Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

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Saturday

28

January 2023

0

COMMENTS

Disobedience is our downfall

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"The fall is simply and solely disobedience—doing what you have been told not to do; and it results from pride—from being too big for your boots, forgetting your place, thinking that you are God." (C.S. Lewis) | Read more about disobedience on hopereflected.com

Recently, Wes and I were reading through 2 Samuel 6 and we came to the part where David and the house of Israel transport the ark of God out of the house of Abinadab to bring it to Jerusalem. What stood out to both of us was how Uzzah was killed when he reached out and tried to steady the ark of God.

“Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.” (2 Samuel 6:6-7).

Wasn’t Uzzah trying to help?

Wasn’t Uzzah trying to do the right thing by steadying the ark of God so that it didn’t fall?

God is perfect and we are not

To the average reader, we may question how God could kill Uzzah for touching the ark of God, when it appeared that Uzzah was just trying to help. There may be portions of Scripture that appear to us to be wrong or outdated, but as many theologians have pointed out, God is perfect, we are not, and it’s not up to us to question His Word.

Digging a little deeper, it turns out that while Uzzah was trying to help, he was actually directly disobeying God’s commands. Had David, Uzzah, and company obeyed God, they never would have been transporting the ark of God by cart in the first place. God instructed only His children – more specifically the sons of Kohath (Num. 4:15) – to carry the ark, according to His specific design of the ark in Exodus 25.

The consequences of disobedience

One might ask then if only one group of people was allowed to carry the ark, and the ark wasn’t to be moved by cart, then how come God didn’t kill the Philistines for transporting the ark in 1 Samuel 4 and 6?

As Christians, one of the indicators of our salvation is that we will act differently than we did before we came to know the Lord. Our salvation is not dependent upon our works; our works are demonstrations of our salvation. We are called to obey God.

Because the Philistines did not know God, they didn’t understand God’s rules. David, Uzzah, and the rest of the children of Israel did know God, and they understood God’s rules, but chose to disobey them and do their own thing. Hence why God allowed for Uzzah to be killed. There are consequences when we directly disobey God’s Word.

“The fall is simply and solely disobedience –
doing what you have been told not to do; and it results from pride –
from being too big for your boots, forgetting your place,
thinking that you are God.”

C.S. Lewis

In A Preface to Paradise Lost, C.S. Lewis wrote that “The fall is simply and solely disobedience – doing what you have been told not to do; and it results from pride – from being too big for your boots, forgetting your place, thinking that you are God.”

On the outside, Uzzah’s intentions looked good – I certainly questioned why God would kill him – but God could see his heart, that “proud presumption”, as Matthew Henry called it.

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18).

Disobedience was Uzzah’s downfall.

Originally published as “Disobedience is our downfall.” Independent Plus. May 26, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Friday

4

September 2020

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COMMENTS

Walking in Obedience

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands." (2 John 1:6) | Read more about walking in obedience at hopereflected.com

“To have Faith in Christ means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

How often do we get caught up in the lip service of Christianity, forgetting the fundamental importance of the actions of our faith. Our obedience to God is the biggest, truest expression of our love for God. “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” is what Jesus instructed us (John 14:15).

Why do we so often do the opposite, or delay in our obedience to God? We wait for a sign, we put Him off, and we neglect to realize that even delayed obedience is actually disobedience. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;” Paul asked the Romans in his epistle to them, “whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (6:16). We become the slaves of whatever we choose to obey. Perhaps we don’t even realize that we’re being disobedient when we choose greed, jealousy, hate, bitterness, selfishness, worry, doubt, fear. Don’t be deceived; these all make wicked masters.

Obedience requires a change in behaviour

We need to turn our bad behaviours around. When we find ourselves doubting how we’ll get through something, may we remember: God says He will make a way for us, and make no mistake about it, what God says, He will do. “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19). Nothing is impossible for Him!

When we’re being hasty, losing patience, and rushing, may we recall: God calls us to “rest in him and wait patiently for him,” (Psalm 37:7). His thoughts are above our thoughts, His ways are above our ways (Isaiah 55), and His timing is perfect. He is not trying to shortchange us, He is not going to let us miss out, rather God wants His best for us. “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:25-26).

Walking in obedience requires perseverance

When we want to give up because it seems a better solution than going through, may we retain: God says that He will fight for us. “The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:14). He will not fail us; He will not forsake us (Deut. 31:6). He has promised that, “no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” (Isaiah 54:17).

We can only walk in love when we’re walking in obedience. “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 1:6).

