Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Published Work Archive

Thursday

29

July 2021

Safe place for sheep

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“I am the good shepherd:” Christ said in John 10:11, “the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Shepherding is a calling that requires great patience, tenderness, and wisdom.

"The LORD is my shepherd...He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." Psalm 23:1,2 Read more at hopereflected.com

Beyond the basic needs of providing food and protection, the shepherd is responsible to navigate where the sheep are spending time, that the sheep don’t stray, interactions of the sheep (with one another, with sheepdogs, and even with themselves), and helping the sheep to overcome stress.

“God knows when we need rest, and sometimes He allows for us to be in a position where we have no other choice but to ‘lie down’.”

Hope reflected

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” David wrote in Psalm 23, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters.” Just as the shepherd leads the sheep, our Lord leads us and directs us where to spend time. Without His direction, we would stray (1 Peter 2:25). Note how David writes, “He maketh me to lie down…” (Ps. 23:1). God knows when we need rest, and sometimes He allows for us to be in a position where we have no other choice but to “lie down”. Our Lord provides for what we have need of, and we understand from Isaiah 40:11 that He “will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom”. Historically, if a young lamb were wandering or going astray, the shepherd would use the rod to break one of the lamb’s legs, and then carry the lamb on his shoulders until the leg healed. “He hath smitten, and He will bind us up,” (Hosea 6:1). To be gathered and carried by the arms of our Saviour is just one of the ways that Christ protects us and leads us in the right direction.

"He will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom." (Isaiah 40:11) See more at hopereflected.com

Sheep move in flocks, and part of the shepherd’s job is to watch how the sheep interact with one another, with the sheep dog, and with their surroundings. As our shepherd, Christ does the same for us, and He also instructs us to look out for our own behavior and for one another. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers,” Paul wrote in Acts 20:28. As part of God’s flock, we are not completely independent, we are not called solely to self-involvement, but rather to take a genuine interest in others – a genuine interest, not one that is insincere, nosy, or filled with ulterior motives.

"He hath smitten, and He will bind us up," (Hosea 6:1). Read more at hopereflected.com

Moving in a flock can often cause stress to the sheep, especially if they’re not handled correctly. With Christ as our shepherd, though we’ll go through trials and experience trouble, we can know we’re headed in the right direction when we purposefully follow Christ and His direction. “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” (John 10:4). Christ calls us by name, and He leads us. Sheep experience less stress when they stay close to the shepherd.

“The only safe place for a sheep is by the side of his shepherd, because the devil does not fear sheep; he just fears the shepherd, that is all.”

A.W. Tozer

Originally published as “Safe place for sheep.” Independent Plus. February 11, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

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Thursday

8

July 2021

Selective Hearing

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A.W. Tozer wrote in his book The Pursuit of God that, “Most Christians don’t hear God’s voice because we’ve already decided we aren’t going to do what He says.” Each of us is guilty of selective hearing at some point or another. Only listening for the answer that we want to hear. But what about with God?

“Most Christians don’t hear God’s voice because we’ve already decided we aren’t going to do what He says.” (A.W. Tozer) | Read more at hopereflected.com

Do not stop listening

Many of us go through seasons where it seems as though we can’t hear God’s voice. During these seasons, it is of utmost importance that we do not stop listening for Him, and that we continue to pursue God through His Word and prayer. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” Paul wrote in Philippians 3:14. Unless we are appealing to Him daily, how can we ever hear His call? The high calling of God is heard through the voice of Christ, and we hear the voice of Christ in His Word.

Unless we are appealing to Him daily, how can we ever hear His call? The high calling of God is heard through the voice of Christ, and we hear the voice of Christ in His Word. Read more at hopereflected.com

Even when it seems that we can’t hear Him, that is the precisely the time that we need to apply our faith and keep pursuing Him. In his letter to the Romans, Paul encouraged them that, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17). James continued on his eponymous epistle, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:25).

