Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Search Results for: light

Friday

1

September 2017

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COMMENTS

Hope Reflected | The Light

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun. C.S. Lewis quote | See more at hopereflected.com

The Light

This past week, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the light. It’s not that the weather’s been particularly rainy, however my heart has just been hurting when I hear the news of unrest both in North America and abroad. Perhaps it’s the constant connectivity of social media that is making everybody suddenly “aware,” or perhaps as a nation we are finally getting to the point where something’s got to give. Either way, now more than ever, I find myself trying to remember that this world is not our forever home, and I find my focus and meditation is leaning more on the promises of God and His light.

Without light, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish much. It’s like a life without Christ; without Him, we can’t really accomplish much. I mean, sure, we may think we can do anything, but earthly glory is only temporary. Light is a fascinating thing.

Light encourages. “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) If you’re someone who suffers from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), you know what I mean when I say that light encourages. There’s something about being stuck in the dull days of the middle of winter, where clouds are full and sunlight is sparse. When you experience the sunlight in the midst of the dark winter days, it’s almost like a weight lifts off your shoulders. You think more positively, your focus is more clear, and you are encouraged that spring is somewhere around the corner. The same rules apply when you have Christ as your Saviour. He encourages. He gives us strength. “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” (Psalm 31:24) As Christians, we aren’t called to shine our own light, rather we are called to reflect Christ’s light. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Light helps things grow. “All things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” (Ephesians 5:13) If you’re reading this, you’re likely well aware of photosynthesis – the process in which plants use sunlight to make food from carbon dioxide and water. Not only does sunlight help plants grow, it also assists in the production of oxygen as a result. When you have Christ as your Saviour, you don’t just stay the same. There is great growth that comes as a result of having a genuine heart for God. Just as you learn and grow from grade to grade in school, you grow spiritually as you grow closer to God. “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

Light dispels darkness. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5) There is a whole lot of darkness in this world. And that’s to be expected. We live in a broken world. As Anne Graham Lotz (The Reverend Billy Graham’s daughter) said when asked about how God could let certain things happen in the world, “for several years now Americans in a sense have shaken their first at God and said, ‘God, we want you out of our schools, our government, our business, we want you out of our marketplace, and God, who is a gentleman, has just quietly backed out of our national and political life, our public life, removing His hand of blessing and protection.’” It’s not just happening in America – it’s happening everywhere. The good news is that God’s light dispels darkness. We just need to put our faith in Him.

You may feel as though you’re walking in the darkness. Perhaps you’re anxious, discouraged, or fearful about the future. There is hope! There is light! As C.S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christ, like I believe in the sun – not because I can see it, but because by it I can see everything else.” “Don’t shine so that others can see you, shine so that through you, others can see Him.”

Originally published as “The Light.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. August 24, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

Thursday

11

August 2022

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COMMENTS

Flip the switch

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Even on days when we can’t see the sun in the sky, the sun is still shining.

One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a dark dungeon would the world be without the sun! (Matthew Henry) Read more on hopereflected.com

There is always light

There is always light. It may be blocked from our view by clouds and storm systems, some days may be duller than others, but the sun is still shining. And as big as our world seems, the sun is bigger still, and is earth’s main source of light. Matthew Henry wrote that, “One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a dark dungeon would the world be without the sun!”

Unfortunately, many are trapped in a dark dungeon. “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” (Proverbs 4:19). Before we come to Christ and confess our deep need for His light, we are stuck in the dark.

Reaching for the Light

Throughout the Psalms, David refers to God as the one who provides light for the darkness (Psalm 18:28), enlarges his steps (Psalm 18:36), and lights his path (Psalm 119:105). Unless and until we confess our desperate need for a Saviour, we remain in the dark. That’s not a good place to be. “Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;” (Psalm 107:10). Affliction, chains, and death; what a way to go through life! We all know what it’s like to stumble around in the darkness, and it usually involves stubbing our toe on a night stand or walking headfirst into a door jam. When we’re in the dark and we have the option of turning on a light, do we not reach for the nearest light switch so we can see what we’re doing and where we’re going?

