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AskMe #2236989 03/30/09 06:26 AM
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Philippians 2:12-18 (NLT)
12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. 14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.

The apostle Paul writes to the Philippians that they should be like a bright shining star. They should live clean, innocent, and non-argumentative lives so they might stand out as a beacon for Christ. They should use the examples given them in the scriptures to live their life and make it pleasing to God. The world is full of those who are crooked and perverse; those who belong to Christ should outshine their deeds.

Sometimes there are stories we read which have an important message to share. The following is one such story which demonstrates how living for Christ can have a spreading impact on others.

In 1972, a young Egyptian businessman named Farahat lost an $11,000 watch. He was stunned when a garbage man dressed in filthy rags found it and returned it to him. Farahat asked him why he didn't just keep the watch. The garbage man said, "My Christ told me to be honest until
death." Farahat later told a reporter: "I didn't know Christ at the time, but I told [the garbage man] that I saw Christ in him. I told [him], 'Because of what you have done and your great example, I will worship the Christ you are worshiping.'"Farahat studied the Bible and grew in his faith. Two years later he visited the garbage man's village outside Cairo, where between 15,000 and 30,000 people were living in poverty and squalor. There was no electricity or running water. Alcohol, drugs, and gambling were pervasive. Men, women, and children sifted through huge mountains of garbage, looking for something of value that could be sold for cash or traded for food. Farahat found himself reflecting on the words of Jesus: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." He also remembered the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:13: "We have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things." It was soon thereafter that Farahat and his wife began
ministering to people's spiritual and material needs. They preached the gospel throughout Egypt, and thousands of people turned to Christ.In 1978, Farahat was ordained by the Coptic Orthodox Church and became known as Father Sama'an. Now, about 10,000 believers meet in a large cave outside the garbage village. It is the largest church of believers in the Middle East. In May of 2005, a day of prayer was held for Muslims to turn to Christ. More than 20,000 Arab Christians gathered. The event was also broadcast on a Christian satellite TV network, where millions were watching. All this, because one garbage man chose to humbly return a watch that would have made him the richest man in town. (Jerry DeLuca, Montreal West, Canada; source: Joel C. Rosenberg, Epicenter, Tyndale House
Publishers (2006), p. 206)

AskMe #2237603 03/31/09 06:36 AM
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John 16:23-33 (NLT)
25 “I have spoken of these matters in figures of speech, but soon I will stop speaking figuratively and will tell you plainly all about the Father. 26 Then you will ask in my name. I’m not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf, 27 for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God. 28 Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father.” 29 Then his disciples said, “At last you are speaking plainly and not figuratively. 30 Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? 32 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

For Jesus these are some of the parting words to the disciples. He is letting them know He is returning to the Father in heaven. He also lets them know there is a time where they will be scattered to go their own way to let others know about the things which have taken place. He reminds them God is with them, yet here on earth there are many pains and sorrows they will go through. But they are to remember even though they face such challenges; Christ has defeated the sin of the world.

Christ died for the sins of the word. In doing so he overcame the world so we might live eternally with Him in heaven. While we live out our lives here on earth waiting for our time of death there are pains and sorrows we each face. But Christ is always there to strengthen us and see us through any trial. There are some people who think being accepted into heaven is like a bank. Good deeds are deposits and the bad deeds are the withdrawals made from the account. As long as the account has a positive balance they think they are heaven bound. However if they believe the account is overdrawn then it is off to hell. The truth is when a person has accepted Christ the bank account is closed out. There are no deposits or withdrawals to be made. Christ took care of the account and supplies all our needs. Praise our Savior who gave His life for us. What better friend than one who gives their life for another.

AskMe #2238357 04/01/09 06:55 AM
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PSALM 19:7-11 (NLT)
7 The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. 9 Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. 10 They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. 11 They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.

David reflects on the greatness of God. In the earlier verses of Psalm 19 he has expressed how the heavens proclaim the glory of God. Even His creations show His magnificent power, such as the sun; how it is brilliant in light, set in its place, and is constant in the way it performs. Then David reflects upon the instructions we are given from God. They are just as glorious and wonderful as God’s other works.

