Editor: Richard (Dick) Innes
Published by: ACTS International
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Vol. 19 – No. 0717 February 17, 2007
Thought for the week: "What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was
once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print
and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in
things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none
can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and
immutable object; in other words by God himself." – Blaise Pascal
Robert the Bruce became king of Scotland in 1306, when Scotland was at war with England—and not doing too well.
Legend tells how Robert took refuge in a cave to hide from the armies of England. While lying on a bed half dozing, he saw a spider trying to attach its web to a ceiling beam. Time after time, it tried and failed. However, on the seventh try, the spider succeeded. Inspired by this display of spider power, Robert went on to engage the English in a series of battles. They climaxed in the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn, at which Scotland won its independence. (Glad Tidings of Good Things)
Thought: Maybe like Robert the Bruce, you're in a cave of defeat. If so, then remember: "Let us not grow weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9).
"Every decision you make—every decision—is not a decision about what to do. It's a decision about Who You Are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way. All events, occurrences, and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do."
The executive secretary passed the order on to the company commander: "By order of the Colonel, tomorrow at 2000 hours, Haley's Comet will appear above the battalion area. If it rains, fall the men out in fatigues, then march to the theater where the rare phenomenon will take place, something which happens only once every 75 years."
The company commander passed the order on to the lieutenant: "By order of the Colonel in fatigues at 2000 hours tomorrow evening, the phenomenal Haley's Comet will appear in the theater. In case of rain in the battalion area, the Colonel will give another order, something which happens once every 75 years.
The lieutenant told the sergeant: "Tomorrow at 2000 hours, the Colonel in fatigues will appear in the theater with the phenomenal Haley's Comet, something that happens every 75 years. If it rains, the Colonel will order the comet into the battalion area."
The sergeant gave the following order to the squad: "When it rains tomorrow at 2000 hours, the phenomenal 75-year-old General Haley, accompanied by the Colonel, will drive his Comet through the battalion area theater in fatigues."
Unfortunately, many rumors get started in much the same way. What begins as an innocent statement can quickly transform into an ugly lie after being passed along by several "well-meaning" people. That's why the scriptures warn so strongly about the sin of gossip.
"Without wood, a fire will go out, and without gossip, quarreling will stop. Just as charcoal and wood keep a fire going, a quarrelsome person keeps an argument going. The words of a gossip are like tasty bits of food; people like to gobble them up" (Proverbs 26:20-22, NCV).
Years ago I came across a poem entitled "The Man in the Glass" by Dale Wimbrow. I looked it up on the Internet and discovered a website maintained by his children: http://www.theguyintheglass.com. It contains the original version written in 1934 and published in The American Magazine as "The Guy in the Glass." Here is that version containing timeless truths about integrity.
When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf*,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that guy has to say.
For it isn't your Father or Mother or Wife
Who judgment upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.
Judging from the devoted words of his children, Mr. Wimbrow never cheated the guy in his glass.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
* Webster's meaning of pelf is "1 ill-gotten gains; booty 2 money or wealth regarded with contempt."
"A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance."1
"My name is Leo. I am an alcoholic, a co-dependent, a religious addict and a religious abuser. I am a recovering priest." This is how the Rev. Leo Booth, an Episcopal priest introduces himself.
As a recovering alcoholic he has been sober for over a decade and a half but also points out that he is recovering from a very narrow-minded religion.
Author of the book, When God Becomes a Drug, Booth points out that for some people, religion is as much an addiction as alcoholism, smoking, problem gambling and work addiction. Religious addicts want God or Jesus to take away their pain and problems without accepting personal responsibility for them.
"For many years," Booth said, "I was asking God to help me with my drinking, asking Jesus to give me courage and strength to resist drinking too much, asking the Holy Spirit to help me with my alcoholism. But I wasn't putting the cork in the jug.... The more I drank the more extreme I became in my religious practices, medicating my guilt with ritual and dogma."
Religious addiction can be just as destructive to the family as any other addiction because the addict is in denial and isn't facing his real problems nor accepting responsibility for his recovery.
Like the alcoholic, the only hope he has for recovery is to quit lying to himself, admit exactly what he is and say, "I have a problem. I need help." He then needs to get into an effective recovery program to help him quit his self-destructive acting out (hiding behind his religion), and overcome his problem.
The biblical mandate for healing and recovery is simple but not easy, but it's the only way to recovery: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."2 (See footnote3 for additional help.)
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to face reality, admit to any addictive or destructive behaviors in my life, confess these to you and to at least one safe person, and (with your help) accept responsibility for getting the help I need to overcome my problem/s. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
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