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Romans 13:6-7 (NLT)
6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

God has established the governments of the world for His purpose. Therefore when taxes are lawfully levied they should be paid by the taxpayer in accordance with the law. However as was pointed out in the New Testament there were corrupt tax collectors and these men were considered as bad as thieves. Therefore government in its attempt to extract taxes should always be within the law. When they act accordingly the taxpayer too should act accordingly by paying what they owe and respecting those who collect what is due.



[Many Christians, like most of the populace, believe the political structures can cure all our ills. The fact is, however, that government, by its very nature, is limited in what it can accomplish. What it does best is perpetuate its own power and bolster its own bureaucracies.

�Charles (Chuck) Colson, advisor to President Nixon, writer, and founder of Prison Fellowship]


This is why charitable organizations are so important. I recently had a friend in the hospital that did not have insurance. He said it was the charity organizations that helped him and not government funding. It is amazing how much charitable organizations do throughout the world. Instead of believing in a strong government that will help our people, we should believe in others who will come through in our time of need. I know my brother was sick once and it was the church that came with donations, gifts and support. Remember the church is a place where we can encourage one another and sometimes that is done from the charity that comes from our hearts.

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Romans 13:8 (NKJV)
8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Here the apostle expresses that there is one debt we should keep and that is to love one another. All other debts should be paid even if it means sacrificing our desires for things to fulfill the debt that is owed. Ensuring our debts are paid is one way to express love and appreciation for those who have helped in a time of need.




Daniel Burke, CNN, writes in the story, The accused Kansas killer�s neo-pagan religion, about Frazier Glenn Cross. Frazier Glenn Cross is a white supremacist, an avowed anti-Semite and an accused killer. But he is not, as many think, a Christian.

Cross, who also goes by the name Glenn Miller, is accused of killing three people � all Christians - on Sunday at Jewish institutions in Overland Park, Kansas.

Authorities are weighing whether to file hate-crime charges against Cross, who is suspected of targeting Jews.

The 73-year-old has espoused anti-Semitism for decades. He also founded racist groups like a branch of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Both groups have deep ties to Christian white supremacists.

But according to Cross' 1999 biography, he is an adherent of Odinism, a neo-pagan religion that experts say has emerged as one the most vicious strains in the white supremacist movement.



Stories like this bother me. It is hard to understand the mind that wants to hate for no good reason other than just to hate. Then in the midst of the story you read these groups have deep ties to �Christian� white supremacists. I�m sorry but The Bible doesn�t tell Chistians to hate one another, instead it says we should love one another. Christ loved us enough to die for us. We should be willing to love others out of respect. Hate drives people to violence. Love drives people to compassion for others. Pray for those that hate that they may understand love and experience the true love of Christ.

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1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV)
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The principle duty Paul did among the people was to preach the message of the cross. It is the good news of the saving grace of God that came through Jesus Christ.



[Historian Garret Fagan summarizes how the Romans�the culture encountered by the early church�viewed the values of strength and weakness:

Ideas of universal human dignity were almost all but nonexistent and large swathes of the population were seen as � inherently worthless. Weak members of society were objects not of compassion but of derision. More than most, Romans lionized strength over weakness, victory over defeat, dominion over obedience. Losers paid a harsh price and got what they deserved, and [resisters] were to be ruthlessly handled � Roman politics became a ruthless game of total winners and abject losers � The drive to dominate and not be forced to bow before a rival was paramount. [Garrett G. Fagan, The Lure of the Arena (Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 33-34]]


The Romans were ruthlessly civilized. They dominated others to form a culture. One of their severest punishments was the cross where people died a merciless death. So to those of the time it would have seemed foolish that a person dying on a cross could be a savior to the world; for obviously that person was weak.

However, Jesus Christ was strong in His determination to die for us. He wrestled over the thought of death and bearing the sins of the world and yet He did. He died for us so that we could be free from sin. It may sound like foolishness to some, but for those who believe in Christ it is God�s power of saving grace.

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John 10:28-30 (NLT)
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father�s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.

Jesus gives this response as people ask Him if He is the Messiah. Even though Jesus had made this face clear on several occasions then people did not believe Him. So he states that those who believe in Him, He gives eternal life. The Father has given them unto Him and no one can pull them back. Them He states that He and the Father are one to which the crowd responds by wanting to stone Him for claiming He and the Father are one.



