GOD OF HOPE

Daily Stop & Thinks

Stop & Think: February 21, 2021

Work

Choose a job you love. You will never have to work a day in your life. (Confucius, ancient Chinese philosopher)

Author Pearl Buck said it this way: “To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.” Encouraging platitudes, but are they really true? If we enjoy our work, it will be easier to go to the job every day. Still, there will be days when the work is really hard, and we’re not finding much joy in it. We can find satisfaction, however, in a job well done at the work we’ve chosen.

So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. . . To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. (Ecclesiastes 2:10; 5:19)

Stop & Think: February 20, 2021

Others II

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself the other for helping others. (Audrey Hepburn, late actress)

Senior citizens are often told that age is just a number. That platitude doesn’t really make the aging process any easier, but Hepburn’s observation can be a great encouragement. When our focus isn’t on ourselves and what might be difficult circumstances, we can find fulfillment in offering help and support to others.

Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. (1 Peter 4:11)

Stop & Think: February 19, 2021

Others I

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. (Helen Keller, late author, speaker)

You have to marvel at the persistence and achievement of Helen Keller, deaf and blind. She not only overcame her handicaps with a marvelous ability to communicate, but she showed greatness in her concern for others. We could all imitate her in making it our purpose to “bring cheer to others.” As a result, we will most like discover “a happier life for ourselves.”

Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)

Stop & Think: February 18, 2021

Simplicity

The best toys in the world—like the best times—are the simplest. (James Emery White)

Emery adds that, in truth, the best toys are also “the most available.” He reports on a survey that concluded that the five best-loved toys are: stick, box, string, cardboard tube, dirt. This may be why when little children open their Christmas or birthday gifts, they soon turn to playing with the wrapping paper or the gift boxes. There’s probably a lesson there about simplifying life.

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Timothy 6:8)

Stop & Think: February 17, 2021

Generosity

It is in giving that we receive. (Francis of Assisi)

The Bible quotes Jesus as saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). And Francis tells us why. When you give a gift to someone in need, you take joy in their grateful response. Not only have you helped them materially, but you’ve given them a glimmer of hope and encouragement. You can find great joy in being generous with all that God has given you.

But a generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand. (Isaiah 32:8)

Stop & Think: February 16, 2021

Happiness

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness. (Bertrand Russell, British philosopher)

Russell’s idea may seem strange at first reading. After all, a lot of people seem to be accumulating more and more “things,” thinking that more will bring greater happiness. Learning to do without, however, is a great lesson in what is truly essential for contentment in the rushing life of the 21st century. Genuine happiness is to be found beyond the “things” we possess.

What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now. (Luke 6:24)

Make me walk along the path of your commands [oh, God], for that is where my happiness is found. (Psalm 119:35)

Stop & Think: February 15, 2021

Perseverance

Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. (Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States)

Coolidge continues: “Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.” He concludes: “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” That’s good advice for anyone who wants to succeed in business, the arts, and in life.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1).

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:4).

Stop & Think: February 14, 2021

Love

Love is a partnership of two unique people who bring out the very best in each other. . . (Barbara Cage, Australian gymnast)

Cage continues, “. . .and who know that even though they are wonderful as individuals, they are even better together.” On this Valentine’s Day, there is a lot of sentiment in the cards and gifts being exchanged, but Cage’s quote captures the real essence of love in the phrase “brings out the very best.” When we make every effort to do that, we are expressing love at its very best.

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24)

Stop & Think: February 13, 2021

Sharing

Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow. (Swedish proverb)

Experience has shown us that sharing is not a natural human trait. Children have to be taught to share—often with many struggles and much reluctance. On special occasions gift-giving can be a real joy, especially when gifts are shared. There is another side of sharing, too. Griefs and sorrows are endured so much more easily when they are shared with loving family and friends.

[Those who fear the Lord] share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. (Psalm 112:9)

Stop & Think: February 12, 2021

Reading

My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read. (Abraham Lincoln)

In Lincoln’s day, there was a limited number of available books. Ebooks, blogs, and podcasts were far from even being imagined. Learning was restricted to orality, lecture, personal teaching, or finding and reading good books. We are all the beneficiaries of Lincoln’s desire to read and the broad knowledge he gained from it. What are you reading these days?

Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church. (1 Timothy 4:13)

Stop & Think: February 11, 2021

Hope

Wishing and hoping for something in the future is to ignore present reality. (Jesse Deloe, writer)

When someone is hoping, maybe even planning for something unrealistic, something that most likely will never happen, we call that “wishful thinking.” We should prepare for the future, of course, and successful planning demands a pretty clear understanding of present reality. Careful and realistic planning will help to fulfill your hopes for the future.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12).

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for (Hebrews 11:1).

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Stop & Think: February 10, 2021

Preparation

It’s not the will to win that’s important; it’s the will to prepare to win. (Paul “Bear” Bryant, late football coach)

Bryant noted that everyone has the will to win, but that’s not enough. This often-quoted statement certainly goes much deeper than what is often promised: if you just want to bad enough, you can gain whatever you want. Winning takes more than talent and ability. It most often requires training, discipline, and perseverance. Want to win and work hard to do it.

Prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control (1 Peter 1:13).

I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should (1 Corinthians 9:27).