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AskMe #2888557 10/18/16 05:25 AM
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Psalm 27:14 (NIV)
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

So often we are in a hurry. We want to see things done quickly. We want an answer now. Yet The Bible tells us to wait on The Lord in strength and faith.




An article in The Boston Globe claims that our "demand for instant results is seeping into every corner of our lives." The need for instant gratification is not new, but our expectation of "instant" has become faster. The article states:

Retailers are jumping into same-day delivery services. Smartphone apps eliminate the wait for a cab, a date, or a table at a hot restaurant. Movies and TV shows begin streaming in seconds. But experts caution that instant gratification comes at a price: It's making us less patient

We've come to expect things so quickly that researchers found people can't wait more than a few seconds for a video to load. One researcher examined the viewing habits of 6.7 million internet users. How long were subjects willing to be patient? Two seconds. After that they started abandoning the site. After five seconds, the abandonment rate is 25 percent. When you get to 10 seconds, half are gone." The results offer a glimpse into the future. As Internet speeds increase, people will be even less willing to wait for that cute puppy video. The researcher, who spent years developing the study, worries someday people will be too impatient to conduct studies on patience. [Christopher Muther, "Instant gratification is making us perpetually impatient," The Boston Globe (2-2-13)]


The Apostle James wrote to us saying, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

When we hurry we might miss some of the opportunities God has in store for us, but when we are patient we see all that He has planned.

AskMe #2888616 10/20/16 05:44 AM
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Psalm 51:12 (NIV)
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

There are two ill effects of sin. One there is a sadness that comes with sin. For the person who knows better and yet commits the act of sin becomes sad. Two sin weakens the person. Not only do they deal with the sadness of sin, but they must also deal with how sin weakens their spirit.



"I was years and years upon the brink of hell--I mean in my own feeling. I was unhappy, I was desponding, I was despairing. I dreamed of hell. My life was full of sorrow and wretchedness, believing that I was lost."

Charles Spurgeon used these strong words to describe his adolescent years. Despite his Christian upbringing (he was christened as an infant, and raised in the Congregational church), and his own efforts (he read the Bible and prayed daily), Spurgeon woke one January Sunday in 1850 with a deep sense of his need for deliverance.

Because of a snowstorm, the 15-year-old's path to church was diverted down a side street. For shelter, he ducked into the Primitive Methodist Chapel on Artillery Street. An unknown substitute lay preacher stepped into the pulpit and read his text--(Isaiah 45:22) "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else." [Mary Ann Jeffreys. "Charles Haddon Spurgeon," Christian History, no. 29.]


No matter what our desperation there is always the joy of salvation that comes to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.

AskMe #2888874 10/25/16 06:33 AM
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Ephesians 5:19-20 (NKJV)
9 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

This should be the attitude of Christians, to sing songs and hymns to God to enrich your heart and let the burdens of like slip away. Then we are to give thanks for all things that come our way in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.



The key to a happy and lasting marriage might be as simple as regularly expressing gratitude. So report researchers from the University of Georgia in a new study published in the journal Personal Relationships.

After interviewing 468 married individuals on relationship satisfaction, covering everything from communication habits to finances, they found that the "most consistent significant predictor" of happy marriages was whether one's spouse expressed gratitude. "Feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last," says study co-author Ted Futris.
And that goes for good times but perhaps especially bad oneswhen couples experience stress and their communication devolves into what the researchers call a demand/withdraw cycle (i.e., one partner demands or criticizes; the other tries to avoid a confrontation). Gratitude can disrupt this, acting as a buffer.

"What distinguishes the marriages that last from those that don't is not how often they argue, but how they argue and how they treat each other on a daily basis," says Futris. Adds lead author Allen Barton, the study "goes to show the power of the key to a happy and lasting marriage might be as simple as regularly expressing gratitude." So saying thank you is a "practical way couples can help strengthen their marriage." [This Might be a Key to Happy Marriage, USA Today (10-24-15); submitted by Van Morris, Mt. Washington]


King David said in Psalms 71:8, Let my mouth be filled with Your praise And with Your glory all the day. Lets make that a goal for our lives.

