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AskMe #2852601 05/04/15 08:02 AM
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Isaiah 5:11 �Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!�

A warning that those addicted to alcohol � they will find themselves seeking a drink early in the morning, followed by many strong drinks throughout the day until they find themselves controlled by their addiction into the night.


'Star Trek' Actress Grace Lee Whitney Dies at 85
LOS ANGELES � May 4, 2015, 8:30 AM ET (AP)

Grace Lee Whitney, who played Captain Kirk's assistant on the original "Star Trek" series, has died. She was 85.

Whitney died of natural causes Friday in her home in the Central California town of Coarsegold, about 50 miles north of Fresno, her son Jonathan Dweck said on Sunday.

Whitney played Yeoman Janice Rand in the first eight episodes before being written out of the series. In her 1998 autobiography "The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy," she wrote that her acting career largely came to an end and she became an alcoholic.

She wrote that she struggled with her addiction for many years before getting treatment and regaining her career with the help of Leonard Nimoy, who starred as Spock in the series.

She returned for the movie franchise, reprising her role in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," ''Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," ''Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" and "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country."

Dweck said his mother would have liked to be remembered more as a successful survivor of addiction than for her "Star Trek" fame. She dedicated the last 35 years of her life helping people with addiction problems, some of whom she met at "Star Trek" conventions, he said.

"Over time, she became appreciative of her short time on 'Star Trek' because she developed meaningful relationships with the fans, Leonard Nimoy and other cast members," Dweck said.

Besides Jonathan, she was survived by her other son, Scott Dweck.


Addictions will take you places you don�t want to go and much further than you ever intended to travel. People have ruined their lives and some never recovered. A few have found grace and managed to control what otherwise controlled them. Grace Lee Whitney may have lost a career with a TV show, but she dedicated 35 years of her life helping others over the struggles she faced.

AskMe #2852672 05/05/15 05:48 AM
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Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Avoid anxious care and distracting thought in the wants and difficulties of life. It is the duty and interest of Christians to live without care. There is a care of diligence which is our duty, and consists in a wise forecast and due concern; but there is a care of diffidence and distrust which is our sin and folly, and which only perplexes and distracts the mind. "Be careful for nothing, so as by your care to distrust God, and unfit yourselves for his service. [Excerpts from Matthew Henry]



Prayer is one of the most common phenomena of human life. Even deliberately nonreligious people pray at times. Studies have shown that in secularized countries, prayer continues to be practiced not only by those who have no religious preference but even by many of those who do not believe in God. One 2004 study found that nearly 30 percent of atheists admitted they prayed "sometimes," and another found that 17 percent of nonbelievers in God pray regularly. The frequency of prayer increases with age, even among those who do not return to church or identify with any institutional faith. Italian scholar Giuseppe Giordan summarized: "In virtually all studies of the sociology of religious behavior it is clearly apparent that a very high percentage of people declare they pray every day�and many say even many times a day."

Does this mean that everyone prays? No, it does not. Many atheists are rightly offended by the saying "There are no atheists in foxholes." There are many people who do not pray even in times of extreme danger. Still, though prayer � is a global [reality], inhabiting all cultures and involving the overwhelming majority of people at some point in their lives. Efforts to find cultures, even very remote and isolated ones, without some form of religion and prayer have failed. There has always been some form of attempt to "communicate between human and divine realms." There seems to be a human instinct for prayer. Swiss theologian Karl Barth calls it our "incurable God-sickness." [Tim Keller, Prayer (Penguin Group, 2014), page 36]


James 1:5-8 says, �If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.�

Everyone can pray, but if you want to know the real power of prayer, pray to The Living God who gives generously to us when we pray without doubt. Let us go to God with confidence knowing anything we ask according to His will, He will hear and respond.

AskMe #2852722 05/06/15 05:24 AM
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1 Corinthian 13:4-7 (NLT)
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Here the apostle gives the church the definition of true love. It is love intended for man to show to others. It was the love Christ lived out here on earth. It is the love we are to know.



In relationships there are two roles with love, the giver and the receiver. Ideally these roles reverse throughout a relationship such that one partner gives while the other partner receives and then the roles swap. Ideally, both partners give and receive whole-heartedly for the right reasons without any strings attached. In a relationship there should always be a healthy balance between the giver and the receiver. One person should never be giving to the point of overwhelming the other person, while the receiver should never take and take without consideration for the other.