Be willing to obey

We aren’t merely to look into our Bibles, we need to continue to read them regularly, and apply and obey what God’s Word says. This is where many of us slip up. We complain about not hearing God’s voice because we are not willing to obey Him. We wonder why we can’t hear His answer to us asking, “What do you want me to do?” and “Where would you have me to be?” instead of obediently continuing on in the small things right in front of us. 

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:14) | Read more at hopereflected.com

Jesus Himself said, “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:28). We shouldn’t be surprised or complain that we can’t hear Him if we are continually excusing ourselves for not having time to go to the very place where He promises to speak to us. For those who are daily in His Word and still say they can’t hear Him, the quantity of our devotional time may not be the problem. “Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears,” Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest. The quality of our devotional time suffers when we leave our sin lingering. When it seems as though we can’t hear God, we should always ask ourselves if there is some unconfessed wrong of which we need to repent. If we’re being honest, it is likely that we won’t have to look far to find it.

“Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears,”

Oswald Chambers, My utmost for His highest

Are we listening only for what we want to hear, or are we drawing near to God in the small and hard work, where He promises to draw nigh to us? (James 4:8).

Originally published as “Selective hearing.” Independent Plus. February 4, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

15

June 2021

Sword of the spirit

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In Ephesians 6, Christians are instructed to “take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.” (v. 13). We are not able to just throw on body armour and march into battle. In Biblical times, armour would have been first fitted and tried by whoever was wearing it into battle. A great example of this was David, who before fighting Goliath was dressed with Saul’s armour. David took off the armour because he wasn’t accustomed to wearing it. He was more comfortable going to battle wearing his own shepherd’s dress and carrying his own staff rather than a sword.

we are instructed to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” (v. 17). Just as swordsmanship is not learned in a single lesson, so the Word of God is not understood with merely one reading. See more at hopereflected.com

Meant to be read

Further in Ephesians 6, we are instructed to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” (v. 17). Just as swordsmanship is not learned in a single lesson, so the Word of God is not understood with merely one reading. The Bible, is meant to be read, re-read, and read through again.

We are halfway through the “new year”, and many have already given up on whatever resolutions they may have started on January 1. Is daily devotional time one of these resolutions? Are we guilty of “giving up” on our reading because we find the reading too difficult, or we procrastinate for other activities that we deem more desirable? David wrote in Psalm 119 that he had “hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (v. 11). To hide God’s Word in our hearts requires us to know and to memorize it, and we cannot know and memorize Scripture unless we are reading and hearing it consistently. If I didn’t have a physical copy of the Bible, how many verses would I be able to recall to mind? The Bible is filled with encouraging promises and truths that are worth remembering, and it’s a comfort to remind ourselves of these when we’re in situations where we don’t have the Bible near at hand.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105). See more at hopereflected.com

Consistently search the Scriptures

Further in Psalm 119, David wrote, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (v. 105). Unlike the bright LED flashlights of today, lamps in Biblical times required lighting by flame. People weren’t able to make an entire journey by lighting a lamp once. Candles would need to be replaced, flames would need to be rekindled. So it is with the Bible. We can’t just read it once and expect that God’s Word will guide us through life. We need to consistently search the Scriptures to find wisdom, to understand how we should properly respond to life’s trials and troubles.

A.W. Tozer said, “we must allow the Word of God to correct us the same way we allow it to encourage us.” Read more at hopereflected.com

Beyond encouragement, we ought to look to God’s Word to teach us as well. A.W. Tozer said, “we must allow the Word of God to correct us the same way we allow it to encourage us.” Not only does the Bible encourage us, it’s breathed out by God to teach, reprove, and train us as well (2 Tim. 3:16-17). “Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

Originally published as “Sword of the Spirit.” Independent Plus. January 28, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

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Friday

4

June 2021

Benefits of God

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"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah." Psalm 68:19 | Read more about the benefits of God at hopereflected.com

