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AskMe #2817056 08/26/14 06:15 AM
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Romans 12:4-5(NLT)
4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ�s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

When the apostle refers to Christ�s body he is referring to those who are a part of church who Christ gave His life for. Just as there are many parts to the human body, each serving a special function; there are many members in a church, each serving a special purpose.



In 1 Corinthians 7-11 it says, �A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

As seen from the verses above the Holy Spirit imparts special gifts unto people. One person may be wise in advice they give, whether it be financial or legal. Another may be a servant who helps heal others. For example Mother Teresa dedicated her life to serving the poor and the sick. Some are able to take God�s word and speak messages to the church so they too understand the desires of God for their lives. Some have been blessed with wealth that they may help others financially. Each person may have one or several gifts, but by working as a collection group The Church is able to serve many people.

If you are unsure of your spiritual gifts, there are tests available that can help guide you to them. Many churches have these tests available in their church. The internet is also another place where spiritual gift tests can be found. Learn how you can serve your church with the talents you have been given. You never know whose life you may enrich by doing so.

AskMe #2817256 08/27/14 06:23 AM
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Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)
3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

The peace that comes when we our thoughts are fixed upon God is a peace of mind, peace with others, peace with one�s self, and peace through difficult times. As we keep our minds on God we must also trust Him at all times, under all circumstances, and adhere to His desires with total satisfaction.



While staying alone in her convent, an 85-year-old Catholic nun got trapped inside a broken elevator for four nights and three days. She tried pushing the inside elevator door, but the electricity went off. She had her cell phone with her, but there wasn't a signal. Fortunately, she had carried a jar of water, some celery sticks, and a few cough drops into the elevator.

At first she said to herself, This can't happen! But then she decided to turn her elevator into a personal prayer retreat. "It was either panic or pray," she later told an interviewer for CNN. She started viewing the experience as a "gift." "I believe that God's presence was my strength and my joy�really," she said. "I felt God's presence almost immediately. I felt like he provided the opportunity for a closer relationship." [Jenny Wilson, "Nun Stuck in Elevator Survives Four Nights on Celery Sticks, Water and
Cough Drops," Time.com (4-28-11)]


The nun�s choice, focus on panic or focus upon The Lord. Had she focused on panic, her fear would have increased. However, by staying focused on The Lord in prayer she was able to remain calm until her rescue.

All of us go through anxious or fearful moments. Let us turn to The Lord that He may supply the peace we need in our moment of desperation. Philippians 4:6-8 tells us, �Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.�

AskMe #2817415 08/28/14 06:33 AM
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John 11:2 (NKJV)
2 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples 3 and said to Him, �Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?�

As John the Baptist sat in prison he became despondent and began to question whether Jesus was The Messiah. John�s spirit was broken and he began to doubt the things he had spoken to others. So he sent the question to Jesus, �Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?�



A study that was done in 2010 showed that approximately 79.5% of the United States is made up of Christians. Many people think Christians live without issues. There are even Christians who I have heard say, if your faith was just strong enough you wouldn�t feel depressed or this would not have happened to you. That is not true for Christians face trials in their lives. God allows trials to come into our lives in order to teach us and strengthen us.

John the Baptist had a strong faith in Christ. In Matthew 3:3 John said, �For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: �The voice of one crying in the wilderness: �Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.�� John was the first cousin to Jesus and knew many details His life. Yet John was locked away in prison, facing the possibility of death, facing hunger, cold and other problems and he felt things just didn�t seem right. Surely this couldn�t be the life he was meant to face.

Jesus sent back an answer to John, �Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.� Jesus gave John reassurance that his work had not been in vain. John�s purpose had to proclaim the coming of The Messiah and John had fulfilled that purpose.

Each of us has a purpose in life. Sometimes even with our faith we can feel hopeless and despondent. There are times when we are faced with our own trials that seem like heavy burdens. The good news is Jesus reassured us that in those times He would be with us. The Bible also reminds us to be with fellow Christians so they may interject hope into our lives. For there are others who have faced similar trials, they survived and they can give encouragement. They know just as we can know that Christ was there with them even in the most difficult of times.

May The Lord Jesus bless you, keep you safe, keep you close and help you in your daily struggles. Amen.

AskMe #2817573 08/29/14 06:23 AM
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Galatians 3:28 (NKJV)
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

The apostle reminds the Galatian Christian�s that they are heirs to the kingdom of God through Jesus Christ. For those who live in Christ and Christ in them there is no discrimination. Christ does not see nationality, the rich or poor, male or female, but a human being who is in need of love, mercy and grace.



