Dr. Don's Fan Page

Three writings by Dr. Don: ReflectionsDaily SnippetsHow to Get Along With Anybody

Plus four collections: QuotesDevotional BitsGood 'UnsFavorite Bible Texts


Dr. Don's Collection of Devotional Bits and Pieces of Other Stuff

  1. Autobiography In Five Short Chapters (Portia Nelson)
    1. The Law of Pure Potentiality: Take time to be silent, to just BE. Meditate for 30 minutes twice a day. Silently witness the intelligence within every living thing. Practice non-judgment.
    2. The Law of Giving: Today, bring whoever you encounter a gift: a compliment or flower. Gratefully receive gifts. Keep wealth circulating by giving and receiving care, affection, appreciation and love.
    3. The Law of Karma: Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind. Choosing actions that bring happiness and success to others ensures the flow of happiness and success to you.
    4. The Law of Least Effort: Accept people, situations, and events as they occur. Take responsibility for your situation and for all events seen as problems. Relinquish the need to defend your point of view.
    5. The Law of Intention and Desire: Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment. Make a list of desires. Trust that when things don’t seem to go your way, there is a reason.
    6. The Law of Detachment: Allow yourself and others the freedom to be who they are. Do not force solutions—allow solutions to spontaneously emerge. Uncertainty is essential, and your path to freedom.
    7. The Law of Dharma: Seek your higher Self. Discover your unique talents. Ask yourself how you are best suited to serve humanity. Using your unique talents and serving others brings unlimited bliss and abundance.

     
  2. Autobiography In Five Short Chapters (Portia Nelson)

    Chapter I

    I walk down the street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I fall in.
    I am lost... I am hopeless.
    It isn't my fault.
    It takes forever to find a way out.

    Chapter II

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I pretend I don't see it.
    I fall in again.
    I can't believe I am in this same place.
    But it isn't my fault.
    It still takes a long time to get out.

    Chapter III

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I see it there.
    I still fall in... it's a habit... but,
    my eyes are open.
    I know where I am.
    It is my fault.
    I get out immediately.

    Chapter IV

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I walk around it.
     
  3. Six Ways To Feed a Hungry Heart (Leigh Ann Lombardo Davis)
    1. Mantra
      "I am fully supported by the Universe in every way."
      Say that three times each morning in front of a mirror. Write this 21 times in a notebook for 21 days.
    2. Breathe
      Take five minutes to stop whatever you are doing. Yes. Stop. Find a quiet place to sit or lie down. Be aware of every inhale and exhale. Now is all there is.
    3. Commune with Nature
      Walk. Sit. Stand. Watch the clouds move and the sky change colors. Listen to the birds sing. Witness the magic of mother nature in its various forms.
    4. Laugh
      Watch a funny movie. Watch your favorite talk show host, like Ellen or Steve Harvey. (You can DVR or stream them.) Call a friend who makes you laugh out loud and laugh together.
    5. Beauty
      Notice it everywhere you are.
    6. Music
      Listen to songs that make your heart dance and your soul sing. Singing is like praying twice. "Music in the soul can be heard by the Universe." (Lau Tzu)

     
  4. The Wisdom of Ali Ibn Abi Tali

    Hate no one, no matter how much they’ve wronged you.
    Live humbly, no matter how wealthy you become.
    Think positively, no matter how hard life is.
    Give much, even if you’ve been given little.
    Keep in touch with the ones who have forgotten you, and forgive who has wronged you, and do not stop praying for the best for those you love.

  5. A Paradox from C.S. Lewis

    Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.... Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

  6. My Emancipation From American Christianity, John Pavlovitz

    I used to think that it was just me, that it was my problem, my deficiency, my moral defect.

    It had to be.

    All those times when I felt like an outsider in this American Jesus thing; the ever-more frequent moments when my throat constricted and my heart raced and my stomach turned.

    Maybe it came in the middle of a crowded worship service or during a small group conversation. Maybe while watching the news or when scanning a blog post, or while resting in a silent, solitary moment of prayer. Maybe it was all of these times and more, when something rose up from the deepest places within me and shouted, “I can’t do this anymore! I can’t be part of this!”

    These moments once overwhelmed me with panic and filled me with guilt, but lately I am stepping mercifully clear of such things. What I’ve come to realize is that it certainly is me, but not in the way I used to believe.

    I am not losing my mind.
    I’m not losing my faith.
    I’m not failing or falling or backsliding.
    I have simply outgrown much of American Christianity.

    I’ve outgrown the furrowed-browed warnings of a sky that is perpetually falling.
    I’ve outgrown the snarling brimstone preaching that brokers in damnation.
    I’ve outgrown the vile war rhetoric that continually demands an encroaching enemy.
    I’ve outgrown the expectation that my faith is the sole property of a political party.
    I’ve outgrown violent bigotry and xenophobia disguised as Biblical obedience.
    I’ve outgrown God wrapped in a flag and soaked in rabid nationalism.
    I’ve outgrown the incessant attacks on the Gay, Muslim, and Atheist communities.
    I’ve outgrown theology as a hammer always looking for a nail.
    I’ve outgrown the cramped, creaky, rusting box that God never belonged in anyway.

    Most of all though, I’ve outgrown something that simply no longer feels like love, something I no longer see much of Jesus in.

    If religion it is to be worth holding on to, it should be the place where the marginalized feel the most visible, where the hurting receive the most tender care, where the outsiders find the safest refuge.

    It should be the place where diversity is fiercely pursued and equality loudly championed; where all of humanity finds a permanent home and where justice runs the show.

    That is not what this thing is. This is FoxNews and red cup protests and persecution complexes. It’s opulent, big box megachurches and coddled, untouchable celebrity pastors. It’s pop culture boycotts and manufactured outrage. It’s just wars and justified shootings. It’s all manner of bullying and intolerance in the name of Jesus.

    Feeling estrangement from these things is a good thing.

    For the past two decades I’ve lived within the tension of trying to be in the thing and not be altered by the thing, but that tension has become too great. Ultimately it’s a spiritual compatibility issue.

    It’s getting harder and harder to love all people and still fit into what has become American Christianity, so rather than becoming less loving and staying—I’m leaving.

    I’m breaking free from religion for the sake of my soul.

    I’m not sure practically what that looks like, but I can feel myself consciously and forcefully pulling away; creating distance between me and a system that can no longer accommodate the scale of my God and the scope of my aspirations.

    Jesus said that the Spirit moves where it pleases, and with it go those in its glorious grip. In my heart and in the hearts of so many like me, that Spirit is boldly declaring its emancipation from the small, heavily guarded space that wants to contain it, and taking us out into the wide, breathtaking expanses of unfettered faith.

    Every day people tell me that this great releasing is happening within them too; that they are finding freedom beyond the building and the box, and rediscovering a God right sized.

    I am a Christian and an American, but I refuse to settle for this American Christianity any longer or be defined by it.

    I know that there is something much greater beyond it worth heading toward; something that looks more like God and feels more like love.

    Maybe you see it in the distance too. Maybe we can go there together.

    Fear is in the rear view, freedom in the windshield.

  7. Coach Steve Kerr on Leadership

    The most important thing in being a leader — as a parent, a teacher, a coach — is dignity for the position you are in, empathy for others. You're trying to help people. And it feels like we're in a tie where our leader is just ridiculing constantly — on Twitter whether it's making fun of a handicapped person, or tweeting about how horrible "Saturday Night Live" is, the failing New York times, casting the media as the opposition.
         This is not leadership. And I think people realise that it should not matter if you are a conservative or a liberal. It's about leadership, it's about compassion and dignity and character and treating people the right way. That's leadership. It's terrifying that we have someone in office who expouses none of that.
     

  8. If Being a Christian Means XYZ, then I am not a Christian
         by Kimberly Stover
    If being a Christian means I have to deny healthcare to another human being,
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to deny equality to the LGBT community
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to turn a blind eye to the suffering of refugees
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to accept building a wall separating me from another human, so I can be privileged, and they can suffer
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to deny scientific evidence of climate change, therefore contributing to the destruction of the earth, our home
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to desire more guns, lack of gun regulations, and believe the mentally impaired should be able to purchase guns,
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means that I have to support building an oil pipeline through sacred land of Native Americans, disrespecting them, their land, and the earth
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to deny another human’s entry into my country because they worship differently
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to deny women access to birth control, cancer screenings, and education regarding their bodies
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to call a woman a murderer for having an abortion resulting from rape, incest, fetal developmental abnormalities, or simply because she is in a bad situation
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to believe that God is going to destroy the earth and only save select Christians from that destruction after a rapture
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to accept that billions of earth’s species fit onto one boat
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to discredit evolution or science
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to deny suffering people the benefits of medical cannabis
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to pledge allegiance to a flag and nationalism, instead of Jesus and his teachings of love, equality, caring for the poor, and fighting for the least of these
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to deny human beings food because they are addicted to drugs
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to believe in the death penalty
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to believe that women should not be pastors, equal in their homes, or professionally, then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to believe that others will go to an eternal hell because they were born in a different culture and religion
         then I am not a Christian.
    If being a Christian means I have to openly accept things that Jesus vehemently spoke against
         then I am not a Christian.
  9. Carl Sagan's Ominous Prophecy
    Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.
  10. Galatians‬ ‭5:22‑24 ‭MSG‬‬
    But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard — things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way.
  11. Christmas Prayer (Robert Luis Stevenson)
    Loving Father,

    Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

    Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake, Amen!

  12. Revised Short Version of Wesley's Covenant Prayer
    I am not my own self-made, self-reliant human being.
    In truth, O God, I am Yours.
    Make me into what You will.
    Make me a neighbor with those whom You will.
    Guide me on the easy path for You.
    Guide me on the rocky road for You.
    Whether I am to step up for You or step aside for You;
    Whether I am to be lifted high for You or brought low for You;
    Whether I become full or empty, with all things or with nothing;
    I give all that I have and all that I am for You.
    So be it.
    And may I always remember that you, O God, and I belong to each other.
    Amen.
  13. Four Enemies of Spiritual Community:
     
    1. Self-Centeredness
    2. Self-Righteousness
    3. Self-Sufficiency
    4. Self-Esteen

     
  14. 18th century membership covenant in a Baptist Church

    We agree to walk in love toward those with whom we stand connected in the bonds of Christian fellowship. As to the effect of this, we will pray much for one another. As we have opportunity, we will associate together for religious purposes. Those of us who are in more comfortable situations in life than some of our other brethren, with regard to the good things of providence, will administer as we have ability and see occasion to their necessities. We will bear one another's burdens, sympathize with and encourage one another. We will watch over one another for good. We will studiously avoid giving or taking offenses; thus, we will make it our study to fulfill the law of Christ. These things and whatever else may appear enjoined by the Word of God, we promise, in the strength of divine grace, to observe and practice, but knowing our insufficiency for anything that is spiritually good in and of ourselves, we look up to Him who gives power to the faint, rejoicing that in the Lord we have not only righteousness, but strength. So, hold us up, Lord, and we shall be safe. Amen.

  15. Gratitude from a 90 Year Old Man

    You think this is just another day in your life? It's not just another day it's the one day that is given to you today. It's given to you. It's a gift. It's the only gift you have right now. The only appropriate response is gratefulness.

    If you do nothing else to cultivate that response to that great gift that each day is but to respond as if it were the first day of your life, and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.

    Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes to open to the incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment

    Look at the sky. We so rarely look at the sky; we so rarely look at how different it is, with clouds coming.

    Just think about the weather and the many nuances of weather — think of good weather and bad weather — think that this day is unique weather — maybe a kind that will never exactly in that form never come again. The formation of clouds in the sky will never be that same that it is right now. Open your eyes; look at that.

    Look at the faces of the people you meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face — a story you could never fully fathom. Not only their story, but the story of their ancestors. We all go back so far and in this present moment on this present day, all the people you meet all that life from so many generations from all over the world froze together like life-giving water, if you will only drink

    Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us. You flip a switch and there is light. You turn a handle and there is water, and warm and cold water and drinkable water — a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience.

    These are just a few of an enormous number of gifts to which we can open our heart.

    I wish that you would open your heart to all these blessings let them flow through you that everyone you will meet will be blessed by you.

    Then it will be a very good day

  16. Death Is Nothing At All (Henry Scott Holland)

    Death is nothing at all.
    I have only slipped away to the next room.
    I am I and you are you.
    Whatever we were to each other,
    That, we still are.

    Call me by my old familiar name.
    Speak to me in the easy way
    which you always used.
    Put no difference into your tone.
    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

    Laugh as we always laughed
    at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
    Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
    Let my name be ever the household word
    that it always was.
    Let it be spoken without effect.
    Without the trace of a shadow on it.

    Life means all that it ever meant.
    It is the same that it ever was.
    There is absolute unbroken continuity.
    Why should I be out of mind
    because I am out of sight?

    I am but waiting for you.
    For an interval.
    Somewhere. Very near.
    Just around the corner.

    All is well.

  17. Strategies for Conversing With Someone Who Has Irrational Ideas
     
    1. Be a good listener and make a connection
      People tend to adopt beliefs associated with their cultural groups. So look for common ground.
      Do not lecture. Nobody wants to hear that.
      Don't rise above them; approach them at their level.
    2. Figure out where they're coming from and devise a frame that speaks to that
      Whenever possible, present your argument in a way that fits, rather than challenges, the other person's self-identity.
    3. Affirm their self-worth before knocking down their erroneous beliefs.
    4. Focus on the facts, not the misconceptions.
    5. Ask the person to explain what they know.
    6. Engage in person, not in writing: It's no secret that people can behave poorly online.
      If you want to have a real debate, go have a beer. Don't argue on Facebook.

     
  18. Irrational Ideas

       
    • The science is nitpicked to fan doubt.
      Rather than considering the totality of the evidence, unscientific arguments cherry-pick data, mischaracterize research methods or results, or even make outright false claims.
    • Scientists' motives and reasons are attacked.
      Instead of taking issue with the evidence itself, these types of arguments focus on the perceived implications.
    • Legitimate disagreements among scientists are amplified to dismiss the science.
      Critics often turn to personal attacks on scientists to cast doubt on their findings. Instead of criticizing the science itself, these lines of argument suppose that scientists have rigged their research to support the scientific consensus.
      They present gadflies or scientists whose views are out of step with the majority of the field as the most trustworthy experts on an issue, that's another red flag.
    • Appeals are made in the name of "fairness."
      People touting this argument say, "We should just teach kids both sides because there are exactly two sides, in equal proportions," even though there aren't.

     
  19. That Would Be Hell

    A man and his dog were walking along a road.

    The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

    After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

    When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

    "This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.

    "Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

    "Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."

    The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

    "Can...," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveller asked.

    "I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

    The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

    "Excuse me!" he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"

    "Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there. Come on in."

    "How about my friend here?" the traveller gestured to the dog.

    "There should be a bowl by the pump," said the man.

    They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveller filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself. Then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

    "What do you call this place?" the traveller asked.

    "This is Heaven," he answered.

    "Well, that's confusing," the traveller said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'"

    "Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell."

    "Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

    "No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."

  20. Nine Ways to Deform Your Soul (Marilyn Elliott)
     
    1. Blame everyone else for how your life is turning out.
    2. Choose to believe people do not like you.
    3. Get angry when your plans (even the little ones) get interrupted.
    4. Hold offenses close to your heart.
    5. Refuse to share or give generously.
    6. Be suspicious of people's motives, even if they are treating you well. After all, you never know.
    7. Keep an eye out for signs that the people around you have more advantages than you.
    8. Get mad at God when bad things happen to you.
       
      (My own contribution)
       
    9. Imagine that your feeling of road rage is ever justified.

     
  21. Think About It

    Listen to any 16 year-old kid with his first job, going on and on about how the boss is screwing him and the government is screwing him even more ("What's FICA?!?!" he screams as he looks at his first paycheck).

    Then watch that same kid at work, as he drops a hamburger patty on the floor, picks it up, and slaps in on a bun and serves it to a customer.

    In that one dropped burger he has everything he needs to understand those black-hearted politicians and corporate bosses. They see him in the exact same way he sees the customers lined up at the burger counter. Which is, just barely....

    The kid will protest that he shouldn't have to care for the customers for minimum wage, but the truth is if a man doesn't feel sympathy for his fellow man at $6.00 an hour, he won't feel anything more at $600,000 a year.

    Or, to look at it the other way, if we're allowed to be indifferent and even resentful to the masses for $6.00 an hour, just think of how angry the some Pakistani man is allowed to be when he's making the equivalent of six dollars a week.

    We bitch out loud about our soul-sucking job as an anonymous face on an assembly line, while at the exact same time riding in a car that only an assembly line could have produced. It's a constant contradiction that has left us pissed off and joining informal wrestling clubs in basements.

    This is why I think it was with a great burden of sadness that Darwin turned to his assistant and lamented, "Jeje, we're the monkeys." (David Wong)

  22. Importance of the Right Life Narrative

    For a study, led by a psychologist at the Olin College of Engineering, in Needham, Mass., researchers asked 89 adults in their mid-to-late 50s to tell their life stories, which were recorded and transcribed. The researchers chose this age group because it is a period in life when people often start to physically decline.

    They assessed each person's physical and mental health in the beginning of the study and followed the participants for four years, evaluating their health again annually.

    The researchers then counted how often four major themes appeared in people's stories:

    • Agency — Did the subjects feel able to influence and respond to events in life, or did they feel battered around by the whims of external forces?
    • Communion — Are the people connected to others or disconnected?
    • Redemption — Did the subjects take a negative experience and find some positive outcome?
    • Contamination — Did they tell narratives of good things turning bad?

    The researchers found that when people displayed higher levels of agency, communion and redemption and lower levels of contamination, their mental health improved. They consider good mental health to be low levels of depression and high levels of life satisfaction and psychological and social well-being.

    People whose personal narratives — the stories they told themselves — contained more agency, communion and redemption, and less contamination, saw their mental health improve, even after getting a serious illness.

    "You can't impact every event of your life," says Jonathan Adler, lead researcher on the study and an assistant professor of psychology at Olin. "But you have a choice in how the narrative plays out. You tell the story and the story really matters."

  23. A quiet conscience makes one strong! (Anne Frank)

    People who have a religion should be glad, for not everyone has the gift of believing in heavenly things.... It isn't the fear of God but the upholding of one's own honor and conscience. How noble and good everyone could be if... you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day; of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time. Anyone can do this, it costs nothing and is certainly very helpful. Whoever doesn't know it must learn and find by experience that: 'A quiet conscience makes one strong!'

  24. How To Face Death: An Illustration

    A tiger is chasing a Zen monk. He scrambles down a vine hanging from the sheer edge of a high cliff. The tiger lies down at the top, waiting for him to climb up, when a mouse in between them begins to chew through the vine, so that the monk is condemned to either plunge to his death or be killed by a tiger. As he hangs there, he notices ripe strawberries on a plant coming out of the face of the cliff. He picks one, savoring its luscious taste.

    He was in that state of oneness, but if there had been any alternative, he'd have pursued it enthusiastically. He was one with the universe, and didn't resist being an actor in it, as one expression of God.

  25. How To Handle A Mugging

    A very drunk man gets on the subway car and angrily waves a knife at the passengers, intending to hurt somebody for no obvious reason. The old man maintains his godly self and says to the drunk in a friendly voice, "Hey, do you like sake?" Virtually ignoring him, the drunk man grunts, and the old man begins to talk about his own love of sake. Pretty soon the two are conversing. The drunk puts his knife away and sits next to the old man to chat. He is charmed by the genuine love and serenity of the old man, and the feeling of connection.

  26. Thirteen Things Mentally Strong People Avoid
     
    1. Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves.
      You don't see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they've been mistreated.
    2. Give Away Their Power.
      Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad.
    3. Shy Away from Change.
    4. Waste Energy on Things They Can't Control.
      Mentally strong people don't complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control
    5. Worry About Pleasing Others.
    6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks.
    7. Dwell on the Past.
    8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over.
    9. Resent Other People's Success.
    10. Give Up After Failure.
    11. Fear Alone Time.
    12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything.
    13. Expect Immediate Results.

     
  27. Ten Ways of Loving (from the Bible)
     
    1. Listen without Interrupting (Prov. 1:8)
    2. Speak without Accusing (James 1:19)
    3. Give without Sparing (Prov. 21:26)
    4. Pray without Ceasing (Col. 1:9)
    5. Answer without Arguing (Prov. 17:1)
    6. Share without Pretending (Eph. 4:15)
    7. Enjoy without Complaining (Phil. 2:14-17)
    8. Trust without Wavering (1 Cor. 13:7)
    9. Forgive without Punishing (Col. 3:13)
    10. Promise without Forgetting (Prov. 13:12)

     
  28. Ten Little Habits that Will Secure Your Happiness
     
    1. Compose your life into a narrative of hopefulness and love.
    2. Embrace every moment as an opportunity for either gratitude or discovery (or both).
    3. Find in your work opportunities for being good for others, good for the planet, or simply good for goodness' sake.
    4. Fill your heart with feelings of love, compassion, kindness, and indomitable forgiveness.
    5. Sweep worries and fears from your heart with a continual flood of confidence in yourself, in the basic goodness of the people around you, and in the purpose for which you were created.
    6. Continually focus on the good things that come into your life. "Count your many blessings, name them one-by-one." Do it now! Do it often!
    7. Be content with what you have; embrace happiness independent of circumstances.
    8. Do your best and then let it go; do not assume responsibility for outcomes; understand that things work out they way they are supposed to.
    9. Forgive quickly. "Say to those that hate and curse you, 'You are our brothers and sisters.'" (Theophilus of Antioch)
    10. Determine to find beauty in those who surround you. Believe in your heart that "Everybody's beautiful in their own way" is more than mere sentiment.

     
  29. Grace, Hope, Charity (Ann Lamott)

    A gorgeous friend of mine has been joyously married for 50 years, to a man who was very sick the last two. They have many kids. (Sometimes my friend can't remember their exact order of birth, but she says, nonchalantly, "Oh, but I know all their names by heart."). Her husband died Wednesday, and I stopped by their house Thursday. All of their grown kids were there, and her husband's brothers, and some riff-raff (ie, me.) The house was filled with flowers, food, a few of us. My friend was in bed, receiving visitors, telling and hearing stories about her husband, laughing, tearing up, nibbling at honeydew melon. While bending in low to give her my biggest dancing bear hug, I caused someone else to spill their coffee all over her beautiful sheets. I was so mad at myself, but she cried out happily, "I hope it stains, so I can remember the beauty of this morning forever."

    And that is what we mean by grace, hope, charity.

  30. Marriage Advice I Wish I Would Have Had

    Obviously, I'm not a relationship expert. But there's something about my divorce being finalized this week that gives me perspective of things I wish I would have done different... After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here's the advice I wish I would have had...

    1. NEVER STOP DATING
      NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.
    2. PROTECT YOUR OWN HEART.
      Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.
    3. FALL IN LOVE OVER and OVER and OVER again.
      You will constantly change. You're not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don't take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else or seal you out completely, and you may never be able to get it back. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were courting her.
    4. ALWAYS SEE THE BEST in her.
      Focus only on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can't help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you know without a doubt that you are the luckiest man on earth to be have this woman as your wife.
    5. IT'S NOT YOUR JOB TO CHANGE OR FIX HER...
      Your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it's what you wanted or not.
    6. TAKE FULL ACCOUNTABILITY for your own emotions:
      It's not your wife's job to make you happy, and she CAN'T make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.
    7. NEVER BLAME your wife If YOU get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU. They are YOUR emotions, and your responsibility. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed. You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them... when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by her, and you will wonder why you ever were.
               Allow your woman to JUST BE. When she's sad or upset, it's not your job to fix it, it's your job to HOLD HER and let her know it's ok. Let her know that you hear her, and that she's important and that you are that pillar on which she can always lean. The feminine spirit is about change and emotion and like a storm her emotions will roll in and out, and as you remain strong and unjudging she will trust you and open her soul to you... DON'T RUN-AWAY WHEN SHE'S UPSET. Stand present and strong and let her know you aren't going anywhere. Listen to what she is really saying behind the words and emotion.
    8. BE SILLY...
      Don't take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.
    9. FILL HER SOUL EVERYDAY...
      Learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and validated and CHERISHED. Ask her to create a list of 10 THINGS that make her feel loved and memorize those things and make it a priority everyday to make her feel like a queen.
    10. BE PRESENT.
      Give her not only your time, but your focus, your attention and your soul. Do whatever it takes to clear your head so that when you are with her you are fully WITH HER. Treat her as you would your most valuable client. She is.
    11. BE WILLING TO TAKE HER SEXUALLY...
      To carry her away in the power of your masculine presence, to consume her and devour her with your strength, and to penetrate her to the deepest levels of her soul. Let her melt into her feminine softness as she knows she can trust you fully.
    12. DON'T BE AN IDIOT....
      And don't be afraid of being one either. You will make mistakes and so will she. Try not to make too big of mistakes, and learn from the ones you do make. You're not supposed to be perfect, just try to not be too stupid.
    13. GIVE HER SPACE...
      The woman is so good at giving and giving, and sometimes she will need to be reminded to take time to nurture herself. Sometimes she will need to fly from your branches to go and find what feeds her soul, and if you give her that space she will come back with new songs to sing.... (okay, getting a little too poetic here, but you get the point. Tell her to take time for herself, ESPECIALLY after you have kids. She needs that space to renew and get re-centered, and to find herself after she gets lost in serving you, the kids and the world.)
    14. BE VULNERABLE...
      You don't have to have it all together. Be willing to share your fears and feelings, and quick to acknowledge your mistakes.
    15. BE FULLY TRANSPARENT.
      If you want to have trust you must be willing to share EVERYTHING... Especially those things you don't want to share. It takes courage to fully love, to fully open your heart and let her in when you don't know i she will like what she finds... Part of that courage is allowing her to love you completely, your darkness as well as your light. DROP THE MASK... If you feel like you need to wear a mask around her, and show up perfect all the time, you will never experience the full dimension of what love can be.
    16. NEVER STOP GROWING TOGETHER...
      The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Atrophy is the natural process when you stop working a muscle, just as it is if you stop working on your relationship. Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.
    17. DON'T WORRY ABOUT MONEY.
      Money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it. It never helps when teammates fight. Figure out ways to leverage both persons strength to win.
    18. FORGIVE IMMEDIATELY
      And focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past. Don't let your history hold you hostage. Holding onto past mistakes that either you or she makes, is like a heavy anchor to your marriage and will hold you back. FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM. Cut the anchor loose and always choose love.
    19. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE.
      In the end, this is the only advice you need. If this is the guiding principle through which all your choices is governed, there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage. Love will always endure.

    Marriage isn't about Happily ever after. It's about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come.

    Marriage is life, and it will bring ups and downs. Embracing all of the cycles and learning to learn from and love each experience will bring the strength and perspective to keep building, one brick at a time.

    These are lessons I learned the hard way. These are lessons I learned too late.

    But these are lessons I am learning and committed in carrying forward. Truth is, I LOVED being married, and in time, I will get married again, and when I do, I will build it with a foundation that will endure any storm and any amount of time.

    If you are reading this and find wisdom in my pain, share it with young husbands whose hearts are still full of hope, and with those couples you may know who may have forgotten how to love. One of those men may be like I was, and in these hard earned lessons perhaps something will awaken in him and he will learn to be the man his lady has been waiting for.

    The woman that told him 'I do', and trusted her life with him, has been waiting for this man to step up.

    If you are reading this and your marriage isn't what you want it to be, take 100% responsibility for YOUR PART in marriage, regardless of where your spouse is at, and commit to applying these lessons while there is time.

    MEN- THIS IS YOUR CHARGE : Commit to being an EPIC LOVER. There is no greater challenge, and no greater prize. Your woman deserves that from you.

    Be the type of husband your wife can't help but brag about.

  31. Is There Life After Birth?

    In a mother's womb were two babies. One asked the other: "Do you believe in life after delivery?"

    The other replies, "Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.

    "Nonsense," says the other. "There is no life after delivery. What would that life be?"

    "I don't know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths."

    The other says "This is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eat with our mouths? Ridiculous. The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. Life after delivery is to be excluded. The umbilical cord is too short."

    "I think there is something and maybe it's different than it is here." the other replies,

    "No one has ever come back from there. Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery it is nothing but darkness and anxiety and it takes us nowhere."

    "Well, I don't know," says the other, "but certainly we will see mother and she will take care of us."

    "Mother??" You believe in mother? Where is she now?

    "She is all around us. It is in her that we live. Without her there would not be this world."

    "I don't see her, so it's only logical that she doesn't exist."

    To which the other replied, "sometimes when you're in silence you can hear her, you can perceive her."

    I believe there is a reality after delivery and we are here to prepare ourselves for that reality....

  32. Ten Things You Must Give Up to Move Forward

    If you want to fly and move on to better things, you have to give up the things that weigh you down – which is not always as obvious and easy as it sounds.

    Starting today, give up...

    1. Letting the opinions of others control your life.
      People know your name, not your story. They've heard what you've done, but not what you've been through. So take their opinions of you with a grain of salt. In the end, it's not what others think, it's what you think about yourself that counts. Sometimes you have to do exactly what's best for you and your life, not what's best for everyone else.
    2. The shame of past failures.
      You will fail sometimes, and that's okay. The faster you accept this, the faster you can get on with being brilliant. Your past does not equal your future. Just because you failed yesterday; or all day today; or a moment ago; or for the last six months; or for the last sixteen years, doesn't have any impact on the current moment. All that matters is what you do right now.
    3. Being indecisive about what you want.
      You will never leave where you are until you decide where you would rather be. It's all about finding and pursuing your passion. Neglecting passion blocks creative flow. When you're passionate, you're energized. Likewise, when you lack passion, your energy is low and unproductive. Energy is everything when it comes to being successful. Make a decision to figure out what you want, and then pursue it passionately.
    4. Procrastinating on the goals that matter to you.
      There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. Follow your intuition. Don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. When there is love and inspiration, you can't go wrong. And whatever it is you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows. Trust me, in a year from now, you will wish you had started today.
    5. Choosing to do nothing.
      You don't get to choose how you are going to die, or when. You can only decide how you are going to live, right now. Every day is a new chance to choose. Choose to change your perspective. Choose to flip the switch in your mind from negative to positive. Choose to turn on the light and stop fretting about with insecurity and doubt. Choose to do work that you are proud of. Choose to see the best in others, and to show your best to others. Choose to truly LIVE, right now.
    6. Your need to be right.
      If you keep on saying you're right, even if you are right now, eventually you will be wrong. Aim for success, but never give up your right to be wrong. Because when you do, you will also lose your ability to learn new things and move forward with your life.
    7. Running from problems that should be fixed.
      We make life harder than it has to be. The difficulties started when... conversations became texting, feelings became subliminal, sex became a game, the word 'love' fell out of context, trust faded as honesty waned, insecurities became a way of living, jealously became a habit, being hurt started to feel natural, and running away from it all became our solution. Stop running! Face these issues, fix the problems, communicate, appreciate, forgive and LOVE the people in your life who deserve it.
    8. Making excuses rather than decisions.
      Life is a continuous exercise in creative problem solving. A mistake doesn't become a failure until you refuse to correct it. Thus, most long-term failures are the outcome of people who make excuses instead of decisions.
    9. Overlooking the positive points in your life.
      What you see often depends entirely on what you're looking for. Do your best and surrender the rest. When you stay stuck in regret of the life you think you should have had, you end up missing the beauty of what you do have. You will have a hard time ever being happy if you aren't thankful for the good things in your life right now.
    10. Not appreciating the present moment.
      We do not remember days, we remember moments. Too often we try to accomplish something big without realizing that the greatest part of life is made up of the little things. Live authentically and cherish each precious moment of your journey. Because when you finally arrive at your desired destination, I guarantee you, another journey will begin.

     
  33. So What?

    I was hungry and you formed a humanities club and discussed my hunger.
    I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release.
    I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
    I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
    I was homeless and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
    I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me.

    You seem so close to God; but I am still very hungry, and lonely, and cold.