Take a moment to fill in the sentences below with the name of someone you feel love towards and quietly answer to yourself if you believe the sentence to be true. Then take the same sentences using your name and consider the person who you just examined and decide if the sentence is true about you in regards to that person. Also consider how much one does for the other to see if you are somewhat balanced in your actions.


_____ is patient and kind.
_____ is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
_____ does not demand their own way.
_____ is not typically an irritable, and keeps no record of being wronged.
_____ does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
_____ never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.


As you review these ask if they are true. If you find some not matching up there may be some problems which need to be examined. True love will always find a way to make things right.

AskMe #2852834 05/07/15 06:49 AM
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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God�s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

We should always find joy in our relationship with The Lord. For The Lord provides for all our needs. It should lead us to a state of thankfulness no matter what our circumstance knowing that God is watching after us as one of His own children.



Blooming where you're planted has never been a problem for Los Angeles elevator operator Ruben Pardo. For 35 years, he has driven and steered one of the last manual elevators in the city, located in an Art Deco office building on Wilshire Boulevard. His life is simple, some might even say mundane. But his purpose is clear and his heart is full of joy and gratitude.

Every day young, bright graphic designers, web branders, and search engine optimizers ride Pardo's beautifully ornate elevator to their loft offices. And every day, Pardo greets them by name with cheer. While young employees come and go, Pardo is a fixture in the building. One young executive said, "He's been in this elevator longer than I've been on the planet."

Pardo, the son of a shop owner, was born in Mexico City. When he was seven, his family moved to the States. Through hard work like painting garages, shoveling snow, and operating elevators like the one he still manages, he was able to support himself, and eventually, his wife. Pardo works six days a week and rarely takes paid vacations. Every Sunday, he takes his wife to dinner as a gesture of gratitude. Padro exclaims, "[My wife and I] are happy."

While the young people in the office building move off to school, get married, and travel the world, Pardo remains steady and constant, doing the thing that he's done for 35 years. "I love my small, little world," he says. And yet here's how Luis Zavala, a 33-year-old Web graphic designer, describes Pardo: "It's like a glass of fresh water every morning. I don't know how he does it, but every day for him just seems to be a bright opportunity for something." [Bonnie McMaken, Wheaton, Illinois; source: Nita Lelyveld, "Elevator operator's overriding story: joy." Los Angeles Times (10-15-11)]


Many of us try seeking out things to make us happy, but things do not bring us lasting joy. For tomorrow there will always be a new and better cell phone or a digital gadget that captures our attention. No, things are not the answer to joy. The answer is a close and intimate relationship with The Lord for He will show you how to find joy in all things, even the simple things like running an elevator.

AskMe #2852909 05/08/15 06:28 AM
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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.

The apostle exhorts them to a prudent and decent conduct towards all those with whom they conversed, towards the heathen world, or those out of the Christian church among whom they lived. Let all your discourse be as becomes Christians, suitable to your profession-savoury, discreet, seasonable. [Matthew Henry]



The names Jerry Falwell and Larry Flynt may provoke strong reactions from some people in our culture. But the following story, shared by Falwell's son Jonathan, describes a moving conversation between the Baptist pastor and the publisher of Hustler magazine.

Years ago, Jonathan traveled with his dad to Florida where the senior Falwell was debating Larry Flynt. Jonathan recalls:

Mr. Flynt asked my dad if we could give him a ride back to Lynchburg in my dad's private jet. Dad said yes so we traveled to the airport and boarded a beautiful black and gold Gulfstream III. As we flew to Virginia, I sat across from dad and Mr. Flynt as they had a long conversation about sports, food, politics and other ordinary topics. I was amazed and bewildered because they kept talking like old friends. After we dropped off Mr. Flynt in Lynchburg, I asked dad, "How come you could sit on that airplane and carry on a conversation with Larry Flynt as if you guys were lifelong buddies? Dad, he's the exact opposite of everything you believe in; he does all of the things you preach against; and yet you were treating him like a member of your own church. Why?"

Dad's response changed my whole outlook on ministry. "Jonathan," he said, "there's going to be a day when Larry is hurting and lonely, and he'll be looking for help and guidance. He is going to pick up the phone and call someone who can help him. I want to earn the right to be that phone call!" [Jon Greggo, �Conversations That Changed Me,� Outreach Magazine, (2010 Outreach 100 Special Issue), p.82;]


Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone then it will be evident of your love for The Lord. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity to extend the love of God to them. For we are God�s people and we represent his love, mercy and grace.

