BulletinGold #91
July 2008   Vol 8 #5
 

Editorial
----by David Bragg
   The simplest words, such as: contentment, satisfaction, comfort, wisdom, joy, values, happiness, strength, and blessings, are infused with immeasurable power by Christianity.  These are the themes developed in the articles, nuggets, poems and quotes of this month’s BulletinGold.
    Another of those powerful words is “patience,” defined by Webster as the quality of enduring without murmuring; not being easily provoked but persevering.  W. E. Vine reveals that one of the Greek words behind the English word patience used in the New Testament means “to abide under.”  This is the ability to wait in difficult situations.  Another Greek word used for patience means to be long tempered, or to put anger far off.  Patience does not remove responsibility for one's actions.  It simply delays judgment and anger to allow room for repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
   Patience is a sign of God's deep love for mankind.  That same trait is expected of Christians (Matthew 18:21-ff.).  Patience is itself a gift (Galatians 5:22).  It is the first descriptive comment in Paul's explanation of love (1 Corinthians 13:4).  Patience is a sign of spiritual maturity, becoming like God by adopting His attributes (2 Peter 1:6).  It does not respond to evil by being evil (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
    A key to growing in patience may be found in James' discussion of that subject.  He referred to the classic example of patience, Job (James 5:11).  Job's ability to wait under trial and forego anger was vindicated by the outcome, or end, of his situation.  But it was his trust in a just outcome that enabled him to be patient (Romans 8:28).  A lack of patience usually reveals the temptation to want our way now.  Patience is primarily trust in God's compassion and mercy.  It is the belief that, in the end, God's way is the only way.
    Patience is a powerful word once it was empowered by God will.  You will find other such words highlighted in the selections below.

David Bragg, co-editor
http://davebragg.blog.com/

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Panning for Gold
- Feature Articles:  


Let's Be Content
by: Dale Grissom

    The apostle Paul offers encouragement in the Philippian letter: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11); and in the 13th verse: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Unfortunately, many today are so dissatisfied with life that unhappiness is evident in almost everything they do.  We all need to learn, as Paul did, to be happy and to find peace and contentment in our lives.  Happiness is not found in the accumulation of material goods, but in truly making God the Lord of our lives, bringing ourselves in subjection to Him by doing His will.
    We must first believe we can change, in order to change our attitudes.  Peace will then find its place in our lives, as we draw near to the Lord.  A good example of this peace is described in Habakkuk 3:17, 18: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:  Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk learned the most important thing in life is having a right relationship with God.
    Christians can find great strength and peace in the Lord, despite personal suffering.  True joy is to know that our crosses may be used for His glory and our good.  Sometimes it is difficult  to see the complete picture, but we know we  can trust Him, even when we are suffering;  knowing He is always beside us, helping bear our burdens, even unto death.  He has promised eternal life in heaven where there will be joy forever, to the faithful Christian.  John spoke of the mansion prepared for the faithful (John 14:1-3).  The very thought of such a place should bring peace and joy to all believers.

- Dale Grissom is a minister and former elder of the Dexter church of Christ, in Dexter, Mo.  He may be contacted through the church’s website: http://www.dexterchurchofchrist.com/

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The Secret of Satisfaction
by: Edd Sterchi

    I read an interesting article recently about a study that was done concerning happiness. The results were reported in the March 21, 2008 issue of Science magazine. The gist of the results was that spending on others brings people greater satisfaction than buying things for themselves. The article also interestingly noted: “‘What’s more, most people seemed unaware of this hidden key to happiness,’ the researchers said.”
    I guess you could say that money can buy happiness - when it is spent on others! All humor aside, it is important to note that this great discovery by this particular team of researchers is not new information - the Bible beat them to it.
    It is God’s plan for man to give. He designed it so that giving is what would bring great satisfaction to our lives. Parents know well at gift-giving time the great pleasure that comes with giving wonderful gifts to their children. Spouses realize that even a small gift given out of love is not soon forgotten and brings happiness long after the moment of giving.
    As children of God, we should well realize the importance of giving to others in the name of the Lord. We should want to give because God has given us so much. We should desire to bless others because God has blessed us so abundantly. We should even be willing to sacrifice in giving to help others because we so well know the rewards and help we reap from Christ’s sacrifice. Christians should live to give, knowing that blessings follow. Would you like to be more satisfied with life? Then try giving more!
* “...And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)
* “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7)
 “He who has a generous eye will be blessed...” (Pro. 22:9)
 *“Give, and it will be given to you...For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)

