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AskMe #2214987 02/17/09 07:01 AM
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Job 21:22-26 (NLT)
22 “But who can teach a lesson to God, since he judges even the most powerful? 23 One person dies in prosperity, completely comfortable and secure, 24 the picture of good health, vigorous and fit. 25 Another person dies in bitter poverty, never having tasted the good life. 26 But both are buried in the same dust, both eaten by the same maggots.

Job discusses the plight of man. Some people have riches and live in the security of their wealth. Some have good health and are able to enjoy vigorous lives. On the other hand some people die from poverty never feeling safe and secure. The fate of both is the same; death comes and life on this world ends.

Our Lord Jesus gave us a view into the life of a beggar and a rich man. The beggar was always willing to eat the scraps the dogs did not eat. The rich man enjoyed life and gave no thought to the blessings that had been bestowed upon him. Upon death the poor man’s faith in God placed him in heaven at the bosom of Abraham. The rich man when he died found himself in hell for he never sought God or thought about his eternal life. In the years ahead some will be blessed with wealth while others live in poverty. It is not wealth that shows we stand in God’s favor nor is it poverty that shows we are out of favor with God. It is a lot each is dealt in life. For God works through both the rich and the poor. In our wealth we should seek God and use our resources to help others. In our poverty we should count on God to bring joy and peace into our lives. Rich or poor our fate is death, but the outcome of our eternal life is the faith and trust we have placed in God. For His salvation comes through His son Jesus Christ who shed His blood freely for our sins.

AskMe #2215715 02/18/09 07:56 AM
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Luke 11:24-26 (NLT)
24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”

In these verses Jesus tells us of a person who was overcome by an evil spirit of sin. Leaving briefly the person found a moment of peace from the sin that had departed. But the sin returned and found the person was trusting in their own confidence. The person was spiritually empty. They had hoped by trying to order their life they could become free of the sin. But when the sin overcame them again it was stronger and brought with it more temptations of sin.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a preacher and wonderful man of God, was one day walking along the street. A drunken man came up to him. He began to use inappropriate language; he saw Spurgeon and recognized him. "Ah," said he, "is that you Mr. Spurgeon?" "It is," said Mr. Spurgeon, "That is my name. What do you want?" "Oh," said the man, mocking, "I am one of your converts." This man had gone to the church where Spurgeon preached. The power of the Gospel had, for a time, temporarily influenced this man’s decisions about life. He had sobered up, but he had never really accepted Christ as his Savior and so he fell back to his drunken state. He said to Spurgeon, "I am one of your converts" - as much as to say, "So much for your religion. It did nothing for me." Spurgeon's answer was very clever. "Yes," he said, "I am sure you are one of my converts. The Lord would have made a better job of it." We must be careful not to fill our lives with anything else except the love, grace and mercy of God. We should let God lead our lives and be careful of following others as a substitute for following God. And we should not rely solely on ourselves for we are flawed in our nature of reasoning. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ.

AskMe #2216510 02/19/09 08:03 AM
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Psalm 19:12-13 (NLT)
12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.

David asks God how he can know sin in his life. He understands there is sin that is obvious, but there is also sin the person does not recognize, has ignored or even deceived them about its affect. David asks God to reveal the hidden sins and to keep him from deliberately sinning. David’s seeks a life free of guilt that comes from sin.

Our own desires entice us to sin. Often we justify or hide the sin so that we do not feel the shame of these desires. The Bible is clear God does not tempt us to sin. "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. We are the reason why we sin. Unfortunately sin was handed down to us when Adam and Eve sinned against God. We are not directly responsible for their sin, but we do live with the consequences of their sin. For example you damage a piece of furniture and then you sell the furniture to someone else. The person who bought the furniture did not damage it, but they have to live with the consequences of the damage already done. Since we live with the consequences of sin, we live in an imperfect world where sinful desires lurk in our heart. We need to ask God to help us seek out those sins so we can ask forgiveness and be free of the guilt that comes with sin. We cannot rid ourselves of sin for sin was passed on to us, sometimes unrecognizable; Jesus gave us hope when He said “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” God has made a way to free us from sin through His son Jesus Christ. Give God praise for His mercy and grace.

