What Are You Willing to Do?
Between Two Truths
Booker T. Washington
Statue of Liberty
Drop of Blood
One key Doesnt Work
Blind and Armless
Like Sequoia Trees
Internal Revenue Service
Are You a Doctor?
Principles for Interpreting Narratives
All Flesh is Grass
Saved His Life
You Cant Lick Me
Familiarity Vs Intimacy
Pretty Stupid Question
Three kids bragging about fathers:
Level of Intelligence
The Invitations of Christ
I Can Do Something
Nobody Did It
Cant you Read
Clint and Burt
Sand in my Shoes
Is Ned There?
Meaning of Isms
Separation of Children & Adults
Topic : Integrity
Any task we do as Christians should be done with wholehearted dedication, for God is never satisfied with a halfhearted effort. H. A. Ironside learned this early in life while working for a Christian shoemaker. Young Harrys job was to prepare the leather for soles. He would cut a piece of cowhide to size, soak it in water, and then pound it with a flat-headed hammer until it was hard and dry. This was a wearisome process, and he wished it could be avoided. Harry would often go to another shoe shop nearby to watch his employers competitor. This man did not pound the leather after it came from the water. Instead, he immediately nailed it onto the shoe he was making. One day Harry approached the shoemaker and said, I noticed you put the soles on while they are still wet. Are they just as good as if they were pounded? With a wink and a cynical smile the man replied, No, but they come back much quicker this way, my boy!
Young Harry hurried back to his boss and suggested that perhaps they were wasting their time by drying out the leather so carefully. Upon hearing this, his employer took his Bible, read Colossians 3:23 to him, and said, Harry, I do not make shoes just for the money. Im doing it for the glory of God. If at the judgment seat of Christ I should have to view every shoe Ive ever made, I dont want to hear the Lord say, Dan, that was a poor job. You didnt do your best. I want to see His smile and hear, Well done, good and faithful servant! It was a lesson in practical Christian ethics that Ironside never forgot! - H.G.B.
In all the daily tasks we do,
The Bible helps us clearly see
That if the Work is good and true,
Were living for eternity.
In Gods eyes it is a great thing to do a little thing well.
What Are You Willing to Do?
What are you willing to do for $10,000,000? Two-thirds of Americans polled would agree to at least one, some to several of the following:
- Would abandon their entire family (25%)
- Would abandon their church (25%)
- Would become prostitutes for a week or more (23%)
- Would give up their American citizenships (16%)
- Would leave their spouses (16%)
- Would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free (10%)
- Would kill a stranger (7%)
- Would put their children up for adoption (3%)
Several years ago, in Long Beach, California, a fellow went into a fried chicken place and bought a couple of chicken dinners for himself and his date late one afternoon. The young woman at the counter inadvertently gave him the proceeds from the daya whole bag of money (much of it cash) instead of fried chicken. After driving to their picnic site, the two of them sat down to open the meal and enjoy some chicken together. They discovered a whole lot more than chickenover $800! But he was unusual. He quickly put the money back in the bag. They got back into the car and drove all the way back. Mr. Clean got out, walked in, and became an instant hero. By then the manager was frantic. The guy with the bag of money looked the manager in the eye and said, I want you to know I came by to get a couple of chicken dinners and wound up with all this money. Here. Well, the manager was thrilled to death. He said, Oh, great, let me call the newspaper. Im gonna have your picture put in the local newspaper. Youre the most honest man Ive heard of. To which they guy quickly responded, Oh no, no, dont do that! Then he leaned closer and whispered, You see, the woman Im with is not my wife...shes uh, somebody elses wife.
I have to live with myself, and so
I want to be fit for myself to know,
I want to be able, as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don?t want to stand, with the setting sun,
And hate myself for the things I?ve done.
I don?t want to keep on the closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself, as I come and go,
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of a man I really am;
I don?t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men?s respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and pelf
I want to be able to like myself.
I don?t want to look at myself and know
That I?m bluster and bluff and empty show.
I can never hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself, and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.
Courage: You Can Stand Strong in the Face of Fear, Jon Johnston, 1990, SP Publications, pp. 90-91
Between Two Truths
In his book Loving God, Charles Colson draws attention to an incident involving an Indiana judge named William Bontrager. Bontrager had to pass sentence on Fred Palmer, a decorated Vietnam veteran who was found guilty of burglary. The crime was caused partly by involvement with drugs and alcohol. Indiana law required a sentence of ten to twenty years for Palmers offense. However, new regulations designating a lesser penalty had gone into effect eighteen days after Palmers arrest. To complicate matters, Palmer had become a Christian in jail and seemed to have changed. Should the judge sentence Palmer, a man who had never been in jail, to ten years or more? Or should he declare the older statute in violation of Indianas constitution and give him a lighter sentence? Bontrager did the latter. Fred Palmer was out of jail in seven months, had a job, and was paying back his former victims.
The events that followed received national attention. The Indiana Supreme Court reversed the judges decision and ordered Fred Palmer sent back to prison. The judges attempts to fight the courts decision during the next two years led to his own indictment for criminal contempt of court and, finally, his forced resignation. Fred Palmer was sent back to prison, only to be released twenty months later by the governor. Bontragers convictions cost him his job, but not his integrity.
During his time as a rancher, Theodore Roosevelt and one of his cowpunchers lassoed a maverick steer, lit a fire, and prepared the branding irons. The part of the range they were on was claimed by Gregor Lang, one of Roosevelts neighbors. According to the cattlemans rule, the steer therefore belonged to Lang. As his cowboy applied the brand, Roosevelt said, Wait, it should be Langs brand.Thats all right, boss, said the cowboy.But youre putting on my brand, Roosevelt said.Thats right, said the man.Drop that iron, Roosevelt demanded, and get back to the ranch and get out. I dont need you anymore. A man who will steal for me will steal from me.
