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Proverbs 14:34 (NLT)
34 Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

When justice reigns in a nation there is usually a righteous government administering over the people. There are those who protect and preserve the virtues of men. Charities and compassion to strangers exalt the nation and the people of the nation hold their country in high honor. But sin brings disgrace. It causes failure of those in government and the people react in their own sinful ways.




James Emery White, writes in You Can Experience a Purposeful Life [(Nashville: Word, 2000)]: Whenever there is a separation between values and practice, things break down. In ancient China, the people desired security from the barbaric, invading hordes to the north. To get this protection, they built the Great Wall of China. It's 30 feet high, 18 feet thick, and more than 1,500 miles long!

The Chinese goal was to build an absolutely impenetrable defense�too high to climb over, too thick to break down, and too long to go around. But during the first hundred years of the wall's existence China was successfully invaded three times.

It wasn't the wall's fault. During all three invasions, the barbaric hordes never climbed over the wall, broke it down, or went around it; they simply bribed a gatekeeper and then marched right in through an open door. The purpose of the wall failed because of a breakdown in values.



No matter how secure one may think a government is, if there is corruption lurking underneath that government is subject to failure. When the representatives of the people follow their own sin and forget they represent the people then they too topple over.

A nation needs to have virtues, honor and morals. When those are lost a country begins to crumble and even the greatest wall will not keep out the over pouring of evil. We all must look to the church to help restore the morals and values that are so important to the safety of our country. And we too must be righteous in our ways.


To all my friends far and wide let me say that I love you with the love of Christ. May you share the same love with others on this Valentine�s Day. God bless you my friends.

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Proverbs 19:3 (NIV)
3 A person�s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.

The foolishness of man corrupts his way and disappointment comes because they did not obtain their dreams. Instead of man accepting fault for his own mistakes he looks for someone to blame. Often God is an easy target. For man says, �God could have prevented this.� If the truth be known, so could have man.




Jerry Waxler wrote in Mental Health Survival Guide: By blaming others we transfer power to "them", and paralyze ourselves while we wait for "them" to change or release their hold on us. By remaining locked into our victimized explanations, we become helpless to change a situation or attitude, while we pour our energy into complaining and anger, and other misdirected activities that can't resolve our issues. Helpless thoughts lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and chronic anger.

As victims, instead of taking steps to help ourselves, we lobby against others, looking for supporters to help justify our anger and blame. We harden our hearts against others, making our world more antagonistic and combative. We may also believe that we'll be better off if bad things happen to the ones we are blaming, as if their misfortune will relieve our anxiety.

Since our problems are caused by other people, we hope they'll be resolved by other people. We passively wait for a rescuer, in the form of a parent, a lottery ticket, a perfect lover or a discoverer of some kind, who will pull us out of our circumstances and place us in a position where we can get what we deserve. Since we have no control over the rescuer, we remain trapped in our situation, firmly entrenched as helpless victims. [http://www.mental-health-survival-guide.com/brochures/blame.html]


We all need to learn to accept responsibility for our own failures. How often do we blame others for things we have done? When we blame others we fail to see our own faults. When we blame others we don�t recognize the things we need to correct in our own lives. Let�s stop blaming others and take responsibility for our actions.

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Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)
9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.

When love is put aside to focus on faults of others it becomes an opportunity to separate friends. Matthew Henry once said, �The best method of peace is by an amnesty or act of oblivion.� Turn our heads away from the faults and let love fill in the gaps.



Amy Sutherland communicates some interesting ideas about husbands and wives in an article she wrote for the New York Times called, "What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage." Sutherland begins by explaining that, after 12 years of marriage, she became dismayed that her husband still exhibited several irritating habits. Her reaction to this realization is shared by many women today:

These minor annoyances are not the stuff of separation and divorce, but in sum they began to dull my love for Scott. I wanted�needed�to nudge him a little closer to perfect, to make him into a mate who might annoy me a little less, who wouldn't keep me waiting at restaurants, a mate who would be easier to love.

So, like many wives before me, I ignored a library of advice books and set about improving him. By nagging, of course, which only made his behavior worse: he'd drive faster instead of slower; shave less frequently, not more; and leave his reeking bike garb on the bedroom floor longer than ever.

A breakthrough came when Amy began traveling to a school for exotic animal trainers in California in order to research a book she wanted to write:

I listened, rapt, as professional trainers explained how they taught dolphins to flip and elephants to paint. Eventually it hit me that the same techniques might work on that stubborn but loveable species, the American husband.

