The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT “When parents proudly describe the musical talent and potential of their beloved offspring, they are, without realizing it, actually talking about how well the child has already progressed on the instrument in question. They don’t point at little Henry before he’s laid his sticky fingers on a violin and say, “He looks like he would be a marvelous violinist.” They actually wait until the child has acquired some skills and then declare his genius for playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or “Smoke on the Water.” They seem to have forgotten the weeks of squeaks and all the hard work involved.

The key to acquiring high-level musical skills is something called deliberate practice. The more deliberate practice you do, the better you get—and this applies to any skillful activity. But deliberate practice is not the same thing as ordinary practice. Ordinary practice often involves simply repeating something you can already do pretty well. Deliberate practice, by contrast, means that you are taking a step forward. You are doing something you find difficult—and once you have mastered it, you will be a step nearer to perfecting your skill. One of the defining characteristics of deliberate practice is that generally it isn’t fun—which is why excellence is rare.”

Excerpt From: Powell, John. “Why You Love Music.”

  1. KENNEDY INAUGURAL ADDRESS “And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God…

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed…

So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate…

Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”

Excerpt From: Jackie Gingrich Cushman. “The Essential American.”

  1. ALL ABOUT TIMING “It seems that Arnold Palmer was invited to come to a convention of blind golfers. The golfers told how they were able to know what direction to hit the ball. One blind golfer explained that the caddy went out ahead of him with a little bell, which he would ring as he stood near the hole. The blind golfer would then hit the ball toward the sound of the bell. Arnold asked how well it worked, and the blind golfer said that it worked so well he was willing to take on Arnold Palmer for a round of golf; and just to make it interesting, was willing to bet Palmer $10,000 he could beat him. Palmer said, “OK. What time do we tee off?” And the blind man said, “10:30 tonight!”

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”

  1. PARTIAL REPENTANCE “A man with a nagging secret was unable to keep it any longer. He went to confessional and admitted that for years he had been stealing building supplies from the lumberyard where he worked.

“How much lumber did you take?” the priest asked.

“I took enough to build my home and enough for my son’s house. Then I took enough to build houses for my two daughters. Oh, and our cottage at the lake.”

“This is a very serious offense,” the priest said. “ I’ll have to think of a far-reaching penance. Have you ever considered doing a retreat?”

“No, Father, I never have,” the man replied. “But if you can get the plans, I can get the lumber.”  -M. Hodgin

  1. EQUIP OR DEVELOP? “When you equip people, you teach them how to do a job. Development is different. When you develop people, you are helping them improve as individuals. You are helping them acquire personal qualities that will benefit them in many areas of life, not just their jobs. When you help someone to cultivate discipline or a positive attitude, that’s development. When you teach someone to manage his time more effectively or improve his people skills, that’s development. When you teach leadership, that’s development. What I’ve found is that many leaders don’t have a developmental mind-set. They expect their employees to take care of their developmental needs on their own. What they fail to realize, however, is that development always pays higher dividends than equipping because it helps the whole person and lifts him to a higher level.”

Excerpt From: John C. Maxwell. “The Complete 101 Collection.”

The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. GOD’S MERCIES “For alas! we judge by sense and appearance, and do not consider that God’s heart may be towards us while the hand of His providence seems to be against us. If things continue as they are, we think our prayers are lost and our hopes perished from the LORD. Much more when things grow worse and worse and our darkness and trouble increase, as usually they do just before the break of day and change of our condition, then we conclude God is angry with our prayers. See Gideon’s reply (Judges 6:13). This even staggered a Moses’ faith (Exodus 5:22, 23). O what groundless jealousies and suspicions of God are found at such times in the hearts of His own children (Job 9:16, 17; Psalm 77:7-9)!

But this is our great evil, and to prevent it in future trials, I offer a few proper considerations in the case.

The delay of your mercies is really for your advantage. You read, ‘and therefore will the LORD wait that he may be gracious’ (Isaiah 30:18). What is that? Why, it is nothing else but the time of His preparation of mercies for you, and your hearts for mercy, that so you may have it with the greatest advantage of comfort. The foolish child would pluck the apple while it is green; but when it is ripe, it drops of its own accord and is more pleasant and wholesome.”

Excerpt From: Flavel, John. “The Mystery of Providence.”

  1. DOUBT “There is an isolating element to unexpressed doubt as well. When a person feels as though church is not a safe place to be honest, he or she feels compelled to pretend, to put on a show, which all too often results in a faith that is no more than skin deep. When young believers hang back, holding their doubts, concerns, and disillusionments in private, they cut themselves off from leaders and peers who might help them deal with their doubts in a constructive, faith-building way.

We cannot solve doubt like a puzzle but we can create communities that hold doubt and faith in proper balance. God is not afraid of human doubts. “Doubting Thomas” is remembered for his unbelief, yet in his mercy, Christ allowed Thomas to renew his faith when the risen Lord displayed the evidence of his crucifixion and resurrection. King David is called a man after God’s heart, even though many of his psalms questioned God’s intentions toward and provision for him—many times in raw, angry language that leaves very little emotion unexpressed. Job too voiced his doubts and disillusionment in very strong terms.

We need communities where it is safe for people to talk about their deepest, darkest concerns, where expressing uncertainty is not seen as abnormal or apostate.”

Excerpt From: Kinnaman, David. “You Lost Me.”

  1. BIZ SKILLS CRITICAL ANY PROFESSION “How do you choose the doctors, lawyers, plumbers, and car mechanics that you need in your life? You seldom select them on the basis of their technical knowledge or their academic qualifications. Here is the shocking truth: You actually choose them on the basis of their business skills. How they build their practices, how they market themselves, how they develop their reputations, and how they establish themselves in the communities of people in which they move, all of this determines their success.”

Excerpt From: Rabbi Daniel Lapin. “Thou Shall Prosper.”

  1. CRONY CAPITALISM? A convenience store needed to replace the fence on the back of the property so the owner called three contractors in to bid on it. When they arrived he noticed each vehicle was from a different state. He didn’t think anything of it and took them around back to make a bid. First to step up was the Florida contractor. He took out his tape measure and pencil, did some measuring and said, ”Well I figure the job will run about $900. $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.” Next was the Texas contractor. He also took out his tape measure and pencil, did some quick figuring and said, ”Looks like I can do this job for $700. $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.” Without so much as moving, the New York contractor said, ”$2,700.” The guard, incredulous, looked at him and said, ”You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?” ”Easy,” he said. ”$1,000 for me, $1,000 for you, and we hire the guy from Texas.” (
  2. TOUGH PREACHER! “The old evangelist Bud Robinson is reported to have prayed the following prayer each day: “O Lord, give me a backbone as big as a saw log and ribs like the sleepers under the church floor. Put iron shoes on my feet and galvanized breeches on my body. Give me a rhinoceros hide for skin and hang up a wagon-load of determination in the gable-end of my soul. Help me to sign the contract to fight the devil as long as I’ve got a tooth—and then gum him until I die.”  – Michael Hodgin




The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. JET-POWERED ATTACK HELICOPTER PARENTS “The “jet-powered attack model” of the helicopter parent. These parents are obsessed with the desire to create a perfect life for their kids. This life is one in which the children never have to face struggles, inconveniences, discomforts, or disappointments. It is a life in which the children can be launched into adulthood with the best of credentials possible because they have never faced defeat, even if it meant someone else doing most of the work or making sure the rules were bent just the right way so they could win.

The adolescent children of jet-powered attack helicopter parents look great on paper. Their middle and high school transcripts show high grades, extracurricular activities and awards, and special honors — most of which were never really earned. These teens’ mistakes are swept under the carpet, and awards are earned with little or no effort on their part. We have often heard their parents say, “It’s a competitive world out there, and I want my kids to have every advantage. What they do when they are young should not hold them back later.

In their zeal to protect their young, these parents swoop down on any person, school, or agency that they see as a threat to their children’s impeccable credentials. Armed with verbal smart bombs, they are quick to blast away at anyone who sets high standards for behavior, morality, or achievement that may cause their children to take responsibility for themselves.

Declaring their child a victim is a favorite tactical maneuver designed to send school personnel or social workers diving into the trenches for protection. The constant barrage of attack helicopter parents wears down teachers and school administrators.

A perfect image and spotless school transcript are poor substitutes for character and the attitude that achievement comes through struggle and perseverance. The workforce of tomorrow — and to a great extent, many of those starting work today — are in for a rude awakening when they realize that “going to work” means just that, and that they won’t be able to call their parents in to chew their bosses out because their promotion went to someone more willing to put in the elbow grease and apply themselves to learning the skills needed to get the job done.” Excerpt From: Fay, Jim. “Parenting Teens with Love and Logic.”

  1. CULTURAL RENEWAL “Think back to the biblical account of Daniel. Life in Babylon gave the young Hebrew the platform and opportunity to influence the broadest circles of political and societal power. God used Daniel and his peers, exiles in a pagan culture, to bring about his purposes. Could it be that the growing desire for mainstream influence among the younger generation is the work of God—preparing them to bring restoration and renewal to our culture?

Let’s recognize that the Holy Spirit has plans for the next generation that are bigger than what they can dream for themselves, and let’s make it our business to tune their hearts to hear his voice, not just ours.”

Excerpt From: Kinnaman, David. “You Lost Me.”

  1. EXPONENTIAL GROWTH “By AD 100, the apostles had died, but the Christian church was still in its infancy, with fewer than twenty-five thousand proclaimed followers of Christ. But within the next two hundred years, the fledgling church experienced explosive multiplicative growth, to include as many as twenty million people. This means the church of Jesus Christ quadrupled every generation for five consecutive generations!”

Excerpt From: McDowell, Josh. “God-Breathed.”

  1. IMPORTANT “I hope my children know that winning isn’t everything. Not losing yourself to the world is vastly more important. When faith grows strong, it conflicts more and more with politics and polite society.”                     – E. Erickson
  2. INTERROGATION “A camera angle arranged to record the face of one discussant over the shoulder of another biases that critical judgment toward the more visually salient of the two. We also know now—from the more recent experiments of social psychologist Daniel Lassiter—that such a camera angle aimed at a suspect during an interrogation leads observers of the recording to assign the suspect greater responsibility for a confession (and greater guilt).

Perhaps most disturbingly, the identical pattern appeared whether the watchers were ordinary citizens, law enforcement personnel, or criminal court judges.

Nothing could change the camera angle’s prejudicial impact—except changing the camera angle itself. The bias disappeared when the recording showed the interrogation and confession from the side, so that the suspect and questioner were equally focal. In fact, it was possible to reverse the bias by showing observers a recording of the identical interaction with the camera trained over the suspect’s shoulder onto the interrogator’s face; then, compared with the side-view judgments, the interrogator was perceived to have coerced the confession.

Manifestly here, what’s focal seems causal.”

Excerpt From: Cialdini, Robert. “Pre-Suasion.”

  1. GOSPEL METHODS “A woman criticized D. L. Moody for his methods of evangelism in attempting to win people to the Lord. Moody replied, “I agree with you. I don’t like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?” The woman replied, “I don’t do it.” Moody retorted, “Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.” Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”
  2. “It’s tough to soar with eagles when you work with turkeys.”Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”
  3. WORK OF YOUR HANDS “Jews recite a well known blessing after enjoying the food purchased with the work of their hands. The ancient words express gratitude to God for creating human beings with deficiencies and needs. That blessing reminds Jews that helping other people make up for their deficiencies by supplying their needs is how one makes an honorable living. When you receive payment after supplying the needs of a client, a customer, your boss, or, if you are a member of the clergy, even a congregant, that money is testament to your having pleased another human being.

It is perfectly kosher to ask God for money. If you are comfortable with prayer, go ahead and include a request for prosperity in your prayers. What you are really asking for is the opportunity to serve your fellow human beings.”

Excerpt From: Rabbi Daniel Lapin. “Thou Shall Prosper.”

  1. DON’T FORGET “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16 NIV
  2. LOVE YOUR WORK “If you are working 80 hours a week at a job which shrivels your soul, then you are a slave. I don’t care whether you are earning $600,000 a year or more. Life is precious. Each minute is a priceless gift. No amount of money can reclaim lost time. If you are wasting your time on work you detest, you may come to feel resentful about the time you are losing. If you are a physician, you may come to resent your patients. I have learned to recognize such physicians, and I try to steer my patients away from them.”

Excerpt From: Sax, Leonard. “The Collapse of Parenting.”

The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. PLEASE FAIL “Failure comes to us all. The willingness to fail, and then to move on with no loss of enthusiasm, is a mark of character. The opposite of fragility, is the willingness to fail. When kids are secure in the unconditional acceptance of their parents, they can find the courage to venture and to fail. When kids value the good regard of their peers or their own self-concept above the good regard of their parents, they lose the willingness to fail. They become fragile.” Excerpt From: Sax, Leonard. “The Collapse of Parenting.”
  2. BOTTOM LINE “Running track gives you a fierce respect for numbers, because you are what your numbers say you are, nothing more, nothing less. If I posted a bad time in a race, there might have been reasons—injury, fatigue, broken heart—but no one cared. My numbers, in the end, were all that anyone would remember.”

Excerpt From: Knight, Phil. “Shoe Dog.”

  1. SUFFERING IMMUNITY? “Why shouldn’t good people suffer?” I responded by paraphrasing a question I first heard asked by Harold Kushner: “Should a pious person be able to go out on a freezing night without a jacket and not get sick?”

I had never realized how widespread deal making with God is. I have come to realize that many religious people, of all faiths, believe that they should be able to avoid the calamities that afflict the less pious. They believe, in effect, that they can make a deal with God—”I’ll do what You want so that You do what I want.”

If this is true, it helps to explain why the problem of unjust suffering can be so devastating to people’s faith. The problem is not merely that of reconciling the terrible injustices of this world with a just Creator—a problem that I and many others have. For countless religious people, this issue is compounded by their belief that God has reneged on a deal with them.

While I don’t expect religious people to be immune to childish images of God, the fact that many religious people seem to be religious in part, or even entirely, because of having made a deal with God—”I’ll be religious, You keep me safe”—is surprising.”

Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”

  1. THE NEW PRIVATE “In a transparent, overpopulated world where we spill our inner lives online, more than ever the concept of “privacy” and “exclusivity” has become the greatest luxury of all.

Why do most of us when we’re on our cell phones walk around in a circle as we’re speaking, as if somehow to create a moat, or wall, of privacy?”

Excerpt From: Lindstrom, Martin. “Small Data.”

  1. DEGREE BUBBLE “This is how bubbles work: We all think tulips are valuable until we don’t. Buying stock in the South Sea Company or the dot-coms is a sure thing—until it isn’t anymore. We think housing prices will continue rising forever until we realize that they won’t. Bubbles burst when buyers realize that the value of the asset is not worth the inflated price.

