Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Search Results for: bold

Tuesday

18

January 2022

0

COMMENTS

Bold as a lion

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"The Bible not only describes the devil as a lion; this mighty animal is used to illustrate Christians as well. "...the righteous are bold as a lion." (Proverbs 28:1) Read more on hopereflected.com

A roaring lion

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8). Anyone who’s watched a documentary about lions understands the picture being described here. A roaring lion is both fierce and hungry, with a powerful roar that can be heard up to 8km away. Lions have a distinctive prowess; they act gracefully and swiftly to take over their prey – even when their prey is running in the opposite direction.

Peter warned believers that the devil is “seeking whom he may devour,” walking and watching for the best opportunity to destroy Christians. If he fails at one attempt, most assuredly he will continue trying until he succeeds.

Lions are not afraid to face each other head on

Fortunately, this is not a one-sided battle. The Bible not only describes the devil as a lion; this mighty animal is used to illustrate Christians as well. “The wicked flee when no man pursueth:” Proverbs 28:1 opens, “but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Bold as a lion not only in the sense of our ability to pursue, but also bold as a lion that is not afraid to face another lion head on. Observation of nature has shown us that lions will fight one another in situations when they are threatened, when their cubs are in danger, and when another lion assaults their territory.

Biblical examples of courageous Christians

Fellow Christians, we are not to turn away in times of adversity, we are not to shrink back and sulk away silently when our beliefs are openly contradicted and wrongfully made out to be backwards; these are the very times that we are trained for. The confrontations that we face courageously every day prepare us for even greater adversaries.

Consider David, who before defeating Goliath bravely killed a lion that threatened his sheep (1 Samuel 17:35). Look at Samson, who before destroying the temple and defeating the Philistines, killed a lion that attacked him (Judges 14:5-6). Famously, Daniel was cast into a den of ravenous lions and demonstrated courageous bravery the whole night through, and then his accusers were cast in and destroyed by the same lions before they reached the bottom of the den (Daniel 6:20-24).

Be prepared to give an answer

Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians that Christians become more confident when they see other Christians boldly “speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:14). What do our brothers and sisters in Christ see when they look at us? We are exhorted in 2 Timothy 2:15 to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Are we working for God, are we prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in us when someone questions us or contradicts what’s right?

“speak the word without fear.”

Philippians 1:14

We should not be ashamed! Unfortunately, we often avoid giving hard answers because we want to be liked and we want to be comfortable. In doing so, we become cowards, and we teach our children the same. Matthew Henry wrote that, “Sin makes men cowards. Whatever difficulties the righteous meet in the way of duty, they are not daunted.” Christian lions need to stop basking and start being bold.

Originally published as “Bold as a lion.” Independent Plus. September 2, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Read more about being bold here.

Monday

22

July 2019

0

COMMENTS

Being bold for Christ

Written by , Posted in Christian Living

"Christians should be the boldest people in the world; not cocky and sure of ourselves, but sure of Him." (A.W. Tozer) | Being bold for Christ | See more at hopereflected.com

In being bold for Christ, our confidence is found in Christ alone, not in ourselves

When the name of Jesus is spoken, do you stand tall or do you shrink back? In your day-to-day life, are you being bold for Christ? Proverbs 28:1 says that, “The righteous are bold as a lion.” If you were to examine even your encounters from today, how would your actions measure up?

Being bold for Christ in trying situations

We are called to be bold for Christ in trying situations. Consider Caleb, who in Numbers 13, found his confidence in God when it came to entering the land of Canaan, despite an entire nation disagreeing with him; or Joshua, the successor to Moses, who led the Israelites to cross the Jordan and defeat the nation of Canaan. In trying situations, Caleb and Joshua both exhibited boldness in Christ. So should you and I.

David wrote in Psalm 27, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?… though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.” Even in the midst of trying situations – think running for his life and living in a cave for a period of time – David claimed the Lord as his strength, and found his confidence in God. Does being bold in trying situations mean that we’ll walk right out of troublesome circumstances? No, but it does mean that when we cry out to God, He will strengthen us with “strength in my soul.” (Psalm 138:3)

Boldness is required of us

While crying out may seem contrary to being bold for Christ, prayer is another place where boldness is required of us. Written from his place in prison during his first Roman imprisonment, Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus and encouraged the believers that in Christ, “we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” (Ephesians 3:12) Consider that for a moment. Even while facing persecution, Paul claimed boldness in Christ. How much more should we do the same! We need to have boldness to enter His presence and claim His promises (Hebrews 10:19).

