Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Christian Living Archive

Thursday

11

August 2022

Flip the switch

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Even on days when we can’t see the sun in the sky, the sun is still shining.

One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a dark dungeon would the world be without the sun! (Matthew Henry) Read more on hopereflected.com

There is always light

There is always light. It may be blocked from our view by clouds and storm systems, some days may be duller than others, but the sun is still shining. And as big as our world seems, the sun is bigger still, and is earth’s main source of light. Matthew Henry wrote that, “One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a dark dungeon would the world be without the sun!”

Unfortunately, many are trapped in a dark dungeon. “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” (Proverbs 4:19). Before we come to Christ and confess our deep need for His light, we are stuck in the dark.

Reaching for the Light

Throughout the Psalms, David refers to God as the one who provides light for the darkness (Psalm 18:28), enlarges his steps (Psalm 18:36), and lights his path (Psalm 119:105). Unless and until we confess our desperate need for a Saviour, we remain in the dark. That’s not a good place to be. “Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;” (Psalm 107:10). Affliction, chains, and death; what a way to go through life! We all know what it’s like to stumble around in the darkness, and it usually involves stubbing our toe on a night stand or walking headfirst into a door jam. When we’re in the dark and we have the option of turning on a light, do we not reach for the nearest light switch so we can see what we’re doing and where we’re going?

The Light of the world

So why do so many of us insist on stumbling through life in the dark, when we’ve got immediate access to the light? “I am the light of the world:” Jesus said, “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12). In the book of John alone, there are eight references that I can find where Jesus is referred to as the light of the world. With Christ, we’re promised that we won’t walk in darkness.

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me

shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

John 8:12

Perhaps you feel as though you’re stuck in the dark and though you’ve been grasping and groping in the dark, you can’t find the light switch. The practical, immediate way to access the light? The Bible. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105). When we allow God’s Word to be our guide, He keeps us on the right path, so we don’t stub our toes or walk headfirst into obstacles.

Light casts out darkness, provides direction, and dissolves discouragement.

Need some light in your life? Read more about the importance of light here.

Originally published as “Flip the switch.” Independent Plus. February 17, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Friday

29

July 2022

A work of the will

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Love is more than feelings

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20 | Read more of "A work of the will" on hopereflected.com

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

“who loved me,” – we are the objects of God’s love. For us to live by faith and for Christ to live in us requires something so much greater than feelings. Love is sacrifice, love is service, and love is often a hard work of the will.

John wrote in his first epistle that we should, “love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8).

"who loved me"—we are the objects of God's love. For us to live by faith—and for Christ to live in us—requires something so much greater than feelings. Read more of "A work of the will" on hopereflected.com

Christ was willing to serve and willing to die

In giving Himself for me, Christ delivered Himself up to suffering and death, and He did so willingly. He came to this earth as a sacrifice for our sins, and He lived a life of service. In the hours before His death, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.

If you knew you were headed to your death in a matter of hours, you’d be more likely to spend the time thinking of ways to escape or prevent your death, than you would be to serve those closest to you. And yet Christ, “riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.” (John 13:4). He poured water into a basin, and one by one, washed the disciples’ feet.

Why would the One who came to save us wash the feet of those around Him?

In Biblical times, foot washing was symbolic and performed for various reasons. In John 13, we see Jesus taking on the lowest form of servitude, and at the same time demonstrating one of the greatest expressions of love. Even on His way to death, Jesus focused not on Himself or what He was going through, but on loving others by serving them.

Service requires sacrifice, and so love is not just service, love is also sacrifice. “God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9). God sent his only begotten Son into the world so that He could die for our sins. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (v. 10). The propitiation, the atonement, the necessary sacrifice for justice. Christ “gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20).

“Love is not just service, love is also sacrifice.”