AskMe #2888983 10/27/16 05:48 AM
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Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

There is great help that comes from the word of God in that we can find strength, encouragement and rest. For Gods word penetrates the heart and makes us aware of our short comings.



While every analogy of the Trinity has its limitations, this picture illustrates one aspect of our Triune Godthat they are all on the same team.

Say a family is trapped in a forest fire, so a helicopter team undertakes a rescue. One fireman flies the helicopter over the smoky blaze to coordinate the operation and see the big picture. A second fireman descends on a rope into the billowing smoke below to track down the family and stand with them. Once he locates the family, he wraps the rope around them, attaching them to himself, and they are lifted up together from the blaze into safety. In this rescue operation the first fireman looks like the Father, who can see the whole field unclouded from above to sovereignly orchestrate the plan.

The second fireman looks like the Son, who descends into our world ablaze to find us, the human family, and identify with us most deeply in the darkness of the grave. The Spirit is like the rope, who mediates the presence of the Father to Jesus, even in his distance, and raises Jesusand the human family with himfrom sin, death, and the grave, into the presence of the Father. Of course, like all analogies, this one falls short. The Spirit is a person, not a thing (like the rope). And the Father, Son, and Spirit are not separate individuals but the one God, sharing a divine nature and essence as one being. [Adapted from Joshua Ryan Butler, The Pursuing God (Thomas Nelson, 2016), page 122]

AskMe #2889169 11/01/16 06:31 AM
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Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

Those who have their eyes opened, and have some understanding in the things of God, have need to be more and more enlightened, and to have their knowledge more clear, and distinct, and experimental. Christians should not think it enough to have warm affections, but they should labour to have clear understandings; they should be ambitious of being knowing Christians, and judicious Christians.



The popular novelist Andrew Klavan was raised in a non-practicing Jewish home. For about the first 45 years of his life, he lived as a "philosophical agnostic and a practical atheist." Klavan explains some of the steps along his journey that eventually led him to faith in Christ:

Jesus never appeared to me while I lay drunk in the gutter. And yet, looking back on my life, I see that Christ was beckoning to me at every turn. When I was a child, he was there in the kindness of a Christian babysitter and the magic of a Christmas Eve spent at her house. When I was a troubled young man contemplating suicide, he was in the voice of a Christian baseball player who gave a radio interview that inspired me to go on. And always, he was in the day-to-day miracle of my marriage, a lifelong romance that taught me the reality of love and slowly led me to contemplate the greater love that was its source and inspiration.

But perhaps most important for a novelist who insisted that ideas should make sense, Christ came to me in stories. Slowly, I came to understand that his life, words, sacrifice, and resurrection formed the hidden logic behind every novel, movie, or play that touched my deepest mind.

I was reading a story when that logic finally kicked in. I was in my forties, lying in bed with one of Patrick O'Brian's great seafaring adventure novels. One of the characters, whom I admired, said a prayer before going to sleep, and I thought to myself, Well, if he can pray, so can I. I laid the book aside and whispered a three-word prayer in gratitude for the contentment I'd found, and for the work and people I loved: "Thank you, God."

It was a small and even prideful prayer: a self-impressed intellectual's hesitant experiment with faith. God's response was an act of extravagant grace. I woke the next morning and everything had changed. There was a sudden clarity and brightness to familiar faces and objects; they were alive with meaning and with my own delight in them. I called this experience "the joy of my joy," and it came to me again whenever I prayed. Naturally I began to pray every day.

This would lead to a full acceptance of Christ as Lord. Later, Klavan was baptized and wrote a book about his spiritual journey titled The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ.


[Andrew Klavan, "How a Man of the Coasts and Cities Found Christ," Christianity Today (8-22-16)]

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Joshua 24:15 (NIV)
15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

We have a choice what religion and what god we wish to follow. Here Joshua states that he will follow the Lord, the God of his ancestors and the only God he has known and loved.