As professional golfer Ray Floyd was getting ready to tap in a routine 9-inch putt, he saw the ball move ever so slightly. According to the rule book, if the ball moves in this way the golfer must take a penalty stroke. Yet consider the situation. Floyd was among the leaders in a tournament offering a top prize of $108,000. To acknowledge that the ball had moved could mean he would lose his chance for big money.
Writer David Holahan describes as follows what others might have done: The athlete ducks his head and flails wildly with his hands, as if being attacked by a killer bee; next, he steps back from the ball, rubbing his eye for a phantom speck of dust, all the while scanning his playing partners and the gallery for any sign that the balls movement has been detected by others. If the coast is clear, he taps the ball in for his par.
Ray Floyd, however, didnt do that. He assessed himself a penalty stroke and wound up with a bogey on the hole.
In Chinas later Han era, there lived a politician called Yang Zhen, a man known for his upright character. After Yang Zhen was made a provincial governor, one of his earlier patrons, Wang Mi, paid him an unexpected visit. As they talked over old times, Wang Mi brought out a large gold cup and presented it to Yang Zhen. Yang Zhen refused to accept it, but Wang Mi persisted, saying, Theres no one here tonight but you and me, so no one will know.
You say that no one will know, Yang Zhen replied, but that is not true. Heaven will know, and you and I will know too.
Wang Mi was ashamed, and backed down. Subsequently Yang Zhens integrity won increasing recognition, and he rose to a high post in the central government.
Human nature is weak, and we tend to yield to temptation when we think nobody can see us. In fact, if there was no police force, many people would not hesitate to steal. This is not to say that when we do something bad, we feel no compunction at all, just that man is weak and prone to yield to temptation.
But even if nobody witnesses our sins, and not a soul knows of them, we cannot hide the truth from the eyes of our conscience. In the end, what is important is not that other people know, but that we ourselves know. When Yang Zhen told Wang Mi that Heaven will know, he meant that the gods would know what he had done: in other words, his own conscience.
A person who sins neither in thought nor deed, and is fair and just, gains enormous courage and strength. As a leader, you need courage born of integrity in order to be capable of powerful leadership. To achieve this courage, you must search your heart, and make sure that your conscience is clear and your behavior is beyond reproach.
One day in 1956, songwriter Johnny Mercer received a letter from Sadie Vimmerstedt, a widowed grandmother who worked behind a cosmetics counter in Youngstown, Ohio. Vimmerstedt suggested Mercer write a song called I Want to Be Around to Pick Up the Pieces When Somebody Breaks Your Heart. Five years later, Mercer got in touch to say hed written the song and that Tony Bennett would record it.
Today, if you look at the label on any recording of I Wanna Be Around, youll notice that the credits for words and music are shared by Johnny Mercer and Sadie Vimmerstedt. The royalties were split 50-50, too, thanks to which Vimmerstedt and her heirs have earned more than $100,000. In my opinion, Mercers generosity was a class act. By class act, I mean any behavior so virtuous that it puts normal behavior to shame.
It was a class act, for instance, when Alexander Hamilton aimed high and fired over Aaron Burrs head.
Benjamin Geggenhiem performed a class act on the Titanic when he gave his life jacket to a woman passenger and then put on white tie and tails so he could die like a gentleman.
That same year, 1912, Capt, Lawrence Oates became so frostbitten and lame on Robert Scotts ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Rather than delay the others in their desperate trek back from the Pole, he went to the opening of the tent one night and said, I am just going outside and may be some time. He thereupon walked to his death in a blizzard. Certainly a class act.
On the stage, the tradition that the show must go on has produced a number of class acts. Katharine Hepburn and Orson Welles have both appeared onstage in wheelchairs. During the run of The King and I, Gertrude Lawrence was dying of cancer but told no one. When she missed a series of performances, the producers wrote her lawyers, suggesting she was faking illness. They warned that if this continued, she would forfeit her share of the profits. The letter arrived on a Monday; Gertrude Lawrence had died over the weekend.
It was a class act of a different order, but a class act nonetheless, for writer Laurence Housman to take off his jacket at a proper English tea party so that a man who had just arrived in shirt sleeves would not feel embarrassed.
Even simple good sportsmanship can rise to the level of class act, as it did with tennis player Mats Wilander in the semifinals of the 1982 French Open. At match point, a shot by Wilanders opponent was ruled out. Wilander walked over to the umpire and said, I cant win like this. The ball was good. The point was played over, and Wilander won fair and square.
What qualities in employees irritate bosses the most? Burke Marketing Research asked executives in 100 of the nations 1000 largest companies. At the top of the list was dishonesty. Marc Silbert, whose temporary employee firm commissioned the study, says, If a company believes that an employee lacks integrity, all positive qualitiesranging from skill and experience to productivity and intelligencebecome meaningless.
Six other factors were discovered, making a total of seven deadly sins that can cause you to lose your job. They are listed below in decreasing order of irritation value.
1. Irresponsibility, goofing-off and doing personal business on company time.
2. Arrogance, ego problems and excessive aggressiveness. Bosses dislike those who spend more time talking about their achievements than in getting the job done.
3. Absenteeism and lateness.
4. Not following company policy. Failure to follow the rules makes management feel an employee cant be trusted.
5. Whining and complaining.
6. Laziness and lack of commitment and dedication. If you dont care about the firm, they wont care about you.
Throughout his administration, Abraham Lincoln was a president under fire, especially during the scarring years of the Civil War. And though he knew he would make errors of office, he resolved never to compromise his integrity. So strong was this resolve that he once said, I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.
It is said that as the great Michelangelo painted the magnificent frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine chapellying on his back for endless hours to finish every detail with great carea friend asked him why he took such pains with figures that would be viewed from a considerable distance. After all, the friend said, Who will notice whether it is perfect or not? I will, replied the artist.
