GOD OF HOPE

Daily Stop & Thinks

Stop & Think: May 26, 2024

Misplaced Zeal

If our zeal is embittered by expressions of anger, invective, or scorn, we may think we are doing service to the cause of truth, when in reality we shall only bring it into discredit. (John Newton, author of Amazing Grace)

Newton’s remarks could be addressed to today’s well-meaning bloggers or those who write letters to the editor. In an effort to convince non-believers of the truths they hold, they are highly critical of and often downright nasty to the readers whose minds they hope to change. In doing so, they not only offend the readers, but what is worse, as Newton says, they discredit the truth.

By truth spoken in love, we are to grow in every way into Him—the Anointed One, the head. (Ephesians 4:15)

Stop & Think: May 25, 2024

Real Value

You are valuable just because you exist. Not because of what you do or what you have done, but simply because you are. (Max Lucado, American minister and author)

We often think of people with admiration because of what they’ve done. They may be best-selling authors, star athletes, or world leaders. We think their achievements make them important, while we consider others to be ordinary because they’ve made no stellar accomplishments. But everyone is important simply because God created them to be like him.

God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. . .  So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26, 27)

Stop & Think: May 24, 2024

Boredom

The secret of being boring is to say everything. (Voltaire, 17th century French writer)

We have probably all sat through a boring lecture. It may have been the subject matter, the too-warm room, or our wandering thoughts. In any case, it was difficult to enjoy a well-intentioned monologue. It’s equally hard to converse with someone who talks endlessly, embellishing the conversation with exhausting minutia. It’s a challenge for us all. Let us learn to be succinct.

A truly wise person uses few words. (Proverbs 17:27)

Stop & Think: May 23, 2024

Patience or Inertia?

Patience is also a form of action. (Auguste Rodin, Patience19th-20th century French sculptor)

Have you ever been sitting around doing nothing while there seemed to be a need for action, to do something rather than just waiting? Was that being patient or just inertia? Rodin likely spent time being quiet and in thought. He might have appeared to be inactive, but he more likely was thinking seriously about his project and planning the next step. That is worthy inactivity.

We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, . . .  and by our sincere love. (2 Corinthians 6:6)

Stop & Think: May 22, 2024

Impossible?

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. (Francis of Assisi, Italian mystic and poet)

Sometimes when we are stymied by a project that seems absolutely impossible, we give up and turn to something else. However, Francis seems to suggest that if we just stick to our task and do the necessary, we may find it possible to do even more. In fact, we might just discover that we’re doing what we once thought to be impossible.

Jesus . . .  said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible. (Matthew 19:26)

Stop & Think: May 21, 2024

Listening Well

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens. (Kary Oberbrunner, author and motivational speaker)

To be helpful to others, we need to know how they are doing and what their needs are. That information can be gained most clearly when we ask them to share their experience and thoughts. Then, it is most important to listen carefully, withholding answers until we understand what their questions and needs really are.

Understand this: You must all be quick to listen [and] slow to speak. (James 1:19)

Stop & Think: May 20, 2024

Work or Pray?

Work as if you were to live a hundred years; pray as if you were to die tomorrow. (Benjamin Franklin)

Franklin was probably not the first to emphasize the importance of both work and faith, but putting it into a time frame does help understand the importance of both. Having the long view in mind as you work on worthy projects helps you value the importance of keeping at the job until it’s completed. Praying, however, is how you keep up to date with the God both of time and work.

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. (James 5:16b)

Stop & Think: May 19, 2024

Get to Work

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. (Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist)

Perhaps Atwood is merely urging people to take advantage of warm weather to get their garden projects underway. You can’t enjoy the flowers or the fruit of your gardens until  you’ve planted them, and that begins with turning the soil, getting your hands dirty. It’s so easy just to rest and enjoy the sunshine and warmer temperatures. But that will never bring a productive garden.

For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. (Deuteronomy 16:15b)

Stop & Think: May 18, 2024

Truth

A half-truth is also a half lie. (Allistar Begg, author)

No doubt, many others have stated this obvious truth. But still, we characterize half-lies as “fibs” or “little white lies” as if they’re okay. Our senses of honesty and character have been de-sensitized, and the result is that we lose our integrity. Who is to be trusted if we can’t always be certain that we’re hearing only the “full truth”?

Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed. (Proverbs 12:19)

Stop & Think: May 17, 2024

Best or Worst?

Today is not the worst nor best day of your life. (Chris Suitt, pastor)

How can you know that for sure? Maybe you’ve had a terrible day at school or at the office. It was just awful. But you didn’t fail a test or lose your job, so things could be worse. Perhaps you got engaged or married today. But there may be the birth of a child in the future, and all other days will pale in comparison. Don’t see today as an end, but move on with purpose and hope.

Neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. (Romans 8:38)

Stop & Think: May 16, 2024

A Lesson from the Sky

I can see how it might be possible for man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say, “There is no God.” (Abraham Lincoln)

Lincoln, of course, had no real idea of how one might respond when looking down on earth from the sky. The three-man crew of the Apollo 8 mission actually read the biblical creation account as they viewed the earth from above, and Astronaut Jeffery Williams said, “To look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is, to me, impossible.”

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. . . . On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, . . . This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1; 2:2, 4)

Stop & Think: May 15, 2024

Storms

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain. (Vivian Greene, late British writer)

In stormy times, some people will deny that there is a storm at all or at least ignore it altogether. Others will curse the weather. A large group just accepts it, realizing there isn’t much to be done about it. Another smaller group, perhaps, will find some way to enjoy it; It’s a part of life, so instead of just biding the time, why not live in it with purpose?

When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation. (Proverbs 10:25)