The education bubble bursts when puffery is confronted by reality. Increasingly, the economic model of higher education no longer works for many students, who realize belatedly that they have placed themselves in a financial stranglehold for unmarketable degrees. Charles Murray notes that the bachelor’s degree still confers a wage premium on its average recipient. But, he says, “there is no good reason that it should.” In other words, we have decided that the degrees are valuable when there is no objective reason to do so, and there will come a moment when the market catches up.

Student loans are harder to get out of than mortgages, because they cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.” Excerpt From: Charles J. Sykes. “Fail U.”


In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention.

While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who, is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter, I was just happy to be there.

In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

Seriously, I wondered, who in the world is this guy?

After speaking for twenty five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage. Then, finally …

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?”

After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?” more of a question than answer.

“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?” came a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear.

“How wide is home plate in high school baseball?

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide is home plate in the Major Leagues?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”


“Coaches …”


” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him. Do we widen home plate?

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We simply, widen the plate!”


Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.

“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”


He replaced the flag with a Cross.

“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves! And we allow it.”

“And the same is true with our government. Our so called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves. They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate and we see our country falling into a dark abyss while we watch.”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that, which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside. “… dark days ahead.”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.

His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”

  1. GOD AND POLITICS “A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right,

but a fool’s heart to the left.” (Eccl. 10:2, ESV)

  1. SAFETY ISSUE On an employee bulletin board: “In case of fire, flee the building with the same reckless abandon that occurs each day at quitting time.”
  2. ENEMIES “Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.” -Chuck Swindoll
  3. EPITAPH “I am told that an Indiana cemetery has a tombstone over one hundred years old that bears the following epitaph: “Pause Stranger, when you pass me by. As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you will be. So prepare for death and follow me.” An unknown passerby read those words and underneath scratched this reply: “To follow you I’m not content, Until I know which way you went.” -J.M. Kennedy


The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

1031. THE ACORN “Consider an acorn. Its strong shell prevents it from growing until the time is right. If you break open the shell too early, you don’t stimulate the growth of a new tree. You just have a dead acorn. As with the acorn, the key to healthy child development is to do the right thing at the right time. Neufeld makes a strong case that the wrong attachment style in childhood and adolescence results in the wrong attachment style in early adulthood. Throughout childhood and adolescence, the primary attachment of a child should be to the parent. If a child has a strong primary attachment to a parent from infancy through adolescence, then when the child becomes an adult, that bond will break naturally, as an acorn breaks open naturally at the right time so that a new tree can grow. Such a child, once she becomes an adult, is ready to head out confidently into the world as an independent young adult. But increasingly, Neufeld and others have found, young people across North America just are not ready to step into the adult world. The same girl who refused to talk with her mom at 13 years of age 13 years of age is now texting her mom 5 times a day at age 22, asking for basic guidance about adolescent concerns. The acorn, having broken open too early, does not have the strength to become a tree.

Parents have to regain the central place in the lives of their children, displacing same-age peers. Same-age friends are great for your child. But your child’s first allegiance must be to you, not to her best friend. The contemporary culture of texting, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and online video games has concealed this fundamental reality, promoting and accelerating the premature transfer of allegiance to same-age peers.”

Excerpt From: Sax, Leonard. “The Collapse of Parenting.”

1032. COMPETITION “People reflexively assume that competition is always a good thing, that it always brings out the best in people, but that’s only true of people who can forget the competition. The art of competing, I’d learned from track, was the art of forgetting. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past. You must forget that internal voice screaming, begging, “Not one more step!” And when it’s not possible to forget it, you must negotiate with it. I thought over all the races in which my mind wanted one thing, and my body wanted another, those laps in which I’d had to tell my body, “Yes, you raise some excellent points, but let’s keep going anyway . . .”

Excerpt From: Knight, Phil. “Shoe Dog.”

1033. HEAVENLY FATHER “A widely accepted figure is that 70 percent of the violent criminals in American prisons did not grow up with a father.

If the father figure/rule giver that boys need is not on earth, a loving and morally authoritative Father in heaven can often serve as an effective substitute.

But the last thing that a boy growing up without a father needs is a female figure to worship. He already has one—his mother—and to develop healthfully, he needs to separate from her, not bond with another mother figure. Otherwise, he will spend his life expressing his masculinity in ways that are destructive to women and men.

It is ironic that some women, in the name of feminism, are attempting to emasculate the God of Western religious morality. For if their goal is achieved, it is women who will suffer most from lawless males.

We have too many absent fathers on earth to begin to even entertain the thought of having no Father in heaven.”

Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”

1034. WORK & PRAY “When we work; we work. When we pray, God works.” — Max Lucado

1035. BIG DATA “If data fostered better emotional decisions, then accountants, not poets, would be the cultural prototype for great lovers.”

Excerpt from “Small Data.”

1036. TO THE END; FRIENDS, PATRIOTS “President Thomas Jefferson spent his retirement at his beloved home in Monticello, where both his wife and daughter Polly were buried. With his health declining, he was bedridden in the late spring and early summer of 1826. Seized by a severe fever on July 3, Jefferson realized that his death was imminent but was determined to hold on until the following day—the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. With his family gathered around, he prepared for the end. Later that night, Jefferson awoke and asked his doctor, “Is it the fourth yet?” They were among his final words.

The following day, Jefferson died in his sleep at 1:10 p.m. Five hours later and nearly six hundred miles away, at 6:20 p.m. at Braintree Farm, Massachusetts, President John Adams also breathed his last. Adams, noting the significance of the date, remarked, “It is a great day. It is a good day.” Unaware of Jefferson’s passing, Adams’s final words were “Jefferson still lives.” The two men, longtime friends and rivals, passed from life within hours of each other on the 50th birthday of the country to whose service they had dedicated their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Not only did they see America through her tumultuous infancy, but also nurtured her growth into a respected global presence to carry her into the future.”

Excerpt From: Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger. “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates.”

1037. ART, NOT SCIENCE “A university alumnus, shown a list of examination questions by his old economics professor, exclaimed, “Why, those are the same questions you asked when I was in school twenty years ago!” “Yes,” said the professor, “we ask the same questions every year.” The alumnus said, “But surely you know that students pass along the questions from one year to the next.” “Of course,” said the professor, “but in economics, we change the answers.

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”


“In 1890, a survey asked what are your basic needs?

The list had 16 items on it.

In 1990, the same survey was conducted.

That list had 98 items of it.” — R. Rainey

1039. COME ALIVE “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself, ‘What makes me come alive?’ Because what the world needs is men who have come alive.” -John Eldridge

1040. FAIL U “With striking parallels to the housing bubble of the last decade, the cost of a college degree has soared by 1,125 percent since 1978—four times the rate of inflation.

For some families, sending a child to a private university now is like buying a BMW every year—and driving it off a cliff. If the education is financed through student loans, paying for college is like buying a Lamborghini on credit. By 2012, the total cost of a four-year education at a private college had exploded to $267,308; the cost of public college had risen to $122,638.

The average student now graduates with around $30,000 in student loans, while the portion of students with $100,000 or more has doubled. Millions of students carry debt burdens without getting any degree at all. Student loan debt now exceeds both the nation’s total credit card and auto loan debt. The delinquency rate on student loans is higher than the delinquency rate on credit cards, auto loans, and home mortgages.

While the average student debt load rose 24 percent in the last decade, average wages for graduates aged twenty-five to thirty-four fell by 15 percent. In 2011, 53 percent of college graduates under twenty-five were unemployed or underemployed.

A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that in 2012 roughly 44 percent of recent college graduates were working in jobs that did not require degrees—the majority of them in low-wage jobs.”

Excerpt From: Charles J. Sykes. “Fail U”



The Wisdom Chronicles

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. VACATIONS/FAMILY “All of us, as parents, need to establish the primacy of the parent-child relationship over peer-to-peer relationships, over academics, and over other activities. How to accomplish that?

One simple strategy is to schedule vacations just for the family. When your daughter asks whether she can bring her best friend along, the answer must be NO. If the best friend comes along, then a significant portion of time on the vacation will go to your daughter bonding with her best friend. The main purpose of the family vacation should be to strengthen the bonds between parent and child, not to give the kids an expensive playdate.

In all your arrangements for your child, try to make connecting with adults a higher priority than connecting with your child’s same-age peers or academics or after-school activities. Prioritize your extended family and your close adult friends in the life of your child. If you have the opportunity to move closer to your child’s aunts, uncles, and grandparents, do it. When you are planning a vacation, look for opportunities for your child to connect with her aunts, uncles, and grandparents. You want to give your child a different perspective. You want to connect her to your culture. That task is arguably more difficult today than at any other time in American history. Today, the default for most American kids is a primary attachment to same-age peers.”

Excerpt From: Sax, Leonard. “The Collapse of Parenting.”

  1. “Driving back to Portland I’d puzzle over my sudden success at selling. I’d been unable to sell encyclopedias, and I’d despised it to boot. I’d been slightly better at selling mutual funds, but I’d felt dead inside. So why was selling shoes so different? Because, I realized, it wasn’t selling. I believed in running. I believed that if people got out and ran a few miles every day, the world would be a better place, and I believed these shoes were better to run in. People, sensing my belief, wanted some of that belief for themselves.

Belief, I decided. Belief is irresistible.”

Excerpt From: Knight, Phil. “Shoe Dog.”

  1. TOWER OF BABEL A MYTH? “Why do people say it is mythology? Because they have bought into a false worldview, so when they read the account it is foolishness to them.

Atheists, view the majority of the Bible as mythology. Though, of course, their religion is the actual mythology, since believers know the truth because God revealed it to us in His Word. Atheism is but one form of humanism, where man is elevated to a position of being greater than God. But their arbitrary opinions really do not matter when the debate arises.

But here is the issue: Humanism dominates our culture today with its aspects of evolution, and these have now have infiltrated the minds of many Church members. As a result, many within the Church now attack Genesis (siding with atheistic humanists) and say it is mythology.

But look at the big picture. These Christians are mixing their religion with secular humanism when they appeal to aspects of this “other religion” as a greater authority than God.

Dr. Eugenie Scott is a signer of the religious document The Humanist Manifesto III, and she heads up the National Center for Science Education, a leading humanist organization for teaching evolution in public schools. She says:

“I have found that the most effective allies for evolution are people of the faith community. One clergyman with a backward collar is worth two biologists at a school board meeting any day!”

Excerpt From: Hodge, Bodie. “Tower of Babel.”

  1. BEN FRANKLIN, PRINTER From Ben­jamin Frank­lin’s “Apol­ogy for Print­ers” in the Penn­syl­va­nia Gazette, 1731:

“Print­ers are ed­u­cated in the Be­lief that when Men dif­fer in Opin­ion, both Sides ought equally to have the Ad­van­tage of be­ing heard by the Pub­lick; and that when Truth and Er­ror have fair Play, the for­mer is al­ways an over­match for the lat­ter. Hence they cheer­fully serve all con­tend­ing Writ­ers that pay them well, with­out re­gard­ing on which side they are of the Ques­tion in Dis­pute. . . .

It is like­wise as un­rea­sonable what some as­sert, That Print­ers ought not to print any­thing but what they ap­prove, since if all of that Busi­ness should make such a Res­o­lu­tion, and abide by it, an End would thereby be put to Free Writ­ing, and the World would af­ter­wards have noth­ing to read but what hap­pen’d to be the Opin­ions of Print­ers.” (WSJ 6-20-16)

  1. ALL THERE IS? “Those who believe that this life is the only reality are likely to be led to one or more of three negative conclusions about life:

1: Hedonism, If this life is all one has, then it is quite logical to live a life devoted to self-gratification.

2: Utopianism. Idealistic people who believe that this life is all there is reject hedonism. But they may embrace a far more dangerous ideology—utopianism, the desire to make heaven on earth. Hence the attraction of utopianism to so many twentieth-century radicals who have rejected Judaism and Christianity.

In light of the hells on earth that secular Utopians have produced, it is clear just how important the deferring of Utopia to a future world is. Had people like the Bolsheviks and millions of other secular radicals not tried to create heaven on earth, they would not have created hell here.

3: Despair. In light of the great physical and emotional pain that so many people experience, what is more likely to induce despondency than believing that this life is all there is? The malaise felt by so many people living in modern Western society is not traceable to material deprivation but, at least in part, to the despair induced by secularism and its belief that this world is all there is. That is why peasants with religious faith are probably happier than affluent people who have no faith (and why more affluent secularists, not the poor, are generally the ones who start radical revolutions).”

Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”

  1. BAD NEWS CLASSIC “An Englishman went abroad, leaving his much-loved cat and servant home. While away, the man received a cablegram from the servant with the message saying, “Your cat died.” The man was most distraught both at the news and the abrupt manner it was sent. Upon returning home, he upbraided the servant for not breaking the news to him more gently. Confused, the servant asked his master how such news could have been delivered more gently. The man said he could have sent a first cable saying, “Your cat is stuck on the roof.” This could be followed the next day with the message, “Your cat fell from the roof and is doing poorly.” Later a third message could have said, “Your beloved cat has gone to his eternal reward.” Some time afterwards, the man went abroad again. While there, he received a cable from his servant saying, “Your mother is stuck on the roof.”

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”

  1. FREEDOM “The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”

Excerpt From: John Stuart Mill. “On Liberty.”

  1. CHINA CHRISTIANS “At the end of the Chi­nese Civil War in 1949, when the Com­mu­nist party de­feated the Na­tion­al­ists and founded the Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of China, Chris­tians in China num­bered half a mil­lion. Yet al­most sev­enty years later, un­der the Chi­nese gov­ern-ment’s harsh sup­pres­sion, that pop­u­la­tion has reached more than sixty mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Feng­gang Yang, a so­ci­ol­o­gist at Pur­due Uni­ver­sity. The num­ber grows by sev­eral mil­lion each year, a phe­nomenon some have de­scribed as a gush­ing well or geyser. At this rate, by 2030, Chris­tians in China will ex­ceed 200 mil­lion, sur­pass­ing the United States and mak­ing China the coun­try with the largest Chris­t­ian pop­u­la­tion in the world.”

(WSJ, 7-18-16)

  1. OUR THOUGHTS/HIS THOUGHTS “Isaiah tells us God’s thoughts and God’s ways are not ours (Isa. 55:8-11). There is no doubt that His capacity is greater than ours. Also, there are things with God that are too wonderful, too majestic, too big for us to imagine. However, God has revealed Himself so that we can know His thoughts and ways. In fact, when our ways and thoughts are not His it is a sign that we are away from the Lord. When we find our thoughts and our ways are not the Lord’s we need to forsake them and return to Him. Never forget this fundamental principle; the wicked are wicked because their thoughts and ways are not the Lord’s.