The Light of the world

So why do so many of us insist on stumbling through life in the dark, when we’ve got immediate access to the light? “I am the light of the world:” Jesus said, “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12). In the book of John alone, there are eight references that I can find where Jesus is referred to as the light of the world. With Christ, we’re promised that we won’t walk in darkness.

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me

shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

John 8:12

Perhaps you feel as though you’re stuck in the dark and though you’ve been grasping and groping in the dark, you can’t find the light switch. The practical, immediate way to access the light? The Bible. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105). When we allow God’s Word to be our guide, He keeps us on the right path, so we don’t stub our toes or walk headfirst into obstacles.

Light casts out darkness, provides direction, and dissolves discouragement.

Need some light in your life? Read more about the importance of light here.

Originally published as “Flip the switch.” Independent Plus. February 17, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Tuesday

7

June 2022

0

COMMENTS

A glimpse of sunshine

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Even though the outlook appears bleak, the goodness of the Lord can still be seen in the land of the living.

...no times are so wild but that in them are quiet corners, green oases, all the greener for their surroundings, where life glides on in peaceful isolation from the tumult. (Alexander MacLaren) | Read more of A Glimpse of Sunshine on hopereflected.com

“Every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” (Judges 17:6, 21:25). The book of Judges depicts a bleak and black history of Israel, one where man was doing what man wanted, where truth was twisted to suit selfish inclinations, and where God was not forgotten, but purposefully rebelled against. It sounds eerily similar to our present situation.

But God, in His tender mercy and grace, was still very much present among the profanity happening in Israel, just as He is today. Within the book of Judges we see reminders of this, that though man may seem to rule for a season, the Lord is the ultimate judge (11:27). Even though the outlook appears bleak, the goodness of the Lord can still be seen in the land of the living.

There can still be peace within us

Take Ruth, for example. Tucked away within the times of the judges of Israel, Ruth’s history serves as a reminder that though there may be unrest in the world, there can still be peace within us, and there are always glimmers of God’s grace around us. Alexander MacLaren wrote that “no times are so wild but that in them are quiet corners, green oases, all the greener for their surroundings, where life glides on in peaceful isolation from the tumult.”

Although days are dark and times are tumultuous, like Ruth, we can be beacons of light to those around us. Ruth was a Moabitess, the Moabites of which were enemies of Israel and certainly not godly by any stretch of the imagination. And yet we see in history that Ruth is an ancestor of Christ, a prominent member of His lineage. Thank God for His grace! Our past does not determine our future. When we know God, He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Rather than being preoccupied by our past, in Christ we can move forward and face the future with fearlessness.

Stand firm and resolute

Nowhere do we read that Ruth was afraid of what the people of Bethlehem would think of her or say about her. Rather, the Bible tells us of Ruth’s unwavering loyalty. “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17). Even in the face of opposition, Ruth stood firm and resolute. Do we stand firm and resolute, even though noise comes at us from every side and current events contradict what is true and right? Is our loyalty to God unwavering?

“Even in the face of opposition, Ruth stood firm and resolute.”

Hope Reflected

Ruth showed a quiet strength, and lived with humility. She worked cheerfully, gleaning in the fields. The big picture didn’t need to be revealed to her in order for her to be diligent and faithful in the little things. God is the Painter and our life is the picture. As Ruth’s testimony is a glimpse of sunshine in an otherwise stormy sky, may others see His light through us in dark times.

Originally published as “A glimpse of sunshine.” Independent Plus. January 21, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Tuesday

22

March 2022

0

COMMENTS

Not in a hurry

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"Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." (Psalm 37:4) Read more about delighting yourself in the Lord on hopereflected.com

Who are we waiting on?

Most of us hate waiting. It feels like wasted time. There’s an old analogy that while we’re waiting on God, we should do what waiters do: Serve. When we feel like waiting on God’s timing is wasted time, we should ask ourselves: Are we serving Him, or serving our own timing?

