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AskMe #2863194 08/11/15 06:42 AM
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Psalm 119:14 (NLT)
14 I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches.

David had asked God before to teach him His statues so that he might understand God. In knowing God�s laws David rejoiced as much as if he had been handed riches. For the riches he received in knowledge were as valuable as any treasure could be.



A poor, good woman said, in time of persecution, when they took away the Christian's Bibles, "I cannot part with my Bible; I know not how to live without it." When a gracious soul has heard a profitable sermon, he says, "Methinks it does me good at heart; it is the greatest nourishment I have": I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. [Oliver Heywood, 1629-1702]


The way of thy testimonies. The testimony of God is his word, for it testifies his will; the "way" of his testimony is the practice of his word, and doing of that which he hath declared to be his will, and wherein he hath promised to show us his love. David found not this sweetness in hearing, reading, and professing the word only; but in practicing of it: and in very deed, the only cause why we find not the comfort that is in the word of God is that we practice it not by walking in the way thereof. It is true, at the first it is bitter to nature, which loves carnal liberty, to render itself as captive to the word: laboriosa virtutis via, and much pains must be taken before the heart be subdued; but when it is once begun, it renders such joy as abundantly recompenses all the former labour and grief. [William Cowper]

AskMe #2863345 08/14/15 06:10 AM
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Revelation 3:20 (NLT)
20 �Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

During the life of Christ He was often pushed away by the religious leaders. They listened to words of Jesus, but not as a friend would, but as an enemy trying to trap Him by own His words. In the verse above we find Jesus making a personal appeal to all people. If you hear His voice and you open the door to your heart, Jesus will abide with you in a close, personal, and warm friendship.



Arthur F. Burns, the chairman of the United States Federal Reserve System and ambassador to West Germany, was a man of considerable gravity. Medium in height, distinguished, with wavy silver hair and his signature pipe, he was economic counselor to a number of presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan. When he spoke, his opinions carried weight, and Washington listened. Arthur Burns was also Jewish, so when he began attending an informal White House group for prayer and fellowship in the 1970s, he was accorded special respect. No one in fact quite knew how to involve him in the group, and, week after week when different people took turns to end the meeting in prayer, Burns was passed by�out of a mixture of respect and reticence.

One week, however, the group was led by a newcomer who did not know the unusual status Burns occupied. As the meeting ended, the newcomer turned to Arthur Burns and asked him to close the time with a prayer. Some of the old-timers glanced at each other in surprise and wondered what would happen. But without missing a beat, Burns reached out, held hands with others in the circle, and prayed this prayer: "Lord, I pray that you would bring Jews to know Jesus Christ. I pray that you would bring Muslims to know Jesus Christ. Finally, Lord, I pray that you would bring Christians to know Jesus Christ. Amen." [Os Guinness, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life, (W Publishing, 2003), p. 101]

So many have pushed Jesus away, either because they choose to do so, they don�t feel worthy of His love, they have hardened their heart or so many other excuses. Even Christians who have professed their commitment to Jesus Christ still don�t know him as they should, because they are not opening up their heart to have a close, personal and warm friendship with Him.


O soul are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There's light for a look at the Savior And life more abundant and free. [Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Helen Howarth Lemmel]

AskMe #2863526 08/17/15 05:53 AM
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2 Corinthians 10:17-18 (NLT)

17 As the Scriptures say, �If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.� 18 When people commend themselves, it doesn�t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them.

The world tells us we should sing our own praises so that others will notice us and acknowledge the work we have done. God tells us if we do His work and boast of Him then He will commend us for what we have done in His name.



In his book Pursuing Justice, Ken Wystma tells the following story about an African Christian leader who has spent the last 15 years helping some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Wytsma writes:

He was born and raised in what is one of the most war-torn regions on the globe today�eastern Congo. His life is regularly threatened, and he faces the seemingly impossible task of trying to restore villages decimated by rape, murder, and plunder.

Some visiting executives from a large, well-known global relief organization once toured the region. They noticed what an effective job my friend was doing, and offered him a position as the leader of their Congo operations. He quickly turned them down.

