Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

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Wednesday

15

September 2021

The gift of grace

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"Just as a careful gardener will stand over a plant that needs water, and will pour water on the surface until the earth has drunk it up, and then add a little more; so He gives step by step, grace for grace, an uninterrupted bestowal, yet regulated according to the absorbing power of the heart that receives it." Alexander MacLaren | Read more on hopereflected.com

“And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” (John 1:16)

Whether exercising, consuming too much salt, or working out in the heat of the summer, there are times when we get really thirsty for a glass of water. We drink until we’re satisfied, or until we’re thirsty again, and our bodies absorb all the water we need. Clean drinking water is important, and even more so is the body’s ability to absorb water.

So what does any of this have to do with grace?

Just as absorption is an important aspect for our physical health, it’s even more important when it comes to spiritual virtues. In his Expositions of Holy Scripture, Alexander MacLaren wrote that, “Just as a careful gardener will stand over a plant that needs water, and will pour the water on the surface until the earth has drunk it up, and then add a little more; so He gives step by step, grace for grace, an uninterrupted bestowal, yet regulated according to the absorbing power of the heart that receives it.”

Grace is a quality that we can grow in. Read more on hopereflected.com

Grace is a quality that we can grow in

This is great news for those of us who have a grace deficiency! “But grow in grace,” Peter encourages believers, “and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18). Earlier in 2 Peter, he writes that with growth comes fruitfulness (2 Peter 1:8). If we are ever feeling less than productive in our relationships with God and one another, we ought to do a check on the absorbing power of our heart. While our personal preference would have us do unto others as we think they deserve, we ought rather to give what is not deserved, just as God gives to us.

Grace is a gift that we don't absorb or appreciate as we should. Read more on hopereflected.com

Like many of the physical things that we take for granted every day – getting out of bed in the morning, blue skies and the freedom to walk outside, and even our very breath – grace is one of those spiritual virtues that we don’t “absorb” or appreciate as we should.

Hope REflected

More great news about the gift of grace

More great news about the gift of grace is that it is something that we can abound in. To abound means not just to be full, but to be overflowing, not just to survive, but to thrive. Certainly this is not possible in and of ourselves – that would completely defeat the original purpose of grace – but overflowing grace is possible with God. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

In order for us to abound in grace, we must be willing to give it away. As Matthew Henry said, “God gives not only enough for ourselves, but that also wherewith we may supply the wants of others, and this should be as seed to be sown.” If we want to live lives with grace abounding, we need to be prepared to live lives that demonstrate grace faithfully and consistently to others.

Tuesday

7

September 2021

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.

Sunday

5

September 2021

Believe to see

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of living." (Psalm 27:13) Read more on hopereflected.com

In our current circumstances

Many are wondering what God’s purpose and plan is in our current circumstances. It would seem that people are more discouraged and down than we’ve ever seen in our time. We are living through a period where God has permitted us to be put into places and positions where we feel completely alone. Could it be that one of His reasons for this is so that we will realize that we are armed with His presence and power?

Enduring such adversities

Lest we think we’ve got it worse today, consider a man whose life was filled with its share of tribulation. Adultery, murder, death of loved ones, living on the run with no home, at odds with his family to the point that they were trying to kill him, relationally challenged to the point that his foes sent armies after him to kill him, “I had fainted,” David says in Psalm 27:13. You think? David’s life was hard! How could anyone endure such adversities? “I had fainted,” David continues, “unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13).

David did two things that we so desperately need to do right now: He believed to see, and he focused on the goodness of the Lord. Read more on hopereflected.com

Believe and focus

David did two things that we desperately need to do right now: He believed to see, and he focused on the goodness of the Lord. Although tribulation is all around us in the land of the living, because we have the Lord and He has armed us, we can believe to see that He has a plan, and we can focus on His goodness. “Faintness of heart is a common infirmity; even he who slew Goliath was subject to its attacks…” Charles Spurgeon wrote. “We must believe to see, not see to believe; we must wait the appointed time, and stay our soul’s hunger with foretastes of the Lord’s eternal goodness which shall soon be our feast and song.”

"We must believe to see, not see to believe," (Charles Spurgeon) Read more on hopereflected.com

“Nothing is a surprise to God; nothing is a setback to His plans; nothing can thwart His purposes; and nothing is beyond His control.”

Joni Eareckson Tada

We are not alone, even as we go through times of tribulation, live through stressful situations, or are even physically isolated. He has armed us. “These things I have spoken unto you,” Jesus said in John 16:33, “that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Preceding this, Jesus says these words: “I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” (16:32). Jesus spoke these words knowing that He would shortly go to His death and endure the cross.

