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Thursday

22

June 2017

Gardening | Peonies

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Gardening | Beautiful peonies | Best perennials | Hope Reflected

Our peonies have officially been in bloom for one week! This year, Wes and I really wanted to document the full process of the various plants in our garden and keep a photo journal so we can look back year after year and enjoy our progress.

We’ve got three peony plants in our front yard, and throughout the fleeting weeks of June, we love watching our peony plants grow and blossom.

Gardening | Beautiful peonies | Best perennials | Hope Reflected

For the first time, we opted to use tomato cages around our peony plants to ensure that once at their full maturity for the season, the heavy balls of fluff didn’t just flop over due to their weight. The cages have been relatively successful, however we know for next year that the light pink peonies require the cage to come up just a bit higher (as you can see from these photos).

Gardening | Beautiful peonies | Best perennials | Hope Reflected

Do you have peonies planted in your garden? If so, what are your tips for best practices for the colourful perennials?

Some of our tips for keeping peonies:

  • Early on in the season, use tomato cages to provide support around your peony plants. This will encourage the plants long, thin stems to grow straight, and also provide support for when the peony petals bloom (they’re a top-heavy plant).
  • Let the peony seeds drop if you want a fuller plant year after year. Many people opt to collect their peony seeds before they drop, however if you want your plant to continue to thicken, let the seeds fall naturally.
  • Plant any seeds you do collect in the fall. If you plant peony seeds in the spring, chances are your peonies will not grow and bloom until the following spring. Like garlic, peonies do best if they’re planted in the fall.
  • Don’t forget to enjoy your blooms! The season for peonies is a short one, so don’t forget to cut some of your peony blooms and enjoy them; they work wonders in brightening up a table setting — or someone’s day!

Gardening | Beautiful peonies | Best perennials | Hope Reflected

If you’d like to see pictures of our peonies from last year, check out this post about why I think peonies are some of the best perennials for your garden.

Gardening | Beautiful peonies | Best perennials | Hope Reflected

Gardening | Beautiful peonies | Best perennials | Hope Reflected

 

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Wednesday

21

June 2017

Hope Reflected | What’s your focus?

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"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee." Isaiah 26:3 Hope Reflected | Focus on God

What’s your focus?

At some point in each of our lives, we will visit a buffet-style restaurant. A test of will power and self-control, you may have experienced the sensation of having eyes bigger than your stomach, and over-filling your plate. You think you’re going to eat all this food in front of you, and then you hit a wall. Or, as it often happens when you eat too much, you actually start to not feel so great because you’ve over-indulged. You focus so much on the food in front of you that you forget to listen to your stomach.

Isn’t that so much like life? We think that after pursuing all of our dreams and wants we’ll be so much happier, so much more satisfied. “When I buy my dream car,” “When I complete my degree,” “When I get that promotion,” “When we buy that house,” “When we get married,” and the list goes on. The truth is, if you’re living in the mindset that achieving dreams and goals will make you a happier person, you’re setting yourself up for severe disappointment.

Please don’t misunderstand; having dreams and pursuing goals are both good and honourable – they’re part of a healthy mentality – however when you start thinking that you’ll be happier once you achieve your dreams and conquer your goals, that’s when you set yourself up for disappointment.

True contentment can only be found when you put your focus on God. Some people learn this early; some people learn it later; some people never learn. It is true however, what is written in Proverbs 15:16-17 “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.” You can be content with very little when you turn away from distractions and learn to focus on God.

When your focus is on God, He will bring you true joy and contentment. Not just for the good times, but for every season. Lest you think the temporary high of achieving earthly goals will sustain you, there are countless blessings when you choose to put your focus on the Lord. Focusing on the Lord will:

