Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

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Friday

16

August 2019

Don’t be conformed, be transformed

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"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2) | Read more at hopereflected.com

We can learn a lot from the monarch butterfly

For the past few years, Wes and I have tried to garden with pollinators in mind. We’ve specifically sought out plants that we understand to be attractive to monarch butterflies. Milkweed, elderberry, and zinnias are a few. This year, we’ve added to our collection with American plum trees, through our community’s pollinator-friendly plant sale.

Wes and I have both always loved monarch butterflies. Call them the ugly duckling or the little engine that could, but whether considering the butterfly’s transition from caterpillar to butterfly, or its annual cross-continental journey, we can learn a lot from the monarch.  

The monarch butterfly goes through multiple stages of metamorphosis as it grows from larva to caterpillar and then to its final form as the formidable butterfly. Through each of these stages, we don’t see the monarch compare itself to the creatures around it; it just grows where the Lord has placed it. The monarch concentrates on its development rather than making comparisons. Galatians 6:4 tells us, “Let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”

Concentrate on development rather than making comparisons

Don’t compare yourself to others. Where they’re at on their walk has nothing to do with you, and we all know that comparison is the thief of joy. Career, education, children, finances, and even your spiritual growth – these are all areas in which we’re tempted to make comparisons to others. In moments when you find yourself making comparisons, remember this: You are an individual, one of God’s unique creations. “Your hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:73)

Keep your eyes on the Lord

By not comparing itself to others, the monarch butterfly is able to concentrate on the purpose for which God intended it. Through its various stages of development, the focus of the butterfly is on the work at hand. “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” (Proverbs 4:25-26)

When priorities are competing, plans are challenging, and people are comparing, it’s easy to get sidetracked. Spiritual growth requires a great deal of focus on God’s Word, a dedication to time alone with Him, and an earnest desire to serve the Lord. When you truly long to live God’s will for your life, you can be sure that the devil will try darn hard to distract you. Stay strong, and remain focused. The psalmist said in Psalm 1 that we should meditate on God’s Word day and night. Keep your eyes on the Lord. (Hebrews 12:2)

Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus

The monarch butterfly is committed to the long game, and each of us would do well to learn from that type of determination. The monarch makes its migration every year from southern Ontario deep into parts of Mexico. That’s commitment! Think of the adversity that such a small creation could encounter throughout its cross-continental journey – from hungry animals and traveling cars to adverse weather and weary wings – and yet it presses on.

“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5) Are we in it for the long haul, like the apostle Paul said? Are we forgetting the things behind and reaching forward to the things before, pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? (Phil. 3:13-14) Or are we looking for earthly glory and exploring our own self-interests?

For God’s good, true, and perfect will, don’t be conformed, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)

Originally published as “Don’t be conformed, be transformed.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. May 2, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

12

August 2019

Trusting Christ in Every Circumstance

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"For I am the LORD, I change not." (Malachi 3:6) | Trusting Christ in every circumstance | Read more at hopereflected.com

Because He never changes, we can trust Christ in every circumstance

We can trust Christ in every circumstance because He never changes. “For I am the LORD, I change not,” we read in Malachi 3:6. The writer of Hebrews also encourages us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). Nothing on this earth stays the same, things are always changing, and that includes your circumstances and the situations you find yourself living through. Prayer is a big part of trusting God in every circumstance. C.S. Lewis once said that, “prayer doesn’t change God; it changes us.” What a comforting thought to remember. Even when every thing around us seems to be changing, God never does.

We can trust Christ because of His character

Trusting Christ in every circumstance is also possible because of His character. According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” We know from the Bible that God is omniscient (He knows everything), omnipresent (He is always with us), and omnipotent (He is all-powerful), and He is strong, He is trustworthy, He is our fortress, our rock, and our deliverer. In Psalm 18, David calls on God’s attributes for his help, and this is often a portion of Scripture that I recall to mind for encouragement and as a reminder of who God really is. Even in our best moments, our character cannot compare to the character of God.

Finding our confidence in Christ

It’s because of His character that we can be confident in Him, which is another component of trusting Christ in every circumstance. Too often, we rely on our finite understanding when it comes to making decisions and navigating through life. We’d save ourselves so much heartache if we truly learned to live verses like Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” When you really stop and consider, it seems silly that we would rest in our own limited understanding when we can trust the Creator of the universe. Psalm 37 encourages us to trust Christ in every circumstance by fretting not, delighting in Him, committing our way to Him, and resting in Him. Psalm 37 also details the results of trusting Christ in every circumstance: “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5) In every circumstance, He shall bring it to pass.

