DON’T QUIT KEEP PLAYING

JANUARY 18
 
My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in [your] weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
 
0ne day a mom who wanted to encourage her little boy to keep practicing the piano, took him to hear Paderewski play. They sat near the front, and the boy was fascinated by the big grand piano on the stage. While his mother was talking to a friend, she didn’t notice her son slip away. As the house lights dimmed and the spotlight hit the piano, she gasped as she saw her son on the piano bench, playing, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Before she could get to him, Paderewski walked over to the keyboard and sat down beside the boy. “Don’t quit, keep playing,” he whispered. Then he reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part, and with his right arm he reached around the other side encircling the child, and added a running obligate. Together the old master and the child brought the crowd to its feet.
 
Child of God, no matter how ill-equipped you may feel, the Master has a word for you: “Don’t quit, keep playing. “No matter what you’re doing today-raising those children, running that business, pastoring that church, or just trying to be a better Christian-don’t quit, keep playing. He will add whatever is needed to turn your efforts into a masterpiece.
 
 REMEMBER, HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THEE.
 

 

​My husband and I had just finished tucking our five young ones into bed one evening when we heard sobbing coming from three-year-old Billy’s room. Rushing to his side, we found him crying hysterically. He had accidentally swallowed a penny and was sure he was going to die. No amount of talking could change his mind.
 

Desperate to calm him, my husband palmed a penny that he happened to have in his pocket and pretended to pull it from Billy’s ear. Billy was delighted. In a flash, he snatched it from my husband’s hand, swallowed it and demanded cheerfully, “Do it again, Dad!”



HAVE YOU PREPARED YOUR WILL YET

JANUARY 17
 
A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children. (Proverbs 13:22)
 
Most people-about 99 percent-hate to make a will because they’re afraid that as soon as they do, they’ll  cash in their chips. “What nonsense! Long life is one of God’s promises to you (see Proverbs 10:27).
 
I pose a question to every person reading these words. If you died tomorrow, would your money, your home, your furnishings, your clothing, your jewelry, and your valuables, go to the people you want them to? Are you sure?
 
The best way to be certain that your wishes are respected is to sit down now with a pencil and pad, and write down what you want to leave to whom. Think also of your liquid assets; do you want to leave a certain amount to your church, or a ministry, or a charity you believe in?
 
Then, call a lawyer right away, and have it put in a legal document. Don’t leave a mess that will mean work for the courts, more taxes for the government, and a legacy of bitterness and confusion for your loved ones.
 
Your stewardship doesn’t end at the grave. (See 2 Kings 20:1.) If the parable of the talents means anything, then you’ll be rewarded by one standard-what you did with what you had!
 
THINK ABOUT IT!
 

 

​When I worked as a medical intern in a local hospital, one of my patients was an elderly man with a thick accent.It took me some time to understand that he had no insurance coverage.One thing he had made clear was that he was a World War II veteran, so I had him transported to the Veteran’s Administration hospital, where he’d be eligible for benefits.The next day my patient was back, with a note from the VA: “Right war, wrong side.” …
 

  The nurse told the parents of a newly born child, “You have a cute baby. “The smiling husband said, “I bet you say that to all new parents.” “No,” she replied, “just to those whose babies really are good-looking. “The husband again asked “So what do you say to the others?” The nurse replied, “The baby looks just like you!” …



IN THE PRESENCE OF MINE ENEMIES

JANUARY 16

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (Psalm 23:5)
 
When does God make your cup overflow? In the presence of your enemies. When does God anoint your head with oil? In the presence of your enemies. When do you need goodness and mercy the most? In the presence of your enemies. When do you need the rod and Staff of His comfort and protection? In the presence of your enemies.
 
Can you see this? The very fact that you’ve made it this far proves His goodness and mercy have been with you all-not just some, but all-the days of your life.
 
You may say, “But I’m still struggling. “Wonderful; struggle is proof that you refuse to surrender, and that you haven’t been conquered. As long as you hold that position, God can do something for you. Hecan send His Spirit; He can send His Word; He can send friends who’ve been where you are, and who are strong where you’re weak. If you’re teachable, you’re reachable. Just keep an open heart and listen. His promise to you today is, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:5-6).
 
TODAY IS ONE OF THOSE DAYS.
 

  A fine is a tax for doing something wrong.

A tax is a fine for doing something right.​ ..
.

