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AskMe #1516687 07/06/06 05:43 AM
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Colossians 1:27 (NLT)
27 For it has pleased God to tell his people that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. For this is the secret: Christ lives in you, and this is your assurance that you will share in his glory.

Just as God has shared everything of this world with all people, He also shared His son Jesus Christ with all people. The Bible says it pleases God to tell you the riches and glories of Christ are for YOU. The Greek word musterion, pronounced moos-tay’-ree-on, means religious secret, hidden thing, mystery, something hidden from ungodly and wicked men. We find the next part of verse 27 saying, “for this is the secret: Christ lives in you”. So Christ is hidden from ungodly and wicked men and they lack assurance of Christ’s salvation. But since Christ is hidden away inside of those who trust Him, He gives them assurance that they will be with Him.

In Luke 17:20-21 it says, “And when the Pharisees had demanded of Him when the Kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, "The Kingdom of God cometh not with outward show. Neither shall they say, `Lo, it is here!' or `Lo, it is there!' For behold, the Kingdom of God is within you." Jesus was letting them know the Kingdom of God would start with a change from the inside out, with Christ living in them. We must confess our sins and pour them out. We must empty our own will and give ourselves to Christ and let Him be in control. A pair of empty gloves does nothing, but once filled they are controlled by the person who placed their hands inside. Once we allow Christ inside and give Him control then He controls the actions in our life. Are you ready to empty yourself and let Christ fill your life? Jesus wants to make your life abundant and full. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Pray that Jesus would give you an abundant life. Pray that your sins may be emptied and you would turn control over to Him. Thank Christ for His presence dwelling inside of you.

AskMe #1516688 07/11/06 06:25 AM
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Job 9:33 (NLT)
33 Neither is there any mediator between us who might lay his hand upon us both.

God was testing Job, only Job did not know a test was taking place. For him it was like being on Candid Camera and everything bad around him was happening. Job had lost family, he had lost wealth, he had lost herds, he had lost servants, and he had lost the ability to even enjoy life. So Job is reflecting upon his situation and his relationship with God and he says, “There is no mediator who might lay his hand upon us both.” It was up to Job to deal with God and determine what he should do.

In reference to Jesus Hebrews 8:6-13 says, “But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, and then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, He saith, "Behold, the days come," saith the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people. And they shall not teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, `Know the Lord,' for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." In that he saith “a new covenant," He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” Jesus didn’t have to lay his hands upon us, because He lives inside of us putting God’s law on our minds and onto our hearts. Pray that God would open up your mind and heart to His laws and let Jesus show you the way. Pray Jesus would be the mediator of your life guiding you and leading you along life's difficult paths.

AskMe #1516689 07/12/06 05:37 AM
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Matthew 18:21-22 (NLT)
21 Then Peter came to him and asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?" 22 "No!" Jesus replied, "seventy times seven!

Peter is asking Jesus how often he should forgive someone, knowing he should forgive, but he sets a limit of seven times. In Luke 17:4, Jesus tells the disciples, “Even if he wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, forgive him." And here in Matthew we find Jesus telling them to forgive seventy times seven. In other words Jesus is telling Peter there is no set limit on forgiveness

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” If you have been in church most of your life then you have probably prayed that prayer many times. Have you ever thought seriously about the words? You are asking God to forgive you for your sins against Him as you forgive others for the wrongs they have done against you. In other words we are to be imitators of God. There is another lesson to be learned in those words. God wants us to learn to forgive, so we learn His forgiveness. Most of us think when we sin God couldn’t possibly forgive us or love us again. Yet we have the words coming from the Lord Himself telling us how He would forgive. In Luke 24:47 it says, “With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: `There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.'” Jesus forgives over, and over, and over again. There is no limit to His grace and love for us. Did you think Jesus was limited in His love for you? Have you ever wondered if your sins kept Him pushed away? Pray and tell Him you want His forgiveness because Jesus is always willing to forgive you. He longs to be your friend, your comforter, your companion, your counselor, and your God.

AskMe #1516690 07/13/06 05:38 AM
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1 John 5:21 (NLT)
21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts.

