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Originally Posted by Jedi_Knight
Speaking of marathons, I was running a half marathon race once and was tired..and a man was behind yelling Bible verses, "They shall soar like eagles..."

It was very inspiring to hear and gave me the extra mental push I needed to force my body to perform better.


The word of God can even teach us along the way in a race; especially the race of life.

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Genesis 6 (1-2) NKJ
1 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.

In the verses above we find that man has begun to multiply across the earth. There has been a blending of people; those from the linage of Seth and those from the linage of Cain. The men took wives based on their appearance and not of their hearts. The remainder of Genesis Chapter 6 is about God taking notice of man�s depravity and thinking about man�s destruction to remove them from sin. Yet a man named Noah found favor in God�s eyes.



Genesis 6:13-17 says, And God said to Noah, �The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.

When Noah heard these words he was most likely puzzled, but verse 22 tells us that Noah did all God commanded him. First there had never been floodwaters. Genesis 2:6 tells us that a mist us to come up from the ground to water the earth. No one had seen rain. No one had ever needed a boat. Man had never been destroyed in any great manner. Yet Noah believed God and acted on faith.

It was a big task to build a boat of the nature described. It took years and years of labor. It took resources to obtain the materials needed. Yet Noah did the work on faith with the help of his children and without complaint. Noah didn�t even question how all the animals would get on board.

If God asked you to take on a project that seemed crazy, impossible and unheard of; would you step forward to do the work even if it took years? We have to remember if God calls us to do something; God will be behind us to see that the work is done and our needs are met.

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Genesis 7 (7-5) NKJV
7 Then the Lord said to Noah, �Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. 2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.� 5 And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.

Genesis 7 is an account of the world being destroyed by a great flood The Lord sent upon the earth. The rain fell for 40 days and 40 nights. The flood waters covered the earth for one hundred and fifty day days. Mountains were covered so they could not be seen. Every living thing that lived upon the face of the ground was destroyed expect that which was on the ark with Noah.



All the words of The Bible are important for they tell a story. These stories benefit us in different ways from knowing historical facts, understanding life and even seeing how great people failed. The Bible offers hope, grace and mercy that come with salvation from The Lord. So it important to read and know what is in The Bible.

One common error people make about the great flood deals with the animals that were upon the ark. I have seen children�s books with this error and it is repeated by word as fact. The error is that many believe only one pair of animals were taken on the ark. In fact The Bible tells us there was one pair of unclean animals and seven pairs of clean animals. The clean animals were good for man, while the unclean animals were not. In having more clean animals God ensured the animals good for man would survive.

I mention this point because there are times when science comes in conflict with religion. People will ask, what happened to the dinosaurs and science will give an explanation. Here in Genesis 7 we may have also found an explanation. There was only one pair of each of type of dinosaurs. Because of the flood the earth�s climate would have changed and it�s very possible these animals did not survive. So in reality there are times science and religion can co-exist. I just know The Bible says God did it and however it was done; it was done by God.

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1 John 4:20-21 (NIV)
20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

As a basis to Christianity we profess to love God. God through Christ tells us to love those around us. Therefore how can a Christian profess to love God who cannot be seen and yet not love those in need who can be see?



A young lady named Sally took a seminary class taught by Professor Smith, who was known for his elaborate object lessons. One day Sally walked into class to find a large target placed on the wall, with several darts resting on a nearby table. Professor Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone they disliked or someone who had made them angry�and he would allow them to throw darts at the person's picture.

Sally's friend (on her right), drew a picture of another woman who had stolen her boyfriend. Another friend (on her left), drew a picture of his younger brother. Sally drew a picture of Professor Smith, putting a great deal of detail into her drawing, even drawing pimples on his face! She was quite pleased at the overall effect she'd achieved.

The class lined up and began throwing darts amidst much laughter. Some of the students threw with such force that they ripped apart their targets. But Sally, looking forward to her turn, was filled with disappointment when Professor Smith asked the students to return to their seats so he could begin his lecture. As Sally fumed about missing her chance to throw the darts, the professor began removing the target from the wall.

Underneath the target was a picture of Jesus. A hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled image of their Savior�holes and jagged marks covered his face. His eyes were virtually pierced out.

Professor Smith said only these words, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

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John 8:31-32 (NIV)
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, �If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.�

Those whom Christ sets free are free indeed. It is because of the love, mercy and grace of Christ that they are free from the penalties of sin and no other reason. Their hearts will be filled with the truth and the truth will guide them free from sin.