If there had to be one gift greater than all gifts from God; it would be the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. God allowed His Son to die a horrible and tortured death to pay for sin and provide salvation. The gift of salvation is a free gift available to all who are willing to take it. Another gift from God was instilling in us how to live. God gave us the Holy Spirit to lead and help us understand. God gave us HIS HOLY SCRIPTURES so we could gain wisdom, find joy, have peace, and know how to live a sweet and fulfilling life. These gifts are great rewards and are not to be taken lightly. Praise God who cares about us and provides for our every need.

AskMe #2238909 04/02/09 07:03 AM
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Matthew 16:26 (NLT)
26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

As Jesus speaks to His disciples he asks the questions in verse 26 What if you gain the world, but in the process of trying to do so you lose your soul. The second question emphasizes the point, what in the world is worth more than your eternal soul? When death comes worldly goods are lost, but the soul remains.

How much is your soul worth to you? In the movie Bedazzled, Brendan Fraser signs a contract with the devil to receive 7 wishes in an attempt to win over the girl of his dreams. Elizabeth Hurley plays the devil who grants the wishes in very mischievous ways. Brenden soon learns each fantasy comes with the devils own little twist that leaves the fantasy less desirable than originally thought. Every wish he gets fulfilled has massive disadvantages as well, and soon Elliot wants to get out of the contract. The only thing that matters to him now is being able to take his life back and his chances by himself. In a way we are a lot like the character Brendan played. We obtain a desire for something and want to seek it at all cost, even if that cost means disaster to our life. He was willing to lose his soul for the price of his desire, but as he learned the devils plan was not right for him. Pray God would lead you to seek that which benefits your soul for it is a highly prized possession. Ask yourself as Jesus asked the disciples, “Is anything worth more than your soul?”

AskMe #2239648 04/03/09 07:00 AM
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Isaiah 45:21 (NLT)
21 Consult together, argue your case. Get together and decide what to say. Who made these things known so long ago? What idol ever told you they would happen? Was it not I, the Lord? For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior. There is none but me.

In summary God is saying in this verse; bring on everyone; bring on your idols; bring on all the things you worship. For once you have done this see who or what among you can rival the Lord God? Then God gives His reply, “For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior. There is none but me.”

Romans 1:18-32 tells us, “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. “ GOD’S WORD SPEAKS FOR ITSELF…..and has much changed today?

AskMe #2241168 04/06/09 05:49 AM
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2 Timothy 1:5-7 (NLT)
5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Timothy’s mother and grandmother both had a faith in God and Christ, but Timothy’s father did not. (Acts 16:1 there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek.) These women passed a along a strong faith in God to Timothy. Paul wanted to remind Timothy of that faith and the gifts God had given him. Then Paul told Timothy fear and timidity are abandoned with faith in God.

There is a peace that comes from abiding in the love of God. Our worst fear should be that of living an eternal life apart from God. Yet God put that fear aside by giving His Son Jesus to die for our sins. God does not want us to live a life of fear. Instead he wants us to have a confident life. We can find confidence when we believe God can meet our needs. Lately the news has had many stories of people ending their life and the life of others out of desperation. Pray those who are desperate will place their trust in God and Christ. Be a person who reminds others like Paul did Timothy that we were not handed a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

AskMe #2241969 04/07/09 06:43 AM
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1 Corinthians 15:42-44 (NLT)
42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.

Paul writes to the Corinthian church about our physical and spiritual bodies. The physical body is broken, corrupted by sin. They are weak and will eventually be put in the ground. But our spiritual bodies will live forever.

Apologetics are a systematic argumentative discourse in defense or a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity. They are many apologists who defend the Christian faith giving reason, truth and facts to substantiate the Christian faith. A point often made is to say to an unbeliever, OK, what if you are right. What if there is no eternal life? What if there is no redemption for sin? What if there is no heaven or hell? What if there is no God? After asking these questions it can be said, “If those are the truths, then dead is dead; there is no afterlife; there is no need to worry about sin.” Both the unbeliever and the believer receive the same fate. Both die, are buried never to live again.

