Saturday, July 29, 2006

Spit out the bones

I was reading one of my favorite authors the other day, Orison S. Marden. He is the most optimistic author I have ever read. He is a Christian, with a D.D. and an M.D. and a few other letters as well. He lived in the late 1800s and died in 1926 I think. I think enough of one of his books that I have purchased one for each of my kids. That being said, whoever I read, I take the good and pass over the not so good. So, as I was reading a chapter about 'Thinking You Are A Failure', which is about negative thoughts and the senseless banter that goes on in our heads, when I came across these lines -- "A vividness, a certain force, accompanies the spoken word,--
especially if earnestly, vehemently uttered -- which is not apparent to many in merely thinking about what the words express. If you repeat a firm resolve to yourself aloud, vigorously, even vehemently, you are more likely to carry it to reality than if you merely resolve in silence.
We become so accustomed to our silent thoughts that the voicing of them, the giving audible expression to our yearnings, makes a much deeper impression upon us."

So I began to picture myself doing what he suggested and I said, 'Hey, if I'm going to be speaking outloud, and vigorously, and vehemently, then I'm not going to waste my time talking to myself, I'm going to talk to someone who can get the job done! So I left my chair, went into my bedroom and began to pray.
Now I have no doubt that speaking positive thoughts would have some advantage, but, please forgive me, I'll do my shouting, my yearning, my vigorous talking, with the Lord. I don't say this to discredit my favorite author, but sometimes you eat the fish and spit out the bones. This was one of those cases.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Thoughts from Napoleon

In his exile at St. Helena, Napoleon was one day conversing, as was his wont, about the great men of antiquity, and comparing himself with them. He suddenly turned round to one of his suite and asked: "Can you tell me who Jesus Christ was?" The officer owned that he had not given much thought to such things. "Well, then," said Napoleon, "I will tell you." He then compared Christ with himself and the heroes of antiquity and showed how far Jesus surpassed them.
"I think I understand somewhat of human nature," said he, "and I tell you all these were men, and I am a man, but not one is like Him. Jesus Christ was more than a man, but not one is like him. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself; founded great empires; but upon what did the creation of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love and to this very day millions would die for Him.
Men wonder at the conquests of Alexander, but here is a conqueror who draws men to Himself, incorporates into Himself, not a nation, but the whole human race."


This is an excerpt from a chapter on Rewards and Punishments, from "Our Home". 1899

"As a rule the reward when given should appeal to the mental rather than the physical.
It should be something which has a tendency to stimulate the thinking or inventive power rather than something which merely satisfies a physical want. It is generally better to give a book than a drum, although there are far meaner rewards than a drum. Candy and sweetmeats should never under any circumstances be offered. That which is unfit for an adult is surely unfit to constitute a reward for a child. It is a fact that the world makes its greatest efforts in response to the demands of sensual gratification. Is it unreasonable to suppose that the foundation of this evil is laid in childhood through the pernicious practise of rewarding children with sweetmeats?"

I'm afraid I stand guilty, being a Grandfather, I might be accused of this evil, pernicious practise on an occasion or two. That aside, I like the advice and it makes me think a little instead of missing an opportunity to do something that is more than an immediate reward, like candy would be.

Dealing with doubt in children

When one begins to doubt any doctrine, whether intellectual or religious, he naturally conceives a dislike for any authority which disputes his ground, unless the authority is enforced by reasons which his own intellect is compelled to acknowledge as conclusive. Superior logic is the only authority which a questioning mind naturally receives with good grace. Hence, if you do not wish your child to hate the Bible, do not attempt to silence all his questions by the mere quotation of Scriptural texts, but first, calmly and kindly, lay bare the fallacy in his argument, and then show him, if you choose, how your own argument accords with Scripture."
Our Home - by Charles E. Sargent, M.A. 1899

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Train your children to save with a penny

"A penny is a very small matter, yet the comfort of thousands of families depends upon the proper spending and saving of pennies. If a man allows the little pennies, the results of his hard work, to slip out of his fingers -- some to the beershop, some this way and that -- he will find that his life is little raised above one of mere animal drudgery. On the other hand, if he take care of the pennies -- putting some weekly into a benefit society or an insurance fund, others into a saving's bank, and confiding the rest to his wife to be carefully laid out, with a view to the comfortable maintenance and education of his family; he will soon find that this attention to small matters, will abundantly repay him, in increasing means, growing comfort at home and a mind comparatively free from fears as to the future. And if a working man have a high ambition and posses richness in spirit, -- a kind of wealth which far transcends all mere worldly possessions -- he may not only help himself, but be a profitable helper of others in his path through life."

So here is a practical idea for instilling this habit into your children; tell them that each time they find a penny you will double it, or it may be if you are able, you will give them a nickel for each penny that they find. In our world, there are many that will not stoop to pick up a penny. Let that slothfulness be your children's means to saving.