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Haggai 1:3-6 (NLT)
3 Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? 5 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 6 You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!

The minor prophet Haggai shares a message from God concerning the peoples work towards the building of the temple. The people are made aware of the misuse of what they have; living in luxurious homes while the house of God laid in ruins. They were told they had much, but they had little to show for what they did have.

Some of you may have experienced putting change in your pants pocket only to find there is a hole that it escapes through. The next thing you know money is rolling all over the floor in different directions. Some, who probably won’t admit to it, have probably picked up the change, put it back in the same pocket and once again watched it roll away. We live in a time where we need to be careful with God’s resources. Many have been blessed with good things, but it is so easy to let those blessings slip away on the wrong things. We need to make sure we don’t keep using the resources we have been given incorrectly. God wants us to use His resources in a way that impacts the church in a positive manner. Plant your resources such that they bring a full harvest that satisfies many.

AskMe #2218738 02/23/09 08:38 AM
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James 3:17-18 (NLT)
17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Here James draws out what heavenly wisdom is like. This gift of wisdom was given to Solomon. It does not come from study or the words of man, but it comes from above. This wisdom is pure, guiding one towards gentleness and love for others. Peace is obtained by wisdom, not by covering up the actions of others, but by confronting wrong with a heart of righteousness.

On a college application was a question, “Do you have what it takes to become a leader?” The young woman filling in the application started to feel hopeless as she thought about the question. She wanted to be honest, but she also felt the question implied the college was looking for people who were leaders; she did not consider herself a leader. So she gave an honest, sincere answer with no favoritism towards herself, “No”, she replied, “I am a follower not a leader.” She submitted the application expecting the worst. To her surprise she got a reply, “Dear Applicant: A study of the applications received shows there were 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it imperative they have at least one follower.” The young woman found her answer out of honesty and trust. She fought against the temptation to say what she thought was expected and her wisdom won out. We all need to follow righteous wisdom, applying honesty, love, mercy, no favoritism, sincerity and peace. Righteous wisdom is above all other wisdom and will plants sees of peace and a harvest that is bountiful.

AskMe #2219233 02/24/09 01:46 AM
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Thank you for your time writing these devotionals!


But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams -Yeats
AskMe #2219259 02/24/09 07:02 AM
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2 Kings 22:18-20 (NLT)
18 “But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: 19 You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. 20 So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.’”

When King Josiah was 26 years old he ordered the money at the Lord’s Temple to be counted and assigned to pay workers to restore the Temple. As the temple was being restored the Book of the Law was found. Upon hearing the words written King Josiah tore his clothes in despair for he realized the people had turned away from God. The message sent to the King was one of temporary hope; for the king had humbled himself before God. God promised there would not be disaster in the city until after the king’s death.

We have a nation in the middle of a rebuilding process. Money is being appropriated and spent in an attempt to lift up the economy. In some cases the money is not being used wisely. In some cases the money is going against the word of God. Leaders are not standing firm on God’s principles, but instead turning to their own desires. They say one thing to the people, but do not follow through in their own actions. Those who should be managing the money and guarding it are the ones who have been stealing and avoiding payments to the government. Is there any wonder God is not blessing this country as a whole? Where are those who would humble themselves before God in despair? Not humbling themselves because they have ruined their own lives or the financial stability for many; but humbling themselves before God realizing how they have fallen away from God. David said about God in Psalm 18:27, “You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud.”

AskMe #2220829 02/26/09 07:31 AM
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Genesis 24:12-21 (NLT)
12 “O Lord, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham. 13 See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. 14 This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.”
15 Before he had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah. 16 Rebekah was very beautiful and old enough to be married, but she was still a virgin. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again. 17 Running over to her, the servant said, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” 18 “Yes, my lord,” she answered, “have a drink.” And she quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and gave him a drink. 19 When she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw water for all his camels.
21 The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the Lord had given him success in his mission.

