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AskMe #1516927 01/10/08 06:26 AM
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Ecclesiastes 7:29 (NLT)
29 But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.

Through Ecclesiastes chapter 7 Solomon has defined things to do in life that show wisdom. For instance he points out the person who thinks about death, its meaning, its purpose, and the inevitability of surrendering to death is better off than the person who foolishly goes through life thinking of only having a good time. Solomon also points out these are those who are just wiser than others, just like there are those who are strong while some are weak. Then he summarizes his thoughts at the end of the chapter and says, “But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”

The Hebrew word used for virtuous is yashar, which means to be straight, upright, correct, and right. It is a person who follows a straight path, they are level, just, straightforward, proper and pleasing to others. Proverbs tells us “The guilty walk a crooked path; the innocent travel a straight road.” As Isaiah spoke to the rebellious people of Judah he said, “Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness that these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the Lord’s instructions. They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your ‘Holy One of Israel.’” Those trying to corrupt were enticing the people to walk a crooked path and not stay on the one that was straight and narrow. God made us to be virtuous people. He made us to walk the straight and narrow path. Unfortunately the world calls us from that path and we find the path begins to wear crooked as we repeat each faulty step. Pray God would make you a person of virtue and keep you on the straight path of wisdom.

AskMe #1516928 01/11/08 06:43 AM
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Ephesians 4:1-6 (NLT)
1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

Paul starts his writing by identifying that he is in prison and even though he is a prisoner, he continues to serve God. He then calls on those he is writing to live a life honorable to God. There should be unity of those who love Christ for there is one faith and one God who is over all the living; therefore we all should serve God and follow his word.

The Associated Press had an article on Yale University’s Infant Cognition center where they were able to demonstrate an infant’s ability to distinguish right and wrong actions. In the article babies as young as 6 to 10 months old showed crucial judgment skills even before they were capable of talking. Researchers showed babies toy dolls trying to climb over a roller coaster mountain. Another doll would come by to either help or push the other doll down. When presented the toys to see which they would choose to play with, nearly every baby picked the helpful toy over the bad one. God put in us the knowledge to know how to help and encourage others. And through His word He has warned us about falling prey to sin, which pulls us away in anger, creates resentment, and continuous finds fault with others. Pray God would help you to live with all people. Pray He would help you to overlook faults and express His love towards others.

AskMe #1516929 01/14/08 06:48 AM
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Proverbs 14:29 (NLT)
29 People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.

This proverb speaks to those who control their anger versus allowing their anger to flare and explode. Those who take the time to understand an emotional situation and examine it carefully are more likely to control their temper. But the person who allows their temper to run wild without examination shows great foolishness.

During World War II the US submarine Tang surfaced in the dark waters of night near China to fire upon a Japanese convoy. The Tang was down to eight torpedoes and the captain wanted to make sure each found its mark. The first seven torpedoes were released and each one found their target. However, the 8th torpedo suddenly veered off course and headed back directly at the US submarine Tang. Before the sub had a chance to submerge the torpedo struck the Tang and sank it to the bottom of the ocean. When we use hostility toward others we can up destroying our own selves. Holding grudges and anger towards another can have devastating effects. It’s been shown holding in anger can cause physical problems, such as headaches, ulcers, and high blood pressure. The Lord tells us that “vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord!” Instead of taking anger into our own hands let us learn to turn it over to God to handle. Learn to control your anger through understanding of what the Lord would have you to do.

AskMe #1516930 01/15/08 06:55 AM
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Proverbs 15:1 (NLT)
1 A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

As king, Solomon was tasked with keeping the peace. Here he tells how peace may be kept and our role in keeping it. If anger is like the beginning of a raging storm, a soft answer can push it away like soft winds that blow the storm clouds elsewhere. Answer gently to those who become angry and seek to reason with them. There is nothing that stirs up anger like name calling, insults, and foul words. And when someone inflames another, it does nothing more than return the fire and creates a flame that is more furious between both parties.

