Daily Stop & Thinks

April 19, 2017

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it. (Thomas Paine, American revolutionary political activist)

Planted in the heart of every human being, it seems, is the desire to be free, to express himself or herself in the manner he or she may choose. But a great price was paid to secure that freedom and it demands vigilance even today to guarantee continued liberty of conscience and expression. We must appreciate our freedom and work hard to protect it.

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. (1 Peter 2:16)

April 18, 2017

The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them and do nothing. (Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist)

If you remember that Einstein lived during the years of Germany’s Third Reich with its horrible atrocities in World War II, you can appreciate his observation. How easy it is to disregard the unjust suffering of others in distant places because it hasn’t affected us. We must be diligent to note and work for the release of those who suffer unjustly.

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13:3)

April 17, 2017

Man knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. (Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright)

This line is from one of Wilde’s plays in answer to the question, “What is a cynic?” Whatever was intended to be the significance of the statement in the play, it certainly does, as someone else has said, “hit at the heart of society’s problems.” Consider how we spend our money and time quite often for things of little lasting value.

Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death. (Proverbs 10:2)

April 16, 2017

You need an attitude of service. (David Green, businessman, philanthropist)

Green continues: “You’re not just serving yourself. You help others to grow up and you grow with them.” Not only can you develop skills as you serve, but you will also learn to persist in worthy endeavors. In an age where it’s usually “me first,” developing an attitude of serving others will often bring success both to you and to those you serve.

Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. (Matthew 20:26)

April 15, 2017

Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today. (Herman Wouk, Pulitzer Prize-winning author)

Taxes are an essential part of modern civilization, but when tax day comes (that’s today in the United States), we all try to find ways to lower our liability. That’s legitimate, but, as Wouk hints, there may be some people who are very creative and inventive in finding tax loopholes. The honest citizen, however, will pay his fair share with a sense of pride.

“Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” . . . [Jesus] said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Luke 20:22, 25)

April 14, 2017

Wealth is not the problem. The relentless pursuit and love of wealth to the exclusion of loving and serving other people is. (Johnston Moore, children’s advocate)

People who don’t have much of this world’s goods often decry the wealth of the affluent. They sometimes feel that riches and prosperity can come only as the result of selfishness or running roughshod over the less fortunate. But as Moore, points out, it isn’t wealth that’s evil, but the love of riches to the exclusion of caring for and serving others.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) Those who trust in their riches will fall. (Proverbs 11:28)

April 13, 2017

Those who conceal their sins do not prosper, but those who confess and renounce them find mercy. (The Bible)

We all make mistakes and sometimes they are grievous and harmful to others. That’s bad enough, of course, but what may be even worse is the attempted cover-up, which often leads to increasing efforts to hide the sin. It rarely works. Owning up to the wrong-doing will often result in forgiveness and restoration. Avoid sin, but also, avoid the cover-up.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other. . . . The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

April 12, 2017

It is easy to fly into a passion—anybody can do that—but to be angry . . . in the right way—that is not easy. (Aristotle, 4th century B.C. Greek philosopher)

His more complete statement: “… to be angry with the right person to the right extent and at the right time and right object . . . that is not easy, and it is not everyone who can do it.” There is such a thing as righteous anger, but many people struggle with how and when to express it properly. That requires character, integrity, and inner strength.

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

April 11, 2017

Be loyal to your friends. Popularity is overrated; friendship is not. (Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize- winning author and columnist)

In a world of instant and almost universal news, celebrity often comes quickly to athletes, entertainers, and politicians. Then there are their followers, called groupies, who almost live off the popularity of their hero. But celebrity and fame often evaporate quickly, and the groupies disappear just as fast. As Barry points out, it is true friendship that endures.

The righteous choose their friends carefully. (Proverbs 12:26)

April 10, 2017

Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder. (Heinrich Heine, 19th century German author)

Lightning and thunder are phenomena of nature that are both fascinating and frightening. Lightning comes first, traveling at the speed of light, then comes the thunder because sound travels much more slowly. That phenomenon is constant. Heine uses this scientific reality to emphasize the importance of planning (thinking) before you take action.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. (Proverbs 16:3)

April 9, 2017

Change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. (Mark Batterson, minister and author)

It seems like a simple formula, doesn’t it? Many of us are creatures of habit. We live, work, and play at a certain pace, and we often pursue those activities in the same places. People of routine often find it difficult to make changes in their schedule, but, if we were to vary our habits a bit, Batterson’s principle promises a new and, perhaps, better view of things.

A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. (Proverbs 17:24)

April 8, 2017

Values last longer than financial gain or mere public recognition. (Jesse Deloe, writer and editor)

There’s little you can do to guarantee the safety of your financial investments. The stock market may rise, but now and then it falls, too. That’s like reputations sometimes. Fame is often very fleeting. The athlete may be praised highly for his or her achievement in one event and become the goat the next time around. So, hitch your wagon to lasting values.

If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)