Classic and contemporary excerpts

Beyond happiness

The Bible nowhere speaks about a “happy” Christian; it talks plentifully of joy. Happiness depends on things that happen, and may sometimes be an insult; joyfulness is never touched by external conditions, and a joyful heart is never an insult.

Oswald Chambers in The Shadow of an Agony

Social conundrum

The effects of virtue-free social policy have been devastating—but we don’t seem quite ready to accept the alternative. Few politicians are comfortable about using words like “right” and “wrong,” especially when the subject is sexual irresponsibility (which remains the surest predictor of criminality, ill health and welfare dependency among the poor).… In fact, it isn’t easy. It requires the fortitude to sometimes cast people into the outer darkness.… It has become near impossible for a polity as rights-conscious, and tolerant, as ours to admit that some people who behave badly, if not quite criminally, aren’t worthy of our support—to kick them off welfare, or out of schools and housing projects. But it is inescapable; the system can’t work without sanctions—even if they require the sort of stiff, humorless, un-American propriety that gave morality such a bad name.

Joe Klein in Newsweek (July 26, 1993)

Live like Paul

God is no distant deity but a constant reality, a very present help whenever needs occur. So? So live like it. And laugh like it! The apostle] Paul did. While he lived, he drained every drop of joy out of every day that passed.

Charles R. Swindoll in Laugh Again

Rule of faithfulness

To escape the distress caused by regret for the past or fear about the future, this is the rule to follow: leave the past to the infinite mercy of God, the future to his good providence; give ...

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