AskMe #2853148 05/12/15 06:04 AM
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Proverbs 31:10;27-28 (NIV)
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

This description of the virtuous woman is designed to show what wives the women should make and what wives the men should choose. [Matthew Henry]



In the movie Pieces of April, April Burns (Katie Holmes) is the wayward child of a highly dysfunctional family. For Thanksgiving, she invites her dying mother and the rest of her estranged family to dinner. Unfortunately, April's oven breaks, and she spends most of the day trying to find someone who will let her use their oven.

In this scene, after being completely demoralized by her oven search and by the memories of her mother, April finally finds a man willing to help her. They are standing in a cramped hallway outside his apartment.

April: The truth is, she's a rotten mother, so I don't know why you'd want to help me anyway.

Man: My mother was a mean woman, too. Nasty. There wasn't a nice bone in her body. She smoked non-stop, cheated at cards, and she complained every day of her life.

April: Sorry.

Man (tearing up): But you know what? There's nothing I wouldn't do for the chance to spend more time with her.

April: So you'll help me?

The man opens the door. [Pieces of April (MGM/United Artists Studios, 2003), written and directed by Peter Hedges;]


God tells us the things we should look for in life. When we find them we should cherish them for when they are taken away there are only the memories that remain. Make the most of your relationships and make the most of your memories.

AskMe #2853204 05/13/15 06:38 AM
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Proverbs 31:30 (NIV)
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

The fear of God is the beauty of the soul reigning in the heart.



They say that beauty is only skin deep, but many studies have shown that we have an inherent bias to view attractive people as better, smarter, and more socially competent. This strong attractiveness bias impacts everything from hiring decisions, to how highly students rate professors, to how well students are treated by their teachers.

This bias is especially strong in our 21st century dating scene. As an example, the comedy writer Ali Reed created a fake profile on the dating site OK Cupid for a woman she called "AaronCarterFan." (Aaron Carter, for the uninitiated, is the younger brother of a Backstreet Boy.) Then she loaded her profile with despicable traits, including "enjoys kicking cups out of homeless people's hands," and "my parents think I'm in law school so they pay all my bills�LOL," and "you should message me if ur rich." But for the online photo Reed used the real photo of a friend who's a professional model.

What happened to the beautiful but decadent fake "AaronCarterFan"? Reed said, "[She] did very well. In the first 24 hours she got 150 messages. I had the profile up for two or three weeks, and she had close to 1000 men message her. She got probably 10 times the number of messages that my real profile got."

[Adapted from Freaknomics blog, "What You Don't Know About Online Dating: Full Transcript" (2-5-14)]


Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting. Hebrews 3:13 says, �You must warn each other every day, while it is still �today,� so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.�

AskMe #2853337 05/14/15 06:47 AM
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Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother�s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

The engineer that designed a motor knows how it was created. The engineer understands how it works; what will affect it; what things are best for; what things can damage it; and what things can keep it running well. We are the works of God. God knows us from the inside out and understands every part of our being.



A pro-life legacy is a powerful thing to inherit. For Father Thomas Vander Woude, pastor at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainesville, VA, that legacy is ingrained deeply in his life and his ministry for very personal reasons. Vander Woude's father, Thomas Sr., proved that every life is precious, regardless of how the world perceives it.

Thomas Sr. and his wife, Mary Ellen, devout Catholics, had seven children. By the time they were expecting their seventh, the couple was in their 40's. The chance of birth defects was high. Josie was born with Down syndrome. Chris Vander Woude, one of the sons, says, "It didn't matter [that Josie had down syndrome]. He was my father's son, and that was all the reason my father needed to love him."

Thomas Sr. demonstrated that love in 2008. One morning, Thomas Sr. and Josie were in the yard when Josie fell into a broken septic tank, which, at 8-feet deep, was extremely dangerous. Thomas Sr. tried to grab his son, but it was fruitless. Immediately, he lowered himself into the tank, and because he couldn't keep Josie's head above the water line, decided to hold his breath, dive under, and hoist Josie onto his shoulders to keep him breathing. By the time the rescuers arrived, Thomas Sr. had died saving the life of his son.

