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AskMe #1516767 12/19/06 07:56 AM
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Matthew 1:1-6 (NLT)
1 This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers.3 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar). Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Ram. 4 Ram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon.5 Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. 6 Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).

The book of Matthew starts out describing the parentage of Christ. This is important information in as it confirms prophecies made throughout the Old Testament. The words are given to prove a claim in history. It details a genealogy from Abraham through David and then onto Christ. For the promises of the future inheritance were given to Abraham and David.

God had a plan for the salvation of man. Both Abraham and David understood God would send a savior to deliver people from the sins of the world. And in these verses we see some of the people God used along the way. Judah had not been faithful in keeping his promise to give his widowed daughter-in-law a son who through his youngest son. So Tamara posed as a prostitute in order to sleep with Judah to become pregnant. Rahab was a prostitute who by faith helped the spies of Israel in Jericho. And David had Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed so David could cover Bathsheba’s pregnancy resulting from his adultery with her. These were not perfect people, but they were used by God to bring about a perfect Savior, Christ Jesus. God is looking for us to submit out lives to Him no matter what we have done or where we currently are. God wants to use us just like those He has used in the past. Are you ready to let go of your life and turn it over to God? Pray God would use you in whatever means He desires. Pray that you can be a future blessing. Thank God that He can take a sinner and turn them into a useful purpose.

AskMe #1516768 12/21/06 07:43 AM
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John 2:18-22 (NLT)
18 Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" 19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." 20 The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

Jesus had been outraged over the way the temple was being used. The Jews demanded a sign from Jesus to prove He had authority. Jesus didn’t immediately give them a sign, but told them of a sign to come; “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” The Jews thought Jesus was referring to the temple they were in, but Jesus was referring to His death and resurrection. In either case they did not believe in His miraculous power.

The base of the temple where Jesus and the Jews were having their discussion still stands today. The temple structure on the base was destroyed by the Romans and has never been rebuilt. The base which remains is massive and is built from carved stone. It stands 9 stories tall and covers an area of 30 football fields. So when Jesus said He would raise up the temple in 3 days the Jews were in disbelief because they knew it had taken 46 years to move the massive stones to build the temple. If they would have had any belief in Jesus they would have known He could even put the temple together one stone at a time in 3 days. Yet Jesus was talking about how He would die and then 3 days later he would be raised to life; which was a great miracle many still did not believe. Jesus is capable of many miracles. He waits on each one of us to come to Him in faith so that He can give us the miracle of eternal life. He wants to transform us in a miraculous way to a new way of living here on earth so that we have joy and peace in our lives. Have you asked Jesus to perform a miracle in your life? Pray that whatever you need your life would be touched in a miraculous way. Pray Jesus would bless your life with a renewed spirit. Pray for the mercy and grace He desires to bestow on each of us. And always praise His holy name.

AskMe #1516769 01/03/07 07:29 AM
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3 John 1:11 (NLT)
11 Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.

John was writing to a friend, Gaius, who faithfully took care of traveling teachers passing through the area. These teachers did not accept money from those they were ministering to and therefore Gauis’s help was well appreciated. However, there was a leader in the church, Diotrephes, who opposed helping the traveling teachers. John wanted to make sure his negativity did not affect Gaius. John reminded Gaius actions prove out those who love God.

In 79 A.D. Mt. Vesuvius erupted destroying the city of Pompeii. Some people tried to flee from the city. Others tried to hide in buildings or underground areas, all of which soon became their burial site. No matter where they turned they were unable to escape their impending fate. Until it was excavated, the city lay preserved in ash for hundreds of years. Uncovered in the ash was a Roman sentinel standing at the city gate with his weapon still in hand. This soldier stood at his post, ground shaking and hot ashes falling; following the orders of his captain to remain steadfast. God calls us to remain steadfast in our faith. The sentinel proved by his actions that he was trustworthy and faithful; God wants the same from us. Are you committed to being a soldier of God? Are you willing to follow your leader Jesus Christ wherever he commands? Pray for steadfast faith to carry out God’s commands. Pray you would be found a faithful and trustworthy servant of God.

AskMe #1516770 01/04/07 07:53 AM
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Isaiah 48:17 (NIV)
17 This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.

Here in Isaiah God says He is the Holy One of Israel. God wants His people to know He does not deceive them when He says He is their redeemer, teacher and leader. And God does this with everyone’s best interest in mind.