Then the apologist turns the questions. But what if there is an eternal life? What if there is a God who judges sin? What if there is a heaven for the redeemed and a hell for those who refused God’s salvation? What if you are wrong about your stance and I am right about mine? Then you are rejecting God, rejecting His salvation brought through Jesus, rejecting the idea that God is just, rejecting the idea there are consequences for sin. It then seems to reason the unbeliever does not receive the same gift as the believer. The unbeliever finds out there is a God who has said sin is unacceptable and the consequence is eternal life in hell, while the believer redeemed through Christ receives an eternal life in heaven. A Christian faith is hard to live because there is the realization some will not accept Christ and the grace and mercy that is provided. It is tough to realize there are those who will be condemned when we hope as God that all would be saved from eternal damnation.

AskMe #2243245 04/09/09 05:43 AM
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1 John 4:20-21 (NLT)
20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.

The Apostle John is speaking on the subject of genuine love for others. Prior to these verses he has iterated how God gave His Son Jesus Christ out of love for us. God did this when many had not even sought God or thought about showing love towards God. Yet God loved us even though we may not have reached out to Him in love. God is perfect love and our love grows when we spend time with Him in prayer and the reading of His scriptures. As our love grows for God it pours over onto others around us. We cannot hate those who love God and say we love God, for the two are not consistent.

We learn to love like God by accepting the way God loves us. There are some who see themselves as unlovable and therefore God could never love them. But the reality is God is love and God loves us and wants us to learn to love ourselves and others in the same way He does. God’s grace and mercy demonstrate His love towards us. It is a grace undeserved and often unappreciated. Maybe you have seen the movie Pay it Forward where a young boy takes on a school project that expands into a personal experience. Instead of waiting for someone to do him a good favor he goes out and does good things for others. When he is asked what he wants he tells them he only wants them to show the same kindness to someone else. Then something marvelous happens; those who were shown love show love to others. God wants us to express our love in the same way. We are not to sit back and wait for someone to do something good for us before we can love, we are to show love to others first just as God has first shown us His love.

AskMe #2243774 04/10/09 05:46 AM
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Mark 15:16-39 (NLT)
16 The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment. 17 They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. 18 Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 19 And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. 20 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. The Crucifixion 21 A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) 22 And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). 23 They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it.
24 Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece. 25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 A sign was fastened to the cross, announcing the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 29 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. 30 Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!” 31 The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him. The Death of Jesus 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?” 35 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 36 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!” 37 Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

A Roman officer accustom to death and watching those around him die observed as Jesus was crucified and died on the cross. The Roman officer saw there was something special about Jesus; something about Jesus and the dignity of his death made him believe Jesus was the Son of God. Others acknowledged the wonders he had performed, but they mocked Him as He died for the sins of all.

Today is Good Friday, the remembrance of the death of Jesus who died that we might live eternally free from sin. He went through a torturous death, but even more painful was God The Father turning away from Him as sin was placed upon him. Stop today and remember the Lord Jesus and the sacrifice He made for our lives. Give praise to the holy name of Jesus. Praise Him for loving us before we ever knew to love Him.

AskMe #2244947 04/13/09 06:06 AM
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Mark 16:5-6 (NLT)
5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, 6 but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body.

This is the Apostle Mark’s account of the resurrection of Jesus. Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome had gone to buy burial spices after the Sabbath day was over. They wanted to anoint the lifeless body of Jesus with these spices. When they arrived they were shocked to find the tomb open. An angel told them the crucified Jesus was not there, but instead was alive. His proof to them was there was no body where it once had lain.

The women in the verses above were expecting to prepare the dead body of Jesus. They had been a witness to his death and in their minds they believed Jesus was no longer alive. The angle points out to them, “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.” In other words he acknowledged they were looking for the body of Jesus. Then the angel said, “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead.” It was a kind way of saying, “Look you can looking for the wrong person. You came looking for a dead Jesus. However, the real Jesus is alive and this is nothing but an empty tomb.” Our Jesus is alive! He rose from the dead to defeat sin and death. He is alive working in our own lives. Remember the words from Hebrews, “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

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Luke 19:2-7 (KJV)
2And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

This is the story of Zacchaeus, a rich and prominent man in charge of tax collectors, who sought to see Jesus as he approached in the city of Jericho. A small man in stature, he put aside his prominence to climb a tree like a little boy where he could get a better view of Jesus as He passed by. Jesus knew the enthusiasm Zacchaeus had and gave an invitation for Zacchaeus to come to Him that he might abide with him at his home. We know others thought how Jesus could go to be a guest of a man who collected taxes. In those days there were many greedy tax collectors who took more than their portion. But Jesus wanted to be with the man others considered a sinner. He wanted to be with Zacchaeus.