Hope Reflected
Love is sacrifice, love is service, and love is often a hard work of the will. Read more of "A work of the will" on hopereflected.com

Willing to sacrifice

God loves us so much, that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son for our sins; Christ loves us so much, that He was willing to endure the cross for our souls. Our salvation is only possible because of the willingness of God to sacrifice Jesus for our sins. Jesus came, in His own words, to do “the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). He asked God to save Him from the cross, but accepted His assignment, “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

More than feelings, love is often a hard work of the will.

Originally published as “Forget your feelings.” Independent Plus. February 10, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Tuesday

19

July 2022

Present-tense promises: Bible verses for when you’re feeling lonely or lost

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Rather than rely on our feelings, recall God’s promises to mind

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 Read more on hopereflected.com

Understanding the tenses

Past tense is used to describe things that have already happened. For example, “I was walking outside in the cold yesterday.” Future tense is used describe things that have not yet happened. For example, “Next year, I’m going to attend college.” Present tense is used to describe things that are currently happening, right now, or things that are continuously happening.

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. Joshua 1:9 Read more on hopereflected.com

Bible verses about God being with us

Perhaps today you’re feeling as though you’re all alone. Loneliness affects each one of us at some point or another, even when we’re surrounded by other people. It’s encouraging to remember that though we may feel alone, or may actually appear to be physically alone, God promises that He is with us right now. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God:” (Isaiah 41:10). Jesus Himself promises “lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20).

As if God’s promises aren’t enough, prayer is a powerful way of reassuring us that we are not alone. God promises that when we pray according to His will, “he heareth us:” (1 John 5:14). God doesn’t just promise to be with us in the future; He states matter of fact that He is with us right now! He promises that He hears us when we pray! We are not alone.

What to do when we’re feeling lost

Besides feeling lonely, in our present circumstances it’s very easy to feel lost, or to feel as though life is on hold until things get better. Jesus tells us in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life:”. He is also the Word, so if we’re not spending time daily in His Word to know His way, it should come as no surprise that we’re feeling lost.

What to do when circumstances leave us feeling uncertain about the future

Not only do our present circumstances sometimes make us feel lost, our circumstances and world events can also leave us feeling uncertain about the future. To this, God says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 1:8, 21:6). Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. God is not only the first and the last; He’s all the letters in between too (yes, including Delta and Omicron).

“God is not surprised by what’s going on all around us;”

Hope Reflected

The point is, God is not surprised by what’s going on all around us; there is no event to which He responds, “Oh boy, I didn’t know that was going to happen.” When we’re feeling uncertain and fretting about the future, we ought to fix our thoughts on the One who holds the future. When we’re feeling like there’s more to life, and we’re just not satisfied, there’s a good chance we’ve forgotten what Jesus says: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35).

Our spirits will never truly be satisfied until we know Jesus as our Saviour. Like bread is to our physical body, Christ is to our soul; we need Him to truly live.

Originally published as “Present-tense promises” Independent Plus. February 3, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Monday

27

June 2022

Pregnancy resource centres in Ontario

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How to help and support

Pregnancy Resource Centres in Ontario - find a center near you in Ontario, Canada and learn how you can help.

With last week’s momentous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, so many people are looking for ways to help and support women experiencing unexpected pregnancies.

There is an extensive list of crisis pregnancy centres for the United States, and although the Supreme Court’s decision has no direct impact on Canadian abortion services, for those Canadian readers asking for a list of pregnancy resource centres in Canada, I’ve compiled a list of centres (not exhaustive) in Ontario that you can support either through financial means, clothing, feeding supplies, hygiene products, or volunteering. For a full map of pregnancy centres affiliated with Pregnancy Care Canada click here.

Pregnancy Resource Centres in Ontario, Canada

  • Ramoth House
    • Mount Forest, ON
    • 119 Wellington Street West
    • Phone: 519-323-3751
  • Dawn Centre
    • Cambridge, ON
    • 507-73 Water Street North
    • Phone: 519-620-0204
  • Envisage Pregnancy Services (formerly Barrie Pregnancy Resource Centre)
    • Barrie, ON location: 5 Sophia Street East
    • Collingwood, ON location: 112 Hurontario Street (back door)
    • Phone/Text: 705-739-7280

Thursday

23

June 2022

What’s in your safety deposit box?

