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AskMe #2383638 06/02/10 05:58 AM
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2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NLT)
20 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

In these verses the Apostle Paul writes to Timothy about being ready for special service to the Lord. God can use anyone for His purpose to perform good work. However, there are some because they have kept themselves pure and holy who are used for special service to serve the Lord. It is reassurance that while some falter and fail in their faith there are others who persevere.

A commentary by Matthew Henry on these verses says, �In the church there are some vessels of honor and some of dishonor; there are some vessels of mercy and other vessels of wrath. Some dishonor the church by their corrupt opinions and wicked lives; and others honor and credit it by their exemplary conversation. A man must purge himself from these before he can be a vessel of honor, or meet for his Master�s use. Every vessel must be fit for its Master�s use; everyone in the church whom God approves must be devoted to his Master�s service and meet for his use. Sanctification in the heart is our preparation for every good work. The tree must be made good, and then the fruit will be good.� We choose how we intend to live life. We can either be valuable vessels or vessels for everyday use. May we honor God by living our lives in a holy manner always ready to serve God when He calls.

AskMe #2385000 06/04/10 06:36 AM
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Proverbs 4:4-7 (NLT)
4 My father taught me, �Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live. 5 Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don�t forget my words or turn away from them. 6 Don�t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. 7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.

In these verses we find Solomon teaching his own children what David his father had taught him. So cherished were the words Solomon took pleasure in repeating them to his own children. Even though Solomon himself was wise he did not put aside the words of his own father, but instead added them to his own wisdom.

In the comedic movie Groundhog day, an egocentric TV weatherman named Phil (Bill Murray) is assigned to cover the festivities of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Due to an unexpected snowstorm, Phil must spend an extra night in this little town with his producer and love interest, Rita (Andie MacDowell). When Phil awakens the next morning, he discovers it is still February 2nd. Soon he realizes he is stuck in a 24-hour loop of Groundhog Days. No matter what he does, he wakes up every morning as if nothing had happened the day before. Phil explores what life would be like if there were no consequences. People could do whatever they wanted. Along with some newfound friends, he lives recklessly, sparking a police chase. After leaving a swath of destruction, he's arrested. But when Phil wakes up, it is Groundhog Day once again. On this particular day Phil goes out to lunch with Rita. He orders most everything on the menu and lights up a cigarette. Curious about his strange behavior, Rita asks, "Don't you worry about cholesterol, lung cancer, love-handles?" "I don't worry about anything anymore," Phil responds. "What makes you so special?" Rita counters. "Everybody worries about something." Phil contends that his lack of concern over any consequences (including the wages of not flossing) is what makes him special. Rita responds by quoting a poem by Sir Walter Scott.

The wretch concentrated all in self
Living so forth with fair renown
And doubly dying shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.

Phil attempts to shrug this off, but he soon discovers that a world not governed by moral accountability is an empty one indeed. As Solomon said, �Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.� There are consequences in life when wrong choices are made, but there is hope in making the right choices.

AskMe #2386263 06/07/10 06:40 AM
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2 Samuel 13:3-7 (NLT)
3 But Amnon had a very crafty friend�his cousin Jonadab. He was the son of David�s brother Shimea. 4 One day Jonadab said to Amnon, �What�s the trouble? Why should the son of a king look so dejected morning after morning?� So Amnon told him, �I am in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom�s sister.� 5 �Well,� Jonadab said, �I�ll tell you what to do. Go back to bed and pretend you are ill. When your father comes to see you, ask him to let Tamar come and prepare some food for you. Tell him you�ll feel better if she prepares it as you watch and feeds you with her own hands.� 6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. And when the king came to see him, Amnon asked him, �Please let my sister Tamar come and cook my favorite dish as I watch. Then I can eat it from her own hands.� 7 So David agreed and sent Tamar to Amnon�s house to prepare some food for him.