C. Swindoll, Strengthening Your Grip, p. 88
Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington describes meeting an ex-slave from Virginia in his book Up From Salvery:
I found that this man had made a contract with his master, two or three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation, to the effect that the slave was to be permitted to buy himself, by paying so much per year for his body; and while he was paying for himself, he was to be permitted to labour where and for whom he pleased.
Finding that he could secure better wages in Ohio, he went there. When freedom came, he was still in debt to his master some three hundred dollars. Notwithstanding that the Emancipation Proclamation freed him from any obligation to his master, this black man walked the greater portion of the distance back to where his old master lived in Virginia, and placed the last dollar, with interest, in his hands.
In talking to me about this, the man told me that he knew that he did not have to pay his debt, but that he had given his word to his master, and his word he had never broken. He felt that he could not enjoy his freedom till he had fulfilled his promise.
Stuart Briscoe tells of being hired by a bank. He was young, new, and just learning the business. One day his boss told him, If Mr. _______ calls for me, tell him Im out. Briscoe replied, Oh, are you planning to go somewhere? No, I just dont want to speak to him, so tell him Im out. Let me make sure I understandDo you want me to lie for you? The boss blew up at him. He was outraged, angered. Stuart prayed and God gave him a flash of insight. You should be happy, because if I wont lie for you, isnt it safe to assume that I wont lie to you?
In his recent book Integrity, Ted Engstrom told his story:
For Coach Cleveland Stroud and the Bulldogs of Rockdale County High School (Conyers, Georgia), it was their championship season: 21 wins and 5 losses on the way to the Georgia boys basketball tournament last March, then a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the state finals. But now the new glass trophy case outside the high school gymnasium is bare. Earlier this month the Georgia High School Association deprived Rockdale County of the championship after school officials said that a player who was scholastically ineligible had played 45 seconds in the first of the schools five postseason games. We didnt know he was ineligible at the time; we didnt know it until a few weeks ago, Mr. Stroud said. Some people have said we should have just kept quiet about it, that it was just 45 seconds and the player wasnt an impact player. But youve got to do whats honest and right and what the rules say. I told my team that people forget the scores of basketball games; they dont ever forget what youre made of.
Statue of Liberty
Integrity is more than not being deceitful or slipshod. It means doing everything heartily as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23). In his book Lyrics, Oscar Hammerstein II points out one reason why, a reason Christians have always known:
A year or so ago, on the cover of the New York Herald Tribune Sunday magazine, I saw a picture of the Statue of Liberty . . . taken from a helicopter and it showed the top of the statues head. I was amazed at the detail there. The sculptor had done a painstaking job with the ladys coiffure, and yet he must have been pretty sure that the only eyes that would ever see this detail would be the uncritical eyes of sea gulls. He could not have dreamt that any man would ever fly over this head. He was artist enough, however, to finish off this part of the statue with as much care as he had devoted to her face and her arms, and the torch and everything that people can see as they sail up the bay.
When you are creating a work of art, or any other kind of work, finish the job off perfectly. You never know when a helicopter, or some other instrument not at the moment invented, may come along and find you out.
- You cant build a reputation on what you are going to do. - Henry Ford
- Its always easy the night before to get up early the next morning.
- The child who is eager to help around the house is usually too young to do it.
On June 13, 1889, the Spokane newspaper printed an editorial pleading for the establishment of a fire department. Seattle had recently been ravaged by fire, and the paper desired to prevent the same calamity from happening in Spokane. Nothing, however, was done.
Two months later Spokane burned to the ground.
At their school carnival, our kids won four free goldfish (lucky us!), so out I went Saturday morning to find an aquarium.
The first few I priced ranged from $40 to $70. Then I spotted itright in the aisle: a discarded 10-gallon display tank, complete with gravel and filterfor a mere five bucks. Sold! Of course, it was nasty dirty, but the savings made the two hours of clean-up a breeze.
Those four new fish looked great in their new home, at least for the first day. But by Sunday one had died. Too bad, but three remained. Monday morning revealed a second casualty, and by Monday night a third goldfish had gone belly up.
We called in an expert, a member of our church who has a 30-gallon tank. It didnt take him long to discover the problem: I had washed the tank with soap, an absolute no-no. My uninformed efforts had destroyed the very lives I was trying to protect.
Sometimes in our zeal to clean up our own lives or the lives of others, we unfortunately use killer soapscondemnation, criticism, nagging, fits of temper. We think were doing right, but our harsh, self-righteous treatment is more than they can bear.
- Richard L. Dunagin
Drop of Blood
During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said that he could get any number of men who were willing to shed their last drop of blood. The problem, said Lincoln, was that he found it difficult to get anyone willing to shed that first drop!
Alexander de Seversky, U.S. aviator and engineer, was once visiting a fellow flyer in the hospital. The young man had just lost his leg; de Seversky, who had had an artificial leg for some time, tried to cheer him up.
The loss of a leg is not so great a calamity, he said. If you get hit on a wooden leg, it doesnt hurt a bit! Try it! The patient raised his walking stick and brought it down hard on de Severskys leg.
You see, he said cheerfully. If you hit an ordinary man like that, hed be in bed for five days! With that he left his friend and limped into the corridor, where he collapsed in excruciating pain. It seems the young man had struck de Seversky on his good leg!
One key Doesnt Work
Xvxn though my typxwritxr is an old modxl, it works wxll xxcxpt for onx of thx kxys. Ivx wishxd many timxs that it workxd pxrfxctly. Trux, thxrx arx 42 kxys that function, but onx kxy not working makxs thx diffxrxncx.
Somxtimxs, it sxxmx to mx that our organization is somxwhat likx my typxwritxrnot all thx pxoplx arx working propxrly. You might say, Wxll, Im only onx pxrson. It wont makx much diffxrxncx.
