Marriage isn’t [or everyone. MATTHEW 19:11 TM

A third-grade teacher received this hilarious essay on Ben Franklin. “Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, but he didn’t like it there so he traveled to Philadelphia. When he got off the boat he walked up the street and bought a loaf of bread. Then he met a lady, and discovered electricity!” We smile, but as one marriage counselor observes, “Society has made romance the basis for marriage. Now there’s nothing wrong with romance; it’s a potent force in driving people into matrimony. But it’s become the primary factor. Romance is highly conditional on physical appearance. Romantic love excites and entices, which means there’s often shallowness about romantic relationships. Because emotions are so overpowering people don’t realize what they’re getting into till it’s too late. One morning you look across the bed and she’s not awake yet. Her mouth’s open and her hair’s hanging over her face. Or

worse, she wakes first, looks across the bed, and in your case there’s no hair hanging down! That’s when romance takes a nose dive!”

A marriage is what you create after the wedding. It doesn’t just happen. You have to build it with courtesy, patience, SllP~ port, and a “love marked by giving, not getting” (Eph 5:21-28 TM). That’s why jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone .. .if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.” On the other hand, a husband and wife who put Christ at the center of their relationship, can grow it into something that makes society’s definition of romance look lightweight by comparison.



​Somebody has said there are only two kinds of people in the world.

There are those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good morning, Lord.”

Then, there are those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good Lord, it’s morning.” …

Which one are you?



“It’s not that I really cheat,” the golfer explained.

“It’s just that I play golf for health, and a low score  makes me feel better.” …




We are pressed … but not … broken. 2 CORINTHIANS 4:8 nil

Do you feel like you’re in a tunnel with no way out? Rejoice, you’re positioned for a miracle! Paul said: “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed … but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but

we get up again and keep going.” A certain amount of pressure is necessary to release our faith, and God knows exactly how much to apply. He allows us to get to where: (a) we’ve exhausted our own resources; (b) we’re tired of Satan stealing what God says is ours; (c) the opinions of others no longer

control us. It’s the place Hannah found herself in when she prayed in the temple, “In distress of soul.. .and weeping bitterly” (1Sa 1:10 AMP). She was under such pressure because of her childless state that when she began to unburden herself before God, the church hierarchy thought she was drunk. But

when you’re desperate, you’re not overly concerned about blowing the minds of religious onlookers; your only concern is touching the heart of God.

With God there are no hopeless situations, just people who’ve grown hopeless about them. Real faith comes into its own when push collides with shove. After all, you don’t need God to part the Red Sea when there are bridges all around, right? It’s when there’s nothing you can do to avoid the inevitable, that you start trusting God to do the impossible! So the crisis you’re experiencing today could be a blessing in disguise-an opportunity to experience a greater degree of His power at work in your life.



A man, his wife, and mother-in-law went on vacation to the Holy Land.

While they were there the mother-in-law passed away.

The undertaker told them, “You can have her shipped home for $ 5,000.00, or you can bury her here in the Holy Land for $150.00.”

The man thought about it and told him he would have her shipped home.

The undertaker asked, “Why? Why would you spend $ 5,000.00 to ship your mother-in-law home, when it would be wonderful to spend only $150.00?”

The man said, A Man died here 2,000 years ago, He was buried here and three days later He rose from the dead. I just can’t take that chance.”



The just shall live by faith. HEBREWS 10:38

Walking by faith is not easy. When you make up your mind to trust God the odds are usually stacked against you. Remember Noah? When he built the ark there had never been rain! And the outcome isn’t always what you expect. Walking by faith doesn’t mean your problems suddenly evaporate. Sometimes faith doesn’t change your circumstances, it changes you by giving you the tenacity to hang in there when

the check doesn’t come in the mail, the doctor says, “It’s malignant,” your .spouse asks for a divorce, the kids are running amok, Of the place you’ve worked for thirty years doses its doors. Faith gives you the fortitude to endure these things, confident that God is working on your behalf. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for” (Heb 11:1-2 NIV). So walking by faith means: (1) trusting in the faithfulness of God; (2) following in the footsteps of ordinary people who did extraordinary things; (3) using your faith, because it’s the currency