Where is your hope, and where is your confidence? Christ’s grace is sufficient, and His mercy is abundant. What playbook are you following as you walk through this life? As C.S. Lewis said, “There would be no sense in saying you trusted Jesus if you would not take His advice.”

Originally published as “Trusting Christ in Every Circumstance.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. April 25, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

6

August 2019

What Listening Means

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It's no coincidence that the word 'listen' contains the same letters as the word 'silent'. | Read more at hopereflected.com

The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent

The earliest verse I can find in the Bible that references listening is Genesis 16:11, where the angel of the Lord tells Hagar that the Lord “has heard” her affliction. In the book of Psalms, David wrote several times about how the Lord listens and opens His ears to hear His people. In the New Testament James, John, and Paul all encourage their readers about the importance of hearing, taking heed, and listening. Whether we say them audibly or not, the Lord hears all of our thoughts and words. What else does the Bible say about listening? What are the qualities of a great listener?

Listening is an act of humility

One of the verses that I frequently pray for myself and Wes is James 1:19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”.  Being swift to hear means to be quick to listen, and it’s something with which I struggle. Quite often, when we’re engaged in conversation, we spend more time thinking about the next thing that we’re going to say rather than actually listening to what the other person is saying. One of the qualities of a great listener is that they genuinely care about others and want to hear what others have to say. In that sense, listening is an act of humility.

Listening means that we’re “slow to speak”

A great listener understands that listening requires us to be as James 1:19 says, “slow to speak.” Great listeners not only care about what others have to say, they purposefully slow down to hear them. Great listeners are respectful of what others have to say, they don’t interrupt, and they sincerely want to understand what the other person is saying. Proverbs 18:2 says, “a fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.” While we long to express our opinions, we have to be careful that we’re doing so respectfully. Proverbs 18:13 says, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” We play ourselves as fools when we make assumptions without first hearing the whole story, and we create awkwardness when we interrupt others before they’re finished speaking their thoughts.

Listening is peacemaking over provocation

Another quality of a great listener is being slow to wrath, or slow to anger. When you’re tempted to react in haste to something someone else has said or done, remember that it’s best to first take a deep breath, go for a walk, get some fresh air, or if time allows, sleep on it. Proverbs 21:23 says, “whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from trouble.” The great listeners among us are interested in peacemaking rather than provocation.

Stephen Covey said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” It’s no coincidence that the word listen contains the same letters as the word silent (also known as an anagram). We would all do well to keep that in mind the next time someone starts to speak to us.

Learn more about the blessings of listening here.

Originally published as “Listening.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. April 11, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

29

July 2019

Call unto the Lord

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"Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live." (Psalm 116:2) Call unto the Lord | See more at hopereflected.com

Where are you casting your cares?

From social media to self-help books, we have a tendency to find our comfort and confidence in validation from others. But where should you seek clarity when you’re feeling confounded?

As early as the book of Genesis, the Bible provides several examples and reasons why we should make it a habit to call unto the Lord. In Genesis 26, God blesses Isaac when Isaac purposefully seeks the Lord and calls on Him (26:25).

When and why should we call on the Lord? Whether you call on Him in calm and quiet, or in the midst of a great storm, the Bible provides many answers for and examples of why we should call unto the Lord.

Call unto the Lord when you have questions

We should call unto the Lord when we have questions. In Psalm 4:1, David wrote, “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; be gracious to me and hear my prayer.” When you’re confused or when you require clarity, call on the Lord.

Call unto the Lord when you need someone to talk to

We should also call unto the Lord when we need someone to talk to. Better than any earthly advice, being still before the Lord is one of the best ways to learn what a great listener He is, and it’s also an opportunity for us to learn to become better listeners ourselves. “Because He hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live,” wrote David in Psalm 116:2. When you call on the Lord, you’ve got a listening ear for life.

Call unto the Lord when you’re in trouble

Call unto the Lord when you’re in trouble. “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15) Call on the Lord when you need forgiveness (Psalm 86:5), when you’re feeling down (Lamentations 3:55), when you need help (2 Sam. 22:4, Psalm 18:3). You can call on the Lord no matter where you are, even from the ends of the earth (Psalm 61:2).

Lest we think it’s all about us, it’s important to remember that calling on the Lord is about more than just our selfish interests. In 1 Chronicles 16:8 and Psalm 105:1, David says, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name; make known his deeds among the people.” We read again in Isaiah 12:4, “Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.” Calling on the Lord should be done with great reverence and praise.

To whom are you committing your way?