I once toured Paramount studios in California. We were given a warning that if we saw anyone famous, any stars we were to remain quiet and in our group. However as we were transitioning from one place to another, Henry Winkler, The Fonz, from Happy Days walked close by. It was amazing watching people as they moved in his direction to get a better glimpse of this famous actor, director and producer. It is natural to want to seek out someone we have heard much about. Zacchaeus did exactly that; he sought out someone he heard could change his life. I remember a song from Sunday School as a kid, “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he. He climbed up in a sycamore tree, for the Lord he wanted to see.
And as the Savior passed him by, He looked up in the tree, and he said, "Zacchaeus, you come down from there; For I'm going to your house today, for I'm going to your house today" Zacchaeus came down from that tree, as happy as he could be, He gave his money to the poor, and said: "What a better man I'll be."” Not only did Zacchaeus seek out Jesus, he sought Jesus out for a life changing experience. Jesus impacted the life of Zacchaeus in such a way he was ready to payback those who were cheated with interest. He was ready to give to those in need instead of making demands for money. Has Jesus changed your life? If so give praise to our Lord and Savior who wants to reach out to all sinners and pull each and every sinner closer to Him.

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Titus 2:1-8 (NLT)
1 As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. 2 Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. 3 Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. 4 These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, 5 to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. 6 In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. 7 And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. 8 Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.

The Apostle Paul gives guidance to Titus about his course of ministry and several of the groups of persons he is to direct. Each one, including Titus, is to live in a wise manner such that their lives encourage others.

There is a story I always think about when I am reminded we are to live our lives in a positive and wise way to encourage and give good examples for others to follow. The story goes that there were several cars at a traffic light. When the light turned green the lead car wasn’t paying attention, so the lady in the car behind them started blowing her horn repeatedly; then she leaned out the window and started yelling in an attempt to get the other driver to move. After a few moments of yelling words such as stupid, idiot, and moron the lead car moved through the light just in time for it to turn red again and trap the woman at the light. Once again she leaned out to yell a few more phrases as the car was driving off ahead of her. She then heard a police siren and behind her was a patrol car with the blue lights on. The officer walked up to the car and asked her for her license and registration. She politely handed them over. After checking them he handed them back to the woman and told her she could go. She said, “Wait, what was that all about?” The officer said, “Well I saw all the commotion taking place and then noticed the Christian sticker on the back of your car. There for a moment I thought perhaps the car had been stolen because you sure weren’t acting like I thought the owner of the car should be acting.” Others are watching our lives and we should live our lives in a way that gives good testimony to the name of Jesus who died for our sins.

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Psalm 34:1-22 (NLT)

1 I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. 2 I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. 3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. 4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. 5Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. 6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. 7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! 9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. 10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. 11 Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. 12 Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? 13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! 14 Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. 15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. 16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. 17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. 19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. 20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! 21 Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. 22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Psalm 34 is interesting in that each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Considered an acrostic poem; it is David’s psalm regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech who sent him away without threat.

We can learn a lesson from David. David feared King Saul who was making threats against David’s life. David decided to run. First he went to Ahimelech, a priest where he obtained bread and the spear of Goliath by not telling the full truth.. It cost Ahimelech and his family their lives for helping David. Second, he continued his run from Saul by going towards the Philistines to King Achish of Gath. But the officers of Achish were unhappy about his being there. Can you imagine there is David carrying the sword of Goliath the Philistine he killed? These officers knew David as a great soldier. The officers said, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land?” they asked. “Isn’t he the one the people honor with dances, singing, ‘Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him. So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard. In David’s moment of desperation and distress instead of trusting in the Lord he was trusting in his own plan. David later remembers this in his praise to God as he says, “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Remember the Lord when you are brokenhearted, down trodden or in need. The Lord will hear you and come to your aid.

AskMe #2248501 04/21/09 06:15 AM
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Proverbs 21:16 (NASV)
16 The person who strays from common sense will end up in the company of the dead.

