Thursday, September 30, 2010

Applying intelligence

"There's plenty of intelligence in the world, but the courage to do things differently is in short supply."

Marilyn vos Savant

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


"People who soar, are those who refuse to sit back and wish things would change."

Charles R. Swindoll

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Weak faith and strong faith

"Just as a small fire is extinguished by the storm whereas a large fire is enhanced by it - likewise a weak faith is weakened by predicament and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them."

Viktor E. Frankl

Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting to your potential

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."

Sir Winston Churchill

Friday, September 24, 2010

Making today happen

"Today I will make a difference. I will begin by controlling my thoughts. A person is the product of his thoughts. I want to be happy and hopeful. Therefore, I will have thoughts that are happy and hopeful. I refuse to be victimized by my circumstances. I will not let petty inconveniences such as stoplights, long lines, and traffic jams be my masters. I will avoid negativism and gossip. Optimism will be my companion, and victory will be my hallmark. Today I will make a difference.

I will be grateful for the twenty-four hours that are before me. Time is a precious commodity. I refuse to allow what little time I have to be contaminated by self-pity, anxiety, or boredom. I will face this day with the joy of a child and the courage of a giant. I will drink each minute as though it is my last. When tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever. While it is here, I will use it for loving and giving. Today I will make a difference.

I will not let past failures haunt me. Even though my life is scarred with mistakes, I refuse to rummage through my trash heap of failures. I will admit them. I will correct them. I will press on. Victoriously. No failure is fatal. It's OK to stumble...I will get up. It's OK to fail...I will rise again. Today I will make a difference.

I will spend time with those I love. My spouse, my children, my family. A man can own the world but be poor for the lack of love. A man can own nothing and yet be wealthy in relationships. Today I will spend at least five minutes with the significant people in my world. Five quality minutes of talking or hugging or thanking or listening. Five undiluted minutes with my mate, children, and friends.

Today I will make a difference."

Max Lucado

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What you deserve

"The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for."

Maureen Dowd

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ultimate freedom

"Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us."

Stephen R. Covey

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Feeling grateful

"Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life."

Christiane Northrup

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Formula for success

"So it is, life is actually made up of our choices. We are the sum total of them, and if we hold to an attitude of love and thanksgiving for all the good things within our grasp we may have what all ambitious people long for - success."

Delma Neeley

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What to do to succeed

"If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence."

Richard DeVos

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rare Roman helmet goes to auction

A picture of Roman life in Britain.

Into the fiery furnace

I've been pondering the connections between these passages.

Matthew 13.41-42: "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

Matthew 13.49-50: "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

with Daniel 3 -- the entire chapter, but especially vss. 26 and 27: Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellers, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them."

Both parties go into a fire: one group suffers, the other doesn't, to the point that there's not even a smell of fire on them. Is it because in one there's nothing to burn, and the other there is?

Being thankful

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."

Melodie Beattie

Thursday, September 09, 2010

What you want in life

"Devotion is commitment at a deep cellular level. When you are devoted, the universe will align itself to give you what you desire."

Rich German

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Great teaching

"I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. It might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit."

John Steinbeck

Overcoming dark clouds

"A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing."

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Jonah and Jesus

While reading this book:

I realized something that hadn't hit me before: the parallel between Mark 4.35-41 and Jonah 1, which I suspect were in Mark's mind when recounting this episode.

Both Jonah and Jesus are asleep in the boat. In both cases, the mariners (in the Markan story, the disciples, of course, are the mariners) waken a sleeper. But while in Jonah, the man must be thrown overboard to still the waves, in Mark Jesus does not need to be overthrown -- he stills the waves and wind by His command.

Monday, September 06, 2010

what you touch

"Be careful what you spend your day touching because it will shape your mind, your body, and your heart."

Sam Keen

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Inception: the movie

I saw Inception tonight. I was rather less impressed than most folks.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Mercy unto thousands

Exodus 20.5-6 reads: "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

Often this is read like this: iniquity to the third and fourth generation, and mercy unto thousands of individuals of them that love God.

Deuteronomy 7.9 seems to offer commentary on the Exodus passage: "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations."

Exodus 20.5-6 seems to be a parallel text: "third and fourth generation" with "thousands [of generations]."

In other words, evil has a short shelf life -- 3 or 4 generations (traditionally seen as a period of 40 years for a generation) while God's mercy is enormously long and full: thousand and thousands of years of mercy.

I'm not speculating about the relationship this might have with the parousia, but suggesting that because of our own limitations, we often delimit God's mercy. Exodus 20 -- in the midst of the giving of the law -- tells us otherwise. Psalm 30.5 is likewise good to remember here: "For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The difference between Esther and Jonah

I have to confess: I don't like the book of Esther.

Having said that, I like the individual Esther. She's spunky, tough, and brave.

But the book that bears her name is -- to me -- grating, often mean spirited, and hard to take.

The opposite is true in the book of Jonah.

I love the book of Jonah. It's a great story of God's mercy, of His kindness, and of the failed men (and women) who sometimes speak what God has given them to speak.

Not to mention other aspects of the book: the sailors who sought to save Jonah from the deep, God's concern for not only the people of Ninevah, but the animals as well -- there in the last verse. And of course, the picture of Mediterranean sailing in the 4th century BC. We find out from this book that passengers sailed and paid fares (and maybe had fees for extra luggage, though this is not mentioned) that there was sleeping areas on the ship, and get a vivid description of life on a ship in the midst of a storm.

But I detest the man Jonah. He is mean, nasty, vituperative, and spiteful.

Or rather "was" all of these things. Perhaps the ultimate message of the book of Jonah is of God's patience and kindness. Jonah, too, could grow in God's mercy. May God grant that we may all so grow.

Moving in the direction of your dreams

"I have learned this at least by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."

Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Acts 4: "holy child Jesus"

The phrase "holy child Jesus" occurs only twice in the English Bible. Both are in the prayer of the Jerusalem church in Acts 4 (27 & 30). I'm intrigued by the significance of this phrase.

The AV is the only translation I can find that renders the phrase this way. Most newer translations render it "holy servant Jesus" or something of that nature. "Servant" is certainly a possible rendering, and could mean an emissary from a king, but I think that the usual first meaning, child, is better to indicate what seems to be the incarnational quality of the prayer.

On making mistakes

"Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement."

Henry Ford