On paper it was the kind of offer you can't refuse�higher pay, more security, great influence. A dream promotion for most Westerners. But he refused for a simple reason. He said,

God gave me the job I have, he's helped me build the relationships and the respect that I have. He has opened the door for me all these years and kept me safe on every trip out into the bush. I'm right where God has called me to be, so why would I go anywhere else? I don't just want to do good. I want to be where God wants me to be. [Ken Wytsma, Pursuing Justice (Thomas Nelson, 2013), pp. 161-162]


Our greatest praises come from God who loves us. God has a purpose for each and every one of us and He praises us as we fill that purpose. Ask God to direct and lead you in your daily life.

AskMe #2863589 08/18/15 06:10 AM
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Philippians 1:21 (NKJV)
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

In this verse the apostle tells us that he is ready to glorify Christ in life or to live in glory with Christ in death. For the apostle knows we should always give thanks for where God has placed us.



The Minnesota storyteller Kevin Kling was born with a birth defect�his left arm was disabled and much shorter than his right. Then, in his early 40s, a motorcycle accident nearly killed him and paralyzed his healthy right arm. While he was in the hospital recovering from the accident, Kling learned a life-changing lesson about "the three phases of prayer."

In the first phase of prayer, we pray to get things from God. In the second phase, we pray to get out of things. While he was in rehab for his accident, Kling learned the third phase of prayer�giving thanks to God. Kling says:

I'd been through many surgeries during my six week stay in the hospital. And each day, I would ride the elevator to the ground floor and try and take a walk. That was my job. 9/11 had happened the week before. And as our country was entering trauma, I was living one. After my walk, my wife Mary and I went into the gift shop, and she asked if I wanted an apple. She said they looked really good. Now, I hadn't tasted food in over a month � I lost a lot of weight because food had no appeal. So I said no, but she persisted. Come on. Try it. So finally, I said all right. And I took a bite. And for some reason, that was the day flavor returned, and that powerful sweetness rushed from that apple. Oh, it was incredible.

I started to cry, cry for the first time in years. The tears flowed and as the anesthesia and antibiotics flushed through my tears, it burned my eyes. And between the sweetness of that apple and the burning for my tears, it felt so good to be alive. I blurted out, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for this life." And that's when my prayers shifted, again, to giving thanks.

[Kevin Kling, "Prayer, Once a Last Resort, Now a Habit," NPR (1-10-07); On Being, "The Losses and Laughter We Grow Into," American Public Media (3-7-13)]

All of us face difficult situations in life. Some face pain on a daily basis. Some live with financial difficulties. And there are others who have just been down trodden by life.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, �Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God�s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.�

AskMe #2863668 08/18/15 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by AskMe
Psalm 119:14 (NLT)
14 I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches.

David had asked God before to teach him His statues so that he might understand God. In knowing God�s laws David rejoiced as much as if he had been handed riches. For the riches he received in knowledge were as valuable as any treasure could be.



A poor, good woman said, in time of persecution, when they took away the Christian's Bibles, "I cannot part with my Bible; I know not how to live without it." When a gracious soul has heard a profitable sermon, he says, "Methinks it does me good at heart; it is the greatest nourishment I have": I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. [Oliver Heywood, 1629-1702]


The way of thy testimonies. The testimony of God is his word, for it testifies his will; the "way" of his testimony is the practice of his word, and doing of that which he hath declared to be his will, and wherein he hath promised to show us his love. David found not this sweetness in hearing, reading, and professing the word only; but in practicing of it: and in very deed, the only cause why we find not the comfort that is in the word of God is that we practice it not by walking in the way thereof. It is true, at the first it is bitter to nature, which loves carnal liberty, to render itself as captive to the word: laboriosa virtutis via, and much pains must be taken before the heart be subdued; but when it is once begun, it renders such joy as abundantly recompenses all the former labour and grief. [William Cowper]

This is why it is important to have children in a church which teaches them to memorize scripture.
There may be a time in America when the Bible or its teachings are outlawed. In such a case, it is important to have Gods word written upon our hearts.

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John 13:34-35 (NIV)
�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.�

The disciples knew the Ten Commandments of the law, but here Jesus gives them a new commandment to love one another as Christ loved them. For Christ loved them where they were in life and brought them close to Him.