Actress Reese Witherspoon, who plays the role of June Carter Cash in the movie Walk the Line, describes the benefit of attending church:

"I was raised going to church every Sunday, and I go to church most Sundays with my kids. For me, where I'm at in my career, so many people want to put you in a place that you're not real and treat you like you're not real. For me it's a great experience of grounding, and I stand next to people who have nothing and who have everything, and we all treat each other the same, because we all are the same. It's just like a little weekly reminder. [Peter T. Chattaway, "The Man in Black," Christianitytodaymovies.com (11-15-05)]


From Matthew 9:9-12: As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, �Follow Me.� So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, �Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?� When Jesus heard that, He said to them, �Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

When Jesus saw a need in people�s lives He was quick to attend to that need. Jesus put aside religious status, whether they were rich or poor, and even what others thought about those He was with. For Jesus was there to provide love, grace and mercy to those in need.

We need to learn to love as Jesus did. It is sad to see the conflicts taking place in life whether it is struggles of one race against another, rich against poor, nation against nation or even gender against gender. Look to see the needs of others and reach out to them. Let us begin to love one another as Jesus commanded us to do; for that is exactly how Jesus lived out His life.

AskMe #2817982 09/02/14 06:01 AM
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Psalm 119:64 (NKJV)
64 The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy; Teach me Your statutes.

Psalm 119 is about meditation on the excellence of God�s word. In verse 64 the psalmist acknowledges that God is full of mercy. There are many places in the world that do not recognize the true God of the world, yet because God created man his mercies extend to all men. The psalmist asks in prayer that God teach him God�s ways so that he may live accordingly.



A book titled The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible came out a few years ago. It was written by a non-Christian named A. J. Jacobs. It is a funny book, and he is a great writer. He spent an entire year committed to obeying Bible commands as literally as he could.

[In the fall of 1956, I began my final year at the Stony Brook School, then a boys' college preparatory school in New York. Among the required courses that last year was Senior Bible, taught by the school's headmaster, Dr. Frank E. Gaebelein, a man who required us to memorize 300 verses of Scripture over the course of that year. If he met a student on the pathway from the class room to the dining hall, he might say, "Gordon, give me John 13:34 please." He expected us to recite the verse from memory without faltering.

One of the passages he tasked us to memorize was Psalm 46. For days we memorized, recited, memorized, recited until the Psalm 46 was part of us. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble period. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea�."

In the spring of 1957, Senior Bible ended. We put our index cards away, graduated from Stony Brook, and went off to college. Occasionally, I returned to Psalm 46. As a pastor I preached on it a few times.

Now 56 years have passed. A few days ago my doctor called me. "Gordon, I have some difficult news for you. There's a tumor in the back of your head in the lining of the brain. It is not malignant, but it will have to come out." I have spent my whole life helping other people face doctor-call moments like these. Now it was my turn and the very first thing that began to surge through my mind was: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble period. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed�."

When I was a teenager, a brilliant and godly man pumped my friends and me full of Scripture. But now his effort is paying off. Thanks to Dr. Gaebelein and Psalm 46, I may be concerned and cautious, but I am not inclined to be fearful. [Adapted from Gordon MacDonald, "When the Doctor Calls," Leadership Journal Online (August 2013)]]


Psalm 46:1-3 says, �God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

AskMe #2818085 09/03/14 05:35 AM
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Isaiah 48:17 (NLT)
17 This is what the Lord says�your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: �I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.

The Lord is our Redeemer, the provider of our salvation through Jesus Christ. We place our faith in Christ knowing our salvation is secure. At times we fail to do what is right and to follow God, but God in His mercy and grace continues to teach us what is good and leads us along paths that while they may even seem difficult, they are where we need to be.



From a reprint in Men of Integrity (May/June 2003), Henry Blackyby writes the following in Hearing God�s Voice (Broadman & Holman, 2002).

The first funeral I ever conducted was for a beautiful three-year-old. She was the first child born to a couple in our church, and the first grandchild in their extended family. Unfortunately, she was spoiled. While visiting the little girl's home one day, I observed that she loved to ignore her parents' instructions. When they told her to come, she went. When they said, "sit down," she stood up. Her parents laughed, finding her behavior cute.