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What’s in your safety deposit box?

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

My grandmother referred to the heart as the safety deposit box of your life. A safety deposit box is used to store items of utmost importance and value, things that you don’t want to lose or don’t want to be stolen – things that you don’t want to misplace and that you want to keep with you for the long-term.

Safety deposit boxes come with two keys: One stays with the owner, and the master key stays with the bank. The idea behind this is to protect against any unwanted access to your safety deposit box. Also, if you lose the key to your safety deposit box, you can show your ID to the bank and regain your access.

Why all the security for such a seemingly small thing?

As the owner of my heart, I get to control what goes into it through what I see, what I read, what I hear, and the things I think about. As a Christian, God should have the overall master key to my heart to help me guard the contents. Why all the security for such a seemingly small thing?

What we put into our hearts matters. What we put into our hearts determines what comes out of them. Think of our hearts as the fountain from which our morality (or lack thereof) flows. This fountain can only produce fresh water or foul. Jesus told the disciples (Matt. 15:11-19), “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:”

Because by our sinful nature our hearts produce such tempers, we must guard our hearts more carefully than anything else. Our hearts are incredibly impressionable. This is why David, famously known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14), asked the Lord to “Create in me a clean heart, O God;” (Psalm 51:10). By nature, our hearts are not clean. It’s only with the Lord’s help and work in us that we can get the contents of our hearts right.

“Be careful, it’s my heart”

Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn is one of my all-time favourite films. In it, Bing Crosby’s character Jim Hardy sings the song, “Be careful, it’s my heart”. The lyrics go like this: “It’s not my watch you’re holding, it’s my heart. It’s not the note I sent you that you quickly burned. It’s not the book I lent you that you never returned. Remember, it’s my heart.” Our hearts are delicate and fragile, and it’s critical that we keep them with all diligence.

“Our hearts are delicate and fragile,

and it’s critical that we keep them with all diligence.”

Hope Reflected

In 2 Peter 1:5, Peter wrote about adding virtue to our faith by “giving all diligence”. To keep our heart with diligence requires work, and it requires sacrifice. Diligence requires carefulness and consistency; it’s not a one-time thing. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” (Proverbs 23:7). We think about what we see and what we hear, and we must be careful to consider the qualities of the contents we’re putting in our hearts.

Originally published as “What’s in your security deposit box?” Independent Plus. January 27, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Tuesday

7

June 2022

A glimpse of sunshine

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Even though the outlook appears bleak, the goodness of the Lord can still be seen in the land of the living.

...no times are so wild but that in them are quiet corners, green oases, all the greener for their surroundings, where life glides on in peaceful isolation from the tumult. (Alexander MacLaren) | Read more of A Glimpse of Sunshine on hopereflected.com

“Every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” (Judges 17:6, 21:25). The book of Judges depicts a bleak and black history of Israel, one where man was doing what man wanted, where truth was twisted to suit selfish inclinations, and where God was not forgotten, but purposefully rebelled against. It sounds eerily similar to our present situation.

But God, in His tender mercy and grace, was still very much present among the profanity happening in Israel, just as He is today. Within the book of Judges we see reminders of this, that though man may seem to rule for a season, the Lord is the ultimate judge (11:27). Even though the outlook appears bleak, the goodness of the Lord can still be seen in the land of the living.

There can still be peace within us

Take Ruth, for example. Tucked away within the times of the judges of Israel, Ruth’s history serves as a reminder that though there may be unrest in the world, there can still be peace within us, and there are always glimmers of God’s grace around us. Alexander MacLaren wrote that “no times are so wild but that in them are quiet corners, green oases, all the greener for their surroundings, where life glides on in peaceful isolation from the tumult.”

