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    The job of a football coach is to make men do what they don't want to do, in order to achieve what they've always wanted to be.  

    Tom Landry.

    When Polish pianist Ignace Jan Paderewsky played before Queen Victoria, he won her enthusiastic approval. "Mr. Paderewsky," she exclaimed, "you are a genius." Paderewsky shook his head. "Perhaps, Your Majesty, but before that I was a drudge," he replied, alluding to the number of hours he spent practicing every day. 

    Today in the Word, August 3, 1993.

    When people are right with God, they are apt to be hard on themselves and easy on other people. But when they are not right with God, they are easy on themselves and hard on others. 

    John Newton.

    I spent much of my ninth summer on a bicycle. About a mile from our house the road went down a steep hill and turned sharply at the bottom. Coasting down the hill one morning, I felt my gathering speed to be ecstatic. To give up this ecstasy by applying brakes seemed an absurd self-punishment. So I resolved to simultaneously retain my speed and negotiate the corner. My ecstasy ended seconds later when I was propelled a dozen feet off the road into the woods. I was badly scratched and bleeding, and the front wheel of my new bike was twisted beyond use from its impact against a tree. I had been unwilling to suffer the pain of giving up my ecstatic speed in the interest of maintaining my balance around the corner. I learned, however, that the loss of balance is ultimately more painful than the giving up required to maintain balance. It is a lesson I have continually had to relearn. As must everyone, for as we negotiate the curves and corners of our lives, we must continually give up parts of ourselves. 

    M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled.

    Lanny Bassham, Olympic gold-medalist in small-bore rifle competition, tells what concentration does for his marksmanship: "Our sport is controlled non-movement. We are shooting from 50 meters--over half a football field--at a bull's eye three- quarters the size of a dime. If the angle of error at the point of the barrel is more than .005 of a millimeter (that is five one-thousandths), you drop into the next circle and lose a point. So we have to learn how to make everything stop. I stop my breathing. I stop my digestion by not eating for 12 hours before the competition. I train by running to keep my pulse around 60, so I have a full second between beats--I have gotten it lower, but found that the stroke-volume increased so much that each beat really jolted me. You do all of this and you have the technical control. But you have to have some years of experience in reading conditions: the wind, the mirage. Then you have the other 80% of the problems--the mind. 

    Sports Illustrated, August 2, 1976, pp. 31-35, quoted in How to Profit from Bible Reading, I. L. Jensen, Moody Press, p. 80.

    When John Henry Jowett was pastor at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, he began a series of children's meetings. At the very first meeting, four boys with penny whistles upset the meeting by playing tunes while Jowett was speaking. An usher rounded up the boys and took them to the vestry where they faced Jowett. "Can't you fellows play tin whistles any better than that?" Jowett asked. "If you can't, I shall have to get Mrs. Jowett to give you some lessons." A few weeks later, the four boys gave a concert with Mrs Jowett accompanying them on the piano. 

    W. Wiersbe, The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers,  p. 189.

    Coleridge is the supreme example of tragedy of indiscipline. Never did so great a mind produce so little. He left Cambridge University to join the army; he left the army because he could not rub down a horse; he returned to Oxford and left without a degree. He began a paper called "The Watchman" which lived for ten numbers and then died. It has been said of him, "he lost himself in visions of work to be done, that always remained to be done. Coleridge had every poetic gift but one--the gift of sustained and concentrated effort." In his head and in his mind he had all kinds of books, as he said, "completed save for transcription." But the books were never composed outside of Coleridge's mind, because he would not face the discipline of sitting down to write them out. No one ever reached any eminence, and no one having reached it ever maintained it, without discipline. 

    Wm. Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, p. 280.

    My father would not have been particularly interested in a book about fathering, although he did like to read. One day when he was reading in the living room, my brother and I decided we could play basketball without breaking anything. When I took a shot that redesigned the glass table, my mother came in with a stick and said, "So help me, I'll bust you in half." Without lifting his head from his book, my father said, "Why would you want twice as many?"  

    Bill Cosby.

    No man is fit to command another who cannot command himself. 

    Wm. Penn.

    Out of parental concern and a desire to teach our young son responsibility, we require him to phone home when he arrives at his friend's house a few blocks away. He began to forget, however, as he grew more confident in his ability to get there without disaster befalling him. The first time he forgot, I called to be sure he had arrived. We told him the next time it happened, he would have to come home. A few days later, however, the telephone again lay silent, and I knew if he was going to learn, he would have to be punished. But I did not want to punish him!! I went to the telephone, regretting that his great time would be spoiled by his lack of contact with his father. As I dialed, I prayed for wisdom. "Treat him like I treat you," the Lord seemed to say. With that, as the telephone rang one time, I hung up. A few seconds later the phone rang, and it was my son. "I'm here, Dad!" "What took you so long to call?" I asked. "We started playing and I forgot. But Dad, I heard the phone ring once and I remembered." How often do we think of God as One who waits to punish us when we step out of line? I wonder how often he rings just once, hoping we will phone home. 

    Dennis Miller.

    Statistics and Stuff

    Percentage of American's who own running shoes but don't run: 87% 

    Charis Conn, Ed., What Counts: The Complete Harper's Index.

    We must face the fact that many today are notoriously careless in their living. This attitude finds its way into the church. We have liberty, we have money, we live in comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically has disappeared. What would a violin solo sound like if the strings on the musician's instrument were all hanging loose, not stretched tight, not "disciplined"? 

    A.W. Tozer, Men Who Met God.