RUN TO WIN

Run in such a way that you may win.  1 Corinthians 9:24 NAS

Paul writes, “Run in such a way that you may win.” The Isthmian Games to which Paul referred, were open to everyone. Obviously the object of running any race is to win! But it’s not just a matter of putting on your Nike’s, wearing the outfit and enjoying the scenery: “Run in such a way that you may win.” So, what’s the secret to winning? “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things” (l Co 9:25 NAS). Athletes who run to win, exercise restraint over their impulses, emotions and desires. They watch their diet, get sufficient sleep and train their bodies in just the right way. They’re not doing things that could limit their performance on the track. They measure the consequences of every indulgence according to whether it will help or hinder them. Paul says that those who ran in the Isthmian Games did so to win “a perishable wreath.” Actually, the victors were treated like royalty. Often their debts were cancelled and they were allowed to live tax free for the rest of their lives. In some cases they were given a lifetime supply of food so that they could rest on their laurels. So Paul points out that, as valuable as that leafy crown was, it can’t compare to the eternal rewards for which

we strive. In other words, run with eternity in view. Obedience to God, even in details, enhances your heavenly reward. At the end of a life of deep commitment and detailed obedience, Paul could say, “There is laid up for me a crown.” So, live each moment with that crown in view!

From the Best of The Word for Today, 2007

 

Rapper A$AP Rocky had $1.5 million worth of jewelry stolen from his home in Los Angeles earlier this week.

Well, here’s a free tip: Stop spelling your name with a dollar sign.

That’s like having the license plate “I LUV COCAINE” and being surprised when the cops pull you over.

 

With a van loaded with screaming second graders in tow, the lady was driving on a field trip.

Clearly distracted, she coasted through a stop sign, catching the attention of security guard.

“Hey,” he called out. “Have you forgotten how to stop?”

She yelled back over the racket, “What makes you think they’re all mine?”



LIFE’S FULL OF “CHICKENS”

These blessings shall come on thee … if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord.  – Deuteronomy 28:2

Jack London’s classic, White Fang, is about an animal, half dog, half wolf, who learns to live among men.

White Fang is very fond of chickens. Once he raided a chicken-roost and killed 50 hens. His master, Weedon Scott, whom White Fang “loved with single heart,” scolded him, then took him into the chicken yard. When White Fang saw his favorite food walking around in front of him, he obeyed his natural impulse and lunged for them. Immediately he was checked by his master’s voice. He stayed in the chicken yard quite a while, and every time White Fang made a move toward a chicken his master’s voice would stop him. In this way he learned what his master wanted-he learned to ignore the chickens. Weedon Scott’s father argued “You couldn’t cure a chicken killer;’ but Weedon challenged him and they agreed to lock White Fang in with the chickens all afternoon: “Locked in the yard, White Fang lay down and went to sleep. Once he walked over to the trough for a drink. The chickens he calmly ignored. So far as he was concerned they did not exist. At 4 0′ clock he executed a running jump and leaped to the ground outside, whence he sauntered gravely to the house. He had learned the law.” Out of love and a desire to obey his master’s will, White Fang over-came his natural, inborn tendencies. He may not have

understood the reason, but he chose to bend his will to his master’s. Life’s full of “chickens.” What you have to settle is- whom will I serve?

From the Best of Word for Today, 2007

 

Taco Bell announced it will begin selling a potato-rito, which is beef, cheese, potatoes, and chipotle spice wrapped in a tortilla for $1.

Or, for the same nutritional value, just eat the dollar.

 

A teen-aged boy with spiked hair, nose ring and baggy clothes was overheard telling a friend, “I don’t really like to dress like this, but it keeps my parents from dragging me everywhere with them.”



WHAT YOUR SPEECH SAYS ABOUT YOU

You are one of them … your speech shows it. Mark 14:70 NKJV

You can try to disguise your identity by changing your looks, your social circle and your address-but how you speak will give you away every time. It happened to Peter. When a servant girl saw him warming himself by the fire, she said, “‘You … were with Jesus of Nazareth.’ But he denied it. .. And the … girl saw him again and began to say to those who stood by, ‘This is one of them.’ But he denied it again .. .later those who stood by said to Peter again … ‘you are one of them … your speech shows it'” (Mk 14:67-70 NKJV). So in order to convince his accusers that he wasn’t a friend of Jesus, Peter “Began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know this Man of whom you speak'” (Mk 14:71 NKJV). And it worked! After that nobody else accused him of knowing Jesus. Isn’t it interesting how public profanity in any language, has a way of making others question the quality of your relationship with Christ’?

