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ATTITUDE NOT APTITUDE

Jesus' message here is that everybody can be great ... because anybody can serve. Dave Stone says that "service is the language of grace."

One day a couple of church members were out distributing loaves of bread in a low-income housing complex. They came to an apartment where they heard arguing through the door, but they decided to knock anyway. A man opened the door and asked what they wanted. One of the visitors said, "We don't want anything. We just wondered if you know anyone who could use some loaves of bread?"

"Why are you doing that?" the man asked.

"Just to let people know that God loves them."

"What did you just say?" the man asked, rather anxiously.

"We're just handing out loaves of bread to let people know that God loves them."

The man stared and said, "I can't believe this. We just buried our three-week-old son yesterday, and now here you are at our door."

The visitors offered to pray with them, and the couple accepted their offer. As they were leaving, and the door was being closed, they heard the husband say to his wife, "See, honey? I told you God cares. We thought he wasn't paying attention to us, but he sent those people here to make sure we knew."

Too many people make excuses as to why they can't serve. Can you bake a cake? Can you cook some food item? Can you cut someone's grass? Can you call people and give them an encouraging word? Can you do housework? Can you do handy work? Can you donate anything of value? Can you stop along your way and give a smile? Can you take an interest in someone else's life?

The big thing is that you have to be ready to serve. You have to open your eyes and your ears to the needs of others. 1 Pet. 4:10 -- "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."

(From a sermon by Michael Luke, The Demonstration Factor, 5/5/2011)

 
Contributed By:
Andrew Moffatt
 
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Thought Control.

What thought? Every thought. The one I have about the Ford Mark One Zephyr that I would like to one day own, the one about how angry I get with repeating a request that someone shuts the door behind them, the thought about how Iíd like that last slice of chocolate cake that is for another member of the family, the thought about how I deserve this or that, the thought about the attractive lady who smiles at me in the street, and hereís a biggy the thought about how ĎI earned it, it belongs to me! Ď

You see we all have thoughts we shouldnít have and the world tells us that itís OK to have them. Not every thought is worth having, in fact, some are down right hazardous to a personís health.
Try these on for size:
Ill never be capable of doing that.
Just one, no one will ever know.
Everyoneís out or the kids are in bed, I can watch this programme.
Everyone else does it.
If I just wait around things will come right.
Itís only cheating if I get caught.

We humans, are inclined to do stuff wrong, we think wrong and then act in wrong ways. there is a process of thinking and action. Thought comes before action. If we can capture our thoughts and thatís every thought, even the ones that seem good, but are a bit self seeking and make them obedient to Christ, life is a lot easier.
The loan for the Zephyr, which I would so like, does not have to be paid back, you see in my case itís a case of idolatry any way, and the Subaru is adequate, and much cheaper to run.
The door situation doesnít erupt into an argument, because I come up with a suitable deterrent to the door not being shut, and discipline is how the young learn.
The chocolate cake fills the right stomach and I didnít need it any way, I also donít need to apologise or loose the extra calories.
I take any thought about the smile and think about the beautiful lady who smiled at me on our wedding day and continues to love me even knowing all my faults not just me at a glance. The gift of God that is our income is recognised as being a gift because God has gifted us with the ability to earn it. This is thinking how Jesus would have us think!
We know what these thoughts are, as we walk in the faith, we pick up the tools of the faith. ďThinking how Jesus would have us thinkĒ is one of those tools.
The scriptures and the Holy Spirit aid us to think correctly but we need to know them and respond to them.

 
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Bill Prater
 
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‘Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house, nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I’d nibbled, the fudge I did taste, all the holiday parties had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales there arose such a number! When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).
I remembered the marvelous meals I’d prepared, the gravies and sauces and beef nicely rare.
The pies and the cakes, the bread and the cheese, and the way I never said, "No thank you please."
As I dressed myself in my husband’s old shirt, and prepared once again to do battle with dirt---
I said to myself, as I only can "You can’t spend the winter disguised as a man!"