As a teen, my son umpired youth baseball games to earn money during the summer. I enjoyed watching the games he umpired so I would go and sit with the parents in the stands. It was interesting listening to their complaints about the coaches and umpires. It was especially interesting when you know one of the umpires is your son. I remember one game where a play resulted in a player being forced out. The parents were questioning the call, but my son walked over and gently explained the rule book to everyone as to why the boy was called out. Later on in the game what looked like a very similar play for the opposing team left the player safe on the base. You could hear the dissention among the parents of the other team. They were arguing over why the player was forced out in one situation, but in this similar situation the other team remained safe on base. My son sensing the dissention quietly walked over to the fence and said, “I know everyone might think the play you just saw was the same as the one that occurred earlier where I called the player out. And you are probably wondering why this instance is different. The player that caught the ball this time was slightly behind the base line so it was not considered an infield catch. In the case of the first player who was called out the catch was made slightly within the baselines of the field.” Then my son walked back to his position and resumed the game. The crowd now understanding the ruling quieted down and started complimenting my son for taking the time to explain things to everyone. My son’s gentle words to the parents deflected the anger they were feeling and helped them to understand the situation. In fact it brought respect to my son and for the remainder of the game the parents and coaches did not question his calls. If we all could remember a gentle answer deflects anger there would probably be a lot less arguments in this world.

AskMe #1516931 01/17/08 06:44 AM
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John 2:1-10 (NLT)
1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine." 4 "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come." 5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."

Jesus was attending a wedding; possibly for one of his relatives, since His mother was also in attendance. Jesus had not performed any miracles up to this point; reserving them for His ministry. But this was a wedding, a special and honorable occasion so His mother asked for help when the wine had run out, possibly to save the honor of the groom. Jesus responded with “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” It was a reminder that Jesus, while Mary’s son was also Mary’s Lord and Savior and that His power was for a greater purpose. Mary knew Jesus would still respond, so she instructed the servants to do whatever He asked.

In the book of Revelation, an angel tells John “Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” The groom is Christ and His church is the bride. The angel then takes John away to the top of a great mountain to show him the city where all those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of life will be. The city was described as beautiful and magnificent place. The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass. I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. Just like the story of Jesus turning the wine into water the best of what we are to experience is still yet to be seen. One day the best will be ours to experience and behold.

AskMe #1516932 01/18/08 06:41 AM
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Proverbs 18:5 (NLT)
5 It is not right to acquit the guilty or deny justice to the innocent.

Here we find Solomon speaking about justice. The just will seek to reprove those who administer justice in perverted manners. Solomon says it is not right to acquit the guilty, because then the innocent are robbed of their justice.

Imagine if you were held up at gun point by a robber and were told to hand over all your money. Because you don’t see anyone coming to assist; you decide the best option is to comply with the robber. You pull out your wallet; hand over the money to him. Then you watch as he runs away. Later the police apprehend the robber and you go to court hoping to find justice. After all your life was put in peril and you did loose the money you had worked hard to earn. The defense attorney calls you to the stand and asks you, “When this man asked for your money did you just hand it over to him and put it in his hand?” You reply, “yes” not getting a chance to explain. The judge then orders that because you handed the money to the robber he is not guilty, because it could have been the same as helping a homeless person. The case is then dismissed. Now I ask, would you feel denied justice? Would you feel the robber had victory? I am sure you agree the answer would be yes. Now think about the many people who are hurt by others every day and no one turns to help them. The innocent start to believe they must be the guilty party because no one is taking a stand to make things right. As Christians we are to love and forgive, but we are also to uphold justice and make sure the innocent are not denied their rights. Pray just and right leaders will be put in places of authority where they can help the innocent. Pray these people might have wisdom to apply justice as God would have them do.

AskMe #1516933 01/22/08 06:07 AM
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Chronicles 33:7-13 (NLT)
7 Manasseh even took a carved idol he had made and set it up in God’s Temple, the very place where God had told David and his son Solomon: “My name will be honored forever in this Temple and in Jerusalem—the city I have chosen from among all the tribes of Israel. 8 If the Israelites will be careful to obey my commands—all the laws, decrees, and regulations given through Moses—I will not send them into exile from this land that I set aside for your ancestors.” 9 But Manasseh led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the Lord had destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land. 10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings. 11 So the Lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. 12 But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So the Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the Lord alone is God!