of heaven. When the Bible says, “The just shall live by faith,” it doesn’t mean little sporadic bursts. No, it’s talking about a lifestyle! Anybody can go the first few rounds in the ring; it’s when you’re knocked down in the ninth that you need the faith to get back up and keep fighting. When the plane you’re flying

on encounters turbulence YOLl don’t throwaway your ticket or bail out, you sit still and trust the pilot. So discount your circumstances, dethrone your doubts, and start: walking by faith!



For many years the pastor of a church had the reputation for his outstanding sermons which were not only inspirational, but unusually short.

When asked about his unusual awareness of time, he told this story:

“One Sunday I was delivering a sermon to my first congregation, and I became aware by the sound of my own words that I didn’t realize how restless people were becoming, until a small boy, who had been squirming and fidgeting in the front pew, caught my attention.

I saw him tug at his mother’s sleeve, and then, with a voice that could be heard throughout the church, he said in anguish, “Mommy, are you sure this is the only way to get to heaven?”



Act with courage. 2 CHRONICLES 19:11 IIIIV

Paul writes: “Every detail works to your advantage … So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace” (2eo 4:15-17 TM). Note the words, “we’re not giving up.” Any time we want to move forward, obstacles are going to get in the way. And God’s Word teaches

us that we should expect nothing less. H.G. Wells asked, “What on earth would a man do with himself if something didn’t stand in his way?” Why would he make such a comment? Because adversity is our friend, even though it doesn’t feel that way. Each obstacle we overcome teaches us about our strengths and weaknesses. It shapes us, makes us wiser and more confident. The greatest people in history were those who faced the most difficult challenges with courage, and rose to the occasion.

That was certainly true of Winston Churchill. In his book American Scandal, Pat Williams writes about Churchill’s last months, He says in 1964, President Eisenhower went to visit the former Prime Minister; Eisenhower sat by the bold-spirited leader’s bed for a long period of time, neither speaking. After ten minutes, Churchill slowly raised his hand and painstakingly made the “V” for victory sign which he had so often flashed to the British people during the war. Eisenhower, fighting back tears, pulled his chair back, stood up, saluted him and left the room. To his aide out in the hallway, Eisenhower said, “I just said goodbye to Winston, but you never say farewell to courage.”



A man’s wife had invited some people to dinner.

At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?”

“I wouldn’t know what to say,” she replied.”

Just said what you heard your Mommy say,” the mother said.

Their daughter bowed her head and said, “Dear Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?” …




Act with courage. 2 CHRONICLES 19:11 IIIIV

When it comes to acting with courage you’ll notice:

(1) Courage usually involves getting it wrong before you get it right. It’s easy to be brave where you’re strong; it’s much more difficult where you’re weak. That’s when you need courage most. General Omar Bradley remarked, “Bravery is the capacity to perform properly, even when scared half to death.” We mistakenly believe that learning is passive, that we learn by reading a book or listening to a speaker. No, the learning process is summarized in these five steps: 1. Observe. 2. Act. 3. Evaluate. 4. Readjust. 5. Go back to step two.

 (2) Courage always takes the “high road. ” Jesus said, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Mt 5:39 NIV). Dr. James B. Mooneyham writes: “When we keep score of wrongs committed against us, we reveal a lack of maturity. Theodore Roosevelt once said, ‘The most important single ingredient in the formula of success, is knowing how to get along with people.’ Those who do not forgive are persons who have not yet learned this truth, and they are usually unsuccessful people. If you wish to improve this area of your life, here are some things that should help. First, practice forgiving. Second, think good thoughts of those persons; it’s difficult to have hostile feelings toward one in whom you see good. Finally, let people know through your actions that you can forgive and forget. This will gain respect for you. Remember this: committing an injury puts you below your enemy; taking revenge makes you even with him; forgiving him sets you above.”



