STOP AND THINK – Education in itself without moral correction does little except to produce clever sinners. (Melvin Tinker, the vicar of St John’s in Newland, Australia)
Education is extremely important, of course, but as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” To teach facts—even as accurate as they may be—will not produce men and women of integrity. Students must approach their education with a willingness to learn truth and a desire to develop character and integrity.
It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a rebel who has no heart for truth. (Proverbs 17:16)
STOP AND THINK – Take the risk of thinking for yourself—much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way. (Christopher Hitchens, English author and journalist)
Is it really a risk to think for yourself? Maybe we are tempted to express only those ideas that are commonly understood or to repeat what “the experts” have said or written on the subject. But, as Hitchens says, there’s a lot to gain if you exercise your freedom to express your own thoughts and ideas. Perhaps someone will learn from your free expression of truth.
We will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly (Ephesians 4:15-16).
STOP AND THINK – We are masters of unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out. (Winston Churchill)
Sometimes we make great speeches in our minds. We know just what we’d say if certain occasions came for us to speak; we have just the right words. We’re the master of those mental words. The problem is that we too often say things before we think, and we are forever trapped by those unwise words. So, we need to think carefully before we speak.
When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise (Proverbs 10:19).
STOP AND THINK – It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. (John Wooden, renowned coach)
Probably no one really thinks they know it all, but some people act like they do. Even the most learned person can and must continue to learn. No matter what the subject, there is always more to know about it. One of the joys of aging is continuing to learn. Continued learning makes life enjoyable and fruitful.
Let the wise listen and add to their learning. … Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still (Proverbs 1:5; 9:9).
STOP AND THINK – A pure theology and a loose morality will never mix. (C. H. Spurgeon, 19th century British preacher)
People of religion can talk all they want about theology or doctrine, but what they really believe will be demonstrated by how they live. As someone has said, “Words are cheap.” That is, we may be able to speak well and clearly, but our lips and lives will reveal what is really in our heart—what our character and integrity are. So, show your faith by your life.
Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. … Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds (James 2:17-18).
STOP AND THINK – You’ll probably end up behaving like your friends behave … and if that’s a scary thought, it’s time to make a new set of friends. (Inspiration Line)
When you hang out with the same people over a period of time, you begin to become like them—often picking up their mannerisms, attitudes, and even their beliefs. If you discover you’re becoming someone with habits that you don’t like, it’s probably time to re-evaluate your relationships. Develop new relationships that encourage and build you up.
Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).
STOP AND THINK – God has not called us to see through each other but to see each other through. (Jess Moody, 20th century pastor)
Sometimes we think we can “see through” someone, that is, by noting their words and actions, we think we can evaluate their motives. Consequently, we often make judgments that are false and unfair. Rather than trying to judge others, we would do better, Moody intimates, to assist them, to help them through their struggles and make life a little better for them.
Encourage one another and build each other up. … always strive to do what is good for each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11, 15).
STOP AND THINK – One kind word can warm three winter months. (Japanese Proverb)
We all know what it’s like when someone encourages us. We can bask in that kind word for a long time. It’s a great joy, then, when we do the same favor for someone else. Think about those whom you could encourage with just a single word or phrase to uplift them. You will be the better for it, and so will they.
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up (Proverbs 12:25).
STOP AND THINK – I have never known a person who was critical of most things and sad about many things who was generous. (Kent Wilson)
Is Wilson’s observation true? Think of the generous people you’ve known. Were they often critical and sad or tolerant and happy? There does seem to be a correlation, doesn’t there? People give generously when they are supportive of someone or some work, not critical. They’re happy about the person or the organization, so they give in happy support.
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share (1 Timothy 6:18).
STOP AND THINK – No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally—and often far more—worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond. (C. S. Lewis, 20th century British fantasy author)
Parents and grandparents often take great pleasure in reading books from their childhood to their children and grandchildren. Sometimes they even find more meaning in those readings than they did when they were younger. Lewis said elsewhere, “Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” Some of us have found that to be true.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it (Revelation 1:3).