In her funny, off-beat memoir, journalist and writer Heather Havrilesky reminds us how community (whether in a family or a church family) implies carrying one another's burdens. Havrilesky writes:

If I get sick or lose my mind, I'll ask my husband or my kids or my friends to rise to the occasion and come to my aid. And they'd better come through for me, [darn] it! I dried your tears and paid too much for replicas of lost teddy bears on eBay. I took care of cats and plants and talked you through home purchases and career dilemmas and bad breakups. �

I'll continue to be there, as long as I can be. But someday, you might have to come to my rescue. Brace yourselves, because it won't be pretty. Isn't that what love and friendship are really about?

We weren't meant to suffer alone! We weren't meant to � escape the indignity and frustration of asking for help, for needing help, from someone who might not always enjoy giving it, someone who gets on our nerves, who has never made much sense to us, someone whom we break down and bicker with occasionally. We were meant to lean on each other, as messy and imperfect as that can be, to be capable when we can, and to allow the world to take care of us when we can't. It won't be all bad. Or it will be. But at least we'll have each other. [Heather Havrilesky, Disaster Preparedness (Riverhead Trade, 2011), page 57]


Heather is right when she says �we weren�t meant to suffer alone� and we should not allow others to suffer alone either. We should be able to love and be loved. We should follow the example of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 below and express love to those who need it.

1 Corinthians 13 says, �4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.�

AskMe #2863757 08/20/15 05:56 AM
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Psalm 16:8 (NLT)
8 I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

The psalmist knows The Lord is always present in his life. He knows God is close by and hears him when he speaks. He knows God is watching after him. And he knows God keeps him on the right path for God is right beside him.



I was visiting on death row in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. I asked one man if he would like to talk, and he said he would. He was a smallish man whose wire-rimmed glasses and intelligent expression made him look a little professorial. I asked him how he spends his days. He picked up his NIV Bible, hefted it, and said, "I spend a lot of time reading our book. I'm glad it's so big. I'll never get to the bottom of it." Then he said something I'll never forget. "You know," he said, "there are 2 billion of us Christians in the world, and everything today that any of us does that's any good has something to do with our book. And I have a copy of it right here in my cell!" [Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Reading for Preaching (William B. Eerdmans, 2013), pp. 9-10]


God is always close, even visiting those who have sinned. For God loves a repentant heart and one who turns back to Him. When we stay close to God we will not be shaken, for He is right beside us!

AskMe #2864029 08/24/15 05:57 AM
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Psalm 116:1-2 (NKJV)
1 I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.

He had experienced God's goodness to him in answer to prayer: He has heard my voice and my supplications. David, in straits, had humbly and earnestly begged mercy of God, and God had heard him, that is, had graciously accepted his prayer, taken cognizance of his case, and granted him an answer of peace. He has inclined his ear to me. This intimates his readiness and willingness to hear prayer; he lays his ear, as it were, to the mouth of prayer, to hear it, though it be but whispered in groanings that cannot be uttered. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



A growing body of research has tied an attitude of gratitude with a number of positive emotional and physical health benefits. A November 2010 article in The Wall Street Journal summarized the research:

Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They're also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy, or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly, and have greater resistance to viral infections.

Now, researchers are finding that gratitude brings similar benefits in children and adolescents. [Studies also show that] kids who feel and act grateful tend to be less materialistic, get better grades, set higher goals, complain of fewer headaches and stomach aches, and feel more satisfied with their friends, families, and schools than those who don't.

The researchers concluded, "A lot of these findings are things we learned in kindergarten or our grandmothers told us, but now we have scientific evidence to prove them �. The key is not to leave it on the Thanksgiving table." [Melinda Beck, "Thank You. No, Thank You," The Wall Street Journal (11-23-10)]


Keep your heart open to giving thanks to The Lord. For The Lord hears our voice and responds with love, mercy and grace.

AskMe #2864090 08/25/15 06:18 AM
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Psalm 119:165 (NKJV)
165 Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.