  The fellow stormed into the postmaster’s office in a fury. “I’ve been getting threatening letters in the mail for months and I want them stopped.” “Of course,” said the postmaster. “Sending threatening letters through the mail is a federal offense. Do you know who’s sending them?” “Yes,” shouted the man. “It’s those crazy nuts down at the Internal Revenue Service.” …



IT RUBS OFF

JANUARY 15
 
His face glowed from being in the presence of God. (Exodus 34:29TLB)
 
You can only talk convincingly about the God you know – the One you’ve spent time with. Any other God belongs in a theology book, and you’ll have a hard time selling Him. When Moses came down the mountain, his face shone. He had been in God’s presence, and when you’ve been there it shows. It shows in the way you look, the way you walk and talk, the way you treat your family, the way you spend your money, and the way you respond to hurting people. It rubs off!
 
Paul Cain says, “Most of us are as close to God as we want to be.”
 
Think about it. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you (James 4:8). How could you possibly be the same when you’ve been with Him? He transforms everything He touches. Listen: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). He didn’t say “visit” or “drop in if you have time”; He said “dwell.” Take up residence. Move in and set up house. It’s all got to do with your desire. David said, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after” (Psalm 27:4).
 
TODAY, MAKE UP YOUR MIND TO REARRANGE THINGS IN YOUR LIFE SO THAT YOU CAN SPEND MORE TIME IN HIS PRESENCE. IF YOU DO, IT WILL SHOW, BECAUSE IT RUBS OFF!
 

 

A computer scientist, a surgeon, and a civil engineer were gathered at the pub. The surgeon boasts, “Surgery is the oldest technology in the world. It’s in the Bible. God removed Adam’s rib while he slept. This is clear evidence that surgery pre-dates all other technological endeavors.”
 

Without so much as a beat, the civil engineer says, “Before that, God formed the earth, the stars, and everything from nothing but chaos. He created rivers, mountains and oceans. This was clear evidence that civil engineering pre-dates all other technological endeavors.” No to be outdone, the computer scientist points out, “Yes, but where do you think the chaos came from?”



GETTING OVER THE PAST

JANUARY 14
 
My heart is fixed, 0 God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. (Psalm 57:7)
 
There are people who’ve had things worse than you and done better, and some who’ve had it better than you and done worse. Your circumstances have little to do with getting over your past …
 
However, these four things can keep you stuck:
 
  1. Resentment. Are you busy trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” or are you trying to bring them down to your level? If so, then listen: “In honour preferring one another” (Romans 12:10).
  2. Regret. Paul said, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Philippians 3:13). You’ll never reach ahead until you forget what’s behind. We all have things we wish we’d done differently. Learn from them, forgive yourself, and move on.
  1. Self-pity. After his greatest victory, Elijah wallowed in it. Listen: “I’ve had enough … take away my life … the people ofIsrael have . . . killed your prophets, and only I am left; and now they are trying to kill me too” (1 Kings 19:4-10). That’s self-pity in the raw, and if you let it in, it’ll take over your life.
  2. An unteachable spirit! Listen: “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6 NIV). The only thing that’s worse than ignorance is the prejudice that defends it, and the pride that refuses to acknowledge it or rise above it. God has surrounded you with opportunities to learn. Take advantage of them.
  3.  
  4.  
  5. REMEMBER, WHAT YOU LEARN TODAY WILL DETERMINE WHAT YOU BECOME TOMORROW.
 

 

A man is lying on the operating table, about to be operated on by his son, the surgeon. The father says, “Son, think of it this way: If anything happens to me, your mother is coming to live with you.” …
 

  An older man, not in the best physical condition, asked the trainer in the gym, “I want to impress a beautiful young girl. Which machine should I use?”The trainer replied, “Use the ATM machine outside!” .



GO FOR THE GOLD

JANUARY 11
 
I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. (1 Corinthians 9:26 TM)
 
In Atlanta when they held the 1996 Olympics, you should have seen the place! Three billion dollars worth of new construction, half a million visitors, and thousands of athletes and their trainers from all over the world competing for Olympic Gold. No hour was too early to rise; no distance too great to run; no sacrifice too great in order to win.
 
Listen to how Paul describes it: “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win” (1 Corinthians 9:24 TM). Mom, use today to sow the seeds of Christian character into the lives of your children. Sir, strive for excellence, whether you sweep streets or build skyscrapers. Reach out in love and touch someone with kindness, expecting nothing ill return, and be assured that every thought, every word, and every deed will be rewarded at the end of the race. Don’t let anything keep you from reaching the finish line.
 