  34. The Truth

    Until one is committed
    There is hesitancy, the chance to draw back
    Always ineffectiveness.

    Concerning all acts of initiative (and Creation)
    There is one elementary truth
    The ignorance which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

    That the moment that one definitely commits ones self
    Then Providence moves too.

    All sorts of things occur to help one
    That Would never otherwise occurred.

    A whole stream of events issues from the decision
    Raising in one's favor all manner
    Of unforeseen incidents and meetings
    And material substance
    Which no one could have dreamt
    Would have come your way.

    Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it
    Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

  35. Letter To Heaven about a Dog

    Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

    Dear God,

    Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

    I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her. Love, Meredith

    We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

    Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope... On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey &Meredith and this note:

    Dear Meredith,

    Abbey arrived safely in heaven.

    Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.

    Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

    Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

    I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.

    By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.

    Love, God

  36. Seven Things Christians Need to Remember About Politics
    By Bryan Roberts

    Political discourse is the Las Vegas of Christianity — the environment in which our sin is excused. Hate is winked at, fear is perpetuated and strife is applauded. Go wild, Christ-follower. Your words have no consequences here. Jesus doesn't live in Vegas.

    Not only are believers excused for their political indiscretions, but they are often applauded for committing them. Slander is explained away as righteous anger; winning arguments are esteemed higher than truthful ones (whether or not the "facts" align); and those who stir up dissension are given the pulpit. So I balk when pastors tell me the Church should engage in the political process. Why would we do that? The political process is dirty and broken and far from Jesus. Paranoia and vitriol are hardly attractive accessories for the bride of Christ.

    Rather than engage in the political process, Christians have a duty to elevate it. Like any other sin, we are called to stand above the partisan dissension and demonstrate a better way. Should we have an opinion? Yes. Should we care about our country? Yes. Should we vote? Yes. But it's time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.

    Here are seven things to remember about politics:

    1. Both political parties go to church.

      There's a Christian Left and, perhaps even less well-known, there's a secular Right. Edwina Rogers is a Republican lobbyist and head of the Secular Coalition for America. She's a Republican, and her entire job is devoted to keeping religion out of the U.S. government. Party lines are drawn in chalk, and they're not hard to cross. The Church must be engaged in politics, but it must not be defined by the arbitrary lines in politics.

    2. Political talk radio and cable "news" only want ratings.

      When media personalities tell you they are on a moral crusade, they are lying to you. These personalities get rich by instilling fear and paranoia in their listeners. If we give our favorite political ideologues more time than we give Jesus, we are following the wrong master. There are unbiased, logical and accurate news sources out there. But it's up to you to be a good steward of information—to fact-check for yourself, take ideology with a grain of salt and make decisions based on facts rather than gossip.

    3. Those who argue over politics don't love their country more than others.

      They just love to argue more than others. Strife and quarreling are symptoms of weak faith (Proverbs 10:12; 2 Timothy 2:23-25; James 4:1) and are among the things the Lord "detests." We need to rise above the vitriol and learn to love our neighbors the way God commanded us. We need to love our atheist neighbor who wants to keep creationism out of schools; our Democrat neighbor who wants to make gay marriage and abortion legal; our Republican neighbor who celebrates death penalty statistics; and yes, even the presidential candidate from the other side.

    4. Thinking your party's platform is unflawed is a mistake.

      The social policies of your party were constructed by imperfect politicians fueled by ambition. It's nearsighted to canonize them—and it will make you obsolete in a few years. Every four years, the parties adopt a current, updated platform at their respective conventions. And while they stay on general tracks, every four years the platform evolves to meet the needs of a growing, modernized and changing party.

      The Republican party of today doesn't look like it did 10 years ago. We need to know when to change our views to meet a changing culture—and when to stand by them.

      Scripture tells us to pray for our governing leaders (2 Timothy 2:1-4) and to respect those in authority (Romans 13:1-7).

      Translation: if you're mocking your governing leaders on Facebook, the Holy Spirit is grieved. We should spend more time honoring our leaders and less time vilifying them. This doesn't mean praying the President will be impeached; it doesn't mean praying your candidate will win. God commands us to pray for our leaders—for their wisdom, for their hearts and for them to be led by Him.

    5. Don't be paranoid.

      The country is not going to be destroyed if your candidate loses. As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." Stand up and demonstrate what God has given you. America has functioned—albeit, at varying levels of success—for years under the direction of alternating Democrat and Republican control, and at every flip, the other side thought it was the end of the world. It's not. And if we're a Church that believes God is in control, we have to believe that He is the one in control of the end times—not Barack Obama, not Mitt Romney and not whoever succeeds them.

    6. Stop saying, "This is the most important election in the history of our nation."

      It's not. The most important election in the history of our nation was when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Before that, we thought it was okay to own people. Every generation thinks it's living in the most important moment in history. We're not, our parents were not and our children probably won't be. And that's OK.

  37. Love Is Trust; Trust Is Life

         A plane suddenly began to lose altitude. Everyone started shouting in fear, but a small boy kept on playing with his toy.
         After some time the plane landed safely. A person asked the boy, "How could you play with your toy when everyone was afraid?"
         The boy smiled and said, "My dad is the pilot. I knew he would land me safely."

  38. We need to teach our daughters to distinguish between:

    A man who flatters her
         and a man who compliments her
    A man who spends money on her
         and a man who invests in her
    A man who views her as property
         and a man who views her properly
    A man who lusts after her
         and a man who loves her
    A man who believes he's a gift to women
         and a man who believes she's a gift to him

    And then we need to teach our sons to be that kind of man

  39. 12 Symptoms of Spiritual Awaking
     
    1. An increased tendency to let things happen rather than to make them happen.
    2. Frequent attacks of smiling.
    3. Feelings of being connected with others and with nature.
    4. Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
    5. A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears based on past experience.
    6. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
    7. A loss of ability to worry.
    8. A loss of interest in conflict.
    9. A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
    10. A loss of interest in judging others.
    11. A loss of interest in judging self.
    12. Gaining the ability to love without expecting anything.
       
  40. IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER — by Erma Bombeck (written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

         I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
         I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
         I would have talked less and listened more.
         I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
         I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
         I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
         I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
         I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
         I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
         I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
         I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
         Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
         When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later.. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you's, more 'I'm sorry's.'
         But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute; look at it and really see it; live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!
         Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what. Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.

  41. Thoreau's Conclusion to Walden

    I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

  42. Benjamin Franklin's Speech to Continental Congress

    Mr. President:

    I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them; for having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.

    Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far error. Steele a Protestant in a Dedication tells the Pope, that the only difference between our Churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines is, the Church of Rome is infallible and the Church of England is never in the wrong. But though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their sect, few express it so naturally as a certain French lady, who in a dispute with her sister, said "I don't know how it happens, Sister, but I meet with no body but myself, that's always in the right."

    In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.

    I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another's throats.

    Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good. I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these walls they were born, and here they shall die. If every one of us in returning to our Constituents were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavor to gain partisans in support of them, we might prevent its being generally received, and thereby lose all the salutary effects and great advantages resulting naturally in our favor among foreign Nations as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity.

    Much of the strength and efficiency of any Government in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends, on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of the Government, as well as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its Governors. I hope therefore that for our own sakes as a part of the people, and for the sake of posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution (if approved by Congress and confirmed by the Conventions) wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts and endeavors to the means of having it well administered.

    On the whole, Sir, I can not help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.

  43. Ghandi's Seven Dangers to Human Virtue
     
    1. Wealth Without Work
    2. Pleasure Without Conscience
    3. Knowledge Without Character
    4. Business Without Ethics
    5. Science Without Humanity
    6. Religion Without Sacrifice
    7. Politics Without Principle

     
  44. Growing Up Absurd (John Taylor Gatto)

    Thirty years ago Paul Goodman noted that we force children to grow up absurd....

    It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety, indeed it cuts you off from your own part and future, scaling you to a continuous present much the same way television does.

    It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to listen to a stranger reading poetry when you want to learn to construct buildings, or to sit with a stranger discussing the construction of buildings when you want to read poetry.

    It is absurd and anti-life to move from cell to cell at the sound of a gong for every day of your natural youth in an institution that allows you no privacy and even follows you into the sanctuary of your home demanding that you do its "homework."

  45. Changeless Worth

    A well-known speaker started off his seminar holding up a $20.00 bill and asked the audience, "Who would like this $20 bill?" Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.

    He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill. He then asked, "Who still wants it...?" Still the hands were up in the air. Well, he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now, who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air.

    "My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE.

    "You are special — Don't EVER forget it."

    Count your blessings, not your problems. And remember: amateurs built the ark ... professionals built the Titanic. If God brings you to it — God will bring you through it

  46. The Wisdom Of Viktor Fankl

    A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way — an honorable way — in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory...."
     

  47. A Choir is a Beautiful Thing

    Every time, it's a miracle. Here are all of these people, full of heartache or hatred or desire, and we all have our troubles and the school year is filled with vulgarity and triviality and consequence, and there are all these teachers and kids of every shape and size, and there's this life we're struggling through full of shouting and tears and laughter and fights and break-ups and dashed hopes and unexpected luck — it all disappears, just like that, when the choir begins to sing.

    Everyday life vanishes into song, you are suddenly overcome with a feeling of brotherhood, of deep solidarity, even love, and it diffuses the ugliness of everyday life into a spirit of perfect communion. Even the singers' faces are transformed: it's no longer Achille Grand-Fernet that I'm looking at (he is a very fine tenor), or Deborah Lemeur or Segolene Rachet or Charles Saint-Sauveur. I see human beings, surrendering to music. Every time, it's the same thing. I feel like crying, my throat goes all tight and I do the best I can to control myself but sometimes it gets close: I can hardly keep myself from sobbing.

    So when they sing a canon I look down at the ground because it's just too much emotion at once: it's too beautiful, and everyone singing together, this marvelous sharing. I'm no longer myself, I am just one part of a sublime whole, to which the others also belong, and I always wonder at such moments why this cannot be the rule of everyday life, instead of being an exceptional moment, during a choir.

    When the music stops, everyone applauds, their faces all lit up, the choir radiant. It is so beautiful. In the end, I wonder if the true movement of the world might not be a voice raised in song.

  48. Enormously Insignificant

    You are 1 person out of 7 billion people
    On 1 planet out of 8 planets
    In 1 star system out of 100 billion star systems
    In 1 galaxy out of 100 billion galaxies
    So you are enormously insignificant
     

  49. ...on the other hand....

    Out of 100 billion galaxies
    existing in 100 billion star systems
    out of 7 billion people
    you have your own unique genetic makeup
    your thumbprint is yours alone
    you can create art
    and write a song
    and are depended upon by others that love you
    you are enormously significant.

  50. Loving Gays

    Beautiful gay men and beautiful gay women called in and talked to me who were thinking about suicide and do you know where the majority of those calls came? The Bible belt.
         It breaks my heart. I tried really hard to live a life of attraction and not promotion, but I think a lot about that young gay man, that young gay woman perhaps in our Hinterland [venue in Atlanta, Georgia], lying in bed, staring at the ceiling awash with feelings of shame and fear and self-loathing and wondering, like so many of us wondered — if there's a God who loves queers.
         I want that young gay man, that young gay woman to know that there's a God that loves me unconditionally.
         I want that young gay man, that young gay woman to know that I have a God who looks down with fatherly pride upon his handiwork and He rejoices that I am who I am and what I am.
         I want that young gay man, that young gay woman to know our history, I want them to know about our struggle, how many we buried, I want them to know how hard we worked to earn the right just to walk down the street to hold hands with someone that we love." (Leslie Jordan)

  51. Tennessee Football

    This is a statement that was read over the PA system at the football game at Roane County High School , Kingston , Tennessee by school Principal, Jody McLeod:

    It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games, to say a prayer and play the National Anthem, to honor God and Country.

    Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a Prayer is a violation of Federal Case Law. As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it "an alternate life style," and if someone is offended, that's OK.

    I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity, by dispensing condoms and calling it, "safe sex." If someone is offended, that's OK.

    I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a "viable! Means of birth control." If someone is offended, no problem...

    I can designate a school day as "Earth Day" and involve students in activities to worship religiously and praise the goddess "Mother Earth" and call it "ecology.."

    I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that depicts people with strong, traditional Christian convictions as "simple minded" and "ignorant" and call it "enlightenment.."

    However, if anyone uses this facility to honor GOD and to ask HIM to Bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, then Federal Case Law is violated.

    This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical. Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone, except GOD and HIS Commandments.

    Nevertheless , as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules with which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical. I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression.

    For this reason, I shall "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," and refrain from praying at this time.

    However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank GOD and ask HIM,in the name of JESUS, to Bless this event, please feel free to do so.. As far as I know, that's not against the law----yet.

    One by one, the people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with one another and began to pray.

    They prayed in the stands. They prayed in the team huddles. They prayed at the concession stand and they prayed in the Announcer's Box!

    The only place they didn't pray was in the Supreme Court of the United States of America — the Seat of "Justice" in the "one nation, under GOD."

    Somehow, Kingston, Tennessee Remembered what so many have forgotten. We are given the Freedom OF Religion, not the Freedom FROM Religion. Praise GOD that HIS remnant remains!

  52. Have A Good Day
    Louie Schwartzberg

    It's not just another day, it is the one day that is given to you today. It's given to you; it's a gift. It is the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is.... If you learn to respond as if this day were the first day in your life and the very last day, you will have spent this day very well.

    And in this present moment, on this day, all the people you meet — all that life from generation to generation and from so many places all over the world — flows together and meets you here like life-giving water if you will only open your heart and drink.

    Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us. You flip a switch and there is electric light. You turn a faucet and their is warm water and cold water. And drinkable water! It's a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience.

    I wish you that you would open your heart to all these blessings and let them flow through you — that everyone you meet on this day will be blessed by you — just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch. Just by your presence.

    Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then it will really be a good day.
     

  53. Prayer Of Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fenelon

    Lord, I don't know what I should ask of you. You alone know what I need. You love me better than I know how to love myself. O Father! Give to your child that which I don't know I need to ask. I am not so bold as to ask either for crosses or for comforts. I simply present myself to you. I open my heart to you. See the needs of which I am unaware, and in your mercy do for me all that I need. Wound me or heal me. Bring me low or lift me up. I love your purposes even when I don't understand them. I quiet myself. I sacrifice myself. I yield myself. I have no desire other than to accomplish your purpose. Teach me to pray. Pray yourself in me.
     

  54. Mental Feng Shui
     
    • Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
    • Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
    • Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
    • When you say, 'I love you,' mean it.
    • When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye.
    • Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.
    • Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.
    • In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
    • Don't judge people by their relatives.
    • Talk slowly but think quickly.
    • When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'
    • Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
    • When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
    • Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
    • Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
    • When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
    • Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

     
  55. God's cake

    Sometimes we wonder, "What did I do to deserve this?" or "Why did God have to do this to me?" Here is a wonderful explanation!

    A daughter is telling her Mother how everything Is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend Broke up with her and her best friend is moving away. Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the Daughter says, "Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."

    "Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother offers.

    "Yuck" says her daughter.

    "How about a couple raw eggs?"

    "Gross, Mom!"

    "Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?"

    "Mom, those are all yucky!"

    To which the mother replies, "Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves, but when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!"

    God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult Times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just Have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all Make something wonderful! God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.

    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are Here we might as well dance!

  56. A Dog's Purpose According To A 6 Year Old

    Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

    I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

    As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

    The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

    The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

    Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

    Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?"

    The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

  57. Lincoln and Stanton

    when Abraham Lincoln was running for president of the United States, there was a man who ran all around the country talking about him. He said a lot of bad things about Lincoln, a lot of unkind things. And sometimes he would get to the point that he would even talk about his looks, saying, "You don't want a tall, lanky, ignorant man like this as the president of the United States." He went on and on and on and went around with that type of attitude and wrote about it.

    Finally, one day Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. And came to the point of having to choose a Secretary of War. He looked across the nation, and decided to choose a man by the name of Mr. Stanton.

    His advisors and mentioned this fact, they said to him: "Mr. Lincoln, are you a fool? Do you know what Mr. Stanton has been saying about you? Do you know what he has done, tried to do to you? Do you know that he has tried to defeat you on every hand? Did you read all of those derogatory statements that he made about you?"

    Abraham Lincoln said: "Oh yes, I know about it; I read about it; I've heard him myself. But after looking over the country, I find that he is the best man for the job."

  58. We're not wanting to be insensitive to what so many of you are feeling,

    ...but we are very much wanting you to put this death thing in the proper perspective: You are all going to die! Except there is no death. You're all going to make your transition into Non-Physical. It is time to stop making your transition into Non-Physical sound like a subject that is uncomfortable, and begin acknowledging that it is something that happens to everyone. This death thing is so misunderstood that you use it to torture yourself never-endingly and just absolutely unnecessarily. There are those who feel such fulfillment of life and such Connection to Source Energy, who understand that there is no separation between what is physical and Non-Physical; who understand that there is not even a lapse in consciousness, that "death" is a matter of closing one's eyes in this dimension and literally opening one's eyes in the other dimension. And that, truly, is how all death is, no matter how it looks, up to that point. (Esther Hicks)

  59. The Skill of Happiness (Wisdom from Matthew Ricard, The Happiness Guru)

    While often people think of happiness as the absence of conflict, it's actually a cluster of qualities: altruism, compassion, inner peace, inner freedom, and inner strength. And it can be cultivated. It is not different from any skill. Instead of going to a gymnasium for fitness, you go to a compassion gymnasium, which is sitting in the morning and for twenty minutes, bringing love and kindness to your mind.

    When you meet someone, have an open attitude — an a priori trusting. If you smile, smile — but you don't have to smile like you're crazy. If you value others, you are concerned with their happiness and suffering. That doesn't mean you're weak.

    I don't feel irritation. Irritation has to do with a self-centered attitude: "This bugs me!" Or "I can't stand that!" It's not like indignation, which is a noble form of anger. It says, "This is not acceptable that there is a massacre, that there is an injustice." It comes from compassion that there is something here that has caused a lot of suffering and should be remedied. But irritation is basically when you're not in control of your mind.

  60. Today is a Beautiful Day. . . .

    A blind boy sat beside the path with a begging dish. He had a sign which said: "I am blind, please help." There were a few coins in his dish. A man came by and dropped a coin into the dish. He... A blind boy sat beside the path with a begging dish. He had a sign which said: "I am blind, please help." There were a few coins in his dish.

    A man came by and dropped a coin into the dish. He then stopped, took the sign and wrote on the back of it. He put the sign back so that everyone who came by would see the new words.

    Soon the dish began to fill up. More people were giving money to the blind boy. Later the man returned to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign? What did you write?"

    The man said, " I wrote what you said, but in a different way." I wrote: "Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it."

  61. Saint Theresa's Prayer

    May today there be peace within.
    May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
    May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
    May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
    May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
    Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us..

  62. Buddha Limitation

    When we come to the rule of life, the Aryan Path, by which we are to escape from the threefold base cravings that dishonour human life, then the teaching (of Buddha) is not so clear. It is not so clear that for one very manifest reason: Gautama had no knowledge nor vision of history; he had no clear scope of the vast and many-sided adventure of life opening out in space and time. His mind was confined within the ideas of his age and people, and their minds were shaped into notions of perpetual recurrence, of would following world and of Buddha following Buddha, a stagnant circling of the universe. The idea of mankind as a great Brotherhood pursuing an endless destiny under the God of Righteousness, the idea that was already dawning upon the Semitic consciousness in Babylon at this time, did not exist in his world. Yet his approval of the Eightfold Path is, nevertheless, within these limitations, profoundly wise. (H.G. Wells)

  63. The Expiration Date

    Humans have the ability to project themselves forward or backward in time. This is an illusion, but because of the concept of linear time, we need to use this terminology. Linear time is a construct of the mind and only that. Everything is contained in the NOW and things we assume will happen in the future are happening now and have already occurred, all in the same moment, which oddly enough, doesn't exist anyway.

    Particles (matter) and events cannot be restricted to a point in space, or time for that matter. They appear in a wave...of potentiality. Due to the fact that we have inactive portions of the human brain and DNA sequencing, we are unable to understand this.

    Example: If you experience a painful breakup, simply project yourself (your thoughts, feelings, energy) back to the moment before you met this person. There was a point when that person did not exist in your field of vision. That feeling of peace and lightness can easily be regained, but we have to trick the mind to do it.

    Example: If you are in the process of moving and don't know how you will get it all done, simply project to the point when it is complete. Visualize yourself relaxing, with everything put away, enjoying a glass of wine on your deck. And feel that in your body. Our construct of time then appears to move faster.

    Example: The Earth begins to transform, land shifts, weather patterns change, and it feels frightening. Project yourself to the point immediately after consciousness shifts and the ascension is complete and feel what happens! There is peace and delight there because it is NOW.

    This is why meditation works. Our mind is the projector and when we switch it off and allow our feelings to propel us anywhere we choose to go, we are there. The mind is the hardware, albeit outdated, and the heart, where feelings reside, is the new software.

    The more we do this, the more our mind will short circuit, and as it does, we will begin to awaken those dormant DNA strands and use all of the parts of our human brain...the parts that can see and feel the Divine. All moments are choices, hence the true meaning of the gracious gift of free will. Make yours NOW, in this moment, as the rest is just an illusion.

    (Posted by Robyn Justo)

  64. The Song of the Birds

    The owner of a small business, a friend of the poet Olavo Bilac, met him on the street and asked him, "Mr. Bilac, I need to sell my small farm; the one you know so well. Could you please write an Announcement for me for the paper?"

    Bilac wrote:

    "For sale, a beautiful property, where birds sing at Dawn in extensive woodland, bisected by the brilliant and sparkling waters of a large stream.
    The house is bathed by the rising sun.
    It offers tranquil shade In the evenings on The veranda."

    Some time later, the poet met his friend and asked whether he had sold the property.

    To which he replied: "I've changed my mind. When I read what you had written, I realized the treasure that was mine."
     

  65. Carl Jung Speaks About Death

    The video, Carl Jung speaks about Death, was one of the most well-spoken observations about the subject I ever heard. I thought the main part was interesting but the end was profound beyond religious conviction or philosophical opinion. We should do what we can to make this video go viral.
    I thought at the end he supplied more caveats than was necessary to the point he was making. One of the compelling things about the piece, I think, is the fact that it is coming from a guy who was, after all, a careful scientist.
    My wife, Rae, noted that he was saying what we have known ourselves. Then she wondered if we all learned it from him. I think we learn things like this from religion — I certainly did from Christianity. But his words carry the weight of all profound truth that when you hear it you feel like you always knew it was true. The truth comes more like a reminder than a revelation.

  66. The Uncomplicated Relationship (W. Glyn Evans)

    Lord, I have often been guilty of "fussiness" in my relationship to You. I have not been "like a weaned child (who) rests against his mother" (Psalm 131:2) with You. I have fretted because I didn't...Lord, I have often been guilty of "fussiness" in my relationship to You. I have not been "like a weaned child (who) rests against his mother" (Psalm 131:2) with You. I have fretted because I didn't have my daily devotional instead of being content with being devoted. I have worried because I have not prayed enough instead of making my life itself a prayer. Too often my deep inward relationship to You is disturbed because I feel I must constantly prove myself to You. . . .

    Lord, if I am fussy with You, how fussy I will be toward others! My holiness will become prickliness, and others will avoid me like a plague. If my spirituality offends others, it is a sign that I am too self-conscious of it. I should be the last person in the world to know that I am a blessing to others. I must be as Moses, who "did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with (God)" (Exodus 34:29). Give me that holy indifference to the effects of godliness, which is in itself godliness.

    Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me" (Psalm 131:2)

  67. Why Didn't I Think of That?

    He sends her roses and lines he composes\
         things a lady loves.
    Well he's there to hold her
         when she needs a shoulder
         if life gets too rough
    Oh now that she's left
         I keep kicking myself whenever
         I start thinking back
    He says he needs her,
         Tells her he loves her,
         Why didn't I think of that?

    When she gets down
         Well he's always around her,
         He makes her smile again.
    He mends her heartaches,
         Remembers her birthday,
         And tries to be a friend.
    Now that she's gone
         I know what I did wrong,
         It's all so simple in fact.
    Well he says he wants her,
         Can't live without her,
    Why didn't I think of that?

    He sings her love songs
         And tells her his love's strong
         Things she needs to know
    He tries to please her,
         He calls for no reason,
         Just to say hello
    He says he loves her
         And he'll never leave her
         And I never will get her back
    I did my best,
         Thought of everything eles,
         Why didn't I think of that?

    (chorus)
    I've been watching
         Every move that he makes
    I've been thinking,
         It could have been different somehow
         If i'd know what I know now.

    He sends her roses
         And lines he composes
         Things a lady loves.
    Well he's there to hold her
         When she needs a shoulder
         If life gets too rough
    Oh now that she's left
         I keep kicking myself whenever
         I start thinking back
    He says he needs her,
         Tells her he loves her,
         Why didn't I think of that?

    He says he loves her
         And he'll never leave her,
    Why didn't I think of that?
     

  68. There Is a River

    There was a thirsty woman,
    Who was drawing from a well
    You see her life was ruined and wasted
    And her soul was bound for hell
    Oh but then she met the Master
    And He told about her sin
    And He said "if you drink this water,
    You'll never thirst again."
     

  69. The Law of the Garbage Truck

    One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!

    This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.' He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don 't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don 't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

    The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.

    Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

    Have a blessed, garbage-free day. (David J Pollay)

  70. The Scrolls of Og Mandino The scrolls each have a principle designed to replace bad habits built up over a lifetime which "threatens to imprison my future" (Scroll I) with good habits developed through a ten month process of studying the scrolls. Each Scroll's principle is life altering. They are:

    Scroll I — Today I begin a new life.
    Scroll II — I will greet this day with love in my heart.
    Scroll III — I will persist until I succeed.
    Scroll IV — I am nature's greatest miracle.
    Scroll V — I will live this day as if it is my last.
    Scroll VI — Today I will be master of my emotions.
    Scroll VII — I will laugh at the world (Keep perspective)
    Scroll VIII — Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold.
    Scroll IX — I will act now, I will act now, I will act now.
    Scroll X — I will pray for guidance.
     

  71. Risky Business

    To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
    To weep is to risk being called sentimental.
    To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
    To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self.
    To place your ideas and your dreams before them is to risk being called naive.
    To love is to risk not being loved in return.
    To live is to risk dying.
    To hope is to risk despair,
    and to try is to risk failure.
         But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
    The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing and becomes nothing.
    They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live. Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave, they've forfeited their freedom.
         Only the person who risks is truly free. (Dr. Leo Buscaglia)
     

  72. Hope for Even Judas?

    I heard the most fascinating/beautiful thing in Sunday School today. It changed my mind, or opened it to a new possibility forever. Let me share it with all of you.


    Dale Bruener says there are a number references to Judas Iscariot in the Gospels, all of them negative except for one of them gives him a little bit of hope.
    Matthew 27 — Judas Hangs Himself
    3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.
    4 "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility."
    5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

    Dale said this gives a glimmer of possible hope. He said in the early church tradition there were 3 things that had to be done for Forgiveness. I searched online so I could get the wording correct and found this site concerning Catholics.

    Early Church, and Catholics today, creed states to be forgiven three things must be present:

    1. Truly Sorry
    2. Seek Forgiveness
    3. Make Restitution

    Judas was seized with remorse — truly sorry.

    He went to the Chief Priest and said he had sinned, he had betrayed innocent blood — he confessed.

    He threw down the 30 pieces of silver back to the priest — he gave back the silver he was paid, he made restitution.

    According to church tradition, these are the 3 things required for forgiveness. So, Dale said that he holds a tiny glimmer of hope out that Judas, whom Jesus called, was also saved.

    Then he read this poem that his wife keeps in the front of her Bible. It makes me cry when I read it. I love it.

    In Hell there grew a Judas Tree
    Where Judas hanged and died
    Because he could not bear to see
    His master crucified
    Our Lord descended into Hell
    And found his Judas there
    Forever hanging on the tree
    Grown from his own despair
    So Jesus cut his Judas down
    And took him in his arms
    "It was for this I came" he said
    "And not to do you harm
    My Father gave me twelve good men
    And all of them I kept
    Though one betrayed and one denied
    Some fled and others slept
    In three days' time I must return
    To make the others glad
    But first I had to come to Hell
    And share the death you had
    My tree will grow in place of yours
    Its roots lie here as well
    There is no final victory
    Without this soul from Hell"
    So when we all condemned him
    As of every traitor worst
    Remember that of all his men
    Our Lord forgave him first

    D. Ruth Etchells
    Beirut, January 20, 1987
     

  73. Phil Mickelson
         For the past few days, while I tried to enjoy one of the greatest golf tournaments in the world, all I was entertained with was the Tiger Woods show. As soon as one golfer would hit a tee shot or make a putt, it seemed that the next view would be that of Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods just missing a putt that would have put him in contention with the other golfers. Tiger Woods hooking his drive which showed how his time off had hurt his game. Tiger Woods trying to "respect" the game. How it seemed that the Tiger was able to put his past transgressions behind him and was able to concentrate on the job at hand. It just kept going on and on about Tiger this and Tiger that.
          On the other hand, a little miracle was occurring at the Masters; one golfer just kept smiling. He smiled if he made a good drive, or if he made a bad drive. He smiled if he made a 50 foot putt or missed a 5 foot putt. As he walked between holes, he smiled and shook hands with the crowd. He never cursed a bad stoke or blamed another person for a miss. All he did was smile.
          Why would Phil Mickelson be smiling? Here was a man whose wife has breast cancer. Here was a man whose mother has breast cancer. Here is a man who rather than allow his wife and mother to fight this battle by themselves, took time off from the PGA tour to be with them. Here was a man that returned to the game he loved when his wife ordered him to. Here was man, who was so glad for the miracle that was happening as his wife moved closer to a cure, that he rewarded her oncologist by allowing him to be his guest caddy at last week?s golf tournament. This move, which could have cost Mickelson thousands of dollars in purse money, was his gift to a man he knew he could never thank enough for what he had given to him.
          During the last round today, Phil's wife was staying in their hotel room since she was still weak from the chemo treatments she is receiving. Phil did not know as he walked up to the 18th tee that his wife would be there. All Phil did was smile. He smiled to the crowds, he smiled to the TV audience, he smiled to God. After his last putt found the bottom of the hole, he hugged his caddy and others and walked to the scorer's shack. He then gave the biggest smile of the whole four days. He saw his wife, and even in the midst of thousands of people, it seemed that only two where there.
          Tomorrow I am going to smile. I am going to smile if it is nice weather or bad. I am going to smile at the driver who honks his horn at me, or the driver who cuts me off. I am going to smile if I get the order or not. And when the day is done, I am going to save my biggest smile for the person who makes me complete. Then I am going to look to the heavens and give thanks for being able to smile.
          Thanks Phil! God bless you and your family. And keep on smiling!
     
  74. New FOOTPRINTS

    This new version of the 'footprints' story really caught me off guard at the end..What a blessing.

         Imagine you and the Lord Jesus are walking down the road together. For much of the way, the Lord's footprints go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying the pace.
         But your footprints are a disorganized stream of zigzags, starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures, and returns.
         For much of the way, it seems to go like this, but gradually your footprints come more in line with the Lord's, soon paralleling, His consistently.
         You and Jesus are walking as true friends!
         This seems perfect, but then an interesting thing happens: Your footprints that once etched the sand next to Jesus' are now walking precisely in His steps.
         Inside His larger footprints are your smaller ones, you and Jesus are becoming one.
         This goes on for many miles, but gradually you notice another change. The footprints inside the large footprints seem to grow larger.
         Eventually they disappear altogether. There is only one set of footprints. They have become one.
         This goes on for a long time, but suddenly the second set of footprints is back. This time it seems even worse! Zigzags all over the place. Stops. Starts. Gashes in the sand. A variable mess of prints.
         You are amazed and shocked.
         Your dream ends. Now you pray:
         'Lord, I understand the first scene, with zigzags and fits. I was a new Christian; I was just learning. But You walked on through the storm and helped me learn to walk with You.'
         'That is correct.'
         'And when the smaller footprints were inside of Yours, I was actually learning to walk in Your steps, following You very closely.'
         'Very good. You have understood everything so far.'
         When the smaller footprints grew and filled in Yours, I suppose that I was becoming like You in every way.'
         ' Precisely.'
         'So, Lord, was there a regression or something? The footprints separated, and this time it was worse than at first.'
         There is a pause as the Lord answers, with a smile in His voice.
         'You didn't know? It was then that we danced!'
     

