February 11, 2016

I am not afraid of failing, I am afraid of being successful at something that doesn’t matter. (Quoted by Morris M. Michalski, coach and basketball specialist)

Coach “Mo,” as he was known, quoted an athlete with a unique perspective on success. It’s an interesting and challenging thought, isn’t it? We can learn a lot from our failures, so when we stumble, it doesn’t have to be a complete loss. But, nothing of real value is gained if we succeed at something that really “doesn’t matter.” Pursue worthy accomplishments!

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again (Proverbs 24:16).

February 10, 2016

The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. (Orison Sweet Marden, 19th-20th century inspirational author)

Marden continued, “It is not in your environment, it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone.” Too often we’re inclined to blame other people, our circumstances, or bad luck when we can’t seem to achieve our goals. While we certainly do need help from others, the motivation for success must come from within.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-17).

February 9, 2016

It is harder to win back the friendship of an offended brother than to capture a fortified city. His anger shuts you out like an iron bar. (The Living Bible)

Remember when you were a child and you had a falling out with your best buddy? It hurt for a while, but it wasn’t long before you were best buds again. Perhaps you’ve discovered that it isn’t like that when an adult upsets a friend. Sometimes it seems almost impossible to make amends and restore a good relationship. It must begin with loving forgiveness.

[Love] keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:6).Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone (Colossians 3:13).

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).