You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices. (Deepak Chopra, author)
The ability to choose is one of the few factors in life that we can control. We choose what to wear, who our friends will be, what work we will do, and so on. We are besieged with TV and social media advertising that attempt to control our choices. We are told what will make us beautiful, wealthy, and successful. It’s your choice, so be thoughtful and careful.
Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).
The family characteristic that should be most evident in us is summed up in these words, “walk in love.” (Elyse Fitzpatrick, author)
Today it’s very evident that the family unit is in trouble. Single mothers, absentee fathers, children out of control—these are symptoms of underlying problems that society is having difficulty dealing with. Fitzpatrick suggests a powerful solution: love. But, love is not merely an emotion; it is an active choice to work for the benefit of others. Try it for a while.
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love (2 John 1:6).
Knowing is confirmed in showing. One cannot be complete without the other. (Paraphrase of Kip Cone, pastor-teacher)
Everyone would agree, probably, that knowledge is a good thing. After all, you have to know something in order to act. But as Cone points out, unless what you know is demonstrated in some fashion, it is incomplete. Knowing and doing are inseparable if one is to have personal fulfillment or to serve others well.
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do (James 1:25).
That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures. (Josiah Gilbert Holland, 19th century American novelist and poet)
In a society of fast-moving, goal-driven people, we don’t see much patience. Instant gratification drives our desires and ambitions. We want what we want, and we want it right now. Yet, as Holland suggests, fast is not necessarily best. Enjoy the anticipation of what you’re seeking, and you can have peace now and a long-lasting result in the end.
Be patient . . . See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains (James 5:7).
If there [is] to be independence, self-sufficiency, or freedom, then we first [have] to understand, accept, and discharge our responsibilities. (Paraphrase of Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Associate Justice)
Americans prize their independence and freedom. Many are also proud that they are self-sufficient; they don’t need others to make them successful. No doubt thinking of those qualities as they refer to the nation as a whole, Thomas points to the basic necessity of citizens understanding and sharing in their personal responsibility to the country.
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes, called experience, will lead us to success. (Denis Waitley, motivational speaker)
No one likes to make mistakes. We don’t start out any day or any project with the intention of making blunders. But, they do happen to the best of us. And they provide great learning experiences at the moment, and, as Waitley suggests, they are a part of our life-long experience. And, as Julius Caesar said “Experience is the teacher of all things.”
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check (James 3:2).
To the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. (William Blake, 18th-19th century English poet.
Blake wrote, “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity … and some scarce see nature at all.” There is more to what we see than just the physical.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1).
Your own resolution (persistence) to succeed is more important than any other one thing. (Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States)
Consider the journey of the gangly farm boy from Kentucky to the White House, and you must be impressed by his perseverance. His father thought he wouldn’t amount to anything. He lost numerous state and national elections. His own Cabinet members felt he was inadequate. Yet, he is renowned today for the great achievements of his presidency.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life. (James 1:12).
You can’t leave a footprint that lasts if you’re always walking on tiptoe. (Marion Blakey, business executive)
We sometimes say that someone is “tip-toeing around,” implying that maybe they are avoiding reality or a possible unfavorable reaction to their activity. That sort of behavior, according to Blakey, won’t accomplish anything of lasting value. To leave a lasting footprint you have to be intentional and act with assurance and courage.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised (Hebrews 10:36).
Focus on the target, not the adversity. (Tom Sheard and Wally Armstrong, authors)
These authors were relating lessons about life to be learned from golf with particular applications to spiritual life. This is an especially pertinent axiom for all of us who have faced obstacles at one time or another. We should avoid concentrating on the difficulty and give our fullest attention to the goal we are aiming to achieve.
It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose (Philippians 2:13).