A reminder to see God’s blessings in the every day

Last week, a friend shared that she keeps Psalm 68:19 posted on her desk to provide her with a reminder to see God’s blessings in each day: “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.” (Psalm 68:19). It is thought that David wrote Psalm 68 after God provided him with rest from his enemies and he brought the Ark of the Covenant to Zion. “So many, so weighty, are the gifts of God’s bounty to us that he may be truly said to load us with them;” Matthew Henry said, “he pours out blessings till there is no room to receive them.” This brings to mind Malachi 3:10 in which God promises to “pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” When we are obedient to God as David was, we can experience the same Lord who daily loads us with benefits. Not just one benefit or two, God “daily loadeth us” with benefits.

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.”

Psalm 68:19

Later in his life, David penned Psalm 103. In this devotion, David wrote, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:” (Psalm 103:2). David made a habit of praising the Lord and recalling His benefits. While in Psalm 68 David didn’t list out specifics of God’s benefits to us, in Psalm 103 he provides more insight into some of God’s benefits for which we should be thankful: He forgives our iniquities and He heals our diseases (v. 3), He redeems our life from destruction, He crowns us with loving-kindness and tender mercies (v. 4), He satisfies our mouth with good things and He renews our strength like the eagle’s (v. 5).

God’s use of repetition to remind us of His benefits

Do these benefits sound familiar? That’s because they are. Just as David wrote more than once about God’s benefits, throughout the Bible God uses repetition to remind us and teach us important lessons, like being thankful and remembering His blessings. He crowns us with loving-kindness and tender mercies. These tender mercies are the same mercies that we read about in Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed… They are new every morning:”. God promises us mercies that are new every morning – because He daily loadeth us with benefits. Every single day.

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed… They are new every morning:”

Lamentations 3:22-23

Or what about how God renews our youth like the eagle’s? This is the same promise we find in Isaiah 40:31: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” God doesn’t promise us the strength of a chickadee or robin, and for good reason. He renews our strength like the eagle’s strength because eagles are one of the most formidable birds on earth. They’re incredibly fast, have excellent eyesight, and can carry at least four times their weight in prey.

Tender mercies from God never expire. Strength found in God is never small. Benefits of God are never trivial. God never does anything halfway; He always has His best in mind for us.

Originally published as “The benefits of God.” Independent Plus. January 21, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

20

April 2021

The hope of something new

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Isaiah 33:2 "O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble." | Hope Reflected | The hope of something new

Anything new – be it a sunrise, a snowfall, or even a new year – brings with it a sense of hope and renewal. When we are discouraged, tested, and tired, we often start seeking something new. For Christians, we are quick to forget that the Lord offers us something new each day.

In the book of Lamentations, we read a reflection on the suffering of the Israelites as a result of the destruction of Jerusalem. While the start of the book speaks much of judgment and suffering, the third chapter has a distinct aroma of hope through God’s mercies and compassions.

“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

God’s mercies and compassions are continuously renewed

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not,” we read in Lamentations 3:22-23. “They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Even in the middle of our discouragement, testing, and tiredness, God’s mercies and compassions are new every morning. Even when the outlook is bleak, God’s mercies and compassions are continuously renewed. As Matthew Henry said, “When we are in distress we should, for the encouragement of our faith and hope, observe what makes for us as well as what makes against us. Things are bad but they might have been worse, and therefore there is hope that they may be better.” To put it as Paul poignantly wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:9, “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

Though we often wake up with the wrong attitude, The Lord who changes not offers us His mercies. Because of His compassions we are not consumed. The problem is that rather than focus our attention to waiting on the Lord, we’re more concerned about what’s going on around us, and what could go wrong. We move in our own strength rather than resting in Him. Isaiah wrote, “O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.” (33:2). Are we looking to God in the time of trouble, or are we instead looking around us and being filled with discouragement? Times may be dark, but God is on our side. Nothing that happens in the world around us is a surprise to Him.