Psalm 37:4 instructs us to “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” God knows and cares about the desires of our hearts – He fully understands what we want to happen. He will fulfill the desires of our hearts when we delight ourselves in Him. To delight ourselves in Him means delving more deeply into His Word, spending more time in conversation with Him, and going after His agenda and not our own.

Wondering why things aren’t going our way? Perhaps we’re not serving Him as we should.

God knows and cares about the desires of our hearts - He fully understands what we want to happen. Read more about waiting on God on hopereflected.com

God uses His timing to protect us

Unlike God, we don’t know everything, and we can’t see into the future. When things aren’t going our way, when it seems as though we’re coming up short, it’s important to remember that God uses His timing to protect us. Resting in His timing can save us from many a heartache and hurt, just ask others who are older and wiser. Their testimonies of God’s faithfulness and His perfect timing are a reminder that truly His ways are the best ways.

David wrote in Psalm 31:15, “My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.” Even though his life was in danger, David didn’t take matters into his own hands, he surrendered his situation to God’s hands. No matter how urgently we want things to happen, when we surrender our situation to Him and make His timing our timing, God will protect us. We may not need protection from a physical enemy, His timing may be meant to save us from a poor financial transaction, or a bad decision with lasting ramifications.

God’s timing requires us to plan ahead

Most times when I’m making dinner, I prepare enough food in advance so we have leftovers for lunch, or something to stick in the freezer for a night when I don’t feel like cooking. We prepare now to save time later.

Although we feel like waiting on the Lord is wasted time, waiting for God’s time inevitably always saves time. “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5). Committing our way to the Lord and trusting in Him requires us to plan ahead. It requires us to surrender our inclination for instant gratification.

“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him;

and he shall bring it to pass.”

Psalm 37:5

God’s not in a hurry

On what and how we spend our time now has an eternal impact. We waste time when we follow our own timetable. Hitting dead end after dead end? We should confirm whether or not we’ve actually committed our way to Him, because He’s promised that when we acknowledge and trust Him, He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

God’s not in a hurry; we are. It’s only when we rest in His timing that we will have peace.

Originally published as “Not in a hurry.” Independent Plus. October 28, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Sunday

6

February 2022

0

COMMENTS

More haste, worse speed

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"The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but every one that is hasty only to want." (Proverbs 21:5) Read more on hoepreflected.com

Striving for speed won’t make us get there any faster

Driving down the highway, you get stuck behind an extremely slow-moving vehicle. This usually only occurs when you have some place to be and no time to spare. So you get right up on their bumper, inching your way out in to the oncoming lane, looking for a window to pass.

We’ve all been there, and fight it though we may, we all understand that when we approach a slow-moving vehicle, the best way to get around it is by slowing down, staying back, and waiting for a safe space to pass. Keeping a distance between our vehicle and theirs allows us to see what’s approaching in the other direction.

Most of us have also experienced someone riding right on our bumper and blowing by us in a fit of road rage, even though we’re already keeping up with the flow of traffic. The irony is when both vehicles end up at the red traffic light at the same time, or pull into the same parking lot together.

Haste makes us miss out on the details

We don’t get anywhere faster or do the job right when we’re in a rush. As Albert Barnes wrote, “Undue hurry is as fatal to success as undue procrastination.” When we’re hasty, we often end up being further delayed and missing out on the details.

Haste is usually not described in the Bible as a positive thing. Proverbs 19:2 tells us, “Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.” We’re more apt to do things wrong when we rush. In the long run, it actually saves us time when we take the time to ask God for His guidance, look at all the angles, and gather information.

We waste time and learn the hard way when we speak too quickly, hastily jump into something, or form an opinion without all the facts – this is true in the decisions that we make, and in the relationships that we keep. There’s an old saying, “More haste, worse speed”. The more we strive to do things quickly, the slower we often end up getting things done.

What are we thinking about?