These verses are about the assault and rape of King David�s daughter Tamar by her half brother and David�s son Amnon. We see his cousin, Jonadab, help craft and evil plan with Amnon to fulfill his desire to sin. We see King David, although unaware of what is to take place, give permission for Amnon�s request. And we see Amnon plotting and planning on his own to fake illness in order to achieve his sin.


These verses are the beginning of a reflection on King David�s failure to act as King. We see David become someone who enables another�s sin to go unresolved. First King David became an unknowing participant to his son�s plot. Then we see the family dysfunction in these following verses, �Her brother Absalom saw her and asked, �Is it true that Amnon has been with you? Well, my sister, keep quiet for now, since he�s your brother. Don�t you worry about it.� So Tamar lived as a desolate woman in her brother Absalom�s house. When King David heard what had happened, he was very angry. And though Absalom never spoke to Amnon about this, he hated Amnon deeply because of what he had done to his sister.� While King David knew what happened, he never acted as King to resolve the matter. Instead it allowed the anger to fester inside of Tamar�s full brother Absalom until he was ready to kill Amnon. Absalom must have been taught these things should remain quiet for he told his sister to keep quiet about what had happened. David never confronted Amnon about his actions. Maybe it is because Amnon�s actions were too close to those of David�s past. Maybe David saw his own failures and allowed the failure of his son to proceed without consequences. Whatever the reason David enabled Amnon to go unpunished for his actions, while his other son Absalom took on the guilt and suffering of his sister.

AskMe #2386790 06/08/10 06:05 AM
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Jeremiah 4:3-4 (NLT)
3 This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: �Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. 4 O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.


These verses are a call to Judah and Jerusalem to repent and change. Their hearts have been hardened, but they can change. If they would only realize their sins then they could break up the hard ground of their hearts so it would be ready to receive God�s word and thrive.


Hard hearted is defined as lacking in sympathetic understanding. In the book of Exodus Pharaoh�s heart was hard against the Israelites. Pharaoh refused to listen to their plea to be released from the bondage of slavery. He was unsympathetic to the conditions under which they lived. He did not feel they deserved the same quality of life the rest of the Egyptians were privileged to. Instead he kept hardening his heart toward them no matter what was said or what was done. Has your heart ever been hardened towards someone? Maybe you were hurt by someone and shut them out of your heart. Maybe you were taught someone didn�t deserve what you have. Maybe just maybe you hardened your heart towards God. Fortunately God keeps His heart open to us. God is always willing to reconcile us to Him. God wants us to have conditions better than we have now, which is why he opened the opportunity to be with Him in heaven through His Son Jesus Christ. Open your heart to God and you will find it opening up to others as well. Let God soften your heart that you may love others the way He loves you.

AskMe #2387308 06/09/10 06:23 AM
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Mark 10:2-12 (NASB)
2 Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. 3 And He answered and said to them, "What did Moses command you?" 4 They said, "Moses permitted a man TO WRITE A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY." 5 But Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 "But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. 7" FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, 8 AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." 10 In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. 11 And He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; 12 and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery."


In these verses the Pharisees asked Jesus a question; was it lawful for a man to divorce his wife. Interestingly the Pharisees only presented the case from the man�s side. Instead of answering yes or no, Jesus told them God�s original intent for marriage. Man and woman were to marry and remain as one, period. Jesus added no one should try to separate those who are married when God was the one who joined them together. This includes family, parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, best friends or those who sinfully engage with another who is married. He also added leaving to marry another was adultery no matter if it was the wife or husband who left to marry another. Because God understands man�s weakness for sin, God allowed divorce in the Law of Moses. For God knew man�s heart would eventually grow hard, cold and bitter towards the other bringing about even more sin.