  75. Wisdom

    Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio
    "To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:"

    1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
    2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
    3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
    4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
    5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
    6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
    7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
    8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
    9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
    10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
    11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
    12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
    13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
    14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
    15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
    16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
    17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
    18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
    19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
    20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
    21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
    22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
    23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
    24. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
    25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words "In five years, will this matter?"
    26. Always choose life.
    27. Forgive everyone everything.
    28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
    29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
    30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
    31. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
    32. Believe in miracles.
    33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
    34. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
    35. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
    36. Your children get only one childhood.
    37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
    38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
    39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
    40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
    41. The best is yet to come.
    42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
    43. Yield.
    44. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

     
  76. Burned Biscuits ...food for thought.....

    When I was a wee "tike," my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school.
         I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite! When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said, "Baby, I love burned biscuits."
         Later that night I went to kiss Daddy good night, and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides 3 a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!"
         Life is full of imperfect things.....and imperfect people. Learning to accept each other's faults, and choosing to celebrate each other's differences, is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.
         And that's my prayer for you today. That you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker!
         We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife, parent-child, siblings, or friendship!
         "Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket! Keep it in your own."
     

  77. An Ode to America
    Read this excerpt from a Romanian Newspaper. The article was written by Mr. Cornel Nistorescu and published under the title 'C'ntarea Americii, meaning 'Ode To America ') in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentulzilei 'The Daily Event' or 'News of the Day.'

    Why are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another even if you painted them all one color! They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations and religious beliefs.
         On 9/ll, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the Army, or the Secret Service that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed out onto the streets nearby to gape about.
         Instead the Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.
          After the first moments of panic, they raised their flag over the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a government official or the president was passing. On every occasion, they started singing: 'God Bless America !'
         I watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who gave his life fighting with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that could have killed other hundreds or thousands of people.
         How on earth were they able to respond united as one human being? Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put into collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy. What on earth can unites the Americans in such way? Their land? Their history? Their economic Power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases with the risk of sounding commonplace, I thought things over, I reached but only one conclusion... Only freedom can work such miracles.
    (Cornel Nistorescu)
     

  78. No Charge for Love

    A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.
         "Mister," he said, "I want to buy one of your puppies."
         "Well," said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, "These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money."
         The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.
         "I've got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?"
         "Sure," said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. "Here, Dolly!" he called.
         Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur.
         The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.
         Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up...
         "I want that one," the little boy said, pointing to the runt. The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said, "Son, you don't want that puppy.. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would."
         With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers.
         In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.
         Looking back up at the farmer, he said, "You see sir, I don't run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands."
         With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup.
         Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.
         "How much?" asked the little boy.
         "No charge," answered the farmer, "There's no charge for love."

  79. Organized Religion's 'Management Problem'

    By Gary Hamel

    "What's wrong with organized religion?" That's the question I addressed at a recent conference organized by Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois. For nearly 30 years, Willow Creek has been one of America's most progressive churches, and since 1999 it's been running an annual a seminar for church leaders from around the world. The "Leadership Summit" features innovative pastors as well as non-church speakers. This year's roster included Carly Fiorina, Bono, Tony Blair, Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva, and a slightly nerdish business school professor.

    So there I was, in front of 7,000 preachers and laymen, with another 60,000 or so by satellite. I'm used to flashing my PowerPoints in front people who are richer, smarter and more powerful than me. But this was the first time I had to face a stadium's worth of folks who were probably more virtuous than me. It wasn't so much a case of Daniel in the lion's den as Gary in the Christians' den. (By the way, I donated my small honorarium to charity).

    Obviously, no one dragged me on stage in chains. I went for two reasons. First, I believe that religious institutions, like other sorts of organizations, need a management reboot, and I know a little bit about how to make this happen. My hypothesis: the problem with organized religion isn't that it's too religious, but that it's too organized. And second, I believe that the "church" (in the broadest, ecumenical sense of the word) plays an essential role in constructing the moral foundations of a democratic society — a view advanced 147 years ago by that famous French tourist, Alexis de Tocqueville: "Champions of freedom...should hasten to invoke the aid of religion, for they must know that without morality freedom cannot reign..."

    Let me expand for a moment on this second point.

    Obviously, you don't have to be religious to be moral, and beastly people are sometimes religious. Yet despite the claims of neo-atheists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, religion has, on balance, curbed rather than exaggerated the human propensity for evil.ii Yes, terrible things have been done in God's name, but for every tyrant and terrorist who has claimed a divine warrant, there are thousands of faithful souls whose selflessness and benevolence has helped to make the world a more just and tranquil place.

    At the heart of every faith system is a bargain: on one side there is the comfort that comes from a narrative that suggests human life has cosmic significance, and on the other a duty to yield to moral commands that can, in the moment, seem rather inconvenient. I believe we should be grateful for every individual, whether deluded or not, who willingly agrees to be so constrained. For while there are some who share a two year-old's belief that we'd all be better off in a society free of moral strictures, most of us realize we wouldn't much like a world in which our neighbors (and our bankers) were unprincipled knaves.

    Of course, in an ideal world, others would treat us charitably even when we stick it to them; we could take advantage of their goodness while not being very good ourselves. But this doesn't scale. When that sort of one-sided selfishness becomes the norm, life gets brutish for everyone — a spiritual tragedy of the commons.

    The fact is, society is made more hospitable by every individual who acts as if "do unto others" really was a rule. And contrary to what you might believe, evidence suggests that, on average, "religious people" really are nicer — in practical feed the hungry, clothe the naked, sorts of ways.iii (And if you're one of those generous folks, you're undoubtedly embarrassed by the minority of believers who are quicker to judge than they are to love).

    Critically, morality is only one generation deep, so unless we want our children to live in a bleak world, we must replenish the stock of spiritual capital we inherited from our parents and grandparents. In theory, at least, churches are allies in this effort.

    So that's why I went to Willow — and the experience was like a day-long group hug. Good golly, what a bunch of, well, nice folks they were. Which made it even tougher for me to deliver my kindhearted, bareknuckled rant.

    Fact is, organized religion hasn't been doing too well recently, at least not in the developed world. (And as we'll see, what ails "the church" probably ails your organization as well.)

    Here's some of the disquieting data I shared with my ecclesiastic audience:

    • Since 1990, the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled, and the number of people who describe themselves as atheist or agnostic has quadrupled — this according to the 2009 American Religious Identification Survey (as quoted in Newsweek magazine.)
    • The same survey reveals that two-thirds of Americans believe religion's influence is waning in our society, and just 19 percent say it's growing. And the proportion of Americans who think religion "can answer all or most of today's problems" is now at an historic low of 48 percent.
    • On an average weekend in 2005, just 17.5% of the population attended a Christian church service, down from 20.4% in 1990. And this downward trend has been accelerating. If it continues, only 1 of 7 individuals will be attending church regularly in 2020.
    • In 2006 there were 91 million more Americans than in 1990 — and 70 million of them were under the age of 17. Yet over this time frame, church attendance stayed flat.
    • The Christian "brand" has also taken a beating, particularly among young people. When polled, around half say they have a neutral view of Christianity, but among those who feel more strongly, the ratio of negative to positive views of "Christianity" and of those who are "Born Again" is 2:1. And when asked about "Evangelicals," the ratio of negative to positive jumps to 16:1.

    Not surprisingly, pastors often blame secular forces for these trends — the problem in their view isn't "the church" but "the world," or more specifically . . .

    • A consumer-driven society where the size of someone's paycheck counts for more than the quality of their character.
    • The near infinite number of distractions in our media-saturated culture which crowd out time for spiritual reflection.
    • The deeply cynical view that young people have of large institutions — a view that lumps big religion together with big business and big government.
    • The growing and reflexive skepticism of anyone who claims to have "the truth."

    While these realities have undoubtedly played a role in the recent "de-churching" of America (and in the much-advanced secularization of Europe), I don't believe this is the whole story, not by a long shot — and I took pains to explain why.

    Yes, church attendance may be lagging, but nine out of ten Americans still claim to have faith in a spiritual being — a number hasn't changed much over the past two decades. And only 9% describe themselves as neither religious nor spiritual. Interestingly, though, nearly a third say they are spiritual, but not religious.ix In other words, though Americans may have become less religiously observant, they haven't become any less spiritually inclined.

    Church consultants Tom and Sam Rainer define a "healthy" church as one with a "conversion ratio" of 20:1 or better; that is, it takes twenty or fewer congregants to bring in one new member during the course of a year. By that modest standard, the pair estimates that only 3.5% of America's 400,000 churches are evangelistically fit.x

    "So," I asked my audience, "is it the gospel that has become irrelevant or your churches? Is the problem God's message or your methods?" (By the way, to a committed pastor, those are rhetorical questions). The data are clear: People still have spiritual needs (even narcissistic postmoderns), but the church has been growing less effective in filling those metaphysical voids.

    With that point nailed down, I laid out the rest of my argument.

    Organizations lose their relevance when the rate of internal change lags the pace of external change. And that's the problem that besets many churches today.

    And guess what? A lot of secular institutions are in the same boat.

    Think about General Motors, Sony, Motorola, United Airlines, AOL, Yahoo, Sears, Starbucks — how have these companies been doing in recent years? Not too well. And not just because of the recession, but because they got stuck in the mud; they fell in love with status quo.

    Their employees were prisoners of precedent, locked in jails run by the custodians of convention.

    So as church leaders, you shouldn't feel too sorry for yourselves. Your problem isn't unique, and it isn't materialism, atheism, skepticism or relativism — it's institutional inertia. And if it makes you feel better, it's not entirely your fault. Like leaders everywhere, you've been mugged by change.

    After 13.4 billion years, the pace of change has gone hypercritical — at least on this planet. We didn't ask for this, but we have to deal with it. Today we live in a world that seems to be all punctuation and no equilibrium, where the future is less and less an extrapolation of the past. And our conservative, hierarchical organizations aren't up to the challenge — they're simply not adaptable enough.

    In this environment, you're either going forward or backwards — but you're never standing still — and at the moment, a lot of organizations, churches included, are going backwards.

    Historically, business leaders and church leaders didn't have to worry about fundamental paradigm shifts. They could safely assume that their basic business models would last forever.

    In the case of church, this meant loyal pew-warmers who would show up every week, sit passively through the same unvarying church service, drop $20 into the plate as it passed, and politely shake the pastor's hand as they headed off for lunch.

    But business models aren't eternal — and their mortality rate has been rising. In industry after industry we've witnessed profound paradigm shifts . . .

    • In retailing there's been a shift from the suburban shopping mall to hypermarkets to online retailers.
    • In pharmaceuticals there's been a shift from drug discovery to drug design based on genetic information.
    • In the car industry from combustion engines to plug-in hybrids and all electric vehicles.
    • In software from packaged apps you install on your computer to apps that reside in the cloud.

    Of course there've been paradigm shifts in churches as well, with the move from small community churches to mega churches to multi-site churches, the emergent church, home churches, and whatever follows that. (Click the links for examples of each).

    Most organizations, though, end up shackled to one business model — and when it atrophies, so does the institution.

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to organizations as well physical systems. Over time, visions become strategies, strategies get codified into policies, policies spawn practices, and practices become habits. That's organizational entropy — and it's why success is usually a self-correcting phenomenon.

    And it's also why the hard thing — the really hard thing, isn't inventing a brilliant strategy, but reinventing it!

    Given all of this, the most critical advantage a church (or any other organization) can build is an "evolutionary advantage" — an ability to constantly morph and adapt.

    Sadly, it usually takes a crisis to set an organization on a new path.

    For example . . .

    • It took a $14 billion swing in earnings back in the mid-1990s to convince IBM's leaders that the company should become less product-focused and more service-focused.
    • And only a near death experiment could compel GM's leaders to do what they should have done years ago and sell off a number of under-performing divisions.

    Moreover, it's usually necessary to decapitate the old leadership team before an organization can embark on a new course. In other words, fundamental change in large organizations happens the same way it happens in poorly governed dictatorships — belatedly, infrequently and convulsively. And that's pathetic. It shouldn't take the organizational equivalent of a deathbed experience to spur renewal. We need to change the way we change.

    Over the centuries, religion has become institutionalized, and in the process encrusted with elaborate hierarchies, top-heavy bureaucracies, highly specialized roles and reflexive routines. (Kinda like your company, but only more so). Religion won't regain its relevance until church leaders chip off these calcified layers, rediscover their sense of mission, and set themselves free to reinvent "church" for a new age.

    Doing this is going to take a management revolution. Back in the first century, the Christian church was organic, communal and mostly free of ritual — and it needs to become so again — as does every organization, public or private, large or small.
     

  80. Dear friends of I4C,

         There is so much about which to be disturbed regarding the recent rescue of Jaycee Dugard and her children after 18 years of captivity by Phillip and Nancy Garrido, not least of which is that she was held on the territory of our own county. The random kidnapping, the repeated rape of a child, the foul conditions, the wasting of young lives, the agony of the parents, the psychological torture, the failings of law enforcement and agencies to connect the dots, the sheer length of captivity, the sheer amount of trauma to be overcome. It hits you right in the stomach when you think about it, brings tears to the eyes, baffles the imagination....
         There's no doubt that such an incident strikes at the very root of our sense of justice. There is not an aspect of Jaycee Dugard's situation that seems just, right or beautiful. It makes us wonder — if we hadn't done so before — who made this system where such things can happen. Why couldn't the Creator of Good and Beauty have stopped this ugliness? This divine neglect is anything but benign.
         There are answers, religiously doctrinal answers, that have been worked up over the centuries, having to do with fate and freedom and mystery. Some divine revelations have been a help. But... we are painfully offended when one person's, what, illness? aberration? displacement? pain? ends up causing so much pain to someone else.
         But I would say, and it's not original to me, that our impassioned cries and crying function as prayer, as intercession, as balm to our collective soul. The tears of our weeping oil the very wheels of justice, which do not bite or tear, but heal and repair. My request is that, if and as you pray in this way, you may widen your concern to others, who like Jaycee, still suffer terribly in silence. Pray for discovery and aid.

    Yours,
    Brian Stein-Webber

  81. Perception ... something to think about...

    This should blow you away...

    Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

    4 minutes later:
         The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk...

    6 minutes:
         A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again...

    10 minutes:
         A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

    45 minutes:
         The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

    1 hour:
         He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

    No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

    This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

    One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made ... How many other things are we missing?

  82. The Old Paths

    I liked the old paths, when

    Moms were at home.
    Dads were at work.
    Brothers went into the army.
    And sisters got married BEFORE having children!

    Crime did not pay;
    Hard work did;
    And people knew the difference.

    Moms could cook;
    Dads would work;
    Children would behave.

    Husbands were loving;
    Wives were supportive;
    And children were polite.

    Women wore the jewelry;
    And Men wore the pants.
    Women looked like ladies;
    Men looked like gentlemen;
    And children looked decent.

    People loved the truth,
    And hated a lie;
    They came to church to get IN,
    Not to get OUT!

    Hymns sounded Godly;
    Sermons sounded helpful;
    Rejoicing sounded normal;
    And crying sounded sincere.

    Cursing was wicked;
    Drugs were for illness;
    And divorce was unthinkable.

    The flag was honored;
    America was beautiful;
    And God was welcome!

    We read the Bible in public;
    Prayed in school;
    And preached from house to house
    To be called an American was worth dying for;
    To be called a Christian was worth living for;
    To be called a traitor was a shame!

    Preachers preached because they had a message;
    And Christians rejoiced because they had the VICTORY!
    Preachers preached from the Bible;
    Singers sang from the heart;
    And sinners turned to the Lord to be SAVED!

    A new birth meant a new life;
    Salvation meant a changed life;
    Following Christ led to eternal life.

    Being a preacher meant you proclaimed the word of God;
    Being a deacon meant you would serve the Lord;
    Being a Christian meant you would live for Jesus;
    And being a sinner meant someone was praying for you!

    Laws were based on the Bible;
    Homes read the Bible;
    And churches taught the Bible.

    God was worshiped;
    Christ was exalted;
    And the Holy Spirit was respected..

    Church was where you found Christians
    On the Lord's day, rather than in the garden,
    On the creek bank, on the golf course,
    Or being entertained somewhere else.

    I still like the old paths the best!

  83. Jeremiah 40-45; a personal reflection

    Do not be discouraged or despair. I, the Lord am always with you. What once was in ruins will be brought back beyond its former glory. Seek Me, O my people Israel. Through you all blessings will flow. The Gentiles are mine as well and will share in your inheritance. O, that you would desire to return to Me! Am I not the LORD Most High? Do I not tell the moon when to rise and the sun when to set? Stop doing things in your own strength and lean on Me. Through Me all things are possible. Bring to Me all who call on the name of the Lord and they shall be saved. Quickly, for time is running short. You know my desire......that none should perish.

  84. Without GOD, our week would be

    Sinday
    Mournday
    Tearsday
    Wasteday
    Thirstday
    Fightday &
    Shatterday.

    Remember seven days WITHOUT GOD makes one WEAK!!

  85. Amos 5:21-24

    "I can't stand your religious meetings.
         I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions.
    I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
         your pretentious slogans and goals.
    I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes,
         your public relations and image making.
    I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
         When was the last time you sang to me?
    Do you know what I want?
         I want justice — oceans of it.
    I want fairness — rivers of it.
         That's what I want. That's all I want."
     

  86. A Palace not a Cottage

    I think that many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. He has done all we wanted him to do, and we should be obliged if he would leave us alone. But the question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what he intended us to be when he made us...

    Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on. You knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.

    But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.

    You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage, but he is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself. (C. S. Lewis)

  87. God's Wife

         An eye witness account from New York City , on a cold day in December, some years ago: A little boy, about 10-years-old, was standing before a shoe store on the roadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold.
         A lady approached the young boy and said, 'My, but you're in such deep thought staring in that window!'
         'I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,'was the boy's reply.
         The lady took him by the hand, went into the store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her.
         She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with the towel.
         By this time, the clerk had returned with the socks.. Placing a pair upon the boy's feet, she purchased him a pair of shoes..
         She tied up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to him.. She patted him on the head and said, 'No doubt, you will be more comfortable now.'
         As she turned to go, the astonished kid caught her by the hand, and looking up into her face, with tears in his eyes, asked her.
         'Are you God's wife?'

  88. NEVER judge anyone!!!!

         'Some people!' snorted a man standing behind me in the long line at the grocery store.
         'You would think the manager would pay attention and open another line, 'said a woman. I looked to the front of the line to see what the hold up was and saw a well dressed, young woman, trying to get the machine to accept her credit card. No matter how many times she swiped it, the machine kept rejecting it.
         'It's one of them welfare card things. Damn people need to get a job like everyone else,' said the man standing behind me. The young woman turned around to see who had made the comment. 'It was me,' he said, pointing to himself.
         The young lady's face began to change expression. Almost in tears, she dropped the welfare card onto the counter and quickly walked out of the store. Everyone in the checkout line watched as she began running to her car. Never looking back, she got in and drove away.
         After developing cancer in 1977 and having had to use food stamps; I had learned never to judge anyone, without knowing the circumstances of their life. This turned out to be the case today.
         Several minutes later a young man walked into the store. He went up to the cashier and asked if she had seen the woman. After describing her, the cashier told him that she had run out of the store, got into her car, and drove away.
         'Why would she do that?' asked the man. Everyone in the line looked around at the fellow who had made the statement. 'I made a stupid comment about the welfare card she was using. Something I shouldn't have said. I'm sorry,' said the man.
         'Well, that's bad, real bad, in fact. Her brother was killed in Afghanistan two years ago. He had three young children and she has taken on that responsibility. She's twenty years old, single, and now has three children to support,' he said in a very firm voice.
         'I'm really truly sorry. I didn't know,' he replied, shaking both his hands about.
         The young man asked, 'Are these paid for?' pointing to the shopping cart full of groceries. 'It wouldn't take her card,' the clerk told him.
         'Do you know where she lives?' asked the man who had made the comment.
         'Yes, she goes to our church.'
         'Excuse me,' he said as he made his way to the front of the line. He pulled out his wallet, took out his credit card and told the cashier, 'Please use my card. PLEASE!' The clerk took his credit card and began to ring up the young woman's groceries.
         Hold on,' said the gentleman. He walked back to his shopping cart and began loading his own groceries onto the belt to be included. 'Come on people. We got three kids to help raise!' he told everyone in line. Everyone began to place their groceries onto the fast moving belt. A few customers began bagging the food and placing it into separate carts. 'Go back and get two big turkeys,' yelled a heavyset woman, as she looked at the man. 'NO,' yelled the man. Everyone stopped dead in their tracks. The entire store became quiet for several seconds. 'Four turkeys,' yelled the man. Everyone began laughing and went back to work. When all was said and done, the man paid a total of $1,646.57 for the groceries. He then walked over to the side, pulled out his check book, and began writing a check using the bags of dog food piled near the front of the store for a writing surface. He turned around and handed the check to the young man. 'She will need a freezer and a few other things as well,' he told the man.
         The young man looked at the check and said, 'This is really very generous of you.'
         'No,' said the man. 'Her brother was the generous one.'
         Everyone in the store had been observing the odd commotion and began to clap. And I drove home that day feeling very American.
         We live in the Land of the free, because of the Brave!!! Remember our Troops of Yesterday and Today!!!
         A great example of why we should be kind and patient.
         Kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear.

  89. Andy Rooney said...

    I've learned that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
    ... that when you're in love, it shows.
    ... that just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.
    ... that having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world..
    ... that being kind is more important than being right.
    ... that you should never say no to a gift from a child.
    ... that I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.
    ... that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
    ... that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
    ... that simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
    ... that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
    ... that we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.
    ... that money doesn't buy class.
    ... that it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
    ... that under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
    ... that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
    ... that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
    ... that love, not time, heals all wounds.
    ... that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
    ... that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
    ... that no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
    ... that life is tough, but I'm tougher.
    ... that opportunities are never lost, someone will take the ones you miss.
    ... that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
    ... that one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
    ... that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
    ... that when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.
    ... that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.
    ... that the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.
     

  90. Releasing the Cows
    Told by Master Thich Nhat Hanh

         One day the Buddha was sitting in the woods with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and were enjoying the company of each other. There was a farmer passing by and the farmer was very unhappy. He asked the Buddha and the monks whether they had seen his cows passing by. The Buddha said they had not seen any cows passing by.
         The farmer said, "Monks, I'm so unhappy. I have twelve cows and I don't know why they all ran away. I have also a few acres of a sesame seed plantation and the insects have eaten up everything. I suffer so much I think I am going to kill myself."
         The Buddha said, "My friend, we have not seen any cows passing by here. You might like to look for them in the other direction." The farmer thanked him and ran away.
         The Buddha turned to his monks and said,
         "My dear friends, you are the happiest people in the world. You don't have any cows to lose. If you have too many cows to take care of, you will be very busy. That is why, in order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing (laughter). You release the cows one by one. In the beginning you thought that those cows were essential to your happiness, and you tried to get more and more cows. But now you realize that cows are not really conditions for your happiness; they constitute an obstacle for your happiness. That is why you are determined to release your cows.
     

  91. Rose

         The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.
         I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that that lit up her entire being.
         She said, "Hi, handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.
         "Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.
         She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel."
         "No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
         "I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.
         After class we walked to the student union building and share a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.
         Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.
         At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."
         As we laughed she cleared her throat and began: "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. "You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!"
         "There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change."
         "Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."
         She concluded her speech by courageously singing The Rose. She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the years end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago.
         One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.
         Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to this wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

    (Author Unknown)

  92. Christmas Gift Suggestions

    To your enemy, forgiveness
    To an opponent, Tolerance
    To a friend, your heart
    To a customer, service
    To all, charity
    To a child, a good example
    To yourself, respect
     

  93. I say it plain,

    America never was America to me,
    And yet I swear this oath--
    America will be!
    Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
    The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
    We, the people, must redeem
    The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
    The mountains and the endless plain--
    All, all the stretch of these great green states--
    And make America again! (Langston Hughes)
     

  94. Who Is He?

    In Genesis, He is the Creator God.
    In Exodus, He is the Redeemer.
    In Leviticus, He is your Sanctifier.
    In Numbers, He is your Guide.
    In Deuteronomy, He is your Teacher.
    In Joshua, He is the Mighty Conqueror.
    In Judges, He gives victory over enemies.
    In Ruth, He is your Kinsman, your Lover, and your Redeemer.
    In I Samuel, He is the Root of Jesse;
    In 2 Samuel, He is the Son of David.
    In 1ST and 2nd Kings, He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
    In 1st and 2nd Chronicles, He is your Intercessor, and High Priest.
    In Ezra, He is your temple, your house of worship.
    In Nehemiah, He is your mighty wall, protecting you from your enemies.
    In Esther, He stands in the gap to deliver you from your enemies.
    In Job, He is the Arbitrator who not only understands your struggles, but has the power to do something about them.
    In Psalms, He is your Song - and your reason to sing.
    In Proverbs, He is your wisdom, helping you make sense of life and live it successfully.
    In Ecclesiastes, He is your purpose, delivering you from vanity.
    In the Song of Solomon, He is your Lover, your Rose of Sharon.
    In Isaiah, He is the Mighty Counselor, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father.
    In short, He's everything you need.
    In Jeremiah, He is your Balm in Gilead, the soothing salve for your sin-sick soul.
    In Lamentations, He is the ever-faithful One upon Whom you can depend.
    In Ezekiel, He is your Wheel in the middle of a wheel -- the One who assures that dry, dead bones will come alive again.
    In Daniel, He is the Ancient of Days, the everlasting God who never runs out of time.
    In Hosea, He is your Faithful Lover, always beckoning you to come back -
    when you have abandoned Him.
    In Joel, He is your Refuge, keeping you safe in times of trouble.
    In Amos, He is the Husbandman, the One you can depend on to stay by your side.
    In Obadiah, He is Lord of the Kingdom.
    In Jonah, He is your Salvation, bringing you back within His will.
    In Micah, He is Judge of the nation.
    In Nahum, He is the jealous God.
    In Habakkuk, He is the Holy One.
    In Zephaniah, He is the Witness.
    In Haggai, He overthrows the enemies.
    In Zechariah, He is Lord of Hosts.
    In Malachi, He is Merciful.
    In Matthew, He is King of the Jews.
    In Mark, He is the Servant.
    In Luke, He is the Son of Man, feeling what you feel.
    In John, He is the Son of God.
    In Acts, He is the Savior of the world.
    In Romans, He is the righteousness of God.
    In I Corinthians, He is the Rock that followed Israel.
    In II Corinthians, He is the Triumphant One, giving victory.
    In Galatians, He is your liberty; He sets you free.
    In Ephesians, He is Head of the Church.
    In Philippians, He is your joy.
    In Colossians, He is your completeness.
    In 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, He is your hope.
    In I Timothy, He is your faith.
    In II Timothy, He is your stability.
    In Philemon, He is your Benefactor.
    In Titus, He is truth.
    In Hebrews, He is your perfection.
    In James, he is the Power behind your faith.
    In I Peter, He is your example.
    In II Peter, He is your purity.
    In I John, He is your life.
    In II John, He is your pattern.
    In III John, He is your motivation.
    In Jude, He is the foundation of your faith.
    In Revelation, He is your coming King.

    From the beginning of the world to its end,
    there is no place you can look and not see Jesus.
    He is everywhere. He is everything.

  95. The Value of Time

    Many of my students say they do not have enough time.
    I wish I could stand on a busy corner, hat in hand and beg people to throw me all their wasted hours.
    Minutes are worth more than money. Spend them wisely.
    You are always free to choose what you do first, what you do second and what you do not want to do at all.
    Time management requires self discipline, self mastery and self control more than anything else.
     

  96. How many zeros in a billion?

    The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money.

    A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of it's releases.

    1. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
    2. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
    3. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
    4. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.
    5. billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

    While this thought is still fresh in our brain, let's take a look at New Orleans ..

    It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division.

    Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu, asked Congress for 250 BILLION DOLLARS to rebuild New Orleans .

    Interesting number.... What does it mean?

    1. Well... if you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, and child) you each get $516,528.
    2. Or... if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787.
    3. Or... if you are a family of four your family gets $2,066,012.

    Washington, D. C
    HELLO!
    Are all your calculators broken??

  97. Never Judge Anyone

    'Some people!' snorted a man standing behind me in the long line at the grocery store.

    'You would think the manager would pay attention and open another line, 'said a woman. I looked to the front of the line to see what the hold up was and saw a well dressed, young woman, trying to get the machine to accept her credit card. No matter how many times she swiped it, the machine kept rejecting it.

    'It's one of them welfare card things. Damn people need to get a job like everyone else,' said the man standing behind me. The young woman turned around to see who had made the comment. 'It was me,' he said, pointing to himself.

    The young lady's face began to change expression. Almost in tears, she dropped the welfare card onto the counter and quickly walked out of the store. Everyone in the checkout line watched as she began running to her car. Never looking back, she got in and drove away.

    After developing cancer in 1977 and having had to use food stamps; I had learned never to judge anyone, without knowing the circumstances of their life. This turned out to be the case today.

    Several minutes later a young man walked into the store. He went up to the cashier and asked if she had seen the woman. After describing her, the cashier told him that she had run out of the store, got into her car, and drove away.

    'Why would she do that?' asked the man. Everyone in the line looked around at the fellow who had made the statement. 'I made a stupid comment about the welfare card she was using. Something I shouldn't have said. I'm sorry,' said the man.

    'Well, that's bad, real bad, in fact. Her brother was killed in Afghanistan two years ago. He had three young children and she has taken on that responsibility. She's twenty years old, single, and now has three children to support,' he said in a very firm voice.

    'I'm really truly sorry. I didn't know,' he replied, shaking both his hands about.

    The young man asked, 'Are these paid for?' pointing to the shopping cart full of groceries. 'It wouldn't take her card,' the clerk told him.

    'Do you know where she lives?' asked the man who had made the comment.

    'Yes, she goes to our church.'

    'Excuse me,' he said as he made his way to the front of the line. He pulled out his wallet, took out his credit card and told the cashier, 'Please use my card. PLEASE!' The clerk took his credit card and began to ring up the young woman's groceries.

    Hold on,' said the gentleman. He walked back to his shopping cart and began loading his own groceries onto the belt to be included. 'Come on people. We got three kids to help raise!' he told everyone in line. Everyone began to place their groceries onto the fast moving belt. A few customers began bagging the food and placing it into separate carts. 'Go back and get two big turkeys,' yelled a heavyset woman, as she looked at the man. 'NO,' yelled the man. Everyone stopped dead in their tracks. The entire store became quiet for several seconds. 'Four turkeys,' yelled the man. Everyone began laughing and went back to work. When all was said and done, the man paid a total of $1,646.57 for the groceries. He then walked over to the side, pulled out his check book, and began writing a check using the bags of dog food piled near the front of the store for a writing surface. He turned around and handed the check to the young man. 'She will need a freezer and a few other things as well,' he told the man.

    The young man looked at the check and said, 'This is really very generous of you.'

    'No,' said the man. 'Her brother was the generous one.'

    Everyone in the store had been observing the odd commotion and began to clap. And I drove home that day feeling very American.

    We live in the Land of the free, because of the Brave!!! Remember our Troops of Yesterday and Today!!!

