Pearl Harbor Day should not pass unnoticed.
You Better be Good
Sarah and her thirteen-year-old sister had been fighting a lot this year. This happens when you combine a headstrong two-year-old, who is sure she is always right, with a young adolescent.
Sarah’s parents, trying to take advantage of her newfound interest in Santa Claus, reminded the two-year-old that Santa was watching and doesn’t like it when children fight. This had little impact.
“I’ll just have to tell Santa about your misbehavior,” the mother said as she picked up the phone and dialed. Sarah’s eyes grew big as her mother asked “Mrs. Claus” (really Sarah’s aunt; Santa’s real line was busy) if she could put Santa on the line. Sarah’s mouth dropped open as Mom described to Santa (Sarah’s uncle) how the two-year-old was acting. But, when Mom said that Santa wanted to talk to her, she reluctantly took the phone.
Santa, in a deepened voice, explained to her how there would be no presents Christmas morning to children who fought with their sisters. He would be watching, and he expected things to be better from now on.
Sarah, now even more wide eyed, solemnly nodded to each of Santa’s remarks and silently hung the phone up when he was done. After a long moment, Mom (holding in her chuckles at being so clever) asked, “What did Santa say to you, dear?”
In almost a whisper, Sarah sadly but matter-of-factly stated, “Santa said he won’t be bringing toys to my sister this year.”
A Sign of the Times
As a little girl climbed onto Santa’s lap, Santa asked the usual, “And what would you like for Christmas?”
The child stared at him open mouthed and horrified for a minute, then gasped: “Didn’t you get my E-mail?”
In a small Southern town there was a “Nativity Scene” that showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it. One small feature bothered me. The three wise men were wearing firemen’s helmets. Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left.
At a “Quick Stop” on the edge of town, I asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets. She exploded into a rage, yelling at me, “You never do read the Bible?” I assured her that I did, but simply couldn’t recall anything about firemen in the Bible. She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and ruffled through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a passage. Sticking it in my face she said
“See, it says right here, ‘The three wise man came from afar.'”
By Dr Charles F Stanley
Not only was King Solomon the wisest man who ever lived (1 Kings 3:12); he was also blessed with wealth beyond imagination and the privilege of building God’s temple. So we might expect him to know deep contentment. In searching for that deep fulfillment, Solomon devoted himself to exploring all kinds of things. Ecclesiastes tells us that he indulged in the pleasures of the world, even dabbling in pursuits he recognized as folly to see if there was anything worthwhile in them. But the satisfaction Solomon sought evaded him, and he concluded that self-indulgence was without value. (Ecclesiastes 2:1-23).
To feel content, the king tried another avenue: personal achievement. He undertook great projects, such as building houses for himself, improving the environment with gardens and parks, and carrying out an extensive irrigation project (Eccl. 2:6). The king had everything he could ever need to enjoy life, but in the end, he
concluded it was all without meaning.
The story has a familiar ring, doesn’t it? Our world has many highly educated and successful people, but there is also much dissatisfaction with life. Our culture pursues pleasure and does not accept limits on its passions. Sadly, such lack of restraint has ruined countless lives.
Solomon had the wisdom and resources to accomplish whatever he chose to do. Yet the goals he pursued brought no lasting satisfaction. He concluded that the best course was to obey God (Ec. 12:13). True enjoyment comes when we align ourselves with His will. Any other way is meaningless
God Is Above The Storm
God is above the storm, no matter how hard it might be,
There is no thunder or lightning His eye cannot see;
When we find ourselves in a storm on any day,
God is so good, to pour out His mercy & grace!
God is above the storm, though He may seem far away,
“Peace be still” are words He still knows how to say;
When clouds seem dark, & fierce winds are blowing,
God knows the direction every action is going!
God is above the storm, controlling by His command,
There’s nothing taking place He doesn’t understand;
The wind may blow hard & the waves might roll high,
But nothing happens here that surprises God’s eyes!
God is above the storm, & will forever more be,
Everything that takes place happens under His feet;
So before we start to become worried or distressed,
We need to remember God handles things best!