The CDC keeps statistics on marriage and divorce in the United States. For 2008 the number of marriages was 2,162,000. The marriage rate was 7.1 in 1000 and the divorce rate was 3.5 in 1000. In other words almost 49+% of marriages ended in divorce across the United State. 1,065,775 of the 2,162,000 marriages are projected to fail. Marriage should be taken seriously. It is a commitment based upon actions and not feelings. Jesus and Paul both said it is best for some not to marry. It is best to remain single than fall into a wrong relationship. However, God in His Love, Mercy and Grace knows the sins of man. God knows there will be those who do not listen to His word and turn to divorce. God knows man is not capable of forgiveness and love to the degree God Himself can extend. So God understands when divorce takes place, but divorce is never what God intended for any couple. God�s words are strong in book of Malichi where he says, �For I hate divorce.� Carefully consider your relationships for marriage and if you are marriage carefully consider how God can help resolve issues in your marriage.

AskMe #2388448 06/11/10 06:46 AM
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Genesis 19:30-33 (NLT)
30 Afterward Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters. 31 One day the older daughter said to her sister, �There are no men left anywhere in this entire area, so we can�t get married like everyone else. And our father will soon be too old to have children. 32 Come, let�s get him drunk with wine, and then we will have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.� 33 So that night they got him drunk with wine, and the older daughter went in and had intercourse with her father. He was unaware of her lying down or getting up again.


Lot and his daughters were hiding out in the mountains after the Lord saved them from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Fearing there were no people left Lot�s daughters plotted to become pregnant by their father. They got Lot drunk to the point where he was not thinking rationally or clearly. Then while he was unaware they laid with him.

This story about Lot and his daughters shows the dysfunctions within a family. Lot had been willing to give his virgin daughters to the men of Sodom and Gomorrah to protect the men (angels) who had come to protect him. This is not the reasonable action of a father. Then we see the danger of alcohol as it is introduced by his daughters as a means to put aside their fears. His daughters plotted to become pregnant by their father out of fear they would have no children; so they used alcohol to seduce their father. Here we clearly see the danger of alcohol as Lot acts inappropriately and isn�t even aware of what he has done. This story is a reminder to look at our families and ensure we are teaching God�s lessons to them. We need to teach them to act out of respect to God and not out of fear.

AskMe #2389812 06/14/10 06:36 AM
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John 18:3-11 (NLT)
3 The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove. 4 Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. �Who are you looking for?� he asked. 5 �Jesus the Nazarene,� they replied. �I Am he,� Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) 6 As Jesus said �I Am he,� they all drew back and fell to the ground! 7 Once more he asked them, �Who are you looking for?� And again they replied, �Jesus the Nazarene.� 8 �I told you that I Am he,� Jesus said. �And since I am the one you want, let these others go.� 9 He did this to fulfill his own statement: �I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.� 10 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest�s slave. 11 But Jesus said to Peter, �Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?�


These verses show the betrayal of Jesus by Judas to the leading priests and Pharisees. Soldiers and Temple guards were accompanying Judas to arrest Jesus. Jesus was asked if he was Jesus the Nazarene. He answered, �I Am he�. Just the power of His name and His presence forced His enemies to fall back in awesome fear of His name. Acting out of impulse Peter went on the offensive and attacked one of the high priest�s slaves. Once again Jesus reminded Peter this was what He was sent to do.


In the 8th Book of Mark, Mark tells us this about Peter, �Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. �Get away from me, Satan!� he said. �You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God�s.�� Suddenly Peter found himself opposed to God�s plan. Peter begins to realize things are not going to happen as he assumed. Jesus wasn�t setting up an earthly kingdom; instead Jesus was preparing Himself for sacrifice. Had Peter been with Jesus praying instead of sleeping maybe he would have understood what was to take place. But again we find Peter lashing out to protect Jesus fearing the plan he knew God had in store. How often do we fear the plan God has for our life? God starts leading us on a walk with Him and then when we realize things aren�t going the way we desire. It is then we want to change the plan instead of trusting God. Read the words of the song Trust and Obey by John H. Sammis and Marc Hedlin (Copyright) as you think about your walk with Jesus.