The real battle between God and Satan is for our thoughts. Each wants our will. Paul describes that battle as casting down every high thing that arrays itself against God and bringing every thought into captivity to God (2Cor. 10:3-6). God has revealed His thoughts so that we will be able to know them and make them ours. God wants the victory of our will brought into submission to His will. Bringing our thoughts into the submission unto God and making His will our will reminds us of Christ. We are to have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5). People who are developing the mind of Christ are people who think like He thought. What kind of attitude did Jesus have toward the Father? Did he have the mind of God? Can we as Christians say our thoughts are His thoughts? We know the Father and Son had one mind. Christians are to be like Him. We are to value what He values (Phil. 1:9-11). We call excellent that which He calls excellent. Obedience is important, vital, but we must grow in our thinking so that we obey because His thoughts are our thoughts.” — Rickie Jenkins

  1. CURRENT LEADERS UNDERSTAND THIS? “Commodore Edward Preble had achieved a significant victory without firing a shot. Just as remarkable, tribute had neither been paid nor promised. Preble put it simply in writing home to Mary Deering in Maine once he had returned to Gibraltar: “An honorable peace is established.” A clear show of force, backed up by a genuine threat, had resulted in harmony between the nations.”

Excerpt From: Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger. “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates.”


The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

1011. ALL NATIONS HAVE HEARD GOSPEL? “Was the gospel preached to all the nations? Acts 2:5 points out that there were indeed people of every nation under heaven witnessing this event:

“And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.” (Acts 2:5).

Peter preached the gospel in their hearing and the response was overwhelming. The message was first preached to all nations in Jerusalem, and it continued to be taught by the Apostles so that all the nations heard the gospel, as evidenced in Colossians 1:6; Romans 1:8,16:26. Oftentimes, the Greek word translated “all” meant “collectively” or “some of all types.” In other words, the gospel must first be preached to all nations — that is, to some representatives of all nations, not every single person from that day until today.”

Excerpt From: Hodge, Bodie. “Tower of Babel.”

  1. INSTAGRAM “The main mechanisms by which contemporary American culture today asserts its primacy in the hearts of American kids are the Internet and the mobile phone. Neither of these existed in the lives of American kids 25 years ago. But today, it’s common to see an American 4-year-old playing with an iPad, complete with Internet access. That’s particularly true in affluent communities. And it’s becoming common to see an American 9-year-old with her own cell phone—again, especially in affluent communities.

The more time that 9-year-old spends connecting with her friends, the more likely she is to look to them for guidance about what matters and what doesn’t.

That’s one reason why your daughter may come to value her friends’ opinions over yours. Her friends seem to know more about important things than you do. And the more time she spends on Instagram, the more likely she is to think that knowing about Instagram is important.”

Excerpt From: Sax, Leonard. “The Collapse of Parenting.”

  1. FRONT RUNNERS “I spent weeks reading, planning, preparing for my trip. I went for long runs, musing on every detail while racing the wild geese as they flew overhead. Their tight V formations—I’d read somewhere that the geese in the rear of the formation, cruising in the backdraft, only have to work 80 percent as hard as the leaders. Every runner understands this. Front runners always work the hardest, and risk the most.”

Excerpt From: Knight, Phil. “Shoe Dog.”

  1. TAXING POWER? “The number of NON-Defense Department federal officers autho-rized to make arrests and carry firearms (200,000) now exceeds the number of U.S. Marines (182,000). In its escalating arms and ammo stockpiling, this federal arms race is unlike anything in history.” (Wall Street Journal 6-17-16)
  2. 1015. HIGHEST PRIORITY: EDUCATION (?) “A study of twenty-four leaders of the Einsatzgruppen (the mobile killing units that murdered more than a million and a half Jews prior to the use of gas chambers) indicated that the majority were highly educated professionals: “One of the most striking things … is the prevalence of educated people, professionals, especially lawyers, Ph.D.s. But there are also many highly moral uneducated people. In other words, there is no link between having a good education and being a good person. This should come as sobering news to the large number of parents who view education as the most important value in their children’s lives.

But to become a good person, modern secular education is largely irrelevant. Given the moral relativism and hostility to religious morality that characterize contemporary higher education, it is frequently a handicap.”

Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”

  1. WHITEWASHING SHEEP “The children in a prominent family decided to give their father a book of the family’s history for a birthday present. They commissioned a professional biographer to do the work, carefully warning him of the family’s “black sheep” problem: Uncle George had been executed in the electric chair for murder. The biographer assured the children, “I can handle that situation so that there will be no embarrassment. I’ll merely say that Uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution. He was attached to his position by the strongest of ties and his death came as a real shock.”

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”

  1. LAW REPLACES GOD “Because they [the left] cannot talk about a morality they no longer recognize or the need for a God they long ago rejected, they are forced to insist more laws will solve problems. When God is traded in for government, prayer gets traded in for law. The more laws there are, the better off we will be because government is our god now.

The left is incapable of solving the problems of racism and mass violence in this country because the only solution they have is more government. And more government just means more sinners in charge and more sinners is never the answer to any problem. But a left that rejects the notion of sin and human depravity is incapable of understanding that and instead lives in a self-created fantasy land where we are born gay or straight, but can [later] decide to become boys or girls. People who believe such nonsense will never be able to substantively deal with the horrors of our age.” –THE RESURGENT

  1. INVESTORS VS. CONSUMERS “Super Bowl champion coach Mike Holmgren started in the NFL as an assistant coach under Bill Walsh. One day, Holmgren was standing next to Walsh as Jerry Rice caught a crisply thrown pass from Joe Montana in a scrimmage. The defensive coverage wasn’t tight, and Rice turned the slant into a sprint up the field for a touchdown. Walsh frowned as he turned to Holmgren, who was just beginning as Montana’s tutor. “That pass is not what we want. It was too close to Jerry’s chest. It should have been six inches in front of his pads.”

From that point forward, Holmgren coached quarterbacks to a standard of accuracy similar to those of heart surgeons or NASA engineers.

In NFL facilities around the league, quarterback coaches are teaching elite quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson to throw the ball to receivers in a target diameter of one foot. This perfectly serves the receiver so that he need not stretch, bend, jump, or dive. It makes the catch easier, the run after the catch more effective, and the chance of a first down or touchdown for the team more likely. Quarterbacks should serve receivers with meticulous accuracy.

Meanwhile, in meeting rooms and throughout practices, receivers’ coaches are saying this to wide receivers: “If you can touch it, you gotta catch it.” Great receivers catch anything close to them. They make the quarterback and the team look good. Dive. Leap. Lay out. Take a hit, but catch the ball. Sacrifice.

Quarterbacks and receivers must have investor mentalities. Both groups are aiming to serve their teammates with the highest standard possible. They realize the other position is tough to play, with defenders flying all around them. They focus on the excellence they expect of themselves, not the other position.

Imagine, however, if coaches told quarterbacks to expect receivers to catch anything close, or if they told the receivers that quarterbacks should put every ball in perfect position. The expectations would switch from what they will do for their teammate to what their teammate will do for them. That’s a consumer mentality. Quarterbacks would inevitably lessen their standards of delivering easy-to-catch passes, with defenders about to crush them. Receivers would start putting out less sacrificial effort to catch any pass, especially the inaccurate ones. It would kill the teamwork—and the team.”

Excerpt From: Kemp, Jeff. “Facing the Blitz.”

  1. PC DANGER – CIRCA 1859 “Like other tyrannies, the tyranny of the majority was at first, and is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities. But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyran–society collectively, over the separate individuals who compose it–its means of tyrannizing are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practises a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development, and if possible, prevent the formation, of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own. There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism.”

Excerpt From: John Stuart Mill. “On Liberty.”

  1. PRAYER, NOT YOU “The actor Denzel Washington tells a story that illustrates this point. “I remember coming home one time and feeling full of myself and talking, ‘Did you imagine all this? I mean, I’m a STAR,’” he said. “[My mom] said, ‘First of all, you don’t know how many people been praying for you and for how long.’ . . . So then she told me to get the bucket and the squeegee and clean the windows.”

Excerpt From: Sax, Leonard. “The Collapse of Parenting.”

The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. MANY FLOOD ACCOUNTS “People who left Babel were not ignorant of their past. They were well aware of creation and the Flood, having had a common grandfather (Noah) who was a preacher (2 Peter 2:52). Furthermore, Noah and Shem lived 350 and 500 years after the Flood, giving the people ample time to learn even more details.

But with this in mind, as the events at Babel unfolded and people were scattered to various parts of the world, it is reasonable to expect them to take their history with them and pass it along to subsequent generations. It is also reasonable to expect that these accounts would be embellished, lose information, or otherwise be changed or aspects forgotten.

There are accounts of the flood from at least 23 widespread regions and cultures around the world. From example, the Babylonian account in the ancient Epic of Gilgamesh has a cube for an ark instead of proper ocean-surviving dimensions as the biblical ark has (300 by 50 by 30 cubits).”

Excerpt From: Hodge, Bodie. “Tower of Babel.”

  1. LOVE WRONG PLACES “Children and teenagers need unconditional love and acceptance today no less than they did 30 or 50 years ago. But they cannot get unconditional love and acceptance from their peers or from a report card. That’s one reason why there has been an explosion in the prevalence of anxiety and depression among American teenagers, as they frantically try to secure their attachment to other teens, as they try to gain unconditional love and acceptance from sources that are unable to provide it.

Many American parents accept this situation as an inevitable consequence of 21st-century life. But they are mistaken. This phenomenon—of kids valuing their relationships with same-age peers, or their sports, or their academics, or their after-school activities, above their relationships with parents—is far more prevalent in North America than elsewhere. Most kids in Ecuador, Argentina, and Scotland still look forward to spending free time with parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, just as American kids might have two generations ago. As one Scotsman told me, “We don’t even think much about ‘generations.’ We just all enjoy doing things together.”

Excerpt From: Sax, Leonard. “The Collapse of Parenting.”

  1. JUST DO IT “So that morning in 1962 I told myself: Let everyone else call your idea crazy . . . just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.

That’s the precocious, prescient, urgent advice I managed to give myself, out of the blue, and somehow managed to take. Half a century later, I believe it’s the best advice—maybe the only advice—any of us should ever give.”

Excerpt From: Knight, Phil. “Shoe Dog.”

  1. SMALL THINGS MATTER The professional baseball season consists of a marathon 162 games. If a team wins 10 of every 20 games, they will likely not make the postseason playoffs. If they win 11 out of 20 games, they are almost assured of making the playoffs. (Prager U)
  2. CIVIL WAR MONEY “The South’s financial strength depended on one overriding condition: that investors should be able to take physical possession of the cotton which underpinned the bonds if the South failed to make its interest payments. Collateral is, after all, only good if a creditor can get his hands on it. And that is why the fall of New Orleans in April 1862 was the real turning point in the American Civil War. With the South’s main port in Union hands, any investor who wanted to get hold of Southern cotton had to run the Union’s naval blockade not once but twice, in and out. Given the North’s growing naval power in and around the Mississippi, that was not an enticing prospect.

If the South had managed to hold on to New Orleans until the cotton harvest had been offloaded to Europe, they might have managed to sell more than £3 million of cotton bonds in London. But the cotton tap had been turned off and then lost the ability to turn it back on. By 1863 the mills in Britain had found new sources of cotton in China, Egypt and India. And now investors were rapidly losing faith in

the South’s cotton-backed bonds. The consequences for the Confederate economy were disastrous.

With its domestic bond market exhausted and only two paltry foreign loans, the Confederate government was forced to print unbacked paper dollars to pay for the war and its other expenses, 1.7 billion dollars’ worth in all. Both sides in the Civil War had to print money, it is true. But by the end of the war the Union’s ‘greenback’ dollars were still worth about 50 cents in gold, whereas the Confederacy’s ‘greybacks’ were worth just one cent. The situation was worsened by the ability of Southern states and municipalities to print paper money of their own; and by rampant forgery, since Confederate notes were crudely made and easy to copy. With ever more paper money chasing ever fewer goods, inflation exploded. Prices in the South rose by around 4,000 per cent during the Civil War. By contrast, prices in the North rose by just 60 per cent. Even before the surrender of the principal Confederate armies in April 1865, the economy of the South was collapsing, with hyperinflation as the sure harbinger of defeat.”

Excerpt From: Ferguson, Niall. “The Ascent of Money.”

  1. JESUS CONFRONTED “Jesus’ interaction with the religious experts of His time was rarely even cordial. From the time Luke first introduces us to the Pharisees in Luke 5:17 until his final mention of the “chief priests and rulers” in Luke 24:20, every time the religious elite of Israel appear as a group in Luke’s narrative, there is confflict. Often Jesus Himself deliberately provokes the hostilities. When He speaks to the religious leaders or about them—whether in public or in private—it is usually to condemn them as fools and hypocrites (Luke 11:40; 12:1; 13:15; 18:10–14). When He knows they are watching to accuse Him of breaking their artificial Sabbath restrictions or their manmade systems of ceremonial washing, He deliberately defies their rules (Luke 6:7–11; 11:37–44; 14:1–6). On one occasion, when He was expressly informed that His denunciations of the Pharisees were insulting to the lawyers (the leading Old Testament scholars and chief academicians of that time), Jesus immediately turned to the lawyers and fired off a salvo at them, too (Luke 11:45–54).”

Excerpt From: John F. MacArthur. “The Jesus You Can’t Ignore.”

  1. PROVIDENCE “We toss the word around. But have you ever analyzed it? It comes from the Latin, providentia. Pro means “before” or “ahead of time”; videntia is from videre, meaning “to see,” from which we get our word “video.” [Now that should sound familiar to everyone!] Put them together, and you have “seeing ahead of time,” which is what Almighty God does. He sees the events of life ahead of time—something which we of course can never do. We’re great at history. Our hindsight is almost always 20/20. But we’re lousy at prophecy, that is, the specifics of the future. Stop and think. We’ve no clue as to what will happen one minute from now, no idea what’s going to happen next. But our invisible God, in his providentia, is continually, constantly, and confidently at work.” Excerpt From: Charles R. Swindoll. “Esther.”

“Money may not buy friends but it will help you to stay in contact with your children.”

“As long as there are final exams there will be prayer in schools.”

“Flattery is what makes husbands of bachelors.”

“Nice thing about long range goals—you don’t get frustrated with short range failures.”

Excerpt From: Reagan, Ronald. “The Notes.”

  1. PERFECT BOOK “Acts records the history of the early church. Chapters 1–12 are quite different from chapters 13–28. The former feature Peter, and his speeches are delivered mostly to Aramaic, Hebrew-speaking Jews at a time when Christianity was still in its infancy. The latter feature Paul, and his speeches are delivered mostly to Greek-speaking Gentiles in subsequent years.