When the prayer made in faith is not answered, and the healing for which many have sought does not come, we are not to look for someone to accuse of failure in faith. Rather we are to remember that besides faith there is hope. Hope has to do with God's promises that are still future and hidden, just as faith has to do with God's promises that are here and now. To the person who has believed for today but has not seen the answer come today, there comes the call to hope. Hope says, "Tomorrow also is God's. Enough has happened already to assure you that the rest is on the way." [Thomas Smail, quoted in Ken Blue's Authority to Heal]


Who will you serve? The God of Hope or whatever you fancy? God lets us see faith in action. God also allows us to see hope that comes in the future with the richness and fullness of God.

AskMe #2889737 11/10/16 06:40 AM
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Job 37:5-6 (NIV)
5 Gods voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. 6 He says to the snow, Fall on the earth, and to the rain shower, Be a mighty downpour.

Gods voice is in control of all things. He speaks into action events that happen around us. It is beyond our understanding, but it is marvelous and grand.


Poll Asks, "Is God in Control of Natural Disasters?"
Average Rating: Not rated [see ratings/reviews]
A March 2011 poll surveyed Americans regarding their beliefs about God's involvement in natural disasters. The following are some of the results of this research:
56 percent of the Americans surveyed believe that God is in control of the earth
38 percent believe that God employs events in nature to dispense judgment
29 percent believe that God punishes entire nations for the sins of a few
Nearly 60 percent of evangelical Christians agreed that God can use natural disasters to send messages
44 percent of Americans say that the increased severity of recent natural disasters is evidence that we are in the end times
61 percent of Christians from racial and ethnic minorities believe that natural disasters are God's way of testing our faithand according to the article, that idea "resonates with African-American's history of surviving through slavery and racial discrimination."
The article concluded: "After one of these disasters [like the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami], people turn to their clergy and theologians and they look for answers, and there are no great answers . But almost every group believes you have to help people who are suffering." [Nicole Neroulias, "Poll: Most in U.S., except evangelicals, see no divine sign in disasters," USA Today (3-24-11)]

God often works His wonders to bring about changes in people. When people are faced with a crisis such as the tsunami listed above, people will join together to help one another. The day before they may not have even noticed their fellow man and now they are helping one another.

AskMe #2889914 11/15/16 07:01 AM
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Psalm 119:143 (NIV)
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.

Here King David means, "Lord, let the word of truth be always in my mouth; let me have the wisdom and courage which are necessary to enable me both to use my knowledge for the instruction of others, and, like the good householder, to bring out of my treasury things new and old, and to make profession of my faith whenever I am called to it. [Matthew Henry]



Prolific children's author George Koshy spent three years writing a children's Bible, the first of its kind to be originated in any Indian language. When a local publisher rejected it, Koshy filed the manuscript in his cupboard.

Two years later, the same publisher decided to publish it. George opened the cupboard and discovered only shredsmice had eaten his manuscript! For the next two years, he worked day and night to recreate the manuscript.

[For Christmas in 2009], Samaritan's Purse distributed 58,000 copies of this Bible in Kerala, India. Recently, George learned that two Hindu children became Christians and now attend church after reading a copy. "This is a product of much pain," Koshy says, trusting God for additional eternal results.

[Used by permission from Media Associates International (MAI), a missions organization that "equips and nurtures talented men and women with a passion for producing Christian literature for their own people."]


Thee commands or words of God are powerful and they can bring comfort and knowledge when a person is in distress. Sometimes we see so little the work that goes into ministering to others, but the results that come from that work are exponentially greater.

AskMe #2890037 11/17/16 07:58 AM
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Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

When we walk in the dark we are subject to trip and to fall. However when we have a light with us we are able to see and walk without fault. The same goes for our life, when we follow Gods word it is like a light leading us through the darkness of sin.




In February 1954, a navy pilot set out on a night-training mission from a carrier off the coast of Japan. While he was taking off in stormy weather, his directional finder malfunctioned, and he mistakenly headed in the wrong direction. To make matters worse, his instrument panel suddenly short-circuited, burning out all the lights in the cockpit.

The pilot "looked around and could see absolutely nothing; the blackness outside the plane had suddenly come inside." Nearing despair, he looked down and thought he saw a faint blue-green glow trailing along in the ocean's ebony depths. His training had prepared him for this moment, and he knew in an instant what he was seeing: a cloud of phosphorescent algae glowing in the sea that had been stirred up by the engines of his ship. It was the "least reliable and most desperate method" of piloting a plane back onto a ship safely, but the pilotfuture Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovellknew that was precisely what he needed to do. And so he did.

