The Wisdom Chronicle

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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. CHOICES “We [generally] have 100% control of our choices; we have no control of the consequences of our choices.” –Nick Sabin
  2. HUMAN ANIMALS? “The Bible insists that human beings are unique, since they are made in the image of God. To use biblical terminology, God is spirit (John 4:24); human beings are part spirit and part flesh; animals are flesh.

Princeton bio-ethicist Peter Singer vehemently disagrees, and he traces many of our contemporary problems in practical ethics to the biblical view that human beings are a special creation. Singer writes:

“Whatever the future holds, it is likely to prove impossible to restore in full the sanctity-of-life view. The philosophical foundations of this view have been knocked asunder. We can no longer base our ethics on the idea that human beings are a special form of creation made in the image of God, singled out from all other animals, and alone possessing an immortal soul. Our better understanding of our own nature has bridged the gulf that was once thought to lie between ourselves and other species, so why should we believe that the mere fact that a being is a member of the species Homo Sapiens endows its life with some unique, almost infinite value?

There is no reason to think that a fish suffers less when dying in a net than a foetus suffers during an abortion, hence the argument for not eating fish is much stronger than the argument against abortion. (1995, page 209.) The life of a newborn baby is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog or a chimpanzee. (1979, pages 112–13.)”

On closer inspection Singer’s view rests on a profound misunderstanding of biblical teaching. He imagines that God made humans to be arbiters of everything so that they can do what they like, including the exploitation of animals. However, this is not the biblical view. Human beings, made in the image of God, are answerable to God as stewards – even for their attitude to animals and their use of the earth.”

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

  1. MASKS “Jesus never spoke to anyone else with such intensity. But when he saw the religious hypocrite, he flipped on the spotlight and exposed every self-righteous mole and pimple. “They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men” (Matt. 6:5).

This is the working definition of hypocrisy: “to be seen by men.” The Greek word for hypocrite, hupokrites, originally meant “actor.” First-century actors wore masks. A hypocrite, then, is one who puts on a mask, a false face.

Jesus did not say, “Do not do good works.” Nor did he instruct, “Do not let your works be seen.” We must do good works, and some works, such as benevolence or teaching, must be seen in order to have an impact. So let’s be clear. To do a good thing is a good thing. To do good to be seen is not. In fact, to do good to be seen is a serious offense. Here’s why.

Hypocrisy turns people away from God.”

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

  1. KIDS’ FEELINGS “Many parents have come to value their children’s feelings over their behavior.

How the child feels should be important to the child, to the parents, and to a handful of others. But to the rest of the world’s more than five billion people, the only thing that matters is how the child acts.

To be a good person, self-control is infinitely more important than self-esteem. The child-rearing expert John Rosemond has coined the term “Vitamin N” to describe parents saying no at appropriate times. Our children’s characters need Vitamin N as much as their bodies need Vitamin C, and as much as their psyches need self-esteem.

Many parents are more interested in being loved than in being responsible parents. But just as it is impossible to be an effective leader if you are afraid of being disliked, you cannot be an effective parent if you need never to be disliked.”

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

  1. LEARNING “I never let my schooling interfere with my education.” –Mark Twain 1920. MERCY “It is a greater mercy to descend from praying parents than from the loins of nobles.” –John Flavel 1921. EAR VS. EYE “The Hebrew Bible was profoundly aware of the eye’s superficiality. “Do not go astray following your heart and your eyes,” it warned, because they “cause you to prostitute yourselves.” This is why graven images were forbidden in the Ten Commandments. The Bible trusts only the ear: “Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone”—hear, not see.

That is why radio is far more capable of supporting sustained thought. The ear can be satisfied by thought, but the eye cannot be. Thoughts do not intrigue the eye.”

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

  1. COMFORT “A hospital administrator was startled to see a patient fleeing down the hall out of the operating room, his loose hospital gown flapping in the breeze behind him. He stopped the patient and said, “Do you mind telling me why you ran away from the operating room?” The patient looked at him with startled eyes and said, “It was because of what the nurse said.” The administrator said, “Oh, what did she say?” “She said, ‘Be brave! An appendectomy is quite simple.’” The administrator said, “Well, so what? It is quite simple. I would think that would comfort you.” The patient said, “The nurse wasn’t talking to me; she was talking to the doctor.” Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking”
  2. PUNISHMENT “Augustine: ‘If no sin were punished here, no Providence would be believed; and if every sin should be punished here, no judgment would be expected.”

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

  1. TEN COMMANDMENTS “If we get the first commandment right, all the others have a way of falling into place. This is true for the first four, those that define our relationship with God, that is, the vertical ones. Getting the first commandment right also helps our relationships with others, which are addressed in the horizontal commandments, or the last six. When we give the Lord priority in our lives, we will not have difficulty with stealing or lying or adultery or any of the others.”

Excerpt From: O. S. Hawkins. “The Joshua Code.”

  1. TECHNO-WORLDVIEW “Being connected meets a core spiritual need to connect with a force greater than themselves and they believe the Internet is the fount of all truth. Searching the Internet for personal answers, direction, and worth has increasingly supplanted seeking God’s input through prayer. The high priests are the technology, which facilitates transactions with a power greater than themselves. They don’t get ideas from acknowledged leaders or chief proponents who represented those ideas, as people would have done in Bible times or many of us did in our youth. Rather, they’re being led by and taught by their technology to believe that a way to transcend the everyday machinations of life is to simply login.”

Excerpt From: Koch, Kathy. “Screens and Teens.”

  1. PUTTING “Professional golfers are so concerned with a loss that they are more aggressive in avoiding a bogey than they are in scoring a birdie. Dangle the “bonus” of a birdie—the gain of a stroke—and it’s all well and good. Says Pope, “It’s as if they say, Let’s get this close to the hole and see what happens.” But threatened with the “deduction” of a bogey—the loss of a stroke—they summon their best effort. “They’re telling themselves,” says Pope, “This one I gotta make.”

When professional golfers missed their putts for a birdie, they tended to leave the ball disproportionately short rather than long. This was evidence of their conservative approach. They were content to set up an easy par by leaving it short and not risk overshooting, which might leave a more difficult putt for par. When the same putts for par were missed, it wasn’t because they fell short.”

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

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