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AskMe #2872589 12/15/15 07:20 AM
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Proverbs 15:18 (NIV)
18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

Anger strikes the fire which sets cities and churches into a flame: A wrathful man, with his peevish passionate reflections, stirs up strife, and sets people together by the ears; he gives occasion to others to quarrel, and takes the occasion that others give, though ever so trifling. When men carry their resentments too far, one quarrel still produces another. Meekness the great peace-maker: He that is slow to anger not only prevents strife, that it be not kindled, but appeases it if it be already kindled, brings water to the flame, unites those again that have fallen out, and by gentle methods brings them to mutual concessions for peace-sake. [Matthew Henry]




A young rabbi found a serious problem in his new congregation. During the Friday service, half the congregation stood for the prayers and half remained seated, and each side shouted at the other, insisting that theirs was the true tradition. Nothing the rabbi said or did helped solve the impasse. Finally, in desperation, the young rabbi sought out the synagogue's 99-year-old founder.

He met the old rabbi in the nursing home and poured out his troubles. "So tell me," he pleaded, "was it the tradition for the congregation to stand during the prayers?"

"No," answered the old rabbi.

"Ah," responded the younger man, "then it was the tradition to sit during the prayers."

"No," answered the old rabbi.

"Well," the young rabbi responded, "what we have is complete chaos! Half the people stand and shout and the other half sit and scream."

"Ah," said the old rabbi, "that was the tradition." [As retold by P. J. Alindogan, The Potter's Jar blog, "Communicate and Relate" (9-4-11)]


Habits become ingrained in our lives. Some are good for us, while others are hurtful. Some habits should learn to be tolerated for they don�t make much difference one way or another. Learn to examine the habits and choices in your life to ensure you are not one that stirs up conflict, but instead brings calm in the middle of a quarrel.

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Psalm 121:7-8 (NIV)
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm�he will watch over your life; 8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

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]




Where do you put your hope and trust when you get a bad report from the doctor? How do you get some control of the situation? Author Phyllis Ten Elshof says that, when battling the fear of recurrent breast cancer, she first tried to find comfort in statistics:

"You're gonna be okay," whispered the lady in pink as she wheeled me down the hall. "Eighty percent of breast lumps aren't cancer."

I stifled a sigh. So far, statistics had not been in my favor. My breast lump, which was big enough to be seen by the naked eye, hadn't shown up on a mammogram. Mammograms are effective only 80 percent of the time.

The volunteer's prediction wasn't accurate, either; I did have breast cancer. So why, years after surviving a mastectomy and treatment for breast cancer, was I still drawn to survival statistics like a mosquito to a lamp�especially after hearing that a fellow survivor had recurred?

The size of my lump plus five positive nodes drove down my five-year survival rate to less than 25 percent. What's more, I, like so many other cancer survivors, had learned how senseless statistics were in forecasting survival. As one doctor said, "Maybe only 10 percent of patients with your type and stage of cancer are cured, but within that 10 percent, your odds are 0 percent or 100 percent."

So what drove me to statistics? Perhaps it's the kind of fear that drove King Saul to consult a medium on the eve of a battle that would later claim his life (1 Samuel 28). God had stopped communicating with the king through ordinary means, so Saul tried to conjure up the spirit of Samuel to tell him what to do. Saul got the message all right, but it knocked him to the ground.

Cancer knocks us to the ground, too. Still, rather than running to statistics (or doctors that quote them) to ease our fears, we should trust in our Heavenly Father, who alone knows how long we will live.
[Phyllis Ten Elshof, What Cancer Cannot Do (Zondervan, 2006)]


Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip�he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

AskMe #2873836 01/06/16 06:43 AM
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1 Peter 1:13 (NKJV)
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

As if he had said, "Wherefore, since you are so honoured and distinguished, as above, Gird up the loins of your mind. You have a journey to go, a race to run, a warfare to accomplish, and a great work to do; as the traveller, the racer, the warrior, and the labourer, gather in, and gird up, their long and loose garments, that they may be more ready, prompt, and expeditious in their business, so do you by your minds, your inner man, and affections seated there: gird them, gather them in, let them not hang loose and neglected about you; restrain their extravagances, and let the loins or strength and vigour of your minds be exerted in your duty; disengage yourselves from all that would hinder you, and go on resolutely in your obedience. Be sober, be vigilant against all your spiritual dangers and enemies, and be temperate and modest in eating, drinking, apparel, recreation, business, and in the whole of your behaviour. Be sober-minded also in opinion, as well as in practice, and humble in your judgment of yourselves. [Matthew Henry]



On August 11, 2014, the actor Robin Williams took his own life. The 63-year-old actor, who was loved by many fans and fellow actors, was an admitted abuser of cocaine�which he also referred to as "Peruvian marching power" and "the devil's dandruff." In 2006, he checked himself into a rehab center to be treated for an addiction to alcohol, having fallen off the wagon after some 20 years of sobriety.