[Only 12-years-old, and in a moment one Ethiopian girl's world turned into a nightmare. Seven violent men abducted the pre-teen, intending to force her into marriage. The men held the girl for seven days, beating her repeatedly.

Such incidents are common in Ethiopia, as several men band together to abduct young girls for the purpose of securing a bride. The girls are typically beaten into submission and raped. In this particular instance, there was not a human being within earshot to hear the cries of this girl. But her cries were heard.

The unlikely heroes were three majestic Ethiopian lions. Famous for their large black manes, these lions are the national symbol of the country. In response to the girl's cries for help, three large lions leapt from the brush and chased her captors away. Perhaps the child thought she had traded one danger for another, but remarkably, her heroes formed a protective perimeter around her. A half-day later, when the police arrived, the guardian lions simply stood up and walked away. Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo said, "They stood guard until we found her, and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest."

Among the explanations for the lions' unusual behavior, one wildlife expert suggested the girl's whimpering could have sounded like a lion cub. For whatever reason, the predator served as protector. The carnivore became a sentinel. "Everyone…thinks this is some kind of miracle," Wondimu commented.

This 12-year-old girl was helpless, powerless to change her horrific circumstances. Her deliverance had to come from a power greater than, and outside of, herself. In the same way, we are powerless to save ourselves from sin and death. Our only hope is in Christ, the Lion of Judah. [David Slagle, Decatur, Georgia; source: Anthony Mitchell, "Lions Rescue, Guard Beaten Ethiopian Girl," Yahoo News (6-21-05); "Lions Free Kidnapped Girl," CNN.com (6-21-05)]]


Jesus promises that no one will take us away from Him when we believe he is the Messiah. Place your hope and faith in Jesus and He will watch over you as the Lion of Judah.

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Romans 1:20 (NIV)
20 For since the creation of the world God�s invisible qualities�his eternal power and divine nature�have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

The apostle explains that since the beginning of the world, God�s eternal power and divine nature are evident. For all around us is evidence of God�s existence and there is no excuse to deny God exists.



For a period of time there was a booming market for real estate development in Atlanta. Then economic changes took place that halted that development. Neighborhoods that had started develop stopped because the economy just could not support new homes. Left behind is what I have heard referred to as PVC neighborhoods. Roads were cut, utilities were being put in place, but homes never got built. All that remains is overgrown weeds and tall PVC pipes standing up from the ground where water connections would be placed.

It is very evident someone started work and just stopped. In some cases there are bags of cement and piles of boards that have weathered and become ruined. You see without someone to start the building process those materials didn�t just get up and complete a home. They say and they are still there.

I�m sure you have heard debates over whether there was creationism or evolution that took place to make this world. I�m not going to debate those facts. I believe that whatever happened, God put everything in place. God was the architect, the engineer, and the builder of the world. God made known His presence through the beauty of things seen and how marvelous and magnificent we are made.

Man can explain some things, but there is a lot he cannot explain. I�m going to leave those points for God to explain to me one day when I am with Him. For I know the Lord Jesus Christ His Son is our savior, our redeemer and the one who gives us eternal life.

You see the one who planned the world also planned for our redemption. God had the perfect plan and He put that plan in place at the perfect time. Thank God for His creation and give Him praise for all He has done.

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Romans 14:10-12 (NIV)
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God�s judgment seat. 11 It is written: ��As surely as I live,� says the Lord,
�every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.�� 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

The apostle is impressing on those in the church that they should not do or say things that create a hindrance in faith of God in others. For some are new Christians learning. Some are weak in their faith while others are strong. Each person is accountable to God and should make their selections in life with the desires of God in mind. For one day each person will stand before God�s judgment seat to give an accounting of the things done or not done.



[Lance Morrow, an award-winning journalist with Time magazine, once set out to write an article asking if there was one universal joke, told everywhere around the world. Here's what happened:

I sent out a query to all of Time's bureaus around the world�Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney, New Delhi, Jerusalem, Rome, Bonn, London, Paris, Rio, Buenos Aires, and so on. I asked the correspondents to tell me one or two jokes then current in their part of the world.