Interested in learning more about walking in obedience? Check out these articles about obedience to God.

Originally published as “Walking in obedience.” Independent Plus. April 30, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

Monday

27

April 2020

0

COMMENTS

Rahab: Obedience from an unlikely source

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"For the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath." (Joshua 2:11) | Rahab: Obedience from an unlikely source | Read more on hopereflected.com

Thankfully, God has a history of using unlikely people for His glory

We all have the opportunity to come to God, and He will never overlook a genuine heart.

Rahab is one such example. A prostitute by profession, Rahab seemed an unlikely person to help the Israelites; after all, she was a Canaanite, one of their mortal enemies. And yet, we read in the first chapter of Matthew that Rahab is part of our Lord’s genealogy! No matter who we are, or where we are at, God can use us.

“for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”

Joshua 2:11

By being obedient to the Lord, Rahab took a great risk. In Joshua 2, when Joshua sent messengers into Jericho to spy, they lodged at Rahab’s house (2:1). The king of Jericho heard about this, and questioned Rahab, who in turn lied to protect the spies. Rahab took a great risk in harbouring the spies and protecting them. Why take the risk? We find out later in the chapter that Rahab, even though she was a Canaanite, believed in God. “for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” (v.11) Because she believed in God, Rahab wanted to be obedient, even though it meant taking a great risk. Oswald Chambers once said that “you should let the consequences of your obedience be left up to God.” Obedience to God often requires great risk.

The rewards of obedience must be waited for

Rahab was willing to risk everything by her obedience to God, and because of it, she received a great reward. Rahab asked the spies to show her and her family kindness by saving them before the Israelites took the city of Jericho. She wasn’t afraid to take a risk for obedience, and she wasn’t afraid to ask for what she believed was right. The result? Rahab and her family were saved during the destruction of Jericho. “And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” (6:25) After being rescued out of Jericho, Rahab and her family went to live with the Israelites, and as a result, Rahab can be found in Christ’s family tree.

The rewards of obedience must be waited for, but there is great reward when we are obedient to the Lord. We also learn from Rahab’s example of obedience that she did the right thing. Especially when the world around us seems to going the opposite direction, it can make us question whether what we’re doing or how we’re living is truly right. Rahab, despite the influences around her, knew of the Lord’s faithfulness to the Israelites, and she believed in Him. Her faith was so great that Rahab is included in the “Faith Hall of Fame”, Hebrews 13. Rahab demonstrated obedience by not allowing the people around her to influence her beliefs. Obedience to God may mean persecution from people, but ultimately, there is blessing in obedience. “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:28)

You can read more about Biblical obedience here.

Originally published as “Rahab: Obedience from an unlikely source.” Independent Plus. February 21, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Friday

24

April 2020

0

COMMENTS

Noah: An Example in Obedience

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“Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (Genesis 6:22) | Noah: An Example in Obedience | hopereflected.com

One cannot walk with God unless they are walking in obedience

Noah. Abraham. Rahab. Moses. Joshua. David. What is one thing that all of these people have in common? While their lives were all incredibly different, the commonality between them was obedience: They were each obedient to the call of the Lord.    

Look at Noah, for example. When Noah lived, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth,” we read in Genesis 6:5, “and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” We think we’ve got it bad today! The Bible tells us that during Noah’s time, the earth was so filled with evil that the Lord felt bad that he had made man on the earth, and His heart was grieved. The Lord was so grieved that He decided to destroy man from the planet, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Gen. 6:8)

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Genesis 6:8

Why did Noah find grace in the eyes of the Lord? Well, we read in the next verse that Noah was a just man, blameless, and that He walked with God. One cannot walk with God unless they are walking in obedience, there’s just no other path. We can learn so much from Noah and his walk.

Noah didn’t hesitate

Consider this: Noah’s obedience to the Lord was immediate. When God said to Noah, “Make thee an ark,” (Gen. 6:14), Noah didn’t hesitate and say, “Lord, why do you want me to do that?” or “Are you sure you want me to do that? It’s not even raining.” No, Noah, didn’t hesitate. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (6:22) Noah didn’t question God’s instruction, he didn’t question God’s timing, and he didn’t question his ability to complete the task. American Pastor Steven Furtick says that, “great moves of God are usually preceded by simple acts of obedience.” While the task at hand for Noah certainly wasn’t simple, it was a step that preceded a great move of God.  

