1. Words of Wisdom
Thought for the week: “The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by oft falling.” – Lucretius, Roman poet, philosopher (c. 99-55 BC)
“The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors-stood alone against the men of their time.” – Ayn Rand, writer
“No written word, no spoken plea
Can teach our youths what they should be.
Not all the books on all the shelves,
It’s what the teachers are themselves.
– Author Unknown
“You are defeated only when you give up.” – Andrew Racz
“Trials are the x-rays that allow us to see what’s going on in our hearts. People and situations do not make us bitter. They simply show us what is already within us.” – Jon Courson
“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’” – William A Ward
“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” – Unknown
2. On the Lighter Side
Just before I was deployed to Iraq, I sat my eight-year-old son down and broke the news to him. “I’m going to be away for a long time,” I told him. “I’m going to Iraq.”
“Why?” he asked. “Don’t you know there’s a war going on over there?”
3. Never Quit
Anyone who has ever achieved anything worthwhile with his or her life has always faced many challenges and setbacks attempting to reach their goal and have known determination, persistence and perseverance. In the book, The Best Way Out Is Always Through, the author, B.J. Gallagher, writes:
• Persist no matter what.
• Endure discomfort.
• Request help.
• Steadfastly hold on to your beliefs and
• Envision triumph.
• Very consistently keep at it.
• Embrace adversity as your teacher.
• Refuse to give up.
• Enjoy and celebrate every tiny bit of
4. Billy Graham’s Suit
In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina, invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor.
Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson’s disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, “We don’t expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.” So he agreed.
After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and shared the following with them:
I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.
The conductor said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.”
Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.
The conductor rushed back and said, “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are—No problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.”
Einstein looked at him and said, “Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”
Having said that, Billy Graham continued, “See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. My children, and my grandchildren are telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing. I want you to remember this: ‘I not only know who I am … I also know where I’m going.’”
The word, “enthusiasm” comes from “en” meaning in, and “theos” meaning God. Thus enthusiasm literally means “in God.” The reality is that the only enthusiasm that stands the test of time and lasts is the enthusiasm that is based in God.
Og Mandino, author of A Better Way to Live, said, “Every memorable act in the history of the world is a triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it because it gives any challenge or any occupation, no matter how frightening or difficult, a new meaning. Without enthusiasm you are doomed to a life of mediocrity, but with it you can accomplish miracles.”
6. Sweet Adversity
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (673.5)
No one wants pain, troubles, or hardship, but it’s inevitable that we’ll have plenty of each. And they won’t come at times of our choosing or in manageable doses. Adversity is never welcome, but it’s not necessarily our enemy. As a blade is sharpened by friction with a harder stone, our character and the quality of our lives can be shaped and strengthened through struggle and striving. Shakespeare said, “Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”
Adversity’s precious jewel is cut by the chisels of confidence and competence, forged in a process of confronting and overcoming difficulties. As Nietzsche said, “What does not destroy me makes me stronger.”
The following poem by an unknown author reminds us that what we need isn’t always what we want:
I asked for Strength and God gave me Difficulties
to make me strong.
I asked for Wisdom and God gave me Problems to solve.
I asked for Prosperity and God gave me Brain and Brawn
I asked for Courage and God gave me Danger to
I asked for Love and God gave me Troubled People
I asked for Favor and God gave me Opportunities.
I got nothing I wanted,
But I received everything I needed.
The road to achievement and fulfillment is dotted with hazards and tragedies that can wound us, frighten us, and slow us down. But afflictions and misfortunes can stop us only if we surrender.
If we exercise courage, patience, and perseverance, we can overcome any adversity, bearing pains we cannot relieve and solving problems we cannot avoid.
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. Freedom and Responsibility
A sample of Daily Encounter by Dick Innes
“Why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat . . . [and] each will give an account of himself to God.”1
Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England, said, “I remember being taught by my parents, from my earliest childhood, that the one thing about being British was you did not have to be told what to do. You rose to your responsibilities and took the initiative. Religious belief played a fundamental part in shaping that character because, whether you take the Old Testament or the New Testament, it puts the emphasis on the dignity and responsibility of the individual. You are accountable because you have freedom.”
We, too, have freedom which is a priceless privilege. However, some people seem to think they can use their freedom to do as they please both before man and God. As such, they are not free but are in bondage to their own selfishness, passions, and lust. They confuse liberty with license—forgetting that the price of freedom is still eternal vigilance, which includes moral and ethical responsibility. Ultimately, if we continue to abuse our freedom and privileges, we will lose them.
With freedom comes responsibility and with responsibility, accountability. We are accountable to our fellow man and above all, we are accountable to God. As God’s word says, “For we must all stand before God’s judgment seat.” And again, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”2
Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to so live that I will always act responsibly, that my life will always bring glory to your name, and that I will not be ashamed when I stand before you face to face. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
1. Romans 14:10, 12 (NIV).
2. Hebrews 9:27.