Trust the One who promises to never leave us or forsake us

Joni Eareckson Tada, a woman who has also seen her share of tribulation, once said that, “Nothing is a surprise to God; nothing is a setback to His plans; nothing can thwart His purposes; and nothing is beyond His control.” Our present circumstances do not surprise God. He’s not panicking about how He’ll put everything back together. While we may not understand the reasoning for what’s happening all around us, there is no need to stoke the fires of anxiety and stress. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain, but without stain.” May we trust the One who promises that He will never leave or forsake us.

Originally published as “Believe to see.” Independent Plus. April 22, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Friday

3

September 2021

One of the most practical ways we can help

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Jesus is our greatest example of interceding prayer. Read more at hopereflected.com

“I pray for you every night.”

Some of the most encouraging words are when someone shares that they are praying for you. Prayer offered up on the behalf of another is powerful. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”. Jesus is our greatest example of interceding prayer, when He prayed for us, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” (John 17:9). My Grandmother once wrote of this verse, “This means Christ prayed for me that day.” Consider this: If you are a Christian, then Christ has interceded for you. He has spoken your name to God the Father and taken your needs before Him. What a thought!

Interceding prayer is purposeful and persistent

Take Abraham’s prayer for Sodom, for example. We’re told in Genesis 18 that Abraham stood before the Lord, and “drew near” (v. 23). He wasn’t aloof, he didn’t head with the other men toward Sodom; he purposefully drew near to the Lord and prayed. He pleaded with the Lord on Sodom’s behalf. Abraham was both engaged and confident that the Lord would hear him. Matthew Henry said, “In the word God speaks to us; in prayer we speak to him… God’s word then does us good when it furnishes us with matter for prayer and excites us to it.” When was the last time we were excited for prayer, especially praying for one another?

When was the last time we were excited for prayer, especially praying for one another? Read more at hopereflected.com

Understand one another’s needs and requests

My niece and nephew have been praying specifically for months that our baby will sleep through the night, and the Lord hears their prayers. When we see God working, that should excite us to pray more! Interceding prayer is personal and particular. An example of this is the prayer of Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24, and David’s prayer for his son Solomon in 1 Chronicles 29. David prays that the Lord will give Solomon “a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments… and to build the palace,” (v. 19). Matthew Henry said, “God’s providence extends itself to the smallest occurrences and admirably serves its own purposes by them.” God cares about each and every detail, so we ought to be particular when we’re praying for one another. Sometimes the very things we think don’t matter, matter to God.  

When we pray - for one another, for our community, for our country, - God hears. Read more at hopereflected.com

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,”

James 5:16

Interceding prayer is powerful. In Exodus 17, when Amalek fought with the children of Israel, Moses stood on the top of the hill and prayed. When Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed (v. 11). Aaron and Hur interceded and helped hold up Moses’s hands and Israel ultimately triumphed. When we pray – for one another, for our community, for our country – God hears. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” James wrote in his eponymous epistle (James 5:16). Prayer is one of the most powerful and practical ways that we can help each other.

Originally published as “One of the most practical ways we can help.” Independent Plus. April 15, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Saturday

28

August 2021

Practicing Patience

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Patience - our capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious - comes from the root word 'patient', which is Latin for 'suffering'. Read more on hopereflected.com

Patience is something we spend a lifetime learning

My niece recently asked me to name something that I’ve learned over the past while, and one word that immediately came to mind was patience. Patience, our capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious, comes from the root word “patient”, which is Latin for “suffering”. My niece remarked that no matter what the age – old or young, baby or senior – patience is something that each one of us spends a lifetime learning. Even animals learn patience! From the baby waiting for teeth to the grown up sitting in a traffic jam, patience is an important lesson to learn, and we can either do it well or learn the hard way.

Do we complain, or do we call on the Lord?

Take the children of Israel, for example. An early reference to patience in the Bible can be found in Exodus 17. Not long after the children of Israel had escaped Egypt and wandered through the wilderness of Sin, they pitched their tents in Rephidim. While the location of Rephidim isn’t exactly known today, there is speculation that its location was in what we know today as Sinai. A very dry area, there was no water for the people to drink, and so they became very angry with Moses and complained. “Why chide ye with me? Wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?” Moses responded (Ex. 17:2). Both Moses and the children of Israel were learning patience, but they learned the lesson in totally different ways. The children of Israel complained, and Moses called on the Lord.