- Edd Sterchi Edd Sterchi preaches for the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  He may be contacted at sterchi@midwest.net  You can visit their website at: http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org

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The Comfort of the Scriptures
by: Patrick Hogan

    Recently I asked my Wednesday night Bible class to list passages of Scripture that have special meaning for them.  The passages could be one that gives hope, encouragement, confidence or comfort.  One passage which provides all of these blessings was suggested several times.
    Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
    This is probably one of the most familiar passages in the entire Bible.  Even people who do not read the Bible regularly are aware of this Psalm.  Psalm 23 displays great trust in the Lord, who is pictured as caring for His people the way a shepherd cares for his sheep.  It reminds us that the Lord accompanies us through the various circumstances of life and ministers to our needs.
    Please take special note of these blessings:
* He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters – The Lord provides us with peace in the midst of a troubled world.
* He restores my soul – When our hearts are broken and our souls are troubled, He mends them and makes whole again.
* Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me – The Psalmist is realistic.  He does not deny that God’s people will experience the frightening experience of death.  He does assert that even in this terrifying situation that the child of God does not pass through the valley alone.  The Lord is with him to sustain and protect, even in the darkest hour.
* Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies – Again, the Psalmist does not deny reality.  Even the child of God will have enemies.  Yet, even in their presence, the Lord is with us, to provide for and sustain us.
* Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Even when days are dark and circumstances are threatening, the goodness and the mercy of the Lord accompany us.  The ultimate reassurance is that we will dwell in His house forever.
    As marvelous as the blessings pictured by the Psalmist may be, those who are Christians can find even greater comfort and courage in the realization that Jesus Christ stated, “I am the good Shepherd.  The good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11).  When we read this passage may we realize that Jesus, who died for us, is our shepherd.  He provides each of the blessings listed in Psalm 23 for us.  He accompanies us through life and goes through the valley of the shadow with us.  Truly, we are blessed.

- Patrick Hogan serves as a minister and elder of the Shady Acres church of Christ, in Sikeston, MO.  He may be contacted through the church's website at http://www.shadyacreschurch.com

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Where Wisdom May Be Found
by: Robert N. Lambert

    A gentleman was attending a men’s conference.  The speaker announced that he was going to offer a challenge to the men to begin a practice that would change their lives dramatically.  While they were all ready to copy down some complex formula, they were amazed and somewhat disappointed when he said, “There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs.  I challenge you to read a chapter a day each month for the next year.  If you do, you will have read the book of Proverbs 12 times, and your life will never be the same.”
    One participant accepted the challenge and reported his amazement at how many times he found himself in a situation during the day for which he had insight taken directly from that day’s reading in Proverbs.  His conclusion was that Proverbs offered the simplest, yet most profound, daily spiritual “pick-me-ups” to be found in the Bible.
    The book of Proverbs is a powerful book.  The reason is that the book provides the one thing we all need in large doses: WISDOM.  Wisdom’s roots run deep into Old Testament soil.  Interestingly, the word did not at first signify “wisdom,” but rather, “skill.”  We tend to equate “wisdom” with “intelligence.”  But one can have great intelligence without great wisdom, and vice-versa.  If the root idea of wisdom is skill, then we can say that Proverbs will teach us the skill of living.  Just as there is skill in sewing, designing, speaking, navigating, and carving, so there is skill needed for living life effectively and successfully.  And that is the kind of wisdom the book of Proverbs offers its readers.
    Think of all the encounters you have in a week, and how many of them require skillful navigation.  Not a day goes by in which we don’t feel hesitant, even confused about how to act.  Pure and simple, we need wisdom, the skill of living life.  And there are numerous verses in Proverbs which address every category of crisis that we will ever face.  Fortunately, wisdom from God is just a prayer away.  The book in the New Testament most like Proverbs is the book of James.  The hands-on nature of James mirrors its Old Testament cousin.  And, James is the one who tells us, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
    The author of Proverbs (at least most of them), King Solomon, gained the wisdom to write the proverbs the same way James advises us to get it: by asking God.   When Solomon succeeded his father, David, as king over Israel, God presented Solomon with a blank check: “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3).  Understandably, the young Solomon was quite nervous at the prospect of being king.  So, instead of asking for riches, or military might, or long life, he asked God for wisdom, and God was true to His word.  “I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you, nor shall any like you arise after you” (1 Kings 3:13).
    For specific wisdom in unique situations, we may not have the wisdom required because we have not asked for it (cf. James 4:2).  But in many more of life’s situations, we may lack wisdom because we haven’t poured over the proverbs of Solomon.  So, we should take up the challenge: Read a chapter in the book of Proverbs each day for a month.  Repeat that process every month for an entire year.  You, too, may be amazed at how something so simple can energize your spiritual life and give you the needed skill for living.

