Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Christian Living Archive

Wednesday

18

May 2022

More salt, please!

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

“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

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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.

Tuesday

22

March 2022

Not in a hurry

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." (Psalm 37:4) Read more about delighting yourself in the Lord on hopereflected.com

Who are we waiting on?

Most of us hate waiting. It feels like wasted time. There’s an old analogy that while we’re waiting on God, we should do what waiters do: Serve. When we feel like waiting on God’s timing is wasted time, we should ask ourselves: Are we serving Him, or serving our own timing?

Psalm 37:4 instructs us to “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” God knows and cares about the desires of our hearts – He fully understands what we want to happen. He will fulfill the desires of our hearts when we delight ourselves in Him. To delight ourselves in Him means delving more deeply into His Word, spending more time in conversation with Him, and going after His agenda and not our own.

Wondering why things aren’t going our way? Perhaps we’re not serving Him as we should.

God knows and cares about the desires of our hearts - He fully understands what we want to happen. Read more about waiting on God on hopereflected.com

God uses His timing to protect us

Unlike God, we don’t know everything, and we can’t see into the future. When things aren’t going our way, when it seems as though we’re coming up short, it’s important to remember that God uses His timing to protect us. Resting in His timing can save us from many a heartache and hurt, just ask others who are older and wiser. Their testimonies of God’s faithfulness and His perfect timing are a reminder that truly His ways are the best ways.

David wrote in Psalm 31:15, “My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.” Even though his life was in danger, David didn’t take matters into his own hands, he surrendered his situation to God’s hands. No matter how urgently we want things to happen, when we surrender our situation to Him and make His timing our timing, God will protect us. We may not need protection from a physical enemy, His timing may be meant to save us from a poor financial transaction, or a bad decision with lasting ramifications.

God’s timing requires us to plan ahead

Most times when I’m making dinner, I prepare enough food in advance so we have leftovers for lunch, or something to stick in the freezer for a night when I don’t feel like cooking. We prepare now to save time later.

Although we feel like waiting on the Lord is wasted time, waiting for God’s time inevitably always saves time. “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5). Committing our way to the Lord and trusting in Him requires us to plan ahead. It requires us to surrender our inclination for instant gratification.

“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him;

and he shall bring it to pass.”

Psalm 37:5

God’s not in a hurry

On what and how we spend our time now has an eternal impact. We waste time when we follow our own timetable. Hitting dead end after dead end? We should confirm whether or not we’ve actually committed our way to Him, because He’s promised that when we acknowledge and trust Him, He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

God’s not in a hurry; we are. It’s only when we rest in His timing that we will have peace.

Originally published as “Not in a hurry.” Independent Plus. October 28, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Tuesday

1

March 2022

Preparation for Easter: A Primer on Lent

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

What is Lent?

Lent represents the number 40 and means 40th day. Lent is taken from the Latin term quadragesima. Read more about Lent on hopereflected.com

I’m glad you asked. Lent is a season in the Christian liturgical calendar that remembers the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert fasting. You can read more about Jesus being tested in the desert in the Gospels: Matthew 4, Mark 1, Luke 4.

In present day, Lent is the 40 days (not including Sundays) that start Ash Wednesday through to the Saturday before Easter.

During Lent, participants will often fast, giving up specific foods (or alcohol) or activities that they would usually enjoy. You may be familiar with “Fat Tuesday” which is the feast or celebration (a time to indulge) right before Lent starts on Ash Wednesday.

Why is Lent celebrated or practiced?

Lent observes the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, where He was tempted of the devil and He fasted. Read more about Lent on hopereflected.com

Lent is a time of preparation and reflection leading up to Easter. Lent is practiced in an effort for Christians to get their hearts right and follow Christ’s example.

Who should participate?

While it is not limited to Catholics and Christians, usually those who believe in Jesus and follow Him participate in Lent.

During the 40 days (not including Sundays) leading up to Easter, we prepare our hearts by reflecting on Christ's example. Read more about Lent on hopereflected.com

How do you participate?

While there is no official sign up sheet, many churches make arrangements in the weeks leading up to Lent to help people prepare their hearts and minds for the Lent season.

Fasting and reflection help to focus our hearts on the greatest sacrifice, Christ's powerful and selfless gift of salvation, and His ultimate sovereignty. Read more on hopereflected.com

During Lent, people may choose to study specific parts of the Bible, read books or devotionals that help them to reflect on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Questions about Lent? Drop your question in the Comments section below!

Looking for appropriate devotional materials leading up to Easter? Please read Hope Reflected’s Easter Reflections!

Tuesday

8

February 2022

At the helm: God makes things still

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow:" (Mark 4:37-38) Read more of At the Helm on hopereflected.com

Striving, not being still

Although it was night and He had just spent the day preaching, Jesus suggested traveling across the sea with the disciples. A great storm arose, and the ship filled up fast (Mark 4:37). In this storm, Jesus  “was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow:” (Mark 4:38).