To whom are you committing your way? When we call unto the Lord, He shows us His goodness, His forgiveness, and His abundant lovingkindness (Psalm 86:5); He relieves our distress, shows us grace, and listens to us (Psalm 4:1); He is plenteous in mercy (Psalm 86:15), He saves us from our enemies (Psalm 18:3), rescues us, honors us (Psalm 91:15), and He is good to us. We should always take care to call on the Lord first.

Originally published as “Call unto the Lord.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. April 4, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

26

July 2019

What is a buckler?

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“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4) What is a buckler? | Read more at hopereflected.com

A buckler is just as important today as it was thousands of years ago.

In my Grama’s Bible, a buckler is defined very simply as a shield. I’ve also heard a buckler described as a shield that covers the entire body. A buckler seems like something that would have been more relevant in David’s day than the present day. If you’re a Christian however, a buckler is just as important today as it was thousands of years ago.

David frequently claimed God as his buckler. After the Lord delivered him from the hand of Saul, David wrote a beautiful song of deliverance in 2 Samuel 22: “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.” (2 Samuel 22:31) God is a buckler to all them that trust in him. You’ll be better prepared for life’s battles when you trust Christ as you can claim Him and His Word as your source of protection and your shield.

We can claim God as our buckler!

David also wrote Psalm 18 around the same time that God saved him from his enemies (Saul included). “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2) I love Psalm 18 for many reasons, including the beautiful attributes of God that are referenced, which are as relevant today as they were the day David penned them. There are ten incredible attributes of God contained in just the first two verses of this fifty verse Psalm – all attributes that you can claim when you have Christ as your Saviour. David wrote Psalm 18 in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and specifically from Saul (who was seeking him out to kill him).

If the great King David could utter these words when he was fresh off fleeing for his life in the wilderness, surely we can claim God as our buckler, too!

God’s truth is our shield.

In Psalm 91, David creates a picture of God protecting His children much like a bird protects its young, and he refers to God’s truth as his shield and buckler: “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4) Being a Christian means that you’re going to require God’s protection. Proverbs 2:7 tells us that “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.” When you’re walking uprightly and standing up for the truth, you need to be prepared for attacks from the enemy. One of the best places to go for protection and strength is God’s Word. Read it, absorb it, commit it to memory, learn from it, and be encouraged by it. The Bible is an awesome history of the men and women of faith who trusted God before us – and also the one place where we can find God’s truth and promises for our own lives.

Spurgeon once said that, “the way you view God will eventually show up in the way you live your life.” When Christ is your buckler, you can live boldly and be brave.

Originally published as “What is a buckler?” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. March 28, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

22

July 2019

Being bold for Christ

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"Christians should be the boldest people in the world; not cocky and sure of ourselves, but sure of Him." (A.W. Tozer) | Being bold for Christ | See more at hopereflected.com

In being bold for Christ, our confidence is found in Christ alone, not in ourselves

When the name of Jesus is spoken, do you stand tall or do you shrink back? In your day-to-day life, are you being bold for Christ? Proverbs 28:1 says that, “The righteous are bold as a lion.” If you were to examine even your encounters from today, how would your actions measure up?

Being bold for Christ in trying situations

We are called to be bold for Christ in trying situations. Consider Caleb, who in Numbers 13, found his confidence in God when it came to entering the land of Canaan, despite an entire nation disagreeing with him; or Joshua, the successor to Moses, who led the Israelites to cross the Jordan and defeat the nation of Canaan. In trying situations, Caleb and Joshua both exhibited boldness in Christ. So should you and I.

David wrote in Psalm 27, “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?… though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.” Even in the midst of trying situations – think running for his life and living in a cave for a period of time – David claimed the Lord as his strength, and found his confidence in God. Does being bold in trying situations mean that we’ll walk right out of troublesome circumstances? No, but it does mean that when we cry out to God, He will strengthen us with “strength in my soul.” (Psalm 138:3)

Boldness is required of us

While crying out may seem contrary to being bold for Christ, prayer is another place where boldness is required of us. Written from his place in prison during his first Roman imprisonment, Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus and encouraged the believers that in Christ, “we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” (Ephesians 3:12) Consider that for a moment. Even while facing persecution, Paul claimed boldness in Christ. How much more should we do the same! We need to have boldness to enter His presence and claim His promises (Hebrews 10:19).

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man

We should not be ashamed, but rather we should be bold in letting Christ’s light shine. Paul also wrote in Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Even when it seems like you’re all alone and that no one is standing with you, “Stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong,” (1 Corinthians 16:13) David said, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6) Later in the same Psalm, he wrote, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”

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.” Where do you find your confidence?

Originally published as “Being bold for Christ.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. March 21, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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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

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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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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