- Robert N. Lambert serves as minister for the Main Street church of Christ in Milan, TN.  This article via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted at - ron33dor@yahoo.com  You may also visit their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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Reflections On The Fruit Of The Spirit
by: David R. Ferguson

    We cannot just decide to be more loving or more joyful or more peaceful and suddenly we are! It does not work that way. We gain these attributes by growing in Christ, for the fruit of the Spirit is never dispensed apart from Him. The more I have of Christ, the more His fruit will flow through my life. Our responsibility is clear from Galatians 5:25: "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." This is a military phraseology meaning that I must march in a straight line, taking my orders only from Him. After all, He is my King! And as I yield to the Spirit His fruit will ripen in my life.
     In what has been described as the Christian virtues, Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:5-7, "Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; and in your godliness brotherly kindness; and in your brotherly kindness love." We should avoid thinking of these virtues as somehow our own individual possessions. Rather, as His called out people we are to embody before the entire world the kind of reconciled and transformed life that God desires for all of His creation. As you and I keep in step with the Spirit, we will bear fruit, the church will reflect the Spirit-life as it is intended, and others will desire what we have.
    The Apostle John stated in 1 John 2:9-11 that the one who loves his brother abides in the light. And he added in 1 John 4:8 that the one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. The Apostle Peter taught us in 1 Peter 1:22 that we are to "…love one another from the heart fervently…." He said in 1 Peter 4:8, "…above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves." This is in reference to the brotherhood. If you are not sure, then listen to what Peter said in 1 Peter 2:17: "Love the brotherhood." We are to love one another, and it is not to be done secretly, for Jesus Christ said in John 13:35, "A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another." It was no accident that Jesus said this, and it is not mere happenstance that we who are followers of Christ are commanded and expected to love one another and to grow in the Christian virtues, the fruit of the Spirit. Yes, we are to have faith and hope, too, but without love, and without our love being made manifest towards our brethren, we are nothing, and all of our works are in vain. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:13, "But now abides faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love." The fruit of the Spirit should be the result of living the normal Christian life. These character qualities are not meant to be the exception for believers, but rather, the norm! It should not be extraordinary or unusual when Christ’s followers live in peace and harmony with each other or treat others with kindness. Sadly, many of us don’t reflect these virtues on a regular basis.
    May the Lord bless you as you grow in the Fruit of the Spirit!
 
- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted at davidferguson61@yahoo.com

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Sportsmanship and the Golden Rule
by: Travis L. Quertermous

    Now, granted, we don’t normally think of sports being the greatest expression of the Bible’s famous “Golden Rule.”  Too often, sports are viewed as a “win-at-all-costs” exercise in which the last thing you want to do is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  What Jesus Christ actually said was, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).  But the common paraphrase of the Golden Rule captures the gist of Jesus’ teaching.
    However, there was a recent example of true sportsmanship that was a classic example of the Golden Rule in action.  Central Washington’s and Western Oregon’s women’s softball teams were facing off with a bid to the NCAA’s Division II playoffs at stake.  Western Oregon’s Sara Tucholsky, who had never hit a home-run before, hit a three-run homer!  But as she rounded first base, she injured her leg, and could not reach home plate.  By the rules, if any of her teammates helped her around the bases, all Sara would get credit for was a single.
    Then the most unexpected thing happened! Two of Central Washington’s players helped Sara around the bases!  When asked why she did it, Mallory Holtlman said if it had happened to her, she would have wanted someone to help her.  That’s the Golden Rule in action!  Do you practice the Golden Rule or do you live selfishly just for yourself?

- Travis L. Quertermous preaches for the church of Christ in Dexter, MO.  He may be contacted at minister.church@sbcglobal.net or through the church’s website:  http://www.dexterchurchofchrist.com/

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Nuggets and Quick Riches
-    misc. goodies this issue


So That Joy May Be Full (I John 1:1-2:2)

      Boredom, unrest, frustration, fear, anxiety, and depression are rampant in our world. Most people in the world cannot generally be called happy or joyful. Are the words of Paul appropriate for today? “Rejoice in the Lord always...” (Phil. 4:4). The exhortation to rejoice is directed to Christians. Non-Christians really have nothing to rejoice about, so far as the spirit is concerned.
     The apostle John’s first letter provides a helpful guide to those who want to rejoice in the Lord. Every joy-seeker should learn and apply the message of I John.
    Things that prevent Christian joy.
▸ Unbelief. 1 John 5:10
▸ Fellowship with the devil. 3:8
▸ Hatred. 3:15
▸ Selfishness. 3:17
▸ Guilty conscience. 3:20
▸ Fear. 4:18b
▸ The prospect of eternal spiritual death. 3:8, 14b, and 15
     Things that produce joy.
▸ Faith and faithfulness. 2:21, 5:4
▸ Fellowship with God. 1:3, 3:1-2
▸ Love. 4:7-8 and 16, 5:1-3
▸ Unselfishness. 3:16-18
▸ A clear conscience.  3:19, 21
▸ Hope, no fear. 4:18, 1:6-7, 2:5
▸ The prospect of eternal life. 2:25, 5:13
    The Christian’s joy is directly related to Christ, His love and goodness, and most of all to the effectiveness of His sacrifice.
▸ Sin does not have to end in eternal death. It can be forgiven.
▸ But forgiveness and cleansing are only to those who confess their need of it and seek it from Christ for themselves.
▸ Joy is an internal thing, based upon one’s perception of himself as belonging to Christ and being faithful to Christ.
▸ Christian joy not subject to or affected by external conditions.

- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Dongola church of Christ, Dongola, IL.  Gerald Cowan serves the congregation as minister.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com

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Joy is My Strength

The joy of salvation is my strength.
It is a joy that makes my heart glad.
It is a joy that sets me apart from others.
It is a joy that witnesses to the world.
It is a joy that makes me want to sing and shout!
It is a joy that delights in spiritual things.
It is a joy that causes me to smile at the future.
It is a joy that directs my gratitude, praise, and adoration toward heaven.
It is a joy that strengthens my spirit.

- Selected; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  Edd Sterchi serves as one of the congregation's ministers.  He may be contacted at sterchi@midwest.net   You may visit their website at http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org

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LOVE
by: Dan Fredman

    What is love?  Love is many things.  One of those things is caring for others and doing our best to build them up.  Love is:
                            Leaving
                            Others
                            Very
                            Encouraged

 “Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
 “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Hebrews 3:13

- Dan Fredman preaches for the Broken Bow church of Christ, Broken Bow, OK.  He may be contacted through the congregation’s website: http://www.bbchurchofchrist.org

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Sense of Values

* It is good to have the things that money can buy, but make sure you do not lose the things that money cannot buy.
* The relative magnitude of things should be considered in the light of eternity.
* Material influences born of business pressure can spoil the spiritual life of the home.
* Not how much we have, but how much we enjoy makes happiness.
* A large life can be lived on a little capital.
* Better something to live for than much to live on.
* Don’t worry about your station in life—someone will tell you where to get off.
* It is a great thing to know a trifle when you meet it.
* We stamp our own values on ourselves and should not expect to pass for more.
* Many a poor man goes to his home with a gladder heart than a rich man.