When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word
What glory He sheds on our way
While we do His good will
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

chorus:
Trust and obey,
For there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise,
Not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt nor a fear,
Not a sigh nor a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
(chorus)

But we never can prove
The delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows,
And the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
(chorus)

Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet,
Or we'll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do,
Where He sends we will go,
Never fear only trust and obey.
(chorus)


AskMe #2390582 06/15/10 06:28 AM
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Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 (NLT)
18 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. 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.


The words of the wise King Solomon reminding us of what God has given to each of us. We are to enjoy life and accept what we have been given. For we have been blessed by God. Solomon also tells us God gives us the work of the present, the anticipation of the future and the enjoyment of life so that we do not concentrate on the shortcomings of the past.


Our life is the sum total of our past. Every positive or negative emotion we have ever dealt with will influence our life. Sometimes negative feelings can be good. For instance if you learned a stove was hot when you touched it you probably held onto that unpleasant feeling as a reminder not to touch the stove again. Just as feelings are healthy they can also be unhealthy. Maybe you were accidentally hurt as a child; and now that experience causes fear and distress in similar circumstances. If you have unhealthy feelings that were never resolved in the past they will find their way to the present. A similar situation of the past will often trigger an old unpleasant emotion. An example I have used from my life is when I would get angry as a child my mother would tell me, �You remind me of your father�. My mother was divorced, so I only knew my father from what I had been told; he was an abusive alcoholic who had hurt my mother and loved alcohol more than he loved us. So while my mother may have been trying to state she could see the expressive anger on my face like my father�s; I internalized it as I was a bad, mean, worthless child. In more present times I met a cousin from my father�s side of the family. He knew my father and when he saw me said, �You remind me of your father.� Those were the very same words my mother use to tell me and suddenly unpleasant emotions flooded over me. The cousin continued to say, �I can see the resemblance around your eyes and nose.� Suddenly I realized how the past had influenced my present, because the cousin meant no harm in his words. My mother meant no real harm, unwittingly though her words produced unhealthy emotions in me because of the limited knowledge of my father. God does not want us brooding over the past. Instead God wants us to pay attention to the present and let the issues of the past go. Do you have resentment, hurt or sorrow from the past? Maybe it is time to ask God to help you let it go because it may be influencing your present in the wrong way.

AskMe #2392499 06/18/10 07:51 AM
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John 4:16-18 (NLT)
16 �Go and get your husband,� Jesus told her. 17 �I don�t have a husband,� the woman replied. Jesus said, �You�re right! You don�t have a husband�18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren�t even married to the man you�re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!�


Jesus had been talking to a Samaritan woman. While Samaritans knew about God they were limited in their knowledge. Jesus talked to the woman about living water; a metaphor for eternal life. The words seem to have had only a mild impact on her need for Christ. Jesus graciously opened her awareness of sin by asking her to bring her husband. She shifted her conviction by saying she had no husband. Jesus then brings the conviction to light by saying, �You�re right! You don�t have a husband for you have had five husbands and you aren�t even married to the man you are living with now.�


Proverbs says, �Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?� A rhetorical question, for if the person could not prevent the sin in the first place how can they clean themselves from the sin. Jesus realized this woman�s need for grace, mercy and forgiveness, but He wanted her to realize it too. She needed to understand there was sin in her life that she was covering up. So Jesus opened her awareness to the sin and it was then she understood who Christ was. The woman said she knew of the Messiah and Jesus told her it was Him. She went to her village where she told everyone about Jesus and how intimately He knew her. The bible then goes on to say, �Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, �He told me everything I ever did!� When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, �Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.�� Have you opened your heart to Jesus or are you still trying to hold back the sins He knows about and wants to forgive? Jesus loves you and because He loves you He wants a deep and meaningful relationship with you.

AskMe #2393625 06/21/10 06:39 AM
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Romans 8:26 (NLT)
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don�t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.


