August 28, 2016

Parents, investing time in helping your child develop needed character is way more important than tons of extracurricular activities.

Whoever wrote this statement is certainly in tune with today’s ultra-active society. Parents are taxiing their kids to more and more athletic and social events: soccer, Little League, dance classes, etc. Each of these activities can be tools to teach character traits, but too often they are merely time consumers with little lasting benefit in character development.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6).



August 27, 2016

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles he has overcome. (Booker T. Washington, 19th-20th century American educator)

We often regard someone who has achieved a high position in business, entertainment, or politics as being successful. Obviously, they have moved up the ladder in their respective endeavors, but the secret to their success is the hard work they did to arrive there. Washington suggests that the real test for success is what they overcame to get there.

Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith (1 John 5:4).



August 26, 2016

How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. (George Washington Carver, 19th century American botanist and inventor)

That sounds like very sound advice, encouraging us to be less self-centered and more aware of the needs of those around us. The most gripping idea, however, is what Carver went on to say, “Because someday in life you will have been all of these.” It reminds us again that we should be alert and open to others and the stage of life where they might need our help.

And we urge you . . . [to] help the weak, be patient with everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:14). God . . . will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them (Hebrews 6:10).



August 25, 2016

If there was to be independence, self-sufficiency, or freedom, then we first had to understand, accept, and discharge our responsibilities. (Clarence Thomas, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court)

When he uttered these words in a commencement address at Hillsdale College, Justice Thomas was comparing the attitude of people in his generation with that of the current generation he was addressing. His words are worth our considering today: “There [can] be no freedom without each of us discharging our responsibilities.

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind (Ecclesiastes 12:13). If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them (James 4:17).



August 24, 2016

I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself. (Robert E. Lee, Civil War general)

It’s a frightening sight to see someone out of control, a person who, perhaps, is addicted to a dangerous substance that takes control of the user. Others just can’t control their appetites or their temper. They are the people, as Lee suggests, you don’t want to be in a leadership role, where they have authority over others. Self-control is an essential requisite for leaders.

Now the [leader] is to be above reproach . . . temperate, self-controlled, respectable . . .       (1 Timothy 3:2).



August 23, 2016

Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. (Jesus Christ)

To look at the size of people’s houses and their overflowing garages, one might think that Jesus was wrong. At least in the more affluent 21st century societies, “stuff” does seem to be of great importance. Yet, as the Broadway play says, “You Can’t Take It With You.” So, we should consider our spiritual condition more than the abundance of things we own.

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes (Luke 12:23).



August 22, 2016

A little consideration, a little thought for others makes all the difference. (Winnie the Pooh, a children’s cartoon character)

Most of us think our opinions are right, and we don’t hesitate to say so. But, when we don’t think of others before we speak, we may unintentionally offend someone. Careful thought before we speak is important and often prevents us from hurting others. When we value others’ opinions, we may learn something in an exchange of ideas and keep our friends, too.

In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3-4). Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. . . . Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12, 3, 9).



August 21, 2016

Change starts when someone sees the next step. (William Drayton, American musician, actor, and comedian)

Too often we become satisfied with the status quo. We don’t see any need for change or any way to make change happen. But, as Drayton suggests, all that’s needed is for someone to come up with the first step to take. After that, subsequent steps usually become obvious, and progress is made. And there is divine help available, also.

A person’s steps are directed by the Lord (Proverbs 20:24).



August 20, 2016

We must pray as if it all depended on God and work as though it all depended on us. (St. Augustine, quoted by Warren Wiersbe, pastor and author)

There are always extremes, aren’t there? Some people believe so strongly in a sovereign God that they don’t do anything to fulfill His will; they leave it all up to Him. Others act as if there were no God—though they claim to believe in Him; they work tirelessly to accomplish what they believe is God’s will. Maybe, we should see it as a both/and situation.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. . . . Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (Proverbs 16:3; 19:21).



August 19, 2016

If you can’t win an argument, correct their grammar instead. (Source unknown)

Someone has called this the #1 rule in arguments. That’s really sad, isn’t it? Yet, most of us hate to lose an argument so much that we’ll try anything to win. Correcting grammar might be helpful to your opponent, to be sure, but it certainly doesn’t advance your argument or increase your popularity. So, be gracious in your verbal confrontations. Better yet, be quiet.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1).