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AskMe #2883341 06/14/16 06:41 AM
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Philippians 3:20 (NIV)
20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

We stand related the that world, and are citizens of the New Jerusalem. This world is not our home, but that is. There our greatest privileges and concerns lie. And, because our citizenship is there, our conversation is there; being related to that world, we keep up a correspondence with it. The life of a Christian is in heaven, where his head is, and his home is, and where he hopes to be shortly; he sets his affections upon things above; and where his heart is there will his conversation be. [Matthew Henry]




In April, 2011, Newsweek magazine featured an article about Arnold Schwarzenegger, movie star and former governor of California. Here are some of the most telling excerpts from the article:

Life at 63, for Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a titanic clash between human frailty and dazzling possibility. "I feel terrific about where I am in my life, when I look back at what I've accomplished," [he said], "but I feel [horrible] when I look at myself in the mirror."

It's a jolt to hear Schwarzenegger�a five-time Mr. Universe and seven-time Mr. Olympia before he was Conan the Barbarian, the Terminator, and ultimately Governor�musing about his own decay �. Still strapping in shirtsleeves, a fine specimen of aging movie star, he has lost an inch and a half from his previous 6-foot-2 height, the 31-inch waist has ballooned to 36, and the vaunted 57-inch chest has shrunk by a half foot.

"I'm not competing, I'm not ripping off my shirt and trying to sell the body," he tells me. "But when I stand in front of a mirror and really look, I wonder: What the [heck] happened here? What a beating!"

Thirteen years ago, when he was 50, Schwarzenegger had surgery to replace a defective aortic valve �. At some point in the next several years the valve will wear out, and surgeons will split his chest open to install a new one. "It does quite a number on you for quite some time," [he] tells me, "because even though you're strong willed, you know from now on you're damaged goods." He adds with a chuckle: "As with most things, I live in denial."

Three weeks after the publication of this interview, Schwarzenegger admitted that his 25-year marriage was breaking up due to his extra-marital affair. [Lloyd Grove, "Arnold's Wild Road Trip," Newsweek (4-25-11)]


Our citizenship is in heaven that is where our mind should be and our conversations are on the things to come. But when we focus on this world we lose sight of what is to come and the glorious things to come.

AskMe #2883374 06/15/16 07:39 AM
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Proverbs 23:24 (NIV)
24 The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.

Children will be a joy to their parents if they be righteous and wise. Righteousness is true wisdom; those who do good so well for themselves. [Matthew Henry]



Last night I was listening to the news as they were summarizing the shooting that took place in Orlando, Florida. Some experts gave their opinions that second generation immigrants, in particular, Muslims, had a hard time assimilating into the US culture. The reason given is that they were caught between two worlds, a country that didn�t fully accept them, and a culture and religion of their parents.

I would dare say most parents want their children to grow up and have prosperous and meaningful life. Parents want to see their children develop into a healthy and well balanced person. I think it is a shame when they fell they cannot be a part of the culture they have arrived into and fall back to a culture that does not have the same principles and values as the country they live in.

I pray that parents can help their children be righteous and wise. I pray these children can bring joy to their parents for many years. I can�t imagine what it�s like to have a child give away their life before the life of their parents have passed.

Righteousness is true wisdom. I pray all people will do well for themselves so they can be found righteous in the sight of God. God bless those who assimilate into other cultures so they may learn the ways of the country they have entered. I pray all people will be accepting of each other. I pray the words of Martin Luther King Jr. finds its way into the hearts of people - �I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.� May God make that dream come true for all nations.

AskMe #2883563 06/21/16 06:13 AM
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Psalm 91:1 (NIV)
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

He that dwells, that sits down, in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty; he that by faith chooses God for his guardian shall find all that in him which he needs or can desire. [Matthew Henry]




In 2005, a Vietnamese pastor known as Silas was told by local authorities that he could expect to see trouble if his church continued to operate without a permit. "Be careful," one official told him. "Watch out."

This was a threat as much as a warning. In Vietnam, as in many other Communist (and some Islamic) countries, governments commonly deny or delay church permits, then jail Christians for meeting without a permit.

Silas shot back: "I don't have to watch out or be careful; God will care for us." He went on to thank the official for the harassment and opposition that Vietnamese authorities had meted out, as he felt it had unified the country's Christians.

