Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Author Archive

Thursday

1

October 2020

Fear not

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"Let not your heart be trouble, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27) | Fear not, read more on hopereflected.com

Fear is a theme that is common not just during times of uncertainty

Look back through the Bible and there are more than 500 references to the word fear. While some of these speak to a reverence of God, at least 100 of these references speak about why we should not be fearful. Fear is nothing new; it’s been one of the devil’s tactics since man’s beginnings in the Garden of Eden.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear thou not;” we read in Isaiah 41:10. That’s a command from our Lord! We are not to fear. Easier said than done, especially during difficult seasons of life. We may wonder why God tells us to fear not, particularly if our circumstances are uncertain or we’re feeling anxious. “Fear thou not;” Isaiah 41:10 begins, “for I am with thee:” We are commanded not to fear, because no matter the season and no matter our circumstances, God is with us. The verse continues, “be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

When we have a personal relationship with Christ, when He is our Saviour, He is with us, and we have nothing to fear. We can also find encouragement in our Lord’s words to Joshua in Joshua 1:9: “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

Because God is with us, we have no reason to fear

David wrote in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Wherever we are, God is with us. Even when everything around us seems dark, the Lord is our light. Psalm 27 opens, “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?” When we stop looking to ourselves, our circumstances, and our surroundings for strength, and we start looking to God, we are reassured. We have no reason to fear!

Fear can be conquered when Christ is our champion

With Him, peace is possible. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

“The father of fear is unbelief.”

A.W. Tozer

Tozer once said that, “the father of fear is unbelief.” God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Does that mean that we will never be afraid? No, but the key is, that when we find fear creeping in, we like David should reaffirm our trust in the Lord. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” (Psalm 56:3). Whatever we may be going through, may we find reassurance in Jesus’s words, “Be not afraid, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)

Originally published as “Fear not.” Independent Plus. May 21, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

Share Button

Thursday

17

September 2020

Cast, don’t carry

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"To cast our burden upon God is to stay ourselves upon his providence and promise, and to be very easy in the assurance that all shall work for good." Matthew Henry | Read more about casting your cares at hopereflected.com

What does it mean “to cast”?

When boating, to cast off means to free your boat from its mooring and set out on the water. In angling, to cast is the act of throwing your fishing line and bait out over the water. While knitting, casting on is a method of adding new stitches that don’t depend on earlier stitches. No matter the context, the act of casting requires energy and exertion on the part of the person performing it.

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

Psalm 55:22

When David penned Psalm 55, he wrote in verse 22, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” We are to cast our burden on the Lord. We aren’t to hesitate, and we aren’t to pray and then worry, rather, we are to throw our cares on Him. What is our burden? Perhaps it’s a fear of the unknown, or an uncertain future. Maybe it’s worry over finances. It could even be concern for our physical or mental health. “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop,” we read in Proverbs 12:25. What is weighing heavy on your heart? Whatever our burden, we are to cast it on Him. In his commentary on Psalm 55, Matthew Henry said that, “To cast our burden upon God is to stay ourselves on his providence and promise, and to be very easy in the assurance that all shall work for good.” It’s easier said than done.

Casting takes work

Casting our care is certainly not for the faint of heart, and it always requires full disclosure to God. We can be quick to forget in our prayers that God sees and knows all – not even the darkest, deepest parts of our hearts are hidden to Him. If we are to truly cast our burden upon the Lord, if we truly want Him to sustain us, we must be totally honest and open with Him. We must be humble.

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

1 Peter 5:6-7

Peter, in his first epistle to the Christians in and around Asia Minor, specifically when writing to the elders, encouraged them to “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” then he wrote, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7). Part of casting our cares upon Him requires us to humble ourselves. Remember in Psalm 138:6 we understand that God is close to the humble, “but the proud he knoweth afar off.” It doesn’t matter how strong your pitching arm is, the farther away something is when you’re trying to cast to it, the more difficult it is. Spiritually, we cannot cast our cares on the Lord unless we are close to Him.  

Rather than looking everywhere else for support, we should look to Him to sustain us. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Jesus promises in Matthew 11:28-30, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Originally published as “Cast, don’t carry.” Independent Plus. May 14, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

Share Button

Monday

7

September 2020

Devotions require devotion

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 | Read devotions require devotion on hopereflected.com

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Devotions are the name that we give to our daily time with God, usually spent reading the Bible and possibly a Bible study guide or book, and praying. They are not something we do just once, they’re not a habit we develop overnight, and they’re not a practice that comes to us naturally. Devotions require commitment, dedication, loyalty – our devotions requires devotion.

