Illustration results for virtues
In a speech made in 1863, Abraham Lincoln said, "We have been the receipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prospertiy; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
Sermon Central Staff
FASTER AND FASTER
Does anyone here know who "Million Dollar Bill" is? If you guessed Bill Gates, then you would be wrong. Another nickname is "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville." In the year 1987, at Talladega Motor Speedway, Bill Elliot set the fastest recorded speed for a qualifying lap at 212.809 mph. This was the fastest miles per hour recorded for qualifying in a NASCAR event. The cars ran so fast that they literally began to lift off the speedway, creating a major safety issue. The speeds were so fast, and they really could not handle the cars.
NASCAR would implement the restrictor plate. If you are not a race fan, or not a car person at all, here is what a restrictor plate does: The device limits the power output of the engine, therefore slowing the acceleration and the overall speed. The horsepower of these machines is phenomenal. In 2004, Rusty Wallace tested a car at Talladega Super Speedway without a restrictor plate, and reached a top speed of 228 mph in the backstretch, and had a one lap average of 221 mph. Wallace would describe the experience as "out of control," and he also said that "there is no way that we could race at those speeds." The restrictor plates have slowed the cars’ speeds significantly, and they now average around 187 mph- still very fast for most of us.
But is it really? We all seem to be going faster and faster, until we actually find out--as Rusty Wallace said-- that we are out of control. The things that we are doing are no longer fun, and have become extremely dangerous.
We have become a society of "I want it now." I mean, look back, say 25-30 years. The cell phone was straight out of Dick Tracy comics, or the Jetsons’ TV phones to see the person on the other end. A computer was something that no one needed. But now, something that used to take up a city block will fit in your shirt pocket, and you can access the world from about anywhere at any time. The speed of things today is more than most of us can imagine. If there was a contest for the most popular virtue, I guess that "fast" would beat "best." Many parts of the world seem to be obsessed with speed- but the fast craze is getting us nowhere, fast.
In Carl Honore’s book, "In Praise of Slowness," he says, "The time has come to challenge our obsession with doing everything more quickly. Speed is not always the best policy."
According to the Bible, he’s right. Peter warns that in the last days, people would doubt God because he is slow, "Slack," in fulfilling his promise to return.
(From a sermon by Ricky Hurst, Patience- Stop and Smell the Roses, 5/31/2011)
Sermon Central Staff
THE RIGHT USE OF THE EYES
A bishop of the early church, who was a remarkable example of the virtue of contentment, was asked his secret. The venerable old man replied: "It consists in nothing more than making a right use of my eyes. In whatever state I am, I first of all look up to heaven and remember that my principal business here is to get there. Then I look down upon the earth, and call to mind how small a place I shall occupy in it when I die and am buried. I then look around in the world, and observe what multitudes there are who are in many respects more unhappy than myself. Thus I learn where true happiness is placed, where all our cares must end, and what little reason I have to complain."
[Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. 836 Correct Use of the Eyes, Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc. From a sermon by Matthew Kratz, Thankful Before Thanksgiving, 10/1/2011]
Eugene Peterson in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction writes, “It is not difficult in our world to get a person interested in the message of the Gospel; it is terrifically difficult to sustain the interest. Millions of people in our culture make decisions for Christ, but there is a dreadful attrition rate. Many claim to have been born again, but the evidence for mature Christian discipleship is slim. In our kind of culture anything, even news about God, can be sold if it is packaged freshly; but when it loses its novelty, it goes on the garbage heap. There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusia...
Corinthians 13 written by a South African Pioneer:Read the following paraphase of 1
"If I have the language perfectly and speak like a native, and have not His love for them, I am nothing. If I have diplomas and degrees and know all the up-to-date methods, and have not His touch of understanding love, I am nothing. If I am able to argue successfully against the religions of the people and make fools of them, and have not His wooing note, I am nothing. If I have all faith and great ideals and magnificent plans, and not His love that sweats and bleeds and weeps and prays and pleads, I am nothing. If I give my clothes and money to them, and have not His love for them, I am nothing.
