Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Christian Living Archive

Friday

20

September 2019

Get thyself Wisdom

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"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." (James 1:5) Wisdom | Read more at hopereflected.com

Wisdom is important as we walk through this life

In the books of 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, after Solomon was anointed king, God asked Solomon what He could give to him. “Give me now wisdom and knowledge,” Solomon responds (2 Chronicles 1:10). God grants Solomon’s request. “Because this was in thine heart, and thou has not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself… Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee.” (2 Chron. 1:11-12)

Solomon went on to author most of the chapters found in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs contains many references to wisdom and how important wisdom is as we walk through this life. “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” (Proverbs 4:5)

Rely less on your own knowledge

James 1:5 tells us that “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” Through quiet times spent in prayer and meditating on God’s Word, wisdom starts with God. The key is that you need to spend time with God in order to gain wisdom. As you read more of God’s Word, and consult Him more in daily prayer, you’ll begin to rely less on your own knowledge and more on God’s will. “There are many device’s in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” (Proverbs 19:21) As Charles Stanley says, “God will move heaven and earth to show you His will and your obedience to Him will bring greater blessings than your plans could hope to achieve.”

Learn from the godly influence of mature Christians

Wisdom can also be found when you follow the example and learn from the godly influence of mature Christians. An excellent place to start is with your elders. “Is not wisdom found among the aged?” (Job 12:12) Think of the believers in your life who have impacted you through an encouraging word or a strong spiritual example. The Bible is filled with examples of other believers who have lead by example: Joseph in the life of Pharaoh, Elijah in the life of Ahab (Ahab is a great example of what happens when godly wisdom isn’t pursued), Nathan in the life of David, and Jesus in the life of Nicodemus. Look around. You may never know the impact that your testimony has on the lives of those around you.

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”

God’s wisdom looks very different from the world’s wisdom. Our finite minds can never comprehend the infinite Creator of the universe. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways are different than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Pursuing after wisdom by spending more time reading your Bible, or quieting your soul in prayer may never make sense to someone who has different priorities. In fact, you may even find in your pursuit to get thyself wisdom that others come into opposition. Don’t be discouraged. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). God’s foolishness is wiser than men; and His weakness is stronger than man (1 Corinthians 1:25).

Originally published as “Get thyself wisdom.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. July 4, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

13

September 2019

We learn great lessons from Biblical history

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"The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever." (Psalm 33:11) | History of the Bible | Read more at hopereflected.com

First and second Kings, found in the Old Testament, record the details of the Kings of Israel and Judah, and it is here that we read about the lives of multiple leaders and what happened when they chose – or chose not to – follow after the Lord. Two examples of Kings who chose not to follow the Lord are Zimri and Ahab. In 1 Kings 16, it’s documented that King Zimri reigned for merely a week, while King Ahab’s reign lasted for 22 years.

Why would the Bible chronicle such extreme examples of evil, back to back? It is in Biblical history that we learn great lessons. 1 Kings 16 is a great reminder that – even when we don’t understand and we can’t see the big picture – God is in control. “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me.” (Jeremiah 27:5). Whether seven days or more than twenty years, God is sovereign and He is in control.

Biblical history reminds us that God’s counsel stands

When you’re worried, anxious, and discouraged, remember this: Feelings come and go. In the ups and downs of your emotions, you can rest in the Lord, who doesn’t change and whose counsel stands (Mal. 3:6, Prov. 19:21). During times of uncertainty, you can take God at His Word. “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations.” (Psalm 33:11)

When you don’t understand what’s happening or why the Lord is allowing a tough trial or a season of sadness, remember this: Our thoughts are finite, and we serve a God who is infinite. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). His hand holds every living soul and the breath of every man (Job 12:10).

When you’re wondering what the purpose is of someone who’s done you wrong, or you feel like everyone’s against you, remember this: Though it makes us uncomfortable to consider, God formed not only the light, but the darkness, too (Isaiah 45:7). Your labours and longing are not in vain, and – in the good times and bad – Christ calls us to be steadfast, unmoveable, and always abounding (1 Corinthians 15:58).

The only way to be at peace is to cling to the One who is in control. The only way to get through all life’s changes is to cling to the One who never changes. The only way to get through the trial is to cling to the One who is Judge over all. The only way to be unmoveable is to cling to the One who controls all movement.

