Editor: Richard (Dick) Innes
Published by: ACTS International
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Vol. 19 – No. 0117 January 08, 2017
Thought for the week: [Failing to forgive and] "dwelling on past hurts is like pumping air into a balloon until it explodes." – Abigail Van Buren
During my brother's wedding, my mother managed to keep from crying—until she glanced at my grandparents. My grandmother had reached over to my grandfather's wheelchair and gently touched his hand. That was all it took to start my mother's tears flowing.
After the wedding, Mom went over to my grandmother and told her how that tender gesture triggered her outburst. "Well, I'm sorry to ruin your moment," Grandmother replied, "but I was just checking to see if he'd fallen asleep."
An economist asked to talk to a business group about the recession, and she began by pinning up a large sheet of white paper upon which she made a distinct black spot with her black felt pen. Then she asked a man in the front row what he say, "A black spot," he promptly replied.
The speaker asked every person the same question and each replied, "A black spot."
With calm and deliberate emphasis the speaker said, "Yes, there is a little black spot, but none of you mentioned the big sheet of white paper, and that's my speech.
– Cited on Encounter magazine (Australia),
According to a well-traveled story, when Tillie died in her nineties her friends were taken aback when they viewed her body and noticed a fork in her right hand. Tillie knew this would provoke questions, and she had instructed her pastor to give anyone who asked about the fork a copy of a signed note that read:
"I'm glad you asked about the fork. I've been to lots of church socials and potluck dinners in my life and one thing I've noticed is when the dishes and flatware for the main course are being cleared, someone usually says, 'Keep your fork.' I loved that part because I knew dessert was coming. So even as I pass from this life, I wanted the fork in my hand to remind you the best is yet to come."
Samuel Johnson called hope a species of happiness. To the extent we can discipline ourselves to choose our attitudes, it only makes sense to think positively and be hopeful
Two months after finishing college in December 1966 I was drafted into the military, and after boot camp found there were two types of soldiers. One type fought the system for two years because they couldn't adjust to military style discipline. The other type, (which I hoped to be) learned hard lessons from their time of service to our country. These lessons weren't ones like how to clean a rifle, or march in cadence. These were lessons of character and were factors in survival.
In retrospect, one lesson I learned from my military time was that in order to be free, you had to have personal discipline about safety, and awareness of danger. While in the military you carried your rifle with you at all times because you were on the lookout for the enemy. In the Christian life, we carry the Bible on our shoulders, so to speak, for it becomes a light to our path.
In the almost 40 years since, I learned other lessons from life's ups and downs. It seems strange but lessons about freedom usually come from conflicts on our jobs, or in our families, or our finances. When the lessons are learned and life resumes balance, we find that we've grown in ways that may not have been possible. So we can then say that resolving conflicts is one aspect of the Freedom Factor. There are however, times when conflicts are of our own making for we sometimes choose the wrong thing over which to fight. In these situations, we find freedom when we choose to not make issues of small things.
I've just finished reading the book of Galatians and found the key thought is that Jesus Christ means for us to live in freedom. We are free to enjoy life as it comes, but not free when we do things to impress others. One message in the fifth chapter of Galatians is that the freedom we enjoy is one that allows and urges us to seek someone else's good, but not as a means of personal gain.
When we live in freedom, we usually treat our neighbors and friends with honest affection, and do for them as we would do for ourselves. We thus find new exuberance, patience, and serenity. The more we look for the good of others, the more our lives are freer than we thought possible. The Freedom Factor begins when we love in the same way God loves us, and the more we love, the more we are free.
A letter to Michael Josephson of Character Counts:
Just a thought on "Overcoming Victimitis 442.3": Our thoughts, or what we think, are heavily influenced by what we experience. While we cannot control all of our experiences, we can control much of what we put into our heads in terms of media input and what we allow others around us to say and do in our presence. As the computer geeks say, "Garbage in, garbage out."
The same is true for our thoughts. If we fill our minds with negative talk shows, trashy magazines, Internet trash, and the negative talk and actions of friends, workmates and even our families, what can we expect our thoughts to be? Much of what is on the radio, TV and Internet is simply mind pollution.
I believe it is important to raise awareness of this form of "brain damage." When people hear or see something often enough they begin to think it is normal even if it is clearly NOT normal, right, worthy or uplifting.
Thank you for the work you do to raise ethical standards.
Joy Anderson, Whittier, California
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."1
Some time ago I wrote about our disappointing vacation cruise that we missed out on because I left my "Green Card" (proper immigration papers) at home. Consequently, we flew home early. On board the airplane, very soon after we left Florida enroute to California, a lady with diabetes took very ill and was in serious condition. A doctor or nurse was called for. Apparently there weren't any doctors on board, so Joy, being a nurse, answered the call. She knew exactly what to do, held the lady all the way home, helped to keep her from going into a diabetic coma and quite possibly helped save her life. The crew had called ahead and an ambulance was waiting on the runway to whisk the lady to the hospital as soon as we arrived at our destination.
When our life is daily committed and trusted to God and we make ourselves available for him to use, we just never know why disappointing circumstances happen. Sometimes they happen just because (for no obvious reason), sometimes it's because of our poor planning or unwise decisions, and sometimes they happen because it is a God thing!
When we shared our experience with our neighbor, she was very positive in saying, "It was meant to happen." And the more Joy and I think about it, the more we agreed with our neighbor and believe our missed vacation was a God thing, and thanked God for this happenstance.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, Thank you that all things do work together for good to those who love you, to those who are the called according to your purpose. Help me always to see this. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
NOTE: By the way Southwest Airlines sent us two freebie airline tickets to anywhere in the U.S. in appreciation for what Joy did to help this sick lady on the flight from Florida!
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