In Proverbs 21:5 we read that, “The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.” Though none of us would probably describe ourselves as hasty, each of us is guilty of not wanting to wait. Whether for a spouse, a baby, a job, a promotion, or some new thing, we want it all now. We don’t like waiting! Anyone can be hasty; it takes real courage to wait.

Anyone can be hasty;

it takes real courage to wait.

Hope Reflected

“Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait I say on the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14).   When we rest in Him, we do things right. We don’t have to fear the future, because the One who holds our future already knows. Before haste, remember, “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Luke 12:7). When we face delay it’s tempting to dismay, but God is always in the details.

Originally published as “More haste, worse speed.” Independent Plus. September 30, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Read more about haste, waiting, and strength here.

Monday

29

November 2021

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COMMENTS

The Reason for the Season: A primer on Advent

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What is Advent?

Advent, taken from the Latin word adventus, means "coming". Read more about what Advent is on hopereflected.com

Advent, taken from the Latin word adventus, means “coming”. During the four weeks of December each year, we celebrate the first advent of Christ and prepare our hearts for Christmas. Some families have an advent calendar for each day leading right up to Christmas day. Others prepare by reading through a selection of devotionals each day.

Some churches use an advent wreath and light a candle for each of the four Sundays:

  • the Prophecy candle, which symbolizes the hope of fulfilled Scripture;
  • the Bethlehem candle, which reminds us of the humility of Christ and symbolizes our faith in Him;
  • the Shepherd’s candle, which symbolizes love and reminds us that Christ came for all (including the shepherds who were some of the most inconspicuous people of their time);
  • the Angel’s candle, which symbolizes peace and reminds us of the Good News that angels announced.
During the first four weeks of December each year, we celebrate the first coming (advent) of Christ, and prepare our hearts for Christmas. Read more about what Advent means on hopereflected.com

Why does Advent matter?

Advent matters a great deal, because through it, we’re reminded of the accuracy of God’s Word. Advent represents truth. However we celebrate Advent, we remember that we are celebrating the first advent of Christ. After all, that is what Christmas is all about.

Christ’s birth fulfills so many prophecies in Scripture:

  • the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14);
  • the incarnation of Christ (Isaiah 9:6);
  • the timing of Christ’s arrival on earth (Daniel 9:24);
  • man’s rejection of Christ (Isaiah 53:1-4);
  • Christ’s crucifixion (Psalm 2);
  • Christ’s resurrection (Psalm 16).

Does Advent matter if I’m not a Christian?

It sure does! Advent is an opportunity for you to come to know Christ and have a personal relationship with Him. (If you’re wondering how you can come to know Christ, please read this). Advent serves as a reminder that Christ came to this earth so that every person could come to know Him. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). Advent is a reminder that God so loved the world, and that includes you and I!

Should I celebrate Advent?

Should we celebrate the fact that God sent His Son to be birthed in a lowly manger, sent His Son to offer salvation to anyone who calls on His name? Yes!

This is a time of year when each of us can be reassured that no matter where we’re at – lonely, discouraged, or overrun and under-appreciated – God has a purpose and He cares about every detail. Look how He worked in the lives of the shepherds. There they were, “abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night,” (Luke 2:8). God’s glory shone around them, and everything changed. No matter where we are, God can work. We just need to be faithful. Notice how the shepherds were being faithful, quietly going about their work, and that’s when God works. He is all about recognizing the unnoticed, the overlooked, and the under-appreciated.

This is a time of year when we can be reassured that no matter where we're at - lonely, discouraged, overrun, or under-appreciated - God has a purpose and He cares about every detail. Read more about what Advent means on hopereflected.com

Who would have thought that the King of Kings would come to earth in the most humble of surroundings – in a stable, where the animals find shelter? Jesus, who throughout His earthly life was the model of humility, encouraged all of us to take up our yoke and come after Him, “for I am meek and lowly in heart:” (Matthew 11:29). It was Christ who reminded us – while speaking to perhaps one of the most prideful groups of His day, the Pharisees – “whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 14:11) Humility was one of the most incredible characteristics of Christ, and yet how often we fail to consider it during the Christmas season. Oh that our journey through advent will bring us closer to Christ. He is, after all, the reason for the season.