This story of a father giving his life for a son that the majority of parents would have aborted impacts Reverend Thomas Vander Woude in powerful ways. Today, he carries on his father's legacy by building his ministry on pro-life truths. At one point, he catalyzed an outpouring of love for a young couple expecting a baby with Down syndrome. Several of these families offered to adopt the baby, which miraculously, the couple agreed to. And Thomas Sr.'s inheritance of God's love lives on in this child.
[Bonnie McMaken, Carol Stream, Illinois; sources: John Stonestreet, "Inheriting Pro-Life," BreakPoint Commentaries (7-23-13); Jeffrey Goldberg, "A Father's Day Lesson about Children, and Life," Bloomberg View (06-17-11).]


I paused whether to share the story above because people have different beliefs, values, and political reasoning. Pro-life versus Abortion is always a controversial subject, but that is not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the love of a father who gave his life for his son despite his birth defect and problems he might face in the future. This father loved his child and was willing to make a sacrifice for him, because he knew him and loved him.

AskMe #2853681 05/15/15 06:41 AM
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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 is much we do not understand; however God the creator knows and understands the works He has put in place.



In my early years as a pastor I would have admitted there was much about God I didn't know; in practice, though, I always felt I needed to have an answer when a grieving mother asked why God allowed a three-year-old to die, or an anguished student wanted to grasp the relationship between divine sovereignty and human freewill, or a teenager asked for an explanation of the Trinity. Too often this meant I assumed the role of God's defense attorney, trying my best to bolster God's public approval rating.

Now I'm more likely to say, "I don't know." And I feel as though I've changed from a sway-back workhorse into a winged Pegasus; not having to carry the crushing weight of theological omniscience has been like the freedom of flight. [The Trivialization of God. Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 12.]


As I have grown older, I have learned there is much I don�t know about God. There is much I do not understand in this world around me. There is much that I cannot fathom or comprehend. There are places in The Bible where I read a passage thinking I understand and then I come to another passage just to realize I don�t understand.

I have learned too that we must be careful in judgments. There are many places in The Bible that say we are not to consult with magicians, psychics, mediums or the dead. Yet there is a passage in The Bible that brings a quesion: In Luke 9:29-31 it says of Jesus, �As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.� Moses was dead; and yet Jesus was communicating with him and Elijah about the most important event in human history about to take place � Salvation for man.

I too am reminded there are many who pray to Mother Mary and to The Saints making requests and asking for guidance. Are they too not dead and in heaven?

So let us be careful in our conclusions. I agree with the pastor above, it may be just appropriate to say, �I DON�T KNOW� and wait for God to provide an answer.

AskMe #2854063 05/18/15 06:25 AM
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Hebrews 6:10 (NIV)
10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

Good works and labour proceeding from love to God are commendable; and what is done to any in the name of God shall not go unrewarded. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



In 2012, on a cold November night in Times Square, Officer Lawrence DePrimo was working a counterterrorism post when he encountered an older, barefooted homeless man. The police officer, who is normally assigned to different section of New York City, said, "I looked over and someone was laughing at this elderly [homeless] gentleman who had no socks (and) no shoes. You could see the blisters from a distance. I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold."

So, he asked the man if he had anything to cover his feet. "It's okay, Sir, I've never had a pair of shoes," the homeless man replied. "But God bless you." As the homeless man strolled away, DePrimo caught up to him and asked him his shoe size before walking into a Skechers on W. 42nd St. DiPrimo told a worker, "I'd like to buy a pair of boots, something that will last a while. I don't care what the price is." A few minutes later, the kindhearted cop bought a $100 pair of all-weather boots, size 12. A store manager later said, "We were just kind of shocked. Most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing. Especially in this neighborhood."

The act of kindness would have gone unnoticed and mostly forgotten, had it not been for Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Arizona. Foster said, "The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching." Her snapshot�taken with her cellphone and posted to the New York Police Department's official Facebook page�made Officer DePrimo an overnight Internet hero. As of June, 2014, the post had attracted over 600,000 "likes" and more than 48,000 comments�a runaway hit for the NYPD. Many comments have pointed to how this simple act of kindness has "restored my faith in humanity." [David Goodman, "Photo of Officer Giving Boots to Barefoot Man Warms Hearts Online," The New York Times (11-28-12); Amanda Mickelberg, "NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo immortalized in tourist's photo ..." New York Post (12-18-12)]


God has placed each one of us here for a purpose in life. Maybe that purpose is to teach or to lead or to buy a man a pair a boots. Whatever your purpose is know that God will not forget the love you have shown Him as you have helped others. God bless each one of you for good deeds done for another.