As John closes his writing he uses the words “dear children” or in the Greek, “little children” as a kindly address by teachers to his disciples. But it’s even more fitting in the context of the verse as most little children talk about having God in their heart. They know it is a special place where God resides within them and nothing else should take His place.

I remember as a child sitting in church and saying to my mother, “Jesus wants me to tell the preacher I want Him in my heart”. Jesus was calling me to salvation. Unlike someone who waits until near death to accept Christ, a child has a long future with Christ. And because there is a long journey ahead many people struggle at times along the way wondering if they were saved when they placed Jesus in their heart. Remember what John says, “keep away from those things that might take God’s place in you heart”, that is one reason doubt creeps in about salvation; we allow other things to creep in besides God. And when doubt shows up remember Jesus calling to you, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Was there a time you heard Jesus and you were following Him? Don’t surrender to doubt if you have heard Him, return back to His voice. Keep in mind it is the work Christ does in you and not the work you do. We are not saved by works or deeds so we may boast of our accomplishments, but by grace are we saved so we might praise our Lord and Savior. It’s all God’s work, it’s because of Christ’s sacrifice that grace and mercies have been given to us. Has anything been trying to take God’s place in your heart? Maybe doubt has entered in before and you need to hear Jesus speaking to you again. Pray that God would pull you close and remove doubts and fears. Let the voice of Jesus speak clearly through God’s word that He might comfort you as the shepherd watching over his flock. Pray your heart will be filled with God’s love and joy so you can extend it to others.

AskMe #1516691 07/17/06 05:17 AM
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Proverbs 17:24 (NLT)
24 Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

Like a GPS unit a sensible person keeps wisdom directly in front of them to lay out a course of life for themselves. But the fool allows his eye to wander freely in his mind and so it becomes temporarily fixed on whatever pleases him for the moment.

In Luke 15:11-16, it says “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.” This young man had taken his eyes off wisdom and placed his on foolishness. His eyes were on the distant land and the wild living. His Brother even testifies to his father against him as he returns home, saying, “'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'” Then the father replies, “" 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' " It is easy to fall off track when we are not following the wisdom God gave us. And we may pay consequences for it. The younger son lost all of his processions. But the Father still loved the younger son with all of his heart to welcome him back home with his arms open wide. Maybe there were no more rewards to be given, but there was always the benefit of being returned to the family and finding peace, fellowship, love and a never ending relationship. Where are your eyes focused? Do you have relationships to heal? God the father is always there waiting to help. He has His arms wide open calling to you His child. Pray and answer Him today.

AskMe #1516692 07/18/06 05:46 AM
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Luke 19:41-44 (NLT)
41 But as they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, he began to cry. 42 "I wish that even today you would find the way of peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from you. 43 Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you. 44 They will crush you to the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you have rejected the opportunity God offered you."

As Jesus was heading toward the city of Jerusalem he cried for the city knowing that it would one day lay in ruin. The Bible always shows the tenderness of Jesus and His compassion. Hidden from Jerusalem is the way of peace, because they have rejected what God has offered them.

Luke 8:4-8 says, “One day Jesus told this story to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him: ‘A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. This seed began to grow, but soon it withered and died for lack of moisture. Other seed fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades. Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop one hundred times as much as had been planted.’ When he had said this, he called out, ‘Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!’” Jesus is talking about the seed of salvation. For some it never takes root in their life and they perish. For others it starts to grow, but they loose their enthusiasm and it withers. Some will accept salvation and then the pleasures of the world come along and start to choke out the joy of salvation just like weeds choking out a good crop. But for some they have taken what God has offered and allowed it to grow and develop. They allowed God’s will to flourish in way that brought them peace and grace. Are you allowing the salvation of Christ to grow in your life to bring you peace and joy? Don’t let the world choke out what God has intended for your life. Pray for God’s will daily in your life. Ask that His desires might be made known to you. Pray for a daily renewing of thought and transformation that you may be more like Him.