Paul said, “I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself (1 Corinthians 9:27 TM). Come on, child of God, this calls for discipline! It calls for endurance! It calls you to sacrifice lesser things in order to win a crown of glory.

 

THE WORD FOR YOU TODAY IS, “GO FOR THE GOLD!”

 

My elderly Jewish grandmother was giving me directions to her apartment.
 
“You come to the front door of the apartment. I am in apartment 4012.”
 
“There is a big panel at the front door. With your elbow, push button 4012. I will buzz you in. Come inside, the elevator is on the right. Get in, and with your elbow, push 4.”
 
“When you get out, I’m on the left.”
 
“With your elbow , hit my doorbell.”
 
“Grandma, that sounds easy, but, why am I hitting all these buttons with my elbow?”
 

“Vaat . . . . . You coming empty handed?”



YOUR ATTITUDE DETERMINES EVERYTHING

JANUARY 10
 
 My servant Caleb has a different attitude, and has wholeheartedly followed me.(Numbers 14:24, Berkeley)
 
Caleb went against the crowd and popular opinion. While the majority thought the giants were too big and God’s people were too small, Caleb never doubted God for a minute. The miracles proved that nothing was too big for God to handle. The manna proved He cared and that every need would be supplied. So with a God like this, how can you fail?
 

Listen: “Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30). What an attitude! If only they’d listened. But no; their negative attitude landed them in the wilderness-for forty years! Doubt and unbelief will always lead you into the wilderness. Grumbling and complaining will fill your life with barrenness. John Mason says, “It’s your attitude that determines your altitude. You’ll never rise any higher than it.” Caleb had a different attitude and look at the results he got: “Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb … because that he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel” (Joshua 14:13).   HOW’s YOUR ATTITUDE AND YOUR OUTLOOK TODAY?  

​Several days ago as I left a meeting at our church, I desperately gave myself a personal TSA pat down. I was looking for my keys. They were not in my pockets. A quick search in the meeting room revealed nothing. Suddenly I realized that I must have left them in the car. Frantically I headed for the parking lot.
 
My wife, Diane, has scolded me many times for leaving the keys in the ignition. My theory is the ignition is the best place not to lose them. Her theory is that the car will be stolen. As I burst through the doors of the church, I came to a terrifying conclusion: her theory was right. The parking lot was empty. I immediately called the police. I gave them my location, confessing that I had left my keys in the car and that it had been stolen.
 
Then I made the most difficult call of all. “Honey,” I stammered. I always call her “honey” in times like these. “I left my keys in the car, and it has been stolen.”
 

There was a period of silence. I thought the call had been dropped, but then I heard Diane’s voice. “Ken,” she barked, “I dropped you off!”

Now it was my time to be silent. Embarrassed, I said, “Well, come and get me.”
 

Diane retorted, “I will, as soon as I convince this policeman I have not stolen your car!”



WALKING THROUGH THE FIRE

January 9
 
The One who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, he’ll do it! (1 Thessalonians 5:24 TM)
 
Did you hear that? If He said it, He’ll do it! He’s completely dependable. No matter what you’re going through today, you can count on Him to be with you-and when He’s with you, you can be sure He’ll bring you through.
 
Remember the three Hebrew children? They refused to bow to the king’s idols, so he threw them into a furnace heated seven times over. Maybe you feel like you’re walking through the fire, and it’s seven times worse than anything you’ve ever experienced. But look what happened. When the king looked into the fire, he said, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt: and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:24-25). In the midst of the furnace the three Hebrew children were “loose,” they had “no hurt,“ and they were “walking with the Son o/’God.”
 
Today, if He allows you to go through the fire. He’ll be with you; It won’t hurt you; and the very thing the enemy meant to destroy you, will set you free. The One who called you is completely dependable.

 

REMEMBER, YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY CONSIDERATION HERE. LIKE THE HEBREW CHILDREN, YOUR FAITH IN THE FIRE WILL TOUCH THE LIVES OF OTHERS AND TURN THEM TO GOD.
 

