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AskMe #2876085 02/18/16 06:19 AM
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Proverbs 18:17 (NIV)
17 In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.

This shows that one tale is good till another is told and then the truth can be weighted.



Anson Hui is eleven-years-old. At the age of three, he was diagnosed with Glycogen Storage Disease (GSD), meaning his body can't break down or store sugars. He requires frequent daytime feedings (drinking raw cornstarch), and nighttime feedings through a pump that hooks into a surgically implanted tube to his stomach. At the age of five, he experienced developmental delays that doctors feared were connected to autism. At that point in his life, he couldn't speak sentences with more than three syllables. He also became a target for school-yard bullies. No wonder that Anson often asked, "Why did God put me here?"

However, Anson also discovered that he had a gift. He said, "While everyone else was busy talking, I listened and listened to all the sounds around me." His listening skills helped him develop another gift�perfect or absolute pitch. Anson discovered that he could memorize and then master complex piano pieces (such as Mozart's Concerto in D Minor) with astounding speed and proficiency. Anson has won numerous awards and even performed in Carnegie Hall. Anson's trials and his gifts have led him to declare his deep faith in the living God: "I can't decide many things that God has already planned, but I can still choose to work on my dream because I still have workable hands and a body to do it. I believe every single life is unique and special. Each has its own mission and purpose."

About a year ago he received more difficult news. An MRI revealed a benign tumor around his liver, which could lead to a liver transplant, a tricky procedure for any GSD patient. But once again, Anson finds solace in God's faithfulness. In a recent interview Anson said,

I know [there's] always a reason for God to give me a special body and talent. My dream is to be a tool of God � so in the end, I can hand in a beautiful [report] to my Lord in heaven with honor. And the most important thing is�I will never regret this journey on earth. [Julie Jordan, "Music as the No.1 Medicine (Part 2)," The Epoch Times (10-14-10)]

At age three Anson Hui was basically given a death sentence. Yet he continued to live and has faced many more obstacles. He continues to play the piano delighting those who hear. What if the writer had stopped at the first paragraph, we may have assumed the worst. Yet reading on we find Anson praising God for continuing to do miraculous things.

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AskMe #2876138 02/19/16 06:43 AM
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1 John 4:11-12 (NIV)
11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

The example of God should press us. We should be followers (or imitators) of him, as his dear children. The objects of the divine love should be the objects of ours. Shall we refuse to love those whom the eternal God hath loved? [Matthew Henry Commentary]




Sanderson Jones, a former stand-up comedian who leads the Sunday Assembly�also known as the "atheist church"�spent Sunday attending three London churches and tweeting about his experience. His observations are surprising and an encouraging reminder for all churches. "I think churches should recognize that they are already doing so much right," Jones says, referring to the idea of having people welcoming on the front door, and people knowing where and when to set up for coffee after church. "I went to the American Humanist Association and they had a special lecture on why it's important to be welcoming. It's just the most basic things which you'll take for granted in 'Churchland,' which are in fact really powerful." [Lucinda Borkett-Jones, "A well-known atheist visited three churches in one day and this is what he made of it," Christian Today (3-30-15)]


Love can be spread in many ways. It can be helping someone through a difficult time. I can be a friendly smile. Love can be shown in the purchase of a cup of coffee. There are so many way to love those who do not know the love of God. Start loving others so they know the love of God that is in us.

AskMe #2876272 02/22/16 05:55 AM
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1 John 4:18 (NIV)
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Love considers God as most eminently good, and most eminently loving us in Christ, and so puts off dread, and puts on joy in him; and, as love grows, joy grows too; so that perfect love casteth out fear or dread. [Matthew Henry Commentary]




The Huffington Post ran a beautiful story about a church in Honolulu called Bluewater Mission. This small church started a restaurant called Seed, which gives people a second chance at work and at life. The article focused on a woman named Mary Nelson, who started working at Seed last year. It was only the second job the 53-year-old had ever had. At the age of 14, Nelson's mother committed suicide and she started working on the streets of New York City as a prostitute. At the age of 18 she tried to start a new life in Hawaii but she kept working as a prostitute.