He later explained in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer that this addiction had not been "caused by anything, it's just there." Williams continued, "It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, 'It's fine now, I'm O.K.' Then, the next thing you know, it's not O.K. Then you realize, 'Where am I? I didn't realize I was in Cleveland.'" [Dave Itzkoff, "Robin Williams, Oscar-Winning Comedian, Dies at 63 in Suspected Suicide," The New York Times (8-11-14)]


1 Peter 5:8 also tells us, �Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.�

AskMe #2873887 01/07/16 06:26 AM
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Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)
1 Follow God�s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Here we have the exhortation to mutual love, or to Christian charity. The apostle had been insisting on this in the former chapter, and particularly in the last verses of it, to which the particle therefore refers, and connects what he had said there with what is contained in these verses, thus: "Because God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven you, therefore be you followers of God, or imitators of him;' for so the word signifies. [Matthew Commentary]




When New Testament scholar William Lane taught at Western Kentucky University, contemporary musician Michael Card was a student of his, and they developed a friendship that led to a discipling relationship. Card's book, The Walk, describes the intertwining of these two lives that grew out of their days together at the university. William Lane worked to live out the meaning of redeemed life to the fullest extent. But he was not content until he passed it on to others, including Michael Card. Eventually, Professor Lane moved to another university. Years later through a telephone call, Card learned that Lane was dying of cancer. Eventually, the Lanes moved to be near the Cards. As Card tells the story, Professor Lane had a purpose in doing this.

He said to Card, "I want to come to Franklin (where the Cards lived)…I want to show you how a Christian man dies." The Lanes made the move and many months later Cards' beloved mentor died. Lane's life mirrors the teaching of Psalm 15. Those who truly worship God do so with the totality of their being, even the hour of dying. [Authentic Worship, Herbert W. Bateman, editor (Kregel, 2002), pp. 76-77]


Live as Christ lived, giving himself up for us. Let our lives reflect that of Christ so others can see Him.

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Psalm 118:5-6 (NKJV)
5 I called on the Lord in distress; The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. 6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

David calls upon all about him to give to God the glory of his goodness. He encourages himself and others to trust in God, from the experience he had had of God's power and pity in the great and kind things he had done for him. There are many who, when they are lifted up, care not for hearing or speaking of their former depressions; but David takes all occasions to remember his own low estate. [Matthew Henry]



At the sight of the outstretched hand of a city beggar, I have always grown uncomfortable. Until recently, I have thought it was because of Jesus' warning in Matthew 25:45: "Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these [the hungry, thirsty, unclothed, homeless], you did not do for me."

But since I spent an evening at the women's shelter, I see that Matthew 25 is only the partial cause of my discomfort. I am uncomfortable because I see the beggar as myself�or my very own brother or mother or father. And I cannot think of a homeless or hungry woman in such personal terms without a reversal in the way I give my thanks.

The difference between "Thank you that I'm not one of them" and "Thank you for the grace you have shown to me, and help me to mirror your grace to others" may, at first, seem slight. But the second is for me a wholly new mindset that makes me want to reach out, that reduces my discomfort around those who have less than I, and, surprisingly, that reduces my fear of a future that is unknown. Why? Because even though I know I have no insurance policy against war and famine or sickness, I know I have a God who does not forget his own. And for that I thank him also. [Except from: Evelyn Bence, "Two Kinds of Thanks," Christianity Today magazine (November, 1999)]


God is there in our moments of distress. David was always giving praise unto God; for David knew God was watching over him. Throughout his life he had lived as a shepherd, as a musician in the King�s court, a man on the run from danger and even a man facing the consequences of his sins. Yet the Lord was always there to comfort David and to lead him back to a life of righteousness; and so David was thankful.

