Your Hope Resides Where? [v91]

SEPTEMBER 2006

WHERE DOES YOUR HOPE RESIDE?—Webster defines hope as “to cherish a desire (for something) with some expectation of obtaining it; to look forward to good with a measure of confidence: to have confidence (in); the desire with expectation or a belief in the prospect of obtaining.”

It’s been almost five years since the tragedy of “9-11” and, as a result of the terrorist attack, in a moment of time, Americans went from a feeling of great hope, a bright future, and comfortable security to fear, insecurity, uncertainty—and even despair.

In the wake of this tragedy, the repeated phrase on the lips of many people and the stories offered by the media has been, “Things will never be the same. American lives will be changed forever.” (See the recent “Barna Group” survey about Americans’ faith just after this ‘intro’).  Fear gripped the strongest nation of the world on that fateful day. Both the economic and military centers of the United States were attacked. The World Trade Center crumbled to the ground and our economic security was shattered. The Pentagon was attacked, leaving us wondering how our world power had been compromised. Fear and humiliation grew in the minds and hearts of all Americans and people of other countries who believe in democracy.

So, could 9/11 happen again? Surely, would-be terrorists could enter the country legally, and presumably they have done so. When actually boarding flights, however, they would face increased scrutiny. But terrorist watch lists clearly aren’t functioning optimally, and official investigations have shown that passengers still smuggle banned items, including knives, onto airplanes.



Any attempted hijacking would be met with potentially lethal resistance from passengers. This may be the single best insurance that another 9/11 couldn’t happen—at least, not the same way. It’s conceivable, even likely, some experts say, that hijackers could incapacitate the passengers, perhaps by anesthetizing them or using more-powerful offensive weapons. At that point, the plane’s fate would lie with the pilots, who would attempt to land immediately under fighter escort. Since 9/11, the military has dispatched fighters many times to intercept civilian airliners. Once intercepted, the hijackers would be finished, because even if they breached the cockpit and took control of the aircraft, they would be shot out of the sky. Of course, terrorists could avoid detection almost entirely by infiltrating the ranks of commercial airline pilots, a strategy that security experts don’t dismiss.


Airplanes can also be destroyed without being crashed into buildings. Airline cargo still isn’t screened for explosives. Airports don’t have the equipment to detect bombs in carry-on luggage. And terrorists could fire a missile at an airplane from the ground—something they have tried abroad. Simply put, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Terrorists have watched the government’s and the public’s response to 9/11, and just as they learned how to exploit weaknesses once, they could do it again.



America has operated, for many years, under a sense of innocence and of false security. We have felt that most of the forms of terrorism that have occurred elsewhere could not happen on our shores. But we are quickly finding that America is not a place of complete security. Our lives have been changed forever. Fear, frustration and uncertainty of the future flood our minds. The future seems unsure and we ask ourselves, “Does absolute security exist…anywhere?”

The situation we find ourselves in reminds me of a story about a father and his two children. They were swimming off the shore of New Jersey. The little boy was eight years old and the girl was ten. All were very accomplished swimmers.

But they got out too far and noticed that the tide was carrying them away from shore. Understandably, the father was the strongest swimmer, but not strong enough to have both of them hang on to him while he battled the tide all the way into shore.

So, he decided to have the younger of the two, his boy, would be the one to hang onto him. He turned to his little girl and said, “Honey, you’re a great swimmer. You can float on your back all day long, if you will just try…Now, honey, don’t get frightened. I’m going to take your brother to the shore and get help…I will come back for you!”

Before long, that area of the Atlantic was swarming with boats and swimmers looking for that little girl. Four hours later, they found her miles from the shore, floating on her back. Someone asked if she was afraid. She said, “No, daddy said I could float all day on my back, and said he would come back for me…I’m just doing what he told me to do until he came.”

WOW…what hope, confidence, and trust! Can you honestly say that you have the same kind of ‘peace’ that little girl had in spite of such a life-threatening situation? Do you have the same kind of confidence that you will be ‘saved’ when you are going through desperate circumstances? Do you have an ‘unshakeable’ trust that someone is going to come to your aid when you are in such dire straits?

