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FACE It is said that Abraham Lincoln, when he was President of the U.S., was advised to include a certain man in his cabinet. When he refused he was asked why he would not accept him. \"I don\'t like his face,\" the President replied. \"But the poor man isn\'t responsible for his face,\" responded his advocate. \"Every man over forty is responsible for his face\" countered Lincoln. Resource, July/August, 1990.
FACTION But what does he (Paul) wish them to learn? That no one be puffed up for his own teacher against another, that is, that they be not lifted up with pride on account of their teachers, and do not abuse their names for the purpose of forming parties, and rending the Church asunder. Observe, too, that pride or haughtiness is the cause and commencement of all contentions, when every one, assuming to himself more than he is entitled to do, is eager to have others in subjection to him. John Calvin, Calvin\\\\\\\'s Commentaries, Vol XX, Baker, 1979, p. 158. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FAILURE You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-term failures. Charles Noble. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Theodore Roosevelt said, \"The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.\" Edison spent more than $100,000 to obtain 6000 different fiber specimens, and only three of them proved satisfactory. Each failure brought him that much closer to the solution to his problem. His friend Henry Ford was right when he said that failure was the \"opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.\" Warren W. Wiersbe, Confident Living, September, 1987, p. 22. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- He who never makes a mistake never makes anything. Unknown. Possibly A. Lincoln. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A football coach gave this advice on how to deal with failures. \"When you\'re about to be run out of town, get out in front and make it look like you\'re heading a parade.\" Bits & Pieces, April 30, 1992. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Edison\'s manufacturing facilities in West Orange, N.J., were heavily damaged by fire one night in December, 1914. Edison lost almost $1 million worth of equipment and the record of much of his work. The next morning, walking about the charred embers of his hopes and dreams, the 67-year-old inventor said: \"There is value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Now we can start anew.\" Alan Loy McGinnis, The Power of Optimism (A longer version of this story is found below). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When Jim Burke became the head of a new products division at Johnson & Johnson, one of his first projects was the development of a children\'s chest rub. The product failed miserably, and Burke expected that he would be fired. When he was called in to see the chairman of the board, however, he met a surprising reception. \"Are you the one who just cost us all that money?\" asked Robert Wood Johnson. \"Well I just want to congratulate you. If you are making mistakes, that means you are taking risks, and we won\'t grow unless you take risks.\" Some years later, when Burke himself became chairman of J&J, he continued to spread that word. Reader\'s Digest, Oct, 1991, p. 62. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Verdi\'s opera \"La Traviata\" was a failure when it was first performed. Even though the singers chosen for the leading roles were the best of the day, everything went wrong. The tenor had a cold and sang in a hoarse, almost inaudible voice. The soprano who played the part of the delicate, sickly heroine was one of the stoutest ladies on or off stage, and very healthy and loud. At the beginning of the Third Act when the doctor declares that consumption was wasted away the \"frail, young lady\" and she cannot live more than a few hours, the audience was thrown into a spasm of laughter, a state very different from that necessary to appreciate the tragic moment! Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p.182. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- After the horrible carnage and Confederate retreat at Gettysburg, General Robert E. Lee wrote this to Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy: \"We must expect reverses, even defeats. They are sent to teach us wisdom and prudence, to call forth greater energies, and to prevent our falling into greater disasters.\" MBI\'s Today In The Word, November, 1989, p.21. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Failure is an event, never a person. William Brown, Welcome Stress! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Will Rogers\' stage specialty used to be rope tricks. One day, on stage, in the middle of his act, he got tangled in is lariat. Instead of getting upset, he drawled, \"A rope ain\'t so bad to get tangled up in if it ain\'t around your neck.\" The audience roared. Encouraged by the warm reception, Rogers began adding humorous comments to all his performances. It was the comments, not the rope tricks, that eventually made him famous. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Between 1962 and 1977 Arthur Pedrick patented 162 inventions. Sounds impressive until you realize that none of them were taken up commercially. Among his greatest inventions were: * a bicycle with amphibious capability. * an arrangement whereby a car could be driven from the back seat. * several golf inventions, including a golf ball that could be steered in flight. The grandest scheme of Pedrick, who described himself as the \"One-Man-Think-Tank Basic Research Laboratories of Sussex,\" was to irrigate deserts of the world by sending a constant supply of snowballs from the polar region through a massive network of giant peashooters. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Some onlookers thought it was unusual, but few noticed when the pastor wheeled into the church parking lot in a borrowed pickup truck. But everyone\'s eyes were upon him when he backed the truck across the lawn to his study door. Refusing comment or assistance, he began to empty his office onto the truck bed. He was impassive and systematic: first the desk drawers, then the files, and last his library of books, which he tossed carelessly into a heap, many of them flopping askew like slain birds. His task done, the pastor left the church and, as was later learned, drove some miles to the city dump where he committed everything to the waiting garbage. It was his way of putting behind him the overwhelming sense of failure and loss that he had experienced in the ministry. This young, gifted pastor was determined never to return to the ministry. Indeed, he never did. K Hughes, Liberating Ministry From The Success Syndrome, Tyndale, 1988, p. 9. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself, \"I have failed three times,\" and what happens when he says, \"I am a failure.\" S.I. Hayakawa. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Remember Vinko Bogatej? He was a ski-jumper from Yugoslavia who, while competing in the 1970 World Ski-Flying Championship in Obertsdorf, West Germany, fell off the takeoff ramp and landed on his head. Ever since, the accident has been used to highlight \"the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat\" on ABC\'s \"Wide World of Sports.\" Bogatej was hospitalized after the spill, but he recovered and now works in a foundry in Yugoslavia. Doug Wilson, a producer for ABC, interviewed him last year for a special anniversary edition of the show. \"When we told him he\'s been on the program ever since 1970,\" says Wilson, \"he couldn\'t believe it. He appears on television 130 times a year.\" Thomas Rogers in N.Y. Times, quoted in Dec, 1980, Reader\'s Digest. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The prize for the most useless weapon of all times goes to the Russians. They invented the \"dog mine.\" The plan was to train the dogs to associate food with the undersides of tanks, in the hope that they would run hungrily beneath advancing Panzer divisions. Bombs were then strapped to the dogs\' backs, which endangered the dogs to the point where no insurance company would look at them. Unfortunately, the dogs associated food solely with Russian tanks. The plan was begun the first day of the Russian involvement in World War II...and abandoned on day two. The dogs with bombs on their backs forced an entire Soviet division to retreat. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In 1902, the poetry editor of Atlantic Monthly returned a stack of poems with this note, \"Our magazine has no room for your vigorous verse.\" The poet was Robert Frost. In 1905, the University of Bern turned down a doctoral dissertation as \"irrelevant and fanciful.\" The writer of that paper was Albert Einstein. In 1894 an English teacher noted on a teenager\'s report card, \"A conspicuous lack of success.\" The student was Winston Churchill. Signs of the Times, March 1988, p. 12. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- One ballplayer set the major league record for strikeouts with 1316. The same player set a record for five consecutive strikeouts in a World Series game. The holder of both records was the great slugger Babe Ruth. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Napoleon Bonaparte graduated 42nd in a class of 58 at military school. E. Lucaire, Celebrity Trivia. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The great inventor Charles Kettering suggested that we must learn to fail intelligently. He said, \"Once you\'ve failed analyze the problem and find out why, because each failure is one more step leading up to the cathedral of success. The only time you don\'t want to fail is the last time you try.\" Here are three suggestions for turning failure into success: 1. honestly face defeat; never fake success. 2. Exploit the failure; don\'t waste it. Learn all you can from it; every bitter experience can teach us something. 3. Never use failure as an excuse for not trying again. You may not be able to reclaim the loss, undo the damage, or reverse the consequences, but you can make a new start--wiser, more sensitive, renewed by the Holy spirit, and more determined to do right. Charles Kettering. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- General Mark Clark was one of the great heroes of WWII. He led the Salerno invasion that Winston Churchill said was \"the most daring amphibious operation we have launched, or which, I think, has ever been launched on a similar scale in war.\" At the time Clark was promoted to Lt. General, he was the youngest man of that rank in the U.S. Army. He graduated from West Point in 1917. At the top of his class? Nope. He was 111th from the top in a class of 139! Even if you never earned a college degree, don\'t worry, you\'re in good company. Irving Berlin, for instance, only had two years of formal schooling. He never learned how to read music. When he composed his songs, he would hum the melody and a musical secretary would write down the notes. He became one of the greatest songwriters the country has ever known. Bits & Pieces, December 13, 1990. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It is said that Thomas Edison performed 50,000 experiments before he succeeded in producing a storage battery. We might assume the famous inventor would have had some serious doubts along the way. But when asked if he ever became discouraged working so long without results, Edison replied, \"Results? Why, I know 50,000 things that won\'t work.\" Today in the Word, August, 1990. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lengthy Illustrations On New Year\'s Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played University of California in the Rose Bowl. In that game a man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for California. Somehow, he became confused and started running 65 yards in the wrong direction. One of his teammates, Benny Lom, outdistanced him and downed him just before he scored for the opposing team. When California attempted to punt, Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety which was the ultimate margin of victory. That strange play came in the first half, and everyone who was watching the game was asking the same question: \"What will Coach Nibbs Price do with Roy Riegels in the second half?\" The men filed off the field and went into the dressing room. They sat down on the benches and on the floor, all but Riegels. He put his blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, put his face in his hands, and cried like a baby. If you have played football, you know that a coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during half time. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels. Then the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time. Coach Price looked at the team and said simply, \"Men the same team that played the first half will start the second.\" The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He did not budge. the coach looked back and called to him again; still he didn\'t move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, \"Roy, didn\'t you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second.\" Then Roy Riegels looked up and his cheeks were wet with a strong man\'s tears. \"Coach,\" he said, \"I can\'t do it to save my life. I\'ve ruined you, I\'ve ruined the University of California, I\'ve ruined myself. I couldn\'t face that crowd in the stadium to save my life.\" Then Coach Price reached out and put his hand on Riegel\'s shoulder and said to him: \"Roy, get up and go on back; the game is only half over.\" And Roy Riegels went back, and those Tech men will tell you that they have never seen a man play football as Roy Riegels played that second half. Haddon W. Robinson, \"Christian Medical Society Journal.\" -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Edison invented the microphone, the phonograph, the incandescent light, the storage battery, talking movies, and more than 1000 other things. December 1914 he had worked for 10 years on a storage battery. This had greatly strained his finances. This particular evening spontaneous combustion had broken out in the film room. Within minutes all the packing compounds, celluloid for records and film, and other flammable goods were in flames. Fire companies from eight surrounding towns arrived, but the heat was so intense and the water pressure so low that the attempt to douse the flames was futile. Everything was destroyed. Edison was 67. With all his assets going up in a whoosh (although the damage exceeded two million dollars, the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof), would his spirit be broken? The inventor\'s 24-year old son, Charles, searched frantically for his father. He finally found him, calmly watching the fire, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind. \"My heart ached for him,\" said Charles. \"He was 67--no longer a young man--and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, \'Charles, where\'s your mother?\' When I told him I didn\'t know, he said, \'Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.\'\" The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, \"There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.\" Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to deliver the first phonograph. Swindoll, Hand Me Another Brick, Thomas Nelson, 1978, pp. 82-3, and Bits & Pieces, November, 1989, p. 12. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our success in this venture means nothing less than the opening of the country for the gospel; our failure, at most, nothing more than the death of two or three deluded fanatics. Still, even death is not failure. His purposes are accomplished. He uses deaths as well as lives in the furtherance of His cause. Walter Gowans, 1983, a founder of SIM. On Dec. 4, 1893, Walter Gowans and Rowland Bingham of Toronto, Canada, and Thomas Kent of Buffalo, N.Y., landed at Lagos, Nigeria. Their aim was to establish a witness among the 60 million people of what was then commonly known as the Soudan, the area south of the Sahara between the Niger River and the Nile. Gowans and Kent died in the first few months. Bingham returned to Canada, formed a council, and went back to Africa in 1900. That attempt, too, was unsuccessful. In 1901 Bingham sent out a party that succeeded in establishing the Mission\'s first base, at Patigi, 500 miles up the Niger River. When these first SIM pioneers landed in Nigeria, Gowans was 25 years old, Bingham was two weeks away from his 21st birthday, Kent was 23. \"It is the impassioned pleading of a quiet little Scottish lady that linked my life with the Soudan,\" wrote Rowland Bingham (a founder of S.I.M.). \"In the quietness of her parlor she told how God had called a daughter to China, and her eldest boy (Walter Gowans) to the Soudan. \"She spread out before me the vast extent of those thousands of miles and filled in the teeming masses of people. Ere I closed the interview she had place upon me the burden of the Soudan.\" A year and a half later Bingham returned to Canada, alone. Walter and Thomas Kent lay buried in Nigeria\'s interior. \"I visited Mrs. Gowans to take her the few personal belongings of her son,\" he recalled. \"She met me with extended hand. We stood there in silence. \"Then she said these words: \'Well, Mr. Bingham, I would rather have had Walter go out to the Soudan and die there, all alone, than have him home today, disobeying his Lord.\'\" Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Statistics and Stuff \"One of the reasons why mature people stop growing and learning,\" says John Gardner, \"is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.\" Tim Hansel, Eating Problems for Breakfast, Word Publishing,1988, p. 32. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Humor During 1978 during the fireman\'s strike in England, the British army took over emergency firefighting. On January 14 they were called out by an elderly lady in South London to retrieve her cat. They arrived with impressive haste, very cleverly and carefully rescued the cat, and started to drive away. But the lady was so grateful she invited the squad of heroes in for tea. Driving off later with fond farewells and warm waving of arms, they ran over the cat and killed it. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Poems Life is a leaf of paper white Whereon each one of us may write His word or two, and then comes night. Greatly begin! though thou have time But for a line, be that sublime-- Not failure, but low aim, is crime. James Russell Lowell. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FAIR A socialist once came to see Andrew Carnegie and soon was railing against the injustice of Carnegie having so much money. In his view, wealth was meant to be divided equally. Carnegie asked his secretary for an assessment of everything he owned and at the same time looked up the figures on world population. He did a little arithmetic on a pad and then said to his secretary. \"Give this gentleman l6 cents. That\'s his share of my wealth.\" Unknown.