  98. A Letter from God

    Recently I was browsing through a magazine and stumbled upon a small box on the very bottom of a page. It was quietly placed and not noticeable to the eye at first glance, but then something grabbed my attention - it was the simple headline - A Letter From God. Curious I decided to take a quick peak and as I started reading I felt a tender tug at my heart. This wonderful letter submitted by a gentleman named Ronald S. Ross is so moving and serves as a gentle reminder to all of us. It reads as follows:

    This is one of the kindest things I've ever experienced. I have no way to know who sent it, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the U.S. Postal Service.

    Our fourteen year old dog Abbey, died last month. The day after she died my four year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her I thought we could so she dictated these words:

    Dear God, Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and likes to swim. I am sending you a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her. Love, Meredith

    We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her I thought he had.

    Yesterday there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, "To Meredith" in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called "When A Pet Dies". Taped to the inside front cover was the letter that we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey and Meredith and this note:

    Dear Meredith, Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in so I am sending it back to you with this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by. Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love. Love, God

    I hope that all of you were as touched and moved by this story as I was and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to share it with all of you.

  99. Steps to developing peace
     
    1. Know that everything in your life will be alright.
    2. Allow yourself to see the beauty in everyday.
    3. Believe in your happiness. It is and has always been within you.
    4. Believe in the power of divination. The Universe has a plan for each and every one of us. Work with it, not against it.
    5. Become forgiving. We are all here to learn life's lessons.
    6. Know that you make your own luck, success and prosperity. These things come from opening your mind, listening and taking action from the knowledge that you acquire.
    7. Trust your inner vision.
    8. Love yourself so that you can love others more.
    9. Express your creativity. It is truly the outlet of the soul.
    10. Always choose truth — it will truly set you free.

     
  100. Hands!

    A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
    A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million.
    It depends whose hands it's in.

    A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
    A baseball in Johan Santana's hands is worth $4.75 million.
    It depends on whose hands it's in.

    A tennis racket is useless in my hands.
    A tennis racket in Venus Williams' hands is championship winning.
    It depends whose hands it's in.

    A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal
    A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea.
    It depends whose hands it's in.

    A sling shot in my hands is a kid's toy
    A sling shot in David's hand is a mighty weapon.
    It depends whose hands it's in.

    Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
    Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God's hands will feed thousands.
    It depends whose hands it's in.

    Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.
    Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will
    Produce salvation for the entire world.
    It depends whose hands it's in.

    As you see now it depends whose hands it's in.
    So put your concerns, your worries, your fears,
    Your hopes, your dreams, your families
    And your relationships in God's hands because...

    It depends whose hands it's in.

  101. Stress Management

    A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?"

    Answers called out ranged from 8oz. To 20oz.

    The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it."

    "If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance."

    "In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

    He continued, "And that"s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won"t be able to carry on."

    "As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."

    "So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work/life down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested.

    "Life is short. Enjoy!"

    And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

    1. Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue
    2. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
    3. Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
    4. Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.
    5. If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
    6. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
    7. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
    8. Never buy a car you can't push.
    9. Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
    10. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
    11. Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
    12. The second mouse gets the cheese.
    13. When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
    14. Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
    15. You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
    16. Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
    17. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
    18. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

     
  102. Here are some recommendations to creating a healthy belief that will serve you well
    1. Know that you are deserving!
      Each and everyone of us is special and we deserve all that the Universe is able to give us.
      We are all deserving and the world is full of endless possibilities.
    2. Allow abundance to flow into your life.
      So many of us are impeding the flow of abundance because deep down inside we don't believe we can have it. These are self created ideas that are, not only self-destructive, but self limiting.
    3. Examine your negative beliefs.
      What is blocking your path?
      Do you have a block about money? Or is it a block about love? Stop and really put these issues under the microscope. What is the true connection between you and this belief? Is this something that you are told when you were young and you literally grew into this belief? Does this belief have value?
    4. Release that belief that no longer serves you.
      Dare to re-evaluate your own truth. Stand in your own power. Release any old, hurtful or useless ideas that are holding you back . Have the willingness to look beyond because that holds the greatest possibilities that you seek.
    5. Be a happy camper!
      You are fully responsible for whether there is a smile or a frown on your face. You are responsible for whether this experience of life on earth is pleasant or painful. It is your choice. If you believe you are happy, make a list of 12 things that bring you joy and celebrate them. If you believe you are not happy, make a list of the 6 things that do not make you happy. Then evaluate those 6 items. You will find a solution for each.
    6. Love yourself.
      Honor who you are. Honor and appreciate all that you do for yourself and all the hard work that it took to get you there. Appreciate your individualism. Energy follows thought so program your thoughts to be positive and they will be reflected.

     
  103. If a dog was the teacher you would learn stuff like:
    • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
    • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
    • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
    • When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.
    • Let others know when they've invaded your territory.
    • Take naps.
    • Run, romp, and play daily.
    • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
    • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
    • On warm days, stop to lie on your back in the grass.
    • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
    • When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
    • No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout .. Run right back and make friends.
    • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
    • Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
    • Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not.
    • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
    • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
    • And never trust anyone until you have sniffed their butt.

     
  104. Discontentment in the USA

    The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true, given the source, right?

    The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed, and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence, 2/3's of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change.

    So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What are we so unhappy about?''

    Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

    Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

    Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

    Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time, and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

    Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?

    Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

    I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.

    Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all, and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

    Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings.

    Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes , an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

    This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

    How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?

    Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

    Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have , and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

    I know, I know. What about the President who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The President who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same President who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The President that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks?

    The Commander-In Chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad?

    Think about it.... Are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the "Media" told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

    Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go.

    They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a "general" discharge, an "other than honorable" discharge or, worst case scenario, a "dishonorable" discharge after a few days in the brig.

    So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds, it leads; and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells , and when criticized, try to defend their actions by "justifying" them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about "how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way"...Insane!

    Stop buying the negativism you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.

    We are among the most blessed people on Earth, and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.

  105. Fatherhood from a Child's Perspective
     
    • 4 years: My Daddy can do anything!
    • 7 years: My Dad knows a lot — a whole lot.
    • 8 years: My father does not know quite everything.
    • 12 years: Oh well, naturally Father does not know that either.
    • 14 years: Oh, Father? He is hopelessly old-fashioned.
    • 21 years: Oh, that man..., he is out of date!
    • 25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
    • 30 years: I must find out what Dad thinks about it.
    • 35 years: Before we decide, we will get Dad's idea first.
    • 50 years: What would Dad have thought about that?
    • 60 years: My Dad knew literally everything!
    • 65 years: I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.

     
  106. Healing the Africa in us

    Heart-shaped Africa is the feeling centre of the world. Continents are metaphors as much as they are places. And a people are spiritual states of humanity as distinguishable in what they represent as lilies and roses and daffodils.

    Have we forgotten what Africa is? Africa is our dreamland, is our spiritual homeland. There is a realm inside every human being that is Africa. We all have an Africa within us. And so when the Africa outside is sick with troubles, the Africa inside us makes us ill with neuroses. The sheer quantity of neuroses, of anorexia, of inexplicable psychic illness in the world is possibly indirectly due to the illness, the troubles in Africa. We have to heal the Africa in us if we are going to be whole again. We have to heal the Africa outside us if the human race is going to be at peace again in a new dynamic way. There is a relationship between the troubles in a people and the troubles in the world, in the atmosphere. The troubles of Africa contribute immensely to the sheer weight and size of world suffering. And this world suffering affects everyone on this planet, affects children and their health, affects our sleep, our anxiety, our unknown suffering; for it is possible to suffer without knowing it.

    And so we have to heal our Africa within. We have to re-discover the true Africa, the Africa of laughter, of joy, of originality, of improvisation, the Africa of legend, of story-telling, of playfulness, the Africa of brilliant colours, the Africa of generosity, of hospitality and kindness to strangers, the Africa of immense compassion, the Africa of wisdom, of proverbs, of divination, of paradox, the Africa of ingenuity, and surprise, the Africa of a four-dimensional attitude to time, the Africa of magic, of faith, of patience, of endurance, of a profound knowledge of nature's ways and the secret cycles of destiny.

    We have to re-discover Africa. The first discovery of Africa by Europe was the wrong one. It was not a discovery. It was an act of misperception. They saw, and bequeathed to future ages, an Africa based on what they thought of as important. They did not see Africa. And this wrong seeing of Africa is part of the problems of today. Africa was seen from a point of view of greed, of what could be got from it. And what you see is what you make. What you see in a people is what you eventually create in them. It is now time for a new seeing. It is now time to clear the darkness from the eyes of the Western world.

    The world should now begin to see the light in Africa, to see its sunlight, to see its brightness, its brilliance, its beauty. If we see it, it will be revealed. We only see what we see. Only what we see, what we see anew, is revealed to us. Africa has been waiting, for centuries, to be discovered with eyes of love, the eyes of a lover. There is no true seeing without love. We have to learn to love the Africa in us if humanity is going to begin to know true happiness on this earth.

    We love the America in us. We love the Europe in us. The Asia in us we are beginning to respect. Only the Africa in us is unloved, unseen, unappreciated. The first step towards the regeneration of humanity is making whole again all these great continents within us. We are the sum total of humanity. Every individual is all of humanity. It is Africa's turn to smile. That will be the loveliest gift of the 21st century: to make Africa smile again.

    Then humanity can begin to think of the universe, even the most remote stars, as its true home.

    Ben Okri is a Nigerian writer living in London. His book The Famished Road won the prestigious Booker Prize. Okri is among Africa's most renowned writers. He wrote this article exclusively for Ode magazine.
  107. The Faces of Evil

    In his book People of the Lie, Scott Peck surveyed the types of evil and concluded, with Paul, that the most dangerous type is the most subtle. We all condemn bullies and child abusers — but what of controlling, manipulative parents who may have an equally devastating effect on their children?

    Peck came up with these surprising characteristics of evil: scapegoating behavior, intolerance to criticism, pronounced concern with a public image and self-image of respectability, and intellectual deviousness.

  108. Tequila and Salt

    This should probably be taped to your bathroom mirror where one could read it every day. You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.

    1. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.
    2. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
    3. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
    4. You mean the world to someone.
    5. You are special and unique.
    6. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
    7. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.
    8. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take another look.
    9. Always remember the compliments you received.
      Forget about the rude remarks.

     
  109. Always remember....
     
    • When life hands you lemons,
      Ask for tequila and salt and call me over!
    • Good friends are like stars...,
      You don't always see them,
      But you know they are always there.
    • Whenever God closes one door He always opens another, even though sometimes it's hell in the hallway'
    • I would rather have one rose and a kind word from a friend while I'm here than a whole truck load when I'm gone.

     
  110. Qualities Common To Good Relationships
    By Leo Buscaglia, based upon 600 responses to 1,000 surveys)
    1. Communication
    2. Affection
    3. Forgiveness
    4. Honesty
    5. Vulnerability
    6. Dependability
    7. Sense of Humor
    8. Romance & Sex
    9. Patience & Freedom
       
  111. Anyway....

    People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered.
         Love them anyway.
    The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
         Do good anyway.
    Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
         Be honest and frank anyway.
    What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
         Build anyway.
    People really need help, but may attack you if you do help them.
         Help them anyway.
    Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
         Give the world the best you have anyway.

    You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God.
         It was never between you and them anyway. (Mother Teresa — possibly modified from an article by Kent M. Keith)
     

  112. No Safe Investment

    There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with little hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.
         I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God's will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness. We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armor. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as a way in which they should break, so be it. (CS Lewis)
     

  113. One Day at a Time
     
    • Worry — the most useless thing to do
    • Giving — the greatest Joy
    • Loss of self-respect — the greatest loss
    • Helping others — the most satisfying work
    • Selfishness — the ugliest personality trait
    • Dedicated leaders — the most endangered species
    • Encouragement — the greatest "shot in the arm"
    • Pride — the greatest problem to overcome
    • Peace of mind — most effective sleeping pill
    • Excuses — most crippling failure disease
    • Love — the most powerful force
    • A gossiper — the most dangerous pariah
    • Hope — the worst thing to be without
    • The tongue — the deadliest weapon
    • "I Can" — the two most power-filled words
    • Faith — the greatest asset
    • Self-pity — the most worthless emotion
    • Integrity — the most prized possession
    • A smile — the most beautiful attire
    • Prayer — the most powerful channel of communication
    • Enthusiasm — the most contagious spirit
    • GOD — the most important thing

     
  114. Real Friends vs. Fake

    FAKE FRIENDS: Never ask for food.
    REAL FRIENDS: is the reason you have no food.

    FAKE FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr / Mrs
    REAL FRIENDS: Call your parents DAD/MOM

    FAKE FRIENDS: bail you out of jail and tell you what you did was wrong
    REAL FRIENDS: Would sit next to you saying 'Dawg ... We screwed up... But that was fun!'

    FAKE FRIENDS: never seen you cry
    REAL FRIENDS: cry with you

    FAKE FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back
    REAL FRIENDS: keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours

    FAKE FRIENDS: know a few things about you
    REAL FRIENDS: Could write a book about you with direct quotes from you

    FAKE FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that is what the crowd is doing
    REAL FRIENDS: Will kick the whole crowds butt that left you

    FAKE FRIENDS: Would knock on your front door
    REAL FRIENDS: Walk right in and say 'I'M HOME!'

    FAKE FRIENDS: Are for awhile
    REAL FRIENDS: Are for life

    FAKE FRIENDS: will talk bad to the person who talks bad about you.
    REAL FRIENDS: Will knock the person out that talked bad about you

    FAKE FRIENDS: Would ignore this
    REAL FRIENDS: Will send this to all their real friends and hope to get it back!

    If you were killed today, I'm sorry I wouldn't be able to come to your Funeral, because I'd be in jail for killing the person who did it.

  115. Letter from Jesus regarding Christmas

    Dear Children,

    It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival.

    Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime, how I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. Actually, I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

    If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

    Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15:1-8.

    If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

    1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.
    2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.
    3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.
    4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.
    5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
    6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.
    7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families
    8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary — especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.
    9. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.
    10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

    Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember:

    I LOVE YOU.

    JESUS

  116. Erickson's Final Two Stages
    Middle-Age Adult
    Generativity vs Stagnation
    Seeks satisfaction through productivity in career, family, and civic interests

    Older Adult
    Integrity vs Despair
    Reviews life accomplishments, deals with loss and preparation for death

  117. The Most Powerful Book in America

    They lie on the table side by side
    The Holy Bible and the TV guide.
    One is well worn and cherished with pride.
    Not the Bible, but the TV guide.

    One is used daily to help folks decide.
    No, not the Bible, but the TV guide.
    As the pages are turned, what shall they see.
    Oh, what does it matter, turn on the TV.

    Then confusion reigns, they can't all agree
    On what they should watch on the old TV.
    So they open the book in which they confide,
    No, not the Bible, but the TV guide.

    The Word of God is seldom read,
    Maybe a verse as they fall into bed.
    Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be;
    Not from reading the Bible, from watching TV.

    So then back to the table side by side,
    Lie the Holy Bible and the TV guide.
    No time for prayer, no time for the Word,
    The plan of Salvation is seldom heard.

    But forgiveness of sin, so full and free,
    Is found in the Bible, not on TV.
    Choose which book will rule your family.

         (Anonymous)

  118. 21 Pieces of Good Advice
    1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
    2. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
    3. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
    4. When you say, "I love you," mean it.
    5. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.
    6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
    7. Believe in love at first sight.
    8. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't have much.
    9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.
    10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
    11. Don't judge people by their relatives.
    12. Talk slowly but think quickly.
    13. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"
    14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
    15. Say "God bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.
    16. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
    17. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
    18. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
    19. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it..
    20. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
    21. Spend some time alone.

     
  119. If you're not a Jay Leno fan...

    ... read what he wrote anyway. My respect and esteem for him has really increased.

    "The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right?

    The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change.

    So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What we are so unhappy about?''

    Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

    Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

    Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes , an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

    How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

    Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have , and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

    I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks?

    The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad?

    Think about it..., are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the "Media" told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

    Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go.

    They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a "general" discharge, an "other than honorable" discharge or, worst case scenario, a "dishonorable" discharge after a few days in the brig.

    So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells , and when criticized, try to defend their actions by "justifying" them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way.... Insane!

    Stop buying the negativism you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.

    We are among the most blessed peoples on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.

    With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

  120. Twinkies and Root Beer

    A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of Root Beer and he started his journey.

    When he had gone about three blocks, he met an elderly man. The man was sitting in the park just feeding some pigeons.

    The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the man looked hungry, so he offered him a Twinkie.

    The man gratefully accepted it and smiled at boy. His smile was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer.

    Again, the man smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

    As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the man, and gave him a hug. The man gave him his biggest smile ever.

    When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?

    "He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? God's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

    Meanwhile, the elderly man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked," Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?"

    He replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." However, before his son responded, he added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."

    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Embrace all equally!

  121. 12 Signs of a Spiritual Awakening
     
    1. An increased tendency to let things happen rather than making them happen.
    2. Frequent attacks of smiling.... (I love this one!)
    3. Feelings of being connected to others and nature.
    4. Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
    5. Tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears based on past experiences.
    6. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment....the best!!!!
    7. A loss of ability to worry....isn't this wonderful?
    8. A loss of interest in conflict.
    9. A loss of interest in interrupting the actions of others.
    10. A loss of interest in judging others.
    11. A loss of interest in judging self..., a true state of be-ing.
    12. Gaining the ability to love without expecting anything in return ... which makes living life a complete state of joy.

     
  122. Time Gets Better with Age

    Read it through to the end, it gets better as you go!

    • I've learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sings "Silent Night."
      Age 5
    • I've learned that our dog doesn't want to eat my broccoli either.
      Age 7
    • I've learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back.
      Age 9
    • I've learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up again.
      Age 12
    • I've learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try cheering someone else up.
      Age 14
    • I've learned that although it's hard to admit it, I'm secretly glad my parents are strict with me.
      Age 15
    • I've learned that silent company is often more healing than words of advice.
      Age 24
    • I've learned that brushing my child's hair is one of life's great pleasures.
      Age 26
    • I've learned that wherever I go, the world's worst drivers have followed me there.
      Age 29
    • I've learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it.
      Age 30
    • I've learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don't know how to show it.
      Age 42
    • I've learned that you can make some one's day by simply sending them a little note.
      Age 44
    • I've learned that the greater a person's sense of guilt, the greater his or her need to cast blame on others.
      Age 46
    • I've learned that children and grandparents are natural allies.
      Age 47
    • I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
      Age 48
    • I've learned that singing "Amazing Grace" can lift my spirits for hours.
      Age 49
    • I've learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the phone.
      Age 50
    • I've learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
      Age 51
    • I've learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet full of pills.
      Age 52
    • I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly after they die.
      Age 53
    • I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
      Age 58
    • I've learned that if you want to do something positive for your children, work to improve your marriage.
      Age 61
    • I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
      Age 62
    • I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
      Age 64
    • I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
      Age 65
    • I've learned that whenever I decide something with kindness,I usually make the right decision.
      Age 66
    • I've learned that everyone can use a prayer.
      Age 72
    • I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.
      Age 82
    • I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch-holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
      Age 90
    • I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.
      Age 92

     
  123. Heaven and Hell

    Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment — even to death.

    If one had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy....

    I imagine somebody will say, 'Well if one is allowed to condemn the enemy's acts, and punish him, and kill him, what difference is left between Christian morality and the ordinary view?'

    All the difference in the world....

    Remember, we Christians think man lives forever. Therefore, what really matters is those little marks or twists on the central, inside part of the soul which are going to turn it, in the long run, into a heavenly or hellish creature. We may kill if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating. We may punish if necessary, but we must not enjoy it.

    In other words something inside us, the feeling of resentment, the feeling that wants to get one's own back, must simply be killed. (CS Lewis)

  124. God's Existence

    If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents — the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else's. But if their thoughts — i.e., Materialism and Astronomy — are mere accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It's like expecting the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk-jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset. (CS Lewis)

    My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such a violent reaction against it...? Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if i did that, then my argument against God collapsed too — for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist — in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless — I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality — namely my idea of justice — was full of sense. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never have known it was dark. Dark would be without meaning. (CS Lewis)

  125. The Little Things

    As you might know, the head of a company survived 9/11 because his son
    Started kindergarten.

    Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to
    Bring donuts.

    One woman was late because her
    Alarm clock didn't go off in time.

    One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike
    Because of an auto accident.

    One of them
    Missed his bus.

    One spilled food on her clothes and had to take
    Time to change.

    One's
    Car wouldn't start.

    One went back to
    Answer the telephone.

    One had a child that dawdled
    And didn't get ready as soon as he should have.

    One couldn't
    Get a taxi.

    The one that struck me was the man
    Who put on a new pair of shoes that morning,
    Took the various means to get to work
    But before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot.
    He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.
    That is why he is alive today.

    Now when I am
    Stuck in traffic,
    Miss an elevator,
    Turn back to answer a ringing telephone...
    All the little things that annoy me.
    I think to myself,
    This is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment...

    Next time your morning seems to be
    Going wrong,

    The children are slow getting dressed,
    You can't seem to find the car keys,
    You hit every traffic light,
    Don't get mad or frustrated;
    God is at work watching over you.

    May God continue to bless you
    With all those annoying little things
    And may you remember their possible purpose.

  126. Don't Close Your Blinds

    The other day, my nine year old son wanted to know why we were at war. My husband looked at our son and then looked at me. My husband and I were in the Army during the Gulf War and we would be honored to serve and defend our Country again today. I knew that my husband would give him a good explanation. My husband thought for a few minutes and then told my son to go stand in our front living room window. He said "Son, stand there and tell me what you see?" "I see trees and cars and our neighbor's houses," he replied. OK, now I want you to pretend that our house and our yard is the United States of America and you are President Bush."

    Our son giggled and said "OK."

    "Now son, I want you to look out the window and pretend that every house and yard on this block is a different country" my husband said. "OK Dad, I'm pretending."

    "Now I want you to stand there and look out the window and pretend you see Saddam come out of his house with his wife, he has her by the hair and is hitting her. You see her bleeding and crying. He hits her in the face, he throws her on the ground, then he starts to kick her to death. Their children run out and are afraid to stop him, they are screaming and crying, they are watching this but do nothing because they are kids and they are afraid of their father. You see all of this, son....what do you do?"

    "Dad?"

    "What do you do son?"

    "I'd call the police, Dad."

    "OK. Pretend that the police are the United Nations. They take your call. They listen to what you know and saw but they refuse to help. What do you do then son?"

    "....but the police are supposed to help!" My son starts to whine.

    "They don't want to son, because they say that it is not their place or your place to get involved and that you should stay out of it," my husband says.

    "But Dad ... he killed her!!" my son exclaims.

    "I know he did ... but the police tell you to stay out of it. Now I want you to look out that window and pretend you see our neighbor who you're pretending is Saddam turn around and do the same thing to his children"

    "Daddy ... he kills them?"

    "Yes son, he does. What do you do?"

    "Well, if the police don't want to help, I will go and ask my next door neighbor to help me stop him," our son says.

    "Son, our next door neighbor sees what is happening and refuses to get involved as well. He refuses to open the door and help you stop him," my husband says.

    "But Dad, I NEED help!!! I can't stop him by myself!!"

    "WHAT DO YOU DO SON?" Our son starts to cry.

    "OK, no one wants to help you, the man across the street saw you ask for help and saw that no one would help you stop him. He stands taller and puffs out his chest. Guess what he does next son?"

    "What Daddy?"

    "He walks across the street to the old ladies house and breaks down her door and drags her out, steals all her stuff and sets her house on fire and then ...he kills her. He turns around and sees you standing in the window and laughs at you. WHAT DO YOU DO?"

    "Daddy ..."

    "WHAT DO YOU DO?" Our son is crying and he looks down and he whispers, "I'd close the blinds, Daddy."

    My husband looks at our son with tears in his eyes and asks him.

    "Why?"

    "Because Daddy ...the police are supposed to help people who needs them ...and they won't help ... You always say that neighbors are supposed to HELP neighbors, but they won't help either ...they won't help me stop him ...I'm afraid...I can't do it by myself. Daddy ...I can't look out my window and just watch him do all these terrible things and ...and ..do nothing ...so ...I'm just going to close the blinds so I can't see what he's doing ...and I'm going to pretend that it is not happening."

    I start to cry. My husband looks at our nine year old son standing in the window, looking pitiful and ashamed at his answers to my husband's questions and he says...

    "Son" "Open the blinds because that man ..He's at your front door ... "NOW WHAT DO YOU DO?"

    My son looks at his father, anger and defiance in his eyes. He balls up his tiny fists and looks his father square in the eyes, without hesitation he says: " I DEFEND MY FAMILY DAD!! I'M NOT GONNA LET HIM HURT MOMMY OR MY SISTER, DAD!!! I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM, DAD, I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM!!!!!"

    I see a tear roll down my husband's cheek and he grabs our son to his chest and hugs him tight, and says .. " It's too late to fight him, he's too strong and he's already at YOUR front door son ... you should have stopped him BEFORE he killed his wife, and his children and the old lady across the way. You have to do what's right, even if you have to do it alone, before its too late," my husband whispers.

  127. The next time you feel like GOD can't use you

    Just remember...

    • Noah was a drunk
    • Abraham was too old
    • Isaac was a daydreamer
    • Jacob was a liar
    • Leah was ugly
    • Joseph was abused
    • Moses had a stuttering problem
    • Gideon was afraid
    • Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
    • Rahab was a prostitute
    • Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
    • David had an affair and was a murderer
    • Elijah was suicidal
    • Isaiah preached naked
    • Jonah ran from God
    • Naomi was a widow
    • Job went bankrupt
    • Peter denied Christ
    • The Disciples fell asleep in a prayer meeting
    • Martha worried about everything
    • The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
    • Zaccheus was too small
    • Paul was too religious
    • Timothy had an ulcer...
      AND
    • Lazarus was dead!

     
  128. The truth

    If God be just, I, a sinner, alone and without a substitute, must be punished; but Jesus stands in my stead and is punished for me; and now, if God be just, I, a sinner, standing in Christ, can never be punished. God must change His nature before one soul, for whom Jesus was a substitute, can ever by any possibility suffer the lash of the law. Therefore, Jesus having taken the place of the believer — having rendered a full equivalent to divine wrath for all that His people ought to have suffered as the result of sin, the believer can shout with glorious triumph, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" Not God, for He hath justified; not Christ, for He hath died, "yea rather hath risen again." My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, He is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. On the lion of justice the fair maid of hope rides like a queen. (Spurgeon)

  129. Wake up!

    Never disregard a conviction that the Holy Spirit brings to you. If it is important enough for the Spirit of God to bring it to your mind, it is the very thing He is detecting in you. You were looking for some big thing to give up, while God is telling you of some tiny thing that must go. But behind that tiny thing lies the stronghold of obstinacy, and you say, "I will not give up my right to myself" — the very thing that God intends you to give up if you are to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. (Oswald Chambers)

  130. "Excuse me, Are you Jesus?"

    A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago . They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

    ALL BUT ONE !!! He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

    He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.

    He was glad he did.

    The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

    The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.

    When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?" She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly."

    As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister...." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes.

    She continued, "Are you Jesus?"

  131. NEVER ALONE

    Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage? His dad takes him into the forest and leaves him alone, blindfolded.

    He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not take off the blindfold until the ray of sun shines through it. He is all by himself. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience. Each lad must come into his own manhood.

    The boy was terrified. He could hear all kinds of noise...Beasts were all around him. Maybe even some human would hurt him. The wind blew the grass and earth. And it shook his stump. But he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could be a man.

    Finally, after a horrific night, the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he saw his father sitting on the stump next to him. His father had been on watch the entire night.

    We are never alone. Even when we do not know it, our Father is protecting us.... He is sitting on the stump beside us.

    All we have to do is know that he is there.

  132. What the World is Like

    If we could reduce the world's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, the demographics would look something like this:

    • 60 Asians
    • 12 Europeans
    • 5 US Americans and Canadians
    • 8 Latin Americans
    • 14 Africans

    Here are some demographics:

    • 49 would be female
    • 51 would be male
    • 82 would be non-white
    • 18 white
    • 89 heterosexual
    • 11 homosexual
    • 33 would be Christian
    • 67 would be non-Christian

    Some more interesting analysis:

    • 5 would control 32% of the entire world's wealth, and all of them would be US citizens
    • 80 would live in substandard housing
    • 24 would not have any electricity
      (And of the 76% that do have electricity, most would only use it for light at night.)
    • 67 would be unable to read
    • 1 (only one) would have a college education.
    • 50 would be malnourished and 1 dying of starvation
    • 33 would be without access to a safe water supply
    • 1 would have HIV
    • 1 near death
    • 2 would be near birth
    • 7 people would have access to the Internet

    Think of it!
    If you woke up this morning with more health than sickness, you are luckier than the million that will not survive this week.

    If you have never experienced a war,
    a loneliness of an imprisonment,
    an agony of tortures
    or a famine

    You are happier, than 500 million persons in this world.

    If you are able to go to church, mosque or synagogue without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death,
    you are happier, than 3 billion persons in this world.

    • If there is a meal in your refrigerator,
    • if you are dressed and have got shoes,
    • if you have a bed and a roof above your head,

    then you are better off, than 75% of people in this world.

    If your parents are still alive and still married,
    then you are a rarity.

    • If you have a bank account,
    • money in your purse
    • and there is some trifle in your coin box,
      you belong to 8% of well-provided people in this world.

    Someone has said once:

    • Work like you don't need money,
    • Love like you've never been hurt,
    • Dance like nobody's watching,
    • Sing like nobody's listening,
    • Be surprised, like you were born yesterday,
    • Tell the truth and you don't have to remember anything,
    • Live like it's Heaven on Earth.

    This is your World!
    And you are able to make changes!
    Hasten to do good works!

    Think of it!

  133. My Wish for You in 2007

    May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts. May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills. May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips! May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires and may happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy. May the problems you had, forget your home address! In simple words ....

    May 2007 be the best year of your life!!!
     

  134. 25 Beautiful One-liners
     
    1. Give God what's right.... Not what's left.
    2. Man's way leads to hopeless end.... God's way leads to an endless hope.
    3. A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing.
    4. He who kneels before God can stand before anyone.
    5. In the sentence of life, the devil may be a comma, but never let him be the period.
    6. Don't put a question mark where God puts a period.
    7. Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to the church for a face-lift.
    8. When praying, don't give God instructions.... Just report for duty.
    9. Don't wait for six strong men to take you to church.
    10. We don't change God's message.... His message changes us.
    11. The church is prayer-conditioned.
    12. When God ordains, He sustains.
    13. WARNING: Exposure to the Son may prevent burning.
    14. Plan ahead.... It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
    15. Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory position.
    16. Suffering from truth decay?
      Brush up on your Bible.
    17. Exercise daily.... Walk with the Lord.
    18. Never give the devil a ride....
      He will always want to drive.
    19. Nothing else ruins the truth like stretching it.
    20. Compassion is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.
    21. He who angers you controls you.
    22. Worry is the darkroom in which negatives can develop.
    23. Give Satan an inch & he'll be a ruler.
    24. Be ye fishers of men....
      You catch them & He'll clean them.
    25. God doesn't call the qualified,
      He qualifies the called.

     
  135. Spring

    If spring came but once a century instead of once a year or bust forth with the sound of an earthquake and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts, to behold the miraculous change. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
     

  136. Prayer

    May the Holy One of Blessing enable each of us to find the Way we are meant to walk along. As we travel on it, may we discover the strength and wisdom that lies within each of us, and may we always find comfort and feel at home in our faith. May this be God's will. Amen! (Chaplain Rabbi Mona Alfi)
     

  137. Rene Descartes' View of God

    When I consider the fact that I have doubts, or that I am a thing that is incomplete and dependent, then there arises in me a clear and distinct idea of a being, who is independent and complete, that is, an idea of God. And from the mere fact that there is such an idea within me, or that I who possess this idea exist, I clearly infer that God also exists, and that every single moment of my entire existence depends on him.... And now, from this contemplation of the true God, in whom all the treasures of wisdom and the sciences lie hidden, I think I can see a way forward to the knowledge of other things.
     

