Links & Quotes

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Some good reading & watching from this weekend…

[VIDEO] John Maxwell talks about contentment. I love this: “Contentment is a stabilizer for success.”

Parents, check out 7 Lies Christian Parents Believe.

A baby is given no hope to live, but is born completely normal and healthy! Misdiagnosis or miracle?

As we celebrate Billy Graham’s 96th birthday, here are 6 lessons from his life, and a great [VIDEO] of Dr. Graham with Woody Allen.

“A praying Christian is a constant threat to the stability of satan’s government. The Christian is a holy rebel loose in the world with access to the throne of God. satan never knows from what direction the danger will come.” —A.W. Tozer

“He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only.” —C.S. Lewis

[VIDEO] Whether you are a country music fan or not, you will love this pro-life, pro-Mom message from Garth Brooks:

Poetry Saturday—Away With Our Fears

Charles WesleyAway with our fears!
The glad morning appears
When an heir of salvation was born!
From Jehovah I came,
For His glory I am,
And to Him I with singing return.

Thee, Jesus, alone,
The fountain I own
Of my life and felicity here;
And cheerfully sing
My Redeemer and King,
Till His sign in the heavens appear.

With thanks I rejoice
In Thy fatherly choice
Of my state and condition below;
If of parents I came
Who honored Thy name,
‘Twas Thy wisdom appointed it so.

I sing of Thy grace,
From my earliest days
Ever near to allure and defend;
Hitherto Thou hast been
My preserver from sin,
And I trust Thou wilt save to the end.

O the infinite cares,
And temptations, and snares,
Thy hand hath conducted me through!
O the blessings bestowed
By a bountiful God,
And the mercies eternally new!

What a mercy is this,
What a heaven of bliss,
How unspeakably happy am I!
Gathered into the fold,
With Thy people enrolled,
With Thy people to live and to die!

O the goodness of God,
Employing a clod
His tribute of glory to raise!
His standard to bear,
And with triumph declare
His unspeakable riches of grace.

O the fathomless love,
That has deigned to approve
And prosper the work of my hands!
With my pastoral crook
I went over the brook,
And, behold, I am spread into bands!

Who, I ask in amaze,
Hath begotten me these?
And inquire from what quarter they came?
My full heart it replies,
They are born from the skies,
And gives glory to God and the Lamb.

All honor and praise
To the Father of grace,
To the Spirit, and Son, I return!
The business pursue
He hath made me to do,
And rejoice that I ever was born.

In a rapture of joy
My life I employ,
The God of my life to proclaim;
‘Tis worth living for this,
To administer bliss
And salvation in Jesus’ name.

My remnant of days
I spend in His praise,
Who died the whole world to redeem:
Be they many or few,
My days are His due,
And they all are devoted to Him. —Charles Wesley (supposedly this poem was written on the occasion of his birthday)

 

Poetry Saturday—He’s Here To Keep

Today is my youngest son’s birthday. In honor of his special day, I present a poem he wrote as a 4th grader while I was on a business trip.

BrandonMy Dad’s out of town
I feel alone
I’m feeling really down
He can’t reach the phone
All of a sudden the phone rings
My heart sings
I pick up the phone
He said only one more day
And in his voice was a great tone
He said what I wanted him to say
One more time of sleep
And then he’s here to keep —Brandon Owens

 

Links & Quotes

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These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

“If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love.” —C.S. Lewis

“Since the end of World War II, at least 188 countries have drafted at least 729 versions of constitutions, while we’ve made only minor changes to ours through a constitutionally-provided amendment process. Our Constitution is unique in its simplicity, and uniquely effective.” Happy 225th Birthday, U.S. Constitution!

“Faith in God is to be demonstrated, not defined.” —A.W. Tozer

“Let us look to it that in all things we are just—in our trade, in our judgment of others, in our treatment of neighbors, and in our own personal character. A just God cannot bless unjust transactions.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Our old history ends with the Cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.” —Watchman Nee

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln

Abraham LincolnToday is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. What an amazing man he was! Long before he became president of the United States, he had prepared himself to be a first-rate man at whatever he was going to do. How blessed we as a nation are to have a man worthy to be called “the savior of the Union” come into office at the time he did!