AskMe #1516693 07/19/06 05:47 AM
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Job 40:15-19 (NLT)
15 "Take a look at the mighty hippopotamus. I made it, just as I made you. It eats grass like an ox. 16 See its powerful loins and the muscles of its belly. 17 Its tail is as straight as a cedar. The sinews of its thighs are tightly knit together. 18 Its bones are tubes of bronze. Its limbs are bars of iron. 19 It is a prime example of God's amazing handiwork. Only its Creator can threaten it.

God had humbled Job and now in these verses He was going to deeply challenge him. God wanted to let Job know exactly who the Creator of the Universe was. God goes on to describe a great creature He created and asks who can threaten it except the Creator Himself? Obviously it was known to Job and the rest of men for its power and might.

Proverbs 29:23 says, “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.” Many people have so much pride they are unwilling to face the fact they just might not have all the answers. They will push forward on a project, they will try to assemble something without instructions, they will try to repair what they do not understand and end up in failure. Pride takes hold and like an obsession they will try to prove to others they are something they are not. Instead of being humble and asking for help they end up costing themselves in various manners. We need to realize only God is capable of handling every situation. God is the only one who can create and manage what He makes. God is also capable of handling our needs, our problems, our concerns, our worries, and the answers to our unknown questions. We need to let go of our pride and be humble unto God. Pray that pride would no longer be a barrier in our life. Walk in humility with the Lord Jesus who showed us how to be humble. Pray and acknowledge God is capable of all things.

AskMe #1516694 07/20/06 05:44 AM
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Ecclesiastes 3:8 (NLT)

8 A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.

These are words from King Solomon as he reflects on what man gets for all of his hard work. It seems man is always in conflict; he tries to seek out love and finds hate. After the torments of war and unrelenting devastation eventually there is peace.

There is a war taking place and rockets are falling on the town of Nazareth, the town where Jesus lived. Israel is striking back with warplanes loaded with bombs. Those accused of being the enemy deny the claim of destroying a mosque where prayer is held. A Christian community was struck believing there was a missile launcher present in the area. Ironically a UN peacekeeper’s main headquarters was struck by an Israeli artillery shell after a rocket was launched nearby. As Solomon said, “there is a time for war and a time for peace”. God has a purpose for all things. Solomon goes on to say, “And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God's purpose in this is that people should fear him.” Somewhere God is delivering someone from the tragedy of war and they have come to “fear” Him. Today someone has come to know the value of Christ’s grace and mercy. Somewhere someone is seeking out God because all other hope is lost. Ephesians 3:10 says, “God's purpose was to show his wisdom in all its rich variety to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. They will see this when Jews and Gentiles are joined together in his church. This was his plan from all eternity, and it has now been carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.” God has a purpose for all of us; do you know His purpose for your life? Pray and ask God today what your purpose might be. Ask how you can serve Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

AskMe #1516695 07/24/06 06:15 AM
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Revelation 2:2-7 (NLT)
2 "I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don't tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. 4 But I have this complaint against you. You don't love me or each other as you did at first! 5 Look how far you have fallen from your first love! Turn back to me again and work as you did at first. If you don't, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. 6 But there is this about you that is good: You hate the deeds of the immoral Nicolaitans, just as I do. 7 "Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

John is writing his revelation as Jesus is speaking to the Church of Ephesus. Jesus says He knows the church and the things they do and He commends them on their good qualities. But Jesus also rebukes them for also turning to sin and falling away from Him. They have grown cold in their passion for Christ to follow Him, to grow and to reach out to others. Jesus does give them hope in saying they abhor the deeds of those claiming to follow as Christians, but who act out with hatred and are truly against the nature of Christ.

If your spouse walked in and looked you in the face and said, “I have a complaint. You don’t love me as you did at first?” how would you react? Depending upon the look on their face it may not help to react in a jovial manner. We certainly would want to hear what was on their mind. And if we cared for them no doubt we would respond in a positive and affirming manner. Jesus left His message not only for the Ephesians, but to remind us also not to loose our love for Him. Even though the Ephesians had good qualities, they were slipping away from Jesus and He wanted them back. Jesus always wants us close to Him, following in the work He started. Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ.” Christ started a good work in you with His love; let Him finish a good work in you with His love. Pray that you never forget the love for Christ. Pray that He always remains close to your heart leading you in your daily life.