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man

We should not be ashamed, but rather we should be bold in letting Christ’s light shine. Paul also wrote in Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Even when it seems like you’re all alone and that no one is standing with you, “Stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong,” (1 Corinthians 16:13) David said, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6) Later in the same Psalm, he wrote, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”

A.W. Tozer once said that “Christians should be the boldest people in the world; not cocky and sure of ourselves, but sure of Him.” Where do you find your confidence?

Originally published as “Being bold for Christ.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. March 21, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

Monday

1

July 2019

0

COMMENTS

Be Bold

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

We can be bold because our confidence rests in the Creator

“The righteous are bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1) Today, boldness is not often a characteristic that is associated with Christians, however it is a trait that each of us should have. While it’s certainly not the popular thing to stand up for Biblical truth and Christian values, that is exactly what we are called to do. How can we put on the whole armour of God if we aren’t being bold? To be bold – in the Biblical sense – doesn’t mean to be proud or full of yourself; to be bold is to be strong, to be courageous, to stand up for the truth, and to go forward in confidence. A.W. Tozer once said that, “Christians should be the boldest people in the world; not cocky and sure of ourselves, but sure of Him.”

Meekness means being bold

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was certainly bold, and we also read throughout the New Testament that Jesus was meek. To be bold requires us to be meek. Often confused with weakness – perhaps because the two words rhyme? – meekness is actually the opposite of weakness. Meekness was one of Christ’s attributes. “For I am meek and lowly in heart,” He said in Matthew 11:29. To be meek is to be humble, to be true, and to be assured but not arrogant. As 2 Timothy 2:25 instructs us, we are to instruct those that oppose us “in meekness”. Meekness doesn’t mean being confrontational, but it does mean being bold.

Because of Christ, we can and should be bold

To be bold also requires us to know what we believe and why, and to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15). We can live boldly when we have a solid understanding of God’s Word. Christ said in John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” We can only have that boldness when we have God’s Word in our heart. Studying the Scriptures and memorizing Bible verses are two excellent ways to grow in your faith and to gain a deeper understanding – and appreciation for – God’s Word. In 2 Timothy 2:15, we understand that we are to “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

We need not to be ashamed of our faith; we need to be bold. When you’re feeling timid, consider this: We can be bold because our confidence rests in the Creator of the universe. We are created in His image (Genesis 1:27). We have the privilege of going to God at any time, regardless of where we are or what’s going on around us. In fact, Christ invites us to cast all our cares at His feet! Because of Him, we can and should be bold. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Originally published as “Be Bold.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. February 14, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

Tuesday

7

September 2021

0

COMMENTS

A very present help

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1) Read more of "A very present help" on hopereflected.com

Think about something that is always with you

No matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, even your own shadow disappears when it’s completely dark. David wrote in Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” In an ever-changing world filled with dark times and uncertainties, what a privilege to have a very present help.

The Hebrew text for “a very present help” is translated as “a help found exceedingly,” or “tried very much”. God is always with you and His help is always immediately available. In his Treasury of David, Spurgeon wrote that God “has been tried and proved by his people. He never withdraws himself from his afflicted. He is their help, truly, effectually, constantly; he is present or near them, close at their side and ready for their succour, and this is emphasized by the word very in our version, he is more present than friend or relative can be, yea, more nearly present than even the trouble itself.”

Do we believe this to be true? If so, why aren’t we living like we believe it? Luther believed it, and he lived it. It is from Psalm 46 that he penned the powerful hymn, “A mighty fortress is our God”. “And though this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us…”.

We need to keep our eyes on Christ at all times

When earth’s waters are roaring and troubled as they are now, it can be difficult to see how His truth will triumph through us. We need great courage to stay above water, and it is not in our own strength that we can do that. Anyone can act bold and get out of the boat as Peter did, but it takes big faith and absolute confidence, eyes on Christ at all times, to stay on top of the water. Only He can lead us to the rock and provide a firm foundation for our footing.

We don’t have to fear when we can call upon God as our rock, our mighty fortress, and our deliverer. (Psalm 18)

Hope Reflected

It makes a great difference if our foundation is floating or if our foundation is firm. David’s words are ours to share when we have Christ as our foundation. “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” (46:3). We don’t have to fear when we can call upon God as our rock, our mighty fortress, and our deliverer (Ps. 18).