In honor of President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, here are a few quotes and anecdotes from my files.

When he was a boy in Indiana, Lincoln borrowed a book about George Washington from a neighbor, Josiah Crawford. After rainwater ruined it, he went straight to Crawford, owned up to what had happened, and spent three days in Crawford’s cornfield working to pay for the book.

“I’ll prepare myself and be ready for opportunities as they come.” —Abraham Lincoln

When Lincoln was a young storekeeper in New Salem, Illinois, he accidentally shortchanged a customer by six and a quarter cents. As soon as he discovered the error, he closed the shop and walked six miles to pay the money back. Lincoln’s store was not a success. He and his partner, William Berry, went into debt trying to make a go of it. The store “winked out” anyway, as Lincoln put it, and left him owing a great deal of money, especially after Berry died. He could have done what so many others in similar situations did—simply head west for new frontiers and leave the debt behind. But he resolved to stay. For a young man of his means, it was a large burden. He called it, with grim humor, his “national debt.” It took him several years, but he paid it all back. 

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” —Abraham Lincoln

“That the Almighty does make use of human agencies and directly intervenes in human affairs is one of the plainest statements in the Bible. I have had so many evidences of His direction, so many instances when I have been controlled by some other power than my own will, that I cannot doubt that this power comes from above.” —Abraham Lincoln 

“The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” —Abraham Lincoln

Horace Greeley, writing in the New York Tribune, wrote: “Never before did one so constantly and visibly grow under the disciplines of incessant cares, anxieties, and trials. The Lincoln of 1862 was plainly a larger, broader, and better man than he had been in ’61, while ’63 and ’64 worked his continued and unabated growth in mental and moral stature.” 

“It is more pleasing to God to see His people study Him and His will directly than to spend the first and chief of their efforts attaining comfort for themselves.” —Abraham Lincoln

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” —Abraham Lincoln 

“Surely God would not have created such a being as man to exist only for a day! No, no, man was made for immortality.” —Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln once turned down a job applicant citing, “I don’t like his face.” One of his Cabinet members let the President know that he didn’t think this was an adequate reason for turning down an applicant. To which Lincoln replied, “Every man over forty is responsible for his face.” 

“If often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.” —Abraham Lincoln

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” —Abraham Lincoln

“Die when I may, I would like it to be said of me, that I always pulled up a weed and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.” —Abraham Lincoln

A Birthday Note

Dear Brandon,

Has it really been 11 years already?! As the old cliché says, “Time sure flies when you’re having fun!” And it certainly has been so much fun watching you grow up.

In many ways you have helped me grow up too. One of the things I most appreciate about you is your sensitivity to other people, and your ability to encourage them. I have a lot of notes from you around so that I will see them often. It seems like whenever I’m having a rough time, I stumble across one of your notes that helps get me refocused.

     You have taught me the value of encouragement. Did you know that the word encouragement literally means to put courage into someone?

  • Courage to do the right thing, even when everyone else is doing the wrong thing.
  • Courage to focus on God, even when everyone else is focusing on their fears.
  • Courage to give my very best, even when everyone else is trying to just get by.

Thank you, Brandon, for showing me the power of encouragement. One of your notes to me simply says, “Just trust God.” So I say the same thing to you, my son: Trust in Him in all you do, and He will make your path straight.

Happy 11th Birthday!

I love you,

     Dad

Happy 14th

   My Dearest Samantha,

   Fourteen years ago today I was blessed with the arrival of one of the most vibrant people I have ever known: You! Right from the time we brought you home from the hospital you had such spunk and originality. You truly were a unique personality.

   And you still are!

   I so enjoy watching the pure enjoyment you have in everything you do. You so completely throw yourself into all of your pursuits, tackling them with excellence, passion, and your own unique flair. But beyond the flute playing, and crafts, and cheerleading, and school work, I most appreciate your passionate love for Jesus! Not only the way you pursue Him, but the way you help others to find Him as well.