"Your persecution has made us stronger," he told the officer.

Moreover, the pastor told him that he loved him. "You can shut down our churches, jail us, torture us. It doesn't matter, because we'll still love you," he said. "We'll love you, because God loves you and wants to see you come to know Christ's salvation." Then he delivered the final, loving blow�asking the official if he didn't feel badly about mistreating Christians. Silas told him he suspected it was tearing him up inside.

The official stalked away. Late one night, he came back. When the pastor heard him knock on the door, he assumed he was going to be hauled off to jail. But the official's manner was more like that of Nicodemus visiting Jesus, the pastor said. He needed to talk. He was depressed.

Silas invited him in, and in tears the officer told him how he did, indeed, feel badly about forcibly restraining Christians from worship. Most upsetting, though, was that he feared for his job if he did not beat and otherwise harm Christians. He himself felt mistreated at the office; peers who were lesser officers than he looked down their noses at him, advancing through the ranks by purchasing successively higher positions. The force was rife with such corruption.

Silas told him that God had a sterling plan for his life, and that he would care for him and guide him if he would only follow his son, Jesus. Before the night was over, the official prayed to receive Jesus. The next miracle was that the official advanced to a high position�without bribes. He advanced high enough to know when church raids were about to take place, so he could tip off Silas.

"He would tell us on Saturday that the police were coming on Sunday morning, so they'd come and find nobody there," the pastor said. "Then we'd meet for worship in the afternoon."

These miracles, the pastor concluded, could not have happened without the prayers of believers worldwide. Many other oppressed believers tell of receiving supernatural consolation in the midst of their ordeals. Suffering Christians are actually protected, comforted, and rescued through our prayers.


[Jeff Sellers, "Cure for the IDOP Holiday Blues," ChristianityToday.com (11-16-05) ]

AskMe #2883607 06/23/16 05:49 AM
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Isaiah 40:31(NIV)
31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.


Good morning family, friends, loved ones, brothers and sisters in Christ and those who are a part of my life. This morning I feel compelled to try a different type of devotion. I hope it speaks to your heart, if it does, let me know. If it doesn�t, you can let me know that too.


The Holy Spirit abides with us. Through The Bible there of references of the Holy Spirit coming into the lives of people to direct them, lead them, and show them the truth about God.

Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord has the Holy Spirt abiding with them constantly. The Holy Spirit is taking up for you and is letting Christ and God know of the special circumstances in your life. The Bible tells us, �Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.� So you always have a companion that is close to you.

I know there are some people hurting out there. Some of you have had major heart breaks in your life. Some have been physically ill and have struggled just to endure each day. Let me say, The Holy Spirit knows those problems and is constantly telling Christ and God your needs. Your wants may not be answered, but remember your needs will be because we are reminded we often don�t know what we should pray for as we ought. Continue to pray my friends that Christ and God and never cease in doing so.

Many of you are weary and need your strength renewed to fight against whatever you are battling. Just know The Holy Spirt is listening and one day God himself will lift you up like eagle where you can soar above the problems and never.

God bless each of you and have a wonderful day.

AskMe #2883670 06/27/16 06:35 AM
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John 14:26 (NIV)
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

In Christian belief there is often a Christian doctrine referred to as the Trinity. There is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are all God in one, but The Father is not The Son nor the Holy Spirit, and The Son is not The Father nor The Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not The Father nor The Son, yet they are tightly interwoven. The best analogy I have used is you can hold an egg in your hand, yet it is a shell, a yoke and the white. It all makes up an egg and is one.

You will never find the word Trinity used in The Bible. It is a doctrine of man. It comes from the fact that The Bible talks about God the Father who watches over all. The Bible also talks about The Son of God, who is, who is yet to come, and who has come. The Holy Spirit is also mentioned as coming to men to guide them, enlighten them, and explain who The Father is to them. The Holy Spirit also came to The Son Jesus and declared Him to be son of God with the full authority of God. All of these are God, but also are individual apart from God The Father.

When Christ died and rose back to life, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in believers of Christ as a companion to speak up for them and relay their needs to Jesus, who was in direct contract with The Father.

