1. Words of Wisdom
Thought for the week: “Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appears to me so pure as that of Jesus.” – Thomas Jefferson
“First man: sometimes I’d like to ask God why he allows poverty, famine and injustice to continue when he could do something about it. Second man: what’s stopping you? First man: I’m afraid he might ask me the same question.” – Anonymous
“George Santayana’s famous line continually rings true, across civilizations and across the ages: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’” – Glen Beck
“Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” – George Washington
“We are perhaps too much inclined to think that [external invasion] is the only way a civilization can die. If the lights that guide us ever go out, they will fade little by little, as if of their own accord…. We therefore should not console ourselves by thinking that the barbarians are still a long way off. Some peoples may let the torch be snatched from their hands, but others stamp it out themselves.” – Alexis de Tocqueville
“The miracle is this—the more we share, the more we have.” – Leonard Nimoy
2. On the Lighter Side
Dewey was in front of me coming out of church one day, and the preacher was standing at the door as he always is to shake hands.
The preacher grabbed Dewey by the hand and pulled him aside.
The Pastor said to him, “You need to join the Army of the Lord!”
Dewey replied, “I’m already in the Army of the Lord, Pastor.”
The Pastor questioned, “How come I don’t see you except at Christmas and Easter?”
Dewey whispered back, “I’m in the secret service.”
Source: MickeysFunnies, www.mikeysFunnies.com
3. If All I Do Is Pray for You
If all I do is pray for you,
Can God’s work be done?
If I am not His hands and feet,
Can the world be won?
Faith must be put into action,
Breathing life and spirit;
Can God’s will be truly done,
If I only hear it?
– Janice M. Lyons
4. God’s Everlasting Covenant to Israel
“On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves” (Zechariah 12:3, NIV).
“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3, NIV).
“As for me, this is my covenant with you [Abraham, the father of the Israelites]: You will be the father of many nations. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:4, 7-8, NIV).
5. I Believe
I Believe … That just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do love each other.
… That we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.
… That no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.
… That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.
… That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
… That it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.
… That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
… That you can keep going long after you think you can’t.
… That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.
… That either you control your attitude or it controls you.
… That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.
… That my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.
… That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up .
… That sometimes when I’m angry, I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.
… That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had, and what you’ve learned from them, and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.
… That it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
… That no matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for your grief.
… That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.
… That you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.
… Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.
… That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.
… That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you—you will find the strength to help.
… That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.
… That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.
… The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.
– Author unknown. Submitted by Charles Smith.
6. How Do You Live Your Dash?
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (697.2)
One of my favorite poems is called “The Dash.” Written by Linda Ellis shortly after her grandmother’s death, it’s an eloquent invocation to live one’s life thoughtfully.
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning to the end. He noted that first came her date of birth and spoke the following date with tears, But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time she spent alive on earth, And now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth. For it matters not how much we own—the cars, the house, the cash—What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard—are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged. If we could just slow down long enough to consider what’s true and real, And always try to understand the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more, And love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile, Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy’s been read with your life’s actions to rehash, Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts. Linda has a website where you can order printed copies of the full poem and read more than a dozen other uplifting verses.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
© 2011 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation’s leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further information visit www.charactercounts.org
7. Confessing the Right Sin
A sample of Daily Encounter by Dick Innes
“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”1
Some time ago I remember reading a simple but profound statement by Cecil Osborne. He said, “When we are hiding a deeper sin or fault, we tend to confess a lesser one all the more vigorously.”
A friend of mine, for example, had been trying to overcome his smoking addiction for 20 years without success. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t break the addictive habit.
When he shared his struggle with me, I simply asked, “Why do you need to smoke?”
He looked at me with a blank stare as if to say, “Are you crazy, what are you talking about? I don’t need to smoke.” He then mumbled a few incoherent sentences, turned around, and walked away. He died a few years later of cancer!
True, my friend’s smoking addiction was a problem, but it wasn’t the real problem. It was the fruit of a deeper root—the symptom of some unresolved issue he was either afraid or unwilling to examine. He was confessing the wrong sin/problem; that is, he was confessing just the symptom, not the deeper cause.
The same principle is true of all addictive behaviors and many of our negative and sinful actions. To overcome, we need to be ruthlessly honest with ourselves, with at least one safe person who won’t judge or put us down, and with God. We need to admit and confess not only the symptoms but the causes behind them. We may need to ask God to give us the courage to face these causes and to lead us to the help, support, and recovery program we need to overcome them.
This is the kind of praying God loves to hear and answer. As his word says, he “is near to all who call on him in truth.”
Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please give me the courage to admit all of my sins and failures, and to face the causes behind them, whether they be behavioral, physical, emotional or spiritual. And give me the courage to confess all of these to at least one trusted friend or counselor as well as to you. And please lead me to the help I need to overcome them. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
1. Psalm 145:18 (NIV).