Solomon talks about the sinner who wanders away from common sense towards the dangers of sin. They break out of the hedges of protection following the conduct of the world. They become deluded in their own thoughts and are swept away towards the same destruction Sodom and Gomorrah faced.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease control 36 people die every day and approximately 700 more are injured in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol impaired driver. In 2006 13,470 people died in alcohol impaired driving crashes accounting for 32% of the traffic related deaths in the United States. Drugs other than alcohol are involved in about 18% of the other deaths. Sometimes the deaths are overlapped with the use of alcohol. Half of the 306 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol crash related accidents in 2006 were riding with passengers of a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. In 2006, 45 children age 14 years and younger were killed as pedestrians or bicyclists who were hit by alcohol impaired drivers. Those who drank and drove left common sense behind. They made tragic mistakes which cost their lives and lives of others. They ended up in the company of the dead because they strayed from common sense. They gave up the hedge of protection God had for them and traded it for the pleasures of the world.

AskMe #2249166 04/22/09 05:59 AM
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Ephesians 4:21-23 (NLT)
21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

Paul tells the Ephesians Christ taught us how we should live. They learned their sinful nature comes from their own desires. They also learned they deceive themselves into believing what they do wrong is right. Paul encourages them to let the Holy Spirit work in their lives. They were created to be like God so let that nature shine through as the old sinful life is thrown off.

A phrase that has emerged with the troubled economy is “toxic assets”. Banks make money by providing loans with secured transactions that guarantee them a return on money. When the borrower defaults; they reserve the right to take ownership of the asset in order to regain the loaned amount. However due to the recent sharp decline in home prices loans are no longer guaranteed by the principle in the home. Instead these loans have become toxic and can affect the banks profit because there is no principle to back the loan. We can also have toxic assets in our spiritual lives. We might think we have gained an asset only to find out it is hurting us spiritually. If we bring something into our life that pushes us away from God that is a toxic asset. Money, family, education, work, church all can be good things, but if they take away from our time with God or lead us astray then they have become toxic to our lives. Deuteronomy 11:16 says, “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;” Are there any gods (toxic assets) in your life that need to be put aside?

AskMe #2249827 04/23/09 06:57 AM
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Luke 10:25-29 (NLT)
25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” 27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” 29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

This exchange between Jesus and a religious leader led to the parable of the Good Samaritan. The leader was trying to justify himself by asking Jesus who was his neighbor. Jesus told the parable of A Good Samaritan. A Jewish man, was robbed, beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. A Jewish temple assistant and a Jewish priest both saw the man but continued their journey without stopping. A friend recently shared maybe these men were on their way to perform religious duties and to touch the beaten man would have rendered them ceremonially unclean. Instead of helping they chose to continue with their obligations. They justified their actions just as the religious leader was trying to justify his.

It seems these days everyone is trying to justify their actions, right or wrong. For instance, the party was planned; it was a reward for those who worked hard; why shouldn’t we use bailout money to pay for the party? Or we need to pay these executives top dollars in order to keep them, which is why we used the bailout money. We can’t help it if they decided to quit. Or I was entitled to take part of that money; after all I worked hard too. There is no justification for wrong actions. We can give excuses, we can come up with stories, but how can one justify what is wrong. Job said, “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.” Jesus said, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” If your actions are wrong take responsibility; own up to the problems and put aside self justifications.

AskMe #2250608 04/24/09 07:20 AM
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Proverbs 24:21-22 (NLT)
21 My child, fear the Lord and the king. Don’t associate with rebels, 22 for disaster will hit them suddenly. Who knows what punishment will come from the Lord and the king?

In this proverb from King Solomon he gives advice that one should respect God’s commandments and stay clear of those who are out to destroy what God desires. They face a potential disaster and by associating with them one may also face that disaster with them.

The best illustration I can give of this proverb comes from the Bible itself. Lot, who was the nephew of Abraham, sought out to live in the city of Sodom. Sodom was a city where the people followed their own desires and lusts. Lot was a good man, but he had come to tolerate the wickedness of Sodom because of all the other pleasures of the city. God decided to destroy Sodom and had not angels intervened to take Lot and his family from the city they too would have been destroyed. Lot and his family were told not to look back on what was to take place, but Lot’s wife disobeyed and she too was destroyed. Disaster hit Sodom and all those who were there in the city. Take care in who you associate with. We are to reach out to people, but we must also take care not to fall to the sins around them.