In the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as King Arthur and his knights seek the Holy Grail, they come to a bridge that spans an abyss of eternal peril. A bridge keeper allows people to cross this bridge only if they can answer three questions. Get one wrong, and you're tossed into the pit.

Lancelot is the first tested. The keeper asks him, "What is your name?" Lancelot answers.

"What is your quest?"

Lancelot answers, "To seek the Holy Grail."

"What is your favorite color?"

"Blue."

"Right," says the bridge keeper, "off you go." Lancelot crosses the bridge, amazed this was so easy.

The second knight similarly states his name and quest. But the third question is now, "What is the capital of Assyria?"

"I don't know that."

The knight is hurled, screaming, into the abyss.

The third knight, Sir Galahad, is nervous as he's asked his name and quest, but he answers correctly.

"What is your favorite color?"

Sir Galahad panics. "Blue…no, yellow--Aaaaahhhh," he screams as he is hurled into the pit.

Finally, the king steps up. "What is your name?"

"Arthur, King of the Britains."

"What is your quest?"

"To seek the Holy Grail."

"What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?"

"What do you mean," asks Arthur, "an African or European swallow?"

"What? I don't know that," answers the bridge keeper, who immediately is launched into the abyss. Arthur and his followers thereafter cross the bridge unhindered.

Many people's idea of the gospel is that some day we'll get to the bridge to paradise and be asked, "Why should you be allowed to cross?" As long as we answer correctly, we make it across. Answer wrongly, and we're cast into the abyss. The gospel is redefined to be the announcement of the minimal entrance requirements for getting into heaven….

Jesus never said, "Now I'm going to tell you what you need to say to get into heaven when you die." Jesus' good news is we no longer have to live in the guilt, failure, and impotence of our own strength. The transforming presence and power of God is available through Christ right here, right now. To live in that power, you must become his disciple. [John Ortberg, "True (and False) Transformation," Leadership (Summer 2002), pp.101-102]

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James 1:2-3 (NLT)
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

We must not sink into a sad and disconsolate frame of mind, which would make us faint under our trials; but must endeavour to keep our spirits dilated and enlarged, the better to take in a true sense of our case, and with greater advantage to set ourselves to make the best of it. Philosophy may instruct men to be calm under their troubles; but Christianity teaches them to be joyful, because such exercises proceed from love and not fury in God. In them we are conformable to Christ our head, and they become marks of our adoption. By suffering in the ways of righteousness, we are serving the interests of our Lord's kingdom among men, and edifying the body of Christ; and our trials will brighten our graces now and our crown at last. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



On that tragic morning of September 11, 2001, The Brooklyn Tabernacle lost four of its members. One victim was a police officer. The officer's funeral was held at the church building, and Rudy Giuliani, then mayor of New York City, had been asked to share a few thoughts. In his book You Were Made for More, Jim Cymbala, pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle, records what the mayor shared with the audience that morning:

"You know people, I've learned something through all this. Let me see if I can express it to you. When everybody was fleeing that building, and the cops and the firefighters and the EMS people were heading up into it, do you think any of them said, 'I wonder how many blacks are up there for us to save? I wonder what percentage are whites up here? How many Jews are there? Let's see�are these people making $400,000 a year, or $24,000, or�?'

"No, when you're saving lives, they're all precious. And that's how we're supposed to live all the time. How would you want the cops to treat you if you were on the seventy-fifth floor that day? Would you want them to say, 'Excuse me, but I've got to get the bosses out first'? Not exactly.

"I confess I haven't always lived this way. But I'm convinced that God wants us to do it. He wants us to value every human life the way he does."

The words of the mayor moved everyone who had gathered that day for the funeral. Cymbala concludes:

"I sat there thinking, My goodness, the mayor is preaching a truth that has eluded so many of our churches throughout New York and the country! He may have stood for other policies that I could not agree with, but on that day, he was right on the mark. The truth of what he said penetrated my heart.