So away with the last of the sour cream dip, get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip.
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished, ‘till all the additional ounces have vanished.
I won’t have a cookie, not even a lick, I’ll want only to chew on a long celery stick.
I won’t have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie, I’ll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
I’m hungry, I’m lonesome, and life is a bore --- But isn’t that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot ... Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!

 
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REAL PEACE

My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start.

So far today, I have finished 2 bags of chips and a chocolate cake.

I feel better al...

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A woman was in the process of suing her husband for divorce. She told the judge that she had done her best to get her husband to change his ways, but that he just wouldnít do it. Referring to Paulís words about being nice to your enemies, which is found in the 12th chapter of Romans the judge asked the woman if she had tried to "heap coals of fire on his head." The Woman answered, "No, but I donít think it will work, Iíve already tried scalding water, and that certainly didnít do any good." In contrast the following story is a good example of the way kindness breeds kindness: "An old man named Bill was hired to sweep streets in a small town in the South. Once a week the street sweeper came by with his brush. Bill was a friendly old fellow and Miss Gidding got into the habit of taking him a glass of lemonade and a slice of cake, during the summer. He always made a point to thank her, but said nothing more. But then one evening she heard a knock at her door. When she went to the door, Bill was standing there with a sack of peaches in one hand, and several ears of sweet corn in the other. He seemed embarrassed as he said, "I brought you these, Maíam, because you have been so nice to me." Miss Gidding replied, "Oh you shouldnít have bothered, it was nothing." Then the street sweeper replied, "Well, itís more than anyone else did for me." If we want people to be kind to us, we must be kind to them.

 
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Allan Quak
 
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After the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, one German officer described the capture of an American unit early in the fighting. Among the booty was a box that contained a cake. What was remarkable about the cake is that it had been sent to an American soldier from Boston and it was still fresh. The German described his feelings when he realised that the Americans had the resources to fly over cakes from home even in the midst of a global war. He said that he knew then, that they would never defeat an enemy that had such resources for the waging of the battle. When we stand in Christ we have that sort of support, and so much more.

 
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Steve Malone
 
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It looked like saturday morning TV time at the Van Pelt household. Lucy and Linus were sitting in front of the television set when Lucy said to Linus, "Go get me a glass of water."

Linus looked surprised, "Why should I do anything for you? You never do anything for me."

"On you 75th birthday," Lucy promised, "Iíll bake you a cake."

Linus got up, headed to the kitchen and said, "Life is more pleasant when you have something to look forward to."

 
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D. Greg Ebie
 
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Hope motivates us to keep going and not give up. Without hope we donít want to do anything.
Peanutís cartoon: Lucy and Linus were sitting in front of the television set when Lucy said to Linus, "Go get me a glass of water." Linus looked surprised, "Why should I do anything for you? You never do anything for me." "On you 75th birthday," Lucy promised, "Iííll bake you a cake." Linus got up, headed to the kitchen and said, "Life is more pleasant when you have something to look forward to."

Do you have a steadfast unshakeable ho...

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THE RING OF SALVATION

It began at West Point in 1835. It is a practice that has endured almost 200 years. You may have chosen to obtain one, and undoubtedly you waited anxiously for it to arrive. Others of you werenít really that into it and decided to pass. Some of you in the room may still wear it proudly as a pronouncement of accomplishment. Some of you may have simply discarded it into a drawer to be forgotten. You may have used it is to symbolize commitment or exclusiveness. When it was returned to you it may have been accompanied by pain and even a steady stream of tears. However, you would never have ascribed the power of life and death to this high school tradition.

Who knew that this tradition would also become the story of Easter?

You know the Easter Story or you wouldnít be here today. The story of God who sent His Son to become man to die for us. A Son who bears our burden of our sin and becomes the great sacrifice. A Son who defeats death and comes to life again.

Most of us have heard it until we have become numb to it, but perhaps if I tell you the story a little differently today.