AskMe #2874138 01/12/16 06:18 AM
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Proverbs 12:8 (NLT)
8 A sensible person wins admiration, but a warped mind is despised.

The best reputation is that which attends virtue and serious piety, and the prudent conduct of life: A man shall be commended by all that are wise and good, in conformity to the judgment of God himself, which we are sure is according to truth, not according to his riches or preferments, his craft and subtlety, but according to his wisdom, the honesty of his designs and the prudent choice of means to compass them. [Matthew Henry]




We've all heard the old adage, "If you can't find anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all." In a recent article for Salon.com, Lauren Frey Daisley tried to follow that advice for one month. She titled the article "My month of no snark." ("Snark" is a slang word that combines "snide" and "remark" and refers to sarcastic comments.) Daisley writes:

It started when my husband, baby and I drove away from a visit with my aunt, who has Stage 4 breast cancer. I thought back on the 30-some years I've known her. I have never once in all that time heard her say anything unkind. Not even in the subtext of her words. That's one [heck]�or, in this case, heaven�of a legacy�. I began to wonder, how would holding my tongue�or at least changing what came off it�alter my relationships?

That's when she began her "month-long campaign" to practice kindness in her speech. Daisley discovered that it's not easy to live without snark. Instead, she wrote, "It's so much cooler to be more sarcastic �. It says, I am so above this scene�above other people, even."

After her month-long experiment she concluded, "Kindness [of speech] doesn't have to imply repression. It doesn't rein in humor or impede the fight for justice. But it does require discipline and substantive engagement with others." [Lauren Frey Daisley, "My month of no snark," Salon.com (3-28-11)]


From an origin in Greek the word sarcasm means to tear flesh or to bite at with the teeth. When a person is being sarcastic to another they are tearing away from them the good things in life. The intent is to hurt in order to make oneself better than another.

AskMe #2874276 01/14/16 06:56 AM
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Proverbs 14:3 (NLT)
3 A fool�s proud talk becomes a rod that beats him, but the words of the wise keep them safe.

The proud man with his tongue lays about him and deals blows at pleasure, but it will in the end be a rod to himself; the proud man shall come under an ignominious correction by the words of his own mouth, not cut as a soldier, but caned as a servant; and herein he will be beaten with his own rod, Ps. 64:8.. A humble wise man saving himself and consulting his own good: The lips of the wise shall preserve them from doing that mischief to others which proud men do with their tongues, and from bringing that mischief on themselves which haughty scorners are often involved in. [Matthew Henry]



Following the murder of 16 Afghanistan civilians by an American soldier in March 2012, David Brooks writes that terrible crimes such as this should not surprise us:

Even people who contain reservoirs of compassion and neighborliness also possess a latent potential to commit murder.

David Buss of the University of Texas asked his students if they had ever thought seriously about killing someone, and if so, to write out their homicidal fantasies in an essay. He was astonished to find that 91 percent of the men and 84 percent of the women had detailed, vivid homicidal fantasies. He was even more astonished to learn how many steps some of his students had taken toward carrying them out.

One woman invited an abusive ex-boyfriend to dinner with thoughts of stabbing him in the chest. A young man in a fit of road rage pulled a baseball bat out of his trunk and would have pummeled his opponent if he hadn't run away. Another young man planned the progression of his murder � crushing a former friend's fingers, puncturing his lungs, then killing him. [David Brooks, "When the Good Do Bad," New York Times (3-19-12)]


This reminds me of the lead in for the Radio Show �The Shadow�, which started by saying, "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"

God definitely knows the evil that lurks in the hearts of men and God tries to steer us clear of the evil actions we might commit. When we talk proudly as a fool we begin to forget God�s words and think of only our own. Take a moment to be wise and keep your thoughts and words safe from the path of evil.

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Matthew 7:12 (NLT)
12 Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

Christ came to teach us, not only what we are to know and believe, but what we are to do; what we are to do, not only toward God, but toward men; not only towards our fellow-disciples, those of our party and persuasion, but towards men in general, all with whom we have to do. The golden rule of equity is, to do to others as we would they should do to us. [Matthew Henry]



I love this illustration of accountability. Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. For one day you may need someone with you to keep you accountable or they may need someone to help them with an issue with which they struggle.