It turns out there is a universal joke. It was what Americans refer to as the "Polish joke." Except of course that everywhere, the role of [Polish people] in the "Polish joke" is enacted by some appropriate other group. The Flemings have Walloon jokes, for example. The English tell Irish jokes, and vice versa �. The people in Tokyo have jokes about the people in Osaka. I was once on the tiny island of Grenada (133 square miles) and was told that people on one side of the island had a large stock of vicious jokes about people on the other side of the island; and vice versa.

In the universal humor, as in universal evil, you need the Other. The Other is the butt of your joke, or the butt of your evil. [Lance Morrow, Evil: An Investigation (Basic Books, 2003), p. 25]


We all may think we have good intentions, but even our good intentions can be clouded by sin. Ensure your words and actions towards other take them into consider and think to yourself is this how The Lord would treat them.

Remember the words from Romans 8:38-39, �For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.�

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1 Peter 1:18-19 (NIV)
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

In these verses the apostle reminds us that salvation cannot be bought. Instead salvation is a gift given to us and paid for by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. What we cannot do on our own, Jesus Christ did for us � He made us right with God.



In Decision, Karen R. Morerod writes:

I was in a store shopping for a sweater. The cost needed to be minimal, so I went to the clearance rack to start looking. As I flipped through the sweaters, one caught my eye. It was the right color and the right size, and best of all, the price tag was marked $8.00. Without much more thought, I made my purchase.

At home I slipped on the sweater. Its texture was like silk. I had made my purchase so quickly that I hadn't noticed how smooth and elegant the sweater was. Then I saw the original price tag: $124.00!

I gasped. I had never owned any clothing of that value. I had come home with what I thought was a "cheap buy," but the original price was quite high. I had been oblivious to its value.

Just as with my sweater, I have often treated the power of Jesus' blood like a "cheap purchase." His grace, though free to me, carried a high price tag—the life of his very own Son.

[Karen R. Morerod, writer, "Lesson Learned from a Sweater," Decision (November 1999), p. 39]


Revelation 21:5-7 says, �He who was seated on the throne said, �I am making everything new!� Then he said, �Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.� He said to me: �It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.�

For no cost, eternal salvation is extended to all who place their faith in Jesus Christ. Just because there is no cost to us we should never treat eternal salvation as though it cost nothing � for Jesus paid a great price.

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Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death�even death on a cross!

The apostle describes that we should interact and build relationships with others just as Jesus Christ did. Although Christ was the very nature of God; Christ did not place himself above others as a king might, but instead was a servant to others. He humbles himself before others and even humbles himself to die for our sins.



The other day our doorbell rang and my wife answered the door. There were two young Mormon men wanting to inform her about their church. They were very nice young men and asked my wife if she knew she was going to heaven. My wife stated she was a Christian and believed in Jesus Christ, who even though he was God humbled himself to die on the cross for our sins. She said she had placed her trust, belief and faith in Christ and because of that she knew she would spend eternity in heaven with Him. My wife has a relationship with Christ and was able to verbalize it openly.

The two young men accepted what she said. Then one of them asked, �Don�t you think religion has made the world a better place?� This is where my wife corrected them by saying, �I believe a personal relationship with Jesus Christ makes the world a better place. There are many religions, many people who claim to be religious, but sometimes they hurt people more than they serve people.�

It�s so true there are people who claim to be religious, but they don�t understand the life of Jesus Christ because they have never developed a relationship with Him. The have missed the important points He made, such as loving one another and going out of the way to care for someone you don�t even know. When you build a relationship with Jesus you begin to understand the life that should be lived according to the way Jesus lived life.

Instead of trying to be religious follow the one who gave up His life to set you free from sin. Build a relationship with Jesus so that you may live as he did a humble person ready to help others.

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Job 19:25 (NLT)
25 But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.

Matthew Henry wrote, �Our heavenly inheritance was mortgaged by sin; we are ourselves utterly unable to redeem it; Christ is near of kin to us, the next kinsman that is able to redeem; he has paid our debt, satisfied God's justice for sin, and so has taken off the mortgage and made a new settlement of the inheritance.� Job knew a savior would come to redeem the sinful debts of mankind.




[In January 2000, leaders of Charlotte, North Carolina, invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon. Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson's disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, "We don't expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you." So he agreed.

After wonderful things were said about him, Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, "I'm reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of each passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his other pocket. It wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat by him. He couldn't find it. The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.' Einstein nodded appreciatively.