These verses are about the reign of Manasseh who ruled from the age of 12 until the age of 67. This chapter of Chronicles documents his movement away from God, his turning to idols and all the wickedness that took place during his reign. Then he fell from the grace of God and Manasseh was led off like an animal after ignoring all of God’s warnings. But the good news is that it shows the mercy and grace of God who watched as Manasseh humbled himself; repented; and returned to God. God restored his rule and Manasseh realized that God alone is the Lord.

Manasseh surely thought all was hopeless as he was bound in chains and a led off with a ring in his nose like an animal. It says he was in deep distress during this time. 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17 tells us, “With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.” Manasseh returned to the teaching of the Lord and he sought after God with a humble and repentant spirit. God had grace upon Manasseh as he stood strong in God’s word. And God comforted him and restored him to a place where he could carry out God’s word. God’s love for Manasseh was evident as He waited on Manasseh to return to Him.

AskMe #1516934 01/24/08 05:37 AM
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2 Kings 18:31-36 (NLT)
31 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well. 32 Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards, olive groves and honey. Choose life instead of death! “Don’t listen to Hezekiah when he tries to mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us!’ 33 Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria? 34 What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power? 35 What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the Lord can rescue Jerusalem from me?” 36 But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.”

The Assyrian chief of staff, Sennacherib, was taunting the people of Jerusalem. He was speaking out against their king and their God. He boldly boasted how the Assyrians had overthrown other people who had trusted in their gods. He tried to convince them Assyria was invincible. But King Hezekiah had told the people do not respond to his taunts.

What if those you trusted and the God you believed in were called into question by someone else? What if someone tried to persuade you by intimidation and threats that you could loose everything and you should turn away from God? This was the situation King Hezekiah faced as the people of Jerusalem listened to taunts and threats from the Assyrian chief of staff. And while Hezekiah understood the situation to be of great concern, the actions he took showed his trust in God. First he warned the people not to respond, for this was going to be the Lord’s battle. Second it says when Hezekiah received the written demands from the chief of staff he went up to the Lord’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord: “O Lord, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. “It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.” Hezekiah was honest with his fear and let God know that he knew He alone was the only true God who could rescue them. The same night an angel of the Lord struck 185,000 Assyrian soldiers dead and those who remained woke up to find dead corpses all around them. The Assyrians packed up and left; defeated by the true living God. The next time your faith and trust are called into question, spread out your concerns before the Lord. Pray and let God know your fears and ask for His help. He is always waiting to listen.

AskMe #1516935 01/25/08 07:30 AM
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Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 (NLT)
19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.

In these verses Solomon says one should reflect on the good parts of present life and forget about the misfortunes of the past. He says God will keep these people busy, doing well and enjoying life so their time is lessened to think of the past.

There have been people who have said something to the effect of, “If I could just have that I would be happy.” They finally obtain what they desire and again they find themselves unhappy longing for something new. Others look for the happiness in their circumstances. When things are going great; the world is a happy place. But when things go bad; the world is sad and exhausting. Some look for their happiness in others. As long as someone around them is happy they too are happy. But when anger or sadness arises in the other person; it turns into their own displeasure with life. Sometimes people escape to be happy. They turn to alcohol, drugs or other sinful pleasures just for a moment of happiness that soon fades away. These are all moments of false happiness. True happiness can only come from the inside when a person accepts their life for what it is. They allow God to show them their purpose and they learn to accept what is good around them. They find contentment and joy that fills their heart. They are satisfied with the love of God and what He offers in life. So take time each day and look at the good things God has given you and you will soon find the happiness God meant for you to have.

AskMe #1516936 01/28/08 05:44 AM
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Job 8:8-10 (NLT)
8 “Just ask the previous generation. Pay attention to the experience of our ancestors. 9 For we were born but yesterday and know nothing. Our days on earth are as fleeting as a shadow. 10 But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you the wisdom of old.

These are the words of Bildad the Shuhite as he replied to Job during his time of suffering. He gives a discourse on hypocrites and sinners who have fallen. Bildad even discloses he does not know everything about God and God’s love. They did not have all the wisdom of God’s words that have been passed to us in present age. And he acknowledges time passes quickly in life therefore we should learn from the wisdom of others.