Abraham sent one of his servants to search out a wife for his son Isaac. He wanted Isaac to marry a woman from his homeland and not one of the local women who worshiped other gods. The servant started his search with prayer. He asked the Lord to show him who should be Isaac’s wife by a test. He would ask for water; if she gave him water and offered his camels water she would be the one he knew God selected. But even when his conditions were met we see the servant wondering if God had given him the answer.

Often we ask of God, we receive and then we question the answer. The servant in the verses above is not alone in his doubt. There have been many more who doubted God. Gideon asked God for a sign and then questioned the answer. Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” And that is just what happened. Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.” So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.

For these men it was as if they were saying, God I believe, but help me with my unbelief. They wanted to trust God, but their fears made them doubt. They wanted some confirmation God was hearing their request. As one man begged Jesus to help his child he said to him, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” We all have unbelief and doubt God will answer us. Pray you will hear God’s answers plainly and clearly. Pray God will help your unbelief and strengthen your faith.

AskMe #2221429 02/27/09 07:31 AM
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Jonah 1:1:3 (NLT)
1 The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” 3 But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.

Amittai was Jonah’s father’s name. His name meant truth; so Jonah was the son of truth to be sent to the people of Nineveh. God’s words to Jonah were clear; go to Nineveh and announce God’s judgement. But Jonah bought a ticket and headed off in the opposite direction towards Tarshish hoping to escape God.

When you look at a historical map you can see Joppa on the coast of Israel. Tarshish was far to the west across the Great Sea. It was as far away as all your money and a boat could take you. Nineveh on the other hand was north east from Joppa along the Tigris River. Why would Jonah want to head so far away from where God wanted him to go? Nineveh was in the nation of Assyria. The book of Nahum tells us some about those in Nineveh. Murdered bodies lay on the street and there were so many dead that people had to step over the bodies. The city was wealthy, but the people were wicked indulging in sins of the flesh. They would take enemies captive and dash the heads of their children against the rocks. They were godless; practicing magic and witchcraft among themselves. These people tried to act god like showing they power, displaying their wealth and overpowering their enemies. Jonah did want the Lord to give these people a chance. He didn’t want God to tell them about their wickedness and give them a chance to repent. Instead he wanted to run the other direction. How often do we do the same thing? We make judgments against people without even trying to tell them about the love of God and the life they could find in Christ. Instead we want to turn the other way. We forget God extends his mercy and grace to all; even those who we think don’t even deserve it. The irony is Jonah needed to hear he was heading the wrong direction just as much as the people of Nineveh needed to hear they were headed away from God.

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James 15:16 (NLT)
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

James says Christians should confess their faults to one another and join in prayer for one another. Confession brings reconciliation both to man and to God. Therefore be earnest in your prayers and release sin through yours prayers that you might see the wonderful results God can bring.

King David was a man of prayer. Throughout PSALMS we can see how he poured his heart out to God in confession of sin, cries for help, and to acknowledge God and give praise. Hosea said, “Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord.Say to him,“Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us,so that we may offer you our praises.” Jesus told us that if a person sins against us we should go privately and point the sin out so that we can bring the person back closer not only to ourselves, but also to God. John tells us if we confess our sins to God, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. Imagine a person in church walking up to you and saying, “I have to admit this to someone, I am really struggling with some addiction problems and need some help and someone to pray with me.” What would your response be? Would it be to ignore them? Would it be to say, I’ll keep you in my prayers, and then never remember their need? Or would you ask them, how can I pray right now and how can I help? When we pray for one another we have the chance to see God in action. We can watch as God moves in a person’s life that is struggling as they find answers they could not find before. Without praying for one another we miss out on the opportunity to see what God can do.

Our Father in heaven who is full of mercy and grace,
I pray for someone who may be struggling this morning. I pray for someone who needs your help. Maybe they are struggling with the loss of a loved one. Maybe their physical sickness is overwhelming them. Maybe they just need your reassurance. But I know someone needs you, because I know I need you Lord. I confess Lord I am not perfect and I sin, but I have a perfect Savior who never sinned. It is my savior Jesus who reconciles me and those in need back to you Heavenly Father. I pray your mercy and grace would be abundant. I pray you would ease the pain of the burdened.