On the evening of September 11th, 2001, President Bush quoted from the Bible, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me” [Psalm 23:3]. For the past year, in the midst of our sorrow and pain, many have encouraged us to turn to prayer, the comforting words of Scripture, and join them in deepest sympathy for those who are suffering.

(If you would like to investigate why God ‘allows’ suffering, visit this link:
http://www.4VIS.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q5_d1_1of10.html )

The dimensions of the horror and the problems to be solved in this world are beyond human ability to understand. They have caused many to seek God for help. Billy Graham said, “We never know when we, too, will be called into eternity. I doubt if even one of those people who got on those planes, or walked into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon that morning thought it would be the last day of their lives.” Hopefully, the upcoming five-year “9-11” remembrance will remind all of us that life is very precious—and can come to an abrupt end at any time.

Lisa Beamer, the wife of Todd, one of the brave men that rushed the cockpit of Flight 93 that went down in Pennsylvania, said, “It’s easier to forget about those deeper issues when life is good, but when a true crisis strikes and people’s earthly security is knocked out from under them, that God-given desire for looking above yourself and beyond yourself comes through.” ( http://www.heroicchoices.org/  – Originally the Todd M. Beamer Foundation, Heroic Choices is a non-profit youth services organization that builds resiliency in children who have experienced trauma).

Todd Beamer Foundation:
http://www.helpamericafoundation.org/grantrecipients/toddbeamer.htm

The future is always uncertain in human terms. But there is a God, who knows the future. He makes a promise to those who seek and follow Him that we can find rest, even in times of trouble—and He desires for us to accept and cling to, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” [Jeremiah 29:11].

Might I encourage you to vigorously consider life’s brevity and fragility in the light of God and eternity. Take a moment to consider the fact that this life, for all its beauty, is not all there is. When we die, when our loved ones leave us, we all go to another ‘world’…one that’s forever…in one of two places.

The Bible says that the only way to Heaven is provided by Jesus, God’s Son, who offers eternal life to all who believe in Him. Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness” [John 12:46]. He also said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” [John 10:10]. Then He promised, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].

Maybe the opening question I posed should be reworded to “WHO Does Your Hope Reside In?”

Just as the little girl floating in the Atlantic had unwavering confidence that her father would come back to ‘save’ her, Jesus said He was going to Heaven to prepare a place for us and He promised that He would return to take us back with Him.

God offers a personal relationship with Him. We CAN know Him. Through His power we can experience His peace and hope. We can only walk through the valley of the shadow of death without fear when we put our trust in Him fully.

If it is the desire of your heart to find His peace, express these thoughts to God. “Lord, I need you now more than ever. I want your peace of mind. In the midst of our broken hearts and pain, I turn to you. Jesus, I ask you to forgive my sins and to give me your peace and comfort. I open the door of my life and put my trust in you.”

If you sincerely expressed that prayer to God, you can know that you have a personal relationship with Him. He will be your comfort in these troubled times.

[Excerpts from: Shane Harris]

If you would like to investigate whether Jesus the only way to God, visit this link:
http://www.4VIS.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q6_d1_1of10.html

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NOTE: I will be facilitating a 6-session discussion group of the book, “God Is Closer Than You Think,” by John Ortberg from 2 OCT – 6 NOV. We will meet weekly at my home Monday nights from 7PM-9PM.

It is similar to the “Purpose-Driven Life” format in that we will view a 15-20 minute ‘video’, then use a workbook to help us further discuss the major points.

To check out the material we will be discussing, take a look at some selected reviews of the book at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/God-Closer-Than-You-Think/dp/0310253187/sr=8-1/
qid=1157410701/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-7964400-8159104?ie=UTF8&s=books

(If this link is on two lines, copy and paste it into your browser’s address
area).