Originally published as “Remember this: It is in the Bible’s rich history that we learn great lessons.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. June 20, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

9

September 2019

A Measure of Faith

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"We walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7) | Read more at hopereflected.com

While most people are familiar with Hebrews 11 (also known as the Faith chapter of the Bible), the first direct reference of faith in the Bible – at least from my observation – happens much earlier, in Deuteronomy 32, when God says that the children of Israel have no faith.

Faith is a necessary virtue

Faith is much like hope, in that it’s a virtue necessary to believe in God, but it’s something that can only be seen in how we live. D.L. Moody once said that, “Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.” Our faith is demonstrated in the way that we live. “The things which are not seen are eternal,” Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:18. That is faith.

Faith is a lifestyle

“The just shall live by faith,” is a statement that repeats twice in Scripture; once in the Old Testament in Habakkuk 2:4, and again in Romans 1:17. Regardless of the season, a lifestyle of faith means that we must keep walking and “continue in the faith” (Acts 14:22) even though such a way of living is not without its challenges. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that, “we walk by faith, not by sight,” and it’s because of our trust in God that we can be confident as we move through life. It’s not in and of ourselves, or our friends, or our earthly establishments – we can be confident because we walk by faith.

Abound in faith

Furthermore, in 2 Corinthians 8:7, we’re called to abound in faith. Abound, meaning to be filled up, to overflow, be abundant, and flourishing. The only way to flourish in your faith is to follow Christ, and follow hard. On our best days, are we really doing that? We fail at living a lifestyle of faith because as humans, it’s our nature to compartmentalize faith, when really faith is too vast to ever be classified or catalogued by our finite minds. We just can’t handle it.

Also important to remember is that the apostles asked our Lord to increase their faith (Luke 17:5), and they were on to something. Inside each one of us is a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). For some, that faith is fleeting (Luke 8:13), and for others that faith is overflowing (Matthew 8:10). D.L. Moody once said that, “A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul.” The measure of faith inside us is waiting for us to wake up and ask God to grow it, and therein is the difference between fleeting faith and overflowing faith. Faith requires action. Like a garden, your faith will only grow if you plant the proper seeds, provide your soul with regular watering from God’s Word, and keep short accounts with any weeds and pests. 

A lifestyle of faith is a life lived with intention, and with purpose.

Originally published as “Faith.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. May 30, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

6

September 2019

The nature of faith

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"The just shall live by faith." (Hebrews 10:38) | The nature of faith | Read more at hopereflected.com

What is faith?

Luke 1:37 says that, “Faith does not make things easy, it makes them possible.” Recently I wrote that faith is a lifestyle and something that each of us has a measure of inside. So what is the nature of faith?

The Bible shows us many things about the nature of faith. It’s important to remember that faith is from God and it is a work of God. In John 6:29, when the disciples ask Christ what they have to do to work the works of God, Jesus responds and says, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” 1 John 3:23 also says, “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” You’re likely familiar with the saying, “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” and also, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” It’s our human nature to tie our own personal success to our finite mindset. What you believe is directly correlated to your faith. Faith is a work of God, and it’s also a commandment from Him. We’re called to believe in Him. It’s not hard to see the irony that non-Christians still have a moral code and “believe” that they should love one another, but deny the significance of the first part of the commandment.

The nature of faith

Another important thing to remember about the nature of faith is that it is a gift of God. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Faith, while it is something that we each have a measure of, is not a virtue that comes to us naturally. Faith is a gift of God. In Matthew 16, when Peter recognizes Christ as the Son of God, Christ responds to him and says, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jo-na; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Faith is a gift of God, and blessed are those who receive it gracefully.

A gift of God

As the gift of God, should you choose to receive it, faith resides in your heart. Romans 10:9-10 says “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Faith starts in your heart. It’s with your heart that you believe. In Proverbs 3:5 we’re told to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart”; in Matthew 22:37 Christ commands us to “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart”. As much as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness are fruits of the Spirit, so is faith, and as the gift of God, faith grows in your heart.

Trusting God

The nature of faith is not that it makes things easy, but that it makes them possible (Luke 1:37). Rather than being an exercise of us trying harder, it is the exercise of trusting God more deeply. Rather than pushing ourselves for the outcome we want now, it is the daily practice of patience and putting our eyes on God. “The just shall live by faith.” (Hebrews 10:38)

Originally published as “The nature of faith.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. May 30, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

23

August 2019

God is our Rock, our firm foundation

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"There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God." (1 Samuel 2:2) | God is our Rock | Read more at hopereflected.com

There are no two rocks the same

While there are guaranteed to be valleys as you journey through life, there are also going to be mountains that you have to climb in order to grow in to the person God wants you to be. It’s important to remember as you’re climbing that God is our Rock.

