Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

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Monday

15

July 2019

Taking up your cross

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"When Christ died, He died for you individually, just as much as if you had been the only person in the world." C.S. Lewis | Taking up your cross | See more at hopereflected.com

What does taking up your cross mean?

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. “ (Luke 9:23-24)

What does taking up your cross mean? As Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary, “the troubles of Christians are fitly called crosses, in allusion to the death of the cross, which Christ was obedient to; and it should reconcile us to troubles, and take off the terror of them, that they are what we bear in common with Christ, and such as he hath borne before us.” You are not alone in your troubles, in your loneliness, or in your sorrow. While the load you carry is different from that of your neighbour, it doesn’t take away from the fact that you carry a burden. Christ told each one of us to cast all our cares on him because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), and preceding that he said, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)

Humility is another part of taking up your cross.

Humility is another part of taking up your cross. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself,” Jesus said in Luke 9:23. “Let him deny himself”. There is no greater act of humility than self-denial, but how often each one of us are guilty of putting ourselves first: When you refuse to give the gift of forgiveness although Christ has already forgiven you; when you resent that someone else got the glory for the work that you did; when you hold tightly the very grace and mercy given to you by God but you offer it sparingly to those around you. We are all guilty, and we are all self-involved. Taking up your cross requires denial of self, even – and especially – when no one is watching. As Oswald Chambers said, “it is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us.”

Taking up our cross is not about reliance on our own strength.

“Let him…take up his cross daily,” Jesus said in Luke 9:23. We are to take up our cross not just on Sunday, not just when we feel like it or when we want something from God; we are to take up our cross every day. John Piper said, “Sin is ugly. It should be killed daily. I die every day, because Jesus said, ‘Take up your cross daily’ and crosses are for dying.” Each of us fails every day, and the beauty of a relationship with Christ is that He already knows, and He’s already forgiven us. Taking up our cross is not about reliance on our own strength or what we can do, but rather all about reliance on what Christ has already done.

The path may be narrow, but Christ has already paved the way.

“Follow me,” Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Luke 9:23-24) Keep going. The path may be narrow, but Christ has already paved the way. As C.S. Lewis said, “When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only person in the world.”

Originally published as “Taking up your cross.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. March 14, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

12

July 2019

Spend more time alone with God

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If you want to grow stronger in your faith, you’ve got to spend more time alone with God

And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. (Matthew 14:23) | Time alone with God. Read more at hopereflected.com

“And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.” (Matthew 14:23) Several times throughout the New Testament, we read about Jesus departing from the company of other people to spend time alone with God and pray.

Be still and know that He is God

It seems like more often than not, people today have a tendency to do just the opposite. Not wanting to be alone, they surround themselves with other people, turn up the music or turn on talk radio, and fill their solitary moments with noise, all in an effort to avoid being alone with their own thoughts. They fill their schedules with activities, work, time spent always in the company of others. While listening to music and spending time with friends is certainly not wrong, busying ourselves in order to bypass being alone is a direct contradiction of God Himself telling us to “Be still,” (Psalm 46:10).

Perfect peace often eludes us because we’re always filling our minds with everything but God

We don’t understand the importance of daily time alone with God, because we have a tendency to seek peace in all the wrong places. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusts in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3). Perfect peace often eludes us because we’re always filling our minds with everything but God. We’re working our own way in order to get ahead and to move forward, when really we should be exercising our faith and putting our trust in God. And that’s another reason we don’t understand the importance of daily time alone with God: We’re impatient. We want answers to prayer in an instant, and we’re more apt to be flippant than we are to be faithful. Remember, we are called to “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.” (Heb. 10:23) If you want to grow stronger in your faith, you’ve got to spend more time alone with God.