  • Provide peace. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3) “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
  • Relieve worry. “He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” (Psalm 112:7) We all worry. But has worrying ever done you any good? Only God can provide the reassurance each of us longs for. As Max Lucado says, “The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.” God will help you break free of your worries. He even calls us to lay it all on Him! “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
  • Breed contentment. “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8) We’ve all heard the saying, “Once you need less, you will have more.” God doesn’t call us to compare ourselves to others, to accumulate more material possessions, or to build our financial portfolios. He calls us to be responsible, He calls us to follow Him, and it’s only when we put our focus on Him that we shift our gaze from temporary earthly successes to what will truly count for eternity.
  • Inspire compassion. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) The Golden Rule is do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When we put our focus on the Lord, we learn to look at the well-being of others rather than just ourselves. Compassion begins within, and it has a ripple effect.
  • Mold character. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) There are many notes on the developing of a man’s character. What’s undisputed is that character certainly starts within. When your focus is on the Lord, your character will show it. As John Wooden once said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what other think you are.”
  • Change your heart. “Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole hearts.” (Jeremiah 24:7) One of my favourite Bible verses is Proverbs 21:1, which says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” When your focus is heavenward, your life will show it. Luke 6:45 tells us that “from the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.” Only the Lord can change a heart, and when your focus is on Him, He will steer you in the right direction.

Originally published as “What’s your focus?” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. June 1, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Monday

19

June 2017

Hope Reflected | What is the blessing in adversity?

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what is the blessing in adversity

What is the blessing in adversity?

As we’ve all learned the past several weeks, nothing grows without rain. Sometimes, the same can be said of our own personal growth. Without adversity and challenges in life, we would not be who we are.

Last year, I wrote about what to do in the face of adversity, and lately Wes and I have been discussing the blessing in adversity. It’s human nature when we go through hard times or have to face challenges, to get discouraged and to get down. The hard truth to swallow is that in those times of adversity, we should learn and train ourselves to embrace adversity, to see the blessing in adversity.

What is the blessing in adversity? Adversity is an opportunity.

  1. Adversity is an opportunity to reflect. “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart.” (Psalm 26:2) Adversity offers an opportunity to reflect. It is thought that David wrote Psalm 26 during a very testing time – when he was fleeing King Saul and hiding out in the wilderness (for ten years, no less). Even at a time when he was fleeing for his life, David asked the Lord to examine him, and to try his mind and heart. Adversity offers an opportunity to reflect and question our own actions and motivations. What is God trying to teach us or to tell us? What can we learn from our current circumstances? Sometimes our own spiritual reflection is a way for God to reveal a misbehavior or bad attitude.
  2. Adversity is an opportunity to get better and strengthen your faith. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4) Adversity is an opportunity to strengthen your faith – look at the Biblical examples of men and women who moved forward with faith, even when the odds were against them: Joseph, Joshua, and Ruth, just to name a few. “Those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
  3. Adversity is an opportunity to grow closer to God. “Call upon Me [God] in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15) David is perhaps one of the greatest examples of a man who would continuously seek after God, even in the most dire and desperate of circumstances. Over and over again in the Psalms, we read his testimony of God’s faithfulness. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) If you’re struggling in stormy seas, take your focus off the unsettled wind, sea, and rains, and put your faith in the One Who controls all the weather. You might be going through a season of adversity, and that’s no surprise to God. Look to Him.
  4. Adversity is an opportunity to encourage others. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17) Have you ever had a friend who, no matter what, has been there for you; a friend who’s seen you at your worst, and still loves and encourages you? Going through adversity provides a great opportunity to encourage another soul who may also be going through a challenging time. In Galatians 6:2, we’re told to “bear one another’s burdens,” and adversity is an opportunity to do just that.

If you’re facing adversity, don’t be afraid. Remember, there is blessing in adversity. Dr. Charles Stanley puts it like this: “Adversity is not simply a tool. It is God’s most effective tool for the advancement of our spiritual lives. The circumstances and events that we see as setbacks are oftentimes the very things that launch us into periods of intense spiritual growth.” Adversity is an opportunity. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:8-11)

Originally published as “What is the blessing in adversity” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. May 18, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Friday

16

June 2017

Hope Reflected | The Remnants

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Biblical remnants

The Remnants

Wes and I appreciate the fellowship of our Christian friends, and one of our friends who has been of particular encouragement recently is our friend, Muriel. Muriel is always ready with an uplifting word and a cheerful spirit. Serving in a capacity that often goes unnoticed, Muriel works tirelessly in the background, creating clothing and preparing practical items to send to the less fortunate overseas. She ministers joyfully, using the remnants of fabric that people give to her to share God’s love and to provide for people who have nothing.