The Bible isn’t merely a history book

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,” Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (15:4) The Bible, with its 66 books, 31,102 verses, and countless topics that are just as relevant today as they were when they were written, is given to us for our learning and for our comfort. The Bible isn’t merely a history book; it is our tool book, and the greatest weapon in our arsenal, after all, “the word of God is quick, and powerful, sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Devotions convict us of our sin

This is one of the reasons that some Christians neglect to spend time in devotion with God’s Word. Because the Bible discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart, and it’s quick to convict us of our sin, it makes for some uncomfortable self-reflection. As Tozer once said, “An honest man with an open Bible and a pad and pencil is sure to find out what is wrong with him very quickly.” This is another reason we ought to devote more time to God. “A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading,” wrote C.S. Lewis. God’s Word has the power to transform, and the more time we spend in the Bible the more we will grow.

Our devotional time will bring us closer to our Lord

There is a misconception that our devotional time will always be filled with some spiritual enlightenment, with “aha” moments, and feelings of closeness with our Lord. This is not always the case – and that’s not a bad thing. We may at times experience enlightenment, and there will be truths revealed to us that we’ve not seen or understood before. Our devotional time will bring us closer to our Lord even when we don’t feel it. Our daily soak in God’s Word is meant to develop, reprove, correct, and instruct us over time. Devotions take time. Just as going to the gym doesn’t give you overnight results, so devotional time in God’s Word won’t transform you in a day.

“I will run the way of thy commandments… Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.” (Psalm 119:32-33). Our devotions require devotion.

You may also be interested in: 3 reasons to start doing devotions daily

Originally published as “Devotions require devotion.” Independent Plus. May 7, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

Share Button

Friday

4

September 2020

Walking in Obedience

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"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.

Share Button

Tuesday

1

September 2020

Hot or cold, but not lukewarm

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." (1 Corinthians 16:13) | Read more at hopereflected.com - Hot or cold, but not lukewarm

We don’t like lukewarm things, do we?

Whether it’s a cuppa tea, bathwater, or dinner, lukewarm just won’t do. When any of the aforementioned are lukewarm, they lose their appeal and they’re just not as effective.

The same is true of lukewarm Christians. We all know them, and if we’re honest, we’ll admit that at sometime, we’ve been them. Afraid to go against the flow, concerned with political correctness more than we are with Biblical authority, worried that our friends won’t agree with our opinions, too tired to stand up for what’s right, and guilty of thinking that we can’t make a difference anyway.

God is very clear about the results of being lukewarm.

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth,”

Revelation 3:16

God is very clear about the results of being lukewarm: “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth,” (Rev. 3:16). James in his eponymous epistle describes being lukewarm or wishy washy like this: “For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways,” (James 1:6-8). Whether we call it being lukewarm, wishy washy, or double minded, the Bible warns us of the results of being lukewarm.

One of the most important ways to ensure we don’t become lukewarm is by staying in God’s Word.

We can discern the difference between right and wrong, good and evil if we are more immersed in God’s Word than we are in the culture and world around us. That doesn’t mean that we live with our heads under rocks, quite the contrary. We need to be armed and equipped for the real world. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword,” we read in Hebrews 4:12, “piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

We need to put on the full armor of God to avoid becoming lukewarm.

The most powerful piece of equipment we have is God’s Word. Psalm 1 promises that “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” We need to put on the full armor of God to avoid becoming lukewarm.

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong,”

1 Corinthians 16:13

When our foundation is firm, we can stand fast. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong,” Paul encouraged believers in 1 Corinthians 16:13. Jesus Himself said that we should strengthen our brethren (Luke 22:32). We should encourage each other to be “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear,” (1 Peter 3:15).

“Christianity if false is of no importance, and if true of infinite importance,” said C.S. Lewis, “The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” We do not serve a part-time Saviour, and we cannot be part-time Christians.

Originally published as “Hot or cold, but not lukewarm.” Independent Plus. April 23, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

Share Button

Tuesday

11

August 2020

Community

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God." Nehemiah 4:9 | Read more about community at hopereflected.com

Characteristics of a strong community

After giving up his position in the court of the Persian king Artaxerxes, Nehemiah served his people as governor in rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. We read all about the rebuilding of the city in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, which presents us with a wonderful example of how prayer, encouragement, and loyalty build a strong community.

“Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God,”

Nehemiah 4:9

When Nehemiah heard of the desolation of Jerusalem and that the city had been left in ruin, he was distraught, and his first reaction was to pray. “And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,” (1:4). His city was destroyed, and only a remnant of the people was left. Throughout the book of Nehemiah, the importance of prayer is highlighted. Nehemiah was fervent in prayer; he sought the Lord first, and encouraged his community to do the same.

