STOP AND THINK - The fear of death is engrafted in the common nature of all men, but faith works it out of Christians. (Vavasor Powell, 17th century Welsh puritan)
The fear of death seems to be almost universal. We don’t talk about death much, unless we or someone close to us is facing a terminal illness. The young almost feel immortal, but we need to face the reality that, as the Bible says, all of us are destined to die and after that there’s a judgment. But the Bible also offers hope to those who put their faith in God.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
STOP AND THINK - Man’s mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension. (Oliver Wendell Holmes, 20th century U.S. Supreme Court justice)
The 19th century French writer, Victor Hugo, said, “No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.” Such ideas, once conceived, can never be forgotten. Moreover, Holmes indicates that such powerful ideas will stretch our mind so that we can never be the same. Great ideas push us to examine the thought further until it yields worthy results.
For as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)
STOP AND THINK - Backslappers help us feel better about ourselves, but we don’t actually profit by them. (Ted W. Engstrom, late evangelical leader and author)
It’s nice to be congratulated and applauded, isn’t it? But there’s a danger in thinking too highly of those compliments. They may boost our ego to our own detriment. Engstrom went on to say, “Real change and emotional growth come by facing our weaknesses and personality defects as others see us.” Accept praise humbly and criticism realistically.
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment. (Romans 12:3)
STOP AND THINK - If it is hard to accept a rebuke, even a private one, it is harder still to administer one in loving humility. (D.A. Carson, theologian and professor)
We all know how difficult it is to be criticized or corrected—even when we know it’s well deserved. But when we have to correct someone else, how sensitive are we to that person’s feelings? Recalling our own feelings and uncertainties when we were corrected should help us correct others, as Carson suggests, with loving humility.
If someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. (Galatians 6:1)
STOP AND THINK - We cannot control the beauty of our face, but we can control the expression on it. (John Maxwell, motivational speaker and author)
Millions—maybe billions—of dollars are spent every year on cosmetics and surgery to make our faces prettier or to overcome signs of aging. But, whatever our natural appearance, our faces can be improved simply by smiling. What a difference that can make—not only in our own feelings but in the response it will likely bring about in others. So, smile!
I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile. (Job 9:27)
STOP AND THINK - There are three kinds of giving: grudge giving, duty giving, and thanksgiving. (Robert Rodenmeyer, author, educator)
Rodenmeyer defines the types of giving: “Grudge giving says, I have to; duty giving says, I ought to; thanksgiving says, I want to.” For many of us, with all the appeals for our money, it almost seems like “Trick or Treat” every day. So, we either don’t give at all or we give reluctantly. It’s a real joy, however, when we learn to give willingly to worthy causes.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
STOP AND THINK - Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. (G. K. Chesterton, English writer and Christian apologist)
The more often we hear something that at first seems strange, the more acceptable it may become. Yet, falsehood doesn’t become truth by its repetition. Some TV commercials are repeated so often that they become common place to us, and no matter their validity, they may soon become acceptable to the unwitting observer. Beware!
An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies. (Proverbs 12:17)
STOP AND THINK - Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. (Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th century essayist and poet)
Emerson must have been a positive thinker. Most of us probably don’t look at every day that way. We just know that some days aren’t going to be good—a big loan payment is due, a difficult business meeting is at hand, or we’ve argued with a loved one. Wouldn’t it be great, if we could adopt the attitude of the psalmist and rejoice because today is God’s day?
This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)
STOP AND THINK – Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them. (Epictetus, ancient Greek sage and Stoic philosopher)
We do let things bother us, don’t we? Whether it’s a disappointment at work, in sports, or personal relationships, we can be easily discouraged. We would do well to heed the ancient Greek philosopher’s words. Most often it’s not the things or the disappointments, but our emphasis on things rather than people and God that leads to our distress.
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 1:14)
STOP AND THINK - Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see the possibilities. (Norman Vincent Peale, 20th century minister and promoter of “positive thinking”)
Sometimes we become discouraged because circumstances seem to be working against us, and our hope for success becomes dimmed. It’s then that we need a friend or counselor who can help us see beyond the present to consider what can be done to reclaim the lost hope and move toward success. Faith in the God of the impossible will sustain you.
Everything is possible for one who believes. (Mark 9:23)