Now here’s what I find interesting: Cambridge New Testament scholar G. N. Stanton discovered that the grammar, literary style, theological motifs and emphases, tone, and use of the Old Testament are different in Acts 1–12 compared to 13– 28. Moreover, the speeches in 1–12 contain a number of Semitic phrases and other features that indicate it is a Greek translation from an early Aramaic source. This is exactly what one would expect if these narratives, particularly the speeches, were historically accurate. Why? Because Peter is the speaker in Acts 1–12 and he is allegedly addressing Jews in Aramaic, whereas Paul is the speaker in Acts 13–28 and he is addressing Gentiles in Greek. This discovery by Stanton increases our confidence in the historical reliability and early dating of the speeches in Acts 1-12.”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind.”

  1. OFFICE SEEKERS Re­spond­ing to the question, “These Are the Best We Can Do?” : Alexis de Toc­queville an­swered this ques­tion some 180 years ago in his sem­i­nal work “Democracy in Amer­ica.” “In the United States . . . the pur­suit of wealth gen­er­ally di­verts men of great tal­ents and strong pas­sions from the pur­suit of [po­lit­i­cal] power; and it fre­quently hap­pens that a man does not un­der­take to di­rect the for­tunes of the state un­til he has shown him­self in­com­pe­tent to con­duct his own. The vast num­ber of very or­di­nary men who oc­cupy pub­lic sta­tions is quite as at­tributable to these causes as to the bad choice of democ­racy. In the United States I am not sure that the peo­ple would choose men of su­pe­rior abil­i­ties even if they wished to be elected; but it is cer­tain that can­di­dates of this de­scrip­tion do not come for­ward.”

Only those elected through the cur­rent failed sys­tem have the power to change it, but hav­ing come to power through that very sys­tem, they are the least likely to do so. (WSJ 4-13-16)


The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. YOUTH “Insanity is hereditary—you get it from your children.”

“The good years—when the kids were old enough to cut the grass & too young to drive the car.”

“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from poor judgment.”

“Why can’t life’s problems hit us when we’re 18 and know everything.”

Excerpt From: Reagan, Ronald. “The Notes.”

  1. MORAL ABSOLUTES “We all know that moral absolutes exist. By a moral absolute I mean an objectively true moral prescription that, like the truths of math, science, and logic, we discover and do not invent. These prescriptions are true whether or not anyone believes them. “One ought not steal, murder, lie,” “one ought not torture little babies for the fun of it,” “one should be kind, just, and fair-minded” are examples of moral absolutes. If someone denies there are moral absolutes, claiming to subscribe to moral relativism, it is easy to show that the person is just posturing and not being honest. All you need to do is to find out what he or she deeply values, treat that issue as if it were arbitrary and relative, and you will see a absolutist come out of the closet every time!

For example, years ago I met a young man who claimed to be a relativist. After a bit of probing, I found out that he cared deeply for the environment. I then told him that I and four of my buddies had a monthly routine: We would each contribute fifty dollars to a kitty, buy a hundred gallon vat of sulfuric acid, drive to a local lake, dump in the acid, and see how many dead fish floated to the surface. The person whose guess was closest to the number of dead fish won the kitty. Well, you could see the blood vessels popping on his neck. He was enraged. I noted that from his body language, it seemed that he thought our monthly practice was, well, WRONG! This young man was a relativist in areas of his life in which relativism was convenient (for example, his sexual practices), but he was an absolutist when it came to the environment!”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind (15th anniversary repack).”

  1. PROFS NEUTRAL? Con­ser­v­a­tives have good reason to view Amer­i­can uni­ver­sities as hos­tile ter­ri­tory. The 2006 Pol­i­tics of the Amer­i­can Pro­fes­so­ri­ate sur­vey, con­ducted by the so­ci­ol­o­gists Neil Gross and Solon Sim­mons, found that 17.6% of fac­ulty in the so­cial sciences con­sider them­selves Marxists. Only 3.6% con­sider themselves con­ser­v­a­tives. The same sur­vey sug­gested that if the election of 2004 had been held ex­clusively in fac­ulty lounges, John Kerry would have won in a historic land­slide, 77.6% to 20.4%. (Wall Street Journal 4-4-16)
  2. ALLOWING KIDS CHALLENGES “Any challenge that does not defeat us ultimately strengthens us. One of the great errors in my life was sheltering so many people—including you—from life’s problems. Out of a misguided sense of concern for your well-being, I actually took away your ability to handle life’s problems by removing them from your environment.

Unfortunately, human beings cannot live in a vacuum forever. A bird must struggle in order to emerge from the eggshell. A well-meaning person might crack open the egg, releasing the baby bird. This person might walk away feeling as though he has done the bird a wonderful service when, in fact, he has left the bird in a weakened condition and unable to deal with its environment. Instead of helping the bird, the person has, in fact, destroyed it. It is only a matter of time until something in the bird’s environment attacks it, and the bird has no ability to deal with what otherwise would be a manageable problem.

If we are not allowed to deal with small problems, we will be destroyed by slightly larger ones. When we come to understand this fact, we live our lives not avoiding problems, but welcoming them as challenges that will strengthen us so that we can be victorious in the future.”

Excerpt From: Stovall, Jim. “The Ultimate Gift.”

  1. AUTHORITY VACUUM “Kids need authority in their lives. Families need authority in order to function. But when parents abdicate their authority, a vacuum results. Nature abhors a vacuum. The doctor, armed with a prescription pad, steps in, or is sucked in. Medication fills the role of governing the child’s behavior, a role that the parents ought to have filled.

For many American parents, it is now easier to administer a pill prescribed by a board-certified physician than to firmly instruct a child and impose consequences for bad behavior. That’s a shame. And that, in my view, is a major factor driving the explosion in the prescribing of these medications in the United States.”

Excerpt From: Sax, Leonard. “The Collapse of Parenting.”

  1. TAXES The first Form 1040 was written in 1912, a time when the IRS (then known as the Bureau of Internal Revenue) had fewer than 50 employees. It is alleged that Nina Wilcox Putnam, a young accountant who went on to become a successful screenwriter, composed the form that generations of taxpayers would use yearly to determine their bill. The first complete form was not approved for use until its fortieth draft and was thus dubbed the 1040. (
  2. ONE MORE DAY “Your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live.  Ask yourself,

What dreams will be left unfulfilled?

What do I wish I had finished or who do I wish I had been?

What do I wish I had done?

What did I miss?”

Excerpt From: Maurer, Tim. “Simple Money.”

  1. BEFORE-DURING JESUS “Fifty years before Jesus was born, Julius Caesar had added the whole of Gaul (modern France) to Roman territory, and he had even carried out two reconnaissances to Britain, though it was not conquered until fifteen years after Jesus’s death. The expanding empire was based upon muscle power rather than technology, thanks to about 15 million slaves, who constituted one-third of the population in the towns, and whose life was summed up by Aristotle in four words: “work, punishment, and food.” The cost of two years’ food bought a skilled slave. Though neither scientists nor technicians, the Romans were lawyers and builders. Their laws were uniform throughout the civilized world and enforced with horrific severity, the instrument of justice being the crucifix on which malefactors were nailed and left to die. The Romans made superb roads, and they had discovered the virtues of cement, which, when mixed with agglomerates, constituted concrete. The Roman Empire was built on concrete: it enabled the Romans to create immense aqueducts to bring fresh water to their cities, as well as to erect huge public buildings. Rome had not produced a culture as splendid as that of Greece. Most of the statues which adorned its cities were copies of Greek models, and it had nothing so fine as the Athens Parthenon to show. But the Forum in Rome was already spectacular in its grandeur, and the city’s Pantheon, being built in Jesus’s lifetime, was revolutionary in its enclosure of vast space. Rome had a growing literature, too. Its national poet, Virgil, died fifteen years before Jesus was born, and its greatest lyricist, Horace, four years before. But Ovid, its love poet, was still alive, aged thirty-nine in 4 BC. Livy completed his great history of Rome when Jesus was a teenager. Seneca, a dramatist and philosopher, was born in the same year as Jesus.”

Excerpt From: Johnson, Paul. “Jesus.”

  1. BEING “LIKED” Jesus said they should be particularly worried “when all men shall speak well of you!” (Like. 6:26) It meant there was something fundamentally false about what they were doing, or saying, or thinking.

This was tough teaching, hard to follow, and entirely new. It had no equivalent in the Old Testament or any of the pious wisdom literature of the ancient Near East.”

Excerpt From: Johnson, Paul. “Jesus.”

  1. BEING “LIKED” “A man who has no enemies must not be a very good man.”

– Antonin Scalia









The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. SLEEP “I started reading the research on the relationship between sleep deprivation and obesity about 10 years ago. At first the idea that sleeping less would cause you to gain weight didn’t make any sense to me. If you are sleeping less, then presumably you are more active because you are doing something. You aren’t sleeping. And almost any activity burns more calories than sleeping does. But it turns out that if kids or grown-ups are sleep-deprived, the hormones that regulate appetite get messed up, which confuses our brains in all kinds of bad ways. Your brain starts to say, I’m so tired, I deserve some potato chips / ice cream / candy / cookies / cake / and I need them right NOW.”

Excerpt From: Sax, Leonard. “The Collapse of Parenting.”

  1. WRITE IT “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

— B. Franklin

  1. YOUR TEAM UNLUCKY? “Psychologists have found that people too often attribute success to skill and failure to luck, a bias called self-attribution. We brag about the three stocks we bought that hit it big but dismiss as bad luck the seven that plummeted. We applaud our quick reflexes and driving skills when avoiding a gaping pothole, but when we hit it squarely, we curse the weather, other drivers, and the city (everyone but ourselves). In many aspects of life, we are quick to claim success and reluctant to admit failure. We do the same thing for our favorite team.”

Excerpt From: Tobias Moskowitz & L. Jon Wertheim. “Scorecasting.”

  1. GOOD PARENTING FOR COACH K “I knew I wanted to coach,” Krzyzewski said. “I can’t honestly remember not wanting to coach. I knew I wasn’t a good enough player to play pro ball, but I did think I could teach and I could lead and it was something I wanted to do. But when Coach Knight came to the house and talked about West Point and having a guaranteed job in the army for four years, my attitude was, ‘No way do I want to be in the army.’ ”

His parents felt differently. They thought the chance to go to college for free and then serve your country was about as good as it could possibly get for a teenager whose major aptitude seemed to be for playing a game.

“They would talk in the kitchen after dinner every night,” Krzyzewski remembered. “They knew I was in the next room listening. They would talk in Polish, but there are no words in Polish for ‘stupid’ or ‘dumb.’ I would hear a lot of Polish and then, ‘Mike—stupid’ or ‘Mike—dumb.’ It went on like that for a few nights. The message was clear: they couldn’t believe they had raised a son so stupid and so dumb that he didn’t want to go to a great college and be in the army. Nothing would make them more proud. Where could they have gone wrong?”

Krzyzewski laughed at the memory. “Nowadays, when I hear people say their child has to make up his or her own mind about where to go to college I say, ‘No, that’s wrong.’ If you know things your child doesn’t because you’re older and smarter, you owe it to them to let them know how you feel. If my parents hadn’t done that, I have no idea how my life would have turned out—but it wouldn’t have been like this.

“I knew exactly what they were doing—but it worked anyway. I finally got angry and I stalked in one night and said, ‘Okay, okay, I’ll go. If that’s what you want, I’ll go!’ They just looked at me, smiled, and said, ‘Good decision.’ ”

Excerpt From: Feinstein, John. “The Legends Club.”

  1. DIVERSITY? “Ac­cord­ing to data com-piled by the Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Re­search In­sti­tute, only 12% of uni­ver­sity fac­ulty iden­tify as po­lit­i­cally right of cen­ter, and these are mainly pro­fes­sors in schools of en­gi­neer­ing and other pro­fes­sional schools. Only 5% of pro­fes­sors in the hu­man­i­ties and so­cial-sci­ence de­part­ments so iden­tify. A com­pre­hen­sive study by James Lind­gren of North­west-ern Uni­ver­sity Law School shows that in a coun­try fairly evenly di­vided be­tween De­mocrats and Re­pub­li­cans, only 13% of law pro­fes­sors iden­tify as Re­pub­li­can. And a re­cent study by Jonathan Haidt of New York Uni­ver­sity showed that 96% of so­cial psy­chol­o­gists iden­tify as left of cen­ter, 3.7% as centrist/mod­er­ate and only 0.03% as right of cen­ter. (WSJ 4-1-16)
  2. FINE TUNING! “If the Earth took more than twenty-four hours to rotate, temperatures on our planet would be too extreme between sunrise and sunset. If the rotation of the Earth were slightly shorter, wind would move at a dangerous velocity. If the oxygen level on our planet were slightly less, we would suffocate; if it were slightly more, spontaneous fires would erupt.”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind (15th anniversary repack).”

  1. RULE OF LAW? “America is a nation of judges and lawyers more than it is a nation of laws.” –Dennis Prager
  2. LIFE-LONG LEARNING “I believe the reason a graduation ceremony is called a commencement is because the process of learning begins—or commences—at that point. The schooling that went before simply provided the tools and the framework for the real lessons to come.”

Excerpt From: Stovall, Jim. “The Ultimate Gift.”

  1. GOALS “How would you like a job where, if you made a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?” – Hockey goalie
  2. MONEY: GOOD OR BAD? “By the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress and within five years of retirement, an estimated 60% of former NBA players are broke.

Rock stars, actors and actresses, lottery winners? The numbers are all similar. The National Endowment for Financial Education estimates that 70 percent of people who suddenly receive life-changing money are separated from it within three years.

Deeming money “good” personifies it, and the people in our lives simply can’t compete with our relationship with an inanimate object that silently promises to make all of our dreams come true.

Those who think money is inherently bad tend to manage it poorly, straining relationships. Those who “love money” and think it is inherently good tend to strain relationships, deprioritizing the people in their lives. And, by the way, straining relationships also tends to cost money—half of your money, typically.

Meanwhile, those who view money as a neutral tool tend to employ and attract it most effectively.”

Excerpt From: Maurer, Tim. “Simple Money.”

The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon


“You know why it’s called horse sense—they don’t bet on people.”

“Ask an atheist who’s just had a great meal if he believes there’s a cook.”

“A protest march is like a tantrum only better organized.”

“Beware of those who fall at your feet. They may be reaching for the corner of the rug.”

“Some people want to check govt. spending and some people want to spend govt. checks.”

Excerpt From: Reagan, Ronald. “The Notes.”

  1. “PROGRESS” “In the lexicon of American advertising, “new” is practically a synonym for “improved.”