I was reminded last night how fleeting our days on earth are. Our lives here are nothing more than shadows that exist for a period of time and then fade away from the earth. Our family dachshund died last night due to congestive heart failure. One moment she was here, laboring with her breathing and looking up contently with her brown eyes as she was being held. In the moment of a split second her head collapsed and she was gone. I have heard many a sermon say death is but one heart beat away. We are always closer to death than we realize. God graciously and mercifully gives us our time here on earth. Our time needs to be lived searching out the wisdom of God and applying it to our lives. For we too are but shadows that exist for a moment in time and then we are gone. Hopefully we have placed our faith in the salvation God has provided. Hopefully we realize that salvation comes from a great love for us and a grace and mercy that are beyond bounds.

AskMe #1516937 01/29/08 05:27 AM
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Proverbs 29:25 (NLT)
25 Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.

The Hebrew word for trap is mowqesh, which means to bait lure or snare. The word has been used as a rope to lead an animal away. In Psalms it was used to indicate an iron ring placed in the nose of an animal to keep it held firmly in place. Here in Proverbs it says to fear someone can become a dangerous trap, but trusting God always brings safety.

In Romans Paul writes “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. Either as a parent of child you know what it is like for a parent to watch over and be concerned for their children. Parents would do anything to protect their children and keep them safe from harm. Our loving God and Father greatly cares about as His children. He wants to protect us and keep us safe from the sins of world and temptations that lead us astray. Fear is one of the greatest dangers we can face. It can erode our confidence and beliefs to the point where we feel trapped in our own existence. It can cause us to abandon our beliefs. Fear is a great motivator and has at times driven people to desperate measures. Soldiers defect because of fear. People give up on life because their fears consume them. So we must remember God is our fortress; He is our protector. He is our safety and salvation and He alone is capable of protecting us when others cannot. As Paul said, “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” Pray that God would take away your fears and give you a feeling of security and safety. Trust God that He is watching over you and protecting you.

AskMe #1516938 01/31/08 06:33 AM
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Proverbs 31:4-7 (NLT)
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave alcohol. 5 For if they drink, they may forget the law and not give justice to the oppressed. 6 Alcohol is for the dying, and wine for those in bitter distress.7 Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more.

These words were written by King Lemuel, which he learned from his mother. Many believe this could have been King Solomon, because the name Lemuel means one who is “for” or “devoted” to God. Here he states rulers should not give themselves over to much alcohol. They are not to disgrace their position by drunkenness and unruly behavior. Strong alcohol is better reserved as medication for the dying and light alcohol, such as wine, for those who are grieving.

Senator Ted Kennedy has always been a man of public interest because of an incident where a young woman died in his car beneath a bridge in Chappaquiddick after possibly drinking at a party. It is as though he compartmentalized his off-duty behavior from his responsibilities as Senator. Some have said his drinking has not impaired him professionally, while others have played upon it as a weakness and a problem. Because he is a Kennedy he is watched over very closely by the press and constituents. During the hearings for Clarence Thomas to be appointed as a justice of the Supreme Court, Senator Kennedy made a sharp comment towards now Justice Thomas. It was at that moment his past came back to haunt him. The speaker turned and looked at Senator Kennedy and said, “Senator if you believe that statement; I have a bridge in Chappaquiddick I’ll sell you.” With that Senator Kennedy remained silent for the remainder of the session. Leaders should give thought to the words of King Lemuel. Keep yourself from those things which can cause your character to be called into question. Even a witness on a court stand is discredited if they acknowledge to have been drinking during an incident. Their testimony is disputable and the their memory may not be accurate. Pray for those who have addictions to alcohol and pray also for the leaders of our country.

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Proverbs 1:1-6 (NLT)
1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. 2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. 3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. 4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. 5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance 6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles.

These words of Solomon start out the beginning of Proverbs as if Solomon is laying out a modern day action plan. He starts with a purpose to his proverbs and that purpose is to teach people wisdom, discipline, and gain understanding. He continues by pointing out how this purpose will impact their daily lives, they will become disciplined, successful, just, fair and one who does the right things. Then Solomon points out some additional benefits that those who listen and practice this wisdom will be able to provide insight and knowledge to others to guide others through life.