  One reason the Military Services have trouble operating jointly is that they don’t speak the same language. For example, if you told Navy personnel to “secure a building,” they would turn off the lights and lock the doors.​The Army would occupy the building so no one could enter. Marines would assault the building, capture it, and defend it with fire power and close combat.The Air Force, on the other hand, would take out a three-year lease with an option to buy. …



KINDNESS AFOREHAND

JANUARY 8

There came a
woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious … and poured it on his head. (Mark 14:3)
 
Don’t keep the alabaster box of your love sealed up until your friends are dead! Break It open now, pour it out, and fill their lives with joy while you can. Those words of kindness you’ve thought of saying a thousand times-say them now, while their ears can hear them and their hearts can still be touched. Those flowers you keep meaning to send-do it this week and brighten their home before they leave it!
 
It’s amazing! The crowd in the house saw her do it, argued about it, and missed the whole point. That very night, following this woman’s act of devotion, Judas would go out and set wheels in motion that would lead Jesus to the Cross. Somehow she sensed that time and opportunity were running out. If she was ever going to show Him her love, this was it! Listen to what Jesus said: “She is come aforehand to anoint my body” (Mark 14:8). There it is-kindness aforehand.
 
Joseph of Arimathea brought 100 pounds of precious ointment to anoint Jesus after He was dead, but not a word of praise is spoken about his “post-mortem” kindness. She brought only one pound of ointment and poured it on Him-while He was still living-and Jesus said, “Wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Mark 14:9 NIV). Are you getting the message?
 
IF MY FRIENDS HAVE ANY ALABASTER BOXES LAID AWAY FOR ME, I WOULD RATHER THEY BRING THEM OUT NOW.
 

 

​A nervous taxpayer was unhappily conversing with the IRS auditor who had come to review his records. At one point the auditor exclaimed, “We feel it is a great privilege to be allowed to live and work in the USA. As a citizen you have an obligation to pay taxes, and we expect you to eagerly pay them with a smile.” “Thank God,” returned the taxpayer. “I thought you were going to want cash.” .
..

  ​Instructor: “Isn’t it remarkable how quickly the kids learn to drive the car?”Parent: “Yes, especially considering how slowly they catch on to running the lawnmower and vacuum cleaner.” …



CORRECTED BUT NOT DISCARDED

JANUARY 7

Out of weakness were made strong … (Hebrews 11:34)
 
The heroes of the Bible were powerful, but not perfect. They were corrected but not discarded, and their human frailties encourage the rest of us that God can use us, too. The contrast between God and the people He uses reminds us who is to be worshiped.
 
Paul readily admitted he fell far short of his goal. Yet, the light of revelation that shone from his earthen vessel illuminates our walk today. A perfect word from imperfect vessels-that’s “the high calling of God,” and it’s through ordinary people like you and me that He chooses to bring it. Amazing!
 
In Hebrews 11, God lists some of His heroes. But notice what He said about them: “Out of weakness were made strong.” They were strengthened through struggle, and that’s still God’s way. Look at them, but don’t judge them because of a weak moment-judge them on the entirety of their lives! The dents in their armor didn’t affect their performance on the battlefield. They’re remembered for their faith-not their flawlessness!
 
Samson shone on the battlefield, but struggled in the bedroom. Samuel judged the sins of Eli’s children, but failed to keep his own sons on the right track. You ask, “Why does God use such people?”
 
For three reasons:
 
(1) Because His strength is made perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
 
(2) Because our limitations are not His (see Ephesians 3:20).
 
(3) Because He uses what’s available (see 1 Corinthians 1:27).

   NOW, AREN’T YOU GLAD FOR THAT TODAY?  

Next,” the conference emcee announced, “we have the chief of the Minnesota State Patrol, Roger Ledding, who is here with his lovely wife, Beverly.”
 
The chief took his place at the lectern. “I’m a little nervous,” he began, “getting up before this distinguished audience and speaking today. But not nearly as nervous as I will be tonight when I must go home with my wife, Audrey, and explain Beverly to her!”
 

 

A friend was lecturing in Latin America. He was going to use a translator, but to identify with his audience, he wanted to begin his talk by saying in Spanish, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.” He arrived at the auditorium a little early and realized he did not know the Spanish words for ladies and gentlemen. Being rather resourceful, he went to the part of the building where the restrooms were, looked at the signs on the two doors, and memorized those two words.
 
When the audience arrived and he was introduced, he stood up and said in Spanish, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.”
 
The audience was shocked. He didn’t know whether he had offended them or perhaps they hadn’t heard him or understood him. So he decided to repeat it. Again in Spanish he said, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.”
 
One person in the audience began to snicker. Pretty soon the entire audience was laughing. Finally, someone told him that he had said, “Good evening, bathrooms and broom closets!”
 

   




 

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