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!”
 

   



Too Much to Lose

JANUARY 4
 
Then Jesus … said unto him … Take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:21-22)
 
This man really wanted to follow Jesus, but he had too much to lose. He could have been another John or Mark, but instead that’s the last we ever hear about him, because he had become accustomed to a life of privilege and couldn’t live with less.
 
Imagine him years later as an old man. His grandson climbs up on his lap and says, “Granddad, who was the greatest man you ever met?” Without hesitating, he replies, ”Jesus!” ”What made Him so great?” the child asks. He replies, “Son, there’s never been anyone like Him. He healed the sick and even raised the dead. I saw Him do it!” The little fellow says, “Granddad, did He ever talk to you?” “Yes,” he replies. The child asks, “Well, Granddad, what did He say to you?” Looking at the child, he says, “He asked me to follow Him.” Earnest eyes look up at the old man and ask, “Did you do it, Granddad? Did you follow Him?”
 
Fighting back tears of regret, he sets the little fellow down and walks out into the garden of his luxurious home, with the words ringing in his ears, “Did you do it, Granddad? Did you follow Him?”
 
WHEN YOUR LIFE IS OVER, WILL YOU BE ABLE TO LOOK BACK WITH ,JOY AND SAY, “I FOLLOWED ..JESUS”?  WHAT ELSE MATTERS?
 

  A man finally summons the courage to go sky diving for the very first time. The preparation and plane flight go smoothly, but immediately after jumping from the plane, he is unable to get his parachute to deploy. ​As he hurtles towards the earth, he is shocked to see a man rocketing upwards toward him. As they pass in the air, the skydiver yells, “Do you know anything about parachutes?”The second man responds, “No. Do you know anything about gas grills?” …



Never Out of His Sight

JANUARY 1
. . . the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon [the land], from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year. (Deuteronomy 11:12)
As you look ahead to another year, God’s Word gives you a glimpse into some of the wonderful things He has in store Listen:  10 For the land you are about to enter and possess is not like the land of Egypt where you have come from, . . . . 11  It is a land of hills and valleys with plenty of rain— 12  a land that the Lord your God personally cares for! His eyes are always upon it, day after day throughout the year!  Deuteronomy 11:10
You are about to enter a year when God promises you everything you need to succeed! No matter what you left behind in the old year ” this new one offers you a fresh start. God says He will not remember your sins and shortcomings (see Isaiah 43:25), so close the’ door and move forward.  
The land ahead is not flat and monotonous. It’s a land of hills and valleys; and you need both! This year you’ll have to climb some mountains, and you’ll need endurance to make it to the top. And when you do, the view will be breathtaking and the rewards wilI be greater than you ever dreamed. You’ll also go through some valleys, and deal with pain and loss, and  there you’ll drink from God’s sweetest streams.
There you’ll understand the words, “He restoreth my soul.” But most importantly, we’re told that “His eyes are always upon it.”
NO MATTER WHAT LIES AHEAD THIS YEAR, HE’LL BE WITH YOU EVERY DAY. NOW, THERE’S TRULY A REASON TO CELEBRATE!  
 
May you find the strength to write, “Who is this?” to all the strange numbers that text you “Happy New Year!” today. Who has time to party on New Year’s Eve? It takes me all evening to set my clocks ahead a year. Melanie White says, “My New Year’s resolution is to eat better, so from now on, I’m going to only date guys who can afford to take me somewhere other than McDonalds.”


DECEMBER 31

A Wise Way

The Wise men made some last minute changes to their plans, as the Holy Spirit impressed on them to leave by “another way”.
 
I do not know how you began this year.  I do not know what snares the devil has thrown across your path.  I do not know what hurts, envying’s and strivings may have hardened your heart and dimmed your true purpose along the way.  But I do know there is one who wants to impress you to leave this year by “another way”  — one of love, and forgiveness and forgetfulness.
 
Determine to take a different direction this coming year.  Determine to walk a new path, the one directed by the Holy Spirit.  Don’t let the devil take you down the same road you started out on last year.
 
Take this final week before the close of the year to allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse your heart and prepare you for next year’s journey – on a path safe from the devil’s pitfalls.
 

                — Rod Parsley



DECEMBER 28

Share with the Lord s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. -Romans 12:13 (NIV)
 
I knew what I should do. Invite the earful of my girlfriends to my home for a spur-of-the-moment lunch.
 
But that wasn’t me. I planned luncheons for a long, thoughtful time, and when my guests arrived, everyone exclaimed, “Oh my!” I love to set tables with themes, display pretty bouquets of flowers, and serve food that’s color-coordinated.
 
Several of us from my prayer group had been to visit Evelyn, who was temporarily a shut-in. We usually met across town at Freidas house. But now, leaving Evelyn’s, we were only five minutes from my home.
 
As we stopped for gas, I knew everyone was hungry, But my kitchen and my house weren’t in shape for company.
 
Ask them anyway. The thought was gentle and real.
 
“Would y’ all like to swing by my house and we can eat whatever we can find? I’m going to have to sit down when we get there. But you can raid the kitchen …. “
 
They didn’t even let me finish before I heard a chorus of yesses. I’d halfway hoped they wouldn’t accept.
 
Inside, I instantly found my recliner in the living room and plopped down. I heard them exclaiming over what they’d found.
 
“Pimento cheese!” someone cheered.
 
‘I’ll get the pop,” Missy said. “The sandwich meat is in the drawer.”
 
“I have the pickles!” Jill exclaimed.
 
 

My cats joined in, meowing loudly. My friends sounded almost like my children had so long ago-laughing, asking, volunteering.

I shut my eyes, smiling at the spontaneous fun.
 
Oh, my Father, am I really practicing hospitality at last?
 
-Marion Bond West
 
Digging Deeper: Acts 2:44-45, 28:7; 1 Peter 4:9
 
DAILY GUIDEPOSTS
 

 

It Takes A Lifetime
 
It takes a lifetime to learn how to live
 
How to share and how to give
 
How to face tragedy that comes your way
 
How to find courage to face each new day
 
How to smile when your heart is sore
 
How to go on when you can take no more
 
How to laugh when you want to cry
 
How to be brave when you have to say goodbye
 
How to still love when your loss is so great
 
How to forgive when your urge is to hate
 
How to be sure that GOD is really there
 
How to Find Him, Seek Him in Prayer
 

–Author unknown




 

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