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The circumstances of life often speak to us like Lucy one day spoke to Charlie Brown. Lucy said to Charlie Brown "Sometimes, I feel we are not communicating: You, Charlie Brown, are afoul ball in the line drive of life. Youíre often in the shadow of your own goal post youíre a miscue. You Ďre 3 putts on the 18th green. You are a 7-10 split in the 10th frame. You have dropped a rod and reel in the lake of life. Youíre a missed free throw. Youíre a shacked 9-iron, a called 3rd strike, a bug on the windshield of life! Do you understand? Have I made myself clear?"
But the Christian who is living as a disciple considers that which he is con≠fidently assured of-that he will be like Christ one day and that as he lov≠ingly surrenders to God, he can be blessed by becoming more like Christ today. Then he replies like Paul in verse 31, "God is for me!"
-I want to share with you the Top 10 motivational tips of the cynic.
1) Motivation Ė If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job, the kind robots will be doing soon.
2) (Snowflakes). Individuality ĖAlways remember that you are unique, just like everybody else.
3) (Lounging leopard) Indifference Ė- It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but it doesnít take any to just sit there with a dumb look on your face.
4) (The Great Pyramids) Achievement Ė- You can do anything you set your mind to when you have vision, determination, and an endless supply of expendable labor.
5) (Hereís Butch the soccer player with little Cody). Goals ĖIt is best to avoid standing directly between a competitive jerk and his goals.
6) (A football receiver being laid out by a tackler). Success ĖSome people dream of success, while other people like to crush those dreams.
7) (Taj Mahal in India). Discovery ĖA company that will go to the end of the earth for its people will find it can hire them for about 10% of the cost of Americans.
8) Ė (A bear about to catch a salmon). Ambition The journey of a thousand miles sometimes ends very, very badly.
9) (Two runners - a male running behind a female). Persistence ĖItís over man. Let her go.
10) (Rowers) Get to work - You arenít being paid to believe in the power of your dreams.
ILL. Are you familiar with Bill Cosby’s book, "Time Flies"? In it, Cosby says that something happens to you when you turn 50 years old.
When his father turned 50, Cosby says that for the first time he remembers noticing his father’s "love handles," those rolls of fat which develop around your waist sometime during middle age. Cosby attributes them to the force of gravity. He can remember seeing those "love handles" on his father, & promising himself that he would never develop such "love handles."
He also remembers his father grunting & groaning every time he sat down, & every time he got up. Bill Cosby promised himself that he would never grunt & groan unless he was carrying a football & was crossing over the goal line on a football field.
But back in 1987, when Bill Cosby turned 50, suddenly his dad’s "love handles" transferred over to him, & became "hate handles" instead of "love handles." And he found himself making weird sounds every time he sat down & got up, too.
He also observed that when you begin to get old your eyesight changes. Describing the time he put on his first pair of tri-focal glasses, he said, "I put on my tri-focals, & in the top lens the door-knob appeared to be 100 yards away. In the middle lens it looked like it was 50 yards away. In the lower lens it looked like I had already walked past it." He said, "I jammed my thumb 3 times reaching for that door knob."
He has the same problem many have. He can see quite well at a distance, but not up close. People who are far-sighted & who use their glasses only for reading are often losing them because they don’t wear them all the time.
Cosby relates that once he lost his glasses. He searched for them in dresser drawers, between the cushions of the couch, all over the place. He couldn’t find them anywhere. Until, suddenly, he happened to see himself in the mirror, & there they were, on top of his head.
APPL. You see, as time passes, things change. Our eyesight changes. Our hearing changes. Our whole physical make-up changes, & we begin to realize just how fast life is flying by.
SOMETHING FOR NOTHING?
Are you hoping for personal change this year? Are you planning to reach your goals by way of hard work or wishful thinking? Do your plans for growth in the New Year sound like this:
From the Desk of: Don Genereaux
Honorable Secretary of Agriculture
My friend, Dan Hansen, over at Honey Creek, Iowa, received a check for $1,000.00 from the government for not raising hogs.
So I want to go into the "NOT RAISING HOGS" business next year. What I want to know is, in your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to raise hogs on? And what is the best breed of hogs not to raise? I want to be sure that I approach this endeavor in keeping with all government policies.
As I see it, the hardest part of the "NOT RAISING HOGSí program is keeping an accurate inventory of how many hogs I havenít raised. My friend Hansen is very joyful about the future of the business. He has been raising hogs for twenty years or so, and the best he has ever made on them was $422.90 in 1968, until this year when he got your check for the $1000.00 for not raising 50 hogs. If I get $1000.00 for not raising 50 hogs, then would I get $2000.00 for not raising 100 hogs? I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself to about 4,000 hogs not raised the first year, which would bring in about $80,000.00; then I can afford an airplane.
Now another thing - these hogs I will not raise will not eat 100,000 bushels of corn. I understand that the government also pays people not to raise corn and wheat. Would I qualify for payments for not raising these crops not to feed my hogs I will not be raising?
I want to get started as soon as possible as this seems to be a good time of the year for the "NOT RAISING HOGS" and "NOT PLANTING CROPS" business. Also I am giving serious con...
