THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!

DURING THE EARLY 1970’S, THE U.S. ENJOYED A COMEDY/VARIETY TV SHOW FOR SEVERAL YEARS HOSTED BY FLIP WILSON. FLIP HAD SEVERAL CHARACTERS AND TAG LINES THAT WE ALL CAME TO EXPECT. ONE THAT MADE IT INTO OUR DAILY SOCIETY WAS “THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!”. TAKEN FROM FLIP’S COMEDY ROUTINE, WE WOULD HEAR SOMEONE BLURT OUT “THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!” WHEN THEY MADE A MISTAKE OR FAILED AT SOMETHING . IT WAS EASY TO BLAME SOMEONE ELSE…ESPECIALLY THE DEVIL…THAN ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN CHOICES AND OUR OWN ACTIONS. OF COURSE, THE DEVIL NEVER MAKES US DO ANYTHING. THE DEVIL IS SURELY POWERFUL, BUT HE DOES NOT HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE. ONLY GOD CAN CREATE. YET, SATAN CAN CAUSE THINGS TO HAPPEN THROUGH HIS INFLUENCE. WE CAN FALL SUBJECT TO SATAN’S POWERFUL INFLUENCE ONLY IF WE ALLOW HIM TO HAVE CONTROL. SATAN WORKS THROUGH OUR SENSES OF SIGHT, SMELL, TASTE, TOUCH AND HEARING. HE INTRODUCES US TO SOMETHING WE LIKE BASED ON OUR SENSES THEN SETS BACK AND WATCHES HIS PLANS UNFOLD. SO WHEN YOU DON’T QUIT SMOKING, HAVE THAT ‘ONE’ UNNECESSARY DRINK, EAT THAT EXTRA LARGE PIECE OF CHOCOLATE CAKE, DRIVE A LITTLE TOO FAST, TAKE PART IN A GOSSIP CONVERSATION OR BECOME INVOLVED IN A WRONGFUL AFFAIR, DON’T BLAME THE DEVIL. THE DEVIL DID NOT MAKE YOU DO ANYTHING. ‘YOU’ MADE YOU DO IT! NEXT TIME YOU FEEL TEMPTED, CALL ON GOD, THE STRONGEST FORCE OVER SATAN. ASK GOD TO GIVE YOU THE STRENGTH THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT TO RESIST THE DEVIL’S TEMPTATIONS. THE HOLY SPIRIT INDWELLS IN YOU AS A CHRISTIAN BELIEVER...

GENTLEMEN START YOUR ENGINES.

CHARIOT RACING WAS A SPORT FOR BOTH THE DRIVERS AND THE SPECTATORS FOR THE ANCIENT ROMANS, GREEKS AND EGYPTIANS. PEOPLE TODAY GATHER TO WATCH ALL FORMS OF RACING. FROM MARATHONS WHERE THOUSANDS RUN A COURSE, TO SPEED BOATS AND SAIL BOATS, TO HORSE RACING AROUND THE WORLD, TO AUTOMOBILES RACES FROM BAJA TO DAYTONA, WE GATHER TO WATCH AND CHEER FOR THE WINNER. NO OTHER RACE SEEMS TO DRAW THE ENTHUSIASM OF CARS RACING. FROM THE TIME THE AUTOMOBILE WAS INVENTED, THERE HAS BEEN A DESIRE TO PRODUCE THE FASTEST CAR. BEFORE EACH RACE, THERE HAS BEEN A TRADITION OF THE ANNOUNCER PROCLAIMING: “GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!” THE CROWDS WILDLY CHEER IN ANTICIPATION. IN A SHORT TIME A WINNER WILL BE PRESENTED A TROPHY AND POSSIBLY A LARGE SUM OF MONEY. OF THE DOZENS IN THE RACE, ONLY ONE WILL WIN. OF ALL THE COMPETITION, ONLY ONE WILL BE REMEMBERED BY THE MASSES. WITHIN DAYS, NO ONE WILL REMEMBER THE ONE WHO CAME IN 3RD PLACE, MUCH LESS THE ONE WHO CAME IN LAST PLACE. HOW ABOUT YOUR RACE? EACH DAY YOU RUN A RACE. WHICH PLACE WILL YOU COME IN…FIRST OR LAST? FIRST PLACE IN OUR SOCIETY IS VERY DIFFERENT THAN BEING IN FIRST PLACE WITH GOD. ARE YOU IN A RACE WITH SOCIETY TO MAKE THE MOST MONEY, HAVE THE BIGGEST HOUSE OR THE FASTEST CAR? INSTEAD, HOW ABOUT BEING IN A RACE TO BE THE BEST CHRISTIAN YOU CAN BE? NO, IT IS NOT A COMPARISON TO OTHERS OF BEING BETTER THAN SOMEONE ELSE. THE MEASUREMENT COMES FROM GOD. WINNING THE RACE IS PLEASING GOD; GOODNESS...

MAGIC MIRROR ON THE WALL.