FAITH (see also TRUST and BELIEF) Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand. Augustine. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand. Thomas Aquinas. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again -- until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other. William Booth in The Founder\'s Messages to Soldiers, Christianity Today, October 5, 1992, p. 48. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- God our Father has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing. Martin Luther. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A pastor I know, Stephey Bilynskyj, starts each confirmation class with a jar full of beans. He asks his students to guess how many beans are in the jar, and on a big pad of paper writes down their estimates. Then, next to those estimates, he helps them make another list: Their favorite songs. When the lists are complete, he reveals the actual number of beans in the jar. The whole class looks over their guesses, to see which estimate was closest to being right. Bilynskyj then turns to the list of favorite songs. \"And which one of these is closest to being right?\" he asks. The students protest that there is no \"right answer\"; a person\'s favorite song is purely a matter of taste. Bilynskyj, who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Notre Dame asks, \"When you decide what to believe in terms of your faith, is that more like guessing the number of beans, or more like choosing your favorite song?\" Always, Bilynskyj says, from old as well as young, he gets the same answer: Choosing one\'s faith is more like choosing a favorite song. When Bilynskyj told me this, it took my breath away. \"After they say that, do you confirm them?\" I asked him. \"Well,\" smiled Bilynskyj, \"First I try to argue them out of it.\" Tim Stafford, Christianity Today, September 14, 1992, p. 36. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Faith in God makes great optimists. Over in Burma, Judson was lying in a foul jail with 32 lbs. of chains on his ankles, his feet bound to a bamboo pole. A fellow prisoner said, \"Dr. Judson, what about the prospect of the conversion of the heathen?\", with a sneer on his face. His instant reply was, \"The prospects are just as bright as the promises of God.\" The Presbyterian Advance. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace. Oswald Chambers in Run Today\'s Race. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When I was research head of General Motors and wanted a problem solved, I\'d place a table outside the meeting room with a sign: Leave slide rules here. If I didn\'t do that, I\'d find someone reaching for his slide rule. Then he\'d be on his feet saying, \"Boss, you can\'t do it.\" Charles F. Kettering in Bits & Pieces, Dec, 1991, p. 24. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A man lives by believing something, not by debating and arguing about many things. Thomas Carlyle. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Faith understands that God intervenes in the natural course of events; on the other hand, if the natural course of events should happen to answer prayer--that which we call a coincidence--faith still believes God is present. Brett Blair. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- David, a 2-year old with leukemia, was taken by his mother, Deborah, to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, to see Dr. John Truman who specializes in treating children with cancer and various blood diseases. Dr. Truman\'s prognosis was devastating: \"He has a 50-50 chance.\" The countless clinic visits, the blood tests, the intravenous drugs, the fear and pain--the mother\'s ordeal can be almost as bad as the child\'s because she must stand by, unable to bear the pain herself. David never cried in the waiting room, and although his friends in the clinic had to hurt him and stick needles in him, he hustled in ahead of his mother with a smile, sure of the welcome he always got. When he was three, David had to have a spinal tap--a painful procedure at any age. It was explained to him that, because he was sick, Dr. Truman had to do something to make him better. \"If it hurts, remember it\'s because he loves you,\" Deborah said. The procedure was horrendous. It took three nurses to hold David still, while he yelled and sobbed and struggled. When it was almost over, the tiny boy, soaked in sweat and tears, looked up at the doctor and gasped, \"Thank you, Dr. Tooman, for my hurting.\" Monica Dickens, Miracles of Courage, 1985. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, \"Jump! I\'ll catch you.\" He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: \"Jump! I will catch you.\" But the boy protested, \"Daddy, I can\'t see you.\" The father replied, \"But I can see you and that\'s all that matters.\" Here is a similar illustration: During the terrible days of the Blitz, a father, holding his small son by the hand, ran from a building that had been struck by a bomb. In the front yard was a shell hole. Seeking shelter as quickly as possible, the father jumped into the hole and held up his arms for his son to follow. Terrified, yet hearing his father\'s voice telling him to jump, the boy replied, \"I can\'t see you!\" The father, looking up against the sky tinted red by the burning buildings, called to the silhouette of his son, \"But I can see you. Jump!\" The boy jumped, because he trusted his father. The Christian faith enables us to face life or meet death, not because we can see, but with the certainty that we are seen; not that we know all the answers, but that we are known. Donner Atwood. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The following letter was found in a baking-power can wired to the handle of an old pump that offered the only hope of drinking water on a very long and seldom-used trail across Nevada\'s Amargosa Desert: \"This pump is all right as of June 1932. I put a new sucker washer into it and it ought to last five years. But the washer dries out and the pump has got to be primed. Under the white rock I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun and cork end up. There\'s enough water in it to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour about one-fourth and let her soak to wet the leather. Then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like crazy. You\'ll git water. The well has never run dry. Have faith. When you git watered up, fill the bottle and put it back like you found it for the next feller. (signed) Desert Pete. P.S. Don\'t go drinking the water first. Prime the pump with it and you\'ll git all you can hold.\" Keith Miller and Bruce Larson, The Edge of Adventure. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Faith honors God and God honors faith! A story from the life of missionaries Robert and Mary Moffat illustrates this truth. For 10 years this couple labored faithfully in Bechuanaland (now called Botswana) without one ray of encouragement to brighten their way. They could not report a single convert. Finally the directors of their mission board began to question the wisdom of continuing the work. The thought of leaving their post, however, brought great grief to this devoted couple, for they felt sure that God was in their labors, and that they would see people turn to Christ in due season. They stayed; and for a year or two longer, darkness reigned. Then one day a friend in England sent word to the Moffats that she wanted to mail them a gift and asked what they would like. Trusting that in time the Lord would bless their work, Mrs. Moffat replied, \"Send us a communion set; I am sure it will soon be needed.\" God honored that dear woman\'s faith. The Holy Spirit moved upon the hearts of the villagers, and soon a little group of six converts was united to form the first Christian church in that land. The communion set from England was delayed in the mail; but on the very day before the first commemoration of the Lord\'s super in Bechuanaland, the set arrived. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that only fear allows to entrap us. John Emmons. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The true, living faith, which the Holy Spirit instills into the heart, simply cannot be idle. Martin Luther. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- God does not expect us to submit our faith to him without reason, but the very limits of our reason make faith a necessity. Augustine. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The more we know of God, the more unreservedly we will trust him; the greater our progress in theology, the simpler and more childlike will be our faith. J. G. Machen. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Faith is not a distant view but a warm embrace of Christ. John Calvin. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man\'s power ends. George Muller. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of faith is to see what we believe. Augustine. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Live in faith and hope, though it be in darkness, for in this darkness God protects the soul. Cast your care upon God for you are His and He will not forget you. Do not think that He is leaving you alone, for that would be to wrong Him. John of the Cross. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In April 1988 the evening news reported on a photographer who was a skydiver. He had jumped from a plane along with numerous other skydivers and filmed the group as they fell and opened their parachutes. On the film shown on the telecast, as the final skydiver opened his chute, the picture went berserk. The announcer reported that the cameraman had fallen to his death, having jumped out of the plane without his parachute. It wasn\'t until he reached for the absent ripcord that he realized he was freefalling without a parachute. Until that point, the jump probably seemed exciting and fun. But tragically, he had acted with thoughtless haste and deadly foolishness. Nothing could save him, for his faith was in a parachute never buckled on. Faith in anything but an all-sufficient God can be just as tragic spiritually. Only with faith in Jesus Christ dare we step into the dangerous excitement of life. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The steps of faith fall on the seeming void and find the rock beneath. Whittier. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When Hudson Taylor went to China, he made the voyage on a sailing vessel. As it neared the channel between the southern Malay Peninsula and the island of Sumatra, the missionary heard an urgent knock on his stateroom door. He opened it, and there stood the captain of the ship. \"Mr. Taylor,\" he said, \"we have no wind. We are drifting toward an island where the people are heathen, and I fear they are cannibals.\" \"What can I do?\" asked Taylor. \"I understand that you believe in God. I want you to pray for wind.\" \"All right, Captain, I will, but you must set the sail.\" \"Why that\'s ridiculous! There\'s not even the slightest breeze. Besides, the sailors will think I\'m crazy.\" But finally, because of Taylor\'s insistence, he agreed. Forty- five minutes later he returned and found the missionary still on his knees. \"You can stop praying now,\" said the captain. \"We\'ve got more wind than we know what to do with!\" Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A precocious young man was taken to visit Albert Einstein. After a short visit, they walked out onto the porch and the young man pointed to a tree. \"Dr. Einstein, do we know that tree is there?\" \"Only by faith\" he replied. Leadership, IV, 3, p. 108. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sir Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary in Labrador, found himself adrift on an ice flow, headed out to sea. He mercifully killed his dogs, made a coat out of their hides, put up a distress flag, and lay down and slept. Later he said, \"There was nothing to fear. I had done all I could, the rest lay in God\'s hands.\" Donald Campbell, Daniel, Decoder of Dreams, p. 20. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- My husband, Ron, once taught a class of mentally impaired teenagers. Looking at his students\' capabilities rather than their limitations, Ron got them to play chess, restore furniture and repair electrical appliances. Most important, he taught them to believe in themselves. Young Bobby soon proved how well he had learned that last lesson. One day he brought in a broken toaster to repair. He carried the toaster tucked under one arm, and a half-loaf of bread under the other. Edna Butterfield. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When a traveler in the early days of the west, came to the Mississippi, he discovered there was no bridge. Fortunately it was winter and the great river was sheeted over with ice. But the traveler was afraid to trust himself to it, not knowing how thick it was. Finally with infinite caution, he crept on his hands and knees and managed to get halfway over. And then he heard--yes he heard singing from behind. Cautiously he turned, and there, out of the dusk, came another traveler, driving a four-horse load of coal over the ice, singing as he went! Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe. Augustine. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Faith is a voluntary anticipation. Clement of Alexandria. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olympic gold medalist Darrel Pace was to give an archery exhibition in New York City\'s Central Park, and the event received coverage by all the news stations. Shooting steel- tipped hunting arrows, Pace punctured bull\'s-eyes without a miss. Then he called for a volunteer. \"All you have to do,\" said Pace, \"Is hold this apple in your hand, waist-high.\" ABC correspondent Josh Howell took a bold step forward. He stood there, a small apple in his hand, a larger one in his throat. Pace took aim from 30 yards away as we all held our breath. Then THWACK-a clean hit that exploded the apple before striking the target behind. Everybody applauded Howell, who was all smiles--until his cameraman approached with a hangdog look. \"I\'m sorry, Josh,\" he said. \"I didn\'t get it. Had a problem with my viewfinder. Could you do it again?\" Bob Teague, Live and Off-Color: News Biz. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- During an especially trying time in the work of the China Inland Mission, Hudson Taylor wrote to his wife, \"We have twenty-five cents--and all the promises of God! W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 242. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To illustrate dead faith, \"It is that kind of faith which would lead a man to take a bottle of medicine from his medicine cabinet. Looking at the instructions on it, he says, \'I\'m sure they\'re correct. I have all confidence in the source of the medicine. I know who wrote these directions. I believe everything about it. I know this will relieve my headache, if I just take it.\' But he takes the medicine bottle and puts it back on the shelf. He doesn\'t lose his headache. It continues on. Yet he can say I believe that medicine. I believe all about that medicine. But still he won\'t take it. That\'s dead faith.\" James 2:20 - Dr. Harlan Roper, Tape on James, Dallas, Texas. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Faith is not merely your holding on to God--it is God holding on to you. He will not let you go! E. Stanley Jones. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In 1853, when young Hudson Taylor was making his first voyage to China, his vessel was delayed near New Guinea because the winds had stopped. A rapid current was carrying the ship toward some reefs and the situation was becoming dangerous. Even the sailors using a longboat could not row the vessel out of the current. \"We have done everything that can be done,\" said the captain to Taylor. But Taylor replied, \"No, there is one thing we have not done yet.\" There were three other believers on the ship, and Taylor suggested that each retire to his own cabin and pray for a breeze. They did, and while he was at prayer, Taylor received confidence from God that the desperately needed wind would be sent. He went up on deck and suggested to the first officer, an unbeliever, that he let down the mainsail because a breeze was on its way. The man refused, but then they saw the corner of the sail begin to stir. The breeze had come! They let down the sail and in a short time were on their way! W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 240. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Three elements of personality are involved in making a decision to become a Christian, or in making any significant decision for that matter. They are the emotions, the intellect, and the will. For example, a young man meets a young woman. They are immediately attracted to one another. They both say to themselves, \"Now there is someone I\'d like to marry.\" At that point, if the emotions had their way, there would be a wedding. But the intellect intervenes, questioning the impulsive emotional response. Would we be compatible? What is she really like? Can I afford to support her? Both conclude it would be better to take some more time and answer a few questions before they proceed. So the two begin spending more time with each other. He eventually concludes that she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Now his intellect has sided with the emotions on the idea of marriage. But the final and heaviest vote remains to be cast -- that of the will. It stops the march toward the altar with the questions, \"Am I willing to give up this lifestyle for another? What about my freedom -- is it worth the trade? Am I willing to assume the added responsibility?