Were it not for hard seasons, we wouldn’t be able to claim God as our refuge and strength. Spurgeon said, “I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages.” When we consider the content of the Bible, we realize that our history is filled with impossible situations and trying times. The accounts of believers before us are not without hardships, and they are not without hope. Though the times have changed, and the troubles may differ, God remains our refuge and strength, a very present help.

Originally published as “A very present help.” Independent Plus. April 29, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Wednesday

18

August 2021

0

COMMENTS

Let us: A call to action

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"The 'Let us' verses in the Bible are as much a call to action as they are an encouragement." Read more at hopereflected.com

Two words that call us to action

Most of us are familiar with the “But God” verses of the Bible; these are words with the power of change lives. Many of us, however, often forget about two other words found within Scripture that call us to action: Let us.

Paul writes in Romans 13:11-14 that “now it is high time to awake out of sleep… let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day… put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ…”. Now it is high time – we aren’t to dilly-dally in our obedience to God. Delayed obedience is disobedience, as Dr. Charles Stanley says. Let us cast off the works of darkness – strife, jealousy, pride, selfishness, and their counterparts – and let us put on the armour of light, our Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew Henry wrote that, “A Christian must reckon himself undressed, if unarmed.”  Rather than strife, we should strive for stillness. Rather than jealousy, we should choose joy. Rather than selfishness, we ought to be selfless. It’s hard to put into practice though, when we’re stuck in the dark with our feelings of dejection and opposition. These are precisely the times that we need the armour of light.

Delayed obedience is disobedience.

Dr. Charles Stanley

Thank God that we can put on the armour of light, and that we can come to Christ with all our infirmities. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16). When we find ourselves wallowing, let us come to Him, and let us come to Him boldly. We cannot bask in self-pity and come to Christ boldly at the same time; we must choose one or the other. Thankfully, His mercies are new every morning and His compassions fail not. We can take comfort in the fact that while we don’t understand how on earth He’s going to work our situation for good, that He has already worked it out in His perfect timing.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) See more at hopereflected.com

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience… Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” (Hebrews 10:22-24). Are our hearts sincere, are we confident in Him? We cannot stand firm on God’s promises and be skeptical at the same time; either we trust that He will do as He promises, or we don’t. When we put on the armour of light, draw near to Him, and hold fast the profession of our faith, we encourage others to do the same. When we consider one another, do we merely commiserate with them, or do we cheer them on to love and good works? The “Let us” verses in the Bible are a call to action as much as they are an encouragement.

Originally published as “Let us: A call to action.” Independent Plus. March 2, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Sunday

17

November 2019

0

COMMENTS

Be strong and of a good courage

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?" (Psalm 27:1) | Be strong and of a good courage - read more at hopereflected.com

We are each called to find our confidence in Christ

The Bible is filled with examples of epimone, a rhetorical device that uses frequent repetition to emphasize an important point. Whenever a word, phrase, or command is repeated in Scripture, take note: It is important and requires our attention (and often our obedience).

In Deuteronomy 31:7, when Joshua is appointed as Moses’s successor, Moses encourages Joshua for the task ahead: “Be strong and of a good courage….” Only a few chapters later in the opening phrases of the Book of Joshua, our Lord repeats these same words three times to exhort Joshua. Then, Joshua’s own people embolden him with an echo of the edict: Be strong and of a good courage.

Seven words with such significance: Be strong and of a good courage.

We can learn from Joshua’s example of courage

Joshua, the man who led the Israelites as they crossed the Jordan, who defeated the Canaanites and divided the land among the tribes of Israel, under whom – as most are familiar – the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. While our walls of Jericho may look different than the ones in Joshua’s time, while we may be frightened by the flow of the Jordan River that we need to cross, or whether the Canaanites we face have changed from the ones of Joshua’s day – whatever our challenges, we are called to be strong and of a good courage.

Your Jordan River may flow faster than mine, the walls of your Jericho may seem taller than your neighbour’s, and the Canaanites you face may be more cunning and crafty, but the one thing we share in common as Christians is this: We are each called to be strong and of a good courage and we are each called to find our confidence in Christ.

We aren’t called to be weak; we’re called to be meek (and yes, they are two completely different qualities). We aren’t called to be pushovers; we’re called to prevail. We aren’t called to be losers; we’re called to be – and we are – loved by Christ.

David found his courage and strength in the Lord

In the midst of his flight from Saul, David wrote, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) My Grandmother wrote in her Bible beside this verse that David’s confidence came only from keeping his faith trained on God. David went on to write in Psalm 27:14, “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart.”