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James 3:17-18 (NLT)
17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

True wisdom is God's gift. It is not gained by conversing with men, not by the knowledge of the world, but it comes from above. The wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to be heard. Wisdom is used by peacemakers who plant the seeds of peace to bring about a lasting peace, not just a temporary peace.




In the fall of 2011, Pete Richeson walked into the sheriff's office to turn himself in for something he did nearly six decades ago.

While attending the Iron Bowl, the annual college football game between rivals Auburn and Alabama, the Auburn student stole a "rat cap," a fraternity beanie, off the head of an Alabama freshman. Pete said he and his brother were walking to Legion Field with stealing a hat in mind. "That was one of the objectives, to go to the ballgame, but look for a suitable victim that you could attack," he said. Richeson said his plan worked perfectly as his brother blocked the Alabama freshman while he ran off with the hat.

"We took it back to Auburn and passed it around the dormitory at that time, and we nailed it to the wall, and it stayed there."

Now, sixty years later, Richeson tried to return the cap, but the local sheriff told him the statute of limitations had expired. But Pete would still like to return the rat cap to its rightful owner and make amends. He even provided a personal email for anyone who wants to claim the cap.

Richeson said, "It's stayed with me for over sixty years, and I would like to give it back to the man it belongs to. I'm sure he had some consequences he had to face �. I must do something soon, because we're both close to 80-years-old, and I'm hoping he's still alive." [Auburn alum in his late 70s trying to return rat cap stolen off Bama student at 1949 Iron Bowl, The War Eagle Reader (11-23-11);]


When I was a teenager I was the victim of a similar circumstance. A friend and I were selling concession souvenirs at a football game. My friend had gone to watch the last few minutes of the football game as I tended the table of souvenirs. Just as the game was ending a man walked by and grabbed a University of South Carolinia hat off the table. He started walking off as I asked nicely for him to return the cap, but he kept going. Instead of leaving the table unattended I let him go in peace. It wasn�t worth risking the loss of other items; for we had to pay for any items missing out of our own funds. In this case God�s wisdom told me I needed to stay put. I wanted to run over and grab the hat off the man�s head, which most likely could have started a fight; and I could have lost more items. So I remained there peaceful, upset, but wiser in my understanding that there are people who are not concerned with the things of others.

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Proverbs 20:9 (NIV)
9 Who can say, �I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin�?

This question is not only a challenge to any man in the world to prove himself sinless, whatever he pretends, but a lamentation of the corruption of mankind, even that which remains in the best. Alas! Who can say, "I am sinless?' [Matthew Henry Commentary]



There is something terribly right about ... realizing that our struggle with sin is in many ways similar to an alcoholic's struggle with drinking. It's never over. How often I find myself talking about sin in the past tense as if being a sinner is something I'm beyond--a page turned in the book of my life. But sin is like alcoholism. Sinners are never cured; they simply decide to stop sinning ... and it's a daily decision.
[John Fischer in Contemporary Christian Music (Sept. 1987). Christianity Today, Vol. 31, no. 16.]


This is such a great illustration about sin. Anyone who understands alcoholism, understands that alcoholics may slip back into their old pattern of drinking. They may have wanted to keep a pure heart, but once the alcohol sucked them back in it takes over their life and leads them down sinful roads. I have heard men and women say, �Once I started drinking I lost my inhibitions and I found myself sleeping with anyone who came along.�

An alcoholic always considers them self an alcoholic. They may have put the bottle away for good, but there is always the temptation to go back. I have a friend who has not had a drink in over 30 years, but he said he knows if he were to even just take a sip of a drink that it might be enough to trigger a binge of drinking. So he maintains plans, rules and accountability to help him keep that from happening.

These actions are so much like sin. We can try to put sin away in our life, but there are times when the temptations come back and we fall back into our old patterns of sin. We may have even found a way to put sin aside, but the temptation will always remain. The Apostle Peter told us, �Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.�

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1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

From the sentence above we can be led to believe there were divisions of thought among the members of the church. These divisions could easily lead to quarrels and problems within the body of members. Therefore The Apostle appealed to them to agree with one another and be united in their thoughts and efforts.




Spartacus is a classic movie that retells the historical account of the great Roman slave rebellion in 71 B.C. Spartacus was a highly trained gladiator who escaped and led other slaves to freedom. As news of his rebellion grew, thousands of slaves joined his cause and followed him through victories and defeats.

