ConGRADulations! [v102]

AUGUST 2007

ConGRADulations!:

High school and college grads…you’ve FINALLY made it (including my daughter Arielle)—school is a ‘memory’! You’ve closed one ‘chapter’ of your life and are beginning to ‘write’ a new one. You’re excited and hopeful on one hand, and scared and unsure on the other—all at the same time!

Perhaps you’re wondering, “What do I do now?” “Where do I do from here?” “Am I really prepared for what’s coming? “Is there an ‘instruction manual’ for life?”

Well, what I’ve found, life is one of those “continuing education” programs—we never stop learning and we’ll never have it all ‘figured out’.

But, there are some ‘PRINCIPLES’ that, no matter who you are, you’ll find that they are ‘universal’— ones that will prepare you for the ‘challenges’ that will come, ones that will simplify future decisions by having foundational beliefs, and ones that give you a confidence to ‘know’ your purpose and fulfill your destiny!

There have been many volumes written on this subject by authors much more authoritative and accomplished in this subject than I, so trying to summarize this here in a few pages would be very tough to do. But, that being said, I’d like to suggest that there is ‘something’ that you can turn to for the answers to life ‘questions’.

Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won’t discover these things by looking ‘within’ yourself—it’s not “in there.” So then, is there a special someone or something that knows how you ‘tick’ and what you ‘need’?

At least for me, as well as many others, I have found that there is a ‘source’ that has been found to be very ‘reliable’ and full of ‘wisdom’. It’s a collection of ‘letters’ written over many thousands of years that many believe were “God inspired.” You guessed it, today we call them the “Scriptures,” or more simply the “Bible.” It has been called God’s “love letter” to humanity. And if you believe what the Bible says that God is the Creator of everything, He probably has a good idea of your needs and what’s best for you.

In the Book of Psalms it says, “You know me inside and out, God, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something” [Psalm 139:15].

At this point you might say, “Hey, that’s great, but I’m not really thinking about were I came from…I’m thinking about more ‘immediate’ things like college, a career—preparing to be successful in life.”

While those things are important, in God’s ‘eyes’ the greatest heroes in history are not those who achieve prosperity or ‘power’ in this life, but those who treat this life as a ‘temporary assignment’ by loving and serving others—expecting their reward in ‘eternity’.

Now, having things and striving for goals are not necessarily bad, it just depends on why you are doing it.

Perhaps you think that you will find your purpose in life through a career, your education, or a relationship with another person. These things alone, no matter how wonderful and fulfilling they are, are not your purpose. So, don’t worry about your ‘gifts’ and talents, goals or visions; start with what the Bible says is the ESSENCE OF LIFE—Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and,  love your neighbor as yourself” [Luke 10:27]. Everything will ‘fall into place’ when you seek first God and His purpose for your life [see Matthew 6:28-33].

Though he was not speaking to ‘graduates’ at the time, the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, summarized it better than I can when he said, “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” [Romans 8:28].

So, what kind of life can you expect if you do this? Well again, the Apostle Paul, writing under the ‘inspiration’ of God wrote,” The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” [Galatians 5:22-23].

This doesn’t mean that you won’t ever have any problems, or your current troubles will go away over night. It does mean that God will be there, by your side, helping you to ‘become’ more and more like His ‘standard’, His Son Jesus—developing, over a lifetime, into someone with the qualities that will last you for an eternity!

So then, why should I bother if doing everything isn’t going to ‘go my way’ all the time?

Well, like it or not, we only learn or grow when we are put into ‘stressful’ situations. It’s kind of like the process of making silver. The metal is ‘boiled’ and the dross, or imperfections, rise to the top and is skimmed off—leaving uncontaminated or “sterling” silver.

So, even though God doesn’t make it so nothing ‘bad’ happens to you, He will give you the “fruits of the Spirit” while you’re going through something.

One of those “fruits” is joy—which is different than ‘happiness’. Happiness depends on circumstances, like experiencing something. You go to Disney World and you’ll probably be happy. But when the vacation is over and the bills come in the mail the next month (and you over spent your budget), you’ll probably not be ‘happy’. Happiness is ‘external’; joy is ‘internal’. God promises to ‘give’ you joy in the midst of trials and tribulations.

Another “fruit” is peace. Imagine you’re out in a very quiet woods on a perfectly calm crystal-clear lake on a sunny day just gliding in a canoe looking at the mountains in the distance. My guess is that anyone can be peaceful in a setting like that. But instead, imagine being that ‘peaceful’ in rush-hour traffic going through a construction zone. Or being peaceful when you a surprised with a ‘pop quiz’ at school or a rush project at work. Or when your computer (or phone) ‘crashes’ or your car breaks down. God will be there to ‘give’ you peace [see Isaiah 43:2].

All of this is part of God’s method to change the way you ‘think’—which, in-turn, will determine the way you ‘feel’; and the way you feel influence the way you ACT [see Romans 12:2].

The other thing to know is, God is never in a ‘hurry’. In fact, He is ‘patient’ enough to wait an entire lifetime (a ‘blink’ of an eye to Him) to ‘mold’ you into someone He would like to be with for eternity. (He’s WAY too patient for me!).

So don’t get discouraged. Maturity in anything is neither instant nor automatic—it is a gradual, progressive development—habits just take time to change, and new talents take time to ‘blossom’. The neat thing is, God will always ‘equip’ you for what He wants you to do!

To sum things up, the ‘best’ life you can live is one that is ‘in sync’ with God, and caring about what He cares about most—people—and having intimate ‘relationships’ with them. Then, look to God to LEAD YOU in a life that will be full of ‘blessing’ and ‘vigor’.