The Holy Spirit will lead you in your life, if you allow it. Image this, The Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart saying, �I have been trying to talk to you for a while, but I�m not sure you are listening. God has given to you all the knowledge you need to live a righteous and holy life, but Christ knows you are fighting had against sin because He too also fought the temptations of the world. So when you have time, sit and just listen. Listen for the wisdom I can pass on to you. Listen when I warn you of the dangers of the world. Listen to the wisdom of The Father. Listen when I speak of the good things for. I promise I will always be there and never let you go. The Father, The Son are both with me and together we are here to help you.�

AskMe #2883714 06/28/16 06:41 AM
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Psalm 51:11 (NIV)
11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.


David understood when the Holy Spirit was with him that God was there with him too. David took comfort in The Holy Spirit for he knew God�s protection was close by. The protection came in many forms. David was protected from his own evil ways. David was protected from the evil temptations of others.

The Holy Spirit was a companion reminding David of God�s presence and love for him. In this verse David knew he had sinned and his fear was God was going to remove his spirit from David. But because David had repented and desired to be right with God the Holy Spirit remained with him.

In our Christian lives the Holy Spirit is a companion that remains with us. When we have failed in life and have fallen into temptation the Holy Spirit reminds us that Christ died for our sins and that grace is freely given when we repent.

There are some that do not understand grace. We fail, we repent and yet we keep feeling guilt and shame over our actions. This is not something we should be doing. The grace has been freely placed in our hands with the only condition of repentance. We are absolved of the sin we have committed. But let us not so easily return to the sin we have been removed from.

What people mix up is that there are consequences in life. Those consequences sometimes have a penalty associated with them, but the consequences are not from God; they are from our own actions. For example, you drink alcohol to access; did God make you drink the alcohol? Then you decide to get in a car and drive; did God make you drive? Then you crash into someone and people are hurt; who hurt the people, you or God? You see we bring consequences on ourselves. God through the Holy Spirit tries to warn us so we do take the actions that lead us to harmful consequences.


Holy Spirit, I don�t how to pray for the problems in my life. Like David, I�m worried that you will leave me although your word tells me others. So Holy Spirit, pray for me, pray for my sins, pray for the temptations that come at me and remind me that God and Jesus Christ love me dearly. Amen

AskMe #2883757 06/30/16 06:15 AM
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Isaiah 63:10 (NIV)
10 Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.


Here we are told the people rebelled against God. The Holy Spirit had been sent to be among them and yet they vexed the Holy Spirit with idols, unbelief and harsh words against God the Father.

So these people became an enemy against God. The protection given to them through The Holy Spirt was pulled away and they were left to themselves. A simple way of saying all this is either you are for God or you are against God. When you go against God then you walk away from the benefits of God: His protection and His wisdom.

When Christ died, rose again to life, and went to live in Heaven, Christ left with us The Holy Spirit that would always be a companion to us. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit could come and go, but in the New Testament the Holy Spirit is always there. The difference was instead of the Holy Spirit leaving we grieve the Holy Spirit and ignore the companionship we have been given. We miss out on the many words of wisdom and therefore easily fall into the traps of the devil. It is as if we have turned our back on a good friend for a friend who is set out to destroy us.


Yesterday I heard a sad, but wonderful sorry of how a person had grieved the Holy Spirit and made their own choices. They were upset with the world. Parents who should have been concerned and caring made comments that were hurtful and destructive. Then the enemy�s snare comes along and pulls you in with others who are pulling away from God trying to find something to satisfy their lives. Many people turn to alcohol, drugs, and many other types of immoralities. At first it seems to satisfy their need. But the devil is sneaky that way. He makes something look good and then turns it into a horrible nightmare.

But the Holy Spirit continues to plead with Christ who pleads to the Father for mercy, love and grace to be put back into the person�s life. Fortunately this person called out to Christ and His love, mercy and grace came rushing in. This completely changed the person�s life and gave them a new reason to live.

If you are fighting against God, stop and surrender to Him. His love is waiting for you.

AskMe #2883826 07/05/16 06:10 AM
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Isaiah 63:10 (NIV)
Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.


Their conduct was a rebellion against the Hold Spirit and the troubles they brought upon themselves. They revolted from their allegiance to God and took up arms against him: They rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit with their unbelief and murmuring, besides the iniquity of the golden calf; and this had been their way and manner ever since. Therefore God withdrew His protect and allowed war to be made with them.

This is the difference between the Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit could be pushed aside until He no longer remained with the people. In the New Testament the Hold Spirit could be ignored, but He was there always reminding the people of God�s love for them and making intercession as needed.