The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't. After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband.

Back in Maine, I began thanking Scott if he threw one dirty shirt into the hamper. If he threw in two, I'd kiss him. Meanwhile, I would step over any soiled clothes on the floor without one sharp word, though I did sometimes kick them under the bed. But as he basked in my appreciation, the piles became smaller.



A lesson I have learned in life is that it is difficult to change the behaviors of others, but if you change your own behaviors you may see new results in the other person.

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Dr Harley calls these "annoying habits" and has a plan for how to change them in his books (but I forget which book).

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2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Here we are told that the word of God is inspired by God and that he literally put his breath to the words that are written. The purpose of God�s word is to become equipped for good works, to teach the scripture, and the use of scripture to correct and train how one should live.



After I send out a devotional the other day a friend wrote back and asked, �Are you reading my mind?� Something I wrote spoke to him and he related to the words. But it wasn�t me speaking to him; it was God working through the scripture breathing life into His words so my friend could hear from God.

I have been writing devotions for over 10 years. I started writing them to encourage a friend. What I soon learned is that I was encouraging myself and learning things God wanted me to do. As others read my devotions they would occasionally write back saying, �How did you know what I needed to hear today?� Honestly, I didn�t! I knew nothing about their situation, problems or anything else going on in their life. I just started with a Bible verse and wrote from what I read. God was the one giving the person what they needed to hear.

This is why it is so important to read through The Bible. As you read God will bring thoughts to the surface and help you see meanings you never saw before. God will teach you and train you so that you will be equipped for every good work; that is the importance of reading The Bible.



Heavenly Father, I pray that we will become good servants obedient to you Lord. I pray that you will breathe wisdom upon us and let us know how to live. Let us learn to love one another even when we may not feel lovable or loving. Let us be a reflection of Jesus who died for our sins. Teach us to live as He did and reach out to others. Father thank you for the wisdom you give us.

I pray these things in the sweet name of Jesus,
Amen

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1 John 4:9 (NLT)
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.

Strange that God should love impure, vain, vile, dust and ashes! That he has loved us at such a rate, at such an incomparable value as he has given for us; he has given his own, only-beloved, blessed Son for us: Because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him, v. 9. (Matthew Henry Commentary)



In the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie, a carnival maintenance worker who dies saving the life of a little girl. In heaven he meets five people who had been part of his life.

The second person he meets was captain of his army unit in Vietnam. For the first time Eddie learns the captain died saving his life. As they reminisce about their time together, the captain talks about the significance of the sacrifices each of them made.

"Sacrifice," the Captain said. "You made one. I made one. We all make them. But you were angry over yours. You kept thinking about what you lost. You didn't get it. Sacrifice is a part of life. It's supposed to be. It's not something to regret. It's something to aspire to. Little sacrifices. Big sacrifices. A mother works so her son can go to school. A daughter moves home to take care of her sick father. A man goes to war…"

He stopped for a moment and looked off into the cloudy gray sky.

"Rabozzo (a member of their unit who died in captivity) didn't die for nothing, you know. He sacrificed for his country, and his family knew it, and his kid brother went on to be a good soldier and a great man because he was inspired by it. I didn't die for nothing, either. That night, we might have all driven over that land mine. Then the four of us would have been gone."

Eddie shook his head. "But you…" He lowered his voice. "You lost your life."

The Captain smacked his tongue on his teeth. "That's the thing. Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it on to someone else."



God made a sacrifice by sending His Son Jesus Christ to the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. People often question, what does it mean when it says �that we might�? It means we have a choice to accept the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us on the cross when He died for our sins. We might choose to believe or we might choose not to believe. John 3:16 tells us, �For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.� We have a choice, believe or not to believe, but our choice determines our consequence. Accept the sacrifice Christ made so that you may live an eternal life with Him. That is what He is passing on to you.


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1 John 3:18 (NLT)
18 Dear children, let�s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

There is a difference between words sweet to the ears and sincere affection and actions or services of Love. As song writer Don Francisco stated, �Love is not a feeling, it�s an act of your will.�



On September 30, 2013 Dwayne and Dawna Johnson of Buena Vista, Colorado had the perfect day planned. The electrician and high school football coach and his wife took their two teenage daughters on a day hike up a popular mountain trail. But then the unthinkable happened: a rockslide barreled down at them at a vantage point looking up on Agnes Vaille Falls.