The apostle tells us the Holy Spirit that dwells within us is present to help us when we are weak and tempted by the world. At times when we do not even know how to pray for ourselves the Holy Spirit cries out to God with words that cannot even be expressed. We have a great desire to follow God, but we are also burdened with the temptations of the world. God understands this and hears our needs even when we are unsure of our needs.


From "The Wounded Warrior" Men of Integrity (entry 3-11-10 from the March/April, 2010 issue); Brian Doerksen, Make Love, Make War (David C. Cook, 2009) --- Worship songwriter Brian Doerksen's son, Isaiah, suffers from fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition which results in physical, intellectual, emotional, and behavioral limitations. In his book �Make Love, Make War�, Brian reflects on the day he and his wife first received medical confirmation of Isaiah's condition. In the midst of his heartache, as Brian considered turning away from worship ministry altogether, God taught Brian a lesson that instead carried him further into his ministry:

[After receiving the test results], I stumbled around our property weeping, confused, heartbroken. At one point I lifted my voice to heaven and handed in my resignation: "God, I am through being a worship leader and songwriter �"

When I was able to be quiet enough to hear, I sensed God holding out his hand and inviting me: "Will you trust me?" Will you go even with your broken heart�for who will relate to my people who are heartbroken if not those like you who are acquainted with disappointment?"
Reflecting further on this word from God, Brian writes:

I use to think people were most blessed by our great victories. But now I know differently: People are just longing to hear [others] speak of how they have walked through the deepest valleys. The world lifts up the victorious and the successful, but God lifts up the brokenhearted. �-

Isn�t it a blessing God hears us even when we are not sure what to pray for? The greater blessing is that God has answers with far greater blessings than anything we could ask for.

AskMe #2394102 06/22/10 06:20 AM
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1 Corinthians 7:23 (NLT)
23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.


Writing to the Church of Corinth the Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians not to become slaves of men. But Paul was not talking about physical slavery; instead Paul was talking about being enslaved by the words of man. For some were already indentured slaves. Some had been bought to work the fields. Their freedom in Christ was not to change what God had called them to, but instead to renew their minds and transform them into someone who could share the Good News of Jesus Christ where ever they were. They may have been indentured to man, but Jesus had bought their freedom from sin.



Man has a way of interpreting things to meet his own needs; often taking words out of context trying to convince another they are right. The teachers of the law during Paul�s life were hung up on following their tradition and rules. They twisted God�s word to enslave men to their rules. It didn�t matter what God meant; it mattered how they interpreted God�s word. They failed to let the Holy Spirit work in their lives. Often Jesus would call the religious leaders out when they tried to force their traditions upon others. Jesus was God and had established the law. If anyone understood The Law it was Jesus. In the book of Matthew we find these words, �Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him. �Teacher,� they said, �we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don�t play favorites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?� But Jesus knew their evil motives. �You hypocrites!� he said. �Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.� When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, �Whose picture and title are stamped on it?� �Caesar�s,� they replied. �Well, then,� he said, �give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.� His reply amazed them, and they went away.� Funny how the leaders who sought to control through their rules didn�t even go to confront Jesus. Instead they sent those who had been fooled by man�s word to confront Jesus and they were amazed that they could be wrong. Jesus paid your debt for sin. Don�t let man�s word hold you in slavery, but instead allow the Holy Spirit to work freely in your life.

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Titus 3:4-8 (NLT)
4 But��When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.� 8 This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.


We find the Apostle Paul writing to Titus. His name would indicate he was a Gentile Greek. Titus found grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul reminded Titus that because of God�s love for us He saved us. Not because of anything we had done, but because of His generous love, mercy and grace for us. By His grace through our faith in Jesus Christ; God has declared us righteous and promised us an eternal life with Him. We live to do good out of our love for God, but our goodness had no impact on the grace imparted to us.


