Persevere with Inspiration

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

—Rom. 8:38-39

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

—Heb. 12:1-2

An Italian Roman Catholic preacher Francis of Assisi (1181/1182–1226) said, “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”  Kevyn Aucoin (b. 1962), a make-up artist followed this up when he wrote, “Today I choose life.  Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain…To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today.  I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.”  That’s why people will turn to the Bible when they look for inspiration, motivation, and reassurance.

A political activist Helen Keller (1880–1968) said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”  An essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) agreed with Keller when he wrote, “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”  We’re assured that God cold work miracles when we believe his promises.  Christians yearn for this ultimate blessing in Psalm 27:4 when they heard, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

Steve Jobs (1955–2011), an entrepreneur and inventor said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be fully satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.  Don’t settle.  As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”  Maya Angelou (1928–2014), a poet and civil rights activist wrote, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”  According to Psalm 34:8 that’s when people “taste and see the Lord is good; blessed the one who takes refuge in him.”   Believers ought to do what’s right in the sight of God.

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Use Your Gifts

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

—Rom. 12:6-8

“You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

—Mt. 5:14-16

Leo Buscaglia (1924–1998), an author and motivational speaker said, “Your talent is God’s gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift back to God.”  John Wooden (1910–2010), a basketball player and head coach agreed with Buscaglia, and wrote, “Talent is God given.  Be humble.  Fame is man-given.  Be grateful.  Conceit is self-given.  Be careful.”  Undoubtedly people must use their gifts wisely and not be conceited.

Erma Bombeck (1927–1996), a humorist cast further light on talent when she said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”  In order to accomplish such a feat people should live their lives to the fullest.

Persistence

A president of the United States Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) wrote, “Noting in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”  Stephen King (b. 1947), an author echoing Coolidge’s sentiments said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt.  What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”  And Will Smith (b. 1968), an actor agreed with them when he wrote, “I have always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation.”

A Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thích Nhăt Hanh (b. 1926) said, “When we recognize the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection: love is born.”  So people ought to share their talent with love.

A former vice president of the United States Joe Biden (b. 1942) wrote, “Corruption is a cancer: a cancer that eats away at a citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity: already – tight national budgets, crowding out important investments.  It wastes the talent of entire generations.  It scares away investments and jobs.”  Therefore, for nations to benefit from the contributions having its citizenry with ethical standards are imperative.

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Flame for Living

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.  Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.  It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

—Jas. 3:5-6

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

—Isa. 6:6-7

A Hong Kong–American actor Bruce Lee (1940–1973) wrote, “Love is like a friendship caught on fire.  In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering.  As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep burning and unquenchable.”  Who among us live with a consuming fire?  Who could live with such burning? (Isa. 33:14).  This is a gift from God.

Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965), a French-German theologian said, “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”  These won’t be like worthless people who dig up evil that scorches the ground (Prov. 16:27).  They are unlike the light of the wicked that goes out (Job 18:5).

A Brilliant Flame

How should people live?  Boris Yeltsin (1931–2007), president of the Russian Federation wrote, “A man must live like a great brilliant flame and burn as brightly as he can.  In the ends he burns out.  But this is far better than a mean little flame.”  While Nikola Tesla (1856–1943), a Serbian-American inventor who amplified Yeltsin’s view said, “The spread of civilization may be likened to a fire; first, a feeble spark, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power.”  Undoubtedly a simple spark could have far-reaching effects.  Johan Lehrer (b. 1981), an author wrote, “Creativity is a spark.  It can be excruciating when we’re rubbing two rocks together and getting nothing.  And it can be intensely satisfying when the flame catches and a new idea sweeps around the world.”

The Lord assures us that when we pass through waters he will be with us.  Rivers won’t overflow. When we walk through fire we won’t be scorched, nor do the flames burn us (Isa. 43:2).  That’s how we will be successful in life.  Walter Peter (1839–1894), an English essayist said, “To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.”  And Bernard Williams (1929–2003), an English philosopher wrote, “Talent is a flame.  Genius is a fire.”

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Be a Happy Giver

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there will be food in my house.  Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I may not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

—Mal. 3:10

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.

—2 Cor. 9:10

Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), a government official and religious leader wrote, “Our parents deserve our honor and respect for giving us life itself.  Beyond this they almost made countless sacrifices as they cared for and nurtured us through our infancy and childhood, provided us with the necessities of life, and nursed us through physical illnesses and the emotional stresses of growing up.”  As Proverbs 11:25 stated, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”  Henri Nouwen (1932–1996), a Dutch Catholic priest said, “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.”  This is what we could expect from loving families and friends.

Acts of Kindness

Matthew 6:2 reminded us: “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”  But how should people view acts of kindness?  Paul Bloom (b. 1963), a Canadian American psychologist said, “We are constituted so that simple acts of kindness, such as giving to charity or expressing gratitude, have a positive effect on long-term moods.  The key to the happy life, it seems, is the good life: a life with sustained relationships, challenging work, and connections to community.”  A lot of this goodness could come from simple acts.  Rosa Parks (1913–2005) did just that.  She wrote, “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true.  I was not tired physically… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”  Parks’ actions came to have unbelievable social consequences.

A philanthropist Ron Conway (b. 1951) said, “I believe we all have a responsibility to give back.  No one becomes successful without lots of hard work, support from others, and a little luck.  Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful.”  Was that the best in us that Colonel Sanders (1890–1980), a businessman was talking about?  Sanders was referring to his gifts in this process when he wrote, “No hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me.”  Simon Sinek (b. 1973), an author said, “The strong bond of friendship is not always a balanced equation; friendship is not always about giving and taking in equal shares.  Instead, friendship is grounded in a feeling that you know exactly who will be there for you when you need something, no matter what or when.”  Sinek saw love as important in a relationship.

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