   If anyone ever wanted to catch a glimpse of your Savior, they can easily see it in your love. You love Him, and you love others too! My prayer is that Jesus will always be your #1 passion and love.

   I love you, my darling Samantha! Happy birthday!

   XOXO,

  Dad

Books & Chocolate & Friends & Food & Smiles

I celebrated another year of being alive this past weekend. What a wonderful weekend it was!

I received two of my favorite gifts (and lots of them): books and dark chocolate.

We had an incredible service on Sunday, with some old friends back visiting and some first-time guests too.

Someone slipped Betsy a little money to take me out to dinner for my birthday, and we had a great afternoon together.

And our service was interrupted by my incredible congregation singing happy birthday to me and delivering to me a whole stack of birthday cards. The cards have been cracking me up all week! Let me share a couple with you—

Look who’s turning 2! Who’s cuddly? Who’s snuggly? Who’s cute as can be? Who’s perfect? Who’s precious? Who’s 2? You (Yippee)!

Couldn’t afford to get you a wireless computer for your birthday, but I got you the next best thing! A computerless wire! (Hey, don’t thank me, that’s what friends are for!)

Thought you’d like a funny card for your birthday, but what I think is funny and what you think is funny may be very different. For instance—I think this is funny [and below is a mirror].

Ah, yes, it was a great birthday. I feel the love. Truly!

Happy Birthday To My Son

Dear Harrison,

It’s hard for me to believe that you are a decade-and-a-half old. Wow, time seems to fly by, but the memories I’ve made watching you grow up are always with me. What an incredible young man you are!

Believe it or not, you have been a huge factor in my own growth and maturity. I can remember the moment you were born how I cried with an absolutely unspeakable joy! I had never known such an immediate explosion of love before. Falling in love with your Mom was a love that grew little by little—and still is growing today. But the love that burst upon me the moment you were born was a Niagara Falls of love all at one instant. As I held you in the first couple of days, it dawned on me in such a new way, “This is how my Heavenly Father must feel about me.”

That’s the day that my relationship with God went to an entirely different level. Partly contributing to this was the responsibility of being your Dad, and knowing how I had to be a better man to train you up in the way you should go. But part of my motivation to get closer to God was that you taught me what kind of love God had for me. I didn’t want to fail you or Him, so I made a conscious decision to rededicate myself to getting even closer to God. And in the process, I got even closer to you, to your Mom, and to everyone else I loved.

And that passion to keep growing hasn’t stopped. You still motivate me today to get better and better as a follower of Jesus and as your Dad. The more I see you mature, the prouder I become of you, and the more I feel the need to push through to the next level. I want to keep on growing so that I can always be there for you.

I love you, Harrison. Thank you for challenging me to be a better Dad and a more passionate follower of Christ.

Happy Birthday,

Dad

Homemade = Heartmade

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “I love you”?

My favorite Father’s Day gifts are the homemade, personalized cards that my children make for me. Throughout the years I’ve kept a number of those close to me as bookmarkers or framed reminders on my desk. To me homemade = heartmade.

Yesterday one of my children gave me a card which had this heart-tugging line: “I love you so very because you love me.” And then there was this P.S.: “Don’t stop loving.”

On Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or birthdays, it seems easy to express our love. After a hospital stay or a near-death experience, it seems required to express our love. And that’s as it should be. But what about all the “normal” days in between?

I believe one of the greatest gifts I can give my family is a personalized, “heartmade” gift that tells the recipient that I’m thinking about them. In other words, I need to be actively and deliberately finding ways to express my heartmade love to those close to me every day.

Of the 86,400 seconds I have today, it will only take me a few seconds to:

  • Text “I love you”
  • Give a gentle squeeze or love pat as they walk by
  • Jot a quick note to pack in someone’s lunch
  • Buy their favorite candy as I’m checking out of the store
  • Stick a friendly Post-It note message to their bathroom mirror
  • Start or end their day with a hug

As Gertrude Stein wrote, “Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.”

Don’t make those close to you GUESS you love them, make sure they KNOW you love them. It only takes a second or two.

How will you use your 86,400 seconds today?

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