While he did not articulate it this way, Jim's life was saved because of light. Not just any light, but "bioluminescent dinoflagellates," which are tiny creatures that contain luciferin, a generic term for the light-emitting compound. Bioluminescent organisms live throughout the ocean, from the surface to the seafloor, from near the coast to the open ocean.


John 8:12 tells us, When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

AskMe #2890154 11/21/16 10:42 AM
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1 Corinthians 1:4-5
4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every waywith all kinds of speech and with all knowledge

The Apostle here gives thanks to God for the grace given through Christ Jesus; for that grace has enriched the person in the way they act and in the way they speak, which is to be used for the good of others.



Business researchers call it "the missing ingredient" or "the hidden accelerator." Most managers could transform their workplaces with this missing ingredient: showing appreciation. That's the focus of a recent book entitled The Carrot Principle by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. Based on a ten-year study that interviewed 200,000 people, Gostick and Elton conclude that appreciation tops the list of things employees say they want from their bosses. Some of the statistics to back up this claim include:
Of the people who report high morale at work, 94.4 percent agree that their managers show appreciation.

79 percent of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as the key reason for leaving.

56 percent of employees who report low morale also give their managers low marks for showing appreciation.

Of course these statistics tap into a fundamental need in all of our relationships: the need to give and receive affirmation and blessing. The authors of The Carrot Principle conclude, "The simple act of a leader [or a spouse, parent, coach, mentor, or friend] expressing appreciation to a person in a meaningful way is the missing accelerator that can do so much but is used so sparingly."


[Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, The Carrot Principle (Free Press, 2007), pp. 7-14.}


Everyone wants to be appreciates and we can do that through encouraging words that lack unjust criticism and instead motivate the person to good works.

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Colossians 3:15 (NIV)
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Here the Apostle tells us to let the same peace that ruled in Christs life to also rule in their hearts. We make up a single body and that is the body of Christ, so be thankful in all that happens even when you cant be thankful still let your heart rejoice so that others know how thankful you are for what you have.


A young Christian named Anne Snyder spent her first three years after college trying to break into the world of journalism while trying to serve Christ through her career. Then she landed a dream job. David Brooks, a nationally known columnist with The New York Times, hired Anne to be his research assistant. She acted as his sounding board, reading early drafts of his columns and offering story ideas.

Anne is exceedingly intelligent and articulate, so it wasn't a surprise. But it was surprising that this young, professionally green evangelical Christian was working so closely with Brooks, an influential public voice, prominent journalist, thought leader, and non-Christian.

Fast-forward to mid-2015. The same David Brooks released a critically acclaimed book, The Road to Character. In the beginning of Brooks' acknowledgement page he offered this glowing honor to his new research assistant, Anne Snyder:

Anne C. Snyder was there when this book was born and walked with me through the first three years of its writing. This was first conceived as a book about cognition and decision making. Under Anne's influence, it became a book about morality and inner life. She led dozens of discussions about the material, assigned me reading from her own bank of knowledge, challenged the superficiality of my thinking in memo after memo and transformed the project I have certainly stolen many of her ideas and admired the gracious and morally rigorous way she lives her life. If there are any important points in this book, they probably come from Anne.

Of course there's a story behind this acknowledgement: Anne's vibrant faithand her God-given brilliance, uncompromising work ethic, and extensive reading listhad influenced Mr. Brooks in a profound, and relevant, way. Her faithful presence made a difference. In good faith, Anne made Christianity a little more relevant to one person, who happens to write bestselling books and a regular column for The New York Times.


[Adapted from David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, Good Faith (Baker Books, 2016), pages 35-27]

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Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV)
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

The psalmist reminds us to enter our area of life with praise, always praising and giving thanks to the Holy God. We should put aside other worries, other fears, other doubts, and other concerns. For the Lord is good towards us with a love that endures through all generations.



The Minnesota storyteller Kevin Kling was born with a birth defecthis left arm was disabled and much shorter than his right. Then, in his early 40s, a motorcycle accident nearly killed him and paralyzed his healthy right arm. While he was in the hospital recovering from the accident, Kling learned a life-changing lesson about "the three phases of prayer."