  138. Ways to Deal with the Burdens of Life
     
    • Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
    • Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
    • Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
    • Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
    • If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
    • If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
    • It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others.
    • Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
    • Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
    • The second mouse gets the cheese.
    • When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
    • Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
    • Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
    • We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty, and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
    • A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

     
  139. Two Horses

    Just up the road from my home is a field with two horses in it. From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing. Looking into the eyes of one horse you will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.

    If nearby and listening, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to her halter is a small bell. It lets her blind friend know where she is so he can follow her. As you stand and watch these two friends, you'll see how she is always checking on him and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray. When she returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, she stops occasionally and looks back, making sure her friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell.

    Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need. Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others see.

    Good friends are like this. You don't always see them, but you know they are always there. Please listen for my bell and I will listen for yours.

  140. Instructions for Life

    This is what The Dalai Lama has to say for 2006.

    • Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
    • When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
    • Follow the three R's:
      1. Respect for self,
      2. Respect for others and
      3. Responsibility for all your actions.
    • Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
    • Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
    • Don't let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
    • When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
    • Spend some time alone every day.
    • Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
    • Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
    • Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
    • A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
      In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
    • Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
    • Be gentle with the earth.
    • Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
    • Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
    • Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
    • Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

     
  141. Veteran

    It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,
    who has given us freedom of religion.

    It is the VETERAN, not the reporter,
    who has given us freedom of the press.

    It is the VETERAN, not the poet,
    who has given us freedom of speech.

    It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,
    who has given us freedom to assemble.

    It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer,
    who has given us the right to a fair trial.

    It is the VETERAN, not the politician,
    Who has given us the right to vote.
     

  142. Do you remember when...?
     
    • All the girls had ugly gym uniforms?
    • It took five minutes for the TV warm up?
    • Nearly everyone's Mom was at home when the kids got home from school?
    • Nobody owned a purebred dog?
    • When a quarter was a decent allowance?
    • You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?
    • Your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?
    • All your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels?
    • You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time?
    • And you didn't pay for air? And, you got trading stamps to boot?
    • Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?
    • It was considered a great and rare privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents?
    • They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed. . ...and they did?
    • When a 57 Chevy was everyone's dream car...to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady?
    • When the car doors were never locked?
    • Lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like, "That cloud looks like a...."
    • Playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?
    • Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?

    With all our progress, don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children of today?

    When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home?

    Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat!

    But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.

    Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, "Yeah, I remember that!"?

  143. How many of these do you remember?
     
    • Candy cigarettes
    • Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside
    • Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
    • Coffee shops with jukeboxes
    • Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum
    • Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
    • Newsreels before the movie
    • P.F. Fliers
    • Telephone numbers with a word prefix....(Raymond 4-601).
    • Party lines
    • Peashooters
    • Howdy Doody
    • 45 RPM records
    • Green Stamps
    • Hi-Fi's
    • Metal ice cubes trays with levers
    • Mimeograph paper
    • Beanie and Cecil
    • Roller-skate keys
    • Cork pop guns
    • Drive ins
    • Studebakers
    • Washtub wringers
    • The Fuller Brush Man
    • Reel-To-Reel tape recorders
    • Tinkertoys
    • Erector Sets
    • Lincoln Logs
    • 15 cent McDonald hamburgers
    • 5 cent packs of baseball cards — with that awful pink slab of bubble gum
    • Penny candy
    • 35 cent a gallon gasoline
    • Jiffy Pop popcorn

    Do you remember a time when...

    • Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-moe"?
    • Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "Do Over!"?
    • "Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest?
    • Catching the fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening?
    • It wasn't odd to have two or three "Best Friends"?
    • The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was "cooties"?
    • Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot?
    • A foot of snow was a dream come true?
    • Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute commercials for action figures?
    • "Oly-oly-oxen-free" made perfect sense?
    • Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?
    • The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team?
    • War was a card game?
    • Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?
    • Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin?
    • Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?

    If you can remember most or all of these, then you have lived!!!!!!!

  144. The Bible

    Had I been asked to write a book in order to trick people into monotheism, I would have concocted a tale a lot more consistent, logical, urbane, mathematically verifiable, politically correct, gender-inclusive, cross-cultural, and family-oriented than what we call the Bible. That bit about God — our most devoted parent — asking Abraham to kill his son Isaac? Unhelpful. Cut. The ode to love found in the First Letter to the Corinthians, on the other hand — that's good stuff! I'd stretch it out to a whole book of love poetry and stick it in front of Genesis, to show why God bothered with humanity. And I'd try hard to get a quote from Jesus about homosexuals.

    But God's book is already written, and — for reasons only he knows — the tricky passages remain. I tell myself, as G.K. Chesterton put it, that truth must be stranger than fiction, because "fiction is the creation of the human mind and therefore congenial to it." My wager's on the Great Uncongenial. In spite of its many riddles, God's letter to his children is an engrossing thriller about Love on a mission to ravish the world. (Agnieszka Tennant)

  145. St. Theresa's Blessing:

    May today there be peace within.
    May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
    May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
    May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you....
    May you be content knowing you are a child of God....
    Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
     

  146. An indigenous Christian

    ...in any culture is one committed to follow Jesus Christ and obey His commands as he understands and applies Scriptures to his own life and culture under the guidance and enabling of the Holy Spirit in fellowship with other believers.
     

  147. Hope you are drinking from your saucer too....

    I've never made a fortune, and it's probably too late now.
    But I don't worry about that much, I'm happy anyhow
    And as I go along life's way,
    I'm reaping better than I sowed.
    I'm drinking from my saucer,
    'Cause my cup has overflowed.

    Haven't got a lot of riches,
    And sometimes the going's tough
    But I've got loving ones all around me,
    And that makes me rich enough.
    I thank God for his blessings,
    And the mercies He's bestowed.
    I'm drinking from my saucer,
    'Cause my cup has overflowed.

    I remember times when things went wrong,
    My faith wore somewhat thin.
    But all at once the dark clouds broke,
    And the sun peeped through again.
    So Lord, help me not to gripe,
    About the tough rows I have hoed.
    I'm drinking from my saucer,
    'Cause my cup has overflowed.

    If God gives me strength and courage,
    When the way grows steep and rough.
    I'll not ask for other blessings,
    I'm already blessed enough.
    And may I never be too busy,
    To help others bear their loads.
    Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,
    'Cause my cup has overflowed.
     

  148. Gretchen's Prayer of Daily Resignation

    I trust in You God and know that all things work for Your Good. I have to trust in You and Your Infinite Power and Wisdom and ask for Your Infinite Mercy and Love. I am Your child and through my daily experiences I hope to learn to follow You in all things.

    Love, Your daughter,
    Gretchen
     

  149. Somebody's Raising their Child Right

    One Day, a 6 Year Old Girl Was Sitting In a Classroom.
    The Teacher Was Explaining Evolution To The Children.
    The Teacher Asked a Little Boy:

    TEACHER: Tommy do you see the Tree Outside?
    TOMMY: Yes.
    TEACHER: Tommy, do you see the Grass Outside?
    TOMMY: Yes.

    TEACHER: Go outside and look up and see if you can see the Sky.
    TOMMY: Okay. (He returned a few minutes later)
    Yes, I saw the sky.

    TEACHER: Did You See GOD?
    TOMMY: No.

    TEACHER: That's My Point. We Can't See GOD Because HE Isn't There.
    HE Just Doesn't Exist.

    The Little Girl Spoke Up Wanting To Ask The Boy Some Questions.
    The Teacher Agreed.
    LITTLE GIRL: Tommy, do you see the Tree Outside?
    TOMMY: Yes.

    LITTLE GIRL: Tommy do you! see the Grass Outside?
    TOMMY: Yessssss!!!

    LITTLE GIRL: Did you see the Sky?
    TOMMY: Yessssss!!!

    LITTLE GIRL: Tommy, Do You See The Teacher?
    TOMMY: Yes

    LITTLE GIRL: Do You See Her Brain?
    TOMMY: No

    LITTLE GIRL: Then According To What We Were Taught Today, She doesn't Have One...


     
  150. Eight Things God Won't Ask on that Day He Calls You Home
     
    • God won't ask what kind of car you drove.
      He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.
    • God won't ask the square footage of your house,
      He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
    • God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet,
      He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.
    • God won't ask what your highest salary was.
      He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.
    • God won't ask what your job title was.
      He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.
    • God won't ask how many friends you had.
      He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.
    • God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived,
      He'll ask how you treated your neighbors.
    • God won't ask about the color of your skin,
      He'll ask about the content of your character!!

     
  151. Prayer of St. Patrick

    5th century Ireland was a dreary place, a violent place, with extremes of weather and so much ambient wetness that it was like a petri dish for disease. To get by you needed all the protection you could get. It's little surprise, then, that St. Patrick came up with this prayer:

    Christ be with us, Christ before us, Christ behind us,
    Christ in us, Christ beneath us, Christ above us,
    Christ on our right, Christ on our left,
    Christ where we lie, Christ where we sit, Christ where we arise,
    Christ in the heart of every one who thinks of us,
    Christ in every eye that sees us,
    Christ in every ear that hears us.
    Salvation is of the Lord,

    Salvation is of the Christ,
    May your salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

  152. The wisdom of Joyce Meyers
     
      God may not be pleased with all your behaviors, but He is pleased and delighted with YOU! (Psalm 18:19)
    • Do what you believe is right, follow God's leadership to the best of your ability, then leave the outcome in His hands.
    • "Trials bring patience."
      Trials brought a lot of things around to me before they brought me any patience.
    • Heb. 10:14 — All we have to do is stay in relationship; it is relationship not performance. Not feelings.
    • Dead works = Things you do that produce no good effect.
      Me trying to change Dave is a dead work.
      Trying to get your children to love Jesus is a dead work.
      Guilt is a dead work.
    • The only way you can work through your fears is to do what you need to do afraid.
    • Don't let the fear of man destroy your destiny.
    • We worry about what the world thinks, but the fact is that the world is not as interested in us as we think they are.
    • One of the things we have to press past is the pain of rejection.
    • You can't just keep spraying room deodorizer in your refrigerator; you have to get rid of the root of the oder problem.
    • We pressure too much; we assume too much.
      What God wants us to do is ask.
    • Don't worry about bringing small things to God.
      With God all things are small.
    • A small prayer can head off a big problem.
    • Being unwilling to hear God in one area can make you unable to hear God in another area.
    • You can't find anything physical that the Apostle Paul ever prayed for. Everything he prayed for was spiritual.
    • Do you know how many people come to church mad?
      And half the time they are coming to church with the people they're mad at.
    • The anointing of God is so valuable it makes it worth forgiving people.
    • "The joy of the Lord is your strength."
      The Devil isn't really after your joy, he's after your strength.
    • The reason God never loses His joy is that He has already written the end of the book.
    • Is there anyone in the building who believes Jesus felt like dying on the cross?
    • We can do things we don't feel like doing because we have a will.
    • It doesn't matter if you tell Jesus how you feel as long as you do what you should.
    • There's nothing more powerful than doing what is right even when we don't feel like it.
      That's what walking by faith is.
    • We didn't get into our mess by one mistake and we won't get out by doing one thing right.
    • 1 Peter 3:11 Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace (harmony; undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts) and seek it eagerly. (Amplified)
    • What other people have done to us is nothing compared to what we've done to the Lord.
    • Baby Christians won't ever walk in peace because they will always walk in their feelings.
    • "How many times must we forgive?"
      Enough times to get the job done.
    • We're not called to figure things out; we're called to trust.
    • You are as intimate with God as you have chosen to be.
    • Keep on walking when the devil is stalking.
    • What doesn't feel good is usually what we need the most.
    • Sloppy agape.
    • We've got to have God's government if we want to have His glory.
    • The government of God will lead to the glory of God. But first you are going to suffer. Because the flesh isn't willing to do what the Spirit commands.
    • When circumstances do not change as you want them to, then you are being given an opportunity to grow.
    • You know what makes the hard days harder? Fighting them.
    • It's the why behind the what that God is interested in.
    • You can't have a testimony without a test.
           And when you're finished, give the testimonies and not just the monies.
    • Married people are mad and single people are sad.
      Single people want to have sex and married people don't.
      "The flesh cannot be satisfied."
    • When we murmur and complain we open a door to Satan; when we pray we open a door to God.
    • You never know how juicy your "fruit" is until someone squeezes it.
    • When you're in trouble, you're better off going to the throne than going to the phone.
    • A quality decision is one that you will stick to even when you later don't feel like it.
    • Mistakes are the portals of discovery.

     
  153. Notable Quotes About Prayer
     
    • Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays. (Søren Kierkegaard)
    • No one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it. (Guy H. King)
    • Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines. (Satchel Paige)
    • The trouble with our praying is, we just do it as a means of last resort. (Will Rogers)
    • The value of consistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but that we will hear Him. (William McGill)
    • Prayer may not change things for you, but it for sure changes you for things. (Samuel M. Shoemaker)
    • When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart. (John Bunyan)
    • It is not well for a man to pray cream and live skim milk. (Henry Ward Beecher)
    • I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. (Abraham Lincoln)
    • God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer. (Mother Teresa)
    • What we usually pray to God is not that His will be done, but that He approve ours. (Helga Bergold Gross)
    • We must move from asking God to take care of the things that are breaking our hearts, to praying about the things that are breaking His heart. (Margaret Gibb)
    • We cannot ask in behalf of Christ what Christ would not ask Himself if He were praying. (A.B. Simpson)
    • Just pray for a tough hide and a tender heart. (Ruth Graham)
    • Before we can pray, "Lord, Thy Kingdom come," we must be willing to pray, "My Kingdom go." (Alan Redpath)
    • Some people think that prayer just means asking for things, and if they fail to receive exactly what they asked for, they think the whole thing is a fraud. (Gerald Vann)
    • God has editing rights over our prayers. He will... edit them, correct them, bring them in line with His will and then hand them back to us to be resubmitted. (Stephen Crotts)
    • Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden. (Corrie ten Boom)
       
  154. The Woman and the Fork

    A young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things "in order," she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

    She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

    Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

    "There's one more thing," she said excitedly.

    "What's that?" came the Pastor's reply.

    "This is very important," the young woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."

    The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

    That surprises you, doesn't it?" the young woman asked.

    "Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the Pastor.

    The young woman explained. "My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming...like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!'

    So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder "What's with the fork?" Then I want you to tell them: "Keep your fork the best is yet to come."

    The Pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.

    At the funeral people were walking by the young woman's casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, "What's with the fork?" And over and over he smiled.

    During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

    He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.

    Show your friends how much you care. Remember to always be there for them, even when you need them more. For you never know when it may be their time to "Keep their fork."

    Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share ... being friends with someone is not an opportunity but a sweet responsibility.

  155. The Lamb!
    After the fall of Communism, a little church in the former Soviet Union was given permission to post a sign over their building. Much discussion ensued. What could they write on it? What sign would they use for their tiny church?

    During a prayer meeting, one man quietly volunteered, "I know what to say. I will paint the sign and bring it here tomorrow."

    The next day he returned with the sign. The believers gathered to see its message. Above their door they nailed it, proclaiming to all: "The Lamb Won."
     

  156. Rick Warren's Measure of a Church

    I believe that you measure the health or strength of a church by its sending capacity rather than its seating capacity.
     

  157. Anyway
    People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway.
    The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
    Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
    What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
    People really need help, but may attack you if you do help them. Help them anyway.
    Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.
  158. God's custom combination of capabilities is called your SHAPE:
    Spiritual Gifts
    Heart
    Abilities
    Personality
    Experience
     
  159. The faith of William Carey

    Though the superstitions of the heathen were a thousand times stronger than they are, and the example of the Europeans a thousand times worse; though I were deserted by all and persecuted by all, yet my faith, fixed on the sure Word would rise above all obstructions and overcome every trial, God's cause will triumph.
     

  160. Twenty-One Truths to Ponder
     
    1. Faith is the ability to not panic.
    2. If you worry, you didn't pray; if you pray, don't worry.
    3. As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home every day.
    4. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
    5. When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so God can untangle the knot.
    6. Do the math: count your blessings.
    7. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
    8. Dear God, I have a problem: me.
    9. Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.
    10. Laugh every day; it's like inner jogging.
    11. The most important things in your home are the people.
    12. Growing old is inevitable; growing up is optional.
    13. There is no key to happiness: the door is always open.
    14. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.
    15. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
    16. We do not remember days, but moments. Life moves too fast, so enjoy your precious moments. (Like the saying: "Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but the number of times your breath is taken away.")
    17. Nothing is real to you until you experience it, otherwise it is just hearsay.
    18. It's all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done.
    19. Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The great goals and dreams you're seeking require courage and risk-taking. — turtle — it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.
    20. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
    21. Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.

     
  161. Sin will

    ... take you farther than you ever thought you'd stray
    ... leave you so lost, you think you'll never find your way
    ... keep you longer than you ever thought you'd stay
    ... cost you more than you ever thought you'd pay
     

  162. Church Signs
     
    • Don't wait for the hearse to take you to church.
    • Don't give up.
      Moses was once a basket case.
    • Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due.
    • It's hard to stumble when you're down on your knees.
    • Never give the devil a ride.
      He will always want to drive.
    • Forbidden fruit creates many jams.
    • Christians, keep the faith...
      but not from others!
    • Satan subtracts and divides.
      God multiplies and multiplies.
    • To belittle
      is to be little.
    • Don't let the littleness in others bring out the littleness in you.
    • God answers knee-mail.
    • Try Jesus If you don't like Him,
      the devil will always take you back.

  163. Trust in the Lord

    A woman received a phone call that her daughter was very sick with a fever. She left work and stopped by the pharmacy for some medication for her daughter. When returning to her car she found she had locked her keys inside. She had to get home to her sick daughter, and didn't know what to do.

    She called her home to the baby sitter, and was told her daughter was getting worse. The babysitter said, "You might find a coat hanger and use that to open the door." The woman found an old rusty coat hanger on the ground, as if someone else had locked their keys in their car. Then she looked at the hanger and said, "I don't know how to use this."

    She bowed her head and asked God for help. An old rusty car pulled up, driven by a dirty, greasy, bearded man with a biker skull rag on his head. The woman thought, "Great God. This is what you sent to help me????" But she was desperate, and thankful.

    The man got out of his car and asked if he could help. She said, "Yes, my daughter is very sick. I must get home to her. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"

    He said, "SURE." He walked over to the car and in seconds the car was opened.

    She hugged the man and through her tears she said, "THANK YOU SO MUCH.... You are a very nice man." The man replied, "Lady, I ain't a nice man. I just got out of prison for car theft."

    The woman hugged the man again and cried out loud....

    "THANK YOU GOD FOR SENDING ME A PROFESSIONAL!"

  164. I Wish You

    I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
    I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
    I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
    I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
    I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
    I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
    I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Good-bye."
     

  165. The Shovel of God

    The story is told of a farmer who was known for his generous giving, and whose friends could not understand how he could give so much and yet remain so prosperous.
         One day a friend said: "We can't understand it. You give far more than any of the rest of us, and yet you always seem to have more to give."
         "That's easy to explain," the farmer said. "I keep shoveling into God's bin, and God keeps shoveling back into mine, and God has the bigger shovel."
     

  166. Do What You Want to Do

    In 1960, a researcher interviewed 1500 business-school students and classified them in two categories: those who were in it for the money — 1245 of them — and those who were going to use the degree to do something they cared deeply about — the other 255 people.

    Twenty years later, the researcher checked on the graduates and found that 101 of them were millionaires — and all but one of those millionaires came from the 255 people who had pursued what they loved to do! (Robert K. Cooper)
     

  167. Seven Wonders — How True....

    A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present "The Seven Wonders of the World." Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:

    1. Egypt's Great Pyramids
    2. Taj Mahal
    3. Grand Canyon
    4. Panama Canal
    5. Empire State Building
    6. St. Peter's Basilica
    7. China's Great Wall

    While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one quiet student hadn't turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list.
         The girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind, there were so many."
         The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.
         " The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:

    1. to see
    2. to hear
    3. to touch
    4. to taste
    5. to feel
    6. to laugh
    7. and to love

    The room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.
     

  168. Tammy's Prayer

         Thank you, Lord, for the safe roof over my head, the many clothes in my closet, the abundant food in my life, the freedom I have, the love of people in my life.
         For placing me in such a rich country.
         For the happy choices you have given me.
         For my healing.
         For my education.
         And for all the other treasures you have placed in my life.
         For I know many on this earth have much worse lives than I — without shelter, money, food, or freedom.
         Please help to humble me in my treasures and to always be thankful of all these wonderful things in my life.
         Help me to become a sharp tool to serve you and bring blessings to those who are less fortunate than I.
         Thanks for LIFE, oh Lord, for your Love, for your son, and for your awesome mercy!
         Thank you Lord! Thank you! In Jesus' name I pray.
     

  169. Philippians 4:13 — I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

    The road to success is not straight. There is a curve called Failure,
    a loop called Confusion,
    speed bumps called Friends,
    red lights called Enemies,
    caution lights called Family.

    You will have flats called Jobs.
    But if you have a spare called Determination, an engine called Perseverance,
    insurance called Faith,
    a driver called Jesus,
    you will make it to a place called Success.
     

  170. What Do You Need?
  171. This is an eye opener; some probably never thought nor looked at this Psalm in this way, even though they say it over and over again.
    The Lord is my Shepherd
    That's Relationship!
    I shall not want
    That's Supply!
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures
    That's Rest!
    He leadeth me beside the still waters
    That's Refreshment!
    He restoreth my soul
    That's Healing!
    He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
    That's Guidance!
    For His name sake
    That's Purpose!
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
    That's Testing!
    I will fear no evil
    That's Protection!
    For Thou art with me
    That's Faithfulness!
    Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me
    That's Discipline!
    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies
    That's Hope!
    Thou annointest my head with oil
    That's Consecration!
    My cup runneth over
    That's Abundance!
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
    That's Blessing!
    And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    That's Security!
    Forever
    That's Eternity!

  172. Christian One Liners
     
    1. Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisers.
    2. It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.
    3. The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.
    4. When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there.
    5. People are funny, they want the front of the bus, the middle of the road, and the back of the church.
    6. Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.
    7. Quit griping about your church; if it was perfect, you couldn't belong.
    8. If the church wants a better preacher, it only needs to pray for the one it has.
    9. God Himself does not propose to judge a man until he is dead. So why should you?
    10. To make a long story short, don't tell it.
    11. If your left hand doesn't know what your right hand is doing, you should consider running for a job in Washington, DC.
    12. Some minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
    13. Peace starts with a smile.
    14. I don't know why some people change churches; what difference does it make which one you stay home from?
    15. A lot of church members who are singing "Standing on the Promises" are just sitting on the premises.
    16. We were called to be witnesses, not lawyers or judges.
    17. Outside of traffic, there is nothing that holds this country back as much as committees.
    18. Be ye fishers of men. You catch them — He'll clean them.
    19. Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
    20. Don't put a question mark where God put a period.
    21. Don't wait for six strong men to take you to church.
    22. Forbidden fruits create many jams.
    23. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
    24. God grades on the cross, not the curve.
    25. God loves everyone, but probably prefers "fruits of the spirit" over "religious nuts!"
    26. God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
    27. He who angers you, controls you!
    28. If God is your Co-pilot — swap seats!
    29. Prayer: Don't give God instructions — just report for duty!
    30. The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.
    31. The Will of God will never take you to where the Grace of God will not protect you.
    32. We don't change the message, the message changes us.
    33. You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage him.
    34. The best mathematical equation I have ever seen: 1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given.
    35. "Father, bless all who receive this today, give them the desires of their hearts as that desire is to know you and once they have you...they have it all. Lord give them peace this week and a burning love for others. Give them the heart to be the resurrection and light to the world."
    36. And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. (Abraham Lincoln)

     
  173. The Ten Commandment — Cowboy Style...

    Supposedly, USA Today, in the 3-10-03 edition, had printed "The Cowboy's Ten Commandments" that are printed on a wall at 'Cross Trails Church' in Fairlie, Texas.

    1. Just one God.
    2. Honor yer Ma and Pa.
    3. No tellin' tales or gossipin'.
    4. Git yerself to Sunday meetins'.
    5. Put nothin' before yer God.
    6. No foolin' around with another feller's gal.
    7. No killin'.
    8. Watch yer mouth.
    9. Don't take what ain't yers.
    10. Don't be hankerin' for yer buddies stuff.

     
  174. The Bible in 50 Words!

    God made
    Adam bit
    Noah arked
    Abraham split
    Joseph ruled
    Jacob fooled
    Bush talked
    Moses balked
    Pharaoh plagued
    People walked
    Sea divided
    Tablets guided
    Promise landed
    Saul freaked
    David peeked
    Prophets warned
    Jesus born
    God walked
    Love talked
    Anger crucified
    Hope died
    Love rose
    Spirit flamed
    Word spread
    God remained
     

  175. Teaching the W.O.R.D.
    W.O.R.D. is an acronym for the four activities of this Bible study:
    Wonder about it (ask questions about the text),
    Observe it,
    Reflect on it, and
    Do it!
  176. Conducting a Spiritual Audit By Fred Smith
     
    • Am I content with who I am becoming?
      We must be sure our profession does not consume our person. It's important that we be more than we do or have.
      Also, as we grow older, we must move from power to wisdom. Those who try to hold power too long are resented. Even parents who try to hold power over their children lose the love of their children. However, when we are able to give up power at the right time and become a wisdom figure, then we are useful, honored, and kept in the mainstream.
    • Do I have a flow-through philosophy?
      Scripture says, "He that believeth in me, out of his innermost parts will flow rivers of living water." The freshness is in the flow. The mountain stream is fresh; the Everglades are stagnant. Some of us want to be a lake, not a river. We want to accumulate before we let too much flow through. However, as a Christian, I am to let the blessings flow through me.
    • Is obedience in small matters built into my reflexes?
      Obedience largely determines my relation with Christ following new birth. He says I am his friend if I obey him, therefore I must check my obedience. My good intentions count for little. I can obey God out of fear or from love. Both he and I prefer love.
      Also, how do I handle disobediences? Do I give excuses or confessions? Do I foolishly either carry guilt or try to punish myself for what God alone can forgive — and will?
    • Do I have joy?
      To me, joy is perfected in the full belief in the total sovereignty of God. Doubt dilutes joy.
      I now totally believe that God doesn't need me, he loves me; and I don't work for him to earn his love, I work for him as a result of his love. He lets me work in order to mature me. That brings joy.

     
  177. Looking For A Rose

         John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with the rose.
         His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City.
         He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like.
         When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York. "You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel." So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen.
         I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened:

    A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. "Going my way, sailor?" she murmured. Almost uncontrollably, I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell.
         She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own. And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible; her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her.
         This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. "I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?"
         The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. "I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit that just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!"
         It's not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell's wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive.

         "Tell me whom you love," Houssaye wrote, "And I will tell you who you are."
     

  178. The Power of the Positive

         One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.
         Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.
         It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.
         That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.
         On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much." Were most of the comments.
         No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.
         Several years later, one of the students was killed in Viet Nam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.
         The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.
         As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. She nodded: "yes." Then he said: "Mark talked about you a lot."
         After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.
         "We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."
         Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.
         "Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."
         All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."
         Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."
         "I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary."
         Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: "I think we all saved our lists."
         That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.
     

  179. Samuel Thompson wrote:

         I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December.
         I don't agree with Darwin, but I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his theory of evolution.
         Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game. So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game.
         "But it's a Christian prayer," some will argue. Yes, and this is the United States of America, a country founded on Christian principles. And we are in the Bible Belt. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect-somebody chanting Hare Krishna?
         If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer. If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer. If I went to a ping pong match in China, I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha. And I wouldn't be offended. It wouldn't bother me one bit. When in Rome...
         "But what about the atheists?" is another argument. What about them?
         Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that's asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer. Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations.
         Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating, to pray before we go to sleep. Our Bible tells us just to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying. God, help us. And if that last sentence offends you, well..., just sue me. The silent majority has been silent too long. it's time we let that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard, that the vast majority don't care what they want. it is time the majority rules!
         It's time we tell them, you don't have to pray.. you don't have to say the pledge of allegiance, you don't have to believe in God or attend services that honor Him. That is your right, and we will honor your right.. but by golly you are no longer going to take our rights away..., we are fighting back..., and we WILL WIN! After all, the God you have the right to denounce is on our side!
         God bless us one and all, especially those who denounce Him....
         God bless America, despite all her faults.. still the greatest nation of all....
         God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God....
         May this be the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions.
         Keep looking up....
         In God WE Trust
     

  180. Something to Think About

         At a certain college, there was a professor with a reputation for being tough on Christians. At the first class every semester, he asked if anyone was a Christian and proceeded to degrade and mock their statement of faith.
         One semester, he asked the question and a young man raised his hand when asked if anyone was a Christian. The professor asked, "Did God make everything, young man?"
         "Yes he did, sir," the young man replied. The professor responded, "If God made everything, then God made evil, and if we can only create from within ourselves, then God is evil."
         The student didn't have a response and the professor was happy to have once again proved the Christian faith to be a myth.
         Then another man raised his hand and asked, "May I ask you something, sir?"
         "Yes you may," responded the professor.
         The young man stood up and said, "Sir, is there such thing as cold?"
         "Of course there is, what kind of a question is that? Haven't you ever been cold?"
         The young man replied, "Actually, sir, cold does not exist. What we consider to be cold, is really only the absence of heat. Absolute zero is when there is absolutely no heat, but cold does not really exist. We have only created that term to describe how we feel when heat is not there."
         The young man continued, "Sir, is there such thing as dark?"
         Once again, the professor responded "Of course there is." And once again, the student replied "Actually, sir, darkness does not exist. Darkness is really only the absence of light. Darkness is only a term man developed to describe what happens when there is no light present."
         Finally, the young man asked, "Sir, is there such thing as evil?"
         The professor responded, "Of course. We have rapes, and murders and violence everywhere in the world, those things are evil."
         The student replied, "Actually, sir, evil does not exist. Evil is simply the absence of God. Evil is a term man developed to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. It isn't like truth, or love, which exist as virtues like heat and light. Evil is simply the state where God is not present, like cold without heat or darkness without light."
         The professor had nothing to say.
     

  181. We Didn't Take Them Out

    Senior citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary. We know we take responsibility for all we have done and do not blame others.

    HOWEVER, upon reflection, we would like to point out that it was NOT the senior citizens who took:

    The melody out of music,
    The pride out of appearance,
    The courtesy out of driving,
    The romance out of love,
    The commitment out of marriage,
    The responsibility out of parenthood,
    The togetherness out of the family,
    The learning out of education,
    The service out of patriotism,
    The Golden Rule from rulers,
    The nativity scene out of cities,
    The civility out of behavior,
    The refinement out of language,
    The dedication out of employment,
    The prudence out of spending,
    The ambition out of achievement, or,
    God out of government and school.

    And we certainly are NOT the ones who eliminated patience and tolerance from personal relationships and interactions with others!!
     

  182. He Alone

    He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End!

    He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all!
    He is the Architect of the universe and
    The Manager of all times.
    He always was, He always is, and He always will be ....
    Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone:

    He was bruised and brought healing:
    He was pierced and eased pain:
    He was persecuted and brought freedom:
    He was dead and brought life!
    He is risen and brings power!
    He reigns and brings Peace!

    The world can't understand him,
    The armies can't defeat Him,
    The schools can't explain Him, and
    The leaders can't ignore Him.
    Herod couldn't kill Him,
    The Pharisees couldn't confuse Him, and
    The people couldn't hold Him!
    Nero couldn't crush Him,
    Hitler couldn't silence Him,
    The New Age can't replace Him, and
    Donahue can't explain Him away.

    He is light, love, longevity, and Lord.
    He is goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God...
    He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.
    His ways are right,
    His word is eternal,
    His will is unchanging, and
    His mind is on me.

    He is my Redeemer,
    He is my Savior,
    He is my guide, and
    He is my peace!
    He is my Joy,
    He is my comfort,
    He is my Lord, and
    He rules my life!

    I serve Him because His bond is love,
    His burden is light, and
    His goal for me is abundant life.