Although days are dark and times are tumultuous, like Ruth, we can be beacons of light to those around us. Ruth was a Moabitess, the Moabites of which were enemies of Israel and certainly not godly by any stretch of the imagination. And yet we see in history that Ruth is an ancestor of Christ, a prominent member of His lineage. Thank God for His grace! Our past does not determine our future. When we know God, He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Rather than being preoccupied by our past, in Christ we can move forward and face the future with fearlessness.

Stand firm and resolute

Nowhere do we read that Ruth was afraid of what the people of Bethlehem would think of her or say about her. Rather, the Bible tells us of Ruth’s unwavering loyalty. “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17). Even in the face of opposition, Ruth stood firm and resolute. Do we stand firm and resolute, even though noise comes at us from every side and current events contradict what is true and right? Is our loyalty to God unwavering?

“Even in the face of opposition, Ruth stood firm and resolute.”

Hope Reflected

Ruth showed a quiet strength, and lived with humility. She worked cheerfully, gleaning in the fields. The big picture didn’t need to be revealed to her in order for her to be diligent and faithful in the little things. God is the Painter and our life is the picture. As Ruth’s testimony is a glimpse of sunshine in an otherwise stormy sky, may others see His light through us in dark times.

Originally published as “A glimpse of sunshine.” Independent Plus. January 21, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Wednesday

18

May 2022

More salt, please!

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A multi-functional mineral, salt comes in different forms and is used for many different purposes.

"You are the salt of the earth;" (Matthew 5:13) | Read more about salt on hopereflected.com

From preserving and flavouring food to home health remedies, salt has been used for thousands of years.

The process of “curing”

Before the days of refrigerators, people would preserve the shelf time of their meat by using salt. This process is called “curing”. In Leviticus 2, God instructed Moses that every meat offering was to be given with salt. “And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” (Leviticus 2:13). That’s not to say that the Levites were offering up cured meats, but they were careful to use salt with every sacrifice. The salt acted as a cure, purifying the meat, so that the sacrifices that were offered were as clean as possible.

"Salt is to be used as a preservative and to add flavour." Read more about salt on hopereflected.com

We are the salt of the earth

“…every sacrifice shall be salted with salt,” Jesus said (Mark 9:49). Christ referred to us as “the salt of the earth:” (Matthew 5:13). We are meant for far more than blending in and being agreeable. Salt is to be used, both as a preservative and to add flavour. As Christians, we are meant to be a good influence on others, and to lead in thought and virtue, because our conscience is based in God’s truth. We are not called to be influenced by the world, but rather we are called to influence the world.

"Because our conscience is based on God's Word, we ought to lead in thought and virtue. We are meant to have a good influence on others." Read more about salt on hopereflected.com

If salt loses its saltness

What did Jesus mean when He said “if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it?” (Mark 9:50). If salt loses its saltness, while it may still look like salt, it certainly doesn’t taste like it, and what good is that? If you had such a salt in your kitchen, you’d probably throw it out, and you’d certainly never use it. So as Christians, if we stray from our faith, if we stop serving the Lord and start serving our own self-interest, we may still appear to be Christians, but we become useless.

God is not interested in using the Christian who is not living for Him. God doesn’t want us to be mere spectators in this world; He wants us to be part of His story. The Christian who does not stand up for Biblical truth and have a backbone is not capable of Kingdom work. “Have salt in yourselves,” Jesus said (Mark 9:50), “and have peace one with another.”

"We are not to be influenced by the world; the world is to be influenced by us." Read more about salt on hopereflected.com

Stand out and stand up

As Old Testament sacrifices were seasoned with salt, so should we be in our lives and relationships. If we’re living lives that are seasoned with salt, it should be obvious. Christians should stand out and stand up.

“Christians should stand out and stand up.”