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:18-19

With God, we have the hope of something new

Until we change our behavior, we can’t appreciate the Lord’s mercies and compassions. Until we repent of our sin, and for grieving the Holy Spirit, we can’t expect forgiveness. Until we stop looking down our noses and start picking up our cross daily, we are not capable of following God. Unless we pursue after Him, we cannot partake of His mercies and compassions. Though present times may seem as though we are wandering through a wilderness or desert land, we need to keep going. With God, we have the hope of something new. “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Originally published as “The hope of something new.” Independent Plus. January 14, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

6

January 2021

From Self to Selfless

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“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) | From self to selfless | Read more at hopereflected.com

New Year’s resolutions are almost always focused on self.

Popular every January, New Year’s resolutions are almost always focused on self: Bettering ourselves, practicing new habits, or letting go of our old ways. Rather than be self-focused, each of us would benefit so much more if we would choose to be God-focused, turning our eyes to the Creator, growing in our relationship with Him, and dedicating more time to our daily devotions than once-a-year resolutions.

“Each of us would benefit so much more if we would choose to be God-focused, turning our eyes to the Creator, growing in our relationship with Him, and dedicating more time to our daily devotions than once-a-year resolutions.”

Hope Reflected

There is a great danger when we put so much emphasis on our “self”.

Self-deception is the lie that we are enough in and of ourselves. Rooted in pride, self-deception tells us that we are right, that we can save ourselves, that we are enough. The reality is this: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12). Rather than taking up our own causes, Jesus called for us to take up our cross and follow Him. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23). Self-denial requires us to put off the old as Paul wrote (Ephesians 4:22). How fitting for the start of a new year.

Masterfully demonstrated throughout Scripture by Satan himself, self-exaltation honours self first, and puts a focus on what we want and our needs.

Hope REFLECTED

While self-exaltation builds up our reputation, Christ made himself of no reputation.

Self-exaltation, like its cousin self-deception, is once again a sin with deep roots in pride. Masterfully demonstrated throughout Scripture by Satan himself, self-exaltation honours self first, and puts a focus on what we want and our needs. The reality is this: “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” (Proverbs 15:33). True honour comes only after humility. Christ is the perfect example of this, and it is His example that we are called to follow. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Paul wrote in Philippians 2:5. While self-exaltation builds up our reputation, Christ “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant… he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:7-8). These are not character traits that can be developed through self-exaltation, just the opposite. Humility and obedience are only learned through daily self-examination in accordance with God’s Word.

This year, rather than taking a self-focused approach to life, may we aim to live God-focused lives.

Self-righteousness tells us that we haven’t fallen prey to self-deception or self-exaltation, or any of the other self-sins. Self-righteousness encourages us to play the game of comparison, looking down our noses at what others are not doing – or not doing right – and boasting in our own works. Spoiler alert: All our works are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). The reality is this: “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” (Proverbs 30:12). Rather than self-righteousness, self-sacrifice sees us being transformed by God’s mercies (Romans 12:1-2). Self-sacrifice forsakes the love of self we read of in 2 Timothy 3:2 and seeks God first and others second (1 Corinthians 10:24). Self-sacrifice is selflessness rather than selfishness. This year, rather than taking a self-focused approach to life, may we aim to live God-focused lives.

Originally published as “From self to selfless.” Independent Plus. January 7, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

3

November 2020

Are you listening?

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Listening is important

We all have a desire to be heard, the problem is not many of us listen. From birth, even without words, babies try to communicate with others – because they long to be heard. Mothers typically recognize the cry of their child because they’ve spent so much time listening.

We also see this with animals. Dickens has an interesting way of communicating, using his front paws to reach out and touch us when he wants something. He also barks incessantly at any threat outside our home. We’ve become so attuned listening to his bark that we understand when he sees a squirrel, cat, or a human.