There is an expression used in counseling that says, “People can only do the best they know how to do.” It does not mean they are performing at their best; it does not mean they are exceeding above others; it does not mean they are not trying to do well. It just means they can only respond and act accordingly to the wisdom they have learned in life. If they have not grown in their wisdom, then they are limited in how well their best can become. A good example from the Bible is a story about Abraham where he tells his wife Sarah, “Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” Instead of trusting in God, Abraham feared for his life and sought after a lie. Abraham had been a faithful follower of God. He had gone where God had sent him, but he still lacked wisdom to help him through the difficult trials. It was the best he knew how to do at the time. His lack of wisdom carried forward to his son Isaac. In Genesis 26:7-10 says, “When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, "She is my sister," because he was afraid to say, "She is my wife." He thought, "The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful." When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. So Abimelech summoned Isaac and said, "She is really your wife! Why did you say, 'She is my sister'?" Isaac answered him, "Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her." Isaac was doing the best he knew how to do, because it was what his father had taught him. Neither had expanded their wisdom to understand how the Lord was watching after them. Abraham’s fear was passed on to Issac and Issac followed the wisdom of his father. Job said the following about wisdom, “God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens. He decided how hard the winds should blow and how much rain should fall. He made the laws for the rain and laid out a path for the lightning. Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it. He set it in place and examined it thoroughly. And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’”

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Philippians 4:10-14 (NLT)
10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 14 Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

In these verses the Apostle Paul gives thanks and praise for those who have supported him while he is in prison. He is very grateful for what they have contributed, but he also says he would be content with whatever he received. For he knows Christ can get him through any situation. For it is Christ who gives him strength to make it from one day to the next.

There was a period of time one hundred years ago where the average American could name about 70 items they desired. One hundred years later people were naming around 500 items they wanted. Man is not content with his life and continues to seek out more and more as each day passes. One day as Lord Congelton was passing by one of the cooks he heard her say, “If only I had 5 pounds, it would be enough to make me content.” Shortly Lord Congelton walked over and handed the woman a 5 pound note. She thanked him and Lord Congelton waited quietly outside the door to see if the woman would give thanks to God for her new found money. But as soon as she realized he was gone she said, “Why didn’t I ask for 10 pounds?” Paul found contentment in life, not from the external things of the world; these come and go; Paul found contentment from the internal blessings of Christ who indwelled within him. It is through Christ Paul found contentment no matter how good or bad the circumstance. Have you ever said you could be happy if only??? Maybe it’s time to stop and pray, giving Christ thanks for the blessings you do have and those he is waiting to bestow upon you.

AskMe #1516941 02/12/08 05:43 AM
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Luke 18:1-7 (NLT)
1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. 3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ 4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” 6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?

In these verses Jesus tells the disciples a parable about a widow who never gave up on her request for justice. The judge who ruled over the matters was not a man who feared God or regarded justice for men. Yet this woman because of her persistent was able to move the judge to give her the justice she requested. This was a message to the disciples to be persistent in pray and not grow faint facing the struggles of life.

Have you ever thought seriously about your prayers to God? In the verses above the woman was making a specific request. She wanted justice in her dispute with her enemy. How often do we make requests to God in such a way that we ourselves don’t believe our own requests to God? Maybe we say Lord bless my family, but we don’t state our real request that says Lord my family needs me to be a strong, faithful follower of God so that I can bestow blessing from You upon them. Maybe we just request “God will be with us today”, but knowing He has already told us He will never forsake or leave us, what are we really asking? Instead maybe we should ask, God I need You today to protect me from the sins of the world. God I need You to encourage me and strengthen me today when I grow weak with temptation. Lord I need You in my life today as a companion, as friend, as one who looks after my best interest. Lord I need You because you care about me, and love me and I want to walk with You. And because Christ taught us to never give up on our prayers, be consistent, persistent and insistent by placing our trust in God through our prayers.

AskMe #1516942 02/14/08 04:47 AM
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Deuteronomy 13:6-11 (NLT)
6 “Suppose someone secretly entices you—even your brother, your son or daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend—and says, ‘Let us go worship other gods’—gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known. 7 They might suggest that you worship the gods of peoples who live nearby or who come from the ends of the earth. 8 But do not give in or listen. Have no pity, and do not spare or protect them. 9 You must put them to death! Strike the first blow yourself, and then all the people must join in. 10 Stone the guilty ones to death because they have tried to draw you away from the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear about it and be afraid, and no one will act so wickedly again.