In the precious name of Jesus,
Amen

AskMe #2223481 03/03/09 07:41 AM
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Matthew 19:16-22 (The Message)
16 Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" 17 Jesus said, "Why do you question me about what's good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you." 18 -19 The man asked, "What in particular?" Jesus said, "Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself." 20 The young man said, "I've done all that. What's left?" 21 "If you want to give it all you've got," Jesus replied, "go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me." 22 That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crest-fallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn't bear to let go.

In these verses the young man used the Greek word didaskale agathe to address Jesus. It is a very honorable title meaning – Good Master. It shows respect and it is an acknowledgement of Christ’s wisdom. Even though he was young; he was concerned about his eternal life. Jesus tries to direct him in understanding there is no one who matches up to the goodness of God. Jesus gave the young man commandments he was familiar with. But one must keep all of God’s commandments if one is to live by the law and not faith in Christ. The young man looked to Christ to question what law he needed to fulfill. The answer Christ gave him disheartened him for he was told to give up everything and follow Jesus. The young man’s heart needed to be set on heavenly treasures and not the treasures of this world. He needed to be devoted to God; following Christ fully. Just giving up possessions was no enough for he needed to follow Christ and place his faith in Him.

The word self centered means to be concerned solely with one’s own desires, needs or interests. Sometimes our desires get in the way of how we should live our life. We place ourselves first instead of making an investment in God’s kingdom. When things get tough we want to give up because it means we might lose those things we desire. Yesterday the stock market plunged and many saw their investments falling away. Look at some of the words used to describe reasons for the fall of our economy: greed, need for moderation, need for integrity and need for trust, theft, and selfishness. Christ said a wise man should build his house upon a rock where it can withstand floods and great wind. For those who have invested in Christ they see a future kingdom where their treasures are stored. Store up your treasures in heaven for you will not be disappointed.

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2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (NLT)
3 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. 4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. 7 We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. 8 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. 9 We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 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.

In these verses the Apostle Paul speaks about the hardships he has endured. The list includes: being beaten, put in prison, facing threats, overworked, exhausted and hungry and being ignored by those who know him. Yet Paul lives in such a way that he demonstrates his faith in God. He tells others about God and how God is working faithfully in his life. No matter what the circumstance righteousness defends him as he serves God. Paul knows he lacks worldly possessions, yet he has everything he needs.

We can respond to our circumstances in life in many different ways. We can live life through the power of God and defend ourselves against the attacks that come at us from many directions; or we can surrender to bitterness, hate and anger and just give up. Jesus asked, “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Some worry over finances to the point they want to give up on life. Recently one man in my neighborhood did just that; he shot himself in his driveway after losing his job. Sadly his teenage daughter was the one who found him. We can let desperation make us believe life is intolerable; Satan would love for us to ignore what God can do. Yet we have Christ who can work in our lives to help us through all these situations. We can demonstrate our faith and courage to others and inspire them to walk steadfastly with Christ. When we stand strong in our faith we encourage others to do the same. Pray God will take away the fears of the world and allow you to live a victorious life no matter what circumstance you face.

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Matthew 7:7-11 (NLT)
7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

In Matthew 6 Jesus speaks of prayer as a commanded duty to which we are to honor God. There Jesus gives us the Lord’s Prayer which starts with, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” showing how we should be respectful of God in our prayers. In the verses above Jesus continues to talk about effective prayer. In Revelation Jesus says he knocks at the door to our heart and if we open the door He will come in. In the same manner when we knock at God’s door He opens His heart to listen to our requests. We should ask as children for the good things. God will not hand out that which will harm us or works against His purpose. We must make it our business to pray and seek from God what we cannot accomplish alone.

