March 1, 2015

STOP AND THINK – It is more important to be kind than to be right. (Church sign board)

There seems to be an increasing lack of civility in modern society, so the church signboard is a good reminder about the need for kindness. Indeed, we ought to demonstrate kindness whenever we can, but we must also offer our aid in ways that are right and proper. We should always try to do right and to do it as kindly as we can.

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone (2 Timothy 2:24).

February 28, 2015

STOP AND THINK – Pride is the worst viper in the heart. There is no one sin that does so much to let the devil into the hearts of the saints and expose them to his delusions. (Jonathan Edwards, important philosophical theologian of the 18th century)

Edwards continues, “Nothing is so hateful to God, contrary to the spirit of the Gospel, or of so dangerous consequence.” The Bible says that “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). As someone has pointed out “I” is the middle letter of pride. Don’t fall prey to the devil’s lie. Ask God to help you think of others first.

In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but . . . to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

February 27, 2015

STOP AND THINK – There are no limitations in what you can do except the limitations of your own mind. (Darwin P. Kingsley, business executive and author)

“You have powers you never dreamed of. You can do things you never thought you could do” he says. Most of us would agree that we could do a lot more if only there was some way to unleash the potential within us. In spite of the limitations imposed from outside ourselves we could all do more, no doubt, if we were to dig deep and work harder.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

February 26, 2015

STOP AND THINK – Each of us literally chooses, by his way of attending to things, what sort of universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit. (William James, American philosopher and psychologist)

Our personal thoughts, attitudes, and choices will likely not have a great impact on the world as a whole. But, as James suggests, our choices and the way we care for our personal affairs, will determine our own personal universe. The people we associate with, the goals we pursue, the places we choose to go—all determine the personal world we create around us.

The righteous choose their friends carefully. (Proverbs 12:26)

February 25, 2015

STOP AND THINK – To finish first, first you must finish. (From a novel by Garth Stein)

It’s a simple thought, isn’t it? But, at times, we may be tempted to give up, to drop out of the race. Our job might be tough. Obstacles will often face us in our striving to reach a certain goal. As someone else has said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” To achieve success in any venture, we must work hard to finish and to finish well.

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it. (2 Corinthians 8:11)

February 24, 2015

STOP AND THINK – Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world. (Hans Margolius, German author)

Peering into the moving waters of a lake or pond gives us a distorted reflection. Looking in a cracked or blotchy mirror does the same. These analogies really do give a good picture of the cluttered mind, a mind that is filled with the busyness and complexities of life. It’s only in times of quiet mediation without outside interference that we can think deeply and clearly.

Stop thinking like children . . but in your thinking be adults. (1 Corinthians 14:20)

February 23, 2015

STOP AND THINK – Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom. (Merry Browne, 20th century American athlete)

When we approach a subject with predetermined opinions, we will most often find it difficult to learn anything new or gain greater information. As Browne suggests, a mind already made up is a closed mind. New truth cannot penetrate the biases we bring to our study. As much as possible, the honest student must consciously open his mind to new truth.

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out (Proverbs 18:15). Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands (Psalm 119:66).

February 22, 2015

STOP AND THINK – Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn.  (C. S. Lewis, British novelist and Christian apologist)

Life is all about learning. It’s been said that when you stop learning, you’re dead. That may not be literally true, but it does suggest the emptiness of life when there is nothing more to gain or to stimulate thought and action. Life’s lessons, as Lewis says, may be very hard, but perhaps it’s true that the harder the experience, the greater the learning. Learn well from life.

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. (Proverbs 1:5)

February 21, 2015

STOP AND THINK – Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. (Albert Schweitzer, German-French medical missionary to Africa)

Schweitzer’s two criteria for happiness are true but may be incomplete. Ill health, indeed, can be a hindrance to continued happiness. And memories of an unhappy past can be a hindrance to present happiness. But, happiness is an attitude that must not be determined by the circumstances of life we can’t control. It is our choice to see what’s good and to pursue it.

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness. (Ecclesiastes 7:14; 2:26)

February 20, 2015

STOP AND THINK – I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity. (John D. Rockefeller, business magnate and philanthropist)

In achieving fame and fortune as a co-founder of Standard Oil, Rockefeller must certainly have faced some difficult circumstances in his professional life. He tells us how to face such disasters: turn them into opportunities. Easier said than done, of course, but looking at our downturns in life as occasions for learning and growth will go a long way toward success.

God: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” St. Paul: “That is why . . . I delight in weaknesses . . . in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-11)