“As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them.”
“Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”
“The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors; that which it loves, and also that which it fears; it reaches the height of its cherished aspirations; it falls to the level of its unchastened desires.”
“Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles. Men understand this law in the natural world, and work with it; but few understand it in the mental and moral world (though its operation there is just as simple and undeviating), and they, therefore, do not co-operate with it.”
“Blessedness, not material possessions, is the measure of right thought; wretchedness, not lack of material possessions, is the measure of wrong thought.”
“A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile.”
“Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.”
“They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles, and self-pityings.”
“This is the royal road to self-control and true concentration of thought. Even if he fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and this will form a new starting-point for future power and triumph.”
“The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities. Your circumstances may be uncongenial, but they shall not long remain so if you but perceive an Ideal and strive to reach it. You cannot travel within and stand still without.”
Dr. Kathy Koch has given parents—and anyone else who works with children—a marvelously helpful resource in her latest book Start With The Heart. Be sure to check out my full book review by clicking here.
“God created you and your children with five core, basic needs that must be met. These needs are interrelated. The health of one influences the others:
“Children who know their purpose will often choose to look for peers with similar goals and interests. They will want to hang out with people who affirm them and their purpose and be willing to end relationships that are not joyful and purposeful.”
“When you parent so your children believe three things, their hearts will be impacted and they will be motivated to succeed. This translates into less stress and anxiety and more peace. … Children who believe these things don’t want to be average. They are willing to work for more. … Children’s character will be more Christlike. They’ll want to be more others-centered than self-centered. They’ll be compassionate, brave and able to stand up for themselves and others.
“Which is better: ‘Be on time!’ or ‘Don’t be late!’? Do you hear the difference? Which one is positive? ‘Be on time’ communicates ‘I believe you’re capable of this.’ It’s more hopeful. It’s about what you want your children to do. ‘Don’t be late’ reminds them of how they’ve frustrated you.”
“Carol Dweck…has consistently found that children praised for using effort tackled more challenging tasks than those praised just for ability or for the quality of their work.”
“Sometimes have children tell you what they think they did before you offer your opinions. If they are relatively accurate, affirm them specifically. When they’re not, have the conversation.”
“Working to provide feedback that can be described with the following attributes will serve you and your children well—specific, believable, helpful, and thoughtful.”
You can also check out the first set of quotes I shared from Start With The Heart by clicking here.
Tim Challies has a highly practical guide to helping you learn how to be more productive for God’s glory. Check out my full book review by clicking here.
“Productivity is not what will bring purpose to your life, but what will enable you to excel in living out your purpose.”
“Your good works make God look great before a watching world.” [see Titus 3:8; Galatians 6:10; 1 Peter 4:10-11; Matthew 5:16]
“What is productivity? Productivity is effectively stewarding my gifts, talents, time, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.”
“The absence of productivity or the presence of woefully diminished productivity is first a theological problem.”
“You do not exist in this world to get things done. You exist to glorify God by benefiting others.”
“Idolatry: taking on the tasks that glorify us, not the tasks that glorify God.”
In Greek, the word for “walks” (peripatēo) means something that regulates my life, or something that keeps me on the right path. It’s my lifestyle that is kept in proper boundaries by something outside of me.
First of all, notice how Paul tells Christians how not to walk. DON’T WALK THIS WAY…
…following pop culture (2:2)—Living a certain lifestyle because “everyone” is doing it, or because some popular people are living that way.
…without thinking about why you’re walking the way you are (4:17)
…without comparing your walk to truth (5:8)—Living a life because it feels good to me is a dangerous way to live. I must make sure there is an objective truth that is keeping me on a proper path.
…foolishly (5:15)—To be foolish is either (a) not knowing the truth, (b) not applying the truth I have been shown, or (c) choosing to disregard the truth I’ve been given.
Instead, Paul tells Christians to WALK THIS WAY…
…knowing I am God’s workmanship, created for a great purpose (2:10)—It may take me some time to discover my purpose and my talents, but I keep at it.
…worthy of my vocation (4:1)—Once I have discovered my talents, I develop them into strengths that will benefit others.
…lovingly (5:2)—Just as Jesus did!
…in the light of God’s truth (5:8)—This is the exact opposite of foolishly walking. It means I seek the truth and I apply the truth to my life.
…circumspectly (5:15)—Not wasting my moments, but making sure I am giving 100 percent every single day.
When I WALK THIS WAY people will inevitably notice that I’m motivated not by popularity with people, but by intimacy with God (5:2-7). They will see that my path is bordered by the principles in God’s Word (5:8-14; Psalm 119:105). And they will notice that my life has purpose and is productive (5:15-20).
All Christians should ask themselves:
If you can answer “yes” to those questions, then Jesus will be pleased that you WALK THIS WAY!
[You can check out the Scriptures I referenced in this post by clicking on DON’T WALK THIS WAY and WALK THIS WAY above.]
Here’s some perspective—if you drew a timeline 50 feet long that represented all of Earth’s recorded history, your life would cover about the breadth of your hand. But that’s only recorded history—what about the eternity that existed before history started and the eternity that will continue after history ends?
Twice in Psalm 39, David described our brief life like this: each man’s life is but a breath.
