July 30, 2016

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. (Aristotle, 4th century B.C. Greek philosopher)

Over time our habits of work, word, and activity reveal quite clearly who we really are—or, at least what our real interests are. The more we repeatedly pursue certain activities, the more we identify with them, and they reflect our character and nature. Perhaps Aristotle was suggesting that if we want to be excellent in our endeavors, we must pursue worthy interests.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8).

July 29, 2016

When your organization has a spirit that prohibits failure, you kill a spirit of innovation in that organization. (Keith Minier, minister)

What would it look like in your business or organization if you could prohibit failure? We might like to think everything would always work perfectly, and success would be guaranteed. However, the employees or volunteers would likely avoid any task that they couldn’t be sure would work perfectly. It is often only through mistakes that we learn.

I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw (Proverbs 24:32).

July 28, 2016

If you could kick the person most responsible for all your problems in the behind you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a long time. (J. Davis Illingworth, Sr, Presbyterian pastor)

Wow, that hurts, doesn’t it (pun intended). It’s human nature, it seems, to blame someone else for our problems. Adam and Eve did it: (“The woman … gave me some.” “The serpent deceived me.”) While many problems are beyond our control, we probably should admit that we are very likely responsible for most of them. So, let’s admit our faults and move on.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other. (James 5:16).

July 27, 2016

The more I see the less I know for sure. (The late John Lennon, co-founder of the Beetles)

Many of us could say the same. Advances in technology and the discovery of both ancient and new features in our world cause us to realize that there is more and more to know but less time to comprehend it all. Lest we fall into a trap of complacency with it all and choose not to learn, we should rely on God’s divine revelation and its certainty.

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19).

July 26, 2016

We are not responsible for anyone else’s actions in life but our own. And that should keep us busy enough. (Mike Lee, American pastor)

When we describe someone as a “busybody,” we do not mean to compliment them. Such a person is always concerned about everyone’s business, often to the neglect of their own. Not only, as Lee says, do we have enough of our own stuff to keep us busy, but if we care for our business well, we may be in a position to help others in theirs.

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands (1 Thessalonians 4:11).

July 25, 2016

A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. (Abraham J. Heschel, 20th century Polish-born American rabbi)

How do we stand up to this standard today? We do a lot to save the lives of children (even the unborn in many cases), but do we give the same attention to the elderly? Euthanasia is a growing concern, disregarding the sanctity of life. Heschel concludes, “Affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.”

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).

July 24, 2016

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. (Martin Luther King, 20th century civil rights leader)

Each decade seems to bring to light more discoveries and advances in science and technology, and we can hardly keep up with it all. You might think that, as a result, life would be easier and our advances would make us better people. Unfortunately, as King implies, physical improvements have not been matched by spiritual and moral growth.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation (1 Peter 2:2).

July 23, 2016

Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning. (William Arthur Ward, 20th century American writer)

They say that curiosity killed the cat. We must not let that canard stop us from pursuing the unknown. After all, we’re not cats. We do have a measure of intelligence, and if we exercise caution and care in our searching for truth and developing ideas, our inquisitiveness will increase learning for the benefit of all.

Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning (Proverbs 9:9).

July 22, 2016

Freedom of expression is not more important than truth. (Jesse Deloe, writer, editor)

Tolerance of contrasting views is a privilege of a free, democratic society. When we attempt to silence differing opinions, we cheat ourselves and others from the opportunity to discuss ideas and, in the process, make it a learning experience. We must remember, however, that, while expressing ideas is important, we must always seek to discover the truth.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

July 21, 2016

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. (George Barnard Shaw, 19th-20th century Irish playwright)

As someone else as said, change is the only constant in life. To take a positive view, consider what Robin Sharman says, “Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.” When you face change, take an optimistic outlook; determine to weather it well, to progress, and to be happy with the results.

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress (1 Timothy 4:15).