Paul says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up … that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph 4:29 NIV). If you want to win people to Jesus, be careful how you talk. Paul said, “Let your speech always be with grace … that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Col 4:6 NKJV). Words are powerful things. They either build up or tear down, add to or take from. It’s not important that people can tell from your accent where you’re from, but when they can’t tell by the way you talk that you’re Christ’s disciple, something’s seriously wrong.

From the Best of Word for Today, 2007

 

The strong young man at the construction site was bragging that he could outdo anyone in a feat of strength. He made a special case of making fun of one of the older workmen.

After several minutes, the older worker had had enough.

“Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is?” he said. “I will bet a week’s wages that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to that building that you won’t be able to wheel back.”

“You’re on, old man,” the young guy replied.

The old man reached out and grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles. Then he turned to the young man and said, “All right. Get in.”



WHY YOU NEED THE CHURCH

The many parts make up only one body.   1 Corinthians 12:121LB

There’s a wonderful story about Jimmy Durante, one of the truly great entertainers. He was asked to do a show for World War II veterans. He told them he was very busy, but if they wouldn’t mind his doing one short monologue and immediately leaving for his next appointment, he’d come. They agreed. But when Jimmy got on stage he went through the short monologue-then stayed, and stayed. Soon he’d been on stage 15, 20, then 30 minutes. Finally he took a last bow and left. Backstage someone stopped him and said “I thought you had to go after a few minutes. What happened?” Jimmy answered, “You can see for yourself if you look on the front row.” In the front row were two veterans, each of whom had lost an arm in the war. One had lost his right arm and the other had lost his left. Together, they were able to clap, and that’s exactly what they were doing, loudly and cheerfully.

That’s a picture of what happens in church: “But the many parts make up only one body when they are all put together. So it is with the ‘body’ of Christ.” But to enjoy its benefits you have to go, and when you get there you must reach out to others so that you can know and be known, strengthening and being

strengthened. Pew-sitting, back-of-the-head fellowship won’t cut it! Someone sitting next to you has 20120 vision where you have blind spots. You need their counsel, correction and comfort, And they need yours. When that happens, the church is working like it’s supposed to.

From the Best of Word for Today, 2007

 

A young lady came home from a date, rather sad.

She told her mother, “Anthony proposed to me an hour ago.”

“Then why are you so sad?” her mother asked.

“Because he also told me he is an atheist. Mom, he doesn’t even believe there’s a Hell.”

Her mother replied, “Marry him anyway. Between the two of us, we’ll show him how wrong he is.”



PRAYER IS MORE THAN JUST WORDS

When you pray … close your door. Matthew 6:6 NAS

Jesus said “when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Mt 6:6 NAS). With these few words, Jesus set the common perception of prayer on its ear. He said prayer was not to be a public demonstration of how “spiritual” we are. No, the intimate nature of our communication with God calls for getting alone, away from all interruptions and distractions. Why’? Because it’s just you and your Father in a family discussion.

When people say they don’t know how to pray what they usually mean is that they don’t know how to pray like some of us. They don’t know how to use our “Christian jargon.” Jesus said you don’t need to worry about getting all the words right because “your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Mt 6:8 NAS). God is listening to our heart more than our words. We don’t have to be self-conscious about our praying; God isn’t grading us on how well we express ourselves. Again, compare prayer to breathing. Our breathing is done without our conscious attention to it, or even awareness that we’re doing it. It is the natural expression of our moment-by-moment dependence on oxygen. That’s how God wants us to treat our communication with Him. He wants prayer to be the air we breathe, the environment in which we live. Isn’t that wonderful? Through prayer we can live in continuous contact

with God. Just think how much that can change us and improve the quality of our lives.

From the Best of Word for Today, 2007

 

 

While a friend and I were visiting Annapolis, we noticed several students on their hands and knees assessing the courtyard with pencils and clipboards in hand. “What are they doing?” I asked our tour guide.

“Each year,” he replied with a grin, “The upperclassmen ask the freshmen how many bricks it took to finish paving this courtyard.”

“So what’s the answer?” my friend asked him when we were out of earshot of the freshmen.

The guide replied, “One.”



