GOD OF HOPE

Daily Stop & Thinks

Stop & Think: December 4, 2022

Holiday Reminder

Your children need your presence more than your presents. (Jesse Jackson, social activist)

As you work through your Christmas gift list this month and consider what the children will want, consider this good advice. Gifts are an appropriate way to express love, but they may be quickly lost or broken. What really lasts is the sense of belonging that children will develop with parents who are there through the year as well as on holidays.

The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them (Proverbs 20:7)

Stop & Think: December 3, 2022

Wealth #3

God prospers us not to raise our standard of living, but to raise our standard of giving. (Randy Alcorn, author)

In the “American Dream,” we see ourselves with a continual increase in our possessions and standard of living. A story in the Bible (Luke 12) tells of a rich man who built bigger barns to hold his increasing crops. But he died without sharing his wealth and before he could enjoy it himself. Do we have responsibility to help those whose “dream” has not brought them much?

Those who fear the Lord . . . share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever (Psalm 112:1 8-9).

Stop & Think: December 2, 2022

Wealth #2

It’s not what you gather but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived. (Helen Walton, late philanthropist)

Millionaire Malcolm Forbes is credited with saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” To look in a lot of garages or storage bins, is to see good evidence that the sentiment goes far beyond toys or millionaires. The accumulation of “things,” even things of value, means little compared to a life of giving.

Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others (1 Timothy 6:18).

Stop & Think: December 1, 2022

Wealth #1

Remember, it is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. (Larry Mueller, philanthropist)

While we are young, we don’t think much about health. We may exercise and eat wisely, but, generally, we just take health for granted. At the same time, we’re probably working in a career that we hope will bring us future security and all the things we want in the meantime. As we age, however, we discover that “things” don’t matter nearly so much as having good health.

It is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it (Ecclesiastes 5:19).

Stop & Think: November 30, 2022

Courage

The brave man is not he who is not afraid, but he who conquers that fear. (Nelson Mandela, late president of South Africa)

Mandela had suffered long imprisonment for his public engagement in efforts to bring equality to the citizens of his country. He said, “I learned that courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.  What a challenge to us to pursue justice and not to give up when it’s tough but to endure for the sake of what is right.

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Stop & Think: November 29, 2022

Success

God does not require that we succeed; he only requires that you try. (Mother Teresa)

Illusive success is what aspiring athletes, entertainers, and entrepreneurs are hoping for. But for the world-famous nun who gave her life to alleviate the suffering of the poor, the gaining of fame and possessions was not what she worked for. She believed that God is pleased with those who pursue him and demonstrate faithfulness. That was success to her and should be to us as well.

It is required in stewards that one be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). Jesus: “If you love me, obey my commandments” (John 14:15).

Stop & Think: November 28, 2022

Perspective

You don’t climb mountains to get to the top; you climb them to see what other mountains there are to climb. (TV commercial)

This TV commercial raises the question of perspective. Why climb the mountain? Some do it just “because it’s there.” Others because they want a better view of the area. A few, apparently, accept this challenge just to see if there are higher, more difficult tests to pursue. In any case, climbing can be really good for you when you are prepared and have a good purpose in mind.

Stop & Think: November 27, 2022

Wisdom

God is God, and I am not.

Songwriter Stephen Curtiss Chapman penned those familiar words and added: “I can only see a part of the picture he’s painting.” Many have made that same observation, and one added that “Humility is simply accepting that fact.” Too often we live as if we are in control and can make the best decisions. With our limited knowledge, it’s best to rely on the true source of wisdom.

Be still, and know that I am God! . . . Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. (Psalm 46:10; 111:10)

Stop & Think: November 26, 2022

Change

The best part of wanting to change the world…is [that] ultimately, YOU will be changed in the process. (Eugene Cho, world hunger relief advocate)

When you study an issue, hoping for change, you often find that your heart and mind change. You likely become more involved in the solution rather than merely studying the problem. If there is any hope to resolve the world-wide problems of hunger, poverty, illiteracy, and social justice, it will depend on the changes in individuals before significant changes in society at large.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13:8)

Stop & Think: November 25, 2022

Significance

Significance is about who we are before it is about what we do. (John Ortberg, American author and speaker)

There is no doubt that we are living in significant times. And sometimes we are challenged to be significant, to live significant lives. But Ortberg suggests something far more important. In the long run, it’s not so much what you do but what you are. Even less noteworthy achievements can have a great impact when they are demonstrated by a life of integrity and good character.

May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:11). 

Stop & Think: November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving

I have found that viewing life through a lens of gratitude can change everything. (Vaneetha Rendall Risner, author)

It’s a pity that many people celebrate Thanksgiving on only one day in the year. It is a great time for family and friends to enjoy fellowship, good food, and fun together, but it ought to happen more often than on the fourth Thursday of November. Risner points out that life can be enjoyed and celebrated when we adopt an attitude of gratitude year-round.

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude (1 Timothy 4:4).

Stop & Think: November 23, 2022

Character #2

People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character. (Ralph Waldo Emerson 19th century American essayist)

Emerson’s observation may be even more obvious today than three centuries ago. Extreme political positions—whatever your party affiliation—tell a lot about what you believe but even more about your character. We may be able to discover the virtues someone has by the issues she supports in the public square. And that should help us determine who and what to support.

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).