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Posts tagged ‘Just Say No’

Just Say No – The Bare Essentials

Mountain ClimberKey Bible Verse:  “And as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life.”  – 2 Timothy 2: 4

Bonus Reading  2 Timothy 2: 1-7

The story is told of a group of people who were preparing to climb Mount Blanc in the Swiss Alps.

On the evening before the climb, the guide outlined the prerequisite for reaching the top.  Due to the difficulty of the climb, he warned them, one could reach the top by taking only the bare essentials of equipment.  All unnecessary accessories must be left behind.

A young Englishman refused to listen.  He brought along an extra blanket, a cap, and a fancy notebook in his backpack.

On the way to the summit of Mount Blanc, the guide began to notice certain items of excess baggage left behind in the snow.  First the blanket.  Then the notebook.  Later the cap.

This epitomizes what must happen in our lives spiritually if we are to win the race.  Every unnecessary weight must be cast aside if we are to make it to the top.  We must let go of the good if we are to achieve the best.

Running with maximum speed requires stripping down.  Even small encumbrances can keep us from victory.  The difference between victory and defeat is often very small.

—- Steven Lawson in “Men Who Win”


My Response:  A “good” that may be in the way of God’s best for me is… …


Thought to Apply:  If you begin by denying yourself nothing, the world later is apt to do your denying for you.
—- B. F. Forbes (writer)

Adapted from: “Men Who Win” (NavPress, 1992)



Just Say No – Goose Truth

Geese in FlightQ.  What if there are things I should walk away from, but I’ve been unable to resist?

A.  I mustn’t believe the lie that says I can’t change or take control.  Because God’s Spirit is in me, God’s strength is in me.

But sometimes I feel so helpless.  In late autumn, my family likes to travel to southern Illinois around Horseshoe Lake where the geese are flying.  Each time, I’m reminded of how foolish it is to believe that God would make Christians helpless to resist the destructive forces of sin.

When you travel down Highway 3, which slices right across the flyway of thousands of migrating waterfowl, you see the grain fields the conservation people have planted for the geese.  The birds gather in this reserve by the hundreds of thousands, blanketing the ground until sunset.  Then at dusk an amazing change occurs.  Like huge puffs of smoke, the birds rise from the ground by the thousands and cross the highway.

Why?  You’d think it would be far easier to fly by day.

One side of the highway is all game reserve.  The other side of the road is private farmland where hunters gather by the score.  The old-timers say the reason the birds wait till sunset to cross is that they’ve learned the hunters’ time limit is over at sundown.

Wow, if a goose with a pea brain, driven by instinct, has the ability to change behaviors that would lead to its own destruction, how can we with the mind of Christ and controlled by the Spirit of God claim that we can’t?

          Bryan Chapell is president of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis Missouri

Adapted from: “The Promises of Grace”  (Baker, 2001)



Just Say No – Margin of Victory

Racing ShoesKey Bible Verse:  “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.” Hebrews 12:1

Bonus Reading  Hebrews 12: 1-4

Runner Gil Dodds was once preparing for a race.  After a series of stretching exercises, Dodds ran several warmup laps around the track.  Just before the race began, he quickly changed into some other track shoes.

One of the onlookers asked why he was changing shoes.  Dodds tossed to the inquirer one of his warmup shoes.  Then one of his racing shoes.

The man was still puzzled.  There was no detectable difference in the two shoes.  Both looked the same.  Both seemed to weigh the same.

Then Dodds explained.  There was indeed a difference.  The warmup shoes were slightly heavier than his racing shoes.  Though only a small difference, saving even that much weight for the race could spell the difference between victory and defeat.

The same is true in our spiritual lives.

No encumbrance, large or small, can be tolerated in our life.  Not if we’re to win. The above Scripture for today says, “strip off every weight that slows us down.”

Not some, but every.  So every impediment must go.  Anything that would hold us back must be relinquished.

—- Steven Lawson in Men Who Win


My Response: A “little” weight that I should seriously think about shedding is…


Thought to Apply: There are many activities I must cut out simply because I desire to excel in my pursuit after God and holiness. – Wendell Price (speaker)

Adapted from: Men Who Win (NavPress, 1992)



Just Say No – Too Good to Turn Down?

Prisoner of WarKey Bible Verses: Peter took him aside.  Jesus said to Peter very sternly, “Get away from me, Satan!” Matthew 16: 23.

Bonus Reading:  Matthew 16: 21-28

In 1968, John McCain, now a U.S. Senator, was a naval aviator who’d been shot down over Hanoi.  Already held captive for more than a year, he was still recovering from the broken leg and arm he’d sustained during his capture.  He was suffering from dysentery and heat rash.

That’s when the prison commandant made him an incredible offer.  “You can go home right now,” the commandant said.

Can you imagine McCain’s emotions?