WHY AM I SO EXHAUSTED?
I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing. As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the rubbish bin under the table, and notice that the bin is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the rubbish first.
But then I think, since Iím going to be near the mailbox when I take out the rubbish anyway, I may as well pay the bills first. I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of soda Iíd been drinking.
Iím going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the soda can aside so that I donít accidentally knock it over. I feel the soda getting warm, so I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the can, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need water. I put the can on the counter and find my reading glasses that Iíve been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first Iím going to water the flowers.
I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, Iíll be looking for the remote, but I wonít remember that itís on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the living room where it belongs, but first Iíll water the flowers. I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then I head down the hall, trying to remember what I was planning to do.
At the end of the day, the car isnít washed, the bills arenít paid, there is a warm can of soda sitting on the counter, the flowers donít have enough water, there is still only one check in my check book, I canít find the remote, I canít find my glasses, and I donít remember what I did with the car keys. Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, Iím really baffled because I know I was busy all day, and Iím really tired.
YOU DIDN'T WATCH
One time when Michigan State was playing UCLA in football, the score was tied at 14 with only seconds to play. Duffy Daugherty, Michigan State's coach, sent in place kicker Dave Kaiser who booted a field goal that won the game. When the kicker returned to the bench, Daugherty said, "nice going, but you didn't watch the ball after you kicked it."
"That's right, Coach," Kaiser replied. "I was watching the referee instead to see how he'd signal it. I forgot my contact lenses, and I couldn't see the goal posts."
(Bits & Pieces, September 15, 1994, pp. 7-8.)
Sermon Central Staff
WHAT I DON'T WANT TO BE
I recall a conversation I once had with a precocious little boy we once had in the church I pastored for 10 years in Wiesbaden. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.
"Well," he replied, "I don't want to be a fireman."
I'd never had a kid tell me what he was NOT going to do when he grew up so I asked him, "Why don't you want to be a fireman?"
"Because," he said, "they make too much noise."
I chuckled as he continued, "And I don't want to be a preacher either."
"Oh, and why's that?"
"Because they make too much noise too!"
All his friends chuckled when he said that. Finally, he got around to what he wanted to do. He said he wanted to be a trash collector! I thought that was a curious goal in life, but my second oldest son also used to want to be a trash collector, so I wandered if it was for the same reason. Sure enough, it was.
I asked him, "Johnny, why in the world do you want to be a trash collector?"
He said, "Because I want to ride on the back of the truck like the trashmen!"
Children often speculate what they are going to be when they grow up. As children of God, there are also some things that we ought to NOT want to be and some things we SHOULD want to be.
(From a sermon by Charles Sligh, 3 Things I Don't Want to Be; 1 Thing I Do Want to Be, 4/20/2011)
It was BILLY GRAHAM who said: ďChildren will invariably talk, eat, walk, think, respond, and act like their parents. Give them a target to shoot at. Give them a goal to work toward. Give them a pattern that they can se...
YOGI BERRA: DETERMINATION AND DIRECTION
My favorite sports quotations, though, come from Yogi Berra:
"Nobody goes to that restaurant any more -- it's too crowded."
"If people don't want to come out to the ball park, nobody's going to stop them."
Someone asked Yogi what time it was; he said, "You mean now?"
Yogi was asked his philosophy of life: "When you get to a fork in the road, take it."
"I don't want to make the wrong mistake."
"You can see a lot by watching."
"If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up somewhere else."
There's actually a lot of truth in some of those statements. Spiritually speaking, if we don't know where we're going, we truly will end up somewhere else! It's important to have a goal, and to keep our eyes set on that goal. If we just spend our lives drifting spiritually, "hoping" that we'll end up where we want to be, we're just deceiving ourselves. Notice the determination in Paul's voice:
"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind...." (Philippians 3:13-15)
I recently read the story of a man who, in 2006, was driving along a road in Pune India, a city located in the Maharashtra province of central India. The man was driving a common mode of transportation in India, his motorcycle with its mighty 2 stroke engine, through torrential rains on a road that was less than well paved. He did not travel alone, however, seated atop his gas tank with its paws resting on the handle bars was his pet cat; apparently Indian cats enjoy riding in this fashion.
He came to a point in the road where he fell into a ditch more than ten feet deep that had been created by the incessant rains. The man and his disgruntled soaking wet cat stayed in that ditch for nearly half an hour until some local law enforcement officers took notice of their plight and eventually rescued them out of the muddy ditch where they had been trapped.
Often, we get trapped in muddy ditches of fruitless activity. In Romans 14:1 the Apostle Paul writes, "Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things." (NKJV) Or "not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions." (NASB) Or "without passing judgment on disputable matters." (NIV)
When we get trapped in conflicts within the church, be it the local church or the body of Christ at large, over disputable matters, it is like getting trapped in potholes out of which we can not seem to climb.
As God's people, we do well lay aside matters of preference in favor of matters of eternal value. We do well not to allow secondary matters of faith distract us from the goal of seeing unity thrive among us, unity in the local fellowship and unity in the body of Christ, just as Jesus prayed in the garden on that fateful evening for believers everywhere, "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." (John 17:21 NKJV)