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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Blessings….
Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v91) for SEPTEMBER 2006

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

Thanks to:
Richard Bachman

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9/11 ATTACKS SHOW NO LASTING INFLUENCE ON AMERICANS’ FAITH
As the United States nears the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Americans are looking back at how their lives have changed in the half decade since that tumultuous day. How have their ‘spiritual lives’ been affected? A new study by The Barna Group examined data from nine national surveys, involving interviews with more than 8,600 adults, conducted right before the attacks and at regular intervals since then.

The study shows that despite an intense surge in religious activity and expression in the weeks immediately following 9/11 the faith of Americans is virtually indistinguishable today compared to pre-attack conditions. Barna’s tracking surveys looked at 19 dimensions of spirituality and beliefs. Remarkably, none of those 19 indicators are statistically different from the summer before the attacks! (This means that the small gaps in percentage points—when they exist—are not larger than the random differences that might be expected because of using a sample of Americans rather than a census.)

The research explored three areas of religious activity, five indicators of religious belief, three pertaining to spiritual commitment, and eight related to faith identity. The most recent measurements for all of those indicators of faith are virtually identical to the norms prior to September 11, 2001.

A Temporary Surge
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, half of all Americans said their faith helped them cope with the shock and uncertainty. The change most widely reported was a significant spike in church attendance, with some churches experiencing more than double their normal crowd on the Sunday after the shocking event. However, by the time January 2002 rolled around, churchgoing was back to pre-attack levels, and has remained consistent in the five years since.

Other religious behaviors, if they were affected at all, found equilibrium even more quickly. As of October 2001, Americans’ engagement in Bible reading and prayer was no different than pre-attack levels and has been essentially consistent from that point on.

Altering Beliefs
Less publicized was the fact that several religious beliefs shifted right after the attack. But these changes were also short-lived, returning to pre-9/11 conditions by early 2002. For instance, October 2001 data showed that Americans were less likely to feel a responsibility to share their faith; they were less willing to reject the notion that good works can earn salvation; they were more likely to believe that the devil is merely a symbol of evil; and they were slightly less likely to believe God is the perfect, all-powerful creator who rules the world. These shifts in beliefs went against conventional wisdom that Americans’ were flocking to orthodox biblical perspectives. Instead, throughout the period of emotional insecurity many adults became increasingly skeptical of traditional religious views. Nevertheless, even this skepticism quickly faded to the status quo by January of 2002.

As of the summer of 2006, the five religious beliefs that were assessed in the research—beliefs about the devil, salvation, the nature of God, responsibility to evangelize, and the accuracy of the Bible’s teachings—were indistinguishable from the profile of spiritual beliefs back in the summer of 2001.

Facing Their Fears
If the impact of 9/11 has been nearly indistinguishable in matters of faith, the event has affected Americans’ psyche in other areas. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) described themselves as “concerned about terrorist attacks.” Barna does not have pre-9/11 data on this indicator, but the concern about such attacks was prevalent the last time it was measured in 2004. Women, those over 40, married adults, Protestants, whites, political conservatives and moderates, and upscale adults expressed above-average apprehension regarding terrorism. Again, faith shows little connection to people’s point of view, as evangelical Christians (62%) and non-evangelical born again Christians (65%) expressed typical levels of trepidation regarding future terrorism.

Since 9/11, Americans have registered heightened concern about the “moral condition of the nation” and “the future.” Of course, the 2001 encounters with terrorism did not initiate these anxieties. Even before the attacks, three-quarters of Americans were concerned about the future and about the nation’s moral direction, but in the months following the attacks, each of these concerns became palpable to more Americans.

Spiritually Resilient or Resistant?
The director of the Barna study, David Kinnaman, put the findings in context. “Many Christian leaders predicted that terrorism on U.S. soil would catalyze a spiritual awakening in the country. The first few weeks were promising. But people quickly returned to their standard, faith-as-usual lives: within a month, most of their spiritual fervor was gone. Within 90 days, surprisingly few people were pursuing important questions about faith and spirituality. Now, five years removed from that fateful day, spiritually speaking, it’s as if nothing significant ever happened. People used faith like a giant band-aid—it helped people deal with the ugliness of the event but it offered little in the way of deep healing and it was discarded after a brief period of use.”

