Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Published Work Archive

Friday

3

April 2020

Hope for hard times

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:13) | Read more about Hope for hard times at hopereflected.com

Hope for hard times is not far away

We find ourselves in uncertain times; we cannot turn on the TV without seeing something about COVID-19; we cannot listen to the radio without hearing the same. Many of us – if only all of us – have been staying home, physically isolating ourselves from others. We are unable to gather together – at least physically – as a body of believers to worship the Lord.

We need to remind ourselves that we are not without hope. We believe in the Sovereignty of God, and this is the very time we need to let Christ’s light shine! Matthew Henry once said that God “will never suffer the righteous to be moved; to be so shaken by any troubles, as to quit their duty to God, or their comfort in him… Why do not we trust Christ to govern the world which he redeemed?”

Hosanna! Our Greatest Hope

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, the day we rejoice in the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem. A great multitude gathered before and behind, and they rejoiced! “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” Hosanna! The Hebrew word, “hoshi’a na,” is translated “hosanna”. Throughout Scripture this word is used in several ways: “Please, save us!” a plea for help to our Lord. “Salvation, thank you!” a declaration of salvation and thanks to our Lord. Whether or not we are able to meet together physically on Palm Sunday is beside the point; this period in time, though scary, should not overshadow the actual reason for time.

We have the greatest Hope within us. The God of hope is on our side, and He not only longs to give us all joy and peace, He also wants us to abound in hope through His power (Romans 15:13). Let us not lose heart, rather let us shift our gaze up from the troubles in front of us to look “for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13).

Our Blessed Hope for Hard Times

We not only have a blessed hope, we have a living hope! “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3). This is not a time for us to be wearied by world events; this is a time for us to let the light that is in us shine! In both calm and stormy seas, our hope in Christ is the “anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast,” (Hebrews 6:19). Is that what others see when they see us?

“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose,” C.S. Lewis wrote. Seasons may change our circumstances, but we will do well to remember that, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) In Him we have peace, because He lives in us. “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Originally published as “Hope for hard times.” Independent Plus. April 2, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

1

April 2020

The Furnace of Affliction

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"Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." (Isaiah 48:10) | Read more on hopereflected.com

In the furnace of affliction, God still has His hand on us

In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar threw three Hebrew believers – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, – into a fiery furnace. Remember their words in response? “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us out of thine hand.” (Dan. 3:18) Even when they faced the fiery furnace, they stood firm in their faith. The result was that God was with them – literally! Three men were thrown into the furnace, and king Nebuchadnezzar and his counselors saw four: “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Dan. 3:25)

A furnace of a different kind

It’s not the first time we read about a furnace in Scripture. Earlier in Isaiah, we’re introduced to a furnace of a different kind: “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”(Isaiah 48:10) In this passage about God redeeming the Israelites from the Babylonian captivity, we come to understand that even in His refining of us – which more often than not brings us through trials and trying times – God does not deal so rigorously with us that He neglects to show us His mercy. For even in the furnace of affliction, God still has His hand on us. It can be hard to believe when you’re thrown off your feet, but when we cling to our faith, when He is all that we have, we will find that God is with us. In C.S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain he writes: “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our consciences, but shouts to us in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

The furnace of affliction has this way of forcing us to look up

The furnace of affliction has this way of forcing us to look up, searching for comfort and seeking relief. Grief, sorrow, sadness, pain – when we are down and out, the best option is to use these times as opportunities to grow. It sounds trite, and when someone says that to you when you’re down, when someone promises that “it will get better,” or “it will get easier,” your first thought may be to say, “You have no idea what I’m going through!” (even when they do). But it does get better, when you go to God’s Word. “For the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.” (Isaiah 49:13) There is a bittersweet embrace in reading these words and experiencing their truth.

Matthew Henry wrote of this passage in Isaiah that God’s “bringing men into trouble was to do them good,” and as troubling as we may find this, he is right. Even in the furnace of affliction, when we choose to listen to God and obey His commandments, He gives us peace like a river, and He makes our righteousness as waves of the sea – “Come ye near unto me,” God invites us in Isaiah 48:6. In the furnace of affliction, He is with us, and His Word is the place we find Him.

