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Devotionals by Chuck Swindoll

Today's Insight from Chuck Swindoll

Your mind is a muscle. It needs to be stretched to stay sharp. It needs to be prodded and pushed to perform. Let it get idle and lazy on you, and that muscle will become a pitiful mass of flab in an incredibly brief period of time.

How can you stretch your mind? What are some good mental exercises that will keep the cobwebs away? I offer three suggestions:

READ. You may be too crippled and too poor to travel—but between the covers of a book are ideas and insights that await the joy of discovery. William Tyndale was up in years when he was imprisoned. Shortly before his martyrdom he wrote to the governor asking for:

A warmer cap, a candle, a piece of cloth to patch my leggings. . . . But above all, I beseech and entreat your clemency to . . . permit me to have my Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar and Hebrew Dictionary, that I may spend time . . . in study.1

The powers of your perception will be magnified through reading. Read wisely. Read widely. Read slowly. Scan. Read history as well as current events . . . magazines and periodicals as well as classics and poetry . . . biographies and novels as well as the daily news and devotionals.

Don't have much time? Neither did John Wesley. But his passion for reading was so severe he made it a part of his schedule—he read mostly on horseback. He rode between fifty and ninety miles a day with the book propped up in his saddle . . . and got through thousands of volumes during his lifetime. Knowing that reading attacks thickness of thought, Wesley told many a younger minister either to read—or get out of the ministry.

TALK. Conversation adds the oil needed to keep our mental machinery running smoothly. The give-and-take involved in rap sessions, the question-answer dialogue connected to discussion, provides the grinding wheel needed to keep us keen.

Far too much of our talk is surface jargon . . . shallow, predictable, obvious, pointless. Talk is too valuable to waste. Leave the discussion of people and weather to the newscasters! Delve into issues, ideas, controversial subjects, things that really matter. Ask and answer "why" and "how" . . . rather than "what" and "when." Probe. Question. Socrates was considered wise—not because he knew all the answers, but because he knew how to ask the right questions. Few experiences are more stimulating than eyeball-to-eyeball, soul-to-soul talks that force us to think and reason through specifics. For the sheer excitement of learning, talk!

WRITE. Thoughts disentangle themselves over the lips . . . and through the fingertips. How true! The old gray matter increases its creases when you put it down on paper. Start a journal. A journal isn't a diary. It's more. A journal doesn't record what you do—it records what you think. It spells out your ideas, your feelings, your struggles, your discoveries, your dreams. In short, it helps you articulate who you are.

Who knows? Your memoirs might make the bestseller list in the future. And speaking of that, why not try writing an article for your favorite magazine? Editors are on a constant safari for rare species like you.

1. William Tyndale, as quoted in J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 101.

Taken from Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 1983, 1994, 2007 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan.


Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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October 2019
September 2019

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About Insight for Living

Services at Stonebriar Community Church where Chuck Swindoll pastors are available here in their entirety. Watch the live service, with Chuck preaching, at 10:40 a.m. Central time each Sunday.

Chuck Swindoll's Video Insights are bite-sized nuggets of wisdom and humor ranging from doctrinal issues to relationship tips to ways to improve your own attitude and outlook on life. Conversations with Chuck videos are engaging and informative vignettes that address probing questions related directly to one of his Classic radio series.

About Chuck Swindoll

Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word. Since 1998, he has served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, but Chuck’s listening audience extends far beyond a local church body. As a leading program in Christian broadcasting since 1979, Insight for Living airs in major Christian radio markets around the world, reaching people groups in languages they can understand. Chuck’s extensive writing ministry has also served the body of Christ worldwide and his leadership as president and now chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry. Chuck and Cynthia, his partner in life and ministry, have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.

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