THE EVIL QUEEN IN SNOW WHITE ASKED; “MAGIC MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO IS THE FAIREST OF ALL?”. THE MIRROR WOULD ANSWER; “YOU ARE THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL.”. IT WAS THE ANSWER THE EVIL QUEEN WANTED TO HEAR, BUT IT WAS NOT AN HONEST ANSWER. DO YOU HAVE A MIRROR THAT EXAGGERATES THE TRUTH LIKE THE EVIL QUEEN’S MIRROR? WHEN YOU LOOK INTO THE MIRROR WHO DO YOU SEE? DO YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BE OR DO YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU DESIRE OTHERS TO SEE? LOOK CLOSELY AND YOU MAY SEE THE PERSON WHO YOU REALLY ARE…THE PERSON GOD SEES 24 HOURS OF EVERY DAY. SEEING THE PERSON YOU REALLY ARE IS VERY DIFFICULT. WE ALL SEEM TO HAVE A DESIRE TO BE BETTER OR DIFFERENT THAN WE ARE. CAN YOU ACCEPT THE TRUTH? YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. IT COULD BE THAT MOST OF THE TIME, THE ONLY PERSON YOU ARE FOOLING IS YOURSELF. LIKE VANITY OF BEAUTY, MANY SUFFER FROM VANITY OF THE SOUL, LIVING LIVES THAT ARE TOTALLY FALSE TO OTHERS AND SOMETIMES EVEN TO THEMSELVES. IT IS TIME TO LOOK INTO THE MIRROR AND SEE THE REAL YOU. FACE THE FACT OF WHO YOU REALLY ARE. LOOK AT THE SAME PERSON GOD SEES. THEN, SINCERELY PRAY AND ASK GOD TO HELP YOU BE THE PERSON HE WANTS YOU TO BE. THROW AWAY THE MIRROR OF MISREPRESENTATION. YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID. “WHOEVER SPEAKS ON THEIR OWN DOES SO TO GAIN PERSONAL GLORY, BUT HE WHO SEEKS THE GLORY OF THE ONE WHO SENT HIM IS A MAN OF...

SADDLE UP!

IN AMERICA’S OLD WEST, THE AUTHORITY ON THE LONG CATTLE TRAIL RIDES WAS THE TRAIL BOSS. WHEN THE TRAIL BOSS SHOUTED A COMMAND, THE COWBOYS KNEW IT WAS TIME TO ACT…AND QUICKLY. HEARING ‘SADDLE UP’ MEANT IT WAS TIME TO TO RIDE AND MOVE THE CATTLE. USUALLY WITH NO TENTS FROM THE RAIN OR WEATHER, THE COWBOYS SLEPT ON THE HARD GROUND WITH LITTLE MORE THAN A BLANKET. FOOD WAS DRIED MEAT, BEANS AND HARD BISCUITS. FOR WEEKS AT A TIME, 14-14 HOUR DAYS WERE THE NORM. YET AT SUN-UP, ‘SADDLE UP’ WAS THE CALL TO START A NEW DAY OF HARD WORK AND DIFFICULTIES. DID YOU HEAR GOD TELL YOU TO ‘SADDLE UP’ THIS MORNING AND PREPARE FOR THE DIFFICULTIES OF THIS DAY ON EARTH. IF YOU DID NOT HEAR GOD, PERHAPS IT IS BECAUSE YOU DID NOT TAKE THE TIME TO HEAR. IN ORDER TO HEAR GOD, YOU HAVE TO LISTEN. IN ORDER TO LISTEN, YOU HAVE TO GO TO GOD IN PRAYER. A FEW MINUTES IN QUIET PRAYER WITH GOD CAN PREPARE YOU FOR THE DIFFICULTIES OF THE DAY AHEAD. SADDLE UP! …..IN PRAYER WITH GOD. “DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING, BUT IN EVERY SITUATION, BY PRAYER AND PETITION, WITH THANKSGIVING, PRESENT YOUR REQUEST TO GOD. AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS.” PHILIPPIANS 4 6-7...

GPS

GPS: GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM. GPS WAS ORIGINALLY DEVELOPED BY THE UNITED STATES MILITARY. IT IS A SYSTEM OF 24 SATELLITES THAT ALLOW YOU TO PINPOINT WITHIN INCHES EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD AT ANY TIME. THIRTY YEARS AGO IT WAS DEEMED SO USEFUL THE GOVERNMENT DECIDED TO RELEASE IT FOR PUBLIC USE. NOW SURVEYORS, SHIPS AT SEA AND HIKERS ARE USING IT. YOU MAY EVEN HAVE A GPS IN YOUR MOBILE PHONE OR YOUR CAR. THERE IS ANOTHER GPS THAT HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME. GPS: GOD’S PROTECTION AND SECURITY. GOD KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE BETTER THAN A NAVIGATIONAL GPS SYSTEM. NOT ONLY DOES GOD KNOW YOUR PHYSICAL LOCATION, GOD KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE IN YOUR LIFE CHOICES. GOD KNOWS EVEN BEFORE YOU DO, THE CHOICES YOU WILL MAKE…GOOD AND BAD. GOD CAN PROTECT YOU FROM YOUR CHOICES IF YOU ALLOW HIM. WOULDN’T YOU LIKE THE SECURITY OF KNOWING GOD IS YOUR PROTECTOR? YOU CAN HAVE GPS: GOD’S PROTECTION AND SECURITY. NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN LIFE. NO MATTER WHAT YOU HAVE DONE. NO MATTER WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE. GOD’S PROTECTION AND SECURITY IS YOURS. TRUST AND BELIEVE. ASK GOD TO FORGIVE YOU FOR THE MISTAKES OR SINS OF YOUR PAST. SINCERE REPENTANCE WILL BRING GOD’S SECURITY INTO YOUR LIFE. JESUS DIED ON THAT CROSS FOR YOU. ALL YOUR SINS HAVE BEEN WASHED AWAY BY HIS BLOOD IF YOU BELIEVE. JESUS, GOD’S PROTECTION AND SECURITY. “THEN JESUS TOLD THEM, ‘YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE THE LIGHT JUST A LITTLE WHILE LONGER. WALK WHILE YOU HAVE THE LIGHT, BEFORE DARKNESS OVERTAKES YOU....