Rich Mullins, a Christian musician and songwriter who died in 1997 at the age of 41, once confessed in a concert that he struggled with watching pornography while traveling alone. One of his spiritual mentors told him, "It's not that you're so bad, it's just that you're not supposed to go out by yourself." So Mullins took a friend along with him on a trip to Amsterdam near its famous red-light district. Mullins said he was hoping his friend would fall fast asleep and start snoring so, as Mullins put it, "I thought, 'Maybe it would be fun to just take a walk and be tempted.'" He waited until 5:00 in the morning for his friend to start snoring, but he never did. Meanwhile, in the midst of his temptation, Mullins picked up a notebook and wrote the words to one of his more popular songs, 'Hold Me, Jesus'":

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It's so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart
So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace"

With this back story, some people call this Mullins' "Prayer for Porn Addicts" song, but it could also be a called a "Prayer for Anyone Who Is Tempted" Song. [Luke Gilkerson, "'Hold Me Jesus': A Prayer for Porn Addiction," Covenant Eyes, June 17, 2010.]


Hold me Jesus for I am always in need of you!

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Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV)
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Here is a caution to take heed of mocking God, or of deceiving ourselves, by imagining that he can be imposed upon by mere pretensions or professions. [Matthew Henry]



The Comedian Louis CK has a routine in which he jokes about having the impulse to give up his first class airline seat to a soldier. Louis CK says,

[Service men and women] always fly coach. I've never seen a soldier in first class in my life � And every time that I see a soldier on a plane I always think, You know what? I should give him my seat. It would be the right thing to do, it would be easy to do, and it would mean a lot to him � I never have, let me make that clear. I've never done it once � And here's the worst part: I was actually proud of myself for having thought of this. I am such a sweet man. That is so nice of me, to think of doing that and then totally never do it.

In June of 2014 Oscar nominated actress Amy Adams actually acted on that thought. Boarding a flight Friday from Detroit to Los Angeles where she was shooting a new movie, Adams noticed an American soldier being seated in coach. She decided to do something that she's always just thought about doing. Jemele Hill, a reporter for ESPN and a fellow first class passenger, witnessed Adams quietly asking the airline crew permission to switch seats with the soldier, whom she didn't know. Adams moved back to coach, and the surprised soldier, who didn't know who his benefactor was, moved up to first class. Hill immediately got the word out on Twitter, and after their arrival in L.A. Adams told reporters, "I didn't do it for attention for myself. I did it for attention for the troops." [Adapted from Mark Tapson, "Amy Adams, Class Act," Acculturated blog (6-30-14)]


You can think of the good acts you might commit, but God sees and knows what we do. Often we just want to please ourselves, but God wants us to show compassion and love to others.

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Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Whatsoever things are just and pure,-agreeable to the rules of justice and righteousness in all our dealings with men, and without the impurity or mixture of sin. Whatsoever things are lovely and of good report, that is, amiable; that will render us beloved, and make us well spoken of, as well as well thought of, by others. [Matthew Henry Commentary]




A study from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism asked thousands of people around the world what sort of news was most important to them. International news beat out celebrity and "fun" news by a margin of two-to-one. Economic and political news finished even higher. But what happens when we stop asking readers what's important and start looking at what they actually read? Derek Thompson with The Atlantic claims that most Americans lie about what they actually read. He explains:

[On June 17, 2014], the most important story in the world, according to every major American newspaper this morning, is the violent splintering of Iraq. It was the front-page and top-of-the-homepage story in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and more � But despite Iraq's prominent location on every major newspaper, the most-read stories on those papers' websites aren't about Iraq, at all.

So what did we actually read on June 17, 2014? The top stories across the big media outlets focused on the World Cup, a YouTube game, gluten and postpartum depression, the Miss America Pageant, and the Video Music Awards. But the biggest stories on news outlets weren't even news stories. They were quizzes, lists, and emotional poppers.

Thompson concludes, "Ask audiences what they want, and they'll tell you vegetables. Watch them quietly, and they'll mostly eat candy." [Derek Thompson, "Why Audiences Hate Hard News - And Love Pretending Otherwise," The Atlantic (June 2014)]


We all should stop and take the time to focus our thoughts on what is important and place our sights there, in a place honorable, pure, lovely and admirable. These things are excellent and worthy of praise.

