GOD OF HOPE

Daily Stop & Thinks

Stop & Think: October 9, 2021

Beginnings

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. (Seneca, 1st century Roman philosopher)

We might want to think we’ve discovered or created something. In reality, of course, as Seneca wrote, almost nothing is created out of nothing (except for God’s creation). Whether it’s physical material that we’ve made into something new or a new thought or idea, it almost certainly came from evaluating and revising previous thoughts. Let’s do our best to create new ways to improve already existing ideas.

“I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. (Proverbs 8:12)

Stop & Think: October 8, 2021

Whose Way?

People that are unaccountable inevitably do what is regrettable. (Keith Minier, conference speaker)

As free people, we like to do things our own way. An often-repeated popular song emphasizes, “I did it my way.” It’s really a good idea to work with others, perhaps in accountability groups, to assure that we aren’t too far off track, when a consensus might offer a better way. Ultimately, of course, there is a best way, and that should be our goal.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God . . . and he is the one to whom we are accountable. (Hebrews 4:13)

Stop & Think: October 7, 2021

Others

We rise by lifting others. (Robert Ingersoll, 19th century orator)

Jo Miller, a leadership CEO, put it this way, “Leaders don’t set out to climb the ladder, they rise by lifting others up.” While many people may be working hard to climb the corporate ladder, others are discovering it can be a lonely journey, and the rewards are often less than the expectations. Focusing on others and cooperating with them for common goals will bring much greater satisfaction.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Stop & Think: October 6, 2021

Work

Wish hard. Dream Big. Make it happen. (Doe Zantamata, author and artist)

“I wish I could run in the Olympics.” “I dream about winning a Pulitzer Prize.” Such wishes and dreams may be worthy ambitions, but they will never be achieved just by wishing and dreaming. Zantamata seems to encourage hopeful expectations, but she adds the key that might unlock the door to success. Making something happen includes planning and hoping but is largely achieved by working hard.

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: October 5, 2021

Be Kind

Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy. (Isaac Newton, 17th-18th century English scientist)

Some people are so certain of their knowledge and what they’ve learned from experience that they overwhelm others in any kind of discussion. They simply must make their point and they must do so with certainty and force. Not only is that tactless, which is bad enough, but it usually closes the door to further discussion that could be enlightening and helpful. Be assured but also be courteous.

Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. (Proverbs 16:24)
Be tenderhearted and keep a humble attitude. (1 Peter 3:8)

Stop & Think: October 4, 2021

Change

Like a man who has worn eyeglasses so long that he forgets he has them on, we forget that the world looks to us the way it does. (Kenich Ohmae, Japanese former university professor)

Ohmae goes on to note that it’s hard to let old beliefs go. They are familiar. We are comfortable with them having spent years building systems and developing habits that depend on them. Today he says, however, that we need new lenses. “And we need to throw the old ones away.” Change is inevitable, so we need to prepare for it and adapt to it and circumstances for the improvement of life and health.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (James 1:23-24)

Stop & Think: October 3, 2021

Priorities

Do take more care of yourself and less of “things”! (C. S. Lewis, late British scholar)

The media is so inundated with ads about personal care that we all should be healthy and fit. Then there are all the inducements to purchase insurance, property care equipment, and the like, so we can maintain our “things,” (cars, houses, toys) too. In reality, we need to care for all that God has given us, with priority on our own spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, just as you are progressing spiritually. (3 John 1:20)

Stop & Think: October 2, 2021

Rest

As we incorporate leisure into the mainstream of our world, we lift ourselves above the grit and grind of mere existence. (Charles Swindoll, author)

Swindoll further suggested that when God created humans, his intention was that they enhance and reproduce the rest of creation. What is sometimes forgotten is his instruction to take time off, to observe a Sabbath—one day a week off from work. Workaholics are discovering the wisdom of such instruction. We must plan for rest and recreation as much as we plan our work.

You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest. (Exodus 31:15)

 

Stop & Think: October 1, 2021

Life

Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin. (Grace Hansen, author)

It’s clear that physical life will inevitably come to an end for every human being. So, Hansen is obviously speaking of living a meaningful life, a life of significance and benefit. For many, there is often a sense of uselessness; life just doesn’t seem to have any meaning for them. Life can take on new meaning when we stop thinking about ourselves and begin reaching out to serve others.

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others. (Philippians 2:4)

Stop & Think: September 30, 2021

Change

Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene. (Arthur Christopher Benson, 19th-20th century British essayist)

Change is often difficult. There are times when we recognize the need for some kind of improvement in our situation. We often look at our environment, our associations, and our companions to consider where to make changes and who should do them. Benson’s counsel is the best place to start. Ask yourself: “How can I contribute to the needed change, beginning with me?

Therefore, change your hearts and stop being stubborn. (Deuteronomy 10:16)

Stop & Think: September 29, 2021

Choices

When you come to the fork in the road, take it! (Yogi Berra, late pro athlete)

Another of Berra’s infamous malapropisms. It’s obvious you can’t go in both directions at the same time, so it forces the traveler to make a decision. In The Road Not Taken, poet Robert Frost suggests that when coming to a fork in the road take the less traveled road. Only time will tell whether it’s the right choice. We do have to make choices, so do it wisely. 

But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. (Joshua 24:15)

Stop & Think: September 28, 2021

Who Do You Know?

Great things come to us through people, if you want great things connect with the right people. (Source unknown)

“It isn’t what you know but who you know,” they say. We succeed best in life when we realize that we live in community. No one can know everything about any subject he may want to pursue. Before starting on a project, it would be best, not only to Google for information and helps, but also to find knowledgeable, experienced people who can come alongside to help.

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

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. (1 Corinthians 12:70)