Just before the cascading dirt and boulders swept Dwayne, his wife, and their oldest daughter to their deaths, Dwayne made a decision that saved the life of his 13-year-old daughter, Gracie. A few weeks after the tragedy, Gracie said, "I did cover myself, but I was just standing in the open. [My dad] pushed me to a rock that was bigger than I was, and he just saved me." Sheriff's Deputy Nick Tolsma added, "[Gracie] said her dad jumped on top of her to protect her right at the last moment when the rocks were coming down."

Immediately after the rockslide, as rescue workers began to search the area, they heard Gracie's voice coming from beneath the pile of rocks that covered her. Deputy Tolsma eventually spotted Gracie's hand sticking out from the rocks. No one in the town was surprised by Dwayne's act of sacrificial love. As a family friend said, "He would have done the same for any of our children, absolutely."

Just two days before the accident, Dwayne wrote to his 18-year-old daughter Kiowa-Rain, and encouraged her to "dream big," "develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ," and remember that "deep, meaningful relationships bring happiness." Dwayne lived out those words and the words of his Savior� "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." [Catherine E. Shoichet, Kyung Lah and Jack Hannah, "Colorado rock slide kills 5 members of one family; teen survives," CNN (10-2-13)]


The heroic actions of a father saved his daughter, but cost him his own life. Actions always speak louder than words. Imagine if the father had just said �Move out of the way� instead of protecting his daughter. Watch the actions of those around you. If they have good intentions towards you it is love. If the intentions are bad then love is missing. A friend told me once about a neighbor who showed up at his door. She had been beaten by her husband. She kept saying over and over to my friend, �He says he loves me, but what kind of love is this?� Obviously it was not love, but misguided actions and false words.

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2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Fear will often turn people away from something that everyone else is safely doing. Paul reminds Timothy that God has given us power, love, and self-discipline to overcome those moments of fear.



In 1973, 26-year-old director Steven Spielberg was hired to make a movie based on Peter Benchley's novel about shark attacks called Jaws. The movie was so scary that even to this day millions of Americans panic when they get wind that a shark might be present in their beach area. A persistent shark phobia keeps people away from the beach.

But an article in Foreign Policy magazine claims that on average less than one American (0.92 people) dies each year from a shark attack. So just in case you really need something better to worry about, here's a list of some items more likely than sharks to cause your death while living in the United States:

Trampolines account for an average of 1.1 deaths per year.

Roller coasters take 1.15 lives per year. So the article advises, "Keep your hands inside the car; your next thrill-ride could be to the coroner's office."

Free-standing kitchen-range tip-overs cause 1.31 deaths per year.

Vending machines account for 2.06 deaths per year. The article states, "So if those high-fat snacks don't take your life prematurely, rock or tilt that machine while looking for a freebie, and you'll be sleeping with the Pepperidge Farm goldfishes."

Riding lawnmowers take 5.22 lives per year.

Fireworks cause 6.6 deaths per year. Although, technically, these deaths were caused more by careless and impatient people who peered into the PVC piping because the fireworks didn't seem to be igniting. Most of these deaths occurred despite safety posters warning something like, "Fireworks Can Burn at 2,000�F�Hot as a Blow Torch!"

Skydiving accidents account for 21.2 deaths per year.

Getting crushed by a television or furniture causes an average of 26.44 deaths every year in the United States. This statistic led the comedian Stephen Colbert to issue a warning against the perils of "terrorist furniture."

The article concludes with a challenge to face our fears and take action. After reminding us that the risk factors of smoking, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and alcohol kill 87 percent of Americans prematurely, the article urges us to get off the couch, turn off Jaws, and go for a swim.


In our Christian walk there are times we fear to do what is right. Take a moment and remember 2 Timothy 1:7. Hopefully your fear will be removed or diminished.

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Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

This proverb tells us to trust in the Lord, not a little, but with our entire heart. It is difficult to depend upon our own understanding; for we are flawed and the understanding we have about ourselves is also flawed. We are reminded that if we seek out The Lord�s will in all areas of our life that The Lord shows us the proper paths to take.