There are two ways to learn the lesson of patience: We can complain, or we can call on the Lord. Our actions and attitude determine our outcome. Read more on hopereflected.com

Our attitude determines our outcome

Dealing with our problems is one way we learn patience, and as we do, are we complaining, or are we calling on the Lord? “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God:” David wrote in Psalm 18:6, “he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.” Though trying times and problems weigh us down, when we choose to call on the Lord rather than complain, God will bless our patience. “He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.” (Psalm 18:16). We learn patience through our problems, and we can respond by complaining or calling on the Lord. Jacob is also an example of patience in the Bible. He loved Rachel and served Laban seven years in order to marry her. We read in Genesis 29:20 that those seven years “seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.”

"The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him." (Lamentations 3:25) Read more on hopereflected.com

Remaining faithful during trying times is certainly not easy.

Hope Reflected

Our attitude as we learn the lesson of patience determines our outcome. We can remain faithful, or we can get frustrated. Saul is an example of what happens when we get frustrated and try to rush the outcome. In 1 Samuel 13, Saul’s hastiness caused him to miss out on the Lord’s blessing (1 Samuel 13:13). Remaining faithful during trying times is certainly not easy. Staying the course is hard even for the most resolute of people, but the Lord will bless us when we do. “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamentations 3:25).

Originally published as “Practicing Patience.” Independent Plus. April 8, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Wednesday

25

August 2021

Fighting daily

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me." (Psalm 56:1) Read more about fighting daily on hopereflected.com

Sometimes it feels as though everyone is against us

Hard feelings seem to be readily available, while harmony is in short supply. We don’t have to look far to find these feelings, even within ourselves.

David experienced a lot of pain in his own life, and while many of us are more familiar with the account of Saul’s pursuit of David, we often forget the grief that David bore when he was betrayed and chased away by someone in his very own family – his son, Absalom. Because of Absalom’s rebellion, David had to flee Jersualem, and the situation was so dire and hopeless that David sought refuge with his enemies.

“for man would swallow me up”

"We have all gone through times when it feels as though others are 'fighting daily' against us. The longer we let bitterness, contempt, and resentment continue, the harder they are to let go." Read more on hopereflected.com

Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up;” David wrote in Psalm 56:1, “he fighting daily oppresseth me.” While perhaps not to the extent that David experienced, we have all gone through times when it feels as though others are “fighting daily” against us. The longer we let bitterness, contempt, and resentment continue, the harder they are to let go of. The struggle is as real today as it was then. David reiterated, “Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou Most High.” (v. 2).

When facing contempt, ask God for compassion

When times are challenging and the going is rough, when it seems as though everyone is “fighting daily” against us and we are experiencing pain, stress, and strife, how do we respond? Many turn inward, preferring to bottle up emotions rather than pour out their hearts. David’s first response was to ask God for help. “Be merciful unto me, O God:” (v. 1). When facing contempt, David asked for God’s compassion.

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” David continues in Psalm 56:3. In life, guaranteed there are times that we will be afraid, that’s a sure thing. The key to getting through it is consciously choosing to trust in the Lord to bring us through fearful times. Spurgeon said that, “Faith brings forth praise. He who can trust will soon sing.” Somehow, even while being pursued by his son and his son’s army, David was courageous and praised the Lord. He purposed to put his focus and his trust in the One who is greater than any man, any army, or any challenge we may face. “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” (v. 4).

Faith brings forth praise. He who can trust will soon sing.

Charles Spurgeon

When people twist our words, act maliciously, and purposefully try to put us out, our response is so important. We can allow our challenges to foster bitterness, unforgiveness, and resentment, or we can ask God for His mercy and help. Committing it to the Lord sometimes needs to be done repeatedly, multiple times a day, as we can all be forgetful people who find it hard to focus. As Tozer wrote, “Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything which is safe we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.”

Originally published as “Fighting daily.” Independent Plus. March 18, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Saturday

21

August 2021

Where’s your focus?

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"If we cannot see God, at least we will look towards Him." Read more about the importance of focus on hopereflected.com

Focusing on Christ rather than the miracles He performed

Throughout Jesus’s ministry, there are many times Jesus performs a miracle and specifically tells the healed not to tell anyone about their healing. The leper (Matt. 8), the blind men (Matt. 9), the “great multitudes” (Matt. 12), the twelve year old girl (Mark 5), the man with the speech impediment (Mark 7), as well as several others.