Just as we can’t strengthen our physical bodies unless we eat right and work out, so we can’t strengthen our hearts and spirits unless we’re taking in God’s Word and purposing to live for Him.

Where do our eyes go when we’re facing challenges, and where do our minds go when we’re feeling afraid? As humans, it’s not our natural inclination to go first to the Lord. We have to train our spirits and make it a habit to seek God first in all of our circumstances. Strength and courage aren’t qualities that we’re born with; strength and courage are developed as we grow closer to God and spend more time feeding from His Word.

Originally published as “Be strong and of a good courage.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. August 22, 2019: 7. Print. Web.

Friday

26

July 2019

0

COMMENTS

What is a buckler?

Written by , Posted in Christian Living

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4) What is a buckler? | Read more at hopereflected.com

A buckler is just as important today as it was thousands of years ago.

In my Grama’s Bible, a buckler is defined very simply as a shield. I’ve also heard a buckler described as a shield that covers the entire body. A buckler seems like something that would have been more relevant in David’s day than the present day. If you’re a Christian however, a buckler is just as important today as it was thousands of years ago.

David frequently claimed God as his buckler. After the Lord delivered him from the hand of Saul, David wrote a beautiful song of deliverance in 2 Samuel 22: “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.” (2 Samuel 22:31) God is a buckler to all them that trust in him. You’ll be better prepared for life’s battles when you trust Christ as you can claim Him and His Word as your source of protection and your shield.

We can claim God as our buckler!

David also wrote Psalm 18 around the same time that God saved him from his enemies (Saul included). “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2) I love Psalm 18 for many reasons, including the beautiful attributes of God that are referenced, which are as relevant today as they were the day David penned them. There are ten incredible attributes of God contained in just the first two verses of this fifty verse Psalm – all attributes that you can claim when you have Christ as your Saviour. David wrote Psalm 18 in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and specifically from Saul (who was seeking him out to kill him).

If the great King David could utter these words when he was fresh off fleeing for his life in the wilderness, surely we can claim God as our buckler, too!

God’s truth is our shield.

In Psalm 91, David creates a picture of God protecting His children much like a bird protects its young, and he refers to God’s truth as his shield and buckler: “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4) Being a Christian means that you’re going to require God’s protection. Proverbs 2:7 tells us that “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.” When you’re walking uprightly and standing up for the truth, you need to be prepared for attacks from the enemy. One of the best places to go for protection and strength is God’s Word. Read it, absorb it, commit it to memory, learn from it, and be encouraged by it. The Bible is an awesome history of the men and women of faith who trusted God before us – and also the one place where we can find God’s truth and promises for our own lives.

Spurgeon once said that, “the way you view God will eventually show up in the way you live your life.” When Christ is your buckler, you can live boldly and be brave.

Originally published as “What is a buckler?” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. March 28, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

Friday

21

September 2018

0

COMMENTS

Hope Reflected | Be of good courage

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"Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart." Psalm 27:14 | Read more at hopereflected.com

Be of good courage

It’s up to us to make the decision to live a life filled with courage

If you’re familiar with C.S. Lewis’s book, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, then you’re likely familiar with the characters of Aslan and Lucy. In Lewis’s book Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Aslan whispers to Lucy, “Courage, dear heart,” and it is shortly after this that the ship Lucy is sailing on travels from darkness into light. “And all at once everybody realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been,” writes Lewis.

In a recent column, I wrote about the importance of choosing joy, and today I’d like to suggest that courage is also a choice. Courage is a decision that we make in the face of fear, opposition, and uncertainty, and it can change everything.

“Be strong, and of good courage,” are words that, by my count, appear at least 10 times throughout Scripture; these words are written four times in the first chapter of Joshua alone! Time and time again throughout the Bible, we are encouraged and commanded as Christians to be of good courage and to be courageous. To be of good courage and lead by example. To be of good courage and not be afraid or quiet when it seems like the majority of people disagree with you and want to silence you. To be of good courage and to stand firm and to stand up for what is right.

Does that mean that you’re never afraid? No, on the contrary! As Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not the absence of fear.” Does that mean that it’s easy to stand up for what’s right and defend your faith? No, on the contrary! Courage is a choice that as Christians we’re called to make, regardless of the circumstances. Joshua was called to be courageous when it came time to lead the Israelites into a new and unknown land. David reminded himself to be courageous during seasons of persecution. Paul demonstrated courage when he traveled across the world and taught about Jesus and came up against many people who disagreed with him.

