Subject: President's Day, Humility

Taking a Back Seat

On February 22, 1732, the first president of the United States, George Washington, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His family moved to historic Mount Vernon when he was three.

In his youth, he was intelligent, disciplined and well mannered. As a soldier, courage and perseverance led him to be our first battlefield Commander in Chief. When he was elected president, he experientially said. "It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible." He was so well liked that at his death he was eulogized as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

In embracing God's Word, Washington would have to agree that in order to be first in this life, you must go to the back of the line. Jesus said "Many who are first will be last, and the last, first . . . and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all" (Mark 10:31, 44).

You see, rewards in God's kingdom are not based on earthly standards such as rank, priority, personal merit, or sacrifice. We are awarded only for commitment to Jesus Christ; for following him faithfully and obediently. Are you willing to be "slave of all?"

J. Kenneth Bassett
Timeless Signatures

Subject: President's Day, Honesty

Honest Abe

President Lincoln was not only known as "Honest Abe"; he was also known as one who loved the truth.

One day, he was visited by a gentleman who was in the habit of making promises without keeping them. He coaxed one of the Lincoln boys to sit in his lap by promising to give him the charm he wore on his watch chain. The child climbed into his lap.

Finally the gentleman arose to go, when Mr. Lincoln said to him, "Are you going to keep your promise to my boy?"

"What promise?" said the visitor.

"You said you would give him that charm."

"Oh, I could not," said the visitor. "It is not only valuable, but I prize it as an heirloom."

"Give it to him!" said Mr. Lincoln sternly. "I would not want him to know I entertained one who had no regard for his word."

The gentleman, though upset, handed the charm to the boy and went away with a lesson he would not soon forget.

via Knight's 3000 Illustrations

Paying Attention to the Lost

In September 1985, a New Orleans municipal swimming pool hosted a party to celebrate the first summer in memory without a drowning at any city pool. 200 people gathered for the occasion, including 100 certified life guards.

As the party was breaking up and the four lifeguards on duty began to clear the pool, they found a fully dressed body in the deep end. They tried to revive Jerome Moody, 31, but it was too late. He had drowned surrounded by lifeguards celebrating their "successful" season.

How many visitors and strangers are among us drowning in sin, loneliness, hurt, and doubt, while we, who could help them, don't realize it. We Christians have reason to celebrate, but our mission, as the old hymn says is to "rescue the perishing." Often, they are right next to us.

Practical Illustrations:
Leadership Ministries Worldwide

Drop Your Centerboard!

Many small sailing boats are equipped with retractable centerboards-slim but sturdy "boards," often composite, which can be lowered into the water below the boat to give the craft stability against side winds or waves. These boards help keep the sailboat under control and headed in the desired direction.

Christians, too, need a "centerboard" to keep them from drifting off course in their thought-life. We are so easily distracted by the clamor of the "now needs" luring us away from the priorities established by our wills! That which is first on our "to do" list so easily ends up coming up late or last-or never having been accomplished at all that day.

Suppose, for instance, you want to meet with the Lord the first thing every morning. But bodily needs for nourishment and maintenance get in the way; and then follow an endless line of other distractions-each needing to be taken care of at some point, but each elbowing into your consciousness crying "I'm a small chore: do me first!"

It's time to drop our centerboards, i.e., add (or enforce) discipline over all those distractions. If God is Lord of all, then determine to make Him first in your priorities. Determine to make a date with your Savior at a certain time each day. Then shape your life around that priority. If sleeping late tends to push back your appointment, make sure you get sufficient sleep the night before. And be ruthless in dealing with other things which seek to crowd in on your dedicated time given to God.

Whether your daily date with the Lord centers around prayer or Bible reading or praise or some other aspect of worship, keep your centerboard in action!

Ted Kyle

Subject: Sacrifice, Servanthood

Unknown Soldiers

Just outside Washington, D.C., across the Potomac River, lies Arlington National Cemetery. Since 1864, some 45,000 courageous individuals have been lad to rest beneath the soil of that gently sloping hill. Among the honored dead is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This tomb has become a national shrine and is Arlington's outstanding memorial. Thousands stand reverently at its graveside annually. The inscription on the tomb reads: "Here, known but to God, lies an unknown soldier." That monument has come to represent all of the men and women of our armed forces who've bravely fought and died defending our nation's freedom. It's a memorial not only for every officer but for every common soldier who sacrificed so much.

The Bible has its unknown soldiers scattered throughout its sacred pages; that is, godly soldiers who teach us about sacrifice, courage, love, and faith. Their identities are known only to God; however, the good that they accomplished will be forever etched in the annals of Scripture. For example, there were the 7,000 who did not bow to Baal (1 Kings 19:18). There was the maid-servant of Naaman who led her master to a cure (2 Kings 5:2). Who can forget the poor widow who gave her last two mites to God (Mark 12:43-44)? In addition, there were those early Christians who, despite persecution, continued faithfully in their service to God (Acts. 8:4). Just ordinary, everyday people who did what they could for the cause of Christ. We learn from them that it is enough to serve simply as an unknown soldier, known only to Him (Matt. 18:1).

Terry R. Townsend
via Bulletin Digest

Subject: Personal Holiness

Freedom from Worldly Attachments

A constant frustration for boat owners is barnacles. These tiny sea creatures attach themselves to the hull of the boat. For the sailor who wants to keep his boat in ship-shape condition, the barnacles must be removed.

If the Christian wants to be in the best shape, he too must be free of worldly attachments. How is this done? He must scrape away the barnacles of sin until he sees the surface of the truth.

Practical Illustrations:
Leadership Ministries Worldwide

Subject: Loving God

To Paint Him Better

A budding artist once painted a picture of the Last Supper. He took it to the writer Leo Tolstoy for his opinion.

Carefully and understandingly the Russian master of words studied the canvas. Then, pointing to the central figure of the painting, he declared, "You do not love Him!"

"Why, that is the Lord Jesus Christ!" exclaimed the artist.

"I know," inisisted Tolstoy, "but you do not love Him. If you loved Him more, you would paint Him better."

Does the painting of your life show that you love Christ?

John F. Brand, via Sparks

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