But you sxx, an organization, to bx xfficixnt, nxxds thx activx participation of xvxry pxrson. Thx nxxt timx you think your xfforts arxnt nxxdxd, rxmxmbxr my typxwritxr, and say to yoursxlf, I am a kxy pxrson and thxy nxxd mx vxry much.
Blind and Armless
In illustrating the interdependence of one anothers spiritual gifts in a local church, Gary Inrig, in Life in His Body shared the following story:
Several years ago, two students graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The highest ranking student in the class was a blind man named Overton and, when he received his honor, he insisted that half the credit should go to his friend, Kaspryzak. They had met one another in school when the armless Mr. Kaspryzak had guided the blind Mr. Overton down a flight of stairs. This acquaintance ripened into friendship and a beautiful example of interdependence. The blind man carried the books which the armless man read aloud in their common study, and thus the individual deficiency of each was compensated for by the other.
After their graduation, they planned to practice law together. No believer is complete by himself, we are to minister to one another, as a family.
This story was related by Donald Grey Barnhouse.
Many years ago an accomplished organist was giving a concert. (In those days someone had to pump large bellows backstage to provide air for the pipes.) After each selection, the musician received the thunderous applause of a delighted audience. Before his final number, he stood up and said, I shall now play, and he announced the title. Sitting down at the console, he adjusted his music and checked the stops. With feet poised over the pedals and hands over the keys, he began with a mighty chord. But the organ remained silent. Just then a voice was heard from backstage, Say We!
Like Sequoia Trees
While on a tour of Californias giant sequoias, the guide pointed out that the sequoia tree has roots just barely below the surface. Thats impossible! I exclaimed. Im a country boy, and I know that if the roots dont grow deep into the earth, strong winds will blow the trees over. Not sequoia trees, said the guide. They grow only in groves and their roots intertwine under the surface of the earth. So, when the strong winds come, they hold each other up.
Theres a lesson here. In a sense, people are like the giant sequoias. Family, friends, neighbors, the church body and other groups should be havens so that when the strong winds of life blow, these people can serve as reinforcement and can strive together to hold each other up.
A microscopic, broken wire in a backup computer forced NASA to scrub the maiden voyage of the space shuttle Discovery last month, a spokesman for the computers manufacturer said Saturday. The broken wire was an integrated circuit within one of the Discoverys five identical computers which control all the ships functions, including communications, navigation and guidance, said Joe Militano, spokesman for International Business Machines. Engineers isolated the problem to an opening in an integrated circuit in a memory core unit in the computers input-output processor, Militano said. Discoverys maiden voyage as the third shuttle in National Aeronautics and Space Administrations fleet was set for June 25, but a backup computer failed just a half hour short of take-off. IBM scientists in Oswego, N.Y., studied the defective computer removed from Discovery and determined the problem had been a random part failure, Militano said.
Principle: the greater the attempted achievement or the complexity, the more important the unseen parts.
During a rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, the great Italian conductor Toscanini offered some constructive criticism to a featured soloist. She was too proud to accept his help, however, and expressed her resentment by exclaiming in anger, I am the star of this performance!
Toscanini responded wisely and firmly, Madame, he said, In this performance there are no stars.
Perhaps you have heard the geese honking as they fly northward in a V formation. They head toward the grain fields of Canada and Alaska to spend the summer. Two engineers calibrated in a wind tunnel why geese fly in formation. Each goose, flapping its wings, creates an uplift for the goose that follows. The whole flock gains 71% greater flying range than if they journeyed alone. Thats why the leader of the V formation falls back periodically to let another leader take the point, and why the rest stay in line.
One time the electrical workers in Paris called a general strike. It had hardly begun when a child of one of the laborers became seriously ill. When the physician arrived, he told the mother that the little girl would need immediate surgery to save her life. There was no time to take her to the hospital, so the doctor quickly prepared the kitchen table for an emergency operation. Darkness was falling as the final sanitary precautions were completed. The doctor flipped on the light switchbut there was no electricity. It was impossible to perform the surgery. Just then the father burst into the room and exclaimed, Hurrah! The strike is complete. There isnt a light burning in Paris!
Internal Revenue Service
Are You a Doctor?
A man on vacation was strolling along outside his hotel in Acapulco, enjoying the sunny Mexican weather. Suddenly, he was attracted by the screams of a woman kneeling in front of a child.
The man knew enough Spanish to determine that the child had swallowed a coin. Seizing the child by the heels, the man held him up, gave him a few shakes, and an American quarter dropped to the sidewalk.
Oh, thank you sir! cried the woman. You seemed to know just how to get it out of him. Are you a doctor?
No, maam, replied the man. Im with the United States Internal Revenue Service.
Principles for Interpreting Narratives
1. An Old Testament narrative usually does not directly teach a doctrine.
2. An Old Testament narrative usually illustrates a doctrine or doctrines taught propositionally elsewhere.
3. Narratives record what happenednot necessarily what should have happened or what ought to happen every time. Therefore, not every narrative has an individual identifiable moral of the story.
4. What people do in narratives is not necessarily a good example for us. Frequently, it is just the opposite.
5. Most of the characters in the Old Testament narratives are far from perfect and their actions are too.
6. We are not always told at the end of a narrative whether what happened was good or bad. We are expected to be able to judge that on the basis of what God has taught us directly and categorically already in the Scripture.
7. All narratives are selective and incomplete. Not all the relevant details are always given (cf. John 21:25). What does appear in the narrative is everything that the inspired author thought important for us to know.
8. Narratives are not written to answer all our theological questions. They have particular, specific limited purposes and deal with certain issues, leaving others to be dealt with elsewhere, in other ways.
9. Narratives may teach either explicitly (by clearly stating something) or implicitly (by clearly implying something without actually stating it).