Then when she was in her early 50s some Christians at Bluewater Mission persuaded her to leave the streets and try working at Seed. She spent the first six months washing dishes because she wanted to be far away from what she called, the "good people." But after a lot of hard work and love from the people at church Nelsons says, "I get to be the person I was never able to be. I get to help people without someone trying to take advantage of me."

Nelson noted that what she makes in a month at Seed, she used to make in one night on the streets. She had it all: new cars, jewelry, travel, nice condos�though, sometimes, beatings, rape and "so much horror" came with the price. "You can't buy what I'm going through right now," she says. "I never thought that I'd be this person I am now."

Recently, Nelson went with her church on a trip to the Philippines to reach out to prostitutes. She told the reporter, "I want those women to know there's hope. You can change. There are people out there that really want to help and you've got to � believe. Just like you went out there and took a chance on the streets, you've got to take a chance on this as well."

[Adapted from Carla Herreria, "Restaurant In Hawaii Offers Fresh Start For Former Prostitutes, Convicts, Others Who Need A Hand," The Huffington Post (2-28-15)]


Mary Nelson found love in the people who helped her change her life. At first she was fearful that others would judge her or be take advantage of her. Mary then found there was no fear in love; for those around her loved her as God intended.

AskMe #2876580 02/25/16 06:51 AM
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Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)
37 Jesus replied: ��Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.� 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: �Love your neighbor as yourself.

Christ extended the commandment of Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your sould and with all your mind to include loving your neighbor as yourself.




Charles Colson tells the following story about his home town of Naples, Florida, which he calls "one of the garden spots of the world."

It's an absolute nirvana for all golfers, and they all come there. They're all CEOs of major corporations, and they retire to Naples, and this is "it"�twenty-seven golf courses and miles of sparkling beach and the best country clubs. I watch these guys; they're powerful people. They have this New York look on their face; they're determined. But now, all of a sudden, they start measuring their lives by how many golf games they can get in.

I often say to them, "Do you really want to live your life counting up the number of times you chase that little white ball around those greens?" And they kind of chuckle, but it's a nervous chuckle, because in six months they've realized how banal their lives are, and they've got beautiful homes�castles�and when they get bored with that, they build a bigger castle, and they're miserable. The object of life is not what we think it is, which is to achieve money, power, pleasure. That's not the holy grail. The object of life is the maturing of the soul, and you reflect that maturing of the soul when you care more for other people than yourself.

[Eric Metaxas, Socrates in the City (Dutton, 2011), pp. 172-3]

Love your neighbor as yourself and you will find many blessing you did not realize that could exist.

AskMe #2876713 02/26/16 07:01 AM
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1 John 4:9 (NIV)
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

God commandeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.




Many years ago, in my first pastorate, I met with a teenage girl in our congregation. She was about sixteen at the time, and she was discouraged and becoming depressed. I tried to encourage her, but there was a revelatory moment when she said, "Yes, I know Jesus loves me, he saved me, he's going to take me to heaven�but what good is it when no boy at school will even look at me?"

She said she "knew" all these truths about being a Christian, but they were of no comfort to her. The attention (or the lack of it) of a cute boy at school was far more consoling, energizing, and foundational for her joy and self-worth than the love of Christ. Of course this was a perfectly normal response for a teenage girl. Nevertheless it was revealing of how our hearts work. [Jonathan] Edwards would say that she had the opinion that Jesus loved her, but she didn't really know it. Christ's love was an abstract concept while the love of these others was real to her heart.

[Timothy Keller, Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism (Viking, 2015), page 163.]


Many of us may be looking for someone to love us, someone to fill the empty spot inside of us, someone we know we can turn to in a crisis. Let me clearly state there is only one who can fill every need you have and that person is Jesus Christ. Jesus died for you, for me and for the world that we would live eternal life through him. Know that when you can�t count on someone else, you can count on Jesus.

AskMe #2876988 02/29/16 06:42 AM
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Psalm 120:1 NIV
1 I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.

The Psalmist prays to God to deliver him from the mischief designed him by false and malicious tongues.