Time alone with God and talking with Him directly are not things reserved for a booth or a certain day of the week

Not only do we not understand the importance of daily time alone with God, we also take for granted the privilege that it is to spend time alone with God. We have not an high priest (Hebrews 4:15) because we are the priest. When you know Christ as your personal Saviour, you have direct access to talk to Him whenever you want and wherever you are – confession, prayer, praise, sharing hopes and fears – time alone with God and talking with Him directly are not things reserved for a booth or a certain day of the week. The Lord is near to all who call on him (Psalm 145:18). You have the ear of the Creator of the Universe. Consider that. He wants to hear from you, and He wants to talk with you!

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

Joseph Scriven wrote the famous hymn, “What a Friend we have in Jesus,” the first verse of which reads: “What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!”

Originally published as “Spend more time alone with God.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. March 7, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

8

July 2019

Walking with the LORD

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“Let us walk in the light of the LORD.” Isaiah 2:5

"Let us walk in the light of the LORD." Isaiah 2:5 | Walking with the Lord

From a prison cell, the apostle Paul wrote to encourage fellow believers at the church of Colossae. He hadn’t met these people in real life, but he had heard that they were under attack and being led astray by false teachers who were denigrating the deity of Christ. The point of Paul’s letter to the church of Colossae, – known to us today as the book of Colossians, – was to encourage believers to understand the greatness of God, His headship over the church, His place as our Redeemer, and how the Colossians – and us as modern day Christians – can keep walking with the Lord.

Walking with the Lord requires us to spend time with Him

Walking with the Lord requires us to recognize Who God really is. Reading through even just the first chapter of Colossians, Paul describes God as the following: Our Father (1:3), our Creator (and the Creator of all things) (1:16), our Deliverer (1:13), our Redeemer (1:14), He has forgiven all our sins (1:14), He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (1:17). We can’t walk with God if we don’t have a clear and true understanding of Who He is. To walk with God requires us to spend time with God and in His Word, and as we do so, we’ll gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of Who He is. “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130)

Walking with the Lord helps us to cultivate consistency

As if recalling God’s attributes to mind wasn’t encouraging enough, Paul goes on to show us that walking with the Lord helps us to cultivate consistency in our lives: Being fruitful, increasing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all might, having patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. These are all things that take time and that require consistency. Just as you don’t expect the trees and flowers to be in full bloom on the first day of spring, you can’t expect to reach some pinnacle of spiritual maturity by attending church once in a while, and occasionally reading your Bible. Walking with the Lord is something we continuously and consistently must do. “See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also, be patient.” (James 5:7)

Walking with the Lord promotes praise and prayer

Paul mentions several times in the first chapter of Colossians about giving thanks and praying, because he understood that walking with the Lord promotes both praise and prayer. “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,” (1:3), “we…do not cease to pray for you,” (1:9), “Giving thanks to the Father,” (1:12). When we keep our eyes on the Lord, when we stop looking in and we start looking up, it is then that we’re better able to keep heading in the right direction.

The path won’t always be smooth

The path won’t always be smooth, and the road won’t always be straight, but be encouraged: We’re walking with the Lord, the One Who makes the way in the wilderness and creates rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:19).

Originally published as “Walking with the LORD.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. February 28, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

1

July 2019

Be Bold

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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We can be bold because our confidence rests in the Creator

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

Meekness means being bold

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

Because of Christ, we can and should be bold

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

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

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

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Monday

24

June 2019

The Necessity of Prayer

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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Prayer does not change God, it changes us. Prayer is action.

Through our prayers – through Christ – we open ourselves up to new opportunities for contentment, focus, forgiveness, hope, trust, peace, provision, transformation, glorifying God, and growing deeper in our relationship with Him.

It’s easy to see the consistency in Christ’s character as we look at His life through each Gospel account in the New Testament. During His ministry here on earth, Jesus lived a life filled with action – He didn’t just speak life; He showed us how to live life by His example, including teaching us how to pray.

In Luke 11, the disciples ask our Lord to teach them how to pray, and He responds, “When ye pray, say…” and goes on to pray what we recognize today as the Lord’s prayer.

