GOD OF HOPE

Daily Stop & Thinks

Stop & Think: April 14, 2021

Perspective II

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. (G. K. Chesterton, 20th century English writer)

 It’s really a question of how we look at life, isn’t it? The pessimist sees the half-empty cup while the optimist sees the cup as half full. When the unexpected happens to us, do we see it as an unwanted interruption or as an opportunity to learn, to reevaluate priorities, or, perhaps to help someone? It probably begins with our attitude toward life and our desire to be and do right.

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right. (Psalm 34:15)

Stop & Think: April 13, 2021

Perspective I

Your outlook determines the outcome. (paraphrase of Linda Brumbaugh, blog writer)

When you begin working on a project or seeking an answer to an important question, are you beginning with an open mind? Our worldview or perspective on life bears a significant impact on our searching. The pessimist is almost always discouraged by the end product of his research. The optimist, on the other hand, is usually pleased with what he finds. Seek with an open mind.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)

Stop & Think: April 12, 2021

Artists

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. (Pablo Picasso, 20th century Spanish artist)

Do you remember encouraging your crayon-wielding child to “stay in the lines”? Have we sometimes unintentionally restricted budding artists from experimenting as they learn how to develop their creative skills? Imagination may be the most important factor in creating good art. The young learner no doubt needs our encouragement more than our criticism.

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

Stop & Think: April 11, 2021

Failure

Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. (Francis Chan, author and teacher)

To encourage children when they’re inexperienced, we sometimes reward them for the smallest of achievements. “Good job,” we say when they pick up their toys. That’s a good practice, but we also want to teach them (and ourselves) to move on to more significant issues as life becomes more complex. We all need to work at. succeeding at things in life that really do matter.

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

Stop & Think: April 10, 2021

Enduring Love

Look out for false notions of love; [love] isn’t measured in sentiment but in endurance. Have they stayed the course? (Author unknown)

The topic of love has to be one of the most discussed and written about themes in the world. Poems, plays, songs—they are all filled with thoughts of love. In many—if not most—uses, love is an emotion or a sentiment. In all too many cases, then, it is fleeting; so, as suggested above, the real test is endurance. Real love—caring for another’s best interest—will “stay the course.”

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

Stop & Think: April 9, 2021

Leadership

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. (John Quincy Adams, sixth U.S. president)

Nineteenth century author and orator Robert Ingersoll put it more simply, “We rise by lifting others.” The purpose of leadership is not just to assemble a team that can achieve a certain objective—as important as that is, but also to develop the individual members of that team. Check Adams’ definition of a leader again. The development of others is the real goal.

If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. (Romans 12:8)

Stop & Think: April 8, 2021

Achievement

High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation. (Charles Kettering, 20th century American inventor) 

When we are somewhat careless about our work, the result is almost always disappointing. If we set a high standard with an expectation of doing well, we most likely will. But consider also what businessman Louis Gerstner noted: “People don’t do what you expect but what you inspect.” Be diligent, work hard, plan to succeed, and check your work regularly.

Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. (2 John 1:8)

Stop & Think: April 7, 2021

Trust

Build bridges of trust strong enough to hold the truth. (Jan Cone, cross-cultural worker)

To establish strong relationships, as one writer put it, we need to build bridges rather than walls. Bridges need to be built well and, in terms of working with people, they must be trustworthy. Built on anything less, our bridges will collapse quickly and destroy any rapport we may have had with an individual or group. Honesty, sincerity, and reliance will build bridges that last.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Stop & Think: April 6, 2021

Courage

It is not the critic who counts… [but the one who] if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. (Theodore Roosevelt)

Roosevelt continues, “…so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Americans are known to be critics. There are enough “Monday morning quarterbacks” and “sidewalk superintendents” to fill the unemployment lines, no doubt. When the task is essential, though it seems impossible, the brave person accepts the challenge.

Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

Stop & Think: April 5, 2021

Humility

People in their right minds never take pride in their talents. (Harper Lee, in To Kill a Mockingbird)

We live in a time when gifted stars are exalted. We even have programs that promote idolizing the talented. It is no surprise, then, when some of those stars fall—as some inevitably do. Who’s to blame? Too many gifted children are promoted (and exploited) as stars from childhood to their ultimate detriment. We should be grateful for talent but learn to use it for the benefit of others.

Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor. (Proverbs 11:2; 29:23)

Stop & Think: April 4, 2021

Easter

The great gift of Easter is hope. (Basil Hume, 20th century churchman) 

“I still believe in Santa, the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy…” is one person’s thought of Easter. Another: “Easter is the time to rejoice and be thankful for the gift of life, love, and joy.” The Christian hope that Hume speaks of gives us confidence in God because of the resurrection of Jesus which we celebrate today. It’s his triumph over sin and death that gives hope. 

We are reborn to experience a living, energetic hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)

Stop & Think: April 3, 2021

Truth

The most powerful thing you can do to change the world is to change your own beliefs about the nature of life, people, and reality to something more positive. (Shakti Gawain, author)

Gawain concludes: “…and begin to act accordingly.” That raises the question, of course, of what to change your beliefs to. There are as many ideas as there are people—actually, many more. Finding what is really true and holding to that is the most important pursuit of life. It must begin with what is true, trustworthy, and unchanging.

Jesus: “For I will testify to the world of the truths that I have heard from my Father, and the Father who sent me is trustworthy.” (John 8:26)