June 21, 2018

The roots of education can be bitter, but the fruits are surely sweet. (Aristotle, 4th century B.C. Greek philosopher)

What are those bitter “roots of education?” Today we might consider excessive homework, rote memorization, boring lectures, or cramming for exams as examples. Surely, there are better ways of learning, but too many give up because of those tough experiences. If you survive those difficulties, there is much to be gained in mental, vocational, and spiritual growth.

For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life (Proverbs 6:23).



June 20, 2018

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man thinks himself to be a fool. (Shakespeare)

It’s unlikely that many people think they are fools, but there are some who probably think they are wise. One test to determine the difference is to listen to them speak. Plato said, “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” People will likely judge us on how well we control our tongue and what is the value of our words.

Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words. (Ecclesiastes 10:12)



June 19, 2018

Effective communication happens only when one party understands the other party’s message. (From Encompass World Partners paper)

We like to think that when we’ve spoken or written, our message has been understood. When our hearer or readers respond, we may be surprised to discover that they may not have gotten the point at all. As the Encompass article noted, “The key here is comprehension!” We must be sure to communicate in a manner that can be clearly understood by our audience.

Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (Ephesians 4:29)



June 18, 2018

Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger. (Franklin P. Jones, author)

Actually, Jones seems to be saying that criticism from anyone is hard to hear. It’s probably even harder if it’s a just criticism, one that we need but don’t want to hear. Sometimes people say they want us to be candid and tell it like it is. It may be for our good, but it still hurts. A true friend, however, will speak the truth in love, helping us to live and serve better.

The godly give good advice to their friends (Proverbs 12:16). The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense (Proverbs 27:9).



June 17, 2018

One father is worth more than a hundred schoolmasters. (George Herbert, 17th century Welsh-born poet)

It’s true that Herbert lived in a generation far removed from the 21st century. One might wonder what he would say about fathers in the modern world where fatherless homes are one of society’s great problems. His sentiment, however, presents an ideal we could wish for on this Father’s Day. We ask God to restore homes with fathers who teach their family well.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)



June 16, 2018

If what you have doesn’t make you grateful, then what you want won’t make you happy either. (Author unknown)

To peek into the attics or garages of a lot of people is to discover a huge accumulation of “stuff.” How much stuff does it take to make you happy? We used to be happy with a building block to play with. Now, we have to have computerized games and toys—and lots of them. Wanting more is to pursue a path of frustration in the search for happiness. It isn’t found is stuff.

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! (Ecclesiastes 5:10) Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you (Psalm 86:4).



June 15, 2018

If all you ever get is sunshine, then all you will have is desert. (From an Arab proverb)

Spring has finally arrived, and everyone seems happy with the warmer temperatures and the sunshine. But, as the proverb suggests, if that’s all we ever have, we’ll soon be complaining about desert-like conditions. Yes, as the farmers know all too well, rain is a necessary part of life in spite of its occasional inconvenience. Be thankful both for sunshine and rain.

When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. (Hebrews 6:7)



June 14, 2018

To survive in peace and harmony, united and strong, we must have one people, one nation, one flag. (Pauline Hanson, Australian politician)

Many Americans will fly the U.S. flag today, celebrating the symbol of our country. It cannot be denied that for any nation to survive there must be a united purpose and consensus to live by the rule of law. The same must be true for any group to succeed in its purposes, whether it’s a social club, a sports team, a church, or any other organization. You must be united to stand.

Live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. (1 Corinthians 1:10)



June 13, 2018

Nothing is more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than achieving a new order of things. (Machiavelli, 15th-16th century Italian diplomat)

If Machiavelli is right, it’s a wonder anyone succeeds in bringing about change. Change is always difficult, but when the project is worthy and necessary, we must enlist the support of those who will most benefit from the change. In spite of the dangers and discouragement, change will begin when we make a full commitment to the achievement of a noble cause.

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. (Psalm 37:5)



June 12, 2018

Make no mistake, the gravitational pull of your heart will always be toward yourself. (Mike Lee, pastor)

It doesn’t take long to test Lee’s proposition. Just look at a young child, even an infant, and you’ll see how he/she is already thinking “me first.” We’d like to think we outgrow that selfish attitude as we mature, but, honestly, many of us would have to admit that quite often we still think of ourselves and our desires before anyone else. Put the “Golden Rule” into practice.

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. (Philippians 2:3-4)