In the first phase of prayer, we pray to get things from God. In the second phase, we pray to get out of things. While he was in rehab for his accident, Kling learned the third phase of prayergiving thanks to God. Kling says:

I'd been through many surgeries during my six week stay in the hospital. And each day, I would ride the elevator to the ground floor and try and take a walk. That was my job. 9/11 had happened the week before. And as our country was entering trauma, I was living one. After my walk, my wife Mary and I went into the gift shop, and she asked if I wanted an apple. She said they looked really good. Now, I hadn't tasted food in over a month I lost a lot of weight because food had no appeal. So I said no, but she persisted. Come on. Try it. So finally, I said all right. And I took a bite. And for some reason, that was the day flavor returned, and that powerful sweetness rushed from that apple. Oh, it was incredible.

I started to cry, cry for the first time in years. The tears flowed and as the anesthesia and antibiotics flushed through my tears, it burned my eyes. And between the sweetness of that apple and the burning for my tears, it felt so good to be alive. I blurted out, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for this life." And that's when my prayers shifted, again, to giving thanks.


[Kevin Kling, "Prayer, Once a Last Resort, Now a Habit," NPR (1-10-07); On Being, "The Losses and Laughter We Grow Into," American Public Media (3-7-13);]

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2 Peter 3:10-11 (NIV)
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives

Here the apostle poses a statement and then asks a question. If you knew everything in the world would be destroyed at a point in time and laid bare would you change your ways to live a holy and godly life?




Australia is moving. This isn't so surprisingall the continents are on the move, and Australia drifts 70 millimeters to the northeast every year. Australia was once connected to both India and Antarctica, finally breaking away from the former 100 million years ago and the latter 45 million years ago. The continent still drifts away at a rate far too slow for humans to notice. But that journey is now starting to mess with systems that rely on pinpoint accuracy, specifically GPS.

Australian GPS was last updated in 1994, and the entire country has moved a little more than five feet since then. Much of our current technology relies on accurate GPS coordinates. For instance, driverless tractors that help with farm work will start having problems because the information about the farm won't line up with the co-ordinates coming out of the navigation system there will be problems. For Australians using driverless cars or shipping drones, accurate map information is fundamental.

Everything on earth changes, including the mighty continents. But for believers there are three crucial foundational things that will never change: God doesn't change, His Word doesn't change, and His promises do not change. These are settled forever in the heavens.


[David Finch, Elk Grove, California; source: David Grossman, "Australia's GPS Was Off Because the Whole Country Moved," PopularMechanics.Com (7-29-16); Chris Foxx, "Australia Plans New Co-Ordinates To Fix Sat-Nav Gap," BBC.com (7-29-16)]


God doesnt change, but the world around us does. As I scrolled through a list of those I went to school with, I noticed those who were no longer with us. They had died from accidents, disease and in some cases by their own hands. God asks us, you know there will be an end to life, so why arent you using your life to the best of your ability to live a holy and godly life?

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1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

We are told to remember the grace we have been given so that we may keep our minds alert and sober to keep ourselves holy.


Can we be guilty for sinful responses that seem to erupt in us automatically? Can we really consider sin voluntary if it is not consciously chosen? Consider the following illustration of how unintentional sin works:

Trained instinctsthat's how fighter pilots can react immediately to rapidly changing situations as they operate $27 million war machines. When a threat aircraft is closing in, there's no time for pilots to reason through what to do. They have to rely on instinctbut not just natural instinct. They need instincts shaped deep within then through years of regiment. The countless little decisions they make in the cockpit are automatic, but that doesn't mean they're involuntary. The pilot voluntarily trained for them, and in the cockpit he reaps the instinctive benefits of that training.

Like the fighter pilot's hours of training, our hearts are under a regimen of beliefs and values that don't align with Scripture, drilled into us through what we put in our heads, what we receive as wisdom from other sources, what we accept as normal from culture. All of these shape our unintentional sin.


[Dr. Jeremy Pierre, "Involuntary Sins," TABLETALK (June 2016); submitted by: Van Morris, Mt. Washington]

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1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV)
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy.