The world you and I live in is falling apart before our eyes. We are God's only representatives on the planet and simply cannot take time to pick and choose who needs help. They all need help. They all need the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. They all need to be rescued from the horror of an eternity apart from God. [Jim Cymbala, You Were Made for More (Zondervan, 2008), pp. 94-96]

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Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)
7 Don�t be misled�you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

We should not deceive ourselves for our sins will leave a trail that can be seen by God. What we do has consequences in our life either for good or evil. Those who try to satisfy their sinful nature will reap the consequences associated with the actions of their sin. Those who try to please God through the Holy Spirit will harvest lasting goodness.




"Be sure your sin will find you out," Numbers 32:23 tells us. But in the case of this story, we could also say "Be sure your Cheetos will find you out." During the early morning hours of January 6, 2013, county deputies were called to the Cassatt Country Store in Cassatt, South Carolina to investigate a burglary. The deputies determined that someone had broken into the store and stolen beer, cigarettes, snack foods, and energy drinks. The burglar only stole $160 worth of goods, but caused about $2,500 in damages.

The store manager, Howard "Buck" Buckholz, said, "He knocked out our front door, he knocked out the beer cooler, and stole beer, cigarettes, Slim Jims, and in his haste, he punctured two or three bags of Cheetos." That was the burglar's undoing. Buckholz said, "Cheetos were all over the parking lot, at the place where he parked his car, and at the residence." The police followed the trail of cheesy dust right to the house where the burglar was staying with a friend. As investigators approached the front door of the home, they observed more fresh Cheetos on the front porch. Buckholz added, "He was very easy to catch. It was a very quick deal." [Kevin Dolak, "Trail of Cheetos Leads to Store Robber," ABC News (1-19-13)]


After watching many crime shows over the years, it is obvious people are never as clever as they think they are; for they always leave behind a piece of evidence that will eventually be found. I remember in one show a thief left behind his wallet, which led police straight to him. And if we are so easily found out by man then we cannot deceive God who is all knowing.

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Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT)
7 �Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

In these verses Jesus gave us the basis of effective prayer � Keep on seeking and Keep on asking. Ask we seek and ask for the answers to prayers the door will be opened until we find the appropriate response.



In her book Holy the Firm, Annie Dillard writes of attending a small church with some 20 people:

The minister is a Congregationalist and wears a white shirt. The man knows God. Once, in the middle of the long pastoral prayer of intercession for the whole world for the gift of wisdom to its leaders, for hope and mercy to the grieving and pained, succor to the oppressed, and God's grace to all in the middle of this he stopped and burst out, "Lord, we bring you these same petitions every week." After a shocked pause, he continued reading the prayer. Because of this, I like him very much. [Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm (HarperCollins, 1999)]

Above we find the minister being honest in his prayer. The same basic prayer had been offered week after week. The desire was there for an answer, but an answer wasn�t coming in the manner everyone wanted. So in his desperation he called out to God, �Lord we bring you these same petitions every week.� The minister was still asking and still seeking for a response. Be assured God is listening and God is working on the response. Sometimes the response just doesn�t come in the time constraint we have placed upon God.

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James 1:5 (NLT)
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God, under a sense of our own weakness and folly, to ask for wisdom. He to whom we are sent, we are sure, has it to give: and he is of a giving disposition, inclined to bestow this upon those who ask. Nor is there any fear of his favours being limited to some in this case, so as to exclude others, or any humble petitioning soul; for he gives to all men. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



In his book The Many Faces of Evil, author John Feinberg tells the story of when his wife, Pat, was diagnosed with Huntington's Chorea�a genetically-transmitted disease that causes deterioration in the brain, thus causing deterioration of physical and psychological abilities. John and Pat were not only concerned about the future of her health, but the health of their children. If one parent has the gene that causes Huntington's, children of that parent have a 50-50 chance of suffering from the same disease. What was also troubling to John was that they had no warning that Huntington's was a possibility for Pat�and they should have been warned. Soon after the diagnosis, they requested a copy of Pat's mother's medical chart to see if there was any family history of the disease, and Pat's mother had suffered from Huntington's unbeknownst to the family. Feinberg was angry, realizing this diagnosis came five years before he met his wife. It could have altered everything! But Feinberg writes of his realization that the hidden knowledge was a gift of grace from God:

For twenty years that information had been there, and at any time we could have found it out. Why, then, did God not give it to us until 1987?

As I wrestled with that question, I began to see his love and concern for us. God kept it hidden because he wanted me to marry Pat, who is a wonderful wife. My life would be impoverished without her, and I would have missed the blessings of being married to her had I known earlier.