One day their front gate was inadvertently left open. The parents saw their child escaping out of the yard and heading toward the road. To their horror, a car was racing down the street. As she ran out between two parked cars, they both screamed at her to stop and turn back. She paused for a second, looked back at her parents, then gleefully laughed as she turned and ran directly into the path of the oncoming car. The parents rushed their little girl to the hospital, but she died from her injuries.

As a young pastor, this was a profound lesson for me. I realized I must teach God's people not only to recognize His voice but also immediately to obey His voice when they hear it. It is life.


How often do we foolishly do things without heeding what we know in our hearts is the right thing to do? How often do those follies we participate in lead us on paths that are either not pleasant or even harmful to our lives? The Lord is always with us, teaching us what is good. For our own sakes God allows us to go down paths that are sometimes painful, difficult and hard to bear, but those paths are what we need to follow for our own good. The good news The Lord is still there with us.

Sometimes we want a quick fix in life. Sometimes we want issues solved right now this minute, but God knows what we really need and leads us in the proper way and in the proper time. God does this for us; for the good of our own lives because He loves us.

AskMe #2818279 09/03/14 09:50 PM
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What a horrible accident.

But we are God's children and so often behave like that 3 year old child.

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2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NLT)
13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me�a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. 14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.

Paul was Timothy�s teacher and mentor. Paul had taught him a pattern for living a wholesome life that was shaped by faith and love for Jesus Christ and also by the Holy Spirit that lives within. Paul reminded Timothy to guard this precious truth for there had been those who had fallen away from it.



[In 2002, the U.S. Secret Service completed the Safe School Initiative, a study of school shootings and other school-based attacks. The study examined school shootings in the United States as far back as 1974, analyzing a total of 37 incidents involving 41 student attackers �. The young men who carried out the attacks differed from one another in numerous ways. However, almost every attacker had engaged in behavior before the shooting that seriously concerned at least one adult�and for many had concerned three or more different adults �. Far from being "loners," the killers are more likely to be aspiring "joiners" whose attempts at belonging fail. Many of the shooters told Secret Service investigators that feelings of alienation or persecution drove them to violence.

It's easy to label the shooters "evil" but miss some of the less noticeable (or less violent) signs that many boys are struggling alone in our culture. Consider these statistics:
Boys get expelled from preschool nearly five times more often than girls
In elementary school, boys are diagnosed with learning disorders four times as often.
By eighth grade huge numbers of boys read below basic level.
Males graduate high school at lower rates and attend college right out of high school at lower rates.
Young men are three times more likely to kill themselves than young women.

Somewhere in your world, there is a young man looking to you to model real, emotional resiliency. To show him that male-to-male friendship can extend beyond work, golf, or some other idolatry and withstand life's most difficult blows. To provide entry into a � honorable � definition of what it means to be a man in the 21st century. [Adapted from R. Todd Erkel, "Boys Need Good Role Models Now More Than Ever," Utne Reader (March-April 2013)]]


There are many boys and girls in this world that need good, solid leaders in their life. They need someone who can teach them the difference between what is right and what is wrong. They need guidance in how to deal with people and how to prepare to face the world as an adult. Don�t let the life of a child slip away. If you see a child in need see what you can do to help.

Mark 10:13-16 says, �People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, �Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.� And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.�

Let us learn to live and teach like Jesus.

AskMe #2818424 09/05/14 05:27 AM
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Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, �I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.�

Having given the disciples the command to share the good news of salvation with others, Jesus also gave them a promise that He would always be with them whether in life or in death.



[Author and speaker Brennan Manning has an amazing story about how he got the name "Brennan." While growing up, his best friend was Ray. The two of them did everything together: bought a car together as teenagers, double-dated together, went to school together and so forth. They even enlisted in the Army together, went to boot camp together and fought on the frontlines together. One night while sitting in a foxhole, Brennan was reminiscing about the old days in Brooklyn while Ray listened and ate a chocolate bar. Suddenly a live grenade came into the foxhole. Ray looked at Brennan, smiled, dropped his chocolate bar and threw himself on the live grenade. It exploded, killing Ray, but Brennan's life was spared.

When Brennan became a priest he was instructed to take on the name of a saint. He thought of his friend, Ray Brennan. So he took on the name "Brennan." Years later he went to visit Ray's mother in Brooklyn. They sat up late one night having tea when Brennan asked her, "Do you think Ray loved me?" Mrs. Brennan got up off the couch, shook her finger in front of Brennan's face and shouted, "What more could he have done for you?" Brennan said that at that moment he experienced an epiphany. He imagined himself standing before the cross of Jesus wondering, Does God really love me? And Jesus' mother Mary pointing to her son, saying, "What more could he have done for you?"