10. In the final analysis, God is the hero of all biblical narratives.
At the height of her fame as the other woman in the Ivana and Donald Trump breakup, Marla Maples spoke of her religious roots. She believed in the Bible, she told interviewers, then added the disclaimer, but you cant always take [it] literally and be happy.
When the preachers car broke down on a country road, he walked to a nearby roadhouse to use the phone. After calling for a tow truck, he spotted his old friend, Frank, drunk and shabbily dressed at the bar. What happened to you, Frank? asked the good reverend. You used to be rich.
Frank told a sad tale of bad investments that had led to his downfall. Go home, the preacher said. Open your Bible at random, stick your finger on the page and there will be Gods answer.
Some time later, the preacher bumped into Frank, who was wearing a Gucci suit, sporting a Rolex watch and had just stepped our of a Mercedes. Frank. said the preacher, I am glad to see things really turned around for you.
Yes, preacher, and I owe it all to you, said Frank. I opened my Bible, put my finger down on the page and there was the answerChapter 11.
In about 512 B.C., as Darius I of Persia led his armies north of the Black Sea, the Scythians sent him a message comprised of a mouse, a frog, a bird, and five arrows. Darius summoned his captains. Our victory is assured, he announced. These arrows signify that the Scythians will lay down their arms; the mouse means the land of the Scythians will be surrendered to us; the frog means that their rivers and lakes will also be ours; and the Scythian army will fly like a bird from our forces. But an adviser to Darius said, The Scythians mean by these things that unless you turn into birds and fly away, or into frogs and hide in the waters, or into mice and burrow for safety in the ground, you will all be slain by the Scythian archers.
Darius took counsel and decided that the second was the right interpretation, and beat a retreat!
All Flesh is Grass
The steed bit his master
How came this to pass'
He heard the good pastor
Cry, All flesh is grass.
Saved His Life
Saturday night, of Thanksgiving weekend, and the Coconut Grove was packed. Waiters were setting up extra tables to handle the diners. The overflow from the dining room surged down a narrow stairway to the Melody Lounge. This dimly lit basement bar offered a South Seas ambiance, with artificial palm trees, driftwood, rattan and a ceiling draped in blue satin. The only illumination came from behind the bar, supplemented by low-wattage bulbs hidden in the palms. Even this was too bright for one young man. He reached up, unscrewed a bulb and settled back in his dates arms. Like many others there, he was in uniform.
It was 1942; the U.S. had been fighting WWII for nearly a year. Dr. Vincent Senna was having dinner that night in the Grove and was paged because one of his patients had gone into labor. Grumbling, Senna rushed to the hospital in time to deliver the baby...and save his life. Because after he left, for still unknown reasons, the Coconut Grove burst into flames, and over 490 people died in the smoke and flames. The interruption that ruined his evening also saved his life!
You Cant Lick Me
A tough construction foreman lined up his crew and told them: The first thing I want you to know is that I can lick any man in my gang.
A husky young fellow stepped forward and said, You cant lick me!
The foreman looked him over carefully and announced, Guess youre rightyoure fired.
The legendary bare-knuckles boxing champion John L. Sullivan was confronted by a runt of a man who, suffering from the effects of too much drink, challenged the burly champion to a fight. Sullivan, who once battled toe-to-toe with an opponent for 75rounds, growled, Listen, you, if you hit me just onceand I find out about it ... The Champ didnt need to finish the sentence!
David Augsberger, When Enough is Enough, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1984), p. 98.
Familiarity Vs Intimacy
Familiarity and intimacy are not the same. Each has a value in life, certainly in married life, but one is no substitute for the other. If one is confused for the other, we have the basis for major human and marital unrest. In marriage, familiarity is inescapable. It happens almost imperceptibly. Intimacy is usually hard to come by. It must be deliberately sought and opened up and responded to. Familiarity brings a degree of ease and comfort. Intimacy anxiously searches for deep understanding and personal appreciation.
The University of Northern Iowa once offered a general art course that included a most unusual exercise. The teacher brought to class a shopping bag filled with lemons and gave a lemon to each class member. The assignment was for the student to keep his lemon with him day and nightsmelling, handling, examining it.
Next class period, without warning, students were told to put their lemons back in the bag. Then each was asked to find his lemon. Surprisingly, most did so without difficulty.
Years ago Father John Powell told the story of Norma Jean Mortenson:
Norma Jean Mortenson. Remember that name? Norma Jeans mother, Mrs. Gladys Baker, was periodically committed to a mental institution and Norma Jean spent much of her childhood in foster homes. In one of those foster homes, when she was eight years old, one of the boarders raped her and gave her a nickel. He said, Here, Honey. Take this and dont ever tell anyone what I did to you. When little Norma Jean went to her foster mother to tell her what had happened she was beaten badly. She was told, Our boarder pays good rent. Dont you ever say anything bad about him! Norma Jean at the age of eight had learned what it was to be used and given a nickel and beaten for trying to express the hurt that was in her.
Norma Jean turned into a very pretty young girl and people began to notice. Boys whistled at her and she began to enjoy that, but she always wished they would notice she was a person toonot just a bodyor a pretty facebut a person.
Then Norma Jean went to Hollywood and took a new nameMarilyn Monroe and the publicity people told her, We are going to create a modern sex symbol out of you. And this was her reaction, A symbol? Arent symbols things people hit together? They said, Honey, it doesnt matter, because we are going to make you the most smoldering sex symbol that ever hit the celluloid.
She was an overnight smash success, but she kept asking, Did you also notice I am a person? Would you please notice?
Then she was cast in the dumb blonde roles. Everyone hated Marilyn Monroe. Everyone did. She would keep her crews waiting two hours on the set. She was regarded as a selfish prima donna. What they didnt know was that she was in her dressing room vomiting because she was so terrified.