Everyone at one time or another asks themselves, “What is my life’s purpose?” It is a self-fulfilling question because we always look for answers to satisfy self needs. We may run down to the bookstore picking up the latest and greatest self help book. Or there is a seminar that will teach me how to be who I am. Most of these, even with good intention, offer the same advice: dare to dream, set goals, write expectations, aim high, believe in you, and never give up. These ideas can even bring success and recognition, but it’s not the same as life’s purpose. Our life’s purpose is given to us by God and we cannot fulfill it by our own self. We have to look to God to direct, lead, and teach us. It might even mean we do less, have less or loose our successful life to fulfill that purpose; but in the end Christ will welcome us as a good and faithful servant. Have you asked God what your purpose in life is? Have you waited on His answer? Pray God will direct, lead, and teach you. Thank Him that He knows what is best for your life. Praise His holiness that He is always faithful and will never lead you astray.

AskMe #1516771 01/08/07 07:41 AM
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James 2:10-13
10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law. 12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

James tells us a person who breaks one law God has given is in contempt of breaking all His laws. And while each law has its own earthly consequences, the contempt of breaking even one law bears the same punishment as breaking one or all laws. It is vanity for one to think they can do a good deed or deeds to make up for the failure to follow the law. Knowing one has broken God’s laws by failure to follow one law; they should extend grace and mercy to others. For those that extend mercy, God will extend mercy back to them.

The Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, sets us free in liberty. There is no difficult burden with the Gospel as there was under the law. For Jesus said in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Those who place their faith in Christ are no longer tied to the chains of sin that weigh them down. We will all be judged according to the Gospel and our eternal condition set by it. As each person stands before God the Book of Life will be opened and there they are judged. There will be no mercy for those the Gospel condemns; nor there any accusation against those who have accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore our lives should be lived according to the Gospel. Our conversations should be that of the Gospel, our temperaments should follow the Gospel, and our extension of mercy and grace to others should be a Gospel love for others. For we are being judged with grace and mercy even though we have not measured up to God’s standard; therefore do not hold back mercy lest God hold back mercy from you. Pray the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a part of life. Pray you extend it to others who are in need of mercy and grace. Pray that you look upon people the same way Christ would with love, grace and mercy.

AskMe #1516772 01/09/07 07:29 AM
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Psalm 23:1-6 (KJV)
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

In most of David’s Psalm’s there is always an element of complaint, but in Psalm 23 it all about being comforted by God. David knew from his youth sheep needed a shepherd to guide and watch over them. Here he compares himself to a sheep that is taken to the best pastures, that finds peace by the quiet waters and his soul is able to rest. He has no fear for He knows God his shepherd is watching steadfastly over him, protecting him and ready to rescue him from any trouble. David acknowledges the bountiful provisions of God in which he confidently counts on God’s blessings.

On the TV show COPS, the police stopped a man wanted in connection to the gang sale of drugs. On his shoulder was the tattoo “PSALM 23”. The police said some of the gang members would have the tattoo because of the words in PSALM 23, “I will fear no evil.” This criminal should also have read the words of Proverbs 3:7, “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”, for he believed in himself and turned to evil. It is the reverence, the understanding of God’s great power, His wisdom, and all His other attributes that bring a respectful fear and a desire to avoid evil. Instead this man who the police caught stood on his own saying he did not fear evil while he committed evil acts himself. Let us pray for those who do not understand God. Pray they might come to believe in a Savior that can turn them from evil.

AskMe #1516773 01/10/07 08:15 AM
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1 Corinthians 13:11-12
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

The apostle is talking of the things to come when we have an eternal life with God. Our present thoughts are childlike and clouded in our understanding of what eternal life will be like. There is no clear picture, but only a glimmer of our future life. But one day we will fully understand, just as God completely understands us.

There is a difference between growing old and growing up. Some may grow old in life, but never grow up in their maturity. Growing old means your body will physically change. What use to be a youthful body slowly ages. Growing up is a positive change in understanding and spiritual growth. As one grows up they mature, become wiser about life and gain discernment of things they once did not understand. As one grows up spiritually they gain a greater understanding of God. They develop a relationship that is full and meaningful. Even their life reflects a mature understanding of who God is. Have you grown up as well as grown old? Pray God would continue to mature you spiritually. Pray your life would reflect a positive and mature lifestyle. Pray you might clearly see what God’s plans hold for you.