\" The marriage will occur only when the will finally agrees with the emotions and the intellect. And so it is in coming to Christ. Jim Peterson, Living Proof, NavPress, 1989, p. 170. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In 1893, engineer George Ferris built a machine that bears his name--the Ferris wheel. When it was finished, he invited a newspaper reporter to accompany him and his wife for the inaugural ride. It was a windy July day, so a stiff breeze struck the wheel with great force as it slowly began its rotation. Despite the wind, the wheel turned flawlessly. After one revolution, Ferris called for the machine to be stopped so that he, his wife, and the reporter could step out. In braving that one revolution on the windblown Ferris wheel, each occupant demonstrated genuine faith. Mr. Ferris began with the scientific knowledge that the machine would work and that it would be safe. Mrs. Ferris and the reporter believed the machine would work on the basis of what the inventor had said. But only after the ride could it be said of all three that they had personal, experiential faith. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lengthy Illustrations In college I was asked to prepare a lesson to teach my speech class. We were to be graded on our creativity and ability to drive home a point in a memorable way. The title of my talk was, \"The Law of the Pendulum.\" I spent 20 minutes carefully teaching the physical principle that governs a swinging pendulum. The law of the pendulum is: A pendulum can never return to a point higher than the point from which it was released. Because of friction and gravity, when the pendulum returns, it will fall short of its original release point. Each time it swings it makes less and less of an arc, until finally it is at rest. This point of rest is called the state of equilibrium, where all forces acting on the pendulum are equal. I attached a 3-foot string to a child\'s toy top and secured it to the top of the blackboard with a thumbtack. I pulled the top to one side and made a mark on the blackboard where I let it go. Each time it swung back I made a new mark. It took less than a minute for the top to complete its swinging and come to rest. When I finished the demonstration, the markings on the blackboard proved my thesis. I then asked how many people in the room BELIEVED the law of the pendulum was true. All of my classmates raised their hands, so did the teacher. He started to walk to the front of the room thinking the class was over. In reality it had just begun. Hanging from the steel ceiling beams in the middle of the room was a large, crude but functional pendulum (250 pounds of metal weights tied to four strands of 500-pound test parachute cord.). I invited the instructor to climb up on a table and sit in a chair with the back of his head against a cement wall. Then I brought the 250 pounds of metal up to his nose. Holding the huge pendulum just a fraction of an inch from his face, I once again explained the law of the pendulum he had applauded only moments before, \"If the law of the pendulum is true, then when I release this mass of metal, it will swing across the room and return short of the release point. Your nose will be in no danger.\" After that final restatement of this law, I looked him in the eye and asked, \"Sir, do you believe this law is true?\" There was a long pause. Huge beads os sweat formed on his upper lip and then weakly he nodded and whispered, \"Yes.\" I released the pendulum. It made a swishing sound as it arced across the room. At the far end of its swing, it paused momentarily and started back. I never saw a man move so fast in my life. He literally dived from the table. Deftly stepping around the still-swinging pendulum, I asked the class, \"Does he believe in the law of the pendulum?\" The students unanimously answered, \"NO!\" Ken Davis, How To Speak To Youth, pp 104-106. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Even back then I was searching for hard evidence of God as an alternative to faith. And one day I found it--on television, of all places. While randomly flipping a dial, I came across a mass healing service being conducted by Kathryn Kuhlman. I watched for a few minutes as she brought various people up on the stage and interviewed them. Each one told an amazing story of supernatural healing. Cancer, heart conditions, paralysis--it was like a medical encyclopedia up there. As I watched Kuhlman\'s program, my doubts gradually melted away. At last I had found something real and tangible. Kuhlman asked a musician to sing her favorite song, \"He Touched Me. That\'s what I needed, I thought; a touch, a personal touch from God. She held out that promise, and I lunged for it. Three weeks later when Kathryn Kuhlman came to a neighboring state, I skipped classes and traveled half a day to attend one of her meetings. The atmosphere was unbelievably charged--soft organ music in the background; the murmuring sound of people praying aloud, some in strange tongues; and every few minutes a happy interruption when someone would stand and claim, \"I\'m healed!\" One person especially make an impression, a man from Milwaukee who had been carried into the meeting on a stretcher. When he walked--yes, walked--onstage, we all cheered wildly. He told us he was a physician, and I was even more impressed. He had incurable lung cancer, he said, and was told he had six months to live. But now, tonight, he believed God had healed him. He was walking for the first time in months. He felt great. Praise God! I wrote down the man\'s name and practically floated out of that meeting. I had never known such certainty of faith before. My search was over; I had seen proof of a living God in those people on the stage. If he could work tangible miracles in them, then surely he had something wonderful in store for me. I wanted contact with the man of faith I had seen at the meeting, so much so that exactly one week later I phoned Directory Assistance in Milwaukee and got the physician\'s number. When I dialed it, a woman answered the phone. \"May I please speak to Dr. S_____,\" I said. Long silence. \"Who are you?\" she said at last. I figured she was just screening calls from patients or something. I gave my name and told her I admired Dr. S_____ and had wanted to talk to him ever since the Kathryn Kuhlman meeting. I had been very moved by his story, I said. Another long silence. Then she spoke in a flat voice, pronouncing each word slowly. \"My...husband...is...dead.\" Just that one sentence, nothing more, and she hung up. I can\'t tell you how that devastated me. I was wasted. I half-staggered into the next room, where my sister was sitting. \"Richard, what\'s wrong?\" she asked. \"Are you all right?\" No, I was not all right. But I couldn\'t talk about it. I was crying. My mother and sister tried to pry some explanation out of me. But what could I tell them? For me, the certainty I had staked my life on had died with that phone call. A flame had flared bright for one fine, shining week and then gone dark, like a dying star. Philip Yancey, Disappointment With God, Zondervan, pp. 38-40. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- There was a tightrope walker, who did incredible aerial feats. All over Paris, he would do tightrope acts at tremendously scary heights. Then he had succeeding acts; he would do it blindfolded, then he would go across the tightrope, blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow. An American promoter read about this in the papers and wrote a letter to the tightrope walker, saying, \"Tightrope, I don\'t believe you can do it, but I\'m willing to make you an offer. For a very substantial sum of money, besides all your transportation fees, I would like to challenge you to do your act over Niagara Falls.\" Now, Tightrope wrote back, \"Sir, although I\'ve never been to America and seen the Falls, I\'d love to come.\" Well, after a lot of promotion and setting the whole thing up, many people came to see the event. Tightrope was to start on the Canadian side and come to the American side. Drums roll, and he comes across the rope which is suspended over the treacherous part of the falls -- blindfolded!! And he makes it across easily. The crowds go wild, and he comes to the promoter and says, \"Well, Mr. Promoter, now do you believe I can do it?\" \"Well of course I do. I mean, I just saw you do it.\" \"No,\" said Tightrope, \"do you really believe I can do it?\" \"Well of course I do, you just did it.\" \"No, no, no,\" said Tightrope, \"do you believe I can do it?\" \"Yes,\" said Mr. Promoter, \"I believe you can do it.\" \"Good,\" said Tightrope, \"then you get in the wheel barrow.\" The word believe, in Greek means \"to live by\". This is a nice story...makes you ask, how often do we say that we believe Christ can do it, but refuse to get in the wheelbarrow? Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As a young man preparing to go to China, Hudson Taylor determined to learn to live by faith alone while he was still in England. His resolve was \"to learn before leaving England to move man through God by prayer alone.\" He worked for a doctor and was paid quarterly. When the time drew near to receive his salary, Taylor was disturbed that his employer said nothing about it. Taylor had only one half-crown piece, but he determined not to break his resolution and ask for his salary. While visiting a needy home on the Lord\'s Day, Taylor felt led of God to give his last coin to the needy family. The next day he received an anonymous gift through the mail, four times what he had given to the poor! The following Saturday, the doctor finished up his work and said, \"Taylor, is not your salary due again?\" Taylor told him that it was and became disappointed when he learned that the doctor had forgotten about the salary due and sent all his funds to the bank! He prayed about the matter (for he had bills of his own to pay) and left it with the Lord. That evening, the doctor visited him and said that one of his richest patients had come over after hours to pay his bill! He gave the money to Taylor, who rejoiced. He had learned he could trust God and therefore go to China as a missionary. W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 240. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Statistics and Commentary Definition of faith: Hebrews 11:1. \"What is faith, unless it is to believe what you cannot see.\" (Augustine) Faith is derived from the Word of God: Romans 10:17 Faith\'s demand: Hebrews 11:6 Faith\'s design: 2 Corinthians 5:7 The dualism of faith: Hebrews 4:2 Faith\'s duty: Romans 1:17--live by it. Richard Mayhue, Divine Healing Today, Moody Press, p. 100. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To live by faith is to live joyfully, to live with assurance, untroubled by doubts and with complete confidence in all we have to do and suffer at each moment by the will of God. We must realize that it is in order to stimulate and sustain this faith that God allows the soul to be buffeted and swept away by the raging torrent of so much distress, so many troubles, so much embarrassment and weakness, and so many setbacks. For it is essential to have faith to find God behind all this. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, 1675-1751, in Discipleship Journal, issue 40. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are opposite sides of the same coin. A.W. Tozer. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The N.T. never says that a man is saved on account of his faith, but always that he is saved through his faith, or by means of his faith; faith is merely the means which the Holy Spirit uses to apply to the individual soul the benefits of Christ\'s death.\" J. Gresham Machen, What is Faith, p. 180. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- God delights to increase the faith of His children...I say, and say it deliberately--trials, difficulties and sometimes defeat, are the very food of faith...We should take them out of His hands as evidences of His love and care for us in developing more and more that faith which He is seeking to strengthen in us. George Mueller. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Important lessons are given by this alternation of the two ideas of faith and unbelief, obedience and disobedience. Disobedience is the root of unbelief. Unbelief is the mother of further disobedience. Faith is voluntary submission within a person\'s own power. If faith is not exercised, the true cause lies deeper than all intellectual reasons. It lies in the moral aversion of human will and in the pride of independence, which says, \"who is Lord over us? Why should we have to depend on Jesus Christ?\" As faith is obedience and submission, so faith breeds obedience, but unbelief leads on to higher-handed rebellion. With dreadful reciprocity of influence, the less one trusts, the more he disobeys; the more he disobeys, the less he trusts. Alexander Maclaren. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Humor A man fell off a cliff, but managed to grab a tree limb on the way down. The following conversation ensued: \"Is anyone up there?\" \"I am here. I am the Lord. Do you believe me?\" \"Yes, Lord, I believe. I really believe, but I can\'t hang on much longer.\" \"That\'s all right, if you really believe you have nothing to worry about. I will save you. Just let go of the branch.\" A moment of pause, then: \"Is anyone else up there?\" Bits & Pieces, June 24, 1993, p. 3. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FAITH AND WORKS A young boy, on an errand for his mother, had just bought a dozen eggs. Walking out of the store, he tripped and dropped the sack. All the eggs broke, and the sidewalk was a mess. The boy tried not to cry. A few people gathered to see if he was OK and to tell him how sorry they were. In the midst of the works of pity, one man handed the boy a quarter. Then he turned to the group and said, \"I care 25 cents worth. How much do the rest of you care?\" James 2:16 points out that words don\'t mean much if we have the ability to do more. Stanley C. Brown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lengthy Illustrations For years I enjoyed packing up my guns and some food to head off into the woods. Even more than the hunting itself, I enjoyed the way these trips always seemed to deepen my relationship with friends as we hunted during the day and talked late into the night around the campfire. When an old friend recently invited me to relive some of those days, I couldn\'t pass up the chance. For several weeks before the trip, I had taken the time to upgrade some of my equipment and sight in my rifle. When the day came, I was ready for the hunt. What I wasn\'t ready for was what my close friend, Tom, shared with me the first night out on the trail. I always enjoyed the time I spent with Tom. He had become a leader in his church and his warm and friendly manner had also taken him many steps along the path of business success. He had a lovely wife, and while I knew they had driven over some rocky roads in their marriage, things now seemed to be stable and growing. Tom\'s kids, two daughters and a son, were struggling in junior high and high school with the normal problems of peer pressure and acceptance. As we rode back into the mountains, I could tell that something big was eating away at Tom\'s heart. His normal effervescent style was shrouded by an overwhelming inner hurt. Normally, Tom would attack problems with the same determination that had made him a success in business. Now, I saw him wrestling with something that seemed to have knocked him to the mat for the count. Silence has a way of speaking for itself. All day and on into the evening, Tom let his lack of words shout out his inner restlessness. Finally, around the first night\'s campfire, he opened up. The scenario Tom painted was annoyingly familiar. I\'d heard it many times before in many other people\'s lives. But the details seemed such a contract to the life that Tom and his wife lived and the beliefs they embraced. His oldest daughter had become attached to a boy at school. Shortly after they started going together, they became sexually involved. Within two months, she was pregnant. Tom\'s wife discovered the truth when a packet from Planned Parenthood came in the mail addressed to her daughter. When confronted with it, the girl admitted she had requested it when she went to the clinic to find out if she was pregnant. If we totaled up the number of girls who have gotten pregnant out of wedlock during the past two hundred years of our nation\'s history, the total would be in the millions. Countless parents through the years have faced the devastating news. Being a member of such a large fraternity of history, however, does not soften the severity of the blow to your heart when you discover it\'s your daughter. Tom shared the humiliation he experienced when he realized that all of his teaching and example had been ignored. Years of spiritual training had been thrust aside. His stomach churned as he relived the emotional agony of knowing that the little girl he and his wife loved so much had made a choice that had permanently scarred her heart. I\'m frequently confronted with these problems in my ministry and have found that dwelling on the promiscuous act only makes matters worse. I worship a God of forgiveness and solutions, and at that moment in our conversation I was anxious to turn toward hope and healing. I asked Tom what they had decided to do. Would they keep the baby, or put it up for adoption? That\'s when he delivered the blow. With the fire burning low, Tom paused for a long time before answering. And even when he spoke he wouldn\'t look me in the eye. \"We considered the alternatives, Tim. Weighed all the options.\" He took a deep breath. \"We finally made an appointment with the abortion clinic. I took her down there myself.