    I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise,
    The power of the powerful,
    The ancient of days, the ruler of rulers,
    The leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomers, and
    The sovereign Lord of all that was and is and is to come.

    And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size --
    His goal is a relationship with ME!
    He will never leave me,
    Never forsake me,
    Never mislead me,
    Never forget me,
    Never overlook me, and
    Never -- cancel my appointment in His appointment book!

    When I fall, He lifts me up!
    When I fail, He forgives!
    When I am weak, He is strong!
    When I am lost, He is the way!
    When I am afraid, He is my courage!
    When I stumble, He steadies me!
    When I am hurt, He heals me!
    When I am broken, He mends me!
    When I am blind, He leads me!
    When I am hungry, He feeds me!
    When I face trials, He is with me!
    When I face persecution, He shields me!
    When I face problems, He comforts me!
    When I face loss, He provides for me!
    When I face Death, He carries me Home.

    He is everything for everybody, everywhere,
    Every time, and every way.
    He is God, He is faithful.
    I am His, and He is mine....
    My Father in heaven can whip the father of this world.

    So, if you're wondering why I feeI so secure, understand this...
    He said it and that settles it.
    God is in control, I am on His side, and
    That means all is well with my souI.

    Everyday is a blessing for GOD Is!
    I love the Lord and thank Him for all that he does in my life, therefore, I pass this on. Yes, I do love Jesus.
    He is my source of existence and my Savior.
    He keeps me functioning each and everyday.
    Without Him, I will be nothing.
    Without Him, I am nothing but with Him I can do all things. Philippians 4:13
     

  183. Powell Quote

    When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush.

    "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."
    It became very quiet in the room.
     
  184. A Prayer for the World
    Rabbi Harold S Kushner

    Let the rain come and wash away the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds held and nurtured over generations.
    Let the rain wash away the memory of the hurt, the neglect.
    Then let the sun come out and fill the sky with rainbows.
    Let the warmth of the sun heal us whenever we are broken
    Let it burn away the fog so that we can see each other clearly
    So that we can see beyond labels, beyond accents, gender, or skin color.
    Let the warmth and brightness of the sun melt our selfishness.
    So that we can share the joys and feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
    And let the light of the sun be so strong that we will see all people as our neighbors.
    Let the earth, nourished by rain, bring forth flowers to surround us with beauty.
    And let the mountains teach our hearts to reach upward to heaven.
    Amen
     

  185. The Wisdom of No Escape
    Shambhala, 1991. Pg. 94.

    Once you know that the purpose of life is simply to walk forward and continually to use your life to wake you up rather than put you to sleep, then there's that sense of wholeheartedness about inconvenience, wholeheartedness about convenience.... Comfort orientation murders the spirit.

    Opting for coziness, having that as your prime reason for existing, becomes a continual obstacle to taking a leap and doing something new, doing something unusual, like going as a stranger into a strange land...inconveniences actually perk you up, keep you awake, present gaps in your cozy, seamless reality of centralizing into yourself.

  186. Total Surrender

    Mother Teresa. Edited by Brother Angelo Devananda.
    Walker and Company, New York. 1985. pp.88-89.


    We are called to be contemplatives in the heart of the world by:
    • seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, everywhere, all the time, and his hand in every happening, and especially,
    • seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor, by praying the work, that is, by doing it with Jesus, for Jesus, and to Jesus.
    • Our life of contemplation shall retain the following characteristics:
      • missionary: by going out physically or in spirit in search of souls all over the world.
      • contemplative: by gathering the whole world at the very center of our hearts where the Lord abides, and allowing the pure water of divine grace to flow plentifully and unceasingly from the source itself, on the whole of his creation.
      • universal: by praying and contemplating with all and for all, especially with and for the spiritually poorest of the poor.

     
  187. The Death of Sir Walter Raleigh

    Tomson and two sheriffs led Sir Walter up to the scaffold. He then made his final speech and ended,

    "So I take my leave of you all, making my peace with God."

    Raleigh took off his gown and doublet and asked the headsman to show him the axe. "This is sharp medicine...that will cure all my diseases."
     

  188. Rick Warren's (and Jesus') Advice for Getting Along with Difficult People

    Jesus had to deal with a lot of difficult people. Here are FOUR methods he modeled through his life:

    1. Realize you can't please everybody (John 5:30). Even God can't do that! One wants rain while the other sunshine.
    2. Refuse to play their game (Matthew 22:18). Learn to say no to unrealistic expectations. Confront them by "telling the truth in love."
    3. NEVER retaliate (Matthew 5:38-39). It only lowers you to their level.
    4. Pray for them (Matthew 5:44). It will help both of you. Let God handle them.

    Make this Bible verse your goal this week, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." (Romans 12:18, NIV)
     

  189. George Orwell's Rules for Clear Writing
    1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
    2. Never us a long word where a short one will do.
    3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
    4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
    5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
    6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

     
  190. Four Questions for the Scrupulous Writer, by George Orwell

    A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:

    1. What am I trying to say?
    2. What words will express it?
    3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
    4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

    And he will probably ask himself two more:

    1. Could I put it more shortly?
    2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?

     
  191. Say what?
    George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language,", 1946

    I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:

    I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

    Here it is in modern English:

    Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

     
  192. God's Peace
    Tue, 11 Jan 2003
    From: Pam Hansen

    Through the eyes of a child.

    Becoming Grandparents has been one of the most wonderful experiences of our lives. Natalie is a little angel sent by God to bring us closer to Him in so many ways. The way Natalie sees things and expresses them through the limited language abilities of a two-year-old is simply amazing.

    One of the most precious things that Natalie does is to give God's peace. This is something she takes very seriously. I honestly believe that she passes peace to those whose hands she touches. I often have tears in my eyes at this time in the service. Nsatalie doesn't give God's peace only in church. There are times when we are riding in the truck and she says, "Grandma, give me your hand." She gives it a squeeze and says, "God's peace, Grandma." Talk about bringing you back to the simple truth, the heart of it all; Jesus' love through the eyes of a child.
     

  193. Attitude is Everything
    Mon, 1 Jan 2003
    From: Toni Loomis

    Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a natural motivator.

    If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

    Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.

    Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or.... I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

    Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

    "Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

    "Yes, it is," Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life,"

    I reflected on what Michael said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

    Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

    I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

    "The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon to be born daughter, Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

    "Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Michael continued, "...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read "he's a dead man. I knew I needed to take action."

    "What did you do?" I asked.

    "Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me. Said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. "Yes, I replied." The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, "Gravity."

    Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

    Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that everyday we have the choice to live fully.

    Attitude, after all, is everything.
     

  194. The EMPTY CHAIR...

    A man's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows, and An empty chair sat beside his bed.
         The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. "I guess you were expecting me, he said. "No, who are you?" said the father.
         The minister told him his name and then remarked, "I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up."
         "Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man.
         "Would you mind closing the door?" Puzzled, the minister shut the door.
         "I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. at church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head...."
         "I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day four years ago, my best friend said to me,

    "Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest."

    Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, 'I will be with you always'. then just speak to him in the same way you're doing with me right now...."

         "So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though. if my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."
         The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church.
         Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon.
         "Did he die in peace?" he asked.
         "Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek.
         "When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed.
         "What do you make of that?"
         The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, "I wish we could all go like that."

  195. Carrot, egg or coffee
    Mon, 16 Dec 2002
    From: Laurence Warner — Rae

    (It will take a few minutes to read this, but you will find it worth your time).

    A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

    Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

    In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

    Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.

    The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked. "What's the point, mother?" Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity-boiling water-but each reacted differently.

    The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

    "Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

    Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.

    If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

    When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? How do you handle Adversity? ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN? Don't tell GOD how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your GOD is!

  196. A Reassuring Truth for Difficult Times

    It does not matter where He places me or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me. For the easiest positions, He must give grace; and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient. So, if God places me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance? In positions of great difficulty, much grace? In circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. His resources are mine, for He is mine! (J. Hudson Taylor)

  197. Transformation

    Beware of thinking of our Lord as only a teacher. If Jesus Christ is only a teacher, then all He can do is frustrate me by setting a standard before me I cannot attain. What is the point of presenting me with such a lofty ideal if I cannot possibly come close to reaching it? I would be happier if I never knew it. What good is there in telling me to be what I can never be — to be "pure in heart" (5:8), to do more than my duty, or to be completely devoted to God? I must know Jesus Christ as my Savior before His teaching has any meaning for me other than that of a lofty ideal which only leads to despair. But when I am born again by the Spirit of God, I know that Jesus Christ did not come only to teach — He came to make me what He teaches I should be. (Oswald Chambers)

  198. A Great Invincible Surmise

    I hope you can find some consolation from Christianity's affirmation that death is not the end. Death is not a period that ends the great sentence of life, but a comma that punctuates it to more lofty significance. Death is not a blind alley that leads the human race into a state of nothingness, but an open door which leads man into life eternal. Let this daring faith, this great invincible surmise, be your sustaining power during these trying days.

    (Martin Luther King, Jr. at the funeral of the children killed by a bomb as they attended Sunday school at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham on September 15, 1963)
  199. Christ Was Love
    Fr, 6 Dec 2002
    From: Frosty (Laurence Warner — via Mom & Dad)

    Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations — extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

    My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant." I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.

    Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor.

    Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment — songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

    Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row-center stage — held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."

    The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down — totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W." The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W." Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.

    A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: "CHRIST WAS LOVE."

    And, I believe, He still is.

  200. Ten rules of life
    Date: Tu, 26 Nov 2002
    From: "Lynn Mooney"
    1. You need only two tools: WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape
    2. The five most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship are "I apologize" and "you are right"
    3. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
    4. If he/she says that you are too good for him/her — believe them.
    5. Learn to pick your battles; ask yourself "Will this matter one year from now? How about one month? One week? One day?"
    6. When you make a mistake, make amends immediately. It's easier to eat crow while it's still warm.
    7. If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance!
    8. Living well really is the best revenge. Being miserable because of a bad or former relationship just might mean that the other person was right about you.
    9. Work is good, but it's not that important. Money is nice, but you can't take it with you. Statistics show most people don't live to spend all they saved; some die even before they retire. Anything we have isn't really ours; it was given to us by God; He just let's us borrow it while we're here....even our kids.
    10. And finally... Be really good to your family and/or friends. You never know when you are going to need them to empty your bedpan.

     
  201. What People Should Be Thankful For
    Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2002
    From: "Carolyn Shafer"
    • For wives who say, "It's hot dogs tonight," Because she is home with her family, and not out with someone else.
    • For husbands who are on the sofas being couch potatoes, because they are home with their families and not out at the bars.
    • For teenagers Complaining about doing dishes Because that means she/he is at home, not on the streets.
    • For the taxes that I pay because it means that I am employed.
    • For the mess to clean after a party because it means that I have been surrounded by friends.
    • For the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
    • For my shadow that watches me work because it means my puppy loves me.
    • For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
    • For all the complaining I hear about the government because it means that we have freedom of speech.
    • For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation.
    • For my huge heating bill because it means I am warm.
    • For the lady behind me in church that sings off key because it means that I can hear.
    • For the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.
    • For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been capable of working hard.
    • For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am alive.
      And finally.
    • For too much e-mail because it means I have friends who are thinking of me.

     
  202. Prayer of Thomas Merton

    My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
         And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
         I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
         And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
         Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
     

  203. Onward Christian, What?
    Nov 2002
    "Rhonda Wirtz"

    We'll see you at FCLC NC HBF
    Don't forget to join us, it will be the best.
    Interactive story rooms, games, and candy too.
    Eat at Krum's Krum, win at cake walk, wholesome fun for you.

    Wear your favorite costumes, but scary ones won't do.
    Thursday six-till half past eight, Harvest Bible Fest.
     

  204. Inner Strength
    Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002
    From: "Carolyn Shafer"
     
    • If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,
    • If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
    • If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
    • If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
    • If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
    • If you can overlook when people take things out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
    • If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
    • If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
    • If you can conquer tension without medical help,
    • If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
    • If you can do all these things...

    ...Then you are probably the family dog.
     

  205. Life Support
    Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002
    From: "Carolyn Shafer"
    Subject: A lesson learned from Grandma
         Please forgive a proud mom, but the message below is a post that Sheila put on her Christian Woman's Site. Thought you might enjoy her writing. She's indeed growing up! How is that possible when we're still so young? :-D
         Hugs,
         Carolyn

    Hi, Ladies!
         My grandma was here to visit from a town about two hours north of us the other day. She has emphysema and is on an oxygen tank 24/7. She has a portable tank that is on wheels and it works for about 3 hours or so. After that time she must refill it from the big tank, and off she can go again.
         Because of her health, she has not been up to making the bus trip to visit in two years, so it was a treat to host her in my home and gather my sisters around, and show off my beautiful children to her.
         This morning, the Lord gave me a picture of her and her tank, and how similar it is to my life. If I am sporadic about my time with Him, if I read my Bible occasionally, if I pray and praise only when things are good, I may fill up my tank for a brief time. I might be able to function for a while in the world, but my reserves will soon run dry. Then I am left gasping and struggling to survive. However, if I continually go to the Source, fill up my tank with the Word, with His love, feast on His promises to me, glean His ways for my life, I never have to worry about running low. I can travel about all that life has for me, walking in confidence that I have a full tank and will be able to navigate safely.
         That is what I want for my life, sisters. To walk in the assurance that I have filled up all the empty places, that I might be able and willing to do what the Lord has for me this day and every day. To breathe deeply from the Source, that I may never go dry.
         That is my wish for you as well. That you may walk in the abundance of what He has prepared for you. That you will plug into the only true Source, and breathe deeply of Him. That you will travel upon your own sacred path, secure that you have filled up all the empty places and that you will be
         safe in Him.
         I love you all
         Sheila

     
  206. From: Toni M Loomis, Jr.

    I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
    I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
    I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
    I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
    I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
    I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
    I wish enough 'Hellos' to get you through the final 'Good-bye.'
     

  207. ABCs of Blessings
    From: Stanley Huntington

    "Whoever came up with this one must have had some divine guidance, I was impressed!"
    (Me too!!)
    Although things are not perfect
    Because of trial or pain
    Continue in thanksgiving
    Do not begin to blame
    Even when the times are hard
    Fierce winds are bound to blow
    God is forever able
    Hold on to what you know
    Imagine life without His love
    Joy would cease to be
    Keep thanking Him for all the things
    Love imparts to thee
    Move out of "Camp Complaining"
    No weapon that is known
    On earth can yield the power
    Praise can do alone
    Quit looking at the future
    Redeem the time at hand
    Start every day with worship
    To "thank" is a command
    Until we see Him coming
    Victorious in the sky
    We'll run the race with gratitude
    Xalting God most high
    Yes, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but...
    Zion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!
     

  208. Results of Research into Near-Death Experience

    Well, if we could prove life after death, which would be similar to providing the existence of God, then that would invalidate the ultimate things in life. (there's more)
         The highest life has to be accepted by faith, and if we were able to short-circuit that and prove that life does exist beyond the grave, people wouldn't have to have any faith in order to believe. Life is a mystery. Life after death is a mystery.
         And if we could ever break down the code, then we wouldn't need to operate on faith and this would short-circuit the whole system. So it ultimately must be accepted on faith. But what people who come back from death say does give some affirmation on faith and reinforces it. It affirms my faith, for I am already a man of faith. But if I were not a man of faith, this would not convince me. (Raymond A. Moody, Jr. M.D.)
     

  209. How Did We Survive?
    From:"Carolyn Shafer"

    Looking back, it's hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have.

    • As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
    • Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
    • Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint.
    • We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets,
      ...and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets.
    • We started hitch-hiking when we were 13 years old.
    • We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
    • We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times we learned to solve the problem.
    • We made rubber guns and slingshots and fired them at one another.
    • We walked the siderail over train tracks because the sidewalk was too hot.
    • We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day.
    • We played dodgeball and sometimes the ball would really hurt.
    • We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank sugar soda but we were never overweight.... we were always outside playing.
    • Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment....
    • Some students weren't as smart as others so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade....

    That generation produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
    You're one of them, congratulations!
     

  210. A Theoligist Viewpoint on Behe

    From: "Tamara Calvert"
    Date: Wed, 06 Nov 2002 05:49:58 +0000

    I was reading something that was kind of moving and wanted to share it. It is a Christian explaining how it really doesn't matter if Behe is right or not about his "irreducible complexity"...either way, it does nothing to disprove or prove God's existence:

    Premature appeal to special divine activity to explain the world around us damages the Christian theistic apologetic

    The "intelligent design" approach as manifested by the irreducible complexity argument is motivated in part by apologetic concerns. We reject the anti-theistic viewpoints that dominate much of modern science. We also believe, as the scriptures teach, that "the heavens declare the glory of God" and that God's "invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood though what has been made, so that they are without excuse." Thus, phenomena that cannot be explained in terms of natural causes or which have such a low probability of occurring by chance are taken to be evidences of special divine operation.

    As I have already stated, I have no in principle objection to this kind of conclusion. However, I think that the scriptures have in mind a much broader application. The theistic apologetic ought to claim all of reality as evidence of God's eternal power and divine nature. Every fact of creation drips with the evidence of God as the creator. Every time we think or speak about a fact of creation, it is either acknowledging God as the creator or denying him. It is the unbelieving heart and the depraved mind that suppresses this truth. According to Romans 1, these things are evident, both in creation and in the human heart; we don't need some irreducible complexity argument from molecular biology or some probability calculation to see these things.

    Narrowly defining our theistic evidences leads to another even more serious problem for theistic apologetics. In the progress of science once unexplainable phenomena sometimes are explained by natural causes. Putting so much weight on God's role in explaining things that we can't explain via natural causes, given the state of present-day science, leads to a minimizing of God's role if, and when, those things are explained. There are even theists who argue that if you can explain the origin and evolution of life by natural causes then God's explanatory role is nil and he is a superfluous addition to our explanation. In my opinion the decreasing impact of theism in the scientific marketplace of ideas stems more from a sometimes implicit, but often explicit belief that God's role is diminished as scientific arguments explain more and more of the world around us. This has been the problem with the past 250 years of science as theists and atheists alike have bought the argument.

    The resurgence of the intelligent design argument may give a temporary respite to the eroding influence of theism in the sciences, but the gains will be short-lived. Although many in the design crowd are already cheering the demise of evolutionary theory, I think that there have been spectacular gains in nearly every area of biology and key new developments in the areas of complexity theory, developmental biology, and paleontology. These design arguments will give the general Christian public much ammunition to fight their misguided battles against evolutionary biology. Real gains in the fight against an atheistic naturalistic worldview will come only when we see that the battle is not concerning the details of some theory in biology, but is concerning the deeply rooted anti-Christian religious convictions that take the glorious truths of God's creation and twist them into an anti-Christian apologetic.

    Christians need to see the revelation of our Creator Lord in every square inch of reality; we must counter unbelievers' denial of that revelation with the Biblical response that their denial is rooted in their suppression of deeply-rooted enmity with God. This is the basis for a truly theistic science; a science that sees the glory of God's creative and providential activity in every detail.

    http://www.asa3.org/evolution/irred_compl.html

  211. Reluctant Hero

         A truck driver who is just five runs away from retirement had a prayer meeting last week with 50 other drivers, just 20 miles from the spot where the arrest took place. The drivers met to pray that the sniper would be caught. "We knew the prayer was going to be answered. One time or another. That's the way we believe." Driver Ron Lantz left Wilmington, Delaware last night and pulled into the rest area at Myersville and spotted the suspect's car immediately. When he mentioned it to another driver on his radio the man asked, "What are we going to do?" "I said I'm going to call 9-1-1. So I called." The 15 minute wait was a long one, Lantz admitted, and during the wait, the drivers worked together to block the exit to the rest stop.
         Does Lantz want to be called a hero? The Presidential Prayer Team would call him a man of character, because in his words, "I just want people to think what I did is what I should have done. I am no hero at this, no hero whatsoever. I don't even want to be [thought] of as a hero."
     

  212. Toni's tips for Preserving your Carved Jack-o-Lantern...

    Wed, 23 Oct 2002 23:39:21 -0700
    Subject: The Pumpkin...
    From: "Toni M Loomis, Jr."

    1. Wash your hands and tools with anti-bacterial soap before carving.
      This keeps out nasties that rot the pumpkin!
    2. Cut the bottom out of the pumpkin instead of the top.
      This helps retain the moisture, and makes it easier to keep your candle/light still.
    3. Spray the finished pumpkin with lysol spray. This will help kill off any leftover nasties!
    4. Keep your pumpkin in a cool, dark place.
    5. Coat all the cut and peeled areas of the pumpkin with vaseline to help preserve your creation from turning brown and rotting.
      Be careful not to get it to gooey, or picking it up will be a problem!
    6. Don't keep your pumpkin lit unless you're using it. Otherwise the pumpkin will "cook" from the inside out from all the heat!
    7. Keep the pumpkin in a plastic grocery bag, when not being displayed.
      This will help retain its moisture and keep nasties out.

     
  213. Thank you, Lord

    Wed, 23 Oct 2002 14:43:52 -0700
    From:"Carolyn Shafer"

    • If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back,a roof overhead and a place to sleep .. you are richer than 75% of this world.
    • If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.
    • If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
    • If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
    • If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest,torture, or death ..you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.
    • If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare,.
    • If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.
    • If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder, you are blessed because you can offer healing touch.
    • If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

    Marsha B. Haselden
    Media Coordinator
    Pinewood Elementary School
     

  214. Waiting for the Right Time

    My parents for some reason think that I absolutely have to get married someday in order to be happy and live a successful life. I, however, don't exactly see it that way. I do want to get married someday and have someone who I can share unconditional support and love with, but I would rather not get married than to settle for someone that doesn't fit me perfectly. I will marry only if:

    • I know that it will be long lasting
    • I feel the marriage could endure all ups and downs in life
    • I find someone who will actually try to work through the tough times without giving up on the marriage easily
    • Any children can be happy and not have to experience what divorce feels like, as I had to
    • I find someone I can learn and grow with, someone who helps me to become a better person and has the same values as I have.

    I don't mind waiting for however long it takes to find the right person for me. (Tamara Calvert)

  215. The Mystery and Wonder of Aging!

    From: "Carolyn Shafer"
         Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids?
         If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.
         "How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!" You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five!
         That's the key. You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back.
         You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.
         "How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16!
         And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . . YOU BECOME 21. . . YESSSS!!!
         But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk. He TURNED, we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?
         You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40.
         Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 . . . and your dreams are gone.
         But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!
         So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.
         You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!
         You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime.
         And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; "I was JUST 92."
         Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!" May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!
     

  216. How to Stay Young

    From: "Carolyn Shafer"

    1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her.
    2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
    3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.
    4. Enjoy the simple things.
    5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
    6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
    7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
    8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
    9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.
    10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

      AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:

    11. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

     
  217. The other gods

    The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
    They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
    But to our wounds only God's wounds can speak,
    And not a god has wounds but Thou alone. (Edward Shillito)

    My update:

    The other gods were strong but you were weak
    They rode but you stumbled to your throne
    To a wounded world only a wounded God can speak
    And no other god has wounds but you alone.
  218. Darrell Scott's speech before a house sub-committee:

    Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

    The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain's heart.

    In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA—because I don't believe that they are responsible for my daughter's death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel's murder I would be their strongest opponent.

    I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy—it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best. This was written way before I knew I would be speaking here today:

      Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
      Your words are empty air.
      You've stripped away our heritage,
      You've outlawed simple prayer.

      Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
      And precious children die.
      You seek for answers everywhere,
      And ask the question "Why?"

      You regulate restrictive laws,
      Through legislative creed.
      And yet you fail to understand,
      That God is what we need!

    Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, soul, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and reek havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation's history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation?

    We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs—politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws.

    Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts. Political posturing and restrictive legislation are not the answers. The young people of our nation hold the key. There is a spiritual awakening taking place that will not be squelched! We do not need more religion. We do not need more gaudy television evangelists spewing out verbal religious garbage. We do not need more million dollar church buildings built while people with basic needs are being ignored. We do need a change of heart and a humble acknowledgment that this nation was founded on the principle of simple trust in God!

    As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America, and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA—I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone! My daughter's death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!
     

  219. Darrell Scott's poem
    Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
    Your words are empty air.
    You've stripped away our heritage,
    You've outlawed simple prayer.

    Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
    And precious children die.
    You seek for answers everywhere,
    And ask the question "Why?"

    You regulate restrictive laws,
    Through legislative creed.
    And yet you fail to understand,
    That God is what we need!
    (Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott who was murdered at Columbine)
     

  220. The Eastern Gate

    During a concert I attended some time back, Derrick Johnson of the Regeneration singing group told a story about his daughter, Debbie, that I've never forgotten. When she was four years old, Debbie got lost in a crowded supermarket. After an anxious search, she was found only one aisle over from her mother, but she was petrified. For a long time after that, she was terrified of crowds.


         Last Sunday morning I taught a lesson from a book on II Corinthians by Bob Russell. The title of the lesson was Facing Death With Confidence. At the end of the lesson he related the following experience.
         Shortly thereafter they had a devotional about Heaven one night, and the little girl said, "Daddy, will there be a lot of people in Heaven?"
         "Yes, there will be a lot of people in Heaven," he said. "So many that we can't even count them, the Bible says."
         "How will I ever find you and Mommy when I get to Heaven?" she asked.
         He knew that was a childish question, but he wanted to give a good answer. "I'll tell you what—when you get to Heaven you just wait for us right inside the gate, and we'll all meet there as a family."
         "Daddy," she said, "is there more than one gate in Heaven?"
         He remembered that Revelation said that there are four walls and there are three gates in every wall. He said, "Yes, there are twelve."
         She said, "Which gate?"
         He said, "I'll tell you what, when you get to Heaven, you ask somebody which way is east. Then you just walk and walk until you come to the eastern wall, and then you find the middle gate in the eastern wall. Let's all meet as a family just inside the middle eastern gate."
         That seemed to satisfy her, so he kissed her good-night. Then he said, "Now remember, we're going to meet just inside the middle eastern gate," she interrupted.
         Derrick Johnson said that, ever since that time, he and his daughter had hardly ever said good-bye to each other without one saying, "Meet you just inside," and the other saying, "the middle eastern gate."
         At this point Johnson turned to a girl in the singing group and said, "Is that story true?"
         She winked and said, "Yes, it is."
         "How do you know?" he asked.
         She said, "I was that little girl."
         The congregation burst into applause because, until then, we didn't know that was his daughter. When the applause died down he looked as her and said, "Meet you just inside."
         "The middle eastern gate," she said.

    I didn't hear much of the next song. I was thinking about where I was going to meet my family some day, just inside the gate. We know by faith that to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord forever.

    What a day that will be! Don't miss it for the world."
     

  221. How to Stay Safe

    There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with little hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

    I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God's will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness? We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armor. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as a way in which they should break, so be it. (C.S. Lewis)
     
     

  222. Subject: Moses

    Moses and the people were in the desert, but what was he going to do with them? They had to be fed, and feeding 2 or 3 million people requires lot of food.
    According to the Quartermaster General in the Army, it is reported that:

    • Moses would have to have had 1,500 tons of food each day.
      Do you know that to bring that much food each day, two freight trains, each at least a mile long, would be required!
    • Besides you must remember, they were out in the desert, so they would have to have firewood to use in cooking the food.
      This would take 4,000 tons of wood and a few more freight trains, each a mile long, just for one day.
      And just think, they were forty years in transit.
    • And Oh yes! They would have to have water.
      If they only had enough to drink and wash a few dishes, it would take 11,000,000 gallons each day and a freight train with tank cars, 1,800 miles long, just to bring water!
    • And then another thing! They had to get across the Red Sea at night.
      Now, if they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and would require 35 days and nights to get through. So there had to be a space in the Red Sea, 3 miles wide so that they could walk 5,000 abreast to get over in one night.
    • But then, there is another problem ... each time they camped at the end of the day, a campground two-thirds the size of the state of Rhode Island was required, or a total of 750 square miles long ... think of it! This much space for camping.

    Do you think Moses figured all this out before he left Egypt? I think not!
    You see, Moses believed in God.
    God took care of these things for him.
    Now do you think God has any problem taking care of all your needs?
     

  223. Our Christian Heritage

    At the same time we celebrate the birth of our nation every 4th of July, it is very important that we recognize and fully appreciate the Christian heritage of our nation. Many modern, "politically correct" historians have attempted to rewrite the history of our country, and in the name of "moral and religious tolerance", have strongly advocated that our Christian heritage is a myth, or even if it is true, they argue that we should no longer be restrained by our basic Christian values.

    Millions of people have bought into these incorrect and immoral positions.... Our national heritage is assuredly Christian.... Let me read a few quotations from our past to illustrate these points.

    • 1620 — The Mayflower Compact
      "in the presence of God, Amen. We...do by these presents solemnly and mutually in ye presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves into a civil body politic."
    • 1638 The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (often called the first American Constitution)...
      "We ... enter into a combination and confederation,together to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ which we now profess."
    • 1772 Samuel Adams
      "The rights to freedom being the gift of God Almighty. The rights of the colonists as Christians may be understood by reading and carefully studying the institute of the great Law Giver which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament."
    • 1777 The First Continental Congress appropriated funds to import for the people 20,000 Holy Bibles as
      "the great political textbook of the patriots."
    • 1789 George Washington Thanksgiving Proclamation
      "Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits and humbly to implore His protection and favor."
    • 1797 Patrick Henry...
      "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions but on the gospel of Jesus Christ."
    • 1892 The Supreme Court of the United States, after citing 87 precedents, decided,
      "Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teaching of the Redeemer of Mankind. It is impossible it should be otherwise, and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian. This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present there is a single voice making this affirmation. These and other matters, which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation."
    • 1983 President Ronald Reagan declared 1983 as a national "Year of the Bible" and encouraged Congress to pass the following resolution:
      "Now therefore be it resolved... that the President is authorized and requested to designate 1983 as a national "Year of the Bible" in recognition of both the formative influence the Bible has been for our Nation, and our national need to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures."

     
  224. NEW School prayer

    Since the Pledge of Allegiance and The Lord's Prayer are not allowed in most public schools anymore because the word "God" is mentioned.... a kid in Arizona wrote the attached

    Now I sit me down in school
    Where praying is against the rule
    For this great nation under God
    Finds mention of Him very odd.

    If Scripture now the class recites,
    It violates the Bill of Rights.
    And anytime my head I bow
    Becomes a Federal matter now.

    Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
    That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
    The law is specific, the law is precise.
    Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

    For praying in a public hall
    Might offend someone with no faith at all.
    In silence alone we must meditate,
    God's name is prohibited by the state.

    We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
    And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
    They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
    To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

    We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
    And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
    It's "inappropriate" to teach right from wrong,
    We're taught that such "judgments" do not belong.

    We can get our condoms and birth controls,
    Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
    But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
    No word of God must reach this crowd.