Kinnaman, the Strategic Leader of the Barna Group, also offered a cautionary note for churches and faith communities to be better prepared for events that have the potential to bring spiritual renewal in people’s lives. He pointed to data from September 2002 showing that only one out of five Americans said their church or religious center did an “excellent job” addressing the attacks, terrorism, and security issues. “Most leaders – religious and otherwise – were completely caught off guard in 2001. Without intentional planning, most churches were satisfied merely to provide a safe haven for people to come together and seek comfort, but few congregations lead people to a serious and prolonged period of self-reflection and personal change. However, with significant disasters like hurricane Katrina and the threat of future terrorist attacks, there is no excuse for being unprepared the ‘next’ time.

The research underscores how elusive transformation is in people’s lives. “Americans are resilient people, but they are also stubborn and easily distracted,” Kinnaman said. “The limited effect of 9/11 is a testament to these characteristics. The job of spiritual leaders is not just to help people cope with tragedy but to break through their spiritual hard-headedness and orient them towards God’s deeper purposes for their life.”

[The Barna Group – For the full article, visit the following link:
http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdateNarrow&BarnaUpdateID=244 ]

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WORLD TRADE CENTER
If ever there was a topic I wish had never inspired a movie, it would be this one. It’s not because I feel this subject shouldn’t be dealt with. It’s because I’m convinced if the horrifying events of September 11, 2001 had never happened, even Hollywood could not have come up with such a sobering concept.

Yet history has left an indelible mark, and one of the purposes of culture and art within a healthy democracy is to promote understanding… and healing. Thankfully, director Oliver Stone and his creative team have tackled this project with the goal of finding a ray of hope penetrating this dark hour.

Nicholas Cage and Michael Pena play the real life Port Authority Police officers John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, two of only twenty people to be pulled out alive from the massive debris field left behind after the fall of the towers. Buried more than twenty feet below tons of twisted metal and massive concrete beams, they waited for twelve hours and suffered the bone splitting experience of having two more buildings fall on top of them, before being miraculously discovered by Dave Karnes (Michael Shannon) a Manhattan accountant who was also a former Marine. Literally feeling he was being called by God to look for survivors at Ground Zero, Karnes donned his old uniform and walked past the security patrols.

Meanwhile, in their New Jersey neighborhoods, the devoted wives and children of the trapped men were watching the drama unfold on TV. The script intimately chronicles the emotional rollercoaster both Donna McLoughlin (Maria Bello) and Allison Jimeno (Maggie Gyllenhaal) endured with their families during that hellish day.

For some, this retelling of an occurrence still so vividly remembered, may prove too difficult to bear. However, I suspect a far greater majority will leave this movie with a sense of optimism and respect for the thousands of people who became unwilling “participants” (a word used in the film’s opening titles) in this cruel act of intolerance. Fortunately, Stone avoids his typical inclination to delve into political issues, and instead focuses his lens entirely on the lives of these two policemen, their friends and relatives.

Unlike “United 93” (made in 2006 as well), this production is an “easier” watch, mainly due to the positive outcome (hence it’s PG-13 rating versus “United’s” R). It also contains fewer profanities and the violence isn’t quite as graphically detailed. However, don’t interpret these comparisons to mean your children should follow along to the theater. Scenes of people being crushed, falling from buildings, and suffering from distress are still likely to be emotionally bothersome for both adult and teen viewers, and are probably too powerful for children—even with the “happy” ending.

Relying on solid performances (many of the rescue workers shown are the actual police, paramedics, and firemen who were on duty that day) and simple images to re-create these momentous moments from 9/11, this film stands as a worthy memorial. While it’s ironic it took a horrendous act of terrorism to create a rare movie celebrating selflessness, patriotism, and faith in God, “World Trade Center” at least proves and reminds us that, given the right perspective, good things can come from the worst of circumstances.
[Parent Previews – Rod Gustafson]

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HOPE
We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I’d like better.

I’d really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would.

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep. I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in, I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you, let him.

When you want to see a movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him. I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.

