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DRY WOOD: There is a difference between a dead saint and a dry saint. A dead saint is like a statue that never moves and eventually the pigeons will land on it and build their nest. But a dry saint is like dry wood, easily kindled. Dry wood just seems to catch on fire faster. Even though they have dry prayers and dry worship all it takes is for someone to strike the match of motivation and watch them kindle fast.
Criticism is always difficult to accept, but if we receive it with humility and a desire to improve our character it can be very helpful. Only a fool does not profit when he is rebuked for his mistakes.
Several years ago I read a helpful article on this subject. It stated that when we are criticized we ought to ask ourselves whether the criticism contains any truth. If it does, we should learn form it, even when it is not given with the right motivation and in the right spirit. The article then offered these four suggestions: (1) Commit the matter instantly to God, asking Him to remove all resentment or countercriticism on your part and teach you the needed lessons. (2) Remember that we are all great sinners and that the one who has criticized us does not begin to know the worst about us. (3) If you have made a mistake or committed a sin, humbly and frankly confess it to God and to anyone you may have injured. (4) Be willing to learn afresh that you are not infallible and that you need God’s grace and wisdom every moment of the day to keep on the straight path.
When we are criticized, let’s accept what is true and act upon it, thereby becoming a stronger person. He who profits from rebuke is wise. H.G.B.
I Loved You Enough
“You don’t love me!” How many times have your kids laid that one on you? Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic motivation a mother, I’ll tell them:
· I loved you enough to bug you about where you were going and what time you would get home.
· I loved you enough to let you discover your friend was a creep.
· I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your bedroom, a job that would have taken me 15 minutes.
· I loved you enough to ignore what every other mother did or said.
· I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall, hurt and fail.
· I loved you enough to accept you for what you are, not what I wanted you to be.
· Most of all, I loved you enough to say no when you hated me for it.
Some mothers don’t know when their job is finished. They figure the longer the kids hang around, the better parents they are.
I see children as kites. You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you’re both breathless...they crash...you add a longer tail. You patch and comfort, adjust and teach—and assure them that someday they will fly.
Finally they are airborne, but they need more string, and you keep letting it out. With each twist of the ball of twine, the kite becomes more distant. You know it won’t be long before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that bound you together and soar—free and alone. Only then do you know you did your job.
Erma Bombeck, from “Forever, Erma,” quoted in Reader’s Digest, March 1997, p. 148
Miss Thompson taught Teddy Stallard in the fourth grade. He was a slow, unkempt student, a loner shunned by his classmates. The previous year his mother died, and what little motivation for school he may have once had was now gone. Miss Thompson didn’t particularly care for Teddy either, but at Christmas time he brought her a small present. Her desk was covered with well-wrapped presents from the other children, but Teddy’s came in a brown sack. When she opened it there was a gaudy rhinestone bracelet with half the stones missing and a bottle of cheap perfume. The children began to snicker but Miss Thompson saw the importance of the moment. She quickly splashed on some perfume and put on the bracelet, pretending Teddy had given her something special. At the end of the day Teddy worked up enough courage to softly say, "Miss Thompson, you smell just like my mother . . . and her bracelet looks real pretty on you too. I’m glad you like my presents." After Teddy left, Miss Thompson got down on her knees and prayed for God’s forgiveness. She prayed for God to use her as she sought to not only teach these children but to love them as well. She became a new teacher. She lovingly helped students like Teddy, and by the end of the year he had caught up with most of the students. Miss Thompson didn’t hear from Teddy for a long time. Then she received this note: "Dear Miss Thompson, I wanted you to be the first to know. I will be graduating second in my class. Love, Teddy Stallard." Four years later she got another note: "Dear Miss Thompson, They just told me I will be graduating first in my class. I wanted you to be the first to know. The university has not been easy, but I liked it. Love, Teddy Sta...
The story is about a man by the name of Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man who decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective. So, he went down to the local army surplus store and bought forty-five used weather balloons.
That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled used weather balloons. He took with him, something to drink, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.
Walters, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky--smack into the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. Because he was too frightened to shoot any of the balloons, he stayed airborne for more than two hours, and forced the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon.
Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him three questions:
"Were you scared? "Yes."
"Would you do it again? "No.
"Why did you do it?" "Because you can’t just sit there."
Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher, told a story about a goose who was wounded and who landed in a barnyard with some chickens. He played with the chickens and ate with the chickens. After a while that goose thought he was a chicken. One day a flight of geese came over, migrating to their home. They gave a honk up there in the sky, and he heard it. Kierkegaard said, "Something stirred within the breast of this goose. Something called him to the skies. He began to flap the wings he hadn’t used, and he rose a few feet into the air. Then he stopped, and he settled back again into the mud of the barnyard. He heard the cry, but he settled for less."
Swindoll notes "The Grace Awakening:
But when “grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ,” a long-awaited revolution of the heart began to set religious captives free. Fear-full bondage motivated by guilt was replaced with a fresh motivation to follow Him in truth simply out of deep devotion and delight. Rather than focusing on the accomplishments of the flesh, He spoke of the heart. Instead of demanding that the sinner fulfill a long list of requirements, he emphasized faith, if only the size of a mustard seed. The change spelled freedom, as the Lord himself taught, “…you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Rigid, barren religion was, at last, replaced by a grace-orientated, relationship-liberating grace. His followers loved it. His enemies hated it… and Him. Without a doubt, the earliest grace killers were the Pharisees (10).