Let me ask you again what I inquired of you in last month’s newsletter: What happens when a building has been built on an improperly constructed foundation? Well, it becomes unusable (i.e. The Leaning Tower of Pisa) or it collapses. In the same way, you need a solid ‘foundation’ to make your way in the “real world.”

Let me encourage you to look to God first when you are in ‘need’—to be that ‘foundation’. He loves you more than anyone here on earth—including yourself! Read His ‘love letter’ to you—the Bible—it will show you how much He really cares for you, it will ‘guide’ you in the wonderful plans He has for you, and most importantly, prepare you for an ETERNITY WITH HIM! It’s better than any “higher learning” program you can take at any school in the world!

[Excerpts from: Karen Moore; Rick Warren]

Blessings….
Mark

[P.S.: If you would like to investigate further whether the Bible is divinely inspired or just merely human, visit the following link:

http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q4_d1_1of10.html ].

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v102) for AUGUST 2007

If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@ameritech.net

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GETTING ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Graduation means you’ve accomplished something big and important, and you’re really on the right track for getting your life moving in a great direction. Will Rogers reminded us that “even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

No doubt, you don’t have ant intention of just resting on your laurels, and it’s even a good idea to take a deep breath before you head back out there to get on the new course. Just keep checking every now and then to see if you’re still on track. You may discover that the world is one huge train station and there are tracks leading to almost anywhere, and some even lead to nowhere.

Your track is important to God, and He wants to travel with you all along the way. Before you move forward with a whole head of steam, check in with the Conductor and see just where you might find the best ticket to ride. Staying on track is a whole lot easier than fixing the coursed later [See 1 Corinthians 15:58].
[Karen Moore]

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A LIFE OF PURPOSE
Probably no one has done more to help us realize life has meaning and purpose than Rick Warren in “A Purpose-Driven Life.”

Finding your purpose is one of the greatest goals you might have. Purpose is much more than a job or a career path; it’s a calling, a reason for being.

Pastor Warren reminds us of Psalm 139 and confirms that God knew us before we were born. He had a plan for us that will carry on past our own generation and make a difference for all time.

This helps you see your goals from a new perspective. Now you have a mission and one that God ordained before you were even a bit of protoplasm. What you do with this time on earth is important to Him and to completing the work He needs to have done.

As you seek your own goals, continue to align with Him in prayer and seek His guidance and direction. The reward will be evident in the spirit in which you create your work and the joy that comes to all who are part of it with you.

Discover your purpose—it’s important [See Colossians 1:16].
[Karen Moore]

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THINGS WORTH REMEMBERING
The longer you live, the more there is for you to remember. Guidelines for the work ahead of you may prove helpful. The following is a list of things to remember, points to ponder, and ideas to incubate.

– Your character is worth protecting
– Your time is always valuable
– Your success takes great perseverance
– Your talent can always be improved
– Your friends sustain you
– Your work should bring great pleasure
– Your kindness brings power
– Your wisdom brings peace
– Your Father in heaven knows your name

You can continue the list with things you know that are worth remembering. Create your own personal one, filling in the word “Your” with your name, and see what focus it brings to you. Laugh, dance, and live as a light in the hearts of those around you [See Matthew 6:22].
[Karen Moore]

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ARE YOU WILLING TO WAIT?
You may sometimes find yourself in a battle between what you want and what it appears God wants for you. When you do, you have to make a choice. The easy one is to do what you want. Or is it?

Making decisions is part of living, and many of your choices don’t carry enough consequences to matter on an eternal level. But what happens when you recognize that you are not getting something you want and are starting to get the idea that maybe it’s God who does not want that particular thing for you? Then what? Are you willing to be patient and try to understand God more clearly?

[In the Bible, the Book of] Hebrews says, “Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised [10:36].

“Patient endurance” is easier to write and speak about than to sit and wait for. Patience by itself is never easy, but “patient endurance” seems to imply some difficulty in the waiting. Your will or God’s will? Isn’t that often the question? What’s your answer? [See Lamentations 3:25-27].
[Karen Moore]

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GRADUATION QUOTES

There is a good reason they call these ceremonies “commencement exercises.”  Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.  ~Orrin Hatch

Your families are extremely proud of you.  You can’t imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing.  This would be a most opportune time to ask for money.  ~Gary Bolding

The tassel’s worth the hassle!  ~Author Unknown

The fireworks begin today.  Each diploma is a lighted match.  Each one of you is a fuse.  ~Edward Koch

Graduation is only a concept.  In real life every day you graduate.  Graduation is a process that goes on  until the last day of your life.  If you can grasp that, you’ll make a difference.  ~Arie Pencovici

When you leave here, don’t forget why you came.  ~Adlai Stevenson

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.  ~Benjamin Franklin

Your schooling may be over, but remember that your education still continues.  ~Author Unknown

Life is my college.  May I graduate well, and earn some honors!  ~Louisa May Alcott

It is indeed ironic that we spend our school days yearning to graduate and our remaining days waxing nostalgic about our school days.  ~Isabel Waxman

In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins:  cash and experience.  Take the experience first; the cash will come later.  ~Harold Geneen

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.  ~Newton D. Baker

Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.  ~Les Brown

The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means of education.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.  ~Albert Einstein

We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.  ~Author Unknown

Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.  ~Art Linkletter

The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate.  ~Doug Larson

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.  ~Francis Bacon, Essays, 1625

What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.  ~Eleanor Powell

You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.  ~John Wooden

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DEEP THOUGHT:
A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that “individuality” is the key to success.  [Robert Orben]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!

Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” [Philippians 4:13].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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