The disciples had an initial reaction of panic. “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” they questioned (v. 38). In any storm where we face unknowns, things that are out of our control, our first reaction – unfortunately – is not to be still. Usually we run about, trying to take matters into our own hands and figure things out. We find ourselves striving, not being still.

The first thing we should do

And yet, Scripture says to be still is the first thing that we should do. “Be still, and know that I am God:” (Psalm 46:10). Before verse 10, Psalm 46 reminds us that God is “a very present help in trouble” (v. 1). “Very present,” meaning that He’s right there, He is always with us, He’s always in the boat with us, at the helm, even when we – like the disciples – are panicking and wondering why He’s not panicking.

We're quick to observe Jesus sleeping. We forget that He is in the hinder part of the ship, right in the captain's place. He's always at the helm, even when we think He's not paying attention, or we wonder why He's sleeping. Read more of At the Helm on hopereflected.com

When you pass through the waters

In the prophecy of Isaiah, our Lord said, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” (Isaiah 43:2). He did not say, “If you go through the waters,” or “if you go through the rivers, or “If you walk through the fire,” He said “When”.

As much as we’d like to deny it, storms and troubles are a part of this life, but God is with us. We are created for His glory. When things are not going our way, it’s a reminder that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). God uses the rivers to make the rocks smooth and He uses the fire to make the metal pliable.

Prayer is how we get His attention. Read more of At the Helm on hopereflected.com

He’s always at the helm

Like the disciples, we’re quick to observe Jesus sleeping, and we forget that He is “in the hinder part of the ship”, right in the captain’s place. He’s always at the helm, even when we think He’s not paying attention, or we wonder why He’s sleeping. How can we get His attention?

The disciples woke Him by talking to Him. In storms and troubles, are we talking to Him first or using prayer as our last resort? When the disciples spoke to Him, Jesus got up, “and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39).

“He maketh the storm a calm,

so that the waves thereof are still.”

Psalm 107:29

It is God that makes things still. “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” (Psalm 107:29). As Matthew Henry wrote, “A word of comfort to us, that, be the storm of trouble ever so loud, ever so strong, Jesus Christ can lay it with a word’s speaking… He that made the seas, can make them quiet.”

Originally published as “In the hinder part of the ship.” Independent Plus. October 21, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Read more about how to trust Jesus in the storm here.

Saturday

5

February 2022

Be clothed in humility

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"...be clothed with humility:" (1 Peter 5:5) We must decide whether we'll be clothed with the outfit of humility or the poorer-fitting, less attractive outfit of pride. Read more on hopereflected.com

Putting on humbleness of mind

Paul wrote his letter to the church at Colossae after hearing that the church was falling into some serious error because they were listening to false teachers. From prison, Paul warned the church about the dangers of false humility (Colossians 2:18-23), and then he provided specific instruction to the church at Colossae to “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” (Colossians 3:12). Humbleness of mind, or humility as we call it today, is to be one of the characteristics of Christians.

A choice we must make

We often think that humility is something that we’ve got or we don’t, when the reality is that humility is very much a choice. “Put on therefore,” Paul instructed. To put on requires us to do something. It’s an action, a choice that we make. Around the same time that he penned his letter to the church at Colossae, Paul also wrote his letter to the church at Ephesus, where he addressed – you guessed it – the importance of humility. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;” (Ephesians 4:1-2). Walking with all lowliness, or humility in our present-day language, is a choice.

“Walking with all lowliness,

or humility in our present-day language,

is a choice.”

Hope Reflected

Dress for success

Peter put it like this in his first epistle: “be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5). Much like we choose what we’re going to wear when we get up in the morning, we choose to be clothed with humility (or not). We’ve all heard the term “dress for success”. How successful we are in our Christian walk is determined by whether or not we choose to put on humbleness of mind when we get up in the morning. We must decide whether we’ll be clothed with the outfit of humility or the poorer-fitting, less attractive outfit of pride.

We need a shift in focus

How do we choose what to put on, how to walk, and what to wear? It’s all about a shift in focus. We have to shift our gaze from inward and outward, to upward. Chances are that if we’re concerned about humility – or lack thereof – in someone else, it’s actually us that’s lacking in the virtue. “The victorious Christian neither exalts nor downgrades himself.” A.W. Tozer wrote, “His interests have shifted from self to Christ.” That’s how we choose humility; by shifting our interests from self to Christ.

Lest we hesitate at the idea of shifting our interests from self-serving to serving Christ, we should follow Christ’s instructions. He told us to “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29). There can be no greater satisfaction. As Matthew Henry said, “To be humble, and subject to our reconciled God, will bring greater comfort to the soul than the gratification of pride and ambition.”