If you have had time to watch the political debates that have been taking place; you would have heard many false and malicious words. It just seems people can�t win on their own integrity so they lambast the integrity of their opponents.

At times they use half-truths. For instance Ben Carson took time to return to Florida and rest and repack for the next set of debates and town halls. One of the TV networks said Ben Carson had dropped out of the race and those words got passed to a competitor politician who repeated them.

As people of God we need to be delivered from false and malicious tongues. We need people who can tell the truth at all cost. We need people with integrity and honor that remember God�s word and keep it holy.

Let us pray as a nation that God will deliver us from the mischief designed by Satan who uses false and malicious words to mislead us. May The Lord hear us and deliver us from our distress.

AskMe #2877372 03/03/16 06:04 AM
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Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)
8 �My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,� says the Lord. �And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

If we look up to heaven, we find God's counsels there high and transcendent, his thoughts and ways infinitely above ours. [Matthew Henry]



To illustrate how our ever-increasing need for wonder that can only be filled by God, apologist Ravi Zacharias told the following:

If I were telling my children the same fairy tale, notice the different reactions. If I took Sarah at age 8 and said to her, "Sarah, little Tommy got up and walked to the door and opened the door and a dragon jumped in front of Tommy," Sarah's eyes go wide. But now imagine me telling little Naomi, age four, the same story. "Naomi, little Tommy got up, walked to the door, and opened the door." Naomi's eyes go wide. Now let's imagine I tell a story to Nathan, aged two, whose entire worldview is exhausted in one word�cookie. All I have to say is, Nathan, little Tommy got up and walked up to the door" and Nathan's eyes get wide with amazement.

Ravi concludes, "You see the difference? Sarah needed the dragon. Naomi needed to open the door. For Nathan it was a pretty big deal to walk up to the door. The older you get the more it takes to fill your heart with wonder, and only God is big enough to fill it." [Ravi Zacharias, "Created for Significance," Part 1 (3-7-15)]


The older we grow the more our desire for knowledge and understanding grow. We are to look up to God for answers for His ways are infinitely greater than our own.

AskMe #2877681 03/07/16 05:59 AM
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Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

The Psalmist desires that if God finds anything wrong with his heart that God would reveal it to him and place him on the correct path of life.




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

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

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

Every day in every way you are becoming more and more like yourself. Amazing but true. You're beginning to look more like yourself, think more like yourself, and talk more like yourself. You're becoming yourself more and more. Live only in terms of what you're getting out of life and the old man gets smaller drier harder crabbier more self-centered. Open your life to others, think in terms of what you can give, your contribution to life, and the old man grows larger, softer, kindlier, and greater.

[Daniel Henderson, The Deeper Life (Bethany House Publishers, 2014), pp 165-166]


At the end of our life we find we are the sum of all the experiences we have been through. Hopefully most of us have had good lives, lives that had profited others and lead us to a gracious old life.

AskMe #2877860 03/10/16 06:14 AM
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1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.

Instead of terrifying yourselves with the fear of men, be sure to sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. [Matthew Henry]




Two stories were written in the twentieth century that share the same title: The Door in the Wall.

One of them won the Newbery Medal for children's literature. The ten-year-old son of a medieval knight become ill and crippled. He is separated from his parents by a cruel enemy army and cared for by a friar named Brother Luke. He is ashamed and disappointed by his legs�others call him "Robin Crookedshanks." He feels that his life will always be insignificant with him unable to serve and having no chance to show courage or do glorious deeds. But the friar takes him to his monastery, teaches him to read and swim and carve, and teaches him to pray for the faith that a fine and beautiful life still lies before him, "Always remember," the friar says, "thou hast only to follow the wall far enough, and there will be a door in it."

At the end of the story, it is his disability that leads to his opportunity. His crooked legs cause the enemy to under-estimate him. The resilient spirit he has grown in response to his challenges keeps him going. He alone finds the door in their fortress wall. He ends up against all odds being the rescuer who can steal unsuspected through enemy lines and save the people he loves. It is his faith in the old friar's words that keeps him going.