Celebration of the new over the old easily translates into celebration of the young over the old, of young people over old people. The cult of youth, the celebration of youth for youth’s sake, is more pervasive in the United States than in any other country I have visited. In American cities, I often see billboards promoting plastic surgeons who promise to make you look younger. I have rarely seen such billboards in the United Kingdom or Germany or Switzerland.

When the culture values youth over maturity, the authority of parents is undermined. Young people easily overestimate the importance of youth culture and underestimate the culture of earlier generations. “Why should we have to read Shakespeare?” is a common refrain I hear from American students. “He is so totally irrelevant to, like, everything.

[Modern] “Progress” means, in the final analysis, taking away from man what ennobles him in order to sell him cheaply what debases him.”

Excerpt From: Sax, Leonard. “The Collapse of Parenting.”

  1. THAT’S RANDOM “Why do we attribute so much importance to “sports momentum” when it’s mostly fiction? Psychology offers an explanation. People tend to ascribe patterns to events. We don’t like mystery. We want to be able to explain what we’re seeing. Randomness and luck resist explanation. We’re uneasy concluding that “stuff happens” even when it might be the best explanation.

What’s more, many of us don’t have a firm grasp of the laws of chance. A classic example: On the first day of class, a math professor asks his students to go home, flip a coin 200 times, and record the sequence of heads and tails. He then warns, “Don’t fake the data, because I’ll know.” Invariably some students choose to fake flipping the coin and make up the results. The professor then amazes the class by identifying the fakers. How? Because those faking the data will record lots of alternations between heads and tails and include no long streaks of one or the other in the erroneous belief that this looks “more random.” Their sequence will resemble this: HTHTHHTHTTHTHT.

But in a truly random sequence of 200 coin tosses, a run of six or seven straight heads or tails is extremely likely: HTTTTTHHTTTHHHHHH.

Counterintuitive? Most of us think the probability of getting six heads or tails in a row is really remote. That’s true if we flip the coin only 6 times, but it’s not true if we flip it 200 times. The chances of flipping 10 heads in a row when you flip the coin only 10 times are very low, about 1 in 1,024. Flip the coin 710 times and the chances of seeing at least one run of 10 straight heads is 50 percent, or one in two.” Excerpt From: Tobias Moskowitz & L. Jon Wertheim. “Scorecasting.”

  1. DO MORE “Go the extra mile. It is not crowded.” — Unknown

975. THAT’S EASY! “In the Moscow circus a beautiful woman lion tamer would have a fierce lion come to her meekly, put his paws around her and nuzzle her with affection. The crowd thundered its approval. All except an Armenian who declared, “What’s so great about that? Anybody can do that.” The ringmaster challenged him, “Would you like to try it?” The Armenian’s reply came back: “Yes, but first get that lion out of there.”

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”

  1. “Great things never came from comfort zones.” — Unknown
  2. FORGIVENESS NOW POSSIBLE In anguish over the ravages of civil war, President Abraham Lincoln declared a National Fast Day on March 30, 1863:

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

Excerpt From: Lee, Richard. “In God We Still Trust: A 365-Day Devotional.”

  1. GOD AND NAZIS “How can I believe in God after the Holocaust?”

“God permitted the Nazis to murder six million Jews because it is a fundamental tenet of Judaism that God gives people moral freedom. Human beings are as free to build gas chambers as they are to build hospitals.

God constructed a world in which people choose to do good or evil. To construct one in which people could do only good, God would have to destroy the world in which we now live and create something entirely different.

We live in a world in which people can do unbelievably beautiful or unbelievably horrible things to other people. And if those horrible acts argue against the existence of God, then the beautiful acts must argue for God’s existence.

If one is to abandon faith in anything after the Holocaust, it would be far more rational to abandon faith in the inherent goodness of mankind. To abandon faith in God while retaining faith in humanity may be emotionally satisfying, but it is not logically compelling. God never built a gas chamber, and He has told us not to. Humans who loathed this God built the gas chambers—to destroy the people who revealed this God to mankind.”

Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”

  1. LENDER OR BORROWER? “Borrowers were expected to pay interest (a concept which was probably derived from the natural increase of a herd of livestock), at rates that were often as high as 20 per cent. Mathematical exercises from the reign of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) suggest that something like compound interest could be charged on long-term loans. But the foundation on which all of this rested was the underlying credibility of a borrower’s promise to repay. (It is no coincidence that in English the root of ‘credit’ is credo, the Latin for ‘I believe’.)”                                                                                                                                                                                        Excerpt From: Ferguson, Niall. “The Ascent of Money.”
  2. A BETTER MOUSETRAP  “An irreducibly complex system is a system containing several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to its basic function, and where the loss of any single part causes the system to cease functioning. A simple illustration of an irreducibly complex system — a common mousetrap.

The mousetrap that one buys at the hardware store generally has a wooden platform to which all the other parts are attached. It also has a spring with extended ends, one of which presses against the platform, the other against a metal part called the hammer, which actually does the job of squashing the mouse. When one presses the hammer down, it has to be stabilized in that position until the mouse comes along, and that is the job of the holding bar. The end of the holding bar itself has to be stabilized, so it is placed into a metal piece called the catch.

If one piece of the trap is missing, then it won’t perform at all.

Here’s the problem: according to Darwin, each piece of the mousetrap must be useful in and of itself in performing its function. If the purpose of a mousetrap is to catch mice, then what good is a block of wood (platform) or an isolated spring?

This same line of thinking concerning the mousetrap can be applied to the eye. What good is a retina by itself? Or, ocular muscles without a lens? As an irreducibly complex system, the eye must come as a package deal or it wouldn’t be useful. Yet, according to Darwin the eye could not come as a package. If it did, it would violate the very criteria he established for his theory (that living structures had to be capable of evolving in small incremental steps; Darwin said that if a big jump in evolution occurred such that a complex structure “came as a package,” that would be evidence of a miraculous act of the Deity).”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind (15th anniversary repack).”


The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. CONSISTENCY “A resident in a seaside hotel breakfast room called over the head waiter one morning and said, “I want two boiled eggs, one of them so undercooked it’s runny, and the other so overcooked, it’s about as easy to eat as rubber; also grilled bacon that has been left on the plate to get cold; burnt toast that crumbles away as soon as you touch it with a knife; butter straight from the deep-freeze so that it’s impossible to spread; and a pot of very weak coffee, lukewarm.”

“That’s a complicated order, sir,” said the bewildered waiter. “It might be a bit difficult.”

The guest replied, “Oh, but that’s what you gave me yesterday!”

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”

  1. PARENT AUTHORITY “The most popular TV shows of the 1960s through the 1980s consistently depicted the parent as the reliable and trusted guide of the child. That was true of The Andy Griffith Show in the 1960s; it was true of Family Ties in the 1980s. But it’s not true today. Looking through the list of the 150 most popular TV shows on American television right now, I did not find one that depicts a parent as consistently reliable and trustworthy.

It’s tough to be a parent in a culture that constantly undermines parental authority. Two generations ago, American parents and teachers had much greater authority. In that era, American parents and teachers taught right and wrong in no uncertain terms. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love your neighbor as yourself. Those were commands, not suggestions.

Today, most American parents and teachers no longer act with such authority. They do not command. Instead they ask, “How would you feel if someone did that to you?” The command has been replaced by a question.”

Excerpt From: Sax, Leonard. “The Collapse of Parenting.”

  1. POPULISM From a May 26, 1792, let­ter from U.S. Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Alexan­der Hamil­ton to Vir­ginia of­fi­cial Ed­ward Car­ring­ton:

“On the whole, the only en­emy which Re­pub­li­can­ism has to fear in this Coun­try is in the Spirit of fac­tion and an­ar­chy. If this will not per­mit the ends of Gov­ernment to be at­tained un­der it—if it en­gen­ders dis­or­ders in the com­mu­nity, all reg­u­lar & or­derly minds will wish for change—and the dem­a­gogues who have produced the dis­or­der will make it for their own ag­gran­dize­ment. This is the old Story.

If I were dis­posed to pro­mote Monar­chy and over­throw the State Gov­ern­ments, I would mount the hobby horse of pop­u­lar­ity—I would cry out usurpa­tion—danger to lib­erty etc. etc.—I would en­deavor to pros­trate the National Gov­ern­ment—raise a ferment—and then “ride in the Whirl­wind and di­rect the Storm.”

Wall Street Journal 3-9-16

  1. PEERS “The more uncertain people are—and the higher the stakes involved—the more vulnerable they are to the sort of cue taking that leads to herd behavior. That’s why teenagers are presumably more likely to succumb to peer pressure than adults. They have less experience to draw upon when evaluating the pros and cons of conforming, and the stakes are higher.”

Excerpt From: Belsky, Gary. “Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them.”

  1. TYRANTS “It is in con­nec­tion with the de­lib­er­ate ef­fort of the skill­ful dem­a­gogue to weld to­gether a closely co­her­ent and ho­mo­geneous body of sup­port­ers that the third and per­haps most impor­tant neg­a­tive ele­ment of selec­tion en­ters. It seems to be al­most a law of hu­man na­ture that it is eas­ier for peo­ple to agree on a neg­a­tive pro­gram—on the ha­tred of an en­emy, on the envy of those bet­ter off—than on any pos­i­tive task. The con­trast be­tween the “we” and the “they,” the com­mon fight against those out­side the group, seems to be an es­sen­tial ingredient in any creed which will solidly knit to­gether a group for com­mon ac­tion. It is con­sequently al­ways em­ployed by those who seek, not merely support of a pol­icy, but the un­reserved al­le­giance of huge masses. From their point of view it has the great ad­van­tage of leav­ing them greater free­dom of ac­tion than al­most any pos­i­tive pro­gram. The en­emy, whether he be in­ter­nal, like the “Jew” or the “ku­lak,” or ex­ter­nal, seems to be an in­dis­pens­able req­ui­site in the army of a to­tal­i­tar­ian leader.”

— Friedrich Hayek, “The Road to Serf­dom” (1944)

  1. MARCH MADNESS “Sports gamblers are fooled by momentum. Colin Camerer, a Caltech professor of behavioral economics, found that winning and losing streaks affected point spreads. Bets placed on teams with winning streaks were more likely to lose, and bets placed on teams with losing streaks were more likely to pay off. In other words, gamblers systematically overvalued teams with winning streaks and undervalued those with losing streaks.

Excerpt From: Tobias Moskowitz & L. Jon Wertheim. “Scorecasting.”

  1. BIBLE VOTER’S GUIDE For whom should you vote? Read Psalm 15.

— Dave Berry

  1. WONDERFULLY MADE “Human eyes are composed of more than two million working parts and can, under the right conditions, discern the light of a candle at a distance of fourteen miles. The human ear can discriminate among some 400,000 different sounds within a span of about ten octaves and can make the subtle distinction between music played by a violin or viola. The human heart pumps roughly one million barrels of blood during a normal lifetime, which would fill more than three super tankers.”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind (15th anniversary repack).”


– 42% of college grads never read another book after college.

– 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.

– Reading one hour per day in your chosen field will make you an international expert in 7 years. (

  1. ALL THERE IS? “Those who believe that this life is the only reality are likely to be led to one or more of three negative conclusions about life:

1: Hedonism, If this life is all one has, then it is quite logical to live a life devoted to self-gratification.

2: Utopianism. Idealistic people who believe that this life is all there is reject hedonism. But they may embrace a far more dangerous ideology—utopianism, the desire to make heaven on earth. Hence the attraction of utopianism to so many twentieth-century radicals who have rejected Judaism and Christianity.

In light of the hells on earth that secular Utopians have produced, it is clear just how important the deferring of Utopia to a future world is. Had people like the Bolsheviks and millions of other secular radicals not tried to create heaven on earth, they would not have created hell here.

3: Despair. In light of the great physical and emotional pain that so many people experience, what is more likely to induce despondency than believing that this life is all there is? The malaise felt by so many people living in modern Western society is not traceable to material deprivation but, at least in part, to the despair induced by secularism and its belief that this world is all there is. That is why peasants with religious faith are probably happier than affluent people who have no faith (and why more affluent secularists, not the poor, are generally the ones who start radical revolutions).”

Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”

The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. 951. POTENTIAL Out in West Texas there is an old place called the Yates Pool. During the Great Depression there was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Mr. Yates. He wasn’t able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch. With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on government subsidy.Day after day, as he grazed his sheep in West Texas, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills. Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract. At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day. Mr. Yates owned it all. The day he purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he’d been living on relief.  He was a future multi-millionaire living in poverty.  The problem?  He didn’t know the oil was there even though he owned it.The same can be said for those who “sit” on their talents and thus their potential to be successful in all facets of life. “Dig deep” to get the most out of your talents.

-C. Seidman

  1. OUR KIDS: GO OR SEND?  “Go” kind of means you just leave, you’re untethered, you break away from the moorings and just float around out there. Gilman football guys, we don’t go. We’re sent. Being sent has a whole different connotation. ‘Sent’ means you’ve got support. ‘Sent’ means you’ve got a home. ‘Sent’ means you have a purpose. ‘Sent’ means you can always come back. Being sent means people love you. It means you go out like a warrior because you’ve got something to do. And when you get it done, you come back to your home people because they’re all there waiting for you. It’s a sense of community and connectivity.”

Excerpt From: Marx, Jeffrey. “Season of Life.”

  1. LEAP! Even though the standard calendar year is 365 days, the Earth actually takes 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds to go completely around the sun. (This is called a solar year.) In order to keep the calendar cycle synchronized with the seasons, one extra day is (usually) added every four years as February 29th. The Julian calendar (established by Julius Caesar in 46 BCE) introduced the Egyptian solar calendar to the Roman world, standardized the 365-day year, and created the predecessor to our current leap year. February 29th was not reflected on the Julian calendar, rather February 23 was repeated every four years. You may be asking, “The solar year is not a full 365 days and 6 hours, so what about those extra 11 minutes and 14 seconds?” An additional calendar reformation in the 1500s added a special rule to adjust for this discrepancy. In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII created a slightly modified calendar to better account for leap days. Called the Gregorian calendar, this new system said that no century year (like 1900) would be a leap year except for centuries divisible by 400 (like 2000).


  1. TRUTH OR LIE “One way to distinguish truth from all its counterfeits is by its modesty: truth demands only to be heard among others while its counterfeits demand that others be silenced.” –Sydney Harris
  2. REAL VIRTUE “Loving means to love that which is unlovable or it is not virtue at all; forgiving means to pardon the unpardonable or it is no virtue at all; faith means believing in the unbelievable or it is no virtue at all. And to hope means hoping when things are hopeless or it is no virtue at all.” — G.K. Chesterton
  3. NOTHING MORE THAN FEELINGS  “Our secular age has raised a generation that believes that feelings should be the primary guide to one’s behavior. That is why, in the relatively rare instances that secular schools have decided to make values a part of their curriculum, they never actually teach values. Rather they have offered courses in “values clarification,” which consist of students sitting around clarifying their feelings about stealing, looting, etc. The substitution of feelings for standards also explains why so many people (not only students) would not save a human stranger before their dog whom they love.