These verses refer to someone close to you who may try to lead you away from God and the beliefs you have in Him. Satan used Eve to tempt Adam and cause him to fall. Even one of Jesus’ closest disciples, Peter, tried to tempt Christ. We must therefore stand guard against temptations, even from those who are closest to us. The world is full of temptations and we may even be told by our closest companions, relatives, and friends that the rest of the world is doing this, so why not you? This continued behavior requires expulsion of the person because they have become enemies instead of friends. In the time of Moses it required the tempter to be stoned to death if they continued in their ways. It was to show that wickedness had no place in the lives of those who trusted God.

The Old Covenant Civil laws were designed for the people of Israel as they were to grow in their understanding of God. These laws do not always apply to our modern day civil laws, yet we have retained many of the principles given to us by God. And here in Deuteronomy we find a principle for us all to live by; it teaches our delight for our spouse has limits. We are to love the Lord our God with all our soul and heart. We are to obey and follow His teachings and excuse ourselves from the sins of the world. You may have heard a preacher or teacher speak to the fact; the Lord comes first, then your family, then those around you. If Adam had only followed God’s words and not the words of his wife Eve he would not have fallen from grace. God blesses the relationships with our spouses, friends and family; but that relationship can come to a screeching halt when one of those chooses to side with the enemy. This is when it becomes the time to take your stand with God, trust in Him and cast your soul to Christ avoiding the temptations hurled at you. Take delight in God’s righteousness and turn to him for strength to follow Him. James gives us two pieces of advice about temptation: 1) God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 2) Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. Don’t allow temptation to drag you away to sin. Pray that God will strengthen you and know that He is faith not to allow any temptation to be greater than you can stand.

AskMe #1516943 02/15/08 06:35 AM
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Proverbs 15:14 (NLT)
14 A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.

This proverb addresses two people. First there is the knowledgeable, intelligent person who seeks to further themselves with knowledge. Such a person would be one to grow in grace as they gain a greater understanding of Christ. The second person is one who desires sensual pleasures. They fill themselves with worldly delights. Their carnal mind feasts with an appetite of gratification.

Jeff Foxworthy, a successful comedian, has made a living with his catchy phrase, “you might be a redneck if _____?” Of course the term redneck is usually a disparaging word to describe a white member of the Southern rural labor class. The term is used often to make fun of their lower class standards and lack of understanding. Following Jeff Foxworthy’s humor, he might say something like “you might be a redneck if you understand the following medical terms:”

Barium - what you do with dead people
Benign - what you wanted when you were eight
Carpal - a group that drove together to school
Cauterize - what a guy does before he winks at a girl
Chiropractor - an Egyptian doctor
Dilate - to die late in life, live long
Elixir - what a dog does to his master when it is given a treat

While these phrases are meant to be cute and funny, it does show people understand there are those who lack wisdom in this world. Although these jokes are directed towards one group of people there are many people in this world who lack understanding and wisdom. They have grown complacent. They express apathy at the events of the world. They blindly watch television and are lead by the comments of those who themselves do not have God’s wisdom. Remember that Solomon said, “Wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” Spend time seeking the wisdom of God. Pray that He would grant you understanding. Ask that you might grown in knowledge and spend time doing so. Take hold of wisdom and be hungry for the knowledge it provides.

AskMe #1516944 02/19/08 06:10 AM
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Proverbs 19:3 (NLT)
3 People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.

The proverb points out two of man’s senseless behaviors. The first deals with how man handles his own affairs in life. Their own foolishness causes them not to succeed and they become disappointed in their failures. They do not take account to ask the Lord to guide their ways and lead them in proper directions. The second point is that man then becomes angry at the Lord for something they did not include Him in to begin with. They place their blame on God instead of placing their blame on their own folly. They blame God as though He did something wrong and He was never included from the start.

It is much easier to fix blame on a person than it is to accept responsibility for fixings one’s own problems. You may hear people say things like:

- It’s entirely their fault; if they had helped I would not be having this problem.
- They always leave if for me to do and then something happens and I get blamed.
- I was just trying to help and now they are angry with me for messing up.
- Just because I broke something I borrowed from a friend they expect me to pay.
- God always let’s me down. It seems He is never there when I need Him.
- If only God hadn’t allowed me to get myself into this situation.