AskMe #1516696 07/25/06 06:03 AM
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Revelation 2:8-11 (NLT)
8 "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who died and is alive: 9 "I know about your suffering and your poverty--but you are rich! I know the slander of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they really aren't because theirs is a synagogue of Satan. 10 Don't be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The Devil will throw some of you into prison and put you to the test. You will be persecuted for `ten days.' Remain faithful even when facing death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 "Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be hurt by the second death.

Izmir is the Turkish name for Smyrna and is the current city of Smyrna. Izmir is in Turkey and is the third largest populated city and largest port of the country. A city so rich once was suffering in physical poverty. But Jesus was telling the church even though they were poor; they were rich in their spiritual blessings for enduring the suffering that was hurled against them. Jesus takes note of their suffering, warns them of the suffering to come, and gives them comfort He will remain faithful to them and reward them for their faithfulness. Then he lets others know they should be willing to listen and they can overcome the spiritual death that follows the death of the body.

What does it mean to be rich? If you ask various people, each one will give you their own definition of what it would mean. Some would love to own big houses, new cars, and maybe even their own private jets. Yet others are just satisfied if they have enough money to live comfortably in a nice home, take care of their family, and pay their bills. But there are riches beyond physical items. 2 Corinthians 6:8-10 says, “We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are well known, but we are treated as unknown. We live close to death, but here we are, still alive. We have been beaten within an inch of our lives. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.” Paul understood the hardship of having nothing and living close to death. Yet even in his hardship he experienced the richness and fullness of life with Christ. There was a rich life immeasurable when compared to anything else he could have. Are you experiencing a rich and full life with Christ? Pray Christ would come before the worldly things in your life. Pray the richness He would bring would be evident in your life. Allow Christ to make your life joyful and blessed.

AskMe #1516697 07/26/06 05:46 AM
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Revelation 2:12-17 (NLT)
12 "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one who has a sharp two-edged sword: 13 "I know that you live in the city where that great throne of Satan is located, and yet you have remained loyal to me. And you refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you by Satan's followers. 14 And yet I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you who are like Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to worship idols by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15 In the same way, you have some Nicolaitans among you--people who follow the same teaching and commit the same sins. 16 Repent, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 "Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Everyone who is victorious will eat of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.

With a sword in hand, Jesus is prepared for battle if necessary to fight the hard heartedness of the church of Pergamum. But like Jesus so often does He first extends His care and love to compliment them on the things they have done right; you have remained loyal; you have refused to deny me. Then Jesus offers His complaints, which includes the people tolerating worshiping idols, and sexual sin. Jesus calls for these Christians to repent. Those who are victorious will eat of the manna reserved in heaven for the saints and angels. The white stone represents absolution from guilt, where there was a custom that a white stone meant innocent and a black stone meant guilty in a trial. The same custom has even made it to modern times where a black marble pulled instead of a white marble means you have been chosen for the unwanted task. And the new name is the new name given for the adoption into the family of God.

Here is the problem with some churches of today; they want to tolerate what others are doing because they don’t want to offend others. It’s the same problem the church of Pergamum was having; they were tolerating people who were not following the principles set forth by Christ. They were following the principles of the Nicolatians, which meant they were teaching and committing the same sins. Jesus was calling the church of the past into repentance and He still calls churches to repent even today. But repentance starts with each of us as individuals. As Jesus works within each of us we are able to stand up and acknowledge what is sin and stand against it. Jesus made Peter a promise, “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of ****** shall not prevail against it”. Pray for our churches that they would stand against sin. Pray for yourself that sin might be revealed and repentance would come from your heart.