\" I dropped the stick I\'d been poking the coals with and stared at Tom. Except for the wind in the trees and the snapping of our fire it was quiet for a long time. I couldn\'t believe this was the same man who for years had been so outspoken against abortion. He and his wife had even volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center in his city. Heartsick, I pressed him about the decision. Tom then made a statement that captured the essence of his problem...and the problem many others have in entering into genuine rest. In a mechanical voice, he said \"I know what I believe, Tim, but that\'s different than what I had to do. I had to make a decision that had the least amount of consequences for the people involved.\" Just by the way he said it, I could tell my friend had rehearsed these lines over and over in his mind. And by the look in his eyes and the emptiness in his voice, I could tell his words sounded as hollow to him as they did to me. Tim Kimmel, Little House on the Freeway, pp. 67-70. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Statistics and Commentary In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church\'s integrity problem is in the misconception \"that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior.\" He goes on to say, \"It is revival without reformation, without repentance.\" C. Swindoll, John The Baptizer, Bible Study Guide, p. 16. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The question is asked: how can justification take place without the works of the law, even though James says: \"Faith without works is dead\"? In answer, the apostle distinguishes between the law and faith, the letter and grace. The \'works of the law\' are works done without faith and grace, by the law, which forces them to be done through fear or the enticing promise of temporal advantages. But \'works of faith\' are those done in the spirit of liberty, purely out of love to God. And they can be done only by those who are justified by faith. An ape can cleverly imitate the actions of humans. But he is not therefore a human. If he became a human, it would undoubtedly be not by vurtue of the works by which he imitated man but by virtue of something else; namely, by an act of God. Then, having been made a human, he would perform the works of humans in proper fashion. Paul does not say that faith is without its characteristic works, but that it justifies without the works of the law. Therefore justification does not require the works of the law; but it does require a living faith, which performs its works. Martin Luther. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- \"Faith and holiness are inextricably linked. Obeying the commands of God usually involves believing the promises of God.\" J. Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness, p. 145. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FAITH HEALING During the days of the PTL Club television program: Patients in the psychiatric unit at Wilson Hospital, Johnson City, N.Y., are forbidden to watch \"The PTL Club\" television program because of what hospital officials describe as a \"disturbing effect\" on some patients. Dr. Q.D. Schubmehl, chairman of the psychiatric department, told a reporter for the Binghamton (N.Y.) Press that \"many of our patients do have serious problems, and we found that (the PTL show) was exaggerating pre-existing symptoms.\" According to Dr. Schubmehl, the program promotes the idea that \"if you had faith, you wouldn\'t be sick.\" He said that \"the suggested interpretation by patients is one of anit-physician and anti-medical. Maybe, it\'s not anti-physician or anti-medical, but it at least puts things in a way that you can get better through faith alone.\" Eternity, May, 1979, p. 12.
FAITHFULNESS (see also PERSEVERANCE and ENDURANCE) One of the most tragic events during the Reagan Presidency was the Sunday morning terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, in which hundreds of Americans were killed or wounded as they slept. Many of us can still recall the terrible scenes as the dazed survivors worked to dig out their trapped brothers from beneath the rubble. A few days after the tragedy, I recall coming across an extraordinary story. Marine Corps Commandant Paul X Kelly, visited some of the wounded survivors then in a Frankfurt, Germany, hospital. Among them was Corporal Jeffrey Lee Nashton, severely wounded in the incident. Nashton had so many tubes running in and out of his body that a witness said he looked more like a machine than a man; yet he survived. As Kelly neared him, Nashton, struggling to move and racked with pain, motioned for a piece of paper and a pen. He wrote a brief note and passed it back to the Commandant. On the slip of paper were but two words -- \"Semper Fi\" the Latin motto of the Marines meaning \"forever faithful.\" With those two simple words Nashton spoke for the millions of Americans who have sacrificed body and limb and their lives for their country -- those who have remained faithful. J. Dobson & Gary Bauer, Children at Risk, Word, 1990, pp. 187-188. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The time was the 19th of May, 1780. The place was Hartford, Connecticut. The day has gone down in New England history as a terrible foretaste of Judgment Day. For at noon the skies turned from blue to gray and by mid-afternoon had blackened over so densely that, in that religious age, men fell on their knees and begged a final blessing before the end came. The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session. And as some men fell down and others clamored for an immediate adjournment, the Speaker of the House, one Colonel Davenport, came to his feet. He silenced them and said these words: \"The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles may be brought.\" Robert P. Dugan, Jr., Winning the New Civil War, p. 183. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mark Hatfield tells of touring Calcutta with Mother Teresa and visiting the so-called \"House of Dying,\" where sick children are cared for in their last days, and the dispensary, where the poor line up by the hundreds to receive medical attention. Watching Mother Teresa minister to these people, feeding and nursing those left by others to die, Hatfield was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the suffering she and her co-workers face daily. \"How can you bear the load without being crushed by it?\" he asked. Mother Teresa replied, \"My dear Senator, I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful.\" Beyond Hunger, Beals -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It was a stormy night in Birmingham, England, and Hudson Taylor was to speak at a meeting at the Severn Street schoolroom. His hostess assured him that nobody would attend on such a stormy night, but Taylor insisted on going. \"I must go even if there is no one but the doorkeeper.\" Less than a dozen people showed up, but the meeting was marked with unusual spiritual power. Half of those present either became missionaries or gave their children as missionaries; and the rest were faithful supporters of the China Inland Mission for years to come. W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and Preachers, p. 242. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Norman Geisler, as a child, went to a DVBS because he was invited by some neighbor children. He went back to the same church for Sunday School classes for 400 Sundays. Each week he was faithfully picked up by a bus driver. Week after week he attended church, but never made a commitment to Christ. Finally, during his senior year in High School, after being picked up for church over 400 times, he did commit his life to Christ. What if that bus driver had given up on Geisler at 395? What if the bus driver had said, \"This kid is going nowhere spiritually, why waste any more time on him?\" Max Lucado, God Came Near, Multnomah Press, 1987, p. 133. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- One stormy night an elderly couple entered the lobby of a small hotel and asked for a room. The clerk said they were filled, as were all the hotels in town. \"But I can\'t send a fine couple like you out in the rain,\" he said. \"Would you be willing to sleep in my room?\" The couple hesitated, but the clerk insisted. The next morning when the man paid his bill, he said, \"You\'re the kind of man who should be managing the best hotel in the United States. Someday I\'ll build you one.\" The clerk smiled politely. A few years later the clerk received a letter from the elderly man, recalling that stormy night and asking him to come to New York. A round-trip ticket was enclosed. When the clerk arrived, his host took him to the corner of 5th Avenue and 34th Street, where stood a magnificent new building. \"That,\" explained the man, \"is the hotel I have built for you to manage.\" The man was William Waldorf Astor, and the hotel was the original Waldorf-Astoria. The young clerk, George C. Boldt, became its first manager. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Fred Craddock, in an address to ministers, caught the practical implications of consecration. \"To give my life for Christ appears glorious,\" he said. \"To pour myself out for others. . . to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom -- I\'ll do it. I\'m ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory. \"We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking $l,000 bill and laying it on the table-- \'Here\'s my life, Lord. I\'m giving it all.\' But the reality for most of us is that he sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $l,000 for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there. Listen to the neighbor kid\'s troubles instead of saying, \'Get lost.\' Go to a committee meeting. Give a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home. Usually giving our life to Christ isn\'t glorious. It\'s done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at at time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; it\'s harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul.\" Darryl Bell. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- An elderly preacher was rebuked by one of his deacons one Sunday morning before the service. \"Pastor,\" said the man, \"something must be wrong with your preaching and your work. There\'s been only one person added to the church in a whole year, and he\'s just a boy.\" The minister listened, his eyes moistening and his thin hand trembling. \"I feel it all,\" he replied, \"but God knows I\'ve tried to do my duty.\" On that day the minister\'s heart was heavy as he stood before his flock. As he finished the message, he felt a strong inclination to resign. After everyone else had left, that one boy came to him and asked, \"Do you think if I worked hard for an education, I could become a preacher--perhaps a missionary?\" Again tears welled up in the minister\'s eyes. \"Ah, this heals the ache I feel,\" he said. \"Robert, I see the Divine hand now. May God bless you, my boy. Yes, I think you will become a preacher.\" Many years later an aged missionary returned to London from Africa. His name was spoken with reverence. Nobles invited him to their homes. He had added many souls to the church of Jesus Christ, reaching even some of Africa\'s most savage chiefs. His name was Robert Moffat, the same Robert who years before had spoken to the pastor that Sunday morning in the old Scottish kirk. Lord, help us to be faithful. Then give us the grace to leave the results to you. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I recently read about an old man, walking the beach at dawn, who noticed a young man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Catching up with the youth, he asked what he was doing. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. \'But the beach goes on for miles and miles, and there are millions of starfish,\' countered the man. \'How can your effort make any difference?\' The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it to safety in the waves. \'It makes a difference to this one,\' he said.\" Hugh Duncan, Leadership Journal. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dont\' waste your time waiting and longing for large opportunitis which may never come. But faithfully handle the little things that are always claiming your attention. F.B. Meyer. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Charles Spurgeon preached to thousands in London each Lord\'s Day, yet he started his ministry by passing out tracts and teaching a Sunday school class as a teenager. When he began to give short addresses to the Sunday school, God blessed his ministry of the Word. He was invited to preach in obscure places in the country side, and he used every opportunity to honor the Lord. He was faithful in the small things, and God trusted him with the greater things. \"I am perfectly sure,\" he said, \"that, if I had not been willing to preach to those small gatherings of people in obscure country places, I should never have had the privilege of preaching to thousands of men and women in large buildings all over the land. Remember our Lord\'s rule, \"whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.\" W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 221. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lengthy Illustrations Consider Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who wrote in 1762 the classic treatise on freedom, The Social Contract, with its familiar opening line: \"Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains.\" But the liberty Rousseau envisioned wasn\'t freedom from state tyranny; it was freedom from personal obligations. In his mind, the threat of tyranny came from smaller social groupings --family, church, workplace, and the like. We can escape the claims made by these groups, Rousseau said, by transferring complete loyalty to the state. In his words, each citizen can become \"perfectly independent of all his fellow citizens\" through becoming \"excessively dependent on the republic.\" This idea smacks so obviously of totalitarianism that one wonders by what twisted path of logic Rousseau came up with it. Why did he paint the state as the great liberator? Historian Paul Johnson, in his book Intellectuals, offers an intriguing hypothesis. At the time Rousseau was writing The Social Contract, Johnson explains, he was struggling with a great personal dilemma. An inveterate bohemian, Rousseau had drifted from job to job, from mistress to mistress. Eventually, he began living with a simple servant girt maned Therese. When Therese presented him with a baby, Rousseau was, in his own words, \"Thrown into the greatest embarrassment.\" His burning desire was to be received into Parisian high society, and an illegitimate child was an awkward encumbrance. Friends whispered that unwanted offspring were customarily sent to a \"foundling asylum.\" A few days later, a tiny, blanketed bundle was left on the steps of the local orphanage. Four more children were born to Therese and Jean-Jacques; each one ended up on the orphanage steps. Records show that most of the babies in the institution died; a few who survived became beggars. Rousseau knew that, and several of his books and letters reveal vigorous attempts to justify his action. At first he was defensive, saying he could not work in a house \"filled with domestic cares and the noise of children.\" Later his stance became self-righteous. He insisted he was only following the teachings of Plato: Hadn\'t Plato said the state is better equipped than parents to raise good citizens? Later, when Rousseau turned to political theory, these ideas seem to reappear in the form of general policy recommendations. For example, he said responsibility for educating children should be taken away from parents and given to the state. And his ideal state is one where impersonal institutions liberate citizens from all personal obligations. Now, here was a man who himself had turned to a state institution for relief from personal obligations. Was his own experience transmuted into political theory? Is there a connection between the man and the political theorist? It is risky business to try to read personal motives. But we do know that to the end of his life Rousseau struggled with guilt. In his last book, he grieved that he had lacked, in the words of historian Will Durant, \"the simple courage to bring up a family.\" Charles Colson, \"Better a Socialist Monk than a Free-market Rogue?,\" Christianity Today, p. 104. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Clarence Jordan was a man of unusual abilities and commitment. He had two Ph.D.s, one in agriculture and one in Greek and Hebrew. So gifted was he, he could have chosen to do anything he wanted. He chose to serve the poor. In the 1940s, he founded a farm in Americus, Georgia, and called it Koinonia Farm. It was a community for poor whites and poor blacks. As you might guess, such an idea did not go over well in the Deep South of the \'40s. Ironically, much of the resistance came from good church people who followed the laws of segregation as much as the other folk in town. The town people tried everything to stop Clarence. They tried boycotting him, and slashing workers\' tires when they came to town. Over and over, for fourteen years, they tried to stop him. Finally, in 1954, the Ku Klux Klan had enough of Clarence Jordan, so they decided to get rid of him once and for all. They came one night with guns and torches and set fire to every building on Koinonia Farm but Clarence\'s home, which they riddled with bullets. And they chased off all the families except one black family which refused to leave. Clarence recognized the voices of many of the Klansmen, and, as you might guess, some of them were church people. Another was the local newspaper\'s reporter. The next day, the reporter came out to see what remained of the farm. The rubble still smoldered and the land was scorched, but he found Clarence in the field, hoeing and planting. \"I heard the awful news,\" he called to Clarence, \"and I came out to do a story on the tragedy of your farm closing.\" Clarence just kept on hoeing and planting. The reporter kept prodding, kept poking, trying to get a rise from this quietly determined man who seemed to be planting instead of packing his bags. So, finally, the reporter said in a haughty voice, \"Well, Dr. Jordan, you got two of them Ph.D.s and you\'ve but fourteen years into this farm, and there\'s nothing left of it at all. Just how successful do you think you\'ve been?