It’s easy to blame, but it’s more difficult to correct the real problems. Maybe we need to stop and look at our reasons for the things we do. Most importantly we need to include God in our lives so His wisdom can guide us. Maybe if we listened to God’s wisdom we would learn there are things we should not do and also learn there are things we should do. Hopefully we will come to understand our own faults and make corrections accordingly. Pray and include God on your life decisions. Ask Him for guidance and then when things don’t turn out as expected, praise God that He took you in a different direction for a purpose you may not yet understand.

AskMe #1516945 02/21/08 06:20 AM
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2 Kings 7:18-20 (NLT)
18 The man of God had said to the king, “By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, five quarts of choice flour will cost one piece of silver, and ten quarts of barley grain will cost one piece of silver.” 19 The king’s officer had replied, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!” And the man of God had said, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!” 20 And so it was, for the people trampled him to death at the gate!

Samaria was in desperate need of rescue; Ben-hadad the king of Aram had gathered his forces and besieged the city Samaria. The siege lasted so long a famine swept over the city. A donkey’s head sold at the Markey for eighty pieces of silver, and a cup of dove’s dung sold for five pieces of silver. There was such a hardship some had turned to cannibalism. One woman told the King, “This woman said to me: ‘Come on, let’s eat your son today, then we will eat my son tomorrow.’ So we cooked my son and ate him. Then the next day I said to her, ‘Kill your son so we can eat him,’ but she has hidden her son.” The hard times had many discouraged including the King, but the prophet Elisha said the Lord would change their situation to one that was incredibly good. The king’s officer mocked Elisha’s comments and the Lord and said there was no way the Lord could help them. He died before he had a chance to partake of the bountiful supply of food, which was suddenly left behind by the Arameans.

Life is not always easy and hard times can come upon us just as it did during the Great Depression. The depression had devastating effects in industrial and exporting countries. Trade amounts sharply declined. There was a sharp decline in personal income, tax revenue, prices and profits. Farmers were hit hard as prices for their crops fell 40-60%. Severe drought hit the heartland of America in 1930, the year following the stock market fall. Those farmers who were already hit hard were now faced with devastating times. Facing plummeting demand with few alternate sources of jobs, areas dependent on primary sector industries such as farming, mining and logging suffered the most. Although the country faced financial ruin, the leadership of our great country continued to acknowledge the thankfulness of what we had and gave credit to Almighty God for watching after us. In his Presidential Thanksgiving proclamation of 1932, President Hoover quoted George Washington saying, “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor - and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness." We all need to remember the blessings of our God. We need to praise Him for taking us through the difficult times. We need to acknowledge His establishment of our great nation and government that has given us safety and peace. May the Lord bless us all.

AskMe #1516946 02/22/08 05:57 AM
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Mark 15:33 (NLT)
33 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 34 Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Darkness fell on the people as the sins of humanity were being placed upon Christ. At a time when the sun should have been its brightest, it was dark. Joel 3:14-16 says, “Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the Lord will soon arrive. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will no longer shine. The Lord’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth will shake. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a strong fortress for the people of Israel.” As God turned away from His own Son to place the sins of sinners upon Christ Jesus yelled out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

The Book of Martyrs by John Fox was first published by John Day in 1563. The book also known as “Actes and Monuments of these Latter and Perillous Days, touching Matters of the Church” gives an account of the persecution of Protestants. The book focused on those who became martyrs under Mary Tudor, queen of England, who was given the nickname “Bloody Mary” for the many executions that took place under her reign. One such martyr written about in Mr. Fox’s book was Dr. Hunter. It is said that as Dr. Hunter was being fastened to the stake to be burnt alive, he uttered a short prayer, “Son of God shine upon me.” Immediately at that moment the sun shone out of a dark cloud so full and bright in his face he had to look away. His prayer was answered and the comfort of Christ came to him just before his death. On the contrary Christ was denied any light. The light of God was removed and the sky’s darkened. Christ did not complain on the cross of those who were torturing Him or of those who denied Him or the disciples who had abandoned Him. Yet Christ cried out as He felt God abandon Him to the sins of the world. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” Praise God that He has given His light of redemption to us. Thank Him for the light of Christ which lives in us and can shine on others.

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