In the 1950s a psychologist, Stanton Samenow, and a psychiatrist, Samuel Yochelson, sharing the conventional wisdom that crime is caused by environment, set out to prove their point. They began a 17-year study involving thousands of hours of clinical testing of 250 inmates here in the District of Columbia. To their astonishment, they discovered that the cause of crime cannot be traced to environment, poverty, or oppression. Instead, crime is the result of individuals making, as they put it, wrong moral choices.
In the sixteenth century, there was a protestant reformer in England by the name of Hugh Latimer. He was known as a great preacher of his day and as a result he had many opportunities to speak. Once he found that he was to preach before the King Henry VIII of England. As he thought about his great responsibility to bring a message before the king he realized that the message that God laid on his heart was not the message that the king would want to hear.
“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”—Thomas Jefferson
Source: The Chautauquan, Volume 5, Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle
D. L. Moody wrote the following words next to Isaiah 6:8 in his Bible: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do.”
Isaiah 6:8: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
Source: One Thousand and One Thoughts from My Library, Dwight Lyman Moody
Former President Ronald Reagan says he learned the need for decision-making early in life. An aunt had taken him to a cobbler to have a pair of shoes made for him. The shoemaker asked young Ronald Reagan, “Do you want a square toe or a round toe?”
Reagan hemmed and hawed. So the cobbler said, “Come back in a day or two and let me know what you want.”
A few days later the shoemaker saw Reagan on the street and asked what he had decided about the shoes. “I still haven’t made up my mind,” the boy answered. “Very well,” said the cobbler.
Your bedroom isn’t cluttered; it’s “passage-restrictive.”
Kids don’t get in trouble anymore. They merely hit “social speed bumps.”
A student isn’t lazy. He’s “energetically declined.”
You’re not having a bad hair day; you’re suffering from “rebellious follicle syndrome.”
You’re not shy. You’re “conversationally selective.”
You don’t talk a lot. You’re just “abundantly verbal.”
Your homework isn’t missing; it’s just having an “out-of-notebook experience.”
You’re not sleeping in class; you’re “rationing consciousness.”
The story is told of a man who was asked, “Are you a believer in the Christian religion?”
“You are a member of some church, then, I suppose?”
“Member of a church? No, indeed. Why should I be a member of a church? It is quite unnecessary; the dying thief wasn’t a member of a church, and he went to Heaven.”
“But of course you have been baptized; you know the command—”
“Been baptized? Oh, no; that is another needless ceremony! I am as safe as the dying thief was, and he never was baptized.”
Throughout his administration, Abraham Lincoln was a president under fire, especially during the scarring years of the Civil War. And though he knew he would make errors of office, he resolved never to compromise his integrity. So strong was this resolve that he once said, “I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.”
While standing at attention during a parade, a private began to wave in the audience. The drill sergeant sternly warned the private, “Jones don’t ever do that again.” A few minutes later though, the private waved again. When the parade was over, the livid sergeant began to yell and scream at the soldier. He pointed out the dangers of disobeying a superior. Jones was still unremorseful. The instructor then yelled, “Boy, aren’t you afraid of me? Don’t you know what I could do to you?”
Jones replied, “Oh yes sir, but you don’t know my mother.”
In 2008, Japan enacted a national law requiring their citizens to have their waistline measured. Those Japanese whose waistline is greater than the government prescribed standard will undergo diet counseling.
We may not like the way Japan holds their citizens accountable for their weight, but they certainly understand the power of accountability.
Source: The New York Times, June 13, 2008
In February of 2008, James Fantroy was convicted of stealing over $20,000 of government grants while he served as a City Council member in Dallas, Texas. Because Fantroy had kidney cancer and used a wheelchair, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade told him he could choose between serving a month in prison or publicly apologizing for his actions. Fantroy chose to serve a prison sentence rather than apologize.
“In one of my assignments as a young infantry officer, I was sent to the 48th Infantry near Frankfort, Germany. In those days our prize weapon was a huge 280-mm atomic cannon. Guarded by infantry platoons, these guns were hauled around the forests on trucks to keep the Soviets from guessing their location.
One day Captain Tom Miller assigned my platoon to guard a 280. I alerted my men, loaded my .45 caliber pistol and jumped into my jeep. I had not gone far when I realized that my .45 was gone.
The great preacher F.B. Meyer once asked D.L. Moody, “What is the secret of your success?” Moody replied, “For many years I have never given an address without the consciousness that the Lord may come before I have finished.”
Source: Life Changing Thoughts, Gary Smith
The story is told of four high school boys who couldn’t resist the temptation to skip morning classes. Each had been smitten with a bad case of spring fever. After lunch they showed up at school and reported to the teacher that their car had a flat tire. Much to their relief, she smiled and said, “Well, you missed a quiz this morning, so take your seats and get out a pencil and paper.” Still smiling, she waited as they settled down and got ready for her questions.
Then she said, “First question—which tire was flat?”
William Carey, who is called the “Father of Modern Missions,” served the Lord in India for many years. He gradually became very concerned about the attitude of his son, Felix. The young man had promised to become a missionary, but he reneged on his vows when he was appointed ambassador to Burma by the Queen of England. Carey wrote to his friend, asking prayer for his son with these words: Pray for Felix. He has degenerated into an ambassador of the British government when he should be serving the King of Kings.
Napoleon made a mistake when he said that God is on the side of the strongest battalion. This statement has been proven wrong many times in the Bible and throughout history.
Abraham took 318 men and defeated 4 kings and their armies. Gideon with his 300 dedicated men defeated an army of thousands. David, a shepherd lad, untrained for war and armed with only a sling, killed a giant nine feet tall.
A miller and his son were driving their donkey to a neighboring fair to sell him. They had not gone far when they met a group of women collected round a well, talking and laughing. “Look there,” cried one of them, “did you ever see such fellows, to be trudging along the road on foot when they might ride?” The old man hearing this, quickly made his son mount the Donkey, and continued to walk along merrily by his side.
When a flock of crows invades a field of corn, the birds customarily station two sentries in a nearby tree to keep watch and warn the rest of any danger. Once, two people succeeded in sneaking up on a flock of crows and scaring them before the sentries had given warning. The birds burst into flight, immediately attacked and killed the two sentries, and then flew off. The irresponsibility of those sentries could have cost the entire flock their life.