When Dr. W. A. Criswell, pastor of the largest Southern Baptist Church in the world, was preaching in the North Shore Baptist Church in Chicago, he was entertained at the home of deacon James L. Kraft, who was superintendent of the Sunday School also founder of Kraft Foods, Inc. Mr. Kraft told that as a young man, he had a desire to be the most famous manufacturer and salesman of cheese in the world. His plan was to become rich and famous by making and selling cheese.
As a young fellow he began his business with a little buggy pulled by a pony named Paddy. After making his cheese, he would load his wagon, then he and Paddy would drive down the streets of Chicago selling it. As the months passed, young Kraft began to despair because he was not making any money in-spite of his long hours and hard work.
One day he pulled his pony to a stop and began talking to him: “Paddy, there is something wrong. We are not doing it right. I am afraid we have things turned around and our priorities are not where they ought to be. Maybe we ought to serve God and place Him first in our lives.” Kraft then drove home and made a covenant that for the rest of his life he would serve God first then work as God directed.
Mr. Kraft started tithing the little he had to his church. Now many years later, Dr. Criswell heard James Kraft declare, “I would rather be a layman in the North Shore Baptist Church than to head up the largest corporation in America. My first job is to serve Jesus.” Today his business is impacting the world.
When we put God first, in reality, we are putting ourselves first. When we put God last we are actually putting ourselves last. Our potential is stymied. Jesus made an eye-opening truth: “So don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing. Why be like the heathen? For they take pride in all these things and are deeply concerned about them. But your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them and He will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to” (Living Bible, Matthew 6:31-33).
Mr. James Kraft learned a valuable lesson early on. Many never get a clue. They think that life centers on them. One of the most messed up people of our time, yet esteemed as the highest paid athlete of his generation, having $400 million in his possession then in 2003 filing bankruptcy, is Mike Tyson. He states he was foolish and self-centered. His attitude was wrong and now he has much of nothing. He discovered that when you put yourself first you are putting yourself last. Tyson said he was looking for a job.
There is no lasting joy like putting Jesus first, others second, and yourself last: J.O.Y. When we give to God first and then to others we are setting ourselves up for great blessings. By living God’s way, a whole new world emerges before us and it is always right! For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends for it is one of God’s best gifts. It involves many things, but above all, the power of getting out of one’s self and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another. A true friend is one who will give you a push when you are stopped, a word of encouragement when you are down, will be a guide when you are searching, will give you a smile when you are sad, and will sing you a song when you are happy. Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life. Many would have given up and failed if they did not have a friend.
A true friend is someone who is there for you when he would rather be somewhere else. He fills the void in your life. He knows the value of being close. A friend is someone who can see right through you and still enjoy the show. Love is blind, but friendship tries not to notice.
Mary Catherwood writes: “Two may talk together under the same roof for many years, yet never really meet, and two others at first speech are old friends.” Friendship is like love…it cannot be hidden. Many will go to an attorney when trouble comes, but true friends treat each other like friends and reconcile their differences.
A friend knows what hurts a friend and will avoid going there. He is considerate of his friend’s emotions; therefore, he strives not to damage their relationship but to sustain it. A friendship can be long lasting yet so fragile and broken to smithereens in an instant if not treated with respect.
I have witnessed the sad moment when a strong friendship went down. The wrong word was spoken. A bad attitude developed. Trust was broken causing a seemingly healthy friendship to end. There is nothing so devastating! There is no lonely feeling compared to the breakup of a friendship.
Yes, friendship is work, but oh so much fun. Friendship is a horizon which grows brighter when we approach it with true love. The older I get the more I believe that nothing in this world equals friendship…that marvelous assurance that everything will be good and above board between two people and nothing will be able to change it.
The opposite of friendship is loneliness. Jesus knew the devastating pain of loneliness; He was abandoned by His disciples, forsaken by His God, while on the cross he cried out loud, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Then He died.
Marla Paul, a Chicago Tribune columnist writes: “I recently read to my daughter Han Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling. I felt an immediate kinship with this bird who flies from place to place looking for creatures with whom he belongs. He eventually finds them. I hope I do too! Why do I feel lonely? Why is it so hard to make good friends?”
Albert Schweitzer said, “We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.” Yes, it is work to make good friends, but so important. May I remind you that Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
A nine year old boy is sitting at his classroom desk when all of a sudden there is a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants is wet. He thinks his heart is going to stop. He cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It has never happened before and he knows that when the boys find out he will never hear the end of it. And when the girls find out they’ll never talk to him again as long as he lives.
The boy believes his heart is going to stop. He puts his head down on the desk and prays, “Dear God, this is an emergency! I need your help now! Five minutes from now I’m dead meat!” He looks up from his desk and here comes the teacher with a look in her eyes that says he has been discovered. But as the teacher is walking toward him a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher dumping the bowl of water in the boy’s lap. The boy pretends to be angry but all the while is whispering, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord.”
Now, instead of being the object of ridicule he is instantly transformed into the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him to the restroom and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out. All the kids are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk. The outpour of sympathy is wonderful, but the ridicule that should have been his is now on Susie. She tries to help but everybody tells her to get out of the way. “You’ve done enough damage you Klutz!”
Finally at the end of the day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, “You did that on purpose, didn’t you?” Susie nods, “I wet my pants once, too.” Susie had experienced an embarrassing moment herself and was willing to do whatever it took to save her classmate from humiliation. She is what you call, a true friend. She saw a need and was willing to help out no matter the cost.
Many people don’t want to get involved, will turn away, and ignore a cry for help. A true friend wants to help in time of a crisis. For this reason, Jesus Christ came to earth: He wanted to relate to our issues. He went out of His way to save us, heal us, deliver us, and befriend us.
A little child looked up as his dad and asked, “Daddy, how does God love us?” His father replied, “Son, God loves us with a love that is unconditional.” His boy asked, “Daddy, what is unconditional love?” The father looked him in the eyes and said, “Do you remember the two boys who used to live next door to us and the cute little puppy they got for Christmas? Do you remember how they used to tease it, throw sticks and rocks at it? Do you remember how the puppy would always greet them with a wagging tail and try to lick their faces?” “Yes,” said the boy. “Well, that puppy had unconditional love for those boys. They certainly didn’t deserve his love, because they were mean to him. But he loved them anyway.” For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.