The other story was written by H. G. Wells, best known for his science fiction works like The War of the Worlds. In Wells' story the promise of the door in the wall is a cruel hoax. A man is haunted all his life by the memory of a door that leads to an enchanted garden that contains all he ever longed for. He searches in vain for that door his whole life. At the end of the story his dead body is found�fallen off a construction site behind a wall marked by a door that looks exactly like the one he has been seeking.
[John Ortberg, All the Places You'll Go. Except When You Don't, pgs. 231-232, Tyndale, 2015.]


Those who hope in Christ know that there is an open door at the end of history and the end of their lives. It is a door just waiting for us to walk through.

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2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV)
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We should, as we have opportunity, exhort those we pray for, and excite them to the use of all proper means to obtain what we desire God to bestow upon them; and those who will make any progress in religion must be very diligent and industrious in their endeavours. Without giving all diligence, there is no gaining any ground in the work of holiness; those who are slothful in the business of religion will make nothing of it; we must strive if we will enter in at the strait gate. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



Global missions expert Paul Borthwick was invited to speak at a local church known for its hospitality to international students and its vision to adopt unreached people groups, including the Miao people from southern China. Borthwick tells what happened when he visited the church:

All over the church there were posters inviting people to "Pray for the Miao." The posters had statistics about the people group, population information, how many known Christians there are in the area, where the Miao are located and which missionaries are working with these people. Every member of the church was committed to pray for the Miao people.

As I was standing outside the banquet hall, a young man approached me and asked, "Excuse me, sir, are you from this church?" "No, I'm not from this church," I said. "This is my first time here."

"Me too," he replied. "This is my first time in any church. I am from the People's Republic of China. I heard there was food, so I came." I welcomed him to the United States and to the church, and he continued, "I need to ask another question. What is this sign?" He pointed to one of the signs that read, "Pray for the Miao."

I tried my best to explain: "Well, these people are followers of Jesus and they're trying to help other people know about the love of Jesus," I began. "So they've invited their church to pray for this ethnic minority group from south China."

"It is amazing!" he said.

"What is amazing?" I replied, a little confused.

"I am Miao!" he said earnestly. "These are my people."

"Well, this church has been praying for you," I answered. I introduced him to church leaders as the young man they had been praying for. God is at work.

[Paul Borthwick, Western Christians in Global Mission (InterVarsity Press, 2012), pp. 42-43]



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Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

How the peace may be kept, that we may know how in our places to keep it; it is by soft words. If wrath be risen like a threatening cloud, pregnant with storms and thunder, a soft answer will disperse it and turn it away. [Matthew Henry]







Andy Stanley, from the sermon "Let the Blames Begin", tells us: I used to do a lot of marriage counseling, and often one spouse would come in the office and start ranting and raving, "My husband does this �;" "My wife never will do that �;" and it would go on and on. I would sit there thinking, This counseling isn't going to be very effective, because the person who apparently needs to change isn't even in the room. So I would get a pad of paper, draw a circle on it, and say, "This is a pie that represents all the chaos in your marriage. Now, 100 percent of the blame is in that pie, because that's where all the chaos is." I would give them the pen and say, "I want you to draw a slice of pie that you think represents your responsibility for the chaos." The piece of pie that that client would draw was never very big, but I would say, "Okay. So why don't you and I talk about just this. Let's talk about this piece that is your responsibility. Let's talk about your slice." You know what? My approach never worked. I could never get anybody to stay on his or her slice of the pie.

So here is what I want you to do this week: As you experience relational conflict at work, at home, with your friends�any conflict of any sort, big or small�stop and think about your own slice of the pie. Ask yourself, What is in my slice of the pie? Have I taken responsibility for my life, really, or am I enjoying the blame game so much that it has allowed me to ignore what I am ultimately responsible for?

In any relationship, if you can ever get the two parties to own their piece of the pie, you can make progress. But if everybody is focused on the other person's slice of the pie, you will just have chaos.



The only person one can change is themselves. They can try all they want, but if the other party is closed minded no change will take place. So the change you may have to make is to live with the other�s issues and find new ways to deal with them. If you keep you keep your answers gentle then the less likely you are to stir up anger.