Courage. We can take courage in many different areas:

  1. God’s Word and Promises. “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) Referenced several times throughout Deuteronomy and Joshua alone, we can take courage in God’s Word and Promises. God is always with us. God will not fail us. God will not forsake us. Don’t be dismayed. Don’t be discouraged, because God is with you! Don’t believe me? Ask Him. If you truly seek God out, you will find Him. And that’s a fact. We can take courage in God’s Word and in His Promises, because they never change. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8). Not just for one hundred years. Not just for one thousand years. God’s Word stands forever. Some people may not like it, many people may try to fight it, but we can be strong and of a good courage because the Bible is our firm foundation, and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)!
  2. Other Christian Believers. “And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us… whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.” (Acts 28:15) You know that feeling you get when you realize that someone else shares the same faith, or when you discover that there’s someone else out there who totally gets something you thought only you understood? We can take courage in other Christian believers. Each one of us can take time to “encourage” other Christian believers. Just as thousands of candles can be lighted from a single flame, all it takes is one voice to speak out and to stand up for our faith, and that can inspire others to do the same. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John… they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) As Christians, we aren’t called to be silent. We aren’t called to be pacifists. On the contrary, we are called to be strong and to be courageous, and to stand up and be counted. Maybe that means witnessing to someone who doesn’t know the Lord. Maybe that means getting out and voting, even if you’ve never done it before. Maybe that means being silent and not laughing when someone says something crude or makes fun of another. We can take courage in other Christians, and we can also encourage one another.
  3. Our Faith in the Lord. “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14) Living our Faith can be hard, can’t it? Especially when sometimes it seems like God is silent, or like He can’t hear us, or during times when we think we’ve got everything under control only to be thrown curve ball after curve ball. As Charles Stanley says, “Obey God, and leave the consequences to Him.” Exercising patience and prayerfully waiting on the Lord before making a decision can be one of the hardest things. But the wait is worth it. When you choose courage and exercise your faith, the Lord will bless you. “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” (Psalm 31:24) When we choose courage, God will strengthen our hearts. It may not always be in exactly the way we plan, but part of having Faith means not resting in our own knowledge or following our own leads (Proverbs 3:5-6). “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong,” we’re encouraged in 1 Corinthians 16:13. We can find courage in our Faith.

The greatest place of all to take courage? When you know the Lord as your personal Saviour, you’ve got something that no man, no weapon, no illness, no circumstance can ever take away. The security that comes with God’s gift of eternal salvation should be all the “encouragement” we need to take courage. “Courage,” said C.S. Lewis, “is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” It’s up to us to make the decision to live a life filled with it.

Originally published as “Courage, Dear Heart.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. April 19, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

Thursday

8

March 2018

0

COMMENTS

Hope Reflected | 6 Characteristics of a godly Christian Woman

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"Blessed is she that believed." (Luke 1:45) 6 characteristics of a godly Christian woman | See more at hopereflected.com

6 Characteristics of a godly Christian Woman

March 8 the world over is recognized as International Women’s Day. Those who read the news and stay abreast of current events should be well aware of many “female-centric” movements that have developed over the past several years, including the Women’s March or even “I stand with Planned Parenthood”. Both movements have received a lot of media attention from certain networks and publications, and both movements relate specifically to women’s “rights”. Feminism, with its roots in the equality of women, is often tied with fighting – fighting for relevance, fighting for rights, fighting for recognition.

To be a feminist and to believe in the beauty of being female doesn’t mean that you have to fight. On the contrary, when you look at being a woman from a Christian perspective, you’ll see that throughout God’s Word, women are celebrated. We are recognized as a completely unique creation.

Being a woman, from a Biblical perspective, means celebrating life, supporting each other, and standing up for what’s right. The Bible shares so many accounts of strong females (and the men that they raised); look through the histories of Ruth, Hannah, and Mary just to name a few examples. The qualities of the godly Christian woman are referenced throughout the Bible, and the qualities of the godly Christian woman can impact generations.

Loyalty.

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.” (Proverbs 31:11) The book of Ruth lays out an amazing example of loyalty. After her husband passed away, Ruth demonstrated her loyalty to her mother in law by not abandoning her. “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). Being a woman, a godly Christian woman, means demonstrating loyalty and having a constant heart.