The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m.

The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.



Act with courage. 2 CHRONICLES 19:11 IIlIV

TheEnglish ‘word for courage comes from the French word oeur, which means “heart.” That’s why we say, “Don’t lose heart.” The truth is: (1) It takes courage to face the truth about yourself Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” On 8:32 NKJV). But before the truth sets us free it usually puts us through the wringer, because the truth about ourselves is not something we like hearing. (2) It: takes courage to change when staying as you are feels more comfortable. If you’re willing to leave your security zone, step out in faith and follow God, you’ll be tested. But you’ll also reach heights you thought were beyond you. And you’ll go further than others who possess greater talent than you do. (3) It takes courage to stand for your convictions iohen you know they’ll be challenged. Any time you’re willing to stand for something, or try something, somebody will take a shot at you. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Whatever yon do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon there’s always someone to tell you you’re wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to the end, requires the same courage a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men to win them.” When Nehemiah’s enemies

threatened him he said, “Should a man like me run away? .. I will not” (Ne 6:11 NIV). As a result he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in a record fifty-two days, and got a book in the Bible named after him. How’s that for courage?



​The four stages of life –

You believe in Santa Claus –

You don’t believe in Santa Claus –

You become Santa Claus –

You look like Santa Claus.

(by the way, 110 days until Christmas . . . just saying)



The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands. PROVERBS 30:27

Locusts have one more important lesson to teach us: instead of following, lead the way! If you keep hoping someone will take you by the hand and tell you how it’s all going to work out, you’ll never get anywhere. “The locusts have no king [leader], yet they go forth.” Note the word “go.” Has it occurred to you that God may have called you to blaze the trail and set the pace? You’ve sat in church for years and

heard all the sermons, now “it’s time to cross the Jordan and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you” (See jos 1: 11). But you say, “Nobody in my family has ever done any- thing like this before.” Good, then you’ll be the first! Who are you going to listen to? The voices of your dysfunctional past or the God who is saying to you, “Be strong and courageous .. .for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Jos 1:9 NIV). Having folks think your ideas are crazy, is just part of every success story. When God moves, He doesn’t commission a focus group or call for a vote. No, He looks for some-

body like Isaiah to say, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa 6:8 NIV). Then He underwrites them, equips them and sends them out to be “The head, and not the taiL.above only, and … not… beneath” (Dt 28:13).

And the people God uses are people He can trust with success; people who say, “My wings were too small to travel this far. It wasn’t my flapping around that got me here, it was God.”



At a monastery high in the mountains, the monks have a rigid vow of silence.

Only at Christmas, and only by one monk, and only with one sentence, is the vow allowed to be broken.

One Christmas, Brother Thomas is allowed to speak and he says, “I like the mashed potatoes we have with the Christmas turkey!” and he sits down.

Silence ensues for 365 days.

The next Christmas, Brother Michael gets his turn, and he says “I think the mashed potatoes are lumpy and I hate them!”

​Once again, silence for 365 days. The following Christmas, Brother Paul rises and says, “I am fed up with this constant bickering!”



The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands. PROVERBS 30:27

Locusts can’t really fly; their wings are too narrow. But they jump two hundred times their own height. And timing is everything! The locust waits till the wind blows, then he umps, and the wind carries him to his destination. What’s the message of the locust? (1) When God moves, be sure you move! A locust cannot na vigate where he goes, or fly against the wind, or chart his own course, or change direction. No, he’s totally dependent on the wind. Thank God for self-help books and leadership seminars, etc. But there comes a moment when you have to trust God, recognize His timing, take a leap of faith and let the wind of His Spirit take you where you need to go. All your flapping around and wearing yourself out won’t get the job done. (2) Stay sensitive to the wind. God, not you, determines your life’s purpose. He’s the One who schedules your seasons of opportunity. But spiritual lethargy can dull your senses and cause YOLl to miss your time. “Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again” (Heb S:12 NIV). Perhaps instead of flying, your life is falling apart because you let the fire of God in your heart go out. Well, it’s not too late! The wind will blow again. So start praying, “Lord, I may have missed my time before, but not this time. I don’t want to end up wishing I’d done something I didn’t get to do, not because You weren’t ready but because I wasn’t.”



