All human beings are alike in seeking happiness. Where they differ is in the objects from which they seek it. (Os Guinness, British social critic)
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are the rights of Americans, according to the Declaration of Independence. But, where do we look for happiness? Fulfilling work? A happy home? Growing investments? The pleasures of life? Success in business, sports, entertainment? Some are worthy involvements, but lasting joy is to be sought elsewhere.
To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness. (Ecclesiastes 2:26)
Always remember, the closer you get to realizing a dream or breakthrough, the greater the resistance becomes. Don’t stop! It’s just a test. (Jon Gordon, leadership author and speaker)
After things have gone well in your pursuit of a particular goal or achievement, do you sometimes run into a “wall”? Perhaps, it’s a perplexing puzzle to figure out or a time-sensitive delay to overcome. In any case, as Gordon suggests, don’t let the present difficulty prevent you from accomplishing your goal. Keep working hard at it.
Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it. (2 Corinthians 8:11)
Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illumines it. (Martin Luther King, Jr, 20th century civil rights leader)
The violence and acrimony that we see demonstrated on television in the evening news seems to reflect a growing presence of hatred across our country. Whether it’s racial, political, or religious, it is dangerous and can be fatal to consensus-building and unity. The antidote, of course, is a love that seeks the best for others, not for selfish gain.
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. (Proverbs 10:12)
I’m not funny. What I am is brave. (Lucille Ball, TV comedian)
“I Love Lucy” was a hilarious, slapstick, TV situation comedy that played many years. Ball says she was “not funny,” which will be a surprise to most of her viewers. Her bravery, however, might be a worthy challenge to someone who has talent but suffers from stage fright or fear of the public. We must take courage to do what we are gifted to do.
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. (1 Chronicles 28:20)
Don’t try to control the situation. Focus on controlling yourself. (Tim Kight, leadership writer)
Some people seem to be control-freaks. They simply must be in charge. In facing difficult circumstances, most of us will do better if we concentrate on disciplining ourselves to respond in a reasoned manner. Kight goes on to say that controlling yourself is “what gives you the power to respond with wisdom and discipline.”
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. (Proverbs 25:28)
When you hold resentment, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. (Catherine Ponder, Religious leader and author)
When we are greatly offended by someone, we tend to react strongly, not only to the offense, but to the offender. If we begin to resent them, we make ourselves a prisoner of our emotions, without gaining anything over the offender. It would be so much better to learn how to control our reactions and free ourselves from the resentment.
Resentment kills a fool. (Job 5:2) And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone . . . not resentful. (2 Timothy 2:24)
When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” (Maya Angelou, American poet)
When we give freely at times other than Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries, there is a greater sense of spontaneity and generosity. It’s a joy we should practice more often. On the other hand, sometimes we find it harder to receive a gift than to give one. We must learn not deprive someone of the joy of giving, but to accept the gift graciously.
The Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
We not only live among men, but there are airy hosts, blessed spectators, sympathetic lookers-on, that see and know and appreciate our thoughts and feelings and acts. (Henry Ward Beecher, 19th century Congregationalist clergyman)
John Milton, another English writer agrees: “Millions of spiritual creatures walk the Earth unseen, both when we sleep and when we wake.” Neither writer mentions that the unseen spiritual world is not all “sympathetic lookers-on.” The Bible warns us “against … the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). We must be aware and prepare.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11)
Common sense can be learned from experience or the teaching we receive from those we trust. (Cindy Hess Kasper, author)
We sometimes lament the apparent lack of common sense in society today. The more “far out” behaviors become, the more widely they seem to be accepted. The result often is poor judgment about the simple realities of life like morality and courtesy. Kasper suggests, “God’s Word is the best source of all to develop discernment and good judgment.”
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (Romans 12:2)
He (God) is the still point of the turning world. (T. S. Eliot, 20th century British poet)
The physical world is constantly in motion—the planets, the stars, even the earth on which we walk. The universe is in a fixed, pre-determined cycle of movement that is beyond our full comprehension. Eliot reminds us that it is all because of an intelligent Creator who put the universe in motion and still keeps its movements accurate and precise.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 40:28)