GOD OF HOPE

Daily Stop & Thinks

Stop & Think: September 3, 2021

The Future

Go for it now. The future is promised to no one. (Wayne Dyer, self-help, best-selling author)

Some people rush from one thing to the next, while others seem reluctant to get started. They’re waiting for just the right moment, or they’re letting circumstances keep them from moving on. After the loss of her husband, a friend said that, though he was very ill, they kept doing things together. She said,” I didn’t want him to die without living.” What a positive way to face life’s difficulties

No one really knows what is going to happen; no one can predict the future (Ecclesiastes 10:14).

To God: My future is in your hands (Psalm 31:15).

Stop & Think: September 2, 2021

Truth

There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there’s never more than one.” (C. S. Lewis, late British apologist)

That was Lewis’ response to this statement, “I suppose there are two views about everything. Eh? Two views?” Lewis said. We are certainly finding this to be true today, even in terms of theology and Christian experience. And his conclusion emphasizes the importance of finding the right answer. And where we look for truth is critical

Jesus: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” “I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” (John 14:6; 18:37)

Stop & Think: September 1, 2021

Helping

Heaven helps those who help themselves. (Aesop’s Fables)

That seems like a worthy observation, doesn’t it? We would really prefer to work with someone who needs help and is willing to work hard with us. But sincere charity may move more toward those who cannot help themselves, even they might want to. That’s where “heaven” comes in. God is intent on helping the helpless, and he encourages his followers to do the same.

If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord (Proverbs 19:17).

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27). 

Stop & Think – August 31, 2021

A Better Person

They say if you become a better person, you’ll have a better life. (Charlie Brown in the Peanuts cartoons)

Do we need a cartoon character to teach us something this important that we should already know? What does it take to be a better person? Greater talent, intellect, or wealth? We don’t all have great talent, intellect, or wealth, so what are we to do? We all have opportunities to show our better selves when we love our neighbors and reach out to help those in need, great or small.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24)

Stop & Think – August 30, 2021

Work Hard 

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. (Thomas Paine, 18th-19th century American revolutionary)

Some of us are looking for a life of ease—perhaps retirement—when we won’t have to work hard or face much conflict. During the American Revolution, Paine emphasized a different view of conflict—not a desire to avoid work but to recognize the value of working hard to overcome the conflict. Whatever the endeavor, the harder we work at it the greater the sense of reward.

Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Stop & Think – August 29, 2021

Hang in There!

Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit. (Napoleon Hill, motivational author)

At the end of a hard day’s work, it might feel as if there has been little progress. When the project is still not completed after weeks or months of such toil you might feel that your effort was pretty much wasted. Most people easily grow tired of working hard and seeing no tangible result. But we should heed Hill’s encouragement to hang on, work hard, and don’t quit.

Hard work brings rewards. (Proverbs 12:14)

I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. (Ecclesiastes 2:10)

Stop & Think – August 28, 2021

Friendship

The wide world is all before us—but a world without a friend. (Robert Burns, 18th century Scottish poet) 

 An anonymous writer put it this way, “A world without a friend . . . would be like a world without water, something you need . . . Keep your friends, as you would keep your water.” In some arid parts of our world, water is carefully guarded. In other places, great care is given to maintain its potability and purity. Be a good friend to someone and guard it carefully.

The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends. (Proverbs 11:30)

Stop & Think – August 27, 2021

Life

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

There are probably not a lot of people who are fearful that they are facing an early death. But for those who do, perhaps, as Hansen suggests, they could be helped if they were made to think positively about what life can be like. They need to begin to think positively about life’s possibilities rather than be obsessed with the fear of premature death.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)

Stop & Think – August 26, 2021

Acceptance

Acceptance is building a bridge not making a point, winning a heart not winning an argument, and accepting not convincing. (Mike Lee, pastor)

Do we sometimes reject other people because they have different opinions? Can’t we be friends with someone of a different political ideology or the fan of a different sports team? We would do well to make note of Lee’s comments. In our attempts to win an argument, make our point, or convince others that we are right, we may find that we have sacrificed friends and influence.

Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. (Romans 14:1)

Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. (Proverbs 18:19).

Stop & Think – August 25, 2021

Leading

A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd. (Max Lucado, author)

This expression may seem a little trite, but it’s intended to make an important point. As writer Cody Diza puts it, “[The point] is that a good leader doesn’t do his job for praise or recognition. The best leaders,” he said, “are the ones who do their job silently and enable their employees” (read orchestra musicians). Forget the crowd and work hard to lead your followers well.

You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. (Psalm 73:24)

Stop & Think – August 24, 2021

Questions and Answers

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. (Albert Einstein, renowned scientist)

Parents, do you remember what it was like when your children seemed to ask unending “Whys”?  We may have grown tired of the repeated queries, but we understood that asking questions is the best way to learn. That’s still true—whatever our age. As they say, “Inquiring minds want to know.” Ask the right questions and be sure to go to the right sources for answers.

Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. (1 Corinthians 8:2)

We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. (Proverbs 16:1)

Stop & Think – August 23, 2021

Rest

It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late and work your worried fingers to the bone. (The Bible)

Do you know any “workaholics”? They may accomplish a lot on their jobs, but at what price? Some of us have had to learn the hard way that we need to take time off—a day a week, maybe. Or at least a few planned days away from the office or factory. The Bible writer continued, “Don’t you know [God) enjoys giving sleep to those he loves.” How healthful it is to follow reasonable working hours, get sufficient rest, and take extended time off for some “R & R.”

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)