Originally published as “The furnace of affliction.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. January 16, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

30

March 2020

When things don’t turn out as we planned

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"Where is your faith?" (Luke 8:25) | Read more at hopereflected.com

Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote in 1765 about the best laid schemes of mice and men in his poem, “To a Mouse”. In the poem, written after Burns accidentally turned up a mouse’s nest with his plough, Burns considers the mouse more fortunate than he, because “The present only toucheth thee,”. Being human, Burns could not only see his present, he could look back and see his past, and though he couldn’t see the future, he could fret and worry about it.

God has a plan

It seems that not much has changed in the last two hundred and fifty-five years. So often, we spend our time fretting and worrying about the future that we miss out on what God has for us in the present. That’s not to say that planning ahead is a bad thing; on the contrary, the Bible tells us that planning for the future is wise (Proverbs 21:5). The key is, that rather than spend our time worrying, or getting discouraged when things don’t turn out as we planned, we should make a determined effort to direct our focus to God.

David wrote in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Regardless of his circumstances or the events happening around him, David purposed to set the Lord always before him. Before we make decisions, we should pray; as Anne Graham Lotz puts it, it is always to our benefit to be “pre-prayered” for whatever we face in life.

His plan is bigger than ours

We should also remember that even though we may plan things down to the tiniest detail, sometimes God has a different plan, and His plans are always the best for us. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) We may not understand why He allows heartache and woes; but when we trust Him, we can understand that God always has a plan, and He always has His best for us in mind. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Where is your faith?” Jesus asked the disciples this in Luke 8:25 after He saved them from a storm on the water. When the wind and waters rage, who do we trust, and where do we turn? We should trust God, and turn our eyes to Him. When things don’t turn out as we planned, we can still rest in Him. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

He is the first and the last, He knows our past, present, and He holds the future. He is the author and finisher of our faith.

Originally published as “When things don’t turn out how we plan.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. January 9, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

27

March 2020

Thoughts around thankfulness

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“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” (G.K. Chesterton) | Read more at hopereflected.com

We should get in the habit of gratitude

A.W. Tozer once said that, “gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God. And it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.” We often read throughout the Bible about the importance of thankfulness in our every day lives, but the reality is that most of us are more quick to take our blessings for granted than to show gratitude.

Thankfulness is an attitude

Thankfulness need not be an elaborate planned event – such as the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate each year – thankfulness is something that once a spark is created, can turn into an ever-burning fire. It’s an attitude that we can cultivate, regardless of the time of year.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,”. Consider your own thoughts for a moment. How often do we think of a particular someone throughout the day: A spouse, mother, father, child, sister, brother, niece, nephew, or even our co-workers? Chances are, we think of several or all of the aforementioned many times throughout the day. And yet, how often do we give thanks for them? Paul wrote that he thanked God on every remembrance of his friends. A prayer of thanks, no matter how short, so long as it is genuine, is heard by God.

Thankfulness is our duty

An attitude of gratitude is part of our calling as Christians. Did you know we have a duty to thankfulness? Paul wrote in his second letter to the church at Thessalonica that, “we are bound to give thanks always to God for you,” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). We are bound to give thanks! Despite the second epistle to the Thessalonians being written after a somewhat discouraging description of coming events, Paul exhorts fellow believers that we should be thankful to God for all His blessings and for what He has called us to. He is our Comforter, our Rock, our Buckler, our High Tower, our Salvation! His blessings are everlasting.

Not only should thankfulness be part of the Christian’s character, it’s something we should do unceasingly. We’re all familiar with 1 Thessalonians 5:16, “pray without ceasing,” and for some reason we don’t as easily remember the other “cease not” counsel found in Ephesians 1:15-16: “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;” We should cease not to give thanks. We should get in the habit of gratitude.

“Thanks are the highest form of thought”

Small utterances of praise throughout the day can make all the difference in your life.  As G.K. Chesterton said, “You say grace before meals. All right. But I say, grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and the pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Originally published as “Thoughts around thankfulness” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. November 28, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Thursday

26

March 2020

The God of hope

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“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13)  | Read more at hopereflected.com

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13)

“Now the God of hope fill you”

Not you and I, not anything we do, no amount of self-care or service – true fulfillment is found only in God. Fulfillment comes from God. He is not just a god, but rather the God of hope! Not despair, not hopelessness, not fear, not anxiety – God is a God of hope, and He wants to fill us with joy and peace. Our search for true fulfillment should start with Him.