"The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry. I know who you are. No problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one.' Einstein looked at him and said, 'Young man, I too know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.'"

Billy Graham continued, "See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My wife, my children, and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want you to immediately remember the suit I'm wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am, I also know where I'm going." [John Huffman, "Who Are You, and Where Are You Going?" Preaching Conference 2002]]


My mother was dying from stage 4 gastrointestinal cancer. I lovingly asked her if she knew where she was going when she died and she said, �To be with Jesus and my family in heaven.� My mother knew her destination for she had placed her faith in Christ, our savior and redeemer. It�s comforting to know that our faith in Christ gives us a ticket so we know not only who we are, but also where we are going.

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1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

Our faith in Christ gives us the confidence to go to the Father in prayer and ask for things that are not contrary to the glory and majesty of God. For it is up to us to understand the Father�s will and seek those things that are in accordance with His will. In doing so we know God hears whatever we ask and we can be confident that God will respond.



Pastor Bill White from Paramount, California told this story. Sarah, a woman who attends our church, had never prayed aloud in her life. She grew up moderately connected to the church, but when a relational crisis hit with her fianc�, she realized she needed more. She began attending church for comfort. Little did she expect that Jesus would also make her uncomfortable.

Sarah was on call for her job as an ultrasound technician for a local emergency room. One Friday night, she was called into work at 2 a.m. The doctor told her he thought the lady in Exam Room 2 was crazy, but that, for legal reasons, they had to run some tests. Sarah entered the room to find a highly agitated woman in her forties who could barely sit still for the ultrasound. The woman was bouncing off the walls and complaining of intense discomfort. At one point she even lay down on the floor. As Sarah struggled to conduct the requisite test, the woman blurted, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?"

"Well," Sarah responded hesitantly, "I do."

With hope in her eyes for the first time, the woman pleaded, "Would you pray for me? I just need to calm down."

Sarah was dismayed�these things never happened to her before she started following Jesus. But now she was stuck. She fumbled with the machine, looking for a way out. Trying to avoid the inevitable she mustered up enough strength to say, "Maybe you could pray�or at least get us started."

"No! It hurts too much. You do it!" the woman begged.

With no recourse�right there in the ER�Sarah stretched out her hand and laid it on the woman. She prayed, "God, please be with this woman in her time of need. Please give the doctors wisdom to know what is wrong with her and how to fix it; and, God, please put your hands on her and take away her pain." It was short and sweet, but it was just what the Great Physician ordered. The woman calmed down. And as she did, Sarah had a sudden inclination to recheck her gall bladder.

There, wedged in the neck of the woman's gall bladder, was a 4-millimeter stone. Sarah immediately told the doctor, who overcame his disbelief quickly enough to order emergency surgery.


Often God will use others to take us somewhere we have never been before, such as Sarah who was not comfortable praying openly for others. God allowed her to have delight in her prayer seeing the miracle of her request. Let us never forget to pray for the things God would have us pray for.

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Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Here the apostle reminds us we are to take no thought of our earthy concerns for there is nothing to be anxious for. God hears our needs and responds to them. We find ourselves giving thanks and praise for what we have received and for those things yet to be received. God grants to us a peace that comes through Jesus Christ that guards our hearts and minds.



In the movie Gravity, veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (played by George Clooney) is in charge of the Shuttle Explorer's STS-157 mission to repair the Hubble Telescope by the rookie specialist Dr. Ryan Stone (played by Sandra Bullock). Out of the blue, Houston control aborts the mission warning that a Russian missile hit a satellite, causing a chain reaction and now there is a storm of debris coming upon the pair of astronauts. Soon they lose communication with the Mission Control in Houston. As a result of the debris strike, both Stone and Kowalski must now make their way to the International Space Station.

(SPOILER ALERT: At some point Kowalski makes the decision to untether himself from Dr. Stone to prevent both of them from perishing.)