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Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
12 Therefore, as God�s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

We must not only put off anger and wrath, but we must put on compassion and kindness; not only cease to do evil, but learn to do well; not only not do hurt to any, but do what good we can to all. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



Once, while speaking on the topic of grace in Toronto, I asked the audience about their own experiences conveying grace to others. One woman shocked us all: "I feel called to minister to telephone marketers. You know, the kind who call at inconvenient hours and deliver their spiel before you can say a word." Immediately I flashed back to the times I have responded rudely or simply hung up. She continued:
All day long these sales callers hear people curse at them and slam the phone down. I listen attentively to their pitch, then I try to respond kindly, though I almost never buy what they're selling. Instead, I ask about their personal life and whether they have any concerns I can pray for. Often they ask me to pray with them over the phone, and sometimes they are in tears. They're people, after all, probably underpaid, and they're surprised when someone treats them with common courtesy.
Hearing such stories, I am aware how often I miss possible hinge moments in my own interactions with people. I marvel at the Toronto woman's gracious response and think of the times I get irritated with marketers and with employees on computer help lines who don't speak good English. I catch myself treating store cashiers and Starbucks baristas as if they were machines, not persons � Subtly or not so subtly, I let the other person know that I've been interrupted and need to get back to work. In the process, I miss golden opportunities to dispense grace. [Philip Yancey, Vanishing Grace (Zondervan, 2014), pp. 75-76]

Therefore, as God�s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. It gives us an opportunity to minister to others as God has ministered to us.

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Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name�s sake.

The Lord, The Shepherd provides for his people and they lack nothing. The shepherd guards as we lie down for rest in pleasant places. Through our rest The Lord refreshes our soul. The Lord as a shepherd lead�s us along the right paths of life all for his name�s sake.




Lake Tahoe is the eighth deepest lake in the world. On July 4, 1875, two men discovered the deepest point in the lake to be 1645 feet by lowering a weighted champagne bottle on fishing line from the side of their boat. Following the invention of sonar, soundings by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed that depth. Lake Tahoe is so large that if the lake were tipped over, its contents would cover California in 14.5 inches of water. Tahoe could provide every person in the United States with 50 gallons of water per day for five years. The evaporation from Tahoe over the course of one year could supply a city the size of Los Angeles for five years. And Lake Tahoe is a small lake compared to Lake Superior (120 times as large) and the world's largest lake, the Caspian Sea (576 times as large).



And yet there is a limit to the supply of water Lake Tahoe can provide. But The Lord has no limits. Whatever your need you can never exhaust The Lord�s Supply. Whatever your burden, you can never exhaust The Lord�s help. The riches of God cannot be exhausted.

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Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)
7 �But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.�

The duty required of us-to trust in the Lord, to do our duty to him and then depend upon him to bear us out in doing it-when creatures and second causes either deceive or threaten us, either are false to us or fierce against us, to commit ourselves to God as all-sufficient both to fill up the place of those who fail us and to protect us from those who set upon us. It is to make the Lord our hope, his favour the good we hope for and his power the strength we hope in. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



There is nothing, no circumstance, no trouble, no testing, that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment, but as I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will cause me to fret, for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is.

[Pastor and author Alan Redpath (1907–1988)]


Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. AMEN.

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Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV) The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil�s schemes.

Here is a general exhortation to constancy in our Christian course, and to encourage in our Christian warfare. Is not our life a warfare? It is so; for we struggle with the common calamities of human life. Is not our religion much more a warfare? It is so; for we struggle with the opposition of the powers of darkness, and with many enemies who would keep us from God and heaven. We have enemies to fight against, a captain to fight for, a banner to fight under, and certain rules of war by which we are to govern ourselves. [Matthew Henry Commentary]




There is a war taking place across this world. For our enemy the devil takes opportunities to tempt us and to lead us where we should not go. These are deceptions to which we are often blind and fall entrapped to. There is a spiritual war that we cannot see. The war is taking place right in front of us as evil fights to overcome goodness.