Near the end of the movie, a massive Roman army under the command of Senator Crassus (Laurance Olivier) captures the rebels. Although Crassus does not know what Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) looks like, he suspects that Spartacus is alive amongst the prisoners under guard. In full Roman uniform, Crassus gallops up to the mouth of the valley where the prisoners are being held and shouts an offer to them: they can escape death by crucifixion if they turn Spartacus over to him.

Spartacus studies the ground for a moment and then nobly gets to his feet, intending to turn himself in. But before he can do so, his comrade to the left stands and calls out, "I am Spartacus!" Then his comrade to the right also stands and calls out, "I am Spartacus!" As the real Spartacus looks on, comrade after comrade in his slave army rises to their feet and calls out, "I am Spartacus!" until there is a chorus of thousands united.

These slaves show what it means to be the church�standing as one and identifying with our Lord even though it could mean our own end. [Spartacus (Universal Pictures, 1960), directed by Stanley Kubrick; submitted by Bill White]

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Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

He (The Apostol) tells them that they had been called unto liberty, and he would have them to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free; but yet he would have them be very careful that they did not use this liberty as an occasion to the flesh-that they did not thence take occasion to indulge themselves in any corrupt affections and practices, and particularly such as might create distance and disaffection, and be the ground of quarrels and contentions among them: but, on the contrary, he would have them by love to serve one another, to maintain that mutual love and affection which notwithstanding any minor differences there might be among them, would dispose them to all those offices of respect and kindness to each other which the Christian religion obliged them to. [Matthew Henry]



A March, 2011, issue of The New York Times featured a story about a 51-year-old ex-convict named Robert Salzman. After a horrific childhood, Salzman spent most of his adult life in prison. When he was released from prison in 2001, Salzman found it difficult to enjoy freedom outside prison walls, struggling to pay rent or doing stints in homeless shelters. Finally, in June of 2010 Salzman had a grace-like experience. While he was riding a New York City subway car, he was "found" by Rashaad Ernesto Green, a writer and director who was searching for someone to play a tough-looking former convict for an upcoming film. After an audition, Green surprised nearly everyone when he gave Salzman a key role for the film. In the ensuing months Salzman found it hard to believe that he had actually been set free from his prison life. On one occasion, while filming with Green on location in a Long Island penitentiary, an exhausted Salzman fell asleep on a cot in the prison cell. When he woke up, he became confused and thought he was still a prisoner. Salzman started weeping in despair � until it slowly dawned on him that he was now a free man. Salzman was overwhelmed by the joy of knowing that at any moment he could walk out of that cramped cell and through the prison doors. On the other side of the prison walls he could enjoy his new life of freedom. As those who trust in Christ, regardless of our past, we can leave
our slavery to sin and condemnation as we joyfully step into our freedom in Christ. Corey Kilgannon, "Sidewalk Is His Prison Yard," The New York Times (3-11-11)�

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Romans 12:15 (NLT)
15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

True love will interest us in the sorrows and joys of one another, and teach us to make them our own. ~Matthew Henry



In her funny, off-beat memoir, journalist and writer Heather Havrilesky reminds us how community (whether in a family or a church family) implies carrying one another's burdens. Havrilesky writes:

If I get sick or lose my mind, I'll ask my husband or my kids or my friends to rise to the occasion and come to my aid. And they'd better come through for me, [darn] it! I dried your tears and paid too much for replicas of lost teddy bears on eBay. I took care of cats and plants and talked you through home purchases and career dilemmas and bad breakups. �

I'll continue to be there, as long as I can be. But someday, you might have to come to my rescue. Brace yourselves, because it won't be pretty. Isn't that what love and friendship are really about?

We weren't meant to suffer alone! We weren't meant to � escape the indignity and frustration of asking for help, for needing help, from someone who might not always enjoy giving it, someone who gets on our nerves, who has never made much sense to us, someone whom we break down and bicker with occasionally. We were meant to lean on each other, as messy and imperfect as that can be, to be capable when we can, and to allow the world to take care of us when we can't. It won't be all bad. Or it will be. But at least we'll have each other. [Heather Havrilesky, Disaster Preparedness (Riverhead Trade, 2011), page 57]


Rejoice with others when they come into good fortune. Also share the painful and difficult moments of life with people. Let true love motivate you to share in the sorrows and joys of others. May your life be a blessing to others just as God has blessed you.

