GOD OF HOPE

Daily Stop & Thinks

Stop & Think: May 2, 2021

Finishing Well

Beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing.

Many of us have begun well but finished poorly in our attempt to diet or exercise. Usually, we begin with a lot of excitement and anticipation. But, when the effort becomes tedious and the obstacles mount, it’s so easy to find a better option and just bailout. Finishing well demands good intentions and perseverance; it may take a long time.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. (2 Timothy 4:7)

Stop & Think: May 1, 2021

Waiting

Those who are best at waiting are best at serving. (James Gribble, pioneer 20th century missionary) 

Gribble and his team waited many months before they were given permission to move into darkest Africa to minister. They personified what Pastor Charles Stanley meant when he said, “Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on what we’re waiting for.” When we value our future work, it becomes easier to wait with patience as we continue to prepare for that future.

But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently. (Romans 8:25)

Stop & Think: April 30, 2021

Pride

We may often be of more consequence in our own eyes than in our neighbors’. (from Aesop’s Fables)

Winners who sometimes find themselves in the spotlight with a lot of accolades in the press might begin to believe what they read and hear about themselves. We’ve seen too often how those winners begin to believe their own press. It can happen to any of us when we achieve a bit of success. Our neighbors might just be the best judges of us.

Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor. (Proverbs 29:23)

Stop & Think: April 29, 2021

Results

Let us watch well our beginnings and results will manage themselves. (19th century U.S. Ambassador)

We often focus on the goal, what we want the end of our project to look like. We do always have to keep the end in mind, of course. We have to determine how to get there, what’s involved in the process; what resources we will need along the way. The success or failure in our venture will be based on all those things, but the really essential issue is, how do we begin?

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. (Philippians 1:6)

Stop & Think: April 28, 2021

Peace

First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others. (Thomas à Kempis, 15th century German-Dutch churchman)

Nearly everyone wants to see peace in his home, the community, the nation, and even the world. But, as has been said, peace really has to begin within each one of us. In today’s fast-moving, world, many are finding it difficult to be at peace within themselves, not to mention in their relationships with others. Peace on a horizontal level must begin with a vertical relationship.

When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them. (Proverbs 16:7)

Stop & Think: April 27, 2021

Believing II

We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right. 

Independence and accepting everyone’s “rights,” seems to be out of control today. Everyone is allowed to believe and express whatever he wants. “What is true for you,” some say, “is not necessarily true for me.” But, as was noted above, just because you believe something doesn’t make it true or right. We need to find bedrock truth and hold on to it.

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). 

[Jesus to God the Father], “Make them holy by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

Stop & Think: April 26, 2021

Believing I

We don’t believe something by merely saying we believe it, or even when we believe that we believe it. We believe something when we act as if it were true. (Dallas Willard, professor)

In our conversations we often express our views, saying, “I think…” or “I believe…” Sometimes we are merely sharing opinions, perhaps hoping to persuade someone to accept our view of things. Perhaps Willard is recalling an old saying “to put your money where your mouth is.” It’s evident, isn’t it, that we don’t really believe something unless we’re willing to act on it.

Only simpletons believe everything they’re told! (Proverbs 14:15)

What good is it. . . if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? (James 2:14)

Stop & Think: April 25, 2021

Discovery                                           

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. (Marcel Proust, 19th-20th century French novelist)

Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci were renowned explorers and are noted for their great discoveries of formerly unknown landscapes. Not many of us will ever be thought of as explorers, but we could make great discoveries. Not by world travels or extra-terrestrial journeys. By searching the ordinary with a new focus; who knows what we might discover?

Ears to hear and eyes to see—both are gifts from the Lord. (Proverbs 20:12)

Stop & Think: April 24, 2021

Meeting Needs

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive because the world needs people who have come alive. (Howard Thurman, 20th century educator)

Some think what the world needs is relief from poverty; others, a better education; many think love is the missing factor in a depressed world. Thurman seems to argue that the question has no simple answer. Rather, it is best resolved by people who are passionate about what they want to offer and will do their best to provide to meet the needs right around them.

Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives. (Titus 3:14)

Stop & Think: April 23, 2021

Life                                                    

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But. . . (Alfred D’Souza, Catholic prelate in India)

He continues, “. . .there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin.” He rightly concluded, “that these obstacles were my life.” Live now, don’t wait to begin living!

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. (James 3:13)

Stop & Think: April 22, 2021

Identity

Don’t allow someone else’s opinion of you become your reality. (Les Brown, motivational speaker, and author)

To a lot of people, the opinion of others about them is a sensitive subject. Many are easily hurt when they are criticized. Others take great pride when they are complimented or given credit for some personal achievement. Brown’s wise advice is a good guide for us. Others’ opinions are one thing, but they are not our real identity. Know yourself for who God has made you to be.

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them. (Genesis 1:21)

Stop & Think: April 21, 2021

Judgment                                           

Have you noticed in your past experience that your kind interpretations were almost always truer than your harsh ones? (Lawrence G. Lovasik, 20th century clergyman)

Many of us are guilty of jumping to conclusions. We see or hear a bit of news, and we immediately think we have enough knowledge to either commend or condemn what we’ve heard without further investigation. Our judgments are premature and too often they prove to be wrong. What a tragedy to judge someone wrongly. Be careful before you make the next jump!

Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment (Proverbs 23:23).

Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly (John 7:24).