So what can we do? We can be prepared. We fight not in our own power, but in the power of God. For God is able to handle any problem, personal, or worldwide. God leads the battle and God will prevail. So pray and pray earnestly.


Pray with me now: Father there is so much temptation and evil in the world. We are drawn by our own desires to follow evil, but that only leads to consequences that harm us. Lord there are battles taking place endangering the lives of people. Just this morning Lord there was terrorism that took place in Belgium. Lord we pray for the souls who were lost and the souls who were injured along with their family and friends. Father watch over us. Lead us to victory and protect us from the evil that tries to harm us. Let us turn to You oh Lord for protection, guidance and safety.

Be with those now who need You that are fighting battles of their own. Father free them from that battles that they may live life for you.

I pray these things in you majestic and honorable name. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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1 John 1:9 (NIV)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Penitent confession and acknowledgment of sin are the believer's business, and the means of his deliverance from his guilt. [Matthew Henry]




NPR ran a heartbreaking interview with Robert Ebeling, an engineer who worked on the 1986 Challenger launch that resulted in the death of all seven occupants. In January 1986, Ebeling and four other engineers pleaded for the launch to be delayed; they anticipated the precise failure that would destroy the shuttle. That night, Ebeling even told his wife, Darlene, "It's going to blow up." The engineers' pleas were refused. Three weeks after the explosion, he and another engineer, since deceased, spoke to NPR. Ebeling was not identified by name until this past week. The NPR article continued:

Ebeling retired soon after Challenger. He suffered deep depression and has never been able to lift the burden of guilt. In 1986, as he watched that haunting image again on a television screen, he said, "I could have done more. I should have done more." He says the same thing today, sitting in a big easy chair in the same living room, his eyes watery and his face grave. The data he and his fellow engineers presented, and their persistent and sometimes angry arguments, weren't enough to sway Thiokol managers and NASA officials. Ebeling concludes he was inadequate. He didn't argue the data well enough. A religious man, this is something he has prayed about for the past 30 years. "I think that was one of the mistakes that God made," Ebeling says softly. "He shouldn't have picked me for the job. But next time I talk to him, I'm gonna ask him, 'Why me. You picked a loser.'"


Robert Ebeling tried to stop a disaster. He lamented over the fact his efforts were in vain. The problem was that he couldn�t forgive himself or accept the forgiveness of others. God didn�t make a mistake, God put a man in place to speak up, but others would not listen. Even Robert wasn�t listening � He was forgiven. He had spoken up, he had confessed his efforts failed.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NLT)
5 For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity�the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.

There is one Mediator, and that mediator gave himself a ransom for all. As the mercy of God extends itself to all his works, so the mediation of Christ extends itself thus far to all the children of men that he paid a price sufficient for the salvation of all mankind; he brought mankind to stand upon new terms with God, so that they are not now under the law as a covenant of works, but as a rule of life.





Why do people look at pornography? Some statistics after the 2014 Super Bowl indicate that a wound of "vulnerability" often drives the need to view porn. A mere 24 hours after the Seattle Seahawks crushed the Denver Broncos 43-8 (one of the most lopsided victories in Super Bowl history), one of the world's biggest free porn websites released data about porn site visits. In the Denver area, at the start of the game, porn use was 51 percent below national average. By the time the shellacking was complete, porn use in the Denver area was 10.8 percent above average site visits�a 60 percent swing in visiting porn websites. Figures for Seattle�where jubilant Seahawks fans were too busy doing old-fashioned things like hanging out with friends, laughing, talking, and watching action replays�were 17.1 percent below national average, post-game.

Based on these startlingly different responses to the game, British journalist Martin Daubney concluded something that most porn strugglers probably already know: "most men [and women, too] turn to porn not when they are happy, but when they are at their most vulnerable."

[Martin Daubney, "Porn users don't realize they're being watched," The Telegraph (2-5-14)]


Thankfully we have a mediator, Jesus Christ, who gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone, even those who are feeling most vulnerable.