Listening requires action

Listening requires action on our part, which we tend to forget. We get caught up thinking that action comes when we speak, which is why many of us have a habit of interrupting. Rather than listening to what others have to say, we start planning a smart response, readying our reaction rather than hearing what others are saying.

One benefit to listening is that we become more receptive. After a conversation with Nathan, King David had a responsive heart to hear the Lord. In 2 Samuel 7, we understand the blessing that comes with listening, as when we truly listen, we grow closer to God. “Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God:” David proclaimed, “for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” (v. 22). Listening – not just laying out our prayer lists – is one of the most important aspects of our relationship with God.

Another blessing of listening is that it helps us to learn. When Paul and Silas preached the Gospel to the Berean Jews, we read in Acts 17:11, “that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Mark Twain once said that, “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would rather have talked.” We cannot learn unless we listen.

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would rather have talked.”

Mark Twaint

Listening also helps us to deal with hard truths and become discerning

We are all guilty of avoiding topics that make us uncomfortable. Perhaps we feel less informed than the person we’re speaking with, but more often than not, we have a hard time accepting the truth – especially when it’s not convenient. A great example of this is found in John 6. After feeding the five thousand, Jesus was preaching in Capernaum, and He went against the grain of the popular teachers of the day by sharing the truth: That salvation is found in Him alone – not in how much money we give away, or how frequently we go to church, or which family we belong to. This made a lot of people uncomfortable – it still does today – to the point that some of His followers left Him. “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” (v. 60). Until we start listening, we will struggle to deal with the truth.

God speaks to those who listen.

Originally published as “Are you listening?” Independent Plus. June 11, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

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Thursday

29

October 2020

Stirring the pot

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"And let

My Mum makes the best gravy. Any time someone “helps” her finish making it, she provides the same instructions: Once you’ve brought it to a boil, really stir it up so it doesn’t get lumpy. It always works with her gravy, not so much with mine.

Stirring the pot takes work

The Bible has many references to stirring things up, from both sides of the spectrum. Whether for good or bad, stirring the pot takes work. Where will we focus our efforts?

Proverbs 10:12 says that “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” Just one look at the news, and we can see the stirring up of strife in so many situations, because of hate. As God’s children, we should be looking for ways to show His love in how we live and treat those around us. It starts in our hearts and homes.

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grevious words stir up anger.”

Proverbs 15:1

We all know that person who makes comments or says things just to get a rise out of others. Proverbs 15:1 says that, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grevious words stir up anger.” When we open our mouths, is it to share a soft answer, or to gush grievous words? “The tongue is a little member and it boasts great things”, James wrote in James 3:5. “Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” We all know the power of our words, because we have all said things that we regret – probably even as recently as today.

Stirring up strife, or appeasing it?

Proverbs 15:18 says that “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.” Are we predisposed to stirring up strife, or appeasing it? There are times when we react in the heat of the moment, but rather than be quick to anger, the Bible tells us that as Christians we should be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” (James 1:19). Though it can be hard, especially in the heat of the moment, those who are slow to anger will stir up peace rather than strife.

In addition to peace, we should be stirred up to generosity. In Exodus 35, the hearts of the people were stirred up to give of their possessions to help build the tabernacle. Are our hearts stirred up to give? There are so many lives that could be impacted by even a small act of generosity. While giving is often associated with financial means, being stirred to generosity could also look like dropping off a meal to a neighbour, sending a note of encouragement, or even sharing a smile and a kind word. Giving does not diminish; it always multiplies.

Stir up the gift of God which is in you

“Consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,”

Hebrews 10:24

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul encouraged Timothy “to stir up the gift of God which is in you,” (1 Timothy 1:6). Sometimes we need to be reinvigorated; this can especially be true for those serving in full-time ministry. It can be exhausting living a life of service. This is why it is so important that we stir one another up to use the gifts that God has placed in us. We should “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:24). How are we stirring the pot?