Nothing shall offend them; nothing shall be a scandal, snare, or stumbling-block, to them, to entangle them either in guilt or grief. No event of providence shall be either an invincible temptation or an intolerable affliction to them, but their love to the word of God shall enable them both to hold fast their integrity and to preserve their tranquility. They will make the best of that which is, and not quarrel with any thing that God does. Nothing shall offend or hurt them, for every thing shall work for good to them, and therefore shall please them, and they shall reconcile themselves to it. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



Anne Morrow wrote, I want first of all ... to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact--to borrow the language of the saints--to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus, when he said, "May the outward and inward man be one." I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God. [Anne Morrow Lindbergh in Gift from the Sea. Leadership, Vol. 13, no. 2.]


The love of God�s word can bring peace into a person�s life and keep them from stumbling. It is important to know peace so peace can grow inside a person�s soul and become apparent and external to others so they may know peace too.

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Romans 12:4-5 (NKJV)
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Each member hath its place and office, for the good and benefit of the whole, and of every other member. We are not only members of Christ, but we are members one of another. We stand in relation one to another; we are engaged to do all the good we can one to another, and to act in conjunction for the common benefit. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



Many Christians have been infected with the most virulent virus of modern American life, what sociologist Robert Bellah calls �radical individualism.� They concentrate on personal obedience to Christ as if all that matters is �Jesus and me,� but in doing so miss the point altogether. For Christianity is not a solitary belief system. Any genuine resurgence of Christianity, as history demonstrates, depends on a reawakening and renewal of that which is the essence of the faith�that is, the people of God, the new society, the body of Christ, which is made manifest in the world�the church. [Chuck Colson, The Body (Word, 1992), p.32]


We may be individuals, but we are members of a greater body, The Body of Christ. While each of us have a relationship to Christ, we also have a relationship to one another, working together for the greater good of all.

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Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)
3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

It is the character of every good man that he trusts in God, puts himself under his guidance and government, and depends upon him that it shall be greatly to his advantage to do so. Those that trust in God must have their minds stayed upon him, must trust him at all times, under all events, must firmly and faithfully adhere to him, with an entire satisfaction in him; and such as do so God will keep in perpetual peace, and that peace shall keep them. When evil tidings are abroad those shall calmly expect the event, and not be disturbed by frightful apprehensions arising from them, whose hearts are fixed, trusting in the Lord. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



Chuck Swindoll shares the following story about a conversation with a Christian leader who started a new ministry for the Navigators in Uganda. The man told Swindoll that after much discussion and prayer, he and his wife were convinced that God wanted them to move to Uganda. So they uprooted their family and flew to Kenya, where he put his family up in a hotel so he could rent a Land Rover and travel across the border into Uganda.

At this point he definitely needed the kind of encouragement only God can give. The man told Swindoll, "I dropped to my knees, and I said, 'Lord, look, I'm afraid. I'm in a country I don't know, in a culture that's totally unfamiliar. I have no idea who sleeps in that bed. Please, show me that you're in this move!'"

And then, he said, "Just as I was finishing my prayer, the door flung open, and there stood this six-foot five-inch African frowning at me, saying in beautiful British English, 'What are you doing in my room?'"

"I kneeled there for a moment, and then I muttered, 'They gave me this bed, but I'll only be here one night.'"

"What are you doing in my country?" the African asked.

"Well, I'm with a [Christian] organization called the Navigators."

"Ahh! The Navigators!" Suddenly the tall African broke into an enormous grin, threw his arms around his new roommate, and laughed out loud as he lifted him up off the floor and danced around the room with him.

"Praise God, praise God," said the African. "For two years I have prayed that God would send someone to me from this organization." And he pulled out a little Scripture memory-verse pack and pointed to where, at the bottom of each of the verses, it read, "The Navigators, Colorado Springs, Colorado."

This Ugandan eventually became a board member for the new Navigators ministry in Uganda. He helped the American leader find a place to live, assisted him with the language, and became the Navigator staff member's best friend. [Chuck Swindoll, Embraced by the Spirit (Zondervan, 2011)]


Fix your thoughts on God and He will provide you with the perfect peace you need.

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Psalm 95:6-7 (NLT)
6 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, 7 for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!