So what do we do with our breath-long life? Fortunately for us, David gives us godly perspective in five areas.
David had a good start: I will keep my tongue from sin, but what happens when sinful words slip out? I would suggest we count those as a gift. Really?! Yes, because those “slips” make us aware of what’s really in our heart (see Matthew 15:19) so that we can confess them.
David also suggests putting a muzzle on our mouths when we’re around certain people. In other words, don’t get into petty fights with people who aren’t going to receive the wisdom we may have to share with them.
Why do we procrastinate doing good things? Some of our simple cliches reflect this, like TGIF. Why wait until Friday to get happy? Why not say TGIT—thank God it’s today! Do something memorable today… do something life-altering today… do something for God today.
David reminds us that we work so hard to accumulate stuff “not knowing who will get it.” Jesus had another word for someone who only wanted to get stuff to make his life easier: fool (see Luke 12:16-21). Use stuff to serve others.
Why oh why, would we spend one minute longer than we have to with unconfessed, unforgiven sin? I blogged last week about the freedom that immediately comes when we receive forgiveness from our confessed sin. Let’s do this quickly!
If I only have a breath-long life, I want to make every moment count. I love what C.T. Studd wrote: “Only one life will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last. … Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in Hell when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.”
Here’s my prayer for all of us—Lord, help me to know how few days I have so I can live every one for Your glory.
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 53).
Corruption … you will reap from others the corruption you sow
No one seems trustworthy … you will live your life untrusting and not being trusted
Limited understanding … “without God we’re just a lucky convergence of matter and energy, and after death there’s a vast nothing,” says the fool. But anyone who’s ever fallen in love knows there is something more than just matter and energy.
Everyone seeks his own self-interest … no one does good just to do good (we’re back to the untrusting lifestyle again!)
Fear and terror of the unknown … these lurk constantly in the back of your mind
Missing out on eternal blessings … what if you’re wrong? what if there really is a God who wants to be in relationship with you? If that’s true, you are squandering your life. You are living for the moment, and about to miss out on an eternity of pleasure in God’s presence.
Don’t be a fool!
Will you at least be willing to consider the possibility that this Universe was created on purpose? Will you at least be willing to consider that the Creator made you to have a relationship with Him?
The fool tries to make all of life fit into his tiny box. The wise person knows there’s so much more.
Don’t be a fool!
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.
God Has A Plan For Your Life
“Before I formed thee…I knew thee…” [Jeremiah 1:5]. There are prenatal forces of God at work in a man’s life which he may be unconscious of for long enough; but at any moment there may break upon him the sudden consciousness of this incalculable, supernatural surprising power that has got hold of his life before he has got hold of it himself.
Another force at work is the prayers of other people. You are born into this world and will probably never know to whose prayers your life is the answer. … Our lives are the answers not only to the prayers of other people, but to the prayer the Holy Spirit is making for us, and to the prayer of Our Lord Himself. …
When once Paul realized God’s call and knew the meaning of his life, there was no competitor for his strength. Is there anything competing for our strength in our devotion to the call of God?
From So Send I You
Isn’t it amazing to think that not only has God had a plan for your life before you even arrived on earth, but that your life is an answer to prayer?!
What about you?
Oswald Chambers mastered the art of stimulating deep thinking and introspection with just a few short statements. Run Today’s Race is designed to be read each day for a full year. Trust me, the short seed thoughts you read each morning will keep you thinking all day long. Check out my full book review by clicking here.
“It is a great moment when we realize we have the power to trample on certain moods, a tremendous emancipation to get rid of every kind of self-consciousness and heed only one thing: the relationship between God and myself.”
“It is easy to turn our religious life into a cathedral for beautiful memories, but there are feet to be washed, hard flints to be walked over, people to be fed. Very few of us go there, but that is the way the Son of God went.”
“Prayer with most of us is turned into pious platitude, it is a matter of emotion, mystical communion with God. It is no use praying unless we are living as children of God. Then Jesus says—‘Every one that asketh receiveth.’”
“There is only one purpose for your life, and that is the satisfaction of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“If there is the tiniest grudge in your mind against any one, from that second, your spiritual penetration into the knowledge of God stops.”
“We have judged our fellow men as sinners. If God should judge us like that we would be in hell. God judges us through the marvelous Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
“God delights to put me in a place where He can make me wealthy. ‘Follow Me, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.’”
“The more complicated the actual conditions are, the more delightfully joyful it is to see God open up His way through.”
“When we try to reserve our strength it works out in weariness. Spend to the hilt all we have got and God’s recreating power is greater than all the expended power.”
“My personal life may be crowded with small, petty incidents altogether unnoticeable and mean [commonplace], but if I obey Jesus Christ in the haphazard circumstances, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God and when I stand and face to face with God I shall discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed.”
“Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prayer, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.”
“One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized.”
“As long as there is a human being who does not know Jesus Christ, I am his debtor until he does. The mainspring of [the Apostle] Paul’s service is not love for men but love for Jesus Christ.”
“As long as the devil can keep us terrified of thinking, he will always limit the work of God in our souls.”
“By prayer and Bible reading and meditation, the drab life (drab externally) has glorious holiday hours with God in which the soul is restored even in the valley of deep darkness.”
More quotes coming soon, so stay tuned.