“with all joy and peace”

Not just a little joy and peace, not just some joy and peace – God longs to fill us with ALL joy and peace. We wonder how that’s possible, but when we consider that He is the God of hope, and that true fulfillment comes from Him, we can begin to understand that He is the giver of all joy and peace. Oh how we look for fulfillment by pursuing puny earthly pleasures when we should be looking to the One from whom joy, peace, and all other gifts originate.

“in believing”

In order for our joy to be full, there is a requirement of us – we must believe! It’s important to note here that believing is very much a verb; believing is a continuous action, not a one-time choice. If we want real joy, we must exercise authentic faith.

“that ye may abound in hope”

Why does the God of hope want to fill us with all joy and peace in believing? So that we may abound in hope! As a result of being filled with true joy and peace from the God of hope, we will abound in hope. Not just a little bit, not merely a glimmer – God wants us to abound in hope. By definition, that means large numbers, great quantities, copiously supplied! As if being filled with true joy and peace weren’t enough, God also promises that we will abound in hope.

“through the power of the Holy Ghost”

Lest we get conceited and think we can bring ourselves any lasting joy, peace, or abounding hope, we need to remember through Whom we receive these gifts: They come through the power of the Holy Ghost. Having a personal relationship with Christ means that we are filled with His Spirit. Our finite minds can’t fathom how truly amazing that is. It’s because of Him that true joy and peace are possible!

Consider what Alexander Maclaren shared about this verse in his Expositions of Holy Scripture: “There are two limits to God’s gifts to men: the one is the limitless limit of God’s infinitude, the other is the working limit – our capacity – and that capacity is precisely measured, as the capacity of some built-in vessel might be measured by a little gauge on the outside, by our faith.” We serve a generous and gracious God.

Originally published as “The God of hope” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. October 24, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

25

March 2020

What are you looking for?

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"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33) | Seek God first | Read more on hopereflected.com

To look for something or to pursue after something requires us to turn away from something else

My Uncle Cyril was a man who had a memory like a steel trap – he was forever quoting favourite Bible verses, quotes, and poetry (I attribute my love of Robert Service to him). On one occasion when a man jogged by us, Uncle Cyril commented, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth,” which is reference to Proverbs 28:1.

Our lives are filled with pursuits, whether they are of family, success, health, or wealth (not necessarily in that order). What are we hoping to find in our pursuits? For some, it’s a longing for peace, contentment, and some kind of satisfaction or happiness; for others it could be recognition, respect, or a sense of belonging and self-discovery. When our pursuit is after anything other than God, the longing will remain and no amount of family, success, health, or wealth will ever satisfy. As Tozer said, “The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.”

Pursuit of God is not for the faint of heart

The pursuit of God is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for those who are more interested in self-help and self care than they are the death of self and life in Christ. An excellent example of this is Solomon. For a time he sought after God, and when God granted him anything in the world, Solomon asked for wisdom. When Solomon stopped seeking after God and started seeking after self-satisfaction, his life went off the rails.

Solomon’s father David did just the opposite. David’s life certainly was not perfect, and history shows there were definitely times when he pursued after his flesh rather than pursuing God, but still David is considered a man after God’s own heart. “Seek the LORD and his strength,” David exhorted in 1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek his face continually.” David, in the midst of all his screw-ups and shortcomings, still remembered that his pursuit of God was the most important thing. Can the same be said of us?

Seek the Lord first

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;” Christ Himself said in Matthew 6:33, “and all these things shall be added unto you.” By “all these things”, our Lord refers to our lives and everything contained therein, from food and clothing to shelter and protection. Notice how He said, “seek ye first.” Is it wrong to seek after success? Not necessarily, but when we don’t put our pursuit of God before our earthly passions, we’re headed for trouble.

To look for something or to pursue after something requires us to turn away from something else. Seeking God requires us to turn to Him, and that means turning away from anything that could get in the way. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).  