Singapore is a tiny island. It’s so small that one can hardly spot it on the world map. (Try it, if you don’t already know where Singapore is.) Because it is densely populated, consideration of others is especially important. A man wrote to his fiancée who was coming to Singapore for the first time: “Space is limited. Therefore . . . you must always have that sense of space around you. You should always step aside to ensure you are not blocking anyone. The key is to be considerate.”
The apostle Paul wrote to Titus, a young pastor: “Remind the people . . . to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone”. It has been said, “Our lives may be the only Bible some people read.” The world knows that Christians are supposed to be different. If we are cantankerous, self-absorbed, and rude, what will others think about Christ and the gospel we share?
Being considerate is a good motto to live by and is possible as we depend on the Lord. And it is one way to model Christ and demonstrate to the world that Jesus saves and transforms lives.
considerate not only in the church but also in our
community. May the world who watches see
transformed people and believe in Your transforming power.
by C.H. Spurgeon
The liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.”-Galatians 5:1
This “liberty” makes us free to heaven’s charter-the Bible. Here is a choice passage, believer, “When thou passest through the rivers, I will be with thee.” You are free to that. Here is another: “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee”; you are free to that. You are a welcome guest at the table of the promises. Scripture is a never-failing treasury filled with boundless stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven; you may draw from it as much as you please, without let or hindrance. Come in faith and you are welcome to all covenant blessings. There is not a promise in the Word which shall be withheld. In the depths of tribulations let this freedom comfort you; amidst waves of distress let it cheer you; when sorrows surround thee let it be thy solace. This is thy Father’s love-token; thou art free to it at all times. Thou art also free to the throne of grace. It is the believer’s privilege to have access at all times to His heavenly Father. Whatever our desires, our difficulties, our wants, we are at liberty to spread all before Him. It matters not how much we may have sinned, we may ask and expect pardon. It signifies nothing how poor we are, we may plead His promise that He will provide all things needful. We have permission to approach His throne at all times-in midnight’s darkest hour, or in noontide’s most burning heat. Exercise thy right, O believer, and live up to thy privilege. Thou art free to all that is treasured up in Christ-wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. It matters not what thy need is, for there is fulness of supply in Christ, and it is there for thee. O what a “freedom” is thine! freedom from condemnation, freedom to the promises, freedom to the throne of grace, and at last freedom to enter heaven!
Christianity is not a legal relationship, it is a love relationship. Ten thousand “don’ts” will never make you one iota more like the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Himself Who makes you like Him. But you need to spend time with Him. I want to give you five factors for spending some quiet time with Him each day.
The Proper Period
You must find the right time. Your quiet time should last at least half an hour. But some time is better than no time, so if you can’t start at thirty minutes, begin with ten. It should be your very best time. Don’t give the Lord your leftovers. And don’t try to find time – make time, and make it a priority. Also find time early in the day. Psalm 5:3 says, “… in the morning..” You don’t take the trip and then read the map, do you? Spend time alone with God to begin your day, if you just can’t do mornings any time of the day is good as long as you make it a daily part of your life.
The Proper Preparation
A quiet time is fellowship with a Holy God. There are a few things you can do to be prepared for this time. First, be physically alert. Find a time when the cobwebs are out of your mind and you can think clearly. Second, be mentally aware. Be focused, and know He’s there. Emotion doesn’t really have all that much to do with it. And third, be morally pure and clean. Some people don’t have a quiet time because they feel uncomfortable looking God in the face with sin in their lives.
The Proper Place
Find a place where you can focus. Jesus said enter into your closet and pray (see Matthew 6:6). That simply means find a place of isolation where you can shut the door on the world and open the windows to heaven. Jesus sought out places where He could be alone, and so should you.
The Proper Provisions
In order to have an effective quiet time, you need the right tools.
Bible – Invest in one with plenty of room to jot notes in the margins.
Note pad- Expect God to give you something and write it down. Also use it to record things you’re praying about.
The Proper Procedure
Get still and quiet. The Bible says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Focus your mind on Him.
Jolene was only 8 years old and lived with family in the country with her parents and brother. Consequently they did not often have visitors from the city. One day Jolene’s mother said that father was bringing two guests home for Thanksgiving supper.