The Holy Spirit remains as a companion to the Christian. As Stephen looked up into the heavens he saw God the Father and Jesus the Son. For the Bible says, �But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.� You see the Holy Spirit remain a companion with Stephen.

Sadly the people killed a man full of faith and The Holy Spirit, yet their own hearts turned in opposition as he performed great wonders and signs among the people. Sadly he was stoned to death by those who disagreed with him, while Godly men who were there mourned deeply for Stephen and buried him.

Know remember there was one standing there giving his approval for Stephen to be stoned. In fact he guarded the clothes of those who stoned him. We know this man as Saul, who later became called Paul after he accepted Christ into his life. Christ changed the life of Saul and therefore gave him a new name and filled him with The Holy Spirit.

AskMe #2883911 07/07/16 05:52 AM
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Mark 13:11 (NIV)
11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

There are times in life when we can be arrested justly or unjustly and then taken to trial. This verse reminds us not to worry about what we are going to say for the Holy Spirit will be speaking for us if we allow Him to intercede.

The Son of God died that I may always be with you as a companion. I am here to provide wisdom when the words you want to speak are too difficult. Remember that no matter what comes your way, this is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it.

Remember Christ is watching over you as well and is speaking to the Father on your behalf.

"You will meet with a great deal of hardship in your way, but have a good heart on it, your warfare will be accomplished, and your testimony finished, and he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.� ~Matthew Henry

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Jeremiah 32:17 (NIV)
17 �Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.


God the Father, creator of all things from the heavens to the earth. The prophet here declares there is nothing too hard for The Lord, who is sovereign over all cannot do.

I was fortunate to hear Dr. Billy Graham�s grandson, Will Graham, preach a beautiful sermon on God�s promises. God has made promises to us and will stand by those promises, for nothing is too hard for God to perform.

The problem is we don�t believe God. We hear the promise, but we don�t act on it.

An illustration was given about Abraham. God promised him a multitude of descendants. God promised him land as far as the eye could see. Now in order to have descendants that would fill this land Abraham would first need to have children, which he didn�t have.

Let�s make it clear, God�s promise was to keep Abraham, safe, alive, and to provide him children. Abraham heard the promise. When the time came though he didn�t trust the promise.

Abraham was passing through the land of the King Abimelech. Abraham was afraid that Sarah, his wife was too beautiful and the king might kill him to have her. So he told Sarah to tell the people that she was his sister and not his wife. It was a half-truth for Sarah was his step-sister. How insecure Abraham was in the face of the promises of God.

God came to king in a dream and told him that Sarah was Abraham�s wife and that he was not to touch her or he would surely die. The king went to Abraham and asked him what he had done. After a little chastising by the king, the king sent Abraham on his way with livestock, helpers, and other goods. Abraham prayed for the king�s family and all was made well.

Abraham could have saved himself some trouble just by remembering the promises God made him.

AskMe #2884178 07/12/16 05:38 AM
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Matthew 5:9 (NIV)
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.


Many of you might remember the late Steve Harvey. I enjoyed listening to his commentaries on life. There is one commentary he gave on police. I think it is appropriate for us to be reminded of it today. For God has placed the peacemakers in our lives. Imagine what it would be like if all the law enforcement disappeared for a month.

Here are the words of the late Paul Harvey: A policeman is a composite of what all men are, mingling of a saint and sinner, dust and deity.

What that really means is that they are exceptional, they are unusual, they are not commonplace. Buried under the froth is the fact: and the fact is, less than one-half of one percent of policemen misfit the uniform. And that is a better average than you would find among clergymen!

What is a policeman? He, of all men, is at once the most needed and the most wanted. A strangely nameless creature who is �sir� to his face and �pig� or worse to his back.

He must be such a diplomat that he can settle differences between individuals so that each will think he won.

But�If the policeman is neat, he is conceited; If he�s careless, he�s a bum. If he�s pleasant, he�s a flirt; If he�s not, he�s a grouch.

He must make instant decisions which would require months for a lawyer.

But�if he hurries, he�s careless; If he�s deliberate, he�s lazy. He must be first to an accident, infallible with a diagnosis. He must be able to start breathing, stop bleeding, tie splints and above all, be sure the victim goes home without a limp.

