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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."
WHAT WE DO NOT KNOW
F.B. Meyer once said that when we see a brother or sister in sin, there are three things we do not know:
First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin.
Second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed him or her.
Thirdly, we also do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances.
Conviction and compassion - itís not a binary concept of one or the other. It is both strength of conviction and depth of compassion that will enable us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world that God has called us to be.
(From a sermon by Mark Opperman, "Improving our Vision" 1/12/2009)
1 John 2:4-2:5
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What Does Hope Do For Mankind?
Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest.
Hope motivates when discouragement comes.
Hope energizes when the body is tired.
Hope sweetens while bitterness bites.
Hope sings when all melodies are gone.
Hope believes when evidence is eliminated.
Hope listens for answers when no one is talking.
Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping.
Hope endures hardship when no on is caring.
Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing.
Hope reaches for answers when no one is asking.
Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging.
Hope dares to give when no one is sharing.
Hope brings the victory when no one is winning.
- John Maxwell from Think on These Things –
Forgiveness doesnít make the other person right, it makes you free.
Prayer of ST. Theresa
"Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which he looks
compassion on this world
Yours are the feet with which
He walks to do good
Yours are the hands with which
He blesses all the world
Yours are the hands
Yours are the feet
Yours are the eyes
You are His body"
C. S. Lewis once said: "it is easier to be enthusiastic about humanity with a capital "H" than it is to love individual men and women, especially those who are uninteresting, … exasperating, depraved, or otherwise unattractive. Loving everybody in general may be an excuse for loving nobody in particular."
Gen. Douglas MacArthur wrote this prayer for his son. He prayed: "Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, & brave enough to face himself when he is afraid. One who will be proud & unbending in honest defeat, & humble & gentle in victory.
"Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds - a son who will know Thee, who is the foundation stone of knowledge. Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease & comfort, but under the stress & spur of difficulties & challenge.
"Here let him learn to stand up to the storm. Here let him learn compassion for those who fail. Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
"And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor so that he may always be serious but never take himself too seriously. Give him humility so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, & an open mind of true wisdom, & the meekness of true strength.
"Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, `I have not lived in vain.’"
IF TOMORROW STARTS WITHOUT ME
If tomorrow starts without me,
And Iím not there to see;
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldnít cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things,
We didnít get to say.
I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know youíll miss me too;
But if tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name,
And took me by the hand,
And said my place was ready,
In heaven far above,
And that Iíd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye,
For all my life, Iíd always thought,
I didnít want to die.
I had so much to live for,
So much yet to do,
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for a while,
Iíd say good-bye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized,
That this could never be,
For emptiness and memories,
Would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things,
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through heavenís gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
From HIs great golden throne,
He said "This is eternity,
And all Iíve promised you."
Today for life on earth is past,
But here it starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow,
Victor Frankl, the Jewish psychologist who spent time in a Nazi concentration camp in Germany wrote, "They striped me naked. They took everything -- my wedding ring, watch. I stood there naked and all of a sudden realized at that moment that although they could take everything away from me -- my wife, my family, my possessions -- they could not take away my freedom to choose how I was going to respond."
There is a phrase of a poem that says:
ďA true friend is he who listens to your deepest
A true friend is like toothpaste, when it is put
under pressure, it appears!Ē