The Rev. Mr. Warren J. Keating, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Yuma, Arizona, said that the best prayer he ever heard was,

​”Lord, please make me the kind of person my dog thinks I am.”



The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands. PROVERBS 30:27

In Bible days people feared a cloud of locusts more than all the armies of their enemies combined. They could literally black out the light of the sun, devour everything in sight, and bring down a kingdom. They were unstoppable! What’s the message of the locust? (1) Don’t quit, your victory is assured! The locust

is not big, but he’s bold! If he can’t get through the door, he’ll come in through the window. If he can’t get in through the window, he’ll climb down the gutter and come up under the porch. But he never gives up. So keep praying, keep believing, keep fighting; your victory is assured. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Ro 8:31). Pastor, a hundred locusts will do more to win your community to Christ than a thousand bench warmers. (2) Alone you can’t, but together we can! The locusts operate in “bands.” Some of us have issues when it comes to letting people into our life. Because of fear, insecurity or pride,

we don’t want to talk to anybody, or open up and admit to anybody that we need anything. To reach your destiny you must surround yourself with the right people. You can’t run with weak, satisfied, laid-back, mediocre people. No, you need people with an appetite for life and a hunger for God. In God’s kingdom the mathematics are different: “One can face a thousand, but two can chase ten thousand” (See Dt 32:30). “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Mt 18:19 NIV).



​A wealthy woman was interviewing an applicant for a job on her household staff.

“Do you know how to serve company?” she asked.

“Yes ma’am, both ways,” replied the young girl.

“And what do you mean by ‘both ways’?”

“Why, so they will come back, and so they won’t.” .



Don’t get worked up about … tomorrow. MATTHEW 6:34 TM

Max Lucado says, “Worry is to joy, what a vacuum cleaner is to dirt; you might as well attach your heart to a happiness-sucker and flip the switch.” Jesus said, “Don’t get worked up about … tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” When it looks like things are falling apart, Paul reminds us, “Every detail in our lives .. .is worked into something good” (Ro 8:28 TM). When it seems like the world’s gone mad, don’t forget God “existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together” (CoI 1:17 NIT). When worry whispers, “God doesn’t know what you need,” remember God promised to “take care of everything you need” (Ph 4:19 TM). Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

You won’t get the wisdom or resources to handle tomorrow’s problems till you need them. When we “go confidently to the throne … [we’ll] find kindness, which will help us at the right time” (Heb 4:16 GWT).

Over a century ago Charles Spurgeon said: “Enough for today is all we can enjoy. We cannot eat, drink, or wear more than today’s supply of food and clothing. The surplus gives us the care of storing it and the anxiety that someone might steal it. One staff aids a traveler; a bunch of staves is a heavy burden. Enough is as good as a feast, and more than gluttony can enjoy. Enough is all we should expect, a craving for more is ungratefulness. When our Father doesn’t give you more, be content with your daily allowance.”



Once there was a bartender who claimed he was the strongest man on earth, he could squeeze every drop of juice out of a lemon and he bet $10,000 that no one could squeeze anymore out of a lemon he has squeezed.

People came in from all over the country, body builders, weight lifters, wrestlers, or anyone that wanted to try. But no one could squeeze anymore juice out of the lemons.

Then one day a little nerdy looking guy walks in and everyone laughs at him when they hear he is there to try to squeeze a lemon. So the bartender squeezes a lemon into a cup an hands him what is left over. Then the guy squeezes out 6 more drops of juice, and everyone is amazed!

“What do you do for a living?” they would ask, “Are you a weight lifter, a body builder?”

​”No”, he replied. “I work for the IRS.”


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