The Bible tells us, �For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.� No matter who we are; everyone falls short of God�s holiness and righteousness. This would include our local pastor, Sunday school teacher, mother, father, brother, spouse, friend and anyone else we know. The Bible also says in Isaiah that �We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.� 1 John 1:10 says, �If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.� We need to understand there is nothing we could have done or could ever do on our own to meet God�s standard of righteousness and holiness. We are born sinners to this world. But out of God�s love for us He tells us in Ephesians, �For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.� It is God�s plan of Salvation - faith in Christ that saves us from eternal death. It is not how good we have been, not the charities we donated to, nor the kindness we might have shown another. These are good things, but these good things are meant to serve others out of our love for God. King David wrote, �You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.� What God desires most from us is a humble spirit that admits our sin and will accept His free gift of salvation. Are you trying to live by faith or by works? If you are trying to live by works you will fail on your own. If you live by faith in Jesus Christ and fellowship with God then you will find the desire to do what is right and good.

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Acts 2:36-41 (NLT)
36 �So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!� 37 Peter�s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, �Brothers, what should we do?� 38 Peter replied, �Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles�all who have been called by the Lord our God.� 40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, �Save yourselves from this crooked generation!� 41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day�about 3,000 in all.


The Holy Spirit had come to dwell in those who believed in Jesus. These people began speaking out in many languages and it created such a commotion many came to witness what was taking place. The Apostle Peter spoke to the crowd. He proclaimed if they wanted the Holy Spirit to come upon them they should repent of their sin and be baptized proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Savior. Three thousand people claimed Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. This day is known as Pentecost and is the beginning of The Church that would proclaim the name of Jesus.


Scott Bowles, "Hesitation Is a Fatal Mistake As California Firestorm Closes In," USA Today (10-30-03)

In the fall of 2003, a string of Southern California wildfires eventually claimed two-dozen lives. The flames moved at a speed faster than people could flee. Responding to complaints that some residents did not receive enough warning, Sgt. Conrad Grayson said, "We're begging people to leave, and they don't take us seriously. They want to pack some clothes, or fight it in the backyard with a garden hose. They don't seem to understand that this is unlike any fire we've seen. If people don't move fast, they're going to become charcoal briquettes." Jon Smalldridge frantically warned his neighbors, only to have some disregard him or respond too casually. He told of those who tried to save their televisions and computers before escaping. "They looked like they were packing for a trip. The ones who listened to me and left the area, lived. The ones who didn't, died."

The church should be like Jon Smalldridge and Sgt. Grayson calling out to people who need the love and grace of Jesus. The church needs to see those who do not know Jesus as being in a place danger, ready to be consumed by the fire of their sin. There will be some who will listen to the pleas, but there will also be those who don�t heed the warning. Pray for those who do not know Jesus that they may come to believe in His precious saving grace.

AskMe #2396094 06/25/10 07:16 AM
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1 John 5:2-5 (NLT)
2 We know we love God�s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.


In these verses we find the Apostle John telling those who have faith in God and Christ how they can discern the truth of their belief. They should love God, which also means loving and obeying His commandments. His commands are not like the burdensome rules placed on people by the religious leaders. What God commands to obey He also gives strength through Christ to follow.


A person who establishes a home is also the one who makes the rules about the home. For instance my children know there are certain rules they should follow when entering the house. Because of their love for my wife and I they follow those rules and obey to the best of their ability. For instance we have a rule, leave your dirty shoes at the door. For the most part my son and daughter always listened and followed that rule. Sometimes when they were in a rush they might have chosen not to obey, but if they realized they were tracking in mud they also knew they had to go back and clean up the mess. God created this world and God is ultimately in charge. God guides us on what we need to do through the Holy Spirit. God convicts us when we don�t follow what He desires and if we love Him we will repent and clean up what we messed up. Like a good parent God will help when He knows the task is difficult to do alone. And He is there to remind us when we start going astray.

