Teddy Roosevelt On Character

Theodore Roosevelt was well aware that talent alone wasn’t enough to sustain an individual, a family, or a nation. Talent and perseverance, he preached, must be supported by character. In a series of speeches bundled together in the book The Strenuous Life, TR had much to say about character development and integrity. You can check out my review of The Strenuous Life by clicking here. 

“It is a good thing to have a keen, fine intellectual development in a nation, to produce orators, artists, successful business men; but it is an infinitely greater thing to have those solid qualities which we group together under the name of character—sobriety, steadfastness, the sense of obligation toward one’s neighbor and one’s God, hard common sense, and, combined with it, the lift of generous enthusiasm toward whatever is right. These are the qualities which go to make up true national greatness.” 

“We do not need men of unsteady brilliancy or erratic power—unbalanced men. The men we need are the men of strong, earnest, solid character—the men who possess the homely virtues, and who to these virtues add rugged courage, rugged honesty, and high resolve.” 

“The men who with ax in the forests and pick in the mountains and plow on the prairies pushed to completion the dominion of our people over the American wilderness have given the definite shape to our nation. They have shown the qualities of daring, endurance, and far-sightedness, of eager desire for victory and stubborn refusal to accept defeat, which go to make up the essential manliness of the American character. Above all, they have recognized in practical form the fundamental law of success in American life—the law of worthy work, the law of high, resolute endeavor.” 

“After all has been said and done, the chief factor in any man’s success or failure must be his own character—that is, the sum of his common sense, his courage, his virile energy and capacity.” 

 “Bodily vigor is good, and vigor of intellect is even better, but far above both is character.” 

“In the long run, in the great battle of life, no brilliancy of intellect, no perfection of bodily development, will count when weighed in the balance against that assemblage of virtues, active and passive, of moral qualities, which we group together under the name of character…. Of course this does not mean that either intellect or bodily vigor can safely be neglected. On the contrary, it means that both should be developed, and that not the least of the benefits of developing both comes from the indirect effect which this development itself has upon the character.” 

“Character is shown in peace no less than in war. As the greatest fertility of invention, the greatest perfection of armament, will not make soldiers out of cowards, so no mental training and no bodily vigor will make a nation great if it lacks the fundamental principles of honesty and moral cleanliness.” 

“Alike for the nation and the individual, the one indispensable requisite is character—character that does and dares as well as endures, character that is active in the performance of virtue no less than firm in the refusal to do aught that is vicious or degraded.” 

Be sure to check out my review of Theodore Roosevelt’s Autobiography by clicking here, and read some additional quotes from TR here and here. 

Saturday In The Proverbs—The Blessings Of Integrity (Proverbs 19)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

…integrity… (Proverbs 19:1).

Integrity is wholeness—it brings its own blessings because a person of integrity…

  • …is wise (vv. 1, 8, 20, 27)
  • …doesn’t fall into the haste-makes-waste trap (v. 2)
  • …is at peace with God (v. 3)
  • …knows true friendship (vv. 4, 6, 7, 19)
  • …is never punished for lying (vv. 5, 9, 28, 29)
  • …gets promoted to leadership (v. 10)
  • …preserves relationships (vv. 11, 12, 13, 14, 25, 26)
  • …is satisfied with his work (vv. 15, 23, 24)
  • …guards his soul (v. 16)
  • …serves others without an agenda (v. 17)
  • …disciplines only in love (vv. 18, 25)
  • …walks in God’s ways (vv. 21, 23)
  • …is kind to others (v. 22)

“With integrity you can experience freedom. Not only are you less likely to be enslaved by the stress that comes from bad choices, debt, deceptiveness, and other negative character issues, but you are free to influence others and add value to them in an incredible way.” —John Maxwell

How true: Integrity = Freedom to live a satisfying life!

Having Conversations With Yourself

Why are you cast down, O my soul…? (Psalm 42:5, 11). 

There can be no healing if there isn’t first an admission of need. 

This psalmist recognizes: 

  • the dryness of his soul
  • his depression
  • the taunts of his enemies
  • the ‘good ol’ days’ 

He not only questions his soul, but he admits to himself and to God, “My soul is cast down within me.” But each time he has this conversation with himself, he reminds himself of the same conclusion—“God is worthy of praise and I can put my hope in Him!” 

We have to stop listening to crippling self-pity and begin talking to ourselves about our well-placed confidence in God. He is worthy of our praise! He will satisfy me like nothing else can. He is the only One in whom I can put my hope. 

As Augustine reminded himself, “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”

A mark of a godly leader is one who has honest conversations with himself. 

Don’t listen to your downcast thoughts; talk back to your downcast thoughts and tell yourself the only place where real hope can be found. 

This is part 23 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts on this topic by clicking here.

6 Quotes On Speaking Truth From “The Seven Laws Of Love”

The Seven Laws Of LoveIn The Seven Laws Of Love, Dave Willis gives us some highly practical, biblically-based counsel for investing in all of our relationships. Normally when I share quotes from books, I share all of them at once, but I felt like it would be good to share these quotes a bit more slowly, to give you time to read them and apply them.

The seven laws Dave identifies are:

  1. Love requires commitment (read the quotes here)
  2. Love selflessly sacrifices (read the quotes here)
  3. Love speaks truth
  4. Love conquers fear
  5. Love offers grace
  6. Love brings healing
  7. Love lives forever

From law #3, here are some quotes on truth speaking—

“The truth isn’t always comfortable, but it’s always necessary.”

