May 27, 2017

Happiness is not easily won; it is hard to find it in ourselves, and impossible to find it elsewhere. (Nicolas Chamfort, 18th century French writer)

We’d like to think that happiness is easy to come by. After all, the right to happiness is guaranteed in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. But, as often noted, it really depends on our attitude and choices. Personal choices and responses determine a good bit about our state of mind and emotions. Our relationship with God is critical, too.

To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness (Ecclesiastes 2:26).

May 26, 2017

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. (Winston Churchill, British prime minister during World War II)

Churchill made his comment well before the Internet was developed with its instant communication by email, Skype, or Twitter. Yet, as he observed, falsehoods and gossip seem to travel with lightening speed, frequently making it very difficult to correct errors and get the truth out. Even then, its impact is often less effective.

Keep falsehood and lies far from me (Proverbs 30:8). Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices (Colossians 3:9).

May 25, 2017

Gentle words are more powerful than angry words. (Bill Crowder, author)

Most of us would probably have to admit that at some time or other we have hurt someone else by something we have said in anger. It’s an experience we can’t take back. Crowder gives this advice: “In a world where words are often wielded as weapons, may we use our words as tools to build up the hearts of others.”

Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious (Ecclesiastes 10:12). The tongue of the wise brings healing. … A gentle answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 12:18; 15:1).

May 24, 2017

Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. (George Washington, 1st president of the United States)

We were created to be social people. God said that it was not good for man to be alone, so He provided a wife for Adam. Ever since, mankind has enjoyed close relationships, some more intimate than others. As Washington, points out, however, we must be on guard about associations with those whose character and intentions are not for our benefit.

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold (Proverbs 22:1).

May 23, 2017

If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. (Denis Waitley, motivational speaker)

Self-confidence is a characteristic of most successful people. Folks who are unsure of their abilities rarely step “out of the box” to try something new even if they are sure of the soundness of their intentions. Perhaps self-assurance is the result of confidence, not only in your product or idea, but in the One who created and gifted you to be the person you are.

Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him (Jeremiah 17:7).

May 22, 2017

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. (Martin Luther King, Jr, 20th century civil rights leader)

Everyone faces disappointment at one time or another—maybe multiple times. Experience has taught us, however, that we do get over those setbacks; they usually diminish over time. And, as King reminds us, there is always hope if it is placed in the appropriate resource. We must not hope in the temporal but in what lies beyond, in the eternal One.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope (Romans 15:13).

May 21, 2017

Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around. (Henry David Thoreau, 19th century American essayist)

Everyone has a belief system of some kind. Some believe in magic, horoscopes, or palm-reading. Others trust in education, research, and study. Thoreau emphasizes the importance of sticking to your foundational belief system and living it out. No doubt, that’s important, but the essential question must deal with the veracity of your worldview.

The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps (Proverbs 14:15). Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God (1 John 4:1).

May 20, 2017

Don’t get upset when people say bad things about you. You are much worse then they know. (Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers”)

Wow, we don’t want to hear things like that, do we? Do others really know what is in our hearts and minds? We too often hear in the news about mild-mannered, polite neighbors who turn about to be predators or terrorists. We must examine our own hearts to be sure our motives and actions are not self-centered and inclined toward evil.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 )

May 19, 2017

Our abundance leads to a dull joylessness which settles over us and empties our lives. (Darryl Tippens, distinguished scholar)

“The more you have, the happier you can be” seems to be the mantra of our age. We live as if the accumulation of things is really the goal of life. Look at our over-stuffed garages and storage sheds. Perhaps we should consider Tippens’ observation more carefully. Do we have so much we can’t enjoy it? Have we lost our sense of value and appreciation?

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2).

May 18, 2017

[Poems] teach us what it means to be human. (Amy Julia Becker, writer, speaker)

Becker wrote, “Poetry is useless. Poetry is without use, but it is valuable. . . . Although [the words of a poem] may not provide or produce clothing or shelter or food, they nonetheless convey beauty and meaning, truth and transcendence.” What a wonderful blessing it is to have creative minds that provide comfort and often add beauty and challenge to life.

My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer (Psalm 45:1).