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2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT)
21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

In these verses we see the purity of the Mediator for He had no sin. Christ was not a sinner, but was made sin that a sacrifice for sin was made. The end result is that we too could have the righteousness of God. All this was done through God�s grace and mercy to us.




No greater pain has ever been experienced on any level than the hell of Christ suffering in this moment. But why? Because he carried all of that pain, sin, guilt, and shame in that moment. Yet on a far deeper level he was forsaken and punished for us to reconcile us to God (2 Cor. 5:18).

Tim Keller illustrates it this way:

If after a service some Sunday morning one of the members of my church comes to me and says, "I never want to see you or talk to you again," I will feel pretty bad. But if today my wife comes up to me and says, "I never want to see you or talk to you again," that's a lot worse. The longer the love, the deeper the love, the greater the torment of its loss.

But this forsakenness, this loss, was between the Father and the Son, who had loved each other from all eternity. � Jesus, the Maker of the world, was being unmade. Why? Jesus was experiencing Judgment Day. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" It wasn't a rhetorical question. And the answer is: For you, for me, for us. Jesus was forsaken by God so that we would never have to be. The judgment that should have fallen on us fell instead on Jesus.

[Stu Epperson, Last Words of Jesus (Worthy Inspired, 2015)]


1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.

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Psalm 14:1 (NKJV)
14 The fool has said in his heart, �There is no God.�
They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.

The sinner here described. He is one that saith in his heart, There is no God; he is an atheist. "There is no Elohim, no Judge or governor of the world, no providence presiding over the affairs of men.' They cannot doubt of the being of God, but will question his dominion. He says this in his heart; it is not his judgment, but his imagination. He cannot satisfy himself that there is none, but he wishes there were none, and pleases himself with the fancy that it is possible there may be none. [Matthew Henry Commentary]




As an atheist university professor, Dr. Holly Ordway, was convinced that by definition faith is utterly irrational. She would eventually become a Christian, but prior to her conversion she used the following analogy to explain why, as an atheist, she could not consider the option of believing in Jesus and going to heaven:

Imagine that you tell me, "If you believe that there's an invisible pink unicorn in the sky, I'll give you a new BMW." I see the car in the parking lot; you jingle the keys in your hands. If I can believe what you want me to believe, the new car is mine. Cool! But it's a waste of time: I know there's no unicorn. No matter how much I want that car, I am incapable of believing something contrary to reason in order to get it. Believing something irrational on demand to get a prize: that is what the evangelical invitation to "accept Jesus and get eternal life in heaven!" sounded like to me.

Despite her skepticism, she went on to accept Christ and to write a book about her conversion experience called appropriately Not God's Type.

[Holly Ordway, Not God's Type (Ignatius Press, 2014), page 9]

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Ephesians 1:7 (NIV)
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God�s grace.

It was by reason of sin that we were captivated, and we cannot be released from our captivity but by the remission of our sins. This redemption we have in Christ, and this remission through his blood. The guilt and the stain of sin could be no otherwise removed than by the blood of Jesus. All our spiritual blessings flow down to us in that stream. This great benefit, which comes freely to us, was dearly bought and paid for by our blessed Lord; and yet it is according to the riches of God's grace. [Matthew Henry Commentary]




Popular author and shame researcher Bren� Brown recently talked about coming back to church after years away and the moment "the whole Jesus thing" finally clicked. She said:

People would want love to be unicorns and rainbows. So then you send Jesus, and people say, "Oh my god, love is hard, love is sacrifice, love is trouble, love is rebellious." As Leonard Cohen sings, "Love is not a victory march � it's a broken hallelujah." Love isn't hearts and bows. It is very controversial. In order for forgiveness to really happen, something has to die. Whether it's your expectations of a person, or your idea about who you are. There has to be a death for forgiveness to happen. In all of these faith communities where forgiveness is easy, and love is easy, there's not enough blood on the floor to make sense of that.

All of a sudden, it becomes clear why Christians take forgiveness to heart. The blood on the floor is Christ's own. [William McDavid, Ethan Richardson, and David Zahl, Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints), (Mockingbird, 2015)]


Grace, grace, God�s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God�s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin!

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