The cross of Jesus is God's way of doing all he could do for us. And yet we often wonder, Does god really love me? Am I important to God? Does god care about me? [adapted from James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful God (IVP, 2009), p. 142]]


The starting lyrics to the song What More Can He Do say:

What more can he do, Tell me what more can he do? He sent loving arms down from the sky, 'Cuz he cares so much for you and I.

Never in my imagination, Did I ever see so clearly, Someone who has a concern for my life,
'Til your love came and found me. You loved me when I didn't even love myself, A love that will be there when there's nobody else. So with my voice I'll sing this little song of praise, 'Cuz when I think of what he's done all I can say�.. What more can he do, Tell me what more can he do? He sent loving arms down from the sky, 'Cuz he cares so much for you and I.


Praise God, Praise Jesus, Praise the Holy Spirit for the love that has been shown to us!

AskMe #2818641 09/08/14 07:59 AM
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Psalm 143:10 (NIV)
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

In this psalm David prays for God to teach him God�s will. Also David asked for the leadership of the Holy Spirit to guide him on a righteous path of life.



Bill Hybels wrote in The Power of a Whisper, (Zondervan, 2012), pp. 54-55: [After attending a funeral] as my wife Lynne and I approached our car, I spotted a frail, elderly woman pulling into the nearby apartment complex. She parked her car and began to slowly and laboriously pull grocery bags out of her trunk. "How about helping that woman with her groceries?" the Holy Spirit seemed to prompt.

I initially brushed past the whisper because Lynne was with me and we were ready to go. But I had just made that offer to God, "If there is something you would like me to do �"

I knew I had to comply. "Lynne," I said, "I've got this little pact going with God, and I need to go help that woman with her groceries for a minute." I approached the elderly woman. "Can I give you a hand with your groceries?" I asked. "Oh, yes! Thank you!" she said, relieved.

The driveway leading back to her apartment � was roped off, meaning residents had to walk a few hundred yards just to get from their cars to their homes. I knew that this small act of kindness would honor God and help meet a real need; what I didn't know was that those grocery sacks boasted thirty pounds of fresh peaches each. Pretending the added weight didn't affect me a bit, I said, "All set here. You lead the way." She began winding through backyards that had become swamps due to recent rains. [It turns out the] woman was extremely arthritic [and] had some sort of emphysema that forced us to take a breather every forty-five seconds or so. It took us a full thirty minutes to make our way to her apartment, and by the time we arrived, we were tight. I had learned more about this dear woman's life than I could ever have hoped to know.

We entered her modest home, and � I set the sacks on the counter before turning to shake her hand and then let myself out through the front door. The woman left her bony, wrinkled hand in mine long after the handshake was done. "I will believe to my dying day that God sent you to help me just now," she said.

The whole deal felt so inglorious�the wet feet, the longer-than-expected trek, the lack of any earth-shattering results�and yet as I walked away from the apartment complex, something in my spirit felt right. God had whispered a simple instruction my way, and this time I had actually slowed down enough to listen. There is no greater feeling in the world than to hear�and heed�God's voice .�

I have come to believe over time that it is the little acts of obedience that invite God's power to fully flow in our lives. When you and I prove ourselves faithful with the small whispers, he entrusts us with bigger ones. And when we follow through on those big ones, big kingdom results can be gained.


As we listen to God, God will walk with us through holy land to accomplish His will, even if the way is through wet land. Listen carefully as God speaks through His Holy Spirit and heed His prompting.

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Titus 2:2 (NLT)
2 Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.

In writing to Titus, the apostle tells him that older men should exercise self-control in the things they do. For while the blood of Christ covers all sin, one should not take advantage of the grace and mercy given them, but instead be examples of wise living. Their faith should be sound and they should have the patience and love needed to encourage others.



Robert C. Roberts writes in The Reformed Journal (Feb 1987): The fruits of the Holy Spirit are, it seems to me, largely fruits of sustained interaction with God. Just as a child picks up traits more or less simply by dwelling in the presence of her parent, so the Christian develops tenderheartedness, compassion, humility, forgiveness, joy, and hope through "the fellowship of the Holy Spirit"--that is, by dwelling in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son. And this means, to a very large extent, living in a community of serious believers.