When we were talking to Muriel recently about remnants, she described how incredible it is that God often (and more frequently than we realize) uses the remnants of a situation for His glory. How true that is!

Consider perennial plants, such as the peony, for example. At the end of the summer season, after we’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the bright beauty of their elegant blooms, peony plants drop their seeds, and the following summer their blooms multiply into a whole new array.

In the Bible, there are many examples of how God uses remnants. There are pages upon pages of examples in both the Old and New Testaments of how God uses remnants for His glory and to show us living examples of His amazing attributes.

  1. God’s faithfulness and righteousness | Noah. “So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.’” (Genesis 9:1) In the book of Genesis (specifically chapters 5-10) we read how God used Noah and his family and promised a blessing to them. After the flood, Noah and his family were the only humans left on the earth. God chose them, and He blessed them. They were the remnants of a wicked and depraved people, and God used a seemingly catastrophic situation – literally, the earth was destroyed by a flood – for His glory. The account of Noah and his family is a great testimony to God’s faithfulness and righteousness.
  2. God’s grace and mercy | Mephibosheth. “So David said to him, ‘Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.” (2 Samuel 9: 7) Mephibosheth was the only remaining member from Saul and Jonathan’s family, and David took him in and treated him as his own. A little background: David and Jonathan (Mephibosheth’s Dad) were best friends. David and Saul (Mephibosheth’s Grandfather) were mortal enemies (Saul persecuted David and is the reason that David spent more than 10 years fleeing and living in the wilderness). For David to take in Mephibosheth, Saul’s only remaining heir, to live in his house and to eat at his table, is a demonstration of God’s grace and mercy.
  3. God’s loyalty and provision | Naomi and Ruth. “Ruth said, ‘Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.’” (Ruth 1:16) After Naomi lost both her husband and her sons, Ruth committed to staying with her mother-in-law, even if that meant she’d be single for life and never marry again. As a result of her faith, Ruth ended up meeting marrying Boaz when she returned to the land of Canaan with Naomi. The account of Naomi and Ruth is an amazing example of God’s loyalty and provision in our lives, often “exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Maybe you think you’ve been through the storm and think God could never use you because of your past. Perhaps you think that you’ve wasted the best years of your life because of the decisions that you’ve made. Or maybe you feel cheapened or devalued by the treatment of others. No matter where life finds you, God uses the remnants. He is able to take the most devastating situation and use it for His glory. All you need to do is look to Him and put your trust in Him. As C.S. Lewis said, “Look for yourself and you will find loneliness and despair. But look for Christ and you will find Him and everything else.” He will be your Saviour and Redeemer, and He will make Himself real to you. You just have to let Him. All you need is faith – only God can restore what is broken and make it into something brand new.

Originally published as “The Remnants.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. May 25, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Thursday

15

June 2017

Roses: Rosa Hybrid Pink Promise Tea Rose

Written by , Posted in Gardening

Last year, Wes and I planted our first four rose bushes. While roses are delicate and relatively high-maintenance, we enjoyed our experience with the beautiful blooms so much last year that we planted a fifth rose bush (rosa hybrid pink promise rose) early on this season (beginning of May).

pink promise roses

Planted in a different location of our garden than the other bushes, we were impressed with the rich green foliage of the Pink Promise hybrid tea rose from the very beginning. The pink promise rose bush was already about two feet tall when we purchased it, and with the addition of blooms, it continues to grow (this hybrid tea rose bush grows to be about 4 feet tall at it’s maximum).

 

While initially I was so excited that the latest addition to our rose garden seemed healthy, it wasn’t long before we noticed some clusters on the bush. After some research and polling my #gardenchat friends on Twitter, we realized we were dealing with aphids. You may know aphids as “plant lice”, and whatever you call them, they’re a total pest and they feed on new plant growth.