YOUR CIVIL WAR

Brief Note: Our prayers and hearts go out to the families, friends and acquaintances of the members of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.  Over 20 people killed, more wounded by a shooter who entered the church and began shooting.  Lord, bless, comfort and strengthen these brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

YOUR CIVIL WAR

Walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5: 16 NAS

Fritz Ridenour writes: “You want to do right, but you do wrong. You want to choose obedience, but you choose sin. Sometimes you’d almost swear you were a split personality, a regular ‘walking civil war’ .” Sound familiar? Most of us fight our civil war in the shadows, out of sight, feeling all alone. And when we’re at our lowest Satan whispers, “Face it, you’ll never be good enough. Why not just give up and accept the inevitable’?” Any time we mix this flawed world with our failed nature, we’ve got the right combination for spiritual defeat. But we can win! Paul writes, “Walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” What a profound statement! God’s Spirit and our flesh are completely opposite. But when we’re walking in the Spirit we cannot possibly carry out the desires of the flesh. So, we’re either operating from the realm of the Spirit and we’re under His control, or we’re operating in the realm of the flesh and we’re under its control. And that’s a choice we must make each day.

Everything that tempted you as a lost person can still defeat you because you have that same old nature. It doesn’t improve. The cutting remarks you used to make, you’ll still make. You can still throw temper tantrums, right? Lustful thoughts will still invade your mind. Therefore, in the power of the Spirit you must throw up your hands and say, “Lord, get this stuff out of me. I can’t conquer it on my own!” It’s at this point that He takes over and the battle goes your way!

From the Best of Word for Today, 2007

 

 

A guy walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him.

The waitress asks for their orders. The guy says, “A hamburger, fries, and a coke,” and turns to the ostrich, “What’s yours?”

“I’ll have the same,” says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order. “That will be $18.40 please.” The man reaches into his pocket and, without looking, pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next day, the guy and the ostrich come again and the guy says, “A hamburger, fries, and a coke.”

The ostrich says, “I’ll have the same.”

Again the guy reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change. This becomes routine until one night they enter the restaurant and the waitress asks, “The usual?”

“No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato, and salad”, says the guy.

“Me too,” says the ostrich.

The waitress brings the order and says, “That will be $42.62.”

Once again the guy pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table. The waitress can’t hold back her curiosity any longer. “Excuse me, sir. How do you manage ways to come up with the exact change out of your pocket every time?”

“Well,” says the guy, “several years ago I was cleaning my attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it a genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.”

“That’s brilliant!” says the waitress. “Most people would wish for a million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!”

“That’s right. Whether it’s a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,” says the guy.

The waitress asks, “But, sir, what’s with the ostrich?”

The guy sighs and answers, “My second wish was for a tall chick with long legs who agrees with everything I say.”



EVERYBODY’S WELCOME

[Come} … be my disciple … So Matthew got up and followed him. Matthew 9:9 NLT

According to the Jews, tax collectors ranked barely above plankton on the food chain. So everybody kept his distance from Matthew the tax collector. Everyone except Jesus. “[Come]. .. be my disciple … So Matthew got up and followed Him.” Then it gets interesting. “[Matthew] gave a big dinner for Jesus at his house. Many tax collectors … were eating there, too” (Lk 5:29 NCV). What a party! Salty language.

Mardi Gras morals. These guys keep the phone number of their bookie on speed dial. But a friend is a friend. What can Matthew do? Invite them to meet Jesus. Great idea! Then the door opens and an icy breeze blows in. “The Pharisees … began to complain … ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors?”

(Lk 5:30 NCV). Matthew doesn’t know whether to get mad or get out. But before he has time to choose Jesus intervenes, “I have come to call sinners … not to spend my time with those who think they are already good enough” (See Mt 9: 13 NLT). And Matthew is just like you, isn’t he? Maybe you’ve never

taken taxes, but you’ve taken liberty with the truth, taken credit for what wasn’t yours, taken advantage of others. And to you He says “Follow me.” But what if you have a bad reputation? So did Matthew. Come, you may end up, like him, writing a book. Furthermore, you don’t have to be weird to follow Jesus. And you don’t have to stop liking your friends to follow Him.

 

A blonde was playing Trivial Pursuit one night. It was his turn. He rolled the dice and landed on “Science & Nature.” His question was, “If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it?”

He thought for a time and then asked, “Is it on or off?”

 

Hospital regulations require a wheelchair for patients being discharged. However, while working as a student nurse, I found one elderly gentleman–already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet–who insisted he didn’t need my help to leave the hospital.