Isolated and coming to grips with her mortality, Dr. Stone has the following conversation/prayer with God:

I'm gonna die, aren't I God? I know we're all gonna die...we're all gonna die. But I'm gonna die today! Funny that you ought to know. But the thing is I'm still scared � I'm really scared. Nobody will mourn for me; no one will pray for my soul. Will you mourn for me? Will you pray for me? Or is it too late? I mean, I'd pray for myself but I've never prayed in my life. Nobody ever taught me how. Nobody ever taught me how. [Gravity, DVD, Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, 2014; Warner Brothers; submitted by Van Morris, Mt. Washington, Kentucky]


Matthew 6:5-13 �And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. �Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

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Romans 5:6 (NIV)
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

The world was in a sad condition, unable to break away from the sin that held everyone. So at just the right time God brought salvation to the world through Jesus Christ. Matthew Henry wrote, God's time to help and save is when those that are to be saved are without strength, that his own power and grace may be the more magnified.



I learned to cook at an early age. My mom was single and she usually worked late hours. If my brother and I intended to eat we usually had to cook a meal ourselves. So early on in life I learned about cooking; not just popping a TV dinner in the oven, but real cooking.

There were a couple of important lessons I learned. Ingredients had to be put together just right or the results might not turn out as predicted. Also, when food was baked in the over there was a proper temperature and amount of time the food had to cook. So if the mix of ingredients wasn�t right, and the environment or temperature was not right things didn�t turn out so well.

Life is a lot like cooking. You also need to plan on having the right things available to make life enjoyable. There needs to be a suitable environment that people can live in. We need to raise families without trying to rush or short-cut the things we need to do. So everything needs to be done in the right time. We don�t want to start too early or wait too late on certain events. There is a right time for everything.


God knew that when He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world. He waited for the right environment, the right mix of people, and the right time to reveal His plan of salvation to the world. God always had us on His mind, planning and waiting for the right day.

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Within us there should always be a spiritual joy that is ready to overcome the sadness of the world. We can find that joy by praying for all circumstance we are faced with and by giving thanks for all events that take place in our life. For we never know when what may seem to be the worst event in life might be just what we need to see God�s will accomplished.



�To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for. Let's not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.� ― Henri J.M. Nouwen


In my life there have been many failures. Like many others I have been trapped by regret wondering why I didn�t do something different when instead I could have been rejoicing over the lessons I learned. As I have looked back over the years I have seen where many of those failures have becoming teaching points for others that I can use to encourage and give hope. Let us always give praise for the good and even the bad in our lives that God will use it for the good of us and others.

In Genesis 50:19-21 Joseph spoke to his family and said, �Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.� And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

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Colossians 4:5-6 (NLT)
5 Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Christians live in the world with many people of different faiths and non-beliefs. Those who are believers in Christ should live in a manner that sets a good example for those who have not placed their faith in Christ. We are to take every opportunity to be gracious and respond to people in a positive manner that attracts them to the beauty of Christianity



The Christian scholar Larry Taunton launched a nationwide campaign to interview college students who belong to atheistic campus groups. After receiving a flood of enquiries, Larry and his team heard one consistent theme from these young unbelievers: they often expected but didn't find more spiritual depth from their Christian neighbors. Larry writes:

Some [of these young atheists] had gone to church hoping to find answers to [tough questions about faith]. Others hoped to find answers to questions of personal significance, purpose, and ethics. Serious-minded, they often concluded that church services were largely shallow, harmless, and ultimately irrelevant. As Ben, an engineering major at the University of Texas, so bluntly put it: "I really started to get bored with church."

In contrast, these young atheists expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously. Larry writes,

Without fail, our former church-attending students expressed [positive] feelings for those Christians who unashamedly embraced biblical teaching. Michael, a political science major at Dartmouth, told us, "I really can't consider a Christian a good, moral person if he isn't trying to convert me �. Christianity is something that if you really believed it, it would change your life and you would want to change [the lives] of others. I haven't seen too much of that." [Larry Alex Taunton, "Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity," The Atlantic (6-6-13)]


If Christians cannot show a commitment and zeal for living the Christian life then where are others expected to see how Christians live? Let�s put out love for Christ to work and let others see our faith in action.

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Romans 8:1-2 (NJKV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

"There is no accusation against them,' for this there is; but the accusation is thrown out, and the indictment quashed. He does not say, "There is nothing in them that deserves condemnation,' for this there is, and they see it, and own it, and mourn over it, and condemn themselves for it; but it shall not be their ruin. He does not say, "There is no cross, no affliction to them or no displeasure in the affliction,' for this there may be; but no condemnation. They may be chastened of the Lord, but not condemned with the world. ~ Matthew Henry



Rich Doebler of Cloquet, Minnesota wrote - I enjoy theme parks. It�s great fun to get away with family and friends taking in the shows and rides. But sometimes the very thing that appears to offer a great thrill becomes an awful trap that takes us on a wild ride. Rick Doebler of Cloquet, Minnesota, tells of his own experience.