Eugene Peterson, writes in Earth and Alter (Intervarsity Press, 1985), Two commands direct us from the small-minded world of self-help to the large world of God's help. First, "Come, behold the works of the Lord." Take a long, scrutinizing look at what God is doing. This requires patient attentiveness and energetic concentration. Everybody else is noisier than God. The headlines and neon lights and amplifying systems of the world announce human works. But what of God's works? They are unadvertised but also inescapable, if we simply look. They are everywhere. They are marvelous. But God has no public relations agency. He mounts no publicity campaign to get our attention. He simply invites us to look �

The second command is "Be still, and know that I am God." Be still. Quit rushing through the streets long enough to become aware that there is more to life than your little self-help enterprises. When we are noisy and when we are hurried, we are incapable of intimacy�deep, complex, personal relationships. If God is the living center of redemption, it is essential that we be in touch with and responsive to that personal will. If God has a will for this world and we want to be in on it, we must be still long enough to find out what it is (for we certainly are not going to learn by watching the evening news). Baron von Hugel, who had a wise word on most subjects, always held out that "nothing was ever accomplished in a stampede."



The words of Eugene Peterson, who is both pastor and author, go well with the proverbs above. We need to stop and behold what God has done in world; for in stopping to see His wonders we come to trust His works. In stopping and being still we also take time to develop a relationship with God so we better understand His will for us.

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Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
6 Don�t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God�s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

The Apostle Paul gives words of encouragement as he tries to settle a disagreement between two women, Euodia and Syntyche. They had worked hard serving The Lord and Paul wanted to bring peace into their lives.



In his book Sermon on the Mount: A Foundation for Understanding, author and professor Robert A. Guelich writes of the role Christ-followers play as peacemakers:

The peace intended is not merely that of political and economic stability, as in the Greco-Roman world, but peace in the Old Testament inclusive sense of wholeness, all that constitutes well-being�

The "peacemakers," therefore, are not simply those who bring peace between two conflicting parties, but those actively at work making peace, bringing about wholeness and well-being among the alienated. [Robert A. Guelich, Sermon on the Mount: A Foundation for Understanding (W Publishing Group, 1991)]



In this world there are peacekeepers and peacemakers. Peacekeepers try to maintain a status quo. They try to hide the things that would destroy peace. They may say such things as, �Let�s just forget about this and move on.

Peacemakers on the other hand don�t avoid conflict; instead they face it. They call attention to a problem and seek a resolution. Peacemakers help mend relationships and break down barriers that separate people.

God wants to bring peace into your life. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done; then you will experience God�s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

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Isaiah 25:1 (NLT)
25 O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.

As the prophet begins this chapter he gives honor and praise to God. He does this because those who are going to proclaim the glorious works of God should first give praise and honor to those works He has done.



Over 100 years ago, a tornado struck the prairies of Minnesota. Many were killed, hundreds were injured, and one small town was almost demolished. In the midst of the disaster, an elderly British surgeon and his two medically trained sons worked almost around the clock for days aiding the stricken, bandaging wounds, and setting broken limbs.

Their heroic work did not go unnoticed. Their excellence as physicians and their selflessness in the service of those in need created a following among the tornado victims. The doctor and his sons were offered financial backing to build a hospital, provided that they took charge.

The men agreed and in 1889 founded a clinic that soon attracted nationwide attention. Their little clinic grew.

The city was Rochester, Minnesota.

The elderly doctor�s name: William W. Mayo.

His sons: William J. and Charles Mayo.

Their clinic is called simply �The Mayo Clinic.� It now consists of over 500 physicians treating more than 200,000 people a year. It is known worldwide as one of the premier places of health, healing and excellence in medicine.

I�m sure if you asked the citizens of Minnesota about the Rochester tornado at the time, they would have said it was all about death and destruction, an unqualified disaster.

But, put in the perspective of better than a century, and in the hands of a creative God, the tornado was really about life, help, and healing. [J. R. Love, Rushton, Louisiana]


In the NIV Bible translation, Jeremiah 29:11 says, �For I know the plans I have for you,� declares the Lord, �plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.� God has plans for all of us. Surrender to The Lord and see what takes place.

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Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

Here the psalmist calls out to God about the sincerity of his intentions. If there is any wrong within him, he wants God to find it. If there is wrong that is found he wants God to lead him in the right ways.