I don’t know much about mountain or rock climbing, but what I do understand from my friends who climb and hike is that more often than not, how you get to the top is just as important and significant as the view you see when you reach the peak. Also important is what you’re using as your foundation.

God is our Rock referred to in Scripture

In the Psalms alone, God is referred to as a “rock” more than twenty times. There are also many illustrations of rocks throughout Scripture. In Deuteronomy 32:13, we read about the honey from the rock; in Exodus 17:6 about Moses striking the rock at Horeb to provide water to drink; in Isaiah 32:2 that the great rock provides shadow and protection in the desert; and of course we’re all familiar with the parable of the man who built his house on the rock (Luke 6:48).

In the cleft of the rock

Fanny Crosby, the famous hymn writer, wrote the classic hymn, He Hideth My Soul. “He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, where rivers of pleasure I see. He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, that shadows a dry, thirsty land… He covers me there with His hand.” God is our Rock, the greatest rock, is also our greatest source of protection. He’s also the foundation on which we build our lives. Without the proper foundation, nothing can be built correctly. In Psalm 40:2 David wrote, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”

Neither is there any rock like our God

Rocks can be precious stones. In 1 Peter 2:4, Peter refers to Christ as “a living stone,” that was rejected by men, “but chosen by God and precious to him.” How often we as humans are quick to discard what we don’t see as beautiful on the surface. God, Who looked at us in all our imperfection, chose you and I, to polish us, refine us, and bring us forth as gold. (Job 23:10) Rocks are fascinating things. No matter the shape, size, or even the colouring, there are no two rocks the same. “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2)

Interested in reading more about how God is our rock? Check out my column, “The Rock” for more encouragement about our firm foundation.

Originally published as “Rocks.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. May 23, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

20

August 2019

Practical ways to live your faith

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"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) Practical ways to live your faith | Read more at hopereflected.com

Sometimes it’s the things we don’t say that have the biggest impact

Sometimes it is the things that we don’t say that have the biggest impact on the lives of others. The old adage “actions speak louder than words” is very true, especially when it comes to living out your faith. Your peers aren’t interested in how you are on Sunday; however, they will notice if how you are on Sunday is different than the other days of the week. We shouldn’t be any different on Wednesday or Thursday than we are on the Sabbath.

So what are some practical ways to live your faith?

Practical ways to live your faith

Be kind

Be kind. As early as the book of Genesis, we read about the virtue of kindness. In Genesis 24, we read about Abraham’s servant praying that the Lord will show kindness to Abraham. This theme of kindness carries through the Old Testament, in the histories of Joseph, Joshua, Ruth, David, Esther, Jonah, and into the New Testament. Kindness is a very practical way to live your faith. We’re instructed many times in the Bible to show kindness to others, “…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12). And it’s no wonder, as kindness is one of God’s many beautiful attributes (Titus 3:4). As Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Live your faith by being humble

There’s also humility, and we all know that being humble is hard to do. We get caught up in who’s right, who should get credit, and who deserves to come out on top, but as Ezra Taft Benson once said, “Pride is concerned with who is right, humility is concerned with what is right.” Many times throughout the epistles, Paul encourages Christians to be humble, which indicates to me that humility is important, and also something that we need to be constantly reminded about. In Ephesians 4:2, Paul writes that we should walk worthy, “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” With all lowliness and meekness, not just some, not just when it’s convenient, not just when you don’t have a vested interest in the outcome of a situation. Humility is a habit, and it’s another practical way of living your faith.

Practice patience

Patience, or longsuffering as Paul calls it, is another practical way of living your faith. Psalm 37:7 says that we should “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for him;” and whoever said waiting isn’t work clearly wasn’t doing it right. Aristotle once said that, “patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Scripture shows us that we should demonstrate patience in many areas of our lives: In decisions (Psalm 37:7), in afflictions and trials (Romans 12:12), in love (1 Corinthians 13:4), in doing good (Galatians 6:9), even with one another (Ephesians 4:2). If you’re tempted to lose patience, just remember how patient God is with you. Don’t lose heart! You can be a living demonstration of God’s power when you learn to practice patience. “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Faither which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Kindness, humility, and patience are just a few of the practical ways that to live your faith.  

Originally published as “Practical ways to live your faith.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. May 9, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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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

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

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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

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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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