The police officer must know every gun, draw on the run, and hit where it doesn�t hurt. He must be able to whip two men twice his size and half his age without damaging his uniform and without being �brutal.� If you hit him�he�s a coward. If he hits you�he�s a bully.

The policeman, from a single human hair, must be able to describe the crime, the weapon, the criminal and tell you where the criminal is hiding. But�if he catches the criminal, he�s lucky; if he doesn�t, he is a dunce.

He runs files and writes reports until his eyes ache, to build a case against some felon who will get �dealed out� by a shameless shamus.

The policeman must be a minister, a social worker, a diplomat, a tough guy and a gentleman.

And of course, he�ll have to be a genius�for he will have to feed a family on a policeman�s salary.


Harvey�s father, a police officer, was shot and killed when Harvey was just three years old.

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John 15:10 (NIV)
10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father�s commands and remain in his love.


Jesus continually loved the Father and obeyed the commandments God had given. Even when Jesus faced the suffering to come Jesus continued to love the Father. Even when Jesus was made sin for us and even when the Father could not look upon that sin, God still loved His Son.



In a recent TV commercial a young man is struggling with whether to go through with an arranged marriage. In his home country arranged marriages were the norm. But after living in America, he was having second thoughts about adhering to this ancient custom, especially since he'd never met his wife-to-be.

Still, when she flew into the airport, he dutifully waited for her, flowers in hand, and a gloomy expression on his face. But when she stepped through the terminal, everything changed. She was beautiful! Suddenly his glum demeanor disappeared. The thought of marrying this woman was no longer a dreaded duty; it was a delight. What had changed? He'd seen her.

Often we serve God out of obligation. We drag ourselves to church, force ourselves to serve others�but our hearts aren't in it. We're like that guy at the airport, grudgingly holding flowers for God. We're trying to live holy lives because we know we should, but it's burdensome, joyless.

What can change this? Seeing God. When we get a vision of who God truly is, suddenly we're energized to do his mission. Once we gaze upon his grandeur and glory, obedience ceases to be arduous. Once we grasp his great love, serving is no longer a duty�it's a joy! [Drew Dyck, Yawning at Tigers (Thomas Nelson, 2014), page 54]


Let us all learn to serve God out of love for Him and not feel as though we have a burden of obligation being held over our heads.

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Psalm 119:7 (NIV)
7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.

David wanted to refine his religious beliefs in that as he grew in his true understanding he would be able to praise God with an upright heart.




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

He lives in New York. He grew a beard, dressed like Moses, and started to eat kosher. The Bible in the Old Testament commands stoning Sabbath-breakers, so he would prowl around Central Park, looking for offenders. He did not want to get arrested, so he would stealthily pelt them with tiny pebbles from behind and then look the other way. Of course, it is absurd, and that is the point of the book.

He writes, "Millions of people say they take the Bible literally. A 2004 Newsweek poll put it at 55 percent, but my suspicion was that almost everyone's literalism consisted of picking and choosing. People plucked out the parts that fit their agenda." Part of what he intends to show is no one can take the Bible literally.

Of course, many people do pick and choose, so his critique is fair. It is a humorous book, but he is dead wrong. He missed the whole point of the Bible. If, like he did, you treat the Bible naively, like a list of disconnected rules as though it was an owner's manual, you are not taking the Bible literally. You have to know the whole story.

In April 1945, the German army surrendered to the Allies. The war continued. Japan still fought, even though Germany had surrendered. At this point, Allied soldiers who had been fighting against Germany began rebuilding Germany, all during the same war.

Imagine somebody looking back on World War II and saying, "That's odd. Sometimes Allied soldiers attacked Germans, and sometimes they helped Germans. I guess they randomly picked and chose what they wanted to do." But that is not literalism; that is "stupid-ism." That sort of conclusion comes from misunderstanding the story.


[John Ortberg, from the sermon "The Bible Alone"]

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Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

God encourages those who are faithful they to trust in Him and He provides assurances that He will be there to help you with His righteousness.



Kayla Mueller, 26 years old, was captured by ISIS, and on February 10, 2015 U.S. officials confirmed that Muslim extremists had murdered her while in captivity. In the spring of 2014 as a captor she wrote to her family. The letter begins with Kayla's assurance that she has been treated well, and is "in a safe location, completely unharmed + healthy." The 26-year-old aid worker goes on to apologize touchingly to her family for the suffering that she has put them through because of her captivity. Then comes her central proposition: "I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God. I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no else."