In order to gain self-control, we must be willing to give up who we are and allow the Holy Spirit to mold us into the person God wants us to be. We can try practicing self-control on our own, but that task is a heavy burden. Many who attempt to control actions in their life eventually fail because they have held on so tight, for so long they finally let go. Jesus told us, �For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.� We need to allow Jesus to help us carry our burdens by dwelling in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son.

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Great devotional!!! I think we try and live our life according to the fruit of the Spirit because of God's Grace given to us. So many people today, I am seeing, say grace and love, which is totally true, but they forget ALL the scriptures where God says live this way or that ....grace through faith and faith without works is dead. Why would we want to say we are a Christian and be totally thankful for God's grace but not extend that to others around us by living out the fruits of the spirit and 1 Corinthians 13? I know I need more humility to do that and I need the power of the Holy Spirit and I don't do it perfectly, but we have to keep trying to live God's way especially in our marriages and apologize when we fail by being vulnerable to our spouse.

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Isaiah 46:4 (NIV)
4 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

God reminds the people that He has been with them, sustained them and protected them and will continue to do so even through their old age.



The prayer below is by Robertson McQuilkin, president emeritus of Columbia International University. For those assured of their salvation, Dr. McQuilkin reminds that there is no fear of the eternal life to come, but instead a fear of what is left behind. In Hebrews we are told -Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.


LET ME GET HOME BEFORE DARK
It's sundown, Lord. The shadows of my life stretch back into the dimness of the years long spent. I fear not death, for that grim foe betrays himself at last, thrusting me forever into life: life with you, unsoiled and free.

But I do fear. I fear the dark specter may come too soon� or do I mean too late? That I should end before I finish or finish, but not well. That I should stain your honor, shame your name, grieve your loving heart. Few, they tell me, finish well. . . Lord, let me get home before dark.

The darkness of a spirit grown mean and small, fruit shriveled on the vine, bitter to the taste of my companions, burden to be borne by those brave few who love me still?

No, Lord, let the fruit grow lush and sweet, a joy to all who taste; Spirit-sign of God at work, stronger, fuller. Brighter at the end. Lord, let me get home before dark.

The darkness of tattered gifts, rust-locked, half-spent, or ill-spent, A life that once was used of God now set aside? Grief for glories gone or fretting for a task God never gave. Mourning in the hollow chambers of memory, Gazing on the faded banners of victories long gone? Cannot I run well until the end? Lord, let me get home before dark.

The outer me decays� I do not fret or ask reprieve. The ebbing strength but weans me from mother earth and grows me up for heaven.

I do not cling to shadows cast by mortality. I do not patch the scaffold lent to build the real, eternal me. I do not clutch about me my cocoon, vainly struggling to hold hostage a free spirit pressing to be born.

But will I reach the gate in lingering pain�body distorted, grotesque? Or will it be a mind wandering untethered among light fantasies or grim terrors?

Of your grace, Father, I humbly ask. . . Let me get home before dark.

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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.

A word of caution from the apostle that we should put aside worry; for worry implies a distrust of the provisions of God. Instead let us tell God our needs and give thanks for what we have and the things done for us. Then we can understand God�s peace and allow His peace to guard our hearts and minds.




Pastor H.B. Charles tells the following story about a woman he knew who showed up at church and prayed the same simple prayer. "O Lord, thank you Jesus," she prayed week after week. The kids at church would start laughing every time she opened her mouth because they knew it would be the same prayer�"O Lord, thank you Jesus."

Finally somebody asked her, "Why do you pray the same little prayer?" She said, "Well, I'm just combining the two prayers that I know. We live in a bad neighborhood and some nights there are bullets flying and I have to grab my daughter and hide on the floor, and in that desperate state all I know how to cry out is, 'O Lord.' But when I wake up in the morning and see that we're okay I say, 'Thank you Jesus.' When I got to take my baby to the bus stop and she gets on that bus and I don't know what's going to happen to her while she's away, I cry, 'O Lord.' And then when 3:00 P.M. comes and that bus arrives and my baby is safe, I say, 'Thank you Jesus.'"

She said, "Those are the only two prayers I know and when I get to church God has been so good I just put my two prayers together, "O Lord, thank you Jesus." [H.B. Charles, "A Psalm for Giving Thanks," PreacingToday.com]



�Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.� ~ Corrie ten Boom

Jesus said, �Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.� Our focus of life should be on today. Stay vigilant, but not afraid. Let us hand our fears to The Lord.