God wanted our three sons to be born. Each is a blessing and a treasure, but we would have missed that had we known earlier. And God knew that we needed to be in a community of brothers and sisters in Christ at church and at the seminary who would love us and care for us at this darkest hour.

And so he withheld that information, not because he accidentally overlooked giving it to us, and not because he is an uncaring God who delights in seeing his children suffer. He withheld it as a sign of his great care for us. There is never a good time to receive such news, but God knew that this was exactly the right time. [John S. Feinberg, The Many Faces of Evil (Crossway Books, 2004), pp. 464-465]


We often wrestle with the issues we face in our life. The Lord is faithful in seeing us through to an answer. He provides us wisdom to see our life for what it is. John Feinberg was distraught over the diagnosis of his wife, but God showed him the beautiful blessings John would have missed out on had things been any different.

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James 4:10 (NKJV)
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Jesus taught in the book of Matthew that those who humble themselves shall be exalted. Here James reminds us to humble ourselves before God and God Himself will lift you up. Matthew Henry wrote, �God will revive the spirit of the humble (Isa. 57:15), He will hear the desire of the humble (Ps. 10:17), and he will at last life them up to glory. Before honour is humility. The highest honour in heaven will be the reward of the greatest humility on earth.�



Here's some good news: if you're like most people, you're way above average�at almost everything. Psychologists call this the state of "illusory superiority." (It's also called "The Lake Wobegone Effect," from Garrison Keillor's fictional Minnesota town where "all the children are above average.") It simply means that we tend to inflate our positive qualities and abilities, especially in comparison to other people.

Numerous research studies have revealed this tendency to overestimate ourselves. For instance, when researches asked a million high school students how well they got along with their peers, none of the students rated themselves below average. As a matter of fact, 60 percent of students believed they were in the top 10 percent; 25 percent rated themselves in the top one percent. You'd think college professors might have more self-insight, but they were just as biased about their abilities. Two percent rated themselves below average; 10 percent were average and 63 were above average; while 25 percent rated themselves as truly exceptional.

Of course this is statistically impossible. One researcher summarized the data this way: "It's the great contradiction: the average person believes he is a better person than the average person." Christian psychologist Mark McMinn contends that the "Lake Wobegone Effect" reveals our pride. He writes, "One of the clearest conclusions of social science research is that we are proud. We think better of ourselves than we really are, we see our faults in faint black and white rather than in vivid color, and we assume the worst in others while assuming the best in ourselves." [Matt Woodley, managing editor, PreachingToday.com; sources: "Study: Self-Images Often Erroneously Inflate," ABC News (11-9-05); Mark McMinn, Why Sin Matters (Tyndale, 2004), pp. 69-71]


We all really do have a hard time in admitting our mistakes, our weaknesses and our faults. Yet God has told us that humility leads to honor and that He will support us even when we fail. If we can just learn to truly humble ourselves before God then we would be able to let go of many of our problems.

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Proverbs 27:2 (NIV)
2 Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.

We must do that which is commendable, for which even strangers may praise us. Our light must shine before men, and we must do good works that may be seen, though we must not do them on purpose that they may be seen. Let our own works be such as will praise us, even in the gates, Phil. 4:8. 2. When we have done it we must not commend ourselves, for that is an evidence of pride, folly, and self-love, and a great lessening to a man's reputation. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



"We're an overconfident species," contends New York Times columnist David Brooks. Brooks calls it a "magnification of the self," and he believes this glut of self-esteem is especially rampant in the United States. To back up these claims, Brooks cites an array of statistics, studies, and observations:
When pollsters ask people from around the world to rate themselves on different traits, Americans usually supply the most positive self-ratings.

Although American students do not perform well on global math tests, they are among the world leaders in having self-confidence about their math abilities.

Compared to college students from 30 years ago, today's college students are much more likely to agree with statements such as "I am easy to like."

94 percent of college professors believe they have above-average teaching skills.

70 percent of high school students surveyed claim they have above-average leadership skills, and only 2 percent are below average.

Brooks observes that a few decades ago it would have been unthinkable for a baseball player to celebrate himself in the batter's box after hitting a home run. Today it is routine.

Similarly, pop singers wouldn't have composed songs about their own greatness; now those songs dominate the charts.

The number of high school seniors who believed that they were "a very important person": in the 1950s�12 percent; in the 1990s�80 percent.

