several weeks off from writing my devotions to remember God, Christ, family and friends. Before I close the year, as a friend, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas. I pray God would bless you this Christmas season with peace and joy. Let us give glory to God in the highest, and on earth show peace and good will towards all people. God bless you, each and every one. � Art

AskMe #2837067 01/05/15 07:59 AM
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Genesis 1 (26-27) New King James Version
26 Then God said, �Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.� 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis is the beginning of all things. In these verses we are told God formed man in His own likeness and that likeness included male and female. The male displayed what we consider male traits and the female displayed what we consider female traits; yet male and female were in possession of all God�s traits.



God�s creation of the world was excellent; a masterpiece given to the people to rule and have dominion over. The essences of man, male and female, were created from God�s own image. People possessed God�s emotions, God�s feelings, God�s characteristics whether they were male or female. The male held more of the qualities of what we consider masculine, while the female held more of the qualities we consider feminine; yet they both held all the emotions, feelings and characteristics of God in differing proportions in alignment with their physical form. This does not make man greater than woman; nor woman greater than man. Instead they are partners being able to bring the fullness of God together.

In a way God made people godlike in that they had dominion over their world. They would be able to create and shape from it as they wished. They were given intelligence greater than instinct so they could make their own decisions and control outcomes. It seemed to be a perfect world; yet, because they were only imagines of God they were also open to failures of their choosing.


We do not understand what God did in putting His creation in place. Some things were not made to be known to man. We shall see that even the little that was made known became a pedestal for man to fall from the perfection and grace of the world.

AskMe #2837528 01/07/15 07:23 AM
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Genesis 3 (9-13) New King James Version
9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, �Where are you?� 10 So he said, �I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.� 11 And He said, �Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?� 12 Then the man said, �The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.� 13 And the Lord God said to the woman, �What is this you have done?� The woman said, �The serpent deceived me, and I ate.�

Adam and Eve knew they were not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; yet they chose to do so. They made a choice knowing there was a severe consequence that went along with their choice. Santa used the same lie with Adam and Eve he had formerly used with himself; I can become God. Adam and Eve bought into the lie and fell from grace just as Satan had bought into his own lie and fell from grace.



Every day in life we face choices. Most of those choices have consequences, either good or bad, that come as a result of the actions we take. When we make a choice, we are the one deciding if the consequence seems more valuable that the action. Sometimes we choose unwisely and find the consequence was not worth the value we initially believed. We find ourselves wanting to hide from that choice, but it has already been made.

Adam and Eve attempted to hide their choice from God. They thought they could hide in the garden and God would not know what they had done. Yet Adam gave himself away by saying he was naked, which was something he had never been aware of before. God then asked Adam, �Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?�

Look at Adam�s response. Instead of accepting responsibility for his own actions he says, �The woman whom You (God) gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree.� In other words it�s not my fault God you put me with this woman. It�s because of her I made that choice. You can�t blame me I�m just a victim.

Then we see Eve�s response, �The serpent deceived me.� Eve has fallen into the same trap as Adam. Instead of taking responsibility for her actions she places the blame on the serpent. I can only wonder what would have happened if Adam and Eve accepted responsibility for their bad choice and had asked God for forgiveness.


Remember this in your daily interactions with others. Try not to shift blame to others when clearly the choice was yours. Accept responsibility for your actions and ask for forgiveness in order to make things right.

AskMe #2837807 01/08/15 07:29 AM
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Genesis 4 (23-24 ) New King James Version
23 Then Lamech said to his wives: �Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; Wives of Lamech, listen to my speech! For I have killed a man for wounding me, Even a young man for hurting me. 24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.�

Lamech was a descendant of Cain who had killed his brother Able. God took away Cain�s ability to till the ground and banished him from his home. Cain feared for his life because of his actions. God in His mercy placed a mark on Cain saying, �Whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him seven-fold.� In the verses above we see Lamech claiming this privilege and stating there shall be a seventy-sevenfold avengence.



During the process of counseling someone on problems in their marriage, most of the issues will be about the other spouse. Seldom does a person stop to think how they may be a part of the destruction of the relationship.

Even if they were asked to give a percentage of the problems attributed to the spouse and a percentage attributed to them; the largest percentage would be attributed to the spouse. If you wanted to talk about their problems you would find them shifting blame back to the spouse.

I have written on blame before. Typically we want to blame someone else other than ourselves for the problems we are facing. Adam blamed God for his sin. Eve blamed the serpent for hers. And that problem still continues today. We don�t want the responsibility so we blame someone else.

Above Lamech was not accepting responsibility for his actions of killing another person. Instead he wanted to claim God�s mercy stating if Cain shall be avenged sevenfold then he should be avenged seventy-sevenfold. Lamech was making a false assumption that because God had spared Cain he too was justified. Instead the reprieve of Cain and the patience God exercised towards Cain caused Lamech to harden his heard in sinful ways.


As conflict arises in your life this week take a moment to assess the problem. It doesn�t matter if the conflict is at home, work or with friends. Ask yourself, what portion of the pie am I responsible for? Then ask how you plan to address your own part of the pie. Take responsibility and stop shifting the blame.

AskMe #2838057 01/09/15 08:50 AM
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Genesis 5 (28-31) New King James Version
28 Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. 29 And he called his name Noah, saying, �This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed.� 30 After he begot Noah, Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years, and had sons and daughters. 31 So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years; and he died.

Lamech's complaint of the calamitous state of human life. By the entrance of sin, and the entail of the curse for sin, our condition has become very miserable: our whole life is spent in labour, and our time filled up with continual toil. God having cursed the ground, it is as much as some can do, with the utmost care and pains, to fetch a hard livelihood out of it. He speaks as one fatigued with the business of this life, and grudging that so many thoughts and precious minutes, which otherwise might have been much better employed, are unavoidably spent for the support of the body. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



Lamech is a 7th generation descendant of Adam and is from the linage of Cain. God had banished Cain for killing Cain�s brother Able and had been told the land would not easily yield to him in his enjoyment of farming. Generations later Lamech continues to feel the effects of sin caused by his ancestor Cain. For he says, �Our whole life is spent in labour, and our time filled up with continual toil. God having cursed the ground, it is as much as some can do, with the utmost care and pains, to fetch a hard livelihood out of it.�

A good life means different things to different people. However, your definition of the good live may include things in common with many of others. You may want your life to be stress free. You may want a life that is not filled with difficult labor and struggles. This is normal and the expectation of many. Nobody likes to struggle through life.

Unfortunately the thought of a difficult life may be what stops many people from enjoying the life they have been given. The thought of all the difficult work that is ahead, working through the resistance and overcoming hurdles is enough to make people want to give up and they haven�t even begun the real task of life. It�s like being drained of all your energy just as you get ready to run a marathon. Before you even hear the starting gun the thought of running 26.2 miles scares you and tires you out so mentally you walk away from the race.

We all have heard the term; if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Accepting life if difficult comes with the responsibility of accepting that you can bring change to your life. The Bible tells us to give praise to The Lord for He is good to us. Colossians 3:15 says, �And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.�

Only you can let The Lord into your life to ease the struggles and burdens of life. Start the day with praise and thanksgiving for all you have. Focus on the positive and let go of the negative. Ask God for guidance and let Him make the paths of your life burden free.

AskMe #2838485 01/12/15 01:21 AM
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Speaking of marathons, I was running a half marathon race once and was tired..and a man was behind yelling Bible verses, "They shall soar like eagles..."

It was very inspiring to hear and gave me the extra mental push I needed to force my body to perform better.

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