On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I don’t care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don’t like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you-tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life.  [Paul Harvey-Received from Richard Bachman]

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Hope, like an anchor, holds to the unseen.  [Anon.]

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BUOYANCY OF HOPE
In the midst of outer dangers, I have felt an inner calm and known resources of strength that only God could give. In many instances I have felt the power of God transforming the fatigue of despair into the buoyancy of hope. I am convinced that the universe is under the control of a loving purpose and that in the struggle for righteousness man has cosmic companionship. Behind the harsh appearances of the world there is a benign power.   [Martin Luther King, Jr.]

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DURING THE WORST…HOPE FOR THE BEST
A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule braying—or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together, told them what happened, and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he should shake it off and step up! This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up. You’re right! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him actually blessed him—all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity. That’s life! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, refusing to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity, the adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us. Remember that forgiveness, faith, prayer, praise, and hope all are excellent ways to “shake it off and step up” out of the wells in which we find ourselves!
[Author unknown]

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There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum.  [Arthur C. Clarke]

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A LIGHTHOUSE
A lighthouse stands by troubled shores
To aid ships caught in storm tossed seas.
For some, the harbor is too distant,
And no one, but God, hears sailor’s pleas.

A lighthouse gives off its light to lead.
Its brilliant beam is to bring ships home;
It provides that lone, radiant warning for the ships,
Of the rocks hidden in the foam.

A lighthouse gives hope for home and shore
When the sea seemed so vast and dark.
It is the light, for which the sailors watched,
As they prayed, God would direct their bark.

A lighthouse dispels the darkness of night,
Such power can be observed from miles away.
It never tries to guide a ship aground,
Or steer a boat astray.

A lighthouse gives reason for rejoicing,
Because the shore is now in sight.
The day will now soon be dawning,
And it will guide ships through the night.

A lighthouse is a refuge for the weary,
For those tossed by angry seas;
It is for those saddened by the loss of comrades,
Who were lost along the lees.

I want to be a lighthouse,
To be all that it is and so much more;
So that I can shine for those lost in the sea of humanity,
And guide them safely to the shore.

All people need a lighthouse,
A place where they can moor;
For each of us, face dark hours in life,
And there are rocks upon the shore.

Therefore, I want to be a lighthouse,
To guide the wandering back home again;
And provide a constant source of light,
That I might save the souls of men.
[Larry Harp]

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HOPEFUL THOUGHTS
– The human body can live 40 days without food, maybe 8 days without water, only a few minutes without air. But the human spirit can’t live for more than a few seconds without hope.

– To pursue something suggests that it is outside of us, that it is somewhere “out there” needing to be discovered or caught. But “true” happiness or “joy” does not come from without; it comes from within–-it is not dependent on outward circumstances, but on an inner mind-set. It’s a choice, not a pursuit.

– Consider what Victor Frankel, a Holocaust survivor, said in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

– If we pursue happiness instead of choosing joy, we will become, as Frankel put it, a “plaything of circumstance.” Our inner peace will be tossed back and forth according to the whims of events beyond our control. But if we exercise our “right” to choose our attitude, we can choose joy even in the midst of the cruelest circumstances.

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LABOR DAY
The observance of Labor Day began over 100 years ago. Conceived by America’s labor unions as a testament to their cause, the legislation sanctioning the holiday was shepherded through Congress amid labor unrest and signed by President Grover Cleveland as a reluctant election-year compromise.

In an attempt to appease the nation’s workers, Labor Day is born. The movement for a national Labor Day had been growing for some time. In September 1892, union workers in New York City took an unpaid day off and marched around Union Square in support of the holiday. But now, protests against President Cleveland’s harsh methods made the appeasement of the nation’s workers a top political priority. In the immediate wake of the strike, legislation was rushed unanimously through both houses of Congress, and the bill arrived on President Cleveland’s desk just six days after his troops had broken the Pullman strike. 1894 was an election year. President Cleveland seized the chance at conciliation, and Labor Day was born. He was not reelected.

In 1898, Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor, called it “the day for which the toilers in past centuries looked forward, when their rights and their wrongs would be discussed…that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it.”