According to Brooks, American men are especially susceptible to the perils of overconfidence. Men unintentionally drown twice as often as women (because men have great faith in their swimming ability, especially after drinking).

"In short," Brooks concludes, "there's abundant evidence to suggest that we have shifted a bit from a culture that emphasized self-effacement�I'm not better than anybody else, but nobody is better than me�to a culture that emphasizes self-expansion." [David Brooks, "The Modesty Manifesto," The New York Times (3-21-11)]

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John 4:24 (NKJV)
24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

It is required of all that worship God that they worship him in spirit and in truth. We must depend upon God's Spirit for strength and assistance, laying our souls under his influences and operations; we must devote our own spirits to, and employ them in, the service of God, must worship him with fixedness of thought and a flame of affection, with all that is within us. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



I was riding the crowded subway in New York City. Every 10 to 15 seconds or so, someone behind me shouted unintelligible words. The first time, I ignored them. After several outbursts, however, I turned around to see that they were coming from a disheveled man behind me.

Sitting fairly close to him was a woman reading a newspaper. As I watched, he reached out, touched her knee, and quickly brought his hand back. Not getting any response, he did it again a few seconds later. It seemed like a game a small child might play; each time, his face showed that he was pretending not to have touched her. No one said anything, but those sitting near him exchanged nervous glances and began to inch away.

I was caught off guard by what happened next. The woman put down her paper and looked at the man. I expected her to rebuke him. Instead, she politely engaged the man in conversation. "Do you know where your stop is?"

He nodded that he did.

"Do you need any help getting to where you need to go?"

He shook his head no.

I don't know what motivated this woman to treat a stranger on the subway with such kindness. But the way she asked these questions showed that she was genuinely concerned for his welfare. She chose to respond to him as a real person with real needs, not just as an annoyance on her commute.

The incident reminded me of how the Apostle Paul saw people: "We regard no one from a worldly point of view" (2 Cor. 5:16). Many people on that subway car including me had looked at the man from a human point of view. In contrast, the woman who spoke to him reflected the perspective Paul described. She addressed him as a person who had inherent worth. [Chuck Broughton, "Reflecting God's Nature," Discipleship Journal (Jan/Feb 2003), pp. 35-36]


In worshiping God we are to do so in truth and in spirit, putting aside our earthly selves. When we learn to worship God in that way we can put aside many of our earthly faults and learn to show love for our fellow man. For God shows us grace, mercy and love just like the woman showed the man on the subway.

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That's a nice story.
I'm often in awe as I witness people from diverse backgrounds show love towards one another.
I witnessed it with my daughter a while back. I take my kids skating weekly and when my girl was 7, a mentally retarded man grabbed her hair while she was sitting in a table booth at the skate rink. He was very loud and it was obvious to all he was retarded.
The mans older brother immediately came and made him release my girls hair (I was not next to her, but making my way towards her). The mans brother apologized and I spoke with my daughter and asks if she was alright. She said she was. I told her I was sorry, that the man looks like a grown up but he is likea toddler in a grown up body. She said she knew that and although she was visibly shaken, said it was okay.

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Mark 9:35 (NKJV)
35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, �If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.�

Christ explains to His disciples those who are considered the greatest are the people who put aside themselves to serve God and place the needs of others first.



It is the desire for God which is the most fundamental appetite of all, and it is an appetite we can never eliminate. We may seek to disown it, but it will not go away. If we deny that it is there, we shall in fact only divert it to some other object or range of objects. And that will mean that we invest some creature or creatures with the full burden of our need for God, a burden which no creature can carry. �Friar and author Simon Tugwell, The Beatitudes


The above words point to the fact that when we place ourselves first, we tend to invest in things other than God to meet our needs. In making ourselves first, we make ourselves last with God. When we surrender to God and perform His will then we make ourselves last and become first priority with God.

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Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)
2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other�s faults because of your love.

These are great words when it comes to relationships with others. We should be humble and gentle towards one another; for arrogance and harshness will create bitterness in any relationship. Allow room for one another�s faults out of love for each another. When we humbly correct a fault we win over the person to show them our concern for their care.



Time printed a photograph of the back of Washington Redskins quarterback Jeff George (his helmet off, revealing a big, white-skinned bald spot) sitting on the bench flanked by two African-American teammates, each with a supportive hand on his shoulder.