Here the psalmist declares that we should come and joyfully worship The Lord, who is our creator and our God. For God watches over us like a shepherd watching over his flock. Listen, listen closely for God�s voice today.



In the movie, The Horse Whisperer, Tom Booker, played by actor Robert Redford, employs his special gift of "gentling" horses.

A tense, New York magazine editor can't believe her eyes as she witnesses the gradual transformation of her daughter's horse from traumatized to tamed. In one telling scene, the horse, frightened by the editor's ringing cell phone, gallops off into the far end of a large pasture. Booker walks into the pasture and sits down, where he waits for what appears to be hours. The horse, drawn by its curiosity, inches closer and closer. Finally, it cautiously approaches close enough to touch the "whisperer," and allows itself to be led back to the safety of its stall.

That's the way it is with God, as he "gentles" the untamed or traumatized people who run from him. [Clark Cothern, author and pastor, Tecumseh, Michigan]


I love the words of this old hymn, �Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling� Calling for you and for me; Patiently Jesus is waiting and watching� Watching for you and for me! Come home! come home! Ye who are weary, come home! Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, Calling, O sinner, come home!

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Psalm 119:64 (NLT)
64 O Lord, your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me your decrees.

David pleads that God is good to all the creatures according to their necessities and capacities; as the heaven is full of God's glory, so the earth is full of his mercy, full of the instances of his pity and bounty. Not only the land of Canaan, where God is known and worshipped, but the whole earth, in many parts of which he has no homage paid him, is full of his mercy. Not only the children of men upon the earth, but even the inferior creatures, taste of God's goodness. His tender mercies are over all his works. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



In 1982, the Today show in New York City scheduled an interview with Reverend Billy Graham. When he arrived at the studio, one of the program's producers informed Graham's assistant that a private room had been set aside for the reverend for prayer before the broadcast. The assistant thanked the producer for the thoughtful gesture, but told him that Mr. Graham would not need the room. The producer was a bit shocked that a world-famous Christian leader would not wish to pray before being interviewed on live national television.

Graham's assistant responded, "Mr. Graham started praying when he got up this morning, he prayed while eating breakfast, he prayed on the way over in the car, and he'll probably be praying all the way through the interview." [Harold Myra and Marshall Shelley, The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham (Zondervan, 2005)]

David prayed and worshiped often to God so that he would learn more about God and His unfailing love. It is something we all should do to stay close to God.

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Isaiah 48:17 (NIV)
17 This is what the Lord says�your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: �I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.

God by the prophet Isaiah sends the people of Israel a gracious message for their support and comfort under their affliction. God reminds them that He is with them, teaching them and directing them in the way they should go.




Henry Blackaby in Hearing God�s voice writes: The first funeral I ever conducted was for a beautiful three-year-old. She was the first child born to a couple in our church, and the first grandchild in their extended family. Unfortunately, she was spoiled. While visiting the little girl's home one day, I observed that she loved to ignore her parents' instructions. When they told her to come, she went. When they said, "sit down," she stood up. Her parents laughed, finding her behavior cute.

One day their front gate was inadvertently left open. The parents saw their child escaping out of the yard and heading toward the road. To their horror, a car was racing down the street. As she ran out between two parked cars, they both screamed at her to stop and turn back. She paused for a second, looked back at her parents, then gleefully laughed as she turned and ran directly into the path of the oncoming car. The parents rushed their little girl to the hospital, but she died from her injuries.

As a young pastor, this was a profound lesson for me. I realized I must teach God's people not only to recognize His voice but also immediately to obey His voice when they hear it. It is life.


The story above speaks of a tragic loss of life. There are many of us who may recognize God�s voice calling out to us, but we don�t take the time to listen. Instead we follow our own desires, which lead to undesirable consequences. If you hear God speak today, stop, listen and obey.

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Psalm 143:10 (NIV)
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

He prays that he might be enlightened with the knowledge of God's will; and this is the first work of the Spirit, in order to his other works, for God deals with men as men, as reasonable creatures. [Matthew Henry]



There's a story about a man who walks into a restaurant and orders a Coke. As soon as he receives it, he throws it in the waiter's face. The waiter is ready to fight, but the man says, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I have a horrible compulsion. I can't help it. Whenever someone hands me a drink, I throw it in their face. Please, forgive me." Then the guy says, "I'm working hard to overcome this compulsion. Would you bring me another Coke?"