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Revelation 2:18-29 (NLT)
18 "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are bright like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze: 19 "I know all the things you do--your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. 20 But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman--that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet--to lead my servants astray. She is encouraging them to worship idols, eat food offered to idols, and commit sexual sin. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she would not turn away from her immorality. 22 Therefore, I will throw her upon a sickbed, and she will suffer greatly with all who commit adultery with her, unless they turn away from all their evil deeds. 23 I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve. 24 But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (`deeper truths,' as they call them--depths of Satan, really). I will ask nothing more of you 25 except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26 "To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, I will give authority over all the nations. 27 They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots. 28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star! 29 Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Christ has eyes with piercing judgment to see the truth and feet weighted with bronze to stand firm against sin. Christ tells the Church what He appreciates about them and He even sees improvement in their ways. But they are permitting a woman to lead followers astray, as they are being tempted by sexual sin, and allowing idolatry to enter their lives. There is a call to repentance for those who have followed in her ways and suffering for those who do not. And for all others they are asked to hold fast to their beliefs in Christ until His coming. Christ has the authority over all nations and He gives authority as He desires. And those who obey He will give authority over all nations.

Are there people who love Christ, who serve in the mission field, who demonstrate their faith by waiting on Him to provide, and patiently endure whatever He has planned for them? Yes, there are many servants of God actively serving around the world who can make this claim. There are even many faithful men and women in this country who love Jesus, are faithful in their service, and patiently endure trials and hardships to serve their God. But like those in the time of the Church of Thyatira, there are also those who are lead astray by sins. Christ encourages us to be faithful, to press forward, to make improvements in ourselves and love Him with all our hearts. But He also warns us not to sin, and be lead astray by those who might tempt us. Do you face temptation in you life? Pray God would help you face temptation and defeat it. Jesus knew the pain of temptation; let him walk with you and lift your burdens. Ask Jesus for His help.

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Proverbs 23:29-25 (NLT)
29 Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30 It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. 31 Don't let the sparkle and smooth taste of wine deceive you. 32 For in the end it bites like a poisonous serpent; it stings like a viper. 33 You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. 34 You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. 35 And you will say, "They hit me, but I didn't feel it. I didn't even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can have another drink?"

The Wisdom of Solomon portrayed in the words of proverbs. Here Solomon speaks about those who allow themselves to be controlled by the temptation of alcohol. He lists off some of the long term repercussions; hallucinations, crazy talk, staggering, being involved in fights, addiction to the drink. And for this there is always anguish, sorrow, and regrettably fighting, complaining, bruises and bloodshot eyes.

This wisdom in these verses probably could have been reviewed by one famous actor this past week as his drinking got out of control. Mel Gibson had been at a restaurant in Malibu Beach where pictures were taken showing him in an inebriated state. He later was stopped by a law enforcement officer and arrested under a DUI charge, during which he supposedly made derogatory ethic comments. He is not the first actor to have charges like these brought against him, but he is a Christian actor who put the movie “The Passion of Christ” in the forefront of communities as a testimony of God’s salvation. He is an actor who struggled with sin and lost the battle at a time when it would be helpful to see Christian actors stand firm in their faith. In Revelations 14:8 it says, “Then another angel followed him through the skies, shouting, "Babylon is fallen--that great city is fallen--because she seduced the nations of the world and made them drink the wine of her passionate immorality."; its easy to taste of immorality, any of us can do it at anytime. And once the taste of immorality has touched us, we need to beware the consequences, just as Solomon spelled them out above for those who pursue an addiction of alcohol. Beware temptations and call upon Christ to save you from them. Are you living in Christ’s power or trying to handle things your way? Pray that Christ would step in when you are tempted and turn you from sin. If it’s a struggle with addiction, pray that Christ would reveal the pains and emotions driving the addiction. Pray for a healing only Christ can provide.

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Mark 2:15-17 (NLT)
15 That night Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to be his dinner guests, along with his fellow tax collectors and many other notorious sinners. (There were many people of this kind among the crowds that followed Jesus.) 16 But when some of the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with people like that, they said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with such scum?" 17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor--sick people do. I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough."

Levi, known as the disciple Matthew, is called to follow Jesus. Because of his gladness of heart he has thrown a banquet and invited fellow tax collectors and publicans to meet Jesus. But the Pharisees questioned why Jesus would eat with such people. Jesus said he had come to call sinners. Calling down the Pharisees he said, “He was not there for those who think they are already good enough.”

