Praise, Quotes, Rants and Randomness

When a Man Faces Failure

Awhile ago, I wrote of my purchase of the book Man of Steel & Velvet by Aubrey Andelin. I’m finally reading it. Last Friday I was somewhere between Poplar Bluff and Donaphin, Missouri on SR 160 and I came across this gem.

You can not always be a hero but you can always be a man.

Andelin is quoting another person when he writes this. It matters not. The gem of wisdom that this quote contains is worthy of being shouted from he highest point of every city and town across the nation of America. It deserves to be whispered into the ear of every man and adolescent teenager. Briefly, I’ll break this down even simpler. The essence of the quote is this. You will not always succeed in everything you do. In your own measurement of yourself, you WILL fail in some things. That is okay as long as your conduct during those times is of a manly and a noble bearing.

If only more men were aware of this truth! To be successful and popular 100% of the time is impossible. What is NOT impossible is to be a man. To be gentle when encountering distress, firm in the face of compromise, perceptive of needs, and able to prepare for the future. If these do not come naturally, it is possible to learn them through practice.

EJ

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A Quote

From the pen of Kyle Stoltzfus:

The problem with circumstances is that
opportunity is sometimes misleading. Just
because we can do something doesn’t
mean we ought to, even if the thing is
permissible. All the doors could be open
and the choice could still be wrong or
unwise. Just because a door is open does
not mean it should be walked through.

 

This comes from my friend of mine, Kyle Stoltzfus. I emailed him a petition to post the rest of the transcript from his article and hope to post it here within the week. It’s powerful and a message I want to get out to people.

EJ

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A Quote From Ghandi

I was busy proofreading a fellow student’s paper and flipping through my Bedford Handbook when my eyes fell upon a quote from Gandhi. Now, though he was a Hindu, what he said could have been found in any early Christian text.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Ghandi

So, so true. In the midst of today’s hurt, what the world needs is not more hurt but a forgiveness of that hurt. When tears of sorrow are shed, understanding is more welcome bitterness and anger towards others. Where egos are bruised by misunderstand, compassionate forbearance oils the mechanism of harmonious living.

The quote caused me to stop and think. If I insist on a fair measure of retribution from those who have hurt me, someday I will need to pay someone else what they demand of me. So instead of constantly demanding others to soothe my ego, why not allow them to live and I absorb the pain they caused me? Why not “give back” by not demanding a full measure of payment? Painful, yes. Radical, only because too few are willing to do so. Christlike, most definitely.

Have you given an “eye” recently?

EJ

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A Painful Code of Honor

I really don’t know how I’ve survived the past two days. At times, the world around seems like a hazy existence. My grades have suffered and if this goes on too much longer, the effects will be felt by those around me. I’m working hard to see that that doesn’t happen.

It’s tough being a gentleman. Maybe I’m not but I aspire to be and it’s that aspiration that currently leads down a road of thorns. A gentleman’s word and honor are bound up all in one. There is no dichotomy between the two. His word is his promise. By his very nature, he can’t be or do otherwise. Though it rip him apart, he will be faithful to the word he has given. It is that sort of pain that I currently feel. Last night, I had to give vent. Lying in my bunk and pen in hand, this is the result:

God, this old heart of mine aches,            

Weighed down with pain, it nearly breaks,

This present valley looks so long,

A heart so full, no room for song.

 

What once filled my heart with gladness,

The same threatens a most bitter madness,

What once seemed a joyous stream,

Is now an almost unattainable gleam,

Yet…

Deep down below this current strife,

Lies a fountain of truth giving life,

And though pressed by disappointments sore,

Twill rise to refresh my soul once more.

 

And tho this strife threatens to slam

And cause me to question who I am

And grief oerwhelms in cathartic tears,

And should this ache linger thru the years,

Yet…

My word I’ve given to a friend,

A word from which I can’t rescind,

A word of honor, to be sure,

A word to which I will endure.

 

A gentleman’s word can’t be broke,

For a gentleman is a different folk,

His words, his honor are his pledge,

Against these, dishonor is ne’er alleged.

 

Though gray clouds of doubts arise,

And disappointment oertake my skies,

And gloom enshrouds the path ahead

And passion lies dormant and dead,

Yet…

My word is given, I can’t go back,

My honor’s at stake, I shall not slack,

For to do so would only be to fail,

My course is marked, I’ve set my sail.

 

One day this pain shall all have ceased,

And this battered heart shall be at peace,

It now seems hard to believe twill mend,

Yet God shall soon set it right again.

