STOP AND THINK - If an egg is broken from an outside source, life ends. If broken from an inside source, life begins. (Jim Kwik, learning expert)
Kwik also says, “Great things always begin from the inside.” Another wrote, “Real change can come only from within.” That’s good food for thought. Sometimes we’re greatly affected by events outside ourselves, and they can be invaluable learning experiences. But, it’s what is in our heart and mind that motivates us to achieve anything significant.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).
STOP AND THINK - Be how you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. (Dr. Seuss, children’s writer and cartoonist)
So many people try to be careful about what they do and say because they fear what others might think of them. Actually, people are probably not thinking about them as much as they think they are. We should not be as concerned about what people who don’t know us think as we are about what is true about us, no matter what anyone else thinks.
A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart. (Proverbs 21:2)
STOP AND THINK – After the age of 80, everything reminds us of something else. (Lowell Thomas, journalist and newscaster)
Any octogenarian can testify to the truth of Thomas’ comment. Some of those “reminders” are pleasant and enjoyable; others recall disappointments and sadness. It’s a reason, then, for those who are younger, to live in a worthy manner and with strong relationships, so the memories of youth will bring joy in the “golden” years.
It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right. (Job 32:9)
STOP AND THINK - It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. (Benjamin Elijah Mays, sociologist and educator)
He also wrote, “The tragedy [in life] lies in having no goal to reach.” In fact, he says, “Low aim is sin.” Some people seem just to be taking life as it comes, living without real purpose or goals. With all the talents and gifts God has given us, surely we must do more than “just live.” Set goals, aim high, and work hard; that will give you a sense of purpose and worth.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me (Philippians 3:14).
STOP AND THINK - Better to get hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie. (Khaled Hosseini, Afghan-born American novelist and physician)
As someone else has said, “The truth hurts only when it applies.” But still, the truth can hurt. And sometimes we have to face up to the truth that we’ve made a mistake or failed. As Hosseini suggests, there’s little comfort in a lie, even when it is meant to soothe our feelings. Better, always, to stick with the truth.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted (Proverbs 27:6).
STOP AND THINK – What matters is whether you are being faithful, not whether you are being successful. (James Emery White, pastor, professor, and author)
Success may mean a lot of different things to different people—the accumulation of wealth, the adulation of celebrity, the achievement of a noteworthy accomplishment. But most people will not likely be identified with any of those categories. Whatever our opportunities and abilities, our success will be determined by our perseverance and faithfulness to our tasks.
It is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). … a faithful person who can find? (Proverbs 20:6).
STOP AND THINK - Too great length and too great brevity of discourse tend to obscurity. (Blaise Pascal, 17th century French scientist, writer, and philosopher)
To paraphrase Pascal, “If you want people to remember what you say, don’t talk too long and be sure to hit the high points.” It’s difficult to hold people’s interest in a long speech, and a brief one is likely to overlook some important points. There are two important lessons here: 1) don’t bore your hearers with too many words; 2) be sure to make it memorable.
Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? (1 Corinthians 14:9).
STOP AND THINK - Age does not depend upon years, but upon temperament and health. Some men are born old, and some never grow up. (Tryon Edwards, 19th century theologian and publisher)
Have you ever seen a young adult who thinks and acts like a much older person? You wonder if he even had a childhood. Or, maybe you’ve known people who’ve never matured, as if they just don’t want to grow up. In either case, we grieve that they are not experiencing life as God intended. The key may be to stay young at heart as you age.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:4).
STOP AND THINK – Never fear dying … Fear living—that is a hard battle to fight, a stern discipline to endure, a rough voyage to undergo. (C. H. Spurgeon, 19th century British “Prince of Preachers”)
We fear death because we don’t know what it will “feel” like and we’re not sure if there’s anything beyond it. But life, also, is unknown. We plan and prepare, but we really don’t know what the future holds. Spurgeon says we must persevere and face life with discipline despite the unknown. He would remind us, too, to trust God both in life and death.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
STOP AND THINK - Stop judging others and offer grace instead. Remember, judgment is simply seeing yourself as superior. Stop it in its tracks. (Gail Rodgers, freelance writer)
It’s seems to be part of our human nature to be critical. We criticize someone who talks, looks, dresses, acts differently from us. Sometimes we pass judgment on what someone does because we secretly think we could do it better. Whatever the occasion, as Rodgers suggests, many of our criticisms come from our feeling of pride. Not a pleasant thought!
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Matthew 7:1-2).