 

The good news is that a swift blast of water on the leaves and bloom of our pink promise rose bush seemed to get rid of the aphids. The problem is that they tend to come back. We’ve been keeping an eye on the pest situation, and we think we may be dealing with more than just aphids, as now we’ve got almost transparent spots on the leaves of our pink promise rose bush. From the experience with our other four hybrid rose bushes last year, I’m fairly sure we are dealing with sawfly larvae again.

pink promise roses

Besides the potential for pests, hybrid rose bushes are some of the most beautiful and rewarding plants to enjoy in your garden. There is something so satisfying about watching the development of new blooms on a rose bush that is both beautiful and inspiring.

Our pink promise hybrid rose bush has just produced its first bloom, and we are looking forward to many more throughout the summer.

The pink promise hybrid tea rose requires 6+ hours of daily sunlight, which makes it a perfect fit for our front garden. The elegant pink flowers have a creamy white centre, and are a classic choice for cut roses (they work well in a floral arrangement or as a standalone bloom).

While we were promised that the pink promise rose is incredibly disease and pest-resistant, I’ve got to say between the aphids and the sawfly larvae that we put them in the same category as our other rose bushes: Delicate and high-maintenance.

For more on our experience with roses, check out these posts on the other rose bushes in our garden: Our bolero floribunda roses, singin’ in the rain roses, ten-ten hybrid tea roses, and our beloved Oscar Peterson roses.

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Monday

12

June 2017

Hope Reflected | Three Facts to Remember About Hope

Written by , Posted in Hope Reflected, Published Work

facts about hope

Three Facts to Remember About Hope

 

Emily Dickinson once wrote:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all

Hope is a funny thing. Growing up, there were times when I found it difficult to have a name that rhymed so easily with other words. More recently, in my adult years, I’ve found it a challenge to bear this name, as there have been times where I’ve felt anything but hopeful.

Everyone, at some point in his or her life, feels discouraged. The key is to never give up hope. Even when all the cards are down and you feel like everyone’s against you, there is always hope. As long as you’ve got your Faith, you’ve got a solid foundation, and you’ve got hope.

If you’re feeling down or discouraged today, take heart. Remember these three facts about hope:

  1. Hope is a reality and not a feeling. (And I’m not talking about myself here!) Biblical hope means that I’ve got a solid foundation for LIFE, and can rest on the promises of the One who loves me and cares for me more than anyone on this earth. Hope is a promise, and God always keeps His promises. “…Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23, NKJV)
  2. Hope endures. Sure it may seem like the rain will never stop or your heart will never be whole again, but take heart – it will! Hope claims the promises of God and gives us confidence to weather the storm. He may not take away the challenge or stop the season, but He always gives strength to endure. Believe it, and cling to it. “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” (Psalm 31:24, NKJV)
  3. Hope believes. And when you believe, you can achieve. God’s got a plan, and we just need to learn to rest in this reality and trust Him. It can be hard, but it’s like the book of Isaiah says: “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ saith the Lord.” Quite often our plans look very different from God’s plans, and quite often He has a way of bringing things to pass that we could never even dream. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” {Jeremiah 29:11NIV)

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope.” (Psalm 16:9 NKJV) Hope: A small word with endless promise. Even without all the words, keep singing!

Originally published as “Three facts to remember about hope.” Minto Express. June 10, 2015: 5. Print.

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Friday

2

June 2017

Hope Reflected | What to do in the face of fear

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what to do in the face of fear isaiah 41:10

What to do in the face of fear

In Psalm 56:3, David says “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Note that he doesn’t say “If I’m afraid,” he says, “Whenever I am afraid.” Fear is a natural part of life. It would be completely fake for someone to say that they’ve never been afraid and that they don’t fear anything. Fear is normal. How we react to fear is what is truly important.