Kayla, who was involved in the campus ministry at Northern Arizona University, goes on to relate how "by God + by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall." She adds: "I have been shown in darkness, light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it."

She concluded, "Please be patient, give your pain to God. I know you would want me to remain strong. That is exactly what I am doing. Do not fear for me, continue to pray as will I. By God's will we will be together soon. All my everything, Kayla"


[Stephen L. Carter, "On Kayla Mueller and Faith," BloombergView (2-13-15); submitted by Ted De Haas, Slater, Iowa]


Faith in The Lord is a powerful thing. Even when all seems hopeless The Lord tells us not to fear; for He has something wonderful and exciting waiting for us.

AskMe #2884640 07/25/16 06:05 AM
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Psalm 119:60 (NIV)
60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.

The Psalmist commits to obeying God�s commands and with move quickly to act on them without delay.



At age 35 I bought running shoes and began enjoying the smooth rhythms of long-distance running. Soon I was competing in 10K races every month or so, and then a marathon once a year. By then I was subscribing to and reading three running magazines! Then I pulled a muscle and couldn't run for a couple of months. Those magazines were still all over the house, but I never opened one. The moment I resumed running, though, I started reading again.

That's when I realized that my reading was an extension of something I was a part of. I was reading for companionship and affirmation of the experience of running. I learned a few things along the way, but mostly it was to deepen my world of running. If I wasn't running, there was nothing to deepen.

The parallel with reading Scripture is striking. If I'm not living in active response to the living God, reading about his creation/salvation/holiness won't hold my interest for long. The most important question isn't "What does this mean," but "What can I obey?" Simple obedience will open up our lives to a text more quickly than any number of Bible studies, dictionaries, and concordances.


[Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book (William B. Eerdmans, 2006), pp. 70-71; paraphrased in the September 18 entry of Men of Integrity (September/October 2009)]

AskMe #2884809 07/26/16 06:18 AM
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Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Our faith is tested in something we cannot see or touch. But in our hearts we have assurance the things we believe are real and true. True faith is answered when there are no explanations.



I still don't understand, nearly 10 years later. At least I don't understand why the Lord allowed my sons to be afflicted with infantile bilateral striatal necrosis. I don't understand why Jonathan died or why Christopher lived. Today he's 16 and nearly totally recovered.

All I understand is this: life is a riddle, which God wants me to experience but not necessarily solve. When I was struggling to solve it, I found (1 Corinthians 13:12), which only makes sense in the original Greek: "For now we see (or understand) through a mirror, in a riddle," the apostle Paul wrote, "but then face to face."

Modern Christians sometimes rush to put God's truth into little boxes, neatly systematized, categorized, organized, and principle-ized, when God's perspective on suffering is too big for any of that. While for some "spirituality" is defined by what you know, God may be more concerned with how you handle what you cannot know.

A riddle loses its mystery and its power, even perhaps its significance, once it is solved. By keeping us in our riddle (every person's riddle is unique) God is helping us learn to walk by faith, and not by sight.


[David Biebel, author. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 2.]

AskMe #2884864 07/27/16 05:53 AM
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Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

We are all in a race of life. Here on this earth we are born and we die. God has given us a purpose in life and we are to carry out that purpose until the finish line of life. In accomplishing God�s purpose we are to lay aside the sins that ensnare us and the temptations that weight heavy on our hearts.




In 1994 I ran the NYC marathon, all 26.2 miles of it. I wasn�t a fast runner, but my goal was to finish. It took 5 hours and 10 minutes, but I crossed the finish line. There waiting was a crowd cheering and supporter helping with food, water and other needs.

Zoe Koplowitz is a marathon runner who is afflicted with multiple sclerosis and diabetes. She is speaker and author of The Winning Spirit � Life lessons learned in last place. Her 33-hour-9-minute run in 2000 set a world record for the longest marathon time in the history of women's running. "The race belongs not only to the swift and strong but to those who keep on running", says Koplowitz.