\" Clarence stopped hoeing, turned toward the reporter with his penetrating blue eyes, and said quietly but firmly, \"About as successful as the cross. Sir, I don\'t think you understand us. What we are about is not success but faithfulness. We\'re staying. Good day.\" Beginning that day, Clarence and his companions rebuilt Koinonia and the farm is going strong today. Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, Word Books Publisher, 1987, pp. 188-189. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FAKE (see also COUNTERFEIT) 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 day-a 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 chicken--over $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. I\'m gonna have your picture put in the local newspaper. You\'re the most honest man I\'ve heard of.\" To which they guy quickly responded, \"Oh no, no, don\'t do that!\" Then he leaned closer and whispered, \"You see, the woman I\'m with is not my wife...she\'s uh, somebody else\'s wife.\" Charles Swindoll, Growing Deep in the Christian Life, p. 159-60. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- An estimated 10,000 physicians have phony foreign medical degrees that brought one broker of fraudulent diplomas $1.5 million over three years, a congressional panel was told. Claude Pepper, Democrat-Florida, said many American citizens may be receiving medical treatment from doctors who lied on their medical school loan applications, and used the money not to go to school but to pay a broker for fake documents claiming they completed school and training. Pedro DeMesones, who served a three-year prison sentence for mail fraud and conspiracy, told the panel that in three years of \"expediting\" medical degrees, he provided about 100 clients with false transcripts showing they had fulfilled medical requirements of schools they didn\'t attend. \"Clients paid me from $5225 to $27,000 for my services, \" DeMesones said. \"In all I earned about $1.5 million in those three years. I only got to keep about $500,000 of this total. The rest went for bribes and expenses.\" Spokesman Review, December 8, 1984. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FALL OF MANKIND Had Adam and Eve retained their original state, they never would have died. But Eve and then Adam yielded to the serpent\'s temptation, and death came into the world. Before that moment, they were in a beautiful, pristine state. They existed on a level far above the present condition of the human race. It is difficult to imagine what man was like then by viewing him as he is now. It would require something like trying to reconstruct the original version of an aircraft from its wreckage. If we knew nothing of flying, we would hardly suspect that it had once soared above the earth. The material would be the same; the capability of flight, however, would be lost. David Breese, Living For Eternity, Moody Press, 1988, p. 99. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FAME All is ephemeral -- fame and the famous as well. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Recognize any of these names: Owen D. Young, Pierre Laval, Hugh S. Johnson, James F. Byrnes, Mohammed Mossadegh, Harlow Curtis? You should; according to Time magazine, these are all people who have been designated as \"Man of the Year\" by Time, indicating they had the greatest impact in that year of all persons living on Earth. The celebrity of today is all but forgotten tomorrow. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Around a man who has been pushed into the limelight a legend begins to grow as it does around a dead man. But a dead man is in no danger of yielding to the temptation to nourish his legend, or accept its picture as reality. I pity the man who falls in love with his image as it is drawn by public opinion during the honeymoon of publicity. Dag Hammarskjold, quoted in C. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening, Word, 1990, p. 238-9. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The boxer Muhammad Ali was known as \"the champ,\" arguably the most famous athlete of his generation. He was on top, and his entourage of trainers and various helpers shared the adulation with him. But the party ended, leaving many of Ali\'s loyal followers disillusioned--and in some cases, destitute. Ali himself, now halting in speech and uncertain in movement, says \"I had the world, and it wasn\'t nothin\'.\" Today in the Word, October, 1990, p. 11. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- His initials were W.W., and in the 1930s and 1940s they were enough to identify him to most of America. He was widely considered the creator of modern gossip writing, and in his heyday this rude, abrasive, egotistical and witty man was the country\'s best known and most widely read journalist and one of its most influential. In 1943, when there were 140 million people in the United States, more than 50 million of them read his gossip column every day in more than 1000 newspapers, including his flagship, The New York Daily Mirror. Even more people listened to his weekly radio broadcast. Hated, feared and revered, he presided over Table 50 of the Stork Club in New York, creating and destroying celebrities at the drop of his trademark gray snap-brim fedora. Yet when he died in 1972, at age 74, he was practically forgotten. Only two people attended his funeral; his daughter, Walda, and the rabbi who officiated at his services. Today, not many people under 40 even know the name of Walter Winchell. Mervyn Rothstein, in the New York Times, 6-24- 1990 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cato the Elder, on observing statues being set up in honor of others, remarked: \"I would rather have people ask \'Why isn\'t there a statue to Cato? than \'Why is there one?\'\" Thomas Masson, The Best Stories in the World. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FAMILY Clovis Chappell, a minister from a century back, used to tell the story of two paddleboats. They left Memphis about the same time, traveling down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. As they traveled side by side, sailors from one vessel made a few remarks about the snail\'s pace of the other. Words were exchanged. Challenges were made. And the race began. Competition became vicious as the two boats roared through the Deep South. One boat began falling behind. Not enough fuel. There had been plenty of coal for the trip, but not enough for a race. As the boat dropped back, an enterprising young sailor took some of the ship\'s cargo and tossed it into the ovens. When the sailors saw that the supplies burned as well as the coal, they fueled their boat with the material they had been assigned to transport. They ended up winning the race, but burned their cargo. God has entrusted cargo to us, too: children, spouses, friends. Our job is to do our part in seeing that this cargo reaches its destination. Yet when the program takes priority over people, people often suffer. How much cargo do we sacrifice in order to achieve the number one slot? How many people never reach the destination because of the aggressiveness of a competitive captain? In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado Word Publishing, 1991, pp. 97-98. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Even that first famous Adams generation (children of 2nd president John Adams, 1735-1826) had more than its share of black sheep. John and Abigail\'s eldest child, Abigail, married a wastrel and at her death left her children to their care. Son Charles married the sister of his spendthrift brother-in-law, dissipated family funds, died of alcoholism and left his widow to the care of his parents. Son Thomas Boylston also became an alcoholic, again bequeathing his children to the care of the family. Though John Quincy (1767-1848) turned out well, he and his unhappy wife Louisa hardly went unscathed. Thier first son was an alcoholic and committed suicide at the age of 31. Their next son was expelled from college, failed in business and died of an alcohol-related illness. Only their youngest son, Charles Francis (1807-86), reacted against the family pattern by his exemplary sobriety, his prudence in business and fervent dedication to his wife and children. He spent years writing the biography and editing the words of his grandfather John Adams. But he concluded, \"The history of my family is not a pleasant one to remember. It is one of great triumphs in the world but of deep groans within, one of extraordinary brilliancy and deep corroding mortification.\" Charles Francis Adams, grandson of 2nd President John Adams, son of 6th president John Quincy Adams, in U.S. News and World Report, Dec 12, 1988 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It started with Rent-A-Wife, a small Petaluma, California, company created by Karen Donovan to help clients decorate their homes, balance checkbooks, run errands, etc. Donovan, who launched her business through a small ad in the local newspaper, is already thinking big after four months of operation. She wants to hire her father to initiate Rent-A-Husband and her two teens to start Rent-A-Family. \"We can do what any family does,\" the newfangled entrepreneur joked. \"We can come over and eat all the food, turn on all the lights, put handprints on the walls, take showers and leave the towels on the floor. When clients are finished with Rent-A-Family, they\'ll have to call Rent-A-Wife. Campus Life, October, 1980. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In 1978, Thomas Hansen of Boulder Colorado, sued his parents for $350,000 on grounds of \"malpractice of parenting.\" Mom and Dad had botched his upbringing so badly, he charged in his suit, that he would need years of costly psychiatric treatment. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Statistics and Commentary The evidence is convincing that the better our relationships are at home, the more effective we are in our careers. If we\'re having difficulty with a loved one, that difficulty will be translated into reduced performance on the job. In studying the millionaires in America (U.S. News and World Report), a picture of the \"typical\" millionaire is an individual who has worked eight to ten hours a day for thirty years and is still married to his or her high school or college sweetheart. A New York executive search firm, in a study of 1365 corporate vice presidents, discovered that 87% were still married to their one and only spouse and that 92% were raised in two-parent families. The evidence is overwhelming that the family is the strength and foundation of society. Strengthen your family ties and you\'ll enhance your opportunity to succeed. Zig Ziglar in Homemade, March 1989. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- According to a study of more than 500 family counselors, the following are the top traits of successful families: *Communicating and listening *Affirming and supporting family members *Respecting one another *Developing a sense of trust *Sharing time and responsibility *Knowing right from wrong *Having rituals and traditions *Sharing a religious core *Respecting privacy. Focus on the Family Bulletin, December, 1988 . -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From a national survey of strong families conducted by the Human Development and Family Department at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, a profile of a strong family: Appreciation. \"Family members gave one another compliments and sincere demonstrations of approval. They tried to make the others feel appreciated and good about themselves.\" Ability to Deal with Crises in a Positive Manner. \"They were willing to take a bad situation, see something positive in it and focus on that.\" Time Together. \"In all areas of their lives--meals, work, recreation--they structured their schedules to spend time together.\" High Degree of Commitment. \"Families promoted each person\'s happiness and welfare, invested time and energy in each other and made family their number one priority.\" Good Communication Patterns. \"These families spent time talking with each other. They also listened well, which shows respect.\" High Degree of Religious Orientation. \"Not all belonged to an organized church, but they considered themselves highly religious.\" (1983) Human Development and Family Department at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Families in 2000 will average 1.81 children, down from 1.84 today. Some 60 percent of kids born in the \'80s will live for a time with one parent; 1 kid in 4 will live with a stepparent by age 16. One third of all households will be childless. . . Supporting a teenager still at home will cost $12,000 a year against $7,000 now. Kids who head to college in 2000 will need upwards of $100,000 for each bachelor\'s degree. U.S. News and World Report, Dec 25, 1989. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rudyard Kipling once wrote about families, \"all of us are we--and everyone else is they.\" A family shares things like dreams, hopes, possessions, memories, smiles, frowns, and gladness...A family is a clan held together with the glue of love and the cement of mutual respect. A family is shelter from the storm, a friendly port when the waves of life become too wild. No person is ever alone who is a member of a family. Fingertip Facts. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Parents rate their inability to spend enough time with their children as the greatest threat to the family. In a survey conducted for the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Corp., 35 percent pointed to time constraints as the most important reason for the decline in family values. Another 22 percent mentioned a lack of parental discipline. While 63 percent listed family as their greatest source of pleasure, only 44 percent described the quality of family life in America as good or excellent. And only 34 percent expected it to be good or excellent by 1999. Despite their expressed desire for more family time, two-thirds of those surveyed say they would probably accept a job that required more time away from home if it offered higher income or greater prestige. Moody Monthly, December, 1989, p. 72. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sociologist and historian Carle Zimmerman, in his 1947 book Family and Civilization, recorded his keen observations as he compared the disintegration of various cultures with the parallel decline of family life in those cultures. Eight specific patterns of domestic behavior typified the downward spiral of each culture Zimmerman studied. *Marriage loses its sacredness...is frequently broken by divorce. *Traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony is lost. *Feminist movements abound. *Increased public disrespect for parents and authority in general. *Acceleration of juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion. *Refusal of people with traditional marriages to accept family responsibilities. *Growing desire for and acceptance of adultery. *Increasing interest in and spread of sexual perversions and sex-related crimes. Swindoll, The Quest For Character, Multnomah, p. 90. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Becoming good at the things that build inner confidence and calm takes practice -- and a dash of creativity! The following list might provide some cloudseeding for a brainstorm or two of your own. Have some fun with your family...and get ready for a good rest. 1. Pay off your credit cards. 2. Take off ten pounds or accept where you are without any more complaints. 3. Eat dinner together as a family for seven days in a row. 4. Take your wife on a dialogue date (no movie, guys). 5. Read your kids a classic book (Twain\'s a good start). 6. Memorize the Twenty-third Psalm as a family. 7. Give each family member a hug for twenty-one days in a row (that\'s how long the experts say it takes to develop a habit). 8. Pick a night of the week in which the television will remain unplugged. 9. Go out for a non-fast food dinner as a family. 10. Pray for your spouse and children every day. 11. Plan a vacation together. 12. Take a vacation together. 13. Read a chapter from the Bible every day until it becomes a habit. 14. Sit together as a family in church. 15. Surprise your teenage. Wash his car and fill up his gas tank. 16. Take an afternoon off from work; surprise your child by excusing him from school and taking him to a ball game. 17. Take a few hours one afternoon and go to the library as a family. 18. Take a walk as a family. 19. Write each member of your family a letter sharing why you value them. 20. Give your spouse a weekend getaway with a friend (same gender!) to a place of their choice. 21. Go camping as a family. 22. Go to bed early (one hour before your normal bedtime) every day for a week. 23. Take each of your children out to breakfast (individually) at least once a month for a year. 24. Turn down a promotion that would demand more time from your family than you can afford to give. 25. Religiously wear your seat belts. 26. Get a complete physical. 27. Exercise a little every day for a month. 28. Make sure you have adequate life insurance on both you and your spouse. 29. Write out information about finances, wills, and important business information that your spouse can use to keep things under control in the event of your death. 30. Make sure your family car is safe (tires, brakes, etc.) and get it tuned up. 31. Replace the batteries in your smoke alarm. 32. Put a security system in your house. 33. Attend the parent/teacher meetings of each child as a couple. 34. Help your kids with their homework. 35. Watch the kids on Saturday while your wife goes shopping (but if a friend calls, don\'t say that you\'re \"babysitting\"). 36. Explain to your spouse exactly what you do for a living. 37. Put together a picture puzzle. (One thousand pieces or more.) 38. Take time during the week to read a Bible story to your children and then discuss it with them. 39. Encourage each child to submit to you his most perplexing question, and promise him that you\'ll either answer it or discuss it with him. 40. Finish fixing something around the house. 