Thank God my son answered, “Because it’s against the Ten Commandments.” If all our children did, we could look to the future with far greater optimism. I would like all young people to think that stealing is wrong. But I would sooner trust those who also believe that God thinks it is wrong.”

Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”

  1. NO RESPECT “With regard to parents and children: the authority of parents, and, even more significantly, the importance of parents, in the lives of their children has declined substantially.

More than 50 years ago, Johns Hopkins sociologist James Coleman asked American teenagers this question: “Let’s say that you had always wanted to belong to a particular club in school, and then finally you were asked to join. But then you found out that your parents didn’t approve of the group.” Would you still join? In that era, the majority of American teenagers responded No. They would not join the club if their parents did not approve. In that era, for most kids, the opinion of parents mattered more than the good regard of same-age peers.”

Excerpt From: Sax, Leonard. “The Collapse of Parenting.”

  1. FREEDOM “As Montesquieu and Tocqueville both pointed out, freedom may be maintained at the level of the Constitution but still be lost at the level of the citizens.

Liberty is therefore a marathon and not a sprint, and the task of freedom requires vigilance and perseverance if freedom is to be sustained. If the revolution’s winning of freedom was a matter of eight years and the Constitution’s ordering of freedom was completed in thirteen years, the challenge of sustaining freedom is the task of centuries and countless generations, including our own.”

Excerpt From: Guinness, Os. “A Free People’s Suicide.”

  1. INVESTIGATE GOD “If your [investigation] fails to turn up any evidence of God, then your quest hasn’t lost much of anything and you have proven your open-mindedness. On the other hand, if you do experience an increased sense of the reality of God and the power of faith in God, you’ll have gained a relationship and dimension to life that changes everything on your journey.”

Excerpt From: Kemp, Jeff. “Facing the Blitz.”

  1. TIME “Time is too slow for those who wait. Too swift for those who fear. Too long for those who grieve. Too short for those who rejoice. But for those who love – time is eternity.”

— Poet Henry van Dyke



The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. CHRISTIAN REASON “The God of the Bible requires teachers who diligently study His Word and handle it accurately (compare 2 Timothy 2:15 and 1 Timothy 4:15-16). He demands of His evangelists that they give rational justification to questioners who ask them why they believe as they do (1 Peter 3:15). On one occasion His chief apostle, Paul, emphasized that his gospel preaching was by way of “words of sober truth” (Acts 26:25, nasb) when Festus charged that his great learning was driving him mad (Acts 26:24). No anti-intellectualism here! By contrast, the monistic religions of the East promote gurus who offer koans, paradoxes like the sound of one hand clapping, upon which to meditate in order to free the devotee from dependence on reason and enable him to escape the laws of logic. The Buddhist is to leave his mind behind, but the Christian God requires transformation by way of the mind’s renewal (Romans 12:1-2).

Is it any wonder that we Christians started the first universities and have planted schools and colleges everywhere our missionaries have gone? Is it any wonder that science began in Christian Europe because of the belief that the same rational God who made the human mind also created the world so the mind would be suited to discern the world’s rational structure placed there by God?”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind.”

  1. STORMS “The difference between the wise and foolish builder isn’t that one has storms and the other doesn’t. They both have storms.

The difference between the wise and foolish builder isn’t that one knows the words of Jesus and the other doesn’t. They both hear His words.

The difference between the wise and foolish builder isn’t that one is a church member and the other isn’t.

The difference between the wise and foolish builder isn’t that one has correct doctrine and the other doesn’t.

Be wise.”

The difference between the wise and foolish builder is that one hears and practices the words of Jesus while the other only hears.

— Chris Seidman, The Branch Church

  1. STRESS “What kinds of pressures can trigger overwhelming stress? The greatest stressors of life have been enumerated in a life-events monitoring list known as the Holmes-Rahe Social Readjustment Scale. The stressful events include, in descending order of impact on the individual, the following: death of a spouse; divorce; separation from a living partner; a jail term; death of a close family member; a serious personal injury; being fired from a job; and retirement. Also, marriage and menopause may be included toward the top of this list.”

Excerpt From: Kenneth Cooper, M.D., MPH & Tyler Cooper, M.D., MPH. “Start Strong, Finish Strong.”

  1. SELF-MADE MAN “A man brought his boss home for dinner for the first time. The boss was very blustery, very arrogant, very dominating! The little boy in the family stared at his father’s boss for most of the evening, but did not say anything. Finally, the boss asked the little boy, “Why do you keep looking at me like that, Sonny?” The little boy answered, “My daddy says you are a self-made man.” The boss beamed and proudly admitted that indeed he was a self-made man. The little boy said, “Well, if you are a self-made man, why did you make yourself like that?”

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”


“In any contest between power and patience, bet on patience.”


“Patience is the ability to put up with people you’d like to put down.”


“Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead.”


“There’s a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot.”


“Regardless of how much patience we have, we would prefer never to use any of it.”


  1. EDUCATION “A study of twenty-four leaders of the Einsatzgruppen (the mobile killing units that murdered more than a million and a half Jews prior to the use of gas chambers) indicated that the majority were highly educated professionals: “One of the most striking things … is the prevalence of educated people, professionals, especially lawyers, Ph.D.s …”

But there are also many highly moral uneducated people. In other words, there is no link between having a good education and being a good person. This should come as sobering news to the large number of parents who view education as the most important value in their children’s lives. But to become a good person, modern secular education is largely irrelevant. Given the moral relativism and hostility to religious morality that characterize contemporary higher education, it is frequently a handicap.”

Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”

  1. REGRET “To the extent that decisions to act—decisions to change the status quo—impart a higher level of responsibility than decisions to do nothing, people are averse to sticking their necks out and setting themselves up for feelings of regret.

“Regret aversion” is at the root of costly conventional wisdom among test takers: the idea that you shouldn’t change a doubted answer because your first instinct is usually correct. That’s what 75 percent of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign thought a few years back …. [But they] examined the test results of those students and found that when they changed an answer, it was more often than not the smart move: Half the time the first answer was wrong and the second answer was correct, and in only 25 percent of switches did students go from correct to wrong answer. So why do most people think changing is bad? Related experiments showed that students felt the pain of switching to a wrong answer more than answering incorrectly and staying put. Such “counterfactual thinking”–aka “if only…” thinking—is more memorable for most people than a successful answer change, and thus a major contributor to regret aversion. But you heard it here first: When in doubt, change your answer.”

Excerpt From: Belsky, Gary. “Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them.”

  1. INFLUENCES “Just as you have a familial genealogy, you also have a genealogy of ideas. You don’t get to pick your family, but you can pick your teachers and you can pick your friends and you can pick the music you listen to and you can pick the books you read and you can pick the movies you see.

You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences. The German writer Goethe said, “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” Excerpt From: Kleon, Austin. “Steal Like an Artist.”

949. LOVE “Real love for people is a decision, a choice. It shapes our feelings but doesn’t depend on them. It chooses to value and add value to another person simply because of his or her intrinsic worth as a human being. It desires the best and does what is best for another person, even when that person is neither lovable nor demonstrating merit to be loved. It’s not conditional; it’s relational. It’s not about taking, but giving. It’s not about consuming from others for our benefit, but investing in them for their benefit. Finding and adopting this value system is essential for overcoming every blitz you will ever face.”

Excerpt From: Kemp, Jeff. “Facing the Blitz.”

  1. USE OBSCURITY “Most of the world doesn’t necessarily care about what you think. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. As the writer Steven Pressfield says, “It’s not that people are mean or cruel, they’re just busy.”

This is actually a good thing, because you want attention only after you’re doing really good work. There’s no pressure when you’re unknown. You can do what you want. Experiment. Do things just for the fun of it. When you’re unknown, there’s nothing to distract you from getting better. No public image to manage. No huge paycheck on the line. No stockholders. No e-mails from your agent. No hangers-on.

You’ll never get that freedom back again once people start paying you attention, and especially not once they start paying you money.”

Excerpt From: Kleon, Austin. “Steal Like an Artist.”

The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. FREEDOM “Freedom was traditionally understood as the power to do what one ought to do. According to the modern view, the good life is the satisfaction of any pleasure or desire that someone freely and autonomously chooses for himself or herself. The successful person is the individual who has a life of pleasure and can obtain enough consumer goods to satisfy his or her desires. Freedom is the right to do what I want, not the power to do what I by nature ought to. Community gives way to individualism with the result that narcissism — an inordinate sense of self-love and self-centered involvement — is an accurate description of many people’s lives. If I am free to create my own moral universe and version of the good life, and there is no right or wrong answer to what I should create, then morality — indeed, everything — ultimately exists to make me happy. When a person considers abortion or physician-assisted suicide, the person’s individual rights are all that matter. Questions about virtue or one’s duty to the broader community simply do not arise.”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind.”

  1. REVOLUTIONS “Successful revolutions inevitably create a vacuum into which can flow a hundred forces lethal to the ideals for which the revolution was fought. Revolutions may exorcise a haunted house, only to open the door to seven demons worse than the first.

The French, Russian and Chinese revolutions are cautionary examples of this truth. Far from ordering freedom—or equality, fraternity, a classless society or any of the shining visions for which they fought—they spiraled down to demonic disorder and tyranny—often far worse than any evil they replaced.”

Excerpt From: Guinness, Os. “A Free People’s Suicide.”


“It takes years and years to become an overnight success.”

“Christ did not come to tell God about us.  He came to tell us about God. Christ is the visible image of an invisible God.”

“We leave God because we think the only way to party is without Him. Yet God throws a party for us when we return.”

“Even though we don’t have God’s heart, He has a heart for us.”

  1. COMPLAINT DEPT “The Lord created the world in six days and rested on the seventh.

On the eighth day, he started to answer complaints.”

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”

  1. SHEEPLE “Because of the mindlessness of our culture, people do not persuade others of their views (religious or otherwise) on the basis of argument and reason, but rather, by expressing emotional rhetoric and politically correct buzzwords. Reason has given way to rhetoric, evidence to emotion, substance to slogan, the speech writer to the makeup man, and rational authority (the right to command compliance and to be believed) to social power (the ability to coerce compliance and outward conformance). The way we reach decisions today, the manner in which we dialogue about issues, and the political correctness we see all around us are dehumanizing expressions of the anti-intellectualism in modern society when it comes to broad worldview issues. Rhetoric without reason, persuasion without argument are manipulation. Might — it is wrongly believed — makes right.”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind”

  1. BEAUTY “To the Greeks, the beautiful was holy, and to the Jews the holy was beautiful.” That is why the Greeks, for all their magnificent artistic and philosophical achievements—and we owe the Greeks an enormous debt—could abandon ugly and sick infants to die on hilltops. They deemed beauty more important than morality—or, more accurately, beauty was a form of morality.

One of the Holocaust’s most important lessons is that the most cultured nation in Europe produced the death camps and gas chambers.”

Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”

  1. MONDAYS “Within one hour of experiencing negative, stress-related emotions—such as tension, sadness, or frustration—patients in a study had two to three times the risk of silent heart attacks (myocardial ischemia) compared with those who did not experience stressful emotions.

Interestingly, Monday is generally considered a highly stressful day because it involves getting back into the routine of work after a relaxing weekend. In fact, a number of studies have established a link with stress, showing that more heart attacks occur on Monday.”

Excerpt From: Kenneth Cooper, M.D., MPH & Tyler Cooper, M.D., MPH. “Start Strong, Finish Strong.”

  1. TRICKY “Clever eBay sellers typically start bidding at a much lower price than they expect items to fetch. This increases the number of bidders, making the item look popular. And it boosts the number of people who will at some point be the high bidder, and thus for a while feel like an item is theirs—which will make them bid longer.”

Excerpt From: Belsky, Gary. “Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them.”

  1. TWO-FACED In response to Stephen Douglas’s charge that he is “two-faced,” Abraham Lincoln replied, “If I had two faces do you think I would wear this one?”
  2. FAST CHRISTIANITY “A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.

The tragic results of this spirit are all about us. Shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit: these and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.”

Excerpt From: A. W. Tozer. “The Pursuit of God.”

  1. LEADERS “When bull elephants fight, the grass always loses.” – African proverb.


The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. EVOLUTION IN SCHOOLS “This is the State of California’s guidelines for teaching evolution in the public schools. You can pick this up in any elementary, junior high, or high school principal’s office anywhere in the state of California. Here is what it says:

“At times, some students may insist that certain conclusions of science cannot be true because of certain religious or philosophical beliefs they hold. It is appropriate, if that happens, for the teacher to express the following: “I understand you may have personal reservations about accepting the scientific evidence, but it is scientific knowledge about which there is no reasonable doubt amongst scientists in their field, and it is my responsibility to teach it because it is part of our common intellectual heritage.”

When the average Christian reads this, he or she walks away thinking that the primary matter of concern is the statement about creation and evolution. However, the key issue is not about creation/evolution. It is about the view of knowledge, specifically, the limitation of knowledge to the hard sciences.

Observe the descriptors used of science: “scientific evidence,” “scientific knowledge,” “no reasonable doubt,” “common intellectual heritage.”

Contrast these descriptors with the descriptors used for a religious claim: “personal reservation,” “beliefs they hold.” It is easy to see the difference between the way science is being conveyed here as a source of knowledge, and Christianity and religious claims, which are a source of “personal reservation,” “personal feeling.”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind.”

  1. FREEDOM “Of all times, times of dominance are the most dangerous in which to be complacent about freedom, for in the life cycle of great powers only one thing finally follows dominance: decline. Dominance eventually leads to decline as surely as day ends in night. Thus dominance is precisely the time to think through whether a free people can remain free forever, why the founding generation dared to believe in such a history-defying feat and what the present generation is doing today to ensure that they play their part in this magnificent venture.

There are three tasks in establishing a free society that hopes to remain free—winning freedom, ordering freedom and sustaining freedom—and each was a prominent consideration to the American founders. Yet such a simple statement is beguiling, and masks a myriad of deeper issues, beginning with the sad fact that as time goes by, free people take freedom more and more for granted. Then, as they progress from the first task to the second and third, they increasingly relax, even though the last task raises the stiffest challenge of all, a challenge that stares every generation of free people in the eye: Are we sustaining the freedom of which we are fortunate to be heirs?”

Excerpt From: Guinness, Os. “A Free People’s Suicide.”