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Job 14:1-2 (NLT)
1 �How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble! 2 We blossom like a flower and then wither. Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear.

Man is of few days. Life is here computed, not by months or years, but by days, for we cannot be sure of any day but that it may be our last. These days are few, fewer than we think of, few at the most, in comparison with the days of the first patriarchs, much more in comparison with the days of eternity, but much fewer to most, who come short of what we call the age of man. [Matthew Henry Commentary]



I once heard a doctor say, �We do not come into this world stamped with an expiration date. Only God knowns when our time is drawing to an end.� I have watched family, friends, and others I know pass away unexpected. Some lived a good long life, while others lived a full amount of years, but did not benefit in the pleasure of retirement. Some lived so long their minds were sharp, but their bodies frail.

Some friends died in car wrecks. Some friends died due to suicide. Some friends died of cancer. Some died accidentally. It does not matter how they died, it is still a tragic moment. Family and friends mourn their loss as they are no longer there. It is sad, very sad indeed.

My mother-in-law is slowly fading away from dementia. First she was forgetful, then she became paranoid and even unreasonable. Then she began to forget and not even speak much. It�s not her we see now, but instead it is only a shadow of her that remains. The body is fading with the mind. She no long can get out of bed. She sleeps 20 or more hours a day. She has lost her appetite, but occasionally perks up enough to eat and drink a little. It is painful watching a loved one slowly disappear. You want to do all you can, you want them with you, but you also know once they are gone they will have peace.

My father-in-law made an interesting comment. He said, �If I had only realized how short life is, I would have realized how silly all the arguments and disappointments in life were.� It is so true. Life is short and we should cherish ever moment we have with every family member and friend; for we do not know when they will be gone. Enjoy life, enjoy the moments together for they can fade away at any time.

I am thankful God established a plan of eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ. For we know that those who are in Christ will be with Christ and if we too are in Christ we will be reunited with those we love.

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Proverbs 1:3 (NLT)
3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.

This verses gives us part of the purpose for the proverbs passed along to us. This verse tells us the proverbs are used to teach people how to live their lives in a successful and good way!



In one of the popular ads that accompanied the 2010 Super Bowl, Cars.com tells the fictional story of a wonder child named Timothy Richman. From his earliest years, Timothy displayed an amazing level of confidence, and his confidence came from knowledge.

As a toddler eating in his high chair, he saw a pan of food cooking on the stove catch fire. Knowing somehow that baking soda puts out fires, Timothy calmly threw his rattle at a box of baking soda located on a shelf above the flaming pan, knocking over the box, which poured the soda into the pan and extinguished the flames.

As a boy about to learn to ride a bike, Timothy stands straddling the bike as his dad prepares to put on the training wheels. Timothy says, "Balance, momentum, and a low center of gravity," and with that knowledge fully absorbed, before Timothy's dad can get the training wheels on, Timothy pedals the bike away and down the driveway.

In junior high, Timothy confidently walks up to a teen on an Italian beach who has been stung on the leg by a jellyfish and acting on his knowledge of first aid, he pours vinegar on the inflamed skin. He explains in perfect Italian that vinegar can neutralize jellyfish stings.

As a high school student on safari in Africa, he uses his knowledge of veterinary obstetrics to deliver a baby Bengal tiger that was breeched.

As an adult, Timothy gets out of his car on a highway as a tornado approaches a bus full of cheerleaders. Using his knowledge of storm cells and tornadoes, he explains to the cheerleaders that they will be safe if they exit the bus and lie in a low-lying depression beside the road. Just as the cheerleaders and Timothy jump safely into the ditch, the bus rises in the air and is carried away by the tornado.

The narrator explains, however, as Timothy stands with a scared look on his face in a new car lot, "When it came time to buy a new car, he was just as nervous as the rest of us."

Then Timothy sees a Cars.com sign and pulls out his cell phone. The narrator concludes, "So Timothy Richman got his knowledge at Cars.com, regained his confidence, and got the perfect car at the perfect price."

This little commercial entertainingly illustrates the fact that no matter how much knowledge and confidence you have in many areas of life, you can still be clueless in another important area of living.

The fact is, no matter how smart you are, apart from God's help you are clueless about important spiritual truths. [Craig Brian Larson, editor of PreachingToday.com; source: 2010 USA Today Ad Meter and Cars.com]

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Hebrews 9:27-28 (NLT)
27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.

