DON’T GET SIDETRACKED

OCTOBER 1

Everyone is looking for you! MARK 1:37 NIV

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once quipped, “There can’t be another crisis. My schedule’s already full!” That can happen when other people determine your agenda. Jesus refused to live that way. During His early ministry when word spread about His miracles, “The whole town gathered … and Jesus healed many” (Mk 1 :33-34 NIV). The next morning another crowd of needy people was waiting OIl His doorstep. But how Jesus responded this time might surprise you. “While it was still dark, jesus .. .left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed … his companions went to look for him, and when they found him they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’ Jesus replied, ‘Let LlS go somewhere else … so I can preach there also. That is why I have come'” (vv. 35-38). What was He thinking! There were headlines to be made, people to be healed, and fans waiting to pat him on the back! Could you resist the lure of all that? Jesus did, because He followed God’s agenda, not man’s.

Jesus loved people so much that one day He would die for them. But that didn’t stop Him from saying no when He needed to. Appeasing people in order to win their approval is never a good idea; it puts somebody other than God in the driver’s seat. Instead of getting sidetracked, Jesus: (a) made prayer and uninterrupted time with His Father a top priority; (b) recognized that doing God’s will was more important than “being all things to all people;” (c) refused to let other people’s definition of what was urgent, distract Him from fulfilling His life’s purpose. So, don’t get sidetracked.

Taken from THE BEST OF THE WORD FOR YOU TODAY.

 

The high school boy’s youth group had gone camping in the mountains, where they found a spectacular clearing to set up their tents. They had a great evening of fellowship, Bible study, and worship with the youth pastor – trully a blessed night.

Early the next morning the youth pastor woke one of the older boys. “Anton, what do you see?”

“Wow, Pastor Joshua. I see the clearest sky I think I have ever seen, and look, is that an eagle?”

“Yes” said the pastor, “I think it is. What does all this make you think?”

“I’m thinking of God and all His majesty, and I’m thankful for this opportunity to experience i. How about you Pastor?”

“Well, all of that, of course.” The pastor answered. “But I also have to notice that someone stole our tent.”



THE POWER OF PERSEVERANCE

SEPTEMBER 30

Blessed is the man who perseveres. JAMES 1 :12 NIV

Ever seen one of those inflatable clowns with a round base? When you knock him down he bounces back up wearing a big, cheesy grin! Perseverance: it’s a powerful tool! The Bible says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres.” Paul was flogged, shipwrecked, persecuted, and imprisoned in establishments

without weight rooms, HDTv, and time off for good behavior! He could have thrown in the towel, but instead he said, “I have no regrets. I couldn’t be more sure of my ground-the One I’ve trusted in can take care of … me … to the end” (2Ti 1:12 TM). Can you say that?

God isn’t impressed by human ability, dynamic personalities, titles, and designer clothes. He respects people who, when they get knocked down, bounce back with their faith intact, more determined than ever to live for Him. It’s Satan’s job to attack yon-it’s your job to fight back. If you are passive he will

demolish you! Paul writes: “Resist the enemy … [and] after the battle you will still be standing” (Eph 6:13 NLT). Perseverance means staying in the fight and refusing to give up. It empowers you so you stop feeling like a victim of circumstances. It builds your confidence and becomes a tool you automatically use.

Somebody said the nose of the bulldog is slanted backward so he can keep breathing without letting go! Plus, your reward in heaven is determined by your level of perseverance here on earth. “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne” (Rev 3:21 NKJV). SO keep persevering.

Taken from THE BEST OF THE WORD FOR YOU TODAY

 

“Forbidden fruit creates many jams.” – Author Unknown.

 

Jorge had it figured out. “The father thought his boy might come back home. That’s why he was called the Probable Son.”



FEELINGS CAN BE MISLEADING

SEPTEMBER 29

Be careful what you think. PROVERBS 4:23 NCV

A Christian writer says: “For many years I lived according to my feelings. It was like riding a roller coaster; one day laughing and feeling good, the next crying and feeling sorry for myself. I was being tormented and controlled. I needed emotional maturity, but I needed God’s help to attain it. It’s easy to

fall into the trap of believing your fickle feelings more than what God says in His Word. And it will take a constant act of your will to choose to do things His way rather than your own. But when you do, you’ll discover that life is more enjoyable when you’re living according to God’s plan. ”

Just as you don’t let everybody who knocks on your door come in and make themselves at home, don’t let every emotion that surfaces dictate the direction of your day or decide your responses. The Bible says: “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life” (Pr 4:23 NCV); “Capture every

thought and make it give up and obey Christ” (2Co 10:5 NCV); if it doesn’t line up with God’s Word-don’t think it. Paul says, “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2Co 5:7), because (and this may come as a surprise) you won’t always feel God’s presence. After the crucifixion two disciples were walking along the Emmaus Road when Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they didn’t recognize who He was. They didn’t know the leader they’d followed for three years because “he appeared .. .in a different form” (Mk 16:12 TM). God is a God of faith and He works in ways that faith, not feelings, can discern.