When someone becomes important to you, don’t you want others to meet them? Matthew did exactly that when he met Jesus; he called his friends together to meet someone special. Matthew knew Jesus was about to change his life radically and he wanted others to know about it. Jesus didn’t hesitate to meet each and every one of them. It didn’t matter who they were, where they came from, or what others said about them; Jesus was there to meet and fellowship with them. But the Pharisees, ministers and teachers of the religious law, saw these tax collectors and publicans as low class, scum. How easy it was for the Pharisees to judge these people from their religious positions. How quick they were to call others scum when the others sins were considered so visible, yet their own sin was hidden by false works. People are quick to call down the sins of others without giving consideration to themselves, or asking how they can help carry others burden, or even stopping to pray for the person in need. Jesus said, “How can you think of saying, `Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.” We all need to take a moment and think of what we can do to help those who have fallen to sin. Jesus came to call the sinners. We can at least share our love for Him with others. Pray that God may extend your love for Him to others. Pray that others would see Christ in your actions. Learn to see that each person is fallible to and needs the grace of Christ in their life.

AskMe #1516701 08/08/06 07:33 AM
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Revelation 3:7-13 (The Message)
7 Write this to Philadelphia, to the Angel of the church. The Holy, the True—David's key in his hand, opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open—speaks:
8 "I see what you've done. Now see what I've done. I've opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don't have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn't deny me when times were rough. 9 "And watch as I take those who call themselves true believers but are nothing of the kind, pretenders whose true membership is in the club of Satan—watch as I strip off their pretensions and they're forced to acknowledge it's you that I've loved. 10 "Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I'll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test. 11 "I'm on my way; I'll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so no one distracts you and steals your crown. 12 "I'll make each conqueror a pillar in the sanctuary of my God, a permanent position of honor. Then I'll write names on you, the pillars: the Name of my God, the Name of God's City—the new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven—and my new Name. 13 "Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches."

Jesus is telling the church of Philadelphia He holds the keys to allowing doors to open or close. In other words Jesus is in control of the kingdom of God and no one passes in or out without His permission. Jesus says the church of Philadelphia has been faithful not to deny Him. There are some who have pretended to be Christians, but Jesus will strip away all their false pretense away for all to see. The pillar each was to receive was not one to support the building, but a memorial pillar as was often erected to honor Roman emperors and generals.

There was a video game where part of the object of the game was for the character to obtain keys hidden throughout the game. Once the character had a key they could open doors to treasures and riches. Or if an enemy was in pursuit a key could be used to open an escape path that closed behind protecting them from the enemy. Jesus said, “And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you lock on earth will be locked in heaven, and whatever you open on earth will be opened in heaven." This statement was made to Peter and the other disciples as Jesus was revealing to them he was the Messiah. Jesus was giving them the keys to perform miracles, bind demons, and heal the sick all in order to show Christ’s glory and power. Those who own businesses don’t hand the keys over to the store to just anyone; it has to be someone they have faith and trust in. Jesus is ready to provide the keys to those who are faithful. He wants to bring opportunities where the church and individuals can grow. He wants to open doors where others can be led to Him. But Jesus can also close doors and keep them shut to those who deny Him and are unfaithful to him. Pray to God your faith may be strong enough for Jesus to open doors for you. Ask doors to be shut when sin attacks and there is no escape except through Jesus. Jesus can open and close doors where you don’t see any that exist.

AskMe #1516702 08/09/06 06:24 AM
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Revelation 3:14-22 (NLT)
14 "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen--the faithful and true witness, the ruler[c] of God's creation: 1 5"I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, `I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!' And you don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 I advise you to buy gold from me--gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. And also buy white garments so you will not be shamed by your nakedness. And buy ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference. 2 0"Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends. 21 I will invite everyone who is victorious to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. 22 Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches."
Jesus, the one who is the amen, gives a final message to the churches; this time to the church in Laodicea. Amen is a unique word, it was transliterated from Hebrew to Greek, then into Latin and then into English and many other languages. The word “amen” has been called the best known universal word in human speech. It’s fitting Christ would choose a word that would be known to all to make Himself known to the church. The Laodiceans were an unmotivated group of Christians not really caring if God was there in their life or not. In a similar situation Elijah said to the Israelites, “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” God won’t let you stay in a place trying to pick between Him and something else. No wonder the people couldn’t answer Elijah, they knew in theirs hearts what they were doing was wrong. And now we have the Laodiceans thinking “I don’t need anything from God”. It’s back to the same old stinking thinking that we can handle things on our own. Jesus even lovingly tells them He corrects and disciplines those He loves. And He encourages them that He wants them to open the door to their hearts in order for Him to fill those places that have been void for so long. Jesus just wants to take time with them and work on their problems with them and fill those empty and lonely spots.