But what he didn’t know was that his father had just been named commander of all forces in the Pacific.  The Vietnamese wanted to release John as a propaganda ploy, using his special treatment as a way to demoralize the other prisoners.  But there was a code of honor for the men in the prison camps:  First in, first to leave.

Five men had been there longer than McCain.  And so he thought about it, prayed about it, and finally said, “No. I’m not going home until they do.”  By saying no to the early release, he said yes to four more years of beatings, torture, and hardship.

Saying no to second-best isn’t easy.  But it’ll strengthen your character and your relationships. I t can even make you more like God’s Son.

– John Trent in “Christian Parenting Today”


My Response:  I’m stronger because I’ve said no to…


Thought to Apply:  To deny self is to become a nonconformist.  The Bible tells us not to conform to this world— physically, intellectually or spiritually.  – Billy Graham

Adapted from: Christian Parenting Today (1-2/00)



Just Say No – No Seconds?

No moreKey Bible Verses: You who lounge in luxury, eating the meat of tender lambs and choice calves.  Suddenly, all your revelry will end.  Amos 6: 1-7

After graduating from college, I was awarded a scholarship for graduate study at Clark University.  It carried a stipend that allowed for lunch and dinner six days a week.  Feeling the need for a breakfast as well, I used the little money I had to buy each week a box of shredded wheat, a can of condensed milk, and a pound of brown sugar.  For two semesters I had the same breakfast daily.

I confess it was some years before I could enjoy shredded wheat again, but the discipline dictated by my lack of funds was good for me.  I appreciated my education more.  And later I certainly valued the more varied breakfasts I could afford.

Yet if we can afford to eat lots of rich foods, should we do so?  Long before the medical profession urged moderation and balance in our diets, the Bible condemned gluttony.  Slowly we are learning that a proper diet contributes to our wellbeing, but overindulgence can give us serious health problems.

—- Hudson Armerding in The Heart of Godly Leadership


My Response: I’ll purposely limit myself in the area of…. …


Thought to Apply: Self-control may be defined as the ability to carry a credit card and not abuse it.
—- Anonymous

          Adapted from: The Heart of Godly Leadership (Crossway, 1992)



Just Say No – Say No to Second Best

Just Say NoKey Bible Verses:  Then the Devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, change this stone into a loaf of bread.”  But Jesus told him, “No!”  – Luke 4: 3-4


Bonus Reading:  Luke 4: 1-13

As I was walking across campus one afternoon, Dr. Howard Hendricks walked up alongside me.  “Hi John,” he said.  “How are your classes going?”

I told him the truth. I was struggling to keep up and scared I might not make it through my first year.

“Can I give you a suggestion?” he said.

“Absolutely,” I answered and waited for some study secret.

“John,” he said, “You need to learn to say no to at least one thing a day.  Even if it’s just a second piece of pie, or some mindless television show, if you learn to say no to the things that don’t matter, you’ll find the time to say yes to the things that do.”

Try it.  

  • Say no when tempted to gossip about your boss at the water cooler and watch your personal integrity grow.
  •  Say no to that extra late movie and notice how much happier and focused you are the next day.  
  •  Say no when that voice in your head says, “I know my daughter has a soccer game today, but my friend just called with a free tee time at that great course . …” or “I know I promised my wife I’d get that chore done, but there’s a web site I really wanted to check out,” and see your family grow closer.

—- John Trent in Christian Parenting Today

My Response:

Today I’m saying No to…. …


Thought to Apply:

What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.   – Aristotle (Greek philosopher)

Adapted from: Christian Parenting Today (1-2/00).



Just Say No – What Tipped the Odds

JockeyKey Bible Verse:  “All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize”.  – 1 Corinthians 9:25

Bonus Reading:  1 Corinthians 9: 24-27

Laffit Pincay was the winning jockey at the Belmont Stakes in 1984.  I once overheard a group of men discussing his abilities.  One said, “Don’t ever bet your money against that fellow.”

It seems that Pincay was sitting next to him in the first-class section of an airplane once when a fine dinner was served.  He said, “The only thing he even touched on his plate was a sack of peanuts.  He opened the cellophane wrapper, took out a single peanut and set it on his tray. Then he took his knife, cut the peanut in two and ate one-half of it.”

Even a nongambler like me had no trouble understanding why you shouldn’t wager against a disciplined guy like that.  Pincay knows he must exercise self-discipline to keep his weight down yet be strong enough to manage and control a 1,500-pound thoroughbred in a racing situation.

Apparently, his efforts at self-discipline are still paying off.  I noticed in the sports section of a newspaper that Pincay recently won a million-dollar race at the Santa Anita Handicap.

—- Paul Faulkner in Making Things Right When Thing Go Wrong


Prayer:  Dear God, please empower me to resist all that would dilute my commitment to You and Your will for me.

          Adapted from: Making Things Right When Thing Go Wrong (Howard, 1996).