The caption read, "What counts most in creating a successful team is not how compatible its players are, but how they deal with incompatibility." ["We Illustrated," Time (11-18-02)]


There are differences in each of us, both physical and mental. We have different thoughts, different objectives and different goals. We must however learn to put the differences aside so that we may show love towards each other. We can start this process by being humble and gentle with each other and allow for each other�s faults.

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Psalm 59:16 (NLT)
16 But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.
For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.

God's power by which he is able to help us, and his mercy by which he is inclined to help us, will justly be the everlasting praise of all the saints. [Matthew Henry]



On June 22, 2007, a hit-and-run incident left Daniel McConchie paralyzed from the waist down. Daniel says that since that traumatic day, "God has not healed my affliction, but he has taught me the power of lamenting to him about it." He adds:

To our detriment, one of the most overlooked portions of Scripture in modern-day America are the psalms of lament. However, David repeatedly demonstrated that laments make obvious our intense faith in God, that he can and will intervene in our time of need. They demonstrate just how deep our relationship with the Father really is. After all, we don't communicate our grief and mourning to strangers. We save that for those we truly know and love. [Daniel McConchie, Vernon Hills, Illinois]


In Psalm 59 King Saul had sent soldiers after David to kill him, but God�s hand of protection was upon David. While David wrestled with the distress he was under, David was still about to praise God for His unfailing love. God is a refuge and a place of safety when we are under distress. Let us always turn to God with a heart of joy and thanksgiving.

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James 1:2-4 (NLT)
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

We must not sink into a sad and disconsolate frame of mind, which would make us faint under our trials; but must endeavour to keep our spirits dilated and enlarged, the better to take in a true sense of our case, and with greater advantage to set ourselves to make the best of it. Philosophy may instruct men to be calm under their troubles; but Christianity teaches them to be joyful, because such exercises proceed from love and not fury in God. [Matthew Henry Commentary]




In his book Hope Is Contagious, (Zondervan, 2010), Ken Hutcherson shares a moment from his personal life that illustrates well the ability to foster joy in the midst of trying circumstances, even as he was battling cancer:

You can face anything in life�anything�and have that same inner peace and joy. And when you do, it's contagious. It lifts up everyone else around you. Isn't that the type of person you want to be? Instead of joining over and over again in the whining about how bad things are, just your presence shows others that, hey, life is still a wonderful gift we should all be enjoying.

[One day] I was relaxing in my recliner after having spent five hours in the emergency room the night before. I'll admit I was exhausted, and the pain medication wasn't working as well as I would have liked. I looked around and saw my family going about their lives as usual. Video games. Chores. Music. Laughter. My wife, Pat, was fixing breakfast. Even our new little puppy was settling into a comfortable routine and enjoying everyone's efforts to spoil him. A visitor stopped by to chat. Some friends from church surprised me with a birthday cake�I had almost forgotten it was my birthday. So there I sat, surrounded by so much goodness even as I'm feeling lousy. My favorite cake is staring at me, but I have no appetite. My eleven-year-old runs past me, and I don't have enough energy to grab him and wrestle him to the ground like I used to. I'm trying to have a conversation with my guests, but between the short night and the powerful pain pills, I can barely stay alert. And you know what I'm thinking? Can you imagine how close I am to being overwhelmed with what is happening to me?

The words practically shouted from inside of me: "Isn't God great? What a privilege to be his child!"


Often our bodies and minds want to tell us there is no joy to be found. The Apostle Paul experienced this as he sat in prison. There were times he was hungry, cold and alone. Yet Acts 16:25 tells us, �Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.� Even though Paul was still in prison he found the strength to sing hymns to God, which encouraged the other prisoners around him. In your struggles stay joyful that others may see the hope of God in you.

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Proverbs 21:21 (NLT)
21 Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.

What it is to make religion our business; it is to follow after righteousness and mercy, not to content ourselves with easy performances, but to do our duty with the utmost care and pains, as those that are pressing forward and in fear of coming short. We must both do justly and love mercy, and must proceed and persevere therein; and, though we cannot attain to perfection, yet it will be a comfort to us if we aim at it and follow after it. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



If you want to be recognized in life, be recognized for the important things. Let others speak of you favorably. Let them acknowledge your love for others. Let them tell how you helped those in need. Yes, above all pursue righteousness and unfailing love that you might find a life of righteousness and honor.

