GOD OF HOPE

Daily Stop & Thinks

Stop & Think: August 10, 2022

Encouragement

Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. (Ian MacLaren, pen name of John Watson, 20th century Scottish minister)

It’s so easy to make snap judgments about other people. When someone speaks rudely to us or pushes in front of us in line at the Post Office, our immediate thoughts can be so wrong. As MacLaren says, we really don’t know what difficulties others are facing. So, we should withhold judgment and, instead, try to be an encouragement to everyone we meet.

Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them (Ephesians 4:29).

Stop & Think: August 9, 2022

At Heart

The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, late Soviet dissident and novelist)

It’s an idea that many people want to refute or ignore. We really don’t want to think that anything evil could ever be in our hearts and mind. Yet, to be honest, we all have to admit that we do sometimes have evil thoughts or may be tempted to do wrong. It is a matter of the heart, isn’t it? And we would do well to examine ourselves to be sure our thoughts and motives are pure.

Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving (Titus 1:15).

Stop & Think: August 8, 2022

Just Do It

Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly. (Robert Schuler, late pastor)

Motivation speaker Kary Oberbrunner says, “Perfectionism is just fear in disguise.” Such fear may well result in a lack of effort, an unwillingness to do anything. To which Schuler’s comment is noteworthy. Or to put it another way, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” We should strive to do better, but don’t stop doing it just because the results might not be perfect.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters (Colossians 3:23).

Stop & Think: August 7, 2022

Help

A crisis is no time to be hysterical. It is the time for self-control and unselfish behavior. (Gloria Gather, songwriter)

Gaither highlights an experience she witnessed as a child. A terrible accident occurred outside her house, and someone viewing it from inside became hysterical, although she was not personally involved. Our responses in tough situations might be all about ourselves, how we feel and react. But to help, we must exercise self-control; our concern must be about those in need.

So, prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control . . . Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. (1 Peter 1:13; 4:11)

Stop & Think: August 6, 2022

Mistakes

The person who doesn’t make mistakes is unlikely to make anything. (Paul Arden, author)

The fear of failing keeps many of us from trying anything new. As philosopher Elbert Hubbard put it “The greatest mistake one can make is to be afraid of making one.” Inventors like Thomas Edison had hundreds of failures in attempting to make their discoveries useful. Thanks to their willingness to make mistakes, we have all benefited from their perseverance.

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised (Hebrews 10:36).

Stop & Think: August 5, 2022

Truth

Everything is as good or as bad as our opinion makes it. (C S. Lewis, late British professor)

That fits well with what author Herbert V. Prochnow wrote: “A great many people mistake opinions for thought.” It seems that authoritative truth doesn’t exist anymore. Whatever you think is true is okay. The problem comes, of course, when differing opinions are expressed. It’s necessary, then, to have a reliable source of truth from which to judge opinions.

Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! . . . The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever. (Psalm 86:11; 119:160)

Stop & Think: August 4, 2022

The Right Road

The detour you are on is actually the road. (Caroline Lusk, writer)

It’s helpful when your GPS recognizes detours in your itinerary and offers alternative routes. But when you encounter an unexpected detour sign, it can really be aggravating. Life itself often offers unexpected changes, and our response to them can affect us significantly. Acknowledge that where you are is where you’re supposed to be and move forward with determination.

Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow (Psalm 25:4).

Stop & Think: August 3, 2022

Hard Times

When I hear somebody sigh, “Life is hard,” I am always tempted to ask, “Compared to what?” (Sydney Harris, 20th century American journalist)

It has always been true that life is difficult for a lot of people. Economic woes, war, disease—all of those factors impact multitudes of people. We certainly don’t want to belittle the sufferings of others, but we should consider Harris’ comment when times are hard for us and begin to think of ways we can help those whose lives are so much harder than ours.

The Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials (2 Peter 2:9).

Stop & Think: August 2, 2022

Love Produces Much

Whoever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well. (Vincent Van Gogh, 19th century Dutch painter)

Van Gogh was a post-impressionist artist, whose work was most highly respected after his death. Not everyone appreciates that art form, but he was a master at it, producing almost 2,100 works including 860 oil paintings. It’s evident that he was passionate about his art style. As he said in his own words, “Whoever loves much performs much.” Work hard at what you “love much.”

Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval (2 Timothy 2:15).

Stop & Think: August 1, 2022

Friendship

Listen deeply, respond authentically, avoid judgment, and love well. (A Father’s Advice)

These might be called the four laws of friendship. Many of us have a hard time listening well because we’re thinking about our response. And sometimes our answers are not well thought through. It’s helpful, too, to avoid making judgments until we get all the facts. Friendships grow well when they are saturated with love that’s offered unconditionally.

 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:7).

 

Stop & Think: July 31, 2022

A Temple on Earth

Your body is a temple, but only if you treat it as one. (Astrid Alauda, poet)

Our bodies are wonderful things. Just to think of the circulation, digestive, and nerve systems is mind boggling. To be healthy, we must take care of them with nutritious food, exercise, and regular rest. But they are not to be worshipped. Christians understand that our bodies are more than just a physical entity. By faith, they become a temple of God himself.

And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple (1 Peter 2:5).

Stop & Think: July 30, 2022

Sunshine

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. (Anthony J. D’Angelo, author)

There used to be a character in the Li’l Abner cartoon strip that was always pictured with a dark cloud over his head. Wherever Joe Btfsplk went, bad luck was sure to follow. D’Angelo suggests that we could be a completely different kind of person, one who brings light and joy into the experience of everyone around us. Wouldn’t that make life more pleasant for everyone?

For the happy heart, life is a continual feast (Proverbs 15:15).

Be happy with those who are happy (Romans 12:15).