July 28, 2015

STOP AND THINK – The reprover should have a lion’s stout heart, or he will not be faithful, and a lady’s soft hand, or he is not likely to be successful. (George Swinnock, 17th century Puritan preacher)

To criticize or correct someone is always a difficult and delicate task. As Swinnock suggests, it takes a courageous person to approach a friend and offer a bit of advice. It also requires someone with a sensitive spirit so that he or she addresses the friend in a gracious manner with a caring attitude of concern. Such an approach will bless and strengthen the friend.

A friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17) [and always is] speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).



July 27, 2015

STOP AND THINK – If you’re not comfortable within yourself, you can’t be comfortable with others. (Sydney J. Harris, 20th century newspaper journalist)

We admire people who are self-assured and confident. They seem to be perfectly comfortable with who they are; they don’t want to be somebody else. There are others who always seem to be wishing they were like someone else; they lack self-confidence and assurance. But, when we discover a fulfilling purpose for our lives, we will be content with who we are.

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment (Romans 12:3).



July 26, 2015

STOP AND THINK - The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy. (Martin Luther King, Jr, civil rights leader)

We often admire people who succeed whether it’s in sports, entertainment, politics, or business. How comfortable they seem to be in their accomplishments. But, anyone will probably look good when he’s on top. As King suggests, the real test of character is how you react when things don’t go well, when you are confronted and challenged.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life (James 1:12). . . . Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance (James 1:3).



July 25, 2015

STOP AND THINK - Worry is the antithesis of trust. You simply cannot do both. They are mutually exclusive. (Elisabeth Elliot, late widow of a missionary martyr)

The uncertainty and pain of problems on the job, at school, or in the family may bring on anxiety and constant worry. How will things work out, will this stress ever go away? Elliot implies that trust may be the way out. Putting your faith in something beyond yourself instead of trusting in your own abilities can relieve stress and worry.

Those who trust in themselves are fools (Proverbs 28:26). Cast all your anxiety on him [Jesus] because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).



July 24, 2015

STOP AND THINK – I personally believe we were put here to build not destroy. (Red Skelton, late comedian and TV entertainer)

Skelton was probably not recognized as a theologian or philosopher, but he did seem to have an innate understanding of people and human nature. Through humor and slapstick comedy he found his intended place in life. Although he made fun of life’s foibles, he never put people down, hoping rather to build them up and encourage them. A good goal!

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).



July 24, 2015

STOP AND THINK – I personally believe we were put here to build not destroy. (Red Skelton, late comedian and TV entertainer)

Skelton was probably not recognized as a theologian or philosopher, but he did seem to have an innate understanding of people and human nature. Through humor and slapstick comedy he found his intended place in life. Although he made fun of life’s foibles, he never put people down, hoping rather to build them up and encourage them. A good goal!

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).



July 23, 2015

STOP AND THINK - For us, there is only the trying . . .  the rest is God’s business. (Father Richard John Neuhaus paraphrasing T. S. Eliot, one of the twentieth century’s major poets)

The only one who never fails is the one who never tries. Whatever the endeavor, it is sometimes the fear of failure that keeps a person from trying. But, if there is no trying, there is no succeeding, so we must not let fear keep us from making an effort. As Eliot and Neuhaus emphasize, we are not alone in our attempts; we must also trust in God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).



July 22, 2015

STOP AND THINK – Joy never forgets . . . to remember. (Kent Wilson, leadership consultant)

People who are joyful—who always appear to be bright and exuberant—seem to be a rare commodity in today’s world of uncertainty. What, do you suppose, would be the answer if we were to ask joyful people why they are so happy? Chances are they would point to some experience or relationship that has influenced them—something they’ve never forgotten.

Those who promote peace have joy (Proverbs 12:20).



July 21, 2015

STOP AND THINK – Woe be to him that reads but one book. (George Herbert, 17th century Welsh-born English poet, orator and Anglican priest)

With the available technology of the 21st century, maybe people aren’t reading books at all anymore. Yet, books are being written, printed, and sold by the millions. Herbert’s advice is not to limit yourself to a single book you enjoy. There is so much to learn from gifted writers, so read a lot. And, if you can read only one, check out God’s Book, the Bible.

Jesus: “You study the Scriptures diligently . . . These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39).



July 20, 2015

STOP AND THINK - Anyone can be a critic, but not everyone can stand up to criticism. (Kenneth J. Brown, author)

Brown is probably right, isn’t he? It’s easy to criticize. We see the mistakes others make or their decisions that seem wrong to us, and we hasten to make a judgment. When the shoe is on the other foot, however, we become defensive and argue that no one has the right to criticize us or make judgments about us. We should take a longer look at our own conduct.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3).