�Some years ago, while our family was vacationing in northern Minnesota, we decided to visit a small county fair near the town of Babbitt. There weren�t many people there that morning. In fact, we were about the only ones visiting the carnival rides. So when I climbed into the Tilt-O-Wheel with my three kids, we hoped the operator would give us a decent ride � even though we were the only ones on it.

�Little did we know what we were getting involved in. The first few minutes were rather fun. We laughed and enjoyed the funny feeling inside our stomachs. But after a while, it got to be not so much fun. And after some more time � way past the length of an ordinary ride � I began to feel queasy.

�I wanted to get out, but I couldn�t. First, we were going too fast to escape. Second, the centrifugal force had me pressed firmly against the back of the car. I was immobilized. Every time we spun past the operator, I looked pleadingly at him. �Please! Read my eyes! I need to get off!� But the operator kept the ride going. I guess he thought he�d let it run until more customers showed up.

�After another few minutes, the ride became miserable. The funny feeling inside my stomach had turned into a churning concoction that had a faint resemblance of my morning's breakfast. I had no control over my life. I was caught, going around in circles, held down by a merciless carnival ride operator.

�Only after what seemed like three or four hours did he finally relent and stop the ride. I�m sure I looked completely green by this time. I staggered off the platform and made it about 20 feet, where I bent over and lost my breakfast. Of course, my kids gathered around, cheering me on. They thought this was the best part of the ride.�



At first sin appears to be appealing, attractive, and fun; but then it can begin to have terrifying effects upon us. Thankfully Christ took away the condemnation of sin. We may still face the consequences as Rich did upon exiting the ride, but at least the ride was over and the torment he felt came to an end.

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Proverbs 12:25 (NIV)
25 Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

Here is, 1. The cause and consequence of melancholy. It is heaviness in the heart; it is a load of care, and fear, and sorrow, upon the spirits, depressing them, and disabling them to exert themselves with any vigour on what is to be done or fortitude in what is to borne; it makes them stoop, prostrates and sinks them. Those that are thus oppressed can neither do the duty nor take the comfort of any relation, condition, or conversation. Those therefore that are inclined to it should watch and pray against it. 2. The cure of it: A good word from God, applied by faith, makes it glad; such a word is that (says one of the rabbin), Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee; the good word of God, particularly the gospel, is designed to make the hearts glad that are weary and heavy-laden. ~ Matthew Henry



Parked on the side of the road, waiting to catch speeding drivers, a state trooper sees a car puttering along at 22 mph. Thinking the driver is as dangerous as a speeder, the state trooper turns on his lights and pulls the car over.

As he approaches the vehicle, the officer notices there are five elderly ladies inside�two in the front seat and three in the back�wide-eyed and white as ghosts.

The driver, obviously confused, says, "Officer, I don't understand. I was going the exact speed limit. What seems to be the problem?"

The trooper, trying to contain a chuckle, explained to her that 22 was the route number�not the speed limit.

A bit embarrassed, the woman grins and thanks the officer for pointing out her error.

"Before you go," the officer says, "I have to ask: Is everyone in this car okay? These women seem awfully shaken."

"Oh," she answered, "they'll be all right, sir. We just got off of Route 127."


Can you imagine the thoughts of the women when the driver was going 127? I�m sure they were filled with fear and anxiety. Fortunately they hadn�t run across a highway like I-285 here in Atlanta. But the kind word of an officer set them straight and gave them insight to the correct speed limit signs. I�m sure their anxiety was greatly reduced once they knew the proper speed.

The same holds true in our live. When we are anxious the anxiety can be reduced greatly by a kind word from a friend or hearing God as you read through his word. It�s the right words that take away our anxieties and cheer us up.

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Jesus promised us peace and His Word can bring us peace indeed

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Proverbs 13:5 (NKJV)
5 A righteous man hates lying, But a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame.

The righteous believe in truth and justice. They abhor sin and with sin come lies that try to mask or cover the sins committed. The wicked will tell lies to cover their sin, but those moments are only short lived. Eventually the wicked must face their sin and their lies become unraveled.



