POINTS TO PONDER

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Inventor Thomas Edison (1847-1931) created such great innovations as the practical incandescent electric light bulb and the phonograph. A savvy businessman, he held more than 1,000 patents for his inventions. He was once quoted as saying, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

As we are about to begin a new year, we can start it with disappointment or discouragement over what didn’t happen or we didn’t get done last year, or we can take Edison’s advice and thank God that He has given us a new year to either try again or switch to something new that might be a lot better. But that’s our choice.

I like what Iranian immigrant Patrick Bet-David, U.S. military veteran, and successful startup entrepreneur said about not giving up. Here are ten reasons he gave:

It’s easy to find a reason to quit.

No matter how good or bad your life is going, you can always find an excuse to give up. But it works the other way too. If you look for a reason to keep going, you can find that too. It all depends on which one you want most desperately.

When you quit, you send the message that you never thought you could do it in the first place.
Actions speak louder than words. In the end, no matter what they hear you say, people will watch what you do.

Believe it or not, some people will be glad that you quit.

They may not say so, but unfortunately many people you know will hope for you to give up. This is for the simple reason that your dedication to your goal will remind them of their own unrealized potential. Rather than proving your doubters right, let your dedication inspire.

You’ll never know what would have happened if you stuck it out.

You know what happens if you give up — you end up right where you started. The hard part is having the vision to see the reward that lies at the end of the race.

The consequences of quitting are a lot higher than sticking it out.

No matter how high a price you’ll pay to keep going, the price of abandoning your dreams carries a greater cost.

When you quit, you set a mental precedent to quit again.

Think about a person who has tried to diet and failed several times. Their belief in their ability to lose weight is actually diminished by each abandoned attempt. Quitting and perseverance are both habit forming. Which habit do you want to develop?

Anything worthwhile takes time, sacrifice, and effort.

The more difficult the challenge, the more rewarding the victory. The most meaningful accomplishments in life are those that don’t come quickly or easily.

You’re a lot closer than you think you are.

Sadly, many people give up not realizing that success is right around the corner. There are not always clear markers in achieving a difficult goal. The finish line could be just around the next bend.

The process shapes you before success rewards you.

Setting difficult goals will stretch you, teach you perseverance and ultimately build your belief in yourself. It is the process that develops you. Greatness doesn’t come overnight, but it is forged by every inch of progress we fight for in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

Life is a lot more fun when you’re in the hunt for something.

We only get one life to live. When you’re fighting for a cause, a dream, or something greater than yourself you will find the enthusiasm, passion, and joy that makes life a great adventure. The key is identifying your cause.

Not only are these things true in everyday life, but they are especially true in one’s spiritual life. When Joshua, Moses’ successor, was about to lead the Israelites into the land where Abraham and Lot once lived but was now controlled by the descendants of Noah’s grandson, Canaan, they were no doubt scared. They had never invaded a country with the intent of conquering it simply because God had promised Abraham it would always be his. That’s why it was called the “Promised Land.”

So Joshua stood before them and told them to be strong in heart and mind. They were not to begin doubting God’s promise. They were not being sent in without leadership. But most of all, the God who promised the land was going in with them.1 So it is good for all of us to remember that whenever we face anything that might bring defeat, with help from God and others you can turn possible defeat into probable victory.

After the Israelites had turned the land of Canaan into the nation of Israel, and even when future king David was being pursued by a jealous King Saul and having to hide in caves for protection, he reminded his band of followers that they should remain strong in mind and heart and not lose faith and hope in the promise that God gave David that one day he would be king over all Israel. In the same manner, we should never get distracted or discouraged by the problems we face in life, but look with hope on all that God’s Word promises us if we remain true to the One who redeemed us and never give up or give in.

David’s son, King Solomon, must have learned a lot by his father’s example of remaining resolute during those times despair. That’s why he advised everyone to not let their pride and ego get the best of them. When looking out only to protect one’s reputation in case of failure, stop and think things over. Seek advice and see what options there are in going forward. Remember, there is far more shame in not being successful because you didn’t try than there is in trying your best and not being successful.

Then came the time when Merodach, the son of Baladan, King of Babylon, sent letters and gifts to King Hezekiah of Judah. Merodach heard that he had been sick but had recovered nicely. So Hezekiah invited them to come visit him and was pleased to show them all his store-houses of riches. He showed them the silver, the gold, the spices, the most expensive oil of that day, and all his weapons of war. He showed them everything that was in his store-houses. There was nothing in his palace or under his rule that Hezekiah did not show them.

After they left, that’s when the prophet Isaiah showed up at King Hezekiah’s door and asked him, “What did these men say? Where did they come from?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon.” Isaiah said, “What have they seen in your palace?” Hezekiah answered, “They have seen everything in my palace. There is nothing among my riches that I have not shown them.”

That’s when Isaiah gave King Hezekiah the bad news he had received from ADONAI the Leader of Heaven’s Army. He told Isaiah that the day was coming when everything in Hezekiah’s palace and everything his forefathers had stored away would be carried off to Babylon. “Nothing will be left,” Isaiah told Hezekiah. Not only that, but some of your own sons will be taken off into exile. Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “At least the Word of the Lord which you just gave me will be good for me. For until then, there will be peace and honesty during my days.

The prophesied invasion by the King of Babylon at some future date may have given King Hezekiah comfort, knowing he would be dead and gone by that time. But for Hezekiah’s sons and the rest of Judah, it was frightening news. So the Lord had to give Isaiah another message for the people. Even though Hezekiah may be gone, the Lord was still with them and that they were not to be afraid and give up, God would give them strength and help them resist the Babylonians. In fact, even when they grew weary, God said He would hold them up with His left hand while fighting the Babylonians with His right hand.2

So what are we to learn from this? Hezekiah faced a problem he didn’t know how to solve. Even after he found out that the Babylonians had played him for a fool, he did not respond with resoluteness by informing them he and his army would be ready for them if they came. So often when we feel low and discouraged because things are not going as we planned them, you may have those who come and tell you to relax and things will take care of themselves. But before you take their advice, find those who will be truthful with you. It may be that you were going at it the wrong way and they promised to help you make the necessary changes so you can get to where you want to go in your spiritual life. So, no matter what predictions that those who don’t think you will make it may give you if you believe that this is God’s purpose for your life, stick with God because God will stick with you. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

1 Joshua 1:9

2 Isaiah 39:1-41:10

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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