As King Solomon tells us in The Bible, what is life but a pursuit of futility? In Ecclesiastes he said, �I came to hate all my hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned. And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless! So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world. Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn�t worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy. So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety? Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless.�

Make your life meaningful, not by pursuing the treasures of this world, but by storing your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.

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2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NLT)
3 Dear brothers and sisters, we can�t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.

We are bound, and it is our duty, to be thankful to God for all the good that is found in us or others: and it not only is an act of kindness to our fellow Christians, but our duty, to thank God on their behalf. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



Stephen Mansfield tells a true story about a church that had an incredible ministry to men. For years the driving force behind the men's ministry was a man named Taylor. His ministry rocked on for years, changing lives and impacting the community. But in the midst of a major transition within the church, Taylor got hurt deeply by his own community and he left the church. He wouldn't talk to anybody. People figured he'd come back eventually, but he didn't.

Finally, some of the men in the church took it upon themselves to reach out to Brother Taylor. After some discussion with the other guys at church they came up with a bold plan: they would set up camp in Taylor's yard�150 men! So they set up rotating shifts and said they wouldn't leave until Taylor came out. They had electric lines running from neighboring houses to power televisions. About twenty smokers and grills worked up some great barbeque food. They were in for the long haul! They even had big signs all over the place: "Taylor, come out." "We love you." "Taylor, we know you're in there."

Taylor didn't appreciate it. He even called the police on his former friends. As a matter of fact, the police showed up twice a day for almost a week. And every time they came, Taylor would came to the door to explain the situation. And every time the men camping in his year would explode with cheers until Taylor finished his chat with the police and went back inside.

But on the sixth day, when Taylor opened the door for the police and the men exploded with cheers, Taylor finally broke down and started crying his eyes out. He sputtered how sorry he was, and then he came out from his porch and greeted the guys who had camped in his yard and refused to go away. Such is the power of committed, persistent friendship. [Adapted from Stephen Mansfield, Mansfields's Book of Manly Men (Nelson Books, 2013), pp. 241-244]


Let our love for one another continue to grow. When others feel distraught or persecuted, let us show our love towards them just as God has shown His love towards us. May we all life up one another in love to help one another endure the hardships of life.

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1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT)
13 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn�t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God�s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn�t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn�t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Here the apostle describes love in its fullest and most extensive meaning � true love to God and man. Note that while men may claim many gifts that without love there is nothing gained.




Tim Sanders, leadership coach and former Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo! who urges managers and supervisors to let their subordinates know how much they appreciate them. Sanders advocates leading through loving in his book Love Is the Killer App, and from the platform of multiple leadership conferences. He often tells the story of a young manager named Steve, who was challenged by one of Sanders's radio interviews.

Steve resolved to visit each of his employees, all six of whom he had not seen face to face in over six months even though they worked in the same building and on the same floor. Steve wanted to tell each of them how much he appreciated them, and name one thing they did excellently.

After the visit from Steve, one of his software engineers, Lenny, presented him with an Xbox gaming console. Steve was taken aback, as he knew Lenny had taken pay cuts over the last year. But he was more surprised to learn that the money had come from the sale of a nine-millimeter pistol�a pistol Lenny had bought months earlier with the intention of killing himself. Lenny told him of his mother's death the previous year, and of his ensuing loneliness and depression:

I started a routine every night after work: eating a bowl of Ramen, listening to Nirvana, and getting the gun out. It took almost a month to get the courage to put the bullets in the gun. It took another couple of months to get used to the feeling of the barrel of the gun on the top of my teeth. For the last few weeks, I was putting ever so slight pressure on the trigger, and I was getting so close, Steve�so close.

Last week, you freaked me out. You came into my cubicle, put your arm around me, and told me you appreciated me because I turn in all my projects early, and that helps you sleep at night. You also said that I have a great sense of humor over e-mail and that you are glad I came into your life.

That night I went home, ate Ramen, and listened to Nirvana�and when I got the gun out, it scared me silly for the first time. All I could think about was what you said�that you were glad I came into your life.

The next day I went back to the pawnshop and sold the gun. I remembered that you had said you wanted the Xbox more than anything, but with a new baby at home could not afford it. So, for my life, you get this game. Thanks, boss.

"Sometimes people just need people," Sanders writes. "They need encouragement. You have no idea how lonely and sad some people might be. Love them everywhere�not just at home, but at work, or wherever you find them."

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