AskMe #1516774 01/11/07 08:14 AM
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Romans 3:23-26 (NLT)
23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

The apostle makes it clear there is NO ONE that meets God’s standards for holiness. Because of God’s righteousness, He had a plan in Jesus that those who placed their faith in Him would be declared righteous. Even though they are sinners; in God’s sight they are justified because of their faith in Jesus.

A very wealthy man had a wife who died earlier in his life giving birth to their son. The man came to love his son deeply. He was an ordinary boy who one day went off to war for his country. The boy died giving his life for his country. The man was grieved at the loss of his son. The wealthy man eventually died leaving behind his vast fortune. The will said his fortune was to be auctioned off. The first item was a painting of his son by an unknown painter. When the bidding started everyone had their eyes set towards the other priceless items and so no one bid on the son’s portrait by the unknown author. Finally the butler of the wealthy man stepped forward and offered what little money he had to buy the portrait; for he had loved the son. After the butler received the portrait the next part of the will was read that said “whoever buys the portrait of my son obviously cares for him; therefore my entire fortune is left to this person.” God’s son died for a purpose. If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, then obviously you care for the son and God will reward you with an inheritance in His kingdom. Praise God who planned for your salvation and left you an inheritance of eternal life in heaven. Love the son and show how much you care for Him by following His example in life. Honor both with a good testimony of how you live for them.

AskMe #1516775 01/11/07 09:20 AM
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Well said!!!
SH


Me=BS 45 Wife=WS 40 2 kids, D 20 S 17 D Day 8/12/00 I didn't think we could make it... I was wrong, we are in love again!!
stillhurts #1516776 01/16/07 08:01 AM
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1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NLT)
3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.

Paul is writing to the Corinthians to make clear some things others were calling into question. In these verses he said the most important thing is Christ died for our sins. This was passed on to Paul and now he is passing it on to others. Then he states Christ was buried and then raised from the dead. It seemed there were those who did not believe in the resurrection and Paul wanted to make it clear Christ was indeed resurrected.

If you have ever had the opportunity to discuss religion with others you will find there are many beliefs in life. Even if you are discussing Christian beliefs there are those with different views. There are interpretations of what heaven and ****** may be like. Some will want to debate what happens immediately after death. And there are those who want to question the specific meaning of various scriptures. But there is one important statement that stands firm, CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS. He died for you, he died for me, he died for others that they would be set free from sin. You can debate every topic, but the most important personal question is, “are you free from sin where you can live eternally with God in heaven?” If you can say yes, praise God who gave up His only Son for you. Pray for those who might not know Christ as the one who can set them free from sin. Give praise to Christ who gave Himself sacrificially. Thank God always for His love, His Mercy and His Grace.

AskMe #1516777 01/17/07 08:02 AM
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Numbers 14:18 (NLT)
18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’

God has control over His own anger such that He is still capable of forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. There are consequences for being in a continued state of sin and those consequences are passed on to the third and fourth generation. But God is also merciful in that the consequences do not continue forever and that families are not forever destroyed.

At seven years old I remember asking my mother why my name was different from hers and my grandparents. I had finally put together the clues I was living in a fatherless home. My father was an abusive alcoholic and his choice to continue in his behavior left us abandoned. Unfortunately there are many more children in America wondering like I did, “where is my father?” And some of the answers they get back are: your father was a jerk; your father was a drug addict; your father was a deadbeat; your father was uncommitted; your father was just a one night stand. This trend creates impacts upon families that take generations to heal. There are indicators of this trend that appear over the decades. In 1960, 1970, 1980 and 1990 respectively: Percentage of births outside of marriage 5.3%, 10.7%, 18.4%, 28.0%; Divorced males per 1000 males 27.4, 33.3, 76.2, 112.5; Male prisoners per 100,000 230, 191, 274, 574; Percentage of children living apart from their fathers 17.5%, 22.4%, 32.2%, 36.3%. These are alarming trends as you watch the numbers increase over the decades. Even between 1970 and 1990 the number of women on welfare services doubled so they could take care of their children. And unless these families turn to God the problems only continue to multiple. God makes a promise that He is the father to the fatherless. If you or you know someone who has been hurt by the abandonment of parents, just know God is there stretching out His hand to take care of the fatherless. Pray for the healing of families. Pray that family sin will not continue. Pray for repentance and restoration of the relationship with the Lord. Pray families will not have to endure suffering more than they need to.