It’s also important to recognize that Noah’s obedience was not influenced by others. While it is important that we are prayerful in our decision-making, and that we heed wise counsel, when we are walking with God as Noah did, our obedience won’t be influenced by anyone who doesn’t have our best interest at heart. D.L. Moody once said that, “There will be no peace in any soul until it is willing to obey the voice of God.” It may seem difficult, especially when others question us, however when we are walking in obedience to God, He grants us peace.  

Noah’s obedience saved his life and the life of his family. They entered the ark before the flood started. We read in Genesis 7:10 that it was seven days after they entered the ark that the flood actually started. Sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t make sense. We may not understand the timing, we may not see any realistic reason in the moment, but that’s the beauty of obeying God. We don’t have to have all the answers, because He always does what is best for us.

You can read more about Biblical obedience here.

Originally published as “Noah: An Example in Obedience.” Independent Plus. February 13, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Monday

20

April 2020

0

COMMENTS

Obedience to God

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"And this is love, that we walk after his commandments." (2 John 6) | Read more about obedience to God at hopereflected.com

Do we have what it takes to live in obedience to God?

Reading through the book of second Kings in the Old Testament, which accounts for the history of the Northern and Southern kingdoms in Biblical times, it doesn’t go unnoticed how each account begins with either “…and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD,” or “…and he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD.” How sobering to consider that the lives of so many men – kings, leaders of nations, who led exciting lives and experienced thrilling adventures – can be summed up with so few words.

Are we doing that which is right in the sight of the Lord? Each of us will someday have to give an account, and our obedience to God – or our blatant disobedience – will determine the outcome.

Obedience is not always easy

By nature, – our sin nature, – none of us are obedient. Obedience to God is not something that comes naturally to us. Obedience is certainly not always easy, and quite frankly it’s not always something that we want to do, is it? When distractions are abounding and we’re feeling pulled in different directions, sometimes it seems like the easiest thing to do is to give up, rather than to press on in obedience to Him. That’s our sin nature coming out.

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”

Romans 6:17

Obedience must come from the heart, and as a result, obedience frees us from the bondage of sin. “Ye were the servants of sin,” wrote Paul. That’s past tense. When we make the decision to obey God and to follow after Him and His Word, we are freed from being servants of sin.

“Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it,” Jesus told us in Luke 11:28. In our “modern” and “progressive” society, obedience to God and His Word is not easy, and it’s definitely not popular. If we are to truly let our light shine and do Kingdom work however, obedience to God must be the foundation. Sure, those chapters of second Kings may be a little dry and sometimes difficult to understand, but we cannot keep God’s Word if we aren’t reading it, and reading all of it. Part of our problem today is that we pick and choose the “pieces” of the Bible that work well for us or that are convenient, rather than taking it all in, even the hard parts.

Obedience takes courage

Charles Stanley once said it takes courage to be obedient. Do we have what it takes? Are we brave enough to follow in obedience to Christ, even when it means walking the path alone? American preacher Jonathan Edwards wrote that two of his resolutions were to “live for God”, and “If no one else does, I still will.” It was also Edwards who wrote that our love for God is demonstrated by our obedience to God.

“And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”

2 John 6

Originally published as “Obedience to God.” Independent Plus. February 6, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Friday

13

January 2017

0

COMMENTS

Hope Reflected | The Blessing in Obedience

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

blessing in obedience luke 11:28

The Blessing in Obedience

Piano lessons. Talk to any adult, and they’ll tell you stories from their child hood about piano lessons. The difference in how the stories end is always related to obedience – some individuals demonstrated obedience in practicing piano, while others gave up and moved on to something else. In the long term, the benefits of demonstrating obedience in practicing piano means more than likely those individuals can still play today! It’s a great feeling of satisfaction as an adult to reap the benefits of obedience when you were a child.

The Bible talks a lot about obedience, and the book of Hebrews specifically recognizes great men and women from the Bible who were obedient and faithful: Abraham, Moses, and Sarah just to name a few.

Obedience plays a part in every believer’s life, and the Bible has much to say on the topic of obedience:

Obedience shows that we believe in and love God. Abraham, Moses, Sarah, and other men and women of faith in the Bible, demonstrated their belief and faith in God through their obedience. Jesus said in John 15:14, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Similarly, 1 John 2: 4-5 says, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

Obedience brings glory to God. As Christians, we have a responsibility to be obedient to God’s Word. Though it’s not always easy – especially when popular opinion contradicts much of the Bible’s truths – obedience brings glory to God. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Obedience brings blessing. Psalm 1:1-2 tells us, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.” We’re also told in Proverbs 13:13, “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” Jesus even said in Luke 11:28, “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

Obedience brings freedom. Jesus said in John 8:31-32, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And with freedom, comes peace. D.L. Moody was famously quoted as saying, “There will be no peace in any soul until it is willing to obey the voice of God.”