When we are going through a crisis and we are wearied by world news, is it our instinct as a community to cry out to God in prayer, or are we more apt to rest in our own abilities first? “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God,” (4:9). The Lord led Nehemiah to help rebuild the city, and through prayer Nehemiah and his community persevered.

Encouragement is a vital part of community

Just as prayer is a vital part of community, so is encouragement. Nehemiah encouraged his community to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and even when the going got tough and they faced incredible opposition, he continued to encourage his people. “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” (4:14). When Nehemiah and his community came up against scorn and ridicule, instead of getting discouraged, they encouraged each other to keep going. When they were faced with physical opposition, they came together even stronger. “In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.” (4:20).

Do we rally together with our community, ready to serve with our neighbours and encourage those around us? Like discouragement, encouragement is equally contagious. Which do we spread? Despite the huge task before them, Nehemiah and his community encouraged one another.

Impacting a community for future generations

The book of Nehemiah not only shows us how prayer and encouragement can strengthen a community, but also how loyalty can impact a community for future generations. While some may think that rebuilding the city wall was a task reserved for stonemasons or skilled carpenters, in Nehemiah’s community there was a place for every person. Each member demonstrated their loyalty by coming together to see how they could help. “Next unto him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths. Next unto him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries, and they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall.” (3:8). From goldsmiths to perfumers, everyone was committed to getting the job done. Each of us brings a unique gift to our community, and we should be willing to share it with others.

Originally published as “Community.” Independent Plus. March 26, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Share Button

Tuesday

23

June 2020

Lies the devil tells us

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar." C.S. Lewis | Read more at hopereflected.com

Since the Garden of Eden, the devil’s tactics have remained the same. Too frequently, we believe the lies the devil tells us.

Isolation is one of the devil’s lies

Satan doesn’t want us to be part of a church community or communicating openly. Guaranteed that whatever we feel, there are others who can relate. This is challenging to remember, especially during times of distress. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee:” God promises (Isaiah 41:10). In the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us (Psalm 23:4). When we are brokenhearted, He is with us (Psalm 34:18). When we are acting foolishly, He is with us (Psalm 73:23). When we can’t find our way, He is with us (Psalm 139:11). We are not alone.

Satan would love for us to believe that we are alone

Satan would love for us to believe that we are alone, and he also wants us to feel ashamed. He doesn’t want us to share our feelings or to accept God’s grace. Shame is another of the devil’s lies. Satan would have us forever carry around the weight of our past sins, of our regrets, of that thing that happened so long ago that we wish no one would find out about. But God, He’s not a God of shame; He’s a God of saving grace! “For the LORD GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” (Isaiah 50:7). As our Saviour, Christ removes our shame.  “Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.” (Psalm 25:3).

The devil will tell you that no one understands

Another lie Satan wants us to believe is that no one understands us. No one else gets it. Like feeling alone, feeling like no one understands us is another attempt from the devil to hinder our walk with God. But God, He does understand. “Thou understandest my thought afar off.” (Psalm 139:2). God understands far more about us than we do about ourselves! Psalm 139 is a beautiful reminder of this. Truly, as Isaiah wrote, “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding.”

Pessimism is another tactic from the devil’s toolkit

It’s easy to become discouraged when we hear about persecution, viruses spreading, and countries at war. The devil would love to see us quit. Too often we allow our discouragement to change our outlook. We are called to press on. We are called to victory! Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” We are to be always abounding in the work of the Lord, not giving up because we don’t think we can make a difference.  We must not believe the lies the devil tells us. As C.S. Lewis said, “Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar.”

Originally published as “Lies the devil tells us.” Independent Plus. March 12, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Share Button

Thursday

14

May 2020

Prepare your heart to seek the Lord: Jehoshaphat

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
“To seek God does not narrow one’s life, rather it brings it to the level of highest possible fulfillment.” (A.W. Tozer) | Seeking the Lord | Hopereflected.com

Nearly five centuries of history are covered throughout the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles, including great detail about the lives of many kings, including Jehoshaphat, King of Judah.

Seeking the Lord

Jehoshaphat, whose name means “Jehovah has judged,” lived a fascinating life. The son of Asa, we read that the Lord was with Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:3). Why was the Lord with Jehoshaphat? Because Jehoshaphat walked in the first ways of David (who we know was a man after God’s own heart), he sought to the Lord, walked in his commandments, and his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord.