Originally published as “What to put on, how to walk, and what to wear.” Independent Plus. September 30, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Wednesday

26

January 2022

Surviving the storm, part 2

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

How many times in the storm do we miss shelter because we don't petition the very One who calms the storm we are stuck in? | Read more about surviving the storm on hopereflected.com

In the storm, how can we remember the presence of God?

Spurgeon said, “The Christian is made strong and firmly rooted by all the trials and storms of life.” We can only be made strong and firmly rooted when our foundation is sure. After the disciples call out to Christ, “saying, Lord, save us: we perish.” (Matthew 8:25), Jesus questions them, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26). For the Christian, fear and faith cannot coexist. Ultimately, one will overpower the other. Matthew Henry wrote, “How imperfect are the best of saints! Faith and fear take their turns while we are in this world; but ere long, fear will be overcome, and faith will be lost in sight.”

The very One who calms the storm

Jesus then “…arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:26). How many times in the storm do we miss shelter because we don’t petition the very One who calms the storm we are stuck in? “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.” David wrote in Psalm 61:1-4. “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.” When it storms, birds protect their babies from the wind and rain by covering them with their wings. God, in His great care for us, does the same, offering us shelter under the cover of His loving arms. Does our cry come unto Him first, or do we exhaust our own devices and strength before seeking His shelter?

"Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer... For thou hast been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy." (Psalm 61: 1, 3) | Read more about surviving the storm on hopereflected.com

In the midst of the storm, God is still in control

Sometimes this is hard to believe, but it is true. In His timing, He will arise, and He will rebuke the winds and sea that are tossing us about. We need only “Be still” and rest in the knowledge that He is in control (Psalm 46:10). When someone is stuck in the water, or in danger of drowning, the worst thing they can do is to panic. But that’s our human instinct. We fight to keep our head above the waves, we struggle to swim. It seems senseless to try to remain still and breathe deeply even though these are two of the ways that can help us stay afloat. We are instructed throughout the Bible to “Be still,” (Psalm 46:10), to “rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him,” (Psalm 37:7). Even in the midst of the storm when it doesn’t make sense, we need to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5).

“But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this,

that even the winds and the sea obey him!”

Matthew 8:27

When we’re tempted to worry, may we marvel instead that the One who controls the winds and the sea cares for us. “But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matthew 8:27). The bigger God is to us, the smaller the storm will seem.

Originally published as “Surviving the storm, part two.” Independent Plus. September 16, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Read part one of Surviving the storm here.

Monday

24

January 2022

Surviving the storm, part one

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be trouble, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah." (Psalm 46:1-3) | Read more about surviving the storm on hopereflected.com

Storms can make us ask all kinds of questions

“Why would a good God allow this to happen to me?”

“What is the point to this?”

“Where do I go from here?”

“How did I get here?”

“Who would have ever thought this would happen?”

Storms have a way of making us wax existential and ask some serious questions of our Creator.

The disciples had questions too, after they ended up in a great storm whilst traveling with Jesus. "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" (Mark 4:38). Read more of surviving the storm on hopereflected.com

The disciples had questions too

The disciples had questions too after they ended up in a great storm whilst traveling with Jesus.

“Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38).

What a question to ask, especially on the heels of the miracles Jesus had just performed, healing a leper, a centurion’s son, and even Peter’s mother-in-law! One would think that by witnessing Christ’s healing power firsthand that the disciples would have no doubt of His love for them, and yet, they asked, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”

Be prepared for rough waters

We can learn so much from the accounts of Jesus calming the storm in Matthew 8, Mark 4, and Luke 8. When we follow Christ, we ought to be prepared for rough waters. “And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.” (Matthew 8:23).

If we’re following Christ because we think by doing so we’ll be exempt from troubles, think again! Before the disciples followed Him on to the ship, what did Jesus say? “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14).

Following Christ is not for the faint of heart.

Troubled waters need not trouble us, because God is a very present help in any kind of trouble. Read more of surviving the storm on hopereflected.com

Comfort in the storm

What a comfort that God is not worried about the storms that we’re going through. God is not worried about the waves washing on board our ships. “And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.” (Matthew 8:24). God already knows what we are going through.

The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 46:1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” Troubled waters need not trouble us, because God is a very present help in any kind of trouble.

“Troubled waters need not trouble us, because God is a very present help in any kind of trouble.”

Hope Reflected

Charles Spurgeon famously said, “I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages.” In the midst of the storm, are we coming to the only One who can save us?

“And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.” (Matthew 8:25). He hears our petitions; He wants us to come to Him! We should never let the presence of a storm cause us to doubt the very presence of God.

Originally published as “Surviving the storm, part one.” Independent Plus. September 9, 2021: 5. Print. Web.