Hope Reflected

We should, not only through our words but also through our daily actions, exhort others to do the same. Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6). To be seasoned with salt is to be sharp, that is not to say cold or harsh, but informed and eloquent.

Originally published as “More salt, please!” Independent Plus. January 13, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Monday

25

April 2022

Run with patience

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“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 | Read more about running with patience on hopereflected.com

Always practiced, never perfected

I am not a runner, however several friends of mine are runners, and one even runs competitively. She would tell you that running requires a great deal of training. A runner is never fully trained; they continually strive to be better, to run faster, to improve their time, to build their endurance. Running is an activity that is never perfected, but always practiced.

We read in Hebrews 12:1-2, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Active or passive?

In his Bible Expositions, MacLaren illustrates the Christian life by drawing parallels between the traveller and the runner. While the traveller goes through life at his leisure, the runner “must not look askance, must not be afraid of dust or sweat, must tax muscle and lungs to the utmost, if, panting, he is to reach the goal and win the prize…”. He goes on to say that the Christian life is “to be ‘run with patience’, by which great word the New Testament means, not merely passive endurance, noble and difficult as that may be, but active perseverance which presses on unmoved, ay, and unhindered, to its goal in the teeth of all opposition.” We all endure, but do we endure passively, or actively? Are we working out our faith? To run the race actively, we must continually look unto Jesus.

MacLaren wrote in his Bible Expositions that running with patience means "not merely passive endurance, noble and difficult as that may be, but active perseverance which presses on unmoved, ay, and unhindered, to its goal in the teeth of all opposition." Read more about running with patience on hopereflected.com

How do we look to Jesus, practically?

Perhaps the question arises in your mind, “How do I look to Jesus?” The Bible is the answer. “And the Word was made flesh…” (John 1:14). Christ is the Word, and the Word is God’s Word, the Holy Bible. To run with patience the race set before us – to get through this life and live it to the glory of God – requires us to look to Jesus. Practically speaking, this means reading His Word, hearing His Word, and living His Word.

This “looking unto” is not just applying to our lives the parts of His Word that we find convenient. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith; He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is all parts, even the parts that make us uncomfortable, that we’re afraid could cause trouble, and that we struggle to understand.

Continual advance in the Christian life

To understand as much as we can, we must always be absorbing Scripture. Reading God’s Word over and over again doesn’t ever become boring; each time we read God’s Word, we learn something new. He uses our time in Scripture to reveal truths to us that we hadn’t noticed before. This is how we grow. Continual advance in the Christian life requires our eyes to be continually in God’s Word. Every day. Running with patience can only be done when we stay in God’s Word.

Originally published as “Run with patience.” Independent Plus. January 6, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Monday

28

March 2022

Every detail

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Even when we don’t see it, God cares about every detail

Details are included in Scripture because they are important. God cares about every detail. Read more on hopereflected.com

After Herod killed James, he put Peter in prison. Certainly this is not an encouragement, but as with many Biblical accounts, the transcript of Peter’s imprisonment and subsequent miraculous release in Acts 12 is filled with so many details to encourage us. Specific details are included in Scripture because they’re important. Our great God cares about every detail.

“Specific details are included in Scripture

because details are important.”

Hope Reflected

The importance of “But” verses

Many of us are familiar with the “But God” verses of the Bible, where a verse begins with a hopeless statement and ends with encouragement through the grace of God. This passage in Acts contains two important “but” verses. First in verse five, “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” Peter was in prison, but people were praying for him.

We read that “prayer was made without ceasing” for Peter. “Without ceasing” is translated as earnestly or fervently. It’s no surprise that Peter would later go on to write in 1 Peter 4:8, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves:” Fervent charity in this case took the form of fervent prayers. The result? God sent His angel to break Peter’s chains and lead him to freedom.