These verses tell us we are destined to die and then there is a judgment by God. By God�s grace and mercy Christ was offered once as a sacrifice for the sins of the people. Christ did this once to bring salvation to all.



Author Henri Nouwen tells the story of a family he knew in Paraguay. The father, a doctor, spoke out against the military regime there and its human rights abuses. Local police took their revenge on him by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death. Enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy's funeral into a huge protest march, but the doctor chose another means of protest. At the funeral, the father displayed his son's body as he had found it in the jail�naked, scarred from electric shocks and cigarette burns, and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress from the prison. It was the strongest protest imaginable, for it put injustice on grotesque display.

Isn't that what God did at Calvary? � The cross that held Jesus' body, naked and marked with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world. At once, the cross revealed what kind of world we have and what kind of God we have: a world of gross unfairness, a God of sacrificial love. [Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God (Zondervan, 1997), pp. 185-186]

There is an old hymn I love, GRACE GREATER than our SIN, by Julia H. Johnson, which says in the refrain:

Grace, grace, God�s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God�s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

There is NO sin greater than God�s grace. There is nothing that can keep us from God and His love for us.

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Proverbs 15:1 (NLT)
1 A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

Arguments are always bound to take place, but they don�t have to be held with explosive tempers. Instead each person can take responsibility to see an argument resolved in a peaceful manner.



A study reported in Psychological Science discovered that the "best" arguers are those who don't point their fingers. According to the study, the person who says "we" the most during an argument suggests the best solutions.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill used statistical analysis to study 59 couples. Spouses who used second-person pronouns (you) tended toward negativity in interactions. Those making use of first-person plural pronouns (we) provided positive solutions to problems.

The study concluded: "'We' users may have a sense of shared interest that sparks compromise and other ideas pleasing to both partners. 'You'-sayers, on the contrary, tend to criticize, disagree, justify, and otherwise team with negativity."


{Rachel A. Simmons, Peter C. Gordon, and Dianne L. Chambless, "Pronouns in Marital Interaction: What Do 'You' and 'I' Say about Marital Health?" Psychological Science (Volume 16), pp. 932-936]


When �YOU� leave �YOU� out of a sentence in an argument the hostility of the argument tends to diminish. I suggest saying things like �I feel neglected about my birthday because no one has mentioned it.� It then leaves the sentence open to many others could have neglected the birthday and not just the person being talked to. When YOU is used it directs negativity to the listener and if harsh words are used the argument will flare.

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Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT)
26 And �don�t sin by letting anger control you.� Don�t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Anger is defined as a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. The apostle tells us not to allow anger to control us for it opens a door of opportunities for the devil to take advantage of.



In June of 2012, Carl Ericsson, a 73-year-old South Dakota man, was sentenced to life in prison after admitting to the murder of a former high school classmate. Friends and family members were shocked that the once-successful insurance salesman seemed to snap. Ericsson had been married to his wife for over 44 years.

But after the murder, Ericsson's secret finally came out. For over 50 years he had simmered with a belated grudge: He was still mad about a classmate who had once pulled a jock strap over his head during a high school locker room prank. Norman Johnson, the classmate and murder victim, was a star athlete on the track team. Ericsson was a student sports manager. According to Ericsson's confession, on one occasion Johnson put a jock strap on Ericsson's head, humiliating him and planting the seed of resentment that would continue to grow for over half a century. Apparently, throughout their lives, Norman Johnson continued to outshine Ericsson. Prior to his murder, Johnson had competed in college football, earned a degree, and then taught and coached at his alma mater for more than three decades.

After holding the grudge for over 50 years, Carl Ericsson rang Johnson's doorbell and shot him dead. Ericsson told a judge, "I guess it was from something that happened over 50 years ago. It was apparently in my subconscious." During his sentencing, Ericsson turned to Johnson's widow and apologized, saying, "I just wish I could turn the calendar back." [Matt Woodley, managing editor, PreachingToday.com; source: Cameron Smith, Bizarre S.D. murder caused by resentment over 50-year-old locker room jockstrap prank," Yahoo Sports Prep Rally blog (6-18-12)]


Anger is an unusual emotion. It doesn�t just develop on its own, but is usually the result of another emotion that came first. In the story above we see the man was humiliated and then he felt resentment and then it finally boiled over to anger. It is why we are told not to let anger control us; for it will force us into doing things we may not have done.

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