The Lord loved us and sent His son to atone for our sins. Because of the love shown for us, we should act as holy people because of the love shown towards us.



Karl Barth preached regularly to the inmates of the prison in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland. Knowledge of that context adds poignancy to the sermons. Here was an audience of people who had been officially judged and condemned as guilty. One of the sermons is based on Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God." He illustrated by retelling a Swiss legend:

You probably all know the legend of the rider who crossed the frozen Lake of Constance by night without knowing it. When he reached the opposite shore and was told whence he came, he broke down horrified. This is the human situation when the sky opens and the earth is bright, when we may hear: By grace you have been saved! In such a moment we are like that terrified rider. When we hear this word we involuntarily look back, do we not, asking ourselves: Where have I been? Over an abyss, in mortal danger! What did I do? The most foolish thing I ever attempted! What happened? I was doomed and miraculously escaped and now I am safe!

In the same way, everyone who is trusting Christ for salvation by grace alone can say, "I was in mortal danger. I was doomed but through the cross of Christ I miraculously escaped and now I am safe!"


[Adapted from Fleming Rutledge, "Hallelujah, I'm a Miserable Sinner," The Behemoth]

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Galatians 3:26-28 (NIV)
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

A reminder that all who have placed their faith in Christ are Christians and there equals a brothers and sisters of Christ. For like the arms, legs, feet and other parts of a body make up the entire body, so do all Christians make up the body of Christ.




When we have forgotten the past, the community helps us re-learn our own story. The case of "Benjamin Kyle" is instructive. In the early morning of August 31, 2004, employees of a Burger King in Richmond Hill, GA found a man unconscious next to a dumpster. He was naked, sunburnt, and had bites from red ants. His skull had three depressions, apparently from blunt force trauma. He also had amnesia and was unable to remember his own name, much less how he came to be found beaten behind a Burger King. The employees called 911, and he was taken to a hospital in Savannah; but without identity papers or memory, they listed him only as "Burger King Doe."

For more than ten years he was unable to remember his name and thus was unable to get a Social Security card. He could not obtain a job nor collect any kind of benefits from the government. He named himself "Benjamin Kyle," sensing that his first name might have been Benjamin, and he sought a community that knew him previously to help him piece together his identity. You see, without a community, this man had no access to his story. Finally, with the help of investigative reporters and genetic testing, "Benjamin Kyle" learned his real name and likely family of origin. As he started to identify with his community again he said, "Looking at all these names, all these people, kind of gives me a sense of belonging," he said. "I have a history. I'm not just some stranger that materialized out of thin air."


[Jeffrey Arthurs, Boston, Massachusetts; source: Kent Justice, "Man with no name finally knows real identity," News4Jax.com (9-15-16)]

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Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV)
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

Encouragement from the apostle that we should do everything with hesitation of complaint so that we can become blameless and pure according to the word of God.



Cheryl A. Bachelder, the CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, turned her company around with a focus on serving others. A committed Christian in the workplace, Bachelder is also the author of Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others. In a recent interview, she share her thoughts on servanthood:

The Bible verse that's on my calendar every day is Philippians 2:3. Because I haven't found one that's more paramount to how I want to lead in my family and in my work. And that is, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." I really like the choice of words around counting others more significant than yourselves. I believe we're all born with an inner 2-year-old. And we'd really still like to be laying on the floor, kicking and screaming because we didn't get the candy bar we wanted. It's pretty hardwired that we're self-absorbed little people. And we learn to fake it well, but we're still pretty much that 2-year-old on the inside.

I find that biblical perspective really challenging in every aspect of my dayhow I'm spending my time, the decisions that I make. To put them through a filter of whether I'm thinking about myself or whether I'm thinking about others. Am I doing this because I'll get a bigger bonus check? Or am I really thinking about the long-term interest of this company? Am I doing this truly for my franchise owners, or am I getting some personal benefit that I haven't been willing to acknowledge?" Those kinds of provocative self-mirror questions hold you to a higher standard. I always say servant leadership is an aspiration, because you can really never claim you've arrived. Because as soon as you do, someone will find youand in a trap of self-interest. It's something you're always working toward.