Labor Day is also the ‘final’ (other than Indian Summer) goodbye to summer. Almost a century since Gompers spoke those words, though, Labor Day is seen as the last long weekend of summer rather than a day for political organizing. In 1995, less than 15 percent of American workers belonged to unions, down from a high in the 1950’s of nearly 50 percent, though nearly all have benefited from the victories of the Labor movement. And everyone who can takes a vacation on the first Monday of September. Friends and families gather, and clog the highways, and the picnic grounds, and their own backyards—and bid farewell to summer.

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Oh, let America be America again —
The land that never has been yet —
And yet must be — the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine — the poor man’s Indians, Negro’s, ME
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, who’s plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again…

Oh, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath —

America will be!
[Langston Hughes]

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Today, Labor Day is celebrated more as the last big fling of summer than a tribute to the work we do when we’re not on vacation. That may be OK, but the character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers, where mass displays and huge parades are the norm. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio and television. The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute to the American worker on Labor Day, but also to the Creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership—God—and that we need to thank Him for the everyday work we do, not just once a year, but every day.

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INDIAN SUMMER

In the coolish air and shorter days of mid-autumn, the sun’s rays felt distinctly invigorating, even therapeutic. It was great just to be cruising in short sleeves with all the windows down for perhaps one last time this year. Breathe in that air and hold it. It’s not going to last.

Perhaps that is the true magic of Indian Summer. The knowing that any day with temperatures in the 70’s and warm, dry breezes could be the last of its kind for six months or more. We get lots of these days in late spring and early summer. But then we are at the beginning of the season. It’s sort of like opening a new box of cookies. No need to be careful about savoring them. There are so many more to come. It’s when you get down to the last few of anything and there are no more at hand that you start to get careful about getting the most value from the ones that remain.

Indian Summer may well be historically related to Native American culture. That time of the year, just before the snows of winter, was prime hunting season. The warm weather encouraged animals to be out foraging for food, and the haziness in the atmosphere helped to cloak the movements of the hunters. The warm southwestern winds were also regarded by Native Americans as a blessing from the gods in the American Southwest.

There are other aspects to the fall season that help to magnify the enjoyment of those Indian Summer days. Looking down the highway, the scenery is dotted with pockets of yellow and red woven into the tans and browns of cornfields being harvested. Fall foliage lights the landscape and makes it a special treat. The greens of summer are pleasing to the eye, but you soon get lulled into the sense of everything being green so that nothing in particular stands out. The autumn leaves are not so easily ignored by the senses. Every tree is a different shade. Many of their leaves are scattered on the lawns, still a golden yellow. The older ones have turned brown, but they are piled high at the curbs waiting to be vacuumed by the city trucks or burned to add to the smoky haze and sharp aroma of the fall air.
[Author unknown]

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WHY LEAVES CHANGE COLOR

Every autumn we revel in the beauty of the fall colors. The mixture of red, purple, orange and yellow is the result of chemical processes that take place in the tree as the seasons change from summer to winter.

During the spring and summer the leaves have served as factories where most of the foods necessary for the tree’s growth are manufactured. This food-making process takes place in the leaf in numerous cells containing chlorophyll, which gives the leaf its green color. This extraordinary chemical absorbs from sunlight the energy that is used in transforming carbon dioxide and water to carbohydrates, such as sugars and starch.

Along with the green pigment are yellow to orange pigments, carotenes and xanthophyll pigments which, for example, give the orange color to a carrot. Most of the year these colors are masked by great amounts of green coloring.

But in the fall, because of changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves part of their fall splendor.

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DEEP THOUGHTS:
Many of us search desperately for “circumstances” that will make us happy, while others choose joy—‘needing’ virtually nothing to give them joy. They ‘create’ their own joy, and ‘choose’ it now—making it a present reality. It’s not enough, however, to simply say, “I choose to be joyful”—we must “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things”—and God will help us ‘develop’ this attitude.  [Mark Besh]

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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!

“…God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence,  “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” [Hebrews 13:5-6]

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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