Now, I realize that there are some who don’t believe that prayer is action or relative to our character – perhaps because not every body sees it or perhaps because it can take time before we see results – however it’s important to remember that prayer is action, and it is relative to our character. Prayer is a surrender of our own abilities and power, and the realization and recognition that it is not our prayers that are making changes – it’s Who we’re praying to that makes changes. Jesus knew this, and we see His reverence toward God in how He prayed.

He addressed God as Father. “Our Father which art in heaven,” (Luke 11:2). Wes recently finished a book called “Father Hunger,” by Douglas Wilson, in which Wilson addresses the importance of fathers. While I haven’t read it myself, the book explores the impact that fathers – or a lack thereof – have on us as society as well as us relating to our heavenly Father. God is our Father, and the ultimate Father at that. He provides all our provisions; He satisfies all our needs and wants. He loves us more than our earthly Fathers ever could.

Jesus also sought time alone to pray. “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.” (Matthew 14:23). Jesus purposefully set time out in His day to be alone to pray. “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed.” (Luke 5:16) “And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.” (Mark 6:46). While you can pray anywhere, anytime, seeking time alone and away from distractions can help you concentrate as you still your heart before the Lord.

Beyond seeking time alone, Jesus taught us that in our prayers, we should give thanks to God. We should give thanks when God answers and hears our prayers, “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth…” (Matthew 11:25). We should give thanks before we eat, as Jesus taught us at the feeding of the five thousand, “And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks…”. We should give thanks in every thing, as Paul did from Christ’s example in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Time spent in prayer is one of the most important parts of life. As C.S. Lewis once said, “I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. Prayer does not change God – it changes me.”

Originally published as “The Necessity of Prayer.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate, Walkerton Herald-Times. February 7, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

28

May 2019

Perseverance

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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Perseverance is not for the faint of heart

Perseverance: "Run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) | see more at hopereflected.com

Right now in our devotions, Wes and I are reading through the book of Genesis and history of Joseph. Widely remembered for his longsuffering, his forgiving spirit, and his strong faith, Joseph is an excellent example of perseverance.

By this point in the New Year, many people who have made New Year’s resolutions have already given up on them. As humans, we have a tendency to start out strong and enthusiastic towards our goals, only to get distracted by other priorities, or even laziness. We lose sight of – or maybe aren’t even sure of – our reason why we started in the first place.

Joseph isn’t the only figure in the Bible who gives us a great example of perseverance; his father Jacob also provides an excellent framework around what it is to be patient, as does Esther, Ruth, David, Hannah, and many others.

When you’re tempted to give up because you’re not seeing progress, or you just don’t get the point, don’t lose heart! That is precisely the time when you must keep going. God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him (Isaiah 64:4). Perseverance is as much about patience as it is about waiting well. Perseverance requires work, and if you don’t think waiting is work, then you’re likely not doing it right.

From credit cards and food to cell phones and the internet, we want everything now. Living in a society where everything is instant means that learning the value of true perseverance can be difficult.

As Christians living in today’s world, it can be wearying to hear about the injustices happening all around us, but we must persevere. We are called to let our light shine before others (Matthew 5:16), we are called to let His light shine and be the difference. When we know the right thing to do and we don’t do it, that’s called sin (James 4:17). One of the best ways you can help your Christian brothers and sisters to persevere is to pray. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” (Ephesians 6:18). You can also persevere by being courageous (Psalm 27:14). It can be difficult to persevere when you feel like you’re alone, but remember, you are not alone. “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.” (Psalm 37:7). Perseverance is not for the faint of heart; remember, we are to “run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1). “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9). As Oswald Chambers once said, “Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen.”

Originally published as “Perseverance.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. January 31, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Thursday

23

May 2019

You are not alone

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You are not alone in your feelings of loneliness.

You are not alone in your feelings of loneliness. "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD." (Jeremiah 23:23-24) | Hope Reflected

Loneliness is not a feeling that is limited to times when we’re physically alone. While during the winter months isolation and loneliness plague many – especially those with limited mobility – loneliness is something that affects everyone at some point in their life, more than just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.

