February 8, 2016

The avoidance of legitimate suffering means we also avoid the growth that problems demand of us. (Swindoll, American pastor and author)

No one in his right mind likes to suffer. We avoid suffering at all costs—with medication, alcohol, or any other means of escape. Yet, some pain is helpful, even necessary. Without it, how would we know we’ve burned or injured ourselves? More importantly, it is often when we’re hurting that we learn important lessons that help us grow and mature.

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold (Job.23:10).

February 7, 2016

Failure seems to be regarded as the one unpardonable crime, success as the one all-redeeming virtue, the acquisition of wealth as the single worthy aim of life. (Charles Francis Adams Jr, Civil War Union army officer)

Adams’ observation is as relevant today as it was a century-and-a-half ago. The “all-mighty dollar” seems to be the most sought-after goal for many in our 21st century society. For some, that’s what success is all about, and failure to achieve that goal is “unpardonable.” All of these ideas, however, are temporal and passing. We should be pursuing higher goals.

But seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).

February 6, 2016

If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you. (Anonymous)

When some people are given positions of leadership, it seems to go to their head. They become proud, arrogant, and demanding. Everyone is to serve their needs and follow their directions. More effective leaders, however, have learned that they lead best by serving. Such an attitude actually draws followers and encourages them to do their best in serving.

The Apostle Peter to leaders: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them . . . eager to serve” (1 Peter 5:2).

February 5, 2016

Is it not by the courage always to do the right thing that the fires of hell shall be put out? (James Smith Bush, Episcopal clergyman)

The Bible says, “If anyone . . . knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them” (James 4:17). So, we know we ought to do the right thing. But, it isn’t always easy. Sometimes circumstances or the influence of others make it seem okay to do wrong. As Bush reminds, however, doing right might take courage, but it is always best.

If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door (Genesis 4:7). Learn to do right; seek justice (Isaiah 1:17). Let the one who does right continue to do right (Revelation 22:11).

February 4, 2016

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material . . . but rather a legacy of character and faith. (Billy Graham, noted evangelist)

Many folks are working hard to build an estate, accumulating wealth they can pass on to their children. They want their heirs to have advantages they didn’t have when they were younger. That may be a worthy goal, but Graham’s comment speaks of a much greater value. Possessions are temporal; character and faith earn eternal benefits.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:19-20).

February 3, 2016

The end depends upon the beginning. (Phillips Academy motto)

But, the philosopher Plato said, “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Actually, they’re both right. Every writer knows that getting his work off to a good start is important; otherwise, he may lose his reader in the first paragraph. Writers also realize, however, that they’d better know where they’re heading, what the end is intended to be.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning (Ecclesiastes 7:8).

February 2, 2016

You [live] a lifestyle of generosity and that eliminates the need for charity (Kirk Moyer, inner city aid worker)

The needs of the suffering and unfortunate in our world are overwhelming. A multitude of charity organizations are working hard to alleviate hardships, and they are dependent on the giving of concerned people. As Moyer points out, if more of us lived more generously, sharing from our abundance, a great deal more could be accomplished with less effort.

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share (1 Timothy 6:18).

February 1, 2016

Live less out of habit and more out of intent. (Author unknown)

There is a valuable principle in this simple statement. We do so much merely out of habit. “We’ve always done it that way,” we say. Tradition can be good, but blindly following the habits of the past may prevent us from gaining valuable new insights. It would be far better to do what we do because we are proactive in planning and setting goals and objectives.

The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out (Proverbs 20:5). It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good (Galatians 4:18).

January 31, 2016

When we are thankful for what we have, we find we have more and more for which to be thankful. (J Davis Illingworth, Sr, Presbyterian minister)

When we are dissatisfied with life, it blinds us to the good things that we have. On the other hand, when we are grateful for our blessings, we create an attitude of gratitude that permeates more and more of our lives. It’s contagious, too. Our appreciation for the good things of life spreads cheer and optimism all around.

Continue to live your lives in [Christ] . . . strengthened in the faith . . . and overflowing with thankfulness (Colossians 2:6-7).

January 30, 2016

Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be. (Clementine Paddleford, 20th century American writer)

It’s probably just as true of young boys as of young girls that they are often wishing for something—a Christmas gift, a new friend, or just that life might be different. Wishing isn’t bad, of course, but Paddleford’s advice is wise for any child. A strong backbone suggests integrity and strength in character. That’s something worthy for all of us to develop.

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power (Ephesians 6:10).