She kept saying, Will someone please notice I am a person. Please. They didnt notice. They wouldnt take her seriously. She went through three marriagesalways pleading, Take me seriously as a person. Everyone kept saying, But you are a sex symbol. You cant be other than that. Marilyn kept saying I want to be a person. I want to be a serious actress.
And so on that Saturday night, at the age of 35 when all beautiful women are supposed to be on the arm of a handsome escort, Marilyn Monroe took her own life. She killed herself. When her maid found her body the next morning, she noticed the telephone was off the hook. It was dangling there beside her.
Later investigation revealed that in the last moments of her life she had called a Hollywood actor and told him she had taken enough sleeping pills to kill herself.
He answered with the famous line of Rhett Butler, which I now edit for church, Frankly, my dear, I dont care! That was the last word she heard. She dropped the phoneleft it dangling.
Claire Booth Luce in a very sensitive article asked, What really killed Marilyn Monroe, love goddess who never found any love? She said she thought the dangling telephone was the symbol of Marilyn Monroes whole life. She died because she never got through to anyone who understood.
Pretty Stupid Question
Joseph Laitin, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs under Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger, remembers his former boss:
Defense Secretary Schlesinger tended to speak his mind, especially when questioned on matters he considered personal. His prickly manner sometimes carried into routine dealings with the press, often to his advantage. Once, while the Secretary and I sipped coffee at NBC before the start of the Today show, I learned that Tom Pettit would be doing the interview. I hastily gave Schlesinger a quick briefing on what hed probably be subjected to in front of the camera. Pettit had a habit of bullying his guests for a good show. Dont let this guy get under your skin with outrageous questions, I cautioned. Keep cool and get your points across.
Just then, Pettit walked in, a clipboard containing his questions tucked under his arm. As they entered the studio, Schlesinger plucked the board from a startled Pettit and glanced at it. Pretty stupid questions, Pettit, he said, handing the man back his board. They were on the air 30 seconds later. Pettit was a pussycat.
Marty Springstead, supervisor of American League umpires, said he will never forget his first assignment behind the plate. It was in a 1966 game at Washington. Frank Howard was playing for the Senators, and on the first pitch to the mountainous slugger, Springstead called a knee-high fast ball a strike. Howard turned around and yelled, Get something straight, buster! I dont know where you came from or how you got to the major leagues, ut they dont call that pitch on me a strike. Understand? The next pitch was in the same spot, and Springstead yelled, Two! Two what? Howard roared. Too low, Springstead said, Much too low.
The story is told of the big lumberjack who bought a brand new chainsaw and was told it could cut down at least 100 trees a day.
But on the first day he only managed to cut down 25 trees. The next day he tried harder and finally cut down 33 trees. The third day he started early, worked late, and even cut his lunch break short, but he still managed to cut down only 48 trees.
He went back to the store and confronted the manager with his complaint. He told him of his efforts and of the results. The manager couldnt quite understand what had gone wrong, so he asked to take a look. He grabbed the starter rope and pulled hard, and the motor started with a roar.
The lumberjack jumped back in alarm and yelled, Hey, whats dat big noise?
Three kids bragging about fathers:
- First: My dads so smart he can talk for one hour on any subject.
- Second: My dads so smart he can talk for two hours on any subject.
- Third: My dads so smart he can talk for three hours and doesnt even need a subject.
Thered been a long dry season, and there wasnt enough hay to keep the cows fed, so Gunister and one of his friends decided to go into the hay merchandising business. They got a truck and drove to another state, where they bought hay for $3 a bale. Then they brought it home and sold it for $2.50 a bale.
After a few weeks in the business, Gunisters friend said, You know, there must be something wrong. Were just not makin any money.
I know, replied Gunister. Maybe we ought to get a bigger truck.
Three contestants in a TV quiz show were down to the last question of the final round. The emcee said, Come up with the missing word at the end of the phrase and spell it correctly, and youll win our grand-prize trip to Europe. Are you ready? The phrase is, Old MacDonald had a ____. And remember, you must spell the missing word.
The first contestant proposed, Old MacDonald had a house h-o-u-s-e.
The audience groaned.
The second contestant tried, Old MacDonald had a ranchr-a-n-c-h.
More audience groaning.
The third contestant got up and said, Old MacDonald had a farm.
The applause was deafening. When it calmed down the emcee said, All rightwhat you have to do now is spell the magic word and you win our super-deluxe, super-fabulous trip to Europe.
Thats easy, said the contestant. E-I-E-I-O.
Level of Intelligence
William Ferguson, chairman of Nynex Corporation, tells this story about Albert Einstein in heaven:
Einstein was having difficulty finding people on his intellectual level to talk to, so one day he decided to stand at the pearly gates and ask everyone who entered what their IQ was. Before very long he was having a lot of success guessing what people did for a living on the basis on their level of intelligence. For instance, a woman was ushered through the gates and in response to Einsteins question, said she had an IQ of 190. Why, you must be a physicist, Einstein said. Indeed I am, said the woman. Id love to chat with you about the progress being made in nuclear fusion and in superconductivity, as well as whats going on in space, said Einstein. Please wait over there. He stopped a man who was entering the gates, and the man told him his IQ was 140. You must be a physician, probably a surgeon, said Einstein. His guess was right. Wonderful, said Einstein. I want to talk to you about the latest organ transplant techniques and their effects on life expectancy. Can you wait a few moments until we can get together? Another man walked in and told Einstein he had an IQ of 95. Is that so, said Einstein. So what do you think is going to happen with interest rates?
- Roses first law of investments: Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting. - Billy Rose
- I am not as concerned with the return on my money as I am with the return of my money. - Will Rogers
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
The Invitations of Christ
He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day: for it was about the tenth hour (John 1:39). This is the first of the gracious invitations of the Lord Jesus to Come to Him. On this occasion, right after His baptism by John, He invited two potential disciples to come with Him to His dwelling place. Very likely this was outdoors somewhere, for He soon afterwards acknowledged that the Son of Man hath no where to lay His head (Matthew 8:20). Nevertheless, one night of abiding with Jesus changed their lives.