The key to loneliness is recognizing it for what it is: A feeling. Feelings come and go, and that’s why it’s incredibly important during periods of loneliness to anchor yourself in the truth.

God is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere, and He is always with you. “Am I a God at hand saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:23-24 is just one example about God’s omnipresence. When you’re feeling lonely, it’s always encouraging to remember that wherever you go, God goes. Whatever you’re feeling, God is there. David asked in Psalm 139:7, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I make my bed in hell, behold, you art there, if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

In addition to God being everywhere, when you’re feeling lonely, remember that you’re not the first person to feel this way, in fact, if we’re all being honest, at some point in time we’ve all felt lonely – even while surrounded by other people! Jesus is an excellent example of this. Isaiah 53 provides a picture of what our Lord experienced during His time on earth. He bore our griefs, and He carried our sorrows, He was wounded for our transgressions and was bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him (Isaiah 53:4-5). It wasn’t just your sin or my sin that Christ carried to the cross; it was everyone’s sin. Christ was oppressed and afflicted, and as a result, today we understand that we aren’t alone! When you know the Lord as your Saviour, you have a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

The Bible is filled with verses on the topic of loneliness (at least 30 by my count). You can be sure that you are not alone in your feelings of loneliness. No matter how lonely you are, Christ is there. “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,” (Psalm 23:4). For thou art with me – the father of the Fatherless, the defender of widows, the one who sets the lonely into families – He is with you! As C.S. Lewis said, “Look for yourself and you will find loneliness and despair. But look for Christ and you will find Him and everything else.” In seasons of loneliness, look for Him!

Originally published as “You are not alone.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. January 24, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

21

May 2019

Consistency

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Developing consistency in your Christian walk is incredibly important.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8) | It is important to develop consistency in your Christian walk

While it can be hard to be consistent in our Christian walk, it’s always encouraging to remember this: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8). Despite our changing moods and circumstances, our Lord never changes. “For I am the LORD, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6a)

Regardless of where you’re at as a Christian – whether you’ve recently come to know the Lord or you’re a veteran, or even if you’re somewhere in between – developing consistency in your Christian walk is incredibly important.

Consistency, often attributed as the key to success, may not always be easy, and it may not always be convenient, but consistency will make a huge difference in your walk with the Lord.

One way to develop consistency in your Christian walk is by keeping a calendar. Each day you should have an appointment with God. God’s Word – the Bible – is the greatest handbook for this life, and you’ve got to spend time reading and studying it if you want God to work in your life. The world ages, seasons change, and generations pass away, but one thing is for sure: God’s Word never changes. James 4:8 says that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. When we’re consistently taking time each day to get in to God’s Word, we’ll grow closer to Him.

Creating reminders is another effective way to develop consistency with your Christian walk. When you’re feeling discouraged or set back, a little encouragement can go a long way. God loves you. We all to be reminded of this! Write down verses of encouragement, keep a prayer and praise journal – remind yourself of God’s goodness. Even when times are hard, we’re called throughout Scripture to be consistent. “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial,” (James 1:12). A great way to remain steadfast under trial is to meditate on God’s Word day and night (Psalm1:2).

Consistency in your Christian walk also comes when we choose to follow the right example. “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) Our Lord never changes; He’s always been and He will always be (Heb. 13:8). We seek great leaders to follow because they have characteristics that we wish to emulate: Strength, leadership, skill, wisdom, consistency. Jesus is the ultimate leader (though not by the world’s standards). Humble, meek, gentle – Christ is the picture of consistency. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) No variableness means there is no change. Truly it can be said that, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” (Lamentations 3:22) What better example to follow!

Originally published as “Consistency.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. January 17, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

1

April 2019

Endurance

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Because of God, we can find encouragement in endurance

Often used interchangeably with its synonyms tolerance and patience, endurance is one of those things that we get tired just thinking about. Associated with challenges, hard times, and periods of suffering, endurance is not for the faint of heart.