[Adapted from Religion & Liberty, "Servant Leadership in a Louisiana Kitchen" (Volume 26, Number 3)]

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Matthew 7:12 (NIV)
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The Lord Jesus presses upon us that righteousness towards men is an essential branch of true religion, and that religion towards God is an essential branch of universal righteousness. Romans 12:10 tells us, Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.



The Italians have a beautiful expression for love: ti voglio bene. Though commonly translated as "I love you," [the phrase] more literally means "I wish you good" or "I want what is good for you."

This simple phrase reminds us that true love is not primarily about what good feelings may be stirring within me. Even less is it about what I can get out of a relationship for myself. The fullness of love is looking outward toward my beloved and seeking what is best for that person, not just what is good for me. [Adapted from Edward Sri, Men, Women and the Mystery of Love (Servant Books, 2007), page 55]


This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18)

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Galatians 6:1 (NIV)
6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

These words are an encouragement to us to help those who are struggling in life. We are to help restore them to a place away from sin while showing them grace and mercy. As we do this we should watch ourselves that we dont get overly involved and fall into the same trap they did.




Lt. Jack Cambria has spent more than a decade talking people down from the ledge. Until his retirement in 2015, he was the commanding officer of the NYPD's hostage negotiation team for over 33 years. During his career he became an expert at saving fellow cops from gun-wielding maniacs or dissuading people to not jump off New York City's skyscrapers or bridges.

What's the secret to success as a hostage negotiator? Cambria says, "The very good negotiators, I think, are the ones with the life stories"particularly, he would add, life stories of pain that have produced compassion for others. Cambria claims, "[Good negotiators must] experience the emotion of love at one point in their life, to know what it means to have been hurt in love at one point in their life, to know success and perhaps, most important, to know what it means to know failure."

He learned this lesson during his first day as a police officer. Cambria admitted that he had his "own baggage about the homeless, they were violent, they were dirty, they were mentally ill." Then one day, he had to confront a homeless fare beater and searched his satchel. Inside wasn't a weapon but a manuscript of a play titled "Crabs in a Basket," a metaphor for the man, of his struggle to crawl out of the hole he was in.

"In that two-minute space of time, he had transposed himself from a homeless guymy baggageto a playwright," he recalled. That compassion has led colleagues to refer to him as "Gentleman Jack," whose guiding principle is to just get the suspects talking.


[Pervaiz Shallwani, "Life Lessons From the NYPD's Top Hostage Negotiator," The Wall Street Journal (8-28-15)]

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James 4:10 (NIV)
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Those that draw nigh to God in a way of duty shall find God drawing nigh to them in a way of mercy. Draw nigh to him in faith, and trust, and obedience, and he will draw nigh to you for your deliverance. If there be not a close communion between God and us, it is our fault, and not his. He shall lift up the humble. [Matthew Henry]




In the 1840s a court case based in Chicago captured the attention of the entire nation. Labeled "The Reaper Case," it centered on the patenting of farm equipment invented by Cyrus McCormick. At the time the case had such high-stakes that legal rock stars from the East Coast trekked to the Midwest to take on the case. But since the judge was from Illinois, these Ivy League trained lawyers decided to add a local lawyer to their legal team. So after working their networks, they found an obscure, small town lawyer to join their high-powered team.

When the high-powered, sophisticated Ivy League lawyers met their new teammate, they were stunned. He was poorly dressed and disheveled. He spoke with a strong small town accent and used folksy vernacular phrases. In short, he was a country bumpkin. One of the team's leading lawyers, a man named Edwin Stanton, said in this small town lawyer's presence, "Let's do away with this ape." Then they did what any immature men would do. They ditched him. They would have meals without him. They would tell him different times for the court case to be tried, and then they would get there earlier and the court case would be going on. They viewed him as someone of very significant insignificance.

Stanton won the case. He went on to become one of the leading lights in the American legal profession and politics. As a matter of fact, he became the Secretary of War during the Civil War. But much to his shock he went to work for the one he called "ape." It was Abraham Lincoln, whose incredible significance was not known until the very last years of his life.


[Stewart Ruch III, Sermon "When Small Is Great," PreachingToday.com]

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