Daily Stop & Thinks

Stop & Think: December 8, 2023


If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely. (Roald Dahl, British author)

It’s amazing what a smile will do, isn’t it? First, it means that, no matter how attractive the  face is, it’s even more attractive when it’s lit up with a smile. It, no doubt, indicates that the smiler is really feeling good. What’s more, the smile has a positive effect on those who see it. What more can you expect from a little thing like a smile? So, light up your face, and smile!

A glad heart makes a happy face (Proverbs 15:3). What a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! Genesis 33:10).

Stop & Think: December 7, 2023

Pearl Harbor Day

We do remember Pearl Harbor. (President Ronald Regan)

This is the day to remember the losses at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, that brought the United States into World War II. Since then, we’ve had September 11, 1921, and just recently the horrific attacks and losses in the Middle East. Will it ever end? Lasting peace will not come until the Prince of Peace returns to earth. Now, we remember those who suffer, and we pray for peace.

Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies (Hebrews 13:3).

Stop & Think: December 6, 2023


The big communication problem is that we don’t listen to understand; we listen to reply. (Stephan R. Covey, American educator and author)

The author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey puts his finger directly on one of the major reasons for miscommunication. Isn’t it true that when you’re in a conversation with friends, you are often mentally framing your reply? That interferes with your clear perception of what’s being said. Learning to listen well will be a great help in better interaction with others.

You must all be quick to listen (James 1:19).

Stop & Think: December 5, 2023


He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only. (C. S. Lewis, late British author)

Even devout followers of God sometimes find themselves in the trap of accumulating too much “stuff.” It seems to be human nature to want to collect things of value and, sometimes, just amusing trinkets of little value. At death, it often is a burdensome task for the survivors and heirs to dispose of all the inherited goods. Lewis’ words are a good reminder about the values of life.

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3:8).

Stop & Think: December 4, 2023

Christmas Aggravation

As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations . . . , it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation. (Donald E. Westlake, late American writer)

Have you begun your Christmas shopping yet or addressed your cards? There are three weeks left before the Big Day, which can be spoiled by what Westlake calls “aggravation.” It’s good to remember the value of those we buy gifts for and send cards to. And he reminds us that they are “people to whom we are worth the same.” Give with the same love that God shares today.

Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35).

Stop & Think: December 2, 2023


People change when the pain associated with the status quo is greater than the pain associated with change. (Carey Nieuwhof, author, speaker)

A  lot of people resist change. But, as Nieuwhof notes, we are ready for change when the current situation has become too difficult. Perhaps we’ve put off a medical procedure until the physical pain is so great we can’t stand it anymore. Then we are probably ready for the lesser pain that the medical procedure may cause. Long time gain is more valuable than short term pain.

Now I am glad I sent [the letter to you], not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways (2 Corinthians 7:9).

Stop & Think: December 1, 2023


Everybody is kinder when we feel kindly ourselves. (Henry Holsinger, 19th-20th century church leader)

He continued, “Our neighbors become more accommodating when we run over with courtesy toward them.” In a world that seems to lack kindness, it’s encouraging to see a billboard that says, “You can be anything you want; Be kind.” Holsinger’s quoting of hymn writer, John H. McNaughton is appropriate: “There is beauty all around when there’s love at home.”

Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body (Proverbs 16:24).

Stop & Think: December 3, 2023


When you consider yourself to be a victim – you give control of your life to someone else. (Condoleezza Rice, former US secretary of State)

The United States was born out of a hope for independence. That was a national issue, and it created a great spirit of personal independence among its citizens. Today,  however, while some still demand their rights as individuals, others seem to feel that their rights have been taken away, and they are victims of society. In God’s grace, there is freedom for all who depend on Him.

For you have been called to live in freedom . . . use your freedom to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13).

Stop & Think: November 30, 2023


We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face. (Eleanor Roosevelt, America’s “First Lady,” 1933-45)

It may not be a common experience for most of us, but occasionally you might come up to a frightening situation. It’s then that Roosevelt’s comment applies. She continues, “We must do that which we think we cannot.” That’s what courage is, doing what must be done when you’re not sure you can do it. A strong trust in God and His providence might be all that you need.

Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety (Proverbs 29:25).
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

Stop & Think: November 29, 2023

Our Tasks

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. (Helen Keller, disability overcomer)

Remembering what Helen Keller overcame in her life to receive worldwide recognition for her achievements makes us marvel at her humility. She may have thought of her accomplishments as “small tasks,” but she offers sound advice to all of us who will likely never receive the acclaim she did. Our “duty,” indeed, is to think of our tasks as great and noblebecause they are.

Whatever you do, do well (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people (Colossians 3:23).

Stop & Think: November 28, 2023

Beauty #2

Beauty without courtesy is like a garden without flowers. (Siddhartha Gautama, 6th century BC religious teacher)

Beauty pageant winners are noted first of all for their attractive physical appearance. Real beauty is more than that, of course. Someone has said that beauty is as beauty does. In other words, one’s behavior and attitude reflect one’s inner beauty. And the lack of kindness and courtesy are like a flower garden with no blooms, deceiving and disappointing.

So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us (Ephesians 2:7).

Stop & Think: November 27, 2023

Beauty #1

Beauty, in our eyes, is always fresh and living . . . (Charles Alexander Eastman, the first Native American to be certified in Western medicine)

Eastman continues “. . . even as God . . . dresses the world anew at each season of the year.” You may still be enjoying the colors of the fall season. Soon, it may be the white stuff, brightly covering the landscape. And in a few more months spring flowers and trees will bud again  In each season, our hearts should be filled with gratitude and praise to the Creator.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship (Psalm 19:1).