41. Tell your kids how you and your spouse met. 42. Tell your kids about your first date. 43. Sit down and write your parents a letter thanking them for a specific thing they did for you. (Don\'t forget to send it!) 44. Go on a shopping spree where you are absolutely committed to buying nothing. 45. Keep a prayer journal for a month. Keep track of the specific ways that God answers your needs. 46. Do some stargazing away from the city with your family. Help your children identify constellations and conclude the evening with prayer to the majestic God who created the heavens. 47. Treat your wife to a beauty make-over (facial, manicure, haircut, etc.). I hear they really like this. 48. Give the kids an alternative to watching Saturday morning cartoons (breakfast at McDonald\'s, garage sales, the park, chores, etc.). 49. Ask your children each day what they did at school (what they learned, who they ate lunch with, etc.). 50. After you make your next major family decision, take your child back through the process and teach him how you arrived at your decision. 51. Start saying to yourself \"My car doesn\'t look so bad.\" 52. Call you wife or husband from work just to see how they\'re doing. 53. Compile a family tree and teach your children the history of their ancestors. 54. Walk through an old graveyard with your children. 55. Say no to at least one thing a day -- even if it\'s only a second piece of pie. 56. Write that letter to the network that broadcast the show you felt was inappropriate for prime-time viewing. 57. Turn off the lights and listen to a \"praise\" tape as you focus your thoughts on the Lord. 58. Write a note to your pastor praising him for something. 59. Take back all the books in your library that actually belong in someone else\'s library. 60. Give irritating drivers the right to pull in front of you without signaling and yelling at them. 61. Make every effort to not let the sun go down on your anger. 62. Accept legitimate criticism from your wife or a friend without reacting or defending yourself. 63. If your car has a Christian bumper sticker on in -- drive like it. 64. Do a Bible study on the \"wise man\" and the \"fool\" in Proverbs...and then apply what it takes to be wise to your life. 65. Make a list of people who have hurt your feelings over the past year...then check your list to see if you\'ve forgiven them. 66. Make a decision to honor your parents, even if they made a career out of dishonoring you. 67. Take your children to the dentist and doctor for your wife. 68. Play charades with your family, but limit subjects to memories of the past. 69. Do the dishes for your wife. 70. Schedule yourself a free day to stay home with your family. 71. Get involved in a family project that serves or helps someone less fortunate. 72. As a family, get involved in a recreational activity. 73. Send your wife flowers. 74. Spend an evening going through old pictures from family vacations. 75. Take a weekend once a year for you and your spouse to get away and renew your friendship. 76. Praise your spouse and children -- in their presence -- to someone else. 77. Discuss a world or national problem, and ask your children for their opinion on it. 78. Wait up for your teenagers when they are out on dates. 79. Have a \"quiet Saturday\" (no television, no radio, no stereo...no kidding). 80. If your children are little, spend an hour playing with them -- but let them determine the game. 81. Have your parents tell your children about life when they were young. 82. Give up soap operas. 83. De-clutter your house. 84. If you have a habit of watching late night television, but have to be to work early every morning, change your habit. 85. Don\'t accept unnecessary breakfast appointments. 86. Write missionaries regularly. 87. Go through your closets and give everything that you haven\'t worn in a year to a clothing relief organization. 88. Become a faithful and frequent visitor of your church\'s library. 89. Become a monthly supporter of a Third World child. 90. Keep mementos, school projects, awards, etc. of each child in separate files. You\'ll appreciate these when they\'ve left the nest. 91. Read the biography of a missionary. 92. Give regularly and faithfully to conscientious church endeavors. 93. Place with your will a letter to each family member telling why you were glad you got to share life with him or her. 94. Go through your old records and tapes and discard any of them that might be a bad testimony to your children. 95. Furnish a room (or a corner of a room) with comfortable chairs and declare it the \"disagreement corner.\" When conflicts arise, go to this corner and don\'t leave until it\'s resolved. 96. Give each child the freedom to pick his favorite dinner menu at least once a week. 97. Go over to a shut-in\'s house as a family and completely clean it and get the lawn work done. 98. Call an old friend from your past, just to see how he or she is getting along. 99. Get a good friend to hold you accountable for a specific important need (Bible reading, prayer, spending time with your family, losing a few pounds, etc.). 100. Establish a budget. 101. Go to a Christian marriage enrichment seminar. Tim Kimmel, Little House on the Freeway, pp. 219-223. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Humor At the annual family-reunion picnic, a young bride led her husband over to an old woman busily crocheting in a rocker. \"Granny,\" she said, touching the old woman\'s hand affectionately, \"this is my new husband.\" The woman eyed him critically for a long moment, then asked abruptly, \"Do you desire children?\" Startled by her bluntness, the young man blushed and stammered, \"Well-uh-yes, I do very much.\" \"Well,\" she said, looking scornfully at the large tribe gathered around the six picnic tables, \"try to control it!\" Colleen Pifer. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To prove his love for her, he swam the deepest river, crossed the widest desert and climbed the highest mountain. She divorced him. He was never home. Rose Sands, The Saturday Evening Post. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Who can ever forget Winston Churchill\'s immortal words: \"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills.\" It sounds exactly like our family vacation. Robert Orben. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- An exhaustive study shows that no woman has ever shot her husband while he was doing the dishes. Earl Wilson. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A woman was at home doing some cleaning when the telephone rang. In going to answer it, she tripped on a scatter rug and, grabbing for something to hold onto, seized the telephone table. It fell over with a crash, jarring receiver off the hook. As it fell, it hit the family dog, who leaped up, howling and barking. The woman\'s three-year-old son, startled by this noise, broke into loud screams. The woman mumbled some colorful words. She finally managed to pick up the receiver and lift it to her ear, just in time to hear her husband\'s voice on the other end say, \"Nobody\'s said hello yet, but I\'m positive I have the right number.\" James Dent, Charleston, W.Va., Gazette. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The man who seldom finds himself in hot water is the one with a wife, several daughters and one bathroom. Unknown. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FANATICISM Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim. George Santayana.
FARMER No illustrations yet. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Humor From the Desk of: Don Genereaux Honorable Secretary of Agriculture Washington, D.C. Dear Sir, My friend, Dan Hansen, over at Honey Creek, Iowa, received a check for $1,000.00 from the government for not raising hogs. So I want to go into the \"NOT RAISING HOGS\" business next year. What I want to know is, in your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to raise hogs on? And what is the best breed of hogs not to raise? I want to be sure that I approach this endeavor in keeping with all government policies. As I see it, the hardest part of the \"NOT RAISING HOGS\' program is keeping an accurate inventory of how many hogs I haven\'t raised. My friend Hansen is very joyful about the future of the business. He has been raising hogs for twenty years or so, and the best he has ever made on them was $422.90 in 1968, until this year when he got your check for the $1000.00 for not raising 50 hogs. If I get $1000.00 for not raising 50 hogs, then would I get $2000.00 for not raising 100 hogs? I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself to about 4,000 hogs not raised the first year, which would bring in about $80,000.00; then I can afford an airplane. Now another thing - these hogs I will not raise will not eat 100,000 bushels of corn. I understand that the government also pays people not to raise corn and wheat. Would I qualify for payments for not raising these crops not to feed my hogs I will not be raising? I want to get started as soon as possible as this seems to be a good time of the year for the \"NOT RAISING HOGS\" and \"NOT PLANTING CROPS\" business. Also I am giving serious consideration to the \"NOT MILKING COWS\" business and any information you would have on the endeavor would be greatly appreciated. In view of the fact that I will be totally unemployed, I will be filing for unemployment and food stamps, and was wondering how long that process takes. Be assured, Mr. Secretary, you will have my vote in the upcoming election. Patriotically yours, Don Genereaux P.S. Would you please notify me when you plan to give out the free cheese again? Unknown. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FASHIONABLE No illustrations yet. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Commentary I\'m reminded of E.B. White\'s comment: \"People have re-cut their clothes to follow the fashion...People have remodeled their ideas too -- taken in their convictions a little at the waist, shortened the sleeves of their resolve, and fitted themselves out in a new intellectual ensemble copied from a smart design out of the very latest page of history.\" When slavery to fashion invades the church, our latest ideas are yesterday\'s fads. We adopt the world\'s agenda -- just a few years too late. Many churchmen sport theological bell-bottoms. Charles Colson, Against the Night, p. 151. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FASTING No illustrations yet. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Commentary In Scripture we see several purposes for fasting. It\'s part of the discipline of self-control; it\'s a way of sharing that we depend on God alone and draw all our strength and resources from him; it\'s a way of focusing totally on him when seeking his guidance and help, and of showing that you really are in earnest in your quest; it\'s also, at times, an expression of sorrow and deep repentance, something that a person or community will do in order to acknowledge failure before God and seek his mercy. We tend to think of fasting as going without food. But we can fast from anything. If we love music and decide to miss a concert in order to spend time with God, that is fasting. It is helpful to think of the parallel of human friendship. When friends need to be together, they will cancel all other activities in order to make that possible. There\'s nothing magical about fasting. It\'s just one way of telling God that your priority at that moment is to be alone with him, sorting out whatever is necessary, and you have cancelled the meal, party, concert, or whatever else you had planned to do in order to fulfill that priority. James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986, p. 14. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In general we must hold that whenever any religious controversy arises, which either a council or ecclesiastical tribunal behooves to decide; whenever a minister is to be chosen; whenever, in short any matter of difficulty and great importance is under consideration: on the other hand, when manifestations of the divine anger appear, as pestilence, war, and famine, the sacred and salutary custom of all ages has been for pastors to exhort the people to public fasting and extraordinary prayer. Calvin, Institutes, IV, 12, 14. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FATHER A young man was to be sentenced to the penitentiary. The judge had known him from childhood, for he was well acquainted with his father--a famous legal scholar and the author of an exhaustive study entitled, \"The Law of Trusts.\" \"Do you remember your father?\" asked the magistrate. \"I remember him well, your honor,\" came the reply. Then trying to probe the offender\'s conscience, the judge said, \"As you are about to be sentenced and as you think of your wonderful dad, what do you remember most clearly about him?\" There was a pause. Then the judge received an answer he had not expected. \"I remember when I went to him for advice. He looked up at me from the book he was writing and said, \'Run along, boy; I\'m busy!\' When I went to him for companionship, he turned me away, saying \"Run along, son; this book must be finished!\' Your honor, you remember him as a great lawyer. I remember him as a lost friend.\" The magistrate muttered to himself, \"Alas! Finished the book, but lost the boy!\" Homemade, February, 1989. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- One of the best pictures I\'ve ever seen on the current confusion on the placement of fathers comes from Erma Bombeck. She paints a portrait of a little girl who loved her dad but wasn\'t sure what dads do: One morning my father didn\'t get up and go to work. He went to the hospital and died the next day. I hadn\'t thought that much about him before. He was just someone who left and came home and seemed glad to see everyone at night. He opened the jar of pickles when no one else could. He was the only one in the house who wasn\'t afraid to go into the basement by himself. He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it. It was understood when it rained, he got the car and brought it around to the door. When anyone was sick, he went out to get the prescription filled. He took lots of pictures . . . but he was never in them. Whenever I played house, the mother doll had a lot to do. I never knew what to do with the daddy doll, so I had him say, \"I\'m going off to work now,\" and threw him under the bed. The funeral was in our living room and a lot of people came and brought all kinds of good food and cakes. We had never had so much company before. I went to my room and felt under the bed for the daddy doll. When I found him, I dusted him off and put him on my bed. He never did anything. I didn\'t know his leaving would hurt so much (Family -- The Ties that Bind . . and Gag! (New York: Fawcett Books, 1988, p. 2). Dave Simmons, Dad, the Family Coach, Victor Books, 1991. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- There\'s a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read: Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father. On Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers. Bits & Pieces, October 15, 1992, p. 13. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Keith Hernandez is one of baseball\'s top players. He is a lifetime .300 hitter who has won numerous Golden Glove awards for excellence in fielding. He\'s won a batting championship for having the highest average, the Most Valuable Player award in his league, and even the World Series. Yet with all his accomplishments, he has missed out on something crucially important to him -- his father\'s acceptance and recognition that what he has accomplished is valuable. Listen to what he had to say in a very candid interview about his relationship with his father: One day Keith asked his father, \"Dad, I have a lifetime .300 batting average. What more do you want?\" His father replied, \"But someday you\'re going to look back and say, \'I could have done more.\'\" Gary Smalley & John Trent, Ph.D., The Gift of Honor, p. 116. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Seoul -- At his father\'s funeral, American Carl Lewis placed his 100-meter gold medal from the 1984 Olympics in his father\'s hands. \"Don\'t worry,\" he told his surprised mother. \"I\'ll get another one.\" A year later, in the 100-meter final at the 1988 games, Lewis was competing against Canadian world-record-holder Ben Johnson. Halfway through the race Johnson was five feet in front. Lewis was convinced he could catch him. But at 80 meters, he was still five feet behind. It\'s over, Dad, Lewis thought. As Johnson crossed the finish, he stared back at Lewis and thrust his right arm in the air, index finger extended. Lewis was exasperated. He had noticed Johnson\'s bulging muscles and yellow-tinged eyes, both indications of steroid use. \"I didn\'t have the medal, but I could still give to my father by acting with class and dignity,\" Lewis said later. He shook Johnson\'s hand and left the track. But then came the announcement that Johnson had tested positive for anabolic steroids. He was stripped of his medal. The gold went to Lewis, a replacement for the medal he had given his father. David Wallechinsky, The Complete Book of the Olympics, Reader\'s Digest. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Charles Francis Adams, the 19th century political figure and diplomat, kept a diary. One day he entered: \"Went fishing with my son today--a day wasted.\" His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary, which is still in existence. On that same day, Brook Adams made this entry: \"Went fishing with my father--the most wonderful day of my life!\" The father thought he was wasting his time while fishing with his son, but his son saw it as an investment of time. The only way to tell the difference between wasting and investing is to know one\'s ultimate purpose in life and to judge accordingly. Silas Shotwell, in Homemade, September, 1987. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What are Fathers Made Of? A father is a thing that is forced to endure childbirth without an anesthetic. A father is a thing that growls when it feels good--and laughs very loud when it\'s scared half to death. A father never feels entirely worthy of the worship in a child\'s eyes. He\'s never quite the hero his daughter thinks, never quite the man his son believes him to be--and this worries him, sometimes. So he works too hard to try and smooth the rough places in the road for those of his own who will follow him. A father is a thing that gets very angry when the first school grades aren\'t as good as he thinks they should be. He scolds his son though he knows it\'s the teacher\'s fault. Fathers are what give daughters away to other men who aren\'t nearly good enough so they can have grandchildren who are smarter than anybody\'s . Fathers make bets with insurance companies about who\'ll live the longest. Though they know the odds, they keep right on betting. And one day they lose. I don\'t know where fathers go when they die. But I\'ve an idea that after a good rest, wherever it is, he won\'t be happy unless there\'s work to do. He won\'t just sit on a cloud and wait for the girl he\'s loved and the children she bore. He\'ll be busy there, too, repairing the stairs, oiling the gates, improving the streets, smoothing the way. Paul Harvey. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jamie Buckingham tells a story in his book, Power for Living. It was a story first told by Fred Craddock while lecturing at Yale University. He told of going back one summer to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to take a short vacation with his wife. One night they found a quiet little restaurant where they looked forward to a private meal—just the two of them. While they were waiting for their meal they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting guests. Craddock whispered to his wife, “I hope he doesn’t come over here.” He didn’t want the man to intrude on their privacy. But the man did come by his table. “Where you folks from?” he asked amicably. “Oklahoma.” “Splendid state, I hear, although I’ve never been there. What do you do for a living? “I teach homiletics at the graduate seminary of Phillips University.” “Oh, so you teach preachers, do you. Well, I’ve got a story I want to tell you.” And with that he pulled up a chair and sat down at the table with Craddock and his wife. Dr. Craddock said he groaned inwardly: Oh no, here comes another preacher story. It seems everyone has one. The man stuck out his hand. “I’m Ben Hooper. I was born not far from here across the mountains. My mother wasn’t married when I was born so I had a hard time. When I started to school my classmates had a name for me, and it wasn’t a very nice name. I used to go off by myself at recess and during lunch-time because the taunts of my playmates cut so deeply. “What was worse was going downtown on Saturday afternoon and feeling every eye burning a hole through you. They were all wondering just who my real father was. “When I was about 12 years old a new preacher came to our church. I would always go in late and slip out early. But one day the preacher said the benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. I could feel every eye in church on me. Just about the time I got to the door I felt a big hand on my shoulder. I looked up and the preacher was looking right at me. “Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’ I felt the old weight come on me. It was like a big black cloud. Even the preacher was putting me down. But as he looked down at me, studying my face, he began to smile a big smile of recognition. “Wait a minute,” he said, “I know who you are. I see the family resemblance. You are a son of God.” With that he slapped me across the rump and said, “Boy you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.” The old man looked across the table at Fred Craddock and said, “That was the most important single sentence ever said to me.” With that he smiled, shook the hands of Craddock and his wife, and moved on to another table to greet old friends. Suddenly, Fred Craddock remembered. On two occasions the people of Tennessee had elected an illegitimate to be their governor. One of them was Ben Hooper. Jamie Buckingham, Power for Living. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think that we can affirm that fathers are called upon to be nurturers. We see so much that is negative about society today that sometimes we forget that there are some very possible things that are happening. One of those positive things, it seems to me, is that society is completely rethinking what the role of the father should be. Society, and the church to a lesser degree, is saying: it is not enough dad, just to be the breadwinner. You need to help with the nurturing as well. This is not always easy because men historically have not done this. There was an interesting story that appeared on the NBC Today show that told about a YMCA program in California. Fathers are placed in a playroom with their children. The mothers watch from a one-way window outside in the hallway. The one rule is that if the child starts crying, the father cannot take him or her to the mother. He must resolve the problem himself. If the child is given to the mother when it is crying, so the theory goes, that sends the signal that the one who gives the comfort and love is the mother. LD, Sermon Illustrations, 1999. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lengthy Illustrations When the good Lord was creating Fathers he started with a tall frame. And a female angel nearby said, \"What kind of Father is that? If you\'re going to make children so close to the ground, why have you put Fathers up so high? He won\'t be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending, or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping.\" And God smiled and said, \"Yes, but if I make him child-size, who would children have to look up to?\" And when God made a Father\'s hands, they were large and sinewy. And the angel shook her head sadly and said, \"Do you know what you\'re doing? Large hands are clumsy. They can\'t manage diaper pins, small buttons, rubber bands on pony tails or even remove splinters caused by baseball bats.\" And God smiled and said, \"I know, but they\'re large enough to hold everything a small boy empties from his pockets at the end of a day...yet small enough to cup a child\'s face in his hands.\" And then God molded long, slim legs and broad shoulders. And the angel nearly had a heart attack. \"Boy, this is the end of the week, all right,\" she clucked. \"Do you realize you just made a Father without a lap? How is he going to pull a child close to him without the kid falling between his legs?\" And God smiled and said, \"A mother needs a lap. A father needs strong shoulders to pull a sled, balance a boy on a bicycle, and hold a sleepy head on the way home from the circus.\" God was in the middle of creating two of the largest feet anyone had every seen when the angel could contain herself no longer. \"That\'s not fair. Do you honestly think those large boats are going to dig out of bed early in the morning when the baby cries? Or walk through a small birthday party without crushing at least three of the guests?\" And God smiled and said, \"They\'ll work. You\'ll see. They\'ll support a small child who wants to ride a horse to Banbury Cross, or scare off mice at the summer cabin, or display shoes that will be a challenge to fill.\" God worked throughout the night, giving the Father few words, but a firm authoritative voice; eyes that saw everything, but remained calm and tolerant. Finally, almost as an afterthought, he added tears. Then he turned to the angel and said, \"Now, are you satisfied that he can love as much as a Mother?\" The angel shuteth up. Erma Bombeck. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In his men\'s seminar, David Simmons, a former cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys, tells about his childhood home. His father, a military man, was extremely demanding, rarely saying a kind word, always pushing him with harsh criticism to do better. The father had decided that he would never permit his son to feel any satisfaction from his accomplishments, reminding him there were always new goals ahead. When Dave was a little boy, his dad gave him a bicycle, unassembled, with the command that he put it together. After Dave struggled to the point of tears with the difficult instructions and many parts, his father said, \"I knew you couldn\'t do it.\" Then he assembled it for him. When Dave played football in high school, his father was unrelenting in his criticisms. In the backyard of his home, after every game, his dad would go over every play and point out Dave\'s errors. \"Most boys got butterflies in the stomach before the game; I got them afterwards. Facing my father was more stressful than facing any opposing team.\" By the time he entered college, Dave hated his father and his harsh discipline. He chose to play football at the University of Georgia because its campus was further from home than any school that offered him a scholarship. After college, he became the second round draft pick of the St. Louis cardinal\'s professional football club. Joe Namath (who later signed with the New York Jets), was the club\'s first round pick that year. \"Excited, \"I telephoned my father to tell him the good news. He said, \'How does it feel to be second?\'\" Despite the hateful feelings he had for his father, Dave began to build a bridge to his dad. Christ had come into his life during college years, and it was God\'s love that made him turn to his father. During visits home he stimulated conversation with him and listened with interest to what his father had to say. He learned for the first time what his grandfather had been like--a tough lumberjack known for his quick temper. Once he destroyed a pickup truck with a sledgehammer because it wouldn\'t start, and he often beat his son. This new awareness affected Dave dramatically. \"Knowing about my father\'s upbringing not only made me more sympathetic for him, but it helped me see that, under the circumstances, he might have done much worse. By the time he died, I can honestly say we were friends.\" Charles Sell, Unfinished Business, Multnomah, 1989, p. 171ff. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Commentary & Devotional I am going to read a quote to you first and then tell you who said it: A small child waits with impatience the arrival home of a parent. She wishes to relate some sandbox experience. She is excited to share the thrill that she has known that day. The time comes; the parent arrives. Beaten down by the stresses of the workplace the parent often replies: “Not know, honey, I’m busy, go watch television.” The most often spoken words in the American household today are the words: go watch television. If not now, when? Later. But later never comes for many and the parent fails to communicate at the very earliest of ages. We give her designer clothes and computer toys, but we do not give her what she wants the most, which is our time. Now, she is fifteen and has a glassy look in her eyes. Honey, do we need to sit down and talk? Too late. Love has passed by. The person who wrote these words was Robert Keeshan, better known to America as Captain Kangaroo. Sermon Illustrations, 1999. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 12 Practical Ways for Men to Impact Fatherless Kids: 1. Be a mentor to a boy without a father through Big Brother or some other agency 2. Contact your local junior or senior high school to tutor a needy kid 3. Teach Sunday School 4. Become a leader in Awana, Pioneer Clubs, or Adventure Club 5. Meet one-on-one weekly, with a boy in your church or neighborhood who doesn\'t have a father in the home 6. Become a leader in Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts 7. Coach Little League or some other sport 8. Volunteer to work with needy kids in an inner city ministry 9. Hire a potentially \"at risk\" kid for yard work or in your business 10. Become active youth leaders in your local church or a parachurch organization 11. Start a church-based sports league that reaches out to needy kids in the community 12. Lead a Bible study in a juvenile detention center or group home June 1996 issue of The Standard (pp 20-23), published by the Baptist General Conference, 2002 S. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William Bennett put is succinctly in a 1986 speech on the family in Chicago when he asked, \"Where are the fathers? ... Generally, the mothers are there struggling. For nine out of ten children in single parent homes, the father is the one who isn\'t there. One-fifth of all American children live in homes without fathers ... Where are the fathers? Where are the men? Wherever they are, this much is clear: too many are not with their children. J. Dobson and G. Bauer, Children at Risk Word, 1990, p. 167. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A positive and continuous relationship to one\'s father has been found to be associated with a good self-concept, higher self- esteem, higher self-confidence in personal and social interaction, higher moral maturity, reduced rates of unwed teen pregnancy, greater internal control and higher career aspirations. Fathers who are affectionate, nurturing and actively involved in child-rearing are more likely to have well- adjusted children. Dr. George Rekers, Homemade, vol. 11, no. 1. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- An Open Letter to Family Men: She was blond and beautiful, with azure eyes and a tumble of tawny curls. At three years of age, she would climb into her daddy\'s lap, snuggle up with a wide, satisfied smile, and purr, \"This is my safe place!\" And so it was. Dads, husbands, YOU are the \"safe place.\" You are our protector and provider. And when you gather us for a time with God, we need a safe place. A safe place, not a lecture. A safe place, not a sermon. A very human dad/husband who simply cares about God and us. We don\'t need or even want a \"spiritual giant.\" We just want you. And we need a gathering time (phone unplugged) where it\'s safe to say to each other, \"How are you and the Lord getting along?\" \"How can we pray today?\" We need a safe place to cry laugh, sing, rejoice, challenge, share, and sometimes not to share and have it be okay. We need a time with you that\'s relaxed--unstiff, when we can pray honestly, in simple sentences, from our hearts. Unfixed. Unrigid. Unroutine. Unshackled. We need a place where irregular opinions are respected, and where God has the last word. We need a gentleman leader, not a general. Gracious. Relaxed. Human. A family shepherd who exhibits not infallible authority, but a thirst for God. Every day? Not necessarily. Often? Yes. Long? No. Where? Anywhere. How? Sense where we\'re at, and zero in. We may need heavy-duty confessing to each other and to God...silent prayer...exuberant praise (try sing-a- long tapes)...Bible study. But not every time. Thanks for listening, Dad (Husband). Remember, we need you. Your family. Linda Anderson, Daily Bread, 1989. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The assumption that boys learn to be masculine by following the example of their fathers is a myth, according to Dr. James Turnbull, a psychiatrist at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Fathers in middle-and lower-income families spend only about 25 minutes each week in direct one-to-one relationships with their growing sons. \"The images on TV and in advertising showing boys and their fathers playing touch football, fishing and building model aircraft...simply don\'t reflect real life,\" said Turnbull. Turnbull\'s studies of fatherless homes in middle to lower-income brackets found the key to personality development was based upon the sons\' relationships with their mothers. \"Fathers are certainly important in shaping their son\'s behavior, but mothers, peer groups and other adult males usually have more contact with the boys,\" he said. \"If a father is present, he tends to modify the mother\'s influence with comments such as \'You\'re spoiling the boy,\' or \'Boys don\'t play with dolls\' and other reactions to behavior. The father\'s treatment of the mother serves as an example for the son of how to interact with members of the opposite sex.\" In fatherless homes, Turnbull said, the mother\'s attitude toward men and her degree of protection toward her son seem to be keys to a boy\'s development. The most critical times are between the ages of 30 months and 5 years and during early adolescence. James Turnbull, Encounter, Vol 15, #3, February, 1980. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We are finding that both men and women get their basic religious style, trusting or paranoid, regardless of creed, from their fathers. And you can guess what the decisive variable is--it\'s whether things were pretty good between their parents, whether the father trusted the mother. So a failure in one generation starts a cycle of paranoia down through the generations to come. Father Andrew Greeley, Psychology Today, quoted in His, Jan, 1977. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well-trained is the son who can hang onto his father\'s words as well as he can a flyball (Prov 4:4). Happy will be the child who cries because his dad loves him (Prov 10:12) A wise father hates sin in order to love his son. A good father shows the value of a book as well as a buck. The dad who wonders how much of a teacher he needs to be would do well to go to the school of Solomon. The man who finds a good woman should show his son how to avoid a bad one (Prov 2,5,6,7,9). What a father knows about sex might help his children as much as surprise them (Prov 23:26-8). A wise son makes a glad dad as much as a foolish one makes a glum mum (Prov 10:1). Thank God for Fathers who not only gave us life but taught us what to do with it. If you\'re amazed at how hard your dad can make it for you, try it without him (Prov 15:5). Double whammy; foolish son and contentious mammy (Prov 19:13). M.R. De Haan II. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- How Does a Father Do It? Finding the right balance between the work place and home front can be a guilt trip, but it doesn\'t have to be that way. Look over the list of possible improvements you can make in the way you balance career and family. But instead of viewing this as one more long list of things to do, imagine yourself already doing something on the list. The mind doesn\'t distinguish between imagined and real success when it draws upon positive experiences, even imaginary ones, to reinforce good habits-in-the-making. Try imagining yourself combining work and family life in the ways listed below. - Keep it simple. It is doesn\'t add to the happiness of your family, then change it. - Set aside time after dinner to help your kids with their homework. - Remember what you were like as a kid, and cut some slack for your kids. Keep important things in focus: family unity, values, fun and education. - Listen at all times: to mealtime stories, to the chatter over dishwashing, to bedtime prayers. - Create family rituals: Saturday morning pancakes, Sunday night pizza, Monday night health club, Thursday night piano recital. - Include children in your planning and decision-making regarding things like weekly chore assignments, summer vacation plans and special monthly events. - Hold family councils once a month to discuss pet peeves, rules, rewards and punishments. - Be both loving and firm in setting, negotiating and enforcing rules. - Let the answering machine take calls during the dinner hour and at bedtime. Or, take the phone off the hook. - Loves isn\'t something you buy. Your kids spell it T-I-M-E and it costs more than M-O-N-E-Y. - It\'s better to play 15 or 20 minutes spontaneously and have fun, then go do chores, work or other priorities, than to spend all day at the zoo (or ballgame or the mall) feeling angry, guilty, or worried. - Find one common mission or cause that your family loves to do together, instead of splintering your volunteer activities in several different directions. This partial list was gleaned from \"How Does a Mother Do It?\" That\'s the title of a brochure published by Mars Candy that compiles tips for Working Mother of the Year. We\'ve adapted it. More importantly, what do you believe--and do--about this delicate balancing act? James Dobson, On the Father Front, Spring, 1994, p. 2. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- \"Becoming husbands and fathers is the universal prescription of human societies for the socialization of the male. It is how societies link male aggression, energy, purpose--maleness--to a pro-social purpose. The most important predictor of criminal behavior is not race, not income, not religious affiliation. It\'s a father absence. It\'s boys who grow up without their fathers.\" David Blankenhorn, founder of the Institute for American Values. \"Is it possible to reconnect fathers to their children? To reverse societal trends that produced the separation in the first place? To fashion government policies and reshape attitudes regarding fathers themselves? Probably. But not until we reconvince ourselves of what used to be common sense: Children need their fathers.\" William Rasberry, syndicated columnist for the Washington Post. \"Men have to be persuaded that bringing up children is a very important part of their life. Motherhood has been praised to the skies, but the greatest praise men can give to that role is for them to share in doing it.\" Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice. \"Our very survival as a nation will depend on the presence or absence of masculine leadership in the home.\" Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family. James Dobson, On the Father Front, Spring, 1994, p. 2. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Father\'s Favorite Sayings: The man on the top of the mountain didn\'t fall there. Joe Kosanovic\'s Dad Never underestimate the power of human stupidity. Rich Constand\'s Dad Marry a big woman; someone to give you shade in the summer and warmth in the winter. Bill Bodin\'s Dad An excuse is a poor patch for the garment of failure. Bruce Ley\'s Dad Never try to catch two frogs with one hand. Rea Hunt\'s Dad Always throw away the box when you take the last piece of candy. Paul Whalen\'s Dad Honesty is like a trail, once you get off it you realize you are lost. Mark Young\'s Dad Remember who you are and where you came from. Thomas Leone\'s Dad Wherever you are in life, first make friends with the cook. Bill Lewis\'s Dad Don\'t shake the tree too hard, you never know what might fall out. Timothy Davis\'s Dad A closed mouth gathers no feet. John Beard Jr\'s Dad Measure twice, cut once. Sandra Schultz\'s Dad The second time you get kicked in the head by a mule it\'s not a learning experience. Ebb Dozier Jr\'s Dad Never buy anything that eats. Neal Bashor\'s Dad You need to do what you have to do before you can do what you want to do. Reed Caster\'s Dad Well, you know what happens when you wrestle with pigs, you get all dirty and they love it. Dennie Morgan\'s Dad This is a democratic family; everyone gets a vote and I get five. Carolee Wende\'s Dad I but you books and buy you books and all you do is read the covers. Kelley Blaner\'s Dad If you\'re afraid to go too far, you will never go far enough. Kasey Warner\'s Dad If you don\'t need it, don\'t buy it. Nicholas Pieroni\'s Dad Selling is just like shaving, if you don\'t do it every day you\'re a bum. Mark Johnson\'s Dad If this is the worst thing that happens to you in life, don\'t worry about it. John Taylor\'s Dad Never be so broke that you cannot afford to pay attention. Michael Brose\'s Dad You live to work, you work to live, but if you work to work I hope you don\'t live by me. Cole Thurman\'s Dad If it is to be, it\'s up to me. Jeff Wilson\'s Dad Successful people make a habit of doing things that failures don\'t like to do. Charles H. Deal, Jr\'s Dad Don\'t let your studies interfere with your education. Eber Smith\'s Dad Don\'t be foolish just because you know how to. Maynard Alfstad\'s Dad Marry your best friend. Patrice Altenhofen\'s Dad Peer pressure is a crack in the armor of your own conviction. Peter W. Troy\'s Dad Knowing what\'s right from wrong is education, doing what\'s right is execution. The latter is the hard part. Bambi Troy\'s Dad The difference always is attitude. Suzie Slater\'d Dad You have to eat an elephant in small bites. John Burke\'s Dad The one who quits last--wins. Paul Gesl\'s Dad Potential means you haven\'t done your best yet. Melissa and Nicholas West\'s Dad Do you know what happened when I found out all the answers? They changed all the questions. Carmella Leone\'s Dad The golden rule: the guy who\'s got the gold makes the rules. Paul Wagner\'s Dad If everybody else is doing it, it is probably wrong. Karl K. Warner, \"Dad,\" U.S.A. Today, Monday, June 15, p. 11c. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Statistics At the beginning of this decade (the 90\'s) David Popenoe wrote an article entitled “A World Without Fathers.” He gave some rather depressing statistics then: In just three decades, from 1960-1990, the percentage of children living apart for their biological father has more than doubled, from 17% to 36%. It is now estimated that by the turn of the century, 50% of all American children may go to bed at night without being able to speak to their father. So how are we doing? I am sad to say that I found at least one source which confirmed David Popenoe\'s prediction. In an article entitled \"Fathering Fatherless America\" Dr. Scott J. Larson reports: One in two children now grow up without a father in the United States, and in our inner cities only one in five children live with their father. A whole new mission field has developed in America: Fathering fatherless kids. Perhaps the most relevant missionary challenge for our society was penned by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians: Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father. (I Cor. 4:15 NIV) Paul knew that these people didn\'t need another teacher, their needs were much deeper, they needed a father. One can\'t be a father to very many, but Paul knew that God was calling him to be a father to some people in Corinth. Brett Blair, Sermon Illustrations, 1999. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The lack of attentiveness to children\'s needs by fathers has produced great changes in the American home. Fathers spend an average of only 38 seconds a day being totally attentive and 20 minutes being partially attentive to their children\'s needs. Associated with these changes are the rising teen-age suicide rate, which has tripled in the last 20 years, and the increasing incidence of delinquent behavior, which will bring one of nine adolescents in the U.S. into a courtroom this year. Dr. Seymour Diamond, M.D., in Homemade, October, 1982. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- James Dobson cited a Cornell University study showing that fathers of preschool children on the average spend 37.7 seconds per day in real contact with their youngsters. In contrast, the study indicated that children watch television approximately 54 hours per week. Christianity Today, March 23, 1979. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Josh McDowell has been trying to find out what dads are doing in Christian families, and the news isn\'t good. In his book The Dad Difference, McDowell reveals that there seems to be a parenting gap. These statistics are from McDowell\'s book: The average teen in our churches spends only 2 minutes a day in meaningful dialogue with his dad. 25% of these teens say they have never had a meaningful conversation with their father--a talk centered on the teens\' interests. Josh McDowell, The Dad Difference. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- One startling bit of research conducted by the Christian Business Men\'s Committee found the following: When the father is an active believer, there is about a seventy-five percent likelihood that the children will also become active believers. But if only the mother is a believer, this likelihood is dramatically reduced to fifteen percent. Keith Meyering, Discipleship Journal, issue #49, p. 41. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Armand Nicholi, of Harvard University, found that American parents spend less time with their children than parents in any other country except Great Britain. Even compared with their Russian counterparts, American fathers spend two fewer hours a day interacting with their children. The Washington Post, July 21, 1993, p. E13. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Studies show that the absence of the father expresses itself in male children in two very different ways: it is linked to increased aggressiveness on one hand, and greater manifestations of effeminacy on the other. A 1987 study of violent rapists found that 60 percent of them came from single-parent homes. A Michigan State University study of adolescents who committed homicides found that 75 percent of them were from broken homes. Girls without fathers fare no better. They become sexually active sooner and are more likely to have out-of-wedlock children. J. Dobson & G. Bauer, Children at Risk, Word, 1990, pp. 167-168. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Humor Two first graders were overheard as they left Sunday School class, \"Do you really believe all that stuff about the devil?\" \"No, I think it\'s like Santa Claus. It\'s really your dad.\" Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Poems A dad is a mender of toys, A leader of boys. He\'s a changer of fuses, A healer of bruises He\'s a mover of couches, A soother of ouches. He\'s a pounder of nails, A teller of tales. He\'s a dryer of dishes, A fulfiller of wishes Bless him, O Lord. Jo Ann Heidbreder. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- His shoulders are a little bent, His youthful force a trifle spent, But he\'s the finest man I know, With heart of gold and hair of snow. He\'s seldom cross and never mean; He\'s always been so good and clean; I only hope I\'ll always be As kind to him as he\'s to me. Sometimes he\'s tired and seems forlorn, His happy face is lined and worn; Yet he can smile when things are bad: That\'s why I like my gray-haired dad. He doesn\'t ask the world for much-- Just comfort, friendliness, and such; But from the things I\'ve heard him say, I know it\'s up to me to pay For all the deeds he\'s done for me Since I sat rocking on his knee; Oh, not in dollars, dimes, or cents-- That\'s not a father\'s recompense; Nor does he worship wealth and fame-- He\'d have me honor Jesus\' name. Unknown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- He teaches kindness by being thoughtful and gracious even at home. He teaches patience by being gentle and understanding over and over. He teacher honesty by keeping his promises to his family even when it costs. He teaches courage by living unafraid with faith, in all circumstances. He teaches justice by being fair and dealing equally with everyone. He teaches obedience to God\'s Word by precept and example as he reads and prays daily with his family. He teaches love for God and His Church as he takes his family regularly to all the services. His steps are important because others follow. Unknown. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FATHER\'S DAY Two humorous observations from Bill Cosby’s book, Fatherhood. He writes: Now that my father is a grandfather, he just can’t wait to give money to my kids. But when I was his kid and I asked him for fifty cents, he would tell me the story of his life. How he got up at 5 A.M. when he was seven years old and walked twenty-three miles to milk ninety cows. And the farmer for whom he worked had no bucket, so he had to squirt the milk into his little hand and then walk eight miles to the nearest can. All for 5 cents a month. The result was that I never got my 50 cents. But now he tells my children every time he comes into the house: “Well, lets see how much money old Granddad has got for his wonderful kids.” And the minute they take money out of his hands I call them over to me and I snatch it away from them. Because that is MY money. The other story that Cosby tells that I like is the difference between Mother\'s Day and Father\'s Day. He insists that Mother\'s Day is a much bigger deal because Mothers are more organized. Mothers say to their children: Now here is a list of what I want. Go get the money from your father and you surprise me on Mother\'s Day. You do that for me. For Father’s Day I give each of my five kids $20 so that they can go out and by me a present——a total of $100. They go to the store and buy two packages of underwear, each of which costs $5 and contains three shorts. They tear them open and each kid wraps up one pair, the sixth going to the Salvation Army. Therefore, on Father’s Day I am walking around with new underwear and my kid’s are walking around with $90 worth of my change in their pockets. Technically we could argue that Father’s Day is not a religious holiday; but it is nonetheless important for us to recognize it. Sermon Illustrations, 1999. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I received a letter from a single mother who had raised a son who was about to become a dad. Since he had no recollection of his own father, her question to me was \"What do I tell him a father does?\" When my dad died in my ninth year, I, too, was raised by my mother, giving rise to the same question, \"What do fathers do?\" As far as I could observe, they brought around the car when it rained so everyone else could stay dry. They always took the family pictures, which is why they were never in them. They carved turkeys on Thanksgiving, kept the car gassed up, weren\'t afraid to go into the basement, mowed the lawn, and tightened the clothesline to keep it from sagging. It wasn\'t until my husband and I had children that I was able to observe firsthand what a father contributed to a child\'s life. What did he do to deserve his children\'s respect? He rarely fed them, did anything about their sagging diapers, wiped their noses or fannies, played ball, or bonded with them under the hoods of their cars. What did he do? He threw them higher than his head until they were weak from laughter. He cast the deciding vote on the puppy debate. He listened more than he talked. He let them make mistakes. He allowed them to fall from their first two-wheeler without having a heart attack. He read a newspaper while they were trying to parallel park a car for the first time in preparation for their driving test. If I had to tell someone\'s son what a father really does that is important, it would be that he shows up for the job in good times and bad times. He\'s a man who is constantly being observed by his children. They learn from him how to handle adversity, anger, disappointment and success. He won\'t laugh at their dreams no matter how impossible they might seem. He will dig out at 1 a.m. when one of his children runs out of gas. He will make unpopular decisions and stand by them. When he is wrong and makes a mistake, he will admit it. He sets the tone for how family members treat one another, members of the opposite sex and people who are different than they are. By example, he can instill a desire to give something back to the community when its needs are greater than theirs. But mostly, a good father involves himself in his kids\' lives. The more responsibility he has for a child, the harder it is to walk out of his life. A father has the potential to be a powerful force in the life of a child. Grab it! Maybe you\'ll get a greeting card for your efforts. Maybe not. But it\'s steady work. Erma Bombeck Field Enterprises. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FAULTS If you feel that you have no faults, that makes another one. Unknown
FAVORITISM There\'s a wonderful story about a Chicago bank that once asked for a letter of recommendation on a young Bostonian being considered for employment. The Boston investment house could not say enough about the young man. His father, they wrote, was a Cabot; his mother was a Lowell. Further back was a happy blend of Saltonstalls, Peabodys, and other of Boston\'s first families. His recommendation was given without hesitation. Several days later, the Chicago bank sent a note saying the information supplied was altogether inadequate. It read: \"We are not contemplating using the young man for breeding purposes. Just for work.\" Neither is God a respecter of persons but accepts those from every family, nation, and race who fear Him and work for His kingdom (Acts 10:34-35). Kathleen Peterson.