Originally published as “Stirring the pot.” Independent Plus. June 4, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

28

October 2020

Trust Issues

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"And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, has not forsaken them that seek thee." Psalm 9:10 | Read more about trust at hopereflected.com

Everybody trusts in something, and it is amazing what people will stake their eternal destiny on – good works, generosity, and even other people. The Bible provides encouragement and examples about trusting God. It also shows us some of the areas where we shouldn’t place our trust. We are not to trust in our works (Jeremiah 48:7) or our righteousness (Ezekiel 33:13). Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 64:6, “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf;” – our greatest works are worthless because in ourselves we are not sufficient. Isaiah continues that the Lord can be trusted, because He is our Father, our potter, and we are the work of His hand.

The dangers of trusting in things other than God

Another area we shouldn’t put our trust is in our riches. In Psalm 49:6-7, the sons of Korah wrote about the dangers of trusting in material wealth: “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:” There’s nothing wrong with making money or storing up savings, but when we start to trust in our riches rather than God, we’re headed for trouble.

“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”

Psalm 9:10

Rather than our own works and riches, we should trust in the name of God. There is power in the name of the Lord! David wrote in Psalm 9:10, “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” We can trust the Creator of the Universe. There is a great relief when we stop searching for our own sufficiency and we choose to rest in Him. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)

Trust in God’s mercy

Not only is the name of the Lord a strong tower, it is because of His mercies that we are not consumed (Lamentations 3:22). Even when it feels like God forgets us, or like He can’t hear us, we can trust in His mercy. When David wrote Psalm 13 and Psalm 52, he was enduring seasons of darkness and sorrow. After lamenting to the Lord about his pains and the people fighting against him, take notice how he finishes his prayers: “But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” (Psalm 13:5), “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.” (Psalm 52:8)

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Although he was enduring hardships, David could flourish and rejoice because he trusted in God’s mercy. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that we should, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Our hearts are deceitful, our feelings change frequently, and despite what some of us think, we don’t actually know everything. God on the other hand never changes. His heart doesn’t change; His feelings don’t change; He knows all and we are in the palm of His hand. We can trust Him!

Originally published as “Trust Issues.” Independent Plus. May 28, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

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Thursday

1

October 2020

Fear not

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"Let not your heart be trouble, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27) | Fear not, read more on hopereflected.com

Fear is a theme that is common not just during times of uncertainty

Look back through the Bible and there are more than 500 references to the word fear. While some of these speak to a reverence of God, at least 100 of these references speak about why we should not be fearful. Fear is nothing new; it’s been one of the devil’s tactics since man’s beginnings in the Garden of Eden.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear thou not;” we read in Isaiah 41:10. That’s a command from our Lord! We are not to fear. Easier said than done, especially during difficult seasons of life. We may wonder why God tells us to fear not, particularly if our circumstances are uncertain or we’re feeling anxious. “Fear thou not;” Isaiah 41:10 begins, “for I am with thee:” We are commanded not to fear, because no matter the season and no matter our circumstances, God is with us. The verse continues, “be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

When we have a personal relationship with Christ, when He is our Saviour, He is with us, and we have nothing to fear. We can also find encouragement in our Lord’s words to Joshua in Joshua 1:9: “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

Because God is with us, we have no reason to fear

David wrote in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Wherever we are, God is with us. Even when everything around us seems dark, the Lord is our light. Psalm 27 opens, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” When we stop looking to ourselves, our circumstances, and our surroundings for strength, and we start looking to God, we are reassured. We have no reason to fear!

Fear can be conquered when Christ is our champion

With Him, peace is possible. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

“The father of fear is unbelief.”

A.W. Tozer

Tozer once said that, “the father of fear is unbelief.” God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Does that mean that we will never be afraid? No, but the key is, that when we find fear creeping in, we like David should reaffirm our trust in the Lord. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” (Psalm 56:3). Whatever we may be going through, may we find reassurance in Jesus’s words, “Be not afraid, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)

Originally published as “Fear not.” Independent Plus. May 21, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

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