Soon afterwards He issued another invitation to them. Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men (Mark 1:17), and they never went home again. First He invites us to come to see and know Him, then to come with Him to win others. There is also the wonderful invitation to come to Him for relief from our burdens and cares. Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). And note His promise to those who do accept His invitation: Him that cometh to me I will in no wise case out (John 6:37).
There were personal invitations. To Zacchaeus, the seeking sinner glimpsing Jesus from a sycamore tree, He said: Come down: for today I must abide at thy house (Luke 19:5). To his friend Lazarus, dead and bound in a tomb, He cried: Lazarus, come forth (John 11:43), and not even the grave could prevent his accepting such a call. There are other invitations from the Lord, with gracious promises to those who come, but note especially the final invitation of the Bible, And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely (Revelation 22:17) - HMM
When Rosina Hernandez was in college, she once attended a rock concert at which one young man was brutally beaten by another. No one made an attempt to stop the beating.
The next day she was struck dumb to learn that the youth had died as a result of the pounding. Yet neither she nor anyone else had raised a hand to help him. She could never forget the incident or her responsibility as an inactive bystander.
Some years later, Rosina saw another catastrophe. A car driving in the rain ahead of her suddenly skidded and plunged into Biscayne Bay. The car landed head down in the water with only the tail end showing. In a moment a woman appeared on the surface, shouting for help and saying her husband was stuck inside.
This time Rosina waited for no one. She plunged into the water, tried unsuccessfully to open the car door, then pounded on the back window as other bystanders stood on the causeway and watched. First she screamed at them, begging for help, then cursed them, telling them there was a man dying in the car.
First one man, then another, finally came to help. Together they broke the safety glass and dragged the man out. They were just in timea few minutes later it would have been all over.
The woman thanked Rosina for saving her husband, and Rosina was elated, riding an emotional high that lasted for weeks. She had promised herself that she would never again fail to do anything she could to save a human live. She had made good on her promise.
- You must get involved to have an impact. No one is impressed with the won-lost record of the referee.
I Can Do Something
Edward Everett Hale, the distinguished poet and former Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, eloquently captured the essence of every Americans duty: I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, that I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I shall do.
Elmer Bendiners book, The Fall of Fortresses, he describes one bombing run over the German city of Kassel:
B-17 (The Tondelayo) was barraged by flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns. That was not unusual, but on this particular occasion our gas tanks were hit. Later, as I reflected on the miracle of a twenty-millimeter shell piercing the fuel tank without touching off an explosion, our pilot, Bohn Fawkes, told me it was not quite that simple.
On the morning following the raid, Bohn had gone down to ask our crew chief for that shell as a souvenir of unbelievable luck. The crew chief told Bohn that not just one shell but eleven had been found in the gas tankseleven unexploded shells where only one was suffficient to blast us out of the sky. It was as if the sea had been parted for us. Even after thirty-five years, so awesome an event leaves me shaken, especially after I heard the rest of the story from Bohn.
He was told that the shells had been sent to the armorers to be defused. The armorers told him that Intelligence had picked them up. They could not say why at the time, but Bohn eventually sought out the answer.
Apparently when the armorers opened each of those shells, they found no explosive charge. They were clean as a whistle and just as harmless. Empty? Not all of them.
One contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it was a scrawl in Czech. The Intelligence people scoured our base for a man who could read Czech. Eventually, they found one to decipher the note. It set us marveling. Translated, the note read: This is all we can do for you now.
- The forests would be silent indeed, if no birds sang except those who sang best.
Nobody Did It
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to do and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry because it was Everybodys job. Everybody thought Anybody would do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldnt do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
Cant you Read
English novelist William Golding tells with delight of the policewoman in a Wiltshire town near his home who gave him a parking ticket the day after he won the 1983 Nobel Prize in Literature. Cant you read? she demanded.
Clint and Burt
A Universal executive dismissed both Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds at a meeting in 1959. To Burt Reynolds: You have no talent. To Clint Eastwood: You have a chip on your tooth, your Adams apple sticks out too far, and you talk too slow.
A United Artists executive, dismissing the suggestion that Ronald Reagan be offered the starring role in the movie, The Best Man in 1964: Reagan doesnt have the Presidential look.
Title of a New York State legislative document: Sixteenth Annual Report of the Temporary Commission of Investigation of the State of New York. (The Washington Monthly)
Announcement in the weekly journal Planning: We are sorry that the Planning Directory has so far not appeared. This is because it is considerably bigger than originally anticipated and is taking longer to print.
A film studio painted a sign on the roof in letters eight feet high, reading QUIET PLEASE. Instead of keeping noisy airplanes away, the sign brought planes roaring down even lower so pilots could read what it said.
In 1984, 300 postal workers received their paychecks three days latebecause their original checks were lost in the mail. - AP
The list of papers to be read on alcohol and related diseases at a medical conference in England read as follows:
- 9:15 Alcohol in the blood
- 10:15 Alcohol in the liver
- 11:15 Alcohol in the pancreas
- 12:15 Alcoholism
- 12:45 Bar opens
Ornithologist and artist Roger Tory Peterson once found that his eyesight was changing, so he went to an optometrist. The man told Peterson that his eyes needed a rest, and that he should take time out from close, detailed work to focus on objects in the distance. What do you advise? the ornithologist asked. Bird watching, was the reply.