Originally published as “What are you looking for?” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. October 17, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

24

March 2020

The Power to Transform

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God's Word has the power to transform! "The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever." (1 Peter 1:24-25) | See more at hopereflected.com

God’s Word has the power to transform

“It is one thing to believe the Bible, but something else altogether to allow the Bible, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, to impact and change your life,” A.W. Tozer wrote.

“Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth,” David wrote in Psalm 119:142. Psalm 119 focuses on the greatness of God’s Word. David went on to write in v. 160, “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” Years later, Isaiah wrote, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (40:8). Generations after that, Peter wrote, “all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (1 Peter 1:24-25). The word of the Lord endures for ever. Generations will pass away, but His Word will remain relevant. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

God’s Word Endures

Because the truth of God’s Word endures, it is also trustworthy. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 111:7-8, “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.” We can trust God’s Word.

God’s Word is a powerful tool

“The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) God’s Word has the power to convict us of our sin, and to strengthen us in our faith. David requested of the Lord in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” A clean heart comes when we confess our sins, confession of our sins comes after we’re convicted of them, conviction comes through the Holy Spirit working in our conscience, and the Spirit can only work if we let Him. This is something that makes many people uncomfortable. They don’t want to face their sin; they’d rather continue living in complacency.

Spending more time in God’s Word

Paul wrote in Colossians 3:10 that we should “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Knowledge can only be found through learning, and spending time in the Bible is the best way to learn about the One Who created you. Paul also wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” We should make a point to spend more time with God. Carve out time to read and pray each day, and guard that time. Spend more time trying to understand God through His Word. God’s Word has the power to transform.

Originally published as “The Power to Transform.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. December 5, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

20

March 2020

Peter: From Fearful to Faith-Filled

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"But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me." (Matthew 14:30) | Read more at hopereflected.com

From fishing to following

Peter was not a man with a formal education; rather, he was a fisherman, to whom we’re first introduced in Matthew 4, when Jesus implores Peter to “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19) Right away, without hesitation, both Peter and his brother Andrew leave their nets, and quite literally follow our Lord.

Peter is one of the most relatable of the apostles – in him we can see ourselves, and in him we witness such a redemptive testimony. Peter’s walk with the Lord took him from being fearful to living faith-filled, and reading through the New Testament takes us through his transformation. 

Lord, save me

When Christ walks on water in the middle of a storm in Matthew 14, we read that the disciples were afraid. Peter, first questioning, says, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” (14:28) Jesus responds to him, “Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.” (14:29) Peter becomes fearful when he takes his eyes off Christ and gets caught up in the storm raging around him. He cries out, “Lord, save me.” (14:30) Isn’t that just like us? We start out with good intentions, we get going, and then we take our eyes off the Lord. We’re quick to rely on our own strength, when we should be resting in the Lord. Years later in his ministry, we witness Peter’s transformation as he encourages fellow Christians to remember that we are “kept by the power of God through faith.” (1 Peter 1:5).

From cowardly to courageous

We see throughout Peter’s time with Christ his change from cowardly to courageous. Preceding Christ’s crucifixion, Peter pledges his allegiance to Christ (Matt. 26:35). Only a short time later, when Christ is betrayed into the hands of the high priest and abandoned by the disciples, we read that Peter “followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.” (Matt. 26:58) Peter watches as Jesus is beaten, abused, and spit upon, and he vehemently denies knowing Christ not just once, but three times in a matter of minutes. Peter then weeps bitterly after he recalls our Lord’s statement to him, “Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” (26:75) What a picture of us. We boast of our faithfulness, but in times of trial and testing – and when it seems everyone’s against us – we’re swift to shrink back and go silent. This hard lesson was a precursor to Peter’s eponymous epistle where he wrote, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15-16) and that we should be happy if we are “reproached for the name of Christ,” (1 Peter 4:14).

Peter’s transformation from fearful to faith-filled required great perseverance. Like Peter, we must move forward, and continually cast all our cares upon Christ.