Three things to do in the face of fear:

  1. Face your fears. “Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.” Psalm 27:3 Eleanor Roosevelt once said to “Do one thing every day that scares you.” That quote has always resonated with me, because I’m a big believer that we gain confidence when we choose to face our fears and step outside of our comfort zone. Inaction breeds fear; action breeds confidence. In the face of fear, we should be confident. That’s easy to say when the skies are sunny and the going’s good. However, even when the rain is pouring and the road gets rocky, we can be confident because we trust the Lord. We have an anchor that will hold in the stormiest of seas. “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear!” Behold, your God will come… He will come and save you.”” (Isaiah 35:4)
  2. Focus on the Lord, not on your fears. “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4) In this verse, David references trusting the Lord not once, but twice. He also references praising God’s Word. It’s important when we’re afraid to put our focus on the Lord, not on our fears. Claim a verse, or two, or three (Psalm 56:3 is a good one!) that you can recite in times when you’re afraid. Instead of putting energy into your fear, in those times turn it around and praise the Lord, tell Him of all the things and people for which you’re thankful.
  3. Feed your faith and move forward. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) The words “Fear not” appear 365 times throughout the Bible. Isn’t that incredible? That’s encouragement for every day of the year! We are told in God’s Word to “Fear not” and the only way we can do this is to trust God and rely on His strength (when we do, He promises to help us!). One of my favourite psalms is Psalm 18, where in the first two verses, David claims the Lord as his strength, not just once, but twice. In the face of fear, feed your faith by claiming God’s promises and calling upon His awesome characteristics. Only God can help you move forward and advance in the face of fear.

Wherever you’re at, remember that God is with you! All we have to do is call upon Him and He will hear us. God is omniscient (He knows everything), God is omnipresent (everywhere at the same time), and God is omnipotent (God is the Ultimate Power and can do ANYTHING). Don’t be afraid of tomorrow; God is already there!

Originally published as “What to do in the face of fear.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. May 11, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Thursday

1

June 2017

For the home | 5 inspiring back yard patio spaces

Written by , Posted in Interior Design

If you follow me on Pinterest, you know I love a good outdoor living space. If you’re looking for some ideas for your back yard patio outdoor living area, check out these five incredibly different and totally inspiring layouts.

1. Everything at your fingertips. Covered porch, dining area, comfortable lounge chairs, and a great big fire pit? Yes, please! This back yard patio space has everything you need to complete your outdoor living experience.

outdoor living backyard patios

Img src Homechanneltv.blogspot.com

 

2. All the lights. I’m a huge fan of stringed lights, and seeing how lovely the layout of this back yard patio area looks in the light, I can only imagine how cozy it would look at night! If your outdoor living space lacks overhead cover, stringed lights are an ideal option.

outdoor living back yard patio

Img src Domino Magazine

 

3. Best use of small space. If your back yard patio living area lacks square footage, don’t worry! Take note of how this small space makes the most of every inch. From lounge chairs and a mini hot tub to low maintenance plants and an outdoor dining area, this is an attractive space.

outdoor living back yard patios

Img src Trendlr

 

4. Best use of colour. Love that outdoor tile! Reminiscent of the French countryside, this back yard patio makes great use of colour by matching the tile colour with the patio door and window surrounds. Add to that some greenery and feminine flowers, and this is a lovely space for entertaining.

outdoor living back yard patios

Img src House Beautiful

 

5. Stone surround. Who says your back yard patio has to actually be on your patio? The patio picture here transitions easily into an outdoor living space with a stacked stone surround. Add some boxwoods (or greenery of your choice), and this is a nice space for early morning coffee and conversation.

outdoor living back yard patios

Img src Better Homes & Gardens

Whatever your personal preference, creating a back yard patio space that you love doesn’t have to be difficult or overly expensive. Work with what you have, and play up the features of your home. Check out my Outdoor Living board on Pinterest for more patio inspiration!

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Tuesday

30

May 2017

Hope Reflected | Sounds Good

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sounds good what does the Bible say about standing up for what is right

Sounds Good

Sometimes, the very topics we’re fearful to bring up in conversation or talk about because we don’t want to offend another are the very things that others are thinking about. By now, we’ve all heard of the “silent majority”, and the silent majority goes well beyond the lines of politics.

