April 24, 2018

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention. (Oscar Wilde, 19th century Irish poet and playwright)

It’s said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Sometimes another phrase is added: “but heaven is full of good works.” Wilde puts it well. No matter how great our plan is, unless it is actively pursued, it’s fruitless, offering no help to the intended beneficiary. It’s rather crude to say it, but it’s pointed: “Put your money where your mouth is.” In other words, just do it!

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works (Titus 2:7).

April 23, 2018

Dare to reach your hand into the darkness to pull another hand into the light. (Norman Rice, former mayor of Seattle, Washington)

Sometimes we are so afraid of being hurt or of endangering ourselves that we refuse to reach out to someone in need because he or she is in a dark place, unfamiliar and even frightening to us. But the person who is trapped in the evil of drugs or immorality needs someone to take the first step to bring that unfortunate person into the light and toward freedom and a productive life.

The example of a godly woman: “She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. (Proverbs 31:20)

April 22, 2018

All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. (Edmund Burke, 18th century Irish statesman and author)

Evil raises its ugly head far too frequently in modern society. Whether it is drug abuse, civil uprisings, or crime, we see it all too often in the headlines and in our local communities. Unless it affects us directly, we usually avoid thinking about it. As Burke suggests, however, unless we take an active role to overcome it, we will be subject to the spreading of evil locally and globally.

Evil people will bow before good people; the wicked will bow at the gates of the godly. … Don’t fret because of evildoers; don’t envy the wicked. (Proverbs 14:19; 24:19)

April 21, 2018

At last it dawned on me that … obstacles were my life. (Fr. Alfred D’Souza, (Catholic Archbishop in India)

That is D’Souza’s discovery. He wrote: “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin—real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin.” It’s essential to live in the present, overcoming the obstacles, not hoping they will just disappear.

Jesus: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

April 20, 2018

Never take down a fence until you know why it was put up. (Warren Wiersbe, pastor, author)

This is one of Wiersbe’s lessons for life, and it may be helpful to learn. Fences are a kind of boundary; they may say “Stay out” or “Stay in.” They may be there to protect those inside from dangers coming from the outside. Or, they may be there to keep those inside from going out into dangerous places. Before you go in or go out, be sure to find out why the fence is there.

We’re sticking to the limits of what God has set for us. . . . As your lives grow in faith, you’ll play a part within our expanding work. And we’ll all still be within the limits God sets. ( 2 Corinthians 10:13-15)

April 19, 2018

I believe that the best way to be a better teacher is to be open to the idea that there is more to learn. (Rita Platt, teacher)

What is the goal of teaching? A good purpose might be stated this way: “The teacher’s goal is that the student learns and changes.” Wouldn’t any good teacher rejoice when one of his students exceeds the instructor’s best teaching effort and becomes more effective than his tutor? Such a teacher can take pride not just in his own work but that his students are continuing to learn.

If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well (Romans 12:7).

April 18, 2018

You always have to watch out when someone steeples their fingers. (George W. Bush, 43rd U.S. president)

We may not know for sure what Bush was referring to. Was he thinking of someone whose posture suggested deep and intense thought? Or was he referring to the posture of prayer? In either case, you want to pay careful attention to such people. Deep thinkers can offer good counsel, and people who sincerely pray will always be an asset and encouragement.

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16)

April 17, 2018

Knowledge becomes evil if the aim be not virtuous. (Plato, classical Greek philosopher)

There is more available knowledge today than ever before, and with the Internet, that knowledge is accessible to millions of learners. It’s important to be knowledgeable about our areas of interest, but the mere possession of knowledge doesn’t guarantee wise application of its truths. Meaningful achievement requires understanding, wisdom, and upright character for the learner.

Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge. (2 Peter 1:5)

April 16, 2018

Yesterday is ashes, tomorrow wood. Only today does the fire burn brightly. (Eskimo Proverb)

As we grow older, we tend to become more nostalgic. We long for the “good old days,” and we rehash the good memories, probably forgetting the less pleasant experiences. Others of us, perhaps the younger ones, are concentrated on the future, concerned about what may or may not happen. Both extremes rob us of today’s opportunities. Work your plan today.

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone (James 4:14).

April 15, 2018

Thinking is one thing no one has ever been able to tax. (Charles Kettering, late engineer and inventor)

On tax day in the U.S., a little humor might help. Will Rogers said, “The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf.” But Kettering’s comment is more helpful and challenging. No matter what tax bracket we may be in—or even if we don’t have to pay any income tax—we should exercise our tax-free right of freedom to think widely and deeply.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)