After learning about Jehoshaphat’s spiritual strengths, it may be surprising to some to find out that Jehoshaphat made some serious errors in judgment throughout his reign. He formed an alliance with King Ahab of Israel –  one of the most wicked kings in history – which almost cost him his life, and later, Jehoshaphat tried to form an alliance with Israel through the building of a navy with the wicked King Ahaziah. Both of these allegiances failed, and yet we still read that throughout his life, Jehoshaphat did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.

Prepare your heart to seek God

We aren’t the only ones who make mistakes in life; even King Jehoshaphat was human! It is encouraging to know that although we fail, although we falter, we can still do that which is right in the sight of the Lord. After his debacle with King Ahab, Jehoshaphat is rebuked for his mistake by the prophet Jehu, who tells him: “Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.” (2 Chronicles 19:3).

How did Jehoshaphat prepare his heart to seek God? Well, even after his misadventure with Ahab, Jehoshaphat “returned in peace” to Jerusalem (2 Chron. 19:1). Jehoshaphat didn’t stay in Ramothgilead, he returned home, and peacefully at that. When we make mistakes, we must return and repent to the Lord. Preparing our hearts to seek God requires confession, repentance, and honesty.

Seeking the Lord means getting our hearts right

Jehoshaphat also prepared his heart to seek God by taking correction well, and making changes. After his mishap with Ahab, the prophet Jehu admonished Jehoshaphat: “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” (19:2). When Jehoshaphat heard this rebuke, he didn’t get upset, he didn’t sulk. On the contrary, he made changes! He stayed in Jerusalem, he brought the people back to God, he set godly judges in place, and he sought after the Lord. When we are corrected, what is our reaction? Do we have an attitude of pride, or are we humble in spirit? To get our hearts right, we must be humble. God is close to the humble, but the proud he knows from afar (Psalm 138:6).

Jehoshaphat got restless, and he wandered, but ultimately he prepared his heart to seek God. As Tozer said, “To seek God does not narrow one’s life, rather it brings it to the level of highest possible fulfillment.”

Originally published as “Prepare your heart to seek the Lord: Jehoshaphat” Independent Plus. March 5, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Share Button

Wednesday

6

May 2020

Pride

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off." (Psalm 138:6) | Read more about pride at hopereflected.com

Beware the great destroyer

One of the ways that pride destroys our lives is by pulling us away from the Lord. When we get puffed up with self-empowerment, we push God away. Have you ever noticed that during those times when you’re always right and up on your soapbox, you can’t hear God? David wrote in Psalm 138:6, “Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.” Whenever it feels like God can’t hear us, or as though He’s being distant, we should question, is it Him, or is it me? We may be surprised at the answer, after all God knows the proud from afar but “he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” (Psalm 9:12)

“Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.”

Psalm 138:6

If we are growing in relationship with God, then we are dying to self so that we can live for Him. If God comes first in our lives, that doesn’t leave any room for pride. “I have set the LORD always before me:” David wrote in Psalm 16:8, “because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” David didn’t set himself first, he put the Lord first. When we put the Lord first, He is our confidence! That we no longer need to be self-reliant should be such a relief to us.

At the root of the struggle

Beware the great destroyer. For many, pride is holding them back; it is at the root of their struggle to accept Christ as Saviour. To experience true salvation, we have to admit things that pride – read, sin – doesn’t want us to confess. Who wants to be honest and confess that they’re a sinner? No takers? Who wants to admit that they need help? Who wants to get down on their knees and acknowledge that nothing that they do is going to get them into Heaven? Pride, – one of Satan’s weapons of choice, the great destroyer, – doesn’t want any of us to do that.

We can’t earn our salvation

Pride is that false confidence that convinces us that we can earn our salvation. “I go to church,” “I take communion,” “I do good things,” “I’m kind to others,” “I give money,” “I volunteer,” – “I” is at the very centre of sin and pride, quite literally. No amount of money or good deeds is going to get us into Heaven. Nothing but confessing our sin and acknowledging Christ as our Saviour can open that door. Is pride holding you back?

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

1 Corinthians 10:12

Another way pride destroys our lives is by puffing us up only to shamefully deflate us. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12) We know that God hates it, and yet so often we allow pride to make fools out of us. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,” (Proverbs 12:15). C.S. Lewis called pride “the chief of all misery… Without pride there is no offense. Pride is what made the devil the devil.” We should not give place to pride, as Lewis said, “For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”

You can read more about pride here.

Originally published as “Pride” Independent Plus. February 21, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Share Button

Monday

27

April 2020

Rahab: Obedience from an unlikely source

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"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.

Share Button