After a chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let me wheel him to the elevator. On the way down I asked him if his wife was meeting him.

​”I don’t know,” he said. “She’s still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.”



IN THE END, IT’S WORTH IT

 

God intended it for good.  Genesis 50:20 NIV

What happened to Joseph wasn’t fair! When your own family sells you as a slave and your boss’ wife has you wrongly imprisoned on rape charges, you tend to ask, “Lord, what’s going on?” Before God promoted Joseph to the palace he wanted to know how he’d hold up under pressure. And the same goes for you. Joseph was called to save his family and lead his nation. But big assignments call for big tests of character. You don’t always understand this when you’re going through the fires of refinement. When Joseph’s brothers finally stand before him as ruler of Egypt he tells them “You didn’t do it to me, God orchestrated the whole thing.” Talk about seeing things clearly! Someone else’s action against you is not the bottom line. And the reason is simple: God knows that somewhere down the line He’ll be able to use all that painful stuff to bring your life into focus and accomplish His purposes. With God it’s never too late! Have you ever been to a real pizzeria? Not the kind where everything is pre-packaged and a 13-year-old can do it. No, the kind of place where they take a ball of dough, slam it down, twirl it around, flatten it, then put it into a 10000 oven. That’s what’s required for the pizza to hold all that good stuff they plan to put on top. Think of yourself as pizza dough and God as the person working it. He’s got some good stuff He wants to lay on you, but before He can do it He’s got to knock you into shape.

 

A police car pulls up in front of Grandma Bessie’s house, and Grandpa Morris gets out.

The polite policeman explained that this elderly gentleman said that he was lost in the park and couldn’t find his way home.

“Oh Morris,” said Grandma. “You’ve been going to that park for over 30 years! So how could you get lost?”

Leaning close to Grandma so that the policeman couldn’t hear, Morris whispered, “I wasn’t lost. I was just too tired to walk home.”

 


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

 

Having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. John 17:4 NAS

If Satan can’t buy you with what’s illegitimate, he’ll attempt to bury you with what’s legitimate. Either way, his objective is to drive a wedge between you and God. When Christ came to the end of His earthly ministry, though only 33 years old He could say: “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.” Jesus could have gotten much more involved with the 12 disciples, or taken advice from some program committee and chosen 24 disciples to double His outreach. He could have traveled to Rome, the seat of power at the time. Or to Athens, where He

could touch great minds in order to extend His influence and reputation. But He chose only 12 disciples. He mentored them slowly and intimately, and never traveled far from the place of His birth. Some might say that if you’re going to revolutionize the world you need to carry your cause to as many parts of it as

possible. But Jesus deliberately limited His itinerary. He kept it simple. At the end, just before breathing His last He said, “It is finished,” Jesus was ready to die-because there was nothing left for Him to do. His work had been completed, from the training of the disciples to providing redemption for us. And you’ll detect no hint of resignation or regret in any of His last words. Mission accomplished! How long are you going to keep promising yourself that you’II draw closer to God, that you’ll put His Kingdom first? If you ever plan to do it, do it now!

From the Best of Word for Today,, 2007



“MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME, LORD!”

That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Ephesians 3: 17 NAS

The word dwell means more than just to move in and take up residence. It means to make yourself comfortable, to spread out and have the run of the house. When it comes right down to it, how many of us are willing to give Christ complete control? You see illustrations of this in popular television programs where people allow someone else to come in and redo their homes or yards. Sometimes two sets of friends or family members agree to trade houses and redo a room in each other’s place, without any prior approval or guarantees. The participants give their house keys to the show’s host, and they hand them over to the other party. Then they go to work and tear out the other family’s carpet, take down the drapes and pictures, discard furniture, repaint, and do whatever they decide needs to be done.

One show called “Radical Home Makeover” even demolishes the house and rebuilds it from the ground up. The family is sent on vacation while this takes place. When they return it’s a scene of wild celebration as the neighbors gather and the family breaks down weeping with joy at the result.

Now, if we can demonstrate that kind of faith in other people, surely we can allow Christ to come in and make Himself at home in our hearts. One thing’s sure, we won’t be unhappy with the results. When you give Jesus the keys to your heart He “decorates” it with love, joy and peace, etc. He rewires it to tap

you into the Holy Spirit’s power. What could be better?

Taken from The Best of Word for Today, 2007




 

Leave a Reply