    It's scary here I must confess,
    When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
    So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
    Should I be shot; My soul please take!
    Amen


     
  225. TV Prayer

    The TV is my Sheppard, I shall not want.
    It makes me lie down on the sofa.
    It leadeth me astray from my work, and pacifieth my mind.
    It leadeth me on the path of sex and violence for the sponsors sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of my responsibilities,
    there will be no interruptions for the TV is with me.
    The cable and the remote control they comfort me
    and the commercials runneth over.
    Surely laziness and boredom shall be with me in all the days of my life,
    and I shall dwell in the house watching TV.... forever. (Anonymous)
     
     

  226. A Prayer for 911

    When our whole world changed on that day in September,
    The President said something that I'll always remember.
    He asked our country to pray. So pray, I did.
    Because my prayers have power. Even prayers from a kid.
    So I pray, Lord, for the president, that he'll do what is right.
    I pray for our armed forces. Keep them safe as they fight.
    Let your will be done through the world, so this evil will cease,
    So we can grow up and still have a world.
    Of love. Of hope. Of Peace. Amen. (Guy Gilchrist)
     

  227. Garlic Makes it Good

    Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian;
    wine and tarragon make it French.
    Sour cream makes it Russian;
    lemon and cinnamon make it Greek.
    Soy sauce makes it Chinese;
    garlic makes it good. (Alice May Brock)
     
     

  228. Stuff from my nice niece (actually forwarded from blesstheday.com website)
     
    • Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.
    • How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on.
    • Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live.
    • Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.
    • Ever notice that the people who are late are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for them?
    • You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
    • Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
    • Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.
    • A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

     
  229. Friend quotes
     
    • If you should die before me, ask if you could bring a friend. (Stone Temple Pilots)
    • If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you. (Winnie the Pooh)
    • A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. (Anonymous)
    • Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend. (Albert Camus)
    • Friends are the Bacon Bits in the Salad Bowl of Life. (Anonymous)
    • Friends are God's way of taking care of us.
    • Everyone hears what you say.
      Friends listen to what you say.
      Best friends listen to what you don't say.
    • We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere. (Tim McGraw)
    • My father always used to say that when you die, if you've got five real friends, then you've had a great life. (Lee Iacocca)
    • A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words. (Anonymous)

     
  230. Bible Strangeness

    What is the shortest chapter in the Bible? Answer—Psalms 117
    What is the longest chapter in the Bible? Answer—Psalms 119
    Which chapter is in the center of the Bible? Answer—Psalms 118
    Fact: There are 594 chapters before Psalms 118
    Fact: There are 594 chapters after Psalms 118
    Add these numbers up and you get 1188
    What is the center verse in the Bible? Answer—Psalms 118:8
    Does this verse say something significant about God's perfect will for our lives? The next time someone says they would like to find God's perfect will for their lives and that they want to be in the center of His will, just send them to the center of His Word!
    Psalms 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. (NKJV)
     
     

  231. The Wondrous Dream

    One night I had a wondrous dream,
    One set of footprints there was seen,
    The footprints of my precious Lord,
    But mine were not along the shore.
    But then some stranger prints appeared,
    And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?"
    Those prints are large and round and neat.
    "But Lord, they are too big for feet."
    "My child," He said in somber tones,
    "For miles I carried you alone.
    I challenged you to walk in faith,
    But you refused and made me wait.
    You disobeyed, you would not grow,
    The walk of faith, you would not know,
    So I got tired, I got fed up.
    And there I dropped you on your butt,"
    Because in life, there comes a time,
    When one must fight, and one must climb,
    When one must rise and take a stand,
    Or leave their butt prints in the sand. (Anonymous)
     

  232. PRAYER IS POWERFUL!

    Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 12:23:40 EST

    Max Lucado is a Christian author who is very popular for his many wonderful books about the Lord. This week, Max was invited (along with several other famous preachers) to have lunch at the White House with President Bush.
    Their meeting took place on Thursday and Max shared with us this morning how it had gone. As the ministers sat down to lunch and waited for President Bush to appear, Max said that he was expecting G.W. to walk in the room looking tired, serious, and depressed. When the President came in, Max said he looked totally the opposite of tired: he was energetic, joyful, and very focused on his talk with the ministers.
    Max asked President Bush how he could seem so calm and peaceful in the midst of all the tragedy. The President's reply was, "I'm feeling stronger now than I've ever been in my life. And the reason is because every person in America is praying for me. When I stay on my knees, that's when I have power." The ministers then asked the President how he would like them to pray for him, and how their congregations back home should be praying. Mr. Bush asked, first, for clarity of mind so that he could make wise decisions, and then he asked that we pray specifically for his wife and two daughters, as he is very concerned about their safety.
     
     

  233. Jan Clayson interviewed Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz

    Jane Clayson:
    I've heard people say, those who are religious, those who are not, if God is good, how could God less this happen? To that, you say?

    Anne Graham Lotz:
    I say God is also angry when he sees something like this. I would say also for several years now Americans in a sense have shaken their fist at God and said, God, we want you out of our schools, our government, our business, we want you out of our marketplace. And God, who is a gentleman, has just quietly backed out of our national and political life, our public life. Removing his hand of blessing and protection. We need to turn to God first of all and say, God, we're sorry we have treated you this way and we invite you now to come into our national life. We put our trust in you. We have our trust in God on our coins, we need to practice it.
     

  234. If the world were 100 people

    There would be:

    • 57 Asians
    • 21 Europeans
    • 14 from North and South America
    • 8 Africans
    • 52 would be female
    • 48 would be male
    • 70 would be nonwhite, 30 white
    • 59% of the entire world's wealth would belong to only six people
      and all six would be citizens of the United States
    • 80 would live in substandard housing
    • 70 would be unable to read
    • 50 would suffer from malnutrition
    • 1 would be near death
    • 1 would be near birth
    • Only 1 would have a college education
    • 99 of them will not see this message,
      because only 1 would have a computer.

     
  235. Contentment

    Contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us. Paul says, "I have learned.... to be content;" as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. (Spurgeon)
     

  236. Feast Days in Leviticus 23

    These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies. (2)

    1. The LORD's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. (5)
    2. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD's Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. (6)
    3. On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. (24)
    4. The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. (27)
    5. On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. (34)

     
  237. An Unhappy Fence

    An offense against your neighbor builds a fence between you and God. (ODB)
     

  238. Paying and Getting

    Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they certainly pay for all they get. (Frederick Douglass)
     

  239. Three Requirements

    In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed:
    They must be fit for it:
    They must not do too much of it:
    And they must have a sense of success in it.(John Ruskin)
     

  240. The Lightened Burden

    My burden is now so much lighter,
    I've glimpsed things I needed to see,
    I have a fresh hope for tomorrow —
    Because someone listened to me. (Egner)
     

  241. "She was healed immediately." (Luke 8:47)
    The woman was very ignorant.... She was a stranger to the generosity of Jesus' character, or she would not have gone behind to steal the cure which He was so ready to bestow. Misery should always place itself right in the face of mercy. Had she known the love of Jesus' heart, she would have said, "I have but to put myself where He can see me — His omniscience will teach Him my case, and His love at once will work my cure." (Spurgeon, 2/14)
     
  242. The Growing God

    "Welcome, child," he said.
    "Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."
    "That is because you are older, little one," answered he.
    "Not because you are?"
    "I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."
    Prince Caspian (C.S. Lewis)
     

  243. Motivation

    We are so sluggish that the best motives cannot quicken us, apart from the Lord Himself.

    • What! will not hell quicken me? Shall I think of sinners perishing, and yet not be awakened?
    • Will not heaven quicken me? Can I think of the reward that awaiteth the righteous, and yet be cold?
    • Will not death quicken me? Can I think of dying, and standing before my God, and yet be slothful in my Master's service?
    • Will not Christ's love constrain me? Can I think of His dear wounds, can I sit at the foot of His cross, and not be stirred with fervency and zeal?

    It seems so! No mere consideration can quicken us to zeal, but God Himself must do it, hence the cry, "Quicken Thou me" (Psalm 119:37). (Spurgeon, 1/20)

  244. Advice

    Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise — why destroy yourself?
    Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool — why die before your time?
    It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all [extremes]. (Ecclesiastes 7:16-18)
     

  245. How many offerings?

    Leviticus 7:37 These, then, are the regulations for

    1. the burnt offering
    2. the grain offering
    3. the sin offering
    4. the guilt offering
    5. the ordination offering
    6. the fellowship offering

     
  246. Thirty Perfect Things from Psalm 23
     
    1. The Lord — perfect God
    2. My Shepherd — perfect keeper
    3. Not want — perfect satisfaction
    4. Maketh me — perfect Director
    5. Lie down — perfect rest
    6. Green Pastures — perfect supply
    7. Leadeth me — perfect guidance
    8. Still waters — perfect peace
    9. Restoreth — perfect restoration
    10. My soul — perfect self
    11. Paths of righteousness — perfect holiness
    12. Name's sake — perfect object
    13. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death — perfect trust
    14. Fear no evil- perfect protection
    15. with me — perfect companionship
    16. Thy rod — perfect defense
    17. Thy staff — perfect help
    18. Comfort me — perfect solace
    19. Preparest — perfect provision
    20. Table — perfect food
    21. Before me — perfect presence
    22. In presence of enemies — perfect safety
    23. Anointest my head with oil — perfect anointing
    24. Cup runneth over — perfect joy
    25. Surely — perfect assurance
    26. Goodness — perfect benevolence
    27. Mercy — perfect compassion
    28. Follow all my days — perfect life
    29. Dwell — perfect home
    30. In the house of the Lord forever= perfect destiny

     
  247. The Blest Man

    Of this blest man, let his just praise be given,
    Heaven was in him, before he was in heaven.
    (Izaak Walton, on Dr. Richard Sibbes)
     

  248. Getting Perspective

    We look back through countless millions of years and see the great will to live struggling out of the intertidal slime, struggling from shape to shape and from power to power, crawling and then walking confidently upon the land, struggling generation after generation to master the air, creeping down into the darkness of the deep; we see it turn upon itself in rage and hunger and reshape itself anew, we watch it draw nearer and more akin to us, expanding, elaborating itself, pursuing its relentless inconceivable purpose, until at last it reaches us and its being beats through our brains and arteries.... It is possible to believe that all the past is but the beginning of a beginning, and that all that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn. It is possible to believe that all that the human mind has ever accomplished is but the dream before the awakening.... Out of our ... lineage, minds will spring, that will reach back to us in our littleness to know us better than we know ourselves.
        A day will come, one day in the unending succession of days, when beings, beings who are now latent in our thoughts and hidden in our loins, shall stand upon this earth as one stands upon a footstool, and shall laugh and reach out their hands amidst the stars. (HG Wells)
     

  249. New Learning

    The single, most important educational gain in America in the last 15 or 20 years has been the fact that 20, 30 or 40 million Americans have learned how to use a PC. Now isn't it amazing? They didn't go to school to learn that. How did they learn? They learned first from pimply faced kids in Radio Shacks, who sold the first machines and said: "You push this button over here." Then they brought the machines home and then they played with them and then they said, "Gee," they needed to know more, so they called a guru. Who was a guru? A guru was a neighbor or a co-worker who had bought a machine one week before them. He was now, or she was now, the expert.
        What happened was, through an informal process of people-to-people learning, an enormous bank of skills was distributed through our society. No school. Schools didn't matter in that process. Virtually none. That says to me, if we understood people-to-people learning, and distributed intelligence, we could transform and accelerate the learning processes in fabulous ways that have nothing to do with schoolrooms and seats. (Alvin Toffler)
     

  250. As long as you notice

    As long as you notice, and have to count the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance.
        A good show is a shoe you don't notice.
        Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling.
        The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God. (C.S. Lewis)
     

  251. The Pointless Dance

    We dance round in a ring and suppose,
    but the secret sits in the middle and knows. (Frost)
     

  252. The Ten Commandments — an Arkansas paraphrase (livng4him@yahoo.com)
     
    1. Don't worship any other Gods. He is THE man.
    2. Don't build yourself any idols (cows, pigs, chickens, etc.) to worship. They are not alive. He is!
    3. For goodness sake, don't use his name in an ugly way. He is the Most Holy. Give Him the respect He deserves.
    4. Sunday is His day! Give it to Him.
    5. Do what your ma and pa tell you to, they are smarter than you think.
    6. Don't kill anybody.
    7. If you've got a wife/husband love em' and leave everybody else's alone!
    8. Don't take what don't belong to you.
    9. Don't go around telling stuff on folks that ain't true!
    10. Don't be wishing you had what your neighbors got—they worked hard for it!

     
  253. They Cannot Scare Me

    They cannot scare me with their empty spaces between stars
    — on stars where no human race is.
    I have it in me so much nearer home
    to scare myself with my own desert places.
     

  254. I Have Walked Through Life

    I have walked through the fire as an ordinary man
    and if I die/I'll die in peace, part of all that
    God has planned....
    Too long I've stretched my tent upon the sand
    And vainly held its fraying ropes in failing hand
    I feel the fire and in its brilliant last brief snuff
    before I am extinguished, savor warmth in this cold land,
    And just before I go, hear God in glory softly say, "Enough." (Peter Newcombe)
     

  255. The Boxer

    In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade,
    and he carries the reminders of every blow that laid him low
    or cut him till he cried out in his anger and his pain,
    'I am leaving, I am leaving.' but the fighter still remains.
    (Paul Simon)
     

  256. Making Your World

    "A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world: everyone you meet is your mirror." (Ken Keyes, Jr.)
    This is a popular thought and may be paraphrased; "Your world is the result of choices you make in response to what your serotonin level predisposes you to anticipate." (Peter Newcombe)
     

  257. He Prayeth Best

    He prayeth best, who loveth best
    All things both great and small;
    For the dear God who loveth us,
    He made and loveth all. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
     

  258. Directions

    Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
    Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life.
    I am the LORD.
    Do not hate your brother in your heart.
    Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.
    Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.
    I am the LORD. (Lev 19:16-18)
     

  259. Summoned to Love

    In love you summon; in love I follow
         living today for your tomorrow
    Christ to release me; Christ to unfold me
         Christ to restrain me; Christ to uphold me. (Anonymous)
     

  260. Were half the power

    Were half the power, that fills the world with terror,
         Were half the wealth, bestowed on camps and courts,
    Given to redeem the human mind from error,
         There were no need of arsenals or forts. (Longfellow)
     

  261. Exodus Issue

    If the Exodus had 2,500,000 people, Moses would have appointed 327,500 officials (Exodus 18:21)
    Though the number drops to 78,600 if only the men of fighting age were given legal representation..
     

  262. The Appeal

    When we preach the historical facts of the life and death of our Lord as they are conveyed in the New Testament, our words are made sacred. God uses these words, on the basis of His redemption, to create something in those who listen which otherwise could never have been created. If we simply preach the effects of redemption in the human life instead of the revealed, divine truth regarding Jesus Himself, the result is not new birth in those who listen. The result is a refined religious lifestyle, and the Spirit of God cannot witness to it because such preaching is in a realm other than His.
          When we say, "What a wonderful personality, what a fascinating person, and what wonderful insight!" then what opportunity does the gospel of God have through all of that? It cannot get through, because the attraction is to the messenger and not the message. If a person attracts through his personality, that becomes his appeal. If, however, he is identified with the Lord Himself, then the appeal becomes what Jesus Christ can do. (Chambers)
     

  263. Man's life means

    tender teens
    teachable twenties
    tireless thirties
    fiery forties
    forceful fifties
    serious sixties
    sacred seventies
    aching eighties
    shortening breath
    death
    the sod
    God! (Anonymous)
     

  264. The seven ages of man
     
    1. spills
    2. drills
    3. thrills
    4. bills
    5. ills
    6. pills
    7. wills.
     
  265. Animal Story

    God originally determined 30 years as the ideal span of life for all animals, including mankind. The donkey, the dog, and the monkey considered it much too long, however, and begged God to reduce their years by 18, 12, and 10. Being healthy, vigorous, and somewhat greedy, the man asked to be given those extra years.
         God agreed, so man's years totaled 70. The first 30 are his own and they pass quickly. The next 18 are the "donkey years," during which he has to carry countless burdens on his back. Then come the "dog years" ...12 years when he can do little but grow and drag himself along. This is followed by the "monkey years," his closing 10, when he grows rather strange and does things that make children laugh at him. (Grimms Fairy Tales)
     

  266. In any age its what you do with it
     
    • Ted Williams, at age 42, slammed a home run in his last official time at bat.
    • Mickey Mantle, age 20, hit 23 home runs his first full year in the major leagues.
    • Golda Meir was 71 when she became Prime Minister of Israel.
    • William Pitt II was 24 when he became Prime minister of Great Britain.
    • George Bernard Shaw was 94 when one of his plays was first produced.
    • Mozart was just seven when his first composition was published.
    • Benjamin Franklin was a newspaper columnist at 16 and a framer of the United States Constitution when he was 81.
     
  267. Diet Lesson

    Methuselah ate what he found on his plate,
         and never, as people do now,
    did he note the amount of the caloric count;
         he ate it because it was chow.
    He wasn't disturbed as at dinner he sat,
         consuming a roast or a pie,
    to think it was lacking in granular fat,
         or a couple of vitamins shy.
    He cheerfully chewed every species of food,
         untroubled by worries or fears,
    lest his health might be hurt by some fancy desert,
         and he lived over nine hundred years. (Anonymous)
     

  268. The Past with its Sin is Forgiven

    The past with its sin is forgiven,
    The future's secure in God's hands;
    To fret about either is pointless
    And keeps us from His clear commands. (David C. Egner)
     

  269. Communion

    Last Halloween was cold and wet, but kids came anyway holding out bags expecting me to give them something. It probably happened the same way at your house. Kids, who for the most part you don't know, come right up to your door and ask you for candy as if they deserved it. Happy faces. Eager eyes. "Trick or treat!" Then looking in the bag to see what they got. "Oh wow!" M & Ms!" Then they skipped off to the next house.
         One year I ran out of good candy and had to hand out some left-over Kiwanis peanuts. The expressions weren't nearly so enthusiastic.
         Now there was no reason I had to give the kids anything. They had done nothing to deserve it. Not one had raked my leaves, mowed my lawn or washed my windows. They simply came and I simply gave. It cost me. I had to pay for the candy. I got nothing in return except happy faces.
         Yesterday I was thinking about how Halloween and Communion compare. We come. Holding out hands. Expecting God to give. It's like we think He owes us some kind of blessing. And far too often we treat communion as if it's peanuts. No awe, no wonder, no amazement that we are celebrating the most stunning moment in all of history, so far. God traded himself for us. There was no reason he had to. We'd done nothing to deserve it. He simply gave. At the cost of his own life. And we must simply come... in awe... in wonder... with deep seriousness (1 Corinthians 11:27-28). It's treat time. Let's come. Let's come with amazement.
         And when you receive the elements, why don't you look at them and say out loud, "Oh, wow!"
     

  270. The five fingers of prayer

    1. Your thumb is nearest to you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C.S. Lewis once said, a "sweet duty."
    2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.
    3. The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God's guidance.
    4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger; as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night.
      You cannot pray too much for them.
    5. And lastly comes our little finger; the smallest finger of all. Which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, "The least shall be the greatest among you." Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

     
  271. Just pray!

    • Should you find it hard to get to sleep tonight;
      Just remember the homeless family who has no bed to lie in.
    • Should you find yourself stuck in traffic; don't despair.
      There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.
    • Should you have a bad day at work;
      Think of the man who has been out of work for the last three months.
    • Should you despair over a relationship gone bad;
      Think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.
    • Should you grieve the passing of another weekend;
      Think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week, for $15.00 to feed her family.
    • Should your car break down, leaving You miles away from assistance,
      Think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.
    • Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror;
      Think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.
    • Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering; what is life all about, what is my purpose?
      Be thankful, there are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.
    • Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities;
      Remember, things could be worse. You could be them!!!

     
  272. Ten rules for happiness (Bill Bright)

    1. Give something away (no strings attached)
    2. Do a kindness (and forget it)
    3. Spend a few minutes with the aged (their experience is a priceless guidance)
    4. Look intently into the face of a baby (and marvel)
    5. Laugh often (it's life's lubricant)
    6. Give thanks (a thousand times a day is not enough)
    7. Pray (or you will lose the way)
    8. Work (with vim and vigor)
    9. Plan as though you'll live forever (because you will)
    10. Live as though you'll die tomorrow (because you will on some tomorrow)

     
  273. The meaning of Ecclesiastes

    1. In the ultimate sense, human wisdom is empty. No matter how brilliant we are, our minds can't direct or control our destiny. Solomon says that human wisdom can't stand alone — it must depend upon God.
    2. We must all face the laws that govern life. Solomon realized that his wealth and wisdom didn't exempt him from the pain and pressures of life. If we look to God for our hope and significance, unrealized dreams or unanticipated suffering don't destroy our sense of meaning and worth.
    3. There's no lasting value in earthly goods and treasures. Enjoy life and the things of life; but God and His purposes must be the source of our true joy and happiness — not fads, fashions, or expectation of others.
    4. We must be humbly grateful for our lot in life. None of us selected our parents, and the truth is that our success is more a gift of God than a result of our own personal maneuvers.
    5. We must live understanding that there is life after death. Many Christians live as if the here and now is it. We are citizens of heaven with a temporary residence and work permit in the world. (Crawford W. Loritts, Jr., directs the Legacy Ministries of Campus Crusade for Christ.)

     
  274. Renunciation

    "We have renounced the hidden things of shame...." (2 Corinthians 4:2).
    Have you "renounced the hidden things of shame" in your life — the things that your sense of honor or pride will not allow to come into the light? You can easily hide them. Is there a thought in your heart about anyone that you would not like to be brought into the light? Then renounce it as soon as it comes to mind — renounce everything in its entirety until there is no hidden dishonesty or craftiness about you at all. (Oswald Smith)
     

  275. And Every Common Bush

    And every common bush afire with God;
    But only he who sees takes off his shoes —
    The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries. (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
     

  276. Prayer upon waking (for 21 days)

    Heavenly Father, You're in charge of everything that's going to happen to me today — whether it be good or bad, positive or negative. Please make me thankful for everything that happens to me today. Amen.
     

  277. A totally secure man

    • Does not need to tear down others to build up himself.
    • Considers inner convictions more the mark of a man than outer toughness.
    • Finds talented people an inspiration, not a threat.
    • Knows how to take the garbage he was dealt in life and recycle it into energy.
    • Forgives people who may never have the courage to apologize.
    • Lives his private life as if it were public.
    • Considers people more important than projects and plans.

    (Larry Titus — New Man, November/December, 1994, p. 12)
     

  278. Like a Dog

    Watchman Nee tells about a new convert who came in deep distress to see him. "No matter how much I pray, no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot seem to be faithful to my Lord. I think I'm losing my salvation."
        Nee said, "Do you see this dog here? He is my dog. He is house-trained; he never makes a mess; he is obedient; he is a pure delight to me. Out in the kitchen I have a son, a baby son. He makes a mess, he throws his food around, he fouls his clothes, he is a total mess. But who is going to inherit my kingdom? Not my dog; my son is my heir. You are Jesus Christ's heir because it is for you that He died." (Illustrations)
     

  279. Keeping Safe

    Never allow anything that divides or destroys the oneness of your life with Christ to remain in your life without facing it.... Beware of anything that can split your oneness with Him, causing you to see yourself as separate from Him. Nothing is as important as staying right spiritually. And the only solution is a very simple one — "Come to Me...."
     

  280. Three Fatal Sparks

    Avarice, envy, pride,
    Three fatal sparks, have set the hearts of all
    On Fire. (Dante Alighieri — 1265-1321 [The Divine Comedy])
     

  281. "... Jesus ... said to him, 'You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have.... and come, follow Me.'

    But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich" (Luke 18:22-23).
    This man understood what Jesus said. He heard it clearly, realizing the full impact of its meaning, and it broke his heart.... He had come to Jesus on fire with zeal and determination, but the words of Jesus simply froze him. Instead of producing enthusiastic devotion to Jesus, they produced heartbreaking discouragement. And Jesus did not go after him, but let him go. Our Lord knows perfectly well that once His word is truly heard, it will bear fruit sooner or later. What is so terrible is that some of us prevent His words from bearing fruit in our present life. (Oswald Chambers, 8/17)
     

  282. All I need to know I learned from Noah's Ark!

    1. Don't miss the boat.
    2. Remember that we are all in the same boat.
    3. Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
    4. Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
    5. Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
    6. Build your future on high ground.
    7. For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
    8. Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
    9. When you're stressed, float awhile.
    10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic by professionals.
    11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.

     
  283. With What Shall I Come

    With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
    Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
    He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:6-8)
     

  284. The Searching Sons

    There's a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in Madrid newspaper. The ad read: "Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father."
         On Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.
     

  285. Story of the Murdered Father

    When the first missionaries came to Alberta, Canada, they were savagely opposed by a young chief of the Cree Indians named Maskepetoon. But he responded to the gospel and accepted Christ. Shortly afterward, a member of the Blackfoot tribe killed his father. Maskepetoon rode into the village where the murderer lived and demanded that he be brought before him. Confronting the guilty man, he said, "You have killed my father, so now you must be my father. You shall ride my best horse and wear my best clothes."
         In utter amazement and remorse his enemy exclaimed, "My son, now you have killed me!" He meant, of course, that the hate in his own heart had been completely erased by the forgiveness and kindness of the Indian chief. (Today in the Word)
     

  286. The World is Mine

    Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely maid with golden hair;
    I envied her — she seemed so gay, and how I wished I were so fair;
    When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle;
    She had one foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile.
           Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two feet — the world is mine.
         And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who served me had such charm;
    He seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm;
    I said, "It's nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find";
    He turned and said, "Oh, thank you sir." And then I saw that he was blind.
           Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, the world is mine.
         Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue;
    He stood and watched the others play, it seemed he knew not what to do;
    I stopped a moment, then I said, "Why don't you join the others, dear?"
    He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear.
           Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two ears, the world is mine.
         With feet to take me where I'd go; With eyes to see the sunsets glow,
    With ears to hear what I would know. I am blessed indeed. The world is mine;
           Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
     

  287. Boiled Potato

    While my husband Frank and I were living in Pakistan many years ago, our six-month-old baby died. An old Punjabi who heard of our grief came to comfort us. "A tragedy like this is similar to being plunged into boiling water," he explained. "If you are an egg, your affliction will make you hard-boiled and unresponsive. If you are a potato, you will emerge soft and pliable, resilient and adaptable." It may sound funny to God, but there have been times when I have prayed, "O Lord, let me be a potato." (Guideposts)
     

  288. Contentment

    "When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything that one does have."
         Contentment in life is determined in part by what a person anticipates from it. To a man like Steven Hawking who thought he would soon die quickly, everything takes on meaning — a sunrise or a walk in a park or the laughter of children. Suddenly, each small pleasure becomes precious. By contrast, those who believe life owes them a free ride are often discontent with its finest gifts. (James Dobson)
     

  289. God's Perfection

    In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to learning disabled children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school career, while others can be main-streamed into conventional schools.
         At a Chush fund-raising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, "Why is the perfection in my son Shaya? Everything God does is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is God's perfection?
         The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father's anguish and stilled by the piercing query. "I believe," the father answered, "that when God brings a child like this into the world, the perfection that he seeks is in the way people react to this child."
         He then told the following story about his son Shaya: One afternoon, Shaya and his father walked past a park where some boys Shaya knew were playing baseball. Shaya asked, "Do you think they will let me play?" Shaya's father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Shaya's father understood that if his son was chosen to play it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging. Shaya's father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Shaya could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said "We are losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning." Shaya's father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly. Shaya was told to put on a glove and go out to play short center field. In the bottom of the eight inning, Shaya's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaya's team scored again and now with two outs and the bases loaded with the potential winning run on base. Shaya was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game?
         Surprisingly, Shaya was given the bat. Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shaya didn't even know how to hold the bat properly let alone hit with it. However as Shaya stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shaya should at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shaya swung clumsily and missed. One of Shaya's team-mates came up to Shaya and together they held the bat and faced the pitcher waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shaya. As the pitch came in, Shaya and his teammate swung at the ball and together they hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shaya would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman. Everyone started yelling, "Shaya, run to first. Run to first." Never in his life had Shaya run to first. He scampered down the baseline wide-eyed and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had reached the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman who would tag out Shaya,who was still running. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions were, so he threw the ball high and far over the Third baseman's head.Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second." Shaya ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home. As Shaya reached second base, the opposing short stop ran to him,turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, "Run to third." As Shaya rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, "Shaya run." Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a "grand slam" and won the game for his team.
         "That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, those 18 boys reached their level of God's perfection."
     

  290. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life


    Without the Way there is no going;
    Without the Truth there is no knowing;
    Without the Life there is no living. (Anonymous)
     

  291. The Paradox of Our Time in History

       The Paradox of Our Time in History is that
       we spend more, but have less.
       we buy more, but enjoy it less.
    We have bigger houses and smaller families;
       more conveniences, but less time
       more medicine, but less wellness.
    We read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
    We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
    These are the times of tall men, and short character,
       steep profits, and shallow relationships.
    These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce;
       of fancier houses, but broken homes.
    We've learned how to make a living, but not a life;
       we've added years to life, not life to years;
       we've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. (Anonymous)
     

  292. Finding Friends

    I went out to find a friend
    But could not find one there;
    I went out to be a friend,
    And friends were everywhere! (Anon)
     

  293. And they call some of these people "retarded"...

    A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry.
         The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back.
         Then they all turned around and went back.
         Every one of them.
         One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said: "This will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.
    Pass it on...we need to change our hearts...
    (Pat Bailey)
     

  294. Let Us Be Simple with Him

    Let us be simple with Him, then,
    Not backward, stiff, or cold,
    As though our Bethlehem could be
    What Sinai was of old. (ODB)
     

  295. The Duty

    Author Lloyd Ogilvie tells of a Christian friend who was physically and emotionally depleted because of extreme pressures. A depressed mood engulfed him. When Ogilvie asked him how he was doing, he said grimly, "Well, joy's certainly no option!" Ogilvie replied, "You're right! Joy is no option. It's your responsibility."

    Shocked, the friend retorted, "You talk about joy as if it were a duty." Ogilvie responded, "Right again!" He explained that we have a duty to God, ourselves, and others to overcome our moods and to battle through to joy. (ODB)
     

  296. "We walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7)

    A self-assured saint is of no value to God. He is abnormal, unfit for daily life, and completely unlike God. We are here, not as immature angels, but as men and women, to do the work of this world.... We will have to get up on our own, without any inspiration and without any sudden touch from God. Then comes our surprise and we find ourselves exclaiming, "Why, He was there all the time, and I never knew it!" Never live for those exceptional moments — they are surprises. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  297. I heard a silversmith talk about refining silver

    He said, "I must sit with my eyes steadily fixed on the furnace; for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured. I never take my eye off of the silver in the furnace. It I take it out too early, it won't be purified. If I leave it in too late, it will be injured. When the silver is in the fire, I focus. I don't let anything distract me. I watch that silver, carefully waiting for the right moment to take it out."
         "When is the right moment?" I asked. He said, "I know the silver is pure when I can see my face reflected there." (John Maxwell)
     

  298. "The Amen." —Revelation 3:14

    He is Amen in every single title which He bears; your Husband, never seeking a divorce; your Friend, sticking closer than a brother; your Shepherd, with you in death's dark vale; your Help and your Deliverer; your Castle and your High Tower; the Horn of your strength, your confidence, your joy, your all in all, and your Yea and Amen in all. (Spurgeon)
     

  299. The Atheist and the Orange

    While crossing the Atlantic on a ship many years ago, Bible teacher and author F. B. Meyer was asked to speak to the passengers. An agnostic listened to Meyer's message about answered prayer and told a friend, "I didn't believe a word of it."
         Later that same day, the agnostic went to hear Meyer speak to another group of passengers. But before he went to the meeting, he put two oranges in his pocket. On his way, he passed an elderly woman who was fast asleep in her deck chair. Her arms were outstretched and her hands were wide open, so as a joke he put the two oranges in her palms. After the meeting, he saw the woman happily eating one of the pieces of fruit.
         "You seem to be enjoying that orange," he remarked with a smile. "Yes, sir," she replied, "My Father is very good to me." "What do you mean?" pressed the agnostic. She explained, "I have been seasick for days. I was asking God somehow to send me an orange. I fell asleep while I was praying. When I awoke, I found He had sent me not only one but two oranges!" The agnostic was amazed by the unexpected confirmation of Meyer's talk on answered prayer. Later, he put his trust in Christ.
     