 

Focus.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30) The godly Christian woman demonstrates a keen focus on the eternal rather than the external. Look at the testimony of Hannah, for example. While those around her were having children, Hannah was childless. Rather than bemoan and lament her circumstances, Hannah kept her focus on the Lord. Look through the first two chapters of 1 Samuel, and you’ll see these words several times, “and Hannah prayed.” A godly Christian woman keeps her focus on things above (Colossians 3:2).

 

Strength.

“She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.” (Proverbs 31:17) “Strength and honour are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.” (Proverbs 31:25) Esther is an incredible Old Testament example of a woman who demonstrated strength. God used Esther to save His people. “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) Even in the face of uncertainty, Esther stood strong. Strength, both intellectually and physically, is one of the qualities of a godly Christian woman.

 

Industriousness.

“She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.” (Proverbs 31:16) “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.” (Proverbs 31:24) Productivity. Ingenuity. Diligence. One of the qualities of a godly Christian woman is being industrious. Working at whatever you’re called to do. Look at Deborah, the only female judge who boldly obeyed God (Judges 4). Consider Rahab, who though she was a prostitute, ultimately came to know the Lord. Being a godly Christian woman requires industriousness and diligence in our work.

 

A nurturing spirit.

“She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.” (Proverbs 31:15) Not only is the godly Christian woman industrious, she also has a nurturing spirit and cares for her family. Take the account of Rebekah from Genesis 24. In the search for a bride for Isaac, Rebekah showed that she was the one because she had a nurturing spirit, and gave Isaac’s servant (and his camels) water to drink. Your work as a woman is important and makes an impact, whether your work is outside or inside the home.

 

Faithfulness.

“She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” (Proverbs 31:27) Another one of the qualities of the godly Christian woman is her faithfulness. She stays the course. Even in the midst of challenging and trying times, she is diligent and sees things through. As it was said of Mary, the mother of Jesus, “blessed is she that believed” (Luke 1:45).

Originally published as “Being a woman.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. March 8, 2018: 7. Print. Web.

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Hope Reflected | As our shepherd

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd | Hope Reflected

As our shepherd

If you’ve ever read Thomas Hardy’s famed novel, Far from the Madding Crowd, then you understand a little bit about the work of a shepherd. A shepherd has the position of caring for and tending to a flock of sheep – feeding them, leading them, and protecting them. As we read in Far from the Madding Crowd, being a shepherd is anything but glamourous, it can prove to be a dangerous career choice, and it doesn’t get a whole lot of attention.

You may have heard the analogy of Jesus as the good Shepherd, Who lays down His life for His sheep. Perhaps you’ve heard the analogy so many times that you’ve never stopped to think about what that truly means. What I find so fascinating about Jesus being portrayed throughout Scripture as the Shepherd is that the Saviour of the world is compared to a shepherd – quite possibly one of the lowliest, least recognized, introverted vocations out there.

Isn’t that just the opposite of us? Here on earth, we are in constant pursuit of being recognized, appreciated, and wanted. While each of us may yearn for it in our own way, we all long for recognition. Perhaps you’re pursuing a career as a full-time mother, or maybe you’re a man working long days to provide for his family, or you might even be a recent graduate who’s out working your first “real job” in your field of study – it doesn’t matter your lot in life, the longing is the same – we all want someone to pat us on the back and recognize us.

Consider Jesus. While we’re busy pursuing earthly glory, He is pursuing us and seeking after our well-being. Just like a shepherd that pursues his flock, Christ always keeps us in His sight, and even when we screw up, He continues to watch over us and longs to lead us in the right direction. While we’re looking everywhere except to Him for gratification, He is looking after – and looking out for – you and I.

As our Shepherd, Christ knows us and loves us. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you.” (Jeremiah 1:5) Long before your parents found out whether you’d be a boy or girl, Christ knew all about you, and who you would grow up to be. He knows everything about you, and He cares what happens to you.

As our Shepherd, Christ knows our wants and desires, and He will provide. “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33) Lest you think God doesn’t care about the details in your life, you should know that He values you more than anything. After all, “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Luke 12:7)

As our Shepherd, Christ will protect us. “So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6) Beyond providing protection here on earth, only Christ can provide you with eternal protection. You may have heard the George MacDonald quote “Never tell a child you have a soul. Teach him, you are a soul; you have a body.” While your body will die, your soul will live for eternity – where you choose to spend eternity is up to you, but keep in mind, eternity is forever.

Beyond love, provision, and protection, there is also an unbreakable trust between the shepherd and his flock. When you trust Jesus to be your shepherd and to lead and guide you, “the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

Originally published as “As our shepherd.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. June 22, 2017: 7. Print. Web.