When the enemy seems to have everything on his side—politicians, institutions, and even public opinion—we have the greater power still. Read more on hopereflected.com

The second important “but” verse is found at the end of the chapter in verses 23-24, “…and he [Herod] was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. But the word of God grew and multiplied.” This passage should prove to encourage us, as when the enemy seems to have everything on his side – politicians, institutions, and even public opinion – we have the greater power still, that of prayer and God who hears our prayers.

Encouraging testimony, not discouraging details

As Alexander Maclaren so aptly put it in his Expositions of Holy Scripture, “Here you get, on the one hand, all the pompous and elaborate preparations-‘four quaternions of soldiers’- four times four is sixteen-sixteen soldiers, two chains, three gates with guards at each of them, Herod’s grim determination, the people’s malicious expectation of having an execution as a pleasant sensation with which to wind up the Passover Feast. And what had the handful of Christian people? Well, they had prayer; and they had Jesus Christ. That was all, and that is more than enough.”

Another detail important to observe is that while we’re waiting, God is working. We struggle to sleep over lesser worries; imagine how difficult it would be to sleep if one of your friends were martyred, and you were taken prisoner, chained to soldiers, next in line to be killed? And yet, we read in Acts 12:6 that “Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains:”. Peter could sleep because he knew that God was working.

God has never been conventional

God has never been conventional. Read more on hopereflected.com

While His solution for us most likely won’t come in the literal form of an angel, we can be sure that God knows the best way to bring us out of chains and challenges. God has never been conventional. His ways have always been and will always be far above our own (Isaiah 55:8-9). His thoughts toward us are more in number than the sand (Psalm 139:18). He knows more about us than we know about ourselves (Luke 12:7). God cares about every detail.

We can be sure that God knows the best way to bring us out of chains and challenges. It likely won't be conventional, and it will always be for His glory. Read more on hopereflected.com

Originally published as “Every detail.” Independent Plus. November 18, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Tuesday

22

March 2022

Worry is wicked, not wise

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Fussing always ends in sin. We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an indication of how really wicked we are. (Oswald Chambers) Read more about worry on hopereflected.com

A full-fledged fire

Twice in the first seven verses of Psalm 37 we are told to “Fret not”. According to Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the Hebrew for this actually means to burn, to be kindled, or to be inflamed. Isn’t that what it feels like when we worry? Our worry starts out small, as a single flame, and once we’ve considered every angle and hypothetical outcome of our situation, we’ve got a full-fledged fire on our hands that can’t be put out.

Worry is a great form of pride

When we worry, we tell God that we don’t trust that He’s going to look after us. Worry is a great form of pride. We think we know better than God, or at least we think that by thinking and overthinking we’ll somehow come up with a better solution than God, or that we’ll discover some angle that He’s never considered or didn’t think of before. It sounds silly when you read it, doesn’t it? But that’s what worry is.

“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” David wrote in Psalm 34:4. To win the battle of worry, it’s imperative that we seek the Lord and not our own solution. We cannot trust the Lord and worry at the same time, it’s just not possible. The only way to be delivered from worry is to seek after the Lord.

We must put ourselves in check and put our hope in God – not in what we want to happen. When we’re looking forward to what we want to happen more than what God wants for us, worry is inevitable. When we rest in our circumstances rather than in Christ, discouragement will follow. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalm 43:5).

Winning over worry

Winning over worry requires us to give God our problems. Pride tells us that we can do it all on our own. Society tells us that we can find our own solutions if we just believe in ourselves, because we are enough. This is so wrong. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:2). When we carry our burdens instead of casting them on God, we will be weighed down, tired, and subject to making poor decisions.

“Fussing always ends in sin.”

Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers wrote that, “Fussing always ends in sin. We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an indication of how really wicked we are. Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way. Our Lord never worried and He was never anxious, because He was not “out” to realise His own ideas; He was “out” to realise God’s ideas. Fretting is wicked if you are a child of God.” Worry is wicked, not wise, and it can wreck our lives.

Originally published as “Wicked, not wise.” Independent Plus. November 4, 2021: 5. Print. Web.