Editor: Richard (Dick) Innes
Published by: ACTS International
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Vol. 16 – No. 1014 March 08, 2014
Thought for the week: "Courage is not limited to the battlefield. The real tests of courage are much quieter. They are the inner tests, like enduring pain when the room is empty or standing alone when you're misunderstood." – Charles Swindoll
"Life without God is like an unsharped pencil—it has no point!" – Unknown
"A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." – William Shedd
"Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy." – Brian Tracy
True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost."
– Arthur Ashe
"The biggest tragedy in America is not the great waste of natural resources—though this is tragic; the biggest tragedy is the waste of human resources because the average person goes to his grave with his music still in him." – Oliver Wendell Holmes
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never scoring." – Bill Copeland
A young man had finished his first semester in college, and was spending the weekend at home. Somewhat bored with the old place, he was regaling his father with the wonders of his campus and the enlightened people there. After getting up a head of steam and warming up to his subject, he said, "Why, Dad, in our chemistry lab at college we have made an acid that will dissolve any known substance."
The father turned and looked at him and slowly said, "That's mighty fine. What do they keep it in, son?"
Source: 1001 Humorous Illustrations,
Saratoga Press, p. 193.
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.
He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth—His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
In 1887, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior: "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.
"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
"From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage."
Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.
Observing the birthday of Dr. Seuss caused me to reflect on some of the profound lessons this modern-day philosopher taught with his exotically imaginative stories.
For example, whether I'm looking at my clock, my calendar, or observing how quickly my children change, he captures the surprise and wistful sadness I often feel: "How did it get so late so soon? My goodness how the time has flown."
Then he softens the lament by urging us to look back on our lives with a positive perspective: "Don't cry because it's over," he writes. "Smile because it happened."
His advice to help us find and celebrate our own uniqueness is timeless and wise.
"A person's a person, no matter how small," he tells us. "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you."
Dr. Seuss urges us not to fret too much about what others think. "Be who you are and say what you want, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
To get us started he tells us to get on our way. "Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting." But he also tells us to choose our own mountains and take control of our lives:
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own,
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one
Who'll decide where to go.
If you doubt the sincerity of my admiration, let me remind you of Horton who put it simply, "I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one-hundred percent."
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
God said, "What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me."1
The word "worship" comes from an old English word "worth-ship" meaning to acknowledge the worth of someone. For the Christian, worship means to acknowledge the worth of God.
Many in the church today equate worship with singing upbeat choruses. Others equate it with a more traditional approach where the main meetings on the Lord's Day are called "worship" services—both of which may or may not have anything to do with genuine worship.
A friend of mine, John Fitzroy, was once asked where he worshiped, which meant what church he attended. He gave a straightforward answer when he replied, "I attend such and such a church where I lead the choir, but I don't worship!" At least he was being honest.
As important as attending a good church is, I don't need to be in a church or chapel to worship. I can worship when I see a beautiful sunset, a new-born baby, a flower, a tree, a singing bird, an animal, the ocean, in sunshine or in rain, on a mountain, in the desert—wherever I am at home, school, work, or play—as well as at church.
I need to constantly acknowledge the worth of God which is what worship is. Chances are, if I'm not practicing worship throughout the week, I'm not too likely to do so sitting in a church for one hour a week. We bring a worship attitude or spirit with us. If we don't, we're not too likely to find it in church regardless of whether the service is contemporary or traditional.
Worship is an attitude of the heart. Going through the motions when the heart isn't in it may be religiosity or churchianity, but it isn't worship. It's just a shadow of the real. My best guess is that God thinks about the same of this as he did the burning of incense and burnt offerings in Old Testament days when they were rituals without heart or sincerity. The same is true of prayers that are insincere and are words without heart.
How absurd it must be to God when he sees us trying to "drum up" what we call worship—whether it's with a pipe organ, a grand piano, a clanging symbol, an electric guitar, or noisy drums—when our heart isn't in it, and in so doing not be acknowledging the worth of God!
David had it right. He said, "I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High." And again, "I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly."2 Now that's worship—with or without music. And, by the way, I love music and used to be on a gospel musical team myself in younger days.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to understand the true meaning of worship and learn how to worship you in spirit and in truth, not only at church, but wherever I am. Please give me a worshipful heart and spirit. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
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