The waiter says, "Do you promise not to throw it in my face?"

The guy responds, "I'm going to do everything I can not to throw it in your face. I'm working really hard to resist."

So the waiter says, "Okay, I'll bring you another one."

Soon the waiter comes back with another Coke, and the guy throws it in the waiter's face. The waiter says, "I thought you said you wouldn't do that."

The guy apologizes: "Oh, this compulsion is so strong. I promise you that I will check myself into an in-patient clinic to get some help. Forgive me. I'm so sorry."

The guy felt genuine guilt and sorrow, so he checks himself into a clinic, and for one month he gets intense psychotherapy to deal with his compulsion. When he gets out of the clinic, he goes back to the same restaurant, and he walks in and says, "I'm cured. Give me a drink."

The waiter says, "Wait a minute. I had to change my shirt last time you were here. Are you sure you're cured?"

The guy says, "I know I'm cured. I promise."

The waiter says, "Okay, if you're cured, I'll bring you a Coke." And so the waiter brings him a Coke. The guy looks at it and throws it right in the waiter's face. The waiter says, "I thought you said you were cured."

The guy says, "I am cured. I still have the compulsion, but I don't feel guilty about it anymore."
[Phillip Griffin, from the sermon "Broken and Repentant"]


Sometimes we miss the point God is trying to make with us, so it is important that we learn God�s will for us and allow The Spirit to us in our lives.

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Titus 2:2 (NLT)
2 Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.

Old disciples of Christ must conduct themselves in every thing agreeably to the Christian doctrine. That the aged men be sober, not thinking that the decays of nature, which they feel in old age, will justify them in any inordinacy or intemperance, whereby they conceit to repair them; they must keep measure in things, both for health and for fitness, for counsel and example to the younger. Faith, love, and patience, are three main Christian graces, and soundness in these is much of gospel perfection. [Matthew Henry]




Why do we enjoy watching others�especially rich, powerful, famous people�"fall from grace"? Joseph Epstein commented on our need to know and discuss stories about prominent people who have failed:

How delightful to those of us living out our modest lives, to witness, if only through the media, such ego-filled balloons getting popped .� When we see someone mightier than we divested of his dignity, stripped of his pretentions, humiliated in public, we feel comforted by having retained our own dignity, pretensions, good name. Perhaps after all, we conclude, it is just as well that we are not so rich, powerful, beautiful, talented. Relishing in others humiliations is good for our ego �. Even when we know deep down that if [our local newspaper] knew everything about us, we might be on the cover too. [Joseph Epstein, "The Sweet Smell of Failure," Town &; Country (April 2012);]

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I think that part of the reason the masses relish in the failures and scandels of the elite is as the man in 1984 said, is he wants everyone to be immoral disgusting And void of character.

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Psalm 121:1-2 (NLT)
1 I look up to the mountains�does my help come from there? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!

We must see all our help laid up in God, in his power and goodness, his providence and grace; and from him we must expect it to come: "My help comes from the Lord; the help I desire is what he sends, and from him I expect it in his own way and time. If he do not help, no creature can help; if he do, no creature can hinder, can hurt.' [Matthew Henry Commentary]



In the book Prayer, Tim Keller writes: In the second half of my adult life, I discovered prayer. I had to. In the fall of 1999, I taught a Bible study course on the Psalms. It became clear to me that I was barely scratching the surface of what the Bible commanded and promised regarding prayer. Then came the dark weeks in New York after 9/11, when our whole city sank into a kind of corporate clinical depression, even as it rallied. For my family the shadow was intensified as my wife, Kathy, struggled with the effects of Crohn's disease. Finally, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. At one point during all this, my wife urged me to do something with her we had never been able to muster the self-discipline to do regularly. She asked me to pray with her every night. Every night. She used an illustration that crystallized her feelings very well. As we remember it, she said something like this:

Imagine you were diagnosed with such a lethal condition that the doctor told you that you would die within hours unless you took a particular medicine�a pill every night before going to sleep. Imagine that you were told that you could never miss it or you would die. Would you forget? Would you not get around to it some nights? No�it would be so crucial that you wouldn't forget, you would never miss. Well, if we don't pray together to God, we're not going to make it because of all we are facing. I'm certainly not. We have to pray, we can't let it just slip our minds.