- Via Family Life in Focus; via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue


You Affect Everyone

We may not always realize
That everything we do,
Affects not only our lives,
But touches others too!

A little bit of thoughtfulness
That shows someone you care
Creates a ray of sunshine
For both of you to share.

Yes, every time you offer
Someone a helping hand...
Every time you show a friend
You care and understand...

Every time you have a kind
And gentle word to give...
You help someone find beauty
In this precious life we live.

For happiness brings happiness
And loving ways bring love;
And giving is the treasure
Given to us from above.

- Adapted; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  Edd Sterchi serves as one of the congregation's ministers.  He may be contacted at sterchi@midwest.net   You may visit their website at http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org

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How to Be Happy

Are you almost disgusted with life my good man?
I'll tell you a wonderful trick
That will bring you contentment, if anything can,
Do something for somebody quick!

Are you awfully tired with play, my dear girl?
Wearied, discouraged, and sick  --
I'll tell you the loveliest game in the world,
Do something for somebody quick!

Though it rains, like the rain of the flood, my good man,
And clouds are forbidding and thick,
You can make the sun shine in your soul, little man,
Do something for somebody, quick!

Though the stars are like brass over head, my dear girl,
And the walks are like well-heated brick,
And your earthly affairs in a terrible whirl --
Do something for somebody, quick!

- Boles Home News, via Gospel Digest, March, 1960; - submitted by Mark McWhorter, who may be contacted at mtmcvb@concentric.net

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Be Strong
by: Maltbie Davenport Babcock

Be Strong!
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift;
Shun not the struggle--face it; 'tis God's gift.

Be Strong!
Say not, "The days are evil. Who's to blame?"
And fold the hands and acquiesce--oh shame!
Stand up, speak out and bravely, in God's name.

Be strong!
It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day how long;
Faint not -- fight on!
Tomorrow comes the song.

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Trust

I know not what waits on the morrow, my friend,
Whether sunshine or sorrow will come my way;
But I know that Him on Whom all things depend
Will be there for me all my fears to allay!

I can’t see what waits ‘round the corner for me
Whether laughter and joy, or heartbreak and tears;
But I’ll be all right for from my sins I’m free
And my Savior will be there to calm my fears!

I know not when my time in this world will end
Or how it will happen or where I will be
But I know that I have an Heavenly Friend
And He’s promised that He will be there for me!

- H. L. Gradowith  For more information on H. L. Gradowith and GRADOWITH POEMS e-mail group visit http://www.geocities.com/fp5699/ - the website of Tim Smith, minister of the Enon church of Christ in Webb, AL.

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Gold Mines
----quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs this issue

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.  -- Benjamin Franklin

- via The Lantern, Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Visit their website at http://www.highwaycofc.com

Hard work is always a more dependable horse to ride than either “luck” or “smarts.” 

Be careful with your thoughts. They have a way of breaking into words at any time, often without warning and, once spoken your words never come back.

Intelligence is like a river. The deeper it is the less noise it makes.

No one can grow by letting others make his choices and decisions.

One who runs from responsibility will never get very far.

- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Dongola church of Christ, Dongola, IL.  Gerald Cowan serves the congregation as minister.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com

"ONE POUND of learning requires ten pounds of common sense to apply
 it." (Unknown) 

The private and personal blessings we enjoy, the blessings of immunity, safeguard, liberty and integrity, deserve the thanksgiving of a whole life." -- Jeremy Taylor

Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside of us.

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted at - ron33dor@yahoo.com  You may also visit their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

Any great truth can -- and eventually will -- be expressed as a cliche -- a cliche is a sure and certain way to dilute an idea. For instance, my grandmother used to say, 'The black cat is always the last one off the fence.' I have no idea what she meant, but at one time, it was undoubtedly true. -- Solomon Short

"Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in reaching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny."  -- Carl Schurz

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so. -- Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

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