If I surrender all prospects, leave home and friends, make the sacrifices of a missionary career, and turn sour and selfish amid the daily annoyancesand slights of a missionary life, and have not the love that yields its rights, its leisures, its pet plans, I am nothing. Virtue has ceased to go out of me. If I can heal all manner of sickness and disease, but wound hearts and hurt feelings for want of His love that is kind, I am nothing. If I can write articles or publish books that win applause, but fail to transcribe the Word of the Cross into the language of His love, I am nothing."
Purity is a very important virtue to this 23-year-old singer. Rebecca is a virgin and she says she’ll remain one until she gets married. On her right ring finger, she wears a gold band. During a concert in Colorado Springs, she told her audience: “I’d like to tell you about this ring I’m wearing. It is a promise ring, and when my parents gave it to me, they said it was to symbolize my commitment to wait until marriage to have sex. I can tell you right now, I will be waiting for that special person God has planned for me.”
Rebecca St. James
Perhaps your list would be something like the one found in The Book of History, from an ancient Chinese religion. It has a list of the Five Happinesses which include: long life, riches, soundness of body and serenity of mind, love of virtue, and an end crowning the life. That's not a bad list.
Duke University did a study on “peace of mind.” Factors found to contribute greatly to emotional and mental stability are:
1. The absence of suspicion and resentment. Nursing a grudge was a major factor in unhappiness.
2. Not living in the past. An unwholesome preoccupation with old mistakes and failures leads to depression.
3. Not wasting time and energy fighting conditions you cannot change. Cooperate with life, instead of trying to run away from it.
4. Force yourself to stay involved with the living world. Resist the temptation to withdraw and become reclusive during periods of emotional stress.
5. Refuse to indulge in self-pity when life hands you a raw deal. Accept the fact that nobody gets through life without some sorrow and misfortune.
6. Cultivate the old-fashioned virtues—love, humor, compassion and loyalty
7. Do not expect too much of yourself...
William Law made a lasting impact upon 18th century England with his book, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. In it, Law urges this Christian that every day should be viewed as a day of humility. And how does he suggest that we do this? By learning to serve others. Law understood that it is with the discipline of service that one gains humility. If we want humility, he urges us to, “give in to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow-man, cover their frailties, love their excellences, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, be compassionate in their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and agree to do the lowest offices to the lowest of mankind.”
ILLUSTRATION… Retold from "The Book of Virtues" Editor: William J. Bennett
There is a story that centers on a king and the members of his court who were continually full of flattery. "You are the greatest man that ever lived...You are the most powerful king of all...Your highness, there is nothing you cannot do, nothing in this world dares disobey you."
The king was a wise man and he grew tired such foolish speeches. One day as he was walking by the seashore he decided to teach them a lesson. "So you say I am the greatest man in the world?" he asked them. “O king," they cried, "there never has been anyone as mighty as you, and there never be anyone so great, ever again!"
"And you say all things obey me?" he asked.
"Yes sire" they said. "The world bows before you, and gives you honor."
"I see," the king answered. "In that case, bring me my chair, and place it down by the water." The servants scrambled to carry the royal chair over the sands. At his direction they placed it right at the water’s edge. The King sat down and looked out at the ocean. "I notice the tide is coming in. Do you think it will stop if I give the command?"
"Give the order, O great king, and it will obey," cried his entourage.
"Sea," cried the king, "I command you to come no further! Do not dare touch my feet!"
He waited a moment, and a wave rushed up the sand and lapped at his feet. "How dare you!" he shouted. "Ocean, turn back now! I have ordered you to retreat before me, and now you must obey! Go back!" In came another wave lapping at the king’s feet. The king remained on his throne throughout the day, screaming at the waves to stop. Yet in they came anyway, until the seat of the throne was covered with water.
Finally the king turned to his servants and said, "It seems I do not have quite so much power as you would have me believe. Perhaps now you will remember there is only one King who is all-powerful, and it is He who rules the sea, and holds the ocean in the hollow of His hand. I suggest you reserve your praises for him."