Wouldn’t Christ have wanted these incredible healings to be broadcast to bring more people to Him? In Mark 7:36, we read that “the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;”. More than the miracles themselves, it seems that Christ wanted to keep the focus on the Saviour rather than on the miracles.

Christ wanted to keep the focus on the Saviour rather than on the miracles.

Hope Reflected

We get so focused on what’s going on around us, on our circumstances, on other people, on their problems, that we have a hard time keeping our eyes on God. We’re faster to find fault than we are to offer forgiveness. We’re more quick to question than we are to quietly wait on the Lord’s will. We are troubled over trivial matters instead of maintaining a triumphant attitude at all that the Lord has done for us.

“Set your affection on things above”

"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." (Colossians 3:2) Read more about focus on hopereflected.com

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” Paul wrote to the church at Colossae in Colossians 3:2. This is not to suggest that we be so heavenly minded that we’re of no earthly good, however as Matthew Henry wrote, “affection to the one will weaken and abate affection to the other.” Where we put our focus is of utmost importance. When we focus on the things of this world, they become the most important. Paul wrote the book of Colossians while he was in prison. His focus was on providing encouragement to Christian believers. Throughout his letter, we don’t read about the prison conditions or how discouraged he was. The only reference we read about Paul’s imprisonment is at the closing of his letter when he asks for the believers to “Remember my bonds.” (Col. 4:18). Paul’s focus was in the right place.

"To guide something or someone with the eye requires our focus to be in the right place." Read more about focus on hopereflected.com

David is another Biblical figure who understood the importance of where we focus. After his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah, he wrote several Psalms, including Psalm 32. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” (v. 8). In Hebrew, this means to fix one’s eye, to focus. To guide something or someone with the eye requires our focus to be in the right place. Similarly, in Psalms 121 and 123, the psalmist writes, “I will lift up mine eyes,” to focus on the Lord (Ps. 121:1, 123:1).

Where we choose to focus directly impacts our lives. Charles Spurgeon wrote that “we must use our eyes with resolution, for they will not go upward to the Lord of themselves, but they incline to look downward, or inward, or anywhere but to the Lord: let it be our firm resolve that the heavenward glance shall not be lacking. If we cannot see God, at least we will look towards him.”

Originally published as “Focus.” Independent Plus. March 11, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Wednesday

18

August 2021

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.

Thursday

12

August 2021

Patience

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

“I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait,” C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity. The Bible is filled with instruction on the virtue of patience. Interestingly, not much has changed since the original Scriptures were written – the areas where we require patience remain the same today.

"I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait." C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity | Read more at hopereflected.com

Patient in Tribulation

The Bible tells us that we are to be patient in tribulation. What kind of tribulation has changed over thousands of years, however God’s Word is still as relevant to believers today as it was then. In the gospel of Luke (21:15-19), we understand that we are to be patient when facing persecution. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he makes it clear that our patience is developed and nurtured through our tribulation. “…we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope:” (5:4). So important is patience in tribulation that Paul sees necessary to include it again later in his letter: We are to be “patient in tribulation;” (12:12).

It wasn’t just in Romans that Paul wrote about the importance of patience. In this letter to the church at Galatia, Paul encouraged his brothers and sisters to “not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (6:9). While his instruction in patience is related to well doing, because the letter was written specifically to address agitators who were trying to push Judaism, we understand that Paul believed strongly in practicing patience with each other.

Patient toward all

In addition to his letter to the Galatians, Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:14 that we are to “be patient toward all men.” Years later in his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul elaborated that we are to forbear one another in love – to show grace – through patience (Ephesians 4:2). As to the ‘how’ we are supposed to be patient with each other, it is not possible without love. In what’s been dubbed as “the love chapter” (also written by Paul), we understand that charity – today we call it love – suffers long, bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things (1 Cor. 13:4, 7).

“As to the ‘how’ we are supposed to be patient with each other, it is not possible without love.”

Hope Reflected

Wait on the Lord

As if being patient in our personal relationships weren’t challenge enough, we are also called to be patient as we wait on the Lord. “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.” (Psalm 37:7). Waiting for the Lord’s timing is perhaps the hardest – and yet the most rewarding – aspect of developing our patience. Practicing patience as He works His will to grow us and help us bear fruit (Luke 8:15) is a work itself. When we are feeling weary, may we consider our Lord, the most patient of all – with us both as individuals and society – not willing that any should perish, but watching us falter, grieving our sin, and waiting so patiently for us to come to Him and repent. How can we be impatient with the One who is so patient with us?

Originally published as “Patience.” Independent Plus. February 25, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Thursday

5

August 2021

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.