If we don’t step up and stand out, we’re never to going to make an impact. Too often, fear – of speaking up because we’re afraid of offending someone, or of speaking our mind because we don’t want others to take what we say the wrong way – causes us to remain silent, and silence is what got the world to the state it’s at today.

Since when do we have to be silent because we’re afraid of offending someone? Since when did we get the right to not be offended? And who thinks realistically that we can go through our entire lives and never be offended by what someone else says? Unless each of us lived our lives in a bubble, there’s always going to be someone who disagrees and has a different opinion. We can’t live in fear of offending others just because we may have differing viewpoints.

Here’s what the Bible says about standing up for what is right.

Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” If you ignore something or don’t say anything, you condone it. See also the old saying, “He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” There is a danger in not standing up for what is right.

Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Remember what we’re told in Micah 6:8 – “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Standing up for what is right doesn’t necessarily mean you’re leading a protest or standing on a stage with a microphone; no, standing up for what is right is as simple as truly living what you believe and aligning your walk with your talk.

Galatians 6:7-10 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” It’s easy to get caught up in all the woes of the world, however it’s important that we don’t lose sight of eternity. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t continue standing up for what’s right; it means that ultimately, God is in control, and when we feel discouraged or disheartened, we need to remember that He’s got this in the palm of His hand.

James 4:17 “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Recently, I read a short piece by Franklin Graham, where he spoke about personal feelings and how ultimately, regardless of our own feelings or inclinations, God is the authority. This poignant piece about Biblical correctness really resonated with me, because it can be easy to get caught up in our own definition of what’s “good” or “right”, but it only matters if that aligns with what God says in His Word.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”

Originally published as “Sounds Good.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. May 4, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Friday

26

May 2017

Hope Reflected | Timeliness

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timeliness God's timing

Timeliness

If you garden, you know that during the early days of Spring, it can prove a challenge to know the right timing for tasks that need to be completed. This year, I questioned the right time to trim back the rose bushes. Wes wondered about the ideal time to re-seed the lawn. Together, we’re still debating where several annuals should be planted throughout the garden. Timing is everything.

The timing you’re struggling with may not be related to gardening; maybe you’re waiting to hear back about that job application, or perhaps you’re waiting and wondering why you’re single when it seems as though all your friends are getting married and starting a family, or maybe you’re questioning the inconvenience of a recent health challenge.

Timing is everything.

  1. There is a time for everything. “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Chances are that even if you haven’t read the book of Ecclesiastes, you’ve likely heard the famous song by The Byrds called, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” where we hear that, “To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn),” and it’s true. There is a season and a time for everything. Happiness. Sadness. Love. Heartache. Health. Sickness. Life. Death. The important thing to remember is that God is in control, and it’s God Who has a perfect timing for everything.
  2. Sometimes (OK most of the time), our timing is not the best. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) Have you ever been held up in a traffic jam, feeling frustrated that you’re going to be late? Or have you ever hesitated to make a decision, only to make your choice and find out that the house is off the market/tickets are sold out/position has been filled? We think we’ve got it all together, and we’ve got everything planned out perfectly (according to us) in our minds, however the reality often is that God’s timing is not our timing (and written from experience, God’s timing is ALWAYS the best).
  3. Ultimately, our timing is in God’s hands. “My times are in your hand.” (Psalm 31:15a) Whether or not you’re a Christian, God is in control. God is omniscient (read: He knows everything), and He makes no mistakes. That can be a hard truth to accept, especially when things aren’t going the way I want them to. Frequently, I have to catch myself when things aren’t going my way, and remind myself that God’s timing is greater than anything I could ever imagine. Jesus Himself said in John 13:7, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”
  4. We can trust in God’s timing. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Trust can be difficult, especially if you’ve been hurt before, however when you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, He will never let you down. “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:25-26)

God’s timing is perfect. You may think you know the right time for everything, but remember what Elisabeth Elliot said: “God never denies us our heart’s desire except to give us something better.” If you’re questioning the timing of something in your life, keep in mind that God frequently answers our prayers in one of three ways: With a “yes”, with a “not yet”, or with “I have something better in mind.”

 

Originally published as “Timeliness.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. April 27, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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