Originally published as “The reason for the season.” Independent Plus. December 12, 2019: 5. Print. Web.

Thursday

4

November 2021

0

COMMENTS

Countenance Sharpeners

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:" Hebrews 10:24 | Read more of Coutenance Sharpeners on hopereflected.com

The victor’s material

In Biblical times, iron was the victor’s material for weapons of war. We read in Judges that Judah could not defeat the Philistines of the valley “because they had chariots of iron.” (1:19). Before the days of steel, iron was popular for the making of swords and other weapons, because it was stronger and could be sharpened better than other prominent metals of the time period.

"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." Proverbs 27:17 | Read more on hopereflected.com

Sharpening is important

In woodworking, a dull blade can ruin a good piece of wood. In the kitchen, an unsharpened knife can cause serious injury to the person using it. King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 27:17 that as “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Good friends help to keep each other sharp. You know the feeling when you finish a conversation with a good friend, and you feel better, lighter, and refreshed? That is the countenance sharpening that Solomon referred to. True friends help to refine, encourage us to grow in wisdom, and point us to the Lord. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” (Hebrews 10:24). True friends prepare us for action.

Realignment and straightening

Many people have a knife set in their kitchen. A standard knife set usually includes an unusual-looking column of steel or ceramic. This tool is called a honing rod. Contrary to popular belief, a honing rod doesn’t actually sharpen knives. A honing rod is used to realign and straighten knife blades that have become blunt or curled. Beyond countenance sharpening, a good friend offers correction when we’re going astray. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:2 that in addition to exhorting one another, we are to reprove and rebuke when necessary. Jesus Himself said that when a brother sins against us, we’re to “go and tell him his fault,” (Matthew 18:15). As much as we all need sharpening, we also need to be realigned and straightened out once in a while, too!

"True friends help to keep each other sharp. They help to refine, to encourage, and to grow." | Read more of Countenance Sharpeners on hopereflected.com

True friends point one another to Christ

Some commentaries suggest that to “sharpen” in Proverbs 27:17 is to antagonize or exasperate. A true friend doesn’t provoke; a true friend promotes others to be better people and most importantly points their friends toward Christ. Anything contrary to this is not friendship.

C.S. Lewis wrote in his book The Four Loves that, “In friendship… we think we have chosen our peers…for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,’ can truly say to every group of Christian friends, ‘Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.’ Friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to us the beauties of others.” The opposite of sharp is to be dull, blunt, or blurred. We’ve all had occasions where we’ve felt less than our best. In such times, it is prayer answered to have a friend come alongside to sharpen our countenance.

“It is prayer answered to have a friend come alongside to sharpen our countenance.”

Hope Reflected

Originally published as “Countenance sharpeners.” Independent Plus. June 10, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Thursday

21

October 2021

0

COMMENTS

The Grateful Retrospect

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Read more about the grateful retrospect on hopereflected.com

Throughout the Old Testament, the children of Israel were told to remember how the Lord led them out of Egypt

One would think that such a significant event – which involved a whole people group leaving the land with all their belongings and more, witnessing the magnificent parting of the Red Sea and the crossing thereof, and the destruction of the entire Egyptian army – would be something that people would remember forever. And yet, they needed constant reminding because they were so quick to forget. “…beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” (Deuteronomy 6:12).

The disciples found themselves in a similar situation as they tried to navigate stormy seas

After the Lord walked to them on the water and calmed the wind, “they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” (Mark 6:51-52). The disciples got caught up in their current circumstances and forgot about the miracle that they had witnessed earlier that evening when Jesus fed the five thousand. They shouldn’t have been surprised that Jesus came to them in the middle of the storm, for He had just taken a couple of fish and five loaves of bread and created a feast with leftovers. And yet, they were quick to forget.