For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org
The philosophy for dog obedience training has changed quite a bit in the last few decades. It used to be that many dog obedience schools operated by teaching the dog, “you better obey me, because I’m your master. And if you don’t obey me, bad things will happen.” And plenty of dogs were trained this way, and trained well. They obeyed, but they obeyed out of fear. But now there has been a shift in the thinking of many trainers, though some still do it the old way. If the old way was punishing disobedience, the new way could be characterized as rewarding obedience. In this new way of training, you don’t strike the dog, you don’t yell at him any more than a firm “no!” But whenever you catch him doing something good, he gets praise and rewards. The thinking here is that the dog is going to want to do the things that make you happy, because positive things happen to him when you are happy.
Both obedience philosophies get results, but they produce very different dogs. The old way produces a dog that is terrified to do the wrong thing. The new way produces a dog that is eager to do the right thing. And these two schools of thought work not just for dogs, but maybe you’ve seen children raised by these two ways. And this should be nothing new for us, since basically we are talking about the difference between Law motivation and Gospel motivation. In our lives, sometimes we do things, like hitting the brakes when you see a cop car, that would be obeying out of Law motivation. It is the fear of punishment that motivates you to slow down. But now let’s say that you are driving your children in the car with you. You are so happy for the gift of a family that God has given you, that you want to drive as carefully as poss...
-I want to share with you the Top 10 motivational tips of the cynic.
1) Motivation – If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job, the kind robots will be doing soon.
2) (Snowflakes). Individuality –Always remember that you are unique, just like everybody else.
3) (Lounging leopard) Indifference –- It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but it doesn’t take any to just sit there with a dumb look on your face.
4) (The Great Pyramids) Achievement –- You can do anything you set your mind to when you have vision, determination, and an endless supply of expendable labor.
5) (Here’s Butch the soccer player with little Cody). Goals –It is best to avoid standing directly between a competitive jerk and his goals.
6) (A football receiver being laid out by a tackler). Success –Some people dream of success, while other people like to crush those dreams.
7) (Taj Mahal in India). Discovery –A company that will go to the end of the earth for its people will find it can hire them for about 10% of the cost of Americans.
8) – (A bear about to catch a salmon). Ambition The journey of a thousand miles sometimes ends very, very badly.
9) (Two runners - a male running behind a female). Persistence –It’s over man. Let her go.
10) (Rowers) Get to work - You aren’t being paid to believe in the power of your dreams.
“Staring Down the Critic’s Barrel!” Proverbs 9: 7-10 Key verse(s): 8b:“. . . rebuke a wise man and he will love you.”
The Bible tells us that “rebuke a wise man and he will love you.” Love? What happened to getting the emotional revenge that is so satisfying? There doesn’t seem to be a lot of room in that statement for pride, is there? In fact, being made to look the dummy seems like an invitation to wisdom. That’s something that doesn’t square real well with the world or our own self-esteem. It almost sounds like it would be better to be meek and withdrawing when others criticize us. In fact, if you are one of those people who are not “quick on the trigger” when others start shooting criticism your way, are you blessed? Perhaps. While it is never good to respond to anyone when we don’t have full command of our senses, it doesn’t mean that we should empty ourselves out completely and allow that criticism to fill us up to overflowing. There is a process of assimilation that can help.
Several years ago I read a helpful article on the subject of receiving and benefitting from criticism. If you can keep this process in mind even when bitter criticism is being leveled at you, you may find it easier to bear up and certainly less recriminating when you consider the criticism down the road. It stated that when we are criticized we ought to ask ourselves whether the criticism contains any truth. If it does, we should learn from it, even when it is not given with the right motivation and in the right spirit. The article then offered these four suggestions: (1) Commit the matter instantly to God, asking Him to remove all resentment or counter-criticism on your part and teach you the needed lessons. (2) Remember that we are all great sinners and that the one who has criticized us does not begin to know the worst about us. (3) If you have made a mistake or committed a sin, humbly and frankly confess it to God and to anyone you may have injured. (4) Be willing to learn afresh that you are not infallible and that you need God’s grace and wisdom every moment of the day to keep on the straight path.
When we are criticized, it’s good to accept what is true and act upon it, thereby becoming a stronger person. And, as the proverb says, “instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still.” Isn’t that every Christian’s goal? Give me more of that wisdom and if criticism is one of the best ways of getting more of it, “bring it on!” I remember a worship dialog from Don Moen’s “God With Us!” that has stuck with me over the years. “Your strength is made strong in our weakness.” When you think of it, there is no weaker state than that of receiving criticism. Is there ever a time when we need to rely on our God more? Being on the receiving end of criticism opens us completely to the devil’s wiles. It is an open door to sin just waiting for the evil to enter. What better time to invite the Holy Spirit in than when we are vulnerable to criticism. The key to being receptive to other people’s criticism is who we are willing to invite in at the first moment when the words begin to sting. We can choose to “commit the matter” to God or “commit” it to Satan. The choice is ours. When staring down the critic’s barrel expect the infusion of the Spirit not the bullet of sin and you may find that the criticism doesn’t sting so much after all.