Originally published as “Peter: From Fearful to Faith-Filled.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. November 21, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

16

March 2020

The Compassion of Christ

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"And of some have compassion, making a difference." (Jude 22) | Read about the compassion of Christ at hopereflected.com

“He had compassion”

Read through the Gospels of Christ’s earthly ministry, and the words “he had compassion,” will stand out repeatedly. Compassion is one of the most over-looked characteristics of Christ. Compassion is something that each of us so desperately needs and yet is something that each of us so often withholds from showing to others. Our Lord is the ultimate source of compassion.

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Our Lord’s compassions fail not. How many times do we hear those verses and not consider how awesome it is that God’s compassions are unfailing. When we feel like giving up, that is precisely when we must not. Whatever we feel, our Lord has felt it in its deepest and truest form. His compassions fail not.

“But he, being full of compassion,”

“But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.” (Psalm 78:38) Rather than turn anger away, so many times we invite it in and entertain it! And what about stirring up our wrath – how many times throughout the day do we catch ourselves stewing rather than being still and remembering that He is God! We can be quick to get angry, to stir up our wrath – and bitterness, and envy, and loathing – but how often can it be said of us that we are full of compassion?

“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20) Like the father when his prodigal son returned, our Lord so willingly demonstrates compassion toward us. We read the words “he had compassion” many times throughout the Bible’s history of Christ’s ministry – our Lord is not just full of compassion, He is ready and willing to show us compassion.

Whatever we feel, our Lord has felt in its deepest and truest form

Our compassion should not just be limited to those we like or those we agree with, compassion requires just the opposite. Compassion is a character builder that pulls us from our comfort zone and counts us among the saddest and sickest and most sorrowful. Consider Christ: His compassion wasn’t reserved for His disciples, in fact any of the examples we read of Christ in Scripture show us that He had compassion on the grieving (Luke 7:13-14), the victimized (Mark 9), the weary (Matthew 11:28-30), and those experiencing trials and temptations (Hebrews 2:18). Christ’s compassion for us is so authentic, that He felt our deepest hurts more intensely than we ever will.

When we show compassion like Christ, we make a difference for Christ. When we show compassion like Christ, we’re making changes for Christ. When we show compassion like Christ, we’re walking in obedience to Christ. After all, we’re commanded in Jude 22, “And of some have compassion, making a difference.”

Originally published as “The Compassion of Christ.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. November 14, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Sunday

15

March 2020

Soldiers are made in battle

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"God knows that soldiers are to be made only in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times." (Charles Spurgeon) | Read more at hopereflected.com

We’re called to active duty

There’s a traditional hymn called “I’m in the Lord’s army,” and the title of the song is lost on many. There is truth in it, however. As Christian soldiers, there are many things warring against us: The world, our flesh, Satan, false teachers, even what Paul called “oppositions of science falsely so called”. So how can we be prepared?

When we enlist in the Lord’s army, we’re called to active duty. Christ Himself commanded us in Matthew 28:18-20, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Go ye therefore! We are called to let our light shine, not to hide our faith under a bushel. Newsflash: This means that we must share the truth in love. How will anyone learn of Christ if they don’t see Him in us? How will anyone learn of Christ if we’re afraid to share the truth?

Be strong and endure

We’re also called to be strong and to endure, and these are two characteristics that we must develop if we’re going to share Christ with others. We need to be prepared, to be questioned, and to be opposed, – check out Christ’s earthly ministry for examples. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:1 that we should “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Two verses later in 2 Timothy 2:3, he encourages us to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” At the same time we’re called to be strong in the grace of our Lord, we are also called to endure hardness. We don’t develop strength unless we endure hardness. We can’t have one without the other.

Always alert and focused

Good soldiers are also always alert and focused. In his first epistle, Peter wrote that Christians should “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,” (1 Peter 5:8). As Christians, we need to be alert at all times. We should not be fearful; rather we should be frequent in our conversations with God. We should not be discouraged; we should be down on our knees in prayer. We should not give up; we should we give our burdens to God. The devil is busy, and he wants to keep us busy with anything but God. We need to stay focused, specifically on Christ. We should constantly be looking to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “God knows that soldiers are to be made only in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times. We may grow the stuff of which soldiers are made; but warriors are really educated by the smell of powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades… Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the heat of battle, and should you not use every application to come off conqueror?”

Originally published as “Soldiers are made for battle.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. November 7, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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