Ruben Archer Torrey was an American pastor, writer, and evangelist, educator; akin to D.L. Moody and Billy Graham in style. He was a Christian apologist giving appeals to those who were in denial of the scriptures. He joined with D.L. Moody and became superintendant of the Bible Institute of the Chicago Evangelization Society now known today as Moody Bible Institute. During his college years he fell to sin, was agnostic at times in his belief, eventually followed liberal Unitarianism, but then came to a strong faith in Christian doctrine. He became a man of prayer with a belief the Word of God could transform people. He is quoted as saying, “We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services, but few conversions; much machinery, but few results.” He understood prayer brought results into his life. Being busy and neglecting God just brought more busyness. Slow down. Take time and pray to God understanding who God is and what He desires for our lives. Pray without ceasing, always knocking at His door; answering when He knocks at the door to our heart.

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1 Timothy 6:10 (NLT)
9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

The Apostle Paul writes Timothy about where the true riches in life come from. They do not come from a desire or a love for money that pulls people into sinful desires. True riches are found in the love of God and the contentment we can find in Christ.

Verse 10 is often misquoted as “money is the root of all evil”. Money itself is not evil. It is the desire, the thirst and the love for money which we should avoid. King Solomon said, “The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin.” What makes the love of money wrong? It turns us away from our love of God. Possessions can become idols in our life that are given to all our attention. We move from loving God to loving the things God has given us. God wants us to love Him not the things He created. Remember to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.

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Isaiah 55:10-11 (NLT)
10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

God’s word is powerful and provides answers for the intents of God. We know God gave order to the world. He created the rains to water the crops, and snow to run off the mountains to provide reservoirs of water for the purpose of producing food. God’s word in the same way produces results accomplishing the plan He started.

What fruit is God’s word producing in you? The first question one has to ask, “Am I reading God’s word so that I might understand Him?” Next question, “Am I following God’s word so that the purpose and plan for my life is revealed.” And lastly, “Am I closer to God each and every day from listening to what He has to say.” Most Americans believe the Bible is the word of God yet they don’t apply it to their lives. Stop and take time to see what God has to say to you. Read His word and open your hearts to God. Let His word produce fruit in your lives that feeds many and takes care of many souls.

AskMe #2227466 03/10/09 06:24 AM
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James 4:11 (NLT)
11 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you.

James, the half brother of Christ, warns against speaking evil of others. Katalaleite is the Greek word used in this passage for speaking evil; it signifies speaking anything which may hurt or injure another. One should not to speak out of ignorance or falsehood; nor should one seek to defile or defame another for their own pleasure. We are not to raise the persecution of the world against another, but instead we are to turn them from sin with the love of God. But first one must examine themselves and be not quick to look at the faults of others without looking at their own faults. We should obey God understanding we are not the ones to make judgments as to whether God’s justice applies to us.

Maybe you remember the Super Bowl commercial for Ameriquest Mortgage Company. A man walks into a convenience store talking on his cell phone. The man is wearing an earpiece so others are not easily aware of his conversation. He tells the person on the phone they are paying way too much for a deck. As he approaches the clerk at the counter he says on the phone, “you are getting robbed, you hear me, you are getting robbed” as he reaches for his wallet to pay for his drink. The clerk hearing his words and observing him reaching into his coat pocket turns and sprays the man with pepper spray, beats him with a bat, while his wife stuns him with a cattle prod. On the screen flashes the words, “Don’t judge too quickly”. Sometimes we think we have all the facts, but we jump to quick to a conclusion. We create our own judgment of a situation instead of letting God lead us. There is no harm in pointing out when someone is falling away from God as long as we understand the complete picture and we are lead by God to speak up and point out the obvious fault. We do it in love, not attempting to hurt someone, but to move them away from sin and back towards God.

AskMe #2228316 03/11/09 06:31 AM
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Numbers 21:4-9 (NLT)
4 Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey, 5 and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!” 6 So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. 7 Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 Then the Lord told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” 9 So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!

The people of Israel were on their 40 year journey through the wilderness. God has been with them, taking care of their needs, and defending them. While they didn’t have the best of conditions they were living life in safety and freedom. Yet they complained about what God was providing them and they began to speak out against God blaming Him for not having the life they desired. Poison snakes were sent among the people. If bitten they would die. Moses confessed the sins of the people and God told Moses the following, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” Even though it sounded strange, it was a test of faith. Those who trusted God and did as He said lived, while those who disobeyed God died.