We weren’t called to enjoy this life; we were called to endure it. Some of you reading this will balk, thinking rather that we are here on earth to enjoy our life. The reality is that you can spend your whole life searching and seeking enjoyment and happiness, but without the Lord you will come up short and end up empty-handed. You know what we are called to enjoy? God. As the Westminster Catechism states, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” You can disagree, but thankfully the Christian faith is based on facts that date back far earlier than you or I.

When you become a Christian, your life is probably not going to be easy. People are going to make fun of you, belittle you, laugh at your expense, and depending where you live in the world, persecute you. The good news is that we aren’t the first to endure hardships, and if we’re being honest, ours are “first world problems” compared with what Christians in many other nations have to endure.

So where’s the encouragement in endurance? The Bible is filled with accounts of men and women who lived in faith before us. Abraham, Moses, Noah, Sarah, Isaac, Joseph, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, Mary, Samson, David, – I could go on. By faith they endured (Hebrews 11:27). By faith, they “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, and out of weakness were made strong (Hebrews 11:33-34).

Beyond our ancestors before us, because of God, we can find encouragement in endurance. Our chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Even when we are at our worst, God’s goodness endures forever. “Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? The goodness of God endureth continually.” (Psalm 52:1)

Even when we doubt, God’s truth endures forever. “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)

Despite our ruthlessness, God’s mercy endures forever. “Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 106:1)

Regardless of our immorality, God’s righteousness endures forever. “His work is honourable and glorious: and His righteousness endureth for ever.” (Psalm 111:3)

Even though we think we’re in charge right now, His dominion endures forever. “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.” (Psalm 145:13)

Originally published as “Endurance.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 29, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

4

March 2019

Don’t take yourself too seriously

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It’s a liberating thing when you can learn to laugh

We often get caught up worrying about life, work, other people, what other people think of us, and ourselves, but consider how much more fulfilling life is when you can learn to not take yourself so seriously. Rather than looking in, start looking out, and learn how to let go.

Don’t take yourself too seriously; learn to let go and to laugh. Nobody is perfect; we are all human, and we are all prone to err. Taking yourself too seriously is a huge indicator of pride. The Bible says that, “when pride comes, then comes shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2) There’s something so freeing about not taking yourself too seriously. It’s a liberating thing when you can learn to laugh and when you learn to accept that it’s not “all about you” and how you’re feeling. People around you will appreciate you all the more for it, and God will bless you for it. “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty; and before honour is humility.” (Proverbs 18:12)

When you take yourself too seriously, you’re trying to take control away from God (and we all know that’s just not possible). Pride puts forth a lot of effort into controlling circumstances, but faith puts trust in the One who controls the universe. “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) As a Christian, not taking yourself too seriously doesn’t mean that you act immaturely or carelessly; it means that you’ve got faith and you’re resting in the Lord’s strength rather than your own.

Not taking yourself too seriously doesn’t mean that you don’t have confidence, quite the contrary; not taking yourself too seriously means that you’re all the more secure in who God has made you. As Christians, we have every reason to be secure in the Lord. We don’t have to take ourselves too seriously because we stand firm in our faith. As it says in 2 Corinthians 9:8, in all things at all times, we have all that we need in God. He is our rock, our refuge, our shield, our strength – our security is in Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

You’ve likely read – or at least heard of – Proverbs 31, which tells of the virtuous woman. One of her virtues is that “she shall rejoice in time to come” (Proverbs 31:25). Some versions of the Bible say that, “she can laugh at the days to come.” As I said above, it’s a liberating thing when you can learn to laugh. We don’t have to take ourselves too seriously because we know who controls the future. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) We need not worry about tomorrow, because we know who holds tomorrow.

Don’t take yourself too seriously, and don’t take others too seriously, either. The most important one to take seriously is God.

Originally published as “Don’t take yourself too seriously.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 15, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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