Standing before Kings

The proverbs of Solomon are full of wisdom as to the force of industry, and the use and abuse of money: - 'He that is slothful in work is brother to him that is a great waster.' 'Go to the ant you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.' 'Poverty, says the preacher, shall come upon the idler,
'as one that travelleth, and want as an armed man;' but of the industrious and upright, 'the hand of the diligent maketh rich.'
'The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty; and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.'
'Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings.' But above all, 'It is better to get wisdom than gold; for wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.'

Simple industry and thrift will go far towards making any person of ordinary working faculty comparatively independent in his means. Even a working man may be so, provided he will carefully husband his resources, and watch the little outlets of useless expenditure.
Samule Smiles, Money, its use and abuse

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Do you want to be rich?

I think it’s a fair question; one which every one in America has asked themselves.
I’m not asking you if you are willing to sell your soul for riches but simply, do you want to be wealthy? Riches bring much power to do good, as well as evil.
All of us know of ministries doing wonderful things. They have the people ready, trained, equipped of God, but the one thing lacking is funds. Christians that have wealth support countless ministries that give sight to the blind, clothes to the naked, medicine to the infirm, as well as spread the Gospel throughout the world.
So, I’m asking, do you want to be wealthy? Wealth brings independence, a satisfaction that your family will be able to enjoy a comfortable home and weather life’s storms. I could go on and list countless other things that wealth brings without damning your soul.
So, I thought I would begin to post articles concerning the attainment of wealth the way Godly people through all ages have accomplished it.
These are the time tested, righteous pursuits of wealth that have worked in all generations. It will be worth our while to carefully consider what the wealthy say about the attainment of riches.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Securing Independence

To secure independence, the practice of simple economy is all that is necessary. Economy requires neither superior courage nor eminent virtue; it is satisfied with ordinary energy, and the capacity of average minds. Economy, at bottom, is but the spirit of order applied in the administration of domestic affairs; it means management, regularity, prudence, and the avoidance of waste. The spirit of economy was expressed by our Divine Master in the words, ‘Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing may be lost’. His omnipotence did not disdain the small things of life; and even while revealing His infinite power to the multitude, he taught the pregnant lesson of carefulness of which all stand so much in need.’

We must have enough before we have to spare

Dr. Johnson held that early debt is ruin. His words on the subject are weighty and worthy of being held in remembrance. ‘Do not accustom yourself to consider debt only an inconvenience; you will find it a calamity. Poverty takes away so many means of doing good, and produces so much inability to resist evil, both natural and moral, that it is by all virtuous means to be avoided…. Let it be your first care, then, not to be in any man’s debt. Resolve not to be poor; whatever you have, spend less. Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable and others extremely difficult. Economy is not only the basis of quiet, but of beneficence. No man can help others that lacks help himself; we must have enough before we have to spare.’

Spare change?

The loose cash, which many persons thrown away uselessly, and worse, would often form a basis of fortune and independence for life.
The wasters are there own worst enemies, though generally found amongst the ranks of those who rail at the injustice of “the world” But if a man will not be his own friend, how can he expect that others will? Orderly men of moderate means have always something left in their pockets to help others, whereas your prodigal and careless fellows who spend all never find an opportunity for helping anybody.

The machinery of moral existence

A perfect knowledge of man is in the prayer, Lead us not into temptation.
But temptation will come to try our strength; and once yielded to, the power to resist grows weaker and weaker. Yield once, and a portion of virtue has gone. Resist boldly, and the first decision will give strength for life, repeated, it will become a habit. It is in the outworks of the habits formed in early life that the real strength of the defense must lie, for it has been wisely ordained that the machinery of moral existence should be carried on principally through the medium of the habits, so as to save the wear and tear of the great principles within. It is good habits, which insinuate themselves into the thousand inconsiderable act of life, that really constitute by far the greater part of mans moral conduct. Samuel Smiles.

This piece is so practical, and so true. So many of us struggle, seemingly forever, because we were truant in building good habits when young. Oh the difficulty of building them when older, your life and mine attest to it. But for the power and influence of Christ's intercession, we would have no hope. What some of us battle with and pray for years, with less than perfect results, others who built the good habit when young, simply cannot understand our problem.

The importance of training our children can never be overstated.

Divine Electric Element

The young person, as he passes through life, advances through a long line of tempters ranged on either side of him; and the inevitable effect of yielding, is degradation in a greater or lesser degree. Contact with them tends insensibly to draw away from them some portion of the divine electric element with which our nature is charged. Samuel Smiles

I suppose of all the descriptions of how sin degrades and robs us, this one captures an element that is immediate to identify, but elusive to describe; 'the divine electric element with which our nature is charged'
There is a divine electric element in our nature and sadly we rarely see it in one with any age.
The dancing life in a seven year old, the face on the edge of laughter of a 12 year old, the eye to eye conversation with the innocent, all have that divine electric element.
But as we surrender our will to temptation, we begin to erode some portion of that element, the result of which is vividly apparent in the eyes.