In the daily round of life, dust and cobwebs accumulate in our souls. The hidden corners of our hearts become encrusted with grime or filled with forgotten debris. During the weeks of Lent, God's Spirit is given opportunity to clear away the clutter, sweep away the dust and wash us clean. We are invited to prepare ourselves�heart, soul, mind, and body�for the new life of Easter.
[� Marlene Kropf, U.S. professor in spiritual formation (Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary)]


There are things hidden away inside of us that have been long forgotten. Unfortunately those things remain with us for a long time affecting the way we live. There are times we need to sit down with God and cry out like the psalmist asking for God to search our hearts and show us the sins and problems that exist. Then we need to confess those sins and ask God to restore us and help us.

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1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.

We sanctify the Lord God in our hearts when we with sincerity and fervency adore him, when our thoughts of him are awful and reverend, when we rely upon his power, trust to his faithfulness, submit to his wisdom, imitate his holiness, and give him the glory due to his most illustrious perfections [Matthew Henry]



In his book A Sweet and Bitter Providence, John Piper offers these thoughts about God's providence:

Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ. [John Piper, A Sweet and Bitter Providence (Crossway Books & Bibles, 2010), pp.101-102]


When you have lived a Christian life you understand life provides moments of uncertainty, moments of pain, moments of sadness and other hardships along the way. Now there are good moments too and regardless of whether the moments are good or bad The Lord is always walking with us. Because The Lord is always with us we can use the moments of our life as a testimony to others. If someone asks, �What gives you hope about eternal life?� you can respond Jesus Christ. For He is Our Savior, Our Rock, Our Shepherd, Lord of all and many other names of importance. We can give examples of how we know The Lord guided us when we were lost and in what we should do. Be ready when others ask you about your Christian life and be ready to explain it � the good parts and the bad parts; for Christ loves us no matter what.

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John 8:10-11 (NKJV)
10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, �Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?� 11 She said, �No one, Lord.� And Jesus said to her, �Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.�

This is the story of a woman caught in adultery. The crowd brought her to Jesus saying that the Law of Moses had commanded stoning of such a person. In other words they placed their judgment upon her. Jesus had said to the crowd, �He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.� Hearing those words the crowd dispersed for they all knew they had sin in their lives.



My wife and I will often watch Dr. Drew on HLN in the evenings. Last night there was a panel discussion about a college girl who was participating in porn to pay her way through college. The panel of people debated whether this was right or wrong. Dr. Drew made a point that agrees with the words of Jesus, we can still tell someone they have a problem without placing a judgment upon them.

The Bible tells us for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of The Lord. It�s why the crowd who was ready to pass judgment on the adulterous woman and stone her quickly backed off when they thought about the sins in their lives. Perhaps even some of the men had been with this woman before.

There is nothing wrong with pointing out sin in a person�s life, but remember if you have obvious sin in your life get ready for them to say something back to you. It�s why we lovingly point out problems people have and instead of placing judgment upon them; we love them and offer help to restore them.

I once read Christians are the harshest on Christians who have sinned. These people are wounded and instead of picking them up and carrying them off the battlefield of sin we leave them there wounded and helpless. We need to be more proactive in helping people and showing our love for them.

Let us learn to talk to people about their problems in a loving way and without condemnation or judgment. Let us strive to help and show people they are loved. Let us also remember our own sins and deal with them properly. Let us ensure we have dealt with our own problems before trying to deal with the problems of others.

May God bless you, give you the wisdom to know right from wrong, and give you compassion to love others and help them through their problems.

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Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV)
25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

This proverb tells us that untreated anxiety can lead a person into depression, but a good word can make the heart glad and steer it clear of depressing problems.



I once had a psychiatrist tell me that anxiety and depression are like two over lapping circles. One circle is anxiety, while the other circle is depression. The area where the circles overlap is the area where anxiety and depression come together. For if a person is anxious for a long enough period they eventually move towards a feeling of hopelessness and depression. Their anxiety overwhelms them to the point they feel hopeless to do anything and they are now trapped by both anxiety and depression.

Likewise if depression continues long enough in a person�s life, they begin to feel anxious about their depression as though something needs to be done, but they are unsure about what to do. So anxiousness starts growing within as they dwell on the things they believe they need to do, but feel too depressed to take action.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. When we allow God to work in us we can ease the troubled hearts of others. We can offer love, kindness, goodness and gentleness to guide those in distress to calm thoughts. We can offer them hope. Often many of us can share experiences we have endured and how God has seen us through troubled times and brought us into good times. So a good work can truly make the heart glad and steer it clear of depressing problems.

