GOD OF HOPE

Daily Stop & Thinks

Stop & Think: May 15, 2022

Action

Vision without action is a dream. Action without a vision is aimless. (Nelson Mandela, late So. African president)

Mandela continues: “But a vision with action can change the world, one person at a time. It’s easy to become distracted doing things that are related to, but not core to our vision. The whirlwind of being busy can deceptively leads us to believe we are achieving something.” Good words for busy Americans. Take time to plan; then actively pursue your dreams.

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control (1 Peter 1:13).

Stop & Think: May 14, 2022

Words

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time. (Blaise Pascal, French philosopher)

That may not sound like good logic, but we’ve seen how true the idea is. Have you ever listened to a speaker or teacher who went on and on when he could have said it all in fewer words and have been even clearer? If we spend more time thinking about how to phrase our ideas, we will probably say it better in fewer words.

The more words you speak, the less they mean. So what good are they? . . . The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly (Ecclesiastes 6:11; 12:10).

Stop & Think: May 13, 2022

Identity

Sameness is a disease that dims our light and hides our identity. (SEEDnet.org)

Parents sometimes say, “Why can’t you be like (fill in the blank)? Often, it’s a challenge to behave or do better in school like someone else you know. However, we really don’t want our children to be like every other child. Each has his or her own identity and the differences are what make life interesting and allow everyone to make a unique contribution to the community.

Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people (1 Peter 2:10).

Stop & Think: May 12, 2022

Friends

Maybe he has to make us feel his absence in order for us to really appreciate his presence. (Viki Rife, women’s leader)

Rife is writing about God, but that truth can also allude to human relationships. We often don’t realize how much we appreciate a friend until after a prolonged absence. It isn’t that we had forgotten them, but we just weren’t as conscious of their absence until they returned. Let’s keep our friends (and God!) constantly in our presence of mind.

You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence (Acts 2:28).

Stop & Think: May 11, 2022

Growth

Growth is more important than comfort. (Cassie Rayl, women’s writer)

We do like comfort, don’t we? First class is better than business class which is better than tourist. We’re really happy when we’re upgraded to a more comfortable seat. But while we’re resting in our recliner, wouldn’t it be good for us read a book or watch an enlightening TV program to learn something new? It would be good to want to learn rather than merely to be comfortable.

The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger (Proverbs 24:5).

Stop & Think: May 10, 2022

Hard Work

Worthwhile things always happen on the other side of hard. (Monty Williams, basketball coach)

Williams’ comment is just about the opposite of “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” which usually proves false. He suggests that any accomplishment of value lies beyond the stretch of hard work. If we’re not willing to put in the work, we’ll not achieve what we hope for. As in basketball, winning is the result of lots of practice and hard work. Just do it!

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty (Proverbs 21:5).

Stop & Think: May 9, 2022

Kindness

Kindness is thrown away upon the evil. (Aesop’s Fables)

Really? That’s certainly a human sentiment. We never just want to get even; we always want to get back in a much stronger way. The Old Testament principle of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” isn’t enough for us. But Jesus taught something far different, didn’t he? “Turn the other cheek”; “go the second mile.” We must show kindness to others (Romans 12:8).

If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the Lord will reward you (Proverbs 5:21-22).

Stop & Think: May 8, 2022

Mother’s Day

Motherhood: all love begins and ends there. (Robert Browning, 19th century English poet)

Across the ages, millions of sons and daughters have found Browning’s observation to be true. Mother’s love has often helped us make right choices and kept us from going astray. People who have not had a loving mother have suffered a great loss, to be sure. But there is an even greater love—the love of God for his created people. It’s that love that really prompts greater love.

No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).

Stop & Think: May 7, 2022

Get going!

Every journey begins with a single step. (Maya Angelou, late American poet)

This adage has been expressed in a variety of ways over many years. Why is it that we so easily overlook this simple principle? We find it so easy to delay starting a project—especially if it appears to be difficult or time-consuming. Most of us have discovered, however, that after beginning to move forward, there is a great sense of relief, and we can continue more easily.

The Lord said to Moses, “Get going, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt. Go up to the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 33:1).

Stop & Think: May 6, 2022

Warnings

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (Benjamin Franklin, a USA founding father)

This well-known proverb has been proved a thousand times—and probably often in your own experience. Ignoring the “check engine” light on your dashboard can be dangerous. It may only show that you need a quart of oil or to add some air in your tires. Failure to heed the warning, however, may lead to much more expensive repair than a quart of oil. Check it out.

The laws of the Lord are true . . . They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them (Psalm 19:9-11).

Stop & Think: May 5, 2022

Overcoming Fear

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes . . . is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do? (Henry Ford, early auto manufacturer)

We hesitate to try something new or to take a different road for fear we’ll make a mistake or it’s the wrong road. When we do venture out and find out we really have done something helpful, we feel a great relief. It’s the experience Ford talks about as a “great discovery.” Let’s not let a bit of concern keep us from moving forward toward a determined goal.

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 4, 2022

Head and Heart

The heart never takes the place of the head; but it can, and should, obey it. (C. S. Lewis, late British scholar)

Hallmark and other TV networks often play romantic films that some call “chick flicks.” (Although men are known to watch them, too.) The episodes almost always conclude with a conflict between real life and romance. The common advice is “follow your heart.” We would do well to consider Lewis’ counsel, however. Heart and mind need to be in balance with reality.

[God’s] peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).