  1. REALITY “We habitually think of the visible world as real and doubt the reality of any other. We do not deny the existence of the spiritual world but we doubt that it is real in the accepted meaning of the word.

The world of sense intrudes upon our attention day and night for the whole of our lifetime. It is clamorous, insistent and self-demonstrating. It does not appeal to our faith; it is here, assaulting our five senses, demanding to be accepted as real and final. But sin has so clouded the lenses of our hearts that we cannot see that other reality, the City of God, shining around us. The world of sense triumphs. The visible becomes the enemy of the invisible; the temporal, of the eternal. That is the curse inherited by every member of Adam’s tragic race.

At the root of the Christian life lies belief in the invisible. The object of the Christian’s faith is unseen reality.

We must shift our interest from the seen to the unseen.

Excerpt From: A. W. Tozer. “The Pursuit of God.”

  1. STILL NEARER “To speak of being near to or far from God is to use language in a sense always understood when applied to our ordinary human relationships. A man may say, “I feel that my son is coming nearer to me as he gets older,” and yet that son has lived by his father’s side since he was born and has never been away from home more than a day or so in his entire life. What then can the father mean? Obviously he is speaking of experience . He means that the boy is coming to know him more intimately and with deeper understanding, that the barriers of thought and feeling between the two are disappearing, that father and son are becoming more closely united in mind and heart.

Why do some persons “find” God in a way that others do not? Why does God manifest His Presence to some and let multitudes of others struggle along in the half-light of imperfect Christian experience? Of course the will of God is the same for all. He has no favorites within His household. All He has ever done for any of His children He will do for all of His children. The difference lies not with God but with us.”

Excerpt From: A. W. Tozer. “The Pursuit of God.”

  1. BOW “It’s in the context of pressure and adversity that we can learn to rely on God. When we are weak in the knees, it’s an invitation to get on our knees and tap into a strength beyond ourselves.” –C. Seidman
  2. ADMIT MISTAKES “Nikita Khrushchev and President Kennedy were having a vigorous exchange of strong opinions. Finally, Kennedy asked Khrushchev, “Do you ever admit a mistake?” The Soviet Premier responded, “Certainly I do. In a speech before the Twentieth Party Congress, I admitted all of Stalin’s mistakes.”

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”

  1. “ICING ON THE KICK”? “Simply put, we found that icing (calling a timeout out just before the kick) made no difference whatsoever to the success of those kicks. NFL kickers being iced are successful from the same distance at exactly the same rate as kickers who are not iced.”

Excerpt From: Tobias Moskowitz & L. Jon Wertheim. “Scorecasting.”

  1. JUSTICE “I have never understood how a good secular individual can avoid debilitating despair. To care about goodness, yet to witness the unbearable torments of the good and the innocent, and to see many of the evil go unpunished—all the while believing that this life is all there is, that we are alone in a universe that hears no child’s cry and sees no person’s tears—has to be a recipe for despair. I would be overwhelmed with sadness if I did not believe that there is a good God who somehow—in this life or an afterlife—ensures that justice prevails.”

Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”

  1. CUP OF JOE! “A 2005 report by Austrian researchers revealed that the caffeine in coffee, tea, certain soft drinks, and chocolate stimulates areas of the brain that control short-term memory and attention. The functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans done on patients in this study showed that two cups of coffee increased activity in the memory and attention-controlling areas of the brain. The participants in the study also improved their performance in remembering a sequence of letters after they consumed 100 milligrams of caffeine (the equivalent of about one cup of coffee).

Recent scientific research has also suggested that coffee may be healthy in other ways, which we might not have expected. For example, a 2005 investigation in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that habitual coffee consumption is associated with a “substantially lower risk of type 2 diabetes”—i.e., the “adult onset” type of the disease. Other studies have shown that coffee drinking may decrease the risk of cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

There are also investigations indicating that the risk of cardiovascular disease decreases with coffee consumption. Research involving evaluation of more than 27,000 women, age fifty-five to sixty-nine, reported that women who drank one to three cups of coffee per day enjoyed a 24 percent reduction in their risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with noncoffee drinkers.”

Excerpt From: Kenneth Cooper, M.D., MPH & Tyler Cooper, M.D., MPH. “Start Strong, Finish Strong.”

  1. OUR BODIES “Your bodies are a part of Christ’s purchase, as well as your souls (1 Corinthians 6:19). They are committed to the charge and tutelage of angels (Hebrews 1:14), who have performed many services for them. They are dedicated by yourselves to the Lord, and that upon the highest account (Romans 12:1). They have already been the subjects of many mercies in this world (Psalm 35:10), and shall partake of singular glory and happiness in the world to come (Philippians 3:21). And shall they not then be employed, yea, cheerfully worn out, in His service? How reasonable it is they should be so! Why are they so tenderly preserved by God, if they must not be used for God?”

Excerpt From: Flavel, John. “The Mystery of Providence.”


The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. TOLERANCE  “Traditionally, tolerance of other viewpoints meant that even though I think those viewpoints are dead wrong and will argue against them fervently, nevertheless, I will defend your right to argue your own case. Just as importantly, I will treat you with respect as an image bearer of God, even though your views are abhorrent to me.

Tolerance has come to mean that no one is right and no one is wrong and, indeed, the very act of stating that someone else’s views are immoral or incorrect is now taken to be intolerant (of course, from this same point of view, it is all right to be intolerant of those who hold to objectively true moral or religious positions). Once the existence of knowable truth in religion and ethics is denied, authority (the right to be believed and obeyed) gives way to power (the ability to force compliance), reason gives way to rhetoric, the speech writer is replaced by the makeup man, and spirited but civil debate in the culture wars is replaced by politically correct special-interest groups who have nothing left but political coercion to enforce their views on others. While the Christian faith clearly teaches that believers are to be involved as good citizens in the state, nevertheless, it is obvious why so many secularists are addicted to politics today because political power is a surrogate for a Higher Power. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, once God died in Western culture — that is, once the concept of God no longer informed the major idea-generating centers of society turned secular — there would be turmoil and horrible secular wars unchecked by traditional morality because the state would come to be a surrogate god for many.”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind.”

  1. NATIONAL SUICIDE “History shows that all great nations commit suicide.” –Arnold Toynbee

“If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” — Abraham Lincoln

“There is no question about the earlier menace of the Nazis and Communists, and now Islamic extremists, but in the end the ultimate threat to the American republic will be Americans. The problem is not wolves at the door but termites in the floor. Powerful free people die only by their own hand, and free people have no one to blame but themselves. What the world seems fascinated to watch but powerless to stop is the spectacle of a free people’s suicide.”

Excerpt From: Guinness, Os. “A Free People’s Suicide.”

  1. HEALTH FACTORS “We’ve long known that the four most important things that accelerate aging are inactivity, obesity, cigarette smoking, and stress. But if we had to pick one of these four as the “first great health sin among equals,” inactivity would be it. In fact, research that has emerged from research centers in recent years has confirmed this unexpected truth: it’s better to be fat and fit, rather than skinny and unfit. It’s also better to be a cigarette smoker and fit than a nonsmoker and unfit.”

Excerpt From: Kenneth Cooper, M.D., MPH & Tyler Cooper, M.D., MPH. “Start Strong, Finish Strong.”

  1. FOREVER “We can exaggerate about many things; but we can never exaggerate our obligation to Jesus, or the compassionate abundance of the love of Jesus to us. All our lives long we might talk of Jesus, and yet we should never come to an end of the sweet things that might be said of Him. Eternity will not be long enough to learn all He is, or to praise Him for all He has done, but then, that matters not; for we shall be always with Him, and we desire nothing more.”

Excerpt From: A. W. Tozer. “The Pursuit of God.”

  1. REFEREE BIAS? “Psychology finds that social influence is a powerful force that can affect human behavior and decisions without the subjects even being aware of it. Psychologists call this influence conformity because it causes the subject’s opinion to conform to a group’s opinion. This influence can come from social pressure or from an ambiguous situation in which someone seeks information from a group.

When humans are faced with enormous pressure—say, making a crucial call with a rabid crowd yelling, taunting, and chanting a few feet away—it is natural to want to alleviate that pressure. By making snap-judgment calls in favor of the home team, referees, whether they consciously appreciate it or not, are relieving some of that stress.

If beliefs are being changed by the environment, as psychology shows, referees aren’t necessarily consciously favoring the home team but are doing what they believe is right. It’s just that their perceptions have been altered. In trying to make the right call, they are conforming to a larger group’s opinion, swayed by tens of thousands of people witnessing the exact same play they did.”

Excerpt From: Tobias Moskowitz & L. Jon Wertheim. “Scorecasting.”

  1. MORAL JUDGMENT “One reason many people don’t concern themselves with issues of good and evil is that the moment you take ethical issues seriously, you must begin to make moral judgments—both of yourself and of others. This has two unpleasant consequences: subjecting yourself to constant moral scrutiny and publicly opposing other peoples immoral behavior.

Since making moral judgments means that some people will hate you and fight you and that others will pass judgment on you, it is much easier not to make moral judgments.

Many people do not preoccupy themselves with moral issues because doing so forces them to confront evil. Once you judge a person, government, group, or action as evil, you have to do something about it or live with a guilty conscience. Neither is a pleasant prospect. Confronting evil is unpleasant and possibly dangerous; and a guilty conscience is a source of misery.”

Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”

  1. PICTURE OF GOD ““A little boy was working hard on a drawing and his daddy asked him what he was doing. The son replied, “Drawing a picture of God.” His daddy said, “You can’t do that, honey. Nobody knows what God looks like.” But the little boy was undeterred and continued to draw, looked at his picture with satisfaction and said very matter-of-factly, “They will in a few minutes.”

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”


“Well begun is half done.”

“We are what we repeatedly do.”


“There are some battles you can win, but it is not wise to fight the.  There are other battles you can’t win, and you fight anyway.” –Unknown

“Our life’s journey is about direction – not perfection.”

— C. Seidman

  1. “Tal­ent hits a tar­get no one else can hit. Ge­nius hits a tar­get no one else can see.”

— Schopen­hauer

  1. HABITS “Sow a Thought, and you reap an Act;

Sow an Act, and you reap a Habit;

Sow a Habit, and you reap a Character;

Sow a Character, and you reap a Destiny.”

— Unknown


The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. THE GOOD LIFE “Another modern trend is a change in what we mean by “the good life.” From Old Testament times and ancient Greece until this century, the good life was widely understood to mean a life of intellectual and moral virtue. The good life is the life of ideal human functioning according to the nature that God Himself gave to us. According to this view, prior to Creation God had in mind an ideal blueprint of human nature from which He created each and every human being. Happiness (Greek: eudaimonia) was understood as a life of virtue, and the successful person was one who knew how to live life well according to what we are by nature due to the creative design of God.

When the Declaration of Independence says we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them the right to pursue happiness, it is referring to virtue and character. So understood, happiness involves suffering, endurance, and patience because these are important means to becoming a good person who lives the good life.”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind.”

  1. STAR-SPANGLED IRONY “Americans today speak endlessly about sustainable growth, sustainable development, a sustainable future and the “conservation” or “ecology” of this, that and the other. And after the Minneapolis bridge collapse in 2007, they talk of the threat of the decaying infrastructure that supports America’s aging roads and bridges. But amazingly few pay serious attention to notions such as sustainable freedom, the ecology and conservation of liberty, the infrastructure of America’s foundations of freedom—or to the idea that freedom itself requires a living system of immunity if it is to stay healthy. This carelessness may prove lethal.”

Excerpt From: Guinness, Os. “A Free People’s Suicide.”

  1. NO COMMON COLDS “Exercisers report fewer upper respiratory tract infections, such as colds. Also, regular walkers experience about half as many days of upper respiratory tract infections as sedentary groups. Furthermore, near-daily physical activities reduce the number of work days lost to sickness.

In contrast, competitive athletes who engage in vigorous but irregular athletic events, such as marathons, tend to have an increased risk of those upper respiratory infections if they exercise to the point of chronic fatigue. The keys to maximizing your immune response with exercise, then, appears to be moderation and regularity.”

Excerpt From: Kenneth Cooper, M.D., MPH & Tyler Cooper, M.D., MPH. “Start Strong, Finish Strong.”

  1. NO CHANGE “He is immutable , which means that He has never changed and can never change in any smallest measure. To change He would need to go from better to worse or from worse to better. He cannot do either, for being perfect He cannot become more perfect, and if He were to become less perfect He would be less than God.”

Excerpt From: A. W. Tozer. “The Pursuit of God.”

  1. INCENTIVES “The difference between two otherwise comparable players, one hitting .299 and the other .300, can be as high as 2 percent of salary, or, given the average Major League salary, $130,000. (Note that though the average MLB salary is $3.4 million, it’s closer to $6.5 million for players batting in the .300 range.) All for .001 of a batter’s average, one extra hit in 1,000 at-bats.

Given the stakes, hitting .300 is, not surprisingly, a goal of paramount importance among players. How do we know this? Pope and Simonsohn looked at hitters batting .299 on the final day of each season from 1975 to 2009. One hit and the players could vault above the .300 mark. With a walk, however, they wouldn’t be credited with an at-bat or a hit, so their averages wouldn’t budge. What did these .299 hitters do? They swung away—wildly.”

Excerpt From: Tobias Moskowitz & L. Jon Wertheim. “Scorecasting.”

  1. SECULARISM “It never ceases to amaze me how modern western secularists are doing all in their power to purge Christianity from the public life. They’re sawing off the branch they’re sitting on.” — Chuck Colson
  2. WISDOM “Wisdom is a particular attitude toward reality, a worldview. That worldview assumes that the one God embedded truth within all reality.”

— James L. Crenshaw

  1. POVERTY AND CRIME RELATED? “The very same people who most argue that poverty causes crime usually believe that the affluent are particularly greedy and corrupt. [But] crime was extremely low during the Great Depression, when a far larger percentage of Americans were unemployed and experiencing great poverty.

Until “Poverty causes crime” is regarded as a foolish and dangerous belief, there is no hope for the regeneration of American society. As long as prominent politicians, intellectuals, and media leaders continue to believe that economics determines whether people act decently, society will continue to ignore what most determines whether people will hurt other people: values.

It will take a long time for this lie to be rejected because the human desire to reject the primacy of values is deep. The reason? As soon as we hold values responsible for human conduct, we must hold people, ourselves included, responsible for the bad that we do.”

Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”

  1. MORAL TEACHING Commenting on a tragic school shooting in l998, Chuck Colson said:

“What’s happening to our children? The first thing we must understand is that only a biblical worldview of human nature can make sense of these murders. The Bible makes two things clear about humanity. First, we are created in the imago Dei, the image of God, and knowledge of right and wrong is implanted on the human heart. But we’re also warned that we live in a fallen world—and that the human heart is desperately wicked. These two facts require any civilized society to make the moral training of its young its number one priority. . . . The great criminologist James Q. Wilson says all of his studies have led to the same conclusion: Crime begins when children are not given adequate moral training, when they do not develop internal restraints on impulsive behavior.”