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James 4:10 (NLT)
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

Those that draw nigh to God in a way of duty shall find God drawing nigh to them in a way of mercy. Draw nigh to him in faith, and trust, and obedience, and he will draw nigh to you for your deliverance. If there be not a close communion between God and us, it is our fault, and not his. He shall lift up the humble.




It is the desire for God which is the most fundamental appetite of all, and it is an appetite we can never eliminate. We may seek to disown it, but it will not go away. If we deny that it is there, we shall in fact only divert it to some other object or range of objects. And that will mean that we invest some creature or creatures with the full burden of our need for God, a burden which no creature can carry.

[�Friar and author Simon Tugwell, The Beatitudes; Quoted in "Reflections," www.christianitytoday.com (9-10-07)]


We have a natural desire to be filled with the love of God. However, if we do not humble ourselves we tend to turn to other desires in life. It is why people turn to addictive lifestyles, because they are looking to fill an empty spot in their soul. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

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Ephesians 6:12-13 (NIV)
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Those who would approve themselves to have true grace must aim at all grace, the whole armour. It is called the armour of God, because he both prepares and bestows it. We have no armour of our own that will be armour of proof in a trying time. Nothing will stand us in stead but the armour of God. This armour is prepared for us, but we must put it on; that is, we must pray for grace, we must use the grace given us, and draw it out into act and exercise as there is occasion. The reason assigned why the Christian should be completely armed is that he may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil-that he may be able to hold out, and to overcome, notwithstanding all the devil's assaults, both of force and fraud, all the deceits he puts upon us, all the snares he lays for us, and all his machinations against us. [Matthew Henry Commentary]




As [one researcher has] described it, our brain blinds our mind to the unusual. For instance, in one study, researchers put a clown on a unicycle in the path of pedestrians. The researchers asked people who walked passed the clown if they had noticed anything unusual. Everybody saw him unless they had been on their cell phone. Three out of every four people who had been using their phone did not see the clown. They looked back in astonishment, unable to believe they had missed him. They had looked straight at him but had not registered his presence. The unicycling clown crossed their paths but not their minds. [Kevin Ashton, How to Fly a Horse (Doubleday, 2015), page 97]


Life is complicated by all the things that come at us that we do not see coming. This is why it is important to put on the armor of God so we can protect ourselves from those things we do not see coming.

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John 4:24 (NIV)
24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

As God is a Spirit, so He both invites and demands a spiritual worship, and already all is in preparation for a spiritual economy, more in harmony with the true nature of acceptable service than the ceremonial worship by consecrated persons, place, and times, which God for a time has seen meet to keep up till fulness of the time should come. [Matthew Henry Commentary]




In his book Sahara Unveiled, William Langewiesche tells the story of an Algerian named Lag Lag and a companion whose truck broke down while crossing the desert:

They nearly died of thirst during the three weeks they waited before being rescued. As their bodies dehydrated, they became willing to drink anything in hopes of quenching their terrible thirst. The sun forced them into the shade under the truck, where they dug a shallow trench. Day after day they lay there. They had food, but did not eat, fearing it would magnify their thirst. Dehydration, not starvation, kills wanderers in the desert, and thirst is the most terrible of all human sufferings.

In Lag Lag's case, they might say he progressed from eudipsia, "ordinary thirst," through bouts of hyperdipsia, meaning "temporary intense thirst," to polydipsia, "sustained excessive thirst." Polydipsia means the kind of thirst that drives one to drink anything. There are specialized terms for such behavior, including uriposia, the drinking of urine, and hemoposia, the drinking of blood.

For word enthusiasts, this is heady stuff. Nevertheless, the lexicon has not kept up with technology. I have tried, and cannot coin a suitable word for the drinking of rusty radiator water. Radiator water is what Lag Lag and his assistant started into when good drinking water was gone. In order to survive, they were willing to drink, in effect, poison.

Many people do something similar in the spiritual realm. They depend on things like money, sex, and power to quench spiritual thirst. Unfortunately, such "thirst quenchers" are in reality spiritual poison, a dangerous substitute for the "living water" Jesus promised. [William Langewiesche, Sahara Unveiled (Vintage, 1997);]


May we thirst for the living water found in Jesus Christ and put aside the poisons of the world which we fill ourselves with when our soul is thirsting and we are not looking for Christ to quench the thirst.