Zephaniah 3:17 tells us, �For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.�

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1 John 4:16 (NLT)
16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

God's love is thus seen and exerted in Christ Jesus; and thus have we known and believed the love that God hath to us. ~Matthew Henry



As a 17-year-old Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, was involved in a car accident. Speeding carelessly down a windy mountain road, Anne smashed into her neighbor, Mrs. Pickering. Anne was too afraid to tell her father about the accident, so for the rest of the day she kept avoiding him. When she finally came home, she tried to tiptoe around her dad, but there he was, standing in the kitchen.

Anne tells what happened next:

I paused for what seemed a very long moment frozen in time. Then I ran to him and threw my arms around his neck �. I told him about my wreck�how I'd driven too fast and smashed into the neighbor's car. I told him it wasn't her fault; it was all mine. As I wept on his shoulder, he said four things to me:

"Anne, I knew all along about your wreck. Mrs. Pickering came straight up the mountain and told me�and I was just waiting for you to come and tell me yourself."

"I love you."

"We can fix the car."

"You are going to be a better driver because of this."

Anne says, "Sooner or later, all of us are involved in some kind of wreck�it may be your own fault or someone else's. When the damage is your fault, there's a good chance you'll be confronted by the flashing blue lights of the morality police. But my father gave me a deeper understanding of what it means to experience the loving, forgiving embrace of my heavenly Father." [Adapted from Anne Graham Lotz, Wounded by God's People (Zondervan, 2013), pp. 155-156]


Most of us may feel God is ready to lay out consequences for our actions or punish us for wrongful deeds. We often feel this way because others find fault in us and do not want to forgive the things we have done. God the Father, however, is a loving God who loves us greatly. Just as Billy Graham did with his daghter, The Father is ready to wrap His arms around us in love. There may be consequences to be faced, but there is wisdom to be found in our faults that will make for a better tomorrow.

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I'm going to remember this in case it happens to one of my kids.
That's a good way to respond

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James 3:13 (NLT)
13 If you are wise and understand God�s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.

A good reputation will be proof of a person�s wisdom. True wisdom is known by the works that are produced; for true wisdom is not about good intent or speculation. Lastly wisdom leads one to hold back their anger and patiently bear the anger of others. A wise person thinks before they act and their actions once again prove their wisdom.


1 Kings 3:16-28 (NKJV) - Solomon�s Wise Judgment
Now two women who were harlots came to the king, and stood before him. And one woman said, �O my lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house. Then it happened, the third day after I had given birth, that this woman also gave birth. And we were together; no one was with us in the house, except the two of us in the house. And this woman�s son died in the night, because she lay on him. So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from my side, while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I rose in the morning to nurse my son, there he was, dead. But when I had examined him in the morning, indeed, he was not my son whom I had borne.�

Then the other woman said, �No! But the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son.� And the first woman said, �No! But the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son.� Thus they spoke before the king.

And the king said, �The one says, �This is my son, who lives, and your son is the dead one�; and the other says, �No! But your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.�� Then the king said, �Bring me a sword.� So they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, �Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other.�

Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, �O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!� But the other said, �Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him.�

So the king answered and said, �Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother.�

And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.


God had generously given Solomon wisdom and he became the wisest man ever known. Since Solomon chose wisdom, God blessed Solomon with many prized possessions. However, Solomon allowed sin to seep into his life. He began to love many women of foreign countries who turned his heart from God to their idols and gods. As Solomon turned away from God, God began to slowly remove the grace He had placed upon Solomon.

Be careful of letting sin slip into your life. For no matter how wise you are, sin is just waiting to take control.

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Ephesians 5:1 (NLT)
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.

Like children that imitate their parents, we too are to imitate God our Father. We are to be holy as God is holy. We are to love just as God loves us. We are to show mercy and grace towards others just as God has shown mercy and grace towards us. We are God�s children, therefore we should act accordingly.




Kim Shin Jo, a gentle pastor from South Korea, used to be a trained killer.

In January of 1968, Jo and a team of assassins descended from North Korean, slipping through the woods in a daring attempt to kill the president of South Korea. The team of 31 commandos made it to within a few hundred meters of the president's residence before they were intercepted. A fierce battle ensued, killing 30 South Koreans. All of the North Korean soldiers were killed, except one who escaped and Kim Shin Jo, who was captured.

