STOP AND THINK – Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way. (Isak Dinesen, pen name of Karen Blixen, Danish author)
Dinesen continued, “So many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.” When we face “difficult times,” instead of worrying about what we may not be able to control, we would do better to think again about all the good things life is offering us. Most of us are better off than we deserve; so let’s thank God and trust Him in the hard times.
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)
STOP AND THINK - If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly. (G. K. Chesterton, 20th century English writer and Christian apologist)
Chesterton’s statement seems contrary to the popular, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” Other authors have explained the thought: “In other words, it’s better to try and fail, and then improve with practice, rather than simply to fail to try at all.” We can learn to keep trying even when we’re not doing well; in time, we can succeed.
The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down (Psalm 145:14). For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again (Proverbs 24:16).
STOP AND THINK – Life is not the way it’s supposed to be … It’s the way it is … The way we cope with it is what makes the difference. (Virginia Satir, 20th century American author and social worker)
All of us have wished sometime that life were different—that circumstances or events had been more to our liking. But, as they say today, “It is what it is.” What we can’t change we must learn to live with or, as Satir says, “cope” with it. Again, it’s a matter of attitude and choice. We must choose to accept and cope with whatever in life we can’t control.
22 You were taught … to be made new in the attitude of your minds. (Ephesians 4:22-23)
STOP AND THINK – I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man. (Dwight L. Moody, 19th century American evangelist)
Let’s be honest. We often want to blame others for our troubles. It wasn’t our fault that someone mistreated us or said something nasty about us. In fact, of course, we are sometimes treated poorly by other people. But, in reality, most of us would have to agree with Moody; we are sometimes our worst enemy. We need to be careful about our own thoughts and acts.
Train yourself to be godly. … Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:7, 16)
STOP AND THINK – You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. (Zig Ziglar, late motivational speaker)
Sometimes we hesitate to start on a new project or introduce a new thought. We don’t think anyone will respond well because we aren’t well known or have a great name. As Ziglar suggests, that’s thinking backward. We cannot achieve recognition or acclaim until we’ve launched out into the unknown. We have to start in order to finish or to be recognized.
“Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you.” (1 Chronicles 22:16)
STOP AND THINK – Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds. (Author unknown)
What kinds of thoughts repeatedly flash across your mind? If they are frequently negative, they will certainly choke out the good things we should focus on. Many of the problems and difficulties we encounter in our lives have their beginnings in the seeds of doubt and anxiety. We must not allow such thoughts to linger or they will produce a life without flowers.
A man reaps what he sows. (Galatians 6:7)
STOP AND THINK – The art of life is to live in the present moment. (Emmet Fox, 20th century “New Thought” leader)
Fox continues: “[We can] make that moment as perfect as we can by the realization that we are the instruments and expression of God Himself.” Fox is expressing an ancient thought, first revealed by God “in the beginning.” Although imperfect because of our failure to live up to God’s standard, we can still be His instruments, recognizing the purpose He has for us.
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)
STOP AND THINK – The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety. (George Mueller, 19th century evangelist and orphanage director)
Sometimes it seems as if we are living in the age of anxiety. People seem to be worried, anxious about both the little and the big things of life. For many, their fears lead to a great sense of hopelessness. Mueller says the answer to anxiety is faith. And faith cannot be in the transient, undependable features of modern day life. It must be placed in the faithful One.
For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. (Psalm 33:4)
STOP AND THINK – Men . . . will not reflect on the end of their present course, and the sure consequences of their present days, and [they will] wake up to find they are damned for a lack of thinking. (J. C Ryle, 19th century Anglican priest)
This is a brief excerpt from remarks addressed to young men by Bishop Ryle. Unless we train our children (boys and girls alike) to begin to think about their actions and their outcomes, they will, indeed, suffer the resulting consequences. We must all learn not to live just for the present moment, but with foresight to maximize a better future.
Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. (Psalm 37:37)
STOP AND THINK – Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. (Carl Sandburg, Pulitzer prize-winning poet and writer)
Do you value time as highly as money? Which is the more valuable? After all, we all have only a limited amount of both. It’s important, then, that we exercise great discipline in the use of each. Sandburg goes on to advise, “Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” People can waste our time, so we must be sure we use it to its best advantage.
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15)