AskMe #2397253 06/28/10 06:10 AM
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Genesis 3:1-6 (NLT)
1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, �Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?� 2 �Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,� the woman replied. 3 �It�s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, �You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.�� 4 �You won�t die!� the serpent replied to the woman. 5 �God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.� 6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.


These verses are the well known story of Adam and Eve. The verses recall when they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Satan came to them in the form of a serpent and tempted Eve. Adam who had been directly commanded by God not to eat, the fruit took it from Eve and freely ate. This was a sad story for man because it marked the loss of grace and favor from God along with the loss His beautiful creation; something which was very, very good.


God himself said man has become like one of us, knowing both good and evil. But that is where God stops with His comparison. God does not say man is now like us knowing good and evil and abstaining from evil. God knew man was incapable of handling the knowledge of good and evil. For man gives in to the temptation of evil and seeks aimlessly after good. The Bible tells us only God knows what is in the hearts of man. For man can�t honestly recognize the evil that exists in life and instead man focuses on an attempt to become good. Yet all of man�s attempts to remain good are like dirty rags when compared to the holiness of God. God told Adam he could not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for God knew man could not deal with such knowledge.

AskMe #2397805 06/29/10 05:42 AM
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Proverbs 29:24 (NLT)
24 If you assist a thief, you only hurt yourself. You are sworn to tell the truth, but you dare not testify.


This proverb shows one of the results of being enticed by sin. The receiver of stolen goods, the one who receives stolen goods or the one who assists someone in stealing is as guilty as the one who stole the item. They have been drawn into the commission of a sin and now they cannot escape joining in the concealment of the sin. When questioned they should tell the truth, but the fear of their own participation keeps them from doing so.


The show COPS documents police activity in various cities. In one episode police arrived on the scene after an argument was reported. It seems one person had sold a car to a couple. The person selling the car had disclosed to the husband some of the issues around the car. The husband wanted a break on taxes so he had asked for the title transfer information to remain blank and he would fill it in later. The wife learned of the cars issues and wanted a refund not knowing what the man and husband had discussed. When the police looked at the title and saw the transfer information blank they told the seller he had a choice, accept the car back and give back the money, or pay the fines associated for not filling out the title transfer and still have someone complaining to him. Reluctantly the man took back the car and refunded the money because he knew he was in the wrong for trying to help the other individual for his own profit. It does not pay to participate in sin. In fact it can be very costly and leave a person with options they may not have chosen.

AskMe #2399061 07/01/10 06:23 AM
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Numbers 13:27-33 (NLT)
27 This was their report to Moses: �We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country�a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley.� 30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. �Let�s go at once to take the land,� he said. �We can certainly conquer it!� 31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. �We can�t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!� 32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: �The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that�s what they thought, too!�


Leaders of each of the tribes of Israel had been sent to spy out the land God had promised them. These leaders saw a land pleasing to live in and bountiful with food. Even with all God had done to care for and protect them they still feared those who lived in the land. Caleb tried to put their fears aside, but other leaders began to speak out about the giants in the land saying, �We felt like grasshoppers, and that�s what they thought, too!� These men were giving up before they even got started and their fear influenced those around them to give up as well.


Our world is full of violence, murder, theft, abuse, hatred and prejudice. Just turning on the news can begin to instill fear in anyone. Yet we must not let fear overtake us for our own sake and the sake of our children. We must place our faith and trust in God that He will protect us. Not that we should ignore prudence for God does not want us standing at the edge of a cliff temping Him to save us from a fall. Instead we must trust the Lord to lead us and give us wisdom in our daily lives. We find wisdom in prayer. We find strength in the Lord for God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Instill in yourself and your children to be watchful. While we live in this word, God tells us not to be of this world. Wisdom, courage, peace and love should guide. God is with us always so remember not to fall and not to give up. We fight with the armor of God and stand in His strength knowing we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Don�t let the giants in life intimidate you for you will pass that fear to your children. Instead pass on faith in the Lord remembering that during trials, troubles, and tribulations we can depend upon the strength of God.