It is amazing what a kind and loving talk will often do for people. It can give them hope they did not see. It can help them know others have had troubles and survived. Reach out to others and help them in their times of distressed and you will be blessed for your actions.

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Romans 8:28 (NLT)
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Problems don�t go away just because you become a Christian, instead the Holy Spirit is there to help guide you through your problems knowing that all things, even problems, work together for the good of those who love God.



In his book The Divine Commodity, Skye Jethani shares a story from a trip he took to India with his father. While walking the streets of New Delhi, a little boy approached them. He was "skinny as a rail, and naked but for tattered blue shorts. His legs were stiff and contorted, like a wire hanger twisted upon itself." Because of his condition, the little boy could only waddle along on his calloused knees. He made his way toward Skye and his father and cried out, "One rupee, please! One rupee!" Skye describes what happened when his father eventually responded to the boy's persistent begging:

"What do you want?" [my father asked].

"One rupee, sir," the boy said while motioning his hand to his mouth and bowing his head in deference. My father laughed.

"How about I give you five rupees?" he said. The boy's submissive countenance suddenly became defiant. He retracted his hand and sneered at us. He thought my father was joking, having a laugh at his expense. After all, no one would willingly give up five rupees. The boy started shuffling away, mumbling curses under his breath.

My father reached into his pocket. Hearing the coins jingle, the boy stopped and looked back over his shoulder. My father was holding out a five-rupee coin. He approached the stunned boy and placed the coin into his hand. The boy didn't move or say a word. He just stared at the coin in his hand. We passed him and proceeded to cross the street.

A moment later the shouting resumed, except this time the boy was yelling, "Thank you! Thank you, sir! Bless you!" He raced after us once again�but not for more money but to touch my father's feet. �

This, I imagine, is how our God sees us�as miserable creatures in desperate need of his help. But rather than asking for what we truly need, rather than desiring what he is able and willing to give, we settle for lesser things. [Skye Jethani, The Divine Commodity (Zondervan, 2009), pp. 113-114]


We all face problems and troubles, but God has a plan for us; a plan to prosper us and a plan that will make Christ known to others. God can open doors to things greater than we can imagine. Pray that God would use you for His purpose that everything would work together for good for those who love The Lord.

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Psalm 23:1-3 (NLT)
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name�s sake.

A good shepherd always provides for the needs of his sheep. He watches over them. He keeps them fed and watered. The shepherd is always on guard to ensure his sheep follow the right paths that are safe to travel. David understood this because he was a shepherd and he saw God as his shepherd leading him to good places.




There's a line in the Old Testament written by Isaiah that tells the result of God's gamble, (Isaiah 53:6): "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way." Although God has a right to own us because he created us, he gave us the option of freedom, and we all left. We chose sin and did not love him as he wanted to be loved. In response, he chose to send out his own son to look for us, to hunt us down, to find and redeem us at a terrible cost--the cost of his own life.

A shepherd notches the ear of a lamb born to his flock and has rightful ownership. That lamb deliberately walks away. The shepherd searches near and far to get that lamb back. A long time later, he finds not a baby lamb but a grown sheep for sale at an animal auction. The shepherd recognizes his mark on that sheep's ear. He goes to the auctioneer and says, "I can see the mark. That sheep is mine."

The auctioneer says, "Listen, you must bid and pay just like anybody else."

The shepherd bids and pays an outrageous price, far above any reasonable market value in order to get his lamb. He now has a double right to own this sheep: from birth, from redemption.

God has a right to own us as creator and because he has paid the blood of his own Son--an outrageous price far above our market value--in order to redeem us back again. [Leith Anderson, "The Lord Is My Shepherd," Preaching Today, Tape No. 136.]


God watches over us and even provided His own Son as payment for our sins. How dear we are to God, precious in His sight. Let us love God in return and follow Him to green pastures that are good places for us to be.

AskMe #2789558 03/18/14 05:37 AM
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Proverbs 23:22 (NLT)
Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don�t despise your mother when she is old.

This proverb tells us that we should honor our father when we as a child are under his authority. A mother�s love for their child is a great love. She spends hours a day caring for the child, seeing to its needs and ensuring the child is cared for. Therefore just because we have become independent adults is no reason to let go of our love for our parents and despise them for they did they best they knew how to do.