At the conclusion of her 25th New York City Marathon on November 4, 2013 Zoe addressed the crowd which had gathered to see and cheer her finish. "It makes you understand that life is not happen stance or random all the time. That there is a plan, and it's a good plan. When we do things like the marathon, we get an opportunity to see how the pieces fit, and life no longer becomes this random series of crazy events. There was a lovely young woman with multiple sclerosis who waited hours in the street for me to come by. On one side of her sign she had my name in big bold letters. On the other side of her sign, she had something that reduced me to tears. It said 'Because you run every year, the rest of us continue to walk.'

Koplowitz says she has done 25 of these, and it never grows old. There is life after disability. You can either go through life like this [arms closed], or you can go through life like that [arms open]. And for me, New York City is that. It's arms out reaching for possibility and hope every single year. I love this city. I love its strength, I love its diversity, I love its personality, and thank God it loves me back because I wouldn't know what to do if it was a one-sided love."

AskMe #2885284 08/02/16 05:52 AM
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James 1:22 (NIV)
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

If we rested in bare hearing, and never acting, it would never bring us to heaven.



At the 1993 annual meeting of The American Heart Association, 300,000 doctors, nurses, and researchers met in Atlanta to discuss, among other things, the importance a low fat diet plays in keeping our hearts healthy. Yet during meal times, they consumed fat-filled fast food�such as bacon cheeseburgers and fries�at about the same rate as people from other conventions. When one cardiologist was asked whether or not his partaking in high fat meals set a bad example, he replied, "Not me, because I took my name tag off."

{Boston Globe (11-10-93); Stephen Nordbye, Charlton, Massachusetts}


We can take off our name plates, but God and others still know who we are. They know if we are listening and doing the things we hear.

AskMe #2885470 08/05/16 06:08 AM
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Psalm 119:130 (NIV)
130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

God�s word provides wisdom for all people so they are able to understand the truth.



During Superbowl XXXVII, FedEx ran a commercial that spoofed the movie Castaway, in which Tom Hanks played a FedEx worker whose company plane went down, stranding him on a desert island for years. Looking like the bedraggled Hanks in the movie, the FedEx employee in the commercial goes up to the door of a suburban home, package in hand.

When the lady comes to the door, he explains that he survived five years on a deserted island, and during that whole time he kept this package in order to deliver it to her. She gives a simple, "Thank you."

But he is curious about what is in the package that he has been protecting for years. He says, "If I may ask, what was in that package after all?"

She opens it and shows him the contents, saying, "Oh, nothing really. Just a satellite telephone, a global positioning device, a compass, a water purifier, and some seeds."

Like the contents in this package, the resources for growth and strength are available for every Christian who will take advantage of them.


We just have to take the time to read God�s word so that we can apply it in our lives and not let it sit there idle without ever looking to see what wisdom we can find.

AskMe #2885671 08/08/16 05:59 AM
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Psalm 149:4 (NIV)
4 For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.

God is a king who rules by love and he takes pleasure in His people and want them to prosper and be in communion with him. He places crowns upon the heads to those who humble themselves before Him.



Charlie and Agnes are some of the meekest people I've ever known. Charlie is a bright, energetic, hard-working man who could have been successful at just about anything he set out to do. What he set out to do was mission work. He spent his entire career working with some of the lowliest people on earth�alcoholics on skid row. For many years he was director of Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, and then in his retirement years he went to work for the McCauley Water Street Mission in New York. At a time in life when most people his age were playing golf or taking cruises, Charlie would commute every day to minister to homeless men on the streets of New York.

You don't get rich doing mission work your whole life, but every once in a while, Charlie and his wife, Agnes, would get to do something special. One year they invited me and my wife, Karen, to join them for a night on the town. Someone had given them tickets to hear Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall�velvet-covered seats in a private booth. It was a great night, and we all enjoyed it. As they drove us home that night, Karen and I were sitting in the back seat, and I was admiring Charlie and Agnes. They were all dressed up for their big night out. She was sitting close to him, like they were high school sweethearts. They struck me in that moment as two of the happiest people on earth. Just then I noticed a little plaque they had stuck to the dashboard of their old Chevy. It explained everything: "God always gives what's best to those who leave the choice to him."

Charlie and Agnes had long ago given up striving, fretting, and demanding things from God and from life. Instead they had surrendered to God their talents, their careers, their safety, their material needs, and even their retirement. Instead of chasing the abundant life, they waited for God bring it to them.


[Bryan Wilkerson, in his sermon "In God We Trust (Though We'd Rather Pay Cash),"]

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