After months of interrogation, and through a surprising friendship with a South Korean army general, Kim Shin Jo's hard heart started to soften. Later he would confess, "I tried to kill the president. I was the enemy. But the South Korean people showed me sympathy and forgiveness. I was touched and moved."

The South Korean government eventually released Kim Shin Jo. Over the next three decades he worked for the military, became a citizen, and then married and raised a family. Finally, he became a church minister.

Today Jo's life serves as a symbol of redemption for the entire country of South Korea. Reflecting on the day of his arrest, Kim Shin Jo commented, "On that day, Kim Shin Jo died. I was reborn. I got my second chance. And I'm thankful for that."

Kim Shin Jo found a new birth and God's grace through the power of Christ. But his encounter with Christ came through the unexpected, surprising love of other people. Despite his betrayals and sins, an army officer accepted him, befriended him, and believed in him. At one time he was the enemy of the South Korean people, but in the spirit of Jesus Christ, they surprised him with the startling gifts of belonging, forgiveness and even citizenship.

In the same way, the church is called to extend the gift of acceptance so others will find Christ's "second chance." God unleashes tremendous power for good when his people surprise the world, especially unlovable people and even our enemies, with unconditional love, friendship and forgiveness. [Matt Woodley, East Setauket, New York; source: "South Korean pastor is also a trained killer," CNN Religion blog (8-9-2010)}


When we imitate God in everything we do we reflect the presence of God to other people. For those who have never known God we are ambassadors of God�s love, grace and mercy. We can let them know they are loved just as God loves us and even help them to see how God loves them too. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

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Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT)
3 Don�t be selfish; don�t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don�t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

The apostle is encouraging the Philippians to love one another. In the verses above he provides some ways for that to occur. First put aside selfish behaviors that take away from focusing on others. Second, let others praise you for what you do. Don�t force situations trying to impress others. Third, stay humble by thinking of others as being as good as or better than you. Fourth, look out for the interests of others as well as yourself. These things will help you as you learn to love others.



Imagine you're a billionaire, and you have three ten-dollar bills in your wallet. You get out of a cab, and you hand the driver one of the bills for an eight-dollar fare. Later in the day you look in and find out there's only one ten-dollar bill there, and you say, "Either I dropped a ten-dollar bill somewhere, or I gave the taxi driver two bills."

What are you going to do? Are you going to get all upset? Are you going to the police and demand they search the city for the cabdriver? No, you are going to shrug. You're a billionaire. You lost ten dollars. So what? You are too rich to be concerned about that kind of loss.

This week, somebody criticized you. Something you bought or invested in turned out to be less valuable than you thought. Something you wanted to happen didn't go the way you wanted it to�these are real losses. But what are you going to do, if you're a Christian? Will this setback disrupt your contentment with life? Will you shake your fist at God? Toss and turn at night? If so, I submit that it's because you don't know how truly rich you are. If you're that upset about your status with other people, if you're constantly lashing out at people for hurting your feelings, you might call it a lack of self-control or a lack of self-esteem, and it is. But more fundamentally, you have totally lost touch with your identity. As a Christian, you're a spiritual billionaire and you're wringing your hands over ten dollars. [Tim Keller, The Two Advocates (Encounters with Jesus Series) (Penguin Group, 2014)]


The apostle tells us in Galatians 5:13, �For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don�t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.�

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Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)
29 Don�t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

Those who are forgiven by God should have in them a forgiving spirit. Foul and abusive language is not suited well to showing love for another, but instead shows contempt towards them. Our words should be encouraging as to lift up the spirit of those who hear us.



My grandfather had never been one to attend church. My grandmother on the other hand attended church almost every week with her parents. For my grandmother attending church was important and she wanted my grandfather to attend as well.

After some coaxing my grandfather began attending Sunday School with my grandmother. They were regularly attending at least for a while. Then one Saturday night my grandfather and grandmother were downtown when they ran into their Sunday school teacher. The teacher had been out drinking and was obviously intoxicating.

The man started making crude comments to my grandmother, which offended my grandfather. He politely told him he needed to go home. However the damage was already done. My grandfather never went back to the Sunday school class. He told my grandmother if that was the way Christian�s acted he didn�t need to be a part of it.


All it takes is the wrong words or the wrong actions and we can alienate those around us. Our words have a powerful impact. Used wrongly we can hurt people and harden their hearts with words alone. Used wisely our words can encourage, lift spirits and bring joy to others. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

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