AskMe #1516778 01/22/07 08:05 AM
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Ecclesiastes 8:6 (Holman Christian Standard)
6 For every activity there is a right time and procedure, even though man's troubles are heavy on him

King Solomon expresses it doesn’t matter who you are; you can be surprised anytime by sudden change. We are in the dark when it comes to our future, but our Lord God knows all that will take place. And God in His Wisdom has appointed the right time and purpose for events to occur.

In the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, actor Will Smith finds life is not quite what he expected. He invested in medical equipment that he hoped to sell, but found it was difficult to make the sales to provide an income for his family. He decided to make a change in career to become a stockbroker only to learn as a trainee he did not earn an income. It seemed every corner he turned had more and more problems. What he had a difficult time seeing was life was going to take a turn for the better. We can’t see the plans God has for us. We are like the blind; not seeing what waits around the corner. But Psalms 33:4 tells us, “For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.” We must trust God that He will lead our steps. We must have faith in Christ to know that we can endure suffering heartache. And we must have hope in the right time God will act in our lives. Pray God will always lead your steps. Acknowledge your trust and faith in Him. Know the suffering Christ endured was not in vain, but was to set you free.

AskMe #1516779 01/23/07 08:40 AM
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Proverbs 23:17 (NLT)
17 Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord.

King Solomon provides two thoughts in this proverb. First he states what not to do and then second he states how we should maintain high thoughts of God in order not to carry out the stated sin. Quna’ is the Hebrew word for envy, which Webster’s defines as, “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage”.

According to the Associated Press, Brian Barrett was a 22 year old, aspiring industrial arts teacher who was possibly murdered due to jealousy. It is a strange case involving an internet fantasy. The fantasy surrounded what appeared to be an 18 year old marine headed off to war and a girl who sent him flirtatious pictures and gifts to his house. But the 18 year old marine was actually Thomas Montgomery, a 47 year old co-worker and friend of Barrett. He was a former marine and married father who perhaps was trying to relive events of his past. It seems both Barrett and Montgomery were pursuing the same 18 year old girl. What neither knew was the 18 year old girl was actually a 40 year old mother using her daughter’s identity. The problem started when Montgomery’s wife intercepted one of the gifts and wrote back to the women telling her Montgomery was married and obviously not 18. The West Virginia woman remembered Barrett as a co-worker friend of Montgomery and found enough information to write him about the wife’s allegations. The emails lead the woman and Barrett to stay in contact, but at the same time she was also staying in contact with Montgomery. Not knowing the woman was in contact with Montgomery, Barrett talked about his internet romance at work turning Montgomery to jealousy. Montgomery, although pleading not guilty, is believed to have approached Barrett and shot him in the parking lot. Envious of a relationship conceived in sin Montgomery should have turned to the Lord instead of turning to envy.

Pray your heart may not desire to follow the sin of others. Pray your eyes will be set upon the Lord and you will have a desire to follow him. Pray the spirit will be strong and that the flesh will not overcome.

AskMe #1516780 01/24/07 07:37 AM
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Proverbs 24:23-25 (NLT)
23 Here are some further sayings of the wise: It is wrong to show favoritism when passing judgment. 24 A judge who says to the wicked, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations. 25 But it will go well for those who convict the guilty; rich blessings will be showered on them.

As people are required to use good judgment to follow the law, judges are also expected to use good and wise judgment in administering the law. They are not to be swayed unjustly by those in front of the court. Just as the church deals with the wicked, so too a judge must deal with the wicked. To excuse the wicked is like saying they are righteous and it will bring condemnation from those looking for justice.

A child in the third grade walks into the school lunch room with a lunch that was prepared at home. As they are unpacking the lunch on the table they notice a butter knife included in the lunch box. The child knows knives are not allowed at the school so they take the knife up to the teacher who immediately sends them to the principal. The principal calls the sheriff who handcuffs the child and escorts them to juvenile detention to await the arrival of their parents. This was a true story showing how rules can be made inflexible because there is a lack of wise judgment. Instead of being able to review the individual problem in a wise and discerning way an inflexible rule was set in place to handle all problems the same way. A child who may have brought a knife to school with the intent of harming someone gets the same punishment as a child who had a butter knife packed in their lunch box. Because there are hard and fast rules and no wisdom in judgment those with innocent motives receive the same punishment as those with evil and wicked motives. We all must be careful to elect those who are wise and live by God’s standards. We must pray understanding, grace and mercy are applied when called for. And we must pray laws do not become the judge of people, but instead serve as rules, which must be abided by. Pray for our leaders that they would have the wisdom to create fair rules and laws which convict the guilty, but allow room for fair judgment.