Excerpt From: Metaxas, Eric. “Seven Men.”

  1. JESUS LOVES US “Jesus loves us as we are, but He loves us too much to allow us to stay that way.” — C. Seidman





The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. KNOWLEDGE “If knowledge and reason are identical with what can be tested scientifically or with scientific theories that a majority of scientists believes to be correct, then religion and ethics will no longer be viewed as true, rational domains of discourse because, supposedly, religious or ethical claims are not scientifically testable. This line of thought has led to several trends in society whose combined influence is to hinder ideal human flourishing as God intended it to be. It is similar to the sort of cultural milieu that spawned Stalinism in the Soviet Union and Nazism in pre-World War II Germany, with all of their attendant evils and tragic loss of human life and dignity. As G. K. Chesterton bemoaned, once people stop believing in God, the problem is not that they will believe nothing; rather, the problem is that they will believe anything. This is just what we are seeing happen in our secular culture bereft of the presence of an engaged, articulate evangelical community.”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind (15th anniversary repack).”

  1. JUST DO IT “40 percent of the people who die from heart disease have no history of heart problems. So what’s the best health strategy to help you guard against this danger? A complete preventive-medical exam.”

Excerpt From: Kenneth Cooper, M.D., MPH & Tyler Cooper, M.D., MPH. “Start Strong, Finish Strong.”

  1. EXPLAIN “The believer in God has to explain just one thing – why pain and suffering exist [free choice]. But the atheist has to explain everything else.” –Dennis Prager
  2. FREEDOM “Freedom can no more take a holiday from history than from gravity, and the plain fact is that it is harder to be free than not to be free, for freedom’s fire has not only to be lit once but must be kindled and rekindled all over again in each succeeding generation. How else are we to understand the fact that freedom never lasts and that freedom always becomes the greatest enemy to freedom?

Hubris is not simply arrogance but presumption born of the illusion of invulnerability. That is why nations at the height of their power and prosperity are especially deaf to warnings. But what an irony if the descendants of the American founders, who dared to think that a free people could become free, live free and for all time remain free, should abandon their founders’ provisions and condemn America to be one of the shorter-lived great powers in history—a world empire measured in decades rather than centuries.”

Excerpt From: Guinness, Os. “A Free People’s Suicide.”

  1. DEATH “Bonhoeffer really believed that obeying God—even unto death—was the only way to live. And it was the only way to defeat evil. In his famous book The Cost of Discipleship, he wrote: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” This was the life of faith in the God of the Scriptures. To accept the God of the Scriptures is to die to self, to embrace his eternal life in place of our own, and to henceforth banish all fear of death. For Bonhoeffer, this was the only way to live.”

Excerpt From: Metaxas, Eric. “Seven Men.”

  1. FREEDOM “Rightly understood and followed, God’s commandments bring believers great joy and freedom, not a sense of oppression.”

Excerpt From: Crossway. “ESV Study Bible.”

  1. LAW’S PURPOSE “We are in bondage to the law in order that we might be free.” –Cicero
  2. JOY = Jesus Over You (C. Seidman)
  3. XMAS EVE “On Christmas Eve a pastor was talking with a woman after the service. She told her pastor that earlier that evening she met a bearded fellow carrying a large sack over his back.

The pastor told the woman that he did not like the emphasis on Santa Claus.

She explained, “It was my son home from college.”

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”

  1. LUKE 2 Perhaps the most read passage in the Bible today will be Luke chapter 2. It simple most popular and detailed version of the events pertaining to the birth of Christ.  Luke contains more details regarding the lineage, birth and early years of Jesus than any of the other Gospels. In fact, Jesus’ family line is documented all the way back to Adam.

Luke also wrote the book of Acts, and the two books are often considered together as one continuous passage.

Luke was not one of the original 12 apostles, and he was a Gentile.

Excerpt From: Christopher D. Hudson. “NIV, Fast Facts Bible, eBook.”


The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. LIFE’S SPAN “The [young person] hopes to live a long time, the [older person] has already done so. I already have memories, years, and life at a mature stage – all concrete things. The young only have hope for these things. But my God, what does “a long time” mean? The longest lifetime, I suppose, we take from Methuselah in the Bible. Wasn’t he supposed to have lived 969 years? But for me, any time which has a definite end to it (as life does) does not seem long-lasting, and once your end has arrived, then your past time disappears, leaving behind only your virtue and the good things you have done. These things are long-lasting; the span of your life is not. The hours, the days, months, even years pass. Past time never returns and we can’t know what future time will bring. Time is not the important thing of life. We must take as enough whatever amount of time we are given for living.  To give a good performance, an actor does not have to appear in the last part of the movie: he can earn good reviews from what he does in any part of it. And neither must life be drawn out until some venerable time for the final curtain. A short time of life is enough to live well and honorably. If you do live longer, don’t complain; farmers don’t complain when the pleasantness of spring has passed, and summer and fall arrive. Spring is the time of growth, indicating the crops to come; the other seasons are designed for harvesting and gathering in the crops.”

Excerpt From: Marcus Tullius Cicero, Lance Rossi & Richard Gerberding. “How To Be Old.”

  1. MONEY CONFUSION “Another source of confusion in discussions of peoples’ economic differences is a failure to distinguish income from wealth.

At a practical level, raising income tax rates to make “the rich” pay their undefined “fair share” is an exercise in futility, since income taxes do not touch wealth. It is a tax on people who may be trying to accumulate wealth, but people who already have accumulations of wealth, either personally earned or from inheritance, are exempt.

Praise for billionaires who say that they are in favor of higher income tax rates is completely misplaced, when those higher tax rates will not touch their billions, even if such tax rate increases are a serious burden to other people, who are trying to get ahead and accumulate something to leave for their families after they are gone.” Excerpt From: Sowell, Thomas. “Wealth, Poverty and Politics.”

  1. EXERCISE “As exercise is combined with peaceful inner thoughts, including steady repetition of a word or phrase that is rooted into your deepest passions and motivations, the pull toward the exercise gets even stronger.

Medical research has established that exercise itself raises levels of biochemicals and hormones “known to serve synaptic plasticity and learning.”

So if you work out regularly, you can expect the connections in your brain to improve and your ability to learn to expand.”

Excerpt From: Kenneth Cooper, M.D., MPH & Tyler Cooper, M.D., MPH. “Start Strong, Finish Strong.”

  1. SECULAR WEST “No martyr’s blood is shed in the secular west. So long as the church knows her place and remains quietly at peace on her modern reservation. Let the babes pray and sing and read their Bibles, continuing steadfastly in their intellectual retardation; the church’s extinction will not come by sword or pillory, but by the quiet death of irrelevance. But let the church step off the reservation, let her penetrate once more the culture of the day and the … face of secularism will change from a benign smile to a savage snarl.”

Excerpt From: Moreland, J.P. “Love Your God with All Your Mind (15th anniversary repack).”


“The Lepers [Luke 17] were healed ON THE WAY to see the priests – NOT BEFORE they left. CHANGE HAPPENS as you go along.”

“God doesn’t promise us tomorrow. But He does promise us eternity.”

  1. LAWS DON’T CHANGE “Once a law is on the statute books it is well nigh impossible to get it repealed. Indeed, that is the whole point of having law: it should not be easy to ignore or get round.

A contemporary example of the irreversibility of a law once it has been passed is given by the landmark Roe v. Wade 1973 ruling, legalizing abortion in the United States. The name Jane Roe is a pseudonym given for her protection, but it is now well known that she is Norma McCorvey. She became a Christian twenty years later and changed her mind about abortion. But she could not get the law reversed, even though she had been the one in whose name it was drawn up.

What happened to Daniel shows us that, in the hands of unscrupulous men, what should be a strength of the law can become a weakness. It alerts us once more to the core message of the dream [of Nebuchadnezzar] – no human system of governance is perfect.”

Excerpt From: John C. Lennox. “Against the Flow.”

  1. PROVISION “But my God shall supply all your need’ (Philippians 4:19), and this has exactly suited the wishes of the best and wisest men, who desired no more at His hand. Wise Providence considers our condition as pilgrims and strangers, and so allots the provision that is needful for our passage home. It knows the mischievous influence of fullness and excess upon most men, though sanctified, and how apt it is to make them remiss and forgetful of God so that their heart, like the moon, suffers an eclipse when it is at the full.”

Excerpt From: Flavel, John. “The Mystery of Providence.”

  1. “Between visible and invisible anguish, the visible nearly always wins, even when the invisible suffering is far greater. Whenever I see a crowd of candle-holders standing vigil outside a prison where a murderer is about to be executed, I wonder why these people never do the same at the home of the murdered persons family. And then I realize that one reason is that the murder victim is invisible—as was the murder itself—while the murderer and his execution are visible. Excerpt From: Prager, Dennis. “Think a Second Time.”
  2. “Satan seeks to interrupt our prayers. Our battle with prayer is not entirely our fault. The devil knows the stories; he witnessed the angel in Peter’s cell and the revival in Jerusalem. He knows what happens when we pray. “Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places” (2 Cor. 10:4).

Satan is not troubled when we write books or prepare sermons, but his knobby knees tremble when we pray. Satan does not stutter or stumble when you walk through church doors or attend committee meetings. Demons aren’t flustered when you read this book. But the walls of hell shake when one person with an honest heart and faithful confession says, “Oh, God, how great thou art.”

Satan keeps you and me from prayer. He tries to position himself between us and God. But he scampers like a spooked dog when we move forward. So let’s do.

“Humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” (James 4:7–8

“The LORD is close to everyone who prays to him,

to all who truly pray to him.” (Ps. 145:18)

Excerpt From: Lucado, Max. “Outlive Your Life.”

  1. A CAUSE “When I die, when I’m lying on my deathbed, what am I thinking?” Joe said. “Well, I’d like to be thinking that I’ve accomplished something during my time here. You know, I didn’t die with the most toys. I didn’t die with the most money. But I left something behind me. I had a cause. And my children, I know that they all learned the importance of having a cause.”

Excerpt From: Marx, Jeffrey. “Season of Life.”


The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background

The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. TRUST & MONEY “While trust permits many mutually beneficial forms of cooperation, trust without trustworthiness is a formula for disaster. The level of honesty in a given society limits the radius of trust in that society, and this can have an economic impact that outweighs many tangible advantages of a given society. The Soviet Union, for example, was one of the most richly endowed nations on earth, if not the most richly endowed, in natural resources. Yet, the standard of living of the Russian people was significantly lower than that in Western Europe, the United States or Japan—even though Japan is one of the most poorly endowed nations when it comes to natural resources.

The cost of corruption in an economy does not consist solely, or even primarily, of the bribes paid, the money stolen or the goods pilfered. The main costs consist of the things that are not done—the businesses that are not started, the investments that are not made and the loans that are not granted, because the rate of return on such economic activities would have to be much higher to make such activities worthwhile in a very corrupt economy than in an economy in which the risks of being deprived of the fruits of one’s efforts were much lower.”

Excerpt From: Sowell, Thomas. “Wealth, Poverty and Politics.”

  1. MANMADE? Two scientists excitedly exclaimed to God, “We can make a man now. We don’t need you anymore God. We can make one just like you did!”

“Oh really”, said God.  ” Show me more.”

“Ok. Well first, we take some dirt….”

God interrupts, “No, no… I’m afraid you’ll have to get your own dirt.”

–C. Seidman

  1. GAMBLERS “Gamblers often up their bets when luck isn’t going their way; they’re willing to take a bigger risk to avoid losing money. IN the same way, stock prices bounce up and down more drastically during falling markets than during rising ones: If you’re a stock trader who’s lost a lot, the temptation to gamble big in the hopes of recouping money is very powerful.”

Excerpt From: Belsky, Gary. “Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them.”

  1. PIZZA, PIZZA Once asked into how many slices he wanted his pizza cut. Yogi Berra said, “Better make it four; I’m not hungry enough to eat eight.”
  2. WORD COUNT “A study found that American children in families where the parents are in professional occupations hear 2,100 words an hour, on average. Children whose parents are working class hear an average of 1,200 words an hour—and children whose family is on welfare hear 600 words an hour.13 What this means is that, over the years, a ten-year-old child from a family on welfare will have heard not quite as many words at home as a three-year-old child whose parents are professionals.

It is painful to contemplate what that means cumulatively over the years, as poor children are handicapped from their earliest childhood. It is not just in the quantity of words they hear that they are handicapped. They are also handicapped in both the quantity and the quality of their parents. Only 9 percent of American women with college degrees who gave birth in 2013 were unmarried. But 61 percent of women who were high school dropouts and gave birth that year were unmarried.”

Excerpt From: Sowell, Thomas. “Wealth, Poverty and Politics.”

  1. ALL BELONGS TO GOD “God let Abraham go through with it up to the point where He knew there would be no retreat, and then forbade him to lay a hand upon the boy. He said in effect, “It’s all right, Abraham. I never intended that you should actually slay the lad. I only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart that I might reign unchallenged there. I wanted to correct the perversion that existed in your love. Now you may have the boy, sound and well. Take him and go back to your tent. Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.”

We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.

Our gifts and talents should also be turned over to Him. They should be recognized for what they are, God’s loan to us, and should never be considered in any sense our own. We have no more right to claim credit for special abilities than for blue eyes or strong muscles. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?”

Excerpt From: A. W. Tozer. “The Pursuit of God.”

  1. TRUTH? “A woman and her husband were invited to her rich aunt’s home for dinner. The wife insisted that the husband treat the aunt politely. Her dessert was an original recipe. It was terrible. The husband responded, “I must say this is the best cake I have ever tasted.”

On the way home his wife told him that she had not meant that he had to lie to her aunt.

The husband replied, “I told the truth; I said, I must say this is the best cake I ever tasted.”

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”

  1. GOSPEL MOVEMENT Launched by business leaders:


Four FISHERMEN from Galilee.


A TENT MAKER from Tarsus.

A PHYSICIAN from Troas.

From: The Masters Program

  1. HISTORICAL BLUNDER “The worst political blunder in the history of civilization was probably the decision of the emperor of China in the year 1433 to stop exploring the oceans and to destroy the ships capable of exploration and the written records of their voyages. The decision was the result of powerful people pursuing partisan squabbles and neglecting the long-range interests of the empire. This is a disease to which governments of all kinds, including democracies, are fatally susceptible.”–Freeman Dyson
  2. PRESENT FUTURE “We worry about the future at the expense of the present.” –Cicero