GOD OF HOPE

Daily Stop & Thinks

Stop & Think: July 23, 2024

Choices

You are free to make whatever choice you want, but you are not free from the consequences of that choice. (Tom Stiglich, political cartoonist)

This sentiment has been expressed in different ways, but the emphasis is always true. We can’t choose to think or act any way we want without facing the consequences. Thoughts create actions, and actions have almost unlimited effects. Wishing things might work out differently doesn’t really work. So, we would all do well to stop to think before we take action.

[God] will repay all people as their actions deserve. (Proverbs 24:12)
Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. (1 John 3:19)

Stop & Think: July 22, 2024

Discipline

Only through discipline may a man learn to be free. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Americans value their freedom above just about anything else. “I can do anything I want to; nobody can tell me otherwise” seems to be the common attitude among many freedom-loving people. Yet, unless there are boundaries, chaos can result when everyone “does whatever seems right in their own eyes” (see Judges 21:25). Knowing and obeying limits is a key to real freedom.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. (Hebrews 12:11)

Stop & Think: July 21, 2024

Pride

Human pride refuses to face the truth. (William Wilberforce, 18th-19th century British reformer)

In today’s relativism, it’s difficult to agree on the definition of truth. Maybe it’s because, as the old saying goes, “Truth hurts only when it applies.” In other words, truth doesn’t bother me until it convicts me of my wrongdoings. And why is it that I don’t want to face the truth? Because it may hurt. I’m often too proud to admit my error.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

Stop & Think: July 20, 2024

Wealth

Our affluence is . . . inadequate for our deepest needs. (Mark Hatfield, late U.S. senator)

While not everyone in our current society would be considered wealthy, it is still true that, in comparison, with most of the world’s population, we likely live in the most affluent nation. But what has it gotten us? Crime, violence, and scandal that dominate the news are evidence that our riches have not satisfied our need for inner peace and joy.

Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. (Proverbs 30:8)

Stop & Think: July 19, 2024

Books

The best books are those whose readers think they could have written them. (Blasé Pascal, 17th century French philosopher)

If a book is easy reading, one that pictures life as we’ve experienced it, we may well think, “I could have written that myself.” There is one book, however, that is full of stories of real people and principles for living that couldn’t have been written by any human. It’s author is God himself, who wants us to know him. If you haven’t ever read it, today would be a good day to start.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12)
Humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. (James 1:21)

Stop & Think: July 18, 2024

Leadership

Leadership opportunities come to those who seek to serve rather than those who seek to lead. (Tom Julien, late missionary statesman)

Understanding Julien’s observation will help immensely in developing strong and lasting leaders. There are many who want to lead, but whose motivation is sometimes misplaced. Leading is not simply being in front of the troops or chairing a committee, hoping others will follow and do the serving. The example of a servant leader will accomplish more than simply giving orders.

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant. . . .  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others. (Matthew 20: 26, 28)

Stop & Think: July 17, 2024

Imagination

Nothing is more free than the imagination of man. (David Hume, 18th century Scottish philosopher)

You can be thrown into solitary confinement, chained to the wall, and not allowed to communicate with anyone. Unfortunately, that has been the fate of many over the centuries—and even today. Of course, those who are holding prisoners can restrict the body, but they can’t limit the imagination. It may be that the ability to imagine is what enables the prisoner to survive.

We who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. (Hebrews 6:18)

Stop & Think: July 16, 2024

Honesty

Honesty is vital to the discovery of happiness. (Begg, Bible teacher and author)

Begg continues, “Joyful, contented people do not lie to themselves or to anybody else.” We sometimes kid ourselves, thinking that a little white lie shouldn’t be an obstacle in our “pursuit of happiness.” But Begg argues further, “We cannot deceive ourselves and enjoy genuine happiness; deceit and happiness don’t sleep in the same bed.” Be honest in lip and life.

Honesty guides good people. . . .  The godly are directed by honesty. (Proverbs 11:3, 5)

Stop & Think: July 15, 2024

Memories

Die with memories, not dreams. (Tom Parker, author)

Author Annette White writes, “Dreaming is the beginning of getting everything you want.” In contrast speaker John Maxwell says, “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” In the later years of life, will you still be dreaming about what could be? How much better, as Parker wrote, to have wonderful memories of your life rather than the dreams that were never fulfilled.

We have happy memories of the godly. (Proverbs 10:7)
Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! (Deuteronomy 4:8-10)

Stop & Think: July 14, 2024

Growing Up

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. (Sydney J. Harris, 20th century American journalist)

It takes awhile for a child to realize that he or she is not the center of the world. After all, the little boy or girl has been given so much attention it’s no wonder they see others as a way to make them happy. There is only one image in their mirror, but when they begin to see others, as if through a window, life expands to include the rest of the world.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. (1 Corinthians 13:11)

Stop & Think: July 13, 2024

Passion

A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. (John Maxwell, speaker and author on leadership)

Some people who aspire to be leaders think that the key for successful leadership is to exercise the authority that comes with their position. They may think that as a corporate executive or department manager, they will have all that it takes to achieve success. But, as Maxwell suggests, whatever really drives you when shared with your team will bring the desired end.

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

Stop & Think: July 12, 2024

Be Yourself

Stop comparing. Enjoy being you! Cultivate your own capabilities. (Charles Swindoll, pastor, author)

Swindoll wrote that in the following quotation: “Rabbits don’t fly. Eagles don’t swim. Ducks look funny trying to climb. Squirrels don’t have feathers. . . . Stop comparing. Enjoy being you! There’s plenty of room in the forest.” What a great variety in God’s creation! His gifting, likewise, makes each of us unique in what we contribute to life in our community.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. (Romans 12:6)