Lifelines

I’m writing these words [originally] soon after my birthday. No big deal . . . just another stabbing realization that I’m not getting any younger. I know that because the cake won’t hold all the candles. Even if it could the frosting would melt before I’d be able to blow all of them out. My kind and thoughtful secretary reminded me of another approach I could take.

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Growing Old

Growing old, like taxes, is a fact we all must face. Now, you’re not going to get me to declare when growing up stops and growing old starts—not on your life! But there are some signs we can read along life’s journey that suggest we are entering the transition (how’s that for diplomacy?).

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Self-Praise

“Self-praise,” says an ancient adage, “smells bad.” In other words, it stinks up the works. Regardless of how we prepare it, garnish it with little extras, slice and serve it up on our finest silver piece, the odor remains. No amount of seasoning can eliminate the offensive smell. Unlike a good wife, age only makes it worse. It is much like the poisoned rat in the wall—if it isn’t removed the stench becomes increasingly unbearable.

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Staying Alert

Your mind is a muscle. It needs to be stretched to stay sharp. It needs to be prodded and pushed to perform. Let it get idle and lazy on you, and that muscle will become a pitiful mass of flab in an incredibly brief period of time. How can you stretch your mind? What are some good mental exercises that will keep the cobwebs away? I offer three suggestions: READ.

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The Dark Side of Greatness

“There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen . . . [and] now he belongs to the ages.” Of whom was this said? One of the Caesars? No. Napoleon? No. Alexander the Great? No. Eisenhower? Patton? MacArthur . . . or some earlier military strategist like Grant or Lee or Pershing? No, none of the above. How about Rockne or Lombardi? No. Or Luther? Calvin? Knox? Wesley? Spurgeon? Again, the answer is no.

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Destination Unknown

Do you know where you are going? The place? Dublin, Ireland. The time? Toward the end of the nineteenth century. The event? A series of blistering attacks on Christianity, especially the “alleged resurrection” of Jesus of Nazareth. The person? Thomas Henry Huxley. You remember Huxley. Devoted disciple of Darwin. Famous biologist, teacher, and author. Defender of the theory of evolution.

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Rumors

Abraham Lincoln’s coffin was pried open twice. The first occasion was in 1887, twenty-two long years after his assassination. Why? You may be surprised to know it was not to determine if he had died of a bullet fired from John Wilkes Booth’s derringer. Then why? Because a rumor was sweeping the country that his coffin was empty.

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The Value of Confidentiality

CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? Can you? Be honest, now. When privileged information passes through one of the gates of your senses, does it remain within the walls of your mind? Or is it only a matter of time before a leak occurs? When the grapevine requests your attention from time to time, do you refuse to help it climb higher

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Beginning Again

INSTANT REPLAYS HAVE BECOME OLD HAT. We now expect them in all televised scenarios. Whether it’s a tennis pro’s impressive backhand or an in-store video camera capturing the sticky-fingered shoplifter or a squad car dashcam chronicling an officer’s every move! These days, we never should worry about missing it the first time around. It’ll be back again and again and, probably, again—splashed across cable news.

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Slamming the Door to Lust

SAMSON WAS A HE-MAN WITH A SHE-WEAKNESS. Although he was born of godly parents, set apart from his birth to be a Nazirite, and elevated to the enviable position of judge in Israel, he never won the battle with lust. Instead, lust eventually conquered him. Several things that illustrate his lustful bent may be observed from the record of his life, each one in the book of Judges.

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