  300. How can you be thankful in every situation?

    When it's spring and the air is crisp and clean, I feel thankful. But when it's 95 degrees and smoggy, when I'm stuck in rush-hour traffic and my car overheats, then I have to choose to be thankful. To give thanks in the midst of bad situations, we have to make two suppositions. One is that in spite of everything, God is still sovereign and in control. The second is that God does not make mistakes. (Mark Wheeler)
     

  301. Gardening God's Way

    Plant three rows of peas:
         Peace of mind
         Peace of heart
         Peace of soul
    Plant four rows of squash:
         Squash gossip
         Squash indifference
         Squash grumbling
         Squash selfishness
    Plant four rows of lettuce:
         Lettuce be faithful
         Lettuce be kind
         Lettuce be obedient
         Lettuce really love one another
    No garden without turnips:
         Turnip for meetings
         Turnip for service
         Turnip to help one another
    Water freely with patience and
         Cultivate with love.
         There is much fruit in your garden
         Because you reap what you sow.
    To conclude our garden... We must have thyme:
         Thyme for God
         Thyme for study
         Thyme for prayer
     

  302. When Blithe to Argument I Come

    When blithe to argument I come,
    Though armed with facts, and merry,
    May Providence protect me from
    The fool as adversary,
    Whose mind to him a kingdom is
    Where reason lacks dominion,
    Who calls conviction prejudice
    And prejudice opinion.
    (Phyllis McGinley)
     

  303. "I have been crucified with Christ...." (Galatians 2:20)

    The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature.... Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ...." He did not say, "I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ," or, "I will really make an effort to follow Him" — but — "I have been identified with Him in His death...." My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  304. Ages of love

    Infantile love follows the principle 'I love because I am loved.'
    Mature love follows the principle: 'I am loved because I love.'
    Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.'
    Mature love says: 'I need you because I love you.' (Ethan Fromm)
     

  305. Prisoner of War

    During periods of enforced reflection it became so much easier to separate the important from the trivial. For example, in the past, I usually worked or played hard on Sundays and had no time for church. For years Phyllis had encouraged me to join the family at church. But I was too preoccupied to spend one or two short hours a week thinking about the really important things.
         Now the sights and smells of death were all around me. My hunger for spiritual food soon outdid my hunger for a steak. I wanted to know about that part of me that will never die, to talk about God and Christ and the church. But in Heartbreak solitary confinement there was no pastor, no Sunday school teacher, no Bible, no hymnbook, no community of believers to guide and sustain me. I had completely neglected the spiritual dimension of my life. It took prison to show me how empty life is without God. (Howard Rutledge, In the Presence of Mine Enemies)
     

  306. "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37)

    Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. Let's apply that to our own circumstances. The things we try to avoid and fight against — tribulation, suffering, and persecution — are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. "We are more than conquerors through Him "in all these things"; not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn't know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. Paul said, "I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation" (Oswald Chambers)
     

  307. Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable?

    Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask — half our great theological and metaphysical problems — are like that. (C.S. Lewis)
     

  308. "I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me'" (Isaiah 6:8)

    God did not direct His call to Isaiah — Isaiah overheard God saying, "...who will go for Us?" The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God's call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude. "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14). That is, few prove that they are the chosen ones. The chosen ones are those who have come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and have had their spiritual condition changed and their ears opened. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  309. Love Is an Exotic

    Love is an exotic; it is not a plant which will flourish naturally in human soil, it must be watered from above. Love to Jesus is a flower of a delicate nature, and if it received no nourishment but that which could be drawn from the rock of our hearts it would soon wither.
    "I love thee, Lord, but with no love of mine,
    For I have none to give;
    I love thee, Lord; but all the love is thine,
    For by thy love I live.
    I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
    Emptied, and lost, and swallowed up in thee."(Spurgeon)
     

  310. ".... and I will give you rest"

    that is, "I will sustain you, causing you to stand firm." He is not saying, "I will put you to bed, hold your hand, and sing you to sleep." But, in essence, He is saying, "I will get you out of bed — out of your listlessness and exhaustion, and out of your condition of being half dead while you are still alive. I will penetrate you with the spirit of life, and you will be sustained by the perfection of vital activity." Yet we become so weak and pitiful and talk about "suffering" the will of the Lord! Where is the majestic vitality and the power of the Son of God in that? (Oswald Chambers)
     

  311. Everyone who asks receives...." (Luke 11:10)

    The word ask actually means "beg." Some people are poor enough to be interested in their poverty, and some of us are poor enough spiritually to show our interest. Yet we will never receive if we ask with a certain result in mind, because we are asking out of our lust, not out of our poverty. A pauper does not ask out of any reason other than the completely hopeless and painful condition of his poverty. He is not ashamed to beg — blessed are the paupers in spirit (see Matthew 5:3). (Oswald Chambers)
     

  312. In Blackwater Woods

    Every year everything
    I have ever learned
    in my lifetime
    leads back to this: the fires
    and the black river of loss
    whose other side
    is salvation
    whose meaning
    none of us will ever know.
    To live in this world
    you must be able
    to do three things:
    to love what is mortal;
    to hold it
    against your bones knowing
    your own life depends on it;
    and, when the time comes to let it go,
    to let it go (Mary Oliver)
     

  313. The Media

    I hate that the more hysterical members of the Christian right are having such a field day, sure that their angry prophecies are finally coming true. But they're wrong. It's narcissistic to think that suddenly, in our times, things are desperately worse than anytime before. Things have always been crazy down here. We forget that the world has always seemed to be coming to an end, but now it's noisier, more global, more rococo. The news of bad things just used to stay local or took forever to reach our shores. People used to hide like meerkats peeking out of the bunker — "Here it comes! Here it comes!" Huns, plague, predators. It's really the same old same old, only now we see and hear about each distant disaster within seconds of its happening. (Lamott)
     

  314. Ye that love the Lord hate evil. — Psalm 97:10)

    If you truly love your Saviour, and would honour Him, then "hate evil." We know of no cure for the love of evil in a Christian like abundant intercourse with the Lord Jesus.
    Dwell much with Him, and it is impossible for you to be at peace with sin.
     

  315. When you see faults in someone else

    When you see faults in someone else,
    Before you criticize, beware;
    For you have flaws and failures too
    That other people have to bear. (ODB)
     

  316. "So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet." — 2 Samuel 9:13

         Mephibosheth was no great ornament to a royal table, yet he had a continual place at David's board, because the king could see in his face the features of the beloved Jonathan. Like Mephibosheth, we may cry unto the King of Glory, "What is Thy servant, that Thou shouldst look upon such a dead dog as I am?" but still the Lord indulges us with most familiar intercourse with Himself, because He sees in our countenances the remembrance of His dearly-beloved Jesus. The Lord's people are dear for another's sake....
         Their deformity shall not rob them of their privileges. Lameness is no bar to sonship; the cripple is as much the heir as if he could run like Asahel. Our right does not limp, though our might may. A king's table is a noble hiding-place for lame legs, and at the gospel feast we learn to glory in infirmities, because the power of Christ resteth upon us....
         Saints whose faith is weak, and whose knowledge is slender, are great losers; they are exposed to many enemies, and cannot follow the king whithersoever he goeth.
         Lord, help the lame to leap like an hart, and satisfy all Thy people with the bread of Thy table! (Spurgeon)
     

  317. Let us Not Seek to Make it Less Monstrous

    Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
    for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
    lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed by the miracle,
    and crushed by remonstrance. (Updike)
     

  318. The Point of Trials

    It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child — a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows.... Is our relationship with God becoming more simple than it has ever been?
    ... Until we can come face to face with the deepest, darkest fact of life without damaging our view of God's character, we do not yet know Him. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  319. Because I've Grieved and Tasted Bitter Loss

    Because I've grieved and tasted bitter loss,
    Because I've stumbled carrying my cross,
    Because I've learned of Christ's sufficiency,
    I'll show His grace to others just like me. — Gustafson
    We can comfort others because God has comforted us. (ODB)
     

  320. "Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart.... For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man...." (Matthew 15:18-20).

         Initially we trust in our ignorance, calling it innocence, and next we trust our innocence, calling it purity. Then when we hear these strong statements from our Lord, we shrink back, saying, "But I never felt any of those awful things in my heart...."
         If I will take an honest look at myself, becoming fully aware of my so-called innocence and putting it to the test, I am very likely to have a rude awakening that what Jesus Christ said is true, and I will be appalled at the possibilities of the evil and the wrong within me.
         But as long as I remain under the false security of my own "innocence," I am living in a fool's paradise. If I have never been an openly rude and abusive person, the only reason is my own cowardice coupled with the sense of protection I receive from living a civilized life. But when I am open and completely exposed before God, I find that Jesus Christ is right in His diagnosis of me.
         The only thing that truly provides protection is the redemption of Jesus Christ. If I will simply hand myself over to Him, I will never have to experience the terrible possibilities that lie within my heart. Purity is something far too deep for me to arrive at naturally. But when the Holy Spirit comes into me, He brings into the center of my personal life the very Spirit that was exhibited in the life of Jesus Christ, namely, the Holy Spirit, which is absolute unblemished purity. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  321. Godliness Not Religion

    Many people begin coming to God once they stop being religious, because there is only one master of the human heart — Jesus Christ, not religion....
    It makes no difference to God's grace what an abomination I am, if I will only come to the light. But "Woe is me" if I refuse the light (see John 3:19-21). (Oswald Chambers)
     

  322. "The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." — Leviticus 6:13

    Keep the altar of private prayer burning. This is the very life of all piety. The sanctuary and family altars borrow their fires here, therefore let this burn well. Secret devotion is the very essence, evidence, and barometer, of vital and experimental religion. (Spurgeon)
     

  323. In Our Daily Life and Service

    In our daily life and service
    Let us true disciples be;
    Being meek when others hurt us,
    Lord, in us may they see Thee! (ODB — Bosch)
     

  324. "I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also" (Matthew 5:39)

         When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but you must make it an opportunity to exhibit the Son of God in your life.... And you cannot imitate the nature of Jesus — it is either in you or it is not. A personal insult becomes an opportunity for a saint to reveal the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus.
         The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is not, "Do your duty," but is, in effect, "Do what is not your duty." It is not your duty to go the second mile, or to turn the other cheek, but Jesus said that if we are His disciples, we will always do these things....
         Every time I insist on having my own rights, I hurt the Son of God.... A disciple realizes that it is his Lord's honor that is at stake in his life, not his own honor. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  325. I had Gone A-Begging

    I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this king of kings!
         My hopes rose high and methought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.
         The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile. I felt the luck of my life had come at last. Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand and say "What hast thou to give to me?"
         Ah, what kingly jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar to beg!
         I was confused and I stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to thee.
         But how great my surprise when at the day's end I empties my bag on the floor to find a least little grain of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give thee my all. (Rabindranath Tagore)

  326. The Golf Links

    THE golf links lie so near the mill
    That almost every day
    The laboring children can look out
    And see the men at play.
    (Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn)
     

  327. Broken

    There was an article years ago, I think in the Atlantic Monthly, about a burro used to harness unbroken horses in the days of the great western cattle ranches. This little burro was harnessed to a stallion, bucking and raging, then the two of them were turned loose together — like Laurel and Hardy — to proceed out onto the range. They would be seen disappearing over the horizon, the great stallion dragging that little burro along and throwing him about like a bag of cream puffs. (John R. Killinger, Jr. in Preaching Today)
         They might be gone for days, but eventually they would come back. The little burro would be seen first trotting back across the horizon, leading the submissive stallion in tow. Some where, out there on the rim of the world, that stallion would become exhausted from trying to get rid of the burro, and the moment he did, the burro took mastery and became the leader.
     

  328. I Strode into the Desert

    I strode into the desert of my will,
    Obsessed with each mirage that I could chase;
    God let me wander aimlessly until
    I cried for the oasis of His grace. (Gustafson)
     

  329. Q & A about Forgiveness

    Q. What does it take to confess a sin and let it go?
    A. I believe there are "seven A's of confession."

    1. Address everyone involved. Confess to each person affected (Psalm 41:4; Luke 19:8).
    2. Avoid "ifs", "buts" and "maybes." Delete words that excuse your conduct or shift blame (1 John 1:8-9).
    3. Admit specifically what you did wrong. Identify attitudes and actions that violated God's will (Psalm 51).
    4. Apologize. Express sorrow that your actions hurt the other person.
    5. Accept the consequences. This may require making restitution or losing benefits or privileges (Luke 15:19; 19:8).
    6. Alter your behavior. Commit to changing in specific ways with God's help (Proverbs 28:13).
    7. Ask for forgiveness (Genesis 50: 17).
    (Ken Sande, director of the Institute for Christian Conciliation in Billings, Montana.)
     
     
  330. With Brick Upon Brick

    With brick upon brick, we wall ourselves in
         (Because, Lord, we're not like those "others")
    Till one day we see that we've not kept out sin
         But walled out our sisters and brothers. (Gustafson)
     

  331. Ouida Sebestyen

    • The longest absence is less perilous to love than the terrible trials of incessant proximity.
    • Indifference is the invisible giant of the world.
    • Petty laws breed great crimes.
    • A cruel story runs on wheels, and every hand oils the wheels as they run.
    • Could we see when and where we would meet again, we would be more tender when we bid our friends goodbye.

     
  332. Then Rise My Soul

    Then rise my soul! and soar away,
    Above the thoughtless crowd;
    Above the pleasures of the gay,
    And splendours of the proud;
    Up where eternal beauties bloom,
    And pleasures all divine;
    Where wealth, that never can consume,
    And endless glories shine.(Spurgeon)
     

  333. .... unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3).

    God holds us accountable every time we refuse to convert ourselves, and He sees our refusal as willful disobedience.
    Our natural life must not rule — God must rule in us. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  334. A Prayer

    God, give us the desires of our heart — and the desires of your heart.
    May these be the same set of desires.
     

  335. "But He answered her not a word." — Matthew 15:23

         Genuine seekers who as yet have not obtained the blessing, may take comfort from the story before us. The Saviour did not at once bestow the blessing, even though the woman had great faith in Him. He intended to give it, but He waited awhile.
         "He answered her not a word."
         Were not her prayers good? Never better in the world.
         Was not her case needy? Sorrowfully needy.
         Did she not feel her need sufficiently? She felt it overwhelmingly.
         Was she not earnest enough? She was intensely so.
         Had she no faith? She had such a high degree of it that even Jesus wondered, and said, "O woman, great is thy faith."
         See then, although it is true that faith brings peace, yet it does not always bring it instantaneously. There may be certain reasons calling for the trial of faith, rather than the reward of faith. (Spurgeon)
     

  336. Ye Fearful Saints

    Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
    The clouds ye so much dread
    Are big with mercy, and shall break
    In blessings on your head. (Cowper)
     

  337. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. — Mark 16:16

         Mr. MacDonald asked the inhabitants of the island of St. Kilda how a man must be saved. An old man replied, "We shall be saved if we repent, and forsake our sins, and turn to God."
         "Yes," said a middle-aged female, "and with a true heart too."
         "Ay," rejoined a third, "and with prayer"; and, added a fourth, "It must be the prayer of the heart."
         "And we must be diligent too," said a fifth, "in keeping the commandments."
         Thus, each having contributed his mite, feeling that a very decent creed had been made up, they all looked and listened for the preacher's approbation, but they had aroused his deepest pity. The carnal mind always maps out for itself a way in which self can work and become great, but the Lord's way is quite the reverse. Believing and being baptized are no matters of merit to be gloried in — they are so simple that boasting is excluded, and free grace bears the palm. (Spurgeon)
     

  338. Three kinds of suffering

    1. Common (not normal) suffering
    2. Carnal suffering
    3. Christian suffering

     
  339. Cooperation

    Mike Barker told me that the obstacle course in Air Force basic training changed his life. On his first attempt he completed the course far ahead of everyone else, but he was immediately confronted by his drill sergeant, who demanded, "Where are all your buddies?" "Back there, sir," Mike replied. "I won!"
         The sergeant barked, "The obstacle course isn't about coming in first! It's about finishing! Everybody finishes or nobody wins. Go back and run it again, and this time help the guys who are struggling along the way!"
         That began Mike's transformation from a lone competitor obsessed with winning into an encourager whose goal was to build teamwork. (ODB)
     

  340. Psalm 28:1 "Be not silent to me."

         Mere formalists may be content without answers to their prayers, but genuine suppliants cannot; they are not satisfied with the results of prayer itself in calming the mind and subduing the will — they must go further, and obtain actual replies from heaven, or they cannot rest....
         When God seems to close His ear, we must not therefore close our mouths, but rather cry with more earnestness; for when our note grows shrill with eagerness and grief, He will not long deny us a hearing.... We must have answers to prayer: ours is an urgent case of dire necessity; surely the Lord will speak peace to our agitated minds, for He never can find it in His heart to permit His own elect to perish. (Spurgeon)
     

  341. Facing Trouble

    Blessed is the fact that Christians can rejoice even in the deepest distress; although trouble may surround them, they still sing; and, like many birds, they sing best in their cages. The waves may roll over them, but ... they have a buoyancy about them which keeps their head always above the water, and helps them to sing amid the tempest, "God is with me still." To whom shall the glory be given? Oh! to Jesus — it is all by Jesus.
         Trouble does not necessarily bring consolation with it to the believer, but the presence of the Son of God in the fiery furnace with him fills his heart with joy. (Spurgeon)
     

  342. The Head and Heart

    To handle yourself, use your head,
    To handle others, use your heart. (Anonymous)
     

  343. Grieving

    The American Hospice Foundation says that bereaved people tend to keep their grieving a secret in the workplace.
         Many of us have grown up with the idea that sorrow should be overcome quickly. What often happens is that we deny our pain, bottle it up inside, and try to go it alone. A sign that reads "No Grieving Allowed" might as well be posted on the walls at work.
         Unfortunately, this same dangerous attitude can invade our homes and communities of faith as well. Grieving presents a dilemma for many Christians. When we feel the deep pain of loss, we often hide it, believing we should be outwardly joyful no matter what has happened. But notice the words of Acts 8:2. Luke wrote that after Stephen was stoned to death by an angry mob, godly men buried him and "made great lamentation over him." Godly men crying and mourning deeply may seem contradictory to some, but the Bible states it plainly in all its emotional impact. (ODB)
     

  344. "Christ is all in all."

    Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee — it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee — it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument — it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith.
    We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking unto Jesus." Keep thine eye simply on Him (Spurgeon)
     

  345. Let Convulsions Shake the Solid Earth

    Let convulsions shake the solid earth, let the skies themselves be rent in twain, yet amid the wreck of worlds the believer shall be as secure as in the calmest hour of rest. If God cannot save His people under heaven, He will save them in heaven. If the world becomes too hot to hold them, then heaven shall be the place of their reception and their safety. Stay yourself upon His promise; rest in His faithfulness, and bid defiance to the blackest future, for there is nothing in it direful for you. (Spurgeon)
         Your sole concern should be to show forth to the world the blessedness of hearkening to the voice of wisdom. (Spurgeon)
     

  346. The Difference

    Means of themselves are utterly unavailing. "Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing." What was the reason of this?
         Were they not fishermen plying their special calling? Verily, they were no raw hands; they understood the work.
         Had they gone about the toil unskillfully? No.
         Had they lacked industry? No, they had toiled.
         Had they lacked perseverance? No, they had toiled all the night.
         Was there a deficiency of fish in the sea? Certainly not, for as soon as the Master came, they swam to the net in shoals.
         What, then, is the reason? Is it because there is no power in the means of themselves apart from the presence of Jesus? "Without Him we can do nothing." But with Christ we can do all things. Christ's presence confers success. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  347. The Lord's Prayer

    This prayer begins where all true prayer must commence, with

    1. the spirit of adoption, "Our Father."
      There is no acceptable prayer until we can say, "I will arise, and go unto my Father."
      This child-like spirit soon perceives the grandeur of the Father "in heaven," and ascends to
    2. devout adoration, "Hallowed be Thy name." The child lisping, "Abba, Father," grows into the cherub crying, "Holy, Holy, Holy."
      There is but a step from rapturous worship to the glowing missionary spirit, which is a sure outgrowth of
    3. filial love and reverent adoration — "Thy kingdom come,Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Next follows the
    4. heartfelt expression of dependence upon God — "Give us this day our daily bread."
      Being further illuminated by the Spirit, he discovers that he is not only dependent, but
    5. sinful, hence he entreats for mercy, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors:" and being pardoned, having the righteousness of Christ imputed, and knowing his acceptance with God, he
    6. humbly supplicates for holy perseverance, "Lead us not into temptation."
      The man who is really forgiven, is anxious not to offend again; the possession of justification leads to
    7. an anxious desire for sanctification. "Forgive us our debts," that is justification; "
      Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil," that is sanctification in its negative and positive forms.
      As the result of all this, there follows a
    8. triumphant ascription of praise, "Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen."
      We rejoice that our King reigns in providence and shall reign in grace, from the river even to the ends of the earth, and of His dominion there shall be no end.

    Thus from a sense of adoption, up to fellowship with our reigning Lord, this short model of prayer conducts the soul. Lord, teach us thus to pray. (Spurgeon)
     

  348. Spaceship Earth

    We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common.

    It has to be everybody or nobody. (Buckminster Fuller)
     

  349. If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36)

    Our spirit hungers for more and more. It is the way we are built. We are designed with a great capacity for God, but sin, our own individuality, and wrong thinking keep us from getting to Him. God delivers us from sin — we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience.
         ...We tend to rely on our own energy, instead of being energized by the power that comes from identification with Jesus. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  350. God Moves in a Mysterious Way

    God moves in a mysterious way
    His wonders to perform;
    He plants his footsteps in the sea,
    And rides upon the storm. (William Cowper)
     

  351. Rules of Self-Discovery

    1. What we want most?
    2. What we think about most?
    3. How we use our Money?
    4. What we do with our leisure time?
    5. The company we enjoy?
    6. Whom and what we enjoy?
    7. What we laugh at? (A.W. Tozer)

     
  352. Things don't just happen

    Things don't just happen to those who love God,
    They're planned by His own dear hand,
    Then molded and shaped, and timed by His clock;
    Things don't just happen — they're planned. (Fields)
     

  353. A + B + C = Success if

    A = Hard Work
    B = Hard Play
    C = Keeping your mouth shut. (Albert Einstein)
     

  354. "That those things which cannot be shaken may remain." — Hebrews 12:27

    We have many things in our possession at the present moment which can be shaken, and it ill becomes a Christian man to set much store by them, for there is nothing stable beneath these rolling skies; change is written upon all things. (Spurgeon)
     

  355. Grace for Crazy People

    And Jesus' heart was not hardened against crazy people, or we would all be doomed. He was not embarrassed by craziness. He just said, "Yeah, well, me too," then he took care of you anyway.
         The truth is that progress is usually small and sneaky. The lie is that only big will do; only big will change the world, so everyone will be kind to each other and the killing will stop. Big is the magic we look for first, but grace is what makes things work out against all odds. If it were too big, it might sweep away all the bits of knowledge and insight we're granted as we go along. If it were too big, it couldn't get through the almost invisible cracks and holes in our walls, in our stone hearts; knowledge comes in tendrils. (Lamott)
     

  356. What Tenderness the Father Shows

    What tenderness the Father shows
    To sinners in their pain!
    He grants to them His strength to bear
    The hurt that brings them gain. (ODB)
     

  357. Critical Christians

    The average Christian is the most piercingly critical individual known. Criticism is one of the ordinary activities of people, but in the spiritual realm nothing is accomplished by it....
         It is impossible to enter into fellowship with God when you are in a critical mood. Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel, and leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others. Jesus says that as His disciple you should cultivate a temperament that is never critical. This will not happen quickly but must be developed over a span of time. You must constantly beware of anything that causes you to think of yourself as a superior person....
         There is always at least one more fact, which we know nothing about, in every person's situation. The first thing God does is to give us a thorough spiritual cleaning. After that, there is no possibility of pride remaining in us. I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.(Oswald Chambers)
     

  358. Good at Feeling Bad

    "Were the Columbine boys on drugs?" Sam asked hopefully.
    "Nope, not as far as we know."
    Silence. "I guess they just weren't any good at feeling bad."
    That's probably the smartest thing anyone has said so far. (Lamott)
     

  359. "... seek, and you will find..." (Luke 11:9)

    Seek if you have not found. "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss...." (James 4:3).
    If you ask for things from life instead of from God, "you ask amiss"; that is, you ask out of your desire for self-fulfillment. The more you fulfill yourself the less you will seek God. ".... seek, and you will find...." Get to work — narrow your focus and interests to this one thing. Have you ever sought God with your whole heart, or have you simply given Him a feeble cry after some emotionally painful experience? ".... seek, [focus,] and you will find...." (Oswald Chambers)
     

  360. Flatter Me, and I May Believe You

    Flatter me, and I may not believe you.
    Criticize me, and I may not like you.
    Ignore me, and I may not forgive you.
    Encourage me, and I will not forget you.
    (William Arthur Ward, American newspaper editor, writer)
     

  361. My Heart Is With Him on His Throne

    My heart is with Him on His throne,
    And ill can brook delay;
    Each moment listening for the voice,
    "Rise up, and come away." (ODB)
     

  362. "Ephraim is a cake not turned." — Hosea 7:8

    A cake not turned is uncooked on one side; and so Ephraim was, in many respects, untouched by divine grace.... To be sanctified, spirit, soul, and body, should be thine aim and prayer; and although sanctification may not be perfect in thee anywhere in degree, yet it must be universal in its action; there must not be the appearance of holiness in one place and reigning sin in another, else thou, too, wilt be a cake not turned. (Spurgeon)
     

  363. Quit Trying

    The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands, and then I can begin to pour my life out in the priestly work of intercession.
    I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands, and then I can begin to pour my life out in the priestly work of intercession. If you are not now receiving the "hundredfold" which Jesus promised (see Matthew 19:29), and not getting insight into God's Word, then start praying for your friends — enter into the ministry of the inner life. "The Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends." As a saved soul, the real business of your life is intercessory prayer. Whatever circumstances God may place you in, always pray immediately that His atonement may be recognized and as fully understood in the lives of others as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now, and pray for those with whom you come in contact now. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  364. Our Father has reasons

    Our Father has reasons peculiar to Himself for ... keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show His power and His sovereignty, that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold. More frequently the delay is for our profit.
         Thou art perhaps kept waiting in order that thy desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if He keeps thee waiting thou wilt see thy necessity more clearly, and wilt seek more earnestly; and that thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying.
         There may also be something wrong in thee which has need to be removed, before the joy of the Lord is given.
         Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused, or thou mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself, instead of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus.
         Or, God makes thee tarry awhile that He may the more fully display the riches of His grace to thee at last....
         Let not despair make thee silent, but continue instant in earnest supplication. (Spurgeon)
     

  365. Sifted Corn

    Satan, like a drudge, may hold the sieve, hoping to destroy the corn; but the overruling hand of the Master is accomplishing the purity of the grain by the very process which the enemy intended to be destructive.
    Precious, but much sifted corn of the Lord's floor, be comforted by the blessed fact that the Lord directeth both flail and sieve to His own glory, and to thine eternal profit. (Spurgeon)
     

  366. "Help, Lord!" (Psalm 12:1)

    The occasions for the use of this prayer are frequent. In providential afflictions how suitable it is for tried believers who find all helpers failing them. Students, in doctrinal difficulties, may often obtain aid by lifting up this cry of "Help, Lord," to the Holy Spirit, the great Teacher.
         Spiritual warriors in inward conflicts may send to the throne for reinforcements, and this will be a model for their request.
         Workers in heavenly labour may thus obtain grace in time of need.
         Seeking sinners, in doubts and alarms, may offer up the same weighty supplication; in fact, in all these cases, times, and places, this will serve the turn of needy souls.
         "Help, Lord," will suit us living and dying, suffering or labouring, rejoicing or sorrowing. In Him our help is found, let us not be slack to cry to Him. (Spurgeon)
     

  367. The Proof

    As I talked with a skeptic about the moral standards of the Bible, I could tell that he remained unconvinced. Then I asked him if he knew any cruel, greedy people who had become kind and unselfish when they became believers in Christ. His demeanor changed abruptly when he admitted that he did know such people. I could tell that they were having a greater impact on him than he wanted to acknowledge.
         Many years ago the head of a rescue mission in London accepted the challenge to debate a well-known skeptic, but with this condition: He would bring with him 100 people who would tell how believing in Jesus had changed their lives. He invited his opponent to counter with witnesses to the benefits of unbelief. On the appointed day the believer came with his 100, but the skeptic never showed up.
         Even though we should be prepared to give a reasonable answer to a person who asks about the hope we have in Christ (1 Pet. 3:15), our Christlike character and conduct remain the strongest argument for our faith.
         In Mark 5, Jesus told the formerly demon-possessed man to go home to his friends so they could see what He had done for him (v.19). (ODB)
     

  368. "Abide in Me...." (John 15:4)

    The Spirit of Jesus is put into me by way of the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I then have to build my thinking patiently to bring it into perfect harmony with my Lord. God will not make me think like Jesus — I have to do it myself. I have to bring "every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). "Abide in Me" — in intellectual matters, in money matters, in every one of the matters that make human life what it is. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  369. "Come to Me...." (Matthew 11:28)

    Where sin and sorrow stops, and the song of the saint starts. Do I really want to get there? I can right now. The questions that truly matter in life are remarkably few, and they are all answered by these words — "Come to Me." Our Lord's words are not, "Do this, or don't do that," but — "Come to me." If I will simply come to Jesus, my real life will be brought into harmony with my real desires. I will actually cease from sin, and will find the song of the Lord beginning in my life. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  370. The Big Hearted Little Boy

    A story is told about a little boy with a big heart. His next-door neighbor was an older gentleman whose wife had recently died. When the youngster saw the elderly man crying, he climbed up onto his lap and simply sat there.

    Later, his mother asked the boy what he had said to their saddened neighbor. "Nothing," the child replied. "I just helped him cry." (ODB)
     

  371. Your Will Agrees with God

    Your will agrees with God, but in your flesh there is a nature that renders you powerless to do what you know you ought to do. When the Lord initially comes in contact with our conscience, the first thing our conscience does is awaken our will, and our will always agrees with God. Yet you say, "But I don't know if my will is in agreement with God." Look to Jesus and you will find that your will and your conscience are in agreement with Him every time. What causes you to say "I will not obey" is something less deep and penetrating than your will. It is perversity or stubbornness, and they are never in agreement with God. The most profound thing in a person is his will, not sin.
         The will is the essential element in God's creation of human beings — sin is a perverse nature which entered into people. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  372. Learning to Let Go

    In an article for Campus Life magazine, Susan Smart describes her third — and nearly last — solo flight. She had been practicing a maneuver at 5,000 feet when she lost control and her Cessna 150 began spinning wildly toward earth.
         After several seconds of panic, she recalled her instructor's words: "If you ever go into a spin in a Cessna 150, just let go of the controls. It's built to fly on its own."
         Susan shouted to herself several times, "Let go!" Finally, she yanked her hands from the controls and covered her face. After some wild yawing and pitching, the plane returned to level flight.
         She had fallen more than half a mile, but she survived because she had the faith to let go.
         The golden rule to follow to obtain spiritual understanding is not one of intellectual pursuit, but one of obedience. If a person wants scientific knowledge, then intellectual curiosity must be his guide. But if he desires knowledge and insight into the teachings of Jesus Christ, he can only obtain it through obedience. If spiritual things seem dark and hidden to me, then I can be sure that there is a point of disobedience somewhere in my life. Intellectual darkness is the result of ignorance, but spiritual darkness is the result of something that I do not intend to obey.
         No one ever receives a word from God without instantly being put to the test regarding it.
         We disobey and then wonder why we are not growing spiritually.
         When Jesus drives something home to you through His Word, don't try to evade it. If you do, you will become a religious impostor. Examine the things you tend simply to shrug your shoulders about, and where you have refused to be obedient, and you will know why you are not growing spiritually. (Oswald Chambers)
     

  373. Love Poem

    I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
    I love you simply, without problems or pride:
    I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving
    (from Soneto 17 — Sonnet 17 (te amo sin saber cómo) by Pablo Neruda — 1959)
     

  374. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. (John 7:37)

    No waiting or preparation is so much as hinted at. Drinking represents a reception for which no fitness is required. (Spurgeon)
     

  375. Becoming Certain

    To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God — it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, "... unless you ... become as little children..." (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, "... believe also in Me" (John 14:1), not, "Believe certain things about Me." (Oswald Chambers)


 

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