Trust is defined as assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; it is a dependence on something future or contingent. Trusting God means we recognize His righteous and holy character. We understand God’s ability has no boundaries or limitations. God is strong and powerful beyond all measure. The truths of His word are infallible. And God is always looking out for our needs; those which are immediate and those which are in the future. Sometimes it is hard to see how God is going to meet our future needs, but we must trust He will do so. We may not understand His methods, His plan or His goal, but still we must listen, trust and obey. I’m reminded of the lyrics of the song Trust and Obey: Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

AskMe #2230949 03/16/09 06:11 AM
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Philemon 1:4-7 (NLT)
4 I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, 5 because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. 6 And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. 7 Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.

The Apostle Paul gives credit to God; thanking God for the good works of others. Paul mentions Philemon, a brother in Christ and how he keeps hearing about Philemon’s love for others. Philemon has put his faith into practice. The love he has shown Paul has refreshed him, given him comfort and joy which lead to him being able to refresh the hearts of others.

Like Paul we are to pray for others and acknowledge when they do good works that strengthen the kingdom of God. We are to take our faith in Christ seriously and apply it to our lives so others may benefit. We are encouraged when others bring joy and comfort to others. It brings also joy and comfort to us seeing the good which is being done. Refresh the hearts of others with kind words, generosity, and living your faith that others may see your love for God. ------- Heavenly Father I thank you this morning for the encouragement of friends and family. I thank you Lord for the love others show through the kindness of their hearts. Lord I am encouraged by those who do acknowledge you and proclaim Jesus as Your Son and Savior. Lord Thank you for those who put your words into action and bless many by doing so. Bless them Lord that they might bless others. ----- Amen

AskMe #2234558 03/26/09 07:13 AM
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Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

The Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians about the grace of God. It was grace obtained by faith when they believed God’s word of salvation in Jesus Christ. It was a free gift, nothing no one but God can boast about. For God gave us a new life in Jesus so we can accomplish God’s will, which is good and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

The Pharisees were always quick to point out the immorality of others while believing their moral compass was intact. It seems out politics of today are about the same. People are so busy pointing out the faults and failures of others they don’t see their own faults and failures. One person stands and lectures on the problems in the economy, who is to blame, and who should take responsibility. Yet the same person later admits to failing to pay attention to their own economics and the missing tax dollars they failed to pay. God knew people would fail so He gave His Son Jesus Christ that we can boast of the good work God has done. Yes, we might fail, but God has a plan for us to succeed. “For the Christian, moral discourse begins by focusing not on the sins of the other but on one's own failures."O God, be merciful to me, a sinner." It is the publican's humble prayer that is accepted by God, and it is the Pharisee—who is confident of his morality and the other's immorality—who is condemned.” (Mark Galli, Christianity Today, 4/04/2007)

AskMe #2235478 03/27/09 07:05 AM
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Jeremiah 33:3 (NLT)
3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.

The prophet Jeremiah had prayed for answers from God. Here in this verse God reveals Jeremiah should be humbly honest and continue to pray about his concerns if there are to be more answers. It shows the lesson that we must call upon God for Him to hear and respond.

There is a prayer many children are taught and it goes like this - "God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands we all are fed. Give us Lord Amen.” The good thing about the prayer is it reminds us God is both great in power, but also good in His nature towards us. I think we don’t often grasp how great and loving our God is. I have heard people say before, “I told God if he could come through on this one prayer I wouldn’t ask for anything else.” Or, “I told God if He would answer my prayer I would do this for Him.” God delights in answering our prayers. He doesn’t need coercion to accomplish our requests. It is our faith and willingness to ask that draws us close God so that He listens and answers. Matthew 13:58 says, “And he (Jesus) did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” I’m convinced our faith is often weak and we do not pray as we should because of that weakness. George Muller was a man of faith and prayer. During the 1800’s he raised over seven million dollars for orphans without asking a single person. He prayed for orphanages and 100 were opened to care for more the 2000 children. Day by day he prayed long hours for the needs of the children and those needs were met with clothes and food. The bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Pray so that you may hear what God has to say.

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