After they had enjoyed the turkey, Jolene went to the kitchen to help her mother, and proudly brought in the first piece of pumpkin pie and gave it to her father. He then passed the plate to a guest. When Jolene came in with the second piece and gave it to his father, he again gave it to a guest.
This was too much for Little Jolene, who blurted out, ‘It’s no use, Daddy. The pieces are all the same size.’
Tommy and Billy were discussing their latest turkey shoot. Tommy says emphatically, ‘I am never going to take my wife Laura shooting with me ever again, Billy!’
‘That bad, eh?’ enquires Billy smiling.
‘Yeah, Laura did everything wrong, got nothing right. She chattered too much, constantly disturbed the undergrowth, loaded the wrong gauge shot in the gun, used the wrong luring whistles and worst of all,’ bellows Tommy, ‘she shot more turkeys than me!’
A man in Phoenix calls his son in New York the day before Thanksgiving and says,”I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.
“Pop, what are you talking about?” the son screams. We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the father says. “We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her.”
Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. “No way! they’re not getting divorced,” she shouts, “I’ll take care of this,”
She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at her father, “You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.
The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. “Okay,” he says, “they’re coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way.”
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually,
that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15
Giving praise to the Lord is one of the best ways to express our thanks to God for His blessings and yet how many of us do it on a regular basis? Yes, we normally go through our routines of thanking God for our food before we eat, sometimes we even thank Him for the clothes we wear and praise Him for the sunshine. Around the Thanksgiving holiday we may even list out our blessings and reflect on what God has done, but to do we really “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually” as our theme verse, Hebrews 13:15, states?
Continual doesn’t just mean once a year or even once a day for that matter. It implies that it is repeated without interruption. David said in Psalm 34:1, “…His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” He also said, “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.” (Psalm 119:62)
When’s the last time we found ourselves up at midnight thanking the Lord? Later on in that same psalm David says, “Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.” Do we stop seven times a day to praise God? Do we even stop once or twice to praise Him?
Now that we know that we need to praise God continually, how do we do it? If you think that all praising God involves is sitting in a small group in a quiet place, whispering quiet praise songs–think again! Praising God is an active thing.
The Bible says the following about praise. “shout for joy” (Ps. 32:11) “O clap your hands” (Ps. 47:1) “sing” (Ps. 47:6) “make a loud noise” (Ps. 98:4) “lift up your hands” (Ps. 134:2) “with the sound of trumpet” (Ps. 150:3) “upon the loud cymbals” (150:5) “make a joyful noise” (Ps. 98:4) “rejoice” (Ps. 98:4) “with harp” (Ps. 33:2) We are not to keep praising God to ourselves. We are to “…make known his deeds among the people.” (Psalm 105:1) In other words if you receive a blessing–tell someone about it.
If we are going to develop a lifestyle of praise to God continually we need to put things in perspective. Realize who God is and we who are not. “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3,4) We need to recognize that all of the things we find in our blessing basket come from above.
Using Time Well
By Charles F Stanley
The Lord gives us resources and abilities, and He desires that we use them well. One such gift is time.
In order to manage our coming days effectively, we should continually review the one we’ve just lived: What activities did we choose? How much time did each take? What were the results? This discipline will reveal what is most important to us.
In looking closely at our assessments, we can determine what drives our decisions about how to use time. Some people merely respond to circumstances for a majority of their day. They jump from one thing to the next, handling whatever appears in their world at the moment—whether personal, family, or business matters. But this style of living misses the mark.
Other people spend their time according to desires. They want to relax, so they get home and watch television for the evening. Or they love to hunt, so they use their time to research equipment and locate wildlife in the forest. Desires are not bad, but they should not drive the bulk of our actions.
Thankfully, there are also people who live according to what they deem important. Loving God and serving others, for instance, are two biblical values that should, ideally, determine what we do with our time.
If you itemize your activities and their time consumption over the course of a week, you might be surprised at which are the predominant events. Each moment is a gift, so set aside a few minutes each evening to plan the next day. Then revisit how you spent the last 24 hours. This will help you to live purposefully.