“Honesty always paves the way to intimacy.”

“Selective honesty is the same as dishonesty.”

“The truth might be expensive at times, but it’s always worth it.”

“We all tend to craft a self-focused view of the world where we emerge as either a hero or a victim in every scene. We’re never the villains in the story. The truth is, though, that we’ve all been the bad guy more often then we’d like to admit. A life of love requires that we look in the mirror and give an honest and humble self-assessment.”

“What kind of legacy do you want for your own life? What stories do you want people telling about you a generation after your death? The decisions you are making right now are shaping future generations. Your legacy will be measured by your relationships, and your relationships will only be as strong as the trust your loved ones have in you.”

Check out my review of The Seven Laws Of Love by clicking here.

Watch for more quotes from the other laws of love explained in this book throughout the next few days.

Bono & Eugene Peterson Discuss The Psalms

Bono & Eugene PetersonThis is a marvelous dialogue between two artists on the beauty and the power in the Psalms.

10 Quotes From “#struggles”

#strugglesCraig Groeschel has given us a great reminder to keep technology in its proper place. Check out my book review of #struggles by clicking here. Below are a few quotes that caught my attention.

“We were created not for earth but for eternity. We were created not to be Liked but to show love. We were created not to draw attention to ourselves but to give glory to God. We were created not to collect followers but to follow Christ.”

“Make the time to love people face to face, not just keyboard to keyboard.”

“Make sure that the person you’re with is the most important person in the world when you’re together.”

“Pictures aren’t the only thing we’re becoming used to controlling, thanks to technology and social media. We have the luxury of sending an article, text, tweet, or email to virtually anyone we want to communicate with. And we can edit and revise as much as we want before we hit send. The problem, however, is that many of us have filtered our messages so much that we are no longer comfortable with the real, unscripted, spontaneous conversation. We’ve become so used to the luxury of being able to edit the things we say that some of us really struggle when we have to have normal, everyday conversations with and in front of real, live human beings. Technology has given us tools that are unprecedented in human history, but an entire generation is growing up uncomfortable in conversations they cannot control.”

“Many of us are making life choices just to create a string of social media moments, and all because we want to show some imaginary life that we think people want to see.”

“Being authentic is not about being brutally honest and confrontational about everything on your mind. But by all means—at the right time, with the right people, and when you’re face-to-face—drop the veil completely. If you don’t, you’ll always be longing for something more. When you put on the veil and post something hoping for Likes, hoping for affirmation, even if you receive it, you’re still going to feel empty because you’re not being real with people about yourself. But the place to be vulnerable is where God wants you to be vulnerable: in the context of private, life-giving, healthy, God-honoring relationships.”

“We want so badly to connect with others, and we think the best way to do so is by showing off our strengths. But it doesn’t work that way. Here’s why: we actually connect with people through our weaknesses. We may impress them with our strengths, but we connect through our weaknesses.”

“Social media encourages us—I say it even trains us—to become more narcissistic, more full of ourselves.”

“Compassion is not just an emotion, not just some feeling you have that eventually passes. True compassion demands action.”

“Clicking doesn’t change anything. Caring is not Liking a post; it’s loving a person.”

More quotes from #struggles coming soon…

Links & Quotes

link quote

“No man can murder his brother who has not first murdered God in himself.” —Oswald Chambers

“We love our neighbors when, like Jesus, we seek them out to love them (cf. Luke 19:1-10). Jesus did not wait for lost or hurting people to find their way to Him. He went looking for them. He learned the names of many of them, and used their names freely. He took the initiative in making certain contacts, some of which He repeated many times during His earthly sojourn. Jesus started conversations with people and was doubtless a good listener. And He prayed often for others, seeking their wellbeing before the Father. We can know that we love our neighbors when, like Jesus, we go seeking them, in order to touch them with His love.” —T.M. Moore

“The Word of God is our only hope. The good news of God’s promises and the warnings of His judgment are sharp enough and living enough and active enough to penetrate to the bottom of my heart and show me that the lies of sin are indeed lies. Abortion will not create a wonderful future for me. Neither will cheating, or dressing provocatively, or throwing away my sexual purity, or keeping quiet about dishonesty at work, or divorce, or vengeance. And what rescues me from this deception is the Word of God.” —John Piper

“If you spend too much time looking for your next big break, you’ll be stealing your opportunity to do your best work. Which is the the most important break of all.” —Seth Godin

“God’s definition of promotion isn’t a move up the ladder, it is a move toward your call. Don’t let someone ‘promote’ you out of your call!” —Max Lucado

“In the parable of Matthew 18:23-27 did the king overlook his servant’s sin? Did he wink at his debt and merely excuse it? No, not at all. The fact is, by forgiving him, the king placed upon this man a weighty responsibility, a responsibility even greater than the burden of his debt. Indeed, this servant now owed his master more than ever. How? He was responsible to forgive and love others, just as the king had done for him.” —David Wilkerson

If you don’t think Planned Parenthood’s business of abortion is a huge money-maker for them, why are they spending $20 million in 2016 to elect pro-abortion candidates?

For Detroit Red Wings fan, here is a nice mini-biography of Mr. Hockey: Gordie Howe.

[VIDEO] Barbabas Piper and Bobby Conway on the difference between knowing and believing

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