What is the difference between owning a brand new car and a very used older car? More than likely you will be able to depend on the new car; but the older used car is going to need a lot of attention in order to get your where you are going. The old car may fail along the way and you have to come up with alternatives to get you where you are going. The old car may even stop completely leaving you stranded and desperate. It’s at that point you have to turn to someone for help if you really need to make it to your destination. The Laodiceans were prosperous and lived in a wealthy society; but their prosperity gave them a false sense of security. Just like we know the new car is more dependable does not mean it won’t fail us and when it does we are as in just as much need as we were with the older used car. We can’t count on prosperity, wealth, or even our health at the moment and think we can make it through life unscathed. There are no guarantees, except one. We have a guarantee if we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and repent of our sin, and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior or our lives we will be with Him in heaven one day for eternity. Where is the best place to make your investment, in the world or with a Savior who will never fail you? Pray that Christ would be your storehouse where you return to gather your strength. Open your heart to Christ and let Him in to fill those places material items cannot touch. Only Christ can fill the voids in our life in a rich and meaningful way.

AskMe #1516703 08/10/06 07:22 AM
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Psalms 51:1-3 (NLT)
1 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. 3 For I recognize my shameful deeds--they haunt me day and night.

David is recounting his sin with Bathsheba and asking God to have mercy on him; for David knows the sins he committed and the sin weights heavily on his heart as shame and guilt.

Imagine holding a map of your life in your hand; you are ready to move forward, make new decisions and do things for the Lord. However, sins in your life have left shame not deal with; those sins and shame become like a compass helping direct life. In one direction there is withdrawal. Our sin seems too great for others to know so if we just withdraw they won’t find out about my sin. But once we withdraw and disconnect we have lost touch with God, and people who could listened and help. We miss opportunities to grow because we are afraid to proceed with our shame and guilt. The next direction we could turn is towards attacking our self. We limit the pain of guilt and shame by accepting we are defective and not worth loving. Because you want to be the looser, there will always be someone who goes along with you on your journey as long as they remain the winner. Another direction people will head is to find someone to accept them for the loser they are. Then the person is still carrying the shame, but they are no longer isolated, and the other person reminds them of their shame and guilt. The problem in this relationship the sin and shame intensifies for the person and the one trying to help by accepting them and loving them as they are not aware their reinforcement of the shame and guilt is causing the person to explode when they cannot control their emotions any longer. The last direction we could head is to attack others. We don’t like the loneliness of shame, we don’t like the associated pain, or any of the feelings we are having. Here we reduced the self esteem of someone else. We will use bullying, verbal/physical abuse to control the person. This person cannot deal with shame, so the one taking on the shame for them ends up with the majority of the abuse. There is one last option and that is for the person to take responsibility for their shame. God loves you no matter what and He is willing to take the shame from you by forgiving you and extending mercy. In Philippians is says , “I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Let Christ keep from you the shame Satan tries to sell us a lie that we are unworthy to be loved by anyone. Know that God and Christ love you. Pray that God would help remove any hidden shame you might have. Confess that shame to God. Don’t let the enemies trick of making you feel guilty and shameful over sin win you away from the truth that God loves you no matter what you have done.

AskMe #1516704 08/15/06 06:05 AM
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Isaiah 43:10-13 (NASV)
10 "You are My witnesses," declares the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. 11 "I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me. 12 "It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, And there was no strange god among you; So you are My witnesses," declares the LORD, "And I am God. 13 "Even from eternity I am He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?"

Those who know God should easily be able to attest to His presence. These people are witnesses to what He has done. God states He is the Alpha and Omega, the only God in the beginning and the only God that will be there in the end. God provides salvation. And once someone has fallen into the hands of God they are His to do with as He pleases.