"By all rules, Skinner was a dead man." With these words Arthur Bressi begins his retelling of the day he found his best friend in a World War II Japanese concentration camp.
The two were high school buddies. They grew up together in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania---playing ball, skipping school, double-dating. Arthur and Skinner were inseparable. It made sense, then, that when one joined the army, the other would as well. They rode the same troopship to the Philippines. Thatís where they were separated. Skinner was on a rescue mission when Bataan fell to the Japanese in 1942. Arthur Bressi was captured a month later.

Through the prison grapevine, Arthur learned the whereabouts of his friend. Skinner was near death in a nearby camp. Arthur volunteered for work detail in the hope that his company might pass through the other camp. One day they did.

Arthur requested and was granted five minutes to find and speak to his friend. He knew to go to the sick side of the camp. It was divided into two sections--one for those expected to recover, the other for those given no hope. Those expected to die lived in a barracks called "zero ward." Thatís where Arthur found Skinner. He called his name, and out of the barracks walked the seventy-nine-pound shadow of the friend he had once known. He writes:

"I stood at the wire fence of the Japanese prisoner-of-war camp on Luzon and watched my childhood buddy, caked in filth and racked with the pain of multiple diseases, totter toward me. He was dead; only his boisterous spirit hadnít left his body. I wanted to look away, but couldnít. His blue eyes, watery and dulled, locked on me and wouldnít let go.

"Malaria. Dysentery. Pellagra. Scurvy. Beriberi. Skinnerís body was a dormitory for tropical diseases. He couldnít eat. He couldnít drink. He was nearly gone."

Arthur didnít know what to do or say. His five minutes were nearly up. He began to finger the heavy knot of the handkerchief tied around his neck. In it was his high-school class ring. At the risk of punishment, heíd smuggled the ring into camp. Knowing the likelihood of catching a disease and the scarcity of treatment, he had been saving it to barter for medicine or food for himself. But one look at Skinner, and he knew he couldnít save it any longer.

As he told his friend good-bye, he slipped the ring through the fence into Skinnerís frail hand and told him to "wheel and deal" with it. Skinner objected, but Arthur insisted. He turned and left, not knowing if he would ever see his friend alive again.

Skinner took the ring and buried it in the barracks floor.

The next day he took the biggest risk of his life. He approached the "kindest" of the guards and passed him the ring through the fence. The guard asked, "Is it valuable?" Skinner assured him that it was. The soldier smiled and slipped the ring into his pocket and left.

A couple of days later he walked past Skinner and let a packet drop at his feet. Sulfanilamide tablets. A day later he returned with limes to combat the scurvy. Then came a new pair of pants and some canned beef.

Within three weeks Skinner was on his feet. Within three months he was taken to the healthy side of the sick camp. In time he was able to work. As far as Skinner knew, he was the only American ever to leave the Zero Ward alive.

The ring elevated his position in the camp. The ring secured restoration. The ring brought provision. The common class ring brought salvation.

That is the Easter Story! Arthurís ring is the perfect illustration of what happened at Easter. However, there is another ring account that also communicates the power of Easter to us.

Skinner attempted to refuse the very ring that would ultimately save his life. He almost declined the life-giving gift his friend could give him.

I wonder if there are some here that have refused the gift of life that Christ has tried to provide for you? It is the greatest gift a loving father could ever extend to you . . . the gift of His eternal love! If you donít accept the great gift of His love you are doomed to death in bondage.

Skinner leveraged the ring and it gained him privileges and a new lease on life. I wonder if maybe you are here today and even though you have taken hold of the ring of salvation you have failed to leverage the authority, provision, and the freedom that such a relationship with Christ can afford? You are saved, but you are still living in the prison! The ring of Christís love and resurrected life can bring complete and total freedom today.

(From a sermon by Charles Sligh, Fellowship of the Ring, 4/20/2011)

 
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James uses paradoxes to convey stabilizing wisdom.

Paradoxes are like literary oxymorons. Top Ten List of Oxymorons.
10. Computer security
9. Political science
8. Tight slacks
7. Definite maybe
6. Pretty ugly
5. Twelve-ounce pound cake
4. Diet ice cream
3. Working vacation
2. Exact estimate
1. Microsoft Works

 
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