"BRING ME THE BOOK" 
 
DID YOU KNOW that in the United States alone there are over 600* book publishers, publishing upwards of 30,000 books per year? (And that statistic is probably grossly out of date now.) This ought to make Americans the most "well read" people in the world. But did you also know that wise Solomon wrote of books like this: "...of making many books there is no end" (Ecclesiastes 12:12). How strange then, the request of Sir Walter Scott from his death bed. Turning to a friend, he said, "Bring me the Book." When the perplexed bystander asked, "What book?" he simply replied, "There is but one Book!" Isn't that true?! Let fifty years pass bringing us a million and a half new publications, and Walter Scott's words will still ring true: "There is but ONE Book!" The Bible. Have you read it today? [*over 2,000 now, we are told]

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"I THINK I'LL TAKE BOTH OF THEM"
 
ACTING out a lie can get you into trouble, as this story illustrates.
 
Joe, the butcher, was just about to close his shop on Saturday night, when his best customer, Mrs. Brown, came in and asked for a nice roasting chicken. Joe had only one chicken left, so he got it out of refrigeration, put it on the scales and said, "There! Two pounds and twelve ounces; that'll be $2.17." 
 
"That's a bit small," said Mrs. Brown. "Haven't you got one a bit heavier?" He returned to the refrigerator, and emerged again--with the same chicken. He put it on the scales and said: "Just three and a half pounds. That will be $2.77." 
 
After a moment's thought, Mrs. Brown said, "I think I'll take both of them!" 
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NOT ON SPEAKING TERMS
 
A VISITOR leaned on the fence as he watched the old farmer plowing with his mule. After a while the visitor said, "I'm not telling you what to do, but it looks to me like you could save yourself a lot of work simply by saying 'Gee' and 'Haw' instead of having to pull on the lines all of the time." 
 
The old farmer pulled a big handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his face. Then he said, "Reckon you're right, but that mule kicked me five years ago, and I ain't spoke to him since."
 
The moral of the story: A grudge is harder on the one who holds it than the one it is held against. 
 
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THE BLOODY SHEEP DOG
 
THE STORY is told of the farmer who returned and found a dead sheep. His sheep dog was covered in blood. He jumped to the conclusion that his sheep dog had killed the sheep, so he got his gun and shot the dog. On his way to the barn to get a shovel to bury the dog and the sheep, he discovered a dead wolf. The sheep dog was bloody from the blood of the wolf he had killed. 
 
How easily we can listen to bits of gossip and draw conclusions about someone. Many a decent and good man or woman, like the sheep dog, has been wrongly accused and hurt because someone jumped to conclusions without checking the facts. How much damage and hurt could be avoided if we would take the time to ascertain the facts before we do irreparable harm to an innocent person. 
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THE CHURCH AS A TEAM 
 
THE STORY is told of a horse pull in Canada. One horse pulled 9,000 pounds; another 8,000. Together you would expect them to pull 17,000 pounds. Not so! When teamed together, they pulled 30,000 pounds! 
 
The principle is called synergism. By definition the simultaneous action of separate agents working together has a greater total effect than the sum of their individual efforts. More can be done in a team effort than can be accomplished solo. In order for the principle of synergism to work like it should there has to be teamwork. 
 
Everything we do takes teamwork and trust. Every person in the local church is valuable and needed. The church is a team and together we can build for the Lord. 
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TREE 400 YEARS OLD FALLS 
 
SOMETIME AGO a huge tree in Colorado fell to the ground with a resounding crash after having stood majestically on a hill for over 400 years. A mere sapling when Columbus landed in San Salvador, over the centuries it had been struck by lightening 14 times, braved great windstorms, and even defied an earthquake. In the end, however, it was killed by some little beetles. Boring under the bark, they chewed away its mighty fibers until one day that lordly king of the forest came thundering down. So, too, apparently insignificant sins often make substantial inroads into our spiritual lives, and if left unchecked may cause our downfall. The idle word spoken, the prayer time omitted, and the occasional fleshly pleasure indulged---these things "spoil" the vineyard much more than we realize. If Satan gets an entering wedge or inconsistency, the leverage he then exerts is greatly increased.
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THE SEVEN SONS 
 
A MAN had seven sons who were always quarreling. Some bad men looked forward to the death of their father and planned to cheat them out of their property by creating a quarrel.