In a court system witnesses are important in that they backup and support the truth. Their presence during the event that took place gives credence with supposedly unbiased opinion to the facts. The witness becomes a testimony, someone who can demonstrate what happened, and are counted as favorable and reliable evidence, unless something is presented to taint their character. As witnesses for God, our daily lives become a testimony to everyone who sees us. They hear from us and they watch our actions to see the evidence of God in our life. What if the person who proclaims God to be their savior, who says they depend on God, and who even speaks His truth is found to be questionable in their character. Maybe the bus driver just handed back too much change and the believer in God put it in their pocket instead of returning it. What if the Sunday school teacher of a local church walks out of a bar drunk and accosts a man’s wife? And what about the person who lives one life at work, another life at home, and another life in private while proclaiming to others his faith in Jesus? How will those who witness these failures react? In other words if sin taints our witness, then those who witness our relationship with God become tainted. What is your relationship with God and Jesus? Are you trusting and obeying God and Jesus or are you doing things which cause others to see a false witness? Pray to God others will always see a faithful witness. Ask God to keep you clean, holy and pure and away from the temptations of sin. Learn to be a faithful witness that shows our savior Jesus Christ how much you love him.

AskMe #1516705 08/17/06 04:36 AM
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Proverbs 17:14 (NLT)
14 The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam, so stop it before it bursts.

Solomon points out all it takes are one wrong word, a negative reaction, a spiteful comment, an angry demand and the beginning of a quarrel starts. It’s like a dam with a slow leak that escalates into a bigger leak until finally the stability of the dam is lost and it bursts.

Another verse similar to Proverbs 17:14 is Proverbs 26:21, “A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.” The quarrel begins with something small and turns into something much bigger. We all have probably found ourselves in the middle or a quarrel. It may have started with something innocent, but then came a response with passionate flames of anger. I listened once as someone said, “thank you”, but the person hearing the words, already embittered by some situation, misheard the words and thought something spiteful was said. They flew into a rage with the other person. The one who spoke caught off guard by the angry response didn’t know how to respond back in kindness. So they responded back with their own flaming words until there was a heated quarrel that could have been prevented. Colossians 3:12-13 says, “Therefore, holy and beloved, as the elect of God, put on hearts of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another and forgiving one another if any man have a quarrel against another: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Be ready when quarrelsome words come at you to respond as Christ would have you do. Prepare yourself knowing how you will handle the next time someone speaks to you in a way that can start the flames of a quarrel. Pray God would give you wisdom to return words back in a kind, meek and humble manner. Pray you might control your own anger so as not to respond with words of sin. Think about how Christ would want you to handle yourself and speak out of love.

AskMe #1516706 08/22/06 05:07 AM
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2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. 17 It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.

The words of the Bible are words penned by men, but inspired by God. The Greek word theopneustos, which means “inspired by God”, is a derivative of the word peno, which means to breath or to blow. Therefore the scriptures are words that came from the breath of God. These words are there to direct our lives, guiding us in what is right and wrong. God didn’t just leave man to think on his own how he should relate to God, but God left instructions. It was His way of preparing us to do His will.

Have you tried any of the new phone technology, such as blue tooth or VoIP? Gone are the simple days of just plugging a phone into your wall. Now you have to be able to setup the phone and make sure it is compatible with other devices. In one report it said 40% of people trying to setup a VoIP phone could not do it. Of course if those 40% are like other people I know; they probably never opened the instruction booklet and read it page by page. Most people are looking for the easy, quick solution without having to read through all the material. They think they are taking a shortcut, but often it ends up taking longer because they missed a critical step in the configuration and they created problems along the way. But that is how a lot of us follow The Bible. We read through quickly just trying to find a quick answer without understanding God’s intent or purpose. Some people just look for a verse to justify what they are doing, but never spend time with God and reading His word to understand the full content of His instruction. God gave us an instruction manual on life with Him and it’s something we need to read. Not reading The Bible is just like trying to setup technology without instructions, you might not end up with the desired results. Pray that you will learn from God’s word that He spoke to man. Ask God for help in applying His word to your life. Take in the full content of His word so that you may fully know about Him.

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