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Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NIV)
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Blessed are we, who every morning and evening say, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. But more blessed are we if we duly consider and improve, what we are here taught to believe concerning God: that Jehovah our God is one Jehovah. [Matthew Henry]




There was a family in the San Francisco Bay area that grew up with commitment. The son's name was David Kraft. His father was a pastor, a godly pastor in the South Bay. David Kraft grew up with a father who constantly remembered God's faithfulness in the past so that David might trust in God in all of his tomorrows. David grew up in love with Jesus, and he felt the call of God into the pastoral ministry. He went to Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary.

David was a big, athletic young man. At the age of 32, he was six feet two inches tall and weighed two hundred pounds. He worked with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. That dear young man was diagnosed as having cancer. It wracked his body, and, over a period of time, he dropped from two hundred pounds in weight to eighty pounds.

When he was about ready to pass from this life into eternity, he asked his father to come into his hospital room. Lying there in the bed, he looked up and said, "Dad, do you remember when I was a little boy, how you used to just hold me in your arms close to your chest?"

David's father nodded. Then David said, "Do you think, Dad, you could do that one more time? One last time?"

Again his father nodded. He bent down to pick up his 32-year-old six-foot two-inch, eighty-pound son, and held him close to his chest so the son's face was right next to the father's face. They were eyeball to eyeball. Tears were streaming down both faces. The son said simply to the father, "Thank you for building the kind of character into my life that can enable me to face even a moment like this." ["Introducing Christ to Your Child," Preaching Today]


When God is a part of our lives we can face the most difficult burdens. So make sure you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your stenght.

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Luke 22:32 (NIV)
32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.�

Note that Jesus has told Simon Peter that his faith would fail him, but when his faith returned that he would be able to use it to strengthen others.




John Piper writes in Bloodlines, (Crossway 2011), One of the lessons I have learned in six and half decades of life is that very few dreams should go on hold while you improve the shortcomings of your life �. To be sure, there are times when you need to stop what you are doing and focus on conquering a flaw. But if you wait till all your shortcomings are remedied, your dreams will die. All our advances are with a limp.

If you wait till you are beyond criticism to pursue your dream, you will never do it. You won't marry or stay married. You won't decide to have children or raise them. You won't take your first job or keep it. You won't go into missions or stay there �. Few things paralyze people more than their own imperfections. And there are always people around to remind you of your flaws and suggest you can't move forward until you're better.



Many of you will fail in life just as Peter failed, but that doesn�t mean you have to remain down for the count. The Lord is with you and during the times you fail, The Lord becomes strong in your life. Remember The Lord is always with you and you can use your failures to help someone else who has failed also.

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Psalm 33:4-5 (NIV)
4 For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. 5 The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.

This verse reflects the high thoughts the psalmist had of The Lord. He found Him to be right and true; loving righteousness and just justice that come from His unfailing love.




Unfortunately, many people assume the Bible is an unreliable document. The truth is that of all ancient literature the New Testament is the most well-authenticated document, with an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting its reliability. There are more New Testament manuscripts, copied with greater accuracy, at earlier dates than from any secular classic from antiquity such as Herodotus, Plato, or Aristotle.

Some charge that there are grievous errors in the Bible. Actually, scholars who have examined the thousands of manuscript copies discovered 150,000 "textual variants." These variants are slight, involving a missing letter in a word. For example, note the variants in the following: Youha*ejus#wonamilliondol^ars. My guess is that you would not have any problem making out this message in spite of the variants. In more than 99 percent of the cases of textual variants in the New Testament, the original text can be reconstructed to a practical certainty.

In October 2003, Odyssey Marine Exploration recovered a ship's bell off the coast of Georgia. They believe it is from the ship called the TENNESSEE, which sank back in 1865 with a cargo of up to $180 million in gold. They aren't absolutely certain because the bell's inscription is partially obscured. Only the letters "SSEE" are visible. The rest of the inscription won't be legible until it's cleaned.

With $180 million at stake, do you think they will allow this fragment of a word to hinder their search?
["Salvaged Bell May Be Key to Riches," USA TODAY (10-15-03)]


Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. For no word from God will ever fail. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

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Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV)
43 �You have heard that it was said, �Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.� 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

God is always trying to reconcile sinners to Him. Therefore he asks of us that we might do the same by loving our enemies and praying for them. For God watches over both the righteous and unrighteous.




A pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, recently had an opportunity to practice what he preaches regarding turning the other cheek and showing forgiveness.

The pastor was standing in front of a group of people when a man punched him in the face. Victory Christian Center's pastor, Billy Joe Daugherty, continued his sermon even though the blow had opened a cut above his eye that would later require two stitches.

Church members subdued his attacker, and police arrested 50-year-old Steven Rogers. Daugherty, however, did not press any charges. In fact, he prayed for his assailant during the church service, and visited him in jail a few days later. [www.firstcoastnews.com; submitted by Michael Herman, Lisle, Illinois]


It is difficult to care for those who have wronged us, yet The Lord cares for each and everyone one of us, He loves us and He finds us precious even though we may have turned our back on Him many times. Listen to the words of Jesus and love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

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Philippians 1:30 (NLT)
30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.

It is not simply the suffering, but the cause, and not only the cause, but the spirit, which makes the martyr. A man may suffer in a bad cause, and then he suffers justly; or in a good cause, but with a wrong mind, and then his sufferings lose their value.




Comedian Jay Leno once conducted a "man-on-the-street" interview by asking random people to name one of the Ten Commandments. The most common response was something that wasn't even on God's original list�"God helps those who help themselves." That phrase, which is often used to emphasize a get-your-act-together approach to salvation, is often attributed to the Bible.

But the phrase is more closely tied to non-biblical sources. In a first century A.D. Greek fable, a wagon falls into a ravine, but when its driver appeals to Hercules for help, he is told to get to work himself. One of Aesop's fables has a similar theme. When a man calls on the goddess Athena for help during a shipwreck, she tells him to try swimming first. Both of these stories were probably created to illustrate an already existing proverb about helping yourself first.

A French author from the 1600s once said "Help yourself and Heaven will help you too." But it was the 17th century English thinker Algernon Sidney who has been credited with the now familiar wording, "God helps those who help themselves." Benjamin Franklin later used it in his Poor Richard's Almanack (1736) and it has been widely quoted ever since. A passage with similar sentiments can be found in the Quran, Chapter 13:11: "Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves."

But that phrase never appears in the Bible, and the way it's often used (as a self-help approach to salvation) is the exact opposite of the Bible's message of salvation by God's grace. [Matt Woodley, editor PreachingToday.com; source: "God helps those who help themselves," Wikipedia (last accessed August 5, 2014)]


Understand the word of God and pray for His wisdom that you might be able to work through the struggles in life that lay ahead. For God will never leave your side, but will always be there to help you. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God�s people.

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1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV)
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.

The apostle gives us in these verses some of the properties and effects of charity, both to describe and commend it, that we may know whether we have this grace and that if we have not we may fall in love with what is so exceedingly amiable, and not rest till we have obtained it.




In a popular TED talk titled "The secret to desire in a long-term relationship," psychotherapist Esther Perel, who has counseled hundreds of couples who are having trouble in their marriages, notes how we tend to expect too much from our husband or wife. Dr. Perel says,

Marriage [used to be primarily] an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition, I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise.
[Dr. Esther Perel, "The Secret Desire in a Long-term Relationship"; Quoted in David Zahl, "Infidelity, Love, and the New Shame,' Mbird blog (7-7-15)]


Our nature self wants everything from life. It want�s others to give us what we feel we deserve. We want our spouses to fill the empty spaces inside of us. However, we miss an important part of the definition of love � IT IS NOT SELF SEEKING. We are not to seek out love for ourselves, but instead we are to give love, to impart it to others and show understand God�s wonderful gifts of mercy, grace and love through our own actions.

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Exodus 14:14 (NIV)
14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

The Israelites were leaving their Egyptian captors. They had reached the sea and could see their captors coming for them. Their worries were now magnified and they could only think of the work ahead of them. But Moses reminded them they would only need to be still as The Lord fought for them.




God
Grant me to be
silent before you--
that I may hear you;
at rest in you--
that you may work in me;
open to you--
that you may enter;
empty before you--
that you may fill me.
Let me be still
And know you are my God.

Amen.

[Sir Paul Reeves in a prayer at the WCC Seventh Assembly in Canberra, Australia. Christianity Today, Vol. 35, no. 11.}


Let us be still and allow God to work in our lives. Let this prayer be one that we incorporate into ours so that we may be at peace with others.

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