Posted tagged ‘truth’

My Source of Hope

July 30, 2015

By Dr. Steven J. Callis

In our challenging English language, some people confuse hope with wishful thinking. For example, “I hope the Braves win a spot in the playoffs.” Because hope is a genuine trust or expectation, the use of the term in that example only expresses a wish.

True hope means that we trust our life, present and future, to an object or person. I like sports, and I root for the Braves, but my life and future do not depend on their making the playoffs. I “hope” they do; I “wish” they would, but I have not staked my life on their success.

Among the list of those who have spoken or written on the significance of hope, Thomas Pettepiece wrote, “When there is no hope, there is no life. Without hope we give up – – we lose our will to fight, to trust, to live.” So, it is appropriate that each of us evaluate the source of our hope today.

The trend of our nation these days is to demand personal rights regardless of how it affects others, and to make such demands on the premise of political correctness. These challenges, some recent and others longstanding, may cause us to wonder if there are any existing values that are off limits to special-interest groups and political agendas. Some citizens would claim that even the Constitution itself is being ignored for the sake of personal and political interests.

Are there no traditions valuable enough to save? Are there no absolutes on which we can depend anymore? Can we survive on the philosophy that something is right or correct only when approved by my own selfish, personal standards?

Pettepiece proposed that we cannot hope in ourselves, our technology, our government, our laws, our tenacity, our courage, or our will, though these things are all necessary to conquer today’s woes and provide justice. Our only hope, he declares, is in God alone.

For those of us who agree with him, our hope has come under serious attack over recent months, even years. As the challenges become more frequent and broader in scope, it could be that we lose sight of the Source of our hope, and then hope wanes, as does our will to fight and trust.

Edward Albert Day once wrote of God, “There is nothing that at any time diminishes His perfections, dilutes His redemptive powers…God is always God.”

Who or what is the source of your hope today? What drives you to awaken each morning and face your day with confidence and purpose? The Psalmist proclaimed, “I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.” God is always God, and you can trust in Him.

Removing the Mask

November 1, 2013

Removing the Mask

By Steven J. Callis

              

               However one might explain it, they all just showed up.  A Power Ranger, a princess, a lion, a couple of bumble bees, a baby pumpkin, a football player, a gypsy, a politician, Batman, a cheerleader, Little Red Riding Hood – – there were so many, I could not possibly recall all of them.

               One thing they all had in common is that they had their hands out, expecting something from me.  Now, looking at that list, we might readily expect that attitude from some of those characters, but some of them looked too sweet and too cute to be so demanding.  Actually, those are the ones who did not need to ask.  They were so adorable, how could anyone not put a treat in their bags?

               It is fun to dress up, to be someone other than who we really are.  It can be refreshing to step out of character for a couple of hours and be someone else.  After all, how boring would this special treat night be if everyone dressed in their normal daily attire?

               Then, there is the morning after.  We are greeted with a double whammy: enduring our candy hangover, and then assuming again our true identities.  Well, that is what most people expect of us, anyway.  The mask comes off, the costume is hung in the closet, and it is back to the daily routine.

               There is a word that does not necessarily apply to our annual trick or treat event, but it does have to do with wearing a mask.  Our English word, “hypocrite,” is derived from the Greek word meaning “to act on stage; to play a part, or to pretend.” History tells us that actors would wear a mask on stage, and often the mouth of the mask would include a kind of megaphone shape to assist the player in projecting the voice throughout the auditorium.

               Today hypocrisy has to do with actions that do not support a personal belief system.  Whether it is a matter of insecurity, the desire for acceptance, or a number of other reasons, the result most likely includes the inability to experience genuine, interpersonal relationships with other persons; a sad and lonely way to live.  The logical progression will develop a mutual lack of trust between the mask-wearer and his/her counterparts.

               If you are one who may struggle to any degree with the feeling of low self-worth, or in thinking that no one else could possibly believe in you and accept you for who you really are, I encourage you give others the benefit of doubt.  Most people are not nearly as demanding as we believe them to be.  Knowing that you can be trusted, that your motives are pure, and that you are true to yourself goes a long way in developing friendships.

               And because I believe the Bible to be the Word of God, I take comfort and encouragement from Psalm 139, as the Psalmist perceives humanity from the perspective of the Creator.  I must wonder if these words of David are what inspired the familiar adage, “I know I’m somebody, ‘cause God don’t make no junk!” 

Are You a Great Thinker?

October 25, 2012

Are You a Great Thinker?

By Steven J. Callis

Simply titled, “The Thinker,” this bronze statue was created by Auguste Rodin in 1902 as one of several characters in a gateway project at the door of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, a museum in Paris, France.  It has become an internationally recognized symbol of meditation.

There have been great thinkers across the centuries, many of whom are studied in the textbooks of our high schools and colleges.  Were they really “great thinkers,” or did they rise to fame because of their thoughtful conclusions about a particular area of interest?  What is it that makes one a great thinker?

The ability to think is not based on intellect or levels of education.  Every person is a thinker, and there are many “great” thinkers whose conclusions never become famous.  Great thinkers do not always agree with one another on a particular topic, but the quality of their thoughts are not based on being right or wrong, rather on their convictions of truth.

Great thinkers are not swayed by popular opinion.  Believing they have discovered a truth, they choose to stand by that truth at any cost.  Great thinkers are not swayed by emotion.  Their desires and ambitions are held at bay by the truth they have discovered. Great thinkers invest time and energy to study, research, and experiment in their journey to a conclusion.  They consider the thoughts and studies of others rather than relying solely on their own instinct or intellect.

More succinctly, great thinkers are truth seekers and truth tellers.  Discovering and transmitting the truth is more important to them than fame, fortune, pride, and personal preference.  We all have been blessed with the powerful instrument of thought, and the freedom to express – and influence others – by those thoughts.

“The Thinker” reminds us that this freedom is not something to be taken lightly.  Every person has the capacity to be a great thinker.  Nevertheless, some persons are prone to make decisions, even major life-changing decisions, based on opinion or emotion or assumptions without working to personally discover the truth, or the best alternative in a choice.

Whether it involves a job promotion, making a major purchase, developing personal relationships, electing political officers, following a philosophy or religion – we have no excuse for ignoring the responsibility of thinking for ourselves in the quest for truth.  Let each of us assume personal responsibility for how we use this marvelous gift of thought.