What are you waiting for? If you want to see God do extraordinary things in your life, start taking steps of ordinary obedience.

Originally published as “The Blessing in Obedience.” Minto Express, Independent Plus. December 7, 2016: 5. Print.

Wednesday

18

January 2023

0

COMMENTS

The cost of compromise

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

“Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan…” (Genesis 13:10)

In the case of Lot, he walked by sight and not by faith. "Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan..." (Genesis 13:10). Read more about compromise on hopereflected.com

How compromise starts

It started with a look. Abram generously offered Lot first dibs on the land, and Lot chose for himself and his family the lush plain of Jordan, “…and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.” (Genesis 13:12). Lot purposefully set up his homestead looking out toward Sodom, the inhabitants of which “were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” (Gen. 13:13).

This is how compromise starts; we see something and on the surface it probably looks good. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that “we walk by faith, not by sight:” however in this case, Lot walked by sight. Lot wasn’t trusting the Lord; he was trusting what he could see and what he thought looked good.

One of the problems with Christians today

We see more of the news and what the world declares to be right and wrong, and suddenly we’re making decisions based not on God’s Word, but on the world around us. Ever wonder why the world is actually fighting about things like “the right” to kill unborn children or trying to “change” biology? We’re more interested in cultural morality than we are in what God says is right and wrong.

At some point, Lot went from looking at Sodom to living right in Sodom, as we read in Genesis 14:12 that Lot gets taken hostage by the four kings, “And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.”

The sin of compromise is a slippery slope

The sin of compromise is a slippery slope; we start by looking at something, and the next thing you know we’re living it. Lot may have been a lukewarm Christian, but because he was lukewarm, he was weak, he compromised, and he was unwilling to stand up for what was right. His entire family suffered as a result and didn’t follow God.

Look around; certainly, there are things happening where we are living that are wrong, but what are we doing about it? We’re often afraid to speak up or stand up for the truth because we do not want to be accused of being intolerant. D.A. Carson, founder of the Gospel Coalition, once said that “People don’t drift toward holiness, they drift toward compromise and call it tolerance, and drift toward disobedience and call it freedom.”

“People don’t drift toward holiness, they drift toward compromise
and call it tolerance, and drift toward disobedience and call it freedom.”

D.A. Carson

Compromise doesn’t lead to anything good

In Genesis 19:1, we read that Lot “sat in the gate of Sodom:”. As I wrote in a previous column, gates in ancient times were places were the kings and civic leaders of a community or a city gathered to work. Lot was a leader in Sodom, probably using “tolerance” and “freedom” as his talking points.

Sin is a progressive thing. Lot started looking, then living, and then leading in Sodom. And what happened next? He lost everything. God literally destroyed Sodom and everything in it, and Lot ended up living in a cave. That’s the cost of compromise. Don’t be deceived; compromise in our lives doesn’t lead to anything good.

Originally published as “The cost of compromise.” Independent Plus. May 19, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Thursday

5

January 2023

0

COMMENTS

20 life lessons learned in 2022

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

The celebration of Christmas and the excitement of a new year are an ideal time to reflect on the past year and the life lessons we’ve learned. For certain this past year I’ve learned more than my share of life lessons, and here are some of the highlights.

"God allows us to experience the low points in life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way." C.S. Lewis | Read more life lessons learned in 2022 on hopereflected.com
  1. Running is an activity that requires great patience, is never perfected, and always practiced. “…let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
  2. Christians have a responsibility to stand out and to stand up for Biblical truth. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?” (Matthew 5:13).
  3. 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. “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).
  4. God is never surprised; there is no event to which He responds, “Oh boy, I didn’t know that was going to happen.” “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 1:8, 21:6)
  5. Service requires sacrifice, and so love is not just service, love is also sacrifice. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10).
  6. Even on days when we can’t see the sun, it’s still shining. There is always light. “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).
  7. Anyone can lay up treasures on earth that they can’t keep; it takes real wisdom to lay up eternal treasures that you can’t lose. “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” (Proverbs 23:5).
  8. When we strive to do things on our own and in our own power, we are bound to be anxious and worried. “Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?” (Luke 12:24).
  9. To wait, to keep serving the Lord requires great faithfulness and good courage because it is not easy, especially in the face of fighting and turmoil. “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14).
  10. We won’t get far if we try to flee from God. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalm 139:7).
  11. We are disillusioned if we think that we can get away with directly disobeying God. “For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” (Psalm 37:2).
  12. It is a privilege to have friends who will labour to carry us to Christ and exercise their faith on our behalf. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” (Mark 2:5).
  13. We are not really living our faith if our lives don’t bear fruit. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5).
  14. We don’t have to understand all the details when we trust that God is working every detail for His glory. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
  15. We can only grow spiritually if we are daily in God’s Word as a way of living, not an occasional activity. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:” (Colossians 2:6).
  16. “Although the Lord may not appear for us in the way we expect, or desire, or suppose, yet He will in some way or other provide for us.” (Charles Spurgeon).
  17. Sin is a slippery slope, and there is always a cost to compromise. “And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.” (Genesis 14:12).
  18. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18). “The fall is simply and solely disobedience – doing what you have been told not do; and it results from pride – from being too big for your boots, forgetting your place, thinking that you are God.” (C.S. Lewis).
  19. We should be more interested in getting understanding than getting our point across. “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” (Proverbs 29:11).
  20. Vain repetitions are many words with no meaning; persistence in prayer has power because it requires us to have great faith. “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