AskMe #1516781 01/25/07 07:50 AM
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Romans 4:4-8 (NLT)
4 When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. 5 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. 6 David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it:
7 “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight.
8 Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”

The theme of the apostle’s message is righteousness and the forgiveness of sin that comes from faith and not works. When a person works they are given a set amount as wages for the service they perform. If one believed they could earn their way to heaven then God would be indebted to them. But instead God freely gives grace which provides forgiveness of sin and puts joy into the life of the one who has faith in Christ.

We learn in the verses above a person cannot earn grace. Grace is freely given and to earn something requires a debt to be paid. Consequently Romans 6:23 tells us “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Because of our participation in sin we earned a spiritual death. Many will say why would a loving God send someone to ******? It is because a loving God allows freedom to choose and if a person chooses to follow in sin then death is the required payment. Most of us have probably seen a movie or read a book where Satan appears and makes a deal with a person for their soul. But if you think about it when man choose sin the deal was made and our souls were given as payment. Christ though redeemed us and made full payment for all our sin. Have you found the joy in having your sins cleared? We were going down a road to destruction and because of our faith in Christ he led us to a road of freedom. Praise God for His Son Jesus Christ. Pray joy may fill your heart as you acknowledge His redeeming love.

AskMe #1516782 01/29/07 07:54 AM
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Jeremiah 5:1 (Holman Christian Standard)
1 Roam through the streets of Jerusalem. Look and take note; search in her squares. If you find a single person, anyone who acts justly, who seeks to be faithful, then I will forgive her.

God makes a challenge to those in Jerusalem, find just one person who is just and faithful; and He will forgive the city of its wrongs. God had made a similar statement to Abraham about the city of Sodom. It shows how ready God is to provide grace and mercy. And God is ready to extend mercy to many for the sake of the few who stand with Him.

Intercessory Prayer is praying with sincere faith and hope God would step in on the behalf of a specific person, persons or other entity. It is not praying about your own needs, but having concern for the needs of others. When Jesus was dying on the cross He prayed, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do.” Jesus showed us He was concerned for those mocking God even at a time when all of us would have turned our thoughts to our own predicament. Intercessory prayer is our reminder we alone are incapable of doing things in our own power. It draws our attention back to God as we seek Him and look fervently for His answers. When you intercede you bring yourself before God so that He might use your talents, your gifts, your abilities to minister to others. Martin Luther said, “Therefore faith prays in such a manner that it commits everything to the gracious will of God; it lets [God] determine whether it is conducive to his honor or to our benefit.” God said in Jeremiah 5:1 that he was looking for a single person to intercede for Jerusalem. By continually surrendering yourself to God, who knows, you could become the one person God is looking for. Pray for the needs of others who need God in their life. Pray God might touch our leaders and lead them in Godly directions. Pray for your family that they would be strong in the Lord.

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2 Peter 2:6-9 (NLT)
6 Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. 7 But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. 8 Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. 9 So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.

Peter explains how God passed judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. The cities became an example of those who do not believe in God. Lot who did believe in God and tried to keep God commands was constantly being tested. The Hebrew word basanizo meant to test as an assayer rubbing a touchstone against a supposed precious metal to see if it was indeed pure. And while Lot remained in a place that tormented him, God rescued him from the punishment the others received.

When most of us think of Sodom and Gomorrah we think of the destruction of those cities. But before their destruction, Sodom was a wealthy city. The city itself sat on fertile ground near the Jordan River. There was commercial trade there and the city prospered. History says Sodom only accepted the wealthy. Lot was a man of great wealth and he decided he wanted to live in Sodom. In Genesis 13:5 the bible says, “Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep, goats, herds of cattle and many tents.” Lot saw Sodom as a place where his wealth would let him fit in with others. The only problem was the city’s morals did not fit with what God desired for Lot; so Lot was tormented by being pulled towards the riches of the city and the desires of God. Pride held Lot captive because he wanted to be with those who were wealthy. It’s ironic when Lot was rescued from Sodom by the angles he had to leave behind all of his wealth. Everything he valued was lost as the city was destroyed. But this was not the first time Lot had lost everything. Genesis 14 recounts the story of Lot being carried off from the city of Sodom with all his possessions after it was attacked by foreign kings. Only because he was rescued by his uncle Abraham did he gain back his wealth and return to Sodom. Lot had been given one opportunity to see what his wealthy living could cost him. It took a second time for him to understand the true cost. Do you have to be warned more than once about sin? Do you realize there will be a cost for continuing in sins path? Pray God would remove the hindrances from your life that would separate you from Him. Pray God would take away pride that holds you captive to sin. Pray you would listen when God speaks.

