GOD OF HOPE

Daily Stop & Thinks

Stop & Think: May 15, 2021

Living and Learning                      

Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. (Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th century American essayist) 

There is only one way to have experience. You can’t just read about it or see it portrayed on film on in a play. To have experience, you just have to live. And, as Emerson suggests, those encounters can teach us valuable lessons about life itself that we could learn in no other way. So, in addition to enjoying life, it’s a good practice to think and apply its lessons for our growth.

Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more. (Proverbs 9:9)

Stop & Think: May 14, 2021

Facing Fear

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. (Eleanor Roosevelt, 20th century U.S. first lady)

Although we may be fearful of many things, Roosevelt has suggested that there is value in fear. When we’ve survived a frightening experience, we might well have become stronger and gained confidence in our ability to overcome fear. We’ll face the next tough situation with a sense of security and courage. Let’s not be fearful; ask God for strength and move ahead with courage.

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: May 13, 2021

Persistence

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. (Thomas Edison) 

We give Edison a lot of credit for making life easier for us with the invention of electric bulbs, phonographs, movie cameras, storage batteries, and much more. How many times do you suppose he felt like quitting when one of his experiments failed? Unlike many of us, he didn’t give up. He kept trying and success found him still trying. What an example of persistence!

Patient endurance is what you need now (Hebrews 10:36).

We also pray that. . . you will have all the endurance and patience you need (Colossians 1:11).

Stop & Think: May 12, 2021

Memories

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. (Dr. Seuss, children’s writer) 

It’s often only as we look back that we can recognize the significance of an event in the past. We can see now how that particular moment has influenced our present life. And not only have those moments benefited us, as activist Rosa Parks noted, “Memories of our lives, of our works, and our deeds will continue in others.” Be grateful for those precious moments and memories.

I will teach you hidden lessons from our past. (Psalm 78:2)

Stop & Think: May 11, 2021

Leadership

Transformational leaders inspire people to reach for a common goal. (Sam Ranier, public speaker)

When a coach recruits athletes to put together a winning team, he will look for the best talent available. But a group of stellar sportsmen does not necessarily guarantee winning seasons. Too often those “stars” are used to being in the limelight, and they don’t always share success well. The coach has to help them learn to seek team goals not personal achievement.

If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. (Romans 12:8)

Stop & Think: May 10, 2021

Wisdom and Courage

Wisdom without courage is riskless, and courage without wisdom is reckless, but wisdom and courage combined with compassion is priceless. (J. R. Briggs, author)

Have you ever thought you had the right solution, but you didn’t have enough nerve to try it out? You probably second-guessed everyone else’s attempt to solve the problem. On the other hand, what about the times you boldly began a project without thinking it through? Disaster, too, eh? We have to learn that the combination of the two, as Briggs suggests is “priceless.”

Be strong and courageous. (Deuteronomy 31:23)

Wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it. (Luke 7:35)

Stop & Think: May 9, 2021

Training

At the moment of truth, you will not rise to the level of expectation but will fall to the level of training. (paraphrase of Archilochus, ancient Greek poet)

The good worker wants to know what is expected of him or her. What is the end product to look like and how is it to function? Or how will success be determined: the effectiveness of our presentation, the number of sales, etc.? Archilochus reminds us that no matter what is expected, without proper training, we will probably fail no matter what our expectations are.

I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27)

Stop & Think: May 8, 2021

Largesse

The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations, and benefits. (Plutarch, 1st century Greek philosopher)

Sounds like a modern conservative, doesn’t he? Maybe things haven’t changed much in the 20 centuries since Plutarch wrote. Many parents have discovered—to their great disappointment—that giving in to their children’s demands and wants, always granting them their desire, creates an entitlement attitude that leads to an unproductive and selfish life.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Stop & Think: May 7, 2021

Family

We must take care of our families wherever we find them. (Elizabeth Gilbert, American Journalist)

The nuclear family has come under attack in recent years. There are too many single-parent homes and dysfunctional families, so the ideal of healthy families is difficult to achieve. It would be helpful to apply Gilbert’s counsel to what we might think of as our family at church, or school, or even our workplace. But following clear biblical teaching will benefit even more.

 But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers. (1 Timothy 5:8)

Stop & Think: May 6, 2021

Confidence

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all of the time. (Anna Freud, 20th century British psychoanalyst)

Apparently, Freud is viewing life from a purely humanist perspective. If man is merely the result of millennia of evolution, perhaps she could be right. But a Judeo-Christian perspective understands man to be the direct creation of an all-powerful God, made in God’s image. His strength and confidence ultimately come from the inner working of God in his life.

Your strength comes from God’s grace. (Hebrews 13:9)

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Stop & Think: May 5, 2021

Security

[Security] does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. (Helen Keller)

Keller concludes, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” This statement is all the more amazing when we understand the physical handicaps that she endured. We might wonder how she could just survive with the potential dangers of her blindness and deafness, but she did far more, achieving fame as a writer and speaker. Security is not our goal so much as opportunity. 

Fear of the Lord leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm. (Proverbs 19:23)

Stop & Think: May 4, 2021

Time

If you want a better tomorrow, you’ve got to evaluate your past to make better decisions in the present. (Chris Suitt, pastor and blogger)

Past, present, future—it can be confusing trying to discern the priority of each in our planning. Suitt puts it together well. We must not be glued to our past memories, but we dare not forget what we learned yesterday. And it’s not good to make great plans for the future unless we work well today to prepare for it. Remember, all of our time and experience is important.

For everything, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)