December 22, 2014

STOP AND THINK – Christmas is the day that holds all time together. (Alexander Smith, 19th century Scottish poet and essayist)

It’s still three days away, but the Christmas spirit is all around us, isn’t it? In fact, that spirit should be around us all year. As Smith suggests, in some sense, everything is held together by Christmas because it represents the birthday of Jesus, and He is the one that holds everything together.

The Son is the image of the invisible God  . . .  all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

December 21, 2014

STOP AND THINK – Take Christ out of Christmas, and December becomes the bleakest and most colorless month of the year. (A. F. Wells)

This is Christmas week. In much of the world, you can’t miss it. It’s emblazoned in signs, lighted trees, decorated windows—everywhere. But if Jesus hadn’t come, and His birthday was not acknowledged, indeed December could be a very bleak month in the northern hemisphere. Gray skies and freezing temperatures without a holiday—that’s bleak!

For God … made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

December 20, 2014

STOP AND THINK – When we all help one another, everybody wins. (Jim Stovall, American writer)

Stovall continues: “You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits.” When we help others improve and do their best, it’s a win-win situation. Not only do they succeed, but we do, too. We have participated in a worthy achievement and fulfilled a part of our life’s purpose.

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10)

December 19, 2014

STOP AND THINK – You don’t feel your way into acting, you act your way into feeling. (Quoted by James Emery White, pastor and author)

Sometimes we don’t do something we know we should do because “we don’t feel like it.” The Bible says we are to act toward others in love, but suppose we don’t feel like it. Are we hypocrites if we do? White’s quote is correct. We learn by doing, and when we do what is right, we begin to feel better about it. So, don’t hesitate; just do it!

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

December 18, 2014

STOP AND THINK – The hinge of history is on the door of a Bethlehem stable (Ralph W. Sockman, 20th century radio preacher).

Christmas is just a week away, and we may not have taken time to consider the centrality of Christ’s coming in history. Our calendars are based on the His coming. 2014 A.D. counts the time since His birth. 100 B.C. would point to one hundred years before He came. Indeed, His coming is the hinge of history, so we’d be wise to discover its real meaning.

When the time had fully come, God sent his Son … to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)

December 17, 2014

STOP AND THINK – Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. (Dr. Seuss, children’s author)

What good advice for adults as well as children! When good things we enjoy come to an end—whether it’s a relationship or an activity—we often go through times of sadness and even grief. That’s normal, but if we can recall how great the experience was and give thanks that we had it, our tears will be replaced with a smile.

I will forget my complaint; I will change my expression, and smile. (Job 9:27)

December 16, 2014

STOP AND THINK – Nobody can afford to look round and to wait for somebody else to do what he is loath to do himself. (Carl G. Jung, 20th century Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology)

When we see things that need to change, we often say, “Somebody ought to do something about that.” “It’s the government’s responsibility.” But Jung suggests, “As any change must begin somewhere, it is the single individual who will experience it and carry it through.” Instead of looking for someone else to do it, maybe we should ask, “What can I do about it?”

Anyone who knows to do good and doesn’t do it, sins. (James 4:17)

December 15, 2014

STOP AND THINK – When it comes to making decisions, more often than not, you cannot trust your heart. Instead, you need to trust God. (Mike Lee, American pastor)

Quite often we’re told (especially in romantic novels) to just trust our hearts. But the Bible tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9). While we shouldn’t ignore our emotions, we must use our God-given reasoning skills, informed by His Word, to make our choices in ways that will enhance our lives and honor God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

December 14, 2014

STOP AND THINK – If someone listens, or stretches out a hand, or whispers a word of encouragement, or attempts to understand a lonely person, extraordinary things begin to happen. (Loretta Girzartis, American educator and writer)

In spite of crowded malls, theaters, and sports arenas, a lot of people are lonely today. To be alone when surrounded by people is a difficult experience for anyone. If we will just reach out to such people, as Girzatis says, to “stretch out a hand or whisper encouragement,” trying to understand their plight, we may launch the beginning of a great experience for them.

And we urge you . . . encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

December 13, 2014

STOP AND THINK – Great gains usually are not achieved by giant steps, but the collection of many small ones. (Quoted by Bill Katip, American college president)

We sometimes think that we will not achieve much without taking big steps, one after another. In reality, of course, that rarely happens. It’s the consistent, purposeful, little steps of progress that help us attain worthy goals. So, be careful not to despise small steps as long as they move forward to achieve the ultimate goal.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me. (Philippians 3:14)