AskMe #1516784 01/31/07 07:48 AM
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Luke 17:28-29
28 “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building—29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

These are the words of Jesus to the disciples. He is laying out for them examples of people who in the past ignored the warnings of God and what happened to those who did. In these verses He said the people in Sodom were going about their usual business up until the moment fire and sulfur rained down on the city and destroyed it.

The phrase “business as usual” is familiar to many. If you do a “Google Search” over a million entries are returned for the phrase. The topics include things like: corruption in government, theft of software and other technology resources, politicians caught in moral dilemmas, CEO’s taking large sums from corporations, illegal stock profits, ignoring the poor, and bribery. These are things considered “business as usual” by those writing about these stories. People continue to go about their lives as though they will be not need to account for their deeds. They continue in their daily routines ignoring God because they are too busy, too self indulged, too self centered, too proud. Are we any less guilty as we do business as usual? Have you stopped today to take a moment from your business as usual to thank God for his grace and mercy? Have you stopped to praise His name? If the answer is no, take a moment and give praise to the creator, the sustainer of life, the merciful one, the holy of holiest. Pray and thank Him for Christ who died for each sin that we burdened upon Him. Praise His holy name.

AskMe #1516785 02/01/07 07:44 AM
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Matthew 17:20 (NLT)
20 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.

Jesus is talking to his disciples. They asked Him why they could not cast out a demon that possessed a boy. He explained to them that they did not have enough faith. The disciples had full commission to remove demons, but this particular demon was out of the ordinary for them so they distrusted themselves. Christ tells them if they just kept a small amount of their faith they could move mountains.

What if someone walked up to you and said nothing is impossible for you? Would you tend to believe them or would you have your doubts? Most of us would probably doubt that statement because we would start thinking about our insecurities and places where we have failed in the past. Jesus let the disciples know they could perform things they had not imagined, but their strength had to come from faith in God and not from their own selves. Jesus lived a life perfectly trusting in God the Father. His spiritual faith kept maturing from the time He was a child. And for those reasons His abilities could not be compared equally to those of His disciples, but He assured them with just a little faith they could accomplish great things. The closer we move to Christ the more our faith strengthens and our prayers become more effective. Even if we can’t move mountains now our Lord says we can develop the faith to do so. Pray you can let go of your doubts in God. Pray that you would trust in Him no matter what the circumstance. Pray you would be obedient to God’s word.

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Mark 4:35-41 (NLT)
35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. 38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” 39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

Jesus had been teaching all day along the shore from a boat. There had been a large crowd there listening to Jesus as he told parables to them. As the end of the day approached Jesus was ready to move to the other side of the lake. Perhaps Jesus wanted to rest before teaching to more crowds; because we find in these verses he had lain down in the back of the boat with a cushion to go to sleep. A storm came up and the boat started filling with water from the waves. The disciples woke up Jesus who then calmed the storm.

There is a book called “Ninety-Three”, written by Victor Hugo the same author of “The Hunch of Notre Dame”. In the book Hugo tells of a ship caught in a fierce storm. In the midst of the storm the sailors heard a horrible crashing sound below deck. They realized the cannon had broken loose and was hurling back and forth against the internal walls. Knowing the irrepressible damage about to be caused, two sailors volunteered to face the rolling cannon over the fierce sea. They knew the chance of being shipwrecked was greater from the damage being done on the inside of the ship than from the storm on the outside of the ship. The disciples faced a similar storm. It was their internal lack of faith that overpowered them. Even though Jesus was present they feared the worst was going to happen. And they when Jesus demonstrated His power over nature they feared who He could be. Even though the external events appear to be severe it was their internal turmoil that had them frightened. If only they had waited Jesus would have responded at the appropriate time. For obviously the storm had not gotten so bad to have awakened Jesus from His sleep. Do our internal fears make us rush to solutions? Do we want the answer to our problems sooner than they need to arrive? Pray your fears would be calmed and that you would learn to depend on Christ. Wait on His timing to care for you and your problems. Pray and acknowledge that you know Christ is there with you ready to deal with the problems in your life when the time is appropriate.

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