When I was a teenager a bunch of friends were getting together for a party. Wanting to be a part of the cool crowd; a friend and I plotted how we might attend the party. He said his parents were going to be out of town for the night. So I lied to my mother and said I was staying at his house. My friend called his parents to say he was staying at my house. We figured our parents would never talk to one another. It was a perfect plan.

So the lie began and we went and spent the evening with others we knew. It was more of a gathering than a party, yet we still lied about where we would be. Everyone left early in the morning, so we did too. I went to drop off my friend at his house before going home. It�s then we realized his parent�s car was there; seems they came home early too. So we came up with another lie, �Just go in the house and pretend like you came home early because I had to work.� So I dropped him off and went home thinking he went on in the house.

Unknown to me my friend never went inside. He got in his car and left fearful his parents might suspect something. Well I went home thinking things were all nice and tidy. I had just gone to take a shower for work when I heard my mother say from the other room, �No, I haven�t seen him. No he didn�t spend the night here.�

The next thing I heard was a knock at the bathroom door and in a stern voice my mom said, �I want to see you when you get out here.� Needless to say my lies unraveled quickly. My friend also finally went home and his parents were waiting on him. Both of us ended up on restriction which we deserved.


A person never prospers from a lie, but instead finds themselves faced with not only the shame of the sin they committed, but the shame of the lie. The lie also makes things worst because it breaks trust. How can someone believe the next time you are telling the truth when you have told a lie in the past. Maintain righteousness and do not lie so that you do not have to face the shame that will follow.

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Psalm 139:13-14 (NKJV)
13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother�s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

God made us, and therefore no doubt he knows us; he saw us when we were in the forming, and can we be hidden from him now that we are formed? ~Matthew Henry



R. C. Sproul shares the story of a college student he once taught who had cerebral palsy. You know what that looks like�spastic movements and garbled speech. But as is often the case, this student was very bright and capable. Sproul writes:

One day he came to me vexed with a problem and asked me to pray for him. In the course of the prayer, I said something routine, with words like, "Oh, God, please help this man as he wrestles with this problem." When I opened my eyes, the student was quietly weeping.

I asked him what was wrong and he stammered his reply, "You called me a man. No one has ever called me a man before." [Lee Eclov, in the sermon "The Blessed Limp]


There are people who live with afflictions, pain, suffering and torment. They may never have been given a chance to see who they really are, although God knows them well. In the quiet moment of a prayer this teacher finds words from God that opened a door to a blessing for this young man. For in his life battle no one had called him a man, but God placed someone in his life that called him what he truly was.

Dear men and dear women we are children of God and He finds us very precious in His sight.

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Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NIV)
5 As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother�s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.

There are many things in life we do not understand. We keep exploring, learning, teaching others and even find out at times our conclusions were all wrong. We cannot understand the simple things as the manner in which direction the wind will blow or the more difficult subject as to how a child develops in the womb. How then can we understand the wonderful and marvelous powers and wisdom of God?



Robinson Meyer writes in �What Happens in One Minute Around the World - A minute is a funny amount of time. It's long enough to notice, but it's too short to do much of anything with. There are only about five hundred thousand of them in a year. But when you add all of humanity together, a lot starts to happen in that lowly minute. Consider what happens before the second hand of a clock completes one rotation:

- 25 Americans will get a passport, according to the U.S. Department of State.
- 58 airplanes will take off around the world, according to the International Air Traffic Association.
- 116 people will get married, according to data from the United Nations.
- 144 people will move to a new home, according to Gallup.
- 11,319 packages will be delivered by UPS.
- 243,000 photos will be uploaded to Facebook.
- 5,441,400 pounds of garbage will be created, according to the World Bank.
- 7,150,000,000 human hearts (according to the United States Census Bureau) will beat �
- 500,000,000 times, according to the American Heart Association, as their bodies create
- 858,282,240,000,000,000 new red blood cells, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Yes, a lot can happen in a minute and most of us will never understand the implications of the things that take place in that minute. For instance how many accidents could have been avoid if just one thing different had taken place. How many marriages might have never been if two people had been at different places? How many packages might not have been delivered on time if an airport was closed due to back weather?

There are many things we don�t know and we don�t understand, but we can count on a God who does know and who does understand. Let us give praise to God for being in control and knowing the outcome of our lives.

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