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Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV)
5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6 So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"


In these verses the apostle states a commitment we should follow in our Christian lives: We are not to covet money or the possessions of others. This is sin that should have no place in our lives for it lurks in our heart and if not subdued will enter into our thoughts and even our actions. The grace we receive from God is so contrary to covetousness because we forget what has been given to us and the pleasing moments of the past. Instead we long for more forgetting God has been the provider of good things all along. Because the Lord is our helper we should not fear and therefore not long for what we cannot obtain.


Years ago I bought an outdoor grill with a lifetime warranty. All was good until several years later when some parts failed and I tried to use the lifetime warranty. It seems the company that manufactured the grill had gone bankrupt and the company name was sold to another manufacturer. The warranty was no longer valid and what I thought was a promise disappeared with the company. In a world where we can't always depend on guarantees, there is one promise we can trust. Throughout Scripture we find the Lord's pledge to be with His people. In Deuteronomy 31 we read Moses' assuring words to Joshua: "The Lord . . . will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed" Hebrews repeats this promise, �I will never leave you nor forsake you.� In a world where we can�t depend upon guarantees there is one promise we can trust and that is the Lord will never walk away to leave us on our own. Man�s guarantees and promises fade over time. God however is eternal and His promises live forever. It is because of God�s faithfulness that we can live a confident and content life.

AskMe #2404225 07/13/10 06:28 AM
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John 14:6-9 (NLT)
6 Jesus told him, �I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!� 8 Philip said, �Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.� 9 Jesus replied, �Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don�t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don�t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.


As Jesus talks about God the Father, Philip asks Jesus to show them The Father. The response from Jesus was that the Father was present in Him just as He is present in God the Father. Therefore anyone who has seen Jesus has also seen the Father.


John 14:20-21 says, �When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.� Just as Jesus told the disciples that The Father was in Him and He was in The Father, Jesus said He would be present in those who love Him and we would be present in Him. If we believe this then we need to be having fellowship with Jesus because He is right there with us. Take time to talk with Christ and get to know Him as a close an intimate friend. When you can�t count on anyone else you can always count on the one who is always with you and you are always with them�..Jesus.

AskMe #2404799 07/14/10 07:00 AM
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Mark 10:2-6 (NLT)
2 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: �Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?� 3 Jesus answered them with a question: �What did Moses say in the law about divorce?� 4 �Well, he permitted it,� they replied. �He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.� 5 But Jesus responded, �He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. 6 But �God made them male and female� from the beginning of creation. 7 �This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, 8 and the two are united into one.� Since they are no longer two but one, 9 let no one split apart what God has joined together.�


In these verses we find Jesus doing something He so often did. Instead of quickly responding to a question, Jesus would first ask the questioner to state what they felt. The Pharisees asked should a man be allowed to divorce his wife. Jesus then asked them for their understanding of the Mosaic Law showing Jesus respected what was taught in the law. Once they gave an answer Jesus then replied. Moses had mediated with God on the law and because Moses and God knew man�s heart could harden from sin. God conceded to Moses to allow divorce, however God�s intent for marriage was the permanent joining of a couple. Marriage is a beautiful picture of God�s grace to us through Jesus Christ. Marriage is not an invention of man, but instead a divine institution put in place by God.


Jesus continues this conversation with the disciples later in private when they brought it up. Jesus told them �Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.� In other words wisdom, grace, holiness and love abiding in the heart can resolve sinful issues and hopefully preserve a marriage. But for those whose minds are set on the sins of the world, their hearts harden, and marriage becomes a heavy yoke leading to divorce. Divorce is not a resolution to sin, but instead follows with more sin. Fortunately the Lord Jesus Christ never divorces us, but instead holds on to us with grace holiness, and love. Jesus never lets go and He always forgives the sin we ourselves might not be able to forgive.


To those couples who have faced the tough moments of life in their marriage and persevered, may the grace of God continue to be with you always.

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