Let us all take a moment today to pray to the living God thanking Him for the help, mercy, grace and love provided. In our prayers remember those of 9/11, the families, friends and responders.

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Romans 12:12 (NLT)
12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

Prayer has a distinct relationship to all Christian duties and graces. It is not possible for us to carry out the holy commands of our Lord Jesus unless we are abundant in supplication. The Romans at the time that Paul wrote to them were subject to persecution, and in this verse he mentions two remedies for impatience under such afflictions, remedies which are equally effectual under all the trials of life. [C.H. Spurgeon]



In 1949, a Catholic priest known as Abbe Pierre, started the Emmaus Communities, now a ministry to homeless men and women across Europe. This unique ministry restores the dignity of homeless men and women, also called ministry "companions," by asking them to serve others.

It all started with Abbe Pierre's first companion in ministry, a homeless man named Georges. After Georges' release from prison, his family couldn't cope with his reappearance, so they told him to leave. Homeless, unemployed, and on the verge of suicide, Georges came to Pierre and asked for help. Much to Georges' surprise, Father Pierre asked Georges to help him instead. Father Pierre told Georges that he was overwhelmed with meeting the needs of homeless mothers and their children. So Pierre challenged Georges to turn his life around by serving the less fortunate.

Georges became the first "companion" for Emmaus, helping Father Pierre build shelters for the homeless mothers and their children. In the ensuing years, like Georges, every companion was invited to serve others as they received help. Initially, all the companions collected second-hand goods and prepared them for resale, thus earning the name "the rag pickers." Later in his life, Georges said, "Whatever else [Abbe Pierre] might have given me�money, home, somewhere to work�I'd have still tried to kill myself. What I was missing, and what he offered, was something to live for." These sentiments became the unofficial motto for Emmaus�give the poor a reason to live, not just things to live on.

In her book, The Gift of Thanks, Margaret Visser notes that this ministry restores dignity and breathes new life into the poor because "members [of the Emmaus community] turn to those who have nothing [the homeless]�and ask them to give." [Margaret Visser, The Gift of Thanks (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), p. 373]


We are told to be patient when in trouble and to keep on praying for we can rejoice in our confidence and hope in The Lord. For The Lord will lead us and encourage us so that we may do the same for others.

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James 3:13 (NLT)
13 If you are wise and understand God�s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.

A truly wise man is a very knowing man: he will not set up for the reputation of being wise without laying in a good stock of knowledge; and he will not value himself merely upon knowing things, if he has not wisdom to make a right application and use of that knowledge.



According to researchers at Erasmus University carrying a grudge can weigh you down�literally. The researchers asked study participants to write about a time when they'd experienced a conflict. Some were instructed to reflect on a time when they didn't forgive the offender, others were told to think about the time they did forgive the person, and a third group wrote about a comparatively dull social interaction. They were then given a small physical challenge: jumping five times, as high as they could, without bending their knees.

They then asked their human guinea pigs to jump as high as they could, five times, without bending their knees. Those who had been thinking about a time when they'd forgiven jumped highest, about 11.8 inches on average; those who had written about their grudges, on the other hand, jumped 8.5 inches. There were no significant difference in the jumps of those in the non-forgiveness and neutral conditions. In another, similar experiment, people who'd been set up to think about a time they held a grudge estimated that a hill was steeper than people who were thinking about a time they forgave someone.

The results suggest that the "weight" of carrying a grudge may be more than just a metaphor. The lead researcher for the study wrote, "A state of unforgiveness is like carrying a heavy burden�a burden that victims bring with them when they navigate the physical world. Forgiveness can 'lighten' this burden."
[Melissa Dahl, "Holding a Grudge May Literally Weigh You Down," Science of Us (1-9-15)]


The wise look to understand God�s ways and live a life pleasing to God. We have been freed from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ, but with freedom comes responsibility to live with humility from the wisdom we have acquired.

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