In a daring escape from a Sydney, Australia, jail, a prisoner climbed underneath the hood of a truck. At the trucks next stop, he clambered out and found himself in the yard of another prison four miles from the first. - UPI
Alistair Cooke writes, Adlai Stevenson once told me about a curious experience he had relative to Abraham Lincoln. It was 1952. Stevenson had just lost the election to Eisenhower, and had been asked by outgoing President Harry Truman to spend the night at the White House. He was put in the Lincoln Room. When he came to undress, he looked at the bed, shuffled around it, staring in awe. But he could not bring himself to lie in it. He bedded down on the sofa.
I dont know if he was ever apprised of the irony: in Lincolns day the bed wasnt there; the sofa was.
When God Was Taken Captive, W. Aldrich, Multnomah, 1989, p.68
- The unsaved come most freely, being made willing by His grace - Westminster Confession, XII 1
- When God works in us, the will, being changed and sweetly breathed on by the Spirit of God, desires and acts not from compulsion but responsively - Bondage of the Will, XXV
What a sharp contrast with a scene that occurred on a New York street nearly two decades before. Kitty Genovese was slowly and brutally stabbed to death. At least thirty-eight of her neighbors witnessed the attack and heard her screams. In the course of the 90-minute episode, her attacker was actually frightened away, then he returned to finish her off. Yet not once during that period did any neighbor assist her, or even telephone the police.
The implications of this tragic event shocked America, and it stimulated two young psychologists, Darly and Latane, to study the conditions under which people are or are not willing to help others in an emergency. In essence, they concluded that responsibility is diffused.
The more people present in an emergency situation, the less likely it is that any one of them will offer help. This is popularly called the bystander effect.
In the actual experiment, when one bystander was present, 85 percent offered help. When two were present, 62 percent offered help. When five were present, then it decreased to 31 percent.
Sand in my Shoes
Imagine all of the obstacles a person might have to overcome if he were to walk from New York City to San Francisco. One man who accomplished this rare achievement mentioned a rather surprising difficulty when asked to tell of his biggest hurdle. He said that the toughest part of the trip wasnt traversing the steep slopes of the mountains or crossing hot, dry, barren stretches of desert. Instead, he said, The thing that came the closest to defeating me was the sand in my shoes.
C. Swindoll, Growing Strong, p. 163
Is Ned There?
Two drunks were in a railroad station at midnight, discussing the difference between irritation, aggravation, and frustration. They couldnt agree. One finally said, Ill show you the difference. He went to the phone booth, circled a number in the book and called it. After ringing and ringing, it was finally answered. Is Ned there? NO! Theres no Ned here, and the phone was slammed down. Thats irritation, he said to his friend. After another 20 minutes he called again. The phone rang and rang. Finally someone answered and the drunk asked, Is Ned there? The answer came back, There is no Ned here! I told you before! SLAM. Thats aggravation, he said to his partner. Another 20 minutes went by, and the drunk said, Now Ill show you frustration, and he made another call. Finally the phone was answered, I told you before, theres no Ned here!!! But this is Nedany messages for me?
If you think the SAT tests are tough, dont bother applying to the University of Al Azhar in Cairo, Egypt. Though the ancient school has been graduating students for more than a thousand years, the qualifying exam is far more challenging than any devised by the Educational Testing Service. Each year, every incoming freshman is required to recite the entire Koran from memory. The text of this Islamic holy book is nearly as long as the New Testament and takes three days to repeat. But every one of Al Azhars 20,000 students has passed the test.
Meaning of Isms
1. Humanism says, Isnt man wonderful!
2. Hedonism says, Isnt sin wonderful!
3. Materialism says, Isnt money wonderful!
4. Relativism says, If its wonderful for you, thats wonderful!
5. Pragmatism says, If it works, its wonderful!
6. Universalism says, There are no differences.
7. Ecumenicism says, Overlook the differences.
8. Syncretism says, Mix up all the differences.
With one in four young people now indicating that they have never had a meaningful conversation with their father, is it any wonder that 76 percent of the 1,200 teens surveyed in USA Today actually want their parents to spend more time with them'
Andree Alieon Brooks, a New York Times journalist, in her eye-opening book Children of Fast-Track Parents, describes her interviews with scores of children and parents who seemed to have it all: If there was one theme that constantly emerged from my conversations with the children it was a surprising undercurrent of alonenessfeelings of isolation from peers as well as parents despite their busy lives.
Separation of Children & Adults
Cornell Universitys Urie Bronfenbrenner cites nine specific changes that have taken place during the past generation which have increasingly separated children and youth from the world of adults, especially the adults in their own families:
1. fathers vocational choices which remove them from the home for lengthy periods of time
2. an increase in the number of working mothers
3. a critical escalation in the divorce rate
4. a rapid increase in single-parent families
5. a steady decline in the extended family
6. the evolution of the physical environment of the home (family rooms, playrooms and master bedrooms)
7. the replacement of adults by the peer group
8. the isolation of children from the work world
9. the insulation of schools from the rest of society
This last factor has caused Bronfenbrenner to describe the current U.S. educational system as one of the most potent breeding grounds for alienation in American society. When he wrote these words in 1974, this trend toward isolation was in full swing, and it has not been significantly checked since that time.
You have a very rare and extremely contagious condition, the doctor told his patient. Were going to put you in an isolation unit, where youll be on a diet of pancakes and pizza.
Will pancakes and pizza cure my condition?
No, replied the doctor. Theyre the only things we can slip under the door.
In 1832, French engineer Ferdin and Marie Lesseps were traveling in the Mediterranean when one of the passengers became sick and the ship was quarantined. Lesseps was an active man, so the confinement was terribly frustrating for him. The many long hours aboard that isolated vessel, however, gave him time to read the memoirs of Charles le Pere, a man who had studied the feasibility of building a canal from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. That volume prompted Lesseps to devise in his own mind a detailed plan for the construction of the Suez Canal. When it was finally built under his leadership some 30 years later, it brought invaluable service to the world. That quarantine had proven to be immensely profitable.