 
One day the good old man called his sons around him. He laid before them sticks, which were bound together. He said, "I will pay one hundred dollars to the one who can break this bundle."

 
Each one strained every nerve to break the bundle. After a long, but vain, trial, they all said that it could not be done. 

 
"And yet, my boys," said the father, "nothing is easier to do." He then untied the bundle and broke the sticks, one by one, with perfect ease. 

 
"Ah!" said his sons, "It is easy enough to do it so; anybody could do it that way." 

 
Their father replied, "As it is with these sticks, so it is with you, my sons. So long as you hold fast together and aid each other, you will prosper, and none can injure you. But if the bond of union be broken, it will happen to you just as it has to these sticks, which lie broken on the ground." 
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AN INSULT IS LIKE MUD
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AN OLD ENGLISHMAN, known as father Graham in his village, was loved very much because of his positive influence. One day an angry man who had just been badly insulted came to see father Graham. As he explained the situation, he said he was on his way to demand an apology from the one who had wronged him. "My dear man," Graham said, "take a word of advice from an old man who loves peace. An insult is like mud. It will brush off much better when it is dry. Wait a little, till he and you are both cool, and the problem will be easily solved. If you go now, you will only quarrel." The young man heeded the wise advice and soon he was able to go to the other person and resolve the problem. ¾Selected
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THE NAME "CHRISTIAN"

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 Henry Ward Beecher: "Let me speak in the language of heaven and call you Christians."
 Albert Barnes: "These divisions should be merged into the holy name Christian."
 Martin Luther: I pray you leave my name alone. Don't you call yourselves Lutherans, but Christians."
 John Wesley: "I wish the name Methodist might never be mentioned again, but lost in eternal oblivion."
 Charles Spurgeon: "I say, of the Baptist name, let it perish, but let Christís name last forever. I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be a Baptist living."
 The Apostle Peter: "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf" (I Peter 4:16).
 The Apostle Paul: "Now, this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" (I Corithians 1:12,13).
 Luke: "ÖAnd the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26). 
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WINNERS AT THE

SEATTLE SPECIAL OLYMPICS
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 A FEW YEARS ago at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win.

 
 All, that is, except one boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. They all turned around and went back. Every one of them. One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better."

 
 Then all nine of them linked arms and walked across the finish line together. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for some time. 

 
 People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What truly matters in this life is helping others win too, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.--Selected
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AN ELEPHANT TIED TO A STAKE
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 ELEPHANTS have been trained and used by humans as work animals for as long as 4,000 years. How is it possible for a 175 pound man to keep an 11,000 pound elephant in captivity?

 
 When an elephant is very young, it is tethered to a four foot long wooden stake driven into the ground. This stake is physically able to hold the young, small elephant, despite the elephantís repeated attempts to escape it. After unsuccessfully trying many times to escape, the young elephant eventually comes to believe that escape is impossible. This belief is carried into adulthood. When the elephant is full grown, it could easily break free from the four-foot wooden stake, yet it never even attempts to do so. This intelligent, powerful creature is held captive, not by any physical restraint, but by its own thoughts.

 
 Does it make you wonder what thoughts of your own might be holding you back? Are you tethered to circumstances from which you could easily break free, if only you knew you could?

 
 Your thoughts can be your prison, or they can set you free to soar. If you think you can, or if you think you canít, youíre absolutely right. In order to do anything, or become anything, or have anything, you must first believe that it is possible. It must exist in your mind before it can come to pass.

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 Expectations become reality, so expect the best of yourself.?--Selected
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DO YOU WANT THIS $20 BILL?
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 A WELL-KNOWN speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. 
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 In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?"
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 Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this." He proceeded to crumple the $20 dollar bill up. He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air. "Well," he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air.
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 "My friends, you have all illustrated a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
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 Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in Godís eyes. You are a being created in His image.
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 THOUGHT: Regardless who you are; regardless of your circumstance or station in life, you are valuable in Godís sight---Donít ever forget it!--Selected
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A PRAYER TO PRAY 
IN VIEW OF GROWING OLDER
                           (Lightly Spoken as Derisive Wit)

           "Lord, thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to try to straighten out everybodyís affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it allóbut thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end. 
 

 "Keep my mind free from the recital of endless detailsÖgive me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go byÖI dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of othersí pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

 
 "I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

 
 "Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not want to be a self-righteous saintósome of them are so hard to live withóbut a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people. Give me the grace to tell them so. Amen."

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