Sheila Kissinger, a social anthropologist, writes in her book, Ourselves as Mothers: "Becoming a mother is a biological process, but it is also a social transformation, and one of the most dramatic and that a woman may experience. The home is supposed to be a haven of love and good feelings. Thus it comes as a great disappointment to many women when it proves not to be so for them. For home is also a place where the ugliest and most destructive emotions are experienced, where there is disturbing interpersonal conflict, and inside four walls these raw feelings are concentrated and mixed together as if in a pressure cooker. She hates what she has become. Happy as a woman may be to have a baby, and although she may enjoy being a mother, she must now pay the price of motherhood the total and virtual annihilation of self."


Being a parent can be a tough job. Often it means sacrificing a lifelong dream to become the caretakers of your children. And where do you find the training for this job? You learned things from your father and mother; if you were fortunate enough to have both a father and a mother. Even then our parents were not perfect so some of the things we learned were flawed. And unfortunately those flaws can carry from generation to generation. We may have learned from books, but that doesn�t mean we can always apply what we have learned and integrate it into our lives. No, life is trial and error. It is hoping to do the best, it is trying to give a great effort, but it is also realizing there are times we will fail. And when we fail we try to make our failure right.

Through it all God is teaching you and your children. You may do something that one day your child comes to resents something you have always resented in your life. Just maybe they will break the cycle of a generational flaw and pass new hopes to their children. Maybe they can learn a new way to handle emotions, problems and such to take care of their life and do it according to how God would have them act. Children listen to your father, who gave you life, and don�t despise your mother when she is old for they both have their love for you.

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Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

The Bible says to love The Lord your God. Jesus also tells us in The Bible to love one another. Here we are told by the Apostle Paul that the fruit of The Spirit is love along with a set of qualities that reinforce love. There is no law that can stand against real love for God and others; for in love everything is made right.




It's easy to blame others (and thus justify ourselves) for our disobedience. But in the following quote, Thomas Merton identifies the key reason why we fail to experience the freedom and joy Christ offers believers:

It is not that someone else is preventing you from living happily; you yourself do not know what you want. Rather than admit this [and ask for God's help], you pretend that someone else is keeping you from exercising your liberty. Who is this? It is you yourself. [Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (New Directions, 2007), p. 110]


The Holy Spirit is there to motivate us to love, find joy in our lives that comes with peace and longsuffering. We find that we can supply kindness to others out of the goodness of our heart. Our faithfulness, gentleness and self-control allow us to hold onto these values and use them for not only the good of God, but for the good of ourselves. Is someone holding you back from living a happy life? If so, you probably need to look at yourself. For maybe you are not allowing The Holy Spirit to work in your life.

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1 Peter 2:2-3 (NLT)
2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord�s kindness.

The apostle provides some sound and wise advice. Once a person accepts God�s gift of salvation they need to seek out spiritual wisdom to grow their relationship with God and Christ. God has been good to us and His Son has paid our debts for sin. Therefore we should seek them out through scripture study and prayer.



I have gone to church for as long as I can remember. I think being in the Sunday morning nursery at church was one way for my mother to get a break from me. But then as I grew I went into Sunday school and began learning about The Bible. I remember memorizing Bible verses to earn a Bible, which I still have today. It�s a little old and tattered, but it is a good reminder of where I first started to learn scripture.

When I was around eight years old I remember being in church service and telling my mother Jesus wanted me to go down to the front of the church to tell the preacher I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. Being so young, my mother setup a meeting so we could talk with the pastor instead of letting me go then. The pastor asked me some questions about salvation and I gave answers. Then he turned to my mother and said, �He knows what he is talking about.� So the next Sunday I went forward in church and told the church I wanted to accept Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior.

Then comes the part where I failed my responsibility. I wanted that relationship with God and Christ, but I didn�t quite understand how to grow it. I didn�t read The Bible as I should have. I didn�t have people around helping me learn in detail about The Bible. I didn�t grow my understanding of God and Christ�s love for me and others. Instead I kind of floundered along the way.

After I was married I got into a church that focused on studying The Bible. Suddenly a lot of questions I had were being answered. I grew in my knowledge of God and Christ and I began to grow again. Finally I was drinking the spiritual milk the apostle Peter referred to.

If we are to grow in our understanding of God and Christ we need to spend time in His word and spend time talking to Him in prayer. The study of scripture and personal time with God and Christ are two important ways to grow spiritually. Take the apostle�s advice above and crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation.

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