Ted Engstrom insightfully
writes:
Cripple him, and
you have a Sir Walter Scott. Lock him in a prison cell, and you have a John
Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington.
Raise him in abject poverty and you have an Abraham Lincoln. Strike him down
with infantile paralysis, and he becomes Franklin Roosevelt. Burn him so severely
that the doctors say he’ll never walk again, and you have a Glenn Cunningham
– who set the world’s one-mile record in 1934. Deafen him and you have a Ludwig
van Beethoven. Have him or her born black in a society filled with racial discrimination,
and you have a Booker T. Washington, a Marian Anderson, a George Washington
Carver…Call him a slow learner, “retarded,” and write him off
as uneducable, and you have an Albert Einstein.

As one man summed
it up: life is about 20% in what happens to us and 80% in the way we respond
to the events.

_____________________________

Sermons Illustrated

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The company of
the discouraged is a very noble company. Not too long ago, the Hayden Planetarium
in New York City issued an invitation to all those who were interested in applying
to be a part of the crew on the first journey to another planet. Eighteen thousand
people applied. They gave the applications to a panel of psychologists, who
examined them thoroughly and came to the conclusion that in the vast majority
of incidents, those who applied did so because they were discouraged with their
lives here and hoped they could find a new life somewhere else.

 
– Bruce Thielemann,
“Dealing with Discouragement,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 48. Cited
in Leadership Weekly newsletter, 7/22/03

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Monday is a hard way to spend one-seventh of your life.

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Satan’s Discouragement

There’s an old fable that says the Devil once held a sale and offered all the tools of his trade to anyone who would pay their price. They were spread out on the table and each one labeled. Hatred, malice, envy, despair, sickness, sensuality – all the weapons that everyone knows so well. But off to one side lay a harmless looking wood-shaped instrument marked “discouragement.” It was old and worn looking but it was priced far about the rest. When asked the reason why, the Devil replied, “Because I can use this one so much more easily than the others. No one knows that it belongs to me, so with it I can open doors that are tightly bolted against the others. Once I get inside I can use any tool that suits me best.”

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In 1835 a man visited a doctor in Florence, Italy. He was filled with anxiety and exhausted from lack of sleep. He couldn’t eat, and he avoided his friends. The doctor examined him and found that he was in prime physical condition. Concluding that his patient needed to have a good time, the physician told him about a circus in town and its star performer, a clown named Grimaldi. Night after night he had the people rolling in the aisles. “You must go and see him,” the doctor advised. “Grimaldi is the world’s funniest clown. He’ll make you laugh and cure your sadness.” “No,” replied the despairing man, “he can’t help me. You see, I am Grimaldi!”

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Charles Spurgeon looked back upon dark hours in his own life and said:

I bear willing witness that I owe more to the fire, and the hammer, and the file, than to anything else in my Lord’s workshop. I sometimes question whether I have ever learned anything except through the rod. When my schoolroom is darkened, I see most.

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