Taken from THE BEST OF THE WORD FOR YOU TODAY.

 

Sid’s wedding was in less that a week, and he was feeling awful. He went to his minister for counsel.”I don’t think I can go through with this.” He said. “I am sick to my stomach, I can’t sleep, and my legs are shaky and weak.” The kindly minister smiled and said, “Don’t worry, Sid, yours are common symptoms. I have seen them quite often. You’ve got PMS.”

“PMS?” said Sid, looking shocked.

“Yes” said his minister. “You have a classic case of Pre-Marriage Syndrome”.



SEEING GOD IN OUR SITUATION

SEPTEMBER 28

Because of this I rejoice. PHILIPPIANS 1 :18 NIV

When Paul wrote, “What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (Php 1:12 NIV), he was in prison using his situation to tell people about Jesus. He goes on to say, “It has become clear throughout the whole palace guard … that I am in chains for Christ” (Php 1:13 NIV). Then he ”

points out that through his imprisonment “most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly” (Php 1:14 NIV). Even when Paul found out some people were preaching the Gospel to make trouble for him, he said, “What does it matter? The important thing is … whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (Php 1:18 NIV). Arrested unjustly, treated unkindly, his future uncertain, Paul looked for God’s hand in every situation. Therefore he could say in all things “because of this I rejoice.” What perspective! What an attitude!

A century ago, following a coal mining accident, the Bishop of Durham told mourners, “It’s difficult to understand why God let such a disaster happen, but we know and trust Him and all will be right. At home I have an old silk bookmark given to me by my mother. When I examine the wrong side I see nothing but a tangle of threads .. .it looks like a big mistake. One would think someone had done it who didn’t know what they were doing. But when I turn it over and look at the right side I see beautifully embroidered, the words GOD IS LOVE. We are looking at this today from the wrong side. Someday we shall see it from another standpoint and we shall understand.” When we begin to see God in our situation, we can say “because of this I rejoice.”

Taken from THE BEST OF THE WORD FOR YOU TODAY

 

Bulletin Anouncement:

“Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. Please come: they need all the help they can get.”

 

“Welcome, visitors! If you are visiting with us today and if you are not afflicted with any church, please fill out the attached card, and our pastor will call on you.”

 

“In Wednesday’s prayer group, Steven Phillips will read his speech, ‘Loving One Another: Excepting Those of Other Cultures.”



WORK IT OUT

SEPTEMBER 24

Streams of living water will flow from within him. JOHN 7:38 NIV

Oneof the dangers in seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit is that we can reduce it to an “experience” rather than releasing it to accomplish great things for God. If there’s an infilling, there must be an outflowing! Every time someone in the New Testament was filled with the Holy Spirit, things happened. Amazing healings took place. They had book burnings in the town square. Idol makers and pornographers went out of business. They didn’t just celebrate in church, they took it to the streets. There must be an outflow!

The first picture we have of God in the Bible is of Him in His creative role. He makes us in His image, breathes life into us, then says, “Go out and become productive” (See Ge 1:28).

Are you hoping your life will “just change for the better?” Are you praying for somebody with all the answers to come along and improve your circumstances? No, what’s inside you will change what’s outside you, if you put it to work! This is not some glib, “can do” self-help sentiment. “It is God who works in you” (Php 2:13 NIV). The struggle in your life right now may be over what God wants to do through you! What’s within you is greater than the trouble you’ve been through, the situation you’re in, or the obstacles that lie in your path. When everything around you is saying “no,” but something deep within you is saying “yes,” that’s your God-given destiny. Acknowledge it, anchor your life to it and begin to work it out. If you do, God will work with you.

Taken from THE BEST OF THE WORD FOR YOU TODAY.

 

​Wife texts husband on a cold winter’s morning: “Windows frozen, won’t open.

“Husband texts back: “Gently pour some lukewarm water over it.

“Wife texts back 5 minutes later: “Computer is really messed up now. …



HOW’S YOUR DISPOSITION?