It was C.S. Lewis who wrote that “Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My god, do you learn.” Lewis also wrote that “God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.” Whether these lessons are learned at a low point or a high point, I hope these life hacks are found to be of value.

Originally published as “20 Life Lessons learned in 2022: Parts 1 and 2.” Independent Plus. December 29, 2022 and January 5, 2023: 5. Print. Web.

Wednesday

5

January 2022

0

COMMENTS

Accused or excused?

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Our obedience to God’s Word determines the outcome.

"My conscience is captive to the Word of God." (Martin Luther) Read more of "Accused or excused?" on hopereflected.com

Our inner compass

To accuse is to place blame, and to excuse is to forgive or pardon. Our conscience is our inner compass to help us recognize right from wrong, to help us understand where blame ought to be placed, and where pardon should be granted. Our conscience is not our judge; it acts more as a witness. As Paul wrote in Romans about the following of the Law between the Jews and the Gentiles, “… their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;” (2:15). C.S. Lewis wrote in his book The Problem of Pain that God speaks to us through our conscience. For Christians, this should be true, but so often today we run into people making decisions guided by their “conscience” whose internal value system is not based off the Bible. Unless we let God through His Word lead our conscience, we are in great danger of buying into distorted views and making poor decisions.

Where do our convictions come from?

Martin Luther said, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God.” Unfortunately, this isn’t always true for us. We frequently hear even prominent “Christians” claim that they agree with everything in the Bible, except the parts where God lists ____ [fill in the blank here] as a sin.

It should be a red flag when we hear Christians claim that they agree with every thing in the Bible, except the parts where God lists ___ [fill in the blank here] as sin. Read more of "Accused or excused?" on hopereflected.com

Where do these convictions come from if not from the Word of God? R.C. Sproul said that, “acting according to conscience may sometimes be sin as well. If the conscience is misinformed, then we seek the reasons for this misinformation. Is it misinformed because the person has been negligent in studying the Word of God?” Most likely, especially in cases where Christians take on viewpoints that completely contradict Scripture. We cannot pick and pull parts of God’s Word to work for our convenience.

God’s Word is the final authority

“But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:25). God’s Word was not only the final authority thousands of years ago, or just for a short time, or only before we “progressed” as a society, God’s Word endures forever and is always the final authority. When we believe this, we should be prepared to come into opposition. When people don’t want to be accountable, when they know the right way but they prefer to follow their own path and pleasures, they don’t just shy away from the truth, they outright oppose it and accuse others of being wrong.

“What the Bible calls wrong, the world calls right; what the Bible calls sin, the world calls virtue.”

Hope Reflected
God's Word always has been and always will be the final authority. Read more of "Accused or excused?" on hopereflected.com

What the Bible calls wrong the world calls right; what the Bible calls sin the world calls virtue. With misinformation and conflicting messages abounding, it can be hard to discern what’s really right from what’s really wrong. We need to bring it back to Biblical basics. “let God be true, but every man is a liar;” (Romans 3:4). Paul called out Jew and Gentile alike who were making themselves judge and jury, who were accusing or excusing behaviours amongst themselves.

There is only one judge, and He is God. What the Bible says is what ultimately goes, even if we don’t like the case. Our obedience to God’s Word will be the determining factor of whether we stand accused or excused.

Originally published as “Accused or excused?” Independent Plus. August 5, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Wednesday

18

August 2021

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COMMENTS

Let us: A call to action

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"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.