Categories: About life, Just me, Praise, Quotes, Rants and Randomness | 1 Comment

A Quote For Today

God wants us to humbly surrender ourselvs. I like the hymn “Channels Only.” We’re not reservoirs, but channels. We’re not power plants, but transmission lines. God has the power, God is the reservoir, and we should surrender ourselves to Him so He can work through us.
From page 198 of “The Adventure of Discipling Others”

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An excerpt from ‘Fear Not’

When we abandon the cross and all that it requires of us, refusing to take it up daily and follow Jesus as He followed His Father, we end up with an illusion of victory

Reading Carter Conlon’s lovely little fear squelcher, appropriately titled Fear Not, I lit upon this line and it blessed me. How many times do attempt to do things by ourselves and deceive ourselves thinking that we will succeed? We only end up with a fleeting glimpse of victory and often frustration.

EJ

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Love…A Practical Sacrifice

The love for God in the first commandment is made ‘practical’ in the love for our neighbors in the second commandment.
True love is all about ‘sacrifice’ for the sake of the ones you love.

Ah, the feeling of being back in the saddle, of books, studies, and homework. Last night, I was reading for the class Discipleship in the Local Church and these two statements attracted my attention. I think the two key words are practical and sacrifice. Put the two together and you have ‘practical sacrifice’. I like that idea. Love can expressed in a grand fashion and with deep emotion; however, in daily life, it is most often expressed in the idea of ‘practical sacrifice’. A giving up in a practical sense; I lay down my ideas in favor for someone else’s ideas. A visible expression of charity.

Blessings,

EJ

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Getting Good

If we would get good by our troubles, we must notice the hand of God in them

Studying for a end-of-term essay, I discovered this phrase. The verb usage grabbed my attention. Get good. The writer wants to imply, “If we would profit…” but uses the word “get” to put his point across. That word brings the picture of a baby to mind, reaching out and grabbing, getting all that he can. Christians aren’t babies; however if we want good, we should “get it”. Pay attention to what God is doing. Notice His work in our life through the blessing of a friend. Try to identify what He wants us to learn from our antagonists.

Are YOU getting it?

EJ 

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Friends

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival."
– C. S. Lewis

Part of my current studies is a seminar on the writings of C.S. Lewis. This seminar meets once a week but doesn’t include his more popular writings like The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity; it only looks at some of his lesser known books. Yesterday, we studied the first half of the book The Four Loves, which included the loves of affection and friendship love. I like this seminar; it’s instructive but yesterday’s session didn’t really click for me till later last night.

Last week, when I was home for Thanksgiving Break, I had called down to Paraguay and talked with John, the guy who replaced me as maintenance man. In speaking with him, he mentioned that Jay was coming to the States the next week for a brief visit. After that conversation, I made a mental note to call Jay when he came Stateside. Last night, I enjoyed a all-too-brief conversation with Jay.

In Paraguay, I worked with Jay for over a year and a half. Not only did we work together but we traveled all over Paraguay on numerous jaunts and to Argentina and Chile on vacation. Though there are some major differences between us, he being from the South and I am a Yankee, I look back on those days in sun-drenched Paraguay with fond memories.

But however fond those memories, I concede that Lewis is correct. My time on this earth is NOT dependent on friendship, however much the contrary I want to fight his statement. My survival in Paraguay was not based on gaining new friends and establishing meaningful relationships. Those relationships enhanced my time there.

This truth is something we often overlook. We grieve over the loss of a friend and rightly so. A friend becomes part of us; when they move on or the friendship is annulled, something is lost. We lose a bit of their presence with us. But life does move on. Life changes. Physical distance grows and shrinks.

So how can we reconcile life, change and friends? Like the flawless texture of a fine chocolate, the tantalizing aroma and flavor of a perfect cup of coffee, and the exhilarating beauty of a clear winter night, enjoy it. When life brings you a friend or grants you a moment to be with friends, enjoy it, savor it, absorb it. And when it rescinds those privileged moments, enjoy the memory of those moments. Like the memory of a gorgeous sunset, may the memories imprint themselves in your mind and looking back to those moments, a smile creeps over your face.

Having said that, I look forward to the next time that Jay and I can talk and hope that  it will be face to face. May the intervening months be short. Until then, I smile. Smile 

EJ

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Personality versus Character

Dawn still hasn’t broken; the darkness still cloaks this world. I’m at my desk, prepping for an exam. The sheaf of papers in front of me looks daunting but it contains answers. Answers I need for an exam later this afternoon. So, with an exam looming, why am I blogging? Because I ran across a piece of truth and it has me all excited! May I share it? Will you read it?

Personality is given; character is formed. The personality that we are given can be damaged, life’s experiences could cause us to hide particular personality traits. God doesn’t have standard personality traits. He blesses the personality that He gave you. God does not look at jolly, talkative people as being better than quiet, reserved people. God delights in this variety. However, character is different. God has standards of character. He calls us to honesty, faithfulness, being loving, caring for others, etcetera. These standards are for us no matter what our personality is. Immature character makes personality abrasive and mature character makes personality pleasing. Character can make us uncharacteristic from our personality. Personality matures through choices and life experiences. Character grows as we seek God.

 

Blessings on your day,

EJ

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