AskMe #2251929 04/27/09 06:35 AM
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Acts 4:16-22 (NLT)
16 “What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. 17 But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” 18 So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” 21 The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God 22 for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.

Peter and John were confronted by the religious leaders of the temple. Peter and John were arrested for preaching about Jesus and placed in confinement over night. The leaders questioned what they should do with them because they were preaching about Jesus and were performing miracles. When the leaders heard Peter and John they were amazed how ordinary men could speak so powerfully about the scriptures. The council threatened them not to continue their preaching, but they let them go for everyone was praising their healing of a lame man.

This week I am having a second surgery on my right wrist. The first surgery was what the doctor thought was a hopeless attempt to save my wrist. When the accident first occurred the doctor told me I might not be able to use my wrist again. Several visits back and the doctor was telling me that more than likely I would need to have the bones in my wrist fused and more metal plates added to support my wrist. However on the last visit the doctor walked in after looking at my x-rays; bent my wrist around; then just looked puzzled and said that is amazing. He continued to say he couldn’t believe what he had seen on the x-rays and that my wrist had really healed well. He had expected my bones to turn to mush, but they were solid and healing. He wanted to remove the existing metal plate and reconnect a tendon in my thumb and he thought I would have most of the use of my wrist. I just looked at him and said, “There have been many people praying for that wrist.” My mother had her church praying. Other relatives and friends were praying. The church I attend was also praying for my healing. I have to stop and praise God and all the faithful brothers and sisters I have in Christ. I have to say the Lord heard the prayers of many and answered them. Like Peter and John cannot sit idle and not tell others about what I call a miracle. I am thankful for a Savior who cares and helps in our moments of need. I may not be able to write for a few days; so I wanted to let all who read these devotions that I am thankful for those who believe in God, those who believe in Christ, and those who believe in the power of prayer. May God bless each and every one of you for your faithfulness.

AskMe #2252593 04/28/09 06:53 AM
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Proverbs 28:13 (NLT)
13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

The Hebrew word for conceal is kacha, which means to cover over, such as one might cloth themselves, Tsalach is the word for proper, which means to bring success, or to show or experience properity. King Solomon was conveying those who keep sin secret will not find success, but when the reveal their sin they will receive mercy.

There is an inconvenience about sin. In order to own it we have to admit to it. Most often we would rather keep it a secret; filed away where no one can see it. The problem is that once we hide one sin, we learn can hide others; at least for a while. One example I can think of is a woman who was on the run from the law for years. She had settled into a normal life, but always carried the fear she one day would be found out. Eventually law enforcement caught up with her and she had to face her charges even though she had started a new life. When we place our faith in Christ we are given a new life; one that is free from the penalty of sin. There is no reason to hide, except we fear the earthly consequences of our actions. If we hide a sin that fear increases with each new sin we choose to hide. Eventually those sins may be found out and what did we gain but years of fear and the sin was still exposed. The Bible tells us we should confess out sins to one another and to God. There is accountability in the confession of sin and it keeps us from hiding that which will destroy us.

AskMe #2255916 05/05/09 04:58 AM
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Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

Jeremiah wrote a letter from Jerusalem to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. In the letter Jeremiah told the people to plan to stay where they were for a while. They were to make the best of where they were: building homes, planting gardens, marrying and having children. They were not to be dismayed but instead they were to know the Lord had good plans for them that would give them a hopeful future. When they prayed and sought God He would be there where they could find Him.

Our God wants to give us a future with hope. While life around us seems chaotic, God is still is still God: perfect, powerful, all knowing, loving, merciful, gracious, holy, ever-present, omniscient and more. God wants us to come to Him in our moments of joy, distress, happiness, sadness and seek Him out for answers. God tells us if we look for Him wholeheartedly we will find Him. I am sure there are many today who needs answers only God can provide. Stop today, pray, and then listen for God to speak in your life. He is there waiting on you to come to Him.

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