Psalm 18:16-20 - Read more about the grateful retrospect on hopereflected.com

David made a point of remembering and meditating on the Lord, and all that He had done for him.

Hope Reflected

In Psalm 103:2, David said, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits”. Unless we’re actively working to remember, we have a tendency to forget. “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands,” David later wrote in Psalm 143. David made a point of remembering and meditating on the Lord and all that He had done for him. It is wisdom when we do likewise. Some people choose to keep a prayer journal to record prayer requests and praises, while others make a point of offering thanksgiving during prayer before making requests.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." (Psalm 103:2) Read more about the grateful retrospect on hopereflected.com

Whatever we do, we should remember God’s blessings to us, because they are many.

When the path seems dark and when there are storms on the sea, we have a hard time remembering the goodness of the Lord. “For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.” (Psalm 18:28). In the midst of turmoil, David wrote Psalm 18, where he recalls to mind all the ways that God has delivered him in the past. Spurgeon called it “the grateful retrospect”. “He…drew me out of many waters.” (v 16), “He delivered me,” (v 17), “He brought me forth… he delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me…” (vv 19-20). Though he was enduring an incredibly stressful and uncertain time, David remembered the goodness of the Lord. As Spurgeon said, “The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God, who has led us through them all.” How’s our memory doing? It helps us to remember when we practice the grateful retrospect.

Originally published as “The grateful retrospect.” Independent Plus. May 21, 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.

Thursday

5

August 2021

0

COMMENTS

Illumination

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

The Bible says "and it came to pass," It did not come to stay! God is with us. Read more at hopereflected.com

We are living in some dark days. People are plagued with anxiety and stress, and are grappling with grief. It’s easy to caught up in our circumstances; just look around.

It came to pass

What’s not easy during times of distress is remembering that this season will end. Throughout the Bible we read, “And it came to pass,” – it’s been said before that these words can act as a reminder that everything comes to pass, it does not come to stay! Dark days can be daunting, discouraging, and demoralizing, but God, even in our darkest days, is still with us. Even when we think He is being silent, even when we think He is not near, and even when we think He doesn’t know what’s going on.

“God, even in our darkest days, is still with us.”

Hope Reflected

God is our source of light

“For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD God will enlighten my darkness.” (Psalm 18:28). David penned this psalm after Saul’s death (we think we’re living in difficult times; for a reality check, read about Saul and David’s tumultuous relationship in 1 Samuel). Being relieved of someone who tried multiple times to kill him wouldn’t enlighten David’s darkness. Being crowned king wouldn’t enlighten David’s darkness. Only the Lord could enlighten David’s darkness. To what, to whom, and where are we looking to light our candle? No person, no place, no possession can do it for us; only God can enlighten our darkness. He is our source of light.

Where do we find light when we’re having trouble seeing in the dark? “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psalm 19:8). Similar to another psalm he wrote (Psalm 119), David uses Psalm 19 to praise the virtues of God’s Word. Among them, “enlightening the eyes”. Cheer and comfort, commandment and correction, everything we need to navigate the darkness can be found in God’s Word.

“I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun, not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.”

C.S. Lewis

The Power of Prayer

We can also find light for our darkest days through prayer. Yes, to the tired soul it may sound trite, but it is true. When we pray, we understand that the eyes of our understanding are enlightened (Ephesians 1:18). Prayer should always be a priority, but it’s a misconception that our prayers must always be pretty and put together. When we come before Him, He sees every tear we cry. God doesn’t merely comfort us; He collects our tears and keeps track of them (Psalm 56:8). Our Lord knows every thought, even the ones we don’t acknowledge to Him (Psalm 139:2). Even when we can’t speak, God hears every groan (Exodus 2:24, Psalm 6:6). C.S. Lewis wrote that, “I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun, not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.” Getting closer to God is of utmost importance at all times, even when we find ourselves in dark days. Jesus promises, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12).

Originally published as “Illumination.” Independent Plus. February 18, 2021: 5. Print. Web.