SEPTEMBER23

A cheerful disposition is good for your health. PROVERBS 17:22 TM

Bom before the telephone or the Eiffel Tower, Jeanne Calmont died at 122 after outliving twenty-seven French presidents, and entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest woman. Asked the secret of her longevity she replied, “Laughter!” Medical science proves that laughter strengthens your immune system, lowers your blood pressure and counteracts the inertia caused by depression. The Bible is right: “A cheerful disposition is good for your health.”

In Scripture, wine represents joy. And Christ’s first miracle was turning water into wine; the best they’d ever had. Jesus is a joy-giver! So how come we don’t show more of it? Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” On 15:11). How can you say your sins are forgiven, God guides and protects you and when you die you’re going to heaven, yet walk around looking like sour grapes? Paul had so much joy, his jailors were won to Christ and a church sprang up in the “household of Caesar” (See Php 4:22). People are more impacted by your

attitude than your theology. When they see you rejoicing in hard times, they wonder what your secret is. They think, “Whatever you’ve got, I need it” and they become more receptive to the truth. The happiness this world offers is only a reaction to circumstances, but joy is a choice that lifts you above them. The Bible says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Ne 8:10). Joy is the fuel you run on, and the Lord is the source of it. So, how’s your disposition?

Taken from THE BEST OF THE WORD FOR YOU TODAY



GETTING PAST YOUR PAST (2)

SEPTEMBER 22

Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! ISAIAH 43:18-19 NIV

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln lost several elections finally becoming one of America’s greatest presidents? In fact, he failed so often it was amazing he kept trying. Did you know that the material used to make Kleenex tissues was invented as a gas mask filter during World War I, and it failed? Then when inventors tried to make it into cold cream it flopped again. Finally they repackaged it as disposable hand-

kerchiefs, and guess what, people buy 200 billion of them annually. Not bad for a product that bombed twice!

You can’t seize your future while you’re obsessing over your past. So learn from it and let it go. Heed the advice of author Susan Scott: “My dog and cat have taught me a great lesson in life-learn to shed a lot!”

Nobody starts out being good at everything. Tackling new ventures usually means learning by trial and error. When Charles Darrow got married he promised his wife they’d become millionaires. But the Great Depression came and they ended up hitting rock bottom. Darrow was ready to give up his dream but his wife encouraged him to keep going. Then one day he devised the idea of using “play money” to buy “pretend properties,” and he turned his vision into a board game with little houses and hotels. It’s called Monopoly, and Parker Brothers bought it from Darrow for-you’ve guessed it-a million dollars! Remember, when you’re on the right track and you refuse to give up, God can do something great through you. So keep going and don’t look back.



GETTING PAST YOUR PAST (1)

SEPTEMBER 21

Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! ISAIAH 43:18-19 NIV

When God determines your future, He doesn’t consult your past. Mary Magdalene was a known prostitute. But after Christ redeemed her she became one of the last people to leave the cross (See Mt 27:55-61) and one of the first to discover and announce His resurrection (See Mt 28:7). Because she embraced Christ and the future He offers all of us, she’s been mentioned with honor by every ensuing generation. Peter was a fisherman with a hair-trigger temper and some anti-social tendencies. Yet God filled him with so much spiritual power that when he preached, multitudes came to Christ (See Ac 2:40-41). Jacob lived up to his name “deceiver.” But God gave him an extreme makeover and changed his name to Israel, which means, “A Prince with God” (See Ge 32:24-30). Ruth was a Moabite who grew up worshipping idols-not a promising start. But after turning to serve the true God, she became part of the ancestry of King David and our Lord Jesus (See Mt 1:5). Zacchaeus, a well known embezzler, hosted Jesus overnight in his home and ended up becoming a philanthropist. And how about Paul? Killing Christians didn’t put him off limits to God. As an apostle he wrote over half of the New Testament by divine revelation, was taken into heaven where he saw incredible things (See 2Co 12:1-4), and when aprons and handkerchiefs taken from his body were placed on the sick they were healed (See Ac 19:11-12). Now, if God could do all that for “people with a past,” He can give you a new beginning too!

Taken from THE BEST OF THE WORD FOR YOU TODAY.

 

The prospective son-in-law was asked by his girl friend’s father, ‘Son, are you able to support a family?’​’Well, no, sir,’ he replied. ‘I was just planning to support your daughter. The rest of you will have to fend for yourselves.’ …

 

“You should be ashamed,” the father told his son, Andy, “When Abraham Lincoln was your age, he used to walk ten miles every day to get to school.”

“Really?” Andy responded. “Well, when he was your age, he was president.”



HE CHOSE TO SAVE YOU

SEPTEMBER 18

He saved others; himself he cannot save. MATTHEW 27:42

When the pastor introduced the visiting speaker, an elderly preacher walked to the pulpit and told this story: “A father, his son, and his son’s friend were sailing off the Pacific coast when a storm overturned their boat sweeping all of them into the ocean. Grabbing a rescue line, in a split second the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life -which boy to throw the other end to and which one to sacrifice. He knew his son had accepted Christ and his friend hadn’t.

Anguished, the father yelled, ‘I love you, son,’ and threw the rope to his son’s friend. By the time he’d pulled the boy back to the capsized boat his son had disappeared beneath the waves.

His body was never recovered. The father knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus and couldn’t bear the thought of his friend facing eternity without Christ.” At the end of the service a teenage boy approached the old man and said, “That’s a nice story, but what father in his right mind would sacrifice his son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian?” “You’ve got the point,” the old preacher replied, “It’s not realistic. But I’m standing here today to tell you that story gives me a glimpse into what it must have been like for God to sacrifice His only Son for us. You see .. J was that father,

and your pastor was my son’s friend.”

The Pharisees who watched Christ die said, “He saved others; himself he cannot save.” And they were right; He couldn’t do both, so He chose to save you. Today will you accept His offer of salvation?

Taken from THE BEST OF THE WORD FOR YOU TODAY

 

With Football starting back up:

Christian Football

Quarterback Sneak–Church members quietly leaving during the invitation.

Draw Play–What many children do with the bulletin during worship.

Half-time–The period between Sunday School and worship when many choose to leave.

Benchwarmer–Those who do not sing, pray, work, or apparently do anything but sit.

Backfield-in-Motion–Making a trip to the back (restroom or water fountain) during the service.

Staying in the Pocket–What happens to a lot of money that should be given to the Lord’s work.

Two-minute Warning–The point at which you realize the sermon is almost over and begin to gather up your children and belongings.

Instant Replay–The preacher loses his notes and falls back on last week’s illustrations.

Sudden Death-What happens to the attention span of the congregation if the preacher goes “overtime.”

Trap–You’re called on to pray and are asleep.

End Run–Getting out of church quick, without speaking to any guest or fellow member.

Flex Defense–The ability to allow absolutely nothing said during the sermon to affect your life.

Halfback Option–The decision of 50% of the congregation not to return for the evening service.

Blitz–The rush for the restaurants following the closing prayer.



SERVING GOD AND YOUR MATE

SEPTEMBER 17

A married man … has to. 1 CORINTHIANS ‘/:33 NLT

Paul writes: “An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man can’t do that so well. He has to think about … how to please his wife.”

Gayle Urban tells of browsing in a bookstore and discovering a shelf with reduced-price items. Among the gifts was a little figurine with a man and woman, their heads lovingly tilted toward one another. “Happy Tenth Anniversary,” read the inscription. It appeared to be in perfect condition yet its tag indicated “damaged.” Examining it more closely, she found another tag underneath that read, “WIFE IS

COMING UNGLUED!”

When you marry somebody, you marry everything they are and everything they have been through. It’s a package deal! And jf you ask God, He’ll give you the grace to minister to your mate. You may not see immediate change. It takes time for even a small cut to heal. But if you allow Him, God will give you the

oil of compassion and the wine of love to pour into their wounds. Never become so spiritual that you become unauailable. Your first calling is to your mate and your family. Your priorities should sta rt there, then spread to your career, your vocation and other pursuits. Paul says, in effect, “I release those who are married from the level of consecration I expect from those who are single, so that they’ll be able to spend time working on their relationship.” You say, “But I need to spend time with the Lord.” That’s true, and the Bible doesn’t release you from your responsibility to God, it just sets some priorities.

You’re called to serve the Lord-and your mate!

Taken from THE BEST OF THE WORD FOR YOU TODAY.

 

Three construction workers are on the seventy-fifth floor of a non-finished building.

The Italian opens his lunch box to find a pizza and says “Man, if I get pizza one more time I am going to jump off this building and fall to my death!”

The Chinese opens his lunch box to find rice and says “Man, if I get rice one more time I am going to jump off this building and fall to my death!”

The blonde opens his lunch box to find a cheeseburger and says “Man, if I get a cheeseburger one more time I’m going to jump off this building and fall to my death!”

So the next day they all got the same thing and they jumped off the building to their death.

That weekend at the funeral, the Italian and the Chinese wives are crying and saying “I would have fixed